[Naga Sadow]The Return of Old Gods

Outer Orbits, Orian System
Near Inos

37 ABY

“This is Stave Actual, to Stave Four. Is everything going alright out on the hunt?”

Zers shook her head as she studied the starscape around her. She tapped at the comm system once in a short acknowledgement. Nothing ever seemed to happen on these patrols. The large orb of Inos drifted somewhere off to her starboard position. There were plenty of satellites and phenomena. There were items of scientific interest, but nothing to tempt the more militant minded. Day in and day out, she made the circuits about the system.

And yet nothing happened.

The initial attack, their first moves on the Orian system, had been over a year ago. The cult that had once called the system home had been lead out of their holes. Beings, good beings, hardworking individuals, had made the sacrifice that kept the cult of filthy Force-users out of the system long enough for the Collective to set their trap. It went more beautifully than they could have hoped.

These Force Users, these worshipers, she supposed, from the planets had committed everything. They though, she supposed, to eliminate the Collective from their space, to ensure they would be free and safe from the influence of the Three Pillars. That drive, that bravado had been their downfall. With an overcommitment of forces, a rodent track had been set, and when the cultists returned, they were caught unawares.

The destruction had been beautiful.

“Stave Four, this is Stave Actual. Please acknowledge.”

The Kel Dor shifted uncomfortably in the bucket seat of the old T-65. “Stave Four acknowledges. There is nothing out here outside of the normal. Should I return to the rendezvous point to prepare for extraction? Or did you want me to make a full rotation around the gas giant to watch for pirates? I mean, we might not have run the whole of them underground yet.”

“Are you confirming the presence of pirates in the Orian system, Stave Four?”

“No, Actual.” The Kel Dor watched the churning gaseous surface of Inos. “I haven’t seen anything out here. You just keep having us chasing ghosts. Little more than memories of monsters long gone from here.”

There was a pause on the other end. “Go ahead and make a wide patrol towards Tarthos after you complete your current circuit, Stave Four. We will meet you for rendezvous en route to the planet. ”

“Don’t worry, Stave Actual. If I end up meeting up with any pirates, I will knock them over the head. Make sure that you have a chance to say hello.” The Kel Dor switched off the comm unit in the cockpit. She knew that a proper chewing out was going to result. The commanding officer knew as well as she did how these things went. It would be a waste to meet her out this far just for a reprimand. She felt certain she would find the captain the same place she always had, in the cantina.

It was the sight of a streak of gray that first drew her eye. A realization gripped her heart. That realization cooled the ire which rested in Zer’s gut toward her commander. The lines, clearly Galactic Imperial, made her guts turn to ice. Something was deeply wrong. Everyone knew what had come of that era’s Empire. There was no good reason for an Imperial-II destroyer to be in Orian space.

The feeling was amplified as the second and third ships came into system in rough formation with the first. A pair of ships, one in standard gray and the second a deep black, an Acclamator and a Vindicator respectively, were now rotating toward the system’s center. With her heart in her throat, Zer primed her fighter’s engines. As though on cue, a score of other ships began to appear in quick succession.

She would need to get back to Stave Actual. She would have to let the captain and Command know what was coming. A fleet was jumping into the system. The anomalous signals created by the entry would be noted by the Collective’s resident forces, but it would not be checked out immediately. The concerns of the system were enough to keep the likes of moffs tied up in the fine details of running a system. They would need a runner, a messenger, a scout to bring the news to their attention.

She wanted to run out in the streets. She wanted to scream from the rooftops. A harbinger of doom, or ruin, or perhaps just chaos was hanging over the system.

She never would get the opportunity to make her proclamations. A short hail of laser fire lanced the area of space occupied by the Incom T-65 X-Wing. And like that, the antiquated fighter and its once-bored pilot were space dust.

A moment of silence came over the Sadowan comms as the lasers criss-crossed in space. The Overlord smiled to himself. The comms started up again, with the sounds of the Dakhani and Markosian fleets checking in as their final elements were still jumping into system.

A few words came to mind. The idea of a speech, or otherwise rousing the Clan, were more than a bit tempting. Instead, Bentre cleared his throat, and pressed down the transmit button on the comm panel as he leaned forward toward the audio receiver.

“It is time, Sadowans.” The voice of the Overlord crackled from each comm system. “This is your time. This is your destiny. Today is our day. Today is your day.” He paused. “This is a day of glory. This is a day of honor. This is a day of redemption. This is a day for Nga Sadow. This is a day for the glory of the Sith Empire! This is a day for the glory of Naga Sadow!”

He paused for effect, before leaning close to the receiver. “Seize the day, Sadowans.”

On cue, the tactical display, glowing a white, began to turn. Several ships went from a pearly white to a searing scarlet, indicating a receipt of orders and an acknowledgement of the same. Soon the whole fleet was a blood red formation.

Their time of victory, Sadow willing, had just begun.



“The time has come. Like stories of old, the time of reckoning has come, and with it we see the return of the gods of old.”

This thread is where members of Naga Sadow will be able to post their portion of the two-pronged attack upon our home system. Each House will begin by leading an effort to recapture their respective planets. This will occur over the first phase.

During the secondary phase of the RO, the members of Clan Naga Sadow will make the push to recapture the planet of Sepros from the Collective threat in the system. This will allow Naga Sadow to retake their former throneworld.


Background

Having been forced out of the Orian system by the counter-attacks of a portion of the Collective fleet following the events of Inferno. Since this time, the Clan has spent a lot of time floating in space, from system to system. The Sadowans encountered the Collective in Telos, meeting the Plagueis Clan on an undiscovered planet, plunder ruins on Endor, and more before engaging in the events in the Lyra-3k-a system during the 13th Great Jedi War.

The time has now come for the Clan to return to their home. The Sadowan Fleet has been gathered and coordinated. Dropping from hyperspace into the Orian system, the fleets are now poised to strike back at the Collective for their invasion of Sadowan space. House Shar Dakhan is moving to retake their planet of Aeotheran, while the House Marka Ragnos members will be moving to retake Tarthos.

Once the once-House-controlled planets have been secured, the fleet will rendezvous at Sepros, with the intent of retaking their throne planet of Sepros once again.

# Rubric and Rules

This Clan-Wide Run-On will be graded using the Voice’s Run On Rubric.

  • In order to earn credit for placement/participation, members must complete two posts of no less than 250 words each. Posts shorter than 250 words will not count toward the two post minimum to earn placement/participation credit.
  • Members may write their alternative characters and NPCs into the run-on in addition to their main characters.
  • Snapshots must be provided for member’s main/alternate characters used in the Run On within the member’s first post
  • Only qualifying posts will be considered in grading, others will be ignored. Subsequent writers may choose to ignore disqualified posts, but they will not be penalized if they pay attention to them. However, if a disqualified post includes resolution to a plot/subplot, it will NOT be considered in Story grading.
  • Authors may reserve a post position with a post stating “Reserved”. There may only be one post position reserved, and your reservation post may be deleted if it has been left up for more than 6 hours.
  • Posts may be edited by their author before additional posts with content are made (that is, a post may ONLY be edited while the post immediately following it is Reserved). If a post is edited after content has been added, it will be disqualified.
  • An author may NOT make consecutive posts. At least one other person must post (including reserved posts) before an author can make another post.
  • Any post may be deleted within 10 minutes of it being posted, regardless of what other posts have been made after it.

“Conquest is Our Destiny; We Shall Not Fail.”


ORIAN SYSTEM
NEAR INOS
CNS FLEET

“Commander, what was the last transmission of that T-65?” asked Quaestor Takagari “DarkHawk” KogaRyu, peering out the Vindicator’s large view ports.

“Sir, let me replay that transmission for you…” the commander replied.

The comm-system came to life as the T-65’s message began to play. “Don’t worry, Stave Actual. If I end up meeting up with any pirates, I will knock them over the head. Make sure that you have a chance to say hello.”

“And the scans confirm that is the last – both incoming and outgoing?” asked the Quaestor.

“Affirmative, sir, we are scanning for any further incoming transmissions and will intercept,” the commander said stoutly. “Do you have further instructions?”

The Quaestor stood with his hands clasped behind his back, looking out the viewport of the Vindicator Heavy Cruiser’s bridge. His reverie was broken abruptly from by the commander’s muffled voice.

“Sir…?” asked the commander.

The commander of the bridge approached the Quaestor cautiously, now whispering intensely, “Sir…!”

The Quaestor turned his attention to the commander, but only for a moment DarkHawk walked passed the commander without uttering a word. The commander turned, and, just as he was about to speak, DarkHawk acknowledged his bridge commander.

“Continue all scans, notify House and Clan Summit immediately on anything you intercept. Continue to mask our presence here, commander. Maintain open channels with the Clan fleet, disseminate everything you discover to the Perdition and the Fallen Spear. Hail the Perdition, Commander. I will speak with Summit in my quarters,” DarkHawk said, walking away.

“Affirmative, sir…”

The bridge doors whisked open and DarkHawk exited. Navigating the corridor of the new command ship, DarkHawk’s stride emanated purpose. Many thoughts traversed the Quaestor’s mind, though he focused solely on one. The Collective. DarkHawk could feel the very fibers of his existence being stretched taut. Feeding off those very emotions, DarkHawk and the rest of the Clan had been waiting for this opportunity. It was more than revenge; it was time to sever the head of the Collective.

Walking into his chambers, the Quaestor headed directly to the holo-projector, activating the unit as he came to a halt. In the blink of an eye stood the two translucent figures of Consul, Warlord Bentre Sadow, and Proconsul, Augur Ashia Keibatsu. DarkHawk bowed to his Summit before speaking.

