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  1. Sarna had excused herself at the ground level of the Jedi Temple, racing towards the hangars at the base of their valley. Upon entering the warm, humid air of the exterior, Draygo paused at a small convoy of personnel carriers that had been delayed in their evacuation. A throng of eyes flickered away from a Gotal at the head of the convoy and towards the Jedi Grandmaster, nervous faces meeting the stony expression of a veteran fighter. Some of these nervous sapients were young Hopefuls--the next generation of the Jedi Order, so early in their training that they had not even been selected by a young Knight and Master for individual training. Most of them were noncombatants: visiting scholars who were guarding suspicious, tome-shaped bulges under their clothing; teachers and scientists clutching storage devices to their bodies. Among them were a medical ward’s worth of doctors and surgeons, patients and refugees. A pair of them were almost too ill to be moved and were transported in portable bacta tanks, some with broken bones that were being eyed nervously by their caretakers, and one dehydrated, half-demented fool of a refugee who had gotten himself lost in the jungle and had been bitten by a venomous viper. Still coming down from the delirium of a powerful cocktail of drugs, that patient was cheerfully babbling nonsense even as the medtechs were attempting to secure patients to personnel carriers and flatbed cargo dollies. More stimulated than terrified by the sirens, the Selkath happily rose from his seat to try and make small-talk with a passing flight of E-Wing pilots. “Oh, hello! Everyone’s very excited over something.” The Selkath smiled benignly at a misty sky that threatened rain. “The sun must be trying to come out there. It promises to be a lovely day.” At the moment, the cause of the excitement was the fact that his gesticulations had nearly upset a healing femur--and a significant bottleneck in the evacuation. As the lead Healer of the Felucian Temple, one Master Gloth, was explaining to the Jedi Grandmaster, there were simply too many patients to be evacuated, too few ships, and not enough airspace to accommodate them all. At the moment, that patient was causing some consternation due to the fact that his gesticulations had nearly upset a healing femur--that patient was eyeing the Selkath nervously. More importantly, there was a significant bottleneck in the evacuation. Jogging over to the anxious mob, Armiena spotted the Gotal Master Gloth, a Healer who had attended her wounds on a number of occasions. As the lead Master Healer of the Felucian described it, there were simply too many patients to be evacuated, too few ships, and too little airspace to accommodate them all. “Take my ship. Shippy McShipface--it’s an old Barloz freighter, maroon striping, you can’t miss it. Just keep your patients out of the armory.” The name of that rugged old freighter caught the ear of their delirium patient, who promptly fixed alkaloid-addled eyes on the Jedi Grandmaster and cried out loud with excitement. “Wonderful! I loved watching that show as a podling! Will we be able to meet Professor Pulsar?” “Yes,” promptly replied the Jedi Grandmaster, who had never watched the holodocs and had never met the so-called Professor Pulsar. “He’s a fine gentleman. He loves his fans. In fact, there’s nothing he loves more than to put on tea and talk stars with them. Now don’t keep him waiting. Get out of here, Master Gloth.” Those were blatant lies told with a blank face--the previous owner of the ship was dead--but the stubborn delirium case was convinced to take his seat without sedation, happily folding his hands into his lap. heT patients finally secure, Master Gloth and the invalid patients were able to hover their way towards the landing pads, with the Jedi Grandmaster jogging alongside one of the overloaded personnel carriers until the convoy reached the tarmac. The Gloth exchanged a brisk wave as the grey-maned Gotal disappeared up the boarding ramp of Armiena’s freighter, leaving the Jedi Grandmaster to clamber onto the wing of her starfighter The Jedi Ace was indeed fully prepped. A cursory check down the dashboards confirmed that the shields had been retuned, ion cannons charged and warheads loaded, life-support maximized, inertial dampener calibrated just a little below spec--Draygo preferred to strain against her maneuvers rather than fly in a bubble--and… that sublights functioning at 106% efficiency. Some engineer must have gotten ambitious with this twenty-year old starfighter, Draygo reflected with a shrug. There was one final change that needed to be made: punching in a command on the dashboards, the veteran Jedi altered the designation of her starfighter from an anonymous squadron callsign to Dark Fire. That would be sure to attract the attention of any simmering Sith that was thirsting for retribution. “Felucia, Dark Fire, joining Twin Suns Squadron out there. May The Force be with you.” Draygo didn’t listen to the response from the Temple’s ground control. Donning the helmet and oxygen mask, the veteran Jedi pulled back on the controls and caused the tiny starfighter to rocket into the humid air. Mist spilling from the fighter’s wings, Armiena glanced from side to side to watch the glow of descending sublight engines--troop transports. The Jedi Grandmaster closed her eyes and ignored the tones of sensor lock warnings and comm chatter, just trying to listen to The Force and any guidance that it might offer. There was none. The only sensation was a pit that dropped into her stomach after the starfighter broke through a developing storm cell. “Fine,” Draygo muttered to herself and thumbed a control on the comms board. “Wolf Spiders, deploy as planned. I need you here on the surface.” Confirmations of her orders received, the Jedi Grandmaster sent the fighter into a gentle turn that would cause it to intercept one of the larger Sith transports. It was a graceless, broad-winged, bulky craft that was trailing red-black pennants from its keel despite descending from upper atmosphere. More importantly, it was being harassed by two maroon X-Wings, both of which were exchanging turns taking potshots from afar and forcing the transport to veer off course by threatening to collide with its bow...
