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Adenna Alluyen

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Everything posted by Adenna Alluyen

  1. Adenna's attack, as off kilter as it was, managed to strike a target which was quickly hit by one of the three troopers covering her. For that, Adenna was partially satisfied, but she didn't have much time to dwell on it as she immediately moved to focusing on the second Sith trooper as he opened fire with his own blaster. Without incoming fire to worry about from the two reduced to one on their left, the trio of Jedi Order Armed Forces troopers could focus on the incoming threat from the right. Even as their own cover was being disintegrated, they reacted in the only way they could: they fought. Retreat wasn't an option for the three, so one of them lobbed as many frag grenades at the lesser armed or armored colonial forces on the line as they could to keep them busy. The other two poked around the front and the rear of the splintering speeder and targeted the three Sith troopers who were sprinting out in the open, hoping to kill as many of them as possible before their position was overrun. If they were overrun, they would die, though they also knew their brethren behind them on the lines would get their turn and the cause they died for would carry forth even without them. Adenna didn't focus on the fate of the trio of brave troopers, she had her own fight to face. With her feet now firmly planted, she stood firm against the close range onslaught. Being shot was nothing new to the Grandmaster—it had happened twice in her past—she was not the same person being shot that she was then. She was older and more in tune with the Force. Since she was already drawing upon it, she choose to delve entirely into Living Force and all of the power it could give to protect those who surrendered to its flow. Her attention to the minutia of battle faded as she abandoned her self and embraced the Force itself. Her eyes closed and she remained still, standing defiant and ready. Her lightsaber, once a flurry of activity as it deflected blaster bolts, slowed and lowered itself as she no longer needed to rely upon its crude physical material for protection. Instead, she trusted the Force. She became a conduit, a focal point of the Force that allowed energy to enter and flow through her before being redirected back out. Blaster bolts hit her, shredding her armor and the robes beneath causing sparks and a small amount of smoke as the cloth burned. To the panicked observer in the middle of the chaos of battle, it might even look like she was being shot and in immediate danger. However, once the energy from those blaster bolts hit her skin, instead of harming her, they were absorbed and caught up in the eternal river that the Living Force flowed through. Then, though her physical eyes didn't register it, the jagged lines of chaos within the Force warned her of much larger explosions as two high explosive grenades went off on the ground before her planted feet. She had only the briefest of times to thank the Force that these were not frag grenades before she had to focus her mind on the task at hand. The energy from the grenades enveloping and being absorbed into her was far too much for her to safely store for long, so she now found herself needing to redirect this sudden spike in energy elsewhere. Without hesitation, she choose to turn that attack back upon the one who sent it to her. Being so fully ensconced in the Living Force left little room for self, so when Adenna unleashed the entirety of the energy she absorbed from the handful of blaster shots and the grenades back at the commando and the flank of Sith or colonial troops, she did so with a truly terrifying amount of power that ripped and shredded and hurled anything in its path aside. In this moment, there was no Adenna, only the Grandmaster of the Jedi and all the strength of that storied Order. ((3))
  2. Streets of Carannia With the area between the Jedi advance and the bank partially cleared of enemy forces by the removal of their cover and the grenades, Adenna could now focus on turning one of their flanks and shattering the entire line. It was by no means secure at this point, but that was what she was here for and once that was a safe one for the extraction of the team inside. Of course, the addition of two more Jedi behind their lines would make things quite interesting, but for now, they had yet to emerge from the bank so it would be her job to go in and get them. The Sith troopers had split, apart, but that didn't overly concern her because now she could deal with them piecemeal. Now that the enemy had split in two and effectively abandoned the center, she could divide then conquer. Adenna slammed the wrecked speeder down into the permacrete street keeping it propped up at an angle that would provide her and the four with her cover from one of the two divided flanks. Now, with only about half the firepower aimed at them, she could go on the offensive. She yelled for the four troopers to focus fire on the flank where two of the armored Sith troopers had relocated. Even as she did, one of them flew back with multiple blaster impacts in her chest, but that didn't alter the plan. Adenna was tired of this ranged fight, it was time to get up close and personal and end this in a way Jedi were best at. Gathering up the Force, she jumped and used it to carry her with great speed on a shallow arc straight at the enemy position. The move got her close, but it did come at a cost. With the constant stream of fire coming at her, she couldn't block everything. One bolt glanced along her medium armor and, while much of its bite was deflected or absorbed, enough still remained to scorch her rib cage under her left arm. Another dug into her right thigh where she was less armored. She cried out in pain as she landed beside the planter her foes were using as cover, but the battle instinct kept her moving even if the swing of her lightsaber at the armored troopers was thrown off. The nanites that flowed through her body quickly deadened her screaming nerves, but they would take time to start healing. She was where she wanted to be and with three others offering covering fire, but it had cost her and that was simply the price of war. Now that she was close, she aimed to use her Force enhanced speed and the glowing firebrand of a lightsaber to clear the Sith out. ((2))
  3. Streets of Carannia As the glorious sound and chaos of battle enveloped her once again, Adenna fell into lockstep with the Force, letting it guide and direct her. Her senses were flushed with adrenaline from the flight or fight instincts and her increased heart rate sent more oxygen to her brain and muscles, all molded and guided by both combat experience and the Force itself. It might be slightly un-Jedi of her, but Adenna loved fighting because it was so much more simple than the other aspects of life. Fight, evade, overcome, kill, or die: there were no other options in battle. Trusting on the thirty troopers at her sides to protect her flanks, Adenna kept her focus predominantly forward, looking for the hastily entrenched enemy and their attacks. For the moment, she was on defense since her primary weapon was of limited range. That didn't bother her because she had additional troops fighting with her providing the ranged offense with their blaster rifles and grenades. Her orange blade was a glowing whirl as both it and her own body danced around evading shots and returning others to sender. Step by step, she and her charge advanced quickly, narrowing the space around them until there was only around forty or so meters separating them from the Sith perimeter. Men fell behind her with smoldering wounds from enemy blaster fire and she paid them no heed at this moment except to calculate her lessening resources. Time for mourning and caring about the fallen would come, but not now. Her hearing picked up the whumph of a grenade launcher discharging and her eyes saw the arching projectiles heading straight for her. Reacting with hardly a thought, she sent a small, focused telekinetic push to send the grenades back the way they came while they were mid-air. Rather than sending them flying back, she felt the wave of deep pressure in her gut fractions of a second before the heat from the explosions washed around her as her push tripped the impact fuses detonating them instead of sending them back. Her own telekinetic push kept most of the explosion from her, but the blast threw men on either side of her across each side of the street. Those closest were killed, those a bit farther were wounded but out of the fight for a bit. Her ears were ringing slightly from the explosion, but her combat focused mind put that aside for the moment. Adenna didn't spare the time to look back since that would take her attention off of the enemy fire. Her lightsaber parried a few crimson blaster bolts that lanced out at her, though she didn't spend the focus to redirect them at specific points, merely to get them out of her own way. Her own men returned fire, but at this rate, they were exposed and vulnerable now that their advance was halted. Frowning at this, Adenna decided to change the field a little. Relying on whomever was still behind her to keep the Sith's fire mostly at bay, she expended a bit more Force energy and reached out to the makeshift defenses that the Sith defenders were huddled behind, then pulled. Some of the accumulated rubble simply flew towards the Jedi forces a several meters and stopped when she ignored them since they were no out of position, but there were some wrecked speeders in the line, one of which would make a good temporary shield. Once the area between the lines was slightly more cleared out, she continued to tug one of the speeders towards her as a new rolling shield while she advanced. Four troopers dug in behind her and the speeder as its top was now facing the Sith lines, offering them a great view of its roof and seats, but no direct shot on the five behind it. Gesturing with a hand to the men with her, she smiled slightly as they returned the favor and hurled short fuse frag grenades over the speeder and into the Sith lines. She didn't care much if they killed anyone at this point, she simply wanted to clear the area and keep her enemy distracted while she and her men got closer. ((1)) Serenno Orbit With their targets either hit or the strike called off due to enemy fighter pressure, the surviving Jedi fighters and bombers began returning to orbit around the remaining Jedi fleet. As soon as most of the responding fighters reported back and were reformed into some semblance of squadrons, the fleet readied to make two micro-jumps. The first would take them to where the Justice's Mandate was waiting not far away, and the second would take them back to orbit over Carannia, hopefully in time to engage the Sith fleet that was converging on that location and offer those on the ground a chance to lift off once they finished there.