“Everything is in order. T-65 has been destroyed, all radio transmissions are being monitored. We remain undetected,” said DarkHawk.

“Excellent work, Takagari. Is HSD ready?” asked the Proconsul.

“Indeed…”

“Launch your forces, DarkHawk. Show no mercy,” instructed the Warlord.

“For Sadow…” replied DarkHawk.

Flipping another switch, the bridge responded “Yes, sir…”

“Are all HSD channels open, Commander?”

“You have the fleet, sir.”

“Attention, House Shar Dakhan, man all battle stations. We make an immediate jump to Aetheran. All HSD task forces, check in.”

“Task Force Aurek, ready,” replied Privateer Xuner Holst.

“Task Force Dorn, ready,” replied Augur Locke Sonjie.

‘Sir, coordinates are uploaded to NAV-computers. The fleet is ready to commence jump procedures,” replied the bridge commander.

Without hesitation, DarkHawk replied “Commence…”


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Star Courier Panthac
Orian System Edge

“R3 Commence micro jump.” Macron grinned evilly as he regarded his droid. “HK 22, we are inbound for Aeotheran. Finally.” The Star Courier lurched as the ship’s R3 droid computed the jump. There were no stars nearby to color the viewscreens except the system’s sun, which grew from a pinprick to a lambent lamp in an instant.

“Master, will I get to terminate meatbags?” The droid would have twitched with anticipation if it could. HK 22 was not the brightest bulb but his focus on his work was singular.

“Yes. Many of them Twenty-Two. As many as you are able to slaughter, of the enemy of course.” The Sith chuckled and looked towards the cargo hold. Behind him a low growl emanated from a pitch black Sith Hound. Beside the beast sat a group of six of Naga Sadow’s best battle-hardened commandos and enough gear to kill a figurative army. The soldiers were used to working alongside the Force-users among the Clan although the Tukata was still given a wide berth.

“Kintik-Chwuk, you will get to slake your unholy thirsts as well. Our mission is quite clear. We are to land in Seng Karash and create as much havoc as possible.” The Adept looked at the battle-hardened Verpine leader of the commandos. “General Zzz’click, you have your orders. Support us in the mission, demolish their communications, and take out tactical targets as able.”

It will be good to return to our adopted hive… intruders in the nest must be eliminated.” The heavily armed Verpine gestured towards the five human soldiers behind their impassive helmets. “We will.”

“Excellent.” As the ship lurched into realspace, the mountainous globe of Aeotheran hove into view. Macron keyed his comlink on an encrypted channel. “Shar Dakhan Actual, this is the Alchemist. We are in orbit and commencing our landing. Soon the Collective in San Korinar will suffer in agony.”

As the Sith closed the link HK 22 spoke up. “Master, have you forseen it in the Force?”

“No droid. There is no need. What will happen to them is pure rational deduction at this point. They will die, and die horribly. I do not need the Dark Side to tell me that. What I can tell you though is that I and many of our Clan will enjoy every bloody second of it.”

Macron snapshot

General Zzzclk’ik (NPC/altchar) snapshot

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HSD Flagship

En Route to Aeotheran

DarkHawk turned and was surprised to see a dark armoured figure stood immediately in front of him. “Where did you come from and why are you in my chambers?” he demanded.

Malisane gave a slight shrugging gesture.”I go where I am needed Quaestor,” he replied calmly, “I took an oath to serve.”

DarkHawk nodded. “Good, I am sure you will be useful.”

Malisane looked out of the window at the view passing by. “It feels strange to be back here with a Clan fleet,” he said quietly, “I left here in a hurry, with the Collective searching for me. For many years I remained here not knowing the rest of you had been driven out. My life was simple. I lived, I hunted, I meditated and I slept. Before then my life here was one of chaos and discovery. I am not sure which I preferred. It seems so long ago.”

DarkHawk raised an eyebrow. “I am sure you will find something in between.” He was curious about the mysterious Sadow. This was probably the longest conversation the two had undertaken. Malisane appeared rarely when summoned for duty and accepted his orders with a calm confidence, usually only questioning them for extra detail rather than purpose or reason. The rest of the time he avoided others.

“Perhaps,” Malisane replied as he regarded the view.

“Our intelligence suggests the enemy have done extensive rebuilding to the capital since the former Consul’s actions but they appear to have been surprisingly faithful to the original design.” DarkHawk glanced at the former Aeotheran Governor, “I understand you did a lot of the original design yourself?”

Malisane shrugged. “The city existed long before I arrived,” he replied, “I merely rationalised it.”

“I am sure your experience will be useful in the future,” the Quaestor replied, “we will have much work to do once it is back in our hands.”

The other Battelord shook his head. “That Malisane is gone, he died in fire and chaos. I have had long to reflect on his actions. Now I fight and I defend. Other brighter and younger minds will guide the future. That is how it should be.”

DarkHawk considered this. “Well that is your prerogative,” he replied. “We will be arriving soon. You will be be useful I am sure.”
“I will serve where needed Quaestor,” Malisane replied.

“Good,” DarkHawk replied.

Malisane gave a slight bow and left.

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Bridge
Vindicator-Class Heavy Cruiser Phoenix
Near Inos Space

There was something about new ships. The smell of fresh oil, crisply painted bulkheads and new alloys worked its way across Hades’ senses. He would have smiled, ten years ago. Instead, he watched through the transparisteel at the flotilla of house ships arrayed in front of him. Arms behind his back, he turned his eye to the holodisplay, to the Lion.

The holo came across fairly smoothly, the exception being where the visual processor didn’t quite understand how to render his eyes. “We are ready on your mark, Lord Keibatsu.” They had discussed the plan, an at length for several months now, weighing different options, guessing at possibilities, reactions. The Grand Master nodded once.

“You have command, Admiral.” He paused for a second, watching the man. “On your mark.”

Ready Room
Fallen Spear
Near Inos Space

Xolarin grimaced from his chair, the war display showing the flashes as their ships moved to engage, the cold sphere of Tarthos looming broadly behind enemy ships. Tapping his chin, he looked across at the assembled team. The Verpine leader of the Night Hawks, Hilgrif, leaned against the far wall, the light blue of the holoprojector casting his green skin in an eerie tone. Ciara sat directly across from him, leaning forward, eyes transfixed on the display, her fingers pulling up the schematics of the hidden landing zone, a few dozen clicks from the sensor range of the city.

They already knew the plan. Sneak to the planet, use the hidden tunnels to take back the Night Hawk’s center, then move on to the Cathedral, and finally to take command of Kar Alabrek’s anti-aircraft batteries. The first part should be easy. Once they were in the Night Hawk’s base, they’d be able to see a bit more detail. It wouldn’t be until they crawled out from the bowels of the Cathedral that the Collective would even know they were there. The sound of the Spear’s cloaks twisted in their periphery as they slipped though the coming fight, sliding between ships on a course for the surface.

Xolarin leaned back in his chair, all but salivating at the thought of the decades of treasure that lay deep in the Vaults of the Cathedral. The facility had been remade, opening only shortly before the Clan had left Orian. He had been through the feeds, saw what the Krath Lord had shared. Plans, layouts, access tunnels. It was designed to hide in plain sight. A museum, classrooms, galleries, it was a point of pride for high society types in the city. And beneath that veneer, a research facility, a proper base for the house, cold storage for decades of Krath research and replication. Xolarin trembled for a moment, considering the rumor that at the very heart of it all was an ancient temple. He could barely wait. It was within their grasp. He had to have it.

“So…” Ciara cleared her throat, interrupting his thoughts. “Have you ever been to Tarthos?”

Xolarin tightened his jaw for a moment, eyes slipping over to Hilgrif, who shook his head with a twitch of his mandibles. Ciara raised an eyebrow for a moment. The Collective had been a thorn in everyone’s sides, but she hadn’t known how badly. “It’s been about a year and a half, if I remember the briefing.” He responded. “Too long.”

Ciara nodded. “Which means a lot could have changed.”

The silence bloomed into something more resembling anxiety in that moment. Unspoken fears and doubts danced along their nerves as the door slid open. He looked at them, his gaze sliding over each of them slowly, before he stepped toward the holoprojector, fingers keying in commands as the view changed, the skyline morphing and maps shifted somewhat. Xolarin narrowed his eyes, the file date twisting across his mind.

“But…This was last month?” He let his mind race through the possibilities. Spies, loyalists, intercepted transmissions all played out in rapid synapses behind his eyes. “How? Can we trust…”

Muz looked at him, and Xolarin became acutely aware of the sound surrounding them again, the alien hum of the ship’s cloaks. So, that was where he would vanish off to, Xolarin thought to himself.

“Only sometimes.” Muz smiled, turning back to the display, the map updating in real time, only minutes left until final approach.

Three Minutes Later
Bay
Fallen Spear
Redacted, Tarthos

The bay opened up its mouth, as the wind swept in, chilling flesh and chattering teeth despite the heat of the ship. Quick hand gestures flew, and doc bolted forward into the white, the black of his helmet a silhouette before the signal chirped on Muz’s arm. He moved forward quickly, Leena following right behind, flanked by her droids, Koji a half step to the side.

The wind almost took the sound away from them, but they could see the shadow rise. Xolarin gave half a smirk as he stepped out into the ice, making his way to the previously concealed turbolift. Ciara kept pace with him, the tundra whipping her cloak around, caking snow on her dark armor as Hilgrif admonished his droids to not get stuck.

The blast of heat in the turbolift was a welcome reprieve for them all, the doors closing before rocketing them deep underground and toward their fates.

