Operation: Resurgence Run-on
- As copied from the O:R website...
* Post "Posting" before posting (more on this below)
* No double posts (don't post twice in a row)
* Make your posts plausible - no Jedi Hunters taking out full squads of Vong warriors or coral skippers
* Always follow the orders given by the Summit
* In this type of event position matters more than rank. Remember that.
* After your first post TURN OFF YOUR SIGNATURE - it really breaks continuity when there's huge graphical sigs after each post.
* READ ALL POSTS BEFORE YOURS - if you make a huge continuity error based on the stuff before, I may just delete your post. Make sure to read the rest of the story before adding to it.
A good post should flow well with the established plot and not make the focus about your character. Not ever post has to be jam-packed with action sequences - try to keep things plausible. Remember to be realistic in your posts... Summit and Elder Jedi rarely take orders from the newest member promoted to Dark Jedi Knight.
* Spelling/Grammar - 10%
* Realism - 20%
* Content/Readability - 40%
* Continuity - 30%
Unfortunately, the DB wiki is down so I can't link there yet, but I'll provide some other sources of information for everyone.
* Vong Primer
- Written by Raken for the last GJW. Lots of useful information.
* Yuuzhan Vong Wiki Page
- More detailed info on the Vong
* Resurgence Prologue
- It will help you in your posts if you know the plot of this competition
* Taldryan/Vong Forces
- This is the list of ships available to us in this battle.
* Taldryan Order of Battle
- This is where you can find information on our ships.
* Vong Ship Info
- This is where you can find information on the Vong ships.
* Very Important Link - Clan Guide to Run Ons
- This explains in details all the rules you should follow when writing for a Run On. Make sure you look over this page before you write your first post.
Remember. The main goal of this competition is to get everyone prepared for the Great Jedi War. So if you need help or don't understand something - ask. Ask the Summit, ask over the egroup, ask on IRC. If people can help you they will. The secondary goal of this competition is to have some fun. Historically, Taldryan hasn't done a lot of Run Ons, but it's something I'd like to see change. They're a great way to play with your character and interact with everyone else, while expanding our fictional background.
So have fun and do your best!
Just a few notes here. The opening post is mostly dialog as I had to get some of the basics covered. So that everyone is aware - Until a Summit member posts otherwise, we're in hyperspace preparing for the battle. If you're a pilot - be in the hangar, if you're planning on being on an assault team - be where I say to be (read the post).
We're about an hour or so away from Bakura so keep that in mind. This was a spur of the moment thing so none of us have been contemplating this battle for days or anything. Keep in mind that you're introducing your character to the story - don't break off and create your own adventure where you take an X-Wing and go to Corellia and get drunk and naked. It would be amusing, but bad
Cotelin-class Star Destroyer Justice
En route to the Bakura System
“You want us to make a suicidal attack against the Yuuzhan Vong without knowing either the true size of their force or whether or not we’ll receive reinforcements from the Council?”
“Sarin’s the one who wants this. Anything to see Taldryan bleed a little more-”
“It’s another one of those half-assed tests to see if we’re capable of reclaiming Antei…”
Shadow listened calmly as the elder members of the Summit vented their frustration. Sitting across from them, he could feel their emotions rippling in the Force. Their anger was understandable, but there was little use for it at present.
“Why in the hell are you all complaining?" Hel-pa inquired incredulously. “Sarin has given us a chance at vengeance. At redemption. He trusted Taldryan to wipe those kriffing Vong out. We should be thanking him.” He lacked tact, but his words produced the desired effect.
“Gentlemen,” Shadow said, drawing all eyes to him. “At this point the reasons don’t matter. I may not like it, but we’d be heavily outmatched in a fight with the Council’s new fleet. Personally, I’d rather us fight the Vong.” No one openly accepted his remarks, but they could at least agree on that much of it. “Andan?”
The Warlord stood up and placed a small holo-projector in the center of the table, activating it as he did so. A field of light displayed the projected coordinates of the remnant Vong fleet. The Summit studied the hastily constructed diagram as Andan returned to his seat.
“In the short time we’ve had, Hel-pa, Sidarace, and I have constructed this plan of attack.” He hesitated momentarily before continuing. “It’s not… perfect, but to be honest we don’t have enough time for perfect.”
“These anti-Vong measures. Do they work?”
“Intelligence reports from across the Galaxy indicate they do. The Jedi Order has been making liberal use of the Force Melds to enhance their tactical ability – with the Elders aboard this ship our fighters could be peerless.”
Shadow watched as the details of the plan flickered before him. It felt somehow right. If the reports were accurate, and the Vong truly had no yammosks to unite them, then Taldryan would surely triumph in the battle to come.
“It will have to do. Make sure all pilots know to use these shield trios and to stutter fire.” Vladet and Vodo nodded, each immediately sending the order to their squadron leaders. “If you need to find me, I’ll be on the bridge.”
“Directing the attack?” There was a note of derision in Vladet’s voice. Everyone in the room was well aware of Shadow’s preference for martial combat over naval. They were all friends… of a sort.
“Of course not,” he replied smoothly. “I’ll leave that to the professionals. I’m going up there to kill anyone who makes a mistake.” Shadow stood up from his chair and leaned over the table. “Anyone. I want our pilots ready to launch on arrival. Order the assault teams to assemble on hangar deck four.” He didn’t need to wait for acknowledgement of his commands. He didn’t need to. They all knew how to do their jobs, and were quite good at convincing young men and women to die for a cause.
Shadow’s demeanor shifted as he made his way through the Justice towards command. He had suffered greatly at the hands of the Vong and, though he had remained mild-tempered during the meeting, his anger was now growing exponentially. He knew before this day was out he would have to kill someone or something. As he stepped onto the bridge he even considered joining the assault team for their mission…
Vardar stood outside the battleroom, leaning against the wall besides the door. He was eager to hear what the battle would hold, but he knew better than to listen in on the Summit of Taldryan. He stood there with his eyes closed, meditating, calming himself. He heard a clamor and, as Shadow exited the room in a fast walk, he opened his eyes. Shortly, the other elder members of the Summit followed. As they went past the Battlemaster, few acknowledged his presence. Surely enough, though, along came Vodo Biask and Sidarace Rathden. Vodo took a few steps past Vardar and spoke without looking back:
"I knew I felt someone out here. It's you, isn't it, Vardar?"
