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  1. T̵̢̛͍̥̼̰̱͈̭̤̽̈́̀̈̚h̵͎̔͊̀è̸̘̯̺̭̦̘͍̦̀̎͌͑̀͛̏̕ ̶̝̰̗̳̭̭̏̓͑͂͗̈͂̏̔̕R̴̭̱̦͒͐́͋̀̃̑̅̏̕ę̸͍̂́̀̏͂̑̕͝c̸̘̉͒̿̈́̃̑̀̌k̵̳̻̦̲̞̠̺̽͋̍̌͛̊͜͝ò̴͕̘̼̞̭͓̳̣̓͜ǹ̴̡͇̻̇͂ǐ̶̧̛̼͙͕̬̜̭̋̄̉̈̌͘̕͝n̴̡̻̪̟̲̪͂͒̆͛͘g̴͓̟͚͍̓̒̇̏̍̕͝ ̴̡̨̞̰̱̒͋͌̑̀̾̆̅ḩ̷͓͎̓̋̾͛͗̓̐̿̚a̷̡̩̠̬͑́̄s̵̟̤͚̟̫̙̱̭̄͊̑́̌̍ ̵̛̭̙̜̾́̀͛͝c̸̗̣̼̠̳̼͖͇̒͑̈̌ò̶͙͋͘͝m̴̗̌̇̇́̇͒e̵̠̳͗͊̉̃̓̓̔͑̚͜.̴̪̠̩̃̏̉̎ With minimal warning, the dark mass that was the Kyber class Star Destroyer Herløv and a small cluster of ships proudly bearing the symbol of the glorious Sith Empire on their hulls shot out of hyperspace and into the blackness of realspace. Despite the size of her ship, Qaela's eyes quickly fixated on the truly titanic mass of ancient durasteel that hovered before her fleet. Centerpoint didn't truly hold any direct tactical importance in the grand scheme of things, but it was central to the Twin Worlds of Tralus and Talus which were the weaker of the defended worlds within the Corellian System and would serve as a good launching point to invade the rest of the system. Immediately after reverting from hyperspace, the squadrons of bombers and heavy interceptors began to stream out of the Herløv's launch bay and form up to prepare for their missions. A mixture of dozens of assault shuttles loaded with troops and three score medium sized cargo transports reverted out of hyperspace behind the main fleet moments later and began orienting themselves for a run against Centerpoint Station once the way was determined to be clear. Qaela didn't expect there to be a tremendous amount of resistance on the Station itself, but it needed to be claimed nonetheless because she had a purpose for it. Her troops would blitz the station and its meager defenders, secure its civilian population in Hollowtown, and then use the Station as a rally and launch point for invasions throughout the Corellian System's Five Worlds. The Twins would first fall in one swift action, then the rest. Probes were shot out all around the fleet and Centerpoint Station itself to both scan for hostiles while also coordinating fire control at enemy ships. Qaela wasn't completely experienced in naval combat, but the officers onboard her ship under the command of Captain Geratos were and she wasn't so prideful as to demand control over how the battle proceeded. She had long ago learned what her strengths and weaknesses were and how to use others to fill in the gaps in her ability. When Corellia fell to the Sith, she would receive glory enough to share with those who helped her do so, far more than if she allowed her pride to get in her way and cost the Empire troops, ships, and pride. This was the first move of a strategy she had put together with her commanders. As was more akin to her personal style, it wouldn't rely just on blunt firepower and force as was the wont of the Sith Empire, but rather on deception, guile, and misdirection to keep her enemies at bay and guide them into the slaughter. The Sith would claim the Corellian System one way or another: it would be far better for them if its conqueror was Qaela Darksong rather than the far heavier hand of other Sith Lords. "Take the Station," she ordered calmly. "Slay only those who resist, preserve as much as you can. We are here to add to the Glory of the Empire, not to create pointless destruction. Our Dark Lord wishes a prize to build his Imperial Might, not a pile of molten rubble and ash." Those who fought under her command were carefully selected. The most brutal of the soldiers in the Empire were excluded: she wanted only those who shared her own vision of building a mighty empire under the confines and philosophy of The Balance and who could restrain themselves. There was no glory hunting among her officers: all was for the Empire and the greater good of the Sith Order. She stood calmly on the bridge of her ship waiting the results of the scans and probes as to what she would be facing.
