Dark Crusade: Prologue Team 2


08-01-2013 14:57:55

Welcome to the Dark Crusade Prologue. The following rules are in effect:

1. 250 word minimum per post.
2. 1 post per player, per phase (this will be a three phase run-on separated conducted in 7 day intervals). If a member fails to post during a phase, the team will lose points.
3. Edits may occur on a post until a follow on post has been made (follow on posts include "reserving" a space).
4. Members may reserve post, but no posts can occur until after the reserved post is written.
5. The event will be graded by Raken, Sarin, and Muz using a rubric that focuses on creativity, plot development, realism, and grammar.

Event Timeline:

1. 1-7 January - Signups, Set up starting posts on 7th
2. 8-14 January - Phase 1 posts, 15th = Sarin post, start new phase.
3. 16-22 January - Phase 2 posts, 23rd = Sarin post, start new phase.
4. 24-31 January - Phase 3 posts, and the joys of grading.

You will find the details for phase one here: http://wiki.darkjedibrotherhood.com/view/Dark_Crusade_-_Prologue

Good Luck!


09-01-2013 02:03:41

“Suit up, boys.”

Ribbons of cosmos lit up metal, which cast light on metal, which cast light on metal, in a never ending arc of glint and glare within the cockpit of the shuttle. The jaw of the Avenger II lay drooping. Its teeth waiting to chomp the vessel if it dared approach.

And then there were six.

Adjusting the collar of her coat, Ronovi Tavisaen propped her hand against the adjacent viewing portal and didn’t remove her gaze from the vacuum. She had not wanted to go on this mission - too much roiling bitterness, like alcohol that was too hot, burned at her innards and broiled her brain mercilessly. She was not as enthusiastic about doing any campaign for the Brotherhood. In fact, she would prefer not assisting the damn Lion ever again. But as it were, someone else had pled for her to assemble with them on a typical makeshift team. Squadron. Strike unit. Whatever. But he had asked. And she had conceded.

Unlike her Plagueian allies, she could enter that hangar bay undisguised, simply as herself - many would expect her, but others wouldn't. They probably considered her too washed out to fight. Too dragged down. Rock bottom and the regular idioms. How she’d surprise some and make others simply nod and be reminded of the sort of power that she honed and delivered in each offense.

Ronovi lifted her index finger and gingerly tapped on the blue glass of her eyepatch. Next to her, Tra’an Reith, in one of his many forms, kept his arms folded and his eyes forward. Behind her was a quartet of faceless visors. Nimbus Commando helmets, uniform and steel and uninviting, replaced the visages of four Plagueians and concealed most semblance of identity. Alaris Jinn. Solus Gar. Eiko. Teylas Ramar. Three of them only differentiated by height and bulk. Alaris was particularly highlighted by the blue lekku wiggling from beneath his helmet. He had to be the most uncomfortable. Also, even if his headtails had not been present, he could easily be marked as the shortest of the committee.

Turning away from the transparisteel with a plastered on yet token smirk, the Epicanthix strode up to each of her partners in crime, pointing at the men as she talked. Her lilting accent bounced off the curved walls of the transport, every thread of reluctance and temper hidden in the tapestry of her voice.

“Okay,” she rattled off. “We’re only minutes away from taking on stupid Zoraan’s ship. Here’s what’s gonna go down. Tra’an. You’ll be unloading first, since you’re defense. Solus and I will lead the offense with Ramar and Eiko as back-up. Alaris, you’re short. You’re also extremely agile. You go with Tra’an and support him. Once the two of you run through the pop-up baddies, we’ll launch over you and clear out the place like we’re weeding. That strategy good enough for all of you?”

“Let me remind you, Ronovi,” Tra’an replied, cordially only on the surface, “that I am Quaestor here, and you’re under my command.”

“Yes, well, nice to meet you, Quaestor, but I’m just getting into the role of general here since, you know, everyone thinks you’re dead and gone.” Ronovi brushed Tra’an’s obvious sigh aside and paced a bit. “Besides, my plan is solid. So if you wish to modify it, go ahead and step in now and muddle it up. But only if you so desire.”

Tra’an would do well not to set her off, Alaris thought to himself, his Lekku twitching. He was already wary of the way Ronovi’s organic eye scorched amber into his visor as she looked at him. She may have been bantering, but it concealed something far more sinister.

The Quaestor, much to the Twi’lek’s relief, did not reproach what he conceived to be the unstable former Headmaster. Instead, he nodded, his heavy helmet bobbing up and down with a muffled creaking sound.

“Very well,” he rumbled from behind his metal mask. “Your plan is solid, my friend, and I would expect nothing less of you. Alaris, you and I shall make the initial strike. The others shall follow behind us.”

“Run by the dramatis personae again,” said Eiko.

Droids. Dark Jedi Knights. Stormtroopers. Turrets. The roll call was steady. Not intimidating, but certainly burdensome. It would take some effort to secure the bay, and who knew what else awaited them that was more menacing. There was always a surprise. It was a previous Sith Lord’s flagship, after all. There had to be enough men and women parading as horrid archnemeses to do away with.

Were it not for the silence of space, Ronovi perhaps could have heard the Avenger II breathing harshly, challenging them to enter. All that was left was opening the hangar bay. And the Epicanthix knew exactly who would be eager to do the little party trick. She cast a sly look at the Shi’ido.

“Have fun.”

The look he shot back at her indicated that there would be a discussion later about the difference between their stations, as well as her lack of respect and ever present sarcasm. The look he received in return implied that she didn’t care. The two of them, shaking their heads as if warding away flies, waited patiently before the shuttle was hailed by a communications officer.

"Unidentified shuttle approaching port-side bay number two, please transmit authorization and identification. You have fifteen seconds to comply."

Ronovi's eyebrow arched. She bit back a curse.

"Well, we don't have that,” she muttered, “so this is about to get very, very interesting."

Tra'an snorted and focused his ability on the officer. "The authorization code and identification are on your screen,” he barked. “You will accept them and clear us into the bay."

There was only a brief hesitation before the reply crackled over to them.

"You are cleared for landing. Welcome aboard the Avenger II."

Tra'an turned to the Primarch with a smirk.

"And you were worried," he remarked.

“What? No. Never,” sneered Ronovi. “I have no time for anxiety.”


09-01-2013 21:26:41

’What the hell am I getting myself into?’ Teylas thought to himself as the shuttle approached the Avenger II. Although fear wouldn't be an apt description for the emotions he felt. If he had to describe it, it would've been more closely to anxiety. It was obvious that the rest of the team was ready for what was about to happen; he could just feel it in the air. Since the beginning of his training, Teylas and his former master Solus, both went off on several assignments together with varying objectives and were all successful. But none, Teylas felt, were quite to the level of what was being tasked of them, of him, on this day. The presence of the others was already boosting his confidence.

As the shuttle was making its final approach, passing into the hangar and touching down, Teylas couldn’t help but grip his lightsaber hilt a little tighter. He looked over at Solus, who was calm, collected and cool as always. The others were relatively new to him, but he overheard the conversation between Ronovi and Tra’an and couldn't help but be slightly amused by Ronovi’s attitude towards the group. It didn't seem to be malicious, but that of someone who had been used, abused and burnt far too many times.

Finally the shuttle made its final touchdown. Teylas made another quick glance at Solus, reassured in the confidence of his former master. This would be Teylas’ first real test as a Sith, one he hoped to pass. The doors to the shuttle didn’t open immediately as he had expected.

“Let’s do this,” Teylas said with a little more enthusiasm than he originally intended.

Ronovi shot a glance while the rest of the team didn't even seem to notice.

Finally all the anticipation came to a head when the shuttle doors finally opened. Teylas let out a deep sigh in preparation for the coming moments.


09-01-2013 23:03:19

His fingers wove around the stabilizing straps, taking in the last few seconds of peace as the shuttle slowly rotated around. The communication channels were frighteningly silent, both on the Brotherhood's coordination lines and the few bits of chatter that slipped in from the Avenger II's internal channels.

Eiko had grimaced as he watched Tra'an submit authorization. Something about the flippant response from the Avenger's bridge felt sickeningly wrong. A shuttle lost in battle wouldn't have wandered home on its own. They wouldn't have pushed so close to the destroyer before being asked for confirmation. Those onboard would see that it was foreign, would have scanned for crew and checked the signatures. And those soldiers, Eiko realized, would not be few and far between. And those soldiers would be waiting for them, blasters trained. As they'd passed the turbolaser batteries and the slate-grey hull of the titan, Eiko imagined a sarlaac's teeth. Every bit of this ship, from guts to guns, spelled "trap."

As the inside of the shuttle opened into the hangar, white jets of steam curled up around the landing ramp. Hangar defense turrets swung to face the ship. Patrols of stormtroopers busy sweeping the ship for wounded crew, crew working to secure the destroyer's damaged structures, and Dark Jedi keeping watch over the other groups' progress all turned to see the shuttle prepare to land. The doubt was apparent on their faces, even from across the cavernous hangar.

"Brace for impact!" Tra'an called back to the rest of the team, his knees bent to absorb the force of any impact -- from a blast or from jumping from the descending shuttle into the melee.

But there was no melee. If he had been wearing his own mask, Eiko would have seen algorithms painted across the hangar predicting where those massive turrets were aiming -- he would have had information. But as it was, he was forced to stare at them as the shuttle descended. They mocked his doubt, the fears that were pent up inside him from the disease, the loss of the Instigator in the skies over a now-dead Kapsina...

Eiko kept his saber still and unlit, despite the urge to cut the waiting short. To deal his pain back to his enemies. To fight death with death.

Such rage, his subconscious taunted. Such rage.

"Are we the first here? Is everyone late to the party?" snapped Ronovi, her fingers in knots against the wall of the shuttle.

“Just second," Eiko replied, "unless Scholae lost their way.” His voice was tight in his throat as the shuttle touched against the hangar's cold, glossy floor. As Teylas rose, Eiko released his grip on the straps and stepped closer to the loading ramp. He gestured to the Anzat to keep the saber off, just for a second longer. Just until it was apparent that there would be a fight after all.

What smell still filtered through the mask was pungent with burnt wires and dust. No fear, no understanding.

"They don't know yet," Tra'an noted coldly as he stared up at the turrets as they pivoted back to a resting position.


09-01-2013 23:18:33


A pale face pivoted on a crooked branch neck. White knuckles against tight black trousers. The lips pursed as dark, oily bangs were swept away from glaring eyes.

“Yes, brother?” Reaper cooed back to the equally skinny and dark-haired man in front of him. Frost’s bangs were swept the opposite way. He was perched on one of the high tables in the pilot’s ready room, with his arms dangling across his knees, giving him the distinct appearance of a four-legged arachnid. Gangly appendages draped over gangly appendages.

“Something’s come,” mused Frost. “I sensed it. We’re not safe.”

“Don’t be a fool,” sniveled Reaper. “No one can touch us.”

“Hoo-hoo! Dear brother, that’s where you’re wrong.” Frost wagged a finger at Reaper as he spoke, shifting around on his makeshift pedestal as his nasal voice seared the cold air. “I feel it everything. In my bones, my muscles, my heart. Someone’s come to kill us.”


“Stop whinnying like a horse, brother,” Frost snidely remarked, “and focus.”

Changing from a spider to a plummeting hawk, he lifted himself off his resting place and practically floated down to the floor. His landing was like that of a gymnast - light and graceful. He didn’t break a sweat. He simply oozed a greasy sneer.

“Come,” he murmured. “Let’s find the stupid ape who disturbed our cocoon.”

“And the others?”

“Forget them.” Frost never stopped with his unctious smile, his body still held in the pose of a circus acrobat. “They don’t need to bother with it. We can handle this one, brother. We can exterminate the pests ourselves.”


Sipping a cup of caf and sighing loudly, Bosley the lowly communications officer remained within the control room, his whole body stiff and tense. Not like it was much of a control room anymore. No clear leading officer, and nothing but dense, disorienting nebulae for miles around. So far, they had heard no orders, and no directions, on how to get out of this wretched place. The beverage was the only thing calming Bosley’s nerves.

He did not like where this was going. The former leader of this ship had been crazy, sure, but he never got lost. They had known how to maneuver before - now the Avenger II was just a piece of lump metal suspended in mid-air, not traveling far or doing much. Perhaps the men he had invited in would help them. They had the code. They had to be allies.

Swirling his finger in the lukewarm caf, Bosley sucked at the now damp skin around his cuticle. He then used the same hand to scratch behind his ears, where his cap sat against his itching scalp. Damn Imperials and their lack of both comfort and style. A double whammy.

A different double whammy was awaiting the grunt, however. The door to the control room hissed open behind him. Putting on a smile, Bosley whipped his stubbled face to greet his visitors.

“Good evening, my lords,,” he chirped at the creepy twins, bowing deeply from his chair. “Anything that you both may need on my eugh!”

The word was meant to be “end,” but all the consonants were momentarily strangled out of his mouth as he felt his whole body lift from his chair and in only another split second slam into the ground. He faceplanted, his nose audibly snapping against the slick durasteel floor, as the sound of plasma could be hear buzzing above him.

“You let some moths in, Bosley boy,” he heard Reaper seethe above him. Or was it Frost? They sounded the damn same. “And we’re not happy.”

“But...but they had the code!”

The man shrieked as he felt fire scorch his arms. He was in too much pain to wonder if he had been dismembered. He didn’t really want to know, anyway.

“Poor guy. Doesn’t know what trouble he’s caused,” he heard above the din of his mental agony.

“Indeed,” the same voice seemed to echo. “He doesn’t know what’s in for him. Should we tell him, brother?”

“I don’t see why. It won’t suit him when he’s dead.”



“Too bad.”

“Too sad.”

Finally, the elongated tiff ended and the poisoned words were launched at the doomed officer. “Let any other bugs in, you little runt?”

“Just one more!” gurgled Bosley. “One more, I swear!”

“You idiot!” he heard one of the twins snarl. “That doesn’t make it any better!

Above him, a red light descended like a falling spear. It pierced his spine and filleted his ribs, his lungs rupturing and his heart punctured, like he was being gutted for a fish dinner. Bosley choked, sputtered, flopped, twitched, and convulsed before he finally died.

There was nothing but quiet and cold in the space as others in the control room stared at the array. Reaper was breathing harshly, his hair hanging in his blazing eyes. Pirouetting toward the other workers, he leveled a gnarled finger at all of them as Frost deactivated the red saber out of his two equipped.

“Anyone else want to tell me if they accidentally let enemies into the hangar bays?” he screeched, his voice rising up two octaves in a shrieking crescendo. “Well? Do you?”

They didn’t have to answer. Their minds were opened before their brains were split apart and cooked by red and white. Eighteen shuttles had entered several hangar bays. Intruder alerts had already been sent out, leaving the twins to splutter and snarl about how in the world they could not have sensed it. But the initial damage was done. All they had to do was apply a tourniquet to the infecting venom. Strangle the snake, drain the toxins. And that would be that.

Springing toward one of the turbolifts, the overtly flexible Reaper and Frost tumbled and capered with their hands coiled around their hilts. Their forces had already been been informed. The carnage would soon begin, and they didn’t want to miss one minute of it.


Some may have thought it was easy. Ronovi knew the opposite.

The shuttle had barely landed before the turrets suddenly swiveled back around. As they had eyes and they were doing a double-take. Flinging her arm forward, the Epicanthix flattened herself against the side of the shuttle and beckoned to Tra’an and Alaris.

“Defense! Now!” she roared. “Looks like they finally figured out we were here!”

It would begin to rain fire soon. And with that, the swarms would emerge.

Alaris Jinn

12-01-2013 22:28:11

Two lightsabers burst to life. The orange and green hazes blended together, creating an odd brown light that spilled onto the shuttle’s hull. The two Obelisk started weaving their blades, immediately feeling the flurry of blasts that the turrets threw at the shuttle and its occupiers. This wasn’t was what Alaris had been used to. Neither was the helmet with crude holes cut in the back for his lekku. His head itched.

The Twi’lek tried to put it out of his mind and let the Dark Side take control of his hands. He quickly gave up on trying to deflect any shots back, although Tra’an easily ricocheted ribbons of red off his saber, his visage never changing even in battle. It had been some time since he had been in this kind of position. He was used to attacking, hard and fast. Reflecting back blaster bolts was the job of lesser Equites.

Other than the turrets blazing, Alaris tried to get a glimpse of what other forces were in the hangar bay. It appeared to be mostly deck crew, running like ants to protect their own heads, but near an attack shuttle on the other side of the bay a contingent of Stormtroopers had taken positions behind durasteel crates and had begun to open fire on the intruders. More vividly, however, were the chunk of men and women in simple dark robes, wielding lightsabers and charging toward the Plagueians.

Force sensitives, of all things, Alaris cursed. Hopefully just Knights.

The Obelisk and his Quaestor edged forward slowly, taking a step every few seconds waiting for those behind to leap into the fray. One blast burned past his arm too close for comfort and landed amongst the Dark Jedi huddled behind them.


Ronovi exclaimed her surprise. Her eyes widened. “Keep your kriffing guard up, Midget!”

“Get in there, you damn Wampa!” Alaris’s call back was barely heard over the perpetual turret fire and the screaming of blasters.

Two more lightsabers snapped to life. A subtle push in the Force was the only warning before Alaris watched two legs, and then a body, leap directly over his head and go rushing into slice apart the incoming forces that the dispatched Zoraan had acquired. Ronovi, followed closely by Solus and Teylas, began slicing through oncoming forces. Her saberstaff spun as she twisted, a lethal dervish burning through the fodder before her. Whatever she missed the two flanking Sith picked up without second thought.

