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Last Voyage of the Charon: Corvus and Tarvitz


Last Voyage of the Charon Co-op Fiction:

You and your partner’s characters (and any other NPCs or characters you wish) arrive at a pre-determined set of coordinates for a raid mission only to find an Iron Legion vessel adrift and functioning on minimal power. According the mission briefing your team received the vessel, known as the Charon was supposed to be transporting a weapons development team of some kind, but the weapon in question is unknown. Reconnaissance of the derelict vessel indicate all the escape pods and hanger bays were destroyed from the inside. The decision is made to board the vessel and recover the weapon or any intelligence relating to it. (The vessel type of the Charon and any crew detailed are up to the authors of each entry)

Shortly after setting foot on the vessel your team is attacked by a small pack of Rakghouls and in the chaos you are cut off from your point of entry. Now you have to make your way through the dimly lit ship to either try to accomplish your objective or simply get out alive. How do you escape the vessel? What happened there? What is the weapon and do you find it?


This is a coop fiction meaning that two and only two members must collaborate to create an entry. There is no sign up process, find a partner and get to writing.

Entries must be posted on Discourse under the Fiction section with “Last Voyage of the Charon” in the post title.
Both members of the team must submit to the competition with the names and PINs of both authors and a link to the Discourse thread where their entry is posted.

Each participant must post a minimum of 500 words… Any team that does not meet the minimum word count per participant will be disqualified. There is no upper limit on post counts or word counts, though remember this is a cooperative effort so try to split the posts as evenly as you can.

Entries will be graded as a whole using the Fiction Rubric. Teams will be scored and placed as a unit. Only CIs will be awarded individually.

Corvus Corax - #13767

Ka Tarvitz - #14751


To many, the term “ghost ship” was simply ridiculous. Even in an age where species had long since mapped the stars themselves, it had never quite broken away from the vestiges of old legends, with creaking vessels manned by undead mariners. Most denizens of the galaxy would laugh at the very idea of such a thing, until they encountered one for themselves.

Silhouetted against the midnight black of the star field, the skeletal bulk of a Nebulon-B frigate drifted, rudderless in the void. Pockmarked by micro-meteor strikes and with portions of its iron skin blackened by internal explosions, the vessel flickered with sporadic signs of life. Across its spine and upper decks, lights could be seen pulsing in time with a failing reactor, displaying the final spasmodic moments of its life. The burned lettering of the vessel’s name could be seen, illuminated by the half-light flooding from the windows, and revealing it as the Charon.

A veteran of a hundred skirmishes, the frigate had served its masters loyally for decades without fail. Braving war time and again in the name of the Iron Fleet it had survived where greater vessels would have met their end, and such service was not easily forgotten. Half-hidden beneath the larger vessel’s shadow, the flattened tear-drop of a light freighter maneuvered into place, positioning itself over one of the few functioning airlocks left on the Charon’s hull.

With a slight tilt to its port side, the freighter slammed into place, triggering the clank of servos locking the two ships together followed by the elongated whisper of pressure equalizing. With a thunderous hiss of hydraulics, the exterior doors parted, opening out into the derelict beyond. Armoured boots stepped out into broad hallway beyond, weapons sweeping from side to side as several figures emerged from the vessel into the half-lit corridor. They slowly advanced forwards, before partially relaxing as nothing reacted to their immediate intrusion.

“No movement,” one said unnecessarily, breaking the silence “Atmosphere is fine if a little stale. Looks like the life support systems are working after all.”

“I think we would know if it wasn’t,” another answered just behind him.

“Sorry, force of habit. This is the first time in years i’m doing this and not having to relaying information back to the ship.”

They were a motley group to be sure, of mixed armours, species and weapons, but the two speakers stood out above all others. The first would have passed for a clone trooper, were it not for the ornately decorated build of the Phase II armour he wore, and the dark purple hue of its plasteel plating. The second, a diminutive Aleena, looked as if he belonged in a Coruscant high rise apartment; finely dressed in a tailored waistcoat and clothing to match. He might have looked out of place boarding a derelict vessel, were it not for the casual ease at which he held the hilt of a lightsaber in one hand.


The ship’s interior was dim, lit by sparse emergency lighting. The new arrivals were silhouetted against the light from their own ship, their shadows stretching deep into the gloom. The worst thing was the quiet; the sort of quiet that put everyone on edge. The complete silence that emphasized the loudness of their own breath. Only if you listened very closely, past the shuffling of their own clothes and the humming of their equipment, there was a very faint humming of the generator. The group began to venture deeper in, turning the corner. Truly, they had no alternative.

“No corpses,” mused the Aleena, breaking the silence. Corvus adjusted his waistcoat, peering through the darkness. “Strange.”

