[Restoration] Event Fiction updates

(Vivackus Kavon di Plagia) #1

This thread will be where I’ll post the weekly fiction updates for the Restoration event. You can find the background fiction detailing the major events for the Clan during the Great Jedi War here.

#Chapter I


[ACC Ravager]
[Command Center]
[Landed on Korriban]
[Two weeks after the fighting subsided]

Teylas Ramar walked into the command center of the ship to see the assemblage of Plagueis’ leadership and main forces gathered. As the largest craft that the clan had landed on Korriban, the Ravager was the most valuable military asset that Plagueis retained after the double-cross from Esoteric. The Plagueian leaders had been coming together daily since then in order to update one another on situation reports.

The Anzat started as he approached the group surrounding a holographic projector, “I think we finally have the ship fully repaired – or at least as much as we possibly can. It will probably be a rough ride to get the ship off of the surface, but once she’s in space we should be okay. I wouldn’t recommend any heavy firefights.”

“Patrols are still continuing around the clock on the perimeter we set up. No major incursions yet. It seems most of the other forces have left a while ago,” Furios updated as he had been put in charge of the security of the temporary Plagueian headquarters.

“Is it time we get back to the Anchorage?” a voice came from the crowd.

Callus spoke up, “With what, exactly?” he snapped.

“We aren’t even aware of how many of our personnel are still alive. We just know that enemy forces have control of our assets,” Kz’set replied.

“We should make an attempt with the Ravager to take back the Anchorage,” Furios chirped up.

A few laughs came, including one from Furios himself, but the frustration of the their situation was still on the breath of many of the remaining leadership.

“At least the Anchorage’s defenses would make it nice and short,” Callus responded.

Kz’set seemed uneasy from where Teylas was standing, and his words echoed it even further: “I refuse to allow my forces to be used against us. We will reclaim these assets as soon as we figure out how.”

Your forces?” Teylas scoffed, almost caught off guard by the bolstering pompousness of the bug’s claim. Kz’set turned to face the Anzat, but before he could respond Teylas continued the verbal assault. “It’s your reckless, duplicitous pursuit of power that got us into this situation in the first place. I would be well within my rights to execute you right here and now for your treasonous actions.” The calm, but cold words left Teylas mouth as if he was completely unshaken by the events, but his words were fire hot in the ears of the others. They had all been stranded on Korrbian for weeks now, and for the most part Kz’set had been avoiding both of the Quaestors. The schism among the clan that had brought upon the current situation had never been resolved - or even discussed openly; would this be the boiling point?

Callus shuffled slightly closer to Teylas, as if to assure Kz’set that if he desired to make a move, it was going to have to be against both Quaestors. It wasn’t particularly a smart move, which is why Teylas knew picking a fight then and there was more applicable than anywhere else. One on one, Teylas was confident that he was more than enough for Kz’set to handle in combat. However, that wasn’t the point. The point was to reaffirm to everyone else that Kz’set, despite his delusions of grandeur, was not in command. At that point, no one was, as there wasn’t much to be in charge of.

“Fighting won’t return us the power we once had,” Dralin spoke up, cutting through the silence.

“He’s right. We need to figure out what we’re going to do. What about Admiral Ranin? Do we know if she’s even alive?” Selika stepped forward slightly attempting to ease the tension of the situation.

Kz’set looked back at Teylas once more, “You were in direct contact with her during the conflict.”

"We lost contact halfway through. Viv and I weren’t sure if it was interference from everything going on here, or something bad happened to her.”

“Or she defected.” Callus interjected darkly.

“Doubtful that Drax would have given her the chance.” Kz’set responded.

“With or without her, we’re going to need to take back the Transcendent,” Furios suggested.

A collective groan overcame the group before quickly dying down.

“Not with what we currently have, that’s for sure,” Callus quipped. “What, the Ravager, a few fighters… maybe the transports we have?”

Everyone was in agreement for the first time in as long as Teylas could remember. It would be suicide mission, but Furios was right: they needed the Transcendent.

“Surely we have some allies that could assist us?” Callus turned to Kz’set and Teylas.

Kz’set nodded, “Perhaps but…”

Teylas continued, "… they’d rather see us like this, than at full force. Most of our ‘allies’ only act that way because they feared us. What is there to fear now? They’re better off with us in this shattered state. We haven’t had word from the Saraask’ar either.”

“Do we not have financial assets we could promise to the other clans of the Dark Brotherhood in return for their assistance?” Selika suggested.

Callus laughed, “After what we just did? We’re lucky they haven’t wiped us off the face of this planet.”

“What abo–” another bad idea was about to come out when suddenly the communicator attached to Teylas’ belt began to glisten and beep with activity.

He pulled it from his belt and placed it in front of him. As he activated it, the blue hue of the holocomm reflected off of the surrounding faces. The Anzat smiled, “Admiral Ranin. We were just talking about you…”

“Is this a secure line?” she hastened to ask.

“Yes. I tied it through the Ravager’s long range communications systems so that if you called with your encryption code, it would go directly to my holocomm. We’re all here,” Teylas explained, noticing the menacing glare he was getting from the Verpine Kz’set. Teylas shrugged, “What? You think anyone here trusted you after what you just tried to pull?”

He turned his attention back to the the holocomm, “What took you so long?”

She smirked slightly and sighed at the same time, “Oh you know, ran into a little trouble…”

(Vivackus Kavon di Plagia) #2

Chapter II


[BAC Terminus]
[Bridge]
[Korriban Orbit]
[Two weeks ago]

Cyvaria Ranin could sense that something was going wrong the way that ancient mariners could smell a change in the wind. Ever since the Dread Lord had departed for the surface, more and more of the One Sith and their lackies had come aboard the ships of the Ascendant Fleet. They were given access to ships’ systems, command codes, and direct oversight of crew and conscripts. And then, without being shot on sight, Xander Drax had come aboard the Transcendent.

Drax, who had directly opposed Plagueis on Khar Delba and Athiss. Who had captured and tortured members of the Plagueis summit. Amongst their former One Sith adversaires, there had been none more directly responsible for doing harm to the clan. And he had confidently strode onto her bridge as if he owned it.

Well, perhaps because in essence he does, she thought to herself.

“Admiral, it is good to see you.”

The words, spoken from behind her, snapped Cyvaria from her thoughts and back to her present surroundings. Turning, she saw Captain Tordall Tann standing at attention. The Mirialan had served as part of her command staff aboard the Atrum Pars II prior to the fall of Jusadih and was one of the few officers that had her absolute trust.

“Though I’m surprised by your visit, I was sure that the inspection tours of the fleet had already been completed,” Tann continued, obviously aware that there must be something else to her presence.

“How many of our new allies have come aboard the Terminus, Tordall?” Ranin inquired, her voice low.

“Only a few,” Captain Tann replied, taking a step closer to her and modulating his volume to match hers. “They appear to be officers and technicians.”

Ranin nodded. “Good, they seem to be concentrating their attention on the destroyers. Their Force adepts as well.”

“If I may inquire, Admiral…”

“I think, no… I know that things are about to come to a head,” she cut him off. “Kavon and Kz’set are too busy distracting themselves with their their own little measuring contest to see the coup that Drax is engineering right under their noses. I, however, am not, and Drax is perfectly aware of this.”

Tann’s eyes narrowed. “And you gather that once he makes his move, Drax is unlikely to be tolerant of your continued survival.”

“Exactly. And with his troops and underlings swarming over most of the other ships of the fleet,” Ranin explained, “I decided to try to engineer an escape route for those of us that might need it.”

“Then we should probably get to work and contact anyone else while we still can,” Tann said.

Before Ranin could respond, the bridge erupted into a sea of chaos, alert klaxons blaring and crew members scrambling.

“Report!” Tann called to his bridge staff.

“Sir, the Transcendent, Ascendancy, and Preeminence have all opened fire on the planet!” the sensor officer replied. “I’m tracking their target areas…”

Ranin crossed the bridge with long strides, stopping behind the officer’s station. What she saw on the screen confirmed her fears.

“Those are the coordinates of the Ravager’s landing site and the valley where our forces had been converging,” she explained to the ship’s captain. “Drax is making his move.”

“Then we have to make ours,” Tann observed, then turned and started barking orders. “Helm, get us the hell out of here and find me a hyperspace exit vector. Weapons, get me targeting solutions on the three destroyers!”

