Dark Crusade: Prologue Team 12
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
Courage 2, you are clear for departure.
Keirdagh never bothered responding as his hands deftly controlling the Lambda shuttle as it cleared the Dark Hall landing pad and shot upwards.
“So, what the hell was the hurry?” the Taldryan Dark Master called back.
There were four other occupants in the shuttle, but the comment was intended for the man who had brought them together, Halcyon Taldrya
“Zoraan’s flagship, the Avenger II, is stuck in the Shroud. It’s making progress, so there are Force users aboard, but they don’t have our experience. At this rate they will actually clear the Shroud in a day. The Council wants this ship captured”.
“Damn idiot had to name it the Avenger”, Cantor grumbled to himself, “and why the hell can’t they send their own forces after it?”
“You know the Council prefers to use the energies of the Clans and Houses rather than wasting their own resources”.
“Yer not helping your case, Mr. Deputy Grand Master”.
“I’m not the DGM anymore”, Halcyon announced for the first time. The two Equites in the shuttle were taken aback by the news. Tarax’s eyes widened as he idly rubbed the side of his metallic arm. Anubis’ face was covered in his full armour, but he sat up straighter in his seat at the announcement. Even Keirdagh turned around to look at the Dark Prophet. Only Benevolent, Tribune and leader of the OFH in Taldryan, seemed fine with the news. He had already received word of Halcyon’s transfer into Taldryan and specifically back into the OFH.
“Long story and there’s no use getting into it now. It’s been a few days already and a new DGM has probably been chosen. I saw the news on the Avenger take-back and contacted the OFH immediately. The ship is useless to Taldryan. We don’t have the resources to man a large ship that hasn’t been modernized yet. But the information it contains is the real key. I want that information. This was Zoraan’s flagship. How he managed to get his hands on it and who brought him back may be on it. I rushed this so that we can arrive before all of the other teams sent out get aboard”.
“Fine”, the older Sith rumbled from the cockpit, “just give me a heading so we can get this done and over with”.
Halcyon strode over, inputting the coordinates of that last known location of the Avenger II. Looking up he saw the Shroud layed out before them; it’s darkness blotting out the rest of the galaxy.
“You sure you can find it, or should I take over?”
“They day you best me behind the controls is the day I swear my loyalty to Sadow. Now get the hell back there and tell us how the hell we’re going to do this. I can multitask so don’t worry your pretty green head about me”.
Halcyon allowed himself a small smirk as he rejoined the remainder of the team. “I had thought that more of the OFH would be coming for this…”
“Sorry, Halc”, spoke up Whiner, “message seemed important. Not enough time to find everyone. Will send recording of details back to them. They will meet up with us. Anubis was available. Brought him along”.
At the mention of his name Anubis sat up straighter again, his visor pointed at the Prophet. Although a former Aedile of Taldryan he was not a member of the powerful OFH.
“Thanks, Ben. And the more the merrier”, Rokir said with a nod in Annedu’s direction. “We could have used the Senility however”, he said, mentioning the usual transport used by the OFH.
“Howie was…indisposed. Long story. Will tell later”, was the only response Benevolent would give, his face almost pleading to not ask him anymore.
“That’s fine, Ben. We’ll manage. Latest intel was that insertion would be simple. The Avenger’s guns should not be able to operate properly within the Shroud. We are going to be landing within one of their secondary hanger bays”.
The former DGM laid a disk on the table as a bluish-tinged hologram appeared before everyone.
“This was the original Avenger. The hanger we will be going in should be located here”, Halcyon said as he pointed at a spot on the hologram and the image zoomed into that specific section. “We don’t know what to expect inside. We have these schematics, but most likely they have made changes themselves internally. They’ve managed to get this far in the Shroud so they do have dark jedi aboard and probably some powerful ones. Without some powerful Force users no one could come this close to fully escaping. Expect the worst. Other teams will also be inserted. We should hopefully be there first, but we may meet more inside. The ship is ours to secure, by any means necessary. If they’re not Taldryan then they are expendable”.
Nods of ascension were given already, with Tarax chuckling to himself as well.
“Our first step is to secure the hanger. Ben, hopefully you can tap into the ship once that’s done and find us more information”.
“Not a problem. Also, message sent to OFH. Details included”.
“Hey!” Keirdagh yelled from the cockpit, “if yer done talking we’re almost at those coordinates”.
Halcyon moved forward; the rest of the team on their feet as well and close behind. The miasma of the Shroud was foreboding, yet the Elders aboard knew worse. Rokir took a moment to get a lay of the land, so to speak, as he reached out with his mind to help the pilot in navigating the treacherous terrain. He felt the other Sith Elder’s mind as well, both of them literally sensing nothing around them. It was the Prophet who felt it first; a spike of danger ramming into his skull. Instinctively he lashed out and slammed the control yolk down telekinetically.
“What the fuck…” was all Cantor could yell out as a turbolaser blast glanced off the shuttle’s shields. The other occupants were caught unaware and fought to stay on their feet.
“The ship is right above us”, Halcyon yelled over the blaring klaxons. “Tarax and Anubis, get on weapons and defensive system. Ben, engineering console”, Halcyon ordered as he slipped into the navigator’s seat beside Keirdagh.
“How the hell are they hiding from us?”
“They have someone powerful on that ship, Yacks”, Halcyon answered as he helped get their bearings while another blast rocked the shuttle.
“And what a surprise, Council intel was wrong!” Keirdagh bellowed as he fought the shuttle’s controls.
“Just focus on keeping us alive. Don’t make me wish Howie was flying instead”.
“Fuck you, Halc!”
The shuttle fought to stay away from the guns of the Avenger II. The full arsenal of the ship wasn’t working, but enough was active to keep one shuttle at bay.
“More ships approaching”, Ben announced. “Looks like the other teams are here”.
The guns of the massive Star Destroyer had more targets to contend with; its focus on the Courage 2 waning.
“Yacks, dead run for the hanger. Just around the corner”.
“Shutupshutupshutp” was the Master’s response to his navigator as he sent the shuttle careening aroud the massive bulk of the Star Destroyer. The hanger appeared suddenly, two large laser cannons situated just at the edge of its opening. They opened fire at the first sight of the shuttle, its green bolts slamming into the quickly depleting shields.
“We’re coming in hot! Egress out back!”
“You heard him”, Halcyon called out as he unstrapped himself and mentally pushed the other Taldryan towards the back of the shuttle. They could feel the shuttle coming apart around him. Timing was crucial. Keirdagh set the shuttle to full reverse before releasing the controls, simultaneously opening the back of the shuttle before rushing to join the rest of the team. The shuttle could not take the strain as it literally began breaking apart as it passed the hanger’s atmospheric shield. Five figures came tumbling out of the shuttle as it went straight into the back of the hanger.
The crash of the shuttle was deafening within the confined space of the hangar bay. The bodies of the five dark Jedi resembled nothing more than other pieces of debris, falling out of the crumbling chassis’ backside. The experience warriors amongst the shuttle’s crew however, did not continue to tumble and crash into walls once they hit the ground. Instead, to the last man, they rolled into a steady crouch, prepared for combat. Rising from the ground, silhouetted by the flames and looking like some dark avenger come to life, Halcyon and the Dark Jedi from Taldryan rose to their feet. Predictably, given his penchant for technology, Benevolent was standing between the team when the automated defense cannons opened fire. Intercepting the bolts with casual disdain, turning his head ever so slightly, he called over his shoulder "Go!"
The flashy and characteristically destructive entry of the members of Taldryan into the hangar bay had taken even the automated anti-intruder defenses by surprise. "Anubis, you’re on turrets with Ben! Tarax, Yacks, with me!" As Ben and Anubis split off to deal with the turrets, the troops stationed in the bay finally came to realize that they were being boarded, and not just the unfortunate witnesses to a freak shuttle accident. Though clearly not combat troops, it was apparent that whatever else he claimed to be, this reborn Zoraan had obviously been a ruthlessly efficient taskmaster by the way the normally non-combative support personnel leapt to attack the intruders.
Hissing with effort, and a manic look of predatory pleasure, Tarax sped out in front of Halcyon, and dove into the rush of bodies, the glint of his cybernetic enhancements and bladed weapons catching the firelight from the crashed shuttle. Halcyon and Keirdagh took a more measured approach to the carnage; simple, quick and efficient dispatching of the enemy forces. Halcyon alternated between firing his Bryar pistol and engaging with his lightsaber any who came close, Keirdagh preferring to use judicious amounts of telekinesis to slam bodies into bulkheads, or debris into bodies. As the experienced and combat hardened Jedi tore into ill-trained defenders Keirdagh spoke up. As the last of them fell, Halcyon yelled "CLEAR!" and his statement was echoed by the other members of the team, the hangar now silent but for the crackling flames of their destroyed shuttle.
"Halc," Keirdagh asked querulously, "why are these techs attacking us? What the hell is the point?" As if in response to the question, the outer blast doors opened, and two squads of stormtroopers rushed into the hangar, being led by two capable looking men in dark robes, bearing lightsabers. Turning to look at Keirdagh with a raised, hideously green, eyebrow the Dark Prophet opened his mouth as if to speak.
"Oh shut the fuck up, there is no way that’s my fault," bit out Keirdagh.
Their eyes falling onto the five unwelcome intruders, the two newly arrived squadrons of stormtroopers hesitated behind their dark jedi leaders. The two dark jedi, as if though they've rehearsed the speech hundreds of times before, started speaking in unison. "Surrender, or face our wra-HOLY SHIT!" they both yelled in surprise and ducked as a long-knife the size of a forearm implanted itself in the first stormtrooper's face, sending him flying into the ranks behind him. Blood started spewing from the stormtrooper's facehole, staining the pearly-white armour. The two Knights looked back at the Taldryan dark jedi, their expressions waging a battle between fear and surprise.
That was the cue for the Taldryan dark jedi to welcome the remaining newcomers into the nearly-destroyed hanger. Keirdagh and Halcyon each took a squad, their thoughts in a destructive unison as Tarax started laughing like a maniac and unlatched the Zhaboka from its harness on his back. What followed was both beautiful and grotesque, yet definitely some form of art; Keirdagh and Halcyon twitched their fingers and the two stormtrooper squads flew apart to opposite ends of the hangar, as though blown apart by an invisible explosion. While the two Elders kept themselves busy with their new-found toys, Tarax activated his Zhaboka, a manic smile forming on his face when he felt its blades extend from the weapon's two-handed hilt. The junior member of the Old Folks' Home quickened his pace towards the two dark jedi, breaking into a sprint as he charged his opponents.
