Dark Crusade: Prologue Team 5
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.
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
Somewhere inside the shroud
As the shuttle passed through the outer layers of the Shroud, it rocked and buckled as smaller particles of dust began to collide with it. Holding the controls steady, Locke peered out into the dark expanse of space, trying to make out the distant sliver of the super star destroyer Avenger II. Beside him sat Kairus, the Quaestor of House Shar Dakhan.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" the Quaestor asked.
"Of course, " Locke answered. In reality, the Consul was a bit skeptical himself. The Dark Council representative who had assigned the mission assured them that the Shroud would mask their approach, and allow them to board the star destroyer without notice. That was, at least, until they entered the hangar, at which point they would likely face nearly insurmountable opposition. Locke had a sense that this mission was more about pruning the weak from the ranks of the Brotherhood rather than to capture their target; any group of higher-ranked Equites could have been sent in with more backup. His mission, personally, was to prove that they were not weak, and that his people could complete this mission.
"Will you hold her steady and let me know if anything changes for a minute?" The Consul asked. After Kairus merely nodded in reply, Locke breathed in deeply and stood up, turning to face the other three as they prepared their own equipment. When they stopped to look at him, the Krath paused briefly. He really hated speeches, even to small groups. "This mission, " he began, "this mission is as important for us as it is for the Brotherhood. This is our chance to show that we deserve the power of the dark side. We will face nearly impossible odds, but we will not let them stop us. It will not be easy, but I have faith in you."
"For Sadow!" Roxas broke in, shaking his blaster in the air.
"Indeed, " Locke agreed. "Prepare yourselves, and remember, we fight for Sadow, for the Brotherhood, and for the prize!" His voice rose a bit at the end, before the Consul turned back to the cockpit, slipping a headset on and sliding into the pilot's chair. The Avenger II was now much closer in their view.
"Good speech, Consul, " Kairus said quietly.
"Thanks, " Locke nodded. He raised a hand and gestured toward the main hold, eyes intent on space outside. "You should get back there and suit up, we'll be arriving soon."
After Kairus got up and Locke was alone, he watched as the massive star destroyer loomed. It was completely blocking the space beyond it now; a massive sea monster being accosted by a tiny fish in an endless, dark sea. "Now where was that auxiliary hangar..." Locke mumbled. He brought the shuttle close over the surface of the giant capital ship, hoping no one would look out a view window and notice the lone shuttle zooming by. Then they came around an extrusion on the ship, and a square of blue light further along indicated the hangar bay. As Locke began a slow loop around to come at it, he spoke into the mic of the headset. "Get ready! ETA 30 seconds! It's going to be hot!" As he got closer, Locke noticed a defensive turbolaser on the hangar's ceiling begin to track them. "Really hot!"
The Krath accelerated quickly until the shuttle passed through the hangar's threshold before immediately cutting the throttle back to nil to slow the craft. It hit the hangar's floor with a hard bounce and went skidding, straight toward a row of parked shuttle craft. "Brace for impact!" he called, "and be ready to jump out!" The turbolaser had already begun firing slightly behind them, but in moments it would be able to hit the shuttle.
They had to get out now.
Lambda Class Shuttle
The Quaestor looked back at Locke to make sure he had unbuckled his harness before he smashed his hand down on the emergency override controls to lower the landing ramp. He jumped first as one by one the Dark Jedi speedily abandoned the skidding shuttle craft. The overhead turbolaser, still trained on the shuttle, sent two shots spearing for the skidding craft nailing one of the wings. Kairus looked up as Roxas and Locke took aim with their blasters and fired a couple of shots each. Just as they began firing the deafening crash of the shuttle colliding with the other ships roared through the hangar. Their shots remained true enough through the disturbance however as the battery hissed a small black cloud of smoke and shot sparks down to the deck before going idle.
The templar looked at the wreckage and twisted his face into a grimace as he chocked the shuttle up to a total loss. He saw Locke look at him, who raised his eyebrows and looked like he had something constructive to say. He didn’t get to start his thought before the hangar’s klaxon alarm began bellowing out the intruder alert. The team nodded silently in unison as if they had rehearsed this scenario in the past. Kairus ran across the hangar quickly with Setsuna where a larger ship would provide cover and hopefully a flanking position. He felt a surge of excitement as he thought of getting to see two members of his newly reformed Battleteam in action for the first time. Looking back he saw Tahlrada positioning himself behind a few stacked storage cases as the Consul and Sergeant readied their blasters as they walked the long way around the wreckage of the shuttle crash.
The vantage point gave Kairus and Setsuna a clear view of the target door, yet provided them decent concealment. What happened next was meant as a taunt to the intruders…the doors opened. Several seconds passed before the first glint of polished white stormtrooper armor began pouring from the open entryway. “Five, wait, six squads so far”, Setsuna said from her hiding spot. “They’ve brought a pair of automatic sentry guns too, probably the only real threat”, she snickered. Kairus nodded and hoped things would be as easy as she was saying.
Locke and Roxas spread their blaster fire out, so that none of the enemy forces could get behind their allies. It wasn’t often that the assassin fought without his armor. He almost felt naked and doubted that he’d get used to it anytime soon. He was angry that his armor had been damaged beyond repair, but instead of letting it control him he harnessed it to give him focus. Even his lightsaber had been destroyed, but his new one was a better match for his skills.
The imp-like woman Setsuna and Karius were doing well with the troopers and droids, especially with Tahlrada keeping their attention and the fact that battle droids have a one track mind. Luckily stormtrooper armor isn’t as thick as Mandalorian armor, so they went down with little effort, but the battle droids were another story. Locke began clearing a weapons jam, as Roxas had to reload. Setsuna and Karius would have been overwhelmed if Tahlrada hadn’t knocked a large crate into the door way stopping the flow of droids and troopers.
The group breathed a short sigh of relief and began to look around the hangar for another way to get further into the ship.
“Well that wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.” The Mandalorian said to no one in particular.
Setsuna skipped around the room child-like and kept getting Roxas’s attention.
Locke patted the Mandalorian on the shoulder “Just ignore her. That’s what she does.”
The group all turned at the same time as they all felt a disturbance…well except Roxas he turned because of the look on everyone else’s face. The large crate slid out of the way with the aid of the Force and two Dark Jedi approached the Sadowans with sabers in hand.
Tahlrada bounded behind some debris and came to a halt behind some crates full of engine parts. Tahl had spent a lot of time with his telekinesis in practice and he didn’t have the skill of his four comrades but he could annoy whatever came through the doors.
The bulkhead doors parted and Tahlrada’s vantage point gave him the surprise element as droid and stormtroopers poured into the hangar exchanging blaster fire with the other four. Tahlrada went pretty well unnoticed until he began lifting crates of engine parts and firing the crates at groups of enemies. This tactic was proving to be very effective against living targets that felt pain but it didn’t seem to do much besides knock over the droids.
Tahlrada noticed Locke began to clear his weapon which would not have been a problem but Roxas had to reload. Tahlrada looked around real quick before his eyes fell on a crate of sufficient size. Tahlrada reached out first with one and then with the other hand and could feel the tentacles of the force reach out and grasp at the large crate.
He remembered his training and put all of his rage into lifting the one ton box only a few inches. A grunt of rage escaped him and it only fueled his anger at looking like a fool. He tore at the large box and at first it didn’t move. Like a slow release of water it started to slide suspended above the ground. As it went it gathered momentum and it became easier for Tahlrada until finally he sent it sailing into the doorway, successfully stemming the tide of defenders for a moment of rest.
Tahlrada began looking for an alternate route further into the ship. He wasn’t too keen on the air ducts because who knows what horrid defenses they put in there. Tahlrada listened intently to the silence. He couldn’t help but feel something tugging at the force like an immense gravity nearby that he could not identify.
