Open War III: Reign of Chaos

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Re: Open War III: Reign of Chaos

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FunkyFreshMan
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:12 pm

“Jump coordinates are locked in,” Dav reported, his A-wing screaming past an enemy fighter before wheeling around to its six and tearing it apart. “We have to work quickly, but make sure the WildFire is the last one out. That signal will only go so far and it won’t take her long to hyper out of range. We don’t really want to be stuck here when she does.”
The Republic fleet shrank as the capital ships began hypering out of the area, jumping to a point just on the far side of Yavin’s fourth moon. The enemy fleet held steady, still locked onto the WildFire. Dav imagined that, by now, the flagship’s crew was desperately trying to figure out why their charge hadn’t exploded. At least, he hoped they were.
Though his K-wing was starting to strain from the sustained beating it had taken, Ne’ram Grotha kept pushing it well past its limits. Its warhead payload was nearly exhausted, severely hampering the K-wing’s firepower and the dorsal turret’s canopy had been shattered, sucking the poor gunner into the freezing expanse.
Grotha’s co-pilot kept his eyes trained on the sensors. “Sir,” he said, “I’m picking up a long range torpedo en route toward that Vengeance. Based on my calculations, it will strike its target long before the WildFire can escape.”
The old warhound let out an aggravated growl. “I thought it was specifically understood that no one was to directly attack that ship! Who’s the ruttin’ idiot who fired that thing?!”
“That warhead has an Imperial signature,” the co-pilot replied. “I’ll bet it came from the Crescent.”
Jenn heard that all too well. The Empire had only just arrived minutes ago and was already causing trouble. “Who the frack let those bloody Imps in here in the first place?” she hissed. “They already ignored our warning broadcasts, now they’re trying to get us vaporized!”
Knowing how touchy his wife could get on topics that involved the Empire, Dav attempted to quiet what could easily turn into a very deadly firestorm. “Calm down, Jenn. You heard them; they’re on a peaceful mission. I’m sure they didn’t know about the explosives.”
“Don’t you think somebody should have filled them in on that little development?” she said, obviously distraught. “Their stupid little mistake—if it even was a mistake—will end up getting us all killed!”
“Relax, we just have to intercept that torp before it impacts. That shouldn’t be too hard.”
Grotha remembered the enclave of Jedi still holed up on the WildFire. “Maybe we could just have Skywalker Force push it out of the way,” he mocked.
“Negative,” said his co-pilot. “Skywalker and a small group of Jedi left the system almost ten minutes ago. Said he had some important business.”
“Gorram Jedi!” Grotha cursed. “Always screwin’ around when they’re needed most!” He quickly found the torpedo on his sensors. It was two klicks away. Too far away for him to intercept. “My boat’s beat up too bad to reach it in time. Jassik, could that little toy-fighter of yours catch it?”
Dav checked his own sensors. He was about the same distance away. “Yeah, I think so,” he said. Despite Grotha’s opinion of the A-wing as a “toy,” the interceptor’s heavily upgraded Novaldex drives could push his craft faster than the K-wing’s damaged thrusters. Provided he had a clear path, that is. “Azzameen, can you cover me?”
“I’m right behind you, Halo Lead,” Ace said, adjusting his lasers to deliver lower-powered, faster-cycling shots while boosting his maximum speed. He flew ahead of the A-wing, releasing a constant stream of fire that, while not powerful enough to destroy the enemy craft, was enough to push them out of the flight path. The A-wing eventually caught up to and passed Ace’s E-wing at which point the former’s pilot opened up with his own rapid-fire cannons while the latter fell back to discourage a tail.
Dav soon caught a glimpse of the torpedo’s efflux trail. He bumped his shields down slightly to gain a slight acceleration boost. The cockpit filled with the high-pitched whine of over-exerted engines. Handling at that speed became difficult; even the slightest jerk on the yoke or tap on the rudder pedals could send the interceptor on an entirely different vector. Quick reflexes were a necessity.
The torpedo closed in on its target. The Vengeance never even bothered trying to shoot it down. It almost seemed to welcome it.
The targeting reticule on Dav’s HUD flickered green. He fired a short burst, but the lasers missed their mark. The reticule flickered again, continuously gaining then losing a lock on the tiny target. Meanwhile, the Vengeance frigate began filling more and more of the viewport. Switching tactics, Dav primed the last missile he had in his magazine. He locked onto the heat signature from the torpedo’s efflux and fired. The missile sped forward, overtaking the more sluggish torpedo. The missile’s proximity sensor went off and both warheads detonated in a brilliant double-explosion only meters from the Vengeance’s bridge. High-velocity shrapnel was thrown in every direction; some sticking in the transparisteel of the Vengeance’s unshielded viewport, others scarring the bottom of Dav’s A-wing. He pitched up hard and banked slightly to starboard to avoid a direct collision with the Vengeance. He barely cleared the capship’s superstructure, striking his lower port stabilizer off the Vengeance’s hull. The A-wing shuddered and started to list, but Dav gently manipulated the A-wing’s temperamental yoke, careful not to overcompensate and turn a simple wobble into a complete loss of control.
“Halo Lead,” Ace said, having witnessed the entire event. “Are you still with us?”
Dav glanced over the damage report. The shields had absorbed most of the blast, and any physical damage should be easy to repair. “Just lost a few buffer panels,” he said, releasing a sigh of relief. “The WildFire’s almost to the hyper point. Jenn, send the Crescent our rendezvous coordinates. Tell them to meet us there.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier if I just slag them now and took care of the inevitable?” she said, only half-joking.
“Don’t you even think about it,” he warned her. “The Republic has been on very goods terms with the Empire lately. You don’t want to start another civil war, do you?”
“No,” she conceded before muting the comm. “I just want to finish this one the right way.” She reluctantly fed the coordinates to the Crescent’s navicomputer and instructed its pilot to hyper there immediately.

****

“The heathen still live.” The Cruciamentum’s commander stared through the viewport, both surprised and angered that the charge failed to detonate. “And they insult us by fleeing instead of attacking.”
An acolyte approached him and, kneeling humbly before his commander said, “It seems as if the detonator’s electrical signal is being jammed. The weapon is primed but will remain inactive until the signal is removed.”
The commander gestured for his acolyte to rise. “Then, it appears, we have failed to cleanse this system?”
“The blame lies with me,” the acolyte replied. “I did not anticipate that they would learn our intentions and discover a way to foil us.”
“So it seems.” The commander lifted his hand and, calling upon the Force, summoned the acolyte’s lightsaber from the altar behind them. The hilt flew through the air then ignited mid-flight impaling the acolyte with its deep, crimson blade. The hilt, streaked with blood, continued through and came to rest in the commander’s hand. He switched off the blade then started back toward the altar, passing the acolyte’s corpse. “Your transgressions have been absolved, Dear Brother.” He returned the hilt to the altar and turned in time to watch the remaining Republic ships hyper away. “And now, so have mine.”

****

Even from half a world away, the explosion was still bright enough to be seen against the black background of space. The comm soon erupted in a chorus of joyous cries.
Grotha eased of the throttle, finally allowing the injured K-wing a moment to rest. “I can’t believe that actually worked!”
“Glad to know you all have such faith in me,” Jenn muttered sarcastically. “Probably would have gone smoother if some idiot hadn’t launched a torp.”
“Look, we’re sorry about that,” one of the Crescent’s crewmen protested. “We were just trying to help.”
“We don’t need help from some little bootlicking Imperial worm!” she snapped.
“Jenn, knock it off!” Dav quickly reprimanded. “Sorry about that, Crescent. If you could just power down your weapon systems and hold tight for a moment we’ll get you docking clearance.”
“With all due respect,” the yacht’s pilot replied, “I’d prefer to have my weapons charged in case any more fighters show up.”
Dav rolled his eyes. “I think you’ll be safe. Not having weapon power for a while ain’t gonna kill you,” he assured. “Quite the contrary, actually. It really is for your own good.”
“All right,” he resigned before stepping away from the comm for a few moments. “Weapon systems are off-line.”
“Much obliged. The K-wings will take you in, just stick close to them,” he instructed before issuing a warning. “Just don’t try anything cute. We just had a great big hairball here so my boys are a bit twitchy.”
Jenn pulled her X-wing up behind the yacht, the snubfighter’s s-foils still locked open. “And some of the girls are still looking to kill something,” she threatened.
“Cut it out!” Dav said, this time putting more force into his voice. “I mean it, Lieutenant.”
“Yes, sir.” She closed the s-foils and fell back a few meters, but still kept a good tail on the yacht.
The Crescent’s pilot either didn’t notice the two’s exchange or simply pretended not to. “Affirmative. We’ll follow the K-wings. We don’t want any trouble; we just request an audience with the fleet’s commanding officer.”
“The Admiral?” Dav let out an amused laugh. “Oh, I’d say you’re going to have a bit of a wait. We can’t just have a bunch of Imperial officers running around deck without clearing them. The security office will have to have you checked out first. It’s nothing personal, you see, just standard safety procedure. Then you’ll probably be given quarters to stay in until we get everything straightened out. The squadron commanders have to meet with the Admiral first and debrief. I’m sure you know how these things work.”
“Understood,” the pilot replied. “We can wait. Crescent, out.”
The Imperial yacht cleared the channel then formed up amongst the few surviving K-wings. Zed, who had mostly remained quiet, expressed his concern first. “Why do you think they’re here, sir?”
“I don’t know, but I think it would be wise to keep an eye on them.”
“Or a few blasters,” Jenn remarked.
Irritated, Dav tried a different approach. “Hold on. I’m switching you over to private channel.” He flipped a few switches. “Are we going to have a problem here?”
“That’s really up to them, now, isn’t it?”
“Jenn, that was a long time ago. Even you can’t hold a grudge that long.”
“Believe me, I can.”
“Look, we need all the help we can get. Whether you like it or not, these people have offered to be our allies. If you’re going to be throwing threats around the whole time, then I’ll be forced to relieve you from duty. Is that understood?”
“Understood,” was all she said, hardly sounding sincere.
Once the Imperial yacht was safely docked with the WildFire, the remaining fighter groups limped back to their hangars. The battle had been rough. The official damage reports wouldn’t be in until later, but it was plain to see that the repair crews would be busy—with both bringing the fightercraft back up to code and handing out a number of complaints. Mechanics could be such a sentimental bunch when it came to machinery, often accusing the pilots of purposely “abusing” their craft just to get under the formers’ skins. Those pilots capable of servicing their own ships were considered the lucky few.
Dav gave his A-wing’s instrument panel an affectionate pat as he carefully guided it into the hangar bay. Fortunately, he was one of those few.
NRAF Nexus: "When Duty Calls"
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squarehead93
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Post by squarehead93 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:35 pm

The Imperial prison ship exited hyperspace, but much too early.
"What the hell is going on?" asked the captain, from the bridge.
He didn't need an answer. He was looking at an Interdictor-class cruiser and an Executor-II class SSD, but they weren't Imperial.
The SSD hailed him. This man had a rough, arrogant voice with a slight Corellian accent. "Imperial prison ship, this is the SSDII Venom. Surrender your...cargo, and you will not be harmed."
The captain was no idiot; he had dealt with pirates before.
"How do I know I can trust you?" he asked.
"You can't," the SSD captain admitted. "But you can trust the fact that we can turn you into slag in seconds if you don't cooperate. Don't throw your life and the lives of your crew away."
///////
Minutes later, the ship was docked in the Venom's hangar. The prisoners were being marched out under the supervision of Viper troops and "Admiral" Julius Carson.
One Devaronian prisoner caught Carson's eye.
"Jym!" said Carson, making his best attempt at a genuinely friendly smile.
"I'm surprised you took so long," said Vorak with an almost malicious smile. "Almost as surprised as I am about the fact that you didn't try to take my empire from me."
"I was more worried about you cracking to the imps and spilling a bunch of our secrets."
"Those bastards got nothing of value from me," said Vorak with a chuckle. "I almost wonder if they'll be happy to be rid of me now."
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Post by Seagulls » Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:11 am

After the badly managed diplomacy directly after the short hyperjump, Aaron was feeling incredibly nervous. He and Alicia stood at the hatchway, waiting for docking prep to finish.
"I sure bungled that, didn't I. Especially because it sounded like there was at least on of the Emperor's old enemies", he started.
"It wasn't your fault."
"Sure it was. I had the brass nerve to ask to keep weapons up, and then I demanded to see their commander."
"How were you to know that an Admiral was running things?"
"That's easy. The Wildfire is in their main fleet."
"Fine then. Just apologize and move forward."
"Yes ma'am."
"Give yourself some slack. Things will go fine once you say you're sorry."
"Ok. Let's see how this goes."
He straightened as the lights around the hatch lit, and it opened to reveal an empty hall.
"Do we explore?" Alicia asked.
"After my presumptuous display out there? Nothing doing. I wondered why that A-Wing shot my torp down until I saw that explosion." He felt the single code cylinder next to his insignia. He had left the one he had engineered and programmed himself because of the sensitive data (and malicious code) contained within.
After several minutes an aide escorted them to a small room filled with security officers. They were checked and rechecked, their orders examined, his code cylinder, Alicia's favorite dress sidearm and both of their comms was confiscated, and they were eventually taken to a pair of spartan rooms. The aide asked them for any requests.
Alicia spoke. "Please give the Admiral, and whomever else you meet, our sincere apologies."
"May we add that our forces are entirely at the New Republic's disposal while we wait. We have thirty men assigned for support to help with on-planet...er...on-moon cleanup.
The aide smiled and nodded, leaving them only after they entered their respective rooms. He sat down at the single table and opened up a holonet browser. He was surprised with the amount of material that was restricted. He selected an article about ESS's Warhammer cruiser, which was allied for the New Republic, but a bit hard to find on an Imperial database. He watched in awestruck horror as the ESS logo blipped out and changed to one that he did not recognize. The name "Empire of the Seven Suns" was deleted and slowly replaced by "Phoenix Systems Alliance".
He had witnessed something history-making, and knew it.
He finished the article and continued with one on the computer systems of the Empire, the NR and the former ESS. He found a series of complicated scripts that revealed the single hole that had allowed one plucky R2 unit to access amazingly complicated and secure systems, such as that of the Death Star. He took note of it and moved on.
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"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 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:07 pm

"Damnit Vince ..." Wes Janson's expression was a strange mixture of confusion and suppressed anger. "You have me in a difficult position. You could have simply announced the completion of the project and things would have been fine. Why do you persist on this? Why are you willing to jeopardize everything just to get your way?"
Vince leaned back and regarded his old friend for a while, before he answerd. "I should ask you the same question, Wes. You are well in a position to decide beyond the votes of that committee. I had always imagined you wouldn't allow things like this to happen."
"It's not that easy, Vince!" Wes replied almost defiantly. "I already moved on thin ice by warning you about this scheme to give you a chance to actually succeed despite their efforts. I definitely hadn't planned on you going as far as to challenge the committee like you did. Now I must decide what to do - decide, what is best for my people."
Vince almost laughed. "You don't really consider going to war against the PSA to be the best for your people, do you?" Wes remained silent. "Wes, you know me better than most people in this galaxy." His gaze hardened as he focused his old friend. "Does Corelia really want to make me their enemy?"
"Nobody's going to war, Vince!" Wes insisted and railed his head back in frustration. "Hell, If it were for me I'd have disregarded the whole matter in the first place and let you do what you do best. But we had no choice ..." So there it was. Vince had suspected a third party was involved here. With sufficient pressure applied truth was always uncovered.
"I know, Wes." Vince said almost fatherly. "I know you long enough to see that this wasn't your decision. Let me help you!"
"You know I cannot -."
"Who is it, Wes?" Vince interrupted him and focussed Wes. "Who is threatening you?"
"Don't insist, Vince!" A trace of dread now trembled in his friend's voice. "They're watching."
"OK" Vince nodded calmingly and rose from his chair. "That was all I wanted to know." he hesitated for a moment. Something was strange. A faint aura, distant and yet near. He couldn't really grasp it, only tell it was there. For a moment he closed his eyes and extended his mind. "Say, weren't you expecting Councillor Nyrus, as well?"

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

The lights in Abram Nyrus' office on Corellia were but a faint glimmer, his gaze was empty, as he spoke to the void. "Things did not go as expected, Master. Trageton's reaction was more violent than I anticipated."
'Fool! What did you expect from him?' His master questioned angrily. 'Trageton looks back on a life of constant struggle, he's used to fight for what he wants regardless of the cost. Did you really think he'd willingly give up his empire?'
"I ...."
'Don't bother answering that!' his master growled. 'If Trageton desire a war so badly, let him have it.'
"Janson won't allow it." Nyrus suggested. "His friendship with Trageton made him soft."
'Then find a way to convince him!' Rygetto commanded. 'Meanwhile I should get to know this new council.'
As his master's voice disappeared Nyrus remained unmoving in his spacious armchair for a few more minutes before activating his secure holocomm. A hooded figure appeared before him.
"Abort the operation!" Nyrus growled at the hooded figure. "He's just a clone."
"Things are already underway. No reverse, no refunds." The hooded figure rejected. Her voice was scrambled but the slight note was yet audible that - added by her slim build led to believe it was a female. He had preferred not to get to know her better. The assassin's reputation and reliability was all that mattered here - and as of now at least the latter now seemed questionable. "Besides what difference does it make? Dead is dead." Nyrus groaned and rolled his eyes at this depressing display of shortsightedness.
"Idiot!" he barked. "Where there's one clone there's probably more."
"Well, in that case it would be wise to locate and eliminate those, as well." The hooded figure crossed her arms. "Of course this will require some alterations to my contract."
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Post by Seagulls » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:55 am

Lieutenant Alicia Rying paced the small quarters she had been given. A terminal with a scomp-link only input kept her in what really was a prison. She had paged the aide with the comm he gave her nearly four times before he had answered, only to learn that the Admiral was still busy with paperwork. He also informed her that the cleanup work was nearly completed, and the investigation needed no help.
She began the long dread of their debriefing, the ferry duties for another three years, and the strained relations between the Empire and the NR.
There has to be a way out of this.
She fired up the holonet terminal in her room and desperately started scanning news pages she could use to her advantage. She found the page that declared that the NR needed no help from outside sources, and that further attacks were possible. It indicated that the Yavin system was the possible focus for more attacks, and made it clear that the system was off-limits. Alicia checked the time issued. It would have reached the Admiral about 30 standard minutes after they had left.
Now, First Lieutenant Alicia Rying, Commander of Crescent, laid her head on the keyboard and cried.

