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Krath Apothos

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Everything posted by Krath Apothos

  1. Apothos accepted the hilt of the lightsaber, something that might have been a smile on his face. How interesting that out of every Sith here, it was him that Inmortos handed his weapon to. There was something in that, something that might be of use later. But, as Apothos had said before, now was not the time. "I must agree," he said to the armored Sith who'd suggested that the group get a move on. "We leave now." With a lurch, his cobbled mechanical throne stomped across the metal floor, magnetized feet keeping it from rising off the ground. With his movement being handled by the basic subsentient mind of his chair, cobbled together from fragments of droid processors, Apothos was free to use his own mind for other things. He extended his sense of mechu-deru into the system around him, and was immediately assaulted by flashes of alerts and alarms coming from all over the station. He did not see the code itself, like a computer might. He only gained an impression of the information running through the system, much as how seer might sense events halfway across the galaxy. It was not technological skill, but simply an esoteric form of magic. The station was awash in confusion, even in the datastreams. Apothos sensed mangled code and garbled commands from some catastrophic malfunction, and for a moment he was lost. However, he sorted through the impressions, examining each carefully, until he spotted what he needed. Security alerts, notices of damaged turret emplacements, calls for droid reinforncements. In Apothos' mind, the alerts painted the path that the Sith had taken to get here, and led to where they had no doubt landed their ship. Apothos' chair picked up speed, full on sprinting down the halls. Any turret that managed to target him was assaulted with garbage code, and any droids that stood in his way found their maglocks suddenly deactivating. Apothos was back in his element. He raced towards his escape.
  2. Apothos should have felt humiliated, and was mildly surprised when he wasn't. Both of his former masters, rescuing him from a prison he couldn't free himself from. How better to undercut his own power? But it wasn't humiliation that welled up inside him. It was excitement. No, that wasn't quite right. It was anticipation. His stay in darkness was over. And he was more than free. He was better for it. This time Apothos wouldn't forget what he'd been, and what he still was. He was a schemer. He was a criminal. He was a liar. He was a dealmaker who came out on top time and again, no matter what or who he had to claw past to get there. A throne? A world of his own? How could he have thought so small? He'd thought like a petty conqueror, trying to take a world and hold it. The galaxy, the real galaxy, wasn't made up of worlds. It wasn't made up of heroes and villains, or ships and armies, or even ideas and causes. The galaxy was made up of things. Stuff. Products. Resources. They flowed between stars, a vast network of deals, contracts, and promises carried in the holds of countless ships. Fortunes rising and falling. Nations made rich or made to collapse. Planetary politics decided not by the will of the people, but by the wax and wane of capital. That had been Nok's arena, where he'd been content to carve off a luxurious life from the margins. And it would be foundation of Apothos' empire. If he could take hold of that flow... control it...direct it...then the galaxy would be his without anyone even realizing he was there. No throne to break, no neck to chop, no flag to burn. Just shadows and numbers, the tools of subtler Sith. But first... Apothos examined the droid body in front of him. He frowned. Something was off. It took him a second to realize what it was. This...well, it wasn't a droid, so...this thing was giving off emotions. That's how he knew it wasn't a true droid. It's maddened panic was actually impacting the Force, enough that it shone like a brilliant torch to Apothos' Dark Sight, but was still almost lost in the reactor-level explosion of negative emotion the station was currently engulfed in. But still, its body was that of a droid. But when Apothos reached out to manipulate it with his mechu-deru, he found himself rebuffed. Not by specially designed circuitry, but by latent willpower. It was like the resistance of trying to manipulate the mind of the strong-willed, the subject fighting back out of instinct more than conscious thought. Truth be told, Apothos wasn't sure if this thing had any conscious thought left. He absentmindedly reached down and grabbed hold of the maglocked chair he'd constructed from droid parts, and pulled himself into it. Cables snaked around his waist, strapping him in. The legs clanked loudly as the chair obeyed its rider's will and circled the prone mechanical form. He looked up at Inmortos and smiled, his sickly gray skin stretching taut around his mouth. "What an interesting find. I'm curious where you found it, but now isn't the time." Apothos gestured, and Solus' limp body rose into the air and moved to the back of Apothos' throne. More frayed and scorched cables extended from the overlapping metal plates at the back of the chair, and secured the droid body in place. Apothos turned his sightless gaze on the rest of the gathered Sith. "I suggest we leave immediately."
  3. When Nok had felt the floor go out from under him, he'd fought to keep from losing his calm. Blind, suspended in the air, not knowing which way was up or down, (or how far away down actually was) was a disconcerting experience. It was ignorance, and ignorance was weakness. Nok had kept his head, breathed in and out, forcing himself to remain calm and listen for the clank clank of the security droids and their maglocked feet. When the audible hum of their stun batons powering up filled the air, Nok had to fight the sudden rush of renewed fear. He'd felt those batons once before, and judging by the louder volume and deeper pitch, this time they were at a higher setting. A significantly higher setting. All around the room, short and mangled cries of pain mingled with the unmistakable sound of electrical discharges and the meaty thump of metal batons hitting bodies. Then the Force returned. Nok screamed. All around him, the fear, anger, hate, and pain of the prisoners washed through him like a tidal wave through a spider web. The oncoming current stripped him inside and out, and for a moment Nok didn't know where he was. He didn't know who he was. There was no thought, no words, no understanding. He was just instinct and fear. Blindly, his mind flailed at the torrent of energy all around him, desperate to grasp something, anything, to halt his tumble through the roiling maelstrom of energy, to anchor himself to the reality that he was certain was very important even if he didn't know why. He reached through the torrent of emotion swirling around him as if reaching through a curtain, and he touched something. For an instant, he touched everything. Understanding returned. He remembered this. He remembered the Force. The Force was in everything. It ran through all life, all worlds, all space. It touched and bound everything in the galaxy in one, vast network of flowing energy. And Nok...he could touch it. He could control it. Nok stopped screaming. A low, rasping, wet sound like an old motor struggling to turn over began to come from his dry, chapped mouth. Apothos was laughing. Apothos could see everything now. The emotion of the prisoners panicking as the droids went to work on them was a bonfire to the Sith's senses, and the technology around him stood out stark to his sense of mechu-deru. In particular, the security droids caught his attention, and not simply because they were working their way in towards the center of the crowd of floating prisoners where Apothos was, but because they showed up strangely in his senses. Warped, in a way. Like someone had taken an oil image floating on water and stirred it around until only the barest distortion of a shape remained. Ah...so that was it. Smart. The prison had used the circuitry reinforced and specially made to resist mechu-deru. It made sense that a place like this had done their homework. Droids already were difficult to take over, and this rendered it near impossible. Of course, that didn't render Apothos helpless. His warped, shriveled, sickly gray body shivered and turned in midair, like some old, feeble beast waking from its sleep. A gnarled hand stretched out, almost casually, and pointed at the nearest droid approaching the center of the crowd of suspended prisoners. A thread of his will traced out from it. The hum of the droid's baton got louder. Confused, as this was not something it had experienced before nor was it in its operating protocols, it held up the baton for inspection. Then the baton exploded. The blast shattered the deterrent device, sending several pieces of shrapnel into nearby prisoners, their sharp explosions of pain like fireworks to Apothos' Dark Sight. The droid itself, mere inches from the epicenter of the blast, jerked back violently, its feet still firmly locked to the floor. As it struggled to rise back up (tough machine), its eyes flickered, and Apothos could sense that it was blind, the blast having knocked some connection loose in its photoreceptors. His crooked finger drifted to another droid. With a clunk, the droid's feet came off the floor, its maglocks deactivated. It waved its arms and legs uselessly in the air, Yes, these droids were resistant to his control. But a machine was a machine, and there was only so much you could do to protect from a simple change. Like increasing the power flow, or cutting a circuit to a hard-wired function. Apothos saw the spirits before anyone else. For a moment, he was confused. These were beacons that radiated pain and anguish, but they were wrong somehow. Not quite there, like a sound just at the edge of your hearing. The prisoners renewed screams when they entered the room clarified what Apothos had begun to suspect. Spirits. The chill in the air, that faint sense of malice at the edge of his mind. Inmortos was here. And he'd sent a gift. The spirits tore through the crowd of prisoners, making a beeline for Apothos, somehow sensing his potential power and (like all weak fools) wanting it for their own. A trio of them entered into his body, wracking him with pain and bitter cold. Apothos moaned, the sound resembling nothing so much as a death rattle. However, if he was a frail, wizened wreck on the outside, he was a thunderstorm on the inside. The spirits howled in rage and confusion as Apothos grasped them with his mind and tore at them, piece by piece, his spirit holding them with bands of lightning-charged iron. This was not the first time he'd dealt with spirits. His trial to earn the title of Sith Lord had been over a contest such as this, and these spirits were far from being as numerous or as malicious as those dread souls had been. He took his time tearing them apart, relishing their anger, then their fear, and then their panic. Like animals caught in a trash compactor, they struggled to escape the trap they'd thrown themselves into. Then they weren't anything anymore. The other spirits peeled away from Apothos, sensing what had happened and moving to easier prey. Fine. They could have the meat. Apothos wanted the metal. With a gesture, the security droid drifting through the air was ripped from its place and sent cartwheeling through the crowd of floating prisoners to collide with a crash into the malfunctioning blind droid still recovering from the explosion of its weapon. The two were caught up in a tangle of metal limbs, and struggled to extricate themselves from each other. Then the floating droid was drawn back by the invisible force again, and then promptly slammed into the blind droid. Like a child banging toy blocks into each other, Apothos smashed the droids into each other in a cacophony of crunching metal and sparking circuits. Their heads deformed under the repeated impacts, their bodies bent and buckled. Then, finally, with a whine of servos powering down, the droids stopped functioning all together. Apothos smiled. Apparently, the other security droids had finally identified him as the threat. Perhaps it shouldn't have taken so long, but to their eyes he was nothing but a crippled neimoidian floating in the air, twitching his fingers. Apothos sensed one line up a targeting lock, the coded confirmations of the droid's weapon systems sounding out in his brain like the ding ding of tiny bells. With a gesture, Apothos telekinetically shoved the droid's arm aside as it fired, and its rounds of blaster bolts lanced through the crowd of prisoners, wide of their intended target. With a closing of his fist, the blaster stopped firing, power suddenly cut as a peculiar power drain emptied its capacitors. Apothos's fingers danced like a conductor's. Droids everywhere across the room suddenly began disconnecting from the floor, their maglocks mysteriously failing. Garbled garbage code flooded the minds of others, slowing their movements to a crawl as their processors fought not to drown under the sudden barrage. Some droids fired, only to find their blasters had been dialed down to below training level intensity, barely stinging the prisoners they hit. As for the two Apothos had destroyed, he spared them a few thoughts, weaving the spell he needed and filling it with his will before returning to his work. The mangled bodies, devoid of any controlling intelligence to resist him, began to warp and bend. Metal twisted and reshaped itself, circuits tore away and realigned, and cables split and reattached in new, unfamiliar configurations. The droids kept coming, and Apothos was struggling to keep up with them. He couldn't take them down permanently, they were too tough and too well protected for that. His little malfunctions were working well, but when numbers overwhelmed him, he'd be forced to take more direct action. As he worked, his creation of the two destroyed droids began to take shape. A crude throne, with maglocked droid legs holding it firm to the ground.
