The cover of night
Three Kom’rk class fighters launched out of the Marauder Class Corvette in the space above Daemunn, Zsoldos’ moon. They were followed closely by a LAAT carrying a large spherical object and together they descended upon the moon’s surface. Upon reaching ground the designated pilot of the leading Kom’rk, Hector Ricmore, performed a powerslide along the mud filled surface and stopped perfectly in the midst of the forest and trees. The rest of the Kom’rk’s and the LAAT dropship followed carefully behind and upon dropping the spherical machine the dropship ascended back into the sky to make an escape from the conflict that was to come.
The ramp to all the Kom’rk class fighters lowered simultaneously and immediately a selection of Battleteam Deathwatch special missions unit soldiers ran out of them, carrying a myriad of equipment to set up a base of operations in their current location. The Battleteam leader, Mystic Appius Wight, then descended down the ramp. He was flanked on his left by his apprentice and Kel Dorian Defender, Trenkyp Zkig and on his right by the Togorian and former Obelisk adherent, Rajhin, the Sith Shadow. Following behind them was Katropolis, a Togrutan Marauder and one of the newest members of Battleteam Deathwatch. Looking to prove herself on this endeavour.
“I want the area off the grid immediately. Camouflage nets, foliage and sensor jammers need to be up at once and communications with Zsoldos and the House Wren headquarters need to be operational ASAP.”
The special missions unit responded instantly to the Battleteam leader’s orders and began rummaging and creating space for the specialised equipment they brought.
“Trenkyp, Katropolis, ensure everything is in order. Its paramount that we are hidden. Make sure we weren’t seen when we came down.” Appius said, his voice deep and boomed as a result of the device within his T-shaped Mandalorian visor.
“Of course, right away, Master.” The Kel Dor didn’t argue as he began to oversee the task of making them invisible to their enemy. Appius knew he could trust him with this task, for Trenkyp was the individual who successfully cracked the code that led them to discovering the Collective presence on Zsoldos’ moon. Katropolis followed after him and nodded her head slightly at Appius.
“We won’t let you down,” the Togrutan Marauder stated with keen determination.
As the pair disappeared to complete their assigned objective, Appius reached for a pair of macrobinoculars he brought and peered through them down from their vantage point overlooking a cliff before handing them over to the Togorian stood next to him.
“What do you think?”
The Sith Shadow glanced through them with his own eyes. What he saw didn’t surprise him. The Collective base was made from local materials. Wood and stone sourced from the Daemunn landscape as well as being reinforced with durasteel they brought with them. It was small enough to remain hidden but large enough to be a considerable threat. One that needed to be eliminated. It consisted of three separate structures, the first appeared to be an administrative building with a radio dish on top. The second a canteen for their local forces and the last a bunker, used as a makeshift barracks for supplies and living quarters. A single turret remains in the middle of the base, looking overgrown with vines from the local forest but still operational.
“Seems to me to be a considerable force, patrols wander the structures and nearby woods. This must be where they staged their base for the attacks on Rulvak’s life.” The Shadow stated with only a hint of the hiss normally associated with Togorian’s as he nonchalantly passed the binoculars back to the Sorcerer stood next to him.
“I thought so too. Once we deal with them, the attempts on the Quaestor’s life should grind to a halt.”
The Togorian gave the Mandalorian Force User a glare with his predatory eyes. Causing Appius to sigh deeply.
“Don’t worry. I’ll put in a word for you with Rulvak and Amira. I already gave you a promise,” the Sorcerer said reassuringly to the Togorian.
“You better. My services are valuable.”
He wasn’t lying. There was a reason he was at the highest rank of Equite after all. His methods were unorthodox, especially for a Sith, but no-one could argue his results.
“Oh I know. You haven’t failed to show me thus far, Rajhin.” Appius smiled through his T-shaped visor until his train of thought was broken by the approaching footsteps of three more of his elite Battleteam members.
“See? I told you I could slide the ship,” The Zygerrian known as Hector Ricmore said with a smug grin on his face.
