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King Kheldar vos Correlli

Dark Sun Station

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Mythos' teeth flared behind the mask, the closest thing his kind could come to smile.. albeit it looked more like a snarl than that of a smile, as Slaughter spoke. The Shistavanen was ready for a good fight, and it seemed it had been served to him on a silver plate. The rise of the Mandalorians may have been what brought him out retirement, but his duty was to that of the Alliance and her people, including that of the Imperial Empress. As he turned to walk away, he uttered only a few words, words he felt that Slaughter would find consoling. "The Force wont have anything to do with our win today."

 

And with that, Mythos departed, never truly believing the Jedi mysticism. As far as he was concerned, it was no more than ideology. As he headed to the hangar, he listened to Slaughter's comm to the enemy echo across the Steadfast's internal speakers, his words not only mimicking his own feelings toward the current state of the GA, but as he looked out across the hanger bay, it reflected nearly everyone's as life sprung forth in waves and everyone reported in for duty as engines were filled and ships began lift off. It was truly a sight to behold, a splintered body of government coming together with its allies in a swift motion to return old wounds to those that inflicted them.

 

Even as the towering Shistavanen walked across its bay and climbed aboard the transport he had been assigned to, the men within held no faces of fear or despair. No, they held faces of vengeance and firm convictions, ready to lay their lives down in the line of duty just get a swing at the enemy. These were men and women whom had been backed into a corner and were ready to fight back. And for Mythos, there was no greater gratification than to know he found himself surrounded by beings of the same mentality. And it showed when the Black Sunner made his own retort to Slaughter, the men listening closely growing fired up as his words merely spat in their faces. Mythos could smell the hate in the air like that of a strong cologne. And it smelled delicious.

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The hint of a scowl tugged at the corners of Allie’s face. Her hard green eyes dug holes through the back of the calloused Commander’s face. And though he stood one inch taller than she did, Aleria felt an obelisk, towering over the man and his ignorance. But ultimately, she didn’t care. It wasn’t her place to put her values on someone else. And, disrespectful though he was, this was war. This was the time to put all else aside and sacrifice to protect and serve the people of the galaxy. Y’know, what Jedi are supposed to do… Right?

 

Aleria listened to the rest of the Commander’s orders with indifference. Her eyes wandered to the plates of the ship behind him and to the viewports beyond. Her hands idly grasped at the metal hilts at her hips and her feet tapped quietly on the durasteel deck-plating. Feverish thoughts buzzed in her ear like so many bugs that she couldn’t get rid of even if she tried. Her expression hadn’t changed, but her nerves were starting to rebel. Despite herself, Aleria took a moment to scan her surroundings, trying to imagine where she needed to go, trying to plan ahead.

 

It didn’t really help, but it gave her an excuse to dig herself out of her funk and motivated her to reacquaint herself with the joys of simple things. Like the fact that Commander Sanderson had a piece of toilet tissue stuck to the underside of his boot or that some of the recruits behind Sanderson were having a laugh. Aleria couldn’t tell what they were laughing at, but their joviality helped put her mind at ease.

 

Aleria was as ready as she would ever be. And, as soon as the rest of the group began to move, she carried on toward the assault shuttles and prepped herself for what was to come. It was going to be a long ride.  

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Trying to describe this feeling was best left to a metaphor; it was like being on a rough sea, and you know there is another ship out there but you can't spot it yet. Then- you identify one another and make a straight line to each other. That was how this was working out- Tobias in his ship was making a straight line to Adenna and her ship. Keeping his heart from leaping out of his chest, he tried to play it smooth and not get too excited. Playing the part of a Jedi Master, he needed to act like it too.

 

Standing there in the cockpit of his ship, he felt the hazy field of an interdiction gravity cone they were about to hit- and he slapped the controls. The PIT Droid, Ni, looked at him like the human was invading the droids personal space. Not the case, but still... he was overreaching. "We were about to be pulled out anyways..." Tobias shrugged at the droid. Ni apparently just shrugged it off.

