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Nar Shaddaa - Rebel Alliance Headquarters


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“Good, I am glad you know the lesson of power. At least intellectually.” 

 

She let the metallic strap and durasteel emitters on her left arm phase into a shimmering crimson shield. And the gold of her saber matched the Trandoshans. 

 

“So tell me, what fighting styles do you know from your times among the tribes?” She held up the shield. “Attempt to attack me, so that I may judge your ability.”

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Draygo woke with a start and a snort. Dataslates fell from her desk as she pushed herself away from her desk, and she rubbed at a series of ridges burrowed into her cheek from falling asleep on the pile of tablets. She had collapsed from exhaustion after poring over intelligence reports for two days.

 

There could be no time to dwell. This was more than making excuses along the lines of “necessities of the war effort”: the Rebel Alliance was at a severe backfoot after the loss of Fondor and Mon Calamari. Predictably, the Kuati nobility had displayed their predilection for governments even more depraved than their ancient class privileges. Without the gain of a new array of shipyards, it was possible that the entire venture of the Rebel Alliance would simply wither and die from sheer attrition. This state of affairs was not quite as dire as it might have seemed, however. Though Mon Calamari was a loss whose value that could not be easily calculated, there were several ostensibly neutral systems that had been reliable allies of the Galactic Republic in the past. Certainly, they had been treated as hunting grounds for the more imaginative Sith Lords.

 

Gaining access to those was likely to be contingent on their success at Fondor and Kuat. Admiral Slaughter might have been an uncompromising, merciless butcher of an officer, but he was at least well-suited to the cold-hearted task of subjugating a hostile world--and Kuat, at least, was far from a Sith-dominated planet.

 

Her hand groped for a mug of caf. She glared down. empty. She was going to need to banish the sleep-haze--and indulge her addiction--before meeting with Tobias Vos and embarking on their mission. A visit to the commissary and two cups of twice-brewed caf took care of that, and she soon boarded his repainted YT-2000 freighter with an extra pair of mugs for the benefit of the Jedi Master and his Padawan. She banged on the side of the boarding ramp, instinctively making her way towards the common room in the familiar Corellian layout. There she found the Kiffar, who was poring over civilian clothing--not unarmored Jedi robes, but fabric trousers and a tunic--and of all things, a thin vest made of some kind of cheap faux-leather.

 

“People… really wear this kind of clothing?” She asked of Vos, gauging the thin vest with a skeptical eye. “I mean, the fit isn’t bad, but that faux-leather will provide absolutely no protection against blaster fire… and… haven’t these people heard about layering?”

 

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On 2/22/2021 at 1:29 PM, Alcmène said:

“Good, I am glad you know the lesson of power. At least intellectually.” 

 

She let the metallic strap and durasteel emitters on her left arm phase into a shimmering crimson shield. And the gold of her saber matched the Trandoshans. 

 

“So tell me, what fighting styles do you know from your times among the tribes?” She held up the shield. “Attempt to attack me, so that I may judge your ability.”

 

Vox nodded and swung once- a mid swinging motion held back, he didn't want to hurt the woman but didn't want to be sluggish either. Then a moment later he swing again following up from his prior attack, then again but at a faster pace. Vox memorized his sword spear and though this weapon had little to not weight on it he utilized that to the best of his ability. The saber however threw him off, and it was evident he tried to grasp such a light weapon. 

 

The Trandoshan Chieftain however began to slowly adapt to, knowing this would likely replace his once-most used heavier pole arm. Instead of continuously using one hand he grasped the weapon mid-swing with another hand, wanting better control of the light sword instead of acting like it had weight. His attacks were better controlled this way both in attack and in returns, however still unrefined. At least Vox was able to grasp it better somewhat. 

 

Vox then stated, "Thus weapon isn't light at all, it has no weight. Abd this is what you Jedi and Sith mainly use?"

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“We’re sending you and a platoon of Talons to Bothawui. Choose well, try to pick soldiers who you trust to be on good behavior.” They had said two days ago. “They” being Admiral Klatchka himself--the old Mon Calamari had actually considered it necessary to speak to someone as far down the chain of command as the captain of a below-strength company of airborne shock troopers.

 

It had taken Johanna a few seconds to recover her wits, which had gone searching for an escape pod the moment that she had learned that the Admiral needed to speak to her personally about an important matter. Once they had finally given up the search and consigned themselves to going down with the ship, the potential import of this briefing had gotten her attention. The marine immediately perked up and sat up in such a posture that she appeared to have been surgically implanted with a durasteel girder in her spine.

 

“Sir? Didn’t the Bothan only just join the Rebel Alliance…” The marine was busy ticking down the days, which could be numbered in the single digits.

 

“Ongoing incorporation, Captain, yes. We’re hoping that your Talons can make progress in that regard while we formally bring their territory and military into the Alliance. Part of those efforts is an officer exchange--a few of our top soldiers for a few of theirs, a corvette for a corvette. Demonstration of each side’s capabilities. The goal is to look smart, look tough, and in the name of the Force to stay out of trouble while the diplomats finish with the microprint.” The salmon-skinned Calamari fixed the Captain with a single side-viewing eye, making the taller woman feel as though she were at least a foot shorter. “Feeling up to it, Captain?”

 

A Talon did not turn down a challenge. “Aye, sir! We’ll give the Bothans a show, sir.”

 

“Good. You and that former marshall--Colonel Howlster--will be working together. There will be a packet of secondary objectives to achieve. But whatever you do, Captain,” again, the Mon Cal fixed the marine with a single eye. “Do not anger the Bothans. You may go.”

