Odan Urr: Team 3
IC: You are a member of an elite task force assigned to conduct a rapid entry raid in Xlopora City. Your team is tasked with recovering the the lost blade of Ferran, known as Revelation. Intelligence reporting indicates four distinct opposition Forces operating within Xlopora City.
1. One Sith Forces: The Sith Lord Esoteric has been identified by Taldyran reconnaissance teams. Esoteric is an unpredictable Sith Lord and has been connected to the death of multiple members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood.
2. Unknown Imperial Forces: Arconan agents have reported multiple engagements with Storm Commandos and unidentified Imperial Storm Troopers. These unknown Imperial Forces appear to be coordinating their operation with the One Sith.
3. Sith Revenants and Ancient Sith Magic: Xlopora City is the seat of ancient Sith powers and is protected by unknown quantities of arcane wards and traps. Sith Zombies have been identified within the catacombs underneath the towered palace located in the center of the city. Shadow Academy Scholars have reported multiple deaths resulting from failed attempts to breach warded doorways and structures.
4. The Dark Brotherhood: The Dark Brotherhood is a fragmented organization designed to reward those who excel. Infighting, backstabbing, and treachery are acceptable tactics to achieve results. Dark Council reports indicate at least three skirmishes have occurred between opposition Clans and Houses.
The Sith Medium, Dantella Novae, has provided the Dark Council with a rough sketch of the chamber housing Revelation. She believes that a ritual, of some sort, will be required to gain access to the weapon. This ritual will require a significant cost from the team who discovers it.
This is a time sensitive operation that will conclude in 96 hours (16 real life days!) with the commencement of an orbital bombardment. Due to the short nature of the operation, your team will be limited to light infantry operations (no mechanized forces are to be deployed in Xlopora City). You may use any other equipment from your organization's order of battle.
OOC: The following links provide additional information.
Plot Update Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cZ1VFYjY3SElrMU0/edit?usp=sharing
Bosthirda Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cbmNOMURTM3R0R3M/edit?usp=sharing
Dantella Novae Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0rPsJ1Xn54cY1piSHZJOHhlMEU/edit?usp=sharing
Welcome to the Dark Crusade Epilogue: Bosthirda, a Run-On Event.
The following rules are in effect:
This is a run-on event based on the most recent Dark Brotherhood Plot Update, Bosthirda Planet Document, and event hook placed at the beginning of each run on.
Sign-ups for the event will begin on 22 February 2014 and end at 2359 EST on 27 February 2014.
The Team Captain from each team will email their team name and team roster to Muz, Raken, and Sarin.
Teams will consist of no less than 5 members and no more than 7 members. Units may submit as many teams as they can field.
250 word minimum per post. No maximum word limit. A post under 250 words will not be considered in a participant’s 3 post total. If a player writes five entries, 3 over 250 words and 2 under, they will still be given credit for reaching the minimum post limit.
Each team member must post at least three times during the event. There is no maximum post limit, but members cannot post consecutively. A single member failing to post three times will result in their teams DQ and elimination from the top 3.
Edits may occur on a post until a follow on post has been made (follow on posts include "reserving" a space). Edits may only be made by the posts original author (as in, if you have Forum Administration Rights, you cannot edit another member’s work).
Members may reserve post, but no posts can occur until after the reserved post is written.
The event will be graded by Raken, Sarin, and Muz using a rubric that focuses on creativity, plot development, realism, and grammar.
The winning team will win the Run-On for their unit. A single Independent Unit can finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in this event. This is a nova producing event.
22-27 February Sign-Ups
28 February: Event Hook Published on all Team Threads (You can read the plot update and potentially divine your mission!)
28 February to 16 March: Members Post on the Forums! This event will be plugged into the Database, but will not conclude on the forums until 2359 EST on 16 March 2014!!!!!!!
Somewhere above Xlopora City
Even from a distance Xlopora City was strange. Unlike the ruins of other civilizations the ruins of Xlopora were in relatively good shape. The buildings were not crumbling and pathetic like so many others and though the walls of many were broken, they still appeared strong and firm. But more importantly, even when flying cautiously and trying to be undetected, the dark side energy permeating the city was extremely clear. To the six Jedi sitting in the cabin, this place reeked with it. The Force flowed away from this place. It’s very stones radiated the stuff. It wasn’t chaotic though. The Jedi sensed this energy as controlled and calculated.
The Jedi present were a covert strike team that had been thrown together only hours before. And despite calling themselves a family there was a wide variety of characteristics to be found in the small metal container. There were humans, a gand, a transdoshan, and a miraluka. Some were experienced and others were but children. Some were masters and others students. Yes, this crew came from a range of backgrounds and they possessed a wide range of skills of varying degrees. It was a diverse group but all of them knew that in diversity there was strength.
These Jedi had been told very little about the operation that was about to commence. All they knew was that it was a mission to capture an invaluable Sith Artifact for the Brotherhood. As such, it wasn’t a surprise when a metallic ‘ping’ notified the Jedi of the incoming document.
Seridan Brehevik picked up his datapad and checked the screen. “Special Report from Odanite Intelligence,” he said with anticipation. This was his first real mission since he and Telghar were mere students. However, they were quick to learn and had already proven themselves capable in battle and in strategy, at least in their lessons.
With a nod of his head Seridan’s master motioned for him to pass the datapad to Ji. Ji was a veteran. He was by far the most experienced member of the strike force. Having worked in Odan-Urr for many decades, he was seen as an invaluable advisor and leader. But as Seridan passed the datapad over he wondered if even Ji’s experience would be enough. And he trembled just a little as he heard the normal sounds of battle beginning to surround them.
“Pity that this place isn’t empty. We’ll have to be careful of other Dark Brotherhood units as well as this peculiar Sith Magic that surrounds the place.” Gon Doru grunted. Gon, like Seridan’s master, was also a human. However, unlike Adeodatus, he required cybernetics to provide artificial eyes and vocal chords due to an unfortunate encounter with some digestive acids. He was Telghar’s Master. It was an odd pairing, but it worked nonetheless.
“I’m afraid it’s worse than that, my friend.” Ji said, scanning the text displayed on the screen. “There’s One Sith down there too. Esoteric’s killed a few from Taldryan.” Another ping sounded. “Arcona are reporting Imperial Forces, too.”
