[GJWXIII] Scholae Palatinae Run On

(Dek Iron'yikut) #1

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.

PCs:
Elincia Rei
Mune Cinteroph
Calindra
Aeternus
Shadow
Xantros
Jorm
Jon
Dek Iron’yikut
Reiden Karr
Aylin Sajark

NPC:
Captain Li (head of the Tarkin)
Moff Widow (head of the Retribution)
Keylar (Dek’s NPC)
Zentru’la (Eli’s NPC)

Helpful Links
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(Dek Iron'yikut) #2

ISN Tarkin
Bridge

“4 minutes to weapons range,” spat the bridge officer.

“Weapons charged and ready, Captain Li,” shouted another officer from across the bridge.

Small chatter occurred from the many consoles around the bridge of the ISN Tarkin. The officers could sense the dread from the incoming battle. They had faced the Collective before on a few fronts, but the unknown status of the Severian Principate is what scared them more.

At the front of the bridge stood Lieutenant Colonel Keylar and Battlelord Dek Iron’yikut. They were on the left and right sides of Captain Li, current head of the ISN Tarkin. Captain Li was an average sized, stout fellow with black hair splattered with a slash of white. He was older, but with that came years in battle.

“Dek,” started the Captain, who technically outranked him in this case, “what do you propose be our first tactical maneuver?”

Dek didn’t hesitate for a second, “Warring Yakama. A similar plan to the Alpha Demicron.”

“Warring Yakama?” Keylar side-eyed the unknown phrase.

“Aggressive defensiveness until the transports and fighters can establish a hold on the shipyards itself. Then we step back further and weave in and out of combat,” Dek responded astutely.

Li was shocked. “Surprised you know of the Yakama. They are creatures which fight defensively in battle, preferring to fight close as well. They move in and out in mirror like patterns to their opponent.”

“Very ordered strategy for something that will most likely not go the way it seems,” Keylar huffed.

“We have the Thrawn at our side, the Imperial Justice deploying two squadrons of B-Wings, a Raider 2 class Corvette, and multiple troop and personal transports aiding us,” Dek retorted.

“And what of the other Brotherhood members?”

“They’ll do what they do best.” Dek laughed.

“And what is that?” Keylar inquired.

“Whatever the Empress orders them to do. Or maybe Jorm will try to blow up another ship. We’ll never know until he decides.”

“2 minutes until weapons range,” shouted another bridge officer.

Dek stepped back to a tactical console imaging system directly behind another officer. He needed first hand info on the battle to make quick decisions.

Captain Li put his hands on the railing of the bridge, while Keylar stepped in front of him, ready to see that his orders were followed directly. He asked to be patched into the Retribution, “Any last orders Moff Willow?”

The current head of the Retribution responded, “Remember, if the Severian Principate attacks us, we retaliate. We’re here to intimidate if need be. Hopefully we won’t have to join you.”

Dek gave a side smirk to a bridge officer and whispered, “Cowards. The lot of them. What are they going to retribute with that attitude?”

Moff WIllow continued, “We still have somewhat of a hand at the negotiating table. Our mission should be to…” she paused.

The comms were overridden by the sign of the Empress. Dek stood above the console and looked at the holographic projector that appeared. Keylar shouted, “Attention!”

The image of the Empress, a calm, dignified togruta formally dressed in a royal violet blazer, appeared.

Captain Li, shouted, “All hail the Empress!”

The crowd of officers shouted along, with Dek mumbling the words to himself.

“This message is to all Scholaean troops and ships. Soon we will engage The Collective. The alliance with the Severian Principate must be preserved at all costs. Your orders are to ultimately keep your hands off of them. Although we will be securing the station, we will be searching for evidence that The Collective has used this against us. Use whatever means necessary to do so. You have your orders.”

Keylar shouted again, “Hail the Empress! Hail the Empire!”

The ship repeated in glorious unity as the image disappeared.

The officers had a stronger sense of what was to come.