  4. Nok sputtered as a droid roughly lifted him to his feet, the fork of indeterminate foodstuff clattering to the table. "#11579, you require guidance. Follow." Nok barely managed to catch the edge of his walker and move it in front of him as the security droid began "guiding" him out of the dining area, its hand firmly gripping his arm. Half stumbling, half sliding as the droid dragged him along, his mind began to turn over what was happening. A break in the schedule. Something was happening. Maybe just a malfunction. Still... As his feet brushed a workout mat, he realized where he'd been brought. The rec room, a place he'd only occasionally visited, given his physical frailty. The droid positioned him somewhere near the center of the room and let him go, leaving without a word to complete some other chore. Judging from the shuffling sounds, other prisoners were being funneled into the room. What was going on? He didn't want to get his hopes up, but it smelled like opportunity.
  5. Nok awoke to pain. It was the same pain as before, twin knots of searing threads that sat deep in the ruined holes where his eyes should have been and spread out across his skull. Before, he'd always been able to channel the pain. The pain had been his tool. It had been his beacon. Now, it had nowhere to go, nowhere to flow, so it kneaded and pushed and twisted in his head, while he remained blind as a Mon Calamari reef eel. His stomach twisted, simultaneously nauseous and starving. The sudden memory of gourmet food drew a small groan from him, and oddly enough he took heart from it. It was one of his most passionate displays in weeks. "#11579, exit your cell," the security droid said in a deep monotone that somehow also managed to sound impatient. Nok reached out to the side of his cot, fumbling until his hands brushed against cool metal. With a moment's effort, he rolled out of bed while using the object to steady himself. His legs fumbled near uselessly beneath him, and he leaned his weight entirely on the metal frame he clutched onto. A walker. One of the greatest interstellar criminals of the era, the monster of Mon Cal, a gorram Sith sorcerer...reduced to a walker. He shuffled out of his cell, just before the guard droid ordered him out again. He'd could time it by the split second now. From memory, he made his way to the mess hall, and gingerly sat himself down at the table. Around him, he could hear some of the prisoners sliding away. The guard droids would stop any fights, so no one bothered to hurt him, and without that potential distraction he supposed he didn't make very good company. To put it simply, Nok looked like death. His skin had completely lost any healthy shade green, or any green for that matter. A sickly gray, accented by the blackened veins spreading from his ruined eyes, marked him out now. His body was withered and hunched, his legs emaciated and bent, and his arms barely better. He carefully ate the tasteless food that got set in front of him, and did the only thing he could. The one thing he was good at. The one thing he excelled at. He thought. Most people would use this time to build grudges, cultivate hate, think over and over about the people who had put them in here. Krath Apothos would have done that. Nok Morliss...not so much. Nok had seen where Krath Apothos, left on his own, got them. Heck, he'd watched Krath Apothos kill Nok in his own head before going mad with power. And then lose it all. So Krath Apothos was in the back seat right now. Krath Apothos was good at wanting stuff, and was mad enough to get it. But Nok was smart, and smart was what they needed right now. It was his own fault he was in here. He'd gone too deep. One of the very, very few advantages of being denied the power of the Force while also being blind was that it let you look at your actions in a clear light. Apothos had gotten too greedy. Or rather, he'd let being greedy make him stupid. He'd reached too high too quickly. Living in the shadows, working the margins, trimming the fat, that's where guys like him thrived. Who in their right mind would ever want a throne? A throne was a giant target waiting to be toppled. No...better to be the guy who sells the weapons to the guy who kills the guy on the throne...then sell to the next guy after that. The most powerful people in the galaxy were the ones who could afford to be anonymous, that was one of the oldest lessons Nok had learned, and somehow he'd forgotten that! Not again. Nok wasn't stupid. He knew that if...IF...he got out of here, it wouldn't be Nok Morliss walking out. It'd be that madman Apothos. And that was fine! Apothos was great! Apothos was practically a god (or at least he thought so)! If Nok could do half the things Apothos could, he'd be running half this galaxy inside of a decade. Problem was that the little spellmonger was as mad as a schizophrenic troig. But that didn't mean the madboy couldn't take a few lessons from the old worm with him if he ever got out of here. Alone at his table, the withered neimoidian allowed himself the faintest smile. For that second, the pain didn't seem so bad.
  6. One of the most advanced, difficult, and destructive forms of Sith magic, Dark Side tendrils are formed by a skilled sorcerer directly conjuring the malevolent energy of their power into the physical world. The technique starts with the sorcerer's absolute concentration as a black mist covers the ground in the area 10 to 20 feet around the sorcerer. This mist is harmless, aside from creating a sense of unease in those touching it. The mist then swirls and thickens, over a dozen tendrils of inky fog sliding up out of the obscuring haze, each as tall as a man. These tendrils are composed of pure Dark Side energy. If the sorcerer can maintain his concentration, these tendrils move as extensions of his will, moving and attacking like actual limbs. When conjured by a Lord, they badly and painfully burn any flesh they touch, disintegrate cloth, and rapidly corrode most mundane armor. It is a Sith Master, however, that draws out this technique's true potential. At their command, the tendrils hold the same destructive power as a lightsaber. However, instead of melting and cutting, they completely annihilate all but the toughest matter like beskar or similar materials, leaving not even dust behind. There is no hiss of evaporation, no crackle of power, no glow of heat. Whatever the tendril passes through simply disappears, as the refined power of the Dark Side erases it from existence. Energy fields like shields are taxed and rapidly drained by direct contact. Lightsabers, blasters, and other energy based weapons briefly disrupt a tendril upon passing through, dissipating that tendril for a few seconds, but are weakened in turn. A lightsaber will flicker and cut less effectively for a second or two, and a blaster bolt that passes through will be weakened to the point of being nonlethal but still painful. While the offensive capability of this technique is undeniable, the downside is in the difficulty in conjuring and controlling it. Even the greatest sorcerers must devote the whole of their concentration when using it, leaving them vulnerable and forcing them to abandon the technique once an enemy closes or forces them to defend themselves, allowing the tendrils to immediately dissipate. Even so, the mist from which they are formed remains for a brief while, and the sorcerer can take control of the spell again once they've gained some distance.
  7. That's a fair point Think I should make it Jedi exclusive? I'd be fine with that.
  8. Tutaminis is the ability to use the Force to redirect, absorb, and dissipate energy. It's accessible by the disciplined Jedi and other Light Side wielders. The following abilities allow the user to directly manipulate energy in a very focused and intentional manner. A user can't use tutaminis to create a shield (that being limited to the Force constructs of a Jedi) or a blanket effect such as an aura around them (that being a more specialized use and requiring a completely different approach). A general rule for using this ability to counter a foe's Force-based attacks, such as Force Lightning, is that it requires approximately the same amount of power to stop an attack as it did to create it. Deflect: A user of tutaminis can deflect blaster fire and similar energy discharges with their bare hands. Lightsabers are a more efficient form of protection for all but the most dedicated users of this ability, a lightsaber not requiring the user to directly pit their strength in the Force against an enemy every time they defend themselves. This ability is still useful as a substitute for those who prefer deep study of the Force and are less skilled in lightsaber combat, or those looking to round out their skillset. Consulars, with their deep study of the Force, can even redirect the course of an energy blast midair with a gesture, though a complete reversal is impossible, and is instead accomplished with the Absorb ability below. Jedi Masters have been known to use this ability to even block a lightsaber swing, though it is taxing when done in quick succession. Absorb: A more advanced version of Deflect, Absorb allows a user to take hostile energy and safely dissipate it within themselves, while those of Knight rank or higher can release it back in the form it was absorbed in. This is one of the rare abilities that allows a Light Side user to "attack" with the Force, absorbing an enemy's offense and throwing it back, though this is more tiring than simply allowing the energy to disperse. To a light-sider, there is no difference between this ability and using a lightsaber to deflect a blaster bolt back at their opponent, and some Jedi see a particular wisdom in giving a Sith back their hateful energy. This ability can also be used to extinguish fires, handle live power cables safely, etc.
  9. Looks good, just had three questions I needed clarified Worm-Shielding Device (officer or specialist, rank 2): Does this stop outgoing fire as well? If so, a line should probably be added to clarify that. It seems like it's implied, but better to avoid a misunderstood assumption down the line. Dragon Power Armor: Was the fix here that some of the material was replaced with durasteel? I'm assuming to give the armor vulnerability to blaster fire? Since durasteel's toughness isn't well known, it should probably be clarified. Smoker drones: Did you mean diameter or radius? The way its worded "from the user" feels like radius.* *Sidenote, I would also warn anyone using this in a duel to be careful not to post automatically depriving the room of all oxygen without giving their opponent a chance to respond, like shooting the droid out of the air or dashing forward before the smoke covers everything to attack directly. "Every attack you make must be defendable by your opponent". Same as throwing a grenade and posting it blowing up at your opponent's feet being a no-go. That's not really a criticism on the guide, just a general warning for duelists. And same goes the other way, an opponent should respect the attack in some way or form.
