Arcona Regular Run On
Run-on Competition: The Chain of Duty
This will be a unscripted runon event. Each unit will have two teams: the special forces runon, where only members of the special forces may post, and the regular runon, where all members (even those in the special forces) may post. The Special Forces runons will be the official submission for qualitative judging.
1. 250 word minimum per post.
2. 1000 word maximum per post.
3. Players must post a minimum of 2 times.
4. Players may post as many times as they desire.
5. Edits may occur on a post until a follow on post has been made (follow on posts include "reserving" a space). Only the author may edit their post on the forums. Admin use on the forums during the run on is expressly prohibited for participants. (Email Sarin and myself for anything)
6. Members may reserve post, but no posts can occur until after the reserved post is written.
7. The event will be graded by Raken, Sarin, and Muz using a rubric that focuses on creativity, plot development, realism, and grammar.
8. (Special Forces) Only two members of the Special Forces will be permitted to sit this event out.
9. Members failing to post 2 x times per phase will be disqualified and will not be given credit for participating in the event.
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
It was not often that Andrelious J. Inahj was the ranking Arconan present on the bridge of the Arconan Flagship. Usually Wuntila, or his deputy Marick, took a keen interest in the operations of the Arconan Naval Forces. Today, though, the Consul and Proconsul were taking part in another mission.
“Line Captain. What is the status of the First Fleet?” the Battlelord asked, turning to Emilie Lauraugina. The female human, a native of Eldar, was the regular commander of Arcona’s First Fleet, but was relegated to an advisory role whenever her Dark Jedi employers deemed necessary.
“The First Fleet is in position as you ordered, sir. The Second Fleet have just arrived, too.” Emilie replied, studying a monitor.
“Put me through to Captain Quell.” Andrelious instructed, not caring who carried out the order.
Within moments the holographic form of Ban Quell, the commander of the Invicta appeared before the Rollmaster. The veteran human needed no reminding of protocol, bowing almost immediately.
“Captain Quell. You know your orders. I shall not repeat them.” Inahj hissed.
The hologram bowed again, before fading out. Andrelious smiled as he watched the Second Fleet arrange itself into the pre-designated formation, with the Invicta activating its gravity well generators.
“Excellent. Almost Imperial precision. The bridge is yours, Line Captain. Anything that isn’t Arconan, isn’t leaving.”
The Eldar native saluted her superior as he turned and left the bridge. Her mission was clear - Svolten was under Arconan blockade.
Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar had already arrived by the time that Andrelious entered the office that had been designated as a meeting point. Soon after the Rollmaster had taken his seat, Nadrin Erinos and Nikola Valtiere followed. Andrelious’ young Cythraul, Stele, had taken a liking to Tam, Sanguinius’ own companion, mimicking the close alliance that the former Galeres Quaestor had forged with Inahj over the past few operations.
S`nar Que Seshai was the last to arrive. He mumbled a quick apology to the gathered Arconans.
“Spare it, Knight Seshai. You can’t be late for what hasn’t started.” Inahj commented.
“So..you’re in charge?” Sanguinius asked.
Inahj smirked. “I will be..coordinating things from up here. With Wuntila and Marick unreachable, it will be the senior Arconae in overall command. That is, Strategos and Timeros. I don’t think that anyone’s released that mad Zabrak from Dusk Station.”
“You mean Mejas?” Timeros asked, his hologram having activated as Andrelious finished his explanation. Strategos, his fellow Arconae and long term Entar brother stood beside the former Combat Master, silent as always.
Andrelious shrugged. “Ah yes. Apologies, Adept Caesus. It’s been so long since anyone’s spoken of Master Doto..”
“So, what’s the plan? We all sit tight and wait for Wuntila to come back with results?” Nadrin asked.
“That is why we are here, Nadrin. We will be taking command of the rest of Arcona. Those of us who aren’t in Wuntila’s little band of reprobates. Adept Caesus, as per his role as head of the spooks, along with his first lieutenant there, will soon fill you in. He is apparently going to infiltrate the One Sith platform that Void’s initial scouting found.” Inahj explained, before turning to the imposing holographic figure of the Clan’s previous Rollmaster.
“Adept Caesus, the floor is yours...”
Timeros pressed several buttons out of sight, causing the holodisplay to suddenly show a large and imposing platform held aloft by repulsorlifts and connected, by various cables and walkways, to a jagged mass of spires rising from the ocean.
“This,” the Arconae said, his customary chill not quite carrying over the display as the holographic view zoomed in, “is Mining Platform 37, designated Penumbra for this mission. It is mining an unknown material and as far as we’re aware, it is the largest One Sith base on the planet. However, several weaknesses lead Intelligence to believe that a rapid assault has a chance for success.”
The hologram changed again, this time zooming in on the spire and showing long, ugly scars in the superstructure. The sombre DIA director gave the assembled leadership a moment to reflect on the “From what we understood, the One Sith initially disregarded the station’s importance, and their takeover led the station to be mostly destroyed. Once they realized their mistake, they built another platform” - the hologram zoomed in on the suspended platform - “from which to conduct repairs and eventually resume mining. We’re still not certain what they are looking for, but it must be important.”
“All right,” Andrelious nodded, watching the impassive Entars. “”What are we dealing with, here?”
“Will be downloaded to your datapads in a few minutes,” Strategos cut in smoothly, “but allow me to go over the details.
“Defenses are tough. Mostly special-forces grade combatants, with a sprinkling of One Sith and a single powerful leader, an Elder-grade combatant that we have identified as Drand Powern. His forces are well-trained, well-equipped, loyal to him personally and fanatical to the point of zealotry. Worse, any successful hit can kill a soldier. The atmosphere on this planet carries some sort of parasite that, when exposed to sentient beings, burrows into the brain and gives it...” for a moment, the Operations Director seemed to struggle, as if he were reading from paper. “extreme aggression with cannibalistic tendencies. As such, we need full body suits for everyone on the attack team.”
“As noted,” Andrelious nodded, “in the planetary briefing. All our troops our equipped. Now, our plan?”
“Our assault will use all four Battleteams, as well as associated military troops, for a complete surprise assault. Soulfire will perform a marine attack from the waters. The superstructure is still damaged, and all intelligence indicates that the checkpoint system is a mess, with too many different possible paths to move. They will move their ways up to the platform to attack from below. In the meanwhile, we will use an air group to take out defensive emplacements and fight all air support. This will be Void Squadron, under Valtiere’s leadership. Third, we will perform a full airdrop assault with both mundane troops and the Dark Forge team under the command of S’nar and Sanguinius while the air defenses are being distracted. Finally, a small team of infiltrants under local command of Invictus - and comprised of Battleteam Shadow Gate - will activate upon hearing a general alert. They’ll make sure to be placed near critical facilities, and attempt to disrupt command, communications, and control the instant an attack warning is sounded.”
“Infiltration?” Sanguinius raised an eyebrow, smirking at the other Entars. “Are you trying to get a headstart on kill count?” Shadow Gate...that’s the team Timeros and Strategos are part of.
Andrelious shot the man a sideways glance. “I am in command here, Sang,” the military man said, softly venomous.
“Oh. Of course, sir,” the Exarch responded glibly, the emphasis almost unnoticeable.
“Adept Thanatos, Adept Caesus? What is the plan, here?”
“Well,” Strategos responded, his figure coming into view again. “We have a man on the inside. I put him there months ago. Reliable man, name of Mazer. He managed to get permission to take the Shadow Gate team on board as contractors to help with the repairs. We intercepted an actual crew, as well, making sure to get appropriate uniforms.”
“Ah,” the Battlelord said. “We can be certain, then. What’s the ETA for this infiltration?”
Timeros’ expression betrayed nothing, but Strategos gave a fine smirk as he leaned forward, adjusting the hologram. It zoomed out, showing the men in full bodysuits, standing on the deserted edge of the platform that itself towered high above the sea.
“Three weeks ago, sir,” Timeros finally spoke. “The team is in place. Operation: Penumbra may commence when you are ready.”
Loki sighed and leant back against the canteen wall, the mining facilities was boiling this time of day, the suits didn’t help a damn bit but that was life at the moment. He sighed and shook his head to try and shift the beading sweat from his brow. He turned and stared out one of the windows behind him. Nothing but blue sea and sky, it would be lush if it wasn’t for the fact the planet would kill him or worse turn him into a mindless creature. He’d been on the facility for around three weeks, the assault on the real crew had gone without a hitch, and selecting one to take the form off had been easy enough. Not that in reality it even mattered every day in a damn suit you never really got to see who was who and this worried Loki a bit, it took away his greatest advantage in these infiltration missions. He sighed again and turned as the door slid open behind him.
He recognised the woman that entered instantly; she was part of the maintenance crew assigned to the same floor, though if Loki remembered she had been here a bit longer than the infiltration team. She headed over to and plopped her elbows on the window ledge beside him copying his vacant stare “It’s odd really, it looks exactly the same as it always does,” she cracked him a smile but it was lost on Loki. “It’s always the same but I always find you here at exactly the same time every day. Hoping the views going to change?”
Loki turned to her and shrugged slightly “What can I say. This place gives me the creeps sometimes, and the view calms me a bit,” he smiled as she patted him on the shoulder. “Heh, there’s no need to patronise,” and chuckled slightly as he saw the frown appear. “Anyway I best be getting back to duty, I’d hate for this place to fall apart…with me inside it.”
He left the room, her laugh trailing after him and entered one of the lightly lit corridors that separated the rooms from each other. Today’s duties had him stuck under the sub level command room floor fixing wires. Small spaces, brilliant, at least the place wasn’t invested with Ewoks. He nodded to the duty officer in charge of the room and made his way to the back of the room, opening the access hatch and dropping into the floor space. As the hatch shut behind him the wave of heat washed over him and he began his slow crawl into the tunnels to begin his next shift.
Svolten, Mining Facility.
Kanis sighed. Beads of sweat ran down his face, but there was nothing he could do without removing his breathing apparatus, which in turn would either A. Kill him, or B. turn him into some rabid, cannibalistic creature, neither of which he wanted to become at that specific moment in time. The first little slice of his mission was already complete as he’d already infiltrated the facility with his Battleteam, and he’d received a disguise to blend in with the crowd.
He was playing the part of a simple maintenance engineer; however, he had no training in the area of engineering so he just ran around acting like he was doing something rather than really doing anything other than taking note of people of interest, and possible high value targets to report back to the brotherhood.
“Kark...” Hissed Kanis as he shifted his apparatus around without really breaking the airlock which kept him alive.
“Like a furnace isn’t it?” asked a random passerby who shot Kanis a semi-friendly smile from behind his own breathing apparatus.
“Sure isn’t a reefer.” commented Kanis as he waved dismissively.
As Kanis entered the Cantina, he noticed that not even this area was safe from the contamination of the planet’s atmosphere; however, waitresses dashed around carrying trays of different alcoholic drinks, and the Cantina’s band played a new song. Kanis soon found a seat and waved over an available waitress who scurried over to his table. before she could ask, Kanis sighed. “Alcohol, I don’t care what kind...”
