[GJW XIV] Clan Vizsla Run-On

Godless Matron

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE : Dispose of threats to the monstrous Shroud Syndicate command ship and protect the Brotherhood’s new potential allies, the Tenixir Revenants.

SITUATION : In the wake of the Tenixir prison break, the infamous Godless Matron of the Shroud Syndicate was recalled to Arx to serve as a “neutral” meeting ground for leaders of the newly formed Tenixir Revenants and Brotherhood representatives. The vessel is now a prime target for Collective forces, which have dispatched a small assault flotilla from Command Battle Group Ostara – presumably with the intent to capture the Matron or, failing that, to destroy it.

If your Clan provides aid to the Matron , the Shroud Syndicate will remember and repay it with dividends following the conclusion of the War. Defending the Matron will also increase the Tenixir Revenants’ opinion of the Brotherhood.

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Godless Matron

Arx System

Selika Roh smiled to herself as the main battlefield came into focus. Despite being a little late to the party, the impressive bulk of the Godless Matron would still turn the tide of this space battle. As the Lucrehulk-class battleship tore through space, turbolasers blasting, one of the bridge crew turned in alarm. A few enemy capital ships warped into view, and begin flooding nearby space with their fighters. “My Lady, there’s an incoming Collective assault!”

“I see it. Focus on engaging the capital ships attacking the shield. Deploy all our defenses.”

Selika glared at a nearby monitor, carefully studying the sensor readouts being displayed. Some of the Clans had sent their ships and starfighters to help defend the Godless Matron - that was a good sign. It was imperative to try and focus on the ships attacking Arx’s planetary shield, and despite the Matron’s impressive size, she would need all the help she could get.

“Boarding parties incoming,” another bridge officer reported. “Some of them are going to get through. I think they’re targeting Chute Town.”

“Alert any incoming Clans sending in defensive squads, then warn our security forces and the prominent gangs.”

“What if the gangs turn on us in the chaos?” the officer asked. Everyone knew that most of the gangs could not be trusted. Indeed, some of the Clans were no better.

Everyone will get the rewards I deem they deserve,” Selika replied in a tone that carried as much threat as it did hope.


Chute Town

Darcy ducked behind some barrels as another burst of blaster fire whizzed around. He was definitely not fond of fighting, but in the event of a full-scale siege, he could show some flexibility. Hopping quickly to his knees, the teenager fired a couple of shots from his energy slingshot before dashing forward again.

He wasn’t too happy about what was happening; the Godless Matron, in all her glory, offered a neutral location where people wanting to sell could meet people wanting to buy. She was a perfect utopia of scum and villainy floating through the galaxy. This wasn’t his first time trying to sell crates of ‘precious minerals’ to some of the more gullible gangs in Chute Town, but the deal ended quickly with some harsh words over a radio, and then an invasion! How was one supposed to make some credits while dealing with this kind of environment?!

The teenager muttered angrily to himself as he took cover around a corner. Someone - the Collective, judging by the uniforms - had begun boarding some of the nearby docks and were stomping around. The gangs would fight back, but the last place Darcy wanted to be was in the middle of a fight. He had the bad luck of trying to make his deal in the middle of one of the docking areas when the enemy ships began arriving, but if he could find another dock nearby, he might be able to find himself a new ship… or some reinforcements to do the fighting for him…

A mixture of first responders from the Herald’s security forces and random thugs from the two local gangs started pouring in as Darcy tried to push his way through to the next docking area.

Chute town
Godless Matron
Arx System

A blaster bolt zipped by Occultan Iacul’s head as he slid into cover, already taking aim. Allowing his momentum to pull him into a crunch, the Human squeezed his WESTAR-M5s trigger in quick succession. Two smoking holes in the Collective soldier’s chest let a sense of vengeance for his ruined day wash through the Reaver. Everything had been going so well, he had won a few rounds of Sabacc, made some good contacts, and was on the way to a cute young lady’s room when the Collective had struck.

“Of all the days, of course it had to be my karfin’ day off,” the Mandalorian muttered as he scanned the area for hostiles. Finding none, Iacul rushed forward toward the next set of cover.

The Human took his time as he moved to the closest hangerbay. It wouldn’t do to not secure the hangerbay, even if it was for just long enough to get on a ship. Occultan had fought in his fair share of battles and wars. He wasn’t a coward, though he certainly was not fool enough to stick around in a war zone without any guarantee of pay for his services. As the Mandalorian came into sight of the hanger he noted a strange ball of energy flying at a Collective soldier.

