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Johanna Bryce

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Johanna Bryce last won the day on July 3

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  1. Only seconds after that statement, the pall of an ysalamir fell over Master Sarna and there was a knock on the door. It slid open to the medical ward, revealing an astoundingly tall woman carrying an ysalamir on a backpack harness. Her musculature and camouflage uniform suggested that she was among the Rebel Alliance’s marines, while the vibromachete worn on her back confirmed to those with an eye for details she was among the Galactic Republic’s Talon shock troopers. However, upon realizing how very small this medical ward was and that she had just walked in on three Jedi bearing an ysalamir, her brown eyes flitted to view the reaction to her arrival and lines of mortification spread across her expression. “I am so sorry.” The color having fled from her face, she backpedaled. Sche could be heard speaking to a medical droid just outside the ward, muffled by the walls. “Medic--keep an eye on this for me?” There was a dull thud as she released her ward into the custody of the medical staff, where it would hopefully be taken well out of range of the Jedi. No longer bearing an ysalamir, the marine rectified her aborted attempt at introductions, striding back into the room and offering a quick, perfunctory salute. She did not expect that it would be returned. “Masters, Master Sarna,” She did not know the Jedi Master personally, but she at least recognized the Jedi Master from her briefing. “Captain Johanna Bryce, Thirty-First Republic Talons. A pleasure. I understand that we are to be working together, capitalize on this sudden change in our fortunes.”
  2. Three hours later, Johanna Bryce had exchanged the sweat-soaked zero-grav suit for fatigues that smelled faintly of her recent physical exertion. Peeling the form-fitting bodyglove of the suit’s underlayer from her skin with a pensive expression, she learned of her next assignment--a joint operation with the Jedi Order, something that was practically unheard of… at least since the previous civil war--in which the Rebel Alliance was practically run by the Jedi Order. And they were fighting against the Sith Empire. “Huh. I guess some things never really change.” “On that note… must you do that in the middle of briefing?” “I was told it was urgent,” the Bespinian responded as though changing into a fresh pair of trousers in an unoccupied briefing room was a perfectly natural contingency. “What’s the satchel?” “As part of your gear, you’ve been issued with one Yirt-Zero-One, mark two. An ysalamir,” The Mon Calamari’s eyes blinked slowly, a vague approximation of a human smile. “You’ve never used one, have you? Try to be gentle with your motions--she--” “How can you tell?” “Doesn’t take nicely to sudden movements and drops. The poor dear will anxiety herself to death if you drop her---” “Is there a way of checking?” “So don’t drop her. Also, the Jedi consider it a massive faux pas to be ambushed with an ysalamir. This one has a radius of just a little less than nine meters, give or take thirty centimeters, so take care in headquarters.” Naturally, as Johanna left the briefing room and marched for Wrecking Machine’s primary portside hangar, taking unnatural care to mitigate the natural swing of her shoulders, the entire landing bay burst out into cheers and caused the Bespinian to jump in startlement. Only two seconds after rumor had inspired a spontaneous celebration amongst the fighter pilots and deck crew of Wrecking Machine, the public address system put fact behind the exuberance and turned the cheering into a riot of backslaps, hugs, and more personal displays of enthusiasm. “Now here this: Corellia stands. The Sith fleet has retreated under fire.” A walk to her shuttle that should have taken thirty seconds occupied nearly five minutes. Johanna was ambushed by four of her Talons, who abandoned their work on their damaged LAAT/i to envelop their commander into a massive, jumping group hug. A Zeltron began crying into her shoulder at one point. Bryce was fairly certain that someone kissed her on the cheek--the marine never got a good look at the owner of the lips, she was pressed in so closely by the crowds. The smirk that persisted on her face eventually blossomed into a genuine grin--after years of disaster, barely surviving, and qualified victories, for once the Rebel Alliance had met the Sith in open combat and come out on top. It had been a long time since Johanna had tasted victory, even by public address. _____ The cheering was continuing even when Johanna’s shuttle settled on the landing pads surrounding The Red and Black. This time, fortunately, the throngs had subsided somewhat and Bryce’s progress wasn’t hindered by a crowd of victory-starved dockworkers. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm was contagious and the tall Bespinian marched through the vaulted halls of the headquarters with her customary swagger and humming a traditional space shanty, heedless of the weight on her shoulders. The Talon arrived at the pre-assigned briefing room, only to find it utterly abandoned. The lack of punctuality was pleasantly surprising. Perhaps they had also been swept up into the victory celebration. Or… the exact opposite, as a query to the base’s yeomans confirmed that the Jedi that Bryce was to collaborate with were both in the medical wing. Not quite certain what to do, the Talon simply stared at one of the room’s walls with her comlink in her palm. Bursting into their privacy--while hauling an ysalamir, no less--felt like an intrusion. Not quite certain of what to do, Johanna gathered the abominable little reptile and made her way to the base’s armory. In her experience, few problems could not be solved with enough preparation and ample application of firepower.
