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Sgt. Slaughter

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  1. Model: Senth-class Picket Ship Class: Corvette Manufacturer: Naboo Royal Engineers Length: 34 meters Width: 120 meters (flying wing) Height: 8 meters Appearance: The ship is based on the J-class diplomatic barge, favored by Naboo politicians in the final days of the Republic. Armament: Quad Laser Turrets: 14 Turbolaser Cannons: 4 Concussion Missile Tubes: 4 Description/History: During the constant skirmishing and pitched battles that followed the fall of Coruscant, planets previously fortified by the Galactic Alliance in the Mid Rim and outer reaches of the galaxy became neglected as virtually the entire fleet was dispatched to flashpoints in multiple sectors. Piracy loomed perilously close to major shipping lanes, and worlds already off these routes were soon preyed upon and forced to fend for themselves, sometimes cobbling together fighter squadrons from spare parts and refitting civilian yachts and freighters to serve as patrol vessels. Out of this unfortunate state of affairs was born the Senth-class Picket Ship of Naboo, an attempt by the Naboo Royal Engineers to refit a passenger yacht into an antistarfighter platform. Originally crude, the design was revised over multiple iterations to include additional shielding, more weaponry, and more engines at the cost of crew comforts and armor. Resembling a chrome-plated flying wing, the Senth-class is studded with quadlaser turrets on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of its wings, under its bridge, and immediately above its engine cluster. Turbolaser emplacements are situated at the center of the hull and tips of the wings. The high gun depression of the turrets allows it to bring a surprising amount of firepower to bear on individual targets. Though designed for antipiracy duties, the Senth-class fares well as an antistarfighter screen in a larger fleet. Experienced crews of the corvettes have remarked that the handling of the vessel resembles that of an extremely heavy starfighter rather than a capital ship, and are prone to guiding their ship directly into the fray of a dogfight to support allied starfighter squadrons with its heavy array of quad laser turrets. In this task the Senth-class functions with aplomb, though its anemic turbolaser complement and poor armor prevent it from taking on larger ships or even some corvettes without support. An interesting side effect of its flying-wing design is that the Senth-class has a remarkably low sensor profile. Its heavy armaments preclude it from use as an infiltration vessel, but designs are in draft to strip it of much of its firepower to fulfill this role.
  2. The next three minutes were a case study in how not to deploy a Star Dreadnaught. The prodigious size of the vessels may have rendered the Medusa-class nearly impossible to destroy outright, but it was also the cause of its downfall--the steel behemoth required support and local air superiority to be effective. Its turbolasers and point-defense turrets were simply insufficient to cover the entire bulk of the multikilometer-long capital ship from a combined assault of starfighters and corvettes. Racing along the superstructure surrounding the bridge, Slaughter’s corvettes and starfighters blasted away at sensor arrays, fire control towers, and the weapons themselves. The overwhelming bulk of the Star Dreadnaught’s firepower gradually fell silent… or inaccurate and outright ineffective, no longer capable of unleashing the crashing volleys that had mauled Misericordia and Stalwart Guidance. “That’ll do, XO. Time to cripple this monster. Signal Strill--” “Strill is disabled, sir. Took a hit to the sublights.” “Damn. Uh, Bloodhound and Chir’daki. We’ll hit the primary hangar and bridge at the same time. On my mark, we’ll pop out of their engines and draw fire from their ventral guns.” “Aye. Standing by.” For the next fifteen seconds, Kalidor continued to hammer away at the engines of the Star Dreadnaught. Sublight clusters blew apart under the turbolaser fire and azure lightning arced between maneuvering thrusters, effectively kneecapping the steel behemoth and stripping what little maneuverability a ship of her class enjoyed. At this same moment, however, Hesperidium took a volley to her ventral sublight clusters and the Nebulon-B Escort Frigate began to veer towards the dorsal surface of the Mandalorian ship. Escape pods began to jettison from the sides of the crippled ship, but it was too late--the bottom of its command pod began to scrap along the hull of the Mandalorian capital ship, cleaving apart everything in its path. Completely out of control, Hesperidium crashed into the ship and exploded violently, the debris from the cataclysm pulverizing several square kilometers of the Star Dreadnaught. “Mark.” At that moment, the floor dropped from under Slaughter’s boots as Kalidor popped out from the engine cluster. More than a hundred turbolaser batteries and several missile launchers immediately engaged the Heavy Cruiser--the antimissile octets vaporized most of the missiles, but nothing could stop the turbolasers from plowing through the birdlike cruiser’s shields and rending away most of her bow weaponry. Slaughter winced as he felt the rumble of turbolaser magazines erupting in flame just forward of the bridge--but tempting the aft-facing weaponry of the Star Dreadnought had allowed one of his DP20 Frigates to slip through the barrage penetrate its primary ventral hangar. Bloodhound fired at will from within the ship, and a terrible garland of explosions began to blow apart exterior armor plates from within. A similar scene transpired at the dorsal surface of the Star Dreadnaught. Chir’daki, one of the speedy little Warrior-class Corvettes that was attached to Slaughter’s squadron, raced through the ravine that had been bulldozed by the ruin of the Hesperidium. She and a squadron of X-Wing escorts managed to penetrate the fearsome necklace of turbolaser and laser cannons that ringed the command bridge… and they laid waste to it with a combination of proton torpedoes, and vermillion laser fire. Within seconds, the few armor-clad individuals who were not vented into space had been rendered to a sort of pulpy ash by the combined energy of hundreds of laser blasts. Slaughter nodded in appreciation as the external running lights and turbolasers over vast sectors of the ship were extinguished. Sensors read that