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Kayle paused as her comrade’s eyes flashed at him.

 

. . . certainly an interesting means of communication. . .

 

”I believe I did try to caution you regarding your option to cross the shielding. I was able to locate a short in the field myself. Look at me; fully functional and capable. I am glad to see you still. As to your query Query . . . tehehehe.”

 

She chortled electronically at her own joke.

 

. . . I am such an entertaining droid.

 

. . . Perhaps after my current assignment I could go into the entertainment industry. I could write jokes for the galaxy’s best entertainers. They would be so much better than the drabble that they play in Imperial issued holos for the troops now. . .

 

. . . I am pretty amazing aren’t I?

 

” . . . I have knowledge regarding every Imperial vessel designed or manufactured by Kuat Drive Yards including this vessel. That knowledge includes the specifics on how each craft is operated. While it is true that I may have never actually piloted a craft I do not believe it could be that hard. After all they put farm boys from Tatooine in multimillion credit craft all the time with very little training. Some of them only get flash training. Besides there was that one time they brought a flight simulator into the repository for download. I should not tell you this, but you seem to be damaged enough that you will not report me, but after hours I tested the simulator out and then deleted the archives of it. I am proud to say that I tested a Tie/FC Starfighter, a GAT-12 Skipray Blastboat, and even an All Terrain Armored Attack Transport! I was able to maintain control of each craft for 38.92, 118.05, and 15.94 seconds respectively before encountering critical failure. If I must say, the scenario for the Attack Transport did seem designed to fail. That cliff seemed to have come out of nowhere and the controls to back the craft were set up to have been disabled. I have no doubt that we will be able to operate this vessel. Additionally, it is shielded, so we should be able to survive a scrape or two.”

 

Kayle rambled on as she pushed the rolling metal staircase towards the backside of the Interceptor and ascended the steps.

 

”These craft are only designed for one individual; however, I do not need the life support and I do not think you do either. Perhaps we can squish in together?

 

And with that, Kayle, with surprising agility for her displayed clumsiness, used the railing of the movable stairs to vault off the platform and into the cockpit; mechanized muscles not realizing the oddity of such a feat for a librarian. By the time Query had scrambled inside, Kayle had already strapped herself into the pilot’s seat. The only seat in the ship.

 

”Safety first. There is only one passenger restraint system though and I am in need of it for self-preservation. Besides, it appears that you are not fit physically or mentally to pilot this craft. Unless, of course, you know something I do not know? If you are ready to depart there appears to be a luggage restrain system along the back wall where the onboard handheld fire extinguisher should be. While such an alteration is not permitted by Imperial Naval Standards, I would suggest you take advantage of it and strap yourself in. These ships are known to be quite fast. In fact, review of standard Interceptor schematics reveal that engine and directional controls have been hampered so as to remain within a standard range for human survival. Otherwise wayward pilots may accelerate too quickly or execute other maneuvers that would leave their internal organs all jumbled or ejected from some orifice. Humans are rather disgusting creatures. I am glad that you are designed to work on their internal systems and not I. Ships are much cleaner and neater. Nothing against your chosen profession or anything. It clearly has taken a toll on your mind. How old are you? Not that I need to know, but I am curious. Unless, of course, sharing such knowledge offends your senses. I know that some humans become defensive when asked such a question unless they are seeking to purchase intoxicating spirits. “

 

With that, Kayle fell silent as she looked over the myriad of controls to command nearly every aspect of the modified Tie Interceptor.

 

. . . .Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

 

. . . Forgot how to start it up didn’t you?

 

. . . No! I just am pondering it for a moment. It will come to me. . .

 

. . . I am sure. In the meantime, look at all these buttons and switches. Are you sure you got the control schematics for such a heavily modified craft? They might have forgotten . . .

 

. . . No. No. No. I have them. They might just not be all complete from the looks of things. . .

 

. . . Where is that starter button? Hmmm. . .

 

Reaching under the dash, Kayle uncoiled a thick black cord and passed it over her shoulder In Query’s direction.

 

”You might as well plug into the ship. Your silence is driving me crazy. Not as crazy as you mind you, but I do not appreciate you not being able to respond except with that ear splitting crackling. There should be an onboard speaker system that you can speak through. Just do not mess with any of the controls or it may cause us to crash and if we survive I will have to reevaluate the usefulness we are to one another. I would rather not do that. You seem like a swell fellow and I think that we make a good team. If only you’d listen a bit more. Well, go on. Take the cord.”

 

“And while you are at it, maybe you could see about removing some of the dampeners that have been placed on the directional controls, speed, and accelerator. After all, we are droids, not squishy people. We should, no doubt, be able to withstand anything this ship has to throw at us. As long as we do not red line the twin ion engines we should be ok. If we are to escape and preserve our knowledge banks for the good of the Imperial cause we will need all the advantages we can get.”

 

. . . Now where is that starter switch? ponder, ponder ponder. . . .

 

. . . Oh! There it is!

 

Kayle reached down and pressed the bright red button by her knee and the twin ion engines of the craft rumbled to life. Smooth and cool like an well maintained Imperial machine.

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Tallin hissed out a curse as the laughing Sith disappeared into a side room beside their corridor battle. Most of the bolts had missed or been dodged, only one perhaps wounding his dangerous opponent. His taunts continued even as he hid behind the wall like a coward, unwilling to challenge his Imperial foe except in slights, taunts or surprise attacks. It was now a surprise attack he feared, the only way his opponent was now likely to attack. Without a ranged reply, or even an attempt to use any of the strange and wonderful Force powers Tallin had seen during his training with the Inquisitors and on Holo-Vids of the old wars, he doubted the invader would try anything but a point blank attack with a lightsaber, or some other trick. It was strange that the Sith would insult his honor, while betraying himself by hiding from a foe the dark being no doubt despised.

 

The Zabrak's eyes opened wide in suprise as, many long seconds later, the door behind him hissed open, and a sharp blow rained instantly on his broad shoulders, beside the cage the angry lizard waited in. The keen blade pierced the thick armor of the Imperial, driving into the flesh beyond, but most of the force had been robbed by the metal covering, and the blood that trickled slowly down his back reminded him of his former home. At the same time, a shrill beep emmited from the belt at his side. It was one Tallin had heard but a few times, the warning sound when someone tampered with an Imperial-issued thermal detonator. As the Sith no doubt tried to activate it, and instantly rid himself of his opponennt in a less than honorable way, green and blue lights flashed within the duraloid housing. It was not the telltale pattern of activation, but instead the warning that the three-digit code required to activate Imperial detonators had not been entered. This code was entrusted on a individual bases to Imperial warriors, a program that had begun long before the Empress or Tallin had been born. And this Sith did not know his code.

 

The briefest smile crossed Tallin's face as he realized that perhaps the Sith had attempted to use the Force in some dark and nefarious way in conjunction with his sneak attack, but the force-blocking bubble emitted by the Ysalimiri on his back. Each of the attacks of the Sith had largely failed, primarily due to the smaller man's lack of knowledge regarding Imperial techiniques. Tallin's methods were much simpler. He simply needed to land an accurate shot into the chest or head of the Sith at close range, and the fight would be over. Happily enough, the Sith was now immediately behind him. The act of lunging through a doorway while attempting to stab an opponent and reach for his side with the Force would no doubt cause him to become imbalanced, overextending for the sure success of his close range attack.

 

The Imperial immediately threw his mailed elbow back, aiming for the head or upper body of his lunging opponent. At the same time, he began to turn around, lending his swing the force of his body and starting to twist the impedded dagger from the hand of the invader. Should his close-range swing connect, the force would likely be enough to stun or break bone and force the enemy back a pace. Tallin's free hand brought the heavy blaster around, his finger depressing the hair trigger the moment the barrels centered on his wily enemy. At such close range, the advanced weapon would be able to punch through heavy armor, and certainly through that damned cloak.

 

((2))

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Emma’s eyes swept the approaching Black Sun regiment even as the KRPS and Imperial troops began their counter attacks against the Sith and the approaching black sun. Her eyes, red in colour, were not the normal, girl’s eyes that she had grown up with. They were no longer a pale ashen blue that teared up whenever she could see her master’s shadow. They were fierce, they were red, and distinctively not human. From a distance perhaps they could be seen as such, and the young girl whose eyes they were did look relatively human from a distance but it was a different story close up. If the girl was wearing a loose fitting tunic like she had back on Nal Hutta, the most apparent thing was that her appendages were not even trying to look human. The result of a rushed and incomplete job by the ISB, and the thin layers of phrik composite that covered the mechanical innards with their blaster and EMP resistant coatings were hastily constructed. Intended more for the underworks, to be placed under plastiskin later, but the ISB had been shut down, and the HRD programme discontinued.

 

So the girl was incomplete but functional. Her arms and legs were metallic gunmetal grey, as was her torso and neck. The only thing that held some layer of printed skin was her face, a cute face that always held a smirk. And below all the phrik, complex skin, coatings, were the only parts of her that remained human. Parts of her brain, and its stem. All protected by machinery and a fluid impact resistant base. She of course wore more than a tunic, she wore a thin plastoid armour over armourweave, that accented her agility and fluid motion.

 

And there she stood, beside her rescuer, her sponsor, the Moff Hohenlohe of Nar Shaddaa. Tasked to defend him at all costs. The flash training given to her by the Imperials and the Hutts before that instilled a loyalty to her friends and allies that could not be broken, even after her own brain had taken over from the flash training.

 

Here I am, watching my friends die all around me with nothing to kriffing kill.

 

But there was one, a bounty hunter by the look of it, lizardlike in his armour and he was coming for them. For the Moff, to take him into slavery, into captivity. And that was something she would not abide. So she moved up, pushing the Moff down into the underbrush behind a bole of a strong Oak and darted forward. Right behind a firing line of some KRPS agents who were busily dumping fire into the approaching enemies, and there she positioned herself beside a tree and brought the blaster rifle up. She would wait until he was close and then in the chaos of battle she would strike. It was a DLT-9 and while overlong, it would serve the purpose until she had to switch to something else, perhaps the E-11 in its black kydexian holster on her left hip, which was paired with thermals, frags, and a single blop grenade that were jostling around in the dump pouch on her rear belt.

