Feud Run-on Team #3
This run-on is specifically for the team whom signed up from House Acclivis Draco. It will be up to the members to discuss, work together and present the best possible story for submission to the CSP vs ARC run-on event.
Team #3: Machweg, Thran, Rasilvenaira, Phoenix, RevengeX & Braecen
You will pick up after the events that have, thus far, transpired... your mission, should you accept it, is to complete a mission you have been sent upon by ProConsul Phoenix Olkyssagh.
The details and exact story... are left to your creativity and imagination!
Feud plot until now: http://djb.borkweb.com/vengeance/plot/
Phoenix Olkyssagh Palpatien stood before the congregated Clan. With Consul Kunar unconscious and his health unstabilized, the ProConsul became the pillar of the Clan's direction and action. So, as Grand Marshall and acting Emperor of the Cocytus System, the Son of Palpatine had called for the entire Clan to convene upon the surface of Antenora - the Acclivis Draco outpost - to direct their next efforts.
A man of action he bypassed formalities and jumped to heart of the matter. "I need volunteers to enact the will of Clan Scholae Palatinae... I need Heroes to stand against Arcona, expediting her downfall... I ask for those whom are most loyal to step forward!"
Obediently, several denizens stepped forward ready to receive a task from the Lord ProConsul. Satisfied with the number of individuals, Phoenix addressed those whom had not volunteered, "The rest of you are dismissed. Expect orders from your Quaestors."
The pool of fearless warriors now pooled together, expectantly looking to the Palpatine for their next task. The Sith looked down upon them, knowing that it would be through their actions that Arcona would be crippled. It was these brave men and women that would lead the Clan towards victory.
"You will be divided into two cells," he began. "You will not know the actions of the other, unless I, myself, execute the command to your group leader. Your mission is to cripple and, if the opportunity arises, fell the beast known as Arcona. Through sabotage, war - whatever your evil minds can create - you will be given the full authority of this Clan Summit... Go now, prepare yourselves!"
The group departed leaving a single Elder and the remaining Clan Leadership. The Sith Battlelord turned to them with a grave look upon his face. "It will fall to us to manipulate the tide of this war. It will be through our coordination of Houses, Forces and individual merits that we see this battle through."
Machweg stepped forward, a youngling by appearance, a deep current of the Force resonating in the Master's voice, "How is the Consul?"
Phoenix only shook his head. "He will come about, if the Dark Side wills him as our true Leader. For now... we must quash these Arconan scum."
“Squash is an understatement. Obliterate them. The line has been draw, they crossed it. I say we prepare The Excidium and reduce their planets to smoldering rocks.” Hissed the Quaestor, leaving no regard for the outcome of his plot.
“Think, Sith. Isn’t that a bit rash?” the mousey haired boy chirped, attempting to reprimand the Bakuran.
“Rash? Let me teach you a lesson…Never afford your enemy a small wound.” The philosopher-warrior replied.
Pacing calmly, the Proconsul strained his mind for answers. Likewise the remainder of the group followed his lead, save Machweg, who was prepared to go face to face with the Battlemaster. Dwarfed by the grown man’s muscled frame, not a shed of fear shone through his defiant stance. With a hand on his hip, the Master slowly grew enveloped by a shroud of pure evil. Thran, enraged by the tenacity of the would-be assassins, stood fast against the intimidating attempt. After minutes of silent stares and grinding mental gears, Occasus turned from the group.
“I am going to rectify this situation. If anyone of you has a back-bone, I suggest you meet me in the Hangar in exactly 20 minutes. Rasilvenaira, find Xen’Mordin…Order Cresh-Aurek-Wesk-Esk-Peth. Good. I am sure Consul Kunar would be proud that you are standing here with absolutely no motivation…” Thran hissed.
He clutched his lightsaber, ready for some action. Rasilvenaira looked puzzled, pondering the order to herself. “CAWEP? It must be an acronym.” She thought, wondering what deranged meaning he put behind it. Simultaneously, Phoenix thought about following the lead of the lesser Equite. The feeling faded as Thran stormed off, prepared to do anything.
He looked over to the Master, then to the rest of the group. Machweg turned his gaze to the Proconsul. “I’ll stop him…” the pre-teen said, reassuring the concerned Battlelord.
As the group stood there, confused, a plan hatched in the Equite’s mind. It was a fiendish plot, but with the proper application of intelligence and harnessing of Thran’s forward and vengeful mind, it could work...
By the time Ras went to look for Xen, she found that the man had already left with one of the other groups. Staring at the note on his door saying just that, she frowned. It wasn't a very advisable thing to tell an enraged Thran that someone he had wanted for a mission was not available.
There were shouts in the hallway - a few of CSP's kids playing "destroy Arcona." A standard game, but it had become more fierce over the last few days. Even the children of the Clan's servants had joined in. Right now, the favourite end to suchj games was blowing up the whole system of Clan Arcona with some sort of Force storm. Ras wished, if only for a brief moment, she could experience the children's simple beliefs.
Turning from the door, she saw an Acolyte she didn't know and Revenge X carrying large amounts of explosives towards the hangar. The woman raised her eyebrows and smirked. One could almost belive Laurus would be involved in their special mission - whatever plan they'd finally follow - but it had been the kid who ordered all those. "The kid" was what the Clan usually called Master Machweg, and although Silver had decided not to use it herself, it kept creeping back into her thoughts.
Following the two of them, she wondered if Thran had calmed down and would now be ready for a sensible course of action. The shouting from the hangar quickly told her different. The angry, raised voice of Occasus and the much calmer, but slightly impatient voice of Machweg. She could not make out any words, but she was rather sure she didn't want to, anyway.
The Acolyte hesitated at the hangar doors. Revenge opened them and shoved the scared humanoid in. The sound of voices intensified. Then there was a flash of Force all three of them could feel in mind and body, and a body looking suspiciously like Thran's was flying by the door, from right to left. A thud, and a growl that was also Thran's. A chuckle from the boy.
Silver pushed Revenge and his Acolyte away and entered the hangar, ready to give Machweg her piece of mind on this matter. But when she saw the boy with folded arms, smirking, and Occasus getting himself out of a bunch of empty cardboard boxes at the far end of the hangar, she relaxed. "What was that about?" she wanted to know.
"Well, he did ask me for more pushing points to my sight of things," Machweg said, not at all apologetically. Then he saw the explosives and his face lit up. "Good, good. We're set, then."
"Set for what, exactly?" Phoenix was standing in the door, eying the things-that-go-boom sceptically. "You didn't even bring all that much. There's more than this where we are going."
"Where exactly are we going?" Revenge asked. "Thran says we are taking the Excidium... Machweg says we are taking an old transport. So what is it?"
"Both," Thran and Niemand said in unison, each of them looking at Revenge as if that had been obvious all along. "We were just disagreeing on details," Niemand offered, chuckling again.
"Master Machweg?" The familiar voice of CSP's Fleet Admiral Oleg Cransum sounded from the hangar speakers. "The Excidium is awating your arrival. Do the orders for fleet preparation Quaestor Occasus gave still stand?"
"You bet they do," Thran hissed, moving over to where Silver stood, one had at his saber. He glared at Machweg, but was seemingly content enough with getting a large ship to play with.
"Yeah," Niemand said, looking at Phoenix for confirmation. "We'll probably need a lot of firepower out there."
Meanwhile the Acolyte had stored all the explosives in the transport waiting for them and rushed out. Revenge merely frowned at the youngling, then he did a mocking bow and exptended his right arm towards the ship. "Would your majesties like to come on board now?"
"Excidium, await our arrival," Phoenix spoke in his com link, and then he waved the in.
"Who's flying?" Machweg asked as he jumped in.
"Me," Ras and Thran shouted, then looked at each other with a frown.
"Me!" Phoenix decided. "Can't have you arguing about a small shuttle job."
A moment later, the transport lifted. Revenge, closing his eyes to meditate on the battle to come, was robbed of his quiet when behind him, the boy and the Quaestor started arguing again. The Krath was about to ask them to stop, when he begun to realzie that this form of discussion probably achieved more than a civil talk at the moment. At least for them. "We fly...hi..hiii to battle..." he hummed without noticing it. Bloodshed to come and enemies to crush. Life was great.
Life was great while you won. This simple truth was a lesson Machweg has learned very early in his young life. As they entered the Excidium's hangar, his thoughts circled about the thought he had accidently recieved from Revenge. The notion that defeat was impossible had to be driven out of everyone's head, and quickly. There was nothing worse than lacking attention because of a supposed sure victory.
The ship was not even done touching down when Thran got up and walked towards the exit, hand on his saber hilt. Silver follwed him closely, frowing at Machweg as she passed the boy. 'Why do you always have to argue?' she seemed to think. Niemand ignored her.
As they gathered outside, Tiuqsib Lessuf, the Admiral's attache, already waited for them. The young Farghul/Noghri mix female, no doubt a product of highly sophisticated genetic engeneering, bowed her head to the Consul and the Quaestor. "Ready to serve," she spoke the usual words of welcome. Her cream-yellow fur stood up, likely a sign of her excitement. Machweg, who had never had a chance meet her, was fascinated by the reptile skin under her fur, but he didn't get a chance to have a closer look, as the woman turned and lead them on towards the Admiral's ready room.
Machweg had never been on the Excidium before, which was partly why he had accepted the main course of action Thran had suggested. Technical things fascinated him, much more so large ships and powerful engines. At the first chance he'd get, he would try to see as much of the ship as he would be able to.
Phoenix, on the other hand, had been on board many times. His concern was mainly for Braecen right now. The Clan needed her Consul in times like these. Yet, he had to act with a sharp mind. And right now, two conflicting needs were troubling him. The need to stay with the Clan and not risking his life, and the need to be with the fleet when it charged the enemy. Admiral Cransum was a great leader, but right now, the Dark Jedi of CSP needed one of their own in the middle of things. He had felt that when he had asked for volunteers. But he'd better get out of this alive.
Rasilvenaira prowled the corridors of the Exicium, several threads of memory twisting around in her mind being aboard the Clan’s flagship again. Shaking her head, she pushed those thoughts back into the shadowed corners of her mind. “Now’s not the time for distractions StormRaven, focus.” She chided herself. Eventually her rambling journey through the VSD led her to the hangar.