////

Lieut. Aaron Valis finally got the busy aid to let him go to the sims. The pilots' lounge was sparse, most of the pilots in debriefing or the medical unit. He surprisingly was able to find a pair of veterans who needed a fair fight after the kamikaze attacks. He had spent four hard years in starfighter command before his transfer to fleet ops, and still kept most of his skills learned behind the stick of a fighter. The ball cockpit of the simulator was still familiar, and he climbed in the back and started the sim up. The agreed dogfight was in an asteroid field to make things interesting, and all three clicked their comms and entered.

His AI wingman bit the dust within the first minute, falling for a bracket maneuver that a cadet would have seen through. He pulled behind the more aggressive of his enemies and fired two quads into his tail until his wingman came at him head on. He barrel rolled, gradually extending its area until the A-Wing blew past him. Aaron latched onto his tail and fired continually until the fighter's wingman came up locked onto him. He rolled to the opposite side of a small asteroid and under a large one and again ate through the shields of the vehicle trying to evade him. He watched the fighter flake apart and began a large loop in evasion of the lasers that began tracking him again. He dodged an asteroid and then winced as a pair of fast-moving rocks crushed him.

The drinks he bought were cheaper than on an Imperial cruiser, and tasted much better. The bartender was strict on underage drinkers, but the malt he got was a lot better than he expected it to be. After an hour of chatting with the pilots, he headed back to his cabin.
Seagulls
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Post by General_Trageton » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:29 pm

As they whitnessed the Corelian troops invade the decoronation ceremony Mryna could all but gaze in amazement at the surreal scenery. She had known about Vince's plan to call out the founding of the PSA today, spiting Corelia's hilarious demands and beating them with their own weapns. Still seeing as it all unfolded was hard to grasp.
"Wow, that's ... different!" Kane commented streaking his beard. "I surely didn't expect that."
"What?" Azrael replied. "That our Empress just layed down her rule, that the Corelians invaded the ceremony or that Shiromy hasn't started a fight with them yet?"
Kane chuckled. "A bit of everything, I guess."
"Come to think of it," Gyttel crossed his arms. "Where's the Emperor anyway? Didn't seem he's been attending the ceremony at all."
"Vince is on Corelia, as far as I know." Mryna explained. "My guess is he anticipated this move and is now telling that committee how bad an idea that was."
"Followed by a formal ultimatum before he brings up the big guns and chases them off his land." Monk jested dryly. "Yeah, that sounds like Vince."
"How can you guys make jokes about this?" Darron suddenly growled. "This is serious, damnit. The last thing we need right now is a goddamn war with Corelia!" Without waiting for a response he turned around and stomped out of the room. An uncomfortable silence lasted heavily in the mess hall.

"He does have a point." Akkare eventually suggested thoughtfully. "Seeing as your people and the Empire are not on the best of terms just yet - and given the Brotherhood's current threat - provoking another war doesn't seem like the wisest idea."
"It's not Vince's intention to start a war." Mryna insisted confidently - adding a hopefully in her mind. "And I doubt Corelia would risk going that far either."
"You don't expect Corelia to just give in to his demands just because of his persuasive and compelling nature, do you?" Gyttel questioned sceptically. Now, Mryna could all but grin.
"You'd be surprised how often that has worked in the past." Then her tone went serious again. "OK, I'll go talk to Darron. Crew dismissed. "

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

Things were getting tense above Keldabe. Despite being greatly outnumbered the enemy fighter pilots were unexpectedly skilled and had litle effort to outmaneuver the normally much faster and more maneuverable fighters that were trying to hunt them down. To make things worse this also kept her fighters occupied and prevented them from focussing as much on the mole miners as they were supposed to. One after another the Lictor-class Prison ships awoke to live and began to move out of dock. So it was up to the capital ships to stop them. Two predators raced towards them and unloaded their heavy barrage on the captured ships. The warhammer and her escorts stayed back for the time being - a second line, should the Lictors manage to break through.

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

Mryna found Darron back in the CIC, leaning over the holographic galaxy map, his gaze focused on the potential routes they had been analyzing before.
"Hey" she started and walked up to him. "What's wrong?" It took a moment until Darron reacted.
"Why is he doing that?" When he turned his head his forehead was deeply frowned. "Why does Vince play the committee like that? Why risk a war?"
"They've started the play and they know it." Mryna said with a shrug. "You know Vince just like I do. You don't try to stab him in the back and just walk away unscathed."
"Corelia won't take this lightly." Darron objected.
"They have little choice." Mryna pointed out. "They've lost a lot in recent years. They know that starting a war with us will only make things worse."
Darron sighed. "I know the galaxy isn't all sunshine and bunnies but -."
"Vince is a good person, Darron." Mryna said comfortingly. "But he also has clear principles towards such acts of betrayal."
"Hmm" Darron made. "I suppose I shouldn't question his decisions."
"It'll work out just fine, you'll see." Stepping closer she wrapped her arms around his neck. "The PSA will become what it was always supposed to be."
"And Vince loses his position to a bunch of bureaucratic pencil pushers. Great outlook!"
"Aw Darron." She made and snuggled even closer to him. "Don't you think he's made preparations for that, too?"
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Post by Drake26 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:33 am

Deep underneath the ruins of Zoist, a group of thieves were quietly searching through a destroyed and partially collapsed tomb, hoping to find ancient Sith artifacts or even, if they were lucky, a holocron, that they could sell on the black market. Their quietness was not out of a need to be stealthy, but out of unease, both from the fact that were treading on ground not disturbed for centuries, if not millenia, and because the whole place exerted a feeling that they just didn't belong. Finally, one of them got the courage to speak up:
"Guys? Maybe we should go back. I'm not so sure about this place." He said, while reaching his hand out to touch a portion of wall that seemed to have been, at some point, melted, flowing into it's now warped shape before cooling again. He snatched his hand back before actually making contact, then looked around at his associates.
Near by, one of them was inspecting what appeared to be a crude statue lying in a pile of oddly preserved bones. It had been knocked over, chunks had been torn out, and it's head lay smashed a few feet away. Some of the bones were crushed under it, but others appeared to be piled on top, creating a rather bizarre scene. The mousy man standing over it looked up, responding, "Why would you want to go back? Look at this place!" He said, gesturing around with a broken femur from the pile, "Imagine the power that must have caused all this! Imagine the talismans and holocrons and weapons that must be here! We're going to be rich!" His last shout echoed around the chamber eerily, and he glanced around nervously, a little less certain then he was a moment ago. Then a new noise made him jump.
"Guys, come look at this!"
It was the third member of their group. During the exchange he had gone through a hole in the wall, created by what was probably a rather forcefully thrown object. Inside, condensed stone clung to the walls as if someone had literally been boiling rock in the room. And a glance to the center of the room reinforced this idea, for there your gaze would find a deformed heap of slag and stone, still black with char. And inside this heap existed one thought. Finally. Exerting all of the power it had slowly been gathering over the ages, it blasted it's way from it's prison. In a flash of light, the souls of the unfortunate companions were torn form their bodies and a skeletal hand of jade floated up from newly made crater in the center of the room, glowing with a sickly green light as a spectral body faded into view to complete his form. He fed a bit of this energy back into each body, reanimating them as his thralls. "Rise my minions, your Lord Arcerac commands you! He is hungry and wishes to feed." The three now undead men rose to their feet and, leading the demilich to their ship, set course for the nearest inhabited planet, their only will to serve their unliving master.
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Post by General_Trageton » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:30 pm

This stinks! Vince thought to himself as he walked out of the Corelian Government complex and onto the VIP landing platform, where he had parked the Barracuda. Nyrus had arrived fifteen minutes later after Wes had explicitly called for him. Not only that, he'd been unusually apologetic, much different than the coleric outburst he had displayed during the hearing. One had assured that The matter would be settled and the troops be called off to ensure a continuing positive relation between the two nations. He could trust Wes to be sincere about this, but Nyrus definitely was hiding something. Not least the strange presence that Vince had felt at some point cried treachery. The snide Corelian was up to something. Vince wouldn't be surprised to find ties to the brotherhood if he looked closer. While he boarded the Barracuda he made a mental note to place Nyrus under observation.

Vince wasted no time leaving the planet. With a sigh he leaned back in his pilot's seat while initiating the hyperjump to New Cophuran. The jump would be a short one. Three hours in hyperspace were just enough time to try and get a bit of sleep, before finishing up on the things that needed doing to complete the PSA transition. After all that intrigue and scheming he was looking forward to a few hours of relaxing, before turning his attention back to the great problems of the galaxy. He closed his eyes. Hopefully the galaxy would one day be able to take care of itself. He always had that dream of settling down and opening a bar on some backwater planet or space station - a rest for the brave and the bold. Or maybe a nomad starship wandering the galaxy. Something like that.

A hard jolt violently tore him out of his contemplations. Before him hyperspace reverted back to white lines, then dark space.
Right in front of him hung a starship. Firing up his sublight thrusters he tore the yoke sideways and spun off his collision course, while raising his shields. Whoever had pulled him out of hyperspace was likely hostile. As if to confirm his suspicion the cruiser opened fire. An inferno of energy blasts broke out, as the cruiser seemed to unload whatever armament it had on him. "I knew this was to easy!" Vince growled to himself as he spun and bounced around to evade the assault. Were this a standard BRX yacht he'd likely be dead already. Their lack of 'proper' shielding and armory made them little more than armored limousines. The Barracuda was a different matter. Once again the countless modifications he had added through the years proved their worth, as a couple of lucky shots bounced off the powerful shields. Still the Barracuda wasn't all powerful. Even the shields wouldn't last forever. The longer he stayed here the greater the risk for him to go down. He needed to find the source of gravity and eliminate it. Continuing his evasions he ran a long range scan of the area and discovered the source of gravity that had trapped him. A small modified strike cruiser hung in some distance. The sensor screen showed a pair of bubbles extruding from its sides, likely gravity well generators. "Very well" Vince said darkly. "You're dead!" Firing up his additional thrusters Vince set course for the distant interdictor, all the while evading the pursuing cruiser. Eventually a new signal joined the already blaring cacophony of alerts:

[MISSILE WARNING!]

Somebody really wanted him dead. He switched on the automatic turret and watched with one eye as it locked on to the incoming warheads and its four barrels spat their barrage at them. Still the missiles kept on coming. More and more were fired at him creating a deadly cloud that followed him like a swarm of angry bees. The Interdictor was coming closer. Soon it would be in range for his own weapons. But he saved those. Likely the ship's sensors would catch on any lock and defensive turrets would be on stand-by to intercept his torpedos. Vince's eyes narrowed as he eyed the swarm of missiles on his tail. Thanks to the Barracuda's speed they didn't close in too quickly. They might prove useful after all. Deactivating the auto-turret he diverted more energy to shields and kept on racing towards the interdictor. Barely a few hundred meters away he activated the Barracuda's Cloaking system and broke off his course. loosing their target the missiles now locked on to a new target - the Interdictor. Whatever defensive weapons that ship might have, they wouldn't be able to save it. As Vince steered away from the doomed ship he noticed a number of things that were most unresting.

He hadn't bothered checking out the cruiser on his sensors, also, despite from their very first encounter head-on and close up he hadn't really taken a closer look at it. Now, seeing it from a far, he realized something disturbing: He knew that ship. Checking on the sensors he found his fears confirmed:
It was the Mirage - Mryna's ship - or at least it used to be hers. This was hardly an accident. Whoever was commanding it now, knew exactly whom he'd been fighting. The ship had by now changed course and was heading away from the interdictor at full speed. This revelation drove him to take a closer look at what the sensor readout offered about the Interdictor. What he found there let his blood run cold: Its shields were down and apparently there was no life form aboard,
A trap.

Nicely done! he thought to himself. A nice combination of manipulation and foresight. It then occurred to him, that the whole Corelia affair might be just that. One big setup to make him do exactly what he had done. He had thought Corelia had tried to play him. Now he realized that they, too, were merely pawns on a much larger chess board. As space all around him lit up brightly Vince could all whistle in appreciation. Nicely done indeed.
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:28 am

The battle had gone mostly well. While many of the Republic capital ships suffered heavy damage, only one corvette was lost. Many of the participating starfighters would be out of commission for a while; some were irreparable and would need to be replaced entirely. Slashrat squadron had only lost a single fighter, though the pilot managed to eject to safety. Stryker and Grotha’s Angels were the only two squadrons to take any serious losses. A single explosion reduced both squadrons to nearly half strength and cost Stryker its leader.
Frost set the casualty reports aside as a soft buzzing from the comm alerted him to his guests’ arrival. He leaned back in his chair and rubbed the exhaustion from his eyes before rising to answer the door.
The door had barely slid open when Faarg shoved his way through it. Behind him was the Quarren female councilor. Narine was her name, if Frost remembered correctly.
“Gentlebeings,” Frost welcomed, doing his best to offer a warm gesture. He was already growing weary of having to keep up a friendly façade around the councilors. “Please, be seated. The others will arrive shortly.”
Frost stood silently before the two councilors, feeling ever more uncomfortable the longer he was in their presence. A few long moments later, his tensions eased slightly as the squadron leaders as well as a few of their senior officers entered. They had only just managed to free themselves from the hangar so were still garbed in their heavy flight suits.
“Hope we’re not too late,” Dav said, giving the two councilors brusque nods. Grotha, however, was not nearly as polite.
“All right, let’s get this crap over with so I can hit the cantina,” he growled, tearing off his helmet and tossing it to his co-pilot, who was also his executive officer. “Somebody wanna tell me when I’m gonna get some gorram replacement pilots?” His face was harsh and deeply furrowed. Long years and countless skirmishes had taken their toll. The man was only in his mid-forties, but wore the countenance of someone decades older.
Faarg jolted from his seat, his fist clenched at his sides. “You will show respect in the presence of New Republic dignitaries!”
Grotha crossed his muscular arms and began to say something snappish in response before Frost interrupted.
“Commander Grotha,” he said, “I have already sent a request for temporary replacements.” He subtly shot the councilors a sidelong glare. “Whether or not the request will be fulfilled, however, is beyond my control.”
Grotha nodded. “Yeah, I read you, Admiral.” He retreated to a far corner of the room then muttered, “Gorram politicians.”
Narine gently tugged on Faarg’s tunic, urging him to sit. She then studied her datapad for a moment. “We have been receiving a flurry of reports from both military and civilian operators involving a series of attacks. The reports are coming in from all over the galaxy. Most are relegated to the Outer Rim—the Elrood System, the Vergesso asteroids, Raxus, even Korriban and Mandalorian space—but some have reached as far Coreward as Rendili and Sarapin. The attack forces are all similar: a small fleet consisting of outdated starships modified to act as guided bombs.” She paused, her eyes tracing mad lines over the pad’s small screen. “Our intelligence reports suggest these attacks are being carried out by an underground faction called the Brotherhood of Shadows.”
Zed scratched the small tuft of hair on his chin, which felt scruffy from lack of regular grooming. He, like the other Halos, already knew of the Brotherhood. It was about time the rest of the Republic caught up to them. “It makes sense,” he said, trying to act indifferent to the mention of the Brotherhood. “Most of those target worlds either have some kind of valuable resource or tactical value. Seems like it’s pretty much your typical wartime land grab.”
“Could be,” Dav shrugged. He noted that one of the worlds was a bit out of place. “But Korriban?”
“Maybe they want some pointers from old Sith ghosts,” Zed joked.
Narine tapped a few commands onto the data pad, bringing up what little information Republic Intelligence had on the Brotherhood and its leader, Rygetto. “That is not beyond possibility,” she said. “In a manner of speaking. We believe that this ‘Brotherhood’ is a cult consisting of Force-sensitive beings.” She handed Dav the data pad. “Those are just rumors at the moment, but if it is indeed true, perhaps they seek the high concentration of Dark Side energy present on Korriban.”
Dav let out a moan of derision. “Figures. Anyone who wants Korriban always wants it for the ‘Dark Side energy.’ Nobody ever stops to admire the scenery anymore, y’know?” He skimmed over the information on the data pad. There wasn’t a whole lot there and most of it he already knew, in addition to a few things Intel didn’t. Like how Rygetto was receiving assistance from Tyber Zahn as well as ships that were possibly resurrected from his now defunct Zann Consortium.
“Scenery?” Grotha let out an amused laughed at the notion of Korriban being anything close to scenic. “You mean like those giant monuments, creepy-arse tombs and dead, dried-up canyons that are home to all kinds of hellish creatures?”
“Okay, so it’s not exactly a vacation spot, but there has to be something on that rock other than the Dark Side.”
Zed offered a shrug. “Maybe we should check it out?”
Faarg stood, puffed out his chest and straightened his tunic. It appeared as if he was going to start more trouble by rejecting that suggestion but instead he said, “That sounds like an acceptable idea.”
Dav’s heart skipped a beat and his jaw nearly dropped from shock. That was the last answer he expected to hear from Faarg. Maybe he had hit the juice too hard last night. Or perhaps this was the Gotal’s attempt at humor. Either way, Dav played along. “Korriban’s not too far from here. Once my pilots are rested and our fighters patched-up, we’ll head out and see if we can’t find anything.”
“Very well, Commander.” Faarg glanced over at Narine, who offered a brief nod. “I shall authorize the mission at my earliest convenience.”
Dav flashed an incredulous smile. “Well, you have a regular heart of gold today, don’t you?” He turned to Frost. “If you don’t need Zed and me any longer, we have a lot of work to do before the squad will be space-worthy again; I’d like to get started.”
“As you wish, Commander,” Frost replied with a nod and a salute. “Dismissed.”