  2. Orders had come forth, and Qaela was ready for them. The Dark Lord wished to add the Corellian System to his Empire and it was now her task to accomplish this. She had been ordered to take her current force to establish a beachhead in the system then to await further reinforcements once mopping up on Coruscant was completed. By this time, she had fully recovered from her injuries and was eager to strike out. While her previous mission had been fairly simple, this would be vastly more challenging and ultimately, more important to the Empire as a whole. She sent in summons to those back on Korriban to ready a new crop of Sith Lords and Apprentices worthy of joining the war. It would take some time for a full bounty to be trained and harvested, but several who had been on the cusp of readiness during the last summons were now prepared and would come. By the time they were needed, she would have several dozen more worthy and loyal Sith to carry out the Emperor's will through her. With deliberate malice and steady drive, she directed her fleet into hyperspace.
  3. Qaela was glad to see the young Mordecai waking within the bacta tank. The Dark Lord had expressed his desire for Mordecai to survive and Qaela was not keen on disappointing the True Emperor. She was in the medical ward herself, though with a less invasive treatment of bacta patches on her shoulder and arm. The black medical droids swirled around the tank scanning their patient and evaluating his recovery. The burns would definitely heal and, if the young apprentice was smart, might not even show any scaring. Hair might take a bit more time to return, though it seemed most of his scalp was intact. Qaela knew he could talk through his breather mask and had made sure that her voice could be projected through the bacta with small speakers. "You survive, Mordecai," she said matter of factly. "We both survived, though the Dark Lord desired for the Rebels to be released rather than destroyed. Regardless, we carried out the will of our Master and, though you were struck down, you were left to rise once more. Perhaps this time, you will find yourself under the training of one who can teach you how to use your emotions rather than letting them get the best of you. I lost two of my entourage, unless the Spider has other plans for you, I might just conscript you to replace one of those losses."
  4. The Herløv and its escorts reverted from hyperspace over the still burning sphere that was Coruscant. After receiving instructions from Imperial Central Command, it fell into the appropriate formation and powered down its active situation functions and went to a standby mode appropriate for a warship in friendly space. The journey from Borleias had not been a long one so Qaela had not had the time she needed to properly heal from her injuries. The burn on her forearm was easy enough to deal with, but the lightsaber stab on her upper shoulder was a good bit more painful. She didn't spend the energy to heal herself with the old Nightsister spells because of how taxing that was on her. She wanted to be fully alert when she reported back to the Dark Emperor so she would be ready for his next mission. Until then, she would allow the pain to continue to fuel her and keep her alert. She made arrangements for her two fallen escorts to receive a proper funeral and pyre while she waited for the Spider to be ready to receive any supplicants. Though the Sith sometimes didn't care for any but the most noble and powerful of their fallen, Qaela believed that all who faithfully served the Sith Order were worthy of recognition. While she oversaw the academy on Korriban, any student or instructor who died in good standing was given a proper funeral and a pyre upon a stone or metal altar. No outside material was used to burn: only the body of the fallen and their attire were ignited with the fury of the Dark Side and consumed. The remaining ashes were gathered and ritually compressed without removing any impurities into a smoky diamond with their name laser etched into its face. That diamond was then given to Qaela so she could place it within a shrine she kept secured by magicks and technology on Korriban. The shrine itself was arranged into rows with Masters at the top, Lords below, Apprentices on the bottom. Even Aspirants who were deemed worthy had a place here on the lowest rung of the shrine. She made arrangements for the captured Rebel shuttle to be fully secured and scoured for any useful tech. The navicomputer and most of the bridge had been destroyed by its crew before they were slaughtered, but there was always more to be had. The ship itself would be taken to the Black Scarab for further study. Until the Emperor was ready for her, she would wait and recover while taking care of minor business back on Korriban.