Suddenly the crate that Tahlrada had just struggled to cram into its place went flying out of the doorway as two dark jedi stepped through the doorway and made their way towards his fellow sadowans. Tahlrada couldn’t believe that the crate he just broke a sweat moving just got sent flying like it was weightless.
“Awe, come on man, I just put that there for a reason,” Tahlrada yelled at the two approaching dark jedi, “do you realize what that took for me to move it!”
“Tahlrada I don’t think they care,” Roxas’ eyes seemed to narrow at the sight of the two dark jedi. Tahlrada wasn’t sure how this was boiled down but he had a funny feeling before he looked at Locke and said.
“So I am going to stand in the rear with the gear,” He patted Roxas on the shoulder and offered a wink, “good luck I will be rooting for you guys," Tahlrada went to step past him and stopped,"back there," Tahlrada pointed but Roxas did not look so Tahlrada went to walk on but stopped again, "and by the way don’t forget to duck every now and again so I can throw a wrench at them.” As Tahlrada went to the back he could tell that brought a smile to that deranged Mandalorian.
Lambda Class Shuttle
Without warning, the girl's skipping about the room stopped as she watched the two approaching Dark Jedi. The disturbance caused by these two sent a nearly imperceptible shiver down Setsuna’s spine. These two were the real threat, but mentioning that at this juncture seemed superfluous at best.
Sheathing her daggers, she gripped the hilt of her lightsaber and unleashed a guttural sound toward the pair.
Two identical men with blonde hair and ice blue eyes looked at each other for a moment before they spoke.
“What do-” one said.
“We have here?” the other finished.
“Intruders, Reaper. What do you think they want?” mused the first.
“Maybe we should find out, Frost?” the one called Reaper responded in kind.
The five Sadowans watched the newcomers with apprehension. These two were going to something of a challenge even for their combined might.Setsuna looked over her shoulder at Roxas and Kairus. These two could serve as a diversion if played properly.
Her mind reached out and touched those of her companions.
Locke, advance quickly. Roxas, you and Kairus need to keep them focused on as many fronts as possible. Tahlrada, I’m sure there are grenades around here somewhere. Be a dear and throw some of them when we start moving, yes?
Her companions all nodded briefly as she turned and looked at the twins. “I assume that you’re here to stop us from having our way with your ship?”
The pair nodded, a good sign since she really didn’t like these two. “I see. I was hoping terribly that we could be friends.”
Reaper and Frost shared a laugh with each other moments before the Sadowans exploded into action. Tahlrada scurried to find a couple of concussion grenades which he clumsily threw at the twins. The throws went long and exploded on the far side of the hangar which elicited another laugh from the twins moments before the Consul and his small companion closed the distance quickly dodging between blaster shots. The two worked in tandem, weaving in an intricate dance as they ignited their sabers as one and entered into combat with the twins.
Each drawing the attention of one of the brothers, they began to draw the two of them apart in order to gain room for maneuvering. Reaper looked at the much smaller fighter and laughed.
“Who are you to think that you can best me in combat? Surely my brother and I will make short work of you all!” Reaper taunted the girl.
Setsuna grinned at the man, all traces of the jovial personality gone. In her place stood the killer that her Clan knew her to be. She lashed out at the man, causing him to backpedal slightly toward one of the bulkheads. “You may call me Cherry Blossom.”
Locke continued to press his own attack against Frost, driving the strikes quickly further separating the two as he and Setsuna moved to stand between the brothers.
Super Star Destroyer Avenger II
Focusing on Frost, Locke assaulted the grinning enemy Dark Jedi with everything he could muster. The Krath Consul rushed the twin, angling his lightsaber toward the man's stomach. Frost knocked it aside and brought his own blade to bear in a horizontal slice at Locke's midsection. The sorcerer barely got his own weapon back in place for a vertical block, the two weapons cackling against each other with friction as the blades slid apart at an imprecise angle. After a moment, Locke jumped back. He attempted to set up a Force attack, but there was no time. Frost was already upon him, and once again the Krath had to sidestep and narrowly block the strike. It missed his body by inches.
It was clear that Locke would not survive long alone. Frost was faster and stronger: a deadly combination. He could keep up with Locke's deflective strikes, never allowing the Krath a chance to truly attack or do anything besides block.
But Locke had one thing Frost didn't.
"Come on, is that all you've got?" Frost chided, grinning. "You're a child with a man's toy!"
Locke offered his own smile. "Nope." Then he raised his voice. "Kairus! Roxas! On me!"
The two Dark Jedi broke from their harassment of Reaper, leaving Setsuna and Tahlrada to distract the other twin. As Locke deflected another of Frost's strikes and attempted to deflect a second, Roxas was there, his own lightsaber flaring between the Krath and his opponent like a shielded lava geyser on Mustafar. Frost stepped back, blade retreating and briefly making contact with Kairus' weapon as the twin held the Sadowan Equites at bay.
"Three of you now, eh?" Frost said. "Maybe we have a fight after all!"
In response, Roxas advanced, aiming a hard, direct strike at Frost. The enemy Dark Jedi responded with a slightly angled vertical block of his own, while Kairus and Locke flanked the pair. The Consul didn't care about the man's ego. Whether he thought he could fight the three of them or it was just bravado, the Krath didn't know, but he wasn't going to give Frost time to prepare himself. Setsuna and Tahlrada could hold the other off for a bit, but probably not for a long time. Beyond their encounter, Locke caught a quick glimpse of the two. Tahlrada apparently hadn't found any more detonators to throw, because now he was jumping around just out of Reaper's reach, while Setsuna nimbly dodged his strikes, keeping the twin preoccupied for the moment.
Suddenly, Frost raised a hand, lifting Roxas into the air. The Dark Jedi dropped his hand a split-second later, sending the Obelisk slamming into the floor with a grunt, his lightsaber spiraling away.
"Dumb brute, " Frost laughed.
Locke took the Obelisk Battleteam Leader's place, deflecting a quick strike meant to finish the Mandalorian off, while Kairus' attack on Frost's other side ensured Locke didn't face the entirety of the twin's wrath on his own. The two Sadowans countered with their own attacks, Kairus low and Locke high. Both were deflected as Frost expertly spun and fell back, blade clashing with each of the Sadowan's in turn. Locke observed that, while it seemed they had him on the defensive, in reality the twin was waiting for the right time to strike. Without all three of them, this plan would fail and Setsuna and Tahlrada would die.
Then Frost was distracted. With a deep roar Roxas charged into view, fists catching Frost in the chest as the twin's lightsaber went wide to block one of Locke's strikes at his arm. The unsuspecting enemy Dark Jedi was shoved to the ground. Landing on top of him, Roxas immediately rolled out of the way to avoid Frost's lightsaber as it came swinging back around wildly.
Taking advantage of the wild swing, Kairus batted it away with relative easy. Locke sensed the Quaestor flare in the Force for a moment as he moved lightning-fast, lightsaber plunging straight into Frost's chest. The twin let out one last, hollow gasp, before rolling over.
"Good work, " Locke breathed.
"Thanks, now what?" Kairus asked.
The Krath nodded toward the dueling forms of Setsuna, Tahlrada, and Reaper. "Them."
Together the two Dark Jedi rushed to join their brethren in battle, Roxas close behind after collecting his lightsaber.
Setsuna parried a deliberate strike from Reaper. The man’s blow was meant to clearly be a distraction to open the girl to a wide horizontal strike intended to cleave her in twain at the waist. Her speed barely managed to save her life, but the weapon left its mark along her stomach. The smell of burnt flesh filled the immediate air along with an epithet so vile that Talhrada and Reaper recoiled from her momentarily. Her responding strike came quickly only to find the wind ruffled garments as the man stepped just out of her reach.
The Acolyte had rushed in with a large piece of metal and was swinging it ineffectually at the vastly superior foe. Flaring with the Force, Setsuna met every strike the Battlelord intended for the young Sadowan. The azure blade leaving contrails in the air as she connected every strike until she managed to force them into a saberlock.