Dek walked towards Captain Li and Keylar, “20 seconds till weapons range. Any idea what ‘any means necessary’ implies?”

“As you said,” Keylar smirked, “Whatever the Empress decides.”

Captain Li spoke past the two, “Launch fighters. Cover the LAATs. They’re carrying our troops and our Brotherhood fighters. Swoop into defensive postures. Coordinate with the Thrawn. And the Raider 2. Keep open communications with all the ships.”

Dek went to sit in front of the bridge area on the metal ground. He sat with his legs propping up his crossed arms which rested his head. He slowly developed a state of mind that whirled around him. His attitude punctured the souls of others. Slowly, he worked confidence into the bridge. He was able to touch the minds of a few of the pilots as well as they guided soldiers towards the shipyard.

He ignored all outer distractions. The yells of officers as the first few volleys from Collective ships firing upon them were blocked out. As were the rocking that rumbled throughout the ship. He meditated in this state, attempting to use what little field of affect he had to influence the start of this battle.

(Jon Silvon) #3

“You know,” Jon said idly as he watched the space battle begin. “I’ll say this much for the Principate, General. Those are some very nice ships they have sitting there.”

“Mm.” General Zentru’la didn’t even look up from the blasters he was inspecting. Jon had lost count of the number of times the aging twi’lek had inspected them. The two of them were to be part of the landing crews, once Palatinae’s forces managed to fight their way through the shipyard’s defenses. The Collective was holding the workers and their families hostage somewhere in those shipyards, and it fell to them to lead the soldiers who were going to free them. A goodwill gesture for the Principate.

Dozens of soldiers in imperial uniform buzzed around them, preparing for their part in the coming battle. And, through it all, Zentru’la waded through the controlled chaos, inspecting every detail he could find. And, trailing behind, was Jon, seeking to keep himself occupied until the landing he was here for actually started, largely at the general’s expense.

Jon rubbed his chin in thought. “Maybe when we’re done here, the Principate will be so grateful to us they’ll let me… take one?”

“Hrm.”

“Or, if not… I might just sneak on after the battle and-”

“No.” Ah, and that got a reaction out of the good General. “The Empress has declared that the alliance with the Severian Principate will stand, Silvon. If you endanger that, she’ll flay you alive. And everyone you know.”

“But… she’s one of the people I know?” Jon replied with mock confusion. He didn’t even bother hiding his smirk.

“Silvon, I swear-” Zentru’la snarled.

“Learn to take a joke, General,” Jon said soothingly, taking a step back. “Helps manage the stress of battle.”

“…Tch.” And like that, Zentru’la returned to inspecting the weapons of his soldiers. Jon thought his reaction a bit much, frankly. Piracy was why Jon was here after all. His little stunt in taking the Retribution’s bridge all those months ago, unauthorized though it may have been, had been remembered, and now he was being asked to repeat it.

…All so they could hand their prize over to the people who couldn’t even defend it in the first place. That was the part that was really confusing him, truth be told.

“…General?” Jon asked after a period of silence. “Why is Elincia so determined to ally with the Principate? I’d have thought she’d-”

“Be offended that yet another force is claiming Palpatine’s legacy?” Zentru’la said without even looking at him. “Declare war on them?”

Jon shrugged. “You said it, not me.”

Zentru’la gestured out the window, to the spacebattle that even now was reaching its fever pitch. Palatinae forces clashed with the Collective, and the hijacked defenses of the orbital shipyards.

“The Empress is no fool, Captain,” the General spoke fiercely. “Look around this empire of ours, what do you see? Meraxis from below, the Collective from above, and the other Clans of the Brotherhood on every side.” Zentru’la spread his arms wide in a grandiose gesture.

“We need reliable allies, Jon. Taking these Shipyards is trivial compared to what it could offer us. The Empress knows this, Captain. And she is determined to see this Empire stand, no matter the cost.”

“…Can you teach me how to make speeches like that?” Jon asked. Zentru’la rolled his eyes, and went back to his work.

