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

[GJWXIII] Plagueis Run On


Primary Theater: Thuvis Shipyards

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Dispose of threats within the Shipyards and seize control of the facility- either for the Brotherhood, or to return to the Principate.

SITUATION: Thuvis Shipyards suffered heavy damage during the initial salvo of attacks blamed on the Brotherhood. Numerous sectors of the Shipyards have been ventilated to space, and the Principate defense forces protecting the Shipyards have been decimated, but not completely eliminated with around four dozen soldiers still on the station. The crew repairing the shipyards - and their families - are housed in a platform that is secured to the shipyards, and it has remained intact. Intelligence reports indicate that the Collective used their opening attacks as means to descend on the Shipyard, supposedly to protect its inhabitants from the plague of Force users. Inquisitorius agents report that the Collective is attempting to install an AI similar to the Technocratic Artifact recovered from Meridian station to establish full control of the shipyards for their own efforts. Several dreadnaughts from the Collective’s Battle Group Elysium are maintaining a defensive position in orbit around Thuvis Shipyards, and numerous Collective troops from that same battlegroup have moved to the Station, as well as members of Project Indigo. Moreover, the Principate has dispatched elements of its 5th Fleet to protect the shipyards is present both in space and on the Shipyards themselves.

Member Participant Snapshots:

Ronovi Tavisaen
TuQ’uan Varick
Scudi Ferria
Gaius Julius Caesar
Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae
Arden Karn di Plagia
Tra’an Reith di Plagia
Furios Morega di Plagia
Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj
Kookimarissia Mimosa-Inahj
Brimstone aka Seabr’imsto’nedansr
Ranarr Kul-Tarentae
Abadeer Taasii
Muse Nashesir
Kul’tak Drol
Zuser Whuloc
Khryso Mallus
Sarai Andromeda

Alt/NPC Snapshots:

Regik Seyl’an
Tadia Zoler
Swil Phift
Ro-Tahn Vang Drakon
Razor Ragnarhawk
Nah’kor Trevain

Links and Resources

Lyra System

GJWXIII Fiction 1

Clan Run On Competition

Theater Combatants


The Ascendancy - Meeting Room
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

In the cold, nearly empty space, a dance of lights began. Vivid grids of green and red appeared like a hand had perfectly drawn them - planets, moons, coordinates, locales, all representing vital points of interest. Then, from every corner, came blue. Vivid silhouettes emerged as if from the walls, crystallizing yet still fragmenting with each blink and flicker. The holograms stood out starkly from the holomap that had formed, witnesses to the data that had been fed to the Ascendant Fleet’s flagship by the diligent Inquisitorius’s reports.

Were it not for the fact that Admiral Cyvvaria Ranin accompanied her, Ronovi Tavisaen would have been the only individual physically present in the Ascendancy’s war room. The Dread Lord of Clan Plagueis stood with her arms folded in front of her, dressed in a crisp black uniform, her lightsaber hilt and DH-17 resting comfortably against her hips. Meanwhile, members of the di Plagia circle burst to life in technological form: Tra’an Reith, Furios Morega, and Kz’set, the Verpine representing Arden Karn as the latter navigated personal matters elsewhere. Even if the admiral hadn’t been in the room, Ronovi would have been far, far from alone.

As the Epicanthix eyed the map, she allowed others to speak.

“The Inquisitorius has reported that the Collective is fully engaged with the shipyards,” reported the hologram of Wrathus, Aedile of Ajunta Pall; he was speaking from his position on the Dominant, alongside his superior, Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae. “They plan to plant an AI unit to take full control of the station. All under the guise of camaraderie with the Principate.”

“I can confirm thiszzz information,” Kz’set buzzed. “I waszzz able to hack some transmissions from enemy dreadnaughts.”

“Any specs on the AI unit?” asked Admiral Ranin. “Can it be disabled remotely?”

“Most likely not. We don’t have much information beyond that,” replied Wrathus, his voice reduced to a low and harsh growl through the static. “But I’m working on it.”

“The Wrath has a lock on the shipyards’ battalions,” TuQ’uan Varick, the newest Dread Lord’s Wrath, interjected. “We’ve detected that four dreadnaughts from the Collective’s Elysium Battle Group are in orbit and on the defense. The Principate’s 5th Fleet is on standby as well.”

Ronovi’s eyebrows furrowed. “What are we looking at with them?”

“Two Frigates, two Light Cruisers, two Bunkbusters, three Corvettes, and three Star Destroyers,” TuQ’uan rattled off. “Two Victory-class, one Imperial I-class.”

“Pushovers, then,” chuckled Wrathus.

The hologram of Julius Caesar, Aedile of House Karness Muur, bristled at this. “Four dreadnaughts are nothing to sneeze at.”

“Not concerning in the least,” argued Kz’set. “We could wreck their fleet.”

Ronovi raised a single hand to stop the back and forth, then lowered it slowly. The skin on her fingers was clammy, and she cracked her cold knuckles. Standing here among her peers and Ranin, once again in control of an entire fleet, she was all too reminded of how inferior she was at the helm of a ship. In fact, her one and only naval success had been during the campaign against the One Sith during the Dark Crusade, when the Ascendant Fleet had conquered Athiss airspace. That, in and of itself, had been a fluke at best and fool’s luck at worst; and without the guidance of Solus Gar, who was long gone, the burden of being commander was beginning to weigh on her conscience.

So she relied on her instinct when she spoke next.

“What’s stopping us from an all-out assault here?”

There was some audible chittering from the holograms. Tra’an, his face hidden behind his mask of bone, decided to seek clarification. “Is that what you’re ordering, Dread Lord?”

“Possibly,” replied Ronovi. “No sense in playing nice. If we take the shipyards, we’ll have seized an extraordinary asset - one that would cripple both the Principate and the Collective.”

Now TuQ’uan sounded alarmed. “You mean to attack both groups?”

“Why not? The Principate isn’t exactly about to give us the time of day due to our slaves. Why should we give them what they won’t?”

“I like this.” Wrathus turned gleefully to Tahiri. “Prepare the squadrons for bombardment.”

“No, master,” groaned Tahiri, reminding her former mentor of her status while also attempting to be respectful of their past.

As Ronovi gazed around the room, it became quickly apparent that few of her fellow leaders approved her idea; even her own Wrath had not taken her surprise suggestion very well. This, of course, irked her. In the short time she had served her second tenure as Dread Lord, she was already used to being vetoed and hooked to a short leash. Certainly, she lacked finesse and subtlety, and she had a past reputation, but how many years, if possible, would it take to clean the slate?

“It’s no use obliterating a potential ally and alienating the Principate even further from the Brotherhood,” Julius opined. “If anything, this is a great opportunity for us. We could kill two birds with one stone here.”

“Crush the Collective’s dreadnaughts,” sneered Wrathus. “Save the children.”

“There are several families in the station,” Tahiri agreed. “If they’re in danger, the Principate would want to protect them.”

“And we still have time to convince them that we are, in fact, on their side,” stated Scudi Ferria, Quaestor of Karness Muur, who had remained mostly quiet during the discourse. “Perhaps a meeting is in order.”

“The installation of the AI unit must be halted,” declared Kz’set.

“And we still have ships to blow up,” Furios added. “We have a lot to do, don’t we?”

Yes, Ronovi thought, a feeling of resignation soaking into her like a cold shower. We certainly do.


Wrath - Meeting Room
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

TuQ’uan tugged at the hem of his jacket, standing uncomfortably still as the blue holograms surrounding him blinked out of existence one by one. The shift did little to lessen the cold feeling of the room. Eventually, only one figure remained before him: the Dread Lord.

Ronovi’s hologram let out a deep sigh and turned to face him directly, her gaze not quite as cold towards him as it once was.

“Give the orders.”

“Yes, sir!” TuQ quickly barked his response back. “Or…uh…ma’am.”

The massive Epicanthix disappeared before he could fix his mistake - or figure out what mistake he had made,for that matter. This was the Kel Dor’s first time acting as Proconsul in any official capacity, and he was already off to a rough start. TuQ’uan gave his head a shake as he tapped away on a nearby consol; he had much more important things to worry about right now.

“Ensign,” he spoke into the comm unit attached to the console he was on. “Open an encrypted channel fleet wide.”

Silent Scream - Bridge
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

Captain Yamret Ohli stood looking out at the vast field of stars stretched out in front of her like billions of pin pricks in a pure black sky. Her years of service on star ships had never been able to quell how awe inspiring this view was to the Weequay captain, even in the heat of battle when death and destruction seemed imminent, she could always find solace in this view.

A set of footsteps gently tapped against the durasteel floor behind the captain, bringing her back to the present.

“Sir, there’s an urgent transmission being broadcast to the Ascendant Fleet,” the meek voice of a lowly lieutenant spoke.

“Let’s hear it.”

The lieutenant nodded, signaling the young man sitting at the communication controls. With a click and a slight hiss the bridge speakers came to life and a voice boomed throughout the bridge.

“Attention, all members of the Ascendant Fleet: this is TuQ’uan Varick, your Wrath. As you are aware, we are in a precarious situation. The Collective is currently trying to sabotage any chances of an alliance between the Brotherhood and the Severian Principate, and the Sevarian Principate frankly doesn’t know who to believe.”

The mood on the bridge turned grave; even Yamret found herself unconsciously balling her hands into fists at the mention of the Collective. While she may not have been a Force user herself, the Collective blight had taken away far too many of her brothers and sisters in arms. Many of them she considered friends, if not family, who had all sworn allegiance to the mighty Ascendant Clan.

“The Collective have pushed and pushed, spreading their lies and deceit about the Brotherhood, and now, they are trying to do that once again. But we won’t let them. We will need all hands on deck for this plan.”

An awkward silence filled the large room, with only the hum of the engines vibrating through the ships hull.


Silent Scream - Bridge
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

There was a slight auditory crackle as the Wrath of Clan Plagueis cleared his throat. “Said plan will involve multiple phases. First, we will be sending in some of our top negotiators. We want to make sure the Principate understands that we are on their side and the Collective is acting in hostility. However, we can’t sit idly by and hope our words get through to them. We need to prevent the Collective from taking control of the station regardless. This is why we will be sending two teams of infiltrators along with the negotiators. We’ll handle the Principate with our right hand while our left hand takes the fight to the Collective.”

Khryso Mallus, newly promoted Dark Knight of Clan Plagueis, sat at attention in the bridge’s command chair. Normally, this piece of furniture would be reserved for Captain Ohli, the commanding officer of the Silent Scream. However, for the sake of this operation, Knight Mallus had been given command of the vessel, and so he commandeered the chair for himself. The captain didn’t seem to mind, which was probably a good thing, considering that they would be working together for at least a few hours.

A few hours that the Chiss preferred he didn’t spend idly. He had been quite pleased to be given this command, temporary though it may be, and he wanted to take the opportunity to prove himself. Unfortunately, with what the Wrath had revealed of the plan so far, it didn’t seem to include most of the fleet. When the Kel Dor’s voice did resume after another pregnant pause, Khryso’s worries were put to rest somewhat.

“Once the Collective threat to the shipyards is overcome and we can be sure the Principate understands our position, the Ascendant Fleet can move in and obliterate the gathered Collective Forces.” The atmosphere on the bridge almost immediately turned from silent apprehension to a sense of purpose and resolve. Khryso could feel the will of the crew strengthening, hoping that they would get their chance to take the fight to the Collective.

The Chiss, while pleased he may yet get his chance at action, didn’t have the same energy he felt radiating from the others. He had never had the chance to fight the Collective before and didn’t have a personal stake in the fight. To him, they were just an enemy that needed dealt with. He was more than happy to do so and he had every intention to end them, but he felt oddly distant from a bridge crew that less than a year ago he might have considered peers.

“While we gather our agents for the first phases of our plan,” the Wrath concluded, bringing Khryso back to attention, “the Fleet should remain on standby and ready to engage in a moment’s notice. You have your orders. Adapt. Ascend. Avail.”

The crew chimed in on the final word of Clan Plagueis’ mantra. Khryso remained silent, leaning back into his chair. The transmission from the Wrath ended with a final click, prompting everyone present to relax a little. The captain retreated from where she’d been standing near the viewscreen, moving toward Khryso’s right shoulder.

“Send a transmission to the Dominant,” Khryso said. “Assure them we’ve heard the Wrath’s commands and are on stand-by.” The Collective had their plans, and if they were to discover the location of the Ascendant Fleet, starting any kind of assault against the Plagueian Navy likely wouldn’t be in the cards. Nonetheless, Khryso intended to stay on guard.

“Captain,” he added, only turning his head slightly to regard the officer, “ensure we’re ready to respond at a moment’s notice. If we get called in, I want us tight on the Dominant’s starboard side.”

“Yes, my lord.”

The silence that followed the brief exchange was accompanied by an anxious busyness. Now it was just a matter of waiting for what could be quite a while. Everyone was ready to do what had to be done, and in the hours that would come to pass as they sat idle, Khryso could only hope that nobody lost their edge.


Vigilant - Meeting Room
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

Scudi Ferria let out a deep sigh as she paced the Vigilant’s meeting room. The Chiss was still new to Plagueis, and yet here she was, in a position of influence during a war. It was enough to make one’s head spin.

One individual who was seemingly not phased at all by recent events was Scudi’s inherited second in command. Julius Caesar stoically stood and watched the new Quaestor of Karness Muur. The man gestured for his superior to join him at the table the two had been at during the talk with the di Plagia and the rest of the Plagueian leadership.

“Since we don’t have our assignment yet, I figured we could talk. It doesn’t do you any good to be worrying about anything just yet. So if you have any questions about any of this, ask them and I’ll do my best to bring you up to speed,” Caesar spoke pragmatically to his new boss. He’d been around Plagueis long enough to know that whatever was coming wasn’t going to be easy and they’d need Scudi to be at her best to succeed.

“Sorry, this is just a lot to take in, you know? A couple of weeks ago I was doing a job for Tahiri, now I’m Quaestor of this house. It’s a lot of responsibility, so I appreciate that you’re here to help. My first question is: what is up with those di Plagia folks? I don’t see what makes them more important than the regular members that allows them the authority to shape policy.” Scudi had stopped pacing and lightly tapped rhymically on the desk as she spoke.

“Di Plagia is an honour given to those who are deemed to be the best of the best and requires many years of service. With that comes a certain level of respect. They may be just as powerful as other members but they’ve taken advantage of the opportunities presented to them.” Julius elaborated on the nature of the di Plagia.

“I’d question giving people an excuse to give up and live off their past glories, but I suppose we should talk about something else. Do you think we’ll get to carry out the diplomatic mission, or do you think they’ll go with other people?”

“Well, logically we’re the best choices, as we believe in the mission and were the ones to put it forward. With all due respect to our sister house, their Aedile isn’t exactly known for playing well with others. That makes us the most suited leaders for the task, and to send people who don’t bear some kind of responsibility would be offensive. Therefore, I think that we will be picked; whether we’re allowed to do so alone is another matter.”

“You think they’ll saddle us with oversight?” The Chiss asked her Human subordinate.

“I wouldn’t quite phrase it like that, but yes. I do see them sending one or two extra bodies on the mission. I can’t imagine the di Plagia keeping their hands off, and Tavisaen will want someone on the scene. Whether that’s going to be the same person, I couldn’t tell you, but we should be prepared for anything.”

Julius took a seat at the table while he spoke, wanting to rest his old bones until they were needed again. Scudi nodded at the Aedile and followed his lead in taking a seat.

“I appreciate you sticking around, Caesar. I’ll really need you and your insight into how things work around here. I’ve never really had this much responsibility -I’ve always been the one serving others when I’ve been in a group setting. Apart from that, I’ve only had to focus on taking care of myself. It’s going to take some time to adjust but with your support, I’ve no doubt I can become what I need to be.”

“The Dread Lord would not have chosen you if she thought you were not capable. As much as her performance matters, perhaps even larger scrutiny will be placed on those she chooses to hand responsibility to. Besides, people like us need to stick together.” It was difficult for Julius to see exactly what it was about Ferria that the Dread Lord had deemed to be worth appointing her as Quaestor but his loyalty to Plagueis meant that he would do his best to help her succeed. The responsibility to reason why wasn’t his, his responsibility was to do or die.

“Yeah, given how they treat some people who aren’t like them, we’re rather lucky they see us as useful.” Scudi thought back to how she’d heard of the unrest among what she’d been told were being referred to as “assets” from now on. The Force users hadn’t been particularly diplomatic in how they dealt with the manner.

The holoprojector on the table began emitting a low-pitched tone, indicating that someone was trying to contact Karness Muur’s summit. Scudi gestured for Julius to stand as she did so herself. Once the pair were on their feet the Chiss accepted the call. A bright blue figure of a Kel Dor was projected from the device. Scudi had never seen this individual before, but Julius recognised it as TuQ’uan Varick, Scudi’s predecessor.

“Greetings, Wrath. Do you have orders for us?” the Aedile asked expectantly.

“ I do. You and Scudi are to represent us in negotiations with the Principate’s 5th Fleet at the shipyards. I will be coming along with you, purely to ensure that the mission is a success. I’ll try not to interfere with your mission. Once we’re in transit, I shall brief you both on points we believe will best serve our goals. That is all for now.”

The holoprojection disappeared about as quickly as it had appeared, and the leadership of Karness Muur now knew their mission.


Dominant - Meeting Room
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

Andrelious and Kooki had headed straight to the meeting room as the orders came through. Although new to the clan, both were old hands at conflict and were determined to prove that they could bring their brands of success to Plagueis’ already well stocked table.

“Barely been here a week, and we’re already off to fight again,” Kooki declared crossly.

“I did tell you something was happening. Taldryan was gearing up for it, too,” Andrelious explained.

“But now we’re dealing with Imperials as well as those cyborg bastards. Which makes me wonder if you think we’re even on the right side,” the Alderaanian replied.

“From what little I know of the Principate, I’m not impressed. Seems they rejected a lot of their Imperial roots. They’ve even joined the Republic. They’re not real Imperials. Not anymore,” the male sneered.

