Dark Crusade: Prologue Team 11
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
SSD Avenger II
Auxiliary Hangar Bay
Executor-class Star Dreadnaughts possessed many hangars. The auxiliary hangar was usually used by minor officers to access shuttles. It was also by far the smallest hangar.
Andrelious J. Inahj stepped out of a T-4a Lambda-Class shuttle. He had opted very early on to take part in the operation. The ex-Imperial felt that he would be of key use to a team, as he had studied schematics and deck layouts of ships of the same class of the Avenger II. He had even spent a little time on the former Dark Brotherhood flagship, the ‘original’ Avenger, though even that was dedicated to the Imperial-II Star Destroyer of the same name.
“We will have a fight on our hands to get even through this hangar. I want you to keep an eye on that Barabel. He cannot be trusted.” Andrelious ordered to his apprentice Incendus. The Jedi Hunter had volunteered moments after his master. The rest of the team consisted of Damon ‘Snabbie’ Tye, who served as Inahj’s second in Void Squadron, a young Zabrak calling herself Nath Voth, and Zakath, one who be called Andrelious’ nemesis.
“If he goes for you, master, I will take his apprentice,” Incendus replied. He was close to a Knighthood – even without the typical arrogance of a Sith journeyman the smart money would be on the Hunter.
The landing of the team’s shuttle had not gone unnoticed. A few officers, clad in Imperial style uniforms approached, flanked by stormtroopers. Andrelious dispatched them with little trouble, quickly securing the area immediately around his landing area.
“How impolite. You did not wait for thiss one,” came a hiss from the direction of the shuttle. Its owner, Zakath, walked down the ramp, followed by Nath.
“You should be glad I wasn’t as impolite as to eject you into space. The loss of a couple of others would be worth it to be rid of you.” Andrelious replied angrily. In truth, he knew that the Warrior was vital to this mission – he could already sense two powerful presences nearby.
Finally Damon Tye joined the assembled group. He could also sense the nearby enemies.
“Right. I’m taking lead here. We must have this hangar under our control. We may well need to fall back here if the fighting gets too intense up above.” Inahj snapped. “Get to it! Zakath and Nath, eliminate any further Bucketheads. Incendus, you and Snabbie are to deal with any armed droid resistance. I will be taking on the defence turrets I have located. They are powering up, so stand well clear. Even for a Dark Jedi, they’re a good match,” he continued, activating his lightsaber.
It was time to take a Super Star Destroyer…
Nath Voth followed closely behind her Master, taking in the surrounding area with a cursory glance ensuring that, for the moment at least, they would be safe. Her attention was dragged back to the conversation at the mention of taking apprentices. Her dark eyes took in the stranger known as Incendus with a sharp glare, she had yet to descend off the ramp and so she was forced to look down at him. She spoke out before her Master; her voice as ever, calm and devoid of emotion.
“Unlike you two, we focus on the mission, save the petty squabbles for the trip home.” Her eyes travelled from Andrelious to his apprentice with ease. She didn’t look at her Master, choosing instead to walk on. As she did so she removed her balaclava from her belt, pulling it over her face with practiced ease. Zakath followed quickly, giving nothing but a non-committal hissing sigh at her words.
Allowing the conversation to flow over her, she inspected the area. For the moment they were safe, they had the cover of a large ship to hide behind, they could remain here and allow the bulk of the forces here attack. Doing this however, would be unwise and would box them in with no form of retreat if things became difficult. Reaching out with her mind, she could sense the Stormtroopers but that wouldn’t account for any droids in the vicinity. There were also some powerful Force users close by, this could be problematic for her but she didn’t allow herself to become bogged down with small details for the moment.
Andrelious’ voice echoed into her ears once more, barking orders at her as though she was some Novice going through basic training again. She wheeled around to look at him, as she did so she heard the distinctive hum of an activated lightsaber.
“I do not take orders from you.” She hissed out with only slight vehemence. “What makes you think you are even qualified to lead this mission?”
Andrelious looked over at her, his eyes narrowing with anger. How dare she challenge him so boldly. Nath met his gaze, openly defying him to state his reasoning. For a moment his eyes flickered to her Master, Zakath crossed his arms and shrugged, it seemed this was a regular occurrence.
“Are you always so insolent to your betters girl?” His voice did nothing to belay his growing ire at the woman’s petulance.
“Only those who have not proven their right to lead.” She seemed to be genuine in her answer but this only added fuel to his fire. Her head cocked slightly to the side awaiting his response with an almost gleeful sparkle in her black eyes.
“The fact that I must explain that I am one of the most experienced in the team proves that you are an inept dolt that would lead the team to its demise if you were placed in charge.” He watched Nath carefully trying to read her through body language now that her facial expressions were no longer available to him. Zakath remained silent observing the interaction with mild interest.
“But that is not what I asked you.” She was becoming more irritating by the second, how Zakath could put up with her was a mystery he may never unravel. With an impatient sigh he decided to answer her.
“I have examined the schematics and know where we are going. Does that satisfy your curiosity?” He spat back at her almost unrestrainedly.
“Indeed, it does.” Andrelious couldn’t be sure but he was certain that she had just smiled at him underneath her balaclava, there was a small amount of wrinkling near her eyes that gave it away but as soon as it was there it was gone once more.
With a nod towards Zakath she drew her DH-17 in her right hand and a dagger in her left, peeking out of cover to inspect the situation. Whilst they had been debating their opponents had seen fit to get behind cover and wait them out. Her head snapped back behind cover just in time to miss the bolt shooting past where her head was only moments before, leaving a scorch mark on the metallic wall behind them.
She looked towards Damon and Incendus who were now stood side by side waiting to begin. Zakath had moved up beside her ready to follow her out when she was ready. She could hear his breathing, it came in an almost silent even tempo.
Leaning out once more she took stock of where the Stormtrooper was, she was surprised to find him boldly walking towards them, the barrel of his E-11 blaster rifle only raised half heartedly in an almost at ease gesture as he walked forward. In seconds she aimed and fired a burst of bolts effectively taking the Stormtrooper out of the battle.