  3. Once she recovered from the quiet, the vertigo, the dread sense of being the only sapient being in eight cubic kilometers, and the knowledge that a single mishap with her suit’s thrusters had the potential to send her into a Mandalorian funeral in Nar Shaddaa’s atmosphere or a frozen grave in the space between planets… Johanna actually began to enjoy her time in null-gravity. The absence of the bonds of gravity allowed for a surprising freedom of movement. Every half-second of thrust translated to a surprising degree of acceleration that her gravity-limited mind was having difficulty translating into its previous conceptions of distance. Even barring the tactical options that null-gravity opened up, it was difficult to remember a time that Bryce had seen a better view. The Bespinian stood on the riven hull of the Mandalorian Star Dreadnaught Medusa, situated within the drydock of Nar Shaddaa. Only forty-five degrees above the horizon, she could see the cityscape of the night side of the Smuggler’s Moon. Concentric rings of golden light criss-crossed over the moon’s surface, interspersed by shifting, multicolored glares in the center of several of those rings--a concert, performance, or some other demonstration? Judging from the smoke, however, it seemed that a major fire had broken out in the Corellian Sector. Closer to her location, a constant stream of pinprick lights traveled to and from the moon. And closer still, no less than ten fleet tenders were attached to Medusa by umbilical. Hundreds of sapients and droids were marching over the exterior of the vessel with plasma torches and shaped charges, cutting--or blowing away--portions of the ship’s armor and batteries for reprocessing in the kilometer-long foundry ship that loomed above her. Poor Medusa. Only a short time ago, it had been the pride of the Mandalorian fleet. Now its hull and armor was being melted down to forge the newest capital ships of the Rebel Alliance and her remaining ordinance was being diverted to much smaller, less fearsome craft. “What are you doing here? You have authorization to be here?” A coarse, clipped tone--Corellian? Johanna couldn’t see through the shielded faceplate--growled over the proximity comlink. “Null-grav exercises. This is the largest stable position in the system.” “Not where you’re standing, it ain’t,” the dockworker grunted, pointing downward to indicate a crimson ribbon of shaped charges. “This plate’s blasting off in thirty seconds. Might want to move there. In fact… you just stick near me so you can keep clear of any hazard zones. Check-check, twenty five, get clear.” The dockworker moved with surprising nimbleness given the ungainly suit that covered every square centimeter of his body. As Johanna stomped along the hull, she marveled at how the dockworker casually jogged, triggering his magwell boots in imitation of a run that she had seen on low-gravity worlds, with entire seconds between strides. Indeed, once the Bespinian had begun to imitate his stride, she bounded along the hull at a pace that rivalled her Bridge Rush and reached the next kilometer-long section of armor in only a few minutes. Mid-stride, she didn’t even feel the explosion that sent a great durasteel square of armor drifting into space. She tailed the dockworker for some time, closely watching the efficient movements that conserved the energy needed to move the bulky suit. An hour later, the Bespinian bounded along the hull to observe a team of dockworkers disassembling a railgun battery. A team of twenty was swarming over the fortification like a horde of ants, cutting apart the massive barrels and manually ripping out tangles of conductive fiber and circuitry into open space, where it would be collected by the shipyard’s droids. This particular battery was only a short distance from an airlock--not one of the tiny, two-man umbilicals, but a five-meter portal sealed by an armored blast door. Standing directly on the massive steel plate, Johanna stared downward and considered the force necessary to breach such a barrier. Man-portable ribbon charges would be insufficient--a proton torpedo would manage the task. Or… one of the boarding torpedoes that the Sith had used to great effectiveness at the Third Death Star could breach it and probably tunnel through several compartments before its inertia was finally stopped. Atmosphere would be a concern after breaching so many interior compartments, but portable air supplies were lighter than the charges needed to breach a seal that thick. That was even assuming that a conventional assault was necessary. Taking a cue from the dockworkers, Johanna took a gentle leap at a run and triggered her suit’s thrusters. allowing for inertia to carry her the remainder of the six kilometers to the bridge. A gentle application of the magwell boots allowed her to take the landing at a bounding run, gradually coming to a halt over a hundred meters. Captain Bryce stood amongst the wreck of Medusa’s bridge and the terraces of its superstructure. The recessed bridge was a difficult target for a turbolaser or a starfighter to hit, but a marine could easily place breaching charges and blast through where the transparisteel canopy had been. A boarding action wasn’t even necessary--Bryce could see the welding marks that remained of the shield generators. Shaped charges--or even sustained fire from an E-Web--could demolish the towers in short order, rending the bridge vulnerable to strafing runs. Before Bryce could begin to traverse the command superstructure and venture into the bridge, that obnoxious Agamarian drawl oozed over the comlink. “Cap, we need’ja ‘ere back a’ Wreckin’ Machine.” Bryce shuddered. “Evac shuttle’s on ‘er way. C’n give yer report once, y’get back, but sumth’s going down.”
