Clan Taldryan: Port Kasiya Invasion

Caelus System
The Axios
39 ABY

Appius stood at the front of the bridge, carefully observing the lightspeed colors as they shot past the Axios. To say he was worried about this war was an understatement, as he was leading it himself in conjunction with Teebu, the House Ektrosis Quaestor.

The Proconsul’s worries had been high. When the communications were restored, they learned the horrifying truth about the destruction of the Taldryan base in the Holmes District of Port Kasiya. Fires burned and blackened the sky with ash and soot. Men and women lay dead clutching onto their weapons, their last act of defiance worthy of Clan Taldryan. The message, however, was clear, like it was written into the atmosphere itself.

Stay away, or else.

What made matters worse was that Appius had scarcely heard from the Consul in the last few days when this all began. The Grand Master requested her to assist the new Exarch with his initial duties whilst that society established itself in the Brotherhood, which left Appius in charge of Taldryan in her absence.

“Try not to burn anything down, Mandaboo.” She’d said, with as much sarcasm and derision as Appius expected from her.

Yeah… that wasn’t going so well.

Governor Yorinobu was either a madman, incredibly brave, or incredibly stupid. Not even the Caelus Government were bold enough to make a direct move against Taldryan. Ky’Lian had made that crystal clear, so why the Port Kasiya Governor thought he had a hope in hell? Appius did not have the slightest idea. The only thing he did know was leading the Clan into yet another war was entirely upon his shoulders. If anyone died, it was all his fault, and when Erinyes finally returned, he knew he was never going to hear the end of it.

Assuming she didn’t just outright kill him for insubordination, or for failing to do his job. That was also a possibility.

A security system breach, letting the enemy get the better of him inside the Ostara Citadel itself, the damage on relationships with other groups in the system this was going to have, most particularly how Chyron would interpret this. She would have plenty of ammunition to tear him a new one for the better part of a year. At least the Auxiliary Divisions were keen on the move…

“Proconsul?”

Appius turned his head around to see a bridge officer behind him. “Hm?”

“I said we have twenty seconds until we arrive, sir. The rest of the fleet reports the same,” the Captain repeated.

“Very good. Take us out of lightspeed,” Appius replied with a sense of relief. The sooner this was finished, the sooner they could do damage control.

But his thoughts came to an immediate and abrupt end. No sooner than they were out of lightspeed were they already under heavy fire from a Corellian Corvette, two Nebulon-B Frigates, and a Mon Calamari MC-75 Star Cruiser.

“Shields up!” the Captain yelled. “Auxiliary power to forward shield grid!”

Appius paused for a moment as he considered the best course of action.

“Dispatch fighters. Inform Teebu he is to continue to Kasiya as planned with our ground forces. We will handle the enemy fleet on this end.” The Proconsul said, a thoughtful tone to his voice.

“Are you sure, sir? Against a Star Cruiser alone we are already matched, but with the rest…we can use the additional firepower.”

“If we split our forces, it forces the enemy to face off on two distinct theatres and pulls reinforcement pressure off of us. If all of our cards remain in play here, however, they need only push enough to stalemate us to win. The Governor is already two steps ahead. Let’s not allow him to take a third.”

“Understood. Inform the Ewok of the Proconsul’s orders. Tell the other three ships to form upon us and prepare for engagement.” The Captain told the bridge crew.

Appius waited for a few seconds until he was left alone. Immediately, the shields to the Axios were placed under direct fire, the ship rocking slightly from the harder impacts. Klaxons blared above as personnel scrambled from one station to another to enact the Proconsul’s orders. Yorinobu was smart, dangerously so. He’d planned ahead for the incoming attack and he’d caught Taldryan by surprise with a force that they hadn’t expected.

However, the Governor wasn’t the only one with an ace up his sleeve. Appius input the commands on the nearby terminal as the visage of an aged Twi’Lek General appeared into view.

“General Zentru’la,” Appius greeted. “It appears I require your services again.”


War… War never changes.

Crysenia had been through a lot in her thirty-seven years of life. She was born into the military, moulded by it. She didn’t see the day-to-day of normal civilian life until she was a teenager and by that point, she found it utterly mundane. The military was where she belonged. The field of battle was her home, and behind the control panels of a TIE Fighter was one of few prime comfort for her in such situations.

Sadly, one rarely gets the chance to pick their ideal situations when it comes to war. Her father’s death taught her that as a young girl, though Appius seemed at least confident, perhaps naively so, that they would come out on top. Granted, this wasn’t the Proconsul’s first venture with Taldryan against an enemy, hell, it wasn’t the first time a lot of Taldryanites had gone to war in the name of the Clan. There was a history entrenched by the Sons and Daughters of Taldrya themselves that spoke of the culling by former Grand Master and Justicar Jac Cotelin. Some still wouldn’t shut up about Kr’Tal…

Yet, this was Appius’ first war in command of the Clan, and for whatever reason, Crysenia couldn’t shake off the goosebumps that formed on her arms, nor her rapidly increasing heart rate. The amber-hair woman prided herself on keeping calm in such situations, she often had to, considering her career as a pilot, and the new Aedile of House Ektrosis would be damned if she was going to succumb to them!

At least Teebu seemed calm, relatively relaxed even. The newly minted Jedi Ewok sat beside the Aedile in his Grand Admiral uniform twiddling with his… hands? Paws? Crysenia didn’t know, but at least he seemed assured, perhaps a bit overconfident. Taldryan was in a mixed state of affairs in terms of its membership. Andrelious had been poisoned and was suffering from health problems, Dasha and Aylin were partially responsible for the Clawdites that infiltrated the Ostara Temple, the former of which had seemingly gone crazy. Shanree hadn’t a clue about anything until he returned with Zakai, Morax kept muttering something about information, and somehow Crysenia didn’t even want to know what that even meant…

The Aedile was suddenly broken from her train of thought when the Upsilon shook with a thunderous vibration. Red lights flashed inside the ship as klaxons blared, offending her eyes as well as the Taldryan troops being carried to their destination. Crysenia was in a prime location to see through to the cockpit, and out the window, she spotted green, red, and blue ascend into the sky, the source of which came from the Port Kasiya tower. So far, their pilot had been competent enough to manoeuvre around the deadly lasers to avoid a swift end. The same could not be said for the craft that flew beside them. One wrong move, one sorely mistimed turn resulted in an explosion that turned into a fireball right in front of their eyes. Every man and woman on the craft was now dead, turned to ash before having a chance to fight back.

That was just the nature of war, and Crysenia knew it.

“Those bastards!”

But that didn’t make it any easier to deal with. Nothing ever makes it easier.

“They knew we were coming,” Teebu commented. “We need to land immediately.”

“Pilot, circle the tower and land all craft on the outskirts of the Holmes District. That tower is too heavily armed for us right now!” Crysenia barked her order right as a second ship blew apart, courtesy of high-powered ion cannons that blew apart another one of Taldryan’s transports following behind them.

“Right away, ma’am,” the pilot obeyed, not wanting to be in the firing line much longer. They lowered their attitude, out of range of the higher level turrets the tower sported as they beelined it for safety. Crysenia and Teebu arrived in the Holmes District minutes later as the ramp to the shuttle lowered with a sharp hiss. The skyline above Port Kasiya was like a sheet of darkness, utterly black without a single star twinkling above. Despite being a timid and mild atmosphere, the air felt heavy as the distant sounds of blaster fire and explosions echoed into their ears.

Luckily, Taldryan’s forces were nothing if not prepared. Artillery was near completion should the opposition approach faster than they expected. Makeshift holdups had been created from the abandoned buildings that were neglected by the citizens and civilians that abandoned Port Kasiya altogether. However, two noticeable details stuck out to both Crysenia and Teebu. The first was the presence of four clearly distinct gangs mixed in among the Taldryan military. They barely looked disciplined in the slightest, but the Ektrosis leadership had been assured by Appius that their knowledge of Port Kasiya would prove to be valuable, but they never expected them to have access to Taldryan’s Resources. The second was the man that seemingly had rallied them together. A bronze-skinned Kiffar with a smile stretched across his face. Who he was, was no secret. What he did, on the other hand, was one of Taldryan’s best-kept secrets.

The Ember Swarm.

“Jorm,” Teebu greeted cautiously. If there was one thing everyone in Taldryan knew about Jorm “The Jester” Na’trej, it was that he was so far around the bend that he approached sanity from the opposite direction. That made the Kiffar highly unpredictable, and not to mention, dangerous.

“Well, look who it is! Taldryan’s most puntable leader along with his personal assistant!” Jorm said, the smile never leaving his face.

“Is this your doing?” Crysenia asked, choosing to ignore Jorm’s little quip for the moment.

“Yep! A special delivery of information and eyes in all places, just as Appius ordered,” the Kiffar explained.

“And they are all here because?” Crysenia prodded further, pointing to individual members as they walked past.

“Appius said he wanted eyes and ears in every wall,” Jorm shrugged like it was the most obvious thing ever. “I chose to take that literally.”

“Are there any other Taldryanites here?” Teebu inquired only to receive yet another shrug from Jorm.

“Yes, they headed straight for the headquarters in the heart of the good ol’ fashioned Holmes District, but getting there now is going to be a bit of a problem.”

“And why is that?” Crysenia interrupted, arms folded across her chest.

