Taldryan: Team 4
Chaosrain Taldrya (3931)
Howlader Taldrya (8)
Aiden Dru (13796)
Kenath Zoron (13820)
Shaz'air Taldrya (9193)
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!!!!!!!
D-1 before initial assault
"Move it! Get that shuttle loaded! I want all your gear stowed in five minutes!" The shouted orders from the Master Sergeant in charge of Darkfire Team 9 rang loudly in Jedi Hunter Kenath Zoron's ears. The Special Forces members raced around Zoron with kit bags and equipment trunks.
Stepping away, he looked around for his new teammate, Aiden Dru. He knew Dru was senior to him in terms of position, but Zoron's years of combat experience left him a little wary of the young Guardian. He'd had too many fresh-faced and eager leaders who had gotten his comrades killed through poor decisions. He wanted to make sure that Dru's first combat as 2IC of the battleteam didn't end in disaster.
Finally spotting the tussle-haired man, Zoron strode across the landing field to him. As he got nearer, he heard Dru talking to someone on a comm. He caught the end of the conversation, "...Aiden, I'm trusting you to keep everything moving smoothly down there. I have a briefing with the House and Clan summits in a few minutes here, so I'll be out of comms until that's over. I expect that all our members and the attached military units will be lifting off by the time I'm done. Any questions?"
Dru's voice responded quickly and, to his credit, calmly, "No, Shaz’air, I've got everything under control here. We'll be ready to lift to the Legacy and the Sentinel within the hour."
"Good. See that we are." The comm unit clicked off, ending Dru's conversation with Primarch Shaz'air Taldrya.
Stopping a short distance behind Dru, Zoron spoke up, "You sure we'll be ready? I'm seeing two Darkfire teams that aren't even on the landing field yet. Their shuttles are still sitting dark."
Dru looked around Zoron's bulk toward the landing field, eying the shuttles for teams 4 and 12. "Sithspit," he spat and turned back to the comm unit. "Get me the Captains for Darkfire 4 and 12 on line now!"
An hour later, Zoron and Dru were strapped in to the shuttle with the members of Darkfire 9 as the engines lit up and took the shuttle skyward. Dru had managed it, getting the entirety of the Wardens battleteam and all their attached Darkfire teams loaded and en route to their transport ships. Zoron had been impressed with how well Dru had handled the snafu with Darkfire 4 and 12. Both Captains still had heads attached to their bodies, but the speed with which their teams had gotten themselves organized implied that there had been real fear in their response times.
Landing on the Legacy, Zoron, Dru, and some of their other teammates made their way to the comms area for their briefing with Sid, who was onboard the Sentinel with the rest of the Wardens. Ever since the calamitous loss of life during the Vong combat, Taldryan units had standing orders to keep Sith units split amongst multiple ships while embarked to minimize further tragedies.
Shaz’air was already up on the comm screen when they entered the room. "Greetings, Wardens. We have a rather glorious opportunity ahead of us. The Dark Council has ordered all Sith to head to the planet Bosthirda with utmost haste. They have received intelligence that an ancient Sith relic is on the surface. Our job, obviously, is to get there and recover it for the Clan."
Shaz’air waved his hand toward some Special Forces Captains and Master Sergeants in the room. "You've each been assigned to a Darkfire team and have the temporary rank of Lieutenant. Each of the teams you're working with have earned the designation of "Jedi Capable". They've proven themselves able to taken down a full-fledged Jedi, so use their tools appropriately."
Turning away from the Darkfire members, Shaz’air looked at the Wardens again. "Obviously, there will be other Clans and Houses attempting to recover this relic as well. In speaking with the Clan and House summits, we've been authorized - even encouraged - to step over the corpses of our rival Clans to get this relic. That statement alone should tell you just how powerful this relic is. I want Wardens to be the ones who claim this for the Clan.
We'll be jumping out immediately and will be conducting an orbital bombardment once we are in position. We don't have a good read on what threats are on the planet, but we expect there to be more than just the wildlife that can cause problems. If there are no questions, you are dismissed."
No hands rose, nor did any voices pipe up. "Alright, be gone." The comm screen blacked out and everyone filed out to their quarters.
"Zoron, stay back a moment." Dru said as Zoron stood up and moved toward the door. Zoron paused and returned to his seat, waiting for the rest of the room's occupants to leave.
Closing the hatch, Dru turned back to Zoron. "I wanted to thank you for pointing out the Darkfire mess this morning. I thought I had a handle on everything, but apparently not. I'm surprised, to be honest. Most Sith would have just let me fail and jumped at the opportunity to dance on my grave."
Zoron smiled slightly, "I'm not most Sith. You needed an extra set of eyes and I knew what needed to be done. Don't hesitate to ask for help when combat is coming. I want the Clan to succeed first and foremost. We can't do that if we're missing troops or leaders."
Dru frowned, but nodded, "Either way, thanks. Get some rest."
With that, both men left the comm room and went their separate ways. The ship lurched as the hyperdrive engaged, and the fleet left to Bosthirda.