“Looks like we have our work cut out for us. What is it exactly that we have to do?” This time it was Adeodatus who spoke up, his mind cool and calculating as ever. Adeodatus didn’t often panic. He preferred to survive and adapt.
“We are trying to capture the Lost sword of Ferran, Revelation.” Ji answered. “Dark Council intelligence says it’s on the planet in a chamber marked with these symbols.” Ji turned the datapad to show everyone the strange, twisted characters on the screen, formed with aggressive thrusts and sharp coordination. “They believe that a ritual resulting in great loss will open the chamber, whatever that means. All we do know is that we have 96 hours to figure it out…before an orbital bombardment of the city takes care of it for us.”
A heavy silence seemed to fall over the team. It was then that the Jedi began to appreciate the true cost this mission would require. Its difficulty was one thing. But the real challenge lied in the mission’s inevitable and inescapable fate.
The red light above the congregated Jedi started flashing, signalling that they were nearing their destination. At once all Jedi were on their feet, making their final preparations before the oncoming battle. They would need to move fast.
As the hydraulic pistons lurched with the sudden contact with the ground, the Jedi sprang out, ready to face any opposition. Thankfully they were alone.
“Here’s where the fun begins.” Telghar shouted as the team rushed for the door.
The energy of the Jedi was high as they stormed from their shuttle and their feet hit the ground. The city surface, long neglected, was covered with a fine layer of grayish grime. Some might call it pretty but the team called it a liability. Even as they stepped off the shuttle they noticed their footprints were clearly visible behind them. There was also an audible crunch as the tread over fallen sidewalks and crumbling streets. And one thought was on all their minds, “So much for being covert.”
“Cheery place,” Benedict chirped even as he smelled the faint odor of burning flesh waft through the air. “This place is just like I’d always imaged it would be.” That was a lie. Until a few days ago Benedict Williams had never heard of this god-forsaken planet and he secretly wished that was still the case. He knew this was war but even with that knowledge things didn’t seem right. He would have bet anything that they were walking into a trap.
Ji sensed it too before the Savant mouthed the words. The place was quite. Sure there was the sound of fighting echoing through the air but it was growing distant. What did the other houses and clans know that his had not been told? Were they even heading towards the right target? There was no time to second guess their orders now. Standing still was sure to bring a quick death and so Ji made the only choice open to him, “Let’s move it out. Let’s take it single file to minimize our tracks with Seridan taking point.”
With Seridan in the lead and Ji falling in back the team pushed forward into the city. As they moved slowly onward, avoiding debris, and trying to keep their profile to a minimum two things became blatantly clear. First, they were going in the right direction. The team had started out moving due north and within a few clicks the central citadel came into view. Even with the edifice still on the horizon they could tell it was massive. And they knew that whatever else happened during their mission it needed to end over there.
But they also knew something else. For the vast majority of them the force on this planet was going to be effectively useless. The dark taint which on the ship had been sickening now threated to overwhelm even the strongest members of the team. The dark side was not only strong on this planet it was overpowering and only those Jedi who had once had experience with the Dark Side and had returned to the light would have any hope fighting through the darkness. That left the team blind and greatly weakened but still there was hope.
The explosion ripping through the air brought the team quickly back to attention. It all happened so fast. At one moment there was silence and then Seridan took a step forward and everything changed. The mine hidden under a pile of rubble off to the side of the road threw the young Jedi sharply to the left. The rest of the team had only enough time to dive after him when the next rounds began to fall.
Adeodatus, following directly behind his student, was the first to his side. A quick scan and the groaning slipping from his mouth was sufficient to prove that Seridan was stunned but otherwise unhurt. Adeodatus grabbed him by the collar of his robe and dragged him behind a mound of crushed rock where the other Jedi had already taken refuge. Taking his place next to Ji Adeodatus was the first to ask, “So what do we do now?”
It was a good question but poorly timed. The blaster bolts zipped around them and struck the wall just above the place where they were hiding out. Shells being fired from distant cannon landed on the street where they had been standing only moments before and through the haze the dim outline of Imperials could be seen.
Gon was the first to respond. Actually he noticed something strange. The troopers were firing heavily but they weren’t being very careful with their aim. In fact, it seemed that they wanted the Jedi to retreat rather than engage them in battle. Could the Imperials be trying to push them in a specific direction? Before he had time to voice his concern however Ji made the call.
“That alley off to our left is open. Like it or not that seems like the way we’re going to go. Deo, help your student. The rest of us let’s move.”
The alley way was not completely dark, the splashing blaster bolts gave a splattering pulse of light. The group of trespassing Jedi made their run towards the possibility of cover. The Sentinel Scout Doru was last in. Before he turned the corner, a bulk of wreckage caught his eye. A quick pull with his hands had the object free of the ground, and in one swift motion with the aid of the Force, the torn piece of abandoned speeder crashed in the general direction of the troopers. The action would not cover up the direction of retreat, but it did break up the combat to give them a time to think.
The hulking and stewing Trandoshan, and apprentice to the former Sith stood angry. It was obvious that this once slave may have the hardest time on this planet. He had spent his time learning how to access the Force through the Light, and yet hiding in shadows, skulking like some rodent wore on him.
"Master, why are we going to hide?" Telghar whispered.
"That's a good question, Ji?" It was impossible for Doru to whisper with the cybernetics.
"We need to get past those troops, but we don't know how many there are."
"We could go through that building," Seridan advised pointing to the wall opposite.
Benedict agreed, and so did Adeodatus. Both expressed their approval by flashing their sabers to life and began to cut a wall open. Molten slag and burning materials added their own aroma to the stench of the city. The slab fell to crash into the room with a bang. The small force all flashed a weapon and entered their new hiding spot.
""Now we can make our way through this place, we will just cut our way through everything?" Ji's sarcasm dripped from his mouth.
"No, but we can take care of troops, easier don't you think?" Gon spoke.
"I hope you know what you are doing, Tusken, your plan better make sense!" The mention at his former life only sparked more life out of Gon, and Ji knew that this Scout had something brewing.
While Ji had this instinct, he also had common sense. The top priority was completing the mission with minimal injuries. He dished out orders while trying to recall the plans of the city.
“Gon and Telghar, guard this entrance. Any sign of Imperials, let us know. Deo and Seridan, scout out this place.” he gestured to the stone staircase, ”Try and find us a route around the Imperials.”