The two men next to him were the Mandalorian known as Dral Falgorth, the man responsible for providing the intel regarding the environment of Daemunn and gave the Battleteam a means of knowledge concerning the area, including where to land and the creatures that inhabited the moon. He reluctantly placed a small fistful of credits into Hector’s hand, mumbling something incoherent under his breath.
“Need to borrow some credits, Dral? I’m sure I’ve got some spare in the armor somewhere.”
The man who made that particular joke was Mauro Wynter, an Ace in his own right and armed to the teeth with Beskar Mandalorian armor and dual blasters. Both he and Hector burst out into laughter at the Mandalorian’s unfortunate luck.
“Show off…” Dral finally stated before they arrived next to their unit leader. His black beard extended past his visor onto his elite Mandalorian armor, yet despite this, it was remarkably well groomed. “So, what needs blowing up? I saw the J-1 Proton Cannon. I call dibs!”
“What!? No fair! Bringing it was my idea in the first place,” the Ace, Hector Ricmore protested. The spherical object in question was indeed the artillery they brought for this mission. But before the zygerrian could comment further he was halted by the returning presence of Katropolis and Trenkyp.
“All done,” the Kel Dor stated. “Everything is secure and we shouldn’t be able to be detected by anyone. At least not yet.”
“Always such a pessimist, Trenkyp. You both did excellent. Were there any problems?”
“Some wild animals across the forest floors but nothing like a jungle rancor just yet.” Katropolis replied, very much aware of the data Dral collected on the local wildlife.
“Camouflage is up and we should be off the grid,” declared Trenkyp, folding his arms and awaiting for his next orders.
Well done, both of you," the Battleteam leader praised before turning to his Zygerrian companion. “Sorry, Hector. Dral called dibs on this one, but I have something I need you and Mauro to do…”
This piqued the interest of both Aces but he was interrupted by the sound of one of the Battleteam recruits, a young man by the name of Wilhelm, screaming just a handful of metres away from them.
“di’kut! You call this secure? A womp rat could get in and you’d never know it. Copaani mirshmure’cye?”
The man in question, was Kano Tor Tydex. A fellow Mandalorian and weapons specialist decked in orange and grey Beskar Armor. He was the one who took the Battleteam’s influence from the Deathwatch of old most seriously. He currently had Wilhelm in a two hand grip by his throat and lifted up off the ground. Pressed against a nearby Daemunn tree was Kade Ra. One of Battleteam Deathwatch’s newest members and specialized shadow. Whilst it was Trenkyp Zkig deciphered the code and Dral Falgorth gathered data on Daemunn, it was Kade Ra who managed to get the exact location of the base from Reb Sino, the Collective agent who tried to blow up House Wren’s Quaestor. Right now, he was rather wisely keeping his distance and with his blue right eye and brown left eye watchex the conflict from the bigger, angrier man with morbid curiosity.
“Appius! It’s Kano, he’s…” Hector began to loudly voice his concerns to Appius. He was quite attached to the Deathwatch forces and the way Kano treated them didn’t sit well with him at all and the two were often at odds with each other because of it. Not to mention that damn nerfherder was choking his copilot!
Upon hearing the Battleteam Leader, Kano’s Mandalorian helmet inched ever so slightly towards them.
“We’ve already talked about this. Drop him. Or do we have to have a repeat of Kamino?”
Kano wasn’t the kind of man that liked to be ordered around, or threatened for that matter as he felt his anger rise from the pit of his gut and his fists clenched tighter around Wilhelm’s neck. He was an agent of chaos and violence, a former Rollmaster for Clan Naga Sadow and just like Appius, had created Battleteams from the ground up. Under normal circumstances, being threatened would normally cause the death of whoever was stupid enough to challenge him. But given they were about to attack a Collective base, he decided it would be better on this occasion to let it slide.
“Fine,” he stated bluntly before dropping the young man to the ground. Wilhelm scrambled to his feet and quickly made as much distance from the angry Mandalorian as he could. Kano and Kade then joined the rest of the main group quickly.
“Good, it seems like we’re all here,” exclaimed Appius briefly.
“So what’s the plan?” Kade suddenly asked. “Go in, all guns blazing and overwhelm them?”
