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King Kheldar vos Correlli

Dark Sun Station

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From the small side viewport on the shuttle she had evacuated on, Adenna watched as the Adi-Wan erupted in a series of massive explosions. Thousands had either elected to remain on the ship or had otherwise been unable to evacuate in time. There was a small sense of satisfaction when one of Black Sun's Victory Star Destroyers shared a similar fate shortly after, but overall, Adenna was not happy to have lost so many.

 

With both fleets engaged at point blank range, the sight was something to truly behold. Had she not been feeling the pricks and stings of death with each fiery flower, she would have found the scene to be truly breathtaking. She had seen battles before, but nothing on this scale. She turned away from the viewport as the shuttle's weaving maneuvers increased and everything in it was just a dizzying blur. For the moment, she was completely useless to the battle's outcome and had to put her faith in the commissioned officers that were still in command.

 

The Jedi forces, in an effort to put distance between themselves and the Sith fleet while providing a protective sphere around Dark Sun Station, had rushed in towards the Black Sun forces at full speed and didn't stop once they were among their enemy. For the last several minutes, the two had been engaging fire at rapidly decreasing distances and alarmingly increasing deadliness. When the two fleets passed within mere kilometers of each other, the firefight reached its zenith as neither side was missing targets. Rows of hull plating were ripped off of ships on both sides by the intense fire as interior lights and gravity flickered or went dark.

 

The Marauder corvette Ataru took an intense barrage that overwhelmed its shields and splintered its spine within a handful of seconds. Its two wings were hurled in opposite directions as its front bridge tumbled forward due to its momentum. The Nebulon-B Crystal Heart shields buckled for a moment allowing it to take damage along its front downward facing in, but the ship remained intact and advancing forward with the rest of the fleet. It wouldn't be doing much fighting the rest of the battle and its captain would continue its path past Dark Sun Station and away from the fight until they could calculate a safe hyperspace trajectory to safety. The Carrack frigate Jar-Kai maneuvered between the Rhoads and the Totenkopf II. While it unleashed terrible salvos against both corvettes, it took damage from their return fire and from the larger Black Sun destroyers and was now bleeding oxygen, bodies, and parts of its interior from multiple places on its hull. It was hurt, but the hardy ship wasn't quite out of the fight.

 

All of the Jedi forces in Fleet Group One and its accompanying Relief Flotilla took a beating but the intensity of the bombardment quickly lessened as the two fleets flew through each other's formation and were presenting mostly engines at each other. Starfighters and bombers continued their dance with each other. While most of Black Sun's fighter forces were engaged with the Galactic Alliance and Imperial Remnant fighters, the Jedi fighters from Fleet Group One and the Relief Flotilla focused on defense from the overbearing Sith fighters. That allowed the fighters from Fleet Group Two to join the main fight and engage in sortie runs against the Black Sun fleet. X-wings launched multiple coordinated torpedo barrages against the enemy Star Destroyers hoping to knock out weapons batteries or engines, but they soon ran out of ordinance and resorted to extremely close range strafing runs that cost them fighters.

 

Even as the main Jedi force was passing through and away from the Black Sun Fleet, the practically untouched Nebula Star Destroyer Justice's Mandate and its three escorts from Fleet Group Two were rapidly passing the disabled Dark Sun Station and joining the fight. Their primary objective was to drive the Black Sun fleet away from Dark Sun Station and the damaged Jedi and Galactic Alliance fleets and keep the Sith checked. While they couldn't handle things alone, Commodore Neldis hoped that with the combined--though battered--Allied forces remaining, they would be able to at least make a showing for themselves. And, should the Sith advance and engage, he and the Grandmaster had an extremely risky but potentially effective plan for dealing with them. He didn't particularly want to try the tactic at this messy stage, but it might be needed if the Sith pressed the attack. The fleet needed to give their boarding parties on Dark Sun Station more time.

 

Summary:

Main Jedi forces advance full speed through Black Sun lines and are now between Black Sun's fleet and the station. The damaged forces are joined by the barely touched Fleet Group Two with 1 capital, 2 frigates, and a corvette

Most Jedi fighters are engaging Sith fighters and bombers. Some Jedi fighters have joined the remaining Jedi bombers in continuing to harass the Black Sun forces attacking weapons batteries on the capital ships.

Adi-Wan and the corvette Ataru are fully destroyed, the frigate Crystal Heart is heavily damaged and out of the fight but not destroyed. All ships in the main Jedi force are damaged, losing shield effectiveness and weapons capacity.

Jedi forces will not pursue Black Sun forces that are able to move forward and join the Sith fleet, but any remaining near the station or that are unable to evacuate will be attacked until they surrender or are destroyed.

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His head tilted to one side, the reverberation from the thermal detonator sounded down the hallway the Jedi were in. As soon as the flash and noise subsided, his eyes fixed on the hole in the floor it had just left. Instantly there were Jedi leaping through the hole and down another level. Tobias let the others jump through first, taking another moment to check in with everyone.

 

The Barabels were pressing forward towards the prison level after the 9-9 crew started to flank the enemy. 

 

Shuttle 5-5 crew has fended off the last of the security forces and had the credit vaults secured near the bottom of the station. 

 

Distracted, he jumped down the new hole to the level below. He was caught off guard with the drop, it was a longer drop than he anticipated, but he recovered quickly. Rolling to mitigate the fall, he decided to evaluate how close they were to Raven. They were right on top of her. One level left to go, it seemed. Odd, but a welcome de

 

He checked in with the Barabels and shuttle 9-9, despite casualties, the level below the prison block was secured. 

 

The others were moving through the vaults to take on engineering. 

 

He ordered the Barabels to make their way to the main entry point for the prison block, Tobias would meet them there. 


 

~~

 

The guards heard the knocking at the door from the turbo lift, and the hissing. The reptilian crew of Jedi were trying to spook the guards, and it was working. The guards were scared, a dozen in the main chamber. More down the corridor, and the other prisoners were also scared, they could vaguely hear but the effect was universal. 

 

Vos reached out to the Imperial Head-of-State, gauging her situation. Stable for now. 

 

The thermal detonator flashed, and the deck piece separating the last of the Jedi forces on the level above, a flash grenade went off. With a Force suggestion from Vos, they all swarmed the prison level. He and nearly sixty Jedi dropped into and throughout the prison level.