local power planets all over the ship were beginning to overload or were shut down seemingly at random. At this point, several sectors had even lost life-support. “Bloodhound, solid hit. Secondary explosions all over the ship. She’s beginning to go dark. Now, comms, can you please find someone alive who can surrender this monster to us, or am I going to need to take ‘er apart piece by piece?” _____ Hours later, the surrender was complete. The Rebel Alliance would take command of the Star Dreadnaught Medusa. Slaughter had no idea how the Alliance could possibly restore the steel behemoth to fighting condition, and he suspected that the ship would never fight again. It would probably be hauled by tugboats to the breaking yards to be stripped for scrap and spare parts. A fitting end to this piratical band of murderers, he decided. The old soldier was exhausted from the casualty numbers, however--Hesperidium was lost outright, and Strill and Incisor likely would not be combat-worthy for weeks. Hundreds of casualties aboard Misericordia and Stalwart Guidance--the crew of that Imperial Star Destroyer seemed to relish the hard knocks of war. Kalidor would need to spend at least a week in drydock from that single unaimed volley at point-blank range. And Bloodhound would need to be completely repainted. There was not a square centimeter of hull that had not been dented or scratched by debris or scorched by the fireballed that ensued from her rampage within the guts of Medusa. “Yeoman, when Bloodhound and Chir’daki are refitted, please inform their crews that they are authorized to paint half a Medusa Star Dreadnaught on their hulls. XO, you have the bridge." Slaughter badly wanted to just sit down, read casualty reports, and try to figure out how the Rebel Alliance was going to absorb the costs of this victory--a pyrrhic victory, at best. “Uh, sir--we’ve a signal from Hanna City. Local mayor--or magistrate--survivors of the planetside government would like to meet with you. They specifically asked for senior-most command, and--” “And I have a couple years on Alekseyev…” “Aye, sir. Priorities are aid distribution, repairing local infrastructure, and sounds like a state dinner tomorrow night.” Slaughter just nodded. Making his way to his private shuttle bay, the stocky old soldier braced himself to face the horrors of war....
  3. No luck on the support from planetside: taking down the Star Dreadnaught was going to need to be carried out by the fleet. Between the heavy support from the flanking corvettes and a fighter complement that had learned to compensate for the unusual tactics deployed by the Mandalorians, their Basilisk fighters were being whittled away at an alarming pace. The new tactics, though lacking in subtlety, were effective: each attack was led by a flight of A-Wings that scattered as many concussion missiles as possible in a few seconds. The warhead were dodged easily enough by the juking Mandalorians, but that forced them to expend valuable engine power and rendered them vulnerable to the flurry of X-Wings and E-Wings that pounced on their opponents. Distracting and flanking the Mandalorian fighters with multiple waves of threats, rather than a single crashing below of numerous weapons systems, was more effective. Though exceptionally deadly in one-on-one fights, the Bes’uliik fighters fared poorly when beset upon from multiple angles. But it was the surviving Neo-Kandosii-class and Star Dreadnaught that made Slaughter worry. Misericordia and Stalwart Guidance were in the process of mauling the smaller vessel and portions of the Mandalorian capital ship were falling dark when struck by ion fire, but the second barrage from the Mandalorian fleet ravaged the armor of the Mon Calamari cruiser. Turbolaser cannons were blasted free of their mounts when lucky shots struck magazines, and fires began to blaze as dozens of pinpricks before the external compartments were sealed or expended their supply of oxygen. As with at Dark Sun Station, Misericordia offered herself as a shield to protect the other ships in the fleet. Before the next salvo was disgorged from the Mandalorian command ship, the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer placed herself between the brutalized Mon Calamari cruiser and her tormentors, causing the fire to land on a set of fresh shields. Her return barrage was no less fierce, and between the pounding from her turbolasers and the starfighters that were beginning to break through the Mandalorian screen, the surviving Neo-Kandosii-class was overwhelmed and took an ion barrage that dimmed her engines. Slaughter’s element, fortunately, had only taken token fire from the Star Dreadnaught--a Medusa-class, as the IFF transponders were calling it. The vast majority of her batteries were focused on the more imminent threat of a Mon Calamari cruiser and an Imperial Star Destroyer, but the Mandalorians had forgotten that even these smaller corvettes and frigates that he commanded could bite--and unlike those mighty capital ships, they could maneuver akin to a heavy starfighter. At full flank, diverting all power to engines, the DP20 Corvettes and Warrior-class Frigates blasted forward: two kilometers, fifteen hundred meters, one thousand, seven hundred, five hundred… and they still held fire. It was only at two hundred meters from the surface of the gargantuan warship that the ships broke their loose formation and scattered, racing all over the ship’s hull in an enormous approximation of Trench Run Disease. Much of the Star Dreadnaught’s fire was ineffective--the corvettes were nearly as fast as a heavy starfighter, and they packed many times more firepower. Kalidor, for her part, was able to slip to the rear of the vessel and hounded its engine compartments with ion fire. More importantly, the airspace above the Medusa-class Star Dreadnaught was now dominated by six corvettes, It was effectively an arena devoid of enemy starfighter activity, and the Taffy 82’s starfighters riddled the formerly pristine surface of the command ship with missiles and torpedos. But these ships were infamously hardy--nearly impossible to outright destroy. Even hounded by a half-dozen corvettes from point-blank range, hundreds of starfighters, and a stubborn Heavy Cruiser that seemed to believe that a steady stream of ion fire could disable the many-kilometer-long command ship, it still boasted enough firepower to defeat the entire Rebel fleet on its own. Unless, of course, it could be decapitated.