*****

“Korriban?” Jenn’s heart sank as she listened to her husband’s and Zed’s recount of the meeting. “I was really hoping I would never have to set foot on that big ball of concentrated creep again.” She followed them around a corner and into a long corridor that led toward the WildFire’s pilot lounge, flight sims and, ultimately, the turbolift to Halo Squadron’s hangar bay. Behind her, Roho Cilana and Chancy Kiloth grumbled their objections while exchanging anxious looks.
“Relax, guys,” Dav said. “We’re not going to Korriban.”
Jenn furrowed her brow. “Wait a minute. Did I miss something here? You were just given permission to do something you actually wanted, but you’re still going to defy orders.”
He answered with a simple, “Yep.”
She stared at him dumbstruck for a moment then said, “Might I ask why?”
“When have Faarg and I ever agreed on anything?”
“Well,” she paused for a moment, stumbling a bit. “Never.”
“Exactly. Faarg was all too eager to send us out there, and you weren’t there to see the suspicious little look he gave that Quarren woman. Something’s up. I mean, come on, Korriban? Everybody hits Korriban. It’s almost clichéd.”
She rubbed her eyes in frustration. “You make my head hurt. Are you telling me you think Faarg is a double-agent?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied with a shrug. “But if he is, there are only a few reasons he would send us to Korriban. Either he’s trying to throw us off course, or he’s trying to lead us into a trap.”
“With all due respect, sir,” Roho said. “I think you’ve really lost it. You’re paranoid! Just because you don’t like the guy doesn’t mean he’s working with the bad guys.”
“Won’t you feel silly if we find out that he is?”
“Yeah, but ‘if’ is the operative word here. I mean, you have more proof than just a gut feeling, right?”
“Well,” Dav said sheepishly. “Not yet. But that’s why we’re not going to Korriban; we have to see if we can find something that ties Faarg to the Brotherhood.”
“So where are we going?”
He let out a huff as he rubbed the nape of his neck. “I don’t know yet. I’ll have to talk to Ilixu; maybe he’ll have some idea.”
“I can already tell we are going to have a very long night ahead of us,” Chancy moaned.
“Would you rather go back to Korriban?” Zed replied.

Up ahead, a few meters away, a lone figure wandered his way down the corridor. Though he did not appear to grasp his surroundings fully, he wasn’t a drunk staggering out of the nearby lounge. His stride, while slightly abbreviated, was strong and sure-footed. He appeared to be an officer of some sort, but not one of the Republic’s. The sharp reflections off his polished, jet-black boots, the crisp press of his gunmetal grey uniform, and the familiar, slightly canted cap sitting atop his head were those of an officer of the Imperial Navy. He was most likely returning from the lounge or the sims and become turned around, though it was surprising to see him wandering around a Republic ship unescorted. He could only go so many places without proper clearance, though, and WildFire’s security force was sure to be keeping an eye on him remotely.
Dav thought about stopping to offer assistance, but he noticed Jenn was eyeing him as well, though her intentions appeared much more hostile. He decided to try to ignore the man and just keep walking. Unfortunately, the officer’s thoughts were elsewhere. He didn’t notice the group coming toward him and swerved right into Zed’s path.
Zed caught the officer, a rather young-looking man bearing the rank plaque of some kind of lieutenant. “Whoa there, little fella,” he said, steadying the man. “These white, well-lit halls can be a little over-stimulating when you’re used to Imperial gray, eh?”
He offered a feeble smile at Zed’s crack, unsure whether he should laugh or feel insulted. “Excuse me,” he said in a rather high-cut accent. Whether it was actually his or just a product of his Imperial training was hard to tell. “I wasn’t watching where I was going; I seem to have gotten turned around here. Could you possibly—?”
Jenn shoved her way up to the officer. “You!” She shouted, seizing the young man’s tunic in her left hand before delivering a hard blow to his chin with her right fist. Thrown from his feet, he landed hard on the deck. “You could have killed us you stupid son of a—!”
Lieutenant!” Dav said in a firm, commanding tone as he seized her arm, keeping her from pouncing on the poor chap. “You are dismissed.”
She tore her arm from his grip, glared coldly at the stunned man on the floor then performed a swift about-face before stamping away, mumbling a curse or two under her breath.
Letting out a long sigh as he watched her march away, Dav then turned and stretched out his arm to help the officer off the ground. “I’m terribly sorry for that Lieutenant, uh—”
“Valis,” he replied, dusting off his dress trousers. “Second Lieutenant Aaron Valis. I was piloting the Crescent.” He checked his jaw to ensure it was still set where it should be and that all of his teeth were intact. “I know I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking, but I didn’t think I was moving fast enough to kill someone.”
Dav gave him a friendly, but somewhat rough, pat on the shoulder. “Nah, don’t mind Jenn. She’s just a little…” he checked over his shoulder to make sure she was no longer in the area, “crazy. Just be glad you’re not the one married to her.”
Valis cocked his head. “You’re married to that—?”
“She-rancor?”
“Uh, no,” he said, worried that he had unintentionally overstepped his bounds. Again. “I was going to say woman.”
But Dav just gave him a crooked smirk and said, “My friend, she just floored you with a single right hook. You were not thinking ‘woman.’ That term would imply that she has some semblance of manners.” He noticed the bruise that was already starting to form on Valis’s chin. “Maybe we should get you down to the medbay.”
Valis politely gestured away the offer. “I’ll live. I was just on my way back to my cabin; I’ll grab something for it there. It’s not like I’ve never been in a fight before.”
Dav nodded as he considered the Imperial officer, not entirely sure he believed that. He looked quite young and the way he carried himself indicated an upper-class upbringing. Moreover, he went down easy without so much as an attempt to defend himself. The kid probably never threw a punch in his life. Then again, his stance and body language, like his accent, could just be a result of his Imperial training, and his lack of defense could just be the fact that he wasn’t expecting such an extreme reaction. Still, there was something about Valis that suggested he might have indeed seen a few scuffles in his day. He was hard to read.
He put that aside for the time being. “Speaking of manners, where are mine?” he said, offering Valis his hand. “I’m Dav Jassik, head of Halo Squadron. I’m also one of the Wing Commanders around here, but don’t call me that. I was never much for fancy titles.” He indicated the swarthy Thyferran man. “This is my XO, Zed Jotham.” He then jabbed a thumb at the blond Abridonian man and the young Corellian. “And these two clowns are a couple of my men, Chuk Cilana and Rori Kiloth. And, well, you’ve already met my wife. On behalf of the...friendlier members of the New Republic, I’d like to welcome you to the WildFire.”
“A pleasure to meet you all, I’m sure,” Valis replied, shaking hands with each of them. “You were just in that battle, weren’t you? I’m sorry about that little mishap with the torpedo; I had no idea. If there’s any way I can make it up to you, I’d be more than happy to assist.”
Dav meditated on that for a moment. “You know what?” he finally said. “There just might be something you can help us with.”
“Certainly.”
“We’re still hammering out some details, but meet us tomorrow at 2200 hours in the pilot’s lounge and we’ll fill you in. That should give you enough time to meet with the admiral and give us enough time to patch up our ships and put a plan together. And don’t worry about getting past your babysitter; I’ll make sure you get the clearance you need. That is, if you’re interested.”
Valis rubbed his still aching chin. “I’m definitely intrigued, but I’ll have to run it past Lieutenant Rying, first.”
“He’s welcome to join us as well.”
“She,” he corrected.
Roho flashed a suggestive grin. “Even better.”
Zed just looked at Roho, thought about commenting, but decided it would probably be better if he just tried to ignore him. He then turned toward the Imperial lieutenant. “If you change your mind, you’re free to back out, but once you’re briefed I’m afraid you’ll be committed. We can’t just let an officer in the Imperial Navy run around with a head full of sensitive information without keeping an eye on him, now can we?”
“I understand,” Valis said, nodding. “If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get some ice on my chin before it swells too much.”
“Of course,” Dav said. “Just keep following this hall and make a right at the first intersection. That should take you back to your quarters.”
As they watched the man who, at one time, would have been their sworn enemy disappear down the corridor, Zed leaned in close to his commander and whispered, “Do you think we can trust him?”
Dav just scratched his neck, shrugged his shoulders then replied, “We’ll find out, won’t we?”
Chancy shook his head and laughed. “Oh, your wife is going to love this!”
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Post by General_Trageton » Sat Oct 16, 2010 11:08 am

One high priority communiquee from Corelian Supreme command was all it took. Within only a few minutes the Corelian forces retreated as quickly and sudden as they had arrived, allowing the decoronation ceremony to continue. In fact the remainder of the ceremony was a series of swearing-in rituals, firy speeches and other fancy stuff to give the press occupied for the coming weeks. The whole thing was followed by a no less pompous press ball - or aftershow party for what it was worth. Still it felt good for once not to be the center of attraction, watching the reporters swarm around the newly appointed council like fans of a famous rock band.
With the evening getting later Shiromy Gitann eventually retreated to the royal quarters, saw her daughter to bed and moved to the lounge room to pour herself a glass or two. While she was standing at the large panoramic window regarding the colorful fireworks outside a feeling of unrest arose in her. Vince hadn't returned yet. After pacing around restlessly for another fifteen minutes she eventually activated Vince's personal direct link to Corelia. It took a while but eventually a rather sleepy looking Wes Janson appeared on the screen. "I hope this is - oh ... Shiromy?" Wes said irritated as he recognized her.
"Sorry for waking you up, Wes" Shiromy apologized. "but do you know, if Vince has departed already?"
"Vince?" Wes frowned and slowly the tire went from his expression, giving way to confusion. "He left shortly after the hearing. He would've been back with you for hours."
"He hasn't returned yet." Shiromy stated and the feeling of unrest grew stronger inside her.
"Damn!" Wes murmured apparently more to himself than to her. "I told him it was too dangerous."
"Too dangerous?" Shiromy repeated and her eyes narrowed. "What is going on, Wes?"
"I can't say" He said evasively. "This line isn't safe."
"That's my husband we're talking about, Wes!" Shiromy shouted angrily. "If you know something, tell me!" She forced herself to calm down. Wes wasn't one to refuse to talk without a reason. There were other options. "OK, Wes, listen to me!" she said and reached out with the Force. "I want you to just 'think' what you can't tell me!" With these words she focussed and probed his mind. With slight reluctance Wes had given in to her suggestion and she easily found the answers she was looking for. Suddenly the whole affair lost all its mystery to her. The connections seemed to pop out with highlighted hints and explainations. It was almost overwhelming, a thousand pices that clicked together and created an image. She trembled with anxiety. "Thank you, Wes." she said simply. "I'll take it from here." She was about to close the channel, when doubts began to cloud her mind. "Listen, I'll be out of touch for a while." Once again she reached out with the Force. If you learn anything about Vince I want you to inform Mryna about your findings."

Finally she closed the channel and opened another line. A few moments later the image of Roscha Starcrusher flashed up before her.
"Shiromy!" Roscha addressed her with mild surprise. "You're all over the news, what have you two been brewing up this time?"
"Long story, but I can't go into details right now." Shiromy evaded hastily. "Roscha, I need your help."
The older woman regarded her for a moment. "Have you killed your husband again?"
"No!" Shiromy protested and rose her hands in defence. "Well, at least not me. But Vince is missing."
"And you want us to help you find him?"
"No!" Shiromy pressed once again - realizing how silly this all was. "Vince is alright! Whatever happened to him, I'm sure he's got it under control." Shiromy tried to sound confident, but the more she stressed that point the more it occured to her she was merely trying to convince herself in believing it. Vince was in trouble, no doubt. But she couldn't help him without jeopardizing the fate of the entire galaxy. "Listen I need to leave NC tonight. I need someone to look after Kyaara until one of us returns."
"What?" Roscha yapped. "You want us to babysit your daughter?" In the background Shiromy thought to hear Mako almost choke, trying to suppress a burst of laughter.
"... and maybe continue her Zhawn training." Shiromy added with a sheepish smile. "At least with you I know she's safe."
After a moment Roscha eventually sighed and nodded. "Alright" she said resigningly. "We'll pick her up. You take care of yourself!"

One goodnight kiss.
One last glance at the sleeping princess.
Hold on to this picture. Shiromy advised herself. It will save you!
That same night Shiromy left New Cophuran, hoping that this goddamn blue-skinned suicidal maniac would pull himself together and get things right already. Uncertainty led to fear. Fear led to anger. Anger ignited the flame inside her and awoke her demon from his slumber.
She would do her part.


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

Mryna stared at the hologram before her in a mixture of anger and disbelief. Ro T'Purroc was one of the roughly thirty councillors that had been appointed to form the new PSA government. The glib Sinician, as she had learned, was now Director of Phoenix Security and intelligence - her new boss. In fact, it had been something she herself had pushed for, knowing that she was far more effective as acting operative rather than behind some desk. Now she began to regret that decision. He had contacted her mere hours after the decoronation ceremony. High priority hypercom transmission.
"What do you mean 'shut down'?" Mryna gasped in disbelief.
"I understand you're upset Agent Qhalic," T'Purroc said calmly. "but as the PSA's new government we cannot allow ourselves to be entangled with such shadowy organizations such as what the Executors have been."
"Shadowy?" Mryna repeated angrily. "The Executors have always been dedicated and loyal to the ESS." Mryna declared. "Our aim and credo was nothing but the protection and defense of our nation, where any fleet engagement would've been too blunt."
"That's only a different way to describe the same thing." T'Purroc retorted unimpressed. The man folded his hands and regarded her with a seemingly total absence of any kind of emotion. "Your department of bloodhounds may have had its use to the former Emperor, but this use ended the moment he surrendered his power to the people. This government will handle things slightly different. We are representatives of the people, no self-coronated monarchs."
"You're making a big mistake if you believe our enemies will simply change their mind because of this!"
"It's you who is mistaken, Agent Qhalic." T'Purroc replied. "Emperor Trageton made the first step in ending the hostilities with the Empire. In time diplomacy and business relations will turn our enemies into partners, allies, friends." His eyes almost began to sparkle as he continued bragging. "In an act of good will and diplomacy I have arranged for all imperial PoWs to be released from custody and returned to the Empire. This also includes Major Gyttel, who, as I understand is currently placed under your supervision." By now anger and frustration had turned into scepticism and suspicion. Something was badly amiss here. T'Purroc couldn't possibly be that naive and blind. From what Vince had told her all the new councilors were handpicked by him and absolutely loyal to his cause. The way T'Purroc was acting now clearly contradicted everything Vince had aimed for, which led to two possible conclusions.
"I get the feeling the Emperor made a poor choice by appointing you." Mryna declared, no longer caring about what consequences her words might have. "Either you are a much greater fool than I thought." She focussed T'Purroc with eyes narrowed to slits. "Or you are pursuing other goals than you're supposed to."
"I am suspending you and your team from active duty." T'Purroc still remained unimpressed and proceeded with his stoic, almost robotic elaboration but a barely noticeable twitch in his expressions told her that she had hit a sensitive spot. "I expect you to turn in your ship within twelve hours. After that I will be forced to take appropriate actions. That will be all, Agent Qhalic."
Once again the fading holo revealed Darron, who had been observing the conversation silently from across the table, safely outside the scanning field.
"I know that look" he said with a frown.
"Assemble the crew!"

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

"That's the situation." Mryna concluded her briefing to the Nighthawk's assembled crew. "By official decree this team and its operation no longer exists."
"Bullshit!" Monk grunted and crossed his arms.
"You don't sound overly convinced" Akkare commented, ignoring Monk's comment. Mryna nodded.
"I find it remarkably convenient that all of his decisions - the disbanding of the Executors and the release of all Imperial prisoners happens to cause the dissolving of this team, whose task it is to investigate and take actions against the Brotherhood. I know a thing or two about how this council was selected and I am very confident that this course was not intended."
"As much as I appreciate this 'act of diplomacy'" Gyttel pondered "I do agree - this stinks big time."
"Vince still has a say with them, doesn't he?" Azrael suggested. "why not take it to him?"
"That's the problem." Mryna said grimly. "There hasn't been any word from Vince since he left Corelia. I get no link on the Barracuda. Shiromy is gone undercover again, so she can't help us either."
"In other words we're on our own." Darron concluded. "Again."
"So what now?" Kane inqured. "We're not just going to obey and call it off, are we?"
"Like hell we will!" Monk grunted. "I say we take those orders and shove them up this morron's -" He was shut up by a strict glance from Kane.
"So it's back to playing the rebel again?" Darron mused. "I had hoped we left that behind us."
Mryna stood up and looked into the round. "Officially I am no longer your commanding officer. I won't command you to join me. If anybody wants to quit, I accept that. But I for my part won't sit still and watch our nation be torn apart by this brotherhood."
"The Phantoms never played by the rules." Kane stated. "no point in starting now. I'm in."
"I'm right behind you, boss!" Monk added. "Ready to kick some brother-butt!"
"My service record is messed up anyway." Darron shrugged. "Might as well add some more candy."
The others nodded appreciatively, in the end only Gyttel and Akkare were left. "You're free to go." Mryna addressed them firmly. "I'll make arrangements for your safe return to Imperial space."
"Ah yes" Gyttel said and leaned back. "The mere thought of all the reports, psycho-profiling interviews, interrogations and reintegration measures awaiting me makes me all warm and fuzzy." Then he grinned. "I think I'll take my chances with you crazy bunch." Then he pointed at Akkare. "He'll come, too."
"Uh ... yes, of course" The jedi jumped on. "I mean, somebody has to watch after you."
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Post by Mako » Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:38 am

Xendar waited impatiently as the hyperspace tunnel went by. He still hoped that there was still time to save his comrade before he got his fool self in as much trouble as Mako normally did. Canthas was taking up too many bad habits from the boss man, difference being that Mako could get out of nearly anything he got into Canthas wasn't as talented yet. Seconds later the blue-white tunnel of Hyperspace gave way to star lines then millions of pinprick lights that were stars. No sooner than the reversion into real space happened that warning sirens went off. "What the Hell?!!" Xendar exclaimed.
"Incoming missile alert. Multiple warheads incoming!" Shouted Shala.
"Man I hate it when the bad guys know we're coming. Raise shields to maximum all ships form up us, find the origins of those warheads, And someone please find that scruffy cat!"
The Achillies shook as the shields took the full brunt of the warhead's impact. Keeping his balance by gripping the arms of his chair,Xendar called for a status report.
"No structural damage was taken, shields are still at 100 percent."
Xendar breathed a sigh of relief. It seems that Mako really did know what he was doing when he opted to go slightly overboard with the shields.
"Xendar sir," Shala spoke up ",the Warheads originated from sector 09, 74, 98.38"
"Any trace of Canthas yet?"
"Yes, I'm picking up his transponder between us and the Warheads origins."
"Give me a visual." Xendar's eyes narrowed as he caught sight of what looked to be an older Sigma systems Corel Corvette. And not too much further behind it sat five archaic looking frigates floating in a loose formation. "Alright folks it looks like this'll be the christening battle of the 300th While we race to save our commander. Keep the formation tight and the spearheads' field of fire clear. Launch the hoplite squadrons, They're to keep that Corvette safe."
Almost immediately five squadrons of hoplite fighters shot forth from the Achilles hanger bay to take up protective positions around the Corvette that held Canthas. As one the whole battle group turned to meet the aggressors.
While the Achilles broke off to head towards the merc corvette, the fifteen Spartan class corvettes took up protective positions around the Spearheads allowing thier shields to overlap to increase their resilience. A Spartans' shield was already the equivalent to an ISD's,once overlapped with another Spartan's the shield's strength practically tripled. Another missile barrage was launched from the Archaic Frigates, this time though all forward batteries on the Spartans lit up shooting down all of the missiles before any of them could even get close to their mark. In response all of the spearheads having chosen their targets opened up with their fusion cannons.
The first of the frigates broke in two from the spearhead's attack. Another two blew up in brilliant flashes. The remaining frigates were just within range and ended up taking just enough damage to cause them to shut down.
Xendar didn't fully relish in the 300ths first combat victory. For some reason this seemed off, something wasn't right here. Once the Achilles was close to the Merc corvette Xendar took a shuttle over. What awaited him troubled him more than the easy victory. The entire ship was deserted. As Xendar moved through the ship towards where the holding cells would be there was no one not even a single guard to bar his way. Finally Xendar found the holding cells, and where he expected something of a fight he only found Canthas with a few other humans held in a force cage.
"It's about time you showed!" Canthas growled from within the barrier.
"oh I'm sorry but I would've been here sooner if some scruffy fuzz-bucket had've activated his locater beacon sooner." Xendar got to work turning off the force shield to let the prisoners out. "What happened here? Where is everyone and why are you people the only ones here?"
It's something of a long story I'll tell you on the way cause we've gotta hurry!"
Xendar gave Canthas a questioning look? "What's the hurry?"
"The Lost Fleet has been found and reactivated."
"The Lost Fleet?!"
"Yeah you know ancient Sith Ships, Indestructible. Feeds off the Force. yeah the Lost Fleet."
"How did it get activated?"
"It was Darkmoon." the only female of the group spoke up. "In exchange for us going free and he joining the Brotherhood, He gave them the Key to the fleet and left with them."
Xendar's thoughts went back to the previous battle. "Well we just encountered what I think was a part of that fleet."
"You did?"
"yeah and well the good news is it's not...." Just then Xendar's personal comm went off. "Yeah."
"Xendar, sir," came Shala's staticy voice "you need to get back here ASAP."
"Why? What's wrong?"
"It;s the ships we destroyed."
"What about them?"
"Well sir to put it simply they're regenerating. all of the broken parts are regenerating into whole new ships!"
Xendar sighed. "Damn I new this was too easy, Looks like the real fight's gonna start."
Power without perception is worthless and of no use.
Current WIP The Lost Fleet everything else is on hold.

