A read-only archive of discourse.darkjedibrotherhood.com as of Sunday May 01, 2022.

Damnation - Closed Run On


Orian System

The shuttle ghosted into the system. The hum of its engines reverberated throughout the hold and the soldiers looked from one another before turning their attention back to the disembarkation ramp. Dim lights lit up their midnight black armour and the plasteel masks they wore hid all signs of emotion, of thoughts, of anything resembling a human. They were ghosts, the last in and the last out. Phantoms of the dark and they were here for one thing. Death.

“Ten minutes till we’re in range, Sir.” The pilot’s voice echoed over the comm. The sergeant smirked behind his mask.

“Understood, once we’re in range hail them. All codes should be working order. She’s seen to that. If not, then this will be all for nothing.”

Silence returned to the shuttle as it coasted along for another ten minutes and then finally their comm station exploded in static followed by a woman’s voice identifying herself as Lieutenant Grace.

“This is system defense, please identify yourself and your business.” Grace’s voice came across monotone and bored. Clearly she had wished for something more with her posting rather than babysitting arrivals.

“This is the shuttle Exodus on route to Gamuslag. We have full clearance, transmitting codes now.”

“Understood shuttle Exodus, awaiting confirmation.” came the same flat tone. “Clearance checks out Exodus. Please proceed.”

The pilot responded with his thanks, adjusted his heading and set the shuttles course to the moon. This would indeed be one short trip if it all falls through.

Level 13

She waited. She was good at waiting. She’d done nothing but waiting for such a long time she often wondered if she had truly ever started doing the things she was meant to. Confirmation had come in earlier from the team she had requested and she knew they would be here momentarily and as she waited she closed her eyes and remembered.

Since arriving in this…Brotherhood she had informed others that she had been many things. A Mandalorian, a pirate, a member of the esteemed death watch, had served alongside the Empire on missions…all lies. She was Tusken, Sephi. She was One Sith.

At least she thought she was. Nothing really made sense anymore. Memories of these lies she had told all seemed so real. Nothing made sense, nothing had made sense since she left Clan Plagueis and returned to the fold of her One Sith brethren. Confusion racked her mind and she growled under her breath to calm herself. Her Tuk’ata whined at her heels as it sense her distress and she laid her hand on its muzzle and whispered to it in Sith.

“Who…who am I. Geh, it matters not.” She muttered to herself before shaking her head. A voice broke over the comm into her ear.

“Are you sure you do not wish to enter the facility properly Ma’am? It’s warmer in here than out there in the hanger.” a concerned Junior officer spoke softly to her. He had already tried once before to get her to move inside and he had no intention of angering the woman.

“I told you. I am fine.” she snapped back.

“Understood.” the comm went dead and she checked the time. Then looked up as the hangers fields shifted and the shape of the shuttle came into view. Only thirty seconds late but it would do.

The soldiers disembarked and stood before her. Faceless as requested. Twelve in all, willing to do what needed to be done for the cause. Fanatics, men without morals or weakness. Perfect for what accounted to a suicide mission.

She turned on her heel and walked, the troops falling in behind her. As they neared the doors to the facility the junior officer who had been trying to get her to enter the facility opened the door with a small nod of his head, eyes running over the black figures and back to the woman leading them.

“These are my new guard. I am giving them a tour of the facility. Provide me with Ashen’s location if you will. I wish them to meet a legend.”

“Of course Ma’am, Grand Master Ashen is located on level 13.” The woman eyed him.

“And the rest?”

“Scattered about the facility for one reason or another I believe Ma’am, as I understand it Grand Master Ashen is by himself working on a project.”

“Good, well done. Please inform him I’d like to see him on observation deck twelve. The one above the pit. I think we’ll start our tour there.”

“Of course Lady Delacroix. It will be done right away.”

Ophelia nodded and left and began making her way down the passages of the facility towards the meeting point. The twelve pairs of footsteps followed behind her in unison. The time had come at last.


