A read-only archive of discourse.darkjedibrotherhood.com as of Sunday May 01, 2022.

[Arcona] House Galeres - Operation: Revival


Welcome! this will be a three-week (3), House Galeres Run-On focusing on cooperation and unity of all the teams. Prompts will follow the main fiction and periodic updates will be included.

Each Battleteam will work both together and within their own teams for the Run-On, and will be posting in this single thread. Be focused on both each other and your own tasks, and try to keep your posts and stories cohesive. Be conscious of what the other teams are doing (you’ll even have some help with this). An OCC (Out of Character) thread has been set up as well. Communication is the most important part of Run-Ons, so talk to each other.


If you are a general member of the House, jump onboard with any of the House Galeres Battleteams of your choosing. Just make sure to use Tags to indicate who you are with and your location at the beginning of each post.

Do to this, you may use Markdown formatting or bracket formatting. Please note, however, that Markdown formatting must be applied to each new line.


Battleteam Nighthawk

Body of post

(Please disable signatures when posting.)


  • Minimum of 250 words per post
  • No Maximum word cap
  • Must post at least twice to count for participation credit
  • Grading will be based on post quality using the fiction rubric
  • CI’s will be awarded

You can view the Introduction fiction in the post below. Assignments to follow.

Good luck and have fun, everybody!


Week 1 Prompt:

Spend the first week establishing your team and how they interact with one another. How do you rally together, what are your thoughts on the mission/your assignments, how do you work with the other teams?

Some plot points to keep in mind:

  • The assassin is still in the city as of now
  • Our enemy is Faust Corporation…or is it? We need to know more.
  • We have little in the way of medical supplies and no bacta

The first prompt is mainly introductory, so establish yourselves, build some plot, develop your characters, or just have fun.


S.C.E.P.T.E.R. Headquarters, Selen
CEO’s Office

“Atyiru, take this seriously.”

“Our company is under attack. What makes you think I’m not taking this seriously?”

“A yellow suit dress?”

“What’s my mundane corporate fashion sense got to do with anything? We don’t have to be all darkity and wrapped up in black robes all the time.”

“You can’t even see color.”

“Details, details.”

“Details are important, Atyiru,” the sharp-eyed Captain asserted grimly, heels clacking roughly in time with the Aedile’s as they strode through the conference room doors.

“My friends!” the Miraluka greeted the faces already seated around the table warmly, ignoring the comment as Arcia and Antar moved past her to settle in. “Welcome, welcome! Pleasant days to everyone! Where’s Andrelious? He’s not usually late.”

“Who knows?” muttered the azure-skinned young Togruta twisting idly in his chair, back to the wall of windows that revealed a glittered view of Estle City’s corporate sector. No sooner had he said as much, however, when a portly, graying Imperial man marched rapidly into the room, followed by an odd entourage of a curvy Human who, for once, sported not a hint of a grease stain on her person, his young, personal Fade, and his cythraul Stele padding at his heels.

“Apologies for my tardiness,” Andrelious puffed as he took a seat across from Lexiconus, his brand new Executive Officer sitting next to him. The Human looked harried, stubble on his cheeks, dark circles under his eyes, uniform spit-stained and rumpled instead of crisp. Saskia, too, showed some wear.

“I see parenthood is treating you well,” Sight Nortorshin observed of his predecessor to Rollmaster, a thin, knife-like smile that was no smile at all appearing on his pale, apathetic face.

“Are you implying something, Nortorshin?” Soulfire’s Captain inquired with narrowed eyes, his protectiveness asserting itself before the peace the pair had shared as allies not long before.

“Your weakness, perhaps,” Lexiconus piped up from his isolated side of the table, earning a hateful sneer from Saskia.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen,” called a loud, sarcastic voice from the far end of the table, mirroring where Atyiru stood at its head. The gathered party all turned their attention to the masked, lithe young man. “Kindly shut up with all the o’sik and get to business. Or go find a closet in the hallway where you can work out that unresolved tension. Whichever.”

Atyiru laughed aloud while Arcia’s cold green eyes seemed to sigh all by themselves, without the assistance of her vocal cords. Andrelious’s expression battled for fury or indignation at the gall of the mouthy son of someone as once respected as Zandro. “Lord Arconae—”

“Enough,” a tiny but nonetheless cut-glass voice commanded, icy tone slicing through the rabble. A small projection of Consul Marick Arconae flickered to life on the tabletop, flanked by ghostly images of Legorii and Cethgus. Mixed muttering followed, but soon quieted, despite the way many pairs of eyes remained fixed in anger.

“Ahem,” Atyiru coughed, waving with as much forcibly jaunty cheer as possible. “Now that we’re all here—er, we are all here, right?” she turned briefly to address her own Fade, Jax, who stood just to her right and nodded. “Okay! Now that we’re all here, on to business, eh?” The Archpriestess smiled briefly, and then sobered.

“Our situation is dire. There have been a recent and devastating chain of attacks on the majority of our medical supply lines fronted through this company. In particular, our bacta stores have suffered, greatly. As it stands, at last report, we don’t have any means of keeping troops medically fit,” Atyiru told them with grim bluntness. “Even our reserves on Eldar are nearly depleted following withdrawal from Begeren. The latest shipments that were to replenish our stores went up in flames two nights ago.”

“Who’s behind the attacks?” asked Captain Cortel, Commander Locke furiously taking notes next to her.

“We suspect,” Atyiru emphasized, “That the perpetrators are members of Faust Weapons Corporation. They deal in weapons manufacturing and sales, founder and CEO one Demitri Faust, facility locations unknown. They’re loosely allied with the One Sith somehow, and have mostly been a thorn in our side that was slowly being taken care of through specialized missions from the Consul’s office. Many of you at this table were operatives of such missions, and have firsthand experience dealing with Faust. Tell me, do you think this is something they’re capable of?”

“Could be,” Andrelious stated after little hesitation for thought. “Their forces are impressive, their men well trained. And they did recently lose an entire Imperial-class Star Destroyer because of us.”

“And an underground shipyard,” Lexic announced as he raised his hand high before lowering it and shrinking into his chair, dropping his gaze. “On purpose, of course. Plus, you know, don’t forget all the prototype weapons development, bio-weapons, upgrades…”

“They have big guns,” Sight added. “This shadow war I’ve been running hasn’t been easy.”

“They have Force users, is what they have,” Arcia’s palm clapped firmly against the table. “But every one of these missions was supposed to be no contact, leave no trail. How did they trace them back to us?”

The table grew quiet.

“A spy of some sort,” Nadrin replied easily after a moment. “Every half-decent shabuir has one.”

“I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions,” Atyiru argued. “If they’re affiliated with the One Sith, they could easily know exactly how much more we are than just a special forces unit.”

“Just because you don’t like thinking there’s a traitor somewhere doesn’t mean there isn’t one, Atyiru,” Legorii’s small holo-figure hissed. “And if there is, he or she will be eliminated.”

“Let’s at least consider other possibilities. I’d rather be at the sharp end of the knife than causing the chaos when it isn’t due—”


Arcia stiffened, then leapt up from her chair, mouth falling open around a shout. Glass shattered. Atyiru’s body spun around like a ragdoll and dropped to the floor, scarlet pooling around her skull terribly quickly.

A heartbeat passed.

Jax was quick to react. “Man down!” he yelled, dropping to his knees beside the fallen Miraluka, placing himself between her prone form and the blown-out windows as her cythraul Ivoshar began to howl. Sight bolted out of his chair and ran to help, calling on the Force for its healing power as the dark side swirled from Atyiru’s injured body. Arcia spun, cybernetic eyes scanning the city’s skyline, the nearby buildings, searching for any hint of where the shot had come from. The tiny holoprojections on the desktop flickered, Cethgus roaring while Legorii gave orders furiously off-screen and Marick stood in void-cold numbness.

Lexic, slumped in his chair, halfheartedly flicked his arm around in the general direction of the opposite side of the table as he studied the broken glass. “Their fault. They wanted those of us that were loyal dead.”

“Shut your mouth, you impudent brat! She’s godmother to my frakking daughters! Why would I have her shot?!” Andrelious spat, all his decorum evaporated, surging to his feet. “I should never have spared you!” Saskia’s hand fell to her saber, and Antar darted forward, boldly placing himself before his Captain.

“All of you, stop it,” Nadrin Arconae snarled, unleashing the whole might of his horrible aura, silencing the fighting. “Someone get her to the medical bay. The rest of you, on me. We have a city to canvass before the hour is out.”

“Go,” the tiny projection of their Consul murmured as the room began to clear. Then, the call disconnected, and the office fell dark.


“If you’re watching this,” Atyiru’s voice echoed with morbid cheeriness, tiny and small. “Then my vitals are crashing, and I’m in a poor state. Probably unconscious, in shock, comatose, or dying. How fun. Whatever the case may be, I still have a job that needs doing, so let me declare this formally. With the permission and acceptance of my Lord Quaestor Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae, Lord Proconsul Legorii, and Lord Consul Marick Arconae, until such time that I recover or awaken, I hereby appoint Captain Arcia Cortel of the Nighthawk as my regent and entrust her with the full purview of the commanding power I possess and access to any resources I may have. Should I not recover, I have faith that my fellow Summiteers will replace me properly. In such an event, my will can be found in my quarters at the Entar estate on Gethesmane at a later date. Peace, my friends, and may Ashla, Bogan, and the Force be with you.”

With that, the brief recording blinked out of existence, leaving only the sounds of the medical bay around them. Arcia stood for a moment blinking her verdant eyes and locking her jaw in resolved acceptance. Andrelious’s eyes, however, still flashed to her with haunted disgust.

“There,” Marick intoned quietly. “Your proof.”

“But Soulfire is still a far more elite team than Nighthawk, and I have commanded our armies as a general,” the Warlord disputed. “I should take command, Miss Cortel, not you, her word, Consul’s word, or no word. The only domain you have is an Agave-Class Picket.”

Marick did not say anything, but his glacial eyes settled over Andrelious and managed to somehow express his displeasure without so much as narrowing.

“Didn’t you hear a thing she said?” Lexiconus snapped at the Imperial from where he loitered by the wall. His Sergeant, Meleu, recently reinstated due to the day’s events, put a hand on his shoulder. “Respect her wishes.”

“We’re doing this as a team, Inahj,” Arcia said with simple coolness, gaze sharp. She folded her hands behind her back. “Commander Locke, prepare the crew. All our suspended or otherwise demoted members are to be returned to their positions for the duration of this emergency.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Antar replied, speeding off.

“That’s Mimosa-Inahj. And I—” the former Rollmaster continued to protest, only to be cut off by Lexiconus scoffing.

The Dark Forgean turned to face Arcia before rolling his eyes. “Mrs. Mimosa sounds like an expert with the light-whip.”

“Enough,” Marick stated once more, eyes fixing briefly on the Soulfire Captain before darting back to where Atyiru lay unresponsive at death’s door in her hospital bed, instead of healing in a bacta tank. “Cortel is assigned command. Cethgus is on his way from Kurs’kranak to join the frontal assault,” the Shadow Lord added before he slowly turned and departed the room with Kira beside him.

The three Battleteam leaders of Galeres looked each other over carefully, the tension between them still thick. A civil war had just come to an abrupt and bloody end, but here they were, under attack from a largely unknown enemy and helplessly outmaneuvered. Unity was the only thing that would save their House now.

Arcia spun on her heel. “Can we keep it together for Atyiru’s sake?”


Estle City, Selen
Location Unknown

Sunlight glinted off the silvery rooftop, casting burning bands of gold into the humid air. Tiysha unfurled from her outstretched position, cracking her back and shaking out her arms. With a feral, satisfied little smirk to the building in the distance that now swarmed with like a shaken fire wasp nest, she quickly and efficiently began dissembling her rifle and stand. Packing them away in the slim case she carried slung over her shoulder, the Zeltron gave one last sharp look at her target before setting off at a dead sprint across the roof.

She leapt over a small alleyway and kept moving, her periodic jumps arcing high with some mild assistance from the Force. The woman grinned viciously every time she stretched a little closer to the sun, imagining burning up in it, imagining everything and everyone burning.

Howling a laugh, Tiysha vaulted down into the dark confines of another alley and slowed her pace. Hesitating only a moment in the mouth of the narrow passage, she tabbed the small comm unit in her ear, purring into the device. “Mission successful, Master. I’ll be returning shortly. Shall I drop by for a chat with dear Mister Faust on my way home?” A reply growled in her ear, and she chuckled. “Of course, I’ll be the perfect, respectful little employee. Yes, Master. Tiysha out.”

And with that, the Zeltron woman stepped out into the bustling streets of Estle City and melted into the crowd, leaving not a trace of her presence behind.



Estle City, Selen

Twin doors shot open by an unseen power as the three Galeres strike leaders erupted from them, their combined Force aura pulsating and causing the common folk to immediately remove themselves from the trio’s path. Arcia unknowingly led the pack as each step caused her rage to increase exponentially, with Andrelious immediately behind her and Lexiconus heading up the rear. Not far from the hospital entrance was a docking bay which housed several shuttles, one of which waiting for Arcia to take her back to the Nighthawk. Her cybernetics adjusted and refocused on the entrance to the docking bay to see Commander Locke waiting for her, arms clasped behind his back.

“I’m coming with you, Miss Cortel.”

Arcia halted and turned to face the ex-Imperial. “For what reason do you need to be in ‘my domain,’ Inahj?”

“That’s Mi-” Andrelious began, but was immediately cut off.

“Shut up and answer the question.”

Andrelious rolled his shoulders and shifted his weight, brushing off the blatant disrespect before responding. “Naradas and I have some unfinished business that could possibly assist us in these current events. Since he rarely leaves the ship anymore, the Nighthawk should be my next stop.”

Arcia arched a brow at the mention of Naradas, but left the topic unspoken before turning heel and heading for the docking bay once more. “Permitted.”

When the trio arrived at the docking bay, Antar saluted Arcia with the standard hand over heart and offered her a datapad with the systems status of the Nighthawk that she reviewed in an instant and handed back. Stopping before the lowered ramp to their shuttle, Arcia turned back and looked to Lexiconus.

“Make sure your team is ready to be called upon. Until then, use your assets and find out where that shot was fired. Once the vantage point is located, expand your search and find anyone of suspicion. I will send more details as we receive them,” Arcia spoke calmly and coolly before turning her gaze to a visibly tired Andrelious.

“Let’s get moving, Inahj.”

Lexiconus and Meleu made their way towards a second shuttle as Arcia, Antar, Andrelious and Saskia climbed the ramp into the Nu-class shuttle emblazoned with the hawk insignia that represented the ship it belonged to. Arcia immediately took a seat, followed by Antar and Saskia, but Andrelious remained standing and looked to the cockpit.

“Don’t even think about it.”

Being far too exhausted from his new job of child care and the issues at hand, he reluctantly sat across from Arcia and didn’t offer any retort to her words. The four passengers strapped themselves into their seats as the loading ramp closed and the engines of the shuttle roared to life. In moments they were airborne and shot towards the outer atmosphere where the AGV Nighthawk orbited in its eerie cloak.

AGV Nighthawk
Low Orbit over Selen

The Hangar doors slowly closed aboard the Nighthawk as the four passengers exited their shuttle to be greeted by the Flight Chief. A few words were exchanged between Captain and crewman before Arcia sent him off to continue his duties and then turned to Andrelious and his XO. She studied the two carefully, choosing her words, then nodded to herself before speaking.

“Inahj. You will find Chief Z–Naradas in compartment C4 on this deck, near the armory,” Arcia pointed in the direction she spoke of. “Commander Locke, return to the bridge and bring the crew up to speed. I need everyone at peak performance from here forward. I will be in my cabin, if I am needed immediately.”

Inahj nodded and motioned for Saskia to follow him as Antar saluted and followed Arcia into the turbo-lift. The two remained quiet as the lift travelled up three decks and paused, allowing Antar to step out into the CIC where he immediately began barking orders to the bridge staff. The doors hissed shut and the lift began its ascent to the highest deck on the ship. Arcia rubbed her eyes to force her cybernetics to refocus when the left implant began to beep at her as the lift doors opened.

With a sigh, Cortel exited the lift and entered her cabin through the secondary door before collapsing into her desk chair and looking up at the ceiling. Her new cybernetics were beginning to be a pain with their constant lack of focus and required more fine tuning. The ship’s Captain slowly closed her eyes as she drew herself backwards in time to relive the moments not more than two hours past…

S.C.E.P.T.E.R. Headquarters, Selen
CEO’s Office

Moments before Atyiru’s assault

Her hand hurt.

Perhaps slamming it down onto the table wasn’t the best course of action, but it got her point across. The others were too quiet as they processed her words to the point where Arcia was beginning to lose interest, a slight flutter of her eyes signifying her sudden wave of exhaustion. Someone spoke again, muffled in Cortel’s mind. The use of ‘shabuir’ caught her attention and pointed her it towards Nadrin. Atyiru responded quickly with a back and forth when suddenly something struck Arcia like a molten hot knife through the ribs.


Alarms blared within the Nighthawk Captain as she threw herself out of her chair and opened her mouth to scream at Atyiru. All she heard was a whisper in the Force. All she saw were golden eyes painted on pink skin.

Captain’s Cabin
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Arcia gasped and sat forward in her chair, rubbing her temples vigorously. She immediately stood and hammered the ship-wide communications panel on her desk.

“Commander Locke. Run biometric scans across all of Selen immediately!”

“What are we looking for, Captain?” Antar’s hurried response followed.

“A Zeltron.”


Soulfire Strike Team
AGV Nighthawk

“C4. Naradas and that frakking combination!” Andrelious spat as he and his eldest daughter headed to their rendezvous. The Warlord had not seen his ally since leaving the Nighthawk after the mission to the Hapes Cluster. Since then, communications between the pair had been warm at first, but had mysteriously stopped a few weeks previously. Finally, the ex-Rollmaster had sent a communique directly to his fellow Imperial, demanding to know exactly what was going on. Naradas had simply replied with a request to meet face-to-face.

“I’m not sure how many of these people know about our connection,” the former Imperial continued, directly addressing Saskia. The Archpriestess had added her father’s surname onto her own shortly after her return to Soulfire, despite the fact that they still barely knew each other. That was beginning to change as the pair worked together as leaders of the Soulfire team.

“Who cares, dad? Now, who is this Naradas?” Saskia asked simply.

“I don’t actually know that much about him. He and I are allies. When he first came to Arcona, he came with the news that he’d removed a personal irritation of mine. You’ve probably seen a lot of the intel files on that datapad of yours, given your affinity for getting into such things. Have you ever heard of Zakath?” the Warlord questioned, his mouth turning to a frown as he uttered the Barabel’s name.

“Barabel. Served with Shadow Gate and as part of Galeres. That’s all I could dig up,” the female answered, nervously analysing her father’s face, before continuing. “I wonder if Xathia knew him.”

“That would make sense. They were both part of Arcona when I arrived here. You’ll have to tell me the story between you and Xathia one day. Anyway, Zakath and I? That’s a pretty unpleasant story. Let’s just leave it simple. When Naradas showed up with that Barabel bastard’s lightsaber, was easily one of the best moments of my life…at least until the last few days,” Andrelious explained.

“I’m afraid you’re a little late with the bedtime stories. Save them for the twins,” Saskia hissed.

“Just be on your guard. There was something about Naradas’ last message that was off. The way he wrote it seemed a little different. With the civil war and what’s just happened to Atyiru, it’s likely he’s just incredibly stressed. You would be too if you had to work under that ice bitch Cortel,” the Warlord snapped, moving to pull out his hip flask.

A nearby door slid open. A Human male exited. Andrelious immediately recognised the man.

“I don’t think Captain Cortel would appreciate you doing that, Andrelious,” Naradas smirked. The Security Chief’s statement bothered Andrelious. Naradas had, on the then-Rollmaster’s previous visit, gone to great lengths to ensure that his ally had access to a supply of alcohol. Now, it appeared the Battlemaster had changed his views on the subject. Mimosa-Inahj also sensed great change in Naradas, as if his very essence had been somehow altered.

“Shall we step into my office?” the Battlemaster asked, moving aside to allow Andrelious and Saskia aside.

As the Soulfire Captain walked past, he gazed at his friend.

Were his eyes always purple? the Warlord wondered.


Dark Forge
Kurs’kranak, Eldar

Rubbing his eyes, Kordath Bleu raised his head from the desk it had fallen to some hours beforehand, several data cards clattering to the surface as they dropped off of his face. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d left the Archives themselves for more then a moment to hit the 'fresher station in the hall outside, having his meals delivered sporadically to the research room itself. Usually, the base was quiet when he left the room, which suited the Krath just fine, as he’d been processing a lot of information the last few…weeks? Had it been weeks? It was possible. He’d left his chrono back in his room and hadn’t bothered with going back to get it.

The Knight stood up slowly, stretching out the muscles in his legs and back as he rolled his head about a bit to loosen up his neck. Nobody had come looking for him since all that business with the Hapans, so nothing too exciting must have happened. After all, somehow he always got dragged into the ‘exciting adventures’ when things started going bad.

Picking up the pack he had propped against the wall, he dug in, tossing out one…two…three…multiple empty containers, picking up speed as he went along and exuding an air of panic.

“No, no no no” muttered the Ryn, reaching the bottom of the pack and finding it…empty, “Stang, out of whiskey. Finally. *I…I’ll have to go out…and…I don’t want to leave the room, things happen when I leave the blasted room."

An Archive attendant watched in trepidation as the Krath wandered out, dragging his pack behind him and muttering to himself, before going to check on the research room. Whether it was the mess or the smell that caused her to faint promptly was a mystery for the med-droids.

Kordath stepped out into the hall, noting the lighting was in ‘day-mode’. He grimaced, trying to prepare himself for inevitable socialization. The Ryn also couldn’t help notice a…scent, and slowly realized it was him.

“How long was I in that bloody room anyways?” grumbled the Krath, wandering towards where he recalled his quarters to be.

Twenty minutes later he was feeling more civilized, stepping back out into the corridors freshly scrubbed and smelling vaguely of lavender…and was promptly knocked over by a pair of Obelisk running full bore down the hall. One stopped briefly to pull him back up, giving him a resoundingly painful ‘reassuring’ pat on the back.

“Sorry mate, didn’t see you there. You coming along?” asked the large Human.

“Where? What?” replied the disoriented Ryn.

The man gave him a strange look, “Didn’t get the comm? Somebody shot the bleeding Aedile, put her in critical or something, they’re getting people together to go looking for the shooter.”

Kordath leaned against his door for a moment, processing this information as the Obelisk hurried off towards the Operation’s center. Taking a few deep breathes, he couldn’t help but wonder why anybody would shoot Blinky, and turned to head for the office of the Dark Forge Battleteam. As he neared the room, he realized that he’d been so out of communications since stepping down from leadership of the team that he didn’t even know who was in charge now. Or if he was even still on the roster. But, it didn’t matter, he decided, in a rare moment of angry resolve.

Somebody had shot his friend.


Shadow Academy

He took a deep breath. One in… one out. One in… one out.

‘Last question. Just have to finish this one, and I’m done for the day’ he thought to himself.

Irakom quickly scribbled down an answer, and touched the send button on his holopad. He was done with exams for the day. While he was starting to get up, a message appeared on the right hand corner of his holo. He jolted when he heard the strange beep. He’d have to remember to change that sometime.

Irakom touched the message to open it. He quickly scanned it, thinking it was just spam or the daily newsletter. He was about to click close and delete, when he read a few words that got his attention. Some bloke had shot the Aedile! He was so surprised, he nearly dropped the holopad.


The Krath on duty looked bored. He obviously must have heard the news already. He walked over to Irakom.

“Hey. Irakom, thats you right? You’ve been assigned to go to the medical bay and take a count of how much of everything we have. Take an Acolyte with you to help. Just make sure you get the job done.”

“Alright. I’ll get it done. I swear on my life.” replied Irakom.

He kept a grin on his face the whole time he walked to the medical bay. This was his first real assignment where he was in charge. He was so excited that he nearly forgot to take someone with him. Irakom tapped on the first Acolyte he saw.

They raced to the medical bay as fast as they could. The doctor there was surprised to see them. He must not have been briefed about their assignment. They quickly told him our job and who sent them. The doctor slowly nodded his head a few times, then when they were finished, said to start their work.

After an hour of checking, then another of checking and rechecking, they were getting bored. Eventually, the Acolyte left to do his own things. After the fifth check, Irakom finally thought he was 100% sure that he took in every item correctly. He stood up, cleaned up all of the things he’d brought, and walked out of the medical bay.

When Irakom returned to the Academy, the Krath that gave him the assignment was long gone. In his place was another, older, Krath. He must have obviously known about this assignment because he asked for the count. Irakom gave him the sheet with the numbers.

“We’re running low on mostly everything, but especially on bacta patches. We need a resupply from the Antei.” he reported.


“Woah there. No need to yell”

“Sorry,” he looked ashamed, “Whoever attacked those supply lines killed a close friend of mine.”

The Krath looked down and slowly walked away to deliver the sheet to the office of the Nighthawks.


Dark Forge

Estle City,


A series of large, heavy footsteps echoed the Hangar bay as the Dark Forgean and his Commander rushed onto the shuttle nearby with orders from the Nighthawk. The two males strode inside the shuttle, Reginald the astromech following shortly behind, before proceeding to start the shuttle up. Lexic paced inside the shuttle as it carefully took off, while Meleu sat with a datapad.

“Sir, with the necessary manpower, we could sweep the entire city for vantage points and then margin the buildings with a clear view to the back of the conference room.”

Lexic nodded slowly and continued to pace in his unsettling persona. He looked out the window occasionally at space and sighed. Then in a state of shock, he slumped onto his knees and leaned against a storage door. In quickness, Meleu jumped and kneeled by his Director.

“Lex, we will get through this. I sense your concern for her.”

With a soft nod, Lexic slowly rubs his face and looks at the window.

“She almost died, and we couldn’t do anything.”

Corporate District,

Estle City

In the conference room of the Arconan citadel, the team of seven members burst into the twin doors and begin to set up shop. Donblas, the first to rush in with a forensic kit began to section off where Atyiru dropped and test for blaster emissions. Kyrun, the most attuned in the Force, slowly walked in and sat on the conference table, focusing his mind to probe the surrounding area and district. Kordath the recently returned was outside investigating the security guards and interrogating them. K’tana nowhere to be seen was displayed on Lexic’s hologram running across building surfaces with Meleu. Lexic in his leader persona, set up shop to mark the trajectory of the blaster through the window and from the blaster mark on the wall.

With the assistance of Reginald, they set up a tripod surveying automator which shot a red laser from the glass to the blaster’s shot wound. The focusing green scope opened from the centre of the device and Lexic slowly peered inside to investigate the exact building.

“Definitely Faust.” Lexic nodded with approval.

“What is?” Kyrun replied.

Lexic stood back from the machine and approached the meditating Miraluka.

“The building used as a perch is a financial market for research and development, mainly in environmental markets. From what I remember in the bunker, Faust was keen on developing better starships and land vehicles.”

Lexic turned to the holoprojector which showed K’tana and Meleu running and skidding across rooftops, only to be stopped by Lexic’s presence.

“Men, we need you to investigate the Estle Stock market, the trajectory points to that campus of buildings with the tallest ones in sight. Move now.”

With a sharp salute, the Twi’lek and Human sprinted faster away from their neighbourhood and indirection to the skyscrapers. In a sharp slap of metal from his boot heels, Lexic turned and stormed out the conference room, nodding to his fellow members to continue working. He grabbed Kordath’s sleeve and motioned for them to rush out of the citadel.

Financial district,

Estle City

Speeding across the orange-blue sky of Estle, the grey, slim cruiser whirred harmonically through the traffic. At the cockpit, Lexic concentrated on the campus in front whilst in the burred environment around him Kordath pressed for answers. After several shoves from the Ryn, Lexic came back into focus.

“Lexic! I said why this stock market? Why would they possibly use such an obvious standpoint?” The white haired male said clearly.



“Gravity,” With a sharp nod and a smile, the Togruta had clearly lost the Ryn in this conversation. A protruding sigh left Lexic’s lips before he continued his reason.

“Blaster shots have mass, meaning they are weighed down by gravity. To this Assassin, they need a high enough vantage point to see directly into the back of the conference room, and to have enough height so the shot doesn’t drop too low. Clearly the practitioner isn’t as good with a rifle as they are running or hiding, but we will find them.”

With one soft nod, the Ryn turned back around and watched as the couple drew closer into the spaceport of the Financial market.

Financial Spaceport,

Estle City

The harmonic whirring of the grey cruiser and the blue flashing flares from the underbelly closed in on the bay. With a soft turn down, the cruiser landed and the two doors flipped open with Reginald boosting from the back with his jet propulsion. Together, the Ryn and Togruta shut the cruiser doors and slowly approached two members in the distance.

As they began to tread closer, the brilliant orange and pink in the sky assisted their vision into noticing that a Twi’lek and Human stood waiting. With a soft nod and a shake of hands, Lexic and Kordath greeted them.

“Nice to see you guys. This is Kordath, our diplomatic expert. Kordath, this is Meleu my Commander. This is K’tana, our Twi’lek and resident General. Together we will scour this complex and destroy the Faust corporation with their plagued treason.”

“Sir, you said one of these building was the trajectory location, which is it?” Meleu spoke softly.

“We need to find it, any tall building we scour the windows, roof and comm towers for evidence of them.”

With a slight pause, Lexic slowly looked at his members and they began to split for the night. The chase was on.




Light threatened to invade the dark office, causing the blinds to glow a dull off white. Outside, clouds had begun to form. By their shape and dark grey complexion, one would be safe to assume that it would rain soon. Dull greens and browns dominated the mid-sized office of the Rollmaster for a calming effect. Sight bustled through the space grabbing a datapad here and a printout there. Eventually, the items he grabbed made their way into a satchel that was laid on the desk.

By the door stood a female Mandalorian in full battle dress. The albino’s Fade, Lilly, kept a watchful eye on the hallway. Finally feeling satisfied with his preparations, Sight grabbed the bag and turned to the young woman.

“Time to go. Things should be set here for an extended absence,” the Priest spoke slowly, his voice rough, rage barely contained. He had gotten to know Atyiru rather well over the past few weeks and had begun to consider her a good friend. The two stepped into the hallway, door silently closing and securing behind them.

“Master, the hangar bay is the other way,” Lilly spoke, her sweet voice distorted by the battle helmet.

“We have a stop to make before we go to the ship,” the albino replied, the Force distorting the air around him as his rage swirled like a storm within.

Medical Bay

The pair moved quickly through the hallways of the Medical Bay, the Mandalorian two steps behind her Master. Those unlucky enough not to clear a path for the hurricane of rage found themselves moved, ever so ungently by the Force. Stopping in front of a specific doorway, Sight handed his satchel to his Fade.

“Wait here,” the Priest spoke as the door whisked open. The Krath entered Atyiru’s room slowly, moving as though one small misstep could cause the place to detonate.

Looking down at his Aedile from her bedside, the earlier events played in his head. The shot, the way her body had twisted and went limp, his efforts to heal her. He felt responsible for this, and in a way he was. A pale hand moved to rest upon the Miraluka’s forehead and the Human closed his eyes.

I will find the one who did this to you, and I will make them pay with their life. We will find a way to heal you, just stay alive until then, the thoughts flowed from Sight and into his Aedile’s mind with the assistance of the Force.

Several minutes later the Rollmaster returned to his Fade’s side and the two walked through the halls. Lilly’s eyes scanned everywhere but always came back to look, for perhaps a moment too long, at the Priest. As they reached the entrance to the Hangar Bay, Sight’s comlink chirped.

“Go for Nortorshin,” the Rollmaster answered.

“Chief, have you left Selen yet?” The voice of Arcia Cortel came through crisp and business like.

“No Captain, I’m about to board a shuttle now,” Sight replied keeping his tone neutral.

“Return to the Nighthawk as soon as possible, Nortorshin. I need my Chief Engineer,” his Captain ordered.

“Yes Ma’am,”



Security Chief’s Office
AGV Nighthawk

Zakath smiled slightly as he settled into his chair, gesturing for his two guests to do the same.“Now, before we get started, perhaps you would introduce the lady?”

“Ah yes. Naradas, please meet Saskia Ortega-Inahj , my daughter.”

Zakath offered a polite nod toward the young woman. “Greetings, and welcome to the Nighthawk.”

“Thank you.” The woman’s reply was flat and direct.

“Oh, congratulations on your marriage, by the way.” Zakath’s smile widened. “I confess I was disappointed to have missed the event, but recent events being what they were, I’m sure you understand why I was absent. Oh, and congratulations on the… twins, I believe?”

“Yes, thank you.” Andrelious seemed to gather his thoughts for a long few seconds before continuing on. “But that’s actually one of the reasons I’m here, Naradas. You’ve been acting a little odd lately, and our communications has dwindled somewhat over the past several weeks, and I wanted to check in. Plus with the recent attempted assassination, I thought it might be wise to pool our resources.”

“That seems wise, yes. I was actually about to issue orders to my contacts when you arrived.” Zakath cracked his neck, popping a few bones within. “In fact, I was just-”

“Sorry, but what the hell happened to your neck?” Andrelious’ eyes widened at the livid red scar that stretched across the security chief’s neck. “It looks like someone tried to decapitate you.”

“Oh!” Zakath’s fingers reached up to brush across the vivid scarring. “My daughter. She’s a bit prickly at the best of times, and she wasn’t in the best of moods when she did this.”

“Your… daughter? I didn’t know you even had one.”

“Yes, although I understand the two of you already met.” Zakath’s violet eyes narrowed slightly as he settled back into his chair, clasping his hands together as he gazed at the pair. “The Iridonian, Nath Voth?”

“That psychotic bitch is your daughter?!” Andrelious’ mouth dropped slightly before he leaned forward again, his fists clenching tightly. “Okay, first off, she’s a Zabrak, you’re human. Can’t really be family that way. Second, she’s Zakath’s student. Why in the Nine Hells of Corellia would you consider her your daughter?”

Zakath let a quiet icy chuckle escape him as his smile broadened.

“Frankly, Andrelious, I’m surprised that Captain Cortel did not tell you. You must really get under her skin.” Zakath cocked his head slightly. “Either that or Captain Cortel has a sense of humor after all. I’ll have to ask her sometime.”

“Tell me what?” Andrelious’ lips had tightened into a thin line. “Spit it out, Naradas.”

“You haven’t figured it out by now? You’re slipping, my old friend.” Zakath let another chilling chuckle escape him as he reached into his desk drawer, pulling out a flask and uncorking it. “How is your wrist doing, by the way? Did it ever heal completely?”

“No…” Andrelious’ eyes widened as he suddenly stood up. “Naradas…”

“Is dead.” Zakath remained seated as he gazed calmly at the shocked human before raising his flask in a mocking salute. “To the death of Naradas. May he burn forever.”

“Dad?” Saskia’s voice cut through the sudden silence. But before Andrelious could respond, Zakath interrupted.

“Don’t mind your father, young one.” Zakath said just before taking a small drink. “He’s understandably upset at my return from the Void. And yes Andrelious, I am Zakath, and I’m back among the living, much to the displeasure of Naradas, who is no longer with us.”

“I still sense him, though.” Andrelious hissed through clenched teeth, his eyes blazing at his hated enemy. “You haven’t gotten rid of him completely.”

“Of course not.” Zakath smirked. “We merely traded places. And I’ve already conducted rituals to prevent Naradas from reversing it. For the foreseeable future, he will no longer be with us. You’ve lost your ally on the Nighthawk, I’m afraid.” The possessed human leaned back into his chair. “But I will be frank. I don’t care about you, Andrelious. I never did. We fought, I won. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of the matter. So. Seek no vendetta, and I will pursue none.”

Andrelious stood still for a long moment, conflicting emotions flickering across his face before he managed to compose himself. “Fine. But know that I will be watching you.”

Zakath nodded gravely. “I would expect nothing less. You can expect the same.”

Andrelious exhaled sharply and spun on his heel, marching to the door, his daughter right behind him, before pausing at the entrance. “And you’re not getting your lightsaber back. It’s mine now.”

That earned only a derisive laugh from the Security Chief. “You can keep it, Andrelious. Every time you gaze upon it, know that it was the weapon that struck you down. It was a fine weapon, but seeing as I’m… hew-mon now…” Zakath mockingly emphasized the Barabel accent of human. “The weapon will be of little use to me now. And Andrelious? Give my regards to Kookimarissia, will you?”

A low growl, and then the two humans were gone.

Chuckling softly to himself, Zakath turned to his computer. Just then, the comm unit on his desk flashed. Thumbing it on, Zakath straightened up slightly as a holo of Captain Arcia Cortel sprung into existence.

“Captain.” Zakath greeted formally, inclining his head in a gesture of respect.

“Chief.” Cortel’s face was expressionless. “Your business with Inahj is dealt with?”

“Yes, Captain.” Zakath allowed his lips to lift slightly. “He was… surprised to see me. I take it you did not see fit to inform him of this turn of events?”


Battleteam Soulfire Strike Team
AGV Nighthawk

Saskia was quick to leave the Nighthawk after being ushered away, Naradas or Zakath, whoever the hell he was had reminded her far too strongly of the pilots who spent their time courting the blackness of deep space. They were always the ones whose droids came back looking more than worse for wear, and always suspiciously matted. Andrelious looked annoyed, though the Krath suspected it was more to do with himself for not noticing than anything else.

“Maybe you can ask about Xathia and I, but you know exactly how I work I imagine,” the Archpriestess spoke up suddenly, “I was practically sold into slavery at one point because of the Captain of my ship. So it’s always safer to assume that unless I have to know it for my own life or death, then I will never ask any questions. Makes me popular for my work anyway,” she shrugged. “Though, I wonder if anything has been put on our systems,” Ortega-Inahj pondered aloud, pausing in her stride.

A grunt from in front of the young woman snapped her out of her thoughts. The Warlord was looking more frustrated than she had previously noticed, and she had failed to take any observation that she had ceased walking with him.

“Going to keep up or not?” Andrelious gruffly barked, the flame of impatience steeling the man.


The rest of the Battleteam had gathered in the Headquarters, eager to find out what to do. They were all so restless and bloodthirsty to the Archpriestess. Everyone was clawing to get their share of bloodspill, as red clouded their views. A dry, stretched smile cracked across her unblemished face as her own mind lulled her into what appeared to be the logical.

’Silly little things. What they should be doing is running over the city electronics, finding a glimmer of information to unlock the door and get us ahead,’ Saskia thought, her hazel eyes flickering over the rest of the team, drinking in the emotions before she felt a slight burst of electricity at her right shoulder.

Her head cracked to the side, locking onto the buzz droid she owned. Ruusaan was flicking her ‘limbs’ in an eccentric manner, and attracting the woman’s attention towards the doorway. All the activity in the room, and her droid was bothering about the quiet corridor. Waving the droid back, she turned back to face a still stormy looking Sith, and decided to decline her comments regarding emotions running high to the man.



AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit above Selen

The turbolift doors swished open and allowed Antar to step on to the bridge before it carried the Captain to her cabin. The bridge was dimly lit and the muffled sounds of conversations between officers. The XO could feel the tension of the crew.

The Security Marine saluted and bellowed. “Officer on deck!”

The bridge crew fell silent and looked to the turbolift. Antar knew that his rank demanded their respect and they would follow his orders, but he wanted their trust.

“Carry on, Marine,” Antar said as he returned the salute.

“Sir, we are getting reports that there was an assassination attempt planetside,” Darkblade said.

The XO held up his hand and nodded towards the communications specialist. “Put me on with the whole ship.”

“You’re on, Commander,” she said quickly.

“All hands, this is Commander Locke. There has been an attempt against the Aedile, she is in critical condition. The Captain has been appointed as her regent for the duration of this emergency. As of now, Skar, Erinos, Voth, and Darkblade you are reinstated to your former duties and ranks. Report to your duty stations immediately.”

The XO paused for a moment and tugged at his jacket. He felt more comfortable in his security uniform and was still adjusting to his new rank and position. Antar didn’t like the idea of allowing the crew members who stood against Nighthawk back into their former positions, but he respected the Captain’s judgement and understood her reasons for the order. After all how could she ask the other Battleteams to work together if her crew couldn’t. He took a deep breath.

“I know we have been divided as of late, but that ends now. We are the eyes and ears of Galeres. We are all in this together and we are going to bring this kriffing would be assassin and his employer to swift justice. The Nighthawk has the best crew in the fleet and we are going to be on the front line of this investigation. Chief Erinos report to the bridge ASAP. Carry on.”

The bridge crew was silent for another moment and went back to their duties. Antar stepped up to the Command Center and began to review the incoming intelligence reports. Darkblade entered the turbolift after Celahir stepped on the bridge.

“Good Chief,” the Commander began. “I want you to pull up everything you can on Faust Weapons Corporation. If one of their custodial droids has a loose bolt I want to know about it before their maintenance crews do.”

Before the Kiffar could respond the Arcia’s voice came over the intercom.

“Commander Locke. Run biometric scans across all of Selen immediately!”

“What are we looking for, Captain?” Antar’s hurried response followed.

“A Zeltron.”

“Aye, Ma’am.”

Antar shot a look to the sensor specialist. “You heard the Captain. I want a full scan done within the hour. Pull any assistance you need but get it done.”

He quickly saluted. “Aye, Sir”


Soulfire Strike Team

A spaceship approached at high speed, in the cab a mechanical hand was operating the controls. The man was Aiorus Van Trayus, who had come in search of his former master, Xathia. It had been many years since the man had abandoned his teacher, in favour of seeking revenge for the death of his family. But he felt now it was time to return, the call to serve in his House and His clan was huge and now through the Force, he felt would be needed more than ever before.

Landing in one of the bays he watched as the ship’s door opened slowly, while he was thinking of his former colleagues, were they still alive? Stepping on Selen’s surface, Aiorus quickly felt the true magnitude of the disturbance in the Force. DAMN! What have they done?

Something happened with Aiorus as he felt the atmosphere of pressure and concern in the dark atmosphere of force in that place, suddenly he began to feel an anger that recently he had not felt, slowly his memory the teachings of his former teachers Archean, Selene and Xathia came back.

Quickly, Aiorus looked to the sky and in the distance observed a ship, feeling the presence of Xathia onboard.

I need to talk to her, I need to understand what happens and finish my issues with her, thought the young Jedi Hunter, took his ship and start to follow, his systems detecting the shuttle as being registered to the Nighthawk.

Aiorus thought there she is.


Estle City, Selen
Dark Forge

Kordath pulled his cloak tighter over his robes, the wind whipping the dark clothing about in a frenzy. He was having a surreal time, this high above the city, it was very nearly peaceful but for the howl of the wind moving between the taller structures. Pulling a small flask from the recesses of his robe, he took a fortifying and warm pull of the whiskey within. Despite the momentary solitude after the nerve racking shuttle ride over, Kordath still had so many issues with flight, likely the reason he couldn’t hold a coherent conversation with his new CO, something was bothering the Ryn.

The S.C.E.P.T.E.R. Headquarters building was in full view from his current vantage, but the Krath didn’t expect he’d actually find the actual roost that the shooter had used. They’d set up electronics back in the conference room to get an idea of the shot’s starting point, narrowing it down any further would take luck more then anything else. If Lexiconus was right about it being a blaster shot, any fumes would’ve dissipated minutes after the shot was fired, and it was doubtful the shooter left an empty power pack behind. This felt professional, and it had to be, the Knight realized after a few minutes of silent introspection.

Pulling a small notepad from his robes, and a pen, the Krath stared into the distance for a moment, before he started scribbling.

Shooter: Droid or Force Sensitive. Probable.
Shooting conditions: Incredibly poor, high wind-age, incredible distance.

Droid shooter: State of the art marksmen software to compensate for mass vs gravity and wind velocities, add in randomness of avian wildlife, unlikely.

Force Sensitive: Very probable. Skilled with the weapon, able to use the Force to help the shot land despite wind speeds, keep wildlife out of the way.

Kordath paused for a moment, absently taking another swig from his flask, before cocking his head to the side, feeling several of his squad mates searching nearby.

Atyiru: Very in touch with surroundings, had to be to survive this long, make up for racial ‘handi-cap’. Shooter MUST be Force Sensitive to cloak intentions not only from her but a room full of some of the most powerful Force users on Selen.

Target of Opportunity? Intentional target?

Multiple high ranking members, military in orientation present at meeting, shot the one who believes in healing and diplomacy. Why?

Hypothesis: To sow chaos. The one level head in the House leadership, possibly in all of Arcona, taken out of play. Likely a precursor to further attacks. Forces Galeres personnel to react rather then plan?

Shooter’s location: Unknown, very easy to get lost in a city this size, very hard to track somebody down. If Force sensitive, as current line of thinking suggests, shooter was likely able to reach the surface streets very quickly.