A chorus of affirmative replies greeted him as the bridge crew went to work. Ranin signaled to get the attention of the security officer at the bridge’s rear. “Lieutenant, dispatch your battle droids. Have them find the One Sith agents aboard and eliminate them.”

“Yes, sir,” the officer replied.

“The Preeminence is directly along our best exit vector,” Ranin said as she took her place standing at Tann’s side.

Tann nodded as the planet below seemed to drop away as the cruiser made for space. “We’ll just have to make sure they don’t stop us. Torpedo batteries, I want a time on target volley at the Preeminence,” Tann ordered. “Follow it with concentrated turbolaser and ion cannon fire targeting their tractor beam projectors.”

Ranin watched the tactical display, knowing that Tann’s course was the only one open to them. They would have to weather whatever fire the now-hostile destroyer would rain down on them in exchange from preventing it from being able to stop them with its tractor beams. It was a risky strategey, especially given the firepower of the Preeminence, but the alternative was to be caught like an animal and smashed by the rest of the Ascendant Fleet.

Twenty proton torpedos leapt from the cruiser and impacted against the destroyer’s shields. They glowed pale white momentarily as the roiling fire burned across them, and then gaps appeared that the other weapon batteries exploited. Fire and arcing ion energy danced across the tractor emplacements dotting the large destroyer, but consequently the fury of her return fire was not blunted nearly enough.

The bridge lurched under Cyvaria’s feet as salvo after salvo of the Preeminence’s fire battered the cruiser. The distance between them was beginning to open, but then the torrent of fire the Terminus was being asked to absorb seemed to redouble.

“Sir, the Transcendent is coming up behind us! It’s adding its fire to the Preeminence’s,” the sensor officer reported.

“How long until we reach our optimal exit point?” Tann demanded.

“Ninety seconds!” the helm officer shot back.

Suddenly, a massive explosion shook the cruiser from stem to stern. An engineering console on the bridge exploded into a shower of sparks, searing the crewman that had manned it. The bridge lights flickered and dimmed as the smell of burnt permeated the bridge.

“Status!” Ranin yelled over the screaming warning sirens.

“They hit the port engines, sir. We’re losing speed,” the officer at the damage control station explained.

Cyvaria Ranin knew that they we not going to make their exit point under the fire of the Ascendant Fleet’s flagship. The couldn’t stand and fight. Their only choice was to make an unplotted jump now.

It’s the flight from Kapsina all over again, Cyvaria realized.

Her gaze met Tann’s, and it was obvious that he had come to the same conclusion she had. She nodded.

“Helm, execute jump now,” Tann ordered calmly.

The sirens screamed as the ship buckled, but the damaged cruiser held together as it made the transition to hyperspace.

[ACC Ravager]
[Command Center]
[Landed on Korriban]
[Now]

“… And we’ve spent the last two weeks picking up the pieces,” Ranin said, the hologram doing little to blunt the intensity of her scowl. For a moment, none could speak.

“Well, it is good to know you survived,” Teylas spoke, breaking the silence. “Also, it is likely that your escape, and the ensuing fire fight, blunted the bombardment launched against us. So, good work, Admiral.”

“Yes, yes,” she said, waving the praise away as she would an annoying insect. “And if you lot hadn’t been so ensconced in your little game of king of the hill we might still have a hill to be kings of.”

“Can she talk to them like that?” Taranae wondered with a whisper.

“I think she can when she’s right,” Selika responded, equally quietly.

“That is entirely possible,” Teylas said, shooting a pointed look towards Kz’set that did little if anything to hide his disdain. “Whoever or whatever is to blame for our current situation, we need to start putting the pieces together. Send us your coordinates and we will get under way to rendezvous with you.”

Ranin nodded. “So, now that the we seem to have some of our pieces back together, I have to ask. Where is the Dread Lord?”

Teylas and Kz’set scowled at one another across the room, neither willing to let the other make claim to the title.

[Elsewhere]

Vivackus Kavon di Plagia awoke gasping and drenched in a cold sweat, clasping his stomach in the area where Kz’set’s lightsaber had impaled him.

(Vivackus Kavon di Plagia) #3

Chapter III

[Unknown capital ship]

It was the same every night. The smell of burnt cloth and flesh and white hot pain from his stomach. A fighter streaking across the grey sky as blackness creeps from the edges of his field of vision. Vivackus Kavon di Plagia was falling into a bottomless trench of darkness and his efforts to claw out were futile.

Then the Sith woke up, but the darkness was still there.

The disorientation was worse at first. Instinctively, Vivackus always searched for source of light, but to no avail. This new body - a Miraluka - didn’t even have eyes with which to see. After more than a week, it only took Vivackus a few seconds to realize he needed to reach out with the Force instead of his eyes. As he probed with the Force, the various features of the room drifted in and out of focus; Vivackus suspected that the world would continue to clarify with practice.

This morning he was not alone. “Good morning, Montresor.”

The individual, seated several meters across from his bed, shone with an orange light, like a signal flare through the Force. Vivackus wasn’t quite sure if he was actually sensing the color, or was just perceiving it through subconscious association based on prior experiences with the man. Perhaps a little of both, Vivackus thought, considering how he was still adapting to this new way of seeing the world. Over the last day or so, he had started to be able to perceive Montressor’s mood based on the tone of the aura. Today he detected a tinge of impatience.

“Most people aren’t thrilled with the prospect of being watched as they sleep.” Montressor observed.

Vivackus shrugged. “You’re not going to kill me. If you were, the process of bringing me back seems arbitrarily inefficient. Pravus never struck me as one to hold a grudge like that. At some point, you’ll tell me the plan. Until then, worrying is a pointless waste of effort.”

Montressor’s aura intensified. Annoyance, maybe even a touch of anger, Vivackus thought. “Lord Pravus,” Montresor began, emphasising the honorific and in so doing, confirming Vivackus’ suspicions, “does indeed have a plan, and you can play dumb, but I know you’re smart enough to have guessed.”

This conversation was going about as well as the last couple. Since his return to Plagueis, and ascent to Consul, Vivackus had not had much direct interaction with Montresor before the man had left the clan to work in direct service of the now-Grand Master as Praetor. Over the last few days, Montresor had been Vivackus’ only living contact - the guards Vivackus sensed stationed outside the door didn’t count. In the days since his return to consciousness, the Warlord would periodically check on Vivackus, exchange pleasantries until one annoyed the other sufficiently, and Montresor left. Vivackus still wasn’t even sure of the state of Clan Plagueis.

Lord Pravus has expended enough effort on me recently that I’m fairly certain he doesn’t want me just going off of a hunch. Especially because the last hunch I had could be charitably considered treasonous for the Brotherhood.”

“Have you ever tried to train a Tuk’ata? It’s virtually impossible, especially one already grown. Smart animals. They understand the command, but they will never obey it, unless you can gain their respect, and that your will is more important than their ancient Sith master.” Montressor paused for breath.

“The grand master knows full well what kind of person you were - are.” Montresor said with measured tones. “Esoteric failed, and is dead on Korriban, and after their confrontation, Muz and Jac retreated to their respective clans. Lord Pravus saw all this coming and maneuvered himself perfectly to step into the void. He understands your nature because he is more powerful than you, smarter than you. Lord Pravus is better than you. He does not request your allegiance, because he knows it will be a lie. Your life now is a gift from him. If - or, as I suspect, when - you should try to betray Lord Pravus, he will know. And you will die.”

Montresor stood. “Now go take back our clan.”


[Surface of Korriban]
[Five klicks from the Plagueis encampment]

Vivackus stepped out from the Lambda-class shuttle and looked back. Montresor was still seated, stoic. With a faint nod, the shuttle door closed. As the wind from takeoff began to kick up dust, Vivackus shielded himself with his cloak. In seconds Vivackus was alone on the Sith world.

While the capital ship he had been on felt grey, Korriban was a dark red, like the color of dried blood. The dark side was strong here, but before, as a human, he never really realized how much it permeated the entire planet. It was almost as if he was looking through tinted glasses. In the distance, through the haze, he could make out what he assumed was the Plagueis encampment.

Vivackus’ hand instinctively drifted to his waist, where a lightsaber, but not his lightsaber, was clipped. He paused for a moment, recalling the moment a lifetime ago where Kz’set destroyed his saber, seconds before impaling him.

Running his fingers along the metal cylinder, he wondering who it had originally belonged to. The construction quality was higher than an armory sabor, but its construction was not familiar. Vivackus tried to sift through the jumbled memories of his Miraluka host body for a moment, before recoiling, repulsed. The consciousness of the Miraluka was long gone, but the memories screamed, as though they were still fighting against his intrusion.

