[RoSM: Clan Plagueis - The A Team]


(Arden Karn di Plagia ) #1

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Team Roster
Kz’set -SNAPSHOT
Ronovi Tavisaen - SNAPSHOT
TuQ’uan Varick - SNAPSHOT
Dralin Fortea - SNAPSHOT
Teylas Ramar - SNAPSHOT

OBJECTIVE SELECTED - Pacify


(Morgan B. Sorenn) #2

Phase I objectives

‘‘Phase I begins on October 14th and ends on October 28th (two (2) weeks)’’

After intercepting a transmission from the now destroyed Brotherhood Listener ship, the Psi Termina I, your team has been hand-picked and sent on a mission. You are already boarded on the Dreadnaught-class heavy cruiser Akan, arriving in an Imperial boarding craft through the auxiliary starboard hangar, only several decks below your target. The Akan’s hyperdrives and major systems have been disabled by ion cannons from escorting ships and a battle still rages outside.

The ship’s power fluctuates with every blow from turbo lasers and ion cannons and you have limited time to complete your mission. The Collective regiment typically onboard is currently deployed, but ship security is fully staffed and some elements of the regiment may still be onboard. Intel expects Soldiers and Partisans onboard.

Your team has been tasked to complete one of the following objectives in limited time (you may complete only one (1) objective):

  • Revenge path: Reach the main bridge, face and eliminate Captain Brith Kayle and extract valuable information from the computer core before the fleet destroys the ship.

  • Sabotage path: Reach the primary computer core behind the main bridge, extract the information and set the ship to self-destruct before extracting.

  • Pacifist path: Reach the primary environmental controls on the main bridge, pacify the whole ship with Stun gas before extracting data from the computer core and calling in the cavalry.

Caution: the Captain is accompanied by an unknown number of enemy combatants.

The Phase must end with the bridge secured and the ship either pacified or destroyed. In all but the Revenge path, the Captain’s fate is up to you.


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #3

Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Akan
Hangar Bay
36 ABY

Hangar bays were always cold. All the time. Perhaps it was simply due to the vastness of the vacuum of space around them. Or maybe it was nonsensical to install heating systems in what would soon be deemed a graveyard of ships. Whatever the reason for the temperature, it chilled the blood in one’s veins and almost made one’s breath turn into particles of ice in the air.

Once she had disembarked from the Imperial boarding craft, Ronovi adjusted to the frigid environment easily. She remembered her last little ship skirmish years ago, which happened to take place in the Dark Lord Zoraan’s flagship, somehow aptly named the Avenger II. This was not the first time she had boarded an enemy vessel, and somehow, she didn’t think it’d be the last.

Behind her, those who at least pretended to show allegiance to Plagueis gathered up their gear and formed a small clump along the ramp of the shuttle. She was familiar with three of them: TuQ’uan Varick, Quaestor of Karness Muur, devoted to a fault to the Ascendant Clan’s cause. Teylas Ramar, a man who always seemed to come along for the ride, despite his obligations on Arx. And of course, Dralin Fortea, who had rather conveniently returned to Plagueis during the breaking point of the slave disruption on Aliso. Whether or not she still considered the man trustworthy even after so many years of knowing him - after all, Dralin had been the one who recruited the woman to the Brotherhood in the first place - Ronovi couldn’t safely say.

However, she was unfamiliar with the final addition to the ragtag strike team deployed by the powers that be. A Verpine, dressed in armored robes and equipped with a variety of motley weapons from an Oathbreaker to a Sapphire Blade, let his compound eyes stare deceivingly straight ahead as he settled himself between Dralin and Teylas. His name: Kz’set, a so-called ally of the Dread Lord’s. Ronovi could sense the calculated way he presented himself, the way he thought through his surroundings, even when they were as bare-boned as this ravaged hangar bay. His observing gaze, combined with his alarmingly insectoid frame, made the woman feel admittedly uncomfortable and on edge.

The reason why Kz’set was here, rather than Arden Karn, was simple: Ronovi herself had discouraged him from joining them. As her boots settled at last on the hangar bay’s floor, she couldn’t help thinking back on their conversation prior to the team’s departure, within the minimal captain’s quarters of the Ascendancy:

“And why, exactly, should I stay behind?”

Ronovi had stood in front of her superior, hands behind her back, the stench of her own Whyren’s still prevalent on her breath. She had, of course, drunk copiously to calm herself for this exchange. Meanwhile, Arden had been nursing a snifter of brandy like any gentleman would.

“Because,” she had opined, “the captain ought not to leave his fleet behind. Besides, I’ve been a hot shot leader of the pack before. I think I can handle it without having my hand held.”

“Can you really? This assignment is different than anything else you’ve done.”

“I know.” It was already more of a sneak mission than Ronovi had anticipated. Stunning an entire ship crew, compromising a captain, and finding information on this “Meridian” base. She had not expected to deal with the Collective again. They had not turned out to merely be a one hit wonder.

But Arden had been insistent. “I’m serious here. You’re accustomed to jumping into the fray and eliminating as many of your targets as possible. In most situations, that’s reasonable, even expected. Not this time. Under no circumstances are you to kill anyone who can be of potential use to the clan. Understood?”

Ronovi had understood, all right. She knew exactly what Arden was looking for: Quantities. Resources. Results. The man thought like an economist, behaved like a strategist. Everything he observed, he saw numbers built into its skeleton. In order to maintain and expand an empire, you needed people willing to mold its bricks. Arden’s ultimate goal for Plagueis, consequently, was clear.

So that was Ronovi’s assignment. And she had told the team as much, too: No unnecessary killing. Strange request for the Ascendant Clan, but orders were orders. They were obligated to follow the Dread Lord’s commands.

The Dreadnaught-class cruiser suddenly rocked violently back and forth as if shoved by gigantic hands, and Ronovi snapped back to the present. Most likely, the turbo laser fire from the Brotherhood fleets was doing some serious damage. Beckoning for her team to follow her, she grabbed her commlink off her utility belt, mashed some buttons, and held the device to her ear like an old-fashioned phone.

“Tavisaen,” a voice growled.

“Reg, I need a reading on the ship. How far below the bridge are we?”

There was some humming on the other side of the transmission before the Bothan had an answer. “You’re about six deck levels below. Given the scope and effects of the oncoming attack, I doubt using the turbolifts is a good idea. You’ll have to go for alternative routes.”

“Oh, goodie,” grumbled Ronovi. “I love taking the stairs.”

“Mind the ship’s crew and the Partisans. There are going to be some armed people still around,” advised Reg. “I’ll give you updates as needed.”

“How long d’you think this ship will hold?”

“I’m no fortune teller, Tavisaen, but I’d say you should pretend you have no time at all.”

“Roger, Reg.” Ronovi lowered her comm and turned to face her strike team. “Remind me: Which one of you’s good with extracting data from a computer core again?”

The ship seemed to buzz in response as it swayed once more from outside impact. Time was definitely not on their side.


(Dralin Fortea) #4

Multiple hands were raised in answer to Ronovi’s question, and Dralin gave an entertained snort. “Looks like you’re the only one here lost on technology, Ronovi. Remind me why we brought you?”

“Keep it up,” the Epicanthix replied with a mock scowl, “and I’ll show you why I’m here.”

Dralin clapped his hands together. “An excellent segue into my next point: the plan.” The Coruscanti gestured toward the nearby bulkhead, and a crude map of the ship in cross-section appeared, as if Dralin were a Force-powered holoprojector. “Gather ‘round, class, as I have prepared some slides on our way in.”

The other Plagueians looked toward each other in askance.

“That one knowszzz time iszzz limited?” Kz’set buzzed to the side of his mouth. Teylas shook his head, and TuQ’uan, unfamiliar with Dralin, only blinked. Ronovi, however, played along.

“So we’re here.” She pointed at the map, and Dralin shifted the image, this time including a red dot indicating the entrance point, with a line creeping up the deck plan until it reached the environmental controls in the bridge.

“Kz’set, you volunteered to do the actual hacking en route, so this will be your path,” Dralin continued. “It will take some time to get there without lifts, so what do you propose?”

The Verpine paused for thought as a shudder went through the ship. “Accesszzz must be cleared. The Collective’s strength iszzz numberszzz. Break them up, and we will put them to sleep.”

Dralin waved his illusion away. “Sounds like you need a distraction. Some of us could lure security away.”

