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Qessax growled slightly as he signaled back to the others still on the ship. A few hand gestures made his commands known. Stay, guard the ship, kill potential liabilities, be ready to move. Silence was key. He was almost excited to actually be in the field again like this. 

 

However, he was not fully happy. The Knights had made their move towards the slavers and the slaves. Their desires were too evident to the Imperial Agent. Hopefully, they would be effective. The slavers didn’t seem to notice the Knights yet, but with their adapted eyes, the darkness was a bright day for them. Their whips were still activated, and their focus was still on the slaves. Qessax did feel an ounce of pity for them. His own people had their own history of slavery, and these slavers were being forced to work in unsafe and unsanitory conditions that even a Bolosar would be uncomfortable.

 

One of the slavers did stop and peer around him. Having heard something, the Umbaran peered through the shadows like it was day time, seeking a noise he may or may not have imagined. The other five slavers continued their own work, while the slaves continued on, many on the brink of falling unconscious from exhaustion.

 

Qessax refocused himself. The Knights would do as they saw fit. If they messed up anything too badly, at least they could be a distraction. Instead, he worked himself with the clones, following their steps and guiding where he could. 

 

He eventually broke off and found himself a perch where he could see most of the hangar, and the others. He had one thing the others didn’t fully have: the schematics of the ship memorized like the back of his hand. He would be a lookout and a guide where he could.

 

“Wing Guard…” Qessax whispered into his comm. “Be watching those corners of the walls. Umbarans have been known to use modified Millicreep droids to patrol  areas they can’t post soldiers at.  If you are spotted, its done for.

 

It was then he saw the first complication of the mission. He had to adjust his night binoculars to make sure he was seeing it correctly, but his hunter senses told him more than enough. Like a hunter tracking a muumuu, he could track this target. 

 

“Team…” Qessax whispered into his comm for the whole team of clones, mercenaries, guards and Knights. “One of the power suits is moving toward the ship. Time of contact 1 minute. Need a distraction. Nothing too noisy, but something to pull the thing away” 

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 On silent feet the imperial knights ran through the hangar, their dark clothes blending seamlessly into the murk of ruined salvage, dismantled fighters, and rusting cargo. Their force enhanced eyes searching for the slight red glow of a low light camera, or the soft skittering droids Agent Qessax had been describing over encrypted comms. They did not find anything as they closed like a noose around the pack of slavers and their slaves. They stopped and crouched in the murky darkness waiting for the go signal. Their eyes closed, waiting for the force to lead their charge. 

 

But in a night of complications and near missed disasters, another complication tore its way into the plan. Like a bantha in a glassware store, except in the form of a mechanized soldier. Slouching his way towards the recently landed ship. Keen on investigating something that would not matter in a few minutes. 

 

There would be justice this night, and no foolish Umbarin would get in its way. 

 

Raphanel let the force flow through his body, then out of it, reaching high, envisioning the criss-crossed beams of old fighter mount racks that took up nearly every spare meter of the hangars ceiling. Many of the beams were coated in a yellow orange smattering of spot rust. Places where the protective durasteel coating had been worn away during the clone wars, places where after too many fire missions without time for rest and refurbishment, the stains of use had turned into deepset decay. 

 

If there had been time for reflection, Raphanel could have made a comparison to Umbarin culture itself, and the deepset moral decay that had become the basis for this current mission. But now was not the time for such things and he had found what he was looking for. And with a gentle nudge of the force, a crosswire beam from which five generations ago a starfighter would have dangled and recharged, fell from its place to crash loudly to the durasteel floor.

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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“Bloody hell!” Chrissie hissed, nearly dropping her computer as she jerked herself forwards around a blind corner of the catwalk. A pair of softly clinking robotic insects scurried down the wall from higher up in the catacombing catwalks . Only the Wing Guard’s hostile-mobile-armaments sensors soft buzzing had tipped her off in time. Still, her hiss seemed to have drawn the droids’ attention as they paused, their sensors sweeping the area.

 

At the entryway, Vangar watched across the darkened bay. Everyone on his team seemed to be functioning properly; a surprise to say the least. The slaver that approached their ship would beed to be dealt with. He hoped that Qessax’ agents could handle it. His shotgun at this range would be more a distraction than needed.

 

And the. It happened. Above them, in the dark, a beam seemed to break loose. The faint bending of worn metal was all that foretold the rapidly plummeting chaos. Vangar’s eyes widened as he ducked back into the access bay. He slid the panel shut in front of his very eyes. It sealed with a hiss as if he had never even been in the hangar bay at all.

 

It was then that he heard the faint clatter as the telltale scan of the patrolling assassin droids pinged in his ear and across his heads up display. With a pneumatic hiss, Vangar slung his scattergun. In the same motion a pair of elongated songsteel blades found their way to his hands, drawn from the back of the warrior’s waist.

 

A red light began to flash on one of the miniature droids as it sensed the threat that the obscured Barabel presented. Meanwhile the second continued to scan, convinced it had sensed another.

 

Springing forward, Vangar was airborne in an instant. A momentary burn of his rocket boots carried him the extra distance even as the droid raised it’s electrified tail to strike. The Barabel did not need the force, a lifetime of combat training and hunting having honed his skills. His blades flashed in tandem. His left hand lashed out in a jabbing arc to bisect the tail from the body of the droid; all the while his right plunged forward, driving straight through the insect-sized bot leaving nothing but a sparking front and back of the droid as it clattered over the railing and down into the depths. Clink. Clank. Pitter. Patter.

 

He did not stop to admire his work, the second droid whirring about, it’s energized scorpioned tail

lashing forward. The electricity arced across the elegant silvery blade as Vangar brought both blades across the second droid sending pieces of it in opposite directions. Spinning about and dropped into a predatory stance, the Barabel’s eyes and sensors looked for other threats. He did not see any, for the moment.

 

”Are you alright?” He hissed to Chrissie as he lowered his blades.

 

”Aye,” she nodded, eyes slightly widened at the surprising dissolution of the immediate threat. “Thanks boss.” She pointed up a runged ladder nearby, her finger running a path along a catwalk three stories above them until it intersected with a computer console. “Gotta get up there.” She moved towards the ladder and began to climb.

 

Vangar moved towards the ladder as well, sheathing his blades once again. He waited until Chrissie was at the next level the  he began to climb. As he reached the second level he paused, his HUD illuminating another insectoid droid a ways down the walkway. In the shadows, the Viceroy paused. He did not tense a muscle beneath his armor, as if that would do anything to hide him any further. It felt like an eternity before the droid moved onwards and out of sight. He began to climb again, not stopping until he made the desired landing shorty after Chrissie.

 

The Wing Guard hurried forward until she reached the console. Carefully she began to examine the entire system. She ran her hands along the edges of the console where intersected with the wall. She dug her fingers into a panel that swung open at a push, fishing out a wad of wires. Standing on her tiptoes, the technician peered at the twisted wires. With a careful fingernail, she separated the third white wire from the others. Pulling a clipper from one of her numerous pockets, she cut the wire. Nothing seemed to happen. No alarms were triggered. Lowering back to her heels, Chrissie pulled her hacking equipment from her satchel and set it on a durasteel deck plate adjacent to the viewscreen. She set to work, her fingers flying from her equipment to the console and back, her eyes darting back and forth as she entered a trance-like state.