While Thran might be enjoying the big ship, Rasilvenaira was not; she truly hated not being the one flying any ship she was on. Looking over the various TIEs that were held, ready and waiting, the Sith slowly calmed her thoughts. Glancing over, her dark gaze fell upon the VT-49 Decimator. The Aedile smiled, “Mine.” She thought, mentally claiming the craft for the inevitable confrontations to come. StormRaven was still somewhat irritated by the necessity of leaving her own personal ships behind, but the VSD’s limited hangar space had not left any other option.
Restless, the waiting tested her patience; waiting left too much time for thinking. The Warrior turned from the hangar and gradually worked her way back through the corridors toward the Excidium’s command bridge. As she drew closer Rasilvenaira could feel the tension in the air, the waiting was trying everyone’s patience, and some had far less to begin with.
Thran and Niemand were engaged in another discussion about one point or another. Looking around she didn’t see RevengeX, but didn’t really pay much attention to the Krath. Settling down in a seat near Phoenix, Rasilvenaira watched the Proconsul quietly for a few moments. The Firrerreon was silent, brooding on his own thoughts. Guessing at some part of them she spoke softly, “Braecen will be fine, you and I both know how stubborn that Krath is.”
Phoenix’s crystal blue eyes slowly rose to meet her gaze. “True, you’re right, priority right now is doing as much damage as we can to Arcona’s fleet.” He smirked, “That will be fun.”
“Indeed, now you’re starting to sound like a Sith, I was beginning to worry that maybe the Krath was rubbing off on you.”
The Battlelord growled, and Rasilvenaira chuckled, feeling some of the tension dissipate as the Proconsul’s thoughts shifted away from the pressing conflict for a brief moment.
Suddenly the Excidium’s crew snapped into action as sensor alarms went off. “Sir! Arcona’s fleet is closer than we first thought; ships are approaching from the starboard side.”
“So it begins…” Phoenix stood, “Scramble the pilots!”
Rasilvenaira nodded and took off for the hangar, glancing over her shoulder, she saw Thran right behind her.
“You didn’t think I was going to let you have all the fun did you?” he smirked.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
Reaching the hanger, the Warrior made for the VT-49. A single thought worked into her mind. “Stay safe out there.”
“Always, you too.”
“Plan on it.”
While the others had been wandering around the Excidium, the Archpriest had, at the time, gone to the onboard cantina. RevengeX had ordered up another glass of amber ale and checked out some female officers when the alarms had blared. The officers who had been chatting in a booth at the other end of the room stood up and sprinted out into the corridors. The Palpatine liked watching some of them run, especially that cute female humanoid – supposedly a female, you cannot really tell when you are far away and inebriated. It was also always fun to watch people slower than you run.
The alarms continued to sound and regular updates were coming in through the intercoms scattered throughout the ship from the command bridge.
Ugh… I guess it’s time for me to get up.
The Krath slid a couple credits to the bartender and walked out, his usual quickened gait had slowed down and he felt suddenly fatigued. A migraine began pushing its way into Revenge’s head, but he shoved it out and accidentally sent himself flying into the ship’s walls. His head hit the wall and the migraine stormed into his head. RevengeX, with his head ringing and his balance disrupted, quickly made his way to the hanger where he knew the other Dark Jedi would be. If you are a Dark Jedi and you miss a fight, people would only mutter, “Shameful… shame upon your house for missing a fight like that!” when you passed by.
Revenge entered the hanger and saw some of the other Dark Jedi in his group getting into starfighters spread throughout the space. Rasilvenaira sprinted towards a VT-49 and Phoenix was barking orders to pilots. RevengeX headed towards a TIE Defender near the right side of the hanger, but a pilot, who was ahead of the Palpatine, was approaching the same Defender as well.
“Out of my way! That’s my ship! That’s mine, you fool! Don’t get in that ship unless you want to be my footstool!” the Archpriest shouted and felt the refreshing sensation of the Force powering him, enveloping him. The pilot had already clambered onto the top of the TIE and was beginning to jump in when the Palpatine pushed the pilot out of the way and slammed him into the hanger wall. A loud crunch followed and the pilot slipped down the dented wall. An approaching traffic officer yelled at Revenge, “What the heck are you doing? There’s enough ships for everyone! Save it for out there!”
The Krath pushed the traffic officer off balance by just extending a hand in the general direction as he ran in a “zigzag” pattern, no doubt an effect of the alcohol he had consumed. A short snort followed by a giggle escaped the lips of the Palpatine as he climbed onto the top of the ship.
"Now, that's just the type of uncontrolled action we do not need!" Phoenix' voice boomed. An invisible hand dragged the Krath backwards until he hit the ground hard. "Have you had too much to drink already? Can you not detox yourself properly before you rush into action?"
The Proconsul was now standing above the confused man, his face betraying his rage. Revenge tried to get to his feet, then thought the better of it and concentrated on detoxing himself instead. "Sorry," he mumbled, a slight headache still bothering him.
"Sorry? Sorry doesn't do. We are a team, hear? And we'll act as such." Then the Firrerreon whirled around and snapped at Machweg and Ocassus, who were having a silly argument about some irrelevant details in regards to self control. "Cut it out, you two. I don't know what's gotten into everyone, but we need this to work. Remember what we've talked about with the Admiral. This chance, we only have once, and we're not going to mess it up. Got me? Then let's go!"
The first fighters were already out there, engaging the Arconans. Silver, who had not bothered to wait for Revenge and Phoenix to settle the issue, had been among the first to enter battle. There were about 10 squads of different fighters, and most of them looked old and batttered enough to have been bought on the flea market. Ras realized this was likely true in a way. This was not Arcona's regular set of fighters. The ship they had come from confirmed that idea - old, battered and instable. Yet both the fighters and their mothership bore Arcona insignia.
"Yup, a decoy fleet." Thran's voice in their coms. "Not a new method, buying almost dead ships and have them join the fleet in the backrow of battle, so it suddenly looks like you have triple the power."
"So they haven't really been expecing us, is that it?" Revenge, now sober again, asked. "They kinda run into us on their way back to Scum Heaven... i mean, the Arconan homeworld."
"Looks like it. This means target practice. Still, pay attention." The voice of one of the Excidium pilots. "We're outnumbered about 5 to 1. And then there's their mothership..."
The Excidium's turrets flashed up and sent a beam of blending light towards the enemy. Then the Victory joined the efforts. "Not a mothership for much longer," Silver muttered.
Niemand had stayed behind in the hangar, and now he was on his way back to the bridge. He wasn't very usable as a pilot, but he was not sure of how much use he could be on the bridge either. In their earlier talks, it had been obvious that the thought of a child having any time of authority - Dark Jedi or not - was an alien concept to anyone but Admiral Cransum. Machweg was aware of the stares the crew had for him as he walked the corridors towards the heart of the ship.
Yet, the plan they were harbouring was mostly his. With a little help of Phoenix, the young Master had presented Arcona's supply routes to them, detailing how close some of their more important shipments came to one of the most likely battlefields. Their goal would be to capture one of the smaller transports without being seen, and then set the stage for the main part of their mission.
Arcona would protect their transports if they could, if only to show CSP their power. A transport with a squad of fighters tailing it would likely be taken onboard. On board of said transport, there would be not only the mind controlled traders, but also an infiltration team.
This plan, however, depended on secrecy, and if only one of those waste disposal potention ships out there would escape, there was little hope of getting to a transport unseen. So as Machweg entered the bridge again, his eyes fixed on the holodisplay showing the conflict. He noticed Cransum frowning, his yellow, bald skin gleaming in the light. The part-human tapped his fingers impatiently, and then he noticed the boy. "Master Machweg," he said. "Wherever the Arconans got these decoy ships from - they must have gotten them cheap. There are more coming in from hyperspace. A miracle they made it to here."
"Are they any thread to us?" Niemand wanted to know.
"Nothing like that could ever be a thread to the Excidium, or any of our ships," the Admiral replied calmly. "But it's going to be time consuming, and we need to make sure none of them escapes. " He turned hopeful eyes towards the Krath. "Anything you could do with the Force to solve this problem for us?"
Niemand grinned. "Maybe," he answered.
The short Dark Jedi Master sat in the shadow of the grown officers. The female officers on the Bridge couldn’t help but think the little boy was adorable. He scratched his nose, sitting cross-legged on cold durasteel floor. As the hybrid Admiral watched in a suspicion, the strands of the Force began flowing from him shadowing the rest of the Rendili Starcraft within a rich shroud of the Dark-Side.
Phoenix Olkyssagh Palpatine watched the vibrant green turbolaser blasts as they drew a tighter bead on their targets, illuminating the heavens with sporadic explosions of inept TIE Pilots colliding with the turbolaser volleys. Battle Meditation was an old Jedi trick, they used it to muster the courage to face the Sith in combat. The mousey haired Master performed the task with ease. The Proconsul knew, however, they would need more than a simple Force driven motivation.
Attempting to leave the Dark Jedi undisturbed, two uniform-clad personnel approached the fractionally Twi’lek man. The tall Captain of the Excidium saluted before beginning his request. To Phoenix’s surprise, the woman that accompanied Captian Vermetter looks remarkably like his House Caliburnus underling. At first he found her attractive, taught imperial tunic drawn across her well endowed chest. But as the time passed, he couldn’t help but shake the uncanny resemblance to the Bakuran Quaestor. The primordial feelings of lust mutated into a purely awkward feeling that he was in someway attracted to someone who reminded him of Thran. The Firrerreon shook his head, cleansing his mind of the thought. It was lonely on Judecca, after all he was Proconsul; a forlorn position of paperwork and diplomacy.
Completely ignoring the verbose prompting of the Captain, Phoenix paid attention again as the woman began talking.
“Admiral, I think if we were to feign retreat, pulling off to 100 degrees and dropping our pitch by 30 degrees…We could focus our firepower forward. It’s effectively an Ackbar Slash. So long as we focus our attack on their flagship, we can cut the head off of the proverbial snake. Sir, it is a very difficult maneuver…Sir, Request to spearhead the move.” The red-haired Lieutenant asked with a starch posture.
