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Panic set in aboard the Syndic as the ship failed to comply with commands. Drifting in space, an open target to the Sith defense forces as her allies made the jump to hyperspace.

 

”So much for no man left behind” a crewman muttered as he stared out the viewport at the inbound salvo of destruction.

 

Meanwhile, Bloodsteele could do nothing but watch. With heavy hearts, they began maneuvering towards the Syndic in hopes of rescuing and would-be survivors of the coming destruction.

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Ḟ̶̡̆̀̏͜͝ĩ̴̤̪͕͊n̷̡̛̙̬̦̹̭̫̄̓̉͑̒ȧ̴̘͋̐͌̉͗͗̽̿l̶̻̥̯̯͆̇̈́ͅͅ ̴̧̬̮͕̤͇̖̼͗̚͜ͅB̴̠̜̽l̸̢̻̘̺͋̏̎͛ǫ̶̢̜̺͖̥̗̦̩͎̉̒̈́̽̽̃w̴̻̤̰̙͚͚̓ͅs̵̨̹̮̦͈̹̹̯̍

 

 

A brief, brilliant flash of light momentarily caused the cams projecting space around her ship to darken as the Lightsbane exploded into multiple fireballs of death and carnage. Though they were beings under her command, death was death and the wave of that destruction quickly followed by smaller waves as Rebel ships suffered the same fate washed over Qaela in a welcome flood. She was infuriated at the loss of one of the destroyers under her command, though the fiery death of so many enemy ships and their eventual retreat were something to cheer her up.

 

With the enemy cruisers vanishing into either hyperspace or miniature novas, that left only their largest ship, the Imperial II Star Destroyer that she had seen before over Borleias. She had not targeted that ship yet simply because she wanted to destroy the smaller ones and not waste so much firepower on it, but now there was nothing else for her to destroy. She began directing her mighty fleet's awesome firepower upon that singular target, but one of her officers cautiously interrupted her.

 

"My lady!" the officer said, cutting off Qaela's orders. To her credit, her voice was firm, but through the Force, Qaela could tell she was nervous about interrupting a Sith. "Scanners picked up something odd. We have an unexplained heat signature that is giving off muted sensor pings in Grid 13.5 by 3.9."

 

Rather than be angry, Qaela smiled. "Good work, Ensign. So they brought a stealth ship as well. Have Commander Jorus focus his attention on that region. We will move to engage the enemy's flagship."

Qaela Sig

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The deckplates under Johanna’s boots gave a subtle shudder as the rumble of a distant explosion caused every unsecured object in the power distribution center to rattle. Datapads rattled and fell from the engineering console, impacting against the Talon’s helmet and greaves. With a clumsy roll on the datapads and miscellany that had been scattered by her squad’s sabotage, she risked a peek over her meagre cover to be greeted by the horrifying sight of red lightsabers.

 

The shock trooper could barely make out the mystic freak’s face in the smoke--he appeared humanoid, but she wasn’t even positive about the creature’s sex. His mouth twisted, probably to speak, but Johanna was mostly deaf and mostly uninclined to even make an attempt at lip-reading. The first thing that every Talon learned about combating Sith was to fill the air with as much blaster fire as possible, and from as many angles as possible.

 

At the same time Johanna switched her blaster pistol to stun, she felt a heavy impact against her shin. She glanced down and paled.

 

It was a satchel charge. Consisting of several kilograms of nergon-14 and other high explosives, it was an efficient array of explosives designed to defeat fortified bunkers--or as Talons and the Alliance Marines liked to call them, a “backpack of boom.” They were typically equipped with remote detonators, but Johanna knew perfectly well that her Talons had elected to use thirty-second fuses for this mission. For all she knew, Johanna had only seconds left to live.

 

The shock trooper fired off a few wild, unaimed stun blasts in the general direction of the Sith acolyte, then picked up the satchel charge and threw it deeper into the transformer room. And then she ran. Her fellow Talons were already retreating to a safe distance, so it was just her and the Twi’lek shock trooper sprinting to catch up, hoping that they would be able to outrun the imminent explosion--or the Sith, for that matter.

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"Commander Jorus...enemy fleet is jumping to hyperspace! Full retreat!"

 

Jorus smiled as the bridge cheered. The Empire had won. The rebels-

 

"Commander! The Lightsbane! It's...it's been destroyed!"

 

"What!?"

 

"A ship evaded our sensor sweeps and assaulted it. We're receiving orders to pursue."

 

"Pass the orders onto the Broken Bullet and Moon Beetle."

 

Outside the viewport, the shattered remains of the imperial ship spun through space, framing the stealth cruiser in debris.

 

"Destroy it."

