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Ylesia


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"Forgive me, Lady Draygo." Æquitas spoke, his gaze never shifting toward her as he spoke. "To be honest, I'm not entirely sure where the Jedi reside. I've seen a few around camp, Master Sarna, Lady Kil, a few Adepts and Apprentices, but that's it."

 

Outward, Æquitas looked at the horizon of Ylesia and downward toward its passing surface with humbling shame. He had been here awhile now, lost in the reeling shock of Nar Shadaa and his rise in stature that he hadn't taken the moment to gather much Intel, and now he found himself lacking.

 

But such was the devastation of a battle like Nar Shadaa. Even the Force echoed its wound way out here, both through those that survived, and in nature, as it accommodated the tipping of the scales. It was a heaviness that all would carry upon their shoulders moving forward until the passing of time was capable of easing the weight. There may have not been much he could have done different, but it's guilt still glimmered in his sapphiric gaze as they turned toward Misal.

 

"Nar Shadaa may be over, but for most of us, we're still fighting... His tone was mono, usually deep for someone of his developmental age, and the horrors he saw and felt had aged his speech pattern. Nar Shadaa weighed his voice heavily. "... gathering, and redirecting. Few of us have ever felt such devastation or seen such horror."

 

As the LAAT/i made its approach and began its decent, encircling the plateau where the port had been stationed into, the repercussions of war was abundantly evident as the encircling camp spread outwardly into the horizon on all sides. Indeed, it's sight was grueling and saddening, reminiscent of the days following Coruscant. But Æquitas hadn't been there for that, his and Master Æowulf's mission having taken them far from the Galactic Core during that time and much of the war. Such things were new to the Jedi Knight. With a thud of the ship landing, Æquitas finished. "Its fracturing."

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“Yes. There is nothing like urban conflict. I would have preferred to not have experienced that again.” Misal sighed and sat down heavily at the rear of the passenger compartment, accompanied by one of the members of her fireteam. Something more intense than exhaustion or pain radiated off of the elderly Miraluka like heat haze from a durasteel foundry. It was time–the woman had seen so much of it, and knew that she would not live to see much more. Perhaps just enough, however. “Jedi, you do not know me and are under no obligation to regard my advice. But it seems to me that you are fighting wounded. You may think it admirable, but you require time for healing. There is no substitute for recovery.”

 

Now that was almost certainly far too personal for a stranger to offer to a wounded warrior. But the Miraluka appeared to think nothing of this intrusion. She sat with her spiderweb-lined face turned towards one of the sliding doors, turning over a large, steely disc in her fingers while watching the dreary marshes as they were overtaken by ocean, then by the jungles and grasslands of Ylesia’s central continent.The sound of snoring filled the compartment. Another of the fireteam was leaning heavily on the shoulder of the Togorian, her face relaxed in sleep. A little rivulet of drool was beginning to drip from the corner of her mouth.

 

Those four dozing sapients started awake when the transport settled on the ground. They guided the Duros family into the refugee camp, leaving their Miraluka leader alone with the Jedi.

 

Misal quietly sat and watched Knight Aequitas for a few seconds, her hands folded in her lap. “I think you may be of some assistance in the matter of convening the Jedi Council. I require a location with convenient access to this spaceport. No requirements for security or fortification, but holoprojectors and access to the galactic Holonet are critical. Proximity to Rebel Alliance facilities would be useful. I must ask that you guide me to such a location.”

 

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Talyn likewise removed his own helmet placing it under one arm, revealing his scarred face and cybernetic implants. His face was one of sadness for the loss of his old mentor and friend, it appeared that the rumours he had heard were true. Kolchak had indeed perished although he was proud he went out on his own terms, taking as many out with him as he could. Like the stubborn old fool he had always been in life.

 

Spitting in the very faces of those some considered gods. Proving them mortal and just crazed fanatics albeit ones with otherworldly abilities.

 

He spoke, his voice calm and yet serious as was the nature of their conversation.

 

 "Greetings Agent Qessax, it is sad that such a man is now lost to us...like many other such hero's who saved many more lives with their sacrifices. But somehow I see this as just the beginning. There is always reason to the madness of the Sith I have found with my time among their ranks, nothing is without some purpose. Kolchak spoke highly of you as well, although we never personally met until now. I believe he trained us both simultaneously, though in different fields. It is a shame it is after his death that we met. But regardless of my feelings on this you wanted to know about Korriban. 

 

I shall tell you what I found, information which almost cost me my life and forced me to burn my cover. Whilst using my deep cover within the military structure of the Sith, one I had maintained since my younger years, I recently found that the government of Korriban is still Sith affiliated and actively resisting attempts by Galactic Alliance personnel looking to help any to transition. Those that are found to be sympathisers are being rounded up and 'rehabilitated' for lack of a better term for the horror they inflict...or outright executed. 

 

I have also found out that miraculously, some of the old native red skinned Sith species or Tsis as I have found they call themselves to stop any confusion between the Order and themselves, still exist there. Although in smaller numbers, they have kept the old hatreds which has only gotten stronger since our last attack and are allied with the Sith but they are no real problem. They shouldn't be an issue during any transition. They tend to hang near the mountains, with some smaller settlements in the deep desert, although they occasionally have been seen hunting the Tu'kata and other beasts and assisting the Sith with archaeological sites or the occasional engineering work. Apparently when Korriban was reborn years ago they returned en masse from among the stars and have been very slowly repopulating the planet. They might not be trouble for now but I would keep an eye on them just in case they become a issue later. That is my full report, I await further instructions and hope I can serve you with the same fervour I once gave to Kolchak."

 

Talyn finally finished, allowing himself a breathe as he allowed Qessax to digest all the information he had provided. No doubt some of it was intriguing, just as he had found it when he first discovered it.

 

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The following twenty-four hours were marked by constant activity, so much that Slaughter eventually allowed the Jedi Healer to begin pushing him from briefing to briefing. There were countless necessary details that needed to be tended to for the operations of a fleet: ammunition, fuel, rations, starfighters, medical support… those details were frequently attended to by a swarm of staff officers whose sole purpose was to keep his mind focused on planning fires and maneuvers, and as far away as possible from… for example, cajoling the Secretary-General of Fondor’s shipyards into prematurely launching a dozen frigates and smaller vessels, and sacrificing an repaired Star Destroyer from its defensive fleet.

 

Of course, half of those staff officers were now dead or wounded even more severely than him. It would be a few days before his staff would be replenished by officers from the Outer Rim.

 

That was emblematic of the entire bloodbath at Nar Shaddaa. The Admiral had spoken fiercely about the supposed victory that the Rebel Alliance had won at Nar Shaddaa, but it was their civilians who had been murdered by orbital bombardment. It was their shipyard that had been deorbited during the battle. It was now their task to retake a war-weary galaxy from an empire that had become brittle and cracked, and every hull lost, every life lost was another resource that would be sorely needed in the next few weeks. While the Sith were congratulating themselves over a glorious slaughter, the people of the galaxy would be tasked to rebuild their worlds.

 

By the end of that second day, however, Slaughter had accumulated enough of a fleet that he could confidently launch a single major attack, and begin a major encroachment into the Galactic Core. The latter would depend on the former--if that infiltration was detected, thousands of critical fighting men would be wasted.