His comrade nodded, surveying the gloom ahead. “It’s as if everyone fled. But why? The damage isn’t so bad that the ship is unsalvageable. Besides all the cosmetic bruising and damage to the propulsion systems, you can live on this ship. Get some engineers here, or tow it. No reason to abandon it.”

The two Jedi had been accompanied by a squad of four soldiers. They’d been specially selected for a quiet operation. So far, they’d fallen behind, checking over every surface for a clue. The Captain stepped forward, asking, “If it’s valuable, should we try and acquire it for the Resistance?”

Whilst he’d been speaking, the Aleena had closed his eyes, sending light tendrils of Force outward to find life. “No. There’s truly nothing alive here. The Iron Legion doesn’t waste resources at this scale. They abandoned it for a reason. We need to find out why.”

“But it’s a good --“

Tarvitz interrupted, “No. Not yet, anyway. It could be here as a trap, to track the location of Kiast. It could be a bomb, or perhaps they are coming back for it. We need to be cautious.”

Before he could respond, one of the soldiers interjected, “Should we search the rooms, Councillor?”

Corvus chuckled, “I’m no Councillor, Captain. I’m merely a Rollmaster. I read books and add numbers together.”

“The rooms, sir?”

Corvus glanced at his comrade, “What do you think, Tarvitz?”

“Can’t hurt. I’d say go for it.”

The soldiers started to search the rooms, while the Jedi continued toward the bridge. The bridge was the epicentre of a ship’s operation, and the place most likely to harbour clues on what happened.

Tarvitz glanced at the blueprints on his datapad. “If we go through the mess hall, we can make it to the bridge quicker.”

Just then, a loud metallic thud echoed through the hallway, followed by a long, shrieking creak. They looked back to the soldiers, who yelled down the corridor, “Stiff door, nothing to worry about.”

Shrugging, they turned into the mess hall and lit up their lightsabers for light. Wrong decision.

Their blades lit up glassy eyes that stretched into the darkness. The Jedi stopped, frozen in place.
One set of eyes turned, almost quizzically. It jerked its head upwards, as if sniffing. Corvus searched the room for life, and found almost a hundred miniscule specks of life, barely holding on. These creatures didn’t care for anything but themselves. There were no interconnecting threads of Force between them, merely isolated lights, barely noticeable.

“They’re barely alive at all.”

Tarvitz nodded. He’d done a similar search of his own. “What are they?”

The one in the front made a sound – a wet, primal click in the base of its throat. The others responded in kind, and surged forward.


The assault was no mere predatory charge, no co-ordinated strike by hunting killers, it was a stampede. Screaming, howling and shrieking with the strength of a hundred alien voices, the creatures hurled themselves at the two intruders. In a split-second of movement Corvus slashed upwards, opening up the first creature from crotch to chest. It tumbled backwards, the air reeking of burning flesh before it was cast aside by the monstrosity behind it, and the other after that. Half-dead or not, there was a rage to these creatures they could half feel in the Force, an unnatural instinct to hunt and murder others. It was only there for the briefest of flashes, but it was enough. Without hesitation, Corvus and Tarvitz raised their weapons.

The fight that followed, if it could have been called that was one bereft of finesse, bereft of precision; it was butcher’s work. Swarming in, the monsters hurled themselves at the Knights, howling and driving themselves forwards, heedless of any cut down in their wake. Tarvitz would decapitate one, only to find another waiting in its place. Corvus could drive one back with precise stabs, bringing it to the ground, only for it to be crushed underfoot by its allies. It wasn’t long before the air with filled with the hum of blades hacking their way through foes, the thud of fallen aliens, and the constant nightmarish screams of the swarm. Two Jedi were often enough to turn the tide of any battle. In the right place a single lightsaber could accomplish what a hundred blasters failed to do, but in the face of such unrelenting numbers, they found themselves being pushed back one step at a time.

Sidestepping swipe, Tarvitz made a wild swing in response, carving open the monster’s chest and promptly kicking its falling body aside. For a split-second, illuminated in the pale green glow of his weapon, he caught sight of it. The creature was cruelly mishapen, hunchbacked as if its skeleton had been forcibly remoulded by some greater being. Mottled, unhealthy skin clung tightly over its body, stretched to breaking point across overdeveloped muscles, and across its shoulders were draped the shreds of Iron Legion clothing, presented across their bodies like obscene trophies.

“Emperor’s Black Bones,” he cursed, “What are these things?”

“If we live long enough, I’ll be sure to ask!” Corvus’ voice came from close by.

The Aleena had been parrying blows towards the human’s left a few moments ago, trying to focus upon each foe one at a time as befitted his skills even as they were being overwhelmed. Now though, as they edged towards the doorway, he muttered something under his breath before breaking and running.