 

_______

 

Which was how, two days later, Captain Bryce found herself on one of The Red and Black’s larger docking bays--one of the platforms capable of servicing a corvette or even some of the smaller frigates in the Alliance. One of the new Senth-class Picket Ships rested as an enormous flying wing on the deckplates, unpainted but nonetheless ludicrously polished in that mirror-like finish that the Naboo Royal Engineers invariably used to decorate their starships.

 

Johanna and the forty Talons that she had hand-picked were somewhat less polished. An entire day had been spent scrubbing out the blaster creases (and occasionally a direct hit) from the last month of almost-constant fighting; the inevitable dents of combat maneuvers were similarly hammered out. Although the plastoid plate wasn’t polished or waxed or treated with any other ludicrous embellishments, they almost looked presentable for inspection. More notably was a new addition to their armor; they had recently been issued with the Alliance’s latest attempt at hypermobile combat--a light jetpack clung to each of their backs and they each wore a black, blast-resistant belt-spat that was so fresh from the assembly lines that they still reeked of the chemical treatment.

 

The cost to the new gear was that some of their heavier weapons, like the E-Webs in the heavy weapons squads, would need to be left behind. The engines on the jetpacks simply couldn’t accommodate the extra weight.

 

The belt-spat was, however, a very nice touch, a surprising mixture of ceremonial and practical. It would protect against the backplast of the jetpacks… and Johanna found herself standing just a little straighter so she could feel the weight of the garment against her legs.

 

Captain Bryce waited while her Talons boarded the corvette and Howlster’s men arrived. She found herself sweating--it was a warm day for Nar Shaddaa, and she’d been told that Bothawui was warmer.

 

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She took the point of the blade on the outer corner of her shield, the blade struck and rebounded, and she stepped back as he added his formidable strength to the blade and struck again. Her eyes followed and she sidestepped, intercepting the blow again on the center of the shield, the humm of the kinetic barrier increasing in pitch as the generator struggled to counteract the blow. The shield flashed a solid crimson and she grinned. 

 

“Well done!” 

 

She pulled her own blade and brought it up in a slow counter to his strike. 

 

“Now see how they counteract. How the blades wish to stick together. Many Jedi and Sith alike have been killed this way. Go against the flow of the blade, withdraw and strike again.” 

 

She waited until he had gotten the hang of it. 

 

“Now close your eyes completely and let the force guide you. It will be slow at first, and strange. But you will feel it warning you of my strikes.” 

 

And so she struck.

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On 2/22/2021 at 1:29 PM, Alcmène said:

 

 

Vox listened intently and realized how the blades pulled to each other. Once they interlocked he didn't quite understand as to why this locking would kill any Jedi or Sith until he realized there could be other advantages... But perhaps far more disadvantages. He regarded the woman's words and continued. When the woman told Vox to close his eyes and focused. Every little detail was pushed out, no cluttered thoughts, he focused more into a deeper state just as before and allowed the Force to take him. 

 

When Alcemene's attack came Vox swiftly brought up his blade with both hands in opposition, both weapons bouncing from each other. And as she said, this experience was indeed weird however familiar. It was like when he was being led from place to place, every decision based on the Divine which was now the Force; at least that's what it seems to be. 

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Tobias shrugged as if Armenia's point about the vest wasn't anything to worry about; to him it wasn't. He smiled without meeting her gaze and took the vest off. It was similar to his scoundrel days and he missed the feel of the regular clothing. Despite belonging to the same order, preferences varied greatly. "You're not wrong, but if you go anticipating combat the more likely it is going to find you. I usually wear a combat sleeve under everything I wear anyways. Besides- to reactivate the connection there I will have to act a certain part- and that requires looking a certain part as well." 

 

He sighed, and sat down on the bench by the table. "Helps us remain incognito too, for the most part. A lot of this was from a few years ago under Kirlocca and... " His mood grew dark and he stumbled over the next word out of his mouth. Regret, sadness, and a certain longing spiced his Force Aura and he moved his hand to his nose and sniffed as if pulling back a tear. "...Dahar. so most of this stuff has hidden pockets for saber components or if bulky enough- full hilt sabers."

 

"But anyways, what's on your mind? My apprentice is out trying to find out trandosian friend, so we have a moment to discuss things if you wish. Or there is ale in the cooler." His arm extended to the little kitchenette across the way. His blind eyes not locking onto the little nook, but his former chipper mood was returning.

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“Thank you, but I can’t drink.” THere was just the barest emphasis on the can’t in Draygo’s polite abstention from Vos’ offer, and a twitch of her left eye. It was possible that he had heard some of the rumors about the Jedi Grandmaster when she was younger--somewhat overfond of good food and drink, seemed to have smuggled a small stash into every significant Jedi outpost in the Core… disappeared and reportedly had some significant difficulties after the Third Death Star. 

 

An intelligent person probably would have put the breezy rebuttal and the almost-wink together to arrive at an uncomfortable conclusion of what these difficulties might have been.

 

She leaned against the opposite wall and folded her arms.

 

“In this case I suspect you’re correct. I’d rather the Sith not divert their resources to the planet until it is thoroughly prepared. I’m distracted by…” She forced her attention away from the departure of her Padawan. “Well, Borleias is practically home to me. I met my master there, spent more time on that planet than any other, I even worked the refugee camps after Coruscant fell. On that note, some of the people that my Padawan and I healed were veterans from the Galactic Alliance. They might be useful. But bringing the war back home will feel…”

 

There was a pause as she searched for the words. Somewhere in The Red and Black, there was a team of combat engineers assembling parts and equipment to service a squadron of starfighters and maintain a small listening post. On her own ship there was a chain of programming spikes that were vital to hijacking the world’s Holonet network and her insurance policy of several satchel charges. She had determined that her second home was ripe for infiltration, and chaos would be unleashed upon it the moment she gave the word.