The young Wardens executive officer sat up in his bunk aboard the Legacy. Aiden wondered if they had made the right decision in choosing him to help lead the Wardens to victory. He stood and walked towards the window. Looking out he saw the planet Bosthirda in the distance.
"Well, there's no going back now," the Guardian had sighed to himself, "I knew what I was getting into signing up for this position. I can't let my comrades down".
He turned away from the window and paced back and forth along the length of his bunk, stopping in the middle of the room. "Why are we going to this planet anyway?", Dru had wondered to himself, "Just because some force sensitive woman happened to gain the trust of the Brotherhood’s Dark Council?!" His voice rose as he slammed his fist into his desk. "Who is to say we can even trust this Novae character anyway?"
Dru turned and walked back towards his bunk, he tossed the covers aside using his telekinesis and slid into the bed in one fluid motion. As he lay down his mind couldn't help but wonder about how his other clan members had been and whether this mission was worth the trouble. As the tiring Sith started to drift asleep he felt an odd sensation deep within his mind and it seemed to carry over into his dream.
Aiden had gone deep into the darkness of his mind where a tunnel of faint light had brightened in the distance, as if it beckoned for him to come forward, the light had become clearer and produced images of an ancient past. There were glowing trails that had danced around Dru, painting pictures of aged pillars and a strange looking statue. In an instant the lights took shape and formed what Dru believed were ancient Sith. There were 4, maybe 5 figures, he couldn't quite make it out because their bodies were huddled together and the vagueness of the dream didn't allow him to see things very clearly. These blurred figures walked around the statue and were waving their hands around as if agitated by something. Aiden couldn't make out their muffled words so he could only assume that they were debating about something. "This must be where the relic is at," the intrigued Sith had thought to himself "but what is it, I still don't understand".
The now curious XO of the Wardens continued to watch in hopes that these ancient beings could give a clue as to what needed to be done to obtain the relic. As the scene progressed a flash of light had struck, distorting the dream, only to dim down once more. Now it appeared that one of the figures was on their knees….
The tireless sergeant had awoke just as quickly as he had fallen asleep, hearing a loud banging against his sealed door. "What is it now?" he sleepily thought to himself. He bolted up into a sitting position and then rose to his feet. When the discontent jedi had opened the door he was surprised to find the battle hardened Zoron in a state of shock.
"Dru!", the bearded Jedi Hunter had shouted, "we need to gear up, NOW!"
Aiden grabbed his equipment and got his robes on as quickly as possible, sensing the urgency in Ken’s voice, and rushed out of the room. As Dru walked in a hurried pace down the corridors he couldn't help but think back on his dream and wonder what it meant. "I think I may have seen into the past, but how?" Aiden questioned himself, for he had never done anything like this before. "I feel like there's something more to this, can't help but feel like my mind was pushed into thinking this way, who had I been close to that could of done something like this?" Aiden was now questioning whether he could truly trust anyone around him. "I can't let this happen again, I must keep a close eye on everyone and keep to myself, Shaz’air, and Zoron, that's it, no one else!" Aiden was now determined to get this relic and find the person responsible for his dream.
Three days earlier
“A Sith relic?” Howlader asked incredulously, “our first week restored to our rightful status as a clan and your first official act as Proconsul is to send half the damnedable Expansionary force off on another fool’s errand in One Sith space? I thought we were done with Ashen’s crusade, and more importantly, done with being led around by the nose by the Dark Council”?
The bearded Proconsul let out a sigh: “Howie, just, okay? You have been around long enough to know that these artifacts can be useful to the clan, and are much better, like most things, in the hands of experts like us rather than those in lesser clans – or worse, in the hands of Ashen’s lightsided crystal of a Headmaster.”
Cantor’s calm and reasoned explanations for his actions nearly always brought the old master back from the brink of rage – and this situation was no different. Howlader relented: “I suppose it is better that we get a hold of whatever is on Bosthirda rather than anyone else. So, what do you need me to do?”
“There’s an Adept, Dantella Novae, that evidently has gained Ashen’s ear, and she provided him with the intelligence on Bosthirda,” Cantor explained, “I have never heard of her, and I do not trust those that I do not know – and frankly, I will feel better if I know you are around.”
Orbit of Bosthirda
XS-800 Light Freighter Senility
Explosions rocked the old freighter, she had not seen combat this fierce, in, well, ever – and with the absence of most of the Old Folks, things were not going well. Howlader’s hands moved frantically around the controls of the cockpit, trying to stave off what seemed almost a certainty - Senility crashing.
Chaosrain Taldrya shouted from the rear: “Legacy and Sentinel just went down, Howie! We are going to have to go after them!” Evidently, the Primarch was unaware of the freighter’s dire situation.
“Uh, that’s not going to be a problem, Chaos!” Howlader shouted back, “you may want to hang onto something!”
The Remnants of the Light Freighter Senility
Sunlight shone onto Chaosrain’s face; dragging him back to consciousness. As the Primarch opened his eyes, he was convinced he was a being on a different plane of existence; that plane of existence consisted of an entirely white universe and a loud buzzing tone. Slowly, the colors and shapes of the world began to fill in his vision again and the buzz grew more quiet as time passed. The scent of fresh air filled his nostrils, followed shortly by a burst of electrical smoke.