 

Vangar stood a half dozen steps back, letting the woman work. He scanned the area cognizant for threats. It would take several minutes and then they would be on their way to their next objective. All Chrissie had to do here was input a couple strands of code that would disabled the locks across the ship. Then it was on towards the command station within the sphere. It was going to be a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG walk.

 

 

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The umbaran mechanic nearly jumped at the sound of the metal that fell from above, even inside his protective armor. The crosswire beam echoed throughout the hangar, making the slaves who were working jump, and even their slaving masters had to pause before getting the slaves back into gear.

 

“Well, not what i expected, but not bad” Qessax whispered into his comms, confident that what had just happened was because of his team mates. He had a sneaking suspicion it was the Force users, but he wasn’t going to admit that yet. 

 

The Umbaran mechanic, sufficiently distracted, went to investigate the fallen metal. Once he found the piece, he began to scan above, making sure there was no risk of any further potential accidents. 

 

Still, the slavers were disturbed, and more then a few slaves were taking advantage in the lull of enforcement to take a break. Some of the slavers had lost all focus on the slaves and were glancing around. Something was off. One of them was even leaving the slaves under another slaver's care to investigate the area. Nobody could pinpoint it, but something felt off to them. 

 

“Vangar, i believe you should be near the command station by now. I’m transferring some of the security codes to you. Hopefully, they can open the doors, but I can’t say anything about the men inside. My guess is their leader is getting ready to start the ship up soon.”

 

Little did Qessax realize how true that was. Even as Tyr sipped at his drink, one of the mechanics alerted him it would only be a few more minutes before the engines were operational. 

 

“Hold on…” Qessax breathed into his comm, raising his sensors up to his eyes again. “Looks like we got some slaves making a move from their group. Tilt, they are moving in your direction. You boys better hurry up whatever you are doing. We are close and i don’t want to muck this up now. If they make too much noise,…”

 

Qessax didn't want to even think of the consequences of failure of stealth.

____________


Tyr congratulated the mechanic nearby for a job well done. A promotion was incoming for everyone, that was for certain. Once the engines started in less then ten minutes, the ship would be maneuvered towards the planet and within their fleet of smaller craft for protection

 

“Sir, two of our drones just went out. I’m not sure why…”

 

Tyr furrowed his brow. The last known location of the drones were very close. Too close. No, he was not about to lose his promotion. Not when he was this close to perfect completion.

 

“Get some men up here to check it out. And seal the bridge. I don’t want a stray mynock to get in here and muck everything up. No, not the blast doors, just seal it tight, as a precaution.”

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Progress was made, and while there were no guards or droids passing through Thumper gave a quiet but obvious hum. He had already hacked into a variety of Battles Droids both standard and heavy models, the Vulture drpids were especially hard but they only proved a half minute's worth of trouble but even then there was no technology beyond his scope. At least in regards to fixing them up or doing exactly Thumper did, coding and reprogramming. Being on a time restraint, infiltration,  and he'll call it what it was, reconnaissance, it made things a bit difficult, but nonetheless the Clone did his best and that's all he could give. After finishing up a batch of Vultur droids, at least four of them, he signed just slightly while atop of one from a ladder. 

 

Thumper looked about until spotting something bulky in the distance. He pulled a binoculars from his back and looked through them, trying to focus around the darkness and lenses and see exactly what he was looking at. A pair of maintenence Umbarans were playing with a terminal, a half built thing but judging by their operation it was functional. He'd watch as the pair turned on several Battle Droids from a distance but immediately turn them off. They would discuss something but otherwise strolled off elsewhere. 

 

"Captain,  I'm looking at a control center for droids. Looks like it's functional at least." Thumper reports into a comm-link between his squad. 

 

"Is it worth the risk? We're swimming in deep water as it is." Tilt replies quietly, still looking for any trouble. 

 

Thumper responds a bit more aggravated, [C2]"It can be, if I can get a hold of that thing I can an hours work done in the soan of a minute. Remember,  we've done things like this." 

 

Without even waiting Thumper moves from the Vulture and starts his way through the series of droids. Cursing to himself, Tilt motioned for Riggs to move up, seeing no time to argue he instead opted to staying silent unless necessary to tall. He wasn't too happy with his soldiers decision but had no choice but to move along given Thumper quickly closing in on his target. They moved quickly and aggressively, Tilt thankingthr higher powers they hadn't been seen just yet. 

 

As soon as Thumper was close to the large computer system he only had seconds to stop and quickly duck behind a downed Vulture. The two engineers from before had returned, they were speaking about something that the Clone couldn't understand but what he understood was that he was too eager. He realized the fault of the situation,  perhaps he shouldn't have gone for the control station? Instead he lied and wait not wanting to risk getting caught going forward or moving back. 

 

Tilt didn't wait however. He saw the engineers coming toward Thumpers location, he bumped Riggs and gave a motion with his hand with two fingers up. The Sargeant understood and picked up the smallest but heaviest object he could find. He chucked the thing far behind the engineers toward a large junk pile that sat next to an Umbaran light freighter. The pile was carefully hoisted by a makeshift platform and wires that bately contained it. And as soon as the piece of junk hit the pile, the wires snapped and the several tons of parts and trash fell atop the freighter, with the platform swinging from momentum and slamming hard into the windows of the cockpit shattering them. All three Clones seemed to have stopped in unison, cringing at the loud noise, but it seemed to have gotten the attention of slavers and engineers alike. 

 

Tilt and Riggs quickly hid amongst tool towers and droids while Thumper maxe use of the distracted engineers and quickly hid himself in an old fighter cockpit which had been covered in tarp. Riggs and Tilt watched several engineers,  slavers, and whoever else rush toward the noise,  Thumper waited for everyone to clear up and heard shouting of anger in the distance. Taking advantage of that situation,  he moved toward the terminal and immediately started to get to work with the system. Meanwhile his other two comrades had pushed in and took positions,  Tilt on the ground floor blending in amongst ruined droids while Riggs stayed atop an upper platform after taking a ladder. 

 

[C2]"Oh man, looks like that's one of the head honchos," Riggs whispers over his comm link, "Chewin' all of 'em, he looks pissed!" 

 

[C2]"Focus Sargeant. Thumper, how long?"

 

Thumper makes a few hand signs between hacking the terminal. After a good minute Riggs gave a "red light" to Tilt, letting him know that the individuals were getting back to work stations. The Clone Captain was about to cuss his subordinate until Thumper starts to make his way back. As soon as he returns the three quickly made their own path between all the droids and junk using the chance to cross the way deeper into the ship. Once they were cleared of units, Tilt ordered his squad to stay in tight formation for better security. And to avoid anymore runoffs. He was going to have a long talk with Thumper. 