 

“...very peculiar.”

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“Now let the force guide you. Keep your eyes closed, listen and feel for my actions before I make them.”

 

Then she struck straight for his chest with the training saber. Following it up with a solid kick to his legs. This was more of a gutter fighting move than anything regal, and she knew the sword masters back on Tapan would be very disappointed at her attempt. But she knew that she had to not hold back on the bulky Trandoshan. He was a warrior at heart, so she would hit him with everything she had.

 

((Walk me through your character's force sense. GO through how it feels in detail))

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Vox closed his eyes as told and began his focus. Though he was a warrior, it was proven back on that ship when fighting that Sith he didn't know everything, and this was an extension of it. Immediately he let go of all thought and emotion, and then focused on his surroundings. He pictured lights, dim yet vibrant like Neon, he could "see" them quite clearly. With a breath, Vox began to focus on one particular light, something moving like a wave. Oddly he could see the ripples from this one whereas others remained still, and though it moved he didn't. The background and details of the room around then only appeared as a deep blue outline which allowed him to focus more on whatever were "lit up" as these lights. 

 

No, it didn't feel right to move on instinct rather he would wait. And then the motions came, almost like the wind Vox felt something wrap around him, calm and ever caressing yet swift and purposely. He didn't feel to move of his own volition, instead opting to allow this Force to guide his motions. For Vox it was more a guide, neither controlling or demanding but rather motioning him to move. And he did, at the last possible second Vox swiftly shifted and swung his blade from the side knocking the opposing weapon from his chest. Though they may have been going fast, to him everything seemed slow in time. It was here the Chieftain could finally see the colorful outline of the Jedi, and when she went for a leg kick Vox instead slightly bent his leg and stiffened it, disallowing the hit to move him even. Very simple and most people would have avoided the blow. 

 

This feeling was almost what he felt back on that ship. Had Vox known of the Force things would have been much different than now. However that was then and this was now, and his focus was without any wavering. Just like when he was trained back on his home world, he flower easily and without struggle. 

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Vos nodded at Armenia's reply, and after a moment of silence, he openly philosophized. "Funny, isn't it? Jedi are supposed to go all over the Galaxy- yet not form any attachments. We do anyways- family, friends..." He snorted with amusement and gestured with his good arm around the common room. "...things. We grow passionate about these items- and use that passion to fuel our decisions and actions. Something the Sith do. But we do say it is good to care about these things, be passionate to fight for it even. When is the last time we fought for something that is right- that we have no connection to?" 

 

Another chuckle and smirk and he waved the same arm in a gesture of 'I'm ranting again, ignore me.' 

 

"So you were there... at Corusant..." Vos, his eyes already blind, still drifted off as if he was seeing back into the past. Idly he wondered where Tom's old friend had ended up, she had devoted a number of ships and resources on her own credits to the evacuation. "I've only been catching up recently... but... it doesn't make sense that the planet is still livable, or whatever it is. I haven't been back in... years. Has the moons orbit stabilized? Or is it a rogue planetoid now? Is there a plan for the Jedi to go return to Corusant? Is that why we're scouting Boreleias?"

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“So one thing that I’ll grant to the Sith Empire,” Armiena took an obnoxiously loud slurp of caf and glanced down appreciatively. The beverage still tasted of chemicals and mediocrity, but at least it wasn’t watered down mediocrity. “They were quick with reconstruction once they managed to dislodge the Mandalorians. Almost as responsive as we were the last time that Faust visited Coruscant. It wasn’t just rebuilding, but atmospheric scrubbers, the works…”

 

The comlink on her hip glowed momentarily and vibrated. Even as she continued, the disc continued to pulse insistently. “But Hesperidium is a mess. Its orbit stabilized, but… no one is returning home there without significant intervention. The collision shook something loose in its plate tectonics that won’t settle naturally for several centuries. Significant debris ring surrounding both Coruscant and Hesper. Most of what was above Coruscant burns up on re-entry, most of what won’t gets diverted by tugs, the rest… not pleasant.”

 

The veteran Jedi paused to take another irritatingly loud slurp of her caf. “Can’t help but wonder if either the Foundation--Survivor’s Foundation, I mean--or AgriCorps would like a challenge. But… no, I think it will be a while before we see Coruscant again. The strategic goal is to riddle the Core with so many security holes that we will be able to operate with impunity, bring in some of our allies from the bad old days. Some of our hyperspace routes from the Old Republic never got cracked by Palpatine, but we’ll need control over certain systems to move about. Once we can operate in the Core without the Sith being able to challenge us effectively… oh, what is it? Come!”

 

At that moment, one of the Alliance engineers took that opportunity to knock loudly on the ship’s boarding ramp, sending a metallic clang into the ship. “For you, Grandmaster,” the Gotal said, presenting a maintenance jumpsuit for her inspection.

 

Draygo took a moment to regard the garment with a kind of horrified admiration. Woven of a cheap, synthetic blend of plastics and traditional fibers, the blue jumpsuit seemed deliberately designed to not hint at any potentially flattering lines of its wearer’s anatomy. Several stubborn stains had already been inflicted on the legs--oil, caf, and what looked like some greasy mixture from a street food vendor’s menu that was only known by the mysterious term “white sauce”. Several patches had been sewn into its sleeves and an identification tag featuring a blurry, unflattering picture from twenty years ago--it looked like she still had yet to obliterate some of the weight from her pregnancy--had already been clipped to the breast pocket. The engineer had even prepared a cheap helmet and toolbelt.

 

“It’s horrible. I hate it. It’s perfect.” Armiena sniffed the sleeve. The caf stain was fresh. “Is your team ready?”