A gaping hole in the top of Senility appeared to be providing light; this seemed odd to the Primarch. The realization that starships of any kind shouldn’t have gaping holes sparked his memory. The battle, and the crash flashed in his mind; all at once his body began to ache in a pronounced fashion. Then a light went off in his mind, as if he had just remembered something very important.
"You dead, Howie?" Chaos said to the aether.
"Mostly not." replied Howie, in the aethers stead.
"Excellent. That makes 2 less casualties than I was expecting."
“But look at my ship!”
“It seems easier to look through it, than at it now.”
“My ship! It had my stash of booze, and now it’s gone too!”
“At least your stamps are safe.”
“I brought them with us, just in case.” Howlader said with a worried tone in his voice. “No! I don’t see them!”
“Howie, I think we need to get out of Senility before it blows up.”
“NOOO we can’t leave it. I know. I’ll call that blasted boy! He’ll get me my stamps and we’ll be in business then.”
“Ok, you do that. I’m going to go see if anyone else lived.”
Howlader continued on with his half-flashback inspired rant. Chaos gingerly got to his feet and proceeded out a hole in what might have been the ceiling.
As the former Consul emerged into the world, he discovered they were surrounded by old, decrepit buildings on most sides; one direction seemed to have a Senility sized hole in it. The Primarch jumped off Senility; a few feet later and he was on solid earth again. Chaos closed his eyes in the hopes of feeling out where his comrades were; if they were still alive at all. The only thing the Primarch noticed was a strange presence due south of his current location. He decided that checking that out would serve himself better than babysitting a delusional old man.
The Primarch took his time making his way to his destination. For a long while, he just walked, but then he began to run. Soon after he began to climb up and through the old buildings. The pain faded slowly, but with each escalation in activity he was beginning to feel like himself again. Eventually, he decided to take to the rooftops; partially in the hopes of getting a good feel for the area and partially because he just wanted to run and jump off the rooftops.
As he neared his destination, he began to slow his pace. Soon, his instincts forced him to a near halt. The Primarch reached out into the force again to feel his surroundings. Howie was still where Chaos had left him, doing who knows what; and there was a faint feeling from somewhere far off to his west. However, the presence in front of him felt large, massive even. Cold was the next sensation this presence gave off, closely followed by an eeriness never known to the Primarch.
Chaos crept slowly to the edge of the building, hoping to get a view of this oddity. The skyline in front of him seemed to be missing a large structure. Looking down he saw what appeared to be the half collapsed ruins of a large building. Looking down on the ruined structure, it looked as if it would have risen up to Chaosrain had the years not beaten the life out of it before his arrival. The closest side appeared to have taken the most damage; it looked as if debris and something else had piled at the base of Chaos’s current perch.
After looking at the disquieting wreck of a building for far too long, Chaos begins to make his way around the hole in the roofscape. The Primarch was making slow but steady progress until he got to an unusual junction of buildings; Chaos cleared his jump onto the roof but, unfortunately the roof gave out below his feet. The Obelisk hit with a loud thud that shook that dilapidated structure. A loud, low moan came from outside; this noise reverberated as if uttered from a multitude of sources.
The Primarch dusted himself off and got back to his feet; he looked outside to find he was on the ground floor again, but couldn’t find the source of the worrisome noise. A crash came from behind the Obelisk, throwing debris around the room. Chaos turned to find that a person had cause the commotion. The person let out a high pitched scream; in doing so, a large chunk of flesh began a disquieting descent down the face of the former person. Without hesitation, the Primarch let a jade blade fly free from its mechanical chamber. The green light ripped diagonally through the soft, rotten flesh of the monstrosity; the thing fell to the ground in pieces, each one hitting with a disgusting squelch.
Immediately after the confrontation, the building began to shake. The moans grew in fervor and shadows could be seen lurching toward Chaos. The Obelisk knew it was time to go; the Primarch burst free from the dilapidated confines through a ruined window. He found himself in an old alley that stretched between his former location and the ruined building he spied earlier; the ruin shook as life-like beings sprung forth like insects from a hive. The Primarch broke out into a sprint; dipping and dodging on his way as he did his best to avoid the members of the rotten horde. Soon it appeared as if every direction was clogged full of decayed foes; so Chaos did the only thing he could. The Primarch did as he had been trained to do many years ago; he summoned all the strength he could into his legs, and as he jumped he focus his mind and amplified all the power he had mustered.
The Obelisk sprung from the ground quickly and grabbing onto a second story window; soon he had pulled himself inside. As the horde turned its attention to Chaos’ new location, the Primarch leapt from the window and back up onto the rooftops. The Primarch ran and jumped across a few buildings before finding a good spot to jump back to the ground. The zombies took chase as best they could; hobbling and stumbling their way toward the escapee. Chaosrain smiled to himself as he watched the horde chase after his visage; if they had been alive, he felt like they would have been disappointed by what they found. The former Consul waited quietly for a few minutes in hopes that the area would be cleared; soon after he made his way back to the rooftops and started to hurry away from the ruined hive. He had had his fill of rotten flesh for one day.
