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Darth Heretic

Mon Calamari

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Mjan Sadow iv-Adas

 

Mjan nodded his head in greeting, reaching out to turn the young Mon Calamari around to face him despite her emotions overwhelming her, a trait that he shared with her. This wasn't supposed to be the assigned mission he was given, but thanks the Force... and his Padawan, plans had now suddenly changed. But instead of reaching her form, his hand was intercepted by the rushing embrace of an ally to this Leena, causing his hand to recoil and a smile to cross his face. At least she had someone who cared enough to be there, and in times like this, it was severely needed. Briefly his gaze shifted out toward where Nia had stood, perhaps she only needed the same thing, a failure on his part, and briefly he doubted himself, wondering if he had truly been ready to become a Jedi Knight, to take on a Padawan, or if could truly be anything but what his nature made him. But Leena's query snapped him back to reality.

 

Captain Rose Vao (Nia)

 

Rose followed Nia and the Cathar outside, the slender Twilek capable of maneuvering the crowd swiftly, but unable to yell Nia's loud enough for the young Natuolan's name as she criss-crossed through the gathering crowds and among the infected. Mjan may have been willing to give the young girl her space, but Rose was hot-headed and she was intent on having the last word even if it meant going against Mjan's wishes. Yet, when she finally caught up to them, the Cathar was delving into a story, his injuries backing it up. And so she stood there, quietly amongst the crowd, listening.

 

But the more she listened, the madder she got. And before she could catch herself, she struck the sitting Cathar open handed, recoiling her throbbing hand as her gaze shot back and forth from him and Nia before settling on Nia alone, her eyes narrowed and furious. "How dare you?" She questioned rhetorically. "You have lived your entire life sheltered and safe, everything you know about the Galaxy from books you read and the few planets you visited. You know nothing of the stigma that Mjan carries with him.

 

"He is Sith, Nia." She points out rather obviously, unworried about the Cathar knowing or what repercussions she would endure for slapping the large beast. But she was here to make her point. "His kin are outcasts, traitors in hiding among their own people because they view a different outlook of the Force, a unified Force that is neither light nor dark." She sighed briefly. "And Mjan is a traitor in their eyes, disowned by his own father because he wanted to study under the Jedi and found himself among them.

 

"But he's still Sith Nia." Rose spoke, her anger fading slowly as she poured his story out to her because of how bull headed Mjan can be. "He fights to control his nature everyday, a nature that has darkened the hearts of his ancestors for thousands of millennia." She smiles at Nia. "And he's a soldier, torn between duties between his heart as a Jedi and his mind as a Lieutenant as well as his attachment to you, his Padawan. Nothing is ever black and white, and even the greatest of Jedi's had their struggles, especially during times of war."

 

Rose grabs her right arm, intending to turn away. "You do what you want, but don't judge someone you know nothing about." And so she does after saying what she had to say, taking a few steps back toward the warehouse when the ground spews forth and an ominous feeling grips her tightly, sending chills up her spine and raising her skin.

 

Mjan Sadow iv-Adas

 

As soon as Leena's words left her lips, Mjan's mind was wrecked with pain as the voice intruded it, causing Mjan to fall upon his knees in excruciating pain, the veins beneath his forehead bulging. It was all he could do to inhale and exhale air as his form sank upon the grate beneath them as he called upon the Force in an attempt to blow the two to safety as he was launched into the air, the smell putrid and noxious as it sprayed him in the face. Reaching out blindly, he beckoned saving as he felt a beam of the rafters above connect with his hand and when he was able to see, found himself dangling  above the open hole leading downward.

 

"What was that?" He questioned himself silently, feeling the ominous presence seeping from below, his gaze shifting toward Leena and Sara to insure that they were alright. "Are you two okay?" 

 

Letting go, Mjan swept the Force from below and caught himself, guiding himself down to safety as he shifted his gaze from them to the hole. "I suppose that answers your question, Healer Leena." He spoke, dread in his eyes. Grabbing his saber, he draws himself to the hole's edge and peers down into it's dark abyss. "Looks like I'm going down a dark hole. Great." He jokes half heartily with a sense of sarcasm. Reaching into his pocket, he comms Rose. "I'm going down to the next level. Don't follow. Keep an eye on Nia." And with that, he jumps. Whatever laid down there was dark, and it felt like it was calling him, almost as if it knew he was here. It could very well be the cause of this pandemic, and if so, it was his duty.

 

Captain Rose Vao

 

Rose looks toward Nia and Ro as the added chaos ensues, a grave feeling washing over her and the look upon her face giving it away. All around them, the sewer ways and manholes erupted almost in unison as if the seas themselves washed away everything beneath their feet. And then the familiar chirp of her comm unit being activated mere moments later as her gaze knowingly shift to Nia.

 

Turning it on, Mjan's message is played. "I'm going down to the next level. Don't follow. Keep an eye on Nia."


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Sheog the Mad said:
oof Sheog

Is actually a tribe of autistic ewoks in a costume

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Posted (edited)

Xar listened to the Nemodian’s offer, half excited at the thought of making so much money from such a simple job. However, he also remembered his purpose here. He wasn’t here to make a small fortune for himself. He was here on a job from Black Sun. Still, if Hamilton turned out to be dead from the disease or whatever, some money would help establish that Xar could make some profit out of a bad situation. 

 

That would prove to them. Xar mused to himself. 

 

Before Xar could answer however, the vents burst open. Loudly. If the crowd wasn’t already startled and on the verge of panicking, the voice definitely did not help. Xar heard someone scream how it was the end of times and began to beg to whatever forces out there to save them. If he wasn’t so focused on the voice, and the words it spoke, he would have mocked the beings in the warehouse. 

 

But what surprised Xar more was the fact that this Nemodian began to head for the nearest vent. What’s more, he did it without help. Xar realized there was much more to this being then met the eye. 

 

If this one is being addressed by that voice...perhaps he is the cause or the solution to this city’s maddness. Either way, we would be feared as a villain or worshiped as a hero…

 

Xar nodded to the Nemodian’s offer, which it had doubled. 

 

“You are wiser and more perceptive than you let on, Nemodian. Enough to warrant our presence in those...ugh, sewers. We agree to your deal. After all, what kind of being would we be to let a blind man wander alone.”

 

 And with that, Xar took the lead and began to head towards the vent. He had to push a few beings out of the way to make a clear path for himself and his charge, but at this point his curiousity was getting the better of him. Whatever was happening, Xar wanted to know. 

 

“Even if i...ugh...really, the sewers? Couldn’t it have been something more worthy of us?”

Xar peered inside, his eyes casting a light into the dark vents. The sound of running water was coming somewhere, as well as moving gases. 

 

“You, Nemodian…” Xar looked up at his charge. “That mask of yours better siphon out  gasses. Cause protecting you would become much more difficult if it didn’t.” 

 

And with that, Xar jumped down a few meters. He landed with a thud, his chassis calibrating the impact to prevent any damage. There was a squish. Xar looked down at what he landed on and gave out a sigh. Excrement. Of course. 

 

“Had to be sewers. How low we are lowering ourselves…” 

 

Xar looked around a bit, seeing if there was anything deemed threatening to him or his charge. His heat sensors picked up a few small carrion scavengers, but nothing deadly. 

 

“This way…” Xar motioned as the Nemodian climbed down. “The waste is flowing this way. Thus its flowing downwards. Thus...the voice most likely came from this way.”

 

And with that, Xar moved forward, grumbling about the waste at his feet was probably ruining his perfect shine. This Nemodian would definitely pay for an oil bath at the very least. 

 

“What is this voice anyways? And who are you? So we know who to send the bill to.” 

 

Down the way Xar suddenly saw a heat signature fall into the sewer (@MSA Mjan). It was humanoid, but at this distance, Xar couldn't tell who or what it was.  Xar held up a claw and stopped, observing the being. 

 

"We are not alone..."

Edited by Xar

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Sara held her smile for a few lingering moments and almost stumbled backward into the red-skinned tentacle face guy from before that she just realized was standing there. A slight rouge-like color darkened her cheeks for a flash before Sara stuffed the impulse back inside. 

 

"You're welcome," Sara replied, letting the awkward silence hang between the three of them like an unpleasant odor. It wasn't that she didn't know what to say, so much as she wondered if she was butting in on what had previously been a private conversation. And while she wasn't adept at social graces, she occasionally respected people's need for privacy.

 

A strong pop in the Zeltron's ear warned the alien of something bad just before a massive wave of chaotic emotion spewed upward from beneath the warehouse. It was so powerful that Sara thought she'd be brought to her knees and imperceptibly prepared her mind in response. But nothing changed. (Ever since the hospital, Sara had been biting her tongue and doing what she could to reign in any potential mental explosions -- After the destructive fallout of a burning building, it seemed important. She began to focus on the ambient emotion around her to drown out spikes in activity.) 

 

It was a nice reprieve from her usual lack-of-luck until the actual explosion of air and gas quickly followed and pushed her and the others sprawling into the air. Acting on impulse due to the numbing oversaturation of every other sensory trigger in her mind, Sara grabbed at Leena once more as the two of them tumbled through the air. She used Leena's mass combined with her own to drag them both out of the vent's yawning portal and down to the ground of the office nearby. 

 

In the chaos of it all, she could almost make out the evil monologue that echoed around them. As it was, the force of their spin made it sound like: "grphlhgfefeeffsdggfddf…" Which didn't sound like much of anything.

 

Sara twisted with Leena until they both crashed against carpeted durasteel with Leena on top and Sara on bottom. The Zeltron choked out a breath when her back met the metal surface with an unhealthy crack and half-expected to black out, watching her world spin rapidly around her. But her enhanced senses refused to go out. They gave Sara an unnerving amount of clarity regarding every motion and every thought as the pair sailed through the air and crashed on steel in a symphony of pain. Her alien body began to slowly mend itself; fibers sowing together, vertebrae resetting, and ribs clicking back into place at an achingly slow pace. She could feel all of it. It was torturous, like blades dancing in her skull. But she'd get over it.

 

Her brows knit as she made a conscious effort to mitigate the pain that wracked her feverishly chaotic mind. She looked up to Leena and offered a weak attempt at a smile, the corners of her mouth not quite making it all the way to the right spots.

 

"Y-you doing alright there, guppy?" Sara choked out as her trachea recovered from a number of bronchial lacerations. 

 

She looked over as the non-quarren tentacle-faced guy jumped down the evil hole in the floor. It didn't take much to assume where they were headed next. But Sara was going to need a moment before jumping down anything, especially an unknown doom hole.

Edited by Scorpion
Clerical errors and spelling mistakes

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At this point, Ro was thoroughly confused. A random twi’lek woman had just slapped him. In fact, from the looks of it she had hurt her hand a little, too, doing just to do it.

 

Did she really just slap me?! What did I do? Who is she?!

 

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t often that someone managed to slap him. It was one of the random perks of to being unnaturally tall, even for a Cathar. Of course, there were also a lot of downsides like standing out in a crowd or buildings and cockpits clearly being sized with Bothans in mind instead of tall people. And then there was finding proper clothing and armor. He was short for a wookiee but too tall to be a stormtrooper. It was an awkward height to be, honestly, when he wasn’t trying to scare or intimidate people. 

 

So sure. He was clearly slappable in that moment. But why him and not a plethora of other buffoons present? Perhaps he had bumped into her in the crowd? She sure seemed to know Nia. 

 

Maybe she is with that devilish looking alien man?

 

In all honesty, he only had himself to blame for even being slappable. Had he not decided to sit down and meditate for a moment, it was doubtful she would or could have even attempted it. Still in a bit of shock, though, he made no attempt to unfold his legs or move from where he sat. But the violent little twi’lek had his attention now, at least once the shock of her actions started to all subsided.