“I have an idea, just hold them for a moment!”

Tarvitz didn’t answer, focusing more upon wildly hacking at the growing horde before him, removing limbs and throats alike. Straining to hold them back, his vision was little more than a blur of half seen talon-hooked claws and mismatched mawed fangs, each reaching for him, snarling as they began to tear past his blade and scraping against the plasteel of his armour. Then, as his defenses began to fail, Tarvitz half-sensed a massive build-up of energy from behind him.

“Get down!”

Tarvitz dropped to one knee in an instant, starring on expecting to see the familiar tendrils of Force Lightning spearing through their ranks. Instead, a massed storm of small silver objects hurtled through the air overhead, instantly smashing through them. Half of them staggered back under the abrupt bombardment, while the rest tumbled to the ground as wet crimson explosions wracked their bodies.

“How did-?” Tarvitz began,

“No time for that, please run!” Corvus answered, already sprinting back down the corridor.

Pausing just long enough to slam his palm against the door controls, shutting it on the reeling creatures, Tarvitz turned and raced after him. The two could hear the screams still from behind them, echoing through the ship even through the closed door but there was more to it than that. From other rooms, adjacent corridors, from every corner of the Charon’s they could hear screaming now, thundering, resonating even through the very core of the derelict’s heart. It was no cry of defiance, it was a call to arms.

It did not take them long to reach the squad. The four troopers were still huddled about the door, albeit looking far more alert than when they had left them. As two covered each side of it, a third was hunched over the controls, one hand pulling wires from within its exposed casing. The fourth, presumably their leader, looked up as they approached.

“Trouble?” he asked grimly, already knowing the answer.

“More than you know,” Corvus responded. “We ran into something exceptionally ugly and very hungry.”

“Some_things_,” Tarvitz added as they approached “We need to leave now.”

“Right.” he nodded, apparently knowing this was not the time to ask further questions “Korr, pack it in. Everyone else, back to the ship, double time.”

“Just a second,” the kneeling soldier said, brow creased in concentration “I almost have this.”

“I said-” he began to repeat, but the sound of protesting servos drowned out the order.

Squealing loudly, the door slid to one side, before it was joined by a much more organic scream. The Jedi were granted a momentary look of horror upon their faces, before another of the creatures lunged forwards, diving towards the soldier who had forced the door apart. He was dead before he even hit the ground. With one outsider felled, the thing rounded its sightless bulbous head on the others, hissing as two more edged out of the doorway towards them.

Immediately dragging a heavy pistol from his holster, Tarvitz put two fist-sized holes into the nearest monster. Reacting to the more immediate threat, they naturally turned towards the Jedi first.

“Get back to the ship,” he yelled at the others “We’ll find another way out!”

They didn’t need to be told twice. Sprinting back to the airlock, the soldiers fled, leaving the creatures to fill out the corridor as they turned towards the Jedi, snarling as they advanced. There were too many to simply break through, and judging from the last group, more were likely waiting within. From somewhere behind them, the sound of the mess door being forced open could be heard, and with it the howling of the countless abominations within.

“Right then,” Tarvitz sighed, glancing back over his shoulder “Any suggestions?”



There were positives to their situations, in Corvus’ eyes. The hallway was relatively brighter than the mess hall, giving them a small, if at all, advantage. The creatures were only vaguely humanoid, with a pale green pallor colouring their stretched, sickly skin. They scrambled from the opened doorway in front of the Jedi, filling the space before surging forward akin to a wave. Corvus dashed in front of Tarvitz, slashing and stabbing at the monsters.

“Tarvitz, use your longsword!” he managed to yell while trying to keep the beasts at bay. The Human drew his longsword from the scabbard on his back, and readied his feet into a stance. Glancing back, the Aleena darted forward to dismember another beast, before gathering Force energy in one hand and slamming it on the ground. The beasts nearby were knocked back, The onslaught had temporarily lost its momentum. Corvus darted backward, behind Tarvitz. “I’ll go and handle the mess hall, you think you can keep these guys busy?”

By this point, the creatures had recovered, and had begun swarming forward again. Tarvitz started swinging with grace, evidence of his training. The narrow corridor, Corvus hoped, would be enough of an advantage to help the Padawan succeed against the overwhelming numbers.

