Intro and turn 1
"No, not like that!" Horus Blackheart repeated the instructions for the 10th time and by now really wondered why it was him who had to teach those Obelisk and Krath who were not yet skilled but willing how to maneuver in space. "You won't be able to evade what's behind you. Let me show you once more..."
The laughter in his com was female. Liara, no doubt. As observer, the woman had a reason and the time to laugh. "Instead of making fun of me, you could demonstrate them the maneuver, for a change, while I will be chasing you."
"Alright!" Liara's TIE turned and went ahead of him, slightly above his ship. Out of the corner of his eye Blackheart saw how the young Naga Sadow guy he got this morning attempted to execute the same moves without waiting to observe more. He let slip a sigh. "I swear, when we are back, I'll have a talk with Malik. Next time, one of them can... In the name of Palpatine, what is that??"
Ahead of them, two ships had dropped out of hyperspace simultaneously. The bigger ship, larger than anything they had seen in a while, exited right between the training group on the other side of the fake mine field Horus had created. A few fighters exploded right away, and their instructor closed his eyes, hoping it didn't hit anyone important. The first shouts and screams started up. Of course those people couldn't keep their cool.
"Look at the size of that thing!" Liara, who had stopped just in time before slamming into the smaller ship, was coming up behind him. "I get no sensor readings worth mentioning. Looks like no life signs. Can't feel anything via the Force either."
Darn the woman for gathering her wits so fast. "Me neither. Everyone, away from those ships. No one is to..." But it was too late. Some wannabe-hotshot fired at the big ship, which was, Blackheart assumed, almost as big as the Emperor's Executor once had been. Maybe even bigger. The shots did no harm to the ship's surface, as much as he could tell, and no retaliation happened. "...fire," he ended his sentence. "And the next person to do something dumb like this will get killed by me. You want us all to die, maybe?"
There was silence from the others as they pulled away to the other side of the makeshift minefield. That was just as well. Horus decided he'd count losses later and first concentrate on gathering more information. As he decided to call the ship, Liara's voice was in his head, doing just that. Snorting, he decided to let her. Pulling his fighter up, he tried to get relatively above the new arrivals to be able to determine size and structure better.
The small ship was clearly a battleship - although SMALL was definitely the wrong word. Maybe a quarter of the big ships size. It's form reminded Horus of a giant slug. Maybe the animal the builders admired, or maybe the form of the builders themselves.
"Are we going to inform the DC about this?" the voice of one of his trainees piped up.
"Are you kidding me, son? Of course we will inform them. At once. Liara, stay here and keep an eye on those, and don't get blown up. We'll go back and report - and count our losses." Not waiting for the woman to acknowledge, the Sith turned his fighter towards the asteroid serving as a training base.
"Oh, sure, thanks a lot," Liara mumbled. "For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this."
Not a day later, a group of low ranked Brotherhood members was assembled in the rather small aula of the training facility. It was a small asteroid and asmall base, and there was nothing in the way of comfort. But such were the worries of the Brotherhood to make everyone ignore the lack of space and stall air. The two ships had not moved since they had left hyperspace. There had been no communication, no obvious life sign - it was all very mysterious. Still, some type of scanning prevention was in place. Right now, they were not even sure if there was an atmosphere inside.
Liara was standing right in front of them. She was in the middle of a rant about how she had been left here to brief a bunch of Jedi probably not old enough to clean their own noses (no one really paid any attention to that part of her speech) and giving them the rundown of the sensor logs and other information, as little as they had.
"Now," liara closed. "You are picked for this job for one reason only - you are expendable. Which I tend to think I am not. Hence, I'll stay right here ready to evacuate while you are going over there trying to weasel your way in." She saw in their faces that being expendable was not what they had wanted to hear. Tough luck. "Either you come back out and likely get promoted or, well, die." Liara pointed to a small Trandoshan transport, old and battered and as expendable as all of them. "That's your ferry, so to say. You'll find protective suits there for everyone. We'll stay in contact if possible. With the Force, if needed. Well," she grinned evilly. "At least you will be able to hear my instructions via the Force. you ain't Jedi yet."
Gaidal raised a hand, trying not to sound worried or, worse, scared. "How long to we have until you give up on us?"
Smirking, Liara shrugged. "I don't have a clue at all. Up to the DC to determine, I suppose. Or maybe they'll just up and leave again. Or blow up. Now, hurry."