The first Knight ignited his red-bladed lightsabre, and started spinning it around in his right hand. Oooh, scary, thought Tarax as he reached out with the Force and yanked the Knight's hand sideways, sending the spinning blade into the young Knight's partner. The second Knight was caught completely off-guard and did not have enough time to evade his comrade's wayward weapon, becoming the latest owner of an amputated left leg. He fell to the ground and screamed in agonizing pain, going into shock immediately. Tarax finally burst into laughter, "Scream for me, little animal! Let me taste your pain!" he said.
The first Knight regained his composure and prepared to strike down the oncoming Exarch, but Tarax somersaulted over him, landing in a low crouch behind the Knight. He swept his red-bladed lightsabre backwards, missing the white haired cyborg's head by mere inches. Pivoting on his feet, Tarax brought his deadly Zhaboka laterally and cut the eager dark knight's feet from under him at the knees; unlike his pal's, this Knight's wounds weren't cauterized at moment of limb dismemberment. Blood spatter stained the Zhaboka's blades and the hangar floor.
"No, please, no! Nooooooo-" came flying cries from all over the hangar bay as Keirdagh and Halcyon seemed to have been playing some sort of game with their new-found toys. "Gentlemen, please", Tarax said turning his head to the two barely-amused Elders, "I'm trying to work here."
Tarax turned his sadistic, bloodthirsty gaze back to the two young Dark Knights: one passed out, the other crying like a sniveling little shit, begging to have his life spared. The psychotic Taldryan Equite raised a finger to his lip and said "Shhh, it's OK. All will be well," the grin on his face promising the exact opposite. "Just tell me, how much more resistance is there? Please, tell me there's plenty." The young Knight, face pale and streaked with tears practically cried out, "I'll tell you nothing! You will meet your doom!" The smile suddenly vanished from the Taldryanite's face and he pursed his lips, "Very well then," he said as he raised his Zhaboka and slammed it down into the young Dark Jedi Knight's stomach, twisting the blade to maximize the pain and the damage. The Knight cried out in agony, and Tarax slammed his foot down onto his head to shut him up; an audible crunch later, what was once the dark jedi's face was replaced with bloody bone-infused mush. Not needing it any longer, Tarax retracted the Zhaboka's blades and re-holstered the handle to the harness on his back.
"AAAAAGGHHHHHH-" Two stormtroopers slammed into each other mid-air at almost the speed of sound; Keirdagh and Halcyon were enjoying themselves. Stormtrooper bits flew every-which-way.
Tarax glanced over at the first Dark Jedi Knight, still passed out cold from the shock of having his leg severed only moments before. Already bored of the playing with his inept prey, Tarax reached down to grab the head of the unconscious opponent, and with assistance from the Force ripped the young man's head off of his shoulders, causing blood to spill all over the floor. The Exarch tossed the head over his shoulder as the headless, one-legged, lifeless body slumped to the floor and slowly oozed out the remainder of its bodily liquids.
"Hey Tarax," called Keirdagh from across the hangar, as a handful of lifeless stormtrooper bodies danced around in mid-air above him.
"Yes, Yacks?" Tarax answered in a patient tone.
"Are you almost done? We want to get a move on out of here," replied the Dark Jedi Master.
The tall, sadistic Obelisk walked over to the stormtrooper with the long-knife still stuck in his face and pulled his bladed weapon out, re-sheathing it against his hip. "Yeah, I'm done. Let's get the fuck out of this shitty hangar bay. I want to kill more."
Yacks turned his head and nodded to Halcyon, and the two Elder Taldryanites tossed the remaining live stormtroopers out through the magcon field, their cries dying out as they passed the blue border into nothingness. Tarax looked around the hangar bay, a frown appearing on his face, "Hey, where'd Ben and Anubis go off to?"
As if on cue, the outer blast doors opened again; this time, it wasn't stormtroopers that came through. Keirdagh's, Halcyon's, and Tarax's heads all whipped around towards the newcomers. "Who the fuck are you?" asked Tarax with every hostile intent in the galaxy.
While Tarax, Halcyon, And Keirdagh dealt with the live defenses within the hanger, Ben and Anubis had tackled the technological. The two seasoned dark jedi broke off from the group without hesitation, lightsaber blades ignited and ready for combat. The Obelisk Sergeant spun his blade, deflecting the first volley of blaster fire from the closest turret. “What’s the plan, Ben?” called Anubis, ducking under one of the deflected bolts before he took it in the chest. The two made their way to a large crate, ducking behind to gather themselves.
“Simple. Do you see that hanger control room behind that line of turrets and assault droids?” muttered the Adept, calm and collected. Anubis stuck his armoured head out from the metal crate, looking past the lineup of blaster fire for a split moment. That split moment was all the Battlemaster needed to spot the control room however, and he turned to nod at the Obelisk. Ben simply smiled. "Get there without getting fried. We’re going to give these guys a taste of their own medicine.”
The Taldrya took off, leaping from behind the crate and into the fray. In an attempt to do as little damage to the technological defenses of the hangar as possible, Ben set the charge level on his golden Bryar to ‘low’. Taking a couple hits from the weapon at this level would do little damage, and at the most simply shut them down. Anubis followed his house mate into the blaster fire, taking a more direct approach. The Sith de-activated his lightsaber, drawing his two Dissuader KD-30 slugthrower pistols and unloading the acid-filled rounds into his targets as he pushed forth.
Anubis and Ben could both hear the words of their fellow team members from across the hangar, as they took on dark jedi and stormtroopers. The Battlemaster could feel the stare from the Obelisk as he ruined his targets, eventually meeting up with the leader of the Old Folks’ Home behind some cover once more.
“You know, the more you destroy the less we have to work with,” stated the Obelisk matter-of-factly, looking at the Sith right in his faceplate. Anubis simply shrugged, “Let us just get in there, shall we? Enough goofing off,” The two ditched their cover, making a run for the control room door. As they reached it, droids and turrets re-targeted them and began moving in. Opening the blast door and slipping inside via the key, the two looked around the room: two hanger controllers sat shocked in their chairs, gawking at the new arrivals.
“WHAT?!” called the Inquisitor, staring directly at the two men. Both jumped out of their seats, reaching for their hold-out pistols. The armoured man simply shook his head, calling his lightsaber to his hand and proceeding to cut down the two controllers with it. “Bad day to be stuck on hangar duty,” he muttered, before Benevolent shoved him out of the way and sat down in one of the seats. Pulling a small drive from his belt, he plugged it into the computer system.
“Whatcha doing?” asked the Sith, quirking a brow beneath his helmet. Ben simply shook his head, as his device went to work. “Just being a genius and stuff. As we speak, the virus I just implanted into the hangar’s computers are reversing the defenses targeting parameters, and locking down the droid control signal so that there isn’t any outside control of them. They’ll be like...our puppets.”
As the program finished its work, the two dark jedi left the control room to go check up on their comrades. Ben turned, “We’ll need to lock down the room so they don’t tamper with the computers once we’re gone. Just let me encrypt the keyp-“ before he could finish his sentence, Anubis used the keypad to close the door and then promptly sliced it with his lightsaber. “Problem solved.”
Ben brought his hand up to his forehead, shaking his head slowly. He looked back to the main entrance of the hangar, spotting their comrades. “Let’s go,” stated the Obelisk, before the two jogged off in the direction of their teammates.
"Ann, you are so cut off from any more tasks involving finesse," Ben admonished as the pair crossed the garbage dump. 'Hangar' no longer described the cavernous room. The remains of one of the wings from the poor maligned shuttle somehow got embedded in the wall. The rest was shattered into unrecognizable odds and ends all the way along the deck. The back wall took the brunt of the impact; although a surprising number of pieces had ended up in the one armament lift. Like a chaotic piece of modern art. The whole thing was a monument to some pagan god of destruction. "Actually, you know what? Let's all just skip finesse. Me smash puny starship" Ben mused, lowering his voice to a mere mumble addressed to nobody in particular.
"Seriously, you can't blame me for all this. I wasn't piloting the shuttle, and you asked me to charge an enemy line. I charged it. Then you asked to have that room locked down. So I did that too" Anubis shrugged, with just a hint of offense. He paused in his defense to stepped over the remains of a brutally eviscerated knight. "If you want holes in the ship though, maybe ask one of the others?" Ben's only response was to smirk; he had forgotten how good Annedu's helmet was at picking up sounds.
"Who the fuck are you?" echoed through the hangar, loud enough that even the thickest head-bucket wouldn't have muffled it effectively. Tarax's bloodlust drove him to instantly charge at the newcomers while reaching for his Zhaboka. The bloodlust had nothing useful to say, however, when he was suddenly telekinetically lifted in the air and roughly slammed backwards into the deck. Annoying, nasal laughter accompanied the snap-hiss of a series of sabers activating. Two red and two white belonging to the twin Battlelords, followed instantly by Halc's single green blade and Keirdagh's single gold.
As fate would have it though, Keirdagh and Halcyon wouldn't get the chance to show off exactly how they like to deal with cocky Equites. Maybe it was the Shroud playing havoc with the Avenger's systems, or maybe the fires bit into something important, but the magcon field keeping the all-important air inside the hangar began to flicker and fade. The two Elder Sith instantly reached out by reflex to force the groaning emergency doors shut, while the twins took the opportunity to dive past the emerald and gold blades.
"Come sister, let's play with this one," said Reaper "We'll teach him for using such crass language."
A burst of acid slugthrower fire flew towards the pair, but they had effortlessly dived out of the way before the biting bullets made contact. Anubis sprinted to join up with the fallen Tarax, putting his pistols away to trade them for his saber. The two Taldryan Equites stood next to each other in their ready stance with sabers ignited, burning as brightly as at least Tarax's rage. Frost and Reaper, their two female opponents were cackling and flipping them off. Elsewhere in the hangar, Ben was...absolutely nowhere to be found. And Halcyon and Keirdagh were arguing.
"Should we, you know...help?"
"Screw that. I'm too old to chase after young tail like that. Besides, I'm not dying out in space because your dusty, decrepit ass couldn't hold the door shut."
"Go to hell. If you hadn't crashed the shuttle..."
"Oh, and you can do better?"
