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Star Wars 138 ABY: Together, Alone

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Sinrebirth , May 4, 2019.

  1. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    Helinith
    walking in the air…

    "A key? Don't you think, if I had a key, I would be asking for your input, apprentice?"
    Helinith coughed and knelt before him at her teacher’s correction, head bowed in submission, hands resting on her knees. She’d been careless, and insulted his intelligence.
    “No, Master.”
    She listened carefully to the rest of his instructions, a smile playing at the corner of her mouth when he mentioned distracting the turrets only once. It’s all I’ll need. She could already see a plan unfurling in her mind, playing like a movie.
    “I need a base of operations in known space, and if you are good, I will let you have the castle when we all done with the conquest of the galaxy."
    “What? Seriously?! Master--!” Her head snapped up and her eyes blazed with a fierce pride as she swallowed a shriek of delight that was desperate to escape. “Master, thank you.”
    The next half an hour was spent preparing, practicing. Helinith stood on the launch’s boarding ramp, opening and closing the boarding ramp and practicing accelerating the landing craft remotely using the force, over and over again. Making sure she was pressing the right buttons, making sure the timing was right for her run. It might have been excessive but the difference was life or death. The last bit of her plan, she couldn’t practice, but she’d have to get it right, or she’d die. She was fairly sure it would work, she had done it a couple of times before, though not since her ‘deep sleep’ and never from so high up. No pressure.
    Finally, ready.
    She suited up into a mask and protective layer that would protect her from the ever-present, erosive precipitation of Vijun (although not before starting on a new stick of gum) and quickly began the process of launching the little craft from its mothership.
    “All my limbs are accounted for, I’m ready to go!”
    She kept the com open for safety reasons, but wasn’t nessessarily expecting a response from him. That wasn’t his way. The new master would be far more likely to watch silently, observing, considering, judging.
    The launch craft’s decent through the upper atmosphere was uneventful and the silence was dreadful. Every hair on her body bristled with electrical adrenaline, and she found herself repeatedly distracted, first pacing across the cabin, then rocking from side to side from foot to foot, and finally balancing herself on one hand upside down. It wasn’t just the danger of what she was about to do, she’d been in many dangerous situations before. No, this was the anticipation of seeing Bast again.
    A monument to the past. Like herself, it had stood still while the rest of the galaxy moved forward in time. What would they find? What would she find?
    The timer she set three minutes before cut through her musing, swirling heart and reaching out with the force, she opened the boarding ramp. Gripping tightly onto the hydraulics, she got her first glimpse of the castle. The central tower cut through the clouds ahead, mineute from this distance, a solitary sentinel for the rest of the building concealed below it.
    A proximity alert from the control panel behind her buzzed and the landing craft rocked slightly as Inspid's shuttle gracefully swooped past.
    Brazzack! Brazzack!
    "One… two… three…"
    She heard the two ion cannons begin to fire, their trailing shots cutting through the vapour trail of the nimble shuttle, which was now accelerating away through the acidic clouds.
    "Four… five… six… seven..."
    Helinith reached out a hand and remotely tapped the sequence she'd practiced before, forcing the landing craft up to full speed. It rattled a slight complaint but was obedient as it pulled forwards, rain splattering across the lowered boarding ramp and her helmet.
    "Eight… nine… ten… eleven…"
    She walked back as far as she could go into the craft.
    "Twelve… thirteen…"
    Breath.
    "Fourteen, FIFTEEN!"
    She ran forward, down the ramp and threw herself from the launch, falling towards the spire below. Above her, the launch flew away from her, but she was more concerned with making sure she was going to land on her chosen tower, as the others rose out of the perpetual mist. Clawing fingers reaching up to bring her home.

    Tag: @Sinrebirth if he wants, otherwise nobody.

    Sent from my left elbow using Tapatalk
     
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  2. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    IC: Helinith
    "I have been falling for 30 minutes!!" - Loki

    "WAHOOOOOOOOOOOO"

    The scream was a mix of delight and terror. The sheer absurdity of what she was doing was not lost on Helinith, but make do and mend. They did not have jetpacks, and anyway, the advantage of falling was that gravity accelerated you past the point where anything could aim at you. However she doubted the defence system had detected her: she was too small a target and in the rain, her heat signature would be masked.

    The spires rose up to meet her, shooting towards her like huge projectiles and Helinith reached out a hand.

    Now.

    She pushed.

    Nothing happened. Why was she not slowing down?

    She force pushed again, a little stronger but she was still falling and hadn't slowed at all. The tower was rushing towards her, way too close. She couldn't slow in time.

    "No!"

    She brought both her arms round and bringing her fear to bare, used it to push as hard as she could.

    The push flung her back up into the air, only half a metre from splatting onto the maintenance hatch, but she was now completely off course. She was going to miss her landing point.

    "Kriff!! I can't…"

    She desperately reached out to grab something, anything. The fingertips of her gloves brushed metal and she gripped with all her might, her body slamming into steel with a sickening thud.

    It took her a while after the ringing in her ears had cleared to realise she’d closed her eyes. Cautiously, she opened them.

    She was dangling, approximately five hundred meters up in the air. Her hands were gripping onto the edge of the maintenance platform on the central spire. Half a kilometre below her feet, the main body of the castle meandered in and out of view through the low-seated, poisonous clouds. The only sound was the wheezing mechanical filter in her mask, struggling to keep up with her shaking, gasping breaths.

    First one arm, then the other, she dragged her body over the side of the platform. She lay and patted the rigid platform below her gratefully, her entire body trembling with adrenalin.

    "It's okay Helinith, you're alive." She wiggled her toes in her boots, to make sure they were still there. "And all limbs still attached. Bonus!" She heaved herself over onto her back. Rain splattered her helmet with a soft patter which tickled the back of her brain in a familiar song.

    Home...


    "I was watching some kids on Manann and they were doing this game with tiny balls of glass."

    "Go on."

    "You draw two circles and you have to knock them out by flicking the balls in."

    "There's some ball bearings in the repair store We could use ... Four you didn't!"

    "I stole it from one of them when they weren't looking. It's what they drew the circles with. It ain't half messy though. The inside of pouch is covered in it."

    "If D3 seses your jumpsuit like that, he'll skin you alive. Try to brush it off. Help her out, Three."

    "Don't make me do it, tell Five to do it."

    "I don't want to do it, she should clean her own stupid pouch."

    "Lot of help you are. Here, Four. Give it to me."

    "Shhhhhhh shhhhhhh. He's coming."


    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  3. HanSolo29

    HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Aryan Graul
    Eastern Docks, Nuba City Spaceport, Nubia

    The explosion erupted without warning, blowing the west-facing wall of the warehouse inward in a shower of sparks and debris. Aryan had only a mere glimpse of Ona being engulfed by flame ahead of the shockwave that forcefully propelled him from his feet, tossing him into a pillar of stacked cargo containers nearby. The pyramid teetered dangerously under the force of his impact before it toppled to the floor with a thunderous crash, half-burying Aryan in an avalanche of prefabricated parts and synthetic cast-plast casings.

    Fortunately, the containers fell in such a way that Aryan found himself enclosed in a sort of cocoon in the center of the wreckage, affording him a safe vantage point to observe his assailants as they came barging through the recent opening they had created. With his ears ringing sharply from the explosion, he rose up onto his haunches and peered out through a considerable gap in his makeshift shelter.

    What he saw did not evoke much confidence. In fact, it was everything he had feared since starting his covert operation to aid the Alliance nearly two years ago – the Sith-Imperial army had found him. They advanced quickly, two squads at first, allotting him no time to mourn his fallen comrade.

    Even as he swiped the back of his hand casually across his cheek to stem the flow of blood from a minor laceration, he noted that the situation only continued to escalate. Through the smoke and mire still billowing around the breach, he could just make out the mechanical movements of a walker, no doubt the source of the deadly blast. And beyond that was something far more sinister:

    A Sith.

    Aryan expelled a heavy breath and shoved himself away from the opening, falling back into a sitting position to rest his head against one of the overturned containers. He didn’t have much hope against that. While he could try to sweet talk his way out of this, he didn’t want to reveal his face to the Sith, not when he already held a prominent position on the Nubia Ruling Council. Not only would it destroy his career, endanger his own life, and compromise the efforts he had put in place here, but it would expose his family and put them at significant risk – his wife, son, and his parents. That wasn’t a chance he was willing to take. He needed to find another way.

    That’s when he spotted the bulky frame of one of the loader droids pinned helplessly under one of the wayward cargo canisters. A series of black pockmarks marred its upper chassis where it had taken flak and one of its outstretched limbs appeared mangled and twisted askew, now barely holding on to the artificial tendons that kept it attached to its barrel-chested body. But it was the small device clenched within the pincers at the end of that limb that caught Aryan’s attention – a key remote.

    The Crossfire, of course!

    He had to smile at the irony of it all. He had fought Ona vehemently about not getting involved, and now the same starfighter she had tried to use as a bargaining chip to get him to concede could very well save his life.

    This is for you, Ona, looks like you got your way after all.

    Snatching the key remote from the droid, Aryan tightened his fist around it and began to inch forward at a careful pace. He noted that the overhead lighting had also failed in the assault, immersing the interior of the warehouse into thick darkness. That would provide some much-needed cover, but he still had to stay attentive.

    With a sharp intake of breath, he climbed atop the nearest cargo container and squeezed his body through his lookout spot, tumbling onto the floor a short time later. When he landed, he instinctively crouched down and remained very still for a moment to make sure that he had not been detected, only carrying on toward the Crossfire after he was certain the cost was clear.

    As he approached, Aryan triggered the remote to put the starfighter through its start-up sequence. He had to move quickly now, the whine of the fighter’s engines would certainly draw unwanted attention and bring the troopers scurrying to investigate.

