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Sgt. Slaughter

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  1. The aerospace traffic controller of the Steadfast eventually responded; the ship was unknown to the Galactic Alliance, but the transponder codes were genuine for an officer several years ago. ”Land at Hangar Three and report to the bridge.” A teasing note entered the traffic controller’s voice. “You do still know your way around an MC90, right?” ____ Construction requisitions, panicky Senators, a thoroughly irritated loading foreman on the planet surface; these were all the mundane details that Slaughter would have preferred to leave to his executive officer or a staff officer, but the majority of the fleet’s bureaucracy had been forced to evacuate from Hesperidium and was still en route to the shipyards of Bilbringi. Some of these decisions were necessarily passed directly to the office of the Admiral. The hours continued and the drone of wheedling politicians was eventually replaced by the roar of plasma cutters and crash of micro-explosives; Slaughter’s vision began to cloud over and he found himself tempted to throw a datapad against the wall and smash it under his boot. ”Admiral to the bridge. Admiral to the bridge,” chirped a yeoman’s voice over a comlink, saving the report of abandoned munitions from its fate. When Mythos arrived to the bridge, he would find it in a state of organized mayhem; a miniature magcon field had been deployed over a quarter of its canopy and engineers floating in the void just beyond, removing a cracked panel of transparisteel. A Twi’lek approached the Admiral and muttered a word into the stocky human’s ear; the man looked up from his datapad and gazed intently at the Shistavanen. “Von Howlster. Admiral Slaughter.” The exiled Coruscanti had never met the Shistavanen, but he’d skimmed through his personnel file for a minute and gotten a measure of the paramilitary’s history. “I hope that the events of the last few days have brought you out of retirement.”
  2. Construction has begun on a MC90 Cruiser at Bilbringi AP Cost: 4 Scheduled completion: 4/11/2019
  3. Construction begins on an MC90 Cruiser AP Cost: 4 Completion date: April 11, 2019
  4. “I think that we’ve entertained our guests long enough. Cap, dispose of the trash.” The shipyards of Anaxes grew closer, and shuttles and barges were beginning to ferry supplies from the fortress world to the Alliance fleet. Chrysaetos was already in dry dock, a swarm of vacuum-suited techs and other craft working feverishly to restore the cruiser’s sublight engines. The Steadfast would be next in the repair yards and would require a full third of her turbolaser batteries to be repaired or replaced. From the entire Galactic Alliance fleet, a small armada of shuttles, gunships, and freighters landed around Anaxes’ military installations and her orbital shipyards. Having expected to serve as a rally point for both the Imperial Remnant and the Galactic Alliance, the world had built up a tremendous reserve of munitions and materiel. With the Mandalorians having taken Coruscant and bearing down on at least three other Core Worlds, it seemed a shame in Admiral Slaughter’s eyes to leave so much equipment to be taken by the invaders. Any equipment that was not secured was requisitioned by the Galactic Alliance. As for the rest, it was seized by Alliance marines and hauled away. No doubt that treating Anaxes like an enemy supply depot to plunder would cause a minor diplomatic uproar, but Slaughter had no intention to remain at the planet for any longer than necessary. ____ An obsolete model that was pinging away with active sensors, the probe droids that were dispatched to Anaxes were easy for the fleet to detect and the A-Wings of Hawkbat and Riposte Squadrons were diverted to intercept them. They fell upon the craft with aplomb, blazing away through empty space with laser fire. One of the A-Wing pilots, a Flight Lieutenant Adrianne Zinthos (no relation to the Imperial Head of State), plinking away at one of the little spacecraft with carefully aimed fire, was barked at by her squadron commander to “stop treating it like target practice and vape the blasted things.”
  5. ”Where the hell is the fleet?” ”Why are we alone out here?” ”Oh Force, we’re all going to die!” ”What happened to the [/i]Montressor? She was there when we went into hyperspace!” ”Sweet mother of mercy, is that the Garibaldi?” Such was the state of the comms of the civilian ships that the Galactic Alliance fleet had been tasked to escort to Anaxes. Not quite up to the specifications of the advanced navigational computers of the military capital ships, two of the smaller ships had actually attempted to revert to realspace on top of each other. Their hulls complained at the violation of their personal space with predictable and catastrophic results for the passengers inside. No more than three minutes after the menagerie of freighters and passenger liners had reverted from hyperspace in a state of disarray, their escorts dropped into realspace in multiple positions in the system to form a perimeter around the seething school of refugees. The Steadfast’s starfighter patrol, already dispatched to police the squadron’s airspace, was forced to fire across the cockpits of three of the freighters to encourage their crews await orders from Anaxes’ airspace operators, rather than make a solitary dash for any traffic corridor that they could force their craft into. On the bridge of the MC90 Cruiser, Slaughter pinched his nose and scowled. His leg had been bandaged and constrained in a splint, but he was at least able to limp his way across the bridge with the assistance of a cane. “Dispatch rescue shuttles to the Montressor and Garibaldi,” he sighed, knowing what was going to be the result of a collision during reversion to realspace. “And have Jern-Cresh send repair crews for our ships. I’ll be in my office.” Tremors of pain jolting up his leg with every other step, he managed to limp his way to his office without assistance and activated the holocomm installed in his desk. The Admiral was going to do something that he had hoped would never be required of him. He was going to ask for the assistance of the Jedi Order. ((Jern-Cresh: Mangled acronym for Joint Military Command.))
