The Dread Lord of Clan Plagueis looked up from his datapad to survey the field his team landed in east of the complex that the Undesirables and their guardians were holed up in. A light breeze blew across the meadow, indicative of the gentle weather of Aliso, caressing the Anzat’s face. The fauna didn’t appear to be too complex, but the flora was beautiful, although perhaps bland in color diversity, to see. It was understandable why the Undesirables chose this planet: it was out of the way, and it was definitely somewhere you could live out your life in peaceful bliss.
‘It’s a shame this planet is in the Unknown Regions where most men dare not travel. A beautiful planet,’ Teylas thought to himself.
All terrain vehicles were already on the move; Ravagers, Subjugates, and Wraiths began to take orders from their field commanders. The well oiled machine that was the Plagueis military - perhaps one of the most impressive of the Dark Brotherhood - was taking shape, preparing to fight. Through the crowd of Plagueian troops Laren Uscot emerged. “Lord Ramar, we’ve set up squad commanders to head up teams to assault and infiltrate the facility. Each squad will be led by a Force user to maximize the damage we can do. The rest of our forces will take commands directly from the field commanders.”
“Excellent,” Teylas responded enthusiastically as battle approached. “I’ll be joining the front lines.”
“How… uncharacteristic…” a voice came through the bustle. Approaching closer, the Consul of Plagueis could see the familiar face of Arden Karn. Flanked by one of Plagueis’ newest knights, Alishu, the two men joined Teylas and Laren in their planning. Karn was undoubtedly one of the people the Dread Lord had known the longest in his time in Plagueis. Their relationship wouldn’t be classified as ‘warm’, but they had fought together many times on the battlefield. Teylas considered the fellow Plagueian, for the most part trustworthy, as he had come through in past engagements. And for now trust was what Teylas desired the most.
“Any particular reason why?” Arden coldly asked; it was rare for the Dread Lord’s decisions to be questioned, but the outward lack of emotion behind Arden’s question left Teylas willing to let it slide as an almost normal, procedural question.
“Don’t you find this odd?” Teylas laughed raising the datapad, flashing it quickly in the faces of the other three. It’s contents, the scans of the complex that the Transcendent took in orbit, spoke for itself.
“Uhh…” the Pantoran mercenary shrugged.
“A planet in the Unknown Regions, out of the way, far from the watchful eye of the Core Worlds. It’s obviously of CIS design, which makes it at least, what, fifty years old?” Ramar asked rhetorically before continuing, “It isn’t in the Brotherhood database nor any of the old Imperial databases; that means it was off the books when the Empire seized all the old CIS assets. I want to know what this place was, and what is in there.”
“Guess that means we’re going to have to keep the destruction to a minimum,” Laren commented.
Arden nodded, “That shouldn’t be too hard. I don’t expect any considerable amount of resistance.”
Suddenly a Subjugate ran up to the four men, bypassing straight to the Dread Lord. “My lord, we just received word from the Transcendent that a shuttle carrying an Honored di Plagia is making its way to the surface right now,” the man finished as he pointed to the sky. A shuttle was quickly descending from behind the veil of clouds. The small shuttle landed, doors opening, to reveal a face familiar to both Teylas and Arden: Dacien Victae di Plagia. Dacien, entering the battlefield, flowed through the amassing troops and approached the Dread Lord.
“What brings the Headmaster of the Brotherhood all the way out here?” Teylas queried in amusement.
“Former Headmaster, but that’s a tale for another time. I tried to find you on the Anchorage and was surprised to be directed here…” the former Dark Councilor looked around, “… in the middle of nowhere… What possible reason could you have to be out here?”
“Slaves,” the Anzat pointed at the large spire-like complex in the distance. “There are a couple hundred Undesirables holed up in that facility leftover from our conflict with the Jedi. We’re going to go in after them,” he explained gleefully and with anticipation. While Teylas had many questions about Dacien’s current situation, as he was all too-well-aware that information was power, the Plagueis consul also knew it was best to let those questions be answered at a different time and place.
Dacien simply nodded in agreement, and surveyed the field of Plagueian troops.
Teylas began to do the same. Everyone was ready.
The Dread Lord tapped the comm unit in his ear, “Ramar to Transcendent: we’re ready to move on the complex.”
A voice came back over their comms, “Copy that. Good luck, Teylas. Kalon and Taranae will be assisting me in helping to provide support from up here. Selika is aware as well. If you need anything, just call. Dracaryis out.”
He tapped the comm unit again, “Teylas to Selika: let’s move in. Good luck, and I’ll meet you inside for what we spoke about earlier.”