    He was right; the onslaught of blaster fire began just as he reached the overhang beneath the main fuselage.

    Gritting his teeth, Aryan leapt for the nodules on the side of the fighter’s hull and ascended toward the cockpit. He then assumed his position behind the controls and swiftly got to work, his hands moving across the panel with a pilot’s precision. It was all second-nature to him at this point, and soon the canopy was lowering into place, all the while blaster bolts continued to ricochet savagely off the transparisteel.

    It was in this precarious situation that Aryan realized that the fighter hadn’t been fully tested yet; it was fresh off the assembly line.

    “Well, too late now,” he muttered under his breath as he pulled the flight helmet over his head, a sardonic grin lifting one corner of his mouth. “Here goes nothing…”

    Inhaling deeply, Aryan clenched the control yoke in both hands and flipped his right thumb over the knob for the laser cannons. As the Crossfire began to hover off the ground, he opened fire in the direction of the Sith and his onrushing troops.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  4. NickLitYouAFlame

    NickLitYouAFlame Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    The blue-eyed, gold-skinned beauty is back with Sinrebirth approval!

    Name:
    Ryu Brightstar
    Age: 29
    Species: Firrerreon
    Gender: Male
    Personal effects: Blue lightsaber with a scored and smudged hilt, Blue lightsaber with double-length hilt, military issue blaster pistol, Azure Motoworks Sunfish personal yacht
    Appearance: Ryu is a relatively attractive member of his species, but the chaos of the last ten years has taken its toll. His once smooth golden face is now marked by thin silver scars and often unshaven. Ryu has piercing, bright blue eyes. He is 1.91m, lithe, and lightly muscled, with more scars covering his torso and legs. His hair is striped black and silver, once cut short, but now messy and down over his ears.
    Bio: Ryu was born by another name on Firrerre. His father was one of the leaders of the resurrection process and was handsomely rewarded for his service with a large plot of land for plantation work. In keeping with Firrerreon tradition, Ryu kept his true name a secret and assumed the created identity of Ryu Brightstar.

    At 17, he left Firrerre to seek his own fortunes away from the influence of his father. Ryu found steady work as a courier and gun for hire, making a modest but stable wage. When he was 19, he received a message from his father who requested he collect a package from Anaxes. This package turned out to be a holocron of the former Sith Lord Darth Andeddu, and it thrust Ryu directly into the center of the galactic conflict.

    In a bizarre series of events, Ryu somehow killed a Jedi and two Sith, before being saved by another, and, while off planet, Firrerre was glassed once again, taking his father with it. With his compatriot turned lover Jule Ors, Ryu was left as one of the leaders of the Anaxes resistance. After taking back the planet, he left his position to train in the Force and has spent several years off world.

    For your viewing pleasure: The Sunfish
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Immortal Mod-King of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Jule Ors
    Nowhere

    She was nowhere.

    Specifically, Port Nowhere.

    [​IMG]

    Once an old Azalus-class Hutt dreadnaught, from back when the Hutts made warships, now it was a roving space station and shadowport, and, since the Sith-Imperial attack on holy Hutt world of Da Soocha, one more refugee ship among the stars. It had, by virtue of said status, became a meeting point for all manner of refugee from the Empire. But now, with the One Sith abandoning all strategic sense and attacking neutral worlds, devastating once-friendly systems for a few traitors, and generally making an example of the slightest hint of resistance, it had became a collection point for all refugees, be they Alliance, True Imperial, or any other allegiance.

    The rest of the surviving ships had arrived from Anaxes an hour ago.

    A decade ago, they had taken back Anaxes from the Empire, which had been using the world as a staging point for raids into the Inner Core. The Empire had been routed, and it seemed as if the tide was about to turn - before Caamas. Before the Galactic Alliance fleet was lured into a trap and surrendered. With that surrender, the Sith-Imperials, as they were now known, what with the Emperor having been overthrown and driven into hiding, Anaxes had no choice but to accept a Sith overlord, as the entire Alliance now had to.

    Jule Ors had reached out to Ryu Brightstar, the man who had saved Anaxes with her. But, after the Jedi massacre on Ossus, she had heard no further. Perhaps, she reasoned, he had traveled to the Temple there to join the Order proper. It had been poor timing, if so. She just didn't know.

    Seven long years later, and Jule and the Anaxes Resistance had, as the name suggested, resisted.

    In the last year, the momentum had shifted, with Sith-Imperial defeats stacking up, but the One Sith had struck back, and regardless of the casualties the Sith were taking, they were destroying the galaxies hope. The fact that the One Sith would be too weak to even hold what they took was not sufficient to sooth wounds, to cover the loss they had undertaken. Jule had not left Anaxes in ten years, and here she was now.

    Nowhere.

    The survivors were mainly families and wounded, and only a handful of soldiers remained. Within a few hours of reaching the Hutt ship, they had vanished, leaving their weapons and comlinks. Families began to vanish into the endless tide of refugees, and Jule was losing what little she had left to save them.

    Keying her comlink, Jule went to raise someone to coordinate matters, and realised that she didn't have anyone left.

    Taking a shuddering breath, she keyed her comlink to an old frequency, one which she hadn't used for years, save to feel as if she was talking to Ryu, in whatever grave he inhabited. A tear streaked down her dirt-clad cheek. "Ryu, we lost everything today."

    Serendipity being what it was, of course, the Sunfish was in-system, milling among the various ships that were entering and departing from the rendezvous. The pain, anguish, and fear that filled the Hutt ship was a roiling bleeding wound in the Force, and Ryu would have to accept that as he arrived, ostensibly on a supply run. Even a Force user needed to resupply, after all.

    It was a large galaxy.

    Enough to get lost in for ten years.

    But the One Sith were making it smaller with every passing hour. The safe parts were becoming dangerous; the shadows of worlds were becoming deeper; the fires of war were spreading.

    And so that is how the two of them ended up here, and now, at this point in time. Whether their paths would cross in truth, why, that question was beyond even the power of luck.

    TAG: @NickLitYouAFlame
    ---
    IC: Moff Geist

    Aboard the War Hammer, Coruscant orbit, making for the edge of the gravity well with the Sith-Imperial Armada

    The Anzati dove somewhat deeper into philosophy than Geist was prepared to follow, but he managed to follow it. Darker than Sith? How curious. While intellectually it was logical that the dark side was not the sole monopoly of the Sith - insofar as much as the Empire had faced the Imperial Knights and other light side sects, there had been very few actual instances of these groups surviving to the current era.

    The Moffs knew, having sought out the Embers of Vahl, the Nightsisters, and other dark side sects to find a rival to the Sith, but they were all gone. But for a Sith to reference the dark rather than the Sith... how intriguing. The Moffs needed to know, ideally before Krayt won the war by destroying the Empire.

    Geist snapped back as Bernael spoke of the troops. "Certainly, my lord." A full battalion was spread across the hangar, with shuttles by the entrance. The cavernous hold held all manner of Nu-class and Fury-class shuttle and assault ship, with fighters in other hangars, be them TIE Predators or the new Sith variants, which were more clawcraft than TIE.

    Geist gestured to one of the walkers to the rear of the hangar, an upgraded version of the AT-ST from the Old Empire. "I shall be commanding from a walker, so as to have the maximum mobility and assault power. If we are deployed, the enemy will have withdrawn underground or to a hardened location our orbital weapons cannot reach. Lightsabers and so forth, triggered traps, probably rocks dropped on us from a great height." He sounded dismissive. Then he opted to acknowledge the hundreds of Stormtroopers present.

    "May I present the 407th Stormtrooper Division, and our infamous Joker Squadron." Four troopers stood at the front of the division, which snapped to attention. "Sergeant Harkas, Corporal Trask, I would present Lord Bernael, who shall be our liaison for the rest of the attack on the Hidden Temple."

    [​IMG]
    Ran 'Hardcase' Harkas

    [​IMG]
    Anson Trask

    They dutifully saluted, Trask a little more sharply than Harkas, but crisply nonetheless. "My Lord," they both said.

    Geist left Bernael to say whatever he needed to say. The Sith were expected to at least say something to the men and women they about to command. Geist could, of course, but he wouldn't. Geist was a known factor; he had lead troops in the battles of Anaxes and Corulag during the Sith-Imperial War, and the fleet at Dac before it was routed. Unless some of the other Moffs, he was a militant man.

    Bernael, however, was not, and Geist was experienced enough to know that the battalion would need to know who they served. Darth Maleval had not respected this battalion, and specifically the speartip, Joker Squad, and Maleval had not returned from the First Battle of Borosk alive. Geist had covered it up, as he did with all Sith deaths caused by Sith-Imperials...

    ... but today was too important to risk. The destruction of the Jedi would confirm the Empire's rule would last for all the longer. Only a fool would discount that the rise of the Jedi was the antecedent to that of the Empire. With the Jedi firmly removed, the Moffs could deal with the Sith in earnest.

    Basically, better the devil you know than the one you don't.

    He waited for Bernael to speak to his troops.

    TAG: @darthbernael
    ---
    IC: Darth Insipid

    Vjun, Bast Castle

    She was down. Insipid could sense as much, and he flicked the channel open as he wheeled the shuttle around from low-orbit, having completed his sole pass to distract the automated defences. Helinith had done well, but he would withhold support for now. "I am coming in," he confirmed to her, which basically gave Vader's Daughter about fifteen minutes to get in, switch off the defences, and basically stop him from being shot out the air.

    If she was trapped outside without him, the acid rain would have its way with her in a matter of hours.

    Hours was too long. With the One Sith active across the galaxy, it was only a matter of time before they found them.

