Consul Duga Arkarso rubbed sleep from his eyes and growled as the comm unit on his wall beeped. He thought he'd left express instructions not to be bothered in the middle of the night, but somehow those instructions always seemed to get lost or ignored. Duga rolled out of bed and punched the audio-only button on the side of the unit - no need for the masses to see him with bed-head. "What?"
"Sorry to disturb you, sir. This is Lieutenant Vreek in the operations centre. We've had reports from the Home Guard that Admiral Lanar's ships have made another appearance at the edge of the system. This time they had their flagship with them." Duga's ears had perked up at the mention of Admiral Lanar, and his expression had turned grave at the mention of the flagship.
"Very well. Assemble the Summit on Karufr immediately, and notify me if any more of his ships cross our border. Duga out." With a sigh, Duga went to the refresher to run cold water over his face. So much for a few hours more sleep.
The assembled Taldryan Summit met in the strategic planning room of the Clan Hall. The three Quaestors were there, flanked on either side by their Aediles and Envoys. They all sat around a large rectangular table, with each party on one side. Duga sat alone at the head of the table, with a large holographic display behind him. On it were formations and statistics of the Taldryan fleet, plus a holo of a stoic-looking Human man with a shaved head and neatly-trimmed goatee.
"The sentient you see on the screen behind me is a former Imperal Admiral named Lanar. After the death of the Emperor, Lanar took his fleet and disappeared into the Unknown Regions, intending to carve out a territory of his own. Nobody has heard from him since then... until a few weeks ago, when he started sending his warships across Taldryan's borders." The image on the screen changed to show a readout of known ships in Lanar's fleet. Of great concern was the Imperial-class Star Destroyer that seemed to be its flagship.
Frowns went around the table. Dark Jedi Master Alanna, Envoy of House Ektrosis, was the first to speak. "Why weren't we notified of this earlier?"
"Until now, Lanar hasn't been seen as a threat," Duga said. "I believe Erinyes was actually the first Clan member to know about this - she was able to provide positive IDs on the original scans." All eyes went to Erinyes, who nodded. "As it stands right now," Duga continued, "Lanar's forces appear to be similar in size to ours, and it looks like he's intent on using them. The most recent incursion was led by his flagship, an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer named Lanar's Fist."
"Egomaniac, is he?" Battlelord Taku "Crix" Matsuki Taldrya, Quaestor of Archanis, spoke up.
"Yeah, Crix, almost as bad as you are," Dark Adept Erinyes replied with a grin. She was leader of House Dinaari, and picked up where Duga had left off. "From what I discovered on my initial reconnaissance mission, Lanar has the Star Destroyer, a second Victory-class Star Destroyer named Lanar's Wrath, and a handful of smaller capital ships including Lancer frigates, strike cruisers and a pair of escort carriers. His fighter complement is significantly smaller than ours, but those Lancer will do a lot to even the odds. On his home base, which the Dark Hall has temporarily named Elyssia, he has a command base and a small shipyard. All of this is protected by a large minefield."
"It used to be protected by a minefield," Duga corrected. "As of now, I'm officially sick of dealing with Lanar. Sending his flagship in was a show of force - he wants to try to intimidate us with threat of conflict." Duga grinned. "Fortunately, we don't intimidate easily. Twelve hours from now, we'll launch an attack on his forces where they're massing at Elyssia. We'll be dividing up into three main battle groups, two space and one ground."
"I wouldn't mind knowing how the command structure will work," Templar Chaosrain, Ektrosis Quaestor, said from the other side of the table.
"The overall operation will be under my command," Duga said. "The regular military forces will be subordinate to the Summit. Crix and the Archanis Summit will command the naval forces. Erinyes and the Dinaari Summit will be in charge of the space assault forces. Chaos, you and the Ektrosis Summit will command the ground assault."
"Of course, I'd prefer you all say in the rear where it's safe, but I know you won't." Duga rolled his eyes at the chuckles around the table. "Individual missions will be given to each Battle-Team. We launch in twelve hours."
After the briefing ended and Duga left, the assembed Summits looked around at each other. With such a major battle on the way, Taldryan couldn't afford to be without some of its finest Dark Jedi, and the Summits knew exactly how much their skills might be needed. The two Elders alone would make for a very nasty thorn in Admiral Lanar's side.