Deep Research Levels
Level 13
Under Cenota Facility

“Try manipulating the choline response levels,” Macron muttered as he peered at the screen of a neutronic microscope. “Trandoshan genes should respond to that.” The Alchemist looked up from the screen and wiped his weird eyes. “Just what is your intention with these Trandoshans anyhow? Not that I disapprove of their screams.” The Sith grinned maniacally. “Quite entertaining, they are. I have to hand it to you on that last one.”

“I’m working on a way to mutate them.” Janos groaned and looked up from the specimen tray that held a Trandoshan hand with wires sticking out of it. “They took me as a slave, and I’m going to use their pain to further my knowledge.”

“I see.” Macron frowned a bit. “Do you wish to destroy them, or merely torment them?” The Adept walked over to his apprentice. “Either is a valid viewpoint but some projects will help your growth more than others.”

“I wish to see them brought low so they are unable to enslave others. To punish them really, and learn what I can from the experience. I will then apply that to my Great Work later on.” The Acolyte stood up and stretched. “I will make a Leviathan.”

“Hm. Well then. Merely tormenting them, while satisfying in the short run, will not lead you to greater power. You could either engineer a germ to sicken them or possibly mutate one and turn it loose on the others to horrify them. The first line of research will be much harder than the second I’m afraid.” Macron chuckled. “And quite a bit more dangerous as well.”

“Yes, that could be a good plan. The second sounds like a logical step. We’ll need a test subject though won’t we?” The Sorcerer looked at the readouts from Macron’s screen. “So the crystal is definitely a match. Amazing. So very few places have recorded red adegans historically. With the destruction at Ruusan very few of them remain.”

“It is,” chuckled the madman. “You are in possession of one of the only red adegans large enough for a lightsaber that I have ever positively identified as being from the Last Breath Mine on Sepros. It will serve you well when you construct your first lightsaber. You have refined your telekinetic prowess, but your finesse still needs work…” The Elder’s voice drifted off as he closed his mismatched orbs. “Do you feel that?”

“No Master, but I can feel your agitation to some degree.” Janos looked around. “May I ask what you are referring to?” The Adumarian furrowed his brow. “This seems an unlikely place for unexpected events or visitors.”

“I sense something. A feeling of something impending, a potential for trouble. The Dark Side connects us in particular to this sensation somehow.” The madman stood up and unplugged his main lightsaber from a charge-port. “My own farseeing skills are not so refined as to be able to say exactly what. All of us have limits and I spent most of my time refining my combat skills and science acumen.”

“I feel we should go investigate,” said Janos as he rolled his new arm around in the socket. “It itches some, but it feels strangely good.” The arm was red-skinned and had nasty looking black claws on the end of the nails. “It will take some time to get used to though. I don’t feel any obvious rejection effects."

“I don’t think you will,” nodded Macron as the two headed for the portal that led out of the laboratory. “The Sith of old and humans are not so different in physiology. With the loss of a limb and cybernetic replacements you lose some connection to the Force. But with a living arm engineered of flesh and blood, you will not. Especially one grown from that sort of genetic material. We should go and find Lord Ashen. He is a few levels above us I’m told. I think he will be interested in meeting you.”


Deep Research Levels
Level 13
Under Cenota Facility

Janos paused to stretch a moment after being hunched over for so long. His work was promising in that it was teaching him a great deal, even if it wasn’t really accomplishing anything constructive. Not that it mattered given the stock of Trandoshans he was working on. He just wanted them to hurt. He didn’t care how or why so long as they did.

Grabbing his saber, he silently followed his master through the twists and turns of the lab. Not for the first time he thought about how amazing this place was. He had worked in an Imperial lab loaded out by a pirate captain in the belly a Star Destroyer. Yet, in this place he was far better equipped and protected. Perks of the Brotherhood he guessed.