As Seridan and his master left, Gon took up position to the left of the opening and Telghar went to the right. All sorts of things were flashing through Gon’s mind when the Trandoshan said “If I was the Imperials I wouldn’t try to come through this opening - I’d blast my own way in. That way, I’d have the element of surprise as well.”
Gon’s realisation didn’t come a second too soon. He immediately shouted “Get away from the wall! Let’s move on.”
With a look of utter shock on their faces Ji and Telghar turned and began to sprint up the stairwell with Gon following close behind. Telghar was right about Imperial tactics. Everything slowed down as Gon neared the top of the chairs. A deafening explosion was heard, and the wall to his left shuddered. Another bang and it cracked. One more and the Sith magic holding it together was broken. The large bricks erupted outwards into the room Gon had been a few moments earlier. The shockwave that superseded the explosion threw the retreating three Jedi onto the floor.
Seridan and Adeodatus had been making their way through the ruins, trying to be inconspicuous and being careful of any opposition ahead. As they reached a dead end, Seridan prepared to cut through the wall again. Before he could start, Deo stopped him.
“Your lightsaber isn't powerful enough to cut through that wall, especially with the Sith magic surrounding it. Plus, we don’t know what’s on the other side.” Deo said, his eyes scanning the room for another route. Suddenly, the sound of three consecutive explosions sounded behind him. Looking at his students mask, he said “Let’s check that out.”
The sound of Imperial blasters snapped Telghar into attention. He was the first Jedi back on his feet, and he started deflecting the blaster bolts back towards the stormtroopers. As the other Jedi joined him, he started advancing towards them, attempting to kill them all. Telghar wished that he didn’t have to be careful or tactical. He wished he could just charge at them and take them all out at once. At that moment, when he was approaching the nearest trooper, Seridan and Deo joined them.
“We have to move!” shouted Seridan over the raucous of the blasters.
“Quickly, or they’ll surround us!” Deo added.
Telghar hated this stealth and pitiful retreat. He wasn’t going without some points. He proceeded to cut of the stormtroopers arm then head, before joining the others in the retreat.
Benedict joined the group, covering the rear of the assault team. Hearing the blaster fire from the stormtroopers brought back sick and unforgettable memories of his past life; He didn't ever want to go back to that. He was a Jedi now, and the Light was his source of hope. After the flashback Benedict continued with the assault team toward their goal. He fired off a couple of rounds from his blaster in response; flashes of light and the weapon's sound echoed around the area. Escaping the fire, they found a safe area where the assault team could think about what they were going to do next. Benedict looked at Deo, Seridan, and Ji, and spoke to them with confidence; still, his worry showed..
“Are we going to make this? If so then fine, if not..." He gave a wry smile, "then I have my bag of tricks. These ought to be useful.”
With that Benedict produced a medium sized bag, hidden between his robes. The Servant quickly turned and the bag fell on the floor, as Benedict quickly dropped to the floor on one knee. Opening it, he showed off the contents..
He gave a slight one sided smile and said “Look what we have here, people."
Benedict put his right hand in and reached for the items inside, pulling out six timed bombs, eight full rounds for the blaster rifles, seven throwing knives, and a pair of armory sabers in case anyone would have lost theirs. With that, the Servant looked at the other assault team members, seeing the surprised looks on their faces.
Telghar looked to the bag of ordinance, and seeing how prepared Ben was with his munition's brought on a pang of realisation. He had brought only his Vibrostave and Armoury Sabre - he was hilariously un-prepared for the sheer amount of Stormtrooper's that proceeded him.
Peering around the corner, the Trandoshan quickly counted twelve troopers in the next room, with the help of his infra vision, looking to his master he sneered disgusted at the fact that he had retreated. "There are only twelve in this strike team, but it looks like they have plenty of weapon's. It seem's we were retreating from their artillery.”
Glancing in the direction of the stair's, God saw that there seemed to be a weak spot in the crumbling floor above the storm trooper's. "JI, there may be a way to flank these trooper's from above." Gon said, motioning to the sullen spot of the room where the floor was ready to give away. "Maybe we’re looking at this all wrong.”
Ji glanced in the direction of the decaying floor, and while making a mental note he brushed past Gon and went to inspect the floor. "This may work" he sneered looking to the Trandoshan. Not having proved himself in real battle, his faith in his ability waned slightly.
"Deo did you find a way out of these ruins?" Ji said looking back to the Master and his apprentice, seeing that Seridan was still a little shaken up from taking the concussive brunt of the blast mere minutes earlier.
Telghar Vishkah #13787
"Not exactly" Adeodatus replied looking back the way they had come. "We ran into a dead end, it seems that the only way out so far is through that huge hole the imperial's blasted into these..." Deo cut off mid-sentence as the whole building around them trembled.
"That blast must have a support beam" Benedict said grabbing another clip from his bag and putting it into his blaster.
"Perhaps" Ji said, looking out of a dust and grim stained window. He wiped away small strip of grime from the side and looked out, and saw that there was no alternative than to engage this deployment of Troopers. Ji looked back to Telghar and his master, "Gon, does your apprentice understand the concept of a surprise attack?" He sneered looking to the Trandoshan with doubt.
"Surprise?" Gon said sarcastically, "What say you Telghar?" He said looking to his apprentice. Telghar's answer was a sound one, he swung his Vibrostave off his back and brandished a Fanged smile looking to his master then to JI.
"Scorekeeper looks upon all, guide's us, brings blessing to all battle." Telghar said hissing his words toward's Ji.
"I think that is a Yes", Gon said, his mechanical implant's clicking as he spoke. Looking to his apprentice, he could not wait for the impending battle that was converging upon them. "So?" Gon said looking back to JI, "What's the plan?"
While the two Jedi began to formulate a plan Adeodatus tried to think. He didn’t believe in fate or luck. He had trained himself to believe in reason and in information. But as he scanned the scene even he had to admit that there were times when things just seemed to work out too well. Ji, it seemed, noticed it too.
As the imperial artillery continued to pound the edifice the walls continued to groan and shake. But there was more. With each shock the ceiling above the troopers began to quiver just a little bit more and if you were careful you could see a faint stream of plaster beginning to drop from the ceiling. If only there was some way to expedite that fall while the troopers remained in the room.
