All Torn Asunder, And None Left To Mourn
[OOC: This is based on a story I was working on before Gaidal left the Brotherhood and I went on hiatus in the Rogues. As such, it's been rendered somewhat useless by the passage of time and my abscence. Nevertheless, I still see a shadow of possibility that similar events could occur.
The backstory is as follows:
It is 5 years after the Swarm War. The Galactic Alliance has made it's first steps to rebuilding Coruscant. The title of Grand Master has been assumed by Jonaleth Isradia, following his assassination of Grand Master Cotelin during a bloody, vicious coup d'etat. Lorien Sinclair Dupar is a renegade Sith Warlord, one of many disillusioned members of the Brotherhood - the majority of which hail under the broken banner of Clan Plagueis or the leadership of Muz Keibatsu and his family. The other clans have either sworn allegiance to Isradia, fallen to his forces, allied with the renegades under the banner of the 'Order of the Fallen', or, like Lorien, have struck out against Jonaleth alone, working as independent cells.
As the Alliance deals with the growing threat of Jacen Solo's bold maneuvering, and the Jedi suffer a division in their ranks, dark forces, old demons even the Sith once feared, roam the darkness between the stars. The balance is lost, and time is fast running out to set it right. The only hope rests in the impossible -- uniting the Dark and Light-siders into one cohesive force to fight back this ancient threat from Humanity's Cradle.
4June 2007: The story is - with permission of all involved parties, going to Fanfiction.net once completed. Thus, I've decided to use the following posting order:
#1 -- Macron
#2 -- Muz
#3 -- Aabsdu
#4 -- Scorps
#5 -- Shin'ichi
I'll make posts to keep the story flowing in the general direction I had originally planned. To you guys, I look to guidance to make sure I represent others with some modicum of accuracy, as well as to set me straight if I'm starting to god-mode or glory-hound situations. This was always meant to be a group effort.]
Lorien Sinclair sat in the command chair of the Sorrowed Magdalena, her face grim as the destroyer exited hyperspace. Mon Calamari was not, and never would be, one of her favorite places to have to resupply at.
Especially with the newly formed Galactic Alliance operating from here.
Lorien shook her head bemusedly. Why was it that when things went to the scyks, the first thing suggested by the bigwigs was to start from scratch? Republic, Empire, Alliance -- the result always played out as the rich and powerful amassing more wealth and power, and everyone else paying for their ignorance.
"Cap, we're being hailed."
Lorien turned her gaze to her navigator. James Verhoeven was a Maadaerkhai like her, but one who seemed to come from the line of dark-humored cynics that remembered the Cradle. Young as he looked, one glance at his eyes, and you knew better than to assume that he was just some kid.
"Lemme hear it," she said, the rasp in her voice - a consequence of taking Force lightning to the throat - emphasizing the edge to her tone.
James toggled a switch. A Calamarian voice echoed through the room.
:Unidentified ship, this is Alliance Control. Identify yourself, and state your business in the Mon Calamari star system.:
James spoke, his voice easy-going - a feeling not mirrored by his face. "This is the Raevyn's Fayth, Alliance Control." he said, "We're in need of resupply and planetfall. We've had a long journey."
Lorien grimaced as her mind ran through what had to be happening down there - no doubt the tower had positively ID'ed them. The Magdalena wasn't exactly a tramp freighter, and she hadn't made any friends within the former New Republic's top brass when she last came out of the Regions. Add to that, the firefight they hightailed out of near Hapes, and.....
:ID verified Raevyn's Fayth. You're cleared for Foamwander Beacon Bravo-Echo Nine. Welcome to Mon Calamari.:
Lorien spoke, once the comm pinged close.
"That was too easy."
James looked over his shoulder at her. "You'd prefer being shot at?"
Lorien nodded, her lips tightening in a frown.
"'Least that way, I know where I stand," she murmured.
Lorien stood up, and made her way to the hatch.
"Keep the engines hot. I don't want to be caught flat-footed," she said over her shoulder.
James muttered something in response, taking the command chair. Lorien didn't catch it as she made her way to the medical bay.
"Khrys, you coming?" she said as she entered the medbay.
A tall, brooding man with dark hair and foreboding eyes came out from behind a medical scanner, his face stormy.
"Pass," Khrys Aerun growled, not even bothering to look at her.
Lorien groaned. "How long are you going to be like this?" she asked, more than a little fed up with his attitude. "There was nothing we could have done."
Khrys was Hapan, and like so many Hapans of the current monarch's generation, hotheaded and tempermental. Their recent trouble in Hapan space - brought about because Khrys tried to spring his sister from being executed, had turned into a complete and utter cluster frag, topped off by their being used for target practice by several Hapan Battle Dragons.