Members of House Ajunta Pall started to file into the room. The Mimosa-Inahj couple nodded in greeting, but few returned the favour: many still saw the new arrivals as potential enemies. One young female seemed to catch Kooki’s eye briefly.

“She probably shouldn’t go on this mission. She’s pregnant,” Kooki commented.

“And remind me what you were doing just two weeks before you gave birth to our son?” her husband queried. An icy stare from the Alderaanian made him regret it instantly.

Tahiri, Ajunta Pall’s Quaestor, breezed in. The majority of the assembled crowd fell silent as they waited for their leader to begin talking.

“Are you two planning on coming with us for this one?” the Togruta questioned, glancing straight at Andrelious and Kooki.

“Well, we didn’t move to Aliso for its cheery atmosphere.” Kooki answered matter-of-factly. Andrelious sniggered.

“Er…don’t you two have children?” Ranarr Kul-Tarentae questioned.

“They’re quite safe with their grandparents a long way away from here. Next question!” Kooki responded.

“Does he actually talk? Every time I’ve spoken to you two, I don’t think I’ve heard him say a thing,” Tahiri commented, pointing at Andrelious.

“I have my moments. Wait until we’re in the field. You’ll see,” Andrelious answered. “Speaking of the field, I’d like to introduce you to an old friend of mine. Swil, come here,”

A large, dark-skinned Human made his way towards the much shorter Andrelious. “Swil Phift. I’ve worked with Lord Mimosa-Inahj for many years now,” he announced.

“You’ll be able to show me just how useful you are. Take a seat, everyone,” Tahiri instructed.

Andrelious sat between Kooki and a young Togruta who bore a resemblance to the Quaestor.

“So does marriage make you into some kind of attack animal?” the Togruta asked.

“Excuse me?” Andrelious demanded.

“Simple. You only seem to do as she tells you,”

Lines of annoyance started to appear on the Seeker’s face.

“Quiet, Ro-Tahn,” Tahiri ordered. “Please forgive my brother. He can be a little impetuous.”

“I guess I’m not the only one who does as he’s told,” Andrelious teased.

“You be quiet too,” Kooki snapped.

“Thank you, everyone. I’m sure that most of you heard the Wrath’s orders. I will be leading an Ajunta Pall team of infiltrators myself. Kooki, I understand there are a lot of families aboard the station. I know that you’d be particularly keen to keep them safe,” the Quaestor declared.

Guess she’s been reading our files. I’m impressed. Andrelious thought.

Kooki nodded. “If the Collective are anywhere near those kids, they’ll soon regret that,” she hissed.

“Andrelious, I need you to coordinate with our starfighter squadrons. Once the time is right, we’re going to attack the Collective Dreadnaughts. I believe you’ll be assisted by backup from Karness Muur’s forces,”

Andrelious raised his hand in acknowledgement and climbed to his feet. “I’ll make sure my Defender is ready,” he explained.

Dominant Hangar

Andrelious came across a technician examining his TIE Defender, Sharpshoot II with a look of slight confusion.

“I’ve checked your ship’s systems three times, my Lord. The power output seems higher than what I’d expect from a TIE Defender,” the technician explained.

“Yes. We had to upgrade the power generator to facilitate the heavy lasers. Did you equip my ship with a full load of warheads?” the Sith demanded.

“Of course, my Lord. You have a full load of proton torpedoes,”

“Good. I’ll get the pre-flight checks finished. If I need you, I’ll let you know,” Andrelious said, his tone dismissive.

Climbing into the cockpit of his TIE Defender, Andrelious smiled warmly as he eyed the pictures of his children that adorned the few spare spaces on the control panel.

I do this for all of you…


ISD Ascendancy - Meeting Room
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

Arden knew at some point he was going to regret stepping down as Dread Lord, and that feeling was starting to come on to him. While he had planned to keep his distance for a time - hence why Kz’set had represented him in the initial meeting - this particular situation had demanded his involvement. From what he knew of both the Principate and the Collective, this situation needed to be managed carefully or it could explode into a serious kerfuffle no one needed. He had been carefully preparing for this particular eventuality, and he wasn’t going to let Ronovi ruin it by charging in recklessly.

Trailing behind him as he entered the Ascendancy’s meeting room was a chrome plated protocol droid of the PZ series. The droid was an investment Arden had made to cover what he observed to be a glaring weakness in the clan. For all their strength on the battlefield and in covert operations, what Plagueis lacked was a charismatic diplomat. The droid, which Arden had nicknamed “PeaZce”, was acquired from one of his corporate contacts who had tailored the droid’s programming to assist in sensitive negotiations, particularly ones where an organic diplomat might be at risk. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it would have to suffice.

When Arden and the PZ unit entered, Ronovi wheeled around to look at him.

“Karn, already looking to nitpick?”

Arden smirked and let out a small chuckle. “If you want to call it that.”

Looking rather impatient, Ronovi simply stared. “Get on with it, then.”

Arden exhaled and replied, “I’ve heard you’re putting together a group that is planning to try to speak to the Principate. I’ve also heard that you intend to have Tu’Quan lead this group.”

Ronovi raised an eyebrow. “He’s the Wrath now. He serves as my voice in this matter.”

“While I respect Tu’Quan’s abilities,” Arden answered. “He isn’t exactly the best talker. I shouldn’t have to tell you that diplomacy is about more than a nice hat.”

Ronovi couldn’t deny what Arden had said, but her glare narrowed, anyway. “The hat is a plus, though.”

“Perhaps,” the di Plagia replied. “But you need someone with far more skills than him if you don’t want this to go poorly.”

“Like yourself?” The Dread Lord snarked.

“No, him”. Arden pointed a finger back at the droid who took a step forward.

“Greetings. My designation is PZ-1176, though Master Karn refers to me as PeaZce. In addition to my standard translation protocols, I’ve also been upgraded with programming for etiquette, negotiation, and galactic legal systems.”

Ronovi looked to the droid and than back at Arden. “Galactic legal systems? Really? You have a droid lawyer?”

Arden shrugged. “Never know when that will come in handy. But I thought you’d react to the name.”

The Epicanthix wasn’t amused. “The name is ridiculous, too. That said, you do have a point. Diplomacy isn’t exactly our strong suit. And I’m guessing you and the droid are a package deal?”

“A safe assumption,” Arden replied.

“Fine, go help out.” Ronovi’s reluctance was clear, but there wasn’t really any other choice. “But remember, you’re not in charge.”

Arden shot Ronovi a look and his tone was clearly sarcastic. “Oh, of course not.”


Dominant - Meeting Room
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

Standing at the head of the meeting table, Tahiri gave everyone their assignments and told them to make ready everything they needed for their individual tasks. Finishing the meeting quickly, so that everyone could get prepped, Tahiri asked if there were any questions. None came forward, so the Quaestor dismissed them. After everyone but Wrathus and Ro-Tahn had left, the Togruta sat heavily.

When she had been chosen for this position, Tahiri couldn’t have imagined going into a conflict like this so fast. The fact that her Aedile, Wrathus, was also her Master didn’t help matters especially when he decided to question her or did something that only made the situation worse.

Why, why, does he have to be reckless?! I know he’s brilliant, but frack, he just won’t listen to anybody!

“So what’s the plan, Quaestor?” Wrathus asked, folding his arms.

“Yeah, what’s this all about, really, sis?” Ro-Tahn asked before Tahiri could reply to her Master.

“Be quiet, fool. You have no business being here in the first place,” growled the tall Epicanthix, not even turning to look at Tahiri’s brother. “Why do you even have the right to be on this ship? You aren’t even a part of this clan!”

“Tahiri asked me to stay after the meeting,” the Togruta replied nonchalantly to Wrathus. “And if she is a part of this ‘clan,’ then I am, too.”

“That’s not how you come into a clan,” Wrathus snapped, now turning toward Ro-Tahn.

“Where there’s family, there’s a place for you.” Ro-Tahn stood up to his full height, even though he was shorter than Wrathus.

Wrathus unfolded his arms and leaned against the surface of the table, a menacing grin spreading across his face. “Family is a weakness, boy.”

Tahiri could feel the room darkening between the two. Ro’Tahn had some Force abilities, most of which were untapped. What he did know and use was the rawness of the Force. Her younger brother had a very strong Rage ability that she had observed the couple times he’d sparred with her. Wrathus, however, was fully trained in the Force. Ro-Tahn was not trained, and he had no skills with a lightsaber. Which meant he had no way of truly defending himself against Wrathus.

Tahiri watched the confrontation with both amusement and disgust. She needed to put an end to this now so that they could get down to business. Slamming the palms of her hands down on the table, she sprang up, an air of frustration and darkness emanating from her.

“Enough!” she growled, as she pushed her darkness between the two men, engulfing them both. This surprised both men, more Ro-Tahn than Wrathus, who had been ready to Force choke the Togruta.

“Oh, apprentice, I’m just having a bit of fun,” Wrathus claimed.

“Fun?! This is not the time, nor the place, to have fun,” Tahiri snapped at her Master. It was a thing the Togruta never thought she’d do - at least, not without repercussions. “Do I have to remind you who is in charge here?”

“Oh, come on, Tahiri, don’t be too hard on him,” Ro-Tahn interjected.

“And you.” Tahiri’s attention turned towards her brother. “I don’t need you constantly getting into fights with everybody. I can’t protect you all the time.”

Ro-Tahn looked slightly hurt, then angry. “I don’t need your protection anymore, sister.”

“I’m not going to argue with you right now, Ro-Tahn. You are to report to the hangar bay until the fighting starts.”

“What, so you want me to do clean-up and maintenance work, while you go do all the fighting?” Ro-Tahn asked indignantly.

“No, I want you to be ready in case we need you,” Tahiri replied softly, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “I’d like you be prepared, okay, brother?”

“Okay, sister. I’ll be ready.” Ro-Tahn’s expression softened. He knew that Tahiri was only looking out for his well-being.

“All right, you can head down to the hangar.”

With nod to Tahiri and a glare at Wrathus, Ro-Tahn headed out of the meeting room. Only he didn’t fully exit. Stealing off to one side, the Togruta hid himself in one of the doorways.

Tahiri sat down again and turned on the holomap displaying the shipyards, tapping in the coordinates of a few key points of interest in the Thuvis shipyards.
“Let’s start with at least two points of attack, one nearest to where the AI is located, and the second near enough to the families, without damaging any of the quarters on that level.” Tahiri began to lay out the plans of the infiltration teams’ two-front attack.

“Then I’ll chose this point. It’s far enough to not cause damage to family quarters, but close enough to the action.” Wrathus pointed out.

Tahiri nodded, then went on to outline when the diplomats were to leave and when they were to enact their portion of the plan.

“You’ll need to disguise your ship,” she said after finishing the initial plan.

“I don’t mind, as long as I get to kill some Collective trash. I’ll go start doing that now, unless you need more of my time?” Wrathus turned to head out, glancing back for any objection.

“No, that’s all I wanted to catch you up on,” Tahiri replied, nodding to him as he left the room.

Once Wrathus was gone, the Quaestor smiled in the direction of the meeting room’s other exits. “So was there anything you wanted to add, Ro-Tahn?” she asked the shadows of one of the doorways.

A sheepish Ro-Tahn emerged and smiled apologetically. Tahiri smiled back, now seeing a way to protect him and let him do something beneficial.


Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

Isolation. Seclusion. Alienation.


That was Brimstone. The Chiss that everyone knew but tried to keep their distance from. He was always strictly business oriented and never trusted anyone, except for a few he allowed within his close knit circle. Fellow Plagueians and soldiers always kept their distance. They viewed him as an uncaring, unsympathetic individual. Uniformity and structure was always his personality. But the few that have worked alongside with the Chiss knew he was strictly loyal to a fault. He would never betray the clan or those he served under.

Brim stepped off his ship, the Nehso Retan’ci (Black Silence), a Firespray-31-class Interceptor, along with a black chrome-plated 3PO protocol droid, K’ebatas (Loyalty). He had been tinkering with the sensors and electronics for monitoring transmissions (and possibly breaking into secret transmissions from the Collective). Shortly after he had returned from Mustafar earlier when the clan decided to take a sabbatical, the leadership had changed drastically within Plagueis. Gone was the former Dread Lord, Arden, replaced by Ronovi. He felt she was the correct choice and one of the “few” he had trusted enough. She was always stern with him, especially since their days as allies in the former clan Tarentum.

Also changed was the leadership in House Karness Muur. Gone were those that craved power with the Force to those who weren’t infused in it. He knew Lieutenant Colonel Gaius Julius Caesar from prior missions he been on with, a great soldier he thought highly of. But they replaced the new Quaestor with a fellow Chiss, Scudi Ferria, with he knew nothing about. Even with all the data of every personnel he had built up over the years, Scudi was one he didn’t have much intel on. And that concerned him.

The Battlemaster wasn’t comfortable with changes in leadership. To him, that was a weak link in the chain of uniformity. But Brim knew what he had to do: Accept the inevitable change. But he was loyal to his clan, a fault he always found to be a weakness in himself.

“K’ebatas, go find out where the Council is now and if I am needed there for any briefings,” he told his droid.

“Yes, master,” was its reply.

The droid toddled off and through the hangar doors, closing behind it. Brim walked over to a control panel displaying the logistics and weapons of the hangar. He scrolled through different inventory applications and found the one for refueling and weapons for his type of vessel. He picked a full refueling and 8 torpedo warheads to be installed into his ship. The fleet was preparing for war, and he knew it was time to get ready.

A deck officer from logistics showed up a few minutes later. After a small conversation and a couple signatures, four other personnel came with rolling carts with eight cases, two on each cart, of the torpedoes he had ordered.

“Go ahead and load them in their tubes onboard,” spoke the Chiss. Even though it had been years since he was in the Chiss Defense Expansionary Fleet, he was still strictly militaristically minded.

As he watched the torpedoes being loaded, one of the technicians stopped to ask him a question. “Sir, I don’t mean to be intrusive, but are you the same Brimstone who commanded the Predominant?

The name of his former ship made him feel like his collar was tightening around his throat. “Yes, I am the one who got the ship destroyed while under my command,” he replied without removing his gaze from his ship.

“Well, I had a few friends on that ship that perished.”

“And you want to tell me your grievances of it? Step in line; it’s pretty long.”

“Oh, no, sir, I wasn’t here to complain. I was just wanting to say thank you. Despite all that happened, rumors are that you took it personally and haven’t let any of the other soldiers down since. Just wanted to say thanks.”

Brim just kept staring at the loading of the weapons. “I appreciate your sentiment. Thank you” he replied without looking away once.

The tech went back to carting up his payload for loading. The mention of his failure still haunted Brimstone, and he knew that many resented him for losing one of the Plagueis ships. To him, it was a weakness in his armor that left him susceptible to mistakes. And mistakes were what tended to alienate a person from others.

The technicians came off the boarding ramp and left. The last one gave a nod to the Chiss, and he returned the approval. “Respect is earned,” he thought to himself.


Vigilant - Quarters
Lyra-3K-a System
37 ABY

Talos let out a sigh as he stretched himself out on his bunk. Here he was again, back in the thrall of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood and, it seemed, hurtling towards another war. Talos’ previous life in the Brotherhood had been consumed by war, and it had been that very thing that drove him off in the first place.

A new Clan, maybe, Talos thought as he danced the hilt of his newly obtained, but mass-produced, lightsaber through his hands. But no new name…not this time.

Over the course of almost ten years in the Brotherhood, Talos had been known by many names and had been part of almost as many prominent organizations.

“d’Tana,” he muttered to himself, swinging his legs over the side of the bunk and sitting up. d’Tana had been the name of his first Family upon his knighting in Clan Arcona and the name he had worn when he led his first command, the Blue Mist Squadron, to win the mantle of premier Battleteam in Arcona.

“Umbra,” the Sith said to no one in particular, alone as he was in the basic quarters assigned to the Vigilant’s mid-level Force Users. Talos grimaced as he pushed himself to his feet and remembered how, in a plea for acceptance amongst the Shadow Clan’s elite, he had thrown his lot in with the Shadesworn terror organization and been transformed into a twisted, Force-hungry savage.

“Talos Erinos,” Talos whispered softly. It was only through the efforts and love of the Erinos Family that Umbra had been destroyed and Talos restored. Gaining membership in Arcona’s erstwhile clan of Mandalorians had been the highlight of the Kiffar’s young life. But New Tython had changed all that.

The site of the last major conflict that he had been a part of with the Brotherhood, New Tython had seen the forces of the Brotherhood clash against a resurgent Jedi Order in a bloody battle that had ultimately taken the lives of two of his closest brothers and mentors.

While the rest of Clan Arcona had returned home flush with victory, Talos was wrought by grief and guilt. Such negative emotions had led him to joining the War of the Three Families, a feud among the Erinos, Entar, and d’Tana families. The result of that conflict had seen Talos abandoning the Soulfire Strike Team, shirking the name of Erinos, and fleeing not only Clan Arcona, but the Dark Brotherhood as a whole.

Now, almost half a decade later, here Talos stood, clad once again in the traditional dark armor of a Sith with the iconic weapon of a Force user clutched in his hand.

“The past is dead,” Talos said heavily as he thumbed the activator on his lightsaber and birthed the crimson blade into existence.

Talos swung the weapon through the basic moves of Ataru, his chosen form of lightsaber combat. He had to admit that holding a lightsaber again felt good. With a slinking hiss, he extinguished the blade and clipped the hilt to his utility belt, running a hand over the DL-44 blaster pistol on his thigh, ensuring that his secondary weapon was still fastened in place.

Confident that everything was as presentable as it could be, the Kiffar swept his rows of black-and-gray hair behind his shoulders and palmed the holopad to open the door to his quarters. Immediately, the “hubbub” of a naval ship and its crew preparing for…something…met his eyes and ears. Surprisingly, though, the clamor did not bother Talos as much as he thought it would.

Stepping out into the controlled chaos, the Battlemaster let a small grin play across his lips.

Let’s go find out what exactly is going on, he thought as he began to walk, not oblivious or unappreciative to the Vigilant’s crew parting like an ocean in the presence of a Force user. And what better place than the command level? The leadership should be there.

