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[CNS] Operation: Homeland (House event)


VSD Covenant
A few weeks after the battle at Agua’tah
34 ABY

Darkblade shuffled down the long passageway of the VSD Covenant. In that moment he exuded power. It was the image he liked to project- it kept people off balance. It gave him an edge. The sheer look on his face was enough to persuade officers going about their duties to give the Anzat wide berth.

He had enough to do without this latest interruption. The Mystic had a House to run, and he had his own investigations to do. His Aedile had interrupted that work. The Sith had insisted that he return to the Lion’s Tooth and claimed it was urgent, that the fate of the House might hang in the balance. The Quaestor had been unmoved.

It wasn’t as though Stahoes was known for being particularly stable. His animosity for Darkblade created enough tension between the two of them. The House was doing well enough, though. Some of the Journeyman had performed more than admirably during OPERATION: FIRESTORM. As long as Stahoes didn’t act too oddly, the Anzat would keep him as his right hand. He might have been a cudgel, but he worked as a tool for now.

As the Dark Jedi turned a sharp left through a doorway to a conference room aboard the Covenant, he drew himself up. He had to make sure the Corellian knew who was really in charge here. The Anzat had to give every image of authority. He stepped forward toward the podium which was arranged before a large chair. He lightly brushed the activation switch, before settling down into the chair.

The holographic projector activated with a slight crackle before calming to a low hum. The pale-blue form of his Aedile flashed up. As the image came into focus, he could see Bentre’s eyes were already wild. Darkblade had to suppress a grunt of annoyance.

“Ah, Quaestor.” The title, normally one spoken with some modicum of respect. As in most situations, it held nothing but sarcasm coming from the Sith. “I am so very glad you chose to honor me with a response. So quickly too! Really, you must be working yourself too hard.”

“Is there a point to all this?” The Quaestor growled, “Or did you just want me to call so that you can complain about the way I operate the House? Your grievances have been noted. You are going to have to learn to move on.”

“I am sure you have been plenty hunky-dory on your little Covenant, but we have a potential issue right here.” The Shadow’s voice had lost all sense of mirth. “We struck the Dominion pretty hard at Agua’tah. We don’t have time to just sit around with our hands in our pockets, Darkblade. We both know this fight isn’t over yet.”

The Anzat shifted forward in his seat. The Aedile was at least acting earnest.

“The Dominion are not just going to sit by while we take out their resources. In their seats,” Bentre paused, looking somewhere away from the holorecorder, “I would do what I could to bloody my enemies nose. You can be sure as hell they are going to do something in the future. It could be the near future.”

Darkblade tilted his head down, giving the Human a very condescending look. “I take it that you have some sort of a solution then? Or is this just paranoid ramblings? We do have a House to run, you know.”

“I am saying we need to get ready. We need to prepare the House. I honestly believe we have not seen the last of the Dominion. If we grow complacent, they could strike us before we realize what is happening. You can’t tell me that you wanna be in the hot seat when all that goes down.” Stahoes looked up, biting his lip as he expelled a shuddering breath. “I am sure you agree that we should be ready, just in case. It is not as though any amount of preparation, any amount of caution would be ill spent.”

Bentre reached behind his chair, pulling out a large datapad. Data was streaming across it even as he waved it in front of the holocam. “We have data coming from across Aeotheran that seems to indicate that things are under control right now. I think that if we are going to prepare, we should do it now.”

Darkblade stopped for a moment before nodding. “Alright then, you have my attention. Tell me exactly what you have in mind.”

Credits go to Bentre Kairn’tel Stahoes #14185 for writing this scene.


Lion’s Tooth Courtyard
34 ABY

“I am glad to see you all came out here.” Bentre nodded to the assembled. “Both Darkblade,” the Corellian motioned to the Quaestor standing behind him as he paced, “and myself are happy with your performance in campaign against the Dominion threat. Our preparations will not stop just there though. It is a ways off, we are sure, but one day the Dominion may decide to try and attack us on our home turf.” The Sith paused, looking across the assembled, both House members and Warhost volunteers among them.

“As such,” Darkblade glanced at his Aedile before stepping past him, “we will be splitting our House into two teams: Alpha and Bravo. We will be running a simulated war, plotting Dakhani against Dakhani. The team with Bentre will be tasked to take the Lion’s Tooth. The defending team will rally with me to make sure that they will not be successful.”

“Oh,” Stahoes stopped pacing back and forth and looked up, “I know some of you lot are awfully competitive, but let’s try to avoid any serious casualties. It would be a little hard for us to justify a death, for example, to the Summit. Besides,” a smile cracked his lips, “I don’t think I would ever hear the end of the lectures from Sang.”

