[Vindictae Immortalis] Expansion Run-on


(Elincia Rei) #1

Scholae Imperial Headquarters - Caelestis City - Ragnath

A holographic map of the Nethal Archipelago and Caelestis City was projected between the Empress, the Grand Admiral, and the four battleteam leaders of Scholae Palatinae. The two southern-facing prongs of the city almost touched the tiny northern island of the Archipelago. “Adoniram will not tolerate this city being taken,” Elincia stated with clarity, dressed neatly in a new deep purple blazer and black trousers. “The first island is in range of small arms fire from both sides. We can hit the first three from defensive emplacements on the southern tip of the city”

“They’re building a force on Nethal Prime,” Lexiconus Qor, the Quarren new leader of the intelligence specialists of Pellaeon, informed the others. “The war on Seraph has their forces spread thin on Ragnath. We have a month before they attack.” Linking Pellaeon with the Imperial Scholae Intelligence had yielded a wealth of information across the system. “We’ve also received threats from of a mysterious signal of unknown origin, potentially Collective, simply stating ‘WE ARE COMING’.”

“Simple. We take the islands before they attack,” Jorm Na’trej, Kiffar leader of Excidium’s Vindictae Immortalis, grinned in anticipation of the violence to come. Jorm was the fitting leader for such a team, one that bathes in chaos, Excidium’s less subtle and more action-hungry members.

“Krennic is well suited to a surgical strike on key targets,” Reiden said plainly, the newest leader in the room, but a familiar face around the clan. Krennic was Imperium’s special forces team of the most elite warriors the house had to offer.

“Agreed,” Elincia said as she magnified the map onto Nethal Prime, more detailed satellite imagery began to overlay on the geographical features, with military and key logistic installations highlighted. “I’ve negotiated with the Elayan Prime Minister to increase their offensive presence on Seraph to keep Meraxis occupied.”

“Infrastructure on Nethal Prime seems light,” Derek observed, Excidium’s leader of assassins always had an eye for detail. “Everything seems to run through a couple of key hubs.”

“Nethal Prime was traditionally a fishing village,” said Mune Cinteroph, the well-read, intellectual Grand Admiral besides Elincia. “It was never meant to be a military base of operations.”

“The salary and logistics node…” Jorm observed. “All the supply chain paperwork and credits of the Archipelago running through one building? Consider them ours.”

“The security forces are one block away and given the circumstances, will be armed with military equipment,” Derek spoke up again. “Tacitus Athanasius will take out their leadership and terrorise the security offices.”

“That’s an armour depot on the far side of the island. Krennic will take it out,” Reiden said with a relaxed tone, confident in the ability of his team.

“And Pellaeon will investigate this unknown threat that threatens to wreck the whole plan,” Lexiconus confirmed.

“You will each be assigned a battalion of the Imperial Scholae Army for use as you see fit,” Elincia announced, happy with the plan.

Jorm made himself heard again.

“Trade mine for a pick at the armory and a five minute head start in the actual operation? Troopers don’t really mesh well with what we do.”

“Not using them at all counts as using them as you see fit. For the Empire!”


(Elincia Rei) #2

STATUS UPDATE:
Through Kell Dante, team Krennic begin their assault on a Meraxis firebase by eliminating an enemy patrol with grenades and blaster fire
Team Pellaeon leader Lexiconus receives a mysterious datapad with a protocol droid with the Seneschal seal from an alias name Ferrum, containing a wealth of intelligence on the Meraxis Empire


(Jorm (The Jester) Na'trej) #3

“For the Empire,” Jorm echoed.

A few button taps transferred the briefing and its source reports onto his dataslate.

“Just how serious are you about that head start,” Lexiconus asked the Kiffar from across the table. Even years after their crash in the short-lived feud the Houses had fought during the Fallax Crisis, he carefully avoided coming too close to Na’trej.

“Pretty damn,” Jorm replied, “what we do? That misdirection thing? Doesn’t work when we bring proper Imperial henchmen.”