“I like your thinking Miss Kast. Do you think you can move this boat like your bother does a TIE?” The Admiral asked, investing interest in the tactic of his subordinate.
“Sir, I could thread a needle with this vessel. Thran is a talented pilot, but he does not show our family’s best qualities.” Shir’ciri commented, showing her pride on her sleeve.
“Very well…Captain Vermetter, Get your TIEs out there…I want them to swarm the enemy. Get the Defenders blasting away with those Ion Cannons. I want the Interceptors doing what they were made for. Do you understand me, Captain?” the Admiral ordered.
“Yes, Sir.” The tall Officer remarked, filling with an Imperial salute.
“Miss Kast, Organize your team…Captain, inform Thran Occasus, He will be responsible for the fighter initiative.” The fractional alien said.
In perfect harmony, the pair saluted with a resounding “Yes Sir!”. As the woman turned away, she caught Phoenix and his staring eyes. A soft smile and a surreptitious wink reminded him of her relation to Thran. He couldn’t help but think what a terrible shame it was that she, by manner of coincidence, was related to Occasus. Taking the Quaestor’s reaction into consideration, the fellow Outer-rim resident turned back to the young Master, who was still deep in meditation.
“What is your plan Master Machweg?” he asked, filling himself in with their plot.
Nodding with the orders, Thran held his helmet to his side. He examined the TIE pilots, all 11 of them. He was running a double sized squad of the meanest Fighter Pilots the clan had. They had not seen much combat, but that was soon to change. The jet black flight-suits blended into the solar panels of the hexagonal winged fighters, making the squadron look all the more menacing. On half the group, a coiled dragon crowned their helmets. On the other, a simple battle scarred emblem marked their preparedness for flight.
Thran approached the squadron, prepping himself for a speech. “Tau Squadron. We are brought together for one purpose…Destroy or otherwise incapacitate the Arcona fleet. Orders from the Clan are as follows: Focus our Attack with Ion cannons. Six of us are to direct the attack and the others are to run intercepting runs. Form up on the Leaders and always watch your six. Any questions?” the Bakuran said, clipping his helmet into place.
“Yeah, I have one…” chirped one of the Pilots “When are you gonna shut up so we can blast something?” the smug man jeered receiving multiple pats from his Flight Members.
Behind the pitch black helmet, Thran Smiled, He liked this one. With a hand motion, he told them to mount up. Each man climbed into the bulbous cockpits of the TIEs and flipped the switch, bringing the humming Ion engines to life. Systematically, the oversized squadron screamed from the Hangar. As they formed up in the vacuum of space, Thran tapped his heads up display.
“Tau Sqaudron, form up on me. Sheilds at maximum recharge. Our Interceptors should handle the fighters. Beta group, Focus your attack on the weapons systems. Alpha group, We are taking out the shields. Ion Cannons hot. Enemy at 2 clicks. Lock ‘em and Rock ‘em.” Occasus said, bringing his ship around in an elegant acrobatic arc.
The TIE Defender was one of the most elegant fighters ever created. It was an amazing improvement over its predecessors; Sheilded Ion and Lasers, tractor beam, blazing speed. The Defender was the Rebellion’s worst enemy. Nearly twenty years later, it was still one of the best production models out there. Thran admired its designer and was full of jealousness also.
As the vehicles screamed into the battle, a flood of TIE Interceptors poured from the Victory Class Star Destroyer. Arcona was out gunned. The Fighters massed, blocking out the stars. Soon, the entire field of battle filled with green and red blasts of laser fire. The Excidium, moving to strike the enemy fleet, dipped below the fighter group. Screams of joy came over com, Thran and his boys were ready to see some action. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the VT-49 launched prior.
“Fighter. Form up with Tau Squadron.” He commanded. No response came. He knew why.
“Thran!” she screamed, managing to hit the private message system. “I can’t shake them!”
“SILVER!” He screamed back over the private channel
Occasus snarled. “Alpha Group. Form up on Tau-2. Proceed with orders. Beta Group, Form up on me. Tau-7. Join Alpha group. Lock ‘em and rock ‘em!” He barked to his advanced fighter group.
As the 6 fighters pulled out of formation, they left a typical ion engine shriek. The ships looked like fierce predators, screaming for a kill. Each of the pilots smiled, they would get the taste of blood soon enough. The charge of redirected energy to the laser cannons got Thran in the mood. He pressed a button, filling the cockpit with the dark sound of a performance of the Bakuran National Symphony. He was ready to kill. Tapping the targeting system, an Arconan fighter closed in a yellow reticule.
With another message to his squadron, the Quaestor proctored them once again. “Disperse and destroy. No mercy! DEATH FROM ABOVE!” he screamed, pulling the trigger on the joy stick. Three vibrant blasts rocketed forward, leading ahead of a screaming TIE Interceptor. The first impacted, shaking the craft. The second and third shots missed, wandering off into the blackness of space. Rolling with the evading Craft, Thran hit the Defender’s secret weapon. The Beam captured the craft like a fly on a frog’s tongue. Instantly, Occasus hit another button, matching the velocity of the Interceptor. With a broad grin, he squeezed the trigger again. At first the Solar Panels detached, then as the oxygen rich cockpit caught fire, an explosion released the Defender’s grip on the rounded hull of the craft. Clearing the flames, the shields shimmered. He drew the craft around, aiming it at the next enemy fighter…
"My plan," the boy grinned - not a child's grin, but a malevolent one - is to turn them against each other. They will not know friend from foe anymore in a minute."
Phoenix nodded as he watched one of the enemy's old frigates break apart. Probably as much due to rust and dust as due to their lasers. "They are weak minded and easy targets for Force illusions, " he agreed. "It's the masses worrying me still."
"Look at the bright side, sir," the Admiral in front of them spoke softly. "These rustbuckets will be all Arcona could afford. Even old ships are expensive, and we caught them early on, before they could confuse us.But it would be helpful to find out who is piloting those ships. Just in case we need to cut off Arcona's supplies in the future."
The Proconsul looked at Cransum, who hadn't even turned but kept his eyes set on the holo display. "Good thinking. We should retrieve some of the debris when we are done here."
From the right, someone approached the Admiral and whispered something to him. Cransum nodded, then turned to face Phoenix. "The infiltration ship is set, and Marauder Squad's best are ready to play. They are quite upset not to fly out there with the others as it is."
"Of course." A slight smile played around the Proconsul's lips, but faded as quickly as it had appeared. As of yet, he had not decided if he would go in with the rest of the team. He would have to make up his mind quickly, though. The hope of Braecen waking up soon was all but gone. He could feel his Consul was alive, but that was all of it. If he'd stay on board of the flagship, he would be able to coordinate the Clan, and that was to be his main concern. Yet, the prospect of infiltrating Arcona's flagship, if they could, or any other if they couldn't nail the flagship, was tempting.
"There," the voice of Niemand got him out of his thoughts. "They are set against each other now. And the maneuver the woman you laid eyes on suggested is underway now, too."
Phoenix opened his mouth to comment on the boy's observation when the Force suddenly sent him a warning. One of the enemy's fighters, spinning out of control was heading right for the Excidium's bridge, probably in an attempt to take the enemy with it. The fighter got bigger while he was noticing the doomed pilot's intention. But in the next second, it veered to starboard, merely scratched the Excidium's hull and exploded a moment later.
Niemand was standing with his hands raised, his face slowly loosing it's concentration. "Size doesn't matter," he said drily. "When push comes to shove, the Force is still your best ally." chuckling at his rather lame and overused joke, the kid sat back down. "But I've lost control over the enemy now."
"Can you reestablish it?"
At that, the young Master shrugged as if it didn't matter at all. "We'll see."
Unconscious and circulating in a pool of bacta, the Consul of Scholae Palatinae did not have a dramatic reentry into the world of the living. In fact, his eyelids worked in collusion with gravity in an attempt to cover the icy orbs of the Epis. Slowly, fighting the urge to slumber, the azure eyes of Braecen Kunar opened with obvious strain and a dull sheen.
A chirping sound issued from a nearby medical station, bringing one of the valued medical technicians of the Excidium to the side of the tank. The human, a female in appearance, poured over a series of notes and records as she began to make a medical diagnosis. While she was aware of the man's resiliency, he had still remained oblivious to the outside world for an entire tenday.
Choosing to error on the side of caution, Fall'el commed the Commanding Officer aboard the Excidium. "Lord Phoenix, he is awake..."
The Battelord was now on the bridge of the ship, entangled in the maelstrom of chaos as the two factions ate away at one another. He was both dismayed with the fact his forces were outnumbered, but relishing the obvious untoward destruction of the Arconan Fleet. Even the brilliant explosions of non-valuable ships fueled the antagonist that swirled deeply in the Sith ProConsul's soul.
The sudden communication from the medical facilities aboard the ship snapped him from his reverie. Carefully he routed the message to his personal communication station at the forward tactical salon, taking in each word of the female nurse's concise, medical opinion. Phoenix was unsure why he had brought the Consul aboard the ship, but sensed it was the safest place to keep the Heir of Kun with Arconan assassins or ninjas, whatever the scum fancied calling their saboteurs, on the prowl.
Yet, the timing was poor for the ProConsul's personal vendetta with the Primarch Koskian. His Krath counterpart was too prone to yielding with the advantage, asking for submission instead of pressing for annihilation. No, the Sith silently determined, I cannot allow for the Epis to halt the machine of war prematurely.
Satisfied, with the knowledge the Epis would only continue the war if the Clan's back was against a wall, he gave the medical assistant her orders. While his act would be seen traitorous, in nature, he felt it was the best course of action for Scholae Palatinae to assert itself in the Dark Brotherhood... just above Arcona.
The nurse noncommittally nodded her head in understanding of the ProConsul's orders, but wondered if it was the wisest plan of action. Yet, she was merely mortal compared to the Dark Jedi host of the Cocytus System and she would obey the man's orders out of sheer terror; for not executing them could certainly result in death.
As the Corellian began to awaken, the dullness evaporated from his eyes, her own brown eyes pleaded for forgiveness. She injected a clear liquid into the IV drip that fed into the Krath's body and watched as the sleeping draught overcame the Lord of the Cocytus System.