"Oh that's just bloody great!" said Khamier, sarcasm dripping from his voice as his grey eyes took in the battered wreck that the higher ranking members passed for a ship. "Why don't you spare the enviro suits too and save yourself some credits?"
The unfortunate Hunter found himself pinned to the wall, just barely able to force air in and out of his lungs. His widened eyes betrayed his terror, some undecipherable burbled gags was all he could make in the form of words.
"You'd better watch that tongue of yours or when you return," Liara paused, re-phrasing her words. "If, you return that is, it will no longer reside in that slime hole that passes for your mouth." She released the Force grip on the younger member, who promptly fell to the floor, legs unable to hold his weight.
"I- I'm, Sorry!" Sarin mumbled.
"You sure are, now get up and act like a adult. Now."
Soon noise and bustle began in the hangar as the small group moved towards the hulking ship, one of them putting away a datapad and started getting ready to board. It was going to be a long day, full of members from a varity of back grounds. Already one example of the tension had exploded from beginning to end in about 5 seconds, and one sulky Zabrak to boot.
And yet, at the same time, there was an low excitement underlying the tension. An excitement, and a darkly simmering dread all too clearly felt by the lower ranking Dark Jedi.
The Trandoshan transport was indeed a battered ship showing signs of antiquity and, perhaps, battle damage. “This thing must be from the Clone Wars,” mused Cain out loud to the group, “I bet she was beautiful back then.” Running his hand over the hull of the ship he could feel the coarse material that made up the belly of the ship. There was evidence aplenty that the ship had suffered some serious wounds in the past; the partially covered laser scoring showing through. ‘Expendable indeed,’ thought the Corellian.
As he completed the loop about the ship, coming around the nose, he took in a sight that would reside with him for the remainder of his career; assuming he did not die completing this objective. Fanned out in a semi-circle stood the other nine participants. Some showed the signs of hardship with a gruff visage and projected a scoundrel appearance. While others held themselves up high, flaunting their own ‘self-proclaimed’ importance in the Brotherhood. They came from all over in the dark mystic’s community, representing a majority of the Clans.
The truth of the matter was that each team member was here because they had come to a dead-end in their career or had lost the ’wind’ in their sails. This was their chance to break free from their self imposed doldrums and ‘catch’ a new current that will sweep them off into the fame and glory.
Looking over the shoulder to his left he eyed the shaky, yet sturdy transport. “I declare her a heap of junk,” started the Protector, “but she will fly.” Closing in on the group he posed the ultimate question in his mind, ‘What are we going to find on those ships, what secrets of enlightenment or immanent death?’ To the group he posed the more relevant question to his comrades, “What are we going to call her? Every ship needs a good name!”
“The Song of the Krath,” came the voice of Jedi Hunter Tiberius Claudius Germanicus Tang’va from the back of the group. All eyes turned to face the Caminon Tetrarch, who was making his approach to the front of the gathering.
The Caminon’s crimson eyes blazed; reflecting the dim light of the landing platform. “I suggest we board the ship. Our duty is clear; we must waste no more time on these pointless statements. The sooner we begin our investigation, the sooner we can return to our respectable planets and resume our house duties.” stated Tiberius, his voice the essence of iron and calmness.
The other Dark Jedi gathered, nodded their approval and simultaneously boarded the transport ship. Tiberius took a moment to scan the exterior of the battered ship, the Caminon was not used to traveling in such a deplorable condition; but was willing to bare the trials and tribulations of the lower clans for the benefit of this mission.
The Caminon Tetrarch of Hex, servant of Ektrosis of Taldryan, the first Clan of the Krath and first Clan of the Great Jedi War; gathered his robes and flung the excess over his right arm. With steady steps the Caminon boarded the transport ship, as would a conquering general walk upon a field of battle; with both decorum and composure. Obediently the descending platform retracted and sealed the outer hull of the ancient transport ship. Soon the engines came to life; its exhausts pumping fumes into the vicinity. It would not be long before the transport ascended into the atmosphere and entered the cold darkness of space.
Koi looked out the viewport and watched the huge ship in the darkness of space. The Force opened in him, reaching out to touch the ship. However he found nothing onboard. "I don't like this." the cloned human said quietly, his mind racing around the possibilities. Several came to mind. One was that the ship was completly abandoned and was randomly jumping through hyperspace. Another was that the crew died in hyperspace and only recently the fuel consumption of its hyperdrive engines had drained the final bit of fuel. "The ship may be run by droids." He said quietly.
"Or perhaps it is the treachery of the Jedi." came a voice that was quiet and insidious in the back of Koi's mind.