The battle itself wasn't progressing all that interestingly. Anubis and Tarax couldn't get close to the defenders without one of them getting tossed in the air, and the size of their manhoods was continually being compared to that of womp rats'. It was really...tedious to a certain Adept lurking in the shadows.
Frost took a step back and opened her mouth to spit out another taunt, but only gurgling came out. Ben was suddenly behind Frost, his saber blade skewering her through the stomach. Almost instantly, Reaper's concentration was shattered by the loss of her sister. Anubis took the opportunity to reverse his saber's spin, guiding it through the enemy Equite's wrists. She dropped to the floor in pain, defeated.
"No! You don't get out that easily!" Tarax grabbed Frost by the throat and lifted her up above his head. "I'm going to rip you apart and shove the pieces down your throat!"
"We don't have time for this. Ben, help me grab him". Anubis grabbed Tarax by his metallic arm, while Ben held the other. The two men managed to drag Tarax,screaming obscenities the whole way, to the hangar doors. Halcyon and Keirdagh followed them through, maintaining their efforts to keep the outer blast doors closed, releasing their hold as the hatch slammed shut.
"What the fuck, guys?!" Tarax screamed out as the other Taldryan let him go. "That bitch was mine!" The Exarch's head snapped back as an invisible blow slammed into his cheek. "Fine, point taken," he grumbled as he looked at the Elders around him, although their expressions gave him no clues as to who had delivered the blow.
"Ben, do you have the schematics to this ship?" Halcyon asked as the others gathered around the Adept.
"Partial only. Enough to complete the mission, I think. Lifts to bridge are there," Ben replied, pointing to his right at a set of doors.
"Are those the only ones around here?" Anubis asked as he looked around for more options.
"Yes. Only ones. All others are of limited use for us", Ben said, a hint of annoyance in his voice
"Perfect! We're sent to this hanger that only has one access point to our objective. Loving this mission already, Halc," Keirdagh said as he turned to the other Elder who had a faraway look.
"We have company," the Prophet stated with his eyes half-closed, "and it's familiar.”
The others followed Halcyon's lead as he stood before the closed hanger doors. Within minutes there were three large BOOMS on the doors. The former DGM knew who waited behind the doors, although the presence was not as known to the others. Only Tarax seemed to be excited at what was beyond the doors, his face almost giddy at the prospect.
With a mental flick the doors were opened to reveal a hulking Elomin standing there, with the Praetor to the Herald and a fellow Taldryan, Ekeia Iclo, standing by his side. Behind the two dark jedi were members of the Brotherhood military, who had somehow managed to get the magcon field fixed up and working in record time.
"So, he's chosen already?" Rokir asked the red Elomin. Raken, former leader of the deceased House Revan, ignored the comment and continued to stare at his predecessor.
"My lord," Ekeia said, trying to complete her duties in the midst of all the tension, "There was some news we were asked to deliver to your Team. It's coded, but I think you may already know the code."
A datapad was given to Halcyon, whose eyes never wavered from Raken. "Is that all, Ekeia?"
"Yes...yes it is..." the Pontifex nearly stammered, not knowing what may happen at any moment.
"Don't worry, I'd never let anything happen to you," Tarax spoke up, trying to soothe the Krath Equite by giving her his best roguish-smile and wiggling his eyebrows.
The doors closed suddenly with Halcyon turning on his heel and striding towards the lift doors. He briefly scanned the datapad before throwing it to the ground, breaking it apart.
"It appears that there may be those in the Brotherhood who would work against us." The Prophet stated flatly.
"That was the message?" Cantor asked incredulously, "It's like saying there may be water in the goddamn ocean."
"Whatever," the Sith continued as the lift doors closed, "At least we're done with the damn surprises."
The shockwaves sending tremors throughout the Super Star Destroyer made the little lift car travel in skips and jumps. The occupants held onto the cool metal railings as they travelled through the interior of the space-behemoth.
"I think it's a good thing really," Tarax said as he paced in front of the doors. "Gives us a free shot at fucking up anyone else on this ship that looks at us wrong. 'So sorry about your broken ribs, I thought you were the traitor'."
"Shouldn't have smashed the datapad. Could've used it, Halc" Ben grumbled.
"What I'd like to know is who the hell was that Elomin and, more importantly, why he came in through a ruined hangar. There's how many other ways onto a 8 km long destroyer?" Keirdagh pointed out.
Anubis looked up from checking and adjusting his armor, "Yeah, he must've done that on purpose. I think he did that for your benefit Halc." The others nodded their agreement. "You're going to have to share your 'long story' at some point here. And since we've got nothing bett-" Anubis was cut off by the turbolift's sudden screeching halt.
The same moment the lift's inertia ran out, so too did the lighting; the team was plunged into darkness. "You jinxed it, Ann." A faint blue glow from Ben's datapad came to life, but struggled to provide some light in the lift. "Safety lights are out too. Either maintenance here sucks, or security's already found us." The Adept briefly poked at the screen before putting it away. "Not between floors, safe to cut the door."
By virtue of his position next to the door, Tarax's shining white saber was the first to be volunteered for the task. The others took up positions in the suddenly very cramped lift. They all knew that "safe" only meant "not going to cut into something flammable". If security did in fact halt their progress, they would, no doubt, have something nasty waiting for them on the other side.
"5 seconds!" Tarax called out. Halcyon and Keirdagh pulled out their sabers and stood to cover. Warning alarms rang out over the sound of the quickly failing metal. Anubis and Ben pulled out their slugthrower pistols and Bryar pistol, respectively. Tarax quickly finished cutting, yelled out the final warning, and struck the dislodged slab of durasteel with his metallic left arm sending it slamming to the deck.
Autoturrets and battledroids almost instantly opened fire, raining down a hail of bright red bolts. The force-enhanced humans reacted even faster, deflecting and redirecting what shots they could. The two more experienced Elders providing protection as well as lashing out with terrible effect. The fallen piece of door took on new life as a instrument of death. Or, at least, of permanent droid deactivation.
The cacophony of battle completely drowned out the faint sounds of the battles that raged across the vessel. It drowned out the sound of a small drill at the base of the lift. It almost drowned out the sound of a small metal cylinder rolling and bouncing its way from the back of the floor towards the team.
"GUYS! MOV-" BANG
For a few seconds everything was fuzzy; in the midst of their slaughter of flesh and metal, some dipshit flanked the Taldryan team with a flashbang, disorienting the three Elders and two Equites long enough for the security forces' reinforcements to arrive and continue their attack. Ben, having caught sight of the grenade first, was also the first to throw up a Force shield against its effects; he was just a little groggy, but alert enough to snap the rest of his team back into action "Halc! Yacks! We've got to push on!"
The former Deputy Grand Master and Justicar called upon the Force to clear their senses and rid themselves of the flashbang's disorienting effects. Halcyon took a quick look around and noticed the two Equites still disoriented from the bright, sudden flash. With a wave of his hand and a tag on the Force, the Prophet healed and cleared his team mates' senses. "Get up, you two," urged the green-haired Elder "We've got to get away from this position, else they'll swarm us and kill us."
Tarax and Anubis got to their feet, the latter holding his hand out to steady himself against the wall. "When I find out who did that to us," began the Exarch "I will tear them limb from limb as their kids watch, then set fire to the kids."
"Quit your bitching," grumbled Anubis "and just go kill something." Tarax obliged by snapping the neck of a nearby stunned Ailon Nova Guard. "Feel better?" asked the Battlemaster sarcastically.
Tarax was about to retort when Ben interrupted him "Guys," the somber Adept began, urgency in his tone. Everyone gathered around the Old Folks' Home leader as his fingers danced across his datapad, bringing up the ship's schematics and layouts. "We have to clear out these four areas before we move on," Ben pointed to two areas on top of the map and to one area near the
bottom. "We're going to have to disable the defense turrets and battle droids, and I can't do that from here," he shot a quick glance around to his fellow Taldryan dark jedi "Yacks, you come with me to disable the automated defenses. Tarax, Annie, and Halc can go and clear a path for us towards the exit."
Everyone nodded in assent and the team split up, Prophet and Equites heading towards the masses of soon-to-be-dead pile of bodies, and Adept and Master going to build themselves a fort out of battle droid and turret parts.
As Halcyon's team rounded the next corner, they were greeted by a pair of Sith Warriors and some more Nova Guard. "Guys, let's be carefu-" began Anubis as Tarax's white lightsabersprang to life again and the tall Obelisk charged at his two opponents, intent on causing them as much damage as possible. "Or that, sure." sighed the armored Sith Equite, holstering his slugthrowers and turning on his brilliant bronze lightsaber and jumping into the battle behind his comrade.
Sighing, Halcyon extended his arm and sent the two Ailon Nova Guard bouncing off against each other and the walls of the hallway, their bones shattering with each forceful impact; after a few dozen to-and-fro's, the Dark Prophet let their bodies fall to the floor. Anubis glanced behind himself for a second and said "Thanks Halc!" before jumping into the already escalating battle between Tarax and the two Sith Warriors. Halcyon just shrugged.
Amongst his peers, the Obelisk Exarch was not considered a master of the Force, but he was very well versed in the forms of combat, and more specifically, in the various forms of death and torture; that his bloodlust would take over when engaged in these acts only heightened both his efficiency and brutality. He held the two Warriors at bay, dancing around their lunges and thrusts, always evading each attack by mere inches. To a casual observer it would look like he was barely keeping his opponents from landing a killing blow, but to his team-mates it was obvious that Tarax was playing with his foes, practically taunting them with each move.
As the first Warrior lunged at the Taldrya cyborg, the second saw his chance to end the battle quickly and thrust his red-bladed lightsaber downwards towards Tarax's head hoping to land the killing blow. Before the red blade could decapitate the large Exarch, Anubis' bronze lightsaber blocked the Warrior's blade with his own, surprising the attacker and causing the Obelisk to crack a smile and say "About time, I thought I'd have to handle these clowns by myself,"
Quickly side-stepping his attackers lunge, Tarax grabbed his opponent's head with his metallic arm and stabbed the Warrior in the gut with his white lightsabre. Before the Sith could register what happened Tarax snapped the man's neck with his left arm; the lifeless body simply slumped to the floor.
Behind him, Anubis drove his helmeted head into his opponent's face, forcing the Sith Warrior to squeal in surprise before the Battlemaster raised his lightsabre and with a swift swipe decapitated his foe.
"All done now, are we?" asked a bored Halcyon. Tarax and Anubis looked at each other then back at the Elder, "Yeah, we're done." They de-activated their lightsabres.
