Present Day, 39 ABY
NSD Dark Paladin
All but two members of House Excidium were assembled in the briefing room of the Dark Paladin; only the Quaestor and Aedile were absent. Archangel paced back and forth restlessly, he despised being summoned only to have his time wasted. Rasilvenaira stood with her back against the wall, arms folded across her chest, and sighed as the Palpatine’s heavy boots thudded passed her for the twelfth time.
“Be calm, Arch,” she urged. “They will be here momentarily.” The Juggernaut threw her comment aside with a wave of his hand, marching over to the guards posted at the door.
“Sergeant, contact Thraagus and Lucyeth,” he ordered. “Summon them here immediately.” The soldier saluted, confirming the request with a simple “sir”. He patched his helmet comms through the appropriate channels before abruptly stopping to stand at attention as the pair entered. They rushed briskly passed their assembled brethren to stand before them. Lucyeth tapped away at the computer terminal, bringing up a map of the Cocytus System.
“My friends,” Koryn began, his voice echoing around the room. “I apologize for the delay, and I shan’t keep you longer than necessary. We have been discussing the current situation with the Emperor and he has tasked us with this assignment.” His arm swept over the map. “I trust you all recognize our home. There is unrest across the system and we are to quell it before the rumblings become something of concern.” Lucyeth zoomed the image into Ptolomea.
“We’ve seen an insurgence of gang activity in Bronato,” informed the Aedile as surveillance photographs flashed up with detailed background information. “Nothing new for the city of sin, but this particular gang does not respect our authority and refuses to pay the Empire our tribute. They need to be made an example of.”
3 Days Later
The henchman lifted the lid of the container a fraction, shielding it from the rain as he checked its contents: spice. It would flood the city before the week was out, then they would collapse their base of operations and move on to another city, perhaps another planet, perhaps another system. This time however, things would be different. The other gangs in the city paid tribute to the ruling government in exchange for being allowed to operate; they would show them another way.
The Chiss approached silently from behind, his footsteps masked by the downpour, placing the barrel of the Westar-34 against the thug’s temple. He turned around slowly to face the intruder, reaching for his own weapon as he did.
“That would be a mistake,” advised Arcturus, his red eyes seeming to glow. Subtly increasing the criminal’s fear, he proceeded to the interrogation. “The brains of this operation: where are they?” His terrified hand shook as he slowly pointed towards a nearby warehouse. “And I assume they’re well guarded?” He nodded, his eyes wide with dread as a hundred phobias he never knew he had raced through his mind. The Protector smiled. “Good. Call them out, tell them I’m here.” Through confusion and fear, he stammered the warning into his comm. Within moments, the guards rushed out, training their weapons on Arcturus.
On the rooftops above, Xan, Draco, and Kazuki stood watching events unfold, their weapons held ready, their eyes scanning over the targets to determine the greatest threats. Moving to more strategic positions, they gave the signal to Arcturus below. “Do you really think you have the advantage?” The Chiss called out before slamming the butt of his blaster into his hostage’s head. As he did, the three Dark Jedi above stepped from the roof, bringing their weapons down on those below.
Within an hour, the criminal syndicate was broken, the warehouse was under Excidium’s control, and the mastermind was on a shuttle to the Emperor as an offering of tribute.
NSD Dark Paladin
Ptolomea shimmered away in the briefing room, casting it’s blue-green light upon the members of Excidium as the Quaestor and Aedile briefed them on the key targets. The planet faded away only to be replaced with the ice covered Caina.
“We have received disturbing reports of a spy network operating out of Daemon,” reported Lucyeth. A number of those assembled scoffed at the information, with Ric Hunter giving voice to the concerns.
“Daemon has no strategic importance,” he stated bluntly. “What could a spy network want with a glorified mining colony?”
“That’s what makes this so disturbing,” replied Koryn. “There’s no obvious reason for them to be there when Judecca would offer them so much more information. That’s what we need to know.”
2 Days Later
The man’s face was bloodied and swollen. A Cathar and Sephi stood over him. They had been questioning him non-stop for almost 30 hours now, but he was adamant he would not be broken; he would die before betraying the client.
“If he doesn’t give us something soon,” Arron grinned across at Levan, “I’m saying you hired them.” The pair laughed as Levan leaned in close to their captive.
“Come on pal,” urged the Acolyte. “You wouldn’t let him do that to me, would you? You’ve got to help me out here.” The man replied with a single word: schutta. Levan’s smile faded from his face.