 

“Ready to load up. We’re all waiting on the deck.” The Gotal coughed. “Local Holonet transceivers are serviced by Core Dynamics. Their internal security is heavy stuff, biometrics and retinal scans, standard for a HoloNet facility but nothing imaginative.”

 

“That won’t be a problem. Vos,” Draygo glanced back to her fellow Jedi Master. “If you could summon your Padawan, I think we’re ready.”

 

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“Well done! She cried out as he parried her moves in turn, their blades clashing and tangling with electrical discharge. Filling the area with the scent of ozone. She wrinkled her nose at the smell but continued to press her attack until she was satisfied with his latent ability. Then she stepped back and deactivated her lightsaber and the shield, she flipped the shield back over her shoulder, its fine latticework covering her thin frame like a cloak. And the finely detailed lightsaber found itself on her belt. 

 

“Then Vox, I think you are ready for us to go on a mission. To test your other skills than combat. Come and jog with me to the marketplace, the militia will have something up we can deal with.”

 

She turned and began a stretching jog back out of the temple, only stopping when she arrived at the boisterous market’s outskirts. She glanced behind her to make sure the trandoshan was with her then waved at one of the stormtroopers of the colonial militia who waved kindly back and made his way through the crowds to give her a sloppy salute. 

 

“Anything Lieutenant?? In response the stormtrooper pulled off his helmet, revealing a sandy haired human male who shook his head. 

 

“Not much Outremer.” He responded, using her surname, which he knew vexed the young Jedi Knight. “Petty thefts as always, some burglaries at night, shoplifting, you know. The Usual.” He let his eyes wander over to Vox and he quickly looked back to the Jedi Knight. She shrugged and turned back to Vox herself.

 

“What do you think Vox, any of those sound interesting to you?”

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The Chieftain deactivated the lightsaber upon Alcménes' relaxed posture. Once he felt no danger a moment later he opened his eyes with ferocity in them, however all was calm and contained as he knew thr arms test was over. Regardless, combat, let alone training always pumped his blood and caused the hulk to revert to a serious and professional state. As any Chieftain should, if not calmness and soothing words that spoke of wisdom. For as young as Vox was he already proved himself one worthy of the Nudonos' title even though he didn't feel it. 

 

Sighing, Vox merely nodded, having the Force cut by his own volition, simply held onto his lightsaber in his right hand. He then jogged just behind the woman clearly an easy task. Voxs' mind wondered off, thinking about what exactly would be in the marketplace or more so what it looked like. Then his thoughts cut to the loyal soldiers he still had, from his advisor and brother Equinox to his other brother and right hand Chaox, their shadow and marksman Krexus to the small but intelligent technophile Romulus, and then the titan shield brother Rylast then the young and spunky Varsus. All of them had fought with sheer will and without much complaint, and then it struck Vox, he could most likely grab supplies for them, luxury items or whatever they would like... Or what he thought they would like. 

 

Arriving to the marketplace, Vox only saw a sprawling place of business with crowds of people. It was something he'd expect but on this larger scale was quite amazed. Just how big was this city? He then gazed at the white armored trooper making their way to the couple, who removed their helm to reveal a blonde headed man. After a short report, Alcméne then questioned the Trandoshan on the topic of catching thieves. Or a thief. 

 

"Very well... I don't see the problem with this task." Vox agreed, uncertain as to how to go about this. Would he be using the Force again? If this was the case, then this year could be difficult or maybe easy, given how easily he handled utilizing it before.

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Blue eyes fluttered open to be greeted by the sterile, bluish white light of a long term care ward. Adenna didn't know where she was or what happened, but as she lay there, her senses slowly began to return. She wasn't in pain, but she also couldn't move which was slightly disconcerting. She was still too groggy to grasp that for now, she was still trying to figure out what was going on. Memory was still a little foggy, but she knew she had been fighting someone, then....nothing.

 

It took a little time for her senses to begin to return. When she was finally capable of moving, she tried lifting her hand and found it gently restrained. That simple move must have triggered some sort of alarm, because within moments, a nurse rushed in and immediately began summoning others to assist him in taking her vitals and recording her responses. Whatever words they were trying to speak to her didn't quite register, though she could at least hear the sounds they were making.

 

After a while, the excited frenzy died down and all but one of them left. Soon, even that last one left and a small hovering droid came in to monitor her. She drifted off to sleep watching its blinking lights and wondering what happened and where she was.

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“My lady?” 

 

Raven stood and glanced over her shoulder at the tall Imperial Knight who had interrupted her reverie of looking out the large transparisteel window. From a distance, and the Misericordia was in high orbit, Nar Shaddaa looked beautiful. Especially when outlined by the huge planet of Nal Hutta which formed an emerald disk which the dark and glittering microplanet of Nar Shaddaa lay nestled into like a dark island in a green and tumultuous sea. She could not see the crime from here, not the squalor of a thousand worlds of refugees packed into prefab housing like a can of naboo smelt.

 

“Yes?”

 

The Imperial knight let his charming smile fill his face, he could feel her worry, so he warded it off with a slight shake of his head. There was no invasion yet, no great Sith warfleet, just a glimpse of good news after the defeat at Kuat. A glimmer perhaps, not the full throated joy of a triumph, but he was still glad for it.

 

“Adenna is awake my Lady.” 

 

And the Empress of the old Remnant smiled. 

 

_____________________________________

 

She swept into the medical ward alongside her two imperial knights, their white armour contrasting with her own crisp black uniform. She did not stop to check if the wounded Jedi was sleeping but merely opened the curtain and stepped through. She placed her gloved hand on the edge of the bed and pressed down. 

 

“Miss Alluyen?”