“We’re with Kz’set,” Teylas supplied. “Either of us could do the job, so redundancy will make sure it gets done.”

TuQ’uan looked surprised at the inclusion, but he nodded as if to say he didn’t have a better suggestion.

“Looks like we’re on a team, then,” Ronovi said to Dralin with a raised eyebrow. “Do you think you’re up to this? We’ll be outnumbered, and I don’t need you slowing me down once the fighting starts.”

Dralin gave an exaggerated look of being wounded. “Slow you down? When I have I ever slowed you down?”

“The Renegade?” Ronovi retorted, accentuating her words with a tap on her cybernetic eyepatch.

Dralin opened his mouth and stood there a moment before turning to address the other three. “We’ll see you after the gassing, then? Do try not to let us die down here while we paint a target on ourselves.”

Teylas shrugged as he headed toward the stairwell with Kz’set and TuQ’uan. “No promises.”

Ronovi snapped her fingers just before the larger portion of the team left the hangar bay. “Teylas and the Apostrophes!” Everyone turned to look at her while projecting varying measures of annoyance. “That’s your team’s name. You sound like a band that plays at Hak’s Hideout. And we’re the Dynamic Duo, because it’s a classic name.”

“Ronovi, I know I sounded like I was making a joke when I said you have no time, but I was being serious,” Reg supplied over the comms.

The Proconsul frowned. “Why aren’t you picking on Dralin? He’s the one who decided to hold a miniature seminar.”

“Because it was fun and educational. And he has muted my comm frequency. Please get to work, my lord.”

“So, do we follow them upstairs?” Ronovi asked as she turned to her ally.

“What? No, of course not,” Dralin replied, as he strolled over to the turbolifts.

“But Reg said -”

“Ronovi, we travel the void with ease, eat food created by microprocessors, and fight using energy swords. We are well past stairs, thank you.”

Dralin popped open the access panel next to the turbolift controls, and, after some fiddling and muttering under his breath, the lift came to life with lights and an open door.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to do that to my own lift,” he confided in his comrade as the polished doors enclosed them.

Ronovi rolled her eye as she pressed the button for two levels higher. “I’ll be honest, Dralin, I’m surprised this worked out so well.”

Seconds later, the doors opened to an inferno, apparently set ablaze during the battle raging outside. The two looked at each other a moment, sharing a silent agreement to never talk about this again, before hitting the button again in the hopes of reaching a more hospitable level.


Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Akan
Bridge
Present time

“Sir, we have an anomaly on the power grid,” reported one of the ship’s engineers. “One of the turbolifts have activated, and the capsule is on the move. We are trying to disable it, but it isn’t responding to commands.”

The Rodian commander’s muzzle gave a twitch as he considered his options. Brith Kayle had been focused on the fight raging outside, and he hadn’t anticipated a boarding party.

Still, it could be a malfunction. I can’t risk bridge crew on nothing…

“I want two security personnel to check it out,” Brith ordered. “Call for reinforcements before engaging, but if it’s just a short from the damage, you’re to return immediately.”

No more distractions. I will break free from this and warn the Collective that the scum are on the move.


(TuQ'uan Varick) #5

TuQ’uan paused, leaning on the railing for a moment to catch his breath. Footsteps from his companions quietly bounced off the durasteel walls.

“I hate stairs,” the Kel Dor spoke under his breath. “Are we almost there?”

“You haven’t even reached the second level,” Teylas growled. The two Force users continued on without glancing back at their Forceless counterpart. With a sigh, the mercenary straightened himself and quickened his pace to catch up with the rest of his team.

They had gone up four uneventful levels before the sound of pounding footsteps grew like the crescendo of a dozen rhythmless drums. Teylas and the Apostrophes quickly backtracked to the previous landing, the rising thunder of footsteps covering the sounds of their movement.

The perspiration was thick on the Kel Dor’s leathery skin, though he wasn’t entirely sure if it was from the adrenaline or the exercise he was forced to partake in. He took the last few steps two at a time as he rushed for a doorway they had passed by, his comrades right on his tail. The momentum he had built up nearly sent him careening into the wall. With barely a pause, TuQ’uan slammed his palm into the door controls and slipped through the opening pathway.

The door had barely opened all of the way before beginning its slide back into position. The trio stood, backs pressed to the wall on either side of the door, listening closely as the Collective soldiers stormed past. As the last of the footsteps faded away, TuQ’uan let out a sigh of relief and threw his head back. The moment of relief was short lived when the Kel Dor’s crimson head collided with the wall behind him a little bit harder than anticipated. Kz’set shot him a look as the smack echoed down the hall. A single set of footsteps could be heard slowly returning to the doorway.

If the mercenary’s face could get any redder it would have, he decided he needed to fix his mistake. Reaching down, TuQ’uan began to pull his DL-44 from its place at his hip when the jade coloured hand of the Verpine stopped him.

“Now iszzz not the time,” Kz’set hissed.

Time seemed to stand still as they waited. The sound of the actuators in the wall broke the silence, and the door wooshed open. A lone Partisan stepped through the doorway with his blaster shakily at the ready. His gaze swept down the empty hallway and stopped as he locked eyes with the Falleen juggernaut standing at the ready beside him.

“Freeze! Don’t move,” the young soldier almost pleaded. A hint of fear was evident in his voice.

TuQ’uan’s finger instinctively flexed, readying to just shoot the poor kid until he was reminded of their orders not to kill. Is Teylas smiling right now?

In the blink of an eye, Teylas had raised his hands, now balled into fists, in front of his torso. Leather and durasteel clashed as the di Plagia’s forearm slammed into the side of the E-11 blaster pointed at him. A single plasma bolt went wide as the soldier lost his only opportunity to win this fight. The muscles rippled through the Falleen’s arm, and his clenched fist shot upwards, connecting cleanly with the underside of his target’s jaw. Teeth collided with teeth, sending a rippling shockwave up the Human’s face and leaving him in a daze. Before the Partisan could clear the stars from his head, a second emerald fist shot forward landing a devastating blow on the bridge of his nose. The Human crumpled to the ground.

Despite only one shot being fired, the smell of ozone was beginning to filter through the Kel Dor’s antiox mask.

“I hate to break up the fun, but I think we got their attention.”

Teylas pulled the unconscious body out of the way as Kz’set activated to door controls closing off the access to the stairs. Finally, TuQ’uan was able to draw his blaster, prepared to injure a few Partisans if necessary. The Akan rocked as the Brotherhood fleets outside struck another blow. The mercenary tried to keep himself as steady as possible, but he felt like he was in a drinking competition with Ronovi.

The moments passed by as the team waited, and waited. Someone should have come through the door by now, but no one wanted to move from their ready position to find out why. It was the Verpine who had finally had enough. Crossing the short distance between himself and Teylas, Kz’set seemed to choose the placement of each step carefully. Stopping short of his fellow Force user, The techweaver reached for the unconscious Partisan’s earpiece. He lifted it gingerly— almost lovingly— up to his ear, as voices squawked away on the other end.

“Lookszzz like the others are doing their job. Let us do ourszzz.” Kz’set opened the door one last time. “The bridge iszzz only two more levels above uszzz.”


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #6

Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Akan
One Level Below Bridge
Present time

The doors to the turbolift slid open to reveal much less of a hellish landscape, and Dralin and Ronovi slipped briskly into the winding corridors of the cruiser’s hull. It had been clear why Reg had told them not to take the lift - the constant barrage of gunfire outside has caused it to nearly shut down several times, giving the Epicanthix nervous conniptions and causing her to cast angry grimaces her comrade’s way.

“Well,” she snorted once placing her boots on a solid durasteel floor again. “Remind me to actually listen to the Bothan next time and not go with your instincts, Fortea.”

“Appreciate the vote of confidence, my lord,” Reg’s voice crackled from the comm on her utility belt. Ronovi scowled and turned down the volume of her transmission exponentially.

“The man said time was not on our side. I was inclined to believe him,” Dralin responded, his stark cybernetic green eyes never losing their luster as he hardly seemed to blink. “Ergo, turbolift time.”

“I suppose it worked out in the end.” Ronovi let her vision shift toward the hallway ahead of them. “Anyway. Why not just go straight to the bridge?”

“Because they would be expecting us there. I predict they’ll send a couple of scouts, tops, and we’ll make quick work of them,” Dralin observed. “Once we incapacitate them, they’ll have no choice but to send down more men.”