“There are enough of the governor’s goons from here to there to cause too much grief. Even the gangs here are struggling which is why they’ve had to fall back,” Jorm explained, a pleasant lint tinting his voice. “Not to mention…”

Jorm pulled out a small, circular device and pressed the button in the middle. Immediately, the visage of a scarred woman with a mohawk and various tattoos emerged into sight. “Say hello to the constant thorn in your side! Your boys over at the OSI have identified her as Rumi Crane, the Deckers’ gang leader and the reason the remaining two gangs are being so defiant.”

The image then switched to a younger, smaller, and less blemished woman with long black hair and an elegant dress. By all accounts, she was quite beautiful.

“Zaesti Takeda. She’s the Governor’s daughter and from what we’ve seen, she’s Force-sensitive. She leads Yorinobu’s intelligence division.”

“Wait…” Teebu interrupted. “I recognise that name. Appius said the Mystics foresaw a terrible future for the Clan that involved her.”

“All the more reason that she needs to be dealt with now,” Crysenia affirmed.

“And last, but by no means least, my personal favourite…”

Jorm pressed the button as the blue-hued image switched to what could only be described as an abomination before their very eyes. What appeared to be a humanoid male in an exosuit using nine individual tendrils to eviscerate the unfortunate souls that dared to face him. Members of the Taldryan military were left as little more than husks of their former selves by the time the monstrosity was done. When the image faded, Crysenia and Teebu glanced at each other.

“The military has been having fun with that one, as you can tell,” Jorm intervened in the Ektrosis leaders’ musings. “That is Adam Masher. Yorinobu’s right-hand man and leader of his armed forces. He’s also Force-sensitive, and in command of several other Force users.”

“But I can’t sense him,” Teebu interjected. “Which means… he’s being concealed by them. We need to get to the headquarters immediately. Send out a beacon, deal with those three if we can, and get reinforcements ready and prepared to storm the tower.”

“We need a distraction,” Crysenia pointed out. It was true that if they tried to traverse the area towards the Taldryan HQ on Port Kasiya right now, they’d be caught right in the middle of an open battlefield. That was when the pair noticed that Jorm’s permanent smile had seemingly stretched further across his face.

“I thought you’d never ask.”

The Ember Swarm leader raised a hand above his head, turned towards the distance and clenched it. A thunderous roar boomed as the ruins of a small skyscraper were engulfed in a mushroom cloud of fire. The shockwave was so powerful it sent quakes through the ground for a few seconds. Teebu and Crysenia looked aghast at the destruction.

“Jorm, what did you do!?” Crysenia protested.

“Now isn’t the time!” Teebu spoke quickly and authoritatively. “We have our distraction, let’s go!”

Crysenia left first, followed by Teebu who had mounted his custom BB-8 unit to keep up with her, and as for Jorm…

He just laughed.

Space Above Port Kasiya
Axios
Caelus System
39 ABY

“I can’t shake them!”

“I’ve got one on my tail!”

“HELP ME! AGH!”

Cries of help blared through the communications within the Axios, and all Appius could do was watch. Fireballs engulfed Tie Defenders as swarms of X-Wings and A-Wings descended upon them out of the darkness of space. The Mandalorian clenched his fists at his sides, frustrated as he muttered a string of curses under his breath. Sweat dripped from the Human’s forehead as he wondered if maybe, just maybe, he had led Taldryan into a death trap.

“Sir!”

The Captain broke Appius’ train of thought for the moment as blaster fire bombarded the Axios’ shields, rocking the ship every few seconds.

“Sir, we keep losing fighters! What is our next course of action?”

That was a damn good question. Appius was no military tactician, and it was at times like these he wished he had Teebu, Zentru’la, or even Rian here to direct the battle for him, but no. This was all on him. Every single life snuffed out in a burning inferno was all Appius’ fault, and he needed to think of something quickly before everyone onboard the Axios shared the same fate.

That’s when a single thought penetrated his mind. They were on board the Axios. The AXIOS of all ships! He remembered something Erinyes had informed him about, the very reason why the Axios itself was so special, and it wasn’t just because it was named after the late Vodo Biask Taldrya either. No, attached to it was something very powerful, a gift from the Principate from quite some time ago.

“What’s the closest enemy ship to our location?” Appius asked the Axios’ Captain, a pale-skinned Rattataki male who scanned for the information the Mandalorian required.

“The Mon Calamari Star Cruiser, sir. What is your plan?” The Captain responded.

“Fire the Turbolasers,” Appius ordered.

The Captain gave an affirmed nod and turned to address the myriad of bodies scattered around the Star Destroyer’s control room.

“You heard the man! Concentrate all firepower on that Cruiser!”

Screams, shouts, and further echoed across the command room. A loud whirring blared as klaxons roared down every hallway. Personnel sprinted back and forth from station to station, bumping into each other and carrying on like runaway landspeeders. On the outside of the ship. All of the Axios’ turrets primed their positions, took aim, and unleashed hell.

Blaster fire shelled the Mon Calamari Cruiser, breaking through its shields and tearing into the bridge of the ship, destroying its shield generators. Every available Taldryan fighter descended upon it. Tie Defenders from Butcher, Stalker, Hunter, Rage, Spectre, and Wraith focused what firepower they had upon the MC-75. The Kyber-Powered Turbolasers had already done critical damage, and the hornet swarms of blaster fire that then engulfed the Axios’ target was the final drop of icing on the cake. Flames swallowed the Cruiser whole, like a star bursting into a supernova in front of those still alive to witness it.

Cheers erupted from the crew of the Axios. The battle was far from over, but it was the turning point after being on the back foot since the start of this war.

“Holy kark…” Appius muttered, in a state of disbelief and shock. “It actually worked!”

A smile stretched across his face. He turned to the Captain and asked one, simple question. “Can we do that again?”

“We need time,” the Captain informed.

Appius grimaced, that weapon was extremely powerful, probably the most powerful weapon within the possession of the Taldryan Navy, but it was not without its drawbacks.

“Sir, I highly recommend that we call the fighters back to defend the Axios. Perhaps it would be wise to call in reinforcements?” The Captain offered his suggestion, and Appius thought it over for a moment before giving his answer.

“Do it.” The Mandalorian answered.

“Proconsul, sir!” A young Human lieutenant burst into sight and sprinted directly in front of Appius, out of breath, his chest heaving in and out. “Sir, there’s an incoming transmission for you. They’ve asked to speak to you personally!”

“Is it Teebu and Crysenia?” Appius replied.

“No, sir.”

“Yorinobu, then? Or any of our forces on Kasiya?” The Mandalorian continued, getting a shake of the head from the lieutenant. “Ky’Lian, again?” No doubt she has another one of her many opinions on what is going on right now."

“N-No, sir. Not this time,” the lieutenant sputtered.

“Then kindly do me a favour, lieutenant, and tell whoever it is to politely frakk off. We’re kind of busy here,” Appius spoke with as much sarcasm as he could, which did not go over the heads of those present.

“Erm…” the young lieutenant hesitated. “I-I can’t do that, sir.”

The Taldryan Proconsul raised a brow.

“And why not?” Appius asked, though the lieutenant remained silent, and after a moment, the Mandalorian begrudgingly relented. “Fine, put them through.”

The lieutenant ran to the central console and proceeded to input the necessary commands.

“I swear, whatever or whoever this is had better be damn important or I’ll…”

Appius fell silent. The entire command bridge fell silent. Gasps could be heard coming from around the room. Only the sound of the battle raging outside the ship penetrated the silence.

A blonde-haired man, cleanly shaven and with striking, amber coursed eyes appeared into view.

“Lord Nehalem. I know this looks bad, but I can explain,” Appius greeted, a nervous sweat dripping from his brow. He looked around from one side of the room to the other to see every single soul had given him a wide berth to converse with the Grand Master of the Brotherhood. secretly, deep down, the Mandalorian hoped Taldryan’s forces on the ground were having better luck than he was right now.


Port Kasiya
Port Kasiya Tower
Yorinobu’s Office

In most normal circumstances, a man in a position of power like Yorinobu would be dismayed at the sight of one of his lovingly, and secretly crafted vessels being blown apart before his very eyes to be a cause of dismay.

In most normal circumstances, a man in a position of power like Yorinobu would be responsible for the lives of all those aboard said vessel would feel responsible for the lives that were lost.

In most normal circumstances, a man in a position of power of Yorinobu would experience fear. Fear that Taldryan had seemingly gained the upper hand against him and his most carefully crafted plans.

These were not normal circumstances.

Governor Yorinobu sat at his desk, swirling the most exotic of Correllian wines in a finely crafted glass that some Force forsaken slave had made on some Hutt world somewhere in the Outer Rim.


Port Kasiya
Arroyo District
9th Regiment Basecamp

Teebu stared at the hologrid, considering things as the other strategists and the 9th Regimental Commander discussed options.

Moving into Vista Del Rey was a very high option on the board, especially with the Deckers being routed and split up after the battles in Holmes District. But the chances of them returning after that route were just as high, and if the Arasaka forces moved in from the City Center they would be confronted on three separate theatres.

Pushing further into Arroyo and helping the gang retake the district was another option as well, which Teebu was leaning towards the most. This would however give the Deckers more time to regroup and make taking Vista Del Rey that much harder as time went on.

Holmes was secured however, which was the most important part. It gave Taldryan it’s own foothold in the city.

“Admiral.” a Taldryan army Major spoke as he entered the tent. “We just received word, the enemy fleet has been destroyed.”

The Ewok nodded an acknowledgement. “Casualties?”

“The fleet has taken significant damage, and further support from orbit has been unable to join us due to the morning fog fading. Cloudhaven’s accuracy and lethality has proven flawless, nothing can get close enough to breach it’s shields without being destroyed.”