  6. For the purpose of planning and figuring out what roles might need to be fulfilled in the Galactic Alliance, I'd like everyone involved in the faction to state the name of their character, rank in the faction, and the specializations that their character focuses on (in combat and any non-combat roles they might be able to fulfill). Also link your character sheet, please. Name: Bruce Slaughter Rank: Admiral Roles: Fleet Command, Ground Combat, "Diplomacy" Character sheet: http://jedirp.net/topic/2192-bruce-slaughters-character-sheet/?tab=comments#comment-209058
  7. With the RP changing settings to one in which the Sith Empire is the dominant power in the galaxy, I feel that it is appropriate to reboot the public topic for the Galactic Alliance detailing its new role in the RP for the foreseeable future. The old topic can be found here. In this post, I’ll be going over the following topics: The story thus far for the Galactic Alliance Overall mechanics concerning the political and military mechanics of the faction. Introduce Bruce Slaughter for new members of the faction The TL;DR is that the Galactic Alliance is going to operate primarily as a resistance faction on the main board. With few exceptions, the Galactic Alliance will not be able to maintain the overt military presence that it enjoyed in previous years. Covert actions, such as clandestine recruitment, sabotage, and small-scale player vs. player battles will be the primary focus of the main board, whereas fleet combat will be limited to the campaign subforum. Because the GA is going to be a somewhat ragtag operation, members of the faction are encouraged to engage in worldbuilding the units and ships that they command. The story thus far: This is a time of considerable uncertainty for the future of the republic. The advance of the Sith Empire and its minions has penetrated deep into the Galactic Core. Worse, the ravaging of Coruscant by Vladimir Faust and predation by the resurgent Mandalorian Crusaders has destroyed the Galactic Alliance's most productive shipyards, rendering its position in the core untenable. This and the murder of a sizeable portion of the Galactic Senate has driven most of the Alliance's member systems to secede and seek their futures elsewhere, either in trusting the mercy of the Sith Empire or as independent states. With the Galactic Alliance in shambles, desperate times are ahead for the survival of the republic. Nonetheless, all is not lost. A small number of the Alliance's core members have refused to bend the knee to the Sith Empire (though whether out of stubbornness, patriotic fervor, or ambition has yet to be demonstrated). Memories are long amongst the nonhuman species of the galaxy, and nothing--nothing--can erase the memory of decades of discrimination and predation by the Sith Order and its Imperial proxies. Even in worlds nominally aligned with the Sith Empire, Alliance agents are bound to find enclaves of support amongst the nonhuman populations of the Sith Order and veterans of the civil war. The reach of the Sith Empire may have extended far indeed, but its armies and spies cannot be present everywhere. Alliance agents should be able to mix freely with the population of its worlds as long as they keep a low bearing. And despite the loss of Coruscant and the bulk of its industrial base, the cream of the Galactic Alliance's military has survived. What remains of its fleet is arguably the most elite fighting force in the galaxy--very few forces can boast to have endured as much battle as the fleet of the Galactic Alliance. However, its elements are deliberately scattered across the galaxy, as they lack a permanent base and a logistical foundation to lick its wounds and return to full effectiveness. Until these objectives can be achieved, Admiral Bruce Slaughter has proposed that they operate as a "ghost fleet": always on the move and able to exert influence on the galaxy just by virtue of the fact that its composition, location, and mission are not known. Its primary objectives will be to gather resources for a return to open warfare against the Sith and to secure a permanent base of operations. The former can be achieved through developing diplomatic contacts with disparate resistance factions in the galaxy and potential member systems with grudges against the Sith. Close cooperation with the Imperial Remnant and even hiring mercenaries is not out of the question. In addition, while the Bothan government has been hesitant to openly support the remnants of the Galactic Alliance, the characteristically underhanded Bothans have been known to occasionally “misplace” a cache of supplies or accidentally permit the theft of valuable intelligence. The Bothan Spynet has located an uninhabited star system in the uncharted depths of the Outer Rim and allowed its data to slip into the hands of the Galactic Alliance. Flush with unexploited resources and obscured by a radiation storm that renders remote probing nearly impossible, this represents the perfect opportunity for the Galactic Alliance to jump-start its war machine. As for securing a permanent base of operations… at the moment, few systems are willing to tolerate even the presence of the Alliance fleet for short periods of time. This may change as the Galactic Alliance re-establishes itself as a potent fighting force that can openly challenge the Sith Empire. Mechanics: Politics: The Galactic Alliance is in a state of disintegration. Its planets in the Galactic Core should be considered to be untenable for overt fleet activity, as they are within close