    The hangar doors to the castle showed evidence of having been replaced since she had last been here, but the external controls remained the same. It was about as much as Helinith could hope for, but at least the recognition scanner and so forth were slightly under cover so she could risk exposing her face. Of course... there were an array of automated defences sliding to pick on her, now that they were no longer distracted by Insipid's shuttle...

    TAG: @darthhelinith
    ---
    IC: Darth Unrepe

    Nubia, Skirmish, Warehouse

    The tip had been sound, and Darth Unrepe had been given instructions to follow up any lead, no matter how spurious. They could always discover some kind of sedition or resistance or basic nonchalance to the directives of the Sith. This, however, appeared to be a full blown Alliance cell - a Crossfire, of all things. Inconceivable. The Quarren would be sure to execute the officers responsible for this district - maybe some local politicians to underscore the cost of indolence.

    [​IMG]

    He ignited his crimson blade and strode forward as the Rebel, too far away to immediately identify, fled to the ship, which was armed. Half the troopers were cut down before the rest dove away, and Unrepe deflected a barrage of bolts. Lifting his hand, he turned his palm, nudging the Crossfire to the left and the stream of fire turned with the nose of the fighter craft. He kept the Force there, and went to charge, as Ona Antilles burst from the pile of bricks, bloodied and bruised, and tackled the Sith from behind, sending him tumbling.

    A shout over the noise as the troopers opened fire; it might not even be heard. "Go!"

    A vibration in his pocket; his personal comlink. It was Lyz.

    A keening on the ship comms, which had been tuned to Imperial ordances; an order across the local channel to the airbase to launch a flight of Predators.

    The sensors confirming the walker was moving closer to the building, clearly intending to enter the warehouse through the breach and add its firepower to the duel.

    TAG: @HanSolo29
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  6. NickLitYouAFlame

    NickLitYouAFlame Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Holy hell, it's good to be back.

    Ryu Brightstar
    Somewhere

    Feeling the pound of his heart in his chest and ears, Ryu sprinted down a familiar hallway. His legs were jelly and every step was labored, like his body wasn’t cooperating with him. He looked back at three bright beams of light in the looming darkness. Two red and one blue. His feet seemed to sink into the durasteel floor as the lights marched ever closer. Slowly, a cacophonous ringing sound rose up over the sound of his own heartbeat. As the three beams got closer and closer, the sound grew louder and louder. Ryu turned to see three lightsabers rise and begin to strike down on him.

    He jolted awake. A deafening ring was coming from his communication console. His vision swimming, Ryu went to raise up and retched. He lay back, breathing deeply, trying to calm his body. The ring continued to assault his sensitive ears. He groaned to himself. “I thought I turned that alert down."

    Ryu took a second to prepare himself for the monumental task of getting out of his bunk. The sudden influx of stimuli was confusing and annoying. Had anyone else been aboard the Sunfish, he would’ve exposed his feelings by the silver shimmer that ran across his skin.

    With tremendous effort, Ryu stood up, kicking over an empty bottle of Corellian whiskey. The source of his present hardships. He slowly meticulously walked over to the comm unit and clumsily pressed buttons until it turned off. He put his hand on the wall and closed his eyes, taking slow, deep breaths. His mouth tasted like whiskey and his stomach threatened to revolt. Despite his Firrerreon physiology allowing him to resist the effects of alcohol, in large enough quantities he eventually succumbed to them like any other species. The previous night’s endeavors hadn’t even managed to quiet his dreams, as he’d hoped. Thoroughly, a waste.

    After a quick refresh, Ryu stood dressed in his simple black chest piece and pants staring down at his ship’s main terminal. His head was still pounding, but now his pace quickened, as well. It had been three years since he had last seen the frequency that sat blinking on his computer, and even longer since he’d heard the voice on the other end. After his unceremonious departure from Anaxes, Ryu had been too ashamed to answer any of her previous messages. He’d listened to some of them, but eventually even that proved too difficult. What could he have said knowing that he had left her alone, without support, to seek answers that he never found. Answers to questions that he didn’t even understand.

    His finger hovered over the message for a second, that seemed to stretch for minutes, before he played it back. "Ryu, we lost everything today."

    It was short, but surprisingly clear. He could hear a resignation in the words that he’d never heard from Jule. Utter defeat.

    With the message was a set of coordinates. Ryu blinked. He looked at his ships logs and then back at the message. Matching numbers was difficult in his state, so it took a few moments. He toggled the blast shield on the ship’s front viewport. Blinking again at the sudden display, Ryu opened his mouth in disbelief. He had expected to be faced with empty space, and was instead met by a row of starships and a gargantuan dreadnaught. Port Nowhere. “What are the kriffing odds.”

    Besides the fact that Port Nowhere was a several thousand year old Hutt flagship turned space station, which alone was incredible, it was the exact coordinates he had just received from Jule. The Sunfish’s onboard computer droid KR-15 chimed in suddenly. “The probability of you being in this exact location are 100%, because it is where you are.”

    Ryu rolled his eyes. “Shut up, Kris. You know what I meant.”

    Ryu’s mind was reeling as he gathered his gear that he had strewn about the ship the previous night. He clipped both of his lightsabers onto his belt, running his fingers over the scores marked into his original one. Was he really going to see Jule after all this time? And so suddenly. He holstered his pistol and climbed down a ladder to his small two-seater shuttle, the SF-1. He couldn’t just run again. Not when fate or the Force or whatever so clearly wanted him to face his shame.

    Ryu flew the short distance to Port Nowhere, leaving Kris in charge of the ship in stand-by mode. As he got closer and closer, Ryu’s heart started to pound again. He closed his eyes and slowed his breathing, focusing on the flow of energy around him to calm down. His skin still rippled silver slightly.

    After passing through the security check, he sat the shuttle down in the main hangar. He wished he still had some whiskey left. Anything to calm his nerves, because meditating wasn’t working. Ryu disembarked and walked over to the first protocol droid he could find. He realized that he didn’t know her current title, so with a crack in his voice, he asked, “Can you tell me the location of Jule Ors. She would have been with the Anaxes refugees.”

    Tag: @Sinrebirth
     
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  7. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC: Darth Bernael
    Location: Hangar bay


    Bernael swept his gaze, and his senses, across the assembled troops, and ships, taking in all the details he could while Moff Geist spoke. He thought about the snippets he had felt from the Moff before he began the introductions, the man was curious and interested in how he could think of himself as a creature of darkness rather than a Sith, entirely. That could be discussed later, should there be a later. He had studied various units before coming to the flagship and the 407th had a history, storied yes but also with its various negative experiences. As did Joker Squad. That much he’d known, but as his mind swept over the troops he learned even more, even the touch of anxiety from the Moff.

    His eyes blackened again, a hint of dark energy gathered around the openings in the mask. Moff Geist had finished and clearly expected him to introduce himself, and say something, perhaps inspirational, to the assembled force.

    His voice amplified through the Force, “Take your ease, 407th. You know my name as the Moff has stated it for you, but you know me not, not yet. This will be no simple task, and I am certain that who we face, and their own forces, will require this Division to engage, on the surface. My job is to ensure you are able to do yours, without fear of the Jedi decimating you, or the other Sith engaging in their usual shenanigans. The Moff know, but I will repeat to you, I will ensure that as much of this Division as possible returns following this mission.”

    Letting loose of the energy amplifying his voice, he spoke more privately to Joker Squad. “I am certain you and I will be working in close conjunction to ensure the outcome of our portion, at least, of this battle. You may not know how or why, but with everything in my Power I will bring you home.”

    Finally he went silent, or appeared to do so. In reality, he continued, but only mentally, to the Moff, to the Sergeant, and the Corporal. ‘Gentlemen, the Moff knows how I intend to function, what I mean to accomplish here, what I am, but beside him no one knows for sure, save you two now. I am an Anzat, and I do mean to bring you all back. Which means that which you three hide need not occur. We do not need a repeat of Darth Maleval. Of course I will not treat you as he did.’

    Turning back to the Moff, he could tell that his silent message was not fully a surprise to the man, especially as he’d indicated he had some knowledge of the Anzati. “You lead a unit that deserves to come back from this battle. So let us make sure they return, as whole as possible.”

    The darkness around his eyes faded and they shifted back to silver as he let what he had said both verbally and mentally sink in. He stood, relaxed as the message was absorbed, and he was sure the Sergeant and Corporal would have their own questions, at least once they were in motion.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  8. HanSolo29

    HanSolo29 Manager Emeritus + Official Star Wars Artist star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2001
    IC: Aryan Graul
    Cockpit, CF9 Crossfire, Nubia

    The Crossfire’s laser cannons hummed, sending several volleys of crimson energy careening across the warehouse with deadly precision. Supply containers instantly splintered and bodies scattered in all directions, some even pinwheeling several feet into the air before disappearing in the ever-expanding mass of smoke and flame. It was complete pandemonium.

    But unfortunately – impossibly – the chaos was not enough to stop a Sith.

    Aryan stared in disbelief and uttered a sharp curse as the creature waded through the debris with a scarlet blade in hand, fire licking hungrily at the edges of his cloak. With a sweeping arc of his saber, he easily deflected the heavy barrage of laserfire directed at him before lifting his opposite hand toward the fighter itself.

    The Crossfire shuddered beneath Aryan's seat, prompting him to clench his teeth and take the control stick in both hands. He pulled back, to starboard, to port...and yet, the fighter did not respond to his commands. The nose continued to tip precariously toward the Sith, as if caught in a powerful vacuum that was preventing him from advancing, the haul beginning to buckle and screech under the strain.

    He had heard tales about the Force and how the Jedi and Sith were able to manipulate it at will, but it was quite remarkable to actually see it in action. It might have been a captivating experience, if not for the very real danger he was in.