Upon joining Clan Plagueis and House Karness Muur, Talos had been the recipient of two significant surprises. The first was that his former ally and acquaintance in Arcona, Ronovi Tavisaen, sat the position of Consul. The second was that his own Quaestor and Aedile were not practitioners of any side of the Force, despite leading a House in a Clan both named after significant Sith Lords. Needless to say, Talos had his doubts.

The Brotherhood had certainly changed in the time he was gone, the absolute power given to those who commanded the Force obviously not so absolute any more. But he was determined to give everything a chance.

The past is dead, Talos reminded himself as he drew ever closer to the Vigilant’s command level.


ISD Caelus - Command Bridge
Lyra-3k-a System
37 ABY

The chaos of the past few days had started to wear on the crew of the Caelus, and it’s Commander was not exempt.

Zand Hammor hadn’t slept in two days. The news of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood’s attack on the Lyra Colony had shaken the Severian Principate to its core. And as the Commander of its only fleet in the system, Zand was perhaps the most important individual in the entire system.

The Duros was a well seasoned officer of the Principate, having served many years under the watchful eye of Lucian Niatinus himself. His previous commissions saw him in command of Corvettes, Cruisers, and Star Destroyers, all of which now comprise the Severian Principate’s 5th Fleet. His adept ability to inspire those under him resulted in a crew that would follow him to the end. Now he was almost in over his head.

The bridge was stirring with excitement and nervousness as the Caelus was likely to be the last line of defense of the Thuvis Shipyards. Various levels of enlisted and officers scurried about to their stations at each change of shift, careful not to miss a second of their assigned duties. There was clearly tension in the air, but the calm demeanor of their leader eased any concerns. Until a moment later.

“Commander, there is a vessel approaching! Technicians are confirming a Plagueis heavy cruiser, call sign Vigilant.” The loud voice of the communications officer caught the attention of everyone present.

“Prepare to fire on my command!” Zand bellowed.

The former slave had heard rumblings about Clan Plagueis and their rumoured slaves. He would rather die than see his crew succumb to being captured. The Duros’ red eyes blinked just as the massive ship entered the vastness of space, accompanied by a few of its fighter squadrons. The Duros quickly gazed around the room, gauging his crew’s attention to the situation.

The Executive Officer, a short female Human, stood at attention. “Commander, w-w-we are p-p-picking up an incoming transmission. Your p-p-pleasure, sir?” Despite her stuttering, she was an excellent officer whom Zand had often stood up for in private meetings.

“Launch two squadrons, immediately,” the Commander boomed to his crew, who acted on his orders immediately. “Display transmission, Lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir.”

Almost instantly, the holographic image of an elderly Human appeared, much to Zand’s surprise. He stood tall, gripping his cane tightly for support. The insignia on his collar indicated he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Ascendant Fleet.

The figure continued to flicker as it spoke, “Commander Hammor, be advised that the Vigilant has no intention to attack anything in this system. Your presence is needed onboard for an urgent meeting.”

“Lt. Colonel -” the Duros began to speak.

“Caesar. Ascendant Fleet. Clan Plagueis.”

Commander Hammor was a bit taken aback by the gall shown by Caesar and the Vigilant. “Let me get this straight: you jump in and demand me to meet you onboard a slaver ship? No. Exit this system now. There will not be another warning.”

“Commander, firing upon this ship will bring the wrath of the entire Plagueis fleet upon the system. Our operators have uncovered pertinent information regarding the recent attacks on the Lyra Colony. I’d advise you to board a shuttle immediately. You will not be fired upon.”

The Duros looked over at his XO, who shook her head. Zand hadn’t given any consideration to the Plagueian’s request. He was prepared to order the full assault on the cruiser. “Not a chance, Caesar.”

“Then we will have two shuttles dispatched to board the Caelus under the flag of diplomacy,” the old man replied; he was clearly not going to take no for an answer. “Commander, you need to see this data for yourself. Once onboard, the Vigilant will take a defensive position alongside the Caelus to assist with the security of the shipyard.”

Zand was confident in the 5th Fleet’s ability to protect the shipyard. He was not, however, confident that the Principate’s intelligence reports were always correct. He took a shallow breath before speaking. “Two shuttles.”

“Excellent. Onboard will be myself, TuQ’uan Varick, the Proconsul of Plagueis, Arden Karn, a representative of the di Plagia, and Scudi Ferria, the Quaestor of Karness Muur. We will be keeping our sidearms and weapons on our possession, but be assured that we have no desire to use them. There will be no attempt to disarm us, and there will be no attempt on our part to harm anyone on the Caelus. Cease transmission.”

The old man’s hologram disappeared as the transmission ended. Chaos erupted around Zand as he stood there briefly before barking out his orders in preparation for the Plagueian arrival.


Dominant - Quarters
Lyra-3K-a System
37 ABY

Although no one really knew the outcome for a fact, the summit had made a decision. Ranarr was curious, and he knew for certain that not every Plagueian would fully agree on whichever plan they had, but they would always follow the orders of their superiors. Ranarr Kul-Tarentae, for instance, didn’t like the idea of a full out battle. He fought too many of those in his past. He knew how that would turn out.

Ranarr got into his quarters and headed for the bathroom. He turned the sink on cold and looked at his face in the mirror. He saw dried blood covering the right half of his face and a deep cut right above his eye. He leaned down to the sink and splashed water on his face to try to get the imaginary blood off. Suddenly, there was an image of the dead bodies he left lying on the floor during the previous time he went to war, flashing behind his eyelids. He started to rub the water over his face to get the image out of his mind. He blindly flailed for a towel and wiped his face off hurriedly. His hands were shaking. The Cathar grabbed a small container from the bathroom cupboard, screwed the lid off, and poured back the last two remaining pills. His past weigh heavy on him.

“I must prepare!”

Ranarr stomped into the training room and slammed the door behind him. He walked up to the weapons table and picked up a knife. He looked at the floor and closed his eyes.

Death filling his mind.

Unknown faces.

Life draining away.

A whip of his arm threw the knife at the human shaped target at the other side of the room. It stuck in the wooden board behind the target, just missing its left shoulder. He grabbed another knife, slightly cutting his own hand.

A drop of blood.

A sting on his hand - dizziness.

Chaos in the head.

He started to shake and threw the second knife. Again, it missed. He picked up two more knives and saw an exploding fleet on the screen in his mind.

A spark of anger - ignition.

The Cathar threw the two knives and stabbed the forehead and neck of the dummy. Suddenly, the face of the dummy was his own face, and his eyes rolled back in his head. Ranarr let out a terrifying roar.

“I must clear my head!”


Dominant - Hangar
Bridge of Onyx
Lyra-3K-a System
37 ABY

Tra’an double checked his loadout for the Firespray he called home more often than any other place in the galaxy. His launchers were split controlled, one with regular concussion missiles, the other one with a specialty payload.

After the last brush with the collective, he’d picked up a unique set of EMP warheads, designed to overload the circuitry of the heavily shielded enemy craft.

“Every advantage in a fight,” he muttered to himself.

“That’s right,” came the malicious response from the Magnaguard whom he still hadn’t given a name too, despite having owned it for over a year now.

“Never give up an advantage you don’t have to, especially in ship based combat. It’s not exactly like you can trust that magic that you do to save you,” it scoffed further.

The autopilot beeped mournfully at him, still not happy about being mounted in a combat vessel. Having been taken from a frigate he’d captured and raided for supplies, its gentle nature was still very much at odds with his own, and that of the malicious predator that guarded him.

He had noted the arrival of Andrelious and Wrathus, signalling that Tahiri’s meeting had come to an end. A message arrived on his holo-com, with a copy of her meeting notes with a suggestion that he attend to the Collective fleet once they had permission to engage in assault.

“As usual, I’ll leave target selection up to you,” the Quaestor’s voice drifted forth. "I would request that you keep an eye out for Andrelious and the fighters until given permission to directly engage. He’s one of us now, and I trust you to keep him safe if it comes to it.”

Tahiri’s notes scrolled across the screen again, a written copy of her voice data in case he’d been unable to listen to it. His Questor was nothing if not thorough.

“I really do tire of being set to guard these pups,” the Magnuaguard said. “They should not be loosed if not hounds to hunt.”

Tra’an snorted derisively in answer as he stood to leave and go speak to Andrelious. “Pups becomes hounds through the hunt. We must teach them how,” he lamented laconically to the droid, who only growled in response.


Fearless – Captain’s Room

37 ABY

The Shi’ido sat crossed-legged in the center of his room, feeling the Force all around him. His droid, an HK-unit, stood in his charging station on standby mode. The room illuminated to a low dim as the intercom through out the ship opened up.

“Father, there is an incoming message from Clan Plagueis.” Blue said

Blue was the child of Silent, made up of his DNA and his wife’s, created in the lab to be a powerful Force user. Her abilities in healing even the deadliest wounds was her strong suit.

“Child, ignore the message and leave me be, I want nothing to do with them,” Silent replied coldly

“I would, father, but it’s a message from the Dread Lord herself,” Blue said.

“I will be there shortly.”

Fearless – Cockpit

Silent was stunned to find not a hologram of Ronovi, but of Furios Morega di Plagia. The man had appeared to have been busy, perhaps going on a different mission away from the shipyards altogether.

“You’re not the Dread Lord,” he spoke angrily.

“Least I’m not TuQ’uan,” smirked Furios. “That would be insulting.”

“What do you want?”

“Cold as ever, I see, Silent,” Furios replied.

“Live a couple hundred years, with a wife in carbonite and a disease you can not find a cure for and see how warm you feel,” Silent growled.

“True enough,”

“Do you mind if we stop with this tea sipping session and get on with what you want?”

“You’re not a stranger to the battles and wars this clan has faced, my dear. And your darling Dread Lord is calling on all Plagueians to fight another war against….”

“I am going to stop you right there,” Silent spat. “My answer is no. I am old. I am tired. I have fought and served this clan for many years. And for what? A new shiny for my desk? A new promotion?! These do not make me fight for the clan.

“Then what will?” Furios asked, his grin still simmering on his face.

“The Di Plagia.”

Furios chuckled. “You wish for the title of Di Plagia? For what? You’re a loner, Silent. You may have served many years, but what have you truly done since your last command, other than hiding on your ship and making a landing on Aliso every few months for supplies?”

“I could care less about being apart of your little secret circle of meetings the Di Plagia have,” scowled Silent. “I am only interested in its perks, mainly those nice little secret experimental researches you have going on behind the scenes.”

“Oh, what are you going on about, my good man?”

“If what I believe to be hiding behind that title is true, I can finally get what I need to cure my wife and be rid of this life as a pawn in the Dark Brotherhood once and for all,” Silent replied.

“If you want a title, Silent,” Furios grinned, “then I’d suggest actually showing up in Lyra and helping out at the shipyards.”

“Send me your location, I will be there soon.”

Silent cut the transmission. Shortly after he received, a new message with the coordinates.

“Blue, take us to them. When we arrive, Fate and I shall stay. Take the ship and Abaven back to Aliso and await my orders.”

“Father, do you think they will give you the Title?” Blue asked

“Never,” said Silent. “which is why you and Abaven are going back to dig around and see what you can find. Take any life that gets on your way - the only one that matters is your mothers. I will return when the war is over. If you do not hear back from me in a month’s time, then I have died on the battlefield, and it will be up to you to take care of your mother.”

“As you wish, Father.”


Vigilant Hangar Bay

Lyra 3K-A System

37 ABY

“Get the fracking kriff out of my way!”

An unfortunate hangar tech suddenly found himself shoved aside by an irate, young Human, goggles pulled down over said individual’s eyes.

“What in the hell are you trying to do? Blow this entire hangar to oblivion?! ‘Cause if you keep trying to tinker with that proton warhead like you were, you would have done a great job!”

Zuser Whuloc stalked up to the confused tech and pulled the goggles over his forehead.

“If I ever see you near the Spectre again, I will personally jettison you into space and shoot you. Now get out of my sight.”

Spinning on his heel, the Maverick stalked back to the Spectre, grumbling angrily to himself as he went. Other techs quickly move out of the path of the irritated human.

“If you want anything done right, do it your kriffing self…”

Yanking the goggles back down on his face, a large spanner flew from the tool tray and into his waiting, outstretched hand. A quiet murmur touched his ears as he turned and saw the crowd part slightly, revealing Brimstone with an irritated expression on his azure face. Giving a salute, Zuser turned back to the tool tray with various parts on it.

“Brimstone, to what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Whuloc. Why are you terrorizing the hangar crew?”

“Oh! Well, you see, these so called ‘well trained’ morons keep getting in the way, and one of them just tried blowing up this entire hangar by thinking that taking a hammer to a proton warhead! That’s why!”

“Have you tried not screaming at them and threatening them with death?”

“They lost that chance when I caught one improperly trying to load heavy ordinance.”

“Be that as it may, we are at war, Whuloc. Respect the crew, and they will respect you.”

The maverick frowned as Brimstone turned on his heel and walked away, leaving Zuser alone with the Spectre. Quietly, the human hefted the wrench in his hand and muttered under his breath.

“Yeah, I’ll respect them when they don’t try and blow us all up.”


Ascendancy - Command Bridge

Lyra-3k-a system

37 ABY

“Captain Serrus.”

Serrus sat upright at the sound of the Dread Lord’s voice and saluted out of pure instinct. “Yes, my lord.”

“Are the diplomats on the move?”

“Yes, my lord,” interjected Ranin from the main console. “Caesar and Ferria are on their way to the Caelus from the Vigilant. Shall I give the go ahead for Karn and Varick?”

“Yes,” said Ronovi. “Have Arden’s ship dock on the Wrath. He and TuQ’uan will go in the shuttle together.”


The woman folded her arms in front of her again and looked out the viewing portal. Outside, the shipyards, flanked by Collective dreadnaughts and the 5th Fleet, appeared impenetrable. But the Ascendant Clan had other plans - plans more nuanced than the ones she had initially conceived.

ISD Caelus - Command Bridge

Lyra-3k-a system

An hour later

Silent and with bated breath, the crew of the Caelus watched as two shuttles emerged from the Ascendant Fleet. Specifically, Lambda-class T4as, gliding through the cosmos. While the ships they arrived from were certainly still on the offensive, no squadrons or task forces appeared, so the shuttles moved without back-up.

This surprised Zand for two reasons: First, Lambda-class T4as were quite Imperial in nature, so seeing familiar vessels nearly calmed him rather than setting his teeth on edge. Second, the lieutenant colonel had kept to his word in more ways than one; the Vigilant was moving to flank the Caelus’s starboard side, while the rest of the Plagueian fleet remained far off. If Caesar hadn’t been able to ease at least a few of Duros’s concerns before, the clan’s actions were doing it for him.

Watching the shuttles hurtle toward the Caelus’s hangar bay, Zand gave a curt nod to his XO. “Grant them access.”


“Grant them access,” he repeated, more firmly this time. “We’ll see what ‘information’ they have for us.”

Thuvis Shipyards


Same time

Meanwhile, in the shipyard stations, the Principate’s crew that remained worked tirelessly to bring things as closely back to normal as possible. Around them, as techs mended wiring and maintenance workers shuffled about, the entire space was abuzz with gossip. Families who remained huddled in their quarters in order to stay safe prattled on about the “deception” of the Brotherhood - and how the Collective had their backs.

It was an illusion that would be dispelled in the loudest of ways.

Buzzing from the north, another Lambda-class T4a zipped its way from the belly of the Dominant and toward the easternmost section of the shipyards. Then, with a sudden lurch, slowed its velocity until it was nearly orbiting the stations, just out of reach of enemy radar and sensors. With delicate but fierce precision, it had been stripped of all markings of the Brotherhood, all insignia of the Ascendant Clan.

The pilot, Tadia Zoler, hovered over the console and frowned. The skin around her forehead puckered up, not helped by the tight bun her hair was kept in, and her emerald eyes focused steadily on the other shuttles making their way toward the Caelus. Behind her, a small strike team of Plagueians - from both Karness Muur and Ajunta Pall - sat strapped to their seats, their weapons and sidearms at the ready.

Tadia turned and was about to ask for orders. She didn’t have to speak.

“Wait, Zoler,” hissed Wrathus, his face hidden under his dark helmet as his voice oozed out nearly demonically. “Let’s pretend we can be patient…just this once.”


Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

“Team A, this is Ascendancy. ‘Open Door’ is a go. I repeat: ‘Open Door’ is a go.”

While no one could see it through his helm, Wrathus smiled. “Understood, Ascendancy.” Turning off the comm, he spoke loudly. “Zoler, take us in. Drol, get ready, we need to make sure this landing doesn’t kill all of us.”

The Zabrak nodded. Any other day, he would’ve taken the chance to prod the man, but he knew that Wrathus was all business when it came to battle and might kill him on principle if not for fun. So he kept his mouth shut and started focusing on drawing the energies of the dark side around him.

The next few minutes passed in complete silence as the shuttle barreled through space towards the shipyards. The ship’s systems indicated that they’d been detected.

“All right, people, this is it. Initials only from this point on,” Wrathus ordered in a curt tone, his old military training coming to bear. “Z, make the call. D, we’re up.”

He sat forward in his seat and extended one of his hands. Kul’tak mimicked his actions and for a moment, nothing happened, but then they could see the almost imperceivable bubble of energy shimmer into existence around the nose of the shuttle.

“Mayday, mayday! We were hit in the crossfire! We’re coming down hard! Hang on, this is gonna hu - !” Tadia shouted into the comm before killing the channel. “Well, let’s see if they buy it.”

They did. “Lambda shuttle, this is Thuvis Shipyards. If you can hear us, try to put her down in the landing area. Emergency crews will be waiting. Good luck.”

The comms went silent after that. The rest of their short voyage passed in silence until the proximity alarms went off as they closed in on 100 meters. The alarm switched to a constant tone as they passed 50 meters.

“Brace!” Tadia called out.