 

And there the ship was- the guiding light of his existence held within. "Transmit our clearance codes to the Adi-Wan, then form up as best we can. Try to make speed to the Adi-Wan until we receive orders otherwise." The little droid nodded his head and the ship started to speed up- into the Jedi Forces.

 

Clearing his throat, he walked back to the common room where his apprentices were there- he was caught flatfooted, he didn't know what to do with the pair- they had only started to cover combat situations. Combat situations with pirates and smugglers- were not good for them to learn the first time around. Pirates could be treacherous... especially these ones- Sith allied ones.

 

After boarding the Adi-Wan, and seeing his love momentarily for just moment, Tobias was back aboard his YT-2000, contemplating his next move. Should he really go to the surface? Could he make a difference if he were to go out and command another ship? The CC-7700? The Lancers Frigates? There was very little time to meditate. The surface is where his apprentices were heading, he should look out for them. Adenna was in space though- and he could cover her from his ship, or a fighter.

 

No, he would do better to head dirtside, well, station-side. Silently, the YT slipped back into space and positioned itself to follow the others to the station. Where was Raven in all that? Where would they go? The three of them were combat vac suits, along with the other Jedi strike team members. Tom and Tut, for starters. Three Barabel Jedi Knights, a Noghri and another two human males. The Noghri was in the top quad cannon, the human on the bottom quad. A Barabel was also staffing the Cannons, from the cockpit. Knight and Ikky were in engineering, ready for something to go wrong. They were ready. They kinda had to be. There wasn’t any other options.

 

Forming up behind the Templar’s, the Corellian Freighter lagged just behind a touch- and Tobias felt the familiar touch of Adennas presence and welcomed it.

 

“Droids, Execute Programming Two-Two-One. Standby…download local packet DSS-Five-Tactical.” Vos gave the programmed call out order to his droids.

 

“WELL ITS ABOUT KRIFFING TIME! AND WERE IN A COMBAT FORMATION?! What are you trying to do to us?! This isn’t good for my health. Especially yours, for all of you meatbags.” A droid voice started over the ships comm.

 

Vos places his head in his palm, regretting he didn’t have time to tone the programming down on the Droids. Embarrassed, he called through the comm; “Ni, knock it off. We have company, time to be serious.”

 

There was another response but Vos ignored it and tried to settle back into a combat mindset. He felt Adennas presence once again, letting it flow through him. The road ahead was going to be long- and the Wookiee’s would be avenged- slavers would die. Jedi would die. Raven would be rescued, and Adenna would be there at the end of it all, one way or another. He promised himself that much.

 

Not unexpected, Tobias found his friend and confidant Jedi Master Tut Maris alone, near the loading ramp. Dressed in his combat Vac suit, he just stood there, waiting.

 

“Tut…” Tobias softly questioned.

 

The green nautolan just stood there, still looking out past the hull.

 

Tobias put a gentle hand on his friends shoulder, noting the new lightsaber hilt next to Tuts old one. “Tut, are you with us?”

 

He blinked, shaking his head clear. His head tails shifted subtly with the movement. The green alien still didn’t look at Vos, but answered the question with arms folded. “Last time we were on a space station, my best friend died- and I watched it happen…” His voice was barely above a whisper.

 

Tobias dug his fingers into the muscular shoulder, gently. It was a sign  that Tobias knew would convey his sympathy. “I carry his memory with me every day, along with all the others we lost on Kashyyyk. But the wookiees are free, my friend. Chal’lar gave his life to free them- and even to protect some Imperial Stormtroopers. You know I’d trade places with him if I could, I’m sorry my friend. I really am.”

 

Tut let his head roll for a moment, then nodded, his gaze still locked forward. “I carry more than memories now, but your condolences are appreciated, my friend.”

 

Tobias let his hand drop back to his side. “Yeah, I just noticed your new lightsaber. Very honorable of you. You brought him back from the Dark Side, bonded, fought together- and still fight together. We’ll continue on, and you and I both know he’s watching us now. Cheering us on. I’d say you can sit this one out, but thats not what you need is it? Of course not. Just… don’t get too lost in your emotions- we will have Sith to fight soon enough.”