Aiden awoke in the pile of twisted, bent remains of what was once a great ship. He rose up, stumbling over dismantled metal pieces.
"Auugh, what the fahk happened?" Dru said as he raised his hand and started running it across his temple. "Was this what Zoron had been so worried about?" In that moment the human Sith searched frantically, twisting and turning his head in every direction, searching for one of the few people he truly trusted
"Zoron! Kenath!" Aiden shouted into the skies hoping for some sort of reply. There was nothing.
The surviving member of the Legacy crash looked back at the disheveled pieces wondering if anyone could have even survived the crash; how had he even survived? Dru assumed his blond haired ally to be dead and walked out into the fields of Bosthirda.
As Aiden looked up to the skies of the once foreign planet he saw lasers and ships going back and forth in every direction, intense dogfights taking place above him as he watched one too many Brotherhood starfighters go down in flames.
"I wonder if Shaz'air is having better luck with his team?" the battleteam sergeant thought as he tried to establish communication on his comm link. "Shaz'air are you there? Come in Shaz'air, come in!" Dru's comm link came back with nothing but distortion and fuzz. "This is useless! I'm going out on my own." The now-angered Aiden threw his comm link to the ground and walked off to venture the battlefield.
As the battle-ready Taldryanite wandered the battlefield he was looking in every direction in the hopes that he could find someone to fight alongside him, "C'mon, there has to be someone around. I can't have all the fun to myself after all." Aiden had now grown bored, "Seriously?! All these ships and no one to fight on the ground?!" His mental argument was cut short when he heard blaster fire in the distance.
The Sith bolted into a sprint towards the noise of what he thought to be a fight. As he ran through the battlefield he made easy work of getting up and around fallen ships, using his hands to vault over anything his legs didn't provide enough power for. As Dru got closer he started to recognize the voice of the commanding officer more and more.
"Someone get that soldier back to his feet!" Zoron shouted.
"Sir, he's DEAD!" a shocked soldier replied.
Zoron noticed a figure coming towards his unit. "Is that...? Dru!" he exclaimed as the hail of blaster fire continued.
Aiden rushed into the fray and leaped into the air and landed on a storm trooper who had almost gotten the best of Zoron.
"You didn't think I was going to let you have all the fun did you?" Aiden retorted to Zoron as they continued to defend their current position.
Zoron and Dru were back to back, "I'm not sure if fun is a word I'd use in this situation," Zoron replied as he scored another shot on a trooper, "I wasn't sure if you were ever going to wake up."
Aiden grabbed a stun baton from his belt and turned towards Zoron, "Wait, so you just left me there?!"
Zoron turned towards Aiden, shooting yet another trooper down before he replied. "No worries sir, I knew that spot was safer than any other, besides you ought to be thanking me for pulling your body out of that wreck anyway."
"This will have to do for now," Aiden said as he pushed Zoron’s shoulder, making him spin around to face his would-be assassin. Zoron quickly fired two shots into the head of the last storm commando as he fell to the ground, barely dodging the commando’s blast.
"I guess now we're even huh?" Zoron had smiled as his commanding officer helped him up.
"Zoron, have you been able to contact anyone from Shaz'air's unit?"
Zoron’s face turned to one of contemplation as he replied, "No sir, there was... nothing but static when I tried." A loud excited shout ripped through the downtrodden pair's ears. Zoron and Dru both looked up at each other and exclaimed in unison.
And just as quickly as their battle ended they ran towards the whoops and hollers, ready for another fight.
“Dru, slow down a second,” Zoron hissed as they neared the source of Shaz’air’s shouts, “something doesn't sound right here.” He ducked into an alcove of a building, with the remaining seven members of Darkfire 9 following suit wherever there was cover. With Darkfire 9's captain killed in the crash, that left Zoron as the defacto leader of the unit.
The Wardens XO paused, looking back at the older Sith. “Of course it doesn't sound right, Shaz’air is in the middle of a fight!”
Dru turned to keep moving forward, but Zoron grabbed him by the cloak, pulling him down and into the alcove. “Sir, listen carefully.What aren't you hearing? We’re hearing Shaz’air’s voice, but I’m not hearing words or curses. There’s nothing else that sounds proper either - there are no sabers, no explosions, no screams. Nothing. If Shaz’air was fighting someone - anyone - down there, we’d be hearing that. We need to slow down and figure out what’s going on here.”
Zoron whispered into his collar mic, “Master Sergeant, get me visual on whatever is around that next building.” The no-nonsense man gestured at two of his team members, who immediately sunk into the shadows of the ruins, leaving no visual indication they were moving through the crumbling structure. If Zoron and Dru hadn't been paying attention with their other senses they would have thought the men had simply disappeared.
Agonizing seconds passed before Zoron’s the heads-up display on his combat helmet lit up. A cratered boulevard was visible from a spy cam that the Darkfire members had placed in a second-floor window. The boulevard was empty, except for a lone droid sitting about 100 meters down the ferrocrete roadway. The droid looked to be equipped with a massive speaker and readings from the spy cam showed it to be the source of Shaz’air’s voice.