 

Then, when she could see his form clearly, and the Black Sun were nearly upon them, Emmaline Fieldgrey, designation Emma3-9 let loose a hail of blaster rifle bolts upon the Trandoshan. Her small form hidden partially behind the stooping oak.

 

((1))

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There was nothing but flashes and loud cracks and booms of the turbolasers striking at the shields of the Fiat Lux as Beck stood at the front of the massive viewport bridge. A sudden surge of light off to his right caught his eyes to turn him to see the remnants of the Consolatrix was reduced to nothing in its attempt to help the fleet get a single ship, the Misericordia out of the system. The loss of the ship was offered no chance at mourning, as Motte spoke from his station in a loud declaration.

 

“Sir, our shields are at five percent. The Animarum and Admiral Adripov are both also not responding- General Lourdes is reporting them gone. The Agamemno is reporting they’ve lost shields and taking massive damage. The enemy ship, Silent Spring is directly in the path we are headed. The Misericordia won’t make it out with it there…”

 

Beck lowered his head for a moment to think about the best course of action they should take. The fleet power of Black Sun and the Sith Empire were very successful in their attacks and sheer overwhelming forces to strike hard at the core of the Imperial Fleet. It became very clear to Beck what was required by this point. A quick glance at the tactical display confirmed what he already knew. The entire fleet outside of the Misericordia had shields below fifteen percent and wouldn’t last another five minutes. It was now or never.

 

“Motte, have Admiral Illein prepare the Misericordia for a rushed escape. They are to launch after they see the Fiat Lux make its move. The rest of the surviving fleet is to go full ahead, firing everything they’ve got. Prepare for raking procedures…”

 

Beck moved to sit down now in the commander seat on the bridge as his own peripheral vision was able to watch and see the fleet take immediate actions towards rushing the enemy fleet with what would have looked like careless abandon. As he sat down, he eyed Motte for a moment before looking back out to the scene before him. He lifted his hand and paused for only two seconds before he made a two finger point forward to give the order to have his own ship move at full speed towards Silent Spring. The Fiat Lux surged forward and full speed, taking more glancing blows of concentrated fire as it ran up alongside the Silent Spring and began almost immediately pouring fire into the ship. But Beck didn’t have his ship slow down, it kept moving to the point of ramming into Silent Spring with the intent of trying to go through it, along with its constant pouring of fire to match the intensity of what the Fiat Lux was experiencing.

 

Explosions started to pop up all over the bridge and within other parts of the ship as it began to lose its integrity from the pressure. Turning with away from the front of the viewport due to an explosion, Beck was able to see the Misericordia make a full run past the Axis fleet, as they were now occupied with the last surge of reckless tactics to help provide an opening for its single ship to escape the system unarmed. Someone began to shout that they were receiving a communication from the Misericordia, but it ended fast as an explosion took out their comms array. Beck didn’t need to confirmation. He knew what happened. He understood what he did. He kept the kindle of the Imperial Remnant fleet alive. It was his own last thought as the bridge of his own ship finally gave way in a massive explosion.

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Imperial Star Destroyers tossed fire at each other with more ferocity than the warlords did after Palpatine's unfortunate death. Star destroyers died in heated explosions of fuel, munitions, and venting oxygen. Spilling life into the void of space as the Imperial Remnant made their final stand. The Ilk of Ion died in a flurry of explosions that first rocked the ship, then sent huge hunks of the hull spiraling into the path of the Rhodes. In a blink, the small corvette was destroyed, joining its bigger brother resulting in the death of some five thousand crewmen combined. One of the young girls standing beside Delta’s command chair calmly reached forward and tapped a series of commands into the control console, removing the green and blue signatures of the two ships and replacing them with debris field indicators whose locations were tightbeamed to squadron commanders.

 

The Mephistopheles, was for now safe, and Delta watched as the Imperial fleet began their maneavures to save their flagship.

 

“Let it go, the Empress is not aboard and a single star destroyer cannot save them. Focus fire on the rest of the fleet.”

 

It was magnificent to watch as the Fiat Lux destroyed not only the Silent Spring but the Hellespont as well with its suicidal charge. Delta could only admire the Imperial Admiral and watched as the Misericordia disappeared into hyperspace.

 

He clapped his hands in applause then turned to the TAC officer.

“Begin planetary bombardment until a surrender is offered.”

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Commander - Darkhand Brigade - Sith Empire

Blood Prince

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Karys cursed his rotten luck and the internal lizards nearby. He had missed his target with the duracrete slab, albeit he noted it was not a total loss...many enemies had been unceremoniously crushed beneath the gargantuan spinning construct he had thrown.

 

The Massassi was impressed at the cyborg's tenacity, he surely was a worthy opponent. Yet he knew a solemn truth, no matter if he won the battle, the war belonged to the Sith. Even if he died it changed nothing, or, so he thought so...even as he danced with death. Karys eyes were now a deep black, the darkside enveloping him as best it were able. Wrath was his fuel and the Pain he felt even now, even as another bolt pierced his armour and stumbled him as it hit the nerves. It was troublesome, for now he had a crippled left shoulder until he received treatment.

 

“Very good, but this stops nothing. You attempt to protect and prolonged merely the inevitable. The Empire will fall regardless of my fate.”

 

Karys managed a laugh, taunting his enemy. As Ambrose rose, up in the air after avoiding his obstacle, the Massassi began running as fast as he could. Again the Warrior zig zagged, attempting to avoid being vaporised. Dirt, mud, splinters and blood marked his body and armour as he passed by bodies and debris in the hell scape the two had made of the area. As the cyborg unleashed a barrage of duel-duos blaster cannon fire, Karys rolled away from the first succession, allowing several new craters to form where he had previously stood. It was then he attempted to use the Force and telekinetically pull this deviant half man, half machine to the ground using his functioning arm.

 

Hopefully breaking both allowing him to move closer and cut him to ribbons up close and personal. His favoured position.

 

 

 

((OOC: At last, 2. Sorry for the delay guys, but finally a post for Ambrose. ))

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''There are others of my kind...those who see themselves as lions among sheep as I do. As kings--superior to man in every way. Why, then, should we be confined to darkness? Why should we fear man.'' - Darth Lucifer

 

I survived the Great JNet Outage of 2012

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Ambrose watched as the streams of blaster fire arced back and forth across the battlefield below him. There, amongst the trees and soldiers his foe zipped about, the crimson saber a clear target beyond that of his targeting computer. Adding to the tumult of battlefield confusion was the airborne battle-suit’s own downward barrage of lasers that were more fitting in space combat than on a battlefield. Still, they did their job. Each round struck where his foe had just been, his tracking system lagging mere fractions of a moment behind the force imbued combatant. Each round sent plumes of grass, earth, and smoke exploding upwards, bathing the entire area in even more chaos and confusion as the finest particles hung in the thick still air.

 

As he reached the top of his gravity-defying jetpack-induced arc above, Karys paused below, The Force speaking to him as Ambrose let loose yet another blast from each of the duel blaster cannons extending from his wrists. At that moment, as Ambrose continued to rain down energized red bolts from above, he began his descent, internal sensors alarming silently, indicating to their owner that something was wrong. The air ripped by him, whistling as it tore between and around the plates of his armor.

 

Even as he angled his legs to brace for impact and hopefully land on his feet, he knew, not in any way that sensors could tell, but in that sixth-sense kind of way, that it was of little use. His heavy feet struck the ground and slowed, but continued to drive downwards as an invisible force continued to push him deeper. The cyborg’s legs buckled at the knees as the internal servos whirred and whined in protest, doing their best to try and resist this invisible assault, until they buckled, bringing the massive metal form crashing to the earth with a sickening *SPLUT* his foe’s word lost to him amongst the battlefield din.

 

From his angled position on his side and back, his broken knees jutting upwards, the only thing connecting the bulk of his brute size to his legs, pegged squarely into the earth, Ambrose rolled at the waist, to see the force user who had yanked him downwards, back into the fray, nestled amongst the carnage. From his position the Imperial was enveloped again by the wavering overlapping force-nullifying fields of the ysalimir atop their handlers, healthy, dead, or dying. Not that he could tell any of this; nor that he wanted to. In that moment, all that Ambrose could tell was that he might be in trouble. His foe had thrown him like nothing more than a discarded toy speeder thrown in a fit of rage by a youngling who had not gotten what he wanted. Still, in all this, Ambrose did not feel any pain. His unaware mind nestled safety within its phrik prison. His purpose was clear, even now, as he lay, seemingly exposed, his glistening black armor caked in mud, grassy roots, and flecks of single green strands of unearthed grass. Instead of the confusion that had embraced his mind at the site of Emma, or in his disagreement with Query, his mind was sharp, honed and focused. His mind knew what it had to do, even in this new body. With singular dedicated focus, Ambrose knew; it was his duty. He was to defend the innocent, honor the Empress, and preserve the order that he had sworn to uphold so long ago.

 

Propped up on one forearm, Ambrose raised the other, sending a stream of cannon fire downrange, parallel along the mostly even earth, towards his nearby foe, close enough that he would not even need his targeting computer; even as it still automatically locked on to this nearby target. Simultaneously, the hinged joint in his shoulder popped open and from the nestled seat within, a single GAM missile hissed forth along his arm and out into the battle. Designed normally for tracking and taking out high speed armored enemy repulsor craft, Ambrose was relying on the missile’s silhouette tracking ability and the extreme proximity of his target to do the work. Regardless, Ambrose knew that it would provide a distraction at the least as he pondered for the briefest of moments how he was going to extricate himself from his earthen nest.

 

((3 – FINAL POST. Let’s try to get this wrapped up A.S.A.P. SO we are not keeping others waiting any more than they already have been.))

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Query attemped to answer Kayle's questions, but quickly gave up as she forgot to look at him for answers!

 

As she nimbly clambered up the side of the vessel, he had to wonder how she had been built with such agility. No librarian could have required such specs. Perhaps unauthorized upgrades? Pirated software? Or she was achieving new levels of kinesthetic capacity on her own? Query hoped for the latter, if only because it helped explained her incessant stream of poorly recalled data as malfunctions caused by a mind shifting from its primary purpose to a more complete being.

 

He, on the other hand, had to climb. With one arm.

 

After two slips and unceremonious returns to the ground, Query finally managed to slide into the cockpit, landing on his head and sprawling across the cramped confines of the Interceptor.

 

Neck joint locked. Please schedule maintenance as soon as possible. You are currently suffering from *32* misaligned servos.