 

Tut had shifted his gaze to look at Vos, who winked and they each nodded there affirmation at each other. Tobias left him there, knowing he’d be back in a moment. Welcoming Adenna’s presence once again and he started to see a little clearer. Time to go check on his apprentices...

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“I don’t get it. They’re just sitting there,” murmured a pair of mechanics somewhere below Draygo and Genesis, the two loaders having a rare moment of quiet after the launch of the Mandate’s fighters. The older Jedi ignored them. In any moment the hangar would be rushing with activity to secure excess munitions and fuel ports--and the deck crews would be grousing at the two Jedi who still hadn’t taken that great hulking snubfighter out of the hangar and allow them to do their jobs.

 

“Yes, he’s somewhere… out… there with the Imperial Knights. I never would have expected a child of mine would side with the blasted Empire,” that last word came out with a touch more venom than Armiena liked. Her eyes closed for a second and her chest rose and fell in a long, deep breath. “Not after what they did to our family, I mean. But I wasn’t much of a mother to him. I put out messages and feelers, but no luck. But if he was at Kashyyyk and Kuat, maybe…”

 

What possibility the veteran Jedi was considering was never voiced. Taking careful grip of her second thermal detonator, Draygo pried the grenade apart and plucked out the priming charge. “Indistinguishable from the real thing, save for a gram of high-ex and lack of, um,  boom. Sometimes all you need is a few seconds of the other side keeping their heads down.”

 

Draygo picked up a tunic of black armorweave and made an examining tug at the stitching. The garment, though not quite as protective as a plastoid carapace, offered much more range of motion and could be worn in a snubfighter cockpit.

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It didn't take empathic abilities to tell that the commander was perturbed with the increased amount of Jedi in his ranks if looks could kill, then Kel would be dead due to the metaphorical daggers that Commander Sanderson was likely imagining piercing his skull. After the commander gave his orders while letting loose his barbs at the Jedi, Kel walked towards the shuttle with Aleria and the rest of the troops. 

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Adenna had to admit, she had not thought that the Black Sun commander would be so quick to negotiate. Yes, they were outnumbered, but that had never stopped Black Sun from fighting to the end. Perhaps only their dupes were suicidally fanatic. It would make sense for the leadership of such criminal scum to put their own interests ahead of all else. She had hoped that they would be willing to negotiate rather than execute Empress Zinthos, but she had also planned on that happening after the enemy fleet was defeated and all hope of survival was gone.

 

She did want to negotiate the safe return of the Empress, but not at the expanse of the opportunity. Black Sun's fleet was trapped and they may never get an opportunity to strike such a potentially devastating blow against them again. To simply give up and walk away would be a terribly foolish mistake strategically. These were the same scum that fought to the end on Kashyyyk after slaughtering and enslaving millions. They had caused problems all over the Galaxy and it was high time they face justice. She wasn't quite sure how any of their Imperial allies would handle things, but she wanted to see their fleet in ruins and justice dealt to these criminal terrorists.

 

Still, she wasn't going to rush into a decision unless absolutely necessary, especially. "Admiral," she said, "signal our allies. I will be in the briefing room, we need to discuss this offer. Until then, respond telling their commander that we will consider their offer." She didn't quite want to reveal herself directly, not yet at least. Better to let the officers respond to the enemy.

 

Admiral Antilles nodded and, as Adenna left the bridge, sent out a response, "This is Admiral Antilles of the Jedi Order Combined Fleet, we will consider your offer and will hold position until we have a formal response. If your fleet attempts to maneuver in any way, we will consider that an act of aggression and will attack." He ended the public transmission and switched to an encrypted fleet channel. "All ships, hold combat formations. We will be considering this deal, but I want everyone in position and alert in case this is a trap or the enemy tries to attack."

 

Adenna summoned Armenia and the other Jedi on board the Adi-Wan to the briefing room, and sent out a message for any other Jedi who wished to join via an encrypted channel.

