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

[Arcona] Operation: Resurgence


Arcona Citadel
Throne Room

The din of crackling fire mirrored the silent seething of the Shadow Lord’s anger. But just as the wall of indigo flames were locked in their perpetual dance, Marick Arconae’s emotions remained locked away behind the wall of his stoic visage.

The Consul stood in front of the Serpentine Throne, hands folded calmly behind his back. His body showed no signs of tension, muscles relaxed but posture straight. His too-blue eyes, however, swept across the chamber at the gathered Arconans with a glacial edge that could have cut steel.

“Well?” he asked simply, his voice carrying effortlessly through the chamber.

No one spoke up, so Marick descended from the dias to stand on level with the remnant of the Arcona Summit. Turel Sorren, Celevon Edraven, Adam Bolera, and Ernordeth stood with Strategos Entar Arconae, concern painted across their weary faces. Across from them stood Cethgus Entar Arconae, alone.

Legorii soundlessly moved to stand beside his Consul in a show of solidarity. Without turning to acknowledge his Proconsul, Marick locked his eyes on Cethgus. The two Arconae stared at one another, tension bleeding into a palpable cloud.

“Well?” Marick repeated, his tone so flat that it could have been mechanical.

“We’re working on it,” Cethgus replied carefully.

“Working on it?”

“Yes. Dark Forge is already on site moving the survivors into the shelters we had set up in the event of an invasion. We’ve–”

“–Do we have anymore information on how the attacks were carried out?”

“Sir,” Captain Bly said curtly as he cleared his throat. The Captain of the Summit Guard melted out of the shadows to the other side of the Consul. “The…enemy, as it were, was able to place unique explosive devices in strategic places around the city. These explosions used a two-part trigger system, however. The components that were actually placed in the building are no more detectable than a poisoned can of soup on a full shelf. The components by themselves are not harmful, but when mixed with a reactive agent they can mimic the explosive powers of C-4. The agent can be transmitted as a gas, which is how we believe they carried out the attack without us having…any logical countermeasure.”

Silence rang out as all eyes went to Marick. His stoic mask held. Bly had more experience giving bad news to powerful Dark Jedi leaders than most, so his voice never wavered as he continued.

“They targeted buildings not because they had the most bystanders, but so that when the buildings went down they would effectively block our relief efforts from easily making rounds. Whoever did this had to have a working understanding of the city’s infrastructure.”

“And the Citadel?”

Bly actually smiled. “Secured,” the Captain said simply. Marick believed him. Anyone trying to attack the Citadel while Bly was present might as well navigate a rancor den without any light or weaponry. With that small detail taken care of, the Consul turned his attention back to Cethgus, who went on.

“Atyiru will be here shortly,” he explained quickly. “They are bringing her over from the medbay. Timeros is escorting.”

Marick nodded once, and the mention of the injured Aedile managed to cause the corners of his eyes to crease ever so slightly.

“Quaestor. I have to wonder how we not only explain the death of one of our most promising young leaders, but the absence of the other two leaders and their respective teams?”
Cethgus’s lean muscles tensed as he bit down on his molars to prevent from snapping back a retort. Restraint wrapped around him like chains and he growled more at himself than anyone in particular.

“We lost contact with the Nighthawk forty-eight hours ago,” he said stiffly. “Soulfire’s last communication was a distress beacon, but we’re stretched thin as it is…” Guilt was heavy in the Quaestor’s cold voice. He was putting everything on his shoulders. Cethgus was known for his prowess in war and battle, and a proud warrior, but his loyalty as a leader was often overlooked. He was helpless, and that small piece of knowledge was eating away at him slowly.

“So, my Rollmaster, the ship I had specifically commissioned for these types of scenarios, and my combat operation expert team are all missing in action.”

“Yes. Kordath is also MIA, though Ood was able to hunt down the assassin. He said that you had sanctioned it…”

Marick mentally pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. His face somehow remained blank. After a moment, he nodded once in affirmation. He was processing everything behind the veil of his dispassion, but his calculating mind was working double-time to consider every possible course of action. He turned his attention to the second group, and nodded at Turel Sorenn.


“Lord Consul,” the scarred human said curtly. “We’ve managed to get the plague under control, but Valtiere and Kooki are still on Ol’val coordinating those efforts. Beside that, our supplies are still thinning. We won’t be able to hold on much longer, with treating for the plague…”
Marick exhaled slowly. His mind did cartwheels. Strategos’ cough interrupted him before the silence could stretch too far. The Consul turned his head, and waited.

“Oh, right,” Strategos said. “I guess I should also mention that Gethsemane was hit by a rogue fleet. We believe they have stolen vital information on the family, as well as other pertinent history kept in the libraries there on Arcona.”

Marick blinked once. After a few beats, he nodded his head at his fellow Arconae. “Do what you need to do, then. Get that information back, I’ll send you what we can spare.”

“Right,” the Adept said, offering a half-bow and then walking towards the exit.

The doors to the Throne Room groaned open.

The servos of a hover-chair echoed out as a slender woman wrapped in blankets floated towards the dais. At her side, Timeros Entar Arconae walked with purpose, one hand on the hilt of a Westar and the other on the hilt of one of his lightsabers. Marick had no doubt his former Master would kill the first thing that even breathed wrongly at his adopted sister.
“Hey boys,” Atyiru said meekly, sounding just as small and fragile as she looked. It was unnerving to hear her speak without her youthful, perpetual energy. As she drew closer to the group, Marick felt something tighten in his chest. He had lost count of how many lives he’d taken or had taken from him–how many injuries and blood and sweat and tears had been shed in the course of his time in the Brotherhood. This? Seeing one of his own, what Marick viewed as part of the future of the Shadow Clan, in this position, hit home.

An attack on one is an attack on us all, Marick had said when explaining the decision to go on the controversial sojourn to the Hapes Cluster. He had never felt his own words so heavily.

“Hey girl,” Celevon replied amicably enough, nodding to his fellow godparent. “We’ve been discussing our next move, and how this all happened.”

“About thaaat,” the Miraluka began, dragging out the word. She sighed heavily. “I know how it happened.”

Timeros’s ice eyes snapped sharply downward, and Marick’s eyes narrowed.

“His name is Ethran,” Atyiru went on quietly. “Ethran Sayre, and he’s…he’s the one behind all this. The attacks, Faust, the One Sith. But it’s not his fault!” Her voice changed abruptly, protesting. “Whatever happens, we can’t–we can’t just hurt him for it. He’s not in control of himself. Sort of. It…it’s complicated.”

“Slow down and report,” her fellow Aedile stated firmly.

“And start with how you know any of this,” Strategos added from behind her, giving his younger sibling a shrew look.

Atyiru bowed her head. “He and I are Force-bonded. He’d been reaching out to me, while I was comatose. He…Ashla and Bogan, he knows everything I do, to a certain extent. That’s the key. It’s my fault,” her voice cracked.

“What?!” Cethgus growled, advancing, but her reply stopped him before anyone else could.

“I said it’s my fault!” she snarled back. “All of it. That’s how they got here, it’s how they know our defenses, our movements, how the infiltrators got in…all of it. And I can’t do anything about it. I didn’t think it would ever be a problem…”

A beat passed.

“Well if he knows us, then you know him, right?” Adam suggested hopefully.
“Yeah…he’s extremely powerful, and intelligent. I’ll put together a dossier for you. Just…please promise me he won’t be harmed.”

No one said any such thing. Atyiru’s shoulders hunched and she nodded into the silence.

Marick took it all in and turned his back on the gathered group. His eyes closed as his breathing became an audible metronome. He lowered himself deeper into Deadheart, and felt his emotional attachment to the trials at hand sever away to give birth to pure, cold-hearted logic. When he spoke, his voice was resonant with authority and confidence. When his eyes opened they were no longer chill and sharp, but hard and mechanical.

“Captain Bly, you will help coordinate the efforts here in the city with Dark Forge. I’m leaving you personally responsible for any more damages that the city incurs and I will not hesitate to take them from your paycheck.”

“What paycheck…?” Bly grumbled.

“Cethgus. This mess happened on your watch. I am putting you in charge of the recovery of our members. You will take the Invicta, and both the Creeping Darkness and the Shadow and whatever other ships we can spare.”

“Sir, if the Shadow is–” Turel interjected.

“Yes, Aedile,” Marick said smoothly. “I want Qel-Droma moving to answer this dilemma as well. This Ethran is not pulling any punches, and neither will we. We will show them what happens when you wake the rancor.”

Turel snapped a salute with a fist to the chest. “We’ll make them pay, boss.”

Marick turned back to Cethgus. “I also want Ood recalled immediately to work on solutions to countering the Rakghoul contagion. Tell him if he succeeds in fighting it, I will have a fresh batch of subjects delivered to his lab in Bulkhead.”

“Understood,” the Quaestor nodded, his seasoning as a warrior hiding the shudder at the subtext of the offered reward.

“What of the supplies, though?” Celevon added, arms folded across his chest.
Marick raised a hand. “I will handle that matter…personally. In the meantime, Legorii, I’m leaving command of this operation in your hands.”

“Understood, Lord Consul,” Legorii said with a bow.

“Dismissed,” Marick said simply. Everyone filtered out save for Legorii, Timeros, and Atyiru.

“Do not leave her side,” Marick said.

The other Arconae shrugged a shoulder, as if he’d already planned on doing so whether Marick had instructed it or not.

“Sir,” the Entar said by way of acknowledgment. He turned to go, but Atyiru stayed for a moment longer and weakly reached her hand towards Marick.

The Shadow Lord froze in place, his perfect air of control faltering for just a second. Only
Timeros and Legorii could have seen it. He swallowed, steeled his nerves, took an easy step forward, took her hand, and squeezed it gently.

“You focus on getting better. We will need you once I’ve sorted all of this out. Consider your clinic hours doubled.”

He let go of the hand. She frowned up at him. “I was frakking shot, you 'nerf.”

“Details,” he replied calmly, slipping out of Deadheart. She gave him a smile as Timeros took a hold of her chair and turned her to leave.

The doors closed and Legorii and Marick stood alone in the throne room with the crackling of fire. Marick moved effortlessly back to the top of the dias and settled into the Serpentine Throne. It felt odd to be seated in the thing, but its usefulness for communicating with his members was unparalleled.

There was work to do, and so little time. War was coming. Things were going to change, and Arcona needed to be ready if they were going to survive them.

-= Operation: Resurgence =-


Arcona Citadel
Antechamber Outside the Throne Room
House Qel-Droma

Turel filtered out of the throne room with the rest of the assembled Clan Summit. His head was spinning from a lack of sleep, the sheer gravity of what had just transpired and the noxious fumes of the lingering disinfectant which had been used to clean his teal Pride armor of Rakghoul entrails. Yuck. He shook his head in an effort to regain focus.

The Qel-Droma delegation gathered in one corner of the antechamber to discuss their next move. Celevon crossed his arms and shot Turel an impatient look. The Aedile held up his left index finger in a dismissive “one moment” signal as he turned to approach the Quaestor of Galeres.

The Templar knew of Cethgus mostly by reputation. The Primarch was a renown warrior and legendary swordsman, and he was one of the few people Turel admired as an Obelisk. The Galeres Quaestor had probably spoken maybe three sentences to him outside of official Summit meetings and war councils. The icy Zabrak did not appreciate Turel’s warped sense of humor or tendency to crack jokes in stressful situations. After having a few tense encounters with Cethgus, Turel began to wonder if having a large stick surgically implanted in one’s rear was a prerequisite for becoming a Quaestor in Arcona.

“Hey Cethgus!” If looks could kill then Turel would have burst into flames and disintegrated on that very spot. “I mean, my lord Quaestor.” This formality thing was so hard to get used to.

The Primarch’s brow remained furrowed and his emerald eyes remained fixed on the impudent Aedile as if they were about to discharge plasma bolts at him. “What do you want Sorenn? I’m rather busy at the moment,” he inquired in an exasperated tone.

Turel sympathized with the Quaestor’s plight: two of his teams were missing and his Aedile had suffered a near fatal injury. “I, um, just wanted to you to know that whatever Qel-Droma forces I have stand ready to assist. We stand with you.”

The death gaze subsided. “I would expect no less,” the Primarch stated curtly.

Before Turel could reply, Legorii exited the throne room and moved directly toward the Quaestor and Aedile. “Ah, you are both here, time is of the essence.”

Turel considered himself open-minded and someone that gave everyone a fair shot, but he was undeniably prejudiced against Anzati, all Anzati. Without exception every member of the predatory race gave the Templar the creeps. It wasn’t anything personal, his family hadn’t been devoured by Anzat or anything cliche like that. Something about that whole species just didn’t sit right with Turel. He had worked closely with the Krath during the Nicht Ka campaign but still felt uncomfortable in face to face meetings.

The Proconsul turned directly to the Qel-Droma Aedile. “What is the current status of your forces on Selen?”

Turel glanced down at the datapad built into his Lion’s Claw gauntlet which had been presented to him when he became honor guard to the Grand Master and subsequently keyed to the Acrona command networks. “Our infantry are still holding the quarantine in Korda, handing control over to local forces. Apex Brigade is wrapping up the destruction of the plague dispersion devices but the leader of the One Sith cell responsible evaded Arete and broke through the quarantine. I can have Arete and Apex assembled here within four hours and the rest of our ground forces in eight.”

Legorii paused as he absorbed the information, “If the situation in Korda is under control then turn it over to the locals and recall your forces to the Citadel for a new mission. Contact Valtiere and have him take the Shadow and any space forces he can muster to rendezvous with the Invicta for a counter-attack. We’re taking our system back.”

The Templar brought the Lion’s Claw to his chest in a saluting gesture. “It will be done.”

The Pronconsul turned to Cethgus, “I need you to coordinate with Valtiere when we assemble at the rendezvous point. We will need a joint task force broken off from the main effort to locate and recover the Nighthawk while the rest of our fleet engages the enemy.”

Turel took a deep breath. “I have a personal request.” The Anzat and Zabrak glared at the Human with irritated anticipation. “When we were in Odan-Urr together, Sight risked his life to liberate myself and my team from enemy captivity and his Fade, Lilly, literally saved my life on a DIA mission. I owe them both. Send me with whatever force is going to aid the Nighthawk.”

Legorii stroked his chin as his proboscises dangled eerily, “Very well, I can’t guarantee you command of the task force that will search for the Nighthawk, that will depend on who and what we send, but you will be on it when it is assembled.” Cethgus nodded in agreement.

Turel gave a respectful bow, “Thank you, Lord Proconsul.” He was getting the hang of this formal protocol thing after all. The Krath gave the Templar a dismissive wave as he walked off with Cethgus to further refine the plan of action.

The Aedile walked over to the assembled members of the Qel-Droma Summit gathered on the far side of the antechamber. Celevon cocked an eyebrow in silent question. The Templar idly wondered if he should be worried by the fact that he could have a full conversation with the Shadicar merely through a series of silent gestures.

“Recall Arete to the Citadel and prepare for a new mission.”

“What kind of new mission?”

Turel grinned, “You’re going to help Soulfire. They’ve gone missing and we need your team’s skills to find out what happened to them and, if need be, rescue them.” The Aedile’s face turned serious. “I figured you would want to be the one to go after Kooki’s husband and the twin’s father.”

“You figured correctly.”

The Templar turned to the Apex commander, “Adam, I need you to recall your team and assist Dark Forge here in the capital. There are enemy agents everywhere and we need to hunt them down and secure the city.” The Knight nodded with understanding.

Finally Turel turned to his student, the ex-commando and Sith Protector Nicolai Andre Rodell, more commonly known as Rod. “I need you to gather a platoon of infantry and prepare them for ship to ship operations. We’re going to go with the task force searching for the Nighthawk and it always helps to be prepared.”


Soulfire Strike Team

Detention Cell
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

Thanks to the effects of the Tranqarest, Andrelious was not sure exactly how long had passed since his capture. The events since then had run together a little in his mind, but he was sure that he had been locked up for at least a day or two.

Saskia’s betrayal had hit the Warlord a lot harder than he had expected. He had not seen his daughter since she had thrown her lot in with Pepco and his allies, but could still sense her nearby. He could also still feel the rest of his team, confirming to his relief that Soulfire’s membership had not yet been executed.

In the last few hours, Andrelious was beginning to feel stronger again. It was as if the Tranqarest was finally beginning to wear off, but the Soulfire Captain remembered that he had been given more of the tranquiliser on several occasions. His captors had also arranged for several torture sessions, seemingly for the sake of it rather than to gather any useful information; they already seemed to know everything that they needed to know.

Clambering off the bed, Andrelious noticed a flickering red light at the far corner of his cell. He hadn’t noticed it before, but blamed this on the way he had been feeling. With a little caution, he moved slowly over to it, reaching his hand out in the blackness to feel exactly what it was. To his surprise, he felt the thin durasteel of the casing of a datapad.

What in the name of Palpatine is that doing in here?

With no hesitation, the former Imperial pulled the small device towards himself and grasped around for its power switch. Finding it quickly, Mimosa-Inahj was presented with the sight of the datapad lighting up. Its backlight was strong enough to light the majority of the sparse cell, but it was the message displayed on the screen that was of interest to Andrelious.


Well, well, well. Thirty years and I’ve finally found you again. I’d heard of an ‘Andrelious’ operating against the One Sith, but I had to be sure it was you. Once I saw the list of prisoners that that flatfoot Pepco’s responsible for, your name jumped straight out at me. What’s this Mimosa business? Did you go and forget the little promise I made you? And you’ve got a daughter, as well! You little hussy!

Anyway, I’ve ‘taken responsibility’ for the continued drugging of you and your friends. Wouldn’t it be unfortunate if I forgot a dosage or two? We’ve all been told a lot about the legendary Soulfire Strike Team. I’d hate to be around if they made a jailbreak!

Wait till your chrono hits 0630. That’s the next time your guards change shifts. You’ll have a two minute window before the new shift reset the locks. They never did bother to correct the design flaw with the locks! You should be able to trip them with the Force with little problem.

Lots of love,


PS: Seems that one calling himself your former apprentice caused quite a stir at the lower security cells!

Things started to make a little more sense as the Warlord felt the last vestiges of Tranqarest departing his system. A check of his chrono told him that he five minutes to prepare.

He smiled to himself as he waited for the last few minutes to tick by.

What a time for her to find me!

Maximum Security Area
Detention Level

Two guards flanked either side of the Detention Level corridor, looking boredly at a large clock on the wall. As they waited, each puffed on a cigarillo.

“Right, Frent. That’s our shift done with! I’ll be glad to get away from these frakking Dark Jedi. Something tells me that we’re not going to be able to hold them forever,” the slightly taller guard stated.

“Come on, Jart! At least we’d see some action! We already missed out on the attack on the Entar Estate. With the amount of Tranqarest we’ve been pumping into these people, they’d be sitting ducks if they even TRIED to escape,” Frent replied. He was much younger than his colleague, and was still brash and thirsty for action.

Jart sighed at his ally’s ignorance. “You’ve never faced a Dark Jedi, have you, Frent? One of those bastards can take out dozens if they’re fully armed. Didn’t you hear what happened to the Captain? One of the LOWER ranked members took him and his woman out. Took them a whole hour to get that sector under control again.”

“You’re forgetting that they hadn’t sedated that Zabrak. We’ve had no trouble up here, even with that weird Saskia chick apparently now on our side.” Frent answered, finishing his cigarillo as the time hit 0630.

The two turned to leave, boarding the turbolift with a nod to their replacements as they crossed over.

“Don’t forget to reset the locks. Pepco was clear. Take no chances.” Jart stated as the lift’s doors slowly closed.

One of the new guards headed to the first cell on the left hand side, accessing the lock’s control panel. At that precise moment, the cell door slid open, revealing an unarmed Andrelious.

“You! Stop right there!” one of the guards ordered, pointing his E-15 directly at the Warlord’s head.

“Wait! He’s unarmed!” the second guard declared, throwing her own blaster onto the metallic floor.

At that precise moment, the man aiming his weapon towards Andrelious was lifted high into the air and smashed into the far wall, a crunching sound on impact indicating that the Arconan had broken his enemy’s ribs. Reaching the discarded blaster first, the Soulfire Captain fired a single shot in the direction of the guard that he had just telekinetically flung into the wall, then turned it on its original owner.

“One false move and you join your friend there in hell. If you choose to help me instead, I’ll spare you. Clear?” the Warlord spat as the female raised her arms in surrender. The woman simply nodded, glancing briefly at her deceased colleague. Andrelious walked towards the corpse, taking the blaster and comlink.

“Release my friends. Then I want you to show me where our equipment is,” the Sith commanded. His captive quickly obeyed, unlocking the nearby cells. As the doors open, Andrelious was reunited with Wes and Riverche, and Achilleus.

“That’s some of them. Where are the rest of them? Where are Scarlet, Aiorus and Rotidor?” Mimosa-Inahj barked, waving his stolen blaster menacingly at the guard’s head.

“They’re located in the lower security area. They weren’t considered such a risk! We didn’t even have them sedated!” the woman explained frantically, amazed at the fact that the Soulfire Captain hadn’t killed her. In return, Andrelious could sense that her loyalty to the cause was far from absolute; in particular she appeared to be losing interest in the campaign against Arcona, although the Warlord couldn’t quite figure out why. Considering the situation a little, Andrelious was brought out of his musings by a nudge from Wes, who pointed out a small security camera located in the upper corner by the turbolift’s doors.

“We need to move quickly. With how security conscious these people are, they’ll already know we’ve escaped. And I hate to say it, but I very much doubt they’re going to be too interested in the fact that we have a prisoner of our own now. We can’t even really use the turbolift for long because of the frakking gas traps,” Andrelious declared, handing the second E-15 Blaster to Wes.

Security Station Besh

“This is a very interesting system you’ve got here, Commander.” Saskia stated, her eyes pouring over the data on the large bank of monitors before her.

“It’s just what came with the ship, Miss Ortega-Inahj. I’m sure your father is familiar with it.” Pepco replied.

“Just Ortega. I don’t need the name of that small-minded man anymore,” the Cirrian answered emotionlessly.

“Very well. Now I’ve shown you this, it’s about time you helped us out. Use your comlink. Tell your superiors that Andrelious is dead. They’ll give you command for sure.” Pepco demanded.

“You’ll have to turn off the jammer. Otherwise I can’t broadcast anything,”

“Go ahead. That green button over there. It’ll disable the jamming,” the male answered, pointing in the direction of a nearby control panel.

“THIS one?” the Arconan asked, pushing a blue button above and to the left of the one that Pepco had intended. As she did so, the Force massaged the Commander’s mind slightly, distracting him from what Saskia was really doing. A message flashed up on a nearby monitor indicating that all turbolift gas traps had been deactivated.

“Oh. You meant THAT one,” the Krath giggled, feigning realisation of her ‘mistake’ and pushing the green button instead.

Maximum Security Level

“River. Retune this comlink to the Arconan frequency. I can’t imagine we’ll be able to get anything out, but at least if we can find the jamming device we’ll be able to hear what’s going on.” Andrelious instructed, handing the dead guard’s comlink to his communications specialist.

The Miraluka did as she was asked, immediately hearing the crackling of a message.

“Captain. There’s a message coming in.” she announced with some urgency.

Andrelious moved a little closer to Riverche, allowing him to hear the message.

“This is Ortega-Inahj. Andrelious is dead. Requesting I be given full command of whatever elements of Soulfire I can spring back out of the enemy ship. Situation is a Code 565-Qek-Aurek,” Saskia’s voice declared, with a clarity that indicated the jamming was off.

“Backstabbing little-“ River began.

“Genius? 565-Qek-Aurek isn’t the right code, River. That particular code indicates that we’re returning a late library book,” Andrelious chuckled as he realised what Saskia was up to.

“So what is she doing?” Achilleus enquired.

“I’ll imagine that Pepco, who you’ll all know as the one who has been leading our torture sessions, has asked her to tell Galeres HQ that I’ve been killed. He’s obviously going to try and use her to get to the rest of the summit. What he’s then going to do is not so obvious. I imagine someone such as Nadrin will figure out that the code Saskia’s sent isn’t correct. Hopefully he’ll have the thought to share it with the rest. I wouldn’t want Kooki thinking I’m dead, especially with poor Atyiru still comatose,” the Warlord explained.

River smiled and the majority of the assembled Soulfire members nodded. “Should we get to our equipment now, Captain?”

“Good idea, River.” Mimosa-Inahj declared, turning back to his prisoner. “You. Take us to our things. And please tell us your name. I want to have some idea of who you are, at least”

“I am Xyrilia Queslyn,” the female stated simply. Andrelious was a little surprised at how easily she had volunteered the information.

“Very well, Miss Queslyn. Now, our equipment. And don’t try anything foolish.”

Seized Items Room

To their relief, Soulfire found that the room containing items taken from prisoners was unguarded. Queslyn’s keycard had immediately granted them access to the lockers that contained their items. On being reunited with his equipment, Andrelious noticed that his lightsabers were not present. The rest of his items, however, were accounted for.

“No sabers. That’s weird. Any ideas what happened to them, Miss Queslyn?” he queried.

“They were here. I remember yours. Two. One black. One silver - the silver one made from the hull of a TIE,” the captured female responded.

“Impressive observations. It’s a shame you’re working with the enemy - you’d make an excellent intelligence agent,” Andrelious smirked.

“I’m just some hired help they picked up on the way here. All of Faust’s actual men are busy with the real action. I’m beginning to think I’m not going to get paid.” Queslyn sighed.

“Why don’t you stick with us? Help out here and I’ll put in a good word for you with the Agency.” Mimosa-Inahj promised.

Security Station Aurek

A large cloud of smoke emanated from a destroyed console. Slumped over it was the dead body of the man who had been watching the various security cameras spread out over the Oath Breaker.

Deactivating a lightsaber blade, a tall, flame haired woman smiled at the death and destruction she had caused.

“Nobody locks my Andrelious up,” she hissed, walking away.


The Citadel, Estle City
Present day
[House Galeres]

She sat in a quiet place, a dark place with silent things and whispered things. A brazen place, with broken light that rarely felt like talking and swirling pools that murmured on and on. It was a place for sleeping and for secrets and for little girls with hair like silver.

It didn’t hurt here. The air was clean and still and no one bothered her, and neither did the solitude. No one else was near, but she was not alone.

She was never alone.

How was that? She almost stopped to consider it, but the thought was already melting away like the warm echo of a dream. Thinking here was not the proper way of things.

She smiled, hugging her arms around her knees, and rolled onto her side. Grass tickled her nostrils, cool and sweet, pressed flat by her cheek. She breathed.


She startled. Someone called out again. Someone else in her mind, in this secret place for little girls with silver hair, and maybe a silver-haired boy too…


“…ru? Ma’am? My Lady? Uh…hello?”

The Miraluka sat up straight, shaking herself from her stupor. She turned to her friend. “Ah, I’m sorry, Leiss, I tuned out a bit there.”

The older nurse gave her a smile with a frown underneath it. “Oh, no, it’s to be expected. You just woke up and all.”

Atyiru shook her head. “I know, I know, bad coma patient, bad. Stop getting up and running around! You have muscle atrophy and mental degeneration and you might die of infection! Oh, wait, Force-juju and a mad scientist.”

Leiss’s face twisted, like she was getting all the pieces of her scowl together. The Aedile quickly raised her hands placatingly.

“That was snarky, I apologize. Now, what were you trying to tell me?”

“Mii-Jook needs you over at bed ten. His patient’s wound is infected, and we’ve been ordered to conserve most antibiotics. There’s also a little boy in ward two who needs what’s left of his fingers stitched up, but the parents are rather…wary of the Citadel’s hospital workers. Oh, and Lady Mimosa-Inahj contacted the clinic looking for you.”

She made a mental note to call Kooki later. “I’ll be right there to talk to the parents when I’m done with bed ten. Has Ood arrived yet?”

Revulsion radiated strongly from the elderly Human woman. “Lord Bnar,” she replied stiffly. “Was just escorted from the front desk. I expect he’ll check in here eventually, when he’s done perverting the laboratory.”

Rather than step on that particular landmine at the moment, Atyiru patted her colleague’s arm and thanked her, steering her hoverchair over to the indicated bed, her thoughts bleak. Even her brother’s presence, looming and dark across the room, was little comfort. Worry for her missing friends, her clanmates, her soldiers, and her civilian charges all weighed heavy in her chest.

But the little voice in the back of her head worried the loudest.

Ethran, where are you?

There wasn’t much time to focus on it, however. The door to her medbay swished open again, and the short, icily furious figure of her Quaestor came striding in.

AGV Nighthawk
Deck Three
Unknown Location
Two days ago

“Now, get the rancor shit outta yer ears and listen up, kid,” Jax said with a friendly grin, gripping the young soldier by the shoulder. “Here’s whatcha gonna do. You’re gonna give my good friend here–say hello, Kael.”

Kael punched the dumb nerf-herder in the throat a second time.

“What was I sayin’? Right. You’re gonna give Kael yer gear an’ yer ID and yer comm, then yer gonna tell us how many of yer people are runnin’ around our ship, and then yer gonna shut up and sit nice and quiet in the corner and act like you don’t exist. Got it?”

The man finished his latest throat-punched coughing fit and managed to reply with a very enthusiastic, “Frak you.”

Jax’s hold on his shoulder changed and he shoved the Human down against the industrial-sized stove top of the lovely little kitchen they were in. The Mandalorian growled at him and turned the temperature up high. “Let’s try that again, you stupid fraktrain. Do you want to do as you’re told, or do you want to see how long it takes to pan-sear yer frakkin’ teeth?”

It turned out he wanted to do as he was told.


“See, I think that went well.”

“Sure, Sarge, nice recovery. I didn’t think you could turn it around, getting so karking lost in those ducts that we ended up in the mess two levels down from the bridge, but you’re always surprising me.”

“Ahh, shove a grenade up yer ass, ya walkin’ tin can.”

“You mean like your mo–”

“I will disconnect my arm and beat you with it.”

A small noise down the hall silenced them. The two warriors quickly and silently shifted their positions with a prayer that they hadn’t been heard. Kael, armored and outfitted like their enemy, grabbed Jax by the wrists and wrenched both his arms behind his back, shoving him along in front of him.

A small cadre of scrawny, darkly-armored soldiers rounded the corner moments later. “Report,” one of them hissed through his helmet, voice buzzing weirdly.

“This wing is clear, ‘cept this one and the bodies. Think all the good activity’s up top.”

“This unit does not care for the quality of activity involved. Take the prisoner to the bridge with the others as the Master ordered.”

Struggling convincingly in his brother’s hold, Jax hissed through bared fangs. Droid soldiers? That little di’kut didn’t mention droids! Son of a ge’hutuun. What next?

It turned out ‘next’ was getting the butt of a plasma rifle inserted cleanly into his face by a rather methodical combat droid.


AGV Nighthawk

Consciousness came back like the son of a bantha that it was: hard, fast, and raw.

Frak, his teeth hurt. That was his immediate thought. The rest came after it.

Everything heaved up and down. He was being carried. Jax screwed open his eyes and immediately started writhing when he found his limbs were restrained.

“Udesii, ori’vod,” someone grumbled urgently in his ear, and the Zygerrian slowly stilled, realizing it was just Kael holding him slung over his shoulders. So their disguise had worked.

Well, damn, who woulda thought?

“Me’bana?” Jax croaked back, tasting blood in his mouth, along with a whole lot of spit and mucus. And something hard. He spat, eyeballing the tiny puddle of red slime and the white tooth that came out with it. Frakking shit, not another one!

“Escorting ya real nice up to the bridge. Lift’s still busted, but they’ve just been cutting holes through the deck and sending down ropes. You weigh too much, Sarge.” Kael whispered. “They’ve rounded up everybody at this point, even Nortorshin and the Commander. Captain’s still kickin’ though, I think. Haven’t seen 'er yet.”

Jax blinked a few times and shook himself into focus, looking down the hall and at the hostiles around them. Lots of hostiles. Some more of the thin, armored figures he knew were a bunch of boltbrains, and some more soldiers of varying races. Most wore headgear, but he scanned the faces he could see. Some looked young, probably fresh mercs by their swagger, and some looked too old and beat up to be getting even bouncer duty anymore.

Bottom of the barrel, desperate shabuirs. Figures. Wonder how outnumbered we are by all the clankers.

He had his answer a few minutes later. Their little entourage arrived at the bridge, the red emergency lights of a lockdown alarm still blinking dimly around the door. Jax craned around in Kael’s hold to see the damage on deck.

Shit was karked up.

Wires everywhere. Smoke from electrical fires, by the stench of it. Crew laid up all over, maybe just playin’ dead, maybe dyin’. He wheezed. Damn, but the air was thin in here. His eyes flicked over the sheer amount of people passed the frak out, and he wondered if the lack of oxygen had been intentional.

‘Course, intentions didn’t mean jack to the alor’ad.

Arcia Cortel was busy wreaking havoc and giving as good as she got. Droids and soldiers alike–those poor, dumb di’kuts–swarmed at her and she went about throwing them across the room and knockin’ skulls only the way a spark-fingered Force-user could. Her saber saw little use, spinning back a few bolts.

Mostly, she just punched them all.

Kael shook him. “Oi, Sarge, enjoy the show another time. They got company.”

The Mandalorian’s gaze flicked up to a figure near the holodisplay. Black robes and cloak, all-important posture, standing there looking pretentious and ominous.

Totally another Dark Jedi. Frak.

The figure leapt forward in an insane arc and landed right next to Arcia in the midst of the fighting, hood and sleeves billowing. A long-handled red blade activated and in a blink they were engaged, looking like a holiday light show.

It didn’t last long. Some Sergeant or another called in a charge, and all the soldiers rushed in to take her down as soon as the Sith woman she fought stepped away. The Prelate threw them off, but they came right back, and by the second time, the other Force-user had had enough. Arcia and several of the soldiers still holding onto her were blasted across the deck towards them by a mental hammer. The Sith advanced with blade ready, looking murderous.

Jax stopped pretending and jumped out of Kael’s hold. He dove forward and grabbed the captain, looping his cybernetic arm around her throat in a chokehold and yanking her up. He nearly got his hand ripped right off for the effort as she struggled.

“Get…off of me, you no good furball! They can’t…take this ship!” Arcia strained to speak against Jax’s hold.

The Zygerrian tightened his grip. “This is what you do, alor’ad, when you can’t win. You don’t get to live, you just survive. Yer no good dead. Let the ship go,” he growled at her. By some miracle of either exhaustion, lack of air, or injuries–or all three–she finally slumped in his grip.

Sure as shit wasn’t you givin’ up bein’ stubborn, he thought at the woman as he released her and was promptly tackled by four different meatheads and wrestled into cuffs.

Unknown Ship
Unknown Location
Present day

Lacking nothing else to do, Jax Erinos sat in his cell and poked at the two new gaps in his teeth with his tongue.

“My teeth, Kael,” he muttered, not for the last time.

In the cell adjacent to him, his best bud gave time-tested reply of, “I know, Sarge.”

“I’m gonna shove splinters under their frakkin’ fingernails for every one I lost,” he complained. “My pretty frakkin’ smile, ruined.”

“By the Force, Pretty Boy Punchy, would you shut the frak up already?” someone down the hall a little ways shouted. Jax couldn’t immediately identify the voice, but he suspected it to be one of the crew. Maybe the security chief. The commander?

The Mandalorian’s eyes darted to the cell directly across from his, expecting to hear the captain telling them to all be quiet from behind the barrier of plasma that held her. But she was silent, sitting against the far wall.

