Open War III: Reign of Chaos

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Re: Open War III: Reign of Chaos

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General_Trageton

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Post by General_Trageton » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:10 pm

"Awake again, are we?" Vince winced. Through the milky liquid he detected a shape moving into the room. Dazed as he still was and with his vision impaired by the milky substance he couldn't see a lot of details. Female, blonde hair, that was pretty much all he could see. But that voice was one he knew all too well.
"Taya" Vince stated, slightly amazed by the fact that he could actually talk clearly despite his drugged state. Maybe his recovering was more efficient than expected. "I was wondering who would fish my remains out of space after stabbing me in the back and leaving me to die."
"Aw, don't be so hard on me now." the blond woman said defensively and rested her hands on her hips. "It's just business."
"Business, hm?" Vince questioned. "I didn't know my Executors have degraded themselves to a band of mercenaries."
"Ever since you put that redhead bitch back onto the position that should have been mine!" she responded poisonously "Besides, as I've heard, your Executors no longer exist." No longer exist? He had obviously been gone far too long. Anger rose in Vince - rather about his own blindness than about Taya's betrayal. He had known this all had been a setup. He just hadn't expected the roots to reach that deep. "So what is this about? Ransom?" The question was barely serious. Vince knew about Taya's skills and reputation. Whoever might have hired her was way above petty demands for ransom.
"Don't be ridiculous!" Taya laughed as expected. "It would be pointless to demand ransom for you - now as the entire galaxy is too caught up with their own troubles to actually miss you."
"Now aren't you charming!" Vince said sourly. "Why keep me alive then? If I'm a thorn in someone's sight you should kill me."
"That is not your or my decision to make. I was tasked to retrieve you and deliver you to my contractor. Anything beyond that is not of my concern."
"You always were a little short sighted - another reason, why Mryna is leading the Executors and not you."
"Enough!" Taya snapped angrily. "I'm being payed to deliver you, not to listen to your ramblings."
"Well then you should have kept me sedated, shouldn't you?"
"That can be arranged." Taya said and approached a nearby terminal.
"Sorry Miss Berin" Vince said and smiled. "But it's too late for that now."
Through course of the conversation he had been able to collect enough focus to draw on the energy around him. Before she could even react a concentrated energy pulse burst the cylinder and overloaded his restraints. Free to move he shot out of the demolished tank and reached for her. "This is nothing personal." He mocked her own words. "But you just so happen to be in my way." gathering some energy he sent a charge right through her head and let her drop to the side. Making his way out of the room he took a last look back - Taya was lying motionless on the floor.
He realized that without immediate treatment she would not survive.
He also realized that it didn't really bother him.

////////////////

The Nighthawk silently dropped out of hyperspace outside Valmont, outside the Mirage's sensor range. Even though - with all IFF transponders and active scanning deactivated its stealth plating made it virtually invisible to the cruiser's sensors. Going to full throttle Kane set course for their destination.
The Mirage was indeed hanging in high orbit over the cold and barren world.
"That's one real paradise." Ice Queen explained. "Subzero temperatures, no vegetation, atmosphere doesn't qualify as such."
"Well it's got some worth after all." Wildcat added "The natural Baradium deposits are estimated to be immense."
"One big pile of shit." Monk commented. "You'd want to fire a big torpedo at that rock and watch as it blows."
"That would make all the major mining companies pretty mad at us." Wild cat objected.
"not to mention galactic ecologists. They don't take lightly to blowing up planets."
Mryna idly listened to the loose conversation of her teammates while watching the Mirage getting larger beyond the viewport. Chatter to loosen the tension. She for her part couldn't get herself in the mood to join in this time. Although she tried not to show it, the recent events had left their marks on her. The very fact that the corruption could make its way into the PSA senate seemed a direct sign of her own failing. It was her job to ensure national security and integrity. To achieve this she had surrounded herself with a team of trusted and loyal individuals. Or so she had throught. Aboard the ship they were now approaching was one of them. A traitor.
"Can we get some seriousness into this, please?" Darron eventually interrupted them, then threw Mryna a questioning look. She nodded and forced herself to swallow the concerns. She had to focus on the mission at hand. The Mirage was now a hostile ship that had to be infiltrated for three objectives.
First: Identify and eliminate the traitor. Interrogation was optional.
Second: Find clues that lead to the Brotherhood of Shadows.
Third: If applicable, locate and free Vince Trageton.
For the felt tenth time she checked her blasters and made sure the modules of her combat suit were strapped properly. Darron seemed to notice her nervousness, as he stepped closer to her. "Are you alright?" he inquired. She looked up at him and for a few brief moments their gazes met. The serenity that rested in his ice-blue eyes was enough to calm her racing heart. She took a deep breath. Then, in a fluent motion she spun both weapons before holstering them.
"I will be once I get to shoot some people."

////////////////

With the painkillers wearing off and the adrenaline gone as well Vince realized that his injuries had not yet been fully healed. Every step was an effort sending waves of pain through his entire body. Which was why he currently preferred to remain undetected rather than fighting his way through the countless guards and patrols. Indeed it was the Mirage that had ambushed him and then salvaged his remains. Apparently Taya had taken control of it, after Mryna's team had left it on standby at Spectre base. By now he had a very clear picture of his current situation. Taya knew far more than she had told him in the first place. She had also fed Mryna falsified leads to bring her off track. In fact, hadn't it been for his personal initiative - setting up Shiromy, they might have lost the track completely. Little surprising to him, it was Darius Rygetto pulling the strings behind all this: the ambush, the whole Corelia incident turned out to be his work. A piece of art, definitely. Vince was to be brought to the Brotherhood for whichever reason and purpose - most likely to be indoctrinated to support the Brotherhood in their insane crusade. This, however, also opened up new options. If the Brotherhood was expecting him, he didn't have to fight his way through. But first some preparations would need to be made.
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:37 pm

Outside the Crescent, the familiar tunnel of hyperspace streaked by, swirling with brilliant aqua, turquoise and violet. On his way to the Crescent’s bridge, Dav paused a moment at a nearby viewport to take in the image. Though he had seen it hundreds if not thousands of times before, this time he wondered where that tunnel was taking him. Into a trap? No, probably not, though the idea of the Crescent making a layover at an Imperial supply station didn’t exactly calm his nerves. If it wasn’t a trap and there weren’t already scores of Imperial security officers waiting for them at the supply station, then that meant Dav and his strike team would have to lay low until the operations there were completed so the loading crews wouldn’t detect them. He worried about what might happen if one of the loaders were to stumble upon a New Republic fighter in the hold of an Imperial yacht. His A-wing was tucked away in the Crescent’s hangar next to Jenn’s, Ilixu’s and Ren’s X-wings, Rollosk’s Stalker and a few Imperial TIEs. If they were discovered, it could mean bad news not only for the Republic strike team, but also for every Imperial officer on board the Crescent. Dav didn’t necessarily like them, but he also didn’t want to see them court-martialed because they were helping him carry out one of his insane schemes. He could take full responsibility for his own pilots’ actions and get them off the hook by placing all blame on himself, but if something were to happen to Valis, Rying or any of the others, he couldn’t vouch for them. He would have to remember to bring up that point.
Dav continued toward the bridge with his astro droid, Snitch, in tow. The corridors weren’t nearly as crowded as he thought they would be. They would pass the occasional crewman or off-duty engineer—some giving the Republic pilot and his droid friendly nods or even a quick wave, others just handing out disapproving sneers—but otherwise the entire ship seemed quiet.
Snitch let out a nervous warble.
Dav looked back at the droid and smiled. “You worry too much.” He said that more to himself than the droid. “That being said, though, I wouldn’t wander around here on your own. Astro droid parts are in high demand these days.”
They entered the bridge. It was more spacious than Dav expected. Since the yacht no longer needed to function as a pleasure craft, most of the systems dedicated to increasing the comfort of the yacht’s guests had been stripped to make room for more useful military-grade equipment.
The crew was on alert. No one was slacking just because the Crescent was in the relative safety of hyperspace. Either they were on their best behavior, trying to impress the Republic, or Lieutenant Rying ran a very tight ship. At least, he assumed she was the one running things. Being a first lieutenant made her the most senior officer on board as far as he was aware. It seemed like Lieutenant Valis had a fair share of command, though, too. Perhaps there was something going on between the two of them?
Dav shook his head and laughed to himself. Now he was just being silly. They were colleagues who had probably been working together for quite some time. They were friends; they trusted each other and shared the command much like Dav and Zed shared the Halos. It’s just one of those things that happens when you’ve been playing the military game for too long. You need someone else to share the burden with so you don’t go crazy.
Glancing over his shoulder, Lieutenant Valis noticed the pilot and his droid standing silently in the middle of the bridge taking in everything around them. Aaron got up from his chair and walked over to greet them.
“Welcome to the bridge, Commander,” he said, snapping a smart salute.
“Put that thing away,” Dav said with a grin, “it’s not necessary.”
Aaron slowly broke the salute. “Uh, yes, sir.”
“None of that ‘sir’ stuff either. I don’t want to be reminded that I’m supposed to be on duty right now.”
Unsure on how to proceed, the young lieutenant just gave a slow nod and said, “Very well. How might I help you, then?”
Dav gestured toward the astro at his side. “Snitch here has some information you might find useful—maps, intel, some old recon data of the area on Raxus where we think the Brotherhood outpost is—just some stuff you might want to look over before we reach our destination.”
The lieutenant called over one of the bridge technicians to hook the astromech up to the Crescent’s computer then turned back to Dav. “I’d still like to know what our role is,” he said. “This seems like an awful lot of work for simple taxi drivers.”
“It’s all up to you, really,” Dav replied. “At the very least, we need you to get us in and pick us up when we’re done. Whether or not you want to get more involved is your choice, but whatever happens to your men will be your responsibility.”
“So you don’t want to take the blame for what my men do. I can accept that.”
“No, it’s not that I don’t want to take the blame, it’s that I can’t. This mission is completely off the record. If something goes wrong and our superiors find out that we were here without any kind of clearance, we would be in a lot of trouble. I can clear my own pilots and accept all punishment for them by saying they were just following my orders, but I can’t do that for you. It would never stand up in a court-martial; I’m not your superior and you’re here on your own free will, not by order. I’m giving you a choice and I want you to be aware of the consequences. I don’t want to see you guys get in trouble or even killed because you felt like I was forcing you to come along.”
“But we can if we want to, right?”
“Only if you actually want to. There is a lot of risk involved here and not just from the Brotherhood. Just think about what I’ve said. You have until we reach Raxus to decide if you want to be more involved with the mission.”
Aaron let out a long sigh of contemplation. Dav could see the gears in his head turning as he ran through his options and their possible outcomes. He fidgeted a bit—adjusting his collar, straightening his cap—then finally said, “I’m still wondering why we don’t just let the Jedi handle this. Wouldn’t this be a job better suited for them?”
“Yeah, probably,” Dav said in an almost humorous tone. “But by the time they stop sitting around discussing whether or not taking action will ‘lead them to the Dark Side’ or whatever the excuse, we’d all be dead. Ironic, isn’t it?”
Aaron canted his head. “What is?”
“They’re so afraid of falling to the Dark Side, but fear is supposedly the first step towards it.”
“You don’t care for Jedi much, do you?”
“I never said that. I’m just not as impressed by them as everyone always seems to be. People react differently when they find out their dealing with a Force-user. They tend to forget that someone who uses the Force is still only human—or whatever species they are. They’re still mortal; they can still be killed.”
“I think I follow you. You’re saying that the Jedi are no more invincible than the men we’re fighting. You’re suggesting that we should no more rely on the Jedi than we should fear the Brotherhood.”
“Right. Just because we’re not special like them doesn’t mean we’re out of our league. Everything has a weakness; we just have to exploit it.”
“But what about all of those powers they have? Surely that has to amount to something.”
“Obstacles. So what if you can shoot lightning bolts from your hands? I have a blaster that will do just about the same thing.”
“Well, not really. I mean, Force lighting seems like it would be a lot more deadly in the right hands.”
“Either one will kill you, right?” He then repeated Aaron’s words, stressing them. “In the right hands. Dead is dead—there is no such thing as less-dead or more-dead. Ultimately, the weapons or powers one has doesn’t matter; it all boils down to how he uses them. Who the more skilled combatant is. Who knows their enemy better. Who plays dirtier.” He paused, seeming to drift off for a moment. “Who has more to lose. Drive and motivation can make even the weakest man a mighty warrior.”
Aaron chuckled. “Now it sounds like you’re reciting one of those ancient warfare manuscripts.”
“There’s a reason those texts have been around for so long. I might not be a great military mastermind, but I’m not completely crazy, either.”
The slightly amused look on Aaron’s face suggested that he actually thought the latter. That was a lot of information to process and Dav wasn’t completely convinced that he even believed himself.
The technician returned Snitch and Dav gave him a quick once-over, being careful not to make it too obvious. There was no immediate sign that he had been sabotaged or bugged.
“I hope my little friend here gave you what you needed,” Dav said, patting the R3 unit’s clear dome. “I should be getting back to my cabin before Jenn tears it apart looking for bugs or something.”
That elicited another smirk from Aaron. “Very well. I’ll keep in touch and let you know if anything comes up.” He started to lift his hand to his cap in salute, thought better of it and instead reached out to shake Dav’s hand.
“Smart move,” Dav winked as he shook Aaron’s hand. Aaron returned to his post as Dav and the droid exited the bridge.
“What was that all about?” Alicia said as Aaron plopped down into his seat.
Aaron turned to her. “It seems as if we have a few decisions to make.”

****

After a few minutes of wandering the Crescent’s halls and a few embarrassing wrong turns, Dav and Snitch returned to the small room he and Jenn were assigned. It wasn’t exceptionally large or fancy, but it wasn’t spartan either. The bed was comfortable, despite the drab gray sheets and the black Imperial crest emblazoned on the comforter. The room’s light fixtures, which appeared to be of Chandrilan make, were probably left over from the Crescent’s days as a luxury ship. The ‘fresher was clean and well maintained and there were even a couple of exotic potted plants scattered about to add a little bit of color to the otherwise dreary décor.
Jenn was asleep when her husband got back. She was curled up on top of the bed, still wearing her boots and jumpsuit. She had probably lain down for just a moment to rest, never expecting to fall asleep. Dav didn’t bother to wake her. She hadn’t slept much the past few weeks—no one really did, for that matter—so if she actually managed to find a few hours in which she could rest, there was no point waking her.
Dav had Snitch seal the cabin’s door so they wouldn’t be disturbed then put him in low-power mode and hooked him up to a recharge terminal. He then sat down on the edge of the bed to remove his heavy combat boots. He tossed them in the corner before taking off his gun belt and laying it over the corner of a nearby end table. He always liked to keep his blaster within reach, just in case.
He eased himself back onto the bed, letting out a deep breath as he sank into the oddly comfortable mattress. His entire body ached and he had a headache that would knock out a rancor. He looked out the cabin’s viewport. Its sun filter was down and he could clearly see the walls of the hyperspace tunnel. Some people would have found the endless swirling to be nauseating, but to Dav, it was relaxing. Between that and Jenn’s gentle breathing next to him, it wasn’t long before he, too, drifted off to sleep.
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Will T
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Post by Will T » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:31 pm

Marcus Pitto signed off from the communications terminal in a curious frame of mind. Much to his surprise, the Crescent had been able to make contact. Moreover, by a series of work arounds that the Admiral had to admit was clever, he had spoken with the mission commander in person. Lieutenant Valis was proving to have been an interesting choice indeed; too young to have experience the full force of Imperial indoctrination, he, unlike so many others Pitto had known, sacrificed his mission for the sake of prejudice. If anything, Pitto wondered if perhaps he had gone a little too far the other way - co-operation with the Rebellion should perhaps not be so immediate a choice, but at least the Empire was taking action against this new threat. On two fronts no less.
As he collected the data packet that had been piggy backed along with the transmission, an analysis of the situation from his deep cover Intelligence Officer, Pitto began to mentally connect the two disparate, distant dots he had placed on the galactic map. He placed an order with Watchtower V's communication staff to have the Crescent waved through the station they were planning on stopping at. Keeping the station's crew firmly in the dark about exactly what - or rather who - was nestled in the ship's hold seemed the most prudent course of action. But throughout, he could not shake the feeling that the two hands he had extended into the wider galaxy should be working in tandem, co-ordinated.
Retrieving his personal comm unit, he patched into the Golan Platform's external array, hoping the ESS had the equipment necessary to receive hyperwave communications as standard fitting.

*****

The insistant vibration in the pocket of his dark blue robe jolted Gurn Akkare away from the viewport forcefully enough that he nearly dropped the mug of caf - coffee, he reminded himself, it was called coffee on this ship - he was holding. Taking the small cylinder out, he marvelled briefly at the wonders of modern technology as he did so. Despite travelling at many times the speed of light, hundreds of light years away from the source of the buzzing, and moving in a direction completely unknown to that source, Akkare had just experience near instantaneous communication with Admiral Marcus Pitto.
There were those who would never understood the powers Akkare could wield through the intricacies of the Force, but he knew that he would never begin to comprehend the bizarre physics of hyperspace. The device he held was limited though. It could receive a signal by patching in to local hyperwave transceivers, but it had no means of control. He could not send his own communications without directly interfacing with the ship mounted transceivers. And that meant all the device could do was tell him Pitto wanted to speak with him; still, it had at least achieved that function.
Akkare made his way to bridge. Most of his new acquaintances were aft, suiting up ready for their arrival at Valmont, Gyttel along with them, but Darron Larcoon remained overseeing the ship's transit.
"Gurn?" He looked up as the elder man entered, and Akkare was relieved that the former - brief as it had been - Imperial remembered to use his first name. "Something I can help with?"
"Admiral Pitto's just sent me a summons." Akkare replied. "I don't suppose I could access the FTL comms for a hail to Bastion?" Darron looked a little uneasy at that, his face clear enough even without Akkare's Force-attuned intuition. "It's not private, you can listen in. Make sure we're not up to anything." He gave his best shot at a reassuring grin. It appeared to work.
"Alright. Same channel as the one he gave me?" Akkare nodded an affirmative, and Darron began inputing a series of commands into the array control console. "You're good to go." It took a few moments for Pitto to accept the hail, and for the two distant terminals to synchronise, but before too long, the holographic projection of the Admiral materialised in front of Akkare.
"You wanted to speak to me, sir?"
"I have some information to relay that may help your mission, and that of a fellow Imperial. Is this channel secure?"
"Secure in terms of transmission," Akkare winced, "you're talking to the whole bridge though."
"Understood." Pitto sighed. "I'll give you the clean version. I dispatched my own probe into this Brotherhood threat. I sent a reconaissance force under cover as a training mission that got a little lost to gather information. They were ambushed, and I feared them lost until I received a report that said they had been rescued by New Republic forces. They are now co-ordinating a covert intelligence gathering mission. I realise how that sounds." He added, as the hologram conveyed Akkare's skeptical expression.
"So you've got one team working with the ES- uh, PSA, and another working with the NR? Next you're going to tell me you've just opened an embassy with the Jedi, and Admiral Daala is holidaying with the Gungans." Akkare's voice betraying nothing short of incredulity.
"PSA?" Pitto asked, ignoring the melodrama.
"The ESS has had something of a regime change, I'm sure the details will filter to you in time. I just happened get the news pretty much first hand. Know the right people, you see."
"I see." Pitto replied, somewhat bemused, "if former Admiral Larcoon would be so kind as to send me a data address, I'll dispatch the data packet my Intelligence Officer has compiled on their activities. If you can get in touch with the right people in the New Republic - and I'm sure the, ah, PSA knows who - perhaps your team and theirs could co-ordinate, set up an intelligence gathering pincer movement, as it were. I'm about to brief my own Intelligence team, once the necessary assets are in place, I can task them to act on whatever intel you acquire on this brotherhood."
"Understood Admiral, I'll let our mission commander know."
"Ms Qhalic?"
"Who else?" Akkare grinned. "We're currently en route to-"
"That's classified." Darron interrupted brusquely.
"I know, I know," Akkare said defensively, "I wasn't going to tell him where. We're going to rescue-"
"That's alsoclassified." Darron interrupted again.
"AN ASSET THAT MIGHT HELP US." Akkare declared loudly, irritated. "And then we're going to use that as a starting point to begin tracking the leadership of this brotherhood. If we don't make contact with this trainee team of yours, tell them that any word, rumour or gossip on the whereabouts or even the structure of this Brotherhood's big boss would be very much appreciated."
"I will." Pitto promised. "I'm sending you the Crescent's transponder information and hailing frequencies in case you make contact. Good luck, Akkare."
"Thank you, sir. Though with the amount of firepower Messyrs Gyttel and Qhalic are about to pack, I don't think we'll need it."
Admiral Pitto signed off, and Akkare turned to Darron. "Get all that?"
"I think so." He nodded, unsure where he would start when he related it all to Mryna. "We're getting close to Valmont, shall we go and make sure our two commandos haven't killed each other?"
"Sounds like an excellent idea."

*****

Gyttel, decked out once more in armour that befitted his career choice, albeit of PSA make rather than the familar black Storm Commando armour, strode onto the bridge just in time to see Mryna holstering her weapons, an act that for some reason made her seem more threatening.
"I will be once I get to shoot some people." She told Darron, ending some discussion. Gyttel moved beside her, and gestured at one of the displays. The outline of the Mirage glowed on the screen, annotated with technical descriptions.
"So that's our target?" He asked in place of greeting.
"Our traitor's somewhere on that ship." She acknowledged coldly.
"I'll offer you a favour." Gyttel began. "This traitor? He's off the scoreboard. I'll let you kill him anyway you want, and it has no effect on kill count. Our competition is strictly for the mooks."
"Nice to know you value my feelings." She said drily. "But it doesn't matter. One extra kill isn't going to affect the size of my lead too much anyway."
Formerly known as The 95 Headhunter

Seagulls
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Post by Seagulls » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:05 am

Aaron was in his room, still listening to the orders though he was off-duty. He stood as Dav entered the room, knocking on the bulkhead as he closed the door.
"Dav. You listened to my message?" He put his earbuds away and offered Dav a chair.
"Yes, but that isn't why I dropped in", he replied, accepting the chair. "I came to remind you that we're about ready to do our recalculations so we can jump to Raxus Prime."
Aaron chuckled. "Good. I'm getting tired of waiting. We're still going to need to jump into Valmont for supplies. I know you weren't comfortable with using an Imperial stop, so I hope you find this satisfactory."
"That's fine. It is near enough our route that no one will even suspect that we're swapping courses."

As Dav left, Aaron quietly asked, "Would you mind working on the calculations with me?"
"Not a problem."
Dav was surprised that Aaron hand asked him for help. It wasn't anything near what even he had expected from an 'enemy' officer. He was a good kid.
They sat down at a table and reworked the coordinates before plugging everything into the computer.

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Alicia finished her interview with a full notepad. The grizzled old man seemed to remember everything that was relevant to her questions. His eyes, at first full of caution and distrust, now were nearly on fire with emotion as he recounted pure history. He showed no sign of tiring, and she realized that she had no desire to stop either. Her watch didn't begin for several more hours, so she set her notepad down and just listened.

"That, that was before the Jedi were slaughtered. Their clones cornered them like rats, in every corner of the galaxy. Even a Jedi couldn't stand up to constant fire. The clones even took the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, killing padawans and Jedi alike. Young and old they killed them."
Alicia felt a shiver run up her back. This was the history that was forbidden to be mentioned.
"Did you know any of the Jedi?" She asked the question cautiously and instantly regretted it. The old man nearly burst into tears, silently shuddering from grief. She laid her hand on his shoulder, the only support that she could give him.

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Hours later, Jenn K'Barrek jumped out of her bed as the Crescent unexpectedly exited hyperspace again. She zipped her flightsuit and sprinted toward the bridge. They weren't due on Raxus Prime for another eight hours.
'I'm going to take him apart, one piece at a time', she swore under her breath. She froze as she saw ESS's Mirage. Betrayed. Imp Scum.

Aaron barely had time to react. He felt a rush of air as Jenn punched him in the back of the head. He jumped up and charged her, taking her off guard and subduing her in a bear hug. Her feet lost traction and he pushed her down the few stairs leading to the bridge.
"GET OFF OF MY BRIDGE", he shouted, startling the entire crew. He wasn't a loud officer. He never shouted at anyone.
Jenn stood and began her tirade, menacingly approaching where he stood.

The entire crew grinned as Dav snuck behind Jenn in response and pinned her arms behind her back and forced her out kicking and screaming bloody murder.

"Apologies for the disturbance" breathed Alicia into the comm as she entered from the hallway, keeping as far from Jenn as possible. Alicia glanced at Mirage and cooly gauged the distance before continuing.