As the elder Jedi stared at the ceiling wondering what step to take next Seridan added in his own opinion. “Deo,” he cautiously interjected, “You know there’s a way to get over that room.” From the puzzled look on his master’s face Seridan could tell that he did not know. “At that dead end in the hallway there was a grating near the top of the one wall. It has to be either an air duct or a maintenance shaft.” If true this was all the team would need and so without saying a word they climbed the stairs leaving the troopers to their work of searching the rooms on the ground floor.
Coming back to the dead end in the hallway Adeodatus saw that they didn’t have much time. The grate was placed just where Seridan had noticed it on their first visit. However, now due to the extended and precise bombing the hallway was filled with even a greater amount of rubble and debris than it had previously been. Adeodatus wasn’t sure how much longer this top floor was going to be stable.
Ji was the first to remove the grating and look into the depths of the shaft. “Seridan was correct, it’s a cable conduit. There’s not much space but it does pass directly over the room where the Imperials are holding up. A well placed charge should bring that whole portion of the building down giving us a little bit more time. Any volunteers?”
Looking around at each other the team looked for the smallest member who would be able to easily fit their way inside. All eyes fell on Seridan. “Are you up to this,” Adeodatus asked, fully aware that this was asking a lot from a Journeyman.
“I’ll have to try,” Seridan responded with grim determination. Taking one of the charges that was offered to him by Benedict he climbed into the vent and began to make his way towards the weakness in the ceiling. In the meantime he heard the team moving off behind him.
Ji was giving orders, “Deo, get down the stairs with Telghar and make sure no one moves from that room. Benedict you can use that data pad that Seridan had on the shuttle and try and pin down our location relative to the target. Gon, you’re with me in reserve if something goes wrong.”
The team began to move with well-ordered precision but they didn’t have to do much. Without knowing how far it was from the grate to the weak portion of the ceiling Adeodatus had assumed, and wrongly so, that they would have a few minutes. But no sooner had they gotten to the bottom of the stairs the building shook to its very core. And turning to peer quickly into the room they saw what was left of the Imperial search team as the roof rained down heavy upon them.
Adeodatus heard Ji, Gon and Benedict rushing down the stairs to see what had happened even as he rushed into the room to look for his apprentice. The dust stung his eyes and the smoke burned his lungs as he made his way towards the center of the room. He was expecting to find a large pile of rubble where the ceiling had cracked. Instead he heard a voice, “I’m okay but I’m in some sort of sewer. Can somebody throw me down a rope?”
As the dust began to clear Adeodatus saw that his apprentice was right. Not only had the blast caused the collapse of the ceiling but the weight of the debris coming down had caused the floor to give way as well and where the team had expected to find debris and bodies there now stood a gaping hole leaving into the drainage system under the building with Seridan at the bottom.
Leaning low to gaze into the abyss Telghar let air hiss through his lips. “Boy,” he shouted down at Seridan, “You are by far one of the luckiest Jedi I have ever seen. Or maybe the fates are looking out for us today.”
“Either way,” Ji continued, “That sewer runs under the entire city. So it looks like we found a new way to get to the target.”
Benedict, looking very wry, stood for a few seconds looking up and down the sewer. Lifting his hand and pressing it to the wall, he summoned the force, penetrating the dark aura of the planet around them, he sensed something, something dark. The very feeling of it showered him with gut wrenching filth, flooding him with a sense of dread. Being skilled in the force, he cleared his mind and sought the source of the power. It seemed large, definitely like nothing he had ever sensed before, something ancient. "I sense something large, angry it seems we are not alone down here." Ben said looking to Ji.
"I sense it to" Ji said looking down the sewers.
"We have to move and quickly". Ben said motioning for the team to fall back into single file. Benedict looking behind him muttered. "Whatever it is, it doesn't want us down here, we have to get to the surface."
Benedict looked up as they walked on, noticing a bright light up above the group, he peer up seeing a rusted manhole, next to shady looking ladder a few feet ahead of them. "All right, this must be a sewer entrance, we need to climb up and get out" He said testing the first few rungs of the ladder. Looking to the Journeyman in the group, Benedict directed them to be as quiet as possible while climbing. Bringing any troops down on them now would mean almost certain failure to their mission.
As Benedict came to the top of the ladder, he could hear voices, laughter, and the sound of a shuttle flying past overhead. Opening the manhole a crack, the savant quickly scanned the area. Seeing that the troops he had heard overhead were moving away from their position he lifted the rusted chunk of metal off the manhole entrance, and clambered up. Telghar and Gon were the next two up followed by Ji, Seridan and Adeodatus. Seeing the group was up and ready to move he motioned for them to move away from the patrol group and follow the path towards the sounds of an encampment to the north.
Getting closer to the sounds of a bustling encampment, Benedict shouted at the group "Keep moving you Jedi scum," pushing Ji and Deo for dramatic effect, he smirked under his helmet. This just might work he thought as they came ever closer to the troops, and their goal.
They continued on, seeing that they were about two miles from the encampment, Ji looked back to Benedict, "This should be easy" He said looking towards what looked like a small troop outpost.
Telghar walked with the group as the slowly encroached on the base camp that was in front of them. Sniffing the air he noticed a pungent smell that could only come from weeks of soldier being stationed at one location. "It smells like bantha hide out here" He commented to his master as they marched along towards the troop encampment ahead of them.
"A curious perception, my young apprentice" Gon said in his monotone cybernetic voice. "But one must always notice the subtitles of an aroma as well, use the force, sense exactly what it is you are smelling." Master Gon Doru was an experienced jedi, and having come from tusken upbringing gave him a very unique view of the world.
"Indeed, the force can give perspective where our senses can deceive us." Ji interjected looking back on the young defender. He was bulky and seemed clumsy while marching in line but being from a Trandoshan decent he was, as one would put it, as agile as a cat in combat, a very large cat at that.
"Quiet now" Ben said looking ahead of the group, "we're approaching the camp". Moving to the back of the group he gave Telghar a light shot in the back shouting "Move you scaly lizard" Looking to the guard post he waved a gesture of false friendship to the guards on point.
"Identify yourself", The forward guard said moving towards the group with his blaster rifle raised.
"Corporal Jenkins, Fifth Battalion" Ben said stepping from behind the group and walking towards the officer, "I found these scum coming out of a sewer grate a few miles from the camp, thought we should lock them up so they can be interrogated, seems they are some sort of Jedi" Ben said hoping that this rouse would pay off.