Reiden included himself into the conversation.
“So what are you going to do?”
Derek also looked up, curious for his most direct colleague’s response.

“The one thing I know how to do with a team is to pull off a heist,” Jorm admitted, “all kinds of heists really. That’s why I called dibs on the node.”

He pointed at the map on the holotable in front of them.
“See this? The logistics node and salary bank aren’t located on the Meraxian base proper, they’re out north in the township. Ease of paying soldiers on leave and process goods incoming by sea, I guess,” the Kiffar explained.
“Point is, it’s a good bit outside of the security perimeter, and what intel there is doesn’t look tougher than a normal bank. Hitting it hard and fast is right up my alley. What happens then…” he shrugged, “depends on what ideas my team comes up with. In any case, it’ll draw attention. You should be able to make something of that.”

Elincia narrowed her eyes as she listened from the sidelines. With a pensive look on her face, she took the table’s controls and zoomed out.

“If you go in first and cause a ruckus, and the forces from the base react and move north in any strength…” she mused.
“Let me think about this. We might be able to twist the narrative on those events to make Meraxis look like the aggressor.”

She looked Jorm straight in the eye
“See to your team. I’ll contact you”

Jorm acknowledged by raising his chin, and parted from his equals with an equal gesture as he pocketed his dataslate. On his way from the briefing room to the sub-terran tunnels that spread through the city and let him come and go unseen, he sent a short text to his team.

We’ve got a job. Meet me at the Blaze in two hours, he typed and attached the address.

Just before he entered the tunnels, he drew up short and sent an addendum.

I’ll bring Nayaman takeout.


(Aylin Sajark) #4

Aylin was humming to herself as she was digging through wires of an old droid. At first glance one would probably only see a few feet sticking from the belly of the droid. A giggle arose from the heap when she finally found what she was looking for. Squirming out of the droid, she heard her little pet droid beeping behind her.

“What is wrong, Siky?” she asked as she sat down on the ground, checking the newly found component for any damage.

A whole slur of beeps, tings and zooms came from the little droid.

“Wow, slow down. I can hardly understand you if you get that hyped.”

The droid slowed down a bit and continued his message.

“Jorm has a job for us?”

The little droid beeped as Aylin started off towards her room, storing away her new component in one of the many boxes around her room.

“I wonder how it will be to work with all the others.”

A giggle rose from her as she grabbed her weapon and an arrangement of grenades, stuffing them all into a big bag. She also added a handful of slicing tools and tugged them away in her pockets.

Siky chirped behind her and she glanced over her shoulder, “Don’t worry Siky, I will return to you again.”

He chirped and beeped again. “Yes, I will return in one piece, I’m sure the big guy will protect us.”

An angry zoom came from the droid as it ran around in a circle, which made Aylin chuckle.
“Don’t be jealous now. I’m sure it will be fine.”

When she finally had everything collected, she hoisted the bag onto her back and started to leave her room, making sure all her securities were into place.

“I will be back soon!” With that she left to meet them at the Blaze.


(Calindra Hejaran) #5

It had been a few weeks since her daring escape from Raiju Kang’s grasp. The two had crossed swords in Nar Shaddaa’s refugee district, exchanging barbs as they did. Calindra had caught her superior’s Sith Alchemy Sword, but had tumbled over the ledge, ending the conflict without a clear victor. Calindra yelled as she threw a punch, followed by a sweeping kick at Raiju’s head, her anger boiling at having a ’squid’ head the imperial armies. ‘Palpatine would have turned in his grave,’ Calindra thought bitterly.

Now uprooted and homeless, the young Sith Warrior had temporarily commandeered part of the Blaze’s cargo hold as her own personal training area. She used up very little room, and slept in a hammock tied in a recluse corner of the hold so as to not upset the flow of Jorm’s vessel, who had taken her in rather last minute on Nar Shaddaa. She even used the crates – if ever there were any – as makeshift obstacles she could navigate around or jump over, which she did now.