 

She was on some sort of tirade when she it seemed that she accidentally let slip out that the devilish, "Mr. Tote’ma-Staff" was, in fact, a Sith. This was a shocking revelation, indeed. Probably something she would have been wise not to admit around a bunch of scared refugees, much less “two” Jedi.

 

Has the Nautolan really been serving under this man this long and not realized he was a Sith?! It would explain the lack of Jedi robes perhaps.

 

Ro was so caught up in the implications of all this that he was no longer really listening to the Twi'lek as she spoke.

 

“...outcasts, traitors in hiding...different outlook of the Force... Mjan is a traitor in their eyes...”

 

Ah! So that is Tote’s name? Mjan! And it would make sense, I suppose. Being a traitor if he was a Jedi and joined the Sith? Okay. But then why keep a Jedi as an ally or apprentice or whatever she is to him?! None of this makes any sense.

 

Of course, Rose's lecture was far from over. Paying better attention, Ro caught most of the rest of what she was saying over the din of the crowd. 

"But he's still Sith, Nia. He fights to control his nature everyday, a nature that has darkened the hearts of his ancestors for thousands of millennia. And he's a soldier, torn between duties between his heart as a Jedi and his mind as a Lieutenant as well as his attachment to you, his Padawan. Nothing is ever black and white, and even the greatest of Jedi's had their struggles, especially during times of war."

 

This was making even less sense all the time. Was he a Sith that had duties to the Jedi because he was a Lieutenant in the Alliance military? Was that even possible? Ro shook his head in confusion as he started to get to his feet. He knew it wasn’t probably his place to speak as he was technically eavesdropping. But he couldn’t resist.

 

Moving towards them, he interrupted, “Excuse me, Miss...”

 

And then came an unnatural rumbling, followed by panicked screams and the eruptions of manholes, sewer lines, and hydrants of all sorts. Water sprayed everywhere as Ro spotted a manhole cover wildly twirling in the direction of the two women. Breaking into a full sprint, Ro managed to just barely shove the two ladies out of the way as the coin-shaped cover. Spiraling like a flipped coin, the cover violently collided with the backside of Ro’s left shoulder and back. It was an intentional choice, of course, for Ro to use his good shoulder to absorb the blow. He figured it would be much less painful than using the side he had already landed on some time earlier. 

 

The moment the manhole hit him, however, Ro realized just how much he had miscalculated the object itself. Yes, his body did successfully absorb the manhole's momentum and ricochet it away from the ladies and others in the crowd. But the speed in which the manhole had sailed through the air made it look much lighter than it actually was.

 

Rocked by the impact, Ro was plowed head first into the ground and sent into a momentary tumble. A sharp, radiating pain exploded up from his upper back as if he had been hit squarely in the shoulder by a bolt of lightning! But before he could fully register the extent of the damage, Ro’s eruption of agony was abruptly followed by numbness throughout his extremities.

Face down, he tried to prop himself up with his arms but he couldn’t move them. In fact, he could barely feel anything outside of his physical form, currently gasping for breath. But he was not completely alone. There was also a familiar, encroaching darkness beginning to suffocate what was left of him. 

 

It was that rising feeling. The same panicked feeling that washed over him on Chandrilla. He couldn’t breath. He couldn’t move. All sound around him had dropped to little more than a hushed buzz.

Am I even still conscious?

 

Truth be told, Ro had been practicing breathing techniques to control his anxiety ever since Chandrilla, especially after losing Rose Cariadus. She had promised him that he was not alone. But she had recklessly gotten herself killed and abandoned him. He was trying to do this without her, but look where that had gotten him. Everyone had left him. Durose, Victoria, Rose. Even the Jedi who were supposed to be Chandrilla’s saviors. He had been on his own for so long. This was nothing new.

 

Now, he was on his own once more. Ro could feel the writhing of his body, the body’s natural gasping and gagging reflex try to desperately keep him alive. But no air was coming. 

 

Instead, Ro finally felt a moment of peace in the silence. Honestly, he could best describe it as no longer being inside his own body. Like he was floating high above the warehouse and the city, watching as the little "ants" ran and screamed and panicked, showered with puddles of foaming liquid as they slipped and fell and squirmed and wriggled. He may have failed his mission. But now he could finally leave. It could finally be over. His suffering was at the end.

 

But as he floated higher and higher above it all, a familiar voice suddenly whispered into his ear, “Wake up...”

Hit by a sudden rush of adrenaline, Ro felt as if he was literally freefalling. Without warning, his consciousness came crashing back into his physical body with an agonizing burst of pain. Then, his lungs finally filled with air and his eyes instantaneously popped open. 

 

Ro silently cursed his genes. They just wouldn’t let him die. Not yet, anyway. He wouldn’t get off the hook that easily.

 

___
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Edited by Durose Roshan

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The din in the warehouse was deafening and fear rose so heavily in the air it was almost palpable. The vents blown to the ceiling crashed down adding to the chaos, some of the heavy metal brackets smashing into refugees. Others clattered against walls and the floor.

 

In all of it, before Leena, Mjan, and Sara could continue their conversations they were blown into the air. Knight Mjan had tried to push Sara and Leena clear. It only served to send them arcing through the air instead of straight up. Leena twirled as she tried to hold onto Sara. The chaos around her pressed in on all sides and she could not even grasp what was going on. 
 

The next thing she knew, Leena landed atop Sara on the hard floor. She felt the wind leave the Zeltron’s body and she, Leena rolled off of her to the floor shocked; her brain trying to take in what had just happened. The lingering darkness from the dark chilling voice coated the walls feeding on the panic and pandemonium. Leena felt it, even if she had not heard exactly what the voice had said, and she recognized it. It was the dark side. And as she lay there on the floor, she heard Sara ask if she was ok. 
 

Leena smiled as she reached out to grasp the Zeltron’s hand at the same time reaching out on the force with a calming wave, finding the vestiges of it within her soul. It was second nature, and in this chaos, Sara was something familiar. Sara was a patient.

 

Rolling to a half reclined position, Leena placed her hand on Sara’s shoulder, “Better than you it seems. We guppies swim better than fly.” She smiled at her own attempt to crack a joke as she pushed out on the force in a tidal surge over Sara’s battered body. Waves of healing energy crackled like blue-green sparklers in the air and an aroma of salty fresh sea air wafted from the Apprentice Healer. Leena was seeking Sara’s wound, visible and invisible, it did not matter. When she felt them, Leena injected them with a pulse of healing energy, encouraging the girl’s natural healing abilities to kick into overdrive. When it was done, which had taken a few minutes, Leena pushed herself to her knees. “We better get up before we get trampled.” Her eyes looked out at the crowd trying to push their way out of the too few exits. They had one thing on their mind, a mob focus on securing their own safety, regardless of those who got in their way or who was left behind to die. “Besides, we ought to find you some Juju berry pie or something. Accelerated healing makes one hungry.” She offered a hand to Sara, helping her up whilst simultaneously looking for Mjan. A jedi knight was probably exactly what this situation could use. “Where did he go to?” She pondered aloud, her head scanning the quickly emptying room before her view settled on the blown away grating in front of the office. 
 

Somehow, she just knew, he had to go down there. Jedi didn’t follow the panicked masses, right? “Come on. Lets see if he went that way.” Leena offered an arm to help Sara walk towards a nearby vent and together jump down, right next to Nom and Xar. “Oh. Uh. Hello fellows. Did you, uh, happen to see a Jedi down here?  He was wearing, um, not Jedi robes.” Are you guys following the tunnel somewhere? Probably a faster way out than the doors, honestly.”

 

________________
 

Outside, the refugees pushed and shoved until the majority of them were fleeing into the streets. High above, the overwatchers radio’d in what they were seeing, their mounted cameras displaying the chaos that rose as manhole covers and grating rained down.

 

It did not take much, the command was already convinced that the offworlders had brought the diseased that was now ravaging their city. A quick order and the snipers were staring down their rifles at the Jedi amidst the crowd and opened fire. High velocity blaster bolts whizzed through the air peppering the crowd as they tried to take out the ‘Jedi’ and any offworlder that got in the way.

 

Overhead, the squadron of bombers began their final approach, orders adjusted once again. Bomb doors opened And instead of one single incendiary implosion warhead, 8 warheads were released.

 

The weapons armed as soon as they hit the moist ocean air. All it was take now is impact and the warehouse and 3 blocks in any direction would be vaporized in a cloud of fire and ash. The bombs whistled through the air as they approached from high above; not that they were noticeable over the screams of fear and panic as the refugees sought to find refuge from the hail of blasterfire from above.

 

The sniper teams were a worthy sacrifice as far as command was considered. All it would take was the right political spin and the city would not be letting any more offworlders in for the foreseeable future. The Quarren would finally be able to live in peace.

 

“45 seconds to impact . . . 44 . . . 43 . . . 42  . . . “

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Nok hissed in surprise as his foot slipped during the climb down the vent. He listened to the droid as they descended, getting a better impression of the machine’s personality. In the back of his head, the smell of the gas niggled at him. 

 

Where have I smelled that before?

 

On 4/16/2020 at 10:00 AM, Xar said:

“What is this voice anyways? And who are you? So we know who to send the bill to.” 

 

“Not sure, exactly. But I’m something of a collector of Jedi and Sith history,” he said, focusing on keeping his robe out of the way of his feet while he fabricated his story. “An amateur really. But when I heard there might be something like that here, I couldn’t help myself. Hobbies and all, I’m sure you get it. Plus, artifacts of the ancient Jedi are worth fortunes, and Sith artifacts even more so. Heard there was a plague and figured a nice charitable donation would get me on the planet, then I’d have all the time in the world to search while every other collector waited for the quarantine to end. Then I could sit around on a beautiful ocean planet sipping Correllian until I got cleared to leave.” Part of that was true. Neimoidians were notorious for being resistant to disease, though they carried them just fine. “As for the voice, like I said I’m not sure, but my studies have shown me that Sith love their macabre security systems.” Nok put a slight quaver in his voice as he continued, playing the part of the sheltered academic in denial. “I’m guessing that was an automated system of some sort trying to spook intruders, and it carried up the vents with that explosion of gas.” The lie sounded pathetic even to him, and he doubted the droid would buy it, and might not even buy that Nok believed it. Let him, the point here was to play a part, even if that was the part of someone hiding poorly behind another part.

 

Though seriously, where have I smelled this before?

 

“Oh wait, you asked my name. Jin Meer, nice to meet you. I’d shake your hand but I’d hate to fa-”

 

He stopped as his feet touched solid ground. He hadn’t even seen it before he stepped onto it.

 

Or in it, he corrected morosely as his shoe squished.

 

Nok jumped as the Jedi from before, Leena spoke right next to him.

 

On 4/18/2020 at 10:13 PM, Leena Kil said:

“Oh. Uh. Hello fellows. Did you, uh, happen to see a Jedi down here?  He was wearing, um, not Jedi robes.” Are you guys following the tunnel somewhere? Probably a faster way out than the doors, honestly.”

 

Perfect, no pain or fear. Of course.

 

But that wasn’t it either, not entirely. He should still be able to see a little, even if only from his own mild fear. But the Force wasn’t still. It was...agitated, like water in a gently vibrating tub. It didn’t feel like it was coming from down below either. It felt like it was coming from above, in anticipation of something. The closest thing he could describe it as was an echo in reverse.

 

Nok extended his awareness, trying to grasp it, relying on his instincts and feelings with no formal training to fall back on.

 

It’s not hate, or anything else. No...it’s something else...where...wait, yes, back then.

 

Nok remembered the last sight he had ever seen with his own eyes. The serpent. The taste of its essence hanging in the air. The edges of its mind stirring the depths of the Force.

 

That’s what I’m feeling. The intent to kill. Yes! And...death. Death but not death. Death that...is waiting. Death that hasn’t happened yet.