The first of the enemy Dark Jedi tried to engage the former Headmaster. The young human was rewarded for his efforts with three swift strikes from the Epicanthix. The first hit the wrist, which dropped both a hand and a lightsaber to the floor. The second slash cut downward, slicing the Knight along the right thigh and left calf, the charred marrow exposed. The final slice ran across his neck, even before the loss of limbs could take the young man to the ground. Even if the wounds hadn’t cauterized immediately, the blood wouldn’t have been able to pool before Ronovi had moved on to her next victim, who she immediately clocked in the face, the cartilage snapping and the bone splintering beneath her bronzed gauntlet.

Incredible. Alaris thought, amused. She could almost be beautiful if she weren’t so damned psychotic.

The next Dark Jedi to throw himself at Ronovi slid right by her after she sidestepped. His valiant effort was greeted by a violet saber through the chest, courtesy of one Solus Gar. Alaris was quick to notice, as he batted away a battle droid and ignored the metallic thud as its lopped off head struck the floor, that although Solus and Ronovi did not exchange words, they fought fluidly together. Perhaps they were regressing to old patterns, from the way one would jump in for the other or trade off swings against oncoming troopers. Another would-be assassin approached Solus from behind. Without even a wayward glance, the Sith swung his blade behind him at a lower angle, catching the Dark Jedi in the sternum and separating bone from bone. With one more pull, the purple blade sliced upward, splitting the ribcage, puncturing a lung and erupting from the pulverized clavicle.

The Twi'lek stole a glance at Eiko, who was dealing with a trio of troopers that had attempted to sneak up behind the attackers. Two were easily dispatched with a single stab each while the third fared no better. Eiko's lightsaber swung upward and removed the trooper's left arm, which was immediately followed by a swipe across the neck that cut his throat and nearly severed his head. To finish him off, Eiko shot his free hand forward and sent a blast through the Force into the trooper's face, parting the last sinews holding the man's head to the rest of his body. The dead man's helmet spun end over end, flinging his head from within and leaving them both bouncing along the floor of the hangar.

Alaris was beginning to wonder how Teylas was faring. Perhaps the newest executive officer, though capable of fending off various foes, was way over his head and needed support. His thought was interrupted, however, by clanking from the TIE launch racks above. His jaw dropped as he watched a TIE fighter disengage from its holdings and spin on repulsors toward the invading Plagueians. Through the viewing portal, he could see a lone deck technician, eyes focused straight ahead but noticeably blazing with the thrill of battle. He was excited about the possibility of murdering the team.

Too excited, growled Alaris mentally.

The Twi’lek spun the black hilt in his hand and stepped toward the TIE fighter, letting a grin slide up his face. His steps turned into a run, his intention clear: to tear the tech from the cockpit and leave him on the ground as a mangled, limbless lump of tissue. His internal fantasy almost distracted him from the sudden green blasts directed haphazardly toward the interlopers.

Alaris lifted his blade in reflex and found himself careening backward from the direction he had just ran, flying hand over foot and finally landing hard in a heap at Ronovi’s feet. At the sight of the Twi’lek’s crumpled body and cracked visor, as well as the ever advancing fighter, she threw up her hands in exasperation.

“Must I take care of everything?” she groaned as she deactivated her lightsaber, shifted it to her left hand, and aggressively marched toward the converging opponent.

Teylas, who had his hands full dealing with a half dozen stormtroopers and a Dark Jedi, dove for cover beside the shuttle upon witnessing the slightly amusing spectacle of a blue Twi’lek flying head over heels and a pissed off Epicanthix staring down a TIE fighter. What happened next was anybody’s guess. Ronovi lifted her right hand, twisted her wrist and slowly clasped her fingers toward the palm of her hand. Her sneer was a twisted marriage of pure hatred and utter glee. Her single organic eye seemed to be filled with liquid amber.

In the next moment, the transparisteel cockpit was smeared with the blood and vomit of the unfortunate tech who had decided that today was the day he tried to make Sergeant. His body convulsed in one long, harsh shudder before it collapsed against the controls, leaving the fighter with no pilot and no sense of direction. The invasion party and the few remaining living or automated souls leapt for cover as soon as they realized the TIE’s trajectory. The fighter hit the ground and gauged the durasteel beneath it until it finally collided with the closest object. That object happened to be the team’s shuttle.

As the fighter crunched into the shuttle, the power generator was the thing to go, sending a loud, teeth-rattling vibration across the floor as it burst into blue and red fire. The expanding air, resulting from the explosion, forced a huge bubble of air through the magcon field, the moisture freezing and crystallizing upon touching the void. The result was a shroud of stardust that seemed to billow from the hangar as unyielding minions were flung from their hiding positions, inferno licking at their faces.

The team braced themselves, scurrying as best they could away from the destruction. Ronovi moved slower than the others, witnessing the display, as though she were merely watching fireworks. The floor continued to shake for some time, until silence finally took precedent over chaos.

As calm once again settled in, the team looked around at the hangar bay. Apart from the obvious wreckage, several scorched bodies of those that hadn’t been slaughtered prior to the explosion lay strewn about the space, like cooked insects with blackened exoskeletons. Teylas, his proboscises twitching beneath his helmet, slowly lifted himself from the floor and gawked at Ronovi, who appeared unfazed by the entire chain of events.

“What did you do to him?” he asked.

The Primarch gazed coyly at him. “Do to who?”

“The pilot.”

“Oh, nothing,” she explained matter-of-factly. “Just separated his aorta from his heart.”

Teylas blinked behind his visor. He first looked at Tra’an, whose shapeshifted face bore no emotion. When he got no answers out of the others, he simply averted his gaze to the floor, unwilling to look the sadistic Ronovi in the eye.

Alaris pulled the now damaged helmet from his head and shook out his lekku, giving them the freedom they so greatly needed. He ignored Solus’ pivoting head, instead taking the time to relieve the persistent itch. He wasn’t worried about being recognized. It was already slightly suspicious that the Justicar hadn’t replaced the Right Hand of Justice.

The group looked over their entry point with satisfaction. Every single person in the attacking party had a lot of anger to vent and this room alone had sated their bloodlust.

The six Plagueians gathered themselves and headed toward the hangar bay blast doors. Before they could arrive to activate the control panel, which would open the doors into the inner workings of the Super Star Destroyer, the doors opened from the other side, revealing a pair of spindly, sallow, dark-haired adepts and a handful of white-armored troopers.

“What in the blazes have you done to our hangar bay?” one of the twins quipped, his nose whistling.

“If you ask me, brother, they appear to be uncontrollable pests.”

“What shall we do?”

“I don’t yet know. What do you think, Reaper?”

“Can murder be involved?”

“Most definitely.”




“I already want to kill them,” Ronovi muttered as the twins pulled the sabers from their belts. “Tra’an, permission to kill them?”

Tra’an slowly turned his head at the Epicanthix. “You need my permission?”

Traan Reith

14-01-2013 03:28:27

With a grin, the tall, muscular near-human turned her head to watch his reaction. "What was it you said earlier? Ah yes, ‘that I am Quaestor here, and you’re under my command.’"

The chuckle that escaped from the Obelisk, and the dialogue between the two companions, seemed to confuse Frost and Reaper for a moment. The twins looked at each other before looking out at the assembled foes, before Ronovi broke the moment with the snap-hiss of her lightsaber coming to life.

"You may indeed kill them,” replied Tra’an.

Frost and Reaper looked at each other and grinned, thinking very little of the threat presented to them.

"Leave the one with the mustard eye to us. The rest are yours to deal with as you please," Frost called to his troops, who had recovered from the shock of the explosion and now delivered a salute. Rushing around the twins, they moved to engage the other five Dark Jedi.

"Leave the ones with the annoying, affected personalities to me. I'll handle them," Ronovi replied, mocking their high-pitched, nasal intonations as she advanced upon the twins.

Alaris and Solus split to engage the wings of the trooper formation, as Eiko, Tra'an, and Teylas hung back to watch. As they did, Tra'an pushed his awareness outward into the corridors, using the Force to determine if there were any approaching enemies. He could sense a background of minds, their thoughts not acutely focused in their direction. There was one group, however, that seemed to be approaching rapidly. Looking around the hangar again, Tra’an spotted the control booth.

"Eiko, see what you can do to get control of the other doors and turbolifts,” he ordered. “We've got incoming reinforcements, at least a couple of squads."

Eiko nodded and moved quickly away from the fight, watching the spinning blades out of the corner of his eyes. Ronovi focused before dashing out with her saberstaff held between dexterous fingers. Spinning her weapon, she approached the twins as each ignited only one of their two lightsabers.

"What do you think, brother?” mused Reaper. “One lightsaber each?"

“Indeed, brother. We shouldn't need to do more than that to crush this rat," replied Frost.

As the Primarch approached, the Twins ignited their white weapons and hammered away at the swift, darting slices and jabs of the whitish-blue plasma of Ronovi's weapon. Proving to be more dexterous than suspected by their early looks, they flipped and twirled, seemingly in mid-air as Ronovi’s saber spun in beautiful arcs of cerulean, barely missing the tips of their noses.

"Perhaps it is time to show these fools that we are more than they think," said Frost.

"Indeed,” spoke Reaper, breathing coming quite easily despite the exertions to keep up with the Epicanthix's deceivingly quick blows. "Let it be so, brother."

“Do it.”


As one, they ignited their other blades, turning what had been a white blur of staccato strikes, into to a flurry of pink as they assaulted the Primarch. Catching an opening, she vaulted backward to stand next to her friends, her breathing heavy as she took a moment to catch herself.

"Not so easy, are they?" remarked Solus, having finished with his stormtrooper allotment. "Perhaps you'd like some assistance?"

Seeing that smirk upon his face grated Ronovi as she nodded sharply, non-verbally admitting to her former Praetor that she did in fact, need his help for this fight. Alaris stepped forward as well.

"We might as well make it an even number of weapons. Our four lightsaber blades to their four. Between the three of us, we should easily be able to crush them." The dry, matter of fact tone that the Twi'lek used engendered snort of derision from the Sith among them.

At the same moment, turbolifts along the sides of the hangar chimed a warning tone as they opened, disgorging several squads of Stormtroopers into the hangar. Sighing as the familiar white helmets moved to flank the six members of House Plagueis, Tra'an Reith activated his comm unit.

"Eiko, any time now would be good, please!" he barked.

The quiet, level voice of the leader was responded to with a harsh, grating metallic sound. If it wasn't for the fact that the Shi'ido had adjusted his hearing for it, it would have been almost deafening.

"I'm not slicing some Arconan fortress with shoddy security and piss-poor systems here,” Eiko’s voice rang. “It's a state-of-the-art Star Dreadnaught. This isn't child's play."

The strain of working on the sophisticated systems was evident in his voice. Despite relishing a challenge, it was clear that the Templar was engaged in a match of wits, as much as they were engaged in a match of brawn. The former Revanite's words came with the whirring and clicking of computer systems, as the masked figure stood up in the control booth above them. The pockmarks in the wall from where he'd used his lightsaber to carve out hand and footholds were just barely visible.

“What’s Eiko up to?” Ronovi asked, looking up for only a brief moment before she squared off against the twins once more.

"He's been working on getting some access to the local systems, keeping those turrets offline, and locking down the hangar. Apparently he managed two of the three, and you know what they say about that..."

“Sorry I asked,” groaned Ronovi, bursting back into the fray again as the Quaestor was speaking.

Solus guarded her right flank as Alaris worked diligently on the left, the three dedicated Equites seeking to divide and conquer. As it was, Frost and Reaper showed off their skill by managing timed, sequenced strikes against the glowing aqua-white saberstaff, even as they deflected and knocked aside the incoming blows from the outlying attackers.

With the whine of a blast bolt, Teylas' entry into the madness became evident as he darted into the midst of a pack of the white-armored grunts, slicing them into pieces even as he redirected some of the incoming blaster fire from another squad. His not-yet refined control of Soresu proved that it was indeed still under study, as one of the red streams of plasma he reflected flew right up at the Transparisteel of the control booth.

Eiko ducked in time, only to hear the zzzzzt of it being absorbed by the defensive shielding around the nerve center of the hangar. Sitting down in the chair, now that he no longer needed to be discreet about where he was, the human continued to work diligently on cracking the systems of the Avenger II.

"Just a little longer..."

His fingers flew and almost danced across the circuitry as they performed to his will. The code yielded its secrets to Eiko grudgingly at first, then increasingly quickly as he found the way of it and then broke it open at last.

"Victory is mine!" the Praetor to the Grand Master shouted, shutting down all the turbolifts, including the one that was currently under attack. He then spoke into his comm unit. "Tra'an, you shouldn't have any additional fools coming in behind you. Once you and Teylas finish them off, it'll only be those two fops left."

The whine of yet another blaster carbine could be heard as Tra'an opened the com-link, return fire of two heavy caliber blaster pistols, and the thud of two bodies hitting the floor were right behind it.

"Roger that,” the Quaestor said. “Good work. See if you can get other information, such as the layout of the ship, confirmed troop strength, etcetera. If you..."

The call cut off as the Exarch focused on the squad of drone-like soldiers retreating around the corner of a shuttle, right into him. Teylas’s broad strokes of his crimson lightsaber kept pushing them back, the rear ranks taking the occasional pot-shot at the Anzat, when one finally scored a glancing blow upon the upper part of Teylas’s right arm, forcing the Knight to slow down as he worked to numb the pain. Seizing the opportunity, the troopers cheered with a singular voice and all advanced, leveling their blasters, intending to riddle the Knight with holes.

The yells ended in sounds of death, as the molten copper blade of Plagueis' leader descended from above to leave the foes in halves, the orifices not cauterized by the strikes leaked olfactorily offensive fluids upon the floor. Despite the death he had just wreaked upon those who would have destroyed the team, Reith was not disheveled or despoiled. He walked over to the Anzat and placed a hand upon the wound, willing the Force to remove it and leave behind flesh as good as had been there but moments before. When the hand lifted, the puncture was gone, leaving the arm whole scarred, yet ready for combat with just a lingering soreness.

"If you're going to learn defense, then learn defense. Don't split your studies." Tra'an remarked.

Teylas sighed and nodded, turning his attention to the smaller confrontation beside them. Solus, Alaris, and Ronovi were not finding the fight as easily finished as they had hoped. The twins were speedy and unfazed, nearly contorting in the ways they bent or curved so that the offending plasma blades didn’t even graze them. The Epicanthix bit back a snarl as she launched herself at Frost, resisting what seemed like a sizable attempt to Force slam her mid-run.

“My, my, brother, these little insects are sure frisky,” Reaper mused as he curved one saber and swung another, battering away a jab from Solus.

“Indeed, brother,” replied Frost. “We’ll have to combine our powers.”

“Tsk. How irritating. But it’ll have to do.”


“Ready when you are.”

“No, ready when you are.”

“No, you first.”

“Age before beauty.”

“We’re the same age!”

“Correction: You’re eight minutes older.”

“We were conceived at the same time!”

“You’ll also be killed at the same time, if I have my way!” Ronovi barked, ignoring the fact that the brothers, though bothersome and overly chatty, still had not let up in their defenses or their leaps.

The response she received was certainly not expected. Frost and Reaper, eyes half-closed, barely slowed down as they moved shoulder to shoulder and appeared to channel a melded Force energy. Feeling her boots slip away from solid footing, Ronovi was lifted into the air by the twins’ joined power. It took her a considerable effort to land on her knee and not on her stomach, her patella audibly complaining under her weight as the bone threatened the splinter under her breeches.

“Little more help here? These guys aren’t fooling around!” Ronovi yelled to her allies.

Tra'an picked up a nearby abandoned blaster pistol from the floor, lifting it to sight carefully upon the twin that was closest to Ronovi, unleashing a fully automatic barrage of red death. The plasma was deflected by twin sabers, crossed to reflect and spray the area with the intent of forcing everyone to break free, and it achieved exactly that.

The resulting spray forced Solus and Alaris into hiding around a shuttle, each at different sides of the hangar, whilst Ronovi was on the other side of Frost's defense, leaving him exposed. Sensing an opportunity, the Epicanthix growled and lunged forward, only to be violently thrown back into the closed door of the turbolift, crumbling to hands and knees from the impact. The look upon Reaper and Frost's faces were priceless, though, as they breathed hard, realizing that the amount of energy it was taking to throw her around was far more than they'd ever needed before.

"These are not ordinary rats, brother! They come with the blessings of a darker power."

“Indeed, brother. They seem to be better defended than those we've faced before. We shall have to be careful when confront them directly!"

"Let it be so then, and let us be quick. We've vermin returning to the fight!"





As the twins were exclaiming, Solus and Alaris rushed back into the fight, separating the twins momentarily with the pressing attacks. Ronovi struggled to clear her head, flushing her body with the Force, the spark of anger and hate within her stoking itself to shine like a burning pyre. After all that she had done for the Brotherhood, after all that she had suffered, to be tossed around like a rag doll at the mercy of these bloody fops was too much for her to bear.

With a roar of seething hatred, power surged through the Obelisk, numbing the pain and enhancing her abilities. It was then that those who had come with her heard her in their minds.

"Lend me your power! Tie it to mine, so we can share and match their combined strength with ours!"

One by one, each of the others opened to the waiting meld, linking with their friend and ally to give and receive the gift of united strength. Only Teylas and Eiko were unable to join with them, having not yet be initiated into the skill of sharing and receiving energy.

Ronovi pulled herself to her feet, grunting as she shook off the disorientation and momentary confusion even though she still felt achy from being flung around. Re-igniting her saberstaff, the Obelisk charged the twins from behind, eliciting laughs from the jester-like Dark Jedi as they prepared to strike at her again.

"What, again? Don't you know when to give up, little rat?”

"Indeed, have you no decency to know when you're beaten? Leave us be that we might destroy your friends and have you for dessert."