 

“It’s time to rest, Admiral. You’re spinning your--I mean, blowing out your repulsors on nothing productive.” The Barabel Jedi Master who had been his silent companion during the entire day looked on balefully as Slaughter surrounded himself with an ever-growing stack of reports on a borrowed desk in a tiny office in a prefab building that belonged to fleet intelligence.

 

“Not much of a rhetorical mind, but I know a bad metaphor when I hear one.” Slaughter growled and exchanged a glance that was as reptilian as the Jedi’s.

 

“Nonetheless, you will sleep now. Otherwise, I shall place you in a recuperation trance and carry you to the nearest available cot. These are your choices. You must maintainoperational capacity.” The Barabel’s mouth opened slightly. Slaughter wondered if that was the reptiloid’s best approximation of a smile.

 

“Point taken, Jedi. You win this round.” The middle-aged Admiral pushed himself away and allowed himself to be wheeled towards a nearby cot in an adjacent barracks. After a laborious process of hauling his paraplegic body into bed, the Jedi Master placed a clawed hand on his forehead.

 

He was unconscious within seconds.

 

________

 

He learned of the political briefing concerning Korriban the next morning while dressing. A few staff officers ferried the news of the last four hours to him while dressing, an operation made somewhat less dignified by the fact that a Jedi Master still needed to guide his legs into his trousers and tie his boots.

 

“You have five days. Burn the midnight oil, mainline caf, do what it takes. I can’t wait to be able to take a shit without the help of a kriffing Jedi.” He groused while being briefed on the progress of bringing the Galactic Alliance’s--ancient stockpiles of ground-attack starfighters out of deep storage. That task would require a week--degreasing, re-tuning, re-assembly and a number of steps that all began with “re.” Another officer briefed him on a number of new arrivals, including the Nebula-class Star Destroyer Benediction, a number of support frigates and corvettes, and thirty-odd escort carriers--essentially, minimally-armed freighters whose cargo holds had been renovated with fueling lines and magcon generators.

 

“That will happen when you submit yourself to further surgery.” The Barabel hissed at his patient.

 

“Whatever. Now, get me to that briefing.”

 

Allowing the Jedi Master to wheel him towards the intelligence briefing, Slaughter took the several minutes in transit to devour a hearty, balanced breakfast consisting of ration bars and fleet-strength caf. The quiet squeaking of the chair warned of his approach, but he just quietly listened to @Talyn Orin and @Qessax Jal Toddaand thought. There might be a possibility in this room, an opportunity to distract the Sith Empire and mislead them towards the intentions of the Rebel Alliance. The question, however, was how many resources--ships, munitions, people--could be spent on a diversion attack.

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Qessax listened to the information like a seasoned hunter, trying to pick up every detail possible, and then some. He had learned that everyone, including soldiers and agents, emphasized the information they thought was most important. However, agents tended to still include the non-essential information. 

 

“We want to make it so that Korriban is no longer a safe haven for the Sith. If the local government is still loyal, then we need to make sure that it is toppled and replaced as quickly as possible.”

 

Qessax scratched his face and studied the projection of Korriban. It was this point when Admiral Slaughter wheeled in. 

 

“Admiral” Qessax saluted, feeling his chest tighten with nerves. “You are just in time sir. Admiral, this is agent Talyn Orin. He had just completed debriefing me about the situation on Korriban. 

 

“Orin, I know with your cover being burned you probably aren’t as eager to return to that planet as some may be, but we are stretched thin with assets. And Admiral, as much pain as you may be in, I must request you help with air force superiority. Agent Orin is the person with the most up-to-date intelligence on the planet. Potential holdouts, locations for prisoners, names of opposing leadership. Your mission, should you accept it, is to help lead a task force onto Korriban, topple the local government, and establish a new one. 

 

“These sympathizers,...” Qessax finally opened a few files on the few known and potentially alive sympathizers “would make ideal candidates to help supplement a new local government. Capturing them alive would go a long way. Any of them that have the charisma to help convince the Tsis to stand down would also help, not that i’m expecting miracles.“

 

A few inputs into the computer, and Qessax began to pull up the profiles of several personnel. The list was not too large, but definitely diverse: Talyn’s own profile, a humanoid jedi, a war droid from the clone wars, several starship personnel as well as a few others.

 

“These individuals will be most helpful in eliminating enemy targets. Jedi Knight Sanguis Æquitas’ recent experience on Nar Shaddaa makes him ideal for this kind of fight, though i think you should request his help yourself.  We have also enlisted the help of a Terror Droid who has proven his worth on Outer Heaven. He is literally screaming to fight the Sith, so don’t expect subtlety. 

 

“If this mission is to succeed, you two need to coordinate tactics on getting our men on the planet, providing assistance where needed, and destroying potential surface to space weaponry. The attack is going to be rocky from the start, and it’ll most likely get more difficult until its completion.”

 

Qessax wasn’t exaggerating at this point. Both he and Talyn knew that resistance would be heavy through and through. Only the elimination of the leadership would ease any of the trouble. Missions like Outer Haven and such would be a cakewalk compared to taking the cultural home of the Sith. 

 

“Our new Viceroy desires victories to show the galaxy we are not weak and i am not one to disappoint. It is a time for aggression if there ever was one” Qessax glanced at the Admiral as he quoted Slaughters words from the prior meeting. “Any questions?”

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“Indeed we have survived Lord Moff, if only by a thread.” 

 

Raphanel’s bright blue eyes narrowed for a second at the caf, but he knew to reject such an offering was to bring a shield and barrier up where one should not have been. Plus, though he despised the bitter taste of the swill, it would give him a caffeinated edge for whatever long meeting was ahead of them. A caffeinated Chandrillian wine would have more fit the purpose, but he doubted that such a drink would have been stockpiled in any such quantity before the war. So with little reluctance except in spirit, he scooped up the steaming mug and took a long drought of the bitter liquid and took a seat opposite the Large Barabel Moff. 

 

Such a person, a being, or alien, would not have acquired such a lofty rank, if not for the efforts of the Imperial Empress. And now that pretty face and lofty crown were gone, turned to ash in an antimatter fueled explosion. So the Knights would press on, they, and this moff would make a galaxy worth living in again. A galaxy free from slavery and sith tyranny, and free from the lofty airs of ivory tower republics. 

 

“I live, as do many of my friends, though we grieve for the loss of those that did not make it off Nar Shaddaa. And I am afraid some of us wish that some that did make it off did not. But such is the way of tribalism, and I am sure we can find some use for the servants of democracy.” 

 

He gave a knowing smile, and extended a black gloved hand across the table to the Barabel. 

 

“To the future of the Imperial order.”

 

But such conversations came with other hooks. 

 

"And what can I assist you with dear friend?"

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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A soft chuckle hissed through the lizard’s teeth as he set his cup down to shake the warrior’s hand. “Is it ever not about the business of the Imperium with you lot?” He asked warmly before his hands settled back around his mug. Turning his head he looked about to make sure there was no one close enough to overhear. “Such a place is not the usual way of such conveyances and discussions, but when one hails from the Outer Rim . . . “ he paused letting the words hang in the air. He had a different upbringing than most so-called politicians. It was this difference that had allowed him to succeed where many had not; he was

more of a mercenary with a silvered-tongue than a conniving bureaucrat setting about hushed halls and calling on secured lines. The galaxy was much more real, tangible.  It was with this outlook that Vangat would seek to guide the fate of the free galaxy. It was an ideal of survival without the ability to trust completely, knowing one’s self and what one could do and upon whom to lean in a dire situation. One was responsible for his or her own fate where lawlessness prevailed even under the watchful eye of powers and principalities.