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The force was stirring, the first ripples of a disruption echoing across its still surface, an anxiety crawling across the force like a spider stepping towards its prey. Threads of the force bending under foot as Quezzex’s plan came to its tipping point. Suspicion, and fear was beginning to permeate the minds of the slavers and mechanics. And a small point of danger was beginning to swell. Raphanel could not pinpoint the source, but it was there, and it would begin to spread. 

 

Anger, anxiety, fear. And at last resolution. Someone had decided to act on that fear. The Knights prepared themselves in the darkness, moving on silent feet within the shadows. No Lightsabers, no weapons to give them away.

 

He reached into the force, accessing the force in the way only a long trained master could. Out went the current reality, the anxiety, and the worry. In came the calm and reassurance. His mind touched others, reaching out to every anxious mind with a calm sense of reassurance. It was a soft touch, the soft touch of long experience, telling those minds that there was nothing to worry about. That they had done enough to protect themselves, that they had done enough already. Reassurance

 

Or at least enough to buy the Operatives the time time they needed. 

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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Apparently the bay they had landed in was not one of the main bays at the end of one of the arms of the lucrehulk, as Vangar had assumed. Moving along the walkways outside the walls of the usual hallways and rooms, the Viceroy-incognito moved like a predatory cat. A half dozen steps behind him, Chrissie followed, her eyes darting from a handheld console to the walkway before her. “Looks like we’re a lot closer to the bridge than we thought boss. Somebody’s getting nervous though. They locked all access ports.”

 

Behind his mask, the barabel’s heavily muscled brow furrowed. Somebody had slipped up. Little did he know the prowling assassin droids, murderous sentinels aboard a highly mechanized ship, and their demise, may have been the cause.

 

He picked up his pace. They were on the clock. He hopped the others had heard the message and were effectively making their way towards their goals. Slaves needed their harnesses deactivated, tracking beacons needed shut down, hostiles neutralized or removed. All of that needed to happen before they left the nebula. If they were given away before that, things could get quite sticky.

 

And that was what it came down to. Standing there with a gloved hand against the smooth metal wall, Vangar knew the bridge was on the other side. Who knew who was in there or what they were packing. Looking around, Vangar nodded well out of reach above, directly over the yawning abyss tangled with walkways and wiring was a vent; an exhaust port to a large heat sink that helped cool the computerized consoles of the command bridge.

 

Pulling a silvery K-23 from his drop holster, he pressed it into Chrissie’s hand even as she objected. She was already carrying a drop gun. “Just in case. I’ll let you aboard once it is secured.”

 

With a carefully aimed wrist, the Imperium’s Crown Regent caught the grate. Hitting the rewind, the grate easily swung free. ‘Memo to self. Secure those.’ Vangar noted to himself.

 

Once his hook was nestled flush back with his wrist, Vangar’s booted and palmed rockets fired, short bright blue conical flames that lifted him upwards and outwards towards the hanging grate. Alighting to the opening, Vangar pulled himself inside. It was a tight fit and his gear scraped lightly as he belly-crawled inside.

 

Slowly, carefully, Vangar pulled himself arm over arm through the heat sink. His under weave  and armor worked to wick away the excess heat. Even so, the lizard felt his blood warming beneath his fatty layers. He did not stop, turning left at the Y in the shaft. He kept moving, only slowing as he approached the dead end of the sink, the back of the computer core that relayed into a bank of screens and equipment. “Well, that wasn’t what I hoped for.” he grumbled. “Druk.” He flicked his tongue turning his comm back to Chrissie, “Relaying my helmet feed to you. What do I gotta pull to get some attention inside?” Flicking his eye in a preprogrammed pattern, Vangar allowed his HUD view to be accessed by Chrissie.

 

Chrissie pressed her earpiece further into her ear, not wanting to miss a word. Keying in a string of alphanumeric monikers into her datapad, she authenticated her Wing Guard identity and accessed the HUD feed. “Hmmm.” She stuck her tongue out and chewed on it, judging the gentling hovering feed before her. There were certainly a lot of wires and switches. “You’re not gonna like this.” She sighed

 

”What?” Vangar breathed, knowing the answer was going to instantly complicate their operation. 
 

“There is no way to know what will lead to what. The wiring is third party and not standardized. Anything I tell you would be a total guess.”

 

”Kriffing druk.” The barabel swore as he stared at the hodgepodge of electronics, his body warming more and more with each passing moment, only mentally accelerated by the countdown. As he canted his head, Vangar considered his possibilities. Then he raised an eyebrow, an idea puncturing his heat-filled brain.

 

Scrambling backwards, Vangar instinctively shielded his head behind one arm while extending his other towards the core. “Fair warning. Not sure what this os about to do. Probably going to get some attention.” He voiced into his radio for the others. With a squeeze of his palm, depressing the sensor within a 5 second gout of flame arced from his wrist, blasting the core in licking superheated flames; flames that bathed every nook and cranny of the already uncomfortably warm machine in hellfire. Hopefully it would cause the entire core to shut down; maybe it triggered a fire suppressant, maybe it didn’t. If anything, Vangar hoped it bought them all some more time as the engineers scrambled to figure out what went wrong, and where. It was a huge ship.

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Qessax breathed a sigh of relief as he witnessed the clone’s pull back into a more secure formation. That was much too close for anyone’s comfort. However, he couldn’t help but smile a bit too. This mission was making him feel alive. The stress. The excitement. It was like back on Kalee on his first Muumuu hunt, where a single mistake could cost his life. 

 

“I hope your men don’t overextend yourself again like that. Still, good plan captain.” Qessax whispered into the comm. It seemed that the Umbaran mechanics who came back didn’t even notice the clone’s work. 

 

The umbarans who had gotten nervous also calmed down a bit, each of them feeling a wave of reassurance that if they talked about with each other, may have considered it odd. But as it was, they had no time to talk about their feelings. The head slaver barked an order, and the others went back to their slaves. 

 

_____

 

“Sir, the engines are ready to come online” The umbaran mechanic reported. 

 

Tyre clapped his hands. “Not a moment too soon. Bring it up! Lets move this fine vessel!”

 

The mechanics gave a salute and began to do so. Slowly the engines began to start up. After so many years of disregard, all the repairs had given them life again. Tyre smiled as widely as his pale face would allow him to do so. Finally, promotion was in his…

 

“Ah, such a beautiful sound…” Tyre held his arms up as he glanced around. The entire ship was purring like an Umbaran Banshee. “Gentlement, lets get the ship back to Umbara and…”

 

Tyre stopped. He saw the look of discomfort on his head mechanics face. 

 

“Sir, um…all of our panels just went off… and…” The mechanic swallowed slowly. 

 

“It seems there is a fire in the system somewhere.”

 

Tyre brought his hands to his head, rubbing his temples, smelling the smoke already that the mechanics had smelled. “Can at least one thing on this piece of scrap work correctly?!?” He almost shouted. 