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And in just a moment, the initiative was back in the hands of the enemy. The attack had to pause after a transmission like that--as satisfying as the destruction of the Black Sun fleet might be after the loss of Coruscant and the debacle at Onderon, it was only of secondary importance. The Imperial Head of State was only one person, but was the only objective in this encounter. If Slaughter had to sacrifice ten thousand fighting men, or his flagship, or his own pride to retrieve her, then they were acceptable casualties.

 

Slaughter felt plastic creak and twist as his hands clenched around the comlink. The Jedi fleet was now idling to port, its snubfighters now swarming in a screen between their motherships and Dark Sun Station. His own forces wouldn’t be able to complete this attack without their assistance. He lifted the comlink to his lips.

 

“Stand by,” the Admiral barely managed his guttural growl before he slammed the comlink home.

 

Matching pace with the Jedi to their left, the Galactic Alliance armada held their position and the myriad sublight engines dimmed as the capital ships slowed to an idle. The starfighters, however, continued to swarm and the corvettes concentrated near the Steadfast, still darting about in a ponderous imitation of the smaller vessels. Orders issued, the flagship then hailed the Adi-wan.

 

I don’t care where she is, get me the…!” Slaughter checked himself before shouting a curse on the bridge of his flagship. He wrestled his voice down to a lower register as the communications officer explained that he had just been patched through on a holographic channel to one of the Adi-wan’s briefing rooms. “Get me the Grandmaster.” The stocky man looked up from the crew pits, realizing that he had just been connected to the briefing room and now appeared in both holographic and audio.

 

“Delta has the most valuable head in the galaxy and he’s using it to buy himself time,” The Admiral began. “And yet… he has it. We need Zinthos, no matter what else happens here.”

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Captain Orian Wolf turned his head towards Sandy and arched an eyebrow. She let a wry half grin spread across her face before she walked beside him to the communications’ station. She could feel the real tension piquing in the entire combined fleet as pilots applied their stopjets and pulled their fighters back from the deadly game. The bridge crew behind her sighed audibly as they ignited the reverse thrusters, the fight had been so close at hand. It was the equivalent of calling a timeout right before a vital kick at a shockball tournament. So it brought some degree of stress to everyone in the fleet including Sandy. She fought that stress as she motioned to one of the officers to bring her the armour that was sitting beside her go bag.

 

She was working at her healing shoulder wound with her hand to loosen up the tight bunched muscles when she stepped onto the holopad that would transmit her image, in its blue holographic hue, to the grandmaster in the meeting room aboard the Ara-Lai. She sighed and snapped on her imperial issued chestpiece before she pointed to the comms officer.

 

She bowed deeply to the Grandmaster before glancing up with a cocky grin. She knew her place, and it was very suddenly clear it was not aboard the medical frigate. Her padawans and her friends would need her help.

 

“Master.” She said as she tucked her platinum blonde old padawan braid behind her ear. She knew her place, and would stick to her report. “The boarding craft are nearly all fully manned and prepared for a strike mission or negotiated transport, we are at your disposal.”

 

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Only a few seconds later, the holograph of Armiena Draygo appeared next to that of Sandy Sarna. Her face slightly distorted from speaking into a portable holocomm within the confines of a snubfighter cockpit, the veteran Jedi glanced about the room for a moment. She matched eye contact with Admiral Slaughter, and then she immediately looked at anyone other than the corpulent war criminal directly across from her.

 

“I just listened to the transmission. Grandmaster, there isn’t much I can say. If our objective is to retrieve Zinthos, then we’ll take the offer and have an Osk-Dorn team standing by when she arrives. If we’re here to hurt the Black Sun, then…” Her eyes flickered towards Slaughter and her lips thinned.

 

((Osk-Dorn: OD, Ordinance Disposal.))

