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  1. Yesterday
  2. The Anaxes wargroup arrived, heralded by the old model Victory class Star Destroyer Hellkite. Which slipped out of hyperspace over the dusty planet, maneuvering below the horizon line and dropping into orbit outside the rest of the fleet. The commander of the fleet element transmitted orders to his attache and the three special operations companies making up Darkhand received preliminary orders for stand down and their commanders were dispatched to the Fleet Command vessel. Delta, his lieutenants, and the two other captains made their way by shuttle. This was objectively the largest joint command group he had seen since Dark Sun and when he was ushered into the briefing room, he was in the company of many sith lords. But he was the leader of the SOG, and a well respected commander. He saluted the commanding officer and stayed silent. He was a soldier and had no sith magic at his disposal. Just decades of experience, which he hoped would even the odds.
  3. Sergeant Luiam nodded briskly as he settled himself into the crash webbing, the drop shuttle was thickly packed with troops, but that was the reality of the Imperial Army. If they dropped straight into fire then there would be hell to pay, and he had seen the Army pay far more hell for far smaller objectives. It would be a cold day in the coriellian hells before a recruit as cocky and self sure as this one made it three steps outside of a landing craft before a laser or mass driver blew itself through his empty eyesockets. The galaxy had its way of bringing everyone low. And he looked forward to showing this recruit the failings of Kad Ha’rangir. “Now we deploy to the destroyer. We have an access hatch to a break room if needed, but its essentially only a refresher. Use it if you feel like you want to vomit. Everyone does during their time in real combat.” He grinned under his ‘T’ visor and left the conversation there. But one of the corporals near the rear of the craft spoke up. “You worked for Black Sun? Did you know Captain Delta?’ ___________________________ A alarm sounded deep in the halls of the Darkhand commando unit, they had already been divided in half by the earlier deployment, but now a new Sith Lord had called for their assistance. They lived to serve and so did their commander. He had been bred for it. He glanced to his datapad the and then gestured to the two now very tired Lieutenants. He gave Nyrys a loving embrace and a soft kiss. “Don’t change too much. I kinda like this body.” He winked then took off at a jog with his compatriots. Geonosis He shook his head. Far too many memories there.
  4. Draygo’s familiarity with Borleias, in hindsight, was somewhat overstated. It was absolutely true that the peninsula around the old Jedi Dojo was practically a second home to her and she was thoroughly familiar with the jungles and mangroves that had been cleared to found the refugee camps. She had even explored the Erciyes Highlands somewhat--spelunking had always been one of her passions, ever since it became so thoroughly important to her as a Jedi. However, she had never spent more than a single day exploring its capitol city of Sihnon, and that was nearly ten years ago. Now she was sitting in a public pavilion just outside the Core Dynamics HoloNet center. It was an ugly conflict of Republic-era public architecture, with its excessive indulgences in open space and ceramics, and the soulless corporate blockiness where the megacorps had built their headquarters. The veteran Jedi munched thoughtlessly on an overstuffed sandwich as she pored over a set of holoprints on her datapad, ignoring the chants of a small but persistent band of protestors. Their grievances seemed to be related to the Sith occupation of their world--although Armiena had yet to see a single unit of the chrome-plated minions that were their typical representatives. Security in the facility was… comprehensive, yet unimaginative and standard: retinal scanners, metal detectors, localized electromagnetic barriers, and the cheap but reliable keycard scanners. All could be circumvented with The Force or an accomplice under the influence of a Mind Trick. A simple hack of Core Dynamics’ less-secure servers made it possible to schedule a simple maintenance session, which would probably handle the alleviate any suspicions and render their staff even more susceptible to influence. It was… distinctly uncomfortable wearing civilian clothing. Realizing that the outfit would be considered slightly revealing even for a planet as Borleias, Armiena had chosen the low-cut top for a purpose--the average civilian (especially males) would likely only remember her for her scars. It was still uncomfortable to watch passerbys attempt to glance down her neckline. Armiena sighed and tossed aside the last remnants of her sandwich. A flock of avians that had been inching closer for the last few minutes instantly set upon it and began bickering amongst themselves for their share. It was time to get to work. And yet… there was a presence in the Force that just revealed itself. It did not inadvertently stumble upon her--its owner had chosen to make themselves known. Armiena knew it well, but she had not expected to see her Padawan ever again. ____ Ten minutes later, a bored, idle security guard glanced up from their desk in the lobby of Core Dynamics. This guard does not require description--other than being slightly portly, he bore the weary expression of a man who was simultaneously overworked and bored almost to the point of mindlessness. The arrival of a female--especially wearing a jumpsuit and identification tag that designated her as one of the soulless corporate machine’s tech specialists--brightened both his day and his expression. Even though she was pale and wore an expression that was almost equally haggard, the woman was not unpretty--her pale-green eyes and dark hair could even be called striking. Stumbling over the idea of how to begin this interaction with a stranger, the woman spoke first. “Hi. Nikita Trulalis. Here for a software update on the Pyrian system transceivers.” “You’re ah… not scheduled,” the guard stammered. It would have been rude and unreasonable to simply turn her away, and he didn’t want to seem either during what was almost certainly to be the only bright point of his day. “It’s probably a bug on our end.” “Yeah, we’ve been having glitches like mad ever since the Imps showed up in orbit--” “--Nevermind,” the security guard interrupted again, tapping impatiently at his terminal’s screen. “It… it... it’s there.” “Yeah, they’ve been working us to the bone ever since the Imperial fleet arrived in orbit. I… um… have not been to this location before. You wouldn’t mind showing me to the mainframe room?” Why not? It was only common courtesy. It was rare that he was afforded an opportunity to even be helpful to a stranger. He waved the tech over to a retinal scanner and enjoyed the opportunity to glance at her figure as she leaned over to stare into the scanning beam There was a distinctly negatory-sounding buzz buzz, then the routine repeatedly itself again. And again. And… “Trouble?” “Eh…. I have a weird eye condition. I love my mother very, very, very much, but I would have done anything to have not inherited her eyes. Aside from other things, it means that I always need to hit weird angles with scanners… like… there we go.” A green light and cheerful chime rewarded Trulalis’ contortions in front of the scanner, admitting both of the humans into the transceiver facility with the silent hiss of sliding steel doors. Only a few minutes later, Armiena had cajoled the security guard into not only guiding her to the transceiver’s mainframes, but into providing her with a mask and cap that almost completely concealed her identity. “Gotta dig into its guts, it’s sensitive equipment,” she had claimed. The desperate little man had even gone to the extra effort to demand that the other two humans working amongst the mainframes leave the room while she worked. Now, Draygo had total privacy in the warm, dusty room as walked amongst the rows of ceiling-high computers, occasionally jamming a dataspike into an exposed SCOMP-link. So far, this had gone far too easily for her liking.