Mystery for a later time, then. Vivackus began to make his way to the encampment.


“Sir, we’ve encountered something irregular at the perimeter.”

Teylas Ramar looked up from the data pad he was studying. “Go on.”

“Earlier this hour, our scanners detected an unidentified shuttle land, and then take off a few kilometers from here. One of our scouts just made contact with an unidentified Miraluka male approaching the camp in the same area, and we’re need clarification on the procedure for handling the perimeter break.”

“What part of ‘eliminate or take into custody’ is not clear to you?” Teylas barked.

The officer fidgeted. “But sir, he had a Plagueis identification code. The Dread Lord’s identification code.” The officer had to duck as the datapad crashed into the wall behind him.

Teylas stood up and was almost out the door, dragging the officer with him. “The scout who made contact. One of ours?”

The officer shook his head. “Kz’set’s, sir.”

Then he probably already knows, Teylas thought. Time was of the essence now. “Explain the situation to Callus and have him meet me at the site. Tell no one else.”

Word got out anyway. As Teylas dismounted the landspeeder, he glanced back to see at least two people following him, and he wasn’t even the first at the scene.

Kz’set, lightsaber already in hand, was accosting the Miraluka. “I will ask one more time. How did you get that ID code?”

“My answer now is the same as the first. It is my code.” He replied simply, and turned his head to Teylas. “Oh, hello Teylas.” He spoke, after a short pause, his tone as though he had just solved a riddle. The Miraluka was dressed plainly in a black cloak; Teylas would have pegged him as an average Brotherhood equite. Like many Miraluka, he wore a plain black cloth tied around his head to conceal the species’ vestigial eye sockets, just under his dirty-blonde hair.

“I think we both need a better answer than that,” Teylas said.

“You can’t actually be entertaining this.” Kz’set shot at Teylas. “Vivackus Kavon is dead. I killed him. This man is clearly a spy, probably from Drax. He could have gotten this intel from the Transcendence computer system.”

“That thought crossed my mind as well.” Teylas admitted, as two speederbikes pulled to a stop on both of his flanks.

The Miraluka let out a short laugh. “Selika, your aura is as distinctive as your choice of dress. And… Callus. So good of you to join us.”

“Who’s this imposter?” Callus said gruffly.

“In all likelyhood,” Kz’set answered darkly, “bait or a decoy sent from Drax to get us out here in the open for an attack.” His red saber snapped on in activation. “I’m done with this. You’ve got a lightsaber at least. You want to pretend you’re Kavon, fine. I’ll kill you as well.”

Callus made a step forward, but Teylas raised his hand to stop him, still unsure what to make of this whole thing. Selika’s expression, eyes narrow, mouth slightly ajar, suggested she was having similar reservations. That explanation, while easily the simplest, didn’t feel right.

The Miraluka sighed audibly, taking a step backwards and igniting a blue blade in defense. “Kz’set, last time, there were extenuating circumstances.” He spoke over the clashing blades.

Teylas, Callus, and Selika observed. Kz’set was clearly agitated, making his form sloppy, and at first, the mysterious Miraluka was content to stay defensive, his technique looking awkward as well, as though he was out of practice. After a short time, Kz’set’s technique refined, though the newcomer likewise became more confident in his own motions.

“Ok, this has been a fun trip down memory lane and all, but if you don’t stop I will have to kill you.” The Miraluka, as though flipping an internal switch, matched Kz’set’s aggression with his own, supplementing it with a barrage through the Force. “You failed to kill me, though you got close.” He latched onto Kz’set’s doubt to unsettle the Verpine, distracting him.

That’s Dun Moch alright, Teylas noted that it was indeed the preferred lightsaber style of Vivackus.

“Stop!” Selika shouted. “It’s him. Somehow. I didn’t feel it at first, but that’s definitely him.” The assembled Plagueins were all of equal rank, but that didn’t mean they all had equal insight into the Force. Selika was a Krath, and as was typical of that order, had delved far deeper into the arcane aspects of the Force than any of the others.

The Miraluka yeilded, and Kz’set took the opportunity to regain his composure from the mental attack.

“As soon as he was stabbed, Esoteric appeared. The wound wouldn’t have killed him instantly, but he shouldn’t have had much time.” Selika reasoned out loud, “There are techniques through the Force to transfer one’s consciousness to another body, but that’s beyond even what most elders are capable of…” Selika trailed off.

Vivackus nodded. “Sadly, I honestly don’t remember most of it. I remember dying, and being given some bacta to buy time. The process itself was… very painful. There were multiple people there, but I did not recognize all of them. Once I had taken control of this body, I passed out. After waking, the only person I’ve talked to until now was Montresor.”

“So the Grandmaster himself brought you back to help us? That sounds like better news than I’ve heard in a while.” Callus concluded.

“We don’t need people, we need ships.” Kz’set reminded, his tone suggesting that he at least was still wary of the entire explanation. “Besides, you’re just going to come back in where you left off, when it was your decision in the first place that got us into this mess?”

“It wasn’t the decision that was the problem, it was the fact that we were divided. Had we all followed either my or your plan, Esoteric would not have had the opportunity to prey on our division”

“Does this wonderful motivational speech include anything actionable, or are we just supposed to all hug now and defeat Drax with the power of friendship?” Kz’set said sarcastically.

“Montresor gave me some intel on our current state, but I don’t have all the specifics. You haven’t been promised help by either the Headmaster or Master at Arms, right?”

“We’ve requested, but neither made any commitments.” Kz’set answered.

“Perhaps the request will have more weight if given by a di Plagia in person. How soon can you leave?”

“You’re… giving me the clan title? After all this?” Kz’set stammered.

“Yes. On the condition that you step down from your position as Proconsul.” The words hung tense in the air.

After several long seconds Kz’set responded. “Very well.” The group collectively made a sigh of relief.

An hour later, back at the Ravager, everyone was standing at attention. An announcement was about to be made to every remaining member of the Plagueis forces. Lacking a room with sufficient size, it was to be made over holotransmitter. Rumors had spread quickly of the Miraluka proclaiming to be Vivackus Kavon di Plagia.

Vivackus stood in front of the device, flanked by Teylas, Kz’set, Dralin, and Callus. “My fellow Plagueians,” he began, “I am indeed your Dread Lord. I’m pleased to say that the reports about my death were incorrect. A great much has happened over the last few weeks, and I take the blame myself. We have been divided, broken. Until the underlying issue was resolved, we stood no chance to regain what is rightfully ours. Now that we are unified, let’s show Drax what happens to people that think it’s a good idea to double-cross the Ascendant Clan.” With a click, Vivackus ended the transmission. A long speech would serve no point, action was needed now.

Vivackus turned. “Oh. What’s this I hear about a mercenary company?”

[fin]

(Teylas Ramar di Plagia) #4

NSD Transcendence
Under Control of Xander Drax
Captain’s Conference Room

Sildar Villachor sat facing a holoprojection of Erin Sorkan a Dark Jedi who was a compatriot of Xander Drax. Sorkan was a female Devaronian and as such had a pair of vicious curved horns and a set of needle like teeth to compliment her red skin and fully round out the appearance of a demon from any number of religions. Villachor was not a fan of Sorkan. He felt she was too aggressive when it came to dealing harshly with not only the enemy but her own people as well. “I am ordering you to rendezvous point besh.”

“Besh?” Villachor asked incredulously, “Lord Drax gave us all the signal to rally at location Dorn. Besh is completely the other direction.”

“This order comes from the mouth of Lord Drax himself.” Seethed Sorkan “Do you dare defy him?”

“No I… It is only that we would lose significant time with a course correction of that scale.” Villachor stammered.

“Your time is of no concern, you have your orders.You were placed in command of that ship because of your loyalty and ability to follow orders. Do not make us regret that decision.” Sorkan replied regaining her composure. Villachor began to protest again but the transmission ended and the projection vanished. He gritted his teeth and pounded his fist on the table. He exhaled a frustrated breath and pressed a comm button.

“Helm, this is Villachor. Drop out of hyperspace. We have to make a course correction.”

NSD Transcendance
Bridge

“Sir!” came the announcement from a sensor station, “We’ve got something on screen approaching from aft at mark two-ten. No designator from the sensor profile. It seems to be an old Action series transport.”

“They’re hailing us.” the comms officer added, “Put them through?”

