Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle
The shuttle soared through the valley, hills flashing by as the pilot honed in on their target. The Lieutenant piloting the shuttle scanned the horizon, watching out for any inherent threats that would impact their flight path. Three other Lambda-class T-4a shuttles accompanied the ship.
The co-pilot watched the data output from the computer and pressed a button to open the comms to the seating area where several Sadowans and Warhost soldiers sat. “We’re approaching the drop site, prepare for landing.” The co-pilot then flipped a switch that bathed the seating area in red light, a visual warning for the passengers.
Raikou Keibatsu checked his rifle in response to the warning, the Aedile had volunteered to join the lead party investigating the reports of ancient ruins on the planet. Naga Sadow had undergone a recent metamorphosis. Their previous Consul, Locke Sonjie, had announced that the Clan were to rebuild the mythical Sith empire of the legend, Naga Sadow. To do so, they were to seek out ancient Sith artifacts that could be used against their enemies and tear down the power of the Dark Council and the Star Chamber.
The soldier didn’t care much for the idea, but he always relished the opportunity to excel and prove that he was more than a clone and worthy of respect. The strike by the Iron Throne against Naga Sadow had debilitated the Clan and destroyed several of their larger ships and injured Locke Sonjie. The Proconsul, Sanguinius Tsucyra Entar, had stepped into the void and risen to command the Clan that wished to herald in a new Sith Empire.
It was he who had declared that the Clan would continue to follow Sonjie’s vision and seek out artifacts. The Consul was situated on the Harbinger, a recently appropriated elderly Venator-class Star Destroyer in orbit over the planet. The Harbinger had been named for it’s predecessor, lost over Sepros in the strike by the Iron Throne. The Venator was accompanied by several other vessels, the bulk of which had been bought or stolen to shore up the losses that the Warhost had suffered, yet they did not plug the wounds that had been made.
Raikou didn’t regret volunteering for the mission in the slightest, and nodded at his companions seated opposite him. Tasha Vel’Versa smiled and nodded in response, while Armad simply stared back at the Aedile. The pair had been hand-picked by the Consul to be part of the expedition, who was assured of their loyalty and dedication to the cause.
Each shuttle contained more Sadowans, such as the new Quaestor of Shar Dakhan, Evelynn Wyrm and his compatriots, Aul Celsus and Lilith Alema’rha Versea-Stormwind.
The red light bathing the seating area began to pulse as the shuttle came into land and then turned green as the door opened. Raikou hit the release switch on his harness and exited the shuttle, his rifle raised as he scanned the area for threats. More Warhost troopers stomped down the ramp as the other shuttles landed.
In orbit of Qirool VI
Jax Bendal stood on the bridge of the Harbinger, the newly appointed Proconsul was a relative newcomer to Naga Sadow, yet the man had filled the void in the Shadow Academy left by Marcus Kiriyu’s death. The Raider had a need to prove himself to his compatriots and was over eager to see that this investigation was a success. Admiral Simonetti, usually an ever-present addition to any Warhost operation was still recovering from his wounds received during the attack and instead the operation was masterminded by the Captain of the Harbinger, Wes Terol, who had commanded the Harbinger’s namesake.
The Chiss watched the progress of the shuttles on the computer screen, noting their touchdown with satisfaction. The planet was uninhabited according to their scans, yet caution was always required to avoid catastrophe. The shuttles had been accompanied by a squadron of T-70 X-Wings, who had parted ways to fly overwatch before returning to the Harbinger. If there was any trouble, air support could be scrambled and reach the expedition in minutes.
Sanguinius sat uncomfortably on a chair that had been installed near the rear left hand corner of the bridge, put there despite his protestations. The Augur had taken the role of Consul, but disliked the pageantry that often accompanied the role.
Wes Terol stood up from where he was leaning over the computer display and moved to where Sanguinius and Jax were located. “It appears that the expedition has landed safely, Consul.”
“Thank you, Captain.” Sang replied, smiling at the Chiss. “Please do keep me informed if there are any further developments.”