    Even as he struggled with the controls, the Sith charged forward to finish the job. Aryan could see him clearly now, his glowing, yellow eyes and his bared teeth contorting his features into a grotesque visage that will forever remain etched in his memory. But just as he raised his blade to lunge, a figure broke free from a pile of rubble nearby and tackled the creature from behind. A brief scuffle ensued as both beings tumbled to the ground.

    Aryan only had time to balk, his jaw unhinged in surprise, before a familiar voice called out from the melee, “GO!”

    Ona.

    A smirk softened his expression at this revelation; she had survived.

    But probably not for long, he realized with some dismay. He had to make this count.

    Wiping the sweat from his eyes, Aryan locked the retractable visor in place and flipped various switches on the control panel. The Crossfire responded with a steady thrum of her engines as all systems came online. It was surprisingly soothing, a reminder that he was finally back where he belonged; this was home.

    This sentiment helped to strengthen his resolve. Clenching his jaw, he engaged the thrusters and the fighter surged forward with a burst of incredible speed, the afterburners stirring up even more debris in its wake.

    A triumphant yell escaped his lips with the sudden rush of adrenaline, the fighter now angling toward the gaping hole in the side of the warehouse to make his escape. As he passed Ona and the Sith, he leaned forward and offered her a respectful salute for her sacrifice. At this point, her fate was out of his hands.

    In short order, he was blasting free of the dilapidated structure and climbing for orbit, his lasers peppering the walker and what remained of the trooper contingent in his ascent. It was at this point that his comm and control panel began to light up with various readings. While some of them were simple sensor and ship diagnostic reports scrolling across his HUD, others proved far more concerning.

    One in particular caught his attention straight away – a local Imperial ordnance channel that relayed the order to launch a flight of Predators, presumably to intercept him before he could flee into hyperspace.

    Aryan frowned at this, his lips pressing together with consternation.

    Great.

    He had to get out of here.

    Surely, the Alliance brass had considered a contingency plan. He could only hope that this Crossfire had been pre-programmed with fixed coordinates on how to find the Alliance fleet, or maybe a failsafe that would trigger the autopilot to bring it to its final destination in case of an emergency.

    Either way, he didn’t have time to thoroughly explore this option; his personal comlink began to vibrate from within his jacket pocket, and his stomach dropped into his feet when he realized it was Lyz. She had a tendency to worry when it came to their covert operations, and she was likely checking in to see what was taking so long for him to complete the supply run. And under the circumstances, he couldn’t simply ignore his wife. It would only make matters worse, especially if she began to do some digging and found out what had happened on her own.

    No, he had to take this. Perhaps he could break it to her easily…

    Reaching into his pocket, Aryan wrestled the comlink free and hastily patched it through to the fighter’s comm system. “Lyz,” he breathed deeply, trying his best to keep the exertion out of his voice. “Sorry for not checking in...you, uh--you caught me at a bad time.”

    Aryan inwardly winced at the excuse, his left hand working swiftly over the control console as he sifted through readouts for the desired information. All the while, he kept a careful eye out for the incoming Predators, his right hand remaining steady on the control stick to maintain his course.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  9. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Immortal Mod-King of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Moff Geist
    Launching the Imperial armada

    “Take your ease, 407th. You know my name as the Moff has stated it for you, but you know me not, not yet. This will be no simple task, and I am certain that who we face, and their own forces, will require this Division to engage, on the surface. My job is to ensure you are able to do yours, without fear of the Jedi decimating you, or the other Sith engaging in their usual shenanigans. The Moff knows, but I will repeat to you, I will ensure that as much of this Division as possible returns following this mission.”


    Geist absently nodded. A good speech. Open and honest - even to the point of referencing Sith shenanigans. The Moff liked that.

    The Anzati then spoke more privately with Joker Squad. “I am certain you and I will be working in close conjunction to ensure the outcome of our portion, at least, of this battle. You may not know how or why, but with everything in my Power I will bring you home.”

    That was... oddly sentimental. Or, perhaps, responsible. "Lord Bernael," said Harkas, saluting anew. "Your honour us with your promise."

    Of course, the next was all the more privately stated, in their very minds. . Gentlemen, the Moff knows how I intend to function, what I mean to accomplish here, what I am, but beside him no one knows for sure, save you two now. I am an Anzat, and I do mean to bring you all back. Which means that which you three hide need not occur. We do not need a repeat of Darth Maleval. Of course I will not treat you as he did.’

    "Yes, you do." Geist said, aloud, as the squad looked to each other. So the Sith did know, but Joker Squad had performed so well that it made no difference to them. Presumably Maleval had his detractors and he was better off dead... or the Anzati had skimmed the thoughts from Geist's mind. One was curious, the other, bothersome.

    Joker Squad saluted all the more straightly. Genuine respect. Precious, in these times of brutal Sith rule. Geist approved of the result, either way.

    He indicated the walker, which was being loaded into the drop-capsule. "Will you ride with me when we deploy, or do you intend to march with Joker Squad?" He indicated their shuttle. "The fleet is en route, so we shall arrive in a few hours yet."

    TAG: @darthbernael
    ---
    IC: Darth Insipid

    Vjun orbit

    Scowling, Insipid could not ascertain what was going on. He was about to his the fortresses immediate weapons range, and if Helinith did not act right now, she was going to get one hell of a face-carving if his ship was damaged.

    TAG: @darthhelinith
    ---
    IC: Jule Ors

    Port Nowhere

    The rust and silver coloured protocol droid, IC-3LY, looked stiffly at the near-human. As rare as his species was, that did not qualify him for special assistance. He was oppressing manumitted droids everywhere by assuming that IC-3LY he was here to serve, and - What did it matter. It took him a millisecond to access the horrendously disorganised Hutt mainframe, and another millisecond to get the data. He might as well be polite.

    The droid pointed. "They did enter Nowhere by docking bay 1138, over there, but I believe the majority have dispersed across the ship now. Why, I believe the landing permit was forged in the name of that young lady -"

    And there she was. Jule Ors. For a very long moment, she stood there, jaw dropped that Ryu was even here. She ran to him, her expression happy, but by the time she closed the distance her emotions grew tumultuous, then stormy. In the seconds it took to reach him, she raised her fist and swung it at his face, tears glistening in her eyes.

    "How could you leave us?"

    TAG: @NickLitYouAFlame
    ---
    IC: Lyz Graul

    Graul Homestead, Nubia

    "Where are you?" Lyz said, talking into the comlink. "There is an alert across the City, and I had an enquiry from Imperials about your last known whereabouts. You haven't done something, have you?" Lyz was, strictly speaking, following a code they had set up. If Imperials came after either of them, they would have a conversation as if they had no idea what the other had been doing, open, and recordable, to exonerate the other. It had been one of Lyz's conditions for them getting involved with the Alliance at all.

    They all knew what the Sith were like, and the wider family and network needed to be protected.

    The Crossfire computer pinged; Aryan was right - Ona had preloaded coordinates to a rendezvous with the Alliance fleet, ready for her to take the Crossfire herself. It was an encrypted route, and tampering with it would erase it. Two, three jumps, not more than a few hours away. Ona wasn't even aware where the fleet currently was - it was following a prerecorded randomised route, though the end location had been decided already. Though in recent memory the system had nearly seen the Alliance destroyed, that had been more to do with a traitor than anything else, and Admiral Stazi had dealt with that, executing the Mon Calamari, even as he promised to try and save the mans family.

    The sensors pinged too; a full squadron of Predators was in the air, and an Ardent-class frigate was moving around the planet edge - the sole Imperial capital ship in-system, so they were seemingly taking Graul's actions particularly seriously.

    "Aryan?"

    TAG: @HanSolo29
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  10. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    IC: Helinith
    Location: Tower Baast/inside

    "I am coming in”

    The crackle over her com woke her from her memory, and she pulled herself into a sitting position, before crawling over to the maintenance hatch.

    It opened easily- it had no locking mechanism. Why would it? It was guarded by a set of enormous turrets. However, getting inside was a more difficult matter. The gap that allowed for access between the power-drive controls was a lot smaller than she remembered. She stuck her head in for a quick look round, before committing to a feet-first approach. As soon as she could, she closed the hatch behind her and pulled off her acid gear, turning it inside out and folding it into a small haversack she was carrying on her back.

    The emergency lighting system was on and it hummed at her as she clambered down the metal staples welded into the central column. She was looking for something specific. The clanking of her boots on steel echoed far more than she liked, but she didn’t have time to creep quietly. “Fifteen down and three to the right…”

    There was a small alcove between two ventilator ducts and she checked it for something. Yes, there it was- above the piping, a small triangular symbol had been carved by her own hands well over one hundred years ago. She wedged herself in and began the process of pulling off the wall panel opposite her make-shift seat. Hidden behind the unremarkable, the central turret automated control master switchboard winked at her gently.

    Home.

    She pulled out her datapad and some leads, but the maintenance and fault code port was exactly the same as before, and she was able to plug straight in.

    //sudo attrib/all

    Automat.exe: [ON]

    start

    WHEN dMove=1

    IF therm.tollerance > 1 AND v > 0.5 for objects >1m^2 RUN traceF.exe

    ELSE goto start;

    Manual.exe: [OFF]

    Mainten.exe: ERROR- !!miss.droid!!


    //sudo RUN 0Xs.exe


    …….loading………

    WARNING!! This will disable turret system: Y/N? to continue or abort

    //Y

    …….removing live rounds

    …….loading “smokers”

    Please input value PLAYER#1:

    //PLAYER#1= COMP.X

    Please input value PLAYER#2:

    //PLAYER#2= COMP.0

    PLAYER1# it is your turn.