  5. Last week
  6. She felt like a recently punctured balloon, her energy draining from her in a single swoop. Stumbling, she let herself sink into the hard backed admirals chair and finally looked at the holo reports. She sighed looking at the solid red readout for the Ri'Aldech. This was not a disastrous loss, she had expected a Battle Dragon to be lost at some point in her career, but Princess Eleanor Sar Esterhazy did not expect such a heavy toll so quickly. The shipyards had been soundly captured, the Sith fleet soundly defeated, but the Rebel fleet was now thoroughly damaged. It would take time to repair. “Message on screen for you Princess.” She straightened her back and let Slaughter speak before inclining her head. He was an attractive male, and talented, in the same way many fathers were attractive. SHe did not normally swing that way but after a battle she could be convi- But he had cut the transmission and she was left foolishly looking into an empty holo display. “Tac get me the indepth damage reports. Call in the support wings and start a sweep for EV and pods. Fighters and Bombers left alive from the Ri'Aldech can dock in shifts until we get a replacement carrier”
  7. Alcmène let her eyelids flutter half closed, letting the force flow through her, letting it fill every part of her until she reached out and let the power flow from her into the trandoshan. She had every confidence in him. And when he flipped the gun from pointing at the hostage and towards Vox himself, she whispered. “Now act.”
  8. Von Howlster's Reach touches down on Kessel with a subtle whirl. Aboard this ship was Colonel Mythos Von Howlster and the top men of Moon call, Callsign: SaberCats. These were the best he had to offer, veterans of both the Galactic Alliance and Imperial Remnant, forged in the flames of war as eternal brethren forever more. Clad in Katarn Class armor, each sported the weapons of issue, most notably the Lightfoils adorning their hips. They laid in wait under their Commanding Officer, Sergeant Major Jibbs, silently awaiting orders within the lower deck of the Herald Class Transport. It wasn't long ago that they faced the might of the Sith at Corellia. And it was there that they gained a whole new sense of respect for the Shistavanian they called Colonel. Stories of his mental breakdown after his fight with the Sith Nyrys had all but been wiped clean with what transpired during their last battle together. And now they were here, at Kessel, a new mission at hand. No matter what it was, they were willing to follow the towering beast straight into the Corellia Hell without question, as morale and respect rose between them. They weren't just soldiers under anyone's command. They were brothers and sisters, born of commonality, strengthened by their shared blood and bonds. Mythos departed alone, Jibbs remaining on open comm as his commander made the trek to command. A Shistavanian wasn't an uncommon sight on Kessel, but a free Shistavanian did manage to catch a few eyes. Especially a well armed one. But who would mess with a beast that towered over most men, hidden behind a mask of his own visage and strolled with his hand on the hilt of his blade constantly? His clawed hands and jagged teeth alone were deadly, but with the assortment that accompanied them, who would find themselves brave enough? As he strolled amidst the masses, he grimaced beneath his mask. Only the mystics of the two Orders would dare. On the outskirts of town where few dared to venture, let alone by themselves, Mythos found himself walking toward the Command Center posted outside the city. His duster kicking up in the wind, he pulled it's burlap across his about to hinder the dust as his trek began to shorten. Before long, a being stood before him, the Guards of the Post aiming weapons at him. He heard the being speak, but with the wind, couldn't make out gender nor tone, only their words. It seemed they had a common request. Mythos stepped in front of the being, cutting off their aim onto himself. "Let Lieutenant Andromina know that Colonel Von Howlster has arrived as well." He spoke with a hoarse snarl from behind his masked visage, his voice more roar than intelligible thanks to the scar that wrapped his vocal cords. "Lower your weapons as well. That's an order."
  9. Entering behind the necromancer, Krath Apothos rode into the room. The hunched, grey skinned thing that might have once passed for a neimoidian sat curled up in a high-backed Emperiax Walking Throne, followed by an honor guard of six DG-series "Deepguard" battle droids, Monitor class. A silky, black cloth lay draped over his head and down to his shoulders, completely obscuring his features, and a red robe hung off of the rest of his emaciated body. The six spindly legs of the throne clicked and clinked along the metal floor as it maneuvered its bulk towards the command center. As the chair moved, its rider said nothing, but his sightless eyes locked onto Darth Akheron, the black veiled facer following him as his throne bore Apothos to stand...sit...next to Krath Inmortos. As Inmortos finished his introduction, Apothos tore his attention away from Akheron, saying nothing to his former master. Instead, he only said, "Krath Apothos," in brief introduction.