striking distance of Onderon and the military of the Sith Empire. Planets in the Outer Rim, especially those that have primarily nonhuman species (Sullust, Mon Calamari, and Ryloth come to mind) should be considered ripe areas for recruitment and overt operations. Fleet Operations: The Galactic Alliance fleet will deliberately be kept scattered and will not engage in overt combat on the main board. While it may occasionally appear above planets in the Outer Rim that are sympathetic to the Alliance, the bulk of its operations will be limited to the Crucible in the Campaign sub-forum. Because of the multi-species, somewhat ragtag organization of the Galactic Alliance, ships in its service will range in origins and age; from converted passenger liners to renovated hulks to fully modern ships of the line. The Galactic Alliance is not going to be picky in terms of the weapons and technology that it deploys--it needs all the help it can get. In OOC terms, this means that I am entirely in favor of developing homebrew ships to fit the unusual demands of the faction. Please PM me or contact me on Discord if you have any ideas you would like to develop. Ground Operations: Although the Sith Empire is in a dominant position in the galaxy, its forces are stretched thin within the Galactic Core and the Rim has always been difficult to police. In addition, numerous planets have always been on friendly terms with enemies of the Sith due to long memories of persecution and exploitation by the Sith Order. Alliance agents should be able to move freely as long as they conceal the identities of their vehicles and their personnel. Outright conquest of occupied planets should not be a goal of Alliance units, but raids on supply dumps and sabotage of garrisons and other installations will be pursued. Because of the multi-species, covert nature of the Galactic Alliance's resistance to the Sith Empire, this area is ripe for customization in terms of the specialties and the equipment used by PC-led units. The Galactic Alliance has recently adopted the AC-18m “Borcatu” Modular Weapons Platform, a blaster carbine that is simple to maintain and build, but Alliance units should use any weapons that they are able to get their hands on. Some units may be fully-equipped veterans of the Galactic Alliance with military-spec equipment, but many resistance cells are just going to be using any weapons that are available. In OOC terms, this means that I encourage members of the faction to provide some worldbuilding to the units that they command, including any unusual weapons they might use, specialties in combat, and species that may be especially prominent in their ranks. Who is Bruce Slaughter? Slaughter’s a bit of a young-ish character in terms of post count so I think it would probably be a good idea to introduce him and some of what he has done in the RP. Bruce Slaughter hails from Coruscant and joined the Rebellion some time after his home planet fell back into the hands of the Empire. His background is rather ignominious: he will proudly admit that he was essentially street trash, a stupid kid with no education, no money, and no future before he joined the Rebellion. Bruce’s father died when he was still young, and his mother was mostly absent from his childhood. As such, the story of his life probably would have been a very short one if his sister hadn’t kept him from falling into the pointless violence of the street gangs of the Lower Levels. He is of the opinion that the Republic gave him everything that he has today: purpose, education, respectability, and a future. It’s only right that he gives it back everything he can. Admiral Slaughter is a no-nonsense, professional soldier, known for placing a high importance on drilling his command to a high degree of combat readiness. He served at a number of the largest battles in the RP: he was at Centerpoint Station during the conclusion of the Arach’tar War, and was also at the battle of the third Death Star at the conclusion of the Galactic Civil War. However, his reputation is darkened by a number of incidents in the Galactic Civil War for which he was never investigated. During the retaking of Sullust, the Imperial garrison attempted to stall the liberation of the planet by threatening hostages. Not only was Slaughter not deterred, he personally executed several officers who had taken the Sullustans as sapient shields. The second incident was during the attempt at retaking Coruscant. During this battle, Slaughter seized an unexpected opportunity to cripple the Imperial flagship while it was maneuvering at the edge of Coruscanti airspace, causing it to drop out of orbit and crash. The civilian death toll in the planet-wide city was enormous. The latter incident is regarded as a freak accident caused by an incompetent Imperial commander; the former is not well-known and only spoken of in unconfirmable rumors. The Admiral is known to have something of a prejudice against Force Users, a mild disdain of Jedi and an almost pathological hatred of Sith. That said, this prejudice contributed significantly to misjudgments that he made just prior to the fall of Coruscant, which may have been prevented if he had only just gotten the Jedi Order involved more quickly. With the Galactic Alliance in a state of disintegration and the future of the republic in doubt, however, he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to see it restored--it doesn’t matter who he needs to ally with, or what he needs to sacrifice, or who he needs to kill, he will see the republic reborn or die trying.