 

Tyre looked at the mechanics still in the room.This time he did shout.  “What are you waiting for you idiots? Get to work! Find the issue! Move!”

 

The head mechanic nodded and ordered the others to open the doors and to go find the problem. Only he and Tyre would stay inside. 

 

________

 

Qessax looked around as all the lights in the ship came on. The umbarans all over the ship gave a cheer, seeing the lights as a sign that the ship was about to move. The slaves on the other hand, weren’t so happy, earning some more whippings from the slavers. 

 

Qessax whispered sternly into the comms. “Everyone, just because the lights are on doesn’t mean the Umbarans see you. Don’t panic now. Vangar, I hope you are at the control room, we are running out of time here” 

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“I hope your men don’t overextend yourself again like that. Still, good plan captain.”

 

“Fair warning. Not sure what this os about to do. Probably going to get some attention.”

 

"Ahh sh*t!" Tilt mutters to himself as he felt the soft vibration of the ships engines combined with the lights turning on. It indeed was going to get interesting. Tilt quickly motioned for the group to start moving forward, preferably closer to the control room as much as they could without getting caught. But of course, Thumper taps Tilt and point to an HMP Droid Gunship and another more complete control terminal unguarded. The group looked about, careful of their now cramped surroundings. 

 

With a silent breath, Tilt signaled for his tech expert to handle the situation. The Captain and Sargeant covered the other Clone assuring his safety and their security,  it'd be a shame to lose an upperhand and a soldier. Tilt said into the Conns quietly, ["In case all hell breaks loose we'll have an edge. We're getting closer to the control room, just taking a detour however."]

 

Once Thumper finished his work he rejoined the other two soldiers and silently pressed forward, using whatever cover they had between junk towers and droids. Already theyvwere ready for anything. 

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Even inside the sink, Vangar heard the dull yelling of the commander on the opposite side of the computer consoles he was nestled behind. He wasn’t sure what was being said, but clearly his actions had warranted a bout of anger.

 

 

On 10/2/2022 at 8:59 PM, Qessax Jal Todda said:

Vangar, I hope you are at the control room, we are running out of time here” 


The comm settled it. Even if he had bought a little time, it might not be enough. With some effort, the large armored lizard worked himself around in the shaft. It sure was hot. He moved until

he had reversed. His feet faced the fried panel and he began to kick. One. Two. Three. The panel screamed as it screeched outward and tumbled to the deck plating inside the bridge with a crash and clatter of broken bits.

 

Raising a wired hand overhead, the warrior gave a minute blast of his rocket glove. It sent him skittering through the opening where he flopped to a standing position before the shocked duo still inside. Without a word, the armored warrior pulled his second relby from it’s holster and blasted the door controls causing the doors to snap shut with a loud clang. With gun hand still raised, Vangar turned the bulbous amorphous face of his armor to the captain and his man. “Captain. Surrender now.” He raised an open palmed hand forward in a stopping signal. “Nobody will get hurt.” All it would take was one potentially hostile or reactive movement and he would activate the wrist-bound sonic projector and cripple the pair with pulsating vibrations. “We are taking over the ship.”

 

——————————-

 

Below on the catwalks and walkways within the bowels of the ship a line of 8 Umbaran troopers were quickly making their way to where the arthropodic droids had gone off line. Chrissie’s eyes grew wife as she snapped her computer shit and shoved it back in her satchel “Looks like I’ve got company. Time to go dark.” She hissed into her comms before swinging from the railing out over stories of dark open space to grab at relays of wires secured to the opposite wall. There she began climbing, gloves hands testing each handhold before she moved upwards out of the dimly lit walkways and into the cold dark bowels of the vessel.

 

 

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Tyre was at a loss of words when he finally realized what was happening. One moment, his mechanic was trying to give him excuses and pointless updates on his men’s work on the systems, the next there was suddenly a brute of a being in the control room, holding him and his man hostage. The brute even somehow sealed the doors, trapping the three together. 

 

After that moment of wordlessness passed, Tyre slowly raised his hands up, nodding to his mechanic to do the same. 

 

“Now now… pirate,” Tyre started, standing from his chair, hands still raised. “You wouldn’t want to do something…drastic would you? After all, how do you hope to command such a vessel without a fully-bodied crew? Perhaps we can help one another?

 

The mechanic, his hands also up, looked at his commander confused. Tyre almost rolled his eyes at the man, but stopped himself, focusing entirely on the supposed pirate. He needed all of his energies focused on this one being. 

 

Umbarans were known throughout the galaxy for a number of things. Being xenophobic and and seeing in the dark was most well-documented. But there were rumors that carried grains of truth as well. Rumors such as trained umbarans influencing and reading the will of other sentient beings. Those in the highest command could even control some people like a well-trained jedi. Such feats were beyond Tyre’s ability , but he didn’t rise to the rank of captain by simply having a good track record. 

 

“Lower that weapon, pirate, and we can talk. After all…” Tyre took a step forward, his voice soothing and simple. He knew he couldn’t just get this being to surrender. But if he could get him to drop his guard momentarily, or even just get close enough…

 

“You aren’t just any kind of brute are you? Surely you can see reason? You got in here well enough, so I know you have some brains, correct?”

 

Thinking he was close enough, Tyre ducked down and attempted a back-hand strike against Vangar’s arm, hoping to knock the arm away from the Captain and towards the mechanic. If he was successful, combat training dictated an attempt to strike between the pirate’s joints in his side. All armor had weaknesses after all, and Tyre knew enough on exploiting weaknesses.

 

If his first strike was successful that was.

 

_____
Qessax took a glance towards the ship the group came in on, and realized in horror what was about to happen. 

 

One of the other Umbaran mechanics in the power armor had spotted the ship and was moving in to investigate. This time, there was no way that it could be distracted. The Umbaran was moving with a movement of confidence and determination, like that of a predator seeing a prey. No doubt he was about to radio for backup.

 

“Boys, prepare for violence. Don’t move until my mark, repeat, don’t move until my mark. Clones, get to the control room ASAP. Assist Vangar in any way possible.” Qessax ordered,  directed not at just the clones, but also his own Kaleesh men inside the ship keeping guard. At a moment’s notice, they would burst out and fight. 

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The force moved with anticipation. Tense strings of soul and passion vibrating like plucked strings of a Chandrillian harp. Alliance soldiers and commandos waiting with held breath, slaves cowering under the next blow and wishing silently for a death they knew would eventually find them. And the blood like flow of evil that pulsed out from each of the slavers. It dripped from their fangs with every breath. Hatred, towards those that they believed lesser than themselves, lust towards those few female slaves that had survived this long. 

 

And somewhere in each of the Knights there was the cool and calm resolve of a warrior preparing for a fight that might take his life. Each of them knowing that they fought for the highest cause there could be in a galaxy of chaos. Order and Justice would be fulfilled on this lawless world. And they would extinguish the evil that lay so close to them.

 

They slowly stood, keeping within the shadows, and began to call on the force. 

 

It was time.

