[RoS: Escalation] Team Announcement Channel (Retributionists)

Team Roster & Snapshots

Blockade

Dandoran, Doran System, Hutt Space
Secure Room near Auction Room 475B, Western side of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

The fires were still burning. Black pillars of smoke covered most of the horizon. Plan B had been a success in that it had truly thrown everyone, quite literally, in some cases. The Neti would have preferred if Plan A had worked, they’d have walked in - made some smalltalk with the other guests - purchased some items and left without making too much noise. Plan B on the other hand had included the hijacking of the orbiting pleasure yacht and crashing it into the main casino complex as a diversion. It had worked… a bit too well. The ship’s armour had made itself into a blade instead of a rock. It was last seen puncturing the casino’s central hall and smashing through the decorated stone floors into the service tunnels below where it had hit something crucial. The detonation of the Kalevalan Star Yacht’s enhanced power generator had not helped prevent what historians would surely one day describe as a catastrophic cascade of explosions that had rippled through the complex.

Turning off his saber, the Arconan calmly placed it back on his belt before removing a jewelled signet ring from a fresh corpse that partly lay at his feet, “Ooh, Shiney!”

A chirp from his comlink prevented any further looting. “An interdictor, you say? Act of Piracy, you say? A small sized insertion team, you say? Urgent mission, you say? You don’t say?” Turning to leave the smouldering corpses in the “now” secured panic room, Ood wondered why nobody made their secret rooms lightsaber proof.

With a jaunty bounce to his step, the old Equite began to move towards the Retributionist gathering area. He had a team to meet and a plan to make. Already several possible infiltration tricks were starting to bubble up into his mind. “Oh, hello there!” Ood shouted towards a now visibly startled Trooper in what appeared to be Severian Principate scout armour. After unclipping his saber hilt and a small flourish to get it to clear the arms of his slightly cumbersome cloak, a pillar of silvery white light rose to meet several angry red energy bolts aimed at his chest. Deflecting the blasts into the scorched ceiling, the Neti began to slowly advance towards his opponent, “You shouldn’t feel bad about failing to notice the 11ft tree wandering around this hallway, I’m quite good at hiding myself and making myself appear to not be where I in fact am. It’s a gift really, and quite a good party trick considering my size.” His opponent had not stopped firing, yet the shots were all deflected to the damaged ceiling above the soldier. As a rather large part of it finally gave way, the scout trooper had just enough time to look up and curse before being struck down by it.

VIP Lounge off main casino floor, Central hub of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

As Ood walked into the Retributionist Forward Command, he quickly made his way to the more secure sideroom. A Dejarik table had been retrofitted into a makeshift command table and dragged into what had once been a staff access room. “The western auction areas are mostly clear. Severian scum are beginning to probe it with scouts but I’ve collapsed the more obvious entry points so we should be somewhat secure on that side. Oh, I also ran into a few other guests of the Hutt, since we’re not taking prisoners due to our implementation of Plan B, I killed them. I did bring you their signet rings, with some DNA attached, so we can ransom the families after this is done. I’ll go pop them in one of the freezers at the bar so they don’t spoil too much,” Ood stated as he gazed upon Quartermaster Nervitt. After receiving a nod, he moved out of the room in order to find a cooling unit for the “loot” before going to look for the First Mate, who apparently had a team and a mission for him.

The Fields of Promiscuity, Dandoran Orbit, Doran System, Hutt Space

39 ABY

The instructions were quite simple and clear. The task itself seemed almost impossible. Almost. “For an untrained specialist,” Morax whispered to himself as he thumbed the datapad once more to check if the plan hadn’t changed at the last minute.

Hijack the Kalevalan Star Yacht orbiting Dandoran and crash it into 37.7°, -122.2°

The Anzat took a deep breath, “Go time.”

Morax concentrated and weaved the force around him as he grabbed his saber and ignited it. Thrusting the white saber into the flimsy door that stood between him and the cockpit of the yacht, he began to cut himself a path that he could get through.