  8. “I won’t forget it,” the admiral muttered under his breath in the wake of the Mandalorian warrior’s departure. Even as the sublight engines kicked up debris from the melee and blasted it against the rear wall of the hangar, he refused to look away from the departing form of the Basilisk war droid. Already cleaved nearly in half by the Mandalorian, his carbine snagged against a fuel outlet and snapped in two. He sank onto one knee and sighed, more out of irritation than pain. A hoarse alarm klaxon barked out a warning that the Steadfast would to enter hyperspace in five minutes. Slaughter raised his comlink and muttered a confirmation to the bridge. “By the way, what happened in the shuttle bay?” The voice of his executive officer queried after reporting on the completion of the retrieval of the squadron's starfighter pilots. “Attempted boarding action by the Mandalorians. Nothing that Bryce and I couldn’t handle.” He glanced at his knee. Blood was still oozing down the plastoid greaves. He removed the greave with one hand and winced when he laid eyes on the wound. Pieces of metal and fabric were embedded into the raw flesh. “I'll be on the bridge in ten--motherkriffer!” He growled as his marine captain knelt beside him and tightened a field dressing around the rent flesh. “Everything’s alright, just… summon a medic to the bridge. No, nothing urgent, save the bacta tanks for someone else.” ____ Five minutes later, the evacuation shuttles assigned to the Steadfast retrieved the final remaining pilots who had ejected from their starfighters and boarded their mothership. By this point, a menagerie of freighters, cargo barges, and passenger lines had formed a cloud of evacuees around the ship, huddling against the hulls of the MC90 Cruiser and her escorts in hope of protection. Several of the ships, notably an Alliance munitions barge from Hesperidium and a passenger liner from one of Triple Zero's landing strips, dwarfed even the kilometer-long capital ship. This close formation in search of protection from the fleet was in defiance of orders from Steadfast Actual. Fires of varying severity continued to burn over the hull of the Alliance flagship, but the pinpricks of light that scarred its surface gradually disappeared as the conflagrations were either extinguished by damage control teams or consumed all available fuel in the afflicted compartments. After several minutes of ineffectual herding by the squadron's starfighters and shouting fits directed towards the more egregious offenders of Steadfast's exclusion radius. Finally, the entire squadron jumped into hyperspace… though the Galactic Alliance ships took a subtly different route from the civilians it escorted.
  9. Adrenaline slowly began to seep from the Admiral’s body and pain began to spread in its wake. Most of his body ached; his knee, wounded from shrapnel from the thrown concussion/fragmentation grenade; his back from being thrown from his own transport; warm liquid began to drip from his left earand pooled around his face. Blood--there was still a persistent keening in his ears, though at least the whine of blaster fire and the unearthly howl of a wounded war-droid was audible. And the pain was a good sign, he knew; it meant that the discombobulated nerve endings were beginning to reassert their authority over his body. Slaughter still lay prone, but he could manage a little movement in his fingertips and legs--still not enough to flip the controls of his sidearm and pull the trigger, however. And the Mandalorian, a younger, fitter man, recovered earlier. Slaughter just blinked and stared into his face as his older body was rolled over and his opponent rose, expecting death to come. Instead, the Mandalorian grasped Slaughter by the wrist and hauled him to his feet. Astonished, the Admiral had no choice but to obey, his unfeeling limbs obeying the manipulation like an unfeeling marionnette. He leaned heavily on one leg, his left knee still oozing blood. “I hope you realize that I despise everything that you god is telling you to do.” Slaughter’s hand tried to holster his firearm and only succeeded in scraping the side of his plastoid greaves. “You have four minutes to get off my ship before we make the jump to hyperspace. What’s your name, soldier?”
  10. ((Great duel, was fun!)) Slaughter had forgotten to set his sidearm to kill. The moment that the muzzle had made contact with the Mandalorian warlord’s armpit and emitted a wave of azure energy, he knew that he was about to die. His entire body twitched once, then everything became numb. His torso, previously held above the deckplates in a frenzied clinch with the Miraluka, collapsed on top of his opponent when all strength fled from his arms. His head somehow settled beside the warlord’s. The Admiral found himself straining without result, trying to persuade his deadened limbs into action, for his fingers to twitch once more and fire a second shot into the armored Mandalorian, or even for his neck muscles to turn so he could at least bite an ear off. No doubt the Mandalorian was doing the same. Everything hurt, however. That was a good sign--it meant that some of the nerve endings in his limbs were recovering from the stun blast. He continued to strain. A low, incoherent, growling noise struggled to escape from his teeth. “Errrrrrrrrrrrrr….” ____ Another tide of crimson flame swept over her position, and Captain Bryce ducked under her cover of plastoid crates to take shelter from the incinerating wave. At this point, the entire block of plastoid was beginning to bubble and sag--it was only a matter of a few seconds before her cover collapsed and exposed her to the flame. Johanna Bryce sank to the deck. She likely would have only one chance at causing that Mandalorian wardroid to flinch, and it had to be taken soon. With crisp, practiced motions, she opened the breach of her carbine’s underslung