As he followed Macron toward the fuzzy feeling in the Force that he thought might be Muz Ashen. It was difficult to tell, as his study in the area of detection was very lack luster. As they moved closer, however, he was able to make out two distinct Force signatures. He couldn’t tell much about each one but they were there.

“Master, when you reach out with the Force what do you see? Right now, I can find you easily and two others. But that’s really it.”

“We don’t really ‘see’ anything. It’s more just a picture our minds paint using the Force as a medium. Silhouettes in space is what most of us see. Sith don’t often train in that particular aspect of the Force simply because it’s a waste of time. Our Code demands we be ready for anything so why bother with identification?” He paused for a moment as if in thought then continued. “To answer your question more directly I ‘see’ what, in my mind, makes people unique. You will develop that in time. The ripple in the Force we are currently investigating is not a skill I often use, nor is it one I excel at, but when it happens I make a point to head it. As you should.”

As they entered the turbolift the Alchemist seemed jumpy. As if his body had suddenly become infused with energy and he couldn’t stand still. A slow wicked smile crept across his face.
“You are in for a treat. It seems Master Ashen has taken to the sparring arena with some of our remotes


Testing Arena
Beneath Cenota Facility

The droids twitched, their sensors glowing unnaturally, servos erratic as linbs spun, bringing weapons into play as they came from theri crates. Fine bolts of electricity danced across their carapaces, the dark energy of the Force animating them in ways beyond the ken of most, having been largely lost when the Winnowing of the Orders came to pass. Few recalled the complex rites, the glitch in the Force that twisted their mechanical bodies.

They ambled forward carefully, optical sensors flickering with spectrum shifts and momentary recalculations as they approached him. It had been years since they saw their old master, the one who brought them consciousness to fight the Jedi on Antei. Each of them recalled the battle, the joy of spilling so much blood into the sands of that curseworld. It wasn’t long after the Dark Hall was reclaimed that they were sent away, to the ministrations of the Techweaver. There was never any explanation, never any discussion.

Only pain.

That word had new meaning to them now, far expanded from the definitions uploaded in their language centers. The Techweaver taught them many things. Cruelty was not the right word, but it was close. They learned efficiency, patterns of attack to make them ever more formidable to the Jedi, the Sith. It was not an easy road. Four of their number did not make it, the synthetic screams of souls that should never have been discovering the great answer. Until yesterday. Without explanation, without discussion, packed into crates yet again.

The reverberating snarl of energized adegans reached their auditory sensors. The six of them shifted their optics back to regular spectrum in unison, seeing the golden rays of dawn erupting from their old master’s hands.

So it was to end.

He held himself back, letting his mind forget what the world was bringing to him, the hollow whispers of futures yet to pass retreating to the purity of the present. They bounded toward him, electrostaves whirling and screaming their discordant cries as they saught his flesh.

The Lion twisted, his body simply not where the droids placed their weapons, his blades seething to improbable angles to catch their energized weapons. He gave ground readily, circling back toward the center of the hall as he silently invited them to press their attack. He tempted them, playing up weaknesses in his guard, leaving opportunity for them to exploit. Servos groaned and whirred, motors and rotors grinding as they moved to intercept, their weapons seeking the obvious and otherwise.

Again and again, he kept them on the offensive, batting away their strikes as though they were mere children, ignoring those strikes that he had already maneuvered around. They kept trying to hem him in, attacking from multiple angles at once, trying to overwhelm him with as many attacks as they could manage at once, to no avail.

Their protocols screamed at them as they began to take risks, knowing that they had the numerical advantage. One of them lunged at an opening, trying to catch him before he moved, falling into the traps of Sokan. Off-balance, the hunter droid slipped on the cold duracrete, metallic feet scuffing and tumbling forward. One outstretched hand waved it away in the most literal sense. Unseen ethers swept the droid back against the wall, a twitch of the Master’s fingers deactivating the internal switch that only he knew about. It collapsed against the wall, sliding down to a heap, eyes still animated and alive even as its body ceased to take orders.