“As you wish, sir.”
Jax watched the Captain walk away before speaking. “Why are we not on the ground leading the expedition?” he enquired.
“Because despite the position I find myself in, Jax. I feel the need to let our fellow Sadowans blow off some steam.”
“So, we should have struck back against the Iron Throne!” Jax demanded.
“That would be folly, my friend. Let Pravus think that we are scared and licking our wounds. It makes us all the more dangerous.”
Jax kept silent, biting his tongue.
“Anyway, let us hope that the expedition has some good news for us.” Sang finished.
Evelynn stalked the ruins, her watchful eye studying the environment as Warhost soldiers secured the area. The Quaestor had taken advantage of her new position to demand the honour of commanding the expedition. Sanguinius had been amused by her demands and had humoured her, pleased to see that the new Quaestor was so eager to get stuck in.
Tasha Vel’Versea ran her hand across a stone wall, coating it in dust. A technician stood nearby, a scanner surveying the surroundings. They had progressed through the ruins, cataloguing the area and taking images that were instantly uploaded to the Sadowan database, allowing the Warhost forces in orbit to see what they were seeing. Each soldier wore a body camera that streamed footage to the Harbinger where specialists watched, keeping track of the progress.
Raikou halted before a large building that had stairs ascending into a large atrium. The Keibatsu took point, followed by several troopers wearing the same colour armour as him. The other Sadowans followed close behind, allowing a line of flesh and armour between them and potential danger. They had spent enough time in the Brotherhood to know not to trust the thin veneer of safety in numbers.
The ruins had encompassed an area of several square kilometres, the remains of an ancient civilisation and there were several drones hovering over the city, sending images to their controllers. This had allowed the Sadowans to plot a path to the large complex they were now accessing.
The atrium had several exits leading from it, forcing the group to split up to investigate the complex. Evelynn and Lilith had paired off, accompanied by several troopers. The pair wandered through the rooms that were situated off the atrium, guided by some innate force.
The soldiers pushed forward, taking point as they came to an ornate doorway. Evelynn began to get excited, feeling that they were close to what they came for. The soldiers moved in, their training serving them well. The two Sadowans followed in after them, shocked by what awaited them.
Ghostly figures hung there, their faces blank of emotion. Evelynn walked amongst them, ever mindful of her surroundings. Lilith and the troopers followed her, the sergeant commanding them activated his commlink, alerting his comrades situated around the complex of what they had found. Already, the other groups were convening on them.
One of the soldiers reached out with his rifle, sweeping it through the spectral form before him. The spectre didn’t respond to the action. Lilith noted that the spectres all wore the same garb, leading her to assume that they may be some form of religious order.
Evelynn reached a platformed area, surrounded by low pillars that housed items on them. As the Savant stepped onto the platform, a ghastly scream echoed through the hall and across the complex as the spectral forms opened their mouths and howled in unison. The scream was full of anguish and rage, sending chills through the Sadowans and Warhost in the complex. One of the troopers cried out in surprise as the ghosts began to move. Ice cold pain shot through his body as the spectres passed through him, driving him to his knees as his nerves rebelled under the pain.
Evelynn and Lilith shot into action, running away from the approaching spectres, both instinctively knew that a lightsaber was no use to them here and it was obvious that they were protecting the objects on the raised platform.
All across the complex, spectral figures made an appearance, attacking the expedition members. Panicked cries for help were soon clogging the comm channels.
In orbit of Qirool VI
Wes Terol glanced up at the Lieutenant, “They’re...what?”
“They’re under attack, sir. They claim some sort of spectre is attacking them.”
Terol sprung up from his chair and walked swiftly towards where Jax and Sanguinius were situated. “Sir, we have reports from the expedition that claim they’re under attack by ghosts.”
“Ghosts?” Jax asked.
Sanguinius sagged momentarily and sighed, “It’s always something, isn’t it?” he jested.