launcher, and slammed home a round of high explosive. The payload wasn’t sufficient to inflict significant damage on starfighters, but if the Mandalorian Basilisk was capable of feeling pain, it might buy her a few seconds to relocate. The clatter of plastoid plates and thuds of a hand-to-hand melee in the hangar came to an end with the wavering crackle of a stun blast finding flesh. For a second, the only sounds in the hangar were the low, chugging report of the shuttle’s sublight engines and the low, bubbling hiss of overheated plastoid. Captain Bryce dared to lift her head over her boiling cover. In the middle of the hangar, only a meters away from the fully-loaded gunship, were Admiral Slaughter and the Mandalorian warlord. Both had been incapacitated by the stun blast and lay together in a tangle of limbs and armor. At least her commander was on top, even if he’d managed to render himself helpless through his own carelessness. The sight would have been amusing if the war droid hadn’t been doing its utmost of incinerate her only seconds before. Johanna Bryce abandoned her cover--what little of it hadn’t formed a bubbling puddle at her feet--and began to take slow strides around the side of the hangar. Her carbine shouldered, the tall marine’s aim was fixed unwaveringly upon the unarmored head of the incapacitated Miraluka. It was something of an impasse. Her aim unobstructed and her target only ten meters away, Captain Bryce could easily kill the Mandalorian commander with a millisecond-long twitch of her finger. However, doing so would certainly come at the cost of her own life--she had sacrificed her cover for a clear shot--and would probably result in the death of her own commanding officer if the Mandalorian warmount decided to go on a rampage through the blaster-scorched remains of the hangar. And the Valkyrie-class gunship, festooned with enough rockets to ruin the day of a battalion of AT-ATs, would probably render the war droid to scrap. She glanced over the upper receiver of her carbine towards the war droid. No doubt it was thinking the same thing. “Don’t you move--or I will kill him.” She shouted in the middle of the hangar. Hopefully, it considered its rider’s life important enough to not simply incinerate her.
  11. Only an instant before the flames overtook her, Bryce managed to get her head below cover and the wave of smokey fire washed over her position. The flames from the maw of the metallic mount set strips of paint on the deckplate alight in short-lived flares and the plastoid frames of the crates began to sag. Deafened by the point-blank explosion, Slaughter never heard a sound over the ringing in his ear, but a cry of alarm rang from the crates behind Bryce was taking shelter as smoking rivulets of plastoid dripped onto her armor. All the Admiral saw, in his adrenaline-fueled state of tunnel vision, was the occasional volley of semi-automatic blaster fire that continued to issue from his friend's position, centered around the head of the armored beast in an attempt at knocking out sensor arrays and photoreceptors. She was still alive and still fighting. Probably had a better chance of surviving this encounter than Slaughter, for that matter. The next few seconds were a paroxysm of frenzied activity, none of which Slaughter was conscious--a spasm of training, instinct, and rage. As the Mandalorian darted towards him under the wing of his gunship, the Alliance soldier managed to raise himself onto one armored knee. There was no time to spring backwards to dodge the Mandalorian’s vicious slash. Instead, he met that dash with his own more deliberate charge, lowering his head in an approximation of a shockball player's tackle. He felt his mouth open and a howl tore itself from his throat--deafened, he couldn’t hear it, but the Mandalorian warlord would have understood the guttural roar even if it didn’t have any words. Any soldier would have understood that roar and what it meant, regardless of the battlefield or whatever language they spoke or even whatever time they fought in. It was an ancient, animalistic howl of a soldier baying for the blood of his enemy. An ugly, brutal melee was about to ensue. Slaughter lowered this carbine and caught the slash on the upper receiver. The Mandalorian’s blade, better suited to the melee than the stamped steel of the rifle, buried itself up to the hilt of his carbine. Bruce discarded the useless weapon without a thought. He would let the Mandalorian deal with the chunk of steel that was twisted around his sword. A heavy impact twisted around the dome of Slaughter’s helmet and almost caused him to stumble. He had no way of knowing, but the shell from the slugthrower pistol had gouged a centimeter gash in the plastoid and came within millimeters of ending his life. Then he hit. The dome of his helmet struck armor somewhere just to the side of the Mandalorian’s solar plexus. Slaughter grabbed onto any piece of the Mandalorian warrior that was available and tackled him. Within a pair of steps, his wounded knee gave in and his momentum carried both to the ground. It was an ugly, confused melee. At this range, there was no opportunity for technique or flourish--it was simply a matter of a reaching to grab one’s opponent and their weapons, and trying to beat them senseless with fists, stab them to death with a convenient blade, or attempt to aim a sidearm at any convenient piece of flesh and prevent the other from doing the same. In his desperation to seize any advantage over the younger, healthier warrior, Slaughter tore his sidearm from its holster and struggled to press its muzzle against the armor of his opponent, pulling the trigger at any moment his aim was nearly upon the Mandalorian. As it so happened, the Admiral kept his sidearm set to stun out of habit. There was no time to change that--and at this range, even a stunbolt would penetrate armor.