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Adenna stood in the briefing room with her hands folded in front of her blue Jedi robes. She was only minorly amused at the display by her Galactic Alliance counterpart, mostly because she understood the desire to attack and strike out against such evil. She herself had held a similar position for quite a few years while purging slavers and pirates on the Rim. In truth, she hated the idea of taking the time to summon everyone to consider what to do, but she realized that as Grandmaster now, she had to pause and consider the much larger scope that her decisions now affected. No longer was it simply a slaver nest and a small platoon of soldiers at play, but rather whole fleets and hundreds of thousands of people, and that was just at this one situation.

 

"Yes," she said in response to both Slaughter and Draygo, "our objective is to save the Empress. However, we can't simply let the opportunity to deal a hard blow against Black Sun slip by simply for one life, especially with Delta actually here in person. As cold as it can be, we can't allow anyone to hold hostages over us like this. I have fought slavers and criminal scum before who attempted this and the government I worked with acquiesced to hostage demands in the beginning in the hopes of saving captive slaves. It was a disaster as the slavers simply escaped and captured more slaves. It only ended when I helped enact a more direct policy of refusing to negotiate with hostage takers before the practice slowed. It was a hard decision, but in the end, it saved far more lives than it cost."

 

As much as she hated this decision, she knew that being the leader sometimes meant making the very hard but practical decisions. Too often the Jedi and their allies had refused to see reality by placing well meaning virtue and principle over practicality. "I can't speak entirely for  the Empress, but from what l know about her, I don't believe she would want us to let all of this scum loose upon the Galaxy for her sake. I personally would rather my life be forfeit if it means destroying this much evil. I do believe that we should continue with the original plan: wipe out the Black Sun fleet while sending in the assault teams to at least attempt to free the Empress. We can't be sure if they will actually execute her or not, but if they do, we shall give her justice."

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-Genesis-

 

I watched Armiena's body language, the sense of despair hidden by her roughly forged exterior, yet it was the eyes that never lie. Even as my gaze shifted toward the mechanics hearing their whispers before turning back to her gaze, I could see the sadness. It was only her words that placed the pieces together for me.

 

"Forgive me Master. I didn't know." I spoke, my words sympathetic, but holding no weight of knowledge or experience behind their sincerity. "I dont know him, but as a son, perhaps the joy of seeing his mother again will erase, or at least ease, any old wounds. I know it would for me."

 

My gaze shifted outward, briefly considering what I would give to be in her son's shoes and knowing I had the chance to see my mother once again, but shook it off as the realization that I would never have such a chance reminded me so. Sitting in silence as she continued on with her instructions, I followed her in suite. There was certainly a method to her madness.

 

-Mjan-

 

Mjan sat in silence, and a bit of relief washed over the Lieutenant as the orders to hold positions came across the wires. He was new to this, and since take off, found his stomach aching with knots and flutters as the anticipation lingered on. He sighed heavily, opening himself to the Force and letting it flow peacefully through his being, feeling its gentle waves roll across his form. This was going to be a long day, whether it grew eventful or not, but he hoped he wouldn't have to pull a single trigger.

 

-Aurora-

 

Aurora would be found in her makeshift cabin when Tobias came looking for her, the weapon she had collected at Felucia fresh in hand as she practiced her form with by memory. She knew not what laid ahead for her, only that the tension in the air was thick, causing her to feel uneasy. This was the only way she knew to calm herself.

 

-Mythos-

 

Mythos snarled as the Jedi communications echoed through-out the Steadfast, the Shistavanen boiling with anger. If he hadn't been so cramped in the small shuttle, he would have likely smashed something. But for now, he kept quiet. He would await Slaughter's orders, but if they were as pacifistic as the Jedi's were starting to become, he'd storm the place himself. In his line of work, negotiations were only for show to get the enemy to let down their guard, and he wasnt about to be caught empty handed by the Black Sun.

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Vos's image appeared next to Master Draygos own. He was currently still aboard his own ship, flying in formation. This meeting was too important to miss though, so he made sure he chimed in, after encrypting the transmission to match the others as well to chat in private.