  2. Battle over Mon Calamari, Round Three Rebel Alliance Defensive Actions Heavy Brawler Escort |Chayaikir| continues Escorting |Forn| and |Grek| Heavy Brawler Escort |Zeeland| continues Escorting |Anastasia| and |Phobos| Light Defensive Escort |Phobos| Escorts |Forn| Offensive Actions Rebel Alliance Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova| Attacks |Sith Resurgent|: 6 damage Asset Denial Force [Surgical Strike] |Grek| Attacks |Sith Resurgent|: Ion barrage disables the task force (fast speed) Precision Strike Carrier Group |Anastasia| Bombers Inbound on |Phantom’s Spear|: 4 hull damage (fast speed) Bombers Inbound on |Phantom’s Spear|: 4 hull damage (fast speed) Destroyer Group [Railguns] |Akalenedat| attacks |Phantom’s Spear|: 6 damage (actions delayed by gravity crusher) Destroyer Group [Turbolasers] |Forn| Attacks |Phantom’s Spear|: (8-2) = 6 shield damage, 2 hull damage Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Bes’bev| Attacks |Wings of Glory|: 6 damage, attack evades capital/cruiser escorts Fleet Starfighter Actions: Interception (Forward Deployment): All enemy Bomber attacks are delayed, 1 damage directed to shields. Interception (Focused Deployment) on |Grek| Bombers Inbound on |Sith Resurgent|: 3 hull damage (fast speed) Special Actions: Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova| uses Advanced Sensor Upgrades: raises Global Combat Awareness by 1 (current bonus is +3). Sith Empire Defensive Actions Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| continues Escorting |Wings of Glory| and |Red Dusk| All task forces withdraw, all ships except disabled |Sith Resurgent| are able to withdraw at the end of this round Fleet Starfighter Actions: Bombers Inbound on |Forn|: 1 shield damage, 2 hull damage (delayed speed) Bombers Inbound on |Forn|: 1 shield damage, 2 hull damage (delayed speed) Bombers Inbound on |Forn|: 1 shield damage, 2 hull damage (delayed speed) Special Actions: Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| (escorting |Wings of Glory|) returns fire on |Bes’bev|: 3 damage No stealth ships are detected
  3. For a second, Draygo indulged in a moment of bittersweetness. It was difficult for her to not remember the day that she had been declared a Jedi Master--she and Aryian had escaped to Yavin for a brief period. It was either an unusual phenomenon in The Force--perhaps some lingering trace of Exar Kun’s downfall--or mildly toxic fumes that caused her to experience a highly lucid vision or hallucination. It had given the veteran Jedi an appreciation of the kind of woman that she had the potential to become… and perhaps, had walked away from. But that moment had to be pushed away. There was an investigation that needed to resolved, and-- --a roar of defiance, a confused outburst of violence, hands groping for rifles and punching against plastoid armor-- --and then screaming and fire-- A stab of pain radiated just behind her eyes like the beginning of a punishing headache. She squinted at Sarna and waved for the younger Jedi Master to follow. She led the Jedi towards the surface level. With every step, a palpable sense of dread began to grow… and then a cold shiver ran down her spine. As the two Jedi entered a turbolift to the surface level, the overhead lights flickered and the shrill, haunting howl of a directional siren began to blare. After two keening revolutions, the siren was accompanied by the painful shriek of an internal alarm. A second later, the turbolift doors slid open and her comlink began buzzing for attention. “Draygo. What’s happening?” “Uh, it looks like a gorram invasion out here, Grandmaster!” The heavily accented--and frightened--voice of a Bothan filled the confines of the turbolift. “Multiple Sith fleet elements, sensor and sunlight emissions look like troop transports. What should we do?” That younger Draygo that the Grandmaster had wistfully recalled might have displayed a talent for flair, a need to inspire or deploy drama as a weapon in the slaughter that she knew was going to be necessary to protect this planet. It was a much more hardbitten woman who set her shoulders and subconsciously swung her hips on the next two steps, confirming against her legs the familiar weight of her two lightsabers and blaster pistol. Those were thoroughly insufficient armaments, she reflected--more would need to be procured en route. A dozen pilots of a dozen species jogged past in their orange jumpsuits, reminding her of the more potent weaponry that the Jedi Temple had prepared for deployment. Draygo spoke in a flat monotone to relay her orders. “Fire up the ion cannon. Priority targets are the transports in upper atmosphere. Get the starfighter pilots to their stations. Launch one X-Wing squadron--just one. Limited engagement, grab their attention and see if they’ll chase. Everyone else to stand by and warm up their engines. I’ll be there at the docking pad shortly. Have my Ace prepped and ready for take-off.” “Yes, Grandmaster--but… the planetary shield?” Shouldn’t we…” “You will not activate it unless by my signal alone. Confirm these orders.” The nervous air traffic controller speaked the instructions, only going into unnecessary detail regarding interception vectors and firing arcs and power integrals. “Sarna. I’m going up in the air. I’ll tell you everything that I know about the Chaos Gods once this is done. Assuming that we’re both alive at the end of this day, of course.” ____ As the transports descended, it almost appeared as though the invasion of Felucia would proceed uncontested, that any assets that the Jedi might have been maintaining were mere listening posts--or perhaps a temporary hospital raised in the present emergency to combat the sudden epidemic. Then, aboard several of the troop transports, early warning systems would begin shrieking warning tones to their bridge crews--not only had their ships been pinged by a long-distance sensor array, this array was linked to a heavy planetary ion cannon. Quick evasive action would have been able to save their ships from disability and destruction after several minutes of falling through Felucia’s humid atmosphere, of course--the weapon was optimized for engaging lumbering capital ships in orbit, for trading salvos against orbital bombardment. However, those first several blasts were likely to come as a shock, not only to the crews of those targeted ships but also to their hulls. Shortly after, a dozen immaculately-white X-Wings with dark maroon dashes raced up to meet the Sith transports, mist spraying from their shields began to boil off a recent shower. Six more transports would register their attempts at locking on with missiles… …and then the first lethal shots of the Battle of Felucia would be fired.