    Running COMP.X…………



    Helinith felt the turret open fire above her head. The hydraulics hissed to reload and far away she heard the round explode in what she knew would be a shower of smoke and sparks with a (very rough) ‘X’ formation. She waited for the second script to take its turn, using a small knife to sever the wires governing the medium range defences and security measures from the central control, as she did so. She could come back up here and physically rewire it all later, if needed.


    Running COMP.0……….


    The second turret opened fire after a pause. She wanted to stick around to see who would win, but she had other things to do. Hopefully Insipid would work out where the turrets were firing and keep out of their way. She unplugged her datapad, climbed out of the alcove and continued down the metal staples.

    After around two minutes, the space around her suddenly widened out and the staples ended on a metal platform. This part of the tower contained the support structures for the batteries above and huge metal beams zigzagged across and downwards from her position. There was a metal stairway and, better still, someone had installed a maintenance lift.

    “Jackpot!”

    The idea of climbing down the next 450 metres, even if it was by stairs, had been exhausting. Instead, she whizzed down to the base of the tower in just under two minutes flat.

    The bottom of the tower was secured by locked door, dataport and iris scanner, with some sort of vent above them, close to the ceiling. Helinith looked at it, then slowly balanced herself into a handstand, then just one hand. With her feet in the air, she closed her eyes and began to focus the force to push herself onto the ceiling. It was slow-going and required a ton of concentration. Worse still, she was having trouble finding any anger to draw upon. Excitement? Plenty. Fear? Perhaps a little. Anger? Zilch. Nada. Zero. Frustration? Oh yes. In a strange twist, it seemed getting frustrated about not being angry produced enough frustration to at least get her feet to touch the ceiling. From there, it was much easier to get her hands up, allowing her to sit upside down and pull off the vent’s grate.

    The ray shield behind it sprang to life, but Helinith had been expecting this. Ignoring the shield, she slapped the metal plating to the right of the vent with the palm of her hand. The shield stuttered and misfired as the mechanism behind the plate she had jolted was unseated. She grabbed the hilt of her lightsaber and ignited the blade into it, just to be sure. There was a smell of molten plastic as the blade melted the innards of the ray shield’s mechanism. Retrieving her lightsaber hilt, she crawled inside and turned left at the first t-junction. She didn’t need a map, she knew exactly where she was going.

    Cautiously, Helinith continued onwards, feeling her way forward in the pitch dark, searching for the big vertical fall that would take her straight to the hangar. Her groping fingers seemed unable to find it as she crawled slowly forward. Nasty thoughts began to creep into her brain. Maybe they completely gutted and rebuilt the interior. Maybe this is just leading you to a dead end. Or worse, a trap.

    Her heart was in her mouth. Her fingers suddenly clasped a ledge and relief flooded her as her hands recognised the feel and size. Yes, here it was. She jumped.

    She fell around nine feet and landed in the dark. With a musical ‘pioc, pioc, poc, pioc-ping’, the nearest bank of lights flared on. The second bank followed, and then the next. One by one, the hangar began to ignite in colour. It was painted with dark colours, and large red insignia that she didn't recognise was blazoned across the hangar doors and any large blank wall.
    Helinith squinted as her eyes fought to get used to the brightness, running towards the manual door controls. She was running out of time. She briefly considered just shoving her lightsaber blade through them, but that didn’t seem wise on a planet that constantly rained acid. A face recognition scanner! Would it…? She was almost afraid to find out. Almost.

    She stepped over to it and held her breath.

    "Face input recognised.
    Welcome Four.
    What would you like to do today?"
    A pleasant, automated female voice that had no understanding of urgency seemed quite happy to respond to Helinith.

    "Open the doors! Open them!"

    "Access denied.
    What would you like to do today?"


    "Don't make me say it!"

    "What would you like to do today?"

    She groaned.
    "Five is the best hacker."

    "Access granted. STAND BACK! Hangar door opening..."

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
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  11. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC: Darth Bernael
    Location: Hangar Preparing to launch


    As he’d suspected, the three he’d spoken to mentally had their own reactions to what he said. He could sense the respect Harkas was giving, giving a nod in return, acknowledging and saying the respect was mutual. The corporal, Trask, his salute was a hair tighter and sharper than it had been the first time, showing it was more about respect as well, rather than just saluting the rank. Bernael nodded, as he had with Harkas, just a hair shallower as due the difference in rank.

    Finally he turned to Moff Geist, he could feel the various thoughts flitting through the man. Of course he would not tell him that he could be read, not yet. Perhaps, with the respect that was building, he would in the future, but for now he would leave it that he’d done his homework on the Division, and more importantly, Joker Squad.

    He bowed, as if to a near equal. Just because the man was not Sith did not mean he was not to be respected. Bernael had worked with many beings over the eons and, very often, it was the unpowered who were most worthy of gathering into his circle of trust, who showed their intelligence, their desire to have the freedom to act and hold their own power.

    Geist indicated the walker, which was being loaded into the drop-capsule. "Will you ride with me when we deploy, or do you intend to march with Joker Squad?" The Moff then indicated the shuttle Joker squad would ride in. "The fleet is en route, so we shall arrive in a few hours yet."

    Bernael paused, thinking furiously. The walker gave him the advantage of the command suite onboard as well as a height advantage to survey the battlefield better, not to mention having direct access to Moff Geist’s brilliantly strategic mind. The shuttle and the squad, as he knew he would be working with them, would allow him to get to know the squad better in the last few hours before battle. Not to mention giving a being that could fly between conflicts, like lightning, more ability to relieve troops or take the battle to the foe. Harkas and Trask, he felt, would be key in aiding him. He eyed them, sizing them up, estimating their bulk and how much it would hamper movement if he brought them along to each battle. Between pulling them through the Force and his own strength he was sure it would not hamper him much and would not only give him assistance on his flanks, but keep the respect of the squad, knowing he valued their aid in battle.

    “Apologies, Moff, I was deciding which was the better strategy. And apologies, as well, but I believe it would serve our purposes better if I have a more free range of the battlefield.” Reaching up a finger ticked against what looked like a small piece of metal in his ear. “I do have a state of the art communications bud, and spares all of which are Force resistant, so you will have direct access to me and I to you, however. Not to mention, if you think directly about me I will sense it, even through the chaos.

    Turning to Harkas and Trask, “That applies to you both as well, my bud has direct access to your frequency so ask and I will aid if possible. You two however,” this was said with a gleam to his silver eyes “I do hope you do not get airsick as I will be dragging at least one of you at a time all over the battlefield, aiding me in my work. I say one at a time so the other commands Joker Squad and can either bound to aid me or plug a gap somewhere, in the fight. We will cover each others back.”

    Nodding once more to all three, then to the squad, Bernael turned and headed toward the shuttle that Joker Squad would take into battle.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  12. NickLitYouAFlame

    NickLitYouAFlame Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Ryu Brightstar
    Port Nowhere

    "They did enter Nowhere by docking bay 1138, over there, but I believe the majority have dispersed across the ship now. Why, I believe the landing permit was forged in the name of that young lady -"

    Ryu followed the metallic arm of the droid. He started to say his thanks, but he almost immediately caught sight of the arm’s target. Ryu’s voice caught in his throat. After so long, and now so suddenly, there she was. Jule Ors. Ryu froze. He stood there stock-still, with a dumb expression on his face. It wasn’t like he had even talked a big game. He hadn’t known what to say yesterday and he hadn’t known what to say for the last ten years. And, now, here he was, completely unprepared as he always had been.

    Jule’s eyes finally made their way to his. She mirrored the look on his face and her jaw dropped. Ryu’s eyes lit up for a second, but his expression quickly gave way to panic. What could he even say, he thought for the second time that day. Assuredly nothing.

    As Ryu watched, the wave of emotion Jule was riding turned similarly upside down even as she strode quickly towards him. Turmoil apparently ran rampant in the minds of both of these lost souls. The moment was poetic in a way, though. To be constantly strewn into wild space, and yet find their way here to see a single being once again. Ryu didn’t have but a moment to ponder this cosmic irony, as Jule had closed the distance and was already rearing a fist back.

    Moving quicker than a normal person probably should, he stooped to allow her fist an easier path to his jaw, and at the moment of impact reeled, so she wouldn’t hurt her hand. After all, it wasn’t unjustified. It might make her feel better later that it still hurt like hell. He took a step back, just in case a flurry followed the first.

    "How could you leave us?"

    There it was. The question he’d been dreading. The same question he’d asked himself more than once over the years. What was the answer, Ryu?

    “You know why I left. I barely survived the Battle of Anaxes and the war wasn’t close to over. I couldn’t do anything as just one man.”

    Ryu stopped short. He still didn’t have the words to explain his self-imposed exile. At least none that wouldn’t make him seem even more selfish. How could he explain that he hadn’t found a Master to teach him the Force, but a broken down old coot who had sent him into a cave to confront the dead. He hadn’t had some great revelation. The Force hadn't sent anyone to speak some profound wisdom. Hell, the closest he’d come to enlightenment was from half a holocron of a long dead Sith Lord.

    “I didn’t know how to come back without a way to save you. So, instead, I did something much worse.”

    He didn’t finish that though either. He knew that he was saying just as much without words, as with. But, he didn’t think he needed to remind her of this particular failure. She must have it fresh on her mind.

    Tag: @Sinrebirth
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
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  13. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Immortal Mod-King of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darth Insipid
    Vjun, landing

    Five is the best hacker.
    Insipid caught the edge of that, and actually frowned. How much did his new apprentice know of the inner workings of Vader's inner circle? The thought tantalised and concerned him.