Koi knew exactly who the voice was. It was a Sith Warrior from eons passed named Jensar Kar. The spirit had latched onto Koi when the clone was first grown. However Koi never knew this until he came to Clan Arcona and studied in their library. He had studied several works, one of which allowed him to speak to deceaced Dark Jedi spirits. "The Jedi? Do you really think so?" He said into the open air.
"It is possible. The Jedi have been known to hide their presence very well in the past. They may be luring you into a trap. Watch yourself carefully, young one. I do not like this." The voice hissed.
"Yes, Master. I will heed your warning." Koi said again. He noticed a tech was staring at him as if he was truely mad. Koi merely glared at the man before nturning to follow the other journeymen into the transport.
Koi looked over his equipment carefully. A slug carbine was hung from its strap around his body, a .45 slugthrower on his right thigh with a vibroblade settled neatly next to it, and a DH-18 was on his left hip. He was ready for combat. Koi looked around carefully as he reached down to grab his helmet. The clone wore typical stormtrooper armor with the exception of it being dyed a dark grey and black. The other exception was the helmet. The helmet was more specially modified and looked more like a mandalorian helmet of old. He would be able to see all light spectrums and had special targeting sensors built into the helmet.
Koi placed the helmet on his head and sealed the suit. He opened a breathing port that would allow him to breath the transports air instead of his suits own supply. From his seat in the transport, Koi watched the outside carefuly.
Gaidal Dupar was still looking for a place to sit. He was the last one who got on board of the Trandoshan transportation vessel and was amazed by the bad interior. He looked around in the room and almost everyone already had a seat. He didn't trust any of these people, but such feelings weren't exactly appreciated. So he gave them the most friendly smile he could come up with. Most of them were ingnorant fools with a lack of ambition, who would find themselves waking up one day with their throats sliced. It made him smile even more, but he didn't want the others to see it. So he raised his high collar of his half long black coat and hided his face in it. Dreadfully, he walked across the room and found a seat in the back. While sitting down, he felt behind his back if everything was in place. His Chatka and bagpack were still where they should be and it felt comforting.
The transport was flying out of the hangar into space. Gaidal looked to the man next to him. He saw a heavily battered face with a pale white skin and quite long black hair earlier. It was when the man was still talking to a Sith Warrior across the room. It made him realize he had a scar on the right side of his face as well. Carefully he touched it and kept his eyes on the man who wore a helmet now. He had never seen him before and he looked like a soldier and not just because of his armor.
This man with his face filled with scars looked at him from behind his mask and probably realized someone looked at him. Strange. There was something strange about this trooper. Gaidal looked at him and nodded. The man seemed to accept it, nodded as well and said: "Koi Hisui."
"Gaidal Dupar", Gaidal meumbled. This introduction was satisfying enough and he knew he could rely on Koi somehow. Just like him not the talkative type and different from the others. Besides, who couldn't rely on a soldier. They fight when they need to and die when they're supposed to. Rather him than me, Gaidal concluded.
He searched with his right hand in the small bagpack on his back. Where was that bloody helmet from the Royal Guard when you needed it? It was a nice souvernir from Korriban. Finally, he found it and put it on, so it matched with his red boots, which came from the same uniform.
With the Song of the Krath moving towards the two ships, Gaidal started thinking. What's in a name, he thought and looked at Tiberius. The Song of the Krath? What was that arrogant Caminon thinking with his high air surrounding him! Gaidal struggled to keep his anger in line and slightly used the Force in order to hide his thoughts, powers and Force potential. It would look like he was nothing more than a common man, a soldier perhaps. A grin appeared on his face, but none could see it hidden behind the red mask. So he tried to recall the mission briefing he received from his Master Godo Nurok and found out he rememberd his words. Litterally. Good, his Master would appreciate it.
Gaidal found out there was a small viewport behind him and he looked through it. The ships were getting closer and closer. The huge sun nearby made it possible for the two ships to come out of the shadows and they were both magnificent. Gaidal was amazed. He saw the huge defence turrets on the biggest vessel and realized they were rapid fire laser cannons with multipleshots. The guns looked like the ones they once had on Kyandria. Wait one more moment, Gaidal mumbled and looked again. The architecture, the details, the materials and all of the other things were all too familiar. There was a great ressemblance between the former Kyandrian warships and these two. Could these be Kyandrian and belonging to Kyandrian wanderers searching for a new planet to live on in this part of the galaxy?