 

Nok took a sharp breath as he realized he was sensing the future, even if only vaguely. That got him a lungful of the gas and he doubled over coughing, chest burning from the acrid vapor.

 

Then he remembered where he’d smelled this before.

 

It had been at a mine, his first cortosis mine, where he’d stupidly taken a deep breath and started hacking like he was now. The dirty, squalid miners around him had run for their lives as soon as they smelled what he had, ignoring their employer’s confusion and abandoning him to the thing they feared most.

 

The vent passage suddenly was lit clear as day as Nok’s dread surged out through the Force.

 

“Is that...Lethane gas?!”

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Xar didn’t believe the Nemodian’s words for a minute. A collector of artifacts? On Mon Cal? While he did buy that this being was probably some kind of academic, Xar knew better than to trust any kind of neimoidian, or insectoid for that matter. Even the rodians back on Rodia knew better than to trust neimoidians. Still, this neimoidian was rich and offered a hefty sum for Xar’s surprior assistance, so Xar played along for now. 

 

When the other individual dropped to the ground next to the duo, Xar’s instinct was to cut the being without mercy. It was only at the last second, his claw ready to slash at the thing’s throat, did he stop, recognizing the being.  

 

“Oh. Uh. Hello fellows. Did you, uh, happen to see a Jedi down here?  He was wearing, um, not Jedi robes. Are you guys following the tunnel somewhere? Probably a faster way out than the doors, honestly.”

 

“Karking son-of-a nerf herder... ” Xar swore, putting his claw back down. “That is none of your business, woman. As for your jedi…” Xar pointed down the tunnel where the other heat signature was. “Down there. Now get out of our…”

 

Xar stopped. His charge was coughing and possibly choking on the gas. 

 

“We warned you that there was some kind of gas down here.” Xar criticized, annoyed he again hadn’t been listened to. He looked at the mon cal, his red eye piercing the darkness.  

 

“You...you're a nurse. Help him, as recompense for scaring us, and for not helping us find Hamilton earlier. We don’t know what this...lethane gas is, but it seems to be having an adverse affect on Mr. Meer here…”

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Nia was lost. The sheer number of people who needed help here both proved her earlier points and overwhelmed her. She didn't know what to do. She didn't have the skill or the knowledge to help anything more than minor wounds right now. Nor did she have the presence or the authority to calm the masses or organize the first responders. When the Cathar caught up to her, she turned to face him. He was massive, but she wasn't afraid. If he was truly a Jedi she was in no danger, and if not, she'd be dead regardless. Still, the accusations gnawed at the back of her head and she watched him as he spoke.

 

"You let your fear control you, master Jedi. I fear catching this disease, I fear death. I fear being truly alone for the first time. But I brave them all in the name of what's right. This may be a trap. Or it may be that everyone is on edge and making extremely poor calls, like in that warehouse. Regardless, we have a duty to help them. Now, if you wish to join me I will not turn you away, but you must promise not to harm or to threaten anyone else."

 

Before he could respond, Rose arrived. She and Rose had gotten off on the wrong foot from the start, as regrettable as it had been. And it seemed to be a streak that wouldn't end here- she winced as Rose slapped the Cathar, and took a step back when the twi'lek wheeled around to face her. She took in the other woman's words- getting into an argument would do them no good. Nia had said what she needed to, and this was a consequence. Still, it stung that the pilot had seemed to miss her point.

 

And then things got chaotic again. At once, most of the manhole covers in the streets blew off with extreme force, and she spun around to see the Cathar dive in front of one to protect her. Blaster shots rang out from the buildings around her and civilians dropped to the floor, dead or injured, the screams mounting once again. Fear hit her in a nearly palpable wave as her tendrils picked up scents and pheromones, and she took a step back to steady herself.

 

Find peace. Find something to focus on.

 

She moved to the large cat's side, moving the metal plate off of him. Instinct drove her now. She held a hand over his chest- He was in pain. She could feel it, too. He was covered in injuries- She didn't know how he was still alive, much less how he was still diving in front of manholes.

 

The shoulder she could help with- she knew how to close wounds and how to heal them. The bones would be trickier- the fracture, maybe. But it would take time.

 

She looked at Rose, then at the buildings around her. She looked back at Rose.

 

She knew what she had to ask.

 

She hated it.

 

"Cover me?"


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Mjan Sadow iv-Adas

 

Darkness...

 

It seemed to seep everywhere he went, even within this drainage pipe he now found himself. The chaos above, the darkness lurking below, the entirety of the Galaxy at war, and the nature within himself he fought so desperately to rid himself of. It was woven into the very fabric of his life. And now his Padawan, even with good intentions, saw him as nothing but. Perhaps he was nothing but what she saw, trained to be a false hope of Light in the encompassing darkness, a soldier of misfortune destined to pretend to be something he wasn't. Or so these thoughts and doubts crossed his mind as he trekked the muck and feces, wallowing in his own self excrement as he wished the advice of Aira, his own Master, where she may have been.

 

Turning a corner, Mjan's gaze shifted about, his nose smelling the familiar scent of gas, whether it was from the waste he treaded in or another source, he wasn't quite sure. But he knew using his saber as a light source was pointless and possibly deadly. So instead, it remained strapped across his back as he ventured further downward. Whatever the voice that called, it was unlike anything he had ever felt before, even from his own ill gotten ilk. No it felt ancient, dangerous, consuming, as if its greatest joy was chaos simplicity, and it was powerful. And with the current chaos above, it was perfection for its hunger.... and that's when Mjan heard the chaos take a turn for the worst.

 

Captain Rose Vao

 

Chaos...

 

It simply escalated ever more as the manholes and grates began to rocket about the Cathar from earlier making a solemn attempt to speak just before he shoved her and Nia out of the way as one collided with his towering form. In that instance, Rose knew more than most the confusion and hesitation that Nia had been feeling all along as her form was flung across the lot's pavement with little friction to stop her until she finally slid to a stop, scrapes and maybe minor bruising being the worst of her sustained injuries. But as she achingly rose from her spot, shifting her gaze from Nia to Ro just seconds before shots rang out, something in the distance caught her attention and nearly turned her blue skin pale white.

 

Activating her personal shield and drawing her blaster, she drew the shield across her front and returned fire as best as she could in the direction of the snipers until she reached Nia and Ro, shielding them as best she could behind it and her, as she briefly shot her gaze back out into the distant seas. Sure enough she recognized the tell-tale signs of incoming propelled warheads coming right at the them and when she looked at Nia, there was horror in her face.

 

"There is no time." Rose blurted as she unclipped the active energy shield from her wrist and clipped it to the backside of Ro's belt, covering his form and leaving Nia and Rose briefly exposed. "Run Nia. Now!"

 

Mjan Sadow iv-Adas

 

Run....

 

That is exactly what Mjan did the second he heard the blaster shots begin, his mind only concerned for Nia and Rose as he turned away from the presence and aimed to return and help, hoping the two could hold on just long enough for him to reach them. The Force flowed around the Tsis Jedi like air, increasing his speed as his feet left waves behind in his wake, his mind hoping for the best and expecting the worse. But which turn did he make? Left or right? Panic was setting in and confusing his direction and he felt as lost as the day he left Krayiss II to locate the Jedi only to find Coruscant in flames and nearly destroyed.

 

It wasn't long ago, but had felt like a distant memory for quite some time now, when he first found the Jedi at Felucia in Coruscant's aftermath. It was there he met Aira, the Jedi that awaited his arrival at their temple and eventually trained him as a Jedi Padawan and inducted him in the Alliance Navy. And now he was a pilot and a Jedi Knight with a Padawan of his own, one that he did not feel like failing a second time. His brow furrowed as he tried to shake the doubt and anguish from his mind, attempting to focus his thoughts and find them through the Force, hope filling his heart.

 

But it was brief, that moment of hope as he finally found Nia and Rose's presences within the Force, the strong desire to help found in his Padawan despite the fear she felt, causing Mjan to smile with a humble sense of pride. But Rose's presence was filled with hidden horror masked by urgency to depart their vicinity as quickly as possible, causing the smile to leave Mjan's face as the reality behind her horror filled his own. Was it true? It felt so. Could they truly go through with it? There was no doubt.

 

Just as Mjan turned the last corner, he came face to face with Leena and Sara from before, the horror and sadness of what he felt from Rose emanating from him so vibrantly that it took no questions asked as he slid to a stop and grabbed the Mon Cal by both shoulders. "Come. We need to go as deep as we can as fast as we can." His gaze shifted toward her companions, his golden gaze filled with the horror that emanated. "Now."

 

Captain Rose Vao

 

Horror....

 

Rose was almost shivering with it when she felt the subtle but warming touch of Mjan's presence upon her own as she fired another round, nearly clipping one of the snipers and causing the Quarren to take a brief moment of cover, and giving Rose and Nia that same brief moment to get Ro up. Adrenaline was pumping through her form as fast as her heart was beating as she gazed into the Cathar's eyes with sorrow before she lifted the towering beast up onto his feet and wrapped his arm around her and motioned for Nia to do the same as she grew close to his pained side. There wasn't a moment to lose.

 

Tears strolled from her eyes in secret as she lead the three into the chaotic masses, feeling the pain of each death as if it was one of family or crew, knowing she was leading them to slaughter by her, Nia, and Ro's presence and tell-tale energy shield painting a target upon their backs. But it was the only way she could keep her promise to Mjan. It may have been wrong, and Nia may never forgive her. But it was the only way and a regret she could live with no matter the outcome. There wouldn't be any time to get low enough in the sewers with Ro in his condition, at least before.....

 

3....2....1..... 

 

Just before the explosion hit, Rose felt as if she almost knew the moment of detonation, her reaction to push Ro onto Nia and both just barely out of harm's way as the heat flashed against her back and she stumbled forward, her arm reaching out to Nia and Ro. Pain wrecked her body only for a brief moment as tears of pain and anguish flooded her face, and after a moment, it fleeted, as her head fell forward and revealed the ash riddled backside of her burnt corpse. And in that moment, Rose smiled. Nia was safe, alive, and her promise kept. And the only sadness that remained was that of leaving her Lieutenant behind along with her crew, their last mission incomplete.

 

Mjan Sadow iv-Adas

 

Sadness....

 

It gripped Mjan as he realized that he wouldnt be able to reach Nia and Rose in time, and it shown through even the horror filled look he gave Leena and the others as he led them downward. He could only hope that they would be safe as the horror of the shots rang out even down here below. And so, he put up a brave and silent face, turning a corner that led them down toward the lower levels and toward the presence emanating below, toward the voice that called up from within the deep. In silence, Mjan kept a subtle eye upon his Padawan and Captain despite the pain inflicting his mind as each death and the pain that Rose and Nia felt emanated through his connection to them until...

 

Mjan stopped just before an explosion rocked the levels above, grasping at his heart with disbelief. It felt as if his heart had stopped, a crippling realization grasping at his very soul. He didn't move, couldn't breath, and all he could do in that moment is exist. He felt it. Rose was dead. His Captain, his beloved. And in that moment, Mjan simply collapsed, falling to his knees as hundreds of deaths were blinded to his ears by a singular death so dear. His fists gripped tightly beneath the sewage he sank into, he could do nothing but ache.

 

"No." He whispered. 


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Sheog the Mad said:
oof Sheog

Is actually a tribe of autistic ewoks in a costume

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With a dark flicker against the familiar stars of the Mon Calamari Home system, the leading elements of what was being called a ‘Peacekeeping Expeditionary Force’ by the brilliant minds in the sith media, emerged over the homeworld of the aquatic shipbuilders. The black ships, and their familiar dark wedges cut scything shadows against the close packed stars, and their signatures filled the command displays of any home defense force that the Mon Cal’s may have mustered. The dangerous black fleet billowed forth fighters in wave after wave, until hundreds of the mass produced fighters formed a protective screen around the command ships. 