  4. With the absence of the Justice's Mandate, a portion of the skies over Serenno no longer held orbital support for the Jedi bombers in that area. Those squads were alerted by the rest of the fleet of their new situation and began preparing for attacks from above as soon as the Sith fighters were able to pinpoint their locations and deploy. Flight leaders had the ultimate call whether it was safe or not to hit their targets, or if they needed to abort and began evasive maneuvers. Those bombers that were still under the protective screens and eyes of the rest of the scattered Jedi fleet continued their bombing runs, though with some squadrons of fighters moving to screen against the inevitable incoming Sith squadrons. That the planetary defenses hadn't launched was good fortune for the Jedi, but it also made them wary since they could still launch. They needed to hit hard and fast then move on as soon as their ten minute warning had passed. The slower bombers with their EMP weapons were not under the constriction of time, so they were able to drop their load and head back to space as soon as they reached their targets. Some bombers were intercepted early by the ever expanding swarms of Sith squadrons and took heavy losses, but there were still some that hit their targets causing chain reactions along the power grid. Power grids were hit and certain cities went dark. For the fighters and heavy bombers going to the factories, they spent most of their ten minute warning time going to the target, but that didn't stop some of them from having time to buzz the area first. To their dismay, they didn't see a stream of evacuating workers and it became clear that the civil authorities or the factory owners didn't take their threats seriously. Some pilots were more than hesitant to drop their payloads and asked for confirmation from their commanding officers as to what to do. The general in charge of the fighter wings knew that there would be civilian casualties, but they had planned for this possibility. If the Jedi held off their attacks, then their word would never be taken seriously again. The Jedi had warned their targets and given them time to take cover, and it was not their fault their enemy ignored that. This was war, and war was full of dead and dying. If the Jedi didn't strike now, then in the future, even greater numbers of people would die when they did strike, all because their threats couldn't be taken seriously. At the ten minute mark, those fighters that were not being harassed by Sith forces unloaded their bombs or missiles on the designated factories. Explosion after explosion ripped through them, killing worker after worker, but also shredding the production lines, storage tanks, store houses, and military tech labs that had been fueling the Sith war machine. The Jedi pilots didn't relish their duty, but they knew it had to be done so they did their job and kept the word of their commander. Perhaps next time, their next targets would take the Jedi seriously and evacuate their workers, but the Jedi could not control what the enemy did. * * * * * There was some ineffectual AA fire from the Sith landing craft that jostled the three Jedi assault shuttles, but their shields held. The Jedi assault team landed outside the perimeter that the Sith troopers were setting up around the bank and began pouring out with intense cover fire as they took to the streets. Two of the flanking shuttles worth formed a defensive flank, laying down blaster fire and grenades against the Sith troopers while the thirty men in the center shuttle charged. Adenna, with her orange lightsaber and blue dyed medium body armor was at the front of that charge, deflecting away shots with her lightsaber in one hand and firing a heavy sidearm with the other. As soon as the shuttle touched down, all of the doubts in Adenna's mind evaporated and she focused entirely on the task at hand. It had been too long since she had been in combat like this, but she missed it. Gone were the weeks of sitting behind a desk or working in training simulators with recruits. Gone was the need to be political or think about the bigger picture. All that was before her now was an enemy, a mission, and lots of determination. She and her thirty men charged in, weaving around haphazardly parked speeders and debris from buildings that were kicked off by stray blaster bolts in this rapidly developing battlefield. What civilians were there had already scrambled away with the arrival of the Sith troopers, so at least they weren't too much of a factor. As she charged forward, Adenna drew upon the Force to prepare her for the inevitable clash where she got in close enough to the enemy lines to unleash chaos the likes of which only a Jedi in her prime could deal.
  5. To Captain Gustav's surprise, it didn't seem that the local Serenno garrison was taking their threat seriously and deploying their defenses. That was more than a little bit insulting since it showed that the Sith supporting planet simply didn't consider the Jedi Order as a threat, or perhaps they didn't even think that the Jedi would actually carry out their word. He was relieved that they weren't scrambling their fighters to oppose the Jedi bombers and fighter squadrons, but that didn't mean the Sith weren't trying to get into the game. Their fighters might be a bit behind due to needing to make their microjumps and then deploy and get down to the scattered squads on the planet. Jedi fighters would need to attack their targets then come up to meet the Sith forces to give their bombers a bit of cover while they scrambled out. As soon as the Sith fleet reverted from hyperspace on top of his flagship, he began ordering a microjump of his own. The plan wasn't to get into a potentially costly space battle, but to wreck damage on the planet and get out. The Justice's Mandate angled as it exchanged some salvos against the Sith fleet for a few seconds, then flashed away into hyperspace. Three seconds after jumping, they returned to realspace and began positioning to return back to Serenno when the opportunity arose. * * * * * When the Sith fleet made their micro-jumps away from the airspace over Serenno's capital, Carannia, the StealthX scout quickly noted it and sent word to the waiting assault shuttles. Adenna smiled slightly and strapped herself into one of the crash seats as the shuttles made the micro-jump into Serenno's airspace. Three shuttles reverted into realspace above Carannia and began an immediate landing approach to offer support to the team that was down on the surface. Adenna clutched the harness holding her in as the shuttle rocked and shook around her with the rapid descent. It wouldn't be long before she, long with the rest of the ninety Jedi troopers that were part of the relief force, would touch down and chaos would likely ensue.