He growled to himself and went quiet, still prodding at his gums.

Some time later, the door to their little dungeon opened. Jax scooted forward as far as his manacles would allow, expecting to see the usual fare of boltbrains delivering grub. Instead, he saw a lithe, willowy man dressed in funky dark clothes. His skin was white, and his hair, and his eyes, except for what looked like the five inches of eyeliner caked around them. He looked briefly Jax’s way and the Mandalorian couldn’t help the instinct that had him recoiling.

Something was wrong about this guy, sure as could be.

The weird man turned to Arcia’s cell. “Greetings, Captain Cortel,” he said, polite but emotionless. Was that the voice from the intercom? Maybe. “I hope you find the accommodations bearable. It is not pleasant, I would think, to be back in such a situation. But I assure you, there will not be any womb-ripping or infanticide this time.”

Jax had no frakking idea what the freak was talking about, but Arcia obviously did. The look in her eyes was like nothin’ Jax had seen before, something way beyond pissed.

Frak frak frak frakkin’ frak frak.

Arcia remained silent, her eyes speaking for her. The fire held within her once green orbs altered and reflected her emotion as they became a stoic gray. She quickly betrayed her gaze and trembled with rage…

The man tipped his head, and Jax could just see the edge of an expression that wasn’t a smile. “My name is Ethran Sayre. We will speak more,” he intoned, turning to leave.

As he did so, his gaze passed over Jax again, and the Mandalorian swore the overhead lights dimmed into next to nothing. All he could see were those freak’s eyes shining in the dark, like search lights pinning him down.

Then he was gone. Jax let out a ragged breath and felt his heart pounding in his chest.

What the kark? he wondered into the silence that followed.


Arcona Citadel
Medical Center
House Galeres

Cethgus stalked down the hall, his ears still ringing from the conversation. His boots slowly echoed through the corridors as he walked towards the medical center. This whole situation was an issue, Dark Forge still out there fighting on the frontlines and then Marick ordering the Primarch to atone for the sins that had happened on his watch.

But right now, there was one person that he needed to speak to, someone who he would have words with before preparing for the mission at hand. As he entered the medical bay, he watched the people around him hustling and bustling, keeping up treatments on various patients. His cold eyes focused on one of them, and he approached. She turned.

“Hello Atyiru, are we feeling any better?” It was clear from his tone that the Primarch was not here to make small talk at all.

“I’ll be in top shape and back to annoying you in no time, brother-darling, don’t worry.”

“Really? It seems that you have other matters on the mind, like maybe what has happened here should be your mess to clean up and not mine.”

“It should be,” she said back coolly. “And I’ll do everything I can, but these are our people, not just mine, brother.”

“True, but our people lay dead or captured because someone slipped up. Once more I see people dying around you, sister,” the Primarch allowed his posture to show the anger that was raging through his body at the situation they were in as his eyes pierced into Atty’s soul.

“I know!” she snapped at him as her voice cracked. “It’s my fault but I’m trying to fix what I can, and it can’t be everything. I’ll own up to it, brother. Not you, no one else. Not even Ethran, so don’t you dare try anything with him.”

It seemed that the shouting had attracted the attention of an old nurse who was heading towards the pair of them. She moved swiftly towards the Quaestor as his eyes glanced towards her, and seeing her, the Iridonian turned.

“If you’re going to cause that noise or irritate patients and staff, you can leave right now,” she demanded, her voice strict with the Quaestor.

It was apparent to Atyriu instantly what Cethgus was about to do: she knew the familiar posture he took up before a strike. As his body turned in fluid motion he allowed his eyes to focus on the mundane woman in front of him.

With a half-cry of, “No!” the Krath launched out of her chair and into the nurse with all the power she could muster. They both hit the ground, the Primarch looming over them.

Sister, how you disappoint. Your attachment to this woman is naive, even misplaced. Think on your actions before you make them next time.” The Primarch bent down, his hand grabbing the Miraluka by the throat as he hauled her back into the chair–only to quickly catch the eye of his older brother nearby.

“I will have words when I return,” the Quaestor promised, back away at a glare from the Elder. It seemed that Cethgus’ respect for him brought this matter to an end.

Atyiru coughed. “Come home safe with everyone, brother. They get bet on our next sparring match.”
Cethgus allowed himself to return Atty’s words with a simple nod before he walked out of the medical bay, his words clearly hitting their mark with his sister for now. As he walked down the hall, he heard the voice of some grunt coming from behind him.

“My Lord Quaestor, I have information for you, sir,” the soldier panted, his voice showing signs of the run he just made to find the Iridonian.

“What is it then?” Cethgus asked, his voice as cold as ever, his hand extending to wait for a report to be handed to him. As he scanned the report a small smirk came to his lips.

“It seems the fleet has realised they were tricked after all, they are on their way back to us as we speak. Hmm, this changes matters, we need to be ready for when they do arrive. When you can find Turel Sorenn, tell him I want to meet him,” the Primarch quickly dismissed the soldier with a single flick from his hand. After he watched the man scramble away, his boots continued down the corridor.

Time passed for the Quaestor, his mind spinning, until he stood in the hangar bay, watching as the few crafts that were capable of getting them to the fleet were being prepared. The actions and planning would have to be quick and precise, to say the least. It seemed that the Galeres troops were preparing to take the task at hand–well, those that were not fighting were currently, at least. They stood in the hangar being briefed on their mission and task.

“Sir, Galeres forces are currently eighty percent ready. We are waiting for troops to report in as we speak. Those that are not here are currently fighting on the ground with Dark Forge,” a commander reported. The man’s voice was only answered by a nod as he left those men to continue preparations as he sought the Aedile of Qel-Droma.

It was only a matter of time before he would bump into Turel as he searched the corridors, but right now his mind was still full. Mainly of questions, more about if he could have handled the situation earlier any better, but right now the past was in the past. He would have to sort it out with Atyriu at some other point.
Turning a corner, the Primarch spotted the sight of Turel, and walked quickly to meet him. Noticing that another member was with the Aedile, he then ignored that person completely, allowing his focus to be on the conversation with the other Obelisk. It was time of war, not time for Cethgus to begin socializing more than he had, that much he knew already.

“Sorenn, I just got information that the fleet is on its way back to the system, so we have time for preparation and to get our forces organised and ready for when we take the fight to the enemy. Am I understood?”

“Yes, my Lord Quaestor,” Turel, allowed his attention to switch to the imposing Iridonian as he listened, scarred face blank.

“From what I understand, when the fleet comes back we need troops ready to get onto ships. I will take command from the Invicta as expected, and you will be standing your ground on the Shadow and helping Arete with the ISD issue we currently have. I will allow you to go looking for Nighthawk and her crew on the Shadow with whatever crew we have left after this, but that is all. We still need a fleet here to keep Selene protected,” the Quaetor’s voice was cold, to the point, and firm as always. He allowed the end of the conversation to be on his terms and gave Turel no time to react outside of knowing his duty and what was expected of him.

They had little time to get so much organised, but Cethgus allowed himself to smirk as he walked away, wondering if Turel would live up to his role, or if there would be a need to step in. The experience he had earned from his years of being part of the Clan showed that no matter how much of a beating they were taking, there would always be hope that they came through.

He allowed his feet to begin to take him towards the hangar once more. He would oversee the staging that would have to take place and be ready for when the fleet arrived.


Seized Items Room
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

“I’m not in much of a position to do otherwise,” replied the woman.

“Keep that in mind,” said Andrelious. “You’ll be guiding us through the ship. If you try anything,” Andrelious started, cocking his blaster, “it will go right to your brain.” The Captain of Soulfire pointed the blaster to her head, to which she closed her eyes and flinched. “Get us through this ship, alive, and we may employ you for our future endeavors.”

The woman nodded, and presented her key card. “This should get us close to the lower security detention block.”

While she and Andrelious discussed their route, the rest of Soulfire retrieved and prepped their weapons. Though Soulfire was up against an entire crew aboard an enemy Star Destroyer, they exerted confidence as they brandished their blades and loaded their weapons.

“Hey, new guy.” Achilleus turned to see Wes Biriuk. “I’ve seen you before. You were once Andrelious’ apprentice, weren’t you?”

“Yes,” answered Achilleus. “Why do you ask?”

“He might have mentioned you once… or twice.” Wes inspected his blaster before continuing. “Is it true that you attacked him once?” The Obelisk chuckled.

The Iridonian smiled. “Stupid is as stupid-”

Achilleus words were interrupted by blaster fire. 7 Stormtrooper guards poured into the room. Riverche immediately went to work with her SSK-7. Wes, carrying his T-6, took the left flank. Achilleus followed, closing in with an electro-staff, while Andrelious, taking cover behind a desk, aimed straight through the middle. The troopers were dispatched quickly and without effort.

“Well, if that doesn’t say 'we’re onto you, I don’t know what does,” said Andrelious. “Welcome to Soulfire, Achilleus. Now let’s move.”

The team, with Andrelious and the prisoner at its front, began their way to the other detention block.

Ship Corridors
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

The four Arconans and their new ally turned to a corridor. To their dismay, a group of Stormtroopers had already taken covered defensive positions, open sight. The journey to the other Soulfirians was going to be difficult.


Estle City, Selen
Location, Unknown One Sith bunker

Dark Forge

Kordath’s vision turned white as pain erupted through his exhausted body. He didn’t scream–his throat had gone raw hours before. And frankly, he didn’t have the energy anymore. Still, the Ryn’s body convulsed on the table it was strapped to, flailing like a rag doll. Twitching, Kordath tried to ignore the pain, and block out the incessant voice that seemed to be speaking straight to his brain. That was becoming difficult.

“They left you. They abandoned you. They think you’re useless. They have forgotten you.”

A growl escaped his lips, much to the amusement of the Chistori standing over his body. Power coursed through Dassac’s body, lighting crackling on his fingertips as his harsh, guttural laugh filled the room for a moment. He unleashed it on the Ryn, as he’d done so many times over the last few days, watching his body tense up and stretch up against his bonds.

“They left you. They abandoned you. They think you’re useless. They have forgotten you.”

His nerve endings felt like they were on fire, his muscles bunching uselessly and twitching relentlessly after relaxing.

“They Left You. They Abandoned You. They Thought You Were Worthless. They Have Forgotten You!”

The pain cut through his body, it felt like the marrow of his bones was ice, as if every single one of them would shatter under the pressure.

“Your Clan left you to die. They left your broken body to be incinerated. They thought you lacked worth. You are no great warrior, why would they care for you?”

For a fleeting moment, Kordath thought his eyeballs would boil and explode from his skull. The pressure inside his cranium felt as if his brain was getting crushed. His teeth were grinding against one another loudly enough to resonate in his own head.

“Left behind to die, because they think you’re worthless. Saved by one They told you was an ‘Enemy’. Your Shadow Clan abandoned you, just like you abandoned your family.”

Kordath’s throat bobbed a few times, his mouth trying to move and form words in the brief pause between one pain and the next. His whole world felt like short periods of respite between flashes of agony.

“Ah, it wishes to speak. Very well, little Ryn, you know what you need to say to end all of this unpleasantness.”

The blasted Chistori sounded smug, just a touch of emotion creeping into the usual politely condescending manner. Finally Kordath found his voice, wetting his lips and wondering why it tasted of blood when he did.

“Didn’t…abandon…family. Go…bugger…a…gundark…Scaley,” he managed, before running out of breath.

‘I left them because I knew how easily it would be to become something like you,’ thought the Ryn.

Dassac grinned, holding up a crackling hand. “Ah, but you do not deny the actions of those you called a Clan, your Brothers in the Force, as it were? You are a creature of logic, we’ve established that already, Bleu. I suspect that’s why you attempt to pickle yourself in alcohol instead of facing the world. You do not deny, but you do not yet admit. We shall work on that, hmm?”

A scream was torn from the Priest as Dassac resumed his ‘shock therapy.’ The Chistori had left a chrono sitting on a small table near the ‘patient’, so that Kordath could see the minutes ticking away. Some distant part of the Ryn’s brain, still functioning despite it all, noted with detached interest that the regimen of pain was starting to happen more often. Either Dassac was getting frustrated with him, or something was forcing him to hurry.

“Let us begin again, then.”

“They left you. They abandoned you. They think you’re useless. They have forgotten you.”


Courtyard, CENTCOM Headquarters

Rod casually strolled into the courtyard where exactly 41 men stood in a cluster, talking loudly amongst themselves. Upon seeing the Dark Jedi approach, the men quickly became quiet, and all eyes turned to the young Protector, who made his way to the front of the group and calmly sat down on a ledge.

The ex-commando reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He flipped the top of the pack open and slid out a cigarette with a single practiced hand while using his other hand to dig in his pocket.

“Sithspit.” The Protector said with the cigarette in his lips, “Anyone got a light?”

A young private in the front of the group tossed the Human a lighter, which he then flicked on, lit his cigarette with, and promptly tossed back.

“I’m assuming most of you are wondering why you’re here.” He began “I’ve been through a few hundred dossiers in the past few hours, and you’ve all been pulled from your respective units for a special mission.”

The Protector paused to assess the group, a mix of grunts, most of whom were older than the young Human, and all of whom had seen combat.

“Let’s get introductions out of the way. My name is Nicolai Rodell, however you can just call me Rod. Some of you may have seen me around the Citadel as of late, but I haven’t met any of you yet. I’ve recently joined Arcona, prior to this I was a soldier in the GADF, more specifically the Army. I was attached to Alpha Squad aboard the Megador during the Swarm War.”

An older sergeant near the front cut him off.

“Wait, I know you, you were at Tenupe weren’t you? With Sergeant Wymann’s squad?” The sergeant asked.

“Yes, Sergeant Wymann was my squad leader.” The Protector replied.

“So you were there when that kid Cassius got blown up?” The sergeant continued.

It took every ounce of military discipline the Protector had to not draw his saber and cut the soldier down for mentioning his fallen comrade in such a way. Instead, he calmly replied.

“Yes I was there when Cas died, now let’s move on. Now that I’ve established my credentials, I’m going to brief you on your mission.”

Rod stopped briefly to ash his cigarette, which he had been neglecting.

“You have been called here because you are going to support a strike force tasked with locating the Nighthawk. We’re taking our ship back boys.”

The Protector stopped again to take a drag from his cigarette. There was a bit of mumbling around the group, however the majority of the grunts now had satisfied grins on their faces, this was exactly the kind of mission an infantryman lived for.

“Once we find it, we will be boarding the ship. All of you have been previously trained on ship to ship operations, however since most of you have never worked together, you will be spending the remaining time before we depart rehearsing battle drills. On board you can expect to encounter mostly grunts, however there is a possibility you will encounter some force users, so be alert and be ready. Now, there should be four Staff Sergeants present, forgive me if I don’t remember your names but it’s been a long day, please come forward.”

The four noncommissioned officers made their way out of the crowd and approached the Protector, who was almost young enough to be the son of two of them. He handed each a datapad.

“Sergeants, these are your squads, if you will please gather your men and begin to conduct refreshers on standard boarding procedures as well as close quarters operations. I want them all 100% up to speed on the SOPs and working together fluently within the hour, understood?”

The men all nodded, somewhat reluctantly, they were clearly not used to taking orders from someone so much younger than them. Rod took another drag of his cigarette before speaking again.

“Good, get started.” The Protector said, dismissing the men.

The sergeants walked off and immediately began calling roll and getting their squads together. The young Dark Jedi was then approached by another soldier, Sergeant First Class Callahan.

“I’m assuming my name won’t be on any of those rosters?” The senior noncommissioned officer asked.

“No sergeant,” The Protector replied “You will be the senior platoon sergeant for this operation, therefore it is your responsibility to ensure that those four staff sergeants are properly training these privates. I’ve seen your service record sergeant, you’re the perfect man for the job, don’t let me down.”

Sergeant Callahan nodded his head and promptly moved out to begin supervising his squad leaders, who already had the platoon broken up into squads and were briefing the soldiers. Rod flicked his now finished cigarette and pulled a small communicator out of his pocket.

“Master, the platoon has been assembled, they are currently on standby and ready to deploy at your command.”

A few seconds later Turel’s voice came through the speaker.

“Good, stay with them for now and make sure they will be ready when the time comes. I will call you if I need you.”

“Understood Master, Rod out.”

The Protector reached back into his pocket and pulled out his cigarettes again, this day was a stressful one, the pack was almost empty.

Sergeant Callahan was now back at the Protector’s side, taking a seat next to the Human on the ledge and passing him a light as he pulled out his own pack.

“Level with me, how many losses can I expect on this mission.” The sergeant frankly asked.

“This is the Army sergeant, you should always assume none of you will come home.” The Dark Jedi replied.

“Well you’re a motivational one aren’t you?” Sergeant Callahan laughed.

“I’m realistic Sergeant, but you should know better than most, every day is a good day to die for an Infantryman.”


House Qel-Droma, Apex Brigade

Marrek laid silently in the foliage, AB-5 set up just to his right.Both man and machine had a rifle in hand, the Human with his X-45 and the robot with his DC-17m. Down range from the two marksmen stood Ernordeth Puer-Irae, Kanis Da’uul, Graus Colvin, Blarex, and Kant Lavar. The group appeared to be engaged in heavy fighting with a large group of Rakghouls. Marrek leaned into his rifle, taking aim as he prepared to fire another bolt into the fray. Off to the left, multiple bolts could already be seen flying from what Marrek could only assume to be where Maa’ka had taken up her position. Marrek took a deep breath in as he aligned his sights on the Rakghoul engaged with Kanis. He exhaled slowly and began to squeeze the trigger as Shadex cleared his throat behind him. The bolt flew down range, missing its target and instead shaving off part of the helmet that covered Kanis’ head.

Shadex spoke, “Sir, I’ve got Commander Bolera on comms, he needs to speak to you.”

Kanis’ screams of rage as he cut down the Rakghoul could be heard even from the extended distance that Marrek was at as the sniper turned to look at Shadex before he took the comms device and spoke, “This’d better be important, Adam, I almost took off Kanis’ head because of you.”

“You need to get the squad regrouped and back to the Citadel.You’re being reassigned,” Adam stated.

“You mean hunting Rakghouls and destroying empty devices isn’t the most important waste of our time anymore?” Marrek retorted.

“Just get back to the Citadel, Aedile’s orders. I’ll brief the squad on the new assignment when you all get here,” Adam replied.

“Aye, aye, sir, we’ll be on our way back as soon as we can disengage from our current encounter. Over and out,” finished Marrek, handing the comms unit back to Shadex before he spoke again, “Get Benwarr, tell him to get the transport over here.”

Marrek then tapped his comms and spoke. “Just got word from the Commander, you guys need to disengage from those Rakghoul and get up this hill. Transport will be waiting. We’re being reassigned,”

Kanis’ voice crackled over comms, “You’re telling this to us after trying to take my head off?”

Arcona Citadel
Apex Brigade Barracks
a few hours later

Adam spoke to the group of men that had gathered before them. None of them had yet had a chance to clean up from being in the field, and all of them had rather annoyed looks on their faces–Kanis especially as it was apparent a large portion of his helmet was no longer there. “Our new assignment is one even closer to home, and considerably more important to the higher ups in the clan. It has come to their attention that the enemy has infiltrated our capital, and we have been tasked with showing those enemies what comes to them when they go where they do not belong. Dark Forge will be operating with us on this mission.”

Marrek spoke, “So, to clarify, you pulled me away from shooting mindlessly evil shit to have me shoot knowingly evil shit.”

Adam sighed as he looked at his old master, “I suppose that’s one way to put it. Any other questions? No? Good.”

Kanis then spoke up, “Just one. Can we not put Marrek behind me this time? I like having my head.”

“Tell the Commander not to call me in the middle of a shot next time,” Marrek retorted to Kanis.

“For now, you guys just need to re-equip and be ready to go within the hour. I’ll see if we can get a list of specific targets,” Adam stated wearily before he turned to exit.


Unknown ship
Unknown location

Skar woke up in a panic. His mind was racing and sweat covered his body as it recovered from the nightmare he just had. Pushing the disturbing images from his mind, Rrogon tried to get a grip on his racing heart and replay what had happened. All he could remember was storming the bridge and being met with a wall of blaster fire that had been set to stun, it didn’t take long for him to go down. The last thing he remembered was seeing Arcia trying to hold the forward airlock, but he blacked out before he could make out any details.

Opening his eyes, Skar was greeted with a sight that chilled him to his very soul. He was in a small cell that was pitch black and made of cold durasteel. The energy field that filled the door to his cell was crackling quietly with energy. He could hear someone talking to his left on the outside of the cell. Listening closely, he caught the end of the conversation.

“My name is Ethran Sayre. We will speak more.”

Skar caught the passing shadow’s gaze for only a second, but the already dim lights overhead seemed to darken further as he passed. The young Kaleesh tried to lift his arms but found that he was bound by heavy durasteel cuffs that kept them together. His panic began to grow as he started to hyperventilate.

“No no no no no not again not again I can’t I wont no no no need to get out I can’t go back there.” he muttered to himself and he began to rock back and forth.

Memories from his times on Nar Shaddaa began to flash before his eyes; the cell he was in was the exact same as it was there, so were the cuffs. All the horrible beatings he had received and even more unspeakable things that happened all came screaming back to him in a wave of panic and fear that brought him to his feet.

Adrenaline and rage coursed through his veins and the Dark Side answered his call. He charged the plasma wall, ramming at full speed into the red energy field,sending him hurtling backwards into the back of the cell. Again and again he got up and charged the wall until two guards came to put a stop to it.

“Get back against the wall, NOW!” one of them barked.

Skar could not hear them; all he could hear was his own voice telling him to get out, get out and find some hole to hide in. Anything was better than this cell, but even that was off, it felt like more than one voice was speaking to him but they all said the same thing - GET OUT!

Raising both of their blasters, one of the guards lowered the shield to blast him. As soon as the shield was down, Rrogon ducked under a stun bolt, charging head first into the stomach of the guard, knocking him down. Rising once again, Rrogon brought his bone mask down on the visor of the man below him, shattering it and sending shards of glass into the man’s eyes.

Howls of great pain sounded seconds later as the man screamed and thrashed, trying to throw Skar off, rage brimming in his eyes. He stood up and glanced down the hallway where more guards appeared, forming a wall further down the way to block his path. Taking a step forward, Skar was greeted with a stun bolt straight to his chest which sent him staggering back.

Grimacing in pain, Skar staggered to his feet and kept going. A few steps later, another bolt slammed into him, bringing him to his knees. Blackness filled his vision as a third and final bolt left him sprawled out across the durasteel floor. He was barely able to keep his eyes open, but through the blackness he saw the boots of the guards get closer and the ragged voice of the man that lay beside him spoke.

“Beat this brat until he sees black and blue then throw him back in that cell. Don’t open it for anything, not even for food - we’ll make him learn to regret this.”

The next thing he felt were several boots and the butts of rifles slamming into him. It seemed to last forever until at last he was thrown back into his cell and the plasma wall was restored, leaving Skar in a broken bleeding heap on the floor. He could barely breathe, his broken ribs screamed out in protest as air filled and exited his lungs. Glancing down, he saw his left arm was bent at an awkward angle,the bones most likely shattered. His right leg was in similar shape. Gasping in pain, he tried to move the rest of his body but it just would not. His muscles and limbs would not move for him anymore and when they did it was agonizing.

Back into the darkness he slipped, drawing his knees close to his chest. He began to sob silently as the pain and misery consumed him. Hours passed as the young juggernaut’s mind slowly began to unravel.

“I can’t do this, gotta get out, gotta get out, gotta get out” he mumbled to himself

In the darkness, memories and emotions plagued and tortured him. Slowly he could feel himself slipping away. Try as he might, his mind finally snapped, sending him into a spiraling madness.

But something brought him back, something strange, it felt like someone was watching him. Opening his left eye, Skar saw a sight he never would have thought he would see again. There knelt his long dead wife Zosh, her sea green eyes brimming with tears as he gazed down at him.

“Oh my love what have they done to you.” she said, her voice filled with grief.

“He brought it on himself, damn fool,” spoke another voice that was chillingly familiar and brought rage boiling in his soul.

“Quiet, Batholith, you have no right to speak. As I recall you were the same at his age,” spoke a deep baritone.

“Don’t remind me, father,” snarled Batholith

Straining to look around, the sight that greeted Skar brought both tears and rage. He saw both of his older brothers, Batholith and S`nar, leaning up against the wall, as well as his eldest sister Zech, along with his father.

Although they did glow like the force ghosts he had read about, though these were something far different. As if to answer his question, his father spoke for the others, the dead rumbling baritone reverberating around the cell.

“No, we’re not real my son. Your mind just broke so it made us to try and cope. We five are the manifestation of your true emotions, I am your pride.”

S`nar spoke next. “I am your anger.”

Next followed Batholith, whom Skar wished wasn’t there. “I am your greed.”

Zech spoke next, her silky smooth voice filling the room. “I am your lust.”

Finally Rrogon’s eyes fell on his wife. “I am your compassion.”

The young Kaleesh’s mind was racing but one question still remained. Once again his father spoke.

“Ah, you wonder why your mind chose us. Well, there is no easy way to explain that.” He paused for a moment, trying to find the right words. “I guess your mind might have chosen us because that’s what you wanted to see the most. It is what your heart desired. But other than that I cannot say. We will have more time later to talk - you need sleep, my son. You must heal if you are to break out of here.”

Even as he said this, Skar’s eyes began to close ,exhaustion and pain finally winning. The last thing he saw before passing out was his wife’s eyes full of concern - then nothing.

Only the darkness remained.


Estle City, Selen
Hidden One Sith Bunker

Dark Forge

A fire was crackling away in a duracrete hearth before him, when Kordath woke up, slowly coming up from the depths of sleep, realizing he was no longer laying down. Nor was he restrained, he noticed, flexing his hands and feeling his arms move slightly. The Ryn shifted his body, getting a feel for the over stuffed arm chair he had awoken in, wondering why the sudden change. His last memories before loosing consciousness had been Dassac’s raspy laughter, as pain wracked his body.

Thinking of the Chistori, Kordath opened his eyes, staring into the orange and red flames for a moment, before allowing his vision to wander towards his peripheral. The One Sith Elder was sitting in a similar chair to his right, a small table set between them, feet out and crossed before the fire. Kordath remained still, uncertain of what was going on, another mind game from the Chistori was not to be underestimated. Dassac raised a short, crystal glass filled with amber liquid to his lips, taking a sip before turning his head slightly, eyes focusing themselves on the Ryn.

“Awake, then, little Priest?”

“…what is this? Decide to switch to a fireside chat since torture wasn’t cutting it anymore?” replied the Krath, sarcasm painting his tone.

The Elder flicked a finger, and Kordath felt as if someone had smacked him above the right ear with a ruler, wincing in pain, “No need to get snarky, little one, I felt a change of pace would be good for our…growing relationship.”

“Oh, I see, now you want to talk? You yourself called me a creature of logic, Dassac,” grumbled the Priest, “I would think you’d like to start with conversation, rather then frying my nerves with lightning.”

“Would you prefer we returned to the table, then? No, do not worry yourself, you have passed through the pain, we shall talk now. Understand that it was a necessity, if you did not believe that I could inflict such pains, would you take me seriously, or continue to be openly defiant and insubordinate with me? Hmm?”

Kordath sat in silence for several moments, “So. You’ve convinced me that you can hurt me. Not sure what point you’re trying to prove, most people can cause me physical harm.”

The Chistori’s face twisted into a grin, “You believe that all I’ve done to you was twist your body? No matter, if, or perhaps what, I’ve done to your mind would not be readily apparent to you.”

A chill shot through the Ryn, ‘Is he messing with me? I’ve been unconscious around this lizard quite a bit, who knows…stop it Bleu, don’t go down that path, keep in control.’

“I see I have your attention, finally, as amusing as all of this has been, our time together is nearly over. It pains me to admit that I will have to release you back to your Shadow Clan shortly, as the forces attempting to restore order in Estle are slowly encroaching on our little slice of paradise here. You have a choice to make, of course.”

“Running away with your tail between your legs, Dassac? That doesn’t seem right, I wouldn’t expect you to be worried about being found.”

Dassac lifted a carafe, filled with the same liquid as in his glass, and poured it into a second tumbler, sliding it across the end table towards the Krath, who took it slowly. Sniffing the fluid with suspicion, Kordath felt a tingle run down his spine, as the familiar scents of whiskey warmed him. He took a sip gingerly, feeling the heat run down his throat and into his core, and sighed contently.

“While destroying those who find me would be simple enough, and quick, it would no doubt lead to more coming to find out what killed them. Honestly, it’s more of an annoyance then it’s all worth, my primary mission on this world has already been fulfilled,” said the Chistori, in an offhand manner, before turning serious again.

“As for your choice…remember, your comrades, brothers and Clan mates, left you broken and near dead. I took the time and effort to keep you from that end, I saw to it that your body was healed, how is the arm, by the way?”

Kordath flexed his right hand, recalling the searing pain of Dassac’s Zeltron killer’s blade nearly cutting through his upper-body at the shoulder, “It’s…functional. Do you really expect me to just change my loyalties?”

“I am merely informing you that you have…options,” spoke the Chistori, smiling as he turned to face the fire, giving it an intense stare, “options that could further your abilities and knowledge of the Force, rather then being used as a soldier by those who would abandon on a whim. You consider yourself a scholar, a researcher, a finder of old knowledge and secrets, but I have seen inside your mind, Kordath.”

“Oh?” asked the Ryn, noting that the Elder had used his actual name for once, without belittling him in the process, and found himself intrigued.

“I know why you contain yourself to such pursuits, you are afraid of what you’re capable of if you were to let loose. So much anger and pain from the past, bottled up and just waiting for the proper release. Coupled with your physical abilities, I could use you as such a wonderful assassin, someone who understands subtly and a need for silence, rather then the flashy idiocy that Tiysha displayed. But as I have said, I give you a choice, to stay when I leave, or to accompany me and begin a true path to power.”

Kordath sipped at his drink, stared at the fire, and said nothing, wishing in a distant manner that he had a cigarette.


Soulfire Strike Team
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

After making sure that her transmission had sent, Saskia straightened up. Her hair was loose and a little frizzy from the damp conditions she had originally been kept in. Her new accommodations were hardly more fitting for a prisoner, with nothing outside the bare basics in a small bed, attached airplane bathroom and a transparent cabinet for the perverts to leer at her underwear it seemed. Pepco was focused on using her to get the House Summit to the Star Destroyer.

The computers were modern compared to most Star Destroyers, but not as infallible as the ones found on solid ground. Being in space for years at a time could outdate any ship, regardless of how much money the owner had. The man wasn’t stupid, he kept a close eye on the woman and seemed to keep intercepting her at crucial moments when she could look a little too close to the screens. Keeping her in the dark was his intention entirely.

Saskia was also quietly hoping that whoever had heard her code recognised the late return code and didn’t insist on sending out any of their clones to assassinate her in fear she had truly betrayed them. Though with some of the things that the summit did, they might not have time to recognise it.

“Starting to regret it?” One of the guards asked, tilting his head to a side.

“Regret is something that can only be felt when you acknowledge a weakness in your self. I have no such thing. When it comes to failure, only death will absolve me,” the Krath stoically replied, a flicker of fire in her eyes at the mention of regretting her actions. ’Either I will be the death of me, or those assassins that the Clan like to keep close will.

The sharpness of her tone eliminated the possibility of any friendly talk. The guards would never be the problem to manipulate, her focus was warming Pepco up to her. Access to a computer would be the key, and she was starting to think he would only be swayed by the persuasion of a femme fatale. Something Saskia had always avoided before, but new talents were always of use.

Self hatred was nothing that Saskia had known before. His hands over her skin, she had hated every second of it. She could still feel his touch and it chilled her to the bone. It had done the job, and she had been able to administer enough of a sedative for him to become very pliable and open to suggestion. He’d given up his access details as she was now sat at a computer alone staring at the logs and camera records.

Andrelious had been able to get away along with the rest of Soulfire. She had been able to track that they’d heard her broadcast before the Slicer started to work on removing their every trace. She was about to erase a piece when she saw someone take the lightsabers that her father treasured so much. A frown creased across the Equite’s face as she hit replay to try and make out more details, immersing herself in the puzzle.

A cold hand placed itself on her exposed shoulder. “You really shouldn’t underestimate the amount of sedative a man can take my dear…”



48 Hours Ago…

Bridge and CIC
AGV Nighthawk
Unknown Location

The shrill whine of drilling and the grinding that followed filled the Bridge, causing everyone to be on edge. They weren’t necessarily trained to repel a breach of the ship, but everyone had combat experience and knew the ship could not be taken. She looked from person to person. Sweat was practically pouring from everyone on the Bridge and she could sense the tension, even without the use of the living Force.

SOP dictated that in the event of a breach, the Nighthawk would be sacrificed and destroyed. Unfortunately, whatever was happening in Engineering caused all control to be removed from the Bridge, so no attempt at destroying the ship could be accomplished. When this was discovered, the Captain realized that whoever was attacking them wanted the ship relatively intact. For what reason, though, she could not determine.

Arcia’s thoughts snapped back to the situation at hand as the sounds immediately ceased and a loud metallic groan replaced the whining and grinding. Cortel pushed her will past the Bridge, past the airlock hatch and felt them. There were…there were many. Two lines of them on either side of a hall. Something being set on the hatch. There was someone messing with–

“Everybody down!!” The Captain bellowed.

Everyone on the Bridge dropped to their stomachs as a detonation blew the hatch away from the hull of the ship and into the Nighthawk. Soldiers poured into the ship and blasters began firing from every direction. Most of the crew knew to stay below the standard line of fire and only rose to a kneel, but their attackers seemed smarter than that.

Several crewman took solid body shots and crumpled to the ground. Watching her crew fall so quickly caused emotion to boil within the ex-Imperial ship Captain. It had only been a few seconds since their adversaries had boarded the ship, but they had moved in at least half the length of the Bridge and started surrounding the crew already. With a rage filled scream, Arcia Cortel ignited her emerald hued lightsaber in her left hand, drew her KYD-21 in her right and charged for the nearest assailant.

The man was too busy shooting into the Bridge to notice the rage filled Prelate coming straight for him. She slammed into his shoulder, taking him to the ground with her. Arcia quickly rolled back to her feet and delivered a massive, Force assisted kick to the man’s right cheek. A sickening crack was barely audible as his neck snapped and Cortel moved on.

In front of her, an attacker pulled a vibrosword from a young female crewman’s stomach and threw her to the side. Arcia’s trigger finger itched. Raising her blaster fluidly, she was thrown off balance as another assailant threw a vibroknife towards her, causing her reactions to take over, years of combat experience kicking in, and she dodged to the left, towards the sword wielding adversary. This caused the man to notice the Captain clad in all white, standing out like a sore thumb and turn towards her.

Arcia used her forward momentum from the dodge to thrust herself into a forward roll, turning it into a slide between the sword wielding man’s legs. A single shot from her blaster pierced the man’s jaw from beneath and rocketed out of the top of his head, sending pieces of scorched skull fragments and goo upwards. Arcia stopped her slide with her feet against the wall as she nearly crashed into it, quickly rolling over and springing back to her feet.

To her right, two of the Marines were hacking and slashing a group of attackers apart. To her left, other crewman were overpowering various other attackers. Her crew may not have been trained for this, but they sure were giving it their all…

That’s when she noticed it…most of the opposing forces wore breather masks.