"Good, because according to Ben's map the main defense control panel for this side of the ship is right around the corner. So let's turn it off and get moving, shall we?"
The pair of Equites simply nodded and headed to their objective. The trio reached the control room for the ship's defenses, but before Anubis opened the door to step through Halcyon raised a hand and commanded "Stop."
Anubis, looking at Halcyon with an inquisitive tilt of the head, stopped before reaching for the control room's access panel. "What is it, old man?" asked Tarax, the urge to get the whole damned thing over with clearly evident in his body language.
"There's two Ailon Nova Guard on the other side of that door," noted the Elder "Stick your lightsabers through the doors there and there." He pointed to two separate points on the doors.
Nodding at each other, Anubis and Tarax re-ignited their lightsabers and stabbed the control room door at different points; there were two audible gasps of surprise from the other side, then the sound of two bodies falling to the floor.
The access door opened and the Guardsmen bodies fell out into the hallway, cut open from chest to collarbone each. Tarax looked down at the corpses at his feet and said "Kinky,"
A few seconds and several deactivated defense turrets later, Halcyon took out his comlink and said "Ben, Yacks? We've turned off the Defense Turrets to this part of the ship. We're waiting on you." Looking up at his team-mates the green Elder said "OK guys, let's finish up this side of the ship." He walked past Tarax and Anubis back into the main hallway.
"When we're done with this whole thing," began Tarax "I'm going back to these beautiful Twi'lek twins I know," Anubis just shook his head as the cyborg prattled on "They've each got these huge pairs of tits, you just wanna rub your face in them all day!"
"There they are!" shouted a voice from the corridor they just passed through; stood facing the trio of Taldryanites was another group of three Sith Warriors and three Ailon Nova Guard, lightsabers activated and Eklots unsheathed, the half-dozen newcomers charged at the Elder and Equites, dismemberment clearly on their mind.
"Oh for fuck's sake, what now?!" swore Halcyon, raising and activating his own green lightsaber. "I'm too old for this horseshit." grumbled the Dark Prophet.
Keirdagh focused on his breathing after the exertion to keep the team clear as they scrambled out of the derelict turbolift. With his golden blade held before him, he set his stance wide and casually deflected the intermittent blaster fire that was still drifting in toward the team. He was only half listening as Benevolent announced his discovery from the computer’s mainframe. "Yacks, you come with me to disable the automated defenses. Tarax, Annie, and Halc can go clear a path towards us for the exit." Keirdagh sensed the others moving off, leaving him alone with his team leader. "OK Yacks, I’ll take lead, I know where I’m going," said Ben as the others disappeared down the corridor.
"Just tell me where we’re going, we need you to slice the computers, I have point," replied Keirdagh.
"But, I can’t show you the map?"
"Location Ben, come on, time’s wasting."
"Section 5, Secondary Adjunct 2," replied Ben, thinking that the old Master had finally gone off his rocker.
"North 80 Meters, first right, then another right. Easy." At Ben’s surprised look, Keirdagh replied smugly, "Former Navy man, remember? Let’s move."
Keirdagh moved out, keeping himself in between the Adept and the droids that were between him and the target computer terminals. Benevolent was easily better at this kind of grunt work, his work with weapons and hand to hand combat approaching artistry. But this was about the mission, and if the team was to live, Ben needed to be alive to shut those terminals down; even Dark Jedi can get tired, after all. As they began to approach, the battle droids defending were reinforced by more troops from deeper on the level, and they began to attack in earnest.
As fire poured in, Keirdagh focused on his blade work, intersecting coherent light with incoming blaster shots, more often than not deflecting the shots back into the droids firing them. Ben’s Bryar pistol was constantly spitting fire around Keirdagh and in between the gaps in his defensive moves, the Adept predicting the Master’s movements as though he wielding the saber himself. For every droid they knocked out, it seemed that two more would take its place in the nexus that stood in between the Taldrya and their target. "Ben, swap in five seconds."
"Understood," replied the Adept. The sound of Bryar sliding into holster filled Keirdagh’s mind as he counted down. When he hit five, he dropped to the deck and the Adept leapt in front of him to continue to weave a defensive web ahead of the two Dark Jedi, and Keirdagh was free to concentrate. He’d never been great with a blaster, but one thing he could do, was wield the force. Focusing his will, Keirdagh began to channel energy for his psychic assault. He managed just enough concentration to warn the Adept.
"DOWN!" grunted out the Master, through grit teeth. Trusting Benevolent to react quickly, Keirdagh unleashed his telekinetic strike without delay. The blast spread out from him in a wave, concentrated into a knife’s edge at waist height. The results were immediate, and devastating to the droid forces arrayed in front of the pair. Most of the droids were simply hurled backward, getting pulverized against the bulkheads behind them from the sheer power of the strike; those closest were severed in half from the concentration of the blow.
Unfortunately though, the strike did not deflect laser blasts. As Ben dove, two blasts slipped through and stabbed into Keirdagh’s chest, though they were mostly ablated by the armor there, they still scorched his skin angrily. Grunting in pain, Keirdagh surveyed the two wounds to his upper pectoral muscle in the echoing silence that replaced the cacophony of blaster fire. Ben rose with concern in his eyes for his wounded friend, "they’re not bad. Let’s get to the target," grunted Keirdagh.
Ben nodded grimly, and heft his lightsaber, falling into the lead, and making it clear that he was not going to let the Sith get in front of him on this leg of the trip. Keirdagh shook his head ruefully, and focused his mental efforts on beginning the healing process on his wounds, and on suppressing the pain. "I’m need a goddamn drink," he said wistfully, falling into step behind Ben.
Tarax raised a hand, poised in front of his fellow Dark Jedi, "Don't worry boys... I got this. I'm going to tear these bitches limb from limb... and them make them eat it." Anubis and Halcyon both looked over to the Obelisk with a slight glimpse of disgust, simply shaking their heads. Anubis thumbed the activation switch of his lightsaber, taking a few steps back from Exarch and joining the Prophet. Tarax on the other hand... he jumped right into the action, activating the crisp silver blade of his lightsaber and meeting the charge of the Warriors and guards. As the two forces met, Kor was the first to move. Letting his anger flow through his fingertips almost effortlessly, the Equite reached out and struck the first Warrior across the face using the Force. Taking the opportunity to attack the distracted enemy Sith, the Exarch brought his lightsaber back to decapitate the young man before him.
Taken back by being literally bitch-slapped with the Force, the Sith Warrior had little time to react to the oncoming Adegan energy. With less than half a second to move, the Warrior made a quick sacrifice. Instead of taking the blade in the head, he was forced to take it in the arm, only just able to stop the blade from cutting through the entire flesh by parrying with his own red blade. Screaming out in agony, the Warrior pushed the Exarch's blade out of his arm and sent a foot flying towards the cyborg's abdomen. Taking the shot like a champ, the Taldrya staggered a few steps back with a fat smile on his face. The wretched smell of burning flesh filled his nostrils, a sign that he had succeeded in causing malice and pain. The two unharmed Warriors and three guards moved to flank the Obelisk, hoping to quickly overpower him and move on to their other opponents. Anubis pressed the activation switch on his lightsaber, drawing one of his Dissuader pistols. The Lorrdian started forward, but was stopped by the outstretched arm of Halcyon. The Sith Lord looked over, shaking his head "Wait. He deserves a good beating every once in a while."
His Force senses sending a shiver down his spine, the Master Centurion brought his light-weapon back and held the hilt diagonally across his back, the saber just barely catching that of another warrior. Cringing to try and hold the young stallion off at such an awkward angle, Tarax resorted to other measures. Spinning to the left and moving backwards, the Obelisk warrior shot his elbow towards the face of the enemy behind him. Blood began spewing from the nose of the Dark Jedi as it crackled beneath the force of Kor's elbow, sending the warrior backwards clawing at his face. Just as he was about to turn, however, something unexpected happened to the youngest of the Old Folks' Home members. An almost crippling pain shot through his left leg, impairing him from moving. Quickly looking down, the eyes of the white-haired human-cyborg went wide as a bloody blade from one of the guard's Eklot's stuck out of his leg. "Oh for fucks sake!" screamed the man, already feeling the effects of the toxin spread throughout his system. "Halc, Annie, I could use a hand here!"
Halcyon and Anubis looked at each other, before they too joined the action "Oh, so now you want our help. All it took was a god damn blade through the leg. Now you know how I feel!" called Anubis, who himself was almost half machine. A complete right cybernetic arm, a left arm that was cybernetic from the elbow down, and a left leg that was cybernetic from the knee down - Anubis knew all about metal limbs - and how painful they could be. Cybernetics were a real bitch to install, and cost a fortune if you wanted one that didn't always twitch on you. With their lightsabers activated, the two Dark Jedi poised themselves for action and joined the onslaught.
Rokir was the first to act, jumping into the fighting with two of the guards and the unharmed warrior almost instantly. Tarax, on his knees at this point, was being heavily afflicted by the neurotoxin. It appeared as though while it didn't kill, it messed with the afflicted's senses, almost making them feel groggy and slashing through their reaction time like a hot knife through butter. Or lightsaber through a blast door. With their foes seriously impaired, the well trained Ailon Nova Guardsmen would’ve had little trouble dealing with their enemies. Anubis had engaged the two injured Sith Warriors, using their physical injuries to his advantage. Using his pistol simultaneously with his lightsaber, his acid rounds were unsuspecting to the two men.
Simply looking down at his leg, Tarax reached behind and fingered the hilt of the weapon. "This is going to hurt like a bitch." Just as he was about to pull the weapon from his leg, the third Ailon Nova Guard flanked the Obelisk and brought his arm around his neck. Wrenching the Obelisk upwards, the man pulled as hard as his arm would allow - attempting to choke out the cyborg foe.
The fighting continued for almost another fifteen minutes. Bruised and battered, the two Equites laid out on the ground. Tarax's leg had stopped bleeding at this point, Halcyon by his side forcing the neurotoxin out of his ally’s body. Carnage surrounded them; the half dozen men that they were fighting having been either dismembered, killed, or knocked out cold. He'd have to keep his concentration up for a while - this would be no easy poison to purge. Tarax's face was bruised, a small cut on his cheek with a drop of blood dribbling down his face slowly. "And that, my friend, is why I wear a helmet," snapped Anubis, moving his hand to tap against his helmet. Tarax looked over, simply shaking his head, "I just want this mission to be over already. My head is just killing me."