Before the Trooper’s body had even hit the ground prone she dashed out to the right, she knew Zakath was close behind as she could hear his lightsaber parrying bolts back at their owners with ease. Once behind cover again, she used her Master’s distraction to sneak around the ship towards another Stormtrooper who had taken cover stupidly close to the one she had just taken cover behind.
Swiftly she snuck forward, no longer able to see her teammates but confident that they were doing their jobs. She skulked around the first of the three smaller vessels, noting the pit to her right for later reference. Her enemy hadn’t noticed her approaching, silently she holstered her blaster, switching the dagger to her right hand and crept forward.
Gleefully, she coiled her arm around his helmet and pulled him backwards, effectively blinding him before bringing the keen blade across his exposed throat in a deep sawing motion from left to right. The cut blood vessels spurted out their crimson contents and the sickly wheezing sound informed her that she had also effectively sliced through his esophagus. She held him upright as the body began to shudder but quickly dropped him to the ground once he became dead weight; she left him to drown on his own blood, already excitedly moving forward to the next kill...
INCENDUS' RO Post.
SSD Avenger II
Auxiliary Hangar Bay
Incendus let out a sigh as he watched Nath slice through another Stormtrooper. "That woman isn't going to last long," he muttered under his breath. "I've seen typical Krath arrogance but never that. Either she's the most cocky Journeyman I've ever seen, or she's just retarded, though her records seem to say otherwise."
As a member of Shadow Gate, Incendus had decided to inform himself on his fellow gatekeeper, and The constant rivalry between their masters had done nothing to repress this action either. He was on the verge of knighthood, and as such wanted to keep all threats to his ascendancy as low as possible. He knew how much time Nath had spent in the libraries of the Brotherhood, and how she could easily become one of Incendus' biggest rivals.
"Well Damon, I guess we better get to work," Incendus said to his fellow Journeyman. Damon mutely nodded and the two Dark Jedi ejected their lightsabers, as they rushed towards a unit of B1 battle droids. Incendus dodged the fire of one droid, proceeding to impale it and swing it to the side. Damon Tye followed as he leaped through the circle of clankers, beheading one robot and turning to slice through another.
If this is what they're going to throw at us first, we can expect some much heavier resistance, the soon to be knight thought to himself. His ability to think straight in battle had been honed during Operation Rolling Thunder, Incendus' first battle as a Dark Jedi. Since then he had grown, not just in mentality but in skill and through the force as well.
"Heads up, Cend!" shouted Damon as he threw a droid toward Incendus. Incendus released his lightsaber from the burning droid he had been preoccupied with and sliced the airborne battle droid. He followed up by severing the legs of one droid and impaling it as it was grounded. Suddenly, he found himself with a blaster prodded against the back of his head.
"You're mine now, Jedi." Incendus recognized this voice as the voice of a human, not of a droid.
"I don't believe I am," said Incendus as he flipped behind the Stormtrooper. "You're done," he said as he severed the connection between the Stormtrooper's head and neck. His target's life was gone in the blink of an eye He got up and moved on to another target, but a strange feeling arose inside him. He sensed two threats, both of them clouded in mystery by the dark side of the Force, both of them growing ever closer to their location....
The hangar had become a tomb for the men that had been unfortunate enough to be on duty. Many had taken on the team of plucky Arconans but they had fallen well short of victory. Even Acolyte Nath Voth was relatively unscathed, sporting only a few minor wounds.
Andrelious and Zakath even appeared to be working well together, the Void Commander even needing assistance from the Barabel against a particularly well prepared Dark Jedi who had surprised the Battlelord with his strength. Soon, though, the ex-Imperial’s prowess with the Force ended that particular conflict, allowing the pair to separate and take on separate targets once again.
Damon Tye was the last to take a kill, bisecting a protocol droid that had been unfortunate enough to wander into the midst of the battle.
“Good work, Damon. Those things speak six billion languages. And in all of them they are incredibly annoying.” Inahj quipped as the team re-formed near the turbolift. By now they could all feel a presence, one that was now mere feet away.
“This one warns you, hewmon,” Zakath hissed to his rival. “These new enemies are going to be far more capable than what we’ve already faced.”
“Zakath. We are Arconan. Even though we ourselves are enemies, the Dark Side favour…” Andrelious replied back but was cut off; two new faces had entered the hangar.
“What do we have here, Frosty?” one of the new arrivals asked. Both carried two lightsabers, one crimson, indicating they were Sith, and one white. The lightsaber’s owners were both fairly lightly built women. Even without the Force Andrelious could have identified them as being in their late twenties.
“So this is how Zoraan got so many followers. Cloning.” Inahj stated as the two enemy females prepared for combat. Both were dressed in identical black armour, long dark hair flowing past their shoulders.
“Not exactly clones, little man. My sister and I are both perfectly natural,” one of the women spat back, seemingly annoyed at the implication of cloning.
“Small in stature, small in brains. I will enjoy killing you and taking your follower as my trophy,” the other continued, regarding Incendus and licking her lips.
One twin hurled herself towards Andrelious, whilst her sister rounded on Zakath and the others. The speed at which the sisters fought was incredible, aided immensely by the Dark Side. Inahj sighed as he enhanced his own agility with the Force; he was not naturally swift. Instead of attempting to engage his opponent directly, Inahj sidestepped before leaping into the air. Somersaulting as he flew over the female’s head, the Void Commander landed a few feet out of the Zoraanist’s reach.
Zakath was clearly the weaker of the two fighters in the other conflict. His opponent, who fought identically to her twin, was able to force the Barabel back, though she was having a hard time fending off the counter attacks from the trio of Journeymen who harassed her with their own weapons. Damon and Incendus were using lightsabers, whilst Nath stayed back, clutching a dagger in her right hand.