"It is. So tell me.." he said catching up to Vodo and Sidarace "How exactly are we going about this?"
"Don't you already know?" Vodo said as they kept walking
"Well.. no, I don't."
"I thought someone with your inquisitive nature would be listening in on the Summit."
"Inquisitive in nature, I may be. But I'm not suicidal enough that I'd risk getting killed over listening to secret politics. So.. are you going to tell me or not?"
"In due time, my friend. For now, I suggest you go join the other members of Phoenix in the hangar, I have already sent more specifics to Quintan." Vodo said as he rushed left. Sidarace, however, fell a bit behind at the intersection where they were going to part.
"Look, Vardar" Sidarace said gravely "I know you won't listen, but it's going to be hard. I'm telling you this because I know you tend to get overconfident in your abilities. Just don't take unecessary risks."
"I appreciate that. Good luck to you as well." he said, thinking "He's right.. I really won't listen. Those Vong are going to fall like ripe mujas."
Vardar turned right, parting ways with Sidarace and Vodo, and, as he did so, he felt a ripple through the Force, it was Sidarace: "I heard that."
Vardar grinned as he picked up the pace and made for the hangar.
“I’m sorry, sir. The Summit was quite clear. We are to keep you confined to your quarters.” The trooper seemed very nervous, Sena could almost smell it through the guards armour. “Is this the Summit’s idea of punishing me for my openly criticising their methods?” Corvinus asked in his usual calm voice. He was hardly intimidated by the guard at his door, but there was a battle coming and those who fight rebellion, must not themselves rebel.
“Well, sir… you have been quite blunt in your comments.”
“It’s all politics, man. It has nothing to do with their capabilities as commanders in a battle.”
“Perhaps… But I have been instructed_”
Sena held up a hand and the trooper fell silent. “Please, spare me your meanderings of loyalty. A battle is starting and the Summit will need all the help they can get.”
“I’m sorry, sir.” The guard pressed a panel beside the door and closed it from the outside, locking Sena in.
The Krath Knight stood looking at the door for a moment, eyebrows raised. “Unbelievable…” He proceeded to walk over to his communications console. “Let’s see if our Aedile can fix this.” Pressing a button, he said “Corvinus to Rathden, please come in…”
Vardar kept moving at a fast pace as lust for battle filled every fiber of his being. He was also eager to meet the newly-appointed leader of Battle Team Phoenix, as well as the other members who had decided to return to the now-reborn Battle Team. He stepped into the turbolift and, as it descended to the hangar, a booming voice was heard over the communications array which he recognized as his Consul's: "All members of Taldryan report to your squad leaders. Follow their instructions with maximum attention to detail. Failure is not an option. That is all.".
Vardar, however, was miles away. He remembered all the things he loved about flying and how he hadn't flown his X-Wing in months. The turbolift's door opened, and he immediately stepped out into the hangar, making his way towards Phoenix's landing zone. As he approached the two silhouettes that stood there, he immediately recognized them as Quintan Tylax and Serain Ténama, whom most people knew as "Erinyes".
He was immediately greeted by his leader "Battlemaster."
"Sir." Vardar said with a polite bow. As he stood upright again, he looked at Erinyes.
"Have you met?" Quintan asked.
"We've fought together before." he answered grinning in remembrance of battles past as Erinyes nodded slightly with a discrete smile.
"All members are accounted for, then. At least so far. We shall wait a little while for any who might come join us, but for now I shall lay out the battle plan as our summit gave it to me."
The two members of Phoenix now stood facing their leader with great attention.
"This is how it's going to be done.." he continued. "Right after we exit from hyperspace, the first wave of fighters will be launched. We shall discuss who of us shall go in the first wave later. The capital ships will then move into formation, and then come the fireworks."
"..Fireworks?" Vardar asked.
"Yes, the elders shall use an ability known as battle meld, which will help coordinate our movements and the overall happenings on the battlefield with more ease." he replied.
"What? How can they even consider that! It has never been attempted on such a large scale, if it fails the results could be disastrous! And there is a good probability of failure." Erinyes said alarmed at this new information.
"I'm just relaying orders as they were given to me. Ours is not to reason why. Ours is to get out there and get the job done. After the initial Vong struggle has been sufficiently subdued, boarding parties will be launched to intercept the slave ships. Is this clear?" The Battle Team leader said almost yelling as the remains of a ship were being dragged past them.
"Yes, sir." Vardar and Erinyes replied in unison. Quintan could tell neither of them were comfortable with the joining of their minds with others.
"So, what then?" Vardar said after a few moments of silence
"You will be told what to do if the first phase succeeds." Quintan said looking around for any potential new arrivals.
"Well that's comforting." the battlemaster replied sitting down. "When are we leaving, then?"
"We'll be leaving in a couple of hours. Let's hope more people have joined us by the time we have to launch. The other squad leaders seem to be bringing their members up to speed on the plan.. I feel the anxiety rising in this level of the ship.." Quintan said as he and Erinyes sat down forming a circle with Vardar.
“This is taking too long.” Sena said as he noticed no reply came over the comm.. “Sidarace must be too busy.” The Knight spent a moment, thinking about his options to get out of here. Then, the solution was thrown into his lap. "All members of Taldryan report to your squad leaders. Follow their instructions with maximum attention to detail. Failure is not an option. That is all."
“Excellent…” Sena mused to himself and walked over to the door again. He knocked on the steel door. As expected, it took a while for the guard to respond. The door opened and the trooper immediately began to speak.
“Sir, I told you_”
“Did you hear that, trooper?” Sena interrupted while pointing up to the ceiling.
“That was our beloved Consul, ordering all members, ALL members to battle. Now, I have been cooperative up until now. But if you stand in my way now, little boy, I swear you’ll regret it.”
The guard shifted his weight a bit uneasily, obviously considering the chance he would have against an experienced Dark Jedi Knight. The man was so in strife with himself, that Sena that Sena found it difficult to predict if he would attack, until the trooper decided to.