    Could she be playing him? Insipid shook his head. Helinith was harmless. He had been inside her mind, and he knew that she bore him no ill-will. If anything, he was being neatly slotted into a Father Figure role, so she took very little he said to heart in a strict manner. Insipid would have to throttle her a bit more... but he found himself not especiall wanting to. Insipid had, in the last few years, lost everything and everyone and was starting to build anew.

    His personal Sith faction, the Vapid, had been crushed during the Sith-Imperial War. His surviving colleagues in the Dominion of Darkness were trapped on Lehon, though they did not realise Insipid could come and go as he pleased. Lord Ventris ruled there, trapped in a war of attrition with Darth Krayt's Dragons. The Acolytes of Darkness, well, they were sequestered, but Insipid hoped to find new recruits to reinvigorate them in the Unknown Regions. It would take time, and Insipid had already been a Sith for more than a century...

    ... sometimes he was a little tired.

    And he suspected that Helinith knew that, which is why she was so... well, kind. Insipid wrinkled his nose. She was Sith, or, she claimed to be. Daughter, a role that Vader had created none too dissimilar to the Emperor's Hands. But if she was four...

    "Helinith," he hazarded, suddenly realising how he sounded, and then added durasteel to his voice. "I do not believe you have ever mentioned that you were the fourth of anything."

    The hangar door swung open, and he strode in... his eyes swept the courtyard - a massive, broken, statue of Lord Vader was strewn across the floor, a staircase lead up to columns flanked the entrance as Stormtrooper statues, the higher levels - but barely a moment later the two statues came to life. Droids, Insipid realised. They produced crimson bladed lightsabers, and they echoed words off each other.

    "Four present with Intruder. Eliminate Intruder."

    Insipid, who saw treachery everywhere - he was a master of betrayal, after all - snarled, drawing his lightsaber from his belt, allowing the white blade to burst into existence. "Helinith you traitor!" He thrust out a hand to push the droids away, but they seemed impossibly armoured against the Force.

    Alchemically treated metal, his mind thought, as the first droid leapt up and lashed down. Insipid caught the strike near the pommel, and then pushed with his free hand to bolster the droids weight before he pivoted to send it flying. The second one drove forward, point of the blade first, and Insipid barely turned aside as it skipped across his chest. There was burning, and pain, and Insipid rolled away, hissing. The first droid had recovered and was rushing him, but Insipid barely had time to launch a bolt of lightning at it - the energy did nothing but slow it, and Insipid backed away, pumping a bolt into it and the second droid to try and stall them.

    Helinith was completely free to act.

    Had Insipid the chance, he would have glared balefully at her, incorrectly assuming she had done this purposely.

    TAG: @darthhelinith
    ---
    IC: Moff Geist

    The Battle of the Hidden Jedi Temple

    The shuttle and the walker were loaded, and Moff Geist found himself reflecting on how much he would enjoy working with Bernael. Had Geist been younger, he would have enjoyed marching beside Joker Squad, but as it was, he was the commander of the ground element, and he had to remain above it all. Unlike the Anzati, he did not have the spatial awareness of a Force user, but he had all manner of technological aside to compensate.

    Appraising the walker, he immersed himself in the second skin that it was, flexing his hands into the controls and allowing them to twist the gun turrets. Similarly, he placed his boots on the pads, and nodded. Another trooper was present, who would take over as applicable. Geist had his helmet beside him, ready to clip on as soon as they were called to launch. That being said, he doubted the army would be doing much more than what it had at Ossus or Da Soocha - checking the dead.

    Geist smiled coldly to himself. But they would see.

    Later

    The Moff was incorrect. Admiral Yage arrived and promptly discovered that the planet the Jedi had chosen to sequester themselves upon had a specific magnetic atmospheric disturbance which, combined with the various rock formations, dispersed the turbolasers of the fleet to the point that the energy dissipated. Between the snarling among the other Moffs, be it Veed or Fehlaur, who angrily retorted about accusations of his incompetence in managing Imperial Intelligence, Geist updated Bernael and Joker Squad.

    The troopers muttered amongst themselves, but it was not worry - it was an acknowledgement of the job. Stormtroopers placed their helmets on and became anonymous anew, though they would all know their comrades by body language and other cues born of fighting beside each other at brutal battles over the last year - as many of which the Sith Empire had lost as won, and rarely due to the competency of its troops. Bernael had the Force of course; he need not rely upon knowing his troops as well as anyone else.

    "Launch."

    The order came out, and dropships quite literally dropped the first wave. Joker Squad and Bernael, as well as the walker shuttles, were covered by Predators and Sith clawcraft as they dove into orbit, Darth Rauder and Skull Squadron taking the lead, but there was no orbital opposition. Probes told them that the target was a motley array of elderly ships arrayed as a Temple, and there was little doubt that the ships could flee if need be. A central location was analysed and an expectation that the Jedi Council - or its equivalent - would be present.

    In short order though, much of the first drop vanished without reporting a great deal about the enemy numbers, but Bernael and the other Sith would feel them. Jedi, and dozens of them, indeed, enough to make this a true fight. By the time Joker Squad and Geists' legion was deployed, a specific entrance was detected and Bernael and Joker Squad were given the target.

    Three Jedi Knights were known to be holding that position. There were dozens of other accesses to the Hidden Temple through the maze of rocks, but this was theirs. The Force was a jangle of combat - of real power houses. At least two Force users were present of a lineage that Bernael would have detected before, a long, long time ago.

    There were Force users of the Skywalker bloodline here.

    They were not present at this entrance, but not far away. The One Sith were being added to the fray and the Force became conflict incarnate, at which point Geist gave the specific order as his walker was deployed.

    "Attack."

    TAG: @darthbernael
    ---
    IC: Jule Ors

    Nowhere, no-when, with a nobody

    Oh, she knew his failures. She could recite them. Jule Ors knew every flaw of the perfect-skinned golden Ryu Brightstar, who had been anything but a bright hope in her mind for many a year - in many a mind.

    But she hadn't cared. In some part of her she had just assumed Ryu had died, lost to the Third Great Jedi Purge - or whatever number they were on now. Jules just took it that the sensation she had of him existing was the Force, and him watching down on her. It was better that than the conclusion that she had gone mad, or been hopelessly broken by all that she had fought for and lost nonetheless.

    It had made no difference.

    Because Ryu was still alive.

    For all these years.

    Jules hated him for it. Gritting her teeth, she glared at him. it was a look which could have murdered Ryu if she could.

    "And what are you going to do about it now?" Jules bit out. "I have a rendezvous to keep, and no people left to bring to the fight. The One Sith are clamping down across the galaxy. They don't care that they don't even have the numbers to hold the galaxy anymore. They just want everything to fall apart and everything to burn."

    She stabbed her finger at him. "You owe me at least one trip back to the Alliance fleet. Then I don't want to see you ever again."

    "Deal?"

    Then the alarms went off, and the droid, IC-3LY, uttered. "Oh no. The Empire has found us."

    TAG: @NickLitYouAFlame
     
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  14. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    IC: Darth Helinith
    Location: Bast

    "Helinith, I do not believe you have ever mentioned that you were the fourth of anything."

    She opened her mouth to respond but the sentry droids’ proximity alert triggered before she could say anything.
    Typical.

    "Four present with Intruder. Eliminate Intruder."
    She pulled out her datapad to try to override their response but was interrupted by the current master’s cry of ‘Helinith you traitor!’, which was reasonable, all things considered. With a sigh, she shoved the datapad back in her belt and drew her own, red-bladed lightsaber, diving to the feet of the nearest droid, the one furthest from him. It had not been expecting this intrusion on its efficient trespasser dispatch methods, and there was a slight pause, as it adjusted its targeting systems, but it was all Helinith needed. Jaw set, she shoved the blade through the narrow ankle joint and yelled out.
    “Begin training lesson seven! Level 1!”
    A musical tone sounded from somewhere in the droids innards, although she didn’t wait to see if this command had made either of the pair of their opponents less deadly. Instead, she pulled off the foot she had just severed and threw it somewhere behind her. The droid wobbled and she physically reached up and grabbed it, pulling its teetering frame to the floor. It flailed dangerously, metal limbs thrashing to right itself and slice at her, but it was not designed to fight whilst lying horizontal. Helinith climbed on top of it, sitting astride its midsection and driving, stabbing her lightsaber repeatedly into its torso and head. It was not a particularly efficient method, as her initial assault was somewhat deflected by the plate armour. As she continued, however, the metal gave way to the plasma-hot lightsaber blade and the droid buzzed and chattered a slow, digital demise.

    “It’s not poor form if it works.” she told the steaming metal carcass firmly, panting as she rose to her feet.

    She swung round to see if her master had had any progress with his assailant, although she was also aware that she herself might well be his next target.

    Tag: @Sinrebirth
     
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  15. NickLitYouAFlame

    NickLitYouAFlame Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Ryu Brightstar
    Nowhere, with a certain someone, just then

    Ryu could almost hear the seething vitriol emanating from Jules’ glare. He could definitely sense her anger, though. It rolled off of her in waves. Her hate. He should feel bad, but all he could think is that at least it felt familiar. Soothing, even. In the deep recesses of space in which he'd been searching and sulking, familiarity was few and far between. And no matter how witty his ship’s computer became, it wasn’t the same as having a living, flesh and blood person around. Even when that person couldn’t contain her resentment.

    Ryu had a flash from Anaxes. Jules’ hair glowing against a crimson sunset. It was fleeting. Just like their time together. A brief moment of brightness, in a life now marred by disappointment and regret.

    And now more.

    Ryu stood with a sad, but also uncomfortable, look on his face as Jules laid out the state of affairs. Ryu had caught wind of the troubles, but he’d steered clear of major systems for the past ten years. He had only seen a few moments of darkness since he’d left Anaxes. But those were just the sins of the species of the galaxy. Nothing like war.