  5. Qaela and her two remaining bodyguards escorted the Rebels along with a hefty escort of Sith Troopers to the escape pod. The pod, double checked and scrubbed of any potential intel, was then jettisoned into the void between systems around 30 lightyears from Borleias that the Herløv had reverted from hyperspace to. They had enough food and water for a few days as well as a Holocomm distress beacon. Though the thought of how ironic it would be if the escape pod emitted the default Sith Imperial emergency signal and summoned another Sith ship filled Qaela's fancy, she did gruffly remind the Rebels to alter the signal. While the Rebels were being prepared for their departure, medical and repair crews descended upon the communications center to both take care of the wounded and begin dealing with the damage from the fight that had taken place there. As soon as they were off her ship, Qaela ordered the Star Destroyer and its escorting fleet to return to Coruscant and the True Emperor. While the quick preparations were being made, she went to the medical ward where Mordecai was being tended. There wasn't much for her to do on the ship while it was in hyperspace, so she would see to Mordecai's care.
  6. While the Sith were often accused (and frequently correctly) of running on nothing but emotion and anger, that was not true for all Sith. Qaela used her emotions, pain, and rage when it suited her, but outside of combat, she was typically cool and collected. She had made enough mistakes as a young woman to need to make any more now. As frustrating as it might be to not watch the Imperial Knights battle the option to kill themselves in exchange for their master, she herself ultimately served her own Dark Master and, just as she sprang into action when ordered to kill, she returned to inaction when he commanded it. She wouldn't waste her words bantering uselessly with underlings, but she would address the pretender. "We shall see," she said enigmatically. It was possible, though next time they met she hoped to finish her opponent. Even though she wasn't able to finish off her foes, she wasn't entirely disappointed. The good graces of the Spider were worth more than enemy blood on her blade. Speaking of blades, though, she was going to correct at least one thing. With a gesture of her hand, she summoned Zinthos' lightsaber to her palm and attached it to her belt. "The True Emperor gave you your lives, but you will not leave with a weapon that was made for the Sith." Her eyes, now a mixture of orange and purple as they returned to normalcy, dared any of the Rebels to challenge her and give her the excuse to kill. To her troopers, she said coldly, "Take them to an escape pod, their shuttle is in no state to leave."
  7. At the sight of the Imperial Knight trying to hold an apprentice hostage, Qaela could only shrug and smirk. She gestured for the troopers to stop firing simply so she could be heard and the Imperial Knights could focus on her as she took a few steps towards the fallen Zinthos. Her own red lightsaber found itself at the woman's neck in a mimicry of her opponent's move. "Yes, more can die, but there only two in this room with any real importance and I must admit to you that neither of them are on your side of the room." With the brief pause in the fighting, Qaela's two surviving bodyguards had taken to each edge of the room, slowly walking back towards their master and waiting to launch a coordinated attack with her. There was a soft rumble of deck plates as the Herløv finished its initial short hyperspace jump and was now back in realspace. More Troopers streamed towards the combat zone in the heart of their ship, now taking up positions on the other side of the jammed door as well as above and below the holocomms room in case their foes tried to cut to a different deck. With the ship now out of hyperspace, Holonet access was restored. It took the ship a few moments to reestablish contact with the True Emperor, though with the main holoprojector destroyed in the fight, it did take a few more seconds to reestablish a link in one of the smaller secondary projectors. "The Dark Lord did say that the Child Empress had the option to leave alive," Qaela continued contemptuously as more Troopers began to arrive, some with weapons better suited to fighting the Imperial Knight threat. "While you two and Zinthos will most certainly die if we continue this, it would be annoying and cost me some additional damage and men. Instead, it would be far more amusing to offer a trade. You two release the boy, then kill yourselves with your own lightsabers and I will return the woman you swore to protect to your comrades with no further harm to her. Otherwise, I kill her now and then finish you two off."