“What did I miss?” Lokasena Corvinus said as he walked onto the landing zone of Phoenix, located in the hangar bay.
“I thought they locked you up.” Vardar said dryly.
“I got out…” Sena replied matter-of-factly.
“What happened to the guard?” Seraine asked quickly.
“He tried to stop me,” Sena explained. “so I locked him in my quarters. I also left him with the distinct impression that, should he attempt to force the door open, it may explode.”
“I hope that’s just an Impression!” Quintan Tylax snapped.
Lokasena held up his hand in order to calm the new Battle Team Leader. “It’s best not to dwell on such minutiae. In any case, we have far more important matters to discuss.”
“You’re in Phoenix again?” Vardar asked.
“Well, not officially. But I plan to be. After all, what would Phoenix be, without little old me.” Lokasena smiled at Vardar and Erinyes. He knew them well. Then his face turned once again to stone as he joined his comrades in the line up.”
“Are you a pilot, Corvinus?” Tylax asked.
Vardar chuckled. “Sir, Sena’s field of expertise lies elsewhere. He would be best suited for boarding raids or defensive positions.”
Tylax took note of that, as he looked at Corvinus. “Very well, welcome back to Phoenix.”
“I never left, sir” Corvinus replied.
Quintan watched as the new arrival joined them. He knew the dark jedi knight was not part of the Phyle but recognized him as his predecessor. Last he had heard he was detained in his quarters. Having heard what Sena did with his guard, Quin pulled up his datapad and sent out a message notifying the location of the guard, that there might be explosives at the door, and that DJK Lokasena was in his custody at the moment, requesting that he stay so for the remainder of the battle.
Finishing up with the small missive, Quin looked up and around at the other three individuals assembled before him. Over the past few weeks he had read reports upon reports on the Vong. He had gone over the recently released battle plans. He was as prepared as he was going to be with this battle. But the moment had come too fast, it was too soon.
He looked at the three before him, all of them virtually strangers to him. Yet he was about to go into battle with them and put his life in their hands and vice versa. Inwardly he growled to himself, his face still a mask of calm and confidence, “Well it seems I have someone to watch my back on the slave ships. I will be joining the assault as well; I have never had any use flying a ship.”
He waited and let it sink in that the phyle would be split then he continued on, “Vardar and Seraine, you will be providing escort for the assault ships. Once Lokesena and I have made it into the ships, you have leave to join the rest of the battle group in the main battle. Once inside, Sena, we will be one entity. I will not underestimate these vile creatures, and if we are to survive we will need to watch each other’s backs.”
All eyes were watching him taking in his instruction, he noted one or two glances at his electrostaff and his lack of a lightsaber. But his blaster could kill as effectively as any saber… a dead vong was a dead Vong.
Hel-Pa was the last Summit member in the conference room after their plan to attack the Yuuzhan Vong had been laid out beneath them. While Shadow would inevitably join his fellow Clansmen in the fray, Sklib would be leading the boarding parties onto the slave ships the enemy commandeered. Rising from his seat, the Tarasin paused for a moment to glance down at his datapad and witness the scurry of orders his subordinates were issuing to one another. Various squads, teams and strike forces were preparing their personnel and equipment to prepare the assault on the Vong fleet; their final test before the retaking of Antei.
Sklib slipped the datapad back into his robes then sought his way out of the conference room to his quarters. This is gonna be one helluva ride.
Unlike the Consul, Sklib did not trust the officers in command of the Taldryan forces completely and thought himself superior to them in more than just Force sensitivity. The Proconsul coolly walked through the main blastdoor of the hangar and was met by a cadre of officers, while not supposed to salute him, straightened their backs in acknowledgment of his rank. “As you were,” he replied to their gesture. “When will we emerge from hyperspace travel?” he inquired.
“We're slotted to arrive in Bakura in 0100 hours, Proconsul,” the senior officer replied.
“Very well, see to it that happens as scheduled.” As the hangar chiefs ordered their men, stocking the landing craft and fighters with weapons and making any last minute adjustments, Hel-Pa was approached by the much senior Halcyon Rokir.
“Master Rokir, is your boarding party ready?”
“Yes, we're ready to launch at a moment's notice.”
“Outstanding, I'll see you onboard the Vong ship.”
“I look forward to it,” Halcyon replied before making his way toward his shuttle. Hel-Pa followed suit and made way to his ATR-6 Transport. Forty or so Taldryans, both Dark Jedi and Marines, were being crammed into the shuttle as it prepared to take off. Hel-Pa was the last to enter, taking the seat closest to the blastdoor. He was a firm believer that the leader was to be the first boots on the field of battle, as well as the last boots off, and nothing would ever change that.
“I heard there's a shitload of Vong on those slave ships, sir.” a younger Marine whispered across the aisle.
“More like ten shitloads,” he replied. After a brief silence, the Tarasin stood up from his seat and began pacing slowly down the aisle, acknowledging each warrior with a tap on the shoulder or a few words of encouragement. After finishing, he grabbed a handrail near the center of the craft and summoned up the words swarming in his head since the details of the assault had been finalized. “Taldryan is no stranger to war,” he began, “We've been fighting for as long as we can remember... war is all we know. In the past we fought for supremacy. We fought for dignity. We fought for our legacy.
“But all that changed after the Incursion. For three years we've been fighting for our very survival as a Clan and as a Brotherhood against the perversion of the Yuuzhan Vong... and it is a fight we cannot continue. The Final Way faces eradication unless we end this war now. Lord Sarin's continued pressure of striking the Yuuzhan Vong has delivered many crippling blows, but they are a limitless force. They have slain your brothers of Taldryan and left nothing behind! Even the Kr'Tal System, our last beacon of hope through these dark years, is now at risk. Soon we'll have nothing left to defend... and that means we have only one option... attack!
“Taldryans, what I ask of you now is not an easy thing, but it is necessary. If we are to survive and see the Final Way, we must take the fight to the Vong! We will go to where they hide and where they conquer and we will destroy them! This is the day we take the battle to the heart of the enemy! This is the day we correct the course of history! This is the day we ensure our survival as a Clan, and as a Brotherhood!