‘Hopefully, Jorm won’t mind that I moved them,’ she thought before jumping onto one of the crates and vaulting onto the next. A small push from the Force aided her trajectory, but she kept its use at a minimum to get the most physical benefit from the exercise. Sweat glistened off her forehead as her left foot slid back towards her right, her hands flowing gracefully in rough circular motions parallel to the ground as she balanced herself on the edge of the crate she had landed on. Her stance shifted, and she crouched as she turned, finding herself facing the opposite bulkhead, when she felt people arriving.

A muscular Zabrak, matching a Wookie in height and might, walked in and watched her lithe form backflip from the edge onto the cargo bay’s deck. The Zabrak leaned his weight on one of the crates as she continued to block punches and kicks from imaginary enemies, and returned a few of her own, in a smooth, elegant dance.

“Nayaman food…!” the giant rumbled after a few minutes of watching her fight in her tight fitting clothes. “I see you rearranged the furniture…”

Calindra’s footwork slowed at the mention of Nayaman food, and she trotted towards the locker she kept her belongings in.

“Old habits die hard,” she said with a small laugh.

She opened one of the lockers and reached in to retrieve a clean towel, which she used to wipe the sweat from her brow.

“I’ll have them back in place in a jiffy,” she added as she outstretched her hand towards the cargo area. The Zabrak gave a small grunt of surprise as the crate he was leaned-up against suddenly shifted and floated towards the center of the hold, other crates following suit.

“Meet you folks after a shower.”


(Aylin Sajark) #6

“So I told that Rodian,” Bale garbled through two bites, “I told her, ‘Yeah, right back at you, sister!’ Then I chucked that Gizka straight at her!”

The punchline earned him a couple prize chuckles and some side-long glances as he roared in laughter. He slapped his drink down on the table spraying flecks of foam that lit up as they passed through the hologram projection before them. The mood was light, and no one around the holotable seemed to notice. That or they simply didn’t care. Calindra seemed somewhat bored with the proceedings while the Nautolan, Aylin, seemed to be fascinated with her food. Bale suspected the former was just about ready to return to her training. The latter he couldn’t decide whether she was about to wolf that whole plate down or solve the mysteries of the universe with those bits of meats and egg noodles. As for their leader, Jorm, he seemed patient and focused if a little jittery. It was certainly nothing like the hothead their mutual friend, Zehsaa Hysh, had warned him about. Still, there was wildness in those eyes that only someone like Bale could relate to.

There was a slurping sound that pulled Bale’s gaze back to Aylin as she set her empty plate down on the table. Her black eyes met his and she offered him an awkward, toothy smile before turning her attention elsewhere.

Reminds me of home, Bale thought with a grin.

Jorm straightened up and took a breath. It dawned on Bale that he’d interrupted the Kiffar several times already during the briefing. The Zabrak wondered with no shortage of mirth how often he could do it before their would-be leader lost his temper. Something told him that finding out might yield similar results to proding a starving Rancor. But it wasn’t the time or place. Besides, they had a job to do, and Bale was nothing if not a team player.

Jorm resumed the briefing. Bale resumed drinking. So it went on as an avalanche of images and schematics unfurled before their eyes, showing a building complex and a web of hallways and rooms as the Kiffar narrated the proceedings. Their main objective was a fairly simple one: poke the Gundark’s nest. They were to stir up enough trouble for the Meraxis Empire to deploy before any real fighting broke out. With their effectives on the move ahead of confrontations, the Meraxians would be painted as the aggressors. The ramifications of such a perceived offensive on their part would further elevate Scholae Palatinae’s standing with their allies while further isolating the Empire from theirs.

“Something tells me the big guy here has a knack for making noise,” goosed Calindra with an amused smile as she pointed up at Bale with a thumb.