Abandoned CIS Complex
The advance led by the Dread Lord had been slow but deliberate. Though it was a known fact that the Undesirables had little in the way of effective fighting power, the disciplined Plagueian troops and assault craft advanced with caution toward the massive, spired complex. The vanguard of Teylas’ forces advanced using what little there was in the way of cover, whether it was ditches, small rocks, or the armored vehicles themselves. It didn’t help in any way that they were at a disadvantage in terms of height, as the path leading to the complex’s entrance was up a slight incline. Even so, Teylas and his odd company found themselves in the center of the column, the Dread Lord keeping a particular watch on his troops to the front.
About two hundred meters from the entrance of the complex, Teylas called for his forces to halt. The column dispersed into a tactical formation, troops taking positions to the front and flanks, and those vehicles with cannons and any other weapon imaginable had their weapons pointed in precise arcs in case they took fire. They waited for what seemed like an eon, but only the gentle, if crisp Alisian breeze rustled the silence among the waiting troops.
“It looks like we weren’t expected,” the Pantoran quipped, his hand resting diligently on the blaster fastened on his left hip.
The Dread Lord ignored the Pantoran’s reaction and examined the entrance before them. A large durasteel door stood in their path. It was at least fifteen meters in height and of considerable width, and it was no doubt a considerably thick door. It was akin to the gate of a castle, and more than large enough to fit in various makes of vehicles. How far they could get, however, was not yet known. Perhaps not only durasteel, the Dread Lord pondered to himself. Above it were old guard posts and what could almost be described as a rampart, yet it was devoid of any life, let alone any equipment that could be considered a threat to their assault. Flanking the door was the thick, hardened rock of the mountain side of which the massive facility was built into. The gargantuan rock face dwarfed the entrance considerably. Yet there was no threat to be had there, either.
The Anzat’s deep and sinister smile appeared on his face once again. “Laren, dispatch a company to the entrance.” The order was firm and the mercenary obeyed without pause.
Teylas began moving forward, toward the entrance. He was flanked by Arden and Dacien to his right, and Laren to the left. As the moved seamlessly between vehicles and their troops, they paid little heed of cover, though Teylas could see the amalgamation of infantry they had dispatched advancing and aligning themselves near the entrance in a smart, tactical manner. Teylas knew that the others had come to the same conclusion: they were not going to be greeted with a rain of fire by those they had been pursuing. It was the Plagueians who would venture forth into the dark, and slaughter those who were not worth effort of chaining to the Clan for life. Within minutes they were gazing upon the door, shaded by the immense spires above.
“They don’t know we’re here.” It was the former Headmaster who had muttered the words, unaware of the flaming gleam in his eye at the prospect they had the element of surprise.
“Don’t doubt the fools,” Arden responded. He took a step forward, hands on hips, his demeanour outwardly confident and focused. “When you back someone into a corner, they have nothing left to lose. It could be a trap.”
“Perhaps it is,” the Dread Lord responded. His smile had receded, but the look in his eye spoke of a plan. “Ready yourselves.”
The Dread Lord’s eyes closed, and suddenly his company understood what was happening. The Force flowed like raging rapids through the Anzat, filling him with immense power. He channeled his power into the door, bending the Force to his making, making the force bow to his immeasurable will in order to move the door. His arms were outstretched, his hands open wide, palms facing the door. The ground seemed to rumble as the massive gate was slowly being forced from its clasps upward. Dacien, Laren, and Arden all took positions in front of the Dread Lord, blasters drawn and deactivated lightsabers in hand. The various Ravagers and Wraiths did nothing, the discipline and power of their conditioning forcing them deadly still, awaiting the call to strike.
Slowly but surely the gap grew wider. Outwardly the Dread Lord’s face, though his eyes were closed, was a mask of concentration. The task of lifting the massive door required a grand example of his power. As the gap in the entrance grew from inches to feet, a sadistic and arrogant grin graced the Dread Lord’s face. The door opened faster, now, as the Anzat channeled the full brunt of his anger for the Undesirables into his efforts. Wider and wider the door opened, revealing the bleak darkness within. It was open wide enough for the troops to move in, and soon it would be wide enough for the assault craft to follow.
“Breach,” Teylas said, his voice steady though soft with concentration.
Laren issued the orders to the company commander, and in moments Ravagers and Wraiths were pouring through the entrance, weapons raised. The group could hear the clattering of boots on duracrete ground and the muffled yells of the communication passing between each of the fire teams and platoons. By the time half of the company had entered the complex, Teylas released his hold over the Force, and the gate was opened completely. He released a deep breath, collecting himself momentarily. It had taken considerable strength to open the gate, but true to his character, he had not revealed the full scope of his abilities among those present. But it had still been an effort.