  8. Even as Qaela landed after blowing up the holoprojector, she could feel the white hot sting of a lightsaber extended out against her. Pain flared up from her upper left shoulder where the False Empress' lightsaber met resistance from, but eventually overcame the Krath leathers and dug into her body just below her collarbone. She silently thanked Sheog the Glorious for his gift as she had little doubt that without the Force imbued leathers protecting her body, the blow would have been fatal. Despite scoring the blow, the extension proved to be far more costly to Zinthos as it left her unprotected against the storm of Force energy and flames from the blast that Qaela unleashed. The combined blast flung the woman across the room preventing her from pressing the advantage of her lunge. Caught in the fury of the explosion, she was hurled back and slammed into the wall. Force enhanced shrapnel was slowed by her armor, but even the Imperial Knight armor she wore couldn't stop all of it and the impact against the wall sent the Pretender into the blackness of unconsciousness. It was generally immaterial that the first two troopers to enter the room were also caught in the storm and suffered horrible wounds from the same attack: there were always more troopers to replace them. Despite the pain coming from her wounds, Qaela refused to allow them to slow her down. She stalked over to the her unconscious opponent, intent on coming to a quick solution to this particular situation.
  9. There was a beauty to combat well fought and Qaela was quite fond of beauty in all its forms. She loved to watch her students duel because of the intricate ebb and flow of how the fight unfolded. There was a time and a place for everything in battle and opportunities constantly presented themselves and faded away into irrelevance. Take the right opportunities and victory was yours, miss too many and defeat was surely coming. Though one of the two doors had been ripped open, the first group of Troopers had been knocked off balance by the Imperial Knight's telekinetic wave. While fending off Zinthos' latest wave of attacks, Qaela saw opportunities come and go with blinding speeds, taking some and missing on others. For the briefest of flashes, she saw a risky opportunity and decided to take it despite the cost. Again intentionally giving ground to her opponent's aggression, Qaela backed closer to the holoprojector, keeping it to her side with her back still facing the unoccupied benches at the edge of the room. As soon as the ship had entered hyperspace, the imposing image of the Supremely Dark Lord had been cut off leaving only a muted static. She focused her energy elsewhere for a brief moment to tap into the elemental Force and begin a buildup of energy within herself. That moment of inattention allowed one of Zinthos' blows to rake across the Krath leathers she wore and slice into her offhand forearm sending blinding white hot pain that ravaged her entire nervous system. Pain was not always something to be embraced, but Qaela was now a Sith and the Sith thrived upon pain and suffering, even their own. She hissed in pain, but did not cry out. Instead of trying to shunt that pain away, Qaela used it to fuel both her own rising fury and the increasing buildup of the Force that she was managing within her. For a moment, Qaela's own violet eyes met her opponent's similarly pigmented eyes before they morphed into the fiery red and orange hue that frequented a Sith using the raw power of the Dark Side. Though she was quite aware of the potential threat at her flank, she relied on the presence of her five allies to keep the Knights occupied. Her bodyguards would make good use of their superior numbers to keep their opponents contained. Even then, they just needed to handle it for a few moments, after that, it wouldn't matter. The Troopers in the corridor had recovered themselves by now and were filing cautiously into the room to offer supporting fire. While there was a small chance of hitting Qaela or one of her own allies, they weren't able to unleash a true torrent of energy. Even then, they could take careful shots and there mere presence was a threat enough to divide all three Rebel's attention. Qaela used her pain fueled rage to keep her opponent