The others froze, dissecting the situation. Questions that they knew would never be answered chirped across their subvocal comms. They never had a real chance here, yet it was not an execution. The others, in the balcony above, robes and armors marking them as members of the same Clan, Foxtrot Uniforms. Was it to be an exhibition?

Muz stood up straight, his sabers evaporating, the golden weapons slipping into the concealed holsters at his back as he watched them step back away from him, analyzing.

“Welcome back, boys.” He stepped forward, his hand pulling a thread of the Force through the deactivated brother, bringing its body back online. They took a knee, optical sensors locked on him, staccato movements and pale glimmers bouncing across them in a parody of life.

Muz flipped open the datapad in his prosthetic, the commlink connecting to his ship in half a moment. “Blackwind. Six. Alert maintenance.” There was a quick and quiet response, and the arm panel slid closed. “Macron, I feel you watching me. Bring your student down here.”


Deep Research Levels
Under Cenota Facility

Jade smiled at the mini explosion. The container shaking a bit in her hand as she poured the two chemicals together. As the puff of gas dissipated the clear liquid turned a deep shade of purple, almost black. Something inside of her grinned, clouding her own purple irises to a soulless black.
She put the container on the counter and looked around the smaller lab. Macron was still surprised he had had to hand over the keys to allow her to play in the lab. However, truth be told, of all the people to give access to, a former apprentice wasn’t a bad choice. Though she half wondered if part of him suspected she might complete the Master Student circle and try to kill him. She laughed to herself, he was one of the few she respected, or would consider family, it really was a strange thought…Is it?

Jade frowned, her eyes returning to their purple colour as she shook the voice from her head, she really needed to take a break from creating in the lab. Something she guessed her test subjects would be all too happy to agree with. Rolling her shoulders and turning her neck, her joints popped, stiff from bending over in the lab for so long. Her claws tapped against the table as she looked around the lab. So many things to play with. So many things she could…

The force shimmied with a wave of power, power that made something in her jump. Jades body turned as she looked towards the door, her ears perked. As the power swirled by again, her body crouched, her claws extending, her pupils dilating. Had anyone been in the room with her they would have seen the look of a predator startled by the sense of a possible threat, then take a defensive stance. One of the subjects in the lab moaned, causing her to turn towards it. She laughed at herself. Though there was definite power, there hadn’t been a threat, at least not towards her. Yet something inside of her coiled like a serpent, as though trying to hide and protect itself.

She felt Macron and Janos heading out, allowing her to come to her senses and instantly recognizing the power source as Muz Ashen. She shook her head, and put a cap on the container. She really needed to get out of the smaller lab, and why not go find out what kind of trouble they were likely going to get into. Taking another look around the lab, just to make sure she didn’t leave anything that could cause a bigger explosion, fire, or let something lose that shouldn’t be, she shut up the lab and headed towards Macron and Janos.


On Way To Testing Arena
Beneath Cenota Facility

“We’ve located one access point we can use to carry out the objective Ma’am. We’re not sure on the overall security of the facility however so chance at success comes in below fifty percent.” The black-garbed soldier advised her through the comm link.

“Make it so.” came the short reply.

Two soldiers peeled off from the main party and headed towards the pinged location on their incomplete survey maps. Nothing depended on them and Ophelia was well aware they were simply here to cause a distraction for her. She didn’t care, what use were those who could not wield the Force? They were pathetic morsels, relying on the scraps given to them by those better than them. She scowled under her hood and kept walking. They neared one of the turbolifts and after a couple of minutes of waiting for the lift to arrive they entered and began the descent.

As they disembarked the lift and proceeded along a new corridor the sounds of fighting reached their ears. The soldiers hands instantly went to the grips of their slung rifles but Ophelia waved a hand and they relaxed momentarily. She had forgotten the stench of these pits, she found it fascinating as it reminded her of the best parts of life and all that ends. A sickening grin wrapped itself across her face. As they neared the door to the pit she reached out with the Force operating the mechanism so they could walk straight through.