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These Trandoshans didn't want to stop. Fine by him. Sergeant Quarl, alongside Fizt and Kim moved up. Just as the blast door closed two figures appeared from the end of the hall, hulking things in armor he'd never seen before but it was of no matter. In an instant Quarl saw something flying at him however he quickly ducked for it to go over his head, and that was when he heard the explosion seconds after, much like a grenade but sharper and higher in pitch. He took cover for spikes to fly past impaling the walls and ceiling. The Sarge was quick to notice that Fizt and Kim's did the same however he also noticed the large gash on Kimas leg clearly bleeding profusely. They'd patch that up after they cleaned this mess. 
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"Return Fire!" Sargeant Quarl shouted, his training kicking in and let loose several blaster shots, the other two doing the exact same. This would be no different than those pirates, he told himself. 
.
Vox and Rylast made their way down the hall, blaster bolts flee past them with a few actually nailing them, sparks flying off the arm and leg guards. The impacts caused the two Trandoshans concentrate focus, Rylast fired a few Puncture rounds, grenades soaring at the enemy where they were crouched and covered at. The force of each small explosion was enough to cause Fizt and Kima to lose their balance or wince. They finally found their ground after a few seconds but found it quite hard to aim with a round of grenades shots at them. Rylast swiftly reloaded but both Trandoshans rushed their efforts and sprinted toward the fire, Rylast locking in his last string and firing the six grenades. 
.
The Sargeant successfully blasted three bolts at the Chieftains helmet, surprised that it was sturdy enough to take the three shots. Then it hit him, the two Trandoshans split taking their targets, the taller of the two with the massive bladed gun hauling toward Kima and Fazt, and as planned Quarl would take on the-!
.
The bladed pistol or whatever it was swing toward Norris' direction aimed at his head, however fast the bladed gun was he was just faster and quickly rolled out of the way. However Vox saw the blaster rifle raise and spun, easily unsheathing his glaive and swinging it at medium length. The tip of the sword caught the Sarge's rifle tip just as he pulled the trigger and the weapon was knocked away. Vox came back around within an instant bringing up his Mauler shotgun and began to fire two scattering rounds. Norris rolled to the side for the first shot and pulled his pistol and a knife right when the second shot barely missed him. 
.
Firing several more rounds of his pistol, the Sargeant blasted off the helmet and leapt at the supposedly stunned Trandoshan. He grasped at the... Metal! This wasn't the same plasteel the regular troopers used, it was pure solid metal! The thought struck Norris as realization hit him, it was the reason these mercenaries could take so many hits. It didn't stop him from the only second he had to plunge the knife into the Trandoshans neck. However, that hadn't come to pass as Norris was flung against the wall with an audible crack. What happened? He had the enemy by their throat! In his dazed state he snapped to and realized his pistol was gone but still grasped his knife. A large staffed sword came down and the Sarge rolled on his side and upward just in time as the weapon sliced through the wall, getting back in a fighting stance as the lizard yanked the weapon from the wall with ease. He could still feel the immense pain his back, most likely pulled something.
.
How could he have been that careless? Them again, the foe was smaller and possibly faster, and in his haste Vox almost had a knife to his throat. At that last moment he'd dropped both weapons and gripped the sides of the human and threw him quickly, the knife making contact with the edge of his armor. Leaving the Mauler he kicked up his glaive and raised it, bringing it down to quickly end his foe. That alone was a task for the human rolled away, and now Vox didn't have to hide as the met eye to eye. His slitted pupils meeting the rounder ones, his sword and being guided by his instincts and swordsmanship meeting a seemingly experienced foe with his wits. 
.
Vox heard the human shout, "Where's my back up?!" 
.
The Chieftain could still hear a struggle, a choke from one of his human foes and a pained groan from another before it was silenced with an audible crack. While the Chieftain and the Sargeant were in their own fight, Rylast had rushed the attack caring less for the armor and wounds he'd received. He pulled out his own Spiker and began to fire the rapid rounds of spikes. The two soldiers found themselves pinned around the corner and one nodded to the other. Fizt rounded the corner and took aim only to be grabbed and pulled up by a rough hand. He fired a lucky shot as Rylast was ready to stab him with his Spiker, hitting the Trandoshans hand causing him to let go of the weapon. That didn't stop the incoming limb from hitting Fizt's stomach as his head was let go. This sent the soldier a few feet back, gasping for the wind that was knocked out of him. 
.
Rylast reared but was too late to stop a barrage of blaster bolts. Just when his armor, right leg and arm plating collapsed he'd brought up his Puncture and fire one of the two last rounds. It didn't explode, instead the grenade was launched and hit his foe, Kima, right in the chest. She stumbled back and began to cough violently, specs of blood escaping her lips. She had no time, she pulled out her pistol and would fire two more rounds, one hitting the behemoths helmet and the other hitting his right leg scoring a solid strike. She had no time, for Kima was rushed and the swing of a fist she quickly dodged, however the swing of a blade cut her throat. A moment and Fizt lurched at the Trandoshan, finding his own knife in the Trandoshans side and firing a blaster bolt into his midsection before he was slammed down with a mighty blow of a right fist.
.
The hit was hard enough to force the human soldier down on the ground and was kicked against the wall. Kima, with blood gushing, attempted to rush Rylast from the side while he was dealing with Fizt but he'd seen her from his peripheral and caught the woman by her throat. Lifting her up, Rylast gave a brutal kick to Fizt's stomach with his metal boot to which the human cried out in pain. In an attempt to get up, Fizt was kicked again and was flipped over to his back. Dazed and in pain, he could see stars in his vision, gasps escaping his comrade and she was being choked out in one hand, and a boot came down on his neck crushing his windpipe with a sudden crack. Fizt quickly went, the last thing on his were his family, his ma and pa and that girl he was supposed to go out with. As the final thought escaped the man, he went limp. 
.
Kima who was on that verge witnessed her friend die, and tears escaped her eyes knowing she'd not only failed the Empire, but her squad as a whole. No. The Sargeant was wrong, this was Nothing like the pirates from before. Her and her squad mates were always ready for anything, even when all the odds were stacked against them by some miracle they always made it out. Kima had seen the worst in society, yet these Trandoshans took the cake. It wasn't until she'd been released of her grasp and fell to the floor. The hulking thing looked down at her and threw down a cloth, to which he grabbed her arm and snapped it, breaking the limb and kicked the guns away. She'd scream, but she was currently trying to breath in oxygen and keep the blood from escaping her throat. She noticed the Trandoshan turn and walk toward Norris' direction and through the pain, and through looking around she understood quite clearly. He didn't want her to die nor use any weapons. She'd be prisoner. And Kima would be damned if she would be in the hands of these creatures! Unfortunately, she didn't get much of headway, with the firearms gone, Kima's only choice was to put pressure and just lie there. Either she would be lucky and reinforcements arrive, lucky and she wouldn't bleed out... or... well, her options weren't necessarily bright at all.
.
The appearance of the other Trandoshan appearing caught Norris Quarl off guard. He then shot a glance over the right of the lizards side and... anger and grief took him. All at once, he was struck with what the Sith relied on. He hadn't realized that Vox stopped, and the Chieftain said audibly in Nudono, "Rylast, break into that door, we're needing our entrance." 
.
The foreign words were gibberish to the Sargeant, and the sight of his fallen comrades, who'd he spent countless missions and years with, were all but dead. In the sudden rage, Norris screamed some gibberish of his own, mangled words and charged the Trandoshan. His vision turned red and the only thing on his mind was to kill these fuckers. Vox relied on instinct and read the man, though a frenzied for was hard to read he did it regardless. He got in swift and under the Chieftains guard only to receive a punch to the side of the face. It knocked Norris off guard but before he could react Vox gave his strongest back fist blow to the man's right side of his face. Slamming against the metal wall, he woozily saw the glaive being impaled into the ground as the Trandoshan moved forward. With a knife barely in hand, Norris attempted his charge again only to be punched in the chest, knocking the wind out of him. He received two more blows to his midsection then a final one to his face, knocking him out cold. 
.
Vox grabbed the man by his left leg and dragged him, pulling his Energy Glaive from the ground and sheathing it along his back. He then bent over and picked up the Mauler that was dropped. Rylast was knelt down fiddling with the door panel who then said, "Almost. Give me- There!" 
.
The doors opened and Vox entered with weapon ready. Corporal Vane was just finished with arming the bombs and just when he was about to connect them to a hand trigger, not that they weren't connected to the Hyperdrive Controls, he turned with an accomplished look that quickly dissolved. Holding up Sargeant Norris Quarl as a shield was one of the Trandoshans they were trying to stop. Already with blaster in hand, Vane lifted the weapon as the second Trandoshan entered with an odd bladed weapon in hand. Seeing the Sarge brutalized like that, and the amount of blood on the Trandoshans meant he could assume the worst. 
.
Anger took hold, however there was no way to remotely detonate the explosives... not without something to set them off. As the two were close enough Vane swiftly aimed his rifle to the armed explosives, then something hit him. Literally. In the heat of the moment, the Corporal was set ablaze by the throwing of an Incindiary Grenade, brought to yours truly, Rylast. The screams only last a second as the equipment burnt and melted to the man his skin and flesh charred abd cooked. He fell over, barely alive and burnt to a crisp, the explosives on the inside of the terminal were burnt too... but not to the point of no repair. 
.
Kneeling down as he tossed away the Sargeant, Vox glanced to Rylast before looking back at the wiring, "I'd expect this from Choax... Nevermind, I'll disarm the bomb if that's what this is. Clearly that must have been the reason he was in here alone." 
.
Rylast merely nodded with a grin, taking off his helm and kneeling down, "You need help?" 
.
"No... I can't do anything until this is off. It'll take a minute, keep guard." 
.
Vox began to work his magic, from he'd seen from Romulus, wires and disarming things wouldn't be so bad. Right? Vox cleared his mind and allowed Divine to guide him, one wire after the other, Vox began to take apart of bomb itself, a hefty thing he noticed, until it was finally down to the last few chips and wiring. Finally disarming the device, Vox immediately stood and went to the primary controls. He then looked to Rylast and barked, "Seal the door, I need you on controls!" 
.
"This is nothing!" Said a bold Chaox as he took a bolt to the helm. The visor cracked and the helmet became loose, meaning it's usefulness was finished. The two brothers cut down the enemy one by one however not without taking their blows. Reaching the hall to the control room there wasn't much cover nor distance between them. There wasn't much of a resistance up ahead either, two squads dug in like flies to fruit. Utilizing a Spike Grenade, the explosion and impalement of a few Sith Troopers gave the twins that little opening to charge and lay down fire. Once they reached the control room they used their Spikers to gun down anyone still in there. 
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"This is nothing," Mocked Equinox who by now had lost his own helmet and chest plating, the mangled latex covered steel plating barely holding the man beneath, "Can you fly a ship at least?" 
.
"Sure! Remember the last one?" Chaox asked, getting to the controls he at least knew how to use.
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"I remember you almost crashing us the first time. I'll take flight this time, I need you to take care of the rest." Equinox stated, feeling more at home with this part of the task. 
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"What?! Who let your sack drop!" Chaox shot in a more childish manner.
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"Chaox, I Know how to fly, guide, and even jump the ship to hyperspace. Please, this isn't a one man job." More of a plea, Equinox still felt the stinging of their last argument, however he knew damned well that his twin was an arrogant prick to prided himself too hard. 
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Chaox thought then groaned, hating to admit defeat in such a case, "Fine, but let's hurry! I'd rather not get captured or worse!"
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Activating the ships main engines, Vox and Rylast chipped to each other the systems diagnostics, making sure the ship was afloat and moving out of the cargo bay. Slowly, it dipped into space and toward the Rebel Fleet... whatever was left of them anyway. How long were they gone for? That didn't matter, as Vox carefully steered the ship, the flying part taken over by the Chieftain as he barked for Rylast to active shielding to protect them from incoming fire. Another ship, the same one next to theirs, slowly made its way out of the bay just below the first. Equinox and Chaox argued like a couple, though expected of brothers who usually didn't see eye to eye, Chaox turned the shielding on, angry he couldn't use the main guns. The ships separated just further enough to pick up speed, celebrations held once they were out of this mess. 
.
"Vox?" Equinox chirped over communications, "We're ready to make the jump. I've never done this before." 
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It was Vox's turn to smile and sigh in relief, "Hold onto something, I'm certain that either they'll hook us onto another ship or perhaps they'll give us coordinates to lock onto. Shields will hold up for a bit, be prepared!" 
.
"Yes sir- I don't care if it's your favorite gun! We are not turning around!" Equinox shouted at Chaox unaware of the comm link that was still active. Vox chuckled, relieved that finally they would get some rest. He hoped there would be a good reward for his people, maybe even a bonus for capturing the leader of the squadron. 
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Vox stared at the human leader for a brief moment before ordering, "Rylast, get him secured. He is a prisoner of war now, and I'm certain he'd have information we need." 
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"Sir." Rylast simply said before quickly dragging the knocked out Sargeant to where he stood, keeping a watchful with a rifle pointed at him. Rylast had never seen Vox brutalize anyone like this before, but when he though of it not very many species can hand spikes to the face. He forgot how tough the Nudono Tribe were, a mutation in evolution of the Trandoshan Species. It gave them more diversity and in that they were stronger and faster than their common cousins, even if it's by a margin small or large. However Rylast held no forgiveness nor mercy for the enemy, and if they pleaded with their lives they deserved worse than death. They took away his family, his wife, the children who were grown, and his grandchildren who were yet to be born. The Shield Brother followed Vox because he knew there was a fate worse than death back on Trandosha, but he followed the true Chieftain because he still held honor, respect, and kept the memory of the old Chieftains alive. 

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Round Five Results:

 

Defensive Actions

The Glutton's Shadow rapid intervention task force moves to support the Sith electronic warfare pod.

 

Black Bracer heavy brawler task force continues to support the Herlov.

 

Sith starfighters move into intercept positions around the Herlov, electronic warfare pod, and Moon Beetle/Broken Bullet.

 

Offensive actions

The Herlov focuses fire on Misericordia.

 

The Misercordia withdraws.

 

The Broken Bullet and Moon Beetle focus fire on task force Dorn.

 

TF Esk's remaining ship restores functionality and withdraws.

 

TF Dorn withdraws.

 

TF BloodSteele withdraws.

 

EWar

 

No further scans made.

 

Fleet actions are at this point concluded. If your task force is over fifty percent intact for non capital/non specialist task forces, or your specialist cruiser or capital is at over 50% hull integrity, then your ships have survived well enough to both gain an experience point and be able to attend your next battle. If you lost half or more of your task force, you still gain an experience point, but cannot bring that task force into your next engagement. Any task forces that are lost completely lose a rank or have their progression to veteran status reset, and do not gain experience. Flagships that participated and survived have unlocked another upgrade.