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Pressure upon her bed and the sound of her name snapped Adenna out of the nightmares and confusing scenes that had been visiting her. Her blue eyes opened and took a few moments to adjust to the light and the figure standing over her. It took her a few moments to put a name to the face of the woman she had worked with and spent a significant amount of effort to heal months--years?--ago. There was a tiny bit of irony at the role reversal at play, but that was quickly shunted to the side.

 

Her voice raspy from disuse, she responded, "Yes, it is. I am glad to see you recovered. That makes one of us, at least."

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Raven let her thin shoulders rise into a shrug, not a shrug of annoyance, just acknowledgement, they had both been through so much. And from the state of the galaxy they would be going through so much more in due course. The Jedi had fallen during a mission to a sith world, she had faced the stiff and surprising resistance of that banking planet and had narrowly escaped with her life. At least she had not been captured. She had not faced the knives of the sith inquisition. 

 

Raven nodded her head and sat on the edge of the bed, near the Jedi’s feet. “I am well,  the wounds have healed significantly thanks to your help and the help of the Jedi Healers.” She looked at the two imperial knights who nodded and walked away, leaving her alone with Adenna. 

 

“What can I do to help you recover?” 

 

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Adenna smiled at Zinthos' words. She had not always been too fond of the Imperials, but war made strange alliances and created new ties. "My body will grow stronger with time, but that isn't what I need." It was a true statement, though she was more than frustrated that she couldn't hasten things along. She had been going in and out of healing trances, but all of her attempts to utilize the nanites within her body that could so quickly speed things along had been for naught. She was puzzled about their inactivity, but would puzzle that riddle later. "What I need is to know what is truly happening in the Galaxy. How are the Jedi? How has the war been going? I was told I have been out for near a year, so a lot has surely happened."

 

In her lucid times between trances, she has wracked her brain for new ideas and plans for how to continue the fight against the Sith. With how long she had been out, she presumed the Jedi found some other person to lead, but the nurses and doctors told her practically nothing. It frustrated her to no end not knowing what was going on and how she could continue to fight. Ever since Ilum and ridding herself of the plague of dark side influence that befell her, she had been constantly working towards crushing the Sith and freeing the Galaxy. To be flat on her back now was a test of her Jedi patience and serenity.

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As Armenia was taking care of matters, Tobias drifted slowly to his feet. Almost as if he was processing something in his mind that was almost at his capacity to deal with. Rolling his jaw around in its socket, he pondered the light that only he could see. It was his own stands of Force Energy- and he recognized where it was coming from. For a moment he started to panic. She had passed, he was about to lose control, he was about to-

 

No, she was alive, and- awake. Adenna was awake. A rare, blissful smile crossed his face, he was a beacon of joy within the force, and he let out a whoop, silent of course, and the sudden ramifications boxed him in. Vox was training with another at the moment and would do so until at least after this mission. He still had a mission he had to go on with the new grandmaster. Now that Adenna was awake, did that mean that she was back in charge or was Armenia still Grandmaster? Should he refuse to go on the mission and then take orders from Adenna only? Would Adenna want to be back in charge? Could she? 

 

Now he was torn in to different directions. He wanted to go to her- but he had a duty to the Jedi now... which was odd. His mind was a torrent of thoughts, until he took a deep breath and settled his mind. Adenna would want to recover a bit at least before resuming, if that was even an option, her duties as Grandmaster. Right now, Armenia was still in charge and leading the fight. They needed to conduct this mission, and return. So he called to Pim in the Force, recalling her back to the ship. It was a good thing too, because just then Armenia walked back through the doorway and asked if he was ready. Just then Pim bounced aboard and her eyes widened at the site of the Grandmaster aboard the ship. 

 

"Pim, good timing my padawan. We're leaving." Tobias said, as he started to pack things back up. 

 

Her eyes darted between the clothes, Tobias, Armenia, the filthy jumpsuit, and back over her shoulder, and then returned to her master. She seemed at a loss for words, her teenage mind overwhelmed. 

 

"I know, but we will have to wait. Master Alluyen will need some time to recover, and the sooner we leave the sooner we're back. Now go on..."

 

Pim bowed, her apprentice braid swung in the air, and then she disappeared.

 

"Grandmaster, departure is yours. The droid crew is up for flying the ship- unless you would like the helm? Piloting is not one of my better skills, heh..." The two were alone in the common room, but Tobias's mind was elsewhere. At least for the moment. He did try to refocus on the mission, but part of him was distracted by Adenna's recovery. By the time the ship would enter hyperspace, his mind would be focused. However, he did reach out gently and send a gentle, warm, welcoming pulse to her- a weak one so that it didnt mess with her. 

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Raven let a smile drift across her face, departing into a thin line of sadness before the smile was able to settle. Perhaps this war would curse the young throneless empress with frown lines, it had already cursed her with long sleepless nights that had left her far beyond tired. The war had cost them all very dearly. She let the smile come back, perhaps for its therapeutic effect on her face, or perhaps because there was a glimmer of hope. 

 

“The Jedi are doing well, they have continued operations under Master Draygo and I believe your old apprentice is even on the council, the war is a different story.” The frown came back, deeper than before. “We have continued the war and it is fairlty endless. Corellia was cleansed of the Sith Lords and still is held as a bastion in the Core. We attempted another counter attack at Kuat and were repulsed, and there is still another battle raging over Fondor. Other than that we are trying to house the refugees that keep flying to our system.” 

 

She sighed.

 

“Sometimes I wonder if we are fighting a loosing war. We deserve it for ignoring their rise to power, the corruption in the senate. But perhaps there is honour in a long defeat?” 