 

”Perhaps you are right.” He continued, sitting up from his forward-leaning position at the table. The entire table seemed to shift as the bench beneath him groaned and moved. “Time is a valued commodity that we cannot afford to waste. Right now, the chow hall is empty enough to be more secure than many stately meeting chambers so often favored for such discussions. But then again, perhaps we are just two old Imperials catching up after a brutal slaughter. Aged by what we have seen well beyond our years.”

 

“Tell me of your order, without the Empress who is it that directs your paths?”

 

”Beside the force obviously,” he smiled. “What will you do now until we can bring back the safe return of out Queen or establish her eternal demise? What the. becomes of your order?”

 

As if to signal his line of questions was done, if but for the moment, the brute of a Barabel cradled his ceramic cup of brown steaming caf and gingerly lifted it to his toothy maw. A glimmer of a smile could be seen twinkling in the furthest reaches of his reptilian slitted eyes; a glimmer that counteracted the imposing presence that came inherently with the fat-straddled muscle and thick blaster-scarred and resistant skin.

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In the morning the air hung heavily on Yselia, already the wind carried a humidity about it that wasn't necessarily the best thing to be outdoors for. But it allowed for a good sweat to build so that the wind would feel cool to the touch. That was the idea at first, but then the Bad Company would soon regret their decision of not remaining on a ship. The Mantis, a freighter redesigned for combat and stealth purposes, was posted just outside the parameter... At least outside of where the food was. 

 

After their meal, the three man squad lead by one Arc Trooper, Captain Tilt, were busy with cleaning equipment and the Mantis in case they were needed in the field. This was the first time they have received any proper sleep, even going as far sleeping in past their usual 0500 routine, one simply couldn't stay sane on limited rest. The squad was followed by another Captain, Thumper who was the technician, then Sargeant Riggs who handled weapons and explosive ordnance. It hadn't been long since their stasis in cryo sleep in which they had been on ice for a very, very long time. Long enough to miss out on various events and shifts throughout the galaxy. Long enough that Clones, at least the Fett based Clones, were all but near extinguished. But that didn't bother Tilt nor the crew, they moved on from their feelings toward the Republic albeit the old insignia was stamped on the left shoulder armor whilst the right bore the Rebel/Imperial Alliance mark. Should they be needed for covert ops the armor pieces could easily be replaced. 

 

There was a loud crash which caught Tilts attention, interrupting readjusting the scopes for the rifles. The crashing ended with Riggs cussing up a storm and Thumper moving to see what had happened, Tilt shaking his head as he continued his work. That was until a young male Zabrak, reeking of hyperlane fuel and covered in grime came rushing to the Clone who, out of instinct, pulled a blaster on the kid. Tilt said in a stern and steady tone as he holstered a weapon, "It's unwise to rush someone working on a blaster. What is it?" 

 

"Sir,” The messenger panted. “Director Qessax, successor to Grand Moff Kolchak in Imperial Intelligence has requested that you proceed with all haste to his location. Your Alliance needs you.”

 

Before Tilt could utter another word the kid was already gone, leaving behind in the Clone's palm a tracking device. Tilt wasn't fully armored, instead had don a sleeveless white shirt which shown off his biceps and the cargo shorts he also wore. It was better wearing civvies in down time, but it seemed they were on call now. Quickly putting everything back together, Tilt put weapons in cases as well as spare parts and fuel cells for the blasters. It was time to move out. 

 

"Thumper, Riggs! Get your gear on and everything in order, we're heading out in five!" 

______________________________________

 

"Okay, so we're waltzing about looking at that little gidgit?" Riggs asked as the trio made their way through the encampment and near the designated area. 

 

"It's called a tracking device," Thumper say's as of describing the thing to a child, "A shows you where a person is if you have a signal node on 'em!"

 

"Yeah, I know what it is, but they couldn't tell us where we're supposed to go?" 

 

"It's easier to just have them do this," Tilt finally said as the approached the makeshift tent, putting the device away and sliding his helmet on, "Best behavior, both of you. I don't want to screw things up." 

 

Just before they could enter a security droid stopped the group, Tilt pulled out a tracking device and handed it to the machine just before entering, "We're here on orders of Quessex. 130th Legion, Captain Tilt."

 

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As Æquitas stepped out of the landing craft, he turned toward Lady Misal and offered the Elder a helping hand. "Admirable, perhaps not... He spoke in return, a soft smile crossing his face briefly. "But necessary in times such as these. If we don't move forward despite our wounds, then we fail those dependent upon us."

 

As he finished talking, he turned toward those he had just returned, offering each the same helping hand and guidance toward the arriving aid, his mind attentive to Lady Misal as she spoke. He knew she was correct in her assessment, despite his reluctance to admit it. But he also knew he had to keep pushing forward, placing his own needs aside for the sake of others first and foremost. He had been a Padawan for so long that the lack of guidance left a vacancy in his purpose he could not fill. He could only hope that it would work its self out.

 

As he thought upon her request, he only knew of two active Alliance establishments through the scuttlebutt around camp, one an old outpost on the outskirts of camp, and the other a nearby tent used by the Alliance higher ups. Which would be of better use to her, he held no idea. "I only know of two possibilities ma'am. A nearby tent used as a command post by the Higher Ups here in the camp, and an old outpost on the outskirts, neither of which I am sure may hold what you need."

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Beck stood stirring his caf, which was black and held nothing in it to be stirred, yet that's just what he did as he looked up through a window at the outline shape of his ship, Fiat Lux. There was a lot given to him in the recent meeting. Nothing outside of what was expected, yet still enough to have him lost in thoughts. Captain Isiah walked up to him and observed the scene for a moment before letting out a rather loud cough to get the attention of his Admiral. The inhale of his own breath was what stood out to him the most as he turned to look at the man before him. There was a quick salute, but the longtime Captain did not wait for the return salute before dropping it and moving forward. "Sorry to interrupt sir. Most of the crew has now been shuffled around to let each one take a good six hours on planet. In the midst of everything... command has offered up a promotion..." The slow reveal told him that the man was hesitant to accept it. He wondered for a moment if the loyal officer held reservations due to fear of backlash. He had hoped that he wouldn't give that off to his men. 

 

"Isiah, you're a good man. A strong commander and one who has learned everything you could from me. It is time for you to take on something more. Push yourself beyond what you know. It would be foolish to not take a promotion of any kind. I wish you well." He extended his hand to offer a handshake to Isiah, to which the younger man accepted it. "Thank you sir. They gave me a command in advance field intelligence." A slight smile came to Beck at the thought. Isiah was always good at intelligence, which may be why they offered it up to him. "I'm glad they saw you were the one keeping me up to date. I'm not sure who or even how I could selected anyone to replace you."

 

"Well sir.. that's a second thing I wanted to report to you. Lieutenant Lilla Rurn has officially transferred from the Rebel Alliance over to the Imperial navy. Made a special request to join your crew..." That was good news for him. The girl was bold and willing to follow her gut, a trait not common amongst the current officers within the Imperial Navy. But under his new orders, such a request to join his crew would prove to be something different entirely than what she may have been expecting. "I will have to arrange a time to meet with her then. Thank you for your service Isiah, may whatever you believe in help you in your next position." Beck then offered up a salute to his now former second in command deck officer. Once the man returned it, he gave him a firm handshake before watching Isiah turn and left the Admiral alone to his thoughts. Beck took a sip of his caf as he stared at the direction Isiah left for a good three minutes before he returned to looking up at the sky again. Things were indeed about to change. 