Immediately turning her eyes towards one of the tactical stations, Arcia saw someone standing over it typing furiously. They looked up for just a moment and their eyes reflected the victory grin they wore beneath their mask as the Bridge’s lockdown commenced…



Unknown Ship
Unknown Location
Immediately after Ethran’s departure

She focused on the sounds his boots made as they trailed off. Each thud telling her a story. This man was a fighter, a master of his ways. The Force that surrounded him spoke to even greater lengths, telling her of his exploits and mastery of his power. Closing her eyes, Arcia took a deep breath. When she opened them again, she looked around the chamber that housed the cells. Jax was nearby. Sight, Skar, Antar…almost all of them were here. Almost all of them were beat to hell and back.

With strained effort, Arcia muttered aloud. “Nighthawk. Sound off…”

“Chief Nortorshin,” he sounded mad.

“I’m here, Captain,” Antar whispered.

There was silence after Antar. Arcia moved forward, as far as her shackles would allow, and peered through the room. Her cybernetics buzzed to allow her to see in low-light as she scanned the area. Zakath, Nath, Celahir…they were missing. Skar was unconscious in his cell. Her ribs began to ache, forcing her to stop straining against her restraints and she collapsed back into the cell.

“They have the Nighthawk, Captain,” Sight muttered.

“I frakking know they have the Nighthawk, Chief!” Cortel snapped back. “By the Force, I know…”

She had failed her job. Her crew, her ship…they were all at risk and as Captain, she blamed herself. She should have felt this coming well in advance, but she didn’t. No one did. Whoever this Ethran was, the way they carried themselves screamed ‘I’m in charge’ and he did one helluva job in outsmarting the DIA’s prize vessel.

“What are we going to do, Captain?” Antar looked to her, his eyes yearning for a positive response; a path to take.

Arcia opened her mouth, but nothing came.

The cell reminded her of a lot and it was quickly becoming distracting. Distant, imaginary screams circled through her head as she tried to collect her thoughts again. Taking another deep breath, Arcia looked to her executive officer, lips pursed.

“We have to keep our heads in the game, gentlemen. They may have the ship, but they can’t do anything with it. Not yet,” Arcia noted Jax’s puzzled look off to the side as she looked to each of her primary officers. “Those of you that know what I am talking about, know what I am talking about. I expect you all to do what you know I will do. We cannot allow them to take the Nighthawk. Not under any circumstances. Am I understood?”

“Aye, Captain!” They all said in unison.

“I’m not throwing in the towel yet. I’m sure someone out there knows that we’re missing by now. They’ll come looking for us,” Arcia added before a gruff laugh populated the chamber.

Jax had been listening from across the room, with the rest of his Marines. “Sorry to stop that lil’ party before someone loses their clothes, alor’ad, but we’ve been movin’, if you haven’t noticed. Yer ‘help’ isn’t ever going to find this micro fleet and you know it.”

Captain Cortel’s ‘ice witch’ glare slowly turned until it rested upon the Zygerrian. “If I want your opinion hut’uun, I will give it to you.”

Rage covered Jax’s face at Arcia calling him that, but there was nothing he could do from a cell. He knew that she was very upset at him for knocking her out on the Bridge of the ship, but he had no choice. She couldn’t die and leave everyone else by themselves. Taking several deep, ragged breaths of his own, Jax cooled his emotions and sat in silence, watching the Captain as she softly bounced her head repeatedly off the back wall of her cell.

Something stirred to Arcia’s right.

Leaning forward, as well as the rest of the Bridge crew, she noticed that Skar was waking up in a fit. He started breathing rapidly and stood up quickly, his arms clasped with shackles like the rest of them. However, he did not seem to be ‘all there.’ In an instant Skar began to scream incoherently and throwing himself into the bars keeping him within his cell. Again and again he smashed himself into them, not showing any signs of letting up.

“Skar! Knock it off! You’re going to hurt yourself!” Antar yelled at the Kaleesh.

“No no no no!” Was Skar’s only response.

“Operative! Stand down!” Arcia hollered down towards Rrogon.

Nothing seemed to help as Skar continuously smashed himself into the bars, yelling something about plasma and guards before collapsing into the back of his cell and muttering to himself. Arcia knew from his dossier that imprisonment was a critical point of Rrogon’s past, as with her own, to which she offered him a sad smile before he slowly slipped back into unconsciousness.

As if silence was illegal in the cell chamber, to Cortel’s left, the entry doors swished open to reveal several guards dragging two bodies behind them. As they passed by, Arcia recognized them as Zakath and Nath, both of which were thankfully breathing. As the soldiers threw the two crewmen into individual cells, one of them spat at Arcia, his saliva vaporizing on the plasma wall she was held behind. In an instant, the Force answered the Captain’s call and the man was thrown into the opposite cell door, the bars smashing the right side of his face.

“You dirty–!” The soldier started as he scrambled to his feet and aimed his weapon towards the Captain, a hand ready to deactivate the beam.

“Don’t even think about it, Grayson. She has to stay alive,” the other soldier held his comrade back and pushed him towards the exit.

With narrowed eyes, Arcia checked Nath and Zakath’s vitals before closing her eyes and attempting to rest as best as her situation would permit…



Docking Bay
BAC Shadow
Rendezvous Point Alpha, Dajorra System

Turel and Celevon exited the lift leading to the Shadow’s docking bay. The floor this particular bay was filled with two Armored Interface Craft-4 (AIC-4) dropships loading up with the last of a platoon of Arconan infantry. Two men out of uniform stood off to the side with a senior Sergeant watching the soldiers file onto the craft. One of the men out of uniform wore a black cloak and the other a simple black jacket and pants with his holster plainly visible. The out of uniform pair was Jedi Hunter Revs and Protector Rod respectively.

The Aedile turned to the Arete commander as the pair crossed the bay. “Are we really sending a Jedi Hunter and Protector on a mission unsupervised?”

“Seems so.”

The Templar shrugged, “Well I guess they have nearly a company worth of infantry going with them.”

“And my Fade.”

“And Jade. What could possibly go wrong?”


Turel glared at Celevon for moment as they continued walking, “Rod is an experienced soldier, I trust him with this mission.”

“If he gets killed Sight can always get you a new student.” The Arete commander remarked with a nonchalant shrug.

The Templar smacked his forehead in a moment of realization, “Oh man, Sight is going to kill us when he gets back.”

“For what?”

“Endangering Journeymen. Even if it was the lesser of the two evils.”

The Onderonian cocked an eyebrow at the Aedile in apparent disgust, “I don’t know how the Jedi do things but we don’t coddle our Journeymen here, they are expected to fight.”

Turel thought for a moment, remembering his own misadventures as a Journeyman, “Fair point. Though, I was fighting a horde of Sith zombies when I was a fresh Protector and leading a battle team by Padawan…er…Jedi Hunter to you I guess.”

“Your point being?”

“The Jedi throw their Journeymen into the fire as well.” Turel announced with a proud smile. Celevon just shook his head in response.

The pair maneuvered around the line of queueing soldiers to approach their apprentices. Turel adjusted his Pride armor and puffed his chest out in a cocksure manner before attempting to get the Journeymen’s attention. “Revs, Rod, how goes the mission preparation?”

The Journeymen and Sergeant turned to address the Aedile. Rod spoke first, “Hello Master, we are loading up the last of the men and equipment now. We should be ready to depart for the Invicta shortly.” Turel nodded.

Celevon turned to his apprentice, “Brief me on your plan.”

Revs pulled out a datapad with the schematics of an ISD-II and began briefing off it to the two Equites, “We wait until the capital ships and starfighters have disabled the shields and lower turbolaser batteries then approach the docking hangar here.” The schematic on the screen zoomed in to depict a Star Destroyer’s hanger bay. “We’ll post squads here, here and here to force choke points and secure the point of egress for Soulfire with squads in reserve to assist if needed.”

Turel stroked his chin in thought. “A sound plan. You’ll be under Cethgus’ command for this one. Just stick to the plan and don’t take any unnecessary risks on this one. Follow Andrellious’ lead once you link up with him and this should be a blue milk run.” The Aedile looked up toward the ceiling for a second in thought. “Oh and if you run into an enemy Force user do not engage. **” Celevon nodded in agreement. The Aedile shot both Journeymen a stern look and let an awkward silence linger for a moment. “I mean it! You’ll get yourself killed, neither of you are ready to face a fully trained Sith.”

Revs and Rod exchanged an awkward look before Rod responded, “Yes, master.”

Satisfied, the two Equites turned to return to the bridge. The Aedile offered parting words of encouragement, “Well I’ll leave you two to it then. May the Force be with you.”

As the pair got back into the lift Turel turned to Celevon and inquired, “Wait, we didn’t put one of them in charge. You think they’ll fight over it?”

“I’d be disappointed if they didn’t.”

BAC Shadow
Rendezvous Point Alpha, Dajorra System
Moments Later

Turel and Celevon exited the lift and moved across the busy bridge toward the Captain’s chair where Valtiere sat staring at four separate holo projections of various reports and simulations. The Templar approached the Battlemaster to give his report, “The ISD Oath-Breaker boarding party has departed for the Invicta, boss.”

Valtiere wasn’t terribly pleased about missing out on the first major fleet action in the Dajorra system in some time. Orders were orders however. Upon arrival at the rendezvous point, Legorii had refined and altered the respective houses’ battle plans. Specifically, the Proconsul reiterated over some strenuous objection on the part of some that the Shadow would immediately depart to aid the Nighthawk while the rest of the fleet engaged the enemy over Selen. As a concession to the Soulfire rescue effort, Turel detached a significant portion of Qel-Droma’s space combat trained infantry to the effort, led by two members of Arete. Junior members, but full members none the less.

The Quaestor looked up from his holo-projections, “Have the reinforcements you requested arrived yet?”

Turel nodded with understanding, “They have departed Selen and should dock momentarily.” Celevon shot Turel a slightly confused look, clearly not clued into the inside joke.

Valtiere returned to his screens, “I still need the hyperspace coordinates for our destination.”

The Aedile bowed as he turned to return to the lift, “They will be on the transport with the reinforcements, I will retrieve them personally.”

Celevon followed Turel as he returned to the lift, waiting until the door closed before inquiring what the Quaestor/Aedile pair had been talking about. He was thoroughly unaccustomed to not knowing what was going on. “Exactly what reinforcements were you referring to?”

Turel gave a scheming grin, “Oh, you’ll see.”

The Arete commander glared at the Aedile; he had murdered men for less.

Docking Bay
BAC Shadow
Rendezvous Point Alpha, Dajorra System

Turel and Celevon stood near the back wall of the docking bay as new AIC-4 entered, maneuvered into position and came to a gentle landing. The dropship ramp slowly descended with a loud mechanical strain before coming to a stop with a loud metal on metal thud against the deck of the bay. After a few tense moments a series of armored figures began to disembark from the craft. The figures of various sizes were clad in the unmistakable dark grey armor and wargear of the Erinos Mandalorian clan.

As the Mandalorian warriors filed off the transport in perfect formation, Turel glanced over to catch just the hint of an uncharacteristic smirk on Celevon’s face. The Onderonian knew exactly who was leading the detachment of Erinos warriors. A few moments passed after the last of the armored figures filed off the transport a solitary figure, familiar to both Equites appeared on the ramp. A partially armored young man with a cocksure grin, tanned skin and messy raven hair stopped at the end of the ramp. Teroch Erinos Arconae, patriarch of the Erinos clan and former commander of the Nighthawk greeted the pair. “You rang?”

“You’ve grown since last I saw you, Ter’ika,” the Shadicar drawled, an easy grin curving his lips.

“Several months without seeing each other can make it seem so, ori’vod,” the Arconae retorted moments before he turned to the Aedile, placing his hands on hips, “I was beginning to think you lost my holo frequency.”

Turel attempted in vain to control the sudden flush feeling and onset of color to his face, “Well, I’m just old fashioned like that, wait several months before giving a cute boy a call.”

“An Obelisk Aedile huh? I knew you weren’t really one of those uptight lighties the moment I saw you.” The Elder made a quick glance around the docking bay to ensure that his warriors had all assembled. Satisfied he turned to the Equites, “We can catch up later, let’s go save my ship.”

BAC Shadow
Rendezvous Point Alpha, Dajorra System
Moments Later

Teroch exited the lift with Celevon and Turel following behind. Valtiere immediately closed his open holo-projections and stood up from the Captain’s chair, acknowledging the presence of an Arconae on his bridge. The entire bridge crew paused with bated breath, picking on the deference their Captain was showing to the new arrival. Teroch approached the empty Captain’s chair and turned to Valtiere, “May I?”

The Qel-Droman Quaestor made an inviting gesture toward the chair. The Arconae plopped down in the Captain’s chair and began tapping away furiously into the instruments. “Helmsman, plot your course to the coordinates I’m sending to your console. Align sensors to listen for the frequencies on the bandwidth I’m sending to science console.”

The Sith Quaestor nodded, clearly impressed, which he rarely was with anyone other than himself. “I’m curious, how do you know where to find the Nighthawk?”

Teroch smiled in a condescending manner, “That information is above your clearance level,” Valtiere frowned. The Elder continued, “But let’s just say the Nighthawk puts out an automated tracking signal after a few missed reporting cycles known only to her captains and the DIA Director.”

BAC Shadow
Deep Space
Twelve Hours Later

The Shadow came out of hyperspace directly in front of three Assassin-class Corvettes, one of which towing a badly damaged Nighthawk. There was no hesitation, the Corvettes took evasive action and turned their turbolaser batteries on the Shadow. The ships began exchanging fire in a dazzling light show of green and red bolts of energy. Fighter squadrons began pouring out of the Arconan cruiser like angry hornets defending their nest. AIC-4s followed after the fighters, filled with Mandalorians and Dark Jedi.

The Arconan fighters heard Valtiere’s voice cover over the comm frequency with a single command, “All squadrons target the Corvettes, do not let them escape! Employ tracking devices in the first sortie!”

The battle to liberate the Nighthawk and her crew had begun.


Soulfire Strike Team

Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

With an almost unnatural precision, Soulfire’s assembled members fired their various blasters at the group of enemies, timing their shots almost perfectly. Andrelious himself was a little surprised by just how well the team came together, though their skills with a blaster were all known to him.

The enemy Stormtroopers, while fully aware of the Warlord’s skills, had made a mistake in expecting the supposedly blind Riverche to lack any real ability with her SSK-7, allowing the Priestess to cut many of her targets down with relative ease. In what appeared to be a very short amount of time, Soulfire proved successful.

“That was easier than I expected. It was like I knew exactly who to shoot at,” Wes stated, holstering his weapon.

“Looks like somebody’s got some new abilities with the Force. I’m impressed, my old apprentice,” Andrelious replied. Achilleus simply nodded in response, secretly pleased that he had managed to impress his former Master.

“We should keep moving, Captain. They keep ordering more reinforcements to the detention level,” Riverche interjected before the Warlord could explain Achilleus’ new talent to his team.

“Anything else from Saskia? I sense that she has put herself into great danger. If that slimy Pepco has touched her, I’ll rip his arms out,” Mimosa-Inahj hissed.

“Aren’t you a little late to be that kind of father to her?” River asked.

“River, Pepco tortured us all. Not only did he keep on having that frakking IT-O droid stab and hack at me, but I could feel everything he did to the rest of you as well. So he wasn’t exactly my favourite person anyway,” the Inquisitor responded coldly. He spotted a large, secure-looking door at the end of the next corridor. The ex-Imperial, recalling the layout of the ships he had served on, identified the room immediately.

“Now, we’re approaching Security Station Aurek. If Faust haven’t messed about with the layout, that’s where they keep an eye on the rest of the Detention Level. Expect heavy resistance. I’ll need one of you to cut the door open with your lightsaber,” Andrelious ordered.

“Or we could just open it.,” Wes answered with a smirk as he operated the door controls. The door slid open immediately, presenting Soulfire with a scene of devastation.

“That shouldn’t have worked. But obviously someone’s already been here. And by the look of these wounds, that someone was a Jedi,” Mimosa-Inahj declared, noticing the familiar markings of a lightsaber wound on one of the dead bodies that littered the room.

“It wouldn’t have been one of yours, either. Our Captain insisted on keeping this room guarded by three of his best men. Men that had been trained for this situation. Whoever took them out entered this room as their friend. Or at least so they thought,” Queslyn observed.

“Have Arcona sent any help?” Achilleus questioned, having smiled when the female soldier mentioned the Captain that he had eliminated previously.

“If it had been an Arconan, they’d have fought back. As Miss Queslyn said, this was done by one of Faust’s people. Or more likely one of the One Sith that they are apparently assisting. Anyway, we shouldn’t stick around. We’ve still got to get back to Aiorus, Scarlet and Rotidor,” Andrelious commanded.



The tall, muscular female slammed her lightsaber blade into another soldier. She made doubly sure that the man was dead, before hurling herself into another melee, the Force helping her pick out those who were trying to broadcast the details of her betrayal to their superiors.

“Useless flatfoots. If even my little Inahj can defeat you, you’re no good to me,” she spat as her boot landed on the windpipe of a wounded enemy, crushing it and leaving the male to a slow, painful death.

Patting a black hilt and smiling, the woman that had identified herself only as ‘GP’ continued to move through the Star Destroyer’s corridors, intent on one thing.

Her Andrelious would be safe.


Normal Security Area

As expected the lower security part of the Detention Level had offered little in the way of meaningful resistance, especially to a Soulfire team that was coordinated so well through the Force. Achilleus revelled in the praise that his prowess with Battle Meditation received from his Master, secretly hoping that soon he too would be elevated to join the ranks of Arcona’s Equites.

“We’re here. What cells are my men in?” Andrelious asked, sensing several Force users nearby. He was not as familiar with the imprints of the newer, lower ranked members, and had briefly considered simply leaving them where they were.

“Scarlet is in Cell 328, and Van Trayus is in Cell 287,” Queslyn answered, using her keycard to obtain a list of prisoners.

What happened to Rotidor? the Warlord mused.

“Don’t just stand there. Get them out,” Achilleus ordered, waving his blaster aggressively at the female Human.

Queslyn quickly complied with the Knight’s instructions and opened the doors to the two cells she had identified previously. Aiorus and Scarlet moved cautiously into the corridor, smiling with relief when they spotted the rest of their team.

“Welcome back to the team. Did either of you see what happened with Rotidor?” Andrelious questioned as the two Journeymen were handed their weapons.

“Who? Oh, that large furry guy. I’m afraid not. Perhaps he was killed?” Aiorus enquired.

“We’ll assume that unless we find out otherwise. Seems strange that he would have died when the crew took great lengths to keep the rest of us alive,” the former Imperial answered.

“So. All together again. What now?” Wes asked.

“Captain! Lots of comms traffic on Arconan frequencies. It seems that there are quite a few people on their way to help!” River announced, pressing her earpiece gently.

“Good. Even with the help we’re getting from our new friend, there’s just far too many troops on board this ship for us to handle alone. If help is coming, I suggest we secure this deck and wait. With those gas traps in the turbolifts there’s little else we can do, anyway. Crawling through engineering tunnels isn’t wise. Saskia’s just going to have to wait a little longer to see us again,” Andrelious stated.



The Alderaanian played and replayed the comlink message from Saskia. She had recorded the stoic and dubious sounding communication. No matter how many times she did so, Kooki just couldn’t get her head round it. Something just didn’t sit right. Surely if her spouse was really dead she or her daughters would have been more distressed. Admittedly Poppy and Etty weren’t yet sleeping through the night, and frequently waking for breastfeeds, but they were content enough. Something was definitely not right.

Kooki woke to two wailing babies. Both needed changing, feeding and fresh outfits. She began singing a harmonious tune that her mother used to sing to her as a child.

Once the trio were all ready, the mother gathered a bag of necessary essentials and headed to the speeder waiting outside.

“Off to visit your godmother at long last girls,” she uttered gently.

After hearing the tragic news of her former master being shot, Kooki had felt vengeful and deeply upset. The Miraluka may have been several years younger than herself, but their bond was almost sisterly. Bringing her twins into the world had meant a lot to the female. Trying not to find someone to blame was hard. But right now, Kooki wanted answers.

Kooki arrived at the med centre with her twins in tow and had sought her former Master’s room. Knocking out of politeness was responded with a surprisingly chirpy Atyiru welcoming her in.

A friendly hug and a kiss on the cheek was exchanged between the two females.

“Kooki dear, I was going to call you later once I’d had another check over by these medics. It’s like you knew already,” the recovering female stated, happily surprised by this unexpected visit.

“Oh girls,” she cooed over her goddaughters, before Kooki had a chance to say anything about the purpose of her visit.

“You look adorable. You’ve gotten so big. Yet so beautiful. Auntie Blindy can tell.”

She turned her attention to her former Apprentice.

“So dear, what brings you to my bedside?”

Deep down she swallowed hard. The Galeres Aedile had a gut feeling why Kooki was here.

“I’ll get straight to it,” the Priestess declared.

“Tell me. Is he really dead?”

Atyiru’s face fell. It was up to her to clarify everything.

“Kooki, love. Listen to yourself. Do you feel you’ve lost him?”

The Alderaanian paused, and without saying another thing, she quietly shook her head.

“You’re not sounding sure there. What’s troubling you, dearest?”

“He may not be dead, but something is wrong. I know it. But I just can’t work out what. The more I listen to myself, it sounds crazy, but it’s not something….It’s someone.”

Atyiru had a heavy heart as she didn’t have the answers Kooki desperately wanted.

Suddenly, Kooki rose to her feet. This epiphany of feeling an uncomfortable and unknown individual in her thoughts. Getting stronger in the Force wasn’t always a nice thing.

The Priestess retrieved her comlink and made an urgent call.

“Meet me in ten. Outside the med centre. Out.”

Handing over two sleeping girls, a bag of essentials and some expressed breastmilk, Kooki nodded at her Miraluka friend. She nodded back and the mother fled the scene.

Kooki glanced around. She spotted the back of a familiar male and smiled. Waiting for Arête was not an option.

The masked human spun round.

“Kooki! How are the twins? Are you sure about this?”

“Silence Nadrin!” she hushed.

“We have work to do!”



Prison cell
Unknown ship
10 Minutes Until Shadow’s Assault

Sight leaned against the back wall of his cell, eyes closed. He already knew where the others were being held in this detention area. He had been happy that they had put Lilly in a cell next to Arcia and across from his own. The Captain wanted them to get to work, so he figured he should probably start soon. However, memories of his childhood tugged at his mind, distracting him. He couldn’t help but wonder where Mako had gotten off to. Taking a deep breath, the albino rose to his feet. He needed to focus.

“Which one of you scum is in charge of engineering?!” a voice called out from the entryway to the detention area.

Koros Major/Empress Teta
Korros system/Empress Teta system
3 weeks ago

A raven-haired man stood on the boarding ramp of a shuttle. He would miss Korros Major if he was being honest with himself. The Krath had fit in well with the remains of the original Krath order. He was dreading the three week journey back to Arcona space and returning to life in the DIA offices and the political dealings within the Shadow Clan. It had been a relatively simple mission here on Korros: infiltrate the remaining Krath and learn what they knew and then steer them towards their demise from within. His mission had been successful, and the shuttle that had been sent for him by the DIA was brimming with intel from the planet. He had even snuffed the light out of the last members of the remnants himself. He was certain that he had not found all the Krath in the system, but he had found those still on Korros Major.

“Sir, if you have everything wrapped up we should be leaving as soon as the shuttle finishes fueling,” the DIA pilot said as he stood at the top of the boarding ramp. The man was used to traveling into deep space and had even been the one to drop Operative Henymory off on Korros. However that didn’t mean he felt comfortable taking this particular DIA agent back to Selen. Something always seemed off with the deep cover boys but Mako was a new kind of special all of his own.

“I’m all set. No need to start a long trip on bad terms, could end up fatal for one of us,” the Krath chuckled at the last part as his pilot swallowed on a suddenly dry throat. If you can’t make yourself laugh then you’re of no good to anyone, Mako had always told himself. It had been a busy month of consolidating assets and stolen information. Plus wiping out said assets and dismembering a small empire he had helped create while preparing the precious intelligence for transport.

The emerald-eyed man took one last look at the planet that had become his home and smiled as he turned to leave it, possibly forever.

Unknown ship

The albino glared through crimson eyes at the thirty heavily-armed guards that surrounded him as they walked through the halls towards the shuttle bay.

“What are you needing me for again?” the Rollmaster asked as he tested the shackles on his hands again.

“You’re going back to the Nighthawk to instal a new core. It will be faster to fly that hunk of scrap than tow it,” the head guard answered the Krath as he pushed the albino forward.

Without warning, the ship rocked violently as alarms rang out.

“Battle Stations! Battle Stations! Hostile vessel in area,” the vessel’s public address system rang out. Outside, the Shadow began its assault.

30 Minutes Until Shadow’s Assault

Their trip to Selen had been taking longer than normal as the top secret nature of the intelligence they carried demanded. Because of this, they had been taking short hyperspace jumps to avoid the more populated hyperspace lanes. This had allowed them to completely avoid other ships so far. However, they were only around twelve hours away from Arcona space and Mako was getting anxious to get off the shuttle. His pilot was just as anxious to be rid of what he considered to be his most polite yet mentally unstable and violent passenger he’d had to date.

Over their three week journey, Mako had been pouring over the vast majority of the DIA’s database he could access, so he would be up to date on what was going on with the Clan. Particularly, anything concerning the Clan’s Rollmaster Sight Nortorshin. The Krath still remembered Sight from when they were kids…

Ground Level
13 ABY

The noises from the crowded streets far above had long since faded away before one would reach the ground level and the tiny orphanage that sat there with its bland durasteel casing and empty interior walls. Ancient and worn furniture sparsely littered the building. To say there was money for enough food would have been a lie, but somehow the administrators made the budget work. In a small room, an eight year old boy looked at the two year old albino toddler that had just become his new roomate. In the orphanage, your younger roommate became your responsibility, your little brother. The older Human glared down at the albino through emerald eyes.

“What’s your name kid?” the older boy asked.

“I Sight, Sight Shi Nortorshin,” the albino smiled at his dark haired roommate, “You Mako Henymory.” The toddler’s words made Mako blink. Usually the little ones were too stupid to even talk at this boy’s age. The administrators must have told this boy who he was as Mako surely had not.

“Are you my big bwother?” he toddler’s question sparked an anger deep within the raven-haired boy. His emerald eyes narrowed, his hands clenching into fists.

“Never call me that again,” Mako’s voice was like ice, his emerald eyes narrowing to slits, seeming to reflect an inner light that wasn’t there. Sight was too young to fully understand the older Human’s body language though.

“Bwother!” the albino gleefully cried out as his porcelain arms wrapped around Mako’s legs in a tight hug. The raven-haired child was baffled as a feeling of acceptance washed over him. Tentatively, the older child’s own pale hand gently rested on top of the toddler’s head.

5 Minutes Until Shadow’s Assault

Mako was jarred out of his memories by the sound of alarms going off in the shuttle’s cockpit. Rushing forward into the control center, he glared at the pilot.

“Three weeks maintaining cover and concealment and you frak it up twelve hours out?” the emerald-eyed man chastised his companion.

“Sir, it wasn’t my fault. We are dropping out of hyperspace to avoid colliding with a large object,” the pilot protested as the stars stabilized in the front viewport, signifying the drop to real space.

Mako was knocked backwards into a seat as the pilot immediately pulled up on the controls to avoid colliding with the Shadow. The Human’s fingers flyed over the communications and sensory arrays. The shuttle, in response to the Krath’s actions, actively scanned the Shadow and then hailed them. Mako initiated his DIA clearance code transmission as the scan brought back that the ship belonged to Arcona.

Bridge, BAC Shadow
5 Minutes Until Shadow’s Assault

Alarms sounded on the bridge of the Shadow as it lurched out of hyperspace earlier than expected. Off the port bow a small shuttle appeared as it also dropped out of hyperspace and immediately began taking evasive action. The bridge crew of the Shadow exhaled in relief as the shuttle narrowly avoided colliding with the cruiser. Valtiere narrowed his eyes as this unexpected delay would cause them precious seconds that they did not have.

“Get a firing solution on that shuttle!” the Questor demanded as the shuttle skimmed close to the bridge.

“Sir, we are being scanned,” the communications officer called out, barely having time to finish before his station lit up like an exploding fleet.

“Sir, the shuttle is hailing us. Shall I patch it through?”

“Sorenn, handle this,” the mechanical man nodded towards his second in command.

“Patch it through over here,” the Aedile commanded, turning his attention to an out of the way communication screen. Sorenn’s green eyes squinted as the screen crackled to life, displaying a raven-haired man with emerald green eyes, his pale skin in sharp contrast to his black and deep purple robes. The man was definitely a Krath, but from where was what Turel wondered.

“Arconan vessel,” the man looked down for a second. “Shadow, this is DIA deep cover agent Mako Henymory. Transmitting codes now. You will open you hangar doors and allow me on board your vessel.”

“Sir, the codes are over ten years old but definitely from the DIA. They are attached to an embedded message which says we are to allow him aboard and take him safely to Selen,” the communications officer whispered into the Obelisk’s ear.

“We’d love to pick you up and play some DIA cloak and dagger games with you but we’re rather busy at the moment.” the Aedile replied as he noticed Mako’s emerald eyes seemed to be illuminated from some inner light. It set the hairs on the back of Turel’s neck standing straight up.

“Well then, I will be off assistance to you. My little brother Sight has gotten himself into a situation, or so I have come to understand. You will take me on board. Truthfully, I don’t care about getting back to Selen right away.”

“Since you put it that way, we’ll clear a spot for you in the docking bay, right next to the dropships full of heavily armed Mandalorians who don’t like spies.”

“Acceptable,” the Krath Sorcerer replied with a nod and turned to the DIA pilot that had been sent to fetch him as the communication link was severed between the ships.


Estle City

“Onwards to the Batcar!”

Kooki looked at Nadrin with a puzzled look on her face, confusion etched into every feature.

“What the hell is a batcar?”

“I dunno, read it somewhere once. Really though, I’ve got my Fades meeting us with a ship over at the spaceport so you can explain the plan on the way.”

Motioning the woman to follow him, Nadrin trotted over to a nearby speeder and jumped into the driver’s seat, waiting for Kooki to get into the craft before lifting off and making his way towards the spaceport at a speed that was only mildly murderous.

“So, lay it on me. What’s the plan here?”

“There was something wrong with that broadcast, it didn’t make any sense. Either the twins or I would have sensed if he was really dead, which means that he’s alive and probably being held captive.”

“And of course your first thought was to call the man who used to run Soulfire and has extensive personal experience of freeing idiots who get themselves caught.”


Nadrin turned his head towards Kooki and flashed her a grin that he knew she wouldn’t be able to see, winking as he did so. The woman’s response was simply to glare at him, eliciting a bark of laughter from the Arconae as he turned his attention back to steering their craft.

“Good girl, we’ll make a real Dark Jedi out of you yet.”

“Show me the person who captured Andrel and I’ll show you how Dark I can be.”

The fiery tone of her words was enough to persuade Nadrin that, whatever else happened, he did not want to get between this woman and her target.


Space above Selen

The four humans, two men and two women, sat around a holographic display upon which an image of an Imperial-II Star Destroyer was shown. The masked man was the first to break the silence, jabbing a finger towards the underside of the Destroyer with a frustrated note to his voice.

“One entrance, and you can be damn sure that whatever ‘official’ rescue attempt made will be going through there as well. Ideally, we need to get there and in to find Andrelious before the main Arconan assault arrives which means getting close enough without getting blasted. Sela, see if you can use any part of Saskia’s message to hash us together some sort of id or verification code that we could use to get into the hangar in one piece. Narn, I want you to get as much of our armoury together so that it’s easily mobile for when we bust into this ship. You know the priorities, just make sure to take everyone’s skills and whatnot into account when you do it. Kooki, you’ve got the hardest part of all.”

The woman looked over at Nadrin as the Arconae’s two Fade’s stood up and moved out to do their respective tasks.

“What do you need me to do?”

“I need you to try to come to terms with the fact that we are stepping into the unknown here. We don’t know who is alive and who is dead, but if we can get Andrelious and the others out fine we will do everything we can. I just need you to take some time to remember who it is that needs to be punished here.”

He punctuated the statement by pointing his finger towards the holographic Star Destroyer that hung beside them before standing up and walking towards the cockpit of the ship they had commandeered for their purposes.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to make a quick call to let the Summit know that I’ve taken a ship and one of Arête’s members to go and save her baby daddy.”

That brought a chuckle from Kooki, and Nadrin was about to walk through to the cockpit when he heard her voice again and stopped.

“Nadrin? Thank you.”

The Sith half turned his face around and the jovial tone dropped, his voice quiet and subdued as he replied.

“Thank me when we save him.”


Mission Briefing Room
NSD Invicta

Revs stared at the holoprojection of an ISD-II going over the battle plan for what seemed like the dozenth time. Directly across from him stood his fellow Journeyman Rod. To his right stood his Master’s ever loyal Fade, whom had been sent along on this mission more to make sure that he did not screw up than anything else. To his left stood Sergeant First Class Callahan and Jade.

“We will depart as soon as the fighters have somewhat cleared the way for us.” Revs said in a calm clear voice. “Once onboard Squads Alpha and Bravo will proceed to secure the hanger supported by Squads Charlie and Delta. Once the hanger is secured Alpha and Bravo will set up heavy machine guns in a defensive position to hold the hanger for evac. I want our Medics to set up a staging point here to evac any wounded we can.”

“Sergeant how many heavy gunners per squad again?” The young Sith asked.

“Two per squad squad Sir.” the Sergeant snapped quickly. “We should be able to hold the hanger until you get Soulfire out of there.”

‘“Good.” Revs said in acknowledgment. “Once we have secured the hanger Rod you will go with-”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what combat experience do you have Revs?” Rod interrupted.

“Unfortunately nothing on this scale. Just a few small skirmishes leading a Hutt’s hired thugs.” the Miraluka said in an annoyed tone.

“Then I think it best for me to take the lead when we get on the ground.” the Marauder stated in a calm voice that still made the statement sound like more of a demand. “No offense, you have developed a solid plan, but plans can go out the window once the plasma starts flying.”

“You should listen to him.” The Fade to his right stated cooly. “I know you are a more than capable strategist and assassin, but once we put boots down let the more experienced lead the way.”

“I have to agree Sir.” Sergeant Callahan chimed in. “I’ve seen his service records. He has far more experience than you at this. It will boost troops moral knowing a proven Vet is leading the way.”

Revs turned his gaze to Jade to see any input from the fourth party only to be met with an agreeing nod.

“Very well.” The Assassin stated. “Once we hit the ground and the Hanger is secured, It will be your show Brother. How do you suggest we deploy to secure the choke Points?”


Mission Briefing Room
NSD Invicta

Rod looked up at his Jedi Hunter comrade who was positioned directly across from him in front of the holoprojection of the ISD-II.

“We’ll, I’d like to keep it as simple as possible.” The Protector replied, still somewhat surprised his higher ranking companion had been persuaded so easily.

“Like you said, once the ships land in the hangar the entire platoon will neutralize whatever security team they have in place. Then squads alpha and bravo will secure the two entrances with a heavy machine gun at each one.” He continued “Once we have the hangar secured, the medics can begin to set up a small casualty collection point, and Sergeant Callahan will be left in charge.”

The older soldier nodded to the Protector as he finished his sentence.