  6. When the Sith fleet arrived over Serenno, the scouting StealthX set sensors to active and took in as much data as possible before shooting it off to the rest of the fleet and powering up engines. As long as nobody approached the difficult to see ship, they would remain to continue to scout, but would flee at the first sign of attention. They were a scout, not a brawler. Onboard the Justice's Mandate outside the Serenno system, Captain Gustav smiled at the news. He had suspected the enemy would attempt to come and they had done so in full display. There would be no question that this was a Sith target and that it was defended by an enemy fleet made this even more a legitimate target. He had never had any doubts of that, but knew how the public relations could play out, and having a Sith fleet here prior to the arrival of a Jedi one would play into their hands better, or at the least, it would limit Sith propaganda efforts. "The enemy has arrived," he said over short range comms to the fleet. "It is time to begin executing Plan C." When the Jedi had been preparing this mission, they had intended on hitting multiple potential industrial targets throughout the planet. They had selected four major locations at differing points around the planet so that if enemy resistance arrived, they could hit something on the opposite side of the planet and buy themselves a little time. There were some setbacks for that, but it afforded them some additional options and forced their enemy to make some choices. As cold as it had seemed, early on when discussing things with the Grandmaster, it had been made clear that there were two acceptable outcomes of this mission. Either successful retrieval of hard currency from the Treasury or destruction of one or more of the industrial factories supplying the Sith war effort would be considered a successful mission. Protection of the Jedi fleet from heavy losses was also a requirement, though successful extraction of the infiltration team was not. If the eight members of the infiltration force were lost, then that was a most unfortunate event but not catastrophic. It was pointless to spend potentially thousands of lives in the fleet to save eight. There had been some disagreement among the Jedi military leadership, but the Grandmaster had insisted: the Jedi would no longer allow their own people's lives to be used against the Jedi by sacrificing countless numbers to save them. Everyone in the Jedi Order and its military were volunteers in this war and knew the risks. It was a cold military calculation, but it was determined necessary to win. Since the fleet had already been ready, they jumped within ten seconds of the announcement. * * * * * * On the far side of Serenno, opposite the newly arrived Sith fleet, a Jedi fleet dropped out of hyperspace after performing two microjumps from their prior position. Immediately, Captain Gustav sent a pre-recorded transmission out to the planet on a broad band public wave. "This is Captain Vlasmen Gustav of the Jedi Order Armed Forces to the government of Serenno. We are here to bring a reckoning for your part in aiding the Sith Imperial war machine. To that end, we will begin bombardment of the GalStar Machinery, Eurgani Industries Incorporated, Relvan/Gandor Shipping, Portsman Munitions and Explosives, Sooru-Hoffman and Partners Limited, and Incandron Industrial Tech Research facilities or factories as well as the Sith Imperial Academy. All have clear ties to the Sith Empire supplying its war machine as it invades the Galaxy and must know there will be repercussions to their war profiting. In addition, any governmental facilities or power grids may be targeted for ion bombardments. "To the people of Serenno, the Jedi understand not all of you may support the Sith Empire. Because of that, and our desire to protect innocent lives and make this war about the choices of your own government, we will hold our fire upon these facilities for ten minutes so that the workers may escape. Make no mistake: after ten minutes, we will destroy those facilities, but we wish to give you all an opportunity to evacuate and will not fire upon any surface transports assisting in those actions unless they demonstrate hostility or attempt to protect or defend those locations. "Your ten minutes starts now." With that, the transmission ended and the Jedi forces readied themselves for the Sith response. Despite their claims, only three of the facilities mentioned were on the targeting range, but they didn't want to give away too much, and had needed to remain adaptable in regards to what the Sith were doing, so they had included all the names. Besides, one captain had argued, if the Sith were forced to evacuate all of the facilities, it would provide at least some small measure of disruption to their operations. The Jedi fleet was arrayed not in singular battle formation, but rather in siege bombardment formation. They were scattered around the hemisphere opposite of the Sith fleet, capable of targeting multiple locations but not offer much battle resistance. Knowing the Sith would either have to make multiple hyperspace jumps or orbit the planet to get into attack position, each Jedi ship was on high alert and ready to reposition to jump within moments of a Sith arrival. Each ship from the Justice's Mandate down to the smallest fighter had at least four hyperspace routes pre-programmed so they could escape from multiple routes. Further, they also had return jumps plotted from each escape route so they could return to strike if the opportunity presented itself. If the Sith approached the Jedi forces, they would simply withdraw or jump into hyperspace in seconds to avoid heavy losses. Even if the Sith spread out to engage the Jedi, they would not be able to cover everything since the Jedi brought so many small ships as well as multiple flights of bombers already positioned to drop small electro-proton bombs on major power generators and multiple regional government and policing facilities. They were focusing on the power grids supplying the most industrialized areas of the planet open to them but wouldn't kill anyone directly. Chaos would ensue, but cities wouldn't be leveled or civilians burned to char. Any planetary defenses were legitimate targets and would be blasted either from orbit if there were no civilian cities nearby, or by fighter and bomber squadrons. The Jedi would be like a cloud of wasps: small but extremely numerous and maneuverable, swooping in on a planet to cause maximum chaos, disruption, and in some places, destruction. For the landing teams, they had their own plan and had not yet made the jump to the planet. Instead, they remained in their original, deep space location. Though it frustrated Adenna to be out of the action, she had helped develop the plan and understood why she was still being held in reserve. Jedi Order Armed Forces Fleet Destroyer Group Turbolasers: Focus Fire Callsign: Justices Mandate Experience: Green, 1XP Nebula class Star Destroyer Justice's Mandate (20/20) Defensive Escort: Suppressing Fire Callsign: Hope Experience: Green, 1XP Nebulon B frigate (3/3) Nebulon B frigate (3/3) Lancer frigate (3/3) MC-30 frigate (3/3) Raider II corvette (2/1) Raider II corvette (2/1) Hammerhead Torpedo corvette (2/1) CR90 corvette (2/1) Asset Denial Force: Surgical Strike Callsign: Shocking Surprise Experience: Green, 1XP MC40A Light Cruiser Shocking Surprise Nebulon B frigate (3/3) Assault Frigate Mk II (3/3) Vigil class corvette (2/1) Marauder corvette (2/1)
  7. Adenna paced slowly back and forth up and down the small assault shuttle she and thirty troopers were in. They were on standby waiting for the signal from the team or the planet itself that they had made their move on the Treasury. The entire Jedi fleet was on high alert, ready to make the microjump in seconds after receiving notification or getting any readings that there were Sith forces inbound. Every starfighter was already deployed and ready to jump along with the rest of the larger ships. A StealthX had been deployed now that the strike team was scheduled to make their move and had jumped in on outer fringes of Serenno itself so they could scan and monitor traffic, frequencies, and communications. They were in complete comms silence, but as soon as they saw one of several red flags indicating that the team had taken over the Treasury or that they were compromised, they would send the emergency message and the rest of the fleet would jump in. For Adenna, combat was nothing new. She wasn't nervous about what likely was to come. Rather, she was nervous about the wait. It was the one part of combat she hated the most because of all the anticipation that built up waiting to explode into action. She had been in several dozen tactical assaults similar to what she and the ground reinforcements were about to attempt and most had gone moderately according to plan. Those that didn't were always chaotic, but the Force had guided her and she had come out mostly intact. Not everyone she had commanded could say the same. Losing people who were following her orders was also nothing new to her, but it didn't eat at her like it used to. Perhaps it wasn't for the best, but she had developed an almost numbness to the deaths of those around her. Being in charge of the Jedi Order and its tens of thousands of followers in the middle of a war meant that there would be losses. If she felt each one, it would paralyze her to the point of being unable to take any action at all or rack herself with guilt and regrets. She recognized that being completely numb was also just as bad because it would cause her not to care about those who were dying and that could cause her to send people needlessly to their deaths. It was a constant struggle to maintain that balance. On days that she was on Nar Shaddaa commanding from afar, it was easier to be above it all, but now that she was about to be in the thick of things, it was harder to look at the helmeted and armored troops in this shuttle and know some might not make it back. There wasn't much she could do at this point, though. The gears were already turning, the clock had all but tolled. Now was the time to focus on the mission and let feelings come later.