It was clear to the three that it wasn't just Tarax who had taken some damage. Anubis' armour had several cuts and singe marks into the plating where he'd just narrowly avoided blades, and his left forearm had an actual hole clean through it. One of the Ailon had scored a shot that was just too good to pass up, and the damage to the arm was substantial. While he had most of the mobility in his wrist, it was sluggish. The same could not be said for his hand. His index finger was sluggish and pinky completely inoperable, as the wiring had been cut - while his middle finger was twitchy. Use of that hand would need to be seriously limited until he could find time to do quick repairs. This was about the only thing that Anubis liked about his cybernetics; while it hurt like a bitch to install, that would be the only pain you'd feel from that limb again.
Halcyon had taken little damage, a bruise or two here and there. Overall, he was in relatively good shape. "Tarax, you good enough to at least walk with us? We have to keep moving." The Obelisk snarled, he was getting too old for this shit, "Yeah, I'm good. Let’s get out of here." Halcyon stood, a smirk forming across his face as his ears picked up movement nearby. Turning clean around, the green-garbed man stared directly into the eyes of an Ailon Nova Guard. Beaten down, bleeding, this guy looked like he had been to hell and back. Halcyon was legitimately surprised that the man had survived at all, let alone awake and staring at him. "Seems your people deserve more credit than I gave you. You've been trained well."
The guard painfully sat up, clawing backwards. The Taldrya didn't move, simply observing. Trembling, the guard held his gaze with the Dark Jedi before him. "Wh-Who are you?" The Dark Prophet took a menacing single step forward, malice written across his face. Squirming, the guard raised himself to his feet as graceful as a Bantha, cringing and moaning with agony as he limped away as fast as possible before he was cut into kibble.
The Sith turned back to his companions, who were slowly making their way to their feet. He could feel Tarax was still drained from the toxin slowly being expunged from his body, but was improving. He'd have to continue to concentrate on the fellow if he was to make a full recovery from it. Turning his back to the two, Halcyon returned his weapons to his belt and adjusted it. And then he felt it. Something wasn't right... another presence had entered the room, trying to exert it's influence. Canting his head to the side, he warded off the effects with minimal effort. "Shield your minds", he called out, "there's another presence he-AAAAAAARRGGHH," Halc fell forward, falling to one knee. Instinctively, the Taldrya blasted forward, the emerald blade of his lightsaber hissing to life as he turned to look at his comrades. In his hand, Anubis held his Sapphire Blade; the brilliant blue blade dripping with Rokir's blood. While the Battlemaster's face was hidden, the expression on Tarax's face was clear; they were not themselves.
The Prophet could feel the point where the bladed weapon had made impact. He could feel the gaping hole in the back of his left shoulder blade. The former Deputy Grand Master saw the blank expressions on his fellow comrades. The presence had taken hold of them and he would have to subdue them to the point where a little cognitive re calibration could be administered.
The two men ignored the Elder’s words as they moved as one and darted towards him. In simple and efficient movements the Prophet slid the Exarch’s blade away from him as his free hand slammed into the Battlemaster’s hand and forced him to drop the blood-stained Sapphire Blade. Neither Equite were fazed; their tactics simple and straight forward. They each turned on their heel and hacked at the older Sith with their deadly weapons. Halcyon leapt effortlessly through the air, landing just a few feet behind the possessed Taldryan. With practiced ease he sent a wave of air slamming into the Equites, lifting them off their feet and depositing them a few metres down the hall.
The extra room gave Rokir time to take in his surroundings, both mentally and physically. The area itself was littered with dead bodies; the floor slick with their blood. However, not a single soul moved other than the three teammates. He knew another presence was there. It felt like a finger nail slowly scratching at the back of his skull; an annoyance that had no other feature, and no reason to be there.
A spike of danger sent Halcyon into a whirlwind of motion as little holes appeared in the walls around him and a hailstorm of darts sailed through the air. Only an emerald blur could be discerned as Rokir floated on the currents of the Force. The smell of ozone permeated the air as the tiny pinpricks of metal were burned away as they entered the Elder’s maelstrom. The attack took only a handful of heartbeats to complete, leaving Halcyon to catch his breath from the exertion. An auburn blade allowed him no time to check himself as he deflected it away and followed it up with a simple leg-sweep. Tarax bounded over the falling Sith, his face contorted into a snarling mess as he fell upon the Elder. Halcyon gave ground to the tremendous strength of the Obelisk. His feet slipping, he allowed the momentum to carry him backwards and roll onto his back as he propelled Eosphoros through the air with his legs and a little help of the Force, before completing the roll and coming back to his feet.
My my my, aren’t we the lively one.
The finger-nail had dug its way inside the Elder’s head. The presence fought to take a stronger hold, bringing Halcyon to a knee before he was able to keep it under control.
There’s no need for that. A part of me is already inside you.
Rokir had the urge to look down as he rose to his feet as saw the two small needles protruding from his leg.
My specialty. You will be mine, body and mind.
The sensation was there. Something had invaded his body. He felt it claw its way north. The fingernail had grown into a set of claws, tearing at his mental shields.
Ah, the green-one. We have heard of you. You were there when our Master fell. It will be a joy to swim in your power.
His attention focused on his crumbling mental state, it was up to decades of training to save himself as a blinding white light came leaping at him. Turning instinctively he managed to keep his torso attached to the rest of his body, but the saber still grazed him along his back. His turn brought him right up against the Anubis’ faceplate as it slammed into his nose. Blood gushed out as the cartilage cracked from the blow and sent the Elder reeling.
Halcyon fought through the pain, using his senses to pick out the Equites. His grasp of the Force was tenuous at best, the presence dulling him to its power, but his anger fanned the still-burning embers to grasp the two Taldryan and send them into the walls with a resounding CRACK. Almost immediately the two men were back on their feet with sabers still pulsating in their palms.
They are mine, green-one. They stop when I tell them to stop. Only death can save them now.
The claw in his mind had multiplied. The poison had found its home. It flayed his barriers and laid him bare. Secrets long held were cast into the light; his every memory rifled through; his once vaunted power seeping from his pores.
Yet, the box remained; untouched and hidden. To the Brotherhood Halcyon appeared untouched by the rigours of his rank; unencumbered by the rights and rituals required to become who he was. Most were irrevocably changed as they became a Sith Lord, yet the once Tie Corps pilot could still be clearly seen after all these years. What the Brotherhood saw was not who he was; it was who he decided to be. What he truly was he kept contained in the box; sealed from his own psyche. The box allowed him normalcy, free from the effects of the prevalent darkness.
With what will remained his, the Prophet reached into the very corner of his mind and found the box. He would not become a pawn to others. Years of work may be lost, but he would remain free. With a final thought he opened the box, unleashing his full self.
The sound of shattering glass came first as Halcyon’s psyche broke. The sound of shrieking came next, an unmistakably female sound filling the room. The presence could not take the sudden onslaught and reeled from it. Two bodies fell to the ground, their strings now cut as they slipped into unconsciousness.
The Elder was on all fours, panting in exertion. He was free; broken, but free. She was out there still; she who had made him this way. Her shrieking was dying away, but she remained.
Get. The. Bitch was his last cognizant thought before the mad laughter began.
With the sweep of a golden blade, Keirdagh finished off the last of the droids guarding the terminal room that he and Ben had been volunteered to capture and neutralize. With a touch, the heavy door panel sealed the room. A few special troops wielding short bladed swords had been in the room when he and Benevolent had finally reached it, and though they fought with discipline and courage, even with the help of their droids they could not stand against the might of the two elder Taldrya. Keeping his eyes on the door Keirdagh asked "Ben, how’re the computers? Is everything still functional?" Silence answered him. "Ben! What’s the status?" Silence was replaced by the rapid cadence of fingers on keys. Glancing over his shoulder, Keirdagh sighed to himself. Forgotten were his Bryar pistol and lightsaber, just casually disregarded as Ben found himself face to face with his true love, technology.
His cursory glance, and the way Ben’s eyes glowed as his stared in rapt attention at the monitors was all the answer Keirdagh needed, the systems were still functional, and they were programmed by someone with a fair amount of skill at computer security. Ben loved a challenge, especially one in code form. Keeping his eyes on the door, Keirdagh backed up to slap Ben on the shoulder with the back of his hand. The Adept, seemingly having forgotten Keirdagh was there jumped an inch into the air in surprise. "What Yacks?"
"At least put a video up of the corridor so I can see if any trouble is coming."
"Yea yea, I will, just wait till I get in… ah HAH, double binary recursion, you clever bastard…" and with that bit of conversation, Ben relapsed into his technological orgasm, and was lost again to the world of the living. Keirdagh settled down into a meditative pose in front of the door, to recoup some of his strength and continue the rather rushed job of healing he had started on his blaster wounds. Keeping half his mind to the approaches to the security station for danger, and to listen to any vague warnings from Ben about impending doom, Keirdagh settled into a light meditative trance.
The words cut through his mind like a vibro-knife in the dark. The voice was at once both familiar, and yet hauntingly alien. Get. The. Bitch. The words were from Halcyon, but the guttural, animal fury that tainted them was extremely unlike his fellow Sith. Along with the words flashed knowledge containing the location of what was likely to be Keirdagh’s next target. Standing up somewhat gingerly, with knees popping and joints creaking, Keirdagh looked back at Ben, who hadn’t seemingly moved at all. "Ben, how deep are you into the system?"
"Eh, I have basic control of the level; the system is putting up a big fight, so if we want more access we’ll need to move to a terminal with a higher level of access. Right now, I’m playing a game with three attack droids in the hall outside, opening doors at random to freak them out," said the Adept, smiling his manic little smile. "Droids are more fun than humans; they don’t get tired of being played with and start blasting holes in things."
"That’s good enough; door control is all I need. I need a path past the other members of the team to the very southern room of the level, can you give me a clear one?" asked Keirdagh, while stretching out his sore limbs and muscles.
"Uh, sure Yacks, but you know, if things, like those droids I have been playing with are in the corridors already..." he looked abashedly around for a second, "well, there isn’t much I can do. Someone seems to have blasted all the auto-turrets."
"Just make sure nobody else joins the fight, I’ll take care of what is in the way. Keep trying to breach higher access, and keep an eye on Halc and the others.. Something is very wrong." Without wasting another moment, Keirdagh prepared himself to rush southward. A flicker of thought opened the blast doors to the security checkpoint, and dashing forward with the enhanced reflexes and speed afforded to him by the force, Keirdagh hurtled out into the corridors, golden blade and supernatural speed overwhelming the droids and assembled warriors who stood between Keirdagh and his friends.