  12. It was difficult to at a run and over the glare of his carbine, but Slaughter could have sworn that he saw the plate-clad Mandalorian warrior grin through the hail of blaster fire. There was no time to wonder at the fanatic’s glee in combat--the veteran soldier saw his hand reach for something at his belt and his lips tightened in a curse. “Grenade!” Came the familiar cry from the edge of the hangar. Slaughter was breathing too heavily to curse or bite back with a response that no, shavit, obviously he could see the spheroid bouncing along the armored surface of the shuttle bay--the Mandalorian had cooked and thrown the grenade in plain sight. His face paled as he realized that the Mandalorian had estimated the distance almost perfectly. He was well within the effective radius of the grenade, and for once he could regret running a taut ship--the deck staff had cleared the hangar for battle and the exhaust path of the shuttle had been cleared of any objects of substantial mass or volume, and certainly no convenient shielded crates had been left in a space where they could be caught by the gunship’s sublights and blasted into the bulkheads. He likely had about two seconds to live. No time to dwell on that. Slaughter continued his charge forward forward, towards the grenade and the only substantial piece of cover between him and the magcon field: that of armored hull of the Valkyrie-class Gunship. He no longer even put up a pretense of returning fire, instead hugging the carbine into his breastplate to run more quickly. Eyes bulging at the sight of the grenade, he reached the undercarriage and leapt onto the gunship’s armored wing, not quite succeeding in mounting the downward sloping wing but at least managing to throw his arms and torso over the durasteel hull. He felt something heavy collide with the armor on his shins. Bruce had one absurd half-second remaining in which he glanced downward at the armored plating of the wing and he clearly made out the stenciled words in neat yellow text: “Back-blast area, keep away.” That metal object that he had inadvertently kicked with his shins was a hardmounted rocket pod that was attached under the wing of the gunship. His legs were directly in the exhaust path of thirteen unguided, high-explosive rockets. With a crash of thunder that he felt more than he heard, a mighty pressure threw him from the wing of the gunship and back onto the deckplating, skidding along the durasteel surface until a seam in the armored plates caught on the edge of an ammunition pouch. The back of his helmet struck the durasteel with a sharp impact and darkness teased at the periphery of his vision--Slaughter felt something warm begin to drip down his left leg. His adrenaline-addled mind hadn’t managed to connect the surge of pain from his leg with the bloodstain that began to leak from the greaves, but the Admiral had just taken fragments of the grenade’s arming pin just above his left knee, where a gap in the armor failed to deflect the shrapnel. Rapid, disciplined blaster fire began to spew from his right, courtesy of Captain Bryce and her sweep towards the side of the right edge of the shuttlebay. However, Bruce remained unaware of his fellow soldier’s fire until he defied the pain in his left leg and forced himself to sit up--he had been deafened by the blast. No doubt the Mandalorian warrior would have taken advantage of his dizziness and charge, or at least to shoot him down like a dog. Bruce cradled the familiar weight of his carbine against his shoulder and took careful aim towards the silhouette of the armored seer. The carbine punching against his shoulder, a powerful blast issued forth from the underbarrel launcher and a storm of buckshot raced towards the Mandalorian. ((Round 2.))
  13. Alarm klaxons began to groan within the yawning confines of the shuttle bay and emergency lamps spilled their meager light onto the arcing walls of the hangar. Slaughter shared a glance with his marine captain and the woman followed suit and checked the power cells on her own carbine; those alarms warned of an imminent collision with an exterior vessel… or a boarding party. There was no time to slam the armored shutters if the cause of the alarm was the latter, and the two soldiers would have to stage a fighting retreat if they were about to be confronted with a squad of Mandalorian marines. One of the Mandalorian droid-beasts slammed down onto the deck plating at high speeds and its (her? Bruce couldn’t help but wonder) claws gripped to slow its landing, the floor twisting under the behemoth’s claws and rivets spalling from the deckplates. Slaughter twisted to avoid exposing his face to the bouncing debris--a shard from the battered steel plating bounced off his left pauldron and the back of his helmet. An keening whine accompanied the shriek of overstressed metal--the crew of his transport gunship had just activated within their hangar. Slaughter could make out glimpses of the crew taking their positions within the armored gunship. He said nothing and regarded the warrior with cold hazel eyes as the the Mandalorian dismounted and announced his presence to the shuttle bay. The rider obviously was a warrior of some rank--the structure of the armor resembled the some of the holoprints of the plating that the ancient Mandalorians used to adorn in combat, but the devices on his pauldrons didn’t follow any rank structure that Slaughter was familiar with. Perhaps they were the insignia of a shock unit or an ancient family, or had some sort of ceremonial significance. No matter. Even if the architecture of the plating was ancient, it obviously was forged of modern materials--surely even a warrior who rode a six-legged droidbeast in vacuum to battle wasn’t so reckless as to wear armor of linen and brittle iron. Bruce Slaughter wasn’t a warrior. His armor was simple, digitally-painted grey plastoid, designed by some REMF to fit some calculated compromise between weight, protection, and visibility; there were no devices save for the array of five crimson pips on its helmet, indicating his rank as Admiral. His carbine was stamped steel and a kilometer of superconducting fiber, produced by the millions in a planetary arms manufacturer. The dagger was a simple, cryo-forged vibroblade laser-sharpened to a molecular edge. He