The energy ball harmlessly impacted the soldier’s armor, causing the man to turn and open fire at where he had been shot from. It was then that Iacul noted a teenager crouching behind some crates.

“Damned fool is going to get himself killed using a toy like that.”

Shouldering the WESTAR-M5 again the Human moved his finger to the second trigger. Carefully aiming slightly higher than his target Occultan fired the high explosive and the Collective soldier became engulfed in the resulting explosion. As the rumble of the detonation died down Iacul jogged up to the teenager.

“Toys like that can be fun, but not exactly useful on the battlefield.” The Mandalorian joked as he crouched beside Darcy, “How have you lived this long?”

Near hangar bay
Godless Matron
Arx System
Aeternus had been on his way to Arx when the battle broke out, and relatively near the Godless Matron when she joined the fight. Seeing how she was about to be boarded, he diverted course to join the fight himself. Or rather, he had his ship fly there itself.

While the droid brain and navigation droid worked together to put his ship down on the docking platform, he made his way to the airlock. As he felt the touchdown, he punched the airlock release to get out, and quickly surveyed the area around him.

Several squads of enemy troopers were moving around, some taking notice of his gunship, but with the general traffic going on, he was not yet being considered a threat. Instead, a squad was moving on two targets that had taken out some of their brethren: one that was armoured as a Mandalorian, and one youngster, with the troops right between himself and the two of them. The two were busy talking, and had not yet spotted the squad flanking them. As they took aim, the Sith Lord raised his hand, and eldritch lightning crackled from his palm, hitting the first trooper in the side, and jumping from one to the other, taking them out of commission within moments.

Their screams got the attention of the two huddling behind the crates. They turned, and opened fire on the troopers. To their credit, their shots hit, but those were mostly mercy kills at that point. However, once the troopers were down, their aim moved to him, unsure of his intentions. He could not blame them, he was an unknown to them, and had suddenly and violently taken out several armed troopers. He would be wary of such a thing, too.

He gestured at the troops on the ground, now nothing more than flaming husks. “I just took down that squad, if I wanted you dead, you would be. Instead, I suggest we secure this place, and mount a counterattack.”, he told them. “There are plenty more where these came from”.

Hanger Bay
Godless Matron
Arx System

With the practiced ease of someone who had made more than a few landings in a contested area, Farrin Xies Tarentae flared the wings of his Delta-class Escort Shuttle and set the craft down in the vast hanger bay of the Godless Matron. With one hand on the flight controls and the other on the engine throttle, he intently watched the scanner readout of what he had just come into. The urgent orders from Vizsla command to land had brought him in a hurry, but the former Headmaster had little idea of what the situation was aboard the battleship; seeing no hostiles immediately present, he decided to find out.

As he stepped out the airlock of his ship, left hand resting at his belt on the hilt of one of his sabers, he surveyed the area. The unmistakable sound of lightning quickly drew his attention and he instinctively drew both of his lightsabers, white blades coming alight. A short distance away, Farrin spied the unmistakable figure of Darth Aeternus, a Sith Lord and Tarentae that he hadn’t seen since the dissolution of their former Clan. Disengaging his weapons and returning them to his belt, he trotted across the short span between them and called out to his former Clanmate.

“Aeternus, it’s been some time!”

The Sith Lord turned, hand straying to his own weapon before he recognized his fellow Tarentae.

“Indeed it has, Xies. More of a proper reunion will have to wait, we hav-” The unmistakable sound of combat boots clanging against the metal deck cut Aeternus short as both Tarentae turned toward the sound. Another squadron of enemy troops was swiftly en route to their position, likely looking for their comrades that the Sith Lord had recently turned into smoldering remains. Ever the battlefield tactician, Aerternus took cover behind a large packing crate and motioned for Farrin to do the same. From under his robes, Aeternus drew his lightsabers and in a voice barely louder than a whisper instructed his fellow Tarentae to wait for his signal. Though it was only a few seconds, time seemed to slow as the enemy approached.

“Go!”

The Sith Lord practically launched himself around the corner of the crate toward the troopers, lightsabers igniting as he did so. A moment later and from the other corner, Farrin followed suit. The enemy - ten, by Farrin’s quick count - stopped in surprise and, he would imagine, dismay at the thought of confronting two Dark Jedi. Whatever thoughts were going through their mind were of little consequence, though, as the two men struck from either side and made quick work of their foes - assisted, the former Headmaster noted approvingly, by a youngster and someone clad in Mandalorian armor. With the scrum over but with lightsabers still at the ready, the two Tarentae surveyed their surroundings.