"No bruises?" She asked as Aaron saluted with a grin, trying to maintain his balance as his blood struggled to reach his brain.
"Nope."
"Then sit down before you fall down. Actually, could you contact planetside to buy our supplies. After, of course, I get the proper permission. I hope the ESS, err PSA now isn't it? Anyway I hope they don't mind."

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An incoming craft alert reverberated through the Nighthawk, quickly followed by the proximity alerts as a space yacht exited hyperspace directly above them and gunned its engines.
"Silence on all decks" was Mryna's quick command. A technician flipped a small switch to alert the rest of the crew.
The new craft broke comm silence as a young female voice addressed Mirage.
"PSA Mirage, this is the Imperial vessel Crescent. We are here to pick up some supplies from planetside. Do you copy?"
Silence. The oddly shaped yacht maintained is course, quickly nearing Mirage's maximum firing range.
'Idiots', muttered Mryna. 'They're going to blow our cover.'
She slightly raised her voice. "Accelerate to attack speed, battle stations. Ready to board." The technicians scrambled to their tasks, and their engines hummed to life.
Mirage would be too distracted to notice Nighthawk sneaking up on her until it was too late.



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Darv Gyttel stood behind Mryna, waiting. He could see the Imperial yacht if he stood on his toes, and he watched it in horror as Mirage's batteries began warming up. Did they even realize that they were almost under attack? Mirage's traitor commander obviously thought that the yacht was a blind for a boarding action.
He frowned, thumbing his rifle. He had no idea what he could do.

Nothing was happening.

That was a vessel of the Imperial Navy. The girl sounded like one of the newer Lieutenants.

Rotten Shame.

He couldn't interfere, he couldn't help her. Not at this level of the game.

What a dumb game.

He popped his neck, keeping his eyes on the yacht as it entered Mirage's optimum range.

He wished he could pace. He wished he didn't have to look.


Moments later, Mryna altered course toward the Mirage's hanger bay. She began to realize how perfect this was. They had passed the sluggish space yacht, which maintained its current course, its idiot officer waiting for acknowledgement. She shook her head, realizing that the occupants wouldn't survive the next ten minutes.

The yacht's engines suddenly flared as it went evasive, neatly avoiding the burst of laser fire from Mirage and it tore through space toward the massive capital ship.
Mryna's entire crew was riveted to the yacht's maneuvering prowess, and the four laser turrets that sprang to life. That ship could be an even match against Nighthawk, marveled Mryna. Too bad they weren't fighting something that small.
She turned around to suddenly face Darv. "Stop breathing down my neck." She turned back around, once again ignoring him. He grinned at her back. So, the competition begins.

She tapped the comm officer's shoulder.
"Turn off our sensor disruptors and give me communications with Crescent. Now we can't just let them die."
"No communications, they're running some sort of firewall."

Right on cue, Gurn Akkare walked up the stairs to the bridge, holding a datacard, a grin on his weathered face.

||||||||||||||||

Aaron Valis slammed the ship's stick back into a long loop around the Mirage. A 65m craft was hard to maneuver with its alternate controls. Behind him, Alicia quickly tried to calculate a hyperspace route. The ship's comm rang its old annoying ring. "The one thing about this ship…" she began as she picked up the comm.
"Alicia Rying, commander of Crescent, speaking." Another laser splashed their forward shields as Aaron lost focus for a moment.
"This is Mryna Qhalic, in command of PSA Nighthawk."
A new craft alert sounded, and Mirage's shields began taking damage from a blackened portion of space.
"Nighthawk, where are you? What are you?"
A new message flickered onto the screen, followed by a full holo of PSA Nighthawk.
"Woah."

|||||||||||||

"Mirage was stolen from the PSA earlier this week. We need to disable and board her." Mryna hated the formalized conversations dealing with other factions.
"You can count on us to assist in any way possible", came the quick reply. The other woman was obligated to offer assistance, just as Mryna was forced to accept her assistance.
"We'll go for the main hangar bay", she offered. Vince would probably be lower in the ship, and she had to get there first.
"Acknowledged. We'll board the bridge and meet you. But first we need to disable her." The girl sounded more confident, and much more in charge of the situation than she had earlier.
The modified yacht rocketed past Mirage's nose and into freer space, neatly avoiding most of the turbolaser blasts. Nighthawk continued to pound the Mirage's aft section as her gunners struggled to find the source of the fire. This was going to take forever; Mirage's shields were still at 90%. Mryna fired four warheads, taking the percentage down to 85%.
She spared a glance at the Imperial vessel as it fired two quick purple missiles at the much larger Mirage, followed by a strange yellow warhead.
"Someone identify those warheads, NOW."
"I think the first two are Magnetic Pulse warheads. No idea about the yellow one, boss", came the reply. "It can't be a rocket, it's too fast."
They watched the mag-pulses impact the shields, and the firing ground to a stop. Mryna fired another burst of torpedoes, bringing the shields down to 78%.

The yellow warhead impacted smoothly, filling the shields with light before fading.
"Captain! Mirage's shields just failed!"

"Crescent, what was that?"
"Its a modified magnetic pulse", came the cheery reply. "Thats the only one we had, though." The Crescent began a stream of purple ion bolts, splashing over the Mirage's hull.
Nighthawk's gunners followed suit, disabling the much larger ship in seconds.

|||||||||||||||||||||

"Ok, start boarding operations", said Alicia, looking around her for support. "Gather a few people who can fight into the lower hold. We're taking the bridge, and perhaps meeting the PSA boarders somewhere in between."

One of the trainee engineers confidently stepped onto the bridge deck.
"Sir, I know who can fight."
Alicia looked at him, scanning his stance, the facial scars, that voice inflection.
"Yes? Go on."
The man saluted. "John Reimer, 2nd Commando Squad, First Training Battalion, at your service. SIR."
"How did I get commandos sent with a bunch of trainee engineers for a repair mission?"
"Orders. My men are ready sir, fifteen of the best, if I may say so."
"Then get to the lower hold, fore hatch."
"Yessir."
"Dismissed."
'Some people just don't know how to handle being ordered around by a woman', she said under her breath.

She keyed the shipboard comm once again. This was exactly what they needed.
"All personnel. We are asking for volunteers to board Mirage's bridge. No one is obligated to volunteer. There will be minimal resistance, and it will serve to dissolve tension between the PSA and the Empire. All volunteers will be armed and will board from the lower hold."

||||||||||||||||||||||||

Aaron stood up from one of the many benches as the volunteers came in. He handed out some weaponry and readied bacta patches as they began to pour into the hold. Most of the trainees volunteered; that was expected. But, Aaron was surprised to see Jenn stalk into the hold, armed and ready for trouble, followed by Dav and the rest of the Halos.
He threw a mock salute to Dav, who grinned.
The group settled down and they waited. Jenn fiddled with her safety, and looked around impatiently. Aaron edged away from where she sat and waited for orders.
He stood up in shock when more than 10 men in commando armor walked in. Weird.

||||||||||||||||||||||||

The bridge officers helped her pilot the yacht slowly and surely from the aft of Mirage.
"The bridge is right...there", said an officer, gesturing to a drop-off.
"Ram speed, ready boarding procedures."
Alicia was no longer on the bridge, but deep in the hold of the Crescent, leaving Lieutenant Ayer in charge. She was about the same rank as Aaron, but he had the training and the commission. She needed a chance for advancement, and this was it.

|||||||||||||||||||||||

The former yacht slammed down into Mirage's bridge from the top, and her lower hold's hatch drill pierced the thick armor. Alicia counted until the drill finished. Ace.
"CLEAR!"The body of volunteers stood back as she cracked the hatch to drop a flashbang. She slammed the hatch shut manually as the flashbang hit the bridge deck below.
"Everyone on stun setting. BOARDERS AWAY!" They poured into the silent bridge, taking stations and closing the blast door.
"All secure here" came Mryna's voice over the comm.
"And here. We'll meet you halfway."
"Affirmative."

"Um, Aaron, what are you doing?"
He had a modified datapad ported into the ship's computer.
"Just gathering some intelligence…"
"Its you're neck, buddy."
He laughed. "Only if I get caught."

The commandoes-in-training sprinted down the empty corridor, Halo Squadron right behind them, leaving the ground engineers to catch up.
|||||||||||||||||||||||
Last edited by Seagulls on Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
Seagulls
Red 6
CRS Morning Star: Home of Red Squadron

"Now you're using that misfiring hunk of erratic machinery you refer to as a brain"-Ton Phanan. Pilot, Wit, Superior Intellect.

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General_Trageton

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Post by General_Trageton » Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:29 pm

Reaching the command bridge took longer than Vince had anticipated. Being an Executor ship the Mirage's standards in security and personnel competence was considerably higher than on other military vessels. Not to mention Vince had once thought to sense at least one or more auras that shone slightly brighter than others, likely Cha'Lynh or, in the worst case, force-sensitive cultists. Vince had since restricted himself to the ship's less frequented maintenance shafts that ran above the common personnel levels. He was now right below the cruiser's spine, a chain of ventilation shafts, maintenance ducts and escape pod hubs that ran alongside the Mirage's rear dorsal hull. Although these chambers did have their practical aspects and roles, their main purpose was also to provide buffer space to keep eventual critical hits away from the more vital sections below.
Suddenly there was a distant tremor, as if the ship had been hit by something. Sirens started blaring all around him. Apparently someone had made contact with the lost ship after all and was now taking actions. It was time for him, to become more active, too. He wasn't really in a physical shape for a fight, but his mind was focused enough to make up for that. Concentrating on the ship's energy he drained it, used it to surround himself with a shield of power. Once again the power surrounding him lifted him off the ground and carried im through the corridors - faster than he could ever have moved on foot.

What happened then was beyond his comprehension. Again something hit the ship. He could feel the distant impact on the shields, echoing through the energetic connection. Two impacts in rapid succession. Already they had a strange feeling, as if they had some interferrence with the ship's electrical systems. Then There was another hit. This one seemed to roll right through him, blinding light washed over his eyes and he felt every muscle and every nerv in his body being overpowered.

Then darkness.
He didn't even notice hitting the ground.

////////////////

Mryna rolled her eyes as she saw the Crescent slam down just behind the Mirage's bridge module.
"Will you people please stop demolishing my ship!" She barked - more into the room rather than the comm unit. So much for the subtle approach. now the whole damn ship knew they were coming. "What are they doing here anyway?" She growled. "This world is a mining colony! What other supplies would they want to pick up?"
"Baradium maybe?" Monk suggested half-jesting.
"Oh shut it, Monk!" Kane grunted from the pilot's seat.
"Wait a second." Darron then interrupted. "Crescent, isn't that the other infiltration craft?"
Mryna whirled around. "What other infiltration craft?" If there was one thing she couldn't stand it was information being slipped past her and apparently this was happening right now.
"Oh crap!" Darron coughed, apparently realizing he had forgotten something. "Sorry, I didn't get a chance to tell you." He rose his hands in defense and blushed noticably. "Gurn and I were having a hypercomm conversation with Admiral Pitto and -"
"You what?!" Mryna gazed at him in disbelief. "Do the words 'classified' and 'covert operation' ring any bell in your head?" This was close to mutiny! OK, she was running a loose bunch but still she was in charge here.
"Calm down!" Darron responded - and his voice, too, became noticably louder. "Pitto is overseeing the anti-BoS operations from the Empire's side. I think he and Vince had arranged for Gurn to join us. He told us that there was a separate operation running under Imperial and New Republic colaboration."
"What?" Mryna - and Gyttel - snapped. Mryna then continued. "Oh that's great, and out of gratitude you told him every single effin' detail of our mission, right? This is just great! Why don't we let them take over the whole damn thing? It's not like our own government is in best shape right now anyway so we might as well all convert to the empire. And hey, then you get back your Admiral's rank and I - whamhmmmph" She got no further as Darron shot forth and kissed her, locking her tight in his embrace. Trying to resist at first she soon realized the futility of her attempts and gave in. One day she would kill him. After a few long moments their lips parted again.
"I hate you!" She growled and drew back. Just then a hard tremble went through the ship as it passed the hangar's magfield and touched down on the floor - and Mryna plunged right back into his arms once again. "You're so damn lucky that I love you just as much." Finally back on sollid ground she spun around and stomped off the bridge towards the hold. Even though Darron had quelled her initial fury, she wasn't really much happier now. Those imperial idiots and New Republic cowboys wanting to play could jeopardize the entire mission. Amateurs! she thought Damn, effin' rookies trying to play heroes!
"Listen!" Darron said, coming after her. "We let out no details about this mission. I have no clue why those guys are here, now. We definitely didn't tell them."
"Whatever! It doesn't matter now anyway." Mryna said sourly, forcing herself to think rational again. "They're here and we'll have to deal with it."
"At least they make up for some distraction and keep the brotherhood occupied on two fronts." Kane suggested.
"Yeah" Monk agreed. "Never hurts to have some extra cannon fodder."

The boarding ramp was about to open, when she joined the assembled team in the hold. The boarding party was divided into two teams: Bones was leading team One consisting of Shaft, Azrael, Wildcat, Gyttel and Akkare. Team Two consisted of Monk, Homie and Blade plus Kane, who was in charge. The rest of the crew would remain with the ship and hold the landing zone, once secured. "Change of plans." She said. "Thanks to those party crashers we can pretty much forget about subtlety but we still don't want to draw too much attention. We split up, Team 1 will search for Vince. We must assume he's injured thus the infirmary and detention center will be your primary targets, Team 2, head for the bridge and take control of the ship. Also, locate that other group - I don't want them snooping around unwatched for any longer than necessary." Reaching for her waist she picked her two blasters. "I'll go for our rat. Keep a low profile and eliminate opposition quick and clean. Keep material damage as low as possible, this ship was expensive." At this moment the airlock opened with a sharp his and beyond it bright light came in through the opening boarding ramp. "Now move out!"

Dashing forward Mryna blasted out of the hangar and headed for the nearest cover. Her sensors picked up a few guards scatteed throughout the hangar. Likely more were enroute, alarmed by the Nighthawk's arrival. Behind her she heard the sharp his and deep humm as Akkare ignited his lightsaber and blocked the incoming shots to cover the departing teams. That was, in fact, quite practical - Mryna made a mental note to recrut one of those Force-wielders at some point. Once all immanent targets were locked she burst out of her cover. With her team keeping the guards pinned down she summersaulted onto a large crate and, from there bounced off onto the hangar wall and, in mid-air began snipping out her targets two at a time with prcise shots. The last one she hit with her feet and the her weight and momentom brought him down to the floor, whereshe then delivered the killing blow. The fight had taken only a few seconds. "Welcome aboard." She said, as her team came swarming towards her. Reaching for her headset she radioed the bridge team. "All secure here."
"And here. We'll meet halfway." Mryna frowned. Now they were already close to the bridge and instead of seizing control they'd rather go explore? Weirdos. On the other hand it might be better this way - she'd rather have her own people secure the bridge than those imps.
"Affirmative." She eventually responded and cut the channel. Then she turned to the two team leaders, Kane and Darron. "Everyone knows what is at stake here and what they have to do. Keep me updated but maintain radio silence beyond that!"
"Copy that." Both acknowledged and the teams scattered.

////////////////

In the medbay Taya Berin awoke with a sharp gasp.

////////////////

"I can feel you!" The guard hissed and ignited his orange saberblade. He didn't get too far past that statement though, as a pair of hands appeared from behind and snapped his neck in a quick jolt.
"I bet you did!" Mryna rebuked half-aloud as she dragged the dead guard into the shadows of an unused maintenance bay. This was getting annoying. There were far more force-users around than they had anticipated, especially as she getting close to the command levels. The other teams had also reported their encounters. So far most of the Force users had been on a pretty low level, but still their numbers slowed them down. And from what she knew about Jedi Mryna had to consider the risk that the others might 'sense' their brothers' deaths no matter how subtle and thorough she was.

Before continuing she picked up the guard's lightsaber and attached it to her belt - joining the trophy that already hung there. She surely was no jedi but still well capable to handle that kind of weapon if the situation demanded - and they usually did occur. In the end it was only a matter of time, when she'd be confronted with someone who was more of a match than those kids. She was looking forward to that moment.
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
Vince T's Design HQ | Vince T's X-Wing HQ | My Steam Workshop

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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:00 am

Zed Jotham sank as far into his X-wing’s seat as it would let him and closed his eyes. All nonessential systems were in low power mode to conserve as much energy as possible. He knew it would probably be a good while before the spaceborne members of the squadron heard from Dav’s ground team. Few things were worse than hearing the call for action and finding out that one has depleted fuel cells.
Raxus Prime was visible just off the squadron’s starboard, though if you didn’t know it, you’d mistake it for another star. At this distance, everything looked like a star. That’s as close as the squadron could get, though, without risking detection by the system’s Imperial presence.
After about a half-hour of silent waiting, Roho initiated some idle comm chatter. “So I guess we’re just going to sit here, then?” he said. “Anybody got a deck of cards?”
“I do,” Chancy replied excitedly. The young Corellian always had a deck of cards or some other gaming device on him somewhere.
Rilacn rolled her eyes. “Roho, we’re in starfighters. What the hell are we supposed to do with a deck of cards?”
“Chance could deal us all out and we could play through him.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“Well, you have a better idea?” She didn’t reply. There wasn’t a whole lot one could do from the cockpit of a snub fighter. Read a small holobook. Sleep, perhaps. Fighters that size were meant for combat, not recreation. All except for the Tough Luck, Chancy Kiloth’s Firespray, that is. He was probably the only one enjoying this downtime. Showoff. Although in low-power mode, there probably wasn’t a lot he could do, either.
After a few more minutes, Roho broke the silence again. “Maybe we should call the Commander and see what’s going on?”
Zed had thought about that earlier, but quickly dismissed it due to some very crucial problems. “Well, if they’re still in hyperspace,” he said, “our transmission wouldn’t reach him and if he’s on the ground, I doubt he would want his comm unit going off while he’s trying to sneak into an enemy base. Don’t worry about them, everything has been considered.” He diverted just enough extra power to activate one of his X-wing’s data screens. “Dav hid a tracking bug on the Crescent. If the Crescent’s hyperdrive is as fast as they claim, then that should put them right about—” The screen flickered to life. The information it showed seemed unreal. “Valmont? What are they doing there?”
“Valmont?” Zed’s younger brother, Yole, repeated. He wasn’t familiar with that name. “Didn’t Dav say that the Imps had to make a stopover at a resupply station? I’m sure that’s all it is.”
Returning standard power to his fighter’s systems, Zed fed the planet’s data into his astro droid, Champ. “Possibly, but their location doesn’t put them near any known Imperial stations.” Champ processed the data and quickly returned a series of hyperspace coordinates. “Valmont isn’t too far from here; we could make a quick jump there to check on things without straying too far from Raxus. Ril, Chance—come with me. The rest of you stay here and keep watch. I don’t want to use up all of our resources in case this turns out to be nothing.” He plugged the coordinates into the navcomputer. “You’re in charge, little brother. Let me know if anything comes up here.”
“Can do.” Yole replied. “Just be careful out there.”
Zed transmitted the hyperspace coordinates to the other two ships. “Here are the coordinates that will get us close to the Crescent’s location. Make ready to jump.” Seconds later, two X-wings and a Firespray vanished into hyperspace.
“Well,” Roho said with a heavy sigh, “there go our cards.” The comm channel fell silent once more.
“Anybody know any good stories?”

****

There was nothing odd about the Mirage’s halls. There were no darkened corridors with flickering lights, no mysterious burns or blood trails, and very little structural damage. It didn’t fit the typical holo-movie image of a ship taken over by dark Force-users. There was nothing particularly creepy about it; it just looked like a normal ship. Whoever had commandeered it from the former ESS probably did so from the inside, without any major struggle.
The Imperial commando group had paused just outside a small cargo hold in order to get their bearings. Lieutenant Rying and a handful of squad leaders gathered around a data terminal to discuss their next course of action. The group was supposed to meet up with one of the PSA teams from the hangar but, as Mirage was a rather unique ship, her deck plans weren’t available in any standard Imperial database. She was also a large ship and wandering around her aimlessly with a bunch of Force-sensitives on the hunt was not exactly advisable.
The small New Republic strike team gathered a few meters away from the Imperial commandos—far enough away to keep an eye on them, but close enough to assist one another in case trouble started.
Dav checked his gear one more time, not so much to see if he forgot anything—there wasn’t much he could do about that, anyway—but just for something to keep his hands occupied. Save for some minor arm and leg protection, he wore very little armor, preferring instead maneuverability to protection. He was well armed, though. He carried plenty of blaster packs for his carbine and side arm as well as a few fragmentation grenades that, given the close-quarters situation, he hoped he wouldn’t have to use. A small, emergency projectile pistol concealed in a shoulder holster under his vest rounded out his load. Both Ilixu and Ren were similarly armed, though they carried full-sized rifles instead of carbines and Ilixu wore a specially made Bothan cuirass. Rollosk had only a pair of thick pauldrons and a hefty blaster pistol. He used his claws and brute strength in combat just as often as a blaster, if not more often. Jenn, however, always traveled heavy. It was her style, held over from her mercenary days. Her armor was completely custom-built—made to her specifications—and her weapons were so heavily modified that they were all borderline illegal. Most of her technical gadgets were illegal.
“How does it feel?” Dav said as he watched his wife fiddle with a few straps and buckles. “To be back in that getup again, I mean.”
“It feels like home.” She shifted her breastplate around a bit. “A little tight, though. I think I put on a few pounds since I last used it.”
“Having two kids will do that to you.” He had seen her in her full battle armor before, but it always amazed him how aesthetically appealing it was. It was almost artistic in a way, offering superb protection without subduing the wearer’s femininity. In fact, the armor actually accentuated her figure—hardly a quality one would expect from an armorer working for a small-time merc gang.
He looked around at the Imperial commandos. They were all outfitted quite well and with the latest Imperial tech. But were they ready? They all looked just as young as the two lieutenants leading them and probably hadn’t had near as much real-world experience. Rying and Valis seemed to have more experience than Dav expected, though, maybe the commandos did, too.
Alicia spoke. “All right, listen up,” she said, gaining the group’s attention. “The PSA team is coming to meet up with us. They’re nearby, so we’re to stay put until they get here.” She gestured toward the sealed doors leading to the cargo bay. “Until then, Lieutenant Valis will take half the group into that bay and make sure it’s clear. We don’t want any surprises.”
The group cleared the area around the door. The commandos sidled the walls, ready to affect entry once Aaron activated the door controls. The lieutenant keyed in the command, but the door remained closed.
“It must be on lockdown,” he stated matter-of-factly. “Get some of the engineers over here to rig a breeching device.”
Dav threw up a halting hand. “Strike that,” he said to the engineers. He turned to Aaron. “I doubt the PSA would appreciate you going around blowing holes in their ship.” He remembered the Crescent’s boarding maneuver on the bridge. “Blowing more holes in their ship. Let’s try something a little more surreptitious. Ilixu, think you could work some magic here?”
The Bothan flashed a toothy grin. “Of course.” He cracked his knuckles and studied the locking device for a moment. “Oh, yes, this is quite impressive. Whoever designed this ship’s security systems is a technological genius. If that is the case, then this may take me a while.” He pressed a few buttons, grunted then said, “Perhaps even upwards of five minutes.” Ilixu set to work on the lock, his long, furry fingers beating out a rapid rhythm. He focused on the lock like a hawkbat trying to crack an egg, occasionally pausing to mumble something to himself.
With the Imperials focused on Ilixu and the door, Ren moved up next to Dav and said very softly, “Y’know, Boss-man, I find this all very interesting.”
“And how’s that?”
“Valmont is a mining world. What kind of supplies could the Imps possibly be after here? I think they were planning this whole raid all along. Way back when they agreed to help us, they went along with your plan so that we could help them with some kind of grand collaboration scheme with the PSA. I mean, those commandos that appeared out of nowhere, the Imperial agents working on the PSA side…I think this was all organized by some higher up in the Empire.” He crossed his arms, leaned against the wall and casually said, “I believe, sir, we’ve been played.”
Dav nodded. “Quite nicely, too, I must say. I just wonder what the ultimate goal of this game is: unification or domination.”
“We have the PSA on our side, right? I’m sure they’ll look out for us.”
They both just looked at each other and shrugged.
A series of short beeps indicated that the door lock had been cracked. “Success!” Ilixu purred. He backed away from the lock and threw a conceited expression at Aaron. “You are welcome.”
Aaron activated the door, which opened with a sharp hiss. He and half the commando group, weapons at the ready, executed a flawless entrance maneuver. Dav and his team filed in behind them.
And there it was—the creep factor that had been missing. The bay was poorly lit. All the cargo crates were piled up and pushed against the walls, leaving an open space in the center where an eerie altar stood. What little light was present emanated from portable mechanics’ lights that were strewn about the floor, casting their rays upward onto red velvet fabric that hung from support beams. The altar was also lit, but from a single light hanging from the ceiling. Next to the altar knelt a sinister, cloaked figure.
The figure stood, keeping his head bowed. He turned toward the group. Light from the hallway outside filtered in and struck the figure, but failed to illuminate anything other than the folds of his dark cloak and the crooked grin on his lips. “Welcome to your holy immolation!” he growled, revealing a mouthful of yellowed teeth as he spoke. “Long have I awaited your arrival for your demise brings me exaltation in the eyes of our glorious leader. Soon our truth will be spread across the stars. The truth of the Force. The truth of Shadows. The truth of Darius Rygetto! There is no light; there is no dark. There is only the Force and all that is part of it. Only when you embrace it and become part of it will you truly understa—”
Jenn quickly lifted her projectile rifle and fired, striking the figure with a single, fatal shot. “Frackin’ drama queen,” she hissed before the body even dropped.
Aaron, thoroughly impressed, forgot his dislike of the woman behind the rifle for a brief moment and said, “Nice shot.”
Jenn cycled a new round into the rifle’s chamber. Dav pat her on the back and said, almost seriously, “Yeah, but you should have let him keep talking. He might have actually told us where to find Rygetto.”
The group proceeded slowly toward the altar, expecting an ambush. They reached the altar without incident. It had been spattered with blood from the shot that dropped the acolyte, but was otherwise unremarkable.
Feeling a little more at ease, Aaron holstered his blaster and turned toward two commandos standing behind him. “See if you can’t find a light switch.” They acknowledged then ran off to fulfill the command. Aaron knelt down to examine the body. He was a Zabrak—probably young, but so corrupted by evil that he looked much older. As expected, he carried a lightsaber, but he never had the chance to use it before the high-velocity projectile struck his left temple. Aaron didn’t have to turn the body to tell that the Zabrak was missing a good portion of the back of his head. The amount of blood pooling up said enough. Hollow points. They’ll do that to a cranium.
Aaron felt a slight queasiness in his gut and stood before it could get any worse. He scanned the cargo hold—what he could see of it, anyway—then said, “Don’t you think this seems a little too easy?”
As he said that, two bodies came crashing out of the darkness and slid across the floor. They were the two commandos Aaron had dispatched. Dead. From the shadows, multicolored blades of light snap-hissed to life. The bay door slid shut, locking them inside and separating them from the other half of the group.
Dav gave Aaron an irritated glare and said ironically, “Thank you for that wonderful observation.”
The younger officer responded with a nervous laugh and sheepish shrug. He pulled his blaster, watching as the blades of light drew closer. “So, do you still believe all that stuff you said about the Force being just an obstacle for us?”
Dav flipped off his carbine’s safety. “Absolutely,” he replied in an almost psychotic tone.
Aaron’s weapon hand quivered as he held it outstretched. “You’re crazy, you know that?”
Dav lifted his carbine to his shoulder and lined up a target. “Completely.”
He squeezed the trigger.
Last edited by FunkyFreshMan on Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Drake26 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:41 am