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Talyn looked upon Sgt. slaughter as he was wheeled in, it appeared even with his injuries the man refused to quit and give in, ever the soldier continuing to fight. He had heard of him and his reputation and was glad to be given the opportunity to work alongside him...few had the stomach for the kind of work they were accustomed too which was understandable.  It was not easy to see the horrors they had and still continue to fight.

 

He saluted the man before speaking, adding to the display when it centred around Korriban. He marked out several locations of importance.

 

 "Your reputation preceded you Admiral. I am glad to finally meet the man behind the legend so to speak and have a chance to finally work with you. Here you are, the locations of most importance and the defences I can recall seeing on Korriban. As you can see most of the defences seem to be centred about the Praxeum itself, which descends it seems below the surface, but how far I was never able to determine. 

 

Most of the levels below the surface were restricted to the Sith Lords and above only. Sith Steel reinforces the pyramids which are trying hard to hide in the landscape, this I was told is used only upon the surface level of the larger complex outside. Then there is the valley itself. The Valley Of The Dark Lords they call it. Full of old tombs, place gives even me the creeps. The cliff faces to either side aimed at limiting any potential angles of orbital bombardment, with the usual point-defense cannons, turbolasers, and ion cannon batteries positioned around the pyramids intended by design to try and stop any drop troops or ordinance. 

 

But they should be no trouble compared to the is the threat you don't see. Look here. They have missile batteries hidden from plain sight. I was lucky enough to spot them myself. From what I saw they were loaded with some kind of surface-to-space proton torpedoes and concussion missiles. Beyond that I wasn't sure what else they had, I didn't have time to check further. But as for troops, there was not many left, a skeleton crew for most part for the last several years. Most scattered into the wind after the previous Dark Lord disappeared as the current one went to war taking what they could with them.

 

Hope that helps gentleman."

 

 

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“We had objectives, we had plans, we had dreams. With or without the empress we will pursue them. For our oath is still valid even without a crown, we serve the new government, and see that it fulfills the dream of the Empress.”

 

He leaned forward slightly, placing his elbows upon the table’s top. 

 

“If the government strays from the vision, and from our oath, we will destroy it. For we will follow no false master and suffer no darkness to be seen. If you want to purge the government of corrupt bureaucrats who siphon funds from orphans into their pockets, we will do it most gladly.  But for now we will rebuild our order alongside the government and the old jedi order.” He tried to keep the disdain he held in his mind for the jedi out of his voice, but it still bled in. There were any number of synonyms that fit in his mind to replace the disdainful ‘old.’ Dying? Irrelevant? Failed? But they did not matter, the grudges needed to be healed for order and justice to thrive in the galaxy. At the thought he let another smile cross his lips, a quick one, with some degree of edge to it. 

 

“And as long as you do not mind us destroying the institution of slavery wherever we go I am sure we will complement each other quite well dear Moff. And if I can ask you one thing." He leaned across the table. His bright and sharp blue eyes looking earnestly into the Barabel's. "Do not let the weakness of democracy stain the government thousands of us and millions of imperial citizens have died to achieve." He did not need to add in that had it not been for the weakness of the senate and republican democracy, then none of them would have needed to die at all. The truth was in his words already.

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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“I need more,” Slaughter nodded gravely. The concern was etched in the lines of his face as vividly as the fresh scars around his left eye. “You two know as well as I do that our fleet sustained severe losses at Nar Shaddaa. That necessarily alters our strategy. We can’t afford a massed assault or planetary bombardment against any target, least of all one as strongly defended as Korriban.

 

Slaughter held out a small holoprojector. Tapping it to life, from it shone a map of the Valley of the Dark Lords and the badlands surrounding the Dreshdae. Significant elevation changes were marked in crisp lines–with some regions as a hazy blur, and one notable sector that was almost completely flat. That was a region that hadn’t been penetrated by seismic pulses and had been mapped only by orbital sensor sweeps. 

 

“I can devote significant starfighter assets to this attack. Fortunately, a recon op with the Jedi supplied us with excellent topographical data. Starfighter Command has argued that Trench Run Disease–I, uh, I mean low-altitude bombing runs–isn’t merely possible, but the best approach. I’m inclined to believe them. What they need is composition and approximate positions of local defenses: ground-based anti-orbitals, point defense, local starfighter garrisons, army barracks, the like.” He tossed a steely stylus towards Talyn Orin so he could begin marking approximate locations. “I have to emphasize, surprise is critical for a successful first run.


“The second issue is these local leaders. The current Sith government needs to be decapitated. Don’t particularly care whether they’re captured alive, or…” His voice trailed off, making it perfectly clear what followed or. “We need names, faces, places of residence and work. Same for the Alliance sympathizers. We will need to smash local resistance and their government in a matter of hours.”

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Vangar gingerly set his cup back on the table as the Knight spoke of strength and freedom. He nodded, noting the air of resentment and disgust at the mention of the Jedi, filing that away for query later.

 

As the Master finished, Vangar casually picked up a spoon and stirred what remained of his caf. Silence filled the void between him as he pondered the man’s views on slavery and democracy. 
 

“A society built upon the backs of the weak cannot hope to stand.  Your Order must stand against the shadows of evil.  I expect nothing less from each of you. Do not waiver in your commitments. As for the other thing, each world, each culture will live by it’s own code and creed and system of governance. So long as they live in the light and do not grow in shadow, they shall be free to govern their own destinies.” He pulled the spoon from his cup and sat it on the table with a clink. “The Alliance however,” he paused before adding, “and the Imperium,”

 

”are under my leadership, for the time being. And for that time, every voice will be heard, opinion considered, but the final decision shall be resigned to the leadership of the council. Their counsel will be heard, discussed, and debated and then I will make the choice on which path the galaxy will follow. That burden will be mine alone to bear.” 
 

The room was beginning to fill, the earliest ranks of militants and cannot-sleep-due-to-the-nightmares-of-reality refugees seeking solace in the familiarity of what the industrial machine of the combined Alliance could offer; a ground out spread of the same prefabricated meals day in and day out. It was always the same. Banthaloaf on Taungsday and biscuits and gravy every Benduday morning. 
 

Slowly Vangar began to slide himself out from the bench and table. It was a delicate process to avoid upsetting the entire construct.

 

Once he was free he offered Raphanel a smile. “The best minds in the galaxy brought together to be heard, but not mired in the bureaucracy of the history of the Republic or persecuted for daring to speak, sent to the mines of some forsaken world to never be heard from again.”  Extending an immense scar-covered clawed hand to @Raphanel “If you are willing and your duties permit, the Alliance is undertaking an operation that I believe would benefit from your abilities and our beliefs.”

 

The Barabel gestured to the door as he picked up his cup and spoon to deposit it in a receptacle. Outside, he began to walk away from the morning bustle towards a quieter area of camp. @Qessax Jal Todda Should meet us here momentarily with greater detail. This should be kept quiet.”

 

”For the good of the Alliance.”

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Qessax listened to the two talk for a bit and nodded. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a squad of clones. Glancing at the time, Qessaxx almost cursed out loud, realizing he was running late for another meeting. He glanced at his astromech and nodded, indicating it to get ready. The droid beeped once and turned away, sorting through its datapads.