Satisfied that the immediate danger had passed, Farrin disengaged his lightsabers and reattached them to his belt before turning to his old Clanmate. “I think it’s time we linked up with the rest of Vizsla and figured out what the hell is going on here.”

Hangar Bay
Godless Matron
Arx System

The screams of blaster fire and the rumble of explosions reverberated inside Kalan Amak’s helmet. The hangar bay of the Godless Matron illuminated in flashes of green and red.

Our forces are spread too thin. This boarding party is all over the place. I’ve got to get everyone consolidated and on the same page.

“Rulvak, report.” Kalan barked into his helmet comm.

“Rulvak here.” The head of House Wren was as calm and cool as the Proconsul when it came to battle. “We are on approach. What’s the status of the main landing area?”

“It’s a mess. I don’t think you’re going to be able to set down here. Find an emergency port near the hangar, dock, and fight your way to us. We have to establish a beachhead here, or we’ll never get the bulk of Vizsla’s forces on the Matron.

“Acknowledged. Docking at port ESH-1224. Starboard side, hangar access. Should be a quick fight.

“Understood. Get here quick. It’s a fracking mess in here.”

Kalan switched to his secondary comm, a private line he shared only with Declan Roark.

“Declan. We’re on the Matron. I have Rulvak flanking the forces in the hangar bay, and we are pinned down. We should be able to keep everyone else occupied while we go after the package.”

“Excellent. I can’t tell you who wants it, but that package is worth a fortune. Contract is for a million credits.” Declan Roark’s voice cracked over the helmet comm.

“So we retake the Matron, win favor with the Dark Council. On top of that, we retrieve a package from the ship’s vault. Get paid. My kind of fight. Once we have a foothold i’ll signal you to land.”

“Acknowledged. And Kalan, I certainly hope your old codes still work. Just because you were given a fake identity doesn’t mean the Dark Council has forgiven you for abandoning them.”

Yeah, that thought had crossed my mind.

Hangar Bay
Godless Matron
Arx System

The situation is about what one would expect from a Clan full of mostly Bounty Hunters Montresor thought to himself. Alliances were always hard to discern and unity of effort was nearly impossible. However, as he listened intently to Kalan’s orders he could not help but be impressed with his resolve. Amidst the chaos his voice and instructions were calming. Maybe, just maybe we could salvage this effort. Maybe, just maybe the priority bounty could be acquired with minimal loss of equipment and personnel. As plausible as it seemed the seasoned Elder knew without a doubt that without GM Declan Roark’s immediate intervention their efforts would be futile. Wielding the power of a Grand Master was one of Clan Vizsla’s greatest strengths and they could not afford to wait any longer.

“Declan, Declan…this is Monty. We can’t hold much longer. I am moving towards the objective in line with Kalan’s orders…if you don’t…if you don’t get here soon…our window of opportunity is closing…”

The silence on the other end of the communication was deafening. The usually calm and level-headed Adept began to slightly perspire. He could feel blood surging through his body as his pulse raced. He had never considered failure and option but he had a very bad feeling about their current situation.

“Declan, Declan…this is Monty…we need you man…”

The communication silence became maddening as the sounds of rifle fire echoed around him.

“Kalan, this is Monty…I am moving towards the objective, I am unable to make comms with Declan but I think I have a decent understanding of your plan.”

“If you don’t hear from me again it has been one heck of a ride my friend…”

Avenging Angel
Arx System

Sitting in the cockpit of his Tie Reaper, Avenging Angel, a smile spread across Hector Ricmore’s face. His heart was pounding and his body practically shook in excitement. These were the moments that he lived for, the thrill of battle, fighting for what he thought was right.

Hector activated his ship’s commlink. “Tie Defender squadron, group up with me. We need to intercept the Collective fighters before they reach the Godless Matron.”

The Zygerrian pushed the joystick forward increasing the speed of the ship. The 12 Tie defenders flew alongside him in a reverse v formation.

Hector let out a sigh of nervousness. He was confident in his abilities and trusted his allies, but the Collective had fielded a truly massive number of ships with Command Battle Group Ostara. It was not the capital ships he was worried about; Hector had faith in the proven power of the Immobilizers of his clan. He feared the veritable swarm of smaller ships, the 13 squadrons that this enemy force can field. And if they received reinforcements? He shuddered even thinking about it.

“Incoming Collective fighters. Looks like Quadjets and headhunters.”

Hector pressed his commlink to respond. “Acknowledged. Break formation now. If we stay together the suicide bombers will blow us apart. Fly in pairs and try not to get overwhelmed. Watch your wingman’s back and he will cover yours. We’ll make it through this.”