 

~~~

 

Shuttles 3-4 and 2-2 went to assist with the crew of shuttle 5-5 in the banking levels. Those 150 or so Jedi and soldiers would hold the area and make sure any attack the station defenses couldn’t breach their perimeter. Once that was accomplished 3-4 and 2-2 would make their way down through the vaults and into engineering. As it happened, right as Vos and crew were dropping into the prison level, both crews were moving to engineering. 

 

~~

 

Shuttles 4-4, 6-7 and 8-6 were keeping pressure on the upper tiers of the station. Swarming the Officers Quarters, Briefing Rooms and Armories. Constantly putting pressure on the station defenses. Just enough to keep the bridge crews in place, unless they surrendered, of course.

 

~~

 

A contingent of 5-6 made sure to keep an eye on the hanger, from the shadows of course. The battle outside was turning, and it would be good to see if the Black Sun and Sith tried to reinforce the station.

 

~~

 

Tobias sighed as the few sounds of fighting died away. Any padawan could feel that the other cells were full of people, scared and defeated. There wasn’t any choice in the matter, they would be coming with the Jedi. Dishing out orders for the Jedi to escort the prisoners back to their shuttles, Tobias decided to risk resetting one of the shuttles. If it was his, they’d all die of decompression sickness with the breaches they had cut and blown into the station, but there was another option. Calling over the comm, he got shuttle 8-6 to reposition to the prison level. As the craft latched to the hull and bore into the station there was a wave of panic and terror from the civilian prisoners. As soon as the hatch was sealed to the shuttle, the Jedi began to open the cells, using lightsabers or the force to open them and escort the prisoners to safety. 

 

Discussing it briefly, Tobias and his small crew decided to come in from all angles on the prison cell that held Raven and… others. 

 

After everyone was moved onto the shuttle, Tobias knocked on the final door- Raven’s. Tobias pinched the bridge of his nose and then gave a signal to move forward. A barabel reached out to activate the door controls and it slid slowly to the side revealing the interior- Raven was on some man’s lap with a gun pointed to her head, along with four other guards their weapons pointed in the same direction. As Tobias entered he stretched out his hands in a non-aggressive stance, he took one step into the room - without making a sound- careful not to startle or come off as too hostile with his body posture. . “Head of State Zinthos, good to see you again. Your friend must be… the commander of the station? With four of your closest guards? My terms are simple; let her go, right now; and give me the command codes for the station- all of them. If you do that, each of you will be allowed to leave here alive.”

 

Jedi inside and outside the station were taking loses, and if the commander was so concerned with his own fate he might give in gracefully and enabling Tobias to turn the battle in a different direction. He knew there would be a silent battle going on as each of the four guards would contemplate shooting Raven right off the bat, or shooting the commander to secure their own fate. 

 

TL:DR-

 

Black Sun station(18 levels total);

Command Structure/Private Hanger (4 Levels)

Officers Quarters/Briefing Rooms/Armory (2 Levels)

Prison Level (1 Level)

Hangers (1 Level)

Banking/Security (1 Level)

Scrooge McDuck Credit Vaults(8 Levels)

Engineering (1 Level)

 

Jedi Forces within the station are taking loses, but securing key positions.

Office Quarters/Armories, Banking/Security, Prison levels belong to Jedi. 

Two shuttles of Jedi (80 after casualties) are moving to engineering.

Jedi Sentries are moving to observe hangar bays.

Three shuttles worth of troops are putting pressure on the top 5 levels of station defenses.

Contact with Raven established.

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The door slid open and large amethyst eyes stared back at the Jedi Knight. The one time Empress of the imperial remnant sat stoically in the obese man’s lap, her eyes the only thing that showed her joy at seeing an allied face. Despite her much revealing state of undress she simply smiled and pulled away from the commander as he agreed to the Jedi’s demands. She bowed, pulling one arm up to keep the scraps of black cloth covering her chest. She was bloody, one arm and one leg completely flayed of skin from a week befores torture. The wounds wept blood, and stung from the touch of the cold air of the station but she ignored them. 

 

She was free, and though she doubted that the price had been worth the payment of so many lives, she was grateful. Her voice was dry and cracked sounding, likely from the days of screaming from the torture at the hands of the black sun. 

 

“Thank you master Jedi. I am in your debt.” That by itself took most her strength, and exhaustion mixed with nerves was beginning to take place of her stoic composition. 

 

She stumbled out of the door of her cell and collapsed against the wall of the white tiled tunnel. Her body overcome with wracking sobs. Blood still dripping onto the tiles from her flayed arm and legs.

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Damn the cruisers

 

Delta stood at the holomap table, his red cloak marking him as the commander from the immaculately dressed if nervous bridge crew. His bright blue eyes took in the scene and his inevitable defeat was written all over his face in a grimace. He pointed to the TAC officer who stood straight, her eyes looking at his hand as he spun the finger around in a circle pointing up. She clicked the heels of her boots together in a smart gesture of acknowledgement then strode to her console. The Blood Prince next looked to the rest of the crew gathered around the holomap his eyes found the chief weapons officer. 

 

“Concentrate fire on the Steadfast as we make our retreat towards the Sith fleet.” The officer nodded and relayed the command to the rest of the fleet and batteries aboard the Holofernes. “Comms.” This was said to the nervous redheaded girl whose cybernetic unit forced her cap back at the rear. She nodded. And Delta spoke his order. “Command the Victories to slow and turn, keep the enemy fighters and bombers off our rear as well as the remaining fast frigates from the Jedi. And Command the Saint Cathryne to stick with us, using her cluster bombs to keep the rabble off us until we reach the safety of the Super Star Destroyer.” 

 

He looked to the GAC, who commanded the starfighters. “Scramble everything we have left to cover our retreat. Do not force and engagement, I doubt the Jedi want very much to loose more men on the eve of their victory.” 

 

And with the orders given, the remains of the Black Sun fleet pushed out from the encircling Allied forces, the two untouched star destroyers flanking the MC30c and the Marie using its afterburner package to dart into safety. The victories held their location, sacrificing themselves for as long as they could to allow the rest of the fleet to escape. One would likely surrender when the Star Destroyers were outside of danger. And Delta couldn't blame the captain for that. There was one thing that haunted him from the battle. The Black Sun Armada was crushed, and the Black Sun was now defenseless and at the mercy of its allies and enemies. 

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THE SUM OF MY ENEMIES

 

 

Serpentine were the eyes of the unruly King of the Dark. Searching, sweeping the battlefield that opened up from all around his naval forces, seeing much more than what the sense of vision alone could offer. What he saw was vastly unremarkable. He studied the commanders that barked their orders to fruition, surveying how the enemies behaved themselves in response, and how the impression of thousands of lives burning out in a single moment truly felt once more. There was a fury hidden inside of his features as such things crossed his mind, one that burned through his eyes in the color of bloodstone as he remained witness to the quaint conviction of his enemies. These were their ideals they chose to die behind, herding an alarming levy of sheep to perish for a single uninteresting woman. “Disappointing how the competence of my enemies has fallen so drastically low. Truly, times have changed.”

 

The Emperor stood tall and moved to the center platform, his podium unnecessarily raised despite his already imposing stature. Upon his body he wore an umbrageous black cloak, hauntingly woven with a material that seemed polished with the shadows that followed his steps. The mantled robe was seamed brilliantly with an inner skin of aureated silk, swallowing the reflections of the flames that danced from the open braziers. Lord Exodus moved with the distinction of a tempered warrior-king, hardened and beaten by the savage realities of his homeworlds, yet never missing the grace of a single step in his stride. A breastplate, and shells of blackened Sith Metal sheathed particular areas of his torso, decisively fastened to his unruly vestment. From where he stood, he watched the workforce from beneath. On the vast holoprojectors, he too watched the many brave Onderonians who had once put their lives at great risk to ensure that their Empire would not be brought down by those who sought its destruction. He watched them all in contemplation, the masses gathered back home to see what would come of this battle. They waited on his word as if the sound of them were prophetic in nature, for his voice was rarely heard, but his brooding presence was always felt.  


"Today, we are gathered here as witnesses.." The tranquilizing voice of the Spider carried across an incredible expanse, magnified throughout Iziz through amplifiers built into the streets, and echoing within the very comms of the entire Sith-Imperial fleet.  “To recognize the reckless abandon of the Jedi and their Galactic Alliance first-hand. They have sung the song of peace, hoping that their poisonous words ease us soundly to a sleep. Yet we find them in masses, razing the fields of Carida, wrangling unprovoked war to our homes on Onderon and now here, with incredible odds against our allies to save the skin of a single woman. Commendable I would say, if only the same conviction was shared when millions of lives were readily butchered on Coruscant and many more on Chandrila for good measure. They were nowhere to be found, while those gnawing Crusaders ate their innocents on the footsteps of their very own homes.” A brief pause, to allow the last parallels of his masterfully intoxicating voice to dissolve from the echoing walls. "I implore you to understand the vast military achievements of the men and women here, and around you, who have willingly laid down their lives to bring security and stability to our territories. For without them, this Empire would be nothing. It was they who contested the desecration at the scholarly temples of Carida, protected our sovereignty in Iziz City from the same war criminal that demolished Coruscant, and crushed those that would invade our homes above Onderonian space, bringing the Galactic Alliance and known Jedi to their knees. Without our brothers and sisters, those that stand readily at our side, this Empire does not exist."
 

"We now know the true nature of our enemies, and yet we are the ones that possess the strength to keep them at bay, deservedly proven to rule the galaxy. It is the Empire, not the dominion of any failed Galactic Alliance, that brought back the rule of law to civilization.  When you all came to the edge of all of the light you've ever known, and decided to step off into the darkness of the unknown with me; you believed that one of two things would happen. You would have something solid to stand on, or you would be urgently taught how to fly. For that is what it means to be Imperial, that is what it means to be Sith, to have the strength to do what must be done even if it exacts a heavy toll upon us. Because we are a strong people, we will bear this burden as we have all others, and eradicate those that stand in our way."
 

The Sith Emperor raised his fist high, and was imitated by the hundreds of thousands in attendance from the fleet and Iziz City. A collective roar echoed throughout the masses, armies and audience altogether, mimicking a victorious battle cry that drowned out the rumblings of war. Adrenaline shock-waved through the swarm intelligence of the Sith armies, and excitement through triumph riveted the connectivity of home-world and the shared fleets. Exodus spoke with passion, but the darkness that seethed in his bones disallowed him the thrill of emotion. The Anzati inside of him flared with predatory instinct, appraising the immediacy of any threat within the distractions of celebration. The revelry increased regardless, and the power of the Sith-Imperial Fleets roared with brilliance. Exodus stepped from the podium, rounding a pass of stairs that would exit him from the grand stage. An escort of highly-decorated Heavy Sith Troopers shadows his steps in a protective formation, as leery as hounds in the wake of the Dark King. Grand doors opened quickly, decompressing loudly, and revealing a blood-drenched prodigy of the Sith.

 

 

"..Lady Nyrys," Exodus cracked a sinister smile.
 

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~~

Barracks/Prison Levels- 

 

The edge of Tobias’s mouth twitched slightly, almost a smirk. “We’ll talk about my interdictor another time.” Then he fixed his gaze on the guards as they were placing their weapons on the ground. A Jedi Knight entered the room and took the data card holding the codes to the station from the commander. The Barabels swarmed the room receiving the guards of their blasters and putting binders on them. While all that was taking place, Tobias just stood there, unmoving. 

 

As soon as the Jedi Knight had the datapad and all the Barabels were in the room, he left, escorting Raven out to the hallway. 

 

In the hallway outside the cell, Tobias stood there, holding the bridge of his nose with a look of great pain in the creases around his closed eyes. As soon as he felt Ravens gaze on him, he let go of his nose and there was a gasp from the cell behind her; his doppleganger had just disappeared and it caught someone off guard. Tom, his Chiss advisor, dropped a cloak around the small frame of Raven Zinthos, then took the datapad from the Jedi Knight who picked it up from the room. Then Tobias scooped the battered woman up into his arms, walking towards the lobby- away from the closest shuttle. The Jedi and soldiers covering the breech holes that they had cut on their way down started to retreat to their shuttles. The prisoners were escorted to the shuttle down the hallway, while Tobias had held up to his end of the bargain, it felt wrong to kill them with binders on. He had only promised to let them leave the room alive…

 