 

Onboard the main command ship of this task force, the Terminus, great mechanical beasts of Juggernauts, AT-STs, and the smaller and more agile AT-PT were getting loaded into their drop ships. Mechanics moved like buzzing flies from dropship to dropship, checking and triple checking tie downs and engine cowlings, while stormtrooper companies ran to their compartments, following the darting lines of mousedroids. It was much the same in the secondary hangar bay where Darkhand was based. Soldiers and commandos stood in long lines, toes against the dark decking joiners. 3,400 men and women stood there, backs straight at attention. Helmets in the crook of their arms, staring towards the huge circle of NCOs and COs who were outlying drop plans on large dry erase holo boards. 

 

There were no speeches to be given to the men. This wasn’t a holofilm, and there were no heroes. Just thousands of nervous men and women, ready to die for something they did not even know. Many were happy to be here. To crush terrorism and the jedi that caused it, was a dream of the galaxy for a generation. Perhaps this time there would be peace. But all of them were sure that they were here for a good reason. Mini briefings had laid out the situation. The Sith were there as a peacekeeping force to fight terrorism and to continue a quarantine that the Jedi were busy breaking. The fleet? Well it was here as a guarantee. It was a guarantee that the Mon Calamari and the Quarren, who were known to be a stubborn people at the best of times and Rebel leaning at the worst of times, would accept the aid of the Sith Empire. 

 

They needed it after all. For who was better at containing Jedi? 

 

Delta held up large packets of holo prints to the NCOs, enough to issue to each sergeant at least in the case of a comms down situation. He pulled an example of each before handing them off. 

 

“Men.” Here he used the male wording, though most of the NCOs were actually women, but this was the military and that was acceptable. He held up the first of the Holo-stills, a grainy image of a RHTC-560 Hunter Trainer droid. It looked exceedingly dangerous and bristled with terroristic intent. “First we have this lovely thing. Then this.” He held up an even grainier still of a green faced Nautolan female. She was rather cute, but in the non descript alien way. “The first of what I believe are the Jedi Knights or their apprentices.” He tapped the image of the young girl. “Intelligence would very much like us to capture the younger ones for interrogation, but use your best judgement. It's better that you get a reprimand, or I do, then you go home in a box. Now here is a real treasure.”

 

He held up the relatively clear holo still of a red faced Sith. “Sith intelligence is trying to ascertain what exactly this is. A body will suffice for ID. Put down from a distance.” He shuffled through the rest of the holo stills. A young Jedi of the Mon Cal race, A large Cathar male A Zeltron female. On this last he issued the normal warning, despite Sigrid Hensi’s grin. “Make sure to not take your mask off around the last one. Zeltron are notorious for their wiles. Don’t give them any advantage.” He looked from eye to eye as he handed out the last set. 

 

“Objective is the city of Morjanssik. We will meet there. And men.” He gave them a salute. “May the force be with you.”

 

It was a rebel phrase of course, but his men needed all the help they could get, and as he watched them dash to their waiting companies he whispered a prayer. 

 

_____________________________________

 

Spoiler

 

Sith Naval Destroyer Group [Turbolasers]

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign - 

Grave

Imperial Kyber Class Star Destroyer Terminus |20/20|

Commanded by Lord Girk Doma the "Devilfish" of Sith Naval Intelligence

 

Sith Naval Destroyer Group [Turbolasers]

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign - 

Devil

Sith Victory II Star Destroyer Brimstone|9/9|

Sith Victory II Star Destroyer Hellkite |9/9|

 

Sith Naval Precision Strike Carrier Group

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign - 

Beast

Raider-class Corvette Cretan |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Greetham |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Heliotrope |2/1|

Phantom

Raider-class Corvette Crusader |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Somerset |2/1|

Raider-class Corvette Theodocia|2/1|

Ghoul

Gladiator-Class Star Destroyer Acheron |9/9|

 

 

 

Spoiler

 

DARKHAND BRIGADE

General Staff

Command: Delta73

Executive Officer: Tares Blacktorin (Black Sun XO from Lima One) 

Command Sergeant Major: Jansen Trefey (Sith Sergeant from 31st Lion company(Company destroyed at the battle of Coruscant)) 

Intelligence Officer: Sigrid Hensi (Black Sun Lieutenant from Lima One) 

Operations officer: Haylee Langraf (Black Sun Lieutenant from Lima One) 

Logistics Officer: Gerald Frostwin (Black Sun Lieutenant from Lima One) 

Sith Intelligence: Lord Garik Doma "Devilfish" (Sith Lord , Onderon) 

  Hide contents

image.thumb.png.eca369704a4f0089237429260cb70036.png


 


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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I see you in her.

 

It is never more than a twinkling: a glance, a breath, a dismissive gesture. The way she narrowed her eyes to stare defiantly into fear, easily, naturally; the way her clenched hands would find supreme conviction. Are you there, Malachi? The way the waves of whole planets shifted as she dreamed loudly, the lines of sorrow chasing one another deeply across the paleness of her sweet face as you fell in love with something so terrifying. They return me to the moments that she would stand above you when you slept alone, watching your ruthless slumber, hating the way you slept knowing that one-eye was forever watching. You are so distrusting of others, she knew you could see her, standing there above you. Watching her, blade in hand, knowing that she did not have the fire to threaten your life, to stay your hand from those that you assassinated mercilessly.  If only you would fall asleep, she could end it for you.

 

She would stand there for hours, and wondered if she called on all training you had given her, if she moved just quickly enough, maybe her knife could find your heart before yours found another, if she could quench the burning in her chest with your feverish blood and earn your attention for but a moment, maybe just one word, even if it were words that sealed her life then and there. You were much quieter then. It would have been worth it, to break your bond with the killings and rob them of the heart that they had turned so cold. It would have been so worth it. How did it get like this? When did it all begin, she wondered. 

 

The many moons and the distant stars betrayed her pleading, withholding their secrets in fear that you would tear them from the skies. Nature itself trembled before the black power coming from you. She knew your birth-mother was the key, and that when you had lost her, you had lost your humanity. She was losing hers now, over the years of trying to stitch you back together every night. Your wounds were grave and were many, but many did not become more as you grew older. You became untouchable. Your mouth had forgotten how to widen to a smile, as each encounter left you with less and less to show for it. You smile now though, have you noticed? You were more efficient, arrogantly so, avoiding the mess of your butchering if only to exact an air of cleanliness in your fieldwork. She could no longer bandage what was not there, you became as fierce as wildfire, and that too robbed her of purpose. She had nothing to fix, and the warmth from your body had left, colder than the wintry coals of Ziost.  Did you notice when she parted ways? Did you even blink twice?

 

Do you think of her now? What of your mother, Malachi?

Can you see them, as clear as I see you?

"I do."

 

Silence enveloped his personal stateroom, the keepsakes of his past tried their hands at heart-strings that no longer dangled loosely, from a heart that no longer beat as it once did. Yes, he could see that which the dark wished of him, with an indifference that boldly challenged the constant harping of challenging spirits. He sat cross-legged on a raised platform, his body and mind as hardened as the monstrous plates that shielded the skeleton of the Goliath itself, meditating on all that had come to past, internal turmoil, and the task laid ahead of him. Only when the industrial klaxons blared, signaling the end of his hyperspace journey, did his eyes truly open. Rings of magma burning inside of those eyes, saying what his words would not. The face of the King was flawlessly imperious by all regal meaning, unscathed by the black of the dark side and the rot of war. This storied conqueror had just begun.

 

The dreadful skulk of the Flagship Goliath rumbled through the tumultuous dissonance of hyperspace, extraterrestrial streaks of lambent light dispersed wildly as it settled before the azurean planet. Yawning spaces of black played welcome to a spread of warships that blinked into horrifying formation, assimilating with another division of their naval force that had arrived earlier. The Goliath was chief among them, ghoulishly vast in his dimensions, daunting in comparison to the many others that now fleshed out this grand flotilla. In wicked efficiency, the dispositions of the Sith naval power aligned itself dangerously towards the Rebel planet of Mon Calamari. 

 

Reaver-Lead operation is a go. Drop in T-minus ten.
"Copy that, Goliath. Reavers stations."
Reaver-3, check.
Reaver-5, ready.
Reaver-2, 4, 6 are operational with no errors detected, Reaver-Lead.

"Good. Let's run the operation through before jump, I know you lot are itching for green."
"Fives been doing a lot of itching, Reaver-Lead. Said medical wouldn't een' give it a look!"
Comms filled with laughter

 

Reaver-Lead, a grizzled and towering veteran that passed as more machine than man, brought up the holographic display in his helmet's display and fed the image into his squad's optical sensors. "The city of Morjanssik is under quarantine by what we imagine is a sizable Rebel force, intel suggests that we drop in with no less than eight platoons with three mechanized infantry columns, fifteen vehicles total. The local garrison have marshaled their forces in the event of several terrorist operations, the rest have already laid assault to these buildings here-" At his command a sprawling industrial complex was expanded upon, appearing as a cluster of warehouses to the Dark Troopers dissecting the images. "Oh and Reavers, Looks like we've found some Jedi."

 

 

 

______________________________________

 

 

 

Fleet Command (Flagship)

Taskforce Experience (I)

Commander: Dark King Exodus, Captain Rosa Orsaa

Augmentation: Axial Weapon

Xhendora-Class Dreadnought Goliath |20/20|

The Xhendora-Class Dreadnought is one of the largest vessels in the Sith-Imperial Armada. So far only two vessels of the class, The Goliath, and another under construction. These two advanced warships are designated as Fleet command ships, and form the core of a line of battleships and dreadnoughts intended to counter any direct assault in Sith-Imperial Space by a large scale fleet formation. Dense, cutting edge armor, heavy shielding, reinforced hulls, and numerous other internal and external modifications make the hull one of the most rugged ever constructed to serve under the Imperial Machine. The heavy-set firepower, and thick armor make the Goliath one of the most formidable forces in known hyperspace. Direct and deliberate frontal assaults easily overpower lesser opponents. Under the Goliath's relentless assault most targets break and run, or surrender if retreat is impossible.

 

Sith Covert Strike Force

Taskforce Experience Green (I)

- Assigned Callsign -

Reaver

Vornskr-Class Stealth Cruiser |9/9|

Huntress

Raider II-Class Corvette Tracer |2/1|

Raider II-Class Corvette Pandora |2/1|

Raider II-Class Corvette Spectrum |2/1|

Scythe

Raider-Class Corvette Carver |2/1|

Raider-Class Corvette Blade |2/1|

Raider-Class Corvette Haunting |2/1|

 

Heavy Brawler Escort (Hammer and Anvil)

Taskforce Experience Green

- Assigned Callsign -

Shield

Harrower-Class Battle Cruiser Monarch|20/20|

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Exodus

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Chaos. Chaos reigned supreme in the streets surrounding the warehouse district. The people who had just been fighting to get out into the streets and try their luck against the city itself and the disease it harbored now clawed at one another in sheer terror trying to get to cover. Blaster bolts reigned down from above, and while a smuggler here and a mercenary there tried to return fire with whatever smuggled off world weapon they had snuck in, the majority of the off worlders collapsed in shock, tried to hide behind whatever makeshift shield they could find or ran. It was the runners who got picked off first. Nobody was going to get away, the expertly trained and technologically advanced police snipers would see to that. Even as they focused their fire on the supposed Jedi, nobody was shown mercy.

 

And then, suddenly, as abruptly as the shooting had started, it stopped. From their vantage point, the overwatching shooters sensed, heard, and detected the incoming explosives a mere second before those on the ground, the high-pitched whistles piercing the air as the technological terrors hurtled towards the city scape.