Consequences.png.bb25cdc500a3265af8a6978ab042188d.png

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M̴͉̪̥̖̠͌̀̀̃̽͌͐͋͘ő̷̠̮̲̺̈́͐̌̐͠p̶͎̫̼̹̑̋̇͆̂̇̃̓̀p̵̙̝̎̀̊͑͗̀͆̾̊̉i̶͈̣̖̝̰̱̬̝̻̽͒̚ņ̵̳̰̗̱̤͕̩̗̉͒̄̀̇͒͝g̸̛̛͙͇̪̟̮̙͛̓̓̈͛ ̵̣̘̝͒̃͂̽̃Ų̵̗̟̩̖̲̤͋̓̉̿͑̑p̷̣͉͇̉̅̇͂͋͌

 

Even though they managed to get some parting shots off at their enemy, there were no more gratifying explosions as ships died. As she had expected, the Rebels withdrew from the onslaught and were now taking position farther out from the Shipyard rings. The space between the two fleets was now littered with the burning hulks of ruined ships with fighters having occasional dogfights of opportunity as stragglers encountered each other. For the most part, it seemed that the fleet combat was over, though it wouldn't last forever. Sith reinforcements were on their way and, if the Rebels stayed too long, they would find themselves sandwiched between two enemy fleets that would finish off what this first battle had started.

 

Qaela smiled at that though, but realized she had other things to focus on at this point because now, two of the Star Destroyers that had been the targets of the enemy raiders started violently decoupling from their berths and heading out for the Rebels. She didn't relish the idea of firing on Sith ships, but better to fire on them than let them be used against their true masters.

 

"All forces, let the Rebel cowards go!" she barked angrily. "Fire on the ships attempting to leave. I do not want them to escape unscathed!"

Qaela Sig

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A com message arrives from the deepspace intended for Quealala

Quote

 

Where are your children? Do the spawn of Lord Ar-Pharazon still walk amongst the living? 

 

I still have plans for them. 

 

 

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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As sage wisdom passed down throughout the generations in any competent military unit admonished, a running demolitions officer outranked everyone. At that moment, the demolitions expert in Bryce’s section was raving to get back, further, no further than that it’s going to blow in only a few seconds. Even half-deaf, the shock trooper could hear the gravelly voice of the Mon Calamari and she sprinted in the wake of her fellow Talons. Already partially deaf to the lower register of the audible range, she felt the explosion that tore a breach in the hull of the Golan more than she heard it, for artificial gravity failed for a half-second and the next step launched her into open air.

 

The shock trooper went sailing through the air on her next step, only to land on her face and skid to a halt at the sternguard of her section once gravity reasserted itself. Lighting was switching between the white overhead panels and the emergency glowpanels on the floor seemingly at random, and the dull hum of electronicas had become disconcertingly silent. “Fleets pulling out!” Bryce shouted to her squad. “Done all we can, back to the transports!”

 

The withdrawal was slow--twice, Bryce’s section encountered patches of corridors where artificial gravity had failed and the shock troopers had no choice but to float towards their transports. They returned to the hangar to find it in ruins, bodies and fueling hoses and wreckage strewn about the deckplates. The emergency shutters had also closed; the magcon field had failed and every piece of debris had rushed towards the void of space until the shutters had sealed the hangar against vacuum. Johanna jogged towards her transport, making a mental count of her soldiers and fretting until her noncoms piped in with the reassuring signal of “all accounted for.”

 

“Finally! Seal her up and let’s blast out of here!” Johanna called to the pilot of her section’s LAATi. The cabin doors swinging shut, the Talons’ transports yawed around and unleashed the remainder of their rockets into the hangar shutters, blasting a breach large enough for the transports to escape through. Armored bodies and pieces of debris rushed through the gap--unsecured munitions crates skidded along the deckplates and refueling hoses trailed along with the gust of wind. Once the draft had diminished, the four transports eased their way through the breach.

 

The Rebel transports calculated their hyperspace solutions only seconds after their re-entry into the void. Moments later, the survivors of Talon Company had escaped into the relative safety of faster-than-light travel.

 

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Qaela stood on the bridge of the Herløv and stared silently at the viewscreen showing the formerly Sith Star Destroyers edge their way to the safety of hyperspace. They were taking fire, no doubt, but they were also hardy ships who could take a beating. It took her only a few moments to calculate that they would not be destroyed before they reached the edge of Kuat's gravity well and jumped into hyperspace. One of the curses of these Shipyards was that they were already in orbit, so closer to that edge than if ships were taking off from the planet's surface.

 

She remained silent as the ships slipped into hyperspace, joined shortly thereafter by the rest of the battered Rebel fleet. She stood there, considering, while her crew remained quietly waiting to see her response. Finally, half a minute after the last Rebel ships fled, she turned briskly and headed back towards her command chair. "Send recovery teams to comb the battlefield and find any survivors. Move in through the wrecked ships, Rebel and Sith, and see if anyone can be saved or anything salvaged. If you encounter Rebel escape pods or survivors, take them alive if possible. Tell the recovery crews that there will be a thousand credit bonus per Rebel prisoner they take."

 

She took in a deep breath to focus her building wrath. It would do neither her nor the Sith any good to explode against her crew or those who fought for they had done their duty. Instead, she centered herself and turned that wrath against a more appropriate target. "I want Governor Ornkala on his knees before me in the next two hours, and I don't care if you have to bomb his palace and storm its gates to get him here." The sharpness in her tone did not give room for disagreement, and her orders were quickly carried out. An entire squadron of TIE Defenders was deployed along with two entire platoons of her own Marines to carry out the task. The governor was responsible for the defenses of this system and its invaluable Shipyards, yet the Rebels had clearly managed to find gaps within those defenses and exploit them. She was confident that the Spider would wish to administer corrective measures upon him, though it was not her place to do that on her own. She didn't dare lash out against a governor without Imperial blessing.

 

Finally, after she had the recovery and damage control efforts well underway, sent a summons for Mordecai to return to the Herløv as soon as he was finished dealing with the situation on the Shipyards. Lastly, she left the bridge and went to the recently repaired comms and briefing room where she sent out a holo message with the highest encryptions she had. It was now time to face the punishment for her own decisions and failures.

 

Though she despised it, she went down on one knee and bowed her head when she sent the message, "My Exalted Emperor, I regret to inform you of a Rebel raid on your shipyards at Kuat. As I and my fleet were nearby when the alert went out, I took the initiative to abandon my campaign in Corellia to defend your war machine. We met a sizable fleet in pitched battle and inflicted some losses upon them, but they were able to destroy the Star Destroyer Lightsbane and some of the smaller ships you entrusted me with. They also captured and fled with two freshly completed Star Destroyers meant to supplement your mighty fleets. I have failed to prevent these losses and accept responsibility for the losses incurred and for being unable to prevent the enemy from fleeing with your ships, though I will not accept responsibility for the lax in security in the system itself and have summoned Governor Ornkala to account for himself and await your judgment. I have also received reports that the Rebels are amassing over Corellia to retake Centerpoint and undo the progress I made there. I await your Imperial judgment and will turn myself over to the Dark Council for any punishment you deem fit."

Qaela Sig

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The transmission thundered with static at first, with sounds of chains rattling against steel. Breathing, steepened with a heavy draw, and then a crawling quiet. An eerie silence hung in the atmosphere, empty of life. “..Tizn tsosûti?” His voice was darker now, a tongue so immersed in ancient power that the echo of his words ran like chills down naked skin. “A conqueror views their own actions as experimentation, Darksong. An attempt to ascertain whether they are capable of more. Success and failure are for them, answers above all. Do not confuse your failure with defeat. Simply, what have you learned?” Exodus smiled a carnivorous one, his brilliant Anzati features impossible for the Sith Master to see. “For a few vessels, we have taken much more. The shipyards, and the planet of Mon Cal now belongs to the Sith, dearest Darksong. Relieve Ornkala of command. An example of him will expel the leniency that his reign has inflicted. You will be explicitly responsible for this, and the warden installed thereafter. I will see you at Corellia,

 

..Will you finish what you started?”

 

 

---The heavily encrypted transmission suddenly terminated.
 

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Qaela remained on her knees while the transmission from the Spider was received, her mind running through every word pronounced upon her. She had learned things about their enemy, and in learning those things she was prepared for what was next. The Rebels might be scattered and weakened, but they were not dead yet. They were conniving and focused on survival. Just like any animal that is cornered, it was dangerous and could lash out in unpredictable ways. After the early initial successes of the Sith campaign, she had begun to believe that the Rebels were no major threat, only a bug to squash. That was no longer the case, and she would need to adapt her way of thinking just as she had in her early encounters with the Sith.

 

There was much for her to do, and that would take time of which she had precious little. She left the briefing room and returned to her bridge. She issued more summons, this time with the not so subtle hints of Imperial authority behind them. She also started getting repairs for her ships and replacements for the losses they incurred, namely the Lightsbane. She would need those ships to return to Corellia to continue what she had begun. There was some resistance from the Military Command, but she was a Master Sith and it was known that she had received the Imperial mandate to take Corellia. It frustrated her that there was any sort of resistance, but in due time, should she serve the Emperor well, she believed that her would would no longer be questioned.

 

Governor Ornkala was indeed brought before her, and to her pleasure the troops she had sent had not been required to do more than a flyover with TIE Defenders and threaten orbital bombardment to get him to appear. Even though he brought two of his own guards, they were of no consequence next to the smallest might of the Dark Side she commanded. She met them in the Officer's Mess which had been hastily set up with the most basic of refreshments, though nobody assembled was touching them. Captain Geratos of the Herløv, Shipmaster Vendant, the Kuati aristocrat who had been in charge of the Shipyards, and Major Hogorens who had been in command of the Golan station that was infiltrated and disabled were also present.

 

Another addition to the meeting was Admiral Horlklat, a dour looking Nemoidian who, despite his race's penchant for cowardice, had a record for being a competent commander. He had been nominally in charge of the fleet around Kuat, though not the Shipyards themselves. She had spent the half hour after receiving orders and their arrival on board her ship going over the situation on Kuat prior to the Rebel raid, and evaluating the actions of those involved and had come to some decisions, though she would hold a court of her own today.