Leaning forward in the command chair a grey haired man nodded his head. A small projection appeared before the man, before him was the ghostly blue face of a Trandoshan. Still as threatening as if the beast had been actually in front of him, aside from the smell. “Who are you? Where is Kavon?” the creature hissed.

“I am Sildar Villachor, and Vivackus Kavon is dead,” said the grey haired man, leaning back in the chair.

“We have a contract,” the Trandoshan replied, seeming to take the news in stride

“You had a contract,” Villachor corrected, “Clan Plagueis is dead your contract is terminated.”

“Already paid,” the lizard creature countered with an imposing hiss, “Our transport is loaded with many slavesssss. Ssstrong and hard working. Assswell asss other apealing traitsss…” the slaver let his words trail off from that hiss.

“We have no need for slaves,” Villachor answered firmly, “no matter their quality.”

“Perhapsss a sample would convince you otherwissse? Perhapsss you would employ our servicesss assss well?”

Villachor seemed to chew on the offer a moment and rubbed his hand on the stubble that had grown over his face during the long shifts on the bridge. He raised his hand to pause the transmission and wagged his finger at two of the others on the bridge. Paulsen Timms, a dark skinned human from Thyferra and De’eria Pasquale, a female Bothan. Pasquale was the first to speak. “I don’t know, seems risky to bring on a transport full of who knows what kind of filth. It doesn’t feel right.”

“Too many variables.” Villachor said softly his eyes falling to the floor in thought.

“It would be better us have the slaves.” Paulsen added, “Seems like these Trandoshans would keep trying to seek out whatever is left of Plagueis and turn their cargo over to them.”

“Would a ship full of slaves really assist them though? Just more mouths to feed with no resources.” Villachor answered.

“With the course change sir we’ll be out in space much longer than anticipated and I know the crew is a bit,” Timms paused searching for the word, “antsy. Hard up for some entertainment sir. If you get my meaning.” Villachor nodded and put his chin in his hand as his elbow rested on the arm of the chair. He waved back over to the comm officer and the transmission resumed.

“What sort of slaves do you have to offer us? We aren’t in the market for unskilled labor here.”

“We have many ssskilled workers, machinists, slicers, fighters, musicians, among others. Some may be particularly interesting to you.” The reptilian slaver said with a wicked grin. Villachor looked to Timms and Pasquale. He received a reluctant nod from the bothan and an enthusiastic thumbs up from the human man.

“Very well I want to examine these slaves personally. Bring your most appealing slave on board to me. I will provide clearance for you to land the rest of your transport if I am satisfied.

Villachor nodded and closed the transmission as he leaned back in his chair as if today would be a good day.


There was an odd energy surging through the ship as soon as the old shuttle arrived in the hangar. The crew was on edge from having the Trandoshans on board but the crew was also all craning to get a look at the alluring captive they were taking to the captain. The 2 Trandoshans and their prize were halted by a security officer as they exited the hanger. “Wait one moment while I contact the captain.” The young woman said raising her hand to stop the trio’s approach as she activated her comlink. “Captain Villachor.”

“What is it Lieutenant Shah?” Villachor’s voice came through the comm link.

“Sir, your guests have arrived. Where would you like them brought?” Shah asked

“Send them to the port side observation lounge. And ensure they have an escort or three so they don’t get lost.”

“Yes sir.” She put the comm link away and gestured to three crew members in the corridor. “Eams, Smythe, Einjer, escort our guests to the bridge.” The crew fell in with the Trandoshans and their captive. Eams and Smythe took up the rear and Einjer lead them toward the turbolift.

Jai’de Serpens’ eyes darted to and fro doing her best to take in all of the points of interest around her, guard postings, bottlenecks, hard points, easily defensible or assailable positions. The Trandoshans dragged her along and she did her best to play the slave. She hated the very thought of this plan. Acting as some nubile slave girl for the lothario captian. It was so far beneath her that it made her physically ache. Of course she had her reasons for hating slavers these Trandoshan scum were the epitome of her anger but for now they served a purpose. Perhaps later she would show them her vengeance but for now she had a mission. They followed the short man, Einjer he had been called, to the bank of turbo lifts and filed in. She was certain that their escort was more focused on the towering Trandoshans than on her and that she could easily take them out before the lift reached it’s destination but that wasn’t the plan.

The exited the lift and followed Einjer down a corridor to a door set alone at the far end. The door slid open as a voice from the other side instructed the door to open. Jai’de was led into a well furnished and spacious room, clearly appointed for hosting dignitaries and heads of state. The far wall was a single pane of transparisteel that opened out to the blackness of space. Jai’de was actually taken a bit by surprise that a ship of this size and class boasted a room like this but this was the flagship of Clan Plaguies and as such was likely to include rooms dedicated to opulence. In the room seated at the head of a long obsidian table with his chair facing the stars was a middle aged human man. His hair was graying on the edges, that type of grey that made a man look distinguished instead of old. His eyes were a deep brown so that they were almost black Eyes heavy with fatigue that first fell on the Trandoshans and then set on Jai’de. She thought that she could find him attractive under different circumstances but every moment his gaze lingered on her was just another moment of pain that she wanted to inflict on him. He stood and he was head and shoulders taller than Jai’de. He was reasonably fit with a bit of sagging around the midriff. She noticed he had a bit of a limp on his left side, a weakness that she could export. “So what have you brought for me?” He asked the lizard men

“One of our highly skilled and beautiful comfort women.” The Trandoshan said shoving Jai’de forward. She made an act out of stumbling forward towards him.

“Very appealing. Do you have more like this?”

“None quite asss beautiful, but I guarantee that they will all meet your expectations. Shall we unload the rest of them?” hissed the slaver.

“Let me inspect this one first to be sure,” he said with a hint of menace in his eye toward the Zeltron woman. He circled her trying to take in every inch of her body, every subtle hue of her crimson skin through the tattered rags she wore as clothes. His hands brushed through her sapphire hair and he inhaled deeply through the nose to savor her scent. His hand moved over the small of her back around her hips and to her abdomen. He took a step back to take in the entire view of her. “Well this one is exceptional. I think that we will take the rest of your cargo on board.” Villachor said turning his back on them and mumbling to his comm link. One of the Trandoshans moved to take Jai’de back with them but Villachor raised his hand, “This one is mine.” The Trandoshans looked at one another and nodded leaving with the trooper escort.

“Come, follow me.” He said in a kind voice that was vastly inconsistent with the look in his eyes. When Jai’de didn’t move he gripped her tightly by the shoulder and threw her into the table. She stumbled and leaned against the table. Villachor grabbed her leg and hefted her onto the table. She squirmed and kicked against him like he would expect a hapless slave to do. He pressed himself closer and kissed against her neck. Jai’de lashed out with all of her strength and staggered Villachor back away from her and enticing him even more.

“Good,” He seethed with a wild look in his eye, “I like it when they fight.” Jai’de impeded his approach with a raised hand and an arc of purple lightning that struck him in the chest. The current wasn’t particularly strong but it stunned him and that was all the opening that Jai’de needed. She sprung to her feet into a crouch on the table she lept from the table into a snapping split kick that connected with a solid fleshy smack against the head of Villachor. The man stumbled to the left, Jai’de wasn’t going to let him gain the advantage as she swept his previously injured left knee. The joint buckled as Villachor let out a yelp of pain and collapsed into a heap on the ground. Jai’de stood over the man, placed her bare foot on his neck and applied pressure on his windpipe. “Please…” he managed to choke out.” Jai’de fixed him with a devilish smile.

“I thought you liked it when they fought?” She twisted her heel and applied a massive amount of pressure and torque to collapse the windpipe and sever the spine. She removed her foot from the dead man’s neck as the corpse gurgled and twitched one last time before being still. She exhaled satisfactorily and reached down to relieve the body of it’s comm link and blaster. She adjusted the frequency on the comm link to match the one she had committed to memory and activated it.

Jai’de smiled mischievously as she moved to a terminal in the lounge and accessed the camera feed to the hangar with Villachor’s access code she took from his body. The camera feed from the hangar shook and when it stabilized the hangar was filled with smoke and confusion. The side door of the transport had blown off in a thunderous explosion. The huge durasteel panel crushing those in it’s path. Blaster fire and lightsaber blades pierced through the smoke and descended on the troopers in the hangar. “Knock, knock,” Jai’de said as she took the holstered blaster from Villachor’s corpse and made her way back to the bridge.