 

___________   
 

Leena bristled slightly at the droid’s tone, but she brushed it off. She had dealt with too many young troopers who had a chip on their shoulder or something to prove. 
 

She was breathing deeply, the caustic wave of air eating at her chest and lungs. Before the droid could direct her, Leena turned to the blind Nemodian, “Do you have a rebreather?” She asked as she reached out on the force, grasping at the tendrils of good that lay nestled in the baseness of the world around them. Gently, Leena pushed against the darkness that radiated from Nok’s heart trying to reach out a wave of calm to try and suppress the coughing fit, even as her own lungs burned with each breath. As she did, the red-skinned Jedi came rushing up and urged them onwards through the foul muck and deeper into the blackness.

 

And then, as Mjan rushed by, Leena felt it, fear, a cyclone of fear crashing down. On the heels of that fear, death.

 

Leena tripped and sent muck, yuck, and guck splattering, her already dirty and damaged white healer’s robes being coated in blacks, browns, and greens. “Go!!” she urged Sara, the droid, and the Nemodian, trying to encourage them to run as she picked herself up from the bottom of the pipe, planting a sewage covered hand on Sara’s  back and pushing. “Go! Use the force!” 
 

______________
 

 The sudden lack of laser fire raining down gave some of the frenzied masses pause, but the majority were too tizzied up to even notice. They noticed though. Oh, did they notice as the bombs touched down in unison. From eight individual points, waves of inferno boiled forth, flames rolling over one another as they raced outward enveloping everything in their path. Flesh sizzled, bones cracked, even durasteel began to melt; nothing was left untouched as the fire erupted outwards and upwards into the sky. 
 

Just as suddenly as the flames rushed outwards they ground to a halt, their eruptive force coming to a close. The flames then began to recoil with the hiss of a vacuum. The emptiness of air creating a superpowered vacuum in the wake of the firebomb. The fires collapsed back inwards with force enough to topple buildings in their grip, uproot trees, and knock statues off their pedestals. Nothing was left untouched; such was the power of the incendiary inferno bombs.

 

In a matter of seconds three square city blocks outwards and upwards erupted in a flash of fire and then with a deafening boom that echoed across the city collapsed the warehouse district in on itself.  Outside the perimeter, practically nothing was touched and within the blast small flames licked at the surviving flammable items lying haphazardly about in the devastation. 
 

Silence followed. The screaming masses, the frantic police, the first-world cityscape had been reduced to an outer rim wasteland leaving piping and pits exposed below.

 

And in the next few minutes, the whimpering of the few survivors, burnt and crushed, began to eek through the acidic scorched still air.

 

____________

 

Leena pushed Sara and Nok forward, the explosive flames superheating the air and igniting the Lethane coming up from the fissured septic line that branches into the mines below. The flames billowed after Mjan, Sara, Leena, Xar, and Nok threatening to consume them if something was not done. 
 

The force was swirling about them, darkness, light, fear, peace, passion, emotion, calmness, life, and death; it was all there touching their minds and bodies even as it ached at the sudden extinguishment of life above. Then Mjan collapsed, falling to his knees as the flames rushed at them. Leena skidded to a stop beside the downed Jedi. In the flickering orange glow of the oncoming flames, Leena’s eyes looked from Sara to Mjan and then to Xar and Nok. “We are going to die.” she whispered as the loss hit her in her soul. The young Mon Cal looked at the blooming plume of fire rushing down on them and then at Sara, “I’m sorry.”

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Sara lifted the delicate glass of her cocktail to her lips. The sand sifted between her toes and the lovely muddled Alderaanian mint was cool and refreshing on her tongue. The sky was bright and blue and there were many entertainments scattered all around her; both visual and visceral. It was a lovely reprieve after that last job. Mon Cal was it?

 

Then there was heat. It was already hot on the beach, but the heat that pushed against her was like a ball of fire trying to rub lint off of her entire body. It was almost suffocating. The sound of coughing picked at her ears. She looked around the beach but saw that no one was coughing. The smell of lethane gas and sewage tickled her nose, turning the sweet mint of her drink into a sour sludge. And feelings of despair and pain twisted the bright sand all around her into a black pit of fetid slime. 

 

“Go! Use the force!”

 

Leena’s words awoke Sara’s mind to the discomfort of reality and reminded her that she’d been nothing but a walking ragdoll for the past few minutes. To be honest, she was kind of surprised she’d managed to escape death. Even though she fell to the cold ground - that was harder than it had any right to be - and her body felt like a broken mess that then tried to slowly sew itself back together, she felt inexplicably ‘fine.’ She wasn’t great, she wasn’t good, but she could somehow move and articulate like nothing happened, which left a surreal taste in her mouth. It must have had something to do with that weird stuff Leena did, but Sara’s thoughts were too muddy to decipher what was really going on. The rest of their escape from the warehouse was just a big blur at this point. 

 

Out of the fireplace and into the kriffing lava… Seriously, who comes up with this druk!?

 

“I’m sorry”

 

The guppy’s words were quiet. Sara had trouble deciphering Leena’s body language due to the grogginess that continued to grip her weary mind, but was no less confused by what the young Mon Cal said. Sorry? Sorry for what? For bringing me to this planet when it was under quarantine because you wanted to help people? 

 

Sara, who was apparently at the back of the group with Leena, looked over her shoulder at the raging inferno that rapidly approached the group. And, whether it was the spike in Dopamine and Oxytocin derived from her fantasy, or the fact that so many crazy things had happened in such a short time, Sara didn’t flinch. She grabbed at a long cylindrical device attached to her hip and threw it down the chamber to the approaching fire. 

 

In a bright and violent poof of blue mist, the chamber was consumed with ice and rapidly cooled. The dry powder and anti-oxidizing chemicals from the CryoBan explosive dispersed and attacked the flame, depriving it of fuel and forcing it to dissipate. With no other option, the flames impotently struggled against the barrier and were sucked back up through unknown channels. It all happened very quickly and though Sara knew the grenade would be effective, she didn’t think it would cause the fire to reverse direction. Questions for another time. Two grenades down… one to go. 

 

Sara patted one of her leather pouches, where her last grenade was peacefully nestled. Then, after taking a beat to wipe her forehead, she turned back toward the guppy and the rest of the group. 

 

“Firstly,” Sara began, fishing (heh!) for a small device in one of her other waist pouches, “here, take this.” 

 

The Zeltron tossed a small device at the droid because she was still confused whether or not the Nemoidian could see. “It’s a re-breather I use when working with poison gas. It should help Mr. cough over there.”

 

“Secondly,” Sara turned back to Leena and cocked another small smile, “If I didn’t want to come, I could certainly have taken us to another planet. Don’t waste your time being sorry, it doesn’t help any right now.”

 

Sara took a moment to look around now that the threat of impending flames was not pushing down on the lot of them and found herself at a loss.

 

“And I guess thirdly is, does anybody have any idea which direction we’re headed?”

Edited by Scorpion

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"...Now, if you wish to join me I will not turn you away, but you must promise not to harm or to threaten anyone else."

 

Her words echoed in his head as the former Watcher of the Link looked up to see the small Nautolan standing over him, the warming touch of her hands steadily dulling some of his pain. He could tell his body was healing but he was not the one responsible. 
 

“Thank you,” was all he could manage to muster at first.


Then rising a little, he added, “If you will have me, I promise I will not harm you. But we must--”


His next words were cut off as sniper fire began raining down on the crowd of off-world refugees. As if things weren't bad enough, now they were being shot at!


I swear I am going to murder each and every Quarren on this planet!!!

Struggling to get to his feet, Ro’s chest burned and strung and certain movements stabbed him with sharp pains but at least his legs were still usable. Hunched over from the pain, it also gave him the added bonus of being a smaller target than if he had been standing upright.
 

Way to look on the bright side, buddy!


In the midst of the frenzied hysteria that was beginning to rapidly reach a crescendo, Ro heard the Twi’lek bark out orders, “There is no time. Run Nia. Now!”


He could feel her doing something to his backside as she spoke but he was in too much pain to look behind himself and see what she had done. For a split second, Ro tried to point out the uncovered manhole. If they hurried, perhaps their small party and some of the off-world survivors might be able to make it down into the tunnels before these government assassins murdered everyone. But before he could say anything, Nia and Rose were already off to the races and waving for him to join.

 

Kark.

 

Pushing through the screaming masses was painful but he was aided by the renewed adrenaline that surged through his body as helpless civilians were dropped by sniper fire right and left. 


Nothing like murder, death, and impending doom to get the blood flowing!


But even with his head still ringing, Ro had the sneaky suspicion that he was somehow missing something. He could see it in Rose’s eyes as she looked back and fired off her rounds at the local “law enforcement.” It was as if she wasn’t actually looking towards the snipers. It was more like she was looking up to the sky instead for some reason.


As he pushed himself to catch up and avoid the weapon fire coming his way, Rose frantically motioned for him to run even faster. Still a little bit groggy, he begrudgingly complied, showing off a little as he managed to pass Rose. Now in the middle of the pack, Nia remained in the lead while Rose attempted to provide the group with cover fire.


As they neared the edge of the third block, Ro could feel the exhaustion setting in. It hurt so much to breathe. He was doing his best to control his breathing but dashing through the crowd and over any obstacles or dead bodies that were lying in their way made it almost impossible to do. 


Where are we even going?! How much further! Why don’t we just take cover behind one of these nearby buildings and regroup!!!


But even as he tried to figure out what their next move could be, Ro suddenly witnessed a flash of light dance across Nia’s moist skin followed abruptly by a deafening roar. Eyes wide, Ro looked back.


Karking Kark.


An explosive wall of fire mowed down the terrified survivors like they were overgrown blades of grass. Ro’s life flashed before his eyes. His conversations with Durose when he was brought into his world. His first day at the Link Headquarters. Meeting Victoria for the first time. Fighting that tenacious little blue-haired Mandalorian while Coruscant burned around them. Singing to Rose as she died in his arms.


As he watched the flames streak towards him, his pace began to falter. He missed her. Maybe he even loved her. He didn’t know. He was never given the chance. He would never get the chance.

 

If she was here... if she was here... we could have... we could have taken on the world together! Force Drukit, Rose! Force Drukit!


His eyes began to tear up. He wondered if it should have been him that had returned the helmet. Perhaps this was his punishment for all his sins and failings and transgressions.

He could feel the Twi’lek mercenary pushing at him to move faster as the flames consumed everything in their view. He moved his body to shelter Nia from the impact, hoping that at least one of them would make it. He closed his eyes.


Death, however, refused to grant him his rest. Like a fickle mistress, she had cheated on him once again with someone else. While the wall of fire tickled the edges of his borrowed energy shield, that was the farthest it came before promptly collapsing in on itself and leaving a leveled, acid-scorched wasteland in its wake.

 

Behind him, the others that had also managed to outrun the explosion were yelling and barking at one another. Many were still running. Others were catching their breath. Some had even collapsed on the ground from exhaustion. Leaving Nia for a moment, Ro ran back towards Rose.

 

As she dropped to her knees with an almost unintentionally eerie smile and then fell forward, Ro slid to his knees and caught her. She wasn’t a very heavy woman but the impact made him grimace for a second. Her back felt like hot coals and stung to even touch. Instead of initially trying to move her, he just froze in that position, allowing her body to rest against his chest. He tried to think of something to sing to her. But he couldn’t do this again. Tears rolled down his cheeks as his voice let out little more than a dry croak. There were no more songs left for the dead here. What had happened was no less than mass murder. 

 

Someone will pay for this. Someone must pay for this!

 

Ro couldn’t bring himself to look upon the twi’lek’s actual burns. Truth be told, as long as these burns weren’t too deep and she hadn’t been filled with shrapnel, it was possible to survive an explosion like that. Sure, she might have lost feeling or consciousness. But even if she had third-degree burns on 75% of her body, she still stood a 50-50 chance of survival if she could receive care in time. If he could find some bacta or a Jedi healer, her odds might even be much better than that. What Ro wouldn’t give to have that power right now.