“At that point, Revs and I will take squads charlie and delta and bound our way to the detention block, where Soulfire is most likely being held.” The Human looked up, seeing that the Miraluka across from him seemed to be stuck on the last portion. “Bounding is when one squad advances and the other squad cover’s them, then they flip flop, so that someone is always providing cover while the other is moving.” He explained briefly. “If at any point you don’t know what to do, get behind one of the staff sergeants and follow them, they’re more than capable.”

Rod again looked towards Sergeant Callahan, giving him a nod of recognition for the trust he placed in his hand-picked soldiers.

“Now then, once we get to the detention block – “ The Protector was cut off by one of the AIC-4 pilots.

“Excuse me, uh, Sir.” Rod looked over at the man now standing to his right “I just got word from the bridge, it appears another ship is already enroute to the ISD-II, onboard are Priestess Kookimarissia Mimosa-Inahj and Warlord Nadrin Erinos Arconae.”

Son of a Zabrak, the young Journeyman thought to himself, looks like it won’t be our show after all.

“Ok, slight change of plans.” The Protector announced. “We fall in with their ship and help them secure the hangar, which we will still hold as our main point of egress. After that, it’s Erinos’ show, he’s an Arconae and we will obey his orders.”

Rod looked across from him to see if he could judge what Revs was thinking. Although it was hard to read the Miraluka’s face with his eyes covered, he assumed he was just as disappointed as the Human was.


Dark Forge

Four miles south of Estle City,

Estle City lay in front of him, literally. The buildings were shrouded in smoke and fire, and the roars of the sirens and emergency services echoed throughout the entire city. The corporate sector now looked empty and bleak, as the sight of the SCEPTRE HQ diminished to a pile of rubble. Sjl’s eyes glanced back over to the Industrial district, the last place he saw Kordath and many of his friends. Then there was the Citadel in the distance, towering above all others and yet still run down and exhausted. This city certainly seen better days, but they weren’t about to return just yet. Leaning against a steel crate much bigger than Wuntila, the Zelosian softly slapped his hand on the metal and closed his eyes. His mind reached out and searched for the life hidden inside, then it latched on. The furry winged creature inside shrieked a high pitch which was almost unable to be heard at the humanoid spectrum, yet the sound was still like chalk on a board. Frowning and grunting, Sjl concentrated further and gripped the tough, cold steel. His forehead began to sweat and pulse veins as he tried to control and harness the beast, writhing in great effort. His eyes shot open and the green of his sight shined with light, both of his hands now on the crate. Slowly, the beast inside calmed and cooled down to a sociable level, then Sjl opened the doors.

In a beautiful spiral of elegance and swiftness, the furred beast shot out and soared into the sky, its wings hit the air with incredible strength as it pushed past the grey and dark clouds with ease. Several seconds and the beast was out of sight, Sjl just stared and rubbed his bald head in confusion. Then like an encroaching hurricane, from behind a gust of wind sliced through the crate and ripped it in half. Sjl was blown out of the way and grinded across the dirt on his face, grumbling as he stopped. As his eyes met the beast’s, he felt a connection from it as it sat on the broken crate, licking and cleaning it’s claws and face. The creature had large bullet-like ears that were rippled on the inside, thin and showed it’s veins. Its nose looked almost like a pig’s snout, pointed upwards with many folding flaps up the snout and two wet holes that grunted and made all sorts of noises. With a smirk, Sjl slowly approached the beast and petted its tic-filled fur. His malachite hand slowly traced the veins across the leathery wings and bone underneath, feeling the toned muscle down the arms, then onto the shiny sharpness of the claws. They were curled inwards to grip and tug on their prey. From the look of it’s bloody fangs, Sjl could detect that they were used for breaking into exoskeletons and gripping onto wings. With a bigger smirk, Sjl marvelled at the creature’s looks.

“A Secundus Bat, excellent. Let us take the streets head on, my pet.” Sjl whispered softly.

His senses flickered and from behind him K’tana appeared with lightsaber in hand and some new clothes garnered. Beside her Donblas and Ood were discussing personal matters.

“Kat, we need to keep the peace. This will help me.” He spoke to her, almost as if he was trying to justify having a giant bat.

She nodded and watched the beast with a frown. “Out of all the animals you can control; Akul, Swamp slugs, you wanted a bat?”

“Bats can fly, bats are cool. Quiet!” The Dark Jedi Knight mumbled, before hopping onto the bat’s back and slowly stroked it’s fur.

“I shall name it Slick, because there’s something horrible on it’s fur.” Sjl muttered, then jammed his heel into the bat’s ribs. The group slowly walked downwards and into the city.

Estle City,

Panting and grunting in delight, Slick sniffed around for people as it jammed its claws into the ground and moved forward at the same time. The claw suddenly jammed into a metal crate, and it burst open with a purple flesh bubbling out. Shrieking in fright, the bat tried to whip the crate off as it began to think it’s claw was melting. The crate was thrashed against the ground as Kat, Don and Ood dodged out the way, then it was scraped and slammed against the faces of the buildings in an attempt to hook onto a lip. Sjl tried to soothe the beast by gently placing his hands on it’s skull and massaging slowly. He began to make cooing noises in an attempt to assure the bat, as Ood looked on and frowned, rubbing his bark chin in curiosity.

“Oh, I’m sure the One Sith will never hear us coming now.” The Neti stated sarcastically. Kat slapped her palm onto the side of her face and let out an exasperated sigh.

Then from the buildings, groups of troopers sprinted out and began to shoot their blasters towards the bat and the group. In a quick effort to save his life, Sjl leapt high from the bat’s back before it soared off into the sky, then slammed and rolled across the gravel that covered the roof of this crumbling shell. Lightsaber in hand, Kat began to deflect blaster bolts back with a barrier she formed from her weak arm. The other arm held a short sword tightly in grip as she slowly approached the troopers, with Donblas following behind crouched. The ricochet of blaster bolts bounced almost back towards the troopers, only just above head height. Now with enough range to use her abilities, K’tana quickly barrelled behind a turned over cruiser and kept her short sword close. Her eyes darted across the roof tops for any sign of Sjl or the bat. But as her concentration was diverted, the same gush of wind like a hurricane swept past her and several troopers disappeared. She frowned in confusion and peeked up, only to see the ruins of the street.

The gushes of wind came back again, and the shrieks of troopers echoed across the street, K’tana was beginning to feel worried in case she was next. Her eyes glanced behind her as her back latched against the cruiser and she noticed the strangest thing she’s seen today. Just in her vision, Ood sat on a bench and did nothing. He was calmly looking at a building, hands on his lap and looking very placid for his wisdom. K’tana slowly peeked back out again, her panting now becoming more traumatic as she watched the troopers flee and hide whilst trying to shoot. Their aim was very random: some shots soared into the air while other shots were aimed in their general direction. A blaster bolt found its way towards Ood, soaring at impressive speed towards the placid and peaceful Neti. In almost a fraction of a second, the Pontifex drew his lightsaber, deflected the bolt back and sheathed his hilt, then continued to observe once more. There was still no sign of Sjl.

Her eyes only glanced forward, past the barrage of blaster fire and troopers to notice the faint shroud of black and green behind them. Surprise flooded K’tana and she felt a disturbance behind her; Ood was walking towards her. His lightsaber was ready. With a quick second to assess, K’tana also drawn her lightsaber with her barrier in her weak arm, she marched forward and deflected all she could with a fire in her eyes. The shroud of emerald become clearer to be Sjl as he began to sprint and charge. Not noticeable by most, the secundus bat was also copying Sjl’s speed, just around sixty feet above. Ood, the most powerful of the group, launched himself into the air, his lightsaber plummeted first and tore apart a trooper, as a tentacle gripped and choked another. Sjl leapt high into the sky and pounced onto the back of the Commander trooper, then stabbed him with his emerald blade. Sensing the moment, Donblas quickly rushed out and began to tackle the group with a burning rage and power, his fists collapsing the soldiers with one punch. K’tana took the split second to notice they are using their talents to the best of their ability, as a team. She dropped her lightsaber, whipped out her short sword and charged the group as she hacked into their armour.

Moment later and it seemed K’tana was the only one left fighting, her sword clashing and dancing with another trooper’s. Their dance was elegant like leaves on the wind, her lekku slamming against his helmet. It was clear to the trooper that his swordsmanship was not adequate to survive, and with one quick swipe K’tana amputated his legs. Writhing and shrieking, the Twi’lek slowly lifted her sword high to finish him but there was the rush of wind again. Distracted, K’tana looked at the gliding bat that dropped, snatched the shrieking trooper and flew away again. In the distance, the Sergeant could watch as the torso of the trooper dropped once the arms and head was devoured. She looked up towards the back end of the giant bat and scowled.

“Do you seriously mind? I was killing that!”

Estle City,

With the Selen sun highest in the sky, the day was looking prosperous for the team. Despite the increasing amount of rubble, ruins and dust everywhere, the city looked beautiful still. Donblas and Ood went around the corpses, collecting resources, ammunition and intel from their datapads and holo-communicators. Sjl sat on the cruiser K’tana used for cover and fed his bat some berries he found, staring devotedly into the beast’s eyes. She could see he was staring at it with a purpose, as if the two had connected somehow. Sjl turned his head slowly back to K’tana and nodded slowly.

“We continue north; we need to scan the financial district first, business must go on.” The Zelosian roared, as Ood nodded in agreement.

“Firstly we need to contact the hospital. I am needed for a few scarce minutes.” The Neti quickly replied to his leader, almost hesitantly.

With a stern nod, Sjl dismissed the Praetor and he ran off into the dust clouds. His purpose in the hospital was clear to K’tana as Atyiru was still in partial stasis there, however the swiftness of the young Neti worried her. Sjl slid down from the cruiser and then looked ahead with his heightened senses. His eyes narrowed as he scoped the environment ahead, his aura was not satisfied. The fist around the lightsaber hilt clenched tighter as he began to step forward and monitor the surrounding further.

“This was purposely done, not by troopers but machines. Kat, it’s back!” Sjl motioned to the Twi’lek and she joined him near the cruiser.

“What is? That spider thing?” K’tana questioned, and Sjl affirmatively nodded. His snarl becoming more apparent.

“Let’s continue. Slick!” He beckoned his beast and as it crawled over, he leapt back onto it’s back then continued down the street.

Her curiosity now turned into worry and angst as they moved further north, directly towards the active chaos.

Financial district,
Estle city,

“So, have you ever tried snake bites?”

“Yes.” Sjl muttered to K’tana, getting quite bored.

“And how did your lips find them?” She pressed.

“They ate the metal and covered the holes with no scarring. Piercings suck for me.”

K’tana tried not to giggle as she knew some people, especially her kind, used snake bites for erotic motives. Her eyes were still focused on the chaos still happening ahead with some giant machine.

“Last time we faced that brute, it nearly killed Kord and Lexic.”

Sjl slowly nodded in an affirmative manner, holding the bat’s neck.

“Can you promise me that we will come back?” Her eyes now fixed onto his as they walked, yet his gaze never unlocked.

“Would you?” His whisper directly only at K’tana, as Donblas marched ahead, slamming debris out the way.

She dropped eye contact and stared ahead. “I would lie. It’s better for moral.”

With the machine now in plain sight and it’s arachnid posture facing away from them, he motioned for the beast to halt. Sjl quickly backflipped from the bat and softly patted it’s hide. With a stern look, he stared into the darkness of it’s eyes, no remorse or guilt shown. His hand showed the only expressions as it latched onto the tic-ridden fur of the bat.

“Kill it. Aim for the Shard.” Sjl ordered clearly, his voice never stuttered ,with authority.

He quickly let go of the bat as it quickly batted it’s wings, then shot into the sky. The beast made a loop to rival all air tricks, heading directly up into the clouds and then straight back down, it’s wings folded in and it’s legs hidden. The beast that was majestic and mighty in his final swift seconds fell faster than a peregrine onto Estle. In one quick motion, the beast spread it’s wings, extended it’s claws from it’s legs and slammed with a titanic force onto the hull of the machine. The sheer weight and g-force of the bat torn open the hull and sent the shard flying into the air, and into the unknown. A high and loud pitched shriek of agony and pain echoed throughout the district and maybe the city as the machine and the beast collapsed onto the floor, then silence fell.

Gherin eth tuird, Slick.” Sjl kept a strong gaze at the bodies, but K’tana saw it clearly. A single tear rolled down his cheek.


Estle City, Selen
Hidden One Sith Bunker

Dark Forge

Kordath woke with a yawn, blinking a few times as his vision focused on the few burning embers in the fireplace. Standing up, the Ryn stretched, feeling his muscles go taut before releasing them, marveling at the lack of pain for the first time in…days? Weeks? How long had it been since Atyiru had been shot, how long since the Zeltron had tried to cave his skull in? The time he’d spent in the bunker hadn’t helped, between medical treatments and tortures, time hadn’t had any true meaning.

Turning, the Priest took in the room he was in, having spent the previous evening sitting in quiet contemplation, drinking whiskey with a man who’d healed him. And then driven him to the brink of death, multiple times, just to try and prove a point. Looking around, the room was quite barren, beside the fireplace in the wall, the two armchairs and end table between them, there wasn’t much to it. On the table sat his lightsaber hilt, knives, and his ID card proclaiming him a member of Arcona in (questionably) good standing.

There also wasn’t a Chistori around, he realized.

“Dassac?” he spoke, quietly asking the room, stretching his senses outwards. Nothing, no one else was near him, the One Sith Elder had done as he’d said, and fled the area. Kordath wasn’t sure what he’d expected, the Chistori had given him a choice, and the Krath had never given an answer. That had to mean…

Kordath pushed out further, upwards and outwards as well, looking for a glimmer of sentience of some kind. Dots of consciousness appeared on his mental horizon, disciplined minds, likely soldiers, he dismissed them. Something brighter shone through after a few moments, a being connected more firmly with the Force, Kordath grinned, another Arconan was nearby. Time to go home. Looking around, he spotted only one door, and hoped that the Force would help guide his steps out of the bunker.

Ten minutes later, the Ryn blinked as he stepped into the sunlight for the first time in days. Or weeks, he really needed to find a chrono and a calendar. And remember what the date it all started on, those things were fuzzy, he’d been rather drunk when the assassin had captured him. Several soldiers wearing Arconan uniforms turned their weapons on him as he walked out of a recessed bit of wall that had slid open.

“Freeze!” shouted one, apparently lacking any sense of originality.

Kordath glared at the man, “Do you have any idea who I am?” asked the Ryn, deciding that if the trooper was going to be that bad at cliches, he would at least match him. The Priest was in no mood to deal with over eager people with guns, at this point. And he still needed a cigarette.

“I said freeze, hands up against wall!” yelled the trooper, several of his fellows wandering over to watch the show. A man in robes, much taller then the Ryn, followed them in, brown eyes roving across the room before locking on the Krath’s gray ones.

With a sigh, the man held a hand up, attracting the attention of the soldier whose weapon was trained on Bleu, “Stand down, trooper. He is one of ours. Kordath, correct? Atyiru has spoken of you several times.”

The Priest couldn’t help but feel a grin spread across his face, “Ah, you must be Uji, the almost Jedi who keeps leaving us, yeah, Blinky’s mentioned you before as well.”

A grimace crossed the tall man’s face, “We weren’t clear on your situation, Bleu, the communication updates suggested you were captured by a very dangerous agent of the One Sith…what are you doing?”

Kordath nodded as the Obelisk spoke, walking out towards the road a bit to take in the scenery, shocked by the level of destruction he was observing. Bodies littered the street, people who looked as if they’d died not from blaster fire, but exposure to something horrible lay along the curb…wait…

‘I know that bloke,’ thought the Ryn, spotting a Bith in a green jacket.

Kneeling, Kordath rolled the body to face upwards, ignoring the big dark eyes of the corpse, before he began to rifle through the man’s pockets.

“Really, are you really robbing the dead right now? Have you no shame?” spoke Uji from behind him, disgust obvious in his voice.

“How’s it robbing if he don’t need it no more?” asked the Priest, before he whooped in triumphant, pulling a small square package from the recesses of the dead man’s coat. Rising he, shook a cigarette out of the pack, finding a pack of matches tucked into the box, he struck it and lit the cigarette. Smoke burned through the Ryn’s sinuses, blowing out of his chitinous nose with a slight whistle and sigh of contentment.

“You have no idea how much I needed that, pal, now then, I’ve been out of touch, what’s going on?”

The Ryn gestured towards the many smoke clouds rising from the city, “I take it we won?”


Soulfire Strike Team
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

The chains were heavy as the woman forcefully yanked on them for what felt the hundredth time. Her nose and top lip were crusted in blood from the only punch that jebati had landed on the Krath. Her arms were tired, but that didn’t stop her from trying yet again to pull herself free from the wall. Her lungs couldn’t process enough oxygen to keep going as Saskia collapsed against the damp, cold wall. She promised herself a five minute rest, just to collect some energy together before the door was opened.

“You gave up I saw,” Pepco coolly stated once him and three guards were all in the room, blocking the only way out. His eyes flicked up towards the ceiling, revealing the location of a pinhole camera. Saskia had given no thought to cameras, her only thoughts had been relieving herself of the metal. “Sedation is a cruel trick, though one can only expect that from the Dark Jedi of course, which is why I had already ingested the antidote. Your message was broadcast, though it was not convincing enough. I have nothing that I wanted, and all I have is the daughter of Andrelious who is not as traitorous as she seems. You were convincing at first, and I think even your father believed it all, but the facade is over now. You tell me what I want and you live-”

“Or what? You kill me and end my miserable existence in hope that the summit come out looking for me?” Saskia snarled, unleashing a fury of energy as her body lurched forward, her teeth barred at the male. “You couldn’t get them out here if you tried, and if you think I’m just going to play damsel in distress until someone comes to my rescue then you clearly don’t know me.”

The man stood taller. He had been slouching a little, but now it was no longer play time. “Apparently you need a reminder of your place…” he growled, his hand thrust around her throat and pinned her to the wall. “You won’t enjoy it, but then again, I’m sure you remember what to do from last time,” Pepco snapped, pressing on the Equite’s windpipe just enough to make breathing difficult, without her being able to pass out.

Bloodied scratch marks lead down Saskia’s back, and a fresh nose bleed trickled down her front as the Krath started to gather her thoughts on escape. Pepco had finally left her alone in the room again, making the guards stay and watch the disgusting act until he was sated.

A scuffling noise attracted the woman’s attention, her head lifting up towards the direction it came from. Muffled noises. The sounds of bodies hitting the ground with a thud after a brief fight sort of audio. The woman narrowed her eyes moments before a loud slam burst through the room. Saskia’s heart jumped in her chest as the second blast resulted in a stream of light bursting into her ‘room’.

“Hm, there you are,” a strange woman stated, looking slightly unimpressed at the Krath, two familiar looking sabers hanging loose in her hands.

“I’m not sure who you are, or why you have Andrelious’ lightsabers, but I’m going with that you either want to kill me to get to him, in which case get it over and done with, or that you want me to become a damsel in distress and rescue me for my father’s gratitude,” Saskia replied, her hazel eyes lighting up with fire as the stranger came close.

She chuckled and broke the Krath free of the chains and clamps within seconds. The woman looked slightly impressed as the Cirran stood tall, “You clearly didn’t get your height from Andrelious then. Though you are just like your father in many ways, you hussy,” she chuckled, moving back towards the door.

Saskia groaned inwardly before realising that the stranger was already half way down the corridor and playing havoc with the Battleteam Leader’s lightsabers. She grunted and dashed off after her, glad to be free of the chains at least, and it was always better to fight in an unknown place with someone at your side anyway.


The Citadel
Estle City, Selen

Balancing two babies in her arms and their carries on the back of her hoverchair, Atyiru made her precarious way down the hall from her quarters. She had a long list of things that needed attention–including the small children currently gumming at her fingers and drooling on her hair–but the first on her agenda was finding her missing friend.

Or, at least, the only one she could do a damned thing about.

Shoving away a wave of frustrated melancholy, she turned her face down to her goddaughters and smiled at them, cooing conspiratorily. “Look you two, I won’t tell your parents about the googly eyes you gave those two little boys across the way if you don’t tell them I brought you anywhere near our local mad scientist. Kay? Yeah. That’s a good little pair of precious bundles, yes…”

The twins were actually quite the comforting presence. She wasn’t ready to be alone just yet, and Timeros had been very grudgingly–about as grudging as her brother ever got–called away to assist Legorii with something or another. The little ones’ tiny, light burbles and rapidly fluttering heartbeats were quite welcome company.

“You’re brave little sweethearts, keeping me company, eh girls? Ye–no, no, Poppy, we don’t hit our sisters. That’s bad. Apologize to Etholi.” The infant, in fact, did not. Atyiru sighed and bounced the knee Etholi was sitting on to distract her from fussing. “Y’know, why do your parents call you Etholi, anyway? Etty seems easier, and it’s pretty! But I might be biased. Atty, Etty, Atty, Etty,” she repeated. “Huh. Well, Etholi it is. Lovely as your sister’s. Right, Poppy?”

The Miraluka continued chattering to the babies until she reached the lab. She stood from her chair on somewhat wobbly legs and arranged the girls in their carries, then grabbed a stray technician and ordered him to watch over them.

No way am I bringing you two in there, the Aedile thought grimly, feeling sick at the wrongness she could feel coming from the laboratory. Ood and his Force-damned experiments.

And I’m one of them, now.

Grinning bitterly at that stray thought, Atyiru slowly walked into the lab, her nose immediately assaulted by smells she didn’t even want to try identifying. Ood was messing with Ashla and Bogan knew what at one table, wet ripping sounds filling the room. A few poor lab assistants loitered, ready to be ordered about.

Atyiru had hardly opened her mouth before he cut her off.

“WHAT? What do you people want now? Can’t you see I have my work? My–YOU, BOY, BRING ME ANOTHER CARCASS, NOW–I am very busy, and no, you all want SOMETHING, running me around. First that pup Lexic that got himself flayed and vaporized before I could open his corpse up, then his replacement with the bats and creatures running me around the city, then back here to make sure my prize experiment survived–oh, that you woke up, whichever comforts your palette better–and then back out to the field, and then here to synthesize your little rakghoul cure. Do you know how simplistic and droll that is? No no no no, don’t cure it! Evolve it. Yes, yes, I’ll cure you all, but then I get to play–”

“OOD!” the Miraluka finally had to shout, just to get him to slow down. She sighed. “I’m sorry to interrupt you again, but I need your help. I need to find Kordath. I won’t leave him in danger while everyone else runs around shooting things.” She dug in the deep pockets of her cloak and pulled out a stained blouse. “You can track people through their blood, right? Well, this is his on here. Two nights before all this happened, we went bar-hopping, y’know, classic stress relief, and he got into a bit of a tussle. Not with anybody, though. Nearly broke his nose wrestling the bottle opener for a cask of whiskey–”

“Girl will you be silent?” the agitated Neti cried. He pointed back towards the door. “I don’t need to track the Ryn fool. He and another passed by here not minutes ago, presumably on their way to the medbay if the direction they were headed is any indication. Now leave me! AND BOY? WHERE’S THAT CADAVER?!”

Atyiru hardly heard him. She was already spinning around and darting from the room with newfound strength. The Force came to her aid like an old friend, lending speed to her steps. She jogged off towards the medbay, shouting over her shoulder at the man she’d left the twins with: “Take them to my room and stay there!”

She ran over at least one poor intern, two stray soldiers and a nursing droid on her way through the medbay doors, heading straight for the familiar presences at one of the beds. The Archpriestess threw herself forward, wrapping her arms around Kordath’s neck and bowling him over.

The Ryn gave a strangled shout at being tackled and subsequently meeting the cold hospital floors, but he managed to push them both up as Atyiru sagged against him. She inhaled shakily, breathing hard from the run, and smiled so that she wouldn’t cry.

“You’re alive,” she mumbled, relieved beyond measure. One person home, safe.

“Hey, Blinky, didn’t know you were up, umm, sorry I didn’t visit while you were…well, sorry,” finished the Ryn lamely, sounding flustered. He hugged her back, patting her hair, some of the tension draining out of him.

“Don’t have to apologize to me, remember?” Atyiru replied, letting go of him. She frowned sheepishly. “I’d, uh, help you up, but I think I’m the one that needs a hand.”

An offered palm appeared next to her, and she startled, then took it, standing shakily. Her smile turned quiet and soft. “Uji…you’re back. Hello.”

“I’ll always be here when I’m needed.”

Kordath scrambled to his feet as the Miraluka leaned up and hugged the Templar tightly too. He was tense and stiff, moving to pat her back briefly. She stepped away quickly, sensing the turmoil under his cool exterior. Frustration. Pain.

This chaos…it’s his nightmare, she thought a little sadly, sympathizing.

“Atyiru,” the Human continued, forcing some warmth into a grin like the practiced liar he was. “Good to see you’re alright.”

“And you,” she said, taking a seat on the bed behind them to catch her breath.

“You, uh, don’t look so great, Blinky.”

“I’ll be fine,” the Aedile insisted. “What about you? Are you hurt? I’ll take care of it right away.”

“No, no, uh, no, he healed me, uh, Dassac that is, the One Sith guy, after the lightning and with the whiskey and uh, yeah.”

Atyiru forced back a headache. “Okay, just…take some time to rest and recuperate, and get your story straight, alright?” She touched Uji’s arm, sensing his exhaustion, and sent a small healing wave over him. “Both of you. Ping my comm when you’re ready, and we can all talk. I’ve gotta go babysit.”

She stood up, only stumbling a bit, and left them. This time, her trip down the hall was much slower, and she regretted leaving her hoverchair in Ood’s lab. She briefly considered going back for it, but that would just mean a longer walk and having to deal with the lab again. No, she’d ask Timmy to get it when he came back.

Atyiru was halfway to her room when she detected an unfamiliar presence. When she was just down the hall, the sound of wailing reached her sensitive ears. When she was two doors away, she heard the growling. And that was when she forgot everything and simply ran.

The Aedile burst into her room as the doors swished open and froze in place, panting heavily, the Force roaring through her veins and electricity crackling in her palms. She smelled blood, and her left boot thudded into the unmistakable form of a body–the lab tech? The twins sat in their carriers on the bed, screaming for all their lungs were worth. A man stood between her and them, a knife poised in his hand. Ivoshar crouched, ready to attack, on the other side of the bed, his snarling filling the room.

“Get away from them,” she hissed, low and deadly, not recognizing the sound of her own voice.

The spindly man sniffed. “You are already responsible for the deaths of thousands of citizens and soldiers, Ms. Entar. Endeavor not to add your godchildren to the list and listen quietly.”

“I will kill you,” the Miraluka promised, and she meant it. She meant it like she had only once before in all her life.

But her body betrayed her. The sparks in her hands fizzled into silence and her arms and legs trembled. She wished desperately for her blasters, or even her saber, as she sagged back against the wall.

The intruder radiated a cruel smugness. “I am very sure you will not,” he said. “Now, your instructions: you, the infants and I will all leave this location quietly and efficiently. You will make no attempts to escape, resist, or alert anyone else. We proceed to our destination without fuss. Follow accordingly, and the Mimosa-Inahj girls will not be harmed. Otherwise, I quote, ‘they start losing fingers and toes.’”

Atyiru hissed through clenched teeth, fighting off dizziness. Ivoshar’s growling changed pitch, and he darted closer to the man, who waved the knife threateningly.

“Call your dog off.”

“Ivoshar, heel,” she snapped, and the cythraul backed away, though he still snarled.

“Very good, now–” the man was interrupted by the cheery chirping of Atyiru’s comm. He stiffened, eyes flicking to it.

“If I don’t answer, someone will suspect something,” Atyiru said, lifting a hand slowly, waiting for permission.

“Do it. But be careful what you say.” He seized one yowling baby girl by the back of her shirt–Poppy–and poised his blade above her head.

Hardly breathing, the Aedile activated her comm.

“Erm, Blinky?” It was Kordath’s stuttering voice on the other end. “You wanted–”

“Hey blueboy!” she greeted as brightly as possible. “How’s the mission going?”

“Er…uh, lady, I’m kinda not toasted on painkillers here, or, uh, drunk, which is a problem, so I may be a biiiit out of it, but–what mission? You, er, didn’t give us a–”

“Good, good. Be sure to coordinate with the others to get those civilian rescue efforts wrapped up, kay? I want you all out there like nexu-handlers tearing up a temple. Go on, go! Talk later, work to do!”

“But–I, wait, I, uh, what? What? Blink–”

She clicked the line into silence.

“There, standard check-in. All done. Okay? Please, just put her down, please,” Atyiru pled.

He didn’t. Poppy wailed louder as the cold knife met her tiny arm. “Do I have your cooperation, Ms. Entar?”

“Yes, yes! For the love of the gods, yes! Stop!”

The intruder sniffed disdainfully again, but complied, dumping the child back onto the bed. He sheathed his blade and drew out a small, discrete blaster instead, waving it her way. “Go on, collect them and we will be off.”

Atyiru rushed over and scooped up her goddaughters, grasping what threads of the Force she could to soothe them. The man pressed his pistol into the small of her back and ushered them out the door without wasting any more time. Ivoshar’s rumbling whine of distress was the last thing she heard before they went hastily down the hall.

“Who are you, anyway?” she muttered under her breath after awhile, smiling too brightly at anyone they passed. They ran into no trouble. The other people in the Citadel, just as busy as they were, returned the grin or a salute and hurried on his or her way.

“My name is Sephilos Braxant,” the Human replied. “And that is all you need to know.”

“Where are we going?”

“To meet with the master.”


The barrel of the blaster dug uncomfortably into her spine. “No more questions.”

Atyiru lapsed into silence and focused on walking straight instead, her whole body crying from exhaustion and stress. She stumbled often, but Braxant shoved her onwards.

It’s going to be okay. I’m here, she thought at the twins. And on my life, I won’t let him hurt you.

Tot-sized hostages in tow, the pair slipped out of the Citadel and out into Estle City’s fire-lit night.

The Citadel, Estle City

Kordath Bleu stared down at his comm, tail twitching so hard he thought for a second it was going to fall off and walk on out the door. The back of his neck prickled.

“That…was weird,” he muttered, his senses tingling. Not just weird, wrong. Yup.

“What did she say?” Uji asked, his eyes cool and sharp despite his friendly look. Bloody masks, all these assassin types. Gave the Ryn the creeps. Almost as bad as Marick. Eesh.

“Said something, uh, about getting back to…our uh, mission…that we don’t have…something, eh, about um, civilians, round ‘em up, heh.”

The Human’s face pinched with frustration he was probably too tired to bother hiding. “What did she say exactly?”

“Oh, right, um. I, uh, I quote: ‘Coordinate with the others to get those civilian rescue efforts wrapped up. I want you all out there like nexu-handlers tearing up a temple.’”

The Obelisk’s expression darkened like a thunder cloud on a really bad day, and Kordath swallowed thickly.

“Uh-um-uh…what?” the Ryn stammered as the other man stood up and began rapidly re-equipping all the gear and pointy objects he’d had to remove from his pockets while the nurses looked him over.

“That part about nexu-handlers in the temple, that’s a code from our days in the Praxeum. ‘Nexu-handlers’ is a reference to someone keeping the Younglings out of trouble. ‘In the temple’ means there’s something going on in the base, where it’s supposed to be safe. In Coruscant, that was actually the Jedi temple. Here, she probably meant the Citadel. Something’s wrong, and there’re children involved. We have to find her,” Uji explained coldly, already heading for the door.

Kordath’s stomach did flips, somewhere between fear, anger, and losing lunch. He scrambled for his things, tripped over a cart, then got up and scurried after the Templar.

Uji had paused outside the medbay, looking both ways down the hall. The Krath closed his eyes in concentration for a moment, searching out Blinky’s aura.

“I sense her in…that direction, as well as someone else…the children perhaps? Yeah, uh. Yeah, great, you go that way, lemme know what you find.”

“And where do you intend to go?”

“Are you kidding me? I’ve been a hostage for at least a week, been tortured, interrogated, forced to listen to Chistori poetry–you have no idea. I’m going to find a bottle of whiskey. Don’t worry, Atty will thank us when we catch up with her.”

“You’re leaving her and going drinking now?

“No no no, uh, no. Shh. I never said anything about that. I’m going to find a bottle, catch up, and then drink on the way.”


Estle City, Selen
The Citadel

Dark Forge

Kordath watched the Obelisk leave, noting that the man seemed reinvigorated despite the exhaustion he was obviously suffering from.

Off to play the hero, huh? pondered the Ryn, shaking his head ruefully.

Tracking Atyiru and the twins, and who ever was stupid enough to threaten them, would keep the Templar occupied and moving. Keeping up with them wasn’t that important, in Kordath’s mind, as long as he managed to end up where they did before something horrible happened. Confident that the Human was away, the Ryn took a few deep breathes to collect his own thoughts. He knew the way out of the medcenter level–he’d been here a few times to meet up with Blinky at the end of her self-appointed work shifts and walk down the way together for a drink or eight.

And he also knew that he’d have to pass the medical lab that he and Uji had passed earlier, and that inside was a very annoyed Neti that might have too much interest in the Priest. Grimacing, Kordath crept down the hall, trying to keep his thoughts quiet and to blend into the mental background. Just one more Force-sensitive in a big building full of them, nothing to see here, nope, notta thing….

“KORDATH!” came the voice, rumbling like thunder, causing the Ryn to stop midstep, nearly falling to the floor as his body went rigid. Even his tail stood out in a straight line for a moment before his head turned to face the one addressing him.

Beady black eyes bored into his skull for a moment, and, fleeting as it was, it was still unnerving. Kordath sighed, wondering why he kept attracting the attention of vastly more powerful, possibly insane individuals as of late. First the Zeltron, then Dassac, now Ood. At some point, he really needed to learn what it was that drew them in, so he could modify it to attract one of the mousey Krath archivists working in the libraries. Somebody who, probably, wouldn’t murder him on a whim, and more importantly, might not be capable of said act.

“Go wait down the hall, near the reception desk! I need to root around in your head,” spoke the Neti, turning back to his work, waving a syringe around a bit as he talked. “See what that Chistori did to you, could be very interesting. I doubt I’ll be required to dissect, but if we do need to, start thinking of what you might like removed, or added, and if I should need to put you under, yes?”

“Umm, yeah, sure, okay. I’ll…I’ll get right on that, Ood, no worries,” said the Priest, words rushing out as he sidled away down the hall, towards the receptionist desk.

The Neti shouted after him as he fled, “Just go sit down! I’ll be about an hour finishing this cure, we can deal with you while the tests run!”

Suuuure we can. You’re not sticking one of those tree tentacles up my bleeding nose that easy, Bnar. Catch me if you can, thought the Ryn, hitting the turbolift at the entry of the medical center. Slumping against the wall of the lift, the Krath breathed a little easier, watching the indicator drop towards ground level. The doors opened, allowing the Priest to make his way out of the building at a quick walk.

A few blocks later he stood dumbfounded, staring at the carnage and debris that littered a street that he’d taken to calling home while on Clan business on Selen. Glass was everywhere, windows shattered, and horrible smells filled the air. Things had been burning here up until recently. Uji had only given him an account of what he’d been dealing with in Estle City, and his story had matched up with what Dassac had told him about the mercenaries and saboteurs causing havoc.

But nothing had prepared the Ryn for this. The sign along the wall, above the jagged and busted out window, flickered despondently. Shade’s Liquor Emporium, the premier market for liquor and ale both cheap and ridiculously expensive. As liquor stores went, it was far classier than what Kordath would normally frequent, but it was close to the Citadel and more importantly, not far from the Frisky Jawa Bar and Grill as well.