“I like to talk to my prey as I fight..tell me your name, little man.” Andrelious’ opponent hissed as she jumped to avoid a low slash from the Arconan.
“I like to kill my ‘prey’. Especially when they’re named after weather conditions.” Inahj replied, noticing ‘Frost’ written on a dogtag that his target wore around her neck. “I suppose your sister is called ‘Ice’.”
“You’re as funny as you are tall.” Frost responded with a tone that matched her name.
Inahj chucked. “At least I’m not fighting for a doomed cause. Did you know that Arc..” he began, but was cut off.
Frost had lifted Andrelious into the air. She waited until he was a dozen or so feet from the ground, before moving her arms down in a slamming motion. The Void Commander followed, hitting the metallic deck of the ship with a sickening crack.
“You must be so popular with the men on this ship, such a gentle little flower,” the wounded Qel-Droman taunted, though pain was already starting to coarse through his body. The attack had fractured Andrelious’ right ankle. The injury would make it difficult to stand, hampering the already clumsy Sith’s agility even further.
“When you’re strong, you don’t need to be gentle. The men of this ship have come to realise that.” Frost replied, bearing down on her opponent, twirling her dual lightsabers arrogantly.
Nath had been watching the fight between Andrelious and Frost closely. It had certainly been a better watch than the seeming stalemate that her master was playing out in front of her. Now the Zabrak had an opportunity. She charged towards Frost, plunging her dagger into the woman’s right calf.
Though it was a low tech attack, the sheer surprise of the blade piercing flesh, nerves and blood vessels was enough to force Frost to screech out in agony. Andrelious, unperturbed by the deafening noise, leapt at the injured woman’s body. Though he too was wounded, the surprise attack from his ally galvanised him. Sliding past Frost with a well-timed somersault, Inahj chopped the woman’s legs cleanly off with a single slash from his own crimson bladed weapon.
Zakath and his team of plucky Journeymen had begun to turn the tide of their own battle. As soon as Frost had been defeated, her sister, apparently called ‘Reaper’, became noticeably deflated. Her attacks were no longer as well planned and the Barabel had even managed to wound her twice with his own powerful strikes. Now Nath and Andrelious were also able to focus their energies onto the remaining twin.
Now it was Reaper’s turn to lift Andrelious. Again the tiny Sith was lifted in the air, and again he was aggressively slammed downwards. This time, though, he was ready for it. Inahj landed on his undamaged left ankle and tossed his lightsaber straight at his opponent. Damon and Zakath, both familiar with Inahj’s fighting style, slashed forwards almost in unison.
Reaper parried the varying attacks, but she had not been expecting Zakath to follow up with a well-aimed kick to her midriff. Winded by the rather inelegant attack, the female took a step back, but was immediately set upon by the entire quintet. It was Damon who delivered the fatal blow, relieving Reaper of her head.
“It’s time to move on, team.” Inahj ordered, noticing Frost crawling desperately towards them. In a flash the Void Commander pushed a magcon switch, and quickly ushered his team into the turbolift. In the lift the team could regroup and heal their wounds; Inahj still had a fractured ankle and Zakath and Damon had both suffered several burns from Reaper’s lightsaber.
The first major challenge had been thwarted.
Nath was one of the least injured of the team, she noted her team leader’s slight limp as he tried to cover his discomfort. Though there was little she could say as Andrelious had used the Force to activate the magcon switch, sucking Frost out of the airlock with a muted, frustrated outcry of indignation.Her body was evacuated with an economic swiftness out into the vacuum of space. Taking with it an increasing volume of the oxygen that once filled the area.
Now Nath began to notice the pulling sensation as the team reached the turbo-lift. Zakath turned to ensure she was following, and not wandering off on some idle thing that had piqued her curiosity. That was when he noted the vessel entering the docking area, reaching out into the Force to deactivate the magcon switch once more.
The hiss of air beginning to re-fill the partially emptied area brought the whole team to a halt. Each of them eyeing the craft suspiciously from the entrance of the access area, until they saw the markings of the Dark Counsel, then proceeding to relax marginally, certainly they were not stupid, they all kept their weapons in hand, ready for another fight if the need arose.
It took a moment for the occupants to emerge but everyone’s gaze fell on the petite female that disembarked; they all recognised her, the pale complexion drew out and amplified the intensity of her emerald green, scrutinizing eyes. Ekeia Iclo looked all the smaller as she descended from the vessel behind the Deputy Grand Master, his impressive crimson form towered over her, the black tattoos standing out over the muscled cords of his body.
They disembarked swiftly, Raken remain close to the ship, overseeing his assault team as they to dismounted the ramp, Nath noted his stoic nature with mild curiosity but her eyes drifted to the approaching Pontifex, when she caught the movement from the corner of her eye. She noted the datapad in her hand with a curious glance but remained silent, her eye drifting to her Master wanting to enquire, however knowing he was just as vexed. He didn’t show it through facial expression like most but she knew that the slight incline of his head to the side signified his curiosity as well as his confusion. Glancing at the others didn’t give any clues either, they all looked surprised.
Andrelious moved away from the group, his limp suddenly vanished and his posture straightened as always. He met his superior half way, his back remained turned to his team as he greeted her. The meeting was brief, glancing at the datapad he returned it and thanked her for the message before turning back and returning once more to his team. The others observed this but did not comment, they knew when the time was right Andrelious would divulge the contents of the pad.
Once the meeting was over the Pontifex returned to the now fully assembled team and they left via the alternate exit. Andrelious gestured for the group to enter the turbo-lift and followed behind them. The space was slightly snug but secure enough to allow for wound healing. Damon was first inside, followed swiftly by Incendus and Zakath. Nath followed her Master, ending up stuck in the middle as the other three and taken up the side space of the curved wall, and Andrelious had his back to the entrance, which closed with a slight hiss. Immediately Nath turned her back to whom she believed was the least of a threat; her master. She watched the others carefully, her hands at ease but still close enough to draw her weapon should she wish.