 

Though Captain Geratos was present, he stood apart from the other three men. His presence was more to observe the goings on. Qaela wanted a witness other than herself to spread the tale of what happened here on this day. Reputation was built by the words of others, therefore there needed to be someone else here.

 

"You are here because you failed the Empire in some way," she said flatly. Ornkala attempted to open his mouth to argue, but she quite literally closed it with a simple gesture of her hand and a trickle of the Force. "You all had a job to do and you all failed it. There is no disputing this fact. The only thing that remains in questions is how shall we deal with this."

 

Her violet eyes fell upon Major Hogorens. "You were entrusted with the protection of a Golan station, yet it was overrun and all but destroyed. Your actions, as ultimately failed as they were, showed you took action at least. The overall situation was beyond your own control, but losing your command is never good for your career. You are hereby demoted to captain and ordered to the Outer Rim to fight in the mud and trenches on the fringes of the Empire. Perhaps there you will prove your worth, regain your honor, and rise back through the ranks to a desirably easy posting in a Core World."

 

The officer, clearly not pleased with his fate, but grateful it wasn't more mortal, saluted sharply but said nothing. She dismissed him with a quick gesture. "Shipmaster Vendant, you were charged with the production and smooth operations of the Kuati Shipyards. The Emperor allowed you to retain your position after adding this planet to his realm because you were wise enough to bend the knee. I never question the wisdom of the Emperor, but perhaps he would now rather have made a different choice. Your complacency allowed those who are misguidedly loyal to the old weakness that once attempted to rule this system to plan an uprising. It is a shame that most of the leadership in Shipyard Zone 24 was killed in the uprising so that they may not be made an example of."

 

Vendant, with her precise, cultured Core Worlds Basic accent that had always grated on Qaela with her own, "uncultured" backwater speech patterns, attempted to protest. "My Lady, I was not aware of the situat—"

 

"And that is your failure," Qaela snapped back. "You were so concerned with your profits and looked down so much in disgust at the 'lower' classes that you never once saw the trouble your arrogance was brewing." The doomed Kuati looked like she wanted to say something, but the pure venom in Qaela's voice left him gasping for air. Though, perhaps that gasping might have been because Qaela had an invisible hand wrapped around her throat, slowly constricting and loosening to keep her on the edge of panic she so deserved to be on. "The Empire doesn't need blind fools. Your lust for wealth and influence among your high class peers on this class sickened world has been your undoing, and I am here to correct that. Your wealth is gone, lost to you and taken for the greater good of the Empire. You will no longer enjoy the privilege of class, but are here now to report to work as a common laborer constructing the very starships you once counted on bring you profit. If you do not comply, then you will be enslaved and sold as chattel to some Outer Rim hellhole. I am sure the grunts there would love a chance to have their way with a refined Kuati aristocrat."

 

Qaela simply applied a little additional pressure through the Force against Vendant's neck until the woman passed out from lack of oxygen to the brain. She didn't kill the hapless shipmaster, but let the woman remain unconscious on the floor. She would awaken to a whole new world of humility, a suitable punishment for one who allowed their luxury to blind them. The Kuati's wealth would be drained, her estates and assets either appropriated for the Empire or liquefied. Half of those funds would go straight to the Imperial Treasury Department, though the other half would go straight to her. Qaela didn't seek wealth like others might, but she knew the usefulness of having money and needed it herself. She had personal goals that needed funding, as well as her own network of agents and spies that needed payments. Acquisition of resources from the weak by the strong was a way of life, but it had to be handled carefully lest it grow to harm the Empire and gain the displeasure of the Emperor. She didn't try to hide this fact and, should the Emperor himself express displeasure, she would return the funds without complaint, but only he was strong enough to stop her.

 

Turning to the last two decidedly uncomfortable victims of her wrath, she smiled with lips devoid of warmth. "You two were responsible for the protection of this system. Admiral Horlklat, you were to use the might of the Imperial Navy to safeguard this world while you, Governor Ornkala, were to use the civil government to ensure proper funding, preparation, and supplies were given. Both of you failed miserably, and I truly do not care about the excuses." Ornkala was visibly sweating, dark stains were forming under his arms and his forehead was glistening. Horlklat, though, didn't seem to be reacting much, though Qaela wasn't familiar enough with Nemoidians to read his body language.

 

Her face softened again into a smile, this one of genuine pleasure. She held out her hand to Captain Geratos who promptly filled it with his sidearm. "The Empire has no place for failures, but the Sith do enjoy a bit of bloodshed. Both of you are guilty of dereliction of duty and there can be only one answer for that: death." Ornkala whimpered slightly at that.

 

"However, I am in a generous mood, so I am here to offer a choice. You can either accept your punishment and die, or, if you feel you are still worthy of serving the Empire and wish to continue living, you may take this blaster and execute the other. Your choice," she said as she tossed the blaster sidearm onto the ground in front of them and took a step back to watch the results.

 

Both men stared at the blaster briefly, then at each other. The tension remained in the air for only a few seconds before Ornkala dove for the blaster. He managed to grab hold of it and, after fumbling for a moment, pointed the weapon at Horlklat and pulled the trigger. When nothing happened, he frowned and pulled the trigger repeatedly while the Nemoidian remained at attention where he had been since Qaela had started speaking. The admiral's orange eyes regarded Ornkala coldly, though he made no move even when the human governor hit him weakly with the sidearm.

 

Qaela's smile vanished and she began gently, quietly humming. Even though he was confused and frantic, Ornkala had the sense to realize that whatever the Sith Nightsister was doing wouldn't bode well for him so he tried to flee, only to find the doors locked. Qaela took a few steps closer to her prey, then lifted one hand. Deliberately, and entirely for show, she snapped her fingers and unleashed the spell she had been casting. Ornkala's body twitched a few times, then his eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed, his soul no longer fully part of his body, but instead only partially severed. He wasn't dead, but would never be truly alive again unless somehow, someone who was extremely well versed in reaving souls could mend him. He would spend the rest of his days a simpleton, not able to care for himself simply because his soul was no longer connected to the physical realm and no longer felt any drive to do, well, anything. He was a practical zombie, a vegetable that could move and follow the most simple of orders, but would never have any sort of passion. His mind was fully functional, capable of understanding all that was going on, but unable to reconcile his mental desires with the complete lack of drive and will to accomplish them. She would have him taken back to Kuat and paraded around the street so that all would know what happened to those who failed. Let the public see him drooling over himself, stumbling, a shell of a man, and one who could not even find the desire to feed himself.

 

Qaela turned to the admiral. "I applaud you for accepting your punishment with dignity and accept that you were unworthy of continual service to the Empire instead of vainly trying to fight against it. That, or you were insightful enough to realize the game. Either way, you have earned yourself a reprieve. Continue to command your forces here, though be better. I go to Corellia to continue my Imperial ordained campaign to bring that system into the Empire and when I return, I expect the situation to be vastly different than I found it. Fail to do that and there is nothing in this Galaxy that will save you."

 

She turned and left the room, followed by Captain Geratos. As soon as she was back on the bridge of the Herløv, she sent another message, this one to Korriban. While overseeing the Bastion of Pelko, Qaela had culled those within it leaving her with only beings who were both competent, but also genuinely wished to serve the Empire rather than simply personal glory. Among them was a man she had come to rely upon to take care of administrative details and the non-Force using staff and guards that kept the place running. Though she hated to see him leave the Academy there, she felt that he would better serve the Empire as the new governor of Kuat. Grobel Elsten was a solid man who was sharp and pragmatic. He held his ambition in check, but he still had it there guiding his paths to excellence and greater things. He was loyal to the Empire and the Emperor above all, but his secondary loyalties were to Qaela herself. She trusted him as governor of this vital planet, but would also make sure he lived up to the faith she had in him or she would remove him just as she had Ornkala.

 

As the repairs to her own forces were being completed, she continued to monitor the situation on both Kuat and on Corellia. It seemed, to her amusement, the Rebels there had decided to rally and launch another attack on Centerpoint Station. She would use that to the advantage of the Sith, especially since word came that the Emperor himself was joining the fray with his own fleets. This would be a glorious battle indeed, and when the Sith won, it would be yet another world under their command. She made her preparations, then when the time was right, departed with her fleet to complete the last task given to her by the Dark Lord.

Edited by Qaela

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  • 1 month later...

A small, silver and blue BD-D unit climbs up the back of a shaggy-headded young human male, peers around his head and chitters.

 

“Yes, DeeDee,” the youth answers, “I’m sure I want to do it on my own. I do have some skill, y’know.  Just keep a lookout like I asked you to.  I got this.”

 

The young man known as Temana Huna continued to use his splicing kit to hack into the local ship dock’s database in search of a ride out of port.  He smiled to himself as his droid continued to keep watch while quietly chittering about how she would have been done minutes ago.

 

“Found one!” he exclaimed.  “Looks like there’s a cargo hauler delivering munitions to Coruscant leaving in about 4 hours.  We just have to sneak past ImpSec, sneak into the cargo hold, and enjoy a free trip out of here.”

 

BD-D chittered derisively.

 

“Yes, it’s ‘just that easy’!” Temana replied, glaring at the droid. “Would you rather stay here?  Yeah—didn’t think so.  Let’s go get our stuff, and get ready.”

 

—  —  —  —  —

 

Four hours later, Temana looked around a corner to the entrance of the hanger where a two-man ImpSec patrol stood guard. 

 

“I know I can get it,” he said to his companion, “I just need some time. Can you help me out?”

 

The droid gave a little salute with her leg, said something that sounded awfully close to “Roger, Roger”, and ran off.  A couple of minutes later, a storage crate on the opposite side of the hangar door fell to the deck with a loud clang.

 

“I’ll go check it out,” the closer guard told the other.  He walked off and around the stacks of crates to where the sound originated.  Moments later, a toolbox fell another row back.

 

“What tha--?” the second guard said as he went to help investigate.