“I wouldn’t expect a common Mercenary to understand, Silvon, but there are those concerned with things beyond their own gain.”

Jon frowned at that. Is that what they thought he was? Another gun for hire in the Empire’s arsenal?

“…You may find this hard to believe, Zentru’la, but I want this Empire to stand too.” He turned and walked to the window, and continued to watch the battle unfolding. “But I have my own way of making sure that happens.”

(Elincia Rei) #4

Thunderous shots from Collective warships rocked the ISN Tarkin, a rude interruption to their conversation. In Zentru’la’s opinion, a welcome one. Captain Li’s voice rang out across every corner of the ship. “Hull breach! Repeat, hull breach!”

Zentru’la’s massive frame found a wall to grab hold of, saving his balance as the vessel shook around him. “Captain Li, this is General Zentru’la of the 4th Imperial Regiment,” the veteran General growled down a commlink. “I want our best troops to meet me in the hangar immediately. We’re doing nothing here.”

“Acknowledged, General,” Li replied, outranked by the twi’lek by both title and reputation.

“That include me?” Silvon flashed a cheeky grin.

Silvon was an oddity, an unpredictable idiot that could risk derailing an entire mission with a stupid move, but there was no denying his talent for violence. Or, as terrifying as Zentru’la found the young Captain, for piloting. “Fine, come with me. We’ll get you a better ship to play with than the Severian junk.”

“All elite and special forces on board, rendezvous with General Zentru’la in the hangar immediately and prepare to board the shipyards!” Li ordered across the tannoy as the ship took another heavy hit.

Zentru’la marched with Jon to the hangar. Li’s command was bound to have roused the attention of the Clan members onboard. The military man had served alongside Scholae Palatinae’s force users for twenty years: long enough to understand and respect their abilities, not long enough to ever really feel comfortable with how standard military procedures broke down in their presence.

Sure enough, he and Silvon weren’t even the first to arrive. “Cinteroph,” Zentru’la saluted to the lupine Grand Admiral, whose vivid ruby eyes were framed by tufts of white fur. Reiden Karr was another familiar face, a man whose average build masked the form of one of the most talented warriors in the Empire. A black cloak swept into the hangar - the night prowler. As most did, Zentru’la knew the legendary assassin Shadow Nighthunter more by her reputation than by face. A Nautolan bounced joyfully behind the assassin, Zentru’la knew Aylin Sajark very well, the slicer was close friends with the Empress. Dek Iron’yikut arrived soon after, one of the more tactically aware Force users the general had served with.

Silvon was distracted. The hangar of the Tarkin was assembled with landing craft of the Imperial Scholae Navy. “So how are we getting there?”

“Can you fly that?” Zentru’la gestured to a shuttle. “Upsilon-class Command Shuttle, the best money could buy. Get us there in one piece.”

The strike team boarded the shuttle as many similar teams set off around them, and Silvon slammed the throttle on. The ship darted out of the hangar with exceptional speed.

(Aylin Sajark) #5

With their ship, similar ones took off as well. Onboard teams eager to prove themselves. Outside the battle raged on and the pilots did their best to ferry the shuttles to the shipyard as fast and safe as they could.

Silvon pushed the ship to its limits with a grin on his face, “We will show them what flying is!”

“This is a shuttle not a fighter!” Aylin complained as she tried to keep her lunch were it belonged.

"No worries! I’ll get us… " he got violently cut off as the shuttle rocked from a heavy impact. “Just a scratch.”

“Just stay focussed on getting us there safely,” Zentru’la said calmly.

Silvon nodded and flew the shuttle through the battle without getting caught in too much laser fire. Following the other shuttles, Silvon found a reasonably safe hangar to land in and opened the hatch as soon as they landed.

Zentru’la moved out of the shuttle first and made sure the area was safe for the others to follow, though they didn’t wait for his signal. Streaks of lightsaber slashing through the air and blaster bolts flew from the back of the shuttle. Zentru’la muttered under his breath as he knew that most of them were eager to get a fight going. As quickly as the battle started, as quickly it died. Charred flesh and the afterburn of blaster bolts could be smelled in the air. They quickly gathered back to the shuttle.