He figured this. And any shots from the destroyer would definitely do the job, however would also devastate the city as it passed through the platform and struck the city. Fallout from the platform’s ruins would also cause massive damage and mass casualties.

“Inform the Proconsul we will shift our focus to finding a way to disable Cloudhaven, or bring it under our control.”

“We…are unable to communicate with him currently.”

Teebu raised an eyebrow in confusion. “Explain.”

“According to the Captain, he is not to be disturbed for the forseeable future. He is in conference with the Grand Master.”

His blood went cold. Was Appius’ warning something he should have been concerned about? There was no reason for Lord Nehalem to involve himself in the war. And the proximity of the communication to when he had awakened his powers…

“Understood. Inform the Captain then to let me know when he is available. Dismissed.” He took a sip of the fine, red liquid as it trickled like honey down his throat. It started sweet, but then turned bitter in the aftertaste, just as he liked it.


Port Kasiya
Port Kasiya Tower
Yorinobu’s Office

Yorinobu watched the blue-hued destruction of the Mon Calamari Cruiser from the comfort of his seat with a melancholic look plastered on his face. He allowed himself the small luxury of a sip of his expensive drink, a rarity, especially when he was in the public eye and images needed maintaining.

Closing his eyes, the Port Kasiya Governor tapped into the Force. He could feel the stress of the young Mandalorian girl, Tracinya, as she was pelted by blaster fire. Then there was the bronze-skinned Kiffar, hiding, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. He could feel the young Sephi girl, that Taldryan leader’s apprentice… Dasha, if he recalled correctly. She had forced a security system to fire upon his men as well as their own. Then there was the little former FIST of the Brotherhood, who had graced them all with his presence… and his blade. Not to mention the AT-AT that was stomping around on the outskirts of the city with a set of ostentatious racing stripes.

Seriously, who thought that was a good idea?

Yorinobu had eyes everywhere, and his spies had collected every ounce of information possible on the enemy and its members, their capabilities, their strengths and of course, their weaknesses. Ripe for being exploited.

Taldryan would fall. Of that, Yorinobu was determined. The middle-aged Umbaran had worked for years in the shadows, slowly consolidating his power. Manipulating the lesser minds in his presence, worming his way through the Port Kasiya leadership until only the previous governor remained.

Yorinobu made swift work of that obstacle. The loss of life was unfortunate. Yorinobu held a firm loyalty to those he led, for they showed a firm loyalty to him in return. Though for what he believed was the greater good of the Caelus System, it had to be done.

Taldryan then presented an unfortunate challenge to Yorinobu upon their arrival in the Caelus System, becoming an infuriating threat to his power ascension. However, after the Collective attack, then the Unchained, Caelus’ opinion of Taldryan as a whole had soured to the point of contempt, made all the worse by Taldryan’s attempt to take Port Kasiya, his Port Kasiya! Ky’Lian was a damned fool for allowing them to make their home the Clan’s new domain, and he would be damned if he would allow them to thwart his desires!

Caelus would bow to him willingly, or with their heads removed from their shoulders. Yorinobu would make sure of it.

Suddenly, the door to Yorinobu’s office swung open and a young woman entered the room. Her exotic dress extended down to her knees as her long black hair, tied into a ponytail, reached down her back. Her pale skin lit up like moonlight in the black sky, and her crimson-yellow eyes gazed back at the older man.

“Zaesti, my daughter. Come in, come in,” Yorinobu beckoned. The young woman approached the desk, each step holding a grace and elegance that seemed unbecoming of the war raging outside those walls. “What brings you here?”

“Father,” Zaesti bowed to her father. “Our intelligence reports have confirmed The Taldryanites have gathered and are ready to move into Westbrook or Arroyo.”

“Oh?” Yorinobu mused. “And Adam? Rumi?”

“Adam is busy slaughtering Taldryanites like cattle, and Rumi is gathering the Deckers and Saints together to form some kind of defence to stop them pushing further. Although, sources indicate they have an informant with access codes to the tower, a Twi’lek woman has been working…” Zaesti hesitated for a moment. “Closely… with Tower officials in the red light district and is planning to hand those over to Taldryan at a rendezvous location.”

“And Westbrook?” Yorinobu prodded.

“The workers are preparing for a revolt. We believe there is the potential for an uprising against us,” Zaesti explained.

“One that could be used against us,” the Governor lamented.

“What do you wish me to do, father?” Zaesti inquired.

“If that Twi’lek is working with Taldryan, she must be eliminated at all costs. They must not get access to this tower.”

“And the workers?” Zaesti asked.

“Should they revolt, they will be killed upon reaching the tower.” Yorinobu answered decisively. He didn’t like the idea of slaughtering civilians, but wartime was nothing if not cruel.

“Then it will be done,” Zaesti didn’t just agree, she guaranteed it, determination coursing through her bloodstream.

“I know it will. You are not just my daughter, you are also my apprentice. I know you will do well,” Yorinobu praised his daughter as a small smile graced her pristine face.

Zaesti turned and left the room, allowing Yorinobu to gaze into the carnage of the streets below.

Soon, this war will be over. The governor thought. And the Brotherhood will be one Clan short…


Space Above Port Kasiya
Axios
Caelus System
39 ABY

It didn’t take long for reinforcements to emerge out of the darkness. As fast as lightning, more of the Taldryan Navy made their appearance, engaging with the enemy with thunderous firepower.

The Axios was backed up first by the Orthanc, another one of the pride and joys within the Taldryan fleet. Following the Orthanc out of hyperspace were the Bastion, the Karufr’s Dawn, and Merach’s Vein. Suddenly, the scales seemed tipped in Taldryan’s favour.

Despite this, the Orthanc went on ahead, placing itself in between the two Nebulon-B Frigates as it’s shields took a beating on all sides. It wouldn’t take long for the Orthanc to be overpowered and destroyed.

“All fighters pull back!” The Captain screamed into his comms. “I repeat, all fighters regroup around the Axios immediately!”

At first glance, to the opposition, it would have seemed like Taldryan forces were retreating. In response, the Frigates increased their firepower upon the Orthanc, and all available forces were directed to destroy it at all costs.

The Orthanc was about to become space dust, and Taldryan was about to lose one of its prized cruisers. However, just like the Axios, the Orthanc had a secret weapon of its own.

The EMP burst, roaring across the enemy Frigates and ships within range, disabling them and leaving them little more than floating rocks in space.

“This is it!” The Captain bellowed. “Unload all firepower on the enemy!"

Fighters swarmed Yorinobu’s makeshift Navy like they were little more than target practice in space. Little bursts of destruction illuminated the darkness in front as ship after ship met their fiery end.

Appius emerged from the chamber of the Axios, a stoic expression plastered on his face, but one filled to the brim with new determination.

“Sir, your shuttle is ready to depart. We have cleared an opening down to Cloudhaven for you to descend with the next strike force. We will have the Axios disrupt the shields with timed ion blasts,” the Captain eagerly confirmed.

“Excellent work, Captain. Who knows? Maybe there’s a promotion in it for you when all this is over,” Appius said with a sly smile.

“Can you authorise that?” The Captain asked.

“Of course, I am the Taldryan Consul now,” Appius stated like it was the most obvious thing in the known galaxy. “I will be leaving for Kasiya immediately. I intend to join the Taldryanites down there as soon as possible.”

“Sir!!!” A second officer approached, a Togruta with her monorail hanging over the front of her body. She was a member of the OSI and when she approached the new Taldryan Consul, whispered something in his ear so only he could hear. News of what had happened down on Port Kasiya caused the Mandalorian’s eyes to widen as he clenched his fists, shaking slightly as a burning feeling rose within him.

Teebu…

Appius stormed off, determined that no other Taldryanite would die, not on his watch, not in his war.

Port Kasiya
Deckers Hideout
Four Hours Earlier
39 ABY

Blaster fire soared across the night sky.

Explosions roared and debris rained atop the once-bustling Port Kasiya.

Bodies littered the streets, but not just Taldryan’s, but hers. Her boys and girls.

Rumi Crane glanced amongst the carnage of the streets below with a thoughtful tap of her fingers amidst the makeshift warehouse rooftop now home to the Sixth Street Saints and Deckers gangs. She’d clawed her way from absolutely nothing to make herself absolutely something. She was little more than a street urchin when she was initiated into the Deckers. The city inhabitants often gave her looks of disgust as she walked past, begging for food and water just for the right to live. Even when it was provided for her, she had to work for it. She had to prove herself every single day that she was worthy of having her life’s needs given to her. She spent more time getting into prison only to get thrown out again because petty crimes were beneath imprisoning scum.

They were a load of frakking kark suckers. All of them were, and she was not shy about spitting in front of them whenever she got the chance.

Then why did she feel so…

Guilty? No, that wasn’t it… she left that kind of pathetic idea behind years ago. Why should she be guilty for fending for herself? She’d scratched, clawed, and climbed her way up the Deckers ladder until she finally reached the top. Rumi did it on her own terms, in her own way, all on her own. She never needed anyone else.

Responsible? Was that it? No… even if this war ruined Port Kasiya for years to come, this would all be worth it in the end. Once Taldryan was dead and gone, she could move in and swoop up all the unclaimed city territory for herself. She’d be a kingpin, owning a monopoly of organised crime in the city, and no one would be able to touch her.

No-one…

That led Rumi to what exactly it was. Fear. She was afraid of losing her power. For years she climbed up the ranks to consolidate her power, and now that there was nowhere else to go but down, the threat of losing everything She’d worked so hard to build clawed at her like an itch she refused to scratch. She was paranoid of anything and anything that threatened her position. The scars littered across her body were painful reminders of that.