occupied with their lightsaber duel while she continued to build up her own new counter. The occasional blaster shot aimed at Zinthos gave her some additional relief to complete the conjuring. It didn't take long considering the relatively small scale of the storm she was conjuring. She, along with other Nightsisters, were masters at manipulating the primal elemental forces of nature and creating massive storms. In here, it wouldn't take nearly the same energy or focus to accomplish her task. Sensing the next layer of opportunity nearing fruition, Qaela gave a wicked smile devoid of any humor then leaped back two meters, slashing at the holoprojector as she did. By the time she landed and unleashed the pressure that had built up within her, the active projector had already began exploding. Rather than trying to unleash a broadly devastating storm within this contained room, Qaela directed her energy to creating a torrent of wind tinged with telekinesis to guide the explosion from the projector straight at Raven, not particularly caring if there was some small amount of blowback against the armored Troopers several meters behind her. Shrapnel and explosive energy from the projector coupled with Qaela's own Force powers to direct a wave of death at the False Empress. ((3))
  10. For a moment, Zinthos allowed a decidedly non-Jedi like flood of emotions flow over her which gave Qaela a small bit of satisfaction for reasons she herself didn't quite know nor had time to contemplate. Qaela smiled at her opponent's highly aggressive opening moves. Clearly, the Pretender didn't just wear a lightsaber for show but had a semblance of how to use it. Though she had originally opted for an aggressive approach, she quickly switched tactics in light of her opponent's own frenzied assault. Adrenaline and the Force flowed through the Nightsister as the two began the intricately violent dance with matching red blades. Qaela adopted a more defensive posture, keeping her lightsaber more centered in closer to her body where it could deflect attacks at the cost of being able to lash out. She had fought a great many of duels, most were in training with students at Pelko Bastion though some had been lethal as she had to put down hopelessly errant students or even teachers who challenged her rule there. She often enjoyed allowing her opponent to burn off energy and exhaust themselves some while she defended and waited for an opportunity. She was impressed that Zinthos was able to wield her lightsaber and stand more than a few blows. Clearly, she had been trained at some point, though Qaela wasn't sure if she had been keeping up with it after the horrible physical toll her incarceration and torture had inflicted. While it was known that the False Empress was sensitive in the Force and had worked with a Sith in the past, there had been no recent reports of her fighting as a Force user. Still, Qaela quickly decided to consider her opponent as a vastly larger threat than before and treat her accordingly. She allowed herself to give a few steps back to the center of the room, though closer to the door that the two of them were closer to and opposite of the rest of the fight. She kept her distance from the holoprojector, using it as an obstacle for attacks on her flank. She didn't want to get tangled up there allowing one of the Imperial Knights to attack her from behind. After allowing Zinthos to spend some energy in her furious attack, Qaela decided it was enough for now and put a little more strength into her most recent parry driving Zinthos' blade back a little. Qaela used that split second to gesture with her free hand at the door they were nearest to. The doors to the comms room weren't major bulkheads nor were they made of heavy materials designed to ward off attack, not this far into the center of the ship. Qaela closed her hand into a fist and the door crumpled and snapped apart. Qaela pulled the same hand back quickly and those doors flung themselves into the room directly at Zinthos. Qaela wanted those reinforcements and would use the opportunity to attack while clearing the way for them. ((2)) In the hangar, the two platoons of troopers breached the shuttle and began slaughtering any crew they came across with lethal efficiency.