~~~

Engineering-


 

Nel’Pi let the smoke trail from her blaster; the weapon felt unnatural in her grip but she wanted to stay with the living and so she forced herself to push past the unnatural grip and protect herself. She was a slicer, not a warrior. The last of the Black Sun security forces was dead, her own shot into the man’s chest had seen to that. Looking around, she saw the remnants of the crew she had journeyed with down here. Each shuttle held fifty soldiers and since there were three that had converged on these levels they were down to roughly 120 left. Twenty, including the two Jedi that came down with them had left to keep an eye on the hanger bay.

 

When the leader of the boarding operation signaled that his objective was complete, they had rushed to get back on the same page- finish up their own objectives. 

 

Leaving thirty soldiers back at the vaults, Nel’Pi and almost seventy others pushed into the engineering bays below the vaults. Two Jedi also accompanied them and proved their worth when they alerted the others to an ambush. Five died, three were injured- but it would have been worse had they not had the heads up. 

 

Looking at her forearm datapad she found a new message from one of the Jedi Masters; the stations command codes. She smirked inside her helmet as she holstered her blaster and moved to one of the terminals. Quickly getting the bridge consoles turned off- the data had to travel from engineering all the way up through the station to the bridge, so it could be intercepted. Those codes just sped the process along. 

 

Calling through her headset to their little engineering teams private channel, as to not involve any of the soldiers, she reported what she was going to do. “Basically, the shield emitters are fried from the Ion bombardment earlier, and the conduits going TO the emitters are turned off- that was an automatic thing. With the commanders codes I can override them and pour energy into the emitters- venting the energy into space. Or catching something on fire if the ends of the wires are touching something flammable, either way it’ll work.”

 

Her team acknowledged it and took it a step further- they decided to send an emergency code that the station had been exposed to vacuum near the command decks- and the bulkheads slammed shut to contain the atmosphere. Then, they re-routed the power from the life support and CO2 scrubbers to the shield emitters. It was simple, really, they just ‘boosted’ their shields. 

 

The bridge crew wouldn’t die immediately, it’d take them at least… 12 minutes to suffocate.  She felt pity for them, but remembered they were part of the organization that enslaved, blackmailed, and just terrorized the galaxy. She could live with herself killing them this way, she decided. That, and she suspected someone would call for help and they could be rescued in the time they had. 

 

Other members of her crew was working on other things, rerouting power from ventilation and core coolant systems near the reactor to send temperatures into the critical failure range. It was going to get very hot very soon. 

 

~~

Hanger/Security/Vaults- 

 

Tarrwarraoo snorted his wide nostrils accenting it with an eyeroll. There was nothing in the hanger bay. Save for a few ships and shuttle, one of which was slightly damaged and still harbored lifeforms aboard- there was nothing. He really expected the Black Sun or Sith to reinforce the station. It would have been a bad tactical move, but they did enjoy their excesses. He knew his role was an important one, but he just did not want to be here. He should have had people here sooner- there was evidence there was a fight and… the Jedi forces had taken casualties. 

 

His comm beeped inside his helmet and he listened to the engineering crews tormenting the systems that kept a space station running. Seemed like they were messing with each level, for some reason, wasn’t 6-4 on its way out with the target? Weren’t they in control of the vault? No, the vaults were laid out differently… it was… why were they calling for breach charges when he and Sveene were here with lightsabers. Growling a few notes, they waited for a reply. The vaults couldn’t be breached in a consecutive manner to get the credits to blow out in the direction of their non-electrical fine thread conner net. Instead they were just going to- no- bad idea upon bad idea. Weren’t there any sensible people with him right now? He knew he was overstepping, but he commed Vos and relayed as he and the others started their way back down from the hanger to the security level, rushing.