As they swung their sabers, they found that their blades hit something solid, as if Ronovi had a shield erected around her body. She absorbed their blow with ease even as she returned the favor, slamming a Force shove into both men’s midsections. It was enough to force the twins to disengage from Alaris and Solus as Reaper and Frost resisted the urge to double over in agony. The reaction passed in an instant as the Force numbed the pain and restored them to fighting condition, though it had another effect.

As the brothers growled in anger and threw themselves back into the fight, working once again to defend against the three Plagueians, the fear within their eyes became evident, and it began to grow. With each blow landed by one of the aggressors, and each blow blocked by the faithful twins, that fear gnawed at them, digging deeper with each passing moment..

When at last there remained only a couple of soldiers, Tra'an disengaged and left the rest of the troopers to Teylas. "Remember, lad, don't get hit, kill as many as you can, and stay alive."

The grumbled reply from the Knight was lost in the sound of combat as the Quaestor grabbed ahold of a nearby wing and vaulted atop the nearest shuttle. He did this in an effort to come from a different direction, outside of the line of sight of the two men giving the Brotherhood members such difficulty. The element of surprise wouldn't be total, as they had to be expecting him, and yet, coming in from an unexpected angle might make the difference at a critical time. Jumping from bird to bird, he made his way quickly back towards the heavy combat.

Eiko hummed quietly to himself, working diligently to access the rest of the ship. Time and again he was rebuffed, and the security for general ship systems was far tougher than what he had defeated to get into the hangar node. It appeared that whomever had designed the internal security measures for this ship was no fool, for each node was isolated from each other one, making the human grit his teeth.

An alarm sounded upon the display, giving the former Quaestor time to back out of a node before it tried to send an overload command back along the pathways. Each additional node outside the hangar attempted to do the same, indicating that someone was paying attention and trying to sabotage him by making the power relay under the terminal blow up. Spectacularly at that.

With a snarl, he abandoned the game with just the map of the next few levels above and below, leaving the station to blow on its own, while maintaining the hangar override codes on his portable hacking interface. Tucking away his tools, the human moved to leap out of the booth, only to be pushed out as the command station detonated earlier than expected, shoving him out like he'd been kicked, and leaving his clothing smoldering. Eiko found himself in freefall, his arms reaching out for a handhold where none was to be found. Thinking quickly, the Equite lashed out with the Force and pushed off of the deck, slowing his fall just before impact. He hit the deck feet first, his legs collapsing under him as they took the impact.

Eiko picked himself off of the deck, favoring his right leg, just in time to witness Tra'an throw himself from the top of a nearby shuttle and into the fray. Using a move calculated to achieve surprise, the Shi'ido poured power into his legs and launched forward, moving along a perfect arc to land directly between Frost and Reaper. The Plagueian Quaestor lashed out with his lightsaber, severing Reaper's right arm, sending the red lightsaber flying. The white one followed almost immediately afterwards, as the left arm was removed as well.

As Reaper writhed on the deck in pain, a lattice of dark side energy wrapped itself around him, cutting him off from the Force entirely. Frost hesitated not a moment longer, throwing himself at the man who had come from nowhere and worked to slay his brother by the simple expedient of preventing him from helping. Rage spilled forth from the twin as his brother rolled around in agony, screaming even louder every time one of the stumps hit the deck.

"You'll not kill him!” Frost shrieked. “My brother shall not perish by your hands, filth!"

Spittle flew across the narrow gap between his teeth and into Tra'an's face, narrowly missing it by a hair's breadth as they maneuvered for position. Each moment that the Exarch kept his foe away from the dying brother, the weakness of the half became more apparent.

"He's in pain, you know,” murmured Tra’an, “and all you can do is scream and shout, gnash and wail, cry like a child. You should never have left him to this. If only you'd had the strength to send him away."

As Tra'an spoke to Frost, the powerful Dark Jedi found an opening and dodged to get around, only to find his path blocked by Ronovi, her amber eye staring him down with a baleful glare.

Reith continued to work on the stress and pain of Frost listening to and seeing his brother die in front of him. "The best thing you can do now is to give up, and give in. If you do, I'll spare him his agony. I'll take his pain away."

Frost refused to give up, working to find a way around the implacable Epicanthix, even as his brother's screams continued. Each one like a nail through his heart. When at last there was an opening the human could slip through, he was once again blocked by yet another foe. Alaris bared his pointed teeth as he stood between the dual-wielding Dark Jedi and his wounded family.

"Surrender. If you don't, he'll spend the rest of your short, miserable life writhing in uncontrollable agony. The likes of which drives men mad from just a taste of it."

The Force amplified the words into something else, sinking them deep into the cerebrum of the enemy. Frost slowed his strikes until they ceased to come at all, his head dropping to stare down at the deck. He deactivated his weapons, letting them drop to the floor. His chin rose once more, revealing tears of frustration in his eyes.

"I surrender," the dark haired man said, his pale lips quivering slightly.

A dark smile crossed Tra'an's features.

"Fool," he muttered.

Tra'an raised his weapon and plunged up to its hilt into into his opponent's chest. The scream of anguish that rose from Frost's throat was instantly cut off by a futile gasp for air as the molten copper lightsaber burned through him.

"Compassion is weakness," Solus spat.

Tra'an turned around after impaling Frost, who remained as nothing but a smoldering husk of flesh and marrow upon the ground. He approached the writhing remnant of a powerful fool, kneeling down to place his hands upon the heaving chest of the amputee. The pain subsided as the Force numbed it, and the snare withdrew slowly, allowing a trickle of the Force to return to the captured Reaper.

"Who would've thought that you both would fall so easily. That your brother was actually a soft, sentimental sap," Tra'an said.

“Indeed,” Ronovi chuckled mockingly.

Selika Roh

14-01-2013 19:49:44

"So," Eiko inquired as he joined his five compatriots, "What shall we do with this one?"

"I want him to suffer," Ronovi replied venomously. "His brother didn't linger near long enough for my liking. I could burst his blood vessels one by one, starting with the smallest, until he dies from the bleeding."

"Why let him die just yet? We could plant things in his mind, things only he could see," Alaris offered. "They'd have to keep him restrained or sedated, or he'd claw his own eyes out just to make them stop."

As the others began debating the merits of each plan or offering their own, Solus saw something. Teylas was moving across the bay from where he had been in combat, carefully stepping over rubble and bodies. He seemed not to be walking, his movements bringing to mind more a predator stalking his prey. The Anzat reached up and removed his helmet, revealing a gaze intently locked on one thing in the bay: Reaper's whimpering form. Solus had seen this look before, and khe new exactly what it entailed.

"If you would permit me," Solus interrupted, "I believe our Journeyman has his own plans for him."

Ronovi grunted in disapproval and then moved to intercept Teylas.

"If you've got a better idea, then tell us what you..."

Ronovi's words were cut off as she passed nearest to Solus and her former Praetor's hand shot out to grasp her upper arm, stopping her progress towards the Knight.

"It's unwise," he said, his eyes meeting hers, "to get between the Anzati and their food."

Ronovi made as if to protest, but then she saw the stern determination in Solus's eyes. The taller Epicanthix merely nodded reluctantly.

"I still would have liked to have ended one of these annoyances’ lives," she said quietly.

Teylas moved past them without so much as a glance, kneeling down beside the disarmed human. He rolled Reaper over onto his back and then cradled the man's head with his right hand.

"Shh, it's all right, brother," Teylas intoned softly. "I'm here for you."

The rest of his words were lost to the other Plagueians as he spoke quietly, his face moving ever closer to that of Reaper. The others present could feel something strange in the Force emanating from Teylas, which Solus recognized as a Force strengthened form of the the Anzati's innate mind control. Teylas stopped as his face reached a point mere inches from Reaper’s, the injured man finally seeming calm.

It was then that the tentacles unfurled from Teylas's cheek pouches, long prehensile proboscises that moved to seek out his prey's nostrils. As they entered Reaper's nasal cavity, the young man's head jerked to the side. The Anzat's other hand shot forward, allowing him to hold his prey's head steady. All through the process, Teylas continued to speak soft, comforting words to the prone Reaper. The proboscises punched their way into Reaper's brain cavity with the wet, muffled crunch of breaking bone. Solus could see Alaris stiffen as he finally realized what was taking place. With his tentacles within his prey's brain, Teylas began to feed.

Solus knew that, ever since they had left Jusadih, Teylas had been forced to survive on a less than satisfying diet of discarded slaves. Without the vast population of a planet in which to stalk, his opportunities to find those whose "soup," as he called it, was of sufficient quality to sustain him for long periods had been significantly reduced. Reaper, strong as he was in the Force, would be a veritable feast for the Anzat.

The remaining members of the team looked on, intently watching and feeling the life being drained from their foe. Reaper's limbs would often twitch involuntarily, and the pain of his slow, agonizing death rolled off of him in waves. The feeding went on for several minutes as the others remained transfixed. First five, then ten minutes. Finally, it seemed to cease as Reaper's life was extinguished.

"Minions of Xendor," Eiko muttered under his breath as Teylas stood and faced them.

"I was hungry," Teylas said with a shrug.

"That was most definitely better than my blood vessel plan," Ronovi admitted.

"Or worse, depending on how you look at it," Tra'an retorted curtly.

"Yes, or worse. Don't go getting any ideas, however. When you're around me, no matter how hungry you might find yourself, keep those little tentacles to yourself," Ronovi warned, her face painted by a sneer as she held her fingers on either side of her nose in an imitation of Teylas's proboscises.

The Anzat Sith merely nodded.


16-01-2013 21:03:30

“Revlo. Speak to me.”

“As-you-wish, my-mistress,” whirred the security droid, its squat head swiveling in the direction of its controller. “What-do-you-desire-to-speak-of?”

The Umbaran had taken comfort in her small quarters, mentally preparing for hostility. She had not wished to be forced into action so quickly. Her voyage to the Avenger II forty-eight hours prior had been wrought with confusion and re-strategizing. The great Archibald Zoraan was dead, leaving them without a leader. They had had to work quickly to reassemble and reinforce defenses.

Not that it had severely hindered their offensive power. Zoraan’s Ailon Nova Guard had proven steadfastly loyal to all acolytes and confidants of the deposed Grand Master. The lower minions, too. Dantella Novae had been close to Zoraan, working with him on finalizing the touches to the poisons and biochemicals that he had used against his enemies. The failure of the Horizon plague had been draining on Dantella's mentality. She had Thren to blame for that, though.

“Tell me, Revlo,” she mused. “Can you confirm the deaths of Reaper and Frost?”

“Not-yet, mistress,” creaked Revlo. “But-I’m-sure-you-have-already-sensed-it.”

“You’re correct. I have,” Dantella sighed. Damn fools. Even when relying on each other, they never were able to get their feet too wet without getting electrocuted.

“What-is-your-strategy, mistress?”

“Oh, I’m working on that,” the Adept said. “With luck, the intruders will be breaching our top level security rooms. If our men can’t put up with them, I will.”


“You doubt my capabilities?”

“Not-at-all, mistress,” intoned Revlo. “I-simply-request-information-to-confirm-your-plans.”

“Perhaps,” thought Dantella aloud, “it would be best to churn something up within these infiltrators before I try to do them in. They’re not unlike me or the others, Revlo. They, too, deal with sinister matters. Only a matter of time before they turn on one another, and I take advantage of it.”

“How-thoughtful-of-you,” droned Revlo.

“You have certainly picked up on sentient sarcasm,” replied Dantella. “Even if you are just a bundle of circuits.”

She stood up to fetch her shadowcloak. In the ultra-violet spectrum, the colors flooded from it, making it appear to blister with unknown hues. She felt her eyes harden in the dim lighting. Easy, now, Dantella, she thought. Your potential must not be wasted. Prove to the others why Zoraan relied on you so much. Trusted you so much.

“You...inspire me...my flesh...”

She shook off the memory of his scarred face. His mad hair. His crazed eyes. He had worn his battered armor like new skin. She had watched from afar as he departed from the Avenger II, eager to take back his throne. And what a marvelous throne it was. One to dream about taking from him when the time came, and he grew weak...

Drawing her cloak tightly about her gaunt frame, Dantella Novae slipped two long, sneering daggers into her belt and gripped the electrum hilt of her lightsaber. With a snap of her fingers, she silently directed Revlo to move beside her as she exited her quarters, in order to fetch the Equites. Two or three was all she would need. They would be the first fortification for the fools to exhaust themselves upon. Then, as they struggled to regain composure, she would madden them, shriveling their thoughts.

She would force their minds to decay.


“I don’t care what the stakes are, Tahwee, or what Mistress Novae says. There is no way in Hell I’m getting involved in this!”

Jok Han angrily waved about his half-empty glass of brandy as he spoke, his booze-tainted words slamming against the air. Tahwee, who looked at his fellow Sith wearily, was armed to the teeth - a saber, a pike, and two blasters - while Marcus clucked his tongue and drummed his fingers against the hilt of his saber. An insanely tall Epicanthix, a hulking Human, and a wiry Rodian, all assembled into a tiny room, where a minibar’s door was partially ajar as tall, stalwart cans of alcohol filled its compartmentalized shelves.

“Jok,” Tahwee, the Rodian, insisted. “There are scores of enemy Dark Jedi clogging up the ship as we speak. We need every reinforcement we can get our hands on. The Guard and our other forces are only cannon fodder at this rate.”

“Frak that!” spat Jok, the tipsy Epicanthix. “Let the Guard handle it. I’m not getting myself drawn and quartered. Not after Master Zoraan got shanked. And especially not after what happened to Reaper and Frost!”

“What, those irritating hacks?” laughed Marcus, the Human. “What’s the matter, Jok, buddy? Pissing your pants since they got themselves killed?”

“You knew how powerful the twins were when fighting together, even if they were enormous brats!” Jok belched loudly and reclined against his cushioned chair. “I sensed their deaths, Marcus. They weren’t pretty. They were filled with agony, and anger, and dread. And if that’s the kind of fate you want to have, then I can stay here and drink myself to death before the bastards who did away with Reaper and Frost get to me!”

“How pitiful,” a thin, strained voice emerged from the doorway. “Jok Han, a coward who’s given up on his quest for power.”

The Epicanthix sat up sharply, while Tahwee and Marcus bowed, as Dantella Novae stepped into the space. Her unblinking stare was enough to humble her men, and they kept their own eyes averted as Revlo glided alongside Dantella’s flank.

“Mistress,” uttered Tahwee. “Is it time to strike?”

“Yes,” hummed Dantella. “It is. I expect all three of you to serve me as we deal with this nuisance. Marcus, you remain my servant?”

“Yes, mistress.”

“And Tahwee,” she said to the Rodian, “you remain my servant?”

“Yes, mistress.”

“You can all blow yourselves up into smithereens for all I care,” grumbled Jok. “I’m not going to be your pawn in this game anymore.”

Dantella sighed. “Jok, you look as mighty as a tree, yet you are as flimsy as a twig,” she murmured. “Master Zoraan would be most displeased by your lack of confidence.”

“Yeah, well, he’s dead, isn’t he?”

Were all Epicanthix like this? Drunk and irrational? Dantella thought this over for only a second before moving purposely toward Jok, her shadowcloak rippling in the minimal lighting of the steel space. She let one bony finger tap the scowling Dark Jedi on the nose, intending to set his brain straight.

“Look at you. Jok Han. A fine Sith in your own right. Honorable murderer. Renowed master of slaughter. Was it not you who destroyed your entire village on Panatha? Wiped out even the woman and children, because they were weak and could not, would not, serve you or us? You delude yourself, and you defile your spirit, by forfeiting this chance to battle. And you know you wish to aid me, or face the consequences of your defiance.”

There was enough vitriol and warning laced into the fabric of her words to spur on a tone of threatening menace, but at the same time, it was meant to woo the Epicanthix. Stir him. Motivate him. Dantella could already sense that Tahwee and Marcus, susceptible as they were, swaying and smiling to the tune of the Umbaran’s enticing melody. She was a temptress with dialogue, a siren of language. She could make any man - or woman - shift gears and respond positively to her opinions and her desires. Dantella had even done the same thing to her clueless husband. Before she killed him, that is.

Dantella did not let herself grin, especially when she noticed how Jok appeared unfazed. In fact, he looked more furious than ever. With one crank of his arm, he flung his leftover brandy at the Adept, hoping to see the alcohol splash on her face and sting her sensitive eyes. But the glob of liquid stopped mid-flight, bobbed in the air like confused bubbles, and then dropped to the floor, splattering in droplets against the slick surface.

Marcus and Tahwee did not understand. But Dantella Novae did. She laughed and gracefully traced the outline of her belt under her cloak.

“Oh, that’s right,” she cooed. “I forgot. You’re not so easily swayed.”

She remembered the risk of dealing with an Epicanthix’s mind, the chain of genetics serving as a fence against even the most powerful of mind tricks or persuasion. Jok’s thoughts, already made murky by the booze, were covered by a dense, heinous fog as Dantella attempted to peer into it. Her hand gripped a knotted hilt. She lifted venom from her hip.

Without saying a word, Dantella let her arm rocket in an uppercut, the blade of her dagger making a strange squelching sound as it punctured Jok Han’s neck. The blood came first, and then the effects of the toxin. The Epicanthix’s olive face grew a fine shade of purple. His eyes bulged, the veins nearly bursting, the pupils fully dilated. He lost control of his lungs, his tongue, his bowels, as the poison snaked into his blood and stopped his heart. He pitched forward facefirst from his chair, crashing in an embarrassing heap right in front of Dantella’s boots.

Marcus and Tahwee watched it all wordlessly. They had expected that Jok would be a victim of Dantella’s impatience sooner or later. Turning to Revlo and casting the droid a coy smile, the Human then bowed once again to his mistress.