Corvus turned and ran towards the mess hall. The scrabbling and shrieking desperation coming from within indicated that the beasts were almost through the door. He had to change tactic, fight for survival, like the beasts did. Corvus closed his eyes and reached out, finding the signatures of the angry near-dead creatures and, tentatively, he took down his mental walls. He started to pump with the same rage that fuelled them. He started to understand the anger they felt, as it filled himself. They’d got the door partially open, and were mindlessly pushing and shoving the gap to widen it. He stretched out his hand in preparation, then slashed his blade across the mess hall door, splitting the lower half open enough for the beasts to scrabble out. Corvus, by letting in their anger, had suspended any safeguards he had. As the beasts jumped out at him through the narrow hole, he slashed with deadly precision and passionate strength. Beast after beast fell in front of that door, until the ones that came after were forced to find their way through their dead. And still they came.

Tarvitz was holding his own, swinging wide to slash multiple beasts in twain. He’d use the pommel to knock beasts back, and he was very glad for the reach his weapon had, else he couldn’t possibly stand against the wave of beasts. Still, the sheer number of beasts was nearing overwhelming for him.

Corvus was getting slightly bored. And that made him angrier. These beasts were coming one, maybe two at a time, through predictable paths, leading to the Aleena’s expert, and deadly, flick of the wrist. And so, he decided to enter the room, as that would certainly be a better example of his skills. Yes, it could well be dangerous, but exciting. Plus, how many of the creatures had they already killed? There couldn’t be too many more within. A small part of his head nagged him not to, reminded him of Tarvitz. But that was irrelevant. He was angry, he was bored and he was in battle. It was time to go berserk.


Weaving between the claws of two monstrosities, Tarvitz twisted about, driving the edge of his sword into the nearest beast’s knee. It screamed for a moment, before topping as he dragged it clean through its side in a broad swing which ended in the cranium of its packmate. Stepping back he allowed them to fall, watching the mob at their backs stumbling over their spasming bodies as they pressed forwards.

By this point any sane being would have long since broken at the sight of so many corpses. Even the most elite of the Iron Legion knew when to fall back from a lost battle, to recover and win another day, and yet these abominations kept coming. It seemed that, heedless of their losses, so long as one was left to gnaw on the bones of their foes, each would consider it a victory. He could easily imagine the twisted minds who would have valued such a fearless devotion, and yet there were two sides to this coin. Such savage bloodlust robbed them of the will to flee, but also the ingrained coordination he would have expected of any hunting pack.

For all the times Tarvitz’s blade had momentarily stuck fast in their ribs or he had paused between his strikes, not once had they attempted to exploit such weaknesses. There was no effort to strike at his exposed flanks nor even drag him to the ground - merely a rush to exhaust him after slaying so many of their kind before dragging him low. That, above all else, was likely the only reason he and Corvus were still alive.

Ducking low to hamstring another monster, Tarvitz caught a fleeting sight of the last of their soldiers entering the airlock, slamming the thick metal doors closed behind them. With a quiet nod of satisfaction, Tarvitz raised a hand and focused his energy before punching it forwards palm first. The strike ended inches before the abdomen of a slavering creature, but the thing reeled as if caught by a charging Reek. It folded as it was hurled backwards, crashing through the ranks of its horde before striking the polished metal floor with a deafening thud. Others, the more fortunate ones only caught on the fringes of his telekinetic barrage, found themselves smashing into the nearby walls, flattening under the gargantuan pressure before sliding to the floor in a crumpled heap.

“They’re out!” Tarvitz called to Corvus, backing away from the recovering swarm “Unless you have some pressing need to stay, I say we do the same.”

He half expected the diminutive Aleena to yell that he was busy, or even to see him running back towards him, but instead there was nothing. Yet as he listened over the pained growling of his foes, Tarvitz noticed that even the sounds of lightsaber combat seemed somehow dulled.

Falling back towards the mess hall, he realised that the lower half of the door had been cut away entirely, with the fallen bodies of several bisected creatures about it. From within, he could hear the sounds of dying beasts. Spending a moment trying and failing to press himself under the doorway, Tarvitz hit the controls and rushed inside, blade at the ready. He was met by a pile of corpses.

Piled up to knee level, they had apparently risen up about the door, attempting to force their way out before something small, violent and armed with a lightsaber had met them. What little he could make out suggested an unexpected countercharge had met their number, leaving a trail of severed limbs and bisected foes in his wake. Corvus himself was hardly difficult to find. Even without the constant hum of his lightsaber in motion, or the screams of dying monsters, Tarvitz could sense the raw hatred emanating from the Rollmaster.

What little had been spoken of Corax before Tarvitz had met him suggested a polite and controlled Jedi. Drachen had only mentioned him in passing, but the few times he had come up had suggested someone who prized meticulous planning; a Master who favoured violence only as a last resort, and fought as a duellist. Tarvitz could see nothing of that man here. In the flashes of the sweeping blade, the Aleena fought with only the vaguest shades of the Makashi form, darting from one foe to the next and rapidly ending their lives in a flurry of sudden strikes. No longer holding his ground, he was quite literally carving a path through the horde, and left only the dismembered piles of his foes in his wake.

