Operation: Figureheads

Operation: Figureheads is a Clan Arcona Event-Story. It is a 3 Week Operation focusing around a conflict between the Quaestor Loyalist and the Arconae separatist that make a move for power when Consul Marick Arconae leaves for an extended diplomatic trip with the Dark Council.

The Story

Prelude

NSD Invicta

“I don’t see why they took a whole ISD for a little meeting”

“It’s about a show of force. Whacking the proverbial onto the table, as it were. We must not deny our leaders to play with the arts politick.”

Two titans walked down the spinal walkway of the Invicta. One was small, old eyes trapped in a young face, whilst the other loomed over everything, eyes permanently down his nose. The Quaestors of Arcona, normally so at odds, working together, talking civilly.

“Well, while the cats are away, the mice may as well get some work done. War games will do the Clan well, Entar.” Valtiere didn’t look down to the diminutive Quaestor. He didn’t want neck ache. He knew Cethgus wouldn’t appreciate a joke, no matter how dry and deadpan it was delivered, so Valtiere kept his mouth shut and kept walking.

The walkway opened out into a colossal hanger bay, cleared for addressing the Clan. Most were present, but some had the flickering forms of holograms. They all still had work to do, not even the egos of Quaestors could get in the way of that. They moved through the crowd, ignoring those around them, stepping up to the plinth that had been erected for them. Cethgus spoke first, as seniority dictated.

“Arconans. Our Consul and Proconsul are away with the Dark Council, leaving us to hear the decrees of the Grand Master. The other Houses and Clans will be without their leaders as well. They may see this as an opportunity for rest. But we will not! We are going to keep working, to make ourselves better. Arcona succeeds because it never stops fighting!”

“Would you call the rise of Plagueis a success? The shaming of Arcona in the Crusade a success?!” A voice called out from the crowd. They parted to show an unknown, a man Cethgus did not recognise, a hulking brute of a man, made for brawling in the darkest hives in the Galaxy. His brow furrowed and face twisted into a snarl of rage. Arcona wouldn’t be besmirched by scum like him. He drew a pair of lightsabers, charging at the man.

Before he reached the brute, a colossal wave of telekinetic energy threw him into a far wall, where a youth stood, smirk on his face. That was a face both of them knew… The former Captain of Nighthawk.

“Arconae…” Valtiere spat, the words dripping with contempt. He drew his own weapon, silver blade snapping into life.

The brute from the crowd barrelled into him, knocking the Sith to the floor and sending his lightsaber skittering away. He looked up as a foot pressed onto his chest, driving the air from his lungs. Confusion swirled through Nikola’s mind. How had he not predicted the attack, his preternatural senses were honed to a knife’s edge. He should have been able to dodge the man with room to spare.

A flicker of movement caught his eye as a hooded figure stepped from the crowd, just finishing putting a mask over his face so as to hide his features. He had been there all along, hidden in the crowd, revealing himself at the last moment. As Nadrin Erinos Arconae stepped into the light, the man pinning Nikola to the floor shuddered, eyes rolling back before momentary confusion caused him to look around, then smile at the man pinned under his foot. He twisted a boot sadistically.

“You’ve improved your mind games then, Master.” Valtiere gasped through clenched teeth, words ragged. Though he couldn’t see it, Valtiere knew his Master would be smiling under the death mask. He looked over the Cethgus, finding him locked in battle with Teroch Erinos Arconae. The pair were a blur of motion, though he could see the fight leaning towards the Erinos. He was faster than the Quaestor could ever hope to be. Eventually, the orange blade of Teroch licked out, knocking Cethgus to the ground. Before he could rise, Teroch’s boot slammed into his head, throwing it into a bulkhead, knocking him unconscious.

With the Quaestors subdued, a wave of fear spread through the crowd, bouncing off itself and amplifying. Through it all strode a man whose presence caused him to tower over the others, terror flowing from him in cold waves. His face was phlegmatic as he turned to address the crowd.

“We, the Arconae, have deliberated over the path of our beloved Clan. The members we are made of. The leaders who shepherd them.” At that he turned to cast eyes brimming with disappointment at the pair of Quaestors on the floor.

“And we have found them wanting. Arcona’s shaming was the final straw. How can we stand behind leaders who push us forward, ignoring the lessons of the past? Ignoring what made us great, thinking only of their own gain, making something new from something that worked.” The words were delivered with the iron foundation of one who believed in them.