Arcerac glared at the blaster in his hand. These infernal devices were far too effective at destroying his zombies. He had come to this Almania expecting easy pickings, but instead every peasant had one of these... things. He looked back to discover he had crushed the despicable technology in his hand, then he threw it to the ground. Fine. He would adapt. Clearly the old tactics would not work in the new age, and he realized he had been a fool for thinking so. He could create new creatures and repurpose old ones to serve his cause. Focusing on his magic, he began to pull energy from the life and souls of the villagers, huddled together in the pens that had previously held their livestock, to build his spell. Careful to avoid the tempting energies the Weave offered him (He could feel the Old One out there, in all his power, and it wouldn't due for him to know of the return of Arcerac. At least not yet.) he directed that energy, sucking the flesh from their bones and molding it, shaping it into something new. Drawing from his own supply of souls now, he finished his work, and stepped back to admire his new creation. It stood 4 meters tall, a hulking pile of rotting flesh, and Arcerac grinned as the few remaining livestock let out cries of terror and stampeded toward the other end of the barn in an attempt to escape the beasts aura of fear. It swung one hulking arm, ad the massive bone blade that protruded from the stump below its elbow easily cut threw the durasteel rails as it forced its way out of the pen. It raised its ripped and mangled other arm and, with a flex, sent the razor sharp bony protrusions covering it flying threw the air toward the running livestock, shedding both them and the prefab wall beyond. Arcerac watched as the projectiles began to regrow, along with bony armor plates to cover the rest of it body. Success. Almost as an afterthought, he threw the last of the energy into the left over skeletons, who proceeded to stand and, walking over to the pile of blasters, pick out a weapon for themselves. I will rule this planet, and all those beyond it..

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

David sat back from his scrying pool. Nothing. He could feel in his gut that something was wrong, but could find nothing to back it up. Sure, the Brotherhood were making themselves a nuisance, but the other powers in the galaxy could sort that out without him, they were big boys and girls, they didn't need him to babysit them. But no mater what he did, he couldn't shake the feeling. He paced for a while, debating with himself, then finally resolved to do it. Steeling himself, he teleported.

Appearing in the meeting room of the Rusty Bodkin, he found the whole crew waiting for him. He slumped back into the chair kindly placed there for him, then looked to their captain. "This bad?"
"Yeah."
"Fuck." If she had the whole crew here to meet him, that meant shit was going to hit the fan, hard. See, "Crazy" Kate Bishop, captain of the Rusty Bodkin, was a seer, and while she might not know the specifics, or even have a vague idea, of what was going to happen, she would know if something was going to happen, and clearly she though this one was going to be a dozy.
Proud owner of the Almighty Frying Pan of Hugeness (Doom) or AFPoH(D)

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General_Trageton

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Post by General_Trageton » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:37 pm

Dareus Borness, codename 'Bones', led his squad down one of the Mirage's lengthy hallway. This all felt rather strange - it had been barely a week since he had last walked these corridors, casually whistling a tune while making his way to the bridge to start his shift. The Mirage's crew had been just as large as the Seraphim's, whereas the the ship itself was twice as large - eveything had seemed a little more spacey - and empty and he had come to miss the Seraphim, no matter how creepy it was at times. He didn't mind that emptiness now, fewer people meant fewer resistance. However, the quality of what resistance remained was troubling. He had seen Akkare in action easily deflecting blaster salvos with his laser sword thing. Knowing that they were facing that same proficiency among their enemies was somewhat disturbing.
Then again, he had Shaft and Wildcat.
Shaft was a giant in comparison to the other squadmates and a one-man-tank. When this man moved out he brought enough firepower with him to bring down a small starship. Jedi might be able to deflect blaster bolts, but Shaft's high velocity mass driver minigun was a totally different league. And where that failed his other 'toy' as he used to say - a portable missile launcher - did the job. Shaft might lack the precision that Bones exercised as a sniper, but the sheer mass and force made up for that.

Wildcat, on the contrary, was the absolute opposite. The lively little Chedalonian with the dark skin, light blond hair and her youthful smirk might appear cute to most - until they saw her in combat, in which case she stayed true to her nickname. Wildcat and Blade were the Phantom's two martial art and melee specialists. While Blade was more of an elegant and refined saberist, Wildcat turned into a raging whirlwind of blades making a close quarter encounter with her equal to certain death.

And, of course, in this very situation they also had their own jedi coming along - even if that meant having to keep an eye on Shaft, whom the aging Akkare had apparently chosen to be his primary needling target. Luckily his companion - Gyttel, the grumpy Veteran Commando, covered that part pretty well and called his friend off just in time, before Shaft threatened to use lethal force. The good thing was, however, that Akkare had a pretty good perception of their surroundings and knew when there was trouble coming up, so as long as he kept bugging Shaft, they were relatively safe.

It was one of these moments that Akkare fell silent. Instinctively the team stopped and gazed at him in anticipation,
"I sense ..." Before he could continue there was a bang. Distant but not too far. The team instantly rose their weapons and sought cover. But no further shots were heard.
"Heavy projectile rifle." Shaft eventually diagnosed. "Caliber 50, close quarters."
"ouch!" Wildcat commented lightheartedly. "That leaves a mark!"
"Az?"
"Fifty-four meters ahead of us." Azrael said, a thin crimson targeting laser flashing from his artificial left eye. "Somewhere near cargo bay 847."
Turning off his safety Bones readied his rifle. "Move!"
Quickly but causing as little noise as possible the group hurried down the corridor.
"Behind the next corner!" Azrael eventually hissed and the team halted. Bones took a few steps forward and carefully peaked around the corner. Inded there they were. A group of about ten. Half of them were frantically working on a door, while the others watched their backs. What struck him,
"Thos don't look like Brotherhood thugs we met so far." He commented.
"Imperial commandos." He heard Gyttel's low voice next to him. "Trainees I'd say."
"Trainees?" Bones repeated with little understanding. "You people bring cubs into a warzone?"
"Oh shut up already!" Gyttel grunted sourly. "It's not like -"
"Hold it right there!" Someone barked - great, so much for sneaking up. "Come out with your hands where I can see them."
Bones rolled his eyes and silently motioned his team to stay put - then nodded Gyttel to follow him. Doing as they had been commanded Bones and Gyttel idly rose their hands and walked around the corner.
"Identify yourselves!" The commandos had now trained their weapons on them, while the others - technicians from their looks - kept working on the door.
"Lieutenant Commander Dareus Borness, Phantom Squadron, PSA Special Forces."
"Major Darv Gyttel, Omicron Squad, Imperial Commandos, 61st delocalized Task Force. Stand down Recruit!" A sharp gasp left the junior commando's lips as he acknowledged Gyttel outranking him by lightyears.
"Sir!" Instantly the blasters were lowered and the assembled commandos stiffened and snapped a salute that Bones had to suppress a chuckle, while behind him the rest of the team appeared from their cover and joined them.
"At ease." Gyttel released them formally. "Report!"
"Sir, A vanguard team has advanced into the cargo bay to investigate." The leading commando reported dutifully "We lost contact with them, Sir."
"Who's in charge of your unit, Recruit?" Gyttel inquired.
"Sir, Lieutenant Vallis, Sir." The man his report. "He was with the vanguard unit. They must have triggered some kind of security mechanism. We are trying to get through to them, Sir."
"When was that?" Gyttel asked, raising a brow.
"Sir, about three minutes ago, Sir." Bones and Gyttel exchanged frowned glances then Bones crossed his arms.
"Have you tried blasting the door?" he inquired, fighting a growing impatience.
"Sir, No, Sir! Rebel commander Jassik has ordered not to damage -"
"It's a damn cargo bay, not the captain's quarters!" Bones interrupted him, finally at a total loss of patience. This was hilarious! If the team was stuck in some trap, time was quite a factor for successfully rescuing them. He turned around. "Shaft?"
Wordlessly the towering gunner stepped forward and unholstered the portable missile launcher. Without loosing much time he took aim and fired, leaving the baffled commando trainees only so much time to frantically dive out of the way, before the explosive projectile tore the door apart.

/////////////////

"Going somewhere, Miss?" she heard a voice snarling behind her. Silently cursing she turned around. Out of nowhere a cloaked figure had appeared without noise and was now standing right behind her, a deactivated lightsaber in hand. The irony that swung in the tone was depressingly straight forward.
"Maybe I'm just looking for a little company." She said simply and popped a hip revealing the trophy lightsabers. "Why don't you join me and the two of us might have some fun?"
"Tempting" said the cloaked figure. "How about I bring some friends?" Just as silent as the guard had appeared four others came sliding towards her from all sides. Apparently they had been following her for a while now. Moving prcisely they watched her every movements and moved as one unit. "Now, Miss Qhalic, how about we skip the smalltalk and get to the point where you surrender your weapons and come along peacefully?"
"Hmmm," Mryna made and rubbed her temples. "You have me in a strange dilemma. See, the impulsive, emotional part of me is aching to execute the five of you where you stand. The investigative part of me however is curious about what you are up to and suggests that I let myself be dragged away by you with all that dramatic struggling and screaming - and kill you later." Throwing him a cockeyed smile she shrugged. "Oh well"

In a fluent motion she spun around, drew one of the lightsabers and felled two of the guards with a swift slash across their throats. While they were dropping to the floor, Mryna was already on the third. He had by now ignited his weapon and blocked her attack. For a moment they were locked in the clash as she pressed her blade against his - distraction enoguh for her to draw one of her blasters with the free hand and fired from the hip. Undeflectableable the high powered shot hit him point blank in the stomach. The fourth was smart enough to leap out of range and raise his blade, realizing the danger she posed on both short and long range. But that wouldn't save him either. Using the nearby corridor wall she catapulted herself off towards him. Her momentum was brought to a sudden halt - and she found herself suspended in mid-air.
"You are becoming quite a nuisance, Miss Qhalic!" the head guard said and pulled the stolen lightsabers from her grasp. "You have trespassed on our ship and killed our brothers. Your punishment will be slow and painful. And in the end you will die." Once again her muscles tensened. There it was again, the familiar pressure around her throat threatening to squeeze the air from her lungs. Flames of pure hatred and sadistic pleasure burned in his eyes as he watched her struggling for every breath. Mryna would have sighed, weren't it for her choking. She had been trained to endure any kind of interrogation and torture, not to mention having experienced both more than once in the past.
"I keep - agh - hearing this from terrorists like you all the time!" she defiantly pressed and strained her muscles against the invisible grip. "Don't think that - hgh - the Force gives you any kind of edge on me." Enraged by her defiance the man actually let go of her throat and instead used the Force to slam her into the nearby wall. But that was a dance Mryna knew well. within a split-second she allocated her weight and hit the wall feet first. Bouncing off and across the corridor she pulled her remaining gun and dropped the last of the guard's henchmen in mid-air. Finally she landed on the floor again and rose up to stand before her opponent again. "Oh and by the way: this is my ship!"
"You are admirably brave - and depressingly foolish." the man snarled. "We are the Brotherhood of Shadows." He started ranting. "Our might goes far beyond your comprehension. Our agents have infiltrated every government and military organization throughout this galaxy. The Force is with us. Our reach is infinite." And here comes the entertainment! Mryna thought to herself. He wasn't even too imposing a figure but he sure knew how to make things dramatic.
"Yaddah yaddah yaddah" She simply mocked him. "Infinite, very much like your overconfidence!"
"Your despicable infamy will be your undooing!" The man growled, his eyes literally pulsing, as he obviously tried hard to suppress his growing anger. When he rose his hands she knew what was coming for her. She had lived through that kind of torment at the hands of Darth Pyra. Unspeakable pain, rupturing every bone, nerve and muscle in her body and causing her blood to boil. But she knew she could endure this. Focus! Holstering her weapon she rose her hands in defense and counted down her mind. three ... two ... one ...
"Stop that nonsense!" Mryna almost jolted at the interruption. That voice ...
Looking around she beheld a familiar blonde woman walking towards them from direction Mryna had come. And so the traitor had actually found her.
"Taya Berin." Mryna said darkly, as the blonde executor walked past her and towards the cloaked guard. "I should have known." So Taya was the rat. That would very much explain why her initial leads had turned out so fruitless. Apparently the bitch had led them ad absurdum from the beginning - also meaning that the corruption through the brotherhood reached far deeper than she had assumed.
"There's a lot of things you 'should have known', Princess" Taya said in her usual arrogant tone. "Did you really think I would just sit and watch as you took over the place that should have been mine?"
"You ungrateful bitch!" Mryna hissed. "I saved your life, when the whole Mithary underworld was at your throat. I gave you a chance to start over and put your talents to good use." Taya didn't react. That was actually rather strange, considering how often Mryna and her had argued in the past. The tempered Mitharyan was obsessed to always have the last word and usually it was Mryna who'd broken out of the deadlock seeing the pointlessness. That Taya now would ignore such a verbal assist was unlike her - and disturbing.
"Have you found the others." She asked the guard, ignoring her completely.
"We have doubled the guards. No one will -"
"Idiot!" Taya hissed and slapped him across the face - strong enough to throw him off balance and he had trouble not to stumbled and fall. "She is a vanguard." Taya continued. "While you are wasting time with this farce her team may already be taking control of the ship. See to it that they are brought to me - all of them!"
"How dare you!" The man growled. "You may be in charge of this ship but -"
"Quit yapping and do something useful instead!" Taya interruped him. "I want them alive. Now be a good dog and fetch!"
For a long moment the two only stood there facing off and holding each other's gaze. Eventually the guard turned away and - grumbling something - stalked off. Mryna watched them in a mixture of grudge and amazement. It was less about her team now being the target but rather the fact that Taya could bring up the courage and authority to speak up against that intimidating force user - and apparently hold her ground well against him. Aparently her sense of humer had improved as well. Turning around a corner the man disappeared and a door slammed shut behind him.
The two women were alone.
They stood there for a long moment, facing each other. Then, in a quick motion - to fast for any human eye to behold - Mryna drew her blaster and pointed it right at Taya's face.
"You continue to surprise me, Taya." Mryna said, while the blonde woman simply regarded the weapon. "I know you've been after my position for years. But I hadn't thought you'd let yourself down to working with these terrorists."
Taya remained silent - and that allone sufficed to fuel Mryna's anger.
"You betrayed us all!" Mryna cried out reproachfully. "Why, Taya?"
Things went very quick then. Faster than Mryna herself had thought possible, Taya's right hand shot up and grabbed the had holding the gun. Mryna was quick to react and squeezed the triger within the instant but Taya had already moved the nozzle away from her face. What was going on here? Mryna knew that Taya had similar augmentation implants installed throughuot her body, yet she should not turn out superior in such a way! In a quick jolt she spun Mryna around and locked her arm behind her back. Mryna bit her teeth againstthe pain, as her arm was painfully twisted. Then she felt a hand grabbing her shoulder, sending a cold chill down her spine. A sensation that was both sharp and numb soared through her entire body. It felt as if her strength were literally drained from her. Within a few seconds her limbs became heavy and she had to fight hard to stay on her feet. Gathering all her will she violently drew away and tumbled to the side, where she sought to support herself against the wall and gazed at the woman with subdued horror. Taya was still standing there. A small sphere of crackling energy was hovering over her open palm. This was impossible! Taya did not have such powers! When the blonde woman finally spoke her voice was calm and clear. Distant, but strangely familiar. "Taya has lost her faith. She fell victim to her own ambitions." Mryna was now totally puzzled. This all didn't add up. This woman looked like Taya, but she wasn't ... Mryna's eyes widened.
"Vince!?"
In a smooth motion the woman dissolved the energy sphere and let the energy flow back into Mryna's body. Within seconds she felt her strength return.
"You've been taking your sweet time, Mryna." the sarcasm in that answer was now unmistakable. "But I'm glad you're here at last."
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:32 am

Silver light flashed before the eyes of a frightened Imperial commando. He raised his blaster, trying to find a target somewhere amidst the glowing display. He felt his weapon jerk as the enemy’s lightsaber hacked off the rifle’s barrel. Then he felt a burning sensation deep in his side. He dropped to the ground, clutching the mortal wound.
The Brotherhood cultist with the silver saber spun around to find his next victim, but instead found himself with a large, scaly fist in his stomach. He gasped, breaking his defensive posture just long enough for Rollosk to drag his sharp talons across the Brother’s face, forcing him to drop his saber. His vision blurred by a stream of blood, the cultist staggered backward, trying to find his weapon through the Force. The saber went airborne, but was swiftly knocked back down by Rollosk’s powerful arm. The Trandoshan charged his hapless prey, seizing the man’s throat in his muscular jaws. He clamped down until he felt the satisfying pop of a broken neck.
“Find some cover!” Dav cried as he snapped a fresh blaster pack into his carbine. Alone, these cultists were weak, but in a group they could be a serious nuisance.
He cracked one over the back of the head with his carbine’s butt. That disoriented the cultist, but ultimately just served to anger him further.
These guys were probably just the small-time lackeys, though. They certainly fought like it.
The cultist swung his saber round low, nearly taking off Dav’s legs. He then performed a spectacular backwards somersault onto a nearby cargo crate.
The Brotherhood’s more elite members—the infiltration troops, the commanders, the authority figures—were probably less theatric and far more dangerous than their foot soldier counterparts.
Dav switched his carbine to burst mode and fired three quick shots. The cultist tried to deflect, but failed miserably, taking the brunt of all three shots. He tumbled off the crate, hitting the ground with a loud crash.
The elites might be good, but these guys were just silly. They were probably lower-leveled Force-sensitives—perhaps even academy rejects—whose only useful purpose was luring the Brotherhood’s enemies into a false sense of security in addition to being the standardized cannon fodder. They were still rather talented, Dav had to admit, and probably would have made good warriors were they not so brash and egotistical.
A hard hit from behind slammed Dav against the altar.
“Sacrifice!” the creature behind him hissed.
Dav struggled, managing to turn over and face his enemy, a fierce, red-skinned Elomin with an elaborately decorated saber raised above his head, tip down and ready to plunge into his victim. Dav reached into his vest and drew the small projectile pistol from his shoulder holster. He jabbed the weapon into the Elomin’s gut and fired two shots. The wounded Elomin leapt back and into Rollosk’s waiting arms. The Trandoshan picked him up and tossed him towards the sealed cargo door.
No sooner had the Elomin struck the door, an explosive charge tore it apart, spewing shrapnel in every direction. In the doorjamb stood a towering figure with some kind of exotic heavy repeater slung under his arm.
“Drop!” one of the commandos shouted. The team hit the ground as the large figure opened up with his repeater, sweeping the entire bay with hundreds of high-velocity projectiles, cutting down the cultists. Moments later, the remaining Imperial commandos, as well as a few new faces, began pouring in to clean up any Brotherhood stragglers.
Within seconds, the bay was clear.

****

Tensions were so thick that Frost could almost taste the bitter pheromones in the air. Faarg stood opposite him, staring needles into Frost’s chilly eyes. The admiral stared back just as intense, though he had no idea why the Gotal had summoned him to one of the small lounges on the WildFire’s recreation deck. The other counselors were nearby, but most were oblivious to their surroundings, too busy talking amongst themselves. Narine, however, sat quietly by herself like a spectator awaiting the start of a bloody gladiator match. Frost reasoned that’s essentially what it would amount to—the verbal equivalent of a cage fight.
“Valmont?” Faarg began, slowly, barely above a whisper. He leaned forward to plant his palms firmly on the table before him. “Why is the 428th currently over Valmont instead of Korriban where they were ordered?
Frost struggled to keep a confused expression from his face; he wanted to face Faarg as emotionless as possible. This whole situation was especially perplexing. He knew Halo Squadron would be at Raxus Prime instead of Korriban, but no one made any mention of Valmont. What disturbed Frost even more, however, was that Faarg knew about Valmont. The Imperials divulged information to Frost about the Raxus plan, but perhaps they told Faarg their true intentions. Perhaps Faarg himself was an Imperial agent who had set up the whole thing.
No, that didn’t make any sense. It was too elaborate a plan just to dispose of a single starfighter squadron, and turning Frost against a group of twelve pilots wasn’t enough to sow discord within an entire fleet. What was that dirty Gotal up to?
Faarg continued, the volume of his voice slowly increasing. “Not only has the 428th enlisted the aid of our enemies, they have disobeyed a direct order from their superiors! This is not just treason, it is high treason!”
Treason? That was impossible. Sure, Dav and his pilots could be headstrong and combative when it came to New Republic policy, but they would never try to destroy the Republic. Frost remained defensive; treason was out of the question. “Had is occurred to you that perhaps the Imperial yacht has stopped to refuel? Or maybe they’ve taken my men hostage, in which case—”
“No!” Faarg shouted, slamming his fist on the table. “They are meddling!”
That choice of words struck Frost like a duracrete wall. “Meddling in what, Faarg?” He let some emotion—namely anger—leak through as he jabbed an accusing finger at the Gotal. “What are you up to? What kind of trap have you sent my men into?”
“You are accusing me when your pilots are out socializing with our enemies?”
“You’re damn right I am! I don’t know what nebula you’ve had your head in the past few weeks, but our enemy is this Brotherhood band. I don’t think you thoroughly understand what’s going on here, and I certainly don’t think you’re any more qualified to advise me than you are to advise a gang of mud farmers!”
Furious, Faarg stamped across the room and stuck his nose in the admiral’s face. “You hairless little Pinkface! How dare you talk to a representative of—”
“Enough!” Narine shot up from her chair then forced herself between the two stubborn men. “This is getting completely out of hand! Reducing yourselves to childish name-calling? It is disgraceful!” She locked eyes with the Gotal. “Faarg, as this is the Admiral’s ship, you will do the courteous thing and retire to you quarters or I will be forced to inform Command of your conduct.”
Faarg issued an angered growl, but agreed to leave the room.
She then turned to the other advisors. “The rest of you will return to your duties. Leave us.”
The advisors filed out of the lounge, leaving Frost alone with the Quarren.
“You should not get so defensive,” Narine said. “Faarg is a fool. Bullheaded and a fool.”
Frost let out a deep breath, releasing some of his anger. “And what are your thoughts on all of this?” This was his chance to work through Narine. “You’ve been letting Faarg do all the talking; I want to hear a different opinion.”
“I do not want believe your pilots are traitors. However, unless they have indeed been captured, I cannot think of any reasonable explanation that they should be at Valmont.”
“Then I’ll send out some cruisers to investigate. They may be in trouble.”
“No.” The tentacles around Narine’s mouth began to quiver. “There is too much risk. The Jedi are still recovering, and we do not know if the Brotherhood will strike here again.”
“We can spare a few small ships,” Frost assured. “My fleet is stronger that it looks. If the Brotherhood strikes here again, we will be prepared.”
The Quarren’s small eyes narrowed and her tentacles began to shake even more. “But is it truly worth the risk? Is it worth risking the lives of hundreds to save the lives of twelve? The Brotherhood is resourceful and if they attack here again, it will be in greater force and with more powerful tactics than our last encounter. We need every ship in this fleet...here.” She stroked her tentacles, calming them, then placed a consoling, suction-cupped hand on Frost’s shoulder. “I am truly sorrowful, Admiral Frost. I wish to recover your men as much as you do. I will send a request to High Command for reinforcements, but I’m afraid I cannot guarantee they will come through. That is the best I can do.” With that, she left the lounge, leaving the admiral to his thoughts.
Frost gathered his hands at the small of his back. He had no choice but to concede. His duty as a fleet admiral dictated that he did so, even if it was reluctantly. She was right, after all. He couldn’t put his fleet and the Jedi survivors at risk because of one squadron. He thought of that little Jedi girl who had visited him in his cabin a few nights ago. His priority was to protect her and the others like her. Halo Squadron would have to take care of themselves.