 

"This feels like a stalling tactic. However if they are sincere about trading Raven, perhaps that is our chance to deliver a strike team inside the station? My team could land, retrieve the Empress, and get her out and to safety.  Once she is aboard my ship- the ship leaves. That would leave the strike team in the hanger to..." He gestured to convey 'you all know what I mean' "In any event if we attack after we secure Raven, it might demonstrate that we cannot keep our promises. Which could come back to bite us in the future. They wouldn't expect us to break the promise now though, which is nice. Gives us the option to retrieve her."

 

 

 

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((Bruce Slaughter))

 

Bruce Slaughter couldn’t have possibly missed the flash of recognition that briefly crossed the face of the former Jedi Grandmaster, despite the fact that the two had almost certainly never met. There was no mistaking the twinge of her lips as anything but utter disgust. But the Admiral couldn’t spare a moment to reflect on what might have inspired that glance of disgust; billions of lives were depending on the outcome of this battle.

 

Thoughts of what the Black Sunners might do flit through his mind: yes, they might execute the Imperial Head of State, they might attempt a break-out, they might even scuttle the entire station out of spite. All of those were possibilities; what the Admiral knew was that to retrieve Zinthos, they would have to assault the station directly. The casualties would be enormous and they might not even reach their quarry in time. Unless…

 

“No time for a siege or anything subtle, just take the station head on and try to reach Zinthos before they execute her. We’ll take our forces along the starboard and catch the Star Destroyers in a crossfire. Suggest that your Jedi spearhead assault and my marines will hold the door open. You can move more quickly than us--and if she is wounded, she may need a healer.”



 

____

 

((Armiena Draygo))

 

For a few seconds, Draygo just looked at Alluyen, her stony expression affording her an appearance not entirely unlike that of an overgrown bird-of-prey. Then she glanced towards her side at a speaker not within the holoprojector’s field of view and a muscle in her cheek twitched. It was true, Black Sun was one of the most prolific purveyors of the most repulsive trade in the galaxy--few beings would regret any casualties required to bring them low and even fewer would mourn the destruction of the criminal syndicate.

 

But she had seen this scenario before. Armiena hadn’t been present, but she had watched the sensor data, over and over and over until she wanted to tear her hair out.

 

All she said was: “And the station?”

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Adenna nodded at Slaughter and, considering the lack of true opposition, sighed at the decision before them. "Then we attack. Master Vos, take your ship in if you can, as well as all with you. Work with the GA Marines and our other shuttles, we will assault the station from multiple locations. The Empress is Force sensitive, and likely her pain will be a beacon. Have all the Jedi to use that pain as a guide to her location while the Marines secure the way." To Slaughter, she said, "Civilian casualties are to be avoided, but there likely isn't anyone truly innocent on that station, so do not put your men in danger over them."

 

She addressed Master Draygo, "Once the Empress is secure, we will pull whatever intel we can quickly acquire and evacuate. Let the station melt along with any Black Sun ships that refuse to surrender. If the Empress is killed, evacuate and the fleet will slag it. That station is too valuable to be left in the hands of the enemy so they can continue to generate more and more money for the expansion of their criminal and terrorist enterprises. Any corporation who takes losses can suffer them as is their right for doing business with such a corrupt entity.

 

"The plan is as it was: the fleet punches a hole through to the station for our assault shuttles. The assault teams land and rescue the Empress and whatever other captives may be on the station. They evacuate once they have secured her. The fleet will destroy whatever Black Sun ships don't surrender. Any enemy ship that is firing is to be slagged, but any enemy ship that is disabled or powered down is to be spared until after the fight." With a pointed look at the Galactic Alliance commander, she said, "The Jedi Order doesn't condone indiscriminate slaughter. We bring justice to the guilty, but we also aren't going to massacre the helpless. Let the courts try any prisoners and give them fair justice after the battle is over.

 

"May the Force be will us all."

 

With one last somber nod, she turned and left the briefing room to return to the bridge so she could be there when the fighting began. As soon as she was there and received readies from all ships in the fleet, the attack would begin in earnest. One way or another, many scum would receive justice long overdue.