had no notion of challenging his peers to single duels or of glorious battle, or of the thrill of standing over a defeated opponent. Those romantic ideas had all been hammered out of his psyche by training and the mass butchery of modern warfare His job was to make corpses--Bruce left codes of honor to the Jedi and their kind. Whether he won by dagger, carbine, or turbolaser didn’t matter to him. Slaughter glared over the rail of his carbine at the warrior. “I do not accept your surrender,” he spat out his response. He didn’t know or care if the rider could hear him. He didn’t care. He’d let his weapon do the rest of the talking for him. In an instant, the carbine was shouldered and he sighted on the Mandalorian rider. He broke left, armored boots hammering upon the durasteel deck as he darted towards the wide-swept wings of the transport gunship; his marine captain broke right towards the cover of an unused personnel carrier. In that rush of desperate seconds, Slaughter’s Ace barked out its response. It was in a verbose mood--as he rushed for shelter towards the hull of the gunship, a wave of crimson blaster fire spewed out towards the Mandalorian, poorly-aimed in the hurry of the moment but so voluminous that it appeared that the semi-automatic carbine had a full-auto setting. Two marines with small arms didn’t have a chance against that droidbeast. Slaughter was dead the moment it decided to open fire with its cannons, but if the Alliance soldier could lure its rider from his hulking mount, or get clear of the backblast of the gunship’s weapons, then he might just have a chance... ((1))
  14. The capital of the Galactic Alliance was lost. Sure, the Mandalorian fleet had fled into hyperspace and abandoned their fighters to sow havoc within the system, but there was nothing left to be gained from continuing this fight. Nearly every ship that could escape from the system was already making a break from Coruscant and had turned the spacelanes into a chaotic mess strewn with panicked pilots and substandard ships. No vessels in the Alliance fleet could be spared to evacuate more civilians from Coruscant. Even the Steadfast’s task force had been overwhelmed; turbolasers continued to track fighters to the best of their ability, flashing crimson against the void of space in a feeble attempt at repelling the preternaturally agile Mandalorian fighters, and her warhead launchers fired as quickly as their crews could cycle out payloads. Slaughter watched as one of the Mandalorian war droids buzzed the bridge. Then a wing-pair of X-Wings raced by, crimson flashing from their wingtips in pursuit of the warlord. The Admiral suppressed a shiver. He had felt that warrior's eyes upon him; despite the barriers of transparisteel, vacuum, and armor, he had felt them as keenly as a knife on his flesh. The Steadfast's shields were weakened almost to the point of collapse and there was almost nothing preventing that fighting from turning into the bridge and laying waste to the command center with a volley of warheads. He glanced to towards the holographic tactical display in the center of the transparisteel-bound bubble. A timer continually ticked downward towards the squadron’s estimated opportunity to flee into hyperspace--not nearly short enough for his liking. "Bridge crew will transfer to the auxiliary bridge. Releasing command in five..." He nodded towards his Twi’lek first mate, who immediately left the bridge to prepare the auxiliary bridge within the bowels of the battered cruiser. The crew in the command pits secured their posts, shut down their computers, and fled towards the interior of the Steadfast. The armored shutters around the transparisteel bubble closed in an instant. “Have my shuttle prepared. The fleet will proceed to the rendezvous point at Anaxes. Duty calls me to Borleias." Slaughter jogged to his office and summoned the captain of the marines aboard the Steadfast. Aided by his marine captain, Slaughter raced through the process of donning his armor and weapons. His AC-15--a heavy blaster carbine, equipped with an underslung launcher--equipped with a single-use canister of buckshot and a disposable flamer. His service sidearm was similarly mundane: a basic blaster pistol. A fragmentation grenade and a canister of monochromatic smoke. Lots of ammunition, arranged around his torso in quick-access pouches. And his combat knife. Issued to him the day he had taken his oaths as a Talon, the long dagger--almost a small vibro-machete--was laser-etched on the side with his name, rank, and identification number. It was out of date, of course--the Talons had been disbanded with the founding of the Galactic Alliance--but he had kept the long knife as a keepsake of what the Republic had given him. He kept that blade dear and close to his heart, in its scabbard on his right shoulder, to be exact. The armor was nothing unusual--a plastoid plating, greaves, and pauldrons in a digitized camouflage pattern. Slaughter received an affectionate punch to his breastplate from his marine captain when the ensemble was completed. He reciprocated with a punch to her sternum. Only a minute later, the two jogged towards the Admiral’s docking bay, which was occupied only by the crew of single Valkyrie-class gunship and a few crates of munitions. The assault shuttle’s sublights had just been warmed up and filled the hangar with a steady chugging roar. The two old soldiers were an odd combination. Johanna Bryce, the captain of Steadfast's marines, was best described as amazonian: she towered over most men and her intimidating frame was primarily muscle, and the armor and weapons she wore added at least twenty kilograms. She stared with grey eyes past her commanding officer into the void of space, her angular face betraying no expression. Bruce Slaughter was slightly short with a stout build. His best efforts had only succeeded in adding an iron layer of power under a build that was almost pudgy--the curse of bad genetics. He periodically glanced towards a chronometer in the hangar and scowled. In only minutes, the Steadfast and her entire squadron would make the jump to hyperspace. In barely a second, he ejected the magazine from his carbine and slammed another from a quick-access pouch. Muscle memory came back quickly. ((Let's do this, Dar'Manda.))