****

Twelve bodies so far. There were still a few more scattered about the cargo bay. The PSA team gathered around a pile of corpses. The big bruiser that blasted the door came over and plopped three more onto the pile. Fifteen. He then stalked off to find some more.
They had hardly said two words to the Imperial commandos or Republic pilots since that spectacular rescue. They didn’t really have to. Their demeanor said enough. It just screamed, “Don’t screw with us!” Everyone had questions, but no one the courage to ask them.
Dav stood behind Ren, watching him examine some minor cuts on one of the Imperial commando’s arm. After applying some kind of liquid substance—antiseptic?—to the commando’s wounds, Ren proceeded to wrap the deeper ones in bacta-treated bandages. “That should do you,” he said, “You’ll live.” The commando nodded, shook Ren’s hand, and then went off to find his next duty. “Well, Boss-man.” Ren groaned as he stretched his back, trying to make it crack. “I’d say we did pretty well for ourselves.” All things considered, the group had done quite well. Only three casualties, a handful of really serious injuries, and plenty of bumps, bruises and burns. Not bad for a bunch of trainees and five rocket-jocks.
Dav glanced over at the PSA team. “Probably would have been a lot worse without our friends over there. They got here just in time.”
Ilixu then approached, a charred piece of twisted metal in his paw. “Hmm…yes.” His face scrunched into an expression of mock contemplation. “That door breech was an ingenious maneuver,” said the Bothan, teasing. “Why did we not think of that?”
His cheeks flushing with embarrassment and his mouth hanging ajar, Dav stared blankly at the hunk of metal. “Well....” he muttered, cleared his throat, then proceeded to slink away. He shouldered his way through a group of engineers and over to his wife. She smirked, shook her head and giggled.
“Shut up,” he said, tossing her an irritated expression. “So what can you tell me about those guys who saved us?”
“I can tell you that big guy has a pretty spiffy mass-driver minigun,” she squealed. “I want one of those.”
“Uh, no,” he replied almost immediately. “Remember our deal? You’re no longer allowed to own weapons you can’t lift.”
“Spoilsport,” she said with a smirk. She then pointed to each team member, calling them out as she did. “The big one’s called Shaft. That’s Bones, Azrael, Wildcat and the other two are Imperial—one’s an old commando and the other is apparently a Jedi.”
Dav knew Jenn had picked up a lot of information when she was a mercenary, but this seemed almost unbelievable. She couldn’t possibly know everything about the PSA, too. “How the heck do you know these things?”
“Eavesdropping, mostly,” she admitted. At least Dav no longer felt quite as stupid knowing that even Jenn still had a few things to learn. “I don’t know much beyond their names, and even those are just callsigns. I tried talking to them a little bit, but I don’t think they’re entirely ready to trust us, yet.”
“Did you tell them you were the ‘Angel of Death’?”
“I figured that would be in bad taste considering ‘Azrael’ is the name for the angel of death in some mythologies.”
“It would have made an interesting icebreaker.”
“I don’t think these are the kind of guys who would appreciate an icebreaker like that. They’d probably end up breaking you.” She set her rifle down then lowered herself into a cross-legged position on the ground. She reached up and grabbed Dav’s hand, pulling him down next to her. “They’re definitely tough,” she said as she rested her head on his shoulder. “Might even give us a run for our credits.”
“Which one is the leader?”
“The one called ‘Bones.’ He’s just in charge of this squad. If I understand correctly, he reports to someone named Qhalic. She’s the one heading this whole operation.”
“And what exactly is this operation?”
“Don’t know; that’s all I could get. Maybe your little buddy Aaron knows more.”
“He’s not my ‘buddy,’” Dav protested. “But he’s a good kid, for an Imp. I’m just glad you didn’t ‘accidentally’ shoot him in the back during that firefight.’
“I might not like the twerp, but I’m not a lunatic.”
“Sometimes, I wonder....”
She nudged his gut playfully with her elbow. “Keep talking and you’ll be next.”
They sat there for a few moments, resting, until they noticed one of the men from the PSA group approaching. He was one of the Imperials, actually, the old, grizzled commando. His deeply creased, angular face wore an emotionless expression—cold, like his firm-set eyes.
Dav rose, adopting a serious posture and expression. “Something I can help you with?”
“You the one in charge of the Rebel forces here?” the man grumbled.
“That I am.” He ignored that Rebel bit. Actually, he preferred that term himself sometimes; it had a certain charm to it. “Dav Jassik, commander of the 428th New Republic starfighter squadron based off the Calamari Cruiser WildFire. Most people know us as Halo Squad.”
The old commando gave a disapproving scowl. “I’ve never heard of you.”
Dav couldn’t help but laugh to himself. He liked this guy. He was grumpy. Grumpy people could be fun if one played them right. “Well, we don’t get quite the recognition Rogue Squadron does. I can’t say I know who you are, either.”
Unimpressed by the young Rebel’s bravado, the Imperial gave an irritated, but subtle, eye roll. “Major Darv Gyttel, Omicron Squad, Imperial Commandos, 61st delocalized Task Force. Commander Borness asked me to retrieve you. He wishes to speak with the other team leaders.”
Dav arched a suspicious eyebrow. “About what?”
“I was only sent to retrieve you,” Gyttel replied, shaking his head.
“All right.” Dav jabbed a thumb toward Jenn. “But she comes, too.”
Gyttel looked down at the woman. She stared up at him with untrusting, almost angry eyes. She looked familiar to him, like he had seen her face once or twice in Imperial newsbriefs. Or on wanted posters. He made no mention of it, however, and instead let out a noise somewhere between a guttural sigh and a growl. “Very well.”
They followed Gyttel and, as they approached the PSA group, Dav was able to get a better look at the agents. They seemed fierce, well-trained and completely professional. Dav had never actually met a member of the PSA or its ESS predecessor before. If these were the kind of troops Trageton put out, then this Brotherhood didn’t stand a chance.
NRAF Nexus: "When Duty Calls"
Draar chayaikir batnor jetii—ancient Mandalorian proverb.
"We're gonna explode? I don't wanna explode!" —Jayne Cobb, Public Relations
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Seagulls
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Post by Seagulls » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:24 am

Aaron watched as his own troops were gathered in a less significant pile on the other side of the hold. 4, 5, 6… 6 commandoes and volunteer engineers. He massaged a bruise he received when diving for cover, and tried to think about how lucky they were. He had expected an easy time finding Qhalic, using stun setting to eliminate resistance. Instead, force-users. Not invincible force-users, just like Dav had said. But they were still too much for the volunteers he had brought.
"REIMER!" He wasn't in a mood to take his time issuing orders. The young commando ran up and saluted. "Take all of your men and the ground engineers back to the bridge. Now. These are unacceptable losses. I don't hold you responsible, but this is more than we expected. Get those engineers to repair some of our breeching damage." He realized how shaken up he was as the man left on the double. He sat on a crate and put his hands over his eyes, just beginning to understand that this was far from over.
"Lieutenant", rumbled a voice in his ear. He stood quickly to face a man wearing PSA commando gear. No frills. The man stood impatiently.
“Major Darv Gyttel, Omicron Squad, Imperial Commandos, 61st Delocalized Task Force. Now, you salute."
The salute came with a click of his heels. The sarcastic comment was well-turned, and Aaron clenched his jaw to keep from grinning.
"Lieutenant Aaron Valis, co-command of Crescent, 8th Training wing, now detached-"
"I know."
Now he was just trying to throw him. Or was he? Superiors sometimes liked to do that.
"Losses are at 6 men, sir. I've sent our forces back to maintain bridge security and to do some cleaning."
"I wouldn't have used that boarding maneuver on a possibly allied vessel, Lieutenant."
"Yessir."
"You are to come with me and report to Commander Borness, PSA. This way."
He noticed Dav and Jenn heading for the door, and he and the Major Gyttel caught up with them.
"Follow me.
Jenn was glaring as the Commando turned toward the door, casually but determinedly stepping over shrapnel and bodies. Aaron hurried to keep up with him, and to get away from Jenn. She was going to kill him. Of all of the possible coincidences, why did a high-level imperial officer have to be here? They entered the hall, with Jenn only two paces behind him. and coming up fast. A few more men stood there, all heavily armed, including a man who was obviously in charge. His blue skin made Aaron nervous; he wasn't prejudiced in the least, but his Imperial background hadn't allowed for diversity.
The commando introduced them briskly, using a very slight gesture to indicate each of them.
"Dav Jassik, New Republic, Aaron Valis, Lieutenant, Imperial Navy." The man nodded. "Sir." came Aaron's quick reply. No pleasantries. Dav simply nodded in return, earning a nasty glare. Akkare hadn't introduced Jenn, nor had the Borness man acknowledged her. All for the better perhaps.
"All that you will be told now is to remain strictly confidential."

||||||||||||||||||||||

'Why am I the only officer in this group of recruits?', thought Alicia as she rounded a corner, blasters ready. 'Well, at least Aaron took the engineers'. The commando trainees entered flawlessly behind her. Again. But could they perform in combat?
She halted in a long hallway and turned around. They stopped like the obedient little beggars they were, and waited for orders.

"Pretend that someone is at the end of that hallway", she said, gesturing behind her at the wall at the far end. "He has a blaster. What do you do?" She waited, but no response came. "What if he fires on you?"
"We return fire", came a quick reply. Wrong.
"You do NOT return fire unless I tell you to. You maintain defensive position until I give the order. What if it is our PSA team coming around the corner looking for someone to shoot? Now, assume defensive formation."
They crowded against the walls the way they had been trained. If they were lucky their training would save them. If they saw any combat on this ship, that is. So far, there hadn't been a sound.
She turned again and strode on, gesturing them to advance with her.

She recognized the lightsaber as soon as she saw it. Her father showed her pictures from the old museums on Coruscant, and the old systems engineer on Crescent had described them perfectly.
The emergency lights shut down, leaving only the eerily glowing beam of light. There was silence, except from the low hum of the lightsaber.
"Headlamps", she ordered.
He was tall and thin, and the eerie lighting made his facial features stand out hideously.
"Imperials. You are weak, and relied on your Sith masters for too long. Now, just as those masters, you too will die."

"Any idea what he's talking about?" The cadet shook his head. "Defensive positions."
They squeezed against the walls. Again, flawlessly. She stood in the middle of the hall, waiting for the man to act. More lightsaber blades ignited beyond the range of the headlamps, and five more wielders stepped out of the darkness. This was going to be fun.

"Target 1: Open Fire!" He deflected two of the bolts before leaping above the rest. Somersaulting down, he blocked another before she placed two quick shots into his abdomen. "Switch targets!" The next only got a few meters before she took several shots to her face and neck. Eww.
Only three left, and they advanced quickly in order to close the range. One went down after a lucky shot killed his lightsaber, but the other two were good at dodging.
"Not again", Alicia muttered as her blasters heated up and she dropped them quickly and blew on her hands to cool them off.
Ducking a well-reflected shot, she took a rifle from one of the commandos. It was clumsy, but it had a feature that her blasters didn't have.

His eyes went wide as the stun wave engulfed him, and he fought to keep his senses until one of the trainees shot him.
The last powered down his lightsaber and dropped it to the floor.
"Surrender?", Alica asked.
"No. Only the force."
She felt something clawing at her throat, cutting off her air supply. The sound of blasters dropping behind her revealed that he was also choking the commandos.
"Do you feel fear now? You are only minions of a dead empire. Now, you will become part of the force, part of me."
He walked casually forward, gesturing with his blade.
"Don't think of it as an end. It is truly an honor."
He raised it in salute.

"Time for me to save the day again." He spun around, just in time to receive two slashes through his midsection.
"Thanks", croaked Alicia as she gasped for air. She looked behind her at the commandos: all were conscious, but definitely out of action. A group of assorted beings filed in behind the woman as she put the blades away. They were very well armed, and looked eager to use their weapons. Time to be diplomatic.
"Alicia Rying, at your service."
Last edited by Seagulls on Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Seagulls
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CRS Morning Star: Home of Red Squadron

"Now you're using that misfiring hunk of erratic machinery you refer to as a brain"-Ton Phanan. Pilot, Wit, Superior Intellect.

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General_Trageton

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Post by General_Trageton » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:40 pm

"Where are you?"
"You mean the charred remains of my body?" Taya Berin said - or at least her voice. It had taken Mryna a few minutes to get over the shock that the blonde woman before her was actually a mere vessel, serving as host for noone else but Vince Trageton. Then again, she shouldn't be overly surprised, given the fact that he even had once posessed the board computer of her ship. "What's left of me lies Somewhere in the upper maintenance shafts on level 62. I was just about to get back up to pace, connecting with the ship when somebody hit it with that EMP bomb - or whatever that was - and literally knocked me out of my mind."
"Damn imperial cowboys!" Mryna growled. "I knew they were nothing but trouble."
"I'm not asking any further."" Taya said. "Listen, we need to get that body back to the med center and find a way to revive it. The Brotherhood were expecting Taya to deliver me to them - that's our ticket right into their heart. But they won't be too happy if all we can offer them is a corpse."
"Forget about that corpse!" Mryna said. "This is a command level ship."
"A clone!" Taya concluded. "Where?"
"Below the main bridge." Mryna replied. "The vault is code-locked from the inside so only you can open it."
"Alright then." Taya said. "Signal your teams to assemble and meet us on the bridge! I may have a plan that gets us right into their heart."
"Got it!" Mryna said. "So, you're zipping ahead?"
"No" Taya said and shook her head. "I have the feeling this disguise will be useful to us, if we want to get into their headquarters, so I'm taking it along."
Mryna nodded in understanding and activated her headset-comm. As much as she'd like to put a hole in Taya's head, Vince had a point.

////////////////

Bones looked into the faces of the othe team commanders. Dev Jassic, Commander of the New Republic squad, Aaron Vallis leading the imperial team. The two were a strange pairing indeed. Despite his young age Vallis already showcased the traits of imperial discipline. He seemed to be the type of person who'd still tuck at his uniform in the heat of battle - somewhat reminding him of Darron in his younger days. Never the less he appeared competent and eager. Jassik on the other hand was the rogueish hard-boiled veteran with a soft core. He'd seen his share of combat as had the rest of his team, regardless of how rough and tumble they might look. They were a colorful bunch of individuals, each with his or her own specialities. Good men. With Vallis sending the less experienced commandos - and engineers, as Bones had learned - back to their ship this left only one major point of worry open. Jassik's female companion. He had noticed her shooting killing gazes at everything imperial looking. She was definitely one to look out and likely the first to cause trouble, be it with her oversized projectile rifle or her mouth. Looking over to Shaft he wordlessly motioned him to keep an eye on that woman, just in case. Eventually he addressed the whole group, it was time ofr a proper briefing.
"All that you will be told now is to remain strictly confidential." He reminded everyone. "This cruiser has apparently fallen under the control of the Brotherhood of Shadows, aided by a traitorous special agent from within our ranks. This ship was used to ambush and kidnap the resigned Emperor of the Seven Suns, Vince Trageton. We suspect both him as well as the traitor to be still aboard."
"I see." Jassik said. "So what is the plan?"
"The plan was to silently sneak in and extract the targets plus any valuable information." Bones explained further.
"Thanks to your timely intervention the ship is now alerted." Gyttel threw in sourly. "The subtle approach strategy has therefore been replaced by 'overrun the ship and kill everything in your path'."
"Well shouldn't that be just your taste, imperial?" The female NR operative said snidely. "That way you can do some more damage to your enemies without hard feelings!"
"That's enough!" Bones intervened, while Shaft demonstratively positioned his massive stature between the two. "It's hard enough that we have to babysit you kids. If I have to keep you from going at each other's throats you're off this ship via the nearest airlock." Instantly the woman threw him a poisonous glare and got ready for another verbal assault, when his comm unit chimed and he silenced with a quick warning gesture.
"All teams status report!"
"Bones here." he answered quickly. "We made contact with the other infiltration team. Minor casualties."
"Casualties?" Mryna repeated with notably sharper tone. "Just what did you do to them?"
"Safe their butts." Bones returned throwing the others a glance. "They locked themselves in a room full of cultists and now they're busy gnawing at each other's legs."
"Oh, lovely." came a groaning comment, before Mryna addressed the other team. "Cain?"
"Brig was a Negative." Kane reported in. "We're at medical now. Looks like there was a fight here. We found a wet trail on the floor leading away from a broken Bacta tank. We follow that trail, we should find him soon."
"Negative." Mryna denied. "That trail is dead. All teams, meet me at rendezvous point Gamma."
"Uh dead?" Kane questioned with a frown. "as in 'dead'?"
"No time for details now." Mryna said evasively. "Get to the rendezvous and I'll explain everything. Now move it!" With that the channel was closed. For a moment Bones stared at his comm in a mixture of irritation and curiosity. It was unlikely for Mryna tob e that cryptic. He exchanged a glance with Shaft who silently shrugged.
"Alright, kids! He addressed the assembled squads. "Pack your bags we're going for walk in the park."

////////////////

"Major Murphy Kane, PSA Special Forces." Kane addressed the imperial officer. "Are you injured?"
Massaging her throat the woman exchanged glances with the commandos behind her and earned assuring nods. "We'll be fine." She eventually said. "Thank you for showing up when you did."
"Glad we did." Kane said diplomatically. "We've just been ordered to rendezvous at the command bridge. You should come with us."
"Of course." She said and motioned her squad to follow.
"So, how did you end up here?" Monk eventually asked, after they had crossed a number of corridors. "Valmont isn't the place you just drop by and have a drink."
"We were enroute to Raxus Prime and stopped here to pick up supplies." Rying explaiend.
"Supplies?" Kane questioned sceptically. "Valmont is a dead rock. The only supplies you'll find here is Baradium. So unless you plan to blow up something big -" He was interrupted when they heard the by now familiar snap-hiss sound of a lightsaber igniting.

A small group of three cultists had solved from the shadows behind them and were now approaching them. "Infidels!" hissed one. "You murdered our brothers! Now you will die!"
"Allow me." Blade said simply and stepped forth, drawing her long arched sword.
"Careful!" Rying warned. "Lightsabers cut through -" A sharp buzz cut her off, as a pale blue forcefield shot from the sword's hilt and enveloped the silvery blade, effectively shielding it against energy.
Well aware of their brothers' fate the cultits took no chances and slowly advanced their weapons held before them, ready to deflect any blaster shots, while Blade held her saber to the side like an extension of her right arm, a taunting Cophuranee fencing stance.
"She's crazy!" Rying muttered under her breath, but Kane remained calm.
"Just be ready!" He said. "You'll know when the right moment comes."
Then the cultists shot forth and attacked. Their swings were swift and precise but so was Blade's defense. The energy blades hit her weapon with bursts of sparks, as she Quickly redirected blow after blow, constantly staying in motion but keeping a safe distance to the rest of the team. After a few more parries she suddenly found an opening and shot forth, delivering a lethal stab to one of the cultists. While he went down she quickly retreated out of range with a series of swift steps. In an elegant flurry she brandished her blade and then pointed it forward towards the two remaining cultists.
"Your are strong." One of the cultists said grimly. "Your death will grant us ascension."
"Is ranting some part of your cult training?" Blade mocked him. "You'd make a fortune as advertizing voices and sports announcers!" The first shot forth lashing for her with his crimson blade. ducking away Blade evaded the blow, then lashed out with her weapon. Then the next cultist came in and struck her from the other side. For a moment the three weapons were clashing against each other spraying sparks. Blade held up against the two attackers and threw them a wicked smile. In a swift motion she pushed them back and slid through them before they could attack again. They were quick non the less. Spinning around she had just enough time to hold her blade across to deflect both lightsabers with a crackling burst. Once again they kept pressing against each other. That was the distraction Kane had been waiting for. By a quick nod from him the rest of the team trained their rifles and fired, dropping the cultists from behind with a series of precise hits. As they collapsed on the floor Blade drew a quick slash across their throats - just to be sure -, before she deactivated the energy shield and sheathed her weapon again. Noticing the slightly irritated look on Rying's face Kane shrugged. Likely she would have expected that the fencer would be granted the personal glory to strike down her opponents in a fair fight. Romantic legends and novel stuff. Besides, they were commandos and no adventurers. "Whatever gets the job done. Let's go!"
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:35 pm

Even in the cramped confines of an X-wing cockpit, Hui tried her hardest to keep from nodding off. Listening to Roho carry on about a particular Twi’lek mechanic wasn’t exactly exciting, but the sound of his rough voice was the only thing keeping her awake.
“I’m telling’ ya, boys,” Roho said with a certain amount of pride, “I have never seen such fine lekku before. The kind you just want to wrap yourself in and take a nap.”
A nap. Just hearing that word made Hui tired.
“So I went up to her and said, ‘So you’re the pretty lady who keeps these birds in the air? I just happen to pilot one of them. No doubt you’ve seen her.’”
Yole’s voice came on the comm. “What did she say?”
“She flashed this amazing little smile and asked me which one was mine. I said, ‘The one with the Twi’lek dancer painted on the fuselage.’ Then I gave her my patented wink and said, ‘That could be you, beautiful.’”
“And?”
“Well, she cursed me out telling me how awful I was for putting scantily clad dancing girls on the side of my ship and that doing so objectified women. Then she stormed away with those two gorgeous lekku trailing behind her. Eh, but that’s okay. She wasn’t really my type anyway.”
Hui laughed to herself. All of his stories seemed to end with, “she wasn’t really my type.” The comm got silent and Hui could feel her eyes sliding shut, much against her will. They snapped open when Roho started talking again.
“Then there was this one time I met this warrior woman. Tall, fine-lookin’ chick. Real big muscles. Kinda scary, but that didn’t stop me.” He paused. “Boy, do I wish it would have.”
She turned the comm volume down just a bit. She had heard this story before. Even if she hadn’t, she felt like she did. All of Roho’s ‘romantic escapades’ were pretty much the same. She stretched her arms and legs out as far as the X-wing would let her and made a mental note to replace the padding in her seat’s backrest when she got back to the WildFire.
She glanced down at her sensor display. It showed the other three X-wings, but not much more. She widened the scanned area. She found the Imperial checkpoint near Raxus. It was a Golan platform guarded by at least one Imperial Deuce, identified as the ISS Gryphyn. A few smaller cruisers littered the area, but they were too small and too far away to properly ID. Then there was the mess that was Raxus Prime itself. The debris field around the planet alone carried enough starship parts to muddle an X-wing’s relatively simple sensors. Some of the more recent wrecks still had working transponders, which only added to the mess. No wonder the Brotherhood chose this place for an outpost. It would be nearly impossible to detect any kind of activity down there.
She centered on the Raxus debris field, reading some of the names of the derelicts to see if she recognized any of them. It was either that or listen to Roho’s stories. She noticed a group of contacts that seemed to be registering an unusually high power reading. It was probably just an anomaly, but she decided it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on it.
She zoomed in on the sector. That just made the image worse. Damn! she thought, fiddling with the settings. I wish Ril were here. She wondered if even the enhanced sensors on Ril’s recon X-wing could pierce the curtain of durasteel around Raxus. She followed the contacts as best she could, occasionally losing them whenever a large piece of debris passed by them. Eventually one of the smaller contacts entered a relatively clear area. It was a frigate-sized vessel, appearing to match the standard configuration of a Vengeance-class.
Vengeance? Hui thought. That’s what hit us over Yavin. She tried to ID the other ships—the ones she could make out, anyway. Some, like the Vengeance, she recognized as older models once used by the Zann Consortium. Others were unfamiliar to her and weren’t in any New Republic catalogues. Regardless, she concluded that these contacts were most likely a Brotherhood fleet on the move. A large Brotherhood fleet. A few of the larger cruisers appeared to be just as big as, or possibly even bigger than the WildFire herself.
“Uh, guys?” she tried to report it, but Roho still flooded the comm with nonsense. She waited a few moments, hoping he would stop for a breath. When he didn’t, she shouted into the headset, “Roho! Shut your darn yap!”
The noise instantly ceased then was followed by a timid, “Yes, ma’am.”
“Yole,” Hui said, “I’m picking up some suspicious contacts moving through the Raxus debris field. It could just be a fluke, but it looks like a war fleet.” She keyed a few commands into the X-wing’s computer. “I’m feeding you the local data now.”
Yole took a few moments to examine his sensor readout. “That’s definitely a fleet of some kind. I can’t say for sure if it’s hostile or not, but if it’s a Brotherhood fleet, you can bet they’re not out for a leisurely cruise.” He opened the comm link to his brother’s half of the squadron. “Zed told me to let him know if anything happened here. Let’s just hope they’ve dropped out of hyperspace already.”
NRAF Nexus: "When Duty Calls"
Draar chayaikir batnor jetii—ancient Mandalorian proverb.
"We're gonna explode? I don't wanna explode!" —Jayne Cobb, Public Relations
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Post by Will T » Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:47 am

Tucking in close behind Bones on point, Gyttel turned back to the group assembled behind him. They had grown far beyond a simple insertion team. Indeed, Gyttel had not been involved in such a densely packed troop movement since his time as a stormtrooper almost thirty years ago. It was strange for Gyttel to feel outside his comfort zone, but it seemed to be happening on an increasingly regular basis. Maybe Akkare's right, he thought, maybe it is time I retired.
Hey swept his gaze over the team behind him and found the rebel woman glowering at him. The 'term' rebel had become a misnomer that now reflected more on the person he used it, rather than the person it was directed to. It displayed an unwillingness to accept that the galaxy had changed, a stubborness that Gyttel knew was a weakness he posessed. But here, the term rang true. This woman had no more left the rebellion behind than Gyttel had abandoned fighting it. Unlike Bones, or Shaft, or this Dav Jassik, or even Mryna - loathe though Gyttel was to admit it - they were not political enemies, it was not the command of others that lead to this hostility. They were enemies of belief. Surrounded by uneasy allies was enough as it was, but she would be problematic. It may not affect this mission, it may not come until far into the future. But Gyttel knew in his gut that eventually the two of them would clash.