"Jedi you say?" The trooper said moving towards the group, "Well aren't we an ugly little thing." He said looking at Ji, "Take them to the barracks. It's up the hill to your left, Good work soldier" the trooper said looking back to Ben.
"Move you scum" Ben said prodding the group back into motion. Moving into the camp they saw a battalion of trooper's arrayed in front of them. "There is way too many for us to try to userp them from here, we would need a small army." Ben said his tone cold and conceding, they needed a plan, and who better to start them off the the known strategist of the group: Seridan Brehevik.
"That tent over their has the insignias of a command tent, Telghar, use your infra vision to scout how many are inside" Seridan said looking to the Trandoshan.
Quickly using his races unique ability, Telghar peered into the Infra-red spectrum and saw two guards at the door as well as three more further back in the tent. "There seems to be five total in the tent as well as a faint glimmer of heat from the back corner, could be some sort of radio device" Telghar said rolling his massive shoulder's preparing for what he thought could be combat.
"Five, well that's not what I was expecting but it seems that the security in the camp is fortunately lax, fortunate for us that is." Seridan said a slight grin coming to his face. It would be easy, he thought, quickly giving a battle route to his comrades. He would have Telghar and Gon circle around behind the tent, and use Telghar's Vibroblade to cut a slit in the back of the tent then have the remaining four member's rush through the entry way surprising the unsuspecting troops and getting their attention away from the back so Telghar and Gon could quickly dispose of the three troops near the table.
"The plan seems solid." Gon said as he and Telghar moved into position. The first sounds of commotion from inside the tent would mark the moment when they were to move on the enemies position.
Walking into the tent, Ben looked at the commander's in the tent, it seemed one of them was a former commando from the Clone wars era. Older now than he was then, he still seemed to have a measure of deadly preciseness to his movements. "Can I help you soldier?" The man said looking to Ben.
Removing his helmet, Ben looked up to the commander and smiled, “Ambush." was all he said, looking to the guard on either side of him.
The commander walked up to Ben with a puzzled look on his face, "Ambush you say, from who?" he queried.
"Us" Ben said, raising his rifle and pointing it straight at the commander's face.
"Seize him!" He screamed at the guards, shuffling backwards as he reached to his side gripping at his pistol.
Just as the guards went to move two lightsaber blades crashed through their chest's, with grunts of pain they crumbled to the ground. Moving forwards Ben kept his gun on the commander, ready to fire. The other two member's of his council turned towards the back of the tent. The first one, a stringy looking wiry human lunged for the radio to his left. Grabbing the communicator, he went to radio for reinforcements when a scraping noise came from the back of the tent. Glancing to his right, he saw a blade coming for his head. With a grunt of effort, and a blood-curdling, ripping, tearing and squishing sound permeating the the tent, the severed head of the commander slid from his body. Silence filling the air as it landed with a plop on the ground. Brain matter pouring from the stub of head still left attached to the crumpling body of the commander.
Gon was next into the tent behind Telghar, moving silently as a cat, he plunged a small dagger into the spine of the other commander, with a sickening crunch he fell to the ground dead. Gon looked over to his apprentices handiwork and shook his head, "Must you always make such a mess Telghar?" He asked cleaning the blood from his knife.
"It gives points to kill honourably. Pleases Scorekeeper." Telghar said, wiping brain matter from his blade and returning it to it's place on his back. "Too long without points is great shame, better kill, more points." He said brandishing a fanged smile.
Gon turned away as Ji, Seridan, Adeodatus entered the tent. "Look for something useful" Ji said as he walked up to the last remaining commander, "Draw that weapon and you die."
Walking past him, he motioned for the rest to commence their search. Looking for more then the usual he did not know exactly what they would find, but he knew that something must have been the trooper's points of interest before his group had come into the tent. "So tell me commander, where is the blade of Ferran, and do not try to deny knowing what you are here to find, that act will only bring suffering at the hands of the nasty Trandoshan behind me." Ji said motioning to Telghar who stood a few feet behind him Brandishing a fanged smile, Telghar let out a low hiss to try and intimidate the Commander in front of him.
Rummaging through the pockets of the commander at his feet Gon found a data pad. By turning it on he saw what looked like a beacon flashing on the screen. He tapped on it and saw a read-out of the location of a dig site. Coming to a grave conclusion he looked up and saw Ji about to question the Commander. "Ji" he said scrolling through the information in front of him, "I've found the location of the site where they seem to think the blade is, but there is something else." Gon trailed off shaking his head in disbelief.
"What is it?" Ji asked moving towards Gon.
"It seems," Gon said passing the datapad to the Consular Chronicler. "There are a lot of Dark Jedi all around the dig site, and what's worse, they seem to have an army as well." Gon looked to his apprentice his mechanical implants showing no feelings, but Telghar knew by the severity of his words, he was not sure if all of the member's of this squad would leave this planet alive.
It seemed to Seridan that the mood of this mission was slowly deteriorating. To have a countdown gave enough pressure to begin with. To have a great loss promised at the end was cutting it close. Now to introduce an army in their way - it could have been too much for Seridan, who had not had much action in his young life and short career as a Jedi.
But any mission has its risks. Every mission has potential for danger and death. This was always a risk that could arise. Seridan just had to accept it. Forget the risks and do something about it.
The dig site that was surrounded by the army… was it actually the location of Revelation?
“Gon, can we be sure that this is where the Lost Sword of Ferran is? We don’t want to risk our lives any more than we have to.” Seridan queried.
“I can’t see those wretched marks that we’ve been told to look for.” Gon said, examining the images he had on the datapad, “But I do wonder why they’re all gathered around that damned dig site.”
Seridan took all of the information he had: the factual data on this planet; the conditions of the team; the circumstances and what he had learned about Xlopora City so far. He formulated plans and discarded the silliest ones. He had to pick a strategy that would fulfill the most objectives. At the moment, the only objectives were:
Stop the Dark Jedi from getting Revelation.
Keep as many members of the team alive.
All that he could come up with was investigating this blasted dig-site.
The team had taken control of the improvised Imperial camp and were using it as a temporary base. Ben had restocked his bag of surprises from the various armory chests around the tent. The rest of the team had taken the few hours rest to meditate and rejuvenate their energy.
“Have we had any communication from HOU Command?” Ben asked Ji, whilst grabbing a thermal detonator from the dead commander’s belt. Ji pulled out the datapad from his pack. A blinking light indicated that there was incoming documents. Ji scanned the screen.