And like that, Braecen Kunar fell into a dream like state again... leaving Phoenix Olkyssagh Palpatine free to wage a personal war against Arcona and Koskian d'Tana.
The expanse of distance and time was, at best, a theoretical obstacle between a Master and an Apprentice. In the brief, fleeting moments of Braecen's consciousness, he had been able to demand - through the Force and sheer will - the immediate presence of his remaining, loyal Apprentices.
Abandoning their preparations of Cocytus' defense, the Obelisk Apprentices - Korbin and Xan - marched dutifully towards a nearby transport. They would take the nearest ship, acting as a ferry, to the platform that orbited Judecca. Once there, they would use the privileges granted by the hand of the Consul to enact his will and come to his side.
It was their oath to serve the Heir of Kun...
Arconan fighters exploded in rapid succession as Thran and the rest of Scholae Palatinae’s pilots joined the fray. Taking a deep breath now that her pursuers were off her tail, the Sith pulled the VT-49 around again setting her sights on one of Arcona’s ratty looking Corvettes.
“Thanks for that Thran, I’m used to the Kanashimu that can out maneuver them.”
She chuckled to herself, picturing the confidant Bakuran’s smirk with his reply. Rasilvenaira turned her attention back to the battle. Cursing under her breath yet again that she was without her own fighter; the Warrior adjusted a few controls and targeted the Corvette.
“Okay you pile of bolts and scrap, let’s see what you can do.” She muttered and opened fire.
The VT-49’s laser cannons rained down on the Arconan vessel with a vengeance, Rasilvenaira knew it was only a matter of time before their shields gave out. Soon, she spotted the sign she was waiting for, the last volley of laser fire actually struck the corvette’s hull.
“Guys, target the corvette, its shields are down!”
Veering sharply to avoid another Arconan fighter, Rasilvenaira grinned as one of Caliburnus’ TIEs intercepted and destroyed the fighter before turning its cannons on the unshielded corvette.
The Excidium and Victory continued to pound the Arconan fleet. Between the efforts of the fighters and the capital ships, the numbers were finally beginning to turn in Scholae Palatinae’s favor. The enemy fleet was weakening.
Phoenix paced the bridge; he was beginning to worry that the young Master Niemand might have caught part of his thoughts. The Firrerreon’s thoughts warred in his mind, the burning desire to crush Arcona, and Koskian in particular, against what was truly right for the Clan. He knew perfectly well he had essentially led the Clan into open war for his own personal vendetta.
Niemand sat cross legged, the unreadable grin on his face only added to Phoenix’s concerns. While the Master was concentrating on helping the Palatinae forces, the Proconsul was never sure just how hard the youngster was actually focusing. He couldn’t count on the boy not having the talent of picking through his thoughts along with whatever else it was he was doing.
The medical staff had relayed another message indicating that Braecen kept nearly regaining consciousness, and he was unsure how long he could convince them that the Consul should stay asleep. The situation was already escalated to the point of no return; even Braecen’s famous diplomatic talents would be hard pressed to slow the war machines now in full motion. However, Phoenix was a Sith, and one very hungry for war and vengeance, and he wasn’t ready to take that chance yet, hoping Braecen would remain out of action a while longer.
RevengeX looked around him at the pilots of Tau squadron. He had snuck away from the angry Proconsul after a quick lecture and stolen a pilot’s uniform. The Archpriest scratched the underside of his right arm. The suit was tighter than he had expected and he kept readjusting his legs’ positioning to make sure that “one thousand years of pain” did not befall him like it had for a few mythical “gods.”
Revenge’s fellow Quaestor Thran was giving the squadron a little pep talk about how the Clan must destroy Arcona, a message that had been echoed through the Krath’s head millions of times by millions of people. The Krath looked at the small patch and insignia that was stitched onto the left side of his chest: Tau-9. The Palpatine looked up and Thran looked away, a determined gleam in his eye.
The TIE Defender rolled to the left and an ion trail could be seen outside of the spherical cockpit. RevengeX’s gloves grew damp as he maneuvered the craft towards the Arconan corvette, the Torment, as orders to concentrate the majority of the firepower on the corvette were relayed from Thran.
“Hurry up and kill that thing so that we can take out these other pests! Tau squadron, formation Enth-Wesk-Resh! Get away from the stray dogs and get over here where there’s more prey! DEATH FROM ABOVE!”
Tau squadron quickly finished a few dogfights and pulled away to form up behind Thran who led them into the thick of battle where all sorts of enemy ships were flying around – from TIEs to a couple scattered B-wings. Although there was silence in the squadron’s communication relays, each pilot could feel the tension as the order to disperse and destroy was repeated. The TIEs rolled away with masterful grace and targeted the approaching enemy starfighters and they slowly picked them off one by one.
I can’t believe Phoenix is still on the Excidium! He would love to get out here, thought the Archpriest as he initiated a dogfight with a TIE Interceptor.
“The corvette’s engines are offline! Finish it off!”
"In Space, there is no above," Niemand mumbled. His face seemed relaxed, yet he was fully concentrated on the battle out there. The minds of the pilots were like an extention of his own, his connection to the Force was theirs, in a way, too.
"80% of enemy fighters are down," someone announced from somewhere. "They are trying to retreat."
"Destroy them all." The Admiral's voice, as calm as if he was talking about the weather.
A flash of bright light appeared as another of Arcona's decoy capital ships (crappital schits some bridge crew members had called them earlier) broke apart. There was but one left, and it was bleeding badly, figuratively speaking. Phoenix could have been happy, if not for his need to join in the action. It was hard to get his nervousness under control, so it would not rub off on anyone else.
Right then, he made his decision. Proconsul or not, he would be on the inflitrating ship. If not, he would not be able to thibnk straight to begin with. "About time," he mumbled.
"Want me to take over when you are gone?" Machweg's voice was totally calm with more than a hint of amusement. Phoenix whirled around to him. "You? I think not!" As the boy exploded with laughter, CSP's second in command realized he had been had - again. "Get ready to enter our prepared transport," he hissed. "Admiral, tell Jenna and Jasum and whoever else is with them that we are about ready. Are you sure they will hit the decoy explosives?" Decoy, Phoenix briefly reflected, seemed to be the fashion of this war.
"Aye," the voice of a young man replied. "We are able to, and we are ready and eager for action."
The Sith turned to face Jenna and Jasum, the twins in charge of Marauder Squad. Small and underweight, the grey-brown haired, grey-brown eyed siblings looked as if a sneeze from him would topple them over. Phoenix knew better, though. Former smugglers, mercenaries, spy, thieves, pirates and probably a dozen of other similar shady occupations, they were more than capable and were both top ace pilots. It would be their job to lead the supposed pursuit of an Arcona transport, shooting at carefully prepared spots on the ship's hull, so there would be explosions but no real damage.
Of course, inside the ship was pre-prepared damage as well. If it all went as planned, they would enter the hangar of the Arcona ship and give the impression of barely escaping while the transport would blow up right inside. It wouldn't cause too much damage, but would give them a chance to sneak away while being considered dead. With sufficient mind control from Machweg, of course. After all, most of a ship's crew was not Force sensitive.
"Get into your fighters, then," Phoenix ordered. "The others should be back shortly."
"Very shortly, indeed," Niemand commented. On the holo display, the last of the enemy's crap ships fell apart. "I guess the real mission can begin, now."
“Roger Marauder Squadron, Fighter resistance neutralized, Proceed to target.” Barked an anonymous black suited man.
Timing was perfect. The TIEs did their job and the assault crafts were working towards the stalled capital ship. Any Imperial commander would have been proud of that maneuver. Surely epic; it would become the next Text-Book tactic in a great academy. At least, those were the revelries of many of the haggard naval units that comprised the Brotherhood’s armadas. The Force guided them, striking the Arconan navy in half. The Victory had intercepted several more fleeing vessels. The plot was simple; Take a crippled vessel as a returning member of the Arconan Fleet, Infilitrate the Clan Arcona, and kill (specifically Koskian “Psyko” d’Tana).
Thirteen performance enhanced fighters, crumbled the remaining debris. As the tightly packed V formation of craft turned their point towards the massive Victory Class Star Destroyer. Tau-One, Thran Occasus, felt ill after this battle. A glint came from across the bow of the Excidium, Marauder Squadron. Something precarious loomed over the crafts, passing them back into the shadow of the empty abyss. “Roger Excidium, Request permission to land. Round them up, Tau Thirteen forward.” He replied monotonously, to the prompting of a landing officer.
His mind drifted. Marauder squadron. They were recovering the vessel. Phoenix was likely with them. Phoenix. Koskian. Oh…[Expletive Deleted].
Right. Your lucky numbers for the day are, 2, 5, 7, 9, 21. 21? “Tau Nine, Seven, Five, Duece. Break off docking routine, follow me. Tau Thirteen. Aedile, Get to the bridge.” He commanded, feeling an urge in the pit of his stomach to take one last pass. The five vessel broke the chain-like formation, hurtling back off into the fray. “Tau-squadron, Match speed.” He ordered, intent on catching the recovery team. The hexagonal looking vessels flew, ticking away the distance meter on the computer.
Over the communication channel, the valiant Tau-One hailed the other squadron. “Marauder Squadron, Tau-One here. Is Proconsul Palpatine with you?” He asked with beaming hint of sarcasm.
A simple “Aye” came back over the system.
Oh, my head.
The room was white, painful to the eyes. The tank, if you could call it that, was surprisingly small. Still, the amount of lighting was entirely unnecessary. The door was loud also. Strange, as it was supposed to be a hospital. The form of a woman was now crumpled at the base of the tank.
The impact causing the loud crash the Corellian had heard.
“hmmm…I want a drink…” the bamboozled Consul replied, off subject.
"What's the name of this thing, anyway?" Niemand asked. "We need to know how to reply if anyone asks us for..."
"It's 'Spice Man' - dumb, I know." Revenge, just having switched his place in a fighter with a seat in their own decoy ship, interrupted the nervous young Master. No matter his rank and Force ability, when it came to things requiring experience, he was still a child and acted like one. "Don't worry about anything for a bit. Just keep your mind open," Revenge advised. "We know what we are doing. At least," he grinned, "in theory."