 

“Gentlemen, I leave this mission in your capable hands. All the necessary information you have either before you or with each other.

Qessax gave a quick salute to the Admiral and turned and went towards the clones, his own droid at his side. 

 

Captain Tilt” Qessax declared as he came close. “Agent Qessax. You and your men please come with me. I’m running late enough as it is”

 

Qessax held out a hand, only to retrieve a datapad from the following astromech. 

 

“Captain Tilt…” Qessax started as he tried to read and walk at the same time. “My records indicate you and your men have something of a specialty in infiltration and sabotage?”

 

Qessax wrinkled his nose slightly, as he read the records over again. These clones were from the clone wars. They were old, but through some cryo mumbo-jumbo, they were still alive. He half-wondered if they would hold his Kaleesh heritage against him.  

 

“The assignment I have for you is going to require these skills, and your ship…” Qessax scrolled a bit. “...The Mantis will be helpful as well.”

As the group walked, they could see @Vangar  and @Raphanel ahead.

 

“Viceroy, Commander…” Qessax nodded to each then gestured to the clones. “The 130th legion. Captain Tilt, Viceroy Vangar and Commander…” Qessax glanced at his datapad again “...Raphenel Karlovci Contispex”

 

Being done with the quick introductions, Qessax snapped his fingers. The little astromech beeped and whistled in reply. Repositioning itself, it projected a hologram image of a  massive starship in front of the group. 

 

“This Lucrehulk-Class Battleship was found in Umbaran space recently. As a relic from the Clone wars, this ship was inoperable, but following the Sith loss at Nar Shaddaa, the Umbaran local government has dedicated itself to bringing it back online. However, it seems they are not wanting to share this ship with the Sith nor us, as they have denied all knowledge of its existence, and blacked out any information on it except in the highest circles of government.”

 

“I want to use this opportunity against the Sith while simultaneously securing a new capital ship for the Alliance.” Qessax continued. “My intelligence reports that the ship will be operable soon. This will be a prime opportunity to send in a task force to hijack the ship disguised as Sith troops. Captain Tilt and his squad’s armor can easily be disguised to look like the fabled and possibly dead Delta-73. Lord Commander Raphanel can be disguised as a Sith commander. I have secured the help of several Kaleesh warriors to join me and our Viceroy, disguised to look like hired pirates.”

 

“With this task force, we will sneak onto the battleship as it becomes operable, and take control. We will drive off the Umbarans back to their homeworld, then fly the ship towards Kaleesh, where Imperial forces will happen to ‘capture’ the ship and claim it in the name of the Alliance. With the Umbarans denying knowledge of the ship, they will have no claim to it, and with Umbaran survivors claiming Sith Forces attacking, combined with the public intelligence report we will share with the local government, the Umbarans will hopefully separate themselves from the Sith completely.” 

 

Qessax stopped and looked at the others. Like the seasoned Warhunter he was, he knew the importance of letting the soldiers speak up. “Any questions before I continue?

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Talyn noted the unusual squad of clones who stood waiting, no doubt for Qessax. As Slaughter passed him a rather shiny looking, steely stylus, the agent quickly began to note down the information the Admiral required. He made a point to personally point out where to find the sympathisers held prisoner and the local defences as specified by the admiral.

 

He also jotted down anything else that might be of interest such as the known settlements and eventually created a list with names, placing a image of a face next to the correct name, along with places of residence and work. Each was marked according to current rank and level of threat priority they might pose. He produced a second list for the Alliance sympathisers which held similar information before handing back the stylus.

 

 "That about covers it. I'll leave it to you to decide who we go after first based on that list."

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Raphanel could feel his eyebrows raising with each turn the plan was making. Disguises, strike teams, accidental captures, political back and forth, the only thing the plan was missing would be a musical number to give it the classic Holodrama spin. 

 

“Commander, I must give a word of advice.” His voice came with its classic high Chandrillian accent. It was a commanding voice that brokered no dispute or interruption. “And to give such advice I must harken back to a recent campaign on Serreno by a departed Grandmaster of the Jedi Order.” The reference to that disastrous little charade which had cost the lives of dozens of informants, Jedi, and even the grandmaster would likely be enough to bring his point home. 

 

“The more twists and changes you put into your plan, gives a thousand more opportunities for it to fail. We need not ask the Umbaris permission or give them any opportunity to deny. We bring a strike team and take the ship. It is being built for the enemy and they will have no recourse. Nor should we allow them to save face. We are the lawful government of the Galaxy. And they can submit or face the consequences.” 

 

He gave the group a look. 

 

“And us getting caught impersonating Sith would shake anyone's perception of the validity of our government. It must not be done.” 

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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The squad were greeted to an individual that went by Quessex, which was good enough for them. They listened to the orders or briefing rather and understood fairly what the task was bound to be. It wasn't the first rodeo with this kind of mission, but Tilt knew this was no longer the Clone Wars. They walked with the agent as they explained away the details of the mission and were introduced to Viceroy Vangar and Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex. This... Was going to be interesting. 

 

"I have to agree with Raphenal," Tilt opened up, taking his helmet off to reveal his face, "During the Clone Wars "Capture and Secure" missions were some of the things we did including under disguise, that was when everyone on our side and who believed in us were so solid in their beliefs that we had a little leeway to work with. From the reports and past campaigns that I read about the Alliance and Jedi Order, people have faith that is easily shaken. I'm not saying we won't do the mission, but there's the huge risk you're willing to take of people's trust in the Alliance as a whole." 

 

 

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“Space-Mom, we can take them from here. Try to get some rest.” Misal smiled broadly at one of her students–the human male who was carrying the impractically-long marksman’s rifle. It was the kind of smile that carried a degree of sleep-deprived lunacy along with mirth. The four armored figures disappeared into the refugee camp, a strange combination of a frightful amount of firepower and four Duros refugees, one of whom was riding on the Togorian’s enormous shoulders.

 

The Miraluka, now satisfied that her previous mission would be completed to satisfaction, returned her attention to the young Jedi Knight. She attempted to shrug away a mixture of stiffness and exhaustion, succeeding in banishing neither. The sides of Misal’s jaw stiffened as she attempted to suppress a yawn.

 

“The outskirts, then. I would prefer not to directly invite the Rebel Alliance into this affair. I trust…” The two hitched a ride on a personnel carrier, wedged uncomfortably between crates of water purification tablets and preserved food. Misal said nothing during their transition to this neglected outpost–her breath slowed and her posture slumped. She had fallen asleep, and was snoring with a faint, nasal whistle. 

 

Some combination of trained instinct, or perhaps an admonishment from The Force alerted her to some imminent necessity; a sharp breath and a straightening of her posture indicated her wakefulness as the two approached the outpost that Aequitas had indicated. It was a sad collection of prefabricated permacrete buildings that had clearly been erected many years ago, neglected to overgrowth by the Ylesian jungle, and then hastily cleared in preparation for the battle at Nar Shaddaa. The exterior permacrete walls still bore some stains and cracks from vines that had determinedly climbed up to the roof. A hailstorm had clearly damaged a small sensor array that had previously been used here–rather than repair the obsolete equipment, the Galactic Alliance had seen fit to simply install new sensors and eventually salvage the damaged equipment.