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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As the Umbaran captain spoke, Vangar slowly lowered his weapon. He did not even think about it as he returned his blaster to it’s holster, leaving his hand resting on the weapon’s back strap. From within his bulbous and reflective helm, the leader of the free galaxy regarded the Umbarans before him, his other arm held loosely before him as he listened and watched, waiting for any sign of hostilities. He hoped that they could end this peacefully yet. He bit his lip as the man called him a brute. It was an assumption so many made about his kind, even of it was usually the other way around. That they were just brutes. Well it was true, Barabels were brutes; albeit intelligent, calculating and deadly ones.

 

So when the captain struck, Vangar allowed his extended arm to be directed away and towards the mechanic. He moved with the blow, spinning away from the secondary blow as he blasted a cone of ear-splitting disabling noise towards the mechanic as his hand found a songsteel blade at his back. Spinning around, the Barabel threw his full weight into the Umbaran captain and slicing the weapon deep into the captain’s gut with an animalistic snarl, splitting the man’s abdomen wide.

 

He did not stop there. Pulling the blade back, he flicked a trail of blood droplets across the ground and a spray across the consoles. The warrior stepped backwards blade held in one hand as he pointed at the mechanic with his ruptured and bleeding eardrums. One more movement and he would be engulfed in a superheated gout of flame. Meanwhile, a faint whistle played through the air as the targeting array brought a single micro-rocket online and it targeted the captain.

 

”I guess its a good thing I brought a crew of my own then. A crew that is not self-serving and lead by selfish ambitions of glory.” The Barabel flicked his helmet comm switching from broadcast vocabulator to comm relay, “Got ambushed on the bridge. Any time someone wants to come and help fly this heap.” He growled, his transmission inaudible outside his helmet as he eyed the downed crewmen. “Nobody else has to get hurt. Now; how do I broadcast an evacuation signal?”

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The captain spit out a splat of blood at the barabel’s words before flipping the being. A pointless effort, but Tyre would not afford himself anything less. He sneered at the barabel and said “You’ll never get away with this.”

 

The mechanic however, was not so easily brave. He wasn’t like Tyre, doing this for a promotion into the highest of society. It was a job, and honestly, Tyre was kind of a bantha’s rear end and the pay just wasn’t worth it. If he could play his cards right, he could get off Umbara and start a new life somewhere else. 

 

Despite his ruptured and bleeding ears, the mechanic could understand enough of what was said. 

 

“He…here” The mechanic stammered while holding up a comm device from his belt. “Code White Static 3756. That's a general evacuation of all personnel.”

 

Tyre glared at the technician and vowed that the head mechanic would be skinned alive when all of this was over. A genuine threat if he would survive this. Still, with him bleeding all over the floor, that possibility was looking less and less likely. 

 

______

 

The mechanic in the power armor came face to face with the ship. Even over the the other Kaleesh’s comms, Qessax could hear the Umbaran inside the Power armor begin to radio the other’s about the strange ship. 

 

“Now” Qessax ordered. 

 

The Kaleesh soldiers went to work. They knew fighting such a thing head-on would be suicide, so they had spread themselves out in preparation. The closest Kaleesh warrior threw a  smokescreen, provided for by Qessax, at the thing’s feet. As the mechanic became surprised at this, the other Kaleesh got to work. Each one began to take potshots with their slugthrowers at the foe before ducking and weaving through the clutter nearby. 

 

Disoriented, the Umbaran began to radio for backup while trying to find the enemies. One particular aggressive Kaleesh jumped from the back of a Confederate ship and landed on the mechanic’s backside. Retrieving a pouch from his side, the warrior then began to smear a slick black paste over the visual sensors of the armor, blinding the machine. 

 

“Lord-Commander” Qessax uttered into his comms. “I suggest you get those slaves under your protection. I bet when the actual firefight begins to break out, they will need as much protection as possible.” 

 

Come on Vangar, anytime now Qessax thought to himself as he continued to observe the skirmish that was beginning to occur. 

 

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After helping a pair of slavers suicide themselves and stuffing their bodies into a broken pod, the Clones moved forward, seeing the hangar slowly transform into more built and recognizable area of operation. And it seemed to be congested of every guards. Tilt gave a hand signal to fan out but keep it tight, using the droids and towers of junk, including broken pieces of Fighters and Vulture droids for cover. Tilt stopped, giving a yellow light for his team to halt on the HUD, he pulls a knife as a duo of engineers passed by, both with rifles and simply scanning the area. 

 

The Captain waited, and when the two passed him, he gave the green light and pushed forward. The guards were constantly moving from route to route, getting that timing down however was cakewalk. One by one, the Clones pushed forward and passed the guards as they periodically changed positions. Tilt of course was the last to pass them, and as he snuck by with little effort, he could have swore he heard an Umbaran speak rapidly, the six guards swapping places abd routes constantly taking up arms and holding their weapons aiming for something. 

 

Tilt had passed through the doorway quickly, regrouping with his comrades and patching into his comms quietly, [C]"En route to the command center, so far sk good, Vangar we're just a minute or two from your position."

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His pale blue eyes searched the human faces that cowered close to the ground, most so long exposed to ritualistic abuse that they barely felt the terror that a year ago would have clung to their hearts. Some eyes were closed, dreaming of a life that once had been, before the Sith and their evil had brought them to this hellish world. Some looked blankly into the grime on the hangar’s floor, relaxing into the stark darkness of the control chips. Having long ago learned the futility of resistance, giving into the numbness and exhaustion. But there were some that still carried the fire in their eyes. The one’s with bruises, the ones with the red white welts of slavers whips, the one’s whose bodies had been defiled for resistance. Whose clothes were stained and torn. 

 

One such slave’s face turned towards his, yellow green eyes glinting in the dim light of the hangar. A young woman, not even to her mid teens, whose high cheekboned Kuati face was covered in the purple black of deepset bruising. An Imperial, one of the unlucky to be stuck on Kuat when it fell. Her eyes found his.

 

And a prickling sensation ran down his face beside his nose, a sudden warmth of a tear. And in that darkness of the hangar he could see a smile of sudden courage and a glimmer of hope on the woman’s face. She had lived through hell. She had stared into its depths, and felt its fires. 

 

But the gates of hell would be trampled down. And a hand would pull them all from the grave. 

 

Raphanel opened himself fully to the force, letting it fill every part of him, he wove it within himself, letting it settle in him like a pool as he strode out of the darkness. Filling him until the force bled from him through every pore. A black glad form that dripped with molten light. They were here on the mission of the angels, and the Raphanel would use every power bestowed on him and his bloodline to bring forth Justice. 

 

The Slavers at first gawked at the tall man in black, who bled tears of white light from pale blue eyes. And they rallied almost at once to bring this stranger to heel, raising whips like swords to fall upon the man in black. Almost as one the throngs of the wips fell upon him, slashing painfully at his clothes and face. But the light was now moving, forming a crown of light that sat upon his brow like a halo. And it burned. It burned their eyes to cinders, snatching away sight from those now unworthy to see again the world of the living. Their war cries became screams of terror, as the unrightious fled before the eyes of light. Stumbling and falling to the ground in horror, pawing at eyes that could no longer see, as wickedness devoured itself before the light.