  8. One and a half light days from Serenno, a Jedi fleet dropped out of hyperspace. The largest ship, a Nebula class Star Destroyer, the Justice's Mandate, was supported by a small cloud of smaller vessels including an additional cruiser and a dozen smaller ships supplemented by fighter and bombers. Only two squadrons of fighters were deployed to serve as scouts on the extremely off chance the fleet was discovered, the rest remained in their berths. Adenna Alluyen stood on the bridge, waiting final confirmation of the infiltration team launching in a civilian shuttle purchased through multiple shell companies from a small company that operated in Sith held space and headquartered on Onderon. While it had no military background, it was registered under a company name that did business with Sith and would come up in the Sith Empire's systems as known to them, though extremely close scrutiny would possibly discover its dubious origins. With an empire that spanned as many systems and had as many trillions of beings as the Sith Empire did, it was all but impossible to monitor everything, so the Jedi forces were hoping that this shuttle would allow their team to slip through the cracks. When they were ready, the shuttle had leave to depart and make the microjump that would take it into Serenno's orbit and to begin their daring heist on the Imperial Treasury.
  9. Even in the midst of preparing for battle, there were always those who needed to report to the Grandmaster. Adenna was used to it, and though the Jedi were fewer in number than they had been at their height, there were still a lot of them scattered throughout the Galaxy. She felt a twinge of guilt that she couldn't focus on them all, but she had to prioritize everything. However, when the Mon Calamari Jedi approached her, she was quite familiar with the repercussions of what happened on that mission, even if the details were a bit hazy. Other Jedi, traders, soldiers, and even the Galactic Media had been following that story, and none of it was good. The entire planet was a mess, and there were reports that the Sith were initiating an orbital bombardment. If they had more ships, they could assist, but to attack there would be folly, and so another planet fell into darkness. "I do not yet know all the details, Padawn," she answered, "but I do know that no single Jedi could have changed the inevitable there. The Sith came in too great of numbers and with too much power to oppose them directly, and so you did well to survive and return. What happened on that planet was yet another in a long list of tragedies, and if we are ever to stop it, we must do so methodically and carefully. I can tell yours is not a violent soul, so to join me on my path would not suit you. Go to Scarif with Master Sarna where you may find solace and understanding helping a population through something other than warfare. If the Force wills it, we will speak after both us return from our duties." She wished she could spend more time with everyone here, but the war had waited long enough. It was time for the Grandmaster to move off of her starting square and join the fray. She took a shuttle up to the Justice's Mandate as the small fleet prepared to make to hyperspace and Serenno.
  10. Adenna looked at the temporally out of place Knight. She could understand his fears for she herself had faced them before. Uncertainty, hesitation, belief of inadequacy, and fears of failure had plagued her when she was young and, in some ways, still haunted her steps. She had only read stories of the old Jedi Order at its height, and from what she read, they were not slouches nor were they inadequate. Though her response was firm, it was without any hostility, insult, or belittlement. "Knight Makashi, I know some things about the Jedi of your time. No, they didn't have to face the Sith at their might, but they also were far from weak nor did they award the honor of Knighthood lightly. You have earned your rank by gaining the approval of an Order of Masters who had the time and ability to properly, fully vet and test their Padawans and consider their skills. Though it doesn't demean our current Order, there are times where I wish that the Knights and Masters of today could benefit from that careful consideration and reflection rather than being the product of battlefield promotions of necessity." She gently placed one hand on his shoulder, allowing a small portion of her own surety in their purpose to flow through to him. "I understand your hesitation and fears, but we are Jedi and the Force flows through us. We are on the righteous path, not the easy one, and sometimes that means we must swallow our fears and embrace courage. When I was young, not even a Knight, the call went out to take a stand against yet another Death Star, a massive, moon sized weapon capable of destroying entire planets in one shot. Fleets in the thousands gathered in both sides to fight for this weapon and I took my place among the Jedi who answered that call. I was unprepared, barely skilled, and untested in combat, but every hand and every pure heart was needed. A Master much wiser than me saw my fear, sensed my desire to be courageous, and allowed me to stand with those heroes: a feat for which I am most proud and that molded me more than almost any other I have done. We do not always get to choose our opponents or when we must serve." Her hand left his shoulder and pointedly hovered over her side where the scar still remained beneath her robes. "I cannot say I made much of any difference, but I took that stand and the Force guided me through it, though with scars. At this time, you may not see your own skills or believe yourself adequate, but that is not the man I see." There was pride in her voice as she continued, pride for the sacrifice and history of the Jedi. "You are a Jedi Knight and, no matter what the Sith or anyone else may say, there is honor and pride in that. Trust the Force and let it guide your steps and you shall find your courage and rise to the situation. If you fall in this or any other conflict, let it not be to something lesser than yourself caused because you were afraid or unsure. Let your fall be because you faced a foe truly greater than yourself and decided to make that stand and sacrifice so that others might not have to." She paused a moment. "I would not have you accept a burden you are not ready to bear unless need dictate it. In this case, we are fortunate to have Knight Darkfire whom I do believe is able to lead the infiltration mission. It would be good to allow one of our Imperial Knight allies to show the strength of his Order so that it may strengthen the Jedi as well. We should be departing soon and there will be more time in hyperspace to prepare yourselves."
  11. Adenna was glad for the acceptance and pragmatism of the Imperial Knight. He didn't question the need or overall picture of the task assigned to him, he wanted only to know the details. "You have multiple options, it depends on what you want to utilize. Money is a possibility, but sometimes risky. You can also use the Force to 'persuade' Customs to ignore your lightsaber and weapons. You also could choose to disassemble the weapons and conceal your lightsaber, or a combination of all. Serenno is a Sith planet, but it is not on the front lines. While Sith security always strives to be vigilant, the truth is that nobody can always be completely on their game all of the time. Years of no threats dulls any security system, and I anticipate you and your teams will be able to take advantage of that." Despite her words, she knew infiltration missions were always risky. That is why she wouldn't be going with the initial team. It wasn't a decision of cowardice, but one of pragmatism. If the initial infiltration was compromised and killed or captured, it would be tragic but recoverable. If they captured or killed the Grandmaster, however, it would be devastating. She might not be in the first wave, but she would be joining the reinforcing team that came to help them collect the currency once they took the Treasury and would help them in fending off Sith counterattacks. "I know infiltration is difficult, but that is why we are only sending a half dozen men with you. The fewer that go, the less the chance that they will be discovered. I am sending two Knights to balance out the low numbers. Make no mistake, this is a risky mission, but no more risky than the front lines. The Jedi Order and Rebel Alliance needs this money almost as much as we need a symbolic strike against the Sith. So far, out offensives in this War have not gone well with only a few exceptions. We need to start building victories, and we also need money to buy more weapons, ships, and supplies. This will help us do it."