 

~~

Barracks/Prison Levels-

Within minutes the crews of the two shuttles sent to secure the was back in, safe and sound. Tobias personally delivered Raven to the 6-4’s shuttle. Everyone else was rushing to their shuttles as well, unfortunately, two squads were going to be split between shuttles- they had taken enough casualties. So what to do with two empty shuttles? Raid two of the credit vaults and see what they could do with it. Not the worst...not the best. But they needed whatever they could lay their hands on. Starfighters included, and their escorts were back.

 

“Mandate, this is the boarding party, we’re coming up. Give us some top cover, will you?”

 

They started to make their way up from the station, away from the action, covered by their fighters again. Leaving the station with hull breaches in at least thirteen locations, overloading electrical conduits around the station, with a reactor that wasn’t being cooled and bulkheads sealed on the top and bottom of the station. And the bridge’s life support was gone. 

 

Silently, he wished he had brought a drink with him. The Jedi needed to reevaluate how things were done and their future plans. Pushing all that to the side now, he let his mind wander to Adenna for a moment a flash of memories and wishes for the pair ran through his mind before also pushing that to the side and focusing on the present. 

 

Raven lay across the bench, and Tobias called to the Force to assist in her healing. He tried to keep his mind on that...

 

TL:DR

Vos and shuttles moving towards Justice’s Mandate.

Raven retrieved.

Multiple positions on the Space Station compromised; Jedi and forces have left the station.

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((Bruce Slaughter))

 

Still the Sith came on. Misericordia, in a self-sacrificing show of fealty to their Emperor, refused to yield to Super Star Destroyer that bore down on it. She traded volley after volley with the Bleeding Kyber, but the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer escaped the majority of the Sith flagship’s wrath, whose turbolasers were rendering the Adi-wan to a cloud of steel vapor and charcoal. All but stationary, her shields struggled to withstand the answering fire--emerald bolts breached the Imperial ship in sectors, demolishing one of the turbolaser octets beside her superstructure and shredding the pylons that supported one of her primary shield generators. The globe drifted away from the superstructure in a manner akin to a child’s toy before it met with the next turbolaser volley and bathed the entire bow of the Star Destroyer in a fiery explosion. 

 

Steadfast fared even more poorly. Engaged in close quarters with both Victory-class Star Destroyers at close range, her shields were overwhelmed and emerald fire played across her bow. Already weakened from the debacle at Coruscant and her battering by the Black Sun, the fire penetrated deeply into her vitals. Fires ripped throughout her entire hull as fuel lines were hit--shrapnel pockmarked her exterior as turbolaser batteries were demolished. A proton torpedo battery was struck with an armed warhead still in the launching tube, blasting deeply into her hull like a mining charge.

 

Her answering volley to Red Hussar would be no less devastating. At this close range, Steadfast’s could not possibly miss and her turbolasers and ion cannons would play havoc along the length of the smaller vessel, now able to pinpoint batteries and warhead launchers for destruction.

 

The Alliance flagship, however, was woefully unprepared for the incoming fire of the Black Sun’s Star Destroyers, and Incisor, already battered by enemy fire, was of little use help against the fighters that raced along the ship in a score of personal dogfights and strafing runs. Kalidor, a Majestic-class Heavy Cruiser accelerated and attempted to shield it from a portion of the incoming fire. The incoming fire breached her shields and blasted away armor, but Steadfast was dealt her mortal wound. Multiple warhead and tibanna magazines were detonated by the incoming fire, and it appeared for a terrible second that her keel bent and arched when a tibanna magazine exploded. All over the ship, lights began to flicker and her next volley against the Red Hussar was significantly diminished.

 

The other half of the fleet--Steadfast’s sister ship Fidelity and adjoining Majestic-class Heavy Cruiser Chrysaetos--folded in on the Alliance formation to enclose Dark Sun Station and the escaping Black Sun fleet like a noose. The Mon Calamari Cruiser and her escort rained fire against the Holofernes, attempting to cripple her engines and prevent their escape of one more enemy Star Destroyer.

 

On the bridge of the Steadfast, Admiral Slaughter picked himself off of the deckplates of the command center. It felt as though the floor of the flagship had leapt half a meter under his boots and then dropped just as suddenly--which was, in fact, the case. Darkness engulfed the bridge when it lost power and all the stations in the crew pits went dark--with the armored shutters slamming around the canopy, it wasn’t even lit by turbolaser fire. Then the emergency spot-lumas bloomed to life, filling the command center with a crimson haze.

 

“Damage report!” Even as the Commander from the crew pits recited from a paper report that was spewing out of his station, Slaughter suspected that his flagship had just been dealt an unsurvivable blow.

 

“Decks through--all of them reporting significant damage. No contact with the forecastle--engineering reports that the primary generator is offline, on emergency gen only. She’s… breaking apart, sir, that last detonation broke her spine.

 

A turbolaser volley hammered at Steadfast and caused the floor to vibrate. A shriek of overstressed metal rang throughout the bridge as a turbolaser blast broke the armored shutters and cracked the canopy.

 

“All hands will abandon ship. The flag will transfer to Kalidor. Orders, if you can hail Fidelity--join Misericordia and hold off that SSD as along as they can, buy time for the Jedi. Jump as soon as we have Zinthos. Scatter if necessary.”

 

For the regions of Steadfast that could still receive orders, alarm klaxons and speakers bleated out the command that the Mon Calamari Cruiser was to be abandoned. Escape pods and shuttles began to flee the flagship for the survivors of the Alliance squadron--hundreds of tremulous engines that glimmered faintly amongst the rains of turbolaser fire. A few batteries still blasted out their wrath against Red Hussar, their crews unwilling--or unable--to reach their escape pods, but it was clear from the Alliance flagship had finally seen her last battle.

 

Summary:

Steadfast trades fire with Red Hussar, but is damaged beyond repair and is abandoning ship.

Audacity abandons ship and scuttles. Incisor is damaged almost beyond usefulness but is still alive.

Kalidor’s shields are breached and hull takes minor damage from attempting to body-block for Steadfast.

Misericordia sustains moderate damage and continues to hold.

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“My King.”

 

Darth Nyrys gracefully stepped onto the bridge, a vision of unearthly carnal beauty fresh from the slaughter of lesser men. She sauntered towards Exodus still riding the twin highs of victory and the consumption of vital essences, and came to a stop far closer than what would be considered a respectable distance. She knelt before her Dark Lord, head bowed in supplication, but then she looked up at him, brilliant emeralds adrift in a sea of crimson. She took her time looking him over, after all, he was a lot to take in. The first time she met him she had been overwhelmed mostly by terror, as is appropriate for who he is, but now she had her wits about her enough to shamelessly objectify him.

 

Unfortunately, however, Darth Nyrys knew enough about history to know what happened to women that fell in love with emperors, and she had no desire to fade away into a footnote in the history books, she had come too far. Even if she really, really wanted to climb that man like a tree.

 

Down girl.   

 

Through sheer force of will she redirected her thoughts to more pressing matters. She had to focus on the long term and remember that there were other man trees to climb with fewer political and professional consequences. 

 

“One of my apprentices has slain a Jedi in single combat without aid, and as is our way I have bestowed upon him the name Darth Truaillidh. While his combat aptitude is acceptable, I think his greatest contributions to your reign will be in the Krath domains of alchemy and the creation of sithspawn.”

 

She presented Exodus with the data core that Truaillidh had given her earlier. She was still kneeling before him, as he had not permitted her to rise yet. No matter, she could stay on her knees for as long as… No, bad brain. Motherpfasker.

 

“Also, if it pleases you, would you permit me a conversation about the nature of monsters? I feel more and more distant from the person I was, in terms of what I feel is right and wrong, and being a good monster wasn’t a course they offered at uni.”