 

3...2...1...

 

Ro wrapped his arms around the body, her backside searing into his fur and flesh, her weight pressing against his lungs and chest.

 

“Arraaahhh!”

 

He couldn’t help but shriek a little as he lifted the two of them off the ground. It wasn’t a shriek of pain. It was more of intense frustration and anger. Pressing his hands against her backside, he yelped a little as he re-positioned her over his right shoulder.


He was in so much pain between his previous injuries, the searing heat from her burnt flesh, and the compression of his chest from her added body weight that the blazing anger swelling within his heart was the only thing keeping him upright. He simply refused to allow anything else to matter to him in those moments. 


Looking back, he didn’t see Nia. Ro felt a sudden rush of panic.


Maybe she had headed to safety? Or did the fire get her? No. No! I was there. She had. She must.


Ro’s breathing was labored. The pain was making it hard to think. He could worry about Nia later. This Twi’lek woman was his priority. He owed her that much for saving his life. He began walking back towards the devastation. He needed to cool her down. There was water wherever those manholes led. It was their only hope. He just needed to push a few steps further.


Just a few steps more. I can see it. An opening in the ground. Must. Just a few.
 

Reaching for the comm unit still attached to her person, Ro put it to his mouth as he spoke with labored breaths, “Bombs--Explosion--I’m--going--to--take--your--friend--to--the--sewers--need--medical--please...”

 

Between his ribs and the swelling and the Twi’lek’s body weight, Ro was starting to become increasingly dizzy. He blinked hard as the ground in front of him behind to blur and wobble. But he was there. He had made it to a nearby opening. There was still a chance. 

 

Dropping the twi’lek down into the water below, there was a splash followed by an ominous sizzle. At the very least, the water would help cool her body down and maybe buy them a few minutes. He could speak to whether she’d manage to keep both lekku but perhaps she was lucky enough to have them absorb a lot of the impact. He still couldn’t bring himself to visually inspect the damage. It didn’t really matter if they didn’t find a healer or bacta soon. If she was still alive, by now every system in her body was undoubtedly freaking out. Her metabolism had surely gone haywire and accelerated, her immune system was probably undergoing changes, and her cardiovascular system was about to falter. And then there was the catastrophic loss of fluid through the burned area by evaporation and through leakage from damaged capillaries.

 

She was on borrowed time if she wasn’t dead already. Of course, Ro wasn’t in much better shape. His body was screaming at him to rest so he could finally heal a little. Dropping down into the sewer tunnel himself, he wade over to the alien woman and pulled her tight to his chest again, this time pressing the burnt part of her body against his. She was much cooler now. At least that was something. Moving a little further down the tunnel, Ro soon found himself in darkness. He fiddled with the comm unit. He hit what he thought might be a locator for Mjan to track their location. But he was too tired to know for sure anymore.

 

Moving along the tunnel wall until he felt the railing of what he believed to be a ladder, Ro removed his belt and used it to tie the twi’lek’s arms in the air above her. With her secure, he leaned her head backwards and let it rest in the water. With his cat-like senses, he wasn’t completely blind in the dark but he still felt around her face to make sure that it wouldn’t sink beneath the water with how he had set it. Satisfied, Ro slumped against the adjacent wall.

 

All he could think about was sleep. He had to sleep. He needed to sleep. And right as he began to drift off to sleep, the funniest thing hit him. He had done all this work but in his entire time, he had been so focused on himself and his pain and just getting them out of there that he had never checked to see if she was breathing.

 

Huh.


___
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Edited by Durose Roshan

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Posted (edited)

Nok was in awe. When the resounding boom of the explosion echoed through the chamber, he’d felt the rush of force and heat tearing towards them, greater than anything he could have pushed back with the Force. He wasn’t even sure if he could push on something like that. The tentacle-faced man was down on the ground, Leena the Jedi seemed to be out of ideas, and the droid didn’t look like it was interested in saving anyone at the moment.

 

Then the woman who’d exploded with emotion and power at the clinic tossed something, and a burst of cold and power erupted that he could only assume stopped the explosion, given that they weren’t dead.

 

On 4/23/2020 at 4:46 PM, Scorpion said:

“And I guess thirdly is, does anybody have any idea which direction we’re headed?”

 

Nok took a moment to gather himself. “That explosion sounded like it came from above us. I’m guessing that warehouse isn’t there anymore, so we’re not getting out that way. And given what that explosion implies, I’m not going up there anytime soon anyway to ‘turn myself in’.” He frowned. “That was Lethane gas. It comes from cortosis. There might be a mine down there.”
Nok wanted to descend deeper and follow the voice, but admitting you were actively looking for Dark Side voices in deep caverns seemed like a quick way to get a lightsaber to the throat.
He thought for a second, and decided. “I’m heading down there. Better to find a mine or another corridor than to wander around up here and hope security doesn’t think to search for survivors.” He was well aware how crazy that sounded after the dark voice, but he was willing to play up the naive academic in denial a little longer.

Edited by Nok Morliss

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To say Xar was surprised at the events that had just occurred would’ve been an understatement. When he was expecting death, when all the odds were against his survival, when his doom in the form of a rolling explosion was approaching him, he survived. But it wasn’t his own power...was it?

 

No, Xar couldn’t have done that. He was a droid, not a god. Still, neither were these ‘lessers’. Xar didn’t believe in magic. That ‘force’ that the calamari spoke of was nothing more then superstition. Still, it seemed to have done something. Then the Zeltron…

 

Ah, yes, the Zeltron! She had stopped the explosion from reaching him with her grenade after all. So his survival was owed to this being. 

 

“Ugh” Xar groaned when the Zeltron tossed her the mask. “To be in the debt of...no... no...no…” Xar suddenly began to reason with himself. Speaking to no one specifically, Xar helped the neimoidian put on the mask. “Obviously our greatness and magnitude attracted these two to come to our aid. Thus, we are the reason for your safety. Yes, that is correct. And because of that, we survived. Finally, some beings who recognise the greatness of Xar”

 

“As for your question Zeltron…” Xar addressed the being. “That entirely depends on where you are trying to go. If you want to stay in our presence, the next direction in this way…could someone carry that thing?” Xar pointed at the collapsed being. 

 

And with that, Xar began making his way into the darkness. His one eye flickered once and a beam of light emitted from it, giving him a clear path. Whether or not the others could follow him in this void of darkness and sewage was not his concern, though he could provide enough reflection that hopefully the others could follow. 

 

“You see, the sewage...” Xar talked as he made his way, taking a turn to the right. “Is running this way. And as much as we hate walking in someone’s filth, Xar is a droid of honor, and we will make our way through this, instead of getting arrested like Mr. Meer said. Watch out there…” Xar stopped and pointed a claw towards a spot in the sewage. “A small tripping hazard. Could break one of your legs. Oh maybe some beings that way..." Xar pointed towards two heat signatures down a side path (@Ro)  "Help them if you want, but we want to hurry. Anyways…”

 

Xar continued talking the entire way. “You may wonder how we are able to think of such a thing. Well, while having three separate memory cores, this chassis is of a hunter trainer model from...Rodia ugh..."  Xar made a sound similar to something puking its guts out at the word "...such an ignoble place… and one of the core functions of this model is to hunt. Many animals can’t detect possible predators from upstream, so naturally, we prefer to hunt downwards…”

 

The group came to a diverging path, both having the sewage going down it equally. Xar glanced upwards and smacked the pipe. The loud ‘gong’ of his action echoed in all directions. Xar banged again and listened carefully. In the echoes, there seemed to be something. It was so quiet, and with the echoes of the banging, it was almost unnoticeable.

 

“Alone…..cold…dark...” 

 

Xar pointed a claw down one of the pipes. “This way. There is a large area this way, perhaps with a ladder to climb. Though keep that mask on Mr Meer or whatever your name is….there is more gas, and my temperature readings say it is dropping...quite cold really...” and Xar continued on, having not heard the whispers. As soft and quiet as they were, they were there only for a second, and then gone. 

 

Xar continued to point out spots where the beings who followed him might trip. “After all, it would be a pity for you to fall in our presence.” Eventually Xar had to come to a stop. Here, the sewage was running much more rapidly, and flowing over an edge. Xar eased his way forward to the edge and peered over. His light couldn’t find the bottom. It was a huge cavern that seemed bottomless. His own exhaust ports on his chassis were starting to show, its heat visible in the air. 

 

“Well, this is interesting. Perhaps this is where the cortosis mine is Mr. Meer? We do not see a way for you to get down there though…” Xar glanced around. 

Edited by Xar

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The screens on the centre console of the dropod flashed black, then white as the drop pods were being prepared for ejection. Their external power cables being removed by crew in the star destroyer and the pods taking over with their own internal generators. He looked across his command team. All stoic in their securely fastened helmets, their inhuman ‘T’ visors staring blankly back at his own. Despite the cumulative grins that were beneath them. He looked at each visor and nodded, they nodded back.

 

“Loadout check.” 

 

The final check of weapons began, and frantic fingers flew over securing straps, and eyes looked into HUD readouts for attached weapon systems. Blasters were checked, then resecured onto straps on their sides. Tucked in beside their armoured thighs, in a mixture of leather and crash webbing. On the opposite thigh there was the familiar slug thrower, sonic weapon, or flechette launcher as was the common loadout for  hunting Jedi Knights. The cyclical slugthowing carbine with its heavy thirty round magazines had been produced for the last fifty years. Their flecchette counterparts for even longer, and the ovular sonic weapons even longer still. Delta still preferred his E-22 blaster rifle, and when fired en-masse from multiple squads, no Jedi would live. But he still carried the venerable FWG-5 flechette pistol he was used to. Manufactured by Malaxan Firepower Incorporated on the distant machine world of Outremer, the pistol was nearly as old as he was. He looked down at it as he gloved finger traced the wooden grips, and he said a quick prayer. To what God? He didn’t know, perhaps he would give an offering to Kad Ha’rangir like he used to during the clone wars. But perhaps it was better to trust in the force, something he had no knowledge of, other than seeing it work miracles for people that didn’t deserve them. 

 

The momentary squeal of comm static filled his ears for a moment, followed by a tone that indicated the encryption handshake.

 

“Darkhand One. Command.”

 

The comm transmission jolted him out of his revery and brought him fully back into the present, his back straightening as the voice of the “Devilfish” came flooding through his ears. Propelled by the SCI implanted in the comm unit that was underslung on his pack, the winded cord snaking up to a port on his armour. 

 

He pressed the button beside his armour mounted datapad and transmitted in response. 

 

“Darkhand copies five by five.” 

 

The transmisson remained static for another second before the Sith Lord replied. 

 

“We may have identified target location by a saturation bombing being laid out by the territorial forces of Mon Cal.” 

 

“Bombing?”

 

“Yes Darkhand, flight of bombers just whipped up hellsturm down there.”

 

Delta narrowed his eyes. Local territorial garrisons always seemed to over react, and this time was no different. And while population was almost by definition expendable, the op required the Sith Navy to be the Good Guys to the local populace. He smiled for a second before responding. 

 

“Send a flight of TIEs to drop those birds, make it visual, and dispatch any EV pilots. We can’t let them kill their own populace for the hell of it. And drop us on location.” 

 

“Understood, TAU command, engage at grid one alpha.” A rumble of static and a chorus of excited affirmatives bounced through his skull from the large flight of interceptors.  Who, having been biting at the bit for the better part of a hyperspace jump, kicked their TIEs into overdrive, whipping through the thick atmosphere and launching a hail of fighter to fighter missiles at the fleeing bombers. With a flip in his stomach, the drop pods jettisoned from the Star Destroyer as it hit the edges of the thermosphere over Morjanssik. Delta kept the communication open until he heard a mixture of pilot chatter that confirmed that the majority of targets were down. Tallyhos and splashes for a tangling fight that filled the air of Mon Calamari with explosions and the death of many a Quarren. 