“Bentre’s team will take shuttles out to a location chosen by both he and myself. After two hours have passed, the exercise will begin. Things could get a little messy. We expect your best efforts out there. This House is better than the Dominion, so if this is all successful, we should be able to stave off any retalitation on their part. For now, you are all dismissed.” As Darkblade turned, he glared sharply at Stahoes. The moment was fleeting however, as both turned to their respective teams. Each was ready to give the other a run for his credits.

Credits go to Bentre Kairn’tel Stahoes #14185 for writing this scene.


Homeland: Phase 2

Seng Karash
City Outskirts
34 ABY

Things appeared to be going according to plan. Drawing a slow breath as he surveyed the Lion’s Tooth towering over the city before clicking his commlink. “This is Stahoes to Team Bravo. Are you all in position?”

“Firith’rar here.” the voice of his former apprentice crackled over, punctuated by the sound of blaster fire. It looks like Quo-Wing-Tzun was ready for us."

"Alright, well, do what you can,” Bentre grunted into the comm, “give them as much trouble as possible. Try not to kill my wife’s apprentice though, thanks. I will never hear the end of it otherwise. Mactire, how is the attack on the powerplant going?”

“It is going pretty well except-” an explosion interrupted the Gray Jedi mid-sentence. The voice of Lilith could be heard yelling commands in the background. “Benny, things just went a bit south. Looks like they were a little more prepared for us than we expected. We will see what we can-” Another explosion cracked over the commlink. “I will have to get back to you.” The Aedile clicked off the commlink.

“Kriff,” the Corellian shook his head. “Darkblade’s team is going to rip my team a new one if we don’t do something to shift the flow of battle.” He turned to Aul beside him, his eyes narrowed. “We need to push our attack. There is no waiting for the better moment. Our hand has been forced. Move the Warhost up in a pincer formation so we can hit them in both flanks.”

“We will move immediately,” a tall Warhost soldier nodded to the Sith. As the soldier stepped away, the Aedile felt a hand on his shoulder.

The Lion’s Tooth
Quaestor Office
34 ABY

“Lilith and Quo-Wing-Tzun are fending off the other team. We still haven’t seen Celsus or Stahoes yet.” Qyreia stared down at the datapad in her hands.

“Keep an eye on the tower. Bentre will make his move eventually.” The Quaestor looked down over the city from a window. “Do not underestimate him.” Motioning to the Warhost at the door, Darkblade began to walk toward the door out of the room.

“Move soldiers out to the base of the tower.”

The human smiled slowly, revealing a set of crooked teeth. “I understand, commander.”

A tinge of unease pulled at the Anzat’s senses, but he was unable to place where it exactly came from.

The click of the commlink on Qyreia’s side drew the Mystic’s gaze. “Commander, we have some abnormal movements at the Starport and the Powerplant. A detachment of soldiers have started to circle around our tower.” The sounds of battle rung over the device. “They are opening fire on our forces. Explosives and heavy weapons.”

“You know what to do.” the Anzat intoned. “You have the training to get the job done. Drive them back.”

Almost immediately, the commlink activated again on a private channel that was set up for the specific case of an emergency. It was the familiar voice of his Aedile.

“Darkblade, draw back your forces now! Those soldiers are not under my command.” The humm of a lightsaber came over the speaker and sounds of struggle could be heard. “One of our Warhost attacked us out here! We have an anomoly.”

“Stand down Sadowan.” As Darkblade looked toward the human with crooked teeth who had spoken, he saw the soldier he had just ordered only moments ago holding a blaster carbine in his direction. Without missing a beat, Qyreia drew her own blaster and fired. The soldier didn’t stand a chance as the bolt lanced into his skull. As the body hit the ground, its features molded into those of a Clawdite.

“This isn’t a simulation anymore, guys. It looks like we have something serious. We might be facing a real attack sooner than we thought.” Stahoes spoke quickly over the comm. “With or without our preparation, it looks like we gotta defend our home.”

After Homeland

Lion’s Tooth Courtyard
Operation: Homeland
34 ABY

This battle had gone harder than either of them had expected. Reports had been received that Firith’rar was still buried in rubble of the spaceport and that loyal members of the Warhost were working hard, ensuring that any remaining combatants were defeated and that the Dakhani were both safe and accounted for. By all appearances the day was theirs.