Valtiere struggled under the boot. This was what he despised the most. The veneration of the old without reason. The thought that because it was done first, it was done best.

“Why follow the relics of a bygone age?” He yelled, composure slipping for a moment, the rage always burning at his core bubbling forth for a second.

Timeros turned to stare flatly at him, letting the silence draw out to make his point, before turning back to the crowd.

“Why follow the failures of the present?” He asked quietly, sadness colouring his tone. He looked up, raising his hands.

“Who will follow the Arconae, and purge this Clan, this once great Clan, of its weakness?!” He yelled.

Chapter 1

Gethsemane

With the roiling surface of a the gas giant Ereboros behind them, the Arconae stood before their followers. Those of Arcona that had thrown of the stagnation of the new to become a force of change with the old. An odd juxtaposition, some would say, if they were a thinker. But this wasn’t the time for pontificating and debating. Now was the time for action, and the Arconae knew that. Most of the military had sided with the Quaestors, though the Arconae had the advantage of knowledge and adaptability. Years of experience titrated into a small group could wreak more havoc than Arcona’s sprawling military.

Timeros turned to address the group, the recommendations of his peers turning over in his mind. The Arconae had plotted and planned, accounted for the enemy leaders, and worked out how to destroy them.

“Bretheren. We have broken from our foes clutches, to regroup here. From these humble surroundings…” He gestured to the prefabricated building around him, the model of efficiency over comfort. “…We will strike at the weakened ‘leaders’ of Arcona, and purge ourselves of the weakness that has blighted us for so long!” TImeros finished with a small flourish, stoking the hearts of those that had followed the Arconae. As he finished, Nadrin stepped forward, with Teroch at his side.

“The Quaestors are impulsive and passionate. They may both affect cold demeanours, but just below the surface, they are creatures of rage. Valtiere may hide it better, but he has a breaking point. Cethgus is quicker to anger, but in more control. Push in the right place, and we can lead them by their rage.” Nadrin explained, quiet words somehow reaching every ear.

“We’ll kick ‘em where it hurts, and drive them mad. They won’t think straight, and the advantage of that big military goes out the window” Teroch grinned wolfishly. “Guerilla tactics. Small, co-ordinated strikes. Show their followers their weakness. Arcona Invicta!” With glee, the followes of the Arconae took up the cry, fists pumping in the air.

NSD Invicta

The Quaestors both stood in silence as their followers knelt before them, loyal inquisitors moving down the rows implacably. They probed the minds of every remaining Dark Jedi, ensuring no traitors were left. They wanted no weakness in their ranks when they faced the Arconae and their twisted followers.

“The Arconae and their traitorous followers have gone to ground. We will hunt them down with everything we have, and wipe their blight from the galaxy! They will be killed, their names struck from records, their very existence will be undone!” Valtiere bellowed to the crowd before him, stopping himself quickly, feeling anger pushing behind his eyes, a constant pressure wanting to take over and run rampant.

Cethgus stepped forward quickly. “We will work with the military forces we have loyal to boost our numbers and scour the system for the traitors. Even now, they could be trying to infiltrate our ranks, to strike from within and turn us upon ourselves.” Even as Cethgus spoke, one of the kneeling figures moved, charging forward with superhuman swiftness, a cry on his lips.

Before he could make it to the podium, he staggered back, a hole smoking where his left eye used to be, coring his head entirely. Behind the Quaestors, a member of the Fades lowered a pistol, barrel cooling rapidly.

Cethgus turned back to them smiling. “We must be united in purpose. Our resolution and drive will show the Arconae and their followers the weakness of their duplicitous ways! Arcona Invicta!”

As the Dark Jedi repeated the battlecry, the Inquisitors continued, implacable.

Chapter 2

Port Ol’Val

A hooded man shuddered and fell to the ground seemingly randomly, clutching a deep wound at his armpit, blood pumping vigorously onto the ground around him. No figures ran from him, none stayed to gloat over their kill. It was the efficient murder of the assassin. Cloak and dagger.

It was becoming commonplace here, people dying in the streets, suspects never identified, a random pattern of murders. Only the initiated saw it as the battle for Port Ol’Val.