“Bugger it,” muttered the Krath, trying to remember what was in the area around the Exchange. Bankers drank, without a doubt, there would be a bar nearby. Whomever had taken the shot must have cased the area to determine the best vantage point, and with the number of towers, comm arrays, and everything else around here, that had to take days. Ergo, the bartender for the nearest bar likely saw this person coming and going at least once or twice. Nodding to himself, Kordath decided this path of logic made sense.

And his flask was empty.

Grumbling to himself as the wind pulled against him, he wandered towards the rooftop access, spotting his CO’s droid, but not the Tortuga himself. Kordath approached the droid, tearing off the page of notepad, and shoved it into one of the droid’s upper ports, patting it on the top of it’s chassis.

“Make sure the boss gets that, I’m going to go be…diplomatic,” he said with a grin.

Ten minutes later he was in the warm, cheery interior of the local watering hole, which if not for the robes marking him as a member of the Clan, he’d have been tossed out of right away.


Dark Forge

Maximum Security Containment Unit, Cell D-3
20 miles below the Serpentine Throne.
Arcona Citadel, Selen


“Mr. Bnar, your actions in the war have caused depression and desperate measures to rise against Dark Forge. Although your allegiance has always been with Lyspair, your clear tolerance with the rebels and that Arconae family have brought you to high priority. You will commit your time to the White-collar level. Therefore, you will always remain in our sight.”


That had been a week or so ago. So much had happened since then. The Neti wondered if that poor minimum security prison guard had managed to get the blood of his Cellmate off the walls yet. Ah, dissect a few fellow inmates to closely monitor the effects of prison food on organs and you get carted away to a Doto-Type prison unit. The old Krath wondered how long it had taken the old Shadow Lord to find the weak spot of this unit and break out. He also wondered if Mejas had held off on escaping until he had finished carving the rather pretty looking alchemical equations into the stone walls.


The moisture on the roof formed two pearly tears as gravity asserted its eternal dominance. With a maddening drip-drop, the moisture hit the floor, joining its brethren in a small pool, from which the Pontifex drew– in addition to feeding off the Force –enough sustenance to survive. Looking back at the voyage down, the Neti knew he was well and truly trapped. Surrounded on all sides by miles of bedrock, outside the cell a booby trapped hallway, automated turrets on each end, ready to engage and destroy anything that moved. Beyond that, a rough 20 miles of steep stairs, carved into the rock, with small alcoves for additional turrets at 5 mile intervals. And if he survived that, he still had to fight his way up from the lowest Citadel level, through the most heavily guarded Clan facility. And all that to just see daylight?


Hang on?


What is that in the corner? Did the old Consul actually solve the Kressh Equation when concerning the creation of Sith Wyrms?



Later, how much time had passed? The former Shadow Lord was a genius, truly barking mad, but that had never prevented the first circle Shadesworn from anything so why should it have stopped this brilliant being?


While humming the mathematical equation to wookiee DNA, the Pontifex picked up a thin jagged rock and started to carve detailed anatomical illustrations to some of Doto’s ramblings.


How long had he been in this cell? Years, minutes… hang on, where was the comfortable friend?


Ah, much better, “A good day to you too mister drop, did mister drip beat you again? One day my friend.”




Port side Observation Deck
AVG Nighthawk
Low orbit above Selen


Blissful silence filled the observation deck as Skar meditated like he had for the past week. He could feel the cold stare of the Marine that had been assigned to him now.

“Oh, what was his name again? ….Oh yes! Now I remember Raven Dusk was his name.”

Just then the intercom in the room blared to life as the new XO Antar voice came over loud and clear. “All hands, this is Commander Locke. There has been an attempt against the Aedile; she is in critical condition. The Captain has been appointed as her regent for the duration of this emergency. As of now, Skar, Erinos, Voth, and Darkblade are reinstated to their former duties and ranks. Report to your duty stations immediately.”

“I know we have been divided as of late, but that ends now. We are the eyes and ears of Galeres. We are all in this together and we are going to bring this kriffing, would-be assassin and his employer to swift justice. The Nighthawk has the best crew in the fleet and we are going to be on the front line of this investigation. Chief Erinos report to the bridge ASAP. Carry on.”

Rrogon’s eyes slowly opened to reveal the crimson orbs the lay behind someone had dared to try and kill his Aedile and they would pay for this one way or another. Slowly rising to his feet, Skar took his time to stretch his stiff muscles. Pivoting on his heels, the now reinstated Quartermaster gazed at Raven who gave him a brisk salute

“You’re with me Raven we have got a lot to do and not much time to do it in. Let’s move.” and with that Rrogon move to the door while Dusk followed closely behind. Exiting the turbolift on deck five, Skar was horrified by what he saw. His armory was in complete disarray: weapons and armor were strewn about everywhere, the work tables were a mess and boxes of ammunition emptied onto the floor.

With rage in his eyes, Skar looked over that Raven who met his gaze evenly.

“Explain this now,” Rrogon ordered in the calmest voice that he could muster.

“Well me and a few of the other Marines thought it would be a funny idea to trash this place because of the whole feud thing and well,because of the fact that you betrayed all of us when you left so….” the Human did not budge as the Quartermaster’s crimson gaze burned into him.

“You will stay here and clean this mess up. I want it done before I get back. I’m going to go talk to Captain Cortel and see where she wants me in the whole mess. If it’s not done before I get back, I will do worse to you and your friends. Chief Zakath will watch.”

“I would love to see your scrawny little ass try, Kaleesh,” Raven spat back.

Leaving the man to his job Skar pivoted on his heel again, entered the turbolift and pushed the button for deck one with one of his talons. Leaning back up against the wall he thought to himself Hmm i should have done this a few days ago but now is a good time as any.

But before he could think of anything to say to door to the turbo lift opened to reveal the command deck and Antar glanced over to see the Kaleesh standing there without his guard.

Barking an order to the Quartermaster Skar made his way over to the XO and made a quick salute to the man. “What, exactly, are you doing without your escort, Junior Operative Skar?”

“My escort is cleaning up my Armory after he and a few off his friends thought it prudent to trash the whole place, Sir.”

Commander Locke placed a hand on his forehead and glared at Skar. “The Armory is your responsibility. Now get down there and clean it up before the Captain happens upon it!”

“Yes Sir” replied Skar before turning around and heading back toward the turbolift. Pushing the button for deck five, Rogon simply glared daggers at Antar before the doors slid shut with a hiss.

Several minutes later, Skar exited the lift and went to work alongside Raven to clean up the disaster that was his armory. Thirty minutes had passed when they finally had it back to looking like the first day he had set foot on the ship.

Glancing over at Dusk, he saw that the man had been watching him closely the entire time. Shaking his head at this, Skar grabbed a near by data-pad and began to write a message to Arcia.

Captain, the Armory is ready and waiting for your orders…. and I didn’t get a chance to tell you before Antar or Raven could stop me, but I never meant to hurt anyone when I left to fight alongside the Quaestors. I just saw this exact thing happen before and it destroyed the only other family I had… I didn’t want that to happen to this family, so in short, I’m not mad for what you did. In fact I respect your choice, but when this is all over…just know that I’m loyal to Arcona. It’s the only home I have left…. End message.

With the message composed, Skar hit send and went about to setting the right supplies that might be needed for the ground game later on.


Dark Forge

Maximum Security Containment Unit, Cell D-3
20 miles below the Serpentine Throne.
Arcona Citadel, Selen


The Neti did not care how long he had been in the cell. His two companions had given him a great idea!


“Yes, yes … don’t rush me guys!” the Krath bellowed as he continued to copy the alchemical equations by carving them into his own body. Thick sap dribbling down his robes as he traced out the complex designs and formulas. Unnoticed, in the corner, sat an unused bed as gravity pulled another two drops of moisture down from their precarious perch.



Noise rang out in the distance, footfalls had begun descending the 20 mile long stairway. Still the Pontifex carved on, nearly there.


With a thunk, the first set of turrets deactivated as the heavy, steelcapped boots pounded past. 15 miles to go and the Neti had just run out of space on his chest, forcing him to move onto his left arm.


The second set of turrets joined its counterpart in the land of deactivation while the old man moved onto his right leg. 10 miles to go.


Moving onto his other leg, the prisoner failed to notice the third set of turrets deactivate. 5 miles left.


As the boots entered the hallway leading to the cell, twin thunks rang out as the final defenses went inoperational. The Pontifex pulled the shard from his hair-branches and smiled, he had it all!

“Hmm, they certainly ran down the stairs at rather dangerous speed, didn’t they mister Drop? Something must have happened…”

The Krath started to pull the Force towards him in hopes of ensnaring the minds of his new ‘test-subjects’. “Hmm, I wonder where they will transfer me if I do use these 5 in my next experiment?”

As the doorlocks dissengaged, the disturbance altered the rate of the falling water in a minute way…


“Very well done mr. Drop! You beat him! Told you, you could do it!” the prisoner crowed as he started to dance around, succumbing to the sheer joy and elation that coursed through him.

The door swung open, 3 guards moved in - weapons trained on his chest. “Rookie, put him in suppressive cuffs!” the oldest barked. Only noticeable through the Force, the two guards in the hallway grinned, not pitying the rookie in the least. They had once been in his shoes after all.

“GUARD, what is the meaning of this? I asked not to be disturbed when they put me in here. Thus, I expect an explanation.” the senior Equite bit out towards the oldest of the guards.

“Sir, your Aedile was victim of an assassination attempt. You’re needed in the medical center!”

“Hmm, the chance to cut into that one? Take me up AT ONCE! But first…” finishing his statement, the Neti kicked at the wall.


“Now we can leave.” he said, allowing the cuffs to be put on his hands.


Soulfire Strike Team


Andrelious was absolutely seething. He had thought that Zakath was long gone, destroyed by the man he had known and befriended as Naradas. The Warlord felt that, even with the claims Zakath had made, their feud would soon be reopened. He also felt extremely let down by Captain Cortel, and whichever members of the Nighthawk crew had assisted in what his eyes, amounted to the murder of an active Arconan.

“Captain Inahj? Would you like to brief us as to the situation?” Riverche asked, the comms specialist already scanning nearby frequencies for a clue as to what had happened.

“Alright. If you’d all take a seat? I’m not in the mood for any messing around right now! And for the last frakking time, it’s Mimosa-Inahj. You were even at the damn wedding, River! You should know this!” the former Rollmaster bellowed, with such ferocity that the more timid Soulfire members sat straight down.

“Andrelious. We’re not your children. So stop scolding us!” Nadrin piped up, sensing his fellow Sith’s anger.

“Okay…I’m sorry. It’s been an incredibly long day already. Not only is a friend of all of us in critical condition, but I’ve found out some equally troubling news. It appears that Zakath has hijacked Naradas’ body, and walks among us once again. At this stage, I’m not sure that the two are linked, but nothing would surprise me with that slimy little alien,” Andrelious replied, a lot calmer.

Soulfire’s membership all took a seat around the oval table, forming an arc at which the Captain took the apex.

“Just one thing before you begin. I thought you believed Atyiru to be a spy, anyway. Why are you so bothered about what’s happened?” River questioned.

“That was a very long time ago, River. Her and I have warmed to each other since the early days. Sadly it was too late to stop the Entars from getting to her, but we can hope that there’s enough Araave left in her. We don’t want another Cethgus or Timeros, do we?” the Warlord countered, shuddering at the thought of the pacifist turning into a cold-hearted murderer.

“I suggest you avoid family politics, Andrel. You know what that can lead to,” Nadrin added.

“I can hardly see MY family being involved in open rebellion against the Consul. At least, not yet. We’ve a Warlord, an Archpriestess and a Knight. Aside from what’s left of the pathetic d’Tana alliance, I don’t exactly see us making waves. Shall we get back to the mission for now?” Mimosa-Inahj sneered, particularly as he mentioned the d’Tanas.

“Right. So I’ve heard that an attempt was made on Atyiru? Comms traffic is a frenzy with this news,” River observed.

“That is correct. During a recent meeting, at which Nadrin, Saskia and I were present, Atyiru was felled by a sniper rifle. She remains in critical condition. I overheard during my trip to the Nighthawk that Captain Cortel believes that a Zeltron was responsible. I don’t trust that ice-bitch at all, but I do trust her instincts in this case. It will be futile to search the entire planet for such a creature – there may well be dozens of them out there. Instead, we shall find out what we can, then lead whatever strike back at the bastards who did this. It is highly possible that the Faust Corporation are behind this,” Andrelious declared.

“What makes you so sure Faust are involved?” Nadrin enquired.

“That brings me to the second part of our situation. Recently, our supply lines have been devastated. The DIA’s information indicates that this group might somehow be aligned with the One Sith. And, after our recent success against their Star Destroyer, it’s likely that they’ve stepped up operations drastically. If they could operate a fully staffed Imperial-class ship, it’s possible that Faust is a front company for something a lot larger,” the Soulfire Captain continued.

“So what’s the plan?” the Erinos asked.

“Alright. Right now, we don’t know what we’re dealing with. Wes, get your kit ready. We’re likely to need your abilities soon. River, keep monitoring channels. Take Draith with you. Saskia, head to Giletta Spaceport. Gain access to the registry there. I want a list of any and all ships that aren’t accounted for in our official records. The rest of you, don’t go anywhere. Things will be turning very nasty,” Andrelious ordered.

“I have heard about some new blood joining us, Captain,” Kyo stated.

“Yes. We will soon have a new member with us. A man going by the name Aiorus, who was apparently Xathia’s apprentice. I shall rendezvous with him while Saskia and River perform their missions,” the ex-Imperial said.

River, Draith and Saskia headed out to gather their equipment, followed by Wes Biriuk. Nadrin and Kyo remained where they were.

“This is your first mission in the hot seat. I hope you’re able to handle us,” Nadrin commented.

“Nadrin. In the last few weeks I’ve discovered I have an estranged daughter, got married, fought a civil war AND become a father twice more. With all that behind me, this will be a blue-milk run,” Mimosa-Inahj replied confidently.



Captain’s Cabin
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

“I hereby appoint Captain Arcia Cortel of the Nighthawk as my regent…”

Those words rang through the Anaxsi woman’s mind as she continued to relive the moments of the past. Why did Atyiru choose her? The two hardly knew one another, only meeting face to face in a handful of situations. Even then, Arcia recalled being rather curt with the Miralukan woman when she displayed the love-all, help-all attitude. Atyiru must have known how the others within her command staff would react as well, but still chose her…

A ping from Arcia’s desk console alerted her to a message. Pushing herself from the foot of her bed, Cortel stepped up to the desk and viewed a message sent from Rrogon Skar. With an arched brow, she skimmed through the lines and laughed internally. With a shake of her head, Arcia deleted the message and stretched before fixing her uniform, exiting the cabin and entering the turbolift.

Combat Information Center
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

The lift doors swished open, allowing the Nighthawk Captain to step onto the deck followed immediately by one of the Marines sounding off. Everyone on the bridge stood at attention for the briefest of moments before Arcia waved her hand in dismissal. As the bridge crew returned to work, Commander Locke approached the Captain, offering her yet another datapad with information on the scans that she had ordered.

To her expectations, there wasn’t much to report. Several Zeltron were located and tagged for ground forces to intercept. Two were deemed non-Force Sensitives and released with a tail, where a single other was detained but quickly proved that they had no military background or knowledge. With a sigh, Arcia returned the datapad to Antar, but not before noticing a snippet regarding Skar and transfer requests from Darkblade and a junior member known as Irakom. Walking up to the holographic projection at the center of the bridge, Arcia keyed an entry and the system flashed to life.

Displayed before her was a miniature representation of Selen, showing the progress of the active scan of the planet. To the left were holographic images of the scene within the CEO’s office as well as details from the ballistics removed from Atyiru. A report from Dark Forge was attached giving further details on what type of weapon could have possibly been used to attack their Aedile. Cortel downloaded the attachment to a free datapad and began reviewing the information as she made her way to the aft of the bridge where the holonet transceiver was located.

Report Opening
Requesting Authorization
Cybernetic Uplink Received
Authorization DSC-3463 Confirmed

…fragments retrieved from victim are disturbing. Physical projectile launched from a variant long range slugthrower rifle of unknown origins. Upon impact, projectile splintered and dispersed into target’s body, causing massive internal bleeding and injury. Several fragments were removed from heart, lungs and bone. Nervous system took significant damage. Due to impact force and velocity of projectile, many fragments exited from victim’s back and shattering the shoulder. Several fragments removed from spinal column.

Arcia took a deep breath as she entered the communications salvo and continued reading.

…projectile composition highly advanced. Materials used unknown. Due to recent events, linking creation of projectile to Faust Corporation until evidence states otherwise. End report.

Cortel tossed the datapad onto a desk and placed both hands on either side of it, shifting her weight onto the structure. Whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing and how to do it. There had to be a spy or double-agent in their midst. Who would do such a thing, though? Who would know so much about their organizations and care so little about the House and Clan to offer up critical information that would lead to the possible death of Atyiru?

Keying in a few commands, Arcia opened up an encrypted communication to Andrelious and Lexiconus.

“Gentleman. I have just reviewed a report of the ballistics from the shot that struck our Aedile. It doesn’t look good. This shot was meant to kill and the origins are unknown. I will forward the report to the both of you in hopes that your teams can use it to your advantage,” Arcia spoke clearly and firmly. “Lexiconus, how is your team coming with ground side analysis? Have you discovered the vantage point? Inahj, status update on your team?”

The holographic representation of Andrelious glowered back at Arcia before he spoke. “Saskia has been sent to Gilleta to scan ship registry. Riverche and Draith are monitoring communications channels to pick up on anything of interest…”

Arcia began to zone out for a moment as Andrelious went on, but quickly caught herself and snapped back to reality.

“Understood. Inform Riverche that she has better chances of finding something aboard the Nighthawk. She will have complete access to our communications systems upon her arrival,” Cortel announced, and then waited for the Dark Forge strike leader to respond.

The image of Atyiru’s body spinning against its own will flashed into her mind again, causing the rage to reignite.

“Kordath has located the vantage point and has taken detailed notes regarding the situation. Once he files an official report to me, I will send it on the way. We-”

“Send me whatever information you have the moment you get it. That goes for the both of you. Rules and regs be damned for the moment. I want whoever did this found. I want them found now.”

Arcia spun away from the transceiver and severed the link before storming out of the chamber and keying in her mobile communications system for a secure channel to her Chief of Security.

“Captain,” Zakath spoke with an incline of the head.

“Chief. Your business with Inahj has been dealt with?”

“Yes, Captain. He was…surprised to see me. I take it you did not see fit to inform him of this turn of events?”

Arcia frowned. “He obviously didn’t know yet and it isn’t my place to inform him, nor would I care to. What happened or happens between the two of you stays between the two of you unless it begins to affect your working environment. If Inahj has issues with my crew, he can speak with me about his concerns.”

Zakath nodded his response with a frown, but remained silent. A ping from his end broke the silence.

“Zakath, I need you to reactivate your network. I just sent you details on the assassination attempt on Atyiru. Reach out to Elim and get him on our page. Traditional methods of intelligence gathering aren’t working fast enough and I need something concrete. We’re sitting around with our tail between our legs and I won’t have it,” the Nighthawk Captain commanded directly.

“Understood, Captain. I will do so at once.”

Cortel clicked the link off and entered the turbolift, hitting the key for Deck 5.

Hangar, Deck 5
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Arcia exited the turbolift and looked around the Hangar. Everything seemed relatively in place as klaxons blared, signifying a shuttle was on approach. After just a few moments of pristine piloting, the second Nu-class shuttle docked and opened its passenger bay to allow Chief Nortorshin to officially return to the Nighthawk after handling Rollmaster duties and the situation on Selen.

“Welcome back, Chief. I trust you know where I need you,” Arcia spoke half-heartedly, eyeing Sight’s Fade, Lilly, up and down before turning her attention towards the Armory.

Sight saluted his Captain and beckoned for his Fade to follow him as Arcia began walking over to where the Quartermaster and his escort were arguing back and forth. A voice behind her quickly caused her to halt, however.

“Captain Arcia Cortel, I presume?”

Arcia half turned to see a male Zygerrian carrying more luggage and weaponry than any other Mandalorian she had encountered before. Behind him, several more heavily armed and armor clad men began dragging boxes from the shuttle. The Nighthawk Captain quickly pressed a small button on her belt that signaled the on duty Security Marine detachment to arrive at her location immediately and turned to fully face the man and his entourage.

“Who are you and what are you all doing on my ship?” Cortel’s commanding tone increased exponentially, her hand moving to her sidearm.

“Jax is the name. Jax Erinos. These fine gentlemen behind me here are my buddies,” Jax pointed behind himself after dropping a duffel as he spoke. “You see, Atts and I have history. Now some shabuir has gone and shot the poor girl…”

Jax shifted a moment and dropped the rest of his gear, standing to his full height with a stone look on his face. “I’m at yer command, alor’ad.”

Arcia studied him for what seemed an eternity before removing her hand from the sidearm and waving a hand behind her as the Marines finally made an appearance. “Ori’jate, Jax. Welcome aboard. You can set up on the far side of the hangar.”

Cortel left the man and his friends at the shuttle and immediately set off towards the Armory where Skar and the escort Marine were still bickering back and forth. She stood for a moment in silence, simply waiting, before the Marine noticed her and snapped to attention.

“Captain on deck!”

“Cram it, Dusk,” Cortel said with a wave of the hand. “Skar. What’s this nonsense I’m hearing about you walking the decks without an escort?”

“Ma’am I–”

“Did I not give you explicit orders to remain with your escort at all times?”

“Yes, Ma’am. I–”

“Also, why did I have a report of my Armory being in disarray? Can you not handle your job? Do I need to find a replacement for you?”

The Nighthawk Quartermaster remained silent as his Captain continued yelling about regulation and following orders. He noticed a bead of sweat forming on Dusk’s brow, but quickly snapped his attention back to Arcia as she finished her rant with a pulse of the Force that caused him to become dizzy momentarily.

Without waiting for a formal response from the two, Arcia stormed off and keyed her communicator once again.

“Zakath. Rrogon Skar. Fix it.”



AGV NightHawk
Selen Low Orbit

The turbolift shot from Deck Five to Deck Four, Lilly glancing at her Master every few heartbeats. As the doors opened to engineering, the Mandalorian removed her helmet, a slight grin upon her lips. The Nighthawk’s engineering bay was bustling with all five engineers running between consoles, making slight adjustments and checking for issues. The Fade followed the albino as he strode out of the turbolift and into his domain.

“Attention, Chief on deck!” The young woman yelled out, her sweet voice loud enough to garnish the attention off the busy engineers.

“Welcome back Chief,” Zeck, Sight’s most trusted engineer answered up from where he stood in front of the main drive generator.

“Status report,” the Priest demanded as he settled into his makeshift desk in a corner of the console array. Zeck strode over to his Chief, grabbing a datapad, snapping to attention before Sight.

“All systems, both mechanical and otherwise, are in the green, Sir. The core was just replaced two hours ago and we are running the final tests now.”

“Good, how are the engines?” The Rollmaster inquired.

“Operating at full capacity and within the specified operation limits,” Zeck responded and set the datapad down. “Congratulations on your new position, Chief.”

“Thank you, Zeck. Is there anything that requires my attention here in the immediate and foreseeable future?” The Krath asked as he watched Lilly move to the console she had been using as her personal entry to the backdoor of the Nighthawk’s computerized systems.

“No Sir, we have this covered. If anything comes up I will notify you via comlink,” the engineer smile awkwardly at his chief as he spoke; they had heard about what had happened to Atyiru. Dismissing Zeck with a nod Sight moved to stand behind Lilly, looking over her shoulder.

“How are the systems looking?” He asked his Fade, resting one hand on the young woman’s shoulder.

“Nothing’s out of place from what I can see. It seems they are running a sensor sweep of the surface and checking different com signals with the array,” Lilly spoke softly before powering off the terminal. She had begun to predict her Master’s actions as of late, so Sight’s words came as confirmation to her prediction.

Leaning in close, the Krath whispered into the Fade’s ear, “We are going to see the Captain then we are going to speak with Zakath. If we have to, we will hijack an escape pod. We will be the ones to capture and interrogate this would-be assassin.”
With single nod, Lilly grabbed her helmet and followed her master back to the turbolift. The soft whine of the machine filled the silence as they rode up to the bridge. The young woman studied Sight intently, until the whisk of the turbolift doors opening snapped her back to reality.

The bridge was abuzz with flashing lights giving stark contrast to the dimmed lighting. The occasional ding and whistle overrode the sound of the crew working and conversing with each other. Commander Locke stood near the Captain in a centralized spot from which Arcia kept a close eye on all that happened within her domain. Antar spotted the Fade and her Master first, giving a smile and walking over to them.

“Master Nortorshin, it is good to see you again,” the human initiated the conversation, his eyes questioning as to the purpose behind the presence of the man who had trained him to Knight.

“Came to see the Captain. I have a status report and a request to make of her,” the albino spoke, his rage barely contained in his voice. “It is truly good to see you again, Antar. Congratulations on making XO.”

Antar nodded to his Master, but was unable to respond as Arcia had made her way over to them.

“Nortorshin. What do you want, I didn’t summon you from Engineering and we have a perfectly capable communications array onboard this ship,” Arcia stated directly, eyeing Lilly once again.”

“I came to personally give you the status of the ship, all systems in the green. Though I also have a request to make,” the Chief engineer spoke loud enough to be heard yet soft enough not to be heard by the others on the bridge. His Fade eyed the Captain, having noticed the attention given yet remained silent.

With a sigh, Arcia folded her arms across her chest and shifted weight to her left leg. “Spit it out then.”

“They don’t need me down in engineering right now, Zeck has things more than under control. When Atyiru’s assailant is found, I request to be allowed to return planetside to assist with the capture and initial interrogation,” the albino spoke once again his tone contained yet seeming to be not so much a request but stating a fact.

“Denied,” Arcia said plainly, turning her back to the engineer and his Fade. “Oh, and don’t forget. You can perform your duties as Chief Engineer without use of your legs.

Sight chuckled at his Captain’s words, but his crimson eyes narrowed. “In that case at least allow me to assist Zakath with the preparations for the strike team.”

“Very well Nortorshin, however you will stay on this ship,” the Captain said in a dismissive tone. With a nod the albino spun on his heel and headed to the turbolift.

The turbolift doors whisked shut behind the Priest and his Fade. Lilly felt uncomfortable with her Master this angry. Thankfully the doors opened before too much time had passed. The two stepped forth into the Hangar Bay, Sight immediately walked toward Zakath’s office.


Dark Forge

Military Stock market,

Estle City

After several hours of tedious searching in the maze of flooring and asking employees for guidance, the Togruta began to lose his way in the corporate world of the stock market. Wasting no time, Lexic ran into the nearest kiosk and grabbed a map. After mumbling to himself and trying to draw a route with his purple nail, the Togruta rubbed his cheek and looked out the window to the S.C.E.P.T.E.R. HQ. Without anymore hesitation, he stormed ahead and called the elevator.

Following behind Lexic, Meleu quickly darted his fingers across the communicator and prodded the shoulder of his leader.

“Sir, Kordath has replied with a location. He says the Director of Alien Resources got ‘friendly’ with a client he’d rather not speak of and they stole his keycard to the IT floor at the top. He wasn’t sure if it was male or female, or what race but definitely humanoid!”

With a soft nod, Lexic watched the numbers on the top of the doors decrease until it reached their floor, the whoosh of the doors was just as silent as their entry.

“Any trace of their credits in the bar? Or if they stayed there?”

“Unknown sir, Kordath has…yet to sober up.”

Lexic smashed his finger into the top floor button and jammed the keycard in with brute force, snarling to himself.

“This is why we fail missions, Meleu. Alcohol, one of the better tips I learnt from Ortega.”

“What other ‘tips’ did she teach you, sir?”

“Never trust a Neti, or women for that matter.”

With a soft simultaneous nod, they stood in silence inside the elevator. No noise by the whirring of the repulsor technology behind the elevation. Meleu with his eyes concentrated on the datapad and Lexic watching the numbers increase with a hasty speed.

“So, how’s the Headmaster?”

“Hmm?” Meleu replied his concentration focused deeply on the datapad, as the question instantly slipped his mind.

With a soft chuckle, Lexic repeated. “How is the Headmaster these days? I haven’t seen him since my last Degree.”

“Oh he’s…well it’s a lie to say he’s ‘fine’ but surviving without Ood.”

With a slow and assuring nod, Lexic smiled and returned his gaze to the elevator floors. The time waiting was increasingly awkward. After several minutes, the doors whoosh open onto cool roof. The bright pink sky gave a soft warmth onto the floor as they sprinted towards the shooting point. Meleu sprinted much quicker than Lexic and jumped onto the edge of the building, looking ahead for the broken window of the S.C.E.P.T.E.R Office, a grin spreading on his face.

“This is it, sir. We definitely found the place.”

“Good, set up shop and scan for bits and bobs left for forensics.”

The XO began to set up more tripods, one with UV lighting and another that scanned for metallic substances, there was a small, rounded robot that ‘licked’ the floor for footprints. Out of the corner of Lexic’s eye, a tall, skinny and silver robot on tall, twig legs unfolded from Meleu’s crate and began to pace the floor and scanning with it’s visor for biological traces. With a slow and surprised look from Lexic, Meleu shrugged and chuckled.

“Courtesy of the Shadow Academy. Don’t worry about the bill, sir.”

With a slow nod, Lexic smirked and observed the tall and skinny robot pace the area. Then from Lexic communicator several beeps blared out loudly. He quickly yanked the device out of his pocket and it had already begun projecting Legorii, the Proconsul of Arcona. Lexic set the communicator down and they both quickly kneeled on one knee, pounding their fist to their chest.

“Legorii, good to see you sir.”

Static of the Proconsul waving his arms about and snapping quick words at the BT Leader were fortunately muted by the signal, then his speech returned.

“…which is why I set this link up with you two, I need to know that Dark Forge and Arcona’s future is set in stone with you two. So with that in mind, Meleu step forward.”

With a shake in his stance, Meleu rose from his kneeling and stood before the projection of the Anzat.

“Dark Jedi Knight Meleu, it has been a great honour to watch and be part of your growth within the Clan, now it is time to make the next step. You are hereby promoted to Sith Warrior, effective immediately. Now find the would-be assassin and end this.”

The projection disappeared and Meleu stood there stunned. Lexic clapped softly as he rose from kneeling and chuckled in delight.

“Congratulations sport, no rest for the wicked now. We need to pack this equipment and get going.”

Three hours later,

Tyrell and Associates,

Estle City

Inside the limelight and silent bar, the end alcove was lit softly by wall lights which faded colours slowly. Around a black and shiny table sat Lexic at the back, Meleu and Kordath on both sides of him and a Corellian male. They all held onto their glass in silence for several seconds before Lexic spoke up.

“A Zeltron? Are you sure?”

“Yes yes. Pink skin, violet hair, nice and thick rear too.”

Lexic rolled his eyes as Meleu and Kordath chuckled together, trying to cover their mouths.

“I’m not interested in the shape of her figure; are you completely sure that this Zeltron came to this building, bought a drink and went to the top floor?”

With a sharp and heavy nod, the Corellian sighed. He picked up his drink and knocked the contents to the back of his mouth, then slammed the glass down.

“Alright, now we need an employer. Did you see her firearms?”

“Oh that was some piece. In all my years of working for these salt-licking hoarders, i’ve never seen a person so protected.”

He tapped the table repeatedly to place emphasis on his next words.

“This was expensive stuff…” Meleu who was already contacting Captain Cortel with the information, looked up and raised a questioning brow. “…Is she going to return? I could do with more eye candy.”

Then it dawned on him, Lexic could have a win-win situation here. Out of the blue, Kordath saw this too. He immediately leaned forward and prodded Lexic.

“I’ll stay here sir, I’ll look out for her and see if she makes contact to tie loose ends.”

“Great, right now Meleu and myself need to check on Atyiru. Update me further by communicator. It was nice meeting you sir, keep this conversation to yourself please.”

With a soft nod the Corellian, Meleu and Lexiconus all stood and began to exit the bar.

“Oh worry not sir, I can trust the efforts of the Estle police force to crack this case. You won’t find confidentiality broken by me, officer.”

Meleu chuckled more and coughed quickly to clear the laugh. With a soft pat on the Corellian’s back, Lexic and Meleu left for their cruiser.

70 miles from Estle Hospital,


“Sir, was that wise to trust a corporate with our names?”

“Of course it was, we won’t see him again and if he does spill Kordath is there to silence him.”

The calm and collective night of Selen felt like a trance field of vision. The bright moon in sight, the stars glittering and fading like a shimmering ocean. The quiet traffic of the atmosphere was not rushed but a pattern of lines, curves and spirals that made the city into a masterpiece of art. For the most hectic day in their lives, the view of a beautiful city relieved the Dark Forgeans.

“I’m glad I have you with me, Sith Warrior. Dark Forge wouldn’t be the same without you.”

A strong nod of agreement came from Meleu who was lost to the beauty of the quiet city. Lexic kept his gaze on the space ahead as Reginald drove the cruiser for him, he continued to speak to Meleu however.

“One day we will have to fight this Assassin, and I’m not sure that I will be ready.”

This caught Meleu’s attention in a split-second.

“Well I guess prepare to kill or die, sir.”

An atmosphere of logic and sense formed between the two males as they further continued their drive to meet the dying Aedile.


Dark Forge

Arcona Citadel, Selen

The group of six moved purposely through the hallways. Scattering support personnel, all of whom looked shocked at seeing the person in the center of the formation.

“Wasn’t he in prison?”

The Neti couldn’t help but feel amused as the whispers reached him. Yet his focus did not waiver, this was going to be fun!

Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen

When the Krath had first laid eyes on Center 12A, he had nearly started drooling. It rightly earned the title of premier trauma facility on Selen. The infrastructure was …

What was going on? Why was that lesser being cutting into his victi… patient? A directed telekinetic blast saw the creature thrown back from the surgical table. A small - carefully aimed - spark of Force generated electricity saw him lose control of the muscles in his legs.

“You, move that thing onto the side table. He’s just volunteered his organs for the cause.” the Pontifex growled towards a few medical assistants who had been observing the surgery. Turning towards a medical droid he added, “Keep her stable, I’m going to wash this grime off me and will be joining you in a few moments.”

Main Operating Theatre, Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen
10 minutes later

A cleaner Ood walked into the room, the largest medical robe he could find loosely covering his form. A droid at the entrance put gloves on his hands, encasing his thin fingers before adding a synthetic surgical apron.

Stepping up to the table, the Neti swore and turned on an intercom via the Force. “Guard, someone should check into this doctor. He may be inept, or in league with someone who wants the patient dead.”

Medical Log, start recording

Ood Bnar

Atyiru Caesus Entar

Patient suffered intense trauma to the chest. Early indicators point to a projectile weapon. This is confirmed by the absence of burn marks indicative to blaster damage. Projectile appears to be a dead weapon. No signs of vibro-tech attested on the outlying tissues. Moving onto the chest cavity, as seen by absence of marks on the ribcage, the projectile was fired in between two ribs. It seems the projectile pierced the left ventricle, after which it hit the spinal column. Upon hitting the T10 vertebra, the projectile broke apart and said shrapnel bounced around inside the chest cavity. Presume projectile to be odd, brittle enough to shatter upon impact with bone, energetic enough to bounce around afterwards. Incompetent medical officer compounded damages. Heart not salvageable, nor is the left lung, majority of the liver and large segments of the nervous system. Incompetent medical officer has volunteered his organs for transplant by reason of being stupid enough to carve into the patient. Additional damage to shoulder blade, cause dubious. Projectile seems to have been fired in downward trajectory, penetrated in between two ribs, through the heart. After shattering on impact with Spine, 25% of the shrapnel kept going, digging into spine. 10% exited the back at odd angles, breaking at least one shoulder blade. 30% bounced back towards heart and lungs. remaining 35% scattered and dug itself into tissue, muscle and generally made a mess of things. We may have to check the diaphragm for holes.

End Medical log

“Let’s see now, since she’s hooked up and we’re keeping her alive and stable… Yes, why not start with the spinal column.”

Slowly sinking into the inky darkness of the Force, Ood let his mind wander through the area in question, searching for fragments of the projectile. One by one, the Neti carefully removed them through the hole they created on impact.

“Someone go check if we have a copy of Sadow’s treatise on the transformation from Exogorth to Wyrm! If I recall, he dedicated several paragraphs to the art of stimulating nervous growth within vertebrates.”

As a young lab-tech ran for the door, he was called back.

“Oh, also check for anything by Quan-Jang - check under Masters of the Je’daii Order. His work on creating the Terenta could be useful when we try to regrow bone. If you can’t find him, look for anything by Vodal Kressh. Most of his constructs also had altered bone structures.”

Returning his focus onto the present, the Krath Pontifex smiled.

“I have removed the remaining slivers from the spinal column. Droid, cover the holes to prevent any infection until we can start on fixing the damages while I move to the surrounding tissues.”

A quick telekinetic probe activated a second and third medical droid, “Both of you, start preparing the subject on the secondary operating table. Disconnect his brain from his body and start flushing his system with antibiotics to kill whatever nonsense he has within him. We will be performing a live harvest of his organs. Oh, you know what? Put him on the same life support system as the one Atyiru is using”.

Main Operating Theatre, Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen
35 minutes later

“Removed all detritus from muscles and tissues surrounding the spinal column. Pre-aligned segments of the shoulder blade in preparation of regrowth. Right lung is, as predicted, salvageable. Diaphragm not damaged. Estimated survival odds without transplants: 45%. If we do transplant, we’ll bring that up to 76%. Although, it all depends on her skills at healing trances. She’ll have to prevent the body from rejecting organs while - at the same time - promoting healing in the surrounding tissues. Based on her records and knowledge of medicine, I am confident in giving her an 80% chance of survival.”

The tech rushed back in, “Sir, they’re scanning in copies of whatever we had on hand. Requests for digital copies have been sent to Lyspair, arrival of the full texts expected within the week.”

“Oh well, let’s see if we can’t make do then. Project the texts onto the screens please.” the Neti stated as he moved towards the screens, leaving the body in the capable care of droids. A look to the side revealed the overeager medical officer who had cut into the Aedile to get at the shrapnel. His neck looked odd, with the hole the droids made to disconnect the spinal nerves from the brain.”

As the relevant pages scrolled down the screen, the Neti made carefully mental notes as to how he would adapt the techniques for this particular case. The nerve growth seemed straight forward, though he would have to be careful with the bone alterations. The Ancient Sith script curved and twirled malevolently across the screen, interspaced with crude diagrams and sketches of monstrous creatures.

“Well, time to get to work!”

Main Operating Theatre, Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen
3 hours later

“Spinal injury fixed… well insofar as I can fix it. Shoulder blade is set and has been manipulated into a slight regrowth. She won’t be allowed to strain it for a few months however.”

Giving the body a onceover, the old Praetor noticed the blood coating the table, floor, some walls, the observation window, … “Someone run out to any other medical centers on the planet and in orbit. If it has Miraluka blood in storage, get there and fetch me the blood. I think our stores are almost dry”

Entrusting the Aedile once again to the Surgical Assistant droid, the Neti turned towards the volunteer, “Oh, where are my manners. It seems you’ve woken up… no, no, don’t try to move, the required nerve bundles have been severed. Yes, I know you’d like to talk me out of this. But frankly, your voice was rather annoying - or so your assistant tells me. Don’t be afraid, your organs will be saving the life of an Aedile of Galeres. Your mother would have been so proud, her disgrace of a son finally useful…”

With a clever - or at least he thought it was - twirl of the laser scalpel, the Equite began to open up the chest cavity.


Main Operating Theatre, Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen
10 minutes later

“… Leg bone’s connected to the … any bone I want! For I’m a jolly Alchemist and your body is my sandbox. Sadly I can’t sing… which is why they don’t give you droids the ability to judge my song….”

The horribly off-key nonsensical rambling tune did not seem to follow any established rules relating to music. Instead it seemed the scientist was just ranting on a sliding scale. The droids would have blessed their factory programming if they had been able to notice anything but direct medical commands. The observers were very glad for the button that turned off the intercom though.

It seemed the Pontifex was manipulating the dark side superbly, using the agony of the victim to boost his own connection to the Force. Allowing him to focus healing energy at those parts of Atyiru he had already finished with. While he removed the left lung, microtears in the muscles of her back began to heal. Small arteries repaired themselves and nerve endings in the region began to regenerate.

Main Operating Theatre, Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen
7 minutes later

The organs had been harvested and placed in cooled boxes, each carefully labeled by the Neti - It is, after all, very annoying to be implanting a lung and end up holding a heart.

Medical Center 12A
Arcona Citadel, Selen
5 hours later

A tired Praetor stepped out of the theatre, throwing a bloodsoaked apron and gloves into a box marked INCINERATION. Behind him, a lone surgical droid was finishing up the process of bandaging the Aedile.

Looking up, the Neti realised he had to talk now.

“I’ve removed all shrapnel, the voluntary donor had sent some away for analysis in his haste but a good droid or weapons researcher may be able to reconstruct the projectile from it…”

At a look, he continued his explanation: “She won’t wake up for some time. I had to reinforce her healing trance. I’ve done all I can, it’s now up to her. If she doesn’t wake inside a week or two, I would recommend you find a good telepath to go in there and see what’s going on. I’d volunteer to do it, but people are wary of letting me into their minds for some reason.”

With a grim nod, the current Shadow Lord turned around to leave. A telekinetic tendril dropped a datapad containing a pardon and orders to rejoin his unit immediately.



AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit above Selen

The two Anaxsi watched as the bridge crew performed their duties. Antar could sense the anxiety of his Captain and the rest of the crew, which was to be expected after the assassination attempt. The XO closed his eyes as an echo in the Force sent a quiver up his spine. He turned to see his former master with his new Fade standing in front of the turbolift. The Commander had rarely seen the albino outside of engineering, but none the less was glad to see him. With the hint of a smile he walked towards the two of them.

“Master Nortorshin, it is good to see you again,” the human initiated the conversation, his eyes questioning as to the purpose behind the presence of the man who had trained him to Knight.

“Came to see the Captain. I have a status report and a request to make of her,” the albino spoke, his rage barely contained in his voice. “It is truly good to see you again, Antar. Congratulations on making XO.”

Antar nodded to his Master, but was unable to respond as Arcia had made her way over to them. He listened intently as the two spoke.

“Nortorshin. What do you want, I didn’t summon you from Engineering and we have a perfectly capable communications array onboard this ship,” Arcia stated directly, eyeing Lilly once again.

“I came to personally give you the status of the ship, all systems in the green. Though I also have a request to make,” the Chief engineer spoke loud enough to be heard yet soft enough not to be heard by the others on the bridge. His Fade eyed the Captain, having noticed the attention given yet remained silent.

With a sigh, Arcia folded her arms across her chest and shifted weight to her left leg. “Spit it out then.”

“They don’t need me down in engineering right now, Zeck has things more than under control. When Atyiru’s assailant is found, I request to be allowed to return planetside to assist with the capture and initial interrogation,” the albino spoke once again his tone contained yet seeming to be not so much a request but stating a fact. The XO shook his head, the Nighthawk needed her Chief Engineer and he didn’t like the idea of allowing one of the senior staff to leave during the crisis. Any number of things could go wrong that would require his expertise.

“Denied,” Arcia said plainly, turning her back to the engineer and his Fade. “Oh, and don’t forget. You can perform your duties as Chief Engineer without use of your legs.” The Commander smirked slightly upon hearing the quip.

Sight chuckled at his Captain’s words, but his crimson eyes narrowed. “In that case at least allow me to assist Zakath with the preparations for the strike team.”

“Very well Nortorshin, however you will stay on this ship,” the Captain said in a dismissive tone. With a nod the albino spun on his heel and headed to the turbolift. Antar rubbed his jaw line as he watched Sight and Lilly enter the turbolift. A feeling in the pit of his stomach told him the albino wouldn’t allow this end here.

The Commander turned and stood next to the Captain. He glanced over at her, Arcia arms were still crossed. “I need a word, Ma’am.”

She looked to Antar and realized that something was bothering her second in command. “Very well. My cabin.”

The Captain turned over command to the next senior bridge officer as she and the XO entered the turbolift. Antar stood, while she took a seat at her desk.

“What’s on your mind?”

The Commander cleared his throat. “Ma’am, I don’t think the Chief is going to let this go.”

“Are you suggesting that the my Chief Engineer is going to disobey a direct order?” The Captain sat forward on her chair. Antar’s eyes shifted down slightly.

“It is just a feeling. I can’t explain it.”

“A feeling. A feeling. You asked me to leave the bridge and abandon the search for the assassin, over a feeling?” Arcia’s face displayed her anger.

“Ma’am, it is my responsibility to keep you informed on possible threats to the ship or her crew. I know Chief Nortoshin is loyal to the ship and to you, but there may be something to this feeling. If Faust carried out this attack as we believe, then he may feel responsible for the assassination attempt.” the Commander replied.

The Captain sat back in her chair. “I don’t need you to tell me your duties, Commander. But you are right. This whole kriffing thing has me on edge.” She continued. “Keep an eye on Sight and his new Fade,” Antar thought he saw a brief flicker of emotion cross her face at the mention of Lilly. “If that will be all?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the Commander responded.