“Are you seeing this Dru? It’s a trap, or a decoy, but I can’t see anything except the bait. What do you want to do with this? If we leave it, it could lure in some of our other brothers. We can’t even mark it on the map as a danger spot because our connection to the command net is fried.” Zoron waited while the slim man thought things through.
“Master Sergeant, do we have anything at all showing up on the sensors besides the droid and that damned noise?” an irritated Dru asked, clearly frustrated by the false path they had taken in hopes of finding their commander.
The stoic special forces soldier looked at his tech expert, who shook his head. “Nothing on any of the visual bands, and nothing through any of the other equipment. That damned droid is emitting something that’s jamming it though, I’d put a year’s pay on it.”
Dru eyed the Specialist and asked, “Why’s that?”
The soldier answered confidently, “Sir, the sensors would still pick up other things - movement of animals, things blowing in the wind, that sort of stuff that we don’t notice until it’s missing. I think it’s got some sort of a massive visual illusion going on that’s sophisticated as hell, but is missing a few things that would make it really impressive.”
Dru nodded, acknowledging the truth in the statement as he looked at the video feed again. “Specialist, I think you’re right. Zoron, can you sense anything at all?”
The large man closed his eyes in concentration, pushing his mind out to where he now knew to focus his power. The strain was noticeable to the other members of the team, as his neck muscles grew more tense and his body hunched as he pushed further outwards. With a snap, his eyes came open again and he looked at Dru. “It’s a small group of soldiers with a Jedi of some sort - she didn’t feel all too strong. Maybe eight people total. They’re hidden in a small building directly behind the droid and the illusion. It’s not actually a boulevard - it’s a dead end road with a beautiful field of fire for them to cut down anyone who approaches the droid to investigate. The building isn’t actually well fortified - it looks like it used to be a shop with massive windows whose ledges their using as concealment. We can turn their position into a deathtrap though if we get to one of the buildings beside theirs. There’s a building that’s larger directly beside theirs that we could drop an exterior wall onto them if needed - it’s pretty decrepit. They felt too confident - I don’t think they believe anyone will see through their trap.”
Dru smiled wolfishly, as if sensing blood. “I like it. Let’s get some revenge for our Brothers and Sisters.” Turning sharply, he began giving orders rapidly. “Master Sergeant, I need your scouts to find me a route that parallels that ‘boulevard’ until we get beyond the illusion. Once we’re through, I want us in position to put down some serious weapons fire onto them. Zoron and I will get ourselves into that building beside them and see if we can bring the wall down on them.”
Zoron coughed. “If I may, I’d like to make a small suggestion. Once everyone is in position, I’d like to mess with them a bit…” Zoron laid out his plan while Dru and the normally stonefaced soldiers began to smile slightly.
“Perfect. Let’s get it done.”
Minutes later, with the Darkfire team and Dru in place, Zoron stepped out of the shadow of the building where the spy cam was mounted. Feigning confusion, he looked around, as if trying to locate Shaz’air before focusing on the droid. He cocked his head and began to walk toward it, waving his arms around animatedly in mock frustration to lull the enemy just a bit longer.
He had traded out his cloak and some pieces of armour with the soldiers so that he looked like a single, lost trooper. His lightsaber was hidden around the rear of his belt, out of the line of sight of the enemy ahead. He held a blaster rifle casually, not pointing it down range in case that spooked the enemy into shooting early.
When he got within 50 meters of the droid, he began to easily feel the heightened emotions of the enemy troopers. “Five,” he said into his mic, knowing that the noise from the droid would make it impossible for the enemies to hear what he was saying. “I can sense five troopers and a weak Force user. They’re biting. Their excitement is so rich. I can’t wait to feel their reaction when they realize what’s going on.”
At 25 meters, he began focusing himself, using his limited skills in concealing his Force power to mask that from the enemy Force user.
At 10 meters, he felt like he was bubbling over with energy, ready to burst with destructive intent to rain down death onto the unlucky saps in front of him.
At 3 meters, he stopped. He could feel the troopers beginning to take aim on him, but held firm. He reached out with the gathered power and touched each of the weak, foolish troopers’ minds, planting seeds of doubt and fear. He felt one of them begin to quiver and tighten on the trigger.
“Damnit Zoron, do it!” snarled Dru over the comm.
With that, Zoron did what he did best: be a bad guy.
In a sharp move, he leveled the rifle at the droid and pumped scarlet streams of energy into it, destroying the illusion in a snap. As the droid burst into a pillar of smoke and flames, he dove to the side, coming up rolling as enemy shots passed through where he had been seconds before. He sighted down the rifle and squeezed off a burst of shots directly at the surprised Nautolan jedi.
Not watching where his shots landed, he was on the move again, sprinting toward the enemy as the Darkfire team opened up with their heavy weapons. The screams of laser fire and explosives sounded off in a riotous chorus. Streaks of red and green mixed with the white smoke trails of rockets.
Zoron watched the enemy get cut down, completely unaware they were being ambushed until it was too late to do anything about it. The troopers fell first, with only one managing to get a shot toward Zoron as he charged. Zoron deflected it deftly with his saber before he saw the man lifted up and over the window ledge by a rocket’s explosion.