  10. Qaela vs Leena and Kadi This was a tricky one to judge. Before I put up my ruling, I have a few notes below: -Good job to everyone for taking damage without taking too much, and respecting each other's attacks. I thought it was well done from all sides. -Kadi, I really appreciated the specifics of your attacks. Your posts felt very clear and concise with easy to visualize action, and that made them great to read. -I really have to hand it to Qaela with how she handled fighting two opponents. I never felt like one opponent was being ignored or underestimated, and he did her best to act tactically the whole fight with attacks and reactions intended to rob her opponents of the edge given by their numbers. -In particular, I like how Qaela used Leena's shockwave to propel her away from Kadi's attacks rather than stand her ground and take both. -I do have to nitpick a little on Qaela's character sheet, as its equipment and abilities were fairly vague. "grenades when in combat" and "normal abilities for a master level character" weren't helpful for me to determine if the Force maelstrom or psychic attack she conjured was something that was within her wheelhouse, or if tear gas grenades were something she would normally have on her. However, I also understand that she justified in the post having the tear gas grenades specifically for the mission, and that the maelstrom is just an advanced form of telekinesis combined with scientific understanding, but having some detail on what she focuses on and what her arsenal consists of would be helpful in the future. Bottom line, I didn't really have a good feeling for her capabilities or limitations in this fight, though I never felt like you were exploiting that. -Leena, judging from your abilities and the Healer’s guide you have linked in your character sheet, it seems you're using the Force Blind ability in your 1st round, which has a visible beam of light attached. I’d prefer if this was called out in your attack, as it's a bit vague here when “light” refers to actual light or the Light Side of the Force. -Kadi, in your 2nd round, you post that you bat away the "force-propelled gas grenade". I don't think Qaela actually launched the grenade at you. In her post, “She kept one grenade where she was to cover the Zabrak”, implying she held onto it or dropped it on the ground. -We're getting to the really minor stuff here, but Kadi, I would have liked some acknowledgement that the Acklay was charging towards and around an unnatural maelstrom of dark power. Given that it’s an animal (though admittedly one bonded to a Jedi), I would have liked it acknowledged that it was overcoming its instincts to serve its partner's needs. Again minor thing though. So, with that out of the way, here's my ruling. Leena defeats Qaela, Qaela defeats Kadi With everyone bringing their A-game, and all parties using their abilities cleverly, I have to use the minor stuff to determine who comes out ahead. While Qaela was extremely good at fending off two opponents at once (and likely would have won if the power arrayed against her had been a little less), in the end I have to give the win to Team Jedi for their own tactical prowess in how they worked in tandem with Leena remaining in the back to support while Kadi spearheaded the attack, presenting a combination that was difficult to overcome. However, I also have to knock Kadi a little for the misinterpretation of Qaela's grenade attack. Again, with everyone being clever and using their abilities wisely and being respectful of the other writers, I need to use the little things to determine the outcome. **edited** Leena has the next post, but must leave Qaela able to physically escape. The result of her final Force Sever attack is hers to determine, as the victor. Qaela may post next, but must leave Kadi alive and intact. Kadi may post after. **end of edit** Great duel all around! With a two-on-one duel, this could have gone badly if the parties involved hadn't respected each other, and I think that a compelling fight like this is an accomplishment for all involved! Edited addendum: Qaela and Kadi, regardless of Qaela's choice, are out of further duels for planetary control. As the overall victor, Leena may determine the results of the NPC battle and its participants.
  11. The Sith Forces continued to hold, despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned. Taskforce Ensemble 1: Commanded by Krath Apothos Fleet of the Strands Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| Veteran Task Force Experience: 3XP Bulwark Mk II Black Bracer |25/35| Fleet of the Strands Destroyer Group (Missiles) |Red Dusk| Veteran Task Force Experience: 3XP Captor Class heavy munitions Cruiser Moon Beetle |0/0| Captor Class heavy munitions Cruiser The Broken Bullet |6/8| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Taskforce Ensemble 2: Commanded by Kahla Sith Fleet Destroyer Group (Railgun) |Phantom's Spear| Veteran Harrower-Class Dreadnought Phantom's Spear |9/22| Sith Fleet Artillery Battery (Gravity Crusher) |Eye of Sagittarius| Veteran Gladiator Star Destroyer Eye of Sagittarius |10/20| Raider II Corvette HF-11302 |2/1| Raider II Corvette HF-11303 |2/1| Sith Fleet Precision Strike Carrier Group |Wings of Glory| Veteran Gladiator Star Destroyer Devout Cardinal |9/9| Terminous Frigate Galvanized Spirit |0/0| Terminous Frigate Crimson Crescent |2/3| Raider II Corvette HF-11300 |0/0| Raider II Corvette HF-11301 |2/1| Taskforce Ensemble 3: Commanded by Darth Mavanger Sith Fleet Destroyer Group (Missile) |Sith Resurgent| Veteran Task Force Experience: 2XP Harrower-Class Star Destroyer Krayt's Fury |0/9| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  12. With a crack and a roar that overwhelmed the howl of the storm for a few brief moments, the chair exploded. Apothos' throne was tossed forward, legs scratching and scraping for the briefest second before it tumbled over. It hit and skidded across the snow-dusted balcony with a ear-rending screech, sending sparks flying before it ground to a halt. Underneath it, crumpled in a heap under the arch of the chair's seat and back, lay Apothos' withered form. Blood dripped from his head, and a demanding, throbbing ache pulsed through his body with each heartbeat. But he was alive. His chair's mechanical legs twitched and pawed feebly at the air like some overturned insect, already losing power from some rupture or misalignment. While the mechanism was designed to be sturdy, taking an explosion like that was not under its parameters. Apothos struggled to move, hands and legs weakly pushing at the wet tiles of the palace terrace. The Malacia was fading, and he felt his body return to him even as it punished him for what he'd put it through. Weak, useless flesh... A premonition struck. Like before, when he'd sensed the oncoming potential death of Inmortos. Except this was far more personal. Reacting on the whims of the Force and his own addled mind, he thrust out his hand, and his own lightsaber, looted on this very world, shot out on the power of the Force, activating mid-air to collide with the oncoming lightsaber of the Jedi. The warrior monk was so quiet! And without the dark, aggressive emotions Apothos was used to in a battle, the wookiee was dim to his perception, leaving him in a reactionary position. His flying lightsaber only managed to deflect the Jedi's own lightsaber by a few degrees, but enough to keep the energy blade from bisecting him. Instead, it tore the inner workings of his chair apart, and Apothos retreated across the balcony on his hands and back even as his walking throne sparked and whined its last seconds of life. A close range contest was the last thing Apothos needed, and he had little time. Even crawling away as he did would only buy him a precious few seconds. His body was withered and near useless, and he'd never paid much attention to the vaunted "art" of the lightsaber in any case. It had been the Dark Side itself that had captured his attention. In a flash that might have been born of an explosion rattled mind or the Dark Side itself, an idea occurred to him. An idea to distract the Jedi's focus, and perhaps turn things back in his favor. This city was his. He might as well use it. He thrust his hand out, sending a guileless, unrefined blast of power at the Jedi, nothing more than a stalling tactic. As he did, at the speed of a thought, even as he perceived his enemy cutting his throne completely in two and finishing the job they'd started, he sent a single command out through the communications array he'd been using before this Jedi had shown up. A single order for every Deepguard in the city, barricaded in houses, businesses, warehouses, and factories to hide from the disabling cold. Civilians =/= [Noncombatants] ++New Order++: {Kill on sight} Across the city, Deepguard droids that had been ignoring the cowering civilians in the buildings paused in their effort to secure their defensive positions. Then they opened fire. A wave of violent, senseless deaths, filled with shock and fear, spread across the city near instantly. Tens, then hundreds, then over a thousand died in those first few seconds. And the Dark Side swelled... To Apothos, it was like standing before the warmth of the rising sun. The chill of the blizzard was banished from his thoughts. The lingering Malacia was purged as his corrupted flesh and soul surged with the rising tide of the Dark Side. Apothos knew this would only last a few seconds. Once the Deepguard had exhausted the unfortunate civilians near them at the time of the order, the violence would slow back down to the normal, hard fought trickle of urban battle. But for these few moments it was enough. He wondered briefly how a Jedi would react to such an outpouring of the Dark Side. Then he thrust his hands forward at his oncoming foe and screamed, partly in glee and partly in manic defiance. "DIE!!!" Lightning streamed from his fingers, leaving his skin blackened as he forwent any thoughts of control or measured response. He only knew fear, hate, anger...and joy. He would not stop until he was dead, either by his own lightning or the Jedi's saber. Summary: Apothos was sent tumbling by the explosion, and only managed to deflect the enemy's lightsaber throw by tossing away his own lightsaber in reaction. Crawling away, he attempted to swell the Dark Side by using his mechu-deru and the communications array atop the palace to broadcast a civilian kill order to the droids across the city. He then used lightning as a last ditch attack at the Jedi. Move ((3)) in duel between Kirlocca and Apothos
  13. Mythos: Now. The command from DG-RY1 came as the sensors of Sublevel 3 detected the intruders had all entered the floor, and were nearly to the Enhanced Interrogation Chamber. Across the floor, whooshes and clangs accompanied doors slamming shut, save for a few specifically chosen hallway doors that led from the floor's outermost areas and the accompanying drain vents to the hallway the rebels found themselves in. Seconds passed. Then the sound of rushing water filled the halls. In a surging wave, briny seawater thundered down the halls, shadows heralding its oncoming mass as lights were blotted out by the dark water. Deepguard braced themselves, but most were tossed down and spread out across the level as the water slammed into them and tossed them aside like a giant hand batting away an insect. The water converged towards the center of the Sublevel, where the rebels stood. The initial wave was only 4 feet high, half the height of the hallway overall, but DG-RY1 had the palace pumps reversed and working at max capacity to flood the level, and with the majority of the level sealed off it wouldn't take more than a few minutes to completely submerge the hallways the Overseer was channeling the water through. DG-RY1 allowed itself a moment of distraction, committing valuable processing power to observe the rebels through the cameras. It would enjoy watching them struggle before they died.