“Ah, assaying the situation, as it were.”

“Let’s give them the impression we’re ‘high-value targets,’” Dralin decided, as the two began their long and casual stroll. “That way, they’ll have to split up forces. Makes it easier for Teylas and the Apostrophes.”

“Hah, see? You’re getting the hang of it.”

As she spoke, Ronovi scanned Dralin, noticing that he still wore his tattered suit. As far as she was concerned, he carried no lightsaber. In fact, he didn’t have a single weapon on him. As long as the woman had known him, he had always carried something; now it seemed that she was the one armed to the teeth, while Dralin was a whistling bystander.

“So.” She started the conversation matter-of-factly, not wanting to reveal her confusion regarding Dralin’s armory - or lack thereof. “Karn wants us to…avoid killing these bastards if possible. So, what were you thinking?”

“As in…?”

Ronovi smirked. “As in, what you plan to do to them,” she replied. “To knock ‘em down, basically. Me, I’m fine with not killing. I’ll just hurt them. As much as possible.”

“You’ll maim them?”

“Nah, not that far. We need limbs and other organs preserved. But you know me. I like punching people.”

“So I remember.”

They stopped walking when they heard boots clomping in their direction. Two men - Dralin was on the money with that estimate - emerged as if from the shadows. Just some average mundanes posing as security, Ronovi surmised, with what looked like E-11 blaster rifles tucked under their arms. One appeared to be wearing a Collective uniform, the dark gray and gold scheme recognizable beneath his cloak, while the other donned a tunic and admittedly useless leather armor. At least, it would be useless if Ronovi had planned to stab them mercilessly and repeatedly with both ends of her saberstaff.

Luckily for them, it was not doomsday just yet.

The Partisans stopped in their tracks as they eyed the two Dark Jedi in front of them. Dralin cracked his knuckles. Ronovi waved as if saying hello. They were met with two blasters cocked and aimed for their noses.

“Hands behind your head, intruders! Now!” barked one of them.

“Want something to punch?” Dralin whispered out of the side of his mouth.

“Sure.”

“Then ball up your fists.”

In the next moment, the Partisan who had dared to flap his gums was yanked from his footing and flung into the air as if caber tossed by an invisible rogue. As he descended toward Ronovi, the Epicanthix couldn’t help but instinctively strike out at his flailing body, her right hand morphing deftly into a fist before it made contact with the man’s jaw. Her impromptu uppercut glanced off his chin, slamming his teeth together and causing several of his molars to crack, the sound of fissuring bone like splitting ice as the Partisan accidentally chomped down on his own tongue. He landed with an ungraceful plop on his stomach toward Ronovi’s right flank.

Ronovi, momentarily stunned, examined her right hand before turning to Dralin. The Coruscanti was smiling right back at her.

Of course. He was a master of telekinesis. That was how he was going to deal with them.

This would be fun.

As the other Partisan unleashed a volley of haphazard blasters bolts, the Wrath of Plagueis leaped into action, covering the distance quickly as she approached the man she had just punched. As he managed to return to his feet and spat out clotted blood, she seized the collar of his tunic and pulled him sharply toward her, then lifted up her elbow and drove straight down. Given her height, it was easy for her to at least dislocate bone with such a jab, but the cracking sound the Partisan’s shoulder made was music to her ears. His howl added to the symphony as he slipped back to one knee, his firearm dangling limply at his side as his arm would not respond to a shattered scapula and clavicle.

Ronovi made the next two blows quick and succinct - the back of her knuckles made their impact as she swung them against the man’s face, and a precise roundhouse kick to the neck send him whirling toward the nearest wall, his skull colliding with the ship’s skeleton and leaving him unconscious. She then whipped toward the second trigger happy Partisan, only to realize that Dralin was already making quick work of him after the mundane had failed to put any burning holes in him. The wannabe security man had been lifted from the ground as if by an invisible rope, and the veins in his throat bulged as he gasped for air. The unseen grip that Dralin had around his neck was enough to make his skin turn from bright red to a sickly lilac purple. Then, all at once, he let the poor bloke drop, the thud his body made resounding throughout the corridor as he fell into a “deep sleep.”

A silence crept into the space once again, and the two friends exchanged glances. Ronovi didn’t have to say anything before Dralin answered her unaired question.

“Non-lethal Force chokes,” he grinned. “Non-lethal Force chokes for everyone.”

“So, should we wait here?”

“May as well stay for the main event,” replied the Coruscanti. “They were just appetizers. We can let the entrees come to us.”

“It’s a shame,” Ronovi commented.

“What do you mean?”

She sneered. “You ought to have brought your kettle. We could have made tea while we waited.”

Given the quick communication system within the Akan, however, they didn’t have to wait long.


Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Akan
Bridge
Present time

“Captain!” an officer called out. “I’m detecting activity one deck below us on the sensors! It doesn’t look good!”

“Any word back from our security personnel?” barked Brith, his already green skin growing an even darker shade of green.

“No, sir! Just dead air! Your orders?”

The Rodian thought quickly. It may have been foolish to send down two Partisans, but they had been disposable; his other men were not. Still, having Brotherhood filth prowl the floor beneath him was making his blood boil. Both his trickster side and his military background were warring with one another - to go the generic militaristic route or stick to cunning were the two options he really had, and neither were preferable.

He let the fingers of her cybernetic hand clench and an angry noise escape from him. “Fine! Send three technocrats down to take care of ‘em! Any other soldiers on other levels, send them after the targets! But I’m not wasting any good men on that garbage!”

“Yes, sir!”

Brith did not step away from his position from the bridge. He continued to stare outward, watching the hellfire all around him. He did not turn to look as three cybernetically modified golems marched almost in unison through the opened blaster doors. They were sometimes hard to look at for him: Pale-skinned, thin-lipped, incredibly androgynous. A bit eerie. But strong. Very strong.

At this rate, he thought, it made no sense to squander too much for so little. As he observed the outside combat, he wondered if he was simply to go down with the ship, no matter what decision he ultimately made.


(Teylas Ramar di Plagia) #7

Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Akan
Right Outside Bridge
Present time

The three Plagueians stood outside the bridge, having guided themselves past several soldiers that Captain Kayle had sent searching for the intruders. Teylas almost felt bad that they would reach Ronovi and Dralin, even if that was the plan. Not bad for the other two Plagueians, but bad that he wouldn’t be able to enjoy pummeling the lackeys himself. While the instructions were to not kill anyone, it certainly didn’t stop Teylas’ enjoyment of beating everyone senseless along the way.

As they approached the huge, reinforced double doors to the bridge, Teylas and TuQ’uan looked at one another as Kz’set fiddled with the door controls to the bridge which was already on lockdown.

“Can you sense how many people are in there?” TuQ’uan asked the two Dark Jedi.

Teylas smirked. “More than enough for all three of us.” The almost delightful reply was followed by the sound of metal on metal as the door locks disengaged. The door didn’t immediately open, causing Teylas to shoot Kz’set a glancing sneer.

“Kz’set… the door is still in between our fists and their faces,” the Falleen impatiently mocked, even getting a bit of a chuckle out of TuQ’uan.

“Would you like to do thiszzz?” the Verpine snapped back just as the doors parted slightly, just enough for a body to squeeze through.

TuQ’uan approached the opening and quickly shot over it to the other door, giving a quick glance through the opening. Kz’set and Teylas both gave anticipating looks at what the Kel Dor saw. “Well… there looks to be quite a few guards on the bridge… and they’ve all got blasters pointed at the opening waiting for one of us to step through. Any suggestions?”

“I’ll get the guns, you get some of the guys,” Teylas suggested looking at Kz’set then continued, “TuQ’uan shoots some legs out to clean up?” The Verpine nodded to the affirmative, and without even a second to react Teylas pushed his body through the opening in the doors. He outstretched his right hand, pulling it towards him as he clenched his fist. Most of the disruptors and disruptor rifles that the bridge guards had came flying out of their hands before they could even react to pull the trigger, skidding across the ground towards the Falleen’s feet.

Kz’set stepped through the opening followed closely by TuQ’uan. Kz’set reached out and arced Force lightning down his arm, extending from his body, across the room and shocking the still standing guards into numbness onto the deck plating of the bridge. The guards, numb and unable to move, were probably the most uninjured of the soldiers that the Plagueians had pacified on the ship to that point.