In the meantime, it would do well to learn all he could about his new threat. There was something unnervingly familar about the face, something that told Gyttel she had a file locked away somewhere on the Imperial databases. Hopefully, they were records that had endured through the Empire's... transition. But until he could return to Bastion, he would have to make do with the old fashioned method of intel gathering. A name would be the best starting point. He made eye contact with Akkare, nodded and moved as if to fall in step with him. Instead, as the corridor rounded a corner, it was Dav Jassik he was striding alongside.

*****

"You've traced it?" Marcus Pitto asked the comms officer.
"Not exactly, sir. Hyperwave transmissions don't necessarily follow linear propa-"
"I don't need a physics lesson, Lieutenant."
"Yes sir. We, uh, picked up an echo. The same transmission picked up by a comm router near an Imperial checkpoint. A little garbled, likely from all the debris in the area, but we can confirm the source as being a watch station in orbit over Raxus Prime. Time variance shows the [iCrescent[/i] wasn't far from the platform."
"Very good." Pitto smiled. He did not know precisely what stage of the operation required a stopover at Raxus Prime. He did know that they were likely no longer there, nor were Qhalic's team. But it was a starting point.

He had grown restless so far from the action. He knew, as an Admiral, it was something he should have grown used to. He knew that his extending his reach through those under his command should be his modus operandi. He had already dispatched trusted operatives, he should be content with that, especially as this threat could not be solved by investigating from the bridge of a Star Destroyer. But he could not sit idly by. If it came to battle, he wanted to be ready to assist.
His task force was, sadly, out of the question. The time sent by his two command vessels in the shipyards at shot unit cohesion to hell, and his superiors were already asking questions about his command style. If he were to set out, it would have to be with a single starship.

Part of Pitto's subconscious relished the thought of commanding a single vessel again, and with the Subjugator still not patched together, it would have to be a ship he had never commanded from before. That in itself was an exciting challenge. He returned to his office, and keyed into the task force command frequency.
"Captain Normaas," he announced when the connection was established, "I have a mission for you."
"Sir?" Came the clipped response from the bridge of the Repressor, "What do you need?"
"I need you to make ready to get underway, Captain. I'll be taking a shuttle over within the hour and overseeing the operation personally. I'm authorising to requistion a complement of Assault Shuttles. Tau and Rho flights will also be temporarily reassigned to the Repressor. This is primarily a reconaissance mission, Captain, but we must be prepared to lend assitance to a covert operation. Understood?"
"Pefectly, sir" Normaas replied confidently. As was his right, Pitto thought, Normaas was a competant officer, one who yet to be given the opportunity to excel. Perhaps that chance will come soon, the Admiral wondered.
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Post by General_Trageton » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:58 pm

Making their way to the bridge Vince proceeded to relay his concept of a possible infiltration move to Mryna. Frankly spoken it ranged somewhere between extremely risky, daredevil and outright insane. Anyway she had begun to connect the threads in her mind and make a somewhat comprehensive plan of it. It might just work.
"So what's going on now?" Vince asked after a while. "I haven't heard much news since my departure from Corelia."
"Well, we're a republic now." Mryna said bluntly and shrugged. Vince knew perfectly well how she disliked the idea of handing their fates to a bunch of bureaucrats and politicians - it had been such people who had worn down the United Planets - which had ultimately led to them being swallowed by the ESS. She wouldn't be surprised to see history repeating and watch the PSA being swallowed by the next bigger fish. But that wasn't her decision to make. "Shiromy went back undercover right after the ceremony. I think she left Kyaara in Mako's care."
"Glad she took the time for that rather than just rushing into action as she usually does."
Mryna nodded. "Guess she's learned her lesson. I'm more worried about our new council anyway." Mryna eventually said. "That snake T'Purroc has shut down my department as soon as you were out of sight. If it hadn't been for Ray's intervention I'd be operating without commission now."
"As if you'd let that stop you." Vince pointed out with a smug grin but, then turned serious again. "I knew T'Purroc was easy to influence. That's why I put him there. Should he start something foul, you'd be the first to notice. He's sort of an indicator for trouble."
"Nice!" Mryna grimaced sourly. "You could've told me."
"I would have, had there been more time." Vince admitted. "But you handled yourself pretty well - and you can always count on Ray's utter distaste for politicians to save the day."
They were getting close to the bridge. "Alright" Vince said. "I'll drop off here."
"What?" Mryna said. "Am I supposed to carry that lump from here on?"
"You're a strong girl, aren't you?" Vince responded with a shrug. "Besides it will be less irritating if our traitor is knocked out when you walk in with her."
"Point taken!" Mryna sighed - and just so caught the body as it collapsed. Hoisting it over her shoulder she made her way to the bridge.

The rest of the team was already present as well as what appeared to be the joint Imperial/NR team - or troop if one considered their numbers. A group of imperial engineers were apparently trying to make repairs to their 'entry point'. Mryna considered to scold them about drilling holes into her ship but discarded the thought soon - there were more important matters to discuss anyway. Bones, in fact, upon noticing her arrival took the initiative, as he greeted her with a quick "Hey Boss!" - which was pretty much his interpretation of 'Commander on deck'. Following his notion all eyes fell on her, as she strode onto the bridge. Eventually Bones rose a brow, as he recognized the body slumped over her shoulder. "You collect trophies now?"
"Close!" Mryna said and dumped the body into a nearby chair. "This was our rat."
"I had a cat once, who brought back dead rodents." Monk commented. "I didn't know humans do that, too."
"We don't" Shaft replied decisively, then tilted his head. "Although I am a bit hungry ..." A wide grin spread on his face, bleaking his pearly white teeth, as he wallowed in the irriated looks from both the imperials and NR as well some of their own team.
"She's not dead." Mryna stated, and tried to shrug a strain off her shoulder. "And not for lunch either! The situation has changed and we may still have use for her. That is why we all are here now."

They took the next few minutes to establish a holo conference with Darron aboard the Nighthawk and introduce the various commanders to each other. It was quite remarkable to find NR and imperial forces working together by their own initiative. The NR team was led by one Commander Dav Jassik, a brown-haired man of roughly Mryna's age. Always at his side was a black haired woman, who'd been introduced to her as Jenn K'Barrek, apparently his wife. For some reason she appeared somewhat familiar to Mryna, yet she couldn't remember from where. Judging by her equipment as well as overall posture it was obvious that she was far more than any 'ordinary' fighter pilot or commando. The two imperial officers were young and - in a strange way - had a certain innocence to them, pretty much opposed to the hard boiled veteran commando that accompanied Mryna recently.
A sharp hiss caught everyone's attention, followed by an unfamiliar groaning noise rolling through the bridge, like some infernal apparatus that had awoken to life. Then, in the middle of the main deck, a number of valves depressureised spewing steam into the air. Instantly all weapons were trained on the spot, where then a large circular hatch on the floor slid open. "Stand down!" Mryna commanded firmly and stepped towards the opening hatch, straightening.
"What is this?" the Imperial Lieutenant, Vallis was his name, inquired somewhat alerted but also just as curious.
"Backup." Mryna responded simply, as through the cloud of steam she could make out a humanoid shape being elevated from the chamber below. Eventually the platform reached its apex and came to a halt. Out of the steam, clad in a silver-black armored robe stepped Vince Trageton.
"Da-amn!" Monk shot forth and crossed his arms. "He did it again!"
"You sure know how to make a grand entrance!" Kane added with a wide grin - once agreeing with his partner.
Mryna couldn't suppress a smile either as she turned towards the others. "A good entrance wins half the battle."
"Would anybody care to explain what just happened?" Jassik eventually questioned, interrupted the happy reunion with barely hidden annoyance. "Who is this guy?"
Mryna's glance instantly shot towards the man - and then back towards Vince to see his reaction to that rather insulting interruption. Apparently he took it with humor and simply offered the man a sincere smile.
"Apologies, I didn't get the chance to introduce myself." He said diplomatically, then addressed the entire group. "Vince Trageton, Emperor of the Seven Suns, retired." He introduced himself formally. In fact, the effect of that statement was far greater than any vernal reprehension could have bee, as the assembled 'foreigners' sharply gasped for air at that revelation - and the cheeky NR commander received a whap over the back of his head from the woman at his side. Letting the news sink in and the surprise die down Vince then pointed towards Taya's lifeless body slumped on the chair. "I was betrayed and kidnapped by one of my closest and trusted agents. Thanks to your courageous initiative I was able to escape from my captivity. For that you all have my gratitude."

"So what's our next move?" Kane eventually inquired, eager to skip the pleasantries and get down to business.
"Our overal common goal remains unchanged: Infiltrate the Brotherhood of Shadows and eliminate the threat they pose." Vince explained and folded his hands behind his back. "There is no way to hide that the Mirage was attacked and an infiltration attempt was made." Obviously not. Looking at the ceiling the large hole that the boarding drill had cut into the thick armor was hardly disguisable. The same went for the numerous missing cultists they had left dead. "We can, however, retell the outcome of the story. We will continue Agent Berin's mission to turn me over to the Brotherhood. Along with myself we'll also bring a number of infiltrators that were supposedly captured during the attack."
"Wait!" Commander Jassik poked again. "How exactly are you going to convince the agent who betrayed you to pretend to still betray you while actually betraying those whom she betrayed you to?" Mryna rolled her eyes. what a smartass!
There was a long moment of silence, as all eyes jumped back and forth between Vince and the New Republic Commander. Weren't it for the seriousness of the situation this would have made for a excellent piece of comedy. Of course, few people outside Vince's inner circle knew about his Ydaa skills, but still these details weren't exactly subject to discussion here. Eventually Vince just offered a vague "I can be quite persuasive" and continued with his elaboration. "Once inside the base their primary task will be to gather information - locations of other strongholds, contacts in governments and militaries. We must find out who is involved and who is endangered." Vince then pointed at Mryna. "Major Qhalic will be leading that team." Mryna simply nodded to that - while she hadn't explicitly volunteered or been given much of a choice it was likely that Of all the assembled she had the most experience and proficiency when it came to escaping from detention. So her involvement was out of question anyway.
"I will go." Gurn Akkare was the first to speak up. "They'll sense I'm a jedi so they'll want me anyway."
"What will the rest do?" Lieutenant K'Barrek asked with a sceptical frown. This time Darron stepped in to answer.
"We cannot assume that the Brotherhood would risk bringing the Mirage to their home base" His holographic projection suggested. "We will therefore use the Nighthawk to follow them undetected and find out the base's exact location. We'll also be ready to pick up the first team, once their mission is complete. I will take a secondary strike team aboard in case the first one should get into trouble."
"For the major part those will likely be sitting back and watching the show from the safety of a top-of-the line stealth ship." Mryna snidely pointed out at that last remark. Failure was not an option. "The rest should continue to purge any remaining resistance here and get this ship back up to pace." Then she pointed at the demolished ceiling. "Oh and repair the roof, please. Major Kane will be overseeing those operations."
"I'll go with the first team then." K'Barrek then said with resolve. Apparently she was not in the mood for rat-hunting or repairing foreign ships. Next to her Jassik sighed reluctantly.
"Guess that means I'm going as well."
"We booked the full all-inclusive Wellnes package for you!" Monk mocked. "Complete with torture, interrogation and brain washing courses. You're going to love it!"
"You kids can't stay out of trouble for a minute!" Gyttel snarled with a lopsided grin. "I'll go, too." Instantly K'Barrek threw him a poinsonous glare, forcing Mryna to suppress a grin.
"Five then." Vince concluded neutrally. "That should do. The rest of you should stay out of sight until called upon."
"What about the cultists and base itself?" Gyttel inquired in a tone that sounded both eager and routined. "I take it those should be eliminated?" There was a barely noticable pause, before Vince answered.
"Indeed." He said gravely. "I will take care of that personally. I have a mission of my own." Clenching his fist a small sphere of energy crackled around it. "Once that is accomplished, I will wipe that place and everyone within from existence."
"What if the other team isnn't done yet?" One of the NR pilots inquired with a trace of concern.
"They would be wise to be done and gone by then." Vince replied. "We cannot afford any further delays."
"What?" Jassik exclaimed. "And you couldn't have said so before we signed on?"
"You wanted to get involved." Gyttel replied dryly and threw him a depreciative glare. "Well, now you are, so deal with it!"
"No heroics, no fuss." Mryna followed up energetically, before anyone - especially K'Barrek - could reply anything. From what Mryna had noticed in her bearing and reactions she obviously had little love for the Empire and made no hush of it. On the other side Gyttel's snide cynism didn't help to improve relations either. So whatever problem that woman had, she'd better take it out on Mryna rather than her apparent arch-nemesis and jeopardize the whole mission with that. "You follow my lead, you keep my pace and you do as I say - and we'll be over the hills and far away, before things get heated." she statedin a mixture of challenge and encouragement. "I take it you work well under pressure?"
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
Vince T's Design HQ | Vince T's X-Wing HQ | My Steam Workshop

Seagulls
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Post by Seagulls » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:15 pm

"Hold Fast." Alicia stood in Crescent's well-lit hold, leaning against the wall as one of the engineers finished a weld. She never imagined how useful a bunch of ground personnel could be. He stood and withdrew from what once was a nasty gash in Mirage's hull. The armor plating looked brand new, and with a little bit of grinding and some fresh paint they could un-dock Crescent and pilot her into the hangar. Her comm chirped. "Rying here."
"This is Major Kane. How does it look up there?"
"Perfect. All sealed, tight as a Hutt's accountant, and we're about to start polishing it up. Do you have any extra paint?" Kane chuckled. The engineer in front of her gestured with a grinder, and she nodded and walked up the stairs as he began work.
"I think that there are a couple of extra jugs downstairs. I'm not sure how we can get them up to you, though."
"You could probably send someone up in a Skipray."
"Will do. But first, we'll need to fix electrical. Those EMPs really messed things up."
"Thats what engineers are for, right?" He chuckled again. "But seriously, I wish someone would have told us that it wasn't a full boarding operation. Sorry about the mess."
"Agreed. Kane out."

Alicia keyed her comm as the transmission ended. She didn't believe the theories that said that voice-only communication was on the way out. "Aaron, are you there?"

Aaron's weary face lit up when he recognized the comm frequency. He hadn't really talked to his friend since they began, taking different watches and alternating posts.
"Hey Alicia!"
"Hi Aaron. How is everything on your end?"
"Heh, someone really needs to dust in here." They had been repairing the entry point for almost an hour now, and he hadn't taken a break.
"Have you taken a break?"
He laughed.
"I was just about to take one." He climbed down from the maze of wires and ducting and sat in a plush seat facing the stars.
"How's Crescent?"
"Perfect."
Ruddy awkward.
"What about you?"

"I feel completely helpless." Alicia sat in Crescent's main command chair, also facing the stars. "I'm not really sure how to say it. I just have a huge sense of failure."
"I'm frustrated. So far, I haven't been much use this entire time. Some of our people died. They were just like us, never experienced combat until some guy with a lightsaber ran them through."

Aaron focused his stare at a big nebula off to port. Scary as it was, space was beautiful.
"I guess I'll be filling out the paperwork", he said, wincing at the thought of going through the official channels to file a report. At least this operation was somewhat sanctioned.
"What did you think about our confederate, that commando who had a good sense of humor?"
"Oh, I didn't get to talk to him much. I was mainly trying to make sense of the force-user."
"He isn't easy to forget, is he?"
"Agreed."
"At least they're on there side", he reasoned.
"Yeah, but they left us here to fix their ship, while they go on to save the galaxy." The comment scared him a bit, and he looked back at the nebula to gather his thoughts.

Something obscured his vision of the nebula.
"Do you see the nebula 2 points to starboard?"
"Yep."
"There is something moving across it."
"Uh oh... I'm identifying right now."
He heard a few button presses and another of the Crescent's idiotic confirmation chimes.
"Its a cargo canister. And, its broadcasting our codes."
"Whew. Don't worry, we're expecting it. That's our supplies. Can you tractor it from here?"
"I'll give it a second to come into range. Its orbiting pretty quick."
"I'm not sure what we're going to do with it once we get it."
"Contract some of those acolytes to pull it into the Mirage's hangar."
He chuckled and walked over to the blast door to wait for Kane to return.

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Alicia triggered the tractor beam lightly to nudge the C/C onto a better course, grinning as she thought about everyone who had 'accused' them of setting up the meeting with Nighthawk.
It swung a bit wider, and she locked on. It came about .25 klicks out, and she stopped its relative movement completely. It would never fit in Crescent's hangar. Ever.
"Its not going to fit, is it?", came Aaron's voice on her comm.
"Nope. I'll have to dock with it 'normally'."

"Ok. We can spend time on painting Mirage later."

The bridge shook a bit as Crescent undocked from the huge Mirage and drifted into space.

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"Mr. Kane!"
"Major."
"Yessir. Is there a small craft I could use to get back to Crescent? I think that I've done everything that I'm qualified to do."
"I'm not sure that the hangar is secure."
"Could we check with the cameras?"
"If we could get electrical back up. Computer systems are on auxiliary power, however."
"What needs done with electrical?"
"Just the normal procedures after being disabled. Except the Mirage is such a unique ship. I'm worried that there will be problems."
"Are there enough techs for you?"
"Perhaps."

Kane seemed very professional. Maybe that would get things done faster.
"Well, lets go take down some acolytes."
Kane nodded and unholstered his blaster. "I'll follow you."
They jogged down a corridor toward the hangar, and entered the turbolift without seeing anyone.
Kane's notifier beeped. "All posts check in", he announced over a shared channel.
"Post 1, all clear." The hail was similar throughout all 15 posts.
He readied his rifle.
"If they haven't annoyed us yet, they certainly will pretty soon." He keyed the comm once again. "All posts be ready for trouble."
It didn't take long. "Post 5 reporting 2 force-users" "Post 1 reporting 2 force users" "Post 12 reporting 2 force users"
Two lightsabers ignited in front of them as the list ran on. "Secure the bridge, and stay close", barked Kane into his comm.
Aaron closed one eye and crossed his left arm behind his back, leveling his blaster. "Ready?" Kane smirked at his companion's stance and then began firing.

As usual, Aaron couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. But, he was definitely distracting enough. The first acolyte began to charge him, but had to stop to block a pair of Kane's shots aimed at hip level. The other too had to stop, and Aaron moved to the wall to ensure that he could at least hit one of them as they kept blocking Kane's shots. This wasn't his element. A reflected bolt singed his hair, making him duck violently, and the pair advanced, lightsabers whirling quickly. This time there were no speeches. Just fighting. Were they more experienced, or just more focused?

Kane finally hit one in the elbow as he blocked one of Aaron's lucky shots, and he dropped his saber.

"Time to do something stupid", shouted Aaron as he charged the wounded force-user. He rolled under a slash from the other acolyte and dove out of the way of the backhand, just barely escaping harm. He grabbed the saber and turned it on as Kane shot the wounded man twice in the chest.

The saber was light. Really light. Aaron twirled it quickly, and then blocked a pair of slashes and backed up.
'This is good', he thought. 'It's almost the same length as a vibro, and even though it doesn't have a hilt, I think I can live with it if I don't end up chopping off my own legs with it.'

Kane had stopped firing to load another power pack, leaving Aaron as the only enemy in front of the man who was now advancing, twirling his lightsaber in an intricate pattern to confuse him.

Aaron shouted a battle cry as he charged during a particularly intricate loop. The acolyte had to take a step sideways to keep hold on his saber, and Aaron's attack nearly knocked it out of his hand. He was quick to return to the offensive, using a series of quick bursts to overwhelm the younger man. Aaron switched to one hand, wielding the saber more quickly while presenting a smaller target. He winged the force-user on the shoulder, who, emitting a burst of rage, he charged, twirling his saber once before attacking.

Aaron blocked the slash to his knees and switching his stance, pulled the saber up and over, closing his eyes as he brought the saber to where he thought another attack would come from. He was going to die. He heard a lightsaber power off, and a light thump. He opened one eye, his lightsaber at the ready.
Gag reflex. He powered down his lightsaber and attempted to lose the lunch that he had never eaten, leaning against the wall making feeble vomiting noises for a few seconds.

"Well done... Are you alright?", was Kane's response.
"Yep".
The awe was quickly replaced with worry as he pinged in the various posts. 6 wounded, no killed, versus 10 killed, two wounded (and then quickly killed), on the enemy's side. "Back to the bridge. Just in case. We'd better focus on getting Mirage somewhere we can get a clean sweep."
"Yessir."

After regrouping, everyone focused purely on one passage that lead to the engine room.

After about ten minutes, a comm clicked. "Systems are go!" A light flickered on, and a huge cloud of smoke billowed out of the ducting system, followed by the whine of engines and the sound of cheering.

His own comm chirped a few seconds later, followed by Alicia's voice.
"I have good news, and I have bad news. Which one do you want first?"
"Good news."
"Supplies are all unloaded. We got some great stuff."
"Awesome!"
"The bad news is that a few of our NR fighters just hypered in. They want to talk to their boss."
"Uh oh."
"Plus we're picking up some weird buildings on planetside. Looks like the Brotherhood had Mirage here for a reason."
"Great. Get a secure transmission home. You'd better get some reinforcements."