Transcendent hangar bay

Teylas and the Miralukan Vivackus watched from the bridge of the transport as the fury of Plagueis swarmed over the unsuspecting One Sith.

“Callus and Selika report that all of the lower decks are under our control and that we were able to scramble outgoing communications. The others shouldn’t be aware of the situation here. There are still some hold outs but they are surrendering or being dealt with.” Teylas said as he studied his datapad. “It’s done.”

“It is far from done Teylas…” Vivackus said with a hint of violence in his voice.


Transcendent Port Observation lounge

Jai’de’s comlink beeped. She was a bit startled because she never expected to hear it go off. Her orders were to signal when the time was ready to spring the trap. She activated the Comlink to hear Dracaryis’ voice crackled through.

“Jai’de, good job on phase one. We need you to make your way to the command deck and deactivate the communications blister off the bridge. You’re the closest one and we need it done yesterday. Are you armed?”

“Always.” She replied checking the charge on the blaster pistol she had acquired from the deceased Villachor.

“Right, make your way to the comms blister and take it offline by any means necessary.” The communication ended abruptly and she went to tuck the comm link away and realized she didn’t have a belt or pockets. She looked back to Villachor and shrugged. She relieved the body of the belt and it wrapped twice around her waist as she tied it off in such a way as she still had access to the weapon holster on her right and the storage pouch on her left hip. She holstered the weapon and the comm link as she moved to the door. She pressed the panel and the door opened up.

To her surprise, and his, Einjer was still standing guard. There was a moment where the two stared at each other for what felt like an eternity before Jai’de lashed out and delivered a knife edge chop to the guard’s throat causing him to grab his neck as Jai’de destroyed his shin with a solid kick putting him on his knees. Jai’de made the end mercifully fast as she drove her knee into his nose folding the man over backwards. She moved from the body as quickly as she dared to the end of the corridor where the turbolifts were. She stepped into the tube and scanned the directory and pressed the panel to take her to the command deck.

Suddenly the lift stopped short of her destination and an alarm began to wail as the emergency lighting came online. She forced the doors open to find she was between floors a rush of feet came thundering down the upper floor as she pressed against the back wall in the hopes of not being seen. One pair of boots didn’t pass her, in fact they stopped right in front of her. She raised the pistol and prepared to blast whoever poked their head into the shaft. The legs stooped and a head appeared as she squeezed the trigger. The person’s hand snapped up and the blaster shot seemed to disappear. “Jai’de stop.” A the unknown person spoke to her as he extended his hand to her she recognized the face of Callus Bo’Amar with his typical lopsided grin. She grabbed his hand as he helped her out of the turbolift.

He surveyed her and grinned. “Here.” He said digging in a pouch on his back, he produced a metal cylinder. She knew exactly what it was. “Take care of it, it’s an old one.” Jai’de thumbed the activation plate and an acid yellow blade extended from the hilt of the weapon. “You’d better make your way to comms. Selika and I have teams headed for weapons, engineering, crew decks, and the armory you may be able to pick up some help on your way but keep your wits about you.” Callus placed his hand on her shoulder gave her a nod and a confidant squeeze, turned and ran down the hallway. Jai’de placed the lightsaber on her belt and moved aft trying to find another way to the command deck.

(Vivackus Kavon di Plagia) #5

Chapter II

[VSDII Paladin]
[Headmaster’s Office]

Kz’set walked through the large double doors, cloak dragging behind him, flanked on both sides by armored guards escorting him to the Headmaster of the Dark Brotherhood, Dacien Victae di Plagia. As the trio came to a halt positioned directly in front of the Headmaster’s desk, the two guards stepped off to the side and held their positions. Kz’set took another step forward before Dacien would even bother to raise his head from its lowered position reading at his desk, finally acknowledging the existence of the Verpine.

“Yes, Kz’set?” he finally managed to snap out but even then only barely.

Before the Verpine could speak, the door opened again, as a heavily robed Aabsdu di Plagia Dupar, Master-at-Arms of the Dark Brotherhood, walked in and took a position to the side of Dacien’s desk. “I was summoned?” he asked.

“Apologies. That was at my request. I come on urgent business and require the audience of you both for a most… sensitive matter,” Kz’set stressed.

Dacien and Aabsdu shared a quick glance before Dacien looked past Kz’set, at the two guards, and nodded. Without hesitation the two guards exited the Headmaster’s office, leaving the three Plagueians alone.

“Thank you for seeing me. I don’t have much time, and was forced to come alone due to the urgency of this mission,” Kz’set began before being cut off by the raised hand of Aabsdu.

“What do you require of us?”

“Currently Plagueian forces are storming the Transcendent, capturing it back as we speak. However, that is the easy portion of our assignment. Next we will move forward to the Anchorage to reclaim her,” he paused, making his insectoid clicks. “With only the Ravager and Transcendent and their respective assets currently at our disposal, the Dread Lord has sent me to request assistance from you both.”

The two Dark Councillors shared a look of almost utter disbelief at the request.

Finally Dacien gathered the words to respond, “And why should we grant Vivackus’ request? We have our own domains to worry about, with our own problems that require close monitoring.”

“Think about your support: much of it comes from Plagueis. You ascended to your current positions leading Plagueis through dark times, guided and assisted by its current leadership. Would you turn your backs on them now?” the Verpine’s words resonated throughout the office.

“Better yet ask yourselves,” he continued, “are your power bases and positions better supported by a fully strengthened Clan Plagueis, or one that is without a home or assets, pecking at its command center being controlled by Xander Drax?”

A pregnant pause hung over the trio as Kz’set’s words settled over them. Finally it was Aabsdu that broke the silence.

“I am not sure how many resources we could get away with sending to support what is, in essence, an internal Clan matter. The assets of the Brotherhood are not at your beck and call.”

“Just an excuse,” Kz’set spat. “You are the supreme commander of the forces of the Iron Throne. And what isn’t at your beck and call is at his.” Kz’set pointed a clawed hand to indicate Dacien. “All that’s left is to make your decision, and show everyone if those di Plagia titles you carry stopped meaning anything once you two ascended to your current stations.”

[KSD Transcendent]
[Bridge]

Selika Roh strode from the lift tube onto the bridge, stepping over the bodies of uniformed crewman and slaves alike. The battle to take the ship had been fierce, and the fight for the bridge had been no exception. Amidst the carnage stood a lone figure, bloodied but unbroken.

“The ship seems to be under our complete control,” Jai’de Serpens reported, inclining her head slightly to affect a bow.

Selika looked the battle team leader up and down, she noticed the haphazardly cauterized blaster scar on the Zeltron’s left side.

“You should probably get that looked at,” Selika said, indicating the wound.

“Later,” Jai’de said, moving over to the comm station. “Right now, we have bigger problems.”

Selika followed her, her eyes widening as she saw what the Knight brought up on the display screen.

[The Anchorage]
[Dread Lord’s Quarters]

Xander Drax was looking out the floor to ceiling windows, watching the twin Nebula destroyers that were now under his command float within the gas and dust of the nebula around the Anchorage. He was struck momentarily by the strange idea of nebulas inside nebulas, but his wandering thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the chime of the door announcer. Someone needed his attention it seemed.

“Enter,” he said.

The doors swooshed open behind him with only a hint of the creak that spoke to their age, admitting the Devaronian Erin Sorkan.

“Master, we have received a message from the Transcendent. It was garbled, apparently sent from the auxiliary communications center. It appears that the Plagueians have retaken their flagship.” Sorkan reported.

Drax turned to face her, taking the datapad she held outstretched toward him. The message was incomplete, cutting off at the end, but it told enough. It appeared that the former leaders of Plagueis had scraped together enough to force their way aboard, apparently lead by an unidentified Miraluka. It seemed there was another player in the game of which he had not been previously aware.

“It would seem they are trying to restore themselves to their ‘rightful’ place,” Drax mused.

“Master?”

“Nothing,” Drax replied. “Send a message to the fleet, recall all of them to the Anchorage. Ramar and Kz’set’s pitiful band shall have no other opportunities to pick them off one by one.”

“Yes, Master,” Sorkan said, bowing.

“And,” Drax continued, “Dispatch a message to the Transcendent. I think it’s time we invite the former masters of the Anchorage back home.”

Sorkan nodded, leaving the room as Drax turned back to watch the ships beyond the transparisteel windows and smiled. If it took bringing his enemy here to be destroyed under the guns of his fleet to finally be be rid of them, so be it. Even the destruction of the Transcendent would be a worthwhile price to pay in order to end their constant nipping at his heels.