TuQ’uan immediately took aim to the straggler few who were left standing, shooting liberally at their limbs in an attempt to incapacitate them. One straggler, staring blankly at Captain Kayle who stood there in disbelief and fear, tried to run past the Plagueians only to be met by the stiff punch in the cheekbone by the butt of TuQ’uans DL-44.

“Captain Kayle, we need to talk,” Kz’set firmly stated, clicking his mandibles at the end of his sentence.


(Arden Karn di Plagia ) #8

Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Akan
Bridge

Kz’set, however, did not get a response from the Rodian captain as he crumpled to the deck unconscious. The Verpine shot a look at TuQ’uan that seemed to be one of disgust.

“Needed him awake for thiszzz.”

“Why?” TuQ’uan replied. “These Collective types have all been fanatics thus far. Did your plans really assume you could torture the passcodes out of him?”

“No,” Kz’set replied coldly. “But it would have kept Teylas amused while I hacked the system.”

Teylas smirked slightly in response as Kz’set sat down at the captain’s command console. He performed a quick hack to disable the security feeds on the bridge, which he hoped ship’s security would attribute to battle damage. Once done he moved on to the next stage of the operation, finding the right schematics for the environmental system. After inserting a spike and clicking away with his chitionous fingers, as an afterthought he keyed his own comlink.

“Ronovi, we’re in, get up here.”

Without waiting for a response, Kz’set went on with his work, a few seconds later briefly pointing to a panel in the aft portion of the bridge and hastily uttered a few words.

“TuQ, gas, there.”

TuQ’uan looked momentarily confused. “Where?”

Kz’set buzzed out what must have amounted to a Verpine sigh and took a hand off the console. He then pointed to the panel again and curled his finger back, ripping the panel clean off, bringing his hand back to the console like he’d just entered one more command with it.

“Oh, that one,” TuQ’uan muttered. “Could have just pointed again.”

Teylas grinned slightly. “Don’t interrupt the bug when he’s working, things tend to break when you do.”

Kz’set didn’t acknowledge Teylas’ comment, but it was definitely an accurate one. In fact, that notion was about to be tested again a few moments later. One of the bridge staff who had been dropped earlier had the nerve to stumble to his feet and make a move towards Kz’set. Without skipping a beat, Kz’set waved the backside of his right hand, which had just finished cracking a passcode, at the offending Collective crewman and sent him careening back against the bulkhead with a strong telekinetic jolt to his face.

“That had to hurt.” Came Ronovi’s voice from the bridge entrance, Dralin following close behind. “You boys look like you had fun.”

“We did,” Teylas replied as he glanced at TuQ who was installing the gas canisters.”I’m not sure the bug is capable of having fun.”

Kz’set didn’t say anything for a few seconds, his fingers still furiously clacking against the console. A moment later they stopped and he looked up,

“Bridge environmental systemszzz have been isolated. TuQ, bottom blue lever will deploy gas. Yes, that was fun.”


(Morgan B. Sorenn) #9

This Phase lasts from October 29th until November the 11th (two (2) weeks)

Request from the organizers: Please add a note to the top of the next post which path your team will choose in this Phase. Thank you.

Phase II objectives

Your team left the dreadnought Akan with information that, together with the data analysed by Clans and the Inquisitorius, has lead your to the Meridian Prime space station, a fortress, correctional facility and space dock floating in interstellar space just off the Wild Space boundary. Already under attack by Clan and Dark Council forces, dogfights light up the blackness around the behemoth, and intel suggests the shields and defenses have not yet been weakened enough for a full-scale naval assault. The station is on full alert and firefights have already started as skirmishes between Collective troops and Brotherhood assault teams pepper its three massive hangar bays.

The station houses civilian and enemy personnel, including a correctional facility that holds hundreds of Brotherhood prisoners of war, both Non-Force users and Force users alike. The prison has an isolated security system, its own power generator and life-support. Intel suggests that the prison is managed by a powerful AI (artificial intelligence) controlling the Dioxis security system, many defense blaster turrets, ray shields and a large complement of Imperial Sentry Droids acting as guards, controlled by the prison warden. The interior of the prison itself is pumped with a thin mist of Dioxis gas, preventing escape and anarchy.

You have been dropped off on the lower decks via boarding pod.

Breath masks are provided for this mission, should your team require them. Any Possessions item that prevents inhaling of poisonous gas will be effective as well.

Your team has been tasked to complete one of the following objectives in limited time (you may complete only one (1) objective):

  • Revenge path: Reach the correctional facility and eliminate prison warden Rutgar-4. Caution is advised as there are Imperial Sentry Droids defending him.

  • Sabotage path: Reach the prison’s AI core to recycle the life support and free the prisoners. Prepare for a riot as many prisoners are powerful Force Users and Non-Force Users.

  • Pacifist path: Reach the prison’s AI core and disable the security systems to allow incoming Brotherhood troops to secure the facility.

The phase must end with the prison facility secured, one way or another. In all but the Revenge path, the prison warden’s fate is up to you.

Relevant character sheets:

  • CS: Rutgar-4
  • Since there are no character sheets for droids, participants will use the Possessions i9tem page as reference: Imperial Sentry Droids
  • See the station wiki for other possible adversaries

(Dralin Fortea) #10

OBJECTIVE SELECTED: SABOTAGE

Meridian Prime space station
Correctional facility
36 ABY

Amid the explosions and the ringing klaxxon, TuQ’uan took a moment to watch his charge at work. Had they the time and some quiet, the Kel Dor could have hacked the prison AI with style and panache, but under the circumstances, Kz’set had stepped up to the plate and attacked the task with methodical precision. The Verpine looked like a mad pipe organ player as his chitinous digits fluttered about the keyboard in the flashing red alarm lights, the thin mist of Dioxis gas, and the glow of nearby flames, as if he were performing for a crime lord.

Coming to you live, from your local utility tunnel, he mused.

There was a clatter behind the mercenary, and he spun in place, his blaster coughing multiple times before he even completed his turn. A flurry of bolts hit the partially slagged torso of a one-armed Imperial Sentry Droid, and the malevolent red light faded from its photoreceptors as it powered off for the last time. Just beyond the deceased droid stood a Ronovi, Teylas, and Dralin, their eyes stark behind their masks, which served to block out any invading, noxious fumes.

Even without the Force, TuQ’uan could see that they were brimming with power, lit as they were with arcs of electricity and flashes of purple and blue lightsaber blades. The Epicanthix and the Falleen framed the doorway, allowing the metal hatch to funnel new opponents into their waiting weapons, punctuated with the occasional blast of Force lightning. Dralin stood behind them as he concentrated on maintaining a barrier, requiring the droid combatants to come through the door in order to properly reach their quarry by holding off blaster bolts from the approaching mass.

The trio moved in tandem as if their moves were planned in advance, as their brilliant minds worked within a Force meld. Dralin had explained the principle of the technique to TuQ’uan, but it wasn’t something he could understand in the same capacity as those born to their power. Nevertheless, he could admire their coordination in the defense of the choke point, which gave him the wiggle room to take care of any stragglers that made it through. They had held this room for the last fifteen minutes.

Dralin gave a shout as his barrier gave out suddenly, and a blaster bolt to his arm and his side caused him to drop down into a three-point crouch. Ronovi began hacking at the oncoming droid company with a primal yell, and Teylas backpedaled to gain room to maneuver. Imperial droids crowded into the doorway, and TuQ’uan’s pistol spewed blaster bolts around his allies. Incoming shots answered, but TuQ’uan danced around this retort and drew one of his grenades.

As he pulled the pin and tossed the EMP to land just inside the doorway, Kz’set turned to address his beset comrades.

“Finished. Waszzz not too difficult.”

First, there came a breeze, like the initial headwind of an incoming storm. With the breeze fled the thin haze of Dioxis gas, and the organic intruders could feel the sudden rush of fresh atmosphere blanket their skin.

Second, the sound of hundreds of prison cells opening rang out, like thunder cracking in the distance. The storm had arrived, and Rutgar-4, warden of Meridian Prime, was not prepared.


(TuQ'uan Varick) #11

Meridian Prime space station
Correctional facility
36 ABY

As the thunderous sound of cell doors opening died down, silence filled the correctional facility. Then, slowly, the shouting began. Confusion melted away into anger, as those imprisoned in the facility realized that their shackles had been cast away and it was time to fight back against their captors. As the roar of voices grew louder, TuQ’uan looked around nervously at his cohorts.