 

Misal took in the little outpost, her face turning towards a crumbling watchtower and the hail-damaged sensor array, and just nodded in satisfaction. The two ventured into one of the larger buildings and sat in a small, reinforced room with opened crates strewn about. A pair of technicians were ripping old wiring out of the walls. The Miraluka sat on the edge of a holoprojector unit and balanced her carbine across her knees.

 

“Mister Aequitas, you may… not want to be present for what I am about to do. No one will come to any harm… or even feel particularly threatened for that matter, but I am certain to trigger a number of security alerts in the next few minutes. My hope is that the Jedi will be quicker to respond than the Rebel Alliance, but we shall see…”

 

Misal unclipped a small, metal disc from her back. Holding it in the palm of her hand, she stared into a concentric ring at its center… a miniature blue hologram sprouted from somewhere within the device. It shifted forms repeatedly–clearly, taking the form of various infographics in some highly idiosyncratic graphics user interface. How exactly the Miraluka was interacting with this disc wasn’t clear, but ripples in The Force suggested that its controls were not purely physical.

 

The image convulsed as though recoiling from a physical threat. More probing followed, accompanied by future convulsions. The hologram eventually turned blank, only for Misal to tap at it and repeat the process.

 

If any members of the Jedi Council were present at Ylesia, they would receive a priority security alert. Someone nearby had stolen a critical intelligence asset from the Jedi Order and was attempting to hack into it–but their repeated attempts were so amateurish and determined that they resembled a farce rather than an actual threat.

 

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As the group seemed to fall together, Vangar walked and listened, his reptilian eyes scanning their surroundings. One could never be too sure who or what might be listening. As they spoke he directed the group away from the waking camp, the hustle and bustle of the morning. They continued walking until they had taken leave of the makeshift Alliance command post. He must remember to set up an actual government somewhere more stable. This most certainly would not do for the long run.

 

As they moved amongst the field of flowing stalks of shava grain, the viceroy carefully pondered the plan and objections. It was a bold plan, one worthy of the exploits of the late Nikolai Kolchak. “Bold.” He nodded. “Such a vessel would be a welcome boon to our fragile arrangement.”

 

Turning to face @Qessax Jal Todda his rigid face grew even more serious, if that was even possible. “But the master of the Imperium’s Knights has a point. Too many that came before us behaved in such ways and despoiled the names of the Imperium, the Rebellion, and the Jedi. I do not think all is lost however.” Vangar looked to @Tilt07 and his brethren clone troopers and a smile spread across his daggered needle-like teeth. “Each member of the Alliance is expected to contribute to the wellbeing of the galaxy, but not at the expense of their own. Especially now with the threat of the Sith still lurking on the fringes of the galaxy.” His gaze passed from the clones to @Raphanel“But if the Umbaran government denies the existence of such a craft that our intelligence operatives report is close to operational, it is the duty of this Alliance to see that such a craft does not fall into the hands of an organization like the Syndicates or the Hutts.”

 

”A small strike team should still be able to take command of that vessel,” he thought aloud, “provided we can take control of the droids and computers that control such a vast craft. There is no need for a Sith ruse. If the vessel were to evacuate to the Outer Rim it could be hidden in the vast cosmos until it is prepared and outfitted for service with the Alliance.”

 

”The Umbarans have no claim to the craft.” He continued looking across the group as he ran a hand through the waist-high grain, his voice trailing off as he concluded that the Umbaran government had formally denied any knowledge of or claim to a vessel that was outside their territorial space.

 

He shook his head. Regardless, ”if their statements are true or false is of little consequence; we should act with all due care to not injure those working on the craft.”

 

”We move in quietly,” he placed a hand on the pauldron of the nearest clone, “under no banner or color using a ship seized from the opportunistic warmongers and unauthorized scrappers at Nar Shaddaa. We seize the craft from the pirates or degenerates that are outfitting it for war.  A prize for the Alliance and one that will serve honorably to protect the galaxy.”

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Qessax tried to keep his face as stoic and as calm as his mask would be, had he been wearing it at the time. However, even with his trained mind and determination, a slight growling sneer almost snuck out.


“No disrespect to the Jedi, Lord Commander” Qessax started, “But that mission wasn’t planned out by me”


Qessax half-wondered if he shouldn’t have invited the Imperial Knights along with this mission. In his own personal beliefs, Jedi and most Force Users were philosophy-restricted wizards, and not agents nor true warriors. They couldn’t kill for the good of the galaxy, nor could they play politics, at least from what Qessax had read. They had to make peace with some cosmic entity that had no place dictating the fate of mortals. At least his Kaleesh ancestors allowed Qessax to choose his own path, and helped if they saw fit. 


“This mission must be done without it being obvious that the Alliance is the one performing it. Whether or not the Umbaran local government claims the ship, they are still behind repairing it, and if we go in and take it in the name of the Alliance, we will be the oppressor in their eyes. And if that happens, who knows how many more systems will flock to their banner when they decry us? I don’t want to spend a portion of my life putting down rebellions because we look like the latest dictator regime. Not unless we want to let the Sith have more potential footholds throughout the galaxy.”

 

Qessax was trying his hardest to play the listening commander that he knew so many others couldn’t be, but part of his Kaleesh heritage was making it difficult. 
“That is part of the plan Viceroy” Qessax affirmed his fellow reptilian commander who had continued the talk. “My resources tell me there is approximately 250 mechanics, soldiers, programmers and pilots on that ship, as well as about 115 slaves previously provided by the Sith. Considering how thin our forces are spread, a small squad is all that's available for this mission.”  

 

Qessax tapped his secretary droid, who’s hologram changed to a projection of a B-1 Battle droid. “Like our viceroy mentioned, we can use the droids to our advantage. There are more then enough that activating them will be enough to send the Umbarans running for their lives, and any remaining will have to be detained for the time being.  However, I must again emphasize, we cannot let it be known that the Alliance is the one hijacking the ship. The Umbaran government must believe that some other third party, whether it's sith, pirates, or even just common criminals, are behind it. “


Qessax tapped the secretary droid again, and the holoimage was taken down. “Unless there are other questions, I recommend getting yourselves ready and meeting me at The Leech.” 

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Raphanel could feel his irritation start to build, as the reptilian decided to ignore all advice and plunge on ahead. He noticed the smirk and he let the irritation bleed off as he made a formal Chandrillian bow, tossing his cloak behind him in the manner that royalty had done for countless generations. Not so much a mark of reverence as it was a challenge. If the the reptillian soldier wanted to butt heads he would not back down. But he would give the Kaleesh an out. 

 

“I will challenge you again, dear Agent Qessax.”

 

His voice was cool and calm, and as before brokered no dispute. 

 

“I will not disguise myself as a member of the Sith. And I do not believe that the disguises will be of help to our cause and will only harm the government. I must formally request that we maintain our covert force, but not pretend to be someone we are not. No insignias and no badges of any kind.”

 

The Imperial Knights would fulfill their side of the mission, and if justice could be brought to those that kept the slaves on board, it would make such success even more sweet. If not, then the Knights would find and exterminate the slavers themselves. 

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Lord Commander Raphenel Karlovci Contispex- Imperial Warden

 

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Qessax gave a disappointed sigh.

 

“Very well. If that is how it is, then that is how it is.” 

 

Qessax looked the Force User dead in the eye. His people would’ve seen this as a challenge. He felt that Qymaen jai Sheelal, the ancestor he prayed to so often, was practically whispering in his ear, telling him that he was now practically taking orders from a force wielder. He needed to make sure not to give into baser instincts.  