Vastly diminished as it was, the horde of monsters still took up the majority of the room, clawing and closing in about Corvus as he fought to keep moving amongst them. Each was almost entirely focused upon the Jedi before them, so much so that they only started to notice Tarvitz’s arrival as Corvus pulled back to his position.

“I can see why my Master spoke so highly of your skills,” Tarvitz managed, trying his best not to sound surprised at the devastation the Aleena had wrought.

“Yes, well,” Corvus said, forcing down his anger to regain some composure. “There’s something quite infectious about fighting these creatures.”

“Enough to make even you angry?”

“Very,” he said, slashing down with his lightsaber and parting the head of the first monster to approach them. “How are things at your end?”

“There’s too many to break through back there,” Tarvitz admitted, joining in the fray as he blocked two strikes from a flanking creature “and more joining them. The others are on the ship though, so I suggest we find a way off.”

Corvus nodded slightly, the motion almost lost on Tarvitz in the darkness, before sprinting forwards into the regrouping mob.

“Then follow my lead and keep them off of my back!”

The Jedi plunged head first into the beasts, lashing out with the Force as he drove a wedge between their numbers. Tearing through their ranks with telekinetic shunts and slowing the movements of others to a crawl, he stopped only to cut down the few fast enough to recover from the abrupt strikes. Easily keeping pace, Tarvitz remained at his back, doing as he was instructed and keeping the other monsters at a distance, swinging the blade behind him to keep them at bay. Even if the Jedi could not end them all, the horde’s diminished numbers were hardly enough to stop the abrupt assault breaking past them and towards the other door. For as simple a plan as it was, no one could deny its effectiveness.

“By any chance do you know where we’re going?” Tarvitz asked as they crashed through the opposing door and kept running.

“Yes, the bridge,” Corvus answered “As I said, if we’re going to get any answers they’ll be there. Let’s just hope we can find a way off from there as well.”


Mistakes had been made. Considerably many of them. As Rollmaster, Corvus had to gauge public opinion, and also monitor his member’s well-being. As a matter of course, that meant that he’d developed a fairly keen system – when working with other members, he’d look at them through the Force ever now and then to see their emotional layout. If there were negative feelings, he’d try and find out why.

This system sometimes applied to combat, as well – when fighting others the passion that they felt helped to give Corvus some kind of motivation. He made sure not to immerse himself too much into it for fear of going berserk, but feeling their anger did help him. The beasts were different. The Aleena had thought it a good idea to tap into their anger, but it was too much. It was a primal and deep hatred that he’d not experienced before. It had leeched its way in, pulling him down. When the anger took over, it had loosened his walls and he’d dived in.

When he’d spoken to Tarvitz, he’d become aware of it. Corvus was spreading himself thin among their hatred. He began to try ardently to pull himself back, to focus. It was still their anger behind his swings, their ferocity carving a path through the hall, but he’d regained conscious thought, for the time being. He could not afford to lose himself. He. Was. Light. He was no longer snarling as he fought, but his teeth were gritted, brow furrowed in intense concentration.

They neared the other door, and after one of his leaping strikes, Corvus landed and darted towards it. Jumping and slapping the button, the door hissed open. The Jedi dashed through, though they were pursued. They tried to close the door again, but it caught some of the monsters as they chased forward, and was forced back open.

Tarvitz had been briefed on the ship’s floorplan, and Corvus let him take the lead, his shorter stature still keeping up, despite the intensity of the past few minutes. They ran through the halls, creatures on their tails.

They turned a corner and Tarvitz yelled backward, “Bridge is just up here. We gotta lose the ghouls!”

“Leave that to me,” Corvus replied. “I’ve got it covered.”

As they ran, he used his remaining concentration to gather Force in his hand, coiling it into a tighter and tighter ball. He filled it with the anger, and slowed his pace. The ghouls were catching up, but then he backflipped into their thick ‘front lines’ and punched the ground. Ghouls were thrown back, into each other. It completely leached their momentum, and Corvus wasn’t one to waste an advantage. He was quick to move, darting forward, back towards Tarvitz. His head began to clear. Perhaps it was the shock of the telekinetic blast, or perhaps it was the sudden silence after the wave - though it wasn’t long before the shrieks began again, in vain.

Meanwhile, Tarvitz had thundered into the bridge, and quickly located the blast-door control. The Aleena was still outside, but he yelled, “Close it! I can jump through.” The Human punched the button, and the doors began to retract at a quicker rate than he was used to. Corvus would have to hurry.

The space between the four interlocking walls was decreasing to an alarmingly small hole. The shrieks of the beasts had become more muted. He could no longer hear Corvus’ footsteps. But a small blue streak still managed to dive through the door, before attempting to roll to his feet. He ended up just sliding along the floor on his back.