Everyone save for Wrathus and Kul instinctively cinched down on their harnesses. Their hands were shaking as the bubble they created struck the side of the shipyards. The nose of the ship followed after punching a gaping hole in a warehouse section of the station. The Lambda-class T4a’s angular hull smashed into the surface of the shipyard. Everything vibrated under the impact. Metal bent, twisted, and shrieked. People, too, bent, twisted, and shrieked. The explosion colored the space in orange, the flames were sucked out into the vacuum of space before the emergency system kicked on, and shutters slammed down over the destroyed sections of the outer hull.

The shuttle’s enormous speed and mass allowed it to retain momentum and it skidded along the station floor, gouging metal, trailing fire, crushing bodies.

Wrathus savored the sounds of chaos. They hadn’t simply crashed into whatever spot on the station they pleased. Their intel indicated that this warehouse had been converted into a barracks for the Collective troops stationed on the shipyard.The shuttle soon came to a halt. For a precious moment, everything stood still before the landing ramp of the shuttle swung open with a clang. Tadia, Muse, and the handful of non-force-using troopers “staggered” out of the shuttle, coughing and groaning.

“Don’t shoot! We’re not your enemies!” Muse shouted as a group of Collective soldiers approached them, blasters at the ready.

“If you don’t stand with the Collective, then you are all our enemies,” the lead soldier retorted, unnatural fervor and malice dripping from his voice. With a shaking hand, he fired a shot that missed Muse by a fraction of an inch and scorched a hole in the hull of the shuttle before shaking his head and rubbing his eyes as if just waking up.

The Twi’lek sighed. “I really wish you hadn’t done that.” At her words, three irregular hums sounded off from within the shuttle as three lightsabers sprang to life.

Chaos erupted as the Collective soldiers opened fire.

The three Sith easily deflected the bolts back from where they came from. Wrathus howled and leapt from the shuttle into the middle of a squad of Collective soldiers. He punctuated his landing with an explosion of Force energy that cast the soldiers away like dry leaves.

Kooki, not to be outdone, picked a soldier approaching the non-Force-users from behind, gathered her power into a blunt object, and fired it at him. The ball of energy shot through the air and struck the man in the chest, caving it in and sending him flying.

The Brotherhood’s forces, while severely outnumbered, took the advantage early and rode it all the way to a complete slaughter. Several minutes later, a group of panting emergency technicians ran into the hanger and stood dumbfounded at the sight. Bodies littered the floor like fallen trees after a hurricane. The Lambda-class shuttle was now aflame, set alight to cover the ruse.

The technicians, clad in Principate uniforms, carefully made their way through the field of corpses and approached the survivors. Several of them looked like they might be ill. Kooki moved to meet them. The lead tech spoke first.

“What happened here?”

The female Sith sighed and let out a long breath. “After we crashed, these soldiers brutally attacked us. We’re lucky to be alive.”

The techs’ unprotected minds were easily swayed by her powers of manipulation.

“Well, that’s good. I have no idea why these soldiers would attack you like that. They said they were here to protect us from the Brotherhood’s forces.” The lead tech turned his head as Wrathus strode past him. “You aren’t from the Brotherhood, are you?”

Kooki smiled and shushed him. “No, we’re not. Don’t think too much about it. Now, is there anywhere we could hunker down till this blows over?” She tugged at the unseen thread she had connected to his mind.


Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

War. Muse couldn’t believe it. She knew when she joined the Brotherhood that she would be called upon to fight. She never dreamed that it would be in a war. Sure, she had heard about all the bloody wars that the Brotherhood had waged normally between their own Clans. Now the whole Brotherhood was at the throats of their enemies collectively.

She thought of Taranae, her long-time friend from Naboo. She was the reason that Muse had come seeking the Brotherhood. The ship her friend had “borrowed” had a tracker placed on it and Muse was keen to know where Taranae had been headed in such a rush. When the redhead had last spoken to her before taking off in the ship, she had known something was off. She had, of course, followed her tracking signal and found a planet she had never heard of: Aliso.

There she found Taranae had become a completely different person from the shy creature she was before. She had become a fighting machine and someone to be feared by anyone who stood in her way. She had found her friend and would stay by her side. Right now, Taranae was in Lyra Colony doing her own part for this war as Muse worked in the shipyards

There had been noise everywhere, and smoke had burned her lungs as she strained to see through the chaos playing out ahead of her. Bodies were strewn everywhere as the Brotherhood had brought the fight to the Collective, and she had ducked blaster bolts as she unclipped her DL-44 blasters from each hip, bringing them to bear on the origin point of her assailant’s shots.

She had smiled, satisfied, as a scream told her that she had hit her mark perfectly again. Crossing her arms and aiming her weapons in a diagonal stance away from her, she had let off two more volleys and three others had fallen to the Corsair’s blasters.

It hadn’t taken long for the small party from the Lambda shuttle to decimate the Collective forces in the area. One body lay in a crumpled heap, slumped against a cabinet, while others lay in haphazard positions where they had fallen to blaster fire, crushing or blades. The battle had died as quickly as it had begun.

Muse took one last look at the chaos they had sown here. She holstered her weapons and looked on as Kooki spoke to a newcomer. Muse watched as a glazed expression appeared in their eyes. She wondered at the show of power and thought about Tara being able to do it too. Apparently, the newcomers were technicians and were trying to work out what had happened. Kooki spoke to them and assured them that the party were not with the Brotherhood. Muse was amazed that they accepted the excuse as reality after what had just transpired, and after a brief exchange, the boarding party moved onwards with the technicians.

“We’re a little concerned about the safety of the families with enemies at your doors,” spoke Kooki. “Maybe we can help? Our presence will ensure that none of the families will come to any harm if you are attacked.”

“We value your offer.” replied one of the techs. “I’m sure we will be a lot safer with you around. Please, come this way.”

The technicians headed off towards a corridor on the far side of the warzone, and the assembled Brotherhood followed, under the guise of friends and protectors. Muse couldn’t help but smirk as they were led onwards. The ruse continued.


ISD Caelus - Hangar Bay
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

As the pair of Plagueian shuttles settled into the place in the hangar bay, Zand stood with his back to them, a small circle of officers and advisors huddled around him. Outside of this gathering, everything appeared normal: mechanics continued to work on prepping shuttles and organizing cargo containers while chaos ensued within the group. Speaking in panicked, hushed tones, they interrupted each other and pointed angrily at information displayed on the datapads in hand, all except Zand, who struggled to keep his calm demeanour and listen carefully to what each of them had to say. All the while ignoring the Plagueian delegates as they descended the ramps of their respective shuttles.

“Enough!” he barked; the weariness of the past few days was weighing heavily on his patience. “We’ll get to the bottom of this soon enough. In the meantime, put the Caelus on high alert. If these so-called allies decide to pull anything, I want us ready.”

“Yes, sir.” A Togrutan officer nodded and rushed out of the hanger to relay the orders.

A loud clang drew the attention of everyone in the hanger to a young Human who had dropped a small pile of missiles off of a cart while transporting them to be loaded, with the exhaustion setting in the Human had failed to properly secure his cargo.

“Chief!” Zand cried out and waved the deck chief over. His frustration was growing by the moment. “Get that kid out of here before he kills us all. Now!”

The Duros then took a deep breath to calm his nerves. He couldn’t wait for all of this to be over so they could all get the rest they desperately needed. A junior officer cleared her throat, drawing his attention back to the matters at hand.

“Sir,” she spoke and nodded her head in the direction of the approaching diplomats.

As Zand spun on his heels to greet his guests, he took in the sight of the motley group that had demanded this meeting: two Humans, a Chiss, a Kel Dor, a droid - and only one with any sense of a uniform. They looked like a group of businessmen and mercenaries more than politicians and leaders. And what was with the stupid hat on the Kel Dor?

Rumours of their practices aside, I have to admit, they’ve hit their diversity quota, Zand chuckled to himself.

“Welcome to the Caelus, Lieutenant Colonel. I hope your trip over here wasn’t too inconvenient,” the commander’s tone was less hospitable than his words.

Gaius nodded. “I believe you will come to appreciate our visit once you’ve seen what we came to show you.”

“Of course,” Zand spoke softly. A thought occurred to him as he remembered a piece of information from the heated discussion just moments ago. “Lambda-class shuttles, I do appreciate seeing a fine piece of Imperial engineering." His tone warmed just a touch. “You know, we don’t see too many of them around anymore. And definitely not in impeccable shape such as yours! Do you mind if I ask how many you have?”

“Only a few, and we take very good care of them,” TuQ’uan chimed in, putting a stop to the conversation. “Now if you don’t mind, can we get started?”

“Absolutely, if you’d follow me.” Zand turned and led the Plagueians out of the hangar.

As the group cleared the door, a half dozen security guards fell in line behind them, rifles ready in case these newcomers made a move they didn’t like. The commander didn’t trust this group or the organization they represented, but he swore to himself that he would get some answers about what was going on here before they left.

ISD Caelus - Meeting Room
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

A large oval table sat in the middle of the cold, durasteel room. On one side of the table sat commander Zand and two other officers of the Principate’s 5th Fleet. Directly across from them sat Scudi and her Aedile, with TuQ’uan and Arden flanking them while PeaZce stood behind the delegates. Armed guards stood around the perimeter of the room and on either side of the room’s only exit.

“Shortly before your arrival, a Lambda-class shuttle went down, forced into an emergency landing that resulted in the shuttle colliding with our shipyards.” Zand looked each of the Plagueian delegates in the eye as he spoke. “Then, you land in my hangar bay in a pair of Lambda-class shuttles. If you ask me, there is something strange going on in the Lyra system right now. So, before we get started with whatever it is you felt was so imperative to share with me, let me ask you one simple question. What the frak are you really doing in my system?”

The Duros signaled to the officer sitting to his left. Taking her queue a Twi’lek officer hurriedly handed a datapad to Gaius, who in turn passed it to his compatriots.

“I can assure you, commander, the Plagueian fleet had absolutely nothing to do with this,” Arden spoke up.

“We’ll see about that.”

“If you distrust us so much, then why don’t you check in with your own people. I’m sure they’d be happy to clear the air.” Scudi’s crimson eyes focused intensely on the commander’s.

Without breaking eye contact with the House Karness Muur Quaestor, Zand reached down and activated the comm unit on the table.

“This is Commander Hammor. Put me through to security at the shipyards”


The technician stopped just outside the perimeter of the civilian area. Kooki was feeling so many emotions right now, and some of these did not like co-existing with the others. Part of her missed her own children, and she really didn’t want to be apart from them, yet simultaneously, she was taking a small amount of solace in that she was going to be protecting others from the Collective. Her inner hatred towards Imperials was rather small in comparison to how much she loathed the Collective.

Once the group got into a more central location, they looked around. It was sparser than Kooki thought it was going to be. A few people milled about, and they looked around upon the arrival of these strangers. The leading technician nodded silently at a male who was carrying a bag of tools back to his homestead. He looked a bit grubby from a shift repairing ships, but he was a family man at heart. He nodded silently in response, although his facial expression didn’t reflect how he was feeling inside.

Within a few minutes, a small crowd had gathered.

“Right! Simply put, the Collective are coming for you, and they are ruthless. No one and nothing will be spared should you be found. Your options are to die or to come with us, we’ll take you to your nearby fleet,” Kooki explained.

Most of the crowd looked startled and rather rattled by this announcement. Suddenly, one woman at the back, whom Kooki recognised as being pregnant, spoke up.

“And why should we listen to you?! We don’t know you. You turn up with all these fancy weapons and expect us to blindly follow you!” she expressed.

The technician hadn’t known Kooki long, but had quickly learnt she was not one to be questioned.

“Everybody move! GO!” she yelled.

The objecting woman’s husband tugged at her arm.

“Come on, love. We need to get out of here,” he ushered.

“No!” his new wife boomed,the stressful situation worsened her erratic mood swings .

Kooki took pity on the woman. “It’s all right. I get it - I wouldn’t trust me either. But seriously, I’m a mother, and my children are safe from all this impending destruction. And I want the same for everyone here.” she soothed.

The young female wiped away the tears trickling down her cheeks.

“Find a safe haven, and soon your two will become three," Kooki hushed.

“Two weeks left,” the female whispered, patting her top gently. “Thank you, Miss…”

“Kooki. Miss Kooki,” the Battlemaster replied, waving farewell.

“Quick! We need to pack and fast!” the mother exclaimed to her new husband.

“Already on it,” he replied.


The Ascendancy
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

The Ascendancy was abuzz with activity, much more active than Abadeer had ever seen it before. The hangar bay where the young Togruta observed from was particularly busy, with soldiers, pilots and technicians bustling everywhere. Taasii sat on the open entrance of the Eviscerator, his crimson Firespray.

“What a bunch of nonsense,” Abadeer mumbled out loud to himself. He had received the speech from TuQ’uan, but he was unimpressed with the seeming lack of action. If the Collective was going to frame the Brotherhood for sabotage, then the Brotherhood should be taking immediate action. They should retaliate. They should destroy. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, feeling his emotions begin to heighten needlessly. It wasn’t always that simple, but now it just felt like they were rolling over to the most blatant disrespect he felt they’d ever received.

“I mean, I disappear for a year or two and everything’s gone to crap,” he groaned in response. In truth, he was feeling exhilarated for having something to do. He hadn’t meant to disappear for as long as he did. Plagueis was his home, and he felt deeply about his clan. Abadeer quickly shook his head to clear away the fog of remorse. What had happened had happened, but he was here now and ready to make up for any past transgressions.

There was a loud series of beeps coming from the ship behind the Sith. His astromech droid, Gura Gura, was trying to get his attention. Taasii stood up and stretched, popping his shoulder and neck. As he walked back up the ramp to enter the cockpit, Gura was moving around excitedly. Abadeer didn’t speak binary, but the droid was obviously alerting him to a message on the console.

Abadeer Taasii: immediate presence requested by orders of the Dread Lord Ronovi Tavisaen.

“Well. I’m sure this will be good.”

Abadeer entered the office of the Dread Lord, the Leader of Clan Plagueis having only just entered moments ahead of him after departing from the bridge. The room was just as large an intimidating as he’d always remembered it. He’d always felt small when he walked in there. The Dread Lord was sitting at her desk, watching him approach, her face a mask, impossible for the Battlemaster to get a good read on.

“And to what do I owe this wonderful pleasure of being summoned by the Dread Lord herself?” Taasii let a touch of sarcasm drip into his voice as he approached the desk. He placed his hand atop the smooth dark reflective surface.

The look given back to the Togruta was one of annoyance, but that too quickly faded back to the unreadable mask.

“You do understand the position we’re in is quite precarious, do you not?” Ronovi asked in return.

“I suppose. Though I don’t agree with us tiptoeing around. Pick a side, take a stand, show what we want. Force the Collective to acknowledge that what has been done won’t be tolerated. That we won’t roll over like some wounded animal!” The rage rising within the Sith was beginning to become palpable. “You’re the Dread Lord. Make them kneel before you.”

Ronovi turned in her chair, crossing one leg over the other. Her stare went through the side wall, distant, her mind not truly present as she thought. She pondered for a few moments before responding.

“What would you have me do, then?”

“Retaliation! Swift, but sure destruction. Assault the enemy! Show this Collective what we can do, and why we shouldn’t be underestimated. We have the firepower. We have the manpower. Show our superiority.” Abadeer’s response was quick, his emotions bleeding in to every word.

The Dread Lord swung her gaze back to the Battlemaster. Something was there, something behind her eyes, but again it was too difficult to read.

“Abadeer, I’ve summoned you here because you previously served as the Wrath of Clan Plagueis. You’re a useful asset, and we could use your talents. It’s as simple as that. There will be an assault on the Collective, that you can be assured of - but not until our position with the Prinicipate has been secured. This is probably where your talents are of most use to us. You will be included in the attack squadron that will be assaulting the enemy fleet.”

Abadeer straightened up, somewhat surprised and taken aback.

“I’m not that great of a pilot, though,” he started.

“Tough luck. Let’s be honest, you haven’t been a great much of anything since your time as the Wrath. It’s time to fix that. You’re to report to the Vigilant immediately and speak with Tra’an. He’ll be helping to oversee much of the assault.”

Abadeer half bowed, putting both too much and not enough effort into the show. “Of course, your Lordship. Whatever you command, I will do.”

“See that you do. And lose the attitude. It’s unbecoming of you.” Ronovi turned all the way around in her chair, the back facing the Togruta. It was clear that the audience was over.

Abadeer turned to leave, his feelings somewhat conflicted. He truly wasn’t that great of a pilot; this wasn’t the mission most suited to his talents. But he was mostly excited to be taking part in the Clan affairs again. A cocky smile graced his face as Taasii strode down the long hallways of the Ascendancy.


Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

As Reg listened to the comms, he couldn’t help but laugh a little bit about how well Wrathus’ distraction worked. It was direct, brash, a bit overdone, and in the end, quite effective. He was still a bit worried about how this mission would play out, but, for the moment, things were going according to plan.

From the Lambda shuttle’s command deck, the Bothan assisted the pilot in locating their infiltration point, an auxiliary service airlock some distance from any landing bay. This particular port happened to be in a region of the station where there was a large quantity of data flow detected by Kz’set in his initial probes, so it was likely in the vicinity of a primary computer core. It seemed logical that this location was where the AI was being uploaded from, or at the very least, somewhere that Kz’set could slow it down…

Once the pilot had located the service port, Reg went back to the main compartment and looked over the rest of the team. It was an interesting bunch for sure, but they should be able to get the job done. Once he arrived, he activated the comms back to the Ascendancy.

“Kz’set, come in,” he said. “We’re approaching the entry point.”

Kz’set seemed as if he was deep in thought when the call came in. Audible clicking and button pressing could be heard from the open comm channel, followed by a gutteral buzz that was probably a bad word in the Verpine language. “What iszzz it! I’m rather busy fighting this kriffing machine.”

Reg responded sheepishly. “You told us to call when we were approaching the service port.”

“You never exactly told us the plan,” Tahiri added.