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Post by Seagulls » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:01 am

Aaron Valis walked alone for the last ten meters of his walk to his cabin, and was shocked to see both Alicia's and his doors open.
"Hey!"
He stopped short and shook his head. Hardware geeks. Alicia stepped out of his cabin and winced.
"What happened to you?"
"I ran into our friend that wanted to vape us earlier." He went into the spartan room to find a definite lack of ice available.
"Is she still alive?"
He laughed. At the Academy, he had spent countless hours training for nonranged combat, the direct opposite of Alicia's ranged expertise.
"I promised I wouldn't get in any fights. She was fast, anyway. Probably would have had me out cold if her husband wasn't there to stop her."
"HUSBAND?" Alicia dropped her jaw in mock horror.
"Ah, but he isn't 'dirty imp scum that almost got us killed', like I am. Hopefully she is a lot nicer to him..." He started down the hall toward the med bay. "Incidentally, how did you get those doors open?"
"Easy. Shorted them." She followed him down the corridor. Stars still flew in front of his eyes as he tried to massage what felt like a broken jaw. Awkwardly trying to talk around his swelling, he told her about the invitation to redeem themselves.
"Do you think that we can trust them?" She asked, turning the corner toward the med bay. He was silent for a few seconds and replied.
"I'll bet that they want to know the same thing about us." She grinned as they entered the medical center.
"How may--" The officer rounded the corner to greet them and stopped short, eyeing their spotless Imperial uniforms hesitantly. She then noticed his jaw and winced. "Ouch. Looks like you need some ice."
"At least." He replied, unsuccessfully attempting to return her smile painlessly. She palpated the swollen area checking for a break, and then gave him an ice pack. His jaw thankfully hadn't been broken again. The last time had been over two years before, during training he had caught the knee of his instructor, knocking him out cold.
Both of their locked comms chirped noisily, and Alicia answered hers. She talked for a few seconds and abruptly started down the corridor. She ended the conversation and gestured to Aaron, who was lagging behind, his hand pressed to the ice on his jaw.
"Admiral Frost is done with all of his paperwork. Come on!" Aaron jogged up to her, and both walked quickly toward their quarters.


They were spotless when they entered the Admiral's spacious office, excepting Aaron's purple-tinted jaw. They saluted perfectly in sync and stood at attention until asked to sit. Mylan Frost introduced himself, staring his icy, determined glare deep into the eyes of the young man that looked more nervous than his female counterpart, and then sat back in his own chair and listened to the extended apology that both gave, still staring icily.
"I refuse to accept your apology", he began, smiling inwardly at their sharp breath intakes, also oddly in sync. "Because, you did nothing out of your line of duty." He allowed his lips to part in the grin that few saw.
"But when one's duty results in someone else's grievance, it is still a wrong.", the girl shot back, still young enough to be called that compared to his own age, and easy-going enough to still possess audacity.
"Touche´. Apology accepted."
"Thank you also for your hospitality. These cabins are even better than the executive cabins on the Crescent." Lieutenant Valis grinned, flinching visibly because of the bruised jaw that the Lieutenant had attempted to hide. Frost frowned.
"Did you get this on my ship?" He pointed to the wound that was even more obvious as he stood up indignantly. The young man looked up at him, definitely deliberating on which answer to give. Evidently realizing the time he was taking, he gave a quick affirmative.
"Who did it?" he looked at the pair of Lieutenants, both of them noticeably nervous about the overall situation.
"Dav Jassik's wife. Jenn?" came the reply.
He immediately grabbed a comm from the edge of his desk and sent a request for her presence. Both Lieutenants looked up, shocked.
"Don't worry. I have guards specifically because of Jenn K'Barrek." The young man grinned.
There was a short silence, which Frost broke quickly and easily. Young officers were usually easier to talk to than the politically correct upper ranks, and these two were quiet enough that he could show an interest in them.
"So, tell me about yourselves." He once again sat back in his chair and listened to their stories. Both spoke freely, but still avoided details like commanding officers, fleets, locations and so on. They had been trained well, were both still in their mid to late teens and had spent most of their lives as best friends. When they asked the same question of him, he talked for a much longer period of time. He found it much easier to talk to younger officers, and surprisingly to him, those not on his side per se. There weren't many promotions that were lost from committing a social faux pas with junior 'enemy' officers. Not that he wasn't careful, but he also wanted the others to be comfortable.
He continued about his home, and upbringing, then went into his training experiences as the two youngsters waited patiently, commenting at intervals and overall being as polite as possible. 'Great', he thought. 'Afraid of me again'. He cracked a universal rancor joke to loosen things up, and the two officers laughed and all three began trading jokes. His paperwork was done, and he felt good.
Sooner than expected the turbolift door opened, and all three stopped laughing abruptly as Jenn strode in, alone and looking like she wanted to kill someone.
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Aaron felt his adrenaline begin rushing through his body as the Admiral stood up, cold steely eyes going left of his head and to where he knew that Jenn stood. The guards were in combat stance, stun engaged, and ready for trouble.
He flinched as Frost began to speak.
"Jenn, I hate to bring you in here, and I know what you went through before joining the New Republic. However, this kid hasn't done anything wrong!"
She launched into a tirade, shouting at her superior as though he was an insubordinate recruit.
Admiral Frost straightened calmly, obviously quite accustomed to Jenn's outbursts, and simply waited for her to get tired of screaming.
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Alicia closed her eyes and waited for Jenn to stop. The way she sounded, she wondered why Aaron didn't have a broken jaw.
"AND ONE STUPID PIECE OF IMPERIAL SLIME HAS TO COME IN AND NEARLY KILL US ALL!"
She glanced at Aaron as Jenn took a breath. He was tense, looking straight at the Admiral's face. He seemed oblivious to the shouting going on around them. As Jenn began to shout again, this time about her dead brother and all of the atrocities that the Empire had committed, he began to turn out of his chair toward Jenn.
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Major Alan Spar had seen Jenn's onslaughts before. He was accustomed to the threatening gestures and the piercing glares that she threw him in defiance of the blaster he held.
However, in his time spent watching the endless shouting sessions, only the admiral had stood up to Jenn.
He tracked the young lieutenant as he quickly stood up and faced Jenn at eye level. She stopped in the middle of her tirade and bent her knees slightly into an informal defense position.
The lieutenant shook visibly as he began speaking.
"For one, I still need to apologize to you for the havoc I caused and the pain you experienced."
Jenn's eyes flicked between him and the admiral, almost at a loss for what to do.
"I also want a chance to defend myself."
Jenn exploded.
"DEFEND YOURSELF? WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THAT ANYTHING OUT THERE WASN'T YOUR FAULT?"
"You could have warned us not to fire. You could have given us a little bit of credit and asked us to terminate the warhead."
Jenn started to speak, but he cut her off.
"I am not COMPNOR. I am not the Emporer. I haven't killed hardly anyone yet. You nearly broke my jaw and are still out for blood. I am human, not a droid. I feel feelings and think thoughts. You however, seem to disregard that I am a human being."
Alan was in a daze. He listened, but his ears and eyes seemed to be acting contrary to all evidence he had witnessed. Jenn seemed to be listening to reason. Her stance was more civilized, and she looked as though she was thinking about his argument. However, the punch came, quickly and almost invisibly at the youngster's already purpled jaw. Alan shut his eyes and waited the brief second it would take to connect.
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Alicia watched Jenn's left fist come out of nowhere and hurtle toward Aaron's face. She winced as he crouched, and then deflected the blow, punching her in the side as hard as he possibly could. Her arm sagged, she lowered her head, and then threw a right cross. He caught the blow in both of his big hands and twisted her arm behind her, slamming her into the bulkhead behind her. She fell to the floor as he sprung away from her spin, and he waited for her next attack.
She watched Jenn, on all fours, slowly begin to move. Alicia jumped out of her skin, however, when a booming laugh broke out behind her. All in the room turned and looked at the admiral, who's normally serious face was a light cherry color. The two guards also broke out laughing, and Jenn stormed out of the room, pride broken, and looking to kill someone.
Seagulls
Red 6
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"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 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 6:19 pm

The massive doors inside the Brotherhood's temple blew open in a burst of flames as Darth Pyra marched into the central chamber, her eyes blazing with fire in wild fury. Surprised guards leaped aside to avoid the wave of infernal fury that would have roasted them.
"What have you done to him?" She demanded. Unimpressed Darius Rygetto turned to face her and threw her an innocent glare.
"Done what to whom?" He said in confusion. "I don't know what you - agh!"
"Don't play the innocent, Darius!" Pyra spat. Clenching her fist she drew on the Force to lift him off his feet and slowly pressed the air from his lungs. "Where is Vince? What have you done to him?"
"I ... agh! had no choice!" Rygetto choked forth. "He was becoming a burden beyond his usefulness."
"I should rip you apart you bastard!" She screamed and clenched her fist further. His sheer callousness was enough to drive her mad. To hell with this brotherhood! Rygetto had gone too far. She would kill him and tear this place apart. Then she would seek out the rest of this cult and wipe them from the face of this galaxy.
The blastwave came suddenly and more powerful than she had expected. And it didn't come from Rygetto. Caught off-guard she was swept off her feet and released her grip on him to break her tumble. She landed crouched on one knee and rammed her fists into the ground, causing a small blast on impact. When she looked up she found the source of the power walking towards them and coming to halt next to Rygetto who was struggling back up to his feed, massaging his strained throat.
"Save your anger for those who deserve it!" Arlan Toth said calmly and lowered his hand. A wave of shock washed over her, as she gazed at her former master. It had been hardly two days since she had left him here. How had Rygettto managed to turn him that quickly? Instinctively a part of her considered the possibility that he might've been lying to her - to all of them - all the time.
"This isn't just some kind of annoyance!" Pyra snarled. "It's my husband you're talking about!"
"So what?" Rygetto rebuked emotionlessly, straightening again. "Your treacherous husband would have undone everything we built up." For a moment his eyes, too, lit up in firy sulfur, as he focussed her. "Everything you and I strife for." His voice changed, became more insisting and emotional. "Think about it! He would have destroyed your dream like he did before."
"What happened between us is none of your business." Pyra snapped briskly and rose a fist, threatening to strangle him again.
"Of course not!" Rygetto said defensively. "But it should give you something to think about." He crossed his arms and once again started pacing around. "What did you think when you found out that he sold you out to us? How did you feel when he forced you to lay down your rule, while keeping a backdoor to retain his power for himself?"
"That's not true!" Pyra protested. "That's not how -"
"You know it is true!" Rygetto insisted. "He sent you away, to the Jedi. So he could secretly develop his plan without you noticing." She gazed at him eyes burning with fury. But her initial anger slowly turned into cnofusion. There had been a time when Vince and her had shared everything. A time when they could trust each other without question. Things had become different now. It all seemed so strange - unfamiliar - wrong. Vince would never have treated her like this. And still some of it seemed to make sense. "Do you know why?"
"He doesn't trust me." she whispered. The words left her mouth like a sudden gust of wind, impossible for her to hold back. They felt like a knife through her heart. Suddenly she found it hard to breathe. No! This wasn't true! This was a lie!
"Ever since you chose to widen your horizon. Ever since you first tasted the sweet lure of the darkside. He dreads you. He fears your power, because it threatens his own. Because it could end his rule!" This was too much. It couldn't be true! His words were nothing but poisonous lies, aimed to turn her against her husband. And still something in them appealed to her inner flame, forcing it to burn hotter and wilder. Had the events changed him? No! She would not believe this! She was in control of the situation.
And still her defiant reply was barely more than a breathless. "Impossible!"
"Very well" Rygetto simply shrugged instead of pressing the subject. His voice was now soft and comforting. "Settle down and get some rest. Brother Arlan will show you your quarters."

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

I'm still alive.
Must be.
Damn pain is quite a giveaway.
Lots of broken bones.
Charred skin and flesh.
Blood clouds my vision.
Good thing there's no mirror in here - must be looking pretty ugly.

Guess I'm lucky though - the ship got the worst of it.
Systems are dead, outer hull is fried.
One burnt chunk of metal.
Surprised I still have atmosphere.

Leaving the body is pointless - No other hosts nearby.
Nowhere to go.
Stuck somewhere between life and death.
Damn pain.
Makes it hard to focus.

Maybe someone picked up that blast.
Wasn't too subtle.
Wishful thinking.
It's all I can do now.
I close my eyes and try to relax.
Waiting.
Enduring.
Damn pain.
Betrayed by my own people.
Somebody's going to pay for this.


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

Arlan Toth stood outside the Brotherhood's temple. A freezing wind blew across the planes, which the fortress was overlooking. He needed some solitude to clear his mind. The recent events had left him slightly shaken - despite his mastery of the Force. Uncertainty lay heavily on his mind. The attacks on Yavin IV were still present. The sacrifices that had been made - it all was fresh and hurting. Still there was one thing overshadowing everything else, one question that kept haunting him. 
Why?

He heard steps behind him and turned around to find Darius Rygetto approach him, offering a modest smile as he stepped beside him. For a long moment they remained silent, letting their gazes wander over the frozen land. Eventually Toth spoke. "Why did you tell her?" Toth said eventually. "We haven't gained her trust yet and you admit that we had her husband killed. Even if she settled down for now, she might yet betray us."
"She won't." Darius shook his head confidently. "She may think different now, but she soon will be fighting for our cause with all her passion. Darth Pyra's true strength lies in raw power, not deception."

