Welcome to House Galeres’ fiction thread! Below you’ll find updates relevant to House events and competitions.
Consul’s Office, the Citadel
Estle City, Selen
Kordath almost wished he’d been on the Serpentine Throne for this. The stone chair was uncomfortable as hell, and the room itself sometimes made him feel uneasy, but at least there was no desk. As it was, his was now covered in datapads and flimsiplast files. The culprit of this littering stood on the other side of his desk, an expression of very clear consternation on her usually genial features. Qyreia hadn’t looked this angrily at him since the early days of his Aedileship under her, when his tail had wandered somewhere it shouldn’t have. Given the paperwork, he wasn’t sure if this was going to be a better or worse experience.
“Wha’s all this then?” he asked, fingering through some of the folders. “When I’d heard ye were coming up, I thought it’d be more of a social call.”
“How long have you known about this?”
“About the damn Collective coming up on our doorstep! Haven’t you read any of the recent intelligence reports?!”
Admittedly, the Ryn had been preoccupied with more personal matters of late. Between losing Uji Tameiki on Canto Bight and the ever-looming issues with Zujenia, he’d rather assumed his Proconsul was taking care of things. Terran was apparently not quite on the ball either.
He ruffled his hair in thoughtful frustration. “Dinnae we beat the Collective? Dusk Station an’ all that?”
“A lot of them made landfall. A lot.” As the Zeltron spoke, her Kaleesh Aedile — now almost more machine than flesh — watched quietly from the corner. It made the intrusion into his office all the more obnoxious, if unnerving. “I know you guys are preoccupied with the riots and stuff, but now we’ve got Collective on our goddamn doorstep.”
“What d’ye want?”
“I need the DDF; at least the ones here on the ground. I intend to remove the Collective troops as a threat. Up to them if they decide to surrender or not.”
“What about Spectre Cell? Can’t they do this without draggin’ the whole blasted military into this?”
“There’s at least six hundred enemy troops that we’re contending with, and they’ve been here for months now! A team of mercs and Force users, no matter how special of snowflakes they are, aren’t gonna be able to tackle that solo.”
“We need those soldiers to maintain order here in Estle City,” Terran said, finally breaking his silence just as the Zeltron merc’s vehemence was breaking his patience. “We’ve terrorists and insurgents already here to contend with.”
“And you done a bang-up job dealing with that, haven’t you? A plague and a famine, only one of which you’ve managed to solve, much less address. You fracking snots are so busy licking your wounds that you don’t know how to get forward momentum anymore. Atyiru karked us at the beginning, even when I had connections that’dve gotten us food and meds. Satsi did jack-all, and now you guys are sitting around with your thumbs up your choobies!”
“That’s enough, Qyreia.”
“Frack you, Terran! I’m offering to take care of a problem for you. The least you can do is give me the tools to make it happen. You think the insurgency is bad now? Wait til there’s a Collective battalion inside Estle. We hit them now, while we still have some initiative, and we can prevent things from getting worse. Hell, the locals might even start seeing us as competent again.”
That caught the Shadow Lord’s ear, his tail perking of its own accord. “How so?”
“We show them we are not weak and flaccid as they think now,” Rrogon said from his corner. “My Quaestor has already found a potential candidate within the local media that could help spread the word.”
The Clan leaders shared a glance at one another. Taking care of the infestation by the Collective remnants was one thing, and they’d already internally decided to support the hot-headed Arronen’s plan. Winning back some of the hearts and minds though? Everyone had seen the battle over Selen, either through some holonet broadcast or just by stepping out into the streets. Finishing off the failed invasion and having it televised could do wonders for the Citadel, to say nothing for the Selenian government as a whole. It’d give back some of the faith the people had lost.
“Arright Q,” Kordath said, rubbing his tired features, “you’ll get your troops. Promise me you’ll keep the collateral damage to a minimum though, yeah?”
Fort Blindshot, Selen
As if her Aedile wasn’t rough enough around the edges, having both of her “murder lizards” in her office simultaneously made the space feel exceptionally small. Her adjutant, a Selenian sergeant named Jelenko sat at her desk near the door, while a short-haired Selenian woman in durable-looking clothes sat casually on the desk’s corner. Rrogon stood by Qyreia’s side while Grot remained standing on the other side of the Quaestor’s desk, having foregone the offered seat.
“What business do you have for the Spectres?” his deep voice growled matter-of-factly, as though there could be no other reason for being called to the Zeltron’s office.
“You’ve been reading my reports, right?”
“Of course. That is part of my duties.”