“Next time I’ll get the landing, “ Corvus muttered to himself. He glanced around the room, checking the other exits for ghouls. None yet.

“I’ll get the doors, you check how much of the systems are still online.” the Rollmaster said.

“You want me to fly it?”

“That’s only a last-resort option. We’d need to be in some proper trouble for that.”

“This isn’t proper trouble?”

“We haven’t attracted the attention of our enemies, nor invited the deaths of any planets. I’d say it was a fairly good day.”

“The ghouls?”

“Can’t get us in here. We’re safe, we’ve got men off the ship to get help, and we have control of most of the ship’s systems, if they worked. Which ones are beyond hope?

“We can’t move the ship or anything, but we can boot the onboard server, have a look at the data. Should be something there.”

“Awesome, “ Corvus said, punching the last switch. “I’ll take a look in a mo–”

In the corner was something that looked very similar to a pile of white battered clothing. Upon closer inspection, however, it looked startlingly familiar to a humanoid in the foetal position. Tarvitz followed the Aleena’s eyes, and noticed a familiar hat. “Is that the captain’s cap? Is that the captain?”

At his voice, the shape moved, extending and getting to its feet. The captain’s uniform was ripped and bulged in places it shouldn’t have bulged. As he lifted his head, the sickly pallor of his skin revealed all. “Damn, the beasts are people?!” Tarvitz exclaimed.

Corvus took several slow steps towards the creature. “Not anymore. Whatever happened to them, all we could ever hope to recognise in them was lost. Now they’re just beasts. Ghouls.”

The zing of a blaster bolt filled the chamber. The former captain fell before he could attack, crumpling to the ground. Tarvitz lowered his blaster, shaking his head slowly. “Even if he’s dead, and an enemy to us, we can’t let that thing walk around in his body. It just ain’t right.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”


Tarvitz watched the smoking corpse of the former Iron Legionary, quietly wishing it would stop twitching. Malformed and unnatural as they were, a small part of him had been hoping that the crew had perhaps taken them from some distant hellish world. Knowing instead that the monsters had spread like a plague among them, warping their bodies and twisting them into brooding killers, was something he would never have wished to learn.

“There’s nothing more we can do here,” Corvus said, breaking the silence “There’s no way i’m risking bringing this thing back to the Resistance, not if there’s something on board which can do that to a person.”

“So, we find a way off-”

“-And hit it with enough ordinance to make certain there’s nothing left alive on this ship.” Corvus nodded, then stopped “Actually, are you any good at slicing?”

“That’s not exactly my forte, no,” Tarvitz frowned, looking across the rows of monitors and bewildering control systems before realising his point. They were stuck on a bridge, with no obvious way out, monsters waiting outside the door and, unless a crewman helpfully left their workstation open before they turned, no way to access the main systems.


“Exactly.” Corvus stroked his chin, thinking for a few seconds “Poke around and see what you can find, perhaps we’ll get lucky.”

“That would be a first for today,” Tarvitz nodded, heading towards the forwards consoles and starting from there.

The effort, brief as it was, produced few results. Scouring the various rows of monitors and blinking controls for any signs of life, the jedi circled about the bridge. Most were pulsing with the pale yellow hue of a locking measure, with any functions now hidden behind multiple walls of encryption and security procedures. The few that had somehow escaped this had been ripped open, their innards torn apart and core power couplings severed. What little could be made from the relative sterility of the bridge spoke of a final ditch effort to scuttle the ship, perhaps done simply in the hopes of quarantining themselves against the rest of the galaxy.

As he surveyed the scattered ruins of the Charon’s command center, Tarvitz could not help but feel some small shred of respect for the crew. It was no easy feat to damn one’s self for the betterment of others, and he had all too often seen the opposite of wrecks, where the crew had fought one another like dogs in their final moments. Whatever role they played in serving Pravus, he could at least appreciate their efforts to safeguard the galaxy from their fate, even if it damned the Jedi now trapped there.

“Tarvitz?” Corvus suddenly said from the other end of the room, breaking the Padawan from his brief moment of silence “I think I have found something for you to fix.”

“Oh?” Tarvitz asked, hurrying over to join where Corvus was standing, pointing towards the gunmetal grey of a dislodged monitor. He didn’t add anything, but as the human examined its innards, he saw what the Rollmaster meant. While still damaged, the bewildering network of wires and circuits seemed somewhat more intact than other examples. Save for the sparking of a few severed cables, there did not seem to be anything especially notable missing from its interior.