  4. Every time that Slaughter had come to blows with the Mandalorians, his forces had been on the defensive. They were buying time--buying lives--and sometimes the bargain that they struck was scarcely even worth the expenditure of men and materiel. The Mandalorians had become accustomed to watching the Galactic Alliance flee before their forces--had come to expect their foes to make the pragmatic choice and withdraw. They had yet to meet with the pitiless face of the Republic’s wrath. Seemingly expecting the same tactical choices, the advance screen of Bes’uliik charged into an equal force of X-Wings. As with Coruscant, the Basilisk fighters dispersed into a throng of fireteams that strafed and juked with their maneuvering thrusters, whereas the Rebel fighters favored their traditional wing-pairs. While those unpredictable lateral movements made the Mandalorian fighters exceptionally deadly in a dogfight, they diverted power from their primary thrusters and rendered them vulnerable to flanking fire. While the Mon Calamari Cruiser and Imperial counterpart had been approaching the Mandalorians from the front and enveloping the Fane of Storms-class Frigate in turbolaser and ion fire, the corvettes in Slaughter’s task force had skirted around the engagement and poured fire from the side. As steady platforms that bristled with laser cannons and missile launchers, the supporting fire from the corvettes rapidly whittled away at the numbers of the Mandalorian fighters. “Comms, hail Misericordia and ask them to limit their fire to ion--nevermind.” Even staring through the tiny slits that passed for a canopy on a Majestic-class Cruiser, the glaring flash of secondary explosions aboard the beleaguered frigate forced the veteran soldier to turn away. That was just in time to miss the effects of a long-range barrage from the remaining Neo-Kandosii-class Destroyer and the Mandalorian flagship. Hundreds of turbolasers opened up on Stalwart Guidance, stripping away its shields and peeling away armor plating. But Calamari engineering was built to withstand a mauling with dignity, and its backup generators restored its shields just in time to a barrage from the Neo-Kandosii-class that arrived seconds later. Still, even Slaughter, in spite of years of personal experience of the fortitude of Calamari ships, had to wonder how long Stalwart Guidance could withstand the attention of a Star Dreadnought. “That will have to be enough, conn. Take us in to engage that Star Dreadnought, flanking speed.” The view of starfield swung about and a dull, bassy rumble teased at the bottom range of the stout man’s hearing as the heavy cruiser’s sublights approached their engineering limits. Kalidor would be in close range within minutes. With any luck, the Mandalorian forces planetside would force their gunners to at least hesitate before opening fire with Chandrila in the vector. A transmission from the Alliance’s marines, however, quashed those plans. “Hannah City is free, Chandrila is free.” Slaughter gesticulated madly to have his communications officers respond to Marshall Howlster’s transmission. “Marshall, Slaughter. What is the status of the Mandalorian resistance? Mopping up, or have they surrendered? Can your squad’s presence be spared?”
  5. ((Ship estimations are based on the WBS archives. If the force estimate is too much I can downgrade it.)) “This is going to be a rough one,” Slaughter muttered to himself, staring over the shoulders of a bridge officer at sensor readouts. One Fane of Storms-class Frigate, one of those damned Neo Kandosii-class Star Destroyers… and something new. Something… big. The fleet’s visual scanners had yet to map the hull of the ship, but its mass and power output were comparable to the Star Dreadnoughts that the Empire favored as its command ships. Undoubtedly this design bristled with just as many weapons as those monsters, and would be just as difficult to defeat. And was just as much of a waste of resources. "No ground fires reported, sir," his executive officer, a giant Twi'lek, shouted across the bridge. "Carry on the descent to Chandrila, see if we can draw off some of those Basilisks." Kalidor's supporting corvettes began trying for missile locks on the encroaching starfighters. At the extreme range of their concussion missile batteries, the threat would be minimal, but it would at least distract those heavy fighters from the more immediately threat of Misericordia.
  6. “Damn these tiny viewports, how are you supposed to see?” Slaughter scowled through the field of hyperspace streaks in the last thirty seconds of their transit to Chandrila. His flag had been transferred to Kalidor. The Majestic-class Heavy Cruiser was a comparatively smaller warship than Fidelity, but of a more modern and hardened construction than the older MC90 chassis. Which was to say that the corridors were cramped and reinforced girders protruded through the decks; it boasted nothing in the way of creature comforts more extravagant than life support; the canopy of the bridge was flush with the super structure and afforded almost no visibility to the command crew. “....that’s what sensors are for--” came a muttering from the crew pits, interrupted by a shout of “Fifteen seconds!” from the navigation station. Slaughter took his position just as the streaks faded, to be replaced by the azure glow of Chandrila and the grey specks of the Mandalorian fleet. Not that the Rebel Admiral saw any of those--his eyes were flickering over a cloud of data from the armada’s sensors and the few surveillance satellites that were still transmitting to Rebel ships. There were a lot of Mandalorian ships in orbit. And a lot of fires planetside. A faint growling began to issue from his throat. His hands went to the comlink and the cheap plastic crackled in complaint under his grip. “Will flank planetside,” Slaughter responded to the Imperial Head of State. “Once we have orbital superiority, corvettes’ll provide support for our men on the ground. Let’s go.” He replaced the wired comlink and missed its housing. As Slaughter began to issue his orders and Kalidor’s sublight engines flared up, the forgotten comlink began to swing back and forth. His squadron fanned out towards the flank and would place themselves between the Rebel fleet and Chandrila. The Heavy Cruiser’s complement of corvettes fanned out above and below the task force’s flag, only a short distance ahead of the bird-like Kalidor so its heavier guns could provide support. They would be needed for the liberation of Chandrila and couldn’t be lost to the Mandalorians. And as usual, the task force’s A-Wings were only happy to race ahead of the formation, seemingly intent on engaging the basilisk droids all by themselves. Taffy 82 (Asset Denial Task Force)
  7. The final minutes before launching a major operation were always a frenzy of activity. Ships bearing munitions and fuel raced to and from Fidelity and her escorts, making last-minute deliveries before the operation's timetable forced the MC90 Cruiser into hyperspace. Troops on shore leave were summoned back to their stations, and the starfighter patrols were doubled and then doubled again in preparation of the pandemonium that would erupt once the fleet reappeared out of hyperspace. The airspace surrounding Fidelity was alight with sublight engines. Crammed into standing room with forty Alliance marines into a shuttle intended to ferry twenty, Admiral Slaughter listened to the comm chatter and swayed instinctively with every turn of the shuttle as it returned to Fidelity. Perhaps it was just the rush of adrenaline after having been killed in simulated combat with a simulated Sith, but he thought he detected a certain unprofessional excitement leaking into the chatter from his bridge crew. He grinned; after months of merely trying to survive, it felt good to finally go on the offensive again. A few minutes later, he was at his familiar station in the tactical pits of Fidelity's bridge, trying to reach the Imperial Head of State on a comm channel.