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Pretender to the Galactic Throne

Leader of the Rebel Alliance

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The Jedi Knight smiled slyly and nodded to the stormtrooper before placing her hand onto the trandoshans upper shoulder. It was a massive bunch of muscles, and she would be surprised if he couldn’t just crush a person's skull with a bare hand. He would need to learn how to apply that power in the right ways, in the Jedi way, she thought. But that could wait, for now they had a mission. She smoothed the front of her crimson tunic then pulled Vox and the stormtrooper into a small opening between two of the shops. 

 

‘This is where the last petty theft occurred right officer?” 

 

The stormtrooper nodded and was about to speak but cut off as Alcmène lifted her hand in front of them. She breathed out slowly and her eyelids fell closed. The air in front of her hand began to shimmer, then vibrate for a moment, then darkened. And to the rest of the market, it would appear that the trio had simply vanished as she reflected the light around them. And it was not a minute later that three young men made their first snatch and grab. Pushing a young woman down, grabbing her purse then sprinting away. The Jedi knight let her illusion drop and spared a glance to Vox.

 

“After them!”

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An informal cavalcade of sapients and equipment began to proceed up the boarding ramp of Vos’ corellian freighter. At first, it was merely a number of rucksacks, small arms, and a chain of dataspikes that was handed directly to the veteran Jedi. Eventually, some truly massive equipment was ferried into the ship: sacks of powdered permacrete and unset polymer, coils of refueling lines and crates of innumerable electronics components that would eventually become sensor arrays and comms towers. A GNK-series power droid eventually came wobbling up the ramp and a small speeder bike was eventually hauled into the cargo hold. Draygo bobbed her head as she received the dataspikes and placed a hand on a massive shoulder that was carelessly slinging a rucksack that had been taken from her ship.

 

“Careful with that one. It has about ten kilos of nergon-14.” The scruff of the black-furred Togorian rose in startlement and the feline carefully slung the satchel charges over his shoulders. 

 

Armiena just shrugged and tossed a miniature holoprojector onto the floor between them. A blue-light hologram bloomed before them: a topographical representation of a sizeable region of Borleias. It was notably flat. “This… is the Juanthir Peninsula. About ten klicks to the south is the old Dojo. All indications of its staff are that the Sith never launched an attack against it and it might be a viable source for scavenging… but it’s been some time. This clearing you see is the Survivor’s Foundation refugee camp. We will not be landing there.”

 

The hologram shifted approximately five hundred kilometers away: a much more rocky, hilly region. Little red splotches periodically denoted caverns, some charted, some present only as 2D specks.  “Here is the Erciyes Highlands. Rocky, lots of wooded valleys that will make for candidate sites for a starfighter base, lots of caves in those hills that we can use for temporary storage. An Imperial--”

 

“Sith,” interrupted a clipped Coruscanti accent, somewhere in the cargo hold.

 

“Thank you. A Sith task force could probe the region for days and not find a starfighter base. Captain, I’ll leave the construction of the facility to you. Vos, I understand that you have some less-than-legal friends operating in the region whose help we’ll need; supplies in, recruits out, bonuses for solid intel, that sort of thing. I’ll count on your discretion in handling the negotiations... just as long as they're on our side." Armiena nodded to her fellow Jedi Master. 

 

Once again, the view of the holoprojector shifted to that of a familiar cityspace: spires and kilometers of residential blocks, it was the capital city of Borleias. "My target is Sihnon. There’s a HoloNet transceiver facility there that serves the entire Pyria system. These…” She jingled the ring of dataspikes. “Have all the programs I’ll need to subvert its security protocols and forward any traffic it handles to our intelligence lads. If this goes well, we’ll gain a base for operations in the Core that will be excruciating for the E… Sith to root out. I’ll take the helm. Questions? You have two minutes before lift-off.”

 

Matching action to words, Draygo spun on a heel and followed the familiar floorplan of a Corellian-built freighter to the cockpit. There was a moment of hesitation as the veteran Jedi realized that she had never flown a YT-2000, but a space-pale hand rose to the ceiling and blindly touched the familiar buttons and switches of its ignition panels. It was almost identical to the other Corellian freighters she had flown. Smiling, Armiena proceeded through the routine of the steel saucer's pre-flight checks. It would not be long before the ship lifted off and catapulted them into hyperspace.

 

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As impressive as the headquarters' architecture was, it was simply a building with an intact structure to HC-42, who was currently headed to the training areas once again. Although it could be argued a droid with his programming didn't need training, the reality was that for all of his advantages, HC-42 was really just a cadet, and thus subject to training anyway. As the droid strolled along to the nearest training ground, he couldn't help but recall how simple things used to be- Xi Charrians checking his systems, running diagnostics, and programming him with all the training he needed. Their odd blend of technology and religious doctrine allowed for the creation of a droid that any other species would be nervous about making. 

 

Those early days were long gone thanks to the Sith, who had invaded Charros IV upon learning of their potentially threatening technology. It was a day of bombed factories, ransacked laboratories- and lots and lots of martyrs. Looking back, HC-42 was lucky to get off of that planet. It still puzzled the logic-bound droid that he made it despite having calculated his survival as being 236 to 1. Whatever happened, he was programmed to defend Charros IV, and at that point the only way to do that would be to serve the cause of the Rebel Alliance.

 

That being said, he was quite happy to be here- that is, if droids could feel true happiness. He arrived at the training grounds, and observed the others that were practicing fights. The droid's arsenal and programming were impressive, and rarely was he approached by a trainer or trainee, mainly because the droid was seen as intimidating to them, and many didn't like the idea of taking on an unknown droid prototype. HC-42 saw that logic as sound- things could easily get messy. But he still needed training, so HC-42 was always approaching them rather than vice versa. Of course, the Xi Charrians gave him only two methods of communication- Binary, which wasn't commonly understood by his fellow cadets, and of course Galactic Basic, which they did understand. He just happened to be speaking in a deep monotone that was designed to intimidate, just like the rest of him. The droid knew intimidation was a useful tactic against enemies, but at this point it was preventing him from connecting with his allies. Truly ironic. Nonetheless, he made his presence known to the nearest trainer.