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Turbolift

A soft growling emanated from just to the left of where Kojiro stood; a monstrous hound lay ill at ease near her master’s legs, one paw perched upon the other with her muzzle resting upon it. Sai’rasha briefly rolled her shoulders and shifted the last few inches of snow that had stuck behind her collar. She raised her head, eyes running around the turbolift and took each of the occupants in. The Tuk’ata’s expression said all it needed to, she was not impressed with anyone besides her owner, the Grand Master and perhaps that woman, but even then barely.

“Rest easy, girl. The blood will flow soon,” Kojiro muttered in Ancient Sith at her, the voice altered by the changer turning it something that sounded almost wrong upon the ears, like rusted gears grinding upon one another. The great beast tilted her head and met her master’s mask. “No, you may not eat the bald one and the bug. Though they seem useless, so perhaps later.”

A slight smile curved at the edges of Ciara’s mouth as she listened to the exchange, Muz simply raised an eyebrow and said nothing. The Clone felt something briefly brush against, then grip, before releasing his fingers and his head turned ever so slightly to where Ciara stood beside him against the back wall. She wasn’t even looking his way and her arms were folded across her chest. Kojiro shook his head and brushed the thought aside, a trick of the mind perhaps.

The turbolift descended further and further beneath the surface of the planet. Tarthos, a place he could have done not being returned to after his last encounter and the massacre of those loyal to the Lotus. When he left he was someone and he had returned…well he had no idea what he was anymore nor entirely who he was.

A beeping snapped him out of his memories and he looked towards the front of the Turbolift. The beep was the indicator that they had nearly reached their destination and the Warlord pushed himself away from the wall and rose to his full height. As he did so, Sai’rasha rose with him and came to rest at her master’s heels. Xolarin and the Verpine, whose name Kojiro had spent no time remembering, stood between him and the entrance. He had no desire to be led out of the Turbolift by weaklings and so closed his eyes and let the Force roll out from him in an unseen wave, in part to prepare himself for the coming battle and part to see the reactions of the newcomers.

Several seconds passed before either of the two shifted uncomfortably, a bead of sweat drifting down the human’s forehead. Xolarin turned to look over his shoulder at the source of the discomfort and was met with the Warlord almost pushing him out of the way.

“Move, and get this disgusting creature out of my way.” Kojiro snarled as his bulk passed by the Verpine. The Turbolift doors slid open and before even Muz could react the Warlord had moved out of the lift and into the dark, his hound following as the hunt began in earnest.

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Bridge
Vindicator-Class Heavy Cruiser Phoenix
Near Inos Space

“Sir! The burst transmission from the Fallen Spear has been received. Decoding now.” The comm officer quickly decoded the sensor data and transferred it to Hades’ display. The Marka Ragnos Fleet Admiral studied the sensor logs from the Spear’s infiltration into Tarthos. Of the plans him and the Grand Master had discussed, it looks like a pincer engagement would present the most favorable outcome. The Captain of the Phoenix steps next to Hades. He was not privy to the conversations with the House Summit and could tell the man was hoping for some explanation.

“You see, Captain…The Collective fleet arrayed around Tarthos is manageable but would not be easy. Two Dreadnaughts, a medium cruiser with two starfighter squadrons and a lancer. The plan we are going with will separate our forces with Admiral Pel taking the bulk of the fleet and jumping in to engage the forces at a range of 10km. This gives the enemy time to array themselves accordingly and put that lancer out front so it can intercept fighters. Right about the time they engage Task Force One, with our Vindicator and Strike cruisers, along with all remaining fighter squadrons in the House, hyper in on the Collective’s 6 O’clock and engage their blindsides with little anti-starfighter weapons on the larger ships, they will fall quickly. “

The Captain smirked and nodded. “I like it.”

“Comms. Open a channel to Admiral Pel on the Crucible.” Hades waited until confirmed the channel was open.

“Go ahead, Phoenix.” Pel’s voice was unmistakable. “Admiral, we are going with the pincer engagement. Prepare your task force for your micro jump to get into position.” Hades ordered.

“Understood. Enemy strength?” Hades could tell that his old friend was eager to bring the fight to the Collective once more. He looked down at the sensor log once again.

“On near-side orbit there are two a70 Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruisers one m50 Strike-class Medium Cruisers and a Lancer-class Frigate. And from what we can see here looks to be one of each on the far side of the planet. But that comes later.” Hades raises his eyes to look out of the viewport once again. All of the House’s ships other than the Phoenix and the Crucible where forming up on his starboard side.

“Understood. Task Force 2 is ready to jump.” Hades nodded his head even though his friend can’t see him.

“Very well. Make your jump. Good luck.” said Hades. A few seconds later, Task Force 2 entered hyperspace.

“Helm. Have you calculated our jump?” The Sith turned around towards his crew.

“Yes, Sir!” He could feel the anticipation in every crew member on this ship. Some of them, this will be their first time in combat. And for some, their last. Hades nodded towards the young lieutenant.

“Very well. Let’s roll.” And with that, Task Force 1 was on its first microjump.

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Star Courier Panthac
Aeotheran Orbit

“Negative. Panthac, hold your position.” The voice that came across the comm from Shar Dakhan command was impassive. “Repeat, hold your position for incoming strike force.”

“Are you kidding me?,” snarled Macron as he watched several defending fighters and Collective ships begin to rise from the atmosphere. “This ship is not a starfighter. We’ll be blasted into bits. R3, evasive maneuvers!” The Star Courier pulled into a tight turn as the planet loomed beneath them. Macron jumped from his chair and pounded the control console.

At that moment all around ships dropped into realspace from a microjump. Capitol ships, Xwings, House Shar Dakhan’s entire battlegroup dropped in. “Panthac, you are clear to land.” Whoops of pure battle lust and the chatter of fighter to capitol ship comm traffic could be heard across the coded channels. The ships looked like a swarm of hornets escaping several angry moving hives.

The Adept sat back down and grinned. “That’s more like it. Darkhawk made his move. We will leave this space battle to the experts. R3, do an electronics blackout and get us down to the outskirts of Seng Karash. I highly doubt they will be paying attention with what’s happening up here. I hope our naval men and women cut those Collective bastards to pieces.”

As the Panthac dropped lances of fire sprung from the newly arrived Dakhan heavy ships to stroke the ground far below. A proper mass of fighters rose from the planet to follow the first light group which was already engaged by Dakhani starfighters.

“Master. If those big ships are destroying the Collective radar and communications sites beneath us, why are we going in?” HK 22 would have looked confused if he had been capable of facial expression.

“Because, you moronic bucket of bolts, the major communication installation is heavily shielded. Planetary power systems can generate far more power than a capital ship. Our battlegroup won’t be able to penetrate it with turbolasers from orbit. Which is where we come in.” The Sith raised an armored fist and pointed it down below. “We land in three. Prepare yourselves. We have to get that post shut down as quickly as possible. General, ready your troopers.”

Copy that.” General Zzzclk’ik turned to his subordinates. “Fire up the landspeeder and the Adept’s speederbike. We are hitting the ground running right out of the gate.”

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Access Tunnels, Extreme Lower Level
A Ways From Cathedral, Tarthos

The lift down to the lower levels of the access tunnels was long and led to colder ground. It was not as cold as it was outside, but much more moist and thus it seemed colder. His armor helped protect him a bit, but only to a certain extent. It was the new war reward armor for the clan, but Xolarin had made some adjustments for his running gear that would let him blend in a bit.

In these tunnels, it did not matter. As the doors began to open, Xol felt uneasy for a strange reason, as if dread had made itself an atmospheric condition rather than an emotion. He wondered if Muz was up to something, but then he remembered reading about Kojiro behind him. The Warlord was not easy to get on with, although Xolarin had not really tried or had the opportunity.

Xolarin was about to move out of the lift when the doors opened when the warlord spoke. “Move, and get this disgusting creature out of my way.”

‘I would have anyways,’ Xol thought to himself. He watched Kojiro and his beast bust out of the lift, making no attempt to disguise themselves. But they were lucky, as when Xolarin reached out with his mind to “see” what he could see, there was nothing in the immediate area.

Xolarin moved ahead of Koji and continued to scan, using his mundane electronics and headgear to aid his own feelings through the Force. He turned his head half-way back and nodded. “We’re clear for now, but this is basically an echo chamber,” he warned.

The group meandered through some of the tunnels, Muz commanding some changes and turns here and there, and Xolarin stopping once in a while as he would pick up someone far above them or some other false positive. Eventually, the group got to its first set of gateways in the tunnels that would either be locked or have alarms triggered on them.

After looking back to Muz with a nod that this was the right way, Xolarin motioned to Hilgrif with his arm. “Your turn, friendo.”

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Hilgrif just slightly shook his head at what Xolarin said like he should start scanning now. Hilgrif has been scanning the hallways and even the lift before he even went in it as the last time a group of Sadowans went underground they ended up blowing off Bentre’s arms because they only used the force to check their surroundings.

Hilgrif then spoke after taking a second look at his scanner saying in a quick manner “no hidden alarms” and then hooked up his datepad and said “this should only take a min”. Hilgrif started to open the first of the hidden gateways to the formal Base of the current battle team he now lead the Night hawks.

Hilgrif then sent a Quick command with the force to Shroud who had been in the back of the group “Shroud stop looking up info on the madman and his pet and check with the hive and the ship and see if any other night hawks have engaged in combat as I would hate to lose my first command because they trusted the force to much and remember to send any imported news though are personal channel.”

