Operation: Antiquity Fiction


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #1

Week 1

(written by Bentre Stahoes & Ronovi Tavisaen)

The planet stretched out below as the shuttle descended. The reports so far had been consistent, and that boded well for the operation as they moved forward. Mountains and forests, jungles and plains, spread out below the shuttles as they streaked across the surface. The reports had come in with plenty of points of interest for Clan Naga Sadow. The dark presence on the planet had been enough to draw the Consul and Clan in, but they had found more than they could have hoped for.

The climate was warm enough, and there were some structures of plainly ancient design that bore signs of previous occupation. There had been no fires, but several of these settlements were just a bit too clean. Despite the strong storms that had been detected in other hemispheres and on other continents, a few of the settlements were in good repair. In other places, abandoned Sith temples were wreathed in vines and greenery, as though the planet were trying to reclaim territory taken by past inhabitants.

There were some other anomalous items of note. An industrial structure had been detected nestled into the middle of the largest continent. A number of mines seemed to dot the surface. A large crater seemed to throw off some electromagnetic disturbances. The storms seemed to whip around more violently around this crater. There were other observations reported by members of the Clan, but the most important thing was that the Sadowans land on the planet and claim that which was theirs by rite of the Sadow Empire.

Looking back, Consul Bentre Stahoes took stock of the members of the team he had assembled to escort him to the surface. Of course, his Umbaran Blackguard stood by, intently watching out the window as the landscape appeared to roll beneath their shuttle. Although her Inquisitorius -issue armor covered most of her features, her stance was typical of Syntari.

Ciara was sitting in a row of seats near the back of the shuttle, involved in quiet, but intense conversation with Pel and Archean Tarantae. The Consul had remembered her involvement with the Krath before the actions of Pravus. Her expertise would be of great use to the Clan on the surface, and the camaraderie of the other Tarantae would help to ensure they kept each other safe.

Teu Buhkari Sadow was quietly examining her equipment off from where Alexander Del Gotto and Dakor Terro’k were joking about some shenanigans that had occurred earlier that morning. Bentre had not caught the start of the conversation, and his mind was already gearing up for what kind of threats they could expect. Of course, he knew that it was the threat you could not see that would most likely kill you.

These thoughts consumed Stahoes as the shuttle moved closer to its intended landing spot. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that the Corellian Sadow did not realize that his Proconsul was talking to him for several moments before he shook himself from his reverie.

“There is a bit of a complication.”

The words sunk in, but Bentre blinked twice before nodding. Turning to look out the transparisteel of the peephole, he did not spot the issue at first. They were quickly approaching the landing zone, but he saw only jungle.

“Look at the edge of the clearing,” Ashia Kagan Keibatsu urged, “where the tree line just breaks.”

Several shuttles had already started their own descent and were landing on the planet. Many questions began to whir through the mind of the now-snarling Consul. Who are these people? What do they think they are doing landing on my planet?

Further thoughts of wicked revenge were met with the firm grip of a hand on his flesh-and-blood arm. Bentre turned to see a stern look on the Keibatsul’s face. Her expression conveyed the same irritation he felt, but it also silently conveyed a need to calm himself. He had seen that same face enough times when he lost his temper during meetings with the summits. She helped to keep his head even when his emotions started to get the better of him.

“Prepare for first contact.” The Corellian turned to the assembled Sadowans as he spoke the words. “We might be encountering some hostiles a little sooner than we had expected. I’m seeing some unfamiliar shuttles. We might have to fight our way out of the landing zone as soon as we hit the ground.”

“We will break their legs.” Dakor lifted his armory lightsaber, waving it around determinedly.

“That is,” Bentre had to stop, stifling back the hint of a chuckle, “quite nice of you to offer, my young friend. I really appreciate your willingness and your candor.” The grin no longer threatened to break out, now splitting the Consul’s face for the flash of a moment. “Don’t lose that.”

“Maybe we should wait a moment, and see who it is before we start killing?” the cool tone of the Proconsul cut in.

Stahoes nodded. “That sounds like a plan. If anybody takes a shot at one of us,” he motioned to himself and Ashia, “or one of you, feel free to kill them. Until then, I want to see where this goes.”