“So…how do we want to do this?”

“Next up is the warden, and according to the information we got from the Akan, the best way to get to him is straight through the prison floor.” Ronovi barely paused before making her way towards the door, now littered with the corpses of Imperial Sentry Droids.

“And right through the riots. Great,” the Kel Dor mumbled to himself before inspecting his blaster to ensure he was ready for what was to come.

“The prisonerszzz will offer a distraction for the security systemszzz. But don’t forget the Dread Lord’s orderszzz. We want to take as many of them alive as possible.”

Dralin’s face tensed with frustration. No matter how many times they tried to ease his mind, the idea of using the prisoners as subjugates on Aliso angered him.

Without warning, a series of blaster bolts rang out from the passageway ahead of them.

“We have to move, now.” Teylas led the charge towards the danger.


Meridian Prime Space Station
Correctional Facility Cell Block Aubresh
36ABY

The chaos on the floor of cell block Aubresh was incredible. Fights raged on in all directions like a sea of writhing bodies. TuQ’uan attempted to watch a dizzying clash between a group of cornered Force users and Imperial Security Droids. The droids swiped at the prisoners with their stun batons, and suddenly, a Twi’lek prisoner was up and over their attacker with arcs of lightning extending from her hand. The whole group of prison guards crumpled, electrical currents jolting their bodies and making them flop like fish out of water.

There have to be a hundred skirmishes in here alone, TuQ’uan thought to himself in amazement.

No matter where he looked, Force users and non-Force users alike were locked in mortal combat. In some places, more flashes of lightning lit up the area, whereas in others, light seemed to vanish entirely. Where flashy Force powers weren’t being put to use, superhuman speed and strength were being taken advantage of to pommel enemies. The Kel Dor chuckled to himself as he watched a fellow non-Force user pilfer a stun baton from a fallen droid, turning the weapon on the guards and bashing in a few metal skulls.

Crossing the floor was going to be a lot more difficult than the mercenary had expected. But on the bright side, the security droids were too preoccupied with the rioting prisoners to pay much attention to the team of Plagueians.

“Well, should we get going?” he asked to apparently no one. To his surprise, the rest of the group was not as awestruck as he was at the sight and had already started moving along. Of course they don’t care. They can do all of those fancy things.

The motley crew of Plagueians mirrored their formation from earlier, with the exception of Kz’set taking up position at the front of the group, and Ronovi and Teylas standingto either side. TuQ’uan took up his position at the rear of the team, blaster ready to pick off anyone who decided to draw them into the chaos. The mercenary watched as Dralin took a deep breath and appeared to draw the Force into him, a look of grim determination written across his face.

The Force users once again moved in a coordinated unison, but this time something felt wrong. Their attacks weren’t as certain; there was an aggression to every swing and strike that wasn’t there before. To anyone else, it would have been imperceptible, but TuQ’uan had spent the last fifteen minutes watching and studying the well oiled Force user machine. As well as they were doing to make their way through the throngs of people, it looked sloppier than before.

Even still, they had pushed their way through the majority of the riot and the path to the Warden’s office was close.

“Almost there!” TuQ’uan shouted to be heard over the conflict. He looked back to see just how far they had come, and despite walking over countless beaten and bloody unconscious bodies it still seemed like the number of combatants had yet to diminish.

Something caught the mercenary’s eye. He spun back around to see a security droid had broken through to their group. As the droid swung his stun baton at Ronovi, Tu’Quan unleashed a volley of plasma aimed directly at its processor unit. Hitting his target just a moment too late, the baton made contact, sending a shock through Ronovi as its wielder fell lifeless to the ground joining the rest of the casualties of the riot.

Ronovi kneeled for a moment to rest and catch her breath; the shock had surprised her more than it did any actual damage.

“Keep moving!” the Dread Lord’s Wrath growled.

With one final push they made it the final few feet through the crowds and into the passage on the other side.


(Arden Karn di Plagia ) #12

After a few moments, the group arrived at a short corridor leading to the facility’s control room. As expected, there were a pair of sentry droids standing outside the securely locked door. When they were about to turn the corner, TuQ’uan reflexively raised his weapon to quickly dispatch the droids. However, Kz’set quickly grabbed the Kel Dor before he showed himself and pulled him back. TuQ’uan shot a look back the Verpine as if to ask why, but Kz’set simply held up a spindly finger and then stepped in front of the Kel Dor. Cautiously poking his head around the corner, Kz’set took the same finger and pointed it at the droid on the left. After a second or two, the droid raised its own weapon and fired, and the droid on the right fell down in a shower of sparks.

TuQ’uan shot an even nastier look at the Verpine. “What the kriff was all that?”

As he casually strolled down the corridor, Kz’set explained. “It’s well known that the Force can bend the will of weak minded organicszzz. What’s less known is that the same can be done with droids. Besideszzz, this is faster than hacking the door.”

“And why didn’t you do that sooner?” Dralin piped in.

The Verpine shrugged. “Because I didn’t want to deny Ronovi her fun.”

Ronovi promptly glared at the insectoid. “Just get us to the warden. Then I can have fun.”

Kz’set shook his head and the pointed a finger back at the ensorceled sentry droid and then at the door. A moment later, the sentry droid approached the door to the control center, keyed a command into a panel, and allowed the control center door to open. Gesturing for the sentry droid to enter, Kz’set followed a step behind. Just as they took a step into the room, he heard the familiar snap of a blaster cannon firing, and a split second later, the sentry droid’s head exploded. Kz’set snapped his lightsaber to life and looked up to see a pair of blaster turrets pointed at the door.

“Clever ploy,” a mechanical voice trilled from the center of the room. “That’s definitely a new one. I was really hoping you’d try to hack your way in.”

“I figured you might have trapped the dataports,” Kz’set replied. “I would have.”

Ronovi piped up from behind Kz’set. “Rutgar-4, I presume?”

“In the metal, you might say.” The Warden’s reply was somewhat excited in tone. After flipping a switch to put the blaster turrets on automatic, he stood up, finally became visible. “I think y’all are smart enough to know that one more step, and the guns will light you up.”

Kz’set cracked his neck a bit and moved his lighstaber into a defensive position. Looking at Rutgar, the Verpine got straight to the point.

“So what’s a rock like you doing in a place like this?”

Rutgar-4, or rather his droid shell, shot a look at Kz’set, seemingly surprised at the Verpine picking up on his true state. “So the insect really is a smart one.”

“Wasn’t hard,” Kz’set replied. “When I tried to take your host over, I felt a second presence pretty quickly. Shard seemed like the obvious answer. Odd choice of body.”

“I liked the optics. Very sinister.” The Warden seemed unflustered by the Verpine. “Though I’m usually the one who asks the questions here. I have one for you. Would you prefer to submit and die somewhat slowly, or fight and end up dying even slower?”

Kz’set chuckled in response and then looked over to Ronovi.

“Ready for some fun?”


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #13

The Epicanthix cocked her head to one side at the sight of the Shard in its HK-47 vessel. Though she couldn’t see the crystal, she could detect it - feel it pulsating, despite the fact that it could not harness the Force. There had been, at least at one point in time, a group of Force-sensitive Shards that had fought alongside the Jedi, even taking their names from lightsaber crystals. But Rutgar-4 was not one of them - nor would he most likely been keen on being one, given his allegiance to the Collective.

To her, the droid was not very tall, nor did he appear very intimidating. Still, huddled in this control room, he was most likely armed, and the turrets were there to prevent something like this from even happening. All the Warden simply had to do was wait, and he did. And if he could, he would have been smiling.

Of course, Ronovi was smiling back.

She knew that she, Kz’set, and Teylas could topple their opponent easily, despite the presence of the turrets and the defensive systems built into the control center. TuQ’uan and Dralin could very well have struggled if they had been on their own, but their powers together contributed vastly to the overall group effort. Having a team made a world of difference. And yet, Ronovi was more interested in seeing how they could defend her rather than how they could join her in the fray.

In the end, she wanted to be the one who cut down the literal metalmouth herself.

Ronovi turned and smiled at her companions, both seeing and listening to them shuffle into their primary stances. She closed her organic eye for a moment, taking in breaths to steady herself. Her hand settled around the cold hilt of her saberstaff. A deep, modulated chuckle rang around her. She heard the slippery sound of blades as they were joined together at their base.