“Remember, our objectives. First, secure the station. Second, disable the AI. Third, rescue the workers and their families.”

“I know what I’ll be doing,” said Aylin with a smirk as she rubbed her hands. Her droid, Spots, was bleeping happily too, which earned him a frown from Aylin.

Zentru’la nodded, “I’ll secure the station. The rest of us, form up in teams and let’s get going.”

(Shadow Palpatine Nighthunter) #6

Having remained silent ever since she boarded the shuttle, Shadow studied everyone before finally making her decision. “I’ll stay with you, general. I think I can be of assistance, unless anyone thinks I’m needed elsewhere.”

“It’s up to you,” the Twi’lek remarked. “Though you might also be useful covering Aylin.”

“Perhaps you’re right.” Shadow had felt a drop in comfort from the Nautolan woman from the suggestion. Shadow could only grin slightly in amusement. “ Alright then, I’ll go with her. I’ll be sure to watch her back on the way to the A.I. as I’m assuming that’s where we’ll be headed.”

“Jon and I will deal with the workers and their families,” Mune quickly stated. “We’ll be sure to get them to safety.”

“And Reiden and I shall stay with the General,” Dek added as Reiden gave a curt nod in agreement. “Our sabers will be of better use.”

“Then it’s settled. Best we all get a move on before reinforcements arrive,” Zentru’la said before he looked at Shadow. And Aylin. “We must have that A.I. disabled no matter what.”

“We’ll get it done,” the Slicer quickly assured him, the mercenary eager to get the job done whether she was stuck with the menacing Sith or not.

“I’ll make sure of it,” Shadow added before she quickly headed out while gesturing for Aylin to follow. The slightly older woman glanced a look at the Nautolan and gave her a reassuring nod, letting Aylin know that she had her back before slowly disappearing from her comrade’s sight.

(Jon Silvon) #7

Jon pulled his blade out of the chest of the last remaining Collective soldier. The generous lads, hospitable as ever, had been so kind as to come to Jon and Mune, rather than waiting around for the pair to find them. Considerate, really.

“You said you wanted one of them alive,” Mune huffed from across the room. Sure enough, the Shistavanen stood over the sole surviving combatant - though, judging by the lightsaber wounds in his gut, that probably wouldn’t be the case for long. Work quickly then. Jon knelt next to the dying man, and removed an object from within his coat.

“Hello mate,” Jon began cheerfully. “If you could just tell me your name then-”

“Go fry in a star, you Force-worshippin scum!” the soldier snarled. “Enjoy this victory while it lasts, once the rest of the Collective comes, you and your servants will be purged from the-” Jon silenced what would likely be a very long rant by driving one of his knives into the man’s eye socket.

“Yes, thank you. That should suffice,” Jon said before taking a comlink off the corpe’s wrist and rising to his feet.

“And what, praytell, did that accomplish?” Mune asked dryly. Jon merely grinned, then opened his mouth wide, put something in it, and swallowed.

“You tell me, you unnatural plague upon this galaxy you,” Jon replied in a perfect copy of the dead man’s voice.

“Vocal emulator?” Mune sounded impressed. “Hard piece of technology to come by. Where’d you manage to-”

“I know a guy. Let’s leave it at that.”

A series of hallways and a few brief skirmishes later, and the pair finally reached their destination: the habitation platform, where the workers, as well as their families, we’re being held by the Collective.

“Are you ready, my canine compatriot?” Jon asked in his stolen voice - though, somehow, it lacked the right charm coming from any voice save his own. Mune nodded, and Jon activated the stolen comlink.

“Hello? Hello! Can anyone hear me? I need help!” Jon shouted.

“Wes? Wes is that you?” A staticy voice came over the comm. A staticy voice laced with concern for a comrade. Jon smirked.

“Yeah, yeah it’s me!” Jon answered back. “You gotta help us they’re- agh, they’re coming from everywhere!”