“Odan Urr has seemed to identify the rough location of the chamber housing Revelation.” Ji said, “The coordinates for the dig site do occur within the area. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s there.” he added. ”I must also say that several of our militia units in the nearby area have become under heavy attack and require quick assistance. I propose that we go and get them, by flanking their attackers and giving them rest. Depending on Seridan’s strategy, I recommend that we use these militia units during the final stretch.”
The team looked hopeful - any extra help would be useful in the task that was to come.
Seridan stood up. He still didn’t have a perfect plan - still vague and chaotic theories and tactics. Every one led to that dig site, but they still all had a significant downside. But now they had a new direction. Now they needed to save these militia.
“How long do we have?” Seridan asked, relieved to have something else to dwell upon.
“We have roughly 52 hours left.” Ji said, glancing at the screen in front of him.
Gon stood up next. “Let’s get a move on then.” he said, his cybernetics actually conveying some expression - one of determination and resolve. Or perhaps it was the Force, telling Seridan of his emotions. It seems that the Force had not abandoned them. It was fighting back as well.
Gon felt a slight disturbance in the force as they packed their belongings in the stolen outpost , but he couldn't pinpoint where exactly it was coming from . It was like a wave of energy surging from everywhere and nowhere all at once . "Ji , do you sense that?" Gon said his cybernetics manipulating what was left of his vocal cords.
"Indeed" Ji said looking over to his left he saw that the Journeyman was being overwhelmed by the strength of the dark side , although they where trying very hard to hide it . Telghar was pacing back and forth muttering a prayer to the scorekeeper , while Seridan was studying maps he had already looked over , again and again , like his plan wasn't solid in his own mind . "Whatever it is , the power of it is immense." Could it be that another group had already found the Blade of Ferran , was it all of naught . Ji didn't know but he knew the more time they wasted in this camp , the more time their enemies had to chase after their objective.
"Lets move out" Benedict said , just having finished his preparations handing Telghar another bag of supplies and a blaster rifle . "You may need this as we engage our enemies" Telghar , being a hunter knew his way around blaster's but did not prefer to use them unless absolutely necessary.
At last they leave the tent , Ji ordering them to fall back into a single file line , moving out they had decided to flank the group of militia forces about two miles from their position , there was not a lot of noise as they come over the hill in front of them and saw the small engagement in front of them . "Keep tight to one another , if we let them surround us we will fall," Ji said motioning for them to advance.
Charging dow the hill Telghar looked up to see Gon readying his Lightsaber , Seridan , clutching his sabre in a death grip , was pail as a ghost looking like he was nervous to be engaging this many opponents . Telghar , saw the nervousness and said to Seridan , "Do not worry friend , Scorekeeper watches over us".
Hearing the Trandoshan's friendly words , Seridan looked ahead with a startling calmness , he knew that Telghar was right , the force was with them . With the force all things were possible . Fear only led to hate after all , so pushing the scarce amounts of fear from his mind Seridan waded into battle . The sounds of blaster fire and explosions overwhelming all other's . Hearing a scream come from his left he saw Deo cut down a trooper . With a grim grin on his face he engaged an enemy , maybe it was their destiny to find the blade . Maybe it wasn't but for now , it was war.
As the cadre of Jedi sped down the rubble-strewn path from the poorly-staffed patrol camp toward the engagement the sky overhead burst to life, as red and green laster blasts shot back and forth, framed against a swiftly darkening sky, and complemented by the occasional explosion. Truth be told, Ji had no idea who was assaulting the enemy position. So many factions were in play that it could have been anybody, and, considering the plasmatic fury being laid down upon the assaulters, Ji certainly hoped they were not from New Tython. A few casualties among the Brotherhood would suit Odan-Urr just fine. In fact, although this mission might, on paper, have been a search and grab operation, the Gand would be just as happy to see the artifact destroyed, to ensure Muz's legion of evil never obtained it.
The defenders, Ji noticed appreciatively, had seemed too distracted by the larger assault to notice a few small shapes, clad primarily in brown, running against a brown background. However, the ease of their advance was soon broken as a large mortar round impacted nearby, causing the younger Jedi to stumble, and the older to prop themselves up with the Force. Whichever side had fired the round, the explosion garnered the attention of several nearby pillboxes, situated in various buildings amongst the ruins. Blaster fire rained upon the Jedi position from a half dozen loopholes on either side of the once majestic street, though Adeodatus and Ji managed to hold most of it at bay, deflecting it harmlessly into the ground, as the rest of the team scrambled for cover in a deep ditch, carved out of the center median only recently by an archaeological dig-laser. As Telghar, the last of the Journeymen, half-rolled, half-fell into the channel, an E-Web opened fire from high atop one of the crumbling structures. Both Adeodatus and Ji were forced backward by the repetitious pounding of the heavy blaster bolts, the energy of which could barely be contained by their sabers, much less deflected. As the human Jedi was literally knocked backward into the trench, a stray bolt from one of the troopers caught Ji squarely in the shoulder, and he, too, fell down to join his comrades.
The unending thwack thwack of suppressive blaster fire continued overhead as the Gand Jedi took in his surroundings. The trench was deep enough that even the heightened emplacement could not see them at the bottom, but it went nowhere, being approximately fifteen meters long, with one side sloping back up to street level, and with the remnants of an abandoned, broken ladder strewn across the floor.
Ji pounded his fast against the crumbled duracrete where he sat. They were so close that he could clearly see the lip of the giant pit where the dig site began. Less than a kilometer and they had faltered.
The Gand stood, shrugging off his wounds with a simple touch of the Force.
"We have but a second to catch our breath before they call in heavy ordinance to blow us out of here!" shouted Seridan over the din.
"Steel yourselves!" rasped the Gand, his antediluvian voice amplified by his mechanical throat catch and mask. "We must eliminate the emplacement!"
It did not take long to formulate a plan. The senior Jedi all understood their abilities of combat. Each one had a strength and a weakness no matter how hard it would be to admit to it. The difficulty lay with the apprentices. Telghar wanted to go in weapons hot and rain down desolation upon desolation, and Sheridan wanted to encircle the entire encampment for a multi-pronged attack. Which was exactly what Gon Doru had in mind. After all if he could not kill without being seen what was the point? What bothered JI was all the deaths that they were to bring, and voicing this concern he promised to only serious injuries among his foe. That same opinion was shared by Adeo, who insisted that these soldiers in the Dig Site could be saved and maybe even brought into our fold. The new Jedi Sentinel Scout did not like that one bit, but would ensure that any disabled soldiers would not be killed if they could no longer fight. Telghar seemed alright with the idea of defeating them without killing them, after all the Scorekeeper maybe a blood thirsty entity, but she would not be unreasonable.