  4. Whump, whump, whump…. Three days later, Captain Bryce found herself stomping towards one of the airlocks of Wrecking Machine, clad in an armored zero-gravity jumpsuit. Heavy and bulky, it was all that the tall Bespinian could do in the rubbery suit to simply place one foot in front of the other and occasionally duck her head under one of the lower girders of the Mando-built warship. Whump, whump, whump. The jumpsuit was not elegant in the slightest. Bryce felt as though she was wearing a set of tires around her entire body--and in essence she was. These suits were typically favored by the shipbreakers and dockworkers of Nar Shaddaa, whose work took them onto the hulls and into the interiors of damaged ships. That was a ludicrously dangerous environment and required heavy protection just against the jagged surfaces of ruptured durasteel hulls. Lacking armor-grade plastoid, the solution to the many hazards faced by these workers was armorweave padding--lots and lots of padding. Whump, whump, whump. That was, of course, not including the weight of the magnetized boots, air supply, environmental controls, thrusters (both repulsors and gas-jet motors), fuel supply, batteries, and comms gear that the suit also carried--all armored and proofed against the temperature extremes of space, of course. And that would increase further once Bryce carried a full combat load of weapons, and still further with the explosives that entry into a ship would require. This arrangement, at best, was suboptimal. And every step inside the artificial gravity of a ship felt like a long, exhausting slog. Eventually, however, Bryce made her way to airlock four on the port side of the Neo Kandosii-class Dreadnought. Despite the exertion, the environmental systems of the suit kept her from sweating. Johanna glanced upwards and switched on the suit’s comlink systems with her teeth. “Bridge, Bryce at airlock Pesh-four. Go ahead and cycle her, I’m ready.” “Right you are, Cap,” Came an Agamarian drawl in her ears. Somehow the woman managed to speak without a single consonant and the vowels just leaned on top of each other. “Have fun out there, y’ear?” “Uh, yes. Thank you. Might be out of contact for a bit, it’s rough space out in the docks.” Wind rushed around the bulbous zero-gravity suit as the airlock cycled and the remaining air in the chamber was vented into the vacuum of space. As the airlock doors opened, Johanna squinted and held a hand in front of her face against the glare of Nal Hutta’s star. The suit’s faceplate soon darkened to protect against the glare. The Talon then took a test step past the threshold of the ship’s airlock, and felt… Nothing. Nothing for hundreds of kilometers. Johanna found herself sweating despite the coolness of the suit. She kept her eyes focused on her destination approximately twenty kilometers into the distance, where a blunt-bladed dagger lay suspended over Nar Shaddaa, little lights of torches and controlled explosions flashing over the length of its massive hull. Engaging her suit’s thrusters, Bryce began to make her way to the riven hulk that had once been Medusa, the flagship of the Mandalorian Crusader fleet.
  5. There were no prisoners. That wasn’t the result of a barbaric, no-quarter sweep through the Golan, but out of urgency. Any wounded were simply stunned and abandoned for the Sith to recover--the Talons were in and out of the station within minutes, and all of the wounded left behind had yet to even stir by the time the Rebels exfiltrated to their transports. There were no awkward conversations in the rear of the transport, no shivers or whimpers from restrained Sith troopers, no one demanding to know what unit that their Sith adversaries belonged to. Instead, there were six wounded shock troopers groaning in pain, one unconscious, blaster scarred man wheezing with every breath, and one very harried medic somehow managing to race about the tiny passenger compartment and keep them all alive. As adrenaline began to seep away, pain began to fill its wake and Johanna began to struggle to keep up with the medic. Observing that Bryce was beginning to pale and list even under the exertion of applying pressure to a weeping neck wound, their medic dragged the Bespinian off to the side to treat a neglected wound. “How’s Tharen?” “He needs a bacta tank. Let’s have a look at that--” Bryce yelped out loud in pain when the bottom of her tunic was lifted to reveal a bleeding, reddened blaster crease along her lowest rib. “Yeah, there’s your problem. Why didn’t you tell me right away? Tyrell, keep pressure on this patch…” The Bespinian let out another yelp as a bacta patch was spread over the wound and indelicately pressed against her inflamed skin. “For fifteen minutes. Don’t let the Captain move. I need to get back to Tharen. Have HQ ready a tank once we pop out of hyperspace. Thirty minutes later, the LAAT/i burst out of hyperspace in the vicinity of Nar Shaddaa. Johanna couldn’t help but rise despite the protestations from her ribs, and saw the prize of the battle over Kuat and their infiltration of the Golan station: two damaged Kyber-class Star Destroyers. Even through the narrow slats of the transport, the Bespinian could see that the two capital ships had suffered extensive damage to their command superstructures, with scarred armor plating and buckled decks surrounding the bridges. If knocking out the guns aboard the Golan had saved those ships from being scrapped, then maybe their aborted attack hadn’t been a waste of manpower. Ten minutes later, the LAAT/i transports converged on Wrecking Machine and landed aboard the Mandalorian battlewagon. While the medics carted away the wounded in need of bacta, Johanna gathered her company around her and tried to ignore the repeated attempts of a medical droid to guide her away. “Good work, Talons. Get some rest, get some food. We’ll report to the shipyards at oh-eight-hundred for training. We need to make sure that we’ll never have to do that again.” And with that, the Talon commander finally allowed the medical droids to do their jobs and guide her to a medical bay and proper care for her blaster burn.