That was the plan. The hologram flickered and changed, showing the complex from a different angle. Checkpoints and other key locations flickered alight. Jorm and Bale would hit the Meraxians head-on. The Kiffar pointed at one of location, then designated a second and a third.

“We hit these places hard and fast, and I guarantee they’ll be out for blood,” Jorm mused. He’d clearly given this some thought, and Bale could tell from the way that he wrung his hands together that their leader was itching to get out there. The Zabrak would have been lying if he said we wasn’t looking forward to it too. It had been far too long since he’d been in a real fight. Hunting down bounty marks had lost its sheen of late.

“So we hit them hard. Easy enough,” Bale poked his bearded chin in the direction of their two female companions, “What of the girls? Something tells me these ladies aren’t here just to look pretty.”

He wasn’t wrong. They were going after the true prize.

And that was data.


(Jorm (The Jester) Na'trej) #7

“But here’s a little thought,” Jorm continued, “and it’s why only steal that data? I mean, it’s good and well and worth quite a bit, but… it lacks sucker punch,” he added with a shrug.

“What kind of sucker punch,” Aylin asked, and Jorm eyed her through the faint blue specter of the hologram.

“Something nasty. Something that sticks. We’ll have to blow the building up in any case, so that doesn’t cut it. Can you do anything with the network? Screw up other Meraxian computers all over the island or even beyond?”

“Possibly? I mean, I guess. I’m fairly confident that I can crack their firewalls and lockdowns, but time is an issue, right? I won’t reach many computers… unless…” she fell quiet.

Jorm bunched up the electronic files he guessed to be important for Aylin’s work and shoved them into her quarter of the table. Then he hesitated for a moment, rapping out a quick tattoo on the table’s edge.

“I’ll speak with the big boss. Maybe she’ll loan you the services of someone called Gladstone,” he finally said. He wasn’t sure if Calindra would connect the codename with the ancient artificial intelligence lifted from the forgotten Rakatan temple years ago or if she even remembered, but both Bale and Aylin were outsiders to those events in their own ways. And GL4-D05 was still a secret largely known to only the Clan’s upper summit and the Palpatines.

He shook his head clear of the thought, leaving it for another to decide about. Instead, he called up the logistics node’s holographic model again.
“I could wager a case of beer or two that I’ve seen a building like that before,” he admitted, “but I can’t put a finger on it.”

Both Bale and Calindra leaned in closer while Jorm started to spin the model around. Suddenly, the big mercenary held up a hand, and the Kiffar relinquished control of the hologram to him. Bale expanded a few windows with additional information, scrolled through the contents, and highlighted a line.
“Here. A type designation for the building,” he said with a smirk. “It’s been built by some standardized blueprint. Do you think they built one of those here in Caelestis?”

In answer, Jorm bent his arm back and slapped himself on the back of his head hard enough to make his forehead hit the tabletop.
“Three,” he muttered into the flickering holograms, “in the north, southwest, and southeast.” His hand, still raised after the slap, crawled across his scalp and clawed into his hairline to pull him upright again. “Should’ve remembered, really. I did a lot of the recon work before the invasion in the first place.”

“Good thing I didn’t take you up on that bet then,” Bale laughed, “I would’ve owed you. Is there time to check one of those buildings out in person?”

“Days,” Jorm replied. “I’ll have one cleared out so we can go crazy. Cali, you with us?”

“Sure,” the woman answered, “on-site experience is always better than knowing a map.”
She looked at Aylin who was frantically working through data, oblivious of the world around her.
“Let her be for now. She’ll join us at a later test run. For now, bring your scanners. We’ll take a looooot of notes.”


(Aylin Sajark) #8

Aylin was going through the files that Jorm had given her. Her mind was racing with all the ideas that were coming to mind on how to attack their system from within. A wide grin started to appear on her face as a few of those ideas were getting more crystallized.

Bale glanced her way and let out a chuckle, “She doesn’t say much, but that grin speaks volumes.”