 

“Now’s my chance!” Temana said as he ran over, quickly spliced into the door.  As the door opened half a meter, a little droid ran up his leg and into his pack.  As the door quietly shut behind them, Temana peered over his shoulder and said, “Great work, DeeDee.  Let’s get outta here.”

 

—  —  —  —  —

 

Making it past the guards was the hard part.  Sneaking on a droid-crewed cargo vessel was the easy part.  Temana chewed on a ration bar and sipped some water from his canteen before he settled down for a short nap before arriving at the jewel of the Core Worlds: Coruscant!

Edited by Temana Huna

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  • 4 months later...

 

Kuat. That blessed gem of the old empire, heart of the industrial might of the Sith Lords. Once throne of the Imperial Remnant. But now that remnant and its rebel alliance emerged again. To claim their old home and empire. 

 

“Steady all, prepare for barrage.”

 

__________________________________________

Rebel Alliance Fleet Command Flagship |Romanova|

KDY-Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer Misericordia |30/30|

Axial Weapon Upgrade

Pocket Dreadnought Upgrade

 

Rebel Alliance Light Defensive Escort: Suppressing Fire |Alexandra|

Task Force Experience: Green (1xp)

RSD Praetorian-class Frigate Krasnoyarsk |3/3|

RSD Praetorian-class Frigate Voronezh |3/3|

RSD Praetorian-class Frigate Vladivostok |3/3|

RSD Praetorian-class Frigate Sevastopol |3/3|

NRE Senth-class Corvette Volga |2/1|

NRE Senth-class Corvette Nakhodka |2/1|

NRE Senth-class Corvette Voskresensk |2/1|

NRE Senth-class Corvette Kiselyovsk |2/1|

 

Rebel Alliance Precision Strike Carrier Group |Anastasia| 

Taskforce Experience Green (1xp)

KDY Pelta-class Frigate Thessalonica |3/3|

KDY Pelta-class Frigate Adrianople |3/3|

RSD Paladin-class Corvette Thrace |2/1|

RSD Paladin-class Corvette Corinth |2/1|

SSC Quasar Fire-class Cruiser-Carrier Constantinople |9/9|

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Pretender to the Galactic Throne

Leader of the Rebel Alliance

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As the fleet left Hyperspace, Mordecai was met with the all-too-familiar sight of the Kuat Drive Yards, the massive orbital ring that was responsible for most the ships that the Sith Empire controlled. His purpose for this visit was threefold. First, it would do his campaign well to resupply before they began, making sure they had the ammo and personnel to fight the wars ahead. Second, to recruit more Sith yet to his call. Many would be seeking glory, and many would heed his call. Third was to personally inspect the planet's defenses before he left with a large portion of the Sith Empire's forces. It would do him no good to wage war on the rebels if the Siths' own worlds were vulnerable to attack. He had only just begun to reach out to the local authorities when an ensign spoke up.

 

"My lord, multiple unknown contacts just emerged from hyperspace. They aren't pinging as ours."

 

The rebels had returned then. It was good that he was present then. He had fought them off here once, and he would do so again.

 

"Sound the general alarm. All forces at the ready. Get ahold of my apprentice- tell her to meet me here. I want a defensive perimeter around the orbital defenses, make it a wide one until they start to close in." he said. He didn't know where they would maneuver their forces but for the moment his forces were the only ones between the Rebels and the Kuat Drive Yards. He strode over to the communication center, taking control himself. He was about to do something that required a hands-on approach.

 

"Send an alert to Onderon. Tell the Dark Lord that the Rebels are striking at Kuat once more."

 

_________________________________________________

 

Destroyer Group [Missile]: Sith Resurgent

Assigned PC: Mordecai Valar

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Harrower-class Dreadnought Krayt's Fury 25/25

 

Advanced Warfighter Cadre: Through Power, Victory

Assigned PC: Mordecai Valar

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Interdictor-class Cruiser Korriban’s Retort 9/9

Terminus-class Destroyer Kressh’s Lance 3/3

Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-1 2/1

Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-2 2/1

Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-3 2/1
Gage-class Transport Juggernaut-4 2/1

 

Shadow Warfare Pod: Shadow of Dread

Assigned PC: Mordecai Valar

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Interdictor Cruiser Sadow's Wrath 9/9

Edited by Mavanger

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The Imperial Momship Formally Known as Sairdonga slipped from hyperspace alongside the rest of the rebel fleet, albeit a bit more haphazardly. Atop a crate secured to the deck, the short green-furred Squib carefully adjusted his oversized commodore hat as he stared out the viewport at the bustling world that was Kuat; ringed with shipyards and ships tarrying too and fro, the space about the world was ripe for the plundering once this battle was over.  
 

He would have to see to it that they did not damage the orbital rings too much, he pondered. After all, why cut his own profits when that was such a key part of their arrangement. 
 

Looking from scanners to the viewport and back, Reaper Joe smiled, his pointy teeth bared in a twisted smile of glee. Amongst the scurrying ships that sought refuge amongst the clutches of the Sith were a smattering of Squib-cobbled corvettes. Each technically a needleship. Each unique in appearance and parts. Each a vessel designed for scavaneging, and in a pinch, war. The Sith would not know they were there until the time was right.

 

—————————————————————

Independent Jedi/Imperial Support Force: Sairdonga

Destroyer Group (Turbolasers)

Task Force Experience: Veteran (2xp)

 

MCS MC75-Class Star Cruiser: Imperial Momship Formally Known As Admiral Sairdonga |20/20|

 

Independent Jedi/Imperial Support Force: Death Harvest Catchers

Partisan Militia Force: Overly Enthusiastic Bystanders

Task Force Experience: Veteran (2xp)

 

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-3-3-4-5 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Catcher 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 |2/1|

 

Independent Jedi/Imperial Support Force: Sith Eaters

Partisan Militia Force: Overly Enthusiastic Bystanders

Task Force Experience: Veteran (2xp)

 

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 0-1 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 1-2 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 2-3 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 3-4 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 4-5 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 5-6 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 6-7 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 7-8 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 8-9 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 9-10 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 10-11 |2/1|

Squib Needle Ship: Sith 11-12 |2/1|

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A gross taste filled Kahla's mouth and her mind fogged an eerie dread. Kuat; she was glad to have been away so far, and for so long. Now she starred blankly out to the drive yards that plagued her nightmares, old threats of being sent to work herself to death dockside. She sneered and winced before turning about. My back to the yards, the only way to live she told herself.

 

A priority hail came through her comm as the general alarm blared. "Darth Mavanger needs you on the bridge, ASAP" Kahla retrieved her belt of equipment and made haste down the buzzing halls. Troopers and officers alike scurried to their posts, and with a grin she carved her way through the center of the bustling men and women like a knife parting bread. Those she passed on her way had the same look of regularity; they were used to the fighting, sure, but they had the look as if they'd been here before

 

She reached the bridge, wordlessly approaching her master. The warship's screen were alight with Rebel signatures and her expression was of complete lack of surprise. Kuat was one of the biggest targets in the galaxy, there was no wonder why it was so contested. She waited patiently for her orders.

 

___________________________________________________________________

 

Destroyer Group [Rail guns]: Phantom's Spear

 

Assigned PC: Kahla Zendrin

Task Force Experience: Green (1XP)

Harrower-class Dreadnaught Phantom's Spear 25/25

 

Mobile Disruption Escort: The Net of Hate

 

Assigned PC: Kahla Zendrin

Task Force Experience: Green (1XP)

Crusader Class Corvette 2/1

Crusader Class Corvette 2/1

Crusader Class Corvette 2/1

Raider II 2/1

Raider II 2/1

Raider II 2/1

Vigil Class Corvette 2/1

Vigil Class Corvette 2/1

Vigil Class Corvette 2/1

Vigil Class Corvette 2/1

Vigil Class Corvette 2/1

Vigil Class Corvette 2/1

 

Precision Strike Carrier Group: Wings of Glory

 

Assigned PC: Kahla Zendrin

Task Force Experience: Green (1XP)

Gladiator Star Destroyer Devout Cardinal 9/9

Terminous Class Frigate: Trident of Raxus 3/3

Terminous Class Frigate: Galvanized Spirit 3/3

Terminous Class Frigate: Crimson Crescent 3/3

Edited by Zendrin
needed to wait for Mavanger's reply
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“In the words of your Grandmaster, Kuat awaits, kill the Sith you find there without mercy. They deserve none.”

 

The cool, reassuring voice of Al-Afdal Dyrrhachium, Maréchal of the Order of Captains, echoed throughout the Republic-Class Star Destroyer. The retrofit Destroyer was designated as Damascus by the crew of Imperial Knight-affiliated pirates that owned her, having come recently into their employ after discovering their exploits at Corellia against the Sith Fleet.

 

Kyrie’s fingers flew across the fletching of an arrow, binding the feathers tight to the shaft with twine she had braided herself from muja-hemp. She balanced the arrow on the notch with her index finger, admiring the blackened head as it shimmered in the weak light from her oil-lamp. With a whisper of words, SPIDER, engraved itself on the head in sloppy Huttese as she named the arrow with its intended target.

 

The Exorcist had little love for the system they intended to retake from the Sith, it had fallen in a slapdash retreat where she had slain a Sith master and died in the process. She had little intent of doing so again. Mercy had made her weak in that fight, and if the Force intended her to fight the Dark Lord himself, the one who called himself Spider, she had little room in such a fight for emotions such as that.

 

She stood slowly, continuing to balance the glinting arrow on her finger. Her forest-green armor picked up a portion of the glow, reflecting a sparkling rain upon the bulkhead she had made her chamber. Kyrie slipped the arrow into her quiver, adding it to the twenty already within.

 

“Twenty-one.”

 

The Imperial Knight admired the number, that had been the original number of her Exorcists when she had parted from the Jedi Order originally. Most of them were now dead, the fate of many a Revanchist. A hunger stirred within her; a tinge of crimson faded her eyes. A desire for revenge was a poison that consumed her daily it seemed, the gift of Ysgithyrwyn Mwynfawr, the dragon she had consumed into her soul when she had eaten the Sin of Nyrys.