Toth wasn't realy satisfied about that answer. His former Padawan might be right about her. In his time as Shiromy's so-called master Toth had found her to be astonishingly skilled and powerful, however, depressingly straight forward, too. But Toth had a hunch there was more to her. "She may just be a tool for Trageton himself - pretending to be ours. In fact, I'm more worried about him than her." He recalled meeting the former Emperor for the first time on New Cophuran. The man had two faces. One was the charismatic posterboy, all about epic appearances and publicity - the face to show up on every second newsvid. The other was far less shiny and much rarer to be seen, scheming, vicious and ruthlessly battling his enemies on every possible level - even dying seemed to be a mere tactical means for him - a way to sneak out of sight and reappear somewhere else. 
"Relax, Brother!" Darius said calmingly. "Everything Trageton has done so far was exactly the way it should."
"Don't underestimate him, Darius! Trageton is a thimblerig, a conjuror. With one hand he draws everyone's attention while the other secretly ties their shoes together."
Rygetto chuckled. "What a nice metaphor." He said. "I'm beginning to like him."
"What ... oh no, Darius!" Toth shook his head. He knew perfectly what Darius was implying. "You're not thinking about turning him to join us, are you?"
"Why not?" Darius shrugged. "Vince Trageton has more darker sides than you think, probably more than he himself knows. It's just a matter of the right motivation."
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Mako
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Post by Mako » Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:24 pm

The battle was really getting out of hand. What had started out as five frigates had quickly turned into one hundred and more showed for every piece that was blown off. The ships shields were still holding strong, but what was currently a battle of attrition, would soon turn into a slaughter.
"This isn't working." Xendar growled as he tried to keep his balance as the Achilles shook from another impact.
"Really?" Canthas countered,"What gave it away?"
The bridge shook once more from a blast that lit up the whole bridge as it was absorbed by the forward shields.
Xendar instinctively covered his eyes from the flash. "You know that is really getting annoying."
'Yeah as is that." Canthas pointed out a frigate regenerating itself from the pieces that were blown off another. "Knocking these guys down ain't hard it's getting them to stay down that's the trick. Is there any weakness to these things?" Canthas shot a glance at Jarin and Montana who'd taken up temporary spots on the bridge.
"There was nothing written about it in the tomb." Montana explained.
Canthas just snorted.
"Sir the Aegea's shields are starting to fail." Shala called from her station.
Canthas sighed, "Well isn't that just lovely. My first command and I'm already about to lose a ship. Pull us forward, switch places with the Aegea."
"But Sir if we do that then the Spearheads will be left open for a rear attack!"
"Damn!" Canthas turned to Xendar. "Any suggestions?"
Xendar thought for a moment "No..wait there's one, but you're not insane enough to lose this ship and risk everyone's life on it. Not even Mako's that nuts."
Canthas gave Xendar a baffled look. "What? Oooohhhhhahaha."
"Ok I take that back." Xendar watched in horror as an evil smile spread onto Canthas' muzzle. "NONONONONONO YOU CAN'T!"
"Chill out Xendar, You're right I'm not that insane. But you just gave me an idea as to how we're going to save our hides. Now just watch me work some magic. Shala on my cue order all Spartans to activate their fold drives and head back to the Cron drift. Make sure that they take the Spearheads with them, we haven't had time to get them outfitted yet."
"Yes Sir!"
Canthas counted down from five in his head before giving the command. Seconds later all of the Spartans and Spearheads folded out of the battle zone leaving the Achilles alone to take the full brunt of the attack.
"Okay," Xendar looked around waiting for the next part of Canthas' plan as the ship shook from the increased barrage. "So does the magic only extend to the smaller ships of our group?"
"No, now the magic starts." Getting up from the captain's chair Canthas made his way to the ship's helm.
"Just what do you think your doing?" Xendar called as he followed the togorian.
"Getting us out of this." Ousting the person who was there Canthas took control of the ship's navigation. As quickly as he could Canthas punched in a set of hyperspace coordinates. "Now we get to see just how fanatical these guys are and just how badly they want us."
"Ah man you really are nuts!" Xendar freaked as he looked at the coordinates that were punched in. "There's no way you're gonna make that jump!"
"Don't worry." Canthas gave Xendar a sly smile. "I've been taking lessons."
"Yeah? From who?"
"K'shar."
"Oh, The Creator."
"Sir whatever you're going to do, do it fast cause the ships are closing in, and our shields are starting to fail." Shala called out.
Xendar looked at Canths. "Well you heard the lady."
"Yup I sure did." Activating the hyper drive Canthas and Xendar watched as the stars elongated then turned into the hyperspace tunnel.
"Okay we're out of that mess." Jaris had quietly found herself standing behind Xendar. "But you do realize that they'll just follow us."
Canthas turned towards her. "I'm hoping, praying, and counting on it."
"What? Why?"
"Because I have a little surprise waiting for them, that will do two things."
"What's that?" Jaris asked sounding confused and skeptical.
"One it will prove that fanaticism will be the the Brotherhood's downfall, and two that nothing's indestructible."
"Sounds like on helluva trap. Where is it?"
Xendar shook his head. "Trust me you're better off not knowing until we get there."
"Yeah," Canthas pointed an accusing finger at Xendar, "I already have to deal with his antics I don't need someone else adding to it."
The timing beeper on the counsel got Canthas' attention. "Alright folks this is where we see if those lessons payed off." Taking the Achilles out of hyper space everyone was shocked to find themselves right on the edge of a black hole. The hull of the ship strained as the engines kept the ship just on the edge of the gravitational pull of the black hole. At seeing where they were Jaris feinted. "Well she's definitely not KC material." Canthas said looking down at her limp body.
"This ain't no time to joke. How long before we know if this worked."
As if on cue Shala chimed in. "We have ships hypering in! It's the frigates from the Lost Fleet! Sir they've come in too close to the Black hole!"
Canthas and Xendar both watched as the frigates came out of hyperspace and were instantly pulled into the gullet of the Black hole. Even as pieces broke off and started to regenerate nothing could escape the Black holes hunger.
"Indesductable my butt!" Canthas called out as the rest of the crew cheered.
"Okay." Xendar gave Canthas a pat on the back. "We got rid of this group but there's more out there and I don't think that we'll be able to lure them all into one of the Maw's Black holes. That trick might work one more time, but not after that."
"You're right but it was what you suggested with the self destruct system that gave me the real idea." Canthas let another evil smile cross his face. "This was just to make sure it would work."
Power without perception is worthless and of no use.
Current WIP The Lost Fleet everything else is on hold.

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Post by Will T » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:42 pm

"You know," Gurn Akkare said airily, "It seems we can't go anywhere these days without embroiling ourselves in some political clusterfrak or other."
"Part of the job," Darv Gyttel shrugged dismissively, "though I'm used to having a little more deniability about what I leave in my wake."
"Deniability isn't much of an issue when you're working as off the record as we are." Gyttel merely snorted a reply.
"If you consider running an op for a foreign power that doesn't even exist in the same form as it did when we started, then yeah I'd say that was off the record." He chuckled, shaking his head.
The two Imperials were sat at a small octagonal table in the middle of a cramped pilot's quarters. The bunks that lined the walls were currently unoccupied, but the cards strewn across the table - remnants of an abandoned sabaac game - were testament to the activity that dominated the room in the off-duty hours. Though now considered part of the mission, they lacked any duties to perform around the ship, an act of operational security that Gyttel had to grudgingly admit was sensible. But the the lack of anything productive to only served to highlight how blind they were flying. They knew even less about the current situation than their formerly ESS overseers, itself a level of awareness described succintly by Darron as 'frak all'.
"We cpuld have left, you know." Akkare said pointedly. "I imagine Captain Harkner is already settling himself in for a comfy shuttle ride back to Bastion. The Proditus is going to get her Captain back, that'll make a lot of people happy. Well, except Commander Staben of course, I heard he was quite enjoying being XO... That could have been us, we could have been safe at home, watching the big reshuffle unfold."
"No we couldn't." Gyttel stated brusquely. "I didn't volunteer for this - practically beg Trageton for the chance - just to get of New Cophuran. I got us here because this Brotherhood is a genuine threat. They've openly attacked the New Republic, come into conflict more than once with the ESS. How long until they attack the Empire? I had to preempt that."
"Very noble." Akkare replied, a soft grin the only clue to his insincerity.
"Say whatever you want, but that's why you're here too and you know it."
"What, I'm only here because you roped me into it." Akkare said in mock indignation, smiling nonetheless. "And so now we just sit and wait?"
"Until Qhalic gives us an order, yeah, that's what we do."
"You think we'll find this brotherhood?"
"I sure as hell hope so." Gyttel flashed a dark grin, right hand curled into a fist. He slammed it into the table. "So long as I get to splatter more of them than Qhalic, I'll be a happy man."

*****

"Anything else?" Pitto asked tiredly. Morning watch had barely begun, and already he'd been bombarded with news, requests and maintenance reports. All of it had paled in comparison to one particular item. After months of imprisonment, Captain Dannel Harkner was being sent home. At long last, his friend was free.
"Drydock reports a sealant failure on a section of plating on the Proditus' port side. There's a hairline fracture across the plating. The crews are currently pulling it off an replacing it." Pitto rubbed his eyes.
"How long will that set us back?"
"A day, maybe a little over if cannon fire has fused any of the plate to the inner bulkhead." Intelligence Officer Pytor Gribbik flicked through his sheaf of flimsiplast notes. "Oh, and 8th Training Wing has issued a general report on a missing ship; according to the logs she was on a navigation exercise in the Gordian Reach, but she's several hours overdue for report."
"8th Training?" Pitto queried. "This ship wouldn't happen to go by the name of Crescent, would it?"
"Uh, yes. Is there something I've missed sir?"
"I signed off an order to use her as a reconaissance vessel in the Yavin system. Deniability. If there a hostile forces present, it would just seem like a traning exercise gone awry. Otherwise, she was to use the pretence of being the forerunner to a full aid convoy; there's a number of, albeit trainee, engineers aboard. And one Intelligence Officer, of course. But he's deep in cover.
"Still, they were ordered to provide regular updates. My asset aboard has failsafes for providing reconaissance data, but the lack of any verbal report suggests their mission was a failure. Unfortunate." Pitto sighed, his hands suddenly heavy as he signed off on the report. "I'll have someone began drafting letters to their families. It's a shame, there were some bright people aboard that ship. And enthusiasm in recruits is all too thin on the ground these days."
"Sorry to have had to bring this to your attention, sir." Gribbik said stiffly, visibly at seeing a superior so morose. Pitto shook his head.
"It's to be expected, Pytor. In my experience, any good news is almost always tempered soon after by its darker brother. Have someone continue watching their channel, just in case."
"Aye, sir."
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Post by General_Trageton » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:50 pm

"That's another one down."  Announced the sensors Officer. Lyth massaged her cheeks, watching as another of the captured Lictors lost its propulsion under the PSA's attack. This was too easy. While the enemy fighters kept on causing considerable havoc and headache among the Mandalorian and PSA forces, so far none of them had made it past the blockade. One bold one had actually managed to outmaneuver the foremost Predators just to have its engines cut off by one of the Warhammer's Omega arrays. Slow and unable to put up much opposition these ships didn't seem too combat worthy for current standards. Even though the Brotherhood seemed to rely on outdated vessels, she saw no point in capturing those things at all. There were more attractive ships around, which the Brotherhood seemed to utterly ignore. There had to be something special about those Lictors that the Brotherhood was so obsessed with them to dare and attack Keldabe. 
It was either that or this whole attack was merely a ruse to distract them from something else...

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

"Commander on deck!"
Silently Ray Firkis walked onto the command bridge of the Phoenix Dreadnought Traquia and climbed up the stairs to where the command chair awaited him. Just recently PSA President Tremaine had contacted him, informing him that he was to be appointed the new overall Supreme Commander of the Phoenix Navy, taking the place that had been originally reserved for Vince Trageton - now MIA. Mixed feelings rumbled inside him. While gratefuly for this display of faith and appreciation, the circumstances of his promotion had been less enticing. Vince had been his friend for many years, and while the government was quick to give up on him, he definitely wasn't one to give up that easily.

Long range sensors had registered a massive energy spike near his last known position. Sent-out scout ships had found a large debris field and were now investigating. Ray refused to believe it was over just like that. He knew his friend long and well enough to be almost certain that Vince had somehow survived, and he couldn't sit still with the knowledge that his friend might be alive and in need of help. Thus at least for him, the question of command was not yet resolved.

Turning around he faced the assembled crew. Countless eyes were focussed on him in silent anticipation.

"Gentlemen" He addressed the crew. "We stand at the beginning of a new era. The times where the ESS needed a firm hand to raise ourselves, to establish our position and get the recognition we deserve are finally over. We are a nation. We are a member of the galactic society. Still, this doesn't mean we are at peace with everyone. The galaxy has never been a perfect place and it will probably never be. And good thing it is, otherwise we'll all loose our job." A wave of laughter echoed through the bridge. Ray then lowered his voice and took a more serious tone. "Our government has given up on Vince Trageton. He, who should now be standing in my place, is presumed dead and already the vultures are fighting over his remains." An uncomfortable silence spread, as the mood darkened drastically. "I say: let them!" Ray then said, clenching his fist. Vince had once showed him how a bunch of debating polititians could bring down a nation. The thing that mattered was that there were a few loyal people, willing and able to act and doo what needed to be done. "Let them tear each other apart! Let them go at each others' throats with all their greed! The more they are occupied with each other the the more time and room we have to act and bring our commander back to where he belongs."

A wave of thunderous applause roared through the bridge, as he sunk down into the command chair and for a moment only savoured the moment. He knew the crew and how they stood behind his old friend, who had led them through hell and back. They owed him. Eventually the cheer lost itself in busy shuffle, when he gave his second in command the signal to move out. A deep and gentle humm sounded through the bridge as the Traquia's massive engine set awoke to live.

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

Mryna rubbed her temples which were beginning to ache. If the galaxy wanted to abandon them, it did its job well. Whatever record about the Brotherhood existed in the former ESS' intel database, it had been deleted. And whoever had done it, had been sure to wipe his or her traces well. An inside job. And it added to the shady picture which she already had. "We're right back where we started!" she pushed out and reared her head in frustration. Shiromy was gone. Vince was missing. Their own government was about to outcast them.
"Urgent message coming in!" Monk's voice came over loudspeaker and made her look up. "It's the Traquia!" Mryna frowned. It'd been hardly a few hours after T'Purroc had terminated their operation - noone even knew they were going to disobey. She exchanged a questioning frown with Darron and Kane, who simply shrugged.
"Alright, patch them through!" She said and straightened. Moments later the familiar image of Ray Firkis appeared before her. Figures. After Vince's disappearance he was the most likely to take his place as Supreme Commander.
"Mryna, glad I could reach you." The elderly Cophuranee greeted her.
"Always a pleasure, Sir." She responded with a nod and tried to sound as routined as usual. "What news from the front?"
Ray laughed. "Now which one exactly?" Then his expression darkened. "You know of Vince's disappearance." Mryna confirmed with a simple nod. "We sent out scouts to search the route between NC and Corellia for any trace of Vince or whoever was involved in his disappearance." he made a pause. "They found both."
"What have you found?" Mryna questioned. Now her heart started racing.
"A patch of space halfway accross. Recently long range scanners had picked up an energy spike in that area. Scouts discovered signs of battle, mainly the remains of an Interdictor cruiser. The explosion must have been massive, given how little there was actually left. We're still analyzing samples, but it seems that the cruiser was loaded with some sort of explosives or instable materials. We also found wrecked parts which we could identify as belonging to the Barrcuda."
Mryna felt her blood run cold and the others, too, grew pale. "Did you find ..."
"No." Ray preempted her question and shook his head. "In fact, the cockpit is missing. We did however manage to salvage parts of the flight recorder and its final logs. It appears Vince was ambushed by that interdictor. When he went into the offensive and attacked the ship, it blew up."
"A trap then." Mryna concluded. "Somebody knew Vince and how he would react to such threats."
"My thoughts." Ray said. "But there's more. According to the logs There was another ship present - the one that, as we think, also removed the cockpit." His expression changed strangely as he focussed her with a somewhat suspicious frown. "The Mirage ... is one of your ships, isn't it?"
Mryna gasped. So her fears were true: An inside job. "She is." She explained. "We left it at Spectre base and switched to the Nighthawk some 18 hours ago."
"Who else knew of its location?" Ray questioned and crossed his arms.
Mryna took a deep breath. "Probably the same person that deleted all data on the Brotherhood of Shadows from the Intel database to foil our investigations."
"I see." Ray said. "Well then I'd say find your lost sheep and you'll find your rat."
"I wish it were that easy." Mryna said. It made no point in pretending everything was alright. "My department has been closed down and my staff suspended. I suspect this to be related to our other problems, but as of now there is little I can do from here." No need to tell that she gave a damn about what she could or couldn't.
"That's most disturbing." Ray made a pause and seemed to ponder, exchanging glances with with someone else outside the field of view. Eventually his expression changed and a smug grin appeared on his face. "Well, Major Qhalic, it occurrs to me that we are facing a far greater threat than the politicians would admit. I'll declare this as a full crisis. You and the other retired members of Phantom Squadron are hereby enlisted back to active duty. You're assigned to the PSA's Special Tactics devision to create the basis for our new Senior Covert Operatives Reinstatement Program & Ingelligence Operations Network. You'll report directly to Phoenix Supreme command." He grinned. "Which is me for the time being."
Mryna stood there with her mouth agape in speechles amazement. That was, indeed, another way to handle the situation. As Phoenix Supreme Commander Ray was technicaly on par with types like T'Purroc. Furthermore, since they all were indeed retired officers re-drafting them was indeed a perfectly legitimate course of action, saving them a lot of trouble. Eventually she clicked her heels and saluted. "Thank you, Sir."
"You're welcome, Major." he acknowledged and returned the salute with a wide smile. "Better I give you official backing for what you would have done anyway than being sent after you later."
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Post by Seagulls » Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:22 am

Lieutenant Aaron Valis was finally able to get back to Crescent to push a message through to Command. He pulled one of the comm units apart and crossed the cables, and then further scrambled his message, sending it in code, through a false proxy to one of the Empire's border patrols.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead and opened up holocommunications with his friend Jon, on Bastion, who had taught him how to hack, and had invented the crossed cable trick. Jon ported his message through intel, and into the Admiral's aide's holocomm.

The aide took time to pick up and Aaron grabbed a bite to eat, returning just as Admiral Marcus Pitto's head began levitating above the table.
"Second Lieutenant Aaron Valis Reporting SIR!"

The admiral chuckled, and then his eyes narrowed.
"Report, Aaron. Why haven't you contacted me sooner?"

"We ran into some trouble on entry. Those terrorists launched another attack, this one was a fleet, loaded with explosives. We almost took out Wildfire and the entire fleet. We were kept under surveillance until now. I sincerely apologize, sir, for putting some more strain on the diplomatic situation. I was asked to perhaps use the Crescent for some sort of a covert operation against this terror group, sir. It might improve relations and redeem ourselves, Sir." He waited for the response.

The admiral closed his eyes, head bowed pensively. Aaron waited for several minutes silently, understanding the decision that had been on his mind for the last several hours.

Finally, Admiral Pitto raised his head. He grinned, and then they began a detailed discussion about the pros and cons. A technical conversation ensued regarding the foreign starfighters, and they talked for nearly 30 minutes.
Aaron was stunned to receive an affirmative answer.
"I've decided you can do it. Brief me later, then meet me at a designated point to drop off those support men and fighters. I've got a new ship to show you once when you get back."

They ended the transmission, and Aaron got a ride back to the Wildfire with plenty of time left before the briefing. He found Alicia in her cabin and summarized his conversation with the Admiral. He told her about the Admiral's concerns, and received a whoop of joy when he told her they had been approved for covert duty.
After giving her the tentative rendezvous coordinates, he exited, with just enough time to freshen up before the briefing-slash-meeting that Dav was holding.
Seagulls
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"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 » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:09 am

The rendezvous with the Traquia was brief and informal. Barely minutes after arrival both ships departed again. With the Nighthawk's crew assembled in the CIC Mryna strode in with newfound energy and resolve. "Gentlemen, we have a lead." She said, walking up to the holographic table and calling up the information that Admiral Firkis had transferred to her.
"Vince Trageton has been betrayed and ambushed, presumably by the same person who's trying to sabotage our mission. The logs salvaged from the Barracuda's remains show proof that the Mirage was present during the ambush. Finding that ship means finding clues to the brotherhood and therefore is our primary objective."
Keying in a few commands the display changed and now showed analytic results of samples taken from the blast site. "The trap that was laid out for the former emperor included large amounts of Baradium." Monk let out a low whistle at that note. As demolitions expert he was well familiar with anything explosive. "Vice-Admiral Noraq has also confirmed that this was also used by Brotherhood forces, who recently attacked Keldabe. They must have a source for that. Could be a supplying company or a mineral-rich world under their control. We'll go for both. Wildcat and Ice Queen, see what you can dig up." The two noddd simply and proceeded to draw copies of the data. "Something else:" Mryna said and deactivated the holoscreen. "We are now operating under military mandate. Our ranks have been reinstated. We are still a black ops unit so everything we do is classified and we are entrusted with whatever means are necessary, Phoenix Supreme Command has our backs on this."
There was a moment of startled silence before the team cheered on this new development.
"I knew it!" Kane said with a grin. "It's allways a matter of talking to the right people."
"Ray Firkis is a warrior from the heart." Mryna agreed with a grin. "And he hates politicians. Now, I want everybody to be alert and ready for combat within two hours. We'll engage as soon as we have a lock on the Mirage. That is all. Crew dismissed."