  10. Krath Inmortos sat perfectly still within the confines of his sparse yet luxurious vessel. He did not need, nor did he desire, to see the amassed naval forces of the Sith Empire. Such trivialities were but a means to an end in the necromancer’s eye. At the helm, a partially decayed Quarren held the controls deathly still. It was good, for he was dead. The spark of life that powered him was a gift from the necromancer. He was little more than a mindless shambler, dedicated to the one task he was set to, in this case, docking. Elsewhere in the ship a baker’s dozen of other shambling dead Quarren and Mon Cal stood at the ready; armed with blaster carbines taken from the Mon Cal security forces and hodge-podged armor. The sweeping wave of darkness that Inmortos felt upon their arrival in the system was as unsettling as it was comforting. There was power here. It was Inmortos’ to tap and use, just like the life forces he could see across the orbit of the barren world. Pleasantries had been exchanged by lessers; pleasant being a strong word when one conversed unknowingly with the dead. Regardless, an offer to board the Krayt’s Fury was extended and in a short time both Inmortos’ craft as well as newly minted Apothos’ had docked and the Sith Lords of Mon Cal descended to the deck within. Inmortos’ grizzly escort had formed up in ranks at the base of his craft’s walkway heralding the black-swathed lord. The Sith lord’s skin was fresh havibg been regrown in a matter of days, the last telltale sign of Inmortos’ and Apothos’ profane rituals on Mon Cal. The skin, new and fresh, appeared pale and sickly yet. The dark side taking it’s toll against the being’s naturally increase healing rate. The man’s footfalls were nearly silent. Each one taken with a certainty that seemed to carry across time itself. The echoing thump, thump, thump of Inmortos’ Ithor wood based cane carried across the bay. Meeting with a lower commander, the duo of Sith were escorted along the same path Darth Akheron had followed shortly before. Inmortos could feel the tendrilled trail of evil that clung to the air in the Sith warrior’s wake. After several minutes of slow methodical walking, the Sith of Mon Cal joined the warriors within the command center. It had been a long and nearly silent trek through the ship; save for the whir of Apothos’ machinations and the hubbub of the ship itself. Once at the command center, Inmortos drew himself up a short distance from the warriors. He knew better than approach unannounced. He could feel the ragged spirit within the cursed blade that hung at his waist. It seemed to hunger for the warriors’ bloodthirst. Inmortos’ face cracked into a smile as one hand held the heavy dagger-pommel of his cane, the other patting the sword’s hilt like a parent silently reprimanding a child. He was the blade’s master and with it the malevolent spirit within. Shadowed beneath his deep cowl and flowing silk robes, Inmortos turned his eyes to the other Sith in the command center with a smile that revealed his blackened gums and yellowed teeth. “Our presence has been foretold. Bloodshed and death united. Ten thousand years of peace beneath the Sith rule. I am Darth,” the necromancer paused as he silently caught himself and corrected, “Krath Inmortos.” The eccentric cold lord of the dead introduced himself as if the third-world ancient pagan prophecy he spoke of was common knowledge; that all present had poured their lives into the most obscure reading of Dread Lord texts. From the furthest reaches of the Sith Empire, Inmortos had only just presented himself to the wider galaxy on Mon Cal. It was time to claim slaves, bodies to throw into the grinder; upon which to build his eternal resting place. Few may know of him, but it did not matter. After this campaign, once the galaxy was secured beneath the boots of the living Sith soldiers, all would know of Inmortos. His tomb would enshrine an entire world to his name. He would never be forgotten.
  11. HC-42's strategy had worked, though was unfortunately too late to save Gwal. He was shocked to see the lights come on at first. But as Emma Three Nine got up and HC-42 overheard the commentary of the so-called enemy, the truth became clear. This really had been a test of sorts, and the "Sith" was an Imperial Squire. As she apologized to Gwal, HC-42 heeded the advice of the Squire that had just been given. Had HC-42 had more creativity, he perhaps would have come up with a different distraction, but his logic-oriented mind, while intelligent, struggled with outside of the box strategies. He was still impressed by the Squire's performance in combat, and the droid reluctantly shook Berea's hand, quite tighter than he perhaps intended. "HC-42, at yours. And to the Rebellion, of course." The droid said. He then turned to his squadmates. They were exhausted. Gwal was still pinching his singed nose, while Sasha and Leep were sitting in the corner of the room, panting. Finally, Gwal spoke. "Nicely done, 42, but honestly- try not to sacrifice any of us. I'm sure you're aware that wouldn't be ideal in a real situation." Leep added to this, saying, "Yeah, unlike clones or droids, we can't be replaced as quickly as we die." HC-42 nodded. He was indeed aware of this, but perhaps didn't consider it in the heat of the moment. After all, it was a serious situation, or seemed like one at least. "I apologize..." was all the droid could say. He was glad this was a simulation. Like Sasha said, the most important thing is what they learned from it, and the whole squad had learned a great deal. The droid than turned to the higher ranking members in the room, as if awaiting orders from either Berea or Emma Three Nine. He stood there, eerily still like droids do, and his squadmates also stood up and lined up around him, attentive, when they had the strength to stand again. The three human-cyborg, one droid squad had now completed their second task in the simulation, and were ready to recieve further orders.