Inahj studied the turbolift’s control panel briefly. As he expected, the layout of the Avenger II matched the original Avenger almost completely. Had its IFF code not confirmed it was a different ship, the Battlelord would have put money on that it was the original.
Pushing the button that would take his team to the bridge, Inahj began to heal his broken ankle. The bones began to knit back together. The last of the pain was ebbing away as the turbolift began its journey. Moments later, the lift ground to a halt, the control panel going out.
“Frak. It appears security have pinned us down,” Andrelious explained to his team. The message he had received from Ekeia had put him on red alert; he had not divulged its contents to his team, and had elected that he would not do so until much later. The contents were too dangerous. Right now, he was needed to bail the team out of trouble.
“Zakath. Help me cut through this door. With the two of us it will take only seconds. The rest of you stay back. I feel very uneasy about this.” Inahj ordered, beginning to slice through the locked down lift doors with his weapon. Zakath complied with the request, pushing past his apprentice. The Barabel’s strength allowing to cut through the door much faster than his rival. The two lightsabers met seconds later, cutting a hole large enough for the team.
Inahj pushed the severed section of door with the Force, having sensed enemies directly adjacent to the lift, waiting to ambush the team. A cry of pain indicated the hurled durasteel had made contact with its intended target but not with the impact as Andrelious had hoped. “GO! GO! GO!” Zakath screamed.
Andrelious didn’t need asking twice. He took the lead, immediately followed by Zakath. The three Journeymen were no slouches either, joining the pair within seconds.
In front of the intrepid Arconans was a short corridor. The nearest and most immediate threat was a battle droid that appeared to still be powering up. Zakath was first to react, bisecting the droid with his lightsaber before it could manage more than noisly targeting Incendus.
The position of the turbolift had left the team exposed on two flanks. Each side was filled with varying enemies. Either way looked dangerous but Andrelious knew that he and his allies would have to clear the whole level; alarms were blaring indicating that the massive ship was being boarded. Furthermore, a look through a nearby transparisteel window indicated that the Avenger II was under attack from the Navy of the Iron Throne, though that was more a distraction than an attempt to cause any meaningful damage.
“Keep together.” Inahj directed.
Deciding to turn left, Andrelious charged towards a nearby defence turret, jumping up and destroying it with a flourish of his lightsaber. Zakath plunged his own weapon into another battle droid, and then parried an attack from an new type of enemy.
“What in the name of Palpatine is that!?” Inahj queried as he headed over to assist the Barabel. Though the unknown fighter was capable, two Equites were a little too much to handle and Inahj had soon ended the conflict with a vicious stab to the heart.
“Thiz one isn’t sure, hew-mon.” Zakath answered, examining the sword that the defeated soldier had dropped.
“No time to find out. There’s another dozen of those bastards.” Andrelious replied, fending off an attack from another of their new enemy.
The three Journeymen now joined in what their Equite teammates had begun. Damon Tye , the strongest of the three, was able to take out a battle droid that had attempted to sneak up on the trio, whilst Incendus and Nath, despite their masters’ rivalry, teamed up and eliminated a defence turret.
One of the unidentified soldiers managed to out manoeuvre Zakath’s lightsaber and jabbed the Barabel’s left leg with his sword.
The Sith Warrior growled in pain, but managed to decapitate his enemy with an aggressive counter attack. It was then the alien began to feel debilitating pain flowing through all fibres of his body. Whatever these enemies were, their swords had a nasty bite..
Zakath snarled as the pain ravaged through his nervous system but it only served to clear his mind, and drawing upon the power of the Dark Side, the Sith Warrior quickly had the pain under control within seconds bringing his bloodshine blade back into the fight.
“Their bladez are posioned!” He roared as he slammed his blade deep into another soldier's gut, jerking upwards, and cleaving him in two.
With the Equities pinning down the soldiers with heavy frontal attacks, the Journeymen maneuvered around to attack from the flanks, and soon the entire group was massacred, with no one able to flee from the onslaught.
Zakath gasped heavily as he fell to his knees, his shoulders slumping as he felt the liquid fire flowing through his veins, feeling as if every nerve was aflame. Closing his eyes, the Sith Warrior fell into a deep meditation as the rest of the group pushed on a little ahead to make sure the immediate area was secure.
Drawing upon the Force, he soon felt the icy touch of the Dark Side as he surrendered himself to its embrace, the fire of the poison being extinguished, at least for the moment. He was certain that it would need to be cured quickly, though, lest the pain return. With a slight mental sigh of regret, he began to pull out of his meditation, his breath quickening as he began to surface.
“What pretty patterns...” Zakath could hear a soft female voice whispering softly as he became increasingly more aware of his physical environment. “What caused these, I wonder...”
As his physical senses began to return, Zakath's muscles suddenly froze in horror as he felt a very soft touch tracing one of his self-inflicted scars that lined the heavy scales of his shoulder.
Then Zakath saw nothing but flames.
With a deep roar erupting out of him, the Barabel leaped to his feet, his natural hand already seizing the violator by the throat and slamming them against the wall, his heavy talons sliding out of his hands to deeply pierce the skin as his durasteel claws on his cybernetic hand prepared to slam themselves into the violator’s belly and tear out their living guts.
“Zakath! Enough!” A crisp voice barked out and suddenly the flames died.
The Barabel's violet eyes dimmed somewhat as he suddenly realized that the violator was none other than his own apprentice, choking and turning gray under his crushing grip. Growling softly, Zakath loosened his grip slightly, just enough to permit air to flow into Nath's gasping lungs.
“Do. Not. Touch. Thiz. One.” Zakath ground out the words as he glared at the heaving female. “You knew thiz already. Why did you persist?”
“If... If...” Nath coughed and gasped in some air. “You want my reasons... you'll have to... try harder.”
Zakath's eyes glowed brighter as he stared at his student, his grip tightening again. Then with a sigh of disgust, he turned and threw Nath onto the floor, sending her sliding across into a sprawled heap.