There was something on the surface. A cacophony of sensations ranged from completely alien to almost familiar. The Force was turbulent, the future unclear. Bentre only hoped that things would calm down a bit before they went to hell.

“Hands on your weapons, but do not make it too obvious. Remember, I want to at least know who is trespassing on our find before we start making a mess.”

Bentre drew himself to his full height before he strode down the shuttle’s ramp. It took a moment for the man’s eyes to adjust to the natural sunlight of the planet. They had all spent too much time cooped up on the Sadowan fleet. It felt good to feel natural earth beneath their feet, but as soon as the spots had faded from their eyes, the Sadowan group strode forward with their Consul and Proconsul. More Sadowan shuttles would be landing in quick succession, but even now, a number of unfamiliar shuttles were yet descending to join the other intruding vessels as they quickly approached.

Their arrival was largely silent, but there were several glances of uncertainty exchanged between the members of the retinue. The initial mysterious shuttle was finally lowering its own landing ramp as the group drew nearer.

The first individual to disembark was a human. Dressed in an Imperial uniform, the figure motioned to someone behind him. It took a moment for the Sadowan Consul’s eyes to focus, but it appeared that the tall individual was a woman. Though he found it strange, it was not until the second figure emerged from the shuttle that Bentre could appreciate the woman’s height. By comparison, she stood a head over the second figure.

“Kriff.” Bentre muttered the monosyllablic word with a grunt. Still, there was something familiar about the man. While he could not pin down the identity of either individual, he felt like he already knew something about the woman and her dark-haired companion. The tension only increased as the gap between the group and the shuttle closed more.

As though in silent response, a pair of identically-armored soldiers disembarked the shuttle close behind the dark-haired man. From other shuttles, even more clone-like soldiers appeared. They took a place flanking the original pair, with heavy repeaters drawn. They seemed to size up the Sadowan group for a moment before raising their weapons. This drew a similar response from the Sadowans, with lightsabers being activated and lifted to the ready in response.

“You have to forgive them!” Bentre called out, lifting up a hand. “You see, it isn’t that often that I find someone has decided to squat on something that I - ”

He stopped, holding up a single finger.

“Forgive me. I mean, we had laid claim to. Given that I can’t be assured that an approach would not result in blaster wounds or lost limbs, perhaps you would care to identify yourselves?”

The Corellian flashed the biggest, fakest smile that he could muster as he shouted across the field which divided the respective parties. The tall woman across from him blinked - with one eye, at least, as the other was nothing but a glassy blue patch.

You laid claim to this planet?” she repeated incredulously.

“Tavisaen,” the human male warned.

But “Tavisaen” wasn’t done. “I hardly think you, even with all your grunts, can fly across the galaxy placing stickers on places you feel like claiming.

A flash of rage passed over Bentre’s face. He could feel his ears growing red. “Grunts?” he chuckled. “Well, I mean, I guess they might not look that impressive. You might want to be careful. See…” He raised a finger again. “Sometimes, those sorts of things can get you bit. And a Lion …” He pronounced the last word with relish. “…is not the sort of things you want to mess with.” He jerked a finger at himself and his group. “Even if this lot does not look impressive, one of our number knows a bit about Crusades and might have a word about this kind of thing.”

The woman, whom Bentre now recognized as Ronovi Tavisaen, cast a skeptical look at her Consul, who obviously must have been Arden Karn di Plagia. It was clear that the forces squaring off with Naga Sadow were allegiants to Clan Plagueis, and there were now two clans laying “claim” to a planet. Still, Ronovi’s tongue had not lost its luster. She had more to say, and she did so with a smile, stepping toward the Naga Sadow Consul with a hand placed gently on the hilt of her saberstaff. As she strode forward, Bentre held up a hand to stay his companions’ weapons.

“I’m familiar with Ashen,” she remarked, unfazed by the clicking of blasters as she grew nearer to Bentre. “I worked under him when he actually could hold onto the Iron Throne without his grip slipping. As for Crusades, I think my clan knows a thing or two about those as well, given that we conquered quite a few planets compared with the rest of you lot. Now, tell me…how did you learn about this planet, and what makes you think you can just hop over here and act like you own the joint?”

“You’ll have to forgive my Wrath, Stahoes,” Arden intoned. “Some things never change.”