“Well, then,” he asked, “shall we get our hands dirty?”

“Yes,” Dantella sighed, pushing away Jok’s limp head away from her as it drooled one last pool of cold blood-clotted mucus and snot. “The Guard will be expecting our assistance.”

Somewhere, Zoraan would be laughing.


19-01-2013 15:02:33

"Kriff everything about this," Eiko growled as he knocked his palm against the side of his helmet, trying to bring his heads-up display back after the burst of light. It'd overwhelmed him, and apparently had caught the others off guard too. He grabbed hold of Teylas's hand as the Anzati hauled him off the stalled lift into the next level.

Above, it was all blaster fire. A roll of shots sailed past the opening of the lift shaft, drifting closer to Teylas and Eiko as they emerged. They each righted themselves and shifted to stay out of the line of fire.

At the far end of the hallway, a mixed array of droids leveled their blasters at the lift door. Their shots filled the space with all the light that the ship's emergency systems couldn't provide. And further behind them, shouting. Huttese, spoken from with a mercenary quickness.

"You couldn't have warned us?" Ronovi yelled across the room.

Eiko unholstered his blaster instead of answering.

Another grenade, this one round and knobbed, clattered across the floor from the hand of a soldier further down the hallway. Without a word of coordination, several hands gestured, sending it skittering out behind the Plagueians. The dents the grenade left in the hall's metal paneling were enough of a threat.

"There were two automated turrets in here," Teylas pointed.

Eiko nodded at the implications. "I need a console," he called out to the rest of them, pointing with the tip of his pistol at the charred remains of the turrets.

Solus stepped away from the wall slowly, his saber ready. Another grenade like a long stick rolled in, swatted back immediately by some unseen force. With the burst of chemicals, the whole hallway dipped in temperature and a half-dozen emulated voices slowed to a whining halt. It would have to do for now. As the others found openings to escape into the back hallway, they joined Solus and Eiko.

Alaris was the first to spot a console through a narrow window in one of the doors. His saber dove into the durasteel. With a rough shove, he pushed the molten locking mechanism into the room and forced the door open enough for Eiko to slip inside.

It was dead empty—a repair room, judging from the tools littering the tables. In the dark space, the blue of a console illuminated the outlines of lamps and damaged droid armor. Eiko moved towards it, letting his fingers hover for a second over the display before he dove in.


Tahwee slammed the butt of a blaster into the shell of one of the frozen droids. They'd saved his life just by standing in the way of the cryoban grenade, but they were otherwise useless. Around him stood the remains of Zoraan's mercenary purchases—Guards, as they preferred to be called—standing like cowards behind rows of now-frozen battle droids.

"Get moving!" Tahwee pointed his spare blaster back at the mixture of guards and troops that had been dragged back here with him.


"Hurry up in there!" Ronovi smacked the wall. "They aren't just going to stand still for us."

"Getting there," Eiko replied. The lift was dead—and it would take more than just one console to unlock it again. The automated defenses for this level were, as expected, separated from the ones in the hangar and some quick-thinking on the part of the bridge had burned out the deactivation codes, locking the defenses on and blocking any manipulation of their protocols. Or, at least, that was Eiko's best guess when he ran headlong into massive gaps of code that would have enabled deactivation. There wasn't time for anything else.

As he slipped back out into the hallway, he heard the smash of a frozen droid toppling to the floor, even above the constant rolling of alarms.


20-01-2013 14:42:51

“Looks like there are four security centers on this level,” he informed the others. “We’ll have to shut them all down in order to be sure we can get the lift moving again. Also looks like maximum security defenses.”

“Which way?” Ronovi asked of Eiko.

“This way.” Eiko motioned to their right. “There are two control points up here.”

“Any idea on what type of defenses?” Solus asked as he began to stretch his neck to get a peek down the slightly curved corridors from the area in front of the lift.

“It doesn’t look good. At least a dozen automated turrets, and too many droids to count,” Eiko responded.

“Solus, Teylas and Eiko: try and disable the turrets as quickly as possible. Tra’an, Alaris and I should be able to move quick enough to shuffle through the droids,” Ronovi issued a combat plan. Unsure of what they would meet the group began their trek into the next, much larger, more open room. It was nothing like what they expected: there were at least two dozen hulking automated turrets standing at least five meters off of the ground, and more droids than the eyes could nearly handle. Each droid, equipped with E-11b blaster rifles, stood in a battle ready position as if anticipating oncoming enemy forces at any time.

The group slightly backed off, trying to come up with a new way to battle the much more imposing forces than they originally expected. The situation was not good, and made even worse by the glimpse on a heightened platform: at least four Sith were standing there overseeing the operations of the security droids. Alone, they wouldn’t be a match for the six infiltrators, but combined with the levels automated defenses, it would overwhelm the Plagueians. And the Sith looked like no pushovers themselves. Dressed from head to toe in battle armor, it was clear that their intention was not simply to oversee operations, but to lead them. It was unclear from their position, but one even appeared to be carrying a saber staff, a weapon that took many years to master. The four were clearly a diverse group: a Twi’lek, Zabrak and two humans, no doubt making the most their diversity.

“There’s so many of them they could start just shooting and most likely hit us,” Teylas sighed.

“What about that?” Eiko pointed up towards the large, high ceiling of the room.

“Plasma conduit. Supplies power to the ships engines and therefore the systems,” the Anzat answered.

“We could try and release some plasma into the room,” Solus suggested.

“It wouldn’t last for long. The failsafe systems would kick in and shut off the flow in this area. But... it would pour out into the room and at least destroy the droids. The turrets... would depend. But if we do this, they’ll likely shut off the plasma flow through any other area we are in to prevent us from doing it again. This’ll be our only shot,” Teylas explained.

“It’s either this or try and take our chances with what, a brigade of droids, turrets and Sith?” Ronovi quipped. “Because as much as I would be the happiest Epicanthix in the world, I don’t want to tire myself out.”

“There are braces and struts that someone could use to get up there,” Tra’an said as he pointed upwards.

“I can do that. What do I need to do once I get up there?” Alaris questioned.

“Here.” Solus pulled a small explosive from underneath his armor. “Put this on the underside of the conduit and get out as fast as possible. You’ll only have a few seconds.”

“What about the rest of us? Will we be fine here?” Ronovi asked.

“If we stay back around the corner, yes. As I said, the failsafes will kick in and cut off the supply fairly quickly, and I don’t think the stream will be able to stay hot enough to reach this far,” Teylas explained.

A nod came. Alaris quickly and quietly made his way into the room, climbing and jumping throughout the architecture of the large, open room. It almost seemed as though it was a staging area for an army: but it was obviously a main point of defense for some of the ships main security systems as evidenced by the dozens of defense droids. Going unnoticed, Alaris made the final Force jump towards the plasma conduit. Leaning under it he placed the explosive device, and then ran the length of the conduit at best possible speed, launching himself onto a small ledge at the far side of the room.

The explosion seemed to rock the entire foundation of the ship. Jets of plasma were streaming out of the pipe, being shoved down towards the deck plating and dispersing along the ground. As the plasma attempted to rise back up towards Alaris, it was quickly pushed down by the pressure of the rest being forced out of the pipe. The rest of the infiltration team was back, seemingly safe in the room directly in front of the lift, could feel the immense heat. Finally when the heat dissipated they all quickly filed into the room to see the results of their plan.

Wreckage, sprawled across the entire room. Turrets still on fire. No droids standing. Two Sith retreating, somehow surviving.

“Agh, damn it, just kill them!” Ronovi yelled as Alaris rejoined the group. They chased the two Sith across the room, making a hard turn and following a corridor down to a smaller room. The team stopped dead in their tracks.


“Knew it wouldn’t be that easy. Teylas, Solus, make sure no reinforcements are coming. We’ll take care of these,” Tra’an ordered, believing the automated defenses they had just eliminated might have been preferable to combat with members of the Ailon Nova Guard.

“Great,” groaned Ronovi. “And to think, today, out of all other days, I don’t bring a flask of Whyren’s...”

The group looked upon the Ailon Nova Guard that protected the two security consoles in the room. The Sith that retreated to them were more than enough, but the Guard were much more imposing. Standing taller than any of the Plagueians they looked down upon them as if they were inferior. Covered head to toe in durasteel armor, they carried Eklots: short swords covered in neurotoxins and made of Mandalorian iron to allow them to maintain combat with their lightsaber-wielding opponents. Their helmets covered their entire head and face, with a breathing apparatus over the mouth, making them appear insectile. The most distinguishing mark of the helmet was the large spiked horns around the crown, reminiscent of the pincer’s of an ant. The four Nova Guard protecting the two security consoles, along with the two surviving Sith would be a handful for the four combating Plagueians.


21-01-2013 23:54:26

Tra'an reached underneath his armor and handed over a small flask to the Epicanthix without saying anything, his mind whirling with possibilities and problems. The look of gratitude mixed with annoyance upon Ronovi's face would normally have enticed a smile or, at the very least, a smirk from the shapeshifter. As it was, the two of them anchored the center of the group as they looked to face off against the remaining Sith.

Their luck was with them in that neither of the remaining Force users were the holder of the saberstaff, each holding only one luminescent cylinder of lit plasma. With four of the Ailon Nova Guard, though, it made them very dangerous indeed. Wordless communication seemed to flow between the four upper Equites, Alaris flanking Tra'an as Solus moved to flank the former Headmaster. Used to the fighting styles and mechanics of their chosen partners, they knew that handling two of the horned demons per pair would give the best chance at victory.

"Eiko, Teylas," Tra'an spoke quietly into the comm unit in his helmet, getting their attention. "Stay behind us until you can move around the Nova Guard. Your targets are those other Sith. As long as they remain in the equation, they can cause trouble. There's enough wreckage in here for it to be a serious issue if they start throwing things."

Each of them nodded. Eiko moved to flank Alaris, even as Teylas scuffled to Solus’s side. Four abreast, Ronovi and Tra'an slightly forward, the Plagueians checked their weapons before moving towards the center of the room, daring the Nova Guard to come out and attack.

They did, and viciously, like rabid beasts searching for a meal. Their Eklots swept the air in venomous blurs, seeking out the soft spots of their enemies, the air rippling from the swish of the blades laced with toxins. Alaris swung out his saber to catch one of the swords on its tip, and his Lekku twitched irritably as the blade held firm against the plasma of his own weapon. Behind the Guard, the Sith Warriors were moving steadily, their palms outstretched as they attempted to channel exhausting Force shoves against their enemies.

Solus was able to defend the more sensitive Teylas against the lower-ranked Sith’s attacks. He, Ronovi, and others in the group had trained themselves readily to handle lower forms of Force powers. As much as the Warriors were formidable, they did not match Elder capabilities, and as such, it was as if they were blowing puffs of wind at some of the Plagueians. It was almost pathetic.

As Ronovi easily split the armor across a Guard’s chest, she tried to cleave a path for Eiko and Teylas to go through. They needed access to the stations in the room, to hack into the security and leave the entire level for themselves. That way, no one else could possibly enter. True, many enemies were dead, but not enough, and reinforcements were definitely a possibility. She bashed the bulk of her saber into an Ailon’s breastplate, watching him teeter backwards but scowling when he did not lose his balance.

So far, it had been a stalemate save for one dead Guard, having been speared in the neck by Solus’s saber. The Warriors, upon realizing that they were not properly affecting the Dark Jedi with their Force powers, had moved to enhance the powers of the Guard. And how "lucky" the team would be, then, when Tra’an suddenly pivoted his head toward where they had entered the space.

“Incoming Guard forces!” he hollered, as three more Guards stampeded into the room.

The initial set-up couldn’t have been that easy, not even as another Guard slumped to the floor after a decisive cut to the exposed jugular by Alaris’s saber. Ronovi reacted quickly, attempting to scatter the new challengers, only to find that her team and she were sandwiched between five Ailon Nova Guards now. The shallow breaths emanating from their spiked helmets, so close to the Dark Jedi’s noses, were almost nauseating. Solus, however, turned his head to look at Teylas briefly just before the Eklots jabbed forward.

Parrying a stab from one Guard, Solus used a slight nudge from the Force to shove Teylas out from between two Guard bodies, allowing him to break free and move more fluidly in the vast space of the room. Eiko, aptly observing the motion, allowed himself to weave past Alaris and Tra’an, bringing his saber up to bear against the Sith Warriors, who had drawn back to witness what they must have perceived to be an easy victory. The former Revanite took advantage of their hubris, whistling for the Anzat to join him, as his own blade buried itself into one of the Warrior’s shoulders, leaving a chunk of collarbone to drop to the floor, blistering with blackened heat, as the rest of the enemy’s torso was divided into two equal, useless slabs of meat.

The other Warrior could hardly avenge his fallen partner, as Teylas let his saber spin in his left hand and landed a basic Makashi cut to the exposed shin beneath a simple black robe. The smell of cauterized flesh appeased him, almost making him hungry again, but he controlled himself just enough for him to jointly work with Eiko. Their sabers licked at their victim’s face, sawing off nose cartilage and poking into eyes, the charred mucous membranes oozing from the Warrior’s sockets as he lost his sight and his control on his weapon.

They would not move to aid their four compatriots. They had another job to take care of. With the Force aid of the Sith gone, the Guard may have been highly equipped, well-trained soldiers, but they had no other backing. Their skills, though admirable, could not save them from the aggressive blows of the Dark Jedi, as Tra’an moved to amputate a Guard’s left arm and Ronovi punctured another’s lung beneath his armor. Nothing but paper against the chosen weapon of the Obelisk.

It had seemed, at first, that the sudden ambush would prove too overwhelming. The Plagueians, however, expected nothing less. The Guard began to topple easily, not even their Eklots getting close to grazing their opponents’ faces or infusing their lips with poison. For what was meant to be Archibald Zoraan’s elite legion of lieutenants and marshals, this was rather depressing.

After Alaris had plunged his lightsaber into the back of one Guard’s head and Tra’an had, deftly, removed the remaining arm and legs of the Guard he had already started to dismember, three Guards remained, trampling the entrails of the dead and ignoring the squelching it made under their boots. The first of the remaining three was of course dealt with by Ronovi, who took her leisurely time dragging from her newfound flask of whiskey before throwing her weight into her saberstaff. One blade first moved in a crescent into the Guard’s flank, while the other blade, naturally brought upward, almost symmetrically divided the two halves of the soldier’s face. The split pieces of helmet clung to the man’s sweaty, seared skin as he fell forward, his breastplate shallowly ringing against the floor.

Solus, on the other hand, already had plans for the last two enemies. Separating himself from the rest of the team, he tempted the Guards to charge him from different sides. In one moment, they were thumping their way toward him like primal mammoths. In the other, they were caught in the oncoming stasis field, as if frozen solid. Immobile, arms stiff, Eklots half-raised.

Then, the Aedile of Plagueis, teeth bared in a half-snarl, got to work. He hacked into one Guard efficiently, removing his head from his shoulders. As he set his sights upon the last Guard, he concentrated more on his strike than on the power of his stasis, which was beginning to wane. Indeed, as he drilled his saber into the Guard’s ribcage, his victim's arm moved somewhat in a last-ditch effort to cause injury, the blade of the Eklot catching Solus in the forearm before the hulking soldier crashed to his death.

Among the smoldering carcasses, Solus dropped to one knee, his lips peeled back in a pain-contorted sneer. The neurotoxins had found its way into his body, seeping into his arteries and heading toward his nervous system in order to wreak havoc. Tra’an, his eyes widening behind his visor as he lowered his saber, hopped over the bulky corpse of a Guard and pointed at Alaris.

“You,” he ordered. “Try to heal him. Stat.”

“Roger,” Alaris replied, as Ronovi sucked on her flask again, looking on the scene as the Twi’lek moved to administered the Force to Solus’s wound.

In the line of Alaris’s periphery vision, he saw Eiko busily working, gesturing directly at Teylas as his unheard words guided the Anzat in his knowledge of the computer systems and his efforts to hack them. Teylas could learn much from him, and their comrades had done well to let them do their business without being interrupted. Alaris pressed his fingers against the gash in Solus's arm, attempting to channel his thoughts along the path of where the toxin was flowing in the Aedile's.

“Sorry, Solus,” he said. “All I can do is slow the poison down. I don’t have enough time...”

“Leave it,” Solus replied. “When growing up among the clans, you learn that pain is your friend. It helps you know you’re alive.”

He got up slowly, with Alaris’s assistance, as Ronovi slipped the now half-empty flask into her coat, her lightsaber still ignited in her right hand. She certainly looked more invigorated after imbibing the gifted Whyren’s, but her irritability was also crescendoing.

“See,” she snapped, “this is why the powers that be are ridiculous to send meager handfuls of Dark Jedi into different levels of an enormous frakking ship to take care of hordes of baddies. How can they not see that it’s like sacrificing lambs at the altar?”

“We are in communications with seventeen other assembled forces, Ronovi,” Tra’an attempted to coax her. “Divide and conquer. Those were our orders.”

“Oh, yes!” barked Ronovi, moving toward the exit. “Brilliant, isn't it? Divide and conquer, and then we tire ourselves out or get ourselves killed before we even get to the bridge. Let me tell you something, Reith - I may like some carnage, but I don’t like it when it’s useless or hindering. And let me tell you another thing - if any of the Dark Council were here right now, I’d show them how their heads weren’t on straight for this awful strategy by taking their skulls off their necks, one by one, like this!

In an exaggerated show of over-the-top temper and sarcasm (the booze was not helping), the Epicanthix twisted her body and swept her saberstaff with her, moving in a vicious dance and she spun the blades toward the entryway of the room. What happened next, well, perhaps not even the Force could have decided on as a joke. For as the cerulean blades whipped through the air, they slammed into an approaching Rodian’s throat, tearing the sinews that held his head to his shoulders as he lost his grip on a blaster aimed directly at Ronovi’s head.