“Stay calm, where are you? We’ll send men out to-”

“No, no! There’s too many! Send everybody, you hear me, everybody!”

“Wes, I can’t just- we’re supposed to be guarding the civ-”

“What do you think you’re doing,” Mune said suddenly- in a surprisingly menacing voice. “The Collective roach is calling for aid?” Jon picked up on what he was doing immediately.

“No, no please! I’ll do anything, spare me!”

“Should’ve thought of that before you defied the Brotherhood,” Mune hissed, activating his lightsaber. Jon could swear the shistavanen was actually growling beneath his words.

“Aaagh!” Jon cried-and barely kept himself from laughing.

“Brotherhood scum!” the unnamed soldier roared from across the comlink. “Wait until we get our hands on you! No magic will be able to-”

“Then by all means,” Mune said into the commlink. “Come get me.”

It was less than five minutes before the doors to the platform opened-and it indeed seemed that every Collective soldier was rushing out to rescue “Wes”. Jon almost felt bad about the corpse they were going to find. Assuming one of the other Brotherhood members didn’t find them first, of course.

“They won’t be fooled for long, Silvon,” Mune commented.

“Then by all means,” Jon replied, gesturing towards the door. “Let’s go meet our peace offering-I mean, rescue these poor people.”

(Reiden Palpatine Karr) #8

Reiden had watched as their landing group split up, remaining silent - not that he felt there was much worth saying at that point. The fight ahead was foremost in his mind, and he had little time for anything else. He took the brief moment of respite from the fighting to glance at the two others with him, regarding them thoughtfully. The imposing figure of General Zentru’la stood at the ready. Reiden had heard stories of the older man’s prowess in battle; he was sure to be an asset on the mission. Dek, on the other hand, was a bit more of an unknown quantity. He didn’t know much about the man other than the fact that he seemed to have a tactical and analytical mind, but he got the sense that he could be trusted and relied upon.

With his hand resting on the pommel of his lightsaber, Reiden turned his mind to the situation at hand and stretched out his senses wide, casting a mental net to alert him to any threats. Within moments, he encountered a wave of hostility in his mind - the enemy was making its move.

“We’ve got more enemy troops incoming,” Reiden spoke calmly and evenly, his eyes facing forward. “It should go without saying, but as a reminder, be sure to watch your fire and avoid hitting any civilians that may be fleeing for safety.” The two men nodded their understanding.

The three of them took up defensive positions as the enemy drew within range. Zentru’la fired off a grenade from his launcher. The detonation took out a few of the Collective troops that had advanced. Others still emerged from the smoke with fierce bellows. The Twi’lek general exchanged the launcher for his large repeating blaster, braced himself, and opened fire on the right flank of the oncoming force. The weapon spat out rapid-fire bursts of blaster bolts that tore through their targets. Dek had also opted for using his own blaster, laying down fire to the opposite flank. That left the center clear for Reiden to take on.

The marauder unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and thumbed the activator, the viridian blade crackling to life. He allowed himself to be swept up in the Force, using it to fuel his approach as he leapt out of cover and ran at the enemy. He plunged the plasma blade of his saber through the midsection of one soldier and kicked him to the ground. Another came up beside him, but the Force warned him of the approach.

He spun on his heel to intercept a punch that was thrown at him, catching it in the crook of his right arm before slamming his left hand into the man’s elbow. The blow struck home with a crunch as the man’s joint bent the wrong way, eliciting a scream of pain - but it was cut short as Reiden dropped his right arm to bring his saber to bear on the enemy, slashing it across his chest. He continued eliminating enemy combatants one by one, working his way through them. However, a swell of troops coming from the rear of the group caused him to reassess the situation. He rushed back to find cover. Risking a look around, he saw that his allies were doing their job well. He allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction. If there was one thing he had learned over the years, it was that Scholae forces always managed to accomplish whatever they set their minds to.