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
Valtiere was stood attentively during the briefing, taking in the overall plan. It seemed sound, he gave The Arconae and Andrelious credit. Void would have two roles in this battle it seemed. He read the recon information about the planet they would be taking.
A heated rock with parasitic bugs. The only use was the mysterious ore that was found by a single drilling platform. And the blow in morale to the One Sith war machine.
After the Arconae finished their briefing, Nikola left, Nadrin at his side. “Going to be a fun fight.” He said to Valtiere, his face obscured by the mask.
“Shame we can’t use the StealthX’s, though. I do enjoy them.” Valtiere replied. He enjoyed the thrill of striking an enemy unawares, like he had recently at Ol’Val. That had been a delightful hunt.
“Let’s get to it then.” He said, cutting off his own thought as he strode down the corridors towards the flight deck.”
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
Nikola Valtiere stood before his pilots in their environmental suits, a critical eye running over the elite. A small part of his mind whispered his pride in his unit. In what they had become.
He quashed the feeling, ensuring he would show nothing to his pilots. They needed to be kept in line to remain an effective fighting machine.
“We have our orders, brethren. We shall be assaulting one of the only major structures on this barren rock. The drilling platform located here.” A holoprojector in his palm whirred to life, projecting blue marbled orb. A marker lit up on the orb, showing the position of the rig.
“Our first job is to clear the orbit for the bus drivers to get the ground forces in.” His mouth twisted in a rare smile as some of the pilots chuckled. Carrier pilots hated the reference, and was the source of friendly banter between the groups. He let the chuckle die down before continuing.
“Once space is clear, we follow the drop ships in, providing aerial support. This is why we will be using the XJ fighters rather than the StealthX’s. The stealthX is useless in atmosphere.” The pilots weren’t pleased, but it made perfect sense. They would be dogfighting rather than hunting today. A different kind of thrill for the pilots.
“Once the troops have landed, we will be co-ordinating with ground force commanders to provide aerial support to the ground forces. Teams of two, erratic hit-and-run strikes. We don’t want the enemy to pick up on a pattern and shoot us down.” The projection shut off, and he pulled on the bulky glove of the survival suit.
“Make sure to maintain suit integrity. If you become compromised, you will be infected in a matter of seconds. Nothing new to us. Treat the aerial combat like space combat, the principles apply.” Unlike the ground troopers, Void pilots had experience in wearing survival suits due to the fact they had to wear them while flying, a throwback to when Void still used TIE interceptors. Valtiere had kept the practice to add another layer of security to his pilots in space.
“You have your orders. Go over your final flight checks, we launch in 15. Mors Ex Tenebris.”
The pilots saluted, and Valtiere returned the gesture before they all broke off, checking their XJ’s to ensure they were in a condition to take this world for the Brotherhood.
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
As the briefing concluded S’nar turned to leave the command deck, his attention returning to the datapad in his hands. His embarrassment at being called out during the meeting was forgotten as he opened the log he had received only a half hour before the meeting.
Recipient: S’nar Que Seshai
Sender: Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae
Subject: Appointment to Battleteam Leader
Knight Seshai, due to your service, as well as performance during the battle of Bhargebba, as well as your involvement in the events surrounding Ereboros station you have been chosen to lead Dark Forge during the engagement of Svolten.
Sanguinius has offered to function in the capacity as your advisor during the assault, make use of his experience.
If you survive, we’ll discuss making the change permanent.
Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae
Quaestor of House Galeres
His thoughts were confused, not noticing his fellow commander and Exarch of his Battleteam walking beside him.
“Seshai, its good to see you back on your feet, it seems you and I get to have some fun this time. Save your thanks for our opportunity to be in the thick of it. It didn’t take much to convince Inahj to let us have the first shot on the ground.” The Human’s voice held a hint of remorse underneath the jesting attitude.
“Sanguinius, I look forward to fighting alongside you again, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to fighting another horde of Sheb eating cannibals again.” The Kaleesh turned and on instinct saluted the Exarch.
“Don’t worry, you may be used to Soulfire but Darkforge won’t disappoint you. Come let us discuss the plan of attack.” The former Quaestor was as much a diplomat as a warrior as he waved S’nar’s hand down.
Dark Forge Barracks
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
“Here and here, we establish fronts, we take the fight to them. These AA-turrets are protected by enough shielding to make it damn near impossible for Void to take them down without tying up too many of their pilots. When we touch down, they will need to be priority otherwise Void will be spending more time trying to dodge fire then provide us cover.” S’nar stood over the holo display his mind trying to formulate a plan of attack, unused to these kind of large scale operations compared to the hunts of his homeworld.
Considering the possibilities Sanguinius paced on the opposite side.
Dark Forge Barracks
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
“I’m quite concerned about these turrets, S’nar,” Sanguinius gestured towards the holo-display. “Then add to those turrets a bunch of souped up bantha fodder who would like nothing better than to fill us full of holes and let those messed up brain bugs turn us into mindless zombies.”
Sanguinius laughed briefly, “If it wasn’t true, I’d think it was a bad b-movie plot line.”
The Kaleesh Knight didn’t laugh, “Not really a laughing matter right now, Sang.”
“Oh yeah, my apologies, first time leading an assault and all that eh?” The Exarch raised an eyebrow in feigned concern.
“No, this is just a serious matter. We’re holding people’s lives in our hands.” Seshai lectured. “We don’t want a large loss in resources and manpower from this operation.”
“The responsibilities of rank, eh? Always got to worry about other people instead of just worrying about yourself.”
“Is that why you resigned then?” S’nar shot back “Decided to be selfish and worry only about yourself?”
The Exarch frowned, “Now, why would you go and say a thing like that.” He nodded towards the holo-display. “Wouldn’t you be better off focusing on the plan?”
S’nar narrowed his eyes, staring at the former Quaestor. “Yes, we would be.”
“Sounds good to me.” Sanguinius was eager to be off that topic of conversation as quickly as possible.
The Sergeant of Dark Forge continued. “So, the turrets will need to be neutralised, otherwise Void will be torn up.”
“We’ll be torn up while landing anyway. We can only hope Void distracts the ground fire by buzzing by and lighting up the turrets.” Sang responded.
Tam, the Anaxsi’s Cythraul, whined in sympathy from his position, lying down next to the holo-display.
“My thoughts exactly, Tam.” Sang grimaced. “Losses will be expected, unless Shadow Gate and Soulfire come through for us and sow some seeds of destruction and confusion as we’re dropping in.”
The Kaleesh nodded in agreement. “I think that would be the wisest course of action, but we cannot fully rely on our comrades completing these tasks in time. We’ve been through worse actions than this befo...”
Sanguinius interrupted S’nar in mid-speech. “Yeah, but we’ve never had to worry about brain sucking bugs.”
“I’m sure our pressurised suits will be more than adequate to keep us safe, Exarch.”
“I’m sure hoping they are for all our sakes. Why the Dark Council thinks this rock is worth dying for, I don’t know. “
“Well, I’ll personally see to every man and woman that does get infected.” S’nar bowed his head and closed his eyes.
“Very noble of you,” Sang grinned. “I don’t envy you.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t, Sang.” The Sergeant muttered, his voice barely audible. “Wouldn’t want you to care about anyone other than yourself now, would we?”
Tam growled, his senses alerting him to the subtle anger experienced by the Exarch as the words registered. Swallowing his urge to respond, Sanguinius turned away from the holo-display and carried on pacing, his anger quickly subsiding.
“So, we do an air-drop, kill everyone on board who so much as raises a hand to us, neutralise the AA turrets for ex-fil and find whatever it is that the One Sith deem important on Rig 37?” Sanguinius proposed.
“Pretty much, yeah.” S’nar responded.
The two men laughed as S’nar moved around the table towards his fellow Galerean. “So, I guess it’s time to meet the team, Sang?”
“Don’t you know it! I’m sure they won’t bite….too much.”
Sanguinius pointed the way to S’nar, allowing him to go first. The pair walked into a corridor that led through the quarters assigned to Dark Forge towards a large meeting room. Tam padded gently behind the two of them.
The door to the meeting room slid open and revealed eight members of Dark Forge sitting around the table, leaving four seats spare.
Only Troutrooper, the grouchy, smart-mouthed Master was absent. His excuse that he was currently indisposed with the shits meant that he was unable to attend was clearly a very clumsy attempt at maintaining the secrecy of the Special Forces team that was comprised mostly of the Summit of Arcona. The lack of the Summit in leading the assault was kind of telling anyway, but operational secrecy was always sought during times like these.
Inarya was the first to speak. “What can I do for you two gentlemen?” She rose from her chair, the lithe female Twi’lek moving seductively towards the two newcomers.
The Lethan Twi’lek had a long history with Sanguinius, what with him being her former Master. She nodded perfunctorily at the Exarch, who answered with a large grin and slapped S’nar on the back, pushing the Kaleesh forward.
“May I introduce your new commander, Dark Jedi Knight S’nar Seshai.”
“A pleasure,” Inarya raised a hand towards the Knight who clasped it in his strong grip and shook it.
“Welcome to Dark Forge.”
Kordath Bleu was not happy, sitting in one of the many chairs surrounding the table in the meeting room, arms crossed and sullenly starting at the top of the table. He should have been on Eldar training, learning to become a useful member of the House, instead he was on a spaceship above a planet nobody really wanted with a bunch of people he barely knew.
Brain parasites, more cannibals, again. The Ryn sighed as he thought back to the recent Death Walker incursion on Eldar and groaned as he pictured more ankle biting, flesh hungry barely sane creatures coming after him again. Glancing to his left at the only member of the team was even remotely acquainted with, Etah, he tried copying the mans look of stoic boredom. This just made him look even stranger to his team mates, who already thought the Krath was a bit odd, and very much not suited for the combat they were about to be engaged in.
He'd shown a very slight ability to not die on Eldar in the recent troubles, but had shown no skill in the killing of enemies, not even able to use a blaster properly so far. The Ryn was a scholar, or wanted to be, not a commando going off on what was likely a suicide mission with a bunch of people that he'd likely get killed due to his incompetence. Feeling a set of eyes on him, Kordath looked up to see Etah grinning at him, the Miralan was more used to the sort of bloody conflict they were preparing for, and had the look of a man ready to get started with it.
“No idea why you'd be so happy to go risk your life on a rock like this,” muttered Kordath.
Etah grinned at him, “You know a better way to feel alive, Kordath?”
Shaking his head, Bleu looked at his old swoop leader and sighed, “Sure, a drink, a smoke, and a book in a dark corner where nobody is shooting, stabbing, or trying to bite me would be nice.”
Etah shook his head, still smiling despite the Ryn's downer attitude. Some people were meant to fight, some were meant to hide in a dark corner and stab people that got to close, Kordath was definitely the latter.
As the door opened and Sanguinius and S'nar walked in, the lithe Twi'lek across the table got up to greet them. Kordath knew nearly every eye was drawn by this, and felt some what comforted by at least having one thing in common with his team mates. Then he groaned inwardly as the realization that the appearance of the 'guys in charge' meant things were about to get very exciting.