“No,” responded Appius whilst shaking his head. “If we go in all guns blazing with all our forces, they’ll see us before we even get there and start picking us off. No, the nine of us will suffice.”
Appius’ response took Kade back a bit.
“Wait… the nine of us versus an entire collective base?”
“Yes,” responded Rajhin bluntly.
Kade looked slightly concerned for the briefest of moments until Hector decided to speak.
“It’s perfectly possible. There are plenty of examples throughout the history of the universe where a small taskforce has managed to defeat opponents that outnumber them.”
“Which reminds me, Hector, Mauro. Take a bike each and scout the best pathway down to the base.”
The Zygerrian gave a quick salute, the result of his military training within the Iron legion and left the group on one of the nearby 614-AvA Speeder Bikes. His fellow Ace nodded his head ever so slightly and followed suite.
“Be ready. Once the path has been determined we will strike. It’s time we gave them their own personal welcome to the Zsoldos system.” The Battleteam Leader stated as the group disbanded briefly to prepare themselves for battle. Ammo reserves, meditation and preparation of the Proton cannon were underway. One thing was for certain, it was time the galaxy learned just who they were and what they were made of.
Six traversed the hazardous terrain presented to them until they reached a clearing hidden just outside of the makeshift Collective base. Immediately two guards appeared to them and were patrolling just outside one of the nearby structures. Thankfully, the foliage and the cover of darkness hid the group from their presence.
“Rahjin, Kade, you know our orders. We’re taking them cold.”
The two shadows heard the Battleteam leader clearly and called upon the power of the Force to hide them from mortal eyes and vanished in moments. The plan was in motion. Now all they could do was wait for the time to strike.
With the Collective patrol
“I’m telling you, tell her you’re as fast as a vornskr and you’ll be right in there.”
“Are you sure? Seems an awful lot like bragging if you ask me, Makku.”
The two men laughed to themselves and found their own vulgar comments oddly hilarious.
“Trust me, once we are done with that Sith on Zsoldos you’ll be a hero and she’ll have no choice but to be putty in your hands! Am I right, Toran or am I right?”
He received no answer, or at least not the one he was expecting. Instead the sound of a painful, winded gasp entered his human ears.
He spun to the sight of horror before him. His friend was presented before him with a Sith Sword penetrating through his spine. The weapon was coated in an inhibiting poison which made the torture Toran was going through all the more insidious. The man holding the weapon was a Togorian with a muscular build with orange fur with black stripes laced across his face. The creatures amber eyes were that of a predator having struck its prey.
Makku shuddered and his eyes widened at the sight of his friend’s life in danger. He instantly pulled back and aimed the sights of his BlasTech A280C Blaster Rifle upon Rajhin.
“Let him go!”
The moment he screamed his order his own rib cage was separated from him by a yellow hued lightsaber. It was over in seconds and Makku dropped dead as a small trickle of blood leaked slowly out of the open wound.
“That was my kill, Acolyte,” Rajhin said with a harsh and deeper tone to his voice. Kade didn’t respond, but instead smiled cheekily back at his fellow Shadow. Within moments, the two men found themselves completely surrounded by Collective soldiers. Whether it was the sudden activation of Kade’s lightsaber or Makku’s sudden exclamation, the base was now alerted to their presence.
The Collective reinforcements, fifteen in total drew their blasters weaponry upon them, ready to fire upon command though it was clear their intention was to capture them for intel instead. Kade and Rajhin remained still, watching their backs and waiting for the signal.
With the remainder of the group.
The group watched as both Shadows became surrounded by a group of sixteen Collective patrolmen, guards and soldiers. Katropolis tapped the hilt of her lightsaber nervously and stood from her kneeling position and grabbed her weapon in her right hand.
It was the Kel Dorian, Trenkyp who spoke, grabbing her attention.
“Stand down, we need to wait for the signal,” his tone was reassuring as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
“But…” she tried to protest until Kano interjected.
“We have a plan, don’t screw it up.”
She paused for a moment until she knelt back down.
“Fine, but I don’t have to like it.”