  4. Battle over Mon Calamari, Round Two Rebel Alliance Defensive Actions Heavy Brawler Escort |Chayaikir| continues Escorting |Forn| and |Grek| Heavy Brawler Escort |Zeeland| continues Escorting |Anastasia| and |Phobos| Light Defensive Escort |Phobos| (actions delayed by gravity crusher) continues Escorting |Bes’bev| Offensive Actions Rebel Alliance Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova| Attacks |Sith Resurgent|: 6 damage Destroyer Group [Turbolasers] |Forn| Attacks |Sith Resurgent|: (8-2) = 6 shield damage, 2 hull damage Precision Strike Carrier Group |Anastasia| Bombers Inbound on |Phantom's Spear| : 1 shield damage, 3 hull damage (delayed speed) Bombers Inbound on |Sith Resurgent|: 1 shield damage, 3 hull damage (delayed speed) Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Bes'bev| Attacks |Wings of Glory|: 6 damage, attack evades capital/cruiser escorts Destroyer Group [Railguns] |Akalenedat| Attacks |Phantom’s Spear|: 6 damage Asset Denial Force [Surgical Strike] |Grek| Attacks |Sith Resurgent|: Ion barrage impacts with shields, no effect (fast speed) Fleet Starfighter Actions: Bombers Inbound on |Sith Resurgent|: 1 shield damage, 2 hull damage (delayed speed) Bombers Inbound on |Sith Resurgent|: 1 shield damage, 2 hull damage (delayed speed) Bombers Inbound on |Red Dusk|: 1 shield damage, 1 hull damage (delayed speed) Special Actions: Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova| uses Advanced Sensor Upgrades: raises Global Combat Awareness by 1 (current bonus is +2). Heavy Brawler Escort |Chayaikir| (escorting |Grek|) returns fire on |Red Dusk|: 3 damage Sith Empire Defensive Actions Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| continues Escorting |Wings of Glory| and |Red Dusk| Offensive Actions Destroyer Group [Railguns] |Phantom’s Spear| Attacks |Bes’bev|: 6 damage |Phantom’s Spear| penetrates Escort: Additional 2 damage through Escorting TF Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Red Dusk| Attacks |Grek|: 8 damage, attack evades capital/cruiser escorts Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Sith Resurgent| Attacks |Romanova|: 6 damage, attack evades capital/cruiser escorts Artillery Battery [Gravity Crusher] |Eye of Sagittarius| Attacks |Akalenadat|: 8 damage (delayed speed) Precision Strike Carrier |Wings of Glory| Bombers Inbound on |Forn|: 3 hull damage (fast speed) Bombers Inbound on |Forn|: 3 hull damage (fast speed) Fleet Starfighter Actions: Starfighter Rush against |Phobos|: 2 damage to frigates or 3 damage to corvettes (normal speed) Starfighter Rush against |Phobos|: 2 damage to frigates or 3 damage to corvettes (normal speed) Interception (Forward Deployment): All enemy Bomber attacks are delayed, 1 damage directed to shield Special Actions: Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| (escorting |Wings of Glory|) returns fire on |Bes’bev|: 3 damage No stealth ships are detected
  5. Joy was not typically a reaction that accompanied the arrival of an ysalamir--not even in amongst the Force-blind, certainly not in the presence of Jedi Knights. “A favor, Janen,” Armiena muttered to the withdrawing Jedi cleric, whose gait paused with some degree of trepidation. “Please, Grandmaster, can’t you get one of the droids--” “Take this thing up to surface level and keep an eye on it. I’ll probably need it later.” The Miraluka’s head lowered a millimeter and exhaled a long sigh. “....as you wish, Grandmaster.” No longer burdened by the Force-deadening beast on her back, the pallor withdrew from Draygo’s face and her normal spacer-pale complexion replaced the faint shade of nausea green. The Miraluka cleric who had updated her briefing took up the harness and blindly walked away, one gloved hand groping along the wall until one of the hulking Sentinel droids took pity on the stumbling Jedi and guided him away. For a moment, Armiena’s pale-green eyes took on a distant look as she instinctively stilled her racing mind in an attempt to detect that watchful presence. Perhaps unexpectedly, that stalking sapient had withdrawn its attention from her and had taken shelter in the roiling of a suffering world. All she sensed were Jedi--exhausted healers and peacemakers who had exercised their talents almost to the breaking point, but Jedi nonetheless. Very distantly, there was a vague presence of a Force Sensitive in the great distance. It was no Jedi--not any being that Draygo had encountered at the very least--but the Order had certainly not deployed this creature. She would have to investigate, but for now there were other matters to attend to. The Jedi Grandmaster handed a small comlink to the Zabrak Jedi. Although perfectly ordinary from a technical standpoint, it bore her identity codes and would tend to catapult Slain to the top of any Rebel communication officer’s list of priorities. It also had been preprogrammed with contact frequencies for a number of her assets, some of whom were in orbit, wielded large-caliber mass drivers, and would have been enthusiastic participants in any fire support mission. Perhaps putting a junior Jedi Knight in direct contact with the Wolf Spiders had the potential to result in significant collateral damage--but at least the young Jedi would not be venturing to face an unknown threat alone. Besides, the battle droids probably could be counted on to not accept a fire mission from anyone but her, or so she hoped. “Go, Selon,” Armiena mispronounced the Zabrak’s name as she clapped the comlink into the her palm. “I mean Silan. Be in touch if you find anything unusual.” Now to Sarna. Under less urgent circumstances, Armiena might have taken a moment to razz the Jedi Master regarding recent events on Ossus, where the entire praxeum had been set alight with gossip concerning her relationship with Aidan. But minutes were now precious beyond measure and objectives took priority. She clasped hands with the shorter woman and muttered into her pointed ear: “Dig up the reports. I’ll tell you everything that I know. I hope that it’s not relevant to this situation.” And lastly, the Mon Calamari Healer. Decades ago, Draygo probably would have dispatched a Master Healer to combat this plague directly--that almost certainly would have been Skye Organa, a Jedi who had retrieved her from within the gates of death on a number of occasions. Organa could always have been relied upon to exercise the discretion and the expertise needed to resolve the scenario--as well as possessing the natural authority to command local resources and foresight to maintain an extensive archive of potentially valuable samples. There was no similar corps of Healers in these more meager days… an oversight that needed to be rectified. Armiena stood before the Master Healer and regarded the Mon Calamari with a critical eye. Despite being somewhat shorter than the Jedi Knight, age and ease in authority lent to her a potent presence. She spoke sternly, mirth completely absent from her war-lined face. “A moment, Kil. There is a matter of minor importance that requires resolution before you depart. A matter of the organization of our Council, specifically. You see, for as long as our… incomplete records can determine, the Jedi Council has always existed as a collaboration of peers. They were almost never of like minds, backgrounds, species… or other factors… but all members sitting on the Council held each other in esteem for their wisdom, power, and service to the galaxy. As of yet, we have yet to emulate this example. This matter must be resolved immediately.” Draygo held her stern expression for as long as possible, privately enjoying the rare opportunity to cause a younger woman to wilt and doubt before harshly spoken words. Mirth eventually wore away at discipline, resulting in a twitch of her upper lip and a smile in her pale-green eyes. “In my personal experience, Jedi Master is not something you become. It is something that you do. Keep doing well, Master Kil.”
