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Exodus

Coruscant - Galactic Throne

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It had been hard fighting so far. He'd already lost two in his squadron, replacements for the last two, who'd been replacements themselves. His squadron had a reputation for being a meatgrinder, but chances were if you survived your first few sorties you'd be fine. Right now, they were drifting on the edge of the fighting, picking off stragglers while looking for prime targets. These respites didn't last long, and he was just about to mark a target when he saw a peculiar sight. An A-Wing, a favorite of the Rebels and the Jedi, and yet it was flagging as a Sith.

 

"Hold steady, we have an unknown contact. Looks like they're itching to join the fight."

 

He switched to his long range communications, reaching out for the Sith. "This is Petty Officer Bakra of the Sith Empire. If you're looking to join the fight, I have a hole in my formation where a few rookies bit the dust. A fair warning, we're aggressive. If you can't keep up, you're on your own."

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Bakra's blood ran cold for a moment. A Darth. He was hoping to avoid getting involved with the proper Sith, but here they were. Regardless, it was better than if they'd picked up some straggling pilot. At least he knew she'd pull her weight. He pushed power to engines and turned the face the mass of fighters and corvettes. Point defense soared through the blackness of space in graceful arcs as gunners tried to shoot down hostile pilots, while dozens of pilots played cat and mouse in a vain attempt to rack up kills. Amateurs. His vision focused on one in particular, a wing of Delta-7s. 

 

He watched as a squadron of TIEs tried to engage and were chewed up in seconds. Poor bastards were in over their heads.

 

"Delta-7s, four of them. They're tearing up our ranks. Let's show them what real skill looks like."

 

He pushed the throttle, accelerating towards the battle. His vision narrowed and his blood started pumping. Something was off, but he couldn't quite place it. Regardless, he knew what he needed to do.

 

"Alright. Their leader is mine, they'll eat any of you alive except maybe the Darth. Storos, Ghillar, take the red one. Seems to be the second, I trust you two to get the job done. The rest of you divide and conquer the other two. Darth Awenydd, I know better than to try and order a Sith. Help where you see fit."

 

His comms exploded into an excited chatter as the other half dozen pilots divvied up the targets. This would be clean, precise. Violent. As he raced towards the fighters, he watched as one of the wingmen tilted towards Bakra's squadron, followed by the rest of the Delta-7s.

 

"We've been spotted. Keep the chatter down until it's over."

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Bakra watched as the Darth struggled to take out a single Delta-7 and frowned. So she wasn't a pilot. No matter. He retasked the retasked the rest of his squadron accordingly, and moved in for the kill. His target had seen him and marked him, and they began a dance of death that was a wonder to behold. Two aces spirralling through space, struggling to gain the upper hand through the PDCs and other fighters. As they flew, they drew nearer and nearer to the hulking monolith of the Dauntless. That was problematic, as he started recieving fire from the vessel. And seeing as how once again the ace had managed to get behind him, he had no plays but risky ones.

 

That didn't bother him in the least.

 

First he had to handle the PCDCs, and then the pilot. He flipped a switch and all microthrusters powered down. He stroked the yoke like a man strokes his lover, putting himself into a relatively gentle spin to face the other pilot. He fired off his downwards thrusters, propelling him at an awkward angle for the PDCs to track him, but it wouldn't last long. It was a matter of who lined up a shot first, him, the enemy pilot, or the PDCs.

 

This time, it was him. He could  tell it would be him. A moment of calm waashed over him. Years ago, when he'd first flown a starfighter, it had sparked something in him. He hadn't known what it was until much later, when he'd gotten his first kill. The spark had ignited into a fire, and he'd been hooked.For years he'd tried to quell the fire in any way he could. Theonly way he'd found was in this moment, right before the kill, when everything slowed to a crawl. He could feel his pulse, the texture of his gloves against the fighter's controls.

 

He lived for this, fought for it. And eventually, inevitably, killed for it.

 

One blast, then two. The Delta-7 was enveloped in fire, an explosion rocking across his shield, which weakened them enough for the PDCs to get a solid hit. A wing was clipped, and engines went down. He'd waited to long to get moving again. He fired on the mircothrusters, propelling himself towards the hanger. The fire was back.

 

"This is Petty Officer Bakra. I've taken serious damage and have routed to the hanger of the Dauntless. Any Sith forces on board, I'll need assisstance when I crash."