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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Vangar sighed. He shook his head at the so-called captain. This would not be doable at all. With a steely booted foot, he stepped forward and kicked the commander solidly in the head. A cognitive reset might do the fellow good; but for now, the Umbaran’s eyes rolled back in his head as he went unconscious. 
 

“Thank you.” He responded turning to look at the mechanic and take the comm chip. “Now if you will secure your commander here, you may yet be of use to us.”

 

Vangar moved to one of the not-smoking consoles. “We’re gonna have to fix that,” he commented on the entire section he had managed to boot out into the bridge when he entered. Inputting the communication code and chip, a ship wide evacuation began to sound.

 

Across the entire station, klaxons began to sound. In a half dozen different languages, Nemoidian, Muunish, Huttese, Skakoan, Goss, and Koorivian pleasant robotized monotone voices instructed anyone and everyone to make for the nearest escape pods as the ship’s integrity was compromised. Red warning lights circled and flashed.

 

Vangar nodded. That ought to do it. 
 

Hearing Tilt’s communication, Vangar responded, “The front door might be busted. If you come through the heat vent we made a door, either way; come on in.”

 

As the alarms began to sound, the hunters that were looking for Chrissie quickly abandoned their search. Survival was much more optimal. They turned and hurried away towards the nearest means of escape.

 

Chrissie breathed a sigh of relief. “I hope you did that.” She hissed into her comm unit. 
 

“Yeah that was me.”

 

”Be right there.” Chrissie began to carefully climb back towards the catwalk. From there she finagled herself precariously to the heat vent and onto the bridge. Looking at the unconscious ship commander and the cowering injured mechanic, she raised an eyebrow. “Ran into trouble boss, and they’re still

alive? Looks like you’re going soft.”

 

Vangar chuckled. “We’ve gotta act civilized now. Besides,” he jerked a thumb at the mechanic, “as long as he stays useful, might as well let him help. Now how about you two get the bridge back online?”


“Come on,” Chrissie sighed, rolling her eyes as she gestured to the mechanic. “Don’t get stupid.” She added tapping the pistol in her waistband.

 

Kneeling by the smoldering console, the two began to piece things back together.

 

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"That wasn't too bad," Riggs states as him and Tilt start looking for their opening, Thumper just a few feet behind covering their six', "So we managed to damage a light freighter, unalived a few people, and hacked into a buncha clankahs. If anything this has gone pretty swell!" 

 

The group continued their search until coming upon the door to the deck. And then further down was an opening.. A small opening of wires that one would have to belly crawl. Tilt was the first to go, holstering all but a pistol and had his energy parma ready for use, Thumper would be last if Riggs wasn't so fidgety. The Clone Sargeant got down as well albeit slower than usual, a lot more cautiously than usual. It drew questions, but none were asked until the trio were in the ventilation shaft which was hot enough as it was. 

 

"G- Guys?!" Riggs almost shouted, nearing the exit was no enough apparently, and the Clones could most likely be heard from the control room, "I'm not feeling too good!" 

 

"Shut up, Riggs!" Thumper hissed, "We're almost there... I think- Wait what's wrong?" 

 

The Sargeant was breathing heavily halting his trek forward, almost seeming like he was trying to take his helmet off, "I uhh- I can't breath, and there's a lotvof cords and you can't see very-" 

 

"You've been blown out of three transports, punched a variety of droids, was too close to explosions because you "liked" the sight, and have a bad habit of screwing anything that walks. And out of all of that, you're scared of tight spaces?" 

 

"Both of you, cut it out," Tilt said firmly, "Riggs, be a man, push forward."

 

After a solid minute of crawling and the Sargeant muttering a few things trying to calm himself down, Tilt saw the light from the other room. As soon as he came to the exit, he dropped down with both blasters raised, Riggs dropped in to the floor apparently not ready for the sudden loss of grip, and Thumper carefully crawled out then dropped with his blaster rifle ready as well. Tilt seeing that Vangar had the situation under control, spoke to him, "Sir, took us a moment but we're here. Sorry for the delay."

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As the klaxon sirens blared, confusion began to reign. Umbaran mechanics who swore the ship was in perfect condition suddenly doubted themselves and their work. Soldiers who were confident that the ship would never be attacked gripped their rifles tighter than ever as they escorted the workers. 

 

And the slavers recoiled in pain as they became blinded by the Force-user’s work. They were not expecting this kind of enemy to board the vessel, let alone to become the sole target of said enemy.  A few of the slavers lashed out wildly, but blinded as they were, their efforts proved less than fruitless. The slaves, the ones who still had both strength and fire in their hearts, took advantage of the situation and turned on their masters. 

 

The Kaleesh who were focused on the mechanic in the power armor fought furiously. The sirens only added to the confusion the poor soul inside the armor sufferred under gunfire and smoke bombs. Eventually the Kaleesh finally brought the thing down, wrapping durasteel wires at its feet and pulling like the snowspeeders of hoth. Once down, one Kaleesh woman stepped forward, grenade in hand. One of the larger openings provided the perfect spot for the explosive. 

 

Qessax smiled as the explosion destroyed the armor. “Excellent work Vangar. Enemies are moving towards escape pods.” Qessax commented. “You too Lord-Comman…oh kriff, Commander, look out!” 

 

Qessax spotted in the distance the mechanic in the power suit bulldozing towards where the slaves were. Having heard the comms of the one mechanic suffering under the Kaleesh attack, this one had begun to make his way over and in the process, spotted the slavers being attacked. Even with the klaxon sirens blaring, this mechanic charged at the groups of slaves attacking their masters. These slaves would not escape alive if he had anything to say about it.

 

Qessax leapt from his post and broke into a sprint towards the Lord-Commander and the slaves, pistol out. 

 

“Everyone, get moving to the command center! Vangar, captain, see if you can activate some of the droids so that we can actually fly this hunk of junk out of here. I don’t want to be a sitting Mynock when Umbara sends reinforcements to investigate what's happening. Double-time everyone!” 

 

Qessax was now between the charging mechanic and the slaves. With 300 meters between him and the slaves, Qessax knew he needed to give Rapheal some time to move the slaves to a safer location. Pistol in hand, Qessax opened fire. The lasers from the small arm bounced harmlessly off of the power armor, but it accomplished what the once field-agent had hoped for: it created a distraction. 

 

“Let the chase begin…” Qessax muttered to himself. He began to weave between deactivated battle droids as the Umbaran mechanic began to open fire. So often he had been the hunter. He did not appreciate  the  change of pace of being the hunted. 


Inside the command center, the Mechanic helped out as much as he could. Given how much focus he had given the command center, he proved to be useful, as the command consoles came to life once more.  However, when it came to activating the droids, he confessed he did not know anything about that. His focus had been on getting the ship running, not activating the small army that could kill him. 