“Very well, I am going to return to bridge to continue the search. I want you to assist Zakath with his plans and when you see him make sure he got Skar sorted.”

“Aye, Ma’am,” Antar raised his fist to his chest.

The two Anaxsi entered the turbolift to proceed to their destinations.



AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit above Selen

“Understood, Captain. I will do so at once.”

As the communications link clicked off, Zakath was already on his terminal, pulling up the datafiles that outlined the secure contact details for the agents in Naradas’ spy network. Scanning the list, he smiled as he saw Elim’s name halfway down the list. Punching the frequency for the spymaster into his communicator, he sat back and waited.

It was not long before the comm unit activated, bringing a hologram of a nondescript human male in his late forties into existence.

“Master Zakath.” The hologram said calmly as it bowed slightly at the waist. “How may I be of service?”

“There has an assassination attempt on Aedile Atyiru on Selen.” Zakath replied calmly, steepling his fingers together. “I want your agents on it. I want the investigators’ reports in my hands before it reaches their superiors. I want your agents assisting the investigation at every step. Most importantly, I want every scrap of information in my hands first before it reaches anyone else.”

“Of course.” The hologram nodded slightly. “The usual fee?”

“Correct.” Zakath paused a second. “A bonus if you can get me solid information to act on in the next few hours.”

“Very good, Master Zakath.” The holographic man’s face had remained expressionless throughout the conversation but now he smiled slightly. “I will contact you once I have something in hand.”

“Good. I will transfer the usual fee to your accounts. Bonus to follow if you are successful.”

With that, the holographic man bowed slightly again before severing the communications link. As the hologram faded away, a second ping sounded, and an audio-only link opened, and Arcia Cortel’s voice rang out from the communicator.

“Zakath. Rrogon Skar. Fix it.”

The communicator clicked off as abruptly as it started. Zakath’s eyebrow rose slightly before rising from his chair with a sigh.

What now?

Striding into the Armory, Zakath immediately made a beeline to the Quartermaster and his escort marine, his violet eyes flaring in a visible sign of his anger.

“Grandfa-” The Kaleesh started to speak before he was interrupted by Zakath.

“Silence.” Zakath said quietly, his voice a low hiss. “I was just ordered by Captain Cortel to get down here and fix whatever it is that’s happening here. I will hear from you shortly. Private Dusk, report.”

“Sir.” Private Raven Dusk snapped to attention and began reciting. “Quartermaster Skar ordered me to clean up this Armory while he reported to the bridge to talk with Captain Cortel. He… uh… threatened to do things to me with you watching.”

“I see.” Zakath paused for a few seconds before he swung toward Skar, an eyebrow raised. “Anything you want to add to that, Quartermaster?”

“Yes.” The Kaleesh spat out. “What the Private failed to mention is that he and his friends thrashed the Armory in revenge for our feud, which I thought we resolved.”


“Ah… yes sir.” The Private paled slightly as he tried to find the right words. “I… uh…”

“Decided that because Quartermaster Skar had sided with the Quaestors, that you found it fit to extract your idea of revenge to punish him for his disloyalty.” Zakath replied calmly, his arms crossed as he stared hard at the Private.

“…yes sir.”

“That is not your place to decide such matters, Private Dusk! If any punishment is going to be meted out to Quartermaster Skar, it will be decided by Captain Cortel or her superiors.” Zakath paused for a second to harden his glare at the slightly trembling Private. “After your shift ends, I want a report of the incident with a list of every man and woman who decided to participate in the thrashing of the Armory on my desk so that I may render proper punishment.”

“Yes sir.” The Private’s voice was quiet.

“And you will provide a full list.” Zakath’s voice became icier. “If I learn you decided to keep any names off due to some mistaken notion of loyalty to your comrades, I will hand you over to Ms. Voth, and she will extract every name out of you. Every. Name. Am I understood?”

“Yes sir!” The Private had become as pale as a ghost at the thought of being handed over to the interrogation specialist.

“Good.” Zakath turned to see the smug Kaleesh watching, almost visibly gloating behind his mask and pointed a finger at the Quartermaster. “And as for you, Skar. Private Dusk is not your personal assistant, and is not in your chain of command. He reports to me. His sole job is to escort you at all times and keep an eye on you until recalled by either myself or Captain Cortel. You will not try to ditch him. You will not use him as a personal assistant, and if you have a problem with him, or he interferes with your duty in any way, or any other such issues, I expect you to take it up with me. Understood?”

“Yes.” The Kaleesh’s tone was sullen.

“Very well.” Zakath’s eyes dimmed slightly as his anger cooled off. “Get back to work then. No more incidents, am I clear, Private?”

“Yes sir!” The Private replied, his eyes trying to avoid facing his superior.

Zakath twisted his lips into a slight scowl and then departed as suddenly as he arrived.

Returning to his office, Zakath cocked an eyebrow as he saw Chief Engineer Nortorshin standing by his desk with his hands clasped behind his back, his Fade standing next to him. Clearing his throat slightly, Zakath acknowledged the quick salutes with a crisp nod as he circled his desk and lowered himself into his chair.

“Chief Engineer Nortorshin and… Lilly, I believe.” Zakath greeted quietly as he gazed at the albino engineer. “To what do I owe the pleasure of this… visit?”

“Chief Zakath.” The engineer replied as he clasped his hands in front of him. “The Engineering Department is running at full efficiency, and has little need of me at present. Therefore, Captain Cortel has authorized me to assist you in preparing the Nighthawk’s strike team for whatever follows next.”

“Has she, now?” Zakath’s eyebrows rose slightly. “Well, far be it for me to disobey our Captain, but may I ask why you are wanting to help out? The preparations are of a security and tactical nature, hardly requiring the services of an engineer.”

“Zakath, the attempt on Aedile Atyiru’s life…” Sight paused slightly as if to compose himself. “It’s something I am taking personally. I know I cannot join the strike team myself, but I would like to have a hand in assuring its success in any way I can.”

The Sith Battlemaster’s eyes glowed brighter as he gazed at the Chief Engineer for a long moment. Finally he shrugged slightly. “It’s unusual, but very well, permission granted. You can ask my men if they have anything needing to be tended to. Just stay out of their way.”

“Thank you.” Sight nodded slightly before spinning on his heels to leave the office.

Watching as the Chief Engineer departed, Zakath frowned slightly. The reason that Sight had provided for assisting the strike team had felt… too sincere. At least for merely assisting in preparations. But before Zakath could continue on that train of thought, his office door slid open, and Commander Antar Locke entered.

Zakath rose to his feet and clicked his heels together, his right hand raised in a crisp salute.

“Commander Locke.” Zakath greeted.

“Chief Zakath.” Antar replied as he returned the salute.

“What can I do for you, Commander?” Zakath asked as he gestured slightly for the Commander to take a chair, seating himself once the Executive Officer had taken a seat.

“We got a lot of things to cover, unfortunately.” The Anaxsi officer glanced around the spartan office. “First off, did you get the issue with Skar resolved? I understand he ditched his escort?”

“Yes.” Zakath’s lips twisted slightly into a scowl. “Apparently some of my security staff decided that it was appropriate to… redecorate Quartermaster Skar’s station as a reward for siding with the Quaestors, and Skar saw it fit to put his escort to work cleaning up the mess while he reported to the Captain. The issue has been resolved. Private Dusk has been reprimanded and ordered to turn over his associates for punishment. Skar has been instructed to not ditch his escort again and if there are further problems, to contact me instead of ordering my men around like they are his.”

“Good. We got enough headaches as it is.” Antar sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Speaking of which, did Chief Nortorshin find you?”

“He just left.” Zakath replied, narrowing his eyes. “He requested to help out my men, having Captain Cortel’s authorization to do so. Something I need to know?”

“Hmm. I’m not sure.” Antar frowned. “Can you discreetly order your sergeants to keep an eye on him? I just got a feeling, nothing I can act on but…”

“Of course.” Zakath nodded slightly as he brought up his terminal and started tapping. After a few seconds, he hit the send key. “My sergeants are taking care of administrative duties right now, so they’ll get the message without alerting Chief Nortorshin.”

“Alright.” Antar nodded, satisfied with the action. “Let’s get down to business. We’ll need to review the information we have and decide on the next course of action…”


Soulfire Strike Team

Medical Centre 12A

Andrelious arrived at the Medical Centre, having realised that it would still be some time before Aiorus would arrive at the Citadel. Rather than head straight for the Cantina, the Warlord felt morally obliged to check on Atyiru’s condition. On arrival, he was quickly informed that the Miraluka had undergone a delicate procedure. When Andrelious had found out exactly who had performed the procedure, his reaction was a mix of disgust and surprise.

“She’s not conscious. You can see her by all means, but she won’t be responding for a while,” a medic informed Mimosa-Inahj.

“Just make sure you get our best people on her. Who knows what that deranged tree has done to her,” the Warlord replied.

“Of course, sir. I’m afraid our best medic isn’t able to help her right now…” the man stated, a little coldly for Andrelious’ liking.

“And why is that? She’s a frakking Aedile!” the Soulfire Captain snapped.

The physician smirked. “Because Atyiru IS our best medic.”

“Just do as I say. I’m not in the mood for any stupid humour.” Andrelious hissed.

The medic scuttled away, not daring to further irritate the former Rollmaster.


Even as cold and stoic as he normally was, Andrelious found the scene around Atyiru to be hard to take in. He was not as close a friend to the Aedile as some, but as he looked at the usually bubbly Miraluka, laying comatose and covered in bandages, the smouldering anger from his dealings with Zakath earlier in the day reignited. The Warlord grabbed his hip-flask, downing a large swig of the alcoholic beverage inside.

“Drinking in a hospital. Tsk,” a voice said. Mimosa-Inahj turned to see a weedy man sporting a pair of spectacles. He was dressed in the uniform of a high-ranking agent of the Dajorra Intelligence Agency.

“And exactly who are you supposed to be?” the former Imperial enquired.

“I am Specialist Sephilios Braxant. Internal affairs agent of the Intelligence Agency. Or as you would call me, a spook bastard,” the taller man responded, an air of smugness to his tone.

Andrelious grimaced. “If you’ve read my file, you’ll also know that I don’t take too kindly to your type turning up. You lot cause a lot of trouble, then run as soon as the fighting starts. So I suggest you come out with whatever it is you have to say to me, then disappear.”

“I’d be more careful with the tone you take. I’m here to investigate exactly what happened to Atyiru. While we know that Faust have stepped up, lately, we’re not convinced that they’d try something this bold, this close to the Citadel.” Braxant said. Andrelious found the man’s accent deeply unpleasant.

“We already have most of the House working on that, Braxant. We don’t need any help from your kind. If you leave here in peace, I’ll forget how rudely you barged into a sick woman’s private hospital room,” the Sith answered with a tone that did not attempt to conceal his extreme annoyance.

“I’m afraid it’s not quite that simple, Mr Mimosa-Inahj. Our records indicate that you and Atyiru were on opposing sides in that recent unpleasantness. And let’s face it. You and her aren’t exactly friends, are you?” the agent asked, squinting a little as he regarded the Warlord.

“Your files clearly need updating. Would my wife and I have asked her to play a role in the upbringing of our daughters if that was the case? Considering you work for Intelligence, you don’t seem to have much of it.” Andrelious hissed.

“On the contrary. That would act as a perfect smoke screen. Ask the poor woman to be their godmother, and then have her offed a little bit later. And even better, you get an alien to help you. Who’d track a Zeltron assassin back to you, a known Humanocentrist?” Braxant continued, looking unimpressed at the Warlord’s answers.

“Come on, Braxant. You can save your low-budget Holo-drama crap. I’m a Warlord. Even if I had wanted Atyiru dead, I’m sure I could have pulled it off in a way that was a damn sight harder to track back to me. Now I suggest you get out of my sight before I volunteer you for Bnar’s next procedure!” Mimosa-Inahj yelled.

“Very well. But we’re watching you, Mimosa-Inahj. If the Agency catch you leaving the system, we’ll consider that your confession. Good day!” the taller Human stated, walking briskly out of the room.

The ex-Imperial turned to look back at the unconscious Archpriestess, who hadn’t moved an inch during the ‘discussion’ with Braxant.

“I’m sorry, Atyiru. You didn’t deserve to have to hear that.” The Soulfire Captain stated, warmth creeping into his usual stoic tone. His day was getting worse and worse.


Outside the medical centre, Sephilios Braxant spoke into his comlink.

“HQ, this is Braxant. Inform Captain Cortel that Mimosa-Inahj is acting suspiciously. I want our best surveillance team on him. If he leaves the system, we have him.”



AGV Nighthawk
Deck Five, Armory
Low orbit over Selen

Immediately after Chief Zakath had left Rrogon’s station, Skar set about to getting the gear ready for the ground teams that would be sent to hunt down the assassin. He made sure that each set of gear placed aside was lightweight and mobile, with the weapons set to a stun setting. The Quartermaster wanted the assassin incapacitated, not killed.

While he was setting out the gear and reviewing his supplies, he had some time to think over what had happened. Sure he could be mad at both Arcia and Zakath for yelling at him. Skar knew that they were both on edge with this whole situation, and he knew that he wasn’t helping.

The young Quartermaster wished he could do more than just setting out gear for the ground teams. The whole situation made him mad. I feel like a damn child. Everything I do I get yelled at for, I’m only trying to help. Skar thought to himself as he finished up with preparing the strike team’s gear. Everything was ready for them.

Moving to the crates that were stacked against the wall, Rrogon sat down and leaned his back against them. Looking around, Skar saw that Dusk was still watching him like a hawk as if he was going to try and leave without him.

Closing his eyes, Rrogon began to imagine the screams of Dusk and his friends as they dealt with the punishment that his Master could do to them and it brought a smile to his face. But it soon faded as the reality of things set in and he heard Dusk calling out his name.

“Hey Skar, get up. Chief Nortorshin and a few marines are coming. Best be ready unless you want to get yelled at a third time today,” Raven said with a sneer

Standing up, Rrogon met the Chief Engineer and his group as they entered the Armory. “Skar, I want an update on our supplies. Are they ready to go?” Sight asked.

“Yes sir,” replied the young Quartermaster. “All the gear is ready to go when needed.”

“Very well. Another thing, the custom explosives I have here. You have my express permission to issue them out to these specific strike team members. I have a feeling they may need them.” With that, Sight turned and left the strike team members behind as he went elsewhere with his Fade.

But before Skar could move to grab the extra gear, his comlink went off. “This is Skar, what do you need?”

The voice of the XO filtered back through the small speaker. “Skar, report to Chief Zakath’s office at once. We need your help with planning our next move.”

“I’ll be right there.”

Glancing over at the pacing Marines that Sight had left behind, Skar frowned. Hmm I need to do something with these guys. I can’t just leave them here standing around like this. Rrogon raised his voice so that all the strike team members could hear him. “Alright guys. I got your gear all ready for you. There should be enough for each member plus some, but only take what you need. I gotta go report to Chief Zakath, so I’ll be back soon. Try and be quick with getting ready. We don’t know when the call will come to head planetside, so be ready at any moment to move.”

After he finished addressing the Marines, Skar looked over at Dusk and motioned for him to follow. Quickly making his way to Zakath’s office, Skar knocked on the door and waited for an answer.

From the other side of the door Skar could hear Zakaths voice ring out “Enter!”


Estle City, Selen
The Barbed Rancor

Approximately one hour after Atyiru’s assault

Jax was fighting again.

A fist slammed into his jaw. He rolled with the hit. Backed up quickly, shook his head. He tasted blood, smiled with split lips. Advancing, he swung with both hands.

Cartilage caved under his knuckles, and his knuckles popped against bone, but he didn’t care. His blood rushed in his ears. Each swing, each hit, just made him feel less…bad. Not better, but less…

He was angry, at everything. He wanted to hit the medics that responded to the incident. He wanted to hit the Inahj man every time he heard him talk. He wanted to hit the bartender just for wiping the table.

He was so damn angry at absolutely every damn person that so much as looked at him, and he wanted to kill every damn one who so much as thought something pitying, let alone stared at him like they could damn well sympathize, or worse, thought they had a right to be half as angry as him.

But most of all, he was furious at Atts and at himself.

Jax hit his opponent again and again—some half-drunk merc looking for a fight, just like him— and with each punch, he felt some of the anger flare before it was expelled.



She always said she’d be here.


How could she just die?

Punch. Punch. Punch.

And why can’t I be better than this?

“Stop!” someone cried, and Jax finally stilled mid-swing, panting hard, his vision swimming and his whole skull hot, blood soaking his shirt. He blinked, dazed, shook his head. His hands hurt. His knuckles were busted, and he thought he felt a canine floating freely in his mouth.

He looked down at the mercenary he’d been beating to death. There was a lot of blood, and the guy on the ground wasn’t moving. He waited tensely, watching as the man’s chest rose raggedly. Alive, then.

Jax didn’t look up at any of the faces around him. He knew what he’d see if he did. He kept his eyes fixed just in front of his feet, grabbed someone’s drink to rinse out his mouth, felt the alcohol burn and spat out some blood. Then, he stumbled out the door. He knew he’d need to apologize to Atyiru at some point for bleeding all over somebody’s floor, but right now he didn’t care.

Right now, there was no one to apologize to.

AGV Nighthawk
Low-orbit over Selen


Jax blinked. Took out a cigarra and jammed it between his teeth. But he didn’t light it. Atts woulda just made him put it out if she’d been here, and o’sik if he wasn’t gonna pretend that she was.

He inhaled deeply of the sickeningly fresh air and turned lucid cyan eyes to his second, Kael. “How we doin’, ori’vod?”

“’Bout set up. Looks like some of the Sapper’s mighta been cracked in transport, so if anybody starts chokin’, we know why,” he snorted at Jax’s hard look. “And we’re missin’ a Thorium charge.”

“A thorium charge?” Jax barked. “Wha, like, a single popper? Yer frakkin’ me, right?”

“Yeh, just one, righ’ out of the crate. Box isn’t busted or anything. Electronic lock’s intact. Got Xebba messin’ with it. He thinks he’s found some footprints or something in the whatever data thing.”

Jax exhaled forcefully through his teeth, eyes thinning to feral slits. “You telling me we’re onboard a ship and we’ve been gypped one single kriffing charge that could blow a hole through blast doors?”

“You got rancor shit in your ears, Sarge?”

“Ne’johaa!” Snarling, the Zygerrian sucked uselessly on the smoke between his lips, snarled again, and grabbed his brother by the arm. “I want every frakking inch of this ship and the shuttle searched. Then go back and retrace our steps. I’ll be in comms contact.”

“Where you goin’, Sarge?”

“To find that laandur ghost these di’kuts call a Rollmaster and that bitch of ‘is with the spark-fingers that was en route with us and—you ever kick someone so hard in the teeth tha’ yer boot exploded?”

“Can’t say I have, Sarge.”

“Watch how it’s done. Now get!”


The ascent up to the bridge gave him a little time to cool down. He exerted most of his frustration in putting a dent in the elevator wall.

Work with explosives in a spaceship! It’s the only way you’ll ever be happy to hope a grenade lands in your face and not, say, next to the gravity dampeners, he thought somewhat bitterly, a knife-thin grin pulling at the scar on his cheek.

The lift doors opened, ushering him into the madness that was the Nighthawk’s beating heart. He passed several people at their stations, bits and pieces of conversation catching his sensitive ears. Some kid named Skar was leaving the Armory. The Commander was on his way back after a chat with the Security Chief. Other bits of info, but none about who he was out for. Where the frak was Sight frakking Nortorshin?

“…orm the Captain! We just got word that one Ood Bnar has been released from custody and was last seen in surgery with the Aedile! Her status has been updated! Vitals reportedly low but more stable. Still comatose.”

Jax jerked to a halt next to a particular console, the words freezing his muscles.

“Forwarding now, any update on—”

“Ping from the ‘Forge leader. He and XO are headed for the medcenter. New intel. Assassin might be a Zeltron woman, description coming—”

“—one agent Kordath still remains in contact with witness—”

“…Lady Riverche and Lord Draith en route to Nighthawk, Lieutenant Kja…”

“Somebody get me the Captain, I’ve got—”

“No, sumbody get me the Capteen! Strikers Inaji, Arcunae, Loric, Bruneek and Ortegah on the move. Ortegah has informations from Giletta port registries—”

“I said, somebody get me the frakking Captain! We’ve got a message from the Proconsul! No resources can be spared—Qel-Droma is also engaged with possible One Sith incursion forces. Repeat, no aid coming! We’re on our own!”

For the briefest half of a heartbeat, the madness of the cacophony lulled. Quiet like after a blaster shot. Grave-grim.

The noise redoubled, blooming out like an exploding star. Jax mentally filed all the information away and kept moving towards the bridge’s head, near the cockpit.

Cortel was there, as he’d hoped. He strode up, spat out his unlit cigarra, and saluted briefly.

“What is it, Erinos?” the woman asked directly, green eyes sharp.

“Yer crewman, Nortorshin? He’s an aruetti.” Jax spat bluntly, without preamble or explanation.

Those sharp eyes narrowed, a coldness coming to her already cool features. The Zygerrian prepared himself for an argument, but was instead surprised as she lifted a hand to her ear and spoke into her comm unit.

“Zakath, get some of your men and escort Chief Nortorshin to the bridge immediately. Yes, immediately. Leave Operative Skar.”

They waited then in tense silence while the rest of the bridge buzzed around them. Commander Locke arrived shortly thereafter, leaning close to his Captain for a whispered briefing. The Commander’s face quickly grew grim, and the two looked back to Jax a moment later.

“Explain yourself,” Arcia commanded.

“You already know I brought a lot of artillery with me,” the Mandalorian began. “Well, we’re missin’ a single charge. Thorium. Blasts through mine doors. Will blast through this ship’s haul. There was only me, my buds, your man an’ his partner on that shuttle, besides the nice little pilot we got sat real tight down in the hangar. I trust my men. I don’t trust yours. My bet’s he took it.”

He was spared any response by the arrival or an unsettling entourage from the lift. Marines in heavy boots stomped out, led by a pale, lividly scarred Human. They pushed along the albino and his Mandalorian woman.

Arcia glared at Nortorshin as the man approached, and Jax bit a hole through his tongue to keep from grabbing the engineer by his lapels. Patience, he reminded himself. The Captain would take care of this.

By that fire in her eyes, she would.


Estle City, Selen
Medcenter 12 A

“I’ll see you later,” Andrelious muttered to the unconscious Aedile as he stood in the doorway of her hospital room. “When you’re awake again, I’ll bring Poppy and Etholi to visit.”

Stepping out into the hallway, the Soulfire Captain strode past bustling medics and lifted a hand to his comm, barking a few simple orders. “Swil, I have an assignment for you. Check into the profile of one Sephilios Braxant and see what you can find. He’s a spook, so it may be difficult, but report back anything you do dig up immediately.”

“Yes, sir. Right away,” the Fade replied, closing the link.

With a dark, angry sigh, the Warlord left the medcenter, but pulled up short of his cab to the cantina as Lexiconus and his Sergeant arrived.

The two men glared at each other, one furiously, the other with sullen apathy. Warrior Karthdo coughed.

“Might want to keep a look out, Captain Inahj. We’ve had new intel on our assassin,” the Sergeant said. His commander nodded, idly waving a hand and looking off to the side.

“Confirmed Zeltron, like Cortel thought. Pink and purple, guy said. Was at the stock building. Kordath’s there. We dropped some hints,” was all the elaboration the seemingly disinterested Togruta gave.

“That’s Mimosa-Inahj, for the last time. And noted.” The Imperial went on through gritted teeth. “In the interest of keeping everyone informed, we may want to be on the look out for a DIA agent. Supposedly, they’re investigating.”

“Gotcha,” Lexiconus huffed, walking away. Karthdo gave a quick salute, then jogged to follow.

Sneering, Andrelious went on his way, ready to meet Aiorus.

And, considering the day so far…a few stiff drinks.


Estle City, Selen
Arcona Citadel Cantina

“Another Elba beer,” the Warlord said from the bottom of his third mug. The serving girl eyed him, her lekku flicking, but did not comment, simply returning to the bar.

Hunter Trayus sat to his right, holding a simple ale that he had yet to touch. The long-haired Human leaned close, eyes bright. “So when do I get to meet with my Master again? Where is Xathia?” he asked, too eagerly, for perhaps the sixth time since the Imperial had arrived.

Andrelious glowered again. “I told you, there’s some complications and a lot of personal information at work here. You’ll be meeting your new Master, my daughter, soon enough.”


Just then, the Captain’s comm beeped, and he tabbed open a channel, ignoring Aiorus. “This is Mimosa-Inahj.”

“Hey dad,” the voice on the other end greeted with a special mix of sincerity and sarcasm. “I’m on my way back.”

“Did you search Giletta’s registries?”




His brow furrowed, further frustration mingling with his anger. “You didn’t find anything?”

“No, I did. I don’t want to talk about it though.”

“Saskia! Rep–”

The line clicked. Andrelious tore off the device in fury and flung it against the wall. It didn’t give a satisfying shatter, instead clacking to the ground with a harmless bounce or two.

The Imperial stood, throwing some credits on the tabletop and, not bothering to wait for his next drink, marched out of the bar. Aiorus scrambled after him.


Estle City, Selen
Tyrell and Associates

Kordath was very much busy keeping one of his eyeballs on his drink and the other on the man he was sort of supposed to be watching, or something, when a warm feeling washed down his spine. He glanced slowly up, tail twitching, as a body slid into the booth next to him, pressing right up against his side in such a way that let him know his particular visitor was particularly curvy.

She wasn’t wearing much either. The heat of her bare skin burned right through his robes as she just about crawled over him. Ignoring the way some pieces of his anatomy approved, Kordath sidled away, his instincts buzzing a bunch of tiny little alarms even more urgently than a bartender shouting for last call.

“Uhhum…uh…um…can I, uh, help…you?” he asked, studying the busty, nearly naked lady making eyes at him.

Making eyes. At him. Yeah, uhm, no. Something was so wrong here.


The woman smiled, her blue eyes stark against her pale skin, dark hair rippling in the low light as she tilted her head just right. “I’m having a bit of a bad day,” she purred, pouty. “My boss wasn’t very happy with my work.”

Kordath pointed over her shoulder. “Uh, listen, umh, lady, bar’s that way. I uh….suggest whiskey. Cures all. So. Yeah. Uhm…there. That way. Over there.”

She moved closer, showing so much leg in the process that even Blinky would have had her blood up, eyeless or no. Her lips fluttered around white teeth. She had long, thick lashes. Pretty. Pretty for a smoothskin…? No, just…pretty.

No, no, no, no.

“Uuuuhuhuh, lady, back up. Bar. There. Uh, please?”

“But you seem like just the kind of guy I’m looking for. You could help me, get me in touch with the right people” she leaned forward, reaching out to place a hand on his furry cheek. His whiskers twitched viciously.

“Yeah, uhhhhm, don’t think so….kinda on the clock. Soooo, bye?”

Her grin just widened, and she mouthed a little, too-sweet, “No.” Then, there was a little tug in the Force and her face just melted.

Pink skin. Cropped silvery hair. Golden eyes. Burning golden eyes that absolutely screamed ‘hot but crazy’ at the top of the lungs they didn’t have.

“…your, uh…your hair’s supposed to be purple,” was all he could manage, even as his mind clicked the pieces together with agonizingly syrupy slowness and a slow rage flared in his gut.

“Guess again!” the Zeltron giggled, her fingers slipping down to close around his throat.


Estle City, Stock Exchange Bar
Dark Forge

Kordath’s eyes narrowed to slits, his gray pupils barely showing as the lips under his white mustache pulled back into a snarl. Mind stumbling up to speed through the fog of alcohol, confused lust, and general fatigue, slowly at first, and then with sudden slamming mental force, things came into clear focus.

“You…,” he started, stopping and wetting his lips as full realization set in. The grip around his throat was growing firmer, and the golden eyes before him had taken a serious predatory tone.

She giggled at him again, “Yes?” cocking her head to the side, the curve of her lips forming a sardonic grin.

Gritting his teeth, he opened his mouth again, this time the words wouldn’t come from lack of air, but a growl started, which caused the woman to laugh a bit louder. Part of the Ryn noted the deep richness, and wondered why it was always the crazy ones that showed him any attention at all.

Chitinous nostrils whistling a high pitch, he sucked in a bit of air, and bared his teeth at the woman, his own eyes growing wide to fight the encroaching darkness at the edge of his vision, and finally he forced the words out.

“You…shot…BLINKY…,” he attempted to shout, most of it coming out as a wheeze. The grip faltered for a moment as the woman’s eyes blinked several times. Kordath knew this look, it was one he was used too, especially from women.

It was the ‘what the hell is he talking about?’ look, and it was enough for him to suck some air in and lash out with his right hand. The hand still holding his glass of whiskey, part of him despaired over this for a half a second, before the small glass smashed into the side of the Zeltron’s head. She made a noise that was part cry of pain, part snarl, and Kordath turned to grab at the Corellian on the other side of the booth.

“Go!” shouted the Ryn, trying to climb over the table to get away from the enraged female.

A shot of pain speed through the Krath’s body, starting at the tip of his tail, which made sense since the woman had produced from somewhere within her scanty outfit a knife. The Knight made a noise that some would call a scream, some would claim they had heard the same noise from pre-teen girls being frightened on camping trips as well. Vision fading again, Kordath reached back, trying to get a grip on the offending piece of metal pinning him to the filthy table, just in time to see a delicate pink hand fill his vision.

What happened next would forever be a mystery to Kordath himself, but did cause the few more serious drinkers who hadn’t ran for the door to wince. The Ryn was aware that the back of his head suddenly hurt quite a bit, and seemed damp and warm, before his view brightened again. A pair of golden, albeit now fuzzy looking, eyes filled his vision, and a wide smile was set below them.

“Oh yes,” said the silky voice, now seemingly far away, “You’ll do nicely.”

The laughter followed him into the darkness as his vision faded.


Soulfire Strike Team
Estle City,
Arcona Citadel Cantina

Nadrin sat in the back of the bar, his attention focused on his squad’s new Captain. He knew that the news of Andrelious’ twins new godparent being hospitalised was going to have an impact on the normally stoic man, and true enough that was appearing to be the case as the Warlord sank another drink, received a comm-call and threw his headset at the wall.

I can’t shake the feeling that something is off here, and the opportunity to get a drink or two is welcome. He’s so distracted that he hasn’t noticed me, but I’m just going to tail him for a while to make sure he’s fine before I find something else to do.

The justification seemed weak even to him, but Nadrin’s feelings of disquiet were still rumbling away beneath the surface despite his best efforts to shake them. He didn’t know what it was but he had a distinct feeling that it would be making an appearance soon, and in Andrelious’ vicinity if his hunch was at all correct. Seeing his quarry rising up and moving out of the cantina, Nadrin raised his wrist to his mouth and spoke into the speaker for his commlink that was attached to his wrist, his voice quiet but distinct.

“Looks like he’s on the move. Narn, he should be passing you soon so give him about twenty metres and then follow, I’ll be somewhere behind you doing the same.”

Knowing that his Fade, despite being a hulking brute of a man, would be able to blend well enough to hide the fact that he was tailing the Soulfirian, Nadrin slid out of his booth and sidled over to the bartender.

“Thanks, and see if you can’t get some more of that liquor in stock; I know it’s a particular favourite of some of the bigshots here.”

The bartender nodded and smiled in appreciation, ignorant of who it was he was talking to, but Nadrin wasn’t the sort to throw titles and power around without needing to and so he simply stalked away towards the cantina’s exit. As he approached it however, he heard the click of an activating commlink and a conversation that had already begun.

“-not like I was following anyone. Who are you guys anyway?”


Breaking into a run, the Warlord stretched out with the Force in an effort to pinpoint his associate’s location quickly. Locking in Narn’s position, Nadrin sprinted towards where he was and came a halt not too far away from the cantina when he finally caught up to the man and the others who had stopped him. One of the men turned to the Sith and looked at him with disdain, his hand resting on a blaster at his hip as he spoke.

“And who are you? Official DIA business, be on your way.”


The man seemed taken aback, stammering over his next words as Nadrin plucked his lightsaber from the it’s resting place at the small of his back and ignited the crimson blade right in front of the other man’s face.

“I am Nadrin Erinos Arconae, special advisor to your boss’ boss’ boss, and you and I are going to have a chat about why you stopped my associate here. You other men are dismissed. Operative, come with me.”


Walking out of the room of a nearby office and wiping his hands absent-mindedly with a wet cloth, Nadrin looked over at Narn and grinned beneath his mask at the man’s inquisitive expression.

“He was tasked with tailing my Captain and so when he spotted you doing the same he stopped you to find out why. He didn’t have any more information than that really, only that the call for Andrel to be followed came from within the DIA.”

Narn’s questioning look became one of intermingled anger and shame as he toyed with the fact he had been spotted.

“I didn’t think I was that obvious. Sorry.”

Nadrin clapped the other man on the shoulder and shook his head slightly, putting the cloth back in his belt with his free hand as he did so.

“You weren’t, but they’re trained to do this to a much higher level than we are. Don’t worry about it.”

The brute nodded and as Nadrin turned away he held out a hand and pulled the Arconae back by the shoulder.

“You know you’ve got blood on your mask, right?”

The Sith slid his shoulder out of the man’s grip and set off, Narn hurrying to catch up to the diminutive Erinos.

“Oh I know, I intend to add to it before the day is done. Now, let’s get to a computer; we need to find out who it was that put these men on Andrelious’ tail in the first place.”



Medical Bay
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Approximately one hour after Captain Cortel returned to the Nighthawk…

It wasn’t so much a hammock, as thermal venting with heat proof material as bedding, but Maaks treated it much the same. With his right hand he tossed the large bottle up to catch it with his left, took a sip and threw it back up again. The liquid barely made a sound until he caught it in his right hand, again taking another sip. Engineering didn’t really bother him much unless he dropped something on them, plus it helped being everyone’s doctor with a pleasant amount of personal information at his fingertips. He swung one leg over the side and played some mental push ups with the bottle, using the Force just enough to cancel out the artificial gravity and have it bob up and down towards his lips. He heard movement beneath him and immediately grabbed the bottle. Someone was making hissing noises, clearly trying to get his attention. If he waited long enough they’d give up eventually, he wasn’t really known for his reliability.


He froze, the voice surprised him. “Famika?” The long chain of curses confirmed it was him. Sighing, Maaks popped his head out over the side. “How bad is it?”

“Real bad. Something bad happened and Cortel is looking for blood. She’s been heading around making sure each and every officer is prepared for some task and she can’t find you.”

Maaks chewed the edge of his lip and with very little effort, swung his body over the side, landing cleanly and quietly.

“Okay, here’s the plan, you make a distraction and I’ll-”

Famika arched an eyebrow and crossed his arms. “No. Captain Cortel, he’s all yours.”

She stepped out from around a corner, her eyes bright and dangerous for a moment. Two guards stood by her, evidently nervous by her tone.

“Specialist Maaks…”

Waves of tightly constructed emotion blurred away from her image, harsh and irregular. It was no time for an escape.

“What happened?”

She seemed to take a breath, her face impassive and her feelings only displayed vibrantly through the Force.

“Famika, take the guards to the mess and give them something from my private stash. I’m sure you can find the time to enjoy some good wine,” he gave them a wink as Arcia’s face turned a special shade of purple, but he immediately fixed her with a glare. “Captain Cortel, I hereby formally request you to follow me to the Medical Bay, you require cybernetic tuning.”

Famika was already ushering the open-mouthed pair towards the exit when Maaks moved closer to his superior, “How bad is it?”

A slight twitch in the corner of her mouth. “You would know, Erinos. Had you been present at the general briefing,” she paused as she inspected his reaction. “But not good. Our Aedile has been harmed, directly, and we are now aiming our resources at the perpetrator. I am acting Aedile now.”

She added the last part almost as an afterthought, neither her voice nor her face betraying her stoic image. She swayed uneasily on her feet. “So, now that you are informed I need you to be prepared to perform any task necessary to aid your colleagues. That’s all- there is little necessary however in the way of social sleight of hand.”

“But your implants are bothering you, right? Right. So when you’re not running yourself ragged like a bottle ready to pop, come get some painkillers at the very least,” he touched her arm lightly as he walked by. “And I’m sorry about Atty.”


Pleasure Chambers
Dark Forge

Kordath’s eyes fluttered as he woke, and felt as if he were floating in a violet haze, the air around him practically glowing. Blinking a few times, he realized there was a haze of smoke, with soft purple lights somewhere in the distance backing it causing the effect. He shifted slightly, and found he was lying on the softest, most perfect bed he’d ever laid in. Sighing as he stretched, the Ryn realized with sudden certainty that he was not alone, feeling pressure to either side of him. A glance down showed two shapely hands laying across his chest and stomach, well manicured nails tipping long delicate fingers, pinkish in hue.

Memory moving sluggishly, the Krath tried to recall why pink skin was important, something about a Zeltron? Languidly moving his head to one side, and then the other, two females lay to either side, Zeltrons that looked alike enough to be twins if not for their different colored hair, one silver, the other purple. Golden eyes watched him above playful smiles, and this too felt like it should be important, but the Ryn was far to comfortable to worry about the warning bells going off deep in his mind.

“Teehee, you’re finally awake!” said one, her smile growing wider.

The other caressed his chest, her nails dragging through the hair, “Mmmm, finally up for another round, are we, My Lord?”

Confusion at his situation was quickly being pushed aside by the amazing powers of libido, as the two Zeltron females pressed themselves insinuatingly against the Knight. Realizing his own hands had encircled the two women, Kordath smiled; this was good, he felt, this was right, it was pleasant, it was likely the happiest he’d been since…since…

He couldn’t recall when he’d been happier.

A shadow formed at the edge of his vision, disconcertingly to both side of him, forcing Kordath to slowly move his eyes to the right to focus upon it. What appeared to be a black cloud, tinged with shades of red was…moving wasn’t the word, shaping itself seemed to be apt. Slowly a face seemed to emerge, brilliant white hair framing coppery skin, the bandage wrapped about the forehead was blood red, and the red was spreading across the features. This was a face he’d seen over so many tumblers of whiskey that he knew it instantly.

What he couldn’t understand was why it was here, of all places, despite the likelihood that he and Atyiru had drained most of Kurs’kranak’s supply of whiskey together, they’d never shared a bed. Professionalism and a comradeship that ran deeper then such petty instincts framed a good bit of their friendship, though he could believe she’d appear due to twin Zeltrons. That seemed about right, he thought, glancing to his left and seeing the same face. It was amazing how well a woman with no eyes could glare at you, the Ryn had often noticed.

“Sleeping on the job, Bleu?” spoke the floating faces of his Aedile, in concert yet with a distant, echoing quality.

Kordath sputtered for a moment before replying, “What? No! I…wait…what…?”

“Back to work, Kord,” spoke the voices again, fading away as the scene dissolved itself before his eyes, and a sudden onrush of pain erupted in the Ryn’s head.

Location: Unknown
Dark Forge

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAArrrrrrrghhhh,” screamed the Ryn as consciousness reasserted itself, bringing along with it all the pains of life. His head throbbed, his tail hurt, even the Ryn’s brain felt scrambled.

Groaning, the Krath opened his eyes, blinked a few times, and brought his hand up before his face, waving it a few times. It was dark, wherever he was, so dark he couldn’t see a few inches. That was fine, Kordath had spent enough time stowing away in ship holds that pitch black darkness wasn’t really that big of a fear. What was bothering him was the amount he was shivering, the ground was smooth, hard, and cold. Rubbing his hands across his bare arms, the Ryn noted through the haze of pain that he appeared to have been disrobed.

Further investigation showed he’d been debriefed as well, though in the darkness modesty wasn’t quite a pressing concern. Waving a hand above his head for a moment to insure that he didn’t smash his already injured skull against anything, he slowly stood. Every time he shifted his head it sounded like a cantina jam band that had no idea how to play together would start up, causing the Krath’s knees to buckle. Reaching out, he found a wall, shuffling along it and counting his steps to himself, until he reached a corner. He followed it to the next corner, then another, and again another, finding what he thought was a door-frame at one point, but no protrusions or activation pad presented themselves.

“Maybe three meters by six, great,” muttered the Ryn, going back to a corner, taking a step to the left, and trying to make a straight line to the other side of the room, hands held up before him. Repeating this several times, he found a drain in the floor, likely his only option for relief later on, and a pile of what felt like cloth. At first he thought this was a blanket, some small creature comfort, but quickly determined that it was his own robes.

Some small relief came at this, until Kordath found gaping holes in it, the robes themselves had been shredded while searched, and provided little comfort against the cold of the room. A cursory search through the pockets produced his flask, empty, a lighter and a few credits. The lighter showed that the room was a uniform gray color all around, and that the only apparent fixture was in fact the drain. No glowpanels in the ceiling even, he noted grimly, and no apparent way to get through the door. Sighing, the Ryn settled himself in the corner to meditate and attempt to heal what he was almost certain was a fractured skull.

Time passed, though he couldn’t be sure how long, breathing in and out slowly before his eyes popped open again in alarm.

What had been in his robes when the Zeltron captured him? Lightsaber, knives, gone of course, she wouldn’t leave him with a weapon. Notepad, pen, useless; nothing had been in there that was important, some random thoughts scribbled down and maybe a few doodles. Datapad? She could hack that, he thought, going cold now from his own thoughts rather then the chill of the room itself. Badge, his security pass for the base was gone, but it was only good for getting into lower security areas since he’d stepped down from a leadership role. That would get her into the base, some of the pass-codes on the datapad would get her around a bit easier.

The scene from the bar, just before she’d put his head through the table, came crashing back. Her face had melted into something else, could she take on his visage? It was possible, she had his badge, probably had what pass-codes he’d had on the datapad, she could move about the base as him. Not many would stop her, Kordath knew he didn’t have many close associates in the House to spot any strange mannerisms.

He wished she’d at least left him the notepad and pen, thought the Ryn as he pulled out a credit piece and started scratching at the floor.


What access?

Quarters? On Eldar, no threat.

Armory? Guards would suspect. Out of character.

Operations Center? Codes revoked when stepped down.

Communications? Possible.

Kordath sat in the dark for a while, conserving the precious fuel of his lighter, tapping the credit against the duracrete floor. His head still hurt, if he got out of this alive he was going to spend some time in a bacta tank, that was for certain.

“Oh poodoo,” he said, face going slack as he looked at the floor again, lighter shining in the dark.

Med-Bay? Finish the job?

Cause more chaos? Atyiru dead = House in turmoil = Easier target.

“I’ve gotta get out of this bloody room,” growled the Ryn, going to inspect the door again.

S.C.E.P.T.E.R. Headquarters, Selen

Robes whispering across the polished floor of the corridor, a person who looked like Kordath Bleu d’Tana made their way through the facility, a little smile on their face.

This was turning out to be far to easy.



AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit above Selen

“Alright.” Antar nodded, satisfied with the action. “Let’s get down to business. We’ll need to review the information we have and decide on the next course of action…”

The XO shifted in his seat as his hand stroked his chin. “As soon as we locate the assassin I want boots on the ground. I don’t want to take the chance of some overzealous vigilante killing the target. I want this son of Hutt alive.”

The Security Chief sat forward. “Capture may not be an option, Commander.”

“I don’t care what it takes, Chief. I want this kriffing assassin to talk. I want to know who they are working for,” Antar said as his brow furled.

“I understand your desire, Commander, but we should be prepared for the fact that the assassin may not allow themselves to be taken alive, that’s all.” Zakath replied, noticing the XO’s seriousness about the subject. He continued, “At any rate, I believe Quartermaster Skar has already started arming the Marines for the mission. Perhaps he should be here.”


The XO pressed the comm and the Kaleesh’s voice answered. “This is Skar, what do you need?”

Antar answered. “Skar, report to Chief Zakath’s office at once. We need your help with planning our next move.” He looked at the Chief. “Do we have any further information concerning Faust and their connection with the attempt?”

Zakath picked up his datapad, “The analyst are still compiling the data and scanning communication networks for possible connections. I’m expecting a report from my own agents shortly, we’ll see if they turn up anything the official DIA agents may have overlooked.”

Antar opened his mouth, but his words were interrupted by a knock at the Security Chiefs door. Instinctively both men looked to the door. Zakath spoke. “Enter!”

The door opened and the Quartermaster and Private Dusk entered the office. The two saluted the XO, who nodded in response.

“Thank you, Chief,” the Quartermaster said with a slight bow.

“Have a seat, Skar. Private you can wait outside,” the Security Chief said with a nod.

Dusk saluted. “Aye, Chief.”

Skar took a seat next to the Commander. His eyes looked out from behind the bone mask he always wore.

“The Chief and I have been discussing the armament for the Marines going planetside when we locate the assailant. What are your opinions on their loadout?” Antar asked while sliding his hand along his jawline.