 

“This mission will be strictly of stealth. However, if this is to be done, any proof of your identity must be either removed or so well disguised that even your mothers wouldn’t recognise you. That includes things such as weapons that identify you as an Imperial Knight…”

 

Qessax gave a noticeable glance towards the nearest lightsaber in the vicinity: the one carried by the Lord Commander.

 

“Or insignia that identify you as a member of our armed forces” Qessax gave a glance towards the clones.

 

“Or any kind of uniform whatsoever” A glance to the viceroy. 

 

“You don’t have to disguise yourself. But you can’t be identified at all. Period. No faces can be seen. No marks of identification. Cover your tattoos and birthmarks even. Try to get yourself to the point that your own mother wouldn't recognize you. The moment you are identified as a member of the Alliance, then the mission in my eyes is a blow to the Alliance credibility.”

 

“If that is all, I will see you later at the Leech…” Qessax gave a brief salute to Vangar, and dismissed himself, droid following at his side. 

 

“Make the adjustments. I’ll be in my tent”

 

Qessax had to make a few more prayers and contact his own Kaleesh forces that would be coming along. They would need to similarly alter their clothing choices. He himself had a pirate garb that would properly prevent any kind of identity. Still, even as he walked, he felt his feet try to tear through his boots in annoyance. This kind of disrespect would be hopefully a one-time event. 

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Things were heating up, not explosive but to a boil Tilt's observation. He looked between everyone that spoke either those who agreed to go under cover as pseudo Sith and those who were completely against the idea. Perhaps it was natural to agree with Jedi, though their philosophy-driven lives were of religious kind, Tilt hasn't met a single one of them that were "wrong" in most situations. Mistakes happen though, and he wasn't the "good soldier" like he used to be. He was a free thinker, a fighter against the Sith unrestrained and unshackled from the Grand Republic, but there was that underlying guilt that strode in the corner of his mind. 

 

Perhaps his disagreement came from impersonating a fallen brother, Delta, a name he hadn't heard in what seemed like eons. They were the first set of Clones in that era, he'd participate in the battle on Geonosis, but extensive training was needed as he was deployed with the minimum much like the others. That was when Tilt met Delta, but their paths diverged after the former was deployed unto the 130th Legion. Here and there they'd graze on chance, the times that they had a chance to talk and see action together were rare but allowed for that respect to creep in. Even if Tilt didn't know Delta as an acquaintance or a fellow brother, his hesitance to impersonate another of his kind was disrespectful in some sense, no matter what paths or alignment they took on. Whether Delta remembered him or not was irrelevant, as far as Tilt knew, one of the few Clones who'd survive since the Grand Republic were dead. 

 

But life goes on. As Tilt watches Quessex move from area to tent, Tilt vocalized once more, "If it helps, us Clones can be disguised as Sith units... Delta, as Quessex said. If we can infiltrate the ship, we can reboot the deactivated droids and reprogram them for our needs. But if this is a delicate operation and cannot be seen as Alliance by any means necessary, then I suggest that whoever doesn't go under guise can pose as a neutral party- Pirates, mercenaries, a rogue faction or even a splinter cell of Sith rogues. I assume the Big Wigs running the ops are looking to turn the planet from a neutral or even enemy influenced one to allied, which is why "influence" and guise is... Necessary, I assume. I don't take solace in posing as the people who infiltrated and corrupted my Republic, but if it means getting the job done, so be it.

 

"Now, if any of you wouldn't mind playing dress-up with us grunts it'd be nice to have a small group infiltrate the ship, besides us three, I don't mind having a squad between four and eight... Or it could just be us three. I don't want a larger-than-necessary force going in, it'd make things too complicated, small and nimbleness is what we're relying on; I'm not picky, just need some common sense and effectiveness. Or, it could just be the three of us, and we'll handle the infiltration ourselves. Any takers?"

 

 

 

 

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During the trip to the Outpost, Æquitas studied the Elder Miralukian with both empathy and curiosity. Her form was torn between age and pain, both of which plagued the Elder as much as her path in life as the scars and wrinkles of her life were permanently etched upon her physically as much as mentally. Yet, despite being closer to her age than most, Sanguis hadn't held her experience. Aside from casual crossings, their paths had never formally converged until now. Feeling the wounds of her upon the Force, Sanguis closed his eyes and let the current take him.

 

Tendrils of purpose and intent fell upon the current that engulfed and swirled around them, like whisps upon the fog, stretching from Æquitas' open hand toward Misal's sleeping form as he placed suggestions within the living consciousness that made up the nature within the Galaxy. It wasn't strong, nor was it noticeable, as he used the small gift of Crucitorn upon her form to ease her pain. It may not have been much, not like the healers within the Order, but it would hamper the consistency of the aches that came with her life, even if only for a fleeting moment.

 

Her sudden consciousness snapping awake, however, quickly interrupted his focus and he closed his hand as it say upon his thigh and his gaze shifted outward toward their arriving destination. It was an indeed an older outpost, likely pre-Galactic War by the looks of it, but it held together as best it could. Stepping from the carrier, he studied its integrity and found little lacking for its intended purpose, likely needing another handful of decades to pass before it became condemnable. It would work, for now, for the purpose both she and the Alliance had intended to use it for.

 

"I think its best that i stay, if you don't mind." He spoke in a curious tone, his deep voice reverberating softly against the resounding echoes of both their footsteps and voices. "Given the edge that the Order and the Alliance has been upon since Nar Shadaa, you may need me. And I don't believe our reunion is purely by chance. The Force guides us beyond comprehension as you very well know."

 

What he spoke was true, but he left out the inner narrative he held within himself. While he didn't believe their meeting again wasn't by chance, and that the Force had placed his path upon hers, he was also curious about what she brought to the Order and what her intentions may have been. Yes, she was the mother of the Jedi Grandmaster, but she wasn't a member of the Order and her methods were well known amongst the Jedi Masters. He would need to keep his eyes upon this one, that was certain.

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Vangar scowled as the newfound acting director of Imperial Intelligence @Qessax Jal Todda seemed to bristle at the discussion of how to go about securing the vessel. He hoped it was not a sign of things to come. He knew little of the Kaleesh culture, but sensed something beyond a mere personality difference between the director and leader of the Imperium’s force-using order.

 

”Indeed.”

 

”There is no reason to allow the Umbarans a chance to change their mind with a show of force. It is not theirs, by all

matters of law, the craft, a weapon of war, is in the hands of potential enemies of the Alliance.”

 

He watched as the Kaleesh stalked off towards his quarters and shook his head. Turning to @Raphanel  and @Tilt07he solemnly spoke. “I would agree with our comrade. The more political entanglement we can avoid the better and if a bit of sneaking can save the lives of slaves, mislead, and anyone else aboard, we owe it to them to try it. The Umbarans are a natural ally to any Sith who may be in hiding even if their government openly endorses the Alliance. This warship may very well be the machinations of a rogue Sith Lord seeking to take advantage of the state of things.” Looking to Tilt he asked, “How many men can your ship carry?  While a small strike team is ideal for not being caught, I would be more comfortable knowing we have at least a few legate cards in our sleeve if our hand is called.”

 

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Sandy nodded solemnly as the older woman began to speak. 