Surprised shouts could be heard as the people in the cockpit began to notice what was happening. Calls for help were heard and the Anzat knew time was already running short. As a sizable hole was formed, Morax shifted his weight and rammed his shoulder into the hole. The sharp pain running through his shoulder was soon forgotten as he barged into the cockpit.

Stabbing the first person blocking his way, Morax was quickly able to scan the cockpit and his eyes came to fall on the Zabrak co-pilot before him.

“You, if you want to live, put in these coordinates and make sure you hurry out of here after you’re done,” the Equite said as he waved his left hand in front of the co-pilot before and used the power wrapped around him to wash over the Zabraks mind and grip his thoughts, altering them to Morax’s wil. His thin proboscises uncoiled from their cheek pouches and slowly inched their way towards the nostrils of the pilot, before the Anzat was able to rip his thoughts away from his growing hunger and regain his composure. Turning off his lightsaber, Morax tapped the floor with his foot and handed him the datapad with the coordinates.

The Zabrak was clearly overwhelmed with fear and shock and easily submitted to the Anzats request. It was quite rare to encounter an Anzat these days.

Sitting down abruptly and pulling up the datapad Morax had given him, the co-pilot put in the coordinates and motioned for Morax to check.

“37.7 degrees latitude, -122.2 degrees longitude,” the Equite muttered to himself. He watched the Zabrak punch in the coordinates and felt the ship turn to begin it’s new course and descent into the atmosphere.

“That…that’s the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel,” the co-pilot stammered before being silenced forever by the adeptly ignited lightsaber of Morax Darkblade. He grinned to himself as he wrapped the Force around him and concentrated it into his left hand as he pointed towards the controls in front of him. Lightning erupted from his fingertips and made quick work of the electronics systems, eerie white flashes and the familiar crackling sound of lightning filled the cockpit briefly before Morax slipped away from the cockpit in search of a way off the ship.

The Fields of Promiscuity, Escape pods

The Anzat had made his way quite easily to the escape pods in the ensuing confusion and panic his little escapade had caused. No one seemed to question him or even notice him in fact, as everyone raced to save themselves once it became clear that the yacht had been turned into a deathtrap.

Strapping himself into an escape pod, he counted down the timer before being shot into low orbit and mentally preparing himself for the next part of the mission. The Anzats datapad chimed, signaling he had just received his next orders.

Rendezvous at the VIP lounge off the main casino floor in Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

Morax looked out of the viewport of the tiny capsule and realized that whatever was going to happen down there would be big. He wouldn’t be a pawn in this however as he grinded his teeth in anticipation of the things to come.

Dandoran, Doran System, Hutt Space
Courtyard of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

Morax’s landing had been a rough one, the shockwaves of the yacht crashing into the casino had thrown his escape pod around a bit before landing, roughly, in the front courtyard of the now impaled Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel. As he climbed out of the escape pod, he noticed that bodies were littered all over the ground. Undistinguishable faces to him, but it seemed as if a lot of the casualties were people belonging to the Severian Principate due to the insignias on their clothes.

The Equite groaned as he straightened his body, feeling for anything broken or bruised. As his hands checked his face he felt something slick on his fingers and looked down. Blood was smeared on his fingers.

“Seems like I need to find a doc,” he sighed to himself as he headed to the rendezvous point.

VIP Lounge off main casino floor, Central hub of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

Morax walked inside and looked around the room. A makeshift command center had hastily been erected and the debris not cleared out yet. Not the ideal place to treat wounds.

“Is there a doctor or healer here that can patch me up?” the wounded Anzati called out.

Dandoran, Doran System, Hutt Space
Main Casino Floor of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

I liked Plan A.

Alaris Jinn climbed through the rubble muttering to himself.

“Plan A was simple.” The twi’lek climbed over a durasteel support beam that was still warm from the impact. It was twisted and bent in ways that shouldn’t have been possible. Jet fuel couldn’t melt durasteel beams, but it could sure make it super malleable.

“Show up at the auction. Win the items. Pay for the items. Leave with the items. Wait for the Hutts to realize that they’ve been had.”