  12. Darth Akheron, remained silent as he allowed the young lieutenant to lead the way to the war council, and so Darth Mavanger the man he had come to see. The only movement made was to briefly bow when they first met and allowing him to do the talking. Listening, Karys observed his new surroundings, impressed by the ship and crew as he was walking past. In the Force, he could feel everything. Feelings of pride, glory, rage, hatred. A whole mix of emotions. Entering the war council, Darth Akheron bowed as he faced his equal, Darth Mavanger, showing all due respect. Overhearing that Bothawui had fallen to the newly formed Rebels, Karys was disappointed a little. But it was not unexpected of the Bothans. Bothawui, after all on it's own, was nothing too important, only that it allowed for direct access to Nar Shaddaa, which once belonged to the Hutts. He had heard it had since become the Headquarters for the Rebel insurrection. A target they would take back eventually. For now, the Outer Rim awaited. Again, remaining silent, he allowed Darth Mavanger to speak, only speaking when he was addressed directly. "No apologies are necessary, I can tell how busy you are here. As the old saying goes 'a warriors work is never done', I must say I am most impressed by all this. And I respect one who knows the true value of the warrior, one who travels the warrior's path like myself and understands it's intricacies. Captain Hurst was right to speak most highly of you, speaking of which he informs me, you have need of me in this endeavour. I was curious to to the specifics of that. And perhaps I may be of use to you here. I hate to just stand around like a spare droid, I 'm sure you understand. As a man of action yourself." It was at that moment in the Force, he felt them. More had arrived. More Sith. Stretching out in the Darkness, he allowed his Wrath to extend and bid them welcome. He paused for a moment, as he felt something familiar...like he knew one of them, from a time before...A time before his rebirth. It was most curious, and intriguing...he would soon see just who it was.
  13. The lightsaber whirred in crimson arcs of light as lowpower blaster bolts were sent a hundred different directions by the Sith. Then the beacon of the darkside coolly and carelessly strode forward and ran his saber up to the hilts into the doubled up arms of Gwal. Spearing straight into where his head was protected. A millisecond later the saber was out of the Rebel soldier and up to deflect but it was too late. One of the bolts from HC caught the Sith in the back of the hood. The lights came on in the room with a flash and Emma Three Nine pulled herself to her feet, dusting off her BDU as she twisted her neck back into position. The lightsaber snapped off and the Sith pulled back their hood to reveal a young woman still in her middle teens who was grinning and shaking her head towards the observation window. “Sorry Master, I let myself get distracted.” The girl rubbed at the burn on the back of her neck at the edge of her black hair and grinned back to HC. “Very well shot by the way, very precise for an elimination.” She shrugged off her black cloak and tossed it onto a table, revealing a set of light armour emblazoned with the rebel phoenix crosshatched by the old Imperial coat of arms. Indicating that she was an Imperial Squire, an apprentice to one of the Imperial Knights that still served their old empress. “I would applaud the sacrifice to secure a kill, but maybe a different type of distraction would have saved the life of your squadmate.” She nodded to Gwal and grimaced at the small burnmark on the bridge of his nose between his eyes. "Sorry about that by the way." She blinked then laughed before extending her hand to the battle droid. "I am Berea, Imperial Squire, at your service."
  14. Pact The old covenants between the Sith and the Mandalorians were never considered a simple sanction between two powers, in any age or era. Such a union always became an embodiment of ferocious living beings, uniquely welded from two distinct worlds, producing a class of warrior unlike any other in even the farthest depths of the stars beyond. Of course, there were already pockets of Mandalorian clans that had sworn their lot in with the mighty Sith Empire, but they were a scattered bunch; desperate splinters from a broken crusade, or mercenaries enfranchised from the political prowess of Lady Nyrys herself. Tros Ardell, whether he understood this or not, was handed the keys to a lifetime of prestige and exaltation for the women and men of his clans and of his House. The commitment he would foster with not only the Sith, but more importantly the King of the Sith, was where the threads of this relationship would either prosper or burn whole. "You are wise, Master Ardell of House Solus. And for this, you have my blade wherever the feet of your people march." Exodus ran his fingers across the end of the arm-rest, imprinting a sequence of commands. Without a moment of latency, a three-dimensional holoprojection of the Onderonian skyline emerged from the ceiling of the exquisite hall. Tremendous warships flushed the entire panorama and stretched for many miles, blotting out the sheathing of clouds or the brilliant shining sun. Eerie and colorless husks of shadows eclipsed the barricaded cities of Onderon, smothering the world with the brutalistic designs and color patterns of Star Destroyers, Dreadnoughts, and enormous carriers swarming with Imperial TIE-lines. Yawning shapes and sizes of absolute power hummed a deep and groaning wail of hunger as engines burned bright and larger-than-life weapon systems ran through their checks. "To support the rising tide of Clan Solus, carriages of war will be prepared for your choosing. A particular dossier will be delivered to you by my operatives. Choose well, because we ride for battle shortly." Exodus closed his eyes and nodded towards the Mandalorian Commander, dismissing further counsel and cementing the summary of their meeting. He could appreciate the firmness of choice written by the one infamously known as Saberforce, even if by chance it was a fallacy. If the Mandalorian was true to principle, then as they pair exited earshot, the Dark King smiled with the promise of true expansion. "Master Darksong. There are many branches of this Great Sith-Imperial tree, and plenty more to come. See to it that I have the many eyes, and many arms necessary, to preserve them all. One bad infection, one bad root will not be the end of reign. I would have them ripped from the body. Go. See to your daughter, unwind before the ride to vengeance." Another dismissal, with thoughts to consider for a Master of his brood, before yet another had come to visit. This was a young creature of Cathar descent, bowing earnestly before his King. "Well done on your advancement, Lord Camik." Exodus stood, stretched wide, and swept a most gracious bow towards the particular warrior. As unexpected as the salute was, King Exodus sweeping into a royal show of praise was a terrifyingly empowering exhibition from such a vicious hunter as he. The Emperor and Dark King of the Sith looked forward, allowing an image of the new generational breed standing prominently before a powerful relic of the old guard. "You and Lady Telperiën, your mentor, will join us tonight. You will have a chance to exercise your new understanding power very soon, And yet, you will have so much more to learn from the point forward. If you have questions or requests of me, take advantage and ask them before you leave. Otherwise, we will gather tonight and ride towards our enemies. Are we clear, Lord Camik?"