To see it in such a state nearly forced the Ryn to his knees. An emptiness was growing inside of him, and it wasn’t just from enforced sobriety. Taking a few steps forward, he peered through the broken window, and hoped beyond hope. He climbed through, and rooted around for a while in the debris, before a cry of triumphant could be heard out on the street, and the Ryn emerged holding a bottle over his head.

Right, now to figure out where Blinky is being taken, and get the kids back before Kookimarissa finds out about all this, thought the Priest, his fear of the mother’s wrath outweighing any worries concerning Andrelious.

Focusing his thoughts, reaching out for the familiar sense of mental warmth that he associated with Atyiru, Kordath’s tail started to twitch. He thought he had a fix on her, but her mental state was under such duress that he couldn’t narrow it down very exactly. Somewhere….the Krath stopped, groaning as he realized the direction she was located in relation to him could mean anything. From where he was standing, she was headed to the spaceport, or the financial district, or somewhere else entirely.

“Guess I have to hope Uji is a good tracker,” muttered the Ryn, tucking the bottle under one arm and moving off at a trot.


##NSD Invicta##
Hangar Bay

The landing shuttle gently touched down on the Invicta, where the fleet was readying itself for action and Cethgus would see the fight on the bridge of a ship with the capabilities to clean this mess up quickly and efficiently. As the ramp hissed and began to open, the Quaestor marched down, thinking how it seemed weird to be here without the command team that usually surrounded him. As his eyes scanned around the landing deck, he watched transport crew and troops alike checking their equipment before his eyes fell onto the approaching Executive Officer.

“Sir, we have been expecting you let. Let us walk and talk on the way to the bridge,” the male allowed his hand to come out, offering the Primarch to lead the way.

“Indeed. It’s been a while since I saw you last, Ban Quell,” Cethgus spoke directly as he began to walk, watching as people parted out of his way as the two moved. “It seems that we have a lot of work to do.”

“From the last update, there was a small ship moving towards the ISD hanger sir, and the following message was given towards the Summit,” with that Ban produced a datapad from his pocket and handed it over to the Quaestor.

As the Iridonian’s eyes scanned over the datapad, a small smirk came to his lips for only the briefest of seconds. His head turned towards the Executive Officer, and he allowed a few seconds to inspect the man. As the two neared the control room, the Quaestor spotted two journeymen hanging around in the briefing room, but gave them no thought as he stepped onto the impressive bridge of the warship.

##BAC Darkest Night#

Looking over what had been assembled of the Expedition Fleet, Dal Hodezan stood on the bridge of Galeres’ flagship. The Darkest Night hovered in space beside the Invicta, ready for the upcoming fight. The Executive Officer walked around the bridge, his action experience telling him that the fleet was rapidly preparing for the upcoming battle. The hiss of the door signaled someone’s approach to the XO.

“Sir, we have information for you, sent from Lord Cethgus onboard the Invicta,” the man’s voice was quiet as he spoke, handing over the datapad for his superior to read.

“It seems the Invicta is prepared to make the jump towards the enemy. See that the Darkest Night stands strong by her side,” the Executive Officer’s voice rippled throughout the bridge as the noise and pace of activity quickly doubled.

Turning to look out the view screen, a small sigh came to the lips of Advozse as he watched the Arconan fleet once more preparing to launch an attack. But this time, unlike many of the others, it was not going to be fought in the distance, miles away from home. This was above their own planet. This fight was for everything to come, and he needed his crew to be on their top game.

Glancing over, he noticed the Shadow was gone from its holding position but thought nothing of it, knowing that they had their own mission. His attention once more turned back to his primary focus as he walked over to the communication station, letting his hand rest on the shoulder of the comms officer that sat there.

“Send word to the Invicta we are ready to begin the attack as soon as they give the order,” he commanded, his voice calm and in control, as was what was expected of every officer inside of the Arcona Military.

##NSD Invicta#

Cethgus stood on the bridge as he listened to the reports that were coming in around him, knowing full well that the fleet was now as prepared as it could be for the battle that was taking place. Ships were currently reporting in with their ready status for the fight. Turning aroun,d he allowed his eyes to fall onto the approaching Executive Officer, watching the other man’s eyes scan over a datapad as he approached.

“Sir, reports indicate we have the ready from all of ships. Qe are capable of engaging on your command. Also, we would like to confirm that all wings are prepared for launch on command,” he reported, his voice calm.

“Very well then. If everything is prepared, we should begin our jump. Have all stations ready. I want us jumping straight into the fight. Should give us some headway on catching them unprepared for us,” Cethgus ordered, cold as always.

Ban Quell only nodded in response before turning on his heels and beginning to bark orders around the bridge, allowing the ship’s crew to notify the others of the jump that would be taking place. Without a second to think, the ship’s crew worked from their hard training as the fleet that remained began moving. It was time to settle the score and it would seem that the entirety of Arcona fleet felt the same way about this situation they were in.

“When we arrive, signal the fleet. I want it known across all ships that my order is to give no quarter.” His voice echoed as the sound of the ship nearing its location became apparent. It took no time at all between Cethgus’ voice floating around the bridge and the moment the fleet came out of hyperspace.

And then the battle for space superiority began…

As the ships came out of hyperspace, it was clear that this fight would be an aggressive one: within seconds of their arrival, the batteries of the NSD Invicta and the BAC Darkest Night opened fire on the enemy ISD-II and the hostile fleet around it. If it was a smaller ship in their way, it would have been obliterated almost immediately. In this case, the ISD-II was prepared for anything that may take place, and it returned the volley with ease, marking the beginning of this desolation.

“Sir, the squadrons have just launched now. We can hold our own, but this fight will take a strain on both sides,” Ban Quell said over the sound of the fight that was taking place.

“Hold out position and signal all ships to engage at will. Let’s bring the hurt to them,” Cethgus sneered, his voice showing the annoyance at being in this position.

As the dark of space was illuminated from the glow of lasers shooting through the black, it was clear that one side had come with only one purpose: retribution. And under this command, the Arconae would see every single person killed in the void above Selen.


Space above Selen

“So I’m thinking I might have hashed something together that will allow us to get close enough to the Destroyer without being blown up.”

Nadrin turned away from the piloting controls to look at Sela, nodding her towards the controls wordlessly as he steered the shuttle towards the Star Destroyer upon which Soulfire were currently being held. However before his Fade could begin to input the new identity, a voice came over the comm.

“The strike team will support you upon entry Lord Arconae, we should land soon after you do and our fighters are clearing an entry window for both of us.”

“Understood, we’ll try to leave something alive for you to kill, Nadrin out.”

Turning his head towards the seats behind him, Nadrin lowered his voice slightly as he began his approach to the Star Destroyer’s hangar bay.

“Kooki get yourself ready to roll, Narn, I don’t think we’ll need quite as many guns as I initially thought so you can cut it down to the essentials.”

Narn barely managed to keep surprise from his voice as he sullenly pulled various guns and explosives out of the bags he had assembled earlier.

“So we’re just gonna wait for the cavalry?”

“What do you think? Sela, don’t worry about the id anymore just get strapped in; this is about to get bumpy.”

The throttle was pushed to full, and Nadrin leaned forwards over the controls to the craft as it shot forwards. Explosions littered the vista between the shuttle and the Destroyer, as the Invicta’s fighter screen worked towards creating clearance for the invasion of the Oath Breaker.

“Hold on.”

The small shuttle skittered along, flying right through the dogfight that was being conducted, the Arconan forces seeming to have the upper hand as Nadrin’s craft hurtled towards it’s target. The shuttle slipped past an errant missile and a flurry of blaster fire flashed past the craft’s cockpit as the dagger shaped Destroyer grew larger in Nadrin’s vision as he saw the hangar bay become visible.

“This might hurt.”


Onboard an AIC-4

The troop transport shuttle shook as laser fire splashed over its shields. Revs sighed as he looked through the view port to see a small shuttle approach the ISD-II ahead of them.

“Well. It looks like we won’t be securing Kookie a LZ like I wanted.” The Jedi Hunter said to Rod. “We need to get in there as fast as possible, and secure the hanger. Then meet up to support them. If her husband is alive, I would hate to ruin her Conjugal visit.”

Revs tried not to smile as his fellow journeyman’s mood switched from disappointment to
amused. “Don’t worry brother. Our thunder hasn’t been stolen yet.” The Miraluka said to boost the Humans spirits.

Revs then turned his attention to SFC Callahan. The Senior officer was sitting silent double and triple checking his gear. " Sergeant Callahan!" Revs screamed. " Upon securing our LZ I want five of your best men to meet up with Priestess Kookie. They are to protect her with their lives. Understand?"

"Yes sir. It will be done! The NCO replied.

Good Revs thought as he looked back out the viewport.

"Do you feel that’s necessary?"
Rod asked giving Revs a concerned look.

“No, but I would hate to have her twins lose both parents in one day.” Revs stated. He watched blankly as they approached the landing zone, and had to suppress a laugh. “What’s so funny?” Rod asked.

“Oh I was just thinking. If we get Soulfire whole in fighting shape and anymore surprise guest. We may just be able to take the ship.” Revs smiled as he silently laughed at his wild thought.


Normal Security Area
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

“So we just wait for company to show up, and hope it’s good,” said Wes. “Doesn’t seem to be the best plan.”

“I agree,” said Achilleus. “If they send more troops for us, they won’t risk sending a few, after all the trouble we’ve caused. It would likely be a pretty decent fraction of the crew.”

Andrelious nodded in agreement. “However, there is very little we can do at the moment. We have no way to advance, and even if we do find a way past those turbolifts, storming our way to the bridge would likely expedite Saskia’s death. We will hold our position until help arrives.”

The Soulfirians had no choice but to accept Andrelious’ command. They prepped their defenses and waited. Minutes passed, turning in to hours. Achilleus and Wes played a few pazaak matches while Andrelious spectated. Soon, Aiorus joined in. Scarlet and Riverche sat and conversed, isolated from the rest. Half the team was on the brink of sleep when every one’s attention was drawn to the room’s entrance door.

“What was that?” asked Andrelious. “Did one of you hit something?”

“Wasn’t me,” replied Aiorus, wiping his eyes. “I’ve barely moved in the last thirty minutes.”

“Same here,” said Achilleus. “This sucks.”

Another thud.

“Ghosts,” joked Scarlet. “They must be here for our prisoner.” Queslyn flinched.

“I think there is something else going on here…” Andrelious approached the door and concentrated, trying to sense outside the walls. Three more thuds. His eyes widened, as the walls emitted a string of beeping tones.

“Get back!” Yelled Achilleus, as he and Riverche pulled their leader back with a wave of their hands. An explosion ensued, pieces of the wall striking the team as Stormtroopers poured into the security room.

“They’ve caught us off guard!” exclaimed Andrelious as he rose from the floor. “Take cover!”


Normal Security Area
Detention Level
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

With Achilleus on their side, it did not take Soulfire long to negate the advantage that the element of surprise had given to their enemies. Once the team had been properly coordinated, a few well-aimed blaster shots easily cut down the Stormtroopers. The enemy soldiers were clearly not among the Oath Breaker’s best men, and were more likely hired help much like the now captured Queslyn.

“Don’t rest easy. Pepco’s best will be saved for if we get off of this level. He’s just throwing his chaff at the problem for now.” Queslyn declared.

“I wonder why they’re dressed in Stormtrooper armour.” Wes thought out loud.

“Pepco insisted on it. Like your Captain there, he used to serve with the Empire. Just he misses it a little more than you do, I imagine.” the captive female explained quickly.

Now that the Detention Level was apparently free of enemies, Andrelious could begin to turn his attention to the next problem that faced his team.

“So. Saskia is with Pepco. Now the rest of us are free, how about we go and find our Sergeant? Once we’ve retrieved her, I suggest we fight our way down to the hangar. First of all, however, we need to find a way to disable the lift’s gas traps. Or at least, ascertain how long we can last before the gas causes us to pass out.” The Warlord stated, peering at the nearest turbolift’s status monitor.

“Travelling even a single level at a time would be risky. Pepco ensured that the gas traps were fully operational before we started the assault here. Our best bet is to head to the Security Hub and see if we can override it. That would require somebody who knew how to bypass the codes. I’m afraid that my keycard won’t do that.” Queslyn replied, sounding genuinely disappointed that she was unable to help.

Andrelious smirked as an idea came into his head. “Miss Queslyn. If you really want to help us, why don’t you get into the lift and see just how far you can go. We’ll see if this system’s as efficient as you say it is.”

Without saying another word, the female pushed the lift’s call button, stepping in as the doors slid open. Nodding at the Soulfirians, Queslyn selected the deck 3 levels up.

The doors closed, leaving the ex-Rollmaster to turn to his team. “We’ll have to wait. I’m half expecting her to just head for safety and leave us to it down here. If she does that, she dies, am I clear?” Mimosa-Inahj questioned. The assembled Dark Jedi nodded in agreement.

The sound of a loud klaxon startled Soulfire. “Attention all hands, we are under attack! All pilots to their fighters!” a voice sounded, its panic not muffled completely by the graty tannoy system.

“What in the name of Palpatine is going on? The fleet is attacking us? But we’re still onboard! River, what’s happening? Tell me now!” the Warlord commanded, feeling a rapidly growing sense of danger on top of a healthy load of adrenaline.

“It seems the Arconan fleet has engaged our enemy. They appear to be under the command of our Quaestor,” the Miraluka stated with a remarkable calmness.

“They’ve let that murderous ground pounder take control of our ships! He’s doomed us all! We need to get Saskia, find Granta and then get us all off the ship!” Andrelious yelled, desperately pushing at the turbolift call button Queslyn had used moments ago.

“Granta?” Wes questioned.

“Never mind, Wes. Forget I mentioned her. Right now we have other priorities! Like making sure that Zabrak bastard doesn’t blow us out of the sky!”

The turbolift arrived, and its door opened, revealing an apparently unharmed Xyrilia Queslyn. From the look on her face, she had not been expecting either to remain conscious, or the attack.

“I think the gas traps have been disabled. Somebody, likely your daughter, must have been able to get to the hub and turn them off. For now, at least, it seems we’ll be able to travel the ship fairly free of traps. Don’t expect an easy ride, though, especially now we’re under attack,” the female soldier observed.

“Miss Queslyn. I’m not expecting an easy ride. These bastards have managed to get people into the deepest parts of our workings. They managed to capture us once already, and I’m sure that they’re more than capable of doing it again. Now, let’s go and find my eldest. Is the security hub still five decks above the Detention Level? I can’t imagine that Faust bothered to reconfigure things too much.” Andrelious declared, ordering his team into the turbolift with a simple wave of his hand.

As Soulfire filed quickly into the lift, Andrelious felt a sudden wave of panic. The Force was screaming a warning that something was very wrong.

Follow accordingly, and the Mimosa-Inahj girls will not be harmed. Otherwise, I quote, ‘they start losing fingers and toes.’

The seemingly familiar voice echoed around the senior Mimosa-Inahj’s head. He could feel that his daughters were in danger, yet that they were also with Atyiru.

Closing his eyes, Andrelious focused hard. He could see a shadowy figure, obscured and unrecognisable, holding a knife on his slightly elder twin’s arm. He could hear his Aedile wailing, begging the figure to not hurt her goddaughter.

“Is everything alright, Captain? You said yourself we can’t afford to sit around. We need orders.” River declared, unable to sense what her superior could.

“The twins are in danger. Apparently Atyiru’s alive and well, and she’s got my daughters. And somebody’s got the three of them. We need to get to Selen! NOW!” the Sith roared, hitting a button on the control panel frantically.

The turbolift shot upwards with such speed that the Arconans had difficulty remaining on their feet.

“Emergency protocols activated. Turbolift speed maximised,” a computerised voice announced rather unnecessarily.

“Now they’ll know we’re on our way. Good move,” Wes said, adding to his sarcastic statement with a small clapping motion.

“I suggest you all be quiet. All three of my daughters are being threatened by these bastards. Right now, I could take on the frakking Grand Master. Just keep back and help where you can, understood!?” Andrelious snapped.



Commander Pepco watched the ongoing space battle nervously. He had not expected the Dajorra Defence Force to return, nor had he expected the Arconans to launch their XJ-Wings, having been told that Andrelious had ordered any astromech reliant fighters grounded. He had already attempted to issue the signal to cause all astromechs to self destruct, but had discovered that said signal could no longer be transmitted.

Just how much damage did that Ortega bitch do to our systems? he worried as he watched one of his ship’s TIE Defenders get cornered and destroyed by a pair of Arconan ships.

“Sir. The turbolift’s in operation. Soulfire are aboard, but I’m unable to activate the gas trap. It seems that it has been disabled from the security hub. By somebody using your access codes,” a male Ensign stated.

“Have security teams form at the turbolift doors on all levels. Get a message out to whatever of Dassac’s people are left onboard. We’ll need their support.” Pepco ordered.


Security Hub

Almost as soon as the turbolift doors had opened, a furious Andrelious sprinted out, spraying E-11 fire.

The security team were still assembling into position, but managed to return fire effectively. Aiorus, who had been the first to follow his Captain out of the lift, was struck in the leg by a blaster bolt. The Jedi Hunter fell to the deck with a cry of anguish, clutching the new wound.

Andrelious beckoned to the rest of the team to follow him, apparently unconcerned at Aiorus’ condition.

“We can’t leave him, Captain.” River stated, moving to check on Soulfire’s unarmed combat specialist.

“We don’t have a medic right now, River. He’ll just have to limp behind us. This ship is under attack! Now stop faffing about and come along.” the Warlord hissed, still clearly bothered by the image of his daughters at threat.

“So we find Saskia. Then we go?” Achilleus asked, peering around a nearby corridor.

“She’s not on this level anymore, I can feel that she’s still on the ship, but I imagine that she’s making her own way down to the hangar.” Mimosa-Inahj stated, turning quickly on his heel. Riverche raised her hand, signalling she had heard something over the waves.

“Captain. I just intercepted word from Nadrin. He and Kooki have landed. Two Journeymen from Qel-Droma are on their way, as well,” the Miraluka said, speaking quietly so as to still hear anything that came through her earpiece.

“Right. The plan is clear. Find Saskia. Get everyone to the hangar, and go before Cethgus kills us all.” Andrelious commanded.

Approaching the turbolift, the Warlord heard the quiet hissing of the doors. Raising his blaster, he readied his finger on the trigger.

“Why hello there, Master!” Vosh Kon declared.


Soulfire Strike Team
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

The strange woman was slicing through enemies like they were melting cheese, a strange focus and derangement in her actions as Saskia kept her interference handy through manipulation of the scenery. The brutes that Pepco had hired seemed to have the same mentality as the original Stormtroopers that the Krath had heard about, all brawn with no mental strength, resistance and plenty of them to think they were disposable.

The klaxons blared through from nowhere, vibrating up and down the corridor, causing all the troublemakers to disappear from the sight of the two women. A mechanical voice echoed that the ship was under attack, and Saskia already knew that the Summit would have initiated it as soon as she heard it.

The Equite grabbed the other woman’s arm before anything could be said. “I don’t know, and right now I don’t care who you are and what you want, but they’re going to start looking for me once they realise what I’ve done in the hub back there. So we need to get to the hangar and get off this ship or my own Summit are going to get us killed. Now, if you want to get killed, that’s fine and I won’t stop you, but I’m going to the hangar, and I know the easiest way is to drop straight through a few floors below us, but that could also get us into the most trouble, so the vents are the most direct way,” Saskia stated, raising her eyebrows as a sudden icy grip seized her deep within the Force. The twins. She knew that someone was toying with Andrelious, and it made her feel nauseous. “There’s a grate there, and that’s where I’m going. If you want to make your own way down then I’ll meet you there, otherwise have fun and die fast.”

Before the stranger could reply, the Slicer had the grate thrown across the corridor and had slipped into the ventilation system. They spoke to her in ways others read body language. She could figure out the source of a problem from the network of pipes as a secondary clunking followed her through. “You could have picked a roomier way to travel…”

“Roomier? Maybe, but this is the quickest way for me to travel anywhere.”

Saskia and Granta, as the woman had eventually conceded during their long travel down the metal passageways, dropped down off a steep ledge. There would be bruises the following day, but the Krath was dismissive of it all. She could spy the hangar below them, along with a fifteen foot drop. She picked the screwdriver off her belt and began to pry the grate open.

“And what if we’re spotted?” Granta pushed the eldest Inahj daughter.

“Then we have two lightsabers and a whole bunch of Force powers to hand. Plus they’re all out doing whatever piloting things they need to,” Saskia frowned in response, shrugging as though it was obvious.

The pair silently placed the grate on the inside of the vent before the Slicer slowly dipped her head down for a view of the hangar. She could sense her stepmother’s presence somewhere aboard the ship, though the twins were not with her which slightly disturbed the Battleteam Sergeant. She spotted the landing pad, and dropped herself out of the pipework into the hangar. Rubbing her backside as she stood up, the younger woman beckoned for her associate to join her.


The AIC-4 rocked harshly as the space battle raged on around it. The small communicator on Rod’s wrist began blinking red. The pilot had signaled that they were almost at the hangar.

“Alright men, lock and load. We’re coming in hot and Nadrin and Kooki are already there. You know the plan, kill everything that moves in that hangar!” The Journeyman shouted as he checked his blaster for the fifth time. It had been a long time since he had felt the thrill of the adrenaline rush that comes before a battle.

The dropship lurched as it entered the hangar, quickly decelerating so it could let off its cargo. The infantrymen poured out as the doors opened, immediately engaging the mercenaries dressed as stormtroopers tasked with guarding the hangar. Rod and Revs came out of the transport last with SFC Callahan.

The Human looked to his left quickly and saw the other ship had made it into the hangar safely as well. He saw Celevon’s Mandalorian fade firing away as she came out behind the rest of the platoon. Turning his attention forward, the Journeyman saw the two Equites they were accompanying had already done a good job of putting the hurt on the hangar’s defense team. His assessment of the situation was interrupted as a blaster bolt flew just over his head. He turned to see a lone mercenary to the right of the shuttle who quickly got a flurry of blaster fire to his chest from the ex-commando.

The platoon made short work of the mercenaries in the hangar, and as the last man fell they immediately began setting up a casualty collection point. Sergeant Callahan was busy barking orders at his squad leaders to make sure they had the hangar secured. Two squads made their way to the entrances and began setting up firing positions for the heavy gunners.

Rod and Revs approached Nadrin and Kooki with Jade close behind.

“Jedi Hunter Revs and Protector Rod at your service sir.” Revs stated.



Kooki disembarked Nadrin’s ship with a few others into the hangar, and began heading towards the turbolift. Looking up, Nadrin noticed his companion hastily fleeing the scene, in an attempt to find her missing spouse.

“Wait up!! You’ll need backup!” he called.

Without even turning round, the Krath merely rotated her head over her shoulder and called back to the masked male.

“With the way I’m feeling right now, no frakkin’ bastard will mess with me!

The entrance of the turbolift opened for the small group. Suddenly the Priestess stopped in her tracks and went a deathly shade of pale.

“Kooki? Kooki? Are you alright? Kooki?”

Nadrin’s voice echoed and dissipated into a blur.

An image of her former Master flashed into Kooki’s head. Her Force sensitivity was emitting a strong negative vibe. The scene changed to an unknown male figure who had a blade just touching the skin of Poppelia’s arm. A voice spoke.

Follow accordingly, and the Mimosa-Inahj girls will not be harmed. Otherwise, I quote, ‘they start losing fingers and toes.’

The Alderaanian snapped back into reality. Before she was angry. Now she was fuming.

Moments later, the Qel-Droman group were awaiting the ascent away from the hangar. Kooki felt continuous waves of unease.

Instead of beginning its movement, the turbolift remained still. The doors opened again. A flame haired female entered accompanied by a familiar face. Saskia!!

It’s her!!

Kooki had a feeling of déjà vu and a memory took hold…

A few months ago…

The pregnant Knight waddled in and spotted her spouse sat on the edge of their bed. Upon joining him, she noticed he was staring at an old photograph.

“I often wonder where you are. If you’re still alive even?” He sighed to himself, failing to notice he was no longer alone.

Andrelious attempted to put the memento into a bedside drawer, yet Kooki pulled him round before he had a chance to do so.

“An old flame of yours, love?” She teased.

The Warlord’s cheeks began to tinge pale pink.

“Well…umm…you see… It was a long time ago…” He stuttered sheepishly.

The female giggled quite childishly at him.

“Let’s see then!” she mocked, leaning in and snatching the picture from her husband’s weak grasp.

Despite her rounded bump, and the Sith trying in vain to prevent his wife’s curiosities finding out the identity of his childhood sweetheart, Kooki managed to retrieve the old image.

There staring back at her was a youthful teenage boy with short, unkempt, chestnut coloured hair, clearly sat on the lap of a red haired female, who rested her head comfortably on his shoulder. It was hard to distinguish from such a small picture, but the angle the female was resting her head on Andrelious’ shoulder created the illusion that she was taller than him. As it was only a shot of their heads and shoulders, further intricate details couldn’t be easily identified. However, she could just make out the collar of an Imperial Army uniform on the female and that of an Imperial Navy uniform on the man in the image.

Kooki swallowed hard. Her spouse did similar. He was scared at what she was going to say. After what felt like forever, she broke the awkward silence between them both.

“Well well well… She is quite hot. Well considering…”

“Kooki darling. It was a long time ago and she could be dead for all…hang on… What did you say?!” Realised the stunned male.

Andrelious began defending himself, since he had prepared for his spouse to go ballistic and possessive, yet he realised she had said quite the contrary.

“Considering what?” He asked intriguingly.

“Not that one likes to be choosy with whom one finds attractive and/or sleeps with, but considering she’s one of THEM!” Stated the Alderaanian, adopting a higher order register than normal in her husband’s presence, whilst projecting her voice at the end of the utterance.

“Indeed she was an Imperial, love. That’s kind of how we parted. You see we met when…”

“Oh my heart bleeds for you, dear.” Kooki stated, sarcastically.

“I don’t need to hear the whole frakkin’ biography of this woman. A mulled drink would be nice.”

Andrelious hastily hushed and put the photo at the back of his bedside drawer and sincerely hoped his wife wouldn’t burn the only trace of Granta Prackx he had left. With that, he went downstairs and started warming up two mugs of a non-alcoholic mulled drink for himself and his hormonal loved one.

“As hot as that Imperial female was, let’s hope we never bump into one another,” she patted her bump reassuringly.

“As Mummy can be a bit feisty when people get in her way and stop her getting what’s rightfully hers.”

Present Day…

Someone!! I knew it!! I need to tread this carefully. I bet it’s her that captured him.

Prackx sensed another Force-user within the small claustrophobic cuboid. Amidst the Force blind Arconans, Nadrin, Rod and Revs AND the newly acquainted Saskia in the turbolift, she spotted a female with long black hair, unusually with purple tips.

Time was running thin and Kooki knew she had to act fast. She waded through the small crowd gathered in the area.

“Ah Kooki. You decided to join us at last.” Saskia mused.

“Have you two met before?” Queried Prackx, before the Alderaanian had a chance to respond.

“Oh yes!” Stated Kooki with a wide grin on her face.

She held out her hand and gestured it towards the redhead before her.

“Kookimarissia Mimosa-INAHJ!” The Priestess emphasised.

“Pleased to meet your acquaintance!”


Revs leaned against the wall of the Turbolift as he observed the three women in the car. He could sense a Jumbled mix of emotions coming from Kookie. The wild feelings made him suddenly wish to be back in the hangar, and not packed in so tight quarters with her. He felt a hand brush his arm as his fellow Journeyman leaned in near him.

“What’s going on?” Rod asked in a whispered tone that hinted he was picking up on some tensions also.

“I don’t know.” Revs whispered. " Shooting that storm trooper in the head was the last thing that made any sense to me. I get the feeling Andrelious will wish he was in his cell again here shortly though."

Rod nodded his head in agreement then said calmly. “I think its best if we just keep our heads down and kill anything that offers resistance.”

" That was the plan all along wasn’t it?" Revs chuckled. “Keep count of your kills. Loser buys drinks when we get back.”


Estle City
Huascar Ring

The city was still in chaos, families and citizens roamed the streets. Attempting to follow the directions of the Arcona Defense Force seeking out shelter, trying to find missing family members and find somewhere safe to be out of the way. For Atyiru it was nearly blinding as she stumbled through the streets, the emotions running rampant throughout the city made her imagine what it was like to see the fires burning that everyone else could see.

The two babies she carried had calmed somewhat being close to her, though she struggled to keep her own emotions in check as not to further upset them.

She felt Braxant lean in closer to her “If you’re too tired to carry both of them, I can execute one of them to lessen your load. Pick up the pace.”

Taking a deep breathe and channeling her anger and worry Atyiru called on the Force to ease her exhaustion as she picked her way through the crowds. She had no idea where she was being led, it wasn’t towards the landing bays or the spaceport and as of yet her captor hadn’t given any real indication.”

Several times she felt as though someone was following them, finally as they descended into another alley she couldn’t help but smile as she felt a brush of the Force and knew that Kordath or Uji was close by. That smile turned quickly as she felt the gun press into the small of her back and the agent behind her grab her collar.

“Who the hell are you?” Braxant crouched slightly to use Atyiru as a shield as he spoke.

Uji dropped the Force cloak surrounding him, Atyiru could see the anger coursing through him creating an effective illusion for the fear he felt. He stood blocking the exit of the alleyway saber in hand but deactivated.

“Your best chance of living through this moment is to free the Aedile and her charges.” The tone reflected no argument.

Braxant stood straighter behind the Priestess as he assessed Uji. “Move out of the way, or you’ll be explaining to your Primarch how you got his sister killed.”

“You won’t kill her as its fairly obvious you’re expected to bring her alive, wound yes, potentially maim but you won’t kill her. And before you try to threaten the children instead. If you harm either of them; Atyiru would die before letting you… No matter how you think this will turn out, you aren’t leaving this alley with them.”

Atyiru shook her head in astonishment. She knew how Uji’s mind worked, he was playing a gamble to get her back. She knew how exhausted he was, that Braxant had the upper hand one way or another. What worried her most was that she knew Uji would sacrifice the children to get her back, something she couldn’t allow. She could feel Sephilios growing nervous behind her; his expectation that no one would risk the beloved Aedile of Galeres faltering before the stone gaze of the Templar.

“Braxant… I can make this work, just let me talk to him I promise I will go with you as long as you don’t hurt the little ones” Atyiru turned slowly keeping her body between Uji and Braxant.

“One false move girl, my first shot will be the small one, the second will be to cripple you. Remember that”

Atyiru backed away slowly, moving to stand in between her Captor and her Templar before turning back to Uji. She lifted the carriers off of her neck holding the two girls “Uji I am going to go with Braxant, this needs to be dealt with one way or another and I will be alright…”

As Uji began to step forward she cut him off, though she wasn’t as intimidating as Cethgus or Marick the Archpriestess had come far on being able to hold her own and when she gave orders she expected them to be followed. “You will take the girls back to the Citadel and see they are cared for.”

“Atty… The children mean nothi-”

“Do not interrupt me again Templar.” The usual mirth of Atyiru had when speaking was nonexistent he could tell she had made her decision.

Atyiru gave him a forced, yet still bright smile, “Take the children, Uji, I’ll be okay, everything will be okay” she sensed his thoughts as he considered whether he could clear the distance, place himself between her and Braxant, felt his frustration as he knew it wasn’t possible.

“Yes Aedile…”

Kordath stayed hidden, having finally caught up with Uji and the others, and watched the children get handed over the Obelisk. He waited a few moments as Atyiru and Braxant exited the alley and moved back into the city. Kordath slipped past the alley taking a quick glance down to see Uji collecting the two crying girls.

The two exchanged a brief nod, The Ryn knew enough about the Templar from Atyiru that Uji would follow her orders. Uji was passing responsibility for her to him, it didn’t make him feel any better as he resisted the urge to take a drink. He let the lead go for a few seconds more before setting off after Blinky.


Dark Forge

Financial district,
Estle city,

Sjl looked ahead at the scene in front of him with dusted eyes and a stern expression. Another pillar of smoke added to the skies as the machination crumbled and creaked from the inside. His eyes darted to his team who were exploring and rummaging the ruins of the building it crashed into. It’s head protruded out a crack in the wall like some abomination he once saw in the Temple Tiamat. The building itself appeared to still be in use at the time, with several lights flickering, workers rushing out any exit they could find, and an old Bothan growling at K’Tana for what had happened. Determined, Sjl used his holocommunicator to signal K’Tana.

“Kat, remove the beast if necessary, his life isn’t valuable.”

Ugh…Thought you’d never ask.” K’Tana panted out.

In his blurred vision, Sjl noticed the signature purple lightsaber ignite and decapitate the old Bothan, then quickly sheathe back. With a sense of satisfaction, Sjl continued to monitor the area for any updates or areas they might of missed. It wasn’t long before Donblas was jumping and waving his hands towards his leader’s direction. Behind the Jedi Hunter, a corner of the building had fallen on top of a pile of rubble, however several pieces of metal suspended the corner enough to create an access tunnel towards the other side. His holocommunicator went off again, this time it was K’Tana paging him.

“Sire, you need to see this. It’s…it’s wonderful.”

Those words were all he needed, just as quickly as her lightsaber ignited, Sjl darted and sprinted down towards the crack in the rubble. His drained legs dragging him along as fast as he could, often tripping on the rubble in front of his boots. He raced down the hill and towards the crash site, his team in visual sight. However, his senses were tingling at the back of his head, there was a presence familiar with him, coming directly from the ruin. Panting and drained of energy, Sjl approached K’Tana and smiled softly, before motioning her towards the crack.

“You go first, sir, you need to see this.” K’Tana whispered to him, still edgy from her sight.

Reluctant, he kneeled under the crack of the fragmented building, shuffled onto his belly over the rubble and slowly peered under. The building still fell apart from above him as he crawled, however the scene he saw turned him pale. Beyond the rubble lay a stretching plain of sand and shrubbery, limping and shuffling across this plain were disfigured, grotesque anthropological vessels. Their limbs seemed to be disconnected and replaced at random areas, their skulls and facial expression malformed as they continuously leaked some pus, and their voices were more like the groans and shrieks from a child in pain. What most upset Sjl was not their anatomy, but their lack of skin. Each and every abomination slowly shuffled and limped over on unprotected feet that bulged with muscles, veins and arteries. Some bones protruded from their bodies, moving and fragmenting as they walked. The beasts in front of Sjl were clearly not sentient anymore, but machinations of the Force.

“Sjl!” A cry echoed the area as K’Tana impatiently waited.

Sjl struggled out of the rubble until he came facing K’Tana who was in a state of panic and sweating, her eyes staring with pure shock at the building. Sjl slowly walked around her shaking body to notice the corpse of the JK droid slowly rising from it’s grave and it’s lights come to life. Now Sjl also fell pale and his eyes widened.

“Ah plath!” His hand met with his cold and dusty cheek, indeed the stakes were raised.


Estle City, Selen

Dark Forge

Kordath clambered up the side of the building, grabbing fixtures to pull himself up, feeling sweat soak through to his robes. Grumbling, he crested on to the roof, panting for a moment, letting the Force flow into his tired body as well as direct his attention towards the glowing life force that was his friend. The Aedile was moving more quickly, no longer carrying the burden of the children, and was weaving a path directed by Braxant, traversing the alleyways in the direction of the financial district.