Khrys' information had been late in coming. They didn't make it in time.
"Spare me your platitudes, Sinclair. You have family to go home to," he snapped.
"Wrong on both counts, fella. The 'Vong blew up Nar Shaddaa, remember? Besides, what little family I had left was killed long before you and I crossed paths."
Khrys shrugged, indifferent.
Lorien threw up her hands in exasperation. "Fine," she ground out, "You wanna hate? Hate Solo for executing your sister, but don't hate me. I didn't have to back your play, fella."
Khrys eyed her with cold frustration, impotent rage like lightning in his eyes.
"Just leave me alone, Lorien."
Lorien sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger.
"All right. You at least have a list of what you need?"
He handed her a flimsiplast sheet. She eyed him for a moment, sighed, and walked out.
They had to be at least a fire team strong at the bottom of the ramp, weapons held at port arms. Each one eyed her, the lightsaber at her hip, and trained their weapons on her.
"You can just turn around and leave, Lady Sinclair. You will recieve no supplies here," the one on point, a Calamarian, said, his voice iron.
Lorien eyed him with contempt. "It's like that, huh? I thought this was a free port."
The Calamarian flushed in barely contained rage. "Not to Jedi-killers and terrorists," he spat.
Lorien grunted in unsurprised annoyance. "Typical hypocrasy," she said, voice cold and resolute, "Don't you blowhards get tired of trying to look so innocent? You lot killed your fair share of them, too, remember? Or was that so-called 'Peace Brigade' just a mutual butt-kissing support group?"
The Calamarian drew his weapon, and aimed it at Lorien's head. "At least I'm not cut from the same cloth as the Emperor," he snarled.
Lorien sighed, unimpressed with the fish-man's machismo. "Whatever you wanna believe, big boy." She extended a particular finger, brought it to her head in a mock salute, and walked back up the ramp.
Back onboard, she made her way to the bridge. James saw her face and wisely kept his mouth shut, moving back to his station.
Lorien toggled the helm controls on, and pulled them away, her face stony.
"James, contact Macron on Hypori. Tell him we need to talk," she said, her voice cold as a Hoth snowstorm.
James nodded, sighing as he established a link with Macron. He just hoped that Keibatsu was willing to hear Lori out.
Macron looked up from his lab table as he sat pondering the data. The comm had interrupted him, and his R-3 unit was chirping away. The flayed Ewok screamed again, and Macron smacked it hard with an armored fist, knocking it unconscious. “Shut the hell up, fur-bag. I never gave you permission to scream,” he muttered. “Freaking Ewoks.” The droid nudged his leg as it rolled back and forth.
“Who?” he asked the droid. “Lorien? You’re kidding me… last I saw her, the woman wanted to fight in the Lounge. She has guts.” A deep chuckle escaped his blackened lips as he licked his metal teeth. “That would have been fun,” he mused evilly. “Put her through, you retarded bucket of bolts.”
The face of James Verhoeven appeared on the view screen and was replaced by Lorien Sinclair’s. “Mononoke,” she stated in her cold voice. “Got a moment?”
Macron sat back in the Ewok hide chair with a squeak of leather. “Sure, Lorien. Been a long time. I love that cold anger you carry, it’s very becoming of a Sith. What’s on your mind?” he steepled his fingers as his senses reached out into the Force, seeking threads of trouble and intent.
“We’ve been far out on the Rim, and are in need of supplies and re-fueling,” she stated simply. “I knew you were close. Can we land? Also, I’d like to chat with you about a matter of interest.” Her demeanor indicated that the matter was important.
The Sith leaned closer to the holoprojector as his feral yellow eyes lit up. “Interest? I see. How did you… oh, never mind. Sure, drop in for a spell. Make sure your crew behaves themselves, or they’ll end up as my playthings,” he giggled. “I’ll have an escort meet you at the landing deck. Were you followed?’ he said with a frown.
“We had some trouble with the Mon Cal, so perhaps,” she shrugged. “Nothing you can’t handle.”
The alchemist nodded. “Ah, the sushi-heads. See you then,” he canted as the screen went dark. The madman turned to his droid. “Ready the Sith Battle droid detail, and have six of them meet the ship when it lands. I trust Lorien-somewhat- but her crew I do not know. And get me a line to… Muz. I sense something strange about this event. He must know.”
The Magdalena exited hyperspace, it's sublight engines a dark jade against the endless night. Through the viewport, Lorien could see Macron's current base of operations.