Turning to Andrelious, Zakath spoke. “Thiz one requirez medical attention for the poison if we wish to contest any more Jeedai.”
After being flung to the floor by her Master Nath rose once more, picking up the dagger that was flung to the floor by the force of her Master’s anger, she inspected the blade carefully checking to ensure it was still in perfect working order.
Once contented she stood by her master once more, inspecting him in a sidelong glance, looking for signs of illness but not seeing any yet. Her gaze flicked to her Andrelious, waiting to see what he would do; the gleam in her black eyes told him that if his next words were not agreeing with her Master he would certainly, suffer from ear ache.
Andrelious took a moment to consider his options, he knew the layout of the ship well and his team did need time to heal their wounds and regroup themselves. Gesturing with his head, he directed them to go down the right corridor.
The corridors were long and oddly abandoned for the moment, this did not spur the group into hasty action however, instead they slowed down, caution and paranoia sprang into the forefronts of their mind. Andrelious lead the group, directing them to the short way to the closest area with a medical facility.
Andrelious was first into the small medical area, immediately his lightsaber in hand and swung into the lone turret that activated It was destroyed long before it could fully activate, Zakath pushed past with little care and made his way to the treatment area. Nath remained next to the entrance, although curious she knew her Master was irritated by her actions.
Damon and Incendus wandered mid way into the room, keeping their distance from the grumpy Barabel. They tended their wounds quietly as Andrelious approached Nath to provide support, although really it was probably because he saw her as the weak link in this mission. It was very likely that she could compromise the team. He couldn’t help admire her skill so far considering her low rank, however the insolence she periodically displayed was a negative factor in his assessment of her.
They did not speak instead they stole glances at each other once in awhile, Nath admired his abilities but she certainly did not trust him. The corridor made for dull viewing but she knew someone had to cover it, Andrelious her and the were in the best shape to provide that cover now.
Recovery was swift, Zakath required more time than the others but eventually he reported his poisoning as cured. They returned back down the eerily silent corridor, tension in the team had risen, it was too unusual for there to be nothing. They all expected wave after wave but even as they proceeded into the central chamber once more their expectations were disappointed.
Following the long corridor south, midway encountering a flock of droids. Zakath charged forward his saber following in one large powerful swipe as he cleaved the first droid in two. Damon and Incendus followed right behind the bulky Barabel, each dispatching a droid with a loud buzzing noise and a whiff of burning plastics and hot metals.
“Scouts?” Enquired Nath, who had remained behind seeing that her other team members had the situation covered. Andrelious grunted in the affirmative, he expected there was probably a large force waiting for them near by.
They continued down the corridor, and proceeded through the first set of doors, soon enough they saw their enemies.
Immediately, Incendus was swarmed by a group of B1 battle droids.
Now I understand why these pieces of scrap were designed for group attacks, the young Zabrak thought to himself as his lightsaber tore through a pair of droids. Three blaster bolts had already made impact with the Hunter's orange skin, causing particular damage to his left arm. Casualties had started to multiply since the beginning of the mission; Andrelious had suffered from a fractured ankle, Zakath a mysterious cut to the leg and minor burns. Nath had recieved a hit to the leg with a blaster bolt, and Damon had suffered minor burns as well. The injuries, however, did very little to slow the team down. In fact, the pain caused the group's rage to soar.
With a combination of the force jump and a burst of speed, the Hunter escaped the group of droids encircling him and turned around to push the robots back. He then patiently restarted his massacre of metal, now having the room to utilize his arsenal.
Damon had started to destroy the troops that were attempting at Zakath while Andrel took a few slight moments to look at the odd strike to his leg.
Nath had quickly gotten back on her feet, joining Incendus on the droid flanks that he had been previously dealing with. Though bitter resentment shown on each other's faces, the two Journeyman worked well as a team. Eventually the duo was able to push the flank back long enough for Incendus to get to a turret, take out the soldier that was manning it, and gain control of it for himself. After Nath noticed this and moved out of his way, the Jedi Hunter fired at that droids that had caused such strife earlier. After this was done, he finished off the Stormtroopers that Damon had been preoccupied.
The room had been cleared, the storm had passed. A feeling of victory had stirred up inside the team's hearts, but it was short-lived. There was a very sudden and obvious ripple in the force, and they knew someone was approaching. Now, the hurricane was coming.
They could all tell that whoever, or whatever was approaching would be much stronger than the two imbeciles they had previously faced...
The team had finally started to clear a path through Zoraan’s remaining followers. Stormtroopers lay dead, while some of the less damaged droids spewed sparks, jibberish spouting from their voice units.
Zakath, now back to his usual self, was trying to prove himself as the best fighter, but Andrelious simply re-doubled his own efforts, the pair of Equites having racked up dozens of kills between them.
The final Stormtrooper in the immediate area fell to the ground, slain not by one of the Equites, but from the lightsaber of Damon Tye. The team again re-formed, led in a tight ‘V’ formation by Andrelious. The time was not right to argue; even Zakath followed in a business-like fashion, keeping his lightsaber active, ready for anything.
As the quintet headed towards a more defensible room, they passed through the first doorway. “Wait.” Inahj ordered. “We’ll hold here,”
The others obeyed. They had sensed it too. But it was too late; the second door, that appeared to be locked down, opened with a hiss. Inside the room was an Umbaran female wielding a crimson lightsaber.
“Ms. Novae. I heard you were aboard.” Inahj stated, narrowing his eyes at the alien. “I am afraid that you will have to come with us,”
“No. It is you who will have to come with me. You and your little BAND will join me. IN HELL!” Novae yelled. She set upon the team at once, her blade meeting with the twin blades of Zakath and Andrelious. Dantella Novae was rated at an Adept by Brotherhood standards; a tricky foe who had powers that were well beyond even Inahj’s ability.
Although she was heavily outnumbered, it was clear that the Umbaran had the advantage. She was much more nimble than Inahj even before the difference in Force ability, though the Battlelord was much stronger. Zakath, who was even stronger than his rival, was a much better match in terms of speed, but could do little about the constant Dark side attacks that Novae was meting out on the Barabel.