Erinyes tapped a few buttons at the control console in front of her. "This minefield and the Lancers are going to be murder on our starfighter forces," she said. "Somebody's going to have to do something about that."
Crix grinned. "Is that someone going to be us?"
"Well, the alternative is that we sit around and do nothing for the entire battle," Erinyes said. "It's not like we can't fly and lead at the same time. What does everyone think?"
A series of assents came from around the table, and Erinyes nodded. "Alright. I'll get the Hyperions ferried to the Dark Prophet and put on standby for us, then. We'll launch a little bit after the rest of the fleet. I guess someone should tell Duga we're doing this, shouldn't they?"
Throughout the whole briefing Illian had kept silent, taking in all the information with a bemused grin. He was the newest member of the Dinaari Summit (as well as the lowest ranking) but he had certain skills that would be useful in the situation they were up against. Even psychosis could be used as a weapon when controlled correctly.
Once the meeting broke up, each member of the three collective summits of Taldryan going off to prepare for war, Illian walked up to Erinyes.
“Quaestor,” was his only form of greeting as he looked at the holo-screen outlining the threat presented by the Lancers and the minefield. “As this will be a summit mission, might I suggest one possible avenue of attack?” Erin raised one eyebrow as he spoke, knowing that the next words to come out of his mouth could be anything from flying Banthers to a highly complex tactical assessment.
“Very well Illian, what do you have in mind?”
“Speaking for myself, I’m not one for space battles. I prefer to get… close to my enemies, feel their blood drench my skin as I…”
“SYN, enough! Get to the point,” Erin said firmly, trying to work out where Illian’s train of though was heading.
“Yes…well… I like to get close in, that’s where my skills are. With three summits and three objectives I see a chance to use those skills. I would like to take a small assault team onto Elyssia, provide support from inside the enemy walls.” Erin only looked at him, reminded again of just how insane he was.
“Out of the question. I will not loose valuable equipment to a suicide mission. You will stay with the rest of the summit and follow mission orders.” She moved to walk away, and was met by one of Illian’s spike gauntlets extended passively but firmly in her way.
“Reconsider Mistress. Lanar is an Imperial, unaware of just how subtle the force can be. One small party with only standard equipment will be no great loss, though I believe I can take care of myself… and just think how much damage could be done with allies on the inside of his fortress.” Cobalt-blue eyes met neon-green as the Dark Adept glared intently at the Hunter.
Illian stared back awaiting the verdict from his Quaestor.
"Who would we send, exactly? All of the battle droids are going with Jaysen and Michael to capture on the Star Destroyer. Each Battle-Team has its own objectives. We need the support staff aboard our capital ships. That leaves the Summit... and based on experience and authority, if anyone leads us it should be Duga, Alanna or one of the Quaestors. Besides, an Obelisk is supposed to be skilled in all forms of combat, not just the ones he likes."
Illian nodded, but Erinyes could sense his frustration and resentment. The Jedi Hunter had a lot of potential, Erinyes thought, but he was still too headstrong and impulsive to grow into his own. However, under these circumstances, he did have a point - Illian had at least shown some skill in hand-to-hand fighting, but had little experience in flying a starfighter. Sending him into a mission against four Lancer Frigates was more likely suicide than anything.
Erinyes sighed. "If you must go and rip things limb from limb, get on the shuttles with Dark Fire and Dark Avatar. And if you don't succeed, don't bother coming back." Illian nodded, his expression changed from frustration and relief, and hurried out of the room.
From across the table, Alanna perked an eyebrow. "Laying it on a bit thick, are we?"
"He needs to learn not to be an idiot, Lannie, before it gets him killed. That's just the place where he has the least chance of dying." Before Erinyes could say another word, her comlink beeped. The Hyperions were prepared for launch.
Members of the Rat Pack can participate in any runon whose continuity would allow them to - that is, a Summit member could participate in this runon, change to a BT runon when the story allowed it, and return to the Summit runon or even another BT thread after that. However, the Summit member's posts will not count towards the results of that runon, nor will the Summit member be rewarded should the BT whose runon they participated in score one of the top three places.