  6. Shippy McShipface was not what most spacers would call a “happy ship.” A happy ship would have been fled with little momentos, a copilot or astromech droid, perhaps an argument echoing from its cockpit, and clutter all throughout the common areas and a vrelt’s nest of crosswiring in the walls. McShipface boasted a small armory, a mutilated battle droid that hung like a macabre scarecrow in her workshop, and an entire wing of the ship that had been vented to vacuum and was unfit for sapient habitation. She was a silent ship in hyperspace. For a moment, however, Draygo could have sworn that she sensed a stowaway on her ship. That was not quite the right word--Armiena had yet to play host to an uncontracted passenger, but she understood that those wayward souls were more desperate than dangerous. More dangerous to themselves than their hosts, certainly. But for a second, the veteran Jedi experienced an unsettling instinct that someone--or something--was watching her. “It’s alright! I’m a Jedi, you don’t need to be afraid!” Draygo heard herself shouting towards the cargo hold even as she donned the reassuring weight of two lightsabers and a light blaster pistol. An altogether unpleasant memory of nearly shooting her own mother forced her hand from that weapon, however. The Jedi stalked the ship’s corridors for a few minutes, shouting similar reassurances to a potentially terrified passenger. After two similar reassurances, the pervading sense that something altogether wrong was watching her with amusement caused the veteran Jedi to retreat to the cargo hold and haul an ysalamir onto her shoulders. A faint sensation of claustrophobia immediately befell her like a leaden brick in her stomach, but if one of them was exerting some influence on this world… A personnel carrier waited for her use at the base of her freighter, manned by one of the hulking Sentinel droids. The little vehicle was nearly required to reach the Jedi Temple on Felucia, which was a highly inconvenient location to reach. The underground facility was situated nearly two kilometers away from its hangars, and those two klicks were an uphill hike through unpaved jungle on a terminally humid world. Even as the pervading burden of claustrophobia was causing her to make small talk with its taciturn pilot, Armiena soon doffed her robe and was tugging uncomfortably at a sweaty collar. The carrier’s pilot answered only in monosyllables, and the Grandmaster soon closed her eyes and hoped that the brick of nausea in her stomach would subside after setting foot within the Temple. “Oh! Grandmaster! Oh! Ah. Thank you, I appreciate it.” Cried an verbose Miraluka just within the subterranean lobby, who observed that Draygo was studiously maintaining ten meters of distance from him. “Master Sarna sent word that you might be coming. She’s on the second level, in the sparring halls. All the way in, turbolifts on the right, take the right walls, left… and--” “--Thank you, I know it. Listen, I need a briefing on the contagion that’s hit Felucia--if you wouldn’t mind…” Crestfallen but not in a position to deny the Jedi Grandmaster vital information, the blinded Miraluka clutched to Armiena’s forearm and recounted all of the symptoms observed and quarantine procedures that the Felucians had attempted. Airborne transmission seemed certain--the casualty rate in many communities exceeded ninety percent. It often started with a cough and febrile shivers, sores and focal swelling, blood in sputum and vomit, hemorrhages from the mucus membranes, pulmonary collapse… and most spectacularly, its victims attracted vermin and insects. “Thank you. Just--about face and go forward about ten paces.” The pallor in the Grandmaster’s face had begun to turn sickly. She stood just within the sparring hall, within sight but well out of the ysalamir's range of the two dueling Jedi. __________ A Wolf Spider battle droid was capable of engaging fourteen targets at any given moment. Every six seconds, it could launch two semi-armor piercing rounds at supersonic velocities, each capable of knocking out the shields of an assault shuttle and punching clean through the armor of a corvette. With multiple rounds in flight at any given moment, each droid was in effect a no-fly zone for any spacecraft larger than a starfighter. On the ground, it was eight-legged death on the slower Imperial walkers and a terror to infantry. In the orbital bombardment role, it struck like the hammerblow of a god--albeit a minor one, and perhaps one after having enjoyed a bit too much mead the previous night. It was not, however, equipped with programming to conduct aerospace traffic control. One of the six Wolf Spiders orbiting Felucia had detected the descending shuttlecraft. Mildly perturbed at having encountered a target for which it had not been programmed with relevant rules of engagement to interact with, the droid then consulted with its brethren over a radionics channel concerning the proper course of action. Those other five droids had similarly limited civilian experience within their memory banks--the only sitrep concerning a scenario that even remotely approached this dilemma was when one of their brethren had spent four years drifting in the debris field resulting from the battle for Centerpoint Station. There, a half-functioning Wolf Spider had used the last of its batteries to calculate and transmit a safe course for a crippled Y-Wing. Even this was not quite applicable to the spacelanes of a remote world where a viral contagion was in effect. The next node on what they collectively agreed to be their proper chain of command was the central computer of the Jedi Temple. The kilometers of processors at the core of the temple possessed a trim, businesslike personality, breezily waving aside the electronic bellows and demands for proper rules of engagement against an unknown vessel in this system. It frankly believed that directing combat operations at this moment was a bit of a waste of its valuable computing time, as the next thirty seconds of its busy schedule were entirely occupied by calculating protein simulations in search of a potential vaccine against the contagion. It transmitted its brief instructions to the six battle droids, who followed them to the final exacting bit. One of the droids transmitted an unencrypted series of instructions to the descending shuttle craft, advising its pilot of a number of precautions that they would be able to take against the disease. Those instructions were entirely in text, all the better for the transmission to penetrate the planet’s atmosphere and reach