 

It was violent, and it was certainly a crash. He hit the deck with such force that if he hadn't been strapped into the cockpit, he'd have been pasted across the cold durasteel that coated the deck.He staggered out through the broken glass, drawing his blaster and firing on the nearest hostile. He came in loud, and he'd be overrun pretty fast.

 

Faintly through the comms panel, he heard his reassignment. He smiled grimly. Good thing he was already here.

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Bakra was surprised, to say the least, when the Sith joined him. If he hadn't recognized her voice, hewouldn't have even realized it was her. She was shorter than he'd expected, and much younger. A child, really. He'd been her age when he first started piloting fighters, and she was already a Sith Lord. She was either very imressive in combat, or the Lords weren't as scary as they were made out to be. The truer of the two became apparent quite readily as she used the Force to summon a whirlwing of glass and steel. Unarmed, she was a threat. With those fancy lightsabers that the Jedi and Sith touted around? He could only imagine.

 

It didn't  take long though before more Trandoshans showed up. Trandoshans? He thought he was fighting Mandolorians. Though, he had to say that he much preferred the lizards when it came to a firefight. He'd seen Mandalorians in action, and he didn't fancy his chances of surviving if this had been a Mandalorian ship.

 

With her words though, he opened fire as they started to appear. He didn't bother responding, figuring his actions would speak louder than  words. As the first two came through the smog, he fired a quick burst at each, though as more began to show, he realized just how outmatched they were.

 

Clearly, fighting wasn't the best option. And the only other way out he could see was much smaller. Numbers could be mitigated, but the problem was getting there. He glanced at the Sith.

 

""We need to bolt. Pick our fights until we can linkup with the proper ground troops and get real weapons." he stated. He didn't wait for an answer. Whether the Sith stayed and fought or followed him in the retreat, he knew he would almost certainly die if he stayed.

 

"I'm moving. Eastern corrider."

 

With that, he detatched a thermal detonator from his belt and sprinted for the exit, firing a few shots that were more of a formality to keep the lizards on their toes than to kill anything. As he did, he threw one of his thermal detonators at the other exit. Hopefully that would slow them down long enough for he and his Sith ally to formulate a plan.

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Bakra still hadn't gotten used to being in close proximity to the Sith, the subtle feelings of dread and fear and anger gnawing at the back of his mind. It was a feeling the Darth he'd arrived with hadinflamed, much to his dismay in hindsight, and one that the newcomer had intensified by mere proximity. Whover they were, they were dangerous. A voice in the back of his mind reminded him that the Dark Lord was present in the battle, but he shook that off at first. Surely  such a powerful individual wouldn't be here, in this hanger, with him?

 

Whatever doubts he held were quashed as he watched the warrior carve a bloody path through the pirates. And when the weapons flew towards him, he grinned.

 

"This is a real arsenal." 

 

He grabbed a pistol, jamming it into his belt as he holstered his own, and picking up on of the heavy blasters. He llet out and expiramental arc of blaser bolts towards the pirates, gettinga feel for the weapon. He laughed. Firefights weren't his cup of tea, but with guns like this and potentially the Dark Lord ofthe Sith as an ally, he was liking his chances. Still, standing  in the open like this was going to get him killed. He racedback towards the wreck of the TIE Defender, taking position nehind one of the wings.

 

He'd recieved blaster training as part of his enlistment, and had gotten into scraps in his days as a merc, but this was something else. Toxins burned as they made  contact with the bolts flying through the air, and the spaces they occupied were quickly reoccupied as more air tried to fill thee vacuum. He'd have to keep an eye on those clouds- he didn't know if his helmet filtered toxins or not, but he could do a lot from here.

 

His blaster barked with violent intent as he squeezed the trigger, holding it down and spraying in the generaldirection of the bad guys until the barrel started to steam. He swore. He should have  grabbed the other blaster, too. Still, the weapon seemed to cool quickly, and he fired again.

 

"Anyone see where they're coming from?"

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Bakra missed the Trandoshan, at first. He was too busy firing into the smog, trying to do a decent job at pinning the Cabal down. It was only when he ducked behind cover that he spotted the flanking lizard. A tad to late, he took a glancing blaster bolt to his shoulder, knocking him on his ass, his heavy blaster dropping from his hands as he fell. Thinking fast, he pushed off of the wing with his feet, sliding back as he drew one of his pistols. He had to stay mobile, otherwise he'd be dead before he could fire. He used his momentum to roll to his feet, drawing his second blaster as he did so, and firing off a flurry of shots.