The enemy jedi was dug in deeper into the building, deep enough inside the shop to be shielded from the brunt of the lasers and explosions. What little made it through to her was handled by her topaz lightsaber.
Zoron caught a sudden movement above him and couldn’t help but look above the shop. A crack had appeared on the stonework of the exterior wall. Dru was in the fight. Zoron slid to a stop and ducked off to the side, using his Force gifts to help Dru finish destabilizing the weakened wall. In silent slow-motion, the wall gave way, tumbling down onto, and through, the roof of the shop. The last Zoron saw of the female Force user was a surprised look on her face as hundreds of pounds of stone crushed her.
“Sir, these troopers and this jedi have Odan-Urr insignia on their armour. The lightside scum are here as well. We also found this.” The Corporal passed over a comm unit. “It was tuned to our command net - I think that’s how they got Shaz’air’s voice and knew where we were. I think their droid was also able to block us from receiving our command net with some sort of directional antenna. As soon as that droid went down, our armour began to get updates from the rest of our forces. We’re actually pretty far from everyone else, but at least we’re linked in again and can make our way to the nearest group to reinforce and push on.”
“Excellent work Corporal,” Dru said sincerely, “who is closest?”
“Actually sir, it’s Primarch Shaz’air. Uncanny. He’s about 3 kilometers away,” the Corporal replied.
“Well Corporal, lead on. Let’s see if we can’t get this team re-assembled and on target again.”
Meanwhile, just outside the Chancellor’s office on Eos
The Old Man scratched at his beard and peered past the soot covered windows into the darker than normal office. Normally, at least a smaller glimmer of candlelight was visible from the street – but tonight, it was as dark as deep space. Howlader opened the door and struggled to get a clear picture of the room – but one thing was clear, the room was empty. Where was the Boy in all this, the old Master wondered? More importantly – why was he not at his post sorting through the folders and papers?
The old master walked over to one of the windows on the far side of the office and attempted to wipe some of the soot off – he needed to at least get some of the light from the nearby buildings. As his eyes adjusted to their new surroundings – Howlader could see an awful mess. Papers were strewn about – far more than usual, with many scattered on the floor. Someone was in here, Howlader thought, someone that was not himself or the Boy. As his tired dark eyes scanned the room further, he came upon a terrible visage. His stamps, Approve and Denied, lay smashed and broken on the floor.
Howlader began to shake with rage – and called out to the Boy: "Where are you, Boy? What have you done?"
From a darker corner of the room, the Boy appeared. He had been there all along: "yes, sir?"
No sooner had the words left the Boy’s mouth, did the old man’s cane strike him, and then the questions began…
Surface of Besthrida
"What were you doing? How did this happen?" Howlader shouted into the communications device.
The voice on the other end of the line responded: "Howie. Calm down. You’re not on Eos and I am not the boy. Tell me what happened."
The calming voice of Benevolent Taldrya Whiner on Karufr managed to bring Howlader out of Senility crashing induced rage. Howlader calmly explained the predicament he was in and the extensive damage to his precious ship to Whiner.
"That does not sound too bad, Howie," Whiner responded, "let me walk you through fixing it."
Chaos listened to his comm unit as he ran through the ruined city. He’d finally found some sign of his Taldryan brothers. Now, all the Primarch had to was catch up to his brothers and this mission could get to the point at which they should have started. After a short search, the Obelisk had found the tallest building in the area. Chaos climbed to the buildings apex and began scan the area for his targets; first with his eyes, and then a second time with the force. After a few minutes, the Primarch knew direction to take and he was off again.
Chaos kept to the rooftops in an attempt to avoid anymore zombies; he was quite happy to currently be in an undead free area of the city. As he ran across the roof tops he began to notice that the ruined city was starting to look even more disheveled and broken than before; some locations even showed signs of fresh damage. Continuing on, he found that the high road he was using was starting to have less options; the farther he went, the more broken structures he found. At one point, the Primarch had to double back to go around the burning remains of a decimated star ship.
Chaos felt he was getting close to his comrades and making good time; such thoughts tend to be followed by setbacks, this thought was as well. The rooftop collapsed right as the Obelisk lept to his next destination. The Primarch got to the next building, but his landing left him in a heap on the rooftop as dust began to spread through the air.
“Did we get him?!”, boomed a voice inside the cloud.
“Nope!” Chaos yelled back with a sly smile on his face as he regained he got back to his feet.
“Follow that voice!” shouted another man.
“What exactly do you think you can do to me?” the Primarch shouted back as he jumped around the rooftops.
“Help you split.” a voice said confidently as a dusty, purple glow appeared.
“How kind of you.” Chaos said joyously. “Trying to kill your brother, while we’re both here for our Brotherhood.”
“We do this for our fallen sister!” the voice spat back.
“No, you do it for glory. We should join forces and finish this mission.” Chaos said in reply.
“Do it now!” the Jedi shouted. The three story building under the Primarch collapsed.