  14. Missiles, lasers, and solid shot poured from the Sith armada. Explosions ripped across the starfield, and shields lit up as the Sith vessels took the Rebel's return fire. Jorus grimaced at what he saw. They'd underestimated the Rebel's forward ships, and the enemy's heavy armor punished the Sith's daring attack. At a glance, the Sith appeared completely outmatched and outnumbered. Of course, looks could be deceiving. A series of encrypted burst transmissions reached his console, and his grimace faded as he saw their own strategy beginning to come together. Let the rebels think themselves on the verge of victory. It'd make the next part all the sweeter... Taskforce Ensemble 1: Commanded by Krath Apothos Fleet of the Strands Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| Veteran Task Force Experience: 3XP Bulwark Mk II Black Bracer |25/35| Fleet of the Strands Destroyer Group (Missiles) |Red Dusk| Veteran Task Force Experience: 3XP Captor Class heavy munitions Cruiser Moon Beetle |0/1| Captor Class heavy munitions Cruiser The Broken Bullet |9/9| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Taskforce Ensemble 2: Commanded by Kahla Sith Fleet Destroyer Group (Railgun) |Phantom's Spear| Veteran Harrower-Class Dreadnought Phantom's Spear |16/25| Sith Fleet Artillery Battery (Gravity Crusher) |Eye of Sagittarius| Veteran Gladiator Star Destroyer Eye of Sagittarius |10/20| Raider II Corvette HF-11302 |2/1| Raider II Corvette HF-11303 |2/1| Sith Fleet Precision Strike Carrier Group |Wings of Glory| Veteran Gladiator Star Destroyer Devout Cardinal |9/9| Terminous Frigate Galvanized Spirit |0/2| Terminous Frigate Crimson Crescent |3/3| Raider II Corvette HF-11300 |2/1| Raider II Corvette HF-11301 |2/1| Taskforce Ensemble 3: Commanded by Darth Mavanger Sith Fleet Destroyer Group (Missile) |Sith Resurgent| Veteran Task Force Experience: 2XP Harrower-Class Star Destroyer Krayt's Fury |10/23| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  15. Apothos cackled wildly as his lightning connected, if only just, sending the Jedi wookiee spinning in the air. Then the Force pulsed around the Jedi, and Apothos' world turned on his head. Nauseating, bowel churning vertigo threw Apothos back into his chair, retching and heaving, trickles of bile dribbling from his mouth and out from under the black cloth that covered his face. He could barely think. This wasn't a power he was familiar with. No time to ponder. The Jedi was coming. His saber was raised. Protect...me! As incapacitated as he was, the thought, born on the currents of his mechu-deru, carried none of the weight or iron will Apothos used to control machines. But his throne was his, a machine long subservient to him, and it only required a simple directive and the barest of pushes to be compelled to obey. Even as the thought became lines of code and protocol within the throne, it was backing away, metal legs scrambling as it weaved and bobbed away from the oncoming threat, barely dodging the first strike of the wookiee with its initial burst of speed. Even so, it would never outpace the Jedi. Kill...HIM! A moment of hate and fear cut through the debilitating nausea, not nearly enough to grasp the Force in any meaningful way, but enough to command another subservient machine. The mechno-throne sprang into action, sprinting from where it lurked at the balcony's edge and leaping at the oncoming wookiee. Its clanging legs and the rising hum of its power capacitors fatally overcharging provided brief warning. In that moment, Apothos' Walking Throne took a chance and turned, presenting its high, steel back to the oncoming blast, protecting its master with its own body. If the blast happened as planned...it would still send the throne and the incapacitated Apothos tumbling across the icy balcony. Summary: Apothos was disabled by the superior Force user's Malacia, and used the smallest touch of his Mechu-deru to command his throne to evade Kirlocca while his mechno-chair completed its overcharge and attempted to pounce at Kirlocca and explode. Move ((2)) in duel between Kirlocca and Apothos
  16. As Apothos' mind turned back to the matter of controlling his Deepguard, his fury at the loss of his prized ship basking the balcony in eddies of dark emotions, something caught his attention. A thud. Practically imperceptible in the howling wind, it must have been loud to catch Apothos' notice at all. Then came the familiar sound of a lightsaber igniting. A surge of fear rippled out from Apothos, and in those ripples he saw what he had missed. A wookiee. A Jedi. He kept still. It did not appear to have noticed him, but that would change soon enough, once the warrior-monk had time to focus. But with the roar of the storm and the whirling veil of snow, Apothos had what he needed perhaps to turn the situation to his own advantage. Briefly, a memory of his former, weaker self appeared in his mind's eye. Trapped in an arena, two snarling, slavering howlrunners creeping towards him. And he recalled the lesson he'd learned that day. This world is mine. If I allowed you to have it, Jedi...I would be Nok Morliss. But I am Apothos. So let us see what that really means. With a thought and a push from his mechu-deru, the smaller mechno-chair detached from his larger, Emperiax Walking Throne, and began to creep along the balcony's edge, a small machine walking through a blizzard, its luxurious design keeping its servos muted and its steps smooth. Another thought from Apothos, and the small mechno-chair began charging its capacitors beyond their designated safety limits, the will of its master overriding its core programming. His own throne turned as he did this, bringing Apothos into direct line of sight with the wookiee. Well...sight might have been an exaggeration for a blind man in a blizzard... He raised his hands. His body was alive with fear and adrenaline, and his anger was slowly fading to be replaced with something new. Joy. A fierce, savage joy. Live or die, he was going to enjoy this. He attacked. Lightning crackled out of his fingers in a torrent of white-blue energy, directed at the figure silhouetted in the swirling currents of the Force stirred by his emotion, his Dark Sight allowing him to see his opponent even through the snow, though much further away and the wookiee might disappear entirely. The Jedi had such quiet souls. Summary: Apothos took advantage of not being detected to detach his smaller mechno-chair, began overcharging it with his mechu-deru, and then fired a blast of lightning as his final act. Move ((1)) in duel between Kirlocca and Apothos
  17. HC-42: The quarren ringleader listened in stoic silence, eyes narrowed as the squad gave their rallying speech. Then he nodded. "Qorik, Petaf, go get the emergency generator switched on! Anyone from maintenance, get to work on resetting those doors! If we can close them an inch, I want the option. Mal, you keep saying you're a wiz with electronics. Start disassembling those droids the rebels were so nice to scatter all over the place, and see if you can salvage any of their weapons. As for the rest of you..." He turned to look back at the rebels. "Where do you want us sir?" HC-42, consider approximately 50 workers, armed with power tools you'd expect in a ship manufacturing facility, to be under your control. Mythos NPCs: DG-RY1 was special. It knew that it was special. Why would a Deepguard Overseer be selected to control security in the Royal Palace unless it was special? Commander, intruders detected. DG-RY1's contemplation of its own excellence was interrupted as the alert reached it through one of the several Overseers under its command. They were also special. But not as much as DG-RY1. Understood, DG-RY1 replied. Analyzing... Analysis complete. Squad of insurgents attempting to illegally access palace mainframe. Bring up list of high priority targets. Most likely target == [King Halargo] Current location of target == [Sublevel 3, Enhanced Interrogation Chamber] Formulating combat solution... Enhanced Interrogation Chamber == [Watertight] Deepguard == [Underwater Functional] Solution formulated. Do not interfere with their unauthorized access until they have accessed the King's location. Console will then be overloaded remotely to prevent additional access. All units hold position until I give the order. If you encounter the insurgents, defend yourself, but do not leave your post to assist other squads. Once they are in Sublevel 3, seal all chambers. Ensure that Enhanced Interrogation Chamber is completely sealed. Once all preparations are complete, and the enemy is in position... Flood Sublevel 3. DG-RY1 was proud of its plan. After all...it was special.
  18. Jorus stepped back from the console as ship after ship dropped out of hyperspace, already calling out targeting priorities and adding their own fighter craft to the fray. Data and IDs streamed across Jorus' command display as each new ally took to the battlefield. This was a fight they could win. This was a fight he needed to win. "No step back," he muttered. Louder, he called out through the comms, "Officers of the Empire, this is Commander Jorus, head of defense for this system. I'll be coordinating the general formation and attack patterns, and I'll leave the finer details of butchery to your own disgression." Something the captain of the Black Bracer occurred to him. "Through Victory, our Chains are Broken!" Taskforce Ensemble 1: Commanded by Krath Apothos Fleet of the Strands Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| Veteran Task Force Experience: 3XP Bulwark Mk II Black Bracer |25/35| Fleet of the Strands Destroyer Group (Missiles) |Red Dusk| Veteran Task Force Experience: 3XP Captor Class heavy munitions Cruiser Moon Beetle |9/9| Captor Class heavy munitions Cruiser The Broken Bullet |9/9| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Taskforce Ensemble 2: Commanded by Kahla Sith Fleet Destroyer Group (Railgun) |Phantom's Spear| Veteran Harrower-Class Dreadnought Phantom's Spear |25/25| Sith Fleet Artillery Battery (Gravity Crusher) |Eye of Sagittarius| Veteran Gladiator Star Destroyer Eye of Sagittarius |10/20| Raider II Corvette HF-11302 |2/1| Raider II Corvette HF-11303 |2/1| Sith Fleet Precision Strike Carrier Group |Wings of Glory| Veteran Gladiator Star Destroyer Devout Cardinal |9/9| Terminous Frigate Galvanized Spirit |3/3| Terminous Frigate Crimson Crescent |3/3| Raider II Corvette HF-11300 |2/1| Raider II Corvette HF-11301 |2/1| Taskforce Ensemble 3: Commanded by Darth Mavanger Sith Fleet Destroyer Group (Missile) |Sith Resurgent| Veteran Task Force Experience: 2XP Harrower-Class Star Destroyer Krayt's Fury |25/25| - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  19. Clan Brasganu “The House of Dragons” “Death remembers all.” - House Motto of Clan Brasganu. In the final days of the ancient Sith, just before the Jedi and the Republic destroyed the Brotherhood of Darkness and the Rule of Two was created, a Sith Lord whose name has been forgotten fled from a powerful Jedi Knight and out into the Outer Rim, carrying ancient Sith texts with him. According to legend, the chase lasted years, and each side came close to destroying the other in several hard-fought battles. Eventually, the Sith was decisively defeated and fled once more, wounded and broken. In his blind retreat he came across a crew of pirates, Clan Brasganu, who made their living by raiding the settlements of the Outer Rim. He promptly dominated them through the Force and mundane fear, and they became tools and shields in his flight. However, the Jedi would not give up the chase. Finally, in desperation, the Sith fled with his new crew into the darkest parts of the Unknown Regions, and the Jedi ended the pursuit, unwilling to follow his mad prey along the uncharted hyperspace lanes that would kill them both. What happened next is not entirely certain. The Clan has preserved legends from that time, but they’ve been warped so much by allegory and embellishment that it’s impossible to separate fact from fiction. The best guess is that the Sith and his Clan survived their desperate escape and wandered the Unknown Regions for a time. The Sith ruled for years and had numerous children with his crew but was eventually slain by some great monster. The Clan continued on without him. When his children showed signs of Force-sensitivity, they were inducted into the secrets of the Dark Side that their founder had left behind in the Sith texts, and Clan Brasganu continued in that way for millennia. Occasionally the Clan would emerge from the Unknown Regions to raze and pillage the Outer Rim before disappearing for decades more, never staying long enough to be more than a whispered story told by deep space pilots and frightened survivors. They spoke of men and women who became monsters in battle, who ritually sacrificed those adults they didn’t kill outright, and who stole children of the slain to indoctrinate into their numbers. What Clan Brasganu truly went through to warp them into what they are today may never be discovered. When the Sith Empire rose again, Clan Brasganu emerged once more, but with a new purpose. They presented themselves to the Dark Lord and swore service, claiming that this Empire was the culmination of several prophecies made centuries ago by their priests, and that it was the will of the Dark Side that Clan Brasganu lend its strength to this rising power. Clan Brasganu has expanded over the millennia from the single crew that aided the Sith Lord to a small fleet of stolen vessels filled with warriors and alchemists. The marauders have an unusually high rate of Force-sensitive births among their numbers, and while the Clan ascribes religious reasons to this, other Sith believe something in the Unknown Regions may have affected the raiders and their descendants. They've continued to grow as they induct Sith and even interested warriors lacking Force-sensitivity into their ranks. Customs, Traditions, and Beliefs “They’re coming. They’ll never