  15. Johan thought for a moment before nodding his head at Alliera's responce "as am I, Master Tar'ak believed I could do this, and everything I have learned and heard about the Order tells me this is the right path" the force seemed to do, something at his response, not a affirmation of his choice or a telling sign that he was on the right path, but an acceptance of his decision. he bowed slightly to the the Master infront of him "I hope I live up to that belief" Johan whispered to himself.
  16. In the fruitutious earth the darkside began to fully manifest. The thickly overgrown forest seemed to shudder as beneath every root and stem bugs and maggots began to appear. A skeletal arm found skeletal shoulder, and a long dead beast found form again. Joints bound by writhing masses of humid worms. It was not much larger than a nek battle dog, and perhaps that was what it once had been. But it shambled from the overgrowth, its old teeth still sharp. But in the village behind the Jedi, the skeletal remains of its inhabitants began to come to life. And deep in the forest, beyond the sight of the aquatic jedi but within sight of the apprentice, the little girl raised her small hands over a great pit dug in the heart of the forest. “Save us Grandfather.” She whined, tears streaking her already dirty face.
  17. Slipping out of hyperspace, two vessels joined the growing cluster of warships above the orange ball of Geonosis. The S-161 yacht The Eternus and the Baudo yacht The Iron Howlrunner seemed entirely out of place among so many vessels geared for war. The power of the two Krath who flew aboard them however, was another knot of dark energy to add to the swirling maelstrom of the Force that had been born of so many Sith Lords collecting in one place. A raspy voice broadcast over the hailing frequencies. "This (cough) is Krath Apothos, accompanied by Krath Inmortos. The lords of Mon Calamari would join their efforts to this endeavor. Permission to board." The message cut out, and in his cockpit, the hunched, twisted form of Krath Apothos devolved into a painful fit of coughing, his whole body shaking with each labored breath. The dull, grey skin of his hands turned white as he clenched and unclenched his fists. While his body suffered though, his mind reached out through the Force. The Force nearly boiled in the presence of so many practitioners of the Dark Side. Each sat distinct as a node of corruption that- Apothos paused in his examination. There... He knew that presence. Under the black cloth that covered his face, Apothos smiled.
  18. Sandy slowly stood from where she was kneeling and sighed. She was tired, and it showed on her face, in her walk, and in the slight slump of her shoulders. She had been here for days, surrounded by the endless death, breathing the contaminates, and finding little success. But that voice was something new. It was the voice of those whispers she had felt in the back of her mind since she had arrived, was it the voice of the forest? No, because it was familiar. It was the same voice she had heard on ruined planets since she was a little girl. But never before had the words been this clear. They had been clear in the maw as well. What had the Togorian said on Thalassia? She couldn’t remember, the trauma had broken those memories into irretrievable shards. The memories stirred in varied levels of opacity, the most harsh of the abuse so bright and clear, while the small things seemed to be seen through a fog. She shook her head. And slowly walked to Leena. She placed a hand on her shoulder, and nodded. “We must find the voice. It is not the forest, it is a someone or a group of someones.” She could taste the smell of rot on the back of her tongue. “This is something ancient and malevolent. The darkside has lain here for an eternity, undisturbed even as we built a temple on its threshold. There is little wonder that it has finally woken up.” Danger flashed down her spine as Leena Tapped into the lightside of the force and Sandy, almost as a reaction brought her lightsaber up. And all around the darkside began to flood. "Apprentice, get back to us now!"
  19. Coral City, the capital of Mon Calamari, the sun-kissed city of the seas, lay blanketed under thick clouds oily with smog and smoke. An unnatural chill swept the streets, and the open air parks and pavilions that had once held crowds of thousands every day now stood empty, walked only by patrols of dark red Deepguard battle droids. The people, Quarren and Mon Calamari alike, huddled in their homes, afraid but unable to give shape to their fear. All across the city, the weak and feeble had died. Hospitals turned out bodies in the dozens. Minor, inexplicable glitches accompanied the sudden onset of death, with seemingly every machine prone to fits and bouts of static and twitching. In one case, a criminal demonstration protesting the pollution of their waters at one of the droidworks had turned ugly when the Deepguard arrived, and for no explainable reason a cargo loader lurched forward into the crowd, maiming and killing dozens in seconds while the people scattered. And there was the water... The waves were choked with toxic runoff from forges and droidworks, and for days saboteurs and activists had been swarming the edges of the city, clogging up drains and leaving outraged graffiti anywhere they could reach. But now, no one went anywhere near the water's edge, and none of them could exactly explain why... From this greasy, dim reflection of what Coral City had once been, two ships ascended, before piercing the overhanging murk and accelerating out into the clean void of space. Inmortos's S-161 Stinger luxury yacht, The Eternus, flew beside the sleek, blue-green frame of the newly christened Iron Howlrunner. A Baudo-class sporting yacht, the fast ship was smaller than what Apothos had been used to in his old life, but maneuverable and infinitely customizable. This particular model had been owned by a prestigious Mon Calamari engineer before he'd died protesting the actions taken by his world's new Sith ruler. At its helm, Apothos reclined. The pilot's seat had been ripped out, and Apothos sat on a silvery, high-backed Emperiax Walking Throne, six silvery legs automatically adjusting and balancing against the thrust of acceleration. Immobile and magnetized to its back was a folded Neimoidian mechno-chair more suitable for tighter corridors. Apothos did not touch the controls. The ship moved and altered at the Krath's thoughts and will, accepting the touch of its new master with the absoluteness of a machine. The two ships jumped to hyperspace...