 

His shoulder throbbed with the motions, but it was like flying a damaged ship. If he slowed down to assess the damage he'd risk getting hit again, and then he'd be in real deep shit. After this Trandoshan was dead, he'd look at his shoulder. But not before.

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The Trandoshan stumbled back as two of the bolts Bakra fired hit it, and a third careened into the lizard's weapon, knocking it from his hand. The Trandoshan wasted no time, drawing a vibrosword and charging with a battle cry. Bakra fired again, and then the weapons hissed at him, overheating. The shots hit, but seemed to have no effect on the enraged mercenary. He swore, dropping one and stuffing his own into his holster as he drew his vibroknife. He let out a war cry of his own, and charged.

 

Bakra wasn't a small man, at nearly six feet, but he was wiry. Not built for melee combat. He couldn't out fight the foe, so he had to outsmart it. He threw the knife at the thing's face, which the Trandoshan dodged. But that gave him the opening he needed to draw his pistol and fire nearly point blank into it's head. He stood, panting, firing again to make sure it was dead. He took back his position of cover, not bothering to retrieve his knife, though he did grab his second blaster.

 

Now that the immediate threat was gone, and his adrenaline was fading, he could much more acutely feel the pain in his shoulder. He glanced at it, taking a moment. His suit had taken the brunt of the attack, but he could still smell the charred flesh of his shoulder, and he could tell he was bleeding. Still, he doubted the two Sith present could heal him, even if they cared too. He'd fight on then, until he found some bacta or a medic. Another shot like that though would put him out of commission rather quickly. Hoisting up his heavy blaster again with a grunt of effort. he stood, and joined Awenydd in her assault, unleasing a hail of blaster fire.

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Bakra watched in disturbed fascination as the young Sith mutilated herself, her voice vreeping into his thoughts as she did so. He shuddered, and had it not been for the sorcery he'd just witnessed, he would have spoken against such an intrusion. But the Sith held abilities spawned from his nightmares and he didn't fancyfalling on the recieving end. So he gave a curt nod and a thanks, looking at the apparent reinforcements as the ship shuddered. 

 

"Petty Officer Bakra, Dagger Squadron. I was shot down in the fighting and landed here. If there's a ship here that's spaceworthy, I can fly us through the fight, get your troops back with the fleet. Then I need to link up with whatever is left of my squadron- I don't like the idea of training a new squadron from the ground in wartime."

 

He looked around, briefly wondering where the second Sith had gone. Maybe he'd died. Perhaps his objective had been further into the ship. Regardless, he needed to coordinate. He jogs through the smoke, climbing into the wrecked cockpit of his TIE. The comms were still slickering, which meant they had life. He flipped a few switches, and they came alive.

 

"Dagger Squadron, Dagger One. I'm on board the hostile ship. It's tearing itself apart, I'm commandeering the first craft I find. If  it doesn't have guns I'll need an escort. Don't be late." 

 

Making his way back to the Sith, he offered a shrug. "You helped me with my wound. If you're ever looking for an escort, I'm in your debt"

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Bakra frowned. The corporal had a point, but he didn't like the idea of having a batch of fresh-blooded cadets watching his back. Not to mention that he was actually starting to like his fellow pilots. It would be a shame if they died now. He was pulled out of his thoughts by a noise that peirced his ears as the hanger wall was torn down in one fell motion by the Sith and the freighter on the other side was pulled towards them.

 

The power of a Sith Lord, he heard the corporal mutter. Suddenly, he felt that he was on the winning side. How could anyone stand up against such casual power? Before, he'd served out of greed, looking to make more money than he had on Nar Shaddaa. But after witnessing what he had today, from the self mutilation and whirlwinds of metallic death to the sundering of entire walls of durasteel, he realized just how likely this war would be much more than a few skirmishes on backwater planets.

 

Still, he hada job to do. He wasted no time on a response, moving to his ship and retreiving his transponder before sprinting up the entry ramp and into the cockpit, getting acquainted with the controls.

 

"Everybody buckle up. I've never flown one of these and we're about to go through a warzone with possibly no support and the wrong transponder in the ship. The only ones who know who we are are my squadron and they might all be dead already. I'll get us there but it's gonna be rough."

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