Kordath hated excitement. It was fun to read about or watch a holo about, but being in the middle of it was not any fun. It was messy, it was chaotic, it was generally a pain in the arse, and there was a good chance you would get killed during all of it.
Better to be done with it at this point, he thought, knowing that there was no way he was getting out of the operation at this point.
This was going to be a very long day, thought the Ryn as he watched the new leader of Dark Forge shake hands with Inarya.
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
The room felt busy as seven of the eight members of Soulfire socialized and waited for their leader to arrive and start the meeting. Celahir, Juda and Maaks reminisced of times past on one side of the room, while Vynn, Nath and Azasell talked on the other side. Riverche reviewed her datapad at the table in the center of the room.
“Fifteen minutes, the meeting should have started fifteen minutes ago,” Riverche thought. “Teroch has never been late for a meeting, especially one this important.”
Riverche finished reading the notes for the sixth time before turning the datapad off as she slid it into one of her pockets. She stood up and walked across the room to the door. The door made a soft hiss as it slid out of her way and into the wall. The hallway was empty , and light from the other barracks spelled into the hallway.
“Ah-um, the meeting will start as soon as Teroch gets here. Do not wander off,” explained Celahir as he gently placed a hand on Riverche’s shoulder.
“He is fifteen minutes late, and he yells at us when we are even a minute late. I just want to know what is keeping him.” Riverche continued, “I just want to see if he is in his office.”
After a moment of thought, Celahir declared, “We can go to his office and see if he is there.”
The pair walked silently down the hall towards Teroch’s office. The other groups were already in their meetings as they passed the rooms, and Teroch’s office was empty when they arrived.
“Suggestion?” Celahir asked.
“We need to get our meeting started. The rest of Arcona is depending on us to do our part,” Riverche replied. “We need his notes and plans. Can you get them?”
“I will have them by the time we get back to the meeting room.”
Celahir concentrated on his datapad as they walked back. Halfway back to the room, Celahir stopped walking and said “Look at this!”
“We need to get back and start the meeting as soon as possible,” Riverche answered after looking over the new information.
Both Riverche and Celahir ran the rest of the way to the meeting room. The door hissed open to reveal the others still talking. Riverche and Celahir took less than a minute to get the table’s holo display lit up. As the mining platform came into focus, the rest of the members took their seats.
“We are suppose to wait for Teroch!” Maaks exclaimed as he sat beside Juda.
“I know but he is twenty minutes late, now.” Nath complained.
“He has been called away on a special mission, and we are not sure if he will make it this meeting.” Riverche informed the others, “Besides, the rest of Arcona is depending on us to complete our objective, and they have already started their meetings, while we sit here wasting time. So, let’s get started.”
“The plans, that we were able to retrieve, shows us being dropped off here in the water near the platform.” Celahir marked a spot on the display. “Our job is to make our way to the platform, and to attack from the bottom as the other groups attack from above. Oh, there is a group that has already infiltrated the platform.”
“There are multiple points of entrance that we can use. The best three points are here, here and here.” Riverche pointed to three weak spots in their security. “We need to figure out paths to our objectives, located here and here.”
As the Lambda-class T-4a moved on its final approach into the stern hangar of the Eye of the Abyss, a heated conversation echoed through the halls as two cloaked figures moved towards it.
“I won’t have THAT thing on this ship! He is to leave and can go to one of the other vessels, Adept Caesus.” Hangar crews and training officers rushed past to prepare for the arrival of a batch of fresh Academy graduates.
“Rollmaster, he is a wise and knowledgeable person. One I count as an ally, why should I not use his mind for the betterment of Arcona?” the Adept’s voice seemed to be flux with the Force, as no echo of it reverberated through the metallic hallway.
Before them, a set of heavy doors hissed open and the two could see an old but stately shuttle, bearing Academy markings make a half turn and gently settle down upon the deck plates. The training officer gulped as he saw who had shown up to greet the shipment and checked his roster to see if there was a special student amongst the new members.
As the neat row of students, ten in total filed out of the shuttle, Andrelious threw one last remark towards Timeros, “He’s a servant of a damned Jedi, for Force’s sake!”
I suggest you don’t insult the Headmaster in his presence, Rollmaster. Do remember that said Jedi is a member of the Dark Council and has access to the closed archives of the Shadow Academy.”
As the training officer nodded to himself and signed off on the documents needed to accept charge of the fresh Arconans, a hissing sound could be heard. Slowly a power chair made its way down the ramp, carrying upon it a leg-less Neti, sitting in a classic meditation pose. Darkness flowing around him, the Epis guided the modified power chair to hover before Adept Caesus, before bowing in a respecting manner.
“Adept, an honour to be by your side once more. I do apologise for the injury, a sparring session with my Councillor turned heated. Don’t worry however, they’ll have grown back in about 5 months.”
Knowing that by ignoring Andrelious’ presence any longer would both annoy him and create issues, the quadrocentarian decided to just go for broke and acknowledged the Rollmaster with merely a glance. It was no secret here that the Headmaster had set his sights on bringing back Academy oversight to the Rollmaster position.
“Now then, you need me to do something Adept Caesus?” The Epis turned his full attention back towards the mecha-chair housing Timeros’ holoprojector.
“Are you trying to make us fail?”
“Weeeeeelll,” Strategos set down the toolkit with a heavy sigh, trying to ignore the strain in his arms. “I won’t pretend the thought hadn’t crossed my mind. It’s been almost two days since I last had a drink.”
“You’ve been here for three weeks and the bar has a no-alcohol policy. How did y - actually, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”
“Let’s just say my toolkit is heavy for a reason.”
“Anyway,” Timeros sighed, his exasperation not quite audible, “for future reference, a hydrospanner is a piece of equipment. It is not something in communications equipment that can break.”
“Well, how was I supposed to know?”
“It was in the briefing, brother.” Timeros crouched down in front of the ventilation panel and held out his hand as he inspecting the screws. His fellow Arconae obliged him by handing him the first piece of equipment he could locate within his the toolkit.
“Well, I didn’t read it.”
“How did you...you helped write the briefing! And what is - oh, never mind.” Strategos felt a sudden surge of Dark Side energies - not, itself, an unusual occurrence on the One Sith mining platform. The bolts began to unscrew themselves before the panel floated neatly to a side.
“So?” Strategos asked, faintly surprised. “I write lots of things. Briefings, editorials, your mother’s eulogy...I don’t remember any of them.”
“I would be offended if that wasn’t true. All right,” Timeros stood up. “We’re done here. Let’s get to comms. We’ve got to be there repairing the backup intercom system when the attack starts.”
“Hm?” Strategos grunted, lifting up the toolkit. “How do we know it’s broken?”
“I tossed a hydrospanner in them last week.”
“Ah!” the other Elder grinned, triumphantly. “Of course, the hydrospanner!”
“You don’t know what a hydrospanner is, do you?”
Kalon ran his eyes over the XJ X-wing sitting silently before him. It was certainly not his favourite starfighter to fly but it would suffice for the coming engagement. Around him, the pilots of Void Squadron did the same, all dressed in their fully-enclosed flight suits, helmets by the ready. So busy was the Warrior inspecting his ship that he failed to notice the figure approaching from behind until he had begun speaking.
“Kalon. Might I have a word?” Asked Nikola, the cold cybernetic eye easily caught the Mandalorian’s attention as he turned around.
“Yes, Commander.” Replied Kalon, crossing his arms as he met the Dark Jedi Knight’s artificial stare with one of his own.
“You’re going to be my wingman for this operation. As such I expect you to cover my ass and not fall behind.”
Kalon didn’t reply immediately, instead he took the time to glance back at the waiting starfighter, just to double check that she was ready for the approaching conflict. Finally, he turned back to the waiting Commander, a slight smirk on the edge of his lips.
“You can count on it. I may even show you a trick or too.”
“Right.” Muttered Nikola, shaking his head as he began walking to his own starfighter, leaving Kalon alone to complete his visual checks on the X-wing. Though it was a rather quick conversation, he guessed that if all went well then the two would have more to speak about later.
Once his inspection was completed the Sith Warrior wasted little time. He made sure his helmet was attached to his life support system before slipping it on, adjusting the vital piece of equipment until it fit perfectly. He swiftly strode to the ladder besides the cockpit and started to climb, leaping into his seat as he reached the top step.
With the assistance of several navy techs, Kalon strapped himself into the pilot’s chair. He noticed several other pilots around him were also at that stage whilst others still took the time to converse amongst each other, or inspect their fighter like he had done. As the last strap was tightened the techs scurried off of the X-wing and backed the ladder away, leaving the Mandalorian free to begin his pre-flight checks.
“Let’s see if you work like I want you to.” He thought as he flicked several switches, going over the list in his head as men followed similar procedures all around him.
Nadrin perched on the nose of his XJ and watched the other members of the squad go about their checks, the various superstitions and other habits being exercised before the shooting began. He allowed himself a derisory smirk beneath the mask that he wore, shaking his head minutely at the whole debacle before turning his attention inwards, preparing himself mentally for what was to come. As the senior Force user in the squad, the duty of operating and maintaining the squad’s force meld fell to him, and even though they wouldn’t need it for the mission as the XJs didn’t require comm silence, he and Valtiere had discussed it and had decided to use the mission as an opportunity to practice more with the meld. In particular, it would give some of the newer members of the squad who were not familiar with it a chance to become used to utilising it.
Right, let’s get this meld started.
Reaching out mentally, Nadrin forcefully pulled each of the members of the squad into the meld he had created, linking them all telepathically and, he noticed with a grin, surprising one or two of them as they were introduced to the meld. With the connections forged, Nadrin turned his attention away from that and stood up on top of his fighter, casting an eye over the assembled squadron and using the Force to enhance his voice slightly as he began to speak.
“For those of you unfamiliar with the sensation, that was me joining us altogether in a Force meld. This is standard operating procedure for Void and as such we will be using this mission to get you all used to it a bit more. Anyone who uses their comm unit during the mission will lose their tongue upon our inevitable victory; learn to use the meld or stop wasting our time. If you have any questions about the meld, ask them now…or don’t, your choice.”
The threat hanging heavy in the air, Nadrin sat back on the nose of his ship and closed his eyes, preparing himself for the coming fight.
Imperial-II Class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
So far Nath felt impatient, she watched as Riverche and Celahir left to find Teroch, something nagged in the back of her mind, she knew they wouldn’t find him, but she only remembered hearing what the Leader of SoulFire was doing in passing.
Her eyes drifted lazily from the now closing door to the others. Juda and Maaks seemed to be getting along well enough, still talking even after their companion had departed. Then she turned her attention to Vynn, he was silent, though she got the impression it was only because herself and Azasell were also quiet.
The Iridonian could not sit any longer, instead she rose up and began pacing, restless to begin instead of hanging around for a briefing when she knew it back to front, bar the minor details. She did not think they mattered so much but of course she knew better than to voice that opinion, so long as a consensus was reached she didn’t care.