The three men were hit by a second wave of dust as a green blade erupted from the the Jedi chest. The two other men turned in shock at their fallen brother, guns at the ready. All they could see were the last remnants of green and purple light.
“HOW!” one of the screamed at the top of his lungs. They got no reply; with the threat neutralized, Chaos disappeared using the dusty cover his attackers so graciously provided.
XS-800 Light Freighter Senility crash site
Outskirts of Xlopora City
Howlader was growing more and more frustrated with the person on the other end of the communications system: "what do you mean tweak the carburetor three inches to the left? I don’t see anything labeled carburetor – and what in the hell is an inch?"
For all of Benevolent Taldrya Whiner’s technical abilities, as evidenced by the near-warehouse levels of technical contraptions in the basement of the Old Folks’ Home – translating that wizardry into explaining things to those less technically inclined was not his strong suit. It was especially bad, in Howlader’s experience, when Whiner was in the midst of one of his…episodes.
"It’s not that hard, Bear Man!" Whiner shouted, "the carburetor is 6 inches below and to the left of the radiator – they’re connected by a tube. If you can’t find that, the cylinders should be right in front of you – and that connects by a tube to the radiator which connects to the carburetor. Or would you like me to drive over there and do it myself?"
Howlader sighed: "Drive? Radiator? Cylinders? Ben, old buddy – listen to me. You are a Dark Jedi of Clan Taldryan – you are not a secret agent man. Do you understand me?"
Evidently, Whiner did not understand: "Argh! Just Fonzie it!"
Howlader countered: "Fonzie? What in the hell does that mean? I don’t have a Fonzie tool with me. You need to explain this in some other way."
Ben responded with finality: “just hit it! Hit it with your elbow!"
Howlader sighed again in defeat, could any more damage be done to his precious Senility? Likely not. Howlader whacked the XS-800 with his elbow. "Oh. That did it. Thanks old buddy."
Chaosrain had continued on the search for his clan-mates. The Obelisk had been sticking to the ground ever since he had had a building blown out from below him. Progress had slowed down ever since the confrontation with the Jedi; the farther along he went, this ghost city became less and less abandoned. His pace had slowed so that when Chaos came upon others he could sneak through the occupied area and continue on without confrontation.
The final stretch of occupied ground was the roughest. When the Primarch entered into the bombed out city block, he swore he was in a gladiatorial pit. The outer buildings ringed in the destroyed area. The rubble blocked all but a few entrances; and the battling Brotherhood forces blocked the rest, save for the one Chaos was in. He knew there were too many to fight; but he hoped to blend in with all the chaos. The Primarch kneeled, focused his mind, and slowly disappeared.
A shimmer shown faintly where Chaos used to be. Slowly, the shimer moved along the wall he entered on. As the battle intensified the a few of the entrances were becoming less guarded, and they were being filled with less force adept people. The Primarch creeped along, stopping whenever he thought he attracted any attention. Patience and concentration, two things he gained through his years of training, were what got him through that day. He smiled to himself as left the battleground behind; not that anyone could have seen it. When he got a good 100 meters away the Primarch decloaked, ducked into a building and rested for a long while. When he got going again, he look about until he found a building he could climb to get a nice view of the area.
The Primarch crested the top of one of the areas taller buildings, and a grin broke out across his face. He could see troops in a clearing in front for a collapsed building, and they had 2 dark jedi with them. Even at at a distance Chaos knew he had found them; he could see it, he could feel it. And if there was any doubt, the former Consul knew that insignia anywhere. Those were Darkfyre troopers, and he knew he had found who he was looking for.
Zoron and Dru stumbled slightly as the ground around them rocked and the sky in front of them lit up with a plume of fire and debris.
“Sir! We’ve just lost the signal for Primarch Shaz’air!” the comms corporal blurted out in a panic. “I don’t know what happened!”
“Look ahead of you corporal,” Zoron said with a twinge of darkness in his voice, “I think we can figure it out pretty easily.” The corporal look up from his screen at the rising smoke nearby, and his face fell. Zoron continued, “Dru, we need to divert. I think it’s safe to assume that Shaz’air and whoever is, sorry - was, with him aren’t going to be of any help to us here. We need to push on to the target. The relic is the objective, our survival is secondary.”
Dru was still staring at the cloud in front of them with his mouth agape, clearly in shock. Zoron grabbed him by the cloak and spun Dru to face him. A rough shake of Dru’s torso helped to clear up the smaller man’s glazed eyes and he began to focus on Zoron’s face again. His mouth worked open and closed a few times before weakly speaking. “Wha… what about Shaz’air? What about the troops with him? We have to help them!” Dru’s voice grew steadier as he spoke. “We can’t just leave him there - we need to get to them, now.”
Zoron held tight to Dru, preventing the man from turning away from him toward the place where Shaz’air had been moments before. “Dru. You are in charge now. The big picture is your responsibility. Our primary goal this whole time has been that damnable relic. Shaz’air was my friend too, but he knew what we were here for and he knew that this mission was going to have a chance to get ugly. Now, can you hold on to the mission? We need that relic to make his loss worthwhile.”