Alaris plopped down off the beam onto the only bit of ground he could see. “I liked Plan A, you sithspittin’ tree!”

He wasn’t sure the Ood had called for Plan B to happen, but he did wish that he had been properly warned about it.

He kicked the dome of a destroyed R2 unit and immediately regretted it. “Motherkarker!” He reached down and grabbed what he was sure was a broken big toe and hopped around for a moment until he collapsed backward onto his rear end.

“Sweet karking poodoo.” He pushed the pain aside and focused as much of the dark side into his foot as possible. His toe reset, painfully. He let out another string of curses in both Basic and Huttese.

“Are you okay?” Alaris heard someone climbing over to him. “Are you in pain?”

It was the lovely attendant from a few hours earlier. Young and naive, the human had been tasked with making sure Alaris had all the comforts Dandoran could offer. Steve? I think? The twi’lek couldn’t remember. His uniform was covered in durasteel residue and he was clearly shaken up, yet he was so afraid of his employer, here he was still trying to do his damn job.

“Yeah, Mark, I’m fine,” the Proconsul pulled himself upright.

“It’s James.”

“Okay, that’s nice.” There was still pain. Alaris wasn’t known much for his skill at repairing wounds, and he was a little out of practice. “Listen, buddy, could you do me a quick favor -”

He cut himself off with the ignition of his viridian blade. With a quick slice, poor Desmond, or whatever his name was, was bisected and collapsed to the ground.

Alaris turned to start climbing again and then heard a horrid groan of realization. “You cut my legs off! You’re a Jedi?!”

The twi’lek exhaled audibly and closed his eyes hard. “Always slice vital organs, Jinn,” he reminded himself as he returned to the torso of the flopping attendant. “Make sure their heart stops beating.”

He stood over the fearful frame of the young man’s upper body and parsed his lips. “So sorry, James. Should have done this better.”

Hey, he got my name right, were the young man’s unfortunate last thoughts before a green blade through the skull ended all thoughts and brought darkness.

The twi’lek extinguished his blade and carried on through the dusty rubble. The VIP Lounge awaited him and he had a few words he wanted to say to that giant tree. Twice his height or not, he was still a twig.

Dandoran, Doran System, Hutt Space
Northwestern Courtyard Perimeter, Garganta Galleria Casino
15 minutes after The Fields of Promiscuity Crashed

One of few certainties in the galaxy was that anywhere the Hutts called home, violence and villainy reigned. But all-out war was a rarity in Hutt space, especially on outpost worlds like Dandoran.

But war had come to Dandoran. In the hour since fighting had begun, the Garganta Galleria Casino, once the symbol of Hutt wealth on Dandoran, was now under a brutal siege. A siege that left the once magnificent casino a ruined heap with a starship impaled at its core.

A lull in the fighting had followed its impact, but signs of renewed, vicious conflict could be seen everywhere. Thick billows of black smoke rose from the surface of the ruined casino and the burning city around it. What remained of the sprawling, bulbous complex was marred with the blackened scars of stray blaster fire and explosives. Formerly lavish courtyards that surrounded the garish casino were pockmarked with smouldering craters and burning flora. Some of the craters were long and deep enough to be makeshift trenches. Debris and refuse also covered the area.

At the northwestern perimeter of the courtyard, Raleien Sonavarret, a grizzled Pantoran soldier working with the Revenants, found himself in a desperate battle with Principate forces. The Hutt security forces had been a brief interlude in the fight, but had been easily dispatched.

After surviving the yacht’s crash, they had decided to form a line of battle which faced south, toward the Principate. At the centre of the line was a deep trench which they had used to take cover from the blast. The trench was really just a long, deep rent in the courtyard around one and a half metres deep, three metres wide at its thickest, and fifty metres long. It provided decent protection from explosions and blaster fire. Those above ground were holding the flanks amid large pieces of rubble. They were more mobile, and could react to enemy movements rather than being stationary in the trench. However, the Principate had fire superiority which prevented the Revenant raiders from using their mobility to advantage. In short, they were stuck.