  20. Leena sighed. Her shoulders drooped slightly. She had hoped that it would not come to this and that some semblance of an arrangement could be reached to avoid further injury to the world and her inhabitants. Deep down, however; Leena knew the darkness would need purged. That was a task beyond one healer. That was a task for the Jedi as a whole. Regardless, Leena had a duty, one many would consider sacred. Turning to the others, Leena queried for their thoughts. “Destruction of a world can be wrong. Taking children for any sins of their parents is wrong. This world is still lush, but there is a darkness that festers here. It is not wrong to cut this cancer out. Any ideas on how we can find the children before this darkness takes them eternally?” Leena felt queasy at the thought that this dark entity sought to purge an entire generation of children. If this was a sickness, it had taken root deep. It would not be easy to purge. It would take a coordinated effort. Only once the cancer was removed could true healing begin here. For now, they had to seek out the source of this blight, a sentient source no less; that would make it more difficult. They had to find it, negating as much damage as they could along the way. Wringing her hand about her hilt, Leena’s suctioned hands popped and clapped with the movement. Hesitantly she returned the weapon to her belt. This was a job not for just the Jedi but the living force. Inhaling deeply, Leena turned her focus inward. She reached for a deep seated sense of inner peace and light in an effort to center herself, to feel for the strand of guidance that would call them from within the chaos and guide them forward. Opening her eyes, Leena extended her now free hand before her, light radiating forth like a spotlight into the dark undergrowth.
  21. Adenna nodded at the suggestion. "I regret that we couldn't do anything for Mon Calamari before the Sith arrived in force. As much as we wanted to protect it, to do so would have spelled a great disaster among the Jedi fleet and the result would have remained the same. One of the harshest lessons we will need to learn is that sometimes, sacrifices must be made even if they were hard. It would do nobody any good for us to die on our hilltop in a blaze of glory fighting an impossible fight then forfeit the rest of the Galaxy as result. Better to allow single planets or entire sectors to fall while preserving our ability to fight so that one day, we might return to liberate them. Some will die, but some will also live. "Allow me some time to prepare and I shall go with your team to Mon Calamari and see what can be done. It would be good to stalk the Sith for a change, and I hope we can find a way to save those that can be saved on that planet. Even a partially successful uprising would delay production in the shipyards and cause the Sith to have to devote more resources to the planet." It was a cold calculation, one she couldn't make in times past. Any uprising would likely cost millions of lives, but she would not deny any people the right to fight for their planet if they desired it. Better dead fighting than living as a slave or in constant fear of when the jackboots of the Sith Empire would break down your door. Parting ways outside the Medical Center, she went through to the areas that held the Jedi administration and training areas. Some of the Padawans and Knights recognized her, though their reactions differed. Some were pleased to see her, others offered a cautious nod of recognition that bespoke them not knowing exactly how to respond. She didn't take offense at this because there would inevitably be some question as to her place and role here. Adenna was not a fool enough to believe she was universally liked or even had a majority approval of what she had done as Grandmaster. There had been things she would have done better in hindsight, but there were things she would do exactly the same. To second guess herself was a waste of time so she would not indulge it. She learned from her mistakes and would do what she could not to repeat them and begging forgiveness or apologizing to get some measure of acceptance was an exercise of extreme pointlessness. She went to one of the lesser repositories of data and was glad that her basic access levels hadn't been revoked. Using her biometric data and two passcodes, she managed to pull up a series of files containing data that would not have otherwise been stored in a place like this. Concealment in an unlikely place among millions of petabytes of data was as much a safety net as throwing everything in a highly protected firewall that was sure to draw attention. She copied the documents onto a Jedi datapad that was available in the repository. It wasn't that she was concerned about the safety of the Rebel datapad that had been given to her, it was just that a failsafe was encoded to the data that would trigger self deleting protocols if it were transferred into anything but a pre-encoded Jedi device. This data would be of great use to her in the next couple of months. She would have to spend some time going over what had happened in her absence, but that could wait for the trip to Mon Calamari. Her next stop was to track down where her personal effects had been taken. It wasn't shocking to find that they had been removed from the Grandmaster's quarters and put into temporary storage. It took a little administrative work to track that down and have the box containing them brought out for her to access. From there, she was able to acquire her own robes, gear, and a memento or two. She went to the training center to change in the rooms there, but didn't leave behind the things that the Rebels had given her. The lightsaber was going to be quite useful, though the rest of the gear would be returned. Putting a few other things into a duffel bag and slinging it over her shoulder, she made her way out of the Jedi buildings and into the Rebels areas where she would meet with the former Imperials and eventually head out on another mission.
  22. Camik walked through the chamber. He could feel the energies radiating through out here. This was a place where the powerful came, and he had just been inducted into a larger world to one of them. He walked towards him and could feel the greatest pull. The greatest source of power trusting that this would be the Spider that Telperien had directed him too. He had told Kirain to wait for him. This was not a place for one such as she. He would meet back up with her after but for now he was on his own. As he entered the room that held the Spider, or so he could only assume he could see that he was not alone. Not surprising, but for now he would wait and observe. He did not know the people here and while he might feel he could burst in and demand his presence be recognized, a true hunter had patience and could watch the surroundings. He wanted to see and hear what he was walking into. He would wait until Exodus would break off from the others and acknowledge him then bow and introduce himself. ”My Lord, I am Lord Camik recently promoted and sent to you by Telperien ” She had never given a title to him so he did not bother trying to figure out her title in the introduction. ”I am at your service.”