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"I'm sorry, Admiral Pitto is not in."
"Can you tell me where he is?"
"I'm sorry, that is classified."
"Can you tell me when he'll be back?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know when he will be back."
"Thank you." She ended the transmission. Time to try some better connections.

"Hey James, how about doing me a little favor? You still owe me."

Pitto picked up a private comm in a certain classified location as he finished his lunch.
"Admiral speaking."
"Rying, I hope this is good...Yes...One second."
"Lieutenant, scramble the 201th and 109th. Get as many as you can. We're heading to Valmont."
"Rying, we're on our way. Hang tight. Out."
Seagulls
Red 6
CRS Morning Star: Home of Red Squadron

"Now you're using that misfiring hunk of erratic machinery you refer to as a brain"-Ton Phanan. Pilot, Wit, Superior Intellect.

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Post by General_Trageton » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:26 pm

The stage was set.

It had been about a few hours since Vince - back in control of Taya Berin's body - and the infiltration team had left the Mirage in a small combat yacht, apparently the one Taya had taken to get aboard. As expected hearching the woman's mind had uncovered means to make contact with the Brotherhood and finally arrange for the delivery. En route to the rendezvous Vince had also taken the time to further investigate Taya's memories and bring himself up-to-date about the events that had evolved around them.
The Yacht now dropped out of hyperspace above a barren grey moon. A cold and empty world idly circling a gass giant. The ship's navigational records showed the base to be on a large patch of frozen land on the northern hemisphere. As soon as the ship approached the planet signals popped up all around him, fighters swarming out from hidden bases were now on an intercept course. Soon he was being hailed.
"Approaching shuttle, name the passphrase or you'll be destroyed."
"Spare me that passphrase rubbish!" Vince snarled into the comm - momentarily the fighters changed course and were now coming in on attack patterns. "This is Taya Berin aboard PSS Nexus I have a delivery for your master." There was a long silence as the fighters came racing towards him. Just when they were in range they changed course and went into escort formation around the ship.
"You are clear to proceed. We'll guide you to your landing destination. Do not leave the formation or you'll be destroyed."

Few minutes later the Yacht and its escort fighters dove into the planet's thin atmosphere and took course for the landing destination - a large landing pad, built into a low slope that led up to a large temple-like complex. The land around was basically glacier with a multitude of small high-plateaus protruding from the frozen plane. Seing the imposing construction Vince suddenly had a feeling of certainty: This was the place.

While he had finally brought down the ship Vince made his way to the cargo bay. His prepared clone body - apparently comatous - was contained within a mixture of healing tank and fixation rack like the one he had awoken in. Further back in the waited the remainder of the infiltration team. Ice Queen, Wildcat and Azrael had taken up the role of renegade PSA troops and were currently busy applying restraints to the feign prisoners.
"Are you sure about this?" Azrael eventually frowned, as he locked Mryna into a set of heavy restraints. "Since we're there already we could just call in the other team from the Nighthawk and invade the place."
"This is no ordinary stronghold." Mryna pointed out. "That place is probably crawling with acolydes. I'd prefer to get past them without incidence and only kill them on the way out."
"We'll see." Gyttel snarled. Eventually everything was prepared and Vince opened the Yacht's airlock. With the containment tank hovering after him and the guards and feigned prisoners behind, Vince assumed the role of Taya Berin and strode down the extending ramp. Outside he was greeted by a white haired man with a remarkably tatooed face, flanked by a quartet of guards. Apparently Taya knew him, apparently he was rather high ranking within the organization. From her memories Vince knew a bit about him and how Taya was related to him - or rather how she saw herself. Apparently she considered her role much larger than it probably was.

Vince greeted the man formaly with a submissive bow. "Everything is ready for you."
"You look pale my dear." The man said rather than appreciating her words.
"I'll live." Vince assured, then pointed at the rack holding his actual body. "Apparently Trageton had some friends looking for him. They caused us some trouble." By a wave of Taya's hand the disguised guards brought forth the prisoners. "These few could be captured alive."
"Hmmm" the man made and regarded the group for a moment. His gaze came to rest on Mryna who defiantly returned his gaze. "I heard she's quite a firy one." Then his interest was satisfied already and his gaze wandered back to Taya and further towards Vince's unconscious body. Eventually he approached the tank and examined the body. "His aura is weak. I dearly hope you didn't damage him too severely."
"The medics assured me he'll live." Vince assured.
"How fortunate for you." the man said menacingly. "My master would have been very displeased, if your reckless actions had caused us to loose him."
"Reckless actions?" Vince repeated angrily. "Your corellian senator wanted him dead. I did what was possible after his sudden change of mind."
"I am not interested in your excuses." The man hissed. "Your failure would have cost us dearly. That is unacceptable." In one fluent motion the man drew and ignited his lightsaber and lashed out in a decapitating swing. This move was unexpected - and unfortunate. However it presented a new option. With a sharp clash the energy blade came to a sudden halt, as it hit Taya's hand.
"Now who is reckless?" Vince taunted and held the man's surprised gaze from sulphur eyes. Reckless and impuslive. The man displayed a shortsightedness he rarely saw. Even a Darius Rygetto had to acknowledge that this reaction was plain stupid. Maybe this one had been sent as a punishment. Maybe Rygetto had a hunch that this might be a set-up and thus had sent the man to his death by intention. In that case he'd also know that Vince was alive - and this was his form of an 'invitation'. Well, then so be it. With a swift swipe Vince pushed the blade away. Then, too fast for even that force-wielding madman to react, his other hand - equally surrounded by a layer of searing energy - shot forth and into the man's chest, shattering his ribs and burning his heart. The man was dead within the instant. Behind him the other Brotherhood guards jumped back in shock, drawing their blasters and lightsabers. But they were felled just as quickly, when the feign guards behind Vince opened fire. After a few moments the guards, too, were dead.
"Shit!" Azrael exclaimed, as Vince motioned him to undo the prisoners' restraints. "What's with the plan?"
"It's been altered." Vince said coldly. With their cover blown it wouldn't take long until more guards would come to stop them. It was time to finally drop the sharade. A moment later Taya's body collapsed on the floor, as he returned to his own. In a quick jolt he broke the restraints and stood up from the rack.
"Well, then, what now?" Mryna commented, massaging her wrists.
"I've played nice long enough." Vince said darkly. "If Rygetto wants me so badly, he should get me in full."

////////////////

"A Brotherhood assault fleet ??" Kane repeated and rubbed his temples. Great! With Jassik en route to the Brotherhood base he had taken it un himself to coordinate fighter ops. "Any leads on where they are heading?"
"Unclear as of now." Came the pilot's reply. "The rest of us is still in the area observing, but it looked like they were on to something. It's the same type of fleet like the one we encountered over Yavin."
"Another kamikaze attack!" Vallis said breathlessly.
"HQ needs to hear this!" Kane said and threw Ice Queen a glance who wordlessly nodded and proceeded to set up a communications link.
"Boss, this is Bones!" came a familiar voice via his own comm. "We've got a problem."
"Report!" Kane replied. "Where are you?"
"In the main cargo hub." Came a hoarse reply. "Me and a crapload of that Baradium shit!"
"Sir!" Came the NR pilot's voice through Vallis' comm. "Our team as Raxus just reported in. They're coming your way."
"Joining up with their new flagship!" Kane muttered a conclusion under his breath. "Great! Get us some reinforcements. Now!"

////////////////

It took only few moments from the initial confrontation and soon the small team was surrounded by an utter crowd of guards and acolydes, blasters trained on their heads and lightsabers at their throats.
"Somehow I liked the old plan better!" Jassik behind Vince grumbled. Vince didn't reply - before them a gap opened in the crowd. Revealing a blues-kinned man in a grey robe slowly walking towards them.
"Vince Trageton." Darius Rygetto greeted him. "I've been looking forward to meeting you in person. I feared the worst, when my agents told me that they had fished little more than corpse from space. Seeing you standing before me is a delight - and makes me all the more curious about the secret of your apparent immortality."
"Just like I was eager to meet the great puppeteer in person." Vince replied in moderate politeness and crossed his arms. He hadn't come here to exchange pleasantries with the man who'd tried to have him murdered and take away his empire.
"Oh, don't overrate my part in all this." Rygetto said in mocked modesty. With a slight nod he motioned the guards to collect the rest of the infiltration team and take them away, then offered Vince an inviting gesture. "Come!"

They slowly walked towards the grand entrance, while Rygetto continued. "I inspire people, drive them to tackle their own limits and encourage them to overcome these. Your handling of the situation was admirable, the artistry of your little scheme was - for itself - flawless. You did surprise me, in fact. The newsvids always portrayed you as the white knight in shining armor, the beloved regent caring for his people, free from any trace of deception. But after recent events - including your most entertaining entrance on my world you appear to me a little less ... shiny."
"We all have two faces." Vince snarled and his gaze hardened. Clenching his fists he felt energy gather around him like a brewing storm. "Now that we got to know each other, I think I have a score to settle."
Rygetto regarded him for a moment then threw him an understanding, almost fatherly smile. "Ah yes. No doubt you want to take revenge on me. I can feel your anger! Lady Shiromy used to say the very same things to me when we first met. But in the end it was the same compulsion that held her back, which now stays your hand: Curiosity."
"I wouldn't count on that!" Vince growled. There it was again - that dark presence inside him that had been awoken, now lusting to kill Rygetto. Primal, raw and powerful, in a way both frightening and enticing. Energy pulsed around him, bolts of electricity struck out hitting the ground and the nearby walls of the temple and Vince found himself reveling in this surge of sheer power.
Rygetto remained unmoving, appreciating him. "It's the Force you are feeling." He explained with a smile. "It is strong in this place, as it was at Malachor. It runs through you, touches your mind, feeds on your emotions and in return fuels your powers." Vince gritted his teeth. As much as he wanted to discard Rygetto's words, they left an impact on him - as they pretty much described, what he was experiencing. And the fascination that originated from this experience was undeniable ... No! This was a trick! Rygetto was trying to provoke him - to turn him to his cause! Immediately Vince let go of the energy and unclenched his fists.
"You won't play my mind that easily!"
"Oh do you think?" Rygetto laughed then put up a vicious grin. "It worked pretty well on your wife!"

Just then he registered movement behind Rygetto. A hooded figure clad in black and red robes had emerged from the temple's entrance and was now approaching them. Although her face was concealed he could sense the familiar aura of the woman he loved. She finally came to a halt - halfway between them.
"Shiromy?" He questioned. "What did he do to you?"
"I resisted, at first!" Shiromy said absently and pulled back the robe to reveal her face. Her eyes gleamed in crimson fire like they had during their last confrontation. "But then I saw the truth." There was something strange about her - something different. She wasn't that twisted, almost corpse-like Sith abomination he had encountered aboard the Dominance. She almost seemed to pulse with life. "There is only the Force!"
Initial surprise was followed by suspicion, and the anger rose again. His eyes narrowed.
"Are you with me or against me, Shiromy?" Without saying a word Shiromy's gaze wandered back and forth between them. Eventually she moved - and slowly stepped towards Rygetto's side. No! This couldn't be. Shiromy wouldn't falter that easily! How had Rygetto managed to turn her like that? The question became obsolete the moment it occurred. Something inside Vince snapped. The beast of Malachor awoke once more. In a burst of anger he sent out a lightning strike to fell the treacherous Cult leader for what he had done. The strike sent Rygetto a few meters backwards, sparks of remaining energy ran over him, as he struggled up again. Tough one! Vince found himself thinking and once again reached out for him. He didn't know what he did, neither how. Rygetto was lifted off the ground, and a constant barrage of lightning shot from Vince's hands. No longer caring he sent out a constant stream of deadly power. He would roast this traitor until there was nothing left but a pile of ashes. And yet, instead of the pained screams of mortal agony he only heard Rygetto's wicked laughter.

Then the laughter ceased - and then Rygetto fought back. A blast wave brought Vince off-balance and loosened his grip around him. Then a lightning storm erupted from Rygetto's hands and countered Vince's. The two barrages met in a brilliant flash of light, a pulsing thunderstorm that kept wandering back and forth between them. "Did you think it was that easy?" Rygetto taunted, as he stepped forth and forced more power into his attack. But Vince wouldn't give in - he still had power left. It was no longer the energy he borrowed from somewhere else. This power came from deep within him. And this power seemed just as infinite as it used to be over Malachor. He could defeat this man. He would erradicate him, wipe his tainted stain from the galaxy. Drawing on the Force he pressed his attack and pushed him back. But still Rygetto kept coming. "You're trying hard, I give you that." The man laughed and relentlessly threw wave after wave of deadly energy at Vince. "But trying won't be enough!"
"Do it, Vince!" he heard a voice crying out to him. Distant but strong, touching his mind. "I know you can!"
The crackling thunder of the clashing energy streams was drowning everything around him - even the fading voice inside him kept on screaming that this was wrong. Do it! Something inside him grew, built up. He couldn't discern, what it was. It felt like a baloon being inflated within him. And then it burst. With a roar of primal fury Vince released his power into one cataclysmic blast breaking Rygetto's barrier and sending him crashing through the massive stone wall - and another - and another - as if they were made of cardboard. Vince could all but stare, gazing at his hands. He'd been used to controlling the energy around him for years - decades, yet hardly ever had experienced it this intense.
"The Force is with you now." He heard Shiromy's voice at his side. She was right. He could feel it now! The Force was with him. It pulsed through him, surrounded him. It raged within him like a tropical storm over a furious ocean. It was overwhelming. Never before had he felt it so intense. Never before had he summoned such power by himself - from deep within him. This was his power! "But you are yet untrained." She continued and her tone became serious. "You will need a master."
Smoke blew from the ruined temple entrance. And then, like a ghost from the netherworld, Darius Rygetto walked out of the smoke. A cold chill ran through Vince and instantly killed all the euphoria, as the grey robed man slowly approached them. How could he have survived this? The realization drew the air from his lungs. A hand appeared on his shoulder. Shiromy offered him an awkwardly warm smile. His thoughts raced chaotically through his head. Within moments the strength withdrew from him and it took only a soft pressure from that hand to drop him onto his knees, gazing paralyzedly at the recovering Rygetto, as he came to stand before - and above him.
"Well done, my Brother!" Darius Rygetto said with a satisfied smile. "You have taken the first step into a larger world."
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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:48 am

Blinking comm lights greeted Frost as soon as he entered his quarters. Oh, what now? He though, debating whether or not he should even bother answering the call. It was probably something trivial. Then again, it could be important. He hesitantly pressed the button.
“Frost here,” he grumbled unenthusiastically.
“Admiral, this is Lt. Commander Jotham. We have a bit of a situation brewing out here.”
Relieved that he had decided to take the call, Frost’s nerves were only momentarily assuaged as Jotham began to elaborate on their “situation.” He explained as best he could about Mirage and the PSA and Imperial teams, Emperor Trageton’s plans to infiltrate the Brotherhood base and the impending attack from a Brotherhood assault fleet. Zed finally closed with, “I’m not sure I fully understand what’s going on here myself. We were still near Raxus when all of this went down so I’m just going on what I’ve been told, but I think that we would greatly benefit from some backup.”
Nervously chewing the end of his pipe, Frost considered the situation. Dav and his team were with Trageton and a PSA infiltration force on some Force-forsaken rock, probably surrounded by Brotherhood goons right about now. Much to Frost’s regret, there wasn’t much he could do about that. They were on their own. Zed’s group had been split up. Half was still over Raxus, about to fall into the flight path of a major assault fleet, and half was over Valmont with the Mirage—most likely the assault fleet’s destination. Frost had to get his fleet to two places at once, but he couldn’t move a single ship with the advisors breathing down his neck. He also still had all of those Jedi on board. “Commander,” he finally said. “Tell your pilots to rendezvous on the Mirage and await further orders.”
“Affirmative, Admiral.”
Well, at least that was one problem solved. He then opened up a channel to the bridge. He hailed Navigation. The Calamari officer at the other end waited for orders. Frost debated if what he was about to do was the best option. It could cost him his career, his life or—worse yet—the lives of hundreds of innocents. The open comm line sizzled with idle static.
“Admiral?” the Calamari officer said, still awaiting orders.
Frost couldn’t just sit on his laurels and hope the situation resolved itself. He had to do something. It was a difficult decision, but he knew what had to be done.
“Set course for Valmont. Priority code White.” As he sprinted toward the turbo lift that would take him to the bridge, he sneaked a glance behind him to see if Faarg was still tailing him. Frost had noticed Faarg following him since their last meeting. Gotals make lousy shadows. Hopefully, that would work to Frost’s advantage. As Faarg disappeared down a corridor—presumably to report the fleet movement to his superiors—Frost put his plan into action. On his way to the bridge, he made a quick detour through the Jedi’s dorms.

****

Dav stumbled as he was shoved into a small holding cell by an especially burly Brotherhood thug.
“Have a nice life,” the man mocked. “While you still have a few hours of it left.” He then exited the brig, leaving the prisoners in the care of a pair of jailers.
The cells were terribly cramped, one-man boxes sealed by heavy blast doors. A barred window in the top half of the door allowed Dav a limited view of the hallway. Mryna was in the cell directly opposite him; Gyttel was to her left and Wildcat to her right. He couldn’t see the others, but he knew from the loud shouting that Jenn was in the cell next to him.
“You dirty, scum-sucking piles of slag!” she screamed while banging against the door. “When I get out of here I’m gonna tear you all apart limb from frackin’ limb!”
“Will you shut up!?” Mryna snapped. “I can’t concentrate with all that obnoxious shouting.”
Even though he couldn’t see her, Dav knew Jenn wore an astonished expression. “Well excuse me, ‘Princess.’ By all means, take you time devising your ingenious scheme to get us the hell out of here. You wanted to know if I worked well under pressure, well here’s your chance to find out.”
Mryna just ignored her, ducking behind her cell door’s window, probably to examine the door’s mechanisms.
Dav couldn’t help feeling a little uneasy. He was confident that Mryna and her team knew what they were doing, but he still would have felt better with his own master slicer, Ilixu, or Rollosk’s brute Trandoshan force. They had elected to stay behind on the Nighthawk with the backup team. Ren was still back on Mirage deciding that his limited training as a medic would find more use there.
He heard the heavy footsteps of the two jailers approaching. They were both rather short, rather round and overall grotesque. They were humanoid, but not human. It almost seemed as if they were humans crossbred with some other species. Or maybe they were just that ugly. They were also Brothers, each carrying lightsabers. One of them ran his lightsaber hilt along the window bars. “Sing for me, little caged birds!” he said with a wicked chuckle. “Sing now, for soon your lungs will be filled with blood!”
The other jailer gave a crooked, lascivious grin. “I say we strip-search them.” He licked his lips with a blackened tongue. “Well...the pretty ones, at least.”
Jenn banged on the door again. “Oh, hell no! You lay one finger on me and you won’t like what I do with it.”
The jailer closed in on her cell—taunting her, laughing—his dirty hands groping at the air.
“Tammak, don’t be a moron!” the other said, offering him a small, wand-like device with a computer screen attached to it. “Save what little dignity you have left and use the scanner.”
Jenn let out a sigh of relief as the brute backed off.
Tammak waved the scanner away. “Nah, that’s not as fun. C’mon, let’s finish out patrol so we can go get some grub. All this tasty eye-candy is making me hungry.”
The second jailer replied with something along the lines of, “Always thinking with your stomach,” before the two men disappeared down the hall and around a corner.
Gyttel glanced down both ends of the hall as best as he could and said, “I think we’re all clear. How about we get out of here?”
“Patience, Gyttel,” Mryna replied. “Patience.

****

“Nice place you all have here,” Roho said as he plopped himself into a chair on Mirage’s bridge. Kane gave a scowl and an irritated grunt.
Ril jabbed a thumb over her shoulder, gesturing for Roho to get out of the chair. “Don’t mind Roho,” she said to Kane, apologetic. “He’s just...an idiot.”
Roho stuck his tongue out at her.
“I swear that I will rip that thing out of your mouth so that you can never hurt another being with it again.”
He sucked it back into his mouth then quietly retreated to some corner.
Kane then proceeded to explain the situation to the New Republic pilots who had just joined the Mirage group. First on his list of concerns was the baradium store in the ship’s cargo hold. Second was his desire to see some reinforcements. Valis confirmed that the Empire was sending backup and Zed assured the group that Frost’s fleet would be arriving shortly. That mention prompted Lieutenant Rying to share a transmission she had just recorded.
“We intercepted this transmission to the Raxus fleet,” she said. “Its point of origin was the Yavin system.”
“Yavin?” Zed repeated. “Maybe it’s Faarg trying to contact his fellow Brothers. Let’s hear it.”
She played the recording, which seemed to be nothing more than distorted gibberish or an unknown alien language.
Chancy crinkled his nose, trying to catch any words he might recognize. “What’s he saying?”
“I don’t know,” Zed replied. “That’s not Basic.”
“Is it Gotalese?” Roho offered.
The others just stared at him. “Gotalese?” Ril said. “Really? They speak Antarian, you idiot!”
“All right, whatever—is it Antarian?”
Monk shook his head. “No, it sounds like it’s encrypted,” he said, stepping up to a control console. “I’ll try to remove the overlays.”
He worked the controls. The recording cracked, sizzled, and then went silent for a few seconds. When it came back on, a conversation between two beings could clearly be heard.
“He suspects something is amiss,” the first voice said. The speaker’s gender was indiscernible since the transmission was still heavily filtered, but it almost sounded as if the being spoke with a thick Quarren accent, not Gotal.
“Whom?” the second replied in a low, growling, but more human voice. That was probably the Brotherhood fleet’s commander.
“The old admiral,” the first voice said. “He is too wise to play this child’s game. He has seen much; he knows what is truth and what are lies.”
“He is aware of your presence?”
“He is aware of a presence. He knows the puppet, but the master remains out of sight for the time being.”
“What would you have me do?”
“Proceed as planned. The old man will be expecting your fleet and we should not disappoint him. Surround him; trap him in a pincer and choke off his escape routes. He will think he foiled our trap, but we will ensure him that the Brotherhood of Shadows has more than one skifter hidden up its sleeves.”
“Your will be done, Priestess. Save me the old man’s head, for I wish to spit upon it before I present it to Rygetto.”
The recording ended in static. Priestess? What did that mean?
Zed turned to his pilots. “We need to tell the Admiral about this. Set up a link to the WildFire,” he ordered.
Monk shook his head, his face frozen in a grim expression. “Negative. Comm lines along that frequency are out. They’re being jammed.”
Zed stiffened as a chill ran down his spine. “Then the Brotherhood fleet is almost here.”
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Post by General_Trageton » Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:25 pm

Mryna tried hard to ignore the continuing verbal assaults from Jenn across the room, while she examined the blast door in front of her. Her visor implant had identified reinforced durasteel. The dungeon they had been brought to was made of solid rock, somewhere deep in the bowels of the Brotherhood's temple. As massive and umpenetrable as it all appeared on first glimpse, her augmented vision had revealed numerous structural weaknesses, mainly resulting from bad maintenance. While the blast door itself was quite durable. The electrical locking mechanism wasn't too complicated and the bars that covered the window showed numerous signs of corrosion.
"Follow your lead! Keep your pace!" Jenn kept growling sourly. "My ass!"
"Well... uhngh." Mryna said, while trying to stretch as far as the cramped space of her cell would let her. "We got in after all. So basically everything is actually going as planned."
"Your move, Miss Qhalic!" Gyttel stated from the cell next to her. "I assume you have an escape plan ready?" Mryna couldn't help but smile at the way he continued to address her as 'Miss' despite her reinstated military rank, especially since the grumpy veteran commando usually came across as the overly correct type. Maybe it was a faithful reminiscence of the good old days.
"Of course!" Mryna responded in a matter-of-fact tone. Eventually she looked over to Akkare, who was waiting silently in the cell next to Dav. "You remember that one time I was shackled to a bed, and you two came to interrogate me?" Mryna giggled and threw him a saucy smirk. "That was fun!"
"Please don't remind me!" the greyed Jedi protested and blushed noticably at those mildly embarassing memories.
"Oh, I need to hear that!" Dav said anxiously - instantly followed by an sour response from his wife.
"I don't!" Jenn said in mild disgust.
Gyttel ignored the awkward situation and instead kept his unbreakable emotionless pragmatism. "And? Is that going to help us here?"
"No, not at all" Mryna said and stepped closer to the blast door. "That was just some fuss to keep you entertained while I decide which of those material flaws is at least something of a challenge."
"That's my girl!" She then heard Wildcat's cheerful applause from the cell next to her, while Jenn once again bitched about her boastful attitude. Finally Mryna reached for her temple to trigger her EMP implant. Taking a deep breath she braced herself for the somewhat unpleasant sensation and then fired the pulse. A blinding flash burst before her eyes as her visual implants were overloaded by the sudden disruption. Every synapsis in her body seemed to fire at the same time and for a moment she feared she'd knocked herself out completely.
"Ngh ... shit!" Mryna groaned and leaned against the door, breathing heavily through gritted teeth and trying to ignore the tingling pain. "I'd forgotten how that hurts!" It took a moment for her implants to reset themselves and her strength to return, time enough to take in the irritated, puzzled or concerned frowns from across the room.
"That's what you get from tinkering with electronics, Princess" Jenn mocked meanwhile. "Better leave that to the specialists."
"Oh shut up already!" Mryna rebuked and took a step back to examine the door once more. "So far your attempts to flout the door open didn't yield any results at all." Gathering focus she examined the door for a good place to grab on to. There was a thin layer of metal framing the window for reinforcement. It wasn't much of a lever but it would have to do. Clutching the lower part of the frame Mryna began to push upwards. For a moment it seemed the heavy door wouldn't move after all, no matter how hard she pushed.
"Behold despair setting in." Jenn kept on taunting her. For what it was worth, that woman was getting somewhat annoying - in fact this anger was exactly what Mryna needed to strengthen her resolve - and increase adrenaline production. A violent jolt broke whatever mechanic block there was and the heavy door moved upwards a few inches, just enough for Mryna to slide one armored foot through the gap below it. Quickly Mryna cowered down to grab onto the lower end of the door, before it would overwhelm the armor and squeezed her foot. This was it. Gritting her teeth she took three sharp breaths and then strained her muscles. The door moved. With an uqly screeching sound of metal grinding against metal the heavy plate moved upwards. Knee-high, hip-high. When she had it at belly-height she crouched down and quickly squeezed through the opening and finally let go. With an ear-splitting crash the door slammed back down.
"I'll be ..." She heard Dav's astonished comment, while taking a few moments to recatch her breath.
"Done." Mryna eventually said finding her routine again and made her way towards the prison's central control terminal. Passing Jenn's cell she threw the dumbfounded woman a wicked grin. "Thanks for annoying me, that was just the kind of motivation I needed."
"My pleasure." came Jenn's miffed response.