With a sigh the Knight came to a stop in front of her fellow sniper, Azasell. Her black eyes drifted to her counterpart, mercifully he was a quiet type, before she could reach for it he passed her the datapad once again with his pale hand. She took it mutely, and glanced over the details once again. Either way to Nath, Soulfire had a simple yet effective approach to a target.
After what felt like a lifetime, Riverche and Celahir returned, not surprisingly without Teroch. Nath settled against the wall as they began the briefing, her legs crossed, and her back braced against the cool metal of the hull. When the Miraluka paused, Nath cut in before she could continue, her voice as always emotionless.
“Why not use all three? Spread their forces thin, easier to deal with, the confusion of it also will make things simpler. If we can cut their comms even better. As for the water, fast and unseen would be best, we can’t afford to get caught there, it would be...problematic.” The Iridonian’s gaze didn’t falter, she looked at the projection of the plans but didn’t make eye contact with any of the other members of the team. Instead the female Krath waited in silence for someone to either agree or disagree with her.
-Imperial II -class Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II-
Standing in a circle in the hangar, the group of squad leaders continued to talk with each other. Weapons slung and helmets in hands, they were simply doing nothing more than having a confab while the hangar crews prepared the shuttles around them. The noise of the hangar was a mixture of heavy machinery moving around, and boxes and supplies being dropped. The squad commanders paid little to no attention to this, instead preferring to play catch up. A burst of laughter erupted from the group of men.
“Officer on deck!” one of the squad leaders had seen the commanding officer approaching, the others reacted almost on instinct snapping to attention as each one turned to face him.
“At ease gents, we got work that needs to be done” the voice came from a human male, the Arconan Army armour sat broad on his figure as he walked forward. Brigadier Hopkins approached the group, standing to his right was his Second in Command, a short Human, stocky of build by the name of Y’lat.
As the group waited for him to join them, instead he allowed them to circle around him waiting for orders. The Hangar seemed to get louder with noise, as if it was even possible, as troops began filling in, heading straight towards the AIC-4 shuttles..
“Lets make this quick, I hate to hold you fine fellows up from a fight after all,” the Brigadier’s words brought a small smirk from some of the officers and nothing from others.
“Slussih, you get to go swimming. Your company will be deployed to assist and help Soulfire as needed, I suggest meeting up with them before the drop.” As soon as he finished, the man threw a salute to his superior before turning away and heading towards his own men, his squad leaders following behind him.
“Bodlao, you get to see the thick end of things my friend. Your company will be assisting Dark Forge during the main assault. Keep it clean, but by god make them suffer.” Watching Bodlao wander off as well accompanied by his squad leaders, it left his own company leaders standing around him.
“This is going to be hard gents, I expect us to return in time, get the men loaded and lets get on the ground.” his voice was stern as he dismissed his officers to sort out the general deployment of troops.
* * * * * * * * *
Slussih met up with his men quickly, the team were used to being thrown into the thick of things and it seemed that once more they had to go fight a war on another planet. It was something he loved, combat was what he trained his whole life for. As his team boarded the transport he watched as the Squad began to arrive. Though it seemed the team was missing the commander but that was something he knew from the intel he had got.
As he walked on board his men were sitting themselves down into the seats, preparing their weapons and checking equipment, running through a strict check list that had been drilled into each one of them. Slussih allowed his eyes to meet with each member of Soulfire noting them done. Celahir lead the group, trailed by Riverche, Nath, Juda, Vynn, Azasell and Maaks.
* * * * * * *
Bodlao had his troops already loaded by the time the Sergeant of Dark Forge walked into the hangar. Recognising S’nar, the Captain walked straight up to the Kaleesh, deciding to get it over with. The officer handed the datapad over containing the list and numbers of men that had been assigned to fight alongside the team.
“Captain Bodlao, Joker Company, reporting in for active duty with Dark Forge, Sir!” his voice calm as he spoke. His eyes drifted behind the leader and noted the members of the team, seeing two faces missing, but from his own information he managed to name the members that were present. S’nar, their leader, followed by Teu, Inarya, Etah, K’tana, Bron, Kordath, Kyrun and finally their newest addition, Vaardock, who scurried to keep up.
“I look forward to killing some Sithspawn alongside you, Captain.” S’nar replied, sizing the man up.
* * * * * * * * *
“Are we ready Brigadier?” A man’s voice echoed over the bustle of the hangar, attracting the attention of Hopkins.
“We are, Exarch Tsucyra. My troops are currently being loaded and we should be underway as soon as you are ready.” the man studied the Obelisk Exarch for a few seconds before glancing back to the men who were all but gone from the hangar, the whirl of engines began to fill the hanger as the shuttles closed there ramps. Troops and Dark Jedi alike were aboard their shuttles and ready to begin the assault.
“Shall we?” Hopkin’s hand was outstretched towards one of the shuttles that was waiting for them. The General waited for the Exarch to move first before trailing in his footsteps. The two boarded the shuttle, their seating a mixture between Arconan troopers and members of Clan Arcona scattered around.
* * * * * * * *
Major Y’lat watched his superiors marching up the shuttle, the man was always a pace behind, his short stubby legs began to walk double time to keep up. As he finally boarded the shuttle, he hit the button closing the ramp as he took his seat. Hearing the shuttles beginning to take off he felt the jerk motion that came with his own shuttle taking off. It seemed that the battle for Svolten was now about to begin, it was a case for the Major of damage limitation, knowing full well that he would probably lose men during this encounter, like on previous ones before that.
The Arconan shuttles raced towards the planet, hearing the clicking on the outer hull as the armada of shuttles hit the planet’s atmosphere. His eyes glanced towards the Brigadier who only returned it with a nod, their shuttle jerking as it entered the atmosphere.
So it begins......
Svolten’s upper atmosphere
It was a magnificent sight to all those that beheld it. The sight of the Shadow Clan going to war. Multiple black shuttles emerged from the hangar bays of the Eye of the Abyss II, Invicta, Darkest Night and Shadow. Smaller vessels darted around the majestic shuttles, escorting them down to the surface as several squadrons of fighters hared off down to the planet’s surface, Void Squadron in the lead as ever.
The shuttles carrying Soulfire were crammed full of troopers and inflatable dinghies with powerful outboard motors. As they hit the lower atmosphere, they peeled off from the main flight to hover three clicks away from the rig. There, the troopers and Soulfirians pushed the boats out of the hovering shuttles and leapt into the water after them. Their pressurised suits enabled them to remain buoyant in the ocean as they clambered into the boats and the engines roared into life.
130 men and women of Soulfire and their attached special ops troops sped towards the oil rig, three kilometres away.
Nath stared at the looming oil rig, looking forward to slotting a few karkin’ Sith between the eyes as they approached the structure.
* * * * *
The XJ-Wings of Void Squadron swooped down like hawks at the oil rig, lasers blasting away at the AA guns that blazed back at the skilled pilots of Qel-Droma.
Valtiere and Kalon buzzed past the platform, crimson laser bolts stitching a path along the plasteel and slicing through three One Sith troopers that were unfortunate to be in the way.
Nadrin’s voice echoed through Nikola’s mind, alerting the Squadron Commander. Tulwar, this is Mask. We seem to be holding their attention. Signal Hopkins and let him know they can commence the drop.
Valtiere flicked a switch and sent a coded transmission burst to the assembled Arconan shuttles swooping down from orbit and flying low across the water. His one deviation from not using communications as ordered by the young Arconae.
* * * * * * *
“Sir, we have a go!” The Corporal responsible for the communication gear for the command squad piped up. “Void have said we have a clear enough approach to drop.”
“Very well,” Hopkins looked over at Sanguinius who nodded in reply. “Alert all shuttles, we’re going in.”
The Brigadier shifted uncomfortably in his pressurised suit of armour that he and his men had been forced to wear. “I look forward to wiping out these smug sons of banthas.” the older man joked to the Exarch.
Sanguinius grinned and responded in kind, “I’m sure our friendly Praetor here will enjoy ‘educating’ the unwashed masses beneath us.”
Ood Bnar fiddled with the controls of the hoverchair so that it rotated to face the two men and harrumphed at the pair. “You know I ache to teach them the art of pain.”
The Exarch began to laugh, eager to begin the bloodshed.
* * * * * * *
The lighting in the shuttle went out, to be replaced with dull red lighting that bathed the interior of the craft. S’nar looked at the woman in front of him, Inarya, who grinned back at him and coyly winked, unconcerned by the danger looming before them.
“Worried?” she whispered over a private channel on the intercom inside the protective suits.
S’nar snorted in derision, “Not in the slightest.”
Inarya laughed, her voice carried over the coms. “Good to hear.”
The Kaleesh turned his head to look at the rest of Dark Forge. A burly middle-aged Sergeant moved towards the Battleteam leader and tapped him on the shoulder. “Two minutes until we drop! When the green light goes on, you go down the ropes, one by one. Ten seconds after each other. When you hit the ground, disconnect from the ropes and get the hell to cover, you’ll have an unfriendly welcoming party down there.”
S’nar nodded and patted the man on his upper arm, showing he understood. Standing up, the Dark Jedi Knight gestured to Dark Forge. “Two minutes, boys and girls. Let’s get ready to clip onto the ropes.”
As one, the team arose and began to cluster around the hatch that would open to let them rope down, three at a time.
* * * * * * *
ISD Eye of the Abyss II
In orbit over Svolten
Andrelious hovered over the viewpanel, watching the progress of the drop. This was his first time in command of Arconan forces and he was determined for the attack to go off without a hitch.
His first thought when he had heard about the environmental conditions on Svolten with these distasteful brain bugs had been to blow the oil rigs to kingdom come. Unfortunately that option had been overridden by the Consul and Proconsul of Arcona before they had disappeared on a little sojourn that was so obviously an assassination attempt on the life of Drand Powern, the leader of the One Sith troops on Svolten.
Instead of sitting pretty and safe in orbit, they had demanded that the Shadow Clan assault the planet enmasse, a measure that would hopefully distract the powerful and deadly intelligent mercenary and get them into striking distance. Their hopes that striking the head off the snake would allow them to destroy the body with ease were worrisome to the Clan Rollmaster.
The potential for the plan to go awry was great, too many casualties could stunt the growth of the Shadow Clan and nip their expanding strength in the bud.
Andrelious grimaced and tightened his grip on the sides of the viewpanel as the first shuttles began to hover over the oil rig.
* * * * * * * *
Oil Rig 37
30 minutes previously....
A little red light began to flash on the wrist of their suits, alerting the members of Shadow Gate to the incoming assault.
The Gatekeepers mobilised, moving to their allotted targets, ready to cut the power supply to the defences as the shuttles arrived.
Timeros couldn’t help but rub his hands with glee at the thought of the carnage and destruction that would ensue on Rig 37.
Main Generator Service Tunnels 10 minutes prior to assault.
The heat never abated and as Loki pulled himself through the shafts and purpose built work tunnels it only got worse. Not only was the heat beginning to bother him more and more but the twists and turns in the system had him holding his breath and wincing every time the envirosuit got stuck, one nip and it would all be over. He breathed in a sigh of relief as he came to the next corner and the humming, which had been there before, but in the background, grew to a tremendous crescendo as he entered the tunnels beside the main generator room.