The gnarled, thick-limbed Pantoran occupied a position on the left flank. He was above ground, perhaps five metres from the trench. From a kneeling position, Raleien peaked around the corner of the rubble he was using as cover. Keen green eyes found his target. He fired a short burst from his DC-17m rifle at some advancing soldiers. One of the streaking blue blaster bolts struck an armoured soldier in the chest. But two more soldiers appeared and dragged the body away.

Nearby, another group of Principate soldiers appeared in his line of sight. They unleashed a vicious barrage of multi-coloured blaster bolts, forcing Raleien back into cover. Shrapnel showered Raleien, but he was unscathed.

“I thought we were getting reinforcements?” One of the pirate raiders with Raleien asked over the din of battle.

“Doesn’t seem like it!” Another called, peaking around the corner to fire a shot. He was immediately shot in the face. His corpse collapsed in a heap.

Nearby, an explosion ripped up the ground. Had that been a rocket launcher? Cries of pain and terror followed in its wake. The dirge of the suffering victims could be heard over the twang of blasters firing.

Raleien focused on the mission. They were here to secure the casino - or what was left of it - and to make the Principate pay. He hadn’t been one of those liberated from prison, but an old, guilty soldier like him had been swayed by the Revenant’s cause to join the struggle against the Sevarian scum. It wasn’t often a brute like him was moved by causes, but he was starting to grow soft in his older age.

“Look, up there!”

Speeders danced in the sky beyond in a deadly duel. A missile was fired and hit its mark. And now, a streaking ball of red-hot metal was tumbling toward the Principate’s position. It looked to be a damaged Imperial Combat Speeder. It was coming on fast.

“Don’t let them escape! Keep them there! Fire everything you got!” Raleien screamed. They had to keep the Principate occupied. That speeder would kill them all if it fell on the Principate lines.

Everyone had listened. Blasters rang with increasing frequency, a thick shower of bolts barreling into the Principate positions. Some of the raiders fell. And they weren’t killing many of the enemy troops. But they were keeping them occupied.

He heard the vessel. He could see it, smoke trailing the rapidly descending metal frame. But the whistling of uncontrolled descent and the scraping of metal ripping from the hull was beautiful. It would kill everything. Every last Principate soldier across from them.

The noise hit a thunderous crescendo. It was dangerously close. The shockwave would kill anything not behind cover. So he ducked, disappointed not to bear witness.

10 minutes later

He hadn’t seen the speeder crash, but the sound had been beautiful. Screams of terror had lapsed abruptly with the speeders final impact. Nothing remained of the Principate force across from them. All that remained was a blackened, circular crater double the size of the speeder.

Their position had been secured, and reinforcements had arrived, moving deeper into the casino and city. Raleien sat on a small rock, a remnant of one of the gardens, catching his breath.

A short, helmeted raider broke off from a small column of nearby troops and ran to Raleien.

“Raleien Sonavarret?”

“Aye.”

“Here,” the shorter raider said, handing Raleien a datapad. “Orders.”

Raleien looked down to read the datapad:

“Rendezvous at the VIP lounge off the main casino floor in Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel.”

The grizzled Pantoran handed the datapad back without a word and checked his kit. Everything was where it should be.

He began walking toward the casino. Time to figure out what madness was next.

Dandoran, Doran System, Hutt Space
Remains of the main security control room, beneath the Central hub of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel

Drip…

Water slowly made its way through cracked duracrete. The structural capabilities of the wall were in a suspect state of stability. These tunnels may have survived the initial blast, but it had been a close call.

Drop…

The Neti slowly made his way through the hallway, his goal a door in a well lit alcove ahead. He’d already seen three other shadowy figures make their way into the room and one had exited it.

Drip…

This person seemed to be coming his way, the Warlord wondered if this figure would be the one to take his place in the field.

Drop…

A murmured song became stronger as the Arconan recognised the figure before him. His analytical mind called up past interactions with a former Dark Council support staffer who had always intrigued him. He recalled encountering him from time to time on good old Lyspair. A malevolence the Neti could only feel due to his age and experience, hidden inside a kindly exterior.