“The day is won.” Darkblade announced to the weary members of the House gathered within the Lion’s Tooth. “We hoped to prepare you for a possible attack on our home world, but the Dominion already know something of where we are. We could not have planned for an attack like this, but you all fought hard and despite the damage caused, we stopped the attackers hard.”

Behind him, it appeared that the Corellian Aedile was nodding slowly. His gaze went from the Warhost standing at attention nearby, to the members of the House before him and up to the Anzat before his gaze fell to the ground again.

“You all fought well.” Bentre’s voice rose to a near shout as his eyes did not raise from the ground. “The day was almost a complete victory. Thanks to all of you, our planet is safe once again, for now. Pride cannot describe the emotions that I experience as we stand before you.” These words brought nods and affirmative mutters from those gathered. “We may have been wounded for a time, but I am more than confident that when the time comes, you will be more than capable of eradicating the Dominion threat permanently. I am confident that all that Consul Sonjie will have to merely give is the word and you will do everything necessary to guarantee absolute victory.”

“We’ll send those hutt-humpers packing!” Qyreia hollered, prompting a smile from both Aedile and Quaestor.

“No doubt,” Bentre looked up at the Mercenary and nodded. “There is before us only two things left to do. First, we must quickly recover, as our conflict is not over. This day is ours, but the war is not over. We have rid the planet of this snake infestation, purged it off all the parasites that stood against us.” The Corellian smiled, glancing at the Anzat as he stepped forward confidently. The Quaestor smiled at him. “Well, all except for one.” In a smooth motion, the Aedile activated his lightsaber and plunged the blue blade into Darkblade’s back.

Chaos erupted almost immediately. Aul Celsus moved up, pushing Stahoes back fiercely, removing the weapon from the Battlemaster’s trembling hands. The weapon deactivated, clattering loudly to the ground. “What do you think you are doing?”

“I was making sure we were all safe, buddy.” Bentre smiled at the Gray Jedi. “I thought you could appreciate that.”

Qyreia and Quo-Wing-Tzun were quickly at Darkblade’s side, examining his body. By all appearances the man appeared to be dead. A gasp was heard from the Zeltron woman. She backed away before kicking the body. “Let out all your rage and anger, Arronen. It is all over now.” A laugh was evident in the man’s words.

“How did he know?” The Professional’s voice quivered slightly. “How did he know we had another Clawdite among us?”

“Huh?” The world seemed to swim for a moment, Bentre glanced down at the corpse. The features had reverted from the familiar face of the Anzat. The Zeltron was correct, his victim was not Darkblade. A dead Clawdite lay on the ground before the Dakhani.

“Go and find the Quaestor!” Quo-Wing-Tzun barked at one of the Warhost before turning back to examine the corpse.

“What in the Nine Hells?” Stahoes’ words were full of anger and confusion. “I know what I-” The world seemed to turn around him. It was all too much. His body surrendered to the stress, and before his comrades, Bentre Kairn’tel Stahoes lost consciousness.

Lion’s Tooth
Quaestor Office
34 ABY

Shortly after the unexpected attack, Lilith came across Darkblade. Immediately she tried to rouse him, waking the man and checking him over. Apparently the Quaestor had been attacked and rendered unconscious just before the final attack. Later medical tests had detected the presence of heavy sedatives in his system. Aul looked over the files, hardly daring to believe what had occurred. None of the House seemed willing to believe the events that had occurred after what had seemed like so clean a victory. Bentre lay in his bed, barely stirring. The man had went into an evidently comatose state after his attack.

Firith’rar had been largely and miraculously uninjured despite the collapse of the spaceport. Repairs would take a few weeks as they cleared rubble, but it appeared that the majority of the structure was not decimated. At least that was one less thing they would have to deal with. The rest were receiving treatment.

Word had still not come down from the Quaestor what was to happen to his Aedile. This action could not go answered. Members of the Warhost moved in and restrained Stahoes as soon as he had hit the ground. Shortly as he returned to the Lion’s tooth, the Corellian’s apprentice set to guarding his former master. When news of the events during his brief absence came to the Anzat Quaestor, he was incensed.

Arguments ensued about what to do. Darkblade wanted the man executed, plain and simple. The Dakhani Versea wanted him held captive and treated. “Send him away,” Firith’rar had argued, “we can keep him at the Estate. Protect him and protect everyone else.”

Darkblade took time to puzzle over the events. The data gathered by the Dominion needed to be investigated. The evident leak needed to be tracked down, they needed to discover how they had gathered some much information so easily. How had they planted a doppleganger? How many more potential Clawdite spies could be on the planet?