Hector’s comm received several affirmations as the group of 13 split. He flew directly at the enemy, hoping to draw the bulk of the horde away from his squadron. Better vehicles or not, they had little chance against 48 vehicles in a heads on confrontation.

Hector squeezed the trigger of his joystick, sending a burst of blasterfire into the horde. His allies fired immediately after, causing several Quadjets and a single headhunter to burst into flames.

The bulk of the horde remained intact, as more than 40 ships flew out of the smoke. Hector broke off even further taking his ship in a dive towards some of the debris left by ships destroyed in previous engagements.

A dozen fighters followed him, determined to take out the leader of the enemy squadron.

Hector felt a bead of sweat roll down his face. This might be a problem after all.

Unknown
Godless Matron
**Arx System

Lost, utterly and completely lost…Monty had barely escaped the Hanger Bay with his life. From what he could discern, as the fight intensified a concussive blast from an incoming grenade propelled him through a hanger exit door into an unknown hallway. Moving quickly in an effort to preserve his life, he had become notably disoriented. Steaming in and out of perceptible consciousness the Elder feared the worst.

“Any station this net…any station this net…this is Monty, I have been hit…significant damage to equipment…whereabouts unknown…objective unknown…send help…”

“…Mo…is….Kalan…on…wer…no…stay…”

“Kalan, Kalan…I can’t…you are coming in broken…self applying a med pack…need to determine my location and keep moving to the objective.”

With that Montresor wearily pulled himself to his feet. His vision was blurred and there was a notable spinning of the room he could not overcome. Regardless, he had to keep moving. The unmistakable soundtrack of war waging outside of the Matron echoed through the halls. Time was of the essence, he knew, worst case scenario he would either die in an effort to seize the objective or in a fiery heap of molten steel as the matron disintegrated around him. Quite simply, doing nothing, despite his current condition, was a certain death sentence. He could only hope that Kalan and the team were able to locate him before his own stubbornness was his undoing.

Slowly picking up speed Montresor clumsily moved down the hallway, igniting his lightsaber as he used the wall for support. In that moment a sudden flash of conscious clarity wrapped around his being, it was as if GM Roark was speaking to his soul…there was no confusion now as he moved with renewed purpose…the objective was close, he could sense it…the time was now…

Onboard the Nightstrike
Arx System

An explosion rocked the Nightstrike as Kanal maneuvered away from a suicide bomber.

“That was close,” Kanal said to himself. “Too Close.”

The Mandalorian bounty hunter pitched his ship to port and kicked his shields full front as he made an attack run against a few fighters that were heading towards Hector and his wingman. The two laser cannons on the Nightstrike lit up the cold dark of space and flashed across the bow of a couple of ships, igniting another couple in an explosion that spread like a wildfire for a split second.

“Nightstrike to Avenging Angel, Hector ol’ buddy. I have your back.” Kanal said into his intercom as The TIE Reaper flew by the viewport of his ship.

“Thanks Kanal, things are getting a bit crazy.” Hector said as he spun his ship into a tight spiral avoiding an incoming missile from a Collector ship. “Let’s show these boys and girls who we are.”

The comm cut out and it was just Kanal and the enemy fighters once again. He stuck close to Hector’s Reaper and leveled out his shields. He flipped a few switches to increase power to his laser cannons before beginning another attack run.

Fighters and capital ships filled the space between him and the Matron. He wondered for a moment how things were getting along with his comrades who had been tasked with clearing the Matron herself. The Collective forces were not to be taken lightly, and he wasn’t about to get himself killed by these people. His sensors registered laser impacts in the rear quarter. He spun the ship around and blasted the ship trailing him as his momentum kept him going towards the Matron.

“Here’s where the fun begins.”

E-Wing Fighter
Arx System

The streaking lines of hyperspace faded back into real space as Korvyns E-wings sublight engines kicked in. The battle already raging in front of him his R-3 unit beeped whirled as it updated the situation. Heavy losses were apparent without the droids input. Capital ships erupted with fire as bombers and fighters made strafing runs. Punching the throttle to full speed he turned his dark black fighter towards the Godless Matron.

Taking aim Korvyn joined the fray around the Matron providing another fighter to help stave off the relentless assault of the Collective forces. It was a target rich environment to say the least as Korvyn took down a couple unshielded fighters in quick succession. Turning wide he strafed a nearby frigate before leaping back into the chaos of fighters and turret fire. Turbo laser fire rocked his shields as he was targeted by a Collective X-wing fighter.

Making an S turn Korvyn tried to shake the fighter on his tail but he was good. More blaster fire sprayed past his cockpit as the E-wing made a quick roll to his right. Driving the nose down toward the Godless Matron Korvyn headed towards his clan mates to help get his tail clean.