That's odd, Gaidal thought and looked back into the room. He saw the tense Lorien Sinclair. It looked like she was already prepared for the worst. As always. It didn't matter where she was, in the Clan of Exar Kun, in the House of Ziost or on a mission such as this one; one word too many and she would charge. Gaidal smiled. He liked her style and attitude, altough he didn't know her very well. Same thing with Ossus al'Tor. That man looked more pock-marked and sad than any other of the group. Always mentioning something about being backstabbed more times than anyone else. Gaidal thought it was his way of introducing himself; nothing more, nothing less.
So Gaidal sat back, overviewed the room and felt more and more relaxed. He could almost taste the hatred and fear flowing through it. He sneered once more and realized this mission could get really interesting. He looked at Cain right in front of him, who looked very displeased with the current name of the Trandoshan transport. Gaidal had an idea. Maybe he could put up the fire a bit? He grapped a book from his bagpack and pretended to be reading, when suddenly he dropped the question without looking up from his book: "Shouldn't the transport be named 'The Sentinel', in accordance with our mission?"
The comm chatter from the approaching Trandoshan vessel was maddening.
"Whatever happened to silence and the quiet approach.... " the Sith Jedi Hunter grumbled. "Jeez." Fortunately, Macron had already swept the perimeter of the area and scanned for other vessels. There were none, only a lonely nebula and some minor asteroids.
Macron Goura maneuvered his black Starwing assault gunboat into a docking position around the unknown vessel and waited. The Silooth was a great vessel for long range patrols.
Hunter Goura had to jump in order to rendezvous with the transport, as his base ship HLK cruiser Wandering Soul was now quite some distance out from the system.
The approaching vessel was of sturdy make, but had obviously seen better days. The vessel's ion trail was visible for at least a parsec. It glittered brightly in his sensor screens, like a rainbow of hot electons and gas. Macron keyed his comlink with a sigh.
"Hail Trandoshan vessel, this is Sapphire Squadron Flight Leader Two. Please identify. Over."
Macron had been given orders by his Quaestor Bob to depart immediately for this investigation. His orders were to cooperate and serve Liara completely in this matter.
As his scanners identified the battered vessel, "Song of the Krath", Macron chuckled. Tiberius must be about. Macron knew of him as a fellow scholar, with a deep knowledge of Sith history and well articulated writings. A Krath who knew so much of the Sith Cult impressed Macron.
" I see... " returned a voice from the vessel. "This is Uzbad. What's up Macron?" Macron grinned agin. He had met Uzbad and Esca in the Antei Lounge, and knew of them briefly.
Uzbad had a reputation as a tough Krath warrior, and had also come from street level Coruscant as Macron had. Neither was known to mince words.
R3 came up with a crew list from the transport's computer. Macron knew a few more, having met Braecen briefly at the Shadow Academy where they were both Pedagogs.
"Hi guys," replied Macron. "It looks dead, perhaps some power units inside like droids. No atmosphere, and no life signs. However, I get a feeling from the Force about it, something threatening. See you guys top side."
Macron manevered his vessel into the open landing bay, popped the hatch, and awaited the other Jedi.
Uzbad finished his transmission with Macron and remained silent for the rest of the journey into the landing bay. The old ship finally finished docking and Uzbad quickly adjusted to suit to begin supplying with breathable air. The other journeymen were already filing out of the transport. Uzbad stepped out of the once-regal ship and looked around. The large landing bay was completely empty, except for their small group. Uzbad grabbed his mace and began to walk towards the blastdoors leading to the rest of the ship. He came to the closed doors and eyed the control panel, wondering if it worked.
"Try it." A voice said from behind him. Uzbad turned and saw who had spoken, Macron Goura. Uzbad smiled and nodded. He reached out a hand and pressed the 'open' button on the panel. To Uzbad's surprise the doors easily slid open. He cautiously stepped through the doors and looked up and down the hallway the doors led to.
"Which way?" Uzbad asked Macron, who had not walked through the doors.
"It feels right."
Uzbad nodded and began to walk down the hall slowly, looking for any signs of life.
"Let's head for the bridge." Uzbad spoke over his shoulder to Macron.
They walked along in silence until they reached the blastdoors that entered into what they thought was the bridge. Uzbad reached out and pressed a button on the control panel, hoping that the doors would open as the ones in the landing bay had. He smiled to himself as the doors slid open and he stepped into the empty bridge. As Macron followed him into the room, the doors slid shut. Macron pressed the control panel and nothing happened.
"What the hell?" Uzbad asked before pressing the panel himself. Again the doors stayed closed.