Then there was the lightning. It was a bad omen if Rumi ever saw one, and it told her just how far Taldryan were into the city, and just how powerful they were. Most of their available gang members had swarmed the location like moths to a flame, many of whom never made it back out.

Feeling powerless when you were in charge was not a good thing.

“Yo, boss.”

“WHAT!?” Rumi rounded on the Deckers lower gang member with a killing intent so intense she looked like a woman possessed by a Sith spirit. On instinct, she’d grabbed hold of one of the Thermal Detonators strapped to her waist and readied to blow them both to kingdom come. Naturally, the gang member recoiled in horror and fear for his own life. From this, the repeated beeping in her ears brought the gang leader back to her senses. Rumi deactivated the infernal device and put it away, out of sight and out of mind.

Rumi feigned a cough and gestured for the cowardly man in front of her to continue.

“G-Governor wants us all at the tower. Said something about a last line of defence.”

“EXCUSE ME!? WHO THE FRAKK DOES HE THINK HE IS!?” Rumi blurted out in yet another one of her fits of seething anger.

For the second time in minutes, the gang member in her presence recoiled at her rage. Rumi inhaled a deep breath, then another, and then another.

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Rumi allowed herself to say. This deal with the Governor was getting less and less appealing by the hour. At least they had the defences of the tower itself to fall back on. That structure alone seemed more locked down than a Death Star, or at least it certainly seemed that way to Rumi. Getting past that, Force User or not, was going to be next to impossible.

“Get what’s left of us together and to the tower, it’s a safer place to have what’s left of us fight,” Rumi gave her order, content that the way she phrased it made it more appealing to the remaining gang member’s. The scarred woman allowed herself to spit on the ground, smirking to herself.

It was time to show them why she was known as the Firecracker.


Port Kasiya
Port Kasiya Tower Underground Level
39 ABY

Zaesti was a powerful woman. Unsurprising, really, given who her father was. She moved with a grace and elegance unbecoming of the company in which consisted of her father’s armed forces.

It was like she was an alien, or more specifically, an anomaly. The rigours of war seemed unfit for someone as untouched and unblemished as her, yet, this was precisely where she belonged. The young woman masked an intelligence behind her soft eyes that extended far beyond her years. The Clawdite Infiltrators were her idea, after all. Sneaking into the heart of Taldryan for espionage, sabotage, and intelligence. Despite being caught out in the Ostara Temple, her hand-picked Infiltrators had performed above her wildest expectations. Zaesti had every major Taldryan member’s weakness committed to memory, and whilst Masher was busy licking his wounds, she was determined to make use of this whilst she could. Agent Talus had performed admirably and had fallen for it all, hook, line, and sinker. The capture of Ankira Irr meant she had some leverage against Taldryan’s new Consul if she needed it.

Appius Wight… She had him surrounded at least three-hundred to one last she checked. It was a basic tactic, and she was no military tactician, but being attacked on all fronts was the weakness they had acquired from the research they had conducted on the man. She would effectively cut the head off the snake, and once dead, its body would shrivel and die. Taldryan would fall one by one, and her father’s conquest of the Caelus System could begin. It was a pity Taldryan acted first, the element of surprise being lost, but no matter. The end result would be the same.

Zaesti allowed herself a small smile. Once Appius was dead, it was just a matter of dealing with the most likely candidate for an immediate replacement. I.e. the former Consul of Taldryan herself, Erinyes.

With the Mandalorian still fresh in his position, and with no current Proconsul that she was aware of, it only made logical sense for Erinyes to take back the reins in the event of his sudden demise. The Zeltron would be acutely aware of Taldryan’s administration and resources having been Consul for so long herself. Therefore, Zaesti concluded that Erinyes needed to be silenced.

Permanently.

Zaesti proceeded down the myriad of twists and turns the Port Kasiya tower held. She had access to every room. Why wouldn’t she? Just one look or a few sweet words and she would have anything she wanted in the palm of her hands, like some kind of Port Kasiya Princess.

Image the disgust on her face, then, when she entered Interrogation room 37-C and discovered not only that Appius was still alive, probably kicking and screaming like a womp rat that refused to die, but her infiltrator had failed in the assassination of the Zeltron that was likely too preoccupied with… indulging herself… amongst the Twi’Lek dancers to really care.

The Clawdite appeared before her, a young woman in her own right, and by the information that Zaesti had collected on Erinyes, the kind of woman the Zeltron would go weak at the knees for. Beautiful, curvaceous, a pair of seductive eyes, and not to mention, the ability to change her appearance to something that did work.

“What happened?” Zaesti demanded to know from the Clawdite. To her credit, the Clawdite kept herself composed and told the story of what happened. Essentially, it boiled down to Erinyes’ skills and experience as an Elder of the Brotherhood, and the fact she wasn’t quite drunk enough.

Yorinobu’s daughter had to refrain herself from cursing at Zeltron physiology. Something as simple as two livers had proven to be their undoing.

“Please, madame. Allow me to try again,” the Clawdite woman suddenly announced, eager to please her Master.

“Of course,” Zaesti said, her words running like a river of warm honey into the Clawdite’s mind, making her at ease, relaxed, safe.

The Umbaran placed a single hand on the other woman’s cheek and smiled.

“You’re kind may try again. You, on the other hand, have outlived your usefulness.”

The Clawdite barely had any time to register the intent behind Zaesti’s words before her head was rolling across the table, with a crimson lightsaber humming in the Umbaran’s hand.

“My father has no use for failures.”

That was all the Governor’s daughter said as she sheathed her weapon and took her leave of the room. The other Infiltrators would eliminate the Taldryanites, or they would die trying.

By their hands, or by hers. Failure was not an option.


Port Kasiya
Port Kasiya Research Labs
39 ABY

Pain.

Hate.

Rage.

A hurricane of darkness burned into Adam’s soul as the mechanisms of his Mark II armor were attached to him meticulously. Such a procedure took longer than the usual set that the half machine, half Arkanian was often seen in, but the Adept had something to prove.

Under normal circumstances, anaesthetic would be administered to numb the sensations of the tendrils being attached to his nerve endings, but Masher had ordered for that to be removed. He wanted to feel every spark, and every torturous flare under what remained of his skin. Adam wanted to suffer through the agony. It made his hate stronger, made him much more powerful in the dark side of the Force.

In short, he was more dangerous.

Masher let out an involuntary grunt of pain as the final tendril was attached to his spine. Nine in total, they were not only longer, but far more durable than the lesser model he utilised previously.

“We are done, General.”

The engineer had barely finished his sentence when two of the nine tendrils slammed into the duracrete on either side of the operating table. Cracks showed in the foundations of the floor as Adam Masher rose to an upright position. Sweat dripped from his brow and his chest heaved in and out from both the mental and physical torment. The rest of the engineer’s team, about a dozen scientists in total, dotted the operating theatre, making sure to keep their distance.

For if Masher was a monster before, then now he was a demon.

Spikes adorned each of the nine tendrils, barely ten inches in length each but sharp enough to shred flesh to pieces. They were longer, able to reach approximately sixteen feet in front of his body. The metallic appendages and armor were chrome in colour, giving the Arkanian the appearance of a pitch-black krykna.

“H-how do you feel?” The engineer, an Omwati male, stammered as he asked the question.

“I feel…” Masher began, when his eyes suddenly changed. Gone were the blank, white, tortured expressions that lay within them. Instead, a crimson reddish-yellow emerged, and the Arkanian snarled like a rabid beast suddenly released from its cage.

The first tendril lashed out, slamming hard into the first poor, defenceless scientists as the sharp blades on the tendrils tore into the two on either side of them. Red liquid gushed out of their wounds as their lives were quickly snubbed out. The scientists in the tendrils grasp, was then subsequently tossed out of the nearest window. The unfortunate man fell approximately seventy-five feet to his demise, much to the horror of everyone else in the room.

Adam stalked his way over to the Omwati, who trembled in fear before what he himself had helped create.

“Fantastic…” Masher finished the answer to the engineer’s question before the rest of his tendrils stretched their ligaments against the remaining scientists and engineer’s.

Adam Masher allowed himself an intake of the Port Kasiya air that seeped into the room. He leaned over the void that led down to the streets below. Taldryan was converging on their location, which meant that bronze-skinned Kiffar was likely among them.

Revenge.

The Arkanian launched himself out of the window, breaking into a free fall to the ground floor. Level by level passed him by until he came to an abrupt stop, the Force preventing any break to the muscles in his body.

It started to rain, a drizzle at first that turned into a downpour.

Good.

It would be needed to wash away the blood.


Port Kasiya
Yorinobu’s Office.
39 ABY

Stupid was the first word that came to Zaesti’s mind. Everything had been set up so perfectly, all Rumi had to do was take advantage of the gas and illusion, then wipe them out.

Instead, she saw them overcome her trap, again, Zaesti spared a nervous glance to her father, whose facial expression had remained stoic throughout the whole debacle. Rumi was now dead, and Taldryan was a breath away from reaching the tower.

“Well, that didn’t quite go to plan, did it?” Yorinobu finally said, causing Zaesti to rise from her seat.

“Father, I will correct the situation. They will not reach you. Their invasion will end here,” the young girl pleaded, throwing every single pleasing word to her father’s ear that she could manage.

“Be sure that you do. It will be problematic if everything we have worked for up to this point be brought down by such incompetence.”