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Mordeci smiled sweetly in the blue and lavender light given off by their blades, silently chastising himself for the blunder of missing her personal light. He'd see if she'd be so smarmy after he cut her to ribbons. He wouldn't make such a mistake again, regardless- her second blade was missing. A foolish choice; Whatever she planned to accomplish with that, she'd have been better off keeping it with her. He could feel her use of the force. It was faint, but it let him know approximately where the blade was. He stepped between her and the blade as he broke away from the first engagement.

 

He lunged forward, feinting with a light thrust towards her left shoulder. It was a simple move, but a dangerous one if unanswered. He was relying on her knowing that, but even if she didn't know or didn't care, he was confident he could disengage again. One of the worst mistakes to be made in a duel is over-committing without clear victory within the aggressor's duel. Right now, it was about finding the weaknesses in her guard, in her form. And if he managed to make a lethal or incapacitating blow in the meanwhile, even better.

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“Cut the chatter--” The response came quickly in seven voices and five accents: a Borleian, a Chandrilan, an Agamarian, a Corellian, and even the received pronunciation of Imperial Coruscanti all intoned from rote. Draygo’s excitable outbursts were a familiarity to some of the veterans of the Galactic Alliance, 

 

A shiver ran down the veteran Jedi’s spine when she became aware of a consciousness that had just targeted her for destruction--not the impersonal duty of a battery gunner that was trying to repel enemy starfighters, but that of an aspiring murderer who wanted desperately to eliminate her. In her peripheral vision, under the bursts of light from the flak reflecting off the edges of her shields, she could see that the sensor boards were lighting up with warnings that the B-Wing had just been targeted by enemy starfighters--multiple TIE Defenders--and a dull humming that indicated that her assailants were going for a missile lock. Several Black Sun and Sith pilots had just targeted her for destruction--six? No, eight pilots, from two directions, two flights from separate squadrons, from nearly opposite directions.

 

That murderous intent crystallized like a dagger when the humming transformed into a urgent shriek, alerting her that missiles had just been launched. 

 

She just sighed and took a deep breath. Her consciousness withdrew from the spectacular but crude world of sapients and machines, and focused instead on a world of energy exchanges and clockwork mechanisms, of nanoscale fibers that pulsed with electricity and plasma; intermingled with the frenetic purpose and fears of sentient beings. Amidst the deliberate functions of the machines of war were the whispered and screamed emotions of those who drove them: the cold satisfaction of gunners destroying the starships of their enemies, the terror of pilots attempting to shake off targeting locks, shaky affirmations of survival and a few individuals who had simply gone blank, their minds simply unable to process the carnage at hold.

 

Into that madness was injected a wisp of an uncharacteristic emotion: joy. It was the visceral satisfaction of a caged predator who had at last been allowed to slip from her confinement and prowl her territory. Manipulating the mechanical felt as natural to Armiena Draygo as her own body, and diving into the electric soul of her starfighter was as invigorating as a warm-up stretch.

 

She hauled the control stick upwards and to the right; ion and laser blasts spewed from her B-Wing across the black, alternatively disabling and detonating the missiles launched towards her. Her fingers danced over the control surfaces and the heavy starfighter juked and weaved through an exchange of emerald fire, a few blasts reflecting off the edges of its shields and the rest slipping by harmlessly into the void. One of the TIE Defenders was silenced permanently, a laser blast melting one of its engines and crumpling the eyeball canopy with a fusion detonation. As for the remainder, a three shrieks of fright and frustration issued into the vacuum as their starfighters were struck dumb by ion fire or damaged by her return fire. A fifth missile streaked by; Armiena pushed the heavy starfighter back to its original course and the exhaust jet passed within meters of the B-Wing's cockpit.

 

But they weren't out of danger yet; the missile, its tracking sensors determining that the projectile had missed its quarry and that it lacked fuel to make another pass, detonated shortly after it rocketed into their exhaust wake. The shockwave of the detonation was sufficient to crumple their rear shields and send the starfighter into a nauseating, seemingly-uncontrolled spin. As Armiena held that spin and allowed the Black Sun pilots to believe that she had lost control of the starfighter, something broke within the canopy--the cockpit, no longer held stable by the B-Wing's gyroscopic mount, began to tumble as madly as the rest of the fighter and up and down traded places with hyperactive glee. Even with the inertial compensators dialed up to their maximum power, the veteran Jedi felt her stomach begin to rebel at the corkscrewing spiral and her vision began to grow dim from the horrible g-forces.

 

No matter; Armiena broke out of that spin just in time to haul the starfighter upwards to streak along the ventral surface of the Agave-class Corvette. The B-Wing rained ion and laser fire over its surface, trading fire with its point defense batteries. She heard herself shouting "Dumbfire! Dumbfire!" towards her apprentice--the interdictor corvette simply needed to get hurt and there was no time for precision in its moment. Half a second after the fighter cleared the hull of the corvette, Armiena executed a tight loop and brought the guns of the heavy starfighter to bear on the bridge of the pocket interdictor.

 

There was a settling of emotion just in front of them: a cold prickling of dread that shivered down the spines of some twenty-odd bridge officers who had just realized that the were living the last few seconds of their lives. Her brass-like hand tightened around the control stick of the fighter, but Armiena hesitated.

 

Summary:

Armiena breaks through a starfighter screen and strafes the Totenkopf II. Already having an alias in this fight, this is largely for flavor.

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Strong arms flexed, muscles bunching as they pulled back the hemp cord that was attached to the long durasteel infused yew bow staff. The staff ‘creaked’ audibly as it reached its furthest point of bend, the maximum amount of power concentrated in the compression along the spine of the bow. Exhale. Then release. The black feather fletchings brushed by Telperien’s mouth as they guided the arrow towards the duraloid plate a hundred feet away in the hanger. The cord itself slapped along the woman’s arm tearing at the calluses and scabs that streaked from base of wrist to curve of elbow. The wicked bite of that bow gave the woman power, the pain amplifying the force she used to guide and help the arrow. She was Dathomiri after all, and the curse of those people was present in her as well. They needed...things to concentrate their force. They could not just summon the power at will, perhaps it was in their blood, a weakness that made them the ‘lesser’ of the Sith. Many of them could barely be described as a feral dark jedi, damned by their blood to using totems, lines of chalk, and as in Telperien’s case, Pain to focus herself. 

 

The arrow streaked through the hanger in a blur, the passage of the arrow causing a snap in the arrow as it punctured the sound barrier, then another snap as it impacted the thick lamellated plate, of the kind the poorer mandalorians wore. The wicked bodkin point of the arrow, a darksteel spike some five inches long, easily shattered the plate, dragging the heavy dark ash shaft through the hole it made until the fletching stopped the arrow. Three more arrows found their mark alongside the first hole and Telperien was satisfied with her work. 

 

Her amethyst eyes searched the hanger for the returning starfighters and she spat on the decking as a wave of undamaged fighters made their return. The Jedi had not assaulted the Black Scarab, and her time in the hanger had been wasted. She cursed and placed the horn tip of the bow against her boot and pulled with all her strength on the other end to destring the bow. The bow returned to its straight staff appearance and she knelt to wrap it in its leather sling. Unlike most holofilm producers, she knew that bows left strung for even hours without battlefield use would lose their power. The staff forming a permanent curve and losing its superior strength.

 

Only after the bow was slung onto her back and the hemp string tucked away in an oiled pouch did she look at her bleeding arm. She smiled and as she walked into the turbolift to the bridge ignoring the flight officer who gave her a wide berth. When he departed the lift she lifted her arm and licked the blood from her weeping wounds. The taste was as sweet as it ever was. Plus she needed to clean up to see the Spider.