Hearing the hissing of burning flesh, Ronovi withdrew quickly, surprised, watching as the bulbous head spun a few times on the severed neck before dropping to the floor like a limp weight. Behind the falling Rodian's corpse, what the team saw was entirely different than what they had already confronted. It certainly wasn’t as jarring as two annoying twin brothers, but the appearance of a brawny Human in robes, a whirring droid, and a stark-eyed, shadowcloak-wearing Umbaran was certainly not expected.

The Human looked down at what appeared to be his ally’s corpse and growled loudly.

“Was that really necessary?” he demanded, activating his saber. “Mistress Dantella, your permission to take on these bastards for killing Tahwee.”

“Not alone, Marcus,” Dantella said, her voice dry and thin but somehow very mysterious to some of the Plagueians. “They tried to eliminate our forces. They killed Reaper and Frost. We will both take care of them.”

“Something tells me this is going to be a change from the hangar,” Alaris whispered to Tra’an as their three opponents moved into the room.

Selika Roh

22-01-2013 14:53:48

Command Bridge
Avenger II

"Their lift has been stopped at the security level, Lieutenant," crewman Rozin called up to his commanding officer from the crew pit.

"Excellent, crewman," the tall, dark haired human responded.

As the junior officer turned his attention to his seniors at the bridge's security foyer, Rozin caught the eye of his fellow crewman.

"What do you think they're doing, Sterns?" he inquired.

Crewman Sterns, a short, squat human with pinched features frowned at his own display terminal. It showed a group of six, mostly humans along with one blue skinned Twi'lek, fighting their way out of a turbolift and into the teeth of the security level's defenses.

"Looks like they're trying to make it up here," Sterns replied.

"If they're trying to take the ship," Rozin wondered, "why come to the bridge? They have to know that control would just be rerouted to auxiliary control or the engineering section."

"Maybe they're thinking of Endor," Sterns said with a shrug.

It had been over 30 years since the debacle over the forest moon. While the Empire was nearly nonexistent, those in what still resembled Imperial service still remembered. Especially dreadnaught bridge crewers.

"We can transfer control quickly, right?" Rozin asked.

Sterns sighed. "There's a reason we run those drills each month," he said.

"Even with the battle damage we've taken?"

"Don't work yourself into a fit," Sterns warned, knowing that his colleague had a habit of getting overly excited. "Most of that was confined to the outer hull, and didn't impact our command and control systems."

"Oh," Rozin said.

At that moment the command tower was rocked by an explosion somewhere nearby. Both of the security crewmen looked back to their monitors to see what was going on.

"The boarding party on the security deck has blown out a plasma conduit," Sterns reported.

"Automatic systems are already shutting down the plasma flow, rerouting it through secondary systems," Rozin continued, his tone returning to a more formal character.

"See?" Sterns said under his breath.

"What's the status of our security systems on that deck?" their lieutenant inquired.

"The turrets are still responding, droids are offline," Rozin said.

"Send in the Nova Guard."

"Aye, sir," Sterns replied. "They're moving in on the boarding party now."

"I'll contact Lady Novae as well," the lieutenant added.

As the officer once again retreated to the foyer, the crewmen both returned their attention to the visual display that showed the intruders now beginning to engage the mercenaries. The intruders seemed to be holding their own.

"She's probably not going to be happy about having to sully herself with combat," Rozin surmised.

"Who knows with that one? It's just as likely that she'll relish the opportunity to play with them," Sterns said.

"As long as she's somewhere that isn't here," Rozin said with a shudder. "She gives me the creeps."

"Whatever happens, nav should have us a course out of here any time now. Then we can jump back to the rest of the fleet and deal with these unwelcome guests at our leisure," Sterns reassured his fellow crewman.

"Yeah," Rozin answered, "Easier said than done."


Elsewhere aboard the Avenger II, five dark-clad infiltrators wearing Nimbus commando helmets stalked quietly through the ship's lower levels. Like the six Plagueians on the security level, they also carried lightsabers, but these were clipped to their belts as opposed to being held lit in their hands. They carried blades of all types, their leader armed with a pair of SE-14C blaster pistols.

The darkened decks through which they moved were in low power mode, a result of the battle scars suffered in nearby sections. A hull breach several compartments back had provided their entry point, unseen by the copious defenders that now rallied against the other boarding teams. A few troopers had noticed their presence since they had come aboard, but none had survived long enough to alert anyone else.

"As we get closer to our objective, we're going to start seeing more resistance," their leader advised, his voice filtered through the mechanical tones of the helmet speaker.

"That was to be expected," another of their team responded, her voice tinged with a hint of amusement even through the speaker.

"Perhaps, even welcomed?" a third interjected, a playful, flirty tone evident.

"Save it for the after party," their leader instructed the other two. "We've got a job to do. It would be embarrassing to let the Dread Lord down, now wouldn't it?"

Traan Reith

22-01-2013 23:41:37

Six pairs of eyes tracked the trio entering the room, immediately moving into a rough formation, their strongest fighters in the front, flanked by those with the speed to keep it focused. Ronovi and Solus cemented the middle, with Alaris and Tra'an playing the ends. Eiko and Teylas hung back as support, the former Revanite leader already thinking of way to disable the droid as it rolled in, ready to be a lethal firing squad in its own right.

"I think," declared the Umbaran, "that it is a little too bright in here."

The heavily modified maintenance droid was rather unassuming in its own right, moving as it did to a wall socket and plugging in to issue commands. It was only as the first rank of lights exploded, and the advancing darkness encroached upon the invaders, that they understood what was coming. Eiko raced for the console he had operated only minutes before, rapidly tapping in codes to override the command emplaced by the droid.

As moments wore on, the racing wave of exploding luminescence slowed, halting with only a few outer rows still flickering, on the verge of finishing the job, but not quite there either. Dissatisfied with the stalemate, the mercenary droid withdrew its connector, allowing the few dim bulbs to stabilize, adding an eerie cast and glow to the room. Wide as it was, there wasn't much more than twilight through most of the room, with a core of darkness seemingly pulsing at the center, where the dais still stood, if scarred and twisted from the explosion that had ripped through the room earlier.

Hidden in her shadow cloak, the Elder disappeared in the twilight conditions, making it exceedingly difficult for those who were not Force sensitive to pick her out. The four upper Equites had no trouble sensing the power radiating off her, steeped in the darkness as she was. The Force seemed to ripple around her, as she worked to affect her will upon those present. Like a series of waves, they seemed to build and crash against the senses of those before her like the tide rolling ashore.

Only Ronovi seemed to be immune to the powerful presence as the Adept exerted her will upon the group, an unseen frown creasing her face as the Epicanthix glared in her general direction and moved to attack. Even as she strode across the deck, the whispers in her mind had the former Headmaster batting away a barrage of blaster bolts that slowed her progress to a crawl, before being nearly overwhelmed by a blow of power from the Warrior.

Marcus moved to slide the thrumming weapon into a defensive position as the modified maintenance droid kept the Obelisk from moving around him too quickly. As Ronovi’s frustration increased, so too did her speed, proving the old adage about two blades being better than one. With a nearly continuous circle of light, the saberstaff left a trail of momentary light in the darkened room as it battered away at the determined defense in front of it.

Perhaps most frustrating of all, the most frustrating thing for the Primarch was the feeling of being stalled and circling in place, as the Adept moved around her, using the twisted dais for cover as the twin forces of the droid and the fodder Equite were sacrificed as delay tactics.

With every passing moment, rage slowly bubbled and boiled, finally spilling over the top with a burst of speed that served as proof of concept to the saberstaff. With quick and decisive motions, the Warrior was eviscerated, his defense found wanting against a faster, smarter, and far more seasoned opponent. As the not-corpse lay twitching on the ground, frothing blood between its lips, the nimble female had already lay in a course for the droid, deciding to face the Elder and free her friends, only after dealing with the last freethinking obstacle.

As Novae approached those who sought to destroy her home, she wove a subtle illusion of persuasion and misdirection, slowly bringing them back out of their stupor. Taking her time, the powerful Dark Adept worked to craft an illusory ideal that would not suffer in combat and would require more than a momentary lapse to be broken. As she poured her power and concentration into it, the Zoraan worshipper also overlaid her abilities with coordination and improvements, bolstering the focus and abilities of her allies with careful thought.

The anger that coursed through Ronovi was not to be denied. Despite the near constant firing of the heavy blaster pistols, each step took her closer to the droid. Even as it moved to reload the weapons and retreat, it found itself yanked forward, sliding across the metal to the inevitable pull of the Force.

"What the Sabacc?"

Finishing the reloading of its weapons, the machine expressed confusion that its arms would not move, no matter how it stressed its servos. When they finally did, the overcompensating machine found the heavy pistols jerked out of its hands by the momentum of being rapidly swung in an upward arc. It couldn't react fast enough, having worked so hard to break free.

"You should have said, 'What the deuce?" whispered Ronovi to herself with a grim smile as she sliced the head and arms from the offending chassis, her breathing heavy and face flushed from the exertion. As she turned to find her target, the shimmering cloak against the backdrop of lights made the obvious location easy to spot, if a bit disturbing. Standing where Ronovi had stood but a minute before, it seemed almost as if the group was asleep or entranced.

As they returned to reality, it finally began to dawn upon the former Consul that the only reason she wasn't among them still, or probably dead by now, was her natural immunity to all forms of mind control and persuasion; a genetic legacy of immutability left by her luck of being born an Epicanthix. As she sensed for it, the feeling of the Force being used to manipulate a group of people lay upon the air like a thick shroud. It made the Equite shudder as at last it made sense. The delays, the sacrificing of pawns. Too late, though, as her friends woke up.

Groggily, Tra'an re-established his whereabouts, noticing the lighting and that the droid and human were dead and seemingly destroyed by... their own companion? He shook his head in disbelief, as did all of the others. Standing before them was their target, the Elder they'd been warned about, apparently wielding a saberstaff. Solus, Alaris, and someone else that felt like Ronovi melded together and worked to share their power to wash away the fatigue and unease, sharpening their senses and rejuvenating their bodies.

Looking around at each other, the four of them nodded as they fell into what was a familiar pattern, although it seemed easier, and stronger now than it had before. Together, they advanced upon their enemy, the outer edges of Solus and Alaris moving to entrap the Umbaran, only to falter upon hearing her say something shocking.

"What are you three doing? She's right in the middle of you guys! Why aren't you attacking her?" The dry and strained voice of the shadow-loving Umbaran, a voice that was not alluring yet still seemed to ooze charisma despite its sound, was all that they heard. As they looked back and forth, it wasn't apparent to them what the woman was talking about.

"I'm Ronovi! You imbeciles! Don't you recognize the saberstaff?" Indeed, it looked familiar, and yet it looked different. Certainly she looked nothing like the Epicanthix between Solus and Tra'an.

"I'm afraid you're somewhat mistaken if you think you can pull that trick on us,” said the Shi'ido. "We're not weak minded fools that would easily be swayed by such things."

The look upon their presumed enemy’s face was of such disbelief that it served to almost call point to all the oddities in their situation, only to have it smoothed back over almost immediately.

"I will remind you that you said that, when this is over. And I will so do so every time we're in public until you replace my cabinet of Whyren's. I'm immune to this shit, and I'm telling you, she's right beside you!"

Novae's voice was a smooth as silk, the power of her charm being amplified by the Force, or so it seemed to them. Tra'an and Ronovi rushed forward to strike together, their blows falling in sync as they worked together as dueling adherents, their blows in perfect harmony. Even as they moved to strike, the saberstaff went from a still and stationary rest to a whirling defense of plasma.

The combat escalated with Solus and Alaris moving in to further engage their foe, testing the limits of her form, only to watch as she moved from just defense, into becoming an aggressive and dextrous attacker. With speed and alacrity, she moved away from the circle they had attempted to pin her into, leaping backwards near unto the door, eyeing Alaris as he made to follow.

Tra'an put out his hand, cautioning the Twi'lek about engaging without support against a foe well outside of his caliber. Something began to bother Solus about the Ronovi beside him. Not only was she using just a single lightsaber, but she seemed slower than before. And more than once, he'd sworn he'd heard the brushing of cloth against his armor. It was almost like there was something just out of reach.

"Of course there is, you fool. She's an Elder. A particularly savvy one at that. Did you really think that you could stand against such power easily?"

The smooth, svelte sound was unexpected, as it whispered into the ear of the Aedile of Plagueis. It almost caused the Human to twitch his head, a reaction he'd finally gotten control of only recently as he'd gotten used to these impromptu visitations.

"She's using the Force to make you all believe she's one of you, even as she's cloaked your friend in her guise. The easiest way to know is to ask for a swig of her Whyren's. After all, she's got a flask now, hasn't she?"

The seductive chuckle vanished as quickly as it had come, leaving the Battlelord no wiser as to who it was that had continued to lend him the advice that had, up to now, saved his life more than twice. It was enough to prompt a question that brought everyone to a halt.

"Ronovi, can I have a sip of that Whyren's?"

Every head in the room snapped to the Sith, with every single one of them raising an eyebrow or two. After all, never before had the stalwart ex-Praetor ever asked for a drink, or ever been seen enjoying any pleasurable act of any kind.

The fake Ronovi reached into her robes, the hand emerging with a quick flick, sending a knife flying across the short distance towards Solus, only to have it yanked away with a quick thought from Tra'an. The illusion vanished from their minds, the clouding confusion and lack of understanding became crystal clarity. The link to the Dark Adept shattered as they realized that she was the foe, and the fight moved into a fast, powerful brawl.

As Solus and Dantella moved to engage in combat, it quickly became apparent that the battle between them was something else. What started as reasonable blows quickly became an intense combat moving at a pace that few others would match. Their forms seemed to almost be two halves of a whole, each serving to fill the gap of the other, always being there to defend when attacked, and attack where the other defended.

It quickly became evident though, that the skills each had in Vapaad were different. As Solus fed upon the power of his Elder opponent, his mastery and skill in the form were evident. Each blow was precisely crafted to take advantage of that dedication, constantly adding just enough to slowly push Dantella out of position.

With each successive exchange, the flashes moved wilder and more out of control for them both, until with a massive swipe across her midsection, Solus caught her lightsaber, and pushed it clear, until both were held out to the side. As the Dark Adept moved to disengage, the ex-Praetor delivered the final blow with a satisfying crunch. The feel of his hand striking the nose of the smirking Novae, the way the cartilage crumpled and slid upwards into her brain, the sound of blood gushing forward from instant death, reminded the former Praetor of his home.

The life left the female rather instantly, her eyes glassing over, her body crumpling to the floor. Seeing it fall to the ground reminded the former Mandalorian of what a bout on the proving grounds felt like. The place where he'd earned the right to be a Mandalorian beyond just being born into the tribe. The combat, the visceral thrill of being just better than another, it filled him with satisfaction that his training and skills were not wasted. If anything, they proved to be as strong as ever.

The poison in his system caught up with him again at that moment, wracking his body in more cramps, the sweat and chills serving to reinforce that neurotoxins were damaging his nerves even as the others all stood there in relief. The pain coiled within him like an old friend, even as it sought to overwhelm and drown him. The respectful nods from his teammates served to remind him that in this place, he had received respect without proof. Here, he'd been taken in and given a position of trust and power.

Gar's thoughts were not those of perfect contentment, however, as some small part of him still craved the knowledge that he was valuable here, not just as a tool or a skilled fixer, but for all he brought to the table.

Alaris Jinn

22-01-2013 23:51:12

You’re enjoying the violence; the slaughter.

The female voice in Solus Gar’s head was hateful and conniving, yet it let off an air of comfort that threatened to leave the Aedile ill-at-ease. He wouldn’t allow it; he was stronger than that. She spoke to him alone, and that should have at least given him a sense of superiority. But she was right. The slaughter fueled him. He stretched his neck to the right and a soft crack relaxed the muscles that were tensing and releasing around his throat.

The smell of death filled the nostrils of those not wearing helmets, and even the three still wearing theirs were noticing that their filtration systems were beginning to fail. The disemboweled corpse of the human reeked with decay. The exploded face of the Umbaran was no better of a display. Solus, still feeling the poison in his veins, snapped and pointed at Eiko.

“Security panels. Let’s go, now.”

Eiko helped Solus to the nearest security panel and the rest of the team broke to their own panels to start disabling the security system in this area.


The Right Hand of Justice stared at his security panel and swore internally. It had several options for accessing it, of which Alaris had none. He glanced around and smiled as he saw precisely what he needed: the not quite dead hand of a security officer. He was breathing, so Alaris savoured the man’s scream when Teylas severed the officer’s hand with his lightsaber on his CO’s order.

“Shut up.” The words dripped from the Twi’lek’s lips in all their pompous glory, accented by his Coruscanti dialect. He used the now limp hand, the flesh still warm, and placed it on the palm pad. The screen lit to life and it took Alaris very little time to deactivate it.

Alaris Jinn di Plagia stopped and looked off into space for the briefest moment. He couldn’t allow anyone to see his unease. He accepted the voice in his head as an inevitability, but it was still haunting. He had never seen the Muun alive; the Sith Lord had been killed many years before Alaris was born, but the vision Darth Plagueis implanted in the Twi’lek’s ever corrupted mind allowed him to see the Darth’s visage as if he were standing before him. It grinned at him. It looked frail, even for a Muun.

Alaris wondered if Plagueis would hold him to the demand the Sith Lord placed on him: to return to Morroth once every standard year. It would be difficult and insanely dangerous, but Alaris had pledged and would follow through.

The four teams regrouped and Alaris spoke up.

“I had Teylas cut off someone’s hand. How did everyone else get it?”

Eiko perked up first.

“I just hacked into it.”