A few more audible button presses could be heard before Kz’set responded. “Right, plan. Here’s the problem: I can’t effectively fight the kriffing AI remotely since I’m having to fight to even stay connected as it tries to shut out outside accesszzz. However, if we take the time to find the console directly, the AI might be fully installed by the time you reach it.”

“Which would make removing it nigh impossible,” the human named Phift interjected.

“Exactly,” Kz’set replied. “However, if you can get me a more direct connection to the data systemszzz, I will have a much easier time fighting it. I should be able to buy you enough time to locate the console stop the upload.”

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to come along, then?” Tahiri asked, though she really wasn’t versed in all this technical stuff.

Another unintelligible Verpine word preceded Kz’set’s answer. “As much as I might want to be there to examine this artifact, I need the processing power of the Ascendancy’s computers to keep up with the AI. Mister Phift and Mister…” Kz’set stopped a moment, as he always struggled with Bothan names. “Reg should be able to handle the technical side of your mission.”

The mentioned human and Bothan nodded as their names were mentioned. As they spoke, the assembled team could feel the shuttle lurch to a halt and hear the soft hiss of the docking collar connecting to the service port.

Tahiri nodded in satisfaction. “All right. Let’s get to it, then.”


ISD Caelus - Meeting Room
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

The four Plagueians and the PZ series droid sat eagerly awaiting the return of their Principate counterparts. Zand Hammor and his team had been quickly whisked away about ten minutes prior, due to a communication issue between the comm unit in the meeting room and the Shipyard security team. The oldest amongst them constantly fidgeted with his cane, while his Quaestor had her face buried into her fancy datapad. The pair had only recently began working together, but Gaius knew that his overseer would bring great things to Karness Muur.

The blue skinned Quaestor leaned over towards her Aedile and offered a soft whisper, “Wrathus reports early success with the dis -”

Before the Chiss could finish, Commander Hammor stormed back into the meeting room, holding a holopad of another Duros officer, appearing pretty shaken up. “The Collective soldiers, sir. They suddenly attacked a shuttle in the area. The survivors of the crash have been protecting us from any threats. Sir, they’ve told us this isn’t the first time the Collective has done this." The light blue image flickered off.

“What the frak is the meaning of this?” he bellowed, while his guards clinched their blaster rifles and brought them to the ready position.

Tu’Quan Varick, the recently appointed Wrath was the first Plagueian to offer a response, while slowly moving his right hand towards his blaster in the event that words could not diffuse the tension. “Commander, the forces that attacked the Shipyards were not of the Ascendant Clan or the Iron Throne. That shuttle was attacked by the brutal forces of Rath Oligard and the Collective. Here, take a look for yourself.”

The Kel-Dor slid a datapad over to the opposite side of the table, all while keeping his hand on his blaster.

“That file contains intercepted communications and battle plans for the Collective to seize control of this facility and other locations across this system.”

The Wrath was good at a lot of things, propaganda reports included. He had worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to put together a full report that pinned the Collective forces as the aggressors across the Lyra-3k-a System. His associates in the nearby sectors offered up the locations of both Collective forces and the Severian Principate 5th Fleet. These precise locations came at a great cost, one that Tu’Quan had authorized Plagueian funds to pay for.

The tension in the air cooled off as Zand and his compatriots quickly scrolled through the report. “These people promised us security. Why would they turn around and attack us?” the Duros spoke aloud. “You come here with this report showing that they are authorized to ‘kill any who get in the way, women and children included’, yet you did nothing to prevent this? Where is this Ascendant Fleet you speak of?”

“Commander, please read further down the report, and have your guards here lower their weapons,” offered up Arden, the only Sith in the room. He smiled as he watched the Duros’ facial expressions change once he arrived at the portion of the report put together by his Verpine associate.

Zand read aloud. " ‘The data shows that the Technocratic Guild has been working to install an artificial intelligence unit that will allow complete and total control of the Shipyards and all related Principate stations.’ ” He briefly looked up at the four Plagueians before continuing. “ ‘Such systems were in place on the Meridian Prime space station.’ ”

“Technocrat leaders utilized that station to incarcerate and brainwash Force users,” the Karness Muur Quaestor added abruptly. “Plagueian forces helped liberate the station last year.”

The room fell quiet for a minute while Zand turned towards his officers and looked for any sort of confirmations, though none were given. The Commander had seen many things in his many years of service, but this situation presented a different set of fact patterns that all pointed towards betrayal. “How do I know this isn’t falsified information?” he asked, as a desperate attempt to hold out belief that the Collective were true allies.

“Commander, you can’t afford to ask that question anymore. Everything in front of you is happening this very second. These Collective scum are not your allies. Open your eyes and let it be seen.” Caesar spoke quickly and aggressively, as his patience was nearing its end. “Call for the direct assault on the Collective dreadnaughts now, or your people will suffer the consequences of your inaction.”

Caesar was out of his element. He typically used various interrogation techniques on his targets to obtain information. He was under direct orders to not use those methods on this mission unless absolutely needed, and he felt that he was getting close to that point.

Hesitantly, Zand looked back at the Plagueian delegation. “If what you tell me is true, the situation is dire. However, I’m not yet fully convinced. Provide me irrefutable proof that what you’ve told me is linked to the Collective’s presence here, and we can go from there."


Thuvis Shipyards

Lyra-3K-a system

37 ABY

Although it was his first time working with members of Plagueis, Swil Phift remained calm as he edged out of the shuttle that had brought him and his team aboard the shipyards. Though completely unfamiliar with the men and women that he had shared the shuttle with, he’d quickly found out their names: Reg, a Bothan who also claimed to be a slicer, Tahiri, the Quaestor of House Ajunta Pall, who was providing the team’s muscle, along with Talos, Obsidian, Razor Ragnorhawk, and Sarai Andromeda.

“Right. We’re aboard. Have you a schematic of the shipyards?” Swil questioned, his comlink on a frequency only Kz’set could hear.

“Just give me a minute! I don’t have that many armszzzz!” the Verpine hissed.

Swil rolled his eyes, but the requested schematic appeared on the screen of his datapad before he could even think of a suitable retort.

“By the looks of this, the console we need isn’t far, but I doubt it’ll be easy going,” Phift explained, his finger tracing the route that his team would need to take.

“You worry about the console’s security systems. The rest of us will worry about getting you two there,” Tahiri said, glancing across at Reg and Swil.

“That might be easier said than done,” Talos interrupted, snatching the datapad from Swil’s hands. “If that’s our route, there’s at least three places that the Collective could set up an ambush.”

“That’s what we’re here for,” Tahiri reiterated, tapping the hilt of her lightsaber.

“From what I know about the Collective, they’re trained to deal with Force users. Lightsabers may not be enough…”

“We will suffice,” the Ajunta Pall Quaestor responded. “We will have to,”

Swil was ignoring the ongoing conversation and had already connected his datapad into the door’s locking system.

“I don’t think the door’s even locked…” Reg began, but stopped mid-sentence as he spotted what his colleague was doing.

“Maybe not, but Lord Mimosa-Inahj always said to keep the doors open,” Swil explained.

“Inahj? Do you mean Andrelious?” Talos interjected. “Makes sense, mind. If the doors are all permanently open, we can see what’s coming. No ambushes,”

Mimosa-Inahj. You don’t forget the Mimosa twice, I assure you of that,” Phift replied matter of factly.

“Please be careful, Mister Phift! The system iszzz detecting your intrusion. I fear that too much tampering will lock me out for good,” Kz’set warned.

Swil shrugged, momentarily forgetting the Verpine couldn’t see him. “Door override complete. Releasing in 3…2…1…”

Go, go, go!” Tahiri cried, leading the charge herself.

Three enemies, all Liberation Front Partisans, were caught completely by surprise as the Quaestor and her allies moved into the corridor. They were quickly cut down even before they could properly aim their E-11s at the attacking Plagueians.

The two slicers were the last to emerge, keeping their distance as the rest of the team dealt with a few more enemies.

“Can’t you help them?” Reg questioned Swil, eyeing the rifle strapped to his colleague’s back.

“That is a sniper rifle. Excellent for eliminating targets a long way away. Up close, it’s not quite so effective,” Phift explained.

“Come along, you two!” Tahiri ordered, annoyed at how far the computer experts had fallen behind.

“I’d have thought we’d have faced more resistance than this,” Razor commented.

“The enemy’s strength will be focused elsewhere. They probably weren’t expecting us to hit this area at all,” Talos explained.

“Still, even I wasn’t expecting to find it quite this easy. It’s as if the Force itself is helping us,” Tahiri added.

“I can feel it, too,” Sarai replied.

“The real difficulty is going to be getting into the AI system. I’ve spent a lot of time slicing Collective systems. Of course, even the most insane of enemies have bad coding habits,” Swil stated.

“At least we’ll be able to connect easily. The Empire was nothing if not insistent on uniformity. The same kind of data jack on all consoles,” Reg remarked.

As the two slicers continued to discuss their trade, a trio of hairless Humans kitted out in all kinds of cybernetics leapt from a doorway, brandishing Z6 Riot Control Batons. Each of the soldiers picked a target, the saber proof tips of their weapons sparking dangerously as they went on the offensive. Tahiri and Talos made relatively short work of their opponents, but the third seemed to catch Sarai off-guard. Knocking the Miralian to the ground, the soldier almost seemed to smile as he went in for another blow, but his expression was melted away, along with the rest of him, from a full powered shot from Swil’s sniper rifle.

“Wow,” Obsidian croaked.

“That is possibly the shortest shot I’ve ever taken,” Phift grinned as Obsidian helped Sarai to her feet.

“Never mind that now! I can see how close you are to the console! Get me connected!” Kz’set demanded.

Once again led by Tahiri, the group filed into the room ahead. Swil and Reg immediately connected their datapads to the console, their fingers almost a blur as they tapped away.

“Patching you in now, Kz’set. You weren’t wrong about the security on this thing! Whoever programmed this knew what they were doing,” Swil announced.

“Swil. Does this function do what I think it does?” Reg asked, pointing to a particular line of code.

“Stick to basic, please!” Talos complained, completely bamboozled by the code he was watching Swil enter rapidly.

Like having Andrelious here, Swil thought to himself.

“Basically about 90% of the code is designed to allow anyone with the correct password to take control of the entire shipyard. Enter the right code, and you can have the whole place blow up. You getting this, Kz’set?” Reg queried.

“Yeszzzz. It iszzzz most interesting. I will transmit everything we’ve learned to our diplomatic team,” the Verpine replied.


ISD Caelus - Meeting Room

Lyra-3k-a system

37 ABY

Scudi looked intently into her datapad. She’d just been sent the proverbial smoking gun she needed to convince Commander Hammor that the AI the Collective was trying to install was real and was everything they had claimed it was. However, someone else was looking to enter their endgame at that same moment.

“I would like you to take a look at this datapad. We’ve managed to acquire the specifications of the AI the Collective are trying to use to seize control of your shipyards.” Ferria turned her datapad over so that the Commander could have a gander. A worried look was etched on the face of the Duros as he inspected the datapad. The Plagueians had not been lying to him, and he had wasted valuable time making them prove it.

From the corner of her left eye, Scudi noticed a small Umbaran woman, who seemed to be abnormally focused on TuQ’uan. She thought nothing of it. The hat did tend to draw attention to itself, especially in small rooms.

The mysterious Umbaran had noticed the Chiss’ eyes briefly meet hers. Realising that Scudi hadn’t taken any action meant that the mission would proceed as planned. It was a simple mission, really, but one that would require all of the assassin’s expertise to pull off successfully. She saw how please the Plagueian delegation looked. That was bad for her and her employers. Something needed to happen, quickly.

The Umbaran slid a hand into an inside pocket on her jacket, reaching for an old friend. Feeling the cold metallic embrace of the object, she grabbed it in her right hand. This was the moment she’d been training for. The petite sentient slowly unveiled what she had been holding: a small blaster pistol. The weapon was quickly aimed at TuQ’uan’s head and discharged once before anyone could come out of shock.

The blaster bolt hit the top of the Kel Dor’s hat, but he was still alive. The wannabe assassin was promptly riddled with blaster bolts from none other than Hammor himself. Her body crashed into the table and was quickly searched for identification by Zand’s legitimate aides.

“How the hell did that happen!? How did we let someone get close enough to pull a stunt like that?” Hammor was incensed at what he had just seen play out. It was embarrassing to a man of his station to have his trust violated so publicly and at such a crucial moment.

“Commander Hammor, I’ve found something!” a tech called out to the Commander, sure he’d want to know the identity of the attacker. “It says on this here Identichip that this woman was named Sencara A’theri. She doesn’t appear to be one of ours. And while things are crazy, I’m not sure they’d try to kill one of their own.”

“She had ID on her? Wow, I’m not sure where the Collective finds these people,” scoffed the assassin’s target.

“Frak! I should’ve tightened security, I should have done something to prevent this,” spat Zand.

“I’m sure there is nothing more you could have done better, Commander. The way the Brotherhood was introduced to the Collective was a surprise assault that ended up claiming many lives, including a then prominent Brotherhood figure,” TuQ’uan responded.

“Very well, I guess the question now is…where do we go from here? How do we stop this AI and keep my people safe?” Hammor wouldn’t allow himself to be fooled again but needed to ensure those he was tasked with protecting would not come to harm.

“If you could send men to protect our people’s location, we would be grateful. However, there is one other area where we need your help. While the Collective maintain a presence in this system they are a threat to everything in it. We were hoping you would join us in driving this menace from your home and ensuring the safety of Principate interests in the system. Oh, and put in a good word with your bosses about Plagueis.” Karn made the pitch he would’ve made had he been in charge of Plagueis still. He was sure Ronovi wouldn’t mind help with her assault.

“I appreciate your help, For the security of the Principate we shall support you with dealing with the Collective’s forces in this system. If we get through this alive, I shall suggest that Plagueis be treated not as an enemy, but as a friend. Your deeds will prove that also.”

“Thank you, Commander. I will have to inform our fleet of your cooperation and report to my superiors as you do yours.” Scudi stood up from her seat, followed by Hammor and the rest of her delegation.

“I’m glad I agreed to this meeting. You may now return to your people and help us in the battle to come.” Zand smiled at the Plagueians as they departed for their shuttles to return to the Ascendant fleet.

“Well, you were quiet. Guess we didn’t need the additional oversight,” Scudi taunted the droid Arden had brought along as they walked to their shuttles. Scudi usually liked droids, but she wasn’t fond of how she’d only just gotten a job and she was already not being trusted to carry it out. Nevertheless, the job was done.


Ascendancy - Bridge
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

“Please make sure our shuttles are clear of the warzone before you start shooting, Dread Lord,” TuQ’uan added on before his hologram disappeared.

The Dread Lord stood for a moment in contemplative silence, despite the moderate hum of activity that surrounded her on the bridge. It was fortunate that they had managed to secure a truce with the Principate, but as Ronovi had waited to hear the results of the negotiation, she’d felt an unease settling over the fleet. Despite their apparent success, the Force apparently wasn’t satisfied.

While the “diplomats” may have finished their leg of the race, the infiltration teams were still hard at work in the shipyards. Communication with the two teams was being kept to a minimum to avoid any potential transmission interception. As long as the AI was still in play, the Collective would likely stick around, wanting to protect their acquisition. So it was safe to say a Collective retreat would signal the success of the infiltrators.

“Dread Lord, we’re receiving a transmission from the Caelus,” Admiral Ranin relayed. “Shall I patch it through?”

Ronovi nodded and turned back to the holoprojector. From the holoprojector rose a translucent blue Duros. The Dread Lord recognized him as Zand Hammor.

“So, it sounds like there was a bit of excitement during our parley, Commander,” she remarked with a thin smile.

The Duros cleared his throat. “Just a bit of a slip-up on our part. I assure you we take security breaches like that very seriously. Which is actually why I’d like to grant you permission to enter the shipyards.”

Ronovi folded her arms. “You want us to help you out, huh? Can’t handle the Collective on your own?”

The Duros frowned slightly. “Consider it an olive branch. A sign of further…good will between our organizations. The 5th Fleet will be fighting alongside you to push the Collective out of the system.”

The Dread Lord smiled. “Glad you’ve seen the error of your ways. We’ve fought the Collective before, so it’d probably be best to follow our lead. Admiral.” She turned to address Ranin, who was dutifully standing at attention nearby. “Alert the fleet. We’re going to move into the shipyards and eliminate the Collective. The 5th Fleet will be fighting alongside us.”

Turning back to Hammor, Ronovi’s expression became serious again. “Get your people ready for a fight.”

Silent Scream - Bridge
Lyra-3K-a system
Minutes later

As the Admiral’s voice fell silent, the Silent Scream’s bridge immediately erupted into a humming hive of activity. The crew worked to bring the Hammerhead corvette from its idle position into full combat readiness.

“Captain Ohli,” Khryso Mallus said, leaning forward slightly in his seat as the excitement of the coming battle began to seize him, “coordinate with the Dominant. Keep us in formation as we move.” The Chiss then addressed the rest of the bridge, raising his voice. “I want us ready to fight at a moment’s notice. Our priority is to cover the Dominant as it makes its approach toward the dreadnaughts.”

The Admiral had just passed down orders from the Dread Lord. The negotiators who had been dispatched to negotiate with the Principate had successfully completed their task. This meant the Ascendant Fleet was free to take down the Collective presence at the shipyards. The Principate’s 5th Fleet would be lending support during the fight, but Khryso figured that Plagueis didn’t need the extra firepower. After carefully considering what was at both forces’ disposal, it was clear the the clan had the advantage.

The Ascendant Fleet began moving, Captain Ohli shouting out orders to various members of the bridge crew. The Dominant, and Task Force Besh along with it, would be leading the charge, drawing the bulk of the initial attention from the Collective Fleet. This would allow the fleet’s other companies to slip in further and give the dreadnaughts a proper pounding.

The Silent Scream accelerated to cruising speed, covering the starboard bow of the Dominant and matching its speed. The Perdition and Brigand had taken up positions aft of the Dominant and the remaining ships in Task Force Besh fanned out behind their flagship. The Silent Scream monitored space for starfighters as they closed in on the Collective dreadnaughts and the shipyards. It would be their job to intercept whatever fighters the Collective scrambled to intercept them. Once the Dominant was in a good position, it would deploy its own starfighter squadrons to engage the Collective.