Her gaze drifted along the ranks of the assembled. This wasn’t what she expected, but she hadn’t specified Ashen arrived alone after all. Her twisted smile left her face as she walked to the edge of the pit and looked down. Broken bodies littered the ground and her eyes drifted lazily across the carnage until they fixated upon the man who had caused it.

Her gaze caught his and they inclined their heads to one another to confirm they had noticed each other. She moved back to the troopers and simply waited for the man to arrive on her level. She had had no words of the two that had departed to gain access to the network in an attempt to briefly gain control of the facilities systems. No alarms had been raised yet so either they had gotten lost, the point was useless and they were searching for a new one or they were dead. Though given they were assigned as her new security team they were under strict instructions to bluff their way out of a combat scenario.

She slipped herself out of her thoughts and turned her attention back to the pits entrance and awaited the arrival of the great Muz Ashen. Everything was as it should be, to an extent. These others in the room shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but him. The man now only just ascending the small lift designed to take passengers in and out of the pit. Well, he was a different matter, if rumours were true he was akin to a god.

She was curious if gods bled. She would find out soon.


Testing Arena Balcony
Beneath Cenota Facility

“A fascinating display of both Mech Deru and the art of Sokan,” commented
Macron as he lifted an arm in acknowledgement. “Let’s heed his wishes
quickly.” The Alchemist and the Acolyte stepped to the platform that
lowered into the arena.

“I noticed his blades were golden,” stated Janos. “I’ve not seen those
before. Can you explain that please?” The Adumarian looked interested-
he was a sponge of scientific knowledge and had a serious hunger for

“I could, certainly. However, why don’t you ask him yourself?” The madman
smiled. “Grandmaster Ashen can be intimidating but he has always dealt
with me- and others- fairly. True, he has killed quite a few people but
in my mind that’s part of the job and the way of the Force.”

The platform hit the bottom and the door slid open. Muz Ashen stood
impassively. “I’m actually going up, gentlemen. We have visitors. I’ll
explain about the blades later, Janos is it?”

“Yes, my lord.” The Sorcerer took a knee respectfully. “Thank you.”

Muz gestured the Acolyte to his feet. “No need to be quite so formal but I
appreciate the gesture.” The Krath Lord stepped into the lift and nodded
approvingly. “Your students are always so formal Macron. You appreciate
the old ways.”

“Yes, Lord Ashen I do. Though my own upbringing was less than formal I found
something when I spent time on Kyataru. Adherence to old traditions can
be a stabilizing force.”

“That is true,” mused the Grandmaster as the lift began to move upwards. “It
can also stifle your growth if heeded mindlessly. I doubt that is an
issue you have though. Stabilization is good for you Mononoke. Just do
us all a favor and don’t kill this one.” He looked at Janos. “Nice arm. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors.”

The Acolyte looked at Macron pointedly. “Roxas mentioned something but not really, my Lord. I mostly keep to myself. My master hasn’t illuminated me on those points just yet.”

Muz chuckled quietly. “Ask him about Qifaxa. In any case, we’ve arrived. Prepare yourselves. Our
visitors have murderous intent. They are here for me personally but don’t hesitate to defend yourselves.”

“Excellent,” giggled the Alchemist as he drew his orange lightsaber and hefted it
unlit . Janos drew a heavy blaster pistol and stood to the side of the door opening to take cover.


Testing Arena Balcony
Beneath Cenota Facility

Jade stepped onto the balcony, watching the other darksiders. It felt like something was pulling at her ankles, trying to drag her back away from them, but she knew there was nothing along the floor.

He was doing his best not to allow her to get to close to the three men, but it wasn’t easy. He didn’t have the option to full on control her, especially not with the high level of power awaiting not far away. It would be too much of a dead give away, and he wasn’t strong enough yet to even hope to survive any attempt that might be made to expel him. Well, at least by the one. Though he would certainly do his best to take her with him. How sweet would it be if he managed to stay hidden and get rid of the power before him, maybe even take it for himself. He grinned within her body, the action accidentally making her smile along with him, he needed to be more careful.