After some deliberation, the Anzat realized what must be done. There were more important things to be dealt with more immediately. He would have to contact Tasha’Vel, organize the transportation of the Shadow away from the planet. He would keep an eye on the Aedile and his condition during his recovery. If he proved a risk to Shar Dakhan in the meantime the Sith would be executed.

Meanwhile, he had chosen Lilith as his Blackguard. Her performance in the attack had been admirable. She would begin her training shortly at the Temple of Blood. Security had to be tightened on the planet. The Consul and Proconsul needed to be informed of the Dominion attack. The rebuilding of damaged or destroyed assets would occupy the next few weeks.

“We must stand together.” The Quaestor had announced to the House. “We are in for hard times. We must remain vigilant. The Dominion caught us unaware. Today we told them that we will not be defeated. We will not shrink away. We will rout out any Clawdite, any Dominion, any threat. We will be strong. We will be united. We are Shar Dakhan!”

Aul hoped that he was right.


Lion’s Tooth
Quaestor Office
1 month after Operation: Homeland
34 ABY

As weeks passed without an Aedile the Anzat felt the pressure of having to lead the House alone. Although he had been impersonated it did nothing to falter the Quaestor’s resolve, it only seemed to make him more determined. He was proud of each and every member who had done so well in that time of crisis. As he sat down in the seat behind his desk in the Lion’s Tooth, Darkblade recalled the past month in his thoughts.

Lilith had begun her Blackguard trials, being sent to the Temple of Blood almost immediately after the Quaestor had decreed that she would be his next protector. No doubt she was proud of her new position, and truth be told Darkblade felt more comfortable knowing she would be beside him. The training and skill she showed during the coup was already remarkable, who knew what she would be capable of with the training of the Blackguard if she completed her trials. Despite being a member of the Versea family, the Anzat was confident the indoctrination phases would ensure that the protection of the Quaestor was her number one priority, the rest didn’t matter to him.

In order to prevent further destruction and chaos in times such as these, the Mystic had begun overseeing the rebuilding of Seng Karash that it so desperately needed. Starting with the demolished spaceport and then moving on to more protective measures such as the expansion of the monorail to include all the existing cities and hotspots, a new research and military training facility and finally to relocating the refugees to the other side of the island. A memorial for the fallen would also be erected, not only for the innocent civilian lives that were lost throughout the decades but for the warriors and House members they had lost.

Whilst the plans were simple, executing them seemed to be slower without the support of an Aedile. The Quaestor realized he would need someone, but was hesitant to take one. He had been leaning heavily on the mayor of Seng Karash, Arik Shathis during this time.

Arik Shathis was a respected and former renowned scientist who had taken to his position as mayor with fervor. Having discussed some of the planning with the mayor, the Anzat was able to oversee the beginning of the construction of the research and military facilities.

The Consul and Proconsul had been pushing the Anzat to appoint a new Aedile ever since Bentre had been removed. Whilst they had presented him with a figure under the name of Zachary O’Maille, the information available on him seemed lacking.

Darkblade wasn’t necessarily afraid of being betrayed again, the fact that someone was able to hide their information so well meant they had secrets to keep. It could also just be that this Zachary had no life before coming to Naga Sadow, but being a Correllian, the Mystic doubted this.

Breathing in deeply and exhaling slowly to calm his thoughts, he picked up his holo link and hailed Sanguinius.

“Greetings Darkblade, I see all is going well after the horrid events of last month. I take it you have finally come to a decision regarding who is to replace Bentre as Aedile of Shar Dakhan?” the all knowing mind of the Proconsul asked.

“Hello Sang.” the Anzat said curtly, “I have indeed come to a decision. Let it be known that once again, under pressure of the Summit, I will accept your decision of Zachary O’Maille as the new Aedile.”

The proconsul smiled slightly, “Very good, Darkblade. Expect him to reach Lion’s Tooth within the next 48 hours.”

The holo link feed broke, casting the room in an eerie darkness with the Anzat contemplating his next steps. A faint screaming that originated from the dungeons of Lion’s Tooth pierced the otherwise silent night. The Iktotchi captain’s brother had proved to be resilient so far, it was a miracle that the Dominion hadn’t found and released him, or worse, having been found by Warhost troops.
Realizing the danger of keeping the Iktotchi locked up in the Lion’s Tooth, he picked up his comlink and hailed Arik Shathis.

“Evening mayor. The research facility we are building, I need a private section built only accessible by me. I have a guest that will be residing there for the time being. Make sure this facility gets built as soon as possible, for keeping my guest here only invites more disaster to your precious city.” the Anzat said before abruptly ending the call.

The above post was written by Darkblade, Pin #13897