As he rushed south, the sounds of blast doors closing around him, locking down the corridor to an express route resounded echoingly through the level of the Star Destroyer. As he rushed past the ruined door of the turbo lift, and into the nexus where his comrades had been doing battle, Keirdagh could only take in the scene peripherally: Bodies of six opponents, three discarded sabers, three of those odd short blades; Two Taldrya, possibly dead, more likely unconscious. One Dark Prophet, cackling maniacally, and staring at Keirdagh with baleful eyes, a man who had clearly come unhinged, and the greasy taint of a foreign aura that had done this to his friends. All of these observations came at Keirdagh fast, and he had to push the worry they caused from his mind. Ahead of this was the person who’d cause this pain, ahead was his target of his retribution. Channeling his fear for his stricken comrades into rage, Keirdagh burst into the final corridor where Halcyon had pinpointed the enemy’s location.
He rushed into a small corridor at the end of level, that lead to a secondary control room for some minor ships systems. It was a comfortable place for a coward to hide behind thralls, and let them do the bleeding and dying, while they played at puppet master. Though the woman’s concentration had been shattered, Keirdagh could feel the touch of the foreign mind beginning to prod at his brain. The mere thought of someone trying to impose their will upon Keirdagh’s infamous stubborn and contrary streak brought a cocky peal of laughter to his lips, and almost cost him his life. His headlong rush, and blind rage had distracted him, and when the modified maintenance droid detached from the wall behind him, and started opening up with its blasters, only his augmented speed saved him from behind shot in the back. Instead, he managed to dodge awkwardly, and crash into the wall, like some sort of slapstick comedian from the holodramas. With a grunt of pain, Keirdagh ripped at the droid with the force, and pulled it toward him at near supersonic speeds, ducking at the last moment as the droid careered into the bulkhead behind him.
"Oh, but you are a peach, aren’t you greybeard?" taunted a softly echoing voice from the control room. "It will take me weeks to put poor Revlo back together. But he should know better, he’s programmed not to shoot unless he’s sure of the kill."
"Lady, you should be more worried about putting yourself back together when I’m done with you," bit out Keirdagh, abandoning his headlong rush in place of a calm, fluid stalking gait. He added a hint of derision and mocking to his tone, "Because you’ll be dead, and in pieces, you see. In case my meaning hadn’t penetrated your thick skull." Stepping over the threshold, Keirdagh finally laid eyes on his opponent. Clad in a garish cloak of blue strands of fabric, she was of an unknown race to Keirdagh, but of pale skin, and balder than a droid. "It’s a shame, as ugly as you are sweetheart, you’d need to be smart," he shrugged dismissively. "Too bad for you."
Apparently, his final jibe about the woman’s looks snapped her into motion, because instantly two daggers were being hurled at him with the force, and his assailant was following behind them with an ignited lightsaber. Keirdagh was prepared though, throwing up a solid barrier in the force, the daggers fell harmlessly to the ground, leaving the now airborne Adept as the last threat facing him. Stepping forward, Keirdagh snapped his golden blade into a simple parry, and shoved at the woman’s blade with all of his might, sending her tumbling backward.
As she fell, the discarded knives on the ground whirled up around Keirdagh’s legs, slicing scores into the leather surrounding his armor, and being a general threat to the safety of anyone in his vicinity. Catching one blade with a mental grip, Keirdagh sliced it in two, only to have its brother stab into the back of his sword hand. A mocking laughter leapt from the lips of the Adept, and she jumped over him, dismissing him as if he were already a dead man. "You think yourself strong, greybeard, because of the strength of your muscles and the steel of your resolve," she taunted. "But your weakness is not your mind, it is your loyalty."
As Keirdagh was digging the dagger from his hand, and fighting to keep whatever poison the bitch had coated its blade with from taking a hold on his system, by cutting all the blood flow to his right hand, the Adept leapt over him, and rushed toward his fallen allies. Two men, beaten to unconsciousness, one left in a state of mental instability, with a hostile elder going after them intent on doing harm. "Not on my bloody watch" spat Keirdagh, ignoring the droplets of blood that had suddenly started mixing with his saliva. Sprinting after her, his main hand numbed to uselessness, Keirdagh grabbed up one of the fallen droids blasters as he ran, knowing full well his ability to shoot anything was almost impossible.
As he reached his fallen teammates, the Adept was standing above Halcyon, staring into his eyes in intense concentration, whispering under her breath. Clearly trying to take hold of the Prophet’s mind again, and in his weakened state, Keirdagh couldn’t tell if the man was falling for it, or simply enjoying the insane woman’s show. Either way, it was not worth risking. Clutching the blaster in his left hand, Keirdagh began to draw the heat from the weapon, chilling it to well below zero, and leapt into the woman’s back with a shoulder tackle to her ribs. Coming down hard, with Keirdagh straddling her back, the Adept swept over her shoulder with her lightsaber ineffectually, and Keirdagh knew the fight was over. Wasting no time with a witty rejoinder, he simply smashed the frozen blaster into the base of the woman’s skull, its sub-zero temperatures causing it to shatter with impact, driving shards of frozen metal through her spinal column and into her brainstem, ending her life instantly.
"If loyalty is a weakness bitch, consider me a fucking pussy. But you’re still fucking dead."
Tarax was shocked awake as a voice yelled in his face, "Wake up, you pussy!"
Groggy and in extreme pain, Tarax blinked a few times before his eyes focused on the source of the verbal assault: Keirdagh Taldrya Cantor. "Yacks? What the fuck happ-" he managed to get out before being rudely interrupted as the bearded Elder slapped him in the face, the pain sending a burst of adrenaline through his injured body and causing a flashback of the recent events. Looking around himself, the Obelisk put all of the pieces together and summed up the situation simply and eloquently, "Well. This fucking sucked."
Keirdagh offered a hand for support and helped Tarax onto his feet; the younger Equite wincing as he took note of his injuries. It was obvious that Halcyon tried his best not to injure his fellow Taldryanites, but he still managed to cause a decent amount of damage. With a small effort of will, he let the Force flow over him and soothe his pain and injuries. "Just think of the Twi'leks...just think of the Twi'leks..." he muttered to himself.
"The fuck, Yacks?!" cried a startled, somewhat muffled voice as the Dark Jedi Master managed to bring Anubis back from his unconscious state as well. "Get up, princess. We've got to get a move on," commanded the Elder. The Battlemaster spit out his own version of random curses as he made sure he was in one piece and ready to continue with the mission.
Anubis looked around and asked the group "Where's Ben?"
Keirdagh waved his hand dismissively and said "He's on his way. I already called him over, just after I killed that bitch over there." He nodded towards the Adept's corpse lying a few feet away.
"Will Halc be alright? He seems kind of...off." asked Tarax.
"I think his mind took a beating, but he's a big boy. I'm sure he'll get a hold of himself," replied the former Justicar as Halcyon stood by himself and stared at the group with intense, unblinking green eyes.
Nodding absently, Tarax walked over to their dead foe's body; looking down, he snarled viciously as he called upon the Force once more to augment his strength and slammed his foot down onto the dead Adept's head, crushing it against the floor. He wiped the brain-bits from his boot off of her clothes.
Benevolent joined the rest of the group, and with a casual tone asked "So...what'd I miss?"
"Can you ever be on time?" quipped Anubis, clearly aggravated that his mind had been played with like a toy. Ben quirked an eyebrow, responding in jest, "I could... but what would be the fun in that? Then I'd have pieces of brain everywhere like you" he pointed towards a bloody mass on the Equite's chestplate. Almost growling, Anubis wiped it off with one hand before double checking to make sure he still had his equipment - and it was intact. Keirdagh had been observing the situation the entire time. What the hell did I sign up for? he mused to himself ruefully.
The group assembled themselves, eventually cleaning up and readying to move out. They were a bit battered, but still had a bit of fight left in them. Halcyon continued to distance himself from his comrades, even with the Adept's influence on Tarax and Annedu gone, having not said a word since their Dark Jedi Master had come to his rescue. Those around him could feel the swath of energy he was giving off, and it wasn't very difficult for their resident Battlemaster to determine what kind of mood the man was in given their recent encounter. He had only really needed his ability in Kinetic Communication to confirm his suspicions. "Are we ready to get a move on, or what?" begged Tarax, bored. With several other nods, the group proceeded forward.
They moved slowly back towards the turbolift nexus, not honestly in that much of a rush. They'd just been through hell, and in all of their opinions; if the Dark Council wanted the god damned ship, they could come get the god damned ship themselves. At this point, all they were after was the information that Halcyon had referenced before. In all likely hood, that information was securely locked away on some private terminal on the command deck - so they had no real choice but to go there anyway. Aware that this would probably be the toughest fight they'd faced on the vessel, things weren't looking so hot. As they reached the turbolifts, the lift they had been hoping to take straight to the command deck opened up. Inside, was a squad of Zoraan's troopers.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" growled Anubis, stepping forward with his lightsaber flying swiftly to his hand.
Tarax proceeded forward as well. "You took the words right out my mouth, Annie," muttered the Exarch as lightsaber blades ignited and blaster bolts filled the immediate area. Making short work of the group in such a crowded space, they tossed the bodies so it wouldn't be too cluttered. As the lift doors closed and the movement upward was felt by the five, silence filled the small room. Ben stood in the back, looking around the four other men. This is the most awkward. Lift ride. Ever. It wasn't long before the group emerged on the command deck.
As the group took their first steps out of the lift, their eyes immediately investigated the area. And what they saw... well, it sort of surprised them. It was nearly empty. Of living people, that is. There were dead bodies littered throughout the area, several right at the turbolift. It was as if they were trying to escape from whatever had been attacking them. The stench was horrid for Halcyon, Benevolent, and Keirdagh, who didn't have a filtration system cleaning the air they were exposed to. For Tarax, the stench gave a mixed reaction of both ecstasy and revulsion. "That stinks something fierce," began Cantor, covering his nose, "I guess there won't be much of a fight after all." As usual, the Dark Jedi Master had spoken too soon. Not a second after he had finished his sentence, a sinister growl from up ahead filled the floor. Of course.