Jade ignited her purple blade, the snap hiss close behind Macron causing him to turn around. She grinned, licking her bottom lip. Looking from him to her saber she loosened her wrist, allowing the blade to swing in a circle, the hum changing tunes with the motion. “Care to make another bet Macron?”

“No, that didn’t work out to my advantage last time.”

Jade chuckled.


Testing Facility
Beneath Cenota Facility

He stepped off of the lift, the movement trailed by the treated leather of his famed warcoat. He watched her lower into a fighting stance, the leg kicked out far in front, an esoteric variant on the Juyo method, overly stylized, yet somehow still brutish. He stopped, letting the lift raise up behind him, leaving him there alone with her, surrounded by the dead. She managed a feral smile, teeth glinting in the half light at her target.

“On behalf of the One Sith, you have been judged and found lacking.” She languidly let the words slither off her tongue, enjoying the feel of the words she had practiced for how long now.

He stood there, motionless, watching her with the black eyes of a deep sea predator, betraying no emotion.

“Any final words, false Lord?”

Muz lowered his head a degree. Ophelia nearly missed the gesture, her sneering contempt for the man flicking along the edges of her nerves, a dull throbbing itch in her thumb begging her to press the activation stud and spill her saber blades into the world. Of course he hadn’t any final words. Words were unnecessary. Lowering his center of gravity, she couldn’t help but let out a chuckle as she sprung.

The stave illuminated in midair as she hurled it at him, the blades humming as they sought the blood of the Lion. His head turned, the saber caught in his unseen hand, wrenched away from her invisible grip and cast aside without compunction. She snarled, diving after it, hand outreached, pulling it back into her hand as she rolled into a defensive velocity, finding nothing.

He stood in the same spot as a moment ago. She swore she saw disappointment in the murk of his eyes. It slid across the back of her mind like warm water, soothing and irritating in the same awful way. She stood, rage growing in her heart, storming directly at him, the staff whirling in her hands. She brought the blade to bear, snarling ever closer, cauterising light seething toward the Lord’s body as he stood there, unmoving.

Without warning, he blurred the lines of reality, unnatural speed stepping within the arc of her weapon, his hand finding the hilt of her weapon and stilling it. She blinked in surprise, and by the time her eyelids had opened, she felt the pulse of the Force lend itself to his strength, tearing the weapon from her grip yet again and tossing it aside.

She screamed, bounding backward away from him, the urge in her heart growing to a fever pitch, echoing across the back of her mind, into the shadows, down the hallway. She felt the cold floor beneath its feet, the cupric taste in its mouth from gnashed teeth. She laughed, drawing herself up to her full height, letting the vibration burn through her senses, shaking her body as it wormed through to her fingers, coiling, coalescing at fingertips that started to char as she built the power. She felt the other behind her, slinking in the shadows, awaiting the opportunity. She let the power seethe from her pores, thundering as it slipped from her control.


The lightning flung toward the Lion, the static teeth clashing against each other as it soared at him, her beast pouncing from the dark, maw extended, teeth the size of daggers and just as sharp.

The Lion’s hand moved, deflecting the bolts of cerulean power and bouncing them away from him, sending them at the Tuk’ata, pouring her own hate into her loved pet. The Sith Hound half yelped and half growled as the bolts tore it off its course, sending it to skittering disarray to her left. She snarled, pulling her saber back into her hand, the beams erupting as soon as it found her hand again.

“Coward.” She swore at him, at his calm, at his dismissal, at his utter disregard for the death she was here to deliver to him.

Muz lowered his head a degree, his sabers lifting from his belt and flying to his hands, the sunset tones of his weapons bathing his form in cruel light and harsh shadows.