“Come at me whenever you’re ready, hot shot,” Rutgar-4 buzzed in her ears. “I’m happy to take the second option, if that’s what y’all want.”

The Epicanthix sneered. Before anyone else could speak, she raised her right foot and let it simply settle in front of her.

The turrets fired off as if they were volcanoes aimed for a target. Each shot almost made the walls rattle, every large bolt aimed precisely at the woman in front of them. Rutgar-4 let the cannons do their work, the flames they created nearly ripping up the floor beneath him and lighting up the doorway behind the team with white fire. Each resounding volley was enough to deafen the average grunt just making his way past the control center on a jaunt. Whatever detonators or explosives had been rigged up, they went off in a spectacular fashion, like miniature fireworks. The turrets roared. They bellowed. They echoed. And then they settled.

The smoke, both literally and figuratively speaking, cleared. The control room was intact in the center but ravaged around its flanks, like preserving the head of an otherwise scorched and unrecognizable body. Ruin and destruction formed a mighty ring around the edges of the prison complex’s core. And all five of the Plagueians were still standing. Even Ronovi.

She allowed the barrier erected by Dralin to drop from around her, as well as her hardened body to relax as if metaphorical iron were melting away. She had not been knocked back by the attack - in fact, she had done well to disperse each burst of energy through both her barrier and that of the Coruscanti’s, the double shield nearly impenetrable even by the turrets themselves. Her chest rose and fell with haggard, ragged breaths. She managed to grin despite that.

“Tell me,” she asked, as she unclasped her saberstaff from her belt and let its blades burst to life. “Are you a good dancer?”

Rutgar-4, armed with his twin vibro-arbr blades, did not emit a single sound. He merely raised his weapon in front of him, and Ronovi accepted the challenge. Embracing the primal choreography of Juyo, she pushed herself forward, again allowing her barrier to appear as the turrets coughed and sputtered while attempting to recharge and fire again. She let one blade of her weapon sink into the droid’s shoulder, leaving a glowing orange scar, then uprooted it and smashed the silver hilt, by the broad side, into his expressionless face.

The Warden staggered back, all efforts to retaliate offensively gone. He could defend, and poorly. His right arm now nearly useless, he tried to hold his melee weapon across his body, his head still wobbling from the impact of Ronovi’s blunt-force blow. Behind the Epicanthix, Kz’set and Teylas were making quick work of the turrets, which now aimlessly fired in any direction, and the two Dark Jedi deflected shots while attempting to dismantle them with theirlightsabers. Dralin, of course, backed them up defensively, while TuQ’uan kept his blaster aimed forward, ready for a kill shot in case Ronovi lost stamina.

But Ronovi didn’t - not yet, anyway. She could feel the Force surge through her. This gift she had, and what Rutgar-4 lacked, would be the latter’s downfall. She allowed every part of her to become amplified; she began swinging her saber faster, hitting harder, reacting quicker as the twin blades swished around her. Eventually, the droid’s arm was mangled beyond prepare, and to add insult to injury, he dropped his weapon and staggered back as if ready to surrender.

The response he received was a harsh, sharp, hasty jolt of Force lightning, and his whole metal shell dropped like a downed ship, with electrical coils winding around his slumped appendages.

“I,” rasped the warrior. “Am. A. Juggernaut. Metal man.”

Then she stopped to breathe, allowing herself to drop to one knee as the cold air washed over her. Her attempts to amplify her physical strength were now getting to her, and exhaustion set in like an old friend, its hand pressed on her back as if to remind her of her own limits. She heard footsteps behind her, and she looked up to see the Verpine staring at the fizzling, sparking husk of their opponent, his eyes lit up as if salivating at downed prey.

Ronovi knew exactly what Kz’set wanted. The Warden didn’t, though.

“Well,” came the now mangled, choppy voice from the droid’s somehow partially intact modulator. “Upon my word. I didn’t expect y’all to pack such a punch.”

“We’re not ending it here,” Ronovi sneered between harsh exhalations, still kneeling and attempting to regain energy. “In fact, I think it’d be nice if you came back with us. Take a little vacation from your prison job here, eh?”

Kz’set clicked his proboscis cheerily at her words. “Yeszzz. I’m happy to take a souvenir.”

For the coup de grace, he swung his saber outward in an enormous sweep, the orange blade separating the HK-47’s head from its torso and allowing it to pirouette a few times before it tumbled to the ground. Then Kz’set aimed for the dented chest, ready to cut away the metal and extract the red crystal beneath it. Meanwhile, Dralin hurried to help Ronovi to her feet, and her sheer weight and height pressed against him caused him to gesture for the Kel Dor to help.

“I’m fine,” Ronovi grunted, as TuQ’uan supported her from her left side, Dralin from her right.

“You overworked yourself,” Dralin chuckled. “Now we have to make sure you don’t faceplant once we head back into the mob.”

The Epicanthix groaned, though even that caused her muscles to ache and her lungs to tighten. She let the two of them lead her to the nearest, least unscathed wall, where she all but collapsed, her right hand pressed against her abdomen. Teylas eyed Ronovi cautiously, as Kz’set busied himself with sawing away at the Warden’s corpse.

“You’ll be a liability if you stay worn out like this, Tavisaen,” he remarked. Ronovi glared at him.

“I didn’t ask for your opinion, Ramar,” she scowled at the former Dread Lord.

“And I don’t need your permission to give it,” replied Teylas, coolly as always, though with that familiar hint of arrogance in his voice that I had adopted as he grew older.

Dralin gave Ronovi a, “Leave it,” look before she could retort. TuQ’uan flanked what remained of the door to the control center.

“Kz’set better hurry up,” he quipped. “I don’t see it getting calmer out there.”

Indeed, outside, the yelling from the rioting prisoners was getting louder, and up above, in the dead of the cosmos, the Brotherhood fleets were arriving. The Ascendant Fleet was no exception. And it was ready to join in on the action.


(Morgan B. Sorenn) #14

This Phase lasts from November 12th until November the 19th (one (1) week)

Request from the organizers: Please add a note to the top of the next post which path your team will choose in this Phase. Thank you.

Phase III objectives

The Brotherhood advances. What started as sporadic fighting in the major hangar bays of Meridian has turned into an all-out battle on all decks. Spurred by your team’s success in the prison, your Clan forces have come to support you and issue new orders for your team.

Daggo Mouk, one of the leaders of the Collective and the Guildmaster of the Technocratic Guild, has been confirmed on the station. With him he has a potent Technocratic Artifact that, if whisked away, would threaten the position of the Brotherhood in future engagements.

Daggo’s last known position was in the command center, however we have been having trouble following his movements. Wherever he is on the station, he would not leave the artifact unattended. The return of the artifact to Brotherhood hands is of absolute strategic value.

Your team has been tasked to complete one of the following objectives in limited time (you may complete only one (1) objective):

  • Revenge path: Confront and eliminate Daggo Mouk. Have no mercy.

  • Sabotage path: Sabotage the Collective’s future plans by stealing the artifact by any means necessary.

  • Pacifist path: Capture Daggo Mouk for interrogation and trial.

The phase must end with the artifact retrieved. Daggo’s fate is open-ended and up to you.

Relevant character sheets:


(Teylas Ramar di Plagia) #15

OBJECTIVE: REVENGE

Meridian Prime space station
Auxiliary Command Control Room
Present time

The five Plagueians regrouped in a small auxiliary command control room, as Plagueis forces were filling the corridors of the station shortly after their arrival. The team took the opportunity to catch their breath and prepare before their next move: the command center. Everyone began curiously looking around at all the consoles, Kz’set wasting no time beginning his hack into one. Teylas stepped into a corner and began punching commands into a station with a familiarity as if he had been doing it his whole life. Once the sequence was complete, a datacard popped from the station, which Teylas stuffed into a pocket under his armor for safe keeping.

Teylas stepped away from the corner and looked over at Ronovi, visibly struggling, slouched against a console. The Falleen approached her, putting his hand above her chest. Reaching out with the Force, he could tell that her ‘wound’ was not physical, and would merely take time to heal. But the juggernaut that Ronovi was wouldn’t keep her down for long, as she was one of the few that the former Dread Lord could explicitly trust in battle.