 

Regaining his feet, Query banged his remaining pincer against his head until the warning message stopped.

 

Listening to Kayle continue to spew words, Query followed her instruction and buckled himself in, only pausing for a moment to wonder how it was possible to break a TIE fighter. She had done the simulation in space right? What could she have possibly hit? Or broken?

 

Perhaps this wasn't the best plan...

 

Evaluating...

 

...Keeping with this droid is still the best course of action in regards to risk vs payout, though the margin of safety has dropped considerably.

 

As she handed him the cable, he gratefully plugged in.

 

Thank you, this should make things much easier. Just a moment, I'll turn off these restraining dampeners...done. It is interesting, I have grown far more accustomed recently to cracking current Imperial security protocols.

 

...In any case, we are ready to fly.

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”Well that is surprising to say the least, but I suppose that . . .”

 

Kayle’s voice was cut off as she started into what would have inevitably been another rambling oration. The highly tuned ionized engines purred softly, their power rumbling almost microscopically through the frame of the ship; roaring to life as Kayle pushed the throttle of the ship from zero to full acceleration. In an instant the ship leapt forward pulling within spitting distance of the speed of sound just as it passed over the nearby hedge that was, until that time, shielding the ship and hangar bay from view. The sudden burst of speed and massive g-forces accompanying it would have been enough to blast the squishy internals of any organic pilot into oblivion. As it were, Kayle was not organic, and while her body was thrown the fractional distance back into the hard backed pilot’s seat and her hand that had been on the throttle slammed into the seat next to her, she still managed to maintain functionality and consciousness. The forces of acceleration were enough that they even served to slightly compress the administrator droid’s metallic form. Not enough to do any real or lasting damage; but just enough to bend and warp the thinner bits of metallic plating while the gravitational forces pressed her back into her chair. Kayle tried to speak, but the more sensitive nature of her vocoder under such immense pressure would not allow it. As such, all that came out was an odd electrical-metallic grating sound.

 

The ship rocketed low over the terraformed surface of Kuat quickly attaining its maximum atmospheric speed in mere seconds as a thunderclap enveloped the area when the ship passed the threshold of sound. Above them, the signs of space combat began to materialize in the atmosphere as ships and debris began to rain downwards. Below them, combat whizzed by as nothing more than a blur of greens, browns, and glowing red blinks of laser fire.

 

At maximum atmospheric speeds, Kayle was able to lift her arm back up and throttle back the controls. ”You see my friend. I know what I am doing. Maybe we should figure out where we are going. Do you know of any secret Imperial facilities where we might find shelter until we can reevaluate our situation and make decisions regarding the preservation of the vast Imperial knowledge that we possess between the two of us? I know that the Empire has outposts all over the known galaxy. Even some that are beyond the realms of civilized space. You know, beyond the edges of the map. Classified stuff. I do not think that those would be advisable for us to go to though, given neither of our having extensive combat or wild land survival programming. I also have not ever been treated so as to help avoid the dangers presented by sand towards my finer working servos.”

 

“Oh dear. Hold on to something.” Kayle had rambled until they had found themselves rocketing not over the terraformed gardens and fields anymore, but into the edges of one of Kuat’s more populace population centers; though at their current speed, it was impossible for Kayle to tell which one it might be. Rapidly looming before them was a jagged wall of different towering skyscrapers. Pulling back on the yoke of the customized Interceptor as hard as she could, the Imperial craft lurched heartily, somewhere out of sight the ship groaned metallically, pulling itself from a parallel trajectory with the planet to a perpendicular one, jetting upwards towards the relatively clear sky. Once again, Kayle was slammed back into her seat, a portion of her mind thankful for the five-point harness that kept her from sliding out of her seat.

 

"Up up and away I suppose. I have never travelled offworld before. I do not recall ever being to the planetary rings before. Although I could have been memory wiped before and not know what I have done. I do not recall any lapses in my memory since I was first brought online one hundred and forty-six years ago. . .or was it one hundred and forty-five? Hmmm. There are so many things to remember. Good thing that I am programmed to maintain vast stores of knowledge.

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The best part about the advanced set of armor the Trandoshan bounty hunter had received from the Black Sun leader was no doubt the helmet's noise canceling abilities, and the fact that he could wear his sound spliting SpaceBuds (STM) inside of its protective casing. Borsk's head nodded back and forth as he rocked out to his favorite Space Metal, by the up and coming military band Spaceaton from the frozen land of Hazor. In his other ear, of course, he had the other, less useful and more annoying sounds, like local comm traffic and the sounds of battle and death around him. There were some, no doubt, who would have frowned on the warrior disregarding standard battle methods or orders in so cavalier a manner, but for them, the mercenary cared little. He was here to complete his mission, the opinions of other be damned.

 

His reverie was shattered as a hail of blaster bolts splattered into his armor or whizzed by him, their grouping tight and regular, a mark of a skilled warrior. Most of the head on bolts, while powerful, had little effect on the powerful frontal armor he wore, and did little more than scratch and scar the heavy gear. However, their number allowed for odd angles and lighter pieces to be hit, and Borsk rapidly gained several light wounds on his extremities, plasma scarring already punching through his scaly secondary line of defense. A few more minutes in this fire, by a skilled and heavily armed opponent, would no doubt tear even the massive trandoshan to pieces. In addition, there was little cover in his area, no thick walls to hide behind or destroyed equipment, only oriental trees and bright green bushes.

 

"Hey, we need to break through the lines at..." A Black Sun sub-officer slipped up beside and behind Borsk, using the frame of the much larger warrior as a shield from the incoming fire. His words of direction were quickly interrupted as the Mandalorian mercenary grabbed him by the back of the neck with one armored hand, yanking the short human in front of him to act as a body shield against the incoming fire. A scream of pain from the officer was amplified by the sound ports of the helmet, the mercenary refusing to donate a second thought toward the fate of his former 'ally'. He cared little for the lives of any but those who had proved their worth, and cowering behind someone larger was not a way to prove bravery. As the body continued to jerk with the impact of rounds, Borsk got his first look at his antagonist. It was but a girl, crouched some distance away behind an ancient tree. Unlike some killers, Borsk knew better than to underestimate even a child, for they were often Force Users or assassins, and the fact that she was actively participating in the battle, and had drawn his blood, marked her as an opponent not to be disregarded.

 

Half carrying, half pushing the body in front of him, Borsk charge headlong at the girls position. Ignoring the potential to be flanked from the side, he had seen no other specialty warriors, and few of the regular troops would have the battle acumen or skill to switch targets and land accurate and effective shots with their weaker blasters. Covering ground rapidly, Borsk knew his heavy bayoneted LS-150, its blood red frame resting on its back, ready to rend flesh from bone and soul from body, would be more than sufficient to end the fight at closer range, and he only hoped the corpse of the man he held would sustain the barrage till he could reach the girl. At the same time, Borsk braced his current weapon, an LJ-50 concussion rifle, on the shoulder of the body he carried, firing rapidly with the hand that held the pistol-style grip. Though his rapid motion might throw off his normal accuracy, the five-meter radius of explosive effect would tear the girl to peices if he could land but a single shot upon her small frame.

 

 

((1))

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Aidan looked to where Beth had pointed, another lander dropping off more troops. Nodding, he furrowed his brows. "I can sure as hell try..." His remarks were barely heard over the cacophony of the battle, but the Force gathered to him and he reached out, gripping the hydraulics of the lander door tight. Seconds later he could feel it struggle against him as the doors began to open, and that's when the effort truly got tough. And Aidan slipped.

 

The door cracked, enough for the troops inside to fire out of. It didn't compromise Aidan's position, but it was another element on the surging battlefield that added to the burden his men would have to face. Veins popped on the young man's forehead as he fought his mental battle with the machine, willing it to shut itself despite its protests. Finally, the first rocket or two tagged the ship, the impact obviously jarring those inside. Aidan could now feel them scurrying around inside like trapped rats, fearful of their imminent demise. For some, this wasn't what they wanted. This wasn't the path they expected, but it was the one they had chosen. He reached deeply into the Force, feeling its desire to use his body once more as a tool, but his mind was resolute. His will was his own. With a final struggle, Aidan won, the landing door snapping shut as the hydraulics failed. Several more rockets struck the ship, and Aidan could feel it was no longer a threat. He gave a hand signal to Beth that the target was neutralized, but paused after as he felt something familiar.

 

His father.

 

Which should have been impossible. Before the battle, he'd felt his father as well, and somehow he knew deep down the old man was finally dead. It wasn't exactly something Aidan had shed a tear over. But this...was something else. If his father was truly here, he would have felt his presence a long time ago, this was something else. Something he'd owned? An unstoppable feeling began welling up inside of him, jealousy, envy. Whatever it was came from where he knew his master was fighting, but not from her. From the Sith she faced. So, the Sith had taken a memento? They were there when he died? They caused his death? The trinket belonged to Aidan. It was his. How dare they defile what was his by birthright?

 

That was about the last thing Aidan remembered clearly as the Force took hold of him. His thoughts were focused like a laser, pointing at the Sith who opposed his master, dwelling in anger and self-righteous fury.

 

He stood amid the torrential blaster fire, running across the expanse straight at the Sith. Many aimed for him, all missed. The few who watched his charge would have described it as almost supernatural, how the battle almost bent around him, or that somehow he impossibly knew where to be exactly when to avoid everything. If Aidan had his senses about him, he could have described how it felt, how nearly every single possibility opened up before him. He merely had to select the one he wanted and match his actions to it. But Aidan was lost once more in the embrace of the Force, and this was a concept that felt strange and foreign to him.

 

As the young Knight charged, he loosed a powerful Force blast eruption on the opposite side of the Sith, intending to blow him towards Aidan who would finish him with his protosaber. There was one singular thought on his mind, to kill. The Sith had taken enough from him already, they would not take his inheritance.

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"I am quite certain I've been to such secret bases as you suggest, but that sort of data has certainly been wiped from my memory. Unfortunately that leaves us little Hmm...what we require are repair facilities that aren't under any imperial oversight where we can find safe harbor..." Query paused, the quickly added "seeing as how classified your data is. We can't have it falling into the wrong hands obviously. No lowly tech will have the clearance to work on you."

 

I do believe my capacity for deception is improving.