Jorm nodded as he left the room, “You gotta watch out for the silent types.”

The rest of the team followed after him, leaving Aylin alone at the table. She had grabbed a datapad of her own and started typing away on it, making notes on everything that they might electronically encounter.

She had produced a list of security items as she looked up to show it to the others. Looking around she saw no one at the table anymore.

“Great… once again you didn’t notice people leaving…” Aylin said with a sigh as she looked at the last hologram still showing on the table, “I should have brought Siky, it wouldn’t be so quiet with him around… and he could tell me were they had gone off too.”

Looking back at the data and the hologram, she noticed that there was something missing from the hologram, in the bottom of the tower was a blank spot. “What is this?”

Grabbing her datapad again she got up and walked around the room a bit, going through different programs that she had written up a long time ago and started editing them where needed. She wanted to be ready to impress her team members with her skill in programming and slicing, as she had little else to show, but knowing how to blow things up.


(Jorm (The Jester) Na'trej) #9

The four of them had gathered outside one the formerly Meraxian Empire’s production plants. Bale had no idea what it was that they produced out there, but then it didn’t really matter. He’d never been one for mundane info. As a bounty hunter, he’d always trusted his gut. All this excess intel ever did was cramp his head.

He arrived last, as the other three finished scouting the loading docks. He didn’t quite understand why, but they did a double take when he arrived. He figured they’d never seen him in full armor before. Either way, he dumped his duffle bag behind a pair of crates and crouched beside them.
“You almost missed the ride,” Jorm told him. He pointed over the crate and Bale poked his head of cover to have a look.
The workers below pushed one final crate into the cargo speeder and slammed the hold doors close. The lot of them disappeared inside the factory, a force field sealing the entrance behind them. Only the driver remained. He was busy working on the repulsor engine.
“What about camera feed?” Bale wondered.
“Already dealt with,” Aylin announced with satisfaction.

“Let’s get this party started,” Jorm said as he hopped over the crates with the two ladies fast on his trail. Bale grabbed his duffle and followed.
A hole was cut in the perimeter wall courtesy of a lightsaber. Some guards were knocked out and gleefully stashed into crates by Bale. Others were distracted by Calindra’s powers. The quartet reached the speeder in no time. Aylin fiddled with the keypad and they were cramped inside before long.
It took a full hour before the driver was done with his work. The speeder shuddered, balked and they were off. Jorm assured them that the intel was right and the cargo was destined for their target compound on the other side of the city. Bale trusted his word, but it didn’t easy the trip there. It was a far bumpier ride than a speeder had any right to be and, not for the first time, Bale wondered if its driver was drunk. It was either that, or the aging vehicle’s repulsors were about to give.

“Gee, I wonder what it could be!” said Calindra, her voice half muffled and seaping with sarcasm. Her eyes, though he could barely see them in the darkness, were clearly set on him.
“I’m not that heavy,” the Zabrak moaned.
“He’s big, but a cargo freighter like this should be able to carry more, but, maybe that bag is heavier than it looks…” squeaked Aylin’s voice as she trailed off
Bale frowned at the duffle bag sitting on his lap. What a ridiculous notion. He’d only brought a couple of his favorite guns and just a few dozen explosives. So the bag bulged a little? Still, he struggled to adjust himself, wrapping his arms around the satchel to try to keep it from spilling into their personal space. His armor scrapped against the hull. His horns scratched against the ceiling. He had to admit it was a tight fit inside that cargo. They were huddled so close he could smell their thoughts. Those two girls were probably used to more leg room.
Again, he shifted in his seat but this time accidently bumped Calindra.
“For krife’s sake, big guy! Get off me!” she snapped.