  6. Johanna Bryce


    As sage wisdom passed down throughout the generations in any competent military unit admonished, a running demolitions officer outranked everyone. At that moment, the demolitions expert in Bryce’s section was raving to get back, further, no further than that it’s going to blow in only a few seconds. Even half-deaf, the shock trooper could hear the gravelly voice of the Mon Calamari and she sprinted in the wake of her fellow Talons. Already partially deaf to the lower register of the audible range, she felt the explosion that tore a breach in the hull of the Golan more than she heard it, for artificial gravity failed for a half-second and the next step launched her into open air. The shock trooper went sailing through the air on her next step, only to land on her face and skid to a halt at the sternguard of her section once gravity reasserted itself. Lighting was switching between the white overhead panels and the emergency glowpanels on the floor seemingly at random, and the dull hum of electronicas had become disconcertingly silent. “Fleets pulling out!” Bryce shouted to her squad. “Done all we can, back to the transports!” The withdrawal was slow--twice, Bryce’s section encountered patches of corridors where artificial gravity had failed and the shock troopers had no choice but to float towards their transports. They returned to the hangar to find it in ruins, bodies and fueling hoses and wreckage strewn about the deckplates. The emergency shutters had also closed; the magcon field had failed and every piece of debris had rushed towards the void of space until the shutters had sealed the hangar against vacuum. Johanna jogged towards her transport, making a mental count of her soldiers and fretting until her noncoms piped in with the reassuring signal of “all accounted for.” “Finally! Seal her up and let’s blast out of here!” Johanna called to the pilot of her section’s LAATi. The cabin doors swinging shut, the Talons’ transports yawed around and unleashed the remainder of their rockets into the hangar shutters, blasting a breach large enough for the transports to escape through. Armored bodies and pieces of debris rushed through the gap--unsecured munitions crates skidded along the deckplates and refueling hoses trailed along with the gust of wind. Once the draft had diminished, the four transports eased their way through the breach. The Rebel transports calculated their hyperspace solutions only seconds after their re-entry into the void. Moments later, the survivors of Talon Company had escaped into the relative safety of faster-than-light travel.
  7. Johanna Bryce


    The deckplates under Johanna’s boots gave a subtle shudder as the rumble of a distant explosion caused every unsecured object in the power distribution center to rattle. Datapads rattled and fell from the engineering console, impacting against the Talon’s helmet and greaves. With a clumsy roll on the datapads and miscellany that had been scattered by her squad’s sabotage, she risked a peek over her meagre cover to be greeted by the horrifying sight of red lightsabers. The shock trooper could barely make out the mystic freak’s face in the smoke--he appeared humanoid, but she wasn’t even positive about the creature’s sex. His mouth twisted, probably to speak, but Johanna was mostly deaf and mostly uninclined to even make an attempt at lip-reading. The first thing that every Talon learned about combating Sith was to fill the air with as much blaster fire as possible, and from as many angles as possible. At the same time Johanna switched her blaster pistol to stun, she felt a heavy impact against her shin. She glanced down and paled. It was a satchel charge. Consisting of several kilograms of nergon-14 and other high explosives, it was an efficient array of explosives designed to defeat fortified bunkers--or as Talons and the Alliance Marines liked to call them, a “backpack of boom.” They were typically equipped with remote detonators, but Johanna knew perfectly well that her Talons had elected to use thirty-second fuses for this mission. For all she knew, Johanna had only seconds left to live. The shock trooper fired off a few wild, unaimed stun blasts in the general direction of the Sith acolyte, then picked up the satchel charge and threw it deeper into the transformer room. And then she ran. Her fellow Talons were already retreating to a safe distance, so it was just her and the Twi’lek shock trooper sprinting to catch up, hoping that they would be able to outrun the imminent explosion--or the Sith, for that matter.
  8. Johanna Bryce


    “Alpha--Echo. Made entry in subsector twelve. About to make contact with Charlie. Foxtrot right behind us.” Pinned down by an E-Web emplacement and her ears still ringing from her section’s concussion grenade, Johanna couldn’t make out the report from the remaining third of her unit that had just made egress onto the station. However, more than five hundred meters away, an additional thirty shock troopers joined the assault on the aft turbolaser batteries to catch the Sith defenders between two angles of fire. Bryce rapped on the helmet of her adjacent Talon. A violent series of hand signals followed: smoke, suppressing fire, dark. That last gesture was met with a confused frown from the Chiss; Bryce repeated the gesture more emphatically, this time greeted with an exaggerated nod and a countdown of five seconds. The Bespinian took a deep breath and prepared herself for a mad crawl up the corridor… Two smoke grenades rolled up the corridor. A wild-spray of fire issued from the shock troopers, mostly enthusiastic but unaimed fire towards the E-Web position, but a number of carefully aimed bolts struck glowpanels, shrouding the interior of the battlestation in darkness and the meager crimson glow of emergency lamps. Into that crimson haze Johanna dove, a grenade in her left hand and her sidearm in her right. Two of her Talons followed, crawling madly through the smoke and darkness in an attempt to spring up at point-blank range and assault the Sith fortifications. “For Carida!” At this range and in the confines of durasteel-reinforced corridors, the shriek of the concussion grenade was shattering. Johanna only had time to place a gauntleted hand to protect her neck--and then once the little impacts of rubble on her back ceased, she was up and running, only meters away from the ruin of the E-Web blaster. A fallen Sith trooper, sitting against the barricade with both legs bleeding profusely, shakily raised a blaster pistol towards her. Captain Bryce caught the glint of the armor moving in the darkness and felled him with a lucky bolt to the breastplate. Only a second later, she and two of her shock troopers were in the last fortification, punching and stabbing and firing their blasters at point-blank range. Red, both figurative and literal, filled Johanna’s vision. The Twi’lek who had followed her up had drawn her vibromachete and brought it down on the neck of a Sith trooper, spraying the area with rivulets of hot blood. Johanna reeled and dropped to the deck when a blaster round creased her midsection--it burned fiercely, but the bolt struck the plastoid where it was strongest. Her attacker wasn’t quite as lucky--his next two shots whined past where Bryce’s head had been only milliseconds early, whereas her pistol fire struck his shin, knee, then finally his groin. Bryce forced herself under the cover of one of the engineering consoles of the power distribution room. A lifeless, blue arm was twitching just beside her. It was just her and the Twi’lek in the meager salient into this vital facility. “Payload up! Prime and bring it up!” She screamed to her Talons to reinforce her position. Hopefully, they would arrive in the few seconds before the Sith realized that it was just two shock troopers who had broken into their fortification.