Skar cleared his throat. “Well Commander, as you know the supply lines have been very unreliable as of late. On review of our stock we are dangerously low on gear and medical supplies. I’ve done what I can to evenly distribute it among the Marines, but there is only so much I can do before we run out completely.”

The XO shook his head. “What weaponry are you providing them with? I would prefer they have blasters that can be set to stun. I want this assassin taken alive,” he paused for a moment. He looked to the Zakath, “if at all possible.”

“I have provided each member of the strike teams with a blaster that has been preset to stun as well as some explosives that Chief Engineer Nortorshin provided to help with the hunt.”

Zakath’s eyebrows raised slightly as he stared at the Quartermaster. “Why is Chief Engineer Nortorshin in possession of explosives?”

Antar sat forward wanting to know the answer to that question as well.

“He had a private stock of them in the armory for some time now the only ones that have had access to them is myself and Sight when he goes on missions for the Antei Contract Bureau.”

“I see.” Zakath’s eyes narrowed slightly. “We will need to address that issue at a later time, but this was done without my knowledge or authorization. Back to the issue at hand, has the strike teams been equipped with stun grenades as well?”

“We only had a few in stock so I have issued one to each team member, they’ll need to be careful on how they use it until we can get a resupply.” the Quartermaster said going over the mental manifest in his head

“Something needs to be done about this supply shortage. Qel-Droma isn’t able to provide assistance and we are in dire need,” the Commander said pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Grandfather what about the black market? I’m sure that they would have what we need.”

“Of course they would.” Zakath smirked slightly as he leaned back into his chair. “They have everything one could want… if you have the money for it.”

“And right now funds are stretched as it is. The higher ups don’t have the means nor the desire to allocate us any further credits,” Antar remarked, thinking how much he hated the bureaucracy of war.

“Zakath, get some of your men and escort Chief Nortorshin to the bridge immediately,” the Captain’s voice interrupted the men’s discussion.

“Immediately?” Zakath asked almost quizzically.

“Yes, immediately. Leave Operative Skar.” She replied.

“What the kriff is going on? I’ll be on the bridge,” The XO remarked as he stood.

As he exited the office he heard Zakath dispatch a group of Marines to locate Sight. Antar made his way through the corridors and onto the turbolift. He stepped onto the bridge and noticed a large Mandalorian standing apart from the Arcia. The Commander came to a halt next to her.

He leaned in to find out the situation and spoke in a hushed tone. “What’s going on, Captain?”

The Captain kept her voice muffled as she spoke. “This man is Jax, a friend of the Aedile. He and his comrades brought a lot of explosives aboard.”

A grim look covered his face. “I was just informed that Sight turned over some explosives to the Special Forces Marines that will be on the ground,” Antar said as quietly as possible. The two Anaxsi looked to Jax.

The Commander was somewhat relieved that Jax was only missing one charge, but that would be enough for an explosives expert like Sight. Antar had complete faith in his former master and knew that he wouldn’t use the explosives against the Nighthawk. He, however didn’t put it past Sight to actually take it for a different purpose. When the turbolift doors swished open, the XO could tell that Arcia wasn’t as sure.



Bridge and CIC
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Sight Nortorshin and escort halted a mere few feet before the Nighthawk Captain, her eyes boring into the albino man intently. She took a deep breath with arms crossed and shook her head. A moment of silence hung, elaborating the severity of the situation at hand, but the Chief Engineer broke the silence.

“Request to know why I am being escorted by Marines, Captain?”

Arcia snapped her gaze to Antar, then back to Sight. “You are unfortunately suspect to removing a Thorium charge from Jax’s supply. You have also been seen delivering charges to Marine forces for ground side work. What have you to say for yourself, Nortorshin?”

With a frown, then a small chuckle, Sight cleared his throat. “Ma’am, my staff and I do not use Thorium. Also, I have been in Engineering since boarding this ship. How could I have taken anything from them?”

Jax immediately spat a retort. “You and yer lady partner were the only others on that shuttle! One of you took it!”

Sight’s fists clenched tightly, but remained stoic as the Zygerrian continued.

“So ‘nless one of my guys are plannin’ to backstab me, which I doubt, you’re a aruetti!”

Chief Nortorshin knew Arcia and his Fade long enough to understand the word. “Now listen here you little prick. I wouldn’t endanger this ship or its crew. I don’t know who you think you are throwing blame around, but your information is frakked.”

“Why I outta…” Jax spat.

“You ever get hit with two ton bags of wrenches?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Do you want to, di’kut?”

Sight was caught off guard as Jax’s right hook flew around and landed squarely into the albino’s left jaw. Years of combat prowess came to life as the engineer spun around, the aura of the Force encircling him, and Jax simply rocketed backwards into the nearest bulkhead, his face bursting with blood as an unseen force hammered into him. The Marines standing guard quickly jumped into action, but were far slower as another presence within the Force sparked to life.

Arcia growled, grabbed her Chief Engineer and threw him into the Marines who nearly collapsed under his weight and the force behind the throw. Antar, Zakath and Sight looked to their Captain, astonished. She had been displaying strange feats of the Force as of late, most notably after the attempt on Atyiru. Captain Cortel quickly spun towards Jax and yanked him up by his collar, bringing his face close to hers.

“If you ever lay hand on one of my crew again, you’ll be taking the scenic route down to Selen through the forward airlock. Do I make myself understood?”

The Zygerrian made a sound almost like a low, growling purr and grinned, replying through the blood spilling from his lips, “You damn well do, ner alor’ad.”

Arcia released the Mandalorian and Jax watched as she stormed over to Sight. He was still taken aback by Arcia’s display in throwing him into the Marines, but remained quiet. The Captain couldn’t form words through her anger, so Zakath quickly chimed in.

“If we are having issues with the truth, I am sure we can bring Miss Voth into the mix?”

A sly grin spread across the pale Human’s face, but quickly vanished as Arcia put her hand up dismissively. “We are not torturing our crew. Chief Zakath…initiate Omega Directive.”

With a great sigh, Zakath keyed in a few commands on his datapad and the entire ship powered down in an instant. Several seconds later, minimal power was restored as Zakath keyed in the communications systems to send a broadcast throughout the ship and to the strike leaders down on the surface, as well as any other superiors linked to the Nighthawk.

“Attention! Attention! This is Chief Zakath of the Nighthawk. Until further notice, the Nighthawk will be locked down. All transmissions after this shall be blocked. All crew shall report to department heads. If any crew is discovered out of place, they shall be detained indefinitely and labeled as traitors,” Zakath cleared his throat. “The Nighthawk has a missing Thorium charge on board. Security teams will begin a deck by deck search of the ship starting with Engineering. That is all.”

Hangar, Deck 5
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

A final shuttle entered the hangar of the Agave Picket before klaxons rang out and all the lights blacked. Moments later, the power flared back to life, allowing Riverche and Draith to exit onto the flight deck in confusion. Gryden Carr, the flight deck Chief ran over and explained the situation, beckoning the two to follow him to their rally point until further orders were given.

A group of heavily armed Marines exited the turbo-lift as the trio passed by and they began to inspect the Armory towards the back of the hangar, under watchful eye of Quartermaster Skar and his Marine escort. Riverche looked over the Gryden and frowned.

“What the frak is going on, Chief?”

“Apparently some big bad Mandalorian and his buddies lost a Thorium charge. We’re on lockdown until it’s located. Rumors are the Chief Engineer might be a traitor,” Chief Carr spoke softly.

“A Thorium charge? You have got to be kidding…” Draith added in.

With a slow shake of the head, Gryden watched as the Marines moved from the Armory to the Security barracks and office. It was time to simply hurry up and wait.

‘War Room,’ CIC
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Arcia stood before her bridge crew, fuming. “I want answers, people. What is going on with this crew and ship. Where is this charge!?”

Zakath stepped forward. “I have my men sweeping the ship as quickly and efficiently as possible, Captain. It is only a matter of time before we locate the missing equipment. Reports have stated Engineering is clear, however. We had three teams search it twice before reporting back.”

Captain Cortel glanced over to Chief Nortorshin as she took in Zakath’s words and reviewed a datapad. “Nortorshin, your suspected involvement in this situation has been remanded. Zekk states you were in Engineering for quite some time after departing the shuttle and Lilly affirms the statements that you had nothing to do with the charge. I’m trusting you…”

Sight saluted his Captain and remained silent as the senior staff stood or sat in silence, waiting for the next reports to file in. Several long minutes passed by when something clicked in Antar’s mind.


“What is it, Locke.”

The Anaxsi looked towards Arcia, a blank look on his face. “What of the shuttle pilot?”

Arcia’s face turned to stone and she turned to her Security Chief. “Zakath. Now.”

Sub-deck below Engineering
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Several minutes after the senior staff meeting.

“You will tell me what I want to know.”

The brusque, merciless voice of the Iridonian ‘Information Retrieval’ officer rang through the tightly cramped space allocated for just that; retrieval of information. An assortment of hooks, daggers, scalpels and other crude tools hung on the walls and were displayed on various tables. The grated flooring kept whoever was in the room inches above a liquid and tissue processing system, as to not make a mess.

“I have nothing to say to you,” the shuttle pilot stated plainly.

“Yes,” she stated flatly, lifting a vicious scalpel. “You do.”

Half a deck above, Arcia and Zakath waited in Engineering as several screams rang out and echoed through the chamber only to be eaten by the vibrating hum of the ships reactor. “She sure is good at her job, eh Captain?”

Cortel didn’t offer any response, only electing to wait in silence as more screams and a gurgled, abrupt cease followed. Operative Voth emerged from a side stairwell, cleaning a small scalpel before sheathing it and taking a deep breath.

“Check the Security barracks again, Zakath.”

The pale human’s brow furrowed as he quickly sent orders to the team currently inspecting the barracks, then followed the Captain to the turbo-lift.

“And Captain? Faust employs him,” Nath’s crowned head jerked back towards their guest’s room.

Arcia took a heavy breath and frowned, then nodded to herself before continuing on. The lift doors swished shut behind her as she followed Zakath in.

A figure within the shadows watched as they departed and once the doors hissed shut, they sprinted towards the Nighthawk’s reactor to finish the job they had started just moments prior to the pairs arrival…

Security Barracks, Deck 5
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

“Reinspect the barracks! Recent intel dictates we missed something.”

“Understood, Chief!”

The lead Marine put away the datapad he used to receive new orders from the Chief of Security before pointing to several others and making motions to make another, more detailed, sweep of the rooms. This time, they turned the place upside-down. Bunks flew across the room, chairs were kicked to the side, explosives detectors were strewn all about in attempts to locate what they had missed.

A long steady pulse rang out from one of the detectors.

“Sir! We found something!”

The Marine Sergeant rushed over and slid to his knees, looking into one of the air ducts just above the deck. Several flashing lights greeted him as the vent was ripped off by the sheer brute strength of the man and he carefully retrieved the device. Handing it off to their explosives expert, she inspected the device and frowned.

“Sir, this is only set for an infinite priming loop. Whoever set this up didn’t know what they were doing with it. It’s a dud…”

‘War Room,’ CIC
AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

Four hours after Omega Directive was initiated…

They finally received good news.

“Captain Cortel! Security teams report the charge has been located and deactivated. They claim whoever set it, didn’t do it right so it would have been harmless anyways,” Zakath informed the instant he read the report.

“That doesn’t matter…the fact is someone did it. Nath is convinced that the shuttle pilot is at fault, but I just don’t have a good feeling about it,” Arcia sighed. “I want security shifts doubled. Everyone coming on board and departing this ship is to be inspected.”

“Understood, Captain. Shall I deactivate the Omega Directive?”

“Yes, Chief,” Captain Cortel also nodded her response to Zakath.

The senior staff exited the war room and re-entered the CIC as the ships power pulsed once more and all systems came back online at once.

That was when the flood of emergency transmissions slammed into the holonet transceiver, causing the communications salvo to erupt in turmoil.

“Captain Cortel! Received word from Selen! Lady Atyiru’s condition has worsened!”

“Captain! Hospital states Lady Atyiru’s trance has broken! Something about her mind not being able to withstand the pressure!”

“Selen hospital requesting emergency medical supplies! Serpentine Throne authorizing Nighthawk to gather by any means. Priority Alpha!”

The words slammed into Arcia and she leaned against one of the inner walls. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Ood Bnar stated eighty percent chance of recovery… Her eyes started to hurt…maybe Maaks was right about painkillers… Captain Cortel shook her head, removing her thoughts of doubt and stood straight. She raced towards the holoprojection system at the center of the bridge and keyed in a few commands, waiting, before an image of Andrelious populated the holoprojectors.

“Miss Cortel–” Andrelious began, but was quickly cut off.

“Inahj, Atyiru is faltering. We need medical supplies. Do you know anywhere we can get them?” Arcia threw her words at the man.

A moment of conflicted thoughts populated the conversation before Andrelious snapped his fingers. “Thyferra. The bacta capital of the galaxy. However–”

“No howevers. We’ll be heading there within the hour. Keep Soulfire and Dark Forge on task during our absence…also, we have a Faust agent aboard the Nighthawk. Be on the lookout.”

“Arcia!” Andrelious barked. “Thyferra is Galactic Alliance territory. You won’t be treated delicately if detected.”

A girlish grin populated Arcia’s face. “Then I guess we just won’t be detected, now will we?”


Dark Forge

One mile above Estle,

Estle City

The dull, pale and dark sky ahead was the only source of entertainment for Lexic and Meleu as they sat in their cruiser. Reginald sat cheerily in the front driver’s seat, beeping along to his own tune. With no end to the giant line of traffic, the two men found it impossible to keep in this position.

“Reggie, can’t we just move over?”

A furious and fast series of beeps, whirrs and whistles from Reginald made it’s point. He jumped and stamped on the spot as he continued to lecture Meleu about the dangers of lane jumping in the atmosphere. Returning his gaze to the sky window, the XO felt like a disciplined child.

After what felt like hours, the two Dark Forgeans were bumped in the rear. It was a soft warning at first, then the second was much harsher. The third and fourth felt like one ram as it was heavy and powerful. A slow and dark snarl grew on Meleu’s face, and he opened the door to look behind. There, he spotted a bright yellow and fiery red speeder pushing it’s nose against the exhausts of their cruiser.

“This idiot wants his hands cut off, Lex. He’s brown nosing us.”

“Leave him be.” Lexic whispered as he stared at the city below.

But Meleu felt the whiplash of another two hard bumps and he lost his temper. The Sith Warrior sat back inside and began searching for the cruiser’s pistol, grabbing it from a hidden compartment and loads it with a new battery.

“Meleu, put the blaster down. You’re seriously not gonna hit him.”

It seemed as though the new Equite did not know Lexic was there; he proceeded to boot open his door and blast some bolts at the speeder behind. Growling in disinterest, Lexic grabbed his XO’s belt and tried to yank the human back inside. His strength was probably greater than Lexic’s, which defined his good grip on the door frame and resistance to Lexic.

“Meleu! There’s no point warning the DIA of our investigation, get back in, now!”

A series of three quickly fired shots bounced off the lights on the speeder and back towards their cruiser with impeccable speed. Meleu was likely to either die by falling or ricochet in this scenario, but Lexic was not going to let this happen today. Lexic continued to grip Meleu’s belt as he blasted the speeder again, which in turn bumped the cruiser once more, then Lexic felt bumps of his own but on his rear. The cold metal against skin surprised the Togruta, but Reginald kept prodding with his cylinder body. A series of quick and misinterpreted beeps, whistles and low tones rushed from Reginald within a short time. Which to Lexic, sounded like a pretty catchy tune.

“Your aunty did what in the storage room?”

Reginald grumbled in his melodic whistle and reiterated his phrases once again but slowly, whirling his head around in what appeared to be frustration; droid patience is still an area Lexic has yet to study deeply.

“The Corellian saw the woman!?”

Reginald jumped for joy and prodded Lexic with satisfaction, then returned to the driver’s seat. Now Lexic was more serious, with one quick jump, he flipped to secure his feet against the door frame, gripping Meleu’s belt with Force-enhanced strength, he dragged him inside. The two bodies were thrown into what appeared to be some sort of dirty bar fight locking technique. Reginald proceeded to shut the cruiser door and steered off from the highway lane, back towards the Estle market.

Before they could really gain any speed, the familiar yellow and red speeder pulled up beside the cruiser and yanked their door open. With a cold and satisfied grin, Meleu ran and jumped into the speeder, then began to slam his tightened fists into the driver. With this serious commotion going on, Lexic was just about ready to jump after him when the communicator rang again. The Togruta leapt and answered it through the cruiser.

“Yeah, who’s this?”

“It’s me officer, the Corellian, I just wanted to add that the Zeltron woman also took your undercover agent Ryn with her. He was in pretty bad shape when he left. I…felt sorry for the guy,” He sighed and began to rub his face clean of sweat. “But I know you guys are trained well, I just hope you can find him before she does more damage.”

A wave of regret and cold focus swept across Lexic’s attitude as he listened to the Corellian.

“Worry not sir, we will find him and the wench who took him. Did she leave anything?”

“Only a large maintenance debt and worried looks, sir. Be here soon.”

Lexic cut the communicator off and patted Reginald softly.

“Take us there friend and i’ll get you a Twi’lek for the afternoon.”

With a whirring whistle of delight, the astromech sped around the speeder to the driver’s seat, giving Lexic close room. The Togruta opened his door, yanked the speeder’s door open and grinned.

“Sorry sir, I need my Sergeant back.”

With a flick of his palm, Lexic pulled his XO back into the cruiser with the aid of the Dark Side, then nodded to Reginald who sped away with haste.

The Supple Lekku,

Estle City

“Hmm…never noticed the name before. Just called it the ‘Stock Bar.’”

With a soft shrug, Lexic agreed with Meleu and slowly walked inside on the shattered glass under his feet. The Force aided his skin not being broken through the sole as they took a look around the trashed bar scene and booth. There were signs of blood, hair loss and scratches on the walls, floor and chairs. With a soft sigh, Meleu walked around and began to jot down what he saw into a datapad for his report to Arcia. From the corner of his eye, the Sith saw two real officers begin to patrol over with their lights and blasters in hand.

“Uh oh, trouble sir.”

Lexic slowly looked over and grumbled, reaching for his communicator. He tossed the device to Meleu and slowly walked outwards, then whispered to his XO.

“Get Captain Bly online, quickly.”

“No need Commander, I’m already here.”

Out from the shadows appeared a dark robed Miraluka who donned his signature navy blue striped armour and cowl. The officers looked at each other and nodded in respect, then left.

“No credentials?” Kyrun asked, but Lexic smirked and winked to the Obelisk slyly.

They both went inside and returned to Meleu who was crouched over the most ruined table. He discovered a singular and deep cut into the table. It was covered in blood and very precise.

“Knife wound, sir. Possibly holding Kordath in place, she knew his species well to be this quick.”

With a soft nod, Lexic patted Kyrun’s shoulder and looked at him with purpose.

“Kyrun, I need you to return to Arcia with this news and ask for reinforcements to meet us at our tracker. It’s inlaid to Meleu’s datapad.”

“You track my datapad!” The Human shouted in disgust. With a soft shrug, Lexic rolled his eyes.

The Miraluka nodded softly, planted his fist against his chest and strode off. Lexic then proceeded to slowly feel his fingers around the table, booth and cuts for any Force trace. His mind was solely concentrated upon picking up this Zeltron as the rest of the people in the bar were silent. With his hands and mind darting about the crime scene, he began to pick up a significant yet unfamiliar signal. It was female to him and someone powerful in the Force.

“I know where she went.” He nodded slowly to himself, then looked at Meleu and smirked.

“Lead the way, sir. We will find this rat and end it now!” The Sith clenched his fist in eagerness and the two sprinted from the bar to their cruiser.

North-east area of Estle,

Estle City

After weaving, wandering and becoming lost in what appeared to be the cleanest streets, alleys and stairways in all of Estle City the Dark Forgeans finally reached a green door which held two barred windows and a balcony on the first floor.

“She isn’t staying long. You can tell.” Meleu whispered to the Togruta as Reginald picked the lock.

“The idea of Assassination is to set up a month in advance, take the target out then instantly leave. So yes, she won’t be here, but her stuff is.”

“How the hell would you know that?” Meleu was puzzled by this logic and prodded Lexic with the datapad. The Dark Forge Leader then just pointed to an alley two blocks away where a pyramid of boxes sat, all addressed to this green door. With a soft smirk, Lexic watched the astromech more.

A soft click and whirring sound let the droid know that the door was open and they all stepped inside. From the clean and unused hallway Lexic darted away from the group and into the kitchen area and from there he extended his arms out and concentrated, honing into a large cupboard.

“Here, this is it.”

“What is it? Kordath or her?”

“Nah, just her. I think.”

Meleu sighed and gave the most unimpressed of looks to Lexic, who then proceeded to unlock the cupboard and open it. There on the second lowest shelf was the artistic and silver hilt Lexic knew, Kordath’s lightsaber. A soft and saddened sigh escaped from his snowy lips as he reached and grabbed the hilt.

“We will find him sir. Let’s stick to the trail, where next?”

Lexic began to slowly cover his face and frown in disbelief. His mind tried to replay what he collected, all the memories from the scene, the trail back winded and mixed to different areas, and the scent grew the strongest in different locations but strongest here.

“Only one other place was just as strong as here, a very small alley with a utility room. But why there?”

“Maybe it’s not a utility room sir? Let’s try sir, please for your sake.”

The unimpressed Togruta agreed and began to leave the house while he wiped away his fingerprints and they both concentrated to remove some of their Force trace. The droid lead them back outside into the early morning scene, they both felt the sun close to rising. As Reginald locked the door again, the group left to back track their trail in the hopes of new leads. Possibly a confrontation.


Soulfire Strike Team

Dajorra Asteroid Field

A lone XJ-Wing jinked as it flew among the thousands of tiny rocks that made up the majority of the Dajorra System’s asteroid belt. Flying through the field was considered difficult to master, but Arcona could scarcely afford to let the area go unpatrolled.

Inside the cockpit, a Twi’lek male operated the controls with an expertise that belied his young years. Wek’lat was a fairly new recruit, having joined the Arcona Starfighter Corps shortly before the mission to the Hapes Cluster. As the newest member of Sin Squadron, he was often assigned to the ‘belt patrol’, a duty that he hated more for its tedium than for the hazard that the asteroids posed.

Eye, this is Sin Six. Nothing but a bunch of rocks,” the Twi’lek stated, opening a comms channel to the Arconan flagship.

“Give it one more sweep, Sin Six. And remember, we’re on red alert right now. We’re all going to be working double shifts,” a voice crackled.

Wek’lat sighed. He’d already been at it for over two hours, and had found himself ‘testing’ his laser cannons on nearby asteroids in an attempt to escape the sheer boredom.

“Of course, sir. I could sure use a cigarillo right now,” the young alien replied, turning his ship back into the rocky expanse.

“Try to go a little deeper, this time. We need to find out exactly what’s happening to those miner droids or we’ll all be for it!”


Flight Deck
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II

“Status report, Ensign.” Bracsor Y’tu commanded as he entered the room.

“All fighters are performing one final sweep before shift change, sir. So far, we have nothing to report. I was hoping that Sin Six would have found something out in the rocks…” Ensign Jart Vant answered, not taking his eyes from the scope. The screen displayed half a dozen friendly fighters, patrolling in various locations across the Dajorra system.

“Alright. Perhaps Wek’lat is a little green to handle the belt patrol. Inform Captain Walker that he will be taking it at changeover. Command is getting uppity about a lack of results,” the Corellian replied.

Mining droids had slowly been disappearing in the asteroid belt over the last few days. Even without the recent conflict, and the attempt on Atyiru’s life, some within the command structure had been deeply concerned at this turn of events.

An alarm on the control panel beeped.

“This is Sin Six! My sensors are detecting another ship!”

“Calm down, Wek’lat. Tell me what you can,” Y’tu ordered, not allowing himself a moment’s panic.

“Nothing, sir. My sensors read all clear again. I’ll have them checked out when I get back,” the Twi’lek answered, his voice a little more crackly than usual.

“Be careful, Sin Six. Your comm system is a little fuzzy. Let us know if you need any assistance,” the Wing Commander declared, peering at the scope in an effort to locate anything that may have set off the X-Wing’s own sensors.


Dajorra Asteroid Field

Wek’lat tapped his sensor readout monitors. He was sure that the reading he had briefly analysed was not an equipment fault. It had been too precise, too perfect. When sensors did fail, the readings produced were random garbage, not anything that could be mistaken for a ship.

Two hours on my own is a long time. Maybe I’m going mad. the pilot thought, as he reached another waypoint and altered his craft’s trajectory slightly.

“One more waypoint and we can get back, R7,” the alien said, addressing his astromech. The droid beeped a brief response, almost seeming as bored as its organic companion was.

The starfighter’s targeting computer read that the final waypoint was six klicks away. Wek’lat, like most of his colleagues, would watch the distance count to nought almost as much as he would keep his eye on the surroundings.


With the final waypoint crossed, the Twi’lek pushed his comms button, ready to hail his mothership.

Eye, this is Sin Six. Nothing found. Will return and have my ship’s systems checked,” he announced with a sense of relief at the dull duty’s end.

The comm remained silent.

Eye? I repeat, this is Sin Six. Come in please,” Wek’lat stated, cross at being ignored.

“I’m afraid that you won’t be seeing your Arconan friends again, Sin Six,” a voice responded. Wek’lat did not recognise the accent.

“Stop playing around. Like I said, I’ve found nothing,” he replied.

“You may have found nothing. But we have found you. Goodbye, Sin Six,” the voice continued, devoid of any tone.

To the Twi’lek’s horror, a large ship began to materialise nearby. His sensors lit up, repeating the reading they had made a few minutes earlier.

“Frak. R7, all power to the engines. We need to get back to the Eye!” Wek’lat yelled, yanking his flight stick towards him.

“I’m afraid that your astromech has other orders, Sin Six. Orders that it’s about to carry out,” the voice grated. Wek’lat could swear he heard a little laughter.

With a final beep, almost as if to say ‘goodbye’, the R7 droid detonated, engulfing the XJ-Wing in a fireball that consumed both fighter and pilot.


Estle City, Selen

Andrelious did not understand why Nadrin had decided to follow him. He trusted the Arconae greatly, and knew that the son of Zandro would have his reasons, but he did not want to think of them. With the DIA apparently investigating his involvement in the recent shooting of his Aedile, things were no longer making sense.

The recent announcement that Cortel intended to head to Thyferra was also difficult to comprehend. The Warlord had mentioned the planet to his fellow leader almost as a throwaway remark, and had certainly not expected the brassy female to want to head so far coreward.

Selecting a frequency on his comm, Andrelious managed a small smile as a hologram of Riverche appeared, accompanied by the hulking Trandoshan that was her apprentice, Draith.

“I suggest you get off the Nighthawk immediately, River. Cortel’s heading on a mad dash to Thyferra. Try and get back to Selen before she gets you and Draith killed,” the Warlord stated, not wasting any time with pleasantries. Riverche simply nodded, before closing the communication.

Moments later, a hologram of Swil Phift Erinos appeared.

“Did you find anything, Swil?” Andrelious asked.

“According to their records, Sephilios Braxant has been with the DIA for the last decade. He’s apparently spent most of that undercover, but is now an agent for internal affairs. To cut it short, he appears to be legit, sir,” the Fade answered.


“Good work, Swil. Keep looking around the DIA records. See if you can do anything about them coming after me,” Mimosa-Inahj ordered.

“Braxant’s record says he’s investigating the ‘recent attempted murder’ of Atyiru, sir. It doesn’t mention you by name, but there is apparently a file attached to the case. With the methods of encryption the DIA are known to use, it’ll take me another hour or so to crack into it. And that’s if I don’t get caught,” Swil replied nervously.

“Just be careful. I’m already being tailed, and I doubt it’ll be long before they find out what you’re up to.”

“Of course, sir. This may interest you, too. I just intercepted a military wide alert. We’ve apparently lost a starfighter. Out in the asteroid field.” the Fade declared.

“Lost a starfighter? Right. I’ll look into that. Something tells me that’s not a coincidence. Keep your eyes peeled, Swil. I’ll be in touch,” Andrelious responded, ending the communication.

Considering the situation for a few moments, Mimosa-Inahj turned and headed back towards the Citadel.


Estle City, Selen
Dark Forge

Grimacing as he knelt, Kordath faced the door, bowing his aching head as he allowed the lighter to go out. Darkness surrounded the Krath, as he pushed past the pain and attempted to focus, reaching out with the Force to probe the space before him. It was difficult, focusing was harder then usual, and the Ryn briefly wondered just how bad his injuries were. The important part was not passing out. Kordath had opened a fair number of doors that he shouldn’t in his time, usually with mechanical tools such as lock picks. Fundamentally, he knew, telekinesis could substitute, but without any knowledge of the door, model or build, it would be a time consuming task.

“Nothing else to do,” muttered the Ryn, furrowing his brow as he got to work. The room was a good one for this, he knew, the lack of sensory input would have been an incredible boon to anyone trying to work a feat with the Force.

Logic dictated that regardless if it was a simple swinging door or a mechanical sliding door, there would be a latch keeping it close. Finding the latch, undoing it, or lifting it would be his best hope. Thankful that telekinesis was one of the more overt Force abilities that he’d actually studied at the behest of his Master, Nath Voth, the Ryn breathed slowly and felt around the edges of the door with his mind.

One…two…three. Three cylinders came out of the door, all along one side, he attempted to shift the uppermost one and felt…something. He also heard the entire door groan a bit, and sat back on the floor and panted, holding his aching head.

‘Focus, Kord, focus and get the job done,’ whispered the voice in his head, sounding distinctly like Nath.

Glaring at the door, Kordath collected his thoughts, three latches, probably a sliding door, and if the shifting had been any indication he’d have to move all three at once to get the door open. The Ryn took a deep breath, spread his hands out towards the door, and set about to try again.

He knew where the latches were this time, now to figure out how to move them, lightly touching each one with tendrils of the Force. Focus. The touches became grips, and the Krath tried to pull them to the side, and felt the various bars catch and stop. Holding them there, he started from the top, pushing it up, then down, and finally attempted to rotate it, feeling it spring free. A small smile formed on the sweating Ryn’s face as he held the bar where it was, certain that if he shifted it further the whole thing would start anew.

Moving down to the middle latch, the Knight tried to keep his breathing slow, feeling the first signs of a mental fatigue and injury induced blackout on the horizon. Cant’ pass out now. Too close. The bar rotated one way, then the next, before it too came loose. Kordath could feel the cold of the room far to clearly now, another sign that he was near to passing out, or worse, and scrabbled mentally at the last latch. Rotated up, down…neither was working, he tried lifting it, something seemed to be fighting him. A loud bang on the door broke his concentration, and he collapsed on to the cold floor.

“So…close…,” he muttered, feeling the darkness encroach on his vision, before with a barely audible hiss, the door slid open. With a crack, the room lit up from twin lightsabers, one green, one red, and Kordath grunted an acknowledgment, before passing out.


Soulfire Strike Team
AGV Nighthawk – Shortly after arriving

Riverche watched as the Marines finished their search of the Security Barracks, before addressing Draith’s and her escort. “I have job to do. Can we get moving or are we to stay here all day?”

“We are on lock down. You know --” the Chief started to inform her.

“Then I suggest you escort us to communications. We are of no use just standing here.”

“Until we find the --”

The Inquisitor pulled her hair away from her left ear to reveal a comm piece. “Your ship is powered down, not my equipment. I am still receiving transmissions.”

Carr let out a quick sigh as he ordered the pair to follow him. The emergency lights bathed the halls in an eerie, dim light. Marines stationed along the path stopped the party momentarily for questioning just to let them continue to their destination.

At the entrance of the room, the lights in the halls flickered back to life. “Will you be needing anything else?” Carr asked through clinched teeth.

“Not at the moment, thanks.” Riverche opened the door to a chaotic scene as workers hurried to sort out the flood of emergency transmissions from various locations. She and Draith waded through the chaos to a station set aside for her personal use. Already aware of the contents of the incoming messages, River began to unload the contents of her shoulder bag.

Within moments of starting to set up her equipment, the device in River’s ear crackled with “…Sin Six! … detecting another ship!” Quickly she pulled out a device designed to boost the faintest of signals, along with a personal recorder.

“…little fuzzy. Let us know if you need any assistance.”

Better! The Inquisitor thought as the static faded into the background. “What did you find?”

Reviewing the latest scans of the area, revealed nothing out of ordinary. No unusual ships. Nothing.

“Sin Six, this is the Eye. Report! … Sin Six, this is the Eye. Come in.”

“Eye, … Sin Six. Nothing found. … ship’s systems checked.”

“Not static…” The Miraluka eavesdropper thought out loud as she attempted to clear the distorted signal.

“Master, what is going on?” Draith inquired approaching from a nearby station.


“… you won’t be seeing your Arconan friends again, Sin Six!”

On another frequency, fragments of a data stream flooded her datapad. Running her fingers over the readout, River quickly realized that it was pieces of a program meant for a droid.

Beep … Beep.

“Perfect timing, Andrelious.” Paying more attention to the event unfolding in the asteroid field, Riverche nodded as he ordered her and Draith back to Selen.

“Collect your things! We have to go.” She ordered Draith as the two unrelated communications ended.


Chief Carr stopped them as they walked out of the room after packing up their equipment. “Can I help you with something?”

“We have been called back to Selen. Please, get a shuttle ready for us … and oh yeah, no droids.”

“You do understand, we are short --”

“No Droids!” Riverche firmly interrupted the Chief.

Speaking a few commands into his transceiver, the Chief lead the pair back to the hanger they arrived in earlier. “Your shuttle and pilot are over there!”


The small shuttle glided out of the mouth of the hanger moments before the Nighthawk started to make her exit from orbit.


Battleteam Soulfire Strike Team
Estle City, Selen

The Archpriestess was frowning as she disembarked from the borrowed ship. Her hair was a little frazzled from all the sweat she’d been in whilst crawling through heating vents. The IFF codes had produced a vast amount of information, like a hurricane in the ocean and she wasn’t sure what was potentially useful and what was a load of osik. Ruusaan was skittering about in the path left by the Krath, as though the droid had gained a headache from all the information from their slicing session.

A loud set of stomping distracted the two moving figures, attracting a red eye, and a set of hazel ones. Saskia cocked an eyebrow as a stormy looking Andrelious appeared from the shadows of the hangar. It was apparent he’d already had too much bad news, or at least answers he didn’t want, and his eldest daughter would merely add to that.

“So?” The Sith angrily asked on his approach, looking ready to murder anyone who looked at him funny.

“So what?” His XO replied. She was unphased by his emotions, and stood her ground in front of him. It helped that she had outgrown him by several inches, though his stocky build was intimidating paired with his mood.

“What. Did. You. Find?” Andrelious asked, his teeth gritted tightly.

“I found stuff. Lots of stuff.”

“Such as?”

“Information stuff.”

“What kind of information stuff?” The Warlord bellowed, his face as red as an exploding volcano.

“I was going to offer to share it with you once I’d sorted through it, but I think I’d rather talk to Celevon,” Saskia stated, her tone as icy as her gaze before she promptly turned on her heel and stalked off to her room, leaving the Battleteam Leader to stew in his own thoughts and anger.

A few hours later, Saskia was frowning at a screen, as Ruusaan drifted, her movements were limited by the cables linking her to the screen. The only sounds disturbing the atmosphere were the fans on the electronic devices along with the occasional tapping of the woman’s fingers against the keys, screens and anything that needed adjustment.

The IFF codes contained everything registered to any spaceship, including names, addresses, business addresses, and varying degrees of profiles. The Krath chuckled at one obviously fake one, modelled off something she frequently utilised to keep her own identity hidden. She had sent off the suspicious ones she needed more information on to a couple of her ‘friends’, along with a tracking virus which would monitor at least when they had opened her request forms, and when they were active in the messages.

Tiredness was starting to set in, once the Cirran realised she had not showered or rested since leaving to obtain the information that had been desperately wanted by everyone it appeared. She yawned, and leant back in her chair, before Ruusaan attracted her attention, and pointed towards the bathroom. A silent indicator that the buzz droid would be able to manage the information transferal until her return.


Soulfire Strike Team
Estle City,
Nadrin’s Quarters

Nadrin had sent a message ahead of him, ordering his second Fade to his quarters even as he and Narn made their way there. Even as he stormed through the entrance to his rooms, he saw that Sela was sat at his desk, her fingers clacking away at the keyboard of Nadrin’s only slightly illegal desk-comp. She didn’t look up, instead freeing one hand from her typing to pass the Arconae a datapad before continuing her task, speaking as she did so.

“Got some preliminary information on there for you, but the weird thing isn’t what I’ve found, but what I haven’t found. No trace of any order from up high to follow the Captain, no sign of any sort of order at all really, unless you don’t have access to it that is.”

Nadrin scoffed as he read the information contained within the datapad that he held, his eyes narrowing behind the blood-spattered mask he wore.

“I have access that is only slightly short of the Director’s, and if the order came from him I would have heard about it through other channels. If you can’t find it, it isn’t there. Which means…”


The single word came from Narn, his size belying a quick brain that was half of the reason that Nadrin had recruited him to be one of the Sith’s fades. The trio’s mood descended into a sullen silence at the realisation that, with everything else that was going wrong, the Intelligence agency may also have been compromised.

“The question is this; if someone has gone off-book, is it for themselves or for someone else?”

“Conspiracy or douche-baggery you mean?”

Nadrin had to laugh at that; Sela had a habit of not worrying about gussying up her language and it had a habit of catching the Warlord off-guard.

“Essentially, yes. The thing is, I can’t exactly storm out and demand answers, nor can I throw out allegations as I don’t exactly know what their motives are. Ultimately, we’re in the dark for the moment, simply waiting for more intel to work out who is involved and what it is they want. Have you grabbed all you can from the network Sela?”

The woman nodded and let her hands rest, sitting back in her chair and finally looking up at the masked Warlord with an annoyed expression.

“Can’t get anything else useful now, looks as though it’s all off the books, which means that the database is useless now.”

“Good, we’re going to need you with us while we go a bit deeper. But first, we need to let Andrelious know what’s happened, and find out if there is anything else for us to do other than follow this particular line of enquiry. Grab your gear, it’s time to head out.”


Estle City,

Nadrin and his entourage stalked through the halls towards Andrelious’ location, the datapad that Sela had filled with information thrust into the Sith’s belt. He could sense his Captain now, and as he walked around a corner he came face to face with the other Warlord, nodded at him in greeting and began speaking as he fell into step with the man.

“I’ve found some information about some men who were following you earlier. Don’t know if you were aware of them or not, but that particular team is dealt with. However, I can’t say the same for any other people that might be on your tail, so I’m here to give you a little added protection, just in case.”

Andrelious nodded and continued walking, his pace rapid as he made his way through the Citadel’s halls.

“Thanks I guess, but we’ve got another mission that will need to take your attention. I’ve called the rest of the team in, so come with me and I’ll let you know what happens next.”

“Do I get to kill something?”

A smirk and the accompanying grunt was all the response he got from the other Sith, but it was enough. A feral grin slipped onto Nadrin’s masked face as he rubbed his hands in front of him like a Hutt before a banquet.

“Sela, go fetch Rowd’e and bring him here, he’s been getting lazy so I reckon it’s time we give him some exercise. Narn, I want you to round up all of our gear and bring it to wherever I end up, I’ll keep my comm active so you both can find out where we are. Go, now.”

Let’s go hunting.


Soulfire Strike Team

Estle City, Selen

Andrelious and Nadrin briskly entered the room where the rest of Soulfire were waiting, with the exception of Saskia, who was now refusing to answer her father’s calls.

“Good to see that most of you managed to make it here. I’m afraid that my second-in-command is currently unavailable. She’s still collating the information that she collected from the spaceport,” the Warlord began.

“Are you saying we’re no closer to whoever’s behind the attempt on Atyiru’s life?” Kyo asked.

“I’m sure once Saskia gets back to us, we’ll have some sort of lead. Sorting through a registry like that takes time. Just be glad Gilletta’s so quiet or we’d be waiting weeks, not hours,” Mimosa-Inahj replied, choosing not to mention his recent discussion with Saskia.

Soulfire’s medic looked unimpressed. “IF she gets back to us. Do we know for sure that she’s loyal to Arcona?”

“Kyo. I wouldn’t have let her into the team if I didn’t believe her loyalty was absolute. She’s just not a very good mixer. Now, if we could stop throwing accusations about, we might be able to get somewhere right now,” Andrelious responded.

“So…what’s happening? And when do I get to meet Saskia?” Aiorus piped up.

“Like I just said, Aiorus, she’s still working on her assigned task. For now, sit tight. River, have you picked up anything over the comm waves?” the former Imperial questioned.

“I have. It appears a starfighter, that I was able to identify as Sin Six, was recently destroyed. I only got parts of the transmissions, but that’s not all. From what I can gather, Sin Six wasn’t shot down,” the Priestess declared matter of factly.

“So what happened? Some kind of accident? I fail to see how this is going to help with the Atyiru situation.”

River shook her head. “No accident. Sin Six and its pilot were destroyed thanks to an override code sent to its astromech. The droid self-destructed and took the ship with it.”

“What? To do that they’d have to have modified the droid previously. And even then they’d need to be fairly close by. We’d know about it if there were enemy ships this close to home,” Mimosa-Inahj answered, taken aback by the Miraluka’s declaration.

“Right before he died, the pilot of Sin Six reported seeing something. But as I said, my connection was patchy. The equipment I use is state-of-the-art. I suspect someone was jamming Sin Six’s transmissions,” Riverche continued.

The ex-Rollmaster grimaced. “I don’t like the idea of jammed comms and exploding droids. I think I’ll have a word with Wing Commander Y’tu. Without Saskia’s results it may be all we have. Excellent work, River.”


Flight Deck
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II

“Tell Captain Walker I want him out there in five minutes. We need to find out what happened to Wek’lat.” Bracsor Y’tu commanded.

A hologram of Soulfire’s Captain appeared in the centre of the room. Y’tu recognised the man immediately, and identified a second image that appeared soon after as his predecessor, Nadrin. Both highly respected members of the Shadow Clan. The Wing Commander saluted the two Warlords. “Sirs!”

“Y’tu. Tell me quickly. Where was Sin Six operating when it was destroyed?” Andrelious asked, wasting no time with pleasantries.

“Sin Six was on belt patrol, sir. Just prior to disappearing he reported what we believe to be a sensor anomaly. Then his comms went dead,” Y’tu responded.

“We have reason to believe that his astromech was sabotaged. Do not send anyone else into the asteroids, and have every droid treble checked for programming changes. Send me everything you got from your man’s fighter before you lost contact,” the holographic Andrelious ordered, dematerialising moments later.

“You heard him! Everyone’s grounded until we can establish how safe our droids are!”


Estle City, Selen

“Wing Commander Y’tu was virtually clueless. This means whoever had that ship destroyed knew to keep their tracks firmly covered. I don’t really care if it’s connected to Atyiru or not. We can’t allow a threat like that to exist in Arconan territory. We should head to the Valour’s Fall. I think we’re going to need her. Especially with Cortel’s little trip,” Andrelious stated.

“Cortel’s trip? What’s she up to?” Kyo asked before anyone else could.

“Didn’t you hear? She’s taking the Nighthawk to Thyferra. Seems she’s determined to pick up bacta at any cost. It’s an incredibly risky move.” the Sith declared.

“So what’s the plan, sir?” Kyo queried.

Andrelious smirked. “Gather your things. Head to Giletta Spaceport. We’ll be flying to the Valour’s Fall. Once we’re up there, I’m going to fly to the asteroids in my TIE. Marick may not see the value of Imperial ships, but they don’t have astromechs. I’ll try to ascertain exactly what happened to our pilot out there. ”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea? Whatever’s out there may be far too strong for you to deal with alone.” Nadrin stated.

“And if it is, and I don’t come back, then I’ve got Arcona’s best ready to avenge me. I like those odds,” Mimosa-Inahj grinned.

“And one more thing. Be very careful around DIA agents. One called Braxant seems to believe that I’m behind what happened to Atyiru. We’ll discuss that more once we’re on the Fall,”

As his team filed out of the room, the forty-eight year old pushed some buttons on his comlink. A hologram of a Togruta appeared before him.

“Lexiconus. Soulfire are headed to the Valour’s Fall. We’re investigating a possible lead out in the asteroid field. You and your team are welcome to join us, but do NOT bring that droid of yours,” Andrelious said, closing the communication before his fellow leader could argue.

The Warlord’s datapad beeped, a quick examination of the device indicating that the information he had requested from Y’tu had arrived. The coordinates were deep inside the asteroid field, a location that Mimosa-Inahj was not too familiar with.


Dajorra Asteroid Field

“It was only for a brief moment, but an asteroid disrupted our cloak. It’ll probably be passed off as a sensor glitch. If they even noticed.” a female voice announced.

“Let’s hope so. We’ve come this far,” an older, male voice replied.