Hopping roofs with a bit of assistance from the Force, finding shorter gaps where he could so as not to exhaust himself, Bleu followed from above. Braxant had seen Uji drop his own Force Cloak earlier, the tell tale shimmer would be a giveaway if he tried to shadow them from the alleys themselves. It didn’t matter, Kordath had both of them firmly set in his own Senses, he wouldn’t’ lose this trail. Atyiru had been hurt enough, he wasn’t letting anything else happen to his friend.

[I]They LEFT you, Bleu, why risk your neck for one of them?[/I], came a twisted voice from his own mind, it sounded like his own mental tone, but with the grating voice of Dassac slithering over it.

[I]Atty wasn’t part of that, she wouldn’t have left me to die, I wont’ leave her too, get out of my blasted head[/I], he mentally growled.

While no more rogue thoughts floated through his mind, he did hear the guttural laughter of the Chistori echoing in his skull.

An explosion some blocks away on his left drew his eye for a moment, almost missing his landing as he jumped across an alley. The metallic head of a Clone Wars era war droid reared it’s head, tentacles colored copper flailing about towards something he couldn’t see. He had the vague sensation that K’tana was that way, as well as several minds he didn’t recognize.

[I]Is that a bloody JK-13 droid? I made that up earlier, where the hell did the One Sith dig one of those up at?[/I] thought the Ryn, shaking his head and pushing on, he didn’t have time to deal with giant droids.

Screams from the streets below reached his ears, causing the Krath to peek over the side of a roof for a moment. Grayish beings were wandering through the street, limbs twisted and many sharp teeth visible. He vaguely recalled hearing something about this when he was at the Citadel earlier, during his brief respite, and his heart sank. Rakghouls, he thought they were called, and they were in the city now, that was bad. Suddenly the Priest felt much better about hopping roofs.

He slowed down, noting that Braxant and Atyiru had stopped, looking that way, Kordath noted one of the large financial towers that gave this part of the city it’s skyline. Crouching behind some kind of condenser unit, the Ryn watched the two enter the building, a force of the mercenaries were holding a line at the front, keeping any ADF forces away. As well as the rakghouls, he noted, pulling a comm out and fiddling with the settings, getting himself a line of sight on the Citadel itself so as to do a direct communication in hopes of not being monitored.

With a quiet squeal, the comm came to life, “Citadel communication, this is a secure frequency that you are barging in on, we are well aware of the emergency status of the city and would appreciate you staying off the line.”

“Bugger that, this is Krath Priest Kordath Bleu, of Dark Forge, I need to get intelligence to whomever is running the city’s defense. The One Sith are holed up in a building in the financial district, tower…two zero four, no idea who owns it, the signs are mostly blaster scarred at this point. An Obelisk by the name of Uji should have made it back to the Citadel by now, please update him as to my position, he’ll fill you in on more of the situation, I’ll stay here and keep an eye on the place. It’s defended, enemy troops are holding a perimeter at the front door, likely covering other entrances. And let Pontifex Bnar that the bloody rakghouls are in the blasted city,” spoke the Ryn, whispering as quickly as he could, “you get that?”

“Umm, yes sir, I’ll update command and try to contact both this…Uji and Lord Bnar. We’ll attempt to reroute some ADF troops your way to help contain the situation as well,” came back the crisp voice, no longer sounding annoyed with him.

“Copy that,” whispered the Ryn, “Bleu, out.”

[I]Going through so much trouble, trying to help those who abandoned you to die, little Ryn,[/I] came the voice again.

Kordath shook his head, and tried to ignore his own thoughts, as he watched the building, not wanting to worry about what Dassac might have done to his mind while he’d been in the One Sith’s care. He just hoped back up would be there soon, at least the kids were already safe. Not that it would make the Mimosa-Inajh’s any less angry, but still.


Security Hub
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

It had been an entire year since Andrelious sent his young apprentice on a deadly mission to infiltrate the One Sith. Vosh had been captured a few months into the op by One Sith agents, who interrogated and tortured Vosh for 5 long months before he escaped. The torture was intense and changed him both physically and mentally, and immersed him further into the Dark Side of the Force. Vosh had multiple scars all over his body, and his eyes were blackened with an orange tent and dark red rings.

“Vosh, where in the name of Palpatine have you been,” Andrelious said in amazement.

Vosh glared at his old master with an evil stare, as the young Sith was not pleased with the outcome of the op Andrelious had sent him on.

“Being interrogated, being tortured for an op you sent me on that was destined to fail,” Vosh continued, “and you can call me Nameless.”

Andrelious understood the hatred Vosh must have felt, but nevertheless, this wasn’t the time nor place for that conversation.

“Nameless, now is not the time nor place to discuss this,” the Warlord snapped, “do you still wish to be my apprentice, and join my battleteam as our hand-to-hand combat specialist?”

Vosh knelt down, “yes Master.”

“Then let’s get going,” Andrelious yelled to inspire his men, “we must make it to the hangar quickly!”

Vosh, with steam coming off his bare chest, was eager to kill as many enemies as possible as he had been completely engulfed by his anger. The young apprentice charged forward to prove to his master that he was more powerful than ever before!


Soulfire Strike Team

Selen Orbit

Demetrius Hogan smiled as he spotted one of his wingmen shooting down an enemy TIE Defender. The battle was beginning to go well for the Arconan forces, who, despite being outnumbered, were doing a far better job of keeping themselves coordinated. To Hogan’s trained eye, it was almost as if the opposing capital ships, aside from the Imperial-II, were not being operated by Human, or alien hands.

“Command, this is Hogan. I think the enemy fleet is slaved through the Imp Star Deuce. It would certainly explain how they’re able to command such a relatively large fleet,” the Doto commander stated into his ship’s comm.

“Hogan, that’s confirmed. All fighters are organic flown, but aside from the Oath Breaker and the Interdictor, the capitals are controlled from a central computer. We’re already taking that into account,” a voice quickly and calmly replied, setting Hogan’s mind quickly at ease. He was pleased that his instincts had proven correct, even if the entirety of the enemy starfighter force were still able to cause a fair bit of trouble for pilots of the Arconan Starfighter Corps. The fact that the majority of the enemy fighters were TIE Defenders made Hogan’s job that much harder.


Security Hub
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

“Isn’t Aiorus our hand-to-hand specalist, sir?” Riverche questioned as the one formerly known as Vosh slowed down and fell back into line with his newly found teammates.

I pick my men, River. Aiorus is going to need medical treatment, and with the supply situation still unresolved, we can’t be sure just how long he’ll be down for. My apprentice, on the other hand, is clearly ready to fill the role.” Andrelious replied, irritated at the Miraluka’s questioning.


Selen Orbit

“That’s it. Take out those globes. Once they’re both down, the ImpStar won’t have any chance!” Baxter Vandorack commanded, firing a pair of his own proton torpedoes at one of the Oath Breaker’s twin ISD-72x domes. The warheads collided with their target moments later, leaving it visibly damaged, but still apparently functional.

Another of the B-Wings attached to Scourge Squadron, chased closely by a TIE Defender, flew nearby to the other generator tower, lasers ablazing. As it passed by Vandorack, the Hapan pilot turned his own ship in an attempt to distract the Defender, but watched in horror as his subordinate was easily gunned down by the far faster starfighter.

“We need more cover! The Defenders are prioritising bomber targets!” the Scourge leader cried, noticing another B-Wing falling to enemy fire out of the corner of his eye.

“We’re doing the best we can. You try shooting these frakking Defenders down!” came the angry reply. Tensions between the bomber and fighter squadrons occasionally caused the two groups to clash a little, especially during an intense battle, and once again it appeared that the ‘whining’ bomber pilots were expecting a miracle from their fighter pilot colleagues.

A B-Wing, painted in the markings of another squadron that Vandorack was not familiar with, fired another salvo of warheads at one of the shield towers, the impact proving enough to destroy the generator and sending its useless remains deep into the void.

One down. One to go.


Security Hub

The sound of another klaxon rang throughout the ship. Andrelious, remembering his Imperial training, identified what the alarm meant from its tone almost immediately.

“Seems the ship’s just lost one of its shield towers. We’re getting off this ship. Now! To the lift, Soulfire!” the Warlord commanded.

Reaching the nearest turbolift that allowed access to the hangar, Andrelious pushed the call button nervously, hammering it several more times in a vain effort to hurry the lift up.

“You know that doesn’t work?” Queslyn interjected.

“Actually, Miss Queslyn, if you press it the right number of times, it does. The system was incredibly prone to failure, though. I don’t think I ever saw anyone use it back on the Zath”, the ex-Rollmaster replied, watching the turbolift’s status monitor to see if his gambit had worked.

The turbolift reached the security hub, announcing its arrival with a loud ‘ping’. Out of habit more than deliberate design, Andrelious and the rest of his team trained their weapons on the doors, ready for anything. Instead, the lift was empty. Preparing to board it, Mimosa-Inahj had one final check of the status monitor. It showed that the adjacent lift was also on the move.

“Quickly. The other lift’s probably carrying a cohort…hang on. Yes, move! There are several Force sensitives aboard the other lift. Let’s get out of here!” Riverche panicked, beating her superior into the unoccupied turbolift.

“Wait. River. There are Force sensitives aboard, but they’re friends of ours. Very dear friends, in my case.” Andrelious stated with a softness that only came out when the Inquisitor was around his nearest and dearest.

Frak. They’ve met. the former Imperial realised.

“Orders, sir?” Wes asked.

The Soulfire Captain smiled wryly. “Wait here. It seems our rescue team’s finally arrived,”

And Granta is with them.


The two fleets continued to exchange fire, even as they flew into increasingly close quarters. The Arconan ships, entirely crewed by organic beings, continued to easily outwit the predictable tactics of the Faustian fleet’s computers.

Watching from the transparisteel windows of the Invicta, Ban Quell noticed the enemy Interdictor was venting atmosphere from several small hull breaches.

“Increase fire on the Interdictor! It’s about to blow!” the Executive Officer cried, forgetting that he was supposed to defer to Cethgus in his sheer excitement. His subordinate operating the main weaponry console didn’t care to wait for the Galeres Quaestor, either, and concentrated a burst of turbolaser fire directly at the Immobilizer-class vessel.

The heavy bolts of plasma smashed into the already buckling hull of the beleaguered Interdictor, proving far too much for its weakened structure to handle. As the final turbolaser blast dissipated against its hull, the dagger-shaped vessel’s gravity well generators overloaded, turning the ship into little more than an expanding, multi-coloured fireball.


With a second loud ‘ping’, the other turbolift doors slid open. This time the lift was around half full of people, some dressed in Arconan Army uniforms, others in robes.

Looking first to Kooki, Andrelious’ glance was then inexorably drawn towards the much larger female who stood towards the back of the lift.

“Well, well, well. Just look who it is. My little Inahj.” Prackx stated, pushing her way through the group of Arconans.

“YOUR little Inahj? You had your chance, sweetheart.” Kooki spat as the giant redhead hugged the Warlord tightly.

“Hmm. Fiery and attractive. I can see why he likes you. As for Andrelious, he was mine a long time before YOU showed up. And I think you’ll find that it was me who got the ball rolling with the rescue. What were you and your team going to do? Get thrown into jail?” the flame haired woman replied aggressively, stroking the Sith’s hair possessively.

“Oh, and it’s Mimosa-Inahj these days,” the Alderaanian added, almost matter of factly.

“Will you two dikut women stop fighting over the Captain?” Nadrin snapped.

“I don’t know if I even want him back. He’s pretty used goods these days.” Granta declared, looking towards Saskia. The elder Inahj child appeared not to notice the comment.

“Thank you, Nadrin. Granta, Kooki, we’ll talk about this situation later. Right now, we’ve got a Star Destroyer to escape. When we’re back on Selen, I have a new mission for us. Nadrin, Saskia, as godparents I’ll be expecting the two of you to join us. The twins are in danger.” Andrelious commanded.

“Of course. We’ll get those ik’aad of yours back!” Andrelious’ fellow Warlord stated.

“Granta. Give me my lightsabers back, please. This battle is far from over.” the male Mimosa-Inahj demanded.

“I’ll let you have one of them, sweetie. I’ve grown quite attached to them. Surely I deserve a piece of you by my side in exchange for rescuing you?”

Andrelious was handed his older, silver-hilted lightsaber. The one he used to fight. Prackx patted the black-hilted weapon. “This one’s frakking good workmanship. Guess you found your calling, babe,” she said.

“That’s all you’re going to get of him. He’s not your sweetie or babe anymore!” Kooki snarled, shoving her husband away from the large female. The ex-Imperial stumbled back, a little surprised at what the Alderaanian had done, then walked quietly towards one of the open turbolifts.

“I said later, girls.” Nadrin hissed, following Andrelious. The rest of the group followed close behind, Prackx and Kooki glaring angrily at each other, much still to resolve.

“Nadrin…when are you coming back to Soulfire?” Andrelious asked, desperate to change the topic away from himself and back to the mission at hand.


Revs pushed his way to the far wall of the turbolift directly across from the lifts doors. Not that it mattered where he was, the tension in the lift could be cut with a lightsaber it seemed. This mission was far from what he had been expecting, and just kept getting stranger by the minute it seemed. Revs looked around him at those who occupied the lift with him. To his left his fellow Journeyman Rod was holding a quite conversation with SFC Callahan, and the Mandalorian fade Jade. All around Arconian soldiers fidgeted with their weapons or adjusted their armor. To his right stood Priestess Kookie clung to the arm of her husband, exchanging looks that could make a kryat dragon cower in fear. Then there was the brown haired woman who stood next to the Soulfire battle team leader trying to appear unaffected by the days events. She was a pretty woman even with a puffed up nose with a little dried blood around it. If not not the Miralukas unique view through the force Revs would have never guessed this woman was a powerful Dark Jedi.

Revs thoughts were interrupted as his masters Fade stepped into his view. “Seeing something you like?” Jade asked aggressively.

"How do you know what I’m looking at? Revs responded insultingly. “No by the way I’m just trying to fit the pieces of this puzzle over here together, no need to get jealous.”

“Watch what you say boy. Edraven will have no problem with me beating some scenes into his apprentice.” The Fade said in a threatening tone.

Before Revs could respond the turbolift shook slightly, and slowed to a stop. ''Something is wrong. We are not near the hanger yet." Andrelious said sounding worried. A slight tick in the Force alerted Revs just in time for him to look up and see the the turbolift doors open, and a hall full storm troopers before him.

“Get down” he screamed as he grabbed The Mandalorian woman in front of him, throwing her to the floor just as a blaster bolt flew through the space she was in. Revs felt white hot pain spread through his shoulder all the way to his fingers, followed by complete numbness in his right arm as the shot burned into his shoulder. The young Siths vision blurred and he dropped to one knee as the pain took him by surprise. He could hear the snap hiss of Lightsabers, and blaster fire as the Arconians struck back at their attackers.


Apex Brigade Barracks, Arcona Citadel
Estle City, Selen

Kanis unlatched his helmet throwing it into the back of his locker. Maa’ka watched as the Templar began rummaging around in the durasteel storage space…

“Hey, you okay flyboy?” she asked slowly walking up behind him.

The young Equite stopped mindlessly rummaging as he felt the weight of his Fade’s gloved hand on his shoulder plate.

Kanis sighed as he looked back meeting the Mandalorian’s seemingly worried gaze.

The Coruscanti turned around wrapping his arms around his Fade’s torso.

The Mandalorian soldier closed her eyes as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Lock and load, thirty minutes.” Marrek reminded as he turned and faced the pair.

Kanis nodded and Maa’ka looked up at him. “You gonna be okay?” she asked.

“I think I’ll manage.” he said slowly releasing her after gently kissing her cheek.

Kanis pulled an old scuffed battle mask from his locker, he looked long and hard at the object before he slowly put it over his face. The Agent looked around as a simple HUD flickered to life in his peripherals listing his blood pressure and vitals which had been a small gift to him from his fade for their nine month anniversary

The Templar’s fade pulled on her helmet latching it into place, she reached into the bottom of Kanis locker and retrieved an old battered gun-case.

“You sure you want to use that old thing?” Marrek asked in a joking voice as he eyed the old beat up case. “I may have something that will suit you better in the city.”

“And what might that be?” Maa’ka asked in an almost annoyed tone as she turned to face the Journeyman.

“I know you like the SRB-1 Variant that I designed, so I thought you might want to test run a new piece of tech.” the sniper said as he pulled out a sniper rifle that was almost considerably larger than her current hardware. “The SRB-2 Snow Leopard, it fires a higher velocity round than what the Barracuda, with the new .50 Caliber hollow jacket slug, I designed it to work similar to the Dissuader KD-30, if the round doesn’t blow through the armour it’ll be sure to melt it for the second shot.”
The Mandalorian soldier took the rifle from Marrek after setting her case back in the locker, she aimed the rifle downward at a slight angle as she looked through the scope. “Hnh, fully functional heads up display fed by the ballistics CPU, slug counter to the bottom right, round type recognition to the bottom left, current zoom setting in the top left, and a range benchmark in the top right.” she muttered whipping the rifle up at the ceiling. “Automatic calibration?” she asked looking over to the Corellian.

“A newer feature I thought would be a great addition.” Marrek stated.

The Mandalorian began fidgeting with the side of the scope, “2x though 40x variable zoom functionality on the scope…. I will have to give this rifle a test in the city.”

Kanis looked to his fade as they reached the shuttle, “are you ready?”

Maa’ka nodded quietly still looking the rifle over, but Marrek stopped her before she could board.

“Don’t forget these.” he said handing her a hard case of loaded magazines for her new weapon.

The three figures boarded the shuttle, Kanis and Maa’ka took their seats next to Vigil, Marrek sat down across from them.

“XO, what’s our ETA till drop off?” Ernordeth asked looking to the Coruscanti.

Kanis looked over at the Sith Battlemaster, “Fifteen mikes, when we get our boots on the ground we are going to split into two groups, Adam will be leading Alpha, and I will be in charge of Bravo,

“The Squads are as follows: Ernor, Marrek you two are going with Kanis… Graus, BLarex, Kant you are coming with me.” Adam shouted from the front of the shuttle as he buckled himself into a seat close to the cockpit.

The Agents nodded in agreement with the roster, the rest of the flight was in complete silence.


Estle City
Citadel - Medical Bay

The inside of the Pontifex’s surgical room appeared more that of a butcher’s shop, blood slowly seeped into the drains surrounding the room from whoever the last subject Ood has worked on. The attendants barely bothering to notice any longer as they moved in perfect timing to the Neti’s orders.

“Yes! yes… bring in the next, ensure that he hasn’t degenerated too far I want this one to last long enough for me to witness the developments as they happen.” The mass of branches seemingly turned somehow managing to appear as though he just remembered the presence still irritating him.

“You want me… Me? to look after the children?”

“As of yet Lord Bnar you have held your own against several of the strongest members of the opposition and escaped relatively unscathed, you are surrounded by the Citadel and currently out of harms way. So… Yes I believe you to be the best suited to care for them and ensure their safety.”

The Pontifex seemed to consider for a few moments before several branches reached out to take the Children. Both of the girls because to cry as he examined them. “One is small for her age, the other seems in good health. Very well I will see to their treatments and ensure their safety until the return of their family.”

Bowing and muttering his thanks Uji turned to leave as his and Bnar’s comm-links opened

“Bugger that, this is Krath Priest Kordath Bleu, of Dark Forge, I need to get intelligence to whomever is running the city’s defense. The One Sith are holed up in a building in the financial district, tower…two zero four, no idea who owns it, the signs are mostly blaster scarred at this point. An Obelisk by the name of Uji should have made it back to the Citadel by now, please update him as to my position,I’ll stay here and keep an eye on the place. It’s defended, enemy troops are holding a perimeter at the front door, likely covering other entrances. And let Pontifex Bnar that the bloody rakghouls are in the blasted city,”

Sighing as the exhaustion finally settled in Uji braced himself against the doorway for a moment leading out. His mind racing as to how to get back to Kordath, arrange for teams to help him infiltrate the compound, the weapons necessary to ensure overwhelming pressure to distract from any harm that could come to Atyiru.

“Lord Bnar… I have one other favor to ask. I’ve been fighting for over an entire day and traversed the city from one side to the other. It seems I still have a task ahead of me, would you have something to help revitalize me for another go?”

The Neti didn’t look away from his newest patient being drug into the operating room, the two girls nestled on higher branches their carriers serving as cribs in his upper limbs. He reached out sifting through a pile of several vials and syringes picking one up before casually shoving it into Uji’s arm.

Estle City
Financial District

Kordath Bleu sat behind the condenser unit, appreciating the opportunity for a quick smoke as the unit vented steam. He sighed softly and kept his focus on Atyiru, as of yet he hadn’t sensed any immediate danger or shift in her emotions. He was beginning to worry about the response from the Citadel a single response had come through and it had been barely intelligible.

“Kids, Tree! Atty saving now yes!”

He recognized the Templar’s voice, yet hadn’t been able to make out any of the rest of the ramblings.

The Ryn took a long draught from the bottle he’d stolen earlier and glanced at the entryway noting the guards movement. His eyes tracking their passage and how often they changed position. Tucking the bottle away and slowly lifting his weight the Krath kept close to his cover until he heard something coming from between the building he was on the next over.

At first he wasn’t sure but then he made out the clear ringing of laughter in the alleys, moments before a figure in the dark blue and black robes of the Obelisk, cleared the alleyway and in moments was leaping towards the first of the sentries guarding the Tower.

“Oh poodoo”

He had never actually witnessed a flying headbutt before, until that very moment. But the Obelisk wasted little time cracking his skull against that of his first opponent. The yellow blade of the Templar’s saber sprung to life as he leapt towards the next closest, beginning a macabre dance of violence.

Kordath sat for a few moments considering whether to rush in and help, or continue watching what was quickly becoming a spectacle. Several of the Merc’s just backed up finding cover or attempting to put others in the way of the oncoming Jedi. One particularly big Trandoshan attempted to close the distance wielding a hefty Vibro-Ax. Kordath winced as he watched the Obelisk take first one of the Trandoshan’s arms, then leg, before the large alien fell to the ground screaming.

“Bleu!? You gonna come help or do I get them all!?” Came the excited cry of the Templar forging closer to the Tower.


Estle City
Financial District

Dark Forge

Kordath let out a curse as he vaulted over the low all of the rooftop, rolling as he landed and pulling his own saber hilt from his robes. The blue blade sprang to life as he closed the distance, watching in dismay as Uji dispatched the last of the defenders with a manic grin on his face. He turned, eyes wide and pupils dilated to face the Ryn, nodded once and dashed through the front door of the tower, blade already coming up to bat away a few blaster bolts. The Priest paused at the door, glancing over to see if any of the mercs were going to get back up, before groaning and stabbing the door controls.

The last thing he saw as the security doors closed was a dozen rakghouls or more closing on the now unmanned barricade, and the Trandoshan trying to pull himself up with one good hand. Turning, he watched as the Obelisk bounded around the room with seemingly unlimited energy, the lobby was a scene of mayhem and destruction. Kordath wasn’t certain, but he estimated at least half a dozen mercenaries had occupied the room, at least one Rodian, though now he couldn’t get a clear count on limbs. Uji was backing a pair of Humans armed with blaster rifles into a corner, the two mercs firing as fast as they could at the Templar.

Uji snarled as one man’s weapon went dry, the soldier fumbling for another power pack before the Obelisk deflected a shot back into the other merc. The Templar jumped forward, blade cutting through the remaining troopers shoulder and exiting near his opposite hip.

“Uji! Wait! From the message you sent earlier, did…did you leave the children with Ood?” asked the Ryn, cautiously.

A wild stare was turned on him, and a vigorous nod accompanied it, “Safe, kids are safe, not to worry, the Tree will keep them safe. You, me, get Atty, gotta save her before that bastard does something to her.”

Kordath reached out to grab the man’s shoulder in hope of slowing him down, but wasn’t quick enough, the Obelisk was running towards the turbolift bank at the end of a short corridor. Several of the lifts opened up, releasing a group of very surprised looking mercenaries, who opened fire on the Templar.

[I]What in the hells did Bnar give him?[/I] pondered the Ryn, doing his best to send blaster fire back down the hallway without sending any towards his comrade.

[I]Such dedication, how amusing, where was all of this when you were the one being held, Little Ryn?[/I] Kordath couldn’t help but feel that this sounded more like the Chistori’s voice then his own.

The Priest shook his head, trying to ignore it, nearly getting clipped by a blaster bolt, the scent of burnt ozone filling the air. Focusing on the immediate, Kordath took a deep breath and leapt, spinning in midair to knock a pair of blaster bolts back down the hall, felling one trooper and wounding another. Uji was pressing forward, alternating between snarling like a beast and laughing like a mad man. It was unsettling for the Krath, who hoped that should they run out of enemies the Templar’s bloodlust wouldn’t be…misdirected.

[I]You lacked the strength to defend yourself against your conceived foes, Priest, do you have the resolve to fight one of your brothers?[/I]

“Shut up,” growled Bleu, through gritted teeth, sweat pouring down his face as he allowed his blade to be directed by the Force. Picking off another trooper, Kordath glanced at the lift signs, noting more incoming cars.

“Uji! We’ve gotta get past them, they’ve got reinforcements on the way!” he shouted over the blaster fire.

He was answered with a cackle, “So? We’ll kill them all if we have to, you and me! Big Damn Heroes! They wrecked Our City, Bleu, they took Our Aedile!”

The Templar hopped over a barrage of laser fire, landing in the midst of a group of mercs trying to back their way onto a lift, only getting in each-others way. Uji cleared it, spinning with his blade and grinning, the smell of burnt flesh starting to overpower the scent of ozone. Kordath felt like gagging, knocking a few bolts away as he ran towards the lift, grabbing the Obelisk and pulling him inside before the Templar could charge at the remaining soldiers. The Human growled at him, turning to lift his weapon menacingly.

“Big Damn Heroes, Uji!” he yelled at the man, jabbing the lift close button, “means we go find Blinky, not fight every damned hired gun between us and her!”

He eyed the Obelisk warily, watching the man’s eyes focus and saw him draw in a shuddering breath, before the Templar lowered his saber. Uji nodded, rolling his head about and shaking his arms out, hopping in place a few times, as if standing still was impossible.

[I]He’s dangerous, likely to try and kill you, Little Ryn, best to take him now while he’s distracted![/I]

Kordath felt himself pull his own weapon back, as if to stab the azure blade through the trembling, energy exuding Obelisk. He trembled, saber at the ready, before crying out and throwing himself to the side, slamming his head into the wall of the lift. Uji turned to look at him, puzzled, before turning to face the lift controls.

“Need…need your help here, Bleu, my senses aren’t so sharp right now, Ood…Ood helped me out, but I’m having trouble focusing, hah,” said the Human, staring at the buttons on the pad, “I…I can’t tell what floor she’s on, she is still here, right?”

The Krath pulled himself away from the wall, his head ringing, before nodding and pointing upwards, “Just…shoot for about halfway up the tower, I’ll tell you when to hit the emergency stop, alright?”

“O-o-okay, hah, look at us, I’m hopped up on whatever Bnar gave me, and your feeling the need to punch yourself in the head, hah hah.”

“Yeah, big damn heroes, you realize if we get killed doing this, Blinky will murder us, right?”

“Oh yeah, hah, hah hah,” laughed the Templar, grinning, but the hand hovering over the emergency stop control was steady as could be. Kordath closed his eyes, feeling the bright spot that was Atyiru approaching from above…closer…closer…

“NOW,” he shouted, and was thrown to the floor as the lift came to a stop, Uji was cutting his way out before the Ryn regained his footing. Crawling out, the Priest looked left, then right, uncertain of where the Obelisk had gone, and his sense of Atyiru’s location was feeling…warped. Shaking his head, he heard a noise he’d hoped to never encounter again, the click…clack…of talons on a metal floor. The barest hint of movement to his left drew his gaze, and the Ryn was certain he saw dark robes disappear around the corner.

[I]I let you go once, Little Ryn, and I gave you a choice…do you come now to pledge yourself? Or do you cling to some sense of petty vengeance for past injury?[/I] came the voice, and Kordath felt himself go cold.

This time it didn’t sound like his own, with overtones of the Chistori. This time it sounded like Dassac speaking into his very mind. The chill spread through him, and as his own mind tried to cope with the idea of facing the Chistori again, some part of the Krath detached itself to view thing logically.

If the One Sith Elder was here, in the tower, it would explain why his normally reliable senses were being messed with. The Citadel, and Command, knew where he and Uji were…had the Templar updated them as to the situation concerning the Aedile? From the way he was acting, it was unlikely, the Human’s old attachment to Atty had likely clouded his judgment, as had fatigue and whatever Ood had given him. Right, they’d send reinforcements, eventually, but they wouldn’t be in a big hurry. Unless…

Kordath felt his eyes drawn inexorably upwards, towards the ceiling, and beyond that the sky. There was almost no doubt in the Krath’s mind that the Mimosa-Inahj’s hadn’t sensed the danger their children had been put in. If nothing else, they’d likely seek out Atyiru whenever the business in space got resolved. So. That left the Templar, who was hopped up on adrenals of some kind and running loose on this floor, and the Priest, who couldn’t help but feel mentally compromised.

[I]How many of the thoughts I’ve been having have been my own, how many have been that damn lizard messing with my brain?[/I] wondered the Krath, creeping down the hall.

He cringed as words rang out in his head, [I]What are thoughts but the will of the Force, Priest? Perhaps it is this very will that leads your feet back to me, perhaps this was all inevitable. Or…how certain of all this are you, hmm?[/I]

The Ryn cautiously poked his head around the corner, filled with apprehension, and then annoyance, as another hallway stretched out before him. Licking his lips, he brought his saber up before him in a guard stance, taking his time as he walked.

[I]He’s trying to make me question myself, the greatest source of strength is my confidence in my abilities and knowledge, I am me, I know what’s real. I’m real,[/I] thought the Ryn, resolute, his steps growing more assured.

[I]Hmm, I never suggested you are not [B]you[/B], Little Ryn. But why would you even believe that what is around you is real? When does the logical man quit asking questions, and just start accepting that which is before him is reality?[/I] came the Elder’s gravely mental voice, insinuating itself into whatever crevices it could find in the Krath’s veneer of self confidence.

Kordath stopped mid-step, certain something was ahead of him, but finding himself blind to it in the Force. What could be blocking his senses? Was Dassac powerful enough to warp the fabric of the Force to some extent? The Krath wasn’t certain how powerful the One Sith Elder was, it was plausible, the Chistori had redirected enough of an orbital assault to keep them alive not that long ago. Kordath was familiar enough in his studies of the Force to know that his senses weren’t being blocked, just…mislead. He’d never heard of such an ability, but the mysteries of the Force still open to the Priest were many.

[I]Now, consider this logically, ‘Bleuboy’[/I], came the mental calling again, the use of his friend’s nickname grating against his self control, [I]Am I disturbing the Force, and the reality surrounding you in this tower that you believe yourself to be in…OR, am I merely imposing my will upon what you perceive, while still strapped to a table in my bunker, while you sleep and heal between interrogations? What proof of self, physically or mentally, do you have that you ever left?[/I]

Ignoring the voice was pointless, Kordath grimaced and pressed on, moving down the hallway at a steady pace, every physical sense strained. If he couldn’t rely on the Force to warn him of danger, he wasn’t going to hurry to whatever doom awaited him. More to the point, the Priest couldn’t come up with a good argument to use against the Chistori, and wouldn’t put it past Dassac to mess with his brain like this, it would be far more elaborate of an attempt to break him, but it was possible. So, part of him pondered, if we’re being forced to play this game, how does it play out? Giving in wasn’t an option, admitting that what was around him right now wasn’t real would either lead to a surrender of will, or of sanity itself.

Dassac’s laughter filled his mind, and then echoed down the corridor as Kordath reached the end of the hall, noting absently the lack of doors passed on the way. That didn’t seem right, somehow, but it also seemed distant and unimportant as he stepped through the door that seemed to manifest as he reached the end of the hall. He blinked, there were two chairs in the room, an end table between them and a bottle of what he suspected to be whiskey sitting atop it. A fire crackled in a hearth along one wall, and he could see a clawed hand tapping absently against the arm of one of the chairs.

“Do sit down, Little Ryn, we have so much to talk about still, I would think, hmm?” spoke the gravely voice, from the chair on the right.

Kordath just hoped that Uji would find Atyiru, and that back up was on it’s way. If any of that was real, part of his mind spoke, he mentally snarled at that bit, trying to quiet it. If this was a test of his willpower, the only thing he could do was…sit down, and try to find the way out. Dassac was powerful, but the Elder seemed to have a streak towards fairplay.

The Ryn settled into the seat to the left, and stared at the fire, trying not to shake.



Kooki stood twitching and firmly held her hilt, ready to strike. As she remained in the busy turbolift squashed between Nadrin and some soldiers, across the way she could see her spouse being held possessively by his childhood sweetheart. If that wasn’t enough to get the Alderaanian into a fury, her baby twins had been threatened by an evil stranger.

After what felt like forever, the turbolift stopped. As soon as the group began to disperse from the area, Stormtroopers flocked to the scene and began attacking them. In the first few seconds, one of Kooki’s team had already been shot, adding to the Priestess’ hormonal rage.

Without waiting for anyone else, or a signal, the hormonal and feisty Priestess grabbed her hilt, engaged her amethyst blade and charged at the enemy. Unusually she wasted no time in playing with their lives.

“Die you frakkin’ buckethead!!” she yelled.

With a few sweeps of her lightsaber, a pile of dead Stormtroopers lay before her.

“Kooki, darling. Wait!” Andrelious attempted to call his spouse back.

She glared back at him, causing the Warlord to tremble a slight bit.

“Don’t you ‘darling’ me!!”

With that, the Krath disappeared.

News came to Kooki upon the Star Destroyer through her increasing Force sensitivity, that her twins had been shafted once again. Part of her felt like a bad mother. Part of her blamed her former Master. And a third part of her blamed her spouse for getting captured. If he hadn’t insisted in taking Soulfire to sabotage the Star Destroyer, then Kooki would never have had to leave the twins in the first place. And now her tiny daughters were in the care of a frakkin’ tree!!!

Right now the female had one person she had to deal with.

She would deal with her fury at Andrelious and Granta Prackx later.


Dark Forge

Financial district,
Estle city,

“Sire, they’re everywhere!” The voice of Arvalis Raith echoed the zone as he rushed in, his ignited aquamarine blade in hand.

His blade caught the cranium of the Rakghoul and finished the poor vessel. He landed with his legs wide and firm, as his blade swept an arc of cerulean around the group, all of whom had their lightsabers out for this stand. Their eagle eyes set on the limping hordes of snarling, gargling beasts heading their way. K’Tana was the first to act, who in a flurry of her own rage, sliced and cleaved the bodies away like a rainforest path. Donblas, the eager Jedi Hunter quick to prove his worth, followed shortly with strong thrashes of his crimson blade which started from the ground upwards. Sjl, the pale Zelosian, was the only one who did not prepare for battle. His eyes were fixated onto the holoprojection from his hand as shock developed an uncomfortable expression on his face towards Cethgus.

“I’m…i’m a priest?” The Zelosian questioned.

“Yes! Now hurry to the Financial district! Faust MUST die!”