Suddenly, the group was alerted to the Brotherhood-issued Advanced Inquisitor Comlink attached to their Battleteam Leader’s Mandalorian armor.
It was Dral’s voice coming through.
“You see that building over there in the middle?”
How could they not? It was the largest structure in the Collective base. The administration building.
Suddenly the booming sound of a plasma shell from a J-1 artillery cannon soared above them. Colliding with the intended structure and setting it ablaze in a glorious display of rubble and fire. The computer links towards the sentry turret was now destroyed and useless to their enemies. Anyone inside the structure when the explosion occurred was now dead.
“Not anymore!” Exclaimed Dral through the comlink.
“That’s the signal! Move!”
Appius shouted his order and immediately the Imperial Super Commando Jetpacks attached to Kano and Appius’ back roared to life. They ascended twenty five feet through the trees and quickly landed on either side of the two Shadows. Appius to Rajhin’s left and Kano to Kade’s right, dead in the middle of the fifteen Collective soldiers that surrounded them. Upon landing, the Sorcerer called upon the power of the Living Force and his lightsaber flew to his hand from his waist. The threw the deadly emerald blade as it arched through the air and whirled and hummed as it severed the heads of three Collective soldiers before returning to his hand.
Kano was not idle during this, far from it. Upon landing he immediately activated the grappling line situated within his Mandalorian Vambraces and it wrapped around the nearest Collective enforcer to him. He pulled back as hard as he could and as the man closed the distance the Mandalorian punched him square in his nose as hard as he could. A sickening crack could be felt under his fist as the body dropped to the ground beneath him. He stomped his left foot on the man’s face and immediately drew Merciless Glory, his personalized WESTAR 35, with little effort he fired two shots immediately in front of him. The shots collided into the foreheads of two men and they dropped to the floor harder than heavy weights. Kano threw his arm downwards and removed his foot from the grappled Collective man’s face before executing him with a blaster bolt.
Rajhin took the opportunity created by both the explosion to the main structure as well as by Kano and Appius’ to continue their own carnage. One soldier approached Rajhin and grabbed him round the Togorian throat with his forearm. The soldier was muscular and strong, but so was he and this act of aggression was what the Warlord expected, he was fluid as he escaped the man’s hold quickly by kicking the man’s shin. He quickly slipped to the side of him and with the three blades attached to The Lion’s Claw and punched them into the kidney, the inhibiting poison immediately took effect and caused numbness and paralysis around the immediate area of the wound before spreading throughout the rest of his body. With a perforated kidney, he had no hope of remaining upright. The Dark Side empowered the Sith as his own sparks of electricity jetted out of the tips of his fingers and ended the soldiers life in the most painful way possible.
From fifteen they dropped to eight in mere moments and Katropolis leapt out of the woods to join the fray, followed quickly by the Kel Dorian Defender, Trenkyp. The pair immediately activated their lightsabers, green and blue ran out of the darkness and towards the group as the remainder of this Collective force began firing their blasters at the group, trying to defend themselves as best they could. A blaster bolt barely scraped past the Togruta Marauder and was deflected to the side by the blue blade of Trenkyp’s lightsaber. She called upon the Force to empower her and increase the strength in her legs. After a moment she felt the incredible sensation of the Force within her body and she leaped at the nearest Collective guard, driving her knee into the solar plexus of her enemy before driving her lightsaber straight into his heart.
As the blaster fire rang out, Trenkyp Zkig became targeted by two of the remaining collective soldiers. He dug his feet into the ground as a smorgasbord of blaster fire soared through the air towards him. Thankfully, the Force had warned him of this attack moments in advance and he called upon the mystical power to protect him from harm. Sheathing his lightsaber, he held out his right hand as the deadly lasers impacted into what seemed to be an invisible shield conjured by the Defender.
“What the hell!?”
“Why can’t we hit him!?”