“We’re picking up approaching fighters!” one of the crew called back over their shoulder. Khryso looked out of the viewport in front of him. The shipyards still loomed in the distance, a tattered mess of metal barely holding itself together. On one side was the 5th Fleet, and on the other the Collective dreadnaughts. Already, both forces were beginning to reposition their fleets.

“Eliminate the fighters once they’re in range,” the Chiss said, reaching out into the Force. Once they found themselves in the heat of battle, he intended to let the Captain take command so he could perform some battle meditation to keep the crew at peak efficiency.

“M’lord,” a different crew member said, turning around, “these aren’t Collective fighters. They have Severian Principate designations.”

Khryso frowned. Perhaps the Principate was deploying a screen to defend the Ascendant Fleet, but that hardly seemed necessary. Especially when the 5th Fleet was already close enough to engage the Collective. Throwing away fighters that they could use wouldn’t make sense. “Hold your fire. Hail them. Find out what they want.”

“Roger,” the crew member replied, turning back to his station.


The Chiss listened to the clicking, beeping, and whirring of the Silent Scream’s main console as the officer attempted to make contact with the leader of the approaching Principate squadron. He waited patiently. If the Principate were coming to help, they would certainly pick up the transmission.

They didn’t.

Khryso frowned. “Try again,” he ordered the officer, pointing at the console. “Maybe with a different pilot.”

The poor man tried. “Sorry, sir. Nothing.”

“Nothing?” Khryso repeated this incredulously. “Is there a technical issue?”

“No, sir.” The officer looked at Khryso both apologetically and with concern. “They’re just…not picking up the call.”

Khryso pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. Like it or not, he was going to have to tell the Dread Lord.

ISD Ascendancy - Bridge
Lyra 3K-a system
Minutes later

“My Lord!” cried out an officer. “Task Force Besh has detected Principate fighters approaching our fleets, but their attempts to make contact have failed!”

Ronovi frowned. That didn’t seem right. When she had last checked in with Commander Hammor, he had informed her that all Principate ships would remain engaged with the Collective, on the opposite flank from where the Ascendant Fleet was. This would allow for a pincer-like strike, and having random fighters come join Plagueis seemed unproductive at best and worrisome at worst. The Dread Lord turned to Serrus and gave him a look.

“Patch your way through to the Squadron Leader. We’ll make them talk.”

“Already tried that,” the Ascendancy captain replied. “They’re not biting.”

This wasn’t good; Ronovi could already sense that. The last time she had believed the battle had been won, was when that bastard Xander Drax had tricked the Ascendant Clan into believing his ships were pulling back, only to zip back in and deal a barrage of heavy damage. She would not be fooled like that again. Novice though she was, she could still learn from past mistakes.

“Then get me Hammor again.”

“He’ll be occupied,” Serrus remarked.

Ronovi wasn’t budging. “Get. Me. Hammor!

It took only a few moments before the Duros’s blue silhouette emerged on the central console. “What’s going on? I’m trying to organize the 5th Fleet to strike!”

“Not doing so good a job, then, are you? Was it your goal to have your fighters defend our pilots from our side?”

There was silence for a second or two, as Zand’s hologram flickered. “I never gave any instructions of the sort.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said, I never - ”

His voice was blocked out by another shout from an officer. “My Lord, the Principate fighters have begun to engage our squadrons! They’re shooting from all sides!”

The Epicanthix could feel her one organic eye almost pop out of her skull. A surge of heat pooling behind her brow, she let the 5th Fleet commander have it. “So, this is your idea of an alliance?! To lull us into a false sense of security so you could catch us off guard?!”

“Lord Tavisaen, those pilots aren’t obeying my orders!” Zand sputtered. “This is the epitome of mutiny!”

Mutiny?! You expect me to believe that?!” Ronovi snarled, spittle flying from her clenched teeth. “My fleet could pulverize your fleet, Hammor! Flatten it! Is that what you want?!”

“My lord, it may be wise for you to - ”

Shut up!” bellowed the furious Dread Lord, spinning around to confront the poor fool who had dared challenge her - only to realize that Admiral Ranin was staring calmly back at her. The bridge fell completely silent, the tension so thick that one could almost taste it.

“Commander Hammor may very well be telling the truth,” the admiral reasoned. “If the Collective’s poisoned the well with their propaganda, it may be hard to clean out from the ranks of the Principate. Hear the poor man out.”

Were it anyone else, Ronovi would have become aggressive - violent, even. A broken nose or shattered jaw would have been the least of the victim’s worries. But this was Cyvvaria Ranin, the most established naval officer within the ranks of the Willing. She had been with Plagueis for years, and to harm her was to harm the very structure and hierarchy of the clan. The Dread Lord may very well have wanted to be respected, but she was not going to be that reckless.

She let her shoulders drop from their tense position, her breathing slowing as the burst of adrenaline burned off like boiling water. Then, rubbing her hand across her mouth, Ronovi turned back to the hologram of the practically mute Zand Hammor.

“You must understand,” she explained coolly, “why I may have lost my temper.”

“Lord Tavisaen, I swear to you - ”

“Forget it. We’ll pick the traitors off easily.” Ronovi waved a hand dismissively. “A pesky distraction, but one we’ll deal with. The original plan remains in place.”


“But you may want to check in with your squadrons, Hammor…so this doesn’t spread.

“Oh, believe me, Lord Tavisaen,” the Duros replied, his scowl clearly seen on the hologram, “we’ll make sure this doesn’t get any worse.”


Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

Shadow, and controlled rage, wrapped Wrathus. His anger smoldered always now, and his thoughts mirrored the caliginous air. He had stormed away from the rest of his team, telling Tadia to stay with the others, when he’d received the intel from the Inquisitorius. The Dread Lord and her Wrath were being targeted by Collective assassins. The Wrath had already been attacked, but the assassin had failed.

With this section of the station on emergency power, the dim emergency lights lit everything from below, painting everything in a dull shade of amber. Low voices sounded from ahead, barely audible in the stillness. Wrathus did not slow and made no attempt to hide his approach as he emerged from the shadows of the corridor.

They saw him immediately, two Collective troopers in half armor. The leveled their blaster rifles.

“Who in the - ”

He drew on the Force, gestured as if he were shooing away insects, and sent both of the troopers flying against the wall hard enough to crack bone. Both sagged to the floor unmoving. The black eyes of their helmets stared at Wrathus.

He resided in the calm eye of the storm of hate. Power churned around him, within him. He did not feel as if he were drawing on the Force, using it. He felt as if he were the Force, as if he had merged with it.

He had found his purpose. Nothing distracted him any longer. He served the Force, and the Force worked through Plagueis. To attack the Clan was akin to attacking the Force itself.

The growing power whirling around him, leaking through the lid of his control, made the suppression of his Force signature impossible. All at once, he released all of the restraints, let the full force of his power roil around him.

“Cowards!” he shouted, putting enough power into his voice to cause the corridor panelling to vibrate. “Cowards!”

He round a corner to see a squad of six Collective troopers in full armor, blaster rifles ready, the front three on one knee before the other three.

They had been waiting for him.

His Force-enhanced body moved faster than their trigger fingers. Increasing his pace, he pulled his lightsaber into his hand and activated it. Drawing his hatchet with his off hand, he closed to a pace from the troopers when they fired, still aiming at where he had been.

Two of the blaster shots ricocheted off his saber and into the ceiling. The other four missed him entirely, putting black holes in the walls and floor. Another stride, and he fell upon them. Bringing his saber down in and overhand attack, he cut down the middle two soldiers. He crosscut, spun, and crosscut again, killing the two standing soldiers. The remaining two broke and ran. The final soldier tried to block everything out but when a sickening sound came from his left, he couldn’t help but look. His comrade was facedown on the floor, a hatchet buried deep in his back. As a pool of crimson began to spread from underneath him, the hatchet jumped as if called and shot through the air back into Wrathus’s waiting hand.

The Sith hung both of his weapons on his belt and strode up to the soldier, who stood petrified. As Wrathus loomed over the man, he exhaled slowly, discharging a burst of vapor from his helmet’s mouthpiece.

“Where is your commander?” the Sith asked.

When the soldier could only stammer, Wrathus sighed and removed his left gauntlet. Popping open his forearm, he drew out his long thin blade and snapped his arm closed.

“Let me rephrase that. Tell me where your commander is, or I’m going to push this blade, very slowly into your urethra.”

A panting Wrathus, his anger aflame now, pushed through the growing pain in his legs and stepped through the doorway and into the large open space.

Upon seeing him, the soldiers fell mute. Only the sounds of the battle raging outside continued. A sea of faces stared at him, ghoulish in the amber of the emergency lights. In the moments that followed, he could feel their anger. It washed over him, and he reveled in it. He howled and rushed the crowd. Blaster bolts erupted from every direction, all aimed at Wrathus. The soldiers were completely unprepared when the Sith leapt over them. Their attention was drawn away from the man by a sudden beeping. Looking back to where Wrathus had leapt from, they saw a fist sized metal sphere drop to the ground, beeping.

The troopers barely had enough time to cover their eyes before the detonator blossomed into a ball of fire and death, consuming a dozen men and annihilating the floor underneath them. The remaining soldiers turned back to find that the Sith was bounding up the stairs to the commander’s office.

Wrathus slammed the door shut as he entered the office. A moment later, a blaster bolt struck him in the back. He smelled smoke. His armorweave cloak had ablated the shot. Spinning on his heel, he rounded on the shooter and found a short heavyset man in an officer’s uniform shakily pointing a blaster pistol at him. The pains of combat blew air on the embers of his anger.

Growlling, Wrathus approached the man. With a clearly quivering voice, the commander spoke.

“I - I’m not afraid of you.”

“Then you’ll die braver than most, if you don’t answer my questions.”

The man’s expression shifted several times, settling on sad acceptance.


Lyra 3K-a system

Admiral Ranin’s orders were clear: Shoot down the enemy TIE squadrons first, then go after the Collective forces. Brimstone knew what that meant. The enemy had brainwashed the Principate forces to work alongside them in the destruction of the Brotherhood. This wasn’t what concerned the Chiss. What did concern him was that the clan’s Wrath had been nearly assassinated, and he knew that the enemy would go after the Dread Lord next. He wasn’t going to allow it.

The Firespray lifted off and out of the hanger. The Chiss and his crew: his droid, the Shi’ido Silent, and a Togruta named Ro-Tahn Vang Drakon, the brother of Tahiri who was transported earlier from the Dominant, were seated within the cockpit and headed for war. As part of the Cresh battle group, they were tasked with cleaning up stragglers who made it past the Besh assault. Brim was ready, but not as eager as Ro-Tahn was, the young journeyman was itching for a fight.

“Glad to have you back, Silent. I actually missed you being around.”

“It won’t be long. As soon as this war is done and I get what I came for, I’ll be gone again, probably permanently,” replied the Shi’ido.

“That’s unfortunate. You’re a great asset to us and to me. I still have much to learn from you,” replied Brimstone, “Ro, you man the gunner’s station. Time to show your worth. K’ebatas, get on the sensors and target all the ships so we know whose who.”

“Roger, Roger,” quipped Ro-Tahn with a smirk.

“That’s my line!” retorted the android.

The ship flew full throttle as the rest of the Cresh squadron lined up in attack formation. Brim knew he wasn’t the leader in this attack, so he followed the directive of the team’s leader. No enemy ships were to get anywhere near the main ships. Brim’s droid then chimed in.

“Sir, I am counting twenty-five variants of TIE ships and thirty-five X-wing class ships incoming.”

“Okay, Ro, target the TIEs first - they’ll be the easiest. Don’t waste the torpedoes on them. Save those for the dreads afterwards.”

A transmission came over the secured channels. “This is Cresh Leader, Split off in groups of six each. Defense pattern Delta Alpha. Let’s get ‘em, boys.”

Brim watched as 24 ships split off into four smaller squadrons. 21 of the ships were the regulars of Cresh, while the other three, including Brimstone, were of fellow Plagueians, including Zuser and Abadeer. Each Plagueian took a position with each mini squadron.

The battle was in full force. Some TIEs made it past the Ascendant Fleet’s first wave of defenders, and the Cresh teams were ready to engage. Brimstone banked with the other fighters and took off after a couple of them. Ro was shooting as well as he could, trying to get them. The TIEs juked and jived out of the laser’s path, but it didn’t last long, as one was blown apart from one of the other’s shots.

“Cresh Leader, this is Zuser. Looks like they are making a run for the Ascendancy.”

“Stop them at all costs. We can’t have them going after the command ship or the leaders.”

Brim heard this and broke off from his squadron, as did Abadeer and Zuser. They knew they had to keep anyone from getting close enough to board or destroy the Dread Lord’s ship.

“Captain, keep on the others. We’ll take care of them,” replied Abadeer.

All three Plagueian ships broke rank and chased after the four TIEs. The two Firesprays and a Ghtroc 720 light freighter headed after their newly acquired targets.

“Zuser, you take point. Me and Aba will take flank. Let’s light them up,” said the Chiss.

The three of them were in full pursuit. As they got closer, they began firing upon the TIEs as they wove their way towards the capital ship. after what seemed like an eternity, the three of them were able to destroy all four of the enemy and balls of fire. Once all were obliterated, the three Plagueians banked around and headed back towards the other battles ensuing.

“Let’s stay in the rear in case more get by,” spoke Abadeer.

“Roger,” replied Zuser.

The three took up an aggressive defense pattern and waited for any more suicide strikes.



“I was thinking of something I wanted to shoot by you.”

“Okay, what?”

“If the fleet can disable any of those dreadnaughts, perhaps we can get aboard one of them and take out the personnel on board. I have a feeling that at least one of them would be an asset to the 5th Fleet of the Principate.”

“That could be beneficial to them, but getting on them isn’t going to be easy, and I doubt they will just welcome us with open arms.”

Brimstone laughed. Silent was always able to let loose with some wit every now and then. Ro and K’ebatas continued to man their stations as they patrolled for other enemy combatants.



Lyra 3K-A System

Torrents of red, superheated plasma flew from the Spectre, its master banking and strafing as if he was intoxicated, accompanied by a full squadron of B-Wing fighters. The squadron of TIEs ahead of the Ghtroc each streamed forthgreen laser blasts, accompanied by their infamous “screaming.”

“Rip them apart! Let none escape your crosshairs!”

Zuser banked the Spectre roughly before following through into a barrel roll, his hand never relaxing on the trigger longer than barely a standard minute. The Maverick was incensed, his normally green eyes fringing on yellow. His face was set in a furious scowl of hate and rage.

“Cowards! Monsters! I’ll show you the true fury of Plagueis!”

The Spectre suddenly accelerated towards a trio of TIE fighters, two of them breaking off to escape the hulking turtle of a ship. The third wasn’t so lucky. The Ghtroc spun starboard and smashed its port side into the TIE, obliterating it in a burst of fire and leaving scorch marks and punctures in the hull.

“You wanna make an attempt on our Wrath?! I’ll give you a reason to never try it again!!”

The Spectre sharply shot towards the other two TIEs that broke away from their third, red lasers lighting up one of them into a ball of fire and debris. Zuser Whuloc’s now yellow eyes zeroed in on the last of the TIEs that his squadron had broken off to destroy. This last TIE fighter pulled off a backwards loop, green laser blasts hitting the space around the freighter thanks to the shields. With a sudden dip and a jump, the top of the Spectre smashed into the TIE, crushing it from below. The hull of the Spectre now sported a dent with copious amounts of scorching.

“Hurricane Squadron! Form up and regroup around the Nehso Retan’ci!

As his squadron followed the instructions, the Maverick ignored the slight shudder in the cockpit and the flickering of the lights.


As soon as Ranarr found the courage to get into battle, he boarded his ship and launched into space. He watched the enemy vessels enter range. Many showed scars of battle already, but so far, they had not lost major warships thanks to their fighter screens. Their losses so far would have caused another fleet to pull back and reassess their strategy, but apparently, the Collective’s regard for any life, even their own, seemed scant.

It was time to deal a major blow to their enemy. The sensors across Ranarr’s panels lit up with warnings; a second later, he was surrounded with ships. It took the Cathar a few minutes to shift his mind from, “I am toast,” to, “Reinforcements are here.” The 5th Fleet was engaging. Ranarr immediately made contact with the Star Destroyer near him.

“This is Ranarr Kul-Tarentae for Battlestar. Do you copy, Battlestar.

“This is Battlestar. What’s your status?”

“Lost sight of my squadron. You guys need another wingman?”

“Why not? Welcome to the 5th Fleet, Ranarr!”

“There, look!” Ranarr exclaimed triumphantly, pointing to a display of sensor data. “That dreadnaught barely opened fire despite being well within range and firing arcs! This must mean the ship is barely functional.”

“We’ve seen it, too. Fighters, keep enemy fire away from our Brotherhood wingman. Bombers, target that dreadnaught’s weapon systems before they come back online How about we give you a clear path and you’ll go take a closer look Ranarr”


Ranarr engaged afterburners and tore forward, easily maneuvering closer to the enemy Elysium ship. He looked up at an explosion as one of the dreadnaught’s cannons flared out in a fireball.

“Good job. guys!”

Just as quickly, two smaller explosions occurred in the night sky, as the TIE bombers took out the dreadnaughts lasers.

“How are we doing, Ranarr?” asked the Principate’s captain of the Battlestar.

“Scans show this entire dreadnaught running low on power. Must have been a malfunction of some kind.”

“Fighters and bombers, target that ship’s engines! They ain’t going anywhere.”


Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

“Hangars, have the transports arrived yet?”

A loud intercom message sounded over loudspeakers in the hangar, startling everyone into silence.

“Yes, sir. Everyone is either aboard, or the last of the families are close to boarding completion, one of the hangar techs replied into his commlink.

“Roger that, hangar four. Make sure everyone is accounted for and that all belongings are secured.”