(Elincia Rei) #9

“They’re sending in reinforcements!” Zentru’la shouted to the others. “Heavy armour!” His words were punctuated by the metallic clanking of a Collective Assault Mech Platoon shambling into the battle, spreading chaos wherever they turned in the form of a stream of explosive missiles. Zentru’la slid into cover to avoid the torrent of missiles.

Reiden flashed into action, diving over his cover into a roll and emerging with a sweeping slash to the legs of an assault mech, sending it tumbling to the ground. “Karr, get in cover!” Zentru’la barked above the sound of explosions. “Iron’yikut, what’re you doing with that?! Blaster fire won’t hurt them!”

“I know what I’m doing,” Dek had popped his head above cover, taking aim swiftly with his blaster rifle. However, instead of blaster fire emerging, his under-barrel attachment launched an electromagnetic pulse grenade, scrambling the electronics of the mechs. They stumbled around comically, bumping into each other and spewing rockets randomly, into the walls, the floor, the ceiling, and each other.

“Everybody get down!” the General shouted again as he unclipped a thermal imploder from his belt. The first explosion was weak, causing little damage to the enemy. Then the mechs were drawn in, like a miniature black hole had formed between them, causing them to clash against each other in an awkward tangle of magnetic legs. The final explosion sent them crashing to the ground, causing major damage to the mechanics. “Now charge!”

Reiden emerged once more, followed shortly by Dek. The blaze of lightsabers tore the mechs and their pilots to pieces. When the dust settled, the Scholae forces were the only ones left standing.

(Aylin Sajark) #10

A feeling of unease washed over Aylin as she saw Shadow disappear from sight. She hoped the Sith stayed true as she ran through the hallways. It didn’t take long when she encountered two Collective guards jogging down the hallway and dived for cover. Her droid, on the other hand had different ideas and went for them, only to end up disappointed when Shadow made short work of the two guys. A slight smile washed over Shadow’s face and she disappeared again.

“Thanks, Shadow,” Aylin said to the now empty hallway, hoping she would hear it. "Come on, Spots, we need to get going!”

They quickly moved on, where Aylin spotted a turbolift and pointed to it, “We take that one, it should bring us to the correct level.”

No sooner had she said that, the turbolift opened and a team of Collective guards poured out. Quickly forming a defense line, the guards started shooting at Aylin. Returning fire, Aylin moved back until she found some partial cover, and hid behind the frame of a pressure door.

Shadow had moved to the side of the group and suddenly one of them went down. Just as quickly Shadow hid again and moved to the other side of the group of confused men. Some of them were still exchanging shots with Aylin, but those next to the dead guy looked around warily. A soft click could be heard to those who paid attention, but only realized what it was when it was too late. The detonator exploded and took the majority of the group with it. The remaining few started to run, not caring if they broke the line or not.
Spots moved towards the men and started to zap them, bleeping angrily at them. A few shots from Aylin finished the job and she moved toward Spots.

“Nicely done,” she said as she petted it’s dome when she walked past it. “Remind me never to anger you, Shadow, cause this is some scary space magic.”

“It got the job done. We better move on.”

Aylin nodded and moved with other two towards the turbolift and pressed the button.

Snapshot Aylin Sajark

(Shadow Palpatine Nighthunter) #11

The Quaestor remained silent and alert as she and her Nautolan companion ascended in the lift. A sense of unease nibbled at the back of Shadow’s mind when, and without warning, the lift came to an abrupt halt. Aylin quickly steadied herself against the wall and scowled with annoyance before taking a look at the terminal.

“Can you get us moving again?” Shadow asked as she observed the Slicer kneel down, pull out a panel, and begin fiddling around with a probe.

“Should be able to,” Aylin replied, her expression contorted as she focused on trying to get the lift operating. “I expect heavy resistance will be waiting for us if they see we get this thing going again.”

“Unless we create a diversion. Any chance you can get the computer to project a different arrival destination while masking where we’re really going?”

“Sure. I can change the log and they’d think we’re heading elsewhere. Where should we have it go?”