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The Black Sun ships maintained their position under the cover of the station. Outnumbered two to one, the proud navy of the oldest criminal underground organization stood ready to die under the heavy guns of  the once formidable galactic alliance, that old and decrepit organization. That foul alliance had spanned the galaxy for nearly a decade, the combined foetus of mother Empire and father New Republic, destined for the garbage bins where it should have been left a decade before. But for now its last waning strength was martialed  against the Black Sun. Whose last Prince stood defiant on the bridge of his star destroyer, looking death in the face.

 

“Marie give us a target map while we wait for their response.”

 

The teenage captain, her brunette hair tied back above her cybernetic unit nodded at him and her holographic image shifted out of its place to stand beside him as the heavy sensors of the Marie reported back in detail the full locations of the enemy fleet, as well as the two interdictors who blocked easy escape.

 

“Tightband it. Send it out. Now. Prepare for sensor jamming, alert the Uriels as well.”

 

Before all communications were jammed by the enemy fleet,  this would at least get out. In a few seconds the packet had hit the holonet and disappeared into the stars. The young commander of the Marie nodded and her holograph disappeared. 

 

He pointed at the main comms officer, and the channel to the Alliance was opened again.

 

“Well do we have terms?”

 

His hands gripped the bridge railing in front of him. His bright blue eyes narrowed to slits.

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((Armiena Draygo))

 

Armiena reached to her side and shut down the holorecorder, causing the azure ghost of her form to waver and fade. For a few seconds, she just placed her chin on the peak of her fingers and stared into the unfamiliar controls of the B-Wing. Sensor data, fed to the heavy starfighter by the arrays of the Justice’s Mandate, continued to waver as the ships of the formation danced their ballet of brinksmanship. Finally, she reached under her leg and withdrew a comlink. The device had been recording all throughout the meeting, beginning with the moment that the corpulent body of Bruce Slaughter had appeared.

 

“We need to get on that station,” the veteran Jedi eventually declared. She climbed onto the wing of the fighter-bomber and shoved away the excess weapons she had gathered (“What the pfask!” shouted one of the deck hands at seeing her domain being littered.) “Minimal killing, might need to actually talk to someone there--oh, good, ion cannons. They’re going to vape the station the moment that Zinthos is clear. Can’t let that happen,” she continued, clambering back into the two-seater cockpit and checking the straps on the portable life-support vest. “Too much intel, too much creditflow, too much… people.”

 

“Genesis,” she turned around, facing her apprentice with a grin. “You have any time in an A/SF-01? Sims or the real deal?”

 

____

 

((Bruce Slaughter))

 

Bruce stepped away from the holocomm, the image of the Jedi Grandmaster and the ad hoc council winking out of existence along the wall. Behind him, a junior officer was waiting with apprehension written on the face of the Durosian, a comlink in his hands. That would have been the Black Sun commander, the dilettante who had answered when Slaughter had allowed his temper to get the better of him and idiotically mouthed off to the entire star system.

 

“Yeoman. Standing order to the bridge crew.” Slaughter’s face twisted into a half-hearted attempt at a grim smile. “I am not to be allowed to transmit on a comlink over an open frequency. Ever. Wrestle it out of my hands if you have to.”

 

The Admiral plodded towards the center of the bridge and leaned heavily on the tactical pit. Somewhere in the background, a comlink was still buzzing with the Black Sunner’s attempt to contact the Galactic Alliance flagship.

 

It was time to give the commander their response. “Commence the attack.”


At that moment, the starboard batteries of the Steadfast rained crimson fire along the flight path of the Audacity and Surprise, gently encouraging any starfighters and corvettes in their sector to take evasive maneuvers as the twin DP20 Gunships plowed into the breach with a wing of X-Wings. Steadfast and Fidelity then took a hard turn to starboard, bringing their portside batteries to bear upon the Holofernes. Seconds later, the twin capital ships of the Galactic Alliance opened fire with matching boardsides upon the Star Destroyer, their barrage accompanied by the lighter broadsides of the heavy cruisers within their formation.

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