From his time aboard the platform Loki had come to understand that the main generator powered everything, as they usually do, but if something ever happened to it the backup generators would come online and render any assault upon it truly ineffectual, or so he was told. Loki however was not one for hearsay and had spent hours going over the platform’s layout and energy consumption and come to the decision that in a full on assault with the extra power drawn to the AA guns, shields and other defensive devices, the loss of the main generator would give the attackers at least five minutes of peace before the backups could kick in and sufficiently give enough power. Five minutes may not sound like a lot but to the Brotherhood it could be just enough.
The activation had come some twenty minutes prior, he had been working like usual on one of the side vents clearing up a routine blockage. As the call came he moved without a second thought, scrambling first to where he had stored his gear then back along the passages to his current location. He paced behind the wall, counting in his head and calculating the best location for the device in his bag like had had done a dozen times before. Satisfied, he stooped and pulled from his bag the bomb he had managed to piece together from bits and pieces, as well as smuggled materials and fitted it to the wall. By his calculations the bomb should knock out a vast chunk of the wall and in doing so, damage the generator enough it would explode upon itself. In theory anyway.
Satisfied with the placement he activated the device and left the area, crawling back through the work vents until he exited near the sleeping quarters he had been assigned on his first day. They were empty as he entered and sitting down at the table he began pulling out bits and pieces and began assembling a makeshift blade. The detonator to the bomb cradled between his legs, he sat back ready and relaxed, awaiting the upcoming mournful wail of the sirens that signalled the beginning of the end.
The suit was hot. It was uncomfortable and hot and bulky and yet constricting at the same time. Kordath shifted uneasily in it, but didn't dare remove any of the bits to cool off. The last thing anybody in the unit needed was a brain-hungry Ryn trapped in an assault shuttle with them. With how disgustingly hot and sweaty he was getting inside the suit, he almost forgot that the shuttle was going to fly into the atmosphere, and be out of the safe void of space.
A lot of people consider space to be a frightening, empty place, no air to breathe and not many around to help should your ship throw a rod or some-such and get stuck floating somewhere. Kordath liked space because it was empty, because not a lot of folks were ever around, and most importantly, very little to crash into. Sure occasionally you'd hit an asteroid, fly through a meteor shower, or on rather spectacular mess ups, fly into a moon. But it was still safer, he felt, then flying over the surface of a planet, even if it was mostly water like Svolten was.
And the wind! The shuttle lurched sideways as it broke through the upper atmosphere, hitting gusts moving with amazing force, sending the ship off course for a moment before the pilots corrected. Clutching the bars set next to his spot on one of the two benches running the length of the shuttle so hard he feared he might tear through the fingers, Kordath double checked to make sure his comm was off so as not be heard panting in terror. Normally he'd have his tail securely wrapped around the back of his seat, the better to at least feel like he was secure, but it was shoved down the right pant leg of his suit, crowding it and giving him an odd gait when he walked.
As the ship got lower, the winds calmed, and if not for the roar of the air outside the ship, he could almost imagine he was still in space. The Sergeant came down the center of the shuttle, shouting about it almost being time to drop, and everyone started standing. Moaning to himself, Kordath got up as well, reaching up awkwardly to clip his line to the drop ropes that would lead out of the hatch. This would be his first air drop ever, and hopefully his last.
Reflecting on that last thought, he hoped it would be his last for the right reasons. That nobody ever thought he was useful enough for combat ever again, would be a great reason. Getting shot through with a blaster bolt five seconds after landing, that one would be bad. The red light above the door blinked several times, then switched to a blazing green, and the hatch popped open. Lines were kicked out by a crewman, and Dark Forge began their descent, and Kordath Bleu clung to his rope in terror, again glad his comm was off as he screamed his way down to the uninviting and well blaster-lit surface of the platform.
Thirty Minutes prior to assault...
Kanis quietly tucked away one of his last charges for the Anti-Aircraft Guns. He primed the charge and synced it to his homemade detonator. He then looked up at the sky, but only for a moment, he pulled out his holocom.
“Loki. Charges on the AA guns are set, moving to set up tactical charges in the corridors to make things easier for...” then suddenly the link was cut as Kanis was thrown to the ground.
Standing over him was a lightly armored figure who looked down upon him.
“You think you can just break in here and...” he was interrupted by Kanis’ fist impacted into his stomach.
With a leg sweep, Kanis threw the man onto his back and then watched him drop to the ground, using his saber he pinned the man by his shoulder, the smell of searing flesh permeated the air. With no remorse he stomped his foot on the stranger's knee, hearing the satisfying crack as the bones broke and the scream that emanated from his lips.
The Jedi Hunter finally brought his saber up once more, the man watched as the Azure blade was driven directly into his throat and promptly ripped to the side, cutting open a majority of the man’s throat causing his head to be only left on his body by a thread of skin.
The Arconan checked around for witnesses before hauling the man’s body to the edge of the platform, once he figured he was clear he threw the corpse over the edge, dumping the body off the platform.
“Kark...” Exclaimed Kanis as he grabbed his communicator. “Loki, I was almost found out, Calvary needs to hurry the hell up, moving in to set the breaching charges.” Commented Kanis as he hastily made his way back down the path he’d come, time was almost against him, and nearly everyone on the damned platform was against him, it was just a shit day all together.
The now paranoid Jedi Hunter occasionally checked over his shoulder, he was slightly jumpy after his confrontation, but he still managed to prime the IED’s and route them to his detonator.
‘Now for the mines.’ Kanis thought to himself as he casually wandered off.
One minute prior to assault.
The Human’s breathing and heart-rate had increased slightly as the young man began priming the final mine in one of the area’s he’d knew would be teeming with One Sith.
If he made one wrong move cleaning crews after the battle would be cleaning up chunks of cooked Kanis off the walls, ceiling, and floor. In a moment the red light on his bracer had began blinking, the assault was starting.
“Kark.” he cursed as he lept carefully over the last mine he’d placed, it wasn’t long after that when a loud blast shook the walls near the generator room.
Loki had done his job...
Alarms blared all over base and from a safe location Kanis clutched his detonator and sighed with a half smile, a soft click sounded from the detonator and a loud blast rattled the walls as a few corridor’s received massive breaches, and topside a good few of the AA guns blew up, their metal turned to shrapnel.
‘The waiting’ Etah thought to himself.
The waiting killed him. Even more ridicules than thinking about the waiting that always accompanied Arconan Military deployments like this, was thinking about all the times in the past, when he had pondered the waiting and it’s excruciating nature. Etah swore he could hear the ticking of a clock, but there were no mechanical clocks in the room, all digital.
‘Maybe I am just a crazy person’ Etah thought to himself.
Well, that wasn’t much of a question. Of course Etah was a crazy person. Every stint the Mirialan had in Clan leadership ended with a bout of debilitating depression and its accompanying drug use. He would take uppers to make himself feel, and then downers when he was losing control, sometimes too much of both.
A lifetime of drug use, a lifetime of suppressing his problems with drugs and illtemperance, left little cracks around his mind and his heart. The dark side permeating the Obelisk Prelate's soul didn't help matters at all; in fact it filled those cracks. The dark side lodged itself within Etah's mind and his heart, creating self-doubt and harnessing his anger.
The Dark Side, Etah reflected, was not evil, though it could make a person evil. The Dark Side is only for the strong. The Dark Side was only for the strong of mind and body he reflected, only for those who gained true supremacy of self. So the Dark Side tests its adherents, just like it was testing him now. Ever flaw would be magnified, every doubt fully explored in exhaustive internal dialog that would break a weaker man. Only by besting these internal dialectics, could one gain the right to control the Dark Side.
Etah had earned that right and proved his mettle, several times over. But in the middle of these bouts of depression Etah was weak, susceptible to assassination of the body and character. So during these bouts of insanity and weakness, he locked himself away. He experienced them both times he served as Aedile, the time he had served as Quaestor, as the Battle Team Leader of a now defunct team and various other times in between.
‘But this waiting’, Etah silently reflected. ‘Is by far, worse then all of that. The Mirialan thought, winding full circle, back into his original thought.
This waiting before action, affected every combat soldier. It could make a sane man insane and an insane man crazy. The combat veterans’ body tingled and he wiggled his leg with unwanted energy wrought of anxiety and anticipation. When he was in the moment, he was in the moment, but the waiting was another version of his depression. He would just get lost in his head; the whole exercise played to the Obelisk Prelates weakest weaknesses.
Etah looked over to his buddy Kord and Kord nodded and slapped him on the shoulder.
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
As the penultimate AIC-4 took off from the hangar, Andrelious arrived in the area. The Battlelord frowned. A very tall human, dressed in the garb of a fairly new Journeyman, was slouching to one side.
“You.” Andrelious began, “what’s your name and rank?”
The tall human instinctively stood up straight, towering far above the tiny Rollmaster. “My name is Marrek Gunstinson, sir.”
“Ah, yes, Novice Gunstinson. Good work on those Shadow Academy exams. As a result of your work there, as well as your increased presence in our official Holonet channel, I am authorised to grant you the rank of Acolyte, effective as of now,” Andrelious explained, using the ‘friendly teacher’ voice he often used when addressing lower ranked Journeymen.
The newly promoted Marrek smiled. He had not been serving with the Shadow Clan long, having been brought into the Arconan fold by Hunter Kanis Da’aul.
“Now, Acolyte. You will soon need to be assigned to a team, but I am for now integrating you into one of our army units. Take this final AIC-4 to the planet. And suit up. Speak to supply officer Axium about that. Do you have any questions?”
The Acolyte peered downwards at his superior. “Sir, my skillset is that of a sniper. Will I be able to perform that role on this mission?”
It was Inahj’s turn to smile. “Excellent..I believe that Shadow Gate are looking for another sniper, and yes, that’s fine. Speak to Sergeant Burkz. She will be commanding the forces attached to your AIC-4. I’m sure that she will come to an arrangement with you - the ‘Force blind’ among us tend to do what they’re told, when they’re told. Now, you’re dismissed.”
As Marrek Gunstinson headed over to Charles Axium, ready to collect his environment gear, Andrelious headed back to the command deck.
It was time for the Battlelord to hone his leadership savvy.
-Mining Facility 37-
-Darkforge Assault -
The ride was a bit rough in S’nar’s opinion, never a big fan of flying in the first place, the Kaleesh was less than impressed with the joy of flying through an active combat zone. Void Squadron had made contact with the One Sith interplanetary fleet to punch the hole Dark Forge needed to make ground on the facility.
“AA turrets are offline, main power for the facility is down. Shadow Gate has come through for us. You’ve got your window, gentlemen. Don’t waste it.” Andrelious spoke.
“Time to get paid, boys!” Captain Bodlao’s words rang out through Joker company's comms. Joker was comprised of just at two hundred soldiers in total, accompanied by their Dark Jedi escorts. Dark Forge and Joker had one mission. Make landfall, stay alive, and bury every One Sith dredge that got in the way of taking the facility.