////////////////

"How long?"
"Five minutes, maybe ten" Jotham pondered. "Depends on how old those ships and their hyperdrives are."
Kane swallowed hard. Too little time to get the ship fully combat-worthy again, not to mention against a whole fleet likely loaded with Baradium. It was also too little time to call in more backup from HQ - the only two PSA ships with fold drives were unavailable: the Seraphim was yet to remain in the drydock for repairs, the Red Star II was about to be scrapped for good - with salvageable bits to be repurposed for the Seraphim. They couldn't just leave either, not when they had a full Brotherhood fleet inbound on a silver plate - and a NR cruiser already racing to assist. And with a belly full of baradium ... He had an idea.
"Shaft, Bones, get back here." he barked into his comm, then got Ice's attention, who was standing near another console. "Space the cargo bay but hold that Baradium tractored nearby."
"You have a plan?" Vallis crossed his arms and threw him a cockeyed frown.
"I wouldn't go so far and call it that." Kane returned. "But it's a start. Commander Jotham, continue trying to contact the Wildfire. Tell them to stay clear of us, the planet ... hell, tell them to stay out of this system!" Then he turned to Vallis. "Lieutenant, how fast can your ship go towing a large lump of explosive containers?"
"70 MGLT sublight, about 900 upon jumping, depends on how much frontal fire we have to evade."
"Assume a 11 km alley of free space." Kane suggested. "Would that be enough to accelerate for a micro jump and release the cargo just in the right moment?"
"Ow!" Monk made and threw him a knowing grin. "You, Sir, are evil!"
"Could work." Vallis stated simply. "But how are you going to provide such a window?"
Kane put up a vicious smile. "This ship is called Mirage for a reason." While they spoke Monk had already strolled over to another terminal, finally letting his hands hover above a certain assortment of keys - twitching with his fingers in anticipation. "Let's play pretend!"

////////////////

Aboard the Crescent the sensor officer almost jumped onto his chair, staring bewildered into his screen. "Ma'am, the Mirage ... it's gone, but now I'm picking up a new signal. It's a PSA Dreadnought, Traquia-Class ... right below us?!"
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Post by Will T » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:37 pm

"Admiral?" Captain Normaas called from the navigation cluster. "We're ten minutes out."
"Good. Ready Beta and Tau Squadrons."
"Aye, sir." Normaas replied dutifully. "May I ask their deployment orders."
"You asked why we exiting hyperspace at the edge of the system?"
"You said it was 'need to know'" If the captain was put off by being kept in the dark for this long, he was experience enough to keep it from showing.
"Well, I think now you do need to know." Pitto smiled. "Despite whatever events have happened here in the last few days, Raxus Prime is still an Imperial held system. Therefore, it is not unusual for such a system to see military traffic. We must appear, for all intents and purposes, to be simply another patrol vessel.
"When we exit hyperspace, Beta Squadron will begin formation drills and mock attack runs on the outlying moon." Normaas looked at his commanding officer with a questioning gaze, uncertain of where this plan was developing.
"The TIE Fighters are a façade, nothing more." The Admiral clarified. "They are there to attract attention, and just as quickly be dismissed. It is, likewise, just as usual for a Star Destroyer on patrol to send out long range scouts. This is where the gunboats come in. They will hyper further in system, on an apparent patrol course. Their actual goal will be intelligence gathering. If there are any ships in the vicinity, Tau squadron will root them out."
"Sir, if I may, why all the secrecy? This is, as you said, a system in our control. Surely a co-ordinated sensor focus would - "
Pitto cut the Star Destroyer's captain off. "Because, Captain, I suspect that any ships hiding out in the vastness of this entire star system are themselves trying to avoid attracting attention, and more importantly avoid a fight. If they detect an active sensor focus, or an Imperial search party, they may very well bolt before we have a chance to ascertain who they are or where they came from. While another Star Destroyer dropping out of hyperspace will no doubt make them nervous, they'll do everything they need to avoid detection. In this case, that means staying put. So long as we don't appear threatening, they will most likely wait and observe. And that gives us the time we need to find them."
Something clicked in Dantil Normaas' head. "And that's why you needed the Assault Shuttles." Pitto smiled, but said nothing. Instead, he inclined his head, gesturing for the captain to go on and complete his train of thought. "Their hyperdrives can get them in close quickly, and they can deploy a boarding party faster than any other ship. The gunboats locate whoever's hiding here, and the shuttles can have them disabled and captured in minutes - faster than they get their own hyperdrives warmed up anyway."
"Very good captain," Pitto smiled broadly, "Tell your Starfighter Tactical Officer to make sure the gunboats do not engage, even if they do locate a target. They must always give the impression of being simple patrol craft."
The navigation officer called out the one minute mark, and the helm station began the preparations for dropping out of hyperspace.
"Of course," Pitto shrugged, "this is all guesswork. The system may be as deserted as it should be." Captain Normaas gave a rare smile.
"I suppose we're about to find out sir."

*****

"That...." Akkare stammered, mouth agape. "That was nothing short of disturbing, Major." He stared at Mryna. "That door was five inches of durasteel." Mryna simply shrugged.
"Upgrades." She said, nonchalently.
"You want to impress me Qhalic?" Gyttel growled. "Get my door open and a rifle in my hands and we'll see."
"What's the matter Gyttel?" Mryna rolled her eyes. "Commando school didn't teach you how to break out of a cell."
"Commandos don't get captured." Gyttel groused. Mryna frowned at him, and opened her mouth to make the obvious retort. Instead, she shook her head and offered a muttered "Never mind."
"If you two are done flirting," Jenn scowled, Gyttel purpled beneath his helmet, though a clenched fist made his reaction to that a little more visible, "we have some jackasses to kill."
Mryna gave a single nod. "Let's do some damage."
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Post by General_Trageton » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:34 pm

And let's try not to kill each other before! Mryna thought to herself, as she walked towards the terminal. Would save me a lot of paperwork!
Just as she went to work on the console she caught the sound of footsteps and loose chatter approaching. She cursed. Not enough time to override all locks before the guards arrived. One or two would have to do for the moment. As her hands whizzed across the console she heard the hissing sound of prison doors opening, and Azrael and Akkare appeared at the far end of the corridor.
"We're getting company!" Mryna hissed and motioned them to stay out of sight, while she herself retreated into a shadowy alcove where she would remain hidden from sight, at least for a moment. It likely wouldn't hide her presence too greatly from any Force-user but it might at least give her enough momentum to lay out a proper ambush.
Moments later the two jailor grunts walked in. Mryna ducked into the corner and intently watched the scenery, closely examining the two, their movements. Scanning for weaknesses. Neither of them was exactly athletic. Their compact form gave them some stability, however. Still, telling from their moves they made that up with apparent clumsiness. All in all they looked like easy prey - weren't it for them being trained force-users.
"Have you been good little birdies?" Sneered one, while the other once again drew his lightsaber to let its handle clang along the cell door bars. This time, when he came across Wildcat's holding cell, Akkare seemed to react - as suddenly the weapon activated much to its owners surprise - and the red blade effortlessly cut through the metal bars.
"Damnit!" Hissed the other. "What are you doing?" For a moment both stared irritatedly at the ignited weapon, then at each other.
"Looks like we have a jedi birdie here!" Now the other one drew his lightsaber as well and they proceeded to examine the other prisoners. Instantly both froze when they reached Mryna's now empty cell. "Where's the pretty one?" gurgled one - Tammak Mryna recalled the name from their previous encounter.
"Hm, you think I'm pretty, do you?" Mryna said teasingly and solved from the shadows. Instantly the two whirled around - their voluminous bellies wobbling in the movement. Slowly Mryna walked towards them, saucily bouncing her hips as she did. "Aw, that's so sweet!"
"Why, you've been a bad little birdie!" snored Tammak as they approached her, spreading out to engage from two angles.
"I don't know how you got out of your cell" Snarled the other, apparently the smarter one, regardless of how appropriate that term actually was. "But you're in a lot of trouble, kitten." Mryna only tilted her head and made an innocent pose. "Oh please don't hurt me!" She cooed.
"Bad kitten!" Tammak repeated, ruttishly licking his lips. "I think you need to be taught a lesson!"
"Oh yes, I've been such a bad, bad girl!" Mryna admitted in mocked guilt, drawing back further until she felt the wall behind her. Then she noticed Akkare slowly walking towards them from the corridor. Immediately her expression changed. "Now can we get this over with before I throw up?"
"Dirty litle wench!" hissed Tammak and stomped towards her, while the other spun around to face Akkare. "I'll show you - urkh" he got no further as Mryna shot forth and smashed his larynge with the edge of her hand. Stumbling backwards the fat jailor dropped his lightsaber and reached for his shattered throat desparately struggling for air.
"Tammak!" cried his comrade in shock, then drew back, as he realized it was now two against one. Moments later the dead guard's lightsaber flew through the air and landed in Akkare's hand.
"I'll handle this." the greyed Jedi stated firmly and Mryna simply nodded, getting back to work on the prison control terminal.

////////////////

Darron's forehead was deeply wrinkled, his eyes narrowed to slits and and his nose squeezed between his flat palms. He and the rest of the secondary team were assembled around the Nighthawk's tactical holo board, which currently showed a rendering of the brotherhood temple and its vicinity. The observation feed of the primary team's 'insertion' had been disturbing to say the least.
"I have a bad feeling about this." the Trandoshan NR pilot - Rollosk - hissed bleaking his pointy teeth.
"How could this happen?" Homie questioned, rubbing his temple.
"Rygetto is some kind of Jedi, isn't he?" Viper mused, leaning against a nearby support beam, arms crossed. "Maybe he used some sort of mind trick to force him to surrender."
"Vince is a Cha'Lynh and who knows what else he has learned since his flying days." Blade pointed out. "Give him some credit already!"
"Well apparently Shiromy helped him with that." Darron argued morosely and let himself slump into the chair behind him. "She betrayed us - again."
"Don't judge her too soon!" Blade said confidently. "Lady Shiromy knows what is at stake here. Maybe she has a plan."
"Of course she has!" Darron replied angrily and threw his hands up in frustration. "It's been only a few months since she claimed herself a Sith! Now she's running with a terrorist cult obsessed to destroy the jedi. Go figure!" He shook his head and tried to calm down. 'Obviously' he reminded himself. Vince had once said he'd be too quick to jump to conclusions from the obvious. Maybe Blade was right. Maybe this all truly fit into a plan Shiromy had carefully elaborated, while infiltrating the Brotherhood. Still, Darron couldn't bring himself to believing that. Not after Calim VI.
"What about Vince, now?" Homie eventually inquired, his with growing concern. "What if they break him, turn him to their cause -"
"They won't break him."

////////////////

This was absurd.
Vince didn't have the patience to sit around while the rest of the galaxy was in turmoil - normally.
He had sworn to destroy this threat and he was one to keep his vows - Normally.
Then again, 'normal' hat lost its meaning the moment he had set foot on this planet. The moment he had tapped into the web of the Force. The moment when he had taken the first step into a larger world. He was lying on a bunk - barely softer than the stone floor on which it stood. Meditating. The small chamber was burried somewhere deep within the large temple complex. Never before had he felt the Force like now, as it flowed through him. Had he been that blind all these years? From training and experience he could easily control all sorts of energy, unleashing cataclysmic powers. Now it all seemed so blunt - compared with the wonders that the Force now revealed to him. 'Just another form of energy' he had once said. How wrong had he been!
Nevertheless this all served a purpose. He was now walking freely among his enemies, made nice with them, while they watched his steps. A fragile peace, one that would be short to last. But for the moment he played along and did as he was told. His primary objective was in reach, the mission was only so much delayed. His time would come. Soon.

"You're brooding too much." He heard Shiromy's soft voice. She was lying on the bunk next to his. Her eyes were closed in deep meditation. "Just relax and let the Force flow through you."
"I feel like a child that just found a secret door into a magic world." Vince said and smiled. "can't blame me for being amazed."
"That's a nice way to describe it. The Force offers us access to many abilities we would have considered unnatural before."
"Unnatural?" Vince repeated and idly shook his head. "No. Practical."
"That again is a very blunt way to look at it." Shiromy chided. "You still don't believe in the will of the Force, do you?"
"People glorify everything beyond their comprehension." Vince said sceptically. "I refuse to idolize something that is perfectly real and well within my reach."
"Ah" Shiromy made and a wicked smile crossed her lips. "Somebody's tried the sweet taste of power I see. I still remember the first time, when I felt the Force flow through me." Her voice trailed off and her expression became somewhat dreamy as she recalled the memories. "As powerful as I already was, the Force offered a totally new experience. It was like if your mind was suddenly connected to the rest of the galaxy and you could feel its heart beating. All the powers we have - Cha'Lynh, Zhawn Ti'Kur - the Force binds them all together, strengthens them."
"What about this polarity?" Vince questioned. "The dark and light side - the Jedi and the Sith."
"Religions" Shiromy said somewhat dismissively. "Dogmatic constructs, invented by fools to glorify something that - like you said yourself - should be considered natural. Fanatics who are too obsessed fighting each other to see the things that really matter."
"And the brotherhood is different?" Vince questioned. "To me it seems just another of those religions - another contestant in the quest for divine truth, and just as obsessed as all the others!"

"It may be just that." He heard a new voice and his eyes narrowed. Darius Rygetto had entered the chamber and was now standing at the entrance. "Maybe - from a political point of view - we are indeed just one player of many. But what about the competition?" He spread his arms and adapted a dramatic pose. "Behold the Jedi in the blue corner: knights in shining armor - willing yet incapable - blinded by traditions and codexes that prevent them from doing what is necessary. And in the red corner there's the Sith, the ever evil foes interested only in increasing their own power and not caring about those in need." He laughed in a mixture of bitterness and amusement. "Can you honestly say and believe one side is right by itself? I say No! This 'divine truth', as you call it, goes way beyond their comprehension. Neither Jedi nor Sith can rightfully claim it their own. Either side is as right as it is wrong. It is we, who stand vigilant in the shades between darkness and light. There is no Jedi, no Sith, no dark, no light. There is only the Force."
"And that's justification for you to commit acts of violence and cruelty?" Vince retorted. "Surely you could do better than that."
"That's the problem with fanatics!" Rygetto argued and let out a resignating sigh. "It is the only language they understand. Besides ..." He tilted his head. "Wasn't it you who all but wiped out an entire race - the Keepers, wasn't it? Victims to genocide on their way home."
"Their 'way home' would have destroyed this galaxy." Vince explained confidently. "I did what had to be done to prevent that and to save our civilization."
"Sacrifice the few for the sake of many." Rygetto summarized and his smile widened. "See, that's exactly what we're doing."
Vince wanted to protest but Shiromy was quicker to react. "Will you two stop arguing?" She said harshly. "Both of you, save your debates for later. I'm trying to meditate here!"
"I'm sorry!" Rygetto apologized and made a bow. "I shouldn't have disturbed you." And disappeared.
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:26 pm

If Frost lacked any confidence in the success of his plan, he certainly wasn’t showing it. Then again, that stoic nature was to be expected after more than thirty years of military discipline and experience with nearly fifteen of those years spent in command of the WildFire. Everything on the mighty battlecruiser’s bridge was run by standard procedure as if this jump were like any other routine hyperspace jump. Well, almost everything. Frost threw one last quick glance over his shoulder to make sure the Knights were in position then turned back to the seemingly infinite blue tunnel before him.
Then Faarg arrived, stamping onto the bridge, jabbing a hairy finger at the bridge’s main viewport.
“Admiral!” he shouted in a fury. “Would you mind explaining the meaning of this?”
Frost merely offered a mock expression of confusion and said, “Don’t tell me you paper-pushers have never seen a hyperspace tunnel before.”
Furious, Faarg clenched his fists and bared his teeth. “Do you take me for a fool!? You had strict orders to remain in the Yavin system; your failure to comply with them will no doubt end in a court-martial!”
“Life’s a bitch, ain’t it?”
Faarg opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by the hyperspace reversion siren.
“Reversion in ten, Admiral,” Navigation reported. “Five. Four. Three. Two. Initiating reversion to realspace.”
The blue tunnel spiraled down to a series of stretched points, which then reduced to a thousand tiny points of light. There were no worlds, no ships, not even a swirling cloud of gas...only empty space and distant stars.
“W-what is this?” Faarg stammered, gazing deeply into the endless black void. “Where are we?”
Frost wore a subtle grin of victory on his face. “Were you expecting a bigger audience?”
“What are you talking about?”
Frost cast an accusing glare. “Don’t play dumb with me, Gotal! I knew you would hear me give the order to jump to Valmont, and I knew you would report it to your contact in the Brotherhood. But I also knew that you had never heard of Priority code White.”
For the first time during his stay on the WildFire, Faarg did not reply. For the first time, he was dumbstruck. He offered no argument, gave no retort. He just stood in silence.
Frost elaborated. “Priority code White is a rarely-used—and somewhat risky—maneuver used to trigger a suspected ambush. It instructs a fleet to split into small two- or three-ship task forces and jump to a location a minimum of one sector outside the intended destination system, far from the ambush point. The fleet’s arrival pattern is very wide, placing each task force a few hundred kilometers apart. This allows a much wider field of view for our long-range scanners. Though separating the fleet leaves it more vulnerable should we be discovered early and attacked, successful execution of Priority code White allows us to easily track the enemy and engage them on our terms.”
The senior communications officer rose from his station. “Admiral,” he said in a crisp, clear voice, “the fleet is in position. Orders, sir?”
He turned to the officer. “Instruct all ships to raise GQ alert.”
A klaxon blared five times, rapid then a voice came over the ship’s intercom system. “This is not a drill! This is not a drill! General Quarters! General Quarters! All hands, man your battle stations! Prep the flight deck! Prep the flight deck!” Five more rings followed the announcement.
Frost then turned back to Faarg. “As for you,” he said, gesturing to the pair of Jedi Knights that had been tucked away out of sight. “Councilor Faarg, I am hereby placing you under arrest for high treason and conspiracy against the New Republic!” The Jedi flanked Faarg, each with their sabers drawn, but not ignited. They slapped a pair of binders on his wrists then waited for Frost’s orders.
The old admiral looked upon the Gotal with disgust. “Throw him in the brig and keep an armed watch on him at all times.”
The Jedi nodded and began to escort Faarg off the bridge when Narine and the other councilors arrived. Narine’s tentacles began to twitch when she saw a shackled Faarg and his two Jedi escorts.
Irritated, Frost discarded the polite tone he normally used when addressing the councilors and spoke bluntly. No more bowing at their feet. It was time he reminded them who was in command of this ship. “What are you doing up here? Access to the bridge is restricted while General Quarters is in effect.” He signaled for bridge security to have the advisors removed.
However, Narine stood her ground and remained surprisingly calm in spite of the situation. “What is going on here, Admiral?” she said softly.
Knowing she wouldn’t move until she understood, Frost explained. “Councilor, it seems as if you have had a rat on the advisory board. Our little buddy Faarg here has been working in collaboration with the Brotherhood of Shadows.”
Narine considered the accusation for a moment then said in what was nearly a whisper, “You are correct in your belief that one of the councilors sent to observe you is a double-agent. However, I have worked with Faarg for many years and I assure you he is not the traitor.” That statement took both Frost and Faarg by surprise. “He lacks the mental capacity needed to carry out such a ruse himself, and he is easily manipulated. Of course, that was not without its uses.” As she spoke, Faarg began to squirm, as if his binders prevented him from scratching a particularly annoying itch. “His mind was opened to me; I merely had to walk in and take it. I employed methods that the Jedi do not know and that the Sith fear to practice—powers that only Darius Rygetto and the Brotherhood have the mettle to wield. I made him mine.” The Gotal’s breathing became labored. Narine’s eyes seemed to glaze. Faarg began to shake violently. Narine just laughed. “Faarg was easy.” Struggling to breathe, Faarg collapsed to his knees and doubled over. Blood began dripping from every orifice on his face. “You will provide a refreshing challenge.” Gaping wounds appeared on Faarg’s body and blood poured out of him in liters, pooling on the clean white floor. Near death, he fell into the crimson puddle. He writhed around in agony before shouting out as the remaining fluids in his body boiled away, shrouding him in a pungent gray mist. When the mist cleared, all that remained was the Gotal’s dried-out husk and a faint russet stain of mineral deposits left by the evaporated blood pool.