Fooling with the man, she felt the different pressures he placed on his weapon. Every time he pressed the lock, she eased up and guided his weapon and deftly kept him occupied until she heard the rushed footfalls of her companions from their own recently finished fight. Feeling the man ease up on his weapon, she pressed her own attack for a brief moment before grabbing his wrist.
“Quantus tremor est futurus!” she shouted moments before the man staggered away from her.
“A stunned heart is a pain, isn’t it?” the girl said winsomely, her features taking on the look of a battle-hardened killer. Memories came flooding to the surface of the Prelate’s mind. Memories of being unable to protect her family years past. She would never go through that pain again.
Her mind flashed to images of Locke, Roxas, Kairus and even the Acolyte she had never met before their tour of duty in this place, Tahlrada. This was her family now. This gave only more fuel to her anger as she planted a roundhouse kick into Reaper’s stomach. The blow was meant to do nothing more than drive him back.
Letting the Force fuel her body, she focused the entirety of her rage on the single target before her. Talhrada was in danger. Locke was in danger. They were all in danger if she could not hold up her end of the fight. Striking with Force-enhanced speed, the girl powered through the man’s defenses just as her companions made it to their side of the hangar. The man blanched at the combined forces before him, but knew his largest threat was the sprite-like girl before him. Enhanced strength allowed the girl to easily bat away all of the man’s futile strikes.
Regaining his composure only slightly, he played a last minute gambit. He called upon the Force and a telekinetic wave knocked all of them away from him. He laughed at them, but the sound was filled with pain at knowing his brother had been laid low by the three who just joined his fight.
Setsuna was the first to stand, shortly followed by Locke who shook his head. “Wasn’t expecting that one..”
The Prelate just shook her head in response and charged at the man with reckless abandon. Her strikes were swift, but lacked any real direction. Sensing the motive behind the strikes, Locke and Roxas quickly moved in while Kairus made sure that the Acolyte wasn’t too terribly injured.
Each of her strikes distracted the man just enough for the Mandalorian and her Consul to move into position. The three began to work almost in absolute unison, harrying the man even further. As Locke and Roxas executed a last maneuver, Setsuna lagged behind them only slightly. She waited until the weapon hummed past her harmlessly before extinguishing her saber and stepping in as she placed her back against the Battlelord.
“Too slow.” she said softly that only he could hear her. A moment later her saber ignited, sending the blade through Reaper’s heart. “Tell those you meet that I sent you to them.”
Extinguishing her blade, she sighed softly as the man crumpled behind her in an unglorified heap. She looked at the faces of her companions and smiled lightly at them. The killer was gone and in her place stood the child they knew to fear. “What’s next on the list, I wonder?”
Locke gave a visible shudder as Roxas simply shook his head at her. Kairus blinked a few times before shaking his own head while Tahlrada simply stared at her. She turned and knelt beside the man at her feet and offered a quick prayer before closing the man’s eyes for good.
As she rose, she looked to the door. She ran a finger along the scored line of flesh on her stomach, “This way, gentlemen?”
Maximum Security Level
SSD Avenger II
Blinking quickly, Locke struggled to see. As his ears continued to ring, the Consul fired wildly out of the turbolift. The Krath pressed himself to the lift wall, grunting as he hit it harder than he had planned.
Continuing to blink, Locke finally made out the forms of his companions. All of them were already out of the lift, save for Tahlrada. "This way, " the Consul yelled, stumbling out of the lift. In his free hand, he clutched the datapad Shikyo's Praetor had given him earlier. Turning from Tahlrada, Locke watched as his companions finished the last of the troopers outside the door.
"That was fun, " Roxas said, gently blowing off the tip of his blaster.
Shaking his head, Kairus held his lightsaber ready. "It won't be long before there's more."
"No doubt, " Locke agreed.
Roxas nodded at the Krath's hand. "What's that?"
"I'm not sure, it appears to be in code. Is anyone here proficient in reading code?"
At almost the same time, Roxas and Tahlrada both answered. "I have some experience with military ones, " Roxas said, just as Tahlrada professed his own knowledge of slicing.
It took Locke only a moment to decide to hand it to Roxas. He really doubted the Obelisk would figure it out, but out of the group, Roxas was the one the Consul had known the longest. After a few moments, Roxas looked up.
"Yes?" Locke asked. Roxas leaned forward and whispered in the Consul's ear. Locke's blood immediately ran cold while his mind poured over possibilities. "Are you sure?" he whispered.
Roxas nodded once. "Mandalorians used to use it."
"What's it say?" Setsuna asked.
"We need to continue our mission, it isn't that important. It's just something the Dark Council wanted me to know and we can finish the mission without it, " Locke said, keeping his voice level as he covered for the true contents of the message. Only Roxas knew them, and the Mandalorian was standing off to one side, as if sizing everyone up. Try not to be too obvious, Locke thought, hoping the Obelisk wouldn't risk revealing the message.
"There's an important-looking console at the end of the hall, " Kairus offered. "That might help."
"Right, " Locke agreed. The group quickly moved toward it, abruptly stopping again when two humanoids clad in strange armor stepped in front of the group. Locke noted that they seemed to be armed only with some sort of pike. "Who are you?" the Consul asked, a bit surprised to find someone such as they in the middle of a ship like this.
They didn't reply. Instead, the two aimed their pikes at the Dark Jedi when Locke stepped forward. He could sense the others shifting as well. Then, without word, one of the warriors lunged for Locke. He sidestepped instinctively, lightsaber igniting and cutting the warrior's weapon in two. The Consul had not counted on the other attacking at almost the same time. His pike would have impaled the Krath had Kairus not sliced it in half with his weapon. The two men quickly finished off the warriors, trading opponents. Locke decapitated Kairus', while Kairus quickly stabbed the Archpriest's original opponent.
"Interesting, " Kairus said.
"They fought pretty aggressive for warriors without the Force. We'll have to be wary, " Locke added. "Now, Tahlrada, you mentioned slicing before. Can you get into this terminal?"
The Zabrak nodded and brought up the main terminal, quickly clicking through screens. "Looks like there's four control points we have to disable in order to proceed. They're scattered all over the area, of course."
"Great, " Locke said. "We'll have to split up." He eyed Setsuna, who appeared to be pouting, probably because the Consul wouldn't tell her the contents of the message earlier. "Tahlrada, are there any vents big enough for a small person that would place them near any of the control points."
"Yeah, " Tahlrada replied. "Why?"
"Setsuna, " Locke said. "Care to take the vent?" Locke plunged his lightsaber into the nearest vent opening, quickly removing the cover.
Nodding, the girl slipped inside. "Well, that's one, " the Krath said. "Tahlrada and I will take another, Kairus, Roxas, you take a third, and we'll regroup for the last one."
"Right, " Roxas said. He turned to leave with Kairus.
Locke and Tahlrada walked a different direction. The Consul didn't quite trust the other man, especially considering they had never met before this mission. He wouldn't let the Zabrak out of his sights.
Maximum Security Corridors
The two equites moved with purpose down the seemingly long corridors to the security console Tahlrada had sent them to deactivate. Kairus observed Roxas in his peripheral vision noticing how very quiet the Mandalorian was even engaged in one of his favorite activities, battle. There was no doubt in his mind he was contemplating the message he had earlier deciphered. The Quaestor considered probing the Sergeant’s mind for the answers he sought, but quickly decided against it. Locke wasn’t ready to share the information, and he didn’t want to betray the trust of his Battleteam Leader. He decided on a more subtle approach to the subject.
“So I take it that the translated message was of some importance to the mission”, Kairus asked in low tones, “the Consul looked somewhat shocked when you translated it.”
“Yeah”, Roxas answered quickly, “but if Locke didn’t share it with you, I don’t think you have anything to worry about, and I trust his decision.”