  8. One of the dilapidated warehouse districts adjacent to The Red and Black had been converted to a vast training complex for the marines of the Rebel Alliance. What had been condemned structures occupied by vermin and vagrants were ground up, pulverized, and reassembled into barracks, rifle ranges, and an array of combat arenas that mimicked the layouts of common ships in the Rebel and Sith fleets. The Marine Proving Grounds, or MARPROG as some of the veterans of the Galactic Alliance were trying to and failing to convince their less experienced peers to call it, were an arena for transforming green recruits into fighting sapients prepared to confront any threat, whether it was smugglers or Mandalorians or Sith troopers or the lords of darkness themselves. There was an surprise scenario planned for the first batch of graduating recruits. Forty recruits of all manner of species assembled in an armory. They were to stage a defense of an MC90’s hangars from a Sith incursion--but their loadout was completely different from the standard carbines and grenades that comprised their weaponry from two months of basic training. They had been issued with an older, bulkier, heavier carbine with an underslung warhead launcher. The customary assortment of fragmentation and smoke grenades was replaced by canisters of buckshot and flame. Their vibroknives were replaced by a heavy blade that resembled the machetes used by the Korunnai militia of Haruun Kal. “Change of plans, Talons!” Admiral Bruce Slaughter, fully kitted up in the same armor and weapons and wearing them as comfortably as a second skin, strutted up and down the lane of trainees as they examined the unfamiliar gear with a degree of skepticism. “There’s a Sith in that boarding party and every single marine in that hangar is KIA. We have thirteen minutes until the bridge is overrun and half the ship’s gunnery crews are killed. Now, move! Move! Every second you waste is three of your buddies dead.” The short, stocky man an AC-15m into the arms of a Twi’lek who had been so surprised by the presence of the Admiral that she had paused in the process of tucking her lekku into the confines of her helmet. “No point in going all sneaky-beaky against a Sith. They already know you’re there. Grenades--specially frags--are a liability. It’s all about massed fire and coverage! You go fast, you go loud, you use every bit of firepower at your disposal--and you do not ever let go of ‘em!” This next part always made Slaughter smile. “Fact is, in thirty minutes, half of us are going to be dead! We deploy in thirty seconds! Twenty-nine!” As Slaughter counted down the seconds before the platoon of ersatz Talons deployed, a company of ersatz Sith troopers was racing through the corridors of the ersatz cruiser under the direction of an ersatz Sith Lord--in reality an Ithorian Jedi Knight who had enthusiastically volunteered for the exercise after months of helping with the Coruscanti refugees. In forty-five minutes, twenty-eight of them were simulated dead and seven more simulated wounded. Slaughter was among them, having been run through by an Ithorian who may have been enjoying the simulated carnage a bit too much. It was always a bit difficult for him to read that species’ facial expressions. But the Ithorian had also been killed--first stunned, then shot in the head. _____ All in all, it had been a successful operation considering the green troops and Slaughter walked away from it with a bounce in his step, a surprising result considering his demise. He even indulged in a few minutes to tour the concourse of the headquarters structure. The reinforcements to the vaulted ceiling had been completed and the engineering crews had started to disassemble their scaffolding. Dust and metal shavings littered the floors, but was merely the debris of hundreds of engineers transforming a dilapidated ruin into a fortress that could withstand orbital bombardment. There was no time to tour the briefing rooms; while climbing down from the scaffolding in the ceiling, sirens began to wail and his comlink began to blare. That was the signal for the launch of a major operation that had been in the works since Coruscant. The spring in his post-mortem step was replaced by an urgent jog to catch one of the final shuttles to Fidelity. As it so happened, it was filled with the marines that he had just led to their deaths.