"Real nice place, this Keibatsu haunts," James said with a dour expression on his face.
Lorien smiled a gallows' smile. The installation was true to Macron's style -- an object lesson in madness, irrationality, and an excessive love of heavy firepower. Looking like a dark, warped version of the failed Shadow Academy space station, the thing was all jagged edges, looking like a living shock collar, one with a penchant for bloodletting.
Khrys walked over to the center seat, his voice one of quiet contemplation.
"Do you trust him at his word?"
Lorien's eyes never left the controls as she brought them into an approach vector on one of the readout screens before her.
"I don't have a choice until we get inside. Then, we'll see."
"He and his 'family' are not with the Brotherhood anymore, Lorien. The old rules don't apply," the Hapan said.
"Neither am I, Khrys, and for the same reasons," she said. toggling a switch. "Mononoke, we're ready on our end. Give us the signal."
:Confirmed, Lorien. Transfer slave sequence now.:
James' fingers danced across the console, his eyes scanning lines of code. After a moment, he turned and looked at Lorien.
The squad of modified Super Battle Droids at the bottom of the ramp surprised Lorien a little. More armored tank than infantry unit, SBD's were powerful enough as it stood, even after all this time.
Macron's, however, were just a contiuation of what they'd seen outside. The primary and tertiary weapons emplacements on their 'arms' were larger, permanently extended due to the size of the charged particle cannon emitters. What once had been a quick-draw system now looked like some kind of tactical gauntlet.
A secondary tracking system was affixed to their left shoulder, its 'eye' tracking their every move.
James whistled in appreciation.
"He doesn't fool around, huh?"
"James, stay with the ship. Khrys, with me."
Khrys handed her her weapon belts, her lightsaber, and her shryke blades. James walked back up the ramp, a parting quip on his lips.
"Hey, see if he'll part with one of those SBD's. We could always use some extra muscle."
"Says the man without any muscle."
A door opened at the far end of the docking arm, and Macron stepped out, a laconic smile on his face. Even from this distance, the alchemist's mad eyes glittered.
"Still pissing off those higher on the food chain than you, Dupar?" he asked.
"Eh, it's a living."
Macron eyed Khrys.
"Have we met?"
"No, Lord Keibatsu," was the gunslinger's response, "but I know of you and your family."
Lorien eyed her companion warningly.
"You'll have to forgive Khrys. One of his siblings ran afoul of Muz, or so he claims."
"You play with fire, you get burned."
Lorien grabbed Khrys by his left bicep when the Hapan started to take a step forward. He eyed her, cold rage in his eyes.
"Back in the ship," the Warlord said in a tone that brooked no defiance. Khrys growled, then stormed back up the ship, but not before reaching his hand out, Force-crushing a small maintenance droid that had the bad luck of coming down the ramp.
"I like him. He's raw, like you were when we first ran across each other." he said.
Lorien sighed, nodding.
"Unfocused, too. I'm getting tired of pulling his ass out of the fire when he doesn't know to back off."
Macron nodded sagely. Lorien handed him a small object wrapped in blood velvet.
"The bad thing is, he and I both share that trait. Otherwise, I'd have never found this."
Macron opened the velvet wrapping, revealing a metallic fragment, dull green in the night. He turned it over in his hands.
"What is it?"
"Ancient technology. My guess is a key."
Macron eyed her dubiously.
"What makes you think that?"
Lorien's eyes flashed, making the lenses of her glasses look like stars in eclipse.
"It was in Jonaleth's possession up until seven months ago. Along with several other pieces."
Macron's head shot up.
"You stole this from Isradia?"
Lorien shook her head.
"No. Someone else did. Unfortunately, it cost them their life."
"So why bring it to me?"
"You remember the rumors that Jonaleth's coup was made successful by an outside force?"
"Of course. There's no way he could have usurped control without outside help."
"I have contacts in Maadaerkhai territory. Their conclusion is that Isradia's supporters are extragalactic, like the Vong."
"What makes them so sure that's the case?"
Lorien produced her half-staff, Maalaerosa.
"See anything familiar?"
Macron looked, then understood.
"The material's the same."
Lorien's face was grave.
"What little inside help I have within the Brotherhood tells me that their ranks are being... altered... somehow."
Lorien handed him a holoprojector. The records it displayed were gruesome.
Macron eyed it, his mad eyes grim.
"I take it this is not something he intends to limit to his own people."
"They were first. Any of Muz's Fallen that he's got his hands on are either put through the same process, or...."
Macron finished the thought.
"....or they're food."
Macron handed her the artifact, and the holoproj.
"I think you'd better talk to Muz."