  9. Johanna Bryce


    The two remaining LAATi’s of Talon Company raced about the exterior of the station, their turrets opening up on sensor domes and shield generators as the heavily-armed gunships nearly scraped the hull of the Golan in their evasive maneuvers. They were hunting for an alternate point of entry to the station that could be breached--a boarding umbilical, even a portal for astromech droids that could be blasted open. Shrieking by the bridge, the two transports dipped under the arc of the hull to send a flurry of rockets into the unmolested bow batteries. They broke right to continue their hunt for targets to vandalize, leaving a trail of melted armor plating and shattered fire controllers in their wake. Then they located their point of entry. It was a small airlock intended for the use of crew on EVA spacewalks. It was only large enough to accomodate two marines at a time and the transports would be vulnerable until their passengers gained entry to the station, but Echo section’s marines were already at work, setting up a portable magcon field generator and laying ribbons of explosives along the airlock…. _____ It was inevitable that the Sith stop reacting to their boarding operation like beldons and begin mounting an effective defense. Between the E-Web position at their flank and the fortifications before the bridge, Captain Bryce’s progress had been effectively halted. The radio chatter from Charlie section even indicated that they were being driven from the aft batteries. The Talon directly in front of Bryce--the Chiss Sergeant who had dragged her out of the fusillade from the E-Web position--shouted something. No luck--the marine was mostly deaf in her right ear. Then came a flurry of hand signals: concussion grenade, buckshot, and a countdown of three seconds. The Bespinian nodded; the grenade went bouncing along the deckplates towards the E-Web’s position under a flurry of blaster fire, and then with blinding glare a crash of thunder that came almost as a physical punch to her ribs, Bryce was suddenly deaf in her left ear. But she was up and turned the corner to advance towards the Sith emplacement. The E-Web was still firing blindly and struck one of her men to fell the Talon; a carefully aimed shot from the squad pierced the faceplate of its gunner and silenced the turret. The rest was a frenzy of close-quarters combat, of blind and deaf Sith troopers peeking out from their barricade to exchange fire with deafened Alliance marines, and within a few seconds her section had mounted the barricade and Bryce was firing down at the retreating bodies of the Sith troopers. With this position overmatched, and for the moment, no Sith troopers or automated turrets firing at them, Johanna had a moment of relative peace and signaled her Talons to gather around her. “No luck on the bridge!” She shouted, in the hopes that some of her marines could still hear. A holoprojector in her palm displayed a simplified schematic of the station. “Local transformers are fifty meters aft--hundred mid! They get hit!” She slammed her fist on the holoprojector, dimming the projection and making her point clear. The amount of energy that those devices managed was enormous--the destruction of one of them would cause rolling blackouts that would wreak havoc on the station’s fighting effectiveness. Unfortunately, it also seemed that the Sith were aware of the vulnerabilities of the station's power grid. Bryce's section managed to traverse the distance aft without encountering anything more than token fire from the broken squad of Sith troopers that they had just overrun. However, they encountered heavy resistance the moment that her section turned down the corridor leading to the aft power transformers. The leading Talon just in front of Captain Bryce peeked gingerly around the corner... and promptly spun to the ground when the leading edge of her helmet was struck by the second of a rolling tide of blaster fire from Sith troopers and an automated turret. Bryce grabbed the Private's presumably deceased body out of the line of fire by her boot, only for the Twi'lek to grin and give her a thumb's up. It was a glancing blow--only the armor was struck. Both sides returned fire, largely unaimed and ineffective. It was a stalemate, the Talons unable to advance down the barricaded corridor and the Sith troopers content to merely hold off their advance. The Talons sent a smoke grenade upwards to cover an advance of one of their marines, but the crawling marine only managed to scuttle ten meters forward before a glancing blow to the leg forced him to take cover in the pitiful shelter of an astromech droid crawlspace. Amid the chatter of blaster fire and dimly-heard shouts of orders, Bryce snarled into her comlink. "Delta--cancel orders and support at Alpha's position. Confirm." Still half-deaf, the Bespinian never heard the response. Presumably it was in the affirmative--and hopefully reinforcements would arrive soon, because her men weren't going anywhere in a hurry and would be sitting beldons if more Sith closed in on their position...