“Have the log show us arriving at the life support deck, if we haven’t already passed it. Other than that, any level of significance will do.”

“Gotcha.” The mercenary set to work, and after a few minutes passed, the lift began moving again. The Nautolan stood and gave a thumbs up. “All set. I have the log reading that we’re headed to the engineering deck.”

“Excellent. Hopefully, they’ll divert some of their forces there. Will make things a bit easier for us.”

Aylin nodded and grasped her blaster pistol as she saw that the lift was nearing their destination. “I’ll seal the door when we get to the A.I. and have cleared the room, but I may need you to keep them off my back if they somehow get through.”

“Won’t be a problem. In fact, if you have a smoke bomb, I’d like to use it.”

Aylin reached into her backpack and pulled out the disk-shaped explosive device before handing it to Shadow. “Whatever you’re planning, I hope it’ll work. We only have one chance at this.”

“Trust me. They won’t see me coming. What people can’t see, they tend to fear, and that’s all I need to keep the pests at bay.”

(Dek Iron'yikut) #12

The Sullustan kicked the side of a Collective soldier’s busted head. “Useless servant.”

Zentru’la frowned, “They might be half-brained, but that doesn’t mean they deserve your foot to their temple, especially when the battle is…”

The General looked up from cleaning the edge of his blaster. Reiden and Dek joined him, as well as a few other soldiers stationed with them. Atop a balcony stood Captain Crimson herself. The universal soldier only had to flick her wrist, sending a smoke bomb at their feet.

Reiden was the first to speak, ordering the soldiers, “Stand back.” The soldiers looked at each other, and Zentru’la continued, “Guard the perimeter of the smoke field. No Collectives out.”

Dek and Reiden activated their green lightsabers, while the General loaded up his repeating blaster. Collective forces trailed from a retreat near the walls as the Captain leapt off the balcony, rolling as she hit the ground. Standing, she pulled out her stun baton and blaster pistol and let the smoke fill up around her.

Zentru’la let out a flurry of blaster fire at the troops, but soon had to stop because the smoke was too dense.

“Should we even go in?” Dek questioned.

“Nah,” the General responded. He set up his personal shield generator and stood in front of his troops. Dek and Reiden both held up their lightsabers. They fired on the rest of the troops streaming out of the smog.

Reiden started again, “Why did she do that?”

Dek answered, “Because she’s too used to fighting Force users. Most can’t wait to finish off the bad guy and rip into the enemy on their own terms. If we were anyone else we might have…” he flicked his wrist, knocking back a blaster bolt with the green saber “…might have gone into and fought in some weird smoke combat.”

“Ah,” Reiden smirked, continuing to slice as Dek diced, “So we’ll just wait until the smoke clears before we fight.”

“Yep,” the General stated, firing off at the few last Collective forces.

As the smoke settled a small wall of useless Collective corpses was seen piled in front of Chelsie Crimson.

“Cowards,” laughed Captain Crimson.

“We’re alive,” chuckled Dek. As he reached out with his hand, trying to feel inside her mind.

She started, “That won’t work on me…uuuHHHUUUHHH! No, this should be impossible! I’m too strong for this!”

“Which makes it all the…harder…” Dek winced. Surely, he could not fully creep into her mind, but he wasn’t above making her temporarily docile for another to come in and coup de gras this crimson gal. After all, she had had enough blood on her hands for one lifetime.

Captain Li spoke through the intercom to General Zentru’la, “General, the Grand Admiral and Captain Silvon have both secured the families of the station. They’ve made significant progress in eliminating all Collective forces in their way.”

“Thanks, Li, send any more good news our way,” he chuckled towards Crimson.

(Reiden Palpatine Karr) #13

While Reiden was confident in the abilities of those in their forces, he was still glad to hear that the rest of them had done so well. However, the arrival of the infamous Captain Crimson had been somewhat unexpected, at least to him. Still, she was occupied for the moment, and he intended to capitalize on it while he had the chance.