The two men were rounding a corner to a new corridor. Kairus began to talk but Roxas raised his fist to halt and pushed both himself and Kairus back behind the corner. A single stormtrooper on patrol had turned the corner on the opposite side of the corridor and was on his way to discovering the two dark jedi. Roxas took his blaster into his hand and made ready to turn the corner, but Kairus grabbed his shoulder and shook his head. “I have a better idea, much more silent”, he whispered.
Kairus turned the corner with his arms outstretched, “by the Force, thank goodness I finally found someone.”
“Halt”, the stormtrooper yelled in surprise raising his blaster to firing position, “this is a restricted area!”
Concentrating Kairus spoke again, “I’m sorry, I seem to have gotten lost on this massive ship.”
The stormtrooper lowered his blaster, “You look lost, what are you looking for?”
The Templar gestured for Roxas to come from around the corner, “my counterpart and I are the new maintenance crew for the security console at the end of this corridor.”
“So you’re the new guys eh? People get promoted around here so fast no one ever stays put very long, heck I hope to be out of here pretty soon myself, the trooper said casually. “Come on, I’ll take you to the console.”
The two men followed the trooper down two more corridors before Roxas nudged Kairus and nodded his head forward to the security console. Kairus nodded once and sped up to walk alongside the trooper and engaged him in distracting conversation. While maintaining eye contact with the trooper, he motioned to Roxas with a couple of waves to man the console. He heard the Seargeant contact Tahlrada so that the deactivation codes could be entered without error. Only minutes passed until Roxas held a thumb up in the air, notifying Kairus their console was deactivated. “Make sure that console will function like that for a good long while, we don’t want to have to come back and fix it any time soon”, he said hoping Roxas picked up on the hidden intent.
“Good idea”, Roxas said with a small smile on his face as he ignited his lightsaber, pointed it downward, and in one clean lance rendered the unit inoperable. He pulled out a small communicator and said, “scratch one console”, and restored the unit to his belt. Kairus began making his way to the corridor when he heard a large thud behind him. Looking back Roxas was returning his knife to its holster; the trooper lay dead at his feet. “I tripped?”, the Mandalorian asked with the straightest of faces and shrugging his shoulders. “Let’s get back”, Kairus said trying to restrain a smirk.
Setsuna crawled quietly through the ducts. This wasn’t one of her favorite things to do, but she continued to move forward towards the security console at the end of her path. Slow, careful feet and hands led the girl through the metallic tunnels.
“This is so amateurish. Only a rank novice would think that ventilation systems are perfect for sneaking.” she muttered darkly.
She stopped at her intended destination and looked down through the grating. Four troopers and one of those bizarre guards stood between her and the console. She pulled the grate open and set it quietly on the far side of the opening. Leaning down into the grate, she whistled softly to catch the attention of one of the stormtroopers. As her target began to move towards the vent, she disappeared back into the darkness that hid her from view. Watching silently from the edge, she waited until the guard was just beneath her before she struck swiftly. A long, slender spike plunged deep into the troopers head, leaving only the smallest hole in the left lenses of his helmet. The man clattered to the floor in a jumble of armor and noise causing the other three troopers to turn toward the noise and come rushing to their comrade’s aid.
The girl dropped adroitly to the floor, her saber coming away from her belt and igniting with one fluid motion. Her blade hummed as it parted the air moments before the troopers bore its mark. Blaster shots fired in numerous directions as they fell to the ground. The bolts scored places in the wall and on the base of the console, causing Setsuna to swear softly as the guard leveled his pike at her.
He moved much faster than the troopers, his weapon twirling dangerously about his hands and body. The guard was a master of his craft and the bladed weapon whispered viciously as it passed in front of the man. She yawned slightly and looked more than a little bored at the display of skill. The guard moved in to strike with the blunted end of his weapon, only for the girl to quickly bring her blade to bear and deflect the weapon and remove a sizeable chunk from the end. The humanoid grunted for a brief moment before the girl’s quickly spun weapon bisected the man’s left arm from his body.
The man howled in pain and gave off a quick, brutal strike intended to take off the Prelate’s head. Setsuna moved to deflect the blade deftly, removing the blade from the guard’s weapon. He continued to follow through, expertly striking the girl across the side of her face with the now bladeless weapon.
Her jaw came unhinged on the left side, immediately turning a nasty shade of purple. Through sheer willpower, years of training and some help from the Force, the girl managed to stay on her feet. Moving deliberately, Setsuna simply drive her blade into the man’s chest.
Walking over to the console, she looked at it for a moment. Her anachronistic lifestyle left little room for the wonders of technology. Setsuna read the screen and simply shook her head for the briefest of moments.
“Some things are far too easy,” the girl muttered as she simply pressed the button that read ‘disable’. “Not much I can do beyond that, but this objective is completed.”
She looked back at the vent and jumped up, grabbing the lip of the entrance and pulled herself back into the duct work and headed back to where the five Sadowans went their separate paths. Working alone always seemed to settle the girl’s mood, but one thing troubled her. The message from the Council that Roxas and Locke were playing very close to their chests. This made her even more distrusting of the two.
Setsuna shook her head and pushed it out of her mind. She would deal with that particular issue at a later date.
Maximum Security Corridors
Tahlrada walked with Locke positioned behind him. Tahlrada could feel the tension between them. It hadn’t been there when the mission started but now he could feel the man’s eyes boring into the back of his head. Tahlrada tried to ignore the man and moved down the hallway junction where he held out his arm to stop Locke. Some troopers were standing at one end of the hallway passing the time with a conversation. Tahlrada looked at Locke and nodded as he bounded across the hallway to the bulkhead on the adjacent wall of the hallway.
Tahlrada moved out of Locke’s path as he entered the hallway. Locke motioned to the Zabrak and Tahlrada followed the man. A few moments later a single man stepped out into the hallway before them. He was clad in similar armor to the two warriors before but he was wearing a lightsaber on his belt. Tahlrada could feel his fear welling up in his stomach as he looked at the console a in between them and their new enemy.
“Hey Locke,” Tahlrada tossed a nod at the console, “I’m going for it, cover me.”
Tahlrada burst into motion towards the panel. He could feel their new assailant boring down on him as he came to a sliding stop at the console and began working his magic on it. Suddenly Tahlrada heard a loud clash to his left. He looked up and into the bright light of a red lightsaber. About a foot down from where Tahlrada was looking another lightsaber was engaged with the Sith warriors crimson blade.
The Consul and sith warrior disengaged and took a step back and began sizing each other up. Tahlrada could feel his concentration being pulled away from the terminal by the fight behind him. Tahlrada took a few deep breaths with his eyes closed before continuing. Tahlrada finally spliced his way through a few more screens and finished his job at the terminal. He stood up just in time to watch Locke cut along the sith’s left shoulder then his right knee and then stab him in his unwounded shoulder which caused the sith’s hilt to fall to the floor deactivated. He finished the man off by impaling him with his golden blade. As the Consul disengaged he spun to look at Tahlrada and with his free hand gave the dying man behind him a free flight down the hallway.
“Well,” Tahlrada watched as the man impacted on a bulkhead down the way, “are you done yet?”
Tahlrada was trying to relieve some tension between him and his Consul but in reality Tahlrada was terrified of the human. His mediocre appearance and façade was put on to cover a monster in Tahlrada’s eyes.
Tahlrada looked at the sith's hilt on the floor below the Consul. Locke followed Tahlrada's stare to the hilt of the fallen sith's lightsaber. Without a word Locke cut the lightsaber in half causing both halves of it to spin wildly before he motioned for Tahlrada to continue down the corridor. Tahlrada couldn't help wondering why the Consul was acting this way around him. He had only heard good things at the shadow academy about the man.
It didn’t take long for the Sadowans to regroup and continue toward their main objective. They quickly rounded a corner to find an ambush waiting for them, comprised of some troops and a woman exceptionally strong in the Force.