S’nar and the rest of Dark Forge had been split up among the shuttles coming in, the need to minimize casualties had outweighed the desire to bring Dark Forge in as a single strike. Every Equite had been assigned a Journeyman.
S’nar, Inarya, and Ktana would be the first to arrive. Alongside a squad of Joker company, they would be the first into the fight, and provide the spearhead alongside Joker commandoes.
Etah and Kordath would come second behind them to provide support for the squads responsible for holding the landing platforms.
Teu, Kyrun, and Vaardock were responsible for providing cover, assisting anywhere a breach occurred in Joker’s lines as they advanced into the facility.
The shuttles finally broke through the fly-zone, two ships lost already didn’t bode well for the drop. Sixty men dead before boots ever hit the ground. S’nar grimaced at the cost but understood the need. Sanguinius would be arriving with more than enough reinforcements to make up for the loss of his men.
The pilot for their AIC-4 activated the signal giving them the all clear. rappelling lines dropped onto the platform below them. the Dark Jedi were the first to clear the shuttle. Lightsabers in hand Inarya, K’tana and S’nar had only a few seconds to respond to the incoming small arms fire. The One Sith were recovering from the confusion of the explosions and began establishing firing lines to repel the incoming Arconans.
They had all been briefed on the dangers of Svolten. This was going to be a drawn out battle for the facility. With the inherent danger if their suits were compromised meant that the Dark Jedi had to operate with restraint or risk any mistake being their last. Joker Company would bear the brunt of the initial assault until they took control of the top side of the facility, allowing the secondary ground forces to make the advance into the facility.
Taking cover as another salvo from emplaced heavy blasters tore past him, S’nar activated the comlink embedded in his suit. “Nath, this is S’nar we’ve made contact topside. Heavy reinforcements are being established to keep us tied down. Could use that distraction Soulfire.”
Svolten Southern Hemisphere
Mining Facility 37
The boats holding both the troops and Soulfire sped along the sea with little difficulty, disturbing the ocean as they approached to their target. Each was piloted by a Force Sensitive to ensure the mines that littered the waters could be easily avoided. Mining Facility Thirty Seven became larger and larger as they cleared the distance. Anti-air Batteries were strategically placed to cover the facility and shoot down any ship that would come into range.
Gradually, they slowed the closer to the facility they grew and eventually came to a stop. The team had been divided into three divisions to cover three sides of the elevated platform; so when they had come to a complete stop, they began the ascent, climbing their way to the podium that surrounded the edge.
Nath remained silent as she hung from the last of the scaffold that held up the dregs of the ancient facility. She could see much of the older and possibly unstable metal had been replaced with new ones. She remained suspended by her grappling hook, allowing her fingers a reprieve from holding herself up.
To her right hung her counterpart, Azasell. The lithe human hung next to the Iridonian silently, to her right Juda. The Mandalorian was also silent, below them a number of the others. They patiently awaited the confirmation to move.
With no warning Nath’s comm became active, the sound of battle assaulting her ears before she heard S’nar bellow over the noise. Both team mates noted the Iridonian twitch as the message was received. She couldn’t reply, the Krath was lucky that the enemy drifting past had not heard the noise.
It wasn’t long before Celahir’s voice came through the entire of Soulfire’s comms.
“All teams in position, you have a green light.” As he spoke Nath gestured to Juda silently instructing him to go.
There was no hesitation from the Mandalorian, gripping the edge of the wall he hauled himself up and over the handrail. As Nath and Azasell made their way up they could hear the scream from above and the noise of blaster fire, it seemed Juda had drawn first blood. Their portion of the Squad was not far behind and had begun to engage the enemy.
Once over, the pair of snipers sprinted to the closest buildings they could reach. Scrambling, they managed to get to the relatively low rooftops; the single level buildings had serendipitously been thought to be used as lookout points.
Nath brought her sniper rifle to bare as soon as she was in position, kneeling behind the cover the rushed construction provided. Opening her comm channel she spoke through the carnage that began to take place below.
“S’nar, Soulfire has engaged target!”
Taking aim she found her first kill, took a breath, held it, and squeezed the trigger.
The fighters of Void twisted and jinked in the air silently, their minds melded, they moved as one unit.
Of all of them, Valtiere pushed his fighter the hardest, making turns others could not without blacking out as blood rushed to their extremities. Now that he only had one organic arm, he could survive far higher tolerances.
Clearing the orbit of Svolten had been easy. With the incredible losses inflicted on the One SIth's fighters by Void and the brotherhood, they could barely muster enough fighters to take on the Squadron. Void had cut through them like paper, rushing down into atmosphere to wreak havoc on the rig below.
Valtiere's face was pulled into a feral grin behind his mask. The thrill of flying buoying his mood as he loosed bolts at any exposed individuals. He also fired on the rig itself, working on turning it into a snarl of broken metal and shattered glass, a hell for the One Sith forces to fight in.
Kalon stayed behind and to the left, guarding him from any incoming fire, and reaping a tally himself. The Ex-commander seemed to remember how to fly well enough, and seemed to remember Void's tactics from his time, adapting well to current practice. Void flew well, ceaseless training ensuring that even the newest members had integrated.
As Valtiere led another run at the rig, he felt a disturbance in the Force. Instinctively, he jerked his fighter downward, dodging a bolt from a fighter.
As Valtiere swung the craft around, the concept of enemy fighters was shared within the mindscape of the Void pilots. It seemed they had scrambled some scant aerospace forces. Valtiere's grin widened. The prospect of battle rather than attacking a static target sung out to him as he pulled the fighter in an impossibly tight turn. Crimson energy spewed from the guns on the S-foils, striking one of the fighters in the engine. The pilot ejected as their craft slammed into the rig. Void broke into flights, chasing their new prey down, totally silent as they acted with one mind, one intent.
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
As Marrek made his way from Andrelious to Charles Axium as he had been instructed he thought to himself. Well, that’s one way to get into the action.
After speaking momentarily with Charles Axium and getting suited up, Marrek made his way to the nearest armory to collect the weapons that he would need. Upon arriving at the armory he requested a Relby-K23 Blaster Pistol, a BlasTech A280 Longblaster Rifle, a Prax-Arms AXM-50, and four Fragmentation Grenades. Marrek holstered the Pistol on the right side of his belt and Grenades on the left side of his belt, then slung the two rifles crosswise over his shoulders, the A280 hanging off his right shoulder and the AXM-50 hanging off his left.
As Marrek made his way to the AIC-4 he stepped into the back of it nodding to Sergeant Burkz before introducing himself. “I am Acolyte Gunstinson, I’m being sent down with you, and I was wondering if I’d be able to use the AIC-4 to set up with my rifle to provide covering fire for your men as they hit the ground.”
The Sergeant would look up at the man that would tower over her at a staggering Six feet eight inches tall. “Use what you need.”
Marrek nodded. “I guess we should be loading up and shipping off then,” he responded.
Burkz returned the nod. “Lets take our seats and we can be on our way.”
Mining Facility 37
The pilot of the Shuttle would radio to Burkz and Marrek, “It looks like they’ve got our platform blocked in with men already, any ideas?”
Marrek responded, “Fly over and lift the back door part of the way, I have a little surprise for them.” As Marrek said this he grabbed two of the Fragmentation Grenades from his belt, as the door raised he would pull the pins, then toss them out to the platform below where they would blow up just over the heads of the One Sith awaiting them, sending Shrapnel over almost all of the men, and knocking over the ones that got missed by the falling bodies of the ones that weren’t so lucky.
Marrek would then radio an all clear as he would move clear for the men behind him to rope down and he would pull up his A280 as the door opened seeing more people incoming he would fire a shot center chest on one of the center men as the shot would then rip through about four men in total due to the people coming up behind.
Etah stood, looking over at Kord as he did so. He couldn't tell whether he actually liked combat or whether it was just a well anticipated break from the seemingly never ending waiting. Waiting in lines, waiting in troop seats, waiting in chairs, waiting on sidewalks, it seemed to Etah that the professional soldier did an awful lot of waiting and he hated it. The Mirialan castigated himself once again for thinking about waiting, he had decided awhile back that is couldn't possibly do him any good or do anything to make the waiting end sooner. But it did always end, to great relief. The end was now.
The words ‘stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door’ played through Etah’s head.
The self loathing he had felt earlier subsided, replaced with a calm but powerful confidence. This was the Obelisk’s place in life, this is what he was the best at. Here he didn't have to deal with dusty tombs, peer pressure, Clan politics, undue criticism or anything that didn't currently affect him. He didn't have to be happy, content or even sad or angry. He didn't have to be anything but a killing machine, feel anything but calm. The Mirialan wondered momentarily if he was a serial killer, before quickly deciding that he probably was.
“Cocked, locked. Ready to rock!” Etah shouted as he stood, moving all his gear into place and getting ready to f@ck $#!t up.
Kord just looked over at his friend and chuckled a bit before he stood himself. He slapped Etah on the back, none to gently and looked at him reassuringly.
Soulfire Conflict Zone
The blade spun in Loki’s hand and smashed into the man’s chest plate, Loki dropped to his knees, dragging the shiv down and splitting the soldier from top to bottom. The man’s fellow soldier attempted to swing his rifle around, but a quick leg swipe had him on the floor and as Loki rose, he scurried to the side of the man's head and brought his foot down hard to the face, ensuring he wouldn’t rise again.
Loki reached out through the Force, feeling the rest of Shadow Gate carrying out their duties or, like him, attempting to join with one of the other Battle teams. He felt Kanis hurrying on his way to one of the rendezvous locations after eliminating a further AA turret, and Loki hoped that it’s destruction would ensure no Void pilots were lost this day.
He cleaned his blade on one of the trooper’s suits and headed off in the direction he had been heading before running into them, as he did so he reached out with the Force and began to further envelop himself in the spreading darkness.
He managed to weave himself through the corridors and rubble from minor explosions within the complex; he paused, holding his breath as a patrol ran past. The darkness shrouded him but even so he made not a sound. Suddenly from somewhere close came the sound of gunfire. Loki again set off in its general direction.
As he neared the centre of the noise he found a group of huddling soldiers trading fire with unknown assailants, Loki dared a look and ducked back inside as the flash of a sniper's barrel discharged and struck one of the men. The man buckled over and crumpled where he stood, a hole burnt in his faceplate.
Loki turned to move back but as he turned he found himself face to face with reinforcements running up the corridor towards him. He rushed towards them in what appeared to be a blind panic and collided with the lead soldier bringing the reinforcements to a halt as they stopped to look at him. The lead soldier stepped forward and picked Loki from the floor by the scruff of his enviro-suit, “What in blazes do you think you are doing, you damned fool? You’re delaying us! Get out of the way you fool!”
Loki looked up towards him and whimpered “There’s...there's too many of them. Most off the troops are already dead at the entrance up ahead, I barely escaped with my life,” as if on cue the sound of blaster fire echoed down the corridor as Nath and Riverche both managed to take out the same trooper. Loki looked towards the soldiers “As I ran I saw what looked like enemy troops breaking through a side entrance and heading towards the inner facility. I was running to find support.”