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"That didn't last long..." Riggs said wiping the sweat from his forehead, hearing the comms clear as day from his helmet even when it was off, "So uhh... Thumper, ya gonna do the thing?" 

 

Thumper smirked as he took off his own helmet, messing with a small data pad connected to his left wrist. He tapped a few things since he was wired and rigged into the control stations, and of course the various droids he individually hacked. Thumper then said, "General- Errr uhh, Mr. Vangar, sir, we have control of a lot of droids. All this time we spent hacking into the systems of the CIS army remnant, standard Battle Droids, Super Battle Droids, Vultures, Crab, HMP's... Whatever we came across, we hacked most of 'em. Right now, I'm activating al of them, they were "reworked" to protect the slaves, us, and fire upon any slavers. If the enemy surrenders or flee off ship, we take prisoners and let the runners run." 

 

"Well... Hop me up on Deathsticks," Riggs replies after a moment pf hard thinking, "We started near the far end of a hangar... I aint the sharpest knife in the crayon box, but you did all of that in that short amount of time?" 

 

"Thumper, are all of them active?" Tilt asked, keeping his sights on the Captain of the Lukrehulk.

 

"Just about... There! With how big the hangar is, we have plenty of reinforcements between here abd out starting point. Our allies across the way will have backup soon." 

--------------------------------------------------

With the new firefight starting between the other teams and the slavers, anyone would have easily been unaware of the activating droids. Everything that was hacked up by the Bad Company had been indeed reintegrated to follow the specific commands of the Clones, recoding out the old CIS hardware and programming, in with the new data. One of the engineers at the station started to see the droids come to life, they attempted to shut them down but to no avail. At first, they were curious and were trying to give vocal commands to the machines, but as the squad of engineers gathered around they realized that realized the droids were starting to shout, and what they shouted made them think on not running when they had the chance, followed by being gunned down soon after.  

 

"For The Republic!" The Droids shouted out loud, loud enough for all to hear throughout the hangar bay to the control room. All hell was breaking loose. There were scattered fights breaking out, slavers who weren't gunned downed and surrendered captured, while slaves were being secured by the CIS automata. 

 

Quessax and the Knights too would hear the screams of Droids shouting profanities and orders that only Republic Clones should know...

------------------‐-----——————

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So now a more direct evil would make its ploy, and a red blaster bolt spun through the air, missing a slave girl by inches and wasting its energy in the decking beside her. The Imperial Knights moved as one, Raphanel and Michael turning their focus from direct attack on the slavers to protection. The slaves, almost as one group followed the light of the bright crown that sat upon the brow of the Lord Commander. Stonelike abandonment turning to hope and ecstatic joy. Life returning to limbs and bodies that had long been bowed under whip and collar. 

 

Light formed a thousand complex concentric circles, arcing out like runes carved into timeless stone as Michael brought his hand up to intercept another blaster bolt. Catching and dissolving the crimson blast before it could snatch the life of a child who had many decades of life left to live. He looked sideways to the youngest member of the Knight’s cohort, and she nodded in reply. 

 

Kara Thren-Sarrati spun on her heel and ran towards the heavily armoured slaver the now much beleaguered Qessax, her red hair flowing out behind her like the mane of a Tuk’ata. Her slender black clad form sprinting as fast as the force would send her, her movements becoming almost liquid in the murky light as she slowed to a stop beside the brave Kaleeshi. One second being alongside the pack of now nearly shielded slaves, and the next second beside the Alliance operative. She knelt and placed a hand on the durasteel decking, calling on the living force. 

 

Beneath the heavily armoured figure, the durasteel flooring began to shift. Where once were long eroded stains now began to shimmer a gray white light. And where the light touched the metal moved. Animated like a living thing, what had once been ore inside an asteroid from times immemorial, what had been smelted down and formed into kilometer sized sheets for transport three hundred years before, now moved with life unseen. The metal remembered its old forms, its essence changing, becoming liquid, hard crystallized durasteel becoming as soft and pliable as bread dough. It could sense the evil that tread upon it, feeling his lust, his anger, his crimes. Crimes that cried out for a justice that only the Durasteel could deliver. It would be the vessel for justice, and who could deny it? Was this task not the very thing its original Creator had bestowed upon it? 

 

The decking swallowed the slaver whole. Devouring being, armour, and evil heart as one.

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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Vangar smiled. It was an invisible and unintentionally fearsome visage lost behind the mirrored helmet. It was time to go and time to cause a little chaos too.

 

The pair of opposing techs easily

slid the console back into place. It wasn’t a challenge after assessing the mostly peripheral damages wrought by the latter’s flamethrower. Standing up Chrissie symbolicaly brushed her hands off, “a simple day’s work boss. Now what?”

 

The Umbaran was more hesitant, shooting several worried glances over his shoulder at his downed former-commander and now the other commandos who had fallen into view. Chrissie clapped him on the shoulder, startling him back to the reality of the moment.

 

Vangar nodded to the clones before turning to face the entire group. “Gentlemen?” He said as a catchall for the group, “The ship is ours.” He turned towards the bay of consoles and stepping toward the main control console. “If you will assume the positions, we will make our break for the freedom of the stars. Captain,” Vangar pulled a drive from his thigh pocket and tossed it to the clone, “this should overwrite any remaining Confederacy or Federation orders and give them something more,” he hissed a moment, “chaotic. They should be able to encourage any stragglers to make for the e-pods.” The drive would activate the deactivated droids within 17 seconds, less than 2 later the new programming would overwrite their programming. The Lucrehulk served as the command post and conduit for the droids. The takeover would be quick and complete.

 

”Fire up the engines again there chief,” he pointed at the Umbaran. “They’ll work this time.” His voice carried a sarcastic tinge of a smile to it.

 

Chrissie traded looks with her fellow tech. She offered a nod of encouragement before stepping to a bank of screens. With a flourish of keystrokes the consoles illuminated; readouts of systems across  the whole ship. Chrissie whistled, impressed by what she saw. “Looks like these phantoms knew what they were up to boss. Maybe when we come and take them over we can use their skills.” The Umbaran tech paled. Quickly he began to bring the engines online.

 

Across the drifting ship, power began to surge through long dormant lines, exceeding the long-used emergency lighting and power that they had been operating under. Lights began to flicker to life bathing the interiors of the ship in sterile white light. Occasionally a panel of fixture burst into a waterfall of sparks as the long dead electronic was unable to handle the surge of life-giving power. Engines rumbled to life as reactors warmed towards a functional level. Within minutes the entire vessel would be back online, including the automated internal and external defensive mechanisms, shields, turrets, turbolaser batteries, and shield walls.