    Jules stabbed her finger at Ryu. "You owe me at least one trip back to the Alliance fleet. Then I don't want to see you ever again. Deal?”

    Then the alarms went off. Ryu’s eyes widened and he heard the droid announce, “The Empire has found us.”

    Ryu looked back at Jules and nodded. “Deal.”

    He gestured at her to follow as he backpedaled towards his shuttle. Good thing he hadn’t ventured far into the station. Kriffing Force, he thought. Every trace of his hangover had left his body now, as it reacted to the fear, and slight exhilaration, of being almost exactly where he had been ten years ago.

    He jumped into his shuttle and started the initiation sequence, waiting for Jules to catch up.

    Tag: @Sinrebirth
     
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  16. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC Darth Bernael
    On the Battlefield

    Bernael felt the ship come into orbit, felt and heard Joker squad chatting, bantering, preparing for battle. He heard the batteries firing and felt the frustration as they seemed ineffective. He could feel Moff Geist preparing and knew they would be called upon to fight. He closed his eyes momentarily as the dropship rose and departed the hangar, opening them, spreading out his senses to feel the other ships around and below them. As they passed through the atmosphere, he could feel the souls being released, the other troopships that never made it to the surface. ‘Strong defenses, must be many Jedi below.’

    The ship reached the surface. Bernael stood, checking his sabers quickly as he strode out of the hatch, into the thin atmosphere and onto the rocky ground in front of him. Joker squad spread out around him as they moved toward the battle. Checking the miniature datapad strapped to the forearm of his armor, Bernael saw that he and the squad had been tasked with taking an entrance that had been discovered. Extending his senses he could feel the troops, the Sith, the Jedi in the surrounding area, including two that seemed familiar in a sense, ‘Skywalkers!’

    Turning to Sergeant Harkas and Corporal Trask, “I need whichever of you is the better sniper to come with me and the other to lead the squad. We must take an entrance and guarding it are three Jedi Knights, and possibly support troops. The one with me will support as I take battle to the Jedi and the other will cover us both and dispense with the support troops assisting the enemy.”

    He could sense the hesitation in the two men, momentarily, before Corporal Trask spoke, “Lord, I am the better sniper.” Bernael nodded, “Then you will accompany me directly. Sergeant Harkas, you will lead the remainder of the squad.”

    No sooner had the words been spoken the air was rent with bolts and blasts as incoming fire began falling around them. Grabbing hold of Trask, Bernael began bounding forward, knives flashing out on occasion right and left. The targets were barely visible as he made his throws but enemy troops fell to each blade, injured or dead, it didn’t matter in this moment, he had to get to the entrance and focus on the Jedi.

    Finding a spot that would work of Trask, he left the Corporal there, with instructions to cover him, three against one he had fought many times before but it always was a positive when there was some way to even the odds, to a degree. As he sped forward again, his eyes shifted, black within black, darkness pouring forth from the bottom edges of the eye slits. His hair spread out, almost with a mind of it’s own, the cowl falling back in the process, and his talons, both in his fingers and toes, burst forth, the lower set flashing through specially adapted slits in his armors boots.

    His speed picked up again and, to the Corporal’s shock he disappeared from sight. Before Trask could trigger his com and inform the Sergeant or the Moff, he heard a low voice in his earbud, “I am still here so focus, Trask.” As the Corporal looked on, he could see the three Jedi standing guard, each focused on different areas surrounding the entry. With Bernael invisible he could not take a shot, sure a friendly fire accident would be an error he’d be unable to rectify.

    Suddenly he saw the glowing green saber of the furthest left Jedi dip, then it and his lower arm go flying in an arc up and then ricocheting off of the wall surrounding the entrance, before his lower leg flew forward, detached from just below the knee. The screams could be heard for hundreds of meters. And then Bernael appeared, apparently unarmed, before the other two.

    Bernael faced the two remaining Jedi, gore and blood dripping from the claws of both hands, before he negligently flicked them to clean them, spraying both Lightsiders with their compatriots blood. “You two have a choice, I doubt you’ve ever..” and before he could finish they attacked in unison. His sabers, without appearing to have moved, were suddenly in his hands, two black blades rising and blocking the low attack away to his right and the high, back at its wielder.

    He spun toward the left, away from the low blade coming back at him before his left hand dipped then, now empty, gestured at the Jedi to his left, Pushing her hard enough to bounce her against the entryway frame, stunning her, her blue bladed saber falling from her grasp as she collapsed. Right hand blade swept down as his left moved, again blocking the blow of the remaining Jedi.

    Stepping back for a moment, his left hand gestured at the ground where small rocks and dirt began floating up. Another gesture and they blasted toward the Jedi. Leaping forward, he dove, feet first to the left of the Jedi, between him and the stunned one. His sabers flashed, one blocked by the orange blade and the second biting deeply into the Jedi’s side. Coming to his feet behind them he could see the cauterized wound his blade had left, the saber shaking in the Jedi’s hand.

    They turned slowly, to face him, saber coming up in a weak guard. Batting it to the side he stepped inside their range, eyes seeking theirs. They locked and the battlefield all but disappeared. In the edge of his awareness he heard a shot, then a second. Letting his senses expand he could feel that Trask was doing his job, the maimed Jedi had been trying to crawl toward him, to attack from the rear. But now with a hole through his elbow and knee he couldn’t crawl and just lay there moaning. Trask’s voice sounded in his ear, “That paraplegic Jedi won’t be bothering you again Sir.”

    Returning his focus to the Jedi before him Bernael could feel that one’s will faltering. He let his own will surge further, washing over and beginning to subsume the Jedi. In the last instant the Jedi realized what he truly faced as the proboscises flew forth from their hidden pouches, through the mask’s slits and into the Jedi, searching for his mind. In short order they found their target and shrieks rang out over the battlefield as the Jedi’s mind was fed upon, as his soul attempted to flee, only to end up trapped inside Bernael’s mind. Proboscises retracted, coiling again in the pouches of his cheeks.

    Maintaining his focus, ensuring he did not lose it in the post feeding bliss, he faced the last, now rising to her feet again, her blue bladed saber weaving, trying to point at him. “I know you have a job, that this portal must not yield, but you now stand alone, one companion never to rejoin the Force and one laying there, slowly bleeding to death.” Both black sabers came up, into mid guard, “Yield now or choose which you will join.”

    The Jedi looked from the empty shell of a Jedi at Bernael’s feet to the one whimpering in a ball, not that much further away. Bernael loomed over her, his will pressing on hers, voices whispering in her ears, “Weak...Sad....Incompetent…” He waited as she fought against the grogginess from the blow, against his will, against the fact she knew she had lost and her choices were giving in to the evil being before her or something much worse. And then her saber extinguished and was tossed at his feet. He stepped back, keeping her in view then reached out, calling all three sabers to him. They disappeared into a hidden pocket of his robes, trophies or possibly to use later, if a ruse was needed.

    Shortly Trask appeared at his elbow, rifle aimed at the now kneeling Jedi. “Sir, Joker Squad fully present, ring formation, guarding the entrance, three at the portal ensuring no surprises appear.”

    Turning to the man, his eyes once again silver, “Excellent work, pass my approval to Sergeant Harkas and we will now await further orders from Moff Geist.”

    He stepped away slight, finger keying the frequency for the Moff, “Moff, the entrance has been taken, we have two captured Jedi, one yielded, one maimed. The third however is no more. Joker Squad is present and we are prepared for the follow on attack.”

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
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  17. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Immortal Mod-King of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darth Insipid
    Enough

    The second droid, when Insipid finally caught up - or, rather, when Helinith dealt with the other one - was mincemeat in moments. He flexed his fingers and tugged it aside so its strike went wide, and while it recovered Insipid unceremoniously picked up the stone head of the fallen Darth Vader statue and smashed it into the droid. Repeatedly. But the moment Helinith had downed her droid, Insipid whirled, his cloak hurling away and he rushed her, lightsaber slashing with a speed which could only really be described as one thing.

    Murderous.

    Helinith would not have much time before the cloak rushed her feet, directed by Insipid to first bind her, then entrap her entirely.

    It would require a pretty inventive turn of events for her to break his stride.

    TAG: @darthhelinith
    ---
    IC: Jule Ors

    Arriving, unknown rendezvous point

    As Jules rued, Ryu's luck held out, and they escaped the attack on Port Nowhere without being noticed; the Sith-Imperials were simply too busy with all the fleeing targets to pick them out. But she wasn't up for discussing that with him, and so she input the coordinates, and locked herself in a room for the hour-odd trip.

    Mostly, thereafter, she refused to cry. She was not a woman who cried; even if she had lost everything, and she basically had, Jules refused to cry over him. Instead she spent her time thinking about the new campaign, the rumours that a trap had been planned which would cost the Empire so much that the tide of the war would finally turn, and so on. She also absently tried to work out if the Sunfish, which was a truly beautiful vessel - a ship she would have loved to hear from Ryu about how he had obtained it.

    By the time she finally relented and wanted to speak to him, the hyperdrive chimed and they arrived.

    To what a sight.

    Mon Calamari Scythe-class battlecruisers and Sabertooth frigates; an ancient Nubian Nebula-class Star Destroyer; Corellian YZ-2500 capital ships, elderly Bothan Assault Cruisers and more besides, all centered around the Alliance, a captured Imperial battlecruiser.

    [​IMG]

    The Alliance.

    A Crossfire fighter soared across their way. "Sunfish, this is Captain Calrissian of Rogue Squadron. Identify yourself."