 

The woman raised her hood, letting it conceal her against the lights of the Destroyer. Her fingers worried at the strapping of her armor, touching the leather and feeling its molecular structure. She found comfort in the feelings of textures, and the hood allowed some anonymity amongst the faction she led.

 

Ignoring the rise in anxiety, the Imperial Knight slipped down to the docking bay and to her awaiting TIE-Ugly, an amalgamation of a Y-wing and a TIE-Defender. It was an easily sneered at and abashed design, but it allowed her to fly at the advantage that being underestimated gave her. She slipped the flight helmet over her tangle of braids, taking a comforting gasp of the recycled air it pumped into her, helping her to battle the claustrophobia. Into the Force, she spoke a curse and a challenge as Kuat yawned before them. Her words were of righteous malice. 

 

"Come and face me, Spider, you retreated when I defiled your Temple of Sin on Coruscant. Will you show such cowardice again?"

 

War awaited her. A war that never seemed to end. With her came the great fleet of the Imperial Knights ready for war, encouraged by her words.

 

Death to the Sith and an End to Chaos.

 

Imperial Knight Expeditionary Light Defensive Escort: Suppressing Fire |Phobos|

Task Force Experience: Veteran (2xp)

  • Star Galleon-Class Frigate Clermonte |3/3|
  • Vengeance-Class Frigate Chartres |3/3|
  • Interceptor-Class Frigate Francorum |3/3|
  • Consular-Class Frigate Tancred |3/3|
  • Sphyrna-Class Corvette Guiscard |2/1|
  • Sphyrna-Class Corvette Dorylaeum |2/1|
  • Paladin-Class Corvette Yağısıyan |2/1|
  • Free Virgilla-Class Corvette Alexandretta |2/1|

 

Imperial Knight Expeditionary Incendiary Artillery Battery |Aeneas|

Taskforce Experience: Green (1xp)

  • KDY Corona-class Frigate Hebron |3/3|
  • KDY Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser Tripoli |10/20|

 

Imperial Knight Search and Destroy Cruiser |Antioch|

Taskforce Experience: Green (1xp)

  • KDY-Republic-Class Star Destroyer Damascus |25/25|

kyrie.png.529a6b96a133828163a998c9b43e5d11.png

 

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Inquisitor Barca was silent. He watched the gathering with curiosity, hands wrapped loosely behind his back. The crew of the Onager-Class did not spare a moment to blink, or split their attention elsewhere, their minds were absorbed in strategy and numbers. Quiet relays spread between them like a virus, quick whisperings and even quicker hands. Gnelroth enjoyed the monstrous hush of space, and the way the metal of these warships whined as they soared the blackness. He never held a mind for entertaining the gallantry that his enemies imposed, but he would see to it that their ignorance was paid in blood.

 

"..Helmsman. Form up with our allies, we attack at once."

His voice calm, his eyes locked. War had begun.

 

 

Artillery Battery: Incendiary (Vulcan)

Commander: Exodus, Inquisitor Barca

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Onager-Class Artillery Cruiser, God of Cinder |10/20|

Imperial II-Class Frigate, Gremlin |3/3|

 

Engineering Support Cluster: Bucket Brigade (Chariot)

Commander: Exodus, Inquisitor Barca

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Providence-Class Carrier, Blood Merchant |9/9|

Interceptor-Class Frigate, Maiden |3/3|

Interceptor-Class Frigate, Iron Moth |3/3|

Interceptor-Class Frigate, Little Wasp |3/3|

Raider-Class Corvette, Left Hand |2/1|

Raider-Class Corvette, Right Hand |2/1|

 

Heavy Brawler Escort: Hammer and Anvil (Colossus)

Commander: Exodus, Inquisitor Barca

Task Force Experience: Green, 1XP

Gladiator-Class Star Destroyer, Colossus |35/25|

 

Golan I Space Defense Platform |25/25| (GSDP)

Edited by Exodus

"Na-hah ur su ka-haat.

Su ka haru aat"

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Without a tactical readout from various types of sensors, the naked eye wouldn't be able to see the machinations of battle beginning high above Kuat. But neither Aidan nor Hunan needed sensors, they counted on something far more powerful to guide them: the Force. And what the eye couldn't see, the sixth sense could feel. Hundreds of thousands of troops, soldiers, pilots, and especially civilians, all experiencing a gathering anxiety. It was never an easy feeling for a practitioner of the Force to face. Yet both Imperial Knights were trained to handle these emotions, and they endured.

 

From across the room where several soldiers were donning armor and checking weapons, one of them came over to where the two were standing, addressing Aidan. "Darkfire, right? Gunnery Sergeant Tulq, Outcast Company. You're the one they sent to lead my men?"

Aidan didn't shift his gaze from the viewport as he replied. "Knight Darkfire." He let it hang in the air like he was going to say more, but he didn't.

"Right. Knight Darkfire. I took the liberty of reading your file. Let's get one thing clear: I'm giving the orders. I'm not going to let Serenno happen to my men."

Aidan didn't so much as flinch. The irony of being assigned to Outcast Company hadn't been lost on Darkfire, but at the moment he had bigger fish to fry. "Fine by me, Sergeant."

 

"Gunnery Sergeant."

 

There was another pause as Tulq expected a reaction to throwing Aidan's own crap in his face, but he only found disappointment. Aidan's concentration was elsewhere. Tulq left with a disgruntled huff, moving back over to his men who were gearing up for combat nearby in the ready room. Soon, they would all be on Kuat's rings, and then the real fighting would start. Hunan, ever the silent observer, noted all of this. He'd felt what Aidan had, knew what lay ahead for them. This wasn't the Lasat's first foray onto the battlefield, and Force willing it wouldn't be his last. His concern was for Aidan, not just his ward, but his brother-in-arms. However, Hunan's calm was much stronger than his compatriot, and he accepted things would be as they were. There was a chaos to war, but a skilled warrior could navigate it and even to an extent turn tides. There was no doubt in his mind of his skill, nor of Darkfire's.

Edited by Inquisitorius

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“We are attached to the Twenty-Second Orléans my lady.” Came the voice of the heavily mustachioed officer who was giving her a look of some skepticism. He wore the light blue fatigues of the royal marines from the Tapani princedoms, and it struck Sandy with little irony of how many Monarchical groups were fighting with this new rebellion. They had the Royal Hapan expeditionary force which was some kind of attempt to overthrow their own queen mother, then these Tapanis from their little principalities, then finally the Imperial Remnant itself. Who was currently the majority of the commanding fleet that was preparing for its assault overhead. 

 

Sandy would have to give that a great deal of thought. Because if they somehow made a victory out of this day and pressed on to the coreworlds would they enact their own monarchy to replace the Sith Lords? Sandy was surprised to find herself completely ungalled by that prospect and even looking forward to some  good government without all the corrupt senate that they had before… But she had left the Tapani Officer waiting long enough that he had begun to speak again as the shuttle lurched below them. 

 

“And you a Jedi Master? At your age eh, must have been a tough sell to the council, or perhaps it left your knees bruised.” She gave him a wry look and he broke into laughter that was echoed by his equally mustachioed troopers in response. “Hold your neks Little master, I was only playing. No need to rip my heart out with the force, you could do that well enough with your looks.” Her smile flattened then she laughed. 

 

“No chances Lieutenant, but it is a pleasure to meet you and your men. Let’s focus on the task at hand.” 

 

They all continued laughing which brought a smile back to her lips as the shuttle began its journey towards the shipyards Administration complex. 

 

“Now, no civilian casualties. Let's show them grace and mercy should they request it.” 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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The great and enormous slug peered from behind a veil of tobacco-smoke upon the planet and shipyards below. His glinting eyes picked out the lonely Golan platform that was the planet’s lone defense, beyond their enormous fleet. He let out a sigh, resting a grotesque hand on Gwen’s lithe shoulder.

 

<<Ahh… Kuwait.>>

 

The girl looked back at him through her beautiful brown eyes which stared quizzically at him

 

“It’s pronounced Kuat, sir.”

 

The Hutt pondered the strange name difference as he sipped on the stem of his elaborately carved pipe

 

<<Perhaps, but for some reason I want to call this impending battle a Desert Storm.>>

 

The girl sniffed, almost snorting with laughter

 

“I’d say it’d be more of a Dessert Storm if you led it.”

 

The Hutt placed his hand over the centermost of his many hearts, mimicking a humanoid gasp of wounded self-image and staggering backwards.

 

<<A fat joke, from my own subordinate… What is the galaxy coming to?>>

 

He reached out with the faintest flicker of the force, touching the distant pulses he could feel of the light side. He spread there a smattering of hunger, to any who had fought against his battle-meditation in the past, it would bring back horrid memories of how broken fleet combat used to be. Either that or of the last battles of Kuat or of the fall of Onderon and the battles of Ossus and Ord Mantell, where he had devoured countless legions. He passed with it a spreading horror, and a challenge... 

 

...Come and face me, feast upon destruction...

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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The shiver was peculiar and ran down her spine like flickering lightning. It was not the general danger sense that she had been so long accustomed to, but it was certainly something of the force. An evil, not only pure malevolence, but a familiar one, an ancient...hunger? The same hunger that had been at Onderon. That same evil that had shaken the Galactic Alliance fleet to its core. It was something galactic, a reflection of what she had felt pulling at her in the Maw. 

 

And it was here, tempting at her, luring her. 

 

She knew her face had gone pale because the soldiers gave her an appraising look as the shuttle set down in one of the many hangers that spotted the great shipyards. 

 

“My Lady?” 

 

She took a drink from her canteen and slid the clasp shut. Letting the cool taste of the water cleanse the malodorous hunger that had  touched the back of her mind. She let out a long sigh that was half resignation and half excitement as she reached out with the force. To touch the thing that had left its hungry challenge. She accepted the challenge and returned it with a cool determination. The Rebel Alliance and the Jedi order had come here to confront the Evil of the Sith Lords. She would not back down from that challenge. 