 

Grabbing a comm mic, Vangar depressed the ship wide broadcast button. For those speakers that were not completely garbled by the fuzz of static, the voice of the Galactic Alliance’s new leader resounded across the craft. “Attention all, this ship is now under the control of a sovereign military order. All Umbaran nationals will be allowed to vacate the ship by way of the nearest escape pod provided they offer no resistance and lay down their weapons and tools of oppression and war. Anyone held in servitude or wishing to make a new life for themselves are instructed to surrender themselves to any patrol of operatives or battle droids. Resistance will be met with force. Do not endanger anyone else.” Releasing the button, Vangar turned to the clones, “give us a ten minute countdown eh?”
 

Then he turned to the sole Umbaran on the bridge, his eyes wide with fright, “and as for you?” The technician shook with fear before turning to bolt towards the doors, which were sealed shut. He crashed into them when they did not open. Twitching on the floor, he stared up in shock at the sealed doors and back at the attackers. He quaked, completely overcome by his fear.

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"Understood,  sir," Tilt states as he catches the device, immediately walking to.the main control panel and stabbing the drive into the port, "Thumper, I want this ship out of here, you have the controls and the coordination. Riggs, I want you to help Thumper with whatever he needs." 

 

In the following minute that the ships engines kicked on, more of the droids had come to life with the new programming, purged of any of the previous CIS. Thumper in the meantime had helped guide the ship carefully and around, turning it to its proper destination and lurching the vessel forward. Riggs in the meantime was helping by setting up the ships defenses from outside intruders, at least the best he could. The Captain meanwhile was overlooking everywhere else, ship diagnostics, droids that didn't fall in battle, and generally security footage of everywhere important. Tilt then said to Vangar, "General, we have several units en route to our location. Several Destroyers and Standers. They'll be able to escort these individuals to the nearest holding cells... Unless you have plans for 'em? Could always interrogate the tech and the capt'n." 

 

Tilt gave a visored glance to the scared technician.  It was both said jokingly and seriously, a suggestion that is normally used by the Clone Captain himself on occasion.  Things seemed to be more under control and the situation in their favor,  however beneath the personality was the boiling hatred he felt for the ship as a whole. If it were up to him, he'd burn it all to the ground. 

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Qessax wasn’t sure what surprised him more: the Force-User dispatching the Umbaran was such lethality, or the battle droids that came to life around him and greeted him like some kind of commander. 

 

“Welp, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me too much” Qessax muttered as he picked himself up. When the droids had activated, one had tripped the Kaleesh accidentally. That moment could have spelled doom for him, had not Kara Thren-Sarrati intervened and saved him. 

 

“Much thanks,” Qessax muttered. He briefly surveyed the damage. Thankfully blood cleaned easily off of durasteel. “Can’t help but be surprised at your efficiency. Not that you will find me complaining.” 

 

Qessax then surveyed the rest of the ship. Everywhere, droids were becoming active. A piece of the Kaleesh felt excitement at seeing so many battle droids come to life under his team’s control. He almost felt like his ancestor so long ago. He even half wondered if that long-dead Kaleesh was smiling at this. 

 

“No, probably not” Qessax muttered to himself before activating his comm unit. 

 

“Good work gentlemen. I will be at the control room soon. ” 

 

Qessax looked at the slaves nearby and the Knights defending them. He thought to himself a few moments. Releasing the slaves would be a process, but a welcomed one. They would obviously need to be questioned on what they knew about the Umbarans, who kidnapped them, where they came from, where they were moved throughout the galaxy, etc. If slavery was going to be an issue taken seriously, Qessax would need to get familiar with the slaver’s methods. Unfortunately for the Alliance, information on slavers had been put on the back-burner, and fighting slavery would be a long, costly battle. 

 

But for the Kaleesh, who’s own people had their own experience with slavery in the past, it was an issue that could not be ignored.  

 

“Get back to your knights, I will be needed at the control room. “ Qessax directed Kara before taking off. 

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It did not take much more. The activation of a droid army was the encouragement for numerous slaves, those not yet too brainwashed by unspeakable horrors and tortured, to rise up against their slave masters. Those Umbarans who could not make it to an escape pod post haste were met with brutal revenge. Cleaning bots would mop up the worst of things. Anything that remained would be sanitized by specialists when they got to safety.

 

On the bridge, Vangar regarded the scene before him. Clones, a Wing Guard, and the preverbal leader of the free galaxy dressed as rogues, pirates. He smiled behind his helmet. Life had a way of stating interesting. “Can you ensure that recordings are erased any any automatic outgoing transmissions jammed?” He queried as the Wing Guard technician shook her head. “Thats a tall order boss. It is gonna take the entire team . . .”  
 

The Barabel nodded. “So we keep our buckets on til we get there. Set course for the Burnin Konn System, Anoat Sector. We will meet up with the reclamation team and offload the slaves to Hosra, from there, the Knights will assist them reintegrate into society.”

 

Vangar flicked his tongue activating his helmeted comm relay to the remainder of the boarding team, “Buckle up everyone. We’re about to jump. Any hostilities left aboard need hunted down and detained. We’re not in the clear yet. Not until we sweep the ship for bugs and outgoing transmissions.”

 

Minutes later, as the last of the escape pods cleared the massive carrier ship and the Lucrehulk burned away from the nebula and the Umbaran homeworld, the countdown for the hyperspace jump began its countdown before streaking into the future.

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The crown remained perched upon his brow, providing a beacon of light for the slaves to follow as they were led to the alliance shuttles. Until when at last they reached safety, it flickered twice and faded away. Its bright mantle replaced by the shadow of exhaustion. That sickening feeling that reminded him of his youth on Chandrila, university parties that had been stretched longer by copious stim and alcohol use. How long was the one after the final study? Six, seven days? His eyelids drooped with the memory, as he stumbled to a seat on the landing ramp of their inbound shuttle.He could feel his gloved fingers drumming the surface of the slated impact tile ramp. The shakes and tremors of force exhaustion starting to creep up his extremities as his body got its first chance in many hours to relax. It would be a painful few weeks ahead. 

 

As for the other knights, Kara began to distribute ration packs from the supplies they had packed onto the shuttle, and Michael kept the sightless group of slavers huddled together. Harmless as the slaves they had beaten so ruthlessly for the last few years. A small part of him was glad that he knew their fate. And what was likely to be the fate of the entire Umbarian ruling class. A swift evidence based trial, then the only punishment suitable for slavery, rape, and torture. 

 

Execution. 

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Three Imperial III Star Destroyers, pure white, the symbol of the Imperial Alliance emblazoned upon their outstretched dagger like hulls, emerged from hyperspace over the fallen world of Umbara. Whatever legitimacy the Umbaran government had once had, was now long gone. Before the Slaver’s Trial, it would have been seen as rampant Alliance aggression to show up with a full fleet and kick down the door of Umbarian Hegemony. Perhaps it still was, but fervor in the Galactic Community had dictated the fall of the evildoing government. 

 

Godfrey took a sip of stimcaf and ordered the comms officer to open up a channel on guard, In order to address the planet as a whole. It would be a brief address, there were multiple reports of the self defense militias powering down shields and weapons planet wide. The planet would surrender imminently 

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Rebel Alliance Fleet Command - Godfrey d'Outremer

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