  9. Fleet Asset Units Missile Destroyer Group One Experience Status: Use for number of battles fought, if currently suffering from “Heavy Casualties” Battle Honors: Asset Denial Force One Experience Status: Use for number of battles fought, if currently suffering from “Heavy Casualties” Battle Honors: Fleet Command (Fidelity) Experience Status: Use for number of battles fought, if currently suffering from “Heavy Casualties” Battle Honors: Fidelity is one of the most veteran Star Cruisers of the Rebel Alliance, having participated in the Battles of Onderon, Coruscant, and Dark Sun Station. Her delaying actions at Coruscant prevented Mandalorian raiders from breaching Coruscant’s defenses for days, allowing billions of civilians to evacuate from the planet before its moon finally crashed into the surface. At Coruscant, she led a decisive advance once her sister ship Steadfast was destroyed, decimating the overwhelmed Black Sun defenses and throwing its fleet into chaos while the Jedi escaped with the Imperial Head of State Raven Zinthos. Upgrades: Meditation Chamber: Force Users can use these specially designed rooms to increase the efficiency of their forces, either gaining an additional Starfighter action or allowing two task forces to choose the same target for focus fire without penalty to damage. Ship Class: MC90c Star Cruiser
  10. The next few weeks were not kind to Admiral Slaughter. On multiple occasions, senators of the Galactic Alliance begged that he divert forces to the defense of their home sectors. Slaughter’s response to these requests/demands were to glance at a plaque that a junior officer had recently affixed to the wall of his office, grind his teeth, and quietly growl in the back of his throat while resisting the urge to hang up on those self-important bureaucrats and return to the work that mattered: getting his battered fleet into drydock so it could be repaired in preparation for the next campaign. That plaque was a slab of plain durasteel engraved with two words: “Be nice.” Repairs completed, next step was to seize control of the Black Sun’s captured vessels that had remained in orbit under the guns of a twitchy Rebel fleet. Commandeering a Victory II-class Star Destroyer was a daunting task; each vessel was home to upwards of six thousand sapients and a brigade of shock troopers. The operation of seizing the bridge and engineering compartments of the heavy cruisers was likely to cost the lives of scores of Alliance soldiers if the Black Sun was determined to resist. Admiral Slaughter took up his station on the bridge. Fidelity rested at point-blank range to Red Hussar, her broadside aimed squarely at the primary hangar of the Victory II-class Star Destroyer. In a moment, he could give the order to unleash a volley of turbolaser fire that would detonate the smaller vessel’s ammunition reserves, cracking Red Hussar in two--killing most of the crew in an instant and leaving the Rebel Alliance with nothing more than a hulk that would take months to salvage. A Twi’lek yeoman approached with a dataslate and a mug of caf--extra-hot and slightly-viscous, just like all good navy caf. “Remember, Admiral, be nice.” Slaughter’s jaw worked in annoyance for a moment, then he took a sip of caf and hailed Red Hussar. “Red Hussar, this is Fidelity Actual. We are taking possession of your vessel. Direct your marine complement to remain in their barracks and prepare to receive a command crew. ” “Acknowledged, Fidelity. Ah… I can’t guarantee that my men will comply with that order. They’re a bit nervous about what will happen to them after they surrender.” That yeoman glanced across the tactical pit and mouthed the words Be nice. A strangled growling sound began to issue from the back of Slaughter’s throat. “Captain, Dark Sun got ugly, but it was an honest fight. That’s war.” Slaughter forced a deep breath. The Rebel Alliance was in no position to house thousands of prisoners of war in its current state; he obviously couldn’t hand that information to an opposing officer, but conducting dozens of courts martial was a waste of time and resources. “Tell your men that they’ll be debriefed, then they will be free to go wherever they like as long as they swear to never take up arms against the G--Rebel Alliance. And if any of them are willing to listen, we can always use talented soldiers.” Minutes passed. Slaughter considered the prospect of having a squad of marines cut into the command superstructure. The response finally came. “My men will stand down. Don’t let them down.” Once Red Hussar began lumbering towards Nar Shaddaa’s overworked shipyards, Silent Spring surrendered control to the Rebel Alliance with fewer dramatics. Over the next weeks, the two Victory II-class Star Destroyers completed a transformation into heavily-armed missile cruisers that bristled with racks of assault concussion missile tubes and concussion missile emplacements. They would sacrifice the bulk of their turbolaser complement, but what they sacrificed in their broadside they would gain in a massive first-strike capability. ____ Two days later, Slaughter checked on the progress of a project that he had directed Fidelity’s engineers to immediately after Dark Sun. Time and time again, he had encountered fleets whose fire control and starfighter coordination capabilities outmatched his own--whether through some esoteric Force technique, or the combined calculations of billions of droid brains. If the Rebel Alliance was going to function as an effective resistance, it would need command and coordination capabilities to match those of the Sith in order to launch coordinated hit-and-run attacks. That would require the assistance of the Jedi Order. No one in the Rebel Alliance actually knew what kind of facilities a Jedi required to deploy Battle Meditation; there were only a few Padawans and junior Knights in its ranks, and none of the Rebellion’s engineers were Force-Sensitive. Still, they vowed to give the project their best efforts. Admiral Slaughter stepped into what had previously been one of Fidelity’s smaller conference rooms and was astonished at its transformation. The moment the stocky man set foot within the meditation chamber, as the engineers were calling it, the sounds of the ship became muted. The silence left Slaughter uneasy; he was accustomed to the ever-present hums and unidentifiable creaks of an operational warship. The ceiling of the room had been lifted by two meters and an enormous tactical holoprojector had been situated in the center of the chamber. The fact that his engineers knew nothing about the Force, however, soon became apparent. Masses of multicolored crystals--almost certainly synthetic, grown in the last month--were situated around the room in patterns that he supposed conformed to the dictates of some foreign philosophy of spatial arrangement and energy flow. Those ancient ideas of architecture were obviously outmoded, but it was all they had to operate on without access to the Jedi archives. Bruce stopped before a pillar of synthetic amethyst and stared. “This is supposed to be… helpful?” “Ah… amethyst is supposed to help concentrate energy? And the jade helps soothe extreme emotion and helps with balance?” The explanations from his chief engineer came out as questions. Slaughter sniffed and caught the scent of something burning. Something… woody. Not unpleasant. Almost like a perfume that his late wife used to wear… “Is that incense?” “Yes! It helps to cleanse the air and…. remove--” “--Remove impurities?” The two Rebel officers finished at the same time. “Chief, you really don’t have any idea what you’re doing, do you?” A helpless shrug was his response. “I’m going to ask the Jedi for help on this one.”