  12. As soon as their Jensaarai guests left, Adenna turned her attention to Tobias. She had heard reports that he had suffered physically, but she had not been prepared for the level of aging that had descended upon her old lover. It broke her heart to see him like this, but she could at least gain comfort when she saw him through the Force and saw that much of the tightness and struggle had been resolved. That was good, at least. They talked for several minutes, but, with her new job, she didn't have the amount of time she had wanted. There were others waiting on her and there was a fleet to launch. Tobias was in no condition to come with her, so this would be another goodbye. Leaving him with a charge to heal his body and ready himself for war once again, she left him in the hall to greet the other two waiting for her. Before she opened the door, she let out a deep breath and with it, the pent up emotions that had been stirred up by seeing Tobias again. When that breath was out, she breathed in and with that, brought her mind back under control. She activated the door and started the short journey back to her office. By the time she was there, she was the calm, serene Grandmaster who was in control and ready to fight. "Knight Makashi," she said, first greeting the odd Jedi Knight who had contacted the Jedi Order several months ago claiming to be from the old Order. "It is good to see you here, and I am glad you answered my summons." She looked over at the far younger man in his Imperial Knight armor. "Knight Darkfire," she said, "it is also good to have you here, and congratulations on your promotion. Please, join me in my office for a few minutes." When they were settled in, she quickly got to explaining their mission and what they were to do. "We will be raiding Serenno. Due to its wealth, it has a branch of the Imperial Treasury Department has a hub there and it is full of Sith Crowns. Though it is the currency of our enemy, it is still currency and can be most useful when trading with neutral parties or using bribes to get information and intelligence, and that is why we want it. Not only that, but we will also be hitting several industrial factories producing weapons and body armor as a distraction. "The first phase of this operation will involve scoping out and raiding the Treasury. I believe the two of you will be most useful there, and you will have a squad of troopers to help. You will land first before the fleet arrives on a common civilian transport purchased through a third party from a Sith sympathetic planet. Once on the ground, you will need to get through customs which could be a bit of fun, but then you will find the Treasury, analyze it, and launch a raid. While Treasury employees are civilians, they are also part of the Sith government and will be loyal to it. Use stun weapons if you need on the workers, but you may deal with guards or armed resistance as you see fit. "Once you have prepared yourself and ready to attack, I will come in with the fleet to cause a distraction. While we deal with any resistance in orbit, we will also bomb the factories hopefully drawing the civil attention there. You will raid the Treasury as soon as the bombs fall on the factories. I will also send additional troops and shuttles to pull out the currency you capture. Don't sacrifice yourselves in a pointless fight, but the Jedi and the Rebellion need as much money as you can take. As soon as you are in the air, with or without money, we will evacuate and leave. "Any questions? We will have more time on the way to go over fine details, but if you have any glaring questions, now is the time."
  13. Adenna was glad that Tobias had elected not to cause a scene. She knew he didn't always have the reputation for being diplomatic, and while she wasn't exactly an expert at that herself, she didn't need any issues. She would talk with him after this, though time was short since she was planning on heading to Serenno to launch a much needed bank heist to help with other plans. "Yes, we will be targeting the lanes between Kuat and Coruscant, as well as any others in the area that might be useful. We have been placing agents and spies on the ground to give us a minor heads up of when large shipments might be heading out, but it will be a grab bag of things that might get caught. Stop everything possible, and if it is clearly not working with the Sith, then let it go. If they are, even if they are simply supplying them, capture the ship and cargo if possible, otherwise warn them then destroy the ship." She pressed a small button on her belt summoning an Adept to the hall to serve as an escort. "The Jedi will be sending a small fleet of frigates and corvettes to escort the Interdictor. They will be under the command of Captain Enterion, but I will make sure he works with you and your cruiser. Let us see how our people can work together, then we can see about expanding our relationship. Your Saarai-Kaar may send whomever you wish to join the Jedi here and we can see about an exchange of ideas and training if that sounds agreeable to you and her." She stood, gave a quick respectful bow of her head, then gestured to the Adept who would be able to take their guests back to their ship. Further instructions would follow, and she would make sure Captain Enterion was aware of their new allies. She wanted to remain a while and talk with Vos, a long overdue conversation.
  14. Adenna grinned slightly at the word "piracy" being used. She had fought against plenty of pirates and didn't consider any of what she planned the Jedi on doing to be piracy, but she understood his concern. "We will focus only on Sith aligned ships or those doing business with the Sith Empire, but I can see your con...." Her voice trailed off as she saw the man entering the hall. It took a long moment to even recognize him, either through the Force or with her physical eyes. Tobias had changed in the year since she had last seen him. He had changed quite a bit, and she was sure it would take a good deal of time to fully quantify just how much he had changed. On impulse, she brought back the normal mental barriers that had been lowered so that she was back to her normal, guarded self as she stared at him while he shuffled towards them. She had received a report that the exiled Jedi had returned to Nar Shaddaa, but she had deliberately not brought their paths together. Instead, she wanted to wait and see what he would do, to see how he would address the situation he now found himself in. Part of her was gladdened to see him here, but another was horrified that he had chosen this time to return to her. It took her a moment to collect her thoughts, during which Tobias managed to get close to them and introduce himself. She paused, then decided to roll with what had come. "Master Vos, this is Defender Sarlaac and Defender Mantis of the Jensaarai. They have come to ally with the Jedi and the Rebels so that we can fight our mutual enemy, the Sith."
  15. Adenna nodded in acknowledgment of the offer, but gently pressed the weapon back into its creator's hands. "I respect your offer, but why would I wish to disarm an ally when in the middle of war? The trinkets you mentioned are of little value to the Jedi: physical possessions can be distractions and actions are more powerful than words. Your mere presence here and the risk you took is symbol enough, and if you wish to take action and fight, then we will have opportunity soon enough to accomplish that. If the Jedi and Jensaarai are to trust each other, bonds forged in combat are the quickest way." She took another sip of wine and sat back in her chair. "The Jedi are preparing a two pronged attack. One group led by me will begin raiding the enemy behind their lines, taking weapons and supplies meant for their armies of evil and bringing them to our own forces. The other group will be linking up with an interdictor and raiding enemy shipping with a similar purpose. We are in need of weapons, money, and supplies and there is no better way to acquire them than by taking them from our enemy. If you wish to accomplish us, you are most welcome. If you have other areas you feel your skills would be better suited, then speak them and I will see what I can do to support you in those endeavors."
  16. Adenna eyed the reaction to her challenge with consideration and not the least bit of intimidation. There were no shock troopers or Jedi Knights waiting in the wings to rush in and destroy these newcomers: she was here on her own and yet she had no fear. Though she could sense very little within the Force from these two, she did not pick them as assassins or even as threats. Instead, she was more intrigued as to these newcomers and whatever potential they could offer. She understood how direct her question was, but these were warriors, not diplomats and she wouldn't dishonor them by pretending they were anything but. "The Jedi stand in the Light and defend those innocent who can't defend themselves," she answered. "In times of peace, we heal and mediate disputes. But in times of war, we must stand up and use our strength and convictions to fight evil and Darkness wherever it appears. The Jedi seek balance within themselves, an opposition to the Darkness that is always waiting. To do that, we must sometimes make sacrifices of ourselves so others do not." She took another deliberate bite into her food. As she did, she allowed her own natural mental shields in the Force to fade so that the two, should they wish it, could get a sense of her. "In the past, we hunted the Darkness wherever it could be found, both within and without. We did so knowing that should it be left to fester, it would grow into a larger threat. The Jedi found many threats and ended them before they consumed worlds and the Galaxy is better for it. For some, that meant educating and correcting, but for others, that meant fire and death. "I accept responsibility but make no apology for the actions against the Jensaarai by those who came before me. Who am I to say what those involved on both sides saw? If there was a Darkness in your forefathers, then the Jedi were right to act. Had the they not acted, the Force only knows what the Jensaarai would have become. Would they have been another Palpatine, Ar-Pharazon, or Exodus? Would they have become like the Nightsisters, a threat as dangerous the Sith we face, or something far worse? We do not know, but through the intervention of those past Jedi, as painful as it was, the Force was able to guide the Jensaarai along a new path, one that led away from the Darkness. You are not alone suffering this harsh fate: the Jedi, too, have suffered from this purging as we have fought our own who have fallen and the failure to do so resulted in much suffering." She looked pointedly at both of the beings before her. She might have been born Adenna Alluyen, a slave of Thalassia, but now she wore the mantle of the Grandmaster of the Jedi Order and all the privilege and baggage that came with it. She would not shirk from the past, nor would she apologize for fighting any who were of the Dark. If the Jensaarai were to work with the Jedi, then they would have to be able to come to terms with the past. If the Jedi were to work with the Jensaarai, they would also have to accept what they had done. "The Jedi have not always been successful in their purpose, as the presence of the Sith can attest. Regrettably, we have had to take actions that are harsh, that are made in haste, or without complete knowledge. The Force guides us, but we do not always interpret it correctly. We have stumbled and we have erred, yet the best of us constantly strive to be better and walk in the Light. I cannot say if another method would have served the Jensaarai better, but the Force controls all and we must bow to its wishes. Some of us are destined to be born through fire, others through luxury. The Jedi have experienced both and have suffered for it and so also have the Jensaarai."