“Kanal, got one i can’t shake.” Korvyn yelled into his communicator. “A little help here?”

“I got you. Pull up… now.” Kanal replied. Korvyn braked as he pulled out of his dive just in time to see a Reaper flash by lasers blasting. Seconds later the X-wing went spiraling into the Matron in flames. An explosion back towards the planet caught Korvyn’s eye and he knew what had happened before the droid started in. The planetary shield was exploding and soon was gone.

“Whatever is going on in there you better hurry up! Arx planetary shield just went down.”

Avenging Angel
Arx System

Hector’s eyes went wide as he witnessed the planetary shield around Arx slowly sputter and fade. Teeth were ground in anger at the horde of Collective ships that immediately flew planetside; a swarm of locusts seeking to devour all in their path.

The Zygerrian activated his commlink and prepared a message for the Vizsla fleet. “Major Ricmore to all Vizsla ships, The Collective have destroyed the planetary shields and are proceeding with a ground assault. All fighters form up on me, we’re going to clear an escape route for our boys on the Matron.”

The pilot turned his ship towards the Matron, noting Korvyn’s E wing and Kanal’s XS Light Freighter on his flank. The remaining Tie Defenders were reinforced by several squads of Tie SF fighters and Tie bombers, as well as a squadron of Kom’rk fighters, bringing their numbers up from a mere half dozen to over 50 ships.

The squadrons flew in formation towards the Collective ships that had been foolish enough to remain near the Matron. The Collective Command Battle Group Ostara lacked any proper transports, forcing them to dock a capital ship to offload troops onto the Matron. Currently the Glaeria was docked to the Matron and was protected by a squadron of T-70 X wings and a squadron of Headhunter starfighters. For once things were different, and it was the Collective who would be on the receiving end of a horde of ships.

“Kill them all.”

Hector uttered this phrase in a calm tone, a contrast to the rage he felt within him. The Collective were monsters in the night, slaughtering innocents and cowardly fleeing confrontations unless they could mass themselves into hordes. Hector was the hero of this story, the knight which would put an end to this menace which plagued the unknown regions.

He gripped the joystick of his ship, holding down the trigger. Those around him acted similarly and the cold void of space was filled with flash after flash of green light, the wrath of an angry god made manifest.

The Collective ships were torn to shreds, as the ships which outnumbered them more than twofold opened fire.

The fighters kept formation as they flew over the Glaeria, where the Tie Bombers dropped their payload. The Capital ship returned fire, its turbolasers and ion turrets destroying ship after ship. The bombs made contact, illuminating the space around the Matron in a sea of white.

The light dissipated, revealing the burning, broken, wreckage of the Glaeria hurtling towards Arx.

Activating his commlink, the Zygerrian opened a channel to the Vizsla forces on the Matron. “Hector Ricmore to ground team, your path off the Matron is clear.”

Severian Phalanx Interceptor “Mother Goose”
Arx Planetary Airspace

Colonel Kenath Zoron listened to the panicked comms as the planetary shield over Arx failed. He had been late to launch and had missed the majority of the early fighting. Having recognized that he would arrive only to have to turn around, he had instead been prowling in the air around Eos City, waiting for enemies to break through. His instincts had proven right again and he adjusted his gloves and hauled back on his ship’s controls, muttering a soft prayer to his ship, “Talk to me, Goose.”

As if in response, his sensors flashed with updates as hordes of Collective craft entered the atmosphere. A grim smile broke across his face beneath his helmet. He whispered, “I feel the need… the need for speed,” and he pushed his throttle to maximum.

He set his sights on the lead Z-95 and suppressed a laugh at how outclassed the ancient fighter craft were. The moment his targeting reticule glowed, he began feathering his trigger and gently swaying his fighter around to fill the air with green bolts of energy. He watched as the lead Z-95’s shields collapsed under the onslaught before the ship was skewered by lasers and exploded fantastically.

Without even pausing to let up, he shifted his aim to the leader’s wingman, ensuring he shared the same fate as his partner. He began spinning his own fighter along its long axis and randomly adjusted his course, forcing another pair of Z-95’s shots to miss. At the last second, his thumb toggled all eight of his lasers to fire in a single linked salvo and he snapped a massive burst towards one of the Z-95s, being rewarded by yet another explosion.

With that, his fighter burst through the initial wave and he felt his anti-pursuit laser pumping out shots for the instant that the surviving enemy were in range. A glance at his sensors told him he hadn’t been successful in killing another hapless foe, but his comm system picked up the Collective chatter.