 

She looked back to the soldiers. “I would advise you go ahead with the mission and clear as quickly as you can from this place. May the force be with you.” She let her presence expand and reached out to Aidan as well giving him reassurance and strength before she let her presence shrink back down around her as the soldiers began their advance. The cloak dropped away from her slender shoulders and she flicked the lightsaber from her belt. It ignited into a pale white light which she held aloft like a beacon. 

 

Waiting for this hunger to appear. 

 

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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The overlarge Lord of Gluttony drew in a long breath through is malformed nostrils. He could smell them now, those lightsiders and so-called warriors of peace. He could almost taste their duplicity. It was delightfully rotten. He opened his commlink, watching the slow rotation of the orbital rings above the planet of Kuat. He spoke in resolute Huttese, a clarity forming about him.

 

<<Master Mavanger, I feel your humble apprentice, that being myself, might go to the shipyards and strike where the iron is the hottest. Those are blacksmithing terms, maybe they are a warrior thing now for some reason. I will return with a prize, or not at all.>>

 

With that said, the Hutt slithered back to his plundered shuttlecraft, Le Morte d’Shadowfett, where Gwenhwyfar began the undocking protocols. The Hutt himself prepared for war, for the first time in nearly a decade.

 

He selected his finest cowl of silvered-grey, attaching it about his pompous belly with a belt of blackened leather which was studded with silverite buckles. On his side, he placed Armalite, the battle-ax of his own formation. His greasy fingers caressed the worn stave, and within the shimmering, ice-cold head, the Sith could hear screaming. Armalite fought his hand, leaping for a target that it could strike, but finding nothing to smite.

 

…Uriel Stonedog. Even in death, your soul gives fight. May you be satisfied with Jedi blood…

 

He tucked the bearded ax into the polished belt, picking up his ceremonial staff as Le Morte d’Shadowfett shook beneath him as it exited the hanger-bay.  It was his Soul-Reaper and the last living memory of his Master, Ason Antilles. It almost brought him sadness, but his mind was distracted by the remembrance of how divine his master had tasted, mixed with a mint jelly and Cortag Brandy.

 

The thought of a delightful meal spurred him to sling a satchel of wriggling white-worms over his shoulder along with a cask of brandy and his flask of Corellian reserve.  His stomach churned and he satisfied it with an entire bag of Kriskwallon Bread Puffs, still frozen from the walk-in freezer.

 

Turbolaser fire blossomed around him, and the Sith could feel the beginnings of terror and agony throughout space as Le Morte d’Shadowfett set down near the administration building. Sheog could feel the terror of war clinging to him as he disembarked, followed closely by Gwen. The Sithling had barely emerged from the hanger when the familiar snap-hiss of a lightsaber erupted before him and white light bathed the offices before him.

 

He let out a sigh and motioned for Gwen to get behind him as he slithered forward, still concealing himself within the Force.

 

<<Hello there, it is I, renowned Grey Jedi, Aryian Darkfire, here to assist the Republ- Empire? GA? What are we now?>>

 

Crimson, multi-lidded eyes blinked slowly, narrowing in on the woman’s pale face. There was something in the Force that spurred recognition. Was it the freckles? Was there a pattern in them? Why did she look so delicious even so spindly. Mostly gristle…

 

Onderon.

 

Battle meditation had mattered then, and she had opposed him in it before the Jedi’s fleet had retreated.

 

Why is it always the same kriffing Jedi at every battle? Ever since the Corellian debacle there were so few of them...

 

The force's mask upon him began to slip, hunger bleeding through the cracks in the façade. 

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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That hunger, the calm malevolence, the dread and horror which radiated like waves of fire off of the Hutt struck upon Sandy with little grace. It was an ancient thing, hunger itself, and covered in a masquerade of malice. If there had ever been something that embodied the Sith Lords to Sandy Sarna, this Hutt was it. Even the humour, while it brought a wry smile to her lips gave her pause. Was this the Dark Lord? Surely it must be, something so ancient could have survived off of the darkside since the time of Marka Ragnos. But the hunger was too sharp, too piercing to be a lasting hunger. It was the hunger of the Maw. This was malice and gluttony given shape. All consuming, and it must be fed. From people, to starships, planets, to entire galaxies themselves. Leave this hunger alone now, and it would consume everything she loved.

 

The lightsaber showed its bright white light against its glittering eyes, reflecting in cavalcade from the spittle around his great lips, making a dancing and swirling shadow that bounced across the darkening hanger. She spoke at last as she let the force flow around her, mimicking the white light of her saber. 

 

“Let the child go from here Great Hutt.” 

 

The saber flicked its tip towards the distant young girl who was cowering behind his great mass before whipping back up towards the Hutt. 

 

“I do not know you, and I do not fear you. Now I assume you will not surrender?” Her eyes flickered from the axe on his belt to the staff he held in his hand. She had never before faced such an opponent, but she had met and defeated many Sith, and every one had thought themselves unbeatable. And she was a Jedi Master. This was her duty, her great honour. 

 

She took a step forward and let the force flow around her, gathering around the weapons on her belt as she reached out with the hand that did not hold the lightsaber. The force moved and two of the vibroknives flickered off of her belt driving from her right and left in solid arcs towards the hutt’s great mass, their blades a sheen of microvibrating darkened metal guided by the force itself. While she used the force to wrench at the decking below his great mass, it was harder than a simple pull at a man's ankles, but she hoped it would provide distraction enough for the knives to find their purchase.  

 

Summary:

Two vibroknives towards Sheog while pulling at the decking beneath him to distract and break his footing (padding?)

 

((1))

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Calix Meus Inebrians

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A madness began to writhe within him, erupting through the carefully placed shielding like a bushel-basket catching fire from the flame it concealed. The rawness of the dark side ripped through the room, an ancient Sith revealed to the fullness of the Force. He was the reflection of the Maw itself, its unquenchable hunger drawing upon everything about himself. The Kriskwallon Bread Puffs roiled in his stomach, and he reached a hand into his satchel scattering the decking with white worms as he shoveled a handful into his gullet. The air seemed to change its taste.

 

There was great hunger here, even so far from the Maw. So far from Her.

 

White worms scattered the deck, writhing in that perpetual agony so natural to non-sentient prey. Their deaths were easy and thus the meal they made gave little sustenance to his troubled mind. The Jedi, however, would be a meal worthy of the madness.

 

His malformed lips twisted, bubbles of air creeping through from one of his many stomachs in an explosive belch which shook the air. The Force was twisting his starvation into the tools he needed to procure his sustenance.

 

“Let the Child go from here.”

 

Crimson eyes focused, the multiple lids closing and opening to help the lenses with their task. The Hutt reached out with a worm-stained hand, motioning to the beautiful Gwenhwyfar as she reached for her blaster pistol. He reached out, beyond his body, ensnaring the girl in his locus of control. He could feel her heartbeat increase as his hunger crept through her veins. It began to echo within his own, middle heart. The worms on the floor, even within the folds of their own primitive reality, reflected himself; a mirror of his life in the eggbeds of Nal Hutta.

 

He was beyond the realm of response, or the formation of words. Hunger was all he could feel. He stretched out beyond the worms and the girl, finding the brightness of the Jedi, her purity reflected upon the universe. Another heartbeat, one filled with life and warmth. He was drawn to it like a flitmoth to the flame, but unlike them he did not worship the heat or bask in the light; he was the malformation of a black hole, and the Jedi was a failing star upon the event horizon. He would consume. Devour.

 

Her other words went unheard as he began to pull upon the heartbeats about him. The tenderness of Gwen, the primitivity of the worms, his own hunger, and the light of the Jedi. It burned within him, his stomach roiling. All would feed him.

 

The knives cracked to speed, born by the Jedi’s power, a few shades of light against the darkness of the Maw. One of the blades scoured a furrow into his greasy, defiled flesh, drawing beads of puss and rotten blood, which reflected as malachite in the silver light of the Jedi’s blade. Pain seeped into the background of his hunger, driving it into a maddening pitch. Gwenhwyfar screamed as pain reflected into her, ripping and tearing through the nerves of her shoulder, a mimicry of the Hutt’s wound.

 

The second knife, tossed by the fair hand of the Jedi shattered against the blade of Armalite as the Hutt hefted it in hand, the cold-worn blade of the bearded-ax splintering the durasteel with a near-sentient cry in the force from the spirit trapped within the alchemical weapon. It began to match the furious heartbeat of hunger that the Master of Krath had bound himself to, adding its voice to the madness of it all. All Kuat could feel it now, the locus of control spreading, eating at everything in its wake.

 

He would consume all life, and bring it all to the void.

 

When the shockwave came, ripping through the decking, the Hutt used its momentum to launch his bulk at the paltry Jedi with her sword of silver fire. He breathed in a blubbering breath, adding the metal to his control, watching as it began to bend and quake to the heartbeats of hunger. He added Gwenhwyfar’s pain into himself, amplifying her terror into a source of power, applying it to the durasteel around him. Steel plating buckled and failed, tearing up around him as he flew and shattering as he landed in a shockwave before the Jedi. The light was close now, close enough to swallow, to drain away into darkness. There was a weakness within it.

 

The Jedi had cared for the child.

 

To care was the weakness of the Jedi. It was how they all fell. He fell upon that tender heartbeat like a Krayt to a nerf. 

 

Sheog’s flabby finger slipped along his ceremonial staff, using it as a focus for his hunger. Through the soul reaper, he focused upon Gwenhwyfar, upon that heartbeat that mimicked his own. He spread out within her, entwining her like a coiled serpent. He tore into the furrowed flesh of her shoulder, peeling back the skin and revealing the exposed nerves to the bite of the cold air. He amplified Gwenhwyfar’s pain into a nightmare of pain and reflected it upon the Jedi before him. What the Jedi valued, would be defiled.