“I am Dantella Novae and …”
Roxas quickly interrupted her “Oh, look someone with an inflated view of their self.”
The Umbaran woman continued “ooo that mouth of yours will get you into trouble.”
Tahlrada replied “Ok, lady you’re creepy…we get it.”
Locke pointed to a nearby security control station as he ignited his lightsaber “Tahl, I’m sure that panel could be of some use.”
Setsuna and Roxas didn’t wait for a command, they charged at Dantella and her lackies, the small assassin with her saber in hand and the Mandalorian with his slug pistol in his. It was an artistic sight to behold the two assassins at work. The view was full of flashes, glimpses of blue and sprays of red. Within a few moments the only one left was the Umbaran.
Tahlrada was already slicing the security terminal when Locke and Kairus sprang into action their lightsabers ignited in near unison sounding like a roar of energy. As the two summit members ran, a burst of Force energy flew from Dantella’s hand sending Setsuna and Roxas flying a few meters from her.
Locke and Kairus received near the same treatment, but this didn’t stop any of them. Slugs still flew from the Mandalorian’s pistol and lightsabers still clashed. The odds may have been heavily stacked against them, but they were determined and nothing stands in the way of a determined Sadowan let alone five of them.
Maximum Security Level
SSD Avenger II
"Roxas, drop that pistol and use your kriffin' 'saber!" Locke called, readying his own blade for another strike. "Setsuna, stay in it!"
Suddenly the odd girl was in his head. So pushy! He could feel her, and the rest of the Sadowan Dark Jedi, including Tahlrada's presence behind them. Battle meld, she sent, as if it should have been obvious.
Dantella tilted her head slightly, as if bored. "You must be the leader of this sad little group. You should surrender now, your cause is hopeless."
Locke responded by stepping toward her on the attack, lightsaber pointed at her midriff. His limbs felt weak, sluggish, almost as if he should stop and give up. It felt similar to the effects of Dun Moch, but not quite the same. The strength of his own will and the compounded resolve of Locke's Clanmates steeled the Consul's resolve, and he shakily pushed through it. They had to push the attack as much as possible, lest Dantella unleash one of her devastating Force strikes. The Krath felt they had only seen a bit of her potential.
Spinning her lightsaber, the Elder Dark Jedi deflected Locke's strike easily, but a moment later Kairus struck out through the Force. Dantella spun to dodge the ethereal punch, but then Roxas was there, yelling some wordless war cry as he barged into the battle like a runaway hover train. Dantella sidestepped, deflected his weapon with the tip of hers, and slipped it past the Obelisk's to strike toward his neck. Putting his own weapon under hers and flicking it up, Locke denied the attack, but in so doing brought the brunt of the Umbaran's attention to himself. Her Makashi far exceeded his, forcing the Krath to backpedal quickly, unable to keep up with her flurry of tight, glancing strikes.
Just when Locke felt his foot touch the wall, Dantella turned away, swiping her lightsaber at Setsuna. Grinning, the girl ducked the strike, her pair of knives flashing light off the harsh overheads as the Assassin struck toward her opponent. Unhindered, Dantella flowed away, seeming to glide out of range while repositioning to block Roxas again. As Locke watched her dance among his allies, the Consul abruptly felt so very inferior. Dantella was, essentially, what he strove to be, and so much better at it. At this rate, she would tire them all out with minimal exertion of her own, and then dispatch the Sadowans one by one.
They needed a plan, even if sacrifices had to be made, but Locke was torn. He could not order his own people to sacrifice themselves, or to stand idly by and put themselves in harms way. He could sacrifice himself, but what would that gain them? Where was Tahlrada? Any luck?, the Consul vaguely sent to the young Obelisk, knowing he couldn't reply.
Kairus apparently picked up Locke's feelings with the Force, because he nodded at the Consul. "If it will be anyone, " he shouted over the din of lightsabers clashing, "it will be me!"
"No Kairus!, " Locke said. "That's an order!" Then he noted an odd droid moving past them, toward Tahlrada.
"Setsuna!, " the Consul called, "the droid!"
The Ragnosian nodded, darting past another of Dantella's strikes as the Elder battled Locke, Kairus, and Roxas. Fighting fiercely, Locke barely noticed as a security door beyond Dantella slid shut, then opened again. Then the anti-fire measures went off, sprinkling the combatants in a fine spray of water. What the? Locke thought.
Dantella seemed to be smiling, ignoring the spraying water. "Is this all you have? You're so weak. Maybe if you surrender, I'll spare you now."
Her voice was paralyzing ice. Locke held fast against it, his determination shattering for a moment, before the combined wills of himself and the other Sadowans mended their broken spirit, renewing their fight. The Bakuran had learned from the Vong never to give up; to never stop fighting. Anything could happen as it had so many times in that war. It seemed his comrades agreed, or his own feelings had passed to them. They still needed a plan.
"Roxas!" Kairus called. "Now!"
Confused, Locke watched on in horror as the two Dakhani froze in place, weapons not moving. Dantella smirked, turning from Locke's latest strike attempt, about to cut them down. "No!" the Consul shouted.
Then he saw twin rings of dark energy surround the Adept in the Force, constricting around her body, significantly diminishing her Force presence, though it did nothing physical. For a moment the Elder's eyes went wide. Then Dantella's blade arced down toward Kairus' head and everything happened at once. There was an explosion behind them somewhere. Dantella's lightsaber flashed downward. Kairus screamed. A flurry of blaster bolts filled the room.
When it stopped, Kairus was clutching his face and backing away. Roxas, visibly drained, hefted his lightsaber with both hands. Locke quickly put himself between the two men and Dantella, ready to face whatever threat she would bring now, pressing frantic thoughts of Setsuna out of his mind. When he looked at the Umbaran, no attack came. Instead he saw her Shadowcloak was riddled with holes. Dantella gasped and then fell forward on her stomach. Her fall revealed a retractable auto-turret aimed straight at them. Locke tensed, thinking it would attack them, but he saw now that it had been deactivated.
"Tahlrada!" Locke breathed. "Setsuna!"
The two emerged from the hallway side-by-side. Peering past them, Locke noted the burned remains of the droid Dantella had appeared with. "What happened?" he asked.
"I just started messing with stuff, " Tahlrada explained. "I knew there were automated turrets on this level, and hoped I could get control of one of them. It looks like I was just in time."
"Yes, " Locke whispered. He turned to Kairus and Roxas, pausing for a moment to make sure the Quaestor was okay before speaking. "And you two! What was that?"
"Should I tell him?" Roxas said. Kairus just waved a hand, the other still clutching his face. Roxas continued. "When we realized we both possessed that ability, we decided to save it for dire times. We had never actually been able to use it at the same time before, but it seems we improved!" Setsuna cleared her throat, earning a wary look from the Mandalorian. "Or the Force meld worked, whatever."
"Ah, " Locke said, his mind still processing. "Let's take care of the last security station, but first, I want to wrap things up here."
Clipping his lightsaber to his belt, Locke knelt next to Dantella's dying form and whispered in her ear. "You could never stand against the might of Sadow, " he said. "We will sweep across the galaxy and our rule will last long after you are but dust scattered across the stars. You and your master Zoraan were fools to think you could stand against the heirs of Naga Sadow. Only now do you accept, with your death, that it is our destiny to revive the Sith Empire. There is no stopping us, the sublime agents of the Final Way."
As Dantella croaked out what may have been a desperate retort with her last breath, Locke stood up and moved away from the still form of the Umbaran without another glance. "Setsuna, " he said, "please take care of the final security point and hurry back." As she left, he knelt next to Kairus. "How bad is it?" the Consul asked.