its target without loss of potentially critical data. Caution: viral contagion in effect. Reported casualties exceed ninety percent in some localities. Repeat: in excess of ninety percent. Airborne transmission is probable. Transmission by fluid exposure and aerosolized droplets confirmed. Recommend patient contact only with droids and personnel with vacuum-tight suits. Symptoms include fever, chills, shivers, cough, swelling and sores in particular in the vicinity of major blood vessels, difficulty breathing, hemorrhagic fever, cardiac arrhythmia, loss of renal function, blood in sputum, vomit, feces, urine, nesting by vermin, auditory and visual hallucinations, short-term memory loss (this list went for somewhat longer). Death typically is the result of loss of pulmonary and cardiac function. Recommend ten day quarantine of all personnel who experience unprotected contact with patients or contaminated fluid. Have a nice day. That last touch had been debated on for nearly two seconds by the battle droids--it had not been specified by the central processor of the Jedi Temple--but they eventually agreed, despite the predilections of their personality matrices, that they were functioning as personnel of the Jedi Order at the moment. A trace of courtesy was required for optimal performance.
  7. Several hours later, Shippy McShipface popped out of hyperspace. On board the old Barloz-class freighter’s bridge, Armiena stared blearily at her sensor readouts over a mug of caf, anxiety carved into every wrinkle of her war-lined face. Of all the nightmares that could have plagued her future, a potential resurgence of the Chaos Gods was one of the most unwelcome. A Sith or even an Arach’tar was still a living creature, a being that could be communicated with and killed if necessary. A Chaos God, on the other hand… it was difficult to say what they even were, or even what matter composed their flesh. Hence the ysalamir that was dozing in the ship’s cargo hold. Even if she couldn’t slay one of those creatures, presumably even they were present within The Force and were influenced by the vile lizards just like any other Force-User. Already, a half squadron of her Wolf Spiders had arrived in system and were drifting in their pyramidal landing craft. Two more were on the way, having been forced to relocate from more distant systems. If the Chaos Gods were involved--worst case, Nurgle, who had taken a fiendish delight in bestowing gifts to the most malignant of the Sith--it was possible that a system-wide quarantine would need to be established. Their numbers would be entirely insufficient to enforce such a blockade--and their talents laid primarily in destroying targets, rather than intercepting them and convincing them to land. “Go idle around the Leth-points. No shooting unless by my order,” she commanded the battle droids, receiving six cheerful acknowledgements in return. During the entire descent to the planet, Armiena kept her eyes closed and tried to calm her mind. It was entirely possible that she had overreacted. It was also entirely possible that sitting at the furthest periphery of an ysalamir’s influence had set her on edge. Even still, when her ship touched the planet’s surface and rocked forward on the hangar complex just outside the Jedi Temple, Armiena observed over the nose of her clunky old freighter that there were few organic beings manning the hangar deck. Most of the external duties, it seemed, had been taken over by droids.
  8. Within the recesses of Shippy McShipface, Draygo meditated. When the Jedi Grandmaster had visited Dantooine with her Padawan, she had encountered something unusual. It was the remains of an old battlefield; almost certainly from the tail-end of the Clone War. That wasn’t unusual, as the fighting had metastasized all over the Outer Rim and Dantooine had seen a major conflict between the Grand Army of the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. There had even been a Jedi commanding them. Records from that time were always sketchy due to Palpatine’s extermination of the Jedi Order and partial success in obliterating its history, but some of the eyewitnesses reported that the Jedi was a Korun wielding a purple lightsaber. That would have been Mace Windu. That husk of the seismic tank she had encountered on the plans, picked apart by scavengers to its barest scaffolding, must have been one of the vehicles crippled during that battle. The vivisected corpse of the B2-series Battle Droid, still glaring lifelessly at one of the walls in her ship’s cargo hold, was likely one of his victims. No shrapnel or vibroblade could have bisected the droid through its midsection so cleanly. She had encountered something unusual at that muddy battlefield. Even through the faint residues of animalistic terror and purpose that tended to echo at major battlefields, there was something else. It wasn’t the typical determination and focus that Jedi left in their wake, but… glee. Not happiness or sadistic joy at the slaughter, but satisfaction and uncomplicated enjoyment of the battle--almost as though it was simply a strenuous physical exercise. There was also a vague impression of darkness--but not the stain that lingered after a slaughter by a Sith Lord. That was very interesting. That would also have to wait, for an insistent chime had been buzzing at her hip for some time. Blinking rapidly, the Jedi Grandmaster read the message with only half her attention. And then she reread it. And again to confirm that the text was not a hallucination wrought by sleep deprivation. Thirty seconds later, the veteran Jedi came running down the boarding ramp of McShipface in a flurry of brown robes, attracting a number of comments from Rebel soldiers observing on the unfortunate omen of watching a Jedi Grandmaster sprint through a military base. Shortly later, the Jedi Grandmaster returned the opposite direction, huffing and puffing and looking somewhat nauseous under the burden of an ysalamir harness. By the time she had returned to her ship, a team of technicians were crawling over the ancient, boxy freighter, refueling the Barloz-class freighter and loading a Jedi Ace starfighter into its cargo hold. Armiena waved off the attentions of the technicians. “Not needed! That’s enough! Just refuel her!” She shouted at the hangar crew, who began to reluctantly climb down from the long-overdue refurbishment. The ship didn’t need to survive contact with the Chaos Gods. It just needed to get her to the system. Several minutes later, that ship jumped into hyperspace to meet what seemed an uncertain fate.