Hilgrif also was slightly humored at the fact that even after all this time people always forget about the droids in the background. After a few secs the gateway opened up and hilgrif gave a slight bow to Muz and said “after you boss” and at the same time thinking, if I missed something Muz can deal with it.
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Access Tunnels, Extreme Lower Level
Level 9, Kar Alabrek, Tarthos

Muz didn’t take the invitation. In fact, he hadn’t moved at all save for a nearly imperceptible nod in Ciara’s direction. Yet, in the split second that the Verpine had lowered his gaze in deference to the Grand Master, reality had shifted. His scanners and his instincts having apparently failed him, Hilgrif lifted his head to find a small crew of men and a flurry of red bolts streaking toward him. Leaping back with a chittered Verpine curse, Hilgrif attempted to fire his own blaster rifle reactively into the fray, but something harder had already knocked him to the ground.

When his antennae stopped buzzing, Hilgrif became keenly aware that the excited breath of the madman’s beast had replaced any sound of a firefight. Three rows of teeth and punishing horns reflected off the Verpine’s black eyes – their approach tenuously stayed by a gesture from Kojiro.

“Miss something, Hilgrif?” The low rumble emanated from Muz, echoing back his own thoughts. “Perhaps if you did not rely so much on the Force to … deal with … your oversights, hm?”

Hilgrif fumed. He had not actually missed anything, of course, other than the illusion itself – there was no more a crew of soldiers behind those doors than there was anything resembling a Hive mentality in this band of Sith. Even so, he dared not retort, shifting his frustration instead to the master of the beast that still loomed over him.

“Get this thing off me before –”

“I wouldn’t finish that sentence.” It was Ciara’s warning voice that interrupted and her hand that directed the invisible Force that pinned a reaching appendage to the ground. Darkening emeralds locked briefly with the tensed Keibatsu. “As much as I enjoy a good blood bath, I’m not sure a Verpine’s would be quite as satisfying – particularly when we have so much more to look forward to.”

“Then let us stop wasting time.” The brusque reply rumbled through the Warlord’s modulator as he stalked through the opened entry to continue a course he knew well, the Tuk’ata following close on his heels.

Ciara took one more look at Hilgrif and the protocol droid that had moved to his side when the beast departed. “Your erratic behavior made Sai’rasha think you were prey, Knight – try not to confirm it by underestimating that which separates you from the vermin we’ve come to purge from this world.”

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Nearing Communications Center
Seng Karash
Aeotheran

At the speed they were traveling shouted conversation was useless. The General and the five commandos with him in the landspeeder communicated over internal comlinks with the Adept and the HK droid on the speederbike. They had donned Collective gear taken from the recent battles in the Lyra-K-Alpha system. “Almost there,” came the now-disguised Verpine general’s comlink transmission. The Sith Hound was nowhere to be seen. Several packages were tossed at measured intervals from the side of the landspeeder by the troopers.

“Agreed. Kintik-Chwuk will meet us inside. My Tu’kata has some business to attend to on the other side.” Macron kicked the overdrive in as the group circled. Around them in parts of the city turbolaser fire had impacted lesser targets already. Smoke and the smell of burning electronics filled the night air and provided an obscuring haze in the darkness.

The droid chimed in. “Master, will we…”

“Shut up 22. Get that heavy repeater ready to play with our new friends. The Collective are no fools. They know how to fight Force-users like myself. But assassin droids, hardened commandos and a Tukata, maybe not as well. General?” The Sith touched his neck to trigger the suit comlink as he looked over at the landspeeder.

They are in position Adept. Detonating the fake mines now…” The mysterious packages that the commandos had dropped along the way exploded at their set locations when the Verpine triggered them remotely. The explosions were all flash and very little bang, but they pumped out billowing clouds of sickly green self-luminous gases that appeared toxic. They did no harm but were sure to catch the Collective’s attention. Zzz’click was an expert in explosives and it had been child’s play to rig up some colorful distractions.

“Excellent. They will think they’ve been gas-shelled.” The Sith frowned. A decade ago he had been personally responsible for using a horrid flesh-dissolving bioweapon against people on this planet, and one other world. Hundreds had died. Perhaps more. Most had been enemies but some had been allies and civilians. The Collective surely knew of it and would react accordingly. Macron disliked using such duplicity but it was certain to draw their attention away.

“Master, didn’t you once use a real bioweapon like that?” The HK droid shouldered it’s heavy blaster as they dismounted. “Bad stuff, I heard about it in the planetary data records you gave me.” Ahead of them the commandos moved quietly towards the secondary egress hatch with explosive charges at the ready to blow it open.

There it was, The Question. Like his own personal twelve-armed demon come to torment. “Yes 22. It was done when I thought mass destruction was true power. But I came to learn that it is not. As a Sith it is a dishonorable and cowardly way to kill your enemies. You gain nothing from it. Do not ask again.”

Macron drew an unlit lightsaber hilt and clipped his helm plate into place. The Adept took a deep breath and felt within himself, delving into the deep and unbridled hatred he felt for the invaders that had usurped their homes. It swelled in his heart with anger, darkness, and the burning shame he felt at using the Violator gas so long ago. His blood-curdling shout echoed along with the explosions of the hatch being penetrated. “FOR SADOW!”

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Communications Center
Seng Karash
Aeotheran

Macron hit his comlink, “Vindicator, Vindicator, this is Adept Macron. In position, are we clear to engage?”

The Elder waited, no response. “Damn!” Macron exclaimed.

Aeotheran
Low Orbit
Collective M50 Cruiser Korpil

The M50 medium cruiser Korpil had been patrolling the planet’s orbit, along with two s20 Frigates, the Zaballos, the Tashota and one Ton-Falk carrier the Cloridorme for months now. Safeguarding a planet that once housed their enemy… The Collective had driven Clan Naga Sadow from their homes, and now, for the time being, maintained control. The Collective was conducting routine, daily sector Combat Starfighter Patrols (CSP) seeking out enemy forces. Day in and day out, Collective patrols reported no findings, returning from CSP missions with just a deeper resentment for the system they patrolled. No signs of any enemy forces reported for nearly a year, but today, today would be different.

“Lieutenant, have the patrols reported in on any findings?” asked the captain of the Korpil.

“Nothing as of yet, sir. Last report received was at the top of the hour with no findings. Bravo leader informed command of their position, moving deeper into Orbit Two to begin the patrol of the Amphor system,” the young lieutenant replied.

The captain of the Korpil stared out of the viewport of his bridge. “I’ve been reduced to babysitting an enormous blanket of nothing…” he thought to himself.

Pausing for a moment, he turned to his lieutenant. “Hail the Zaballos and Tashota. Report in status update and CSP findings.”

“Copy that, sir,” replied the lieutenant.

Hyperspace Lane
HSD Command Ship
Vindicator-class heavy Cruiser

“Commander, what is our ETA?” asked DarkHawk.

“ETA thirty seconds, sir,” stated the commander.

“I sense your reservations commander…”

“Forgive me Quaestor,” The commander said leaning in towards the Battlelord. “This is a risky move, with a new fleet and crew. I have made many decisions in my career, none so intrusive as this.”

“Noted, commander. It is risky, very risky, there are no rules of engagement here, only yours. The bigger the risk, the more the glory. The ship and the crew will hold commander.” DarkHawk said.

The commander snapped to attention and nodded to the Quaestor. “Start the countdown, open ships channels…” the commander said over his left shoulder.

The young ensign controlling the ship’s communications diligently followed the given orders. A short sequence of buttons was initiated before the ship’s PA system activated. The ensign replied, “Open comms, sir…”

“House Shar Dakhan, maintain all battlestations. Our attack is imminent. All fighters are clear to launch on my signal. No surrender, no retreat, no mercy. For the glory of Sadow!”

**Aeotheran **
Low Orbit
Collective M50 Cruiser Korpil

The Korpril maintained her heading. Just as the lieutenant confirmed the “all clear” status from the cruiser’s sister ships, alarm warnings began to flood the bridge of the M50.

“Lieutenant…?” barked the captain.

“Sir…we have incoming…” the lieutenant said.

The captain’s eyes narrowed. “Finally! Our enemy has returned…Let’s give them a warm welcome shall we…?” he said through a devilish grin.

Out of the depths of space, the HSD fleet appeared. The Dakhani command ship had navigated itself at the rear of the Korpil, locking it on it’s one o’clock position. HSD task forces, the Aurek and Dorn came in on the two frigates. The Ton-Falk carrier of the Dakhani fleet remained to the rear of the attack, behind the Vindicator. The carrier immediately began launching its fighters. Like a swarm of insects leaving their hive, the Dakhani forces began their attack.

DarkHawk walked over to the communications officer sitting at his station. “Open a channel to both Adept Macron and Malik” DarkHawk directed. The young officer flipped two toggle switches and gave the “OK” signal to the Quaestor. “Adept Macron, Adept Malik…you have a green light…you are clear to engage,” DarkHawk said. Turning his attention back to the bridge commander, DarkHawk nodded, “Commander…”

“Target the crusier’s engines and rear defenses!” the commander ordered.

The Vindicator’s weapon systems locked onto it’s targets and began an onslaught of turbo- laser and cannon fire against the M50. The Collective cruiser rocked violently as the Dakhani flagship began its assault. The fighters from the Dakhani carrier were racing past the viewports of the Vindicator’s bridge. Fighters began targeting the rear defense arrays of the cruiser. Small explosions across the cruiser’s body began to erupt and dance over her structure. Y-Wings from the Dakhani forces began making their initial bombing runs across her hull and other defensive batteries.

Two X-Wings teamed with two Y-Wings Headhunters that had broken off from the main Dakhani assault. Flying staggered to one another in a “fingertip” formation, they targeted three communications and a radar array in orbit around the planet. “Strike Team Two, this is Strike Team One, in range and locked, break for target two weapons hot.”