  17. Adenna ate politely while the ambassador spoke. She wasn't completely hungry, but there were several tasty offerings here and it would be rude not to partake. There were many in the Galaxy who did not have the luxury of a table full of appetizing food, so it would be a disservice to them to waste what was prepared. "One drop raises the largest of oceans," she responded warmly. "We, right now, are in need of soldiers willing to make a stand. It doesn't matter how many or how few: all who are willing to fight are more than welcome." She took a sip of some wine and replaced the goblet on the table. With a slightly more serious tone, she continued "The Jedi stand for the Light and will always do so. There is a constant struggle against the Darkness that every one who takes up the blade or blaster must wrestle with. I am aware of the toll that this war will take on the Jedi and I embrace it so that others do not have to. Our brethren in the Imperial Knights take this duty quite seriously as well, though admittedly they prefer rather harsh responses to any taint of darkness. I understand that the Jensaarai have had struggles with the Jedi in the past and have trod closer than some Jedi would like to the Darkness, but it is the opinion of past Jedi scholars that your Order is not corrupted as the Sith or Nightsisters of Dathomir are." Adenna's blue eyes stared straight into the Sarlacc's large red eyes and all semblance of casual friendship left her face, replaced with the rigidly hard intensity that could only be commanded by one forced to lead and make difficult decisions. "I do not intend offense, but I would be utterly remiss of my duties as leader and guardian of the Jedi Order if I did not make sure one that I wish to welcome into our ranks would not become a poison to taint and destroy what we believe in."
  18. It saddened Adenna to sense the barely contained disdain coming from her counterpart in the Imperial Knights. She had hoped that this would be an opportunity for her to finally sit down with Master Eleison and discuss future moves and her own plans for the war, especially with the arrival of another potential ally. The leader of the Imperial Knights hadn't seemed much interested in working together since she recovered from her ordeal on Coruscant, but Adenna wouldn't force the issue. As long as they were still focused on fighting the Sith, it would work. The Jedi had needed some time to organize and rebuild, but it would be their time soon, and with new allies, they would be more ready than ever. She used the experience of the last year and a half as Grandmaster to hide her disappointment both on her face and in the Force and remained congenial yet also dignified. There wasn't quite enough food here to serve a battalion, but it was a reception meant for diplomats with plenty of food that would match almost anyone's tastes. Most of the moderately large room was empty, but there was a table set near the throne where the former master of this hall used to recline that had been set for them. She didn't recognize the one called Mantis, but gave a quick bow of her head when he spoke of having met her before. Many had seen her in the past and, try as she might, she couldn't recall every one. "I am glad you are here," she said warmly while they were seated. "The situation in the Galaxy is indeed dire, but I do have faith that the forces of Light can stand against the current evil we are facing. There have been Grandmasters in the past who do not embrace the Jedi's role as warriors against evil, but I am not one of them. I know the Jensaarai have a long tradition of being warriors and am glad for it. Even if we have differences in theology, I believe there is always room for alliances with all who serve the Light and eschew the Darkness."
  19. With some of their plans set, Adenna realized the exhaustion that was hounding Sandy and, belatedly, dismissed the new Master to get some much needed and deserved rest and relaxation. Sometimes, after being cooped up in this office for so long, she forgot how stressing and draining combat and field work was. She missed that aspect of her role as a Jedi, missed it so much she was now determined to go back to it and the front lines. She had been needed here on Nar Shaddaa building up the Jedi's forces, but now it was time for her to go to the front. News reached her of new arrivals wanting to see the Jedi's leadership. This was especially intriguing since she had long wanted to bring all of those who serve the Light into one unified group. Leaving the newly minted Knight Koon to show his potential by initially greeting them, she quickly had data and intelligence information on their group forwarded to her datapad as she headed towards one of the reception halls. She knew very little of their group and needed to know more before meeting them. When she arrived at the hall, she noticed the preparations. The entire Rebel HQ had once been a Hutt palace that had been heavily renovated. This was once some minor Huttling's feasting hall that had now been converted to a reception area. It wasn't too large, but neither was it too small. Food was already being rushed into place for their guests, and Adenna was going to meet them here. She would not undermine Kel Koon by swooping in at the hangar, but would let him escort their guests here so they could all see what the Jensaarai wished.
  20. Adenna smiled at the response. She was glad to see another Jedi willing to stand up against evil even if it meant sacrificing themselves. Knighthood had long been more up to the one training the Padawan, so she was happy to accept it and confirm the promotion. Masterhood was far more difficult, but without a functioning Council, Adenna and those others who had been working at the training center here on Nar Shaddaa had been sufficient a group to promote Sandy to her new position. "Those are noble words and I am proud to hear them. We need every Jedi possible to stand against the evil in this Galaxy. Come with Master Sarna and I then. We are about to embark on the Jedi's first true offensive campaign since the disaster at Onderon. We will be striking hard and fast at enemy shipping, supply depots, and any place that is vulnerable. I want to draw the enemy's attention back to their own weaknesses rather than on ours so that we can fill in those gaps with strong new men and women such as yourself."
  21. Adenna appraised the newcomer to her office. She had only read of Kel Koon's name on the reports of those sent to the Eternal Vigilance, she did not know much about him. However, she had said that she trusted Sandy's word when it came to Imperial Knight Darkfire, so why shouldn't she do the same for this one? She had faith in Sandy's judgment otherwise she would never have promoted her in the first place. "If you believe him worthy, then so be it," she replied to Sandy with a nod. Turning to the Kel Dor, she said, "Come, Knight Koon, and tell me: how do you see yourself contributing to the Jedi Order as a Knight?"