 

"Cadet HC-42 reporting for mandatory combat training."

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Lieutenant Vasily Chernigov nodded his balding grey head to the large droid. He had seen it all, in thirty years of service, first under the old Imperial Order, then the Imperial Remnant, now under the fledgling Rebel Alliance. He had seen recruits of every shape and size, alien or human, even the rare fully sentient droid had signed up for service. And this appeared to be one of these, and a quick glance told him that there was no restraining bolt, and the Lieutenant would not ask about one. The Rebel Alliance needed every body, and this one looked extremely capable. He held out a signatory datapad. 

 

“Please sign for your training equipment. You will be assigned to the thirty third light infantry if that is suitable. They are Caridian refugees, so I think you may just fit right in. You will find a E-22 blaster rifle in a locker, we use issued weapons here for ease of logistics. So any inbuilt weaponry you may have will need to be modified to use E32 blaster cartridges and Spin Sealed Tibanna. Any questions before we begin? Your commanding officer is named Zavalishin. He is waiting in the training room through the next two doors.” 

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Pretender to the Galactic Throne

Leader of the Rebel Alliance

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Clear instructions were issued by the Lieutenant- sign for the training equipment, which includes an E-22 rifle, modify any in-built weaponry to take E32 cartirdges. Despite appearances, the only in-built weapons HC-42 had were thermal detonators and poison gas grenades- both of which he obviously wouldn't be using in a training exercise. The droid emptied his thermal detonators and gas grenades, and turned them into the officer. HC-42 had not brought his two heavier weapons, a heavy repeating blaster and an electrostaff, which were locked in the droid's barracks. 

 

"These are not permitted, I assume?" 

 

While unsure of whether he'd see those useful weapons again- after all, the Alliance could end up distributing them to other soldiers- HC-42 was quite sure he wouldn't be needing them for now, and then again, he had his orders to use the issued weapons. HC-42 then signed the datapad, and headed to the locker, where the aforementioned rifle sure enough was found stashed. The droid grabbed the rifle than headed through the next two doors, being sure to duck if the clearance was less than 2.5 meters.  Zavalishin and the 33rd Light Infantry were sure enough there. He was admittedly skeptical about Lieutenant Chernigov's assurance he'd fit in- a prototype battle droid with Caridian refugees- but greeted them anyway.

 

"Greetings. Lieutenant Chernigov just assigned me here with issued weaponry."

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Though the Empress attempted to minimize parts of the gravity of their situation, Adenna could sense the strain in her voice. There was a sense of finality, of inevitable defeat that frightened her. The struggle against evil was never ending, but it had to be fought regardless of the cost. "Better to die fighting than submit to evil," she muttered, mostly to herself.

 

Weak as she was, she swung her legs over the side of the bed and grimaced at the hospital gown she was robed in. It definitely wasn't her normal attire, but it was what she had. Confidence was needed, even if it seemed she no longer led the Jedi Order. Adenna would never submit, but would resist and fight regardless of the odds. "Honor is irrelevant," she replied to the woman before her. There wasn't any harshness in her voice, nor was there any sense of incrimination or judging. She was simply stating a fact. "We fight to oppose evil and the Dark Side and to protect the innocent because there is no other option left to us. You can call it 'honor' or 'duty' or whatever you wish, but never let that distract you from our actual purpose. We fight because we must and because failure means the death of trillions and a tide of darkness that would consume everything. We can't fight for our own selves, we must fight only for others. Victory or defeat, honor or dishonor: it is all meaningless as long as we fight and do not submit, for as long as we refuse to submit there is still some hope in the Galaxy."

 

Standing up caused a great deal of pain in her disused muscles, but she ignored it and reached out to the Force to gain the strength it offered. "I have laid idle here for too long." To the Empress and those with her, she added, "Is there any here who can get me some proper robes and join me in opposing the Sith scourge?"

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On 3/30/2021 at 6:38 PM, Alcmène said:

The Jedi Knight smiled slyly and nodded to the stormtrooper before placing her hand onto the trandoshans upper shoulder. It was a massive bunch of muscles, and she would be surprised if he couldn’t just crush a person's skull with a bare hand. He would need to learn how to apply that power in the right ways, in the Jedi way, she thought. But that could wait, for now they had a mission. She smoothed the front of her crimson tunic then pulled Vox and the stormtrooper into a small opening between two of the shops. 

 

‘This is where the last petty theft occurred right officer?” 

 

The stormtrooper nodded and was about to speak but cut off as Alcmène lifted her hand in front of them. She breathed out slowly and her eyelids fell closed. The air in front of her hand began to shimmer, then vibrate for a moment, then darkened. And to the rest of the market, it would appear that the trio had simply vanished as she reflected the light around them. And it was not a minute later that three young men made their first snatch and grab. Pushing a young woman down, grabbing her purse then sprinting away. The Jedi knight let her illusion drop and spared a glance to Vox.

 

“After them!”

 

Following the pair, Vox looked around at the sheer size of the place. Firstly, it was certainly larger now that they moved further through the people. And secondly he couldn't imagine how many thieves were amongst this riffraff. He felt a hand placed on the tough fabric of his shoulder between the cracked armored plates, and although the body glove was thick it could barely contain the muscle the individual possessed. Easily Vox could ravage various people, though this wasn't his thought, it was a good thing that he didn't fall into the hands of the Sith. Gods only know what he and his War Pack would become. 