Niemand grinned back. "Alright. I just cant wait to get inside the Arconan ship and get some action."
"Me, too." Revenge checked the time and nodded. "The Excidium will give the signal to get 'on stage' any minute now.
Indeed, on the bridge of the Excidium, the yellow skinned Admiral listened to the report from tactical. Their reconn fighters were back, and the precise location of Arcona's main fleet was known. "Proconsul," he reported. "We are ready to go."
"Perfect." Phoenix' outward calm did nothing to hide his enthusiasm. If he was lucky, that punk Koskian would be where they would end up. Oh, the fun of it. The Proconsul's eyes were emitting a kind of fire even Machweg would back up from. He had, in fact, slightly worried Marauder Squad with his behaviour just prior to their launch. "I want this to be perfect," he had eyplained. "It must really look as if you are blowing us out of space. Risk your life if you must. die if you must. But let this be perfect."
He had not seen the looks Jenna and Jasum threw at each other. Jasum had made a little spinning motion with his small finger when he had known no one but his sister would notice. He's loco, it had meant.
Thran was silent, his thoughts circling around what he had found when the recovery team had brought their artefacts of death in. He was not ready to tell yet, though. It would only complicate matters. Maybe one they were inside the Arcona ship, when they needed to dig deep inside themselves, for more rage and hate.
Now, they were leaving the Excidium's protection. Phoenix, who had taken to piloting himself, was not only unaware of the glances people threw at each other - right now, it was Ras and Thran - he was also unaware of the influence his behaviour had on the troops. From the moment on he had decided to be a part of this mire intimate attack, he had put worries about the welfare of his Clan in a secondary position. To him, this was only logical. The demise of Koskian and his lackeys would mean good things for CSP. Which good things in detail, he would find out later. If there was a later.
"Ready to hyperjump in 2 minutes 40 secs." Ras, who had taken to copilot, announced. "If I'm not mistaken, we'll enter the Kath hound's den close to their flagship. It isn't our target, though. Our target is..."
The woman shut up when she noticed Phoenix was not listening anymore. Ras was aware that, with Koskian likely on the flagship, it would be Phoenix' main target. Even if the Proconsul did not intend to go there now, he might eventually give in to the urge to kill is nemesis.
Thran coughed and threw a conspiratory look at Machweg. "I'd prefer you let me fly this baby, Phoe" he declared. "I've more experience with half-dead buckets like this one. Asides, we need you to be ready to go into action immediately when we get inside. You can't do that when piloting."
"Good point." Not quite sure why he agreed so readily, Phoenix switched with Thran just in time. Thran nodded his thanks to Machweg, who tried not to look like if he had just influenced his Proconsul. "Here we come, Arcona!" The stars blurred to stripes, and within short time, the real danger would be around them.
Thran hadn't mentioned it to anyone, but there was always the chance that the Arconans would just blow them up themselves, just to not let their arch enemy have the transport while not taking risks. He hoped this time, they wouldn't be guided by the Force that well.
As the stars became real again, Thran hit the button and sent the pre-prepared emergency message - a true recording from the unfortunate former captain of this vessel. Complete with his death cry, too. Marauder Squad dropped out of hyüerspace behind them and opened fire. The first decoy explosives went off and rocked their ship. Now all they could do was hope.
Phoenix stared eagerly at the Thanatos, his gaze not breaking contact with her bridge.
"Thran, come across the stern of the Bloodfang and reduce speed to 3/4. Then bring us about and head directly towards the Thanatos. Do not by any means get close to the Hellfire, we'll lose the entire squadron and I don't want that to happen," ordered Phoenix anxiously. Thran shot a look at Phoenix as if to say 'he knew what he was doing' but the fire burning in Phoenix's eyes made him bite his tongue. Thran glanced at Ras, who just smiled lightly to lesson his aggrivation. Marauder Squadron pounded the transport from every angle, the decoy bombs rocking it back and forth. Thran cursed insesently as the twins buzzed the cockpit.
"I swear if they do that again, they're dead," threatened the Battlemaster. The Sith moved the transport with grace, showing his tremendous skill as a pilot even with a dilapidated ship. He brought the ship within centimeters of the Bloodfang, her captain spewing curses at his apparent rectlessness.
"Ha ha ha, he sounded pissed," chuckled Rev. Thran grinned with delight, pushing the limits gave him a thrill. Ras glared at him, she hated when he took risks, even more so with her right there.
"Marauders have crippled the Hellfire but they are amassing heavy losses," spouted Ras as she watched the radar. "And two cap ships are coming out of hyperspace. I think it would be prudent to get the Marauders out of here." Ras glanced back at the young Master, subtly forceful in her tone. The LFRG Medusa and CRCK Nighthawk dropped out of hyperspace and began a barrage of laser fire at the TIE's.
"Thran, throttle it to the Thanatos; Ras, make sure he doesn't crash us too hard; Machweg, use your power to get the squadron out of here as subtly as possible; Rev, prepare the detpaks, make sure they are rigged to go off 5secs after we land," ordered Phoenix.
"Cutting that a little close aren't we Pho?" asked Thran.
"Not if you do your job correctly," snapped Phoenix. Thran slammed the controls and rocketed the ship towards the Thanatos. Ras sent a new distress call asking for permission to dock in the hangar.
"Transport 227, this is Proconsul d'Tana, you have permission to land in the main hangar," Ordered the Arconan. The air became thin in the transport as the fire in Phoenix's eyes burned furiously, he now knew for sure the Arconan scum was there. All at once, the plans fell into place. The last of the explosives planted on the hull wen toff as Marauder Squadron fired off their last shots, and with a nudge from machweg, hauled ass out of the system. Rev rigged the last of the explosives as Phoenix double checked the detonators. Ras and Thran brought the transport up quickly, pretending that thrusters were failing. The ship careened into the hangar, taking out droids and personnel who were unlucky enough to be standing in its way.
"Now!!" Phoenix yelled as the Dark Jedi flew from the sliding ship all taking positions to conceal themselves. The explosion of the transport rocked the hangar, as per usual, Phoenix had oversupplied the explosives.
Thran didn’t panic very often. It just so happened that the fanatical attempt to capture this vessel had struck the right chords. Every stressed fragment of his mind wanted to stop and think this out, but the pyromaniac Proconsul was already pulling them weapons from ungodly places. The ringing hadn’t gone away yet, the concussion of the detonation had probably damaged his inner ear.
In the strange delusion, he felt like a kid again. It was all a big game. He had learned long ago, when a Sith is in charge, follow until he fails. The hangar was in total chaos, flames and corpses. Follow Phoenix into an enraged feud between two men, it was probably the best option anyway. After that explosion, they didn’t have a way out. Phoenix, as usual, blew something up. This time, it just so happened to be the only way off the enemy vessel. So, with a natural or perhaps Pavlovian reaction, he ignited his pride and joy. He was the kind of Dark Jedi that grew really intimate with his weapon, though not to the disturbing point where illegality grows into question. He practiced with the weapon every single day. Every contour fit his hand right.
With that in mind, the few personnel who scrambled in his way were cut down like a blade of wheat in the summer harvest. “One, two,…Five. Good.” Phoenix counted aloud as they cleared into the monotonous white hallways of the craft. Soresu should be in front, if you were playing tactically. In any regard, Thran found himself in the middle of the group, target for a Marine’s grenade. Phoenix turned left, and the group was cleft in two as Thran stopped.
“Where are you going?” the Bakuran called out.
It was one of those scenes from a Military Boot camp. Phoenix came to an unhygienic closeness, foaming with angry saliva. “The Bridge, and if you have a problem with it, you can die right here.” The pseudo Drill Instructor barked, shaking as if he were having an aneurism.
“That is all well and good, but the Bridge is this way.” He said pointing over his shoulder. “Might want to check that anger, too…You are starting to remind me of a tomato.” He said with a cocky smirk.
Phoenix pushed past the scrawny Quaestor, scoffing off the comments. Occasus smiled to himself, he loved pushing buttons. Rasilvenaira, straight faced, looked to her co-worker. She had a great talent for making him feel like he did something wrong, but this time he just kept smiling. It was funny to him; Phoenix tried so hard but always looked like a stooge. Then something gripped the pit of his stomach, some deeper understanding.
“Phoenix!” Thran called out.
“What?!?” he snipped back.
“I think we need to revise our plan. I don’t trust you.” Again, calling the Palpatine out.
“You have one choice, Leave or die.” He rashly said, presenting an ultimatum.
“What, are you going to kill me? Because I have no damned way to get off of this vessel now. You are a moron! I will not allow your anger to consume you and lead us all to our deaths. Stop and think. Is that scumbag really worth all this trouble?” he showed such great incontinence in the Proconsul and his plan.
“Worth it? Of course it is worth it…do you not see what they have done to us!?” the fanged Phoenix screamed, rebuking the Battlemaster.
“Speak for yourself. What did he do? Pick up the woman you were scoping? Worse? Did he forget to call you after your date? You started this whole fracking war! Personal recourse against Koskian, I want no part of it. I hope you succeed, cause someone is going to electro bond your balls to the wall when this is over. I am not following you any longer.” Thran mocked.
He turned his back, hoping that someone followed. Catching a glimpse of Rasilvenaira’s shocked face, he began to assume he was on his own. Finding a way out of this pit would be interesting. Walk, hide. "Funny" he thought, noticing his ears were still ringing.
Phoenix was in such a fury struck trance that he did not even bother concerning himself with the accusations placed against him. Thran was right, in a manner of speaking. The Proconsul just hoped that no one thought that.
RevengeX chuckled inwardly as Thran departed from their group, leaving a fuming Phoenix behind him.
Thran was correct in that this was a personal feud between the two Proconsuls and that it was extremely stupid to destroy their way out. They were trapped inside the giant ship for the time being, and with an insane Sith leading the way, they may as well consider themselves doomed. The Archpriest was tempted to follow the other Quaestor, since Thran was being more logical, but he feared that he would come off as betraying the other Palpatine. RevengeX watched Thran leave the group and head through a different corridor.
Phoenix watched the retreating Battlemaster disappear through the opening and he turned to the others, madness raging through his eyes.
“Any others want to join Occasus?”