No words had to be spoken. Teylas had only taken two steps forward before the trio that had accompanied him followed his lead. The Dread Lord had removed his lightsaber from his own hip, now, and it rested easily in his hand, mirroring his own armed counterparts. Within moments, the group was engulfed in darkness, the meager light from the outside doing little to illuminate the wide hallway ahead of them. The flashlights of the most advance troops were no more than thirty meters ahead, and the rest of the company still waited outside for the all-clear. What little could be seen was functional and bland in appearance - doors and their locking mechanisms lay covered in dust and deactivated, and the walls were plain duracrete and strategically placed plates of durasteel. No windows could be seen as far as the eye could see, though based on the height of the structure, a lift and stair system had to be somewhere.
The guttural warning had come from one of the most forward soldiers, a Ravager by the guttural scream, before it had been cut down by a stream blaster fire. In moments the large hallway was illuminated with bolts of flying plasma. Those that made their mark left a scorched corpse in its wake, and those that missed sent rubble and debris flying about. As the Dark Jedi activated their crimson and violet sabers, Laren and Arden had brought their own blasters to bare. Arden, with his dual blaster pistols, had found a position to the left flank in a small gap in the wall, was firing quick bursts at the enemy still mostly unseen. However, the howls of their dying foes noted that Arden’s bolts were flying true. Laren was side-by-side with the Dread Lord, streaks of blue plasma emanating efficiently from the end of his DC-17 blaster pistol toward enemy positions. Teylas and Dacien deflected the enemy fire up into the ceiling with ease, unsure as to how far the enemy was.
Split seconds later they saw it. Twenty soldiers, perhaps thirty in various positions, hugging the wall or hiding behind distant doors they had managed to open, expertly peaking out to pick off the advancing Ascendant Legion. Dacien broke right, his lightsabers twirling effortlessly as he began landing deflected bolts into the flesh of his enemies. Teylas advanced left, Laren to his left side, now. The Dread Lord’s eyes were focused on one of the soldiers in the rear - a human, it seemed, and one who was giving orders. Cut the head off the snake. He had his target.
“Watch your fire!” came Arden’s voice. The order was directed to the soldiers. The Sith were beginning to do what they did best, kill. It would be a shame to die because of friendly fire. Though the torrent of friendly fire softened, it was still a force to be reckoned with.
The Anzat was within lightsaber range of their quarry. Teylas’ mauve blade cut clean through the first Undesirable soldier lucky enough to be within his reach, and it was only a moment before his rage-filled eyes looked toward his next target. He moved forward with deliberate intensity, his blade deflecting bolt after bolt. To his right he saw two soldiers attempt to turn their weapons on him. He cast his hand out forcefully, and with a flick of his wrist their blasters seemingly leapt out of their hands, only to be crushed into the skulls of two others standing opposite them. Dacien suddenly appeared, his lightsabers dispatching the now weaponless soldiers, and he moved onto new targets.
Teylas returned his attention to the fight in front of him. The Force was raging through him, now, and the heat of battle was amplifying his senses. He could feel the lingering heat of each passing shoot of plasma, and he could especially feel his muscles pulsating with physical prowess as he continually cut down and maimed another soldier, and another. Their enemy was being dispatched quickly, now, though Teylas knew it could be faster. He was close enough to the enemy commander that he could do something about it. It was time to end the games.
The Dread Lord forced his might into contusing the Force to his will, drawing his power into his next strike. His fist abruptly made contact with the floor. An unseen force emanated from its centre, tossing about a group of soldiers like ragdolls. His eyes met the shocked face of the human man, now. His own smile met the look of complete disbelief, and before the human could pull the trigger on his own blaster, the Dread Lord bounded and had his own lightsaber through his heart, before deactivating his blade and letting the corpse fall limp to the floor.
All around them, the folly resistance that had met the Plagueian vanguard lay still. Teylas glanced behind him - their casualties were minimal, a testament to the tried and true combat prowess of the Ascendant Legion. It was a small victory, but the rush of even such a short battle left him in a state of heightened awareness, his blood pumping mercilessly through his veins.
The Dread Lord ducked, and where his head had been moments earlier, two blaster bolts made contact with the armoured chest of a lingering Cathar soldier. The bolts struck true, though the activated thermal detonator in the Cathar’s hand rolled to the ground near Teylas’ prone figure. Eyes wide, he used the Force to throw the thermal detonator farther down the hallway. They all covered their heads, and the explosion rocked the complex. Rubble and debris flew from the source of the explosion, and within moments a thick cloud of duracrete dust had filled the main entrance hallway.
As he stood up, Teylas looked back at the satisfied looks of Laren and Arden. It was not often that one had the chance to save the life of their leader, and Teylas welcomed it.
“Let’s not wait for Selika. Move our forces further into the complex, and spread out. There is much left to be done,” Teylas ordered, dusting off his robes nonchalantly.
Much left to be done.