Bentre smiled. “She would do well to remember the identity of my Proconsul, Karn.”

“I could hardly give a Wampa’s ass if Ashia is - ”

Now it was Arden’s turn to raise a hand, and Ronovi, surprisingly, fell silent. The Dread Lord of Plagueis slowly approached Bentre, though he did this diplomatically, calmly, unlike his second. His face remained stoic beneath his thatch of dark hair, and he kept his fingers close to his blaster, which Bentre now realized the man preferred over his lightsaber.

“What did you come here for, Stahoes?” he asked, as courteously as he could. His lips were then drawn into a thin line.

“Ah.” Bentre pointed to the ground. “See, we fell upon this location during a bit of a look-see into one of several systems. The Collective attack on Orian has displaced our forces in a rather uncomfortable way. We’ve been looking for something, anything, that could help us. One of our teams found something that felt big and dark here.”

“Heh!” Ronovi snorted. “ ‘Big and dark.’”

She rolled her eyes when she was shushed by the Dread Lord again.

“My clan discovered information on this planet through our databases on Aliso,” Arden told Bentre. “The Confederacy of Independent Systems had quite a bit of material for us to peruse and explore. There’s a vast number of resources that will benefit our clan. Infrastructure, military, all that.”

He then gestured for Ashia, who stood at a distance, to join Bentre, Ronovi, and him in a makeshift huddle. There was murmuring from the rest of Naga Sadow and Plagueis, but no one dared move, let alone speak, as the clan summits convened.

Ashia broke the silence. “Do we really have time for this kind of posturing? Our goals don’t seem to overlap. There’s no reason for us to have an inter-Clan conflict over this planet.” She pointed her comment at her Consul in particular.

Ronovi simply shrugged; clearly, she was not enthused about speaking further. Arden spoke instead.

“I don’t see any reason to instigate conflict,” he commented. “I’d imagine we have our own priorities to deal with.”

“So, what,” Bentre interjected, “this becomes a ‘you don’t mess with us, we don’t mess with you’ situation?”

“Well, neither of us would want to waste valuable resources or manpower on a petty spat, now, would we?” asked Arden.

“I’m okay with spats,” grumbled Ronovi under her breath.

The rest of the troops were beginning to relax a bit, lowering their weapons and dropping their offensive stances. Bentre couldn’t help smiling. Despite this snag, things were still going the way he wanted, and he wouldn’t let this intrusion ruin his mood.

“Well, I guess that is progress, at least,” he quipped. “Though perhaps we try to take this a little further than a simple non-aggression pact?”

His words were met with a slow nod of agreement from Arden. Tense glances were exchanged between Ashia and Ronovi, but both seemed to be in silent agreement as well.

Around them, a warm wind was beginning to pick up.


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #2

Week 2

(written by Ashia Kagan Keibatsu & Ronovi Tavisaen)

High noon. The wind was picking up quite a bit at this point, churning the residual heat in the air up as if in an invisible blender and propelling it across smudged and sweaty faces. For hours now, the various strike teams deployed by Clan Plagueis and Clan Naga Sadow had been trekking through the various elements of terrain on the so far unnamed planet. There had been some discoveries, certainly - an abandoned ore deposit here and there, an occasional waft of dark side energy like catching the aroma of a hot baked treat on a window sill. However, for the most part, the treasures they had scrounged up were, sadly, minimal at best.

Khryso Mallus, his thin lips pressed together in a straight line, strained to look toward the horizon despite the glaring sun. The Chiss Acolyte had been working with his master, Dralin Fortea, as well as two other Dark Jedi: Kul’tak Drol and Tahiri Thorn Morte Tarentae. Nearby, flanking them, an outrageously tall Epicanthix led a three-person entourage, his footfalls impacting the dirt beneath his heavy boots. This was Wrathus, and behind him were two of his apprentices, Blackhawk and Sarai Andromeda, as well as the so-called Chiss legend himself, Brimstone. Brimstone was rather smartly dressed for the excursion, keeping his lightsaber pristine at his hip. Despite the raucous tales he had heard, Khryso Mallus couldn’t help but admire how put together his fellow Chiss was. He, too, sought after a smooth and proper aesthetic.