“Hollywood, where’d he go?”

“Where’d who go!?”

This time Zoron did laugh out loud before he flipped his fighter over, briefly reveling in the inverted flight before diving back down towards the Z-95s to continue with his grisly work.

Hangar foothold

Godless Matron

With a lightning-quick motion Darcy punched under his other hand, sending an energy shot into the hands of a Collective soldier, who dropped their weapon. With the same smooth punching motion, he fired another shot into a second soldier’s face, staggering them while the surrounding Clan Vizsla troops fired on his targets.

“Nice shot,” Kalan nodded as he and Occultan took aim at the last soldier in this group of enemies. A second group had been headed off by Farrin and Aeternus, and in the middle of being cut down by two impressive Dark Jedi, an expert vibroswordsman had joined in. The Collective never stood a chance. “Glad you could make it, Rulvak,” the Proconsul of Clan Vizsla greeted the Quaestor as they all grouped together.

The ground began to shake violently. In fact, the entire ship shook, as if it had been struck by something particularly massive. Power went out, some of the lights went down, and the gathered Vizslans braced themselves or fell to the ground. Darcy picked himself up and looked around, noting that everyone else was as worried by that as him.

“What the dosh did they just hit us with?” Darcy squeaked.

“Whatever it was,” Occultan replied, “we’ll need to pick up the pace. Are we ready to get off this rustbucket?”

Rulvak’s communicator suddenly snapped to life, and an image of Grand Master Cantor appeared on the screen with an urgent message.

“That should be a yes,” Rulvak confirmed as he crossed over to Kalan. “The Grand Master has given order Laqueum. The shields are down and we need to move.” Kalan nodded his acknowledgement as the Lucrehulk’s systems came back online. “Guard this hangar with your lives!” the Proconsul ordered an assault company, who saluted and took defensive positions.

“We’re all pushing forward!” Kalan declared as he led the way, followed closely by the rest of Vizsla’s advance team. Darcy tried to hug the middle as best he could. He had been many things - a smuggler, a broker, a translator - but never a soldier. A voice crackled over a nearby commlink, alerting Vizsla’s ground team that their path off the Matron was clear. Taking it as a good sign, the teenager felt a bit more optimistic about pushing forward to wherever their objective was.

A blaster bolt singed past and struck one of their accompanying soldiers, signifying more trouble up ahead. “Sniper!” someone shouted, and the party took cover quickly.

“A sniper? Around here?” Darcy double-checked a couple of nearby landmarks.

“Yeah, looked like a Rodian.”

“That’s Bardot,” the teenager dismissed. “Don’t worry, they’re my friends,” the boy reassured the others as he stepped out into the open, his arms extended in a large shrug. A second sniper shot, this time to the ground, brought Darcy to a halt.

“He’s your friend?” Rulvak asked sarcastically.

“We’ve met a few times. ACHUTA BARDOT!” Darcy shouted at the top of his lungs. “Eh watto, cooda bunga?”

From the opposite direction, a handful of pirates quickly marched out of nearby shop fronts, their weapons raised, catching the suppressed Vizslans off guard. Darcy turned and recognized a few of them. “I might need some credits,” Darcy whispered loudly as a large and distinctively snow-white Wookiee stepped forward with a roar. Without missing a beat, the boy roared something different back at him. “I need a chip with ten thousand credits right now or we’re all gonna die!” he whispered as the snow-colored Wookiee thrust a communicator in his face. The teenager turned to where the sniper fire had been coming from. “Bardot! Como mi Darcy! Mi Darcy!”

The response was not happy.

“Coton, kava moulee-rah du creeda, eh bano!” The boy clicked his fingers urgently and Rulvak reluctantly handed a chip over. “Seb qa!” Darcy held a few chips up high, before they were snatched and checked by the Wookiee. “Caso beeta doo te wan,” the boy continued into the communicator, accompanied by the Wookiee’s approving growl. “Kava thirty thousand creeda du chu. Keelap mala nah sootah majordomo feeching. Eh vota ma good pateesa tuta Clan Vizsla…” Darcy waved his hands and nodded his head to emphasise whatever points he was making, before placing his hand very fondly on Kalan’s helmet. The Proconsul considered shooting him immediately.

“You shouldn’t trust this slave,” the Rodian’s voice echoed over the communicator.

“Jes bil nok shag, Bardot!” Darcy replied, his voice freezing over.

“Ko desra sik Nalya du Hutt, wermo. BATA BOOTANA!” The boy simmered quietly as the snow-colored Wookiee took the communicator back, the pirates returning inside for the next ambush. The short, furry brute made a final, almost apologetic growl, to which Darcy purred.