Bale grunted as he squirmed this way and that in his seat, trying to give her more wiggle room, immediately earning himself the scornful gaze of his two other companions. Even Aylin, who was shy and reserved was clearly getting fed up.
“I’m all for overwhelming firepower but… isn’t that a little overkill?” asked the Nautolan.
“There’s no such thing as overkill!” Bale barked in laughter, louder than he should have considering the fact that they were hiding. There were enough aeration vents inside this thing to carry the sound straight to the driver’s ears if he wasn’t careful. But then, it was known that Bale and carefulness made for strange bedfellows.
“Until it’s all over your shoes,” grumbled Jorm under his breath.

The Zabrak grinned as he pulled his armored boot up off from his leader’s foot. Then he shrugged. So what if he took a little extra space? When all was said and done, though, he supposed he had to admit the duffle bag was far larger than he’d planned, especially in such a cramped space. His arms barely made their way around the package. In fact, it was so big that it was completely obstructing his view save for Jorm’s foot, and Calindra’s shoulders and head. Aylin he couldn’t even see across from him. And maybe, just maybe, it was just a little heavy, even for him. Just a little, he thought as he was growing painfully aware of the gun barrel digging into his thigh.
“This is barely half my armory,” he whispered, disappointed. Someone moaned at that comment.
The speeder bounded again, and they were thrown up. Bale threw one arm up against the ceiling to stabilize himself. The bag slipped in his lap but he quickly caught it. He felt something slip. There was a metallic thonk.

“What was that?” asked Calindra with a tinge of worry in her voice.
“A thermal imploder,” answered Jorm and Aylin in unison.
“What?!” Calindra hissed.
“It wasn’t armed,” Bale chuckled.
“You really plan to haul this through the fighting?” Jorm asked. It was clearly a rhetorical question.
Bale sighed. They were right, of course. Perhaps he’d been a little overenthusiastic, but then, there was nothing more grating as needing something you decided to leave behind. It was like catching your mark as a bounty hunter, and then realizing you’d left your cuffs on that Twi’lek dancer back in your room. Then things always get messy.
“Fine. Fine. I’ll leave it behind,” he said with a tinge of sadness in his gravelly voice. He pushed the bag aside and stretched.
“Damnit! I’m sitting here!” growled Calindra’s muffled voice.


(Calindra Hejaran) #10

Annoyed at the offending duffle bag, she decided it was time for some mischief. “You want to leave it behind? I’ve a better idea,” Calindra clipped as the offending bag suddenly disappeared with a wave of her hand.

“Hey! What did you do with my gear!?” the giant rumbled as he suddenly got on his feet.

“You said you wanted it to leave it behind, so I…”

“Bring it back…!” the giant growled as he took a step towards the girl. He had expected to cross the space between them to tower over the Force User, but had tripped over some large object at his feet instead, shattering Calindra’s illusion as he landed ungracefully over his bag to the general amazement of the group.

“I never touched your bag,” Calindra laughed as she noted the Zabrak’s dumbfounded look, “it was always there.”

Jorm whistled at the parlour trick, “That’s one heck of a talent. I wonder what else you could conjure up…”

The giant was soon on his feet, “That was an illusion?”

“It’s easy enough to fool the eye,” Calindra said with a wave of her hand, “the issue however, is that electronic devices and droids can’t be fooled. Another Force user might be fooled, but only for so long… so it’s best to use disguises and camouflage in tandem,” she explained. “At least this way, if they see through the illusion, they see what you wanted them to see. Given the augmented soldiers the Collective has, it’s a sure bet that they’ll have folks with bio eyes that can see through any type of hocus pocus of the sort.”

“But we’re not expecting Collective soldiers,” Aylin suddenly chimed in.

“The Collective might have agents aiding the Meraxis Empire,” Jorm explained. “Hadn’t thought of that,” he conceded, “but that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of the regulars won’t have any special tech. Something like that would fool a good lot of them. At least, temporarily.”

“Exactly,” Calindra agreed, “it’s a temporary distraction at best, which is why I try to wear clothes that blend in with my surroundings as much as possible. It’s also why I’ve been showing Aylin a few of my tricks. It’ll make our infiltration that much easier.”