“Roger, will do. Hangar four out,” replied the tech, as he ushered more families quickly towards the requisitioned troop transports from the Principate as the Plagueians looked on.

“Hold on, Kooki. I’ll help,” Muse said. She moved forward to the expectant couple Kooki had been talking to and gestured for them to go ahead.

“Go on,” she told them. “I’ll give you a hand.”

Setting off at a brisk pace, the Twi’lek followed the couple as they headed towards their lodgings to gather what possessions they had.

“I’m sorry if we scared any of you with our entry,” she spoke, making small talk, “but when you’re shot down, you take what landing you can get. If you can walk away from it, all the better.”

She giggled slightly to lighten the mood and was happy to see a small smile play across the woman’s lips.

“I’m sure you did what you could to stay alive.” said the woman, patting her belly. “I know I’d do anything for this little one, too.”

Muse noted the bump and marvelled at how life still went on even under unfathomable circumstances. Life always found a way. The family stopped at a door and it hissed open, allowing entry to a small, sparse room. They obviously led a simple life, but Muse had a feeling that the baby would have many a gift lavished upon it. Life would be good for the newborn.

Families streamed past outside as the Twi’lek helped pack things into storage. A short while later, all three of the party walked out of the room with various crates, lockers and items between them. Most were for the newborn and would not be left behind. As the group entered the hangar area, items were being loaded onto the transports.

The Plagueis team looked exhausted. After the crash, the fighting and the ensuing confrontation with the techs, it had taken its toll on them. Muse thanked the Force that Kooki had the skills she had used on the techs, otherwise this mission may have turned out somewhat differently.
The families began boarding the transport, and the team ushered everyone aboard, checking that no one was left behind. The team knew that they were almost finished, and an air of relief could be felt around everyone. The families were tense, of course, but the small squad had achieved what it had set out to do here.

The families aboard the shipyards were safe. Muse just hoped that everything else in the Dread Lord’s plan was working, too.


Silent watched as the Collective dreadnaught targeted by Besh and the 5th Fleet began to sink downward, compromised almost too well.

“There is your opening, Brim. Take us into that dreadnaught,” Silent said.

“Sometimes, I do not know if it is you or the Force that makes the things I say happen,” Brimstone replied.

“Just be glad someone heard it and made it happen. Now, take us in while we have a chance to land in their hangar.”

The Firespray wove its way through the rubble of floating destroyed ships and took out a few more fighters before they made it to the Dreadnaughts hanger. Luckily by the Force, the group was able to land within the hangar as its backup power flared back to life, activating gravity, life support and the shield to keep them from being shot out into space. The three of them, the Shi’ido, the Chiss, and the Togruta, unboarded off the Firespray, weapons at the ready.

“What’s the plan?” Ro-Tahn asked.

“Not to die on the way to the command bridge. Judging by the size and the power outages here, we will need to split up. I’ll take Fate and head to the Command Deck. I will need one of you to hit up engineering, take the crew hostage, and get the power back up - not like they will not be trying, anyway” Silent said.

“I can handle that,” Ro-Than agreed.

“So, what is left to do for me?” Brimstone asked.

“We need the communications center under our control. Find any way you can to get there. keep them contained, we do not need information of us boarding the ship. So, jam or redirect, sing them a song, don’t care. Just keep them off our tail as long as you can. I will let you know when I have secured the command deck.”

The three left the hangar bay and split up, Silent made his way from deck to deck either by stairs or by the force to jump to the next deck level in a lift that was out of order. Whatever caused the power shortage to this Dreadnaught was not from the battle outside, but by something within. Many lifts were out of order; doors had to be pulled opened by hand and the Force. It was eerie to Silent that he had not come across many patrols or workers in the last ten decks he had managed to climb. Finally, he reached the command deck; the doors were sealed tight and the locks on the outside were busted. Activating his saber and jabbing it into the door, he began to cut a hole for himself.

Silent called upon his old friend. The Force washed over him from head to toe, and then it rushed outward toward the self-made circle,knocking it out and leaving an empty space. The Shi’ido stepped onto the Command Deck and was taken aback as he found a skeleton group working there. His comm buzzed to life.

“Silent, you won’t believe what is going on here,” Brimstone declared.

“I agree. Engineering was not what I was suspecting,” added Ro-Tahn.

“Let me guess: a skeleton crew of possible civilians are working in those rooms,” Silent determined.

“Yup,” they both replied.

“It seems that the Collective has some double crossing going on. I believe we just walked into a trap.”

“What should we do?” Ro-Tahn asked.

“How long until you can get the ship engines up?”

“Ten minutes, probably, but it will thrusters only, they took a beating from us.” Ro-Tahn. replied.

“Get to work - I have a ship to turn to get back to our fleet.”

Silent looked over the crew. He felt only fear coming from them - not hatred, just pain and suffering.

“Who is in charge?”

“I am.”

“Why were you left here?”

“They took our families and forced us to play the part of your allies. We were left when they sprung their trap.”

“They just expected us to destroy the ship ourselves and not board it? What’s still working on this damned ship?”

“They destroyed the weapons from the inside. No escape pods - they were blasted before the ship entered battle. All we have left is life support, our engines, and you.”

Furiously, Silent activated his commlink. “Brim and Ro, the ship was gutted before battle. How many people are there with you?”

“Eight here,” Brimstone replied.

“Six with me,” said Ro-Tahn.

“Damn it! I have another ten with me.”

“What is your plan?” Brim asked.

“Self-destruct the ship, but only we will get off the ship.”

“Is that a problem?” Ro-Tahn asked.

“Yes. I kill those who attack me, not trick me.”

“That does not sound like the Silent I know,” muttered Brimstone in surprise.

Silent knew what he had to do. “Brim, get a message to our Clan. We need a crew picked up quickly. Have everyone down in the hangar taken prisoner. Ro-Tahn, set the core of the ship to blow in thirty minutes. You both get back to the Firespray and get out of here.”

“And you, Silent?” Brim asked.

“I am going to ram this Dreadnaught so far up the Collective’s arse they won’t know what hit them. You have your orders.”

“This is not the mission! That’s suicide!”

From Brimstone’s end, only static was only heard.

No one should mess with a man’s family, thought the Shi’ido.


Lyra 3K-A System

Abadeer got the call to make his way towards the assaulted dreadnaught. His Firespray was the perfect vessel for picking up the crew from the ship, being that it was a repurposed prison transport ship. The whole thing struck the Sith as a little weird - the enemy ship should have been more heavily manned than what he would be able to help with taking away. Still, he shrugged and did as he was ordered. Zuser was flying in close behind in his Spectre to assist in the evacuation.

“Zuser, keep your ship in tight formation. I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Abadeer hailed over the coms channel.

“Roger that. I don’t really like this at all either,” Zuser replied.

Abadeer maneuvered the Eviscerater into the docking bay, where Ro-Tahn and Brimstone were waiting with a couple dozen prisoners.

“We’re going to need more ships or more trips,” Abadeer muttered to himself. He quickly radioed one of the squadron commanders to send additional vessels to aid them. While the prisoners were being loaded, he glanced around. “Where’s Silent? I thought you were with him.”

“Not coming,” Brimstone replied. He had a resolute look on his face. The Togruta locked eyes with him for several seconds.

“Fine. Not my problem. I’m not sticking around for any heroic sacrifice, though. Get on board, and let’s go quickly.”

Abadeer reignited the engines on his ship and started to pull away with his human cargo safely aboard. Brimstone and Ro-Tahn boarded the other Firespray docked in the hangar. They waited until all the other ships were loaded and away before taking off themselves. Just as Abadeer and the others began to leave the hangar, he heard critical failure alarms began to blare throughout the ship. It must have been rigged to blow. He had no idea how long they had, but he knew they were not anywhere as far away as he’d like them to be.

Flying out of the dreadnaught, the Plagueians retreated in a loose formation. Brimstone appeared over all coms.

“Silent, my friend, the prisoners are all clear. We’re counting on you…and it was an honor serving alongside you, Master.”

There were no tears in his voice, only solemn resolution. Abadeer rolled his eyes. Not that the sacrifice was meaningless, but it felt unnecessary. He turned to peer out the cockpit. He could only watch on as the dreadnaught began to face back towards the enemy, small fires popping up here and there along the hull of the ship.

The ship made its final turn and then began to slowly accelerate. Taasii wouldn’t watch the show of over the top heroics. Turning away, he saw several enemy TIE Fighters begin to move back towards the burning dreadnaught. At least he would let Silent make his sacrifice. He wouldn’t let anyone stop the fool. Abadeer began to engage the enemy starfighters, quickly followed by the rest of the Plagueians. They made short work of the fighters, tearing them to ribbons. There was a short pause before the comms opened back up. It was Silent’s voice.

“Haling all of Plagueis. Adapt. Ascend. Avail.”


Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

Tahiri watched Reg and Swil do their tech thing with the A.I. unit; she never really was that much into technology, unless it helped or suited her needs.

“Sarai, Talos, you two stay here. Obsidian, you and I are going to sweep this deck. I’m not going to be taken by surprise,” Tahiri ordered as she unclipped her Rune saber. “Reg, Swil - you know what to do. Let’s get this done as fast as possible and get back to the fleet.”

The Quaestor headed out of the room, followed by Obsidian. The Togruta’s anger rose with every thought of the attempt on TuQ’s life, her sharp teeth grinding furiously.

Obsidian kept pace, while also keeping his distance from Tahiri. The aura of dark side energy emanating from her seemed to be intensifying as they began to check the room and hallways close to where the rest of the team was. Stopping at the T intersection of hallways, Tahiri quickly checked in with Sarai.

“Still working on it,” Sarai responded.

“Good, keep at it.” Before turning to Obsidian, the Quaestor added, “Keep a lookout, and let us know the minute you’re done.”

“So what’s the plan here?” Obsidian asked.

“We’ll separate from here.” Tahiri checked her wrist link one more time. “If you run into anything you can’t handle, call me and start making your way back here.”

“I can handle anything,” Obsidian argued.

“That’s an order, Obsidian!” the petite Togrutan woman interrupted him. “I started this mission with the goal of bringing everyone back. I’m not going to lose anyone. Is that understood?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Obsidian was slightly taken aback by the upfrontness of the Quaestor.

After a quick nod to each other, both set out in opposite directions. All was quiet, a little too quiet. Both ran into a few Collective soldiers, of whom they took out with precision.

Finding out that the techs were almost completely finished, Tahiri called for Obsidian to meet back with the rest of the team.

“Copy,” Obsidian responded, before what sounded like blaster erupting in the background, and then the transmission cut out.

“Kark it! Obsidian, do you read me?”

No answer came back.

Tahiri switched channels quickly, “Sarai, be ready for anything.”

“We are ready. What’s happening?” Sarai asked.

“Sounds like Obsidian ran into someone - can’t get him to answer, I’m headed towards his location now,” the Quaestor explained, as she began moving in his direction. “Sending you the coordinates in case I need backup.”

“Copy that.”

The Togruta ran swiftly down the hallways, following the coordinates of his last known location. As she rounded a corner, she could hear blaster fire and the woosh-hiss of a lightsaber.

She unclipped her secondary saber and rounded the last bend into a small storage room. Obsidian had engaged what Tahiri estimated were about twenty, Collective soldiers. A slow malicious smile spread across the Togruta’s face as she let the Force seep into her muscles.

Springing forward, she directed her first attack towards the closest soldiers firing at Obsidian. Cutting them down was easy, but as the last soldier fell beneath her blades, he cried out. Several soldiers now directed their blasters at her. Reversing the grip of her left saber, the Quaestor directed the bolts that came too close away from her, while closing the distance on her prey. Together, they worked to take out the remaining soldiers. A few shots actually hit their marks - Obsidian managed to haphazardly block a blaster bolt, but it still struck high on his left leg. Tahiri heard the Knight’s yelp, and the last soldier jumped her with his stun baton. All she felt was pain for a few moments, before her rage burst to the surface and devoured him.

The rest of the team came round the corner and discovered the battlefield that spread through small room. Talos ran up to Tahiri, as she leaned against a wall near Obsidian, holding her broken left arm.

“Reg, Swil, and Kz’set finished shutting the AI unit out of the system, We’re headed now to fully disable it,” Sarai told the Quaestor, while Talos helped her arm in a sling.

“It’s located through those doors,” Reg pointed, looking up from his datapad.

With a nod, the whole group readied themselves for another fight. After Reg unlocked the doors, there was a hiss as they opened. Without hesitation Sarai took point, scanning for enemies. There was no one in the room. Talos swept the rest of the room, while both slicers immediately began checking the unit. Finding the correct wires to make sure the unit couldn’t go back on line any time soon, they cut the power.

Minutes later, the entire group was back at where they started. Talos helped Obsidian to a seat within their transport, and then turned to Tahiri to treat her wound first, but she stopped him.

“Don’t worry too much about me. I’ve had worse wounds than this.”


The Onyx sliced through another wing of Principate TIE Fighters, protecting the bridge of the doomed Collective ship.

Even as the other Firesprays made their run for safety, he remained behind, just out of blast range.

Someone has to protect Silent, even if he’s going to get himself killed in the end, mused the Kaleesh. The Magnaguard remained quiet, saying nothing, as was its wont in such times. It didn’t approve of the choices being made, but it knew better than to voice its opinion or dissatisfaction when its own life was not really on the line.

The mutineering Principate pilots were lacking, and fought rigidly, as if unused to piloting their ships. This allowed his minimal piloting skills to be sufficient enough to blow them out of the void.

“You really should get clear, Reith,” rasped the Shi’ido over comms. “This ship is rigged to blow, and I think you underestimate how big it’s going to be.”

The Augur sighed, but he confirmed it looked like the TIEs had gotten the hint and stopped chasing the ship.

“Even as much of a fool as I think you are, I honor you for choosing the death of a warrior. You never did know how to fail. Adapt, Ascend, Avail!” he responded.

The line stayed quiet as he peeled away, putting the ship and his long time comrade behind him. Checking the plot, he found where the other Firesprays had slowed, out of danger and away from the fight. The droid brain of the Onyx set course to catch up to them at his direction, as the Kaleesh sat back and thought about Silent’s choice, and pondered the thought of sacrifice for the greater good.


Vigilant - Bridge
Lyra 3K-a system
37 ABY

From the viewport, another series of small explosions quickly developed into the burning collapse of another Collective ship’s structural integrity. Furios Morega gave the command, and the Vigilant changed course to intercept the next enemy vessel. The Audacious and Indefatigable moved to flank and the next bombardment proceeded like clockwork. It was just as easy as reports had indicated.

He scanned the bridge for anything out of the ordinary. The cruiser’s usual commander was giving supporting orders with well-practiced ease. Everyone was calmly executing their assigned tasks. Steady voices spoke pre-rehearsed lines describing the status of the engagement. He locked eyes with Captain Rockwell for half a moment, and it quickly became apparent that he really wasn’t doing much that Rocky couldn’t handle. Having relayed all the boarding parties to the surface and with the decimation of the Collective fleet running so smoothly, the presence of a high-ranking Muurian on the bridge didn’t seem necessary any longer.

He turned to the nearest holo projector and signaled the Dread Lord. A few seconds later, and the electric blue image of Ronovi Tavisaen appeared before him.

“Anything to report, Furios?”

“Nothing new, as it were. Our ships are destroying their ships. But guess why I really called.”

The Consul’s demeanor shifted to one of pondering for half a moment before easing back into one of stern command presence. “I’d say that by now you’ve finished landing everyone, you figure the peons have everything covered on the bridge and you’re bored, so you’ve decided to interrupt me during these crucial hours in order to give you something to do when you could have asked your Quaestor.”

The di Plagia tried to keep a straight face in order to play coy even a moment longer, but his mouth soon spread into an uncontrollable grin. “It’s like you know me so well. Plus bothering you first is one of the perks I get for having the title.” He chuckled to himself for a moment, reminded of Silent’s earlier demand. “So, got anything like that for me?”

Ronovi released a short sigh of exasperation and tapped at something off screen. “As a matter of fact, I have just such a task for you. These intelligence reports indicate that the Collective has taken control of a Khyber mining operation on the moon of Thillon. I was going to simply take care of this particular issue after our forces finish up planetside, but if you can sabotage the facility and stake a claim for Clan Plagueis before we get there, that would be a great help to the war effort.”

“Ah ha! Sounds like a task worthy of my awesomeness!” Furios exclaimed half-sarcastically. “I’ll get on that right away.”

The Dread Lord couldn’t help but roll her eyes at the veneer of arrogance and humor. “Just report to your Quaestor when you’ve completed your objective.” She disconnected the holo before another ridiculous comment could follow.

“Maybe if she were a di Plagia,” Furios muttered to the echo of the current clan leader.

He turned on his heel and marched quickly to Commander Rockwell. “I’m leaving you in charge, ol’ Rocky,” he said playfully.

“Yes, my Lord,” the officer replied in stone-faced contrast as the Warlord strode off to his yacht.



Thuvis Shipyards
Lyra-3k-a system
37 ABY

The commander, whose name Wrathus had forgotten, was unaware of the truly grave mistake that he had just made. In the course of his interrogation, Wrathus had discovered the name of the assassin sent to kill Plagueis’s Consul. He had been in the process of transmitting this information to his superiors when the commander had spoken up.

“Please, sir, you seem like a reasonable man. Tell me what you desire and I’ll make it so. All you need to do is not expose our agent.”

While the man could have no inkling of the Sith’s fanatical devotion to his clan, the mere suggestion that he’d betray them for some mild gain was enough to cause Wrathus to begin seeing red.

He set the datapad down and slowly removed his helm. Setting it next to the datapad, he stepped over to the man’s side of his desk. He very calmly drew his hatchet from his belt and spoke.

“Spread your hand on the desk.”

The commander sputtered. “What? I don’t understand!”

“Spread your kriffing hand on the desk!” Wrathus barked.

Jumping at the order, the commander slowly placed his right hand, palm-side down, on the desk and spread his fingers apart. He looked up at Wrathus and watched as his face shifted from stoically unemotional to a visage of pure rage. With a shout, the Sith brought his hatchet down in a savage strike, unevenly lopping off three of the man’s fingers.