“What was that about?” Occultan asked as he stepped forward.

“We can get through,” the teenager replied, his tone clearly offended. “But we might want to go round on the way back.”

Godless Matron

Occultan let his breath out slowly, glad that the teenager in front of him could not see his look of extreme disappointment. Things always got complicated during an extended fight but the Mandalorian was not quite sure what had just transpired, nor did he really want to know. What he did know was that the rest of the clan was moving already.

“We should move then.” The human spoke, stepping past Darcy, letting his shoulder armor brush the boy aside. It would be a simple task to plan a few Denton charges and remotely detonate them on their way back though if the locals gave them any trouble. However the snipers would certainly still be watching the group and it would be difficult to plant the explosives without witnesses.

The tension eased slightly as the group passed through the gang’s territory without further incident. Iacul had no idea as to where they were heading, nor the reason why. He didn’t much care to know either, as long as he got paid after. The group came across a few small hostile forces as they walked, though the deeper into the ship they trudged the fewer Collective they found. In fact it wasn’t just the collective they seemed to find less of, there were very few people in this area of the ship. Occultan gave it a few additional minutes before he opened a comms channel to Kalan.

“Sir, I haven’t seen anyone other than us for the last few minutes. Seems to me that they are either busy with the main enemy forces on board or we may be walking into an ambush.”

Arx
Eos City

The battle for air superiority around the Godless Matron had been fierce to say the least. Thankfully, she was only a secondary target for the collective and most of their forces had been concentrated on the Arx shipyards and planetary shields. The Collective had massed a massive fleet of both capital ships and fighter squadrons. Their one weakness though was an apparent lack of transport shuttles for both troops and supplies. Forcing them to either dock or, as they were now doing, move capital ships into landing space on the planet below.

With Vizsla’s starships finally all arrived and launched the tide of the space battle had shifted and now they harassed the capital ships that moved much slower as they entered the atmosphere. Korvyn made several strafing runs on a m50 cruiser. Rolling and twisting his way through the maze of turret fire he locked on to a turbolaser battery. Pulling the secondary trigger he released the proton torpedo just as his left wing was rocked with a direct hit from the cruiser’s lasers.

“R3 damage report!” Korvyn yelled out.

The droid beeped a few times and as Korvyn glanced at the read out he knew he was done in this fight. Stabilizers were damaged and so were his left wing weapons systems. Switching his comms over to the secure clan channel Korvyn informed his clanmates of his situation.

“Took a direct hit, stabilizer and weapons out. Proceeding to Echo landing zone.” Korvyn said.

“Roger that, see you on the ground” Hector replied. As he had assumed control of the fighter squadrons. “Save some of those bastards for us to kill.”

Punching his engines Korvyn made as straight a path as he could towards the planet’s surface and Eos City. Flames trailed his left wing as the R3 droid did its best to suppress the fire and prevent any further damage to the ship. Repairs were gonna be costly as it was.

Most of the Vizsla landing parties would be concentrated around repelling the oncoming storm of collective troops in and around Eos City. Already transports were heading down to the various designated landing zones. Echo where Korvyn was heading was located at the heart of the Central Market. Already the Collective were attacking the Dark Ascent. The symbol of both strength and power of the brotherhood on Arx as well as the lair of the Dark Councillors.

The cities defences themselves were firing lasers and missiles at incoming Collective fighters. Telltale blue streaks from Ion cannons assaulted the shields of the capital ships seeking to offload their troops. And overhead the battle in space could be visible as the Clans fought their way to the surface.

Setting his E-wing down on a rooftop landing platform Korvyn began grabbing his arsenal. Once he had all the weapons and ammunition that he either needed or could carry he turned around to head out. Excited whistles brought his attention back to the ship.

“What is it now?” he asked his jet black droid.

“Fine, I will take it if you insist!” Korvyn reached back into the cockpit and grabbed his lightsaber as he felt the familiar weight of it in his hand. With his cybernetic hand he patted the ship. “Now get her out of here. I’ll call you when we are done.”

This is what I call a target-rich environment.

Zoron continued his unchecked rampage through the Collective fighter screen. He lost track of how many of the old Headhunters fell to his lasers along with their newer X-wing cousins. Their bombers fared little better, with their B-wings falling just as fast as the Quadrijet suicide bombers. Zoron was happy to oblige those pilots’ desires while preventing them from completing their actual missions.

Nevertheless, Zoron was just one pilot against an impressive wave of ships. Enemy craft simply had to take a wider berth around his flight path to carry on towards Brotherhood assets. Zoron realized he had to start drawing more attention to himself.