"My vision is odd, " Kairus said, surprisingly calm. Locke gently pulled his hand away for a moment and then grimaced. Even after what he had experienced in the past, that kind of sight always elicited a moment of shock. "Well, that's quite a gash." He didn't mention the missing eye in the middle of the cauterized arc across the Quaestor's face. Locke wasn't sure if Kairus knew the extent of his injuries or if mentioning it would distress him. "Let me see what I can do, " the Consul said. Closing his eyes, the Sorcerer placed his hands against Kairus' face and forehead, sending gentle waves of the Force into the Obelisk as Locke had sometimes seen Methyas do for others. After a few moments, Locke breathed in deeply and sat back, opening his eyes and letting out a long breath. Kairus was shivering visibly, but his wound was noticeably better, if not completely healed.
"You should feel better soon, " Locke said. The Quaestor nodded.
A moment later, Setsuna returned. "Last point deactivated!" she said, nudging the lifeless body of Dantella with a foot. "What now?"
"We wait, " Locke said. "We should receive further orders soon."
Bridge SSd Avenger
The five Sadowans have finally reached the bridge to find it stained with blood and littered with corpses.
“It looks like it’s that time of the month.” Roxas jested.
Setsuna cut her eyes toward the Mandalorian with an icy look.
Locke palmed his forehead for a moment before speaking “Our mission is to somehow defeat this guy, who is extremely stronger than our last foe. We are gonna need some help…Kairus contact Raken for support. “
“Tahl get the lights.” Roxas ordered “Then stay out of sight.”
The Quaestor nodded and then began the comm call. Roxas slid his hand to his bowie knife and slowly drew it from its sheath while Locke focused his mind on one of the alchemy enhanced Terentateks. The other Terentatek came close to the group snarling and growling. Roxas bent over and got face to face with the beast. Alchemic eyes met alchemic eyes and both monsters stared into each other. They knew the pain that each felt and had a mutual understanding, but the psychopath standing behind the beast used the Force to influence the animal to attack.
It leapt at the Mandalorian and was vaulted over him and onto the floor for its trouble. The large blade of the knife hit the beast’s flesh, but it barely made a scratch. Setsuna attacked the beast telekinetically causing it to shout in pain as Necar charged with his sword held high, already begging for more flesh. Setsuna and Roxas quickly stepped back to create distance and the Terentatek climbed back to its feet.
Laughter escaped the crazed man as he was finally close enough to swing his Sith Sword. Setsuna weaved and escaped the blade easily, while the Mandalorian raised his bowie to defend from the the sword. Necar let the Force flow into his movement, increasing the speed and strength of the swing. The sword clanged against the hand guard of the large knife and the force of it sent Roxas a few meters back.
“Got it! Going dark!” Tahlrada shouted as the lights went out and the Sadowans scattered.
SSD Avenger II
Making a blind jump, Locke plunged into one of the nearby crew pits. He landed, stumbling onto the floor. Thinking instinctively, the Consul scrambled forward and palmed what was in front of him, hiding behind a computer terminal. Having made a more graceful leap, Setsuna had her small body tucked into the dark corner where two bulkheads met some distance away in the same pit. Distantly, Locke hoped that the others had gotten clear of their opponent as well. The Krath figured that, if he had the ability to see others in the dark with a bit of focus, surely Necar could do the same almost at will.
Surprisingly, the Sith Lord merely stomped around slowly on the walkway above them. He let out a loud howl, and Locke almost thought he heard sniffling for a moment. Then there came the quiet whisper. "To pieces...to pieces, all to pieces..." The Apprentice turned toward the front of the bridge and then stopped, looking around again. "Where did you go?" he suddenly shouted, "I still have to kill you!" The madman's voice continued to rise. "To pieces! Everything, shatter!"
Violent lighting began to cackle above the mad Apprentice, creating flashes that momentarily lit up the bridge. The man's arms were outstretched and his head held back. He seemed to be laughing. This man looked capable of anything, but right now he seemed to be trying to tear the bridge apart. If he succeeded, they would all die, and no plan would work then.
"Hey ugly!" Locke yelled. "Your mother was an Ewok and your father smelt of bantha poodoo!" In the dark, the Consul could see Setsuna giving him a weird look, but after a moment understanding seemed to dawn on her. Locke ducked back behind the panel as the Sith Lord turned with a snarl, dropping down to the deck in the crew pit.
"Someone wants to play, hmm? My master always did like games..." The Apprentice said, seemingly amused. "Come out and play then!" The monster slowly started to stalk in the general direction of where Locke hid. In the darkness beyond, the Krath could hear one of the beasts that had accompanied the Sith Lord as it sniffed the air, letting out a low growl. Reaching out to it, Locke found that it was nearby. He once again tried to calm it, sending waves of friendly Force energy into the beast. They were simple thoughts. Friends. Rest. Gentle. Packmates. The Sorcerer added anything he thought the beast might appreciate.
Suddenly, it let out a long, sullen howl. The Apprentice turned toward it, then back the way he had been facing. In the darkness, his mouth opened in a wide grin. Locke thought he must have sensed the Sadowan's Force attempt. "Do you know what my name is?" the madman said.
Locke didn't answer.
"Darth Necar, " the man said, "and I will not be fooled by simple tricks!" He aimed a hand in Locke's direction, as if to unleash Force lightning again.
Then, behind him, Setsuna moved. She gave a shout and disappeared into a hallway heading under the bridge's upper walkway. It was enough for Necar, who swiftly turned around, intent on following her.
Just then, Locke heard the bridge's main entry door slide open with a hiss. Raken, the Consul thought. Summoning the Force, the Krath leaped up onto the bridge walkway. "Up here!" he yelled, turning to where Necar was and stepping back. "Come and play!"
The Sith Lord jumped back up on the walkway, staring toward Locke, but then he stopped. Dim emergency lights came on all at once, illuminating the bridge walkway. All was silent for a moment, the stars outside almost peaceful, if it weren't for the incredibly powerful madman trying to kill them.
On the opposite end of the bridge, where the team had originally entered, stood the massive red form of Raken. He slowly began to walk forward, a crimson blade springing from either hand. Then, to Locke's relief, Necar turned toward the red giant.
"Ah, finally, something fun!" The mad Apprentice sneered. Necar mimicked Raken's gait in his own perverse way, stalking toward the Elder with his lightsaber held high instead of at either side, blade pointed down. Raken never stopped facing forward, merely moving closer and closer.
Shoulders slumping as the two powerful Dark Jedi engaged one another, Locke barely noticed the two Terentetaks as they approached him from either side.
SSD Avenger II
The unseen, yet easily sensed form of the diminutive Prelate darted along the walkways. She clearly sensed the danger closing in on Locke and moved even faster as she allowed the Force to flow through her. The battle between the crimson giant and the madman was easily heard in the background, but that was secondary to the girl now.
Roxas, also alerted to the danger, moved almost in tandem with the younger Assassin. Her natural speed, bolstered by the Force, allowed her to beat the Mandalorian there by several seconds and caused her to crash into Locke’s back with a barely audible sound of displeasure from Setsuna. Spinning lightly on a foot, she placed her back against Locke’s own with each of them facing one of the monstrous beasts.
“No dying on me today,” she muttered at him only loud enough for him to hear.
Her azure saber ignited as she stared up at the beast. “Anything I should know about this thing?”
The exact moment her question ended, the two terentateks struck at the pair moments before Roxas could reach them. The pair easily dodged under the first strike, Locke needed only the barest of help from one of Setsuna’s tiny feet to sway his balance in favor of ducking.
Locke leaned backwards, the middle of his back resting on the slightly hunched Prelate’s shoulders. She had stepped to the side avoiding the claws of her beast and balanced the Krath precariously on her whilst doing it. She knew such a maneuver wouldn’t be able to work a second time. She was beginning to feel the strain of the near constant combat sinking into her fragile limbs.
“Yeah,” he remarked. “They’re venomous.”