“Copy that, we are weapons hot…” The two Y-Wings made a hard right bank and lined up on the second communications array. The strike team leader gripped the yoke tightly as he lined up his fighter, correcting the yaw of the nimble fighter His targeting reticle illuminated from green to red, emitting a solid tone. The pilot pulled back on the trigger twice. Two bursts of laser fire raced across the darkness of space, destroying the first array. “Strike Team Two, this is One, target destroyed, moving in to cover your six…”

“Copy that…” The Y-Wing pilot pushed his throttle further up into its quadrant. His wingman staying abreast to the lead aircraft, mimicking his leader’s movements, maintaining formation. The strike team leader leveled his fighter, lining his target up on the Y-Wing’s HUD. One firm hand on the yoke, and he secured his shot. Three bursts of laser fire came across the nose of the Y-Wing. The last one grazed the nose cone of the Y-Wing. The strike team leader instinctively pulled his ship hard right in an evasive barrel roll maneuver. Before the pilot could complete the maneuver, one of the M50’s laser defense batteries annihilated the Y-Wing.

“We lost strike team leader two!”

“Finish your run, strike team two!” replied strike team leader one.

The now lone wingman yawed to the right and locked onto his target. As soon as the reticle turned red, the targeting alarm barely sounding, the pilot pulled the trigger and destroyed the second array. The Y-Wing pilot pulled the throttle back and yanked back on the stick to avoid colliding with any debris from the array.

“VIndictor, Vindicator, this is strike team leader one. Two communications arrays are down. Moving in on the third,” replied the strike team leader pilot.

Task force Aurek and Dorn had already moved in on the frigates. The four Raider I corvettes surrounded the Zaballo and Toshota, commencing to unleash a barrage of fire power with its concussion missiles, turbo-lasers and ion cannons. Augur Locke of task force Dorn was poised and ready for the ground assault launch. Eagerly awaiting to jump into the fight with the rest of the ground forces. The Dorn commander instructed his forces to continue circling the frigates, keeping them boxed in. The frigate Zaballos began to return fire, rocking the corvette violently from its firepower. Major Xuner Holst kept a steady watch of the viewing screens with the commander of task force Aurek. The Major watched as the Aurek’s two corvettes initiated their attack upon the second frigate, the Tashota. As the attack began, the Aurek commander instructed the third ship in his task force, a strike class medium cruiser, to maneuver in on the Collective’s Ton-Falk carrier.

By this time, Collective fighters were launching from the Cloridorme and the Korpil. Major Holst radioed back to the HSD’s Vindicator. “This is task force Aurek. Collective forces are in pursuit, sir”! A volley of quad-laser fire from the Tashota slammed against the hull of the Aedile’s corvette, bouncing him nearly out of his bridge seat. “Jesus, these guys pack a punch…” Xuner thought to himself. “We have our cruiser targeting the carrier, sir.” Xuner said.

“Task force Aurek, we have you on screen. Maintain your position and engage those frigates.”

Strike team leader one and his wingman had returned to formation with Z-95 of strike team two. The third communications array was on the aft side of the Tashota, making this run a little bit tricky. Both Collective and Dakhani forces were heavily engaged in and around those frigates – not to mention the frigate’s weapons system were still online and making quick work of any enemy fighter crossing those firing line paths. Without hesitation, the strike team leader pushed the fighter’s nose down and led his team under the belly of the frigate. His right wingman’s voice cracked over the comm’s, “I have one on my six…!”

“Break, break, break!” the flight leader exclaimed. All three fighters began to break off of formation. The Collective X-WIng broke with his target and led his enemy, meticulously jockeying for position to make the kill shot. Within seconds, the Collective X-Wing fired three blasts, landing all three across the HSD fighter’s mainframe. The Dakhani fighter exploded into a fireball, sending pieces of the fighter crashing into the frigate. The flight leader came around the starboard side executing a barrel roll, lining up his shot on the last communications array. The Dakhani pilot pulled the trigger on his fighter, sending a hail of laser fire directly through his target. Pulling up and over the explosion, the flight leader moved in to re-engage the Collective fighters with his wingman.

“HSD Command, they are currently blind…” the flight leader said.

The Vindicator kept its weapons trained on the back end of the M50. The weapons crew of the HSD command ship had so far, successfully disabled two of the cruiser’s five aft turbolasers, and now, one of the M50’s smaller engine nacelles had just stalled out from the Vindicator’s attack. The Korpil’s starboard main engine began cutting in and out as the HSD command ship maintained targeting the cruisers engines. Two X-Wings flying in echelon formation were lining up to make a strafing run across the Korpil’s command bridge. The cruiser’s turbo lasers cut the two X-Wings to shreds within seconds of beginning their run.

The Korpril began to push her nose port-side to begin a broadside positioning maneuver.

“Maintain ship’s heading, captain, do not let her get out of position!” said the Vindicator’s commander.

The Vindicator kept her nose pointed at the Korpil’s starboard side, maintaining its attack on the cruiser’s rear and aft port-side. The main engine nacelle began to cut in and out more frequently now. The commander maintained a haunting calmness about himself as he instructed the weapons officer to continue to target the cruiser’s engines. The Vindicator’s turbo-lasers kept a steady sequence of fire against the weakening starboard engine. A large explosion from the rear filled the Vindicator’s viewing screens, and bridge personnel instinctively shielded their eyes from the glare. The engine nacelle began to break apart in pieces, and the cruiser tipped to its right side.

“Port engines maintain speed, one quarter speed on starboard, keep our nose on her,” the commander said.

The malfunctioning M50 corrected her trajectory and was able to get her aft ion cannons locked on the Vindicator. The Korpil’s cannons danced violently across the hull, laying carnage against the HSD’s command ship. “Target those cannons before they recharge, captain,” the commander said. The words were barely spoken before another barrage from the Korpil slammed against the Vindicator.

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Bridge
Vindicator-Class Heavy Cruiser Phoenix

The grin on Hades’ face belayed his calm exterior. The last of the enemy’s fleet had been destroyed with the partial loss of only one of the House’s Raider corvettes. That ship was adrift, with only partial power. He had sent over additional damage control parties to assist with repairs and it’s sister Raider was staying alongside as cover. Hades had ordered the Acclimator cruiser to begin to land troops on the planet according to the plan in place. The remainder of the ships in the fleet began to target any Collective forces or structures on the planet with precision turbolaser strikes.

“Sir?” This brought Hades’ mind back to the bridge. He turned to the Communications Officer. “Yes, Ensign?”

“Sir, I’m getting reports that the HSD fleet is sustaining heavy fire.” Hades frowned, his mind racing with tactical possibilities. “Are they asking for assistance?” he asked in returned.

“No, Sir. But they seem to be taking a beating.” Hades looked over at the disabled Raider corvette and nodded. If he could spare his sister House more casualties he would. He returned his gaze to the Ensign.

“Recall all of the Phoenix’s fighters. Just ours, Ensign. Inform Admiral Pel he is in command of the Tarthos sector of battle until I return.” Turning to his Navigation Officer, Lieutenant Commander Inara, he pointed a finger to emphasise the point.

“Nav, do we have microjump capability to Aeotheran orbit?” asked the Sith.

“Yes, Sir. I’ll have the calculations in a moment.” replied LCM Inara.

“Sir, our squadrons are answering and will be on board within 30 seconds.” said the Phoenix’s Captain, Pierce.

“Excellent. Nav, feed the information to Helm. Helm, as soon as the last fighter touches down we go. Keep us at Alert Level One and have the crew ready to fight as soon as we are out of the jump. And Comm, Inform the fighters that as soon as we are out of the jump to launch and help the HSD fleet take down the Collective’s ships.” After a string of ‘Yes,Sirs’ and others, the ship was ready. Thirty seconds later, they were in Aeotheran orbit.

Aeothan Orbit
Vindicator, HSD Flagship

DarkHawk stood engrossed staring at the HSD command ship’s viewing screens. Intently watching the battle rage on. The M50 and the Vindicator were going blow for blow. Though the Vindicator would not take this kind of engagement for much longer.

“Quaestor, we have an incoming ship…” said the bridge commander.

DarkHawk’s reverie was broken abruptly by the bridge commander’s muffled voice. Turning his attention to the commander, “What…Who?” the Battlelord asked. An ensign scrolled through open screens displayed over his terminal, “Signature reads ours sir, identified, it is Battlelord Hades in the Phoenix!” exclaimed the ensign.

A devilish grin broke momentarily over DarkHawk’s face, “Seems the odds have just turned in our favor…”

Aeothan Orbit

The Phoenix reverted to realspace. It seems as if the HSD Fleet was taking a pounding, but they were holding their own and giving a proper pounding in return. Without turning around he bellowed out the order, “Launch the Fighters! All gunners, fire at will!”

The Phoenix maneuvered to flank the two Lancers that were doing serious damage to HSD’s fighter squadrons. “Focus fire on those two Lancers. Avenge the deaths of our fallen brothers and sisters…”

Turbolaser fire shifted towards the Lancers. As the laser turrets began to explode the Y-Wings from the Phoenix began their runs with proton torpedoes. Each launching two of the powerful warheads. As they launched their payloads, the fighters broke high to their two o’clock as a pair of TIE Defenders covered their withdrawn, keeping a watchful eye out for any enemy fighters that may be lurking nearby. The warheads ran straight and true towards their targets. The first Lancer was caught in it’s underbelly as it was in a tight turn, the first few hits broke it’s spine. As the rest hit home, it just made the explosion that much more beautiful. Cheers erupted from both the crew and the comm systems.