stop coming.” -Rambling of refugee found in the remains of Ganava Spaceport Clan Brasganu’s culture is rooted in their beliefs. They worship the Fanged God, either another name for the Dark Side or some form of avatar of the Dark Side with strong connotations towards death. Their veneration of this mystical (and potentially fictional) figure is the driving force of their lives, closely followed by a fanatic devotion to the Clan itself. Worship of the Fanged God Mention of the Fanged God predates Clan Brasganu, the myth of the being found in several texts that might be older even than the Sith themselves. Where or how the clan came across the idea of this entity in the Unknown Regions isn’t clear even to Clan Brasganu, but for as long as any of them can remember the Fanged God has been the centerpiece of their existence. An outsider looking to understand the idea of the Fanged God has a difficult task ahead of them, partially because of the insular and violent nature of its worshippers. However, the simplest explanation is that the Fanged God is supposedly the entirety of the Dark Side of the Force while simultaneously being a sentient entity manipulating events within the universe. The priests of Clan Brasganu claim that such a power cannot be comprehended as a single creature by our limited minds, so the clan worships a series of aspects that together make up the whole of their deity. The Dragon - The primary aspect of the Fanged God in the eyes of Clan Brasganu, representing the Dark Side’s destructive, violent nature. To wield the Dark Side is, as far as the Brasganu Sith are concerned, to offer your soul up to this entity to be devoured, whether you know it or not. It is a cornerstone of their beliefs that the Dark Side does not grant immortality, for the Dragon forgets no one. All will be burned and devoured in their time. Wounds in the Force are sacred manifestations of the Dragon. It is linked to the emotion of anger and the strengthening of the Dark Side by violent death. The Robed Master - Representing deceit, greed, and ambition, the Robed Master only holds minor roles in the rites of Clan Brasganu. The archetypical Sith outside the clan is usually believed to be under this aspect’s influence whether they know it or not, and the Sith of Clan Brasganu pride themselves on not needing to be lured to the Fanged God by such a being. Despite this, the aspect is still respected, if not trusted, and is revered as the entity who grants Force-sensitivity to those destined to serve the Dark Side. It is linked to the emotion of fear and the addictive nature of the Dark Side. The Maimed Beast - This aspect that represents the maliciousness and perversion of the Dark Side, as it twists what is natural into abominations. It is often portrayed as representing the tenacity of the Dark Side as well, and is invoked in the act of the hunt or in satisfying grudges. Sithspawn are considered to be this aspect in its purest manifestation. It is linked to the emotion of hate and the warping of life by the Dark Side. The Father of Dust - Considered to be the quietest and most passive of the aspects, but also the most insidious, the Father of Dust represents the decaying, withering nature of the Dark Side, along with the inevitable lifelessness that is left in its wake. In rituals it's usually invoked as the inheritor of the universe, the final aspect that eventually consumes the other four, even the great Dragon. Korriban is considered to be particularly aligned with this aspect. It is linked to the sensation of pain and the slow consumption of all things touched by the Dark Side. The Golden Slave - The Golden Slave represents raw power, pure and simple. It's usually linked to one of the other aspects in rituals, and Brasganu Sith often carry small, gilded totems of this figure on their person to pray to when they find their own abilities outmatched. Clan Brasganu oddly enough portrays the Golden Slave as good and even selfless, yet it is always mastered and commanded by the other four aspects of the Fanged God. Through this, the Sith of Clan Brasganu draw parallels to their own compassionate, noble, generous impulses, and how they must master them or else end up a slave to those more worthy of the Fanged God's favor. It is linked to the emotion of joy and the easy strength and power offered by the Dark Side. Rituals and Rites of Clan Brasganu While the worship of the Fanged God involves many occult ceremonies and recitations, there is no real standard across the clan's nomadic fleet. Where one ship might offer a burnt offering to the Fanged God before a battle, another may mark themselves with ink in their own form of dedication. There are, however, a few rituals universal enough to warrant mentioning, even if their specifics may differ ship to ship. Marriage - In contrast to their violent demeanor, the Sith of Clan Brasganu often shock outsiders with the respect and reverence they treat marriage with. To them, marriage is an unbreakable bond to hold to until death, and adulterers are often punished by torture, execution, or both. Those who study Clan Brasganu explain this peculiar quirk by citing their history of generations spent aboard ships, crowded together and isolated for months on end. Maintaining accurate bloodlines would have been a necessity to prevent undesirable mixing, and holding marriage sacred would help prevent fights over love from turning into massacres. Regardless of the original reason, marriage is extremely important to the Brasganu Sith, and only to be undertaken after careful deliberation and the approval of the Master of Hides (see below). Pre-marital relations are allowed, but must not result in children or violent conflict, else all parties are punished. An interesting sidenote, a spouse is the only person permitted to kill a fellow Brasganu Sith outside of a formal duel or official execution. That spouse may never marry again, but no investigation or reprimand is put against them for the murder. This is considered to be Brasganu's way of ensuring spouses retain a healthy respect for the other. Funerals - Perhaps in mockery of the Jedi, or perhaps purely by coincidence, the Brasganu commit their dead to flames. Funeral pyres are traditional across all Brasganu ships, and the act is meant to represent the dead's final consumption by the Dragon. If the Clan cannot retrieve their dead, they will do their best to bombard the battlefield before fleeing in the hope of paying their final respects by destroying the bodies. Barring this, they will return later to scorch the earth as a sign of devotion to the Fanged God. Sacrifice - Not a specific ritual as much as an all-purpose addition for any rite of the Fanged God, Clan Brasganu sees the sacrifice of sentient beings as one of the purest forms of worship. While duels, battle, and other forms of violence have their place, it is the personal and simple act of sacrificing another creature in the Fanged God's name that always finds favor in its eyes. As an act of devotion, it is only surpassed by massacre of such scale that it creates a wound in the Force. Warriors, Assassins, and Sorcerers A casual observer might mistakenly assume Clan Brasganu to purely be a warrior culture. While the way of the blade is honored and respected within the clan, each of three paths of the Sith have their role to play in the Fanged God's service. Warriors carry the purest essence of what Clan Brasganu means, and are deeply respected. Their singular devotion to skill and power in the art of dealing death is as pure a path in the Fanged God's service as any Sith could hope for, and they serve the bizarre role of moral compass for the clan. Assassins are seen as artists, inspired master craftsmen exalting the Fanged God through their subtlety and deception. Whether it's a quiet knife in the back or a decades long plot culminating in a target's "accidental" demise, their work serves as an inspiration to their fellow Sith. Sorcerers are considered the sages of Brasganu, keeping the clan's ancient secrets while also being innovators seeking new ways to bring about death. When an enemy or problem confounds the clan and their traditional methods, it is to the sorcerers and their hidden knowledge that they often turn to for a solution. Avatar of the Fanged God, the Dark Lord of the Sith What might surprise outsiders is that the most important spiritual figure in Clan Brasganu's religion is an outsider themselves. The Dark Lord of the Sith, whoever that might be, is believed by Clan Brasganu to be the chosen vessel of the Fanged God, even if they are unaware of it or vehemently deny it. Legends of the Dark Lord were passed down during their centuries in the Unknown Regions, and the figure has morphed into something holy in their eyes. With the rise of the Sith Empire, Clan Brasganu has taken it upon themselves to serve this figure with all the zeal and devotion they normally reserve for the Fanged God. Specifically, they volunteer to serve as the Dark Lord's butchers, or even as bodyguards if permitted. There is, however, one caveat to this otherwise selfless service. They will never interfere with a legitimate challenge for the title of Dark Lord by another Sith, for it is through tests of power that the Fanged God selects new tools of his will. A member of the clan might even issue the challenge themselves if they feel the current Dark Lord has lost the Fanged God's favor through weakness or disgrace. The Enemy Spoken of only in their most secret rites and sacred texts, the Enemy is the Fanged God's opposite, an unnatural and subtle abomination that promotes stagnation, selflessness, and peace. In the same way that the Fanged God is both the Dark Side incarnate, so is the Enemy reflected in the Light. It is seen as a perversion of the truths the Fanged God embodies, and it seeks to poison the galaxy with its malignant radiance. Referred to as the Winged Goddess in their oldest records, the Sith of Clan Brasganu refer to this ancient rival only as the Enemy when they speak of it at all. Some of them believe that the Enemy and the Fanged God are equal and opposite, destined to fight until one consumes the other. Others believe the Fanged God created the Enemy so that it would have something to fight, as was its nature. Whatever the truth may be, the Sith of Clan Brasganu fear the Enemy more than anything else. They will gladly despoil any manifestation of the Light Side they find through bloodshed and destruction, for to fight the Enemy is as worthy an act of devotion as any battle or slaughter. The Jedi and other wielders of the Light Side of the Force are believed to be the creature's unwitting puppets, and they are to be feared, hated, and killed without hesitation. Only those with the potential to be corrupted and freed from the Enemy's service are to be spared. Roles While the members of Clan Brasganu proudly consider themselves a single group, undivided by the posturing and squabbling of other Sith houses, they are split apart by necessity due to their nomadic, starfaring lifestyle. Each ship in the Brasganu marauding fleet is a community unto itself, and traditional roles have emerged in the crews of each of these ships. Lord-Captain The one whose word is law aboard the ship. The Lord-Captain is master of the ship in the same way that most Sith rule their respective domains: pure power. The Lord-Captain is, by intent, the most powerful Sith aboard, and any Linnorm (see below) aboard the ship may formally challenge them to combat for the right to rule. Aside from this right to challenge, along with a few responsibilities held by other positions, their authority is absolute. They are the only crew member permitted to punish by execution. Master of Hides Serving as the ship's chronicler and keeper of lore, the Master of Hides is unusual among the positions of Clan Brasganu, due to the requirement that they must *not* be Force sensitive. The Master of Hides acts as a sort of officiator for the clan, and is required to approve official challenges to the Lord-Captain's authority as well as approve marriages (as the keeper of bloodline records). By making the position only available to non-Force sensitives, the Master of Hides is outside of the ambitious rank climbing of the Sith. It is also considered one of the highest crimes for anyone outside of the Lord-Captain to harm the Master of Hides. Master of Iron The Lord-Captain's lieutenant, the Master of Iron is responsible for the ship's armory. They issue weapons, oversee the ship's battle-readiness, and manage the drills and training of the Linnorms. It is the Master of Iron's job to ensure that the ship and its crew are ready to fight at a moment's notice. In the event of a Lord-Captain dying outside of a proper challenge, the Master of Iron assumes the role by default, though they can still be challenged for the position. Master of Cloth The Master of Cloth is the spiritual leader of the ship's crew, filling the role of priest and advisor to the Lord-Captain. Expected to be trained in the art of Sith alchemy, they also serve to create or oversee the creation of things such as Sithspawn, Dark Side weapons, toxins, etc. As one who supposedly speaks the will of the Fanged God, the Master of Cloth is both feared and respected. The Linnorms The Linnorms, named after a beast supposedly encountered in the Unknown Regions, are the ship's fighters. While they may hold other positions, they are warriors first and foremost. Any crewmember, Force-sensitive or not, can become a Linnorm under the approval of the Master of Iron. The only requirements are the skill and desire to serve the Fanged God on the battlefield. The Crew Other positions, such as the more traditional roles of navigator, engineer, etc. are also present on a Brasganu ship. These responsibilities are often spread out among the Masters or the Linnorms, though menial crew members can also be selected. Those with no position are the lowest of the clan, existing only to serve their betters.