Trying not to curse the fact he had failed to bring a few essential tools with him, and hoping that the natural insulation of his armour would be enough to keep him alive, Tarvitz reached inside and began delicately working about the live wiring. The sound of sparking cables being forced together, followed by the thrum of reactivating machinery reverberated throughout the console, and after a few moments, the screen flickered into life.

“Is it anything of use?” he asked, dragging the screen back into place and stepping back, allowing Corvus to leap up onto the seat before it.

“Well, it’s not locked at least,” he answered, squinting at the dulled lettering occupying the middle of the screen “it looks more like a log record than any controls system unfortunately.”

“And not the kind which lists how to take back the bridge, i’m guessing,” Tarvitz sighed, glancing back at the blast doors in time to hear something heavy thud against the reinforced metalwork. Clearly the monsters weren’t about to give them up just yet.

“No, no, nothing like that,” Corvus admitted, leaning forwards and striking a few keys “It’s actually a record of the ship’s recent weeks. Ship manifests, crew transfers and a few notes from the first officer.”

The Aleena said nothing else for the better part of a minute, looking increasingly perplexed before his eyes widened in shock, recoiling back slightly from his position.

“Tarvitz, you might want to read this.” he managed, his voice tinged with horror at what he was reading.

Unsure of what to make of it, Tarvitz leaned in and peered at the screen, skimming through the initial pages of information. It was little more than a log, a personal journal really, made by the Charon’s second in command. The opening sections seemed rather irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The officer spoke of a weapons specialist crew they were collecting from an outpost, alongside a group of biochemical specialists and engineering corps personnel. An extensive transfer to say the least, much of it complained more against how they were getting in the way of day-to-day duties, of the mysteriousness of their mission and seemingly directionless nature of their flight. Then, Tarvitz noted the “sudden disappearances” covered under the log entry and things took a turn for the worse.

The log, quite abruptly, began mentioning problems among the crew. Odd moments of violence erupting between lifelong friends, or even surprising bloodlust among crewmen manning standard posts. It spoke less of the iron discipline expected of such a crew, and more of the hunger for war the Mandalorians were more infamous for. Then, bodies began showing up, deformed or warped in some way, with several having never appeared at all on the crew manifest. Too ill to possibly have stowed away, and too poorly trained to simply be saboteurs, they were instead locked down to the medical wing.

The following pages depicted a downwards spiral of failing control, and a complete breakdown in discipline among their forces. There were more conflicts, more bouts, and finally the head of the specialists speaking out against the Captain, requesting and then demanding that the mysterious arrivals be handed over to them. Then, when that failed, all but openly threatening what might happen should they not be allowed to finish testing their weapon to see its final results.

For a few moments Tarvitz just stood there, horrified at the implications of this single message and unsure whether not not he should believe any word of it. The very idea seemed impossible, and yet, he could not wholly deny it.

“Those things,” he said slowly, turning towards Corvus “They’re a living weapon?”

“If this is to be believed, yes,” Corvus answered “A bioweapon, likely intended to be dropped on our troops or anyone who offended the Brotherhood’s current despot.”

“Sithspawn,” Tarvitz cursed.

“It’s possible,” Corvus nodded, apparently mistaking the curse for a suggestion. “Unlikely, but certainly not the most unlikely outcome to this. There’s more here as well, mentions of the symptoms, mentions of the effects it has on people, even some holographic examples.”

Risking another glance back at the doors, Tarvitz half expecting to see more of the creatures crawling inside. Given the repeated pounding at the door, given the snarls and screams emanating from the other side, he could only imagine how many were lurking back there now.

“Is there enough data to know what to avoid and how to counter it?”

“Enough to give us a head start, certainly; and once we finish what the Charon’s crew began, hopefully we’ll have inflicted enough damage to put them back to square one.” Corvus, patted down his waistcoat, searching about before procuring a small datacard from one pocket and inserting it into the machine. “Speaking of which, I don’t suppose you have a way out in mind do you? One which doesn’t involve us risking the horde once more, I mean.”

Tarvitz nodded reluctantly.

“One,” he admitted “a very risky one which I get the feeling you’re not going to like.”

“Let me hear it,”

Tarvitz paused, outlining his plan, pointing to each stage in turn and going through it moment by moment, right down to the very last second. Even as the screaming outside rose in pitch, he finished off the last details, trying not to let the Aleena’s incredulous expression make him pause.

“You honestly think this will work?” Corvus said once he was finished.

“There’s no denying the risk, but I have done it once before. Not with screaming abominations at my back and a sealed helmet, admittedly, but it’s possible to pull it off.”

“Define risk,” Corvus said, unable to not look at the Padawan as if he were insane.

“A painful death,” Tarvitz admitted. “but unless you can think of an alternative to this plan, I can’t see us getting off of this ship alive. Especially once the power for that door fails and those things outside start pulling it open. Something which, given the failing power core, will likely happen long before they finally get bored and walk off.”