The second Lancer was able to destroy three of the incoming torpedoes before being struck on port aft, near the engines by the remaining nine warheads. It’s death was just as dramatic, and just as satisfying to the Sadowans present. The Y-Wing squadron again formed up with it’s TIE Defender protection.

“Boneheads, on me!” Ordered the Y-Wing squadrons’s commander. As this a recently acquired squadron for HMR, and most of its pilots were quite green, the veteran commander began calling them “boneheads” and, well, it just kind of stuck. The commander waited until his squadron acknowledged his command before turning to the Collective’s carrier. Bringing up the ship in his display at a good magnification, he could see a few of the enemy’s fighters returning to the ship, meaning it was getting ready to escape. The carrier was trading intermittent fire with one of wounded HSD Raider corvettes, but no other friendly capital ship was in range to stop it. The commander keyed up the mic.

“Boneheads, dump your laser power into your engines and target the carrier! Its trying to escape.” Bone 1 pushed his throttle to its maximum as his squadron raced towards the enemy. He watched his targeting computer count down until he was within four kilometers before he gave the orders.

“Launch!” Again, blue streaks shot out from the old Y-Wings, but this time, it was joined by red streaks of advanced missiles from the TIE Defenders. The lethal space superiority fighters flashed by the slower Y-Wings as they made their own run towards the carrier. The missiles hit first as they were much faster, but inflicted minimal damage on impact. The Defenders began a strafing run on the enemy, green lasers stippling across the surface. The carrier was turning away from it’s attackers, there was a momentary drain of power as the hyperdrive spooled up before the ship could leave. But it was just one second too late. The blue cones of hate hit the engines, causing a cataclysmic chain reaction in the ship’s reactor core. The explosion was powerful, almost taking a few of the closer TIE Defenders with it.

Hades shared his joy out loud with the rest of the bridge crew at the last of the enemy’s demise. He looked at the Comm officer. “Open a channel to the HSD Flagship.” The Comm officer nodded and gave a thumbs up when the channel was open.

“HSD, you are clear. Good Luck on your objectives.” Said Hades as he looked over at the other Vindicator.

“That was quite a BOOM, Admiral! Thanks for the assist!” replied the QUA, DarkHawk.

“Anytime. We are in this together.” He then made the cutting motion with his hand over his neck.

“Nav. Plot a course back to our fleet. Let’s mop this up before joining the Consul.” The HMR Fleet Admiral stretched before grabbing a drink at the rear of the bridge. This is a good day.

Access Tunnels, Extreme Lower Level
Level 9, Kar Alabrek, Tarthos

Xolarin pushed through Ciara and his insectoid friend. He was frustrated that he had fallen for the illusions as well. He could just feel Muz laughing on the inside behind them all. Twas not worth dwelling on at this point, as they still had a ways to go.

Kojiro joined Xolarin in front. “Come on,” he said gruff and low. Xolarin followed, and the others fell in.

A short bit further, hairs standing up on Xolarin’s neck under his hooded, Sadowan armor, the AED spoke softly to Kojiro just ahead of him. “Up ahead, past the next junction.”

Kojiro nodded. “I sense it too.”

Muz spoke from the back - not uncharacteristically loud, but not soft either, not really caring if he was heard outside the group or not. “Control rooms are past them. First major targets.”

Xolarin breathed in deeply and went forward ahead and paused a a corner of the tunnel. He exhaled, closing his eyes, seeing the troops and officers from the Collective assigned to those control rooms, an inkling of their predilected motives. He paused for just a couple seconds, although it seemed like longer.

The artifact nerd signaled back to the group, indicating the numbers in each direction. One way was a group of four enemy and another was a group of seven.

Hilgrif nodded, speaking in his distinct accent. “Commun’cations must be deactivate.”

“Agreed,” came Ciara’s reply. “You two go that way.”

Xolarin moved forward and patted Hilgrif on the shoulder as he went down the hallway with the smaller number of guards, walking a short distance away from the others. It was obvious that Xolarin would lead the assault and Hilgrif would work his technological magic. Of course it wouldn’t be that simple.

As if on cue, a blaster bolt shot down the hall and hit a tunnel wall. Xolarin ran ahead quickly, running right towards the gunfire. They couldn’t let any of them reach the bigger Collective forces. In less than a few heartbeats, he was upon them. He jumped and landed in another split second, pushing his fist to the ground as he did. A wave of kinetic forced slammed out from him, connecting with the three soldiers in the hall. All three were caught off balance, the closest one losing grip on his blaster.

Xolarin pushed the quick win down, suppressing a grin. Instead, the two had work to do. The dangerous end of his lightsaber lit into its bright orange flare. He felt Hilgrif prepare in his own way, the two about to make quick work of these men.


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Access Tunnels, Extreme Lower Level
Level 9, Kar Alabrek, Tarthos

While Xolarin and Hilgrif engaged the enemy the clan resident Grand Master turned his head behind him and frowned. It was Ciara’s sudden jerking movement in the same direction that made him turn his head back around.

“Someone is following us?”

Ciara looked to Muz almost for clarification.

“Yes.” He simply stated.

The Sephi Warlord sighed slightly as that seemed to be all she was going to get out of the man. Deciding to make sure the four of them were not going to be ambushed, no matter how highly unlikely that would be with the current team’s powerhouse, she moved back towards the way they came and reached out with the Force.

The sound of someone falling over due to being tripped due to Ciara’s telekinesis would be heard echoing down the tunnel. Then came a series of cursing. Then came the hiss snap of Ciara’s lightsaber being activated.

“Come out now assassin!”

Ciara’s anger was rising due to the potential threat. If Muz knew they were being followed, which he must have as she had just now sensed someone behind them, why did he not act? Perhaps there had to be a reason.

The sound of someone would be heard echoing closer to her. The Sith tensed as the figure drew closer and closer. Until a shadowy form could be seen from the glow of active lightsaber. A cloak covered their form and face,

“Step closer very slowly and lower the hood,” Ciara barked coldly as she tensed her grip on her weapon, “don’t make any sudden movements or you’ll be missing a limb.”

The figure stepped into full view and lowered the hood. It was not what Ciara was expecting, not that she had any preconception of what their stalker looked like, but perhaps having a teenaged Togruta threw her slightly. A girl! Who has pouting! Like she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

“I guess I still need to work on my concealing myself. I was doing so well, I shouldn’t have got distracted by the fighting but I got so excited.”

The girl explained nonchalantly to woman’s ire. Ciara snapped forward and brought her lightsaber to the girl’s neck as she was foolishly rambling on.

“Who the hell are you!!!”

It was another’s voice that answered Ciara’s question.

“Aleho Ruoxf.”

The two females looked over at the Grand Master who was leaning against the tunnel’s wall behind them. The look for sheer boredom was plastered across the man’s face.

“I take it Ashura couldn’t be bothered to turn up in person.”

Aleho gulped a little at the Muz’s flat question. His intense but bored eyes glared at her.

“Not at all, Grand Master. He simply has a few loose ends that need dealing with before he arrives. Master ordered me to go ahead of him, I was supposed to scope thing out and report back what I find.”

“Wait!” Ciara interjected and turned to Muz “You know this girl?”

“Yes,” Muz replied simply.

“You knew she was following us!”

“Yes.”

Ciara was fuming now as she glanced between Aleho and Muz.

“Then why didn’t you tell us! Also! How the hell this Ashura person?” Muz single worded answers were starting to bug the hell out of her.

“Sith Warlord Ashura Isradia.” The Grand Master replied. “Son of Sadow”.

Ciara’s mouth opened and closed like a fish out of the water as she struggled to find the right words. Aleho shifted from foot to foot as she waited for the Sith Warlord to speak.

“Then what about the answer to my first question. If you knew she was following us. Then why didn’t you tell us, even if this girl is not a threat, it would have been useful to know she was there!”

“I found it amusing,” Muz said in a matter of fact tone, “It helped to stay off the monotony. The others have finished up. It is time to move out.”

He then turned towards where the rest of the team had gone and strode off. The two females glanced at each other before following after him.

“Girl! Just so you know. I don’t trust you. I don’t like you. Make a single wrong move and I will kill you.” Ciara stated it as a matter of fact.

Aleho huffed but nodded in reply.

———

https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/character_sheets/10806

Unknown

The notion of time and space was meaningless.

The crossroads of all events were abuzz with activity. Different minds were joined in despair and revelry, as images of the past borne on wings of the Force carried the dread and powerful aloft. These beings were all caught up in dreams and visions, each lost in a moment, or adrift within the aeons. Time held no meaning. Space was insubstantial. It was as though meditation itself reined in the ebb and flow of all things, and said, “Wait.”

Shan Long stood rigid. Tall. Marble in his pristine regalia. Though neither king nor duke, nor any level of royalty, there was a regal air to the Thunder Dragon. In his own mind, he was an Emperor. He was a heavenly sovereign, destined to rule over mortality until time unraveled. He was the heir of the Fire Dragon, and all of his brethren would rend the galactic powerhouses asunder, and form a new and lasting dynasty in their own image. His thoughts were ablaze in activity, but it was perhaps due to impatience. Shan Long did not like to be kept waiting, even for one of his brothers. Had he a chronometer, the man’s perfect composure might have been disrupted with a downward glance and a tap of the foot.

“You are late, Gwei Long.”

Confusion radiated from the second man’s eyes as though he had been wished into the Thunder Dragon’s presence. He couldn’t recall where he had been, but he was certain it hadn’t been here. He hadn’t seen his brother in ages, since the disappearance and rumored treachery of the wandering one had filtered through his usual spies.

“I am… not supposed to be here.”