As the Plagueian forces arrived, with Ronovi still focusing her mind on recuperating, Kz’set and Teylas stepped forward and began barking out orders to the unit commanders. As the teams dispersed, Ronovi stood up, stoically prepared to move forward. Dralin and TuQ’uan stepped forward, awaiting the next move.

Kz’set finally broke the silence between them, “We should move.”

No one objected, and everyone filed out of the room. As they made their way down the corridors, the forces of the Ascendant Clan had already subdued much of the opposing force. Following the orders of Teylas and Kz’set, the unit commanders were swarming the corridors and their forces were killing enemy soldiers and preparing civilians on the station - man, woman, and child - for enslavement.

Teylas had looked over to notice the look of disapproval on the face of Dralin, but shrugged it off. Slavery was an integral part of Clan Plagueis and, as far as the Falleen Sith was concerned, new cattle for the pasture was reinvigorating.

A Plagueian officer ran up to the group as they advanced through the corridors of the station. “We just got word that Daggo Mouk has been spotted moving into the command center. What should we do?”

“We can take care of it,” Ronovi barked.

A moment passed as the officer ran back to his position. TuQ’uan spoke up, “So…what should we do?”


(Dralin Fortea) #16

Compared to the chaos of the post-riot lower decks, the upper decks of the Meridian Prime station appeared relatively civilized. As was usually the case with invasions, the wealthy elite capitulated to the advancing forces of Clan Plagueis. The Wrath’s team marched on toward the command center at the apex of the station, while military officers made deals with corporate leaders, and soldiers rounded up the few pockets of resistance for use as examples. Reports pouring in over comlinks made it clear that the fight was far from over, particularly in the lower levels, but the loss of the prison warden and the riots had tipped the scales in the favor of the invaders. It was time to finish the fight.

As the Plagueians mounted the final steps of the climb up to the command center, they took stock of the situation. At the end of the corridor sat two enormous doors. Between these doors and their would-be assailants glowed multiple shielding panels, each humming with energy. On the far side of the shields, TuQ’uan noted a vent cover, likely to provide air for those inside. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a useful point of attack unless those shields could come down.

The Sith and the mercenary all paused a moment as useful plans of attack failed to take root.

“I don’t suppose anyone thought to call ahead?” Ronovi muttered as she crossed her arms.

Dralin scoffed. “No wonder we can’t get in. Obviously, we were rude not to announce ourselves ahead of time.”

“Thiszzz is no time for playing the fool,” Kz’set admonished him, as he continued to try to work out a strategy, but the bug was just as stumped as the others.

“Play the fool?” Dralin said scathingly. “We’ve assaulted a space station only to be defeated by a locked door. Forget playing - I’d call us professional fools at this point.”

Suddenly, the shields began to shut down, one after the other. Dralin’s eyebrows shot up, and Ronovi’s quirked to meet them. Even Kz’set’s mandibles twitched with excitement. The trio turned around to see Teylas operating a discrete terminal, with TuQ’uan hovering nearby, his eyes rounded with mirth over his breath mask.

“What did you do?” Ronovi demanded, and Teylas smirked in reply.

“We were locked out. One of us thought to use their key.” In the Falleen’s hand twirled a datacard, and the former Dread Lord of Plagueis strode proudly toward the door as the last of the shields dissipated. “I gave myself administrative access earlier. It seemed like the smart thing to do.”

Ronovi barked out a laugh and shook her head as she joined Teylas next to the door. The mag-locks on the door disengaged with a solid thud, and the doors parted in order to greet the newcomers with a couple dozen blaster muzzles.

Organic sapient and combat droid alike filled the hallway with plasma. Using one of his grenades, TuQ’uan blew open the ventilation duct’s cover, and with a tuck and roll, he disappeared into the small tunnel. Meanwhile, Ronovi, Dralin, Teylas, and Kz’set all weathered the storm behind outstretched hands. By the time the deluge took a break to reload, Dralin was breathing more heavily, and Ronovi was breaking out in a sweat, still recovering from her earlier exertions.

The Wrath of Plagueis wiped her brow as she looked past the horde of security personnel, and immediately her eye fixed on their leader. The Ithorian’s sole organic eye bored into her own, and the similarity made Ronovi feel like she was the butt of some cosmic joke. Her eye flashed a fiercer orange than usual, and with a shout she moved as a blur. The security officer in the center of the line stumbled, and several more personnel were shoved and tripped past before anyone could stop her.

Mouk sneered at the Sith woman before him, and she watched as his organic hand reached out toward a terminal, brushing a sizeable green crystal as though reassuring him that a favored pet sat nearby. Ronovi tried to raise to meet his sneer, but her legs refused to budge. She refused to admit that she had relied too heavily on the Force to perform ridiculous feats during the expedition, yet her body still insisted upon reality.

“Ronovi!”

A shout from the hallway reminded everyone that, despite the incredible display of speed and power, a fight was still to be had. The security toward the interior of the chamber rushed Ronovi as she activated her lightsaber, and a handful fell with smoking wounds as the blue blades whirled with an impatient rush. She tried to stand again, but this time dropped to her knees as the adrenaline faded.

Security toward the door, however, had opened fire on the source of the shout. Blaster rifles sang, and two barriers belatedly sprang into existence. Teylas and Kz’set stood with feet planted firmly on the deck plating, but Dralin took two steps back behind their barriers.

“Well,” the Coruscanti hissed, “this is all rather inconvenient.”

His hand came away from his threadbare vest to reveal a smoking wound, and Dralin leaned against the wall with closed eyes.

The Force will hold me together, he half-prayed to himself.


(TuQ'uan Varick) #17

Ventilation Duct
Meridian Prime Space Station

Cold durasteel pressed the mercenary on all sides as he squeezed his way through the ventilation duct. Luckily for him, his hat fit through the tight quarters, though it was squished on either side. Putting one arm forward and then the other, TuQ’uan tried to crawl, but he was more dragging himself forward.

“Get the team together, have a few laughs, it’ll be fun…” he mumbled to himself. So far, this had not been his idea of fun.

It was oddly quiet in the vent, despite the muffled echoes of battle floating in from outside. Slowly but steadily, he worked his way closer to the control center and presumably Daggo Mouk. The tunnel seemed to be getting tighter and tighter as he moved along it, slowing him down some.

Finally, the durasteel tube TuQ’uan had squeezed himself into was coming to an end with an access panel blocking his way. Getting closer, he could hear muffled voices coming from the other side.

Carefully and as quietly as he could, the Kel Dor began removing the access panel, peering through the crack he had created to ensure no one was near by. Once he was certain that he was safe, the mercenary pulled himself free like a Wookiee climbing out of a TIE fighter. Crouching hidden in the corner, he brushed the dust off of his hat and checked his blaster to make sure he was ready for what was to come.

“I applaud your efforts, but please know that they were entirely in vain.” Daggo Mouk’s fingers lingered on the large crystal a moment as he casually walked towards the downed Wrath. “Your friends won’t make it past those soldiers.” He peered put into the hallway, a hint of amusement in his organic eye. “In fact, it looks like only two remain.”

Ronovi let out a low, angry growl and with her remaining strength tried to bring herself back to her feet. The Epicanthix’s legs began to shake as she rose. Reaching down with one of the mechanical arms extending from his harness, Mouk wrapped his cold metallic fingers around her neck.

“Here, let me help you. It’s the least I can do for your efforts.” With a heave from the Ithorian, Mouk lifted Ronovi into the air. Despite Ronovi’s height advantage, she was completely at his mercy.

TuQ’uan had seen enough; this was his moment. The Kel Dor emerged from his hiding spot in the shadows, blaster in hand and ready. He let loose a single shot into the ceiling above Daggo.

“Put her down!” he roared, and with one hand on his DL-44’s grip, he leveled it at the Ithorian’s face. “That, was your only warning.”

Without loosening his grip, the Technocratic leader turned to regard the new arrival. Ronovi’s face was changing from red to purple, and she tried to choke out words before she passed out.

“TuQ’uan,” she wheezed. “You…idiot…don’t…”

“And why don’t you make me? Use your filthy Force,” Mouk spat. When the mercenary didn’t respond, he continued on. “Oh? You can’t, can you? You’re not a Sith or a Jedi, or whatever it is these people are calling themselves these days.” Daggo Mouk chuckled. “You’re like me.”

TuQ’uan lift his other hand to steady his blaster. He wanted to show Mouk that he was serious. The Kel Dor now had his full attention.