Yorinobu had chosen his use of language carefully, and it showed as Zaesti’s face twisted and contorted. The young girl wanted nothing more than to make her father proud, and she would do everything in her power to do so, even if it cost her life.

Exactly what the Governor expected from his daughter.

When Zaesti marched out of the room, Yorinobu peered out of the long window into the Port Kasiya skyline, knowing full well preparations would have to be made for Taldryan’s impending arrival.

Cloudhaven
Port Kasiya
39 ABY

“I-AM-HK-HA1R. AND-I-CANNOT-COMPLY-WITH-YOUR-REQUEST.”

“Why?” Dasha asked.

“BECAUSE-IT-ALREADY-HAS. AND-PLATFORM-IS-CURRENTLY-FALLING-TOWARDS-KASIYA.”

If Dasha’s world wasn’t literally falling to Kasiya itself, it would have gone right then and there. It was only when the klaxons blared into her pointed ears that she remembered to take a breath. Her palms and face were sweaty, her pupils dilated, and her heart thundered like podracers on a racetrack. It was at this exact moment that she regretted coming along with Justinios. The Aleena had mentioned something about some Force forsaken artifact on the platform that was apparently important enough to leave the Sephi to her own devices the second they arrived so he could go play treasure hunter.

Coming here was a decision Dasha was sorely beginning to regret. A Force wielding mini-reptilian that just so happened to be the former Fist of the Brotherhood would have been handy to have around right about now.

“DOES-MEATCHEEKS-REQUIRE-ANY-FURTHER-ASSISTANCE?” The HK unit prodded.

“Further assistance!?” Dasha panicked and exclaimed with a volume she did not realise she had. “I just found out we are about to crash into Kasiya! YES, I NEED FURTHER ASSISTANCE!”

“PROCESSING-REQUEST.”

If Dasha didn’t know any better, she could have sworn the droid was doing this on purpose just to get under her skin. To be honest, it was working.

“I-REQUIRE-AUTHORISATION-LEVEL-FIVE-FOR-PRIORITY-EVACUATION!-MEATCHEEKS-DOES-NOT-HAVE-AUTHORISATION-LEVEL-FIVE!-ENCOUNTERED-ERROR-SUBJECT-HIGH-GROUND-UNDERESTIMATING-POWER-TALDRYAN-SABERSTAFF-GHOSTRING-SIX-FIVE-SEVEN-FOUR…”

“OH, TO HELL WITH THIS!” Dasha yelled in frustration at the droid before she grabbed the datapad and code slicer from her backpack.

Immediately, she set to work doing what she did best. There was hardly a code or computer that the young Sephi couldn’t break into.

I have to thank Aylin next time I see her… if I get out of this alive…

Thoughts immediately turned to Zakhai and if she would ever see him again. The code inside the droid was far more intricate than Dasha had initially thought, and she wasn’t a fan of how much time it was taking her to break through, or how difficult it was. It certainly didn’t help that she could barely hear herself think of the screaming of Cloudhaven’s alarms and flashing lights that signalled her impending doom.

Cracking through the series of Binary codes was proving to be easier said than done under her current situation.

“Damn it!” Dasha gritted through her teeth as she reached yet another firewall. Whoever had programmed the droids on Cloudhaven had done so intending to make them near impenetrable to slicers.

This is taking too long. I need to get out of here! the Sephi thought to herself, mentally cursing her luck. If only I was someone with level five access… wait…

Dasha’s eyes shot open as an idea pierced through her consciousness.

“THAT’S IT!” The slicer jeered as she hurriedly began inputting a series of codes within her datapad. Maybe Dasha Talus couldn’t give herself level five access, but what if she made the droid think she was someone who was? And she knew exactly who to pick.

It took seconds to rewrite the codes, and when she pressed the final button on her datapad. the droid shook as it processed the new information. Thankfully, it was a faster and easier process than trying to force level five access for herself. It was just a question of if it worked.

“MISTRESS-ZAESTI-TAKEDA!-YOU-HAVE-LEVEL-FIVE-ACCESS!-HOW-MAY-I-ASSIST-YOU?”

Never had the mechanical tones of an assassin droid sounded so sweet to her.

“Take me to the nearest escape pod!” Dasha ordered quickly.

“AS-REQUESTED-MISTRESS!-PLEASE-FOLLOW-ME!”

The HK unit took off with gusto, with the Sephi following closely behind it.


Cloudhaven
Port Kasiya
39 ABY

“THERE-HE-IS!”

“BLAST-HIM!”

A short, blue blade sliced through the chest piece of the first HK assassin droid like a knife through butter before it transferred to the second, taking its head clean off, the droids sparking as they collapsed to the ground in a heap.

For the first time since this frakking war had begun, Justinios had a reason to want to fight. No sooner had he stepped down from Fist of the Brotherhood had he then been thrust into combat for little more than a land grab. It didn’t benefit the Aleena directly, and as such, he wanted to be literally anywhere other than Port Kasiya. Listening to one of Evant’s speeches would have been more preferable and less time-consuming.

Now, though? With the discovery and retrieval of this artifact being his sole objective, maybe this war would bear something useful to him after all?

I can feel it. I’m close.

The dark side of the Force called to Justinios like a beacon as he traversed the bronze, maze-like hallways of Cloudhaven. With the klaxon sounding above him in every corridor, he knew he’d have to be quick. In and out, that was the plan. Whilst he was smaller in stature than the rest of his comrades, Justinios more than made up for it with incredible agility and immortal stubbornness. Whether that was one of his better qualities? Well, that depended on who you asked.

Regardless, the former Fist followed his senses, allowing the Force to guide him towards his desire. In seconds, he reached a large, open, circular chamber with a narrow, bridged walkway towards the centre of the room. There, right in the middle, was what he was here to claim as his, and the Aleena couldn’t help the smirk that graced his reptilian features.

That smirk vanished instantly when he felt the full power of the artifact before him. Whatever it was, it was held within a cylindrical container from which a blood-red light pierced through the gaps within its cracked shell. Justinios could not only see it, but he could also feel it. Whatever Yorinobu had here, it was extremely powerful. Why the Governor had chosen not to use it and instead lock it away in here was anybody’s guess. It didn’t matter to Justinios…

He wanted it, and he wanted it now! To hell with everything else!

The former Fist raced across the narrow bridge and launched himself at it. However, he was caught completely by surprise by the forcefield that ricocheted him back just as hard as he had launched himself at it. Justinios rolled to an upright position just at the doorway and grunted to himself.

“That’s annoying…” the Aleena muttered. The split-second he finished his sentence, viper droids descended from above to his location like a swarm of hornets.

“Oh, COME ON!” Justinios protested. “Gangs, droidekas, Force Shadows, assassin droids and now vipers!? Is there anything Yorinobu doesn’t have!?”

Justinios never got an answer to his question as he was promptly fired at. The Force came alive in the former Fist’s mind, and the Aleena poured the dark side through his body. It was immediately like coaxium exploded underneath his feet as he soared towards the first viper droid, reigniting his lightsaber and slicing it cleanly in half. When he landed on the wall behind the swarm, Justinios used his momentum and leapt on top of one of the vipers, drawing all their attention to it. They all turned and open fired, though the dark sider felt the threat coming and jumped before he could be consumed in a smorgasbord of blasterfire, which engulfed the droid he was standing on seconds prior, creating a mini-explosion. Justinios landed on the narrow bridge towards the artifact, but not before slicing horizontally three-hundred and sixty degrees, taking a further three vipers down with him in a silver whirlwind of reptilian destruction.

The moment his feet touched the bridge, Justinios summoned the Force through his scaly body. He wrapped the power he wielded around the closest viper droid to him. He waved his left arm violently towards the forcefield and launched the droid directly into it like it was attached to the Aleena via an invisible rope, smashing it like it had hit solid duracrete.

Immediately, more viper droids swarmed the area, replenishing their numbers and outnumbering Justinios at least thirty to one.

“Ok, at first, this was amusing. Now it’s getting really irritating…” the Aleena grumbled to himself. Suddenly, the Force alarmed him of the viper swarms’ impending attack. With nowhere else to go, the Former Fist leapt into the air and retreated towards the entrance of the chamber just as blaster fire destroyed the bridge he was standing on.

“NO!” Justinios cried out before blurting out a string of curses that would put even the largest hive of scum and villainy to shame. With the bridge destroyed and no way of getting past the Forcefield, Cloudhaven falling to Kasiya, the Force Disciple outnumbered by viper droids, the Aleena cut his losses where he could and retreated down the corridor before the droids could attack him again.

I will be back, and that blasted artifact will be mine!

Now it was just a question of finding Dasha and getting out of here. Thankfully, she was one of the few organic beings left on Cloudhaven, and she was easy to find. In seconds he had rejoined her, and he was about ready to cut down the HK droid accompanying her when the Aleena noticed its gesture towards the escape pod.

“What… the frakk?” Justinios panted after his run.

“Justinios! H4IR, don’t attack the Aleena!” Dasha ordered. Despite having abandoned her, she was still glad to see Justinios alive and well. “I hacked this droid, it obeys my orders.”

“And it looks like you found a way out. Good,” the former FIST praised.

"THIS-POD-CAN-HOLD-TWO-FULLY-SIZED-HUMANS-OR-ALL-OF-US… "

“I’m gonna stop you right there,” Justinios interrupted. “I have frakking had it with all the height and punt jokes. It wasn’t funny the first one-million times, and it isn’t funny now! YOU HEAR ME!? IT ISN’T FUNNY ANYMORE!”