The group neared the outskirts of the Dig Site, and almost immediately Gon could sense the presence of Dark Jedi, they had a particular odor in the Force, one that he could not soon forget. In preparation he removed his equipment belt and tossed off his robes. Standing in a tight fitting black sleeveless shirt and knee length tight pants his horrific Sith tatoos were clearly visible to everyone.
“When are you going to get rid of those?” Adeo asked plainly.
“Not any time soon,” Gon absentmindedly glanced at his blood red died skin. “Today I will use what they have come to see as theirs into something they will grow to fear from the Light.”
The Jedi detachment neared the lip of the archaeological dig, typical by the standards of the Sith and their obsession with ancient artifacts. Beneath their plodding feet, the ground rumbled with the din of ever-churning machinery, tunneling its way deeper and deeper into the brown earth, on a mad quest for antediluvian temples and tombs.
The footfalls slowed and dust plumes shrank as the Jedi reached the lip of the massive crater, circumscribed by a large roadway spiraling down into the deepest recesses of the crater. Ji absently listened to the conversation between Gon and Adeo, distracted as he was by a large prefabricated building sticking out of the wall directly below them and situated upon the spiral road. It wasn't the sight of mammoth landspeeders barely squeezing between it and the precipice directly across the road which caused the Gand's compound eyes to quiver in both surprise and fear. He had felt the presence of Sith for some time, but had not expected to come practically face to face with a Sith lord, staring back at him through his emotionless mask.
The conversation died down as the rest of the Jedi, also noticing Lord Esoteric, ignited their colorful lightsabers. As the whine of an airspeeder broke through the bedlam of distant artillery fire and not-so-distant machinery, the Sith Lord looked away and strode calmly, but purposefully, into the large building.
Fearing that they may soon be too late, Gon shouted over the noise "That must be his pick up! He must have the blade and we have to move now!"
"Gon, Deo, take your apprentices and flank the building. Make sure they don't take any of those landspeeders, then close in from the sides! Keep your apprentices safe," called Ben, sounding almost nonchalant, despite the raised volume of his voice. "Ji and I will hit the building straight down the side of the pit!"
Ben hardly missed a beat before practically leaping over the lip of the crater and half running, half sliding down the dirt incline, kicking stones and sand up as he went. The Gand followed right behind, with a reflexive "May the Force be with you!" though nobody was still around to hear, as the two Master / Student pairings tumbled their own ways down the hill, Telghar looking awkward, but powerful, as he sped down toward the spiral road, keeping himself upright through sheer physical might.
Quieting his nerves as he made his way quickly down the hill, the little Gand Jedi reached out through the Force, invisible tendrils of energy permeating every corner of the building rapidly growing closer and feeling for Lord Esoteric's presence. What Ji felt instead caused him to cry out in shock, but the attack was already underway, and nothing could be done.
Ji gasped as he attempted to ready himself for what came next. And for a brief moment there was silence. But in a breath it was gone. Seeing the two other teams moving into position, he felt himself running towards the building at the center of the pit and then...nothing.
The explosion ripped across the pit. The dust and the debris which it threw up smashing against the edges of the enclosure turning the excavation site into a churning sea of dirt, grime and the screams of Jedi and soldiers alike. The blast had not been overly powerful but it had accomplished its purpose. Through the haze the Jedi saw the building covering the final meters of the pit collapse in on itself, seemingly blocking anyone else from entering the excavation. However, more than that it provided a screen and a distraction for what was inside.
From his viewpoint on the right hand side of the building Adeodatus could barely make out what was happening and it seemed that, despite his natural talents, Seridan was faring no better. The explosion had thrown them back several meters but they were standing. He only prayed that the other teams had been as fortunate. “They’re going to need it,” Seridan shouted, obviously reading his thoughts as he crouched low and pointed ahead.
Adeodatus struggled to see where he was pointing but the sound gave it away. In the midst of the storm of sand and silt he heard the all too familiar hiss of a lightsaber splitting the air. And despite the conditions the faint colors of red were visibly bouncing off the haze. There was nothing to identify these men, these Dark Jedi who stood before him and his apprentice. Whether they came from Lord Esoteric or one of the other teams from the brotherhood really didn’t matter now. Nor was he certain of their numbers, but from the sounds of shouting and cursing beginning to echo through the pit he safely assumed that his other House mates were finding themselves in similar situations. And despite his best judgments, Adeodatus knew what had to come next. “Seridan,” he began dryly, “Get to the hole. A single Jedi should be able to slip through the rubble undetected. Find whatever is down there and finish this mission. I’ll take care of things here.” With those final words he dropped his head in resignation. Knowing full well that he was not the best fighter but also knowing that the mission was more important than him or any of the other Jedi.
Obedient as ever, though reluctantly so, Seridan nodded his assent. Without a word he was off. The same haze that had protected the Dark Jedi, he found, made an excellent cover for him as well. And he moved towards the ruins.
Sweat poured down his back and his arms and sand clung to his skin as Gon sliced through the Dark Jedi standing before him. Despite the heat of battle his mind raced with many questions, “Are we too late? Did I make the right decision sending Telghar off? Who are these people?” Yes, there were many questions but there was only one answer. Gon stepped forward to confront his next opponent and their sabers clashed with a shower of sparks before his face. Whoever these people were they weren’t well trained, he thought. He spun to the left and as he did so swiped at the feet of the man standing before him. The dark Jedi fell with a thud as his now severed ankles gave way beneath him. Not very well trained at all, but there were plenty of them so that counted for something.
Telghar had not wanted to go. He wanted to stand beside his master and fight. But he knew in his heart that his part of this mission lied elsewhere. It seemed that the other students had the same idea.
Dodging the Dark Jedi who appeared as if from the ground itself, and cutting some down along the way if they got too close, Telghar arrived at the now collapsed building and the shaft it covered. As he approached so did Ben and Seridan. Both of them looked exhausted and worse for wear, but Telghar was sure that at this point he wasn’t looking too classy either.