Andrelious deflected a slash onto Zakath’s blade, slyly forcing a saber lock that the Battlelord would benefit from no matter what the result. Though the Umbaran was of a much higher rank, she was outmatched by the Warrior’s sheer strength. As she pushed desperately, Andrelious lunged in. Novae stepped back to avoid the Battlelord’s attack, which served only to galvanise Zakath, who pushed with every ounce of strength.
Seeing the saber stalemate, Damon Tye suddenly charged towards the scuffling Jedi. As he ran past the Adept, he unsheathed one of her poison daggers and stabbed it into her thigh. Novae screamed in pain, immediately turning and throwing ‘Snabbie’ high into the air with the force. The Knight was hurled several yards along the entrance corridor, colliding with a nearby wall. Inahj winced; he could not immediately assess the damage, but gathered that the young man would be quite badly hurt by such a vicious attack.
Meanwhile, the Umbaran had fallen to her knees, poisoned by her own vile weapon. Andrelious, joined by his temporary ally Zakath, relieved the female of her arms, effectively ending her as a threat.
Picking up Novae’s lightsaber, Inahj threw the hilt violently to the ground, stamping on it as it landed. Snabbie was badly wounded, but the team had overcome a major obstacle. For a Sith like Inahj, the damage was acceptable.
When the only response she received was a small groan she began patting her down, extracting the sheaths for the daggers along with her other weapon and attaching them to herself with practiced ease. She still preferred her original weaponry, so kept them closer.
Novae groaned louder in some form or another, she was aware of what was going on around her. Nath lashed out immediately, her hard boot struck across her face ensuring that she was completely unconscious and breaking her nose in the process.
She felt eyes on her, watching her closely and it did nothing to ease the tension that slowly built up in her corded muscles. Andrelious although preoccupied with his injured team member was watching, she stared back at him for a moment before joining the rest of the team. She looked at Damon for a moment analysing him.
“If we move him we could risk further damage if he’s broken his spine...” She muttered thoughtfully having seen injuries like this before. Andrelious chipped in immediately at her comment.
“He comes with us.” Was his immediate response.
“As you wish.” Nath shrugged and made her way over to the turbo-lift, summoning it and allowing them to decide how they would handle the situation. Zakath ended the debate before it began; he plucked the injured team member from his resting place on the deck, resting the majority of the dead weight on his left shoulder before joining Nath as the lift arrived.
Everyone entered swiftly. However, there was a building tension in the enclosed space as they ascended up to their destination. Each of them sensing a strong power getting closer.
Nath shifted her weight from one foot to the other uncomfortably as she sensed the strength of what they were approaching like a blaster bolt to the chest. Zakath noted her discomfort silently, he knew everyone could feel it but was much more controlled than his apprentice it seemed.
Andrelious pursed his lips as he attempted to think of a plan of action, he knew he was rapidly running out of time now that they were halfway to their destination. There was only one thing that he could think of doing, and that bruised his pride somewhat.
He eyed his apprentice for a moment to see if they were on the same wavelength, and it seemed he too was in agreement. Even Nath’s nervous fidgeting told him that she would not be willing to die for this mission; not that it was in question, she seemed to only please herself.
The bank of lights above the turbo-lift’s doors continued to indicate that the team were on the way to the bridge. As the lift passed the point that represented twenty seconds to go, Andrelious hit one of the stop buttons. The turbo-lift came to a stop with a sudden jolt, knocking Nath off her feet.
“This is no time to start falling about.” Inahj hissed, glaring angrily at the Acolyte as she hauled herself back up. The difference in height between the two belied the fact that Andrelious could have easily destroyed her in moments if he so chose, but such thoughts had not crossed the Battlelord’s mind. Nath Voth was close to Zakath. Maybe he could use her…
“Thiz one can zense your fear, hew-mon.” Zakath interjected, breaking the awkward silence that had followed the team leader’s .
Andrelious scowled at the Barabel. “Don’t you sense it yet, you fool? From here I can feel an imprint in the Force much stronger than anything we’ve faced before. This particular feeling is one I associate with greats of the Brotherhood such as Pravus and Darth Ashen. But there’s something not quite right; whether it’s some sort of affect left behind by Zoraan, or something else, I can’t tell. All I can tell is that we would be foolish to find out,” he replied, disguising his fear behind the bravado of a Sith Equite.
“That’s not what you taught me, master. You taught me a Sith always figh..” Incendus began ,but a cruel backhand slap from Inahj cut the Hunter off mid-sentence.
“No. I told you a Sith always fights until and unless the odds become unreasonable. We crave power, not suicide.” Andrelious replied, clearly annoyed at the fact his student had failed to understand a previous lesson.
With Snabbie down, the team consisted of two pairs; two masters and two students. So far the rivalry that existed between Zakath and Andrelious had not reared its ugly head.
Nath and Incendus, for their part, had mostly stayed out of each other’s way, though there had been moments of teamwork during the previous fighting. Now, with the situation at an apparent dead loss, a decision needed to be made.
“I agree. Could we just..go home?” Nath replied. Clearly flight was a popular option.
“Thiz one agreez. The two of uz are not sufficient to take on a being with the power of a Grand Master,” Zakath hissed softly to Andrelious as he inclined his head toward their respective students. “And these foolz will be slaughtered the second they step off the lift.”
The Barabel stared coldly at Andrelious as the seething Sith Battlelord clenched and unclenched his fists in frustration while muttering angrily under his breath. “To come this far and to fail now is-”
“We will live to fight another day,” Nath interrupted, her black eyes flashing in the dim lighting of the turbolift as she glared fiercely at Andrelious. “Going up there now and getting killed will give us nothing.”
“She iz correct,” Zakath growled softly. “If you choose to confront the one above uz, you will do it alone, unless your student is foolish enough to accompany you.”