  9. Battle over Mon Calamari, Round One Rebel Alliance Defensive Actions Heavy Brawler Escort |Chayaikir| Escorts |Forn| and |Grek| (capitals escort 2 TFs of cruiser or lower size) Heavy Brawler Escort |Zeeland| Escorts |Anastasia| and |Phobos| Light Defensive Escort |Phobos| Escorts |Bes’bev| Offensive Actions Rebel Alliance Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova| Attacks |Sith Resurgent|: 6 damage Destroyer Group [Turbolasers] |Forn| Attacks |Sith Resurgent)|: (8-2) = 6 shield damage, 2 hull damage Precision Strike Carrier Group |Anastasia| Attacks |Red Dusk|: 2 x Bombers Inbound (2 x 3 damage) Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Bes'bev| Attacks |Red Dusk|: 6 damage, evades capital/cruiser escorts (delayed speed due to Gravity Crusher) Destroyer Group [Railguns] |Akalenedat| Attacks |Phantom’s Spear|: 6 damage Asset Denial Force [Surgical Strike] |Grek|: Puts on a light show Fleet Starfighter Actions: 2 x Starfighter Rush against |Wings of Glory|: 2 x 3 damage to corvettes or 2 x 2 damage to frigates 1 x Bombers Inbound on |Red Dusk|: 2 damage Special Actions: Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova| uses Advanced Sensor Upgrades: raises Global Combat Awareness by 1 Veteran Heavy Brawler Escort |Zeeland| (escorting |Forn|) returns fire on |Phantom’s Spear|: 3 damage Veteran Heavy Brawler Escort |Chayaikir| (escorting |Grek|) returns fire on |Sith Resurgent|: 3 damage Veteran Heavy Brawler Escort |Chayaikir| (escorting |Grek|) returns fire on |Red Dusk|: 3 damage Sith Empire Defensive Actions Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| Escorts |Wings of Glory| and |Red Dusk| (capitals escort 2 TFs of cruiser or lower size) Offensive Actions Destroyer Group [Railguns] |Phantom’s Spear| Attacks |Forn|: 6 damage Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Sith Resurgent| Attacks |Grek|: 6 damage, evades capital/cruiser escorts Destroyer Group [Missiles] |Red Dusk| Attacks |Grek|: (8 – 2) = 6 damage, evades capital/cruiser escorts Artillery Battery [Gravity Crusher] |Eye of Sagittarius| Attacks |Bes’bev|: 8 damage (delayed speed) Precision Strike Carrier |Wings of Glory| Attacks |Bes’bev|: 2 x Bombers Inbound (2 x 4 shield damage) |Undetected Ship| Attacks |Akalenedat|: 6 damage (delayed speed) Fleet Starfighter Actions: 1 x Bombers Inbound on |Bes’bev|: 3 shield damage 1 x Bombers Inbound on |Romanova|: 3 hull damage 1 x Interception (Focused Deployment) on |Red Dusk| Special Actions: No stealth ships are detected Veteran Heavy Brawler Escort |Black Bracer| (escorting |Red Dusk|) returns fire on |Bes’bev|: 3 damage
  10. Two hours later, Armiena’s work was completed and the Jedi Grandmaster lifted her face from a cloud of metallic dust and shavings. In this instance, she reflected that “work” was perhaps an apt descriptor, for no one would have thought of this inelegant, artless, pragmatic jury-rig of a grenade as a creation of art. The baradium core of a dismantled thermal detonator sat besides her like a malevolently glowing, imperceptibly radioactive paperweight; its thin aluminium shell was thoroughly pockmarked with liquid cable extruders; its payload had been replaced by an amalgamation of a liquid cable reservoir and pulsed energy projectile cell. If the Jedi Ace had rewired the weapon correctly, it would be a chaotic weapon to deploy in combat, simultaneously threatening to blind, stun, and entangle its victims in cords. Though the name would never be spoken, dubbing the crude little jury-rig a Haywire grenade seemed an appropriate moniker. However, kitbashing together grenades and being closer to her mother was never the intention for her return to Nar Shaddaa. The Red and Black was a nerve center for the Rebel Alliance, and such had access to some of the best communication facilities in the galaxy. Upon closing down the forges aboard McShipface, Draygo ventured into one of the briefing amphitheatres and evicted a pair of starfighter pilots who were detailing some maneuver at the battle of Fondor. As entertaining as the orange- and black-clad pilots were in discussing their exploits, even throwing in crude hand motions to detail their maneuvers and making laser blast sounds with their mouths, communicating with a small army of automated walkers took priority. A holoprojection of the galaxy, detailed with pips indicating likely flashpoints and the locations of her Wolf Spiders, bloomed to life in the center of the briefing room. At the moment, those droids were all localized around Borleias, Corellia, Nar Shaddaa, and Ossus, congregated in small groups or even pairs. After years of war, only forty of the droids remained--thirty-eight, if she excluded Saladin and her own walker. Draygo opened a transmission over the droids’ dedicated hive commcluster. “My friends, I need you to resupply and redeploy.” Draygo spoke to the thirty-eight highly-attentive droids that had been monitoring this channel. “I am… afraid for the galaxy. I fear that the Sith have grown weary of wasting their efforts against the Galactic Core and are attempting an invasion against softer targets. I need you to redeploy to the Outer Rim and harden them.” The list of destinations included a number of vital and obscure planets in the Outer Rim: Naboo, Sullust, Felucia, Kessel, and Arkanis. Eight walkers per world would not be sufficient to hold them against invasion--but if ordered to attack, they could bite hard. The Jedi Grandmaster closed the communique without waiting to be deafened by the over-enthusiastic responses from the Wolf Spider. Armiena shifted