  11. Pleasantries, well-wishes, salutes--at least between the men-at-arms--and then departure to the Fidelity. The meeting could have been more productive--most likely would have been, if Draygo hadn’t derailed the proceedings with her personal crusade against collateral damage. By the time that Slaughter had returned to the Galactic Alliance’s surviving MC90 Cruiser, his second wind had worn away and the weariness of weeks of constant action had begun to seep in. He began to doze intermittently on the shuttle. “Slap me,” he murmured when the forward jolt of the gunship’s landing had roused him from sleep. “Sir?” “I mean it, soldier. Put some shoulder into it.” The marine happened to have been wearing plastoid gauntlets, but nonetheless obeyed the command. The slap spun Slaughter around and the stout Admiral was pitched to the deck of the shuttle. Pressing a hand to his stinging cheek as he picked himself up from the deck, the Admiral saw blood on the tips of his fingers and knew that the blow would leave a mark for some hours. That was fine; the pain would keep him awake for at least a few more hours and the rush of adrenaline would make that precious time more useful. “Thank you, soldier. I’ll be in my office.” ___ When Admiral Slaughter arrived at his office--more accurately, the office of the captain of the Fidelity--some anonymous yeoman had already fetched a pair of canteens of insta-caf. Slaughter nodded in approval--that was two liters of liquid energy. Slaughter summoned his staff and settled down for a long night of analyzing engineers reports--or a long morning, he wasn’t entirely sure what time it was. All over Nar Shaddaa, hundreds of Alliance surveyors were scouring the moon for potentially suitable sites for the nerve center of the joint Imperial-Alliance coalition. Even as he scanned reports of potential sites with regards to their infrastructure, security status, modernity, proximity to potential military resources, cultural value, (not least important) cost, and a hundred other critical variables, yeomans and junior officers filed into the room with armfuls of dataslates. The little grey tablets piled up and the miniature columns began to spread to fill the room. Eventually, the tiny office began to resemble the hideout of a crazed librarian with a hoarding problem, and they had to carefully step around the room to avoid toppling over one of the piles. The abridged transcript of their committee could be summarized as follows: “No. No. No. Its in the middle of a residential block--if that gets hit… No. What the stang are you thinking? No. Damn. Out of caf. Ensign, could you--thanks. No. No. That area is a warzone, look at the murders per cap. At least it would be training for our men. Eh, put it in the maybes. No. No. Too expensive. No. Where is that Ensign? Nah, its on the opposite side of the moon from the shipyards. No. No. There’s a tribe of Jawas fifty klicks away--are you serious? No. No. No. No… give me that dataslate again.” It was another hour of carefully reading, re-reading, shouting at his similarly exhausted staff officers about the merits and downsides of the site in question--mostly downsides, he would later acknowledge in hindsight. It was an abandoned Hutt casino, rendered defunct by the collapse of the more legitimate enterprises of the repulsive invertebrates at the height of the Empire. Decades of being picked over by scavengers had stripped it of virtually anything useful and reduced the structure into a husk of republican glory, but that was ironically useful to the Galactic Alliance--their engineers would have needed to remove all of that obsolete and substandard wiring. Besides, the structure was remarkably inexpensive, as it had been condemned and slated to be demolished by construction droids. He sent the terse message to the Captain leading the survey. Yes. Exactly what we need. It’s perfect. Do whatever it takes to purchase it. And the surrounding neighborhoods. The Admiral then sent communiques to several officers to further investigate The Red and Black and secure it, lest his engineers were about to stumble upon a nest of rakghouls or something even worse. Ten minutes later, he collapsed, his short-shaven head buried under a pile of forgotten data slates. The snoring could be heard from outside the office.
  12. Hundreds of kilometers above Nar Shaddaa, the leadership of the legitimate governments of the galaxy and their monastic defenders were discussing their counter to the forces of despotism. On the moon’s surface, an equally-critical mission was being carried out by a less storied dramatis personae; these were the anonymous professionals of the broken Galactic Alliance. Hundreds of shuttle pilots, engineers, quartermasters, and protocol droids were scouring the surface for a suitable location for the nerve center of the Rebel Alliance. As unlikely as the Smuggler’s Moon seemed as the location for the headquarters to the resistance against the Sith Empire, the moon was home to tens of billions of sapients and hundreds of species who had known persecution under the Sith Emperors; the Imperial Remnant’s military shipyards would be a critical resource in prosecuting the war; and perhaps most importantly, Imperial Remnant’s aggressive reconstruction campaign had freed up vast acreages of the urban landscape; The former residents and vagrants of these regions had been evacuated to make way for the inexorable march of the Remnant’s construction droids. The armies of these bipedal behemoths would then plow through the urban jungle, razing entire city blocks and leaving the dust of urban decay in their wake. What was left behind was transformed, modernized ecumenopolis, fully constructed and ready to receive the tenants who could afford the new neighborhoods. It was a cold, unsentimental approach to urban renewal, perhaps, it was difficult to deny that razing abandoned tenements, glitterstim dens, and millenia-old infrastructure and replacing them with structures worthy of pre-Faust Coruscant was progress. One of these projects, however, was placed on indefinite hold. A Lambda-class shuttle landed at the foot of a vast, domed structure in the midst of one of these urban wastelands, disgorging a score of engineers and archivists. Eight Alliance marines armed with carbines accompanied them; Nar Shaddaa may have been friendly territory, but this structure, for all they knew, may have been populated solely by spice-fiends, scavengers, and rakghouls. In centuries past, this domed edifice had been The Red and Black, an opulent casino favored by the Hutts before their business empire. Its architecture had been an imitation of the conspicuous consumption of space on Coruscant--the casino rose above the heights of the surrounding skyscrapers, and the Hutts had purchased the air rights of the entire region to ensure that no mere tenement would ever tower over their jewel. The interior of the casino was no less wasteful in its use of space, and its vast acreage was clad in genuine marble--actual polished stone, all the better for the locomotion of the oversized slugs. For centuries, The Red and Black had been a gem in the diadem of the Hutt business empire. Those days were over. The Hutt cartel had been broken. The Red and Black had been abandoned for nearly a century, and scavengers had picked over the frame of the casino for every useful piece of scrap. Neglect and time had eroded the casino until it was an eyesore in an equally decayed neighborhood All that was left for the Alliance engineers was a durasteel husk, lit only the occasional ray of sunlight that penetrated the cracked dome and their own spotlumas. At least nothing more dangerous than a few spice-addled vagrants inhabited the casino. Still, there seemed nothing to recommend the structure over a half-dozen suitable locations on the Smuggler’s Moon--even if The Red and Black rested atop a major hub of turbolift traffic and vast swaths of urban landscape were readily available for conversion to anchorage and barracks, the enormity of the task of reconstructing The Red and Black seemed prohibitive. Minutes after the twenty-eight surveyors packed