“Warriors of Taldryan, my fellow soldiers, go forth and break back the hope of the Final Way!”
Corvinus listened to the words of Tylax. It sounded as if he knew what he was talking about. Lokasena thought about the assignment of watching his Battel Team Leader’s back, on the ship. There was a deep seeded hatred for the Vong, burning furiously within Sena’s very soul. Most Dark Jedi wanted revenge for battles lost, or clan mates lost. In Sena’s mind, he had lost something far more profound. He had lost his one love.
He could still see Komari’s face. So fair in spendour, like the wonders of the universe of old. She was strong, confident, see owned herself. But she was captured and tortured by the Vong in the last Great War. Since that time, everything Sena had done, was preparation for the day where he would face the Vong again. He remembered the incident in the Library of Lears. The Yuuzhan Vong warrior that wounded him was taken down by others. This time, the Krath Knight would make sure that he fought his own battles.
He actually looked forward to entering an enemy vessel and help to take it out. Being mindful of Tylax may prove difficult when his mind was on a streak of vengeance, but he would certainly try.
Corvinus checked for his Lightsaber and Mormegill. The trusted, hand made sword that always hung on his hip. Its red wooden handle felt smooth and warm and familiar. Nothing would give him greater pleasure, than to cut some of those pale throats with its black steel. Yes, that would most certainly please him.
The boarding parties were assembling near their shuttles on the other side of the hangar, Quintan and Lokasena left Vardar and Erinyes merely with a nod. As they stepped out of ear-shot, Vardar waited a moment before deciding to do a quick check-up of his ship and talk to Erinyes.
"So. What do you figure.. Was that a nod of encouragement or a nod of don't-die-before-we-reach-the-ships-ment?"
"I think it's a nod of either-we-all-do-what-we're-supposed-to-or-we're-screwed-ment." she said turning away to her TIE Defender.
Vardar began to exclaim "A joke? From Er-" but he was immediately cut off "So.. why are you still using that piece of garbage?"
"What??" Vardar said as though someone had insulted his mother "This piece of garbage has seen more combat than you ever will. You go ahead and take that meaningless metal-pile. And furtherm-"
"Sir?" a soldier interrupted "Your droid has been brought as per your orders."
"Thank you soldier, you're dismissed." he said turning away from Erinyes for a moment.
"And the junk keeps piling up." Erinyes said hopping into her cockpit.
"Launch in 5 minutes." a voice over the communication's array signaled.
Vardar used the Force to levitate the droid and adequately set it in its designated compartment just behind the cockpit of his X-Wing. He had gone through much trouble to convince a small party to go back with him for his ship after the Vong drove the Brotherhood off Antei, but it was worth it. Vardar needed all he had of the past to stay as it was in order to face the future with confidence. He only made an exception with his armor. Though his pledge to honor his father hadn't finished, he still painted it gold when he knew the brotherhood was taking back Antei. The time for vengeance had come.
In the distance, the boarding parties had finished entering their appointed shuttles. Vardar glanced at them, but he could only see anyone who was near the blastdoors. He could recognize his proconsul's features in the shuttle to the far right-side, but didn't know any of the men in the other shuttles. He leaned against his ship, arms-crossed, and looked up at Erinyes who, in turn, was sitting beside the hatch on top of her TIE Defender, looking back at him.
"How do you think the battle meld will work?" he asked as he tightened his armor and put on his helmet.
"I don't know. Never tried it before. Are you afraid?"
"Not really. Just not very pleased with the fact my mind will be merged with that of half of the brotherhood. I figured I'd at least have coffee with said people before, you know, intertwining my being with them." he said trying to lighten his own mood.
Erinyes smiled "Yes. Looking into the minds of sane people might be too much for you to handle."
"You wish. Besides, I'm not that bad. I promise I'll be gentle with yours." he said just barely containing a grin.
Though Erinyes didn't know Vardar that well, she had fought with him before and knew he would never do anything to jeopardize their mission. Also, in an instant, she knew what to say to get his spirit going:
"I bet my kill-count will be higher than yours."
Vardar's face seemed as if it had lit up. "Oh, you do, do you? We'll just see about that, sis." he said as they both grinned and jumped into their cockpits and a voice echoed through the hangar: "30 seconds to launch. All non-Force-sensitive personell exit the area."
As the hangar doors opened and the protective shield was disabled, a box someone had forgotten to bolt down shot out into space. "R6, initiate launch sequence." Vardar said as he sat back and gazed at the stars gradually appearing in front of him. The fighters were thrust into space and Vardar's mind began to unlock. He once again felt the rush of space flight, the lust for blood that filled his being before each battle. His sense getting more acute with the overwhelming eagerness to fight. For a moment, he dared think his spirit would go a long way towards helping his clansmen. He gripped his ship's controls as a voice whispered to him through the Force, as he was sure it whispered to all other figthers. "Force Meld will begin shortly, clear your minds and remain receptive.".
"Here we go.." he heard Erinyes say over the communications link with some anxiety.
Corvinus looked around him. Tylax and he had boarded a shuttle with a group of mostly Novices, Apprentices and troopers. Many young and brave men and women would not return today. The inexperienced ones were mostly there for cannon fodder, so the others could do their jobs.
A lot of afraid faces were shown as the shuttle doors closed and the emergency lights light up a dim blue. They would feel better once the confidence of all other members started to flow through them. A melding of the minds would have many positive effects, but would it also have negative ones? The last thing Sena hoped for, was that he would be able to sense the death of every single person who would be slain today.
Shrugging off the thought as he felt a shudder go through the deck plates, the engines warming up, Sena looked to a female Novice beside him. She noticed him and returned the stare. Their was a simple dread in her eyes.
“What is your name, Novice?” Sena asked with a friendly voice.
“Elora Sati, sir.” The woman said nervously.
“Well, Sati, you just boarded the express elevator to Hell. Ready to go there? Ready to fight?”
“Y… yes, s… sir.”