towards an old journal that laid besides her. This handwritten… tome was not quite the right word to describe the article, for it was merely a set of observations by a long-dead Jedi, but it was part of the exceedingly scarce collections that the Archives had maintained from the Jedi Order just prior to its extermination at the hands of Palpatine. With solemn reverence, Armiena delicately pried apart the yellowed pages of flimsi--and smiled with gratitude at the realization that this dead Jedi Master had written his observations with a clear, crisp hand. “I could scarcely keep pace. Determining where his blade would fall next was an impossibility. That was not unusual, for Master Windu had long made deadly use of Juyo--even against these pitiful battle droids. Always on the attack, always pushing deeper into their ranks--advance whenever possible, evade when needed, block only when absolutely critical. That was a hallmark of the Form, and being surrounded by an inferior force was a premier exhibition of its capabilities. But there was something different. I sensed the Dark Side gathering around Master Windu. That is a poor description--I sensed it flow through and out of his presence, as though he acknowledged its touch, allowed it to move through him, and moved past it without him or it affecting the other. He may not have even been consciously aware of what was happening to him, for his eyes were utterly focused on the next step, his blade always in motion to strike down the next droid. He might have actually been smiling (I jest, for I do not recall seeing Master Windu ever smiling, not once, not in my entire life). It certainly seemed that he was enjoying the fight, even though the two of us were surrounded and barely enduring the waves of thousands of droids against our position. It was a terrible sight, but also a beautiful one. One can marvel at the sudden destruction wrought by a tornado even while evacuating from its path. Or admire the ferocity of a vaapad… and be grateful that you’re at the opposite end of two centimeters of transparisteel. There may be something more to this technique that Master Windu has developed--its teaching is highly restricted, for even he has acknowledged how dangerous it might be--but it is intriguing how a Jedi Master of such a fraught history, hailing from a vicious world, and bearing such a challenging temperament has managed to touch the Dark Side without being lost to it. Or perhaps I have made an incorrect assumption. Perhaps this is merely a darkness that he has carried all his life, that he has always been touching, and he merely allows it to vent a little pressure?”
  11. Some time later, the YT-2000 freighter Prism settled on the landing pads surrounding The Red and Black. The Jedi Grandmaster had spent almost the entire journey in meditation, looking towards The Force for guidance--anything, a whisper of advice, a vision of a planet, a scent of foliage, a starfield… All she felt was the weight of a rifle in her hands, the smell of blood in the air, and the acrid tang of blaster oxidation on her tongue. And… ropes, all around her. They didn’t bind her, but they spread over every surface and threatened to tangle her ankles as she fought. This was possibly the most vague that The Force had ever been for her. Once she heard the urgent klaxon that signalled their proximity to Nar Shaddaa, Armiena rose from her feet and blinked away the sleep sand. “I hope I will see you soon,” Draygo rasped through a dehydrated throat as she departed the Corellian freighter. “The Force be with you.” Not quite certain of where to go, the Jedi Grandmaster took a few deep breaths and followed The Force. It led her to her own ship. She glanced from side to side at the top of the boarding ramp. The Force offered her no destination. Under these circumstances, her typical course of action were to wander towards her forge, gather some coils of fiber and ingots of steel, and set to work. That was exactly what Armiena chose, allowing her own sense of inspiration and The Force guide her to next creation...
  12. “Indeed. If there is any planet that can withstand an attack from the Sith, it will be Bothawui--and they know what will happen to them if the Sith are able to seize their world. Pogroms, being treated as target practice by the more depraved Sith. They’ll be motivated… huh.” Draygo stared a few meters into the nearest wall, a faraway expression on her face. There was the most peculiar sensation that had just shivered down the back of her neck, an indelible impression that something significant had just changed. Perhaps it was a warning from The Force, or a sudden crack in the Fourth Wall, but she just had an intuition that she must not go to Mon Calamari--more than that, it was impossible. “I… uh, think I will be joining you for a short time. At least as far as Nar Shaddaa. Hard to say. Uh… Vos? Vos! We need to go!” Armiena blinked hard, remembering that she had been flying the blind Jedi Master’s ship during the entire visit--and she had been communicating with Borleias’ security forces. She sprinted towards the cockpit and seized the controls, muttering an excuse to satisfy the consternation of the local traffic control tower--something about a minor family emergency, she thought she blurted out. Whatever the excuse, it at least won the Prism a priority corridor away from the planet, and the three Jedi soon fled into hyperspace. Their work, though only partially finished, had left a major starfighter base under construction and the local HoloNet thoroughly corrupted.