  20. Space: In the skies above Mon Cal, the battle raged. Jorus stared at the readout, the end already decided. "There's too many of them. We can't hold... What the heck is wrong with those cruisers!?" "Sir...linked ship commanders displaying signs of misconduct and rebellion," the clinical, tinny voice of a medical droid came back over the speakers. "They were not sufficiently conditioned yet for a battle scenario. Further use could see them shutting down or going rogue." All we need. "Order them to-" He paused. A new blip appeared on his screen. Catapulting out of the starfield and dead center into the oncoming enemy wave, the bulky, scarred form of the Black Bracer reappeared. It hurled itself into the fray, short range cannons blaring as shrapnel and blaster fire richochet harmlessly off its shields. "What the... Commander of the Black Bracer! Report!" "Praise be Varaka, it seems your planet is not a lost cause after all." "What are you-" "We're the first commander." A smug, eager tone laced the ship captain's voice. "It seems the Empire will not lose such a prize easily. Through Victory our Chains are Broken!!!" The captain cried as the transmission cut out amidst a storm of blaster fire as the hulking warship careened into enemy lines, heedless of danger. More blips appeared on Jorus' readout. The Sith were coming in force. "Get those cruisers out of here! Don't need them shooting our own!" Jorus grinned, his crooked, yellow smile taking on a malicious edge. "Let's see how these rebels stand up to a real scrap." Heavy Brawler Escort: Hammer and Anvil Assigned PC: Nok Morliss (commanded by NPC Jaden Jorus) Task Force Experience: Veteran, 3XP Bulwark Mark II Black Bracer |20/30| Destroyer Group (Missiles): Focus Fire Assigned PC: Nok Morliss (commanded by NPC Jaden Jorus) Task Force Experience: Veteran, 3XP Captor-class Heavy Munitions Cruiser Moon Beetle |9/9| Captor-class Heavy Munitions Cruiser The Broken Bullet |9/9|
  21. Mythos: As Sabercat Company prepared itself, the quiet of the night was only broken by the distant sounds of battle and the constant, distant thunder of the sea. For millennia, the waves had pounded against the edges of this city, the reassuring heartbeat of a mother to its child. Even now, in the chaos and corruption that spread across the once pristine world, that heartbeat remained as steady as ever. And then, faintly, a new sound crept in. It was so faint, it might have been mistaken for a tired soldier's ears playing tricks on them, if it had not grown louder with each passing moment. Footsteps. Thousands of them. Then the screams joined them, as the encroaching horde found the homeless and the unlucky civilians caught outdoors. The sound grew and grew, swelling from a faint whisper to a thundering roar that seemed unbelieavable. Wet snarls and broken shrieks became audible, punctuating the advance of the hungry dead. Then they came into view. Spread out at the city's edge, they'd been packed tighter and tighter as they caromed and careened down main roads and back alleys, heedless of one another, only focused on satisfying their hunger with the warmth and life that lay just out of reach. Now, they were a mob of limbs and flesh and bone and brine, dripping slime and seawater from grasping hands and teeth. The Sabercats were the first to see them. All across the city, the undead howled in primal hunger and triumph as they broke into full sprints towards their prey. HC-42: Ordered to withdraw and fortify, the few remaining Deepguard within the facility had barricaded themselves in conference rooms and stock bays. The workers, exhausted but confused, milled about, having been disciplined too many times to not feel trepidation at the idea of stepping out of line. Their overseers had fled at the first sign of battle, but the assembly operators and machinists had been left uninformed, continuing their work in absence of direct orders not to. Then, the first worker, a quarren who'd headed up the local union before the Sith takeover, stepped out of the assembly hangar. No reprisal came. No alarm sounded, no pounding metal feet echoed through the hallways as Deepguard came to take him away. Nothing happened at all. Then another left his post. Then another, and another. Fear turned to hope, and in a mass exodus the workers ran from their stations, carrying spanners, welders, and other power tools as they made their way towards the loading docks. Seeing the droid and his companions barricading the entrance and fighting against...something...outside made the mob stop. A whisper started up amongst the crowd. "Rebels?" "..the rebellion..." "...save us..." "...here for us... "...the Rebel Alliance..." The whispers turned hopeful, even as the quarren ringleader stepped forward, cautiously. He looked straight at HC-42. "Do you fight for the Sith?" Rose, Inmortos, (and general): Apothos' mind was entrenched in streams of data and code, his thoughts mingling with the signals sent and received from his impromptu relay. A spiteful, childish joy surged within him as the droids barricaded in houses and businesses reported the undead passing through the streets, drawn towards those who dared invade his city. Die in the cold and dark, you insignificant- A wave struck him. A thrum like a god striking a great drum, it resonated through him, tearing him out of his rapport with the Deepguard network. Nothing so crude as sound or physical force, this resonation came from the Dark Side itself. He'd felt this before. Deep beneath this very city. It was the echo of a death. He struggled and scrabbled to grasp the elusive, already fading sensation, but he understood enough to recognize that, like before, this echo came from a death that had not happened yet. But this was different. The last time he'd felt this, it had come as many had died almost simultaneously. Now, it was more...focused. It had more depth, more weight. He followed the path of the echo, and it led to the center of the maelstrom that froze the air and churned the Dark Side. Inmortos. He was sensing the death of Inmortos. Or...was he? This echo felt tremulous, not like the clear, clarion call of mass death he'd felt once before, as if the premonition itself was hesitant. No matter. Inmortos guarded Apothos' city. His shambling dead and freezing storm punished the presumptions of these invaders. Apothos would not lose such an asset now. Even as he thought it, missiles detonated and destroyed anti-aircraft emplacements, drawing Apothos' attention to the Basilisks weaving through the air. Then the lead Basilisk, the one bearing the rider who had projected such presence before, turned and fired at the heart of the storm. Apothos, unable to reach that far with any real influence from the top of the palace, could only watch as Inmortos defended himself, sending the missiles careening to detonate off-target. The building collapsed, but Inmortos was not dead. Even so, the echo pulsed again, clearer this time. The moment of Inmortos' possible death approached. Whether the premonition was right or wrong, Apothos could not afford to chance it, not with the necromancer being the one to control those things running through his city. Apothos extended his mind, searching for any tool that might serve his purposes, any mechanism that would accept his will and mechu-deru. He found The Iron Howlrunner, hovering several levels below where he'd left it. His mind slid easily into the Baudo-class Star Yacht, the vessel molding easily to the desires of its master. With a thought, it turned and flew off into the night, towards the collapsed warehouse and the still living Inmortos. With a device so attuned to him, so lacking in resistance, and with the air so saturated with the malevolence of Inmortos' storm, Apothos could control the ship even at this great a distance. The ship's sensors swept as it approached the necromancer, and Apothos started to give the command for the ship to slow and land, that it might pick up his fellow Krath and spirit him to safety. Then it detected another Basilisk on an attack run. Apothos commanded the ship to accelerate. Bombs dropped, unguided devices plummeting for the warehouse. The Iron Howlrunner screamed as its thruster shot it across the night sky. With a resounding series of booms, the ship and the bombs collided in mid-air. A brilliant, orange fireball erupted in the air over the destroyed warehouse, the sheer heat of the explosion briefly driving away the chill from the streets around it. A mass of blackened, twisted wreckage fell from the blast, the remains of Apothos' once extravagant ship now a meteor that crashed hundreds of meters away, gouging a furrow through buildings and streets before exploding in one final, terrible inferno. Apothos rage, primal and endless in the throes of the Dark Side, took on a petulant edge. I just got that ship.
  22. Terra and Rose: The anti-aircraft guns that locked onto the Mandalore and her coterie opened fire, but the guns had never been designed to stop something as small, maneuverable, and quick as a the honed and terrible Basilisk droids. Gunners uselessly cried out reports of the incoming threat into the downed comms, the Central Command Tower deaf to their warnings. As Apothos' Iron Howlrunner docked at the upper, gleaming balconies of the Royal Palace, he sat still and quiet in the dark of the hold. His head jerked around as the emotions of something rippled through the air like the shockwave of a seismic charge. To his Dark Sight, the Force twisted and knotted at the touch of such anger. Could it even be called that? Not anger...frenzy. Madness. Beneath the black cloth that hid his face, he smiled. "I remember you..." he whispered into the darkness, to no one in particular. "You stole from me. Kessel..." The ship docked with an audible chung and the outer hatch opened. Apothos descended, his Emperiax throne carrying him down in a rhythmic beat of tink tink tink. "This world is mine..." he said to himself. "Take it from me if you can." Krath Inmortos: As the first whispers of Krath Inmortos' dark sorceries began to permeate the air of Coral City, Apothos's chair stopped, halted by its master's will. Apothos...had felt this before. His smile widened. His chair returned to its brisk pace, entering the palace and moving through it towards the throne room. Power. They would see the power of the Dark Side soon. Let them see what a world in the hands of the Krath could hold. What it could turn loose. The thought made him pause. Turned loose, this power would hamper his own forces as well. Deepguard were designed to handle underwater combat, and they could take a wider array of temperatures than most battle droid models, but the storm Inmortos had conjured last time he'd been here had well exceeded those limits. Apothos droids would continue to function for a time, but if this took long they would be locked down as surely as the living soldiers. And communications were down, so his commanders had little recourse but to hold out where they were. The path of the walking throne shifted as it now took the neimoidian Krath upwards, towards the peak of the palace's central spire. As he ascended, he thought a command to a squad of Deepguard, scouring the palace for intruders if appearances were to be believed. Bring the king to me. Immediately. Carried on the power of his mechu-deru, the command was absolute. Code changed and protocols shifted to accommodate the all-consuming directive. "Yes master." Apothos barely heard the acknowledgement, his throne having moved past them and up towards his goal. The final door whooshed open at a thought from Apothos, and he stood at the peak of the palace. A massive spire, the top was spread out into a magnificent balcony, large enough that it must have held press events and socialite gatherings at one point. The space however was not what Apothos was after. At the center of the balcony, rising still hire, were a series of antennas and dishes, shivering in the rising, chill wind. It was the palace's communications array. Designed to broadcast to the entire city, as well as receive deep-space transmissions in bulk, it was the eyes and ears of the royal family. Unfortunately, it was crippled as every other communication device in the city, with network still down thanks to the rebel hacking and losing power to half the city in quick succession. Apothos had no intention to use it as it was however. He extended his hands, and began to chant. The array shuddered...and began to shift. Emma, Johan, and Alliera: Manhole covers burst up, fiery plumes illuminating the darkened streets as they spread from the point of impact. Pavement cracked, and in several places the street caved in completely, dropping into now open tunnels with a cascade of debris. As the explosions sent violent pressure waves through the tunnel system, old overflow systems tripped, and floodgates dropped down to stop what it perceived as a deluge of water from submerging the rest of the sewers. The explosions rocked up to the barriers and battered at them, leaving them scorched and sizzling hot...but intact. Apothos' home, once the main office of Mon Calamari Shipyards, still stood, though a careful eye might have detected the barest hint of a lean in the once perfectly perpendicular structure. Inside however, was another story. Toilets, sinks, and drainage lines had burst throughout the facility drenching expensive carpets, pantries stocked with exotic foodstuffs, and galleries of foreign art in fishy, smelly sewage water. HC-42: DG-O37A felt what may have been pride, or maybe relief, if his model-series was capable of such things. The doors were closing, and if the shouts from outside were of any indication, reinforcements had arrived. The rebels had no way in here. If they rushed, they'd be cut down in the kill zone. If they hesitated, they'd be trapped against the door with whatever reinforcements had arrived. Potential opposing combat solution determined. Standard tactic == [Explosives deployment] DG-037A only briefly analyzed that possibility. Even if they had explosives, the standard estimated yield of one such device would never- Something rolled under the door. Analyzing... Detonator? Multiple detonators. Estimating explosive yie- The thought never came to completion. The explosion rocked the base, blowing back the fortifications and sending the Deepguard droids who'd only just before had been arranged in a semi-circle around the door flying back in pieces. The door screeched and squealed, but it stopped its slow descent. The explosion had bent it outward, and now it simply shuddered in place as motors struggled to force it down. Mythos: DG-OG13 was furious. It had not realized it could feel such a thing, but this Shistavanian had kindle something in its mind. This was his fault, DG-OG13 was sure of it. Armed insurgents had popped up in the Pleasure District, gunning down droids even as the squads there tried to regroup. DG-OG13 could now only feel the datalinks of the other Overseers, and even then only the ones nearby. The Central Command Tower wasn't transmitting, and the logical, precise droid could see the pockets of chaos forming all across its sector. It enraged it. Even now, it committed more and more droids in pursuit of the Shistavanian. It would catch him. It would make him- Incoming transmission. Priority override code. Impossible. The network was still down... General: King Halargo struggled. The king's girth had subsided in recent days, and his skin had taken an unhealthy, pallid tone that now hung loose off of him in places. The king's "voluntary" seclusion had taken its toll. But even so, he struggled. It didn't amount to much. The pair of Deepguard Exemplars hoisted him effortlessly up the stairs, his wild kicks and shaking barely fazing the strong droids. The door opened, and the unnatural chill hit Halargo like a rolling wave. It drove his breath away, and his lungs stung as he sucked in more air, the cold already spreading through his body. Before him was Apothos' throne, facing away from him and towards... Halargo stared. The communications array...or what had once been the communications array, stood stark against the floodlights ringing the building. It still resembled its orginal self to a degree, but now the antenna jutted out at strange angles, fusing and twisting around each other in an aesthetic usually reserved for abattoirs and abstract artists. Cables had ripped themselves out of the floor and reconnected in new, tangled weaves. And where before dozens of status lights had blinked erratically as data poured in and out, now they all pulsed slowly. Softly. Like a heartbeat. The throne rotated, metal legs skittering to keep it level, and Halargo was brought face to face with Apothos. The king recoiled. He'd not seen the neimoidian in weeks, but this thing was entirely unlike the neimoidian who'd threatened him before. This creature was withered and twisted, something that should have died long before it reached this state. "Your majesty," Apothos' raspy voice came from somewhere under the black cloth hiding his face. "Your city...betrays you." Halargo shivered in the chill, wondering how Apothos could stand it. "My people would never betray me." "They have sided with the invaders. You have sided with me. And so, they have betrayed you." Halargo struggled to move, but the droids still held him firmly by the shoulders. In the end, he only spit in Apothos' direction. The phlegm crackled as it froze on the floor. "My mistake. Then, you have betrayed me." "I was never yours. Neither was this world, and never was its people!" "...You are brave. But wrong. Take him below to the dungeons. Have them break him. He will serve." Apothos' chair turned, and the droids dragged the king from the terrace, kicking and shouting. "You won't win!" He screamed. "My people have hope! We have pride! You can never own us!" If Apothos heard, he gave no indication. Now to work. _________________________________ All across the city, the communication networks were down, hacked and disabled by expert rebel tech. The only communications still running in the city were the datalinks of the Deepguard themselves. Boosted by the Overseers, they allowed a squad to function as a unit even at range, but served poorly as a city-wide communication system. Unless someone used mechu-deru to transform a large communications array into a single, giant Deepguard transmitter. Across the city, Deepguard paused as new links formed in their minds, connections across the city networking into a single, cohesive weave of data. Overseers were suddenly sharing enemy troop counts, squad positions, combat solution analyses, and more. Squads that had been fighting separately suddenly shifted position, joining up in singular waves that drove back at the enemy attackers, caring nothing for the units they sacrificed to push their beachhead, strategic arithmetic dictating which droids would die to take the next block. Apothos watched the flow of data through the perception of his mechu-deru on the array. He gleaned where his troops were, what sections of the city they had lost, and where they were pushing back. It is time. His thoughts extended once more, and new set of commands spread to his mechanical troops. ______________________________ The Deepguard did not stop fighting. They gave no indication they were even aware of what was happening to them. Yet, in perfect unison, every Deepguard in the city began to shout in one voice. YOU WHO DEFY ME SHALL SUFFER WITHOUT MY FAVOR. At the remaining powerplants across the city, the Deepguard units that had rushed to protect them from any further attacks received new orders. Levers were thrown, and the city was plunged into absolute darkness. Every house went black and silent. Every street was engulfed in shadows, only the echoing sounds of battle and the howling of the icy wind breaking the stillness. YOU WHO DEFY ME SHALL SUFFER WITHOUT MY PROTECTION. A new command issued to every Deepguard, both those in combat and not. [Priority Command]Withdraw to nearest structure capable of defense. Fortify and hold position[/Priority Command] Deepguard locked in combat suddenly began retreating, firing to cover their escape as they broke and ran. In the residential districts, the various squads invaded the most secure homes they could find, indifferent to the confusion and fear of the residents, unless one decided to fight back. Others found banks, factories, and other sturdy businesses. And hundreds withdrew into the Royal Palace and Apothos' now flooded home. Yet even as they ran away, one last message rang out from their vocabulators. YOU WHO DEFY ME SHALL SUFFER WITHOUT MY MERCY. __________________________ On the edge of the city, something wet, cold, and pale grasped the edge of the dock. Ungainly and stiff, it pulled itself from the water that was already forming a layer of slush. The cold meant nothing to it. It was already dead. Warmth. Life. Blood. It could feel them. It wanted them. It needed them. Its jaw, once the fishlike mouth of a mon calamari, now hung only by strips of half rotted flesh. Tears and black rot painted stripes across its otherwise pale corpse. Clouded eyes stared hungrily into the city. Its master was there. His power saturated the air. Blood had been spilled. Anger, hate, and fear...so much fear...it could taste them on the wind. It lurched forward, stumbling at first, then breaking out into an ungainly, loping run down the street, lurching and scuttling like some crustacean that had lost half its legs. Behind it, another corpse rose from the sea. Then another. And another. _______________________________ All around Coral City, now dark and quiet save for the fighting and the howling storm, the sea boiled with the dead. They crawled onto the docks in pairs, then in scores, then by the hundred. A tide of death rose, and it sought to consume the city.
  23. Mandalore and Raven: Jorus could only watch out the window in shock as the ships appeared. One. Two. Another pair 2 km starboard. Three more just below them, in tight formation even as they dropped out of hyperspace. Again, and again, the stars were blotted out by ships appearing. Not blocky freighters or smooth luxury liners either. Warships. Many of them Mandalorian. Their guns opened fire almost immediately, and fighters and Basilisks spread from them like the wake of a ship, moving to carry out their own attack plans. And then the dreadnought appeared, and Jorus' shock turned to horror. And that horror turned to panic as the massive, infamous star destroyer opened fire with its turbolasers. "No step back, Jorus." The raspy voice of Apothos sounded...calm. If the hitched, rough breathing hadn't filled the silence after the words, Jorus might have mistaken his boss for a droid. Then the call cut out, and the planet's defenders began shouting across comms. Jorus gritted his teeth. And he took command. Fighters launched from their bays, droid and organic pilots alike lining up in dagger formations to dive at the oncoming forces, the green of blaster fire lighting up the starry sky as a dozen different dramas and duels played out in span of seconds. Rising from their berths, two MC140 Scythe-class battle cruisers, fresh armor gleaming from the assembly line and flanked by Tartan patrol cruisers, rotated to face the oncoming trespassers. On their bridges, Mon Calamari pilots and engineers hung suspended in tanks of preservatives and bacta, cybernetics slaving them directly to the ship they now crewed. The Divine Wrath spewed forth carrier pods, the projectiles bursting into clusters of antique buzz droids that tore at any ship they happened to land on. The Divine Edict, far more direct, emitted an emerald glow from a dozen different focusing dishes...before a thin, green-white beam lanced out, seeking to cut the life from any enemy that fell within its gaze. Even as Apothos' pet project ships joined the gray, a set of Captor-class cruisers dropped from hyperspace, their bay doors opening to release dozens of missiles that spiraled out towards a spread of targets. Unwilling to commit all their forces, The House of Strands had only elected to send back two cruisers to fight on Mon Calamari's behalf, but the pair of ships made themselves known. In the skies above Mon Cal, battle was joined. Emma and HC-42: The Deepguard squad took a second to formulate a strategy, their reflexes slowed by the sudden loss of communication with the Central Command Tower. That second cost them two droids. The chassis of the unfortunate pair dropped to the slick, wet metal of the landing zone, smoking holes in their torsos, red photoreceptors blinking out. The remainder of the squad, 11 Soldier units along with 2 Monitors, fell back DG-O37A took command, the Overseer analyzing the situation from a small maintenance closet, reading the visual data from every Deepguard unit in the fight as his mind sorted through standard battle protocols for the optimal combat solution. Evaluating... Classifying capacity of enemy combatants... Weaponry [Light] + [Heavy] detected. [Marksman] detected. Time to reinforcements == [Indefinite] Evaluating... Defensive position untenable! [Command]All units, fall back[/Command] Another two Soldier models dropped as the remainder loped and leaped back through the open loading doors, rather than divide their attention between the rebel forces' twin fronts. Even as his squad retreated, DG-O37A continued his analysis. Tactical Assessment: Enemy Force == [Trained] : [Disciplined] Direct Confrontation == [Suboptimal] Combat Solution determined. [Marksman] and [Heavy Weaponry] less effective in close quarters. [Command]Activate (2) Pacifier Units reserved for Riot Control. Regroup in Primary Loading Bay. Form Defensive Position. Close Loading Door[/Command] As quickly as the droid's mind could parse the data and send out the commands, the large doors that separated the loading bay from the outer platform began to close, slowly as safety protocols required it to. The remainder of the Squad opened fire blindly out the closing door as they moved to new defensive positions inside the loading bay behind piles of durasteel plating, hoping to keep the rebel forces hesitant long enough for them to fortify on their own terms and turn the doorway into a killzone. The shooting withdrawal was textbook and efficient, but standard and uninspired, a maneuver any truly experienced commander could see through. Deeper within the facility, two more Deepguard powered on. Silently, they began running towards the Loading Bay. Alliera and Johan: Navezz sniffed the air. The thin Kubaz had once gagged on the foul sewer air when he'd first arrived, but over the last few weeks his nose had grown accustomed to the stench. No one came down here. No one searched for the lost and the missing down here. Navezz and his crew were left alone down here. Now he smelled something distinctly different. Something besides half-rotted, half-digested fish. People. Navezz chittered, rising from the small, dry alcove looking over the river of sewage below him. From other alcoves, other Kubaz chittered and moved as they picked up the scent. Their words were rapid, but their excitement was clear. People down here meant one thing. Profit. After all...they were slavers. _____________________________________ Navezz and his band moved through the sludge and muck. They held simple, cast-plast clubs, chosen so they wouldn't spark even if they struck metal. They closed on the pair that had caught their attention... Apothos: The Iron Howlrunner dropped through the sky, rocketing over the city darkened in patches, and lit up elsewhere by the flashes of blaster fire. "How dare they?" he hissed. "Master, please state landing zone," the droid pilot chirped. Apothos opened his mouth to say his home, but hesitated. No. This was his world. He would remind them of it. "The Royal Palace. Take me to the Palace. The King and I will have words."