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

Shiromy was kneeling in her chamber, meditating. A single candle flickered before her, offering barely enough light to reach the dark stone walls. It sufficed. Besides there was little to see anyway. Her 'new quarter' was a tiny cell somewhere deep in the bowels of the temple, a bunk, a table, a chair, a locker. A heavy durasteel door separated her room from a few dozen compartments of the same build lining up along the corridor like pearls on a cord. It wasn't like she missed the pompous royal suites on NC or Bricera. Luxury and commodities had never been important for her. It was rather that within these cold stone walls, as they seemed to crush her beneath their weight, she felt more desolate and lost than ever before.

This was a dangerous place. Master Toth and herself had come here to infiltrate the Brotherhood. Now, however, it seemed like they had been infiltrated long before. She no longer believed that Toth had been turned in that little time. It just didn't seem possible. He had betrayed the Jedi long ago. He had betrayed her.

And Vince? She didn't know. Maybe he was alive, maybe not. And even though she tried hard to fight it, she found herself incapable to shake off the bad taste that Rygetto's words had left. The dark thoughts, the treacherous feelings. Had Vince betrayed her? Had this all been his plan? No, this was all a lie! A series of conveniently placed coincidences that Rygetto had knitted together to bring her off balance. There is no such thing as coincidence! A voice inside her kept reminding her painfully. Even more painful was the realization that a part of her was beginning to believe this. It was either these lies or nothing. If you threaten to fall and the only thing to hold onto is a poisonous snake, would you reject it? These lies now seemed to be the only certain thing she had left - along with the knowledge that she was alone.

A ripple in the Force awoke her from her meditation. Someone was coming. Just in time - before she'd have lost herself completely. With a low metallic groan the massive old door slowly swung open behind her and a gust of cold wind blew in. Instinctively she directed some of her own fire to strengthen the candle-light to stand vigilant against the killing breeze.

"Shiromy," she heard Rygetto's familiar voice. "May I have a moment?" She didn't react, remaining in her knelt position, focussed on keeping the small flame alive, as it struggled in the frigid wind. Finding no objection, Rygetto stepped closer and let the massive door fall shut behind him. With a spark of joy Shiromy found the flame still burning. A spark of hope.
"I think you were right." Rygetto eventually said, as she continued to ignore him. "I think I misjudged your husband's intentions. And I want to apologize." Now what was that? First he had Vince killed, then tried to turn her against him, and now he'd just give it up and pretend as if nothing were? What a fool did he take her for?
"It's a bit late for that now, don't you think?" Shiromy eventually said, remaining unmoving. To get up and face him would have been a display of respect for him which she didn't have. He deserved no better. And apparently Rygetto seemed d'acord with that, as he spoke again.
"Please, I think we're both beyond believing that Vince Trageton wouldn't survive whatever one throws at him." Once again Shiromy remained silent. She wouldn't let her down to arguing on such a blatant level. And once again, Rygetto seemed not to mind. The way that he accepted whatever sign of disgust and disdain she threw at him was disturbing. "Anyway, I see now that I did him wrong. I've sent out a ship to recover him and patch him up." He made a pause and seemed to deliberate his next words - an act. "I would like a chance to make up for what I've done to him. A chance to reconcile with him."
"You want Vince to join the Brotherhood." Shiromy concluded - and at the same moment cursed herself for the surprise that swung in her voice. She wouldn't give him that satisfaction.
"Wouldn't you?" Rygetto questioned in return. "It may not be my concern what happened between you in the past, but he's your husband after all. He is also an outspoken opponent of our Brotherhood. This will eventually put you two up against one another - you would become enemies. I would not want to see that happen."
He did have a point, as much as she hated to admit it. If she wanted to uphold her alibi they might truly be forced to fight each other - and such a fight could hardly be mocked. But Vince had to keep out of this. She didn't want him to get involved with this cult. It was bad enough that she got stuck in their coils. She had to do something to keep him out, to protect him. At least it offered her a chance to spite Rygetto.
"And what makes you think I would want to persuade him to join you?" Shiromy questioned sourly. "So far you have made little effort gain my sympathy."
"I'm not looking for your sympathy." Rygetto said plainly - and it almost seemed as if this were the first true words he had ever said to her. "I'm only offering my advice. He's your husband after all."
With these words he left the room. Once again the massive door swung open and the freezing wind blew through the chamber, stronger and more violent than before, too much for the small flame to stand against. Shiromy was left in absolute darkness.
At least in this darkness noone saw her tears.
Your ship, Captain. I need a drink. - Vince Trageton
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Post by FunkyFreshMan » Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:41 pm

The WildFire’s pilot’s lounge was mostly deserted when the chrono struck 2130 hours. A few flight officers still lingered. Some tried to kill some time at the dejarik board in the far corner or were passed out somewhere from too much Corellian brandy, but most of the other squadron’s pilots were either holed up in the hangars still servicing their craft or attempting to get some well-deserved sleep. The Halos were there, though—all of them save Dav, Zed and Ilixu.
“How does it look?” Jenn sat on the edge of a table, her one-piece violet jumpsuit open slightly and her beige undershirt lifted just enough to allow Ren to examine the spot where the Imperial’s punch had connected. She noticed Roho standing nearby, ogling her partially exposed midriff. “One crack out of you and I will hurt you,” she growled, jabbing a threatening finger at him.
He threw his hands up in surrender and walked away silently.
“It’s just a little bruised,” Ren diagnosed. “Nothing’s broken. I think, by the grace of the Force, you’ll live.” He gently poked a painful-looking greenish-purple patch between her eighth and ninth rib.
She flinched and let out a yelp. The injury may not have been serious, but it was still a bit tender.
Roho let an amused grin sneak onto his face. “Boy, for an ex-mercenary you sure have a low pain tolerance.”
She shot him an ice-cold glare as she zipped up her jumpsuit then dropped down off of the table. “How about I punch you in the ribs and we’ll see what kind of pain tolerance you have?”
His grin quickly faded. “Still have the spunk, though,” he muttered.
Ren chuckled and shook his head. “Frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t lay that little twerp out cold right there,” he said. “You’re not going soft on us, are you?” Like Jenn, he found it difficult to forgive the Empire for the pain and hardships they had caused him. Had he not accepted that off-world internship with the Alderaan Association of Science and Exploration, he would have burned along with the rest of his homeworld. He only just missed its destruction at the hands of the Empire by a week.
“I most certainly am not.” Jenn’s eyes narrowed. “I know what I’m up against, now.” She indicated her injured side. “This won’t happen again.”
“You’re right,” Dav said, entering the room with Zed and Ilixu close behind. “It won’t.” Each of them carried a long, shallow case in each arm. They set the cases on the table. They appeared to be carriers for small-arms weaponry, but they lacked the standard New Republic markings. “I won’t have you going around assaulting our potential allies.”
Allies?” she replied, taken aback. “You can’t be serious. You actually want me to cooperate with these people?”
“If we want to have even the slightest chance of stopping this Brotherhood then, yes.”
“No!” Jenn vehemently protested. “Absolutely not!”
Dav attempted a plea. “Come on, Jenn, be reasonable. We need all the help we can get.”
She took a defiant stance, planting her fists firmly on her hips. “Well you’ll have to find it somewhere else!” she said. “I’ll die before I work in cooperation with that piece of Imperial trash!”
“But you barely know who he is!”
“I don’t care! He’s an Imp and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him.”
In spite of the increasingly tense atmosphere, Roho still managed to squeeze in one of his quips. “I dunno, Jenni,” he said with a bit of mirth. “I’ve seen you in a fight. You could probably throw him pretty far.”
He soon regretted that remark, as it was evident that she didn’t appreciate the humor. “Shut up, Roho!” she snapped. “Nobody asked you!”
Like a young schoolboy who had just been told off by a nasty teacher, Roho sheepishly retreated to a nearby table, found an open spot next to Ren and plopped down onto the seat with his hands between his knees. Ren leaned in toward his squadmate. “Tread lightly, my friend,” he warned in a hushed tone, “or you may just end up proving your point in a manner most unfavorable.”
Ignoring their exchange, Jenn continued to rant. “If you want to collaborate with the enemy that’s fine, but you’ll be doing so without me. I’ve followed you on a lot of crazy stunts, but I will not be part of this one!”
“If you haven’t noticed, the Empire isn’t really high on our threat list at the moment,” Dav retorted, “the Brotherhood is. Why can’t you just swallow your pride and accept the fact that we could really use those two officers’ help right now?”
“Because I don’t like them!” she screamed.
“Yeah, I think we’ve established that.” He paused a moment to collect his thoughts and give Jenn a moment to cool down. She was upset, tired, and confused—frustrated by everything that had been happening within the past weeks. “The Civil War is over, Jenn. Maybe not officially, but for all intents and purposes it is. Isn’t it about time you laid some of those old ghosts to rest?”
She looked at him through mournful eyes, tears welling up in their corners. She wanted to scream again, but all she could manage was a trembling whimper. “They murdered my brother.”
He drew in a deep breath then lowered his voice to a softer, more consoling tone. “They did no such thing,” he said, referring to the two young Imperial lieutenants. “They were probably just learning to talk when the Empire routed us at Hoth.” He placed a hand on each of her shoulders and held her about half his arms’ length away. “Your brother was a soldier; he was casualty of war. I know you hate hearing that as much as I hate saying it, but it’s the truth. A lot of brothers died in the war, but they did it because they cared for their families enough to give their lives for the freedom of those they loved.”
Still not convinced, she pulled away from him slightly but not so far for him to release her. “You don’t understand. My life was ruined when he died.” She broke his gaze and dipped her head partly out of anger, partly to hide her flushing cheeks. “I wasted five years of my life hunting for revenge like an idiot. I was a wanted criminal! I spent a whole year on a stinking Imperial prison ship! By that point, I had lost the will to live. Do you really think I can just forgive the people who did that to me?”
“No,” he said, drawing her back toward him and taking her in a firm embrace. “No you can’t. But you could at least try. People change. You yourself have changed a lot since I first met you. Remember Mandalore? You were such a loner. You felt betrayed and rejected. You hated me; you hated everyone. You hated yourself; you just wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and die. But when we were shot down over the jungle and you saw how much I cared for the well-being of my pilots, you started to realize that there were still a few decent people left in the galaxy. People who care.”
She buried her face in his chest and sighed. “Damn,” she muttered, realizing she had been beaten. “I hate when you play the Mandalore card.”
“But look at you now. You’re happy, you’re married, you have two beautiful children—you have your life back. I know it’s not the same without your brother, but isn’t it better than always being alone and on the run? Always having to look over your shoulder to make sure someone doesn’t have a little red dot on your back?”
Jenn drew in a deep breath that ended in a slight sniffle. “I guess you’re right.”
“All I ask is that you try to give these people a chance,” Dav said then lightly kissed the top of her head. “You don’t have to befriend them, but at least pretend to get along, just for a little while. I think they really might want to make things better.”
Maybe he was right. Maybe these Imperial officers really did have the best intentions in mind. Of course, there was always the possibility that they were up to no good. Jenn would still have to keep an eye on them, but at least she could try to be a little more polite while doing so. She couldn’t make guarantees as she still held incredible resentment for the Empire, but she would do her best to play nice, if for no other reason than because she loved her husband and trusted him to make the right decisions no matter what happened. She stood there in his arms for a few moments, calming herself, before finally asking, “So you actually trust this Valis character?”
“Well,” he hesitated. “No, not entirely. I do kind of feel bad for the kid, though, what with him having been decked by crazy woman.”
“You feel bad for him?” she whined, again indicating her injury. “What about me?”
“You?” Dav replied with an indifferent shrug. “You kinda had it coming.”

*****

Lieutenants Rying and Valis arrived just as chronometer reached 2200. At least they could be trusted with keeping appointments. They both looked immaculate. Their uniforms were neatly pressed and free from wrinkles. There was still a slight trace of the bruise on Lieutenant Valis’s chin, but his face and hair were otherwise clean and well-groomed. Lieutenant Rying’s hair was done up in proper Imperial fashion and tucked snugly under her cap. They both looked like the cultured, respectable officers one would expect to find within a military organization. They looked nothing like Halo Squadron’s pilots. None of them were in proper uniforms, preferring stained work jumpsuits or simple spacer gear to the standard-issue Republic garb. Most of the men hadn’t shaved in days and the women wore their hair loose, in lieu of any kind of formal style. Even Hui, who usually kept her hair in a very intricate bun, tied her golden locks into a ponytail. It was late and everyone was still a little tired. They weren’t trying to impress anyone.
Dav welcomed the young officers, urging them to find a seat at one of the small tables and make themselves comfortable. This wasn’t a fancy affair; there was no holoprojector, no myriad of blinking lights to distract from the matters at hand. It was simple, straight and to the point.
Lieutenant Rying immediately picked a spot at one of the smaller tables, but Lieutenant Valis hesitated for a moment. He threw a quick, nervous glance in Jenn’s direction. She was leaned against a larger table, her arms crossed and her suspecting green eyes fixed on the two Imperials. Valis sat down next to Rying, keeping an eye on Jenn, but careful not to be too overt about it. She now had her back turned to them, fiddling with the stack of crates behind her. Doing his best to be subtle, Valis then retrieved a device that appeared to be some kind of audio recorder. Dav noticed it, but made no mention of it. He just made sure to take a mental note of it then moved on.
“According to recent reports,” he began, “the Brotherhood of Shadows has been getting increasingly bolder and has begun striking at tactically valuable worlds.” He recounted the events of his meeting with the Republic advisors, listing some of the planets that supposedly had been attacked and mentioned how the squadron was originally ordered to reconnoiter Korriban. He then relayed the actual plan that he, Zed and Ilixu had put together, “I had Ilixu look into a few of those worlds and he uncovered some interesting information.”
He handed the briefing over to the Bothan. “While we can neither confirm nor deny a Brotherhood presence on Korriban at this moment,” Ilixu said, “we have learned that a few of the aforementioned reports have been greatly exaggerated. The Mandalorian worlds and Sarapin have indeed been attacked, but it seems as if Rendili and the Elrood System are as secure as ever. What is more, it appears that Raxus is not a target-world at all, but actually a forward outpost. The Brotherhood has been running underground operations there for at least the last six months. They have only just started breaking out and harassing the local Imperial forces in the system.”
Jenn pulled one of the cases from the stack. “Lots of places to hide down there that no one would ever think to look,” she said. “And with all the old starship hulls and general refuse on the surface, a standard scan would never detect anything out of the ordinary.” She began working the combinations on the case’s clasps. “Raxus Prime is a favorite among underworld groups. I should know; I used to be in one of them.”
Ren leaned forward, propping his elbows on the tabletop in front of him. “Then that might explain where they’re getting some of these old ships.”
“And who knows what else?” Dav said. “Thus far, they’ve only been harassing the Imperial operations on Raxus—messing with the shipping lanes, striking at small patrols groups—they haven’t attempted a full-out assault like what we’ve experienced here. But there’s a command center down there and where there’s a command center, there’s information. That’s why we’re going to find that base, infiltrate it, dig up as much dirt as we can, then raze the place to the ground.”
Valis popped an eyebrow. He had a feeling he knew what his role would be in all of this, but the whole idea still came at a bit of a surprise. “Sounds like fun,” he said. “Where do we come in?”
“Well, as Ilixu mentioned, Raxus is an Imperial-held world. I don’t think they would like a bunch of Republic rocket-jocks poking around their territory.” He shot the officers a mischievous smirk. “But it just so happens that we have a perfectly fine, fully-crewed Imperial yacht that’s just sitting around doing nothing and two very capable Imperial officers who have oh-so-generously offered to help us.”
“So you want us to sneak you in?” Rying concluded.
“Beautiful and smart,” Roho said as he made flirtatious eyes at her. She did her best to ignore him.
So did Dav. He had become very accustomed to Roho making passes at anything that moved. “I assume the Crescent can carry fighters?” he said.
“I’m sure we can fit a few if we move things around a bit,” Rying replied, “but not a full squadron.”
“Not a problem. I’m going to assemble a small strike team from my pilots to hit the surface. They and their ships will be flown in on the Crescent. The rest of my boys will hang back out of system until they’re needed.”
Valis swallowed hard as he watched Jenn heft an exceptionally nasty-looking, scoped projectile rifle from the case she had opened. “A strike team?”
Dav nodded. “Me, Rollosk, Jenn, Ilixu and Ren. And, of course, if there’s anyone in your crew who might be useful in firefight, we could definitely use the help.”
While Ren and the Bothan seemed like agreeable beings, Aaron knew from experience that Jenn could be a handful. And Rollosk? Trandoshans were notorious for their aggression and, judging by the numerous scars in the lizard’s orange scales, it was evident that this particular Trando was all too familiar with combat. “That seems like an interesting group you have there,” Valis said as he watched Rollosk pick his razor-sharp teeth with an equally deadly claw.
“Well, they have certain…qualifications that are perfect for a covert insertion.”
Jenn propped the rifle’s butt against her hip. “Like Rollosk and I are very good at killing things.” She opened the action to inspect the weapon’s chamber then let the bolt snap forward. “Through any means necessary.”
Instead of another verbal reprimand, Dav just gave Jenn a brief disapproving glare before wrapping up the meeting. “As is usual in this kind of situation, Zed will lead the rest of the squad in my absence. Are there any questions?”
Lieutenant Rying hesitated a moment to give the Republic pilots first priority, but when none of them spoke, she asked, “When do we depart?”
“As soon as possible,” Dav replied, without even pausing to think. “Our fighters are ready for launch; we just have to get a few loaded onto the Crescent. Once we gear up and grab a couple of loose items, will be ready to go.” He locked eyes with both young officers and took them in a very serious stare. “As far as anyone knows, we’re just going to take a stroll around Korriban. One mention of Raxus out of you two and, well….”
“Bad things will happen,” Jenn hissed as she slung a heavy ammo bandolier over her shoulder.
Though he tried to think of a more delicate way to say that, Dav couldn’t help but admit to himself that, this time, he was actually thinking the same thing.
Lieutenants Rying and Valis stood and snapped two perfect salutes. “You can trust us to keep things quiet, Commander,” Rying said.
“I certainly hope so,” Dav said, acting nonchalant to hide his nagging feeling of doubt. “I want you two to meet me in the hangar in an hour so we can figure out how we’re going to get those fighters onto your ship. The rest of you, suit up and get your gear together. Report to the hangar bay when you’re ready. You are dismissed.”
They quietly filed out of the pilot’s lounge, but Dav and Zed remained behind.
As soon as he was sure everyone was out of earshot, Dav turned to his executive officer. “I’ll have the tracking bug aboard their ship the moment I get the chance,” he said. “If anything goes wrong, you have full command of the squadron; you know what to do.”
Zed nodded. “Yes, sir.” He offered his hand to his commander. “Good luck, sir.”
“Thanks,” Dav said as he shook his friend’s hand. “I think we’ll need all the luck we can get on this one.”
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Post by squarehead93 » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:29 am