Staring down at Faarg’s mummified corpse, Frost felt his stomach knot. The two Jedi that had been escorting Faarg ignited their sabers, but Frost held up a hand to stop them from attacking. Instead, they dropped back into a defensive stance. “And what will you do with me? My entire bridge crew is a witness to what you just did. Even if you could turn me into your puppet, they would die before they’d follow orders that they knew were really coming from you.”
“They are expendable. I have my own crew aboard this vessel. Like me, they have hidden themselves among those you trust.”
The Jedi! Frost thought.
“That is correct, Mylan.” Narine’s response startled Frost, but only for a moment. If she can control minds, it only makes sense that she can read them, too. “It was quite easy, actually. The turmoil of the Yavin bombing made the perfect front for infiltrating the Jedi’s pathetic little organization. With so many Jedi missing or killed and the entire academy in chaos, not even Skywalker himself could keep track of which Force-users were his students and which were his enemies.” One of the Jedi, revealing himself as a Brotherhood agent, swung his saber around and held it at the other’s throat. Completely caught off guard by the lightning fast maneuver, the real Jedi yielded, extinguishing his saber.
Narine continued. “You see, my Brothers and Sisters may not be Jedi, but we are also not Sith. We are merely followers of the Force and do not project the ‘evil’ aura associated with the Sith, thus we are difficult to sense. No light, no dark. Only, eternally, the Force.”
Running low on options, Frost attempted stall for time by keeping Narine talking. He reasoned that if he could get her on some long-winded rant, she’d be too busy talking to pay any attention to his thoughts and give him time to think of a way to shut her up…permanently. “I keep hearing that mantra from you chuckle-nuts and quite frankly, I’m starting to get sick of that nonsense.” The plan was risky and full of holes. It was essentially choosing probable death over certain death. At least with this plan there was still a chance—slim as it was—that it would succeed and those aboard the WildFire would escape death, whereas if he simply handed the ship over, death was guaranteed.
Nevertheless, Narine seemed to fall for it. “If you believe it to be such nonsense then perhaps I should enlighten you? Light and dark are just narrow categories invented to herd those who can connect with the Force into restrictive pens so to limit their full potential. The Jedi attempt to protect others, but they do not act, while the Sith act, but with only their own interests in mind. We have transcended those flaws. Rygetto has taught us to open ourselves to the true nature of the Force, embracing abilities from both of the so-called ‘sides’ and using them in a pragmatic manner.”
Frost considered the small mutiny box he kept on his belt. That seemed too drastic an option right now, but he was prepared to use it should the situation degrade that far. Narine continued to talk, seemingly unaware that Frost had just considered the possibility of scuttling his ship. That was a good sign. It meant she wasn’t paying attention to him.
“A laser can just as easily mine precious metals as it can to destroy a city,” the Quarren said. “Just as limiting the laser to only one of those tasks is foolish, so too is limiting the Force in such a manner. The Force is not some mystical power to be revered; it is a natural energy to be harnessed and utilized to its fullest extent. It is just another tool one must learn to master.”
Frost simply shrugged, as if unaffected by the Brotherhood ideologies. “Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. I don’t know. But I do know that your stance on the matter doesn’t give you the right to take my ship and my command out from under me.” He drew a small hold-out blaster from a concealed holster and leveled it at the Quarren’s head. “At least not without some objection on my part.” He squeezed off two quick shots, both of which found their target, but neither caused any damage. Instead, the Quarren seemed to absorb them.
“I never claimed that it gave me the right to take your ship.” She held up a hand and clenched it into a fist, crushing Frost’s blaster with the Force. “But it does give me the ability!”
The bridge erupted into chaos as security personnel leapt towards Narine. All were blasted away, some so hard as to leave dents where they struck. Any blaster fire was either absorbed or reflected. The other Republic advisors scurried around for cover. Crewmen dove behind control consoles and into alcoves.
In a daring attempt to free himself, the Jedi elbowed his Brotherhood captor hard in the gut. The infiltrator lowered his defenses just enough for the Jedi to kick one of the sabers out of his hand. The Jedi spun on his heel, caught the saber, ignited it, and then took the Brother’s head off in a single clean motion. He turned his sights on Narine, charging her with the entire force of his body, pushing himself through the air with the Force. Sensing the attack, Narine sidestepped to avoid the saber then caught the Jedi by the arms. She swung him around and tossed him like a rag doll into a bulkhead.
This momentary diversion gave Frost enough time to get in close to the Quarren and jump her when she turned back to him. She placed her large hand on his face, effectively blinding him. He could feel a surge of energy flood his head, as if her presence was trying to burrow itself into his brain. He groped around, trying to get his hands around her neck but found himself tangled in her tentacles. The tentacles tightened, squeezing the bones in his hand. He struggled to free himself but quickly realized that loosening the tentacles’ grip would be impossible. His adrenaline running high, Frost jerked his arm downward with his full might. The tentacle—knotted tightly around his hand—could not release its grip and instead tore in two.
Screeching in pain, Narine released Frost and staggered backwards. Bluish blood squirted from the truncated tentacle. Frost dropped the still writhing tentacle then drew a small pocketknife. He slashed at the Quarren, cutting a shallow gash across her face. Wounded, Narine weakly Force-pushed him away then made a dash toward the bridge’s turbolift.

Feeling sore all over, Frost lifted himself onto unsteady legs. He looked around the bridge. Narine was gone. She had left the place a mess. Wounded personnel attempted to pick themselves off the floor but usually just ended up rolling around in pain. Fatalities were light, fortunately. Structural damage was extensive, however. Control consoles had been ripped right out of the wall and sparking wires and power cables littered the deck.
Frost wiped the blood from his lip. “What’s our damage?”
“We lost a lot of equipment and electronics,” the first mate reported, “but nothing that will keep us out of the fight, sir.”
“Get a repair crew on it ASAP. Tell them to be careful on their way up here.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Lock down all airlocks and escape pods and don’t let anything leave the hangar unless I clear it. If anything gets out, you have orders to shoot on sight.”
“Understood, sir.”
“Remember, we’re still at General Quarters, men. Do what you can to get things running again, but don’t forget your primary duties.”
Frost then staggered over to where the Jedi had landed. He was propped up against the wall—badly bruised, but alive. Frost crouched down next to him, feeling a popping in his knee on the way down. But he wasn’t concerned about his own injuries right now. That young Jedi took a much harder beating. “Can you stand, son?”
The Jedi simply looked up at him and said, “My little sister’s down there.” He started crawling to the turbo lift until he regained enough strength to stand and limp.
Frost again remembered the girl that had visited him in his quarters a few nights ago. He wondered if she could have been this Jedi’s sister. Regardless of whether she was or not, she—along with all the other Jedi—was now sharing the same section of the ship with a bunch of Brotherhood infiltrators. If Narine was heading down there now, all the Jedi were in danger.
Picking up a carbine dropped by one of the security officers, Frost followed the Jedi into the turbo lift. He would not fail them again.
NRAF Nexus: "When Duty Calls"
Draar chayaikir batnor jetii—ancient Mandalorian proverb.
"We're gonna explode? I don't wanna explode!" —Jayne Cobb, Public Relations
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General_Trageton

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Post by General_Trageton » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:38 pm

"Done" Mryna announced, as the last of the cellblock locks submitted to her relentless probing. By now the fight between Akkare and the Brotherhood jailor had moved out of the dungeon and the sounds apeared to move away. The team was now assembling again. Azrael had discovered a number of lockers built into the wall and, after a few moments revealed their confiscated equipment. Mryna was greatly pleased when Wildcat handed her her armor harness and the long crimson coat. Gyttel was the last to emerge from his cell, smiling contently, as Azrael handed him his rifle.
"You do that on purpose, don't you?" the grumpy commando snarled, examining the weapon. "Getting caught ..."
"Oh yes!" Mryna said delicately, while she belted on the armor pieces and slipped into her coat. "I love the thrill of playing the hapless victim, squirming before my captor, just to turn on him in his moment of triumph and grant him a gruesome death. I know it's kinky but ..." She let out a salacious moan "So exciting."
"Oooookay." Dav said and threw her a bewildered grimace. "Now I'm scared."
Gyttel just groaned. "For goodness' sake! Do you ever take anything serious?"
"Serious?!" Mryna tilted her head and threw him an dumbfounded look. Then she put on a dull expression. Eyes focused straight forward her moves became somewhat robotic, as she walked towards the commando. "MUST ELIMINATE -" she rambled monotonously as she staggered past him, very much to Wildcat's and Azrael's amusement. Gyttel simply shook his head and mumbled something to himself.
"You clearly have a tendency to make people angry." Wildcat commented. "And you like it."
"Of course I do." Mryna agreed and threw her a wicked smile. "Show someone the finger he won't notice the gun in your other hand" She hesitated. "Speaking of which ..." Her guns. By now everyone was equipped but her. Eying the locker she found it empty safe for Akkare's lightsaber. At that point Mryna realized that her trusty blasters weren't the only thing missing. Looking around again she soon realized what, or who.
"Where's Ice Queen?"
A moment of uncomfortable silence as the others, too, realized her missing.
"I haven't seen her since we were brought here." Azrael admitted with a helpless shrug. "Maybe they brought her in for interrogation?"
"Or maybe she is also working for them!" Jenn suggested. "It's not like she'd be the first of your people -"
"Whoah, watch it now, primadonna!" Wildcat interrupted her harshly enough to surprise even Mryna, who knew Wildcat not being the brawlsome type.
"Let's not engage in speculations!" Mryna intervened. "We still have a job to do and are running out of time."
"So what now?" Dav questioned, throwing her a frown. "Push on and leave her behind?" Mryna just shook her head. Although she couldn't support Jenn's claims either, intuition told her that Ice's disappearance and the missing of her guns were somehow related. Meaning there was more to this.
"I'm going to find out what happened to Ice. " She decided and turned to Gyttel. "Major, You take charge. I trust you bring my team back safely." The others gazed at her in moderate surprise, even the routined Commando was taken aback. She was well aware that there might be disagreements with that decision, especially from people like Jenn, but they didn't have the luxury to debate about this. Besides Gyttel was the highest ranking after her and without doubt the most experienced, thus choosing him to lead the team was only logical, regardless of any personal preferences. "See that you catch that runaway Jedi and proceed with the mission. Locate the central mainframe and extract whatever useful information you find! Azrael will hack whatever security measures they put up. Remember: No fuss, no heroics! Once you're job is done done, retreat and call the Nighthawk for pickup!" Without waiting for a reply, she dashed out of the dungeon and vanished into the corridor.

She didn't get very far. Sneaking past a pair of guards she was about to make a dashing sprint for another hiding spot beyond a crossing. Just when she lept out of the shadow something swept her off her feet and slammed her hard into the nearby wall. The impact force was too much for her shock dampers to compensate and she found her consciousness fading, as she dropped to the floor. Above her towered a creepy looking acolyde. "Feisty little jedi scum!" his emotionless comment was the last thing she heard. Then darkness.
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Mako
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Post by Mako » Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:28 pm

Things had gotten very interesting lately. Kyaara's training was going quite well, not only was she learning how to control the powers she currently had, she was also learning how to use the new ones she had learned from both Mako and David Rain. Currently Kyaara was learning patence and dilpomacy while she watched Alaan and J.D's twin girls. Kyaara not only managed to keep the twins out of trouble but she had gooten them to quiet down and take naps when needed.
Mako was currently taking advantage of Kyaara's babysitting to take a call from Alaan.
"It took us longer than expected, but we've found Rygetto." Alaan reported. "He's currently here on Mimban. He's got us as well as a few others working for him as hired muscle."
"A few others?" Mako questioned
"Yeah all mercs. A woman's the one incharge of them. They've got a Jedi with them. There are a few other force users here as well."
"The Force users are to be expected. I wouldn't think that Rygetto would rely on mercs as well." Mako stated
"apparrently these guys were trained to withstand mind control."
"That is interesting. Is it a large force?"
"Well there in lies the mixed news."
"Mixed news?"
"Yeah, good news is Rygetto doesn't keep many people around him. So there are only a few hundred of us here. I managed to sneak away long enoug to comm you, but I'll be missed so I've got to wrap this up soon."
"Few ground troops to deal with is good news, so what's the catch?"
"Qel-droma's Lost Fleet is here as well."
"WHAT!?" Mako felt a twinge of annoyance. "What is the Lost Fleet doing out of it's hiding space?"
Mako heard Alaan scratching her head. "It seems the Brotherhood paid a visit to Rhen Var and picked up a Republic excavation team. The Jedi the Mercs have with them, he's the one that activated the Lost Fleet for a price."
"Dammit, Canthas was supposed to be close to Rhen Var dealing with the Cron drift. He should have noticed someone poking around there."
"He did. He acted on his own and got caught. It seems his and the excavation team's safe release was the price for Darkmoon activating the Lost Fleet."
"Darkmoon?"
"That's the Jedi's name."
Mako sighed as he pinched his nose between his thumb and forefinger. "Fine I'll come up with a way to get rid of the fleet. Just keep tabs on Rygetto and keep me informed. I don't want any more surprises."
Alaan gave a quick will do before signing off.
Mako ran his head through his hair as he started to think of ways to deal with a fleet that was supposed to be indestructible.
"Something wrong Uncle Mako?"
Putting on his best smile Mako turned to Kyaara. "Noting that doesn't usually happen in the life of a pirate." Mako tried his best to sound confident but wasn't so sure that he was pulling it off. The deal with the fleet was troublesome, then an idea came to him. The warheads that were produced by the ESS that the Mandos had stolen. Mabe if asked nicely enough Vince would be willing to help out with that. "Hey Kyaara remember that scrying pool trick Dave taught you?"
"What about it?" Kyaara asked cautiously.
"I need you to use it to find your dad for me."
"OK."
It took a few moments but finally Kyaara was able to locate her father.
Roscha came to stand by them as Kyaara described the scene. It seemed that Vince was with Shiromy inside a room.
Shiromy seemed to be meditating while Vince was arguing with another male cophuranee. One who seemed to have a strong aura about him.
"Rygetto?" Mako asked more to himself than anyone in particular
"It's quite possible." Roscha said looking into the pool herself. "He matches the descriptions we've gotten about him."
Mako shook his head. "But Alaan gave no mention of Vince and Shiromy being on Mimban with them. There's no way she would have not said anything."
"Something's not right here." Roscha agreed
"Kyaara," Mako asked getting the young girl's attention. ",can you use this to pin point the planet your parents are on?"
"I'm not sure but I can try?" Kyaara said skeptically
Kyaara concentrated on the pool while Roscha pulled up a holographic image of the known galaxy. After a few moments Kyaara pointed to a spot just outside the unknown regions close to the Codian Moon.
"Well that is interesting." Roscha mused, "He's in two places at once. That would explain how he could amass as many followers as he did."
"Not to mention set in motion as many plans as he did." Mako said stroking his beard then he got a thoughtful look on his face. "Kyaara I think it's time for you training to get a field test."
Power without perception is worthless and of no use.
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General_Trageton

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Post by General_Trageton » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:45 pm

Mryna found herself in some kind of courtroom-like chamber. The walls were blank safe for some candles and at the rear wall stood a large, throne-like chair, slightly elevated on some rectangular steps. Her arms and wrists had been bound behind her back with some sort of cables in a - that much she had to give them - annoyingly effective way, giving her quite little leverage to strain against. Strong hands had forced her down to kneel before the throne. Ridiculous!
Behind her she heard heavy footsteps. A man wearing a dark grey robe entered the chamber and made his way to the throne. Most of his face was hidden under a deep hood but below the shades she could make out a strange pattern of edgy red tattoos, framing a pair of sulphur-yellow eyes.
"I've heard a lot about you, Miss Qhalic." The man said. "It was wise of you to come to us."
"What is this nonsense?" Mryna snarled unimpressedly. "Some kind of indoctrination attempt? Well good luck with that!" But the man ignored her feisty words. Instead he just looked at her, his yellow eyes seemingly piercing her.
"The Emperor has abandoned us." she then heard a familiar voice. Ice Queen?! With the cultist's quite prominent heavy footsteps Mryna hadn't noticed her moving into the room with him. SHe was now kneeling a bit to her right. Unlike Mryna she wasn't restrained, her hands were resting calmly in her lap. "He abandoned us just like he abandened our people. Everything we worked for, everything we swore to protect - he's thrown it all away. He cast out Empress Shiromy - his own wife - and forced her to surrender her rule to this joke of a council." Mryna remained silent. This nonsense was not worth commenting. She knew Vince well enough to know that this was not the truth. Couldn't be! Ice Queen had obviously been indoctrinated by the Brotherhood. What disturbed Mryna was less the bare fact itself but the little time it had taken them to twist her mind like that. "Even now" Ice Queen continued. "he sacrificed us. He's betrayed us all, Mryna!" Her tone was becoming more vehement and insisting - even calling her by her first name to create the illusion of familiarity. "He is insane! Don't you see it?"
"All I see is an idiot who's been brainwashed." she eventually replied. "I am disappointed."
"Your hollow words do not move me, Mryna." Ice Queen stated emotionlessly. "It only saddens me that you don't understand what needs to be done. My master will make you see the truth." At that the cultist cultist approached her again and reached down and slid his hand across her cheek. "Poor little Miss Qhalic." he cooed. "So confused. So blind. So alone ..."
"Honestly, Sweetheart" Mryna replied unimpressedly and slid out of his grip. "I am way out of your league!"
"Are you, yes?" questioned the Cultist and threw her a malicious smile. Turning away from her he went through the room to a box positioned quite prominently on some kind of altar. Opening it he remained silent, apparently appreciating its content. Just then Mryna's scanners picked up familiar energy signatures radiating from inside the box, instinctively her pulse shot skyward. So there they were. She had known that there was a connection. And she didn't like where this was going. After a moment the cultist reached inside the box and pulled out the pair of blasters. Turning around he weighed one in each hand for a moment. "PowerPulse Technologies Series 9 PP-38 Plasma Blasters, DIP Platinum Edition." He recited. "Only four of those were ever built, as I recall." Smiling at her he added. "You have good taste, my dear."
"Since when are you Force-freaks interested in sidearms?" Mryna questioned. "I thought they were too blunt and uncivilized for your elevated kind."
"They are indeed." The man confirmed with a dismissive grimace. "But one rarely gets the chance to admire such pieces of art."
"Now that's just sweet!" Mryna taunted. "I don't suppose I could convince you to return them to me, could I? They're rather dear to me, you must know."
"Unfortunately not."
"Aw come on!" Mryna purred. "Just for a second!"
The cultist merely shook his head and walked past her. Instead he handed one of the guns to Ice. Taking it she gazed at the weapon through glassy eyes. "It appears your Commander doesn't share your appraisal of the situation." The cultist went on, now talking to Ice, motioning her to stand up. "I suspect that as the Emperor's right Hand she'd blindly follow him no matter his insanity. Maybe she, too, has abandoned you." Slowly, following his gesture Ice rose to her feet and turned towards Mryna.
"Is it true?" She whispered. "Have you abandoned us?"
"None of this is true, Ice!" Mryna insisted. "He's manipulating you. Snap out of it!" She knew her words rang hollow in Ice's mind. Brainwashed - or force-manipulated as she was she'd only listen to the sorcerous words of her new 'master'. Still she found herself appealing to her Squadmate. After all, this was preferrable to the alternative. Slowly Ice rose the gun and pointed it at Mryna. Shit! Mryna thought. She should have seen this coming. Ice didn't know, of course.
"Don't do it, Ice!" Mryna warned her. "For your own good!"
"Kill her!" The cultist said and now pointed the other gun right at Ice's head. "Or you will die."
"You'll die when you shoot me." Mryna replied - it was not a threat. It was a fact, established the moment Ice had taken aim at her. If Mryna broke out now and tried to stop her, Ice would likely shoot. If Mryna didn't, she would shoot as well. For the first time Mryna found herself in a helpless situation. The worst part of it: She wasn't the one to suffer the immediate consequences. "It will kill you!"
"Then I am already dead, ain't I?" Ice Queen said morosely. "You abandoned us!"
"I didn't abandon you, Ice!" Mryna said. "I came for you!"
"No Mryna" Ice replied bitterly. "You abandoned us long ago!" What treacherous lies had that damn cultist planted in her mind? This was way beyond simple brainwashing. But Ice wasn't done yet. "Like you abandoned Darron." Mryna was speechless. That ... that wasn't true! It wasn't right. While it was probably just another lie that the cultist had sown in Ice's head, Mryna found it greatly unsettling, especially with the referrence to Darron. She hadn't abandoned him! If anyone it had been him whom she had never given up on! Still the reproach gnawed on her. Well done, idiot! a voice scolded her. You let them discover that one tiny soft spot of yours!
"Maybe now you understand!" Ice said and her arm stiffened.
"Ice, don't!" Mryna cried out, but it was too late. She closed her eyes, when she heard the clicking sound of the trigger being pulled. She didn't want to see it. The click was followed by the sharp electrical buzz and finalyl a thud, as Ice's body hit the floor, dead. Being pointed at Mryna the weapon had recognized her biometric signature. Upon shooting, instead of unleashing its plasma charge, the weapon had fired a leathal electrical charge through whoever had attempted to shoot its owner. Taking a deep breath Mryna opened her eyes again. She should have seen this coming! She could have averted this, had she reacted sooner. "I'm sorry, Ice!" She whispered. "I failed you!"
The cultist stood there silently, his gaze circling between Mryna, the gun in his hand and Ice's lifeless form. A thin trail of smoke rose from the electricuted body and the sharp stench of charred flesh slowly added to the already moldy air."Well, wasn't that entertaining!" he stated with fiendish glee.
"You won't leave this room alive!" Mryna growled and threw him a hateful glare.
"Oh I'm not done with you yet." the Cultist stated menacingly and approached her again. Discarding the blaster he drew his lightsaber. "Do you fear death Miss Qhalic?"

/////////////////

"His will is strong." Darius Rygetto said ponderously. His hands folded before him. "He'll be hard to tame."
"What did you expect?" Shiromy questioned with a cocked eyebrow. "He may be just an initate among us he is anything but untrained. You have experienced yourself what he's capable of." She crossed her arms. "Wasn't that one of the reasons you wanted him on our side?"
"Sharp witted as always" Rygetto commented with a thin smile. "Still, you know that there's more to this, don't you? You've seen our brothers. Tell me, why I want him!"
"Your brothrs are strong in the Force and in their resolve." Said Shiromy, following her instincts and the experiences she'd made through the past weeks. "Their loyalty is unquestionable, almost blind one would say. Surely well suited for sacrificial kamikaze attacks. But none of them holds the leadership qualities that would lead them to victory in a real battle, as the events at Yavin have shown." She shrugged and threw him a cocky grin in return to his slightly inulted grimace. "What you need is a General who leads your fleets to victory."
"Very good." Rygetto eventually commended. "Arlan had doubts in your farsightedness and given your firy temper" He put on a sheepishly innocent expression. "I tended to believe him. All the more it pleases me to see he - and I - was wrong."
"I tend not to boast with my talents." Shiromy said with a smug grin, then added delicately. "Well, not all of them, at least."
"You mean there are other hidden talents I haven't uncovered yet?" Rygeto leaned back and threw her a cockeyed grin.
"Maybe." Shiromy said seductively, popping her hip. "If you know where to look ..."
With that she slid out of the room.

/////////////////

Mryna gazed defiantly at the crimson energy blade that hovered before her eyes. Her thoughts were racing, as her eyes searched the room for anything useful. While she wasn't exactly afraid, her rational part rated her current situation as ominous. She was no jedi and with the cultist's attention focused on her she had litle chance to somewhow trick or ambush him. A distraction would be convenient now. Stalling might raise her chances.
The cultist grinned viciously, apparently aware of her brewing. "Don't mire yourself, Miss Qhalic." he sneered. "You are far from dying, for I have no intention to end your life just yet." His eyes narrowed. "Not while the rest of your precious team is poking around our temple." His eyes gleamed in malicious glee. "All this technology!" he said. "All those upgrades and modifications that make you feel so superior. And now, suddenly, it's that technology through which you will loose those who you hold dear! Your friends are running into a trap, carefully laid out by our brothers. By coming here, you left them to their fate! You will whitness them die - one after another - knowing it was your fault. You abandoned them, betrayed them, left them to our mercy." He let out a sigh and his tone became almost regretful. "There is no mercy to be found here."
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Seagulls
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Post by Seagulls » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:03 am

Approaching footsteps woke Alicia from her thoughts as she stared into space. "Yes?", she said, turning to see no one. The footsteps grew louder as her heart beat harder; every dull thump resounded through her body, shaking her to the core. She hung her head, breathing, as though she couldn't hold it up any longer.

The chrono said that she had been waiting at least fifteen minutes, though she felt like it had been an eternity. They weren't going to make it. Her comm made her jump, and as she answered it the first of the enemy fleet jumped in-system.

"Hello? Alright I'll be there shortly." She practiced her confident face and stepped out into the hall.

Aaron gave her a modest salute as she stepped up to the bridge deck.

"Ready?" he asked.
"Nope. Lets do this!"—she raised her voice and the bridge crew responded with a hearty roar. They rose from behind the engines of the projected Traquia and accelerated up to hyperspace speed. The fleet was arrayed in a sweeping crescent, and the corners were beginning to open fire on the 11km ship projection, almost specks in front of the stars. The Traquia hailed a "Good luck" and they jumped toward the enemy flagship.

2 seconds later they reverted to realspace and Alicia hit the release button as Collin pulled up on the stick.

"It's away!!" she shouted, and the entire ship groaned as the engines tried to catch up to the g-forces wrenching the craft, and the gravity well of the huge load pulled them into its wake.

Alicia nearly panicked.
"Full throttle, drop shields and lasers"

Slowly they righted themselves, and they sped back to the Mirage. The entire crew looked behind them as the projection in front of them flickered and began to fade.

Everything went silent as all eyes followed the enormous package of explosives toward the line of battleships.

||||||||\/||||||||

The Forceblood was flanked by an older Imperator II that had withstood a scuttling attempt, and was now in attack position outside Valmont. The combined fleet was truly an amazing sight, especially led by a ghost fleet flagship. Grand General Praol had been waiting for a chance to confront the infidels after his inferiors had failed so miserably, and to his delight he was going to have the indescribable honor of destroying the Traquia.

His smug grin turned into a puzzled look as she only launched one ship, and as it entered hyperspace he grew worried. But only for a second. His deep, powerful voice echoed throughout the fleet: "ATTACK. THERE IS NO JEDI. THERE IS NO SITH. THERE IS ONLY THE FORCE!!!!"

The speech he began slowed to a halt as the ship re-entered and he finally noticed that it was towing something.
Seagulls
Red 6
CRS Morning Star: Home of Red Squadron

"Now you're using that misfiring hunk of erratic machinery you refer to as a brain"-Ton Phanan. Pilot, Wit, Superior Intellect.

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