The two small Plagueian teams kept in close contact with their higher-ups - Tahiri and Dralin were the two clan’s Aediles, so they also kept them in check - as well as communicated with two other small Naga Sadow strike teams. They had coordinated their movements and were assisting each other with any findings or reconnaissance. Khryso overheard Tahiri speaking briskly into her comm as they scaled a nearby hill.

“Calenhad, anything new?”

The transmission crackled; then: “Not much yet. Stahoes gave us an update about ten minutes ago. They’re really gaming to go for that crater we saw while we were landing.”

“Is that to the east? We’re moving west.”

“Roger that. Just keep us posted on what you find. We’ll do the same.”

A low growl could be heard from Wrathus as he sidled up next to Tahiri after she ended the transmission with the Umbaran Captain. Kul’tak’s crimson brow was furrowed as he stared off into the distance.

“Seems a bit fruitless right now, doesn’t it,” he grunted, placing a hand on Tahiri’s shoulder.

“We’ve only been here for about 24 hours,” Dralin retorted, just as his rather sadistic droid, R3-D9, whistled and whirred to his side. Even though he hadn’t been in Plagueis for very long, Khryso knew all too well of the many times the unit had attempted to poison various members through tea and other beverages.

“I don’t see how this is productive for any of us,” snarled Wrathus. “I’m getting restless. Either we find something in the next hour, or we go back to camp.”

Sarai and Blackhawk simply nodded, abiding by their rather malicious master. Brimstone also seemed to agree with Wrathus with a curt smile. Khryso said nothing. He was becoming acutely aware of some blurry silhouettes in the distance. Over the crest of the next hill, he thought he saw shapes rising from the green and brown crowns of grass and dried earth. He turned to look at Tahiri.

“I see it, too, Mallus,” Tahiri muttered.

The teams moved forward, cautiously, hands placed on the hilts of their various weapons. Khryso felt a strange chill creep up his spine. While he was only just beginning to train in the Force, he could use his Force sense ability to detect some emotion or presence of sentient beings. But the vibes he was receiving were cryptic at best, murky at worst, like wading through swamp water in the middle of a thick fog. He craned his neck as they approached another apex of a hill, his lungs burning as he hiked.

Their curiosity was answered by the hum of an old ship’s engine.

Various freighters and small shuttles - Clone Wars-era, they seemed, battered and with CIS crests - were hovering around what appeared to be a small settlement. As the two Plagueian strike teams stood atop the hill, the valley they looked down upon appeared to be teeming with people. Humanoids, non-Humanoids, crowded around huts and shacks, burning small fires outside. Many wore dirty clothes. Many more bore weapons. Blaster pistols, vibroshivs. What appeared to be decrepit cannons and turrets lined the encampment like a poor man’s defense system. They were armed, certainly, and most likely dangerous. Pirates, despite their equipment, could not be underestimated.

There was silence among the ranks of Plagueis. Then, a laugh. Khryso turned to see Wrathus, his eyes blazing and a sickening sneer creeping across his face.

“Yes,” he cackled. “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”


As Calenhad’s comlink clicked off, he looked around for the rest of his team. Vosiri was at his back while Xuner and Jinuis flanked him.

The Umbaran clicked on his comlink again and radioed the other team. “Team Dakhan checking in. Nothing so far. We’re about 5 clicks west of that crater. We’re gonna make our way toward it. Over.”

Xolarin’s voice came back over, “Team Ragnos here. Copy that. We’ll meet you there, Captain. Over.”

Xolarin motioned to the rest of his team as they made their way closer to the crater. Ciara stopped short, obviously picking up something. It was enough to make Hilgrif and Dakor take notice.

“Can you feel that?” Her excitement grew as she moved closer, but she was still wary. Something felt off and it wasn’t just the dark side energy building up around her.

Calenhad’s team emerged from the wooded area nearby and joined them just as they entered the clearing themselves.

A scrambling noise could be heard coming from the crater, when suddenly out popped a droid. It stopped a little ways from the edge of the crater and looked at them quietly.

Hilgrif’s eyes went wide. The droid had to be CIS era - battered, but still operating. How? The dark side was pulsing from every angle of the crater. Silence hovered in the air.