"Whatever, lets look around and then we can worry about the doors." Macron suggested.
The two of them split up and began to search the room, for anything that would give them a clue of why the ship had appeared.
BACK IN THE LANDING BAY:
"Where's Uzbad and Macron?" somebody asked.
"I don’t know." Another answered.
"I think they went of on their own through those blastdoors." Another person said.
"Hey." Gaidal jumped up and down a bit, which looked kinda weird. "I think gravity is a bit off."
Indeed, now that he mentioned it, they all noticed the reduced gravity, probably at 90% of what was considered standard. "Doesn't tell us much," Tiberius stated. "Could as well be damaged controls."
"Maybe we should find those controls, no?" Ossus suggested. "Maybe we could find out what passes as normal in here."
"Yes, very good idea," Tiberius acknowledged. "Environmental controls - engine room?"
The others nodded. "We should give Liara an update, no?" Cain asked.
Without being asked to do so, Tiberius pressed the keys on his com, wanting to be the one to inform the Sith Lady about their situation. But there was no reply. "I think whatever is blocking sensors also blocks us from communicating. Weird, as the hangar doors are not even closed yet."
"Tiberius, how about you and I go and check out the Engine room?" Buzzed the Rodian Jedi Hunter in heavily accented basic.
"Ah rodian, my how quaint." Muttered Tiberius.
"Who are you exactly?" Tiberius asked again.
"Dyl'Jo'Ban from Clan Tarenum."
"Ahh Tarentum. Why not, you make excellent cannon fodder. You two, follow us." Pointing to two other members the caminoan strode out into the corridor and headed down a dark, dank corridor.
"The Force feels strange on this ship..." Muttered Ban.
"And how would you know Rodian?" Queried Tib
"Hunter's instinct. Coupled with the Force makes for a worthy adversy."
It was at this moment that Ban felt a small surge in the Force, dropping his hand onto his holster he found his DL-44 modified pistol and brought it up in one smooth motion and aimed it at a point not too far ahead, a utility droid trundled into view squeeled and ran away.
"Very good Ban!" Came Tiberius's mocking laughter.
"Better safe then sorry...." Muttered Ban
- The Guardian named Ossus al'Tor had remained completely silent during the entire time the team has been on the vessel, He continued to pace around a small corridor on the ship in specting what seemed to crates in a small room that appeared to have no doors or controls.
He continued to search around a lineup of five or six crates. The gravity did seem off quite a bit in this room, Ossus called to Gaidal "there seems to be a malfunction in the ships gravity generator in here", "Or the room is magneticly protected"
In a flurry of fast thought Ossus and Gaidal felt something happening and lunged out of the room as a purple force field ignited. "What the Hell was that"? Ossus said ina rather stern voice" Gaidal replied "It must be some sort of jailcell or something" But why would it be here instead of in a brig
By now the purple force field had been flickering off and on for a while, Its just the wiring gone bad. Gaidal noticed that they had been alone for a while while the others were back in the area everyone departed from. "we should go back" proclaimed Gaidal.
Ossus stayed for a few seconds and inspected the room with his eyes. His flashlight flickered on a shiny object in the back corner. Ossus thought to himself "what is that, I can feel it its not big" at that moment Ossus spread out his right arm and used the force to bring it to him.
The object was short about 30 centimeters long, The plating on it was stained reddish brown, it looked like blood. Ossus thought to himself as he activated something on it and a green beam sprang out and Ossus quickly deactivated it and ran towards Gaidal.
It was a lightsaber!?......
"Now, my scanner says there is an engine room behind these walls," Ban mumbled. "It'S going through the whole ship. But we've been around the room thrice, and no door."
"Likely the door is on a lower or upper level," Tiberius remarked, sounding like a wise ass.
"I've come to that conclusion, too." Maybe he'd smack Tiberious later, for now, he would be happier to find an entrance. "Is it my imagination, or did gravity change again?"
"Your imagination. Like with the droid that spooked you," Tib replied.
Muttering something in his own language, tired of basic anyway, Ban started to circle the room once more, but the Taldryanite stopped him. "What good will that do? We're wasting precious time. Let's see if the lifts are working to get to the lower areas."
"And why not to the upper?"
Tiberious shrugged. "In most ships, engine rooms are down in the back."
Mumbling in his language again, the Rodian followed Tib, still scanning to be on the safe side. Translated, it meant something like "Most species have their reproductive organs between the legs, too, and I'll find out if you are one of them."