Valtiere watched the screen as more of those aligned with the Quaestors died at the hands of opportunistic Arconae. He had needed to leave Cethgus to martial the fleets and begin the search, taking some of his followers to the mysterious home of Qel-Droma. The guerilla tactics and terrorism the Arconae had stooped to was demolishing the foundations the Quaestors stood upon, only the sheer volume of their military was keeping them from being bled to death themselves.

A communicator buzzed, and Valtiere snatched it from the desk. He held it up, struggling to hear through the poor quality caused by extreme encryption. He nodded as the call cut out, leaving his office. Thanks to sources on the Nighthawk, he knew their disposition at least. They would be a formidable adversary, but while the Quaestors held the power of the Arconan Fleets, including Troutrooper and the Shadehammer, they should be easy to manage.

Gethsemene

The Arconae stood around the circular table, looking at the map in front of them. Nadrin and Teroch appeard in the translucent blue of holograms, deployed on their own missions. All in all, the situation was leaning towards the Arconae heavily. Already, Port Ol’Val was in turmoil, and the marshalling of the fleets was being delayed by the placement of agents in key places, only heightening the paranoia the Quaestors and their allies felt. The weapons of the mind were well known to all the Arconae, they had been honing them over years against the myriad foes Arcona had faced, and showed glee at being able to unleash them upon their former brethren.

A Journeyman interrupted the meeting, Timeros turning to regard the young Dark Jedi, a true follower of Arcona as he knelt in front of the trio.

“We intercepted a coded communique coming from the complex, my lord. We’ve been unable to locate the destination, but it came from a known enclave that supports the Quaestors.” He said, rapidly controlling his breathing after his headlong sprint to his superiors.

“It seems we have a spy in our midst, brethren. We shall have to root them out and make an example. We cannot lose our unity of purpose. Not while we have the Quaestors on the back foot.”

The holographic Arconae nodded and faded out of existence while Timeros swept from the room, beginning the hunt for the spy.

Chapter 3

Selen
Citadel
Throne Room

“You’re sure they’ll come here?”

“They’ll want the symbolic victory along with their actual victory”

Cethgus spat on the floor, growling. Valtiere spoke sense. At least they could defend here more easily. Somehow, the Arconae had gone from strength to strength as the Quaestors weakened, like leeches sapping their vitality. Victory after victory went to the Arconae, and many Dark Jedi aligned to the Quaestors seemed to lack the strength to reply. It was deplorable.

A dark Jedi ran in, out of breath. “Sirs, The Arconae are here! They used the Nighthawk to enter our airspace undetected!” He bent over, catching his breath.

“So, here we go, then.” Valtiere said quietly, blade snapping to life. All the Arconae were stronger than him, but he wouldn’t simply lie down and let them take the Serpentine Throne. They hadn’t earned it. Maybe in the past, when they were valid. But not now. Not as a bunch of egotistical narcissists remembering their pasts.

Cethgus nodded, his own weapons hissing as he brought them up. He would be damned if the Arconae would get through him. If needs be, he would at least take down a few before he fell. He had worked to get his position. A constant uphill struggle to finally be accepted by the Clan, as a member, then as a leader. He wan’t going to let the Arconae simply take what he had worked for.

Bodies flew into the throne room, tossed like ragdolls. Dead before they hit the floor.

The only sound was slow stepping. And then they were there. The Arconae, the grand traitors. Their victory was writ large on their smug faces. They had managed to push back the Quaestors at every turn, and they knew it. Arcona seemed to belong to the Arconae. Their supporters followed them, fanning out to either side. The Quaestor’s followers encircled the throne, a resolute wall.

No words were said. They didn’t need to be. Words were wind. Action was the only conversation here. The air was heavy with impending change, like the feeling before a huge thunderstorm broke. Impending dread wormed it’s way into the followers of both sides. Blades snapped to life on both sides, a heavy thrum shaking about the room as the sides squared up to each other. The eyes of the leaders on both sides met.

Competitions

~ 3-Weeks, On-Going~

Gaming
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/7996

Antei Combat Center
Figureheads ACC Competition: https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/8000
Figureheads ACC Hall: https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/acc/acc_halls/7

~ Week 1 ~

Hunt The Enemy Flash Game/Puzzle
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/7994

Fiction
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/7995

Graphics
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/7999

~ Week 2 ~

Flash Game
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/8017

Poetry
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/8016

Fiction
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/8015

~ Week 3 ~

Flash Game
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/8035

Graphics
https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/competitions/8033