 

It was with the first explosions in the sky of the dying bombers that the Sith Empire and its Navy made its not so friendly rapprochement of the Mon Calamari. The dark shape of a star destroyer could be seen and from it, seconds later, the sky filled with superheated drop pods that heralded a ground invasion. Like a thousand shooting stars coming from the dark shadow of a star destroyer, the drop pods fell towards the streets of Morjanssik. 


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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Even before the Sith forces began to appear in the sky, the eerie calm that was left in the aftermath of the chaotic inferno and imploding vacuum began to fill with the cries of those few who had managed to survive. Nobody was left untouched. Some were burned. Others broken. Still others were trapped / pinned beneath what had been haphazardly flying debris. In the distance, sirens wailed as nearby emergency forces turned their attention towards what was already being billed as another Jedi terrorist attack conjoined to the hospital explosion. 

 

In the midst of the rubble, a dirt and grime covered Zeltron male clothed in singed bantha-leather pants and vest rushed away from the oncoming sirens. He only paused at the sight of a battered Nautolan, Nia. He paused, extending a hand to the girl, “C’mon girlie, we gotta get out of here before they come to finish us off. I got a buddy with a ship a half klick or so away. If we can get there, maybe we can survive.” He glanced about anxiously before setting off clasping his heavy blaster in his other hand, “We gotta go NOW.”

 

___________
 

Elsewhere, all across the planet a myriad of invisible communications zipped about as government entities, military assets, and civilian watch stations tried to ascertain what was going on with the sudden arrival of a fleet that appeared decidedly set on military conquest. With planetary forces already focused on the medicinal safety of the planet and containing the murmurs of social unrest, the arrival of an alien invasion was the last thing they needed. At least many of the forces planetside were already deployed. Communications were sent to the fleet in hopes that whoever had arrived would respond with offers of peace and aid, although deep in the pits of their bellies those who viewed the scans of the fleet knew otherwise.

 

Then, suddenly, for a moment, the confusion was gone. It was nearly replaced with an exponential explosion of chaos. The fleet was launching invasion forces. It had already dispatched a wing of atmospheric defense fleet bombers that had been tasked with ensuring no one left the quarantine zone to potentially spread the plague across the world. War was upon them.

 

Like that, the majority of the quarantine forces found themselves with new haphazardly issued orders: Defend the world. Repel the alien hostiles. Protect the people.

 

Up on the orbital shipyards, several massive Mon Cal warships languished awaiting more orders for production, which had been lagging of late. Everywhere klaxons blared and emergency stations were manned. Naval personnel rushed to their battle-stations and the massive warships began to disengage from their moorings. Fighter pilots manned their craft awaiting launch. If war was afoot, the Mon Calamari Defense Force would meet it head on.

 

Planetary mounted orbital weapons began to take aim at the fleet dropping into the atmosphere. It would not be a moment before the skies overhead were filled with ion and turbolaser fire.

 

________________
 

Beneath the ruins of the warehouse, Leena blinked in shock, a glimmer of light kindling in her soul. Even in the total blackness of the septic main, Leena could feel it, just as much as she could sense the others still about her. “Hope.”

 

”That grenade was a great idea.” Leena said in what she thought was Sara’s direction as she picked herself up out of the muck. She smiled as relief rushed through her. “The force provides for those who . . .”

 

Leena could not finish her thought as the Nemoidian insisted they move deeper into the tunnel. Before she knew it, a light was piercing the darkness and Xar was urging the group downward. Looking back at the steaming sewage where the fire had been repelled, Leena knew it would be best to follow the group deeper. Away from the heat and carnage. “I think it would be best if we stick together, eclectic a group as we are. I am sure glad that you have a flashlight built in master droid. I’d hate to trip over a . . . something I’d like very much to not think about, and break my leg or get a face full of feces.”

 

Following the group, Leena continued to babble. Truth be told, it helped calm her down and the growing edge of darkness concerned her. The threat of being consumed by  fire was pushed to the back of her mind. Right now they needed to find a safe way out of here. 


“I hope we can find a way out. It is hard to help people when we are cut off from the city. I wonder if the virus is down here too. Oh, glad you pointed that out. Don’t want to trip. So what is everyone doing here? Mister ahhh Meer was it, it seems like there might be more to you than just selling medical supplies. I can still smell the gas, but the air here seems to be cooler and less caustic on my mouth.”
 

Leena paused when she thought she heard the voice, but shook her head. “Just hearing things. Pipes like these can echo anything can’t they? No way there is some other sentient being down here. It is getting cold though. I suppose it beats being baked alive like a eeopie steak though. Oh, we are going left? Doesn’t that one seem like it goes deeper? Don’t we want to get out? I suppose the droid has some built in compass though. I know I have no idea where we are. Do you hear that dripping? I bet we are below sealevel by now. Do you all know how to swim?

 

Leena paused as they came to an abrupt stop at the mouth of a maw where the pipe suddenly took a 90 degree angle downwards. “Oh. That is deep. I do not suppose anyone has a rope? I am not sure I possess the skill to levitate us down,” she gestures down the pit in the dim glow of Xar’s light, “that.” 
 

Overhead as drop pods began to make landfall a series of dull whumping sounds could be heard. “Perhaps the virus is worse than we knew and they are firebombing the city to try and exterminate it. That is not right. Those people have a right to try and survive. Who could do such a thing? We need to be careful guys. There is an abnormal darkness here. Can you feel it? I can almost taste it on my tongue.” A louder whump caused the pipe to shutter ever so slightly. “That was too close for comfort. I don’t know maybe we should, whoops!!” Leena had turned to peer down into the inky darkness and had caught her foot along the edge and began tumbling downwards into the blackness.  “Oh dear.” 
 

As she tumbled, the cold air rushing past her, Leena extended her arms and legs out the air whipping her disgusting robes about her. Reaching out on the force, Leena felt for the force. The darkness played at the edges of her mind, but she could still grasp the tendrils of light; wrapping it about her in a warm blanketing embrace. Leena prayed the force would slow her decent enough to keep her from being crushed on whatever lay below.

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There was a coldness that encompassed Mjan's soul as he sat there, chest deep in muck and feces, his heart shattered and his mind lost in blank emotion. Inside, he felt numb, almost as if he had been cut off from everything he knew or held to be true even as the darkness around him attempted to swallow him up. And yet, he didn't care, couldn't care, because he was incapable of it. Even as the heat of the flames bared down on the group, his soul grasped at it, wishing to feel anything in that moment. But even then, he couldn't feel its warmth, even before it was extinguished.

 

And so he rose to push on behind the others, his eyes blankly staring into the abyss of darkened corridors and endless pipes as he trekked on only to move. It was a scary feeling, to feel empty and pointless, existing to only exist. He felt Rose's final moments, her death as the flames consumed her soul. But now he couldn't even feel Nia, his purpose a failure. Was she dead? He didn't feel it, so she couldn't be. But why couldn't he feel her at all? Was he that pathetic?

 

So many questions filled his mind. So many with not a single answer. And that left him voided, left him worthless. But even in this state, something keep pulling him forward, keeping him going. But it was as unanswered as the rest. And so he chose to heed its call, to follow it forward, to keep going until it revealed its self, even if hope was lost upon him, unphased by what was said around him and even as the structures around him rumbled. He was just there, holding out, existing.

 

And then there was nothing, his body reacting to Leena's falling in a way that was simple reaction. As she slipped and fell into the darkness below, he dove behind her without thought, his broken soul unable to grasp why he even did. He could feel her pulling the force to herself, and yet he did not, simply staring at her blankly as his form passed hers until the moments after when he landed in a slush of liquids and foul odors. And as his laying form was enveloped by it, he remained a blank slate. What was wrong with him? 

 

As his lungs attempted to hold back the tides of suffocation, Mjan found his footing and stood, covered in whatever mess he had landed in. 


mjansmol.png

Sheog the Mad said:
oof Sheog

Is actually a tribe of autistic ewoks in a costume

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As the group sloshed down the corridor through what had to be raw sewage, Nok kept quiet. The droid and the Jedi together seemed more than capable of filling the silence, and better yet they didn’t need someone to respond to keep them going. That big one though...he was strange. Nok could barely see him from the faint fear and minor aches of the others. He was empty and still, as if he was dead.

 

Still, Nok was grateful to be ignored. It helped him to focus on...the cold.

 

It had crept up on him, but now he felt it sink in. A malicious, invasive presence, moving with hints of intelligence.

 

Dead in the cold and dark.

 

Nok gritted his teeth as he felt a surge of uncontrolled fear run raw against the underside of his skin, the words dredging up a familiar sensation with fresh intensity.

 

No. I am in control of my fear. That vision is my weapon, not-

 

Your end?

 

Nok’s heart seemed to stop for a second. Had that...no, that had been his own mind, fueled by this place, by this presence.

 

Your destiny awaits below. Stall. Stall and run. Run to the sun and be warm.

 

No! He thought fiercely, shutting out the treacherous thoughts as his skin crawled in the chill. I will not give up! I am Nok Morliss! I fought and killed my way to where I am, and I will take anything I want from this pointless universe! Nok’s confidence gained footing as he reminded himself of his victories, his deals, his vast wealth. I’m smarter than them! I’m better than them! Everything I’ve earned and taken from the fools of this galaxy is proof! And I’ll have more, because that’s what I am!

 

I am a conqueror!

 

Nok’s mind turned as cold as the air as he took control. He dissected the fear running through him, analyzing it until it was nothing but a sensation, just like the cold. A tool to be partnered with the Force and his intelligence.

 

Flashes of Nok’s siblings sprang into his mind, memories that had been indistinct suddenly clear. He saw their mewling and their groveling as they envied their elders. He saw himself, pretending to be one of them as he snatched and cultivated wealth and power.

 

You’re just another one of them, part of the set. You’ve always been one of them. You just convinced yourself that you were special. Just like every idiot you’ve conned.

 

You are not real. You’re my own mind.

 

Am I? Then I know you best, don’t I?

 

Nok could feel his control slipping as the fear squirmed free, doubts fraying his focus.

 

You think that because you robbed a few Outer Rim rubes and hedge-fund brats that you’re something special? You’re just an opportunist, a vulture with a little more bite and a little less patience. You think you can stack up to a real Jedi? Or a real Sith!?

 

Nok fumbled in the sleeve of his robes until his fingers closed around the hilt of one of his vibro-knives.

 

This. I earned this.

 

...You only killed one howlrunner.

 

I...no, I had the other killed as a lesson to myself. To never surrender!

 

I think you actually believe that.

 

Nok head throbbed, and his skin felt like he was submerged in a hill of clinging, stinging insects.

 

Be quiet! You’re my mind! Mine! You’re mine! You will-

 

The Jedi tripped and fell into the hole.

 

The “sight” broke Nok out of his trance. His own inner turmoil was providing plenty of negative emotion to see by, but he’d barely realized they’d even come to a pit. And then the Jedi had just...tripped.

 

Then the large one jumped after her.

 

Nok collected himself as he entertained the possibility that he was hallucinating. Could he even hallucinate with the way he was?

 

No. It was real. It felt real. As real as the squish of bodies landing in yet more raw sewage.

 

Nok’s resigned acceptance that his expensive, custom robes were a total loss at this point surprised him. The fear was gone.

 

He grimaced as he sucked in a breath.

 

I am a conqueror.

 

He jumped.

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Xar sighed as he witnessed one by one each organic begin to fall down into the dark pit, out of sight. 