 

Vox was then allowed to be pulled between an empty space between the two shops, and then he felt it. A sudden rush of energy surrounding the soldier and the woman Jedi, being pulled toward her as in a sudden instant there was darkness before the three. Vox, already focusing to the best of his ability, remained calm and patient for the near minute and began to reach out on his own. And in the moment when Alcmène routed the prey, he immediately locked onto the life energies of three young scoundrels that were pointed out. Though this was new to him the Chieftain was finding this Force power very useful, and he kept his focus on them. 

 

Already the armored Trandoshan rushed forward, the three individuals painted as a simple blue hue of body while everyone else around him were merely shadows. He could still see the fine detail, the regular color and clothes and items of the world and people however he saw what was between real and ethereal colors. Running with taste, Vox carefully maneuvered around people and kept his Saber in a small pocket of his armor. It didn't matter if he maneuvered, because people who saw the behemoth moved quickly out of the way and he was stating aloud, "Excuse me," and, "I need passage!" And whatever else, however no one would be able to understand the Nudono language. 

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“Put your explosives and valuables in here, program a code for it, and place it into your personal locker. No one should take it, thieving amongst companies is a shooting sentence.” He smiled again and nodded as the droid made his way into the training rooms. 

_______

 

Emma-Three-Nine, code named Zavalishin, looked up at the tall and imposing battle droid as he made his way into the training facility. She let a welcoming smile flicker across her face, the photoreceptors behind her eyes flashing momentarily to purple then back to the pale red. She was human Replica Droid, though a sloppily made one. One made in haste in the final days of the old Remnant. Before Carida and Kuat fell. And though her synth flesh made her look very much like a young woman, the visual joints, and lit eyes marked her as non human. A false image, a mockery of who she had once been. 

 

The Caridian Refugees, the unit she had been assigned were a lot like her, mostly human, mostly replaced flesh. And their newest member was simply an embodiment of what they had become through the long war. 

 

“HC-42…” Her voice was synthetic much like the rest of her, the voice having been given as much work as her eyes, and had an edge of metal. “Welcome, you are assigned to the third squad of our group. Please adjust yourself quickly, we are about to run a sim if you are willing.”

 

((This is your chance to describe your own squad and what they are armed with. Give the three other members names and backgrounds))

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This was it. With his valuables and explosives locked and coded away, and with three other soldiers, HC-42 was about to run his first simulation involving partnerships with others. He was surprised to see that his commander was a droid like him- he wasn't told this.

 

"As you command." he said to Zavalishin, before he approached the third squad. The three other members of his squad were cyborgs, each pretty distinctive. HC-42 decided to run a quick analysis- taking mere microseconds, really- on each one.

 

One was a human who had minimal cybernetics- just an arm and an eye- and was female. She introduced herself, as Sasha, but she didn't bother telling HC-42 her last name for some reason. Unbeknownst to HC-42, this was largely because she didn't remember it, as she had been an orphan longer than she could remember. By the time Carida fell, she had been caught up in the war already, and lost her arm and eye to a large piece of shrapnel that impaled her shoulder and cut her nearest eye. She woke up with cybernetics, having already been evacuated. But despite the capabilities she now gained from the loss of her arm and eye- the trauma from their loss was clearly there. She could remember the pain she felt. And now she wanted to prove that those pains will not go unanswered. Her cybernetic eye gave her great sharpshooting abilities, and her experience in the field gave her a tactical edge. 

 

"Never seen a droid of your type before..." is all she said, in a somewhat nervous tone at that.

 

The second was Gwal Ertha, a human almost as tall as HC-42 himself. The cranial cybernetics made the large, war-painted head of Gwal even more intimidating than usual, and both his arms were replaced with bulky cybernetic ones as thick as tree trunks. Besides the cybernetics, it was obvious his immense size and bulk was from steroids. Unbeknownst to HC-42, he had been a street fighter on Carida- that being the reason for his steroid use- as he was very poor and needed quick money for his family. When Carida fell, he saw his wife blasted away by merciless troops. He himself had his arms cut off by a vibroblade wielded by a trooper he attacked out of rage. As soon as he was evacuated, he signed up for the fight and was given his cybernetics.

 

"Who cares? He obviously has the firepower and muscle to improve this squad's capabilities." he said with a grumble to Sasha.

 

The third was Leep Bernill, a shorter, more slender human male whose cybernetic legs augmented his speed and agility. While Gwal was obviously good at overpowering an enemy with size and strength alone- which was great at getting an enemy to back off- Leep was the other type of fighter. He'd overpower by striking at the right points, dodging punishing attacks, and turning the opponent's strength against him using his dexterity. That being said, cybernetic legs were perfect for the job. Leep, like Gwal, wasn't recruited until after Carida fell, which he signed up for because he believed his home deserved freedom. He spoke suddenly, in an aggressive tone.

 

"I don't like it, Gwal. Our leader may be a droid like him, but he makes the rest of us look like wimps."

 

Sasha scoffed. "You do a good job of looking like that already, Leep." 

 

Leep leered at Sasha, but said nothing.  All in all, their team spirit could be improved, but HC-42 was impressed with the group. All were armed with the issued E-22 rifles like he was, and had skillsets that worked well together when used correctly. The battle droid decided to break his silence, hopefully in a way that deescalated the conversation. "I am HC-42. I hope I can prove efficient to you all in this simulation. I calculate our teamwork will be critical to our success."

 

Leep still looked skeptical, but Sasha looked more relaxed. "He's right. We should probably move out now. Follow Zavalishin's instructions, and we should be fine regardless of what we face in the simulation. It's what we learn that's important." HC-42 calculated she was right about that. For all of his pre-programmed skills, the one thing HC-42 lacked was experience on the battlefield. He also calculated that regardless of the simulation's outcome, he'd be getting some of that soon, however. 

Edited by DroidsAreUnderrated

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