The projection disappeared back into the aether and Sjl slowly placed it back into it’s pocket, still in a state of confusion by his increase in power and the Force. His eyes now focused and eagled onto the pack of abominations. His will could hold them back, with some ease. Slowly stepping forward, his hand raised and surfed slowly across the hordes of creatures as he focus concentrated upon their minds. His eyes closed and his hand tensed with the Force. Slowly, the Rakghouls began to stop their wandering and part ways for the group.

“Sjl c’mon! We don’t have much time!” K’Tana shouted out, the Zelosian nodded and quickly sprinted with her, holding his power over the Rakghoul.

Financial district,
Estle City,

“So, this is it huh? Do or die?” Donblas was the only one brave enough to speak out. They were all literally in the lion’s den.

Their eyes were set on the cluster of buildings. The giant illuminating glass gave the streets below a false daylight throughout the evening as cruisers, speeders and public systems ran from the foot of the monolithic artwork almost consistently. With their purpose set, the quadrat stepped back into the cruiser and drove towards the headquarters for their final stand.

“Follow into the district north-east, we’re meeting with an old friend.” Sjl spoke to his sergeant, who giggled softly to herself.

“Ooh…let’s play catch the Ryn!”


Soulfire Strike Team

Unknown Corridor
Imperial-II Star Destroyer Oath Breaker

Andrelious gave chase to his wife, followed uncomfortably closely by Prackx, with the rest of the Arconan entourage a little further back. Revs remained in the turbolift, guarded by a single soldier who had elected to stay behind despite the Warlord’s orders to follow and leave the stricken Miraluka where he was.

I’ll deal with Corporal Bretak later. Right now I’ve got to stop Kooki from getting us all killed!

The Soulfire Captain was simply amazed at just how good the newly minted Priestess was proving with her lightsaber. It had been some time since he had sparred with her, preferring to leave such things to Celevon or others in Qel-Droma, and hadn’t realised just how far his beloved had come along.

Rounding another corner, Andrelious was faced with Kooki cutting her way through another wave of enemies. Activating his own weapon, the ex-Rollmaster whirled its crimson blade around, deflecting blaster fire with ease. With a roar, Granta Prackx leapt into combat, sporting her former lover’s secondary lightsaber, as well as a sapphire bladed saber that was likely of her own creation.

“I’m saving him, sweetheart. He may have your ring on his finger, but he always was mine to save.” Prackx spat as she beheaded a Stormtrooper who was in the process of firing at Andrelious.

“The key in that sentence, LOVE, is was,” the dark haired female responded angrily.


Selen Orbit

The second shield tower atop the Oath Breaker’s bridge exploded as a number of proton torpedoes made contact. With little more than a momentary flash, the Star Destroyer’s shields fizzled out of existence.

“Primary target just lost shields. Let them have it!” Cethgus ordered, still watching the battle from the relative safety of the Invicta. The enemy bombers had caused little trouble thanks to the carefully planned attacks of the Arconan Starfighter Corps, although the smallest Arconan capital ships, the Warrior-class Gunships, had sustained enough damage to rule them out of action for a week or two.

“Sir. Soulfire are not clear. And I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that one of your fellow Arconae is with them,” one of the bridge officers, a Twi’lek, stated calmly.

“They’ll get clear, Lieutenant. My orders were clear and I expect you to follow them,” the Galerean Quaestor hissed, furious that his commands had been questioned. Such insolence had long been beaten out of the crew of the Darkest Night, but clearly Legorii kept a far less tight leash on the Expeditionary Force’s flagship.

With a sigh, the Ryloth-born officer tapped commands into his console, a burst of turbolaser fire spreading itself out along the Oath Breaker’s now unshielded hull.


Unknown Corridor

Having examined the fallen troopers for anything of use, the Arconans, who had lost three of their own in the fire fight, proceeded through the corridor, still following the raging Arête Sergeant as she continued her hormone fuelled rampage.

“You used to serve on one of these, Lord Mimosa-Inahj. What deck are we on?” Sergeant Callahan asked.

“Sergeant, if we weren’t under constant attack I’d have had a chance to work that out. As it is I’ve spent the entire time since breaking out being shot at. Miss Queslyn, Granta, one of you may know,” Andrelious answered, trying to get a little distance between himself and Prackx.

“Of course, babe. We’re near the medbay. The fully stocked medbay. We can probably get some supplies to help the weaklings we left wounded in the lift,” the redhead stated.

Kooki turned back, shooting an icy glare at the taller woman. “Call him babe one more time and you will join the list of casualties. You really do not know who you’re dealing with here, sweetheart!” she hissed.

“No-one is turning on anyone, here. As much as she’s not someone you want here, darling, Granta did help get me and the rest of the team out of captivity. Surely for that reason alone you can keep her alive,” Andrelious sighed. His wife’s expression did not indicate agreement.

“This one’s the medbay. If you three are quite finished, I think we should go back and assist Revs and Aiorus. Plus any of Callahan’s men that may still be alive.” Nadrin commanded, pointing to a large set of double doors at the end of a short, unguarded corridor.



Commander Pepco tried hard to keep a cool head as the situation began to unravel. He cringed when he saw another of his fleet’s automated ships disintegrate under heavy fire from the Arconan Naval vessels, but tried to keep his resolve together. The fact that Granta Prackx, somebody who Pepco had come to admire for her sheer ability as a fighter, had switched sides was a particularly heavy blow – even if the Commander did survive, he expected that Dassac would have him executed for overlooking the flame-haired woman’s connection to Andrelious.

Pepco prayed that Braxant still held Atyiru and the Mimosa-Inahj twins. If that part of the mission failed, too, the Human knew he was toast.

“Sir, our shields are out and we’re still under heavy fire. Our starfighter screen is heavily depleted. I’d suggest a retreat, but the enemy Nebula class has active gravity well generators. I’m afraid it may be time to abandon ship. Shall I ready the escape pods?” a crewman questioned.

“Do it. And have what’s left of our fleet prepare to ram the Arconans.”



Again the sound of a klaxon filled the hallways, a lot louder than before.

Prackx and Andrelious glanced at each other, familiar with the sound.

“The abandon ship call,” they stated simultaneously.

“Wow. Pepco warned us this would happen, but I didn’t actually think he’d have the guts to pull it off. His paymaster’s not going to be happy.” Queslyn interrupted.

“Dassac better not catch up with him first. I want to be the one to deal with Pepco. He hurt my Andrelious,” Prackx snarled, heading straight for the exit. Before Andrelious could react, Kooki followed, looking ready to kill a Rancor should it stand in her way.

“Right. You two. Get some of those bandages. Then we’re heading back to the lift. I’ll assume we’ve still got a medic or two?” the Soulfire Captain asked, hearing the sound of more fighting nearby. He stepped outside, fearing that the two females had clashed. Instead, he noticed the pair of them engaged in battle with two other lightsaber users. One was a male Human of average height, whilst the other was a large, hairy alien. Andrelious recognised it as a Whiphid, having only met one a few days previously.

Hang on a minute. The chances of there being two Force sensitive Whiphid on the same ship are pretty frakking remote.

“You two. On the Human! I’m taking the bastard alien myself!” the Warlord cried, charging in at the one who had identified himself as Rotidor. Clearly, he was a little higher in stature than the Acolyte rank he had previously claimed to hold, having done an excellent job in holding off Kooki.

“The rest of you, get through, now! You need to get back to the lift, and quick!” Andrelious yelled in the direction of the medbay. The Arconans inside, Force sensitive or not, obeyed the command wordlessly, slinking past the fighting fivesome.

Outnumbered by three blades to one, the Human enemy fended off Prackx’s twin sabers as best he could, but found himself powerless against Kooki’s amethyst blade, which cleaved him almost completely in half. The Priestess looked quite pleased at having managed to ‘steal’ the kill from Prackx. Before the larger woman could say or do anything, her rival had almost flown at ‘Rotidor’, who had begun to take the upper hand against Andrelious. The Warlord was being beaten back by the fine swordsmanship of the Whiphid, but the return of the fuming Priestess was enough to galvanise her husband into fighting back furiously.

The two Mimosa-Inahj blades moved through the air in almost perfect precision, the strong Force bond between the married couple enhancing their already powerful instincts. ‘Rotidor’, caught in two minds, raised his amber blade, but was easily and quite literally disarmed by his opponents.

“No-one infiltrates my team!” Andrelious spat, executing the wounded Whiphid without ceremony.

Without wasting another second, Andrelious and Kooki, pursued and almost overtaken by Prackx, sprinted towards the turbolift, finding the medics already treating Revs, Aiorus, and a young Arconan soldier who had also been wounded. The man that had disobeyed Andrelious’ orders to follow noticed the trio entering, and quickly moved to salute the Warlord.

“Lord Mimosa-Inahj, sir! Lift has been-“ he began, but an angry wave from the Soulfire Captain’s still active lightsaber silenced him.

“Corporal Bretak. For your refusal to follow my orders, you are hereby demoted to the rank of Private. I will also see to it that your next assignment will be a little less front-line orientated. If I hear another word from you, I’ll have you thrown into space. Am I clear, Private?” Andrelious spat, tearing the man’s Corporal insignia from his uniform.”

Bretak started to raise his hand as if to protest, but decided against it. He didn’t need the Force to know that the former Rollmaster meant it.

“Do we really need to start handing out the demotions?” Callahan asked. Bretak, despite his behaviour, was one of the Sergeant’s best men.

The Inquisitor sighed. “Callahan, one more word from you and you’ll join him at his new rank. If Private Bretak has an issue with my decision, well, I’m sure you know the procedure better than I do. For now, my decision stands.”

As Andrelious bickered with the soldiers, the medics finished their work. Revs and Aiorus were now able to stand, although with difficulty. They both slouched slightly against one of the turbolift’s walls, feeling a little sheepish at having been hurt.

“To the hangar, then!” Nadrin demanded, pushing the lowest button on the nearby control panel. With a whirr, the lift started to move, a red light informing anyone that cared that ship was in the process of being evacuated.

Andrelious tapped the wall, indicating he had something to say. He waited for silence before beginning. “With the chaos of the battle out there, and the fact they’re abandoning, the hangar’s going to be quite busy. Everyone keep ready, and get to whatever ships we can. We don’t have the time or the manpower to be choosy, but make sure you don’t go too far from someone who can fly. So long as we all get off this ship before it’s destroyed, we can regroup back at Giletta Spaceport. Then, as I said earlier, Kooki and I need volunteers for a special mission.”

“I assume that I’m coming, Dad?” Saskia questioned.

“You’re their godmother, Saskia. You and Nadrin are coming,” Kooki replied.

A few soldiers, including both Callahan and Bretak, raised their hands to signify they wished to tag along. Andrelious counted eight volunteers.

“The rest of you can make a decision about if you want to come or not on the way down. For now, it’s action time. Good luck, everyone!”

Stepping out of the lift once again, finally on the correct level, the Arconan forces surveyed the area. The scene was as chaotic as Andrelious had predicted. People milled around, trying to get onboard the various shuttles that were parked in the hangar. The amount of space was limited, however, and fighting had begun to break out in some parts of the spacious landing area.

“You pay for gutless thugs, this is what happens.” Saskia observed with a smirk.

“They’re not /all/ gutless thugs. Dassac threatened a lot of them. And I strong armed a good few of them into joining myself.” Prackx added.

“The old Prackx ‘persuasion’ technique.” Andrelious chuckled. His laughter was stopped by a glare from his wife.

Nadrin pointed over at a larger ship near a small group of fighting mercenaries. “There. That Gamma-class ATR-6 is probably our best bet.” His fellow Warlord nodded.

“We’ll stay as one group. I might need a hand flying it. Those ATR-6s are tricky to fly solo.”

“I’ll help you, sweetie. Me and you in the cockpit. Together.” Prackx purred.

“And I’ll stay up front with you, as well.” Kooki interjected.

The Arconan entourage moved towards the Assault Transport, Kooki again leading the way despite her relatively junior status within the Shadow Clan.

With so much infighting and panicking happening throughout the hangar, Soulfire’s trip was relatively easy. Only a few soldiers, most of whom had shed their helmets, seemed to bother to try and stop the Arconans, and those that did fell easily to lightsaber blades or blaster fire.

Boarding the ATR-6, Andrelious, Kooki and Granta Prackx all headed to the cockpit, followed by Nadrin, whilst the rest sat in the rather uncomfortable seats that made up the transport’s passenger area. The soldier that had been wounded was last, carried in by one of the medics.

“Punch it, Andrel!” Nadrin ordered. The former Imperial navy man did as he was asked, and started the ship’s launch sequence, ignoring the majority of safety checks he was supposed to make. With a jolt, the repulsorlifts activated, and the Assault Transport was away. Within seconds, the Arconans had launched into space, and immediately noticed that the battle was going well for their comrades. The enemy fleet was down to its last few ships, mostly Corvettes, whilst the Oath Breaker now sported several hull breaches. All around the Star Destroyer were escape pods, indicating that a sizeable portion of the crew had managed to get away safely.

“Someone tune the comm! They’ll think we’re an enemy otherwise!” Andrelious warned.

Nadrin operated the commsystem, switching it from whatever channel it had been on to the one used by the Arconan Armed Forces.

“This is Nadrin Arconae. We’re out.”


AIC-4 Dropship
Deep Space
5 Minutes into Shadow’s assault

The dropship shook with the occasional stray blaster round hitting its shields, but otherwise the ride was eerily smooth given the battle raging outside. Turel sat impatiently in the back of the craft, absently checking the datapad built into the Lion’s Claw gauntlet affixed to his left hand. He might as well have thrown colored triangles randomly onto a blank map for all the good it did him. A three dimensional space battle did not translate well into a two dimensional screen and Turel was not well versed enough in naval annotation to read it properly. The Aedile was a capable enough ground commander but had been more than happy to leave the intricate dance of space battle to others. Obelisk to the core.

The Templar looked up to survey the rest of the dropship’s occupants. He sat in one of the officer’s chairs in the front of the troop compartment facing the back. The senior Mandalorians and mysterious DIA Agent Mako sat next to the Aedile at the front. The rest of the compartment was half filled with armored Erinos Mandalorians preparing their weapons for battle. The empty half of the compartment had been saved for medical triage and the crew of the Nighthawk they were sent to liberate.

The whole operation was a risk since they didn’t actually know where the Nighthawk’s crew was being held. Teroch and Celevon led a group to re-take the actual Nighthawk while Turel and Mako led another to assault the corvette Valtiere had deduced was the enemy command ship. The Aedile hoped they had the right corvette as the assault force only had time to disable and board one of the three before the other two were able to disengage and flee.

The dropship pilot’s voice came in on Turel’s earpiece: “Enemy vessel’s shields are down, prepare for boarding operation. ETA one minute.”

The Aedile keyed up his comm, “Acknowledged, proceed with operation.” The Templar got up from his seat and moved to the hatch at the rear of the craft. “Look alive boys and girls, one minute until boarding operation! Remember this is search and rescue operation, all other objectives are secondary to recovering the crew of the Nighthawk safely. Those are our Arconan brothers and sisters on board the enemy ship, let’s bring them back!”

The Mandalorians banged the butts of the weapons to the ground with a rousing OYA!!1 in perfect unison.

Mako joined Turel at the rear hatch, “Well, your words certainly riled them up,” He commented in a matter of fact tone.

“Thanks.” The Templar replied with genuine gratitude.

The raven-haired man kept his focus on the hatch and what lay beyond. “But rousing speeches don’t win battles.” Turel frowned as Mako continued, “Just make sure you do your part and stay out of my way.”

The Aedile seriously flirted with the idea of having Mako apprehended and bound, but the needs of the mission outweighed the need to assert his dominance. “Just remember we’re on the same side and we have the same mission. I don’t trust you as far as I could throw you.”

“You shouldn’t.”

“But we should really set that aside for just this onc-”

“Do you always talk this much on missions?”

Turel glared at Mako with murderous intent for a tense moment before relaxing his posture, “Yeah, I get that a lot. Have it your way Mister dark and mysterious spy cliché.”

The entire landing craft shook as it attached itself to the enemy cruiser. The Obelisk and the Krath stood at the hatch with their sabers at the ready, poised to ignite them when the hatch came down. Without turning away from the hatch and without any hint of emotion in his voice Mako matter of factly stated, “Thank you, Mister renegade Jedi cliché.” Before Turel could reply the hatch flew open. I think I’m going to like this guy. The Templar thought to himself as he moved to engage the enemy.

Both Equites moved down the ramp with Force enhanced swiftness, igniting their sabers as they descended. A hail of enemy blaster fire greeted the pair, which they deflected harmlessly as their sabers formed shields of white and blue motion. The bulwark formed by the Jedi and Krath’s saber deflections gave the Mandalorian warriors the space they needed to disembark and return fire.

The token, roughly squad sized, response force of mercenaries did not last long against two Equites and half a platoon of Mandalorians. Within two minutes of the ramp going down from the landing craft, the cramped hanger of the enemy Corvette fell silent. Ten enemy lay dead and none of the Arconan forces had so much of a scratch. The ease with which they seized the hanger bothered Turel; no military operation in galactic history ever went completely according to plan. Something had to be wrong.

The Aedile found no answers through the Force either. His ability to sense others through the Force was limited. All he knew was that the Dark Side was strong on this vessel, which could indicate any number of things. The very crew he was sent to rescue could very well have caused the noticeable shift in the ambient Force of space travel. His instincts told him the shift he felt was the enemy and that he should be wary.

Mako and six mandalorians moved into the adjacent hallway to clear it while Turel conferred with the Erinos leader charged with defending the landing craft. After he gave instructions to the defending squad, the Templar rushed to join Mako and his makeshift strike force.

Turel found Mako and the Mandalorians stacked up outside the entrance to a stairwell that connected the various decks of the ship. The group was quiet and seemed poised to enter and clear the stairwell. The Aedile reached out through the Force to silently convey Where is the detention block? directly into Mako’s mind. To his surprise Mako turned to him and signed “one” and pointed up to indicate the detention block was on the deck above them. The Templar’s surprise came from his lack of confidence in his abilities at telepathy, which had never been his forte. Turel nodded in acknowledgment and gave the signal for the Krath to lead on.

1. Oya - Literally: Let’s hunt! Colloquially adapted as a positive and triumphant cheer with potential meanings including “Stay alive!”, “Go you!”, and simply “Cheers!” - Wookiepedia



Unknown Ship

The ship shuddered as it’s shields failed, alarms echoed throughout the corridor warning of a boarding party in hangar bay. Half of his armed escort rushed off toward the hangar bay. The remaining guards pushed Sight to move him back from where they had come from. The albino closed his eyes, centering himself for a brief moment as he applied pressure to his bindings while moving his arms to apply torque to the shackles.

“You really thought you could capture an Arconan ship and get away with it?”

“Shut your mouth,” the guard in charge said as he reached forward to push Sight again, however to the man’s surprise a loud crack echoed as the Krath spun around, his hands now free. In a heartbeat the Rollmaster was inside the man’s guard, his body already launching into a death weave.

The Human’s fists, knees, and elbows struck quickly into his captors ribs, head, and major joints. The sickening crunch of bone shattering in quick succession caused the other troops to cringe and pause as they brought their weapons to bare. The assault was over as quickly as it began, the head guard’s lifeless body flying into the men he had commanded, a trail of blood following behind.

Sight wasted no time as a wave of telekinetic energy rushed forth from him and into the 14 remaining troopers, sparks of Force guided electricity arced into several of the mens foreheads, overloading neurons and causing the internal organs of their skulls to heat up exponentially, leaving only goo as filling. The Priest surged forward into those who remained alive, ripping one man’s arm from his body then forcefully inserting it into the individuals windpipe.

The Krath took a deep breath as he snapped the final guard’s neck. His robes were soaked in his victim’s blood his white hair stained red. The albino made his way back toward the holding cells, killing enemy troopers and mercenaries alike as he came across them.

Sight turned the final corner and entered the detention block. The soft sound of blood dripping from his hand onto the deck the only sound giving him away. Reaching out with the Force once more, he grasped hold of the only remaining guard. With a flourish of the Krath’s left arm the guard flew head first into the plasma wall of Arcia’s cell. The crackling hiss of the man vaporizing against the plasma gained the attention of the Nighthawk’s crew.

“Nortorshin, how did you get away?”

“This ship is under attack, presumably by Arconan forces,” Sight replied as he moved to the center console of the room. Porcelain hands flew over the controls, the sound of locks disengaging and plasma sputtering out echoed in the room and the crew members of the Nighthawk were freed. Kicking open a storage unit, Nortorshin quickly distributed the crews lightsabers and weapons.

“Time to leave,” the Captain’s voice had barely subsided when a dark presence caught the crew’s attention. The lights in the detention block flickered as Ethran appeared from a concealed door.

Acting on instinct alone, Sight reached forth into the Force once more grasping hold of those he had just freed.

“SHI!” Arcia yelled out her personal means of regarding Sight as the Priest flung his friends into the hallway, just heartbeats before Ethran used a remote to raise a plasma wall across the doorways.

“Get the crew out of here, Sephren. An Arconan vessel is waiting for you,” the Chief Engineer smiled at his Captain, using the name he once knew her as. His pale hand rose in a salute before a spark of Force guided electricity overloaded the door’s controls, trapping both Ethran and Sight for the time being.

“It’s been an honor to serve with you again Sephren, I’m sorry things turned out the way they did before. Make sure Lilly stays alive,” a sad smile crossed Sights lips as he spoke his final words to his Captain, his friend. His peace made the Krath ignited his yellow blade and turned toward Ethran.

The Nighthawk Captain started an attempt to slice into the control panel from the opposite side, to bypass the primary controls and route herself around the fried operations, but Zakath and Antar latched onto her, pulling her away.

“Shi! Don’t do this!” Her words were faltering, showing emotion towards a friend from long in the past. “Get this door open, that’s an order!”

The Security Chief and XO managed to overpower their Captain and pulled her back with surging force. Keeping her constrained, the two nearly dragged her away from the plasma wall and down one of the corridors before the group vanished from view.

Unknown Ship

Mako lead the way up the stairwell to the floor containing the detention block. His emerald eyes narrowed as he took in the grisly sight of the corridor. Turel burst into the hallway behind the Krath.

“The Frack happened here?” The Obelisk inquired as he looked at the bodies of troopers that littered the hallway and their blood that had painted it red.

“My little brother happened here,” Mako coldly retorted.

“You sure it was Sight?”

“If you had read his classified files then you would be sure as I am. We should follow the blood, where it ends there he will be,” The DIA operative said as he pointed in the direction of the detention block. It wasn’t long before the group of rescuers came upon the crew of the Nighthawk.

“Arcia, is this everyone?” Turel asked as he subconsciously eyed the Nighthawk’s Captain up and down and noticed that the XO and Security Chief were still restraining the emotionless woman.

“Sight’s trapped with their leader,” Antar spoke slowly. “My Master sacrificed himself to allow us to escape.” Turel’s face went blank as he processed what Antar had said.

“If thats my little brother’s wish then we should honor it,” Mako said as he turned toward the Mandalorians, “These individuals are our mission, it is now our job to take them back to the Shadow. Lets move out!”

“No! We have to go get Sight,” Turel quickly protested.

Arcia snapped to reality. “You’re damn right we do!”

“We have to leave, don’t be a moron Turel. Who do you think the overwhelming presence on this ship is? If we go after my little brother we will all die,” Mako replied to the Aedile, an emotion flickering across his face for but a microsecond, his emerald eyes glancing at Arcia.

Captain, he’s my family, I raised him myself but we can’t save him and make it out alive as well, the DIA deep cover agent telepathically spoke to the woman.

You’re a coward, was the only response Mako received as Arcia jerked herself away from her restraining officers and turned her back to everyone.

“He’s right Sir, our responsibility is to those he saved,” the senior Mandalorian said placing a hand on Turel’s shoulder.

“Turel,” a voice came from among the Nighthawk’s crew. As Sight’s Fade pushed her way forward.

“Lilly, it is good to see your safe,” Turel smiled at the young woman even as he noticed the tears streaming down her face.

“Sight saved us by sacrificing himself, we can not waste my Master’s actions. They are right, you have a duty to fulfil and you know what it is,” Lilly spoke to the Aedile, “I don’t want to leave him either, but we don’t have a choice here.”

Turel closed his eyes and hung his head silently for a moment, gathering the resolve to do what he knew needed to be done. “There is no death, there is only the Force,” he whispered to himself. The Templar took a deep breath and raised his head. “You’re right, we have a mission to finish.”

The Mandalorians grunted in response and moved into a protective ring around the Nighthawk’s crew as they escorted them, forced in some cases, to the landing craft.

Detention Block
Unknown Ship

Sight narrowly dodged the Chariguai once again as it spun around the room. The Krath’s spine tingled as Ethran raised an arm, Force lightning surging forward to sizzle out just inches from Sight’s body. The Chariguai however had changed course and sliced through Sight’s left bicep. The albino grimaced even as the wound began to heal.

The Human surged forward once more toward Ethran, yellow blade poised for a strike. Ethran raised a hand sending forth a wave of telekinetic energy. Sight gasped as he found himself pinned against a nearby wall, his lightsaber skidding across the deck, it felt like a speeder had hit him in the chest.

The Priest’s crimson eyes widened in surprise as Ethran was suddenly inches from his face. The white cybernetic eyes and the burnt flesh around them sent a tinge of fear through the albino as the blackness began to swallow him, and the durasteel wall crumpled as the a telekinetic pressure forced Sight to become embedded in it.

AIC-4 Dropship
Moments Before Landing on BAC Shadow

The drop-ship had just cleared the hangar bay when Turel hailed the Shadow.

“We have obtained the Nighthawk’s bridge staff, returning to the Shadow now,” the Aedile paused as he composed himself for the next part, “One casualty, clan Rollmaster Sight Nortorshin is MIA, we are unsure of his status.”

“Roger that, you are clear to return,” the Shadow sent back as a reply.

After several minutes of silence the communication panel crackled to life in the crew bay of the transport. The image of Ethran holding a silver and black lightsaber hilt pointed at a seemingly unconscious Sight filled the screen.

Mighty Arconan ship. You will cease fire upon your opposing forces immediately. Your Clan guides life depends on your compliance.Yes I am speaking to you, Nikola…”

The Quaestor’s voice came through in response “Unidentified vessel, it seems you hold me at a disadvantage, how do I know you won’t simply kill our Rollmaster when you’ve broken away from our forces?”

“Yet you do not know that I will. We are men of war, Nikola. Bred for battle. Ready for anything and everything. You must make your decision, it cannot be made for you,” Ethran’s eyes burned bright within the black void of his surroundings as the ship which housed him continued to accept the Shadow’s bombardment.

“Get the Nighthawk and her crew out of here you fools, she is more important than I am! Consider that a final order from your Rollmaster!” The albino screamed out, interrupting the two men.

Nikola paused, quickly reviewing his options within an instant. “Arconan forces, press the attack. Retake the Nighthawk!”

“Such actions separate the courageous from the cowards. Remember this man, for he is legend. Do not let his memory become that of dust, for I do not take pride in this. Such a shame, however. Cause and effect of war, such a pity…” The man spoke in an eerie state of calm as a blinding flash of light erupted from the saber hilt, plunging a silver blade of fire through Sight’s chest cavity and his heart. With final emphasis, the man flicked his wrist upwards, forcing the blade to cleanly slice through the Priest’s skull and the transmission went dead.


Estle City
Financial District
Braxant Compound

Uji’s headlong charge down another corridor came to an abrupt halt as he came face to face with the remaining members of Braxant’s mercenary company. Uji’s eyes flicked past the assembled group in the second it took them to respond. Behind the mercenaries the executive suites were completely visible through the open glass panels separating them from the rest of the floor. Atyiru swung slightly, her toes barely touching the ground, her wrists restrained from above inside.

The first blaster shot narrowly missed Uji‘s head as he ducked aside and took cover from the incoming fire.

Cursing at himself for looking for Atyiru instead of noting the enemy’s position, the Templar’s mind scrambled for how to get past the assembly. The stimulant Ood had given him was still affecting his senses and his thinking. The adrenaline coursing through him made him ready to charge headlong into the danger ahead of him, but a small whisper made him hold back for the moment.

“Kord?” Uji looked side to side, realizing he was alone, the path of destruction behind him purely his own doing. He tried to remember where he had lost his companion–the elevator came to mind, but then his instincts had taken over and he couldn’t remember whether Kord had even gotten off the same level as he had.

Debris flew from the wall next to Uji, momentarily blinding him and reminding him of the nearby danger. Another stray shot took out a chunk of the wall beside him. The familiar clicking of a detonator being primed forced his hand. Uji pulled on the Force, amplifying his speed as he turned the corner the moment the detonator bounced on the wall behind him. His mind quickly counted the opposition: six mercs in total, four of them behind rushed fortifications of desks, chairs and office equipment, with two more closer to the charging Jedi hidden inside of door frames.

The Templar felt the moment the detonator exploded, his Force senses reacting a fraction of a second quicker. He cleared the distance to the first office and threw himself towards the closest of the mercenaries, shoulder checking his opponent’s solar plexus and sending them both spinning into the office as the hallway exploded in fire and fragmentation.

The two rolled to their feet exchanging blows. The mercenary had a height advantage over the shorter Dark Jedi and his strikes came from years of training in Wampa-Do, his first kick shattering a cubicle wall and sending the Templar staggering back. Uji ducked another strike, bringing his fist up into his opponent’s armpit, the next strike landing on the back of his opponent’s neck, his fists becoming a blur as he targeted every exposed location he could.

Uji sensed his mistake a moment too late, stepping in front of the door frame as he landed another blow, doubling his opponent over. The merc took the shot willingly and surged forward, lifting Uji from the ground, and then threw the Jedi back into the opposite side of the corridor, sending him rebounding off the wall towards his enemy.

Uji stepped forward, grabbing the larger man and pulling him from the office the moment the other mercs opened fire. Using his opponent as a shield, the Templar charged towards the firing squad. Reaching the second doorway, he used the Force to surge his strength sending the body flying towards the squad.

The merc inside the office came out firing, Uji struck first knocking the blaster aside with an open palm as he activated his saber and bisected his enemy from groin to chest. The next few moments became a blur as the Templar launched himself into the last group. The Makashi style lacked the defensive nature to avoid the blaster-fire, so Uji blended the defensive movements of K’tara to place himself out of the firing path of the mercenaries while dispatching each with as few attacks as necessary.

Ignoring the pain of the stray shots and burns the Templar looked up from the fight, finding Atyiru again, hearing the voice again whispering caution in his mind. His body moved without thought as he charged into the suites, slamming the door open as he looked for Braxant.

“UJI NO!” the Hologram image of Atyiru faded, and Uji recognized the holo-transmitter laying on the ground and looked up to the opposite side of the office. There he saw Atyiru bound and left laying beside the outer windows. Braxant stood encased in an assortment of gear, his armor and weapons reflecting that of a trained bounty hunter: the dual pistols and medium armor betrayed the former visage of the spy for what he really was.

Smiling, Uji lifted his saber, ready to charge, before stopping for a moment, confused as his Force senses flared. The shaped charges on the inside of the doorway exploded, the concussion launching the Dark Jedi across the open interior of the office floor. The impact with the outer wall slammed the breath from Uji’s body as he slipped to the floor, fighting to stay conscious.

The windows exploded outward, sending shards of Transparisteel raining down on the incoming mob of Rakghouls. The remaining forces inside of the building felt the jarring shock from the concussion on the upper floor. Moments slipped by as everything settled and the dust fell.

“Damned persistent, isn’t he?” Braxant stated aloud to no one in particular.


Estle City, Selen
One Sith Bunker

Dark Forge

The fire in the hearth flickered fitfully, not as flames would, but for a fleeting moment they appeared to Kordath such as a glitching hologram. Blinking, the Ryn felt his eyes drawn to the walls, the flicker had accompanied a shudder that he’d felt through his whole body, starting at the feet. Now the walls appeared…warped, as if some outward pressure had been applied to them, and the Priest heard a noise he’d long since associated with ‘disapproval’ come from the Chistori Elder sitting to his right.

Slowly the walls smoothed themselves, and the Krath watched with fascination as the apparent fine wood paneling right itself. Another glance downwards showed the carpet, a pattern of black and white squares realigning themselves to the original checker pattern, versus the swirl of colors they’d been momentarily. The Ryn took a shaky breath, trying to make sense of it…Dassac had him questioning his reality, would he go so far as to make him think that this was all an illusion as well? Did the Chistori believe it would draw him in further?

“Now then, where were we?” came the grating voice, a hiss of annoyance underlying the question. Kordath was morbidly entertained by this, despite using all of his skills of being stubborn and obstinate as possible, he’d never garnered this reaction from the Elder.

Kordath coughed once, trying to hide the grin spreading across his face, despite his best efforts, “I believe you were trying to drive me insane.”

Dassac’s head turned slightly, eyes narrowing to glare towards the Priest, but no Force related ‘education’ came along with it, Kordath filed that away in the growing list of things related to the situation at hand.

“You still doubt my ability to snap your mind like a….” the Chistori was cut off as the room shook violently, “…blasted bounty hunter, a professional who lacks restraint is no true professional,” growled out the Elder.

This time the fire changed from hues of orange and red to a blast of green and blue, blinding the Ryn for a moment. As vision returned, the Priest almost wished it hadn’t, as the lovely wood paneling that made up the walls began to curl upwards, cracking with a sound akin to splintering bones. Behind the paneling was worse, a void that seemed to rush in to fill the space that the fleeing walls revealed to it. And then the carpet exploded upwards, growing like some sort of horrible weed, wrapping tendrils of black and white around the unmoving Ryn.

[I]Why can’t I move?[/I] he thought with sudden panic, before a wave of calm washed over him. He was certain it hadn’t come from within, and a light mental push whispered into his mind, [I]Hurry it up, Bleuboy[/I], suggested it’s true origin.

[I]I can’t move. Dassac didn’t strike me for my attitude. The walls tore themselves apart…explosions, somewhere…this isn’t real. None of this is real![/I]

Estle City, Selen
Financial District
Braxant Compound

Kordath gasped for air as his mind cleared, blinking several times before reaching up to wipe a hand over his face, coming away with dust and…drool. Out cold, then, he decided, hearing a ding from the turbo lift control panel, as the Priest forced himself to his feet. Groaning, he tried a quick stretch before looking at the floor indicator, having just enough time to note the large G that flashed before the lift doors slid open.

One look out the door was enough to cause the Ryn to slam on the door close button, a dozen rakghouls looking at him with as close to surprise as their twisted faces could manage. As the door slid closed, the Priest wondered why they hadn’t attacked, and why he thought he’d spotted a violet skinned Twi’lek behind them, as well as a tall man with solid green eyes.

[I]What the flark? Was that…K’Tana? And a Zelosian? What the hells is going on here?[/I]

The lift sped upwards, returning to it’s last destination, and the Krath loosened up, finding his saber on the floor. Whatever had gotten blasted up there, it’d shaken the illusion that Dassac had weaved around his mind, at least for now. A quick survey of the lift also revealed half a bottle of whiskey left, which he tucked into his robes. Fatigue was threatening him again, but he pushed past it, partially with the Force, mostly with pure attitude.

He’d nearly been shot today, almost attacked by a drug crazed Obelisk, and very nearly mind broken by a One Sith. And his best friend was still prisoner, though still capable enough to give him the mental shove he needed to escape the Chistori’s mental prison. The lift slowed, and the Krath’s anger was fuming nicely as he stepped off, noting the scattered bodies wearing similar uniforms. Following the trail of bodies, the Ryn spotted Uji laying on the floor, blinking slowly and gritting his teeth.