  24. Mantis: The explosion that rocked the mountain sent up huge plumes of dust, smoke, toxic fumes, and electronic alerts. The facilities had deliberately kept security light, to keep from drawing the attention of insurgents, but now with the mountain's tunnels and caverns lit up with the fires of burning industrial equipment and narcotic fungi, the security of the remaining facilities began immediately calling for help. Yet...for some reason, Coral City did not respond. The Central Command Tower made no reply. Still, the facilities were not defenseless. A trio of Vulture droid starfighters lifted off from the beaches where they'd lurked beneath sheets of camo-netting, and lifting up more slowly behind them were a pair of Hyena droid bombers, armed with depth charges. An attack by underwater forces had always been considered the most likely method of attack on the facility. Their priority now was protecting the remainder of the facilities. Bomb on sight. The Vulture droid starfighters began scanning for unauthorized vessels... Mythos: Communications were down. Power for almost 50% of the city was down. Central Command Tower went silent. Not powered down, as it ran off its own generator, but cut off by the sudden loss of communication resulting from the rebel tampering. Then the droids responded. Deepguard Overseer models stopped in their tracks, range-boosting antennae extending from their backs, linking up with others until a loose network was formed. Painfully, agonizingly slowly, deluges of data were passed along, and each Overseer gained a rough idea of the severity of the attack they were under. Insurgency response protocols went into effect, and each Deepguard squad was given the same directive. PRIORITY COMMAND: Restore/maintain order. Patrol routes were changed, messages were sent, auxiliary units were activated. In a few places, the lights flickered back on as back-up power systems switched on. Others gained a dim glow as priority sectors were bled a portion of the city's remaining power, other sectors losing their now useless Holonet and a dozen other frivolities in exchange. But even as the mechanical element performed damage control, the living element began its own reaction. In the poorer neighborhoods, natives huddled together, wondering if perhaps the regime that had taken their planet was now coming to take their homes...or lives. It wasn't an unwarranted fear. Cutting power had been the first step for every other neighborhood evicted for "urban renewal." The business districts and the more well off reacted as one might expect, with confusion and outrage. Already, units of Deepguard were being dispatched to clear the streets, by force if necessary. The visitor districts, including the Pleasure Sector, were the sites of the most chaos. People who lived by few rules and fewer morals reacted with either paranoia or opportunism. Here and there, the bodies of criminal scum were found stuffed in washrooms and under tables as enterprising rivals took advantage of the confusion and loss of security surveillance to take out their competition. The patrols that had been protecting the Pleasure Sector were suddenly called to move in and restore order. More than one drug lord, smuggler, and arms dealer found their way to the ground courtesy of a bronzium fist or electroshock prod. Worse, the hidden workings of Apothos' mechu-deru began to reveal themselves. In one sector, a grocery dispensary manager worked to rile up the locals into a frenzy and fight the oncoming Deepguard. Illegal blasters and homemade explosives began taking out Deepguard units in ones and twos. Their sudden rebellion came to a halt when a single, damaged Deepguard managed to stagger up to the ringleader's own grocery dispensary, and as it broadcast its detection of enemy combatants a gas line in the building inexplicably overloaded itself. The result explosion took out the ringleader and 8 other insurgents, along with the heart of the mob's fighting spirit. In another, a thief carrying Mon Calamari art set to be auctioned to offworlders cursed and shrieked as his speeder bike inexplicably turned right uncontrollably, spinning the man into a building and destroying him along with the precious works of art. The Deepguard patrol he'd crossed had only just registered him as hostile before the incident happened. The city was infected, and now the hidden malevolence of Apothos was playing out in scene after scene of bloody chaos. ________________________________ DG-OG13 was experiencing something new. Considering its operating life had only been 57 standard days so far, it shouldn't have been surprising that it would still be finding novelty not in its databanks, but it was sure this was a sensation few other Deepguard had experienced. Rage. Upgrading designation of [Shistavanian] to [Priority Target]. Commencing [Retrieval]. [Violence - Minor] permitted. [Violence - Major] permitted. [Violence - Lethal] permitted. Dispatching retrieval team. ________________________________ At the site of the now exploded mining shaft, the two remaining Monitors stood, orders bleeding in from the more intelligent DG-OG13. "Commencing-" began the first. "..." The second paused, as if waiting for their now disabled third member of the trio to finish the sentence. After a moment, it spoke. "...pursuit." The two began loping off into the darkness, as OG13 attempted to estimate the fleeing wolfman's path of retreat. Other patrols were called off from restoring order in order to form the net the closed around the area OG13 thought the Shistavanian might have fled. This insurgent had challenged OG13's control. Control was all the droid knew. It would not let him get away if it could help it. _______________________________ Space: (General) Up above, fighting the creeping edge of a headache, Captain Jorus opened his tired eyes at the sight of the Black Bracer and other Strands ships jumping to hyperspace. Contract was up...apparently. Jorus didn't have the clout or disposition to argue with the fanatics aboard the Black Bracer, so he simply let them go and rearranged what ships he had into a tighter security formation. If he was lucky, nothing else would go wrong today. Alarms blared. ....Kriff kriff kriff kriff kriff... His foul-mouthed mantra played monotone in his head as forced his tired eyes to focus on the readout. What he saw woke him up immediately. A few quick jabs at his screen, and he shouted into his comm, "What the spice-loving karking heck is going on down there!?" Central Command Tower only returned static. Jorus narrowed his eyes. Comms were down. Power was out. The Hakawa Islands had been attacked. Any one of those would have been impressive for the local insurgents. But all three? Simultaneously? "...Broadcasting to all units. Red Alert. Red Alert. All units enter military readiness. Now!" He switched channels. "Shipyards patrol, get on the line and get those Strands battleships back here immediately! I don't care what you have to promise them!" Maybe this was nothing. Maybe the local protestors had finally gotten their act together. But it didn't feel like that. And Jorus had survived on paranoia. He wasn't about to change now. His screen beeped out an incoming transmission. "Oh for the love of...I don't have time for-" The computer suddenly skipped past the notification and connected. "Captain Jorus." The criminal turned commander froze, breath catching as the raspy voice crackled over the speakers. Boss... "What is happening in my city?"
  25. In his mind's eye, Apothos watched the end of a world. Seeing Inmortos take his domain was like watching the last breaths of a man taken by death. A violent , gasping death rattle, a last bucking of the body desperate to cling to what was already lost. Then nothing. Cold. Inevitable. The locals certainly seemed convinced. The fear the radiated from them created a light to Apothos' sight that must have last been matched only by the burning inferno of this city when it fell. Pain, hate, wrath, fear, all saturated the metal beneath and around him. The metal... Apothos' chair lurched the remainder of the way out of the wreckage of the ship. The reptilian inhabitants noted him, but the dark presence standing before them was of greater concern. The neimoidian sorcerer paid them no heed. The city was what drew his attention. He extended his awareness, finding broken circuits and shattered pistons hidden beneath the corroded sheets of corroded metal. Their function had long since gone, but the intricate intentions of the devices remained. Here was the corpse of a civilization, the bones hinting at the designs of its creators. Septic systems, communication lines, power networks...all present, and all decayed. Then his mind touched on something. Like the crates of spice on Kessel, this hunk of metal hummed with the pain and fear its past had saturated it with. Leaving Inmortos to his conquest, Apothos's throne carried him down from the ship and through the streets. A few of the local lizards peeked their heads out, then hid as he passed, unaware their fear revealed them to Apothos far more effectively then his nonexistent eyes ever could. He found what he was looking for at the end of a long alley, blocked by rubble. The debris was old, predating Apothos' misadventure with the ship. It appeared that a blast of some kind had sheared away portions of the surrounding buildings, covering this portion of the alley. But it was the piece of broken scrap metal jutting out from the rubble that caught Apothos' attention. Upon closer examination, it was a weapon of some kind. A large tube that had carried some kind of power generator. Some kind of heavy, anti-armor weapon then. The lizard that had carried it must have hated with a true fire, greater than anything his peers might have felt, for Apothos to sense it this long afterwards. But it was not alone. Scattered, like dying embers, were the flickers of other dark emotions, all linked to weapons of different kinds. Why here? Why had such a cluster of weapons (and presumably the remains of their owners) ended up here? Apothos extended his awareness again, and found his answer. There was a security system here. Advanced, capable, better than anything he'd seen on this planet. Tucked away in this random alley, its sturdy construction had held up remarkably well, leaving it almost functional. Masterless, it responded to Apothos' command almost eagerly. A panel, partially obscured by rubble, squealed and shifted, then finally slid away to reveal a passage. ____________________________________ Apothos's chair exited the long, winding passage, deep beneath the city. The heat had grown intense as he descended, far more than made sense. It pressed against him, oppressive and insistent, as if the city was making a last ditch effort to hide its secrets. As his throne made the last few steps, he sensed what he hadn't before. A forge. A city of metal. All that metal has to come from somewhere. Below him was a massive pit, hundreds of feet across. He could sense more, lined up in each direction, cold holes that had once held the great fires that smelted this civilization into existence. Automated arms hung limp from corroded rafters, awaiting commands for manufacture. Blocks of metal and carts of ore sat in neat piles, never to be used. The silence was absolute. This place had remained undisturbed since the city had fallen. Apothos laughed. A dry, rasping laugh that built and echoed through the chambers. And his will came with it. A tiny, tiny glow glimmered to life in the bottom of the forge closest to Apothos. Then it grew brighter. And brighter. Fuel lines reconnected. Plating bent back into place and shed years of corrosion. Status lights blinked back on. There was so much here. Let Inmortos keep his dead. This steel corpse belonged to Apothos.
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