“Then you know the remains of that failed invasion a few months back are coming out of the woodwork. Bigwigs finally decided to do something about it, and since we’ve got the right ties,” she nodded toward the DDF sergeant, “they asked us to handle it.”
To most of the assembled, the chuckle that escaped the Kaleesh warrior’s lips came off as a cough. Right. They asked us, Qyreia could almost hear him think.
“I’ll be forwarding your mission dossiers to you shortly to disseminate to the Battleteam.”
The Trandoshan grinned wickedly, then motioned to the one unknown entity in the room. “Who is she?”
“Mercy Braithe,” the Selenian said, stepping confidently around the massive reptilian. “I’ll be your public affairs liaison for this venture.”
Grot’s slitted eyes scrutinized the woman for a long moment. “I will not babysit a reporter,” he hissed.
“Good thing I’m not just any reporter,” she interjected before Qyreia could respond. “I did my two years with the DDF, and I’ve been doing hotbed reporting ever since. If anything, I’ll be babysitting you.”
“Okay kids,” Qyreia said through her suppressed laughter, “that’s enough. Grot, you think the Spectres are good to go after their last round of missions?”
He smirked, flashing his sharpened incisors. “They will be prepared for the hunt.”
“Good. ‘Cause there’s a lot riding on this. How we do here can affect us a lot more than we might even anticipate.”
South of Estle City
Small pits in the ground were still smoking from the ambush that had taken place almost an hour before. Dajorran Defense Force troops were scattered throughout the area, some in a perimeter while others scoured for any hidden Collective forces or equipment. Qyreia stepped out of the LAAT/i with her entourage — though to call it “hers” was something of an overstatement — dressed in DDF fatigues that were rather more pleasant than she’d expected. A little stuffy for the heat that wafted through the air, but she managed well enough. Mercy Braithe, the reporter that had so keenly if unknowingly come into Arcona’s employ, walked out from behind a column of smoke rising from a wrecked speeder.
“Miss Braithe. Good to see you’re all in one piece.”
“You as well… colonel?”
The Galerian Quaestor leaned close. “I had to wear something. Now,” she said, turning away from the group following her and guiding the reporter along, “tell me what’s been happening. I’ve gotten rather little from my own people.”
“You mean the big lizard guy?”
“Especially him. Owes me at least a couple reports, and then some.” She eyed Rrogon meandering through the battlefield, reminding herself that she had two murderlizards in her employ to worry about.
“DDF got wind of massed troops in the area thanks to some aerial recon; stragglers from the air raid you coordinated. From what I’m being told, it was a decent chunk, but it definitely wasn’t all of them.” They passed a small line of prisoners marching in the opposite direction accompanied by several guards. “I did manage to get a few good shots of one of your people during the fight.”
Braithe passed over her holocam, flipping through several dozen recordings and image captures before coming to one that most definitely had Satsi Tameiki brawling with some Collective troops. Well, seems some good might have come out of this after all. Flipping through the other files, she also saw the very obvious image of a certain Devaronian, though the image was blurry at best.
“You get anything better than this?”
“Some vid shots, yeah.” Her tone was less than motivating. “Listen, I know you were hoping for some big victory shots with your guys, but either they weren’t there or they didn’t bother to get me in the loop. What I got won’t be worth much to the general public. At best, you might get some holonet message board activity.”
Qyreia sighed, looking over the small patch of devastation. “And they’ll all be wondering why the Citadel didn’t manage to do more to help.”
“It’s not your fault. Just… I’d been hoping for a lot more.”
Consul’s Office, The Citadel
Estle City, Selen
“Something’s better than nothing, Q.”
Kordath’s tone was conciliatory. He’d gone over all the battle reports with the Zeltron. Grot, for his part, had done a fair job in the pre-deployment training and the air battle that had ensured air superiority in vicinity of Estle City; Satsi’s raids and headlong charges into enemy camps did manage to bolster some troops’ morale; and Maaz Sawyer was seen in the coordinated assault that took a small fortified outpost near Estle. Peeling back some of the logistical documents, it was not difficult to see the hand of the Shadow Lord in many of these same activities. As much as he avoided conflict, the Ryn had made a good account of himself in all this.
It almost made the disappointing results embarrassing.
“We pushed ‘em back,” the Zeltron said as she tossed the datapad onto the table and kicked up her feet. “They’re not gone though. If they don’t disperse entirely, they’ll fortify their strongpoints and make removing them that much harder.”
“Know what the big takeaway I see is?” The merc looked at Kordath skeptically. “Estle City is safe. They were on our doorstep and now they’re not. And what’s more, we’ve identified some o’ their big bases.”