Very quickly their ammo clips were depleted which was a good thing too as the Kel Dor was beginning to struggle maintaining his defence against two consecutive attacks at once. Nonetheless, he’d done it and achieved what he set out to do. He grinned behind his breathing apparatus and used the Force, much like Katropolis, to power the muscles in his leg like fuel for a starfighter. He drew his Armory Vibrosword in his right hand and his Armory Vibroblade in his left, approached in-between the three Collective soldiers and swung his weapons with all his might to his left and continued his momentum to his right. Three bodied dropped dead next to him and upon hitting the ground it suddenly occurred to the Defender that despite Appius’ brutal training methods, he couldn’t deny the results were beginning to show. After all, he exceeded his Master’s expectations in the test of strength, speed and stamina the Battleteam Leader made for them not too long ago.
The remaining six of the Collective patrol huddled together and began to retreat back into the base itself. Blaster fire rang at them and was deflected by three lightsabers, two green and one blue as well as a Sith Alchemy sword. Kano was about to roll to the side and unleash Merciless Glory upon them once again, but before he had a chance, two speeder bikes appeared out of the woods and sped towards them. Driven by Hector Ricmore and Mauro Wynter, the Zygerrian was first to gun down two from his speeder bike as he sped past and drifted to take his position next to the group. Mauro, on the other hand was also able to use the Deathwatch bikes weapons to blast one square in the chest and for his second victim decided to perform a ‘Hit and Run’ maneuver as steel framing collided with soft flesh. He pulled up in front of the group and suddenly all eight were together.
The lone soldier staggered backwards away from the group and collapsed onto his back. His entire group was dead and laid in scattered body parts and the motionless, lifeless horror in front of him perturbed him greatly. He quivered and shuffled back as fast as he could only to be stopped by the legs of an invisible body. He looked up and slowly the silhouette of Kade Ra emerged into appearance once more. It would be the last thing he ever did as the swooshing of Kade’s lightsaber penetrated his skull. The body slumped over as lifeless as as all the others.
“I wondered what happened to you,” spoke Appius curiously as the Shadow Acolyte responded with a sly wink in his direction.
Suddenly a claxon esque alarm boomed through the forest, the source of which was the base they were attacking. They began to make their way towards the remaining structures only to be confronted by more Collective reinforcements. Before they had the chance to mount a counterattack against the Battleteam they were gunned down by a series of BlasTech E-11s sniper rifles from the cliff looking above. They rained their demise upon as each man and woman on whatever race they were apart of fell over each other.
Two Collective ships emerged from behind the fires and smoke of the central structure. No doubt they were important Collective personnel looking to make an escape from the carnage. Appius activated the Comlink attached to his wrists.
“Dral, do you see those ships?”
He didn’t receive his answer straight away until the ships collided with a proton missile. They exploded in the air in a magnificent display of fire and death.
“What ships?” Dral replied with an incredibly smug tone in his voice.
“Thank you, Dral,” Appius responded with a smirk behind his visor. Reminiscent of his own master.
“Appius, I’m out of ammo. I can’t get those last two buildings close to you.”
They brought enough ammo to level each structure in the base the Collective had made on Daemunn but when Dral destroyed the ships trying to leave the moon’s surface it left him short to finish off what was left. The ground force was to serve as a distraction whilst Dral conducted his explosive business.
“Not to worry, you’ve done great. Regroup with the rest of us down here when you can. We’ll handle this personally.”
The Battleteam Leader cut his communication. It looked to not everything was going to be as planned.
“You all heard that right?” He asked his team.
“Yes, we are on clean up duty,” claimed Mauro as the engine of his speeder bike whirled to life. He raced towards the nearest structure to him as those inside unleashed blaster fire to try and stop him. But the Imperial was smarter than that. Upon closing in on the structure, his jetpack propelled him off the bike and to the safety of cover behind a nearby landspeeder. The bike, however, did not slow in its advance and crashed into the structure, exploding and killing everyone on the lower levels. Mauro retrieved his BlasTech RSKF-44 Heavy Blaster Pistols From his waist. Awaiting for any potential surviving enemies to appear. But when they didn’t, he simply walked back to the group like nothing happened.
“You don’t look very impressed, Appius,” He said whilst noticing the slump in the shoulders of the Force Disciple in question.