The two Equites and three Elders shared looks of apprehension and disgust, as they ventured further into the expansive Command Bridge of the Avenger II. The unbalanced, creepy cackle echoed through the chamber, originating from the forward section of the Bridge, near the consoles and viewport. Each Taldryan's lightsaber at the ready, the air around the five Dark Jedi glowed with a mixture of bronze, red, gold, white, and green.
"Hello, my guests," greeted the tall, pale man; his robes crimson red, and not because of the gallons of blood spilled all around him. He was a tall creature, bald except for a red pony-tail tied up in the back, not muscular but extremely lithe, with wirey muscle rolling like cables underneath the almost translucent skin. A red-bladed lightsaber hummed in each hand, as if undisturbed by the masses of dead corpses surrounding them.
"Who the fuck are you?" demanded Tarax, careless disdain flavouring his inquisitive remark.
Insane amusement was instantly replaced with insane anger, and with the nod of his head the powerful foe sent the Exarch flying back through the Command Bridge until he hit the opposite wall with a loud THUD. Something growled behind the dazed Obelisk.
"That was rude. I do not abide trolls," said the man quietly.
Keirdagh shared a quick glance with Halcyon, a faint smile crossing their lips in understanding. "Our friend asked a valid question," stated the Dark Prophet.
The tall man bowed, "I am Darth Necar. I was Master Zoraan's faithful apprentice," he straightened up and waved a hand towards the vastness of the Shroud beyond the viewport, "I will take this ship, my Master's own, and crash it into your pitiful fleet beyond the Shroud."
Benevolent, Anubis, Halcyon, and Keirdagh didn't have to be telepathic to share the same thought, "Crash it into what?"
Necar tilted his head to one side and continued "I see that you intend to stop me. For that I shall kill you." He reached out with one hand and blasted the foursome with Force Lightning. Keirdagh quickly brought his lightsaber up in defense and caught the deadly discharge with his golden blade, allowing the rest of the team to get into position.
Meanwhile behind them, Tarax yelled out in panic "Guys! I need a little help here!"
While the former Quaestor was regaining his composure, beside him access doors opened to reveal two Terentateks, old and powerful Sith monstrosities. Quickly reactivating his white lightsaber, Tarax threw his weapon at the beasts hoping to cause some injury before they closed the distance; to his dismay, he found that these particular beasts had developed some sort of resistance to a lightsaber blade. "Fuck my life," growled the cyborg.
"We'll have to do this the hard way, then." Tarax muttered to himself as he clipped his lightsaber hilt o his belt and grabbed the Zhaboka from its harness on his back. With the flick of a thumb, Tarax activated his favourite bladed weapon and took a guarded stance, eyeing the Terentateks for potential weaknesses.
"Guys," he called back over his shoulder, "I could really use some help here!"
Ben put his hand on Anubis' shoulder and said "Go help him, we'll cover this."
Anubis spit out a curse behind his helmet and started towards his cyborg teammate.
Keirdagh felt Anubis break away from the group to go lend a hand to Tarax, fighting whatever enemy he'd found back there. Though the two Equites were not nearly as masterful with wielding the Force as the rest of the Elders making up their strike team, Keirdagh had nothing but confidence in Anubis' and Tarax's skills in combat, no matter how battered and bruised this trek through the Super Star Destroyer had left them. The target in front of him however, was not something he could take his attention away from. The vitriol, and insanity of the man in front of him literally pulsed out through the Force, bringing memories of the man's fallen master immediately to the front of Keirdagh's mind, and he no longer doubted for an instant that Zoraan had taught this poor fool everything he had known; including his insanity. Necar lowered his hand from projecting the lightning that Keirdagh was catching neatly, and looked appraisingly at the blade, his eyes glittering with a covetous sheen. "That's a pretty little blade, old man. My master spoke of them," he sneered, "I think I'll take yours!"
The attack that followed took Keirdagh completely by surprise, with Necar seeming to flash from the far end of the command pit to in front of him in less than a blink of an eye, sweeping his two lightsabers in opposite cross-body cuts, that would have dismantled the Dark Jedi Master at the shoulder and knee, had he not in the company of two of the deadliest warriors the Brotherhood could field. A stiff punch from Benevolent to the side of Keirdagh's head sent him reeling below the upper saber, and Halcyon's emerald blade hissed to life to deflect the other sword. "Holy shit!" gasped Keirdagh, from a combination of surprise and friendly fire induced pain. Training however took over from his conscious mind, and as the red blade whistled above his head, Keirdagh dropped into a tackle, throwing all of his weight and considerable strength into the Sith Lord's midsection, eliciting a pained "oof" from the man.
As their bodies crashed to the floor, Keirdagh managed to keep the red blades from stabbing him, and through some stroke of serendipity, found his own golden blade buried to the hilt into Necar's shoulder. "Yacks, clear out!" shouted Halcyon, and Keirdagh pushed down against the stricken Sith Lord with the Force, throwing his body off of Necar's in the instant before a green blaster bolt lit up the space he'd previously occupied. The instant however, was enough for Necar to similarly scurry out of the danger path, and retreat deeper into the bridge. Holding his mangled shoulder, Necar glared at the two elders standing side by side, golden blade ignited next to emerald. "Two?" thought Keirdagh to himself. "Where the hell has Ben gotten to, now?" Despite only thinking it, Halcyon's voice rang clearly in his head. "TAUNT HIM!"
"Damn Neccy, I thought one of Zorro's cronies would put up a better fight." Seeing the rage beginning to creep onto his face, Keirdagh kept it up, recognizing the distraction for what it was worth. "I knew your boss, you see. He was a weakling, even as a Grand Master. Couldn't even command the loyalty of the rank and file, and begged... that's right, BEGGED people to respect him. A real man, a real leader, earns his respect. But not old Zorro, he pleaded for it."
"SILENCE YOU WORM!" screamed Necar at the top of his lungs, with the raw power of the his unleashed Force forming coronal discharges around his body, a sign that Keirdagh's taunts had ripped free whatever self-control the Sith Lord had remaining, and he began to stalk forward at the pair of Elders, snapping his lightsabers to his belt and unsheathing a wicked blade with Sith runes inscribed all over it. Just as he'd levelled his blade at Keirdagh's throat, preparing for another mad rush forward, Benevolent dropped out of the shadows above the man, having made use of Keirdagh's taunts to finish his stealthy progress forward. As he dropped, he aimed at the already wounded shoulder, igniting his blade in perfect time to sever the limb fully, and leaping back into the air immediately.
As Necar swept around to impale his newest attacker on the Sith blade, Halcyon stepped forward and literally hurled Ben away from the strike with the Force, the Adept crashing to the ground in the crew pits near navigation. "YOU ARE, ALL OF YOU BENEATH ME!" screamed Necar, seeming to have taken no notice of being down a left arm. "YOU WILL TASTE VENGEANCE'S BLADE!" It was then, when he unleashed his raw fury and hatred upon Halcyon and Keirdagh, a violent torrent of Force energy, lightning shrieking and splitting the air in multiple locations, raining down on them like the storm it was. Hard pressed to keep the strikes from hitting either of them, the two elders were forced back, and even over the sounds of the torrent, a victory cry from behind them split the air.
Anubis stepped backward to where Tarax had gotten himself embroiled into another mess of his own making. "Would the man never learn to keep his mouth shut?" he wondered to himself privately, only being able to guess at what horrors would have prompted the Exarch to actually immediately call for aid. The answer to the question was two hulking masses of spike covered hide, drooling and slathering while their claws scratched gouges into the durasteel plates that made up the flooring of the bridge. "Oh shit..." whispered Anubis, loud enough for Tarax to hear him.
"I know, right? What the hell are we supposed to do with these ugly bitches?"
"You know Yacks' motto... attack first and apologize later."
"Oh by the way... lightsabers are basically useless," shouted Tarax as he leapt past Anubis who was in the process of igniting his lightsaber. As his zhaboka made contact with the beast's hide, Tarax let out a harsh war cry, his blade drew blood, and the beast roared in pain, slashing out with a massive claw, sending Tarax into a controlled sprawl away from the beast, in time to let Anubis open fire with his acid spewing slug throwers, circling towards his fallen comrade.
"Tarax, we need to keep one of them between us and the other at all times, we can't kill these monsters on our own." Suiting his actions to words, Anubis kept up what amounted to covering fire, making sure the explosive acid darts didn't spatter onto the Exarch, but aiming at joints to slow the creature down.
"Kill them?! If I can figure out how to keep one of these bastards as a pet, I'm doing it!" Tarax shouted, his manic bloodlust taking control of him again, despite the danger the Equites were in. Punctuating a vicious down-cut with his zhaboka he rhymed off "I'd make all the kids play tag with it, no more annoying Apprentices! Someone pisses me off? I'll feed ‘em to this beauty and send its shit to their widows!" The two Equites settled into a rhythm, often punctuated by more and more imaginative uses for Tarax's pet terantatek, Tarax playing the bait, taking slashes, while Anubis chewed away at the first beast's hide, the two constantly dancing in a circle so they never had to engage both of the abominations at once. Finally, seeing the opening he was waiting for, Tarax yelled out "ANNIE, THE EYES, NOW!" and dove between the horror's legs, spinning his blade with the enhanced strength of his cybernetic arm and the Force to hamstring the giant creature in a smooth motion.
As the lamed brute cried out, and began to totter forward, Tarax did a flip up and kicked it in the back of the head to speed its fall. Landing smoothly, he walked around calmly and slammed his zhaboka into the creature's eye socket, letting out an orgasmic cry of rage, and success. Standing on the fallen beast's carcass, he prepared for the next terantatek's charge, loosing a defiant cry at the last abomination, as the bridge lit up with harsh light from whatever chaos the rest of team was mired in. "COME AT ME BRO!"
The fledgling Elder let out a pained grunt as he picked himself off the deck; Ben hadn't been expecting Halcyon to hit him quite that hard. The force had sent him careening into the crew pit, ending with a sickening bounce off a set of consoles. Around him were the sounds of Tarax trying to intimidate one of the monstrous terantateks, and the crazed apprentice putting on his own laser lightning show. Oh, and the faintest little warning beep from one of the undamaged consoles.