The young Sith felt the excitement of being in the midst of his companions. There wasnt an official welcome, yet Aiorus could not keep the need to find his old teacher contained, maybe she would destroy by leaving his training but he had to know. He had to finish his training, and now these events would maybe give him an opportunity to earn her trust again. The Jedi Hunter warily watched Andrelious. The Journeyman felt that the Equite certainly knew much more than the things he said. It was clear that all this plot was beginning to be understood by the absent Krath. Aiorus always kept his hand on his weapon, he felt like everything was under control, but at other times he felt that something can just blow out. There was something else, something he couldn't fully understand. It was hidden. Suddenly, he felt that the best thing to do was to go in search of Saskia. “Maybe she is going to need me on this," the Jedi Hunter thought, but his own mind answered “She doesnt need you. If she did, she probably would have contact you, I`m sure she felt your presence by now.“
In Soulfire Strike Team, everyone was ready for any scenario, but the idea of being new to Aiorus was just abhorrent. Many did not even know who was he, and others looked at him with curiosity, probably just for having been the apprentice of the now dead Xathia. “They will know me, my power and my intentions,” the Sith thought. From that moment on, the Jedi Hunter only had something in mind, help uncover this plot, destroy those who have provoked it and settle accounts with his former teacher, although this take him to his death.
“Andrelious, I want to meet Saskia right now” the Sith said, looking up at the Battleteam Leader, “if she is coming or not, it doesn’t matter. I shall find her and find out her intentions for me as her apprentice.”



Low Orbit
AGV Nighthawk, Engineering

The smell of oil and machine grease permeated everything, even the durasteel plating that encased the Nighthawk’s engineering department. The loud roar of the experimental reactor, the heart and power source of the Nighthawk, was dulled to a low hum by layers of specialized steel and composite materials. They shielded the ship and her crew from the harmful by products produced as the core slowly burned through one reaction after another. The new core the engineers had installed but a day before would power the Nighthawk for the next three galactic standard months at full capacity, and would give limited capabilities for an extra two months after that. Once a new core was installed the old one was kept in for two weeks as a back up, then recycled for parts. A secondary generator stood by to provide emergency power for the shields or cloaking device, sub-light engines, and life support. The secondary generator however was keep in a dormant state until it was needed.

Sight leaned against one of the bulkheads near the turbo lift as he watched Nath, the Information Retrieval Officer, pacing by the entrance to her lair in the subdeck. Engineering was close enough to her lair that Sight knew better than to think she did anything less than torture her victims. Shaking his head the albino abandoned his current line of blood thirsty thoughts. The rage he had been feeling earlier had subsided when his Captain had thrown him across the bridge. However, that rage had been replaced by a hurt feeling that an outsider could have caused his shipmates to doubt his loyalty.

The Rollmaster sighed and walked across the deck to the half closed off and raised platform that was engineering proper, the area of the department that contained the most important parts to the Nighthawk. As his feet passed over the deep grooves in the deck at the parameter of the platform his thoughts turned to the triple layer of super toughened durasteel that would drop from the ceiling in case of an emergency, effectively sealing engineering from the rest of the ship.

Lilly sat at her terminal leaning forward, head in her hands. The young Mandalorian Fade had been on an emotional rollercoaster that day. Sight wouldn’t blame her for wanting a rest, but that would have to wait for now. The albino’s crimson eyes took in the wreck that the security marines had turned his once organized department into. Tools were strewn across the deck along with their containers. Access panels and deck plating lay at odd angles from when the security marines had ripped them off of what they had covered and tossed them aside, insignificant as if they were trash. The five engineers were quickly cleaning the mess, afraid to upset their Chief. Closing his eyes for a moment the human ran a hand through his bone white hair as he drew in a deep breath.

A chirp echoed out to him from the communicator on his hip, retrieving the device he keyed the transmit button before speaking.

“This is Nortorshin,” his voice lacked its usual strength and determination sounding hollow and worn.

“Make preparations for the jump to lightspeed. We will be exiting in Galactic Alliance space,” the voice of Karth Orsai came through the device.

“Understood, how long until the jump?” The albino inquired.

“Once all departments are ready and the Captain gives the go,” the pilot replied before cutting the communication.

Anger sparked in the Rollmasters heart once again, the communicator whined and squealed while it collapsed and shattered beneath Sight’s crushing grip. Bits and pieces of the device fell to the deck as the albino moved to the readout display for the reactor. Lilly’s arms wrapped around his stomach from behind as the Fade’s Master studied the reactor’s output levels.

No words were exchanged between the two, then the Fade released her master as quickly as she had hugged him. The young woman made her way back to her terminal and Sight could hear the clicking tap of keys being pressed. Turning around to face his engineers the Chief was pleasantly surprised to find the majority of the mess already cleaned up.

“Zeck, we will be making the jump to hyperspace soon, run diagnostics over the systems. Get another to help you. As for the rest of you finish cleaning then assist Zeck. I want us to be running at full capacity by the time we make the jump, pay extra attention to the cloaking device. After we enter lightspeed we will see evaluate the new core then set up a rotating watch, it’s been a long day and we all could use a brief rest,” the click of the five engineer’s heels sounded over the constant hum of the reactor, as the men snapped to attention and saluted their Chief.

Turning back to the reactor readout the albino scowled and tapped the display with his finger. The reactor was running above the standard limits but was still within the specified operating threshold. The Chief Engineer’s scowl deepened as he thought about the prospect of going into Galactic Alliance space. It had been years since he had left their territory and he had no desire to go back to the area of the galaxy where he was a wanted man with a bounty on his head. Granted, for all intents and purposes, the authorities believed the assassin to be dead, but it still troubled him.

A series of whistles and beeps played over the Nighthawk’s speakers followed by an automated voice.

“Department heads prepare for the jump to lightspeed, signal a greenlight when your section is ready,” the message played three more times then was followed by the whistles and beeps again. The Chief’s crimson eyes glanced at his own terminal as a yellow light began to flash. On the bridge a row of yellow lights flashed, one by one they would turn green as the Chief’s depressed a button to signaling their section was prepared.

Sight kept a close eye on the reactor levels as the engineers worked. One by one they came up to their Chief and gave him reports over the different systems. Zeck gave his report last. After they were set, Lilly came over to her Master.

“I used the back door and checked all the systems as well, they all appear to be in the green,” the Fade’s voice was sweet to the ears yet left no doubt in the mind. Sight nodded and walked to his terminal. After quickly reviewing a checklist on the screen he depressed the button by the flashing yellow light, turning it to a solid green.

“Get yourselves strapped in to you duty terminals, remember this is a new core, I want everyone to keep an eye on those levels. Something feels off to me about them but we are still within limits. Zeck be prepared to seal off engineering proper incase something happens.”

A resounding ‘Yes, Chief!’ answered the orders as the five engineers and Lilly used the harnesses on the seats at their terminals to secure themselves for the violent increase in speed that was imminent.


Battleteam Soulfire Strike Team
Estle City, Selen

The Krath had been ignoring her comlink, it had been bleeping at her in various tones for a while, but she had tuned it out and chose to listen to the sound of computer fans instead. Saskia’s hair was damp still, though much less tangled than before the shower as her fingers pushed the loose strands out of her face. The woman’s eyes were scanning the vast amounts of information, still picking out the useless from the useful. She had long memorised the Arconan ships, and was aware of the majority of the friendlies as she kept discarding information regarding personal ships.

“At least it’s a quiet spaceport,” she muttered to herself, the ‘sleeping’ Ruusaan lax on the desk with the wires still plugged into the droid.

Several unfamiliar entries from the more recent period suddenly flashed up on screen, the Archpriestess’ fingers flying across the keyboard to maximise the several screens she had open. Nothing was familiar, or friendly, yet they had managed to fumble their way through at a peak time with information that was probably glanced over at the time. On the outside, it looked reasonable, it was when the Slicer went to delve in for more information it was suspicious. Her face was basking in a reflective glow of the screens in a dim room, her eyes trying to swallow every bit of information possible as her mind went into hyperdrive to make all the connections between the drivers, ships and cargo.

Something wasn’t right about the five highlighted entries, but it was merely a gut instinct. It was nothing unusual, they had no unusual supplies, they didn’t stay any shorter or longer than normal for the amount of cargo. None of the crew left the ship that didn’t need to. None of them were registered as wanted in any system. But that just meant they were experienced.

’If I wasn’t so busy trying to catch them, I’d be in admiration…’ the Krath thought, biting on her lip as Ruusaan began to stir. Her comlink was still alerting her to messages, though it didn’t matter to the woman if the Grand Master was sending them or her own father.

Andrelious’ Force presence had dwindled, they’d probably gone off in search of something as Saskia pulled up a report on Sin Six. Orders had been issued to ground all droids. This was a throwback to some of the woman’s own work as she tried to figure out any signature to the ploy. It was set off in an asteroid field, not that uncommon when it came to getting rid of any problems people experienced. It could normally pass off for a collision, but that was mostly when no one looked closely to any details.

A smile on her face, the Cirran finally picked up her comlink device, and saw all missed calls were from the Battleteam Leader. “Yo, father of mine, I have some interests,” she practically sang down the device.

“Finally woman!” the Sith bellowed in response.

“Awww I don’t like my daddy shouting at me,” Saskia pouted, the tone of her voice audibly child-like.

“Just tell me-”

“All devices can be hacked without much effort. Give me the co-ordinates of where you are heading to and I’ll meet you there. Anything to update me on?”

“You’ve got a student,” Andrelious grunted. “He tried to go and find you but we held him back until you were done.”

“I’ve got someone to electrocute? Excellent.”

“Just get your backside here, and leave that droid of yours behind. Something’s going off with them all and I don’t trust anything right now,” the male sighed.

The Archpriestess gave no response, trying to figure out the connection between her droid, and the astromechs used to fly the ships.

Valour’s Fall

“I want to meet her!” Aiorus yelled, frustrated at the lack of contact from his new master as his fists slammed against a table aboard Valour’s Fall.

“Cool it,” Saskia ordered, leaning against the frame. “You were Xathia’s student, correct?”

“I- er, yes,” the Jedi Hunter replied, looking at the young woman with a slightly blank gaze.

“Now you’re mine, I was busy, you interrupt me when I’m busy and I kill you. Be it now, or through stringing you out, turning you into a mockery of a cyborg and killing you with computer viruses,” the Equite stated. “You aren’t that far off Knighthood from what I know, so let’s get you there and out of everyone’s hair instead of repeatedly bothering the team over what I do. Now, Andrelious, why couldn’t I bring my buzz droid?” She asked, turning with her arms folded to face the aging male.


Arcona Citadel

Despite the veil of blue skin and tufts of imaginary fur sticking out of it, no one seemed to be put off by Tiysha’s appearance as a dirty gypsy. Looking through the Ryn’s datapad, she had learned that “Kordath” had served as a Battleteam Leader of Dark Forge. That explained why she had managed to gain entrance into one of Clan Arcona’s most secure structures. He had been out of active duty for some time, so that also shed light on why no one paid much attention to her. The guards’ attention was scattered, almost as if they had recently allowed an assassination attempt on one of their own. It was almost as if someone had left an ‘anonymous’ tip–just a tip, of course–that there was a possible bomb threat at S.P.E.C.T.R.E HQ.

The Zeltron giggled to herself but did well to keep her disguise in place.

The Citadel was massive, but the assassin was patient. She eavesdropped on a few conversations and pieced together a rough map in her head. Once she was confident in her direction, she set off towards the medical wing with purpose.

Arcona Citadel
Medcenter: Lobby

Apparently, Kordath had been to the med center on multiple occasions. Tiysha-as-Kordath was greeted with friendly waves by the nurses, and some somber but well-natured head-nods from the orderlies. She had no problem finding the directory, her fingers moving past the various numbers until she found what she was looking for: 12A - Intensive Care

You won’t get lucky this time, child, the Zeltron purred to herself, barely able to contain her excitement at finishing the job.

The sudden flare of emotion caused a recent scene to re-play across her conscious. The shot had been perfect. Everything had gone to plan. And yet, she knew she had failed. Her benefactor had known as well. How? She had no idea. His displeasure was palpable though, even over her holocommunicator.

*I don’t understand what happened master. She somehow adjusted her body at the last minute. No one can do that, the shot was from over–

~All I hear is excuses, and all I’m being shown is that your target still draws breath.~

Karfing Miraluka. I bet it has to do with their ‘sight’…

More excuses. Perhaps I should have had your sister take the shot.

Liquid hot fury piped through Tiysha’s blood. Clenching her fists, she shook her head slightly and reeled her emotions in. She only had to keep up her disguise a little bit longer.

A hand appeared on her shoulder then, causing her to jump in place. When she turned, she saw that the hand belonged to a man clad in light, matte-black body armor. His short-cut military fade only showed traces of light brown hair, his face remarkably unremarkable and quite plain, even for a Human. The only aspect of his features that stood out were a set of glacial blue eyes. Before Tiysha could read more into the man, she put two-and-two together and realized he was a member of Arcona’s Summit guard. She hadn’t seen any files on this one, but the name on his chest-piece read: “Lt. Amrick

“Are you alright, sir?”

She almost replied, but caught herself before her voice gave away her disguise. Instead Tiysha-as-Kordath made a gruff coughing sound and nodded her head once. She then looked towards her destination–the overhead sign reading: Intensive Care–then back at the man.

Lieutenant Amrick nodded in silent understanding as he patted the Assassin on the shoulder. “She is going to make it, don’t worry,” he said with a reassuring smile before turning to walk off. “You should go see her. She isn’t coherent, but I know your presence would surely help.” His voice was flat and devoid of any accent she could place. Like the rest of his appearance, it was simply ordinary.

Odd, she mused to herself as she made a quick pitstop in the secluded dining area just outside the Intensive Care entrance.

Arcona Citadel
Medcenter: Intensive Care

“Help, fire!” a nurse called out. “Code red!”

Any type of emergency in a hospital was serious. Even the smallest of things, like a circuit overheating and sparking into flames as a result of chewed-threw cabling. Rodents could be terrible things, and had a way of creating distractions at precisely the wrong times.

The small kitchen-fire had done the job of drawing away a portion of the staff, who were already short-staffed with the bacta shortage as it were. Most had been working double-shifts, and some had barely been able to sit down or take weight off their feet. They were tired.

She found the observation room to room 12A and spotted her target. The Miraluka looked almost peaceful in her comatose state. Her long white hair lay beneath her like a bedsheet, her eyeless sockets staring emptily up at the ceiling. A blanket covered her lithe body, and she had bandages and wraps around her chest and neck.

Tiysha grit her teeth. The woman should be dead. It was time to finish the job.


The guards outside the door let Tiysha-as-Kordath in without heckle. Apparently the two had been closer than she originally anticipated. How fortunate it had been to stumble over the Ryn. She couldn’t believe she had found use for one of the gypsies.

Stepping towards the bed, Tiysha looked down at her target. She reached a hand down to her hair and ran her fingers through it. She leaned forward and sniffed it, taking in the scent, and then exhaled slowly with a shiver of delight. She positioned her body between the bed and the observation window, shielding the motion of drawing a slender stiletto knife from her side.

A low, growling rumble gave her pause. Tilting her head, the Zeltron looked down at the Aedile’s feet and saw an adolescent wolf-like creature baring its canine teeth at her.
“That’s odd,” a voice called out into the room. “I’ve never seen Ivoshar growl at you like that, Kordath.”

Lt. Amrick stepped into the room, a tight grin on his face. “Now, why do you think that is?”

Tension cut through the room. The guard had not drawn a weapon, but accusation was heavy in his tone. She couldn’t mimic the Ryn’s voice. She was out of options. There was only one thing left to do.

Tiysha let her veil slip, her features rounding out to her shapely figure. She accentuated her curves by leaning to one side and placing her hand on one hip. A smile tugged at the side of her lips as her body freely emanated the pheromones that came naturally to her race. She moved forward slowly, her shoulders moving with a feline grace that made the rest of her finely-honed muscles shift with her tight leathers.

“Looks like you’ve got me, sir,” she purred as she stepped towards him. “What are you going to…do to me?” she said the last part with a coy, sensual smile and a slow lick of her own lips.

Lt. Armick didn’t seem to notice. His body remained ramrod, jaw set firmly, arms folded across his chest and those glacial eyes starting dispassionately at her with much more chill than their initial conversation. As realization slowly budded, the Lieutenant’s features shimmered and melted away, just as hers had moments before. His mundane features suddenly became more elfin and symmetrical. His hair became a raven black that fell to his shoulders.

She recognized him instantly from her files, but before she could react, he spoke a simple name.

“Kira,” Marick Arconae said coldly, his glacial eyes never leaving the Zeltron assassin.

On cue, a white wolf–much larger than the one that stood guard over the Aedile’s bed-- darted through the doorway. A blur of white fur and gnashing fangs flashed across Tiysha’s vision, and reflex alone saved her from being tackled to the ground by the Cythraul. ‘Kira’ recovered quickly, landing on the tile floor and deftly spinning to launch another attack for the Assassin’s hamstrings.

Tiysha felt her heart race as adrenaline mixed with her growing frustration and anger. Her muscles twitched with augmented grace as she spun away from the wolf’s follow up attack, kicking at the back of her head. Kira ducked, but still caught the trailing end of the boot and let out a whimper.

And then something else flashed across her peripheral. Fast. Impossibly fast. One blink and Marick was standing in the doorway. The next, he was a breath away from her, and a slender blade appeared from the wrist of his gauntlet.

For all her training, and for all the power the dark side granted her, she was not fast enough. Marick’s hidden blade jabbed into her ribs, slipping perfectly between the cage-like sticks of bone. Tyisha let out a sharp scream of pain and reeled backwards. The sudden agony tipped over a burning pot of molten hatred that had been stewing for god knew how long.

She jabbed her knee into Marick’s groin, but the Hapan had already retreated backwards enough so that the blow struck only the air. Following up the motion, Tiyasha took the advantage of momentary space and snapped her saberstaff to life. With a deft twirl, she scythed one humming edge at Marick’s neck.

The Hapan dipped under the swing, snapped on his own shoto lightsaber to life and brought it up against the follow up strike from the trailing end of Tiysha’s double-sided blade.

Plasma hissed as the Zeltron let the dark side take full control of her mind, her body moving with serial purpose to destroy everything in her path.


The room was small. There was little for Marick to work with, and the quarterstaff was one of the most effective weapons in close quarters. His opponent’s wound would hurt her in the long run, but whatever power she was tapping was allowing her to simply push past it.

To make things worse, he needed her alive, not dead.

But she had hurt Atyiru. She had attacked a member of his family, one of the few people who could genuinely call a friend.

And she had just kicked his wolf.

The Force surged within Marick, ready to answer his call at will.

Tiysha jabbed the blunt shaft of her quarterstaff into Marick’s chest, sending him staggering backwards and into the wall. In the same push, she stepped forward and twirled her quarterstaff into a flourish of diagonal slashes. Both strikes cut molten gashes into the duracrete walls–but not into Marick.

Just as the crimson blades had closed in, the Hapan winked out of view like a specter in the night. One blink later and he reappeared on the other side of the Zeltron’s flank. Fury burned in Tiysha’s eyes at her repeated failure to kill her marks. She cried out and spun as she launched into another flurry.

Marick’s face somehow remained stoic and showed no signs of anger. His eyes, on the other hand, burned with something else entirely. Gritting his teeth and concentrating with all of his will, the Consul made a gripping gesture with his free hand in his attacker’s direction. In response, Tiysha’s right arm suddenly locked up, halting her forward momentum awkwardly.

And then a blur of golden brown fur joined the forray. Ivoshar’s claws dug into the temporarily off-balanced Zeltron’s forearm. His head lashed forward, canine fangs snapping for her neck. Tiysha yelped and dropped her quarterstaff, gripping the wolf with her free hand and hurling him into one of the machines hooked up to Atyiru’s bedrest. Sparks hissed as the computers breathing for her sizzled out.

Marick’s head snapped around to take in the damage, a sinking feeling forming in the pit of his stomach. His focus slipped, and Tiysha broke free of his statis.

The Zeltron’s rational mind must have started to catch up with her Force-fueled rage. Her breaths came in fast, but she played her last gambit.

“Time to choose, Arconae. The woman, or me.” She let out a feral grin and started to turn, already knowing the answer to the question.

“MEDICS!” Marick yelled at the top of his lungs, projecting his voice with all the power of his lungs. It was no use, though. He quickly moved to Atyiru’s side and placed a hand over her body. His fingers began to glow as he willed the Force to come to his aid once more, this time to prevent his friend from dying.

Tiysha’s gleeful cackle echoed through the empty medical center even after she disappeared from view, cloaked through the Force.

Kira had finally recovered and shook her head from side to side to clear cobwebs. The white Cythraul padded over to her younger brother and nudged his golden-brown fur with her nose. Ivoshar let out a little groan but kicked back to his paws. Both wolves looked up at their masters with concern and, in unspoken agreement, quickly padded out of the room to fetch help.



Zakath’s Office, Deck 5
AVG Nighthawk
Low orbit over Selen

“Something’s wrong.”

Zakath’s violet eyes were narrowed to slits as he turned the dud explosive around and around in his hands, examining it. The Marine sergeant who discovered the explosive stood before his desk, her hands clasped behind her back as she watched her chief silently.

“Nobody who is competent enough to infiltrate the Nighthawk undetected would lack the skills to properly arm an explosive. This one doesn’t buy it,” Zakath said softly as he traced the detonator on the explosive with a light finger. “We missed something.”

“Should we resume our search, sir?” The sergeant asked, her emerald eyes meeting Zakath’s own as he looked up from the object in his hands.

“No. Not yet. I don’t think we’re looking for an explosive, it’s some-” Zakath was interrupted by a ping on his communications unit. “Just a second.”

Zakath pressed the accept button and immediately a hologram of a non-descript human appeared, hands clasped behind his back as he bowed curtly. “Master Zakath, I have a report.”

“Proceed,” Zakath said, setting the explosive on the desk before steeping his fingers together.

“Two items of interest. First, the DIA has identified an Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj as a subject of interest in their investigation thus far,” the hologram shifted slightly as he looked down at a terminal out of sight. “The order to investigate him came from within the DIA, our agents are still trying to backtrack the original order to its source, though.”

“I see,” Zakath cocked his head slightly. “Opinion on Inahj’s involvement in the assassination?”

“I doubt it. Inahj’s too loyal to Arcona. Sided alongside you with the Arconae during the recent civil war, and although he opposed the Quaestors, our analysis indicated it wasn’t personal against Aedile Atyriu or anyone else, simply a desire to see the Clan unified again.”

“Hmm,” Zakath smirked slightly. “Although it would be amusing to see Inahj actually implicated in the assassination, I’m inclined to agree with you. Still, have your agents continue your search as to who issued the order to investigate him. It is highly unusual that a man of Inahj’s known loyalties would immediately get put on the investigation list. We might have a mole inside the DIA.”

“Understood, our research will continue,” Elim tapped away at his terminal for a long moment. “The second thing is, our agents raided a domestic terrorist cell in Estle City, a separate assignment for one of my other clients, and during the process, we discovered personnel records for the Nighthawk’s crew, complete with notations focusing on the Engineering department.”

“Really,” Zakath said in a flat tone as his eyes suddenly flared up. “Any indications that the terrorist cell was planning an infiltration?”

“That is what it’s beginning to look like,” Elim nodded. “And I don’t think this is a terrorist cell at all, that’s just what our initial information seemed to indicate, it’s beginning to look more like a listening post from where I’m looking at. I’m transmitting all the information we have to your computer, you can have the Nighthawk’s technicians look it over while we do our own analysis.”

“Alright. Report back when you have news,” Zakath replied as he noted the download beginning.

“Of course,” Elim bowed slightly cutting the communications channel.

“Opinion, sergeant?” Zakath asked as he picked up the explosive again, running his fingers across its surface.

“Sir. I’m inclined to agree with your assessment, nobody just boards the Nighthawk and leaves a dud behind,” the sergeant frowned, her emerald eyes focused on the explosive. “Could be a distraction.”

“For?” Zakath prompted, his violet eyes now focused on the sergeant.

“If I were planning an op raid, I would want the enemy distracted with something else while I go after my true objective,” The sergeant frowned slightly. “Assassination? No, blowing up the ship would accomplish that. Data raid, planting a homing beacon, maybe?”

Zakath cocked his head as he considered the possibility. “Hm. Would be consistent with the intelligence I’m getting from Elim. I would need to confer with Commander Locke and Captain Cortel on this… recommendation?”

“Have security run another sweep through the ship, this time with equipment configured for detecting homing beacons. Maybe have our technicians run a sweep through the computers for data mining software as well. Focus on Engineering, then spread out from there.”

“Alright. Get the men ready,” Zakath said as he rose from his chair. “I’m going to get with the XO and Captain on this, then I’ll relay your orders after the meeting. Provided they agree with your recommendation, I want every inch of this ship searched. Overlook nothing. Understood?”

“Yes Sir!” The sergeant replied as she snapped back to attention.

“Dismissed,” Zakath said before striding out of his office, the sergeant following right on his heels before turning toward the barracks.

Entering the turbolift, the Security Chief pressed the button for the CIC, and as the doors slid shut, he keyed his comlink to open a channel to his interrogation operative. “Nath, get your tools ready. I’ve got reason to believe we have a mole onboard, and we will need your lovely talents soon.”

“Yes, father.” Nath replied before cutting the link.

Zakath smiled.


Dark Forge

Arcona Citadel,
Outside Medcenter 12

A sensation of rage started to fill the area. Even the droids seemed capable of noticing it. The feeling of dread rose in the newly posted guards. As they became more and more convinced that fleeing was the correct action, it was only the direct verbal order from the Shadow Lord that kept them in place. The Arcona elite forces training prided itself on loyalty above all else.

With a flicker of his robes, Ood Bnar strode around the corner and came into direct view of the guards. Recognizing the Neti, one of the soldiers palmed open the door and moved aside. The Consul had been very specific in who would be allowed to enter the room, and this monster was one of those who held said priviledge.

Arcona Citadel,
Medcenter 12

Throwing a hateful look around, the Krath Pontifex swallowed a few select swear words.

“What the Force was done to my test subject?”

“Sir,” the internist in charge blurted as he rushed towards the Neti, “someone attempted to assassinate the Aedile!”

“I know that! I fixed the damage using some very magnificent techniques. Now who messed with the test-subject? I was looking forward to mapping the side-effects and progression of her healing process.”

“An assassin sir, the Lord Consul fought her in this very room.”

“Hmm, I am going to repair the Aedile again. You go talk to one of the guards, I want to have every bit of information the Clan has on this assassin. She just volunteered to become my newest testsubject.”

Arcona Citadel
Operating theater, medcenter 12

“Hmm, if I do it like this … no that would cause braindamage … Maybe if I … no, that’d leave her sterile from the radiation … Ooh, If I did … and then … she’d be stable again. Ah no, that would ruin my experimental data … What to do, what to do …”

(5 minutes pass)

“Hang on, … if I reconnect … to the … and replace … with … then I’d have to graft in a few extra organs to handle the toxicity of … but those could be removed later on and wouldn’t influence my experiment ….”


Arcona Citadel
Medcenter 12A
40 minutes later

“You there, she’s stable for now. Nothing is to be added to the body at any point. No medications, no IV drugs, no nothing! Everything inside stays there, and nothing gets ADDED! Her odds are about 50-50 but I’m thinking she’ll pull through. For safeties sake, as it seems we have collaborators and such, spread the news that she’s on her deathbed and that I have given up. Inform the Consul of the truth and let him decide who needs to know it.”

The aide rushed off to spread the news and inform Marick.

“You said the hitman was injured? Was she bleeding? Good!” with those closing words, the Neti rushed out, taking the cloud of dark rage with him. The last the Internist heard before the door closed were muttered plans for torturous experiments.

Outside the Citadel

The Force leapt to aid the Krath as he began his rage fuelled hunt. Using every weapon in his investigative arsenal, Ood started to run. Away from the citadel, following a path only he seemed to be able to see. A well cloaked shadowy figure following after him.

The last thoughts the Neti gave to anything besides revenge were focused on Kordath. He had to wonder if the Medical unit he sent to fix up freshly brought in Kordath, would be able to fix him up fast enough to let the kid join Meleu in fulfilling his duty. After this was over, he’d have to take the kid aside and teach him some things. Getting drunk and kidnapped by a lone assassin?




AGV Nighthawk
Low orbit above Selen

During Omega Directive

The Senior Staff were gathered in the War Room. Antar leaned against the bulkhead, one of his legs pulled up and his hand rubbed down his jawline to his chin and then back up again. It just didn’t make sense that Sight would endanger the ship. He hadn’t been himself since the assassination attempt, but he wasn’t crazy or a traitor. The XO’s attention was drawn to the Security Chief who began his report. Relief washed over him, to find that his trust had not been misplaced in his former master. But who could it have been? Jax didn’t seem like the type to lie and his men appeared loyal at least to him. But who else was on the shuttle? PILOT!


“What is it, Locke.”

The Anaxsi looked towards Arcia, a blank look on his face. “What of the shuttle pilot?”

Arcia’s face turned to stone and she turned to her Security Chief. “Zakath. Now.”

The Commander hit his comm, “Operative Voth, your services are required.”

“Finally,” her voice sounded joyful at the implication.

Zakath delivered the pilot into Voth’s custody. The room was functional and terrifying, the perfect interrogation chamber. The hatch was programmed to close slower than the rest on the ship, to increase the detainee’s tension. The echo of Information Retrieval Officer’s work echoed throughout the corridor.

Antar stepped on to the bridge. “At ease,” he said as the Marine announced his presence.

The XO stepped up to the CIC and looked at the holodisplay of the ship. Detailed scans being ran on vital areas of the ship were shown as green circles, areas needing further inspection were marked in red, and cleared areas were grayed out. A Marine handed him a datapad with reports from the search crews inspecting the Captain’s Cabin and the second deck. Nothing so far. This is the last thing we need while looking for an assassin.

“Thank you, Corporal. I want both areas searched again. Focus on the Captain’s Cabin, they might be trying to take out the Aedile’s replacement,” Antar handed the report back to the Marine, who saluted and walked away.

The comm sound. “Go ahead for Locke.”

“War Room. Ten minutes,” the Captain’s voice ordered.

The senior staff gathered in the War Room and listened to Zakath recount the information on the security report. How does an infiltrator not know how to set an explosive.

Antar nodded in agreement as the Captain made her uneasiness with the events and doubled security.

“Understood, Captain. Shall I deactivate the Omega Directive?”

“Yes, Chief,” Captain Cortel also nodded her response to Zakath.

The senior staff followed Arcia out of the War Room.

After Omega Directive

Upon hearing the Captain’s conversation with Andrelious. Antar walked forward towards the communication officer’s bridge position. He put his hand on the young Specialist’s shoulder, in a friendly manner.

“Inform the other units that we will be pulling out. Once we cross into Galactic Alliance Space, I want you constantly monitoring comm chatter. If you so much as hear a piece of static out of place, I want to know about it.”

“Yes, sir,” the young woman replied in a tone much sweeter than one would expect from a DIA officer.

The XO then turned to the Sensor’s tech. “That goes double for you. I want to know the position of every vessel with in sensor range and I want it on the holographic display at all times and I want .”

“Aye, sir,” the technician barked.

“Thanks, carry on you two.” The Commander turned to see Sight preparing to enter the turbolift. “Sight, a moment?”

The albino turned, “Yes, Commander.”

“Keep one of your engineers monitoring the cloak at all times. We can’t take the chance of it failing at the wrong moment, Chief.” Antar’s tone made his words sound more like a suggestion than an order.

“You got it, Commander.”

“Alright,” Antar nodded. “I appreciate it.”

Antar joined the Captain and Specialist Orsai in the cockpit. Arcia was already engaged in explaining that she wanted the Nighthawk kept out of sensor range of other vessels in the area.

“… don’t alter our course too much, but keep your heading as best you can.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the pilot said looking over his shoulder.

“Sensors and Communications are on high alert. Sensors are being routed to the holodisplay. I also instructed that Sight keep an engineer on the cloaking system, just in case,” Antar said coming to a halt next to the Captain.

“Good,” Arcia nodded.

The two Anaxsi stood at the front of the ship and watched as the stars began to stretch out before them and then faded into the bluish hue of hyperspace. Orsai pressed a button that turned the forward portholes opaque, to prevent hyper-rapture. The two made their way back to the CIC. Arcia rubbed her eyes and allowed her cyberoptics to readjust.

The Commander noticed a slight wince of pain cross the Captain’s face. “Perhaps you should talk to Maaks?”

“Thank you, Commander. But I will be fine, just a little tired.”

The XO nodded. “Well, we have everything under control here. Why don’t you catch a couple of hours rack time before we get to Thyferra?”

“Are you ordering me around, Commander? And when was the last time you slept?” Arcia’s voice became serious.

“No, Ma’am. Merely a suggestion. Honestly, I think it was about 6 hours before the incident.”

The Captain rubbed her eyes again. “Which crew is on?”

“Besh, it is my watch,” the XO strengthened his case for the Captain to take his suggestion.

“Antar,” the Captain’s voice changed, it almost sounded caring. “You go get a few hours sleep and when you come back on duty, I will take a few hours.”

“Ma’am…” Antar began but was cut off by a wave of Arcia’s raised hand.

“Mine wasn’t a suggestion,” she remarked with a slight smile.

“Aye, Ma’am. I’ll get four hours and then you can get four,” the XO answered with a nod.

She nodded in agreement. “Before you hit the rack, get Zakath to catch some sleep as well. I need you two at one-hundred percent.”


Soulfire Strike Team

AGV Valour’s Fall
Erebos Orbit

It was the first time that Soulfire had gathered on their ship since the change of leadership. The crew had greeted their new Captain with a sense of enthusiasm: though they respected Nadrin, they had heard that Andrelious was a little more suited to the role of commanding a starship. Immediately, the Warlord had required the Agave-class vessel to begin a journey towards the asteroid field, leaving the rest of the Expeditionary Force on standby. Mimosa-Inahj eventually ordered the crew to bring the ship into orbit of Erebos, the large gas giant that marked the last of the Dajorra’s system’s planetary bodies. Beyond lay the asteroids, where Andrelious believed something was hiding.

“So. Why couldn’t I bring my droid?” Saskia repeated.

“As much as I trust you, we can’t be sure that whatever has been done to the astromech droids across the fleet hasn’t been done to your droid as well. Before we knew it that thing could have been cutting into our systems. The clue’s in the name…SABOTAGE droid,” Andrelious stated matter-of-factly.

“So, Master, are all of these people related to the Captain?” Aiorus asked, apparently amused at the father-daughter exchange.

“Hunter Trayus. Riverche is a Miraluka, and Draith is a Trandoshan. How would either of THEM be related to me? Instead of asking my second silly questions, how about you tell us what you’re bringing to the table? We need to discuss your specialisation,” Mimosa-Inahj replied crossly.

“I can fight. Shock Boxing. Hapan Boxing,” the Hunter answered.

“Excellent. Consider yourself assigned as our unarmed combat specialist. Saskia will equip with both your standard issue equipment, as well as the equipment relating to your role. Welcome to the team, Hunter Trayus,” Andrelious declared.

“So. You’ve brought us out here to Erebos. What’s next?” River enquired, fiddling with her comms equipment.

“As I’ve said, I’m going to fly out in my TIE Advanced to the location that Sin Six disappeared. Thanks to River’s excellent work in intercepting parts of what happened, I’m suspecting that somebody is hiding among the rocks. I’m sure all of you are aware that this is not a good situation. If there IS anything out there, I’ll do my best to get back here. For now, I need all of you to get your things ready. River, keep as many channels open as you can manage. If I don’t come back, command will fall to Saskia and Nadrin. Both of them know what to do,” the Soulfire Captain declared.

“Alright. Now what were you going to say about this Braxant?” Kyo added.

Andrelious nodded. “When I was visiting Atyiru, a DIA agent by the name of Sephilios Braxant appeared and began to accuse me of involvement in the assassination attempt. He was quite open about declaring that the Agency were watching me. It’s possible that they’ve even bugged this ship, so be incredibly careful.”


Estle City, Selen

In an old, abandoned apartment, a bespectacled man sat drinking a hot cup of caff. He had been conversing with the holographic Iridonian before him for some time.

“That’s what I told you, sir. Mimosa-Inahj has headed to the Valour’s Fall,” the image announced.

“And the team you had on him?” Braxant questioned.

“I’m afraid that Nadrin Erinos discovered what was happening. Before we could do anything else, the suspect met up with his men and got offworld.”

The news did not please Braxant. His hope had been that the accusations made against Andrelious would have been enough to sow discord among the ranks of Soulfire, or at least increase the division between their leader and the Captain of the Nighthawk. As it was, it appeared that the members of Galeres were determined to prove their loyalty to one another. And to Atyiru.

“Very well. We’ll have to see if we can get somebody onto the Valour’s Fall. Do you have anything else for me?” Sephilios asked.

“Apparently the Nighthawk is headed to Thyferra. It seems that their Captain is determined to get hold of bacta at any cost,” the Iridonian stated.

“Thank you, Reltak. However, it is my duty to inform you that you are to activate your ‘Plan Besh’. If Mimosa-Inahj is already aware of what’s happening, it won’t be long before we’re discovered. This way I can at least be sure you won’t squeal.” Braxant ordered.

The hologram’s face dropped. “But sir…”

“You heard me. I’ll activate it myself if you prove unwilling, Restak. Braxant out!” the Human snapped, hitting the deactivate button on his communicator.


Dajorra Asteroid Field

The TIE Advanced known as Sharpshoot entered the periphery of the asteroid field. Andrelious began steering his personal ship carefully, avoiding larger rocks and using the TIE’s laser cannons to destroy the smaller ones that otherwise barred his progress.

“Nu One to Fall. Do you still read me?” Mimosa-Inahj radioed, his eyes darting between his sensors and the transparisteel of his cockpit, looking for anything out of place.

“Still reading you, Captain. Our sensors are clear. How about yours?” came the reply.

“Nothing so far. I’ll arrive at the coordinates Sin Six was last registered at shortly. That’s when we’ll see something,” the ex-Imperial stated, still concentrating heavily on piloting through the hazardous area.

As the distance counted rapidly downwards on the Sith’s targeting computer, he began to feel the whisperings of a Force presence nearby.

Fall. This is Nu One. There’s definitely something out here. I can feel it. Still nothing visually. Will keep up approach,” he announced, cautiously.

“Understood. We’re starting to lose you on our main frequencies, but Lady Riverche can still hear you. At least for now,” the radio crackled, confirming that the signal was thinning out.

“Hello there, Nu One. Don’t see many of your kind out here. It’s nice to see a good old fashioned TIE around here. Too many Rebel ships,” an unfamiliar voice stated, much more clearly than the Arconan ally that had spoken moments before.

“Really? Why don’t you come out and show me who you are? After all…it’s only fair that you show me yours now I’ve shown you mine,” Andrelious hissed.

“You’ve found us out, you rascal. Now we’re going to have to deal with you!” a female voice cackled.

With a shimmer, a large ship appeared. It took Mimosa-Inahj no time at all to identify it as an Imperial-II Star Destroyer, similar in many ways to the Arconan Flagship.


Andrelious pulled his flightstick towards him forcefully, turning his TIE away from the enemy ship. His targeting computer took readings of the ship’s IFF data, as well as any modifications it may have been fitted with. While evading, the Warlord noticed one particular modification.

“You may have destroyed the Hell’s Gate, Inahj, but you’ve not got your friends with you this time!” the first voice stated stoically.

The Star Destroyer began firing its many turbolasers in the direction of the TIE Advanced. Andrelious used every move in his repertoire to evade the fire, using nearby asteroids to help cover his retreat. He dumped the stored laser power into his engines, allowing him to speed away from the enemy vessel.

Fall, River, whoever this gets to. There’s an Imperial-II hiding the asteroids! They’ve got some kind of advanced computer running that allows them to hide there without being hit by rocks. Get away from Erebos, get back to Selen! As far as I know there’s no other ships! I’ll meet you there!” Mimosa-Inahj radioed, tapping in the hyperjump coordinates for Selen.

As Sharpshoot exited the most dangerous part of the asteroids, the Warlord pushed his hyperdrive’s activation lever. It had been a while since he had had to perform such a desperate manoeuvre, but seeing the stars turn into streaks of light was as relieving a sight as it had been the first time that the ex-Imperial had escaped unscathed.

Moments later, the microjump was complete, and Andrelious returned to normal space. The Valour’s Fall entered moments later.

Fall, this is Nu One. Thanks for the support. Will be with you shortly,” the ex-Imperial declared.


Dark Forge

Estle City

Boral hung brightly over the city of Estle, throwing shadowy shapes across the region. A cloaked figure moved slowly through the area, stopping from time to time in order to seemingly contemplate existence.

With a smirk, the Neti tracked his prey. She had passed through this area only four hours ago, he was gaining then…


Hmm, she stopped bleeding. How interesting.

Moving on, the meandering figure caused criminals to approach, realise who was before them and quickly find reasons to not be in the area.

Throwing his mind out towards one of his subordinates in a technique he had perfected on Lyspair, the Praetor whispered into the mind of the nearest Academy Magistrate.

“Meleu, immerse yourself in the Force! Find me. I am closing in on this assassin and could use another blade…”

A weak “Acknowledged” came across the connection.

“Hmm, I need to get him to practice that a bit more.”

The dark side seemed to come more easily to him today as a well of pure anger mixed with rage and radiated into the Force. Preparing himself, the old Force user continued to track his objective through the urban area.

The shadows became stronger, soon the entire city was shaded in pure inky darkness as thick clouds drifted in from around the mountains. A nice big thunderstorm, just what was needed. Pulling his robes closer around himself, the Neti rearranged his cloak and closed it by tying the thin leather strips together in the front. Soon the rain started to remind him of his cell.


He wasn’t alone after all…


Estle City,

Meleu rarely listened to anyone besides his Clan superiors, yet Meleu respected the air of authority that hung around the Neti’s booming Force-enhanced call.

The Sith Warrior still held little admiration for his Battleteam superior following the confrontation the two had. He marched alongside the Togruta, pretending to do something useful. The fact of the matter was that nothing was being done, nothing was being accomplished and moreover, no blood was being spilled.

The whistling of the annoyance Lexiconus called his astromech droid began to antagonise Meleu. Ood’s voice sealed the fate of the moment as Meleu reached out to the Force.

He leapt, guiding himself onto the roof above him almost flamboyantly. The Praetor’s calling had created a Force beacon for Meleu to head towards. He bolted towards the next rooftop.

“Meleu, where-” the Togruta’s voice became inaudible as Meleu bounded over the alleyway below. He homed onto Ood’s position, racing against time.

The elevations of each building began to increase as he approached the mountain and the outskirts of the city. The Sith Warrior began to tire, slowing down.

I need to be in top condition for any confrontation

As he approached the next alleyway, instead of leaping over it, he dropped down onto the road below. The darkening cloud bore over him, releasing a thunderous clap and a piercing cold rain. The Sith raised robe’s hood over his head.

The density of buildings began to decrease as Meleu scaled the large mountain that acted as a backdrop to Estle City. The Juggernaut channeled his Force power to diminish his physical tiring, allowing him to continue as fast as possible.

Although the beacon that Meleu was following was in motion, the Sith was quickly catching up with it.

The Neti is slower than I thought


Outskirts, Estle City,

The Sith Warrior felt his presence before he could see him. The mix of Ood’s tree-like appearance and the darkened sky allowed the Neti to blend into his surroundings. The only thing that made him visible was the hue of his green saber.

Rage must have overcome him, his saber is drawn

Meleu approached the area, although the Praetor has his saber drawn, there was no opposition saber, only a hooded figure standing before him.

The Human pulled the hilt of his saber to his right hand through the Force. He fiddled around with his grip on his saber and he neared the confrontation ahead of him. Saber unlit.

This will be interesting…


Dark Forge

Estle City Outskirts

“Who are you?” the Neti growled as his blade remained aimed at the shadow before him, “Identify yourself!”.

As Warrior Karthdo landed beside him, the Pontifex took a risk. Years of training prevented him from stumbling as he suddenly acquired another set of eyes. Ignoring the new sensations, he turned his focus inward and started to browse through the mind of the person in front of his body. It did not take him long to discover the truth and once he recovered from from that shock, he threw himself back into his own body.

“… Oh, I see now …” and with a move that belied the stress behind holding such a strong telepathic link with an unwilling opponent, Ood palmed the off switch of his laser sword and re-insert it into the special holder sown into his left sleeve. “He’s not a threat Meleu, Marick sent him to keep an eye on me and limit the amount of damage I can cause.”

A blast of concentrated telepathy burst through the red haze of the berserker Sith and calmed him down enough to let him return his saber hilt to his belt.

“The Consul gave you a minder?” the Magistrate grunted with a substantial amount of surprise in his voice.”

“Well, I was in a highly secure prison cell not too long ago. And I’ve been told I am quite insane so it is really just good policy to keep this one tailing me. Though - to be perfectly honest - I had wondered why I had not been appointed a Fade yet. Now it seems my fade was actually stalking me.”