The word reverberated across her ears and mind, the voice deep and strong, shaking her teeth and rattling her sinuses. She shook it off like a bad dream and awoke to find a new nightmare.

He was upon her, blades screaming at her. She fell backwards, trying to keep the blades from her heart, from her head. Marks of contact arrived, teasing cuts across her arm, her leg, drinking her flesh so easily, despite the sweat that built at her brow. It was an unrelenting assault, the waves of light crashing against her shore in spectacular fashion. She panted, trying to back away, forcing her muscles to move her ever faster, away from the obscene onslaught.

The sounds of sabers powering down sang to her, her eyes going wide as she recognized that he had stopped following her. The realization tore at her ego, her self-worth. She panted, feeling the sweat evaporate off of her, cooling her skin, despite the burns that throbbed across her body, superficial wounds as if meant to punish an errant child. She twisted her mind, the command reflected off of the Tuk’ata’s mind.

She watched in horror as the saber dropped from behind his warcoat, catching in midair and spinning up to intercept the leaping sith hound. Seconds seemed to slow as she watched the beam scream from the emitter and through the jaws of the beast. The severed teeth started to fall with the ruined flesh and cauterized detritus. The smell burned into her nostrils, sickly sweet and corrupted like rot in a fire. The sound filled her ears, a desperate wail and feral howl rolled into one as she felt the connection fade.

The last breath of the tuk’ata rattled past a ruined tongue, and Ophelia realized the howl was her own. She let the rage drive her to her feet, the blade screaming in her hands as she sought revenge. She let the rage build her actions to a crescendo, testing his defenses with a flurry of attacks, driving him back on the defensive. He moved in a constant blur, footwork and body placement ensuring that he wasn’t assailable before she even finalized the attack in her mind. She pressed onward, the razor hum of energized adegans building as the Grand Master reignited his weapons, drawing her blade off center, playing with her sense of balance.

He teased her with openings in his guard, leaving windows of opportunity open for her, as if he was asking her to strike him down, to push ever harder, to actually accomplish what most thought impossible. She bashed away at him, fury guiding her hand as the hollow feeling in her head started to take root. The void left by the connection itched her where she could not reach. The thought of it found purchase in her throat as she pressed on.

She flung herself into the attack wildly, her blade slipping around his violet saber. The world slowed down in her eyes again, the adrenaline skewing her perception as she watched the edge of her blade inch toward the lion’s heart, joy building in her own soul.

And then the crack of power danced along her senses, the crimson beam severing her weapon at the emitter, her blade evaporating into the ether. She swore, cursing all the gods as she spun the weapon around, but it was already too late. She felt something wrong, the world slanting to the right as she felt warmth in her leg. She had made a critical miscalculation, her peripheral vision seeing the violet arc continue its path up, seething toward her arm as she fell into it.

Spittle erupted from her mouth, frothed by rage, by the betrayal of her own body. Muz’s sabers vanished, floating toward their homes at his waist as he reached out, his metallic hand grabbing her by the face and throwing her away from him, away from the rest of herself.

She crashed into the wall, stars clouding her vision as she slid to the floor, the grinding of gears in her remaining limbs trying to right herself against gravity. Muz walked toward her, his mind reaching out and turning the screws on her prosthetics. Wires disconnected, gears stripped, and plates fell to the ground with a clatter as she could do nothing but watch him stop directly in front of her, lowering himself to a crouch to leek her in her eyes.

It was over. She smiled. It was finally over. The pain, the hunger, the blurred memories, the loss, the endless war and reckless hate.

“Finish it.”

He watched her process the situation, emotionless. She groaned as she tried to worm her torso up against the wall as she slid, stumps sliding across the floor and finding no leverage. She sighed, watching the corners of her vision lose definition.

“Finish it, Lord.” She felt blood drip from her lips, a cough rattling past her ragged mouth. She licked her lips, feeling chipped teeth. He had won. Wasn’t that enough? Did he have to gloat? Was he using her as an example?

He stood up, turning away.