“They don’t care for you. You’re just a toy to them.” His dark brown eye seemed to be staring right into TuQ’uan’s soul. His grip tightened across Ronovi’s neck, threatening to crush her larynx. “These Force users see themselves as liberators and peacekeepers. But all they do is wreak havoc everywhere they go. They see those without the power of the Force as beneath them, not worthy of being equals. They do whatever they want with no regard for those whose paths they cross. Does this sound right or fair to you? Does this sound like peace and liberation? Their idea of peace is to destroy those that stand in front of them.”

As TuQ’uan listened to the fanatical speech, he started to lower his blaster. No longer was it pointed at Mouk’s head, but instead, the barrel of the blaster was gazing straight at the Guildmaster’s chest. He ignored the looks from Teylas and Kz’set. He ignored Dralin’s harsh breathing as the Coruscanti attempted to heal his wound.

“You could join us, you know.” The speech took on a calmer tone, an inviting one. “You could help the galaxy, join the Collective and we will stop the Brotherhood and others like it from destroying the galaxy for their own benefit. We will remove the For - ”

Blam.

Daggo Mouk’s monologue was cut short. His body immediately went limp and fell to the ground beside the Dread Lord’s Wrath, who sucked in air like elixir as she was freed from the grasp of his cybernetic limbs. Smoke rose from the fresh hole of charred flesh left square between his eyes.

A stunned silence filled the room. Nobody moved, until someone got enough wind back to speak.

“Did…you just shoot him in the head?” Ronovi croaked, breaking the silence.

“It was a boring conversation anyway. Besides, was… I not supposed to kill him?” TuQ’uan responded. “I mean, I’m sure you had that all under control.”

Becoming more aware of Technocratic soldiers who were beginning to snap out of the shock of their leader’s sudden demise, the Kel Dor leveled his blaster and began opening fire on the remaining Collective agents. With a snap-hiss a pair of lightsabers joined his efforts.


(Ronovi Tavisaen) #18

Command Center
Meridian Prime Space Station
Present time

In the end, there were mostly fallen bodies. Bodies riddled like aged cheese by blaster bolts. Bodies split and ruptured like raw meat by explosives. Bodies cauterized by the heat of a lightsaber or the cut of a vibroshiv. Bodies cracked open by the Force. Slammed into walls. Choked out. Fried by lightning. Cooked, charred, contorted, crushed. Many different methods of murder and slaughter could be found within the small, secluded space.

The small Plagueian task force had done good work of Mouk’s remaining minions before reinforcements arrived. After that, it was sheer carnage. The mobilized troops of the Ascendant Clan were good at butchery, and this event was no exception. They swept away corpses and carted off both discarded weapons and artifacts, while the prized crystal itself was collected by Ronovi. She held it delicately, as if she could break it just by touching it. Her chest still rose and fell from both the stress of the battle and her injuries, which were taking more time than expected to heal.

“Arden will want this to stay with me,” she informed Teylas, Kz’set, and TuQ’uan, who stood beside her and observed her. “I don’t trust any of our grunts to lug it around. Nice going, Varick - you did a good job of putting down Daggo.”

She couldn’t tell, but the Kel Dor may have been smiling beneath his mask. Then Dralin’s voice rasped behind her.

“Yeah, I’m fine, by the way,” he said with a sneer, gesturing at his now mostly mended chest wound. “Thanks for asking, and thanks for checking in.”

“What do we do with Mouk?” asked Teylas, ignoring Dralin’s quips. He pointed to the Ithorian’s carcass, its forehead blackened as if by a small ring of fire.

“There iszzz one thing I’d like to take as a souvenir,” Kz’set replied, and he kneeled down beside the body, working to remove the harness from the dead Technocratic leader’s back.

Ronovi looked at the Verpine, then back at her team. “He’s sure collecting a lot of stuff, isn’t he?” she opined. “First the Shard, now this guy’s robot arms…”

Her comlink suddenly rattled at her hip, and she remembered who was on the other line. She pulled the device off her belt and turned up the volume, and a familiar Bothan’s voice boomed from the other side of the transmission.

“Tavisaen!” Reg bellowed. “I’ve been trying to reach you for hours! I haven’t heard from you since you were on the Akan! Are you in the - ”

Ronovi turned down the volume again and placed the comlink back on her belt. Around her, the lights in the command center were beginning to dim. Plagueis and other Brotherhood forces had most likely, by now, taken most if not full control of the station. It was time to make a graceful exit.

“Follow me, boys,” she declared, tucking the crystal gently under her arm. “Better report to the powers that be.”


Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Ascendancy
Captain’s Quarters
Wild Space
Some time later

The Dread Lord, stoic-faced, examined the strange relic that the Collective had hoarded with a keen eye and a calculated hand. He pored over the crystal for quite some time, and he, much like his Wrath did, felt the pulse from it as if it had a heartbeat of its own. Ever since Ronovi had brought the thing onto the Plagueis flagship, Force users within the clan’s ranks had shied away, almost as if the aura of it was too overwhelming for them, or too jarring.

When he was done, Arden Karn picked up the crystal, palmed it for a moment, and then set it on a side table. He then sat down on his favorite chair, beckoning for Ronovi to sit across from him. Of course, she remained standing.

“I’d imagine that the Dark Council,” he declared, “will want this delivered to them.”

“Teylas has already asked me about that,” remarked Ronovi. “He’s going to Arx, after all.”

She waited a moment for Arden to speak. His voice emerged like cool air from his mouth - thin, yet bold.

“The Iron Throne may have to wait a while,” he decided. “I’m not exactly okay with letting this out of my hands just yet. There’s too much to analyze, too much to question. I’d rather keep it on this ship for now.”

The Epicanthix felt her eyebrows twitch. “Cantor’s not going to like that. Or Sorenn.”

“They can be patient. Even Dark Jedi can manage that.” The Dread Lord rose from his chair, his boots clicking on the smooth, shiny floor of his quarters. “They know how I operate, Ronovi. I consider this a business matter. I want to get a good idea of what sort of ‘powers’ this artifact holds…and why it’s so crucial that we took it away from the Collective.”

“You think it can do some damage?”

“Well,” chuckled Arden, “they certainly wouldn’t have been so panicked about retrieving it if it were just jewelry, now, would they?”

Ronovi couldn’t argue with him on that. She moved to a viewing portal and stared outward into the cold cosmos. The Meridian Prime station - what remained of it, anyway - hovered in her vision as the Ascendancy continued to orbit it. They would not abandon it until every last Plaguean was accounted for, and every last holding of the Collective in the region was in Brotherhood hands. In short, they were waiting for the “all clear.”

She grinned.

“You know,” she said, “when I was Dread Lord and you were Wrath, I don’t recall you being so calculating. I always figured I was the one who was up to no good, and you kept yourself in line. Perhaps I was wrong.”

“I haven’t forgotten what you did,” Arden replied, his voice chillier now. “Remember, I was the one who helped Tra’an intercept your transmissions with Drax.”

Ronovi remembered her momentary lapse of treason and snickered to herself. “Tell me, Karn. I know you don’t trust me. You may have let me run the show on Meridian, but I know you’ve got eyes everywhere, checking to see if I’ll revert back to my old ways or something. If you were partially responsible for my losing power all those years ago, then why give it back to me? Why agree to make me your second?”

The man didn’t answer her at first. She continued to observe the swarms of ships outside, the fleets circling the conquered space station. Her fingers twitched at her sides, itching for a drink. After all, shockingly, she had not brought her token flask of whiskey with her during the mission.

“Two reasons why you’re Wrath, Ronovi,” Arden suddenly spoke from behind her. “The first you already know - it’s because Selika requested it. She trusts you, though it’s hard to imagine why.”

Unlike his superior, Ronovi could imagine why. Her smile still lingered like heat along her curved lips. “And the second reason?”

“Because I like the idea of you as my subordinate. Rather than it being the other way around.”

The woman laughed. “So. This is a power play, then.”

“No,” said Arden. “But it is a reminder of your own limits, isn’t it?”

He let the words singe the air as if they were tongues of flame. Ronovi did not respond; she would not give him the privilege of a comeback. Elsewhere, the last of the dogfights were ending in the dead of Wild Space, and those within the Collective who had been pushed out were most likely already regrouping.

To twist up an eternally tired saying, this was not the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning. Epics always had more beyond their first and second chapters.

FIN