“Praetor, what do we do now?” the Sergeant inquired as lightning forked across the sky, illuminating the last vestiges of bloodlust still prevalent within his aura.

“We return to the hunt, my teammate, and ignore the little shadow following us.” that being said the Neti turned circle, sniffing and tasting the sky before meandering deeper into the city - moving into the general direction of either the slums or the main industrial sector - without waiting to see if Meleu Karthdo would follow his lead.


Arcona Citadel
Dark Forge

The last few hours had turned into a blur for Kordath, since Lexiconus and Meleu had pulled him from the utility room that had been converted into a prison cell. He’d passed out for a while, the Ryn knew, before waking to the irritated sounds of an astromech, finding himself laid across the back seat of his Team Lead’s speeder. Holding onto consciousness, Kordath did his best to slip into a healing trance, to mitigate some of the pain and move things along. His next moment of clarity came when the lights of the medics were in his eyes at the Citadel medbay.

Cringing away from the burning brightness, the Knight found himself laying on a medical bed, head still aching but somewhat less.

“Didn’t…drug me…right?” he muttered, squinting and rubbing at his eyes.

The medics stepped aside for a harried looking human Doctor, “Not yet, we were attempting to determine the extent of your injuries. You’ve got a fracture along the back of your skull that is partially mended, I suspect you’ve been attempting to heal yourself? I thought so, it’s probably the only reason you’re even alive at this point, so good for you. We could give you something to dull the pain, but I’ve been informed by Lord Marick that we’re short handed. He’s outside of the Aedile’s room in the medlabs, I believe he wanted you whenever you regained consciousness.”

Kordath stared at the doctor for a moment, gingerly touching the back of his aching head, before swinging his feet towards the floor.

“If it were up to me, mister, you’d be in that bed for a week,” said the Doctor, sternly.

Nodding, Kordath muttered back, “Yeah, yeah, that’s what all the ladies say, thanks Doc.”

Half walking, half stumbling, Kordath found the medlabs, wondering why Atyiru was here instead of an intensive care unit. Spotting the Lord Consul in discussion with several high ranking Military types, the Ryn stopped to catch his breath, leaning against the wall that held the door to his Aedile’s room. The blinds on the window were pulled, he could see the frail form of one of his few friends, laying still with tubes and wires framing her. Rage simmered under the surface for the Ryn, anger wasn’t foreign to the Krath, but it rarely ruled him in the way it did his fellows, such as Ood and Meleu.

“Bleu, a word,” came the steady voice behind him. Kordath grimaced, trying to stand straight as he turned. Bowing to the Lord of his Clan, the Knight almost fell for a moment, reaching out to steady himself on the wall.

“Sorry, my Lord, a bit beat up at the moment, but…I can walk, I can talk, I can help.”

Marick nodded, looking past Kordath and through the window, “Good. I’d prefer you were resting after your encounter with the Zeltron, I met her as well, she is…formidable.”

The Ryn couldn’t help but grin a little, despite the growing headache that seemed to accompany being awake today, “Guessing you fared better then I did, sir.”

“I wounded her, she put Atyiru back into critical, Bnar stabilized her again…don’t give me that look, Bleu, she’s alive because of him, though the rest is up to her. The Neti is in pursuit, I sent a minder along with him, and have been informed by said personnel that the Warrior Meleu has moved in too aide the Pontifex in his hunt. I’ve sent your Leader to the communications center to coordinate the local forces that we still have in play, Nighthawk and Soulfire have both reported saboteurs active in the fleet and possibly on the ground,” the last coming out of as a bit of a growl.

Bad day, thought the Ryn, glancing sidelong at the Consul, realizing that he was so tired and battered that he wasn’t crippled by fear like he normally was in the man’s presence.

Marick’s visage turned grim, eyes alight with anger, “The Nighthawk herself is going corewards to…obtain much needed medical supplies, and Soulfire and the Valour’s Fall are dealing with some kind of incursion into the system, trouble we do not need right now.”

“My theory, my Lord, has been that the attack was to throw us into chaos, do you think the space troubles are a vanguard? Invasion or a raid while we’re in disarray?”

“Possible, Bleu, but if there were any major fleet movements in our area, I would hope we’d have picked up some indication. So, two Battleteams off world already, dealing with situations, House Qel-Droma is suffering it’s own problems, that leaves half of Dark Forge to rely on as agents.”

The Consul turned to face the Ryn, and Kordath cringed, knowing that he was about to head back into the field.

“I’m sending you back into the field,” stated the Hapan, ‘Bloody called that one.’

“I…see, sir, where…,” began the Krath.

“Specter headquarters, we’ve received reports of a possible bomb threat, though it could have been assassin attempting to draw security from the Citadel, I want it checked out. To much has been happening on my world lately without my say-so. Coordinate with Lexiconus, he’ll have more info for you.”

Kordath did his best to square up to attention, a pathetic, slouched shoulder look not helped by fatigue, “Yes my Lord, I’ll head that way now.”

He glanced through the window once more, feeling anger stir, and held on to that, before turning to leave.

“Oh, and Bleu? Try not to get captured again, it’s embarrassing.”


Dark Forge

Estle City, Industrial Sector

“She will be dangerous but weakened. Based on the trail, she’s lost nearly 1/10th of her blood. She’s injured, tired and in pain. She will be as dangerous as a cornered Nexu.” the Neti murmured as he continued to track the assassin.

“What is the plan?” was his only response.

Turning his head slightly, Ood looked into Meleu’s visor, “I shall approach on a direct path, you will come in at a 60 degree angle and from the right. Distract her, act clumsy at first. Get her to consider you the weakest link. Once she fully engages you, drop the act and keep her occupied while I try to get into her head. Should I fail, we will endeavour to remove her limbs and carry her to the Shadow Lord for interrogation. Any questions?”

The rain kept pouring down, drenching the two. Large factories surrounding them on all sides, the noises and height of the structures seemed to keep the lightning unseen and drowned out the rolling thunder.

“What horrible weather.” the Sith stated, more to himself than to his companion.

The Neti stopped and turned towards his ally, “She is injured, paranoid and the storm will mask our approach completely. It is an excellent time to hunt.”

Both teammates turned to continue their voyage. Yet the Pontifex halted for a moment and turned to look towards the Citadel in the distance, “Kordath has recovered. He’s afraid, yet eager to do more. Use your communicator, tell Lexiconus that you are with me and that he should head to the citadel and meet up with our 4th. It seems the Shadow Lord may make use of their services.”

As Warrior Karthdo stepped to the side to quickly contact the young and inexperienced team leader, the Krath began to slowly continue on his hunt. Meandering closer and closer to a series of semi-abandoned long term storage warehouses that used to belong to the Faust Corporation.



Bridge and CIC
AGV Nighthawk

The bridge was relatively quiet after Antar departed to get some rest. Arica had been pacing around the holodisplay for the past hour, running through various reports contained within a series of datapads and pausing to rub her eyes. Maaks was definitely right: she needed to get her cybernetics recalibrated. The newer replacements ran hotter than her old ones, which was taking time to get used to, causing her to frequently cycle their adjustments to cool them down.

Moving from datapad to datapad, Arcia reviewed the various reports and system status from the different departments onboard the Nighthawk, pausing a moment when she reached the engineering report. Something didn’t seem right about it…

“Cortel to Nortorshin,” the Captain spoke clearly after keying the direct communications system.

“Go for Nortorshin.”

“Your most recent report indicates the reactor is running at higher levels than normal. Is this something I should be worried about, Chief?” Cortel queried.

“Negative, Ma’am. All levels are still within established parameters. Will keep you informed if anything changes,” the Chief Engineer explained, with a pause. “Aren’t you supposed to be off duty, Captain?”

“That’s all, Chief,” the Anaxsi woman remarked before cutting the link.

The Nighthawk Captain yawned and stretched as she made her way towards the cockpit proper to check the status of the pilots. It was a short walk from the CIC, through the various consoles and crewman performing their duties as they had been so expertly trained to do. One of the Junior Operatives nodded to Arcia as she passed, whose shoulder she patted before she continued on.

Within the cockpit, Karth Orsai and his co-pilot were reviewing the telemetry reports as the ship thrust itself through the hyperlanes. Protective shielding covered the portholes, so the only light within the domain was from the various displays and buttons that shone, pulsed and strobed. Karth quickly noticed the Captain behind him and offered a shallow salute from his chair.

“Captain, pleasure to see you up in these parts.”

“How is everything, Specialist?” Arcia said brusquely, strictly business.

Karth cleared his throat and offered his superior a datapad containing various bits of information pertaining to their destination, route and the most recent report on the overall condition of the ship. Most of it was by the book, though she noticed those higher reactor levels in Karth’s report as well. With a frown, Arcia returned the datapad to the pilot and nodded her thanks before turning to walk away.

“Keep up the good work and stay alert,” Cortel announced and made her way back down to the CIC.

As she re-entered the bridge, one of Zakath’s Security Marines approached her with, yet again, another datapad. Arcia sighed and took the report, reviewing its contents when the Marine started talking.

“Ma’am, we-” he was cut off with the sharp rise of the Captain’s hand.

“Wait until I’m finished.”

There he stood, quiet and motionless while Arcia reviewed the reported findings, or lack thereof, of Zakath’s suspected homing beacon. They had searched everywhere, ran multiple high-level scans, everything the Security Chief could think of, but nothing was found. Arcia tossed the datapad back to the Marine and raised a brow.

“Does Zakath have a phantom beacon, Private?”

“Unsure, Ma’am. We’ve looked all over, as you’ve just read. We just can’t seem to find anything that supports his suspicions.”

“Very well. Keep me informed if anything changes. Dismissed.”

As the Private left her, she smiled. Everyone onboard the Nighthawk had a sense of duty and pride instilled within them. Since Teroch’s departure, things seemed to have become more productive. Nothing against the boy, but his sense of leadership and structure didn’t seem to cut it in Arcia’s books, which was most likely the reason he delegated to her when it came to handing out the orders….

Putting past memories behind her, Arcia pulled out her personal datapad and checked the time. Rounds were just about to start, so she took a deep breath and made her way through the bridge and towards the communications department.

The communications department was located at the rear of the ship, port side. As the Captain entered, the noise was almost overwhelming. Orders were being relayed back and forth through various channels within the DIA, locations of agents as well as Soulfire and Dark Forge were verified, updates on Atyiru’s wellbeing…

One of the Senior Operatives in charge walked up to Arcia, asking if there was anything she needed, to which she shook her head, stating she was only making her rounds. After affirming the functionality of her communications officers, Cortel crossed the hall, past the holonet transceiver, and entered the laboratory where several operatives were performing various experiments and researching precious metals and ores.

Very satisfied by her rounds on Deck 2, Arcia exited the laboratory, rounded the corner and entered the turbo-lift. Keying the command for Deck 3, the Captain leaned against the back wall and enjoyed the near silence as the lift descended a single level.

Deck 3
AGV Nighthawk

She made rounds through the barracks, observations decks and recreational areas rather quickly before stopping before the door of the Medical Bay.

Straightening her uniform, Arcia entered Medical to be greeted by the ship’s Doctor, Maaks, popping his head out from between two sets of racks that contained various…things that she didn’t want to identify. She nodded a greeting and stood next to one of the medical beds, waiting for him to walk over to her.

“Finally decided to get those implants checked, hmm Captain?” Maaks grinned as he retrieved several pieces of diagnostic equipment.

“Let’s just get this over with, Doctor. I have rounds to finish.”

Maaks nodded and raised a tool to her temple when her vision suddenly went black. She hated this part of diagnostics, to which she allowed her will of the Force to expand from her immediate vicinity, to the rest of the room, then to the entire deck; she was always aware of her surroundings, so being blind for an extended period wasn’t very high on her list of things to do. Barely two heartbeats later, her vision flared back to life, nearly blinding her from the white-hot lights of the Medical Bay.

“You just had minor calibration issues, Captain. They shouldn’t bother you anymore. Is there anything else I can assist you with?” Maaks questioned.

“Nothing else, Maaks. Thank you. I’ll be off now,” Arcia declined and moved away from the medical bed.

“Understood, Captain! Feel free to visit at any time!” Maaks called after Arcia as she exited the Med Bay.

Now where to…? Ah yes, Deck 4.

Deck 4 and 5
AGV Nighthawk

Deck 4 contained Engineering, which had been a primary target of suspicion as of late, as well as the Security office and barracks on Deck 5. As Arica made rounds through Engineering, she checked the reactor levels herself and noticed they were still running high, but still within acceptable limits. It was a new reactor, though, so minor changes were to be expected. Captain Cortel disliked change, though. Chief Nortorshin kept a tight department, making sure everyone had something to do and that everything was clean. She liked that about him, very dutiful and structured.

Arcia exchanged words with a few of the engineers about the status of the reactor and the ship itself before becoming satisfied enough to make her way down a final level to Deck 5. The hangar contained the ships two Nu-class Shuttles, one of the pilots now maintaining both of the ships. Jax and his squad of Mandalorians were shadow boxing or sparring with one another as the Captain passed by. Heading back towards the lift, Arcia stopped by the Armory and spoke with Quartermaster Skar regarding their supply of weapons for the special operations Marines. Everything checked out with him, so she decided enough was enough and made her way back to the lift.

The turbo-lift doors were just closing as Arcia lunged forward to hit the command for them to reopen. A hand sliced through the crack before the door shut completely, forcing them to retract and allowing the Captain to enter. The hand belonged to Zeck, Chief Nortorshin’s most trusted engineer. The light for Deck 4 wasn’t lit, so Arcia pressed ‘Deck 2’ before leaning against the side wall and studied Zeck. The doors shut, and the lift started its ascent.

“Where are you heading, Specialist?” Arcia questioned the man.

“One of the gentleman upstairs wanted to review some of the reports we sent up,” Zeck responded smoothly.

With a nod, Arcia recalled the levels. “Oh, in the last report. Reactor levels are sitting a bit high. Anything I should be worried about with this new reactor of ours?”

The lift halted on Deck 2 and the doors hissed open. “Nothing to worry about, Ma’am. Everything is going as planned. I just remembered, though, I forgot my datapads down in engineering…heh. I’ll be seeing you around, Captain.”

With an arched brow, Arcia nodded and made her way onto the bridge just to get an earful of the on duty Marine sounding off that the Captain was on deck. Putting everyone at ease with a wave of the hand, Arcia walked up to the holodisplay and ran through more reports. Then she stopped.

Everything is going as planned.

“What an odd way of talking…Hmm…whatever,” Arcia mumbled to herself, dismissing the engineer’s odd speaking pattern.

Cortel quickly became lost in her own work when someone tapped her on the shoulder, bringing her back to reality. She spun around to see Commander Locke standing there, waiting to take control of the bridge. He has his ‘get some rest’ look on his face, so with a shake of the head, Arcia silently passed over command and entered the turbo-lift.

Captain’s Cabin, Deck 1
AGV Nighthawk

As Arcia entered her quarters, she keyed the command for the doors to lock and lights to dim as a calm, classical song populated the room’s atmosphere. The Anaxsi woman unclasped and removed her uniform top, tossing it onto the desk chair before sitting at the foot of her bed to remove her boots. Kicking those to the side, she collapsed back onto the bed and closed her eyes, taking in the music.

I hereby appoint Captain Arcia Cortel…

The Captain’s mind returned to Atyiru’s message to everyone. When the Miralukan woman recovered, there was going to be some explaining to do if Arcia had anything to say about it. During all the events, she still couldn’t figure out why the Aedile had chosen her over others that were so much more qualified to act as her regent. Opening her eyes again, Arcia removed her trousers, leaving her in nothing but boy shorts and a sports top, before crawling into her bed and falling into a troubled dreamstate…

Bridge and CIC
AGV Nighthawk

Four hours was definitely not enough sleep for the Commander.

Rubbing his eyes and sipping out of a mug of caf, Antar reviewed the newest reports as well as anything the Captain had left with him. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so he wasn’t too worried about what the future reports would contain. Setting the reports aside, Antar made a quick round through the Bridge and made his way to the cockpit. Karth greeted him warmly and offered the most recent telemetry to which Antar reviewed quickly and frowned.

“What’s this displacement we’re coming up on, Specialist?” The Commander questioned.

Karth took the datapad back and studied it. “Oh…that’s…a frakking Dreadnaught, sir. Readings indicate it has Faust oriented IFF. Permission to adjust course?”

“Granted. Keep us hidden.”

The Nighthawk lurched slightly and exited hyperspace before the cloaking device activated and shrouded the ship so only inky stars were seen. It was only a minor course correction as the Nighthawk slipped past the massive ship and quickly blinked into hyperspace once again. The entire ordeal only took a matter of minutes, but the tension in the cockpit was high.

“Good job, Karth. Continue on course and inform me of any changes,” Antar instructed as he moved to return to the bridge.

The moment Commander Locke re-entered the bridge, several alarms rang out, causing him to run to the holodisplay and check the alerts. The reactor levels spiked before his eyes. Wasting no time, Antar keyed in commands to open a channel to engineering for a status update.

“Go for Engineering,” Zeck’s voice replied.

“The Bridge just got lit up with alerts from the reactor. What’s going on down there?”

“Everything’s fine, Sir. We’re handling it down here,” Zeck’s voice sounded cool and composed.

“Where is Chief Nortorshin? He’s supposed to be answering these calls,” Antar’s voice started becoming annoyed.

“Unsure, Sir. I’ll see if I can locate him. Until then, we need to get back to the reactor.”

The communications link was severed on the engineering side, causing Antar to become sorely suspicious. Pointing to one of the Senior Operatives, he received a nod in return before entering the lift and hitting ‘Deck 4.’ One way or another, he would find out what was happening to the ship. The lift stopped on Deck 3 and doors opened to give way to Sight’s angry looking crimson eyes.

“Just the man I wanted to see, Chief. What’s going on?” Antar barked.

“You’ll be the first to know when I find out, Commander,” Sight replied as he entered the lift and it began to descend when the hairs on Antar’s neck stood straight.

All across the ship, lights flickered and dimmed. Artificial gravity seemed to skip. A rather ominous humming caused violent vibrations throughout the hull…

In an instant, something within the reactor emitted a high pitched whine before sending a pulse across the entire core. Sparks, static discharge and flames blew out from the machine as the hypermatter containment failed, causing the Nighthawk to be violently ripped from hyperspace. The speed at which the ship decelerated threw crewman off their feet. Many collided with walls, desks, and each other, causing injuries from broken bones to minor bruises and scratches.

Within the turbo-lift, Sight and Antar were thrown from one side to the other as the seals and cables snapped and disengaged, forcing the lift to plummet two decks before the emergency brakes caught it. Antar’s head smashed against one of the railings within the lift, a large gash to split open on his forehead. His vision blurred momentarily and he fell to the floor.

Sight recovered quickly and rushed over the Executive Officer, helping him back to his feet and putting pressure on the open wound. Antar growled and tore a piece of fabric from his tunic sleeve, fashioning it into a makeshift bandage that he quickly wrapped tightly around his head. Blood rapidly soaked into the cloth and pain stung his mind, but Antar shrugged it aside and started to take in the situation.

“What the frak just happened, Chief?”

Sight looked around the lift. “I think the reactor went. I can’t say for certain though without getting to engineering.”

The Commander grunted and keyed his personal comlink to reach the Captain, but the shipwide communications were down and shortwave wasn’t working either. He had a horrid feeling of what was happening to their ship, but he needed the command staff to help him figure it out…

Captain’s Cabin, Deck 1
AGV Nighthawk
Unknown coordinates

Captain Cortel stirred in her sleep. She couldn’t get that high pitched whine out of her head, no matter how hard she tried. For the past couple of hours she had been tossing and turning relentlessly, thinking of everything that had happened within the past day and a half. Finally, she was able to quell the disturbing thoughts dancing through her mind and began to drift.
Then Arcia’s relative world turned upside down.

The most grating of sounds shrieked directly above the Captain’s Cabin, causing Arcia to sit straight up in bed as the ship slammed to a near halt when exiting hyperspace. The instant deceleration sent the Captain rocketing backwards into the wall behind her, then threw her forwards and off her bed. Tumbling into the half wall separating her bedroom from her work area, Arcia slammed her arm into the corner and yelped in pain.

The woman quickly scrambled to her feet and into her work area as another concussion rocked the ship, causing the aquarium to her right to shatter, spilling water and shards of glass all over Arcia. She covered her face to prevent glass from cutting her significantly and stared down at the fish that flopped, waterless, awaiting their deaths through suffocation.

That one felt like a damned mine…

To her left, Cortel saw the contents of her desk thrown all about, several books and datapads having crashed through the glass display and destroying many of her collected ship models. The Captain grabbed her comlink and pinged a ship wide frequency, but nothing happened. She keyed in Antar’s personal frequency, still nothing. With an angry shriek, Arcia stormed over to where her clothes lay, soaked in aquarium water and glass, and threw on her trousers and boots before approaching the door which would not open.

Slipping her fingers through the rubber padded middle part of the doors, Arcia slowly, with great effort, pried open the cabin doors and stumbled out into the hall that was littered with pieces of bulkhead, wires, cabling and a few fires. The turbo-lift doors, she found, were hermetically sealed and would not budge, even under great force. The Anaxsi woman screamed at it and kicked the lift doors before retreating back into her quarters and gathering the essentials: lightsaber, blaster pistol and vibro-knife.

Rushing back out to the hall, Arcia used her knife to pry open one of the maintenance hatches next to the lift doors and dropped into the ducts. Suddenly, from behind her, one of the oxygen pipes caught flame and detonated, throwing her from her feet and onto the grating below her. As she landed, she rolled into another pipe, crying out in pain again as the hot metal burned into her upper right arm.

Gathering her strength, the Captain struggled to her feet, her strength attempting to leave her from being forcibly thrown around thrice now. She had studied the deck plans of the Nighthawk carefully in the past and knew the quickest way down from Deck 1 to reach the bridge via maintenance shafts, so she travelled the route and dropped down several tubes before reaching the bridge ceiling. There, she activated her saber and cut a hole large enough for her to drop down to the floor.

The scene before her was worse than she thought.

The holodisplay was wrecked. Sparks spewed from shattered lenses and the primary display at the center of the bridge was on fire. Cables hung from the ceiling and the bulkhead was ripped apart. Several portions were damaged in such a degree that emergency force fields activated via secondary power supplies to prevent the deck from decompressing. Crewman groaned in pain, several not moving at the edges of the chamber. The more she looked around, the more horrified she became, but she didn’t see Antar anywhere.

Security Barracks, Deck 5
AGV Nighthawk
Unknown coordinates

“Move it, move it!” One of the Marine sergeants bellowed as Zakath cradled a broken arm.

The instantaneous deceleration caught everyone by surprise. The Security Marines were in the middle of formation when the reactor went, causing all of them to tumble head over heels and sprawled them across the hangar floor. One of the Nu-class Shuttles had crushed one of the Special Operations Marines and slammed into the side of the second, causing both of them to fracture into uselessness.

Quartermaster Skar and Private Raven Dusk quickly handed out weapons from the Armory to the various Marines, in case the ship was about to be boarded. Zakath didn’t want to take any chances. The difficulty, though, would be getting to the rest of the ship. With the lift down, all the Marines would have to crawl through maintenance shafts with all of their gear slowing them down.

“Someone get me the Captain, now!” Zakath yelled as he followed the rest of his Marines out of the barracks.

AGV Nighthawk
Unknown coordinates

Outside the ship, drifting through the space from the exit point of hyperspace, were a series of magnetically attracted, EMP-charged, low-grade thorium mines. When the Nighthawk passed by, they quickly attached themselves to the hull and moments later, would detonate. The explosions tore holes in the side of the ship’s hull, causing emergency force fields to activate, but not before sucking several crewman out.

Turbo-lift between Decks 5 and lift maintenance
AGV Nighthawk
Unknown coordinates

Sight was pounding against the lift doors with every bit of his strength and yelling for anyone to help them, but it was no use. They could hear the fires outside the lift and knew there was no one around to help them. Antar quickly did a hop and felt the suspension of the lift, but also heard something fall and hit momentarily after.

Retrieving his lightsaber, the Commander ignited the blade downwards and cut a hole directly through the bottom of the lift and the cabling attached. The circular plate detached and clattered down the remainder of the shaft before landing seconds later. Antar quickly squeezed himself through the opening and held onto the dangling cables before swinging over to the side of the shaft and latching onto the built-in ladder.

Sight followed immediately after, swinging to the opposite wall, and the two squeezed themselves between the walls and the lift cart. They began making their way back up a deck to reach engineering and figure out exactly what had happened. Another rumbling explosion caused Sight to nearly lose his footing, but he recovered in an instant and continued the climb.
The two were mostly silent as they continued to climb, but Antar suddenly vomited down the shaft, signifying that he certainly did have a concussion. “I don’t envy the crewman that has to clean that up…”

Antar chuckled at Sight’s attempt at keeping things lively, but his face returned to that of a proper Commander in an emergency situation and he began to think how they were going to get the ship back in order. Almost as if Sight was reading Antar’s mind, he responded to an unspoken question.

“We need to figure out what happened first…”

Engineering, Deck 4
AGV Nighthawk
Unknown coordinates

“Get those fires out! Make sure the doors are sealed properly!” Zeck’s voice boomed from behind various pieces of equipment.

The engineering crew were astonishing at the rate in which they contained fires, replaced burnt or destroyed fuses, and repaired critical systems, all to prevent a cataclysmic failure of the core. Moments later, the large doors to engineering slid shut with a metallic ‘clang’ and locked, as was expected during an emergency situation such as this.

“I’m bringing the secondary back online!” Zeck called out.

The reactor whined and hummed before sparking to life, giving new artificial light within engineering. In an instant, however, a green gas billowed out from the vents and flooded the engineering bay, causing everyone within to collapse, unconscious before they hit the floor. From behind the secondary reactor, a man emerged wearing a mask to protect him from the gas.

He walked to the secondary core and keyed in a few commands as a sharp ping rang through the ship wide communications system.

Bridge and CIC
AGV Nighthawk
Unknown coordinates

Arcia Cortel, Captain of the Nighthawk worked her hardest to help the injured crewman and restore any power to the systems when suddenly a sharp, piercing ring shattered the near silence on the bridge. Looking around, she couldn’t tell if someone had restored power or not, but her blood chilled as a single transmission populated the air.

“Captain Cortel…we’ve been….expecting you…”


Dark Forge

Unknown Location,
Estle City.

The sky clad in blackness and streaks of light blanketed the entire city and beyond. Flashes of blue, pink and purple darted across the sky, followed by the crack and growl of the weather’s mighty power. High above the streets and in a citadel window, Lexiconus peered out at the storm. He was slouched back on a chair, holding a bottle of port and a small sphere which levitated in his hand. He took a sip of his port and leaned his head back, then closed his eyes.

He dreamt of his home in Shili, of his people that would await his return. He dreamt of the beautiful scenery and that of the autumn scrublands. Then the sky turned red, the cool breezes turns hot and crispy. His eyes were filled by the great fiery lights, the catastrophe that covered his village’s demise. Suddenly his conscience returned, his head flipped back up and he continued to stare out at the storm in a panting sweat. Then beside him, his communicator beeped. His hand scooped up the small, circular device and and he clicked it online.

“Commander Lexiconus, Ood and Meleu have gone after the Zeltron woman. They suggested that we co-operate and investigate a bomb threat hidden in the SCEPTRE HQ.”

Lexic growled softly. “And Ood thinks he’s capable enough to give me orders? I should burn him to the stake and dance in his ashes. Where are you?”

“Uh…sir?” Kord sounded confused by this turn of threats from Lexic.

“Where are you, Kord? We will come to pick you up.” Lexic replied quickly, as he dropped his port bottle and set off to the turbolift.

“I’m on the ground level of Arcona Citadel sir.”

With a soft nod, Lexic pressed the pressed the ground button and replied. “Wait there, we’ll be down in five.”

“Affirmative sir. Wait, we?” Kord questioned Lexic, but the Togruta already turned his communicator off.

Ground Level,
Arcona Citadel.

Lexic exited the turbolift and shivered softly, the cold rain and wind swept through the hollow halls of this floor easily, especially when the doors were open. When he reached the entrance, he saw the bandaged and limping Ryn pacing across the doors, which automatically opened and closed each time.

“Kordath, stop doing that. You might break them.”

Kordath only had to look beside Lexic to notice the beeping and whirring of Reginald, then sighed and rubbed his face.

“Sir, maybe we shouldn’t take the droid today. He’s likely to get in the way or blow up.”

Lexic chuckled to himself, then patted Kord’s shoulder. “If you had an astromech when the Zeltron took you, you wouldn’t be this run down and hurt.”

Lexic then walked outside into the rain and pulled his hood up, with Kordath and Reginald following behind.

Estle City.

The storm above never ceased as the cruiser finally made it’s way to the front gardens of the SCEPTRE HQ, the doors opened and four people stepped out, along with an astromech. Firstly Lexic and Kordath emerged from the drivers seats, then they pulled their seats forward and let out K’tana and Kyrun, who snarled at the weather and put their hoods up.

“Alright you know the plan. K’tana, you and Kyrun go inside the parking underground sector to find it there, and Kord and myself will check the office area for the bomb. We will meet up at the conference room to trade notes and such. Everyone ok with this?”

With a stern nod, K’tana ran off ahead as Kyrun bowed slowly and caught up with her in a sprint. As they disappeared off into the distance, Reginald patrolled ahead of the two remaining Dark Forgeans. With his keen eyes, Lex slowly looked up onto the building side and noticed a strange, silvery shape attached to the side. He scratched his cheek and frowned, then prodded Kord. “What is that?”

“What is what?” Kord replied, looking around the buidling side.

“That big lump on the HQ, looks like the building is pregnant.”

Kord shrugs and walks ahead with a sulk. “Well, where is it?”

Lexic tried to catch up while keeping his eye on the obstacle on the building. “Where’s what?

“The port you imbecile! I can smell it on you like a drowned rat, I know my liqueur!”

The storm had begun to rain heavier, with the lightning forks striking much more quickly and louder than before.

“Oh, it’s at the citadel still. I’ll buy you some later.”

Kord agreed to this deal as if it was something to look forward to after this. But something was not right in the back of Kord’s mind and it was a growing fear of the building.

“Wait. I don’t like this.” Kord stated as he stopped Lexic in his tracks.

The droid continued to tread onwards in the rain despite Kord’s fears. Then a rumble and the sound of moving parts filled the atmosphere. A screeching sound filled the sky and when both men looked up in their blurry vision, the bump began to move and fall. Kord forced his leader to back away by pushing him as they both began to run. Then the huge and heavy body slammed into the floor, cracking the pavement and churning out pieces of rock at them. The only thing heard after that was the death squeal of a droid.

As both men prepared for the worst by igniting their lightsabers, the machine began to unfold it’s eight legs and stand. Whipping a series of tentacles across the sky, the lightning struck them and currents filled the tentacles with energy. Two large and green cone-shaped eyes darted from the mechanical beast as it faced the two Dark Jedi Knights. Taking one step forward, the monolithic monster reached underneath itself with a tentacle, then dragged out a white and green metal scrap that was Reginald and tossed it at them. Lexic’s face looked at the ruined body before him, then he kicked it aside with no further feelings and focused on the machine.

In a quick sprint, Lexic rushed at the machine with his lightsaber in both hands, then jumped and arced his viridian blade down at the machine. As if effortlessly, the nearest tentacle of the war droid whipped at his body, which sent a massive shockwave through his skin and sent him flying through the air. Lexic landed in the side fountain of the walkway, he looked lifeless. The machine stepped forward once again, and tilted it’s head playfully to the side. On the side of it’s neck was printed JK-13. In a metallic and echoed voice, the giant arachnid spoke out.

“Incinerate, terminate. Must destroy!” The words were held on repeat as Kord stood anxiously awaiting his move.


BAC Darkest Night
Low-orbit over Selen

“My Lord Quaestor,” a spindly Human officer whose name he did not know bowed low then stood. “We’ve arrived, but there are some dense storms in the atmosphere right now. Suggest delaying our descent.”

“Suggestion denied,” rumbled Cethgus Tiberius Entar Arconae. His green eyes sliced up to those of the lowly man next to him, his voice a calm, cold, tight growl. “Have shuttles prepared to take us down immediately. We move to HQ now.”

“Yes, sir–er, my Lord,” the officer scrambled away, radioing orders to the cockpit, the armory, and the hangar bay.

The Iridonian allowed a sharp expression almost like a grin across his lips as he stared out at the planet from the bridge windows. His fingers brushed the hilts of his sabers. There were men that opposed him, his Aedile, and his House down there.

He would slaughter them all.

Estle City, Selen
En route to S.C.E.P.T.E.R. HQ

“‘…Incinerate! Terminate! Must destroy!’” the Ryn mimicked, then lowered his voice to a more normal tone again, abandoning his droid impersonation. “And then it’d blow up all the bars and that is exactly what’s going to happen when we get to HQ, because everything bad ever just happens to us.”

The cruiser was silent, save the rain pounding down on the hull and Reginald’s beeping. One could almost hear the exasperation.

“Kordath,” Lexiconus growled. “That is not–”

“That is exactly how it would sound. It’s an evilly droid thing. And there’d be one. Heh.”

“Shut up already!” their resident Twi’lek snapped, spitting a few more insults in her native tongue for good measure. “Stupid concussion-head moron.”

Kyrun coughed politely. “I think those all mean the same thing, sort of, Kat,”


“SHUT UP!” their commander shouted, his classically moody anger exploding in a tantrum. “None of this is relevant to our assignment. Shut your mouths until we get there!”

Then, just as quickly, he lapsed back into brooding, sullen silence, staring out the windows.

Reginald beeped.

The sore Ryn turned his head just enough to look at the droid, still too tired for his normal fear or nervousness to reach him. “You’d be dead, and I am far too not-drunk” he informed it, with a little shrug that sent a lot of not-fun tingling through his abused nerves.

The ride wasn’t much longer after that. Kordath hobbled his way out of the shuttle after everyone else, his fur immediately getting soaked and sticking to him unpleasantly. He sneezed, which made his head spin, so that was great.

“Alright, you know the plan. K’tana–” the Togruta paused, looking rankled, and sent a vicious glare Kordath’s way. The Ryn arched a fluffy brow, imagining how Blinky would chuckle at it all. “Well, I’m not repeating myself. Go on.”

K’tana tittered as she and Kyrun ran off. Kordath’s eyes roved over the office building. Unlike his imaginings, there was no murderous building-baby droid this time, just flashes of lightning highlighting the dark sky and the shuttles landing somewhere within.

“Guess the cavalry arrived,” he muttered.

“Communications said that’d be Cethgus now,” Lexiconus commented. The commander pulled his hood up, and the pair walked quickly through the downpour. “‘bout time. We’ll talk to him after we sweep the offices–”


He felt it thundering in his bones more than he heard the series of sharp cracks the preceded roaring rumble. Starbursts of orange light and heat exploded from the building, from the base to the upper offices. A faint roar of screaming inside could be heard. The two Dark Jedi stared in frozen horror.

And then, all at once, the top of the structure fell in on itself, everything crumbled in a great waves of rubble and dust that billowed out and swallowed them whole.

AGV Valour’s Fall
Orbit over Selen

“Captain! Are you hurt?” called one of the pit crewmen as Andrelious climbed out of Sharpshoot. The ex-Imperial took just a moment to examine his starfighter, collecting himself, before he answered.

“I’m fine,” the Warlord replied brusquely, already moving for the turbolifts. Unfortunately, there were more urgent matters to attend to.


“Captain on deck!” a crewman barked, and everyone paused a second in their duties to salute as Mimosa-Inahj stepped from the lift.

“Sir,” called River from her seat with the communications officers. She stood and approached. “We received your transmission. You can confirm the enemy’s out there?”

“With an Imperial-II class Star Destroyer. We need to regroup.”

Riverche nodded, and rushed back to her station. No sooner had she gone than another man appeared before him.

“My Lord, Private Luresh at your service” the young man saluted. “We got word from Estle. There’s three new recruits looking for you and your team, identified Protector Scarlet, Knight Achilleus, and Acolyte Rotidor. Should we have a shuttle bring them up?”

“Affirmative, Private. We need all the hands we can get,” responded the Sith.

“Uhhh, s-sir?” someone else called from the other side of the bridge. Andrelious exhaled sharply, clamping down on his irritated nerves.



“Spit it out, boy!”

“Sir, we have a problem!” the woman at a nearby console cried, not waiting for her colleague. “On the radars! They’re everywhere!”

“What are you talking about? Pull it up on the holoprojector!”

A map of the area flared to life in blue pixels. There was the Fall, and Selen below them. The moons and asteroid field.

And innumerable small, red figures indicating approaching unknown craft, emerging one by one from the rocks. At their head was the Star Destroyer he’d run into.

Andrelious’s eyes widened.

Frak, was all he could think as the bridge erupted into chaos, sensors going crazy, men and women scrambling. We’re being invaded.

“Where the frak is the Dajorra Defense Force?” he found himself shouting to anyone who would listen.

“We don’t know, sir!”

“How did they get here?!”

“We don’t know!”

We don’t know.

Estle City, Selen
Industrial Sector

Dripdripdripdrip, dripdrip, dripdripdrip.

The rain was louder than his trickling friend in prison had been. Messy. Loud. Distracting. It wasn’t helpful. He ignored it.

Drip, drip, drip.

Ahh, but that one, that plunk-plunk-plunk, that was a different tune.

The Neti peered up at the drainage pipe on a particular storage unit. Water beaded, falling heavy and slow, on its edge. The building’s features were unremarkable, save for the tiny puddle forming in front of a completely unassuming door.

Drip, drip, drip.

The Krath grinned manically.

Reaching out just a small tendril of his mind, he brushed against his companion’s, planting a simple thought: This way, Warrior Karthdo.

Moments later, Meleu’s shadow joined him, along with his minder, and together the trio approached the unit. The door swung open on silent, well-used hinges before them.

Ood glanced at Meleu, motioned around to the rear of the building, then continued on.

The space inside was relatively clean, the air dry and tasting of lingering dust. The Neti smelled the pale hint of old blood. He paused, waiting just a moment for the shift in presence that indicated Karthdo’s entrance, then barreled on excitedly, through the only door available to him.

Three figures waited for him. Ood stopped, fixing his eyes and mind on his enemies, barely noticing Meleu take up a position next to him, their plan of attack unraveling.

There was the infamous Zeltron, her eyes alight and mad, blood on her clothing, though it was not fresh. Behind her was a slight, bespectacled Human, mundane and unimportant. What caught the Neti’s attention was the third, a tall, bulky silhouette shrouded in a hooded cloak.

The sheer power that emanated from the masked one was immense, on the scale of a Dark Master at the very least. Ood’s senses tingled.


A clawed hand emerged from the folds of one long sleeve. It rose up, pulling back the hood and then removing a gleaming mask, revealing a reptilian face. The Neti analyzed everything quickly, deranged mind racing. Chistori. Male. Gray scales. Dark eyes. Biological trait? No. Age? Possible. Dark side corruption? Possible. At least fifty. Sixty? So hard to tell with reptilian species. Better to just cut right in…

“Greetings,” the Chistori said evenly, voice old and deep, dipping his head in a polite nod. He spoke very clearly, in fine Basic, despite his maw of yellowed fangs. “It is good to meet some of you at last.”

“Who are you?” barked Karthdo, igniting his saber.

“Quiet!” screeched the Zeltron assassin. “You will address the Master properly!”

“There, there, dear girl,” the Chistori soothed, patting her arm. The gesture had all the pieces to be soothing, but something was wrong about it. “I am Dassac, and no more. And you are?”

“The people who are going to destroy you–”

“Bnar and Karthdo,” the Pontifex interrupted, eyes flickering. “Fascinating. You possess Force abilities. Rare for Chistori. Hmm. Interested in being a test subject, perhaps?”

Dassac made an expression that was likely the best a lizard could do at smiling. “Why don’t we discuss it? Tiyasha, dear, our guests look drenched and worn. Be a good hostess and take their coats…and, oh, perhaps the young one’s skin, while you’re at it. When you’re done, we can have a more pleasant conversation.”

“Yes, Master,” the woman hissed in excitement, giggling, and then launched herself at them.

AGV Nighthawk, Hangar Bay
Unknown Location

“Alright, you lazy shabuirs! Sound off! Who’s still alive?!” Jax shouted from where he laid against the wall…or floor…whichever was right ways up at this point.

A long series of groans, moans, and various expletives directed at his mother followed.

Kael shuffled over to him. “Righ’ here, Sarge,” the soldier grunted, holding a hand to his head. Blood trickled down his cheek from somewhere above his hairline.

“Great, fantastic. Boys? C’mon! Move yer boots! I want a headcount.”

Slowly, his men emerged from the whirlwind of wreckage that had become the hangar. A couple of the other crewman shuffled over as well, seemingly without direction. The Mandalorian did a quick tally.

“Where are Xebba and Bubs?”

“Over there, Sarge,” one of his boys pointed to a gruesome tumble of immense supply crates that had a pink soup oozing out from between them. Jax growled and closed his eyes, looking away.

“Damnation,” he spat, then pulled himself to his feet. He hobbled a bit, almost falling. Kael looked down at the mangled stump of wires that remained of the Zygerrian’s cybernetic leg.

“Yer damn lucky you ain’t dead, Sarge.”

“I’m damn unlucky,” he gestured at the crates. “But I 'spose we’re all lucky that none of our mines blew. Any body hurt?”

A couple people raised their hands or mumbled an affirmative. Jax waved them aside. “Bunker down in the corner there and try not to bleed out. Shep,” he called to their small unit’s medic. “Go help ‘em. Kael, run an’ get my spare prothy from the shuttle, would ya?”

Once he was able to do more than fall on his face again, the Fade walked painfully over to the lift, inspecting it. Finding it down, he turned back to his remaining brothers.

“How about the maintenance ducts?”

“There’s, uh, fire in that general direction, Sarge.”

“O’sik,” the Mando swore, running a hand through his hair. “Alright. Looks like we’re doin’ this the really hard way. All of you studied the ship schematics like I toldya to?” They nodded. “Good, then I don’t expect ya to get yer bantha-brained asses lost when we go up the ventilation shafts.”

There was a collective groan.

“Shuddup and listen good! Bayer, Lyde, you two take a crate of the gloppers and seal up the hangar door.”

“Why Sarge?”

“Waddaya think? We just got pulled outta frakkin’ hyperflight! They’re gonna board our ship like a rancor in a whorehouse. Close our damn legs, Private!”

“Y-yes, Sarge.”

“Now, everybody ‘cept Kael, you make your way to engineering. I bet you my last real tooth it’s frakkin’ Nortorshin, don’t care what anybody says. An’ if not him, his people. Get it?”

“Yes, Sarge!”

Jax turned to Kael. “You and me, brother…we’re headin’ up top. Got important people on the bridge to rescue and all that o’sik.”

He had hardly finished speaking when a sharp, shrill blare rang out all through the ship. The Zygerrian flinched, clapping hands over his ears as they folded close to his skull.

An unfamiliar voice buzzed through the air: “Captain Cortel…we’ve been….expecting you…”

And that was it. The sharp ring died, and eerie silence followed.

“Maybe it’s just a friendly chat…” their youngest, Wheeler, offered hopefully.

“Maybe trained sand-monkeys will climb out of my ass and pour us all a glass of Vasarian frakkin’ brandy,” Jax spat. “Move it, move it, move it!”

As his men scrambled to help each other up into the vents, encumbered by their heavy gear, Jax closed his eyes again and tried to breathe.

Leave a couple jaws for us to crack, alor’ad. We’re a’comin’.

Estle City, Selen
West Villa Marketplace

Rain wouldn’t stop the bustle of a busy day. People went scurrying about, hoods thrown up and heads turned down, their shoulders hunched against the wind. Children ran through puddles here and there, uncaring of their soaked clothes or the fact that it had been sunny just the day before. Merchants, droids, and hawkers sheltered under tarps behind their stalls or in the cozy metal fortresses of their shops.

A lone Zabrak stood still among the hurried, drenched rush of daily business. His thin robe clung to his soaked frame, his inked skin gleaming sickly with water. His face was upturned to the storming sky, an oddity.

“Excuse me, sir?” a small voice said from his feet. The man glanced down briefly to see a little girl, a small child of Human or Near-Human descent that he could not place. She had bows on her dress and a small, bright purple umbrella.

The child stretched it out to him. “We can share,” she offered. “So you’re not gettin’ all wet.”

Rain streamed down his face and Restak felt something inside him quietly die. He reached out and patted her hair, wondering where her parents were, reminding himself that it didn’t matter.

“Yes, we can share,” he muttered, a small remote appearing in his other hand. He closed his eyes, pressing the button. A sudden burning flared in the back of his skull.

Then, nothing.


All across the city, small explosions like first in the West Market Distract erupted into life. A little ways away, in the distant halls held by the mundane citizen’s Dark Jedi overlords, another immense explosion erupted. Buildings crumbled.

