[Tides of Change] Team I
It started how it always started: In the belly of a drop ship, being thrown into someone else’s war for no other reason than sheer boredom. Of course Sashar would gripe at having to fight to save the Odanites. He’d died on their world, and just being near it had given him a shortness of breath he’d never reveal to the others. Perception of weakness was just as bad as the weakness itself, and it would make him vulnerable. No, the order of the day was to appear as nonchalant and unperturbed as possible. Fighting down another wave of nausea, the Adept glanced over at his masked nephew, Nadrin, who sat leaning on his knees, cradling a highly modified bantha rifle between his legs. Next to him, Nikola Valtiere stood, one hand holding onto the hand rail running above their heads, looking as imperious as ever. Stood next to Sashar was something of an oddity - on the surface, a droid, however contained within was a Shard - Kaiburr. It didn’t talk much.
There was a maelstrom above them. The Battle for Sanctuary was entering its second round, and Sashar privately didn’t rate their collective chances against over half a dozen Impstars. Enemy combatants had begun landing, establishing beachheads. Obviously, the Odanites and their native military forces had rebuffed them as best they could, but they weren’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth. Arcona’s presence on the ground would be welcome, if not ostensibly so. They had been tasked with securing a KDY-150 Ion Cannon which Clan Odan Urr had lost contact with shortly before the invasion began. the Planetary Ion Cannon would undoubtedly turn the tide in the battle before, and the only explanation for its absence thus far had to be sabotage. They were to take control of the facility, bring the weapon back to full operational status, hinder enemy fleet movements as much as they could, and then ensure that Arcona remained in a powerful bargaining position with Odan Urr after the battle. The last part Sashar doubted had come from Atiryu. He smelled Legorii; it was practically dripping with the usual clandestine double-dealing the Entars were famous for.
How ironic that I’m the instrument of their machinations. He thought bitterly to himself, then was nearly toppled from the bench by the AIC-4 rocking heavily under him.
“Why is it that these things never land safely?” Sashar remarked, unbuckling himself and standing.
Valtiere said nothing and moved to the front of the craft, hoping to find out what had hit them.
Without a word, Sashar checked the external atmosphere readout and, satisfied that they were close enough to the ground, telekinetically hit the manual hatch release. The back of the craft opened before them, blasting the trio with a typhoon of cold air. Sheets of flimsi were kicked up about them, but none paid any heed. There was smoke billowing from one side of the craft, blackening half the panorama, and it wasn’t helped as the AIC veered sharply to the left, trying to avoid what looked to be an old TIE Avenger, which was sporadically peppering the AIC with green laser fire.
“Want to see if you can get a tune from that thing?” Sashar asked Nadrin, who nodded and moved to the centre of the compartment and knelt.
His ‘uncle’ moved to one side and steadied him with a hand on his shoulder.
“You sure it’ll get through that thing’s shields?” He asked above the din.
“We both modified it. You know as well as I do that this thing could kill a building.” Nadrin replied back, the sneer evident in his tone, even if the mask hid it.
Pouring all his concentration into the immediate challenge,Nadrin waited for the AIC to steady, for the TIE to stop jinking…
A nudge in the Force was all the persuasion he needed. The Sergeant of Soulfire Strike Team let loose a single shot, and perhaps five hundred meters behind them, the TIE Avenger became nothing more than a rapidly expanding sphere of debris and fire.
“Oya! Kandosii, vod’ika! That was a thing of beauty!” Sashar exclaimed, but his celebrations were short-lived when the AIC bucked violently under them and the sky tilted nauseatingly.
Nikola reappeared in the cabin, his face even grimmer than usual. “The pilots can’t keep us in the air much longer. We’re going down.”