  22. After all was said that needed saying and done that needed doing, Adenna and Sandy returned to her office to begin debriefing the new Master. Now that the younger woman had ascended, it was time to give her access to more of the confidential information that those of her new rank were entitled to. The situation facing the Jedi and their Rebel allies was dire indeed, and while Sandy had known some of it, she didn't quite know it all. The situation in the field was quite grim, though it wasn't impossible. Losses following the Mandalorian Crusader's campaign were heavy, but nothing compared to the attacks and losses incurred by the Sith Empire's expansion. One of the greatest weaknesses of the Galactic Alliance was that instead of having a centralized fleet, it preferred to keep a very small fleet and rely on local and planetary forces to supplement it. After Coruscant, hundreds of systems had surrendered without a fight to the Sith, taking with them their local planetary defenses and recalling elements of their fleets that had been with the former Galactic Alliance. Those losses were doubly painful because every ship that the Rebels lost was added to their enemy. The Jedi had taken heavy losses at Onderon and elsewhere. Attrition from those Jedi who refused to actively fight on moral grounds further gutted the leadership and experience of the Order. New recruits had been found in the last year and a half, but those took time to train and teach. Almost three quarters of the entire Jedi Order was comprised of Padawans, with an especially critical shortage of Masters able to lead them. It was for that reason Adenna herself had stayed on Nar Shaddaa for as long as she did: someone needed to help train the latest batch of Padawans. The Raid on Kuat was underway, though facing stiff resistance. Mon Calamari was lost entirely from plague, internal divisions, and the Sith invasion. Corellia was under threat, but that had been pulled off to defend Kuat and would likely return in strength after that raid was over. There were multiple smaller conflicts developing throughout the Outer Rim and the Mid Rim regions as the Sith consolidated their dominance there. Rumors of expansion and reoccupation of Coruscant were not good for the Rebels, either. Defections and surrenders reached Nar Shaddaa almost daily to the point it was difficult to rely on the future loyalty of almost a third of their current holdings. Many systems who currently were loyal to the Rebels would quickly surrender if the Sith turned their attention to their planets. The situation was quite dire, but there was hope. Actions taken when she became Grandmaster were beginning to show fruit. Military contracts and recruitment drives had matured and new ships, weapons, supplies, and recruits were readying. The demonstration earlier had been but one of many successes of the last year and a half. Economies had fully transitioned over to war production and the results were promising. The Sith had been preparing for war for many years before launching their attack, now it was the Rebel's time to catch up and take the war back to their foe. Every month, more and more efforts matured and readied themselves so that, assuming they held onto the shipyards and systems, the Rebels would become stronger and stronger as time went by. They needed to hold onto the planets they had lest the recovery come too late. "We need to start taking the offensive," Adenna summarized. "We have ships and men, though fewer than our enemy. That means we must be careful where we attack and how we do it which is why the Kuat Raid is so critical. If we can steal ships from the enemy, it helps us while denying them the fruits if their labor. We can't keep operating as traditional opponents facing our opponents head on, but must switch to a guerrilla style war. It is a messy, dirty, and uncomfortable aspect of war many feel is less honorable or glorious, but it must be done to survive while more of our resources and efforts become ready. "I am taking our latest fleet and armies out on a series of raids over the next month. Our goal is not to oppose their fleets or take over their planets, but to simply cause destruction to their war effort and shipping lanes. We will steal what we can thus denying them those resources while enriching ourselves. We will destroy what we can't take forcing the Sith to take the time to rebuild. We will become privateers, raiders, and an invisible shadow constantly striking and threatening. We won't fight large battles, but will hit them where they are weak and where they can't protect themselves. The Sith Empire has grown large and spread out from their successes, it is now time for us to exploit their over extension and hit where they aren't expecting it. Doing so will slow their industrial and economic expansion while forcing them to focus on defense instead of attacking our systems." She paused and looked at Sandy once more instead of the myriad of holos showing charts, graphs, numbers, and maps. "I want you to come with me, to lead our ground forces. We won't be invading planets, but I anticipate taking enemy ships, raiding some factories and supply depots, and possibly deploying resistance cells in the planets we are able to. Some of our raids will be quick and destructive, others may give us time to land and consolidate what we otherwise would have to destroy. You have proven yourself in the field, and I want you at my side."
  23. Adenna sat in silence as Sandy gave her report, her emotions and response kept hidden through both Force and eyes. She had learned how to take news of all stripes with the utmost impassiveness and control, both as a way to maintain an even keel and simply to not give any potential opponents any hint of her thoughts. She was displeased to hear of the loss of the old Jedi refuge, but some things could not be helped and the Force willed sacrifice and loss at times. For the rest, she would take in stride: the strategic side of her that had been forced to the forefront seemed to almost always overrun the human side of her that felt. Command was never a luxury or a thrill, it was a true sacrifice of self for the needs of the many. After Sandy finished, there were several moments of silence as Adenna absorbed the report. She activated her desk console and entered several quick notes and a command, then sent them out to their appropriate locations. When she looked back at the pair, it was with eyes bearing the weight of a woman far older than her own thirty-three years and a face etched with more worry than most mothers of five. "I am saddened to hear of Fynn Relmis. I had lost touch with him as we had so many other Jedi and had no idea he had fallen. At least you ended his suffering." Her blue eyes fell upon the silent Imperial Knight whom Sandy had spoken of with praise. "I have not followed Knight Darkfire's career as you have, so I cannot speak to his worthiness. Still, if you deem it true, then I shall make the recommendations, but the Imperial Knights still hold their own council and have yet to rejoin the Jedi Order." She stood up and, with a slight sigh, said, "You have completed your task, but now I shall ask more of you." Gesturing for the two of them to follow, she set out of her office and led the two through the maze of hallways and turbolifts until they reached the depths of the complex. After several minutes of walking, they turned a corner and were presented with a long, straight hallway that ran at least fifty meters before opening up into an open catwalk stretched three hundred meters supported by cables attached to the giant ceiling. The hallway had no windows, so they were not able to clearly see their destination until they reached the opening where hallway gave way to an elevated catwalk thirty meters from the floor. Once there, their eyes beheld a cavernous room a hundred and fifty meters wide and three hundred meters long with a ceiling at least fifty meters tall. This was the giant foundation of the Rebel Alliance Headquarters, supported by massive pillars placed strategically throughout it that somehow, failed to minimize the true scale of the place. Though there was plenty of lighting, for now, the harsh floodlights were dimmed so that the entire room had an even glow of light without being overwhelming. Hidden to their eyes was the fact that there were dozens of massive hangars attached on all sides of the main room. Adenna didn't pause as she reached the opening, despite the spectacle that was now before them. Within this room stood twenty thousand soldiers wearing the colors of the Jedi Order Armed Forces, all arranged in formation at battalion strength arrayed on each side of the catwalk. The battalions were further organized into regiments while each side represented an entire division. Spaced between the formations of soldiers were various and assorted assault craft, armored personnel carriers, artillery cannons, and even a few drop shuttles. In front of each regiment, a Jedi Knight stood with lightsaber drawn and ignited in salute in front of them. As soon as the trio entered the room, the sound of twenty thousand boots banging together at attention echoed out. Without word, Adenna continued to stride across the catwalk all three hundred meters until they reached the far side where the catwalk branched out into a balcony. There, on either side of the elevated balcony, six other Jedi stood with light lightsabers in salute waiting for them. Adenna made her way to a small podium, gesturing for Sandy and Aiden to pause at the entrance of the balcony. When she reached the podium, the sound of boot against boot again echoed out as the assembly turned to face them. Adenna looked out over the army that had been assembled for four seconds, before beginning. Her voice echoed out through the room, but not blaringly loud. "For a thousand generations, the Jedi Order has stood against evil," she started. "We have not always succeeded, nor were we perfect, but to be a Jedi always meant being willing to fight, suffer, and sacrifice to protect others and ward against the Darkness. It is our sworn duty to stand up against the corrupt and evil and to protect the weak and innocent. Fathomless numbers of battles have been waged over countless worlds in a never ending series of wars, and millions of Jedi have given their lives in this duty and we