“Which the DIA and DDF will get all the credit for taking out.”
“Qybbles, will you shut yer yap and relax?!” The Force user paused and cleared his throat. “You did what you could. Next time we try this, we’ll just have to call in the Clan. Can’t ask it all of the Houses on their own.” That seemed to placate the Zeltron, if only partially. “How’s yer reporter friend angling this?”
“She said she’d try to spin it in a good light for us.” She sighed frustratedly. “Guess it’s like you said: something’s better than nothing. Doubt it’ll take much heat off us here, though.”
Selen, Arcona Citadel
The Juggernauts body ached like it always did just standing there doing nothing. It had been a few hours since he and Qyriea had been summoned to the emergency meeting concerning recent events.
Those few members of the Arcona summit that had remained on Selen and a scant collection of Arconae that decided to show up stood around the throne. Kordath went over the steady reports that had been coming in from Port Ol’val, and what the Ryn had said so far wasn’t good. Lucine had been taken out of commision from an assassination attempt, but was recovering. And Tali…
The Sith closed his eyes and muttered a silent, unheard prayer for her. He understood what she was going through. He knew that pain of losing a child and wished it on very few, let alone the Twi’lek. He quickly recovered as the Shadow Lord finished the latest report and silence filled the room, broken only by low muttering and quiet conversation.
Kordath was the first to break the quiet. “Right, it seems bad but ya all know they will pull through this," stated the Ryn grimly, his eyes moving to each person in the room.
“Any new information on the shooter?” asked Terran, his face a hard shell, showing no emotion.
“Nothing yet, it’s like the fracker disappeared into thin air,” hissed Qyriea. “We have people searching, and our more imbedded spies from the DIA all have their feelers out.” She finished before slowly moving forward.
“Qel-Droma will recover, but we also have the ongoing issues on the home front to worry about,” piped up Grot who stood next to the hulking Kaleesh. “Ever since the riots, and the Collective’s attacks, the city has been slowly dying. People are still starving and scared out there; we saw this firsthand when the Specters went to help in a local homeless soup kitchen.”
“He’s right, the people were scared to even come into the building with us in there and not even half of the projected numbers showed up to eat,” confirmed the Sith.
“What can we do?” asked Timeros, his cold gaze landing solely on the pair.
“I had an idea for that,” Skar interjected as he stepped up, passing his Quaestor. “The Collective has been hounding us for some time now. We have nearly driven them off our planet, but somehow those that remain have proven difficult to rout. On top of that, we still have no idea where and how they are amassing the supplies they need to harass us like this,” he paused briefly for a second to center his thoughts. “I think it’s time to harass them back,” the Kaleesh stated simply while looking over the Summit.
“Skar, that’s a great idea and all,” Zujenia spoke up, her silent presence broken. “But we still have no idea where they are based.”
Low mutterings filled the room as doubt began to stir around until it was silenced by Qyeira
“Hey, shut up and let Skar finish,” she spat looking annoyed and near ready for violence.
Not skipping a beat, Skar continued while the Summit waited. “If the Collective had a world they were based on, we would have found them by now. There aren’t that many planets in the system able to support such an effort without notice. Therefore I believe they must have a starport somewhere in the void that has, as of yet, gone unfound.”
Some nods of agreement followed this statement before he continued
“I believe that if we used the Nighthawk with its small size and speed to our advantage. We can find and use our new ships to locate and prey on the supply convoys going to and from that station. We can therefore resolve our supply problems and get the Collective off our back for some time while we rebuild and bolster our stocks, much like the raids on Meridian."
Some were filled with approval while other held a quiet scepticism.
“S’my kind o’ plan,” commented Kord, although there was a slight hesitation in his voice, But before he spoke Terran voiced his concerns. “Can we really afford to send a ship on what could possibly be a fool’s errand? Not to mention what happens if it gets captured.”
“It’s the only option we have at the moment, unless you got something better to offer!” Skar snapped as he looked the Kiffar dead in the eyes.
Nothing was said and the tension in the room only grew, until it was broken by the Kaleesh. “I will personally lead the mission myself to insure its success. I know the Nighthawk and its crew well. We will not fail in this,” he said, confidence filling his metallic voice.
“Do it,” the Ryn finally agreed.
Taking his cue to leave, the Sith spun on his heels before marching out of the throne room and meeting one of the military aids outside of it. “Send a message to the Nighthawk. Have them stand ready to leave orbit within the hour. We have a new mission,” Skar spoke firmly, striding past the young Human.