  23. The Human Padawan had little difficulty in navigating the packed confines of his ship, always seeming to find the quickest way around or through scattered pieces of salvage or racks of parts. Were he a few feet shorter he likely could have passed off as a fairly competent Jawa, for all that the insides of the Plunder resembled those of a sand crawler's. He let the more experienced Jedi take the lead off the ship, stumbling a little in the dirt as his mag-boots found no purchase on the festering earth. It had been a while since he had set foot on solid ground, though he was quick to readjust and follow Leena into the foggy fungal jungles. Every now and then the distinct snap and a brief flash of dim rust, or perhaps bronze, revealed one of the things the derelict Jedi had been working on in his free time; honing his skills in specifically targeting twigs and the random stems of foliage with trakata, apparently. Every time he missed, it was an easy enough job to simply try again with the other side of his blade. "Don't think we're gonna be finding her again. Not right now, anyways. Little turbulent still." Jackson observed, voice modulator crackling slightly from the moisture inevitably collecting in its output holes. "Not very good with... people. Unfortunately. Much less the sick. Forte lies a little more with machines and circuits, if you hadn't guessed already." His admittance was quiet, not wishing to interrupt anything important anyone else mighty have to do or to say. The longer they trekked through the mud the dimmer the young Human Jedi became, in the force. He was still there, but gradually fading. Morphing into a piece of the background as he unconsciously used his sensitivity to hide, the darkness around him steadily disintegrating as it was harvested and incorporated to make his disguise more effective. In any other place it might have slid unnoticed, but the spot lamp of Light that Leena shone wherever she stepped was throwing him off. It took time for the transition to complete, but when it did the result was more of a stark grey than oily black, or radiant white. If anyone cared to watch, the same process kept going on repeat, each time with slightly different aspects and subtle changes to it as it began to adapt. It was particularly similar to the way that AI learned and evolved, with lots of trial and error. A brute force method of scrolling through every possible option before settling on the one that worked the best, and in this case it settled on a gradient. The side of Jackson facing the healer blended more with her light while the opposite did the opposite.
  24. The ragged delivery freighter was not quick to offload her goods. Even if Kessel had been taken by the Rebel Alliance, there was still a lucrative and active black market retail business that bustled about the planet; it’s illicit income still grossly out earning any legal incomes the world had access to. So even as the crew carefully and methodically offloaded their cargo of food stuffs, water, and purification tablets they watched as their local contacts moved an equal number of packages into place to be loaded and transported from the world. Spice, it was as illegal as it was valued. The financial gain from the delivery paled in comparison to the payday awaiting their next cargo. None of that mattered though. Through the carefully calculated hubbub a figure swarthed in flowing gray cloaks strode silently from the hold, ducking to the side as soon as it exited the ship. Beneath the robes, the Jensaarai’s armor flowed seamlessly, barely giving away the fact that it even existed beneath the flowing robes. The force moved subtly about the man, muted and almost indiscernible against the miniscule buzzing backdrop of the world. With a jump and a twist, The Mantis twisted around the nearest building corner and fell into stride with the few shuffling locals that made their way down the otherwise desolate windswept street. Silence shrouded the man in an aura of mystery as deep as the force that was muted against the invisible wall outside of his body. He strode silently and with purpose, his head tucked low against the cold biting wind. He did not seem to pay mind to anything around him; lime the others, he looked like he was focused on getting where he was going with as little hassle as possible. Beneath his robes, The Mantis’ weapos were tucked tightly against his armor. They did not clink and clank. They did not rattle. They barely made a discernible bulge. Each tool was designed to fit into the armor, blended against detection but accessible in a moment. He strode with purpose through the newly conquered city. Things would change here, hopefully for the better. It would take time and effort. For now, chaos and darkness lingered amongst the hope. Hopes of better tomorrows and hopes of less interference in money-making schemes, good and bad. Against the backdrop, with his subconscious signature alteration within the force, The Mantis was all but invisible to anyone or thing but the naked eye. Anybody that did not focus directly on the Jensaarai Defender simply glossed over his very presence. Twisting and turning The Mantis distanced himself from the distant landing pad until he found an idling and unattended landspeeder outside a crowd-packed tavern. With nary more than a glance to see that nobody was attending the craft, The Mantis commandeered it. Soon enough, the speeder was churning up plumes of dust in the weak atmosphere as it tore across the open ground outside the small city. Racing towards Outpost Delta, The Mantis made good time. There was little here to hamper him. The outpost was barely beyond a few prefab structures and an ad hoc landing pad; but it was the start of good things on the oblong planet. Grinding to a halt as he entered the base, The Mantis slowly raised his hands in a gesture of peace in response to the laser dots trained on him by the guards outside the outpost. “The Jensaarai have sent me as a representative. Tell Lt. Andromina I am here.”