“So,” Ben began, “ho’s going first?” Ben was right. The explosion had brought down the tent but not covered the opening in the ground completely. It would be possible for all of them to squeeze through the openings in the ruins, but only one at a time. And there was no way of telling what they were going to find below.
“Shouldn’t one of us go after Esoteric?” Seridan questioned his breath rapid as if he had been running hard.
“There’s no time.” Ben retorted. “And besides, we might be good but we’re not that good. I doubt all three of us together could bring down the Lord.”
“Says you,” grunted Telghar but he had to agree. In all this confusion the Lord must be long gone. The only hope now was that she missed something below in her haste.
“I guess that settles it.” Seridan accepted. Taking a step forward he lowered himself, feet first into the rubble and slid down the shaft, using his saber to light the way. He was quickly followed by Ben.
The shaft was tight Telghar thought, as he followed his companions. But it was mercifully short. In an instant he was standing beside them again below the dig site. The excavation had cleared a broad amphitheater down here at the end of which was an opening. Even in the dim light Telghar could see the opening was a door to a massive edifice buried under years of silt and rock. Carved of the darkest rock he had ever seen it was carved with designs so intricate and eerily beautiful that he could have stopped here and stared for a lifetime. That was if he hadn’t noticed something else. “The door on that opening is still partially open.”
He was right Seridan noted. The door to the temple had been hastily barred by Esoteric in her escape. That could be either good or bad. In any event, the way for the young Jedi was clear. “Gentlemen, shall we?” Seridan asked as he stooped down and entered the door.
Benedict followed the others to the door that was not fully opened, as he do so he closed his eyes once more feeling the Force around him and the others touching the door he felt the metal of the edges of the door and he opened his eyes with a start.
“Gentlemen I have felt something, something that is not going to be good for us, are we ready for this or are we going to run”.
Telghar and Seridan looked at each other and at Benedict and both said “We go ahead”.
“Very well, we must keep our senses about us and feel the Force in us and around when we can”
Seridan replied “You are too nervous Ben we must complete this task”, as Seridan had said this the Jedi placed a hand on Benedict’s shoulder and gave it a pat.
Telghar gave Benedict a quick nod in agreement with Seridan.
“O:k that’s going people” Benedict’s voice sounded more relaxed and calm then it was.
The three Jedi counted 1,2,3, push as the Jedi pushed the jammed door further across the opening, dust had formed and began the raise from the floor the Jedi coughed a little as they did so the door come loose, and through the pressure and force all the three had put on the door! They all fell on top of each other in a lump on the floor.
After a good dust down the three looked at each other and could see, that the room was full of gold and silver the light from the gold lit the room without any natural light entering it.
Looking around the room Benedict asked “So where would the artefact be kept, I think we should split up and met at this point in say 20 minutes, here Benedict dipped into his bag take a com’s each split up and search each point of the room, any problem call”.
The Jedi looked at each other and each gave a smile and walked in search, in a different direction!!!.
His dyed blood red skin, and Sith-styled tattoo-covered body glistened from the sweat of intense activity. Gon had pulled on the Force in defense for his life time and again, now his body is beginning to show it. Movements began to slow just enough that an incoming Saber blade cut threw his light sleeveless garment. The material fell away but remained at his waist, held in place by a belt. It revealed his well formed muscled chest and abs that had already been criss-crossed with countless welts, but now two new wounds slightly marred the skin.. The jolt of white hot pain woke the Sentinel Scout out of his repeated actions and back to the present.
The Dark Jedi who attacked him did not see the fury that became unleashed. A rock the size of a bantha skull was pulled from the near by ground by the Force and smashed into the right side of the Dark Jedi, and at the same time the former Sith Weapon gave a left wards strike. The inevitable happened, the poor fellow attempted to block the saber, but instead was crushed.
The more bodies that the Jedi slaughtered, the more it became obvious as to why they were attacking him. His yellow bladed saber gave him away, and feeling a bit of anger at this he reached with the Force and plucked a Dark Jedi saber from the hand of a slain foe. Tucking his away, the new beam flashed to life as he sought more Dark Jedi to teach them the error of their ways.
Ji lay crumpled along the edge of what remained of the road leading down into the excavation. His body buried beneath a small mountain of what had been prefabricated walls, the Gand Jedi had felt the youngest members of the strike team venture forward on their own, down into the collapsed cavern. Being old and stodgy he feared for their safety, especially since he no longer could sense the immediate presence of the Sith Lord who had, no doubt, detonated the bomb.
Drawing upon the Force as he pushed his small, but extremely sturdy (thanks to Gand genetics) frame up from underneath the rubble, Ji could feel a smattering of broken bones throughout his body, though all of his limbs seemed, fortunately, intact. He pressed onward, his affinity with Force healing numbing his pains and holding his broken bones tight. Plodding along, one foot in front of the other, the Gand reached the opening and struggled through, emerging into the ancient hallway. The only light came from the sliver-opening behind him, and a faint glow up ahead.
The old Jedi arrived at the door through which his compatriots had disappeared into, his old saber held firmly in his grip, but as yet unlit. As Ji turned the corner into the room, expecting to find his friends taken prisoner and a large complement of Sith standing before him, he instead encountered the massive Telghar, offering him a hand and hoisting him across a large chunk of missing floor.
Both Ben and Gon sat against the far wall, shaking their heads in both exhaustion and dismay. Seridan stood over a small pile of corpses, scratching his chin in dismay.
"What happened here?" inquired the Gand, as surprised as his friends seemed disappointed.
"All I can figure is that this team got here before we did," replied Seridan as he kicked one of the bodies over onto its back. It bore the insignia of a rival house for which Ji held no love. "Except it didn't do them any good. They were all killed by a lightsaber."
"So Lord Esoteric already had the sword after all..." coughed Deo as he entered the room, caked from head to toe in dust and grime.
"No, master!" shouted Seridan, practically bounding over to his clearly wounded friend and teacher.
"Whichever team this was, they smashed the blade to pieces before being killed," interjected Telghar as he motioned toward a fine layer of shards spread throughout the room. "I will call for pickup?" inquired the massive Trandoshan.
Ji, dismayed only by his team's wasted effort, nodded an affirmative. "This is for the best. Not only has the blade been kept out of the hands of the other houses, but we have avoided painting a target on our back as its destroyers. Ultimately, our mission has been accomplished."