The girl muttered something to the extent of “great” before she stood up to right the Consul. As Roxas joined the pair, he simply grinned at his companions which told both of them that this was what he truly lived for, an enemy more than worth his time.
Shaking her head, Setsuna placed a foot on Locke’s thigh and shoved again. The pressure was enough to tell him to step forward and away as her foe struck again. The claws tore through the Consul’s clothing but not enough to touch skin.
The Prelate swore softly as one of the claws pierced her side and left a long rent on her stomach, just below the burn she’d gotten earlier. Staggering slowly, Roxas watched as the girl faltered under the attack and yelled out a battle cry she didn’t understand. The creature turned to face his new opponent with renewed vigor as the soldier waded into the fray with the large animal. Setsuna barely managed to hide the wound from those around her by keeping her cloak close to her body and her movements carefully measured.
Venomous, Locke’s voice repeated over and over in her head. The girl knew that she wasn’t going to be much use later in the fight, but she could do what she could now. The orders were to kill or capture at least one of the creatures. Capture could prove infeasible, but not impossible. She looked around at the room, taking everything almost all immediately.
Several of the emergency bulkheads could be closed to fashion a cage of sorts. As Roxas, Locke and the two terentateks moved cautiously around each other, the girl’s plan slowly became clear. Extinguishing her blade, the girl drew one of her daggers and moved close to the beast engaged against Locke. Using the most of the strength she had left, Setsuna drove her dagger as deep into the hamstring of the beast.
It howled in pain and turned its baleful glare on the girl who weakly scampered toward a closed blast door. One door was already sealed due to the chaos already happening in the bridge, making one side of the cage locked in place. The girl used her size to her advantage as the lumbering beast moved quickly after her, leaving Locke to assist Roxas.
Do not worry about me. Help him, Setsuna thought to Locke who seemed to nod in response.
Reaching the closed door, the Prelate leaned against it wanly. Her already pale skin appeared even harsher in the flickering lights of the corridor. Only moments went by before the baited trap was ready to be sprung and the girl pulled up the dregs of her ability to run around the beast without getting hit. Setsuna threw her arm out to the side and scored a hit on the door panel with her saber, causing the door to close moments after a larger hand reached through and grabbed her around the midsection.
Her cry of pain was easily heard by her already engaged companion shortly before the deafening howl of the terentak as the blast door closed around its arm and severed the hand. Setsuna collapsed to the floor in exhaustion as the poison continued to work its way through her body.
After slowly dislodging the hand from her body, the Prelate inched her way to a bulkhead and stopped moving except for the shallowest of breaths.
Locke and Roxas, hearing the girl’s cry, wanted to rush to her aid, but their own problems became dreadfully apparent as the second terentanek roared at them and swiped vicious at them. The Consul and Mandalorian moved as a team, their sabers each moving like a snake in the grass. Yellow and red blended almost perfectly in harmony as the two danced around the terentanek, scoring minor hits to the beasts large frame. The difficulty of the monster was only heightened by the experiments done by its master.
The creature reared back, clearly maddened by the attacks and another deafening roar escaped its mouth. Clearly shaken, the two Sadowans continued to press their attack. Weaving low and high, the Consul’s blade bit deep into the terentanek’s shoulder as Roxas plunged his blade through the thigh of the thing.
It staggered back a few steps, nearly taking Roxas and his weapon with it, except for a moment of clarity and brilliance where the Templar extinguished his blade to quickly dislodge it from the creature’s leg.
Kairus stood in his hiding spot in the crew pits wrestling with an internal fight with his rage and conscience. Half of him knew he should be out with his crew battling Necar’s creatures. The other half told him he would only be a hindrance to his fellow dark Jedi. The Force was compensating a kind of “vision” for his lost eye, but he knew key elements like depth perception and peripheral vision would for now greatly suffer. He took his lightsaber into his hand and silently looked it up and down with his one good eye. A great surge of anger rushed into the Templar as he raised his arm to rid himself of the weapon. He looked up about to throw and saw Raken fighting fiercely with the insane Dark Lord of the Sith.
The Quaestor turned around again to face the others fighting the beasts. He thought on his one redeeming quality from this encounter; he had been able to contact Raken in time before his whole team was obliterated. Raken was of course the hero in the endeavor, but calm came to the Obelisk and he re-clipped his lightsaber to his belt. He watched again as his comrades fought the monsters until a small tendril in the Force sought his attention. It brought him to once again focus on the two Lords fighting. Kairus had to put his hand on a console to steady himself as he felt fatigue that did not belong to him. Looking up he noticed that Raken was maintaining a defensive posture with some difficultly. There were absolutely no openings between attacks, blades met blades in a continuous flurry, but Kairus could see that Necar would eventually wear the Adept down.
“A diversion”, Kairus thought to himself. What could he use against a being that has powers that rival his own Grand Master? A lightsaber assault would result in a quick, untimely death. None of his force powers would even tickle the Dark Lord. He snapped his fingers as an idea formed in his head. He only hoped that an idea so crazy would affect someone already so insane.
Kairus accessed a terminal for the communications system and started activating terminals all over the bridge. He found in the logs messages that Zoraan had personally created and started sending them to the different stations. He set the last one and waited for the right moment. The short time it had taken the Templar to set up his plan had taken a toll on Raken. Necar raised his blades overhead and struck down hard. Raken caught both blades with his, but the Dark Lord did not release this time, instead choosing to bear down. The Quaestor would not have Raken on his knees before this madman, and punched the button to start his plan.
“Attention all hands of the Super Star Destroyer Avenger”, said theholo projection of Zoraan. Still bearing down, the Sith turned his head slightly at the voice of his master. Another likeness erupted from a terminal much closer to the two combatants, “Necar, status report!” More activated until the entire bridge was filled with Necar’s dead master, demanding and commanding from the grave. Necar looked insulted, yet seemed to be suppressing a small tick every time a message repeated itself. He pushed Raken with both blades, augmented with the force the Adept skidded several feet on the metal floor. The Darth deactivated his lightsaber but kept his sword in hand. With his free hand he began systematically sending force lightning to the terminals; a sadistic smile formed as he watched his master disappear. Kairus looked to Raken, who nodded as he looked towards the madman. The distraction was minimal, but it was a distraction none the less.
Tahlrada slid into the pilot seat and looked at the complex consoles around him. With a grin on his face he began hacking the console controls and unlocking the panels. Finally all the panels were unlocked and Tahlrada began to work through the console to see what the madman had done to the ship.
“Hey,” Tahlrada smiled to himself, “there you are.” Tahlrada came on to the collision course authorization from some Captain. Tahlrada looked over his shoulder at his comrades before he noticed Kairus creating a rather annoying distraction. Suddenly Tahlrada jumped as a holographic head of Zoraan popped up on the pilot’s holo terminal. Tahlrada breathed a deep sigh until a sudden arc of lightning caused the entire pilots console to burst into fire and smoke. Tahlrada looked at the scorched terminal and saw the co-pilots terminal was unharmed.
Tahlrada turned to see the madman taking aim and readying a charge of force lightning. Tahlrada took out his training saber that he had on him and waited for the man to send it at the terminal. Tahlrada got lucky on his timing. As the madman’s shoulder twitched back to send the powerful and deadly lightning at the console Tahlrada ignited his light blue blade and stuck it out like a lightning rod. The winding arcs caught the blade like a lightning rod and to Tahlrada’s dismay, came shooting down the hilt and through his body.
Tahlrada slammed hard against a navigation console. His ribs were definitely broken and he could feel the labored breathing coming on. His head was ringing and his vision was coming back sporadically. He summoned any energy he had left to scramble to his feet and then realized that his hands had gone numb. He stumbled over to the co-pilots seat and went to activate the console. That’s when he realized the unfortunate truth. His training saber had exploded from the shock and the pieces and parts had embedded into his hands. Tahlrada had to think quick as he looked around for some form of assistance. Kairus was now standing by the console he had used to send Zoraan’s message to every terminal in the bridge.