For a second, the man stared at his hand in disbelief before the pain registered and he stumbled back screaming, clutching his hand as blood began to spurt from the ends of his fingers. Wrathus closed on the man in two steps and shoved him into the wall. Pinning the man to the wall, he growled through clenched teeth.

“Other hand! Spread it against the wall!”

While pain was a powerful feeling, true bone chilling fear could cut through anything. The man shakily spread his unmarred hand against the wall. Wrathus placed the blade of his hatchet at the edge of the middle fingernail, and with a quick sliding motion, sheared the nail off the man’s finger. He naturally recoiled and moved his hand. All this did was cause the Sith to roughly grab his wrist and force his hand back into position. Once again placing the blade of the weapon at the edge of the nail of his ring finger, Wrathus removed it with a single savage motion.

The removal of the second nail was painful enough for the man to wrench himself free of Wrathus’s grasp. Stumbling away, the man clutched his mangled hands. He was so focused on his injuries that he was completely unprepared when Wrathus drew his lightsaber and sliced off the man’s feet, causing him to topple to the floor.

Wrathus discarded his saber and knelt down next to the man,roughly grabbing a handful of the man’s hair. With a snarl, the Sith drove the man’s face into the floor. The impact easily shattered the man’s nose. Lifting the man’s head up with blood pouring down his face. The Epicanthix savagely drove the man’s face into the floor again. The Sith continued the process over and over again, but he stopped just as the man was about to lose consciousness. Roughly flipping the man over onto his back, Wrathus mounted his body. Placing the blade of his hatchet directly on the man’s sternum, he pulled his arm back and slammed it into the back of the weapon. Acting like a hammer and chisel, the blade sank about an inch into the man’s chest, eliciting a scream from him.

The Sith drove his fist into the hatchet again and plunged the blade of the weapon into the man’s chest. Growing frustrated with the progress, Wrathus wrenched the weapon out the man’s chest and, using it as intended, drove the blade into his target. With three savage chops, he had split the man’s sternum in two. Dropping the weapon to the side as the man faded in and out of consciousness. Wrathus forced the fingers of his right hand into the bloody crevasse in the man’s chest. He grunted and brutally forced the opening to widen. The man was screaming non-stop at this point and his screams only got louder when the Sith forced the fingers of his left hand into the space and took hold of the other side of the man’s rib cage. Snarling in the screaming man’s face, Wrathus began to pull the man’s torso apart. The screams reached a crescendo as the man’s ribs began to crack and pop. Finally, mercifully, the man’s bones gave way, and Wrathus violently ripped the man’s chest cavity open as the man ceased to scream.

Leaning back on his haunches, Wrathus panted heavily before picking up his hatchet and with a determined grunt, got to work.

Several minutes later, Wrathus clambered out of the hole in the wall he had cut with his lightsaber. Stepping into the adjacent chamber, he sighed and made his way to the doorway before glancing back at his handiwork.

There, spread out across the floors and tables of the commander’s office, was a man broken down into his most basic form, having been dressed and butchered like an animal. His bare skeleton hung from the ceiling light fixture, his muscles and organs spread out around him in neat groups. The tattered remains of his skin were piled up to one side, and everything was covered in a slowly drying coat of deep red blood.

Wrathus left the site behind, pleased that even after everything, he could still clean and dress a kill. Now to find the Zygerrian scum who would try to kill his Consul and make him suffer for his indignation, whether he succeeded or not.


Moon of Thillon, Thillon Colony
Lyra-3k-a System
37 ABY

The H-type Nubian glided over the large settlement and into the small starport. The entrance ramp lowered, and jets of hydraulic steam hissed around the striding steps of the Epicanthix as he descended. This spaceport seemed relatively clean for such a place. A decent amount of cargo cluttered the bays as Furios gracefully weaved in and out of the dura-crates, shipping containers, and foot traffic.

Following the plain signs above, he navigated his way out and into the surrounding colony. As with the spaceport, most of the buildings looked fairly new. Most people were carrying objects of work or trade. He purposefully strode along the road, scanning for the most likely place to find miners, information, or both. In a small, budding colony like Thillon, it didn’t take long for him to find the only cantina. He grinned and ducked inside The Tipsy Miner, closing the door behind him.

The building was dimly lit and had only a pair of occupants quietly chatting at a corner table. The Plagueian sat at the bar and was displeased to find that they only had Shesharilian vodka. With resignation, he accepted. As the bartender poured the drink, the door opened and another individual stepped in. Closing the door behind him, the newcomer sat down next to the Epicanthix as he took his first sip.

“Blech. Bring me something to mix this with,” he ordered.

“For me as well,” the stranger requested cheerily. “I’ll have what my friend here is having.”

The Sith looked to his self-proclaimed friend and saw a heavily-built Weequay mercenary with trimmed features and a large sack strapped to his back. A Reynolds DE-21 sat on his hip.

“And what does my ol’ ‘friend’ want from me today?” he asked.

The Weequay’s smile broadened into a grin. “Actually, your ol’ friend Nah‘kor Trevain wants to help you, Furios Morega.”

“How do you know my name, and what help do you think I need?”

“I deal in information. Simply put, you need access to the place where I obtained a number of Brotherhood dossiers, including yours,” he explained.

The blond man took a couple sips from his new mixed drink before responding.

“And in exchange?”

“I’ve lost my ship and need passage off Thillon. Having recently learned about your Aliso system, I think it would make a great next stop.”

The Warlord frowned at his drink and finished it quickly. “If you help me with my task, you have yourself a deal,” he stated.

“Well, then get ready for a hike,” Trevain said.

Outside the Thillon Kyber Mine
Moon of Thillon, Lyra-3k-a System
37 ABY

Perched just behind the crest of a nearby ridge, the mercenary and Sith surveyed the mine from afar. Tucked into the side of a large plateau, the facility was buzzing with the activity of workers preparing shipments for export. A number of armed Collective agents were posted intermittently around the structure. A single, wide smokestack gripped the cliffside, ventilating exhaust just low enough to dissipate behind the geographical feature, practically designed for secrecy.

“So exactly what task do you have in there?” the Weequay asked.

“I’m supposed to be disabling the mine, stopping their cargo, and killing as many hostiles as I can before back-up arrives,” the Epicanthix explained as he checked the chronometer on his wrist comlink. “Had we taken my ship like I said, we wouldn’t have to do this in record time.”

“And like I said, we have to go on foot so they don’t spot us coming,” Nah’kor retorted. “Besides, my excellently crafted plan will not take long at all.”

The Force-user rolled his eyes “Where to, fearless leader?”

“We’re climbing the plateau,” Trevain said matter-of-factly.

The climb was nothing the Obelisk hadn’t done before, either on a mission or in his own training, but to his surprise, the large Weequay traversed it with relative ease. Regardless of this, he easily maintained a pace above the shorter man, subtly wary of his unexpected assistant. Each lost a handhold at some points, but the rest of the climb was uneventful. Once atop the mass of stone, the pair snuck to just above the mine’s smokestack, peering over as the wind whistled around them.

“Now what?” the Plagueian asked.

The non-Force user began unstrapping his large pack. “Now we answer the real questions,” he stated. He pulled open the flap and loosened the drawstring, presenting a large sack of explosives.

“Of course! Bombs are quick!” Furios exclaimed.

With guidance from the explosives specialist, they managed to strike certain elements of the layered fans, and before long, the entire ventilation system was collapsing. Around the facility below, everyone was evacuating the accumulating fumes. Trevain hefted a final permacrete detonator over the ledge.

“For the maintenance crews,” he stated.

The two saboteurs moved around the edge of the plateau to approach the loading docks, and the Weequay retrieved his last belt of detpacks. He gave half to the Epicanthix.

“All you gotta do is hit the ship,” he instructed.

They threw the payloads down, and about half landed on the ship. Nah’kor pulled the last thing from his pack: a cord and grappling hook and began anchoring it against the rock.

“We have to get close for the detonator to work.”

A signal from his wrist alerted Furios to check his comlink. “Good. Back-up is still an hour out, plenty of time to get some kills.”

Then they jumped. And everything exploded.


Vigilant - Meeting Room

Lyra-3K-a system

37 ABY

Scudi Ferria sighed heavily as she leaned against the wall of the meeting room. It had been that very room she had left to undertake her first mission as Quaestor, and now she had returned, triumphant. Not that the people she now worked for would show her anything resembling the proper amount of respect. The Chiss gazed at Julius, who had sat down to rest his ageing bones.

“I know what you’re thinking. You get used to it over time. You know how you helped them. Take satisfaction in that. They’ll remember what you did for them, that I can guarantee you,” the Aedile reassured his superior. He knew that she was used to a more direct form of gratitude. Plagueis did pay well, but that was a matter for once the latest chapter of the war had concluded.

“The money is a concern, but not the primary one. It’s more about how they see people who aren’t like them. People like us,” remarked Scudi.” Well, more me than you. It’s like we’re a lesser kind of being. The Collective have it the wrong way around, don’t get me wrong. Surely, there has to be some kind of middle ground where people are only assessed on their merit, not if they can shoot lightning out of their fingers. Something we’ll have to do is to come up with ideas. Ideas that take what we have at our disposal and turn them into something other than a bunch of magic freaks who show up every so often to wreck other people’s stuff.”

“Like what?” Julius inquired.

“Well, not to overstate my capabilities, but I did come up with a few ideas on the shuttle back here. Once we’re back at Aliso, I’ll fill you in. Though if we’re on enough of a solid foundation to change things is something I’m not entirely sure of. We’ll have to keep an eye on these people.”

Scudi stroked her chin as she contemplated the future, not just for her, but for those whose fates were intertwined with hers.


Silent Scream - Bridge
Lyra-3K-a system
37 ABY

“Lord Mallus.”

The voice cut through Khryso’s thoughts for a second time in mere seconds, much more insistent than the first. Khryso pressed his lips together firmly as he withdrew from his meditation, pulling his consciousness out of the Force and returning to the Silent Scream’s bridge. There was a brief sense of anxiety from the crew, as if they had recently broken their leg and were now walking for the first time without their crutch. However, the feeling disappeared quickly and the crew didn’t skip a beat, staying on task.

Their Chiss commander sat cross legged in the captain’s chair, opening his eyes slowly so they could easily adjust to the light. Captain Ohli stood just a few paces off of his left side, her hands clasped behind her back. “Lord Mallus,” she repeated for the third time once she saw that the Chiss’ eyes were open, “the Collective is on their back foot. They’re beginning to regroup for a retreat.”

Khryso uncrossed his legs, setting his feet onto the ground before rising to use them. With a few quick glances, he took stock of the new battlefield that presented itself outside of the viewscreen and on the bridge’s scanners. “Of course they are,” he muttered, crossing his arms.

It was no surprise that the Collective was trying to make a run for it, they were outgunned and outmatched. Even though he couldn’t see the battle directly while using his battle meditation, he had enough of a sense of the flow and tide of the fight to gather an idea of what was occurring. “Stay in formation with the Dominant. Our priorities are the same. Let the larger vessels deal with the dreadnaughts.”

“Speaking of…” The Chiss focused in once again on the scanners as he stepped up behind the chair of a crewmember to look over their shoulder. “Have we eliminated the Principate defectors yet?”

“Nearly,” Captain Ohli replied, stepping up beside him. “Their numbers have dwindled to insignificance. Unlike the Collective, they seem insistent on fighting down to the last man.”

“We’ll grant their request. Eliminate the Principate fighters without mercy.” Khryso turned back, taking the few steps required to arrive at his chair.

“Sir!” one of the crewmembers suddenly shouted. “One of the dreadnaughts seems to be sustaining critical damage!”

Most of the crew turned to the view screen, including Khryso and Captain Ohli. It indeed appeared as though one of the dreadnaughts was beginning to die, as small flares of light began to dot its surface. Explosions then began to ravage the vessel. Curiously, though, they didn’t seem to be the result of turbolaser fire.

“Hailing all of Plagueis,” a voice suddenly broadcasted over their comms, flooding the bridge. “Adapt. Ascend. Avail.”

Khryso didn’t recognize the voice, but he didn’t take the time to consider it, instead carefully watching the exploding dreadnaught as its course shifted. The crew quickly echoed the warcry before falling into anxious silence.

The dreadnaught turned towards one of its fellows that had been moving into position to help cover its retreat. As explosions continued to spread across its hull, it began to accelerate. The second dreadnaught began to turn away, as they were now on a collision course. Their turbolasers began to fire on the approaching vessel, trying to turn it into slag before it could make its mark. Whoever had come over the comms was clearly responsible. Someone had taken control of the dying dreadnaught and was going to use it as a missile in the name of Clan Plagueis.

Despite himself, the Chiss couldn’t help but stand and watch the spectacle. The half-destroyed dreadnaught sailed through the barrage of turbolaser fire. Its target would not be able to get clear in time and paid the price for it. The dying dreadnaught collided with the aft half of its former ally, collapsing into it. The two vessels folded and bent around each other, the force of the impact tearing metal from metal and causing the kamikaze vessel to disintegrate even faster.

The twisted web of metallic wreckage left the two entangled in each other, a new ship that was less functional than either. It was a handful of seconds later, after the action of the collision seemed to be settling, that a series of explosions quickly lit up the kamikaze dreadnaught, immediately causing a chain reaction that enveloped both ships in a massive series of fiery blasts that forced the viewscreen to automatically tint itself to protect the crew from being blinded.

Cheers erupted from the crew as both of the dreadnaughts met their end in a fiery visual cacophony. Khryso couldn’t help but smile slightly at the beautiful efficiency of the attack. Just like that, half of the Collective forces were gone,and the other half was trying to limp away. As the explosion dissipated and left behind a field of ship debris, the bridge’s comms once again came to life.

“This is the Dominant. We just received word that the A.I. has been dealt with, so we’re moving in to disable and capture the last two Collective dreadnaughts before they can escape. Adapt. Ascend. Avail!”

The Ascendant Fleet began moving forward, continuing to trade fire with the remaining dreadnaughts as the Fifth Fleet did the same. Khryso turned to Captain Ohli. “While the fleet reins in the Collective, we’re going to finish off the Principate traitors.”

“Of course, m’lord,” the captain responded, turning to begin directing the crew members.

The Silent Scream broke off from the Dominant as they both surged forward and began to chase down the handful of Principate TIES that were still flying around the battlefield. Khryso returned to his chair, allowing the smile to drop from his face. This battle was over.


Ascendancy - Bridge
Lyra 3K-a system
37 ABY

“My lord, the Collective has been subdued, and the 5th Fleet is pulling back! Your orders?”

Ronovi grinned as she stared out the viewing portal, letting the question from Captain Serrus soak into her skin like a soothing lotion. Apart from Silent’s grandiose martyrdom, things had run smoothly, and now two Collective dreadnaughts were for the taking. She observed the movements of the Caelus on the sensors as it withdrew from the last barrage, the other Principate pilots who hadn’t mutinied following suit.

The Thuvis Shipyards were theirs - for a short while, at least.

“Admiral Ranin, connect me to Zand Hammor. I want to talk logistics.”

The Human nodded in reply, and within a few minutes, the holographic silhouette of the Duros once again emerged from the central console. “We are victorious against the traitorous Collective, Tavisaen. The 5th Fleet thanks you for your service and support.”

“I suppose you’d consider us an ally now?” grinned Ronovi.

“No question. And I apologize for my prior skepticism,” replied Zand.

“No apology needed. In fact, I have gifts for you.”

“Do you?”

Ronovi nodded. “Once you have fully resecured the shipyards and my men have returned to their ships, you are free to take control of the remaining Collective dreadnaughts. They’ve been damaged, but your techs should be able to restore them. Consider this a token of friendship from the Ascendant Clan.”

“Wait. You’re serious?”

Even the Ascendancy crew appeared stunned by this, but the Dread Lord knew what she was doing. It would have been the easy decision to simply claim the dreadnaughts for Plagueis, but, given the circumstances, this gesture would only serve to solidify the newly forged alliance between the Ascendant Clan and the Principate.

“I’m always serious,” retorted Ronovi, though she still smiled.

“Well, then.” Zand’s hologram nodded in approval. “The 5th Fleet thanks you again. I would be very interested in congratulating you in person once things have settled.”

“Of course. Over drinks, perhaps? Ranin, fetch me my Whyren’s. It’s been too long since - ”

Ronovi cut her own sentence off, as it felt like a thousand sirens were going off in her head. Not initially detecting the source of her Force senses being triggered, she whipped her head around the room, eyeing the many Imperial-style naval officers who manned the bridge. She was too late to see the movement, and too late to stop the strike.

In front of her, the central console exploded.

A phoenix’s plume of flame billowed up from the now smashed metal, and the emergency sensors were immediately set off, causing the ship’s klaxons to wail. The entire bridge mutated into utter chaos. Officers attempted to seize what, or who, had been responsible for the incident, all while the Dread Lord was concealed by smoke and debris.

Ranin, bleeding profusely from her forehead, scrambled across the floor after recovering from the explosion. In her blurred vision, she saw what appeared to be a Zygerrian in Ascendant Fleet accoutrements practically scamper away from the bridge. Shrapnel from what must have been an impact grenade was firmly embedded in her knuckles and palms, yet the admiral bit the inside of her cheek to fight off the pain as she struggled over to a mostly unscathed console.

“Serrus,” she called out, trying to determine where the captain was amidst all the havoc. “Serrus!”

No response. Stabbing a reddening finger into the console’s keys, Ranin hissed as she attempted to send a transmission out to the rest of the fleet. She knew that the diplomats had returned to their appropriate ships, so hearing from someone - anyone - would suffice. She sent a call out to the Wrath.

“This is Varick.”

“The Ascendancy has been attacked from the inside!” Ranin managed to cough out. “Status of Dread Lord unknown! We need back-u - ”

Then the air turned white hot again, and all sound was reduced to a lonely, high-pitched whine, and the smell of blood and burned sterile steel filled the cold space.