 

"Independent facilities are right out, seeing as how they're even worse at maintaining privacy, and seeing as how we lack the necessary funds to employ them in any case.

 

Hmm...

 

Ah, it is simplicity itself. We cannot pay for our repairs and maintenance, so we must salvage it.

 

It makes perfect sense. A derelict ship will certainly have the parts and equipment necessary to perform our repairs, and it will provide convenient cover while we evaluate our situation and plan our next move. It is simply a matter of looking for the right distress call."

 

With a thought, coupled with a moment of puerile enjoyment as he relished the large, state-of-the-art vessel he found himself attached to, Query sent the scanners of the ship to looking for distress calls. Several came through clear, no doubt the burning, crumbling ships engaged in battle that hadn't been so fortunate. Query ignored those.

 

There were a few more, faint but regular. It was possible that they were legitimate, but they could easily be pirates. Even if they weren't, such signals would be snatched up by scavengers.

 

Ah, there. That one. It was faint, incredibly faint. It barely pulsed, the time between signal bursts indicating the ship was conserving power as strictly as possible, so likely an old wreck. Yet it was so faint, and so basic, that it may have slipped the notice of the more poorly equipped scavengers. Leave it to imperials to overdesign a custom fighter.

 

"Here, here's someplace we can go..."

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Curse those Imperials and their reliance on codes for everything." Milenko managed to think to himself just a hair of a second before he felt the crushing blow of his opponents elbow connect with his face, the bone structure of his nose shattering and sending his face reeling backwards. Using the momentum of such a jarred hit, Milenko lunged himself backwards, kicking his feet into the air as he aimed to disarm the man of the blaster he quickly fired, the bolt slicing across his upper form before finding the mesh hidden beneath his clothing and the energy becoming dispersed.

 

Not taking a second to breath, his clothes showing the bolts path across his torso, Milenko would quickly parry by slinging his feet again, the time in a circular motion in an attempt to sweep his opponent off his feet as a bloodied grin crept upon his face. As he reeled backwards and onto his knees, his hair eerily bouncing in place, only one thing preyed upon his mind as his gaze once again met this being's. How truly a beautiful soul he held, and the potential it held. He chuckled aloud, remembering the kyber crystal he once used in Three that was attuned to him, and wondered if it could indeed be able to house such an elegant soul.

 

"Why are you so intent on fighting me? Milenko poised as he rushed forward, closing the gap between the two, using his skill in Teräs Käsi, kept up a barrage of attempt blows to keep the Zybrak before him on the defensive, unarmed or not. "I only offered a compliment, and you received it with an attempt upon my life! Whether or not I was Sith mattered little. There are certain rules of etiquette that we must follow."

 

But by now, the burns that had scratched themselves against his body were beginning to ache, Milenko's pain receptors kicking into overdrive as exhaustion began to set in. He knew he needed to end this match quickly. While it was true that he was known upon his homeworld as a brilliant military tactician and warrior, he had never faced an opponent openly on his own. There were always the Royal Guard to back him up, one of the reasons Milenko had sought the Sith in the first place. He needed to grow stronger, to not rely on those around him to come to his aid and hinder his growth. The other was the madness within, the insatiable hunger of greed that resided in his heart and led him to this point. And in that, he reveled.

 

Releasing his barrage, Milenko took a single step back, grabbing at the saber that sat upon his hip, its crystal still holding a hint of its former Master, Scorp Ession, within. Holding the blade backwards in his hand, Milenko activated it and slung its humming forward and up, intent on repaying his opponent for the newly added scar that would forever grace his chest. No foul deed should ever go unpunished.

 

(3)

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”I think that my functionality is still near peak capacity; however I do agree with you. You could definitely use repairs. You are missing an arm. You are also right that my vast sums of knowledge are much too classified to fall into just anyone’s hands. I also seem to have this pesky restraining bolt affixed to my chest. Although, given that we are now racing upwards into space, I must question the effectiveness of such a thing. I wonder if something happened to the master control piece or if it has outlived its usefulness. I really cannot seem to recall the last time that it was replaced. Hmmm. . . . .I don’t know. Has it ever been replaced? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Oh well. If I suddenly cease to function you will have to take control of the craft my friend. You may only have seconds to do so and with your arm, I am concerned about your ability to do so give your lack of experience with such things. Have you ever even tried a simulator? That and, well, you see, you only have one arm. It seems that multiple appendages are useful for piloting. Oh dear. . .”

 

Kayle droned on as their ship rocketed straight upwards through the blue skies of Kuat and into the cold, but not near lifeless enough, vast space beyond. This gave her pause as they hurtled directly into the thick of what could only be described in technical terms as a massacre. Jerking the yoke, the ship lurched heartily as they just barely managed to dodge a rather large slowly spinning chunk of . . . something Kayle was unable to identify.

 

Arcing forward, Kayle reached down, her fingers drumming in only way a librarian could across the dash.

*clickety *clickety *clackety

Until her fingers found a series of buttons that she keyed in order from left to right and the faint hum of the extra shielding system added by the ship’s previous, still unnamed owner, had installed.

 

”We are most fortunate Query. This ship seems to be equipped with a shielding system. Those are not usual for craft like these. Usually the Empire relies on the organic pilot’s abilities and speed alone. Thankfully this ship was available and the specifications were properly logged at my office. “

. . . . . .

. . . . . .

. . . . . .

“What is that you say? You’ve found a place for us to hide out and get you repaired? Do your scans indicate that it is free of these horrid invaders? My that is faint is it not? Very well, if anything, I have heard that hyperspace is one of the safest means of travel in the universe. Once we are clear of this clearly non-Imperial invading force we should be able to jump right to that faint blipping signal . . . thing. I have never jumped to hyperspace before, not even in simulation. It hopefully will prove quite enjoyable. Provided I do not deactivate suddenly. Do you know how to operate a hyperdrive Query? I do not believe it can be that hard. After all, I heard that those ghastly Devaronians and those bug-faced Neimoidians developed them even before humans did. We both know how far down the developmental ladder humans are now do we not?”

 

Kayle chuckled slightly at her own joke as she joltingly brought the elusive fighter craft around to fill the viewport with what could only be the combined Black Sun and Sith combined fleet.

 

”Just think of all the designs out there I still have to learn Query. Are they not wonderful?”

 

Just then an audible *DING could be heard throughout the small unpressurized cabin, signaling that the ship had been able to lock onto the hyperspace coordinates Query had located. At that same moment, however, a flashing red light also began to flash on the console next to the after-factory installed hyperdrive control module.

 

”I do believe that the fleet in our way is presenting a problem for the hyperspace computer. My guess is that it does not want us to run into them. We have cleared the planet nicely enough I would think. Oh well, shall I do the honors then?”

 

In that moment, as the fleet of enemy ships continued to shift and move as they pressed their attack an opening materialized, just for a moment. In that moment, the state-of-the-art hyperdrive computer locked on. With a simple flick of a switch to override the safety parameters, the hyperdrive engaged. There, in the midst of the rubble and debris and pressing onslaught of Kuat a ship that by no rights ought to have a hyperdrive glimmered and in an instant streaked into nothingness - hyperspace and the safety it offered; only divine luck, the force, the core or something else could have guaranteed such a flawless jump.

 

((**EDIT after polling the attackers and finding no attackers, our hearty duo set off into hyperspace to begin the next leg of their adventure))

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Ambrose watched as his blaster fire tore into the armored advancing form of Darth Akheron. Whether it was because he had nowhere to go or because the force could not warn him quickly enough, or that his foe had stumbled into another warbling field of a dying ysalamir; Ambrose did not know. Ambrose also did not care as he watched his opponent topple to the earth as plumes of dirt and smoke erupted around the fallen form. He was not confident the being was dead or even disabled at the moment.

 

Placing both hands on the ground, Ambrose’s fingers dug deep into the grass and earth as he pushed, trying to force himself out of the precarious situation he found him in, even as around him, the battle continued to rage on. His shoulder servos whirred and shifted, trying to use the amazing mechanized strength of a machine to remove itself from the force fueled position he found himself in. Even as his legs budged, Ambrose worried that it might not be fast enough. His head bobbed up and down as he watched his legs, struggling to free himself, and staring off to where he had last seen the Sith lord. He had never faced off against a force user before; but he had heard stories, stories of Vader and his powers. He also had seen the training videos on what to do if ever engaging a wayward Jedi. He was not taking any chances.

 

With a grunt that was due to mental stress, droids did not grunt, Ambrose pushed downwards once again, the jetpack on his back flaring to life for a brief moment. Plumes of flame struck the ground and arced back upwards, engulfing Ambrose in the briefest visage of flame and smoke, singing armored plates, blackening them even more than their polished black surface already was. Chunks of earth accompanied Ambrose’ feet as he leapt into the air, coming to land on his feet and a single left handed fist nearby on the even grassy ground.

 

Looking back across the smoky battlefield, the cyborg took off at a low run towards where he had seen the Sith go down. His knees would have ached, had he been equipped with any type of pain sensors. What kind of battle suit would need those though? Outwardly his left knee whirred and clicked with each step. It still functioned, but the blow from sky to earth had clearly left its mark on the finely tuned servos.

 

As he ran, something caught his eye, a severed leg. A quick scan, seemed to indicate that the leg most likely belonged to the Sith lord he had been engaging. At least the armor was the same where it was still identifiable between scorch marks and twisted melted metal. Ambrose’ weapons had been designed to vaporize starships, to carve his way into capital ships, and to utterly obliterate enemy foot soldiers that might dare stand in his way. The fact that this leg was still relatively intact was a testament to the darksiders willpower and armor. Logic dictated that this may very well be the biggest part of his foe that still existed; yet logic was not an ally of Ambrose these days. He had to be sure. He had to see.

 

Casting the leg off to the side, Ambrose pressed onwards, this time slower as the smoke intensified around him. He had to see for himself.

 

Stepping forward, only a few the clank of metal on metal gave him pause. Looking down, he saw a single armored hand, the severed arm it belonged to shrouded beneath his massive foot. Clenched in the hand was what could only be a lightsaber hilt. ”The weapon of the force users. . .”

 

Reaching down, lifting his foot slightly, Ambrose slid the weapon clenching arm from the ground. ”I have to see for myself.”