“I’m a shapeshifter,” Tra’an said with a smirk, “so I used voice recognition.”

The five men all turned toward the lone female and she looked back at them with confusion.

“What?” she demanded.

“How did you get in?”

“I stabbed it,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“...And it worked?”

“It always works.”

So much for being the calculating Centurion or general. The Twi’lek’s comm buzzed and interrupted the team. He pulled the comm up and activated it.

“Ajunta Pall, confirmed.”

The reply came almost immediately. “Karness Murr, confirmed.”

Ronovi’s face contorted back into confusion. “What was that?”

The smirk returned to Tra’an’s face. “You’re no longer Headmaster. You don’t get to know everything. Have more whiskey.”

Ronovi took a drink from her flask. “I thought I didn’t need your permission.”

“You don’t,” replied the Quaestor snidely. “I just liked saying that.”

The Epicanthix fought back the temptation to call Tra’an out on his being easily swayed by the dead Umbaran’s mind trick. She couldn’t do it. Not yet. But she would definitely keep it in her arsenal until she was fully stocked with her beverage of choice.


26-01-2013 02:25:26

Avenger II

Dantella's corpse had notably reeked upon the splitting of her deviated septum under Solus's fist. But the odor that punctuated the once sterile bridge of the Executor-class Avenger II was nothing short of pungent decay. The matted meat mangled between loosening tendons and drying bone. The crackling, nose-wrinkling spice of raw and exposed fatty tissue, blubber appearing to throb in the thin lighting of the defense station. The faint glow of stale plasma under the ceiling's glare as an ensign reached rigor mortis against the hologram pod, his fingers locked together like frigid marble.

In the weapons station, officers and potential Force-sensitives alike were riddled with gashes along their faces and chests, their last ditch-effort to defend themselves botched by a sinister, blood-steeped blade. One lowly Sith minion lay flat on his belly, arms splayed out in front of him, limp and bloated; the tongue protruding from his swollen lips became ashen as the poisons infused into him petrified his neurons and froze up his system. Another grunt, the front of his uniform tunic torn and revealing a spider web of intricate swordsmanship, slept eternally in a pool of his own fluids, blood certainly not the only contents of the puddle that his face lay in. And in the crew pit, bones dislocated and squished cartilage still oozing browning carnage from broken noses and punctured eyes, Rozin and Sterns stared lifelessly into their display terminals, the pinched features of the latter's face even more contorted in its death by a Sith blade.

However, in the midst of the massacre - from the disemboweled crew members crumpled into fetal positions in the security foyer, to the poor unfortunate soul who had arrived in the turbolift just in time to receive a maniacal jab to the jugular vein and spray his life force all over the place - someone was alive and pacing. His boots tracking blood, urine, and saliva as he scampered about the command walkway, the madman waved about his uncleaned weapon, the death on its surface turning into brown and black rust as he brandished it. Every pivot he made on his heel as he moved from one edge of the walkway to the next only served to rile him up further, his eyes blazing beneath his outrageously red hair, which was pulled tightly back in a ponytail and very much resembled the color of his robes.

Darth Necar was more than crazed. He was ranting.

"You see this?" he screamed to what others would have perceived as mere air. "Look at this! I did this for you, Master! To honor you! To prove to you who deserves to live and who deserves to die! And yet you are perfectly willing to place your devotion to fools - cowards! Cattle easily slaughtered and butchered into slabs. You placed your faith in them!"

He abruptly stopped his ululating, his eyes momentarily glazing over as he stopped beside a control console, where the body of bulging-eyed female officer lay swollen and rigid. Necar knelt beside the corpse, tapping at the poor girl's mashed nose with his finger, and giggled before shoving her gray face to the side with his palm, so that her neck creaked like an old man's breath and her head bumped loudly against the machine.

"Dantella Novae," he mused, a slimy grin oozing from his curled lips. "What a laugh. That ugly Umbaran whore. What did she have what I didn't, besides a robot butler and some large feminine endowments? A master of poisons - hah! Could she do this, Master? Could she have the guts to take on the inanity of this situation with venom and vigor?"

Still tittering, the Sith Master continued his stroll up and down the walkway, admiring his handiwork. A beautiful mosaic of homicide. Woven together with severed synapses, curdled brain matter, and spilled bile. His greatest work of art to boot.

"And Reaper and Frost." Necar laughed again, high-pitched and shrieking. "What a double piece of work. Clearly cannon fodder at this point. And you gave them the time of day. Oh, yes, 'agreed!' 'Indeed!! Damn it!"

He stamped down, hard, on the slightly fragmented skull that protruded from the burst head of another crew member, allowing the cranium to crack around the cerebrum, which audibly squelched under his boot's toe like a stomped mushroom. He pulled back in slight disgust, his brow slightly furrowed, as his most recent screaming episode died down again and he appeared to be as pensive as a schoolmaster.

"You look upon me so poorly," he announced to the viewing portal ahead of him. "So mockingly. I see it in the way you sneer at me. You were always so cruel, Master Zoraan. You may have molded me into a master of montrosity. Exposed me to drugs and viruses and chemicals. Nightmares. Near-death experiences. How many times must I feel my brain split, my heart erupt, my limbs be torn from their sockets, before my body is finally put back together again? You delightful sadist. Always attempting to perfect me, but never truly aware or perhaps never willing to understand your own magnum opus."

With a gesture of grandeur, Necar waved his free hand across the open cosmos, which lit up from the portal and pierced the Sith's vision as he looked upon it.

"You see, Master! I will do something with this ship that you never were brave enough to do yourself. Our enemies' deaths are guaranteed with the death of your precious vessel. A dive through the stars...a massive rock of opportunity...it's ready, Master. Ready to embrace us with chaos and take us all down in beautiful flames. Beautiful, beautiful flames..."

He only stopped his monologue when he felt his brain buzz, his scalp almost tingling as he sensed the presence of others. The intruders. They had come too soon. He didn't have time to reveal his full plan to his Lord. His Lord, who stood scowling at him with his arms folded, his ethereal gaze never flickering out or giving in to a single blink or brief hesitation.

Necar whirled around toward the main corridor, where entry to the bridge awaited. He let out a long and strange string of curses. He shook his fist and stormed about the walkway, kicking aside stiff carcasses as he marched.

"My pets!" he howled. "My Terentateks! Where are they? Did I send them out?" Then, once again, his demeanor suddenly changed. "Oh. Yes. Yes! I must have! They must be guarding the bridge! They will do the dirty work for me! They can't fail me! They are the most beautiful creatures in the world!"

In a perfectly villainous fashion, he cocked his head back and cackled, with no one around to listen to his apparent mirth.


29-01-2013 00:43:40

"So, let me get this right," Ronovi interrupted as Tra'an outlined the plans. "They shoved two terentateks...big, three-meter tall terentateks...onto a city-sized ship packed full of Dark Jedi - "

"Or 'meat,' if you want to use the colloquial term," Teylas smiled.

" - and who figured out what monsters they were shoving on this ark?" Ronovi scowled.

Eiko stared up at the ceiling of the now-functioning lift. "Many apprentices died to bring us this information." Worried? he asked himself. The thought was shut out of his mind as quickly as possible. In his head, three-meters stretched to four, five... scraped the exposed panels of the bridge, punctured the viewports, vented the entire deck and...

The doors opened.

Eiko breathed in the filtered air through his mask. He felt the same hollow gaps in the Force that filled and ebbed with the pressure of the Dark Side, the same gaps that the others had felt on the ride to the bridge. And now, the hulking forms had shapes and noises. Horns that swept out of a titanic maw. Claws that pierced the floor below them, leaving hisses of steam to shift around the bodies of crew. Half-chewed limbs still mashed between sharp incisors.

Like a small rancor, Eiko thought in horrid awe.

Their heads turned in unison, poor eyesight yielding to uncanny senses of detection.

The sabers that weren't already ignited flared to life.

"Careful," Alaris muttered.

“We’re supposed to capture these how?” Ronovi snarled.

"We're not. They die or we die." Solus's voice sounded resigned. "Take the left!"

Six sabers circled the beast as everyone cast careful glances back at the second terentatek, preoccupied with a bit of uniform speared on its massive horns.

Alaris's saber swung first, leaving a shallow gash in the terentatek's dorsal spikes. The terentatek rose from all fours, turning hard to slash at the annoyance and everything that stood in its way. Alaris cursed sternly as he brought his saber back, sidestepping the claws. A deafening roar shook the corridor.

Before Alaris could yell back, both Solus and Ronovi had slashed at the toughened hide as well, barely nicking the shell. The terentatek slammed its long arms into the ground, shoving itself backwards so that its spikes drove toward its assailants. In rough, ungainly movements, it turned to finish off the prey it had speared. Its jaws widened as it saw the blurred outline of a young Equite, masked and hesitant.

The terentatek's jaws ripped at Eiko's chest, just out of reach as he struggled to shove the monster back by the tusks. He lurched as one hand slipped from the horn. The feeling of pain lingered outside his mind for a moment as he tried to process the snapping and sudden intake of breath forced by the horn pushing between his ribs. Flung with a sudden twist of the terentatek's head, Eiko slammed against the opposing wall.

He opened and shut his eyes as he reflexively started to undo the terentatek's work, the Force worming across the wound as best it could. When his mind could focus on the fight again, his body flushed again with adrenaline.

The second one had smelled blood and ripped off the last part of a body as an appetizer before a Plagueian medley.

"I'm getting real tired of this!" Ronovi shouted as she narrowly avoided another strike from the first creature, still caught in the ring of sabers.

"Guys," Eiko called weakly as he clutched at the bloody hollow in his side. "Guys..."

Frustration glinted in Ronovi's eyes. In a smooth stroke, she hewed off an arm from one of the lingering corpses, where a simple blaster lay wedged in its stiff fist.

"Keep it off of me for just one damn minute!" she yelled.

“What the Hell are you doing?” roared Alaris.

He and the others watched, in the midst of the chaos, as Ronovi yanked a vibroshiv from the inside of her coat. Then, much to the surprise of Teylas and Alaris but not so much to Eiko, Solus, or Tra’an, she then used the shining blade to slice open the flesh on her left hand. The blood oozed from her palm as she wrenched a blaster out of the dead man’s loose limb’s grip. In one swift move, she smeared the firearm in her own thick blood.

“Feeding it!”

As its blaster cells poured all of their energy into one last shot, the blaster's stained shell began to steam and smoke, blood vaporizing off of the ever-hotter surface. Ronovi squared off with the beast, let the blood coagulate on the weapon enough to entice its smell, and lobbed it straight at its opening jaw before she got scalded.

Eiko saw the makeshift grenade rise out of her hand and sail towards the terentatek. Its greedy mouth. Its horns marked with blood. How hungry are you? he thought as he shut his eyes to the pain still burning from his side. The light that followed was red, filtered through his eyelids, like a firework being set off inside of a wax ball.

He couldn't quite make sense of it without seeing it. When he opened his eyes, he saw blood -- coating his mask and obscuring his sight, spread around the corridor from the charred and separated remains of a terentatek. A mixture of the Force and Teylas's rough tug pulled Eiko out of the way of the charge of a second, complete terentatek.

Eiko pulled his gloved hand across his mask to clear it, setting his feet in the spaces between the bodies. "This one's bigger," he muttered.


29-01-2013 22:08:22

“The Hell?” Ronovi snapped as she looked over at the second terentatek. The evil, beastly creature snarled as it stopped for a short moment to eat the arm of a completely eviscerated apprentice. The carnage in the room was coming back into focus as the Plagueians concerted their efforts after the explosion of the makeshift grenade. “Don’t think that will work again,” she added, establishing that the groups efforts were going to have to go into another direction.

An all out assault wasn’t working, and the hulking, horned beast was a force to be reckoned with. Much larger than the first one, its claws alone seemed to be enough to swipe any of their heads off with one single, well placed blow. The terentatek planted an arm in the ground, almost as if taking a charging stance. It growled slightly as the group slowly approached, yet keeping their distance as they fanned out slightly to flank the creature.

“Any ideas?” Alaris asked as they all brought their lightsabers to a more defensive posture, unsure of what the untamed terentatek would do.

“I have one, but it might be a bit crazy,” Teylas replied.

“I’m okay with crazy right now,” Ronovi added.

“Like the time on Agomar?” Solus questioned.

Before Teylas could answer, the terentatek took a large, swooping swipe at his right, flaring his head up and roaring as he did so. His posture didn’t seem to be a defensive one, but one Teylas recognized from his own experience. It was one of which the terentatek was attempting to size up his potential meals for which would be both the easiest to kill, and the most satisfying in case he could only settle for one.

“Possibly a bit crazier,” Teylas finally answered as both he and Eiko took the full brunt of a second swing by the terentatek. As they both defended with their lightsabers, they were able to avoid the claws, but Teylas’ shoulder caught one of the terentatek’s jagged, horned arms. Although unable the pierce the skin, the horn was more than enough to cause significant blunt damage to his shoulder.

’At least it wasn’t a tusk or claw,’ he thought to himself after the swipe.

“Think you could disable the braking system on the lift?” Teylas asked as he turned turned to Eiko, who responded with a simple nod.

“Well, it would be a long way down,” Tra’an declared.

“But a tight fit,” Solus added.

They all seemingly turned to Alaris, while still trying to keep their attention on the terentatek, which was beginning to flail. As the beast seemingly had decided which of them was to be its meal, it pounded the deck plating below their feet as it addressed itself to the Plagueians. The terentatek began to take wild swipes at the group, as Eiko quickly broke towards the lift. Tearing the face off of the panel of the controls to the lift that were directly outside of it, he began to quickly relocate the correct command pathways. There was a large thud as the brakes completely disengaged from the lift.

“The lift is ready,” yelled Eiko to the others, “but someone still has to cut the tethering cables along the top of the lift to fully disengage it from the walls and into free fall!”

Without hesitation, Alaris leapt over the beast, swiping his lightsaber past the enraged terentatek’s face and striking it twice. As the smell of the cauterizing beast’s flesh filled the immediate area, Teylas was able to get a good whiff of it. Immediately, he could sense the age of the creature, as well as its connection to the Force over the years of feeding upon countless Dark Jedi. While it was tempting to feed on the creature from that alone, it was nearly impossible, and he had his fill for a while. The terentatek, on the other hand, was still hungry and had turned its attention immediately to the attacking Alaris.

The terentatek began to quickly follow Alaris through the carnage of wrecked and mutilated bodies. Alaris was able to keep his footing after nearly slipping on the blood that poured over the floor like a dropped paint bucket. Making his way to the lift first, he could feel it slightly buckle without the braking system to hold it perfectly in place. He wondered if it would even hold the weight of the massive terentatek. As the beast began to charge, Alaris held his lightsaber up, cutting a hole in the ceiling for an escape.

The remainder of the group watched helplessly as the terentatek charged the back of the lift full force. The entire lift carriage visibly shook back and forth. Alaris was able to jump through the hole in time, only catching the bottom of his feet on the head of the terentatek in time for an extra boost. Midway through his jump, he somersaulted his body into a twist, which enabled him to cut the thick support cables that went around in a square pattern along the roof of the lift carriage with his lightsaber. No sooner did they snap than the carriage began a free fall. The terentatek, unsure of what had just happened, began its descent towards the bowels of the ship.

Even if it did survive the massive fall somehow, it would be someone else’s problem.

Alaris attempted to jump back into the room, but he was unable to make the landing. As the Twi’lek caught the ledge with his hand before finding himself in the same free fall, both Teylas and Solus rushed to the open doorway before nearly sliding towards their ally’s failing grip. They both grabbed hold of his arms they pulled him from the seeming abyss.

“I think I would’ve rather have dealt with a rancor." Eiko's voice was pained, still, but lighter. He almost laughed.

“I’m just glad it was more selective about its meal than the first one was,” Teylas mused.

Alaris Jinn

31-01-2013 01:34:39

Five infiltrators in Nimbus commando garb were pure silence but for the bursts of their lightsabers activating just long enough to kill a handful of soldiers and droids only to return to their hilts. They weaved through the corridors deep within the bulk of the Avenger II. The ship rocked from explosions from other teams. Somewhere, decks above, the Plagueian summit and the three senior members of Ajunta Pall were engaging Zoraan’s apprentice.

Their leader held up a fist and the rest of them stopped moving and took up defensive stances, hiding behind whether obstacles were available to them. The leader approached the door in front of him and took up a breach position.

“He did what?” The voice came from within the room.

“The entire bridge crew. He slaughtered everyone.”

A comm signal sounded. “SK-472 here.”

A muffled voice came yelling from over the other line. “We need reinforcements! Send whatever you can spare!”

A few groans came from the room and some rustling came from the room. The invading team leader pulled away from the door and took up his own defensive position, his blaster trained on the door, in case they should come his way.

Six stormtroopers ran from the room and headed down the corridor in the other direction to the relief of the team leader. He stood up and crept back to the door. He turned the corner into the room at ran for the only remaining trooper in the room. The trooper was sitting comfortably in a chair watching a security screen with his helmet off, caf in one hand and some sort of pastry in the other. The invader spun the trooper in his chair and delivered a fist to his trachea. The trooper fell backward out of the chair and dropped his breakfast. Both hands immediately clutched at his throat as he tried in futility to breath in and sustain his life. He watched four other dark-clad intruders enter the room as his life faded from him.

They operated in complete silence, communicating using hand signals. Their hands ran over the terminals with precision. A moment later, they had the lockdown status lifted on their section and headed back into the corridor. They continued their silent mission deeper down into the superstructure. They were forced to keep their sabers lit in order to tear through the droids and troopers attempted to end their advance. The defense thinned as they realized how much of the ship they were losing. News of the apprentice’s slaughter of the bridge had travelled down throughout the rest of the crew. They kept fighting due to some sense of loyalty to Zoraan, but their efforts became more haphazard as self-preservation became more important than victory.