All across the city, people screamed.

Dimitri Faust sat in his office, watching things unfold on the holoscreen provided for him, and smiled.


Dark Forge
Estle City, Selen

“Oh poodoo,” muttered the Ryn, watching the smoke and dust mingle over the now very exploded SPECTER HQ.

Things were already settling in the rain, sparks from broken wiring and the glittering of shattered glass reflected the lightning, as thunder continued to boom in the skies. Kordath was dumbfounded for a few moments, a ringing filling his ears as the rain soaked his robes against his skinny body. As the ringing subsided he could hear the screams, and looked over to see the Tortuga holding his own ears and shouting at the Ryn.

‘In-side—go! Survivors! Ceth-gus!’ the Krath took from what little lip reading he could accomplish, the sounds coming from the collapsed HQ overwhelming the shouting of his Team Leader right next to him.

With a sigh, the Ryn took off at a half run, head throbbing still but trying to ignore it as he reached the edges of the rubble. The Quaestor had been on one of those shuttles, the troops coming to help reinforce the city with all the trouble going on. Grumbling to himself about being ‘too sober for this crap’, the Krath picked his way up, letting his intuition, and the Force, lead him upwards and inwards. An angry, injured presence sang to him, but it was…hazy, as if distracted or…

Kordath heaved himself over a chunk of duracrete and rebar, and retched at the sight of the shuttles crash zone. At least one shuttle looked as if it had imploded, likely the cause of the destruction, just a set of landing gear and a bit of the underside sitting on level ground, the other shuttles dashed against supports and walls. Bodies were scattered about, most weren’t moving, those that were likely wouldn’t be for long. The Ryn recognized the markings on one, near what would have been the fore of the landing formation, the markings of the Office of the Quaestor.

Scrambling over debris and broken bodies, Kordath found the shuttle overturned, and a huge tear along the side of it. Likely enough the ramp no longer worked, but a few moments with the damned lightsaber widened the gap enough for the Ryn to get in. Blue light from his saber bathed the inside of the shuttle, several soldiers lay on what was once the ceiling, bent in unnatural angles. Hanging inside the crash webbing of a very, very nice seat, (Kordath thought the booster seat was rather well embroidered) though, was a very battered looking Iridionian.

‘At least he strapped in,’ thought the Krath with relief, reaching out with the Force to sense the extent of Cethgus’ injuries, ‘Alive, unconscious, probably be out for a while…twisted up one of his legs pretty good, won’t be walking too good even if he was awake.’

His blade made quick work of the restraints, the Force allowed him to lower the knocked out Primarch safely. Fatigue suddenly roared through the Krath, sagging to his knees, head blaring with pain. He was in no condition to be rescuing anyone; and then something inside the shuttle made a loud pop noise, and smoke started flooding into the compartment.

Glaring upwards, the Ryn growled, “Really? Haven’t I done enough today, Gods? When does it end?”

Coughing, the Knight hooked his arms under the small Iridonian, and began to drag him towards the opening in the side of the shuttle. Fatigue, concussion, and the ‘scholarly build’ of the Krath was not aiding him in this endeavor.

“Bloody hell, Cethgus, what have you been eating,” muttered the Ryn, fighting his own sodden robes for traction, “I deserve bleeding Priesthood for this, you know. Thought Obelisk were tough buggers, get knocked out by one little explosion…blast I’m tired, you shouldn’t be this heavy, command been going straight to the waist has it?”

Kordath rolled the small Obelisk out through the tear in the hull, and fell out after him. Laying there for a few moments, panting, he realized there was movement in the area.

“Med…ic,” he croaked, before taking a few more breathes, “MEDIC!” he shouted, staring up at the rain as his vision started to darken.

‘Well, time to pass out again,’ he thought.


Dark Forge

Estle City, Industrial Sector

Looking towards his companion, Ood realized Meleu may need help soon. Yet the Chistori was interesting. Hmm, perhaps if he focused and …

Estle City, West Villa Marketplace

The Zabrak raised his head in confusion. Something was pressing into him…

As the Quaestor staggered to the side, grabbing hold of something to keep his balance, he groaned and bemoaned the day the mad Neti became his concern. While a regular being would use the Force to send a message when they needed help, the Pontifex had seen fit to experiment again.

Based on the sensations, Cethgus assumed the old plant had telepathically reached into his being, reinforced his precognitive abilities and shoved the feed from his own eyes into the Primarch’s mind.

Complaining aside though, this could be a problem. A Chistori Force-user that, according to Ood, had a feel to him comparable to Master Troutrooper or a senior Dark Councillor. This complicated things. Though not impossible to be taken out by Equites, it would take quite a bit of effort. Time to send reinforcements to the Industrial Sector.

Estle City, Industrial Sector

Red blades clashed as their wielders danced across the chamber. Sweat pooled on the human’s face as he was driven into purely defensive fighting by the Zeltron, who appeared to be toying with him.

A small electric blast distracted the Zeltron, allowing Karthdo to take a breath. Turning towards Dassac, Ood smiled, “Do you mind if I go deal with your minion? We can complete our discussion once I return.”

While a sense of amusement wafted from the creature as it nodded assent, the tree dropped his wet cloak to the ground and removed his blade from their holsters. An emerald beams joined the red ones as the Neti walked towards the female.

A mental blast crashed into the Sith Warrior, ‘We cannot defeat this being one-on-one, I will keep her focus on me, you move in and strike as she is distracted’. The Magistrate hated it when that happened, damned telepaths. As he looked on, the Pontifex moved into a basic Soresu defence and prepared himself to withstand the onslaught about to hit him. It seemed the Zeltron was no longer amused.

Blades crashed into one another faster than the eye could process. Narrow beams of light turning into coloured walls as their wielders moved deeper into the Force. The human had never seen an expert in Soresu on the field of battle, regardless where the red beams moved to, the emerald one was there to encounter it. Nodding to himself, he moved to stand directly behind the assassin.

While blocking the opposing blades became more and more difficult, Ood prepared for the plan. The Zeltron would probably see through Karthdo’s actions and block him, it should allow him enough time to surprise her. A tendril of his hair moved out of the band holding its brethren together. Slowly the thin branch moved towards his belt, careful to remain out of sight of the woman. Inching closer and closer to the second hilt on the Neti’s belt…


Soulfire Strike Team

Imperial-II Star Destroyer Eye of the Abyss II
Deep Space

“Check those coordinates again. The Expeditionary Force were supposed to be here already.” Jaal Marinus ordered.

“They’re correct, sir. We’ve checked them five times now,” a Lieutenant replied, not looking up from his console.

The Commander frowned. It was a rare event for the Dajorra Defence Force to be called out of Arcona’s home system, but the Consul’s orders had been clear. Shortly after the loss of Sin Six and its pilot, Marick had commanded the entire fleet to a point several parsecs clear of the Dajorra system. Marinus had been a little sceptical of the command, but obeyed it immediately, knowing better than to question the apparent word of the Consul.

“Perhaps we’ve just beaten them to it, sir,” another officer suggested.

“Perhaps,” Marinus replied simply.

Agave-class Picket Valour’s Fall
Selen Orbit

Andrelious watched the holoprojector with increasing dread as the enemy fleet continued its progress towards the Arconan capital.

“Still no word on the location of the Defence Force, sir!” a crewmember yelled.

“River. Go over all your recordings. Find out what happened to the Eye and the rest of the Defence Force.” Mimosa-Inahj commanded.

“If they’re not here, then they’ve probably been destroyed already.” Draith offered.

“An Imperial-II would leave significant debris. Especially one with the modifications that the Eye was running with,” the Warlord stated crossly.

“Sir, we’re picking up the fleet’s makeup now,” the female that had originally alerted the Soulfire Captain declared.

The assembled Dark Jedi turned their eyes to the holoprojector as the red blotches changed into images of identifiable ships.

“Let’s see. They have an Imperial-II class, two Victory class, an Immobilizer 418, four Nebulon B-2s, and a dozen Assassin-class Corvettes. If they’re all at maximum capacity, we’re looking at over twenty squadrons of starfighters. Probably TIE Defenders. And that’s not to mention any ground forces they’re carrying,” Andrelious observed, recalling the oncoming ships’ specifications.

“And we’re supposed to take them on with an Agave-class? Let’s just get out of here before we crash and burn with the rest of Arcona.” Saskia suggested coldly.

“I’m afraid that’s impossible. As long as that Immobilizer is active, we can’t even hyperspace away. Not that we would be doing that anyway,” Mimosa-Inahj responded, annoyed at how casually his daughter appeared to throw away her fellow Arconans.

“What do you suggest we do then, dad? Watch you hold them all off in your TIE?” the Cirrian answered.

The ex-Imperial ignored the sarcasm. “Have the new members arrived yet?” he asked.

“Private Luresh has escorted them to the ready room, sir. They’re awaiting briefing,” a crew member replied.

“Let’s go and meet these people.”


Andrelious sauntered into the ready room, followed by Saskia and the rest of Soulfire. Already waiting in the room were a Bpfasshi female, an Iridonian male, and a large furry alien of a species that the Warlord could not immediately identify.

“So. You’re the three new members?” Mimosa-Inahj questioned, examining the Bpfasshi first. He quickly ascertained that she was Protector Scarlet, judging from the training lightsaber than hung from her belt.

“Hello there, Master,” the Iridonian interjected.

The ex-Imperial turned to regard the horned alien, immediately recognising him.

Welcome back, Incendus. I’ll deal with you last. Andrelious thought, deliberately projecting it towards his former apprentice. The Knight nodded silently.

“You. The female. What’s your name?” the Warlord asked.

“I am Protector Scarlet. Journeyman of the Krath order,” Scarlet replied, confirming her new Captain’s suspicions.

“Welcome to Soulfire, Scarlet. Do you have any particular strengths?”

“I’d say I’m pretty good with my Ktana,” the female announced, patting the hilt of her weapon.

“Very well. We’ll use you as a bladed weapons specialist. If you have a Master, inform them that I want you training with your katana and your lightsaber. Since we lost Kooki we’ve not had anyone suited to a close combat role.” Andrelious said, moving on to the larger creature.

“Let’s see. From what Luresh told me, you must be Acolyte Rotidor. You’re going to have to help me here. What species are you?” the former Rollmaster enquired.

“I’m a Whiphid. Glad to meet you, Warlord Mimosa-Inahj,” Rotidor replied, offering his large hand to Andrelious. The Sith quickly shook the Whiphid’s hand, a little surprised by how familiar the greeting had appeared.

“Welcome to Soulfire, Rotidor. As you’re quite large, I’m going to pair you up with Hunter Trayus. The two of you will be my unarmed combat specialists,” Andrelious ordered.

“Dad, shouldn’t we be getting people into the unfilled roles rather than doubling up?” Saskia chimed in.

“Right now we need people in combat roles. If Scarlet and Rotidor turn out to have other skills once we’ve dealt with what’s happening, I’ll re-assign them then,” the elder Inahj explained.

Saskia tapped something into her datapad. “It says here that Scarlet’s Master is Lexiconus.”

“Yes, that’s right. But I was also told to join up with Soulfire. At least for this mission,” the Bpfasshi answered.

“Alright. And Rotidor? Do you have a Master yet?” the Warlord queried.

“Should we not just get on with the mission? I’m sure I’ll learn enough from you and the others to get by for now. If you all survive, we’ll talk more then about getting a Master. Not that that’s your business anymore,” the Acolyte replied.

He knows I was Rollmaster? Someone’s into history.

“Very well. I’m looking for a new apprentice myself. If you do well, I’ll take you on.” Andrelious stated, moving into one of the chairs. The Warlord pushed some buttons on a console. A large holographic image of an Imperial-II Star Destroyer appeared before the assembled Soulfire members.

“Now we’re done with greetings, let’s get down to business. As most of you know, a fairly large Imperial style fleet is bearing down on our position. The Dajorra Defence Force has disappeared, so it’s going to reach us unopposed. Obviously the Fall isn’t even close to being able to repel a force of that size on its own. Instead, we’re going to have to try and get on board the Imperial-II at the head of the fleet,” the ex-Rollmaster declared.

“And just how do you suppose we do that? They’d blow us out of the sky as soon as we went near them!” Wes scoffed.

Andrelious frowned. “Wes. As the team’s impersonation artist, I thought you’d have at least an idea of what we’re going to do. Just as you use that makeup kit to disguise yourself, we’re going to disguise one of our shuttles. Saskia, do you still have the IFF transponder codes you acquired from the registry? We can apply one of the enemy’s codes to one of our ships. Their equipment will read us as a friendly ship. Once we’re on board, I know a few things about Imperial-IIs. Don’t take it easy, though. This is going to be difficult. River, once you’re done finding out what happened to the Defence Force, replay all communications we have from the enemy Star Destroyer. I’ll try and contact Dark Forge and see if they’ve found anything out. We’ll be going in virtually blind even if we can spoof an IFF signal.”

The Soulfirians began to converse a little amongst themselves. Their leader allowed himself a little smile as he overheard snippets of their conversations.

Soulfire were buzzing.


Dark Forge

Estle City.

The grey, misty haze of ash and dust thickened over time. With fires spreading around the complex, rebar and glass sticking out at every angle, the rubble was rigged as a death trap. Still, the Togruta poked and prodded his feet through the wreck that used to be a respected building. As he descended further inside, the beams of light dimmed to pitch black, forced to darken further by the raging storm overhead. With the newly re-vamped DF-1 armour still in stock here, he kicked open a knobbled armoury locker and latched on the night-vision goggles. A malachite hue surrounded his vision, giving all he looked at a different shade. Lexiconus pressed on further by gripping the rubble and stepping downwards onto a ledge. He peeked his goggles over to find a pool of corpses; soldiers, agents, and businessmen all dead.

Lexiconus sat on the wet, ash-soaked ledge for a moment, the sheer amount of genocide needed several minutes to flow through his thoughts. He couldn’t find a particular reason to kill so many innocent people, his mind scoured for answers in his law-abiding terms. Lexiconus decided to press it no further as the answers couldn’t be found here. With cat-like agility, he lept and bound back up the rubble and found himself next to the Quaestor’s shuttle, watching the fumes and smoke rise. With a stern look he nodded at the Zabrak, then approached Kordath. Lexiconus checked the Ryn up and down his body for any signs of stress, as he could tell more and more in the recent days by.

“Kord, I believe you’ve earned some positive retention, consider this a field promotion.” Lexiconus stated to Kordath, before handing him his second piece of the Lord Kressh Star.

The Ryn’s face didn’t change, but only a nod with a pat on the shoulder for the Togruta. They both exchanged the friendly look of brothers and then turned to assist the Quaestor.

“Let’s go to our shuttle sir, we need to get you back to the Darkest Night!” Lexiconus said whilst holding Ceth’s right shoulder.

“Negative Lex, Faust is here somewhere. I will find that rat, but we must re-unite with Ood, he’s seen the impossible and I want to drive my saber through Dessac’s face!” The Zabrak growled out his words, as the two assistants frowned in confusion.

They dared not question his motives, but the Dark Forgeans led the Quaestor to their shuttle for rest.


Dark Forge

Estle City, Entertainment District

Her task had been a horrendous failure. Her job had been to find and assassinate someone. It was a test, and it was simple. And she couldn’t have karked it up worse. Kill the target. Not sleep with him. She’d thought she would Black Widow her way through this. Unfortunately, he’d been expecting it. And her.

And just when she believed she had caught him in her web, he managed to flip the whole situation around on her and now she was soon to be exsanguinated.The only easy part of the mission was getting away from it, still alive. That she accomplished. Only now shame ate away at her insides, and her pride refused to take her back to the Brotherhood just to tell them of her ineptitude.

Once again she’d run away from the Houses, Battle Teams and politics. But this time she wanted to escape from herself, not just the environment which had engulfed her.
She found Estle City: Refined. Wealthy. Religious. Cultured.

The same scum and villainy live here as they do on all planets that hold sentient life. Every world needs a garbage heap. You have only to look like you belong in it. And it seemed as though that was the only place in the galaxy Kata’lek Blen belonged in. It wasn’t long before she’d made herself… comfortable.

The ground she stood on veered drastically, whipping her towards the left of the street. Her legs moved to steady her torso, which seemed to topple the opposite way, but they wouldn’t move fast enough. The swirl of color and the damned spinning of the planet tossed her into one of the alleyways across from where she’d been standing. She raised her arms to brace herself, the dirt came up to meet her, trapping lekku under her face. She hoisted herself up to vomit and roll over before she passed out.

Men who strolled by looked at her from the corners of their eyes. Women lifted their gaze to the other side of the street, pretending they couldn’t see her at all. Children gawked, open mouthed and wide eyed, as their parents reached for their arms and dragged them away from the woman sprawled in the filthy alley.

Hours passed. She groaned, her voice a hoarse rasp, as she brought herself to her knees and wretched again. Dry heaving as she worked her way up to her feet, teetering towards the side of the building to lean upon its cool surface.

She ran her hands over the siding as she scuffed further into the depths of the alley. As slow as she was moving, the world around her still seemed to race.

The violet woman felt the need to duck. As she let her body slide down the wall, a fist slammed right where her face had been. Leaning heavily on the barrier, Kat’alek struck out with her leg and dropped the man onto his back. She scurried on top of him and punched the side of his head several times. When her last punch was an exhausted tap, she stopped and looked at the man. The Twi’lek realized he was still alive, but unconscious. She scowled and removed his clothes, scrounging through the pockets for anything of value. Then, when she found nothing, she used his pant legs to tie his arms behind him, and continued her search.

She dug through his shirt and found something better than what she’d hoped for. Pay-dirt. Several long tubes of fluorescent color were in his pocket. She snatched them up, gave his head a quick kick, and ran full tilt back to her hiding spot in the darkest recesses of this arsehole of a planet.

Buried deeply in a secluded area, she broke into one of the Death sticks. The world brightened and whirled with beautiful lights and colors. Even when the three Law Enforcers approached her and sang out strange lullabies of assaulting a cousin to some high ranked house, Kata’lek smiled as they lifted her up and escorted the Twi’lek woman into the glittering streets. As they helped her float towards a large, twisting monument of architectural genius or impossibility, she saw glowing beings in robes. One she swore she recognized. She grinned and waved in the stupor of her inebriation as the Enforcers dragged her towards the temporary holding cells before her transportation, questioning and sentencing at the Citadel.


Dark Forge
Estle City, Selen

Kordath leaned back gingerly, the throbbing in his head became more apparent every time he moved, and tried to put together the last hour in his mind. Eyes closed, the newly minted Priest breathed slowly and deeply, trying to block out the sounds of Lexiconus updating their Quaestor with the current situation. He’d lost nearly half an hour after pulling the Iridionian from the wreckage, blacking out until a medic had awoken him, shortly before Lex had shown up on the scene.

In that time, it seemed, Cethgus had managed to arrange a small armored shuttle for transport, and had been in contact with Bnar’s new little friend, who’d appraised him of the Neti’s current actions. As if the Zeltron wasn’t bad enough, now a bloody lizard who reeked of Force ability was involved as well. Despite his efforts to ignore what was going on around him, and to focus on healing, the incessant talking of his superiors broke through.

“-t least a dozen, my Lord,” said the Tortuga, surprisingly solemn. The scene at the collapsed headquarters building had tempered the Knight’s attitude a bit, but Kordath could sense the anger bubbling below the surface.

“So the cowards are targeting the civilian population now,” growled the Primarch, who was pacing back and forth inside the small shuttle, trying to loosen up the leg he’d injured in the shuttle crash.

“What could they gain from that? You said they’re reports coming in from Soulfire, and the Valour’s Fall, of an enemy force in the system, yes?” asked the Obelisk.

“Yes, my Lord, at least one Destroyer, and a number of support ships, I should think the attacks on the populace of Estle City are, of course, connected,” replied the Dark Forge leader.

“Course they are,” spoke Kordath, quietly, sighing as he felt the two men turn to look at him, “they’re sowing chaos, it’s what they’ve been doing since the start of all this. Atyiru was one of the only real level headed members of our Summit, no offense meant, Boss, but you’re a fighter, she’s a healer. And she’s well liked by members of the Clan, hitting her made us mad, it made us sloppy, it made us…reactive.”

The Priest was silent for a few moments, staring out a view port as the shuttle sped towards the warehouse district, “This is going to be bloody, no doubt about it, even if we win, the locals will have lost a lot of faith in our ability to protect them, people are dying out there because we didn’t see this coming.”

Cethgus stared at the Ryn, before snarling, “A lot more are going to die on my way to finding Faust, gentlemen, and I plan on doing a good bit of the killing.”

Nodding, Lexiconus turned towards the cockpit, the pilot shouting out, 'Landing in five, my Lords, zone has been cleared by local security!”

“Hey…ummm, Boss,” began the Ryn, timidly trying not to make eye contact with the Iridonian.”

“What, Bleu?” snapped the Obelisk, looking restless as the shuttle began to decelerate.

Kordath coughed before giving a weak grin, “Not doing so hot, sir, that Zeltron already did a good number on me…”

“Right, time for revenge then, yes? Want the first go at her, do you, Kord? It’s good to feel that anger, let it guide you when we land.”

“Yeah…about…that…can I just stay in the shuttle this time?”


“Well you know I’m less then useless in a fight, I mean come on, that medic even told you I had a concussion, not supposed to, ya-know, do…‘stuff’,” finished the Krath, lamely.


“Yes, my Lord?” replied the Ryn, hope rising in his heart for the briefest of moments.

“Get your saber ready, you don’t get to miss out on this…after all, you’re an Equite now,” said the Primarch, teeth gleaming as he grinned.

‘Great, I’m gonna die,’ thought the Priest.


Dark Forge

Quaestor’s Shuttle,
Estle City.

This felt good for Lexiconus, his mind was set right on this situation. It wasn’t because he enjoyed pure revenge, but the fact that this was the proper thing to do. That people were following the rules. He stood right at the back of the shuttle with the communication station hovering open, listening to comms from Meleu as the commotion went on. He threw his robe and cloak away awhile ago in the shuttle, letting his sea blue chest sponge some air. Recently because of all the civil wars and commotion about the One Sith, the Togruta had been gaining an excessive amount of muscle weight. His chest muscles now protruding as well as his toned biceps and his stomach began to show structured abs, Lexic was beginning to feel physically able.

“Alright sir, let’s hear it. What’s the plan?” The toned Togruta quickly slipped in.

The Quaestor slowly turned from the pilot’s attention and placed down his lightsabers. His eyes were deadlocked on to Lexic’s as a sense of fury and passion spread from him.

“The task is simple: we head in, assess the situation, and kill Dessac then the Zeltron, search their bodies and find other of their ilk.” His words were growled out at the conclusion, filled with pride and hope.

Kordath looked up from his seat in which he curled into and muttered at Cethgus. “Sir, what do we actually know of them?” His question started hesitantly, but then turned sarcastic at the end. The zabrak turned his head to the newly-appointed Equite and patted his skull.

“They’re One Sith, i’m sure of it. There’s more too, Andrelious knows of a Star Destroyer, one he is uncapable of destroying, and Arcia found a crewmember from one of her own that’s One Sith. They are slipping through our cracks, we must exterminate them immediately!” His clenched fist slammed against the hull of the shuttle, causing a dent and the pilot struggle to regain balance on the shuttle, his growls more primal.

Kordath had already slumped his head back down to his feet’s direction, fully aware of his Quaestor’s feelings. Lexic saw the shuttle descending onto the scene and began to grab his robe. He clipped on the under and outer shirts, fastening his chains and crystals into place tightly, then he clipped his long cape on and pulled his hood up. The weight of all this was barely felt, except for the crystals which seemed to have some sort of aura about them, his mind escaped the thought as he grabbed two lightsabers and offered them to Cethgus. With the zabrak now armed, he took his weapons and kept them tightly in hand, then walked over to Kordath and patted his back. With one soft nod and a sigh, the Ryn nervously stood and fiddled with his robes. The hissing and whirring and the shuttle ramp and legs began, then the ramp lowered.

Industrial Sector,
Estle City.

Infront of the Togruta’s eyes the fight become more and more concentrated, the neti and imperial human danced and collided with the One Sith enemy. Their patterns countered fluidly by them, and their strength not worth their weight here. However once the One Sith Elder saw Cethgus slowly walk down the ramp, he motioned his hand towards the Zeltron.

“You deal with the minions, finally there’s a worthy opponent.” From under his scribed robe, the Chistori slipped out a long, polished hilt, with black spikes near the ends and a strange symbol near the middle of the grip. He gripped the hilt tightly and walks to infront of Cethgus, edging the Quaestor with his spare hand, his stance dropped.

“Sire, we can help” Lexic growled out, his canines bared at the Chistori, but Cethgus slammed a hand on the team leader’s chest.

“I got this, you watch.” The zabrak growled too and slowly limped down the ramp and towards Dessac, with the One Sith mirroring his footsteps.

Then in a split second the Quaestor ignited his blades, leapt into the air and slammed them onto the Dessac’s. The chistori’s two red blades ignited quickly and pushed back the dual blue and green arcs of light. In a blur of motion, the two men weaved and arced their attacks and counters into the most tense and fluid dance a Jedi could perform. Kord prodded at Lexic and frowned.

“W-we must help, h-his leg c-c-can’t last long.” The Ryn nervously stuttered.

A soft nod fell from Lexic’s gaze as he stared towards the two battles. He had came to help Ood and Meleu, but his leader was in danger; does he follow orders, or prove his loyalty?


Soulfire Strike Team
Valour’s Fall, Selen Orbit

“So what are you looking for in the information?” Saskia questioned Andrelious as they made their way towards the locker where the Krath was keeping the currently switched off buzz droid. “And I’m loathe to ask the conditions you will let me utilise Ruusaan on. Though she contains the information you’re after anyway, everything can be hacked, but a droid is a lot harder when owned by a Slicer at least.”

“Irregularities. Anything that strikes a chord with anyone we’ve rubbed the wrong way,” the Battleteam Leader grunted, unimpressed by his eldest daughter’s sudden found talkativeness. “As for the grounds that your droid is with you at all times and can never be unaccounted for. No one is infallible, and you’ve mentioned in the past that code changes can be found in seconds, so you can’t guarantee that no one hostile will get into that lump of floating metal.”

“Ruusaan is a ball of vast information actually, you want the codes, you be nice about her,” the Sergeant warned, waving her finger in her father’s face as she unlocked the door. The way the woman handled the buzz droid was one of love, the way a mother would handle her newborn child, though the look in her eyes was devoid of any such emotion. Her palm cradled the main body with her long fingers lightly but firmly grasping the droid into place as she was activated. “She’ll take a few minutes to wake up, then I’ll get her attached to a safe computer to load up the IFF information,” Saskia stated, “Though nothing on how long it will take me to find the right computer and all the cables.”



AGV Nighthawk
Unknown Location

The Nighthawk floated paralyzed in the vast silence of space. Plasma fires erupted all over the ship. Bodies lay strewn about the passageways with various injuries. Painful moans drew medical staff and corpsman to the downed crewman. Able bodied crewmen tried to reach their duty stations, but many were cut off due to the turbolift being disabled.

An eerie voice echoed throughout the ship. “Captain Cortel…we’ve been….expecting you…”

The highest ranking officers on the decks began to organize the crew and prepared for an imminent boarding. Crewman grabbed anything that could be used as a weapon. Maintenance crew trapped on the decks hurriedly put out fires and made repairs as best they could to minor hull breaches.

AGV Nighthawk

“Captain Cortel…we’ve been….expecting you…”

“I want comm and defenses back up now!” Arcia barked, as she applied pressure to a gushing wound on a crewman’s leg.

A corpsman kneeled next to her and took over. The Captain looked around the Bridge. At least the fires are out. She moved to the next person, but moved along after checking the young woman’s pulse and found nothing. Arcia looked down at her hands. They were covered in blood. She was taken aback for a moment, but quickly regained her composure.

“Marine,” she shouted.

The guard ran to her. “Aye, Ma’am.”

“I want you to do a sweep of the deck get anyone who can fight. They are coming and I will be damned if I will let them take my Bridge,” Arcia’s face twisted into a snarl.

“Yes, Ma’am,” she replied with a hasty salute and hurried to follow the order.

The Captain made her way towards the cockpit. Crewmen hurriedly worked to get the Bridge systems back up and running. The pilot looked back over his shoulder as Arcia approached. She looked through the forward viewport.

“Nothing to report, Captain,” Specialist Orsai said.

“Sensors are down. Keep your eyes open,” Arcia said with a nod.

She turned to walk away.

“Captain,” Karth’s voice sounded stressed.

The Captain turned to see a Corellian Corvette had appeared. Two bright blue flashes revealed a second and third Corvette.

AGV Nighthawk
Turbolift Maintenance Tunnel

“We need to figure out what happened first,” Sight said looking to the Commander.

“Let’s get to Engineering and find out,” the XO agreed.

“Captain Cortel…we’ve been….expecting you…”

“That didn’t sound menacing at all,” the albino nudged his shoulders.

“We aren’t doing any good here,” the Commander nodded. “Let’s move out.”

They continued to climb down the ladder, upon reaching the maintenance tunnel entrance that led to Deck 5. Antar reached out and pressed the release. The hatch refused to budge. The Commander clung to the ladder with his left arm and reached out with his right hand. The hatch wrenched from its seal and flung against the bulkhead before falling down the shaft. Antar’s vision blurred. He shook his head and leaned to the side, barely holding on to the ladder. The makeshift bandage began to trickle blood down the side of his face. He reached up and wiped his brow. Pain shot throughout his body as he tightened the bandage.The albino looked at his former apprentice.

“Antar! Get the lead out,” he encouraged, knowing that stopping could be the end for the XO.

“Yes, Master,” Antar replied, pulling himself into the maintenance tunnel.

The XO led the way as the two men crawled through the tunnels. They approached Engineering. Sight reached out and grabbed the Commander’s ankle.

“Hold on, Antar,” the Chief turned his head to the side and winced his eyes. He listened intently.

The XO became silent and listened. He heard it too. The Engineering crew was silent. There should have been shouts or at least the sounds of movement, but nothing. Antar looked at the albino and shook his head. The two continued to the hatch that lead to the stairwell outside of the Engine room. The Commander and Chief stood outside the door leading to Engineering. The yellow blade of Sight’s saber sprang to life. Antar grabbed the hilt of his own lightsaber and the red blade erupted.

AGV Nighthawk
Security Barracks

“Captain Cortel…we’ve been….expecting you…”

Zakath walked through the passageways flanked by two blaster wielding Marines, his face was extremely focused. A temporary sling made of a cloth held his arm in place. They came to a halt in front of the turbolift.

“Get these kriffing doors open,” the Security Chief said. “We need to get to the Bridge now.”

The Marines positioned themselves on either side of the door. Each picked up a piece of metal and forced them into the small crack. Their improvised crowbars pried at the door, which started to give. A clang of metal hitting the bottom of the turbolift shaft startled the men and they both jumped back.

“What is going on in there?” Zakath’s violet eyes tried to pierce the door.

AGV Nighthawk

“Where are my weapons?” Arcia ran back to to the Command Center.

“ETA is at least an hour, Captain,” an Operations crew called out from beneath a console.

The doors to the bridge swished open. The Marine that Arcia had sent to gather a defense force returned with six crewmen and two Marines. The crewman carried pipes and pieces of metal and each of the Marines was equipped with a sidearm.

“Ma’am,” Karth called out from the cockpit. “One of the ships is coming alongside. They are preparing to board.”

“You three are with me” the Captain said pointing to two crewmen and a Marine. “You five hold back keep the repair crews safe. We need those weapons online now.”

She ran to forward of the Nighthawk with the three in tow. They took up defensive positions on either side of the airlock. The green blade of her saber sprang to life.

“Not one of them sets foot our ship! Is that understood?”

“Aye, Ma’am!” Their reply came in unison.

This is going to be a long night, Arcia thought to herself, tightening the grip on her saber as sounds of drilling filled the corridor…


Dark Forge
Estle City, Selen

Kordath felt his grip tighten on the hilt of his saber, palm growing sweaty already as a wave of nausea swept over him. His Team Leader stood to his right, watching the twin battles playing out before them, obviously trying to make a decision. Ood and Meleu were holding their own, but it didn’t look as if the two Dark Forge troopers were making any kind of headway, Cethgus had engaged the Chistori with both blades blazing, doing a good show of not favoring his injured leg. Bleu knew that wouldn’t last, when the adrenaline started running out the limp would show, and the patient Chistori would strike hard.

Analyzing the situation as quickly as his tired mind would allow, the Ryn glanced towards Lexiconus, before letting out a long sigh.

“The Queastor needs help, but honestly, we’re not going to do well against this Dessac fellow,” said the Priest, fatigue obvious in his bearing.

The Tortgua cocked his head slightly to the side, “Suggestions then, Kord?”

Nodding, Kordath followed the Zeltron’s movements as she laughed, knocking Karthdo’s blade aside with ease as she spun, parrying Bnar’s next. Ood was up too something, that much the Ryn could tell as an outside observer, “We should move into assist Meleu…the Neti has more experience then all three of us put together, regardless of his rank. He’s crafty, albeit possibly insane these days, but hey, nobody’s perfect…he should move to help Cethgus.”

Before the Dark Forge Leader could respond, Ood’s second blade sprang to life, and slid towards the Zeltron with deceptive speed. Lysha let out a curse, suddenly fully on the defensive as the Neti pressed on, battering at her own sabers relentlessly.

Kordath hefted the hilt in his hand, contemplating the unfamiliar weight. He wasn’t a fan of the weapon, usually employing it meant he’d failed whatever he was trying to do. Hanging it on his belt, the Ryn pulled a knife from the recesses of his robes; this was a weapon he knew, this was a tool he could use.

“Ood!” shouted the Tortuga, rushing in with blade raised, “we’ve got this little tart, go help the Quaestor with the lizard, eh?”

The Neti rolled a mad eye towards his ‘superior’, before noticing that Bleu was creeping around the periphery of the fight, a knife in his hand and anger in the Ryn’s eyes.

‘Don’t screw up this time, little d’Tana,’ came the mental message, nearly causing Kordath to black out again from the force of it. Bleu nodded at Bnar in reply, crouching low and taking a few deep breathes.

Eyes tracking the various combatants, trying to ignore the flashing sabers to watch the rhythm of the footwork, Kordath watched as the Neti backed away from the melee. Lexiconus slid in to place almost seamlessly, suggesting the Pontifex had given another mental instruction. Ood moved to aide the faltering Quaestor, stepping in and engaging the Chistori; Kordath ignored the battle going on there.

He was having a moment of precognitive notions, they were suggesting that the fight with Dessac would have little bearing on him in a few minutes. That was bad, Bleu knew, it meant that something was going to happen to him shortly, probably after attempting what he was planning. It didn’t matter, the Zeltron was a threat, she was in front of him, and as Meleu and Lexiconus moved their weapons together she was forced backwards and turned slightly.

Meleu stepped to her left, and she turned just enough for Kordath to be completely out of her vision. The Ryn knew how he looked, the medic at the HQ blast site had fashioned a bandage for his head, having opened a wound on the back when he’d fallen down. He looked exhausted, he was exhausted, the knife in his hand was the only thing not moving about unsteadily. But there was a gleam in his eye, Ood had spotted it moments prior, anger and rage and general annoyance. The Zeltron had injured him, beaten on him, had harmed one of his dearest friends, and was threatening the lives of his teammates as well now.

With a final deep breath, Kordath judged the distance between he and the woman, calculated the angle, and rushed forward. Staying low, he came within a few feet of the One Sith assassin, and dived towards her, driving his knife upwards into her shapely right thigh. A scream of anger and pain reported his success, as well as the downwards swipe of one of her blades. Kordath hissed in pain as his dive ended with a convulsion, hitting the ground with a thump before sliding a bit across the warehouse floor.

Pain erupted across his right shoulder, intensifying as he attempted to lever himself up. Bleu glanced over to insure his right arm was still where it was meant to be, and was relieved to see it was. The pain was horrible though, and the familiar feeling of shock was creeping its way in again. Focusing for a moment, the Ryn tried to determine the extent of his newest injury.

‘Can’t move my arm…arm’s still there though, that’s good. Angle of the cut…can feel my legs, didn’t get my spine then. Probably the shoulder then, all the muscles throughout it, maybe some ribs, not having trouble breathing so she didn’t catch a lung. Recovery is gonna be…a…pain…,’ his thoughts started to fade as the pain encroached.

'Kordath!” shouted Lexiconus, stepping away from the melee for a moment to grab his fallen trooper.

“Sorry, sir, think I’m going out again for a while,” growled the Ryn through clenched teeth, trying to focus on the Tortuga, “slowed the bitch down for you guys…kick…her…tail…”

And then Bleu passed out.


[B]Soulfire Strike Team[/B]

[I]Agave-class Picket Valour’s Fall
Selen Orbit[/I]

Andrelious was pacing anxiously up and down the Soulfire Ready Room. He kept an eye on the enemy fleet, noticing that it had paused near Erebos and launched a few ships that were too small for the [I]Valour’s Fall[/I]’s sensors to identify.

Moments later, Riverche entered the room, followed by her apprentice, Draith.

“Captain, I found out what happened to the Defence Force. They were ordered out of the system by the Shadow Lord,” the Miraluka began.

“I very much doubt that, River. Did the communication appear genuine?” the Sith asked, unimpressed.

“As far as I can tell. It appears to be Marick’s voice, and it used one of his personal channels. It also came from somewhere in the area of the Citadel,” the Priestess explained, sensing her superior’s annoyance.

“Either Marick has gone crazy, or somebody’s figured out how to spoof communications from him. Can you raise the Defence Force?”

“I’m afraid not, Captain. The enemy fleet have jammed us. Even my more specialised equipment won’t get a message past Erebos right now,” the Miraluka muttered, furious at her own failure.

“There’sss one more option. Perhapsss our Consul is in league with these Faussst.” Draith interjected.

Andrelious glared angrily at his Trandoshan subordinate. “We can rule that out right away, Guardian. There’s no way that Marick would have allowed Faust to hurt Atyiru.”

“I also got word of something happening down on Selen, Captain. There have been a series of explosions throughout Estle City. Even the Citadel’s been attacked. Nobody’s sure exactly what happened, but things in the city have become quite chaotic,” Riverche added, listening to the latest buzzing from her ear carefully.

“Right. We’ll head down to Giletta immediately. We won’t have long before the enemy fleet stops whatever it’s doing over Erebos and resumes its approach towards Selen. Let’s just hope we can get an IFF code onto one of our ships in time,” the former Imperial commanded, stalking quickly out of the ready room.


Arriving in the hangar of the Soulfire command ship, Andrelious noticed his daughter and her droid at a nearby console. The screen was filled with rapidly scrolling lines of text, far too fast for the Warlord to read. He wondered if Saskia could read it, and decided to approach quietly.

“Saskia. We need to get down to Giletta Spaceport. Do you have the information we’re going to need?” he asked, almost startling the female.

“Three decent matches, plus one other that may be of interest. We’re only three quarters of the way into the dataset. Do we really have to go right now?” Saskia questioned, not turning her gaze from the information before her.

“We’re lucky we’ve even had this long. If the enemy weren’t attacking Gethsemane, they’d already be close enough to see what we were doing. As it is, I need you to copy what you can onto a datapad. We’ll discuss which codes we’re going to use when we get to Giletta,” the elder Inahj ordered, noticing the rest of the team were already climbing aboard the small ship that Soulfire used to travel between the [I]Valour’s Fall[/I] and planetside.

[I]Giletta Spaceport
Estle City, Selen[/I]

Soulfire had landed to a crowded Giletta Spaceport. Hundreds of Estle City’s denizens were milling around the area, panicking at the ongoing situation inside the Arconan Capital. On seeing Soulfire’s transport, some of the Spaceport’s troop detachment had cleared a space, allowing the Galerean team to land unhindered.

Andrelious leapt out of the ship as soon as it landed and examined the area. With a smile, he noticed Arcona’s Lambda-class shuttle was docked nearby.

“Saskia. We’ll use that one. Let’s get aboard at once!” the Warlord commanded, pointing at the shuttle.

Once aboard, father and daughter headed straight to the cockpit. Andrelious opened a small panel and extracted a pair of wires.

“I’ll assume you know how to override the IFF Transponder? Let’s see what options we have to work with, anyway,” the ex-Rollmaster instructed.

“As I said, I have four that may be of use. I’ll have Ruusaan display them on your datapad.” Saskia replied coolly.

“You let your droid onto my- never mind for now. We’ll discuss your ethics later.” Andrelious answered, surprised at how unbothered he was that his Sergeant had sliced into his personal files. He pulled out his datapad and peered at the screen as the data was transferred across.

Giletta Spaceport Landing Registry
Filtered Report #83961653
Nu-class attack shuttle ‘Orfnia’ – Owner: information unknown
T-4a Lambda class shuttle ‘Quickflex’ – Owner: Ashyit
YT-1300 Transport ‘Kerspla’ – Owner: S. Braxant
T-65 X-Wing ‘Grep 2’ – Owner: Rotidor

All four entries interested Andrelious. He was unsure exactly why Saskia had tagged the X-Wing belonging to his new recruit, Rotidor, as ‘suspicious’, but put it down to the Cirrian having not heard the name before.

“Alright. Copy the data from the Quickflex. It’s the right kind of ship, for a start. We should probably see if we can have that YT-1300 looked at, as well. There’s something about that Braxant character that make me feel uneasy,” the former Imperial declared, activating his comlink.

“This is Mimosa-Inahj. Have an investigation team look into the YT-1300 Kerspla.”

Entar Estate

The Entar Estate was usually one of the more peaceful parts of the Dajorra System. However, today had been different. It had come under attack. Its usual idyllic surroundings were now pockmarked by impact craters and debris.

“We have taken full control of the Entar Estate, sir. We met a little resistance from some security droids that had been programmed by the Brotherhood’s Seneschal, but we were able to keep casualties to a minimum,” a man clad in the familiar armour of a trooper stated.

“Good. And what have you found? Anything of value?” the trooper’s superior questioned.

“We have a few security codes for various facilities throughout the Dajorra System, but none of them are anything that we didn’t have already. We did manage to find some bank details for some of the more senior Entars. I’ll transmit them shortly.”

The officer looked displeased. “We didn’t come this far for more credits, man! Do you have anything ELSE?” he snapped.

“One thing that may interest one of our associates. We have a full list of members of the Entar family. Got some locations on the more…elusive members. Is this of use to you?” the trooper asked.

“Good work, Lieutenant. I wouldn’t put it past the stragglers to come running when we’re done here. This way, we’ll know who to watch out for. Now, you and your men have one hour. I want this Estate booby trapped. When the rest of the Entars come here, they’ll be blown to pieces,” the older man ordered.

T-4a Lambda Shuttle ‘Quickflex’ (IFF spoofed)
Gilletta Spaceport

“Soulfire. We will be launching in exactly five minutes. I trust that you’re all ready for this. And remember, we’re fighting not only for Arcona today. The bastards onboard that Star Destroyer are likely to be the same bastards responsible for Atyiru’s shooting. I know that she wouldn’t approve of further violence, but our people are dying.” Andrelious declared, having moved into the passenger area of the shuttle. Every member, from the veterans to the newest trio, were ready. They had all dressed in the coveralls of technicians, with Wes having given out pointers on how to fit the role perfectly. Saskia, of course, needed no such induction.

As the members talked among themselves a little, the Soulfire Captain took a seat next to his former apprentice.

“Incendus. What is all this ‘Achilleus’ thing about?” he asked.


Estle City
Arcona Defense Force
Task Force 1B

Looking down from above, the city would look like something akin to a vid, explosions tore throughout the city, cross-fire of blaster rifles lighting the city streets throughout the smoke of explosions; battle-cries of those citizens taking up arms to fight door to door, alley by alley. If only one thing could be said of Arconan citizens; much like the members of their Dark Jedi overlords they never give up without a fight.

Lieutenant Colonel Danyar Marison watched the conflict from a hologram tabletop. His features calm despite the horrible situation facing the city he was assigned to defend. Command had been moved to the Citadel considering the structure remained the most defendable position within Estle.

“Sir, we’ve restored positions throughout the Huscar ring, the Archives and Hospital’s have remained primary concerns. Defensive emplacements have been established by the Heavy Squads. The Sinchi ring and Capac ring remain under fire and movement has slowed considerably as we haven’t been able to reclaim the turbo-lifts.” Danyar reached out activating the table’s display twisting the city’s overlay so he could view the more aggressive contact points between his forces and the enemy.

“Send word, any available forces throughout the city are to converge here” Danyar activated a beacon for his command squad. “We either restore access to the turbo-lifts or we destroy the damn things either way we slow down the enemies progress and buy us time to continue sweeping the streets.”


Estle City
Arcona Defense Force
Eastern Housing
Sinchi Ring

Stepping over the burnt bodies of the victims of the madness surrounding him. Bile rose in his throat at the sickly sweet smell of burnt flesh. Uji appeared as little more then a shimmer as he moved slowly through the district; he trusted his abilities to keep him from view but knew the possibility of enemy Sith among the enemy forces meant caution was still prudent.