He toggled over to an open comms frequency, broadcasting to every enemy within sight. “Attention Collective, uh, pilots. The Vizslian defense department regrets to inform you that your sons and daughters are dead because they were stupid.”

He heard a chorus of angry retorts and saw more enemies change their vectors to swing down towards him.

Excellent.

As he began lining up to carry on the fight, an urgent tone cut through his comms system, cutting off the Collective responses. He heard a precisely enunciated voice begin to speak in crisp tones. “Vizslian fighter. You have been interfering with the Brotherhood defence strategy. Listen to the Grand Master’s orders or you will be fired upon.”

Zoron frowned and immediately replied to the new voice. “Say again? Brotherhood forces will fire on me?”

“You have 30 seconds to vacate the airspace over Eos. Our weapons have been, thus far, avoiding hitting you but we no longer have the luxury to do so. Get clear and leave the Collective aerial forces to our defences. The clock is ticking, you now have 25 seconds.”

Zoron still couldn’t believe what he was hearing, but realized with a start that he was seeing greater volumes of ground-based lasers and ion blasts filling the air around him, tearing into the Collective craft while narrowly missing his own ship.

Time to go.

“Colonel Zoron copies the orders. Exiting the airspace immediately.” He diverted all available power to his engines and made a beeline as fast as possible out of the area, pulling away from pursuing Collective fighters.

Godless Matron

Arx System

Clan Vizsla’s forces encroached around the doors to the Godless Matron’s Vault. Many fallen Leviathan guards littered the area, mixed in with an almost incalculable number of Collective corpses, but two things demanded attention the moment you saw this Vault: the first was Montresor cutting down the last Hive Mind Soldier, despite being quite wounded himself; the second was the Vault’s doors, resolute and defiant in the face of the death and destruction that surrounded them. As Farrin and Kalan greeted their Sith Marauder friend, Darcy couldn’t help but rub his hands at what could be inside. The Vault of the Matron was full of rumours and mystery, and if his hunch was right, soon the Vizsla forces would know more about what lurked within.

“Take defensive positions,” Kalan ordered, and Darcy decided to follow this command. They all sought cover, nervous at what could happen next; the journey here had been too easy, and it was not clear whether the enemy was all around them, or had given up entirely. The Proconsul of Clan Vizsla approached a nearby terminal and began typing in commands, but the Vault stood its ground. The teenager came up and interrupted his cursing. “You’ll still need a security disk of some kind,” Darcy said, holding up a datadisk with Leviathan security imprints. I have a few of them, and that should be enough to simulate a squad.” The pair worked together until the doors finally conceded victory, opening to allow a former Dark Council member escorted by a squad of Leviathan guards - or so the computer thought.

The doors hissed and groaned as they slowly slid open, and a single figure stood in their way; armored in the most luxurious Beskar armor he had ever seen, the teenage smuggler caught his breath as a lone figure stepped forward. “You are late,” he greeted them, in a tone that conveyed a fine mix between disappointment and boredom.

“Declan!” Kalan greeted the ominous figure. He nodded his head in reply and quickly took in the situation.

“Great to hear your voice,” Declan Roark replied. “I managed to take a peek under the Vault’s skirts some time ago, but when the emergency lockdown kicked in I was a little stuck.” The two exchanged some unfamiliar hand signals as others came up to either greet the greatest soldier in Vizsla, or admire his shiny armor.

“We need to leave,” the Consul of Vizsla announced. “We need to get to Eos City immediately. Can anyone here fly a freighter?” To further emphasize his point, he pointed at a nearby freighter, the likes of which Darcy did not like the look of. Still, a ship was a ship, and with the way to the planet already cleared…

“I can fly it,” the boy declared. “Just need to get inside and power it up.”


Arx

Eos City

It was certainly a bumpy ride down. The Collective had decided to throw their full naval power against the homeworld of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood with a vengeance, and while Darcy had managed to fly them all down to the planet surface, it was more of an “entertaining landing” than the others would have liked. Still, most were still in the best condition to fight, and everyone exited the rear of the stolen freighter quickly, knowing that the enemy ground forces had already overrun the City’s borders. Everyone was sharp and prepared for the fight ahead, the fight to defend Eos City.

As friendly starfighters cleared the air above, deep down Darcy had the sinking feeling that the fight would not last long - though whether that was in their favour remained to be seen, as more and more Collective vessels circled around Eos City and the Dark Ascent, which loomed above them all like a stalwart pinnacle, waiting for the right time to unleash and devastate the enemy naval force…