The Brotherhood were beginning to make it away with the Lictors. The first ones were making the jump to hyperspace. Even the ESS arrival couldn't disable them all.
Luke's smartcom started ringing.
Damn it, not now!
Fortunately, he could link it to his helmet's comm.
"Luke, this is Lando. I've dug up the control codes for this particluar shipment of mole miners. I've also been able to pull up the blueprints for a Lictor dungeon ship. Their control systems are near the bridge-where the Brotherhood have landed the miners."
Luke swerved to avoid incoming fire. He slowed down and allowed the enemy fighter pass him, into his sights. He squeezed the trigger. One more kill.
"Go on," he told Lando.
"So, if you just tell the mole miners to drill straight through, the Lictors will be dead in space."
"Sounds great. Any risks to this plan?"
"Aside from the expected repairs the Mandos will have to do? None."
"Then let's do it."
"Broadcasting the codes now."
////////////////
Within minutes, the mole miners were punching straight through the Lictors. The remaining Brotherhood ships began to retreat. A final wave of suicide fighters struck the shipyard like a swarm, destroying it in a storm of small explosions. The remaining suicide ships sought out the nearest now idle Lictor ships and struck them, taking a few with them. If they couldn't have them, the Brotherhood was still going to deny the Mandalorians their assets. Every other brotherhood ship went into hyperspace.
///////////////
Xiana woke up in a bacta tank on the surface of Keldabe. A guard, noticing her regaining consciousness saluted and walked toward the tank.
Xiana looked down. She hadn't been able to feel her left leg. She now realized that was because it was no longer there. Burns covered her torso and her right leg. She would want full details on her condition later on, but something even more pressing was on her mind.
"Sargeant, can I have a report of the results of the battle over Keldabe?" she asked through her breather's comm.
"Ma'am, the numbers are still being finalized. The majority of the Lictors were captured, but a few were saved. Skywalker was able to acquire the codes to the mole miners, and was able to get them to drill straight through their controls. The Brotherhood fled after that, but not before some of their suiciders could take out the shipyard and some of the remaining Lictors."
"Thank you Sargeant. Dismissed."
He saluted and left the room as another guard and a nurse walked in.
Damn. None of this made sense. But what was for sure: the Mandalorians could no longer remain neutral to this Brotherhood threat.
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Post by General_Trageton » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:26 am

As the team began to scatter from the briefing Mryna approached Gyttel and Akkare. "Gentlemen." She said waving them to join her and Darron at the holo screen.
"Finding the Mirage will be easy." Mryna explained caling up a schematic of the ship. "Whoever hijacked her has apparently forgotten that she's my ship. Like the Seraphim I've had some gadgets installed that don't appear in any records or schematics but will allow us to track her down. Getting aboard will be trickier. We don't know how far the Brotherhood has infiltrated the ship already. Thoughts?"
"Worst case scenario would be the ship is already crawling with force-using cultists to cause us some trouble." Darron added.
"It would be nice to have a squadron from the 501st around and maybe one of the veteran Clone Commanders" Gyttel said ponderously. "But if history has taught us one thing" Gyttel said. "It's that Force-users are anything but invicible."
"Well" Akkare said. "If you get us in close I should be able to sense, whether or not any force-users are nearby. Fighting them would greatly depend on their skill and number."
"What about the PSA crew?" Darron questioned. "Surely there's a lot of the old crew still present."
Mryna crossed her arms. "I usually try to keep collateral damage as low as possible. But too much depends on the success of our mission." She took a deep breath. "That crew is expendable."
"Understood, Ma'am!" Gyttel acknowledged - obviously he was hoping for that clearance, not least as it allowed him to live out his old animosities against the ESS.
"Good." Mryna said. "Let's get going then." Transferring some files from her wrist console to the tactical terminal she called up a list of commands, similar to the ones she used to remote-control the Black Scorpion. "I could make them jump right to us, but that will allert them right away." Keying in a few commands she sent out a disguised hypercomm ping - appearing as mere static it would trigger a response unit aboard the Mirage to ping back.
And that it did. A thin smile widened on Mryna's face as she fed the returning data stream into the system. Moments later the galaxy map flashied up and zoomed in on the Mirage's position.
"There you are!"

"Valmont!" Darron read the name of the planet, which the ship appeared to be orbiting.
"Seriously now?" Mryna heard a voice from behind and found Wildcat approaching them, her gaze was jumping between the holomap and the datapad she was holding. "Well, guess what we just dug up from the geological holonet knowledge base!" Picking the datapad Mryna let out a low whistle. Valmont was indeed listed as holding considerable natural Baradium deposits.
"Now isn't that a little convenient?" Darron commented with a suspecting frown. "Might be a trap."
"I love traps." Mryna said, acknowledging his objection only so much, and activated the intercom. "Kane, set course for Valmont! Everyone else, get dressed up!"

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

The days seemed to fade from one to the next. Still no progress. Rygetto preferred to always keep her close - like a trophy, giving her little freedom to move. Meanwhile the constant indoctrination kept gnawing at the edges of her mind persistently and subtly harassing her mental defenses. She knew now that it was her emotions that gave him an advantage over her. Even the slightest thought of Vince and what might have happened to him could bring her off-balance. She had to rid herself of these feelings. She had to accept the fact that Vince might or might not be dead. She had to completely discard any thoughts and emotions on him, or she would present Rygetto a critical weakness to exploit. Only by perfect focus could she maintain control over the situation.
She would see this through.
She would follow Darius, serve him, gain his trust.
She would rise in rank and influence among the brotherhood until she was his closest familiar, his friend - his lover if that was what it took.
Darius might not believe it, but the Sith and their ways existed. And Sith always betray one another.
And thus in the end, when he trusted her with his life, he would lose just that.

Of course, there were certain obstacles that stood in her way.
Variables that had to be eliminated.
One of these was Arlan Toth.

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


Light, dark, blur, dizzy. Hazed images swirled damply in his mind. It seemed all his senses - even thoughts themselves were damped by thick layers of foam. Where was he? Distorted memories flashed across his mind. Space. The ambush. The interdictor. The blast. The devastated cockpit he'd been spending his last conscious hours in agony.
Focus!
He forced himself to fight the dizziness and get a grip on reality. Assess the situation.
The pain was gone. His whole body felt numb, his muscles would barely respond. It took quite the effort to actually open his eyes. Milky light streamed towards him and while it wasn't really brigth it still was enough to hurt. The unpleasant sensation was enough to stimulate him even more and further boost his consciousness. Once again - slowly he opened his eyes.
Bubbles.
Bubbles? The realization was amazing enough to further drive his attention. He was upright, floating in some milky substance. His first reaction was a shocked gasp, the most foolish thing to do when submerged in any kind of liquid. But instead of the lethal swall of liquid a sort of sweet smelling air flooded his lungs. It was then that he noticed the rebreather mask that was locked over his mouth and nose, allowing him to breath normally.
Slowly his vision sharpened and he could make out more of his surroundings. He was suspended in some sort of tank. Head, Limbs and torso were fixated by some sort of magnetic restraints to keep him in his current position. Beyond the slimy liquid he could make out blurred contures of a dimly lit room. Some sort of medical center maybe. Someone must have discovered the wrecked Barracuda and extracted his near-dead body. Likely it might be the very ship that had ambushed him. The Mirage. Betrayed by his own people. But why? And by whom exactly? He hated that kind of uncertainty, and his disability to act. He should just discard this broken body and look for a new host, then take control of whatever ship or facility this was, eliminating whatever resistance there was.
Whoever had done this to him, would pay dearly.
Now what was that? A different part in him awoke to life, rational, wary. It kept warning him that this way of thinking was not like him. Thoughts of revenge had never been his philosophy. He wasn't that aggressive at all. He was in control of the situation. he was the puppeteer. Not the raging beast locked in a cage. And yet, there was this part of him that lusted for revenge. That wanted to break out of this tank and fight his way to wherever fate might lead him. What was this part? Was this a result of the medication? Unlikely - those drugs usually were designed to make one tranquil and not aggressive. This had to be something else...
Break out! that other voice - his darker side - kept saying. They did this to you! They deserve to die!
It was indeed right about one thing: He had to get out of here.
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Post by Seagulls » Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:24 pm

Aaron Valis finished stowing the last of his Tie Intercepters into the port hold of the Crescent.

He had learned one important rule of thumb from the Academy: Don't assume that everyone on your team is prepared; always have a backup plan in case someone else's half falls apart in their hands.

The Crescent had two hangar bays, and could hold 8 TIEs or perhaps 5-6 X-Wings total. Plus, the forward hold was easy to access, and he had seen a flight group of 3 TIE Bombers launch from the hold when the craft was in testing.

He hummed a popular song as he slowly rolled a few thoughts over in his mind while he finished the procedure. With the TIE racks clear he could have the New Republic engineers come over to rig them for whatever craft the pilots were flying. He shook his head. It seemed to be such a disorderly unit. Even a disorderly Rebellion, from the history he knew. Imperial discipline was not the 'immediate and painful death for incompetence' regime it once was. Perhaps that was why the Empire was a much more elite group of people.

Grabbing a wrench, he descended into the hold and secured an extra restraining arm behind the TIEs. The last thing that he wanted was some of his cargo to slide into one of his fighters. Well, perhaps not the last thing. The last thing he wanted, he hadn't mustered the courage to define. He was incredibly worried about starting another war, but wasn't sure if that was his worst-case scenario. He shuddered to think of court-martial, and then stopped thinking.

Aaron looked at his chrono. Time to go. He jogged up the stairs to the landing bay and strode down the corridor to his quarters. They weren't nearly as severe as the rooms on Wildfire, but he had moved into a smaller room that he shared with another officer.
'It looks like passengers are going to be more trouble than they're worth.' He thought to himself. Pulling out the recording device he used at the briefing, he listened to it a few more times. Wiping it clean, he began recording. 40 minutes until he had his appointment with Frost. Plenty of time.

"Dav, I figure you'll be asking for this...You were the only person who would have been able to see it, and I figure that means that you did. Especially if you go over the camera recordings in the room... Anyway, I just wanted perhaps a clearer interpretation of our mission. Jenn didn't make it too easy for me to focus, right? Anyway, it makes Alisha and I feel a bit useless, or perhaps just used, just getting your team into Korriban and out without interference." He felt his accent slip a little as his feelings of frustration came into play. Checking himself, he continued.
"Anyway, I still have that full ground crew with me, so if you need something built or torn down, you can count on them. So, I wanted to give you my idea of the whole setup. Also, I am going to need a galactic map so we can plot our course manually. I might need to hop over to a resupply station. Thanks again for the chance to redeem myself. Aaron Valis, signing off. See you later, Dave"

He finished the recording and attached a note to the device. Opening communications with Wildfire, he requested the engineers to come over and prep for the NR fighters. He straightened his uniform and went into the main passage to watch the engineers' shuttle cross and land. The tiny transport would be tricky to get into one of his hangars. He grabbed his hat and went up to the bridge to monitor the entry. He had found that people don't like to be watched in person during stressful situations (this was mainly because he hated having being watched during stressful situations, but he wasn't about to tell that to the world).

The transport entered his starboard hangar, without hassle, no screeching that betrayed a poor pilot.
"That pilot must've learned his trade in the Navy", he remarked dryly. No laughter. He missed the pilot lounges, where there was less tension. The comm officer glanced up with a slight grin, which was enough to relax him and restore his confidence with the bridge crew. They had suffered some humiliation because of his earlier bad diplomacy with the NR forces.

He glanced at the monitor as the group of engineers from the Wildfire were confronted by some of his own.
"No, no, no, nononono! Lieutenant Ayer, follow me!" They sprinted down the corridor and flew down the stairwell. He couldn't afford to lose the fragile alliance between them. As the pair ran into the hangar, he glanced at Lieut. Ayer. She was about 27, and one of the officers on board that could beat him senseless in the training room.
The fight was in the corner of the hangar, and they came to the group quickly, the pair of Lieutenants launched themselves into the fray, tearing Imperial engineers out of the group. He darted to the center of the group, where a burly engineer was beating one of the Wildfire's support men mercilessly. Aaron hauled him off of the man and punched as hard as he could. After further drastic interventions, the fighting slowed to a halt and the two sides parted fairly quietly.

Ten minutes later, the two sides were on slightly better terms. Some desperate diplomacy revealed that the NR staff hadn't followed protocol, and a few of his engineers took it upon themselves to put them in line.

The bitter part about being in command was that he had to decide their punishment. He couldn't ask for advice, nor could he delegate the entire process all together. 6 days without freedoms and no access to the meagre bar they had set up in the hold. The paperwork he would have to do wasn't going to be any fun, either.

His chrono screamed at him as he made his way back to the bridge, conflict settled. The normal rant about never having enough time briefly came into focus, and he ran back down the corridor. The pilot of the NR Transport gave a feeble protest about his ship being in use, but in about 5 minutes they entered Wildfire's spacious hangar. He met Alicia on one of the observation decks and he told her about what happened with the engineers. She frowned and let him continue.
"Now I have an appointment with Admiral Frost to ask him a few questions."
"Would you mind if I came along?"
"Ha! You've never needed an invitation. Come along!"

Frost received them warmly and they sat down.
"You said you had some questions for me."
"Yes sir. Presently I am still completely unaware as to what The Brotherhood is."
"The Brotherhood of Shadows is a terror organization of force-users."
The short, frank answer left them both in shock. Force users?
Alicia spoke first. "And they were behind the Yavin attack? er, Both Yavin attacks?"
"Yes. They've been wreaking havoc on the entire galaxy for the last several weeks. The question I now have for now is, who told you? Our officials show that their haven't been any large attacks on any of your systems, and ES- or rather, PSA sure wouldn't tell you."
Aaron froze. We weren't supposed to know? The silence lasted for a few moments.
"Dav was planning to use our services to do some tracking involving the Brotherhood. We both assumed you had approved it", Alicia ventured.
"Dav usually makes plans and conducts missions that he usually doesn't tell anyone about. I usually don't mind. However, this time it's much more crucial. Now, what type of mission did he have in mind?"


Alicia stood on the bridge of Crescent, waiting for clearance for hyperspace. Aaron was making his checks on the hangar and armaments. The affirmative came, and they entered hyperspace.

Aaron wandered down the hallway, watching the vortex shoot past the windows. He checked to see that everything was clean and orderly, and continued aft. Dav strode into sight, also focused on the hyperspace tunnel. As he passed, Aaron pulled out the recording and forced it into Dav's hand.
"Listen to it", he shouted back as he walked away briskly, leaving Dav with a puzzled expression on his face.

"Well?" Alicia asked as he stood next to her.
"All clear. Did you expect anything wrong?"
"Not exactly. Nothing is sure right now."
"Agreed."
As they sped through hyperspace, both remained silent, both thinking the same thoughts. They tried to focus on the restocking they would need to do before they reached Korriban. Yet, they were driven back to the same questions. 'How long can we trust the NR?' 'Are we going to survive a confrontation with force-users?'

Alicia mused about force-users for several minutes before realizing that they had a man on board who had survived the Clone Wars. Ancient. He had enlisted at the beginning, now he was old enough to be her grandfather. She left the bridge and knocked on the door to his quarters. He had been a ground forces man until being switched to engineering. Now he maintained Crescent's engines and systems. He opened the door and saluted in the old way, inviting her to take a seat inside his modest apartment.
"They say you were in the Clone Wars."
"Yes ma'am, I was."
"Tell me about the Jedi."
"Am I to take that as an order?" She winced at the reference to the bans that the Emperor had put in place years before.
"Yes. Now tell me." The old man leaned back in his chair, took a drink of something that was definitely not water, and began his story.

Dav entered his empty cabin and began playback of the recording. "Dav, I figured you would be asking for this..."

Aaron put an earbud in his ear and started listening to his newly amended orders. He sat in the command chair and leaned back. This was going to be a long trip.
Last edited by Seagulls on Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by General_Trageton » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:57 pm

"What were the jedi like, when you left them?" Rygetto and Shiromy were standing on a spacey alcove overlooking a large training chamber, where new acolytes were training the art of the lightsaber.
Rygetto threw her an cockeyed frown. "That's a strange question, isn't it?"
Shiromy giggled. "Is it strange? I don't know. I've started off as a Sith, before I was 'conscripted'." Her expression darkened. "But ... when I came there, that what I found was not what I expected."
"What do you mean?"
"The jedi I met were not quite, how the Sith saw them - those uplifted knights in shining armor. They may have been like that once - and apparently everybody still takes them for that, but in my eyes, they have greatly moved on from there. Their methods have become far more subtle, shady, they seem to agree with less orthodox methods to achieve their goals - in fact, they appear to have goals."
"What makes you think so?"
"Why else would Skywalker agree to send me after you?"
"What?" Darius spun around and focussed her. "What did you just say?"
"Don't act so surprised, Darius." Shiromy said coldly and crossed her arms. "You know very well, why the jedi allowed this 'incident' to happen." She stepped past him and regarded the scenery in hall below. "They are afraid to openly engage you, especially after the tactics you've displayed. No, they wanted a vanguard, an infiltrator to invade the Brotherhood and destroy it from the inside. I was sent to finish what Arlan failed to do."
"Arlan Toth?" Rygetto laughed. "I don't think so. Arlan has been a friend for a long -" Darius insisted.
"Has he?" Shiromy interrupted him and cocked an eyebrow. "Or might it just be an attempt to keep you close and unsuspecting? What do you really know about him? He spent the last year with the Jedi. I know you used him to spy on them long before I ever emerged on stage. But he is by far not as fully committed as you might think. The Jedi found out."
"Why would I believe you?" Darius was now fully focused on her.
"Make an educated guess!" Shiromy said challengingly and held his gaze, looking deeply into his eyes. "From the very beginning I was absolutely open with you, about what I thought about you, and I think I made it perfectly clear, what would happen, if you betrayed me. Now, what about Arlan? He didn't hesitate to lie to me, why would he be honest to you? Arlan Toth is a Master of the Force, well able to conceal his true intentions. I have faced betrayal many times before. And I know a rat, when I see one. Do you, Darius? Can you really say you trust him?"
"No." Rygetto said darkly. "I trust no-one."