continue to do so today. We have always stood at the front, been in the trenches, gone where none wish to go, and fought whom none else could stand against. We of the Jedi Order have the Force to comfort and guide us and to help us complete seemingly supernatural feats. We are called brave, heroic, and inspire awe in old and young alike. "Yet, throughout this all, we have not stood alone. History holos rarely show the bravery of those who have fought along side us in our darkest hours, who also took upon themselves that same sworn duty we have embraced. Famous Jedi decorate the halls of museums and light up the pages of textbooks, but they were never alone. "During our wars, our struggles, and our tribulations, the Jedi had allies and friends. Those not born with the ability to touch and use the Force still took up arms along side the Jedi. People from all walks of life heeded the call, left their families, and joined our cause to fight evil beside us. They didn't have the Force to protect them, yet they charged into the fray nonetheless. In truth, they were the brave ones, the heroes, and the beings whom history should never forget. They may have fought under different names, names such as the Republic or the Rebel Alliance, but they fought on with equal valor. "Today, I salute you: soldiers of all walks of life who heeded the Jedi Order's call for aid. You put your lives on hold, volunteered to serve, and now are ready to fight along side the Jedi against the evil of the Sith Empire. You took the oaths to serve the Light, to hold yourself to a higher standard than even our comrades in the Rebel Alliance, and to be at the front of the fight with beings that hold terrifying powers. "For months, you have been training, preparing, and steeling yourself for the war that is to come. You join tens of thousands of beings just like you who are already in the field, and are followed by tens of thousands more who will soon be where you are. You come to serve, to fight, and perhaps to die for the cause of the Light, of life and justice, and hopefully one day, of peace." Adenna paused, then gestured at Sandy. "Before me stands a young woman who has fought from an age that no being should ever have to fight. She has joined me before she was even able to truly call herself a teen and fought through hells and darkness. She has risen through it, despite taking grievous pains and injuries. She has not just served, but taken charge and led. She has earned her place among the Jedi of storied tales, and has earned her place before you." Adenna gestured for Sandy to step forward even as she herself left the podium. When she spoke again, her words were not amplified, but rather meant only for those Jedi on the balcony with them. "Sandy Sarna, you have served without complaint, you have fought with valor, and you have remained true to your calling. You have stood firm even when those around you, including myself, have failed you. You faced your darkness and inner demons and you have conquered them. Though I have been cruel to you and abandoned you, you still remain true to the Jedi way. Though the Dark Side has tempted you, you stayed true to the Light. Your path has not been easy, but you have continually prevailed. You have not only earned my respect, but the respect of the entire Jedi Order and those of these before you who have come here of their own volition. "By my authority and responsibility as Grandmaster of the Jedi Order, with the enthusiastic and unanimous support of those Jedi you see here, I do hereby proclaim you to have earned the rank and privilege of Jedi Master and shall henceforth be known as Master Sarna." She took out her own lightsaber, ignited its orange blade, and held it in front of her in a salute. As she did, the dozen Jedi stretched out their blades towards Sandy, confirming their support and recognition. The assembled troops, remaining in solemn silence, began to pound their fists against armored chests, the sound of which filled the chamber and echoed in grandeur. After holding the salute for half a minute, Adenna stilled her blade and returned it to her belt. She embraced her former Padawan, whispering into her ear, "You have made me proud, and humbled me. You have earned this many times over." She returned to the podium and resumed, her voice once again amplified, "To all of you, I now present to you your new commanding officer, Master Sandy Sarna, the newest of a new generation of Jedi willing to sacrifice themselves in the service of the Light to protect the innocent from the evil that faces us. For her many actions leading men in multiple battlefields throughout the Galaxy, I do hereby confer upon her the sacred duty of leading you against the Sith Empire. New ships have been built and new crews trained. You shall be the army that fights in the trenches, the battlefields, and the streets of this war. You shall be the beacon of hope to an oppressed and terrified people, and at the front shall be this woman. I have no doubts that she shall lead you well and that you will stand firm against the encroaching Darkness so that it may be driven back once more to the edges of the Galaxy." More fists clashed against chests as the Jedi stilled their blades one by one, then with a bow of their heads, formed up beside Sandy. Adenna retreated from the podium to a door at the rear of the balcony, followed by Sandy, the dozen Jedi, and finally by Aiden. After another fifty meters of walking, they came to an intersection with a door that led to a fairly large but empty briefing room. There, the Jedi, all Knights or Masters who had volunteered to serve with the armed forces knowing the risks, congratulated Sandy. Some of these men and women had fought along side her, others had only had the pleasure of training with her. Still, all of them knew of what she had done and were overjoyed at her elevation. Adenna, having already spoken her own words, stood back and let them celebrate in their own way, waiting for Sandy to be free and come to her.
  24. As much as she was beginning to come to view these four walls and a desk as a sort of second home, Adenna also despised it. Partially because she didn't want to feel inclined to spend more time here, she had mostly neglected to decorate it with anything more than a couple of holopanels constantly streaming data from the war and other Galactic events. There were a few moderately comfortable chairs on the side walls, but most people preferred to stand. While she understood the Grandmaster had to have an office and serve some sort of administrative function, she was frustrated at how much time she was required to stay here instead of being out training the new recruits and Padawans or preparing for the next strike against the Sith. Still, there were times when she was able to make some good use of being stuck in this office. Today, at least, she had some interesting guests. A slight smile teased her lips as she saw Sandy Sarna walk in with Imperial Knight Darkfire. "I am glad to see you have returned from your mission," she said with no trace of sternness. She added some sarcasm and dry humor to her next sentence, "While I am sure you are overly eager to write up a nice, long report for the Archives, why don't you give me the short but complete version of what happened?"
  25. With the fate of Kyrie Eleison still uncertain, there was little more for the mixed Jedi and Imperial Knights to do but trust the Force. The Imperial Knights stationed a vigil over their fallen leader in the hopes that she would waken one day, but for Adenna, she had to focus on her other responsibilities. As much as they all would have gained from having Master Eleison rejoin their ranks, they needed to focus elsewhere on the war at hand. For these weeks, Adenna focused on improving her own skills and readiness. She had felt the darkness and pure despair that had taken over Coruscant while scouting the ruined planet. If the Jedi were to have any hope of stopping such a force, they would need to harness the Light Side to its fullest and build themselves to an army. Though there would be many who resisted among her ranks, she needed to build and train those she could to better serve in this war against the Darkness. When not attending meetings and overseeing the consolidation and building of new ships, supply lines, alliances, and the establishment of bases, she was focused on training with and teaching Jedi from her experiences in combat. Small unit tactics had been her specialty on Thalassia and she had seen and fought in multiple battles. She brought in non-Force sensitive soldiers and officers to share their expertise. Over a hundred Jedi had answered her initial call for Jedi willing to fight. Most of them were Padawans or Knights, but there were three other Masters who were willing to learn and fight. Those Masters and Knights all brought experience and skills of their own to the larger group and so everyone learned from the newest Padawan to the Grandmaster herself. It wasn't just personal combat that she taught and learned from, but also small and large unit tactics, military strategy, and leadership. There simply weren't enough Jedi in the Galaxy to stand against the Sith alone. It wasn't enough for Jedi to just charge into battle alone, they needed to learn how to be leaders and officers so they could lead the thousands and millions of men and women who were joining the Rebels and Jedi Armed Forces. Slowly, as the Jedi grew stronger, their resources grew. Ships ordered at the start of the war were being finished and crews trained to operate them. Soon, there would be more ships to join the fight against the Sith Empire and Adenna would head out onto the field to fight. Until they had enough troops and ships to fight directly, she would lead a raiding party through the enemy's lines to strike at over extended supply depots and shipping routes. She would become the fly in the ointment, the constant nagging whine in the ear of the Emperor, and a constant reminder that evil wouldn't be able to rest easy. She would raid and destroy enemy resources where they were weak while taking what she could to further enrich the Rebels. It would be a bloody campaign, but evil needed to be punished and the Jedi needed a lightsaber to cut through the Darkness and bring back the Light.
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