  11. Qaela, had dealt with the Sith enough to get a gauge on where things were headed and was prepared for her Emperor's lethal command. As soon as he uttered the words "Kill them" she pressed a button on her comms that set into motion one of several contingencies. That signal sent a quick two word message to all Sith ships on a short range radius: Zerek Alert. Within two seconds after that message went out, all comms and communications signals were automatically jammed and the Sith ships started aligning themselves for a pre-programmed jump to hyperspace. Ten seconds after the message, the Sith fleet jumped into hyperspace to a point thirty lightyears away in the void of space between stars and began orienting themselves for a second jump back to Coruscant. Any pursuit reverting from hyperspace would initiate that second jump, as would the confirmed death or incapacitation of Qaela herself. In the hangar bay, two TIE Defenders detached from their collars, rotated using their repulsors, then opened fire on the Rebel shuttle with their ion cannons. As soon as she shuttle was disabled, two platoons of armored Sith Troopers would enter the hangar and permanently neutralize anyone on the shuttle itself. Qaela knew from what she had read and sensed of the False Empress that she would never stand by idly while her comrades were slaughtered and that she would fight. While she had no problem with the Spider's offer to let Zinthos leave, she also interpreted the "if she chooses" portion gave her leeway to use lethal force were it warranted. The Dark Lord might chastise her for giving no opportunity for Zinthos to comply peacefully with the execution of her escorts, but Qaela had not survived this long by taking chances or giving enemies the opportunity to make the first move. [[See Attachment for more detail]] The room they were in was moderately large as it was designed to host dozens of Sith officers at once. The room was an almost oval design with three rows of benches along the long sides of the room. On each of the shorter sides were large doors. The center of the room housed the holoprojector array. The middle of the room was mostly open to allow for larger holoprojections or for officers to mill about and make presentations. The movement of her hand that activated the comms alert concluded with Qaela's lightsaber in her grip. It joined the snap-hissing chorus of five red lightsabers igniting as her four bodyguards joined her. With a thought, her bodyguards turned to engage the Imperial Knights. The two doors to the comm's room opened and those four were joined by the twenty Sith Troopers who had been waiting in the two corridors outside. Qaela wasted no time in long winded or elaborate setups, nor did she frivolously give away the initiative with conversation. Instead, she opted for a brute strength attack to start off with. Two seconds after the Dark Lord gave his order, Qaela sprung into action. With a gesture of her free hand backed by a healthy dose of the Force, she swept aside the two Imperial Knights throwing them across the room so that Mordecai, her bodyguards, and the troopers could deal with them. She then advanced quickly at her primary target, attacking with a flurry of lightsaber strikes. Her entire intent was to hit hard and with enough speed to keep her opponent off guard and on the defensive while testing the Pretender's abilities. [[Duel between Qaela and Raven]] ((1))
  12. Though she would but watch in this exchange, Qaela could understand the potential of what the Spider had spoken and was at the ready. Her senses were at their most alert, her muscles ready to spring into whatever action the Dark Emperor of All wished of her. If commanded, she would unleash the dark side and all of its power against the False Empress and crush her under the might of the Sith. She had no reason to threaten for that was the pleasure of the Dark Lord, so she did not make any move that could be considered as one. Still, she was ready for whatever was required.
  13. Qaela was intrigued by the young leader and kept a close eye on her with both physical senses and passive Force senses. She didn't truly admire the other, but studied her as a huntress her prey. Physically, she doubted the False Empress posed much a threat, but she had managed to get a large number of beings to follow her, even if it had been a mostly disastrous path for them. There had been pain and suffering on her path, that much was clear. Reports Qaela had read indicated that she had been tortured pretty thoroughly by her Black Sun captors. Such amateurs: physical torture was a waste if it was not to build and strengthen. Qaela had never been keen on physical torture, instead preferring to kill those who needed it quickly and use her mind as a weapon against those for whom information was sought. Most intriguingly to the Nightsister was the scent of the Force upon the woman. She had not been aware of the Force sensitivity in the Child Leader. Perhaps, if the Dark Lord wished it, Zinthos could be turned and brought into the power of the dark side. To do such a thing would be a most uniquely interesting challenge and, upon successful completion, would certainly garner her a significant amount of power and respect. Though, that might also bring unwanted attention. Better to instead allow the Spider to receive the glory and remain behind the scenes. Zinthos did ask a question, and as wary as she was of giving unwanted information, it could be useful to engage in a conversation. Perhaps the younger Sith Mordecai would also be enlightened as well. "I have served as long as he has been worthy of being served," she answered truthfully and without malice or hostility.