“You’re not the one that has to explain to the Clan summit why we need another Speeder Bike…” Appius responded with evident concern in his voice.
“Don’t you be getting any ideas,” Appius said pointing at the Zygerrian who held up his hands defensively.
“Don’t worry, I don’t have a jetpack.” Hector replied as if that was the only thing stopping him.
But just as the group lost one bike, another arrived this time ridden by Dral Falgorth.
“You took your sweet time,” commented Kano with folded arms and an irritated tone to his speech.
“Sorry, I decided to take the scenic route,” sarcastically replied Dral as he stepped off of the bike itself. “So at the risk of sounding like a broken Holocron, what needs blowing up?”
“The last building, we think it was the barracks.”
It was Trenkyp who responded to his question.
“There’s nine of us now, is that enough?” Asked Katropolis, holding her lightsaber hilt firm in her grip.
“Easily.” Responded Rajhin with a confidence to him.
“So, shall we?” Kade asked, acting chivalrous as he did so.
As the nine Deathwatch members approached the final structure to be destroyed a smorgasbord of resistance from the Collective emerged out of it. Hector was the first to respond by drawing upon his Nightsister Energy Bow, he quickly pulled back an arrow as pure plasma embedded into the heart of an unlucky soldier, melting the organ and surrounding flesh instantly before he drew upon another arrow launching it into the crowd of Collective in front of him.
Trenkyp was the first to reach them, eager to prove himself, his lightsaber hummed and with the Force enhancing his capabilities he concentrated his efforts on deflecting blaster bolts and counter attacking whilst providing the team with the necessary support as a Defender normally does. Appius stretched out with the Force like an extension of himself and suddenly one particular individual was raised into the air like gravity made him weightless. He was quickly gunned down by relentlessly by the Mercenaries of the group and the flamethrowers that were apart of Kano and Mauro’s Mandalorian Vambraces emerged like a viper towards their enemies. Engulfing them and setting them ablaze. The shadows of the group, Rajhin and Kade, did what they always do best. Work solo and pick off enemies from behind one by one and Katropolis moved from one enemy to the next, putting her Marauder capabilities to good work.
Dral on the other hand had only one thing in mind. He clutched his Tostovin Munitions Micro-Grenade Launcher and aimed through the immediate doorway. He pulled the trigger and high explosive after high explosive flew through the air into the barracks, slowly tearing it apart until one particular explosion destroyed the main support holding the wooden building together as his crumbled in front of them all. Kicking up ash and dust around them. Behind his Mandalorian helmet, Dral smiled.
“And it is done?”
Appius held the holoprojector in his hand. The blue hue outlined the House Wren Quaestor, Rulvak Qurroc, who stood with his arms folded behind his back.
“Yes, it is done, it was a small Collective base they were operating out of on Daemunn. Nothing we couldn’t handle.”
The Sorcerer moved the Holoprojector to show the half sephi the destruction of the base just overlooking the cliff. The Battleteam’s key members were not only successful in destroying Collective influence in their sector, but also ending the attempts on the Quaestor’s life. Not to mention controlling the inevitable fires that sprung from their actions, leaving only embers, smoke and ash behind.
“Very good, excellent work. This is much better. Return to Zsoldos at once. It appears Vizsla is having issues with another Clan of the Brotherhood.”
The message was abrupt as the communication ended. Though what Rulvak said shook the Mystic to his core.
Issues with another Clan? That can’t be good…
Nonetheless, he brushed the thought to the back of his mind and focused on the evenings events. They had done well and he was both proud and impressed with his Battleteam. Trenkyp, Kade, Katropolis, Kano, Hector, Rajhin, Dral and Mauro.
He was thoroughly impressed with them all. He was thankful to have such a strong group in his Battleteam and as he ascended up the ramp of one of the Battleteam Deathwatch Kom’rk class fighters he knew didn’t need the Living Force to understand they could handle whatever came their way. For better or for worse.
Three Kom’rk class fighters and a LAAT dropship carrying a J-1 Proton cannon launched into the skies above Daemunn.
Their destination, Zsoldos.
Olaror, bie apd kapr. Nah viz tisut.