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(Selika Roh) #6

header

Chapter I

[KSD Transcendent]
[Bridge]
[On approach to the Anchorage]
[Stygian Caldera]

It had taken the loyalist forces of Clan Plagueis over a week to get the Transcendent back into fighting shape after the battle to wrest control of the flagship from Xander Drax’s minions. It had taken even longer to restore the Terminus to fighting shape. But now, finally, Plagueis was coming home.

Vivackus stood facing the viewports, seeing the dimly lit shape of the Anchorage resolve itself out of the disparate flows of gas in the nebula with his new senses. Only Plagueis knew the course for the series of hyperjumps that could bring their ships so close to the Anchorage so quickly, any others would have to proceed in at sublight speeds far more slowly.

“Finally, we get to put this nuisance down once and for all,” Teylas said from beside him.

Vivackus turned to look at the Anzati, knowing that it was now unnecessary to move to make traditional eye contact. He had also learned since his change, however, that it was an action that left others feeling less unsettled.

“I sometimes forget that you have been fighting Xander Drax ever since Khar Delba,” Vivackus responded.

“Drax is like a vine snake,” Teylas mused, “Always finding some way to slither out of our grasp. I would almost be inclined to approve of his skill at survival. If it hadn’t always been demonstrated at our expense.”

“Are the teams ready for the attack?” Vivackus inquired, quickly shifting the conversation back to the task at hand.

“They are,” Teylas answered. “Selika reports that those aboard the Ravager are good to go, as does Callus aboard the Terminus.”

Vivackus nodded. “Then where the hell are they?” Vivackus muttered to himself, once again sensing the empty space around the Anchorage. “Drax wouldn’t have just left…”

[ACC Ravager]
[Hangar Deck]

Selika Roh strode across the hangar deck of the Ravager checking the Dark Jedi, troops, droids, and slavers of Plagueis that were assigned to her command. The Ravager itself was also under her command as far as those things went, but she had deferred that duty to others. She was no star captain and she knew that she lacked any and all skill at command in space combat. She knew people, how to read them. Her skills would be better put to use at this moment evaluating her soldiers, searching for any weakness.

Walking through the bay, she could feel the general sense of the assembled. The same mix of trepidation, fear, and restlessness that she had felt in those about to go into battle on countless other occasions. The bog standard feeling of an army about to see combat was, however, disrupted in one place. There was a thread of confusion and contemplation that seemed to overwhelm its owner’s normal pre-combat responses. Selika pulled at it with the Force, following it to its owner.

“I should have known it was you,” she said sarcastically.

The Dark Jedi Knight Ra’gnar looked up from where he was working with his E-5 blaster rifle and met the shorter woman’s gaze.

“You feel confused,” Selika explained, making it a statement of fact as opposed to a question.

“A bit,” he said. “Most of the time it’s hard to think that the people in charge realize that I’m here. The focus tends to most often fall to others. Now, you’ve tasked me with leading a team of soldiers into battle to secure objectives of great significance to Plagueis.”

“You just have to realize that the Dread Lord is aware of everything that happens in his Clan,” Selika said. “He knows when his followers perform well, he knows when they perform badly. When one does his task well, say capturing and securing the armory aboard the Transcendent for example, such effort will lead to more important things.”

Ra’gnar nodded, seeming to understand.

“Kavon is not one to let a useful tool sit within reach while not picking it up,” Selika explained.

Ra’gnar was about to respond when the ship was rocked by the force of an explosion against its outer hull. One of the support straps holding a stack of power pack crates snapped, and several thousand pounds of equipment dropped towards Selika. Acting without time for conscious thought, Ra’gnar threw himself across the intervening space and tackled the woman out of the way, his momentum carrying them both sliding across the deck and away from danger.

“That was a turbolaser hit!” Ra’gnar called out, yelling to be heard over the noise of the alert klaxons that now filled the hangar deck.

[KSD Transcendent]
[Bridge]

“We’re tracking weapons fire from above and astern, Admiral!” the sensor officer excitedly reported to Cyvaria Ranin. “There are power signatures in the nebula… and fighters coming in!”

Vivackus let Ranin take direct command of the battle, knowing that the woman was probably more skilled in the tactical complexities of the engagement than he. Instead, he let himself sense the overall flow and strategy of the battle now raging.

A formation of X-wings flew by the bridge viewports, their red weapons fire dissipating against the ship’s shields. They banked away, a group of friendly A-wings hot on their tail.

“Sabre Squadron, off the Ascendancy,” Teylas observed, stepping up to stand to Vivackus’s side. “I saw their squadron markings as they passed.”

Vivackus nodded as he felt what must be the Ascendancy and her sister Preeminence heading directly for the flagship upon which he stood. “It appears as if Drax is still here.”

“Admiral,” the sensor officer called out, panic threatening to overwhelm him, “I read weapons powering up aboard the Anchorage!”

“What?” Teylas snapped, spinning around to look down into the crew pits at the sensor station. “The Anchorage is unarmed!”

“Apparently, Drax has been making some upgrades,” Vivackus stated as green turbolaser fire began to cross the space separating the ancient space station from the fleet. “It looks like we have a fight on our hands after all.”

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(Vivackus Kavon di Plagia) #7

Chapter II

[Sentinel-class Landing Craft Theta]
[Cockpit]
[Anchorage Space]
[Stygian Caldera]

“We’re not going to be able to punch through to the Anchorage without some support from the fleet!” the pilot called from his position at the controls of the landing craft.

Standing behind him, his hand grasping one of the various grip handles on the cockpit walls, Dracaryis looked out the viewport at the chaotic combat that was laid out before him. The enemy forces had moved to block the Plagueian attack force from being able to board the Anchorage, their fighters repeatedly pushing back thrusts by the loyalist fleet.

“See if we can get some fire support from the Ravager, lieutenant.” Drac ordered. “We need to get in there!”

The sensor officer pulled up the Ravager on his tactical display, querying the status of the vessel. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to be getting much help there, sir. They’re nearly out of the fight, taking some heavy torpedo fire from the enemy assault cruiser. And before you ask, both the Transcedent and Terminus are engaged. Looks like we’re on our own.”

Before Dracaryis could formulate an answer he was nearly thrown to the deck as the pilot initiated a corkscrew maneuver that sent the landing craft into a relative dive. A turbolaser blast originating from one of the opposing destroyers flashed through the space the ship had just occupied.

“We’re not going to be able to stay out here much longer, sir,” The pilot reported. “If we can’t make it to the target, we’ll need to abort and return to the ship. These landing craft are tough, but they weren’t intended to mix it up with the big boys in large scale fleet engagements.”

Dracaryis scowled. The idea of turning tail and running did not appeal to him on a number of different levels. Running away smacked of cowardice, a trait that Dracaryis did not seem to possess. In addition, being unable to reach the Anchorage would likely mean the assault would fail. The remaining friendly capital ships were likely not enough to carry the day, and they would be lucky to escape under the withering fire of the enemy.

“We are going to reach our objective, lieutenant,” Dracaryis ordered coldly. “And if we don’t, we won’t be fleeing like a startled mynock. There has to be some support out there, a fighter squadron or gunship that can punch us a hole.”

Dracaryis studied the tactical display, and saw a signal displaying a ship he hadn’t noticed before. “There, what’s that?”

The sensor officer examined the new blip. “That wasn’t there a second ago, sir. Looks to be a Lambda shuttle, they’re squawking a friendly transponder code… It’s signaling the Transcendent, sir.”

[KSD Transcendent]
[Bridge]
[Anchorage Space]
[Stygian Caldera]

“Vivackus, this isn’t going well,” Teylas said quietly at his Consul’s side.

“I know,” Vivackus replied. “No more than a few have made it to the Anchorage so far, and they’re bogged down.”

“My lord, I’m tracking a new shuttle at 123 mark 45 port! It just came in from hyperspace,” the tactical officer reported to Vivackus.

“We’re getting a signal from the new contact,” the comm officer said. “It appears to be… it’s Kz’set, my lord.”

As the channel opened and Kz’set’s image sprung to life above the holocomm unit, Vivackus scoffed. “You came back alone?”

“What, you thought I would return just to die with my Dread Lord in glorious battle?” Kz’set replied sarcastically.

“New contacts! I count three… no, four capital class ships coming in along the same vector as the shuttle! Two destroyers and two gunships. The destroyers identify as Dark Star and Paladin, the pair of gunships are the Eternal and Prodigal,” the tactical officer called, his voice showing rising excitement.