Dasha and the HK droid stared at Justinios, unsure what had gotten under the reptilian nerves. After a moment, Justinios sighed and addressed them both.

“Just get in the damn pod…”


Cloudhaven
Port Kasiya
39 ABY

And Jorm… Jorm ran…

Not the kind of simple run where he could hear his heartbeat drum in his ears with each step he took. No, the kind of run where even hell itself would have trouble keeping up. Jorm moved like greased lightning so profound that Appius would have been jealous of him. He whizzed in and out of corridors and hallways so blindingly fast it was almost impossible for the security feeds to keep an eye on his movements.

Almost…

It isn’t Zero-G, but I suppose this will have to do for now…

There was something euphoric about the sensation of being weightless, and he pitied the damn mudcrawlers that couldn’t acclimate to Zero-G like he could. Up and down were as natural to Jorm as eating and sleeping. Regardless, the bronze-skinned Kiffar would have to settle for moving forwards for now as row after row of Cloudhaven’s HK assassin droids lined up for him like little toy soldiers waiting to be broken.

Fulcrum soared to his hand from the nylon baton sheath on Jorm’s left hip, and the mechanical resistance in front of him had no chance against the drive-by saber slicing committed by the bronze-skinned Kiffar’s bright yellow blade. Those that didn’t immediately become scrap were barreled aside by the sheer momentum the Sith smashed through them with.

Now, Jorm could be described as many things by many people. Unpredictable, ludicrous, perhaps downright insane, but the one thing he wasn’t, was stupid. The Kiffar had no intention of crashing along with Cloudhaven, and when he came across one of the platform’s many outer hatches to the outside world, he took that as his cue to get the frakk out of dodge.

Somehow, Jorm’s smirk stretched further across his face when he launched himself at the hatch. The Sith sliced the door clean of its hinges with his lightsaber, detaching it from Cloudhaven as the platform fell faster to the ground below.

This is more like it! Jorm cheered silently to himself as he planted his feet into the hatch and rode it like an airboat in the sky. The Kasiya winds brushed past his face, cooling him and ruffling the clothes he wore. This was what it meant to be weightless and limitless. The Sith forced a grin against the g-forces attacking his skin, as he let go of the hatch and allowed himself to enter into a free fall.

Out of the corner of the Sith’s eye, he caught sight of an escape pod that had launched after him. It descended beside him, giving the perfect view of a horribly confused Sephi, Aleena, and HK droid that sat within before the pod rocketed away into the distance.

Luckily, Jorm lived by a very distinct philosophy. Dirty rotten Scoundrels either get out, get caught, or get made. The Ember Swarm leader fell squarely into the latter category, evidenced by the large group of Decimators that swarmed on his position. One, in particular, flew beneath and opened the hatch to reveal his long lost cousin, Mica, piloting the ship. Jorm’s cousin wasn’t exactly an expert in flying ships, but she was able to coordinate with the other Decimators to allow the Sith to land safely in the passenger seat. The hatch closed, and the swarm left the area surrounding Cloudhaven as it crashed into the Arreat Crater below, creating a mushroom cloud that Jorm, being the madman he was, could appreciate greatly.

As the Kiffar observed the carnage behind him, his eternal smirk remained on his thoughts as a single, glorious thought entered his mind.

Mischief managed!


Port Kasiya City
Kasiya
39 ABY

Some vacation this turned out to be…

All Erinyes wanted to do was relax, get drunk, maybe take one of the prettier Twi-lek girls home with her and have a good night that she may or may not have ended up forgetting. Instead, here she was, piloting some Force forsaken transport ship whilst A-Wings kept pulling their hit and run manoeuvres against it. Both she and Aylin had done a great job outsmarting the Deckers gang and their crew thus far, but the LAAT was a ship designed for transportation of troops, not firefights. They were only going to get so far, and something had to give.

With what authority Erinyes had as leader of the Summit Guard, she’d ordered the rescue of Major Headache, A.K.A Crysenia, and whilst that might have been admirable, that meant no help was coming for the pair of them.

The Zeltron yanked on the ship’s controls, jerking the ship skywards. Erinyes bit her bottom lip as the bottom of the LAAT scraped across the skyscraper.

“Hey! Be careful! You have a passenger over here, you know!” the Nautolan yelled from the gunner’s seat.

“Less talk-y, more shoot-y!” Erinyes responded with her usual quip.

Aylin responded by letting out a low grunt, but nonetheless began taking putt shots at the A-Wings that seemingly appeared out of the frakking skies. Two went down in streaks of fire and smoke, whilst the third slipped past and circled, following and attacking them from behind with a barrage of neon-coloured blaster fire. The transport ship shook with a violent shudder as the former Taldryan Consul grimaced. The shields couldn’t take any more attacks like that. Any more, and they’d be one of many casualties of the Port Kasiya Invasion.

“Appius owes me big time when we get out of this,” the Zeltron grumbled to herself. Though the big question was, of course, how they were going to get out? Part of the answer came when Aylin retrieved her trusty datapad and started furiously tapping her fingers against it like a woman possessed.

“Aylin, I know you really like those first-person blaster games, but this is really not the time!” Erinyes protested, again, with her usual sarcastic tones.

“Get ready to move,” the Nautolan warned, continuing to tap her fingers against the glass screen.

“Wait, what are you…”

Suddenly, the Force alarmed Erinyes of incoming danger from directly above them, and on instinct, she swerved the ship, narrowly avoiding the Deckers craft that slammed into the very A-Wing that was following them. The two craft erupted into a magnificent mid-air fireball that illuminated the Kasiya darkness.

“Huh… nice,” Erinyes couldn’t help but comment at the display of fire and lights that she, of course, partially took credit for creating. Aylin’s abilities as a hacker were proving most fruitful, and Erinyes wasn’t going to lie, she was starting to have a little fun.

Not that she was going to admit that to Appius.

“Less talk-y, more… pilot-y?” The Scavenger tried to quip back, before she remembered just who exactly she was talking to.

“Oh? Feeling feisty are we, Aylin? I like it!” Erinyes responded, and no word of a lie, she almost swore she saw the Nautolan’s cheeks turn a particularly rosy shade. Clearly, Aylin wasn’t too used to getting compliments.

Before Erinyes had a chance to tease her co-pilot any further for sithspit and giggles, the Force pierced her subconscious again and pre-warned her of imminent danger. Unfortunately, kriffing Jedi expressions didn’t come to their aid this time. The LAAT was struck once again, destroying the shields and damaging the engines.

“Sithspit!” Erinyes cursed loudly. “Hold on tight! We are in for a bumpy landing!”

Thinking quickly, the former Consul yanked on the control gear and kept the LAAT level as it plummeted to the ground. It skid across the duracrete, coming to a stop as the ship collided with a pile of rubble. Exhaling the breath she was holding, the Zeltron almost wanted to comment ‘happy landings’, but restrained herself after realising that was the kind of kark Appius would say.

“Think you can fix it?” Erinyes asked, referring to the broken thrusters. Aylin was about to respond, likely in one of her cheerful replies of *Oh, yeah! Sure! I can fix anything!’ But she paused when the clanging of metal surrounded their downed vessel.

Droidekas surrounded the ship, backed up by members of the Arasaka Military and Deckers gang, no doubt here to finish the job they started. Atlin could easily hack one, maybe two, but the group would quickly get suspicious and kill them before she got the chance to do anything.

“Damn,” Erinyes gritted her teeth as she reached for one of her lightsabers, ready to defend them both and strike down with fury and bladework so pristine and aggressive that she was confident she could make those machines experience fear.

Unfortunately for the Sith, she would not get the chance. A pitch-black Upsilon-Class Command Shuttle emerged into view, the pilot of which, a Duros, began to quickly and precisely pick off the enemies surrounding the LAAT. An impressive feat, considering how much she enjoyed a good drink. Erinyes and Aylin, on the other hand, knew exactly what the arrival of this ship meant…

It was the Harbinger, and the Vornskr Battalion had arrived.


The Harbinger
Port Kasiya*
39 ABY

Large parts of the city are little more than a barren shell of its former self. What little remains is host to the kinds of strategies most associated with guerilla warfare. If we siphon off enemy exits, force them to reroute where we want them to, we can end this battle tonight with minimal casualties.

“Create a perimeter around the survivors and land our troops on the outskirts of the city. Reroute the enemy in the alleyways and siphon off any escape route,” Zentru’la ordered with the authority only a man with years of military experience could summon.

“Sir, yes sir!” one Vornskr soldier responded as several Lamda craft split off, backed up by Taldryan TIE Defenders whilst the A-Wings were perturbed by their sudden arrival, leaving no resistance to the landing of their troops.

The aged and experienced Twi’lek General analysed the situation from his personal ship, the Harbinger. War was never pleasant, often filled with gruesome, unnecessary deaths, but there was at least a lot of credits to be gained working for a Clan like Taldryan. When Appius gave the call, the Vornskr returned from the Bespin system as soon as possible to fulfil the contract for their priority client.

“Finally. Looks like I get to kill something,” the shrill, synthetic sound of Masakado’s artificial voice growled through the sudden silence, causing the Miraluka Jedi beside him, Lelina, to frown and shake her head.

“If you could only let go of such anger and bloodlust, you may find your healing to be far more effective,” spoke the Jedi, her voice soft like silk but laced with slight regret. Progress on meditation with Masakado’s unique… physiology… was proving to be a difficult challenge. Though what was proving more challenging was the Shistavanen’s resistance to freeing his mind. To put it simply, Masakado was sick and not long for this galaxy. The only reason he wasn’t already dead was thanks to Lelina’s power and intervention. If only she could get the Collective-made assassin to heed her words… maybe it would accelerate his healing.