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The blade separated flesh as the Jedi Knights fought their way back towards the shuttlecraft. From the quick glimpses they had through the portals and from the limited tactical data that was getting sent to her arm mounted datapad Sandy could surmise that the fight had gone very poorly for the Black Sun but also fairly poorly for the Allied command. The last vestiges of the Imperial remnant sat loosing its oxygen and life support systems in the void of space, and the MC-90s were doing not much better. It was pretty frustrating for her to see every fight they seemed to get into as nothing much better than a pyrrhic victory or an outright defeat. Could then the flaw be in their entire approach? 

 

Would small tactical strikes be a better approach at a much more heavily armed and superior opponent? 

 

She would need to talk to Adenna. 

 

He eyes met with Aidan’s as she cut through a mercenary, her white blade bisecting his chest. She sent the Imperial Knight a friendly smile and sent some soothing force his way. Her way to tell him she was their to talk if he needed it. The poor man was getting ran ragged by his chain of command. Then again so was she. But she had a feeling it would be like this for years to come. The hanger was not far away and they needed to go now. 

 

Kel! Aleria! Get your ass to the shuttle now! We have to bug out before we are left behind!” 

 

She knew Aleria and her squad were still alive even if they were engaged with a Sith from her datapad. But they had to go. 

 

Now.

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The men-at-arms had taken a disciplined step forward when the unkempt Lady had entered the kill circle of the Spider. Their swift shuffling of feet synchronized with the very moment that Lady Nyrys chose to bow her head with respect, ending prematurely when King Exodus opened his left palm to signal their halt. She was victoriously bathed in blood and still under the spell of a dangerous elation that ran through her body, an overwhelming wash of adrenaline that these Wardens would have the utmost trouble with. The gory life force that was wretched from her victim, soaking the entirety of her physical features, stirred a carnivorous genealogy that rested well within the frigid confines of the Anzati King. The allure of an unsweetened execution was a prevalent pleasure within his species.  

 

".. An excellent subject. Rise Nyrys, walk with me." 

 

The data-core shifted as if moving of it’s own free will, and submitted itself by way of the force, into the majestic reach of that imperious obsidian cloak. Darth Truilliadh would be evaluated, and weighed for his importance in the future of the Empire. A small cadence from his wrist-communication seized his attention before he continued, a single footnote transmitted across the electronic interface. The correspondence revealed no reaction from the relaxed contours of his face, the King of all Sith sighing wearily as a squadron of Sith fighters scoured across a view-screen of the Scarab; raining wildfire into enemy star-fighters. Exodus looked to a particular commander hidden among the escort contingent, "Secure our position and eliminate any strays. Our allies are nearly in the clear." Having no other recourse but to heed his instruction, the commander affirmed compliance and saluted his Emperor before disappearing to the recesses of the bridge; undoubtedly to ensure that the command would be thoroughly transmitted.


“You say the nature of monsters. Do you imply that is what you, or even I am described as for the things we’ve done or must do? Tell me more about this distance you feel, and I will share with you my vision of morality.” King Exodus walked alongside one of his brightest pupils, his head held imperially high, curious to the ruminations of a creature with an appetite that rivaled some of the most profound of his kind. 

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A small snap-hiss sang out in the dark as her flying saber bloomed with brilliant lavender fire, cutting through the ebony dark as it sailed out behind the Sith and to his left.

 

Keeping her emerald gaze leveled on the Sith, Aleria could see he was watching her just as intently. The bright flash of violet, as blue and lavender clashed, illuminated their feet. Her smiling face and sweaty pate hid the series of frenetic thoughts that bubbled to the surface of her mind. Every heartbeat surged through her like a hammer on glass and she used that nervous energy to fuel her momentum. As the Sith pulled forward with a long stride, keeping the bulk of his weight from his lead foot, Aleria caught his intent and brought her blade to bear as his actual strike threatened to lance her right arm off. She used both hands to brace her saber and caught his in another pulsing concussion of light vs. light.

 

But Aleria wasn’t done, just as the sabers connected, she let the blow continue and maneuvered her metal prosthetic out of the way. Then -- presumably about the time the Sith would attempt to back-step -- Aleria let all of her nervous frenetic energy out through her left hand in the form of force energy, slamming it toward her opponent in a wave that would hopefully send him right into the path of her flying saber as it crested its long arc.

 

She kept a part of her mind trained on her wayward blade and would pull the hilt right back into her waiting hand if her gambit was unsuccessful.

 

Sandy's warning rang in the back of her mind. She needed to wrap this up or she'd be stuck on a sinking ship.

 

Holy swamp turkey! This is intense!

 

((2))

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Clear blue eyes stared at an increasingly red display board that was projected beside the zoomed in star cluster map. So many losses for a useless poorly thought out plan that only he could take the blame for. His clenched fist slammed onto his command chair’s black sideboard. Causing some of the crew to jump in anticipation. Perhaps fearing an order to return to the battle, or others fearing being pushed out the airlock in a fit of Kommanderesq rage at the defeat of the Black Sun forces. 

 

It was true, the Black Sun had not been this furiously defeated since Delta had taken command of the organization. Not since Ronin Wartide and his disastrous assault upon the New Republic and Empire both some twenty years before. That blow of morale had caused the Red Dawn Mindian rebellion and the dissolution of the first armada after the attack at tatooine. And looking on his crew’s eyes, their furtive glances told Delta all he needed to know. The Black Sun should never have been a military organization. No such structure could be held by criminal masterminds, and the lack of military planning on the rest of Black Sun’s part confirmed it. 

 

It was time to dissolve the armada for a final time. And for Delta to become a new figure. Not one draped in gold, but a commander for the new Sith Empire. If they would have him. 

 

“Place a holographic transmission to the Spider. Priority Alpha.”

 

In moments he was standing on the holographic transmitter,

 

“My Lord, it is with sorrow I must beg your apologies for placing the new empire in such a dire situation.The Black Sun can no longer function as an independent military operation as we do not have a command structure in place beyond myself and the other Vigos. I request that the surviving fleet of the Black Sun come under the protection of the Sith Empire, and I humbly request placement in your empire. Reflecting my past service, I believe I may be most helpful on the battlefield, but I await your orders. The Fleet and your Blood Prince will await your discretion.”

 

He would not beg for a place in the empire. For he was a proud man. To his own folly. 

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The various fleets slowly began to disentangle and break off from each other. The Allied fleet still surrounded the dark and bleeding Black Sun Station while the Black Sun continued to retreat towards the safety of the Sith Fleet. Adenna didn't quite understand why the Sith didn't wish to press their advantage, but she wasn't going to argue against it because it would give them the time needed to fully evacuate the Empress and collect the escape pods of their destroyed ships. As soon as that was done, they would withdraw in an orderly fashion.

 

The shuttle she was on finally reached the Justice's Mandate and landed in its officer's docking bay. Adenna got out and was quickly escorted to the nearby bridge where she would remain for the rest of the engagement. There was a lot of bitterness to swallow here, but there was also some hope. They took heavy losses, but managed to inflict a great deal of damage against the Black Sun fleet. More importantly, it seemed that Tobias had managed to rescue Empress Zinthos which would help bring hope to the scattered Imperial Remnant and possibly a greater chance that their allies would be able to rally. They needed to wait until everything had settled to figure out exactly who came out for the better in this battle.