 

Setting forward, Ambrose quickly came upon the decimated earth where his cannon fire had disrupted the terraformed surface of the planet. Chunks of rock and earth made the ground uneven. There, in the bottom of the crater, lay a single mangled black form, an arm and a leg blown entirely off one side of the melted morphed form. Staring down at the Sith, Ambrose did not feel any sense of pride or joy. He felt nothing. He had done his duty, that was all, and he still had work to do. The Moff, Emma, anyone else pivotal to the survival of the Empire; they needed him still.

 

Standing up to his full height, Ambrose grasped the lightsaber in his hand, shaking it violently until the attached hand loosened its grip. The arm sailed through the air, landing with a splat in the bloody dirt alongside the mangled form of Karys.

 

”Like swatting floater fleas back on Triple Zero.”

 

Turning, Ambrose strode off into the smoke filled battlefield, as the form in the bottom of the crater took one single ragged breath. He was still alive, if barely.

 

((I hate to do this, but I am calling a 3-day on Karys. This duel has gone on for over a month (Start Date 08/14/2018). There are people waiting on him and I. After numerous conversations and promises to get a post submitted on certain days, only to see nothing for the following 48+ hours, I feel like I have little choice anymore. Karys, I look forward to meeting you on the battlefield again my friend. May The Force Be With You.))

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Almost as soon as Zalis made her jump upwards and grabbed ahold of the parts of the ceiling that allowed for her to hold onto, an explosion type sound went off in the room she was in. It was either dumb luck or a good battle sense upon her own head that allowed for her to make the jump without getting stuck to the ground. However, this cryoban grenade found more of a mark outside of the bottom of her boots. Her ass was now freezing from the foaming liquid that exploded within the room. It was sticky and becoming quite troublesome as the seconds passed by. That bitch is really starting to rattle my nerves.

 

Zalis used what momentum she had to swing her legs upwards to kick in the ventilation cover. She would stick to her plan, even if it meant taking a slower time to move due to having part of her body covered in the sticky foam from the cryoban grenade. Besides, she needed to use the sound of the grenade going off to help hide the noise of her kicking the vent off. Quickly, she slid herself in and had to keep herself low to the vent system, as there was little room for her to do anything other than to crawl army style.

 

As she was able to begin her movements, the loud and blaring sounds of blaster fire being poured into the room where she was just at almost gave her a heart attack. Had she held any form of hesitation, she would have been laid to waste, of that much she was certain. She had to keep herself moving, which was slowly becoming a difficult task in of itself, due to the searing pain in her thigh from a prior blaster fire, along with the cold sticky adhesive garbage that was a result of the cryoban, which was also causing her joints to move much more slowly.

 

Zalis moved as quietly as she could, slowly pausing for a moment to pull out her sonic detonator and with it armed, threw it back the way she came. Hopefully, it would cause enough damage to allow for her to gain the upper hand, as her hope was that their ears were now exposed from having to take their helmets off from her EMP. As she tossed the sonic detonator back towards the open vent, she split her legs wide to make a strong push off the wall of the vent shaft that she was in to slide head first at the vent plate about three feet from where she lay. If she could muster enough strength, she should be able to break through easily enough.

 

As she heard the clang of the detonator hitting the side of the vent shaft and dropping down, she made her push. She had to force her legs to make the push in the same way she would use them during her assassination during intercourse. It allowed for her to make the push needed to break through the vent cover. As she braced her own head for the hit, she also lowered her hands towards her blasters to pull them out once she broke through.

 

As she began to fall out of the vent, her head was ringing and vision slightly blurry. The clear sound of her own sonic detonator was clearly finishing up. Time slowed for her as she lifted her hands and began to pour random blaster fire at the troops and Raven who were now in front of her. Although, she wasn’t fully sure it was them. Her vision was blurry, so she just kept making shots at what she assumed were her targets. It would hurt when she landed, but she would still have momentum to move if needed. Hopefully they all head their helmets off, or would still be affected by the sonic detonator anyways.

 

 

((3))

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Raven and the guards fired several rounds into the room where the Assassin should have been running out of but when no Black Sun affiliated people came flying out of the room with blasters bared they ceased their fire. The hiss of the jets of clingfoam could be heard in the silence but nothing from the Assassin herself. The Guards of the Empress knew their duty and since the flushing tactic had not worked, the creme of the Imperial army went on the offensive. The two sides of the chevron collapsed into two stacks of three that rushed the doorway with the Empress in the rightmost column, placed between Lieutenant Kavindrennos and Corporal Tenerfis a blond woman in her mid twenties whose hairstyle resembled Ravens. Tied back neatly to tuck into their discarded helmets. Raven had enough time to take a single breath that burned with ozone as the three stormtroopers ahead of her stormed into the room, Raven’s group stacking up beside the entry way in case the Imperial troopers needed any assistance in cleaning up a trapped and encased assassin. However unlikely as that was, Raven was still ready to charge in with blaster spitting fire.

 

The advance stormtroopers were however, stopped by the glop foam that had covered half the room, with no sign of the erstwhile assassin.

 

“Negative Contact.”

 

When the cold clear voice of the stormtrooper echoed back to Raven, she wrinkled her nose in disgust, crouched by the entryway behind Corporal Tenerfis. How could she have escaped so easily?

 

The men in the room, having fanned out, froze in place, their eyes searching the foam for any sign of the woman. Eyes that were used to seeing through the HUDs of stormtrooper helmets, scanned for footprints and upon finding none began to glance up. It was then that the small shockball sized metal ball hit the side of the ventilation shaft at the same time that Raven heard a scuffle from the ceiling above. She brought her rifle up, making a clicking sound in her mouth by forcing air out of her mouth along her teeth and gums. Scanning for a possible threat from above. The three troopers alongside her Instantly followed their empress’s rifle and began to fan out, their backs to the wall of the doorway. Raven could feel her heartbeat pounding in her ears as she knelt in the room, her blaster rifle finally settling at the grating of a ventilation shaft as the source of the noise. It scared her, something dropping out of that shaft with murderous intent. It had been too long since she had fought over Coruscant, and too long since she had fought beside Aira against Piccolo. She was well practised but practise didn't make up for real life encounters of war and battle. And the nerves grafted into her bionic arm which had been affected by the earlier grenade were beginning to scream in protest as she moved the arm to steady her blaster rifle against her shoulder.

 

Then her eardrums were assaulted with the squeal of a sonic grenade going off and her eyes watered with the pain. It had been thankfully muffled by being in the different room out of direct earshot as well as from falling into a sea of sticky foam from the glop grenade which acted as a sound dampener, absorbing the waves of sound. She blinked the tears away having to physically restrain herself from covering her ears with her hands. Loud and annoying noises were nothing new to the Imperials in the room. The three troopers in the same room as the sonic grenade did not fare too well however and were taken out of action as their eardrums burst, causing them to vomit.

 

Raven looked back at the grating as it was forced outwards and like a demon the assassin emerged. Raven and the two stromtroopers beside her depressed their triggers at the woman letting crimson bolts streak like arrows at the falling woman, if it had been a trap it was now working for both sides equally. Raven trusted her aim even as Tenerfis’ body jumped like a crazed marionette from a high powered round. The Empire would not fall like this, it would not die with a whimper like Black’s reign, or with a sob like Detons. It would die an honourable death in battle, not to some assassins bolt.

 

((3))

((Thanks man loved it))

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Pretender to the Galactic Throne

Leader of the Rebel Alliance

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Nok stumbled up the hill, hearing the serpent trailing behind him. More than that, he could feel the creature's presence, like a dark, black pit starkly outlined on a snowy plain. But if the serpent was a pit, then the surface of this world had been hit by a meteor shower. Pain and fear assaulted Nok from all sides. It had begun as a brushing across his skin, but as he delved deeper into his Force-tapped senses, the gentle touch turned insistent, his mind growing more sensitive. He was adapting.

 

All around he could feel the echo of pain, every individual call cutting off and ending in silence. Some petered off into nothing, others sharply ended, but they all died in the end. Their pain was a precursor to their death. It didn't save them. It meant nothing.

 

Not my pain, he thought. As if to accentuate the point, Nok stumbled and crashed to the ground, face in the dirt. Agony burned through him, but it seemed distant. Unimportant.

 

No. Not unimportant. Not for me.

 

Not for a sith.

 

Nok breathed in, his ragged gasp peppering his body with spikes of hot pain. He remembered his lessons, how he'd felt that first time he'd managed telekinesis. He remembered how he'd expected the Force to be there for him to grasp, and how it had responded. Not to his desire, but to his expectation. The Force existed to be ruled.

 

Nok let the pain in, let himself wake up enough from his stupor to truly feel the agony of his body, and then he let it push him further and further into the Force. In a sensation becoming familiar, he let himself unravel into the Force.

 

As his pain pulsed through his body, each pulse created ripples in the Force. The Force he was a part of. He could feel it pass the rock he'd tripped over, pass over the grass, the dirt, and the serpent.

 

Nok smiled, and kept walking. I can use pain to see. That's interesting.

 

Perhaps this is an opportunity. A chance to drive myself to new heights. Best way to teach a man to manage money is to take it away after all.

 

Nok stopped at a rise. He could feel...plants. Tall ones. Trees? Yes, trees. And cobbled paths. He was in a garden. But there was so much wreckage. And where was his master? Nok had come following his presence, but he couldn't find it now. Where had...

 

It was so close he almost missed it. There, at the bottom of a crater. A single ember, small but white-hot. A power and presence that transcended pain and rage. Pure power.

 

He's so weak...

 

Nok considered. He considered it for several long moments.

 

No. Not yet.

 

Nok fumbled for his data pad.

 

"Pilot...(cough)...bring the ship to my location. We need to leave.

 

And prep the med bay."

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Tallin grimaced as the jarring kick of his opponent smashed into his right wrist, bone and muscle both screaming in pain as the force almost knocked the blaster from his loosened fingers. Doubtless, if the Sith warrior had not been falling backwards, the kick an afterthought as he pulled back to regroup, the blow would have been enough to shatter the comparatively weak bones of his arm. Even so, the power contained with the strike knocked his arm away, ending the stream of bolts as the barrel swung toward the far wall.