“Aabsdu and Dacien,” Teylas said under his breath. “It must be.”

“Get him off!” Vivackus called, waving at Kz’set’s form on the holocomm before it vanished. “Get me a channel to those ships.”

“Yes, my lord!” The comm officer responded. “I’ve got Dacien Victae and Aabsdu Dupar.”

The two men appeared in hologram, both standing with arms folded.

“I’m glad you two could come,” Vivackus began.

“Save the pleasantries,” Aabsdu cut him off. “The three of us are going to have a discussion when all this is over, but for now we must win the battle in front of us.”

Vivackus nodded. “Understood.”

“Power up your projectors, Kavon,” Dacien suggested, a smirk evident on his face. “You wouldn’t want any of your toys getting away now would you?”

[Sentinel-class Landing Craft Theta]
[Cockpit]
[Anchorage Space]
[Stygian Caldera]

The fighters from the newly arrived ships had cut a hole in the enemy’s defensive perimeter large enough to drive a bulk cruiser through. Presented with clear path, the landing craft was the first to lead the charge towards the Anchorage.

“We should be on the deck in five,” the pilot called as he dodged around incoming fire from the Anchorage. “You’d best get ready, sir!”

Dracaryis nodded and headed through the cockpit door into the rear compartment. There he saw the slave soldiers that made up lion’s share of the assault team. The armored soldiers looked intimidating, just the way Dracaryis liked them.

“So, we finally get to get out of this tin can?”

Dracaryis turned with a dark smile to face Ra’gnar. The Obelisk had been tasked with commanding one of the two squads assigned to the landing craft with Drac in charge of the other. “It looks like. You ready?”

“Always,” Ra’gnar replied.

As the ship touched down in one of the Anchorage’s many landing bays the blasters on the underside began to lay down supressive fire. Dracaryis heard the rear hatches drop open and the four droidekas that were supporting the attack roll out and begin peppering the bay, adding their fire to the landing craft’s.

“All right, let’s go!” Ra’gnar called as the landing ramps dropped open and he lead his squad out.

(Jai'de Serpens) #8

[KSD Transcendent]
[Bridge]
[Anchorage Space]
[Stygian Caldera]

Vivackus stood back on the bridge and watched the tide of the battle turn in his favour. The additional support that Dacien and Aabsdu had provided were monumental in ensuring his success.

The smaller fighters were carving paths for the shuttles to get in closer to The Anchorage in order to drop off the ground support teams. The destroyers and gunships were supporting the smaller fighters and trying to cause as little damage as possible. These ships were after all, part of Plagueis’ fleet.

Vivackus sighed as one of the small fighters exploded near the bridge. He hoped the cost of success wasn’t too great.

“Sir!” One of the communications officers called to him. “We just received word that the rest of Strike Team Alpha landed on The Anchorage.”

[The Anchorage]
[Command Deck]

This was not the way things were supposed to be going at all. The unexpected arrival of the ships under the command of the di Plagia serving on the Dark Council had been unexpected. They had shifted the balance of power between the two forces engaged in battle around the Anchorage decidedly against Xander Drax.

Neither Esoteric nor any of the other members of the One Sith had responded to his calls for help. And it wasn’t simply that his requests had been refused or gone unanswered, it was even more confusing than that. Call codes could not be reached, communications relays to One Sith forces no longer responded. It was as if the One Sith military apparatus had simply evaporated into the vacuum of space like air escaping from a crippled ship. Once again getting nowhere, Drax slammed his fist down on the command console in frustration one last time.

“My lord?” one of his military commanders asked.

“It appears that the time to make our withdrawal has come, commander,” Drax responded, composing himself quickly.

Drax knew that, with the battle going the way it was, it was only a matter of moments before the enemy vessels powered up their gravity wells to prevent any of their former assets from escaping to hyperspace. But Drax was never one without an escape plan, as unlike Imperial commanders such as Grand Moff Tarkin he never was above an evacuation when required. He had done it before. He had left the Empire when all seemed lost, fled the Emperor’s Hammer just ahead of a self-appointed Grand Admiral’s thugs, and disappeared from a Brotherhood locked in combat with the Yuzzhan Vong by faking his own death. Plagueis had not been able to eliminate him on Khar Delba or Athiss, they would not do so now. Having been forced to rebuild his power from nothing on several occasions over his long career, the prospect didn’t leave him with much worry.

When he had first come aboard the Anchorage, he had located a docking port unused by the station’s previous tennants. Located on the lower spire, nearly the station’s lowest deck, the docking port had stood ready for his possible need ever since he had docked an assault shuttle there. Now, it would serve its purpose.

“Sergeant, you and your men come with me,” Drax sharply ordered the troopers that served as his bodyguards.

[The Anchorage]
[Landing Bay]

“Secure the hangar!” Athrun barked at the troops under his command as the second of Plagueis’ shuttles were able to land. “Strike teams! Prepare for breach! You know your objectives. Failures will not be tolerated.”

As the soldiers smoothly moved to fortify the area, Athrun stood back with his hands on his hips, nodding slightly to himself at their efficiency. Strike team Dorn was preparing to breach the hanger bay door in order to allow the rest of the strike teams to advance towards their objectives. Moving quickly into place, he prepared to lead Strike Team Beta to their objective. Seizing the command center was imperative to Plagueis’ success.

Strike Team Alpha was ready to move out the second the hangar door was breached. Joining their respective troops, Dracaryis and Mayda looked at each other and nodded as the doors exploded outward allowing them access to the interior of the Anchorage. Moving swiftly and following the Dread Lord’s instructions, the strike teams quickly moved toward their target. Xander Drax had to be neutralized once and for all. Breaking off quickly from the other teams, Dracaryis and Mayda took the point and rear positions, stealthily progressing their team toward the command deck. The nerve center of the station, it had been identified by the Dread Lord as one of the most likely locations to find Drax.

Nearing the command center, the team slowed down and stealthily approached. Suddenly, they were under fire from a squad of five soldiers, with Drax seen down the corridor behind them. Ducking behind cover, the Plagueian assualt team just caught Drax making his escape down a side tunnel behind one of his men.

“Quick Dracaryis! We can’t let him escape!” Mayda called out to her comrade.

The five troopers were putting up fierce resistance, but they were outnumbered and outgunned. Finally, the last of them fell to the deck, a burned and smoking crater where his face had once been.

Dracaryis took off at a sprint before the others, chasing Drax through the convoluted corridors of the Anchorage, Mayda close on his heels. As they chased Drax down, trying to catch up with the older man Mayda drew out her communicator to update the Dread Lord and his Wrath of the situation.

“My Lord, we’re approaching what looks to be an unexplored portion of the Anchorage’s lower levels.” Mayda said briskly into her communicator. “Drax still has a lead on us, but I believe we can catch him!”

“Fall back!” Came the sharp reply from Vivackus.

“I’m sorry my Lord?” Mayda replied, confused. " Did you just say to fall back?"

“Yes.” Came the terse reply. “Just follow my orders."

Confused, the two stopped running and listened to the steps of Xander Drax fade away into the dark, seemingly abandoned stairwell.

[The Anchorage]
[Lower Decks]

If Drax was right, he was nearing his destination. The dark, nearly unexplored section of the Anchorage had proven somewhat more difficult to navigate than he had first thought. Entire sections had malfunctioning gravity plating, most of it not working at all but some creating fields several times higher than a standard G. Many areas had doors fused shut, some flash welded, likely as barriers to the previously encountered Sithspawn that had lurked in the station. At least the Plagueians had dealt with those particular annoyances.

Rounding a turn, he finally could see his destination another thirty meters down the corridor. He smiled, banishing the last nagging doubt about his eventual escape that he had not even admitted to himself. As he walked towards the docking port, suddenly he felt the warmth in the air disappear. His breath formed a fog as the warm moisture condensed in the suddenly nearly freezing air. And that’s when he felt the cold through the Force, not simply on his skin. It was a darkness like he had never felt before, a level of hate and anger that made his skin crawl.

Turning, he felt the blood drain from his face as he saw what was behind him. Experiencing real fear for the first time in many decades, his eyes widened as his hand moved to his belt as he fumbled for his lightsaber.

You can’t leave, no… I’m not done with you yet.