Corvus looked almost ready to object, and then shook his head slightly “If we don’t survive this, I’ll expect a long and heartfelt apology once you become one with the Force.”

Despite their situation, Tarvitz couldn’t help but smirk at the comment as he raised the comlink to his lips.

“Tarvitz to Fire Hawk. What I’m about to ask is likely going to sound insane, but we’ll need your help pulling this off…”

A few scant minutes later, as the two Jedi waited hunched behind the ruined consoles of the bridge, the neon blue lights of their freighter’s ion engines thundered into view. Growing closer by the second, it grew to fill the window, bobbing in place as the vessel came to a halt parallel to their hiding place. By the time it halted, it was close enough for Tarvitz to count the individual individual vents across its rear plating and even make out the carbon scoring of the blast damage from their last engagement against enemy fighters.

“Alright, that’s as close as you’re going to get, just hold there and wait until I give the signal,” Tarvitz spoke into the comlink before turning to Corvus as he pocketed the datacard, now filled with everything they could salvage from the logs. “Ready?”

“No, but I don’t think either of us are.”

“Just remember to breath out - completely - before we hit it,” Tarvitz sighed before raising the comlink again. “Ready? Fire.”

Ruby streaks of energy spat outwards from the light freighter’s dorsal turret, repeatedly hammering the viewport of the bridge over and over again. It resisted for the barest second, before the warm glow of molten transparasteel began to spread across the impact zone, warping as the intense power melted it out of shape. Weakening it enough that even the slightest pressure would shatter the now fragile material.

Nodding for Corvus to follow, Tarvitz broke from cover, sprinting directly at the failing viewport. Crossing the distance quickly, the both of them reached out with the Force one final time, shunting against it with a blast of Telekinetic power. The material cracked, spiderwebs rapidly spreading across its surface under the abrupt pressure as it splintered into a thousand shards, before exploding outwards. The air howled as it was dragged out of the room, sucked into the void within moments and taking with it anything which wasn’t bolted to the deck. A storm of metal fragments, personal items, and two Jedi was pulled into space, torn from the relative safety of the vessel as the atmosphere was stripped away, and hurled towards the awaiting vessel.

Fragments bounced from the Fire Hawk’s hull, ricocheting off in all directions as it weathered the abrupt storm. Neither of them seemed to notice it however, as each was far more intent upon reaching the open docking-ring awaiting them, and feeling their bodies begin to fail. Few would ever wish to experience open vacuum for themselves, and save for the most sadistic beings few would wish to ever inflict it upon a foe. The holovids all too often depicted it as little more than a place without oxygen, where victims drowned in the emptiness, but there was a far more horrifying truth to it. It was akin to burning away and freezing at once, feeling both the experience of being crushed to death and torn apart as one. Within your veins, your blood would seize up, ready to freeze over even as it boiled over, ready to be torn away under your skin. Your very organs would strain themselves to bursting point, your lungs screaming for a breath which would not come, even as your eyes threatened to rip themselves from your skull. Your very being was ready to be ripped asunder by the very nature of an environment so alien, it could bear no life, ready to kill you thanks to its mere existence. For twelve long, drawn out seconds the Jedi experienced this, before mercifully crashing into the far end of the airlock.

As the doors slammed close and air was vented into the area, all Tarvitz could do was slump in place, feeling his body burning under the brief exposure, sapping him of all strength. As the pressure equalised, there was the sound of pounding footsteps, and the Padawan felt himself being dragged to his feet, hearing someone doing the same for Corvus.

“We,” he heard the Aleena choke between stuttering breaths “Are never doing that again. Not for as long as I live.”

“Orders sir?” one of the soldiers asked from somewhere close to Tarvitz’s right. Corvus tried to answer but the words came out in a hacking cough, retching for several moments.

“Finish it and leave,” Tarvitz translated “There’s nothing left on that ship. End its misery once and for all.”

The trooper hurried off, and Tarvitz heard the thunder of the main guns firing up once more hammering the Charon over and over again. Momentarily reaching out with his senses, Tarvitz directed his senses towards the creatures still crowded around the door, hungering for the prey within. For as dim as they were through the Force, he felt split-second of abrupt terror breaking through the rage as the blaster fire punched through the doors, atomizing most of their number within moments, and leaving the rest to rapidly die, drawn into its fire as they were dragged into space. Then, there was nothing.

Turning away from the dying husk of a ship, the light freighter’s engines flared up, pulling back before making the jump to hyperspace. Behind it, the Charon slowly flickered and died as its power core began to finally give out, leaving the frigate in darkness and surrounded by the corpses of dead monsters.