  15. Slaughter let out a long sigh when the Mandalorian fleet disappeared from space and fled into hyperspace. The shields on the starboard flank of the Steadfast had buckled and each impact of the enemy turbolasers and railguns was stripping armor and batteries from his flagship. In mere moments, the entire flank was pockmarked with flame and debris from the last barrage of the two enemy lineships--a wretched sight, even if none of the damage was critical. There was no time, however, to exult in the retreat of a depraved enemy; there were countless gutted ships pouring out their atmosphere and their fuel into vacuum, and the Basilisks had abandoned their motherships and raced forward with prodigious speed towards Coruscant. Bruce knew that this fight had only bought time for Coruscant and time for the overwhelmed fleet to escort their charges to hyperspace. Even if the Mandalorians’ cruisers had been driven off, a significant portion of their robotic mounts had blasted past the Galactic Alliance squadron and infiltrated into Coruscanti airspace. Some of them had been content to murder civilians in orbit, but many others had made planetfall and were wreaking havoc on the planet surface. It was all that his marines would be able to accomplish to delay their advance and buy more time for civilians to crowd into the last waves of evacuation craft--what more could an infantryman with small arms accomplish against a hybrid snubfighter-walker? This skirmish had been won--barely--but the campaign was lost. The Admiral took a step away from his tactical pit and strode out towards the bridge’s transparisteel bubble. A near-miss from a railgun projectile had left a superficial gash along the prow of the bridge--another close brush with death. No time to dwell on that. The Admiral’s gaze passed the hairline fissure and towards the hull of his wounded flagship. In the background, damage reports were beginning to be shouted by his bridge crew, but Slaughter could identify the worst of the damage on sight. The entire starboard was pockmarked with fires, but most of those were superficial blazes, that of a round penetrating into a nonessential compartment and failing to strike anything vital. Those fires were already beginning to dissipate as bulkheads closed and the compartments were sealed from fuel and oxygen. One blinding flare towards the forecastle of the ship that refused to dwindle caught his attention seconds before it was announced by the bridge crew. “Damage control parties to decks three and four, batteries one through three!” Slaughter turned and shouted over the reports. Unlike the superficial blazes, that conflagration actually posed a threat to the Steadfast; those batteries were placed near a direct route to the magazines on board the MC90 Cruiser and the fires had the potential to vaporize half the ship if they burned unchecked. There was no time to dwell on that--an communications officer had just broke from her station and the Togruta shoved a dataslate into his hands. Bruce scanned it: it was a tally of ships and estimated passenger totals--nearly all civilians… and the list was so long that it would have taken him hours to parse through. “Admiral, signal from Aurek-Trill-Cresh. There’s one last wave of transports that they think can get away.” Slaughter couldn’t bring himself to read through the remainder of the document--there was no time for anything other than reaction. “Tell them we’re on our way.” As he dispatched orders and the Steadfast began the laborious turn back towards the fallen capital, his tactical holopit lit up with dozens--no, hundreds--no, thousands of new sensor blips. It seemed that every hyperspace-capable ship on Coruscant was attempting to make a break for it, and even a few old junkers were taking their chances in attempting interstellar travel at sublight speeds--or attempting to escape to Centax-3. Tramp freighters, pleasure yachts, kilometer-long starliners, shuttles, a few intrasystem shuttles… every class, size, and age of ship was represented in the throng and few of them were armed with more than a single light laser cannon. They would be sitting ducks for the Mandalorian raiders, and all other elements of the fleet were escorting civilian ships out of system and couldn’t be spared. Battered and below strength after their rough treatment by the Mandalorians, that was nonetheless where duty called his squadron. Fires diminishing, the Mon Calamari Cruiser Steadfast lumbered back towards Coruscant on an intercept course to the mass of escaping ships, followed by the corvette Incisor--and much more distantly--the crippled cruiser Kalidor, ready to place themselves between the civilian ships and whatever fury the Mandalorians had to offer.
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