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The shuttle jolted to one side, unexpectedly, and those that weren't strapped down or a holding onto something. The shuttle seemed to whine from the rear in a high pitch squeal. Tobias couldn't focus on that now, his forehead had erupted in pain and something wet was trickling down his face. AS the ship steadied the pilot came over the comm "We just lost engine two, hang on! We're coming in for a landing!"

 

Inside the hatch there was more chatter as the crew informed the Mandate that they might need a hanger bay tractor beam assist. Tobias touched his forehead and saw his fingers red with blood. He looked around and saw that everyone was shaken, but no one had died in the engine malfunction. Raven, as well as the other injured, were strapped in so they did not move off their gurneys. 

 

"Go figure, we manage to go in and out of a Black Sun Bank, break into the prison level, and then we finally get injured." Tom said, a meter away rubbing his left shoulder with a grimace on his face. 

 

Tobias snorted, "Paying out dues, I suppose." And he got back to his feet and over to Raven. She seemed stable, which was good. 

 

"BRACE!" The pilots barked over the speaker again. 

 

Everyone there rooted their feet to the floor with the Force, as well as holding onto something within reach. There was a loud scratching noise from the port side and a sudden jolt. The pilots laughed. "We lost the port stabilizer as well, good thing you all are Jedi."

 

Vos let the comment roll off his shoulders, he addressed the crowd- "Anyone who needs medical, get there. If you don't need medical, help someone there who can't. Those that are left, help the other shuttles and their crews. Once everyone is taken care of, then you all can rest- eat- drink. We're not out of the woods just yet, so no celebrating." There were soft affirmations mumbled through the compartment as someone broke the seal of the area and let the medics to come in. 

 

"Tom, I'm going to the bridge, you are in charge of the Empress and her care. Get Tut, if he's around, and you both are in charge. I trust you both to see to her care."

 

The blue skin alien nodded his head and set to work taking care of the Imperial Commander. Tobias stepped out, grabbed some gauze and a wrap then bandaged the wound to his forehead. There were other shuttles he saw, ones that weren't part of the boarding party- some folks were still lingering around the area, and he recognized the one as a navigation officer for the Adi-Wan. Adenna had to be here, and with a touch in the Force- he set off to the bridge, to see the Jedi Grandmaster. 

 

~~

 

With his crown of gauze and sweat starting to dry in his suit, Tobias wondered what their next move was. Bugging out, hopefully. He thought. Taking one step onto the bridge, he saw Adenna, she looked alright. A bit frazzled, but alright. He wanted to rush over, pick her up and kiss her, but now was not the time. Approaching her, he stood ready to help if he could. He gave her a silent 'thumbs up' signalling Raven was taken care of, and not interrupting anything that was going on, she was in charge here

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“It’s less about how others would feel about my choices, or even the uglier choices that I’ve had to make, and more about finding a path that reflects my true nature. Everything I was taught about morality growing up was in regards to being a good person or a bad person, but I don’t feel like a person at all. I feel Other, but not profane. Sometimes I feel like a lioness running down hares, bound only by the laws of nature; other times I see injustice and I feel compelled to rip and tear like an avenging angel. I am not meek or mild enough to be a person, I am too principled to be a beast, and I am too mercurial to be a saint. 

 

So I want to be a monster from a grim fable, a blood drenched reminder that actions have consequences. Something outside of morality so that I can hurt people the way that they deserve to be hurt. I want to be a righteous devil, baptized in the hot blood of the ill intentioned as a pack of like minded wolves watch me with genuine faith. I want to be the fire that burns away the rot and stagnation from galaxy, naked and indiscriminate with insatiable hunger.

 

You know, typical girl stuff.”

 

Nyrys steeled herself for the next bit, because if she misjudged her place it could end poorly, but if she didn’t show initiative she had no right to what she was asking.

 

“And I’d like to do all of those things from the Throne of the Warrior. I’m hungry enough that I won’t rest on my laurels if you see fit to have me by your side as your martial counsel, and I will never betray you like the Wolf is said to have. I will complete any trial you ask of me, if you find my qualifications uncertain.” 

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The fight had taken more out of him then thought it would, however he also realized that while his injury would not cost him his life or combat effectiveness, others might.  This presented an interesting opportunity.  He made his way to the medical bay aboard the vessel.  While using the force to hold a wound closed would not be hard, his mind was so a buzz with plans that he was occasionally losing focus.  No matter if his plan was set in motion his research would advance by leaps and bounds in a short time.  This should please his master, maybe he could even use this opportunity to make her a guardian or servant.

 

Upon reaching the medical bay he was not dissapointed.  The bay was full of the injured and the dieing.  While some of them were not in bad condition there were the others that would most likely live but never fight again.  At least not how they are now.  After allowing a medical tech to clean and seal his wound he began to look over the injured in the bay.  A plan began to formulate, and it was so simple he was hoping he was not over estimating the soldiers loyalty.  Looking over his options he chose his first target.  A young soldier that looked like he was going to be loosing at least two of his limbs and some of his lower intestine.

 

"Soldier, you have done well.  I am sorry for the loss of your limbs and the injuries you have suffered.  However I have come to offer you a chance to not only fight on but to become something greater.  Something that will protect the Sith and the order of the universe.  You will be stronger, faster, and smarter then you are now and will help us to bring about an age of true freedome and knowledge.  If you agree I will have you transfered to the medical bay on my Masters ship, there you will recieve the best care available and be made into a warrior that far surpasses your current expectations."  Leaving the soldier to mull over his words he began the process of going around to more and more soldiers.  His goal was to get at least 6 that would agree and was pleasantly surprised when more indicated interest.  It was a beautiful thing to witness, soon he would turn these broken and dieing soldiers into true warriors for the Sith.

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And for a moment, he anchored himself. It was not for lack of understanding that she questioned the morality of things, but rather, a desire to express her freedom from such confines. And boy did she express it. Exodus led the pace as the words and emotions escaped her, orations that weaved a brilliant visualization of who she was and who she wished to be in this worn and wearied universe. Unavoidable was the consistent thrum of armored boots that echoed into steel from all around them, swarming troopers like the wolves that Nyrys spoke of, was menacing for the workforce of the Scarab that watched from afar. “You know, typical girl stuff.” Exodus could not readily discern her humor, but the anchor loosened as the rest of the guard held their breath, and Exodus sneered distractedly. He let out an amorous laugh, that was, for once, not mired in underlying tones of murder or devious machinations. He genuinely laughed. Such behavior from an Anzati Warlord, a King of the most Heinous, was not a common thing to be seen. Yet, the promising Sith before him unveiled a characteristic unseen from the masses he has ruled over, unashamed transparency. The toothy grin of the Sith Reaper widened as her truest ambitions, or at least the ones that she chose to reveal, had come to surface. 

 

"That is a high mountain that you're asking to climb, Lady Nyrys—" 

 

 

One of the twelve Sith Troopers stepped forward curiously on queue, and as if the timing could not be more precise, he placed a spherical transmitter between his King and the company he kept. An image immediately bloomed from the disposed object, and a familiar individual came to life. The ordained Blood Prince had reached out at last. The warmth drained from the face of the Dark King, and he listened intently to the appeal of the Black Sun Syndicate. The unsatisfactory management of their hostage situation, the risk that they took on and were ill-prepared for.  The blanketed loss of their command structure, and operational integrity, and now the consolidation of their assets and clearance into the dominant Sith Empire. These were tall orders that the Spider knew in his mind would come, and had planned for long before the birth of this event. However, Lady Nyrys was present at a time that could not be believed as coincidental. Exodus did not break his study of the digitized accomplice, nor did he answer immediately.