So far the enemy forces had been a mixture of mercenaries, soldiers, killers bought and paid for to commit senseless slaughter. The Citizens had been targeted specifically, signs of soldiers moving house to house burning out those hiding or executing them in the streets.

Uji continued from street to street, keeping to the alleyways as much as possible. The occasional flash of blaster fire could be heard ahead. He increased his pace pushing the limit of his cloaking. His path emptied out into a large fountain plaza, his eyes darting across the scene he recognized the emblems of an Arcona Defense Force squad, the Scout’s appeared to have just finished off a small cluster of the enemy.

Roughly a dozen of the squad was left intact and on their feet, more left wounded by the fountain as the squad medic looked them over. Uji approached dropping his cloak at a safe distance, lifting his cloak away to reveal his saber left on his belt as well as his Galeran symbols.

“Damn fine timing Sir, you missed all the fun” The squad’s sergeant approached him, his accent that of an Estle local. Likely middle-aged though difficult to tell through the visor and armor the man wore.

“Seems like you didn’t need much help, have you located the enemy HQ” Uji didn’t much focus on the Sergeant as he scanned the rooftops for enemy snipers waiting for a response.

“Orders aren’t to locate the enemy, we’re to take the lifts between Sinchi and Capac rings then move towards the turbo lifts connecting to Giletta and cut off enemy reinforcements.”

“Very well, see to your men I will move ahead and clear the way as much as possible.” Uji and the Sergeant exchanged salutes momentarily before Uji moved past him and began the descent towards the lifts.


Soulfire Strike Team

Achilleus let out a small chuckle, his eyes tracing the shuttle monitors. “It’s a bit of a long story,” he said, allowing a shy smile to form upon his face.

“I’m sure it is one well worth hearing,” urged the smirking ex-Imperial. “See if you can cram your “epic return” into these next lingering minutes as well.”

“Well,” started the Zabrak, “It’s all a pretty wild tale.” He felt his Lightsaber, allowing the touch of the cold metal hilt to caress his hands, before turning to face his ex- master. “It all started when we had our nice little stroll through Krayiss II. Marick assigned me to lead a small platoon of standard infantry. We were to take out a faction of snipers that were causing us trouble from the trees.”

Approaching capital ship. The ships programmed voice. Female. Docking in 3 minutes.

“I remember,” replied Andrelious. “I recommended you for that mission. Figured it would provide you more experience on the field.”

“That it did,” responded the Iridonian. “My unit was ambushed by nothing. Or so we thought.” Achilleus took his backpack and removed a tablet-like device and attached it to his arm bracers. “Tell me what you think this is.”

“Looks like some type of comms device,” said the Sith Warlord.

“Think again,” replied the Knight. The horned humanoid flipped a panel on the device, revealing a red button. The Arconan pushed it, and vanished almost instantaneously. The ex-Rollmaster closed his eyes for a second.

“Impressive.” The Human looked to the seat on his other side. “Impressive, but not quite enough.”

“Bothan cloaking device,” said Achilleus as he reappeared. “Might not be enough for you, but I’m sure it will come in handy on that destroyer.”

“I’m sure it will,” replied Andrelious. “So you were attacked by some folks wearing cloaking devices?”

The Zabrak nodded, shuffling through the contents of his pack. “Most of them were One Sith.”

“I’ve never encountered it on the field.”

“That’s because it’s an old tactic. The Bothans used to use them to get your Empire’s information. You know, your Death Star? Got blown up because of these Bothan cloaking devices.”


“Crafty scum.”

2 minutes to board.

“They’ll be picking us up on their scanners soon,” Said Andrelious. “Continue.”

“My platoon were nothing but standard infantry.” The Dark Jedi Knight revealed an E-11 rifle, inspecting the barrel. “They were valiant soldiers. Dead soldiers. I was taken POW. Shortly afterwards, Krayiss II was liberated by the great Arconans. The remaining One Sith went into hiding. I went with them.” He stroked the trigger. “Against my own will, of course.” He looked through the scope. “Arcona, she left for future conquest. Me? I was left for dead.”

“I’m not liking your tone, boy.” Soulfire’s commander was in the middle of prepping his gear.

“You knew the price of war. Arcona had much to do, and little time to do it.”

“I never said I blame Arcona. It was foolish on my part to go in unprepared. Almost as foolish as the time I tried to kill you,”

“Yes, that. That was quite stupid.” The pilot cocked and loaded his own blasters. “Don’t worry about that though, I feel that we are long past that.”

“You mustn’t forget, however, that we are Sith,” replied the Iridonian. “It wouldn’t be wise to trust me or any other disciple of our proud order.

“And I don’t,” said Andrelious. “But certainly we are back on good standings.”

“Indeed.” Achilleus offered a smile. before continuing. “Anyway, I was sold into slavery on Tatooine. Didn’t last long. After I was free, I joined up with a group of bounty hunters. We got our job done on Felucia. Heard a tale about a brave warrior there named Achilleus. I took that on as my new identity. Kind of a rebirth, or something like that.Then I slaughtered the other bounty hunters, stole their credits, took their ship, and collected the bounty for myself. I ended up doing a lot more bounty work, but the Brotherhood life kept calling me back.”

1 minute to board.

Soulfire was buzzing with activity.


Dark Forge

“Kick…her…tail…” They were the only words that mattered to Lexiconus, his mind set on destruction and elimination. Lexiconus’ glare raised from the lifeless Ryn, towards the cackling Zeltron. With a stern grip and a flexible wrist, the Togruta stood and sized the woman up. His eyes never left her as he circled her and Karthdo, watching, analysing, selecting her body parts, her flaws, her untoned areas on the body. He felt his spirit was still being flooded by the surges of adrenaline. Lexiconus thought of a genius plan and decided to walk to her blind spot behind her.

With his gaze and concentration on her back, he never left this area even as she danced with Meleu. Through cunning timing, as the Zeltron would jump into the air to attack, Lexiconus quickly gripped her waist with the Force and tugged her towards him, which forced her to roll backwards. Like a projectile spear, she launched herself at Lexiconus and sliced the crimson blade across his. Smirking as he laughed, Lexiconus began to counter and parry her moves as best he could, while Meleu brought himself back into the scene. With one strong lunge, the Sith Warrior stabbed his own blade towards her waist. The heavy attack gave Lexiconus a good millisecond and within such time, he flicked a bolt of energy towards her wound, striking the open flesh with a severe shock. Her scream echoed into Dessac’s ear.

Showing very little fear against the highest Equite warriors, Dessac clenched his fist and struck a wrathing blow against the Quaestor and the Praetor. Their bodies flew into the air like plastic, simultaneously he glared his cold eyes at the Togruta, threw his blade and stabbed the Togruta deeply into the chest. With a shriek that awakened his ancestors from their graves, Lexiconus collapsed onto the ground as life slipped from his eyes.

Cethgus witnessed the event from his distance and activated his holocommunicator.

“We’re gonna need more than this; Admiral bring an orbital strike on my location. Send the Zelosian that Nikola has been keeping.” He threw the communicator to one side and growled, then rushed back into the fight with the Neti.

Determined to remove Dessac from the threat, Cethgus rushed in with his limp and fiercely pressured the Elder. He used a form unknown to him, the technique of moderately slashing whilst accurately delivering a shocking energy through his fists became an advantage. The Quaestor balanced the use of the Force whilst giving into physical contact, punching and hitting the Elder hard with his fists and hilt. Meanwhile, Ood kept his distance and used his illusive abilities to cloak the Quaestor slightly.

In his determination, Meleu was now prone to defeat and weakened by the endurance of it all. The Zeltron was fading too, her wound now profusely bleeding on the floor as she locked lightsabers with Meleu each time she struck. The whirring of jets and mechanics in the background of the sky felt like a euphoria for the Sith Human. With the energy left within him, he ignored the pain in his arms and used the Force to fuel his rage. Striking down upon the high Equite, her arms could no longer take the pain and she collapsed on the last contact. Her legs gave in and she fell onto the floor in exhaustion.

“Get up. You’re not dying this easily!” Meleu roared at her in his Force fuelled rage.

For the Zeltron she had enough and tossed her lightsaber aside.

“Kill me now, I will ascended to a greater glory your Brotherhood fathers would ever guarantee!”
The Zeltron spat at him.

Meleu was keen to decapitate her, however his mind pressed him towards Lexiconus and the Sergeant rushed over to the lifeless body, scooped him up and ran from the scene. The Quaestor and Praetor join their Force abilities in one blast and the wave flung the Elder across the warehouse with exceptional speed. As the roar of engines beared down upon the warehouse, the flashes of light, heat and explosions echoed throughout the city as the orbital strike began. As the cloud of fire, powders and flying metal covered the ruins of the warehouse, a single shuttle slowly landed in front of them and two males stepped out in full environmental piloting outfits.Together, they both grabbed Lexiconus and rushed him inside the shuttle. The gang of broken, limped and wheezing members followed them inside as the shuttle quickly took off once more.

“He needs his bio-meds, where are they!?” The Neti roared at the pilot who was examining the wound.

“Bnar, give it a rest until we get back to the Darkest Night. We are done.” Cethgus ordered, as he softly patted the pilot’s shoulder.

“Welcome to Dark Forge, Sjl.” With a soft nod, the masked male continued to examine and patch the wound, blocking the interior bleeding until they arrived at the sick-bay.

BAC Darkest Night,
6 Hours later.

The humming metal, whirring droids and uttered words in whisper gave an appearance that the staff were busy within the sick-bay, however the experienced doctor and neti surgeon already knew they had their answer. He sat with his lightsaber in hand and carefully observed for an approaching staff member. He saw the wounds with his own eyes and tried to decipher the prognosis for himself, however fatigue and stress had already influenced his judgment by focusing too much on the positive. The important information for him was that the Elder and his apprentice were dead.

“I try to speak with Lexic, I get nothing.” Ood whispered to Meleu, but the Human was completely out of focus.

For awhile now, the Sith Warrior concentrate solely on his hands, he could see that they were made for killing. The palms were rubbed and grazed with rough callous, the knuckles built a thick, textured layer too and his veins and arteries bubbled and pulsed across his skin efficiently. They were built just to kill, yet he couldn’t kill the Zeltron. His heart sank at the reality as well as his mind which led into a depressive state. Then from the corner of Ood’s eye, Cethgus marched from the surgical doors with a bloody apron and mask. To Ood, the face of the strong and supportive Quaestor said it all; Lexic was dead.

“I’m sorry but they couldn’t save him. His body has already been launched, we must press on and focus on our evidence. We need to prepare for their strike again because the citadel isn’t safe.” Meleu slowly rose from his seat and nodded, eager to kill once more.

“However, you should meet his replacement. His name is Sjl, he’s the Zelosian from the shuttle.” The Zabrak pointed his hand to the pilot still dressed fully as he walked towards them.

The male unclipped the helmet off and threw it aside as his malachite eyes locked firmly onto Ood’s. They both exchanged a nod as Meleu grunted and scoped the Zelosian’s build. ‘Meleu, his skin is not powered by blood, but chlorophyll. We can trust him.’ Ood gave the Sergeant this mental note as the Sith Warrior glared more. They finally came face to face and Sjl offered his hand to Meleu, who quickly slapped it away and growled. Before Sjl could react, Cethgus quickly slammed his palm onto Meleu’s chest and looked into his eyes.

“You could of saved him, I read your species and your chlorophyll heals wounds!” The Human shouted. But the Zelosian slowly shook his head.

“He was dead when we left the warehouse, there was nothing I could do.” Sjl shrugged and looked away, his character somewhat familiar to Ood.

“Look, there are going to be conflicts but you must work together! War is coming.” The Quaestor sparked his words with wisdom and dread, he wanted the Journeyman to understand him.

Ood nodded softly then proceeded to hook his arm around Sjl and guide him from the sick-bay. “Come, let us get better acquainted over a bottle of Honey.” The Zelosian nodded and smiled as they proceeded to leave. Meleu, in his depression kept his gaze on the bloodied sick-bay theater, watching Lexic’s blood for the final time. His hands were made to kill; they saved no one but himself.


[B]Soulfire Strike Team[/B]

T-4a Lambda Shuttle ‘Quickflex’ (IFF spoofed)
Dajorra System

Having heard his apprentice’s tale as the shuttle’s autopilot had taken Soulfire to within a few seconds of docking, Andrelious returned to the cockpit to ensure that the landing itself went smoothly. As the shuttle approached, its targeting system picked up the signal from the Star Destroyer’s own IFF transponder. The ship’s name appeared before the Warlord – [I]Oath Breaker[/I].

“This is ShuttleQuickflex hailing Star Destroyer Oath Breaker. Requesting clearance to land.” Andrelious began, remembering Imperial protocol.

Oath Breaker to Quickflex. Clearance granted. Welcome back,” a voice with an accent not too dissimilar to Andrelious’ responded.

Andrelious smirked. “Good work, Saskia. Looks like we picked a good code. Whoever owns the real Quickflex obviously belongs to these people.”

As he expertly manoeuvred the ship towards the Star Destroyer’s large hangar bay, the Warlord felt a heavy jolt.

“I thought you were a GOOD pilot, dad.” Saskia quipped.

“That wasn’t me. They’ve locked a tractor beam onto us. For some reason they’ve decided to pull us in rather than let us land on our own. That’s not standard procedure,” the ex-Imperial replied, sounding a little worried.

“So what does that mean?” the Cirrian asked.

“Some Captains used to insist on it. Mostly to instil the idea that a pilot was useless without his mothership. Perhaps we’ve found one of them,”

The tractor beam guided the masquerading Shuttle into a landing berth. The Soulfire Captain noticed a large number of TIE Defenders attached to the ceiling rack. He knew that even if the Dajorra Defence Force had been present that such a large amount of the powerful starfighter would have proven hard work for the pilots of the Arcona Starfighter Corps.

“We have arrived, Soulfire. I’ve got no idea exactly how long they’re going to believe our cover story, so make sure you keep your weapons ready. When they find out who we are, it’s going to turn very nasty, but I have faith in all of you to come out on top.” Mimosa-Inahj said as he walked back into the passenger area of the Shuttle.

“So, what’s the plan, Captain?” Riverche questioned.

“I’m not going to go into an elaborate plan because, quite frankly, my idea is simple. We need to make our way to the engineering section. Once we’re there, we’ll work out a way to disable this ship.” Andrelious explained.

Saskia frowned. “Isn’t that a little TOO simplistic?”

“You forget. I served on Imperial-IIs for most of my Imperial career. KDY cut quite a few corners when they built them. And that’s not even taking into account the dozens of design flaws. Plenty of ways for a mechanical expert to cause trouble.”

“Just point me to it!” Saskia cackled, a glint appearing in her eye as she realised what her father wanted her to do.

With their mission established, Soulfire quietly disembarked from their ship. The hangar was eerily quiet, with little more than a few droids wandering about performing various maintenance duties. The lack of activity troubled Andrelious a little.

No-one to check us out? That’s weird. Perhaps they’ve sent all their troops down to Gethsemane.

The ex-Rollmaster beckoned his team towards a nearby turbolift, anxiously pushing at its call button.

Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

“They’re about to get into Turbolift Cresh,” a man stated as he watched Soulfire’s movements.

“Have it diverted to level five. And turn on the gas trap.”

Turbolift Cresh

As its doors opened with a quiet hiss, Andrelious and his team filed into the turbolift. The former Imperial didn’t even bother to consult the ship’s deck guide, instead immediately pushing one of the many buttons on the turbolift’s control panel. The turbolift reacted immediately, speeding Soulfire away from the flight deck.

“There’s one other thing. What about the rest of the fleet?” Wes queried.

“With their flagship gone, I’m banking on that the remainder of the fleet will flee. Failing that, I suspect that the communications jamming is coming from here. So if we can take this ship out, we can summon the Defence Force back.” Andrelious answered, feeling a little short of breath. He quickly looked at his chrono to get a time check.

As Wes nodded in response, the lift began to slow down, stopping a few moments later. Saskia was the first to head towards the door, almost shoving her superior out of the way.

“Is anyone else feeling like they need to lie down?” Riverche questioned. Moments later, the Miraluka slumped to the ground, out cold. Her teammates followed one by one.

Unknown location

Andrelious awoke in a dark room. He was laying on a cold, metal surface that did little in the way of offering comfort from the very chilly air that surrounded the Warlord. He peered at his chrono, activating its backlight, and frowned. The time had moved on half an hour since he had last checked.

A sense of dread began to gnaw away at the former Rollmaster. He moved his hands to check for his lightsabers, but found only their clips.

Wasn’t it supposed to be Zandro’s job to get captured like this? And where the frak are my team?


Dark Forge
Estle City, Selen
Location Unknown

Pain, the entire world was pain. Parts of the body weren’t talking to the brain, some bits felt as if they might have gone on holiday and stuck the rest with the bills. And he couldn’t move. Not that he wanted to move, the simple act of breathing was tiring, miniscule flexing of muscles sent flares of agony out. Kordath Bleu, Krath Priest, Arconan, was honestly afraid to open his eyes at this point, the last few days had been some of the most hellish in his existence and admitting to being awake could only make things worse.

He barely felt the slap across his face, compared to everything else it was an afterthought. The next two strikes just fueled his annoyance at being awake, and finally after the fourth he admitted defeat and opened his eyes.

Golden eyes stared down into his, and the Krath didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Instead he stayed silent, staring back at the twisted, yet still oddly attractive pink skinned face glaring at him, her silvery hair in disarray. In the corner of his vision something else was moving methodically, and he could hear a clicking, that set off survival instincts that were deep and primal. Like talons tapping against a rock in impatience.

“Tiysha is angry with you, little Arconan, you wounded her twice now. And yet you still live, a very odd occurrence when it comes to my fiery companion. She would like nothing more then to start skinning that pretty fur of yours for an arts project,” spoke a gravelly, amused voice.

The Zeltron’s face turned to a vicious smile, the kind that doesn’t reach the eyes, “Too small to make a proper rug out of you, fool, but perhaps we can make a jacket, hmm?”

She reached out and stroked a finger down his chest, ruffling the hair slightly, “It is quite soft, I bet it would make a very warm coat.”

Kordath glared at the woman, trying to ignore the mixed messages of petting and threatening to commit a tailoring crime.

“So,” he started to say, croaking at first before working his tongue a bit to build up some saliva, “So, why am I still alive, then? I escaped this little witch once already, what’s keeping me from doing it again?”

“Hah! Very nice, bravado, it’s to be expected from one of your station to put up a brave front when threatened in such a manner. It’s a manner in which prey attempt to defend themselves…making yourself appear bigger then you are. And you’ll notice you are quite restrained at the moment, little Bleu,” spoke the Chistori, “and we do not intend to release you just yet. You might tear the stitching’s, after all.”

The events prior to his most current passing out rushed back, and the Priest finally realized why he was stripped to the waist. Kordath was tired, he was injured, he hadn’t had any real sleep since this whole thing started. And he was sober, dreadfully so. All of this added up to the usually timid and reserved Ryn to speak his mind, as he figured it the situation couldn’t get much worse for him.

“You…tended my wounds? Why? There’s no ‘rules’ in the little war you One Sith nerf herders picked with us, nothing about being ‘nice’ to prisoners. What are you after?”

Finally the Chistori walked into view, the clicking sound growing louder and causing the muscles in Kordath’s legs to stiffen in preparation of flight. It was hard to tell, but Bleu was almost certain the lizard was smiling. If it was too put his prisoner at ease, it was a failure.

“I wanted to kill you, Lord Dessac here thought it better to keep your worthless hide alive,” snarled Tiysha.

Dessac showed some teeth, this time Kordath was sure it was a grin, “Indeed, while there is no accord between our factions, I am loathe to squander a resource. You have knowledge of the inner workings of Arcona, Tiysha here says you were a leader of the very unit that abandoned you in the warehouse where you were wounded. Ah, from the look on your face I see you slept through all of that horrible business.”

The Chistori nodded to himself a few times, his gravelly voice taking on the tone of a lecturer, “Your allies left you, broken and battered, to die with us as they fled for saftey. They called down a barrage of turbo laser fire, leveling the warehouse we were in. Hah, Tiysha had slain the blue one, and they took his body when they fled. But. They…left…you…behind, little Ryn.”

Kordath lay in silence for a few moments before speaking, “They likely thought I was dead. I don’t fault them for that decision.”

Dessac laughed, guttural and horrifying as it sounded, “Indeed? Then you are made of sterner stuff then most people. You’re allies, team mates, friends, those you call brother in this Shadow Clan of yours…left you to burn with their enemies. We could have left you as well, but as my companion here stated, I saw value in your life still. More so then your precious clan mates did.”



“You said they rained fire down from the sky to wipe you out, how are you…how are we all still alive?” asked the Krath, curiosity getting the better of him.

Tiysha grinned from her place by the bed, toying with the end of one of the restraints, “Lord Dessac saved us, Bleu, he diverted many of the blasts and blocked many of them. From the outside it likely looks as if we’d been incinerated, but that place had been our base of operations for weeks, we were prepared to leave quickly. Do not doubt the power of one as learned as our Lord.”

“So, my young friend, as far as your Clan is concerned…you are amongst the dead. You did not escape unaided last time, and this time, no one has cause to look for you. So heal, now that we’ve had this little talk I will allow you pain medication to aid your own healing trance. And when you are more physically able, when I do not believe you will quickly break, then, and only then, shall we begin your…re-education.”

The Chistori made a gesture towards a machine next to the bed, which clicked and whirred, sending a liquid through tubes that Kordath visually traced to his left forearm. Blackness closed in as the pain receded, and exhaustion forced him to sleep.


Estle City
Arcona Defense Force
Turbo-Lifts between Sinchi and Capac Ring
Capac Ring Exit


Exhaustion had begun to set in over the last two hours of constant combat, traveling to the Lifts they had picked up additional squads of ADF troops. The squads formed a cohesive front to drive back the enemy, taking the upper levels in the Sinchi Ring and making their way down into Capac where progress had been damn near halted.

The enemy had built defensive emplacements, heavy turrets, funnels and chokeholds manned by enemy troops held the ADF forces at the base of the Turbo-Lifts forcing little to no forward progress. Worse than anything the troops had seen the devastation of the orbital strike on the nearby Warehouse district, their morale severely hampered by watching their own overseers bomb the city.

It seemed that the enemy had a similar reaction, their strike commander appeared to been killed by the bombardment and communication began to fall apart on both sides.

Uji continued to remain ahead of the Arconan squads, moving between enemy positions as a ghost. Striking where he found openings, eliminating enemy officers and sowing as much chaos as possible. The Obelisk had been trained as an assassin not as a Soldier, it would have to fall to someone else to invigorate the troops and take charge. He could only do what came naturally to him, bring a swift end to the enemies of Arcona and drive forward with determination.

As he rounded another corner he heard the familiar voice of the Scout Squad’s Sergeant inside of a nearby building, Uji took a moment to catch his breathe, exhaustion building from having to resort to use of the Force to keep himself cloaked.

“I don’t give a damn if someone has to take the message on foot, someone has to locate one of the Elders, we are going to keep dying like a bunch of sithspawn scum caught in this damn cross-fire! We need someone capable of pulling these squads together! Where the hell are the Galeran leaders?”

Uji sat for a few moments grimacing, the choices weren’t hard to figure out, if the Defense Force stayed in place they would continue losing the fight, but it would mean if they received reinforcements or the battle shifts they could drive straight towards Gilete spaceport and re-take the Capac ring. If they retreated and destroyed the Lift’s it would mean that the enemy would be trapped on the Capac ring and only have control of a third of the city but it would also mean that reinforcements to take back Capac would be slow in coming and abandoning the men and women of the Capac ring.

“This isn’t my call, I’m not regular army and I’m sure as hell no Jedi commander any longer. Just walk away and let them sort it… Damn it…” Uji mumbled to himself as he announced his presence dropping the Force Cloak again appearing before them like a wraith. Surrounding the Sergeant were the officers and sergeants of the squads that had made it this far in.

“Pull every squad you can back to the Sinchi ring, at this point we have no means of communicating with the Citadel until the communication jamming is dealt with. We can’t afford to continue losing men. Wait for orders from the Colonel or until we hear word from the Summit.” Uji knew what the consequences would be, hundreds, thousands would burn in the Capac ring before reinforcements arrived. But it would mean that the Defense Force could gather and make a concentrated push to retake Capac.

“I will stay down here and continue to harass the enemy, hopefully others like myself are moving among the enemy and aiding the citizens we will do what we can for the time being.”

“No offense Sir. You’re not in charge, ADF doesn’t take orders from anyone outside our chain of command except from the Summit.” The Sergeant had removed his helmet, the Soldier was younger than Uji expected, though young he displayed the characteristics of an Arconan. Brash, arrogant and too proud to pull out of a fight.

“Hey man, I don’t know about you but destroying the lifts seems like a damn good way of staying the hell alive. Come back down when we have air support and some badasses like Soulfire or Dark Forge with us.” Another Squad leader chimed in, followed by another and another until the room filled with arguing leading nowhere.

“Enough!” Uji snapped at the group before him, years ago he would have had everyone of them busted in rank for not following his orders. The Brotherhood operated differently than the Old Jedi order when interacting with the Military, here he held no rank among the common soldier.

“Fine, we split the troops, send the heavy squads back up-top with the engineers, regular infantry holds the line during the retreat. I want any Soldier willing to volunteer to stay behind with my scouts we spread out and disappear, we know this city better than those bastards. We find and keep civilians safe and do what we can down here. Everyone else goes up-top and blows the lifts once we’ve gotten out everyone we can.” The Sergeant shot a look at Uji that would have withered a common man.

“If you could be so good as to go back to what you’re good at Sir.” the last word no longer containing a modicrum of respect. “Let us do ours.”


Soulfire Strike Team
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker
Holding Cell

“Hmm…Iridonian. Warrior species. And apparently Sith. You sure you want to mess with this one?”

“I don’t give a damn what or who he is. Orders are orders. Hey Zabrak, get up.”

The Arconan felt a blow to his side.

“I said get up.”

Achilleus’ eyes opened to the cold, metal floor of a holding cell. As he sat up, he felt for his saber. It was gone.

“We’ve already removed your weapons.” The Knight turned to see a bearded Cerean standing above him, armed with a vibroblade. Beside him was a female Togruta, purple skinned, with her long lekkus laced with green designs, resting just below her chest. Both were clad in what appeared to be stormtrooper armor.

“We wouldn’t be so stupid as to leave a Jedi armed,” said the Togruta.

“Yet you would be so stupid as to harm me? I’m not the weak Force-user you might hear about in your little stories of Republic conquest. Kick me again and see what happens.”

“What will you do then?” The Cerean displayed a grimace as he held the blade to his neck. “You’re not in much of a position to back those words.”

“Don’t underestimate him, Captain,” said the Togruta, brandishing her blaster. “If he is indeed Sith, he is never unarmed.”

“Yo Captain, You ought to listen to ya girl.” The Zabrak stared defiantly into the eyes of his captor. “She seems like she should be the one in charge.”

“Sith, Jedi…What’s the difference?”

“Shall I demonstrate?” Within less than a second, The Togruta’s blaster was in Achilleus’ right hand. Before the Captain could strike, his back was against the wall. His blade hit the floor as a jolt of electricity pulsed over his body. The Force was like a rope, connecting his squirming, bending body to the Iridonian’s free hand. He dropped with a groan. Achilleus walked towards his limp, soon-to-be corpse, retrieving his blade along the way. The Captain tried to stand, but his attempt was refuted by a kick to his back.

“Just like that, your fragile life is in my hands.” The Galerean pointed the blaster to his head. “You should have caught me on a good day. You might have lived.”

The Cerean’s eyes were still pleading for his life as Achilleus pulled the trigger. He turned to see the Togruta still standing there, a look of terror still spread across her face.

“I hate to waste such a beautiful specimen,” he said, “but you have to take precautions, right?”

Her body was limp as it hit the floor.


Dark Forge

Dajorra System
Bothan Assault Cruiser Darkest Night
Selen, High Orbit

The fires could be seen from orbit. Estle City burned. Tertiary explosions blew up plumes of toxic gas and radioactive byproducts. The fires had spread and seemed to be continuing to do so. The Neti looked at his Zabrak superior, “You were always so impatient youngling. I hope you are prepared for what is to come… The Shadow Lord will want to know why you decided to destroy our main industrial center. Let’s hope the wind turns soon, or that irradiated cloud will reach the Citadel.”

“What else could I have done!” the Quaestor sneered, having long since abandoned his calm.

“You ask for advice?”


“See about erecting some form of shields around the city, keep the radiation and poisons inside. Don’t hesitate, everyone in that city is dead, or will be in agony soon. Anyone you send in, make sure they are in gear designed to protect them from hard vacuum, just to be safe. Set up a secure exit point and see about getting our people and the citizens out of the city and into containment. Either let the fires burn themselves out or see about taking this ship down into lower orbit directly ontop of the city. Our shields should interact with the atmosphere, ionizing it. We’ll fuel that thunderstorm, and push the clouds lower. The rain should take out fires, I think.” the Neti locked gaze with his superior, Cethgus could see the mind of the former Jedi behind those black eyes, “Get Andrelious some help. He’ll be right in the middle of something by now, knowing him. Oh, then try to do something about this fleet!” with a swish of his robes, the former Jedi Admiral turned to walk away.

“And what will you be doing then?” The zabrak snarked at the Krath’s retreating back.

“My Shadow Lord ordered me to find the assassin. It seems, in the confusion, I lost her again. Thus I am going to get down into Estle in such a way that I advertise my presence. Then, you’ll raise those shields, cutting off any escape plans.” The Neti turned back around and grinned, the madness once more becoming clear in his mind. “Go, young warrior. Lead us to victory against this opponent, I’ll go fetch the head that hurt our Aedile…”

Estle City, Administrative Sector

The shuttle broadcasting Council codes, the Neti made a note to remove Solari’s access codes from the mainframe next time he set foot on Lyspair, moved to land in the central square. The security cameras in the area shifted on their mountings to get a better angle.

A single figure, easily recognisable as a Neti to those who were familiar with their physiology, descended. Turning around to watch the shuttle leave again, as shields started coming online, cutting the city off from the outside world.

Ood focused on the Force and before too long, a broad spectrum blast of telepathic energy raced outwards, fueled in part by the suffering of those souls unlucky enough to survive the orbital strike only to now be confronted with lethal gasses, liquids and radiation waves. The Krath Pontifex could feel the debilitating energy soar through his body as he returned focus to bolster his health and undo the effects of whatever had been stored in the old industrial sector. Slowly, his knees creaked as he lowered himself into a meditative stance. The challenge had been sent, the assassin would come for him. The Master had ordered her to kill him, she had failed. She would be unable to resist another attempt. Yet the radiation could not be felt yet, only his advanced senses told him his body was under attack. The pink menace was not trained in the medical arts, or hadn’t appeared to be. It would be hours before she actively noticed herself weakening. But the weakness would be there already. Slower reaction times, slight decreases in muscle memory, the list went on. This time, he was ready to take her on. This time, she would come to him…

Estle City, Square of Horrors
89 minutes later

He was sitting in the shade of a statue dedicated to the first of the Shadow Lords. A sickeningly tentacled void-form dominated the work of art. It had been based on a description of something Lord Doto had once seen in some vision.

A rustle of cloth sailed overhead, unnoticed. Two red blades ignited as their mistress jumped down from the statue. Emerald beams of energy met them head on.

“Fancy meeting you here, Old one. Are you here to save your little minion?” Tiysha moaned with pleasure as endorphins grabbed hold of her system. The haze of battle, that always comforted her, moving to embrace its fateful disciple.

“So he’s alive? I’ll let command know when I get back.” The Neti breezed, his blades moving faster in an attempt to compensate.

Up and down they danced, blades moving to intercept weapons based on where the Force said they would be instead of where they appeared to be going. She could feel him tiring though. He was a Scholar, a Sorcerer at that. Far more interested in the minutiae of the Force then in active combat. Intelligence done by Faust Corporation had indicated he was a mediocre swordsman compared to his peers. Recent wars had seen him forced, more and more, to work around these weaknesses. He had mostly sat out the Brotherhood’s war with the Yuuzhan Vong to focus on developing tactics against them. He had participated in the defeat of the Omancor Crask Cult by guiding artillery. Examples of his avoidance of combat had formed a rather complete dossier on him.

Nearly there, the weakness was moving through her. Yet her focus was on him, this could work. He just had to hold out a little bit longer.

The onslaught continued relentlessly. Cackling the Assassin sped up, pressing her advantage further as she moved to jump over a large chunk of the statue.

A chunk of the still intact statue?

As her mind staggered to a stop, she felt nauseous. Something was wrong here. Her joints ached, were her eyes bleeding? Realising the danger of distraction, she refocused on her opponent, only to find him missing, two sabers lying forgotten on the ground. She twirled around and gasped in horror, It was too late… Two more saber hilts clattered to the ground as she was lifted.

All around the square, bits and pieces of the statue lay. The ornate post that once held it now contained a transformed Neti. She must have jumped onto his head to then jump off him and engage an illusion? He had waited for her to reali…

Agony seared through her, blanketing her mind. She looked down. The tendrils - or where they branches - that held her left leg in place had tightened until they sheered her leg off. The limb lay forgotten beside her hilts, if she could reach those…

Two finely manicured Zeltron hands joined the leg as the Old Force user ripped her to shreds completely.

The last sensation Tiysha felt in this life were two snake like tendrils penetrating her abdomen, turning upwards and ripping her heart out.

Life faded from those frightened eyes as the Neti lowered her to the ground. A tendril snaked up four lightsabers and attached them to the creature’s belt before becoming part of an arm as Ood Bnar returned to his most used shape.

Two small applications of telekinesis later, the Praetor packed away a Zeltron head in a swath of cloth taken from the body.

Now all he had to do was make his way to the extraction point that should be established by now. The Master was out there still, true. But Atyiru had been avenged. The Force once more made sense to the old being.


Estle City, Selen
One Sith secondary bunker
Dark Forge

Kordath came to with a gasp, feeling as if his whole body had been doused with ice water. The Chistori stood above his bed, hands out stretched over the Ryn’s restrained form. Taking stock of his situation, the Krath found he couldn’t move, but he felt healthier then he had in days, and wondered just how long he’d been asleep this time. And there was a certain lack of hostility in the air, making Kordath glance look around as best he could for Tiysha.

“She has left, little Krath, to confront the Neti. Tiysha is…was brash, she lacked control and discipline, despite her training. Her loss is noted, but in the end, it was for the best. Saved me the trouble of killing her for her failures, and it will give her sister more cause to fight the Arconans,” spoke Dassac, calmly.

‘So she went to fight Bnar, hope the psychotic old man won this time,’ thought the Ryn, wondering how he was going to get out of this.

Dassac chuckled, a dry sound, before patting the Priest on the head, “You on the other hand, are going no where my young friend, we have much to do. The foolhardy attempt to wipe me out from orbit has caused devastation on the surface, but this bunker is well protected, we shall be safe for now. And our forces are already causing havoc.”

“What…what forces?” asked Kordath, suddenly worried that he was even further out of his depth then he’d thought.

The Chistori waved a hand dismissively, “Bah, citizens who’d been warped in the mind and surgically implanted with explosives started it, a dirty tactic, but effective in a population center. We’ve been slowly infiltrating mercenaries into the local population as well, when the bombs went off, they became active. Expendable, they’re only purpose is to cause chaos so the main fleet will be able to land troops easier.”

Kordath felt cold, “You’re killing civilians out there? Why? If you manage to take the planet after this you’ll have wide spread revolt. There’s no logic to this, you can’t hold the planet if the populace rises up in force, even the One Sith don’t have the forces for this!”

Dassac turned his toothy visage towards the Ryn’s face, “Why? Because our Lord willed it. Because the Arconans have been a thorn in his side, because they have caused far to many problems. We are not concerned overly with holding this world, but we will finish off this Clan to the last apprentice. And likely kill every person on the planet, so that no fools get it into their heads to go off and reform it somewhere.”

“Now then,’ continued the Chistori, who turned away for a moment, 'Let us see about changing the way you feel about my organization, hmm?”

A needle was the first thing Kordath saw as Dassac turned back to face him, and a cruel light was in the Chistori’s eye.

This time Kordath wasn’t allowed to pass out, even when he couldn’t scream anymore.


Soulfire Strike Team

Unknown location

Andrelious remained laying on the uncomfortable bed, finding himself unable to move very much. He could feel that he was not physically restrained, but even the idea of standing up felt like incredibly hard work. The Warlord reasoned that he had probably been sedated.

The Soulfire Captain could not figure out what had gone wrong. They had gotten onto the enemy Star Destroyer without any apparent problem, and hadn’t met a lick of resistance anywhere on the flight deck. Even when Soulfire had entered the turbolift, where Andrelious had been half expecting to be ambushed, had provided nothing.

The Sith’s mulling over of the situation was curtailed by the sound of the door opening and the subsequent lighting up of the room. Two Stormtroopers and a large Human male walked into the tiny cell, taking up most of the floorspace. Andrelious turned to regard them, but refused to get up.

“Mimosa-Inahj. Come with us,” the unarmoured Human ordered, pointing an E-15 Blaster directly at the Arconan’s head.

Struggling to his feet, the ex-Rollmaster found he had trouble standing.

“You two. Help him. The Tranqarest is already taking effect,” the man continued.

The two Stormtroopers moved towards the drugged Warlord, one on each side, and began to escort him fairly speedily towards the door.

Tranqarest? These people know what they’re doing. Andrelious thought. He did not know too much about the drug, but was aware that it was strong enough to keep his resistance level down for the foreseeable future.

The trio hauled their prisoner along the corridor. With what remained of his senses, the ex-Rollmaster could detect Saskia, Wes and Riverche all nearby, and all in a similar sedated condition. He could not, however, find any trace of Achilleus or the other lower ranked members. This bothered the Warlord slightly – had they been executed? Were he and his fellow Equites next?

Again Andrelious found his thoughts disturbed as he was bundled roughly into a room that he immediately identified as an interrogation room.

“Strap him in, then keep watch at the door,” the officer snapped.

The Stormtroopers obeyed their superior, strapping Andrelious into a large metal reclining chair. Mimosa-Inahj was sleepy enough to feel comfortable, despite the cold feel of durasteel on the back of his head.

Checking to see that his captive was secure, the man nodded at the troopers. “Welcome to the Oath Breaker, Mr Mimosa-Inahj. Shall I start with an introduction? I am Commander Pepco, chief interrogation officer,” he said as the two white armoured soldiers reverted to sentry duty.

“Impressive operation you’ve got here, Pepco. Seems that you’ve got spies all over the frakking Clan.” Andrelious replied bullishly.

“To be fair to your own Intelligence Agency, it took quite a lot of effort to get our people in. If you hadn’t had those issues between the Quaestors and your veterans, we might not even have pulled it off. Can you Dark Jedi EVER get along?” Pepco sneered.

The Warlord scowled, but said nothing.

“So we’ve done a little digging on you and your team. Turns out that your ‘Soul Fire’ unit is, or at least claims to be, an elite special forces unit. But you got captured by gas in a turbolift! That’s more special needs than special forces!” the Commander taunted.

“Ah! So THAT’S how you did it. I’m almost impressed,” Andrelious replied.

“Good. You’re cordial in defeat. That will make things so much more pleasant for us both.” Pepco stated.

“Don’t mistake my good manners for a weakness, Commander. This Traqarest is impressive, but my body’s already purging it from my system. When it’s clear, there won’t be anything to save you or your two friends here,” the Soulfire Captain hissed, glaring angrily at his captor.

Pepco shook his head. “I wouldn’t be too hasty, Mr Mimosa-Inahj. You see, we know all about you, your team, and your members. Especially your second in command. Your dear daughter.”

“You don’t know too much about us if you think she’s my dear daughter. I didn’t even know she was anything to do with me until recently. Perhaps your facts aren’t as clear as you hoped.” Andrelious responded, though the mention of Saskia bothered him immensely. It was true that he did not have a very close bond with his eldest daughter, but he still considered the Cirrian an important part of his family. The idea of Pepco and his people harming her still cut the Warlord deep.

“You can tell her how you feel yourself. We thought we’d give you two a bit of daddy-daughter counselling.” Pepco declared as the door opened again, Saskia being shoved through seconds later. Another two troopers strapped her into a chair identical to the one that her father was already secured into.

As the female stared emotionlessly at him, Pepco smiled. “Welcome to the Oath Breaker, Miss Ortega-Inahj. Your father here was about to elucidate on how he feels about you,” he stated in a particularly oily tone.

“Cut the nonsense, Pepco. You’re not strapping up to these torture chairs to play happy families. Clearly you want something because otherwise you’d have just killed us.” Andrelious snapped.

“That’s just an insurance policy. As I was saying, we’ve been monitoring you for some time. We would like to make you an offer, Mr Mimosa-Inahj. Can I call you Andrelious?” Pepco asked.

“Call me what you want. It makes no difference to me.” The Warlord replied stoically.

“As you so asked so eloquently, we’ll get to the point. We know how important the safety of your wife and children are to you these days. What if I told you that we could make sure that your family would be safe from harm, here in the Dajorra system?” the Commander questioned.

“I already know how you can do that, and I intend to make sure that it happens. I’m going to assume that your fleet is linked with the attempt on Atyiru’s life. The skulking around in the asteroid field tallies with the sneaky way she was attacked. The very fact that you tried to kill my twins’ godmother is enough proof for me that you’re acting only in your own best interests. So you can cram your offer of safety. I can look after my family well enough on my own, thank you!” Andrelious snarled, pulling uselessly against his bonds.

“Come now, Andrelious! You’re a Warlord of the Sith. We know that you’ve got more in mind than just Soulfire Captain – our attack on Atyiru was merely the beginning. Stick with us, help us here, and we’ll install you as leader of whatever’s left of Arcona when we’re finished! And Saskia – how would you like to be Proconsul? Just help me out with a few little errands, and I can make those things happen. How about it, Consul Mimosa-Inahj? You’re popular enough with the masses to keep things together. After all, you helped so many get their Knighthoods. It’s time they paid you back, surely?” Pepco asked, moving uncomfortably close to Andrelious.

“And what are these errands, Pepco? I think you’ve a little more in mind than sending me down to the shop for you. I think you want me to do your dirty work for you. You want me to kill Atyiru, Cethgus and the others” the Warlord answered.

“Well, dad, I can see why you’re Soulfire lead now. Your mind’s sharper than your saber blade.” Saskia interrupted.

“And I will remain in Soulfire lead until and unless Atyiru or Cethgus vacate their positions. On their own accord. I’m not going to help you, Pepco. Even before you and your friends had tried that move on Atyiru, the answer would have been no. Find some other lowlife to do your sordid little errands.” Andrelious snarled.


Unknown Location
Soulfire Strike Team

“Lowlifes get nothing done on that scale,” Saskia stoically replied, surprising the room into silence, an unfeigned glimmer of interest for the details in the young woman’s eyes.

Pepco’s head shot towards the Slicer, his arms folded across his chest in a slightly distrustful manner with his head tilted to the side as he moved towards Saskia. He said nothing, his mouth was a thin line with a tainted smile painted onto his face as he studied the Cirrian’s face.

The Krath had jutted out her jaw in defiance as she could feel the burning hatred coming from Andrelious. He felt betrayed by his own flesh and blood, she knew that, but there had been many times when she had betrayed others to protect herself. This was simply a case of protection, survival of the fittest. It was what their leaders would do.

“Screw Arcona, it’s not done a lot for me, just kept me busy, I want my own staff, ship and line of work. I’m not bothered about staying here,” the Equite stated, holding Pepco’s gaze as he wandered towards the woman. “But, keeping me restrained won’t exactly help me help you.”

“So, I untie you, we talk semantics, then you slaughter me and all the team whilst freeing the other members of your Battleteam? You stay restrained for now, but I am curious as to how you’d do it…”

“It’s funny how much trust people put into droids isn’t it? A simple virus or line of code can change everything,” Saskia replied, a heavy undertone of lust to her voice as she seductively gazed down the uniformed man. “And who better to do it then the Slicer of Soulfire who already knows the codes for the Clan like the back of her hand?”

Pepco stepped closer still, studying the face of the Krath, who left her lips slightly parted with a ghost of a smile on them. His finger was cold as it ran along her jawline, though it would take more than ice to make the Cirrian shudder. Saskia didn’t move her line of sight, keeping her stare locked into the man’s as her smirk widened slightly.

“Throw Mimosa-Inahj back to his cell, he can contemplate the darkness I’m sure from there. And though you may be physically released Miss Ortega-Inahj, you will be guarded until the job is complete, and you will be executed if you fail.”

“If I fail, then you won’t be the ones to execute me, because failure is not an option,” the Krath Equite replied, massaging her wrists as her father was promptly dragged back to the black pitch before finding herself surrounded by guards and marched off in the opposite direction.