  13. After looking through everyone’s actions for the last few days, there are a few matters that need to be addressed with regards to MandaJetii’s and Johan Fae’s actions: in a combative scenario such as an invasion on an actively-defended world, it is required to give an opponent at least three days to respond before continuing to post. Violating what we call the “Three-Day Rule” has the potential to result in your actions being nullified, but as Johan Fae’s and MandaJetii’s actions have been primarily conversing with each other, we are going to stop at just warning both of you to be mindful of this rule in the future. More significant is the detonation of explosive charges in the sewers by MandaJetii, leading to the destruction of a sizable portion of a Mon Calamari city through a chain reaction of exploding gases. This is an atrocity that would cause the loss of many thousands of innocent lives if the results of these actions are accepted as posted. As a result, we are going to significantly curtail the damage caused by this detonation. It is very reasonable to assume that this detonation has caused severe localized damage, including injuries to those who have set it off, demolition and loss of local power, gas lines, industry, and other infrastructure. It is not reasonable to say that this has sparked a chain reaction throughout the entire city. Again, this is a combative scenario with an active defender, and it is a breach of RP rules to post “closed attacks”: that is, posting the damage suffered by your opponent. The precise damage that has been inflicted to the city is to be determined by your opponent, Krath Apothos. And lastly, the moderator team wishes to express their dismay at the recent disruption on the Discord server. We call JediRP a “Collaborative Storytelling Community” for important reasons. Player vs. player combat is a unique feature of our community and every player should be prepared for their best-laid plans to be foiled in combat--but we thrive on friendly communication and coordination between players. This is true even and especially when our characters (who may hate each other’s guts in-character) are doing their best to kill each other. Heated exchanges and starting fights over a matter of a scuppered battle plan will not fly. Battle plans will fail again in the future, and while that’s always frustrating, we hope that a future conflict on our Discord will not ensue. We will do our best to ensure that all storylines are able to continue satisfactorily. From here on out, all players should abide by the Three-Day Rule to give all other combatants the opportunity to react in this ever-changing situation. As we have issued a warning, any future violations will result in actions up to and including removal from this scenario or temporary bans, to be determined by the mod team. ------ObliviousKnight and the JediRP Mod Team
  14. “In my experience, no one is ever ready.” Draygo another chuckle that threatened to run away into hysterics, but the veteran Jedi managed to collect herself. “I was… full of myself when my own Master declared my apprenticeship complete--and please, get up from your knees, this isn’t an occasion for oath-taking.” Draygo grabbed her former apprentice by the hands and fought away In less urgent times, the Jedi Grandmaster would have afforded more time to indulge in this momentous occasion--allow herself to exult in having trained another young man to become a fine Jedi Knight and for that young man to appreciate the mantle just set over his shoulders--but the galaxy had erupted into war on multiple fronts. Minutes were now precious beyond appreciation, and even this mission might have been an unacceptable expenditure. “I wish we had more time, but I have a mission that I need addressed, and by someone I know. There are significant Sith fleet movements in the Outer Rim by way of the Arkanis and Sullust sectors. The Rebel Alliance has been trying to halt their advance, but a significant portion of the Colonies are under threat. Sullust and Naboo will be the least of our worries if we can’t halt their advance. We need to know where they they are, where they’re going--and to prepare everyone that’s in their path. There are some things that a Jedi Knight can do that a military man would never dare without months of negotiation. There’s a Rebel task force massing near Bothawui headed by a Mon Cal named Klatchka, you’ll need to coordinate with him. Her. I’m not sure. I know it’s not a lot to work with, but there’s not a lot that we know. Can I count on you?”
  15. ((Actually, we are boarding Tobias Vos’ ship. It is a YT-2000 named Prism.)). There was a pause as the two Jedi trudged up the boarding ramp of the Prism. Rather than rage or curse at inevitability, Armiena just sighed and sat down heavily on the first available cushion in the freighter’s common room. The veteran Jedi began to doff pieces of equipment--a small datapad, a ring of dataspikes, a small utility knife and comlink--but rather than tidily securing the items, she just let them fall on the deck. A second sigh and Draygo rubbed a hand across sleep-deprived eyes. “You would not have been able to stop her, no matter what you did. If she wanted to follow you, she would have found a way. Stowaway, tracking beacon… hijacking.” There was a courageous attempt at a smile that died quickly. “It wasn’t your responsibility and she wouldn’t have had it any other way.” Armiena tossed one final piece of equipment onto the deck plates: it was a small metal disc that was studded with holoprojector divots. It bloomed to life in a ghostly blue projection and resolved into a cartoonish icon of a comlink. The veteran Jedi was visibly bracing herself for what she expected to be an emotional communication, closing her eyes and clenching her hands periodically as the seconds mounted and the device struggled to connect while in hostile territory. Finally there was a connection. With the algorithms that Draygo had implanted into the local Holonet still inactivated the local security was thoroughly hostile to Jedi communiques, but audio-only was preferable for the occasion. “Mother?” Armiena hated the fear in her voice. “Master Healer Helgru, Grandmaster,” came the raspy growl of a Mon Calamari. “She’s resting. She’s doing well.” There was a hint of amusement in his voice. “Her first words when she woke were ‘I need to be operational.” There was a muffled commotion in the background. “Is Stormhelm there? I need to… Armiena, dear, please do not waste time on my behalf. This dedicated Healer has these matters well in hand. Redeploy at your…” Heavy breathing was audible. “...At your first opportunity. No--I insist--I will not forgive you if you waste time sitting at the bedside of a convalescent at this critical moment.” “Mother--I can’t just--” “And I’ll not waste the time. Genesis--he has changed. Substantially. He has become a formidable young man, but more importantly…” There were a few deep breaths from the Miraluka and what sounded like an abortive struggle over control over the comlink. “More importantly a good person. Men of his caliber are regrettably rare... You will be a fool if you… if you do not reinstate him into your Order and allow him to begin operating independently.” There was another sound of a struggle. The elder Draygo growled some language that would have made a Corellian dockworker blush, but the Mon Calamari Healer seemed to have been victorious in the skirmish over the comlink, for his was the next voice heard. “Thank you. Your mother has already been through a substantial amount of physical therapy. She is out of danger, but she will require time before she can be considered ‘operational’ again. I will be in contact if anything changes--for good or ill.” The transmission terminated with a decisive click. For a few seconds, Armiena just stared at the comlink--then she began to giggle… then she threw back her head and laugh.. and then begin to laugh hysterically. It was one of those laughs that was simultaneously therapeutic and painful and made one concerned for the health of the one who was simultaneously whooping and crying, hollering and screaming. It was physically hurting her ribs, and tears were streaming from her eyes… and yet the brief exchange had been so absurd that Armiena could not help but embarrass herself. Draygo finally succeeded in composing herself and brushed the loose strand of grey-streaked hair out of her face. “So, it seems you made quite an impression on my mother. That’s not exactly an easy thing to do. She has… exacting standards. It’s not enough to be skilled to impress my mother--you would have needed to demonstrate some significant force of character, some true grit.” A weak smile finally managed to stick on her face and a chuckle threatened at the possibility of another bout of hysterics. “So be it, Jedi Knight.”
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