The invaders approached the end of the corridor. They left a wake of death. Their presence was no longer unnoticed, but that no longer mattered. Their target was in sight.

Traan Reith

31-01-2013 20:33:53

"Of course it was more selective, it was female."

The joke earned Tra'an a dirty look from the former Headmaster, even as it earned a chuckle from the rest of the group. They took stock for a moment, assessing wounds, as the former Plagueian Consul moved to heal Eiko.

"Tavisaen, can you lend me your skills? Mine alone won't be enough to make a difference in the time that we have."

The Epicanthix nodded once, moving to lend her knowledge and power through the Force, aware that an injured companion, as badly as Eiko was, likely wouldn't survive what still lay ahead.

After a few moments, they removed their hands and looked at each other, before turning to Eiko.

"You'll notice that, while not completely healed, you should at least be able to hold together in a fight."

Alaris' voice seemed to bring a grimace to Eiko's face, as if reminding him that the wound existed made it more real.

"I'll be okay, I think," replied the former Revanite. "I'll try not to get thrashed by another horned beast. As long as I stay away from Oberst I should be fine."

The joke provoked a slight grin from Ronovi, matched with a roll of her eyes.

Checking their weapons, they all pulled out their blasters and checked their power packs, replacing partially expended packs with full ones, and dead power sources with fresh ones in vibroblades that weren't warped from use. As they finished preparing, a simple look was enough for the formation to shift with Tra'an, Alaris and Solus taking the forward positions, the other three trailing behind.

As they crossed the threshold from the corridor into the Security Center, Tra'an could hear mumbling that rose and fell in volume like a rolling cadence. What he first noticed was a smell, stale and uninviting, like rusting metal sprinkled with ash. It quickly brought his attention to the blood coating the floor and walls, splatter patterns forming odd and distorted patterns in the broken lighting. Carefully moving forward, their steps were slow and certain, being careful not to step in puddles of blood or upon one of the many pieces of trash that littered the floor.

Someone had been here, and it put him on edge. This was not the way he pictured entering a bridge. The mumbling got to him, too. What was it? Where was it coming from? Attempting to shrug it off while still remaining vigilant, Tra’an led the group into the bridge and almost choked at the sight.

Broken consoles and lighting fixtures, weapons and possessions, bodies and pieces of bodies, it was enough to look like a slaughter, as if a single butcher had cleaved their way through the "elite" soldiers with ease. Almost as if on merry holiday, jumping and skipping through the flocks of sheep.

They were all dead. Everyone on the bridge was dead. Not exactly the sort of welcome that the Plagueis leader had in mind. He waved a hand at his team - tread carefully, he silently warned them. And then he heard the mumbling again.

The sounds began to resolve into something more coherent. More defined. Standing at the threshold of the Security foyer, poised to enter the main bridge, Tra'an spied at last the mastermind of their current predicament. Pacing to and fro, waving about a blood-stained Sith blade. Zoraan's apprentice, the alleged murderer of the crew, Darth Necar. And he was talking to himself.

“Master, I told you, it’s very simple. If you keep questioning my strategy for the planetary collision - ”

To the Quaestor’s confusion, the apprentice seemed to interrupt himself, his eyes streaming fire as he whirled toward the viewing portal, away from his enemies.

“No, Master, this is the way we do it! You are miscalculating the velocity of the descent! I know what I’m doing! The planet is getting closer and closer, and if you insist on questioning the very physics of this plan, then we don’t hit it and everything gets derailed!”

“What’s going on? What planet is he talking about?” asked Teylas under his breath as he shifted his gaze toward the nearest viewport. It was plain to see - nothing but the Shroud in every direction.

Tra’an cast a glance at Ronovi. Ronovi stared blankly back. He knew that they didn’t have to verbally declare what they were thinking to each other - Darth Necar, for lack of a better description, was quite the show as he swung around his sword in exasperation.

“You don’t understand, Master!” His mumble kept rising into a growl, continually cutting himself off over and over as if he were speaking to someone. “Master! Master, you’re not listening! You need to listen to. What. I am. Saying. The planet...Master...stop!”

“He doesn’t even know we’re here, does he?” hissed Ronovi to the Shi’ido.

“It would seem so.”

No sooner had the words passed Tra’an’s lips before Necar snarled loudly, swinging about his saber, as if he were growing impatient.

“SHUT UP, GHOST OF ZORAAN!” he barked.

Then he looked up, at long last, his eyes locking with those of Tra’an’s. The corner of his lip twitched as he seemed to finally understand that he was not alone. And he was certainly more than disoriented by it.

“But...I...people?” he spat. “There are people here! Impossible! I killed them all...this just won’t do! N-not at all!”

Necar straightened up to his full height, back arching as a feeling of power seemed to bring the air to life, his Sith sword pointed straight at Tra’an’s nose. The hair on the Shi'ido's arms stood on end, tingling and swaying as the stagnant atmosphere began to move. The double arc formation fleshed out into a line, six abreast as their foe moved towards them slowly and deliberately.

Necar was a monstrous creature, his crimson robes swaying around his ankles, his stark hair standing out against his crown. Tra’an expected him to come running at them, his sword slicing at their faces. Instead, the mad apprentice only lifted his free hand and let the blue light pulse from his fingertips.

“Well, then,” he murmured cruelly, “I guess I have to take care of everything myself. As usual.

The Plagueian Quaestor had just enough time to realize what it was and dive for the floor before the crashing electricity launched itself from the insane being's left hand, arcing like a welding torch. It flew through the space where the shapeshifter had been but moments before, scattering the group of six, sending them moving in their own directions. There was no time to meld or combine powers. Survivalist instincts kicked in. It was every man for himself.

Necar shifted his focus, aiming his glowing hand towards Alaris. The next bolt of lightning lanced toward the Equite like a javelin, only to be caught on his lightsaber and deflected into a nearby durasteel strut, grounding the powerful flow. A second blast of power was again deflected into the strut, even as Necar used the Force to throw himself toward Ronovi, his blade brought up to bear.

“Oh, close combat! My favorite!” Tra’an heard Ronovi snarl, attempting to keep herself oriented.

She swung out viciously with her saberstaff, one of its cerulean blades catching on the metal of the sword and holding it at bay. The Epicanthix cursed. Not only was the sword resistant to the plasma, but she was also barely on par with the physical strength of the apprentice alone. She could not hold him off one on one for long. Tra’an, pouncing at the opportunity, intended to distract Necar so that his Force lightning could be directed at more than one source. He watched as Ronovi recoiled against the sturdy arm of her opponent, backing up as the coils of electricity sprang out at her, only to be caught on the tip of the Quaestor’s saber.

“Impudent whelps!” screeched Necar, his eyes bulging as he marched toward them.

Ronovi jumped for the station terminals, using them as small barricades as her enemy followed her like a rabid wolf. The Sith sword clanged wildly against the metal as he swung it at her, the blade seemingly getting closer and closer to her with each dodge. Tra’an, in attempting to jump in and help, found himself kept at bay by the constriction of the space in which both the Sith Master and the Epicanthix were in. Alaris, Solus, Teylas, and he could only border the area at a distance, sabers held in offensive stances as they tried to find an opening.

Necar was now resorting to jabs instead of slices, his broader swings proving futile against the agile Epicanthix. She may have been significantly lower than he was in rank, but Tra’an could tell that her strength and dexterity still rivaled the enemy Sith’s, despite his obviously impressive Force power. In the thrall of the one-on-one duel, however, that Force usage appeared to, in the Shi’ido’s mind, be overlooked for sheer, blood-thirsty offense, the Dark Lord’s obvious mental instability clearly obstructing him from unleashing his full potential. And it would prove a hindrance, therefore, when Necar, roaring gutturally, lunged fully at Ronovi and wound up driving his Sith sword into the nearest station terminal, all the way up to its hilt.

The sudden puncturing of various inner wires and circuits caused the whirring machine to heat up, until little plumes of blue flame licked at the stuck sword and sparks danced around its handle. Necar, in a moment of weakness, attempted to grab it, only to have Teylas choose that moment to open fire with his blasters.

“Teylas, hold it!” Tra’an roared.

Without the Quaestor having to tell him so, the Anzat stared as the crimson bolts seemed to have no effect upon Necar. They simply vanished into his body, as if being absorbed. It was enough to seriously annoy and frustrate him, garnering his attention and distracting him from his quest to retrieve his precious weapon. Tra’an shuddered, but remained firm in his stance. He braced for the worst.

"No one touches the body of Necar!” he roared. “I am immaculate and immune to everything!"

With his bellow of anger at being violated, both of his hands came together, the blades of his sabers nearly crossing, and the color of the electricity shifted from a bluish-white to a deeper black, steeped with the power of the Force. There was an immense howling, not from the lightning itself, but from Necar’s throat, a cry of boiling rage and defiance and half-crazed resolve. Teylas’ eyes widened. He flung himself away, but he couldn’t escape. And Tra’an could do nothing to help him.

Before the Quaestor could do anything, The power lifted and threw him backwards into the defense station, slamming him into the exterior bulkhead, the energy still crawling all over his body, causing it to jerk and shudder. With a feral grin, Necar turned back to the others, refocusing his attention on Ronovi. He let the hem of his robe slowly part from his hips to reveal two sabers, which he proudly ripped from his sides and activated, letting them belch scarlet from their hilts.

Tra'an watched as Eiko scrambled over to Teylas, placing his hands on the Anzat's body after the last of the streamers of storm energy had finally faded. Tra'an hoped that Eiko could keep him alive. The blow was a brutal one, and it will almost certainly require time in a bacta tank. More than ever, the aura of calm leadership he had kept about him was beginning to fade. His confidence waned with each glance at the Sith Lord, his movement stilted as he attempted to assist. But in ways, he was frozen, or simply unable to react fast enough. It frustrated him - even angered him. And as such, he was witnessing more than helping, like a powerless, caged animal.

What can I do? What can I do?

Necar sneered at Ronovi's challenging posture the ugly face distorting to bare teeth, as Solus came boldly at him from behind, his violet saber growling in his fist. Being the only one not yet targeted, the Human's watchful gaze tracked the change of attention. It was difficult to tell in the dim light, but it seemed that the pupils in the Sith's eyes dilated, almost as if in recognition that whatever was coming, was likely to be very bad.

The former Mandalorian shifted the bulk of his weight to the balls of his feet, preparing to evade, only to realize, suddenly, that his feet were no longer touching the ground. Necar's expression shifted from a sneer to a grin as the Equite found himself slammed upwards into the bulkhead, before being pulled into the floor, his body becoming a toy in the hands of the telekinetic power of the insane apprentice of Zoraan.

The armor Solus wore provided some protection, but it was quickly beginning to crack from the strain of repeated high-velocity impacts. The Nimbus Commando helmet finally gave as it struck the metal, the visor splintering and revealing the Aedile’s face, contorted with a more than stiff jaw. Necar would not let up, shoving Solus again and again against the same bulkhead, laughing as the helmet folded in on itself, dented and bruised and finally cracking, exposing Solus’s vulnerable brow.

If he keeps doing this, he’ll break Solus’s skull, Tra’an thought, his eyes blazing in their sockets. He’s going to kill him!

He saw Ronovi, mid-cry, attempt to charge at Necar, but Alaris got there first. As Necar moved to lift Solus again, his arc and trajectory indicating it was likely to be through the main viewports, Alaris struck out wildly with his saber, beating back the practically instinctual retaliations of Necar’s sabers as the Sith parried each of the Twi’lek’s stabs.

Without Necar’s attention on him, Solus fell, mid-arch, into the starboard crew pit where he hit the ground and remained still. Tra’an, by this point, had flattened himself against the floor close to the station terminals, trying to assess the situation. Assess, calculate, determine. That’s what he typically did as Quaestor. He saw that Eiko, who was sidetracked, was tending to Teylas, who was more than incapacitated. Ronovi, upon watching the descent of her former Praetor’s body, looked ready to aid him, but the very flurry of activity in front of her seemed to prevent her from leaving the threshold to the security foyer - the farthest she had been able to get before halting. And Alaris, audacious as he was, was trying to hold his own weight against the Sith Lord, until he was flung from his footing and sent sprawling to the floor.

"So, you seek to make this more difficult, I see? Let me show you what really happens when you try to defy my power,” Necar declared nastily.

Necar attacked, leveraging the Force to strike Alaris' right wrist first, and then moved up the arm to systematically break each and every bone into pieces, tearing a scream of agony and utter pain from the Twi'lek’s throat. The lekku on his head writhed as the flesh around his elbow burned, a shard of ivory protruding ever so slightly from a spot of ruptured skin around his forearm. Even as the Right Hand of Justice sank to his knees, it was not enough for the dark lord.

But it was enough for Tra’an. It was as if all the hesitation in his muscles had finally dropped from him like a shedded skin, and he was not willing to let the madness go any further without his intervention. Lifting himself from his resting position, he hurtled toward Alaris, his only goal being the di Plagia’s safety. As it was, he almost got there before being slammed into the floor by Necar's power, his nose smashing into his helmet’s visor and audibly breaking.

"What have we here? I'd forgotten about you! Aren't you the clever one, waiting until I'm distracted? Maybe that's because you want to experience true torment? I can certainly oblige you that!"

With a sinister laugh, the powerful being began to focus his will. As that will manifested, Ronovi's voice could be clearly heard as Tra’an tried to see past the wall of blood spreading within his helmet.

“You’ve got to be kidding me."

Tra'an picked himself up and stumbled into the Weapons station, sliding to a halt just in front of Alaris. With a furious yank, without any other thought, he lifted the stained helmet off his head, a glob of blood splashing from his face as He quickly pulled the life support pack off his back, and set it down, before attaching it to Alaris and getting it started on stabilizing the Twi'lek.

I will do something. I will be the Quaestor I should be. I will do something.

It seemed to not be a moment too soon, as the Shi'ido found himself being yanked back out of the weapons station, onto the outer circle of the command walkway. As if to add insult to injury, Necar threw him against the bulkhead right next to the weapons station, pinning him where he was but feet from his injured friend.

"Now, now, you're supposed to be a Sith. We can't have you acting like some foolish Jedi. We delight in the death of our compatriots, as it increases the opportunities for power. Like I now have, since my Master is dead!"

“Ronovi...” Tra’an choked, spluttering and still spitting out blood. “Get...Alaris...”

Ronovi didn’t have to take an order from him. With Necar’s preoccupation on the Quaestor, she leapt toward the weapon station, seizing Alaris by the ankles and dragging him across the sleek metal floor like he was a battered old carpet. Within his blurred vision, Tra’an watched as the Epicanthix slid away from the bridge, pulling Alaris with her. The hologram pod just off the security foyer would be a good place to put him for now, as the Quaestor heard a horrid laugh coming from Darth Necar.

The cackling he heard was eerie, in that it seemed to be laced with power, as if the Sith was holding every ounce that he could. Indeed, it seemed to Tra'an that such was the case, as two whirling vortices of power took shape over each of the crew pits, slowly gathering speed. With each moment that passed, they gained in power, picking up dust and dirt at first, but slowly starting to pick up what little liquid was left and smearing it across the walls and floors. Then small articles of debris and possessions began to be caught in the tornados as well. The air became a maelstrom of objects, with Tra'an desperately clinging to the edge of the wall that had previously served as his frustration.

“I’ve had my fun, Master,” Necar announced to the air. “Now watch as I deliver the coup de grace!”

With one swift movement, he launched both of his sabers into the maelstrom. Each lashed at the air with their tongues of scarlet fire, ready to ignite and eviscerate any who were foolish enough to risk them. They tainted the darkness of the whirlwinds, already filled with blood and corpses, making it glow with an eerie red hue, as they flashed in and out of view among the debris.

"Even now you'll be held at bay! Dare you to get too close? You'll be felled by my crimson blades! Incinerated, as if by winds of flame! Nothing shall be denied me, for I am master of everything!" The evil cackle returned, only louder and more malevolent than before, the edge of hysteria now a layer of insanity that seemed to amplify the nature of the design.

Holding on for dear life to avoid being sucked in, the Obelisk noticed Ronovi still standing at the threshold to the foyer, her right hand out before her, using the saberstaff as a both a whirling shield and a sword simultaneously. Any debris coming toward would either smash into the main shaft of the blade, supported by her forearm, or be deflected and perhaps sliced in half by the cerulean plasma. The power of the Force sustained the Primarch’s steps as she stood still in the face of the malevolent winds threatening to suck her in or blow her away.

Necar's attention slowly shifted from creating an atmosphere of whirling death, filled by the remains of what had once been an elite crew of people and some of the most sophisticated equipment, to Ronovi, standing defiant in the face of his power. Looking at the challenge before her, the Epicanthix took out the flask she'd been given earlier and swirled it around, realizing that there was just one drink left. She unscrewed the top, letting it fall aside as she swallowed the last few sips of rare and precious Whyren’s, before hurling the flask into the storm, letting it join the collection of things. Wiping her lips and feeling the burn of the alcohol in her stomach, Ronovi looked forward at her foe and set her feet, her organic eye blazing with resentment.

Just like her, Tra’an thought, trying to focus as much on the scene as possible were it not for his dire situation. His fingers were growing stiff against the wall, but he still looked on with wonder, his broken nose growing numb against his face.

The Dark Lord's attention solidified as Ronovi took first one step, and then another, slowly advancing upon him. With each movement, his rage grew at the sight of his power being denied. Anger and hatred melded, fueling his reach into the deepest recesses of his abilities to increase the speed and force of the winds barring her way.


"A step to the right, Tavisaen, and then keep going straight forward."