* * * * *
Thran sputtered curses as he ran through the hallway swiftly, heading towards the bridge.
“You there! Halt!”
Those were not the words Thran was longing to hear right now. He wasn't completely sure what he was doing to begin with, and anyone challenging his way of action, even in such a case, was bound to be sorry. The Bakuran whirled around and stared at 5 people standing in front of a ready room door, supposedly in charge of security on this ship. He could easily guess so, because they were wearing really cheap imitations of stormtrooper armour. Except the guy who had called out to him and was, as Thran could see, pointing at him. That one, a good 10 inches larger than the rest, was wearing a mixture of imitated stormtrooper gear and imitated Mandalorian armour. It would have been reason for taunts and jokes under other circumstances. Right now, though, Thran was boiling of anger.
Something Thran definitely did not like was anyone pointing at him, unless they were about to pick him out for a good mission, or name him a good example or something. He liked it even less if the finger and the hand it belonged to were clad in gloves of any kind, because it usually meant trouble. Trouble was on now, too, although not for him.
"Where are you going to?" The unknown security person wanted to know. "Hasn't Proconsul Koskian ordered that..."
He didn't get to finish the rest of his speech. The name of Koskian was all that was needed to let Thran ignore that he hadn't been found out as enemy, but only trespassed an area off limits for some reason. One of the special grenades Machweg had ordered earlier left the belt pouch he had placed them in and flew towards them while he was already raising his other hand to Force push the whole bunch back into the room they had come from As expected, they fell over each other like the rebel troop simulations at holo-bowling. A wink of an eye later, a small explosion was heard, and then the crackling of fire. The unlucky security details tried to escape, but Thran was holding the door close with the Force and enjoying it. "Looks like there isn't another exit," he said cheerfully. With luck, it would look like a tech malfunction causing a fire long enough to let them finish what they had come from.
It briefly occured to him that he wasn't sure at all what they were supposed to finish now, seeing how they were no longer one coordinated group. But as long as there was enough damage to Arcona, he'd go for it. Stupidity of the war or not.
Once more, Thran whirled around. This time he was not alarmed, because he recognized the voice of Master Machweg. The boy with the mouse grey hair was grinning at him. "I've decided that I better watch you than sticking with the rest of them," he explained. "At least that's what I told Phoenix."
Ocassus lips parted in a humourless smile. "What about Revenge? I'd have thought he'd have more sense than..."
"Well, someone has to check on what Phoenix is doing, no?" The boy waved. "Let's get on and cause some damage. Phoenix' private little war or not, we still need to do something." A spark was in the kid's eyes, letting Thran know that it was not only the need that pushed the boy, but also the want. Pure destruction could be fun.
"Alright, let's get to it. And I hope you have a plan to get us out of here as well. Because I don't."
"There'll be plenty of time for plans," Niemand said. "Now, where were you headed? Engines? Sensor banks?"
"I haven't thought of it yet," Thran admitted. He now wished he had allowed that security guy to finish his speech, just to figutre out why he wasn't supposed to be here - asides the fact that he was an intruder, of course.
"Sensor banks, then. I had our computer folks contruct something very useful for me..."
To their suprise, no one stopped them as they approached the area they knew the main sensor phalanx to be hosted in. The alarms from the hangar explosions were still going, and it was possible they had done more damage to the ship with Phoenix' overdone and almost suicidal show of explosive power than expected. At least, Thran hoped that was the reason. There was only a single, nervous guard at the door to the sensor control room, and it was not a Dark Jedi. Master Machweg easily mind tricked the guy into believing they were two of the Arconans. As soon as they were in, the boy took out a small, rectangular device and hurried to the computers.
"What exactly is that?"
"The new input or their sensors," Machweg explained. "It will show them things not real and conceal whatever really happens out there. It also jams their comm system, at least for a while. If we're lucky, our fleet can do some real damage in the meantiem, and maybe they'll also fire on their own ships." Machweg frowned, trying to remember exactly what he had been told about installing this thing. Then he added it to the Arconan system.
"Done yet?" Thran was beginning to get nervous, and there was usually a reason for it.
"Yeah. Let's go. Where to now?"
As they left the room and a confused guard behind, Thran realized that causing mayhem in the engine room wouldn't be of help right now. It would make more sense to get to the bridge after all. If only to make sure nothing happened to Ras.
"Then let's go," Machweg agreed without waiting for Thran to say it out loud. "And we might want to be very careful now about not causing any additional commotion."
The medical assistant remained unconscious, next to the bacta tank; a telekinetic blow had left her crumpled on the floor, unconscious. Her access keys and medical records had been confiscated, along with her com-link and datapad. A datapad that had, properly, documented the dosage of the Consul.
"Do you think we should be doing this?" An Obelisk Templar pleaded with his counterpart Knight. Korbin's eyes glowed a fearful gold, but they radiated a sense of calm. He nodded several times and this action, alone, emboldened Xan to relent his plea, "Proceed."
A long, pointed needle injected a foreign fluid that streamed through the veins of the Corellian. His skin turned a bright red, momentarily, before dulling back into the porcelain, white hue that it nominally existed in. Violently he began to seizure within the tank, causing grave concern to audibly ripple from the duo of Obelisks beside the tank.
"Quick!" Korbin shouted in his anxiety. Reading the impressions of the Journeyman, which mirrored his own thoughts, the Templar Xan lurched towards the top of the tank to pull his Master free. Careful, yet firm, Xan pulled the frail form of the Epis free and lowered his seizing form to the Coruscant native below. The Templar was careful to lower the man to the floor and drape his own, personal robe over the man's shivering form.
Slowly the seizing ceased and sure, powerful breaths flowed through the man's lungs. Each breath seemingly energized the Epis as his presence in the Force expanded with greater and greater omnipotence. The Heir of Kun and the Lord of Scholae Palatinae was returned to the Lost Emperor's Disciples.
"Take me to the bridge, my Apprentices," he cooed in slight duress. Acquiescing, Korbin and Xan each placed an arm over their surly shoulders and assisted the Krath towards the control point of the Excidium.
The scene before the frail, drained Krath Epis was chaotic. The Clan Summit and an Elder had departed the bridge, leaving the capable, yet un-Force assisted, Admiral to the task of continuing the assault upon the hapless Arcona fleet. His eyes remained firm, yet the Dark Jedi could sense his feelings of dread and abandonment.
A barrage of enemy fire rocked the primary ship of Scholae Palatinae, tumbling countless crewmen from their feet unto the floor. The blasts came with such force that the duo carrying Braecen toppled under the impact.
Only one man stood firm before the maelstrom, his feet locked onto the floor as the Force held him there. Braecen Kunar observed the situation before him, he could either command a retreat and ask for forgiveness from the Arcona fleet whom was not being assaulted or he could finish the slaughter before him.
A series of brilliant, emerald blasts issued from a ship he easily identified as the Thanatos. But their blasts did not crash or roll upon a vessel of the Consul's; instead, the blasts roiled through an already limping Arconan vessel.
"Cease fire on the Thanatos!" The Corellian barked and the crew scurried to obey. "Admiral, identify secondary targets and coordinate our fighter element." It was apparent the ship had been overtaken or someone had sabotaged its targetting system - manually, technically or through the Force.
Braecen turned to the Tactical Officer, whom was seated next to the Communications Officer, "Where are my pupils?" The pair seemed dumbfounded by the obvious question, but they hastened to respond when the azure orbs bore into their minds.
"Phoenix issued an order-"
"They boarded the enemy vessel!"
The pair of shouts melded in the cacophony of battle, yet the Corellian was able to decipher their combined meaning. With a concern reserved only for those whom he taught, he turned to his Obelisk Apprentices...
"I need to ask both of you, in separate ships, to retrieve those individuals. If one ship should be destroyed, the other is to proceed on his mission - we cannot risk to lose our own in this disaster."
Both men issued a short bow before proceeding to the hangar to retrieve transports that may prove the ultimate lifelines of the combined Clan Summit.
As they proceeded towards the bridge, Ras begun to think she should have followed Thran. Certainly, Phoenix was not in possession of all his mental skills. To begin with, he had already sabered down 7 or 8 of the thanatos' crew members before they had gotten to the first rurbo lift. Anyone finding the dead bodies would know what was up - and they would eventually be found, even resting at the bottom of said turbo lift's shaft - Revenge and her had hidden them in a hurry and despite the Proconsul's comments to just leave them where they were. And even if they wouldn't be found, they would at least be missed. Not good.
Something else bothering her was the sense of impending doom settling down on her mind. As the turbo lift raced upward, she wondered if they would actually get out of here alive, and why they had come first place. It had been Machweg's idea, she remembered. "Shouldn't listen to a little kid, Master or not," she mumbled.
"What?" Revenge looked at her, obviously preparing for the resistance they would meet on the bridge. He held several 'nades, and not only of the fire starting type the boy had ordered. Ras hoped he knew that using them while they were actually on the bridge would more than complicate matters. "Just wondering if we'lls ee the end of the day is all," she answered.
The lift stopped. "Access code required to continue to levels 3 - 1," a computer voice told them. "Three minutes to enter code or turn around, or alarm will be raised."
"Phoenix..." Silver started.
But the Sith didn't listen. His saber flashed and penetrated the control panel. He dug out several cables and went around the restrictions with the ease of someone having done this before. "Here's my access code," he snarled.
"Something tells me the time for diplomacy is over for good," Revenge growled, readying his saber and his 'nades. .
The lift shot up again, and Silver readied her own weapons. "You bet," she sighed. She had a bad feeling about this.
The turbo lift accelerated with unfathomable haste towards the command bridge of the Arconan flagship. A series of levers and breaks made an audible click as they engaged to stop the runaway lifts race towards oblivion. As the elevator doors parted, the device shook under its tremendous strain.
Phoenix leapt from the floor of the lift and fell into a somersault, coming up with his crimson blade in a guard. Unable to maintain their balance or execute the same maneuver, the Quaestor and Aedile toppled with from the shockwave that rattled the infrastructure. Quickly, they scrambled to their feet and raced to the ProConsul's aide...