The Consul’s attention was caught by the sight of Muz walking onto the bridge, accompanied by Ashia Keibatsu. “I hear that your expedition has run into some trouble.” the Grand Master’s voice carried to the Entar.
The Augur smiled in response and stood up, “As expected when looking for Sith artifacts, someone inevitably gets hurt.” The callous reply was out of character for Sanguinius.
“Something about spectres?” Muz enquired, “Perhaps you may take some advice from me?”
“And what would that be?” Jax interjected.
“During my time as Grand Master, the Tarenti were known for their… aptitude in dealing with the dead. I’m sure they’d be willing to help if we ‘asked nicely’. ” Muz replied.
“Contact the Tarenti? Aside from making such a thing happen, how do we know they won’t simply backstab us like Scholae did?” Sang had stood up from his makeshift throne and began pacing the width of the bridge.
Jax eyed the Consul for a while as he paced the bridge, lost in thought. Just as he was about to speak up, the former Grand Master cleared his throat.
“Scholae was a completely different matter, one that we had no control over.” Muz mused. “This time we come to them, and it will not just be any Consul asking for their assistance but a Grand Master. No offense intended of course,” he added.
“And we have something to offer them,” Sang added, perking up. “A site, free of contamination, for them to study. There is just one problem. How do we contact them?”
“I believe I can be of assistance there,” Jax finally spoke up. “It’s a fairly simple matter to connect two holonet networks together, and create an interplexing access route through which duplex communication is possible,” he rambled.
“Wait.. what?” The Augur couldn’t do much but look bewildered. A quick look around the bridge showed that none of the assembled persons had any idea of what the slicer was talking about.
“Sorry. Uhm, think of it as a droid plugging into another droid and communicating with it. It’s the same principle, except on the holonet,” Jax replied. “Suffice to say that I can set up a direct link with someone in Tarentum.”
“Very well. Muz, if you’d be so kind to utilize this link that Jax is referring to, then I think we can turn this debacle around.” The Consul stopped pacing and stood looking out the bridge window instead, looking down onto the planet below. “Signal the forces on the planet, tell them to withdraw until they hear from us. They’ll need to hold until we hear from Tarentum.”
The city of Taras
Darth Aeternus had listened to the request before connecting the comm-feed to his Consul’s line. The former Master at Arms had served under Darth Ashen before he had withdrawn from the political scene. Jax Bendal had worked his magic with the holonet and Muz had given Jax instructions on who to contact.
Frosty Romanae Tarantae listened carefully as Muz explained the situation before muting the connection. Sith Bloodfyre stood nearby, the Proconsul had served Tarentum faithfully for years and had heard the whole conversation.
“Who are we to deny a fellow Clan come to beg for assistance?” Bloodfyre asked, the Elder sensing the opportunity to further his agenda regarding Tarentum. The chance to forge the Clan through the crucible of combat was one that many had seeked before.
“The opportunity to study a new site may be of interest to those who seek knowledge and power.” Frosty replied, his tone hesitant, unsure of whether it would be in Tarentum’s interest.
“Usually I would caution wisdom in such matters, but with the troubles from the Throne, the chance to seek new additions to our alliance against the tyranny of the mad man, Pravus, are too good to pass up.” Bloodfyre conceded.
“Pass the word to our comrades and inform the fleet, Tarentum will come to their aid.”
In orbit of Qirool VI
Several hours later
Sanguinius smiled as several ships exited hyperspace, a counterpart of the Harbinger hung there in space, surrounded by Nebulon B Frigates and CR90 Corvettes.
Muz, Ashia and Jax stood nearby as the Harbinger was hailed by the arriving ships. Wes Terol turned to the Augur, “Tarentum forces in orbit, sir. They claim to be here to help.”
“Stand down, Captain.” Sanguinius replied, glancing at the Quaestor of Marka Ragnos. “Please pass my compliments to their commander and invite them aboard, it seems that we have some new friends.”
Naga Sadow is investigating a lead on a Sith Artifact that has led to them seeking help from Tarentum, a Clan that has experience in handling the dead via their necromantic past.
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