  25. It took all of thirty minutes for it to become clear why Captain Bryce and her Talons had been dispatched to the Outer Rim. Upon setting foot on Bothawui and being shepherded to a fortified room about ten meters below the surface of Drev’starn, it took all of thirty minutes for it to become clear why Captain Bryce and her Talons had been dispatched to the Mid Rim. It was an enclosed, hermetically sealed chamber in which she received her briefing from a Colonel Dun’nosu. But it was more than the sound-proofing and hermetic seals that secured the chamber. The shock trooper felt strangely… buoyant on her feet, and every step seemed to require a moment of calculation. She allowed herself to wonder how else this briefing room might be secured--perhaps suspension in a vacuum by miniaturized tractor beams? But that was speculation regarding the stereotypical paranoia of the Bothans, and the fact that the cream-colored hackles of the Bothan Colonel were raised suggested that her liaison was almost terrified at the prospect of imminent invasion. “You see, Captain, there has been a significant build-up of Sith fleet elements in the Arkanis sector for some time. Personnel transports and escorts have recently gone missing from this staging, leading us to believe that an invasion of the sector has begun.” “If I remember correctly, Geonosis and Tatooine sit on the intersection of the Corellian Run and Triellus Trade Route.” “Accurate. Despite the poor development of those two systems, they command a dominant position over that sector’s trade. And from there, the Sith have easy access to Ryloth. Or Naboo. Rodia. Bothawui. And even Nar Shaddaa,” Dun’nosu stated with a knowing look on his long face. At least, that was the approximation that the human imagined. “Well, last on my update, the Galact--the Rebel Alliance had made significant strides in blunting the Sith advance through the Core Worlds. They’ll need to divert resources least they risk losing control there. We may have time. Before our situation becomes untenable. My lads have some unusual specializations that may help break up the Sith advance here--zero-gravity maneuvers, capital ship sapping.” “Our own developments have advanced along these lines. Once your Galactic Alliance fell apart, we were left to defend our territories without heavy capital ships--your MC90s and Star Destroyers, for instance. We have had to become somewhat adaptive in our own fleet elements. For instance… our Koth Melan-class Stealth Cruiser.” The holoprojection between the two officers disintegrated and bloomed again into a hazy image of the bulky, blocky Bothan Assault Cruiser. However, this particular vessel had been stripped of most of its armaments--most notably the array of proton torpedo tubes that made the ships so dangerous in a close-quarters brawl--and had been festooned with a forest-like array of comms antennae. Johanna squinted at the ship. To her untrained eye, those rails and towers had almost no value at signal reception--they were almost entirely transmit-only. The jutting bridge superstructure of the Bothan Assault Cruiser was also shortened and the armor plates on its flanks were replaced by thin skirts of an unfamiliar design. She leaned forward and examined the side skirts. They were composed of thousands of linked holoprojector cells. “You… you made a stealth hacking cruiser?”
  26. As the transport exited hyperspace above Borleias, Genesis shifted in his seat. Last time he had come as an Padawan in league with the Jedi Order. This time he came as a passenger, another faceless name in endless manifestos. Change and time were constants, for both he and the world below, and he was unrecognizable even for his Master. His hair was longer. His form bore scars from his fights. And his demeanor was enlightened, a graceful smile upon his face ever present. He was at peace, both with his future, and his past. Only Armiena remained a question. And it was that very answer that he sought. As his passport was stamped and he entered Sihnon, the Miraluka Hybrid gazed out into the city's proper with both of his sights, honing it's gaze across it's landscape. Armiena would surely feel it's familiar and yet changed presence ever so brief like a gentle breeze across the plains of Dantooine before it disappeared abruptly, a beacon for her to sense should she be here as Misal spoke. And this world was his only clue. He only hoped she recognized the core of his presence beyond the changes he had undergone since his departure nearly two years ago. Stepping outside the Spaceport, his long hair falling across his shoulders and tucked away beneath his headband, he draped his face with his cloak and disappeared into the masses. His gaze within the Force would still linger on the backdrop of the Force, a subtle beacon to his position as he searched for her own. But to most who could feel it, it would resemble the essence of his race, a constant for any Luka Sene to suppress themselves.
  27. The response came quickly. "This is Lieutenant Teris, my lord. If you're here to see Darth Mavanger, then please land your craft in on of the hangars of the Krayt's Fury. He, the Captain, and several other officers are busy planning the next stages of the invasion, but I'll have an escort meet you when you land to show you to him." As the newly arrived Darth Akheron touched down, he was greeted by an young officer, barely in his twenties. "Lord Akheron, Lieutenant Teris sends her regards. If you'll follow me, I can take you to Darth Mavanger's council. Please excuse the hurry- he'll want to greet you personally." The lieutenant swiveled on his heel, setting off towards one of the hangar entrances at a brisk pace. He lead Akheron through a number of hallways and ship rooms, including an elevator and the mess hall, before they finally arrived. The officer snapped to attention, giving the Darth a respectful bow before motioning towards the room before thim. "He's inside, my lord. Only high command is allowed in, so I'm not privy to the discussion, but we do have orders to lead any newly arrived Sith to him ASAP, so you're welcome to continue." Inside, Darth Mavanger was very busy. He was standing before a large holoprojection of the Outer Rim as officers and other Sith Lords moved to and fro. On it, there was only one blue planet in a sea of neutral territory. He glanced up as the door to the command center opened, before his attention was called away. "Sir, the minor rebellion in Factory D4 has been quashed and production can proceed as planned." Mordecai nodded, responding. "Excellent. Have our scouts reached back to us on potential local contacts?" "Not yet sir." Another officer entered, commanding attention. "My lord, we have it through reliable sources that the Rebels have established a base of operations on Bothawui. They stand against us, my lord." Mordecai grunted. It wasn't entirely unexpected- Bothawui, on it's own, was unimportant, but its position was a key locale that allowed direct access to Nar Shaddaa, the rebel hubworld. That the rebels had swayed the notoriously insurgent Bothans to their side was no surprise. He pushed a series of buttons and the digital representation of Bothawui turned from white to red. There was only a moment of calm, and he took it to greet his fellow Darth. "Welcome to the Outer Rim, Darth Akheron. I apologize for not meeting you as you landed- we've only just made beachhead here, and as you can tell, there is much work to be done." "Sir, work orders for you to look over." Mordecai took the data slate, skimming over it for the information he needed before nodding and handing it back. "As I was saying, much to do."
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