  10. Johanna Bryce


    “Report, Bravo--Charlie--Delta.” Captain Bryce panted into her comlink. She and twenty-nine shocktroopers were racing down parallel corridors to the command center in the guts of the Golan platform. She counted thirty meters, then halted her charge to sidestep towards the center of the corridor. The other half of her section rushed forward as a tide of plastoid and steel, and she snapped off a few unaimed blasts at the next intersections to discourage any counterattacks. She and her section of Talons had been nearly unopposed--no Sith shock troopers “Bravo--approaching bow one through seven. Minor resistance. Be there in another minute.” “Delta--Aft eight through fourteen is ours. Seven! Don’t bother, use the whole pack. We’re not keeping it. Thirty seconds, Talons, move it!”” The last transmission was muffled by the whine of blasters and shouts of orders delivered under fire. “Ah---Charlie! Platoon of chrome-jobs holed up at aft twelve. Smoke up! damn it all….” More curses, more blaster fire--the Bespinian scowled as she rose from her fighting crouch and advanced the next thirty meters. “Putting up a good fight, but we’ll take ‘em.” Her section met their own first sign of determined opposition only seconds later. Taking the lead, the Alliance Talon pounded the deck with long strides as she charged forward. Her eyes darted side to side, occasionally catching glimpses of her fellow shock troopers fifty meters to the right… and no less than twelve Sith troopers lining the corridor leading to the dorsal shield projectors on her left. Eyes met the unexpressive chrome faceplate of a Sith shock trooper’s armor. Before either had the opportunity to react intelligently, two very disruptive things transpired at almost the same time. First, the detonation of a satchel of nergon-14 charges, little more than a backpack stuffed with explosives almost to the point of bursting, shook the station. That was Delta Section, reducing nearly a quarter of the station's firepower to twisted metal. The Sith trooper staggered, throwing off his aim--or her, it was impossible to tell--aim. Bryce was worse off. Midstride at an all-out sprint, she fell and slid along the deckplates. Second, a stray bolt from her squad caught the trooper in the neck, dropping him with a shower of liquified chrome and a pained gurgling noise. But there were still eleven more troopers directly behind him, all of whom were aiming their rifles at the downed Talon. Not bothering to aim, Bryce launched a grenade into their midst, sending the shot into the ceiling but filling the corridor with shrapnel and steam from burst pipes. Someone grabbed the back of her shirt and pulled her forward, hauling Bryce out of the way of a flurry of semi-automatic and automatic blaster fire. An E-Web, she guessed, judging from the rate of fire. A perfect location to cut them off--even if the emplacement was a bit exposed.
  11. Johanna Bryce


    ((Golan)) The venerable LAAT/i might have been one of the most superbly designed infantry transports and close-air support gunships of the galaxy, but it was old and designed for a cadre of soldiers that demanded little in the way of creature comforts. Johanna swung from a railing in the ceiling by one hand as the larty juked unpredictably through antistarfighter fire, the inertial compensators in the passenger compartment not quite keeping up with the evasive maneuvers. An alarming creaking began to grow louder just above her head; the Talon captain refused to glance upward. The creaky little transport might have been old, but it was spaceworthy, and heavily armed. Yes, certainly spaceworthy, most definitely spaceworthy and completely overhauled by some of the best starship mechanics in the galaxy. Escorted by a squadron of X-Wings, the six LAATis slipped through the antistarfighter screen hastily fielded by the Golan. Not that the transport gunships needed the escort--though large and ungainly they were festooned with turrets and supported the wing-pairs of X-Wings that broke away with their own fire. The initial spike of terror that ran rampant within the interior of the gunships quickly faded, however; their escorts were able to intercept the incoming fighters. At the last ten seconds before the gunships pierced into the hangar, their chin-mounted guns and turrets snapped forward to riddle the interior of the hangar with laser fire. Though it undoubtedly caused a scene of havoc within the hangar and suppressed any garrison that was entrenched to resist the boarding action, it turned a pristine-white Lambda-class shuttle into heaps of charred wings and wreckage that obstructed the path of two of the gunships. Even in the sealed passenger compartment, Captain Bryce could hear the shouts and curses that rang out over the comm channel. “Frack--frack--frack! Dive--pull up--it's in our lane, we’ll try to--” What the remaining third of the Talon landing force was attempting, Bryce never heard, as the doors of the LAATi slid open to disgorge her and her shock troopers into a ruin of a hangar. They had caught the deckhands in the middle of post-launch cleanup--fueling lines were strewn around their ankles and a personnel carrier sat abandoned in the middle of the rubble, somehow untouched by the fusillade of laser fire. “Leave the deck crew, Talons, leave the crew--only if fired upon.” Bryce shouted into the air at the first whine of small arms fire and the unmistakable whiff of blaster-roasted meat. There was no time to waste for unarmed starfighter crews and even less for prisoners. She and her platoon of thirty shock troopers raced towards the armored bulkhead that separated the rest of the defense station from its hangar and began to infiltrate into the Golan, dispersing into fifteen-man sections that hunted for batteries to disable and sensors to smash. Two of the sections, commanded by Captain Bryce advanced on the bridge, their approach heralded by an unnerving tide of suppressing fire.