If the Templar noticed him yet, he didn’t let on, as an armored figure stepped into view, slipping a helmet on as he approached the Obelisk. Kordath caught enough of a glance to suspect it to be Braxant, who was holding a pair of blaster pistols, raising one up to draw a bead on the fallen Human’s head.

“Persistence only gets you so far, usually as far as your death, sorry,” spoke the spy, grinning under his masked helmet. A whistle to his left caught his attention long enough for Uji to roll painfully out of the line of fire, Braxant turning his head and lifting both blasters up to face the new threat. Kordath’s saber cut through both barrels, stumbling into the room as exhaustion caught up with him. The spy never paused, dropping his useless weapons and bringing both of his arms up to lock around Kordath’s right elbow, twisting the joint and forcing the Ryn to drop his saber.

“You were supposed to be asleep, little fool,” growled the man, spinning around to drive an elbow into the Ryn’s side. Kordath grunted, feeling pain blossom in his elbow, as well as his side. Turning with the force of the blow he brought his left leg around, sweeping the Human’s feet out from under him. Braxant rolled backwards as his back hit the ground, popping back up with a chuckle, pulling a knife as he stood. A quick thrust from the agent was met with an open palm to the Human’s forearm, before Kordath’s other hand snaked around to grab the back of the man’s helmet.

Braxant yelled out as the Priest planted a foot in his armored midsection, and pulled the helmet off of his head. Tossing it aside, Kordath moved in for a strike to the side of the spy’s head, only to be deflected and felt a wetness running down his left arm, barely having felt the knife cut him. With a grimace, the Ryn stepped back, waiting for the Human to attack, the man’s eyes growing angry. A glance towards the windowed wall of the tower showed Atyiru still tied up, her face drawn from sheer exhaustion. The glance cost him some more blood, Braxant sliding his blade along the right side of his chest.

[I]That wasn’t even close to a fatal blow…what’s he doing, trying to bleed me out?[/I]

Laughter came from the spy, as he moved in on the bleeding Krath, blade moving quickly and efficiently. Kordath avoided most of the strikes, but the robes covering his forearms were starting to grow heavy, soaking up blood from blocked attacks. Annoyed, the Priest stepped back, flinging his robes towards the Human as he spun on one foot, before rushing towards the man. Braxant cursed, trying to ward off the heavy clothing with his off hand before it could obscure his vision. The spy was good at what he did, barely getting the robes away from him before lifting an armored boot up to nail the Ryn in his beaked face.

Kordath fell back, clutching his face to staunch the blood streaming from his nose. Braxant still had a knife in hand, and moved to finish the Krath, before letting out an exasperated sigh as Uji came at him from the side.

“Would you two just die already, okay? I’ve got better things to do then dance with you idiots,” growled the spy.

As Uji sparred with Braxant, Kordath opened his senses, feeling Force users coming up the lift…some he recognized, others he didn’t. And he could almost swear he saw some kind of ships through the windows headed their way.



En Route to the AGV Nighthawk

Two dark-haired men sat in meditative positions facing one another. The color of their hair, however, was the limit to the similarities. Whereas one had long hair pulled into a low ponytail, the other had messy locks that fell into his eyes.

However, were one to peer below the surface, the pair were highly similar despite the difference in power. To a Miraluka, the sight would present a tightly wound cord between the two.

This, however, is the furthest from a Force Bond. No, there was no bond between the two. Celevon and Teroch were instead building up something their common Master could do within a moment: create the Battle Meld, a telepathic connection that bound the strands of each member together. It rendered the possibility of electronic devices being tapped into completely useless. Between eight to twelve members, orders could be relayed in a burst of thought, the physical state of the individuals could be deciphered by focusing on that one.

But when it was just two… well, even that form of it that had rarely been seen, even when the former Erinos Patriarch had run Soulfire.

Like a mirrored surface, two pairs of eyes snapped open in an instant. Hazel and silver regarded one another for a moment before their respective owners blinked, rising to their feet.

Were anyone keeping an eye on the holo-cam of that area, they would immediately take note of how fluidly the pair moved, sliding past each other without touching. The kind of effortless coordination born of a lifetime of training together.

Celevon felt the small smile that curved Teroch’s lips as he lifted the concussion rifle. Just as the Mandalorian felt the nostalgia that sufficed the Onderonian as the Battleteam Leader of Arete caressed the hilt of his kerambit.

‘A gift from Sash-buir,’ the Adept realized, having recognized the weapon. The teenager frowned as he watched the Human lift a pitch-black mask.

“There a reason you want to hide your face, Edraven?”

“Just a promise I made a long time ago,” the Prelate retorted softly, unaware of the images that flew across the Meld.

Teroch kept his features impassive, as he recognized the green eyes that passed before his vision. The woman Edraven had married had been adopted into his Clan, trained in the ways his family had for countless generations. He had wondered why the Battleteam Leader had never claimed the Erinos name, yet decided it did not matter.

A look of distaste marred his features as he took note of the hilt sticking out from beneath the cloak his companion wore. “How many times did Sash-buir tell you off about that di’kutse weapon?”*

“More than I can count, Ter’ika,” the Onderonian retorted with a wry smirk. “I’ll make a deal with you, if it bothers you so much.”

“I’m not accepting until you name the terms,” Teroch folded his arms, the gauntlets that covered from his elbows down to wrist striking each other with nary a sound.

“I’ll not use my katana if you keep your guns holstered,” Celevon offered, a glint of amusement in his mercurial gaze.

The Mandalorian remained silent for a moment, staring at the older male before he made a counter-offer. “Don’t wear the mask and keep the sword sheathed. In exchange, I keep my guns holstered. Deal?”

Hangar Bay
AVG Nighthawk

Three of the Mercenaries stationed in the Hangar quickly approached the dropship after waiting for a good ten minutes. They glanced at each other, wariness clear in their eyes.

The most experienced of the trio made a series of silent gestures and received nods in return. Moments later, they swiftly moved up the ramp. The first checked to the right, the second took the other corner.

A gruesome sight met the eyes of Abrams as he stepped aboard the dropship. It looked as though a wild animal had been unleashed within the enclosed quarters of the vessel. He counted the body parts of at least seven individuals strewn about.

“It’s clear, sir. No one living aboard. What the frak do you suppose happened, Abrams?”

The former Special Operative glanced at the blood-spattered walls. “I’ve no idea… But my guess would be some kind of predator was aboard. Where it went is anyone’s guess.”

The ramp abruptly shut behind them, the three spinning in place, their weapons aimed at the now closed door. They quickly swung around, making sure there was no one that had been messing with them.

“What the frak is happening? What the frak is going on?”

Abrams sneered at the jumpy recruit. “Get it together, Z’er. Muur’a, why the hell do you keep prodding me?!”

“… I’m not touching you, sir.”

A hair-raising growl had all of them turning in that direction, weapons raised. The tactical lights on them revealed a creature that resembled a large canine. Though that was where the resemblance ended. The eyes glowed a deep crimson, the head itself was more skull than flesh. And the body itself was emaciated and a few places appeared to have been ripped open, revealing the muscle beneath.

Without thinking about what they were doing, the mercenaries opened fire; multi-colored blaster bolts flew in the creature’s direction. It was so bright that they could no longer see their target.

White-hot pain forced a gasp from between Abrams’ clenched teeth. He slowly turned his head when he realized he could no longer hear his comrades firing at the creature. Only… there was no creature. His comrades, however, were twitching as what looked like white energy rushed through their bodies. A young male stood between them, a hand on each shoulder. His two comrades began to drop to the floor, smoke rising from their bodies.

His view was abruptly shrouded by dark fabric appearing before his eyes. Abrams slowly looked up and caught sight of cold silver eyes observing him. A dripping blade was curved in the male’s left hand. It took a moment for the mercenary to realize it was his own lifeblood dripping from the tip. In the right hand was… a mask?

The last sensation Abrams endured was the blunted edge of the black durasteel ripping into his throat.

(View Shift)

“What was the point of that, Edraven?” the Erinos queried, dusting off his hands as he stepped away from the smoking corpses. There was a reason Force Lightning should not be introduced directly into the body.

Haatyc or’arue jate’shya ori’sol aru’ike nuhaatyc,” the Qel-Droman replied as he used the shirt of the mercenary to clean his kerambit of blood.*

“I understood that part, di’kut! I was asking why you used your mask to kill him off?”

“Oh… That was because I felt it needed a final use,” Celevon said with a nonchalant air as the ramp opened and the pair stepped down it.

“You’re even more eccentric than the last time I spoke to you,” Teroch muttered under his breath. “Shall we get on with this?”

AGV Nighthawk

“Captain, more of our members have stopped checking in since that dropship arrived. Abram’s and his crew have been silent-”

“That’s because they are being killed systematically by a pair of Force Users that were aboard the dropship,” a voice hissed from behind them, startling the Mercenary into dropping his datapad.

“And you didn’t think this was important enough to report?!” Eryck Heiss, self-appointed Captain of the Nighthawk bellowed.

“You will find that we,” a second shrouded figure stepped out of the shadows, a glint of bronzium appearing as the cloak shifted aside. “We are accustomed to dealing with other Force Users.”

“Faust didn’t inform me that the two of you were Sith-”

“We’re not. But we’re not Jedi either. It’s a pointless discussion either way. Gather your best men.”

“But they’re guarding the remaining crew in detention-”

“You will find yourself without your head should you question him again,” the second figure hissed, a length of amethyst bursting to life, the tip close enough to Heiss’ throat that the man felt the heat.

The Captain gulped, idly wondering in the back of his mind where the second weapon had come from. He could still see an identical one of durasteel and bronzium attached to the figure’s waist.

“I-it will b-be d-d-done.”


(Back to original point-of-view)
Some time later

Celevon and Teroch steadily made their way towards the Bridge, taking out enemy mercenaries along the way in small groups at a time. In the true style of former Soulfire Operatives, their lightsabers had yet to leave their belts.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this, Cel. Why are we walking into a trap? The Mandalorian spoke across the Meld, just a hint of irritation in his mental tone.

Because they expect us to do so, Ter’ika. Besides, it becomes more fun this way. Especially when we use one of your father’s rules. Celevon smirked to himself.

‘If someone thinks they have the upper hand - break it!’

As soon as the pair stepped into one of the few remaining hallways that came to a cross, a burst of blaster fire erupted from both sides. Cobalt and orange erupted from hilts that were drawn in a blur, batting aside bolts in different hues.

Celevon and Teroch were soon back-to-back, the Meld making it to where they could work in perfect synchronization. So long as it were active between them, the pair were two halves of the same whole; an extension of the other’s thoughts and actions. In this position, they could view everything from a full spectrum, the peripheral vision of the other giving them awareness of their entire surroundings.

“Cease fire!”

It took a moment for the order to register, though the Shadicar kept their blades at the ready, fully prepared should the Mercenaries all open fire at once.

“You’re surrounded, gentlemen. Though you have fought valiantly, I do believe the time has come to lay down your arms and come quietly.”

As one, they deactivated their weapons and began kneeling to place them on the ground.

This is the part of the plan I don’t like. Celevon pointed out.

We’ve got this, Edraven. Let’s give the people on the bridge a bit of a show. Now!

The hilts of their lightsabers on the ground, the duo leapt in opposite directions towards the opponents surrounding them. While Teroch used a combination of Teras Kasi and Stava, Celevon showed the versatility of K’tara.

Using the momentum of his leap, the Onderonian landed with his grasp around the lower jaw of the first. He continued the motion, spinning to where he was behind the mercenary. A harsh snap echoed in the stillness, the vertebrae turning in a manner they were not supposed to. The first fell to the ground like a puppet with its strings severed. Though the Battleteam leader was already moving onto the next long before the body hit the floor, a boot lashing out to kick the barrel of a blaster away from him. The pull of the trigger erupted into the chest of another mercenary.

Celevon lost track of what was happening, the familiar ebb and flow of battle taking over his thoughts. The sight of a trench knife ripping through the opposite direction of his kerambit quickly brought the Onderonian back to reality. He raised an eyebrow at Teroch, ignoring the wet thud of the head falling to the floor.

“You were taking too long,” the Mandalorian grinned.

The Prelate glanced around at the bodies and raised an eyebrow as he sheathed the kerambit at his waist. A tendril of Force energy wrapped around the hilt of his lightsaber, the familiar weight smacking into his palm a moment later.

“Next time we fight together, I’m using my guns,” Teroch muttered, moving to clip the weapon on his belt. Their steps took them towards the doors to the bridge. “These aren’t original…”

They opened just long enough for two figures to step through. No words were exchanged, as the other two made their intentions known by igniting their weapons. The one directly across from Celevon held a single crimson lightsaber, whereas the other held two with violet blades in either hand.

Be careful, Ter. That one-

-Has conversion hilts, I see it. I’ve got this one. You handle yours, the Mandalorian finished, an eager grin crossing his lips as his weapon burst to life.

The snap-hiss of the Onderonian’s blade igniting was masked by the clash of weapons striking, as he only activated it in time to block the red blade of his opponent.

“My, how the standards in Arcona have fallen since I left. They send a kid and someone who isn’t even ‘dark’ to recover their lost ship?”

Celevon grinned, having taken advantage of the unnecessarily dialogue to bring the fears within his opponent to the forefront. Grasping the Force, he had woven an illusion based upon the very thing that had terrified the Rogue before him.

“Not dark, hmm? Well, how about you try this on for size,” the Onderonian pulled back from the saber lock.

His opponent’s jaw dropped as black smoke appeared to erupt from the eyes and mouth of the Obelisk, rolling across the floor as it gathered into a wider and wider circle. His eyes widened as the smoke slowly coalesced and rose, taking on a form that was vaguely humanoid. Were it not for the maw full of razor-like teeth and slitted eyes, it could have been mistaken for one.

Breathing heavily, the Rogue unleashed a brutal burst of telekinetic energy at the beast before them. When it vanished, he rushed at the Onderonian, impaling his crimson blade through the torso.

When the silver-eyed male began to disperse as though he were made from vapor, he blinked. Dark blue flared across his vision.

A moment later, everything from his left shoulder to his right hip slid to the ground, the remains of his body tumbling down not long after.

Celevon glanced over towards his brother-in-arms to see the Kiffar leaping around their other opponent, showing off his athleticism, irritating his opponent to no end. The Onderonian frowned as he watched said opponent. There was no real form there, no discipline to speak of. It was as though the person had learned the mere basics of a lightsaber form and filled in the rest with aggression.

His studies revealed a flaw just as Teroch noticed it and tried to stop the older male from intervening.

The Onderonian leapt forward, rolling to his feet just as the opponent turned. Near the hilt, Celevon’s cobalt blade burned through the conversion double-bladed hilt of his opponent. Rather than stopping his own weapon, the Qel-Droman continued the upward slice. It appeared to happen in slow-motion as Celevon’s blade seared through from groin to trachea just as Teroch’s russet weapon burnt through either side of the waist. A quick slash later, the two were panting on either side of the enemy Force-User.

The legs collapsed first, separating at the slices before the bisected torso and arms went their own ways. The head tumbled off into the darkness.

The Mandalorian turned to face his Father’s final apprentice, an annoyed look in his hazel eyes. “What were you doing, Edraven? I had him.”

“You were taking too long,” the Onderonian smirked, repeating the words his younger friend had thrown at him not long before.

Teroch rolled his eyes and stepped away from the carnage they had created.

AGV Nighthawk

Heiss aimed a pistol at the Kiffar the moment the Mandalorian placed a foot on the Bridge. Of course, Teroch didn’t look like himself. His eyes were blue, his skin pale, his eye-length hair cropped short. “Drop your weapons. Or I swear I will shoot.”

“Relax, man. I’m unarmed. I barely managed to get here. Some crazy fracks hijacked my ship and forced me to fly them here!” the younger male held his hands up as he slowly walked further aboard the Bridge.

“Oh, like I’m going to believe that. What do you take me for an idi-”

The Illusion rippled away from Teroch, who was smirking. Celevon’s cloak of Force energy dissolved at the same moment, one of the Mandalorian’s trench knives pointed directly at the false Captain’s carotid artery, his left hand over the mouth.

“What do you think, Ter’ika? Should we let him live and hand him over to the DIA or…” the Prelate trailed off, a grin curving his lips.

“Hmm. I don’t know. I hear the DIA tend to go a bit overboard with their interrogation techniques,” Teroch mused playfully. The acrid stench of urine caused them both to pause. “Yeah… I’m going to assume he doesn’t know anything. If we need an excuse for his execution, write down that he pissed on the deck of my ship.”

A muffled scream of denial escaped the Qel-Droman’s hand before it was replaced with an entirely different scream as Celevon slid the blade in. Taking a firmer grip, the Onderonian ripped the trench knife clean across to the other side.

Whilst his father’s final protege took care of the false Captain, Teroch deactivated the locking mechanism in the detention level. A quick series of commands had the intercom becoming active. “Crew of the Nighthawk, this is your former Captain and Executive Officer speaking. You are to return to your duties at once, barring injuries. The Qel-Droman Fleet will be intercepting us before long. That is all.”

He looked up at the Prelate, taking in the mess Celevon had made. “Clean up my blade before you return it to me. I need to contact the fleet. What was the callsign Sorenn gave us?”

“Raven One,” the Battleteam Leader replied, wiping the blade clean on Heiss’ clothing.

Shadow, this is Raven One, come in.”

Static hissed across the line for a moment before a familiar voice spoke up.

*“*Raven One, this is Shadow. Have you completed your objectives?”

“Yes, sir. The Nighthawk is back in Arconan control. The hyperdrive is badly damaged. We will need a tow.”

“Roger that, Raven One. Approaching your coordinates now. Shadow out.”

Teroch sighed as soon as the communication was cut off. He glanced up as the Onderonian held out his trench knife by the hilt, a cigarette hanging from his mouth. The Mandalorian snatched the smoldering cylinder from Celevon’s lips and drew in a long pull, exhaling smoke as he sheathed the weapon in his boot. The Elder waited until Edraven lit his own before he said anything else.

“The next time we work together, ori’vod, you’re the bait.”*

  • buir - parent
  • di’kutse - idiotic, foolish
  • Haatyc or’arue jate’shya ori’sol aru’ike nuhaatyc - “Better one big enemy that you can see than many small ones you can’t.”
  • ori’vod - big brother

Soulfire Strike Team

Giletta Spaceport
Estle City, Selen

Despite the space battle that was now beginning to come to a close, it had been a relatively easy landing for Andrelious and the team of Dark Jedi and soldiers that had slowly formed around the Warlord over the past few days. On arrival at the Arconan Capital’s primary spaceport, the team remained on the ship, sensing a little trouble outside. A thunderstorm had begun outside, adding torrential rain to an already long list of problems.

“Any reason we’re not frakking moving? Our children are with some tree and you’re sat here twiddling your thumbs. We’re not sitting here waiting for it to stop raining!” Kooki hissed.

“Don’t worry that purple-tipped head of yours. I’m sure I can find someone to do.” Prackx purred, staring lustfully at one of the younger female soldiers.

“Darling, I promised that the rescue mission was voluntary. We need to find out who wants to come with us. Those of you that already volunteered, move to the back. That includes you, Saskia!” Andrelious commanded.

The Soulfire Sergeant sulked a little as she joined the group of volunteers. Her fellow godparent, Nadrin, was a lot keener, simply nodding at his fellow Warlord.

“Right. Who else is coming? We’ve probably got enough Force blind can…help. But I’m going need more than just the four of us Dark Jedi,” the ex-Rollmaster declared.

“I’ll come, sweetie. I want to meet these other daughters of yours. I’m interested to see if they’re as pretty as you are.” Granta replied, moving to join the volunteers. Kooki simply scowled at the larger female, patting her lightsaber hilt.

Soon. the Alderaanian mused.

Revs’ comlink began to make the low pitch buzzing noise that indicated somebody was trying to get into contact. The Protector picked up the device. He conversed quietly with whoever was at the other end, Andrelious guessing it was one of his superiors from the tone and language used.

“That was my Master, Captain. He has ordered me to head to the Citadel. I am apparently going to be re-assigned,” Revs explained once his private call had finished.

“I must remember to tell your Master that I was impressed with your work. If I were still Rollmaster, I’d Knight you myself right now,” the Inquisitor stated stoically.

“You were quite happy to leave me behind when I got hurt. I wouldn’t call that impressed,” the Miraluka snapped back, opening the hatch and leaving the ship before Andrelious could answer.

“Making another lasting impression on someone.” Saskia quipped. A glare from her father was enough to silence her.

“Master…this mission. Would I get to kill people?” Vosh questioned suddenly.

“Of course. We’re Dark Jedi. Killing is in the job description. For most of us, anyway,” the ex-Rollmaster replied, ushering his young apprentice to join the others.

“Do we have enough people now? I want to see my girls!” Kooki snapped, tired of waiting for her husband’s tedious organising.

“We may be able to get extra backup on the way. It’s time we paid a visit to that creepy tree.” Andrelious responded.


Citadel Medbay

Despite the seniority of both Andrelious and Nadrin, it once again been the fuming Kooki that had led the way to the Citadel. The journey had been swift and met with little resistance, what few rakhgouls that dared get in the team’s way being easily and brutally dealt with by a saber blade or blaster fire.

On arrival at the medbay, a protocol droid noticed the entourage. Ignoring the Alderaanian, it approached Nadrin.

“Welcome back Lord Arc-” it began, before its speech was cut off as Andrelious hurled the droid into a nearby wall.

“Always hated that frakking thing. I doubt Atyiru’s going to be happy that I’ve trashed her receptionist, but no time for such worries now. Where’s Ood?” the older Warlord questioned.

Kooki, who had proceeded into the medbay, turned to see the team were now lagging behind.

“Hurry the frak up!” she hissed.

“Right. Somebody contact Pontifex Bnar. Find out where he is.” Andrelious ordered.

Kooki shot another icy glare towards her husband. “Don’t worry about all that protocol now. Can’t your track your own daughters!?”

“Of course I can. But do you really want to risk barging in on that lunatic giving them some sort of deranged medical lesson?” the Soulfire Captain reasoned.

“Then we’ll deal with him. I want to see my frakking twins!” the Priestess snapped, disappearing into the depths of the medbay. Andrelious turned to face his team.

“Nadrin, Saskia. Come with me. The rest of you, wait here. Make sure this area remains secure,” he demanded.


“Ssshhhh. Your daughters are sleeping.” Ood warned quietly as Kooki stomped into the room. The girls were indeed slumbering among his upper branches, each swaddled in a pale pink blanket.

“Give them to me, Bnar. I want to hold them. And then I want to track down and crush the bastard that threatened them,” the Qel-Droman woman replied, finding it hard to convey her fury while whispering softly.

“Do we even know who took them? The best thing we can do right now is probably find Atyiru and ask her exactly what happened. Do you know where the Aedile is, Bnar?” Andrelious interrogated as the Neti passed first Etty, then Poppy to their mother. The girls stirred a little and began to wail, but became peaceful again as they realised that they had been reunited with Kooki. The Priestess unclipped the front of her robes, and began tandem feeding her daughters. The girls’ father smiled at the sight, whilst Saskia turned up her nose in mild disgust.

“Breast feeding one minute. Killing the next. Have I told you recently how much I love you?” the Warlord asked.

“Don’t think you can creep around me. That Granta Prackx had better watch her back. I’d hate to see her victim to an incident of friendly fire.” the Alderaanian replied harshly.

“Ahem. Templar Uji, an interesting specimen himself, reported that Atyiru was escorted to tower two zero four in the city’s financial district,” the Pontifex declared, stopping the Mimosa-Inahj couple’s mini-row before it could begin.

“Right. We’d best head there. Kooki, where are you going to leave the girls?” Nadrin questioned.

“I’m not leaving them anywhere. When I left them with my former Master, they ended up kidnapped. They’re coming with us,” the Alderaanian stated seriously, noticing their carriers nearby.

“Darling, I really don’t think that’s wise. This area’s probably crawling with enemies. Can’t we leave them in the care of one of the medics here? One that’s not quite as mad as Bnar?” her husband pleaded, knowing already he was wasting his breath.

“If someone stays here with them, it will be you. So either they come, or you don’t!” Kooki hissed, strapping the purple and black cotton carriers onto herself. With a finesse that only a mother could have, the female placed each infant into their carrier, Etty on her back, Poppy snuggling into her chest. Though their feed had been relatively short, it had apparently been satisfying and the twins had gone back to sleep.

“Fresh breast milk. Works wonders for Human infants. Most other humanoids, in fact.” Ood observed.

“We have Atyiru’s location. Let’s do this!” Andrelious cried, leaving the Neti to his work. Kooki, the twins and the others all followed.


Estle City

A formation of Canderous-class tanks sped their way through the streets of Estle City. The tanks were brand new additions to the Arconan Armed Forces, and now they were being used to ferry the group that was becoming known as ‘Team Mimosa-Inahj’ across the Arconan Capital. Andrelious, accompanied by Kooki all three of his daughters, was driving the front tank, whilst others were driven by Nadrin and those soldiers that were qualified to fly repulsor craft. It had been a fairly tight squeeze to fit the entirety of the team in tanks that were nominally three-seater vehicles, but some careful organisation of who went where had managed it. The team didn’t bother to deal with the occasional rakghoul that they encountered, though several were run over, such was their determination to reach their final goal of the building that Atyiru was being held in. Prackx, on being told the identity of the building, had announced that she knew it well, and had suggested that they fly directly in through the unreinforced transparisteel windows.

“We’re two blocks away. Prepare to maximise hover power and ram our way in. And make sure you’re careful. If we hit it too hard, the whole thing will collapse. We’ve lost enough people today.” Andrelious broadcast, pulling back one of the many levers on the control panel. The tank began to ascend, and the Warlord adjusted the control carefully, quickly gaining a feel for what was still, to him, a new vehicle.

“It won’t collapse, sweetie. The transparisteel itself isn’t reinforced, but the frame of the building is. Try and enter around the fifth level. That’s the main staff facilities. It won’t be as heavily guarded,” Prackx’s voice replied with a crackle.

“Brace yourself, girls. We’re going in!” the Soulfire Captain cried, holding tightly onto the steering and speed controls as their target building loomed closer and closer.


Braxant Compound
Estle City, Selen

With a loud bang, the first Canderous tank smashed its way through, Andrelious managing to land it neatly among the debris. Broken transparisteel, as well as damaged sections of internal walls littered the corridors, as did a large amount of dead bodies clothed in a uniform that was unfamiliar to the Arconans.

The rest of the tanks found it was near impossible to ground a large hovertank inside a tower block and opted to hover a little outside, aligning their rear hatches with the exposed floor.

“Good work, team. Now we’ll regroup and find Atyiru. We’re entering an enemy base so expect heavy resistance.” Andrelious declared as the tank hatches opened, reuniting the temporarily divided team.

“Oh. We missed. We’re on the sixth level,” Prackx stated, pointing at a large numeral near the turbolift door.

“Is that a problem? It looks like we killed anyone that was here when we smashed through.” Saskia observed.

“We could actually be in luck. The building’s power management is all routed through a room on this level. If we can find it, I’m sure one of us has the skills to shut the power off completely,” the tall female replied, smiling at Saskia in a way that made the Epis feel uncomfortable.

“Won’t shutting power down disable the lift?” Callahan questioned as the team began to search for the room Prackx had mentioned.

“It won’t matter. There’s an emergency access stairwell. So long as Andrel didn’t hit it when he crashed, we can just use that to get to wherever this Aedile of yours is being held,” the former Imperial soldier responded.

Saskia pointed at a door at the end of a long corridor “Found it, dad. It’s easy when you know what to listen out for,”

Leading his team along the corridor, Andrelious whispered as he strafed along the left hand wall. “Alright. Let’s proceed carefully, and make sure we can get Saskia into the room. This side of the building didn’t take much damage, but I can’t sense much resistance. It’s almost as if they’ve been attacked already. I can definitely sense more than just Atyiru somewhere above us. I’m not exactly sure who, it’s someone I don’t know very well, but there’s another rescue attempt already going on.”

To their surprise and delight, the team reached the end of the corridor without meeting any enemies. Andrelious pointed his lightsaber at the door to the power management room.

“Private Bretak, you escort Lady Ortega-Inahj in. Once she successfully shuts the power down, you are to keep watch on this level. The rest of us will begin the search for Atyiru,” the Warlord commanded.

The former Corporal saluted, and followed an eager Saskia into the room. Just moments later, the building’s lighting dimmed slowly into darkness.

Wow. I knew she was good… the Soulfire Captain thought.

“Still underestimating me, dad?” the Epis quipped, having already exited the room.


The walk up the fire escape was fairly tedious and uninterrupted. The higher ranked Force users led the way, ignoring several levels as they followed their instincts towards Atyiru, who appeared to be in one of the building’s upper levels. Andrelious was glad that the building was only around twenty-one storeys high as he began to tire a little from the sustained climb.

“Wait. I can feel someone familiar on this level.” Nadrin instructed, kicking the door of the seventeenth level open. Without a moment’s hesitation he hurled two nearby guards back with the Force. The others started to proceed into the corridor, armed with their weapons or tools of choice. Kooki, now her twins were safe, had lost a little of her maternal rage and was happy to lag towards the back of the group, one of Callahan’s men watching over her with great care.

After a brief fire fight which cost the Arconans the life of one of their soldiers, the corridor was secured.

“Where’s this person we know then, Nadrin?” Andrelious questioned, his attention already fixated on the disabled turbolift. Both Warlords moved towards it with a little care. As they approached, they heard what appeared to be the rapping of fists on durasteel.

“Karking let us out!” a familiar cry echoed from the other side of the doors.

“It appears we’ve trapped elements of Dark Forge in the turbolift. That’s K’tana. She’ll probably kill half of them before they get out. I’m almost sad,” the ex-Rollmaster stated with a smirk. The fact that Soulfire’s newer rival had allowed itself to get trapped, while unfortunate, did mean that they wouldn’t be present to bungle the rescue.

“Bunch of di’kuts.” Nadrin remarked, turning away. The two rejoined their team, quickly heading back towards the emergency access stairwell.


Upon reaching the top of the stairwell, Nadrin once again kicked the door in, but found no enemies on guard. Andrelious rushed out, followed by the others. They could sense that Atyiru was very near, and that she was in a state of discomfort. The two Warlords were still not quite able to ascertain who the other Force sensitives were, but had their answer moments later when they burst through another door into a room that had appeared to become exposed to the ongoing rainfall. Also inside were a wounded Ryn that Andrelious recognised as Kordath, and another Force user that he could not immediately identify locked in combat with a man who was armed to the teeth with weapons and equipment. A bounty hunter. Finally, he saw Atyiru in the corner, tied up and in distress.

“Kooki, come with me. The rest of you, assist our allies! I want that man alive and in our custody!” the Warlord commanded.

The Mimosa-Inahj family, two of its number still asleep despite the unfolding chaos, headed over to their friend. Atyiru was struggling weakly against her bonds. As her apprentice approached, a movement under the gag indicated she was smiling slightly.

Andrelious used the tip of his lightsaber blade to sever the ties around his Aedile’s hands and feet, before removing the cloth gag that had been tied tightly around the Miraluka’s mouth.

“Kooki, my dear. Andrel. The man in the armour is the one who threatened your twins. Be kind and correct him for me,” Atty said, unusually with a little venom.

“Then he won’t live!” Kooki snapped.

Braxant, still fighting hard, found the sheer number of Equites, backed up by the trained soldiers under Sergeant Callahan, a little too much to handle. He fired his twin blasters, a backup set after Kordath had ruined his favoured pair, almost wildly, even hitting a couple of his enemies, but was caught by the blue ringed fire of a blaster set to stun. The Human slumped to the ground, and was quickly approached by Sergeant Callahan, who placed Braxant in binders.

The armoured man came to a few moments later, finding his blasters gone and his arms bound. He was encircled by the angry Arconans, Kooki, Atyiru and Andrelious at their forefront.

“Ah. The Mimosa-Inahj family. Even brought your previous indiscretion! And Miss Prackx, too! I wondered why the Oath Breaker had fallen so easily.” Braxant said a smugly. Saskia screwed up her nose at being referred to so rudely.

“I would have you killed immediately, Braxant. Not only did you threaten my daughters, but you tried to turn the Clan against me by accusing me of having Atty shot. But, you’re lucky. Now Atty’s safe, she’s been restored to command. And she has some very different ideas about punishment.” Andrelious stated, sighing a little as he remembered the Archpriestess’ penchant for keeping people alive.

“I promised you’d die, Braxant. My sight is merciful, but not today. You may kill him, Andrel, but you must make it quick.” Atyiru declared, a coldness in her voice that caused a few of the assembled group to shiver.

“Atyiru…you really want to kill him? What in the name of Palpatine has B’nar done to you?” the ex-Rollmaster asked, utterly stunned at hearing the lack of mercy in his friend’s orders.

"Nothing. He hurt my family, not me. Once, I killed for that, and I will do so again for that alone,” the Miraluka replied, her tone still icy.

Kooki glanced over to her Master, before approaching the bound Braxant. Upon nearing him, she stared aggressively at him, almost wishing the look alone could kill. “I’m a firm believer in irony, wouldn’t you say, Andrel dear?” the Alderaanian hissed. The twins sensed that they were close to the man that had threatened them, and woke up with a start, letting out a high pitched wail.

“Now, what was it you said, Braxant? About losing fingers and toes?” the Warlord added, noticing his wife was already readying her lightsaber.

“Ah yes. Thank you for reminding me.” Kooki replied, brutally slicing the fingers off of the captured Hunter’s right hand. Braxant’s face contorted with the pain, but this just increased the level of pleasure that the Qel-Droman was feeling. With another quick slash, she removed the digits from her prisoner’s other hand. Atyiru was not pleased.

“Ashla and Bogan, Kooki! I said kill him quickly! Do it or I will,” she hissed.

“As you wish, Master.” the Priestess stated, gesturing silently to her husband. Andrelious nodded and activated his own lightsaber. Scooping him up with the Force, Kooki flung Braxant directly towards the Warlord, who barely had to move his weapon to stab it through the man’s heart, viciously exploding the organ. The hunter was dead before he had even hit the ground.

The new mother leant over Sephilios Braxant’s corpse. “Nobody messes with the Mimosa-Inahj family. Nobody!” she snapped, kicking the dead man’s head with her booted foot. The twins began to soothe, seemingly satisfied that their tormentor was gone.

“We’re done here. Let’s get back to the sixth level, restore the power, and go. I suppose we can’t really leave poor old Dark Forge trapped in the lift.” Andrelious declared with a smirk.

“I can handle that, Dad. I don’t need a cohort of babysitters to flick a switch.” Saskia replied.

“Alright. We’ll get Atyiru and the rest back to the Citadel. We’ll have to take the tanks - will you be alright walking back? The streets are still infested,” the ex-Imperial asked.

His daughter nodded. “Leave me a couple of Callahan’s men. With Private Bretak that’ll be four of us against the rakhgouls, should they pin us down. We’ll be fine,” she stated.

“Atty. It’s time we left. Can you walk?” Andrelious asked, gesturing to one of the larger soldiers to be ready to carry his friend, if needed.


Commander Pepco braced himself as the Escape Pod slammed into the surface of Selen. He cursed as he studied the view outside through the pod’s small transparisteel window; he had landed near the Citadel.

“We’re near the enemy headquarters. Be prepared for a fight,” he ordered of the men that he had shared his ride down to the planet with.

It’s still better than if Dassac caught up with me.