Sena attempted to lighten the mood by giving such profundity to the moment, that the tension would break. “Cannons to right of them, Cannons to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volleyed and thundered. Stormed at with shot and shell, boldly they rode and well, into the very jaws of Death. Into the mouth of hell rode the six hundred.”
“What the Hell was that?” Tylax asked.
“An old poem… I thought it fitting for our current predicament.” Corvinus said lightly with a smile. He turned to the rest of the group. “Stop worrying about those Vong. Just concentrate on your job and you’ll al do fine.”
There was another rumble and they could feel the Shuttle lifting off. Now just hope that they would get to their target in one piece. Sena chuckled for a moment.
“What is it? Quintan Tylax asked.
“Nothing, just realised that our lives are in the hands of fighter pilots.” Lokasena replied and thought of Vardar and Erinyes. He found himself hoping they would be safe too. Then, he felt a presence. A presence so powerful and confident. Corvinus guessed the battle meld had begun already.
"The time is now, brethren in darkness. Engage Force Meld."
Vardar felt as if his mind itself was levitating as his Elder companion channeled the Force to bridge the space between their two beings. “Wait, wait, wait!”
“What, what is it?” Erinyes said. Vardar couldn’t answer, though, his breathing had been quickened and he looked around nervously.
“Vardar? Are you there?” she asked.
“Yes, yes, I’m just… Um… sorry, was caught by surprise…Shouldn’t there be more people for a battle meld? I mean… Two people, is it enough?” he said stumbling over his words.
“We’re the Phoenix Squadron, there’s no one else. The rest of the squads in Ektrosis have already melded. Let’s go.” She said, resolutely.
“Yes, fine. But we’ll never be able to destroy a Vong ship like this. R6!” Vardar said looking back, having shaken off his nervousness. “Tweak the inertial compensator to overclock to 115% and deflect half the weapon’s systems power to the shields...” several alarming beeps after “I can handle it. I’m a Jedi for crying out loud.”
“You are crazy, Vardar! Even for a human.” Erinyes said in disbelief.
“Look, the tactics we were told to use are never going to work with two ships unless we get more power to our shields and overwork our inertial compensators. I’m sorry, but you have to trust me on this. I guess I don’t need to explain it to you… You’ll know it after we’ve merged. I suggest you do the same. And don’t worry. The Force is on our side. We can easily manipulate it to better coordinate our fire, weakened as it may be. Let's do this, the show must go on."
Suddenly, the person that was Vardar barely existed. Both he and Erinyes became one, their thoughts merging and their beings intertwining into one more powerful entity. It was as if they were as one somehow standing behind the two flying fighters simply commanding the movement of both crafts with its mind. The Vong coralskippers started dropping and dying as their perfectly coordinated movements led them into their traps one after another. Vardar’s craft shot through the Vong formation avoiding their magma rocks. Uselessly they attempted to turn as Erinyes’ ship came from nowhere initiating to circle them as Vardar’s craft imitated, firing on the ship as they circled. As more fighters appeared, her ship dived. Successfully training them as Vardar’s craft came from behind, firing and trapping them between the extended shield and compensator radius. Circling, diving, distractions all were done instantly without a moment’s notice and barely any premeditation as the two warrior’s tactical ability and ferocity combined tore through the Vong’s defenses. Not five minutes later, the boarding crafts shot past them.
Shortly after, behind them, the bombers were launched. Surely enough, the other three-fighter groups were finishing off the remaining coralskippers in the battle field. The meld broke between them as the first part of the battle was almost over and their ships’ systems were close to overloading.
As Vardar’s consciousness suddenly became his own again he turned to his droid, stuttering: “R6… return the inertial compensator to 90% but keep diverting power to shields, I don’t want to get fried... No, we’ll turn it to 95 when it’s cooled down a bit… How much time do you estimate before it overheated and malfunctioned?” a couple of beeps from the droid later “…No, I guess I really don’t want to know.” He said looking back to his control panel and pressing the communications button. “Erinyes, are you alright?”
“Yes.” She said dryly.
“Look, turn your inertial compensator back to the way it was. Might want to keep your shields maxed as I have, don’t want to get blown up when the fun’s beginning.”
“So… Was it how you expected it to be?” She asked.
“Eh… I’ve had better.”
“Oh, I see. …Wait, what?” she asked quasi-menacingly as Vardar erupted into laughter from the other side of the communications link.
“Let’s just go help the others in the slaveships. I’m dying to get personal with those guys again.” He said as he prepared his ship to attach to one of the slaveships and entered a trance in order to board the slaveship without a spacesuit.
The shuttle bobbed up and down and swung from side to side. As Corvinus looked around him, he could see many nauseous faces. He hoped he would arrive at the slave ship with his boots relatively clean. He could feel the tension rising, but it was all right. He knew that he was a part of a much larger group and took great comfort from it.
“Flight crew to landing party, be advised; estimated time for touchdown in two minutes.” A voice said over the intercom.
“Okay people, let’s get ready to give those Vong hell!” Tylax raised his voice to be audible over all the ambient sounds of the inner workings of the shuttle.
Lokasena felt the deck plates vibrate under his feet. This probably meant that they had engaged forward thrusters to slow their advance. Were there any difficulties? Was something blocking them? He couldn’t sense anything, so he decided to calm down and trust in his comrades.
Images shot through his mind, faces and locations, some very alien to him. Sena thought them to be a side affect of the battle meld. It was an intriguing sensation, to share your thoughts with so many others. The anticipation was rising, like a tidal wave about to crush a dam.
Sena let the fingers of his left hand slide down to find the security of his Mormegill. Even though his Lightsaber was a great weapon, Sena had a feeling he would be needing his sword, before the day was won.
Weren’t those two minutes over, by now? Shouldn’t they have made contact already? Question began to fire, like blaster bolts from a battalion of Storm Troopers. Lokasena started to notice that his mind was not the one coming up with all these questions. Again he looked around… Where there had been nausea before, now was fear. How many of these brave men and women would not return today? Would Novice Sati make it?
The answer to all these question would soon be given. The characteristic sound of the shuttle entering a artificial atmosphere could be heard. They had obviously entered the hull of the targeted Yuuzhan Vong slave ship. Hopefully, they got in undetected, since the nerve biots used to monitor damaged areas, were rarely equipped on board slave ships.