  12. Johanna Bryce


    “So, you can see that I had your interests in mind, Talons,” Johanna quipped, pointing at the holograph of the Kuat Drive Yards orbital ring. Around her, some just sitting next to the hangar, others standing, and some perched on the wings of their transport gunships, the two hundred sapients of Talon Company surrounded their final briefing. The clatter and chaos of Wrecking Machine’s hangar was hardly an ideal location for this briefing, but the distance between her and those in the back ring of sapients mattered little. The systems in their armor--a host of holocams and mics that patched directly into the holoprojectors in their gauntlets and goggles--rendered the lousy acoustics a meaningless hindrance. “This is exactly the kind of mission that the Bridge Rush was preparing us for. Questions?” “Yarrr, Cap’n. So, once she’s ours, is fleet sending over a crew to man her guns?” “Negative, Norris. This is strictly a smash-and-grab, and we get the smashy part. Anyone else? No? We have seven minutes and thirty-two seconds before realspace, and we’ll be off the deck ten seconds before that. Good luck, Talons; strike hard!” There were echoes, refrains of similar phrases, and then the briefing was over. The rings of marines dispersed and made for their gunships--a smattering of refurbished LAATs that might have taken straight from the wreck of a Venator-class Star Destroyer to a set of more modern assault shuttles. There were only two hundred of them left--the remnants of the Talon program that had transformed thousands of freedom-loving sapients into Sith-killers. Bryce, clad in her plastoid armor, fretted over her carbine in an attempt to distract herself from the thousands of what-if scenarios. After the numerous disasters that prefaced the death of the Galactic Alliance, this was going to be her first mission independent from Admiral Slaughter’s command--and in command of his beloved Talon Company. But also the first time that she had finally been on the offensive since the catastrophe at Coruscant. Forcing a smile onto her face, Johanna cycled her rifle one last time then strode to her LAAT gunship. A helping hand dragged her into the passenger compartment from just above her elbow… and then there was nothing left to do but wait. ____ And then the quiet of hyperspace was shattered by the discord of realspace. A scarred Mandalorian battlecruiser, rechristened the direct and unflattering monicker Wrecking Machine, pierced into Kuat’s orbit, surrounded by a host of frigates, corvettes, and one more modern Bothan Assault Cruiser. From their hangars a swarm of X-Wings and other snubfighters and transports spewed out. On the bridge of Wrecking Machine, a raspy old Mon Calamari voice rumbled out a single command over and over: “Spool them up, spool them up.” While the Neo-Kandosii-class Battleship might have boasted the majority of the squadron’s firepower, the deadliest weapon in the entire squadron was housed aboard the Bothan Assault Cruiser Heraldric. The blocky ship housed enough transceivers and sensor jammers to render communication difficult on a planetary scale, and if her crew was able to wind up their electronics warfare suite in time, it might buy them several minutes before the Sith were able to mount an effective response. And in this situation, with dozens of warships bearing down on Kuat Drive Yards and hundreds of sapients rushing towards the garrison’s Golan Space Station in their fragile spacecraft, minutes were worth men. Element Dar'Manda Destroyer Group [Railguns] Experience: Green Neo-Kandosii-class Battleship Wrecking Machine 20/20 Patrol Group Colonia Defensive Escort (Suppressing Fire) Experience: Green Bothawui Wing Carrack-class Light Cruiser Spoilsport 3/3 Warrior-class Frigate Dragoon 2/1 DP20 Frigate Sophie 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Constitution 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Badger 2/1 Yevetha Wing Carrack-class Light Cruiser Allegiance 3/3 Warrior-class Frigate Lancer 2/1 DP20 Frigate Cutlass 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Currahee 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Patriot 2/1 Task Force Carbonari Electronics Warfare Pod (Information Control) Experience: Green Bothan Assault Cruiser Heraldric 9/9 Sacheen-class Light Escort Tanto 3/3 Sacheen-class Light Escort Lanvarok 3/3 Senth-class Picket Ship Iskallon 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Nebula 2/1
  13. Fleet information (This will be updated as I add new task forces and fix the format) Element Dar'Manda Destroyer Group [Railguns] Experience: Green Neo-Kandosii-class Battleship Wrecking Machine 20/20 Patrol Group Colonia Defensive Escort (Suppressing Fire) Experience: Green Bothawui Wing Carrack-class Light Cruiser Spoilsport 3/3 Warrior-class Frigate Dragoon 2/1 DP20 Frigate Sophie 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Constitution 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Badger 2/1 Yevetha Wing Carrack-class Light Cruiser Allegiance 3/3 Warrior-class Frigate Lancer 2/1 DP20 Frigate Cutlass 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Currahee 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Patriot 2/1 Task Force Carbonari Electronics Warfare Pod (Information Control) Experience: Green Bothan Assault Cruiser Heraldric 9/9 Sacheen-class Light Escort Tanto 3/3 Sacheen-class Light Escort Lanvarok 3/3 Senth-class Picket Ship Iskallon 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Nebula 2/1