Drip…

“Been awhile, Adept Whiner. Hope I find you in good health.” The senior Equite remarked as they were about to pass each other.

The song stopped.

Drop…

”Life is strange,”
”that tree is talking,”
”where’s my pirate hat”

Having said his piece, the Elder moved on and was slowly absorbed into the darkening shadows of the ruined hallway. The song continued on where it had stopped.

Drip…Drop…

As Ood entered the room, he took notice of the others who had seemingly arrived moments before him. ‘Hmm, an important mission then’ the Neti’s mind provided as he noticed a former Academy Magistrate, a young unknown boy with the markings of a journeyman soldier, and a former Dark Councillor, who happened to be an old friend, standing in different positions across the room. As usual, the First Mate stood before a holotable, seemingly juggling a dozen fronts at the same time, directing soldiers to give ground in one place, take it elsewhere. A seemingly endless dance that, at least to the old veteran’s mind, appeared to have the makings of a fine pincer movement that would see dozens of enemy soldiers dead. Then again, young master Yadar had the kind of mind that could be doing something entirely different. A surgical precision, clearly indicating a medical background seemed to mark her every decision. She wasn’t fighting a battle, she was cutting out a cancerous tumor, and these forces were her scalpel. And those golden eyes, the Arconan wondered what they’d look like in a jar, illuminated by the glare of his laboratory equipment.

With a quick whispered apology for his tardiness, the old Equite joined the Eminent at the table, calmly pointing out what appeared to be the beginnings of a Severian counteroffensive against the last of the Hutt forces. If successful, it would drive the surviving force into the Retributionist flank. Cracked displays littered the walls, interspaced with, now derelict, machinery. This may have been a hub of technology and surveillance a day ago, but now it was a husk. The central holotable had been repaired by scavenged materials from around the room, and at least two droids, if the severed heads replacing the holo projectors were an indication.

“Ok now,” Eminent Yadar stated as she replaced the holotable’s image of the casino battlefield with an abstract map of the Doran System. Several small red dots could be seen moving around the system, seemingly patrolling the area like angry little flies. A larger red dot resided nearly on top of the depiction of Dandoran. “This is the Immobilizer 418-class Heavy Cruiser Geta, and you four are going to steal it!”

“Can we?” Ood inquired, “Do we have the manpower to crew that thing?” Murmurs of assent could be heard from the others in the room.

“Normally, no we can’t,” Zyft remarked, a strange smile beginning to appear on her face. “I managed to learn, through bothan spies who sadly died, that there are no Force users on that Heavy Cruiser.”

With a laugh, Alaris continued the idea, “So we’ll go in pretending to be Restorers!”

A smile appeared on the face of the Anzat, “Then we’ll go to the bridge, and drop into a joined meditation.”

Understanding spread across the blue visage of Raleien. Reluctantly he spoke, “I’ll inform them that the Force users had discovered a Retributionist plot to steal Severian ships and destroy the Interdictor Cruiser! That I’m your attendant and you’re sinking into a Battle Meditation to help prevent such a foul act.”

A sinister look passed over the Neti’s face, “All the while, Morax will enter a Battle Meditation, Alaris will insert doubts and worry into the crew’s mind and I will make them see what we want them to see. We are going to enslave the minds of a bridge crew.” Ood turned to look at his old Twi’lek friend, “I’ll share that old tome you’ve been wanting to borrow if you can convince them they’ve been boarded and get them to vent the atmosphere in ⅔ of the Geta.

“Adept Whiner managed to secure us a Severian Supply Shuttle. We’ve been listening in to their comm traffic and they don’t seem to have realised they lost it. You may want to use that to get to the Geta. It would allow you to bypass most of its defenses if you plan it right.” With that, the First Mate turned away from them and seemingly indicated that the meeting was over and they should get to work.

As the newly formed team began to file out of the room, Ood turned back towards Yadar and asked “By the way, where did the Elder park the Shuttle?