It wasn’t a voice, he felt the words as much as heard them in the Force. The cold darkness rushed towards him, and he screamed. Echoing through the corridors the scream trailed off into a wet gurgle before fading completely, the lower levels of the Anchorage once again reclaimed by a heavy silence.

[The Anchorage]
[Landing Bay]
[Four Days after the recapture of the Anchorage]

Finally, everything that was once his was once again whole. The Dread Lord allowed himself a small smile, knowing that his base of power was now, once again, firmly planted beneath his feet. The disloyal officers had been dealt with, some of them executed while the majority of them were thrown down into the ranks of the slaves they had once commanded. The latter seemed a more fitting punishment, death was simply a release from their obligations.

“Lost in thought again, I see,” a man spoke from behind Vivackus.

Turning, Vivackus saw the presence in the Force created by Dacien Victae and Aabsdu Dupar, the di Plagia who had brought ships loyal to the Iron Throne to recapture their home clan.

“Always,” Vivackus responded. “You know how it is with me, always schemes within schemes.”

“You know this will not happen again, Kavon,” Aabsdu continued.

“You will have to clean up your own messes from now on,” Dacien agreed.

“Yes, yes,” Vivackus acknowledged, privately frustrated with the two men even as he was thankful for their intervention. It had been these two that had first supported Esoteric and started the Ascendant Clan down the path that had brought them to this point. That neither seemed inclined to share in that responsibility grated on the Miralukan consul.

“I’ll just do better picking my second this time,” Vivackus went on. “Perhaps the next one won’t feel the need to skewer me.”

The two other men nodded, then turned and headed for their shuttle. It would take them back to the Suffering and the Dark Council.

That’s when he saw it, the form of a man standing in the shadows near the far side of the docking bay. It seemed to be accompanied by a presence he had encountered on several occasions before. This time it was an older, bald headed human with mustache and goatee. Perceiving the man through his new senses left him unsure if he recognized him or not, but there was something familiar about him.

[The Anchorage]
[Dread Lord’s Quarters]
[One Month after the recapture of the Anchorage]

Jai’de watched from the back of the room as Vivackus Kavon di Plagia, Dread Lord of Plagueis stood tall in his rightful place on the Anchorage and wondered why she had been summoned here. She hadn’t felt she’d been particularly integral in their success regaining the Anchorage, or the effort to piece Plagueis back together from the ashes that followed.

“Ah, Jai’de,” Vivackus called suddenly, startling her out of her musings. “there you are. Come over here, there’s something we wish to discuss.”

She looked around at the rest of Plagueis’ summit as she drew nearer to the group, growing more curious and wary. Teylas, having been installed as Proconsul and Dread Lord’s Wrath following the retaking of the Anchorage, stood flanked by Quaestors Callus Bo’Amar and the newly anointed Selika Roh. “Yes, my lord?” She finally responded.

“You may not have yet heard but Dralin has resigned his position as Overseer.” Vivackus started. “And we have found ourselves his successor.”

“I’d be happy to greet the new Overseer and bring them up to speed for you, my lord.” Jai’de responded.

“That won’t be necessary, Overseer.” Vivackus responded with a slight smirk at the Zeltron’s obvious shock. “Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I have business to discuss with Teylas.”

As Jai’de left the room she thought she saw a man standing off to one side, nearly hidden in shadow. Pale white skin was framed by long dark hair the color of volcanic glass, a goatee on the man’s chin. Whomever the man was there was an odd feeling about him in the Force, and if the Dread Lord did not want to acknowledge him to her at this time he likely had his reasons.

[The Anchorage]
[Dread Lord’s Quarters]
[Nine weeks after the recapture of the Anchorage]

“You saw it again, didn’t you?” Vivackus asked, almost more of a statement than a question.

Teylas nodded. “This time, I could have sworn it was him. We never found a body, and no ships left the Anchorage during the battle. Our gravity wells saw to that.”

“It wasn’t him,” Vivackus said.

“But…”

“It wasn’t him,” Vivackus repeated, this time more coldly, “it was something else.”

Vivackus steepled his fingers. “I’ve seen others, not just him. Others that I know cannot be here, that must be…”

“Must be what?” Teylas spoke up after the Dread Lord had trailed off into silence.

“I have a mission for you. It’ll require some diplomacy,” Vivackus said, leaving his Wrath’s question unanswered. “It will also require a bit more sway than you currently hold as Wrath.”

“What do you need?” Teylas asked.

“I need you, as one of our newest di Plagia, to reach out and attempt to create a new alliance.” Vivackus stated.

Teylas took a moment to process Vivackus’ announcement and then looked up at him. “I’ll need to bring support.” He stated simply.

"I already considered that,” Vivackus explained. “You’ll also be taking our other newly anointed di Plagia with you. Selika’s experience out in the galaxy is likely second only to your own.”

“I still don’t fully trust the woman,” Teylas said with glare, “she’s still playing her own game.”

“Yes, but her game appears to be working to our benefit,” Vivackus replied. “But, I understand your concern. Who else did you have in mind?”

“Jai’de,” Teylas said without hesitation. “As her master I would feel more comfortable with Jai’de by my side. Her effectiveness in recapturing the Anchorage was paramount and skillset might be required. And, unlike Roh, I trust her."

Vivackus’s eyebrow cocked slightly at that, a bit of a smirk playing on his lips.

“As much as I trust anyone, that is.” Teylas finished.

Vivackus considered for a moment then nodded. “We will send two di Plagias and our Overseer then.”

As Teylas turned to leave the command deck and start preparing for his mission, Vivackus spoke again. “Oh and Teylas? Do not fail.”

[Lamba Shuttle Trigati]
[Deep Space]
[Minos Cluster]
[Ten weeks after the recapture of the Anchorage]

“What are we doing here, Teylas?” Selika asked, point blank.

“We aren’t exactly going to find any visitors out here in the middle of no where,” Jai’de shifted uneasily beside Selika, unsure what to think.

Teylas turned to study the two women assigned to come along with him on this mission. Their uneasiness with the current situation was obvious, but Teylas saw no reason to explain the real reason for their mission until necessary. They trusted his judgement and the half truth he had told them about why they were there, but that would only last for so long.

The stated intention was to find allies for Plagueis considering that the clan had been beaten down repeatedly over the last several years, only forced to rebuild on their own. They stood with no allies since their break with Scholae Palatinae during the Orian Incursion. They had only retaken the Anchorage with the intervention of Dacien and Aabsdu, intervention that could not be counted on in the future. It made sense, but it wasn’t the sole reason they were here.

“Signal coming in for your, my lord,” the pilot’s voice came over the intercom.

“Route it here,” Teylas ordered, then turned to the other two passengers in the rear compartment of the shuttle. “And you two, go spend some time in the cockpit.”

The two women stood and headed forward, Selika with a look of annoyance on her face while Jai’de looked more confused. They would find out soon enough, but not now. Once they were gone, Teylas activated the holocomm unit and the face of Farrin Xies, newly crowned Consul of Clan Tareantum, swam into view above it.

“Farrin. I’ve been expecting your call,” Teylas greeted him.

“Your signal was intruiging, to say the least. What exactly are you looking for?” Farrin asked.

“I’ve been sent as both the Wrath of Plagueis and an honored di Plagia, joined by another di Plagia and our Overseer, to negotiate terms for an alliance.” Teylas responded to Farrin. “Perhaps a face-to-face meeting would be a more suitable setting to discuss?”

“Why Tarentum?” Farrin inquired.

“Your Clan has special experience in an area that may be germane to the situation Plagueis currently finds itself in,” Teylas explained.

From the look on the man’s face, Farrin was intrigued as to what that situation might be. “Then I will receive you as envoy on Yridia. I’ll send you the coordinates.”

“I thank you,” Teylas said, inclining his head.

[The Anchorage]
[Dread Lord’s Quarters]
[Ten weeks after the recapture of the Anchorage]

The feeling in the Force was back, this time stronger than it had ever been before. This time it was accompanied by a cold that chilled the Consul to the bone, his breath fogging the air in his quarters even though the climate control systems registered nominal conditions.

“I know you’re there,” Vivackus spat.

The darkness in the Force seemed to swirl around him, taking the shape of men and wearing faces that were not it’s own.

“You’re not Faetor! Not Drax!,” Vivackus yelled at the apparition. “You’re certainly not Calliban Crimson, I killed the man myself! You wear the faces of the dead, but you never show your own!”

The shapes of men melted away as the darkness ebbed. The only response that Vivackus could illicit was the sound of laughter in the Force.

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