 

“I want to know about you, to learn to appreciate you for who you are today, not whoever you used to be.” She did not need to know every last dark secret the woman possessed. It Would be unfair to ask someone to be so vulnerable and to reveal their trauma before they were comfortable with such a thing. She leaned forward and looked into the other woman’s eyes. Emerald green looking into bright amethyst. 

 

“I am not going to judge you, for you have chosen a different path than what you were walking before, that is all that matters.” She gave the woman a smile that was genuine. The corners of Sandy’s mouth turning up and revealing the slight latticework of pale scars that traced up her freckled face. A gift from her very first mission in the Jedi order. A mission that had left far more than just physical scars. 

 

“I do not know how far you have come, and I do not need to know. But I do want to say that I am proud of you for making that change. I know many strong men and women that did not choose to turn their back on the addiction that is the dark side.” 

 

It was strange to be proud of someone she had just met, but she could feel the surge of emotion in her breast. There was hope in Keenava. A hope that the Galaxy would need. 

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Hearing no further words, Talyn took it to mean he was no longer needed currently and so could now proceed to find the others for the mission. Afterall it was better to know those you were to work with and see just what sort of personality and skill set they possessed first hand. Saluting, Talyn spoke before departing to find the first member marked in his datafile, a Jedi Knight. Sanguis Æquitas. 

 

He had never met the man nor any Jedi for that matter before now. But from what he gathered they were the complete opposite of the company he had previously kept in the Sith. They had lines they did not cross and so could be trusted. Indeed without the Jedi he had no doubt the Alliance would have long seized to exist, their skill in the strange abilities some possessed was awe inspiring. 

 

 "If that is all Admiral, I shall take my leave. There are preparations to be made, I shall go meet our team see in person if they as good as the data claims. I shall see you next when we are closer to the time of the operation, for now it was nice to meet you as short as this was."

 

 With that he departed. Looking at the datafile of the Jedi, he looked about  the camp, walking backwards and forwards between the various tents and asking where he might find the particular Jedi Knight. He was soon told he had been seen nearing the outskirts of the compound headings somewhere so he would need to be quick if he was to catch him. As a result he caught a ride on a speeder before being dropped as close as they would dare.

 

Nodding his appreciation and paying a few credits he disembarked and continued the rest of the journey on foot. He soon spotted his target, the man was unmistakable. Bright green hair and with very pointed ears. Very young by the looks of it...it appeared the soldiers of the war were getting younger and younger these days. Seeing he was not alone, with another Jedi of some sort, a old looking woman. A Jedi Master he suspected, she gave him the creeps a little for some reason...he approached with equal caution and respect. 

 

 "Sorry about the intrusion I know you are busy so I shall try and be quick, I have been looking for you for the last hour. You are Sanguis Æquitas I hope? I am Agent Talyn Orin. I just recently returned from Korriban serving as a deep cover Agent until my cover was blown. Agent Qessax also of Imperial Intelligence has instructed me to find you to attempt to request that you join a mission of utmost importance. We have need of a Jedi such as yourself to take Korriban and he feels you fit the correct profile to assist us with this endeavour, together along with a few select others. He would appreciate it if you accepted this task. As would I, I have never met a Jedi before but your file speaks highly of you. Although I got to say I am a little surprised to see one so young. But look forward to working with you if you accept."

Edited by Talyn Orin
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22 hours ago, Vangar said:

Vangar scowled as the newfound acting director of Imperial Intelligence @Qessax Jal Todda seemed to bristle at the discussion of how to go about securing the vessel. He hoped it was not a sign of things to come. He knew little of the Kaleesh culture, but sensed something beyond a mere personality difference between the director and leader of the Imperium’s force-using order.

 

”Indeed.”

 

”There is no reason to allow the Umbarans a chance to change their mind with a show of force. It is not theirs, by all

matters of law, the craft, a weapon of war, is in the hands of potential enemies of the Alliance.”

 

He watched as the Kaleesh stalked off towards his quarters and shook his head. Turning to @Raphanel  and @Tilt07he solemnly spoke. “I would agree with our comrade. The more political entanglement we can avoid the better and if a bit of sneaking can save the lives of slaves, mislead, and anyone else aboard, we owe it to them to try it. The Umbarans are a natural ally to any Sith who may be in hiding even if their government openly endorses the Alliance. This warship may very well be the machinations of a rogue Sith Lord seeking to take advantage of the state of things.” Looking to Tilt he asked, “How many men can your ship carry?  While a small strike team is ideal for not being caught, I would be more comfortable knowing we have at least a few legate cards in our sleeve if our hand is called.”

 

 

"Right then. We can fit eight people in my ship, excluding gunners and pilot. She's well armored and equipped for combat in case things go wrong. That said, I should go see Quessex and find out any information on Delta that could help with the ruse... God only knows what he's done. Once we're in and we have some privacy, we'll be reactivating the droids and even reprogram them to fight for us, including any security hardwired into the vessel. Should things go awry, I'll link up with the comms and give a signal, or again, once it's time. But that's all in due time, plans change all the time and things happen. If that'll be all, there are preparations to be made." Tilt salutes then slid his helmet back on. He jerked a thumb in the direction of the exit which Riggs and Thumper followed. 

 

Exiting the tent, Tilt told Thumper and Riggs to head back to the Mantis and to prepare, all the while he would remain here and finding out what he could. With a brisk sigh, he entered the same tent Quessex was in, and said aloud after entering, "Agent Quessex, what can you tell me about CT-073, Delta? I'll be needing it for the mission." 

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Qessax had dismissed his droid by the time he got to his tent. It wouldn’t be able to come along on the mission, but he knew his secretary droid would handle everything that it could while he was gone. If he wasn’t in a bitter mood, he would have smiled at the bargain deal the droid had been. 

 

In his tent, Qessax had begun to prepare his own disguise. Black wrappings over his limbs would help mask his form, and heavily padded areas on his arms and more bony parts would make it look less Kaleesh and something more mammalian. The head was a bit more difficult, but with the wrappings to hide his tusks, he could then use some black tinted goggles to give the appearance of something akin to Aqualish. Ancestors knew the two species could share a sense of anger. 

 

It was when he was wrapping his arms when the clones came in. 

 

“Captain, come in, come in…” Qessax waved the clone in as he continued his own work. 

 

“Delta has a very long history in the galaxy…” Qessax started. “Like you, he was a clone for the republic before this whole Sith business started up. Heavily trained as an ARC trooper and clone commando. Somehow survived to eventually fight for Black Sun, and then in turn the Sith. Had a specialty with hand-to-hand combat and squad command”

 

Qessax had just finished his limb and body wrappings and was now working on his head. 

 

“He was known for his brutality under the Sith. Brutal but efficient is what most of the reports show. Last confirmed sighting was during the battle of Nar Shaddaa. Unconfirmed if he died in it, which is how I hope to keep it.”

 

Qessax adjusted his goggles, fitting perfectly underneath the wrappings. A quick glance into the mirror made his spirits rise a bit. He was a spitting image of an Aqualish undercover. 

 

Qessax faced the captain and exited the tent with him. “Something captain you will want to keep in mind is that these are Umbarans we are facing. Their ability to see in ultraviolet light means staying out of their line of sight is imperative. And unfortunately, our information on what kind of tech they brought in to fix the ship is a bit more limited, so be prepared for anything…”

 

Qessax struggled for a better word. “...weird.”

 

Qessax looked the clone once over. “Anything else captain?”

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