Before them waves of furry and anger poured from the Sith Battlelord as he cleaved a series of combatants in two, from the waste. The technique, sai tok, was regarded as powerful and perverted to Light Side Force users; however, in the perspective of a Dark Side user, the move was masterful. Phoenix inverted his molten blade and caught another charging enforcer of the Arcona security detail. Several blasts of blue, stun rays fell over the form of Olkyssagh, but his passion and rage overcame the crude devices attempt to neutralize him.
His saber bit into one man's armor, separating his gun arm from the body. The man gasped in pain before clutching at his newly formed, fresh wound. The Sith fell into a low kick, pulling the man down as his legs buckled from Phoenix's blow. The saber leapt from his hand into the heart of the second target before leaping back into the man's hand...
RevengeX and Rasilvenaira separated in opposite directions, each taking a less offensive stance in an attempt to guard the man's flanks. Their blades whirled in a series of combinations and deflections. Sometimes the assailants would find their emerald bolts reflected, other bolts would simply dissipate into the flooring of the capitol ship.
Suddenly, an overwhelming source of light flared from the forward view port and left the entirety of the group looking over their shoulder wondering what had caused such a blast. Only two individuals had not peered away from the combat: Phoenix and Koskian. The ProConsuls eyed one another with vehemence and mutual distaste - their blades raised, they charged forward to engage.
"Aha!" The Admiral shouted in glee as the fuel freighter burst into a gargantuan ball of flame, before it dissipated into nothingness. A trail of debris scattered about the approximate location of the ship's former location. A series of proton torpedoes had punctured the ships weakening shields, before rupturing into its haul - setting untold quantities of fuel on fire.
"Brilliant," the Consul said in disbelief of the accuracy of the fighter contingent. "How do we exploit the gap in their line?"
The Commanding Officer was already barking orders to his subordinates, issuing commands for ships to rearrange in a series of formations. Braecen, not accustomed to the pace of capitol ship battle, was intrigued as feints and movements were veiled in the coordination of multiple ships. Not wanting to waste the zealous nature of the Admiral he was content to watch the scene unfold before him.
The two Proconsuls blades flashed in a fury of light and sounds. The two blades locked, both men staring into each others eyes.
"No Deputy Grand Master to save your ass this time Koskian. I am going to enjoy killing you," Phoenix.
"Save me, that's is rich. You are the inferior one here Palpatine, and I am going to crush you," retorted Koskian. Koskian hit Phoenix with a telekinetic blast to the stomach and a swift kick to the face. The human lunged at the downed Firrerreon with an over head attack. Phoenix did a kip-up and blocked the attack.
"Not quick enough Arconan scum," said Phoenix with a grin as the Arconan Proconsul was thrown back against a control panel with telekinesis. As Koskian slid to the ground, stormtroopers rushed the bridge. The majority were easily dispatched by Ras and Rev, the few the got around them were brutally attacked with the force from Phoenix.
"NO ONE WILL STAND IN MY WAY!!" Yelled the now irate Palpatine. "I have waited too long for this, no one will stop me." Both Rev and Ras looked over their shoulder's while fighting the now swarming dark jedi of Arcona.
"If we don't stop this and get out of here, we are going to be screwed,' said Rev.
"I agree, they are going to run out of journeymen soon," replied Ras with a sarcastic tone. The two Proconsuls engaged in a furious saber battle throughout the bridge. Killing technicians and bridge crew in their wake of violent saber attacks and ripping pieces of thew bridge to throw at each other. Koskian ducked underneath a wild blow from Phoenix, and caught him in the jaw with a sensor node shock. The Firrerreon was sent sliding back into helm control.
The hallways were surprisingly empty.
“Phoenix must have been here” the older and less the wiser Dark Jedi commented.
Dark Jedi Masters infrequently dignify the underlings that surround them with responses. There was a peculiar barrier between them. In lay man’s terms, The Elders felt like if you didn’t know, you didn’t deserve to be told in the first place. This one, the mousey haired, innocent looking, playful little child filled a different form than his “Peers”. In both senses of the word, the little beady eyed boy transcended the bell curves in personality traits for both the Dark Jedi peer group and the prepubescent male peer group. Yet in this instance, the silence remained in a ghastly combination of the personas trapped within the stunted Master’s body. With short little fingers, he pointed ahead of them. The bridge.
In part, the Bakuran hoped to see lots of carnage and in particular, Phoenix’s mangled body. However if that were the case, the grief of seeing Rasilvenaira’s inanimate corpse would overcome him. There was almost no hiding their relationship at this point, the rumors had traveled far. The best hope for him was that Koskian was intelligent enough to know that a scorned lover was one of the worst rivals a person could ever come to face. Not mentioning the pint sized Calvary creeping up behind the Bakuran, the bridge crew was in for one hell of a showdown.
Both the man and the boy slunk slowly to the door, glancing to each other. Evaluation was always the first step of any tactical maneuver. It hit him like a wave of enlightenment from the psychedelic spices he favored. He stood up, unbending the curvatures in his spine, displaying the proud stature of a true Sith. Duda, smiling, followed him to the door. With a mechanical swoosh, the door opened.
One, Two, Three, Four. Four Lightsabers. A slight cackle lighted the room, drawing the attention of all viable parties in the cramped flight deck. The Bakuran crossed his arms over his chest, issuing an order to the willingly obliging Dark Jedi Master.
“Kill them.” Echoed the stone cold directive.
At first, Koskian and his contemptuous counterpart held no regard to the order. However, the instant the swelling tide of Dark energy reached their frail mental complexes, the looks became more interesting. Phoenix, who was now clutching his throat, had the look of a small feline just pulled from a washing tub. It was a combination of regret, embarrassment, topped with a hint of guilt.
Thran smiled with the thought of two dead Proconsuls. But the chagrin implanted in him by the tortured looks of his House Acclivis Draco counterpart and the person who was truly in charge of him signaled another imperative to the Krath Master. Both Revenge and Rasilvenaira gasped for air, breaking free as Neimand focused on the two rabble rousers of this entire event.
An officer, full of bravado, pulled his side arm. The slightest motion of the man set Thran’s senses into a spiraling tingle. His lightsaber roared to life, leaving the Commander’s headless frame to collapse to the notoriously cold floor of the Corellian Gunship.
“Any other dissenters?” Thran inquired of the remaining crowd.
With a nod in acknowledgement of the silence, the Battlemaster surveyed the Bridge. The main group of operations specialists were still alive. As the Master had suggested, now was the time for him to establish a plan. Miring over it for a moment, the Sith turned to malevolently grinning Dark Jedi Master.
“I think these boys have done their time, Duda. Why don’t you play with their minds and find the important information we came for?” he ordered before turning to the flight crew of the ship.
The tenacity it took to order everyone around like he was required either a lack of intelligence or total insanity. Perhaps, filling his relationship with the local Elders had finally come to help him take initiative. He smiled and addressed the crew.
“If you don’t want to end like your heroic Commander, you will listen carefully. Contact the VSD Excidium. Immediately.” The ballsy Twenty-something Quaestor demanded.
Neimand, who had successfully incapacitated the warring Proconsuls, turned to the self proclaimed leader.
“Excellent work, Thran. Your intuitions serve you well. Perhaps the Consul has come around…” the boy commented, boosting the Sith’s pride to an even higher level.
In timely manner, the image of the Admiral appeared, accompanied by three obviously Dark figures. Finally, Occasus could just take an order instead of having to dig everyone out of the shoddily formed original commands of the mission. Relief overwhelmed him, aided by the presence of his female companion, who had joined his side. The typical communiqué protocol followed, boring to say the least. The fragile looking Consul came to the center, things would certainly develop quickly from here.
“Thran,” Braecen exclaimed. “I’m glad to see you.” But there was no smile on his face. “Is that Koskian behind you? And.. Phoenix?”
Thran turned around as if he was noticing them for the first time. “Why, yes, I believe they are.”
Braecen nodded, thoughtfully. “I see. I suggest you get out of there as soon as possible. Arcona got some more bought reinforcements, and our fleet can’t keep up for much longer, or so I am told. I’ve sent the cavalry.”
“I understand. We’ll make a run for it.”
“And, Thran... bring Koskian. We might need him for improved negotiations. Asides, what we did to his apprentice, he might as well experience for himself.”
“As you wish.” The Bakuran was already about to end transmission, when Braecen spoke up again. “By the way – bring Phoenix, too.”
“Are you sure? I mean, we could as well leave him here as a token of appreciation, or something.” Thran was not very hopeful here, but it was worth a try.
“I am sure. Braecen out.”
As the transmission terminated, Ocassus faced his little group of fighters. “Alright, you heard him. Niemand, grab Koskian and make sure Phienix will follow along without trying to act up.”
The boy nodded. Right then, Phoenix got up and gathere dhis saber. “Ocassus...” he croaked, his throat still suffering from the mistreatment. “You’ll pay for this.”
“I seriously doubt it.” Thran ignored him and turned to the shaking woman who was the highest ranking officer alive. “Open the closest hangar for our ships. Do it immediately or face the consequences.”
Before the woman could react, someone else behind her spoke up. “Hangar open. Two armed transports are approaching.”
Nodding, Thran pointed at the bridge crew. “Niemand, can you make them all sleep?”
“I could kill them all instead,” the kid suggested.
“No. I want them to tell the story about how we incapacitated both madmen. Hurry up.”
With clear disappointment, Niemand nodded and concentrated. A moment later, the bridge crew was deep asleep and Machweg held the Arconan leader in his mental grip, letting him float out of the room and down the corridor.
“How did you get up here without trouble with the lifts?” Revenge wanted to know.
“Why, we took the stairs, of course,” Thran answered drily. “He pointed towards the maintainance stairway ahead of them. The door was still open. “Hurry.”
"Why didn’t we think of that? And I didn’t even get to use my ‘nades,” Revenge complained.
“Arcona needs to rely on heavy weapons and tech toys,” Machweg declared with contempt. “We just use the true power, the Force.” He reached into his battle suit. “Talking of that, though...” A small control unit came free, and he pressed a small button after checking the readout. A few seconds later, the ground shook slightly, and a few decks below they could hear the rumbling of an overload. “Energetic backlash,” the boy grinned. “They didn’t remove the unit, just circumvented it’s function. Much good that did them, there go their sensors for good.”