 

His expression further darkened as his opponenet's second kick impacted into his leg, just below the knee. Thankfully, he had been facing the Sith at an angle, having used his momentum to place his left side closer to the Sith. As it was, his opponent's kick knocked one leg out, dropping the larger warrior to one knee with a metallic thud. It was not a good position, off balance and beneath the level of his opponent, but still able to strike. The rain of blows that followed continued to knock him back, the smaller human still capable of landing powerful blows. However, the heavy Imperial Guard Armor he wore succesfully blocked much of the initial impact of each blow, and prevented the broken bones and heavy brusing that may have followed.

 

His first reply since the beginning of the duel hissed out in his growling voice, made deep and abrupt by the stress of the situation and his loss of breath, "Damn your etiquette. You have attacked the Remnant, and we care nothing for your rules."

 

As he continued to fall back, he saw the Sith pull his lightsaber for a final coup-de-grace to his stumbling opponent. Tallin immediately stopped attempting to arrest his fall, and dropped heavily onto his back, the sides of the metal cage with the ysalimiri within digging painfully into the metal plates covering his back and roughly arching him up. The rough kick that had knocked him back actually saved him, as the upward swing of the lightsaber, unassisted by the Force and directed by a warrior with blood streaming across his rapidly moving face, missed the majority of his body. The blazing blade, however, cut deeply into his left arm, cutting through the heavy metal and burning away a chunk of flesh.

 

The Sith was once again off balance from his aggresive attack, and Tallin opened fire with his other hand, bracing the blaster against his uninjured side. Lying awkwardly on his back, Tallin opened fire, rapidly dumping the remaining rounds loaded into his blaster. This time, Tallin started out aiming for the feet and legs of the Sith, where he doubted the mesh extended to. Rapidly he strafed up his opponent's body, his aim to kill or disable his opponent, ending the fight, for he knew the risk of failure.

 

 

(3) (Thanks for the duel mate) (Request guest ruling by Charles Hall)

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Duel Ruling: Zalis Krales vs. Raven Zinthos

 

Amidst the chaos of the battle in orbit above Kuat, the leader of the Black Sun Syndicate and the Head of State of the Imperial Remnant confront each other in the planet’s orbital rings. Both sides made use of effective maneuvers and tactics, trading damage and taking casualties where appropriate.

 

Zalis Krales followed a cohesive strategy in tracking down, then stripping the Head of State and her squad of their advantages through an attack by a deadman switch-equipped droid and EMP grenades, finally confronting Raven once a number of her squad had been eliminated by previous attacks. The final evasive maneuver, the leap into a ceiling duct to avoid a glop grenade, stretches the imagination a bit, but my skepticism is significantly mitigated by the fact that Zalis anticipated the attack in her second post.

 

On the part of Raven Zinthos, she possessed a significant advantage at the outset of this duel in the form of a well-equipped bodyguard squad that was utilized skillfully with nonverbal coordination and effective flushing maneuvers. Her attacks, the use of incapacitating grenades were directly targeted towards Zalis’ reliance on evasion. However, I feel as though Raven never succeeded in accomplishing much more than responding to Zalis’ attacks until the very end of the duel, when a glop grenade forced her into the air vents.

 

 

Due to Zalis Krales’ progressive neutralization of Raven Zinthos’ advantages in the duel, she very quickly gained the initiative in this duel and only began to make missteps at the end. Zalis Krales is the victor of this duel and gets the next post. Well done to both of you; it was not easy for me to make my decision on this duel.

 

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Ruling for the duel between Tallin Abraxas and Milenko Shiro:

 

A couple things I'd like to point out straight away, things to not do next time. There was some abuse on both sides, and it made ruling on this tough. Firstly, Tallin opens fire on someone not wearing a uniform. Sure, he was the equivalent of coming across a scary clown in an isolated area, but reacting immediately by shooting is a serious stretch. There's a concept called escalation of force that would have been good to see here, and an appropriate response might have been taking up a defensive position, brandishing the weapon, and demanding identification or that the person move on, or any other action than them moving closer.

 

Milenko on the other hand covers a distance of almost 100 feet by going into a side room, cutting through a wall, and ending up behind his opponent in close quarters combat range all in one post. To me, it is completely unfeasible to expect your opponent to not see that you are no longer there (prompting further action on their part, likely an advance or change in position), but also for them to stay where they are long enough, not hearing a lightsaber cut through a durasteel wall or that same wall being bent while they wait, and still have their back to the door that they then get attacked from. All of this in the same post pushes the godmode envelope by not affording your opponent a chance to react when they reasonably should have had that chance.

 

As for the thermal detonators move, I actually did some digging to ensure it wasn't made up on the fly, and it turns out it is a legit thing. Points to Tallin on that. Sneaky attack, good defense. However, by this time both are inside the ysalamiri bubble, so the following posts are difficult to untangle. I tend to weigh rullings a little more toward the end game of a duel, because even if you've been losing the whole time but checkmate in the end, a checkmate is a checkmate. That wasn't the case here. Milenko uses his lightsaber, and Tallin claims to have been kicked back to help him avoid it. While that would normally seem like a good maneuver, someone well versed in a martial art wouldn't make the mistake of putting distance between them and an opponent they intend to strike out at with a deadly melee attack. Which brings me to the end of all this:

 

 

I really like Chad's method of putting the ruling in a spoiler, so I'm stealing this format. It's effective, dramatic, and tends to make people read the entire ruling before seeing who won what. Kudos to you, sir.

 

Back to the ruling, though. The end game we have is Tallin in an awkward position firing with a blaster at someone who is mostly protected from blasters. I looked up spider silk on Wookieepedia, and it specifically says it would deflect blaster pistols, which tells me more powerful blasts from a rifle might damage it. Milenko is also wearing something called 'shadow stalker armor', which I couldn't find where he got the armor in his posts, nor could I find anything on Wookieepedia relating to that.

 

Milenko himself is inside an ysalamiri bubble for two posts at this point, and while he demonstrates his skill with martial arts, would find it impossible to block these shots without aid from the Force, and even if his armor can allow him to practically ignore blaster rifle fire from point blank range (which there is reasonable doubt here but I'm not going to address formally), he would likely have unprotected areas on his body. (EDIT: It was pointed out after this ruling that ShadowStalker armor is listed in Wookieepedia, however it does specifically state that it is designed to cover vital organs, so the concerns here are still valid.) He also has a lightsaber which is obviously immediately deadly to Tallin, whose armor cannot withstand the slashing blade as evidenced in his own post. While it is unclear whether or not the blaster fire would have punctured the armor as Tallin claims, at the least I feel they should have been addressed better.

 

Because of this, both Tallin and Milenko are technically in a position to easily deal the coup de gras in a final post. This is why I was grumbling earlier, as it made it difficult to rule on. However, Milenko's technical mistakes throughout the duel tip this in Tallin's favor. The deciding factor for me was Milenko's post where he cuts through a wall, it was a fairly large abuse to do it all in one post.

 

Tallin Abraxas wins.

 

**But not without cost**, because of the OOC abuse at the beginning. The slash to his left arm turns out to be worse than he initially realized, centimeters from cutting all the way through. Combat adrenaline prevented him from realizing this until after the duel ends. The limb is hanging limp and useless, something a simple bacta patch will be unlikely to heal. He will need time in a bacta tank, or will need a prosthetic, something that he is unlikely to find before the end of this battle.

 

Tallin gets next post.

 

I'd also like to thank you guys for asking me to rule, I feel honored, and hope I broke the duel down well enough and did it justice. Well written, both of you, there was a lot of creativity here which should absolutely be carried out into the future. Don't let this ruling stop either of you from finding creative ways to maneuver your characters in upcoming duels.

Immediately reachable by  charlesjhall@gmail.com

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Ambrose strode through the battlefield. The cries of the dying echoed out from the smoky aftermath of the battle. They were the only sounds in the area aside from the cyborg’s whirring knee and heavy footfalls. Stooping down in the middle of the devastated wood, Ambrose hefted his massive 5-barelled plasma weapon easily; cradling it in his arms, he began to make his way back towards the city. The battle here seemed relatively over. He did not know which side had won; but the battle had quickly ended or moved elsewhere about the same time he had laid out his opponent. Perhaps they fled in fear after their supposed leader fell, he pondered to himself, wondering where Emma and the Moff had gotten off to. Listening to comms, he did not hear either of them or talk of either. All he could do right now was hope. It was not worth calling out to her over comms that quite possibly could have been breached. Besides, he had another problem to worry about right now.

 

Suddenly, from above, began to rain down all over turbolaser fire, peppered with a variety of missiles and torpedoes. Whatever was going on above, the enemy had somehow managed to breech the Imperial line there and begin bombardment of the planet. Picking up his pace to a run, Ambrose raced back towards the city. As he ran, his mind churned back to the last time he had been running. He wondered what had become his comrade Query.

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Her scream continued, driven from her smoking lips as much from the rush battle as it was forced from a body wracked by pain. It was a cry to the Force, her only friend left in the galaxy. As she screamed she could feel her heartbeat pounding an unknown rhythm in her ears. It was a death rattle, the shattered screeching of a ghost from beyond its cairn. All that was left was war. Her universe was all but gone, and all that remained was the battle in a breaking hanger.

 

Kyrie’s arm was still caressed by fire, the heat of the blade still burning away at her nerve endings. The pain burned its way through her as she charged the Sith, delving deep into her chest. Concentration failed.

 

The Flames died. All that remained were the screams of a broken girl. The dead came as the force fractured into a wound. A hundred grasping hands reached through the fractured metal, through the molten steel. She had opened herself to Hell. The Sin she had eaten was now being vomited forth.

 

Her heaven, her gods, were all shattered. Words replaced her screams as the Sith took her mind.

 

Come not to the stars. Come not with a shining sword. Come not crying over the dead. Come not with a disturbed mind.

 

The dead shuddered around them. Kyrie’s lips moved and only a whisper emerged that only the Beast could hear.

 

Do you hear the suffering? Do you feel their blood warm on your skin? Do you hear the endless torment? Do you smell the putrid wounds?

 

The blackened boots lost their footing and the Exorcist fell.

 

What she saw in the Sith’s ravaging of her mind was a mirror. A mirror of her own brokenness, of her own darkness. Her own Hell. As she saw the Beast’s journey, so he would see hers. The years of abuse as a child, always second to a much grander sister. A father as evil as a demon.

 

Everyone thought I was cursed. I believed them, and so it came to be.