“I told you already, I’m no Jedi. Keep that kark to yourself,” Masakado growled again, though it seemed to have a more aggressive tone to it. He seemed almost restless, itching to engage in the bloodshed in Kasiya.

“Masakado…”

“Enough.”

Zentru’la interrupted them both before their discussion could escalate further.

“We have arrived. Prepare yourselves!”

The Harbinger shuddered as it settled on Port Kasiya duracrete. The ramp to the shuttle lowered into the middle of a battlefield, with sights all targeting the newly arrived Vornskrs.

Masakado was the first to leap into battle, using his artificial enhancements to take the enemy by surprise whilst he could, howling like a wolf that smelt blood in the air. The Shistavanen brandished his katana and drove it into the sternum of a member of the Arasaka Military. The Vornskr’s sentient canine removed his weapon as the body dropped to the floor.

Blasters readied themselves to fire at Masakado, though the emergence of a saberstaff jumped in between the Shistavanen and almost certain doom. Lelina had created a protective cone with her weapon, deflecting any plasma-based projectile that was launched towards them away.

That distraction was all the General needed as he unleashed a smorgasbord of blaster fire from his repeating cannon so fast it was like bodies dropped like skittles. Vornskr battalion troops reinforced Zentru’la’s location, forcing the enemy to retreat into the alleyways, right where they wanted them.

“Keep pushing! This battle is ours to be won!” Zentru’la commanded, garnering the loyalty of the soldiers under his command as they moved forwards towards their victory.


Port Kasiya
City Streets
39 ABY

There were so many better uses of his time…

Morax Darkblade, the Anzat with perhaps the snazziest name in the entire Brotherhood, had been through quite the ordeal. First, there was his return to active duty after being in the shadows for so long, then there was his person AT-AT, The Smasher, had fallen. A fact that irked him no end considering what happened to the last one he owned…

Regardless, Morax had completed his objective and released the Taldryan military he was in charge of into the city. Whether or not they succeeded, or vanished in the cacophony of death that engulfed Port Kasiya itself did not matter to him in the slightest. If they were too weak or incompetent to survive, then they did not deserve to be part of Taldryan’s military.

That, conveniently, left Morax to his own devices. Teebu might have been a filthy, smelly, flea-ridden furball of a Quaestor, but even Morax had to respect that the summiteer had thought ahead and prepared a torture within the OSI for Interrogation and information purposes. Morax was interested to see how things developed further, especially now that Teebu’s Force abilities had awoken and he was now a kriffing Jedi of all things! How atypical for a Jedi of all things to commission a torture chamber. It was a fact that amused Morax without reprieve.

However, at this moment in time, Morax felt an uncontrollable thirst overcome him, the kind of thirst he usually felt came aggressively given his connection to the dark side. To Morax, he supposed this was the price of power.

Right now, the Anzat had two objectives. Firstly, acquire targets for Interrogation. The second.

Satisfy this damn thirst.

Reaching out in the Force, Morax felt the presence of a small pocket of non-Force-sensitives hiding behind the rubble of some poor forgotten building that nobody gave a kriff about.

Cowards… the Anzat mused, but then shrugged to himself. Oh well, at least they will be easy targets.

Morax leapt on top of the closest pile of rubble to them jumping down, taking the group of gang member’s completely by surprise.

“What the hell!?” the first exclaimed. A redheaded human woman with seemingly more tattoos than bare skin. There were four in total, each jumpy and frightened by the sudden appearance of the Anzat.

“KILL HIM!” The second, a scarred, blue-skinned Twi’lek male screamed as the third, a slight chubby Human male, retrieved the blaster at his hip.

“No…” Morax said, suddenly glaring like a hawk-bat into the eyes of his blaster-wielding foe. “Kill him.”

The Anzat’s words penetrated the Human male’s ears like honeyed venom pouring over his brain. Immediately, the Human’s pupils dilated as he turned to his Twi’lek comrade, pressed the blaster to his head, and pulled the trigger.

“AGH! KINJI! WHAT THE FRAKK!” the fourth teammate, a Feeorin male, suddenly blurted out. True to form, this particular individual was quick to anger. A fact that Morax quickly took advantage of when he retrieved his lightsaber and plunged its silver blade through the long-lived beings skull. Turning to the last two remaining gang member’s, he could see them trembling as they feebly tried to escape.

I only need one alive for questioning. The other… is mine!

Darkblade poured the dark side of the Force into his body and propelled himself towards the Human female. His lightsaber blade swung ominously as he carefully directed each of her four limbs from her body, leaving little for than a carcass. She was still alive, but in a great deal of pain if the screaming was anything to go by.

"Ugh… what the…’’ the last member of the motley crew staggered forward, his mind finally freed from the Anzat’s control after the Force User focused his attention on his comrades.

Not that it did him any good…

submit,” Morax uttered, causing the Human’s body to shudder before relaxing. The Anzat pressed his hands onto the Human’s shoulders and unveiled the thin proboscises from his cheeks, forcing them up his victim’s nostrils and into his cranium.

The only sound that could be heard was screams for help from the lone survivor, the limbless Female Human that could do nothing but watch in horror and wait for help that never came.

Port Kasiya
City Streets
39 ABY

Kasiya Cake Consortium was an unassuming little bakery located near the heart of the city. It was one of those kinds of places one would consider quaint, convenient, and pleasant to the local atmosphere. The kind of place you could go for some freshly homemade delicacies that filled the air with an aroma so sweet people found themselves subconsciously moving towards it whilst salivating at the mouths.

It was certainly not the kind of place one would consider a priority target that needed to be eliminated. Not like that was going to stop any of the Deckers or Sixth Street Saints from doing so anyway. They had a message to send, a point to prove, and lots of carnage to employ, damn it all! If destroying a tiny, innocent bakery helped with that, then that was exactly what they were going to do!

The death of Rumi Crane had left the gangs aimless, doing little more than following the directions of the Governor and his daughter. Some defected, trying to flee the unending battles down every street corner whilst the more ambitious tried to use the gap in leadership provided by Rumi to climb the ladders themselves. As was the case for Desireè Umaga, a blue-skinned, young Twi’Lek woman. The relentless, if somewhat loyal right hand to Rumi Crane had taken the death of her ‘boss’ particularly hard and had gathered a bunch of like-minded individuals to cause as much chaos as humanly possible.

“Bombs are all rigged, boss!” one of Desireè’s loyal henchmen approached, handing her the controls to the explosive.

“Good!” Desireè approved. “Now listen up all of you! I think I speak for all of us when I say this has gone on too long! FRAKKIN’ Taldryan and the KRIFFIN’ Governor have taken advantage of us long enough! I say no more! We need to show them that WE are the ones in charge! WE run this city! We run these streets! And they either listen to us, or we decide what stays and goes!”

Desireè readied the explosives to the cheers of her handful of supporters.

“Say bye-bye, little bakery!”

Snap-Hiss!

A blade of crimson red suddenly pierced Desireè’s heart, protruding from one side of her body out of the other. The gang member’s gasped in horror, some shrieking at the sudden demise of their ‘leader’ from someone who had just appeared out of thin air. He was a brown-haired, middle-aged Human male standing behind her grasping the lightsaber hilt in his hand.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a decent bakery that delivers fresh products in this quadrant of the galaxy?” Benevolent Taldrya spoke. “This bakery deals in the freshest doughnuts and cakes on this side of the cosmos, and I refuse to let you do anything to it.”

He immediately removed his lightsaber from Desireè’s body, letting the woman’s corpse slump to the ground. Fear, anger, and vengeance could be felt from the group, but instead of readying himself for combat, Ben allowed a small smirk to graze his face.

Suddenly, an amethyst blade and its wielder descended from the nearby rooftop, taking the group by surprise. With quick, elegant and precise movements, Raistline Taldrya moved from opponent to opponent, grazing and cutting their limbs without actually killing them. In under a minute, all gang member’s lay on the ground, their leader dead, nursing their various wounds. Raistline turned to his fellow Scion of Taldryan and shook his head.

“I swear to kriff, Ben. I’m getting too old for this,” Raistline said.

“I know, I know. I dragged you into this at the last second. Trust me, Raist, you’ll thank me later. This place is amazing!” Ben exclaimed jovially.

With that, the two Scions of Taldryan set about defending the bakery against any would-be attackers that would try to destroy it, for its sweet goodness!


Holmes Spaceport Ruins
Port Kasiya
39 ABY

This is embarrassing. Major Headache, as she was known by her overly sarcastic Master, couldn’t stop repeating to herself in her head as she tried again, for the twentieth time, to break through the Holmes Spaceport ruins. Rubble after piece of forsaken rubble blocked her path to freedom for the last two… maybe three hours for all she’d known. Time was relative when you were a prisoner of circumstance. Crysenia cursed her luck. No doubt she would not be hearing the end of this from Erinyes when she eventually broke free.

Truth be told, this wasn’t the worst scenario in the galaxy, and some might have been content to sit there and ride out the storm until it passed over. However, her father was a stickler for honour, a trait that Crysenia may have inherited from him, and not being able to do anything about her current predicament damaged her sense of duty deeply. On top of that…

“We’sa gonna die!”

She had a particularly annoying guest accompanying her, and after several hours of putting up with Yub-Yub’s kark, she was about ready to strangle the Gungan and tie his neck in a knot, if only to shut him up.