 

"I was beginning to think you had lost your voice, Prince." Forgiveness was of no value to the Spider, and sharing such compassion would never fall from his mouth. Gratitude held more weight here, for the mercy of the Sith Empire could be swift or forever absent henceforth. Be that as it may, these were small vanities in this war. The King of the Sith knew that his Empire had far more acquisitions behind the curtains, by being the hand of grace in this foolish campaign. "I assume the two of you are well acquainted." Exodus flashed a knowing look towards the two, "..What would be your judgment?" 

 

 

Nyrys would feel the eyes of Exodus on her, anticipating the revelry of her mind.

 

 

 

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As both fleets further separated, the only combat left was from the occasional overly brave or fool hearty fighter pilots tangling with stragglers. For the most part, both fleets had pulled back and away from each other and were licking their wounds while keeping close eyes on each other. Adenna was happy to let them do that while the Allies collected their escape pods and consolidated the surrendered Victory Star Destroyer. Commodore Neldis offered Jedi marines and crew support to the Galactic Alliance if needed, but otherwise he left the situation in their hands.

 

As much as she would like to have given Tobias more attention, as soon as she was made aware of Empress Zinthos' condition, Adenna left the bridge and rushed down to the medical bay. There were other wounded there, but the worst was the target of their expedition. Doctors and medical droids had already started their work, but it would not be sufficient to restore the Empress to anything more than a broken husk without further assistance.

 

Adenna directed a standing chair be brought to the bedside at Raven's head and began drawing upon the Force. Placing her hands gently on Raven's head, she began channeling healing energies to the broken woman. While she wasn't the greatest of all Jedi healers, Adenna was not without her skills, though this would take her abilities to their limits. With so much skin missing and having been thoroughly tortured both physically and emotionally, Adenna wasn't sure how much of the old Empress could be saved, but she was going to try as much as possible to accomplish that task.

 

* * *

 

As soon as all of the Allied escape pods and shuttles were retrieved and salvageable ships readied, Jedi forces began to form up to make the jump to hyperspace. While the Jedi forces weren't dawdling, they weren't willing to leave their companions behind while the Sith fleet remained at a distance. Despite the Sith's inactivity, most of the crews didn't feel like testing them and wanted to withdraw as soon as possible. Not wanting to leave their allies vulnerable, Commodore Neldis informed Admiral Slaughter that the Jedi would remain until the Galactic Alliance was ready to withdraw.

 

((There may be some duels going on, but for the sake of getting things moving, they will be kinda in a bubble and the winners/survivors can evacuate with their selected fleet))

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((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.

Edited by ObliviousKnight

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Mythos opened his eyes but for a brief handful of moments as he gazed about in wonderment, his last memories being of the engagement with the Sith aboard the ship. But the sights he saw were different, almost familiar as he looked down upon his form as he laid upon the gurnee, the necrosis flesh having been cut away and his shoulder half sawn off, bandages engulfing most of his form.

 

Too weak to speak, her simply adverted his eyes toward the medical droid looming over him and his throat growled in pain as he realized his condition. He should have died, he felt. So why was he being treated so well by his foe? Or was he even amongst the Sith? These questions, though hard to process, jolted about his mind as he managed to whisper out a sentence. "Where are you taking me?

 

"To Nar Shadaa, Marshal, along with the rest of the wounded." The droid replied, but all Mythos managed to hear was Nar Shadaa before he fell unconscious again, a flashing image of the dead surrounding him just as his gaze faded to black.

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A shiver ran down Draygo’s back. A reflexive twitch from her hand dipped the B-Wing just below an emerald salvo from the Totenkopf II, then the exhilarating rush repeated itself. Armiena cut the throttle and sent the starfighter juking along the keel of the picket ship. In a maneuver that threatened to drive the blood from her head and the consciousness from her mind, the veteran Jedi stood the B-Wing on its S-Foil and sent it in a loop around the bulge of its gravwell projector, pumping ion and laser fire into the picket ship in an attempt to disable it. She held the loop until the Force whispered a warning of her imminent demise, then she broke into the engine wake of the fleeing corvette just as a TIE Defender shrieked past spewing laser fire.

 

Temporarily masked from sensors by the engine wake of the Totenkopf II, Armiena risked a moment to glance down at a blinking damage report and blanched. The fighter’s hyperdrive had been damaged by the missile hit--disabled fuel intake--and the B-Wing wouldn’t be able to make a jump into hyperspace. She diverted the fighter’s entire power output into its engines and the craft surged forward, masked by a hail of fire from the survivors of the Galactic Alliance fleet and its remaining starfighter screen.

 

“Clear a lane--hyperdrive’s shot--clear a lane, clear a lane,” the veteran Jedi repeated those words like a mantra as she raced towards the hangars of Justice’s Mandate. Racing towards the Star Destroyer’s starboard, Armiena watched starfighter crews dart out of the way as the B-Wing approached at well beyond safe landing speeds. She cut the throttle only seconds before the starfighter cleared the magcon field--just in time to avoid roasting the deck crew with her sublight exhaust and turning a fatal crash into the back of the hangar into a disconcerting bump.

 

But something was wrong. The entire hangar appeared to be sideways--and with the artificial gravity from the Mandate, both Genesis and Armiena were being pulled uncomfortably towards their left side, held in place only by their restraints. Armiena glanced to her left and saw the deckplates of the hangar a meter away. Amongst the systems that had been disabled by the missile hit was the gyroscopic collar that held the cockpit stable during combat--it had locked into place during evasive maneuvers and now their perspective was approximately eighty degrees off the vertical.

 

Draygo shrugged. There was still work to do, and it was going to be several minutes before the hangar crews could extract the two Jedi from their cockpit.

 

Armiena popped the canopy and hit the quick-release on her restraints. Painfully, with a heavy crash as she landed, she fell in a heap to the deckplates.

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Nyrys regarded Ca’aran’s image with disdain. Time had put distance between their fight, but she had been focused on other things since then, and had not really parsed through her thoughts and emotions on what had happened. Buried under time’s dust was a smouldering magma flow of emotions that threatened to seize control, and probably would have if she wasn’t acutely aware that the Dark Lord was evaluating her. She had a choice between revenge and ambition, but maybe the math would make the correct answer clearer. 

 

In the interest of furthering her apprentice’s training, Nyrys had left the command hub to join the battle directly. Now with the help of a technical officer she reviewed the data of what she had missed. The Sith coalition had traded up across the board, losing three cruisers in exchange for destroying three capital ships, and while it seemed like the terrorists had managed to recover their objective, it wasn’t anyone worth the blood price that the enemy had paid today. A small team would have been far better suited for this objective, but it looked like someone in the enemy command wanted to make a show of force. The outcome certainly could have been worse.

 

“As much fun as it would be to use this moment to settle personal scores, I think that Delta is a tool that we are currently misusing. He’s a hammer, and Black Sun was trying to use him like a screwdriver. If we use him in the proper capacity, it will be a solid investment to retain him, we just shouldn’t expect him to perform in any capacity when it comes to screwing. But don’t worry Delta, we know how to handle tools in the Sith Empire.”

 

A lot of Sith had a tendency to refer to Darth Vader’s methodology when disciplining officers without realizing the underlying context that Darth Vader was a career soldier surrounded by incompetent and untested officers who advanced more through political games than merit. Killing officers over impossible situations wasn’t inspiring better performance through fear, it was throwing homicidal tantrums.

 

“If it pleases your Imperial Majesty, that is my judgement. Besides, nobody hates Delta more than himself, to live is its own punishment for him.”

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