up their equipment and boarded their shuttle for their next destination, their Lieutenant received a brief message from above. Way up above, as it so happened. Yes. Exactly what we need. It’s perfect. Do whatever it takes to purchase it. And the surrounding neighborhoods. ____ Days later, the threshold of The Red and Black was swarming with activity. A small army of engineers and astromech droids had descended upon the abandoned casino and littered its circumference with shuttles. One of the many-appendaged droid skyscrapers hunched over the arch of its dome, its durasteel claws stripping away eroded durasteel and the last fragments of centuries-old wiring that the scavengers hadn’t removed. Other portions of the dome were aglow with white-hot flame as the gargantuan droid welded forge-fresh durasteel armor, the product of the recycled scrap. Hundreds of meters below the droid, every unsecured tool rattled in tandem with subaudible vibrations as the Alliance engineers plumbed the kilometers of its foundation and subcellar with seismic sensors. As it so happened, its foundation had withstood the test of centuries and was safe for inhabitation. Four more shuttles landed from the fleet in orbit and deployed their marines. The Red and Black stood atop a network of long-abandoned turbolift shafts and there was no telling what creatures had been residing with subcellar for the past decades. For the next week, that inhabitation would be limited to two rooms. Its cavernous lobby became littered with cots and the engineers’ equipment. By day, it was evacuated save for a few armed guards as the reconstruction proceeded; by night, it was lit by welding torches that cast a pale, flickering glow on the sapients below while a score of their number hung from the rafters and continued the project of reinforcing the dome against bombardment. A nearby auditorium became strewn with cables that led into a briefing holoprojector that had been salvaged from a captured Victory-class Star Destroyer. Nearby, a second construction droid pulverized an abandoned warehouse and rebuilt the lot into a facsimile of a landing strip. A barracks, a briefing room, and a landing strip wasn’t much to start a rebellion, but it was a start.
  13. It was the briefest of instants, but Armiena Draygo’s feelings betrayed her and she shot Tobias Vos a glance of pure venom. She resisted the urge to clench her fists; she couldn’t indulge in her fantasy of teaching the aspiring war-criminal a remedial lesson in rules of engagement through blunt-force trauma. Dark Sun Station had been rendered useless as a business asset the moment the Galactic Alliance and Jedi fleets arrived--business required predictability and security--and there was no need to sabotage the station. The only objective he had succeeded in was muddying the morality of the Jedi Order--and in fighting a popular resistance, perception of morality counted for so much. She turned away and whispered into the ear of one of the passing medtechs. A few seconds later, the Twi’lek returned with a medical chart and she began to study the medical scans of one of the Black Sun prisoners of war. Admiral Slaughter hadn’t missed the glare across the room. He couldn’t allow this meeting to descend into ego-driven infighting or Jedi platitudes--what mattered right now was guns, men, and steel. Let the Jedi worry about ideology. Taking a deep breath, he felt a peculiar edge sidle somewhere behind his left ear. The Admiral let it in and felt some of the weight of the last forty-eight hours retreat. But it was not a wholesome energy. It was a sense of cold purpose, ready to release itself like a mountain’s worth of fresh powder on the brink of an avalanche. He seized Zinthos’ eyes. “The Sith may have a significant advantage in the Core, but we have the resources to wage a very potent resistance. Bilbringi is still in operation. Borleias holds. Anaxes holds. We have numerous training facilities across the galaxy that have been inactive since the last war. And there are dozens of species that remember full well what life under the Sith Empire was like. Zinthos, the Sith whipped us hard, but this ain’t over and not by a long shot.” “I agree--full partnership. Merge it all--our fleets, armies, everything, unified command. Let necessity determine who commands what. No turf wars, no bull over unit cohesion. Leave it to the engineers to figure out how to rack TIEs in a Mon Cal or X-Wings in a Star Destroyer. Stormtroopers? My people will learn to see them as their comrades. We’ll set up headquarters on Nar Shaddaa--there’s bound to be a dozen suitable structures we can fortify for our needs. “And as for where to strike next… we currently have ten thousand Black Sun prisoners of war under our guns, stuffed to the ribs with cybernetics and Force knows what. They don’t all want to be there--some of ‘em are gonna be slaves, or coerced, or forced into contracts. That’s a huge intelligence coup. Fact is that Black Sun is vulnerable right now and we can inflict some serious damage if we move quickly.”
  14. The hours mounted. In hyperspace, it was impossible to communicate with the rest of the fleet and confirm which ships in the squadron had survived and what casualties had been suffered. Slaughter knew that the cost was high--perhaps even higher than he was prepared to pay, even for the single most powerful head in the galaxy. There was no taking that back, the Admiral told himself while mulling over what he was going to say when he finally met the Head of State. Could only go forward--to the next battle, to the next maneuver, to the next shot. Immediately upon re-entry to realspace, Slaughter issued a few prefunctory orders for the fleet to form an antistarfighter screen around the Fidelity and Misericordia. He then boarded his shuttle to transfer to Justice's Mandate, the Jedi Star Destroyer to which Zinthos had been recovered. Exhausted and still trying to decide what he was going to say to the Imperial Head of State, he ignored the chatter from the cockpit--they were apparently in the orbit of a miserable planet named Nal Hutta, but the significance of the name failed to penetrate the haze of purpose and exhaustion that filled his mind. Guided through the corridors of the unfamiliar ship by a Mon Calamari aide, Slaughter was eventually deposited at the entrance to the ship's medical wards. His stomach dropped at the sight of the familiar ensign above the portal--Zinthos must have been badly wounded. His stomach also dropped when the Admiral saw who was standing guard just outside. He rubbed his hand blearily against his eyes. It was Draygo--or Darkfire, it was impossible to tell what she was calling herself. Her left arm was bound by a sling around her neck and her right hand was clutched around a ceramic mug. The veteran Jedi gave him a dismissive glance. "What happened to you?" "Dislocated shoulder. My fault." That was all the veteran Jedi had to say. In an unnerving manner not entirely unlike an overgrown bird-of-prey, Draygo just stared into the doorway. Her only motion was the occasional rise and fall of the steaming mug of synthcaf. Bruce sighed and just moved forward into the Medical Ward, guided to a back room where the Imperial Head of State was being treated. Slaughter's first inclination was shock--not simply at how visually spectacular the Head of State's injuries were, but how young she was. Both her and Alluyen. But Zinthos had taken control of the Empire on numerous occasions when inaction invited ruin--at the Death Star, and then driving the Sith off of Carida and inviting their reprisals. Physically, she might have appeared wounded, but within that tiny frame was a stern commander that Slaughter would have hesitated to confront. "Grandmaster. Head of State. I've heard Jedi healing can sometimes be as good as bacta." He gave a small nod to the Jedi Grandmaster before plowing on with the subtlety of a provoked bull-nerf. "There is a war to continue. We've taken terrible losses, but I intend to make the lives of the Sith as miserable as possible." Somewhere behind him, the smell of that synth-caf followed in and with it Armiena Draygo.