As they left the stairway, they could see the entrance to the small hangar ahead. Ras was a bit out of breath, not so much from all the running but from the unexpected turn of things. Somehow, she knew, Thran must have foreseen a lot of what had transpired. She would have to ask him about that.
“Uh-oh,” Revenge said and pointed to the right. Opposite to where the hangar was, a bunch of maybe 20 stormtrooper imitations were standing. “Seems I might get to use my ‘nades after all.”
Ras and Thran both tried to fool them, waving and smiling friendly. But the unconscious Koskian was a giveaway. "They won't fire while we have..." Ras started. but the first blaster bolts started flying, and they activated their sabers to deflect them. "I guess they would," Ras admitted.
“Was worth a try.” Revenge readied his grenades, just to be sure.
Machweg dropped Koskian. With a push of his hand, Niemand made the Arconan troops fly a few meters backwards, crumbling into a pile of bodies. But they quickly got to their feet again. “May I?” Revenge asked, lifting one of the grenades he carried.
“That would warn the shuttle bay crew – if they aren’t warned already.” Thran waved. “Let’s run for it. Ras, you and me guard our backs. If they come too close, grenade away."
“Sure thing.” The woman was already running while looking backwards a lot, the Force guiding her reactions.
“Our ships are inside the Thanatos,” Admiral Cransum reported.
“Great. Fleet status?”
“We should think of retiring soon, Milord.”
“We will... we will. As soon as we have the best of us back.” Braecen, now sitting in a comfortable chair, was leaning back and put the tips of his fingers together. “Very soon... and then I need to have a talk with my Proconsul . And theirs.”
The funny thing about hiring mercenaries was that their accuracy greatly reflected the number of zeros on their paychecks. Apparently, Arcona, like most of the clans, failed to fill the needs of their haggard guardians. Haphazardly at best, the grimy white armored soldiers fired as they caught up to the group. The group ran. Revenge cringed, upset that he was unanimously voted to carry the drooling Arconae.
The beer-gut of the man hung over Revenge’s shoulder, disgusting him as his clothing crept up, exposing the notorious Arcona butt-crack. The Krath wanted to gag, avoiding dry-heaving his lunch. For a moment, he shared the animosity that Phoenix held towards him. Across the hallway, forced behind Niemand’s lightsaber, Phoenix Palpatine smirked with proud thoughts that he could hide any involvement on his behalf. The Firrerreon knew that Consul Kunar would bring down the hammer on the rival Proconsul. Finally, things would go his way.
Thran started to sweat, defending the fleeing group from inbound bolts of energy. Rasilvenaira was struggling, slowly rebounding what assaults she could. Occasus thought about it again, he could easily take control of the vessel. The only problem was that these swarming and dangerous, yet they useless when alone, Pseudo-troopers stood between him stealing a full sized warship. Grenades bounced down the corridor, catching the pursuing group in a blast of flame and shrapnel.
The faceless always sound the same when they scream, perfect harmony in their last cries of life. The hangar was close, just to the left. It was in easy grasp now that the assailing group was cut in half, maimed by the explosion of the pear shaped explosives. The group fell back, funneling through the thin doorway to the hangar. The shuttles were there already, the Excidium must be close.
The Quaestor paused. Even in this state, the vessel they were leaving would fetch a pretty penny. A million credits, at least. He stepped up, to the remaining stormtroopers. Though as he stepped up, the brilliant idea of high-jacking the vessel started to grow into an ill-fated thought. The image of a lingerie clad brunette staring at him with eager brown eyes had successfully convinced him that he should just leave. It was an atypical choice for him, leaving combat, but the idea of a close encounter with an excited woman made him forget about the whole thing. He backed on his heals, slowly working through the doorway. In a swift slash, he spun away from the door, hacking the controls to ribbons. The heavy door slammed shut, leaving them alone in the hangar.
Dumbfounded by the attack that had just occurred, the hangar registrar met the Quaestor’s blade. He was foolish enough to approach like the protocol of the vessel was still organized for peace. Thran turned to the escape vessels, noting the shields and tractor beam were still activated. In a sprint he reached the controls, mashing them into submission. The blue membrane that protected the hangar door shorted out, clearing them to leave. The remainder of the group, save Rasilvenaira, who was faithfully waiting for her young darling, had already loaded onto the craft. Hopping a short rail, his legs carried him to the loading ramp. Without a pause, he ordered the pilot from his chair. The man looked familiar, but he still doubted his skills.
Phoenix struggled, lunging for one last frantic escape. Someone was going to be read the Riot Act, and he was starting to believe it might be him after all. The Dark Jedi pilot stumbled as he was pulled from the seat. Thran sat. The Shuttle moved. And fast. Braecen was waiting, but more importantly he could find some empty quarters for the pair of House Caliburnus Sith once back on the Excidium.
Thran cursed to himself, bending the controls of the vessel to extremes as the pulled away from the crippled and raped Arconan Vessel. Never in his life had he been more excited to see the legendary delta shape of a Star Destroyer. As they reached its comforting aura of relative protection, pity for the two warmongers sunk in. He felt lucky that he could “blow off some steam” before Braecen would care to address him. It was an old tradition with the Dark Jedi, enemies were always “debriefed” before the involved heroic parties.
Poor Revenge, all he had was a bottle to go to when they returned. The thought of introducing his morally unbalanced sister to the lonely looking Krath warmed him for a moment, sort of like a gift, for picking up the weight (no pun intended). Oh, this was the life. Rasilvenaira stood behind him administering hinting massages as he docked the shuttle. Thran loved being Thran.
Krath had been, for many generations, recognized as an Order populated with scholars or librarians; however, that era had passed. In the newly recognized generation of Post Exodus Krath, they had become a vast array of individuals highly skilled in many facets. Their exploits soon spread about the entirety of the Dark Brotherhood - creating a rival to the once strong Sith faction.
One such upstart of the new generation was the Epis Braecen Kunar. The man was indeed a scholar, but one well versed in the art of war. Assuredly, he was proficient in combat... yet the subtleties of war are oft profound to individuals guided by a moral compass. And the raw ability of the young Krath had been forged during his service to the Iron Throne, acting as a Guard Captain of the Grand Master's Royal Guard.
Before him, prone and devoid of the Force, was the ProConsul of Clan Arcona. Two Sith Masters, Machweg and Nathaniel, stood at the ready - holding a tight Force Suppression weave over the Obelisk. The Corellian fastened the metal bindings to his prisoner of war, knowing the restraints would be necessary as they proceeded.
"You will do as I say," the Krath cooed, "or I will strip your manhood from you, along with your pride." The Primarch lurched violently from his position, but could not gain an advantage. Instead, he settled on lobbing a thick wad of spit into the Consul's face. Braecen wiped the spittle from his face, nodding in silent satisfaction the process would instead be painful. He withdrew a needle and roughly punctured the artery in the man's throat.
"You cannot kill me," the Primarch croaked, "I know the rules of engagement."
"Kill you?" Braecen scoffed. "I will not kill you, rest assured." The Epis wove his path around the man before coming to a rest on his left. "I have just injected parasites into your blood stream. In which, you might remember our affinity with animals... large and small." The Consul emphasized these last words with a hint of impending doom.
Imploring the power of the Force and channeling it through the means reserved solely for those of the Royal Clan, Braecen caught the life signature of one of the thirty-odd parasites. With a wicked glee he summoned the parasite to his hand...
A scream roared from the hostage's throat as one of the small entities pulled from his blood stream, tearing through vital organs before coming to a rest on the Consul's finger tip. A renewed fury crept into the edge of the Obelisk's eyes as he challenged the Krath to continue. "You do not scare me, Epis."
"You should be frightened," a squeaky voice commented from the corner. The ProConsul shifted in his seat to view one of the resident Dark Jedi Masters of Scholae Palatinae. "The rule states we cannot kill you by our hand, in our custody; however, we can return you on the brink of death."
A deeper voice rumbled from the opposing corner, its intensity matching the zealous nature of Braecen's eyes. "It would be a shame if you died... in transit." Nathaniel added to the menace by ripping through the man's mind, influencing it to believe pain was nipping at every surface. Finally, the pain ceded.
"If that is the best you scum can provi-"
A back hand came from the Epis as he silenced the rebuke of the Arconan. "Silence!" He willed another parasite from its home - lodged behind the left pupil - leaving the Primarch in shock from the sudden trauma. Several curses slipped from the lips of Koskian as he grappled with the void of the Force - a sudden sense of loneliness permeated his mind.
"Perhaps another?" The former Guard Captain mused, a smug satisfaction on his lips.
"No!" The Obelisk could only imagine where the next sense of excruciating pain might come. He would not throw away his life for the benefit of his Clan, it was simply not worth the cost to the Dark Jedi's existence. "I will order a stand down of Arcona forces-"
"And disband the mercenaries..."
"And disband the mercenaries," Koskian mimed the Consul.
Duda bounded forward, "We collected the order on holo-vid, it is being spread through their fleet as we speak."
"Good, now toss him out the airlock."
The Obelisk struggled in is restraints, his fear fueling his strength as he broke the first of the restraints that had, thus far, held him fast. Sensing the foolishness of the attempted escape, the Krath summoned a dozen parasites that had settled in the groin of the Obelisk.
Without the Force, the Primarch was unable to prevent the blackout that ensued. His body lurched, but could not topple from its still intact restraints.
"Has the Arcona fleet disbanded?" The Consul looked towards the Elders.
"No, the remaining Arconan commander called Koskian a traitor and his orders null as a defector."
"Excellent, now return the Primarch to his Clan."
"What point will it serve?" Nathaniel asked with genuine interest.
"They have always been a Clan prone to being torn asunder from within, let the returned ProConsul return and claim the lives of the dissenters. It should prove enough to weaken our foe in the forthcoming shadow we have seen closing upon the Clan."
The Consul moved towards the exit of the interrogation room. On the opposite side he found the Admiral awaiting his next order, "Prepare for departure to the Cocytus System." Briskly, the man issued a salute and made to prepare the ship for departure. "Oh," the Consul barked a final statement, "make sure you send my ProConsul to my side... we need to have a chat." The tone of the statement implied he would not look favorably upon the agitator of the confrontation.