  14. Qaela had been surprised that the Rebels had so quickly responded in the affirmative, and from the Pretend Empress herself. True to her word, she organized the release of the thousand prisoners with the small numbers of Sith spies mixed in. In the grand scheme of things, they were irrelevant. Once that was accomplished, there was naught to do but wait. Though it didn't concern her much, Mordecai's delayed arrival meant that she didn't have much time to focus on feeling him out. Perhaps later she would, but for now, business must be taken care of. She looked him over as he approached, but there was no glaring hostility from him which meant that he was not a direct threat for now. He seemed respectful enough as well which bode well for his future. Those who tried to shine too brightly often burned out. She had not heard of Lord Valinor, so she didn't know his style or how he taught. "The Rebel's False Empress is on her way, it seems," she answered. "We shall see what comes of this, but under no circumstances are you to interfere or threaten the boarding party. The Dark One wishes to speak with the Rebel leadership and we will not do anything to cause them to change their mind." The sensors on the Herløv rang out with the arrival of a Star Destroyer. Smiling, she ordered the patrol squadron to prepare for their Rebel guest's arrival. Gesturing for Mordecai to join her, she left the bridge to head to the hangar bay. Along the way, they were joined by the quartet of her trusted apprentices. There was an honor guard at the docking bay waiting just in case this was some sort of Rebel trap, but Qaela sensed no extra danger as the Rebel shuttle landed. Qaela paid the False Empress' relative youth no heed as she herself knew age was often not an indicator of skill or ability. In standing there receiving the trio, Qaela was quite interested in them. She had encountered and fought Jedi before, but this was her first experience with Imperial Knights. They seemed far more steeled than the Jedi she had faced which meant they were more of a threat. She liked that. "Raven Zinthos," she said with a slight bow of her head, "the Dark Emperor will receive you if you will follow me." She gestured for the trio to follow. With a gesture of her hand, the honor guard of Sith Troopers remained leaving only Qaela, Mordecai, and her quartet of apprentices with their guests. She led them to the comparatively large conference room that served as the Herløv's command and control relay center. There, she pressed a button alerting the True Emperor that they were present so he could respond at his own leisure.
  15. A half million kilometers from Borleias, a Sith fleet emerged from hyperspace and took up a defensive position, but advanced no further. The largest ship with an IFF indicating it was called the Herløv had shields raised, but its weapons were not powered or trained. Only one squadron of TIE Defenders had been deployed as a screen, though the rest of its compliment was on standby just in case the Rebels decided to attack. Qaela wasn't interested in a fight, but she also wasn't going to put her mission, herself, or the beings under her command in a vulnerable position. Qaela couldn't help but smile at the though of the panic that the arrival of the small fleet likely caused among the remnant of Coruscanti refugees and the defending forces that protected the planet. The weak needed to be culled so that the strong could improve the Galaxy. Balance needed to be restored from the vapid and feeble. Those here who cowered and fled rather than stood and fought against the invaders of their home were destined only to serve those who were strong to help build that new society. She had never lusted for war and conquest, but among the Sith, that was often the best way to be recognized and gain power. Power was the best way to protect yourself, even if it was a tenuous thing. Draw too much power and you drew too many wanting to take it for themselves. Remain with too little power and you would be used by those with more. The trick was a balance, and so far, she had managed to obtain just enough power to maintain it. Her mission today was not to conquer, but perhaps if she accomplished it, more recognition and power would come directly from the source of all power in the Sith Empire. "Send a comm to the planet on a broadband, unsecured transmission," she ordered. When the comms offer indicated that such a connection was made, she spoke calmly and confidently. "I am Qaela Darksong, emissary of the great Sith Empire. We are not here to conquer or kill, but to talk. For reasons known only to himself, the Great Emperor wishes to speak with the leaders of your Rebellion. As a token of his goodwill and sincerity, I have with me one thousand political prisoners from Kuat who were scheduled for a lifetime of harsh slave labor. In exchange for dialogue with Rebel leadership, I shall release them to you unharmed and with no further stipulations. Unless you act aggressively towards my forces, I shall wait here for three days after which the offer is expired and I shall return to the Omnipotent Spider to report that it was the Rebels who refused diplomacy." She terminated the connection and then gave a new directive. "Let Lord Mordecai know he is welcome upon the Herløv for the duration of our time here." Though he was subordinate to her, technically he had command of the smaller ships in the fleet. She would rather know his mind and intentions a little better and maintain at least a working relationship in case this turned into a fight.
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