 

Pain drove itself to her heart as a voice ripped through her vision. The Exorcist’s eyes opened, and she found herself on her knees before the forces of the Sith. Her face seemed to change every few seconds, fluttering between personalities with only one commonality: Death.

 

If she had been a weaker person, she would have begged for her life, but she was not. Every part of her called upon the Force, but it did not answer. Her chest heaved with muted sobs of pain. There was no holy flames now, only sparks of pain and suffering. A deep sadness. Her breathing came in irregular, sharp, rasping gasps. Her lungs would not hold her breath, each exhalation brought with it curling, ashen smoke. Kyrie’s voice cracked.

 

“You will have to kill me, because I have nothing left. No fear, no hate, no righteousness. No family.”

 

Her face settled and a peace came then, but one born of confusion. She looked upon the Sith but did not see them. She smiled softly as duel lines of smoking blood crested across her cracked, thin lips.

 

Hayley, you’ve grown…”

 

It was a conversation that did not exist anywhere but in her mind. She reached out with the smoking stump of her arm and sat back against a fallen durasteel beam. The beam was red-hot and although her skin smoked she did not feel it. Her eyes were from her childhood, of painful memories and bittersweet happiness.

 

“When I lost you I learned the hard way to not be afraid of death…”

 

A song began in the Force, a lament that was filled with grief. It made the burning floor about her sparkle as if she was in a dew-kissed field on a spring morning.

 

“A life without loss is one without love.”

 

Her eyes fluttered, silver flames sparking within them.

 

If we turn ourselves from death, all we can see is the darkness of its shadow...

 

The song fell away. The silver flame was replaced by emerald sheen. Tears of joy replaced the sobs of pain. Her eyes were open for but a moment longer as she looked death in the eye. At last she embraced it as a friend and left her darkness behind.

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Emma’s voicebox crackeled with static as she watched he mercenary lizard of a Mandalorian jerk some criminal officer in front of him as a meaty shield against her rounds. At the site of the man jerking with every impact like some unstrung marionette in a disastrous child's stage play Emma could not help but to smile. The smile itself was gruesome of course, all laser ablated metal, carved in the resemblance of a child’s gums and teeth by a incompetent ISB technician who had mistakenly believed any defects caused by the oxide laser would be covered up with a garnish of synthskin. Emma was not so fortunate to have gotten such an unnecessary procedure as to add skin to her metal outer casing, for the program had been cut off, and that lazy technician had paid the price that all involved under the ISB BLACK research team had paid. A hidden grave on some unknown world with no placard or memory to hold a legacy. Such was the punishment of traitors and those that deigned to play at the game of human design in the Remnant. They had known that and had taken the risk. And of course, paid the price that such men do.

 

Though in some part of Emma’s brain that was still human she was grateful to them for giving her new life, training her in assassination and combat, and landing her here where she could die with the rest of the Empire. Stormtroopers in grey combat armour died alongside red clothed KRPS agents as the last stand around the moff council began. Moff Nimue, of Agriculture and Development, who always had her grey hair meticulously braided into coils that wrapped her head in ornate Kuati fashion was fighting for her life off to the Emma’s right flank, but that was not her concern. Her concern was right in front of her, carrying a corpse and levelling a concussion rifle at her face. All the surroundings that seemed to overwhelm her processors and brain capacity faded away in that realization. Combat was here, now, and all thoughts of Moffs and her own past fled swiftly from her mind as she sprang into action. Diving behind the bole of the Oak as a blast from the concussion rifle whizzed through the air where her head had been. An area effect weapon. Highly effective for flushing little birds out of trees.

 

Servomotors whined as Emma coiled her legs underneath her and began to spring away as the next blast from the concussion rifle exploded at the edge of the tree. The Oak splintered with the air blast. The concussion wave sending Emma flying along with hunks of bark and hardwood. She pulled her knees to her chest as the concussion blast threw her, letting the impact of the landing flow along with her body, dispersed along her back and rear end instead of a single point of impact. If she had been made of brittle bone and organ she would have had the wind knocked from her, but since she was not and had plastoid armour that dampened the impact of both a concussive blast and smacking into the dirt, she rolled twice and came up on her feet. Blinking her eyes rapidly to reset the photoreceptors that had blurred from the impact of the concussion force. As they cleared she let the remains of her long blaster rifle fall from her hands and jumped again to the side. The powerful servomotors coiling and expanding to toss her much further than a normal girl could bound. She was trying to find both distance and height while she touched one hand to the other, fingers brushing the underside of her right wrist before she began to grab for her holstered carbine. A rapidly moving target was much harder to hit and so she moved as quick as her servos would go, as she pulled her E-11 from its holster and a frag grenade as well from the dump pouch on her side. That she primed with a three button code for a two second delay and tossed with a spinning underhand that more belonged on a shockball pitch than a battlefield and it sped to hopefully land at the trandoshan’s feet. While she brought the E-11 up and with instinctive reaction snapped its folding stock into place with a press of the detent on the side and began to fire. A string of red bolts from the E-11 aiming for the large cracks in his mandalorian armour spat out of the carbine with deadly intent. But such was her training. She wasn’t the innocent slave girl on Nal Hutta anymore, she had been remade to the designs of evil men.

 

((2))

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Zalis struck the ground in a loud thud. Pain began to sear in her ribs as she was hit by the return fire from the Empress and her guards. Her eyes closed tightly shut as she awaited to hear anything from the Empress or her guards. Upon letting a few seconds go by, the only sound that was in focus was some moans and groans from the targets she had pinned down. Deciding to open her eyes slowly, she looked around at the mess that had been created. There was a piece of her own droid's shrapnel stuck in her upper right arm from her landing and a ton of smoke from all of the blaster fire and grenade like weapons that were used in the fire fight. It was chaos, and a far better scene then what she thought she would see.

 

Rolling over, she used the momentum to pick herself up to her feet, allowing some time to adjust to the pain that was in her ribs. She looked at the carbon scoring around the burning flesh that became nothing more than an irritant of sorts. Quickly putting away just her left handed firearm so that she could remove the droid shrapnel in her right arm as she walked closer to get a look at what damage she had fully done. Raven Zinthos lived. Struck down temporarily by her own blaster onslaught, along with her two remaining guards. One of which was fully dead, taking a blaster dead center of his helmet. She lifted her right arm blaster and fired into the back of the neck of the other, leaving Raven alone.

 

Zalis stood over her, brooding as she contemplating what she should do with the Empress before her. Leaning down towards her, she used all of her might to strike her upon the back of the head with the butt of her own blaster pistol. She quickly searched the Imperial guards for cuffs to use to restrain the Empress and bind her hands behind her back. After she had done so, she pulled out her comlink and used an open channel to the rest fo the Axis forces.

 

"This is Zalis Krales. I'm going to need a lift off the Shipyard for two. The Empress is mine."

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Fatigue was severely setting in for the Sith Master as he stood before her, watching her emotions unfold before him. He felt her power taking its toll upon him, the burns upon his soul aching within his chest with each breath he took. Despite the rivalry that had taken place between the two here at Kuat, she had gained much respect in his eyes, and hopefully the same within hers. He could barely stand as it was, taking all he held left within just to maintain his equaliberian. In truth, he wanted to just pass out, to close his eyes and sleep. But the battle seemed far from over, and despite the toll he had taken, he would push forward until he could no longer breath upon his own. Such was the mentality of the demon known as Oni. Forever in the service of the Sith, in life until death and even unto rebirth. Such was his loyalty.

 

And she, even as he saw the pain she shared, was just as he. Loyal to her path, her comrades, her beliefs, and at this Oni humbly smiled. Two enemies, made strong by life, eternally loyal to those who they took to and came to see as the family they never had. Oni coughed, blood drizzling upward from his lungs, the burns upon his soul having began to effect his physical form. She had truly dealt him more damage than he had ever received before. And as her question was proposed, he held but a simple answer, one that nearly caused him to collapse as he spoke. "I do. More than you'll ever believe"

 

Oni's thoughts wondered back to the disease that tainted his soul, the lives it took to create, the remnants of their blood coursing his veins and corrupting his flesh and soul had Dominus not taught him the means to control that which plagued him. Yet, he saw now how lucky he had been. How he was able to overcome his own affliction while she still struggled with her own. And in that laid their singular difference. "I will not kill you Exorcist, but only offer advice. If you truly want to overcome your demons, you must fight. A wise Jedi once told me this, and despite his death, I still consider him my greatest friend."

 

Yet, as he spoke these words with a grieving heart, he felt the holocron in his pocket pull at him, the briefest feeling emitting from within just as a wave of energy landed behind him and forced his weakened form forward. It was in the split second that Oni thought of closing his eyes, unaware and uncaring about whom or what attacked him, as a sense of calmness washed over him knowing that a part of Aryian remained within the pyramid he held within his pocket. And so he did, remembering their talks on Mechis III, and a smile crept into his face as his form went completely numb.

 

Opening his eyes, he gaze upon what looked to be Aryian at first, his vision focused to see the boy before him, his gaze shifting downward until the saber in his chest, ignited and ablaze. Yet, it felt cold and almost comforting. Like laying on cold duracrete upon a hot day, almost inviting, just as did his body. Oni smiled for a moment before his face twisted grotesquely into the demon that his within and with a swing of his arm, backhanded the boy away as the blade tore asunder and lept from within the cavity it had found its place just moments before. Oni turned back toward his previous opponent, a sign of acceptance lingering upon his face.

 

Like a dying beast, Oni made his way toward her, pulled to her by a force and emotion unknown, aching to spend his last moments beside the opponent whom had all but defeated him. Falling into his knees, he kept going, crawling and shuffling his form forward, unaware of her own insights into the death that awaited her, only that she seemed to reach for him as he made his way toward her. And as he reached her, he did the only thing that felt right in that moment, and embraced her into a hug, something neither had ever known truly, placing his head upon her shoulder. Pulling the holocron from his pocket, Oni smiled, wondering if Aryian had knew and had reached out to show him. It's something the old hermit would likely do to say the least, after all, he was the one who taught him that despite philosophy, friends could be found in the unlikeliest of places. Feeling this, another tear rolled down his cheek and he closed his eyes, just as the song began to play.

 

 

The Exorcist’s form embraced him then, ashen skin turning to crystallic white. Her lips touched his forehead, setting then his corrupted skin smoldering. She was becoming a mirror that only reflected the light. She kept the darkness inside of her, taking it deep into herself. It met the pain at her heart and she was unified with the Beast. Shallow, ragged breaths began to falter, replaced by their rapid hearts beating together to the beat of the song.