Drawing upon the Force and sending it coursing through his muscles, Reiden began to move toward the Collective woman at speed. He watched as she struggled against the invasion going on inside her mind. He leapt over the pile of fallen Collective troops and in one smooth motion, brought his lightsaber up and drew it across Crimson’s neck, separating it from her shoulders. He kicked the beheaded woman in the chest and toppled her to the ground for good measure. He had long grown tired of facing off against the Collective and couldn’t help but feel a tinge of satisfaction at what their forces had accomplished here today.

~ ~ ~ ~

Shadow and Aylin had quickly dispatched the few Collective soldiers that they encountered on the way to where the computer mainframe was located. The assassin slipped in and out of the shadows, silently taking down the enemies while Aylin used her blaster to keep them distracted and cover Shadow’s attack. They drew nearer to the mainframe and entered the room. Aylin stepped to the door panel and entered in a few commands. When she had finished, the doors to the room slid shut with a hiss.

“There, I’ve sealed the doors. That should hold them for now,” the Nautolan commented.

“Great job,” Shadow said with a nod. “Let’s get to work on stopping this A.I.”

Aylin and her droid moved to the mainframe’s terminal and began to assess the situation. Shadow kept a watchful eye on the entrance while her partner worked. She stretched out her senses beyond the door to search for any enemies that may be approaching.

“How does it look?” Shadow called over her shoulder.

“The A.I. hasn’t gained full control of the systems, so I think there’s a chance I can remove it,” Aylin relayed as her fingers furiously flew over the terminal’s keyboard. “I just need to gain access to the higher levels and bypass some more encryption… There! I’m in!”

“Just in time. We’ve got company,” Shadow said, a smile playing at the corners or her mouth as she prepared herself.

She waited until the doors to the mainframe room opened before tossing the smoke bomb she had gotten from Aylin out into the hallway. Plumes of smoke emerged from the device and Shadow activated her twin lightsabers. She called the Force to her will and cloaked herself. As she did so, she also sent out a feeling of creeping dread to those in the hall. With her plan in motion, she stepped outside, ready to begin her hunt.

~ ~ ~ ~

Reiden took a final glance at Captain Crimson’s corpse and those of the other Collective soldiers. It had been a well-fought battle on all fronts, and he hoped it would further prove to the Severian Principate that the Brotherhood could be a valuable ally and that the Collective could not be trusted. He looked up once more and moved to rejoin the others. A thought crossed his mind and he activated his comlink, contacting Shadow.

“Shadow, it’s Reiden. How are things going on your end?”

“Good so far. We met some resistance, but they were easily taken care of,” his Quaestor replied.

“What about that A.I.? Was Aylin able to disable it?” he questioned.

“It took a moment, but it’s taken care of now.” She paused for a beat and then decided to expand on things, “Aylin was able to stop it from assuming complete control and isolated it before removing it from the system entirely. We’re all set here.”

“That’s good to hear. Make your way back up and join us. We’re just finishing things up and getting ready to leave.”

“Sure. We’ll see you all soon,” Shadow replied, terminating the connection.

A short time later, Reiden stood with the gathered Scholae forces. Jon and Mune had successfully rescued the civilians that were being held hostage and delivered them to safety. Shadow and Aylin returned from the computer mainframe. There was a noticeable grin on the Nautolan’s face, clearly happy that she had managed to stop the Collective’s A.I. from gaining control of the system and causing irreparable damage to the Shipyard and the people who called it home. Reiden, Zentru’la, and Dek had all fought off Collective soldiers who were waging more false-flag attacks in a bid to cement the Brotherhood as the enemy in the minds of the Severian Principate.

“So, what now?” questioned Jon as he idly examined one of his blasters.

“That’s simple,” Zentru’la responded plainly, “we await further orders from the Empress.”

And so that’s precisely what the members of Scholae Palatinae did - they waited. While the Collective would likely try something again in the future, they did what they could to fight them off once more. They just had to hope that their actions today had done enough to help prove that the Brotherhood had peaceful intentions and could become a trusted ally to the Severian Principate.