Solus' voice percolated in Ronovi's head as she continued to move forward, never giving away his physical pain. Each step seemed to take forever as each and every ounce of her energy was spent warding off the constant and yet inconsistent variety for things being hurled toward her through the fiery maelstrom.

"Back a little to the left. That last piece threw you off a bit. Keep going. He's starting to look a little worried."

The voice of her long time friend and dependable advisor worked to steady her nerves and re-dedicate her attention to the purpose at hand. All she had to do was keep moving. Solus would get her there.

"Another few steps and you'll be close enough to kill the bastard."

Everyone owes me big time for this, she growled to herself.

With the next step, a chunk of workstation came flying at Ronovi, and she had to duck low to avoid it as it rolled overhead, nearly scraping her back as it passed. Upon righting herself, a chunk of durasteel about the size of a credit chip smashed into her right eye, shattering the prosthetic that she used to see. Bits of blue glass flew from her face, and she roared in fury, pushing herself further along the path guided by Solus’s calm voice.

Focus. Focus.

Necar decided not to wait any longer, summoning his lightsabers back to his palms from within the storm. They turned from where they were, on the outermost part of the vortex, and flew through the middle right towards his hands. However, in a moment of sheer bad luck, one of them was smashed by a passing piece of debris, sending it tumbling into the deck where it short-circuited from the damage, leaving him with just one functional weapon.

Snarling, his anger transcended and fueled his physical form, accelerating his already impressive speed and technique, making it nigh impossible to counter. Ronovi's abilities paled in comparison as she sought to defend against the single crimson fang that intended to end her life. The distinct form of Vaapad made itself clear, as Necar strove to use the Epicanthix's own power against her, only to find that it wasn't quite up to the task of dealing with the unpredictable and chaotic nature of Juyo. With each and every strike that Ronovi landed, her next always came from somewhere else, landing in a different location, impossibly unconnected, and yet precisely patterned.

Internalizing her abilities to focus upon herself, Ronovi found herself alive but retreating under the onslaught that was the Sith Lord, taking repeated grazes from his lightsaber, scars that burned and were suppressed with all of her other pains. In the face of their combat, the laughter and insanity that spewed forth from the maddened Sith served only to enrage and frustrate the Obelisk.

“You fool!” shrieked Necar, his face pallid in the face of the storm, waving his last saber as a final resort to defense. “Even if you end this, we shall all die! It has been decided! The planet awaits us, yearns for us, to become one with it! This ship shall be destroyed, and everyone on it will burn into ash!”

“Kriffing psycho,” spat Ronovi, her voice almost carried away by the loud, violent winds. “There is no planet!

In a moment of clarity, embattled with an opponent who was bleeding and scarred, whose friends and allies lay scattered and broken, it seemed like Necar questioned himself.

"There is no planet?"

In that moment, Ronovi lashed out with her saberstaff and cut down the insane Sith master. With Necar dead, his Force energy could no longer be contained. The energy exploded outward in a violent burst, a dark blue shockwave erupting from his body. The blast pushed everything before it, nothing more so than Ronovi, who had stood at its epicenter. The Primarch was taken from her feet and thrown backwards across the bridge, her body flying back down the bridge access corridor until it slammed into the curving wall, leaving her to slide down and crumple into a heap at the foot of the quartet of stairs leading down into the bridge.

“Son of a b - ”


Even as the former Headmaster was hurled to a safe distance, the current Plagueian Quaestor was once again in peril, as the forward viewports failed under the combined shockwave and internal pressure. The shards of transparisteel shrieked out of the ship and into space, accompanied by the rush of air that made Necar's maelstroms seem like a light breeze in comparison.

Pinned as he had been to the viewports by the force of Necar's storms, Tra'an was up against the transparisteel as it gave way. His finger hold on the edge of the viewport was not enough against the Force explosion and accompanying decompression. As his hands ripped free, Tra'an's body jackknifed across one of the viewport supports. With his arms and legs hanging out into the void, the pressure on his midsection drove the air from his lungs. With a struggle to remain conscious Tra'an forced himself to try to get clear before the emergency seals kicked in.

The warning alarms blared in his ears, barely recognizable as the medium of the sound rushed out, carrying the warning with it. Calling upon the Force, Tra'an pushed his body downwards, in effect rolling down the strut until he was below the level of the viewport. The emergency bulkheads rushed downward outside of the viewports, clanging home loudly in the thin air and sealing them shut, just moments after the Obelisk had gotten clear and avoided having his extremities sliced off.

Well, he thought to himself with a small, cynical smile. That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Selika Roh

31-01-2013 21:54:20

Solus shook his head to dispel the residual ringing in his ears that followed the burst of dark side energy that marked Necar's death. The bridge was strangely still, the howling wind that had filled it now quiet. A few fluttering sheets of flimsy were still drifting through the air, dropping to the ground. The sound of groans was all that Solus could hear aside from the quiet whir of the bridge’s life support systems restoring the atmosphere to the compartment.

As the Sith pulled himself out of the crew pit and onto the command walkway he noticed Tra'an laying face down near one of the now metal-covered viewports. Solus could feel the pain from his Quaestor's midsection radiating through the Force, but it seemed as if the Shi'ido was not seriously injured. Solus knelt down to help Tra'an to his feet, feeling pain in his own shoulder as he did so as a testament to the blows he had taken at the hands of the insane dark lord's power.

"I bet you didn't think you'd be turned into a Grav-ball when you woke up this morning, did you?" Tra'an asked bitterly.

"That was not in my plans, no," Solus replied.

"Check on Teylas and Eiko," Tra'an ordered. "I'll see about Alaris and Ronovi."

"I'm fine!" Ronovi's voice called from the main corridor where she'd been thrown. " ‘Cept for my damn eyepatch. Broken again. Alaris is a bit worse for wear, though."

Solus and Tra'an approached the station alcove where Eiko knelt over Teylas's prone form. The Journeyman wasn't moving, and his skin had an unhealthy pallor. Eiko did not look to be one hundred percent, either. The injuries he had sustained fighting the terentateks had already been weighing on him before engaging Necar, and fighting the Sith Master had done him no better.

"How is he?" Solus asked.

"Not well," Eiko answered, "He's put himself into a healing trance, but he probably still needs medical attention."

Tra'an nodded. "If everything goes to plan, he should be able to get some fairly soon."

"You have something you'd like to share with me?" Ronovi asked testily from where she stood over Alaris at the aft of the bridge. "Some grand plan beyond walk in and punch people in the face repeatedly?"

"Patience," Tra'an responded.

"You do know who you're talking to, right?" Eiko scoffed under his breath.

Solus gave the Rollmaster a withering stare to which Eiko responded with a shrug.

"We're bound to have more company any moment now," Solus observed. "We should get the wounded into the crew pits and make sure we lock down the access hatches. That will give them a modicum of cover once the troops show themselves."

Tra'an and Eiko nodded. The two men picked up Teylas's inert form, carrying him by the shoulders between them. Ronovi lifted Alaris in a fireman's carry, the Twi'lek grunting in pain that nearly left him unconscious. Solus could see it was taking all of his ability to prevent slipping into shock.

"He doesn't look to be in that much better shape than Teylas," Solus said with a frown.

Ronovi simply shook her head as she deposited Alaris into the arms of Tra'an and Eiko, the latter two having carefully moved into the port crew pit to lay Teylas on the deck. Tra'an pulled himself up and out onto the walkway with Solus and Ronovi while Eiko worked to seal the crew pit entries.

"It looks like the bridge controls are locked out here," Eiko reported. "I doubt Necar every really had control, the systems have been rerouted elsewhere."

"Then we should get ready," Tra'an ordered.

The three members of the team still capable of combat moved towards the main corridor entrance to the bridge. With the main turbolift still disabled, the corridor entry would be the only way on or off of the bridge. Knowing that the blast doors could buy them some time, Solus moved to the control panel and stabbed the button that would close them. The heavy doors began to close off the bridge before the screeching sound of metal grinding on metal filled the compartment as the doors ground to a halt, still over a meter of open space between them.

"Well," Ronovi said fatalistically, "It was a good idea."

"Don't count us out yet," Solus replied with a barely discernable grin.

"Oh, so everyone knows what the plan is but me?" Ronovi grumbled.

"Of course not," Tra'an said. "Teylas doesn't know everything, either."

"Me and Snoozy the Knight. Wonderful," she mused.

Solus moved to collect some of the fallen bridge guards weapons, returning with a trio of carbines and a pair of pistols. Ronovi frowned.

"I know, it seems beneath you. But it's a bit harder to reach out and touch someone with one of these," Solus said waving his saber hilt.

"Here they come," Tra'an interrupted.

Solus turned his attention to the hall beyond the half closed doors, seeing the first signs of movement while feeling the presence of at least a squad of troops and a pair of Sith through the Force.

"Only a squad?" Ronovi said sarcastically, " I should feel insulted."

Tra'an and Solus opened up with their blasters from either side of the corridor, poking weapons and eyes beyond the protection of the blast doors just long enough to pick out a target and fire. Some shots found their marks, while others were deflected by the twin crimson blades wielded by the Sith. Suddenly Ronovi's saber hilt whirled out into the hall, twin blades flashing to life as it passed the blast doors. The spinning saber slashed through both Sith in an instant, bisecting them at the waist and then dropping to the ground at the end of it's arc. A gesture of Ronovi's hand called the weapon back to the tall Epicanthix, who turned with a sadistic grin to her former Praetor.

"Don't tell me that a lightsaber is only a melee weapon," she said.

"I stand corrected," Solus replied with a laugh.

The two men continued to return their enemies’ fire, Ronovi periodically throwing her saber or lashing out with the Force. Solus realized that they couldn't go on forever, not against the standard complement of crew and troops an Executor carried. It all depended on the other team, the real team.

After another few minutes, Solus heard the double click over their comm channel that signaled that the others were in place. Tra'an smiled as well, having heard the same over the comm device in his ear.

Almost as if it had been planned, there was a voice calling from the outer hall.

"Cease fire!"

"They must have decided that taking us and not having to make an armed assault on the bridge would be better than damaging something important," Tra'an said.

"I guess they don't know about Necar's little going away present," Ronovi thought aloud.

"We wish to discuss terms of surrender," the man's voice called from the corridor once again.

"Excellent!" Tra'an responded. "We thought you'd never ask!"

Tra'an and Solus tossed their guns out the door as the Quaestor turned to face a skeptical Ronovi.

"Just follow my lead," he said with a smile.

The three moved back from the door and raised their hands above their heads. Two white armored stormtroopers passed through the narrow gap, blasters at the ready and trained on the trio. Following them came more armored troopers, a number of technical crewers, and a man wearing the insignia of a commander. The troopers moved to cover all of the intruders with their weapons, a pair moving to relieve the Dark Jedi of their remaining weapons.

"Get control restored," the commander instructed. "I want control of the bridge immediately."

"Ah, commander! I would like to offer you this opportunity to surrender the Avenger II to the forces of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood," Tra'an said as one of the troopers was unclipping the saber from his belt.

The commander raised an eyebrow at the Shi'ido. "Why should I surrender to you?"

"Oh, you won't be surrendering to me as it were. You'll be surrendering to them," Tra'an responded with a sweeping gesture to indicate the space beyond the viewports.

Before the commander could respond, the alarm klaxons began to sound on the bridge.

"Sir!" the voice of one of the crewmen manning a sensor console called out. "I have enemy ships reverting to realspace twenty thousand kilometers ahead. Seven destroyers rating Nebula class or larger and fifteen smaller capital ships!"

"Them?" the commander replied with scorn. "Even with the damage this ship has taken, I still outgun your fleet ten to one. I'll have crippled your ships before they can even bring down my shields.

"Would you care to place a wager on that, Commander?" Tra'an asked.

The commander was opening his mouth to speak when a series of explosions rocked the ship, knocking a number of people on the bridge from their feet. The main lighting on the bridge flickered and died along with the remaining functional bridge stations. When illumination returned, it wasn't the main overheads but a series of small emergency lights that left the bridge dimly lit and covered in shadows.

"We've lost main and auxiliary power, Commander!" the panicked crewman manning the sensor console exclaimed. "Running on emergency power only. Weapons, shields, engines...all offline. We're down to life support and maneuvering thrusters, sir."

The commander's face blanched, the blood having seemingly retreated from his face. "How?"

"What, you thought that fighting our way to your bridge and stealing your ship was the best plan the Dark Council could come up with?" Tra'an asked with a laugh.

The commander still looked confused.

"Allow me to explain," Tra'an said, shooting a grin at Ronovi. "While we and most of the other teams were making loud noises and doing whatever we could to draw your attention, our real capture team was quietly making its way to your engineering section. They captured engineering without raising an alarm, and were monitoring things up here so they could leave you powerless at just the right moment."

Tra'an grinned, his face taking on the character of a predator playing with its prey.

"Isn't that right, Arden?" he called towards the ceiling.

"Affirmative, sir," came Arden Karn's response, his voice issuing from the overhead intercom speakers that covered the bridge. "Team thirteen and I send our regards."

Solus smiled, finally comfortable that Arden, Celevon, Xathia, Lavar, and Vorrac had accomplished their objective. Up until that moment, Solus had still entertained thoughts of failure that would have left him and the rest of his team to die at the hands of the remains of Zoraan's army.

"So, you're left with two choices," Tra'an said as he pulled a small handheld holocomm from his belt.

Triggering the device, a life sized holoprojection of a man's form sprung to life between Tra'an and the commander. Long, dark hair framed the pale features of the Grand Master of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood.

"Surrender or perish," Muz Ashen ordered.

~ FIN ~


31-01-2013 21:58:02


[Ronovi Post #1: The Intro]

Turning away from the transparisteel with a plastered on yet token smirk, the Epicanthix strode up to each of her partners in crime, pointing at the men as she talked. Her lilting accent bounced off the curved walls of the transport, every thread of reluctance and temper hidden in the tapestry of her voice.

“Okay,” she rattled off. “We’re only minutes away from taking on stupid Zoraan’s ship. Here’s what’s gonna go down. Tra’an. You’ll be unloading first, since you’re defense. Solus and I will lead the offense with Ramar and Eiko as back-up. Alaris, you’re small and extremely fast."

"That's what she said!"

Whipping his helmeted head to face his compatriots, Alaris could only scowl as they did not give away who had made the barb.


[Tra'an Post #1: Reaper and Frost battle]

"Not only are they annoying," Ronovi growled, "but they're also speaking in rhyme!"

Indeed they were, the two twins prattling away as they brandished their sabers in the hangar bay.

"Against our powers, you stand no chance!" crowed Frost.

"I'm not wearing any underpants!" retorted Reaper.

Frost stared at his brother. "Reaper, is that true, or are you just rhyming?"

"I didn't want to throw off our timing," explained Reaper before hanging his head sheepishly. "But it is true."


[Ronovi Post #4: Dantella's Entrance]

Hearing the hissing of burning flesh, Ronovi withdrew quickly, surprised, watching as the bulbous head spun a few times on the severed neck before dropping to the floor like a limp weight. Behind the falling Rodian's corpse, what the team saw was entirely different than what they had already confronted. It certainly wasn’t as jarring as two annoying twin brothers, but the appearance of a brawny Human in robes, a whirring droid, and a stark-eyed, shadowcloak-wearing Umbaran was certainly not expected.

Looking upon Dantella Novae and her droid Revlo, Teylas strode toward her, sighed, clicked his tongue, and gestured at his team.

"Okay, guys," he declared. "I'll tank the boss. You DPS down the ad."


[Tra'an Post #3: Necar]

No sooner had the words passed Tra’an’s lips before Necar snarled loudly, swinging about his saber, as if he were growing impatient.

“SHUT UP, GHOST OF ZORAAN!” he barked.

Then he looked up, at long last, his eyes locking with those of Tra’an’s. The corner of his lip twitched as he seemed to finally understand that he was not alone. And he was certainly more than disoriented by it.

“But...I...people?” he spat. “There are people here! Impossible! I killed them all...this just won’t do! N-not at all!”

"Plagueians assemble!" hollered Tra'an as the team spread out. Necar must have mentally studied the assumed ranks of his enemies, for he chuckled loudly.

"Ah!" he sighed. "A group of six Dark Jedi, far lower in strength than I am, taking me on in battle! A cunning strategy! Wait, no...not cunning. What's the opposite of that?"

"Retarded?!" bellowed Ronovi, her fingers twitching on her saberstaff's hit.

"That's it!" exclaimed the mad apprentice, pointing a finger at the Epicanthix and grinning. "Thank you!"


[Alaris Post #3: Awesome Teamwork]

Six stormtroopers ran from the room and headed down the corridor in the other direction to the relief of the team leader. He stood up and crept back to the door. He turned the corner into the room at ran for the only remaining trooper in the room. The trooper was sitting comfortably in a chair watching a security screen with his helmet off, caf in one hand and some sort of pastry in the other. The invader spun the trooper in his chair and delivered a fist to his trachea. The trooper fell backward out of the chair and dropped his breakfast. Both hands immediately clutched at his throat as he tried in futility to breath in and sustain his life. He watched four other dark-clad intruders enter the room as his life faded from him.

What he did not get to see was his killer stopping and stooping down to retrieve the fallen pastry. Nonchalantly slipping his helmet off his head, he proceeded to take a large bite, crumbly bits of the food falling from his nomming lips. He was only stopped mid-chew when his fellow intruder approached him.

"What?" he demanded as she cocked her head at him - with his mouth full, no less. "I was hungry! You didn't pack me a lunch!"


[Solus Final Post: Afterthought]

"Surrender or perish," Muz Ashen ordered.

"Hmmm," mused Eiko. "I wonder what that whole 'traitors amongst us' deal was."

"Oh, it's probably just Raken and Muz giving Ronovi shit," replied Tra'an. "They always get antsy when a Dark Councillor quits."