“Kairus,” Tahlrada wheezed as pain shot up his side. Tahlrada took a few quick breathes before he gained some composure through the intense pain. “Kairus, get your ass over here!” The human turned to him as Tahlrada motioned him over. Kairus gave him a curious look before he moved across the bridge away from the raging battle. Tahlrada raised his hand up in front of the Templar’s face before he nodded to the terminal. Kairus sat in the co-pilot’s chair and looked around at the screens.
“What do you need?” Kairus looked up at him.
“The navigation bypass codes,” Tahlrada almost doubled over in pain, “it’s on the far right screen about halfway down under navigation.” Tahlrada felt it coming and turned away from the Templar and cover his mouth and cough heavily. As Tahlrada pulled his wrist away from his face he could see fresh blood on his forearm. Tahlrada ignored to new bit of information and went back to the task at hand.
“There!” Tahlrada’s excitement was paid for by another coughing fit and more blood, “those codes right there.” Tahlrada pointed with his mangled hand at Collision course override codes. “I need you to enter those in the console next to it while I find the captain, or what is left of him and his authorization card.”
Tahlrada looked around at the dead bodies littering the floor. He was looking for the one with the largest amount of commendations on his chest. After a few minutes and a few more coughing fits Tahlrada found the poor saps body mangled and lying in a large pool of his own blood. He rummaged through the man’s tattered clothing before he found the authorization card tucked away in a hidden pocket in the upper part of the man’s boot. Tahlrada hobbled over to Kairus and handed the man the card.
Tahlrada watched as the human put the card into a reader next to the screen and entered the codes necessary to prevent their untimely demise. Tahlrada breathed a labored sigh of relief as he slumped down against another console and turned to watch the epic battle unfold behind him. All the Zabrak could hear were the two lightsabers clashing against one another as he felt himself start to black out.
“Wake up,” Tahlrada felt a hand grasp his shoulder and give him a quick shake. Tahlrada looked at the human who had crawled out of the Co-pilots chair next to him.
“Hey Kairus,” Tahlrada wheezed weakly, “sorry about your eye.” Tahlrada smile was infectious as it brought a chuckle from the man.
Tahlrada was drained but he reached down deep inside of himself for any reserves. He concentrated his limited healing abilities on his hands. They were cut up pretty bad and he had a few broken bones but that was easy stuff compared to his breathing problem. Tahl could feel the warmth of the force running down his arms and into his hands. Soon he could feel a tingling sensation in his palms that extended out to all of his fingers. He felt and heard pops and other noises as Tahlrada used what little bit he had left to fix his hands. He knew deep down inside that he may need to use them at some point.
SSD Avenger II
As the Terentatek rampaged toward him, Locke strafed to the side, lightsaber blazing. The beast turned and followed, carefully following the Consul. He could sense Setsuna and Tahlrada barely alive, and Kairus' presence elsewhere. Roxas seemed to be the only other one of their party still standing. Distantly, Locke was aware of the titanic clash between Raken and Necar, elsewhere on the bridge.
"Roxas!" Locke called, "if you want to use the bloody slugthrower, now would be a good time!"
As if in response, a loud series of crack-bang sounds briefly overshadowed other noise on the bridge. Roaring with frustration, the Terentatek turned toward Roxas, apparently unhindered. Locke thought quickly. He had to keep the beast away from the Templar. It certainly wouldn't fall immediately to his slugthrower. Shouting wordlessly, Locke used the Force to propel himself up on the creature's back, plunging his lightsaber down. Augmenting his muscles, the Sorcerer pushed the blade slowly deeper, holding the lightsaber with a white knuckle grip. The Terentatek screeched in response, stopping in place and shaking wildly. Roxas took the moment to take several steps back, reloading as he did so.
Finally the beast shook hard enough that it tossed Locke from it's back, sending him flying to the ground, lightsaber shutting off and skidding along the floor. Standing up, he reached out with the Force to summon his weapon. As it flew through the air, the angry Terentatek charged toward Locke, mouth open wide. It overtook the Krath's lightsaber, crunching down instinctively when the weapon hit it's tongue. The lightsaber was crushed and disappeared with one last, tiny discharge of energy.
You're kidding me! Locke thought. Pulling out his blaster, the Consul fired several shots as he backpedaled, noting that the Terentatek seemed to absorb the bolts. He could see Roxas on the other side, still firing his slugthrower. That seemed to be their only hope now.
"Roxas, are you using your lightsaber?" Locke asked.
"Not really, why?" Roxas called back, reloading again.
As he continued to all but run, turning back to fire once in awhile and using obstructions to slow down the Terentatek, Locke began moving toward Roxas. "Because this guy ate mine!"
"Are you serious? Why'd you let it do that?"
"Roxas!" Locke yelled.
"Fine!" the Templar relied. With his free hand Roxas hefted his lightsaber and threw it in Locke's direction.
Dropping his blaster, Locke held up his hands and barely caught the weapon. "Could have rolled it, " he mumbled. The Consul could tell now that Roxas' slugthrower shots were wearing the creature down. It was moving noticeably more slowly, but continued to thrash about. The Terentatek was still a great danger to them. They needed to deal with it quickly.
Then a crazy, desperate idea came to Locke. If the beast's carapace was too strong, maybe he needed to get inside of it somehow. Igniting Roxas' lightsaber, the Consul charged forward with a yell, aiming the point of the weapon up as he leaped straight toward the Terentatek's gaping maw. The lightsaber plunged deep into the top of the creature's mouth, eliciting a pained howl. It thrashed wildly, one arm smashing into Locke and sending him to the ground. It knocked the wind out of him and the Sorcerer felt a sharp pain, as if his ribs had cracked.
Standing up, he watched the beast stagger forward. Locke clutched his side where it hurt, spitting up blood as the Terentatek lurched forward. It finally collapsed at his feet after another step. Letting out one long, pained breath, Locke surveyed the battlefield. The Apprentice and red giant still fought, Darth Necar laughing maniacally as he pressed against Raken. Though he was riven back, the Adept's gaze never faltered. He seemed to be set in stone. Yet, if they did not do something, he could lose.
"Roxas, " Locke said. "You're the only one left." He tossed the Templar's lightsaber back. "Do what you can."
Taking the weapon, the Templar nodded grimly. He mumbled something that Locke didn't catch, perhaps a phrase in the Mandalorian language. Then Roxas turned and charged to the fight.
For Sadow!" Roxas yelled.
Locke watched as the Obelisk stood opposite Raken and brought his lightsaber around in a hard horizontal slice at Necar. Mad and focused on Raken, the Sith Lord barely noticed Roxas before it was too late, moving to dodge and stab the Templar, grinning widely the whole time, but Roxas didn't dodge.
"Roxas, " Locke croaked, "what-"
The Mandalorian's blade continued on it's trajectory, Roxas only leaning into the assault to give it more momentum. At the same time, his blade sliced through Necar and the Apprentice's blade stabbed Roxas's side. Raken immediately backed off, holding his blades in a defensive stance. For just one moment, Locke thought he caught a glimpse of surprise from the Adept.
Necar's laughter stopped, his face forever frozen in a smile as his top half fell to the floor. Roxas stumbled for a moment after, dropping his lightsaber and propping himself up on a control console. Locke approached, clutching his own side. He placed his free hand on the Obelisk's shoulder. "Will you live?"
The Templar nodded. Locke sensed that his life force was steady, if just barely. Setsuna would need attention soon; the Krath wasn't sure about the other two members of his team. He looked up at Raken.
"Shadow Hand, " Locke said, trying to find the right words, whether they be of thanks or otherwise.
Raken merely looked at the Consul for a moment, as if considering him, before shutting down his lightsabers and leaving the group alone on the bridge, the other Terentatek thrashing in it's trap the only sound.