As soon as the shuttle landed, the hatch would open, and they could finally deal with these horrid creatures. They would never know what hit them.
Quintan was a bit shocked as the effects of the mind meld overtook him. He started to feel the fear of the younger jedi and marines about him. The mind meld was only supposed to affect the pilots, he exclaimed inwardly, his own worry suddenly overcoming him. Something must have gone wrong, or the elder’s underestimated their own might.
A low growl was ripped from his throat. Without thought, he slapped a D ring upon a hook attached to the hull of the ship and a rope that was attached to him. Snapping off the safety restraints, he stood, relying on the force to keep his balance.
He looked each person, in the shuttle, in the eyes, rage and anger filled his. Confidence that he would be bathing in Vong blood radiated from his being, forcing itself past the fear in the meld.
“Turn that fear into anger…RAGE! Today we show these Bantha breeders once and for all the meaning of true fear. Hold nothing back! This day we bath in blood! Today we show the galaxy what it means to be Taldryan!” The last few words came out as a blood curdling scream, his unleashed rage flowing out over the meld burning away the fear that once gripped the novices and new recruits.
The turbulence had stopped as they entered the artificial atmosphere of the ship. They were in. The meld slipped away, but the tension and air of now suppressed eagerness was still palpable.
Quintan turned, giving a nod to Sena as he faced the door; his knuckles white as his over powered emotions took him. His breathing was ragged and he waited in readiness to be the first to lead this charge. He could hear 39 other restraints unsnapping, as one they all stood, behind him.
When this shuttled landed, at least 40 members of the assembled assault teams landing on the slave ship would revel in the slaughter they were about to meet out.
“This is Admiral Slaxton, all hands, prepare for reversion.”
Vodo stood at the side of his on and off again Master, Alanna Taldrya. Their bond, only strengthened by their shared ordeals, was unique. Quiet and powerful, Vodo fed from the Dark Side energy she emanated. Though she possessed no position of authority within the Clan or House any longer, her reputation and family name afforded her access to a large portion of the daily going-ons and activities of the various summits.
“Are you prepared Misstress Taldrya?”, Vodo remained fixated on the long straight lines that were stars as they raced by.
“This will not be my first use of this meld Archpriest…”
“But it will be the first doing so in concert with so many others my Lady. Perhaps you should retire to the meditation deck?”
“No, I prefer witnessing the action on which my energies are directed.”
Battleteam Phoenix Phyle
Gamma-class Shuttle Intruder II
Quintain Tylax, Jedi Hunter and the new Battleteam Leader of Phoenix Phyle gripped the hilt of the standard Armory Saber tightly. Since his return to the Brotherhood, he had worked on his skill and technique without pause and hoped that it would only be enough to carry the day. Frankly, he was afraid. Who wasn’t? Those who were brash enough to believe themselves invincible were bound to end up a trophy for some Vong Warrior’s bunk.
No, he was afraid, but it made him stronger, it kept the dark fire of hatred alive in his heart and being. His fear was his strength, his link to the Dark Side. Through this knowledge, he gave off an aura of calm, perfect for a leader about to lead men into combat. The troops aboard the shuttle were a mix of traditional marines, seated to one side, armored and geared for intense combat, while the other side were the robed and dark clad warriors of House Ektrosis’s sole Battleteam, Phoenix.
The two groups sat in a stony quiet, each thumbing their weapon of choice, blaster or saber, waiting for the chance it would give them to inflict vengeance and retribution on the extra-galactic invaders.
Former Tetrarch Lokasena Corvinus looked up and down the eisle of the shuttle and could feel those around him in deep thought. He was no stranger to combat, and anticipated his first cleaving blow. The recent turmoil of change had clouded his mind as of late, but that all changed as his hand grasped at the medallion under his robes. It burned hot, like always, but the pain had long since faded to a mild comfort, a symbol of his devotion to his Phyle, as a leader or a member.
Dagger Squadron – Dagger 1
Vladet had been sitting in the cockpit of this damn Defender for nearly four hours now, watching as the star-lines streaked by. Having launched before the fleet had made the jump to light speed, all hyperspace capable fighters had been forced to make the journey alongside the CapShips. His long history as a Fighter Pilot made it bearable, but it was still a TIE Fighter… A lack of atmosphere in the cockpit forced him to don a pressaure suit and keep the flight helmet locked down. Cramped within the small ball cockpit, he was trapped within an even smaller flight suit.
His NavComp beeped, warning him of imminent deceleration from Hyperspace. It was no news to the Quaestor, seeing as though mental communication between Jedi was not as limited as radio at the speed of light. When Consul Taldrya had warned him, he ceased his attempts at mediation and settled into a hyper-focused state of mind, where all that mattered was survival; Of his squadron and his clan mates.
Consul Shadow Taldrya rapped his fingers on the arm rest of his command chair. While officially Slaxton had operational control, the Dark Jedi enjoyed employing his powers from a position of authority. He had abandoned any hope of joining a boarding party, seeing as though his authority and importance dictated that his place was at the heart of the battle’s CIC.
He would find some measure of comfort however in knowing that his next command would catch his entire clan off guard.
The lines of stars in hyperspace shortened to defined points in space, dominated by a large blue-green sphere: the Bakura System, “Vanguard, you are clear to engage.
Slaxton’s voice carried the demeanor of seasoned commander, a man who had spent his life in combat, ordering others to fight and die. That was a terrible burden that took a special caliber of man to handle and control. Shadow respected that in his Admiral.
He did have to have his fun however, “ComOfficer, route me through to our boarding parties.”
“Done my Lord, go ahead”.
“Taldryan, the one who brings me the heart of the Vong’s Warmaster shall find me favorable to any request they might find themselves moved to make… That is all…”
His Head-Up Display showed the active target counters of each squadron and boarding party, capitol ship and gunship. His heart skipped a few beats in quiet delight as those belonging to the boarding parties switched from the Vong Slave Ships, loaded with captured humanoids and galactic denizens, to the largest ships in the enemy fleet, each grasping at what they hoped to be the flagship.