“For the last time…” Crysenia grumbled through gritted teeth. “Either help me shovel these rocks, or may whatever Gods help you when I rip your vocal cords out of your body and turn them into a musical instrument!”

Yub-Yub recoiled at the threat and pleaded for the Aedile to spare him, and that he’d be a good, loyal helper. Crysenia rolled her eyes and pressed her hand to her forehead, begging the migraine that was coming to just frakk off.

Then, like somehow the Force had heard, her prayers were answered.

“Aedile Orainn,” answered a member of the Summit Guard from above her. “We found her! Hold tight, we’ll get you out of here.”

Crysenia thanked the heavens above for the reprieve, hopefully, once she was out she could get as far away from Yub-Yub as humanly possible and help with the rest of the war, assuming it wasn’t already over.


Port Kasiya Tower
Port Kasiya
39 ABY

Tracinya had been through a lot of kark in her lifetime, most of it as a result of going in all guns blazing. In fact, she couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t fighting for one reason or another. It was a philosophy her father had instilled in her, a combined Mandalorian and Sith philosophy in one little package. Honour and pride in combat above all else.

She had pride, yes, but it was all built on a bed of fear. Fear of once again being all alone. Her father, the only family she’d ever had, left never to be seen again. She finally found her reason to keep going in Taldryan. She refused to let it fall!

Appius… Aay’han… Dasha… Ankira…

She refused to lose them, she would not lose them! She would stop it before it happened!

When Zaesti Takeda had isolated herself in a room full of Taldryanites which included the new Taldryan Consul, Appius, his brother Darrio, Ankira, Vrakit, and the Ektrosis Quaestor, Teebu, Tracinya saw a prime opportunity to end this war once and for all! With Yorinobu out of the window, his daughter was the last obstacle to their victory! She would not be alone! Not again!

Without so much as a warning, Tracinya poured the dark side of the Force into her body. Teebu, Appius, and Vrakit felt the sudden surge in power, but were unable to stop the teenage girl as she dashed forward, wrapping her right palm around Zaesti’s throat. Tracinya picked up the Umbaran, and with her Force-enhanced strength proceeded to slam her through Yorinobu’s desk. A resounding crack was heard as shards of woos broke and sintered apart. Teacinya never released her grip on Zaesti’s throat as she snarled behind her helmet like a woman possessed by a Sith spirit.

Zaesti coughed blood onto Tracinya’s beskar, and that was when the young Entar seized her moment. She stood above Yorinobu’s daughter, retrieved her lightsaber, activated the weapon as a blood-red blade emerged from the hilt, and raised it above her head.

“Tracinya, stop!” Appius called out.

Tracinya wasn’t usually one for following orders, but the sound of Appius’ voice seemed to give her hesitation. Darrio had aimed his vambrace at the young girl, ready to ‘put her down’ if he needed to.

“This is not the Jedi way,” Teebu stated, looking at the young girl with a mixture of apprehension and caution.

“To hell with your Jedi kark, pint-sized!” Tracinya exclaimed. “I can end this war, right here, right now!”

“Tracinya. The war is over. We won. Zaesti surrendered. She’s no threat to us now. Just let her go,” Appius tried to appease the teenager, but instead, her head snapped over to him.

“She surrendered because she knows she can try to stab us in the back later! Come on, I thought you knew better than that!” Tracinya continued to protest, her voice getting louder and louder as her anger began to consume her.

“He is your Consul,” Teebu interrupted, grasping hold of his lightsaber, ready to intervene at a moment’s notice. “I would advise you to listen to him.”

“I’m doing this for his benefit. He’ll thank me later!” Tracinya answered through gritted teeth.

“Will I?” Appius forced a humourless chuckle. “Because right now it looks like you are about to kill our greatest source of Intel about everything that’s been going on here!”

“Tracinya, udesla. You are letting your emotions control you. You are much better than this.”

To everyone’s surprise, it was Ankira that spoke. Her calm, soothing words seemed to pierce through into the young girl’s ears.

“I… I won’t let it happen again. I don’t want to be alone, not anymore,” Tracinya shakily voiced, gripping hold of her lightsaber tighter. For all of her power, it was sometimes difficult to remember the fact that she was still just a teenage girl. A teenage girl struggling with her emotional trauma.

“Tracinya, the moment you accepted me as your vod, you were never alone,” Appius spoke, removing his helmet to reveal the sad smile behind his face.

“It’s enough now…” Ankira said, stepping forward and placing one hand on Tracinya’s shoulder. The girl shuddered at the contact, and Appius, Darrio, Vrakit, and Teebu readied themselves in case Tracinya tried anything against the barely armoured Chiss Mandalorian. Thankfully, the Entar retracted the plasma blade of her weapon and placed it back on her waist.

Immediately, the Mandalorian Sith hoisted the pain-filled Zaesti off the ground, clutching her at the scuff of her dress.

“Try anything, and I will make sure it’s the last thing you ever do,” Tracinya threatened before throwing the Umbaran towards Vrakit, who caught the young woman and held her restrained to be taken to the OSI for further investigation.

Teebu, meanwhile, stared into the night sky of Kasiya, contemplating the brilliance of the once magnificent city and all that could be done with it. Teebu might have been smaller than the average Ewok, but he was smarter than just about all of them. He knew what needed to be done.

“We will need to come to an arrangement with what remains of the local gangs and military to discuss Kasiya’s future,” the Ektrosis Quaestor mused to himself. “Perhaps a new Governor could be installed? One to bring the Kasiya masses together under Taldryan control…”

“Of course, and I know just the man for the job,” Appius responded, a small grin clung to his face that caused the Ewok to raise a curious brow. The Taldryan Consul placed a single hand atop the Ewok’s head. “Congratulations on your appointment, Governor Nyrrie!”


Ostara Temple, twenty-four hours later
Ostara
39 ABY

“Erinyes is right… it really does get crowded in here,” Appius mumbled to himself. It wasn’t the first time since the Mandalorian became a member of the Taldryan summit that he realised just how packed together it got in here whenever they did anything like this. Such meetings were necessary, and he made a mental note to do something about that later.

Bodies piled into the room, taking whatever space they could find. Ankira, now adorning what she could of her armor, took one of the two available seats opposite the Consul’s desk. Something Appius had insisted on, given her current condition. She was joined quickly by Tracinya, who crossed her leg and folded her arms, making her best ‘I don’t want to be here’ look. Aylin, Erinyes, and Desha filled out a row behind them, whilst Ben and Raist took spits at one side of the room with Zentru’la and Morax taking place on the other. On Appius’ desk stood the newly minted Proconsul, Justinios, and the Ektrosis Quaestor Teebu in an attempt to not get drowned out in the crowd of bodies. Crysenia took a place at the side of the Consul’s desk.

Jorm was inconspicuous by his absence, finding such things terribly dull.

“Right then!” Appius said jovially, clasping and rubbing his hands together. “I suppose we should start with the status report. Justinios, if you don’t mind?”

“We lost a moderate number of our navy in the battles both above and on Port Kasiya itself, but it’s nothing we can’t do something about. All in all, our assets are secure and the Clan has secured hold of Port Kasiya. There is an artifact inside the former Cloudhaven that requires retrieval,” Justinios stated the information like he was reading it from a datapad.

“How goes rebuilding the city?” The new Taldryan Consul asked the Ektrosis leadership.

“It’s… going,” Teebu answered, albeit a little hesitantly for Appius’ liking. “Restoration is well underway, and TEAD has taken a particular interest in collaborating in a financial endeavour regarding the Casinos. The OSI and SRI have been moved into the new Ektrosis tower, though there is still resistance knocking around from what remains of the Deckers and Sixth Street Saints.”

“We’ll deal with them,” Crysenia suddenly interrupted. “They won’t be a problem for long.”

“Try not to be too… aggressive about it,” Appius stated. “Ky’Lian and the Caelus Government are already at my neck regarding this Invasion. General, think the Vornskr’s would be up for safeguarding for a week or so as a precaution until I get some units down there?”

“So long as you pay us our usual,” Zentru’la answered.

“Don’t we always?” Appius responded with

“Didn’t Yorinobu build a navy to fight us?” Dasha asked.

“We just got the first shot in, not our fault we were too good for them,” Tracinya piped in.

“Yes, that may be true, but without solid evidence that it was actually going to be used against us, it looks like we just attacked on our own volition. There’s only so much the Community Outreach can do to sway public opinion,” Appius answered the young Entar before turning to Morax. “Speaking of which, how’s our guest?”

“Annoyingly compliant,” Morax grumbled.

Erinyes snorted at his answer. “You sound disappointed.”

“I know a good bakery that could cheer you up?” Ben interjected, receiving a solid glare from Raist in the process.

“Zaesti has been the ideal prisoner. She answered every question truthfully and without hesitation. It’s no fun when they are like that,” Morax explained.

“The lack of a body for Yorinobu is also a concern…” Appius mused to himself. “Hopefully what we get from Zaesti can appease the Caelus Government, at least for now so they stop repeatedly calling me. For now, we should-” the Mandalorian Force User was suddenly cut off by his desktop terminal chiming in with an incoming transmission.

“I swear to kriff, if this is Ky’Lian again…” The Consul grumbled to himself as he answered the call. “Yes?”

Luckily it wasn’t Ky’Lian. However, that might have been preferred.

“*Sir, there’s been a prison break in the facility on Orth. Requesting immediate assistance!” spoke the eerily panicked voice on the other end.

All eyes turned on Appius as they awaited his response. He responded with two words, two very simple words that summed up his feelings of the current scenario.

“Well… frakk.”

THE END