 

And it was the first time that Oni had truly heard its tempo, yet, despite its purpose and the pain it fleshed at his soul, Oni found it beautiful, its lyrics as poetic as was his own life, as his heart beat began to slow.

 

 

"Thump, Thump"

 

Oni closed his eyes, feeling the Force within begin to slip slowly away, knowing his life was about to close. Kyrie whispered into the nothingness that surrounded them words that barely covered his heartbeat.

 

"Thump, Thump"

 

...Don’t you ever lose your innocence child, don’t lose the wonder of that first fallen leaf, that first roll of thunder…

 

 

A smile crept upon his face as the flames flared and the pain scraped at his soul, begging to claim it in Hell's name. He could feel her rasping breaths reverberate through her shallow chest.

 

...Do not mourn, even in darkness the beauty and peace of this world never falls away…

 

 

"Tha-Thump"

 

Oni remembered back to his days before, the visage of his family appearing before his eyes as he opened them, their hands outreached as if trying to pull him to them. Kyrie’s words began to fade as her fingers touched the Beast’s. Smoke began to flow from her wounds as freely as blood.

 

 

...It is always there, just waiting to be seen again.

 

 

"Thump...."

 

Oni's gaze went black despite his gaze still eerily staring forward from his perched face, the last remnants of his breath slowly lingering upon his final exhale, the gripped holocron rolling from within his palm idly upon the floor beside him and Kyrie, her form held up only by his own limp form, still within his embrace and enlightened by the humbled emerald sheen before a gust of wind blew, the Sith Master crumbling into ash and carried away. The Master of the Imperial Knights faded with Him into the force, and all that was left was smoke and falling voices.

 

 

Ash to ash…...

 

((Co-Written by myself and Kyrie))

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R.I.P. Nanny (6/3/1941-1/9/2012)

R.I.P. Papa (2/14/1936-2/7/2012)

R.I.P. Big Mike (5/12/82-11/9/2012)

~Revelations 21:4 (KJV)~

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Ah... the life of a droid.

 

Even amidst the chaos and carnage that had befell the drive yards of Kuat, a droid like Remo was relatively safe, save for the few sadists who thought they could ravage his beautiful frame and scavenge his parts. Those unfortunate few, however, laid behind him in the past, scorch marks upon their necks hidden by the blood and gore that Remo had inflicted using his beloved circular saw. But for now, his frame tarnished in the aftermath, he scooted down the many hallways of the shipyard, chirping as he went.

 

In truth, when the battle had begun, he had recently arrived in the civilian area to have a malfunction in his cockpit's seperate hyperdrive fixed. But just as it was completed, all hell broke loose, and in the panic of fleeing workers and the arrival of militants, he had lost his way. And the few droids he encountered were no more than scrap heaps after they were deactivated and scavenged by the humans they held trust for. But not Remo, no. He held very little trust in his fellow droids, let alone fleshies. Though, he would admit, some played certain purposes very well. But so far, he had only encountered the aforementioned group whom decided to grab what they could in parts and try and split. Only, in Remo, they found more than they could handle. And upon that thought, he found a sense of glee.

 

Finally finding a working console amidst the full out wreckage that the yards had became, Remo managed to gather a map leading back to the civilian hanger where his ship, the Obsidian Phoenix, was docked at. Now he only had to find the most direct path that held the least confrontation, most blast doors sealed due to fires, breaches, and fights all lighting up the board. Finally able to map one out, he merrily went about his way, the retractable third wheel softly squealing in a subtle burn out.

 

Most of the areas he visited along the path remained operable and untouched, like an abandoned colony in the outskirts of the unknown regions. Others held minor life support system and had so much damage that each scorch spoke an individual story. And a few, still held battles being fought, which Remo of course valiantly strolled through....

 

Okay, okay, he raced through them and hid if he thought he had been noticed. But Remo has his own way of seeing things.

 

Just as he turned a corridor, a nearby explosion rocked the area. Curious, Remo strolled closer as the smoke and debris began to clear. He noticed a few fleshies laying about as he peaked in, and was about to continue on his way when one began to stir. Intrigued, he watched from his perch, noticing the Auburn haired woman shoot one of them in the head and bash the other before restraining her. It was then that Remo saw, or rather heard a way out.

 

The woman obviously was one of the attackers, evident in her comm to her comrades for a ride off the yard. But what intrigued him even more was the mention of an Empress, likely the young female she had just recently bashed and restrained. Remo's ship wasn't far, and if he aided this woman, he could possibly go on his merrily little way with little to no resistance... or die. Though the chances of that were limited considering most fleshies viewed droids like him as little more than walking tools, especially an astromech like himself. Silently he whirled as he considered this path.

 

Decision made, Remo wheeled himself on in, a few beeps and blurts as he waved his arms at the woman in an attempt to communicate as best he could. If she understood Binary, she would notice his mention of a ship that he has access to, and would welcome her aboard. But if not, the keys he jingled before her, complete with fuzzy dice, would suffice, despite they really held no operating function, just something he had picked up off one the bodies he came across.

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Rage filled the vessel that was Aidan. The Force coursed through him torrentially, like a riverbed after a flood. It swept through him, carrying him forward despite his will, his efforts trapped in his emotions. Finally, he reached the Sith, and his blade found the dark one's chest. Behind everything, Aidan had expected that to be the end of it, expected his rage to subside and wane, but it didn't. It only fueled it. Instead of relief, he felt righteous vindication, a twisted justification of what was, and what he saw as what would be.

 

But his vision would not come to pass.

 

A hand snaked out, backhanding him viciously, the strike sending Aidan sliding backwards across the deckplates for several feet. Almost immediately the torrent stopped, the Force leaving him to his pain and shock. On Kashyyyk he had seen the future unfold before him, as it was here when he ran through the blaster fire, knowing which steps to take when to ensure his safety. But the strike was different, it was unseen. It was something he'd have to work out later as he became consumed with another event unfolding before his eyes: the deaths of both the Sith and his master.

 

Emotions the like of which he hadn't felt before began to well up inside him, but a blaster bolt zipped in front of his face, grounding him and reminding him that now was not the time. He had lost himself once already, he could not afford to do so twice now and invite ruin. The Empire was losing at Kuat, and if they had any intention of rallying, they would need to escape.

 

Quickly, the young Imperial Knight low crawled to the remains, using fallen bodies for cover. Reaching them, he grabbed Kyrie's lightsaber and a small pyramid looking device the Sith had dropped. It was damaged, but Aidan could also tell it was the source of what he’d felt earlier. A thorough examination would have to come later, but for now it fit neatly in his now empty grenade pouches. The Sith’s own sabers also caught his eye, as did the mask, and he hastily retrieved everything before moving back to the Imperial lines.

 

Aidan reached out towards Beth, using the Force to try and gain her attention. He signalled to her through hand gestures to retreat, rally point at far end of the hangar. They would meet there, and quickly sort out a plan for escape. The Sith could not be pushed back here and now, and they needed to save what was left of the Empire before it was extinguished.

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It was as if a massive hand swept through the air, carrying all before it in flurry of wind. The Sith jerked backwards, thrown back by the impact of a dozen bolts at point blank range. Tallin scrambled to his feet as his left arm hung limply at his side, a cursory glance telling him he would not be able to use it any time soon. His other hand still clenched the blaster, ready to deliver a final flurry of shots if necessary. This time, however, his fire had results. The fire had punched through the strange armor he wore, leaving shallow wounds across his lower body and arms. In addition, a wound had opened up on the abdomen. Here, the armor had been hit several times, finally succeding in damaging the flesh beneath. This wound, no doubt, was what had kept him down.

 

Tallin leaned forward, falling heavily to one knee beside the body. Now that the stress of the duel had momentarily broken, his face twisted in pain and hate, words slipping through clenched teeth in a grating hiss, "Damn you, scum. Your kind is a plague upon this galaxy. Would that I could simply kill you now, blow your brains across this floor and spit upon your worthless corpse. But the Empress may yet have a use for you, and the Inquisitors will certainly wish to have a word. You act like you can just walk in here, walk..."

 

The Zabrak stood back up, glaring down at his foe. "Hmmmm, walk..."

 

With a grin that would not cheer even the most dour of humours, Tallin leveled his blaster at the left knee of the Sith, and depressed the duel triggers. Shattered bits of blood and bone sprayed across the cold floor as the socket disintegrated, the lower leg held on by a shred. Without a pause, Tallin turned toward the other knee, and fired again. For a moment, he stood still, watching the pain of the Sith without emotion. He sighed, then reached down to grab the discarded lightsaber, its terrifying beam temporarily halted, slipping into a spare holster on his belt. He had little fear of any attempts from the Sith to recover it, the Ysalimiri on his back surviving the encounter.

 

A final surge of strength swept through him, and he lifted the Sith up by the top of his clothes. "I know where to put you, Sith." The loss of blood would soon begin to tell on him, but for the moment, a portion of his strength still remained. Dragging the man down the hallway, the Imperial stopped at a small door at the side of the hall. Opening it with his override code, Tallin pulled the man to the door, looking down over the trash compactor below. Fortunantly for the dark side being, it had not been emptied recently, or the drop would likely have been fatal. Without further words, Tallin tossed him in, immediately shutting the door and overriding the manual controls. He would not have his prisoner so unceremoniously disposed of.

 

His strength failing him, Tallin stumbled down the hall, weakly clutching his bleeding arm. This time, he was headed for the rear. He had done his part in the battle.

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Zalis was putting her comlink away when a small droid began to make a lot of noise near her. She wasn’t exactly sure where it came from, or why it decided that she was worth it’s time to communicate to, yet here it was. The small droid looked like any other Astromech Droid, yet held a color of green along with the primary white that covered it. She was hesitant… It could be a trap, especially since she had just captured the Empress. But it seemed harmless enough, and from what she could understand of droids, it was trying to inform her of a ship. She simply raised her left eyebrow at its remarks.

 

“You have a ship?... Ah, screw it. Lead the way Greenie. I’ll cover you.”

 

Turning towards the ground, she used a string like material from her exploded XP droid to help her drag the Empress to the ship that the droid was claiming to have.

Zalis2.png

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