Dandoran, Doran System, Hutt Space
Streets of Tipool City

Screams of the wounded could be heard everywhere. They pierced through the veil of thick curling smoke reaching towards the sky before being whisked away in the slight breeze high above the crumbling and destroyed buildings. Morax curled his upper lip in disgust as ash fell on him and left grey splotches on his clothes. Vainly attempting to brush it off his clothes he noticed some of the screams abruptly stopped. However, more frantic calls for help could be heard nearby, closer.

The team of four needed to navigate through the war-torn streets to the hangars on the other side of the Garganta Galleria Casino Hotel. The Equite suddenly wished he had parked The Fields of Promiscuity nearby instead of crashing it onto the casino. Hijacking it had been relatively easy, which still surprised the Anzat, but the chaos it had caused seemed to do more harm than good for himself and his team.

The team stuck to the shadows and verandas of the buildings, avoiding the bodies that were littered across the streets. Only through careful movement would they be able to make it to their destination unseen. The severed limbs of the fallen were scattered along their path.

The feeble groans of the few unlucky survivors fell on deaf ears. There was nothing the group could do to help. They had their own mission, and saving soldiers from bleeding out was not part of it.

A feeling of unease washed over Morax. He quickly scanned Ood, Raleien and Alaris for signs of distress. Instead he was met with the stoic faces of concentration and determination from Alaris and Ood. Raleien seemed a little nervous in particular which amused the Anzat. Being the only non Force user in the team, Raleien was their most inexperienced brotherhood member, despite his age, and the groups weakest link, yet he sensed that a great amount of untapped skill was hidden behind the fierce eyes of the Pantoran. Should the Palatinean survive this ordeal, perhaps Morax could find the time to make use of him.

More screams. Even closer and more frantic.

The Neti and Twi’lek continued to lead the group on their path, slowly making their way between side streets and indistinguishable buildings, when suddenly a group of Severian Principate soldiers collided with fleeing Revenant forces.

Ood held up his hand, motioning for all to hold their position and stay in cover. They hadn’t been spotted as of yet, he intended to keep it that way until they were closer to their intended destination.

Blaster fire rang out and decimated the Revenant group with precise merciless shots. As the bodies slumped to the ground, smoke rising up from the plasma bolts etched into the backs of the dead soldiers, more howls of the dying could be heard in the vicinity.

“Right,” Ood said as he looked back at the group, “it seems we find ourselves in a very tight spot. We need to get to the hangar, preferably as fast as possible and without being spotted.”

The group continued it’s slow crawl throughout the streets without further incident before finally arriving at the hangar a good ninety minutes later. The shuttle that was captured was waiting for them, ready to fly at a moment’s notice once they got aboard.

Severian Supply Shuttle, Above Dandoran
En route to the Geta

“Are we really doing this?” the one named Alaris asked from a co-pilot’s seat in the captured Severian shuttle, boredom and slight disdain for the plan dripping from his voice. He had laughed during the briefing, but that had surely been sarcasm. Hadn’t it?

Raleien already despised Alaris. He didn’t warm up to most people. He had a special dislike for the narcissistic, self-centered force user. But he said nothing. Alaris may act like a selfish fool, but Raleien was old and just experienced enough to know that the Twi’lek was more than he appeared. Thinking on the subject as he listened from the back of the shuttle’s large cockpit, Raleien concluded that Alaris was deliberate and in control. Everything he did had a purpose.

The mad one called Ood nodded from a passenger’s chair behind Alaris. Then he pointed to the Geta, which held a stable orbit above Dandoran and Tipool City. The ship’s form expanded in the viewscreen of the shuttle as they flew closer.