He paused, looking down at her before turning to the balcony.

“Say something, you monster.”

She scowled. He couldn’t leave her like this. He would never leave an enemy behind. It was against everything she had ever heard, everything she had ever read. All of her research.

“I will never stop.” She growled, the edge of her voice warbling from the pain.

He turned back, crouching down suddenly, his hand gripping the side of her face. She stared into his eyes, studying the corners of where pale flesh met the ink.

“I hate you.” she spat.

Muz allowed himself a half smile, the expression drawing out the corners of his eyes as his lips exposed his teeth. “I will show you how to hate.”

She swore she saw his eyes burn as the colors grew brighter yet, then dimmed to a dull reflection, as though she was seeing the world through a filter. His hand twitched, pulling the world from her mind, the aching void from the death throbbing into something worse. Her mouth fell open as she felt the twisting threads of the Force working through her body. She slammed it closed, clenching broken teeth as she realized.

The sounds were gone, the echoes silenced forever. It was as though he pulled her soul from her, ripped off a chunk, threw it into the dirt and then shoved it back sideways. Everything seemed distant, faded as a memory from infancy. She tried to reach out, instinctively, but to no avail. He had severed more than just her limbs.

There was nothing left.


Testing Facility
Beneath Cenota Facility

As the combat between Muz Ashen and the fallen Ophelia began to close, Macron
turned to his apprentices. “This battle here is about to be a serious
fluster-cluck for Ophelia. It can only end badly for her. As there are
other enemy troopers who have dispersed into this facility, I recommend
we take care of them.” The Alchemist reached to key his comlink.

“I’m down with that,’ quipped Jade as she licked her sharp teeth. “Hunting
is my specialty.” The Cathar-human hybrid smirked. “I’m the only one
here with decent skill at illusion and infiltration.” She jerked her thumb at Macron. “He’s got no skill in that area.”

Janos looked nonplussed. “And when you get hurt, we will be here for you.”
The Sorcerer jacked an eclip into his Merr-sonn blaster. He gestured at
Macron. “Old, ugly, and crazy here is a demanding mentor. How did you
manage to survive, may I ask?”

“By the skin of my teeth,” replied the feral Dark Jedi woman quietly as
Macron ignored them both. “You’re dealing with an older and more mellow
madman. We gassed thousands at Milmefia. Those were the glory days…”

“Interesting. We should compare notes,” replied Janos as he noticed a figure in
stealth armor darting down the hall. “Got a live one here.” He braced
himself and zeroed in on the fleeting figure. His eyes betrayed him as
the camouflage wavered.

“Seek power within….” The way of the Sith came to his mind as he concentrated and stilled himself. “There!” The Sorcerer exclaimed as he let a three-shot burst fly from his weapon. The
hungry red bolts splashed into the figure as it darted into an alcove
in mortal pain.

“Research Group Theta, begin security lockdown of the facility. We have unknown
hostiles within. Alert all Warhost NBC troopers. Close all datalink and
hologram connections. Flood the hangars and egress routes with Gamuslag
atmosphere. No one leaves. Marshal Commander Sadow Out.”

The madman returned to the here and now and looked at his Apprentices. “I see you
have been idly chatting. Words are a waste of time in this situation. To
be truthful, we have little to worry about. This is not a damaging intrusion. They are sealed in and the atmosphere outside precludes their imminent departure. They can only die and then serve as raw material for the biomass vats. Or living, as you prefer. Janos, with that kill you have fulfilled your goal to be raised to the status of a Hunter."

“And what of Ophelia?” asked Jade simply. “We all know how that story ends.
I’ve seen Lord Ashen in action many times.” She wrapped the Force around
herself and began to shimmer and fade to regular sight.

“If I guess rightly, she’s going to need some major medical treatment.”
Janos smiled evilly. It was no secret that the Sorcerer had a seriously
wicked appetite for experimentation. “I’ve already called the medical
droids from Level 13 to come to this sector.”