  14. Eighteen seconds. There was an audible groan of dismay when Johanna Bryce, clad in plastoid plate as though she were a member of the assault team, marched onto the bridge of the ersatz Victory-class Star Destroyer announcing the failure of the Talons. The tall Bespinian paced rapidly from side to side as she announced the results of the latest training evolution, her carbine swinging from its rigging. “Not bad,” she allowed. “No critical mistakes were made. And you didn’t shoot up the conn this time. But that’s not good enough. That leapfrog through the munitions corridor needs to be faster. Shouldn’t even need to speak down your advance, one fireteam moves up twenty meters while the other provides suppressing fire, then you trade off like clockwork. In fact,” Johanna smiled brightly. “That’s just what you’ll do for the next two evolutions. No spoken words, just hand signals and eye contact. Get the time down by another five seconds, and then you’ll earn back speaking--” At that moment, forty-one triple-chirps issued from the platoon’s headset comlinks. “Misericordia in one hour, Cap. Something big is coming down,” rasped the bassy Calamari voice of Commodore Kolchar in her ears. ____ Forty-five minutes Bryce’s command gunship raced through the formation of Rebel ships that had gathered for the mission in store. Several veterans of the Chandrilan campaign had returned and were repurposed for the new offensive--one of the fearsome Neo-Kandosii Battleships had just been released from drydock, refitted with spare parts, and had been gifted the unassuming monicker Wrecking Machine. The old blunt-nosed capital ship stood unpainted against the glittering backdrop of Nar Shaddaa, surrounded by a host of smaller ships, including two Carracks and several of the peculiar new corvettes from Naboo--a reflective flying wing that resembled a pleasure cruiser more than it did a warship. Bryce shook her head at the sight of those strange ships--the reputation of the Naboo’s aesthetic predilections was even worse than that of the Alderaanians. The Alderaanian Clone War-era frigates at least appeared to be armored. Bryce’s command gunship landed within Misericordia’s ventral hangar bay. She and three of the fireteam leaders of her unit, the Talon Company, jogged through the old Star Destroyer’s corridors, determined not to be late for the briefing despite having arrived from moonside. They were a peculiar sight on board--most of the armed forces of the Republic had assimilated into the Galactic Alliance and abandoned their old traditions in the name of unanimity in the coalition’s armed forces, but the Talons had guarded some of their regalia, even as supplies dried up and some of the intransigent ex-Imperial units complained. Theirs was a long, curved vibroknife that was worn on a shoulder scabbard--more like a vibromachete, as the blade was nearly forty centimeters long. To them, the long knives were not really weapons--they were more akin to dogtags and the members of Talon Company simply carried them wherever they went. And somewhat thoughtlessly, as they had boarded an Imperial Star Destroyer that was crewed partly by veterans of the last war, and were en route to a briefing that was undoubtedly to be attended by senior Rebel leadership. But Bryce wasn’t concerned about that tiny faux pas; she just didn’t want to be late and leave her commanding officer waiting. Element Dar'Manda Destroyer Group [Railguns] Experience: Green Neo-Kandosii-class Battleship Wrecking Machine 20/20 Patrol Group Colonia Defensive Escort (Suppressing Fire) Experience: Green Bothawui Wing Carrack-class Light Cruiser Spoilsport 3/3 Warrior-class Frigate Dragoon 2/1 DP20 Frigate Sophie 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Constitution 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Badger 2/1 Yevetha Wing Carrack-class Light Cruiser Allegiance 3/3 Warrior-class Frigate Lancer 2/1 DP20 Frigate Cutlass 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Currahee 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Patriot 2/1 Task Force Carbonari Electronics Warfare Pod (Information Control) Experience: Green Bothan Assault Cruiser Heraldric 9/9 Sacheen-class Light Escort Tanto 3/3 Sacheen-class Light Escort Lanvarok 3/3 Senth-class Picket Ship Iskallon 2/1 Senth-class Picket Ship Nebula 2/1
  15. Nar Shaddaa, by this point was dotted with garrison stations and training grounds. The largest of these was situated at MARPROG at the Alliance's headquarters, but Captain Johanna Bryce was stationed planetside in one of the smaller garrisons--little more than a repurposed warehouse, but Bryce had seen worse rust in her time in the army. As for the rust in her unit, it was clear that they hadn't had occasion to assault a capital ship in months. “Slow this time, Talons,” Johanna Bryce began her debriefing of the latest training evolution. She held a helmet to her hip and paced from side to side in the briefing room, not making any use of the room’s voice amplification. Shouting was a skill she had learned decades ago. “Four minutes, thirty-seven seconds from the hangar to the bridge, that was enough time for their troopers to mount a response and make our job a lot more difficult. And if a Sith was on board,” the towering marine flashed a quick smile. “We would have had to earn our pay.” There was no misunderstanding as to what Captain Bryce had conveyed with that last statement. The Bridge Rush was a training evolution that Talon Company had developed during the war while they were still serving under Starlisk: the objective was for a single platoon of shock troopers to storm the bridge of a mid-sized capital ship--typically a Victory-class or Carrack-class--and keep it until the marines could bring aboard reinforcements. Speed above all else was critical during this operation--if they were not free of the hangar within fifteen seconds, they were at risk of being vented out the magcon. If they were not on the bridge within four minutes, they were in danger of being bogged down by counterattacks from the ship’s stormtroopers. And if there was a Sith on board… attempting to scuttle the ship from within was an option worthy of consideration to the hospitality that the Empire of The Spider was offering prisoners. Pacing around a holograph of the Victory-class Star Destroyer Iron Fist, Johanna walked through the results of the training evolution and the numerous mistakes of her platoon. Hangar: walking wounded marine continued with the squad and should have made their way back onto the assault shuttle. Secondary engineering: no need to assault the room, just toss two grenades into the compartment and continue the charge. An amateurish delay in hot-wiring a blast door cost them nearly ten seconds of time. And finally, fourteen seconds of lost time in clearing the bridge, and an overexcited Private had left their carbine set to kill and destroyed the Conn. “Remember Talons, the goal is to be fast, not thorough. Use your concs and follow up. With luck, we take the bridge before the captain can transfer controls to the aux. Hit the showers, hit the miss. We’ll repeat the drill at twenty-hundred. And then we’ll run it again if we don’t get our time down by at least twenty seconds. Dismissed!”
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