  15. ((Bruce Slaughter)) The conclusion of the battle was a terrible sight. Steadfast, her commander having signaled to abandon the ship, was blooming with miniature flares as escape pods and shuttles fled from the ship. The airspace around the Mon Calamari Cruiser developed into a dozen individual dogfights as Alliance starfighters fought to protect their rescue shuttles from Sith and Black Sun raiders. Under the fire of two Sith Kyber-class Star Destroyers and countless strafing starfighters, Steadfast was beginning to break up. Running lights along the hull began to darken and the last few manned batteries spat out a few paltry salvoes against the fleeing Totenkopf in hopes of knocking out its gravity well projector. Her sister ship Fidelity streaked across the front of the Alliance formation to cut off the retreat of the battered Victory II-class Star Destroyers, both flanks delivering a fresh dose of hate against the Star Destroyers on her port and the fleeing ships on her starboard. No sooner than when Fidelity and Chrysaetos, her Majestic-class escort cruiser, cut across the bows of Red Hussar and Silent Spring at point-blank range and leveled their broadsides at the superstructures of the overmatched Star Destroyers, a plaintive transmission for mercy was received by Fidelity. The Admiral was out of contact--the ruin of Steadfast was casting out so much radiation into the void that his shuttle couldn’t respond to hails--but the transmission was responded to in the affirmative. “Received and accepted,” was the terse response from Fidelity’s captain. “Drop shields and follow all instructions from our helm. Any deviation will result in your destruction.” _____ At that moment, Slaughter was shouting into a wired comlink dangling from the ceiling of his command shuttle, as though the venom in his voice could penetrate through terajoules of radiation that was reducing the shuttle’s transmissions to static and obscenities. “Doesn’t matter--dammit, doesn’t matter, make sure that shuttle reaches--reaches Mandate. Just kill that Interdictor and go right through ‘em. She held her fire?” A vein pulsed in the Admiral’s forehead and ugly red blotches began to break out over his face as he silently cursed the unprofessional, unpredictable Jedi. He took a deep breath and looked away from the comlink. When the red haze in his peripheral vision began to recede, the Coruscanti found that the airwaves were much more clear as the shuttle escaped the wreckage of the flagship. “Get Zinthos out. Go wherever the Imps want ‘er. I need to see her face to face.” Muffled by armored bulkheads, he could barely make out the conversation of the shuttle’s pilots--and a shouted curse. The Admiral couldn’t inspect the damage to his flagship, but he could imagine the kind of havoc that had racked Steadfast. All contact had been lost with the forecastle and several magazines had been breached--it was entirely possible that the entire first third of Steadfast had been blasted away and was drifting as a bulbous, burning piece of flotsam. At the moment that he heard the pilots curse, Slaughter knew that Steadfast was gone. Her reactors had gone singularity. For a brief few milliseconds, the primary reactors had overloaded and the sudden influx of hypermatter into the reactor chambers had temporarily given birth to a miniature, shortly-lived black hole. The entire hull of the Mon Calamari cruiser crumpled up visibly--perhaps no more than a meter or two--and deformed under the gargantuan gravitational pressures her own power plants had just generated. Batteries and magazines exploded all throughout the ship in a mass eruption of destabilized nergon-14 charges. Ground assault vehicles and starfighters twisted in her hangars like the toys of a rampaging child tyrant...and then the unstable singularity collapsed. The sudden whiplashes of forces cracked her hull like a corusca gem whose shatterpoints had just been struck. The next major detonation--a turbolaser blast, a torpedo bombardment, would have finished her off. Instead, it was her own engines that finished the job. Still driving the ship forward, they broke free of their cracked housings and drove several meters into the hull of the ship. The resultant chain reaction of explosions blasted Steadfast apart from the inside, starting from her stern, then proceeded to travel throughout the ship until all that remained was a small piece of her forecastle that drifted through the void. Slaughter spent the remainder of the transfer to Kalidor in silence. _____ It was the Imperials who chose the destination of the Galactic Alliance fleet. Still under fire from the Bleeding Kyber, Misericordia re-oriented herself with the kind of terrible grace that only a Star Destroyer was capable of. She transmitted her destination to the remainder of the allied fleets, and then disappeared into hyperspace. After retrieving her K-Wing bombers and ensuring that the Jedi were oriented to escape, the survivors of the Galactic Alliance would follow their retreat. Summary: Steadfast is dead. Some debris is left to be salvaged, but little remains of her. As per OOC conversations, Red Hussar and Silent Spring are captured by the Galactic Alliance. Please correct me if I am misremembering and I will edit this post. Misericordia retreats into hyperspace. The remainder of the Galactic Alliance can be assumed to retreat along with the Jedi.
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