“And I thought you were getting on famously,” joked Arron, as the Sephi drew his vibroknife holding it against the captive’s throat. “Stop, we need him alive. We need to know what he knows.” Levan sighed and pulled away.
“I suppose you’re right,” he said as he pointed across the room to where others were tied up. “What about them? We don’t need all of them right?” He crossed the room slowly, deciding which was the least valuable with each step. He turned around as he stood over his victim. “Don’t worry, we’ll send his body back to the Dajorra system.” He kneeled down beside his victim and drew his knife close to flesh when their captive spoke up, his voice shaky.
“W-why Da…jorra?” An amateur mistake, he knew as soon as the words began to form on his tongue. Arron looked across approvingly as Levan stood up and sheathed his blade, his ruse a success.
“At least we know Arcona didn’t send them,” stated the Knight. “Just five more Clans to go.” It would take the pair another two days before they retrieved the information they needed, and the spy ring were held in custody.
NSD Dark Paladin
The chilled light of Caina gave way to the lush green of what many considered home. Before them, Judecca floated, it’s very presence igniting the stalwart defensive instincts within all in the room to protect their home and their Clan. The planet was no stranger to conflict and it seemed strife was returning to threaten them once more.
“Our final target is Ohmen,” reported the Quaestor. “A group of anti-Imperials have been rioting in the city. They claim we bring misfortune to the people of Judecca and that their lives would be better governed by the New Republic. They need to be taught the error of their ways.”
5 Days Later
“… The tyranny of those who would see us bend the knee, who would crush us beneath their boots. Those who have brought nought but war and destruction…” Republic insignia lined the street as the speaker whipped the crowd into a patriotic frenzy with his words. Cheers went up from those assembled, lapping up his words. A woman weaved her way amongst the bodies, the symbol of the Republic emblazoned on the sleeve of her jacket, gently pushing people aside to draw closer to the speaker. She stood silently as she reached the front of the crowd, her golden eyes flitting over the scene before her. Four armed guards flanked the speaker, with another on over watch on a rooftop above. More guards blocked off the winding alleyways and clustered in nearby buildings. They were well prepared; they knew they would be threatened by those they opposed.
The elfin woman looked back through the crowd, all wearing identical insignia as her. How many of them would cower? How many would attack? Her timing would need to be precise. She looked back up to the rooftop; a silver-haired woman sat on her haunches where the sentry had been stationed. Shadow Nighthunter closed her eyes and breathed deep, there would be no room for error. Above her, Rayne waved her white lightsaber in an arc through the air above her head. The crowd began to stir as fights broke out simultaneously across the plaza, parting to reveal the assailants. With room to manoeuvre, they drew their weapons: Archangel and Cello ignited their lightsabers as Rouvenor drew his DL-18 blaster.
“My brethren,” urged the speaker, “the enemy is amongst us. We must stand as one and eradicate this menace.” The crowd were no longer paying attention to his words, survival instincts taking over. Archangel tore the Republic patch from his arm in disgust.
“I feel so unclean,” he said into his comm as the militia swarmed into the plaza, firing as they took up defensive positions. The speaker’s bodyguards formed a tight perimeter around him, training their rifles on the Dark Jedi.
“I’m sure a good fight will make you forget about it,” came Rayne’s voice in the Shaevalian’s ear as she ran across the rooftops before dropping down to street level to enter the battle herself.
“Ah, you know me so well,” he replied admiringly. In an instant his demeanour shifted, bloodlust burning bright in his eyes as he charged forward into the thick of battle. Cello darted towards the opposite flank as Rouvenor dove for cover, providing covering fire. Shadow sprang forward, having cloaked herself with the Force when the fighting broke out, she was perfectly positioned behind enemy lines.
Too late did the guards spot the assassin. One let out a gurgled gasp as Shadow’s dagger found its mark. Taking advantage of their confusion, Rouvenor took out another bodyguard as Shadow’s lightsaber flew to her hand and she dispatched the final two. A swift kick sent the speaker sprawling onto his back. Shadow stood over him and pulled him forward by his collar until his ear was beside her mouth.
“For the Empire,” she whispered before bringing her dagger across his neck.
NSD Dark Paladin
“You will each receive your assignments shortly,” said Koryn, casting his gaze over the room as he planned who would excel at what task. “We are Excidium, the embodiment of destruction. We strike fast and strike hard. Our enemies will be dealt with long before they learn who we are, but they will all know our work.”