“I am not a coward,” Incendus huffed as he clenched his lightsaber. “If my Master wishes to fight this Grand Master, I will be at his side.”
“We’ll watch out for the smear on the bridge observation ports then.” Nath spat at Incendus. “I doubt there will be much more than that left of you.”
Zakath merely smirked at the venom in his student’s voice before turning his attention to Andrelious. “Your decision, hew-mon?”
“No matter what, this Grand Master, whoever he is, must die,” The Sith Battlelord replied after a long minute of thinking. “If we're not going to confront him directly, we will need to remove him indirectly.”
“What are you suggesting?” Zakath asked, a slight smile twisting his visage into that of a serpent. “You pull an A-wing out of your pocket and crash it into the bridge like that little battle thirty-some yearz ago?”
Andrelious' eyes narrowed as he stared icily at the Sith Warrior, clearly annoyed at the reference to Endor. “No. We rig the ship to blow, then evacuate. If we can't have this ship, nobody can.”
“We will have little time to do this, however,” Nath pointed out. “If this being’s a Grand Master, he's probably already aware we're right under his nose.”
“It won't take long,” Andrelious replied, his tone firm and confident. “We will just need to get to an Engineering level and set certain areas to overload. And if this ship is constructed to Imperial specifications, I possess certain override codes that can help us.”
“And I've rigged some ships to blow before now, so I can help,” Nath nodded in agreement. “I did some reading on Imperial ship tech before the mission, so I know my way around a bit.”
Zakath's violet eyes glowed a little brighter as he glanced sharply up at the turbolift roof. “Very well. But thiz one suggestz we move fast. The Grand Master has sensed uz.”
Andrelious' fist slammed on the button for the Engineering level, and the turbolift began moving downward again.
“One more thing,” Zakath hissed.
“What?” Andrelious growled as he crossed his arms.
Zakath nodded to the unconscious body of Damon that he had been carrying for the past several minutes. “If we are pursued, he will be left behind. No exceptions.”
Andrelious stared coldly at the Barabel before lifting his shoulders in a slight shrug. “He knew the risks.”
Immediately, there was a loud screeching noise and a jerking feeling in the small elevator, as
the turbolift came to a sudden halt.
A few moments of confusion passed before Nath whispered, "They know where we are. I can sense Stormtroopers out there." It would only be a matter of time before the team was located and shot down.
"They've got us trapped," said Andrelious. "There is now way we'll be able to take down a group of soldiers from this small elevator."
"Then we've got few choices left." Incendus glanced at Andrelious, who just gave a slight nod. Immediately, Incendus' lightsaber ejected, and he was cutting through the ceiling.
"Hurry up," said Nath. Though her to be was bland and emotionless, biosphere was obvious concern was plastered all over her face. "That's going to give our location up immediately."
"If it comes down to it, the rest of us can do our best to keep the blast doors shut," said Andrelious.
The ceiling was cut through in just a few minutes, and the team climbed up above the elevator, watching for any slight movement. That movement came quickly. It was a matter of time before a group of Stormtroopers came into the turbolift. Immediately, Incendus pounced on one of them, fighting his way out of the elevator. Andrelious came next, followed by Nath and Zakath who dragged Damon’s limp form on his back.
"Alright Master, they know where we are now," said Incendus to Andrelious over the sounds of lightsabers and blaster fire. "After taking out Novae, I don't think that Zoraan's apprentice is going to keep a blind eye towards us anymore. We have to act swiftly."
"My thoughts exactly, young Zabrak," replied the Sith Battlelord.
The corridor was cleared of all hostilities, and Damon had regained consciousness at some point in the midst of the battle. Still quite sluggish, he carried on with the rest of the team. The moments that passed seemed like hours passed before the team was able to get to the engineering complex. At that point, a feeling was jerking at the team, holding them back, telling them that something was wrong. Eventually Damon broke the perpetual silence that seemed to be following them.
"I don't think we should go in there. I don't even know if we should follow through with this plan. I've got a really bad feeling about this."
"You aren't the only one," said Andrelious. "Nevertheless, we were sent on a mission, and I plan to get it accomplished."
"Guys, I just remembered. Andrelious, when do you plan to share that message with the rest of us?" said Incendus. "I think the ideal time would be at some point before we die."
“I will share it when I am good and ready.” Inahj spat in reply, annoyed that his apprentice would dare to ask such a forward question.
The contents of the message were not something that the Battlelord wished to share. He had continued to hold onto his own datapad, on which he copied the message, during the fight against Dantella Novae, the intention being to allow the others to read the message in the event that the Umbaran had defeated him; That had not been the case, and now Andrelious was sure that the message didn’t need sharing.
Throwing the datapad that contained the message onto the deck, the Void Commander fired at it with his E-11, forever destroying its datacore and the intelligence it had contained. Now only Andrelious himself could share what he had been given by Pontifex Iclo.
“A brave decision, hew-mon.” Zakath hissed as the datapad’s screen flickered one final time before dying. Nath appeared to notice something briefly; smirking momentarily before nodding across to her alien master.
“The message would only cause conflict. This is the last thing we need right now.” Andrelious stated, directing his quintet back into the arrowhead formation that had served them well on lower decks. Damon, who was still clearly severely wounded, limped loosely into the formation behind Nath, gripping onto his lightsaber almost with desperation. At one point the Knight even stumbled forward, leaning on the young female for support. Nath shrugged Snabbie off, frowning angrily at him.
“If you can’t even stand, what use are you to us?” she asked coldly.
“Incendus. Wait here with Damon. You two are to guard the turbolift. Stop anyone from counterattacking. The threat will be minimal because I’m going to override the lifts as well.” Inahj ordered grimly. The Jedi Hunter nodded and helped the injured Obelisk to a point near the lift. Any attackers would be stopped, at least in theory.
The remaining trio pressed on. Andrelious felt a little vulnerable having left his apprentice behind, but the Battlelord wanted a reliable witness for when Damon would inevitably be killed by a rush of troops; Damon was far too badly wounded to put up anything other than a token effort. With Zakath and Nath, whose trust he did not have, such a task would be impossible.