 

“Such....idiots.” Xar looked at the Zeltron, the last one still at the top. 

 

“And you? Do you plan on jumping in recklessly like those ones?”

 

Xar had to pause as he looked the Zeltron over. 

 

“You are able bodied like us, and well equipped. Surely you have something that superior beings like us can use, and not have to resort to such...drastic measures. Perhaps a cable line?” 

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Able-bodied? This droid needed to work on his bedside manner. 

 

Sara watched as the Nemoidian, the tentacle-faced-guy, and Leena dropped like lumpy sacks of rabid womp rats into the void. Acclimated as she was to the low illumination in the tunnel, aided by her heightened senses and the bright light streaming from the combat droid’s optical receptors, she could not see them hit bottom. How deep was it? Would she live? Maybe they were dead? 

 

Some part of Sara clenched up thinking about that; which was odd. Sara hadn’t once spared more than a passing thought for the lives of others. It wasn’t like she was a sociopath, but her realm of focus rarely extended beyond the self. And although Leena’s incessant running dialogue drove an icy cold stiletto through the center of Sara’s brow, something inside the Zeltron - something alien - was pushing her to keep Leena safe.

 

Wincing at the heap of new putrescence that piled on her sensitive nose and hiding a gag, she turned to the droid with a smarmy grin. 

 

“Nope!” She chirped in an enthusiastic sound dripping heavy with sarcasm.

 

Then, with a mocking wave, the Zeltron back stepped and hopped off the edge into the deep black. Warm sludge greeted her body with a liquid glip, followed by a disgusting glop when her dive spread fresh sludge on the bodies that came before her. 

 

Welp. I’m finding new clothes after this; or washing with fire... 


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Mon Cal Authorities frantically flooded High Command with red-tape legislation, desperate chatter that did little more than breathe undertones of just how fearful these people had become under the guidance of the galactic alliance. Independance, boundaries and trespassings were the moaning of the Quarren people, of a system that had been rattled by the rumblings of war in the past. High Command remained stoical in their speech patterns, unmoved by incessant pleas, hardened in their resolve and empowered by the massive armada that swarmed to their call. A dreadful and swallowing eclipse mourned over the diminutive blue planet, monstrous vessels casting a shadow as black as eel ink across the raging waters. High Command was cold and matter-of-fact in how they addressed the Quarren, unbothered by the dressings of their law. This was Sith-Imperial space now, and with the rumors of a rebel alliance, the sanctioning of this world would be immediate and heavy-handed.

 

The Sentinels prepared for drop as the count measured zero. Sentinel Lead resisted the bile that built up in his throat at the sound of it, the nausea that he could never escape at the head of each drop. The old man relaxed himself within the confines of his armor, praying to whichever God would hear him, knowing that the coming turbulence would be anything but forgiving. Drops never were. But, any measure of the scurrying resistance at this point, warranted such a response. As it were when the presence of the Sith and the Empire of old were under collapse, command almost unilaterally preferred small engagements or hit-and-run tactics, charging in like this was definitely something new.

 

 

DROP COMMENCING. FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…

 

 

The pod shuddered as sub-light engines kicked on, an almost unnoticeable shift in gravity hinting at the tremendous acceleration the drop shells underwent as it jettisoned from the cavernous hangar bays of the Goliath. Inertial dampeners burned at peak efficiency, graciously. Adrenaline filled them. Everything appeared to be in functioning order, the armored pods beginning to rattle and shake as they abruptly entered the atmosphere, nothing but the sound of slightly elevated breathing coming in over the comms. Hard seconds passed, ambient heat leaking through the shielding of the drop pods and the heaviness of their environmental exo-suits chafing against skin. They would shed these once landed.

 

The metal became too jarring, tremoring loudly before boiling to a climax. With a final starving whine, the worst was over. Sensors cleared now that their atmospheric breaching maneuver was complete, and showing the pods of Sentinel team all roughly where they should be, no more than a few hundred meters out of position which was quickly corrected by bursts of the built-in maneuvering repulsor-lifts. Impressively however, the skies were filled with more than just their brilliant metal. It was an iron rain, a storm of Imperial life and vast machines falling fearlessly from the skies as hundreds and hundreds were making land and sea-fall. A swift scan of their target arrival area, and connection to the local Imperial tac net painted a rather bleak representation of the situation on the ground than had initially been suspected, actual numbers and vehicle designations being provided in a rush of information. The warehouses were in disarray, a fallen complex more rubble than it was intact, and a platoon of Imperial Legion first-responders that began to dig in amongst the wreckage. Secondly, a pair of AT-ST walkers mobilized into transportable sentries, monitoring their coordinates while additional carriers fixed positions. Lastly, Sentinel-Lead turned to see another drop-pod unfastening, his eyes were strangely fixated for reasons he could not naturally explain. Ignoring the tactical displays shooting across his visor, he knew that this pod was not enlisted within their drop composition, and that this one must've blown way off course. 

 

 

But when the devilish burnish of black boots clamored from the armored shell, thick incenses crawling from it in sheets of steam, Sentinel-Lead knew that a Sith had arrived.


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Down in the darkness that was the sewers, Leena reached out on the force that encircled her, trying vainly to try and slow her fall into the abyss of unknowingness below. As Knight Mjan whizzed by her. The two splattered into the muck below at about the same time. With a sickening belly flop of a landing, Leena laid face down in the muck for longer than she would ever care to acknowledge. When she did tip her head back to gasp for air, her lungs were assaulted by the overwhelming choking odor of the waste of countless thousands of fishy denizens. It would have been enough to make a full grown Hutt vomit. Given that Leena paled in vileness to such a slug, she did just that; adding the contents of her stomach to the glop that coated her and came almost up to her shoulders.

 

That would have been bad enough, had a splatter not followed right behind her as she was coated in a fresh wave of fecal sludge. Had she been focused, the girl would have felt the dark consciousness of Nok Morliss; but even that paled in comparison to the darkness that permeated the entire pipeline, dark, subtle, ancient and growing. Leenawas not even noticing that though as proceeded to continue wretching as Sara splattered down nearby.

 

Four yards above them, shrouded in the darkness, was a deep and narrow fissure that stretched upwards for a dozen feet or more. It was a place where miners of countless of Dac’s precious minerals had strayed too far from the beaten path and intersected with the sewage line before making a hasty retreat and not bothering to admit their fault and report the error. That would have been hours of paperwork and a major liability. So it had lay undetected for the last 13 months; a ledge staring into the fumes along a tracked shaft deeper into the planet towards the core and the seabed that had birthed this outcropping of volcanic rock. It was still pitch black and the air in the mine chock full of Lethane. The shaft had been abandoned after the first explosion of the gas; deemed to dangerous to continue for the meager returns the shaft had been generating. The whole shaft had been blocked off somewhere high above: out of sight, out of mind was the company’s philosophy.

 

_____________
 

Meanwhile, on the surface, the already taxed-to-the-max local police forces stared in devastation as the solid-state hellifre rained down upon their city from above. Some wondered if this was a Jedi invasion force bent on retaking the planet for their rebellion against the ever-expanding Sith Empire. Others saw the mythalized stormtroopers and just knew the Empire of old had finally pulled out all the stops and begun their reclamation of the galaxy. Others saw it as an invasion force coming to prey on them in their hour of need. There was already death all around them and while some pockets of local government tried to cautiously and peacefully approach the sky-fallen arrivals, many opted for a tried and true approach: welcome through the heavy application of localized firepower.

 

That was the response in the areas of the fire-bombed hospital and devastated warehouse district. Terrorists, offworlders, plague, fireballs, explosions, it was not like it could get any worse right? While officers and troopers abandoned their posts and poured forth to form up some form of barricades against the planet-spanning rain of death-dealing soldiers, Police command was quickly mobilizing in an effort to get to the city bunker, hoping to survive the onslaught there. That is, until a drop pod slammed into the fleeing hooverbus, grinding it to a screeching halt in the roadway.
 

_____________
 

And, like a sick ever expanding fog did the darkness radiate through the gases, through the sewage-filled vapors, through the flames and the chaos. The more death and destruction that echoed on the force, the stronger the presence became; a silent laughter emanating across the city. “It is time. Dead in the cold and dark no more.” 

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Posted (edited)

This had better be worth it.

 

Nok had smelled raw sewage before, though never from this close, and this stuff was actually worse, despite how impossible that seemed. On top of the overwhelming normal stench of normal sewage, this glop radiated the overwhelming scent of fish. Nok thought back to the nubian spinefish drenched in shaak butter and garnished with powdered lux urchin he’d eaten three days ago, and had to fight not to wretch.

 

Wonderful, now seafood is ruined for me.

 

Nok heard the others moving through the sludge, and saw them through the throbbing aches he’d earned from the fall. He also saw…

 

Yes, there, an opening about 12 feet up. He couldn’t be sure if the others could see it in the dark.

 

Enough. I’m not sitting in this muck waiting for them to find the exit. I doubt they were buying the blind man routine to begin with.

 

Nok waded over to the wall directly below the fissure, firmly ignoring the texture of whatever his feet were stepping in, and slapped his hands as hard as he could against the stone.

 

The stinging in his palms illuminated the stone wall to his mind, showing in stark detail the chinks and cavities peppering the surface. He reached up and grasped a knob of rock, his sewage slick fingers slipping for a second but eventually finding their grip. Then Nok began to climb.

 

He smiled as he pulled himself out of the muck with a SCHLUCK. This reminded him of when he’d first started making his fortune, sabotaging his own customer’s operations to drive them into debt and into his control. He’d been fierce then, hungry. He remembered squirming through air shafts, cramming himself into shipping crates for hours, slicing computers with second-hand local equipment…

 

And now I’m covered in sewage, free-climbing a wall in a Lethane filled mine on a quarantined planet. There was a reason I stopped doing this nonsense.

 

Nok rolled over the lip into the fissure, and took a second to catch his breath. He could barely “see” up here, away from the others and with the stinging in his palms subsiding.

 

He considered calling on the terror of the vision again, but after the internal conversation before the jump he was no longer sure he could control that torrent of emotion if he invoked it.

 

Alright, different plan then.

 

He pulled out one of his vibro-knives, keeping it off, and before he could think better he drove the dull, rounded hilt into the meat of his upper left arm. Then he did it again, and again, until his left arm throbbed with what would definitely be bruises. He flexed, the pain sharpening with each motion and lighting up the passage. Concealing the knife back in his sleeve, he started on the downward path.

 

There was no question in his mind that he was going down, not up. The argument he’d had with himself had lit a fire in him, and he wasn’t going to quit now. Never surrender. He might retreat, rethink, or restrategize, but he would never truly give up on something he wanted. That’s what made him different. That’s what made him better.

 

He could almost hear the voice mocking him with silent insults that struck home nonetheless. Was he just fooling himself? Was he just some lucky and arrogant grifter, a bottom-feeder waiting to get stepped on?

 

Fitting planet to die on if I am.

 

The passage descended straight at first, but eventually changed into a winding passage that moved with the contours of the rock rather than cut into it. The Lethane was growing thicker, and Nok’s lungs started to burn as he struggled to breathe. He channeled the pain into power and kept going. He wasn’t thinking now. He was going to win, he was going to get what he came for, or he would die trying. This wasn’t some con or mission anymore, this was him alone with the howlrunners, the two beasts starved and snarling as they eyed the worn neimoidian. This was wrestling mind-to-mind with that serpent on Kuat. This was fighting for his life against that tree-thing on Garn.

 

Then, like passing through a door into a heated room out of the cold, the Lethane cleared. Nok sucked in a deep breath of sweet air, confused. Had he passed the gas’s source? Lethane did rise, but the change was so sudden, like entering a force field.

 

Nok took in his surroundings, the throbbing aches in his battered left arm acting as his light.

Edited by Nok Morliss

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