“Of course you are, Gwei Long,” the Thunder Dragon bemused. “Where else would you be?”

“I… know you, but I do not know this ‘Gwei Long’ that you speak of,” returned the second man. “Frankly, I can’t… seem to even recall who I am at this particular moment.”

“You have recently joined the ethers, and all notion of individuality is lost for a while. It will return, my brother,” Shan Long instructed. “Now that you are here, we have much to accomplish before our dreams come to fruition. Our teacher is lost, but I have been tracking him, and shortly, our brethren will gather to track down the Fire Dragon and return him to his throne.”

Everything about this seemed familiar, but his head was swirling. He had no notion of identity. This was all wrong, but still vaguely reminiscent of a previous life. There was a reason he was here, to be certain. He simply had to divine the purpose, the reason, and then tie it all together and figure out what the Force wanted him to comprehend, and whence to go from that enlightenment. However, even down to the landscape itself, everything was a chaotic tumble of reality, wild concepts of imagination, and ethereal haze of vision. Everything made sense, yet nothing did. It was a gauche monstrosity of all things that a vision in the Force could be. And as such, he knew he was at least safe from harm for the moment.

He walked with the Thunder Dragon for only a moment, but in the mindscape of this place, it might have been an eternity. Or perhaps they hadn’t even walked, and the ethereal plane simply moved around them, and whisked to where they wanted to be. For now they were in a large, spacious room, amidst a gathering of the strangest, most random group of individuals the man could ever remember. Children running hither and to, mixing with the elderly, the infirmed, the pompous assholes of the universe; the rich and infamously wealthy having tea and cakes with the slovenly poor.

“Where are we?”

“Ahh, you know the answer to that already, Gwei Long,” Shan Long returned, with a mildly cynical smirk upon the corner of his mouth. “I don’t know why you keep asking me these ridiculous questions. Quit pretending to be simpleton, brother.”

“Who is ‘Gwei Long,’ and who am I?” the man finally asked. He knew that to reveal such lack of clarity, such amnesia would open him up to derision and possible abuse. Yet, how he knew that this Thunder Dragon would exhibit anger was a mystery. He knew he would; it was that simple. Shan Long was an impetuous, tormented creature who lashed out at everyone and everything.

Shan Long turned and lashed out, striking the man across the side of the cheek in fit of near-juvenile fury. The man’s face turned away, but no redness shown on his skin. Shan Long’s visage was twisted in a mockery of humanity. There was nothing human left within the powerful man. “You continue to ask these stupid questions, and I am absolutely drained of you! How our father ever chose you is beyond comprehension! You are contemptible!”

“We are not blood,” the man said flatly, yet firmly, “and though I recognize your face, and your name, I do not know you. I do not know myself.”

“Then how could you be so sure that you do not know me?” The Thunder Dragon was suddenly coy, playful. “After all, we are such very old, dear friends, Gwei Long. Come now, let us forget all of this nonsense and greet our guests, shall we? Here, take my hand. Let me show you around. This cathedral is magnificent, isn’t it?”


Access Tunnels, Extreme Lower Levels
Level 9, Kar Alabrek, Tarthos

Following in the footsteps of Xolarin and Kojiro, the small gathering continued deeper into the sub-levels of the cavernous citadel. Ciara had seemed mildly perturbed about the recent addition of the Togruta servant, which was certainly out of character for her. However, this entire foray was certainly out of her general comfort zone. Perhaps it was the general spirit of this place. Much like any demesne of darkness, this place had ghosts, and at present, they were all malicious, all vengeful. They demanded blood. It was still to be determined whose blood they were clamoring for.

The hallway they were following still travelled on, and eventually led to one of the main power relays that fed the rest of the castle. From there, they would be able to dictate and direct the flow of power, and assist in the takeover of this outpost of Naga Sadow. They had encountered sparse resistance thus far, but it was only a matter of time before they would encounter additional forces of the Collective.

“Cold…”

The whispers of darkness grew more distinct as the small group travelled onward, inward. Each whisper had a specific tone to it, much like its own voice. The words were felt more than heard, but there were many spirits within, and each was making its thoughts known.

“So hungry…”

“Hate…”

“They don’t belong here…”

“Kill them all…”

“Die!”

Ciara began to realize that the animosity within each presence was not aimed at here. Still, it was malevolent, foul, a blight of emotion, and the spirits wanted the usurpers done away with. She was beginning to realize that she was being accepted. Obviously, she was here with the Grand Master, the Lion of Tarthos, and he was at home here. Still, she was being accepted not simply because she was here with a Sadow, but because they saw her as kindred spirit.

“We’re coming to a bit of a foyer,” Xolarin held up a gauntleted hand, calling for everyone to halt. “This might be the spot for a perfect ambush. Beyond this foyer is the power relay, and I doubt they’d want to risk damaging it. We need to prepare for a bit of a frontal assault, and we’re walking into a trap. We have to be. They must know we’re coming.”

As if cued up by Xolarin’s ominous thoughts, the ground shivered.

Boom…

Xolarin glanced immediately to Muz, seeking insight or knowledge. Muz glanced beyond the Aedile, and into the shadows ahead. Whatever the Grand Master could see, he wasn’t sharing his thoughts. The ground shivered once again.

Boom…

It was like a rumble of thunder that was growing louder. And with each crash of whatever fury awaited, there also seemed to raise up voices, shouts, cries for help.

Boom…

They could start to piece out the confusion and distress. It was obvious to the small gathering that these were not the cries of help from their allies. Naga Sadow’s forces were not ahead, and their Collective adversaries were now running their way.

Boom…

This time, the ground beneath them nearly rose up like a wave upon the sea, and rippled past them. Something was getting closer. Muz gripped his lightsabers with ease, just another battle for a hardened veteran who wielded exceptional power. Ciara dropped in beside the Son of Sadow, Xolarin and Kojiro flanking them, Aleho at their back. A body came flying through the air at their heads, and the small group ducked and listened as the body skidded across the surface of the floor, its armor making an eerie, shrill sound as it came to a halt. Aleho glanced back; the figure wasn’t moving.

“I think it’s dead.”

“Maybe you, too,” Kojiro quipped cynically. “I’ll feed you to whatever is coming.”

Another body whizzed past, far overhead. Something had thrown it, or hurled it with great force. It, too, skidded across the surface to their rear, and came to a halt. Muz let out a brief sigh, then walked forward loosely, determined in his pace. The others glanced at each other briefly, then followed behind, quickly pursuing the Grand Master. Coming into the foyer, bodies were strewn about, some ripped and torn asunder, bloody show marring the walls and furniture within the foyer. Muz had stopped, his head crooked slightly in curiosity. Ahead in the foyer was a monstrous creature, a behemoth of the Dark Side. A night blue Tarentatek with purplish and grey streaks marking its skin was devouring some…one in its claws. The creature slavered as it consumed whatever meal it had partaken of, licking its chops infrequently.

“I don’t… seem to recall there being one of these fiends,” Xolarin hissed to the group, trying not to gain its attention.

“It doesn’t belong,” Muz actually said aloud.

The creature stirred, and turned its great head. It had heard the words of the Lion of Tarthos, a beast like unto itself. Hatred flared in its eyes, but it did not move. The voice of another broke the silence, and the beast rumbled in its throat, and then turned and continued to pick through the bodies as though it were a buffet of sorts. As the soaring beast moved, a robed, shadowy figure was revealed. The creature seemed dismissive of the shadowy figure, but at least inclined to obey it, if not serve the man outright.

Boom.

Each step the creature took shook the floor beneath them just enough, sending them on a slight rise and fall like the swaying of the ocean, and it was obvious what had previously transpired. The beast had been moving about, ripping apart Collective forces, and feasting on them now. As the monstrosity moved away from them, the shadowy man moved forward, and was met with equal zeal in return in Muz’s quick strides. The two of them didn’t embrace, nor did they shake hands. There was no friendly exchange, but there was an obvious camaraderie and comfort between the two of them. The shadowy figure asked a few soft questions, Muz had short responses in kind. As the rest of the group came beside them, the shadowy figure seemed to focus on Xolarin, and then Ciara. As the distance closed, familiarity set in.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Genuine surprise registered from Xolarin.

“Since when do you keep one of these around?” Ciara flourished a hand towards the night-colored Tarentatek.

“She said she was hungry,” Bloodfyre responded flatly, “and I heard there was nourishment in these parts. Adrestia made the choice to come. She is not in thrall. It would not be wise to try and subjugate such a beauty as she.”

Ciara quirked an eyebrow at the Sith Master, but filed that away for further conversation. “I take it you’ve cleared out the path to the power relay?”

“I’ve done no such thing,” Bloodfyre shrugged. “I’ve simply followed along where Adrestia chose to go. It’s been many years since I visited this place, and I’m quite certain I’ve forgotten where I am.”

‘You lie, Gwei Long.”

The whisper was only in Sith’s mind, and he knew no one else perceived it. Still, he turned his head almost imperceptibly to see if anyone else had heard the voice. It was obvious they had not, although the look in Muz’s obsidian pools suggested the Grand Master may have had an inkling as to the fractured state Bloodfyre was in. Whether the man had insight or not, Bloodfyre’s secrets were his own. The nod from Muz suggested he would reveal nothing.

VT-49 Decimator Gemini Alpha

“They’re fading,” a voice crackled through the comlink. “Now is a good time.” Malik’s voice betrayed no emotion, befitting his millenia of experience. He also has his mind connected with every pilot in the battle, Locke reminded himself.

“Copy. We’re departing the carrier.” He nodded to Sanguinius, other Sadowan personnel, and a host of Warhost troopers who were all packed into the assault ship.