“You’ve left that other hew-mon to die.” Zakath stated as he peered back at Damon.
“I know…” Andrelious replied, sure that his Barabel rival knew what he was planning.
Nath didn’t comment on Snabbie’s imminent demise, nor the fact that she almost hoped the stupid Sith Apprentice went with him; he was at best a liability in her mind, he could very well get them killed. As the team walked along the seemingly deserted corridor they could hear the echo of their boots against the flooring, bouncing past them and possibly to the ears of the more attentive enemies. To the entire group’s surprise however, nothing came to them, in fact it was as if there was no one there at all.
This preconception was shattered as they entered Main Engineering room. Everywhere they looked they saw the original complimentary Engineering staff scurrying from one panel to the next, sirens blared into their ears with increasing frequency and flourish.
Andrelious grabbed a fleeing man as he ran past them, jerking the wretched human back to by his arm. He cried out but it was drowned by the loud noises that engulfed the room. The extra noise only lasted moments, as the Sith threw the Engineer’s body into the closest wall. With a dull thud he slid down the wall with a feeble whimper.
Nath closed the distance first, leaning down onto her knee she enquired:
“Are you setting the ship to destruct?” Remarkably she did not raise her voice to him, yet he still understood what the Acolyte said. His reply was a swift nod of his head as his broad frame began to shudder with fear. Within moments she had risen, and made her way to the nearest console, confirming what the fleeing human had said. Andrelious nudged her to the side, inspecting the screen for himself.
Zakath remained by the door, keeping his eyes on their exit, ensuring they wouldn’t have to take the long way around. Nath moved to stand next to him, ensuring that she remained out of Andrelious’ way. Once the Sith Battlelord was content with the readings he strode past the entrance not even pausing to ensure Nath and Zakath were following, with haste they returned to Incendus and Snabbie.
When the group returned they were surprised to see Darth Necar, his presence filled his side of the corridor. He was a large male, Nath didn’t recognise his species, however, she acknowledged death when it was so close, and today death seemed to be a large dark skinned, rather insane male.
Everyone seemed frozen in place, the only sound that echoed down the corridor was Necar’s slightly perturbing chuckles. His teeth peaked out between his slightly parted lips, contrasting sharply with his skin.
Andrelious and Snabbie were closest to Darth Necar, Nath and Zakath closest to the turbo-lift, and Incendus was in between the two groups. Zakath slowly slid himself closer to the turbo-lift control panel, noiselessly he jabbed the summon button behind his back, keeping his violaceous eyes on his new enemy.
“You should not have come here.” Necar muttered, it wasn’t clear if he was aware of the rest of the group, his eyes focusing solely on Snabbie. Nath prodded Incendus in the small of his back, silently hinting that he should alert Andrelious the turbo-lift was incoming. Luckily his eye glanced to the side, spotting the small flashing light before Zakath’s bulky form covered it from view.
“Are you going to defend yourself?” queried the insane Sith. Snabbie reached to his belt plucking his lightsaber slowly as to not attract more attention than was already upon him. At this moment Incendus touched Andrelious’ mind. He managed to convey two words before the Sith Battlelord sprang into action.
Swiftly Andrelious plucked two Thermal detonator from his belt, rammed one into Damon’s belt and the other into his free hand before using his boot to further Damon’s momentum towards Darth Necar as the Sith used the force to start moving him forward. At this precise moment the turbo-lift doors opened. Everyone piled into the cramped space as quickly as possible. Andrelious jabbing his thumb ruthlessly into the docking bay level button; just after running his lightsaber through the summoning panel on his way inside.
As the doors closed they were greeted with the sight of Vengeance; Darth Necar’s lightsaber running through Damon’s torso, just as the Thermal detonators reached the end of their pre-set timers. Damon slumped forward and the group were greeted with Necar’s wide grin just before a bright light assailed them through the final millimeters of the doors closing completely.
No one spoke as they descended back down to their final destination, Nath reclined against the wall in an attempt at finding some personal space only to end up bumping into her Master. She moved quickly away from him, knowing that he disliked being touched, and not wanting to incur his wrath any further than she already had.
“Will we make it before him?” Asked Incendus, finally breaking the deafening silence that seemed to encapsulate the team. No one seemed willing to commit to an answer, and the silence continued.
After what felt like an age the turbo-lift finally reached the correct level. Everyone piled out of the turbo-lift with the grace of prancing Rancors as they made their tactical retreat. They were approximately two-thirds of way to the ship when they heard the sound of the enemy Darth’s lightsaber making short work of the turbo-lifts ceiling.
Andrelious arrived at the ship first, he waited at the ramp; Incendus arrived next and was pushed inside, Andrelious shouted an order to him as he passed for him to pilot the craft. Nath arrived next and followed Incendus automatically to assist him. Zakath was the last to arrive, the ship hand began to rise from the docking bay floor. He lept across the small distance as the insane Darth Necar arrived in the Docking bay.
Swiftly summoning the Force to them Andrelious and Zakath attempted to block his way by moving the stationary ships into his path, this did little to stop him but provided enough of a distraction for the craft to make it through into the void of space.
With the ramp safely closed before the whole ship exited, Darth Necar screamed out his fury his hands resting against the energy field for a moment watching as his quary escaped by the skin of their teeth.
Nath sensed Andrelious behind her as she co-piloted with Incendus, she turned to face him, she didn’t need him to speak to know that he wanted to take over. With a small nod she vacated her seat allowing the Master and Apprentice time alone. As she entered the back area of the ship she approached Zakath, stumbling as the vibration of the Star Destroyer finally exploding hit the small vessel. Nath stumbled but found an empty seat quickly enough, Zakath spared her a glance before they both decided silence was the best option for the return trip, both strained their ears to hear what the two Sith pilots were discussing, neither Zakath nor his Apprentice trusted the other members of their team.