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

Shiromy was sitting silently in one of the temple's meditation chambers. Before her a trio of burning candles, their flames swaying slowly with the the tides of her breathing. She was content. It had been a few hours after she had spoken to Darius.
he considered her little of a threat, which was good. She was predictable, easy to see through. The spoiled and capricious Empress, whose strong emotions made her both powerful and yet easy to control. It was a role she knew well to play. Even her clumsy attempts to denigrate Arlan Toth were part of that role. She didn't expect Darius to buy her story, or to lose faith in Arlan just because of what she had said. Nonetheless she was certain her words had left at least some impact with him. It would be enough for the moment.

Someone was coming.
She opened her eyes and found Arlan Toth walking towards her from across the large room.
"Master Toth" she greeted him politely and offered a slight nod.
"You little snake!" the Nautolean hissed. Suddenly she was grabbed violently from behind, her arms were painfully twisted behind her back as she was pulled up.Assessing the situation Shiromy counted at least 2 guards behind her, plus maybe two or three more standing back in case their brothers had trouble holding her. No doubt the hassle would attract more brothers within the next few moments. An interesting situation. In fact, though, Toth preempted that, as by a wave of his hands the guards holding her began to move and dragged her out of the meditation chamber and into the large community hall, where quite a number of brothers were currently present. It took only moments until they had the undivided attention of everyone around. A public specacle then. Shiromy thought. Works for me!

"This is a demonstration." Toth announced loudly, so everyone around could hear him. "One of us has fallen, lost her loyalty to our cause, spreading lies to turn us against each other." Then he turned to her. "Did you really think I wouldn't find out about your little scheme?" He gnarled. "Did you really think you could take my place?"
"Your place?" Shiromy rebuked with a smile. The pain from her twisted arms didn't really bother her. "This was never your place. You are a fallen pawn of the jedi. A failure, who got too ambitious."
"Ambitious?" Toth growled. "Who is the one scheming to get closer to our great leader?"
"I won't deny that." Shiromy said openly. "After all, Darius deserves a worthy right hand - something you obviously cannot fulfil." Reaching into her core Shiromy ignited her inner flame. Like a Phoenix rising a burst of fire erupted from her and turned the two guards holding her into ashes within seconds. Free to move again she slowly rose to her feet and came to face Toth. The flames now surrounded her in a firy aura. Paralyzed by shock the other guards dared not to move, afraid to share their fallen brothers' fate.
"You seem to have forgotten who I am." She stated arrogantly and made and inviting gesture.

Toth shot forth, his green lightsaber blade flashing to life as he lashed out for her. Unarmed as she was, she evaded his stab, spun around him and pushed him away, letting him stumble past her towards the gazing crowd. Whirling around Toth attacked again. With swift moves she kept evading his strokes and led him astray again and again. His swings were powerful but predictable. In fact they were intriguingly similar to the way she herself had fought Skywalker aboard the Dominance. For a moment she felt silly for not having realized that back then. But this was not the time to dwell on past mistakes. Even though Toth was blinded by his anger, his attacks were no less dangerous. A moment of distraction, a lucky hit was all it would take to end her life there and then. She needed to ensure neither was granted to him.
"You'll have to do a little better than that, Master Toth!" She taunted, as she once again let him stumble away like a raging bull. "Right now I don't see why Darius would hold you in such a high esteem." Letting out a roar of anger Toth once again attacked. With each missed blow his rage grew more. His attacks became more powerful and relentless. And while they were yet imprecise their raw strength and vehemence at least made them somewhat of a challenge. "What's the matter, Master Toth?" She continued to harass him, purpousfully addressing him with his Jedi title rather than calling him 'Brother'. "You're not letting your pride get the best of you, are you?"
Eventually the fight was getting tiresome and Shiromy decided to change tactics, calling her lightsaber to her from one of the dead guards. Now, for each blow from him she landed a deliberately light hit herself. Every miss from him was answered by a small sting, slash or scratch - superficial wounds that by themselves were relatively harmless. Still their ever growing number was sufficient to wear him down, until Shiromy finally decided to end this farce of a fight. Whirling around him she delivered a slash across his upper legs. Losing his balance Toth dropped to the floor.

Dead silence lasted heavily in the large chamber, as the assembled crowd gazed in anticipation at what would happen next. With her firy aura dying down Shiromy stood over him, her lightsaber hanging losely at her side. Toth had to support himself on his forearms, cowering before her, exhausted, broken, defeated. His breath was heavy and hoarse, as he looked up to her. His eyes were as black as usual but his face was distorted in a mixture of pain and unmasked hate.
"You are beaten." she declared. "Maybe now do you understand."

Someone was clapping. A slow, ponderous applause. Each clap sounded through the hall like a whiplash.

Turning around Shiromy was moderately surprised to find Darius Rygetto standing at the entrance of the hall, watching them. She didn't know how long he had been standing there - all the time she had been focused on Toth.
"Very impressive." Darius said and slowly walked to them. "Were I a Sith I would applaud you for defeating your master with such elegance and finesse." Nicely spoken! Shiromy thought. The way Darius had said this along with the total loss of any sort of appreciation on his face made it unmistakable, that he wasn't exactly happy with the situation. Of course she had risked a lot in scheming against Toth and provoking him like this. In the worst case she would be forced to kill them both now, while her mission was yet unaccomplished. Eventually though Darius turned his attention towards Toth, who was still cowering like a felled beast. "And you, Arlan" he addressed the Nautolean and a trace of sadness appeared on his face. "You cannot imagine how disappointed I am to see you like this."
"Darius" Toth gasped and clumsily tried to at least sit up. "She tricked me!"
"I can see that." Darius returned simply. "And you fell for it."
"She wants to turn us against each other!" Toth protested. "She will destroy us!"
Darius turned towards Shiromy and threw her a questioning look, a long, piercing gaze that would have shattered event he bravest of hearts. Devoid of any emotion Shiromy simply held this gaze and eventually returned an uncomprehending shrug. Darius eventually sighed and turned back towards Toth.
"Whatever her intentions may be, she has revealed to me a fatal flaw." Darius said and crossed his arms. "I would have expected a bit more self-control from someone with your skills and experience. Not only have you let your pride and anger blind you, you also have completely forgotten her worth to our cause." Toth didn't reply, his eyes merely widened in shock about this revelation. Eventually Darius' expression hardened. "And this I cannot tolerate. You are of no further use to me."
"You ..." Toth hissed. "You wouldn't abandon me like this! She's already twisted your mind! Soon it will be you dancing to her pipe!" His head dropped as if the strength was finally fading. As he rose it again, wicked determination burned in his eyes. "One way or the other - I won't see this happen!" From wherever it might come, Toth found the strength to charge at her one last time. Despite his countless injuries he lunged at her with surprising speed. But before he could even cross half the distance, Darius was there to intercept, letting him run right into his igniting lightsaber. A toneless final gasp escape Toth's mouth as his eyes numbly stared at Darius' face, then down at the glowing blade that bored through his chest.
"Forgive me, Brother!" Darius said half-aloud, as he turned off his lightsaber and let Toth collapse into his open arms. "But she is far too powerful to lose her."

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

"Shiromy my dear, you have me conflicted." Despite the polite introduction Shiromy knew that Darius was furious. After the public spectacle climaxing with Arlan Toth's death Rygetto had demanded her to meet him in his chamber. She knew very well how important Toth had been for the Brotherhood. The wolf wandering among the sheep that were the Jedi. Rygetto apparently didn't care whether or not she had made up her story about him. One way or the other Toth had made a grave mistake in letting his actions be dictated by emotions, an absolute tabu for someone of his rank.
"You know yourself, how important you are for our cause. But Arlan was also a valuable part of our Brotherhood. And a dear friend." he continued as controlled as possible. "Being forced to do what I did pains me dearly."
"I was wrong about him." Shiromy admitted guiltfully. "I didn't think he was such a time bomb. Seeing how violently he reacted I have no doubt he would eventually have turned on you as well."
"You're mistaking your position." Darius growled darkly. "Arlan has always been suspicious towards you. Maybe you knew that. Maybe you exploited that and used it against him?"
"Darius" Shiromy said firmly and held his gaze. "Just so we understand each other: You wanted me on your side. I agreed to join you, because I see the potential in your organization, because I see the reason behind your belief. But I also made it clear that if I joined you it would be on my terms. You agreed to that. If Arlan was against that decision, he also was against you. The moment when he started questioning your decisions should have opened your eyes."
"What does that have to do with anything? You question my decision all the time."
"I question everybody's decision if I think it does them good." Shiromy said with a shrug and her expression softened as she tilted her head. "You might want to trust me for once." There was a long moment of silence, where Darius seemed absent-minded, pondering about her words. Or maybe he rather mourned over the loss of his friend. Or maybe he was deliberating a punishment for what she had provoked. Eventually his gaze found her again. A strange sparkle lit up in his wide-open eyes.
"So you want Arlan's place?" Rygetto questioned. "Then earn it! Proove yourself worthy of my trust!" Then his eyes narrowed to small glowing slits. "I want Vince Trageton."

So it all came down to this. As much as she wanted to keep Vince out of this, there was little choice for her now. But this wasn't about her. her personal feelings and interests could not stand in the way of her mission. She had always known that sacrifices would be necessary, if she wanted to see this through. Arlan Toth had merely been the first of many. "Then bring him here."
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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Mako
Lieutenant Commander
Bounty Hunter
Posts: 1609
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:01 pm
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Post by Mako » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:15 am

The recent days had been quiet. Too quiet. But that is what should to have been expected out here in the outer edges of the Galaxy. There were huge events happening out in the galaxy with the brotherhood running around stirring things up. Some of the best that the Coalition had to offer were handling it, others, but that just didn't feel right, not to Mako. 'Mister adventure switch' as his wife of thirty plus years loved to call him, just had to be in the thick of it. Putting his life on the line and risking it all, that was the Mako everyone knew and loved, or so he liked to think anyway. But something had changed since that last battle with the Keepers. Yeah he had lost all but a tiny speck of his power, but something else had changed within him. It wasn't his being in charge of countless others nor his brush with death either. On numerous occasions he had faced, cheated, dealt with, and told death to kiss his backside, and each time he'd come out on top. So what was it this time? What was it that was keeping him from being in front, from dealing with this new threat head on?
"You're not paying attention to your student." Came a voice that was softer than usual.
Snapping out of his self pity for a moment Mako took a glance at his wife Roscha then put his attention on his current charge, Kyaara Trageton. The little eleven year old was currently testing herself against several custom made training droids. The droids were set just two levels below what Mako himself trained at, which was rather impressive as Ferris and Roscha could only handle one level below. Kyaara was showing promise until she finally got tired of trying to out think her opponents then commence to obliterating them with energy blasts. Which garnered a growl from Mako. "No,no, no, no!"
Kyaara gave him a sheepish look. "What's wrong?"
"What's wrong is that you just blew away your competition without out smarting nor out maneuvering them."
"But why have power if I can't use it? You're just like my dad with those rules."
Mako shook his head. "You're bright for your age girl, but between the two of us you are the one who is blind."
"What?"Kyaara obviously took offense to what Mako had just said. "I'm not blind and Still don't get your rule."
Mako sighed. "The rule comes from power without perception."
Kyaara cocked her head to the side a bit."Percepwhaaa?"
"Wisdom, dear. Power without wisdom has no true worth."
"Well Duh of course power has no price to it." Kyaara remarked sarcastically
"No not priceless, worthless." Seeing Kyaara's confused look Mako continued to explain. "To put it a better way think of it this way, those droids you blasted away, What did you learn from them?"
"That they blew up real good?"
"Ok and what else? Did you learn of any way to beat them without showing your true strength? Did you find out their true intentions or how to play them against themselves. Did you get them to show you the true extent of what they can do before you made them blow up real good?"
Kyaara shook her head to all of Mako's questions. "No I didn't."
"See? And on top of that you've just shown anyone who might have been watching, all that you were capable of, giving them an edge and a possible way to best you on their terms."
"But haven't I also shown that they should fear me and never think to challenge me?" Kyaara asked.
At that Mako laughed. "Dear child, Fear you they might, but they'll always challenge you, and in the end you will find that someone more powerful will come along. And unless you learn how and most importantly WHEN to use your power you will find that not only have you brought destruction to all that you love, you'll have also brought about your own death."
Kyaara sighed. "i thought these we're fighting lessons for me to get the title of Zhawn ti' Kur, not philosophy classes. I get enough of those at home."
"And you'd be smart to pay attention to those. You'll find the two closely related. Think Kyaara when was the last time you ever saw your Dad just rush into something, go all out and completely destroy all of his enemies? Never right?"
Kyaara nodded. "Yeah."
"He tests them," Mako continued on, "finds their weakness, sees if they can be bent, broken, or played, before he goes in for the kill. Never, unless pushed to it, does he show even half of his real strength. And even then he goes back and changes his tactics to always keep others guessing, on their toes and always overconfident. These are things that he employs at all times whether in politics, trade or battle."
"So why isn't dad the one teaching me all of this." Kyaara asked.
"Quite simply, because all you'd do is copy him. Eventually someone will figure him out and best him. My job as well as Roscha's is to help create your own way. One that is as unexpected and chaotic as mine, but as effective as his."
Kyaara smiled at that. "So I'd be a combination of both of you! I'd be unstoppable!"
"A combination? Yes. Unstoppable? No. There will always be checks in place?"
"There will?" Kyaara pouted.
Mako nodded "Just like you will be a check for others. But for now enough of this talk. Back to the lesson at hand, power without wisdom. It's time that you got that wisdom, and the best way is the same way that we showed your mother." Reaching into his pocket Mako produced a simple metallic sphere that he held out to Kyaara on the palm of his hand and smiled. "Now take the sphere from my hand."
Power without perception is worthless and of no use.
Current WIP The Lost Fleet everything else is on hold.

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FunkyFreshMan
Lieutenant JG
Rebel Alliance
Posts: 602
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:55 pm

Post by FunkyFreshMan » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:08 am

Frost leaned back in his chair and took a puff from his pipe. Since his meeting with Imperial lieutenants Valis and Rying, his mind had not stopped racing. It didn’t surprise him that Commander Jassik had promised to scout Korriban but was instead going to assault a Brotherhood command base on Raxus. It didn’t surprise him that Jassik had enlisted the aid of the Imperial delegates to help sneak his men into Raxus, nor did it surprise him that he did all of this without so much as a word to his commanding officers. That was all normal; that’s just how Dav worked. As long as it got the job done, it didn’t really matter to Frost how he did it.
What did bother him however, were the councilors. His disdain for them was growing every day, and it was getting harder to hide that from them. A man can only smile at an idiot for so long before he snaps and ends up punching him in the face—at least, that’s how Frost always perceived it. Faarg would have a field day if he discovered Jassik’s deception, and the fact that Frost was now aware of it meant he couldn’t deny his knowledge about it should things break down to a court-martial. Faarg was already in a tirade about the recent scuffle between the Republic and Imperial engineers. He demanded that Frost take some kind of action against both parties and was furious when the old admiral gave him the old “boys will be boys” line.
With the pipe clenched between his teeth, Frost stood and slowly sauntered over to the large viewport at the far end of his quarters. The view outside was peaceful. He ran his eyes over the other ships in the fleet, which hung in low, geosynchronous orbit around Yavin’s fourth moon. The waning rays of the distant, setting sun kissed the hulls of a dozen or so metal beasts which, when combined with the blood-red bounce light from the gas giant itself, gave the whole scene an eerie sense of warm serenity.
However, that serenity only lasted for a few moments before Frost’s troubles returned to him. The Brotherhood, the Jedi, the councilors, the Empire, the unauthorized mission to Raxus—it just continued to compound. He couldn’t just hang around in-system, waiting for orders. He would have to take some kind of action eventually. His men were restless; tensions were running high. Everybody seemed to know that something big was going to happen soon, but no one knew what, when or where.
A buzzing at the door made Frost jump slightly. His men weren’t the only ones who had been on edge lately. He answered to find that the caller was a young Jedi girl, just a Padawan, sent by her master to deliver more paperwork to Frost’s desk. She carried out her task swiftly and courteously then, before leaving, she gave a polite bow and a thin smile. Frost returned the gesture and gave the girl a bar of rich Ithorian chocolate from his personal stash as a sort of payment.
Once the girl had gone, Frost collapsed into his chair and rubbed the exhaustion from his eyes. That young Padawan was one of dozens still holed up on the WildFire. While some Jedi struck out on their own for various reasons, many had chosen to stay under the WildFire’s protection or simply had nowhere else to go. They were all waiting for Frost to do something, expecting him to do something. They all seemed to fail to realize that he was just a military man—not a diplomat, not a politician. There was little he could do that wouldn’t end up putting them at risk. Even if there was, he couldn’t abandon his post at Yavin, not with that bloodsucker Faarg and his merry band of advisors constantly watching over his shoulder, waiting for him to make one wrong move so they could burn him.
He leaned back in his chair again and let his eyes slide shut. Maybe Faarg wasn’t the answer. The Quarren, Narine, seemed like a reasonable woman. Perhaps she was more understanding than her Gotal counterpart was. If Frost could just work around Faarg and get straight to Narine, maybe he could actually get what the advisors were supposed to be giving him in the first place—advice.
Considering that epiphany a small victory amongst the many ongoing battles, Frost extinguished his pipe then retired to his bedroom for some much-needed rest.
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
I'm the guy who stole your sweetroll.

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