Dru stared at Zoron, his face clearly showing the indecision roiling inside him. After a moment, he closed his eyes and set his jaw. “Let’s get that thing. Master Sergeant, place a marker on the map where Shaz’air was last known to be - we will be back to check for survivors. Corporal, get me a secure uplink to the command net - I need to update whoever the hell is in charge up there.”
A moment passed before the comms corporal nodded. Dru took a deep breath before speaking into his mic. “This is Aiden Dru of the Wardens. We were trying to link up with Primarch Shaz’air at the attached coordinates. Unknown forces have presumably killed or otherwise incapacitated him. Send rescue and recovery. I have assumed command of the Wardens until otherwise notified. Zoron and I, along with the remains of Darkfire 9 are pushing on to the objective. Wardens leader out.”
Dru turned to the comms corporal again. “How far are we from the objective?” The corporal opened his mouth to answer, but no speech came out. A hole appeared in his armour directly in the middle of his chestplate, cleanly hewn through. A burbling sound came up from the man’s mouth before he keeled over.
“COVER!” The Master Sergeant shouted, dragging Dru down as a second burst of sniper fire passed through where the Sith had just been.
Zoron, who was shocked that he hadn’t sensed the shot or the sniper through the Force, hesitated a moment longer, only reacting after the wall beside him exploded into tiny shards of stone from the shot aimed at Dru. He used the Force to propel him upward into the window on the second floor above him, landing heavily on the floor within.
He stayed low, crawling under the window sills until he had put an extra interior wall between himself and the windows. Sitting against the wall, he spoke into his mic. “Dru, you OK?”
“Ya, I’m good. We’re down to six operators. Their equipment is trying to triangulate the shots now, but the echoes are making things difficult.” Dru was breathing heavily, but his voice was strong and calm. “We should have a target in a couple more seconds. Standby.”
Zoron tapped the side of his helmet, pulling up the mapping system. The helmets of all the other members of his team were linked in, combining their readings into a larger map with 3D dimensions thanks to the multiple viewpoints. A red dot popped up on the map about 1000 meters away from him. “Got it, can we get through to someone with artillery?”
Dru’s reply took a second. “On it. We still have some ships in orbit, they’re tasking a battery now. Everyone get their heads down, this is going to be heavy really quick here.”
Zoron wanted to get himself back down to the ground level to get more of the building around him as cover from the laser fire that was probably already streaking in from far above him. Pulling out his lightsaber, he cut a hole into the floor and dropped through. Landing more softly this time, he glanced around, seeing an old turbolift shaft (or whatever the occupants on this planet had called it). Racing toward it, he slid around the corner and pressed his back to the heavy ferrocrete just as the whining screams of the lasers rose in his ears. With a thunderous roar and sledgehammer impacts that knocked Zoron cleanly off his feet and made him woozy, the laser bombardment struck home. Dust and rubble fell from the ceiling above him, but the building stayed up.
After a few seconds, the sound and shaking subsided. Zoron dusted himself off and heard Dru’s voice faintly through his ringing ears. “...ron, are you alright? Zoron, status check, now.”
Slurring slightly from the concussion of the bombardment, Zoron answered. “‘M’OK boss. Did we get him?”
“Come and take a look yourself.”
Slowly making his way over pieces of ceiling that had fallen onto the ground, he stepped out of the building and worked his way over to where his helmet told him Dru was. Looking down the roadway, where moments ago there had been buildings, there was now nothing. Every building and structure in a rough 500 meter radius from the red point on the map had been leveled.
Zoron whistled, “Those boys sure know how to party up there. Damn.”
“Absolutely. I’ll buy the gunners a drink when we get back.” Dru looked over at the Master Sergeant. “Are you ready to move?”
“Yes sir, Corporal Jerins’ body has just been flash-cremated. We’re ready to go.”
“Then let’s get going. We’ll have a lot of friends to honour when we’re done here today.” Dru turned and set off toward where the in-helmet map said their target was.
Dru and Zoron's team had made their way to the middle of Xlopora City when they noticed an old tower of a building that seemed to be in the very center of everything else. The walls of this ancient building looked as if they were ready to fall apart at any moment.
"Zoron you think the relic is here, place looks old enough to contain some kind of ancient Sith item." Dru turned toward his ally. Zoron in turn replied, "I'll see if I can sense anything inside"
Zoron closed his eyes and concentrated his mind, but something was interrupting his Force sense.
"Dru there is a strong presence but it's not inside, it's actually interfering with my attempt at finding the relic" Zoron had a concerned look as he opened his eyes and turned to take a look behind himself.
Zoron looked up to the rooftops ahead as he reached his arm out and pointed at a cloaked figure, "There! That's the presence that was interrupting my force sense"
The figure had been hiding in the shadows of the roof but since he had been discovered he leapt down from his hiding spot and confronted the Darkfire 9 team.
"Who are you! You wear the armor of Taldryan yet I've never seen you before!" Dru hissed at the shadowed figure.
The mysterious human stepped away from shadows and spoke "Just because you've never seen me before doesn't mean I'm an enemy! I am Chaosrain, son of Taldrya!" the Primarch boomed arrogantly.