“Commander”, pressing a button on his console Shadow called up his chief flight officer, “You will give all boarding parties the go signal in five minutes. Let the fighters clear some flight corridors for them…”
Vladet Xavier placed his hands around the Defender's flight yoke as his starfighter dropped out of hyperspace; Bakura provided a stunning backdrop to the battle that was about to occur with the Yuuzhan Vong. These Vong were truly great at conducting warfare, and the challenge pleased the long-time pilot. Last time they got to have all the fun ... not this time. Following the Vong's invasion of Antei, Vlad had spent countless hours in simulators and watching holovids of Vong starfighter combat. The ships they had were extremely impressive, and the Prelate couldn't wait to battle them again on more even terms. This time we know how to fight them better ... lucky us. Satisfied that his systems were operating at an optimal level, Vlad activated his helmet's comlink via the tongue switch located near his mouth.
"Dagger Squadron this leader," he said calmly, watching the Vong battleships get into position to face Taldryan's fleet. "We've already gone over this a half dozen times so you should know what to do. Keep an eye on your designated wingmen and you might just survive." Acknowledgments flooded his earpiece so he hit the comm switch with his tongue again to switch to his shield trio tactical channel. "Two and Three, form up on me. Keep your shields strong and try to open fire as soon as you see me do so." His wingmen responded with comm clicks and Vladet watched as the dozens of other Taldryan fighters began to spread out to engage the enemy ships. Not being Force users this may not work as planned. Still, this can't go worse than last time ...
Moments later the first wave of coralskippers entered firing range, unleashing bursts of plasma fire. Pulling back on his stick sharply, Vlad sent his TIE Defender into a quick Segnor's Loop hoping that his wingmen were able to keep up with his maneuver. Already explosions lit up the dark void of space as both side's capital ships slowly begun to converge on one another. "We're taking target Alpha-3 so keep tight!" Vladet squeezed the trigger of his flight yoke, sending green darts of energy toward the enemy coralskipper. A split second later the stutter fire of his wingmen passed nearby as the shield trio began raining down fire. Predictably the coralskipper's void shields sucked in all of the Prelate's laser bolts and most of Two's but it couldn't cover the entire ship. Dagger Three's handful of bolts struck home causing atmosphere to vent from the ship and sending it into a spiral. "It's hurt! Finish the job!" The three Defenders pursued the coralskipper, firing almost nonstop, but the enemy pilot was able to keep placing his void in the right spot. Already the screams of some of Taldryan's fighter pilots begun to fill the comm unit. There will be time to mourn the dead later ...
"Rudder it!" Vlad yelled, slamming his foot down on one of the Defender's rudder panels. The Defender responded instantly, sliding slightly starboard. Dagger Two slid port and Dagger Three stayed on course, both firing. The coralskipper's voids easily sucked in both Defender's fire but Vlad had already linked his laser cannons to quad fire and had an open shot on the coralskipper's starboard side. Without hesitating he sent two sets of quad lasers into the coralskipper's hull, immediately causing it to burst into flame. The Prelate didn't get to enjoy the explosion long as the void of space quickly snuffed it and a shot of plasma from another coralskipper grazed his trio's s overlapped shields.
The second wave had caught up to the first and suddenly the numbers were in favor of the Vong. And the third wave isn't too far out, either. Grimacing, he secured his grip on the flight yoke and begun to track down the new threat.
Corvinus ran through the corridors of the captured Slaveship. On the right side of his lower jaw, blood was dripping from a deep gash. “Sati, come on… We are leaving!” Sena cried to the Novice who had almost found herself left behind on the recently conquered Slaveship. The young woman turned around, grasping her small blaster tightly, and came running toward the rest of the group. Sati had certainly shown a lot of promise. As soon as the boarding party had faced resistance from several squads of Vong soldiers, she had quickly lain down a suppressing fire with some of the others, so that the rest could advance in squads toward the vessel’s bridge.
The Slaveship had been taken with relative ease, but that was to be expected. Slave transports did not carry nearly as many warriors as warships. Only six men from their group had been lost, seven others seriously injured, and they were already being looked after. Quite acceptable losses, in Sena’s eyes, but he was not the one in charge. Tylax seemed rather calm, for someone getting used to a new command. He had certainly performed well under pressure.
The orders had come to concentrate on the larger vessels, those who were doing all the damage, so to speak.
“Do we go back to the Justice for reinforcements?” Sena asked Tylax. “Negative…” the man had replied. “You know what our orders are. We press on!”
They all re-entered the shuttle and gave the flight crew the signal that all were on board. Now they had to wait again, for the fighters to do their jobs. Once the path had been cleared, they would be off to a far greater challenge than a Slaveship. For a Miid-ro’ik was quite a stronghold.
Lokasena pressed any fear and doubt from his mind and reminded himself why he was doing this. For Taldryan, for Ektrosis, for Komari…
As soon as the transport left the hangar boy doors, the vibrations of battle began shaking the craft violently. It would take roughly five minutes for the ATR-6 to reach its destination, but Sklib knew that these things often never went as planned. He looked across the aisle of the craft toward a Private First Class, obviously just out of the one of the military academies in the Kr'Tal system. “Wysocki, is it?” he asked after making eye contact for a brief moment.
“Y... Yes sir,” he stammered in reply. He clutched his standard-issue assault rifle across his lap and scratched the trigger guard with his forefinger.
“You'll be alright, know your assignment, keep your head down, and don't forget about the men around you. They will never abandon you.” PFC Wysocki nodded in quiet acknowledgement, a bead of sweat dripping down his lip and onto the ground below. Moments later the pilot of the craft, after a brief jolt from what Hel-Pa assumed was some type of space debris, shouted back to the Proconsul, “Two minutes till contact!”
As he finished his statement, a tremor shook the transport and forced several marines from their seats onto the floor, the lights flickering and the sound of fizzled durasteel resonated throughout the ship; they'd clearly been shot. “Taking heavy fire!” the pilot shouted as he swerved the vehicle around the coralskippers intercepting them.