 

One hand upon his ceremonial staff, the other on Armalite, the Hutt tore at the light, at that foreign heartbeat, utilizing the child’s pain as a tool. With the twist of his palm, he sent Armalite flicking towards the Jedi’s chest, thrown like an oversized tomahawk to skewer to woman into the shattered decking. It moved in an unnatural pattern; the spirits bound to its metal consumed by the maddening hunger of their master. They desired blood and could smell it in the air.
 

Gwenhwyfar’s screams echoed through the halls, shrill and terrified against the stillness of the facility.

 

((1))

 

((TL;DR: Damage taken from one of the knives. Mental attack on Sandy along with an alchemical weapon toss aimed at her chest.))

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King Kheldar vos Correlli said:
Sheog, I have to ask, overkill much?
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Mordecai stared into the black as the ships drew nearer and positioned themselves for combat. A massive armada of Sith warships stood against the Rebel scum, and he grinned with savage malice. The slaughter would be marvelous. Aware of his apprentice's arrival, he broadcast a final time to all rebel ships.

 

"Rebels, I am Darth Mavanger, champion of the Kuat Drive Yards and your greatest foe. I will not waste time on pleasantries- Turn back now, or die. To those that will remain, there shall be no mercy. Long live the Sith Empire."

 

His calm was only a facade now. He had received the Dark Lord's reinforcements, but they were paltry. Was that all the Dark King of the Sith could spare? One capital ship and an amalgamation of cruisers and frigates? He sneered. He would do it himself then. Kuat was easily one of the most important planets of the war- with it, and control of the Kuat Drive Yards, the rebels could produce a fleet to rival their own. This would not be acceptable. His rage boiled within, and he nurtured it, nursing it into a raging fury. He would not allow this place to fall. He glanced at Kahla, nodding at her as the Hutt came and went. It would either prove itself more than it let on, or die and be out of his sight.

 

"My apprentice, we stand on the precipice of madness. The Rebels are striking our home, the heart of our fleet. Do not let them take it. I shall be in the thick of combat, holding the Kuat Drive Yards. I leave your actions to your discretion. Either fight on the front lines or command your fleet from your flagship- the choice is yours. May the Force serve us victory."

 

He looked at the captain, nodding. "The bridge is yours, Maran. Pummel them."

 

He turned and strode off the bridge, his armor rustling as he did so. They had already detected transport craft, and the alarm had been sent to the Kuat Drive Yards. After the rebels' last play for the planet, the security had been tightened, more hardened veterans and capable commanders present in the most important junctions and hangars. That is where he would join them. As he walked, he was made aware of a second set of steps behind him. He glanced back, slowing as he noticed Lord Xahl.
 

"Lord Xahl. And so we arrive once more on the edge of greatness. Kuat has been good to us, good to our careers. Let us hold it once more, as a bastion against the chaos of these rebel scum."

 

Xahl only nodded, ever silent, though his emotions were clear on his face. Hatred. He knew little of Xahl's history with the rebels, but what he did know made him understand the man's disdain as well as he understood his own.

 

"We shall have our vengeance, Lord Xahl."

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The assault shuttle flight was quiet, except for the flashes outside the viewports and the occasional subdued boom of a stray shot splaying across the shuttle's shields. The men were anxious. Hell, everyone in the system was anxious right now, but Aidan was sitting here, now, with them. Truth be told, he was rather anxious too. He tried to put Serenno out of his head, but he couldn't, not after Tulq had brought it up.

 

Moments later, they offloaded into the hangar under heavy fire. Two of the first wave shuttles had already been destroyed, but a third held a beachhead while they landed and joined the fray. As they disembarked, Hunan handed Aidan his lightsaber, making brief but meaningful eye contact with him. This changed nothing, it was merely in case of an emergency. Aidan clipped the staff-saber hilt to his belt, ducking his head as he ran with Hunan to the cover Outcast Company had secured behind several larger cargo containers. Tulq barked orders, and four of the men began to split off, running around to flank the defending forces.

 

But what Tulq missed, Aidan had sensed, an automated repeating blaster emplacement swinging into position higher up in the hangar. "Hunan!" he shouted, but the Lasat was already in motion, the Force propelling him beyond mere mortal speeds to the four, twin yellow blades erupting from his tonfas with a ssshRAAKKkssssummm as Hunan whipped them about, neatly intercepting and deflecting the withering fire. Seconds later a rocket fired from the original position trashed the gun, but it was already too late, the flanking maneuver needed either the element of surprise or more men.

 

After a bit, Outcast Company endured several casualties, but had managed to mop up the defending forces. Two Sith troops held out in a corner of the hangar, but they were of tertiary importance. Tulq quickly barked orders to push further into the rings and the men set to work. Aidan pulled him aside, warning him they should reinforce here and wait for the inevitable reinforcements, but Tulq wasn't having it and told Aidan he could wait in the hangar for all he cared. As four of the men began setting up breaching charges on the main sealed blast door, Aidan's stomach sank. Something felt wrong.

 

"Gunnery Sergeant, pull your men back from that door!"

 

He was met with a rude gesture. Hunan reignited his sabers, eyeing the door as he stood next to Aidan. The Lasat had felt it as well, and knew what was likely to happen. His soft bass voice held no hint of tension, but Aidan knew better. "Take cover. This is not your fight." Aidan nodded, moving back towards a cluster of cargo containers near the bulk of the platoon, waiting for the worst. They may have survived the fire, but the frying pan was on its way.

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Mordecai gazed out over the carnage in his wake. A rebel force had been separated and been forced to touch downs here, right into the maw of the two Sith Lords. Even without troop support, he and Xahl had cut through the rebels with easy. Mordecai stepped over a smoking corpse of a dock worker. He'd been a holdout from the last rebel attack and had tried to shoot Mordecai in the back. A coward's move. Xahl had blasted him with lightning before the damage could be inflicted though. Xahl's head snapped towards the blast door of the nearby junction as blaster fire echoed through the station. With a wispy snarl, Xahl spoke for the first time in days.

 

"Imperials." His voices trailed off in a raspy hiss as his lightsaber reignited.

 

Mordecai looked over, stepping towards the doors. "More fools to the slaughter. They will meet the same fate."

 

Xahl was silent again, and already on the move. Mordecai was right beside him in moments, darkness permeating around them, Mordecai's rage once more bubbling just under the surface, his eyes alight with hatred and fury. They wanted to take the Drive Yards, they wanted to take the home of the Sith fleet.

 

Let them try.

 

They stood before the blast door, waiting patiently as hatred seethed between them. Mordecai had grown silent as well now, his own darkness consuming him, fueling his power as his sabers rested in his hands, quiet. The anticipation rose- Mordecai could feel them just beyond the door. Not just Imperials, but Knights. More than one. A real fight, a real challenge. A real purpose for his blades. It was all he could do to stop himself from pacing, from rushing the door now to fight them where they stood. No- better to let them come to him.

 

Chatter lit up his comms- the fighting was fierce, all over this section of the ring. Dozens of rebel strike teams had met the Sith in combat, with reinforcements from both sides streaming in to replenish the troops that were last. Death and destruction reigned throughout as he waited. he knew what Xahl was doing. Basking in the carnage of it al. His power came from external sources- the carnage of battles, the roiling emotions of others. Mordecai's strength came from within, his own emotions and thoughts powered his connection to the force, sharpened his senses and strengthened his blows, and he had an endless reservoir of these emotions to draw on. He would meet these imperials like he met the ones before, and the ones before that. The Knight Master Cassandra had been beaten back by their blades in the last invasion- What chance did these fools have?

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Tulq gave the signal, and with military precision the engineers took cover, detonating the charges and blowing the door open. Two squads formed up behind him, waiting on his word to proceed into the dust and smoke filled hole. A moment passed, stretching far longer than it should have. The squad leader nearest the Gunnery Sergeant finally cleared his throat, wondering what Tulq was doing. But Tulq didn't respond except for a barely perceptible shiver. About that time the squad leader noticed a narrow drop of blood tracing its way down his ear, growing slowly but steadily into a trickle.

"What the-"

Suddenly and violently, Tulq's head turned an unnaturally rapid 180, his face now clearly visible to the squad behind him. The whites of his eyes were stained a crimson red and rolled back in his head, and from his eyes, nose, ears, and mouth blood oozed out from him, as if he'd been squeezed like a sponge. There was a slight moment of hesitation, of horror rippling through the men, as Tulq's corpse still stood there. Finally something released its hold on the body, allowing him to drop unceremoniously to the deckplates. As lightsaber blades ignited from the abyss of the breached door, the men panicked, half of them running for cover while the squad leaders began barking orders. 

 

Aidan knew it would be bad, but not quite this bad. Force lightning erupted from the hole, chaining between a few of the soldiers who had hesitated, the amperage ricocheting through their nervous systems and cooking them from the inside out. They were all dead before they fell. Meanwhile, in cover behind nearby large cargo containers, Aidan wrestled with what to do next. This was the moment, and he would not allow Serenno to repeat itself.

 

"You," he pointed at one of the soldiers, "I need you to go out there and grab onto that as tightly as you can." He indicated a piece of deck plating that had been pulled up. This was a suicide mission, and both of them knew it. "The rest of you are to fall back to the landing shuttle and man its guns. If it looks bad enough, take off without us. There's no point to losing any more of you." There was a brief pause as the men all understood what he was asking of them. The soldier he'd tasked with the deadly mission took a deep breath, saluted, and ran out of cover. The rest of the men executed their orders, falling back.

Force lightning once again shot out at the one man, but as it poured through him in terrible fury it was also directed into the ground point he held onto for dear life, a grounding point that ran back towards the blast door. At the speed of light, the deadly lightning raced back towards its origin through the deckplates.

As for Hunan, he simply waited. This was all going to happen. It needed to happen, even, for reasons he couldn't explain. But now, he knew, it was time for his test. The Warden would not falter.

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