Sang tilted his head. “Did he say anything about that visitor? I assume Malik knows what he is doing.”

Locke was leaning over the pilot’s shoulders, giving the order to advance from behind the carrier and make haste for the green-blue jewel of Aeotheran below. He turned back to Sang. “Nope, he seemed pretty focused. He’s used to how we do things around here.”

“And it’s not worth the trouble,” Sang said with a grin.

Locke chuckled. “You have a lot of wisdom for a former Consul. Let’s go over the plan again,” he said, shifting gears. “Macron is going after their communications center. We’re going after an old Dakhani HQ. As their comms go down, we’ll be bringing our base back online and have a new hub from which to direct our ground operations.”

Settling into one of the empty chairs on the Gemini’s bridge, Sang frowned. “Didn’t I blow that up because it was infested with rebels.”

“Such a strange phrase coming from you,” Locke retorted wryly, strapping himself in as the ship bounced as if hit by turbulence. Laser fire flashed outside, red then green across the bow of the assault ship, as a Warhost X-Wing chased off a Collective craft. “I thought he said it was safe,” Locke muttered. A moment after the rocking ceased, he heard the Gemini’s dorsal laser cannon firing off it’s own response.

“Straggler,” their pilot called. “Someone from on our battle net said ‘seemed like you could handle one or two.’ Real funny.”

“Right,” Locke said. “Anyway,” he turned back to Sang as if they were not flying through the middle of a battle. “There’s a section below it, deep underground. It seems that Lexic had more foresight than I thought when he had that HQ built. Our scans indicated it survived, and of course, the Collective realize it’s important, so it’s not going to be easy. Which is why I brought you.”

“And all those other people,”

“Of course,” Locke agreed. "But they’re here to fight the Collective, you’re here to keep me from getting killed.

“Goody,” the other man replied. “Assuming you are worth keeping alive.”

Locke just laughed. The ship rocked again. There were more flashes outside, indicating they were closer to the battle. Despite the combined efforts of Malik’s battle meditation - and Darkhawk and Hades’ combined ambushes, there were still some enemy fighters who refused to go out without a fuss.

“We should be landing any minute,” Locke continued, “and I would be honored if you were the first one out the door.”

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Access Tunnels, Extreme Lower Levels
Level 9, Kar Alabrek, Tarthos

A group consisting of three Humans, a Shaevalian, Sephi, Verpine and Togruta along with a gorging Tarentatek was not the start of an awful joke. The tension emanating was thick enough to be cut by a lightsaber. That tension became ruined when Adrestia after finishing her ‘snack’ approach Shaevalian and plopped down at his feet.

“T-That is so adorable,” muttered Aleho and looked over at Sith asking, “I don’t suppose I can pet her?”

“Oh, please!” Ciara rolled her eyes at the Togruta childish attitude.

“Of course you can,” the Tarentatek’s owner replied, “just know you will be missing a hand afterwards.” That soured Aleho’s excitement as she thought better of it, truth be told she hadn’t expected it, she had just wanted to wind up the other woman as that was more enjoyable.

“I don’t suppose we can get back to the mission at hand?” Xolarin interjected as he wanted to get going. His bloodlust was rising in anticipation of killing more of the Collective forces. The group plus one pet got back to the mission and started to head towards the power relay to begin the next phase of the attack.

The commotion caused by the Tarentatek has drawn more of the Collective forces towards them. Then next couple of moments were intense as lightsabers severed heads and limbs, Force lighting rendered flesh into puddles of goo and men dying horribly as their guts got devoured. It was a massacre, and afterwards, a sense of perverse satisfaction encompassed many of the more bloodthirsty individuals of the group.

“Well, that was fun.” Kojiro quipped darkly.

MEANWHILE

Near the Temples of Orian
Sepros

A group of ten people lay on the ridge looking at the temples in the distance, a transport shuttle that had dropped them off was lifting off behind them, two of individuals of the group were slightly ahead of the other taking stock of the Collective forces.

“Are you sure the VIP is still here Inquisitor Megos?”

Colonel Aleck Winters glanced over at the Sith Apprentice Inquisitor. He was pretty sure that Megos was not his actual real name; instead, an alias he was using for some reason, most likely to his identity a secret.

“Indeed, Colonel. My, heh, contact tells me the VIP is alive and well but in hiding from the enemy forces. It is a pity what happened to our other VIP but getting hold of that security vid was hard enough, but now we know what happened to her.”

The Inquisitor’s cold voice was not the causes of the shivers going down the others. Everyone present had seen that vid. They had seen how the woman was tortured, violated and executed with her body strung up and left to rot for everyone to see.

“Yeah. The bastards were making a point by what they did. A year after they took Sepros they celebrated by pouring fuel over her corpse, lighting it on fire like a new year bonfire, well bollocks to them.” Winters then turned to the others behind him. "Right lads! We got a job to do so get your arses in gear.

They all stood up and readied themselves for the fight of their lives, the reason it was only the ten of them was to be a simple in and out, find VIP and get him out alive. The Inquisitor Megos had arranged the mission.

“The main attack force will engage the enemy from the north. Our job is to get in fast and dirty, as long our Inquisitor’s contact can confirm the VIP’s location for us. We are golden!” Winters explained to the other soldiers.

<><><><><><>

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Seng Karash Outskirts

Aeotheran

The exodrive airspeeder moved quietly over the ground through the trees in the darkness. Malisane sat back in the passenger seat watching the familiar city in the distance. He felt oddly apprehensive. He had not been back to the city for over a decade, even during his exile on Lor Zatean he had avoided contact with others and that included the city he had spent so long in. The last he had seen of it was a glimpse in the distance as he had fled the planet ahead of the Collectives agent’s searches.

“Are you sure you know where you are going Battlelord?” the clone asked him.

“Of course I am,” he replied.

Senth glanced at the speeders small navigation display. “We can not get too close to the city they will be on high alert.”

“We will not need to,” Malisane replied, “we will be far enough away. And their attention will be elsewhere.” He glanced at the datapad in his hand. “West ten degrees.”

Senth turned the speeder. If the Warhost officer had any further doubts he kept them to himself.

A few minutes later then stopped. Malisane opened the hatch and climbed out quickly. He moved across the ground lightly, looking around him. “It should be here.”

“What should?” Senth asked curiously, “you were short on details earlier.” He looked around him at the soft ground between the trees. They were still several hundred metres from the city’s wall and the area was silent.

Malisane ignored him, then suddenly knelt down. “It is here.” He reached down and closed his eyes, concentrating. After a few seconds there was the sound of moving metallic parts, and to Senth’s surprise a panel opened up from the grassy floor.

“I don’t believe it,” the clone remarked as Malisane quickly turned and lowered himself into the hole. Senth followed, finding a metal ladder leading into the darkness. He followed the Sith as Malisane reached the bottom of the ladder and walked forward through the darkness.

“What is this?” the clone officer asked in surprise as he surveyed the tunnel.

Malisane glanced back at him. “It helps to have knowledge of history. You are aware of that first period of unrest in the city?”

“I have heard of it,” Senth replied.

“The Voice of Justice were slipping agents in and out of Seng Karash for a long time under our noses. We were blissfully unaware of it until we infiltrated them.” He paused. “There were a number of arguments and accusations afterwards regarding it. Eventually knowledge of it was kept to a select few of the Sadows and Summit.”

Senth nodded. “You are sure the Collective have not found it?”

“Despite all of our patrols, electronic security sweeps and informants we failed to do so,” Malisane replied, “we can not be sure but the risk is low.”

After a while they reached another ladder and Malisane began to climb, the clone following. At the top was a small alcove. Malisane felt around in the darkness and then with a click the wall slid open. Senth followed him and then stopped in further surprise. Beyond was a wide area, with chairs and tables neatly arranged across the floor, a few booths on the edge on the other side from a long bar with bottles stacked behind it, and at across the longer wall a stage on which sat some electronic equipment.

“This is the Blue Wampa,” the clone said looking around.

“Indeed,” Malisane replied, “the city’s premier karaoke bar, or it was last time I was here. It seems unchanged. I guess there is a curfew on with the attack or it would be heaving with customers.”

Senth was about to reply when he sensed a presence behind them. “Drop your weapons and raise your hands,” a female voice ordered them.

Malisane sighed. “Do not do anything foolish Chessene.” He turned slowly and raised his hands slowly to his head lifting his helmet with a slight hiss as an attractive twilek female came into view, wearing a nightdress and holding a large blaster rifle.

“You!” she gasped as she recognised his burned and scarred features.

“Indeed,” he replied, “drop the rifle.”

She glanced at the weapon in her hands lowered it quickly. “You, you have returned,” she stuttered.

“We have indeed Chessene,” Malisane replied as Senth also turned to regard the twilek.

“Who is this?” the clone asked curiously.

“‘Lady’ Chessene used to be a local music star,” Malisane replied as his eyes bore into her, “quite the celebrity media darling and also a prominent agent of the Voice of Justice, until we found her. She told us a great deal of information, eventually.”

“I did,” she said quickly, “and I remained loyal after.”

Malisane nodded. “And we were very kind to you when you cooperated. We even gave you back your pretty face, and this business.”

“You were merciful,” she replied as a haunted look passed her features and she began to shake, “and I have never forgotten.”

“Good,” Malisane replied, “so I trust you have kept up to date with developments in the city?”
“I have,” she replied, “I have plans of any new construction, and information on the Collective forces present.”

“Excellent, go with her Senth and ensure she only fetches them and bring her straight back. It does not do to take risks, even with loyal agents after so long.” He watched them leave then strode over to the bar and poured himself a drink.

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