There was a rumble and buzzing from below. And then the earth erupted.

An rancorous scream descended upon them as hundreds of droids poured out over the edge of the crater like an angry swarm.


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #3

Week 3
(written by TuQ’uan Varick & Tasha’Vel Versea)

A hot sun sat high in the sky above the as of yet unnamed planet, beating down on the desert area below. On the surface of the planet, surrounded by sand as far as the eye could see, were a few broken pillars and pieces of stone that marked the entrance to an ancient temple of sorts that dove deep, deep underground. Tasha’Vel wiped some sweat off her brow as she walked along the surface, checking out some of the Sith symbols etched on one of the pillars. Throwing her lekku back, she examined the symbols a bit closer. Meanwhile, nearby a Kel Dor was leaned up partly against the door of their transport. He flipped his trusty blaster a few times in his hand before adjusting the brim of his hat. Both of them had been assigned to help the other teams with extraction from the planet. After reading the symbols for a few moments, Tasha’Vel turned around to her counterpart and smiled a bit.

“That’s a nice blaster you have. How good is your aim?” she asked as she picked up a nearby small boulder and tossed it up into the air.

The boulder exploded into a puff of grey dust and rubble as the Raider instinctively fired his blaster at the airborne target.

“Good enough,” he answered.

Just then, the ground began to shake violently, as both Rollmaster and Quaestor struggled to stay upright.

“What in the nine - ”

Tasha’Vel was cut short as several droids emerged from underground and began to shoot hot plasma at the pair. She leaped to the side towards a huge marble pillar as TuQ’uan tucked and rolled against a huge boulder opposite of her.

“I don’t know what exactly happened, but I think we somehow tripped the self defense systems of this temple!” Tasha’Vel yelled out as she pulled out her lightsaber and ignited it with a crackling snap-hiss.

“Let’s see if they like fresh hot lightsaber.”

She then threw her violet whirling lightsaber towards one of the droids approaching and sliced it in half.

“That’s one!” the Marauder exclaimed as the blade went into an arc, taking out the one next to it as it flew back to the Twi’lek’s hand.

“Two!”

There were still eight droids out there firing at both of them. The Infiltrator pulled out a small round electromagnetic pulse grenade and threw it into the midst of the droids. A blue electric field blasted through all of the droids as it detonated, rendering them useless. They all fell over in a heap.

“Eight,” replied the Reaver.

The Twi’lek grinned as she made her way from behind the marble pillar and inspected the pile of trashed droids. “Well now, I guess you win that round. I just hope we don’t trip any more defense systems unless you can do that trick a second time. So we still going to keep count then, winner buys the other a drink?”

TuQ’uan nodded. “Sure, sounds good to me.”

The mercenary surveyed the pile of antique droids that now littered the ground, they were rusted and falling apart but surprisingly quite functional for something so old and not maintained. “First pirates, now droids. Honestly, this planet is much more interesting than I thought it would be.” He gave a quiet chuckle before remembering the mission at hand and activating his comlink. “All teams, report in. What’s going on in there?”

A flurry of noise filtered through their comms as the teams in the temple below attempted to report their situations simultaneously. Between the overlapping chatter and the blaster fire filtering through in the background the Kel Dor could make out only one thing repeated over and over. Droids. Lots of droids.

Tasha’Vel and TuQ’uan were shaken from the distraction as another quake rocked the ground beneath the unlikely duo followed. This time however it was followed by a steady rumble as another, larger wave of droids emerged from the temple entrance. “We….ot…thing big. R…turning…ow,” an indecipherable voice called out through the comchannel.

“Repeat that, you’re breaking up,” TuQ’uan growled as the comms went dead. The Marauder’s cheerful demeanor halted slightly at the disruption. Her thoughts turned towards the teams trying to get out. Hilgrif would be making his way out, as well as Scudi on Plagueis’s side not to mention many others. Shaking her head to clear her mind a bit, the Twi’lek readied herself.

“Well, it looks like you might be buying the drinks,” Tasha’Vel smirked, her reignited lightsaber swinging down in a powerful arc as she leapt into the fray.

“Oh, I don’t think so!” he cried out and fired off a volley of plasma, joining the fight side by side with a friend.