[GJWXIII] Plagueis Run On

(Gaius Julius Caesar) #23

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."

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(Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj) #24

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.

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(Scudi Ferria) #25

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.

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(Khryso Mallus) #26

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.

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(Ronovi Tavisaen) #27

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.”

“Understood.”

“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.”

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(Wrathus) #28

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.

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(Brimstone aka Seabr'imsto'nedansr) #29

Vigilant
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.

“Silent?”

“Yes.”

“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.

3 Likes
(Zuser Whuloc) #30

Spectre

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.

4 Likes
(Ranarr Kul-Tarentae) #31

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”

“Affirmative!”

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.”

3 Likes
(Muse Nashesir) #32

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.

4 Likes
(Silent) #33

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.

3 Likes
(Abadeer Taasii) #34

Eviscerater
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.”

3 Likes
(Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae ) #35

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.”

2 Likes
(Tra'an Reith di Plagia) #36

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.

3 Likes
(Furios Morega di Plagia) #37

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.

3 Likes
(Wrathus) #38

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

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.

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(Furios Morega di Plagia) #39

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.

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(Scudi Ferria) #40

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.

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(Khryso Mallus) #41

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.

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(Ronovi Tavisaen) #42

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.

FIN

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