“Oh yes,” Ood began, and Raleien noted a slightly manic cast to the Neti’s voice. Manic, but insanely intelligent. “Even if I believed you weren’t excited at the prospect of taking this ship, it’s too late now. By now the Geta has detected us and, I suspect, we’ve transmitted our security codes to pass through their deflector shields.” That same, sinister look he had shown during the briefing appeared on his face once again. “An Interdictor, they said. An act of piracy, they said. With a small insertion team, they said. Urgent, they said! And it’s on us to do the deed, they said. And we, a couple blue beings, the walking tree and the characteristically angry Anzat said yes. Yes to enslaving the bridge crew, yes to disrupting the Principate cruiser, and yes to stealing this ship. Of course, they didn’t say what to do with it or the crew once the deed is done. So use your imagination.”

Definitely insane, Raleien thought, a cold shiver at the Neti’s brutal genius running down his spine.

Alaris nodded and said, “I will do just that.”

The Anzat known as Darkblade said, “I’m not worried about us." He turned to look at Raleien. The meaning in his voice was clear. Us did not include Raleien, the sole non Force user in the team.

“Will this one keep up?”

The Pantoran shifted in his seat, lowering his eyes. He had seen war. But the hard and deep gazes of those before him made him writhe. He was surrounded by men with short fuses, lightning fingers and nothing to lose. But Raleien had been chosen for a reason. And so he spoke.

“Listen, uh, my Lords -”

Alaris laughed and raised a hand. “I’m not particularly fond of the whole Lord business right now. Call us by our names. Or," he continued with feigned nonchalance, "I’ll gut you where you sit.”

Raleien nodded and then began again, trying to gain what composure he could. His voice was still shaky as he spoke, “Listen, you all have powers and skills I will never have nor match. But I have tactical experience, a blaster I can use, and I make decent cannon fodder. I’m here, I’m committed, and I do - not - fail.”

Ood clapped his hands wildly as the other two stared with flat expressions at the old soldier. “For one who doesn’t talk much, excellent speech! Very good. Yes, an old soldier with an eye for small-team tactics will do us well. Your advice may come in use. But now, everyone, let’s prepare for arrival.” Ood turned to look back out the viewscreen, and his pitch black eyes reflected the silvery glow of the heavy cruiser growing in their field of vision. “Our work begins.”

The team fell silent and allowed the shuttle’s pilot to communicate with the Geta. The brief conversation confirmed that their security codes were genuine and they had permission to land in the cruiser’s hangar. They remarked that there hadn’t been a scheduled visit, but the communicator seemed to realize that Force users were an eccentric bunch. They also informed them that the executive officer of the vessel and a small honor guard would be there to greet them.

Passing through the deflector shields of the cruiser, the Supply Shuttle eventually landed in the large hangar. The four stood, gathering their equipment and possessions and made for the shuttle’s exit. A small ramp extended to the ground of the hangar and they stepped off. A line of three troopers to either side of the ramp. In front of them, centered directly between the two lines of troopers was a human woman in a crisp naval uniform waiting at attention.

“This is… unexpected. But welcome to the Geta. What brings Brotherhood allies of the Principate aboard during this operation?” Her voice was almost aristocratic. How very Imperial of her.

Raleien cleared his throat and replied, “My masters wish to meet with the captain of this ship. As our pilot communicated, we are sympathetic to their political goals.” Raleien had no idea what some of that meant, but Ood had been clear when the shuttle had first lifted off from Dandoran that was what he was to say as their attendant. Raleien could understand politics, but he was out of his depth here.

The executive officer nodded, looking over the four of them with a keen, measuring gaze.

“This way.”

She turned on her heel and began leading them deeper into the ship. Flanked by the six troopers, the team followed her through the bowls of the ship. Through rigid, squared corridors and clean lifts they went, up and up until they reached the bridge, all without incident.

But they were suspicious. Exiting a final lift onto the bridge, Raleien noticed the troopers behind them held their weapons a little too tight. They were accepted, but not entirely trusted.

And so their work began.

Two old Krath, a violent twi’lek, and a grizzled veteran may have sounded like an old heist holo, but plucky and goofy they were not when it came to their work. The entire crew was on edge and suddenly four agents of the Brotherhood showed up. The Principate had no idea which individual Brotherhood members were on who’s side. Surface thoughts were enough to let Alaris know that they needed to be as careful as possible to not show their hand until it was too late.