A yell of pain broke over the radio as one of Marrek’s shots only managed to clip an enemy soldier, but combined fire from the ground troops snuffed any life he had left from him. Back inside the reinforcement's leader looked to his troops, then coming to some decision he turned his men about and led them down a side alley, not before ordering one of them to hand Loki a pistol, “Best be able to look after yourself and kill some of these scum!”
With that he and his men ran off, breathing a sigh of relief Loki spun on his heel and headed back to the entrance. As he arrived he came upon two cowering One Sith soldiers with their backs to him. Without hesitation Loki put two bolts into their backs before opening comms with Soulfire. “This is Loki d’Tana. Lock onto my signal if possible. I’ve managed to buy you some time and clear an entrance,” leaving the channel open he ducked behind the cover and began adding his own fire to the fray, flanking the enemy soldiers hoping none of the crack shots managed to hit him.
Marrek heard the call coming through his comms and responded quickly to the man that had named himself Loki, “This is Marrek Gunstinson, I hear you, I’ll pass the word up the line and make sure we make our way in. If you can make it to the landing pad I’m above, I’ve got an AXM-50 I can pass you, it’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.”
Marrek looked down at the team he was giving support to and called out on comms to Sergeant Burkz. “Burkz, we’ve got a hole over there, and a clear way in, I suggest we use it, I can support from here, but we need to push through while the opportunity is available.”
The newly assigned member of Shadow Gate, often called ‘Gatekeepers’, looked down his scope and saw a man making an attempt to charge at where Loki had taken cover. Marrek exhaled slowly to steady his aim, and depressed the trigger on his rifle. He watched as the blaster-bolt slammed right through the side of the charging-man’s head and the body flew forward and down. It was obvious he wouldn’t be getting back up.
Marrek saw Burkz and her men moving forward through the opening, quickly clearing the path for Loki to be able to make it back to where Marrek was set up, if that was what he chose. Marrek followed the team’s movement through his scope, looking ahead and picking off One Sith as they approached the squad. The cover fire gave Burkz and her men useful moments to get into a sturdy position to fight off the incoming enemies before pushing in further.
The thrill of battle filled the Arconae’s mind as he barrel-rolled to avoid an enemy’s opportunistic burst of fire, his ship performing any and all of the manoeuvres that he was forcing it to. He hadn’t had a proper fight in a while, and so to be part of the dogfight over ground forces was perfect as far as he was concerned. He could feel his squadmates and knew that they too were enjoying the fight, pitting themselves against enemy pilots who would test them to the fullest.
Nadrin brought his ship around, jinking around fire that his pursuer sent his way as the Arconae angled himself towards another Void member who had someone on his six as well. Through the force meld the two of them knew what was planned and with precision they executed their plan; Nadrin dropping low as the other Void pilot destroyed the Sith’s aggressor, while Nadrin returned the favour with a quad-linked burst that caused his target to explode spectacularly, shrapnel flying everywhere as the Warlord grinned idiotically. Sparing a glance at his sensors, the Arconae saw that almost all of the enemy fighters were either destroyed or locked in dogfights with the elite pilots of Void, and so the young man sent a message through the meld to Valtiere that he would be setting down to do some damage on the ground, before angling his craft towards the nearest landing site.
He touched his craft down and leapt out, his space suit pressurised and secure as Nadrin broke into a run, his force senses stretching out to find out where his presence could help Arcona, or where the enemies would be thickest.
Time to do some killing.
Her feet carried her quickly to cover. The heat of blaster fire shot past her face. The booming sounds of heavy artillery shook the ground. She dived to the to metal floor rolling to join her commander. To her left she could see the purple of her student dart towards her.
“K’tana, nice of you to join us” Inarya greeted her sarcastically.
“My apologies Mistress” Her purpled skinned Twi’lek turned her eyes to the ground.
“Better late than never I suppose. So what are you orders then?” She turned to the fresh face Battle Team Leader. She witnessed the male grin towards her before standing his full length.
“You know your orders” He turned away from them and looked down the sight of his rifle letting two shots leave the barrel embedding themselves inside the skulls of a couple of the One Sith that were before them.
I’m starting to like this guy
“Alright Kat. You heard him go do your thing” As the words left the red skinned twi’lek the younger female bounced off her saber blazing as she attacked a group before her.
Inarya stood up unclipping her rifle from her back taking aim from behind cover. She looked down her scope. Allowing her mind to clear. Slowly she squeezed the trigger. The bolts meeting their targets. Their location matching her honed skills.
Through her scope see could the advancing troops of Joker company cutting through the One Sith warriors. Their battle cries and blaster fire echoing across the platform.
After a few minutes Joker Company had made little work of the One Sith that had populated the area before. Little was left of them. Their lifeless and bloodied bodies were the only thing that was left. Above her she could hear the sound of the second wave of AIC-4’s as they unloaded the last of Sanguinius’ reinforcements.
Mining Facility 37
Slussih blinked as he looked over to one of his troopers, running into a Knight of Arcona was something they didn't expect to happen. As the rest of his company fought alongside the members of Soulfire, it seemed they managed to have an interesting moment.
“Did that just hap....” The man spoke to his commanding officer as he looked puzzled.
“Yeah it did...” Slussih’s reply was blunt as he shook his head and advanced to meet with the rest of the squads, following the sounds of blasters echoing around the inner core of the rig.
Despite the slow advance the troops and Soulfire were keeping up a steady pace, though the One Sith was throwing everything they had at this surprise attack. Blaster bolts echoed through the corridors as the sound of bodies hitting the floor could be heard. Slussih sprinted around a corner as he ran into Nath Voth and members of Soulfire Strike team, they seemed have have left a trail of bodies behind them. As he sprinted up, he saw one of his fire teams working with Soulfire, taking down the One Sith efficiently.
Coming to a junction the group saw the stairways ahead of them, this would give them a chance to try and regroup with the other teams and take control of the oil rig for Arcona. Before they had a chance to speak, the man to the Captain’s right was cut down by a ambush, cornering the team in a junction.
Bodlao stood shoulder to shoulder with Dark Forge, the top of the rig had become a warzone. It was brutal combat as the sounds of fighting broke out through the air. His company were allowing the Dark Jedi to take the lead, he brought his rifle up to his shoulder, the helmet giving him constant reports on the situation. Seeing the One Sith regroup, it was to be expected that they fought as hard as they were. His finger squeezed the trigger of his rifle, sending bolts into the crowds, though he was only able to direct fire at either side of Dark Forge so to not endanger the lives of the Arconan Dark Jedi.
S’nar moved forward, his saber coming though the nearest infected target. The team were slowly advancing towards the door. Knowing that they had to make their way inside of the Rig, the resistance they were meeting wasn't as bad as what the general forces were facing by the sound of communications. Inarya darted under the tendril fingers of a infected soul as it swiped at her, she replied in kind, cleaving his skull from it’s neck and dropping it in a split second.
“Move it, get inside now people!” Bodlao gave the orders to his men, they sprinted forward and the first man to the door wrapped his fingers around the door handle, pulled the door open and went down under a flurry of blows. Hearing the frantic screams over his comlink the Captain’s head snapped around to see his front man on the floor being mauled.
Hopkins was being updated every second with what was taking place with his troops. Knowing full well that they were taking heavy losses on the landing platforms, the signs of frustration could be seen on the Brigadier’s face. It was clear that his troops were taking a beating from the One Sith forces that held the rig.
“I need an update now, major!” his voice echoed around from the back of one of the platforms towards his second in command.
“Sir, heavy casualties on the east platform. At this rate we will completely lose all forces over there.” The man’s voice showed that he was hesitant, if not cautious, about giving this information to his commander.
The Brigadier reached out and snatched the datapad from the Major, his eyes studying it as if Y’lat had managed to get his information wrong. He allowed a huge sigh to come out as he knew that the report was right. Looking in front he saw the line of troops that had been set up to secure the landing pad being used as the command base.
It wasn't long before the forces began their assault against the landing pad, it was clear that he needed to make sure he acted fast before things got out of control. Taking the time to look over to his second in command he hoped that the line would be able to hold against the hordes that now approached.
Grabbing his pistol from its holster, he sprinted to the front line to stand with the Arconan forces that had been deployed. The gun line squeezed their triggers, unleashing bolts into the group that was coming towards them, deciding not to hold back instead.
The Arconan troops were now engaged in heavy combat everywhere. It would be a matter of time before something had to give, the main question that was on a lot of people’s minds was what it would take for them to achieve their goals. The troops that were fighting were falling in numbers against the mix of well trained enemy and berserk infected that they faced. Unable to hold the lines the command base soon found itself under threat as the troops were forced back to regroup.
As the troops tried to hold their ground, screams could be heard from the men that were pulled down to the ground and torn asunder by the infected One Sith. It was brutal combat and it wasn't easing up, something needed to break quickly somewhere. Hopkins allowed his finger to gently squeeze the trigger of his pistol, sending a bullet straight into the skull of one of the infected enemies that was running towards him.
Riverche squeezed the trigger and let a bolt loss into the group of One Sith in front of her. The bolt flew past the first sith barely missing his side as he shifted his weight, and struck the sith directly behind him in the chest. Riverche, not happy with the results of the first shoot fired again; this time hitting the One Sith she was aiming at. Vynn was on her right side shooting at the remaining sith that was blocking their path. The soldiers behind them helped clear the path and provided protection from the sith trying to ambush from behind.
“The fighting has gone on too long,” Riverche thought. She was starting to miss a little here and there.
“You missed one.” Vynn shot the last sith in chest region.
“I didn’t know that we were keeping count.” Riverche replied as she fired a bolt into a twitching corpse.
Vynn gave Riverche a quick look as he took the lead and stepped over a corpse. Riverche and the soldiers followed his example and moved further down the corridor towards the stairs.
As they neared the stairs, footsteps could be heard coming towards them. Vynn signaled for the group to stop and set up an ambush near the stairs opening.
Riverche waited patiently with her gun trained on the stairs as the first of the sith came into view. The bolt knew its mark as it flew through the stairs and killed the target. Vynn’s bolt also found a target as the soldiers fired into the incoming group. Once the sith were killed, Vynn, followed by Riverche, started to descend the stairs.
The poor unfortunate that was formerly a crack One Sith trooper fell to the ground with a dull thud, his body quickly trampled by the others that had been infected by the parasites in the atmosphere. The One Sith were not the only ones to have suffered from those microscopic organisms that seemed so intent on causing havoc. Arcona had lost many of their men to injuries, injuries that meant they had to be put out of their misery before they turned. It was a better way to go, to die as a man rather than a beast. It was an honourable death, a warrior’s death. The thought was of some comfort to the human that stepped forward past Hopkins. For too long, he had stood in the sidelines, watching the overall progression of the attack on the ground and liaising with the Fleet.
Now, he was ready for action.