Ben staggered over to the console-in-distress as he concentrated on recovering from the stunning fall. Visualizations of trajectories flew back and forth as the poor nav computer tried in vain to navigate a route through the chaotic Shroud. Round chunky objects flew towards the center of the visualization – probably all the asteroid hits that were beginning to tax the deflector shields to their maximum. Everything else was unrecognizable gibberish to the Obelisk who could maybe on a good day keep a freighter moving on a straight course in empty space. "Well shit. A little help here?" Ben said as he turned to look for an ally with more experience in this sort of madness. The former Admiral or even the former Colonel would be good options, but Keirdagh and Halcyon were respectively dodging swings from the one-armed nut and countering his offensive force powers. Ben honestly had no idea if Anubis had picked up anything on capital ships and Tarax...well... he was screaming obscenities as he practically bathed in terantatek blood. "Awesome. Well, okay. Let's try stopping. Stopping should be easy."
The second terantatek reared back before charging at the shouting human. As he neared his prey, biting acid chewed into his side. He tried twisting his body as he charged to get away from the noxious stings, but stumbled over the spines of his fallen pod-mate and crashed his massive body onto the deck. Tarax had jumped towards the beast, swinging his Zhaboka in a vicious downward arc. Unfortunately, as the beast hit the ground, it rolled and a massive leg caught the Exarch in the stomach. They fell together, with the monster's leg falling on top of Tarax. Anubis, seeing his fallen teammate, dropped his pistols while unhooking his trusty Sapphire Blade and running towards the fallen terantatek.
Despite being slowly crushed by the massive leg, Tarax in his blood rage was still trying to hack off pieces within range. His Zhaboka claimed one tusk before getting stuck in the monster's belly. It let out a loud roar and started to roll back to it's front, but not before Anubis drove his blade through the beast's exposed throat. As the roar turned into a gurgle, Tarax wormed his way out from under the dying beast, pulled his double-blade out, and continued hacking pieces off.
"Oh finally. 'Emergency Stop'. You'd think for something designed for 'emergencies' it wouldn't be buried 3 levels deep in the stupid menus" Ben complained. The ship shuddered as the engines kicked in to bring the massive vessel to a halt. Two objectives down, one to go. Ben spotted Anubis picking up his pistols and moving to reinforce the other two Elders. Tarax, on the other hand, might need a little encouragement to stop hacking away pieces of his new favourite toys.
Ben climbed out of the crew pit and called out to his psychotic ally. "Tarax!" He pointed at Necar and grinned. Tarax pulled his Zhaboka out of the corpse and started running towards the fight. Incoming, Ben thought as he released a wave of force at Tarax, propelling him like a projectile towards Zoraan's apprentice.
Soundless screams formed on the faces of the two Elders as violet-tinged energies cascaded over them. Green and gold fought to contain the deadly energies as its tendrils wrapped around the two lightsabers. They fought to stand their ground, but felt their feet slipping inch-by-inch. A sudden jolt caught all three Sith offguard. The two military-minded Taldryan knew what it had meant: Benevolent had stopped the massive vessel from whatever path it was on. It took Necar a hair longer to realize what had occurred. Rather than explode into new levels of rage the once-apprentice morphed into a sea of calm. His breathing grew slower as he locked gazes with the Taldryan Elders. Behind those eyes they could see the smouldering power that had been contained; waiting for the inevitable.
The words were spoken softly, but they reverberated through the Force. Halcyon and Keirdagh kept their attention focused on the crazed Dark Lord as he stood glaring at them. Sudden movements in the peripheral took Necar’s attention as he turned away from the Elders to see a half-mechanical man come flying through the air
Tarax’s words were cut short as invisible fingers stopped him in mid-air by the throat just a few feet from his target. He now floated above the ground with his Zhaboka held tightly in his hands. Across the bridge Anubis had switched back to his twin slugthrowers and unleashed the deadly rounds at the Sith Lord. Without turning away from the immobile Equite his good arm moved the sword into block-position, easily dealing with the slugs. However, the acid-filled shells exploded on impact with the sword and sprayed onto Necar’s arm.
The Sith Lord lashed out, slamming Tarax into the floor face-first as he seemed to flow instantaneously from one place to the next and appear next to Annedu. Benevolent had already been moving toward the Equite, but his movement increased exponentially as he saw Necar suddenly appear.
“Marmalade!” the Adept shouted out as he brandished his own lightsaber, the crimson blade bursting forth from the hilt.
The sudden and inexplicably-odd shout from Whiner was enough to save Anubis’ life as it threw Necar’s blow off enough to not cleave the Battlemaster in two; instead the SIth Sword sliced through his armour and cut into his chest. Anubis instantly fell to the floor, the sword imbued alchemically with the ability to cause mass-paralysis from even minor cuts. Such a deep blow held no chance for the younger Sith as his body instantly succumbed to the powerful sorcery.
“Not good,” Benevolent muttered to himself as Necar spun to face him. An unseen blow slammed into the Obelisk’s chest, the sudden change in momentum carrying him off his feet and landing him hard onto his back. Cantor and Rokir sent their own torrent of telekinetic-fueled attacks at the Dark Lord, bombarding him with all of their strength before he could land a fatal blow on the Battleteam leader.
The scream was a blow to the two standing Elders as it reverberated inside their skull. Blinking away the after-effects they felt a sudden drop in pressure on the bridge as the hairs on their head began to rise. Consoles exploded; lights flickered and died; warning klaxons rang out as the bridge was tinged with a blood-red glow. Necar held his sword above his head, a manic smile plastered across his face.
Death poured out of the sword and rained down upon the team from Taldryan. The bridge was filled with the very energy of the Force as it came from every direction. Halcyon and Keirdagh were lifted off their feet as the brunt of the attack was focused on them, although their fallen comrades also had their bodies coursing with the lightning. An acrid smell filled the room as circuits burst into flames. Flame suppressant systems fought valiantly before succumbing themselves. Ozone and burnt flesh intermingled with the already present odours. A roar of pain and anguish managed to break through the cacophony of noise as Cantor fought against the power with all of his tremendous energies only to finally pass out from exertion as blood ran freely from his nose and ears.
Through sheer force of stubborn will, and not knowing any better, Halcyon stayed conscious. His fingers locked around the familiar blaster at his side and un-holstered it, bringing it up to take a quick shot. The emerald energy flew straight into the Sith Lord’s forehead, instantly cutting off the attack. The Elders fell to the floor, Keirdagh lying prone on the ground while Halcyon managed to land on one knee. Looking up he saw Necar looking straight at him with the same manic smile. There was a blackened mark on his forehead where the bolt had hit, but otherwise he appeared no worse for wear.
“How...” were the only words the Prophet could get out before the Sith Lord was on top of him. Decades of training and battle were all that saved Rokir from immediate death as his body instinctively moved to intercept the initial attack. To even a trained eye Necar was a blur, with Halcyon fully delving into the Force to keep up with the once-apprentice. The dark side fed on the Taldrya’s body as it consumed more and more energy. The once emerald-hair had begun to change to a dull-viridian as streaks of silver began to appear. A decade of age pulled at his face within an instant as he defended both the physical and Force-related attacks that dove at him from all angles.
The Elder quickly ran out of room as he was backed almost to one of the large windows on the bridge. Necar knew victory was at hand, a sudden surge of power burst from him as he moved for the killing blow. The former Consul threw all he had left into one final act and trusted in the very power of Taldryan to save one of her Sons. Halcyon phased through the incoming SIth Sword letting the full force of the blow slam into the viewport behind him. The augmented attack and strength of the sword itself managed to crack the large viewport and leave the weapon imbedded in the transparisteel.
In near total exhaustion Rokir spun to see Necar struggling with his precious sword. His breathing shallow Halcyon found that he had never let go of his blaster. The Bryar charged up as he pointed it at the quickly forming cracks in the window-facade and without any preamble let loose a powerful bolt of green. Necar turned in time to see the emerald energy splash against the cracks to finish their job as a hole was opened up to space and the Shroud. The Sith Lord was immediately sucked out followed by the entire pane of transparisteel. With nothing left Rokir could not fight the pull of vacuum and nearly followed if not for an invisible hand grasping onto his belt and holding him long enough for the emergency forcefield to kick in.
“You owe me again,” Keirdagh managed to croak, as both men fell to the floor, exhausted.
===== || o || =====
The three Elders slowly began rising to their feet. The entire bridge was awash in smoke, the klaxons having long since died out although the red lights still pulsated around them.
“Ow,” was the only comment Benevolent made as the others could only nod in agreement.
“Ben, there should be emergency first aid kits by the lifts. Grab one and check on Anubis. If you can, supplant it with the Force. I’ll check on Tarax. Yacks, do you still remember how to access SSD systems?”
“Been awhile, but yeah, I should be able to.”
“Good. Try to find a working console and yell out when you have one.”
All three Taldrya moved to their assigned locations. Whiner easily found the medkit, slapping down generous amounts of emergency bacta patches on Anubis’ open wound as he concentrated on helping along the healing process. Halcyon knelt down by Tarax and turned him over to see the massive trauma on his face. Although it was like a knife in his brain he called upon the Force once more to help his fallen teammate.
“This one still seems functional, Halc!” Cantor called out from the other end of the bridge.
“Access airlock control. Disable all safeties and set a timer to open all airlocks in 10 minutes.”
Keirdagh looked up from the console in hesitation for a moment before realizing Halcyon’s intent: Kill off any other teams still aboard the vessel while also making much of the ship unusable after the mass decompression.
“Never liked this ship anyway,” Cantor responded as he turned back to complete his task.
“Ben, did you grab any information from the systems earlier?”
“Not sure how much, but something came through. Datapad has seen better days, but I should be able to retrieve everything from back at the lab.”
“Good. Send a message out on the Taldryan-frequency. Let them know to get the hell off the ship in 5 minutes.”
Whiner’s voice could be heard speaking into his comlink as Keirdagh called out, “Timer is set. We should get a move on.”
“Ben, is Anubis ok to move?”
“Not much choice, but sure? Oh, Howie called. He said he’s in the area if we want a pick-up.”
“How nice of him,” the Dark Master replied sarcastically as he came over to look down on Tarax.
“You ok with grabbing him, Yacks?”
“Sure, I don’t mind carrying dead weight covered in metal.”
“Thanks,” Halcyon replied, ignoring the tone. “Ben, tell Howie to look for an escape pod coming out in a couple of minutes.”
Keirdagh led the way with Tarax sprawled along his back, Benevolent following with Anubis as Halcyon followed along. Stopping along the way he picked up one of the many pieces of Terentatek that littered the floor, pocketing it for future study, before rejoining the group as they entered the escape pod and rocketed away from the soon to be dying vessel.