Arriving at the bridge of the Interdictor was part one. Thanks to the shuttle and the older codes that checked out it was easy. The three Force users were silent, taking the air of the wise learned sages of myths past.

The captain of the Geta was a short plump human with a receding hairline and an unfortunate patchy beard. He spoke in a surprisingly higher pitch than anticipated. “Welcome Masters Jedi and -”.

“I’m Lieutenant Commander Ray Leen.” It wasn’t the most impressive lie, but it would do for now. “We come to inform you of an impending invasion by Revenant scum.” That wasn’t as much of a lie. “The Jedi with me will be assisting in your defense.” That was an outright fabrication.

“We appreciate the assistance, but it’s hardly necessary.”

The “Commander” raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

The captain turned to the bow view port and pointed into the distance. “We’re awaiting reinforcements from the VSD Vel who will be arriving within minutes.”

Releien smiled and nodded. “Yes, of course. We’re just here to -”

The interruption was sudden, but it was an obvious ignition of a lightsaber and veil of green bled into the general lighting. The handful of armed soldiers on the bridge fell fairly quickly, once Ood and Morax figured out what Alaris was doing and joined the fray. Why he was doing it was a whole different question that would be asked later.

Dead bodies charred from blaster fire and cauterized by lightsabers were tossed over chairs and dropped on the deck in clumps. Among the carnage stood Alaris Jinn, looking satisfied, and three old beings, a human, a tree, and a tentacle monster, all waited a moment before erupting at the younger, much shorter, twi’lek. “What the kark did you do that for?”

“I made a calculation.” Alaris walked over to the hyperdrive controls and sent the hyperspace condition to the ship. “I calculated that it was going to take at least about fifteen minutes to convince this bridge crew to do what we wanted. I added the fact that we don’t know when the Vel is arriving. I then added a new mission: destroy the Vel.

“And how,” Morax near-shouted, “do you plan on doing that?”

The twi’lek allowed a grin. “Remember when Amilyn Holdo split the Supremacy basically down the middle?”

Ood looked down on the diminutive twi’lek with what Alaris thought might have been the tree smiling. “You’re smarter than you look, child.”

Alaris knew it wasn’t an insult, but it still annoyed him. “Yes, well. Thank you, I think.”

The hyperdrive control station blinked with hyperspace condition being set throughout the ship and he smiled.

“Once I flip the switch,” Alaris announced coolly, “we’ll have about 25 seconds to get to the escape pods and launch. Otherwise, we’ll get caught in the wake of the propulsion emissions and probably be destroyed by them expanding into the vacuum of space. So, you should probably get there now.”

As if on cue, a proximity alert sounded from the conn. The VSD Vel was hardly an imposing ship, but it was still much larger and a satisfying target.

Alaris looked at the other three and smiled a maniacal smile that meant get running.

They all glanced at each other quickly and ran for the bridge escape pods. “He’s gonna die here, isn’t he?” Morax called out over the warning klaxons blaring.

“Probably,” replied Raleien between gasps.

Ood took up one all on his own so the other two men slipped into one a little further down, leaving the closest pod for Alaris, should he make it.

“Hurryhurryhurryhurry,” Sonaverret wasn’t thrilled about how slow the escape pods closed on these old vessels, and despite knowing that coaxing it verbally would do nothing, he still kept murmuring at it.

The two escape pods jettisoned cleanly and with a quick burst of their thrusters began to plummet toward the planet below. Looking through the rear view, Raleien saw a third pod launch and then five seconds later, two things happened: the Geta disappeared and the Vel lost the front half of its wedge section. The vacuum sucked up the explosion fairly quickly, but it was clearly disabled and for the briefest of moments, a massive chunk of durasteel flew through hyperspace and ripped at space-time until it came out thousands of kilometers away, hurtling like a steel asteroid through the void.

In his pod, out of breath, Alaris Jinn looked up at the damage he had caused and smiled. Maybe Plan B wasn’t that bad after all.