Hel-Pa pressed his earpiece, triggering the activation switch and barked out to the favored squadron of the operation, “Dagger! This is Alpha, requesting support, sending you our current location as we speak. We're taking heavy fire and I don't expect us to last long.”
Damnit, Sklib. Vlad whispered to himself. “Dagger, rendezvous at Alpha Transport's location and keep those skippers off their backs,” he grunted through clenched teeth as he pulled his craft into an about face and sped away toward the ATR-6. He switched his channel to target Sklib directly and replied, “On our way, be there in just over a minute.”
“We don't have a minute, Xavier!”
The shuttle had finally landed with a soft thud. He heard one other thud and he knew the remainder of this Slaveship’s assault team had landed. Giving the signal to the pilot the hatch opened and he burst forth out of the confines of the ship to a most alien sight.
The entire chamber, the entire ship looked as if it were alive. The intel he had read on the Vong spoke of them using biological technology but this did not prepare him for what he saw. The walls themselves looked like armored carapace, it moved up and down in a rhythmic manner as if it were breathing. Conduits lined the interior, looking more like veins than piping.
Their entrance had gone on undetected, as planned, but he knew they would soon meet resistance. The Slaveship pilot crew knew their fleet was being attacked. The few squads of Vong warriors would be on high alert and ready for them.
The assault team knew their assignments. Turning around he directed the 60 man team into 6 ten man squads. Each squad was paired with another, and led by both a military man and a dark jedi. Every man was equipped with a healthy dose of arsensalts, for the gel that held the slaves in place.
“Squad alpha and bravo, will head to the pilot crew, immobilize them and start working your way from the front of the ship back to here. Stealth is the key; I want no resistance until we have taken out the crew. Once they are neutralized, you will start releasing any slaves you come across. Squad’s charlie and delta you will start from the rear and make your way back here. Death to any Vong, all slaves will be freed. Echo and Foxtrot, your with me….we go Vong killing.”
All eyes were on him as he reiterated his orders. The emotions were now a mixture of eagerness, fear and anger at the wrongs the Vong have done to family, friends and Clan. “That is all, now go,” he commanded as he drew the armory lightsaber at his belt to lead the other squads.
Quintan’s left hand hung limp at his side, blood dripping off his fingers as he surveyed the freed slaves and the remainder of his men. He saw Sena approach with a young female novice. Both looked as if they had been through hell and back much as the rest of the assault party.
A crate of blasters were brought up by two of the remaining troopers that had accompanied him, “These blasters are for your protection. All Vong have been dispatched on this slave ship, we will return for any who wish to swear fealty to the Dark Brotherhood.”
Confusion lit the faces of the assembled slaves, some still disoriented from the gel they had been held in place with. “You aren’t here to rescue us, “one of them asked from amidst the crowd.
“We are here to take down the Vong, “Quintan sneered, “We will return for our own wounded and those that wish to join the Brotherhood. If you wish to contest this decision, you can take it up with me.”
Once again the lightsaber, turned off, was in his hand. A look of death was in his eyes, and he knew that the slave’s were too weak to put up any resistance. He nodded and joined the rest of his team on the shuttle, leaving the now freed slaves in stunned silence.
Weary, he looked at the remainder of the team, who now fit on one shuttle craft. Most were injured, some of the green recruits survived their first foray into hell and it showed on their haunted looks. The weak were culled, as far as Quintan was concerned. Only the strongest were left to attack the Miid-ro’ik ship. 40 out of 60, Quintan thought, The intel they gave us to fight these bastards worked, but still…that is too much, these Vong are strong.
“Do we go back to the Justice for reinforcements?” Sena asked Quin, bringing him out of his thoughts. We need them, thought the battle team leader, but we can’t afford to return to Justice or the Vong will win.
“Negative…” the man had replied. “You know what our orders are. We press on!” Turning away from Sena, he pressed the comm. unit he had attached to his robes.
“Vardar, Erinyes…Assault team is done taking out Alpha target. Escort is needed for Bravo target, Miid-ro’ik class ship. 2nd Assault team will take care of the third slaveship; slaves on Alpha target will be ready for pickup when battle is done with. We request reinforcement of troops. Relay this to Justice Command.“
The remainder of the assault team sat in the shuttle, waiting for their escort to arrive. He hoped they didn’t take too long, he had heard the Consol’s reward for the heart of the Vong’s Warmaster…the thought of a new training facility for the Phoenix sounded real nice.
“Press on!” the words rang through Sena’s head. It was certainly a courageous decision, but would he have made the same one? That question was about to become mute. They had spent a long time waiting on the advancement of the battle and now, it would proceed. The “all clear” had been given and the shuttle pilot lifted the craft off the organic deck.
The shuttle shook violently as it broke free from artificial gravity on the Slaveship and entered the vacuum of space. There was again a thundering silence as they made their way to the next target, hoping they wouldn’t get picked off by a Vong fighter.
Their fighter escorts had done their jobs well, the pilot signalled the second landing. It was going to be a lot rougher than the Slaveship, but Sena actually looked forward to it. The second that shuttle door opened, legions of Vong would stand before him. Together with the rest of the assault teams, he would give those rancid heretic animals a day they would not soon forget.
Musing on the deaths of so many enemies, Sena let the Force flow through him, to calm his mind and heal his body. The cut on his jaw had stopped bleeding and had begun to mend. In time, there would not even be a scar.
He looked around, at the faces of the young men and women in the team. Some were ready to break, others had a new-found confidence in their eyes. Your first real taste of war, it kind of stays with you and leaves a lasting impression. Some come out stronger, others never come out at all. War was an ugly business, nothing romantic about it. In Sena’s eyes, it was a waste of life and resources.
But these Vong were evil, and all it takes for evil to succeed, is the indifference of the masses. A strange thought for a Dark Jedi, to be sure, but Corvinus did not see himself as evil. The Dark Side was a path to knowledge and knowledge is never evil. What one chooses to do with it, that makes all the difference. Choices pave the road for actions and actions could certainly be evil.
The frightening part about all this was; everybody always has a reason. No matter how horrid and vile their actions maybe, those who acted always found ways to justify themselves. Who is to say who of us is truly right, in the end? Only history can tell. But history is written by the victors…