The suited figure languidly sidestepped a salvo of laser fire that would’ve ended him then and there if not for the saving graces of the Force. As he moved, the twin Westar 34 blasters that were always holstered at his waist were drawn and aimed at the incoming sithspawn.
A torrent of orange bolts seared retinas as they impacted like bright blossom blooms amongst the troopers, reaping a toll. Despite the appearance that there was a never ending horde of enemy, it was merely an illusion. The miasma that had taken control of their minds and bodies had simply commanded the battered and broken bodies to stand back up and throw themselves mindlessly forward at the closest thing to them.
Sanguinius’ appraisal of the situation before him had enlightened him to this fact, and he decided that now was the time to act. The Arconan troopers’ morale was failing and their losses also impacted negatively on this. Now was the time to stand as a figurehead of wrath, death and destruction.
The Obelisk continued to move forward, the silvery sleek blasters whining as he unloaded the last of the clip into the faceplates of three One Sith infected, downing them for good. Unable to reload in time, lest he be mobbed and beaten down, the breveted General switched weapons, his relentlessly trained reflexes allowing him to substitute his beloved blasters for his lightsaber. The weapon flared into life, a beam of rich aquamarine plasma that speared out and swiftly bisected a charging opponent.
The Niman user, ever the diplomat, had been trained to study his surroundings and location and use them to his advantage without using more than the minimum effort required to complete his mission. His time as Quaestor had also allowed Sanguinius the opportunity to dabble in other forms of lightsaber combat by training with his fellow blademasters in the Shadow Clan.
Ducking beneath a clumsy swipe that if it had connected, would’ve dislocated his jaw, Sanguinius rammed his blade up into the throat of the enemy. Green eyes widened in pain and surprise as the Anaxsi pushed the man off his saber and slashed the right hand off of an offending limb that brandished a rather large combat knife.
Determined not to let his fellow educator down, Ood Bnar, the crazed Neti that had a long history with the Exarch, maneuvered his hover chair forward and unleashed a couple of ethereal blasts of energy that smashed bone and pulverised flesh. The treelike being laughed, the laughter sounding like a deep booming that pervaded the ears of all present.
Buoyed up by the example of the two veteran Equites, the remaining soldiers’ moral was bolstered and they let out a rousing cheer as they moved forward as one, shooting, clubbing and cutting down all that stood in their way.
* * * * * *
Hopkins shouted a intelligible war cry as he charged forward and bayoneted some poor sod who was too stupid to run away. The Brigadier’s fear of failure had turned into elation as his troops streamed into the depths of the rig, fighting alongside Sanguinius, Ood, S’nar, Inarya, Etah and the others of Dark Forge.
His com-link beeped, commanding his attention. “Brigadier, we’re inside the facility, secure the landing pads and establish a perimeter.” The Entar ordered as he led a squad of men down a corridor.
The relieved officer replied, “Understood and obeyed, General.” Turning to look at Y’lat, he conveyed the orders and posted the remnants of several squads around the landing pads and entrances to the main structure.
* * * * * * *
Movement off to the Anaxsi’s right made him dive for cover and his accompanying squad members move forward as several black suited humanoids rounded a corner. Blasters were raised on both sides and challenges issued, only to be answered suitably and happily.
Sanguinius sheepishly pushed himself up out of cover and advanced to clasp forearms with one of the strangers. “Good to see you, Nath.” the smile on the Assassin's face was genuine as he greeted his friend.
“Good to see you too, Sang.” The Zabrak responded, “I see we’re close to finishing off these One Sith di’kuts. Shall we finish them together?”
“Not without us you’re not.” A voice interjected, “Dark Forge’s honour would be impugned if we weren’t there to see the end of this.” S’nar appeared out of the smoky gloom of a corridor. With him were the rest of Dark Forge.
The Exarch was pleased to see his new student, Vaardock, was still alive. He would commend S’nar on keeping an eye on the newcomer after this was all over.
“Completely understandable, Sergeant. Shall we lead the way?” Sanguinius gestured towards the one corridor that had not had a Brotherhood presence in it yet. The corridor that lead to the heart of the facility where whatever cursed thing the One Sith was desperate to secure would be taken for the glory of the Shadow Clan to be used to bargain with the Dark Council for preferred treatment on Svolten.
Slowly the sun rose … or perhaps someone turned on a floodlight … or some weird chemi….. OOH to hell with it: IT SUDDENLY GOT VERY BRIGHT FOR SOME ODD REASON.
“Hmm, wonder how much the dry cleaning cost is going to be for this suit.” Ood muttered, looking down at his costume, soaked as it was with brain matter and blood, it still seemed two or three sizes too small, “SAANG! My suit itches! Why am I wearing it again? Not as if I have a centralised nervous system or even a brain… for that matter, I’m a Neti, that means no real organs. Did anyone check if this thing affects us?”
“And how do you suggest we do that?” Nath moaned back, growing tired at the old Praetor’s whining, all the while enjoying the sensations Sanguinius let into the Force as the old Neti proved that old cantankerous bastards exist, and the older, the worse they are. Ood had had 400+ years to study on his annoyance levels, hell it seemed even the little one. S’nar or something like that, was getting ready to gut the old one. Only reason they hadn’t tried to stop him was that his talking seemed to annoy the One Sith far more then it did them, hell they couldn't decide if that last one’s head exploded due to an overpowered obliterate or from listening to the tree talk?
Nath was still inquisitive about it, “Ood, how did you get his head to blow like that? Sounds like a fun party trick…”
“Nath, Ood! Do shut up and get back to it, why don’t you!” Sang growled, sweat trickling down his back and between his cheeks, moistening the inside of the suit even further.
Inarya walked closely to her student K’Tana as they made they way down the corridor that lead to the heart of the facility.She could tell by the females movements that she was itching for another fight. The purple skinned aliens lust for blood was definitely strong. The Letain Twi’lek, on the other hand was hoping for as little resistance as possible. She had to admit that she was getting a little sick of this place now and was very much looking forward to getting off it. the smell of metal and industry was thick in the air filling her nose making her feel sick.
The red skinned female walked quietly, she held her rifle at the ready as the sound of One Sith grew louder the further they got down the corridor with the state of the warriors she couldn’t tell if they would engage without further warning or not. She looked to S’nar for instructions as to how to proceed not wanting to engage the enemy if it was needed. The leader of Dark Forge gave the signal for them to advance towards the One Sith. Taking cover Inarya discharged her rifle the bolt finding a home in the head and neck of two of the One Sith that stood before them. The rest of the team charged forward. K’Tana bounced off her love for killing clear in that brutal way that she extinguishes the life of the warriors that stand in her way. S’nar took cover near her own position taking shots at them with his rifle.
Nath shot Sanguinius a glare, she did not appreciate being told what to do, even if he had a point but she did not allow him to dampen her good mood at the mindless violence that encapsulated the rapidly growing group.
Her sniper rifle was brought to rest on the rubble before her that she was using for cover. The world around her phased away as her concentration through her scope came to the forefront. The Iridonian’s world became narrowed but clearer as she primed her weapon, pulling back the bolt she lined up her shot.
In quick succession she fired, primed the bolt, and fired again, clearing the way ahead as best she could with the limited ammo available to her. She had used the majority of it to get her and Soulfire Strike Team this far.
With a sigh she looked across to check on Azasell, he was already watching her, waiting for her confirmation.
“We’re clear for the moment.” She relayed the information to the rest of the medley of Brotherhood members that were dotted about under cover with the inbuilt comm in her helmet.
One by one they began to slink from cover, it was gradual, until they became confident that the area was clear. That nothing lingered in the shadows awaiting an inattentive member of the pack. They were so close they could practically reach out and touch their destination but no one was bold enough to make themselves a target.
Dark Forge took the breach of the doors, Soulfire provided cover fire with the others that had found their way to the headquarters. It was eerily silent, something didn’t feel right, it was far too quiet. Nath held her silenced pistol tightly as she kneeled, suddenly from nowhere a flash of black caught her attention, on reflex she shot.
“Kark, Nath!” The Iridonian blinked and looked again, she saw the maintenance uniform, and recognised the voice. She sighed and used her comm to summon a medivac, not even bothering to see if Loki was ok, gesturing to Juda to go.
Mining Rig 37
Operations Room Level C
The assembled Dark Jedi approached the Operations room, the rest of the facility having been secured, every floor, landing pad and maintenance area purged of the One Sith filth. The doors were sealed shut, welded, and the panel access to the door fried. Growling for a moment, S’nar turned back to Nath. She could almost sense the smile on the Kaleesh’s face.
“Nath, did you bring any of Teroch’s surprises?”
“He insisted.” Her response was less than enthused as she reached into one of the pouches surrounding her waist. She pulled a block of puddy from one pouch, and detonators from another. Handing them to the former XO, she backed away, immediately pulling Azasell and the rest of Soulfire back.
“What uhh... What's he about to do?” Ood’s voice broke through the comm as his hoverchair swiveled back moving away from the clearly-excited Sergeant.
The entire assembly retreated farther away as they watched him place the putty at key points on the door, whistling an Arcona marching tune as he worked. Once the last detonator was placed inside the putty, the Kaleesh turned and ran back towards the end of the hallway, twisting around the corner. The Dark Jedi had spread out to either side of the corridor, backs to the walls, and their feet planted firmly. Their helmets had built in noise dampeners, and S’nar was quite sure they would be tested in moments.
“Sanguinius, as a welcome to Dark Forge, do the honors?” S’nar asked, tossing the activation switch to the Exarch. The Anaxsi managed his own smile before turning away from the path of the explosion. With a muttered warning, he activated the detonators.
The resulting explosion shook the entire section of the rig, nearly everyone bracing themselves or risking losing their footing.
The Dark Jedi waited for the resulting fire systems to extinguish the fire before S’nar, Sanguinius, and Nath took the lead. The latter’s scope lifted, seeing through the smoke, the Sergeant walking behind and to the left of the Exarch giving him enough space to use his saber if necessary.
The last of the One Sith Officers had been dragged from the smoke filled Operations Chamber and forced to kneel before the assembled commanders. Sanguinius looked down the line. His disgust for the One Sith who had cost his Clan, his Brotherhood, insurmountable deaths and resources made his anger boil to the surface. Every Dark Jedi could feel the rage pulsing from the Anaxsi’s body, driving their own emotions to an apex.
The AEF Companies had been given orders to sweep the complex a final time for any remnants of the One Sith. Void Squadron had secured the skies, returning to the Eye of the Abyss II to refuel and resupply should any further need of their ships arise. Shadowgate reported in with no injuries except for Loki D’tana’s unfortunate run in with the acting commander of Soulfire Strike Team.
Sanguinius stepped out of the firing line. Nath Voth, Riverche, Azasell, Inarya, and Vynn Salm stepped forward, raising rifles to their shoulders. A brief nod from the Exarch and the remaining Officers were executed as per orders.
S’nar stepped into the Op’s area and activated the long-range communications.
“Andrelious, this is Dark Forge. The Operation is a success. Mining Facility 37 belongs to Arcona, all One Sith eliminated.”