    "Let's see if your luck holds out," Jule said, muttering to him, transmitting the code. With a short exchange, they were given authority to board the Scythe-class known as Starrunner, where Rogue Squadron was housed.

    [​IMG]

    The Starrunner

    They were met by Jhoram Bey, a sullen looking Weequay in a command uniform. He was in-fact Admiral Stazi's second in command, but he was collating all the arrivals so the Admiral had a up-to-date break down of all the strays and waifs that had somehow discovered the location of the last Alliance rendezvous point. The rumour that a major offensive had spread like wild-fire. He had been expecting Ona Antilles to return from Nubia with some supplies, and instead a former politician and a Crossfire had. What was Bey supposed to do with Aryan bloody Graul?

    Never mind.

    He stood at the bottom of the Sunfish's ramp, waiting for them to come down. "I think he wants to speak to you."

    She looked at Ryu, the first direct look she had given him since reaching the ship.

    Bey's voice shouted out. "Either you come down the ramp, or I come up there with an escort and a lot of blasters. The fleet is getting ready to jump and I need to know whether to lock you up or shoot you before I get on my shuttle." He pointed at a GA ship which was already warming up its engines.

    Jules winced. "Better hurry, Brightstar. No idea if this thing has weapons, but I suspect your luck is about to see you conscripted."

    Better late than never, she absently thought.

    TAG: @NickLitYouAFlame, @HanSolo29 (29, you are mentioned only if you wish to read along for now. 29's plate is a bit full at present so her tags are purely for reading. Nick, you have your tag!)
    ---
    IC: Moff Geist

    Battle of the Hidden Temple

    The initial assault went well, and Geist gave out orders. "Joker Squad, pull back with the prisoners. Let other squadrons take the initial tunnel fighting, soften them up. We'll need that Intel. A squadron of Knighthunters lead the charge of four times the Stormtroopers, but it was not long before sounds of violence filled the comms. Harkas whistled. "I thought the 1001st had been wiped out at Agamar."

    [​IMG]

    Knighthunter, armed with phrik-laced electrostaffs and jet-black armour based on that of the Coruscant Guard under Emperor Palpatine.

    With the two surrendered Jedi having been stunned by Trask, they began to move back, as Geist and his walker moved forward. There was a follow-up unit from Intelligence, which included a variety of rather wicked looking droids. There were a few more screams, and then the Knighthunters came rushing out of the tunnel. Before Geist could realise, indeed, before the Force could specifically warn Bernael, they levelled their weapons and fired sonic blasts into the squad. The Jedi awoke, one immediately flinging a torture droid into and throw a Joker trooper, as Trask and Harkas threw themselves to the ground.

    Geist covered his ears and fell back into the walker, the top door closing, and he suddenly had time to think. Before he could shove his pilot aside and retarget the walker weapons, the four Knighthunters charged the group, all of them angling to attack Bernael. Someone had put the troopers under a particularly powerful mind-trick, and redirected him. Trask stunned the paraplegic Jedi anew, but had to duck as the Jedi who had formerly surrendered methodically destroyed the droids that had been sent to take custody of him.

    They were essentially fighting among the legs of the walker, the no-name Jedi seemingly reasoning that a Moff was sufficient to prevent other heavier weapons being brought to bear. Which was correct, but only for a time. Darth Rauder came over the channel to Joker Squad. "Bernael, if you don't contain that breach of the line we will strafe your position; Geist or not."

    Then the Force warned Bernael of more Jedi, heading down the tunnel. He had several hundred troopers strung about, but unsure or unable to intervene for fear of hitting Geist, or indeed Bernael, or even the surviving members of Joker Squad - one Stormtrooper tried, and gunned down a second member of Joker Squad by accident, leaving Harkas and Trask.

    "Cease fire you idiot!" snapped Harkas. "Form a cordon around us - isolate the breach in the line before the Sith do it with your lives!"

    That of course meant there was a circular formation in-front of a pending Jedi assault - a hopeless deployment that would get several dozen troopers lost in a very short time if Bernael, Geist and the last two members of Joker Squad didn't get this under control.

    TAG: @darthbernael
     
  18. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC: Darth Bernael
    In the midst of battle


    'They say no plan survives contact with the enemy' Bernael thought, as chaos erupted in and among the Squad and troops surrounding himself and the walker. In seconds he was down to a short battalion of troops as well as the Moff in his walker and Harkas and Trask. Not only that but he had four mind controlled Knighthunters coming straight for him as well as an unknown quantity of Jedi charging up the tunnel and the threat of destruction from Darth Rauder, one whom he was sure held no love for him.

    Geist’s orders went out and the surviving troops ringed the walker, the stunned, maimed Jedi, and the feisty one that was, even now, using the walker as a means of defense. Knowing much hinged on this moment, Bernael threw out a pair of orders himself in the pair of seconds he had. “Harkas, take charge of the troops, prepare them to support us against the incoming Jedi while I deal with the Kighthunters, remind them what will happen if they refuse.” Bernael said as his eyes shifted and darkness poured forth. He turned, “Trask, concussion grenade on the loose Jedi under the walker, then quickly ensure they are restrained before taking on sniper duty again. Target the Knighthunters, but grazing shots to keep them separate and some distance from me. Four against one odds is not a simple situation, even for a Sith.”

    And then there was no time to speak, the Knighthunters were upon him. Knowing the quality of their armor, and its resistance to sabers, Bernael’s were relegated to their holsters. Swifter than thought his hands reemerged, and silence fell for a moment as a sense of overwhelming hunger radiated around the battlefield with the appearance of his kukri. With a roar he headed into the fray.

    The first swipe from an electrostaff showed his skill, as it passed directly through him, or rather the apparition he’d created. He’d sensed that these warriors must be under some influence and thus would impair their normal functions. As they were reacting to this new information, searching the battlefield for Bernael, there was a screech and sparks flew from the backside base of the helmet of the Knighthunter furthest to the left as the backside of one of his kukri crushed the circuitry that worked to keep such mind tricks from working. As one they turned, scanning their aft position, but still there was no sign of the Sith they had been told to destroy.

    Another screech sounded and now only the two in the center still had functioning mind safety circuitry. Dropping out of invisibility, so much battle yet to come and Bernael knew he must husband his strength. Hearing and feeling the concussion go off behind him, then steady, regular fire, he knew Trask was dealing with the captured Jedi.

    The four, still controlled Knighthunters had spread out, in a hemispherical arc around him. The center two leapt forward, electrostaff’s coming up as the two outer ones jumped, staffs coming over their heads. ‘They aim to take me at once.’ He blurred forward, kukri out and to the sides. As the blows came in from the staffs, his kukri came up and he blocked both, feeling the electricity flowing through them, trying to numb his hands and make him drop the blades. He jumped slightly, feet thrusting forward, against the chestplates of the two before him, letting the force of it throw him backward, out of the blows about to rain down from the two descending from their jumps. He rolled, coming to his feet several meters away. The firing behind him had ceased and now bolts were coming toward the group, aimed at joints and exposed areas. As Trask began harrying the Knighthunters, Bernael allowed his mind to leap out, focusing on the first warrior whose system he had disabled. Diving into the man’s mind he found a simple command, implanted by a Jedi, ‘Kill the Sith Commander.’ Wrestling, quickly with the defenses the Jedi had left, knowing Trask could only keep the remaining three away for a short time, Bernael roared and, with the strength that gave him, overcame the command, removing it from the Knighthunter’s mind. “Lord, I am yours.” was heard as the man’s mind was once again his. “Defend against your brethren while I free them as well.” was Bernael’s reply.

    The now free Knighthunter took the battle to his compatriots, weaving and ducking while Bernael, now knowing what needed doing, vanished, looking to repeat the circuitry disabling he had done on the first two with the remaining two. He maneuvered behind the two fully functioning Knighthunters and managed to crush the circuits of the first, but when he went to do the same for the last, things soured. A swinging staff, not even intended for himself caught his foot as he moved, causing him to trip and the three still controlled warriors to realize where he was and begin battering him and his armor with their staffs. A dozen blows rained down, scorching his cloak and leaving burn marks on his armor. He was on his knees, fending off as many blows as possible for several long seconds before Trask and the newly freed Knighthunter could turn the tide.

    As they distracted the warriors with their staff and rifle, Bernael reached out and his claws dug into the circuit on the back of the neck of the last Knighthunter. Now knowing he could disable the Jedi’s trick he rolled backward and, not having time to drain a soul or two to renew his energy at this moment, came to his feet with a little weariness. His mind however took charge, draining one long stored, powerful soul, and leapt out, shackling the will of the second he had attacked. With the defenses known around the trick, he more rapidly overcame them and this man fell to his knees. “My blade for you, Lord.” With a nod, Bernael indicated the last two Knighthunters, “Assist your brother, keep them off so that I may free them.”

    The newly freed warrior leapt to his feet and waded into the fray, working in tandem with the first freed, to follow Bernael’s orders. Now able to focus more easily on disabling the mind trick that had the last two trapped, Bernael knew the battle would shortly be turned. He sent a quick message to Moff Geist. “Once this is done, we must prepare for the tide of Jedi coming, a few moments more.” He refocused on the battle, seeing the last two controlled Knighthunters coordinating their own fight against their two freed brethren.

    He scanned quickly and determine which was the leader of the quartet, or had been before their run in with the Jedi. That one would be the strongest and the one that would need the most effort. His mind dove into the other’s mind, searching. The controlling thought was a beacon he honed in on. An avatar of the Knighthunter leader guarded it, a change from the last two. But he had no time to draw this battle out. Gathering his will, he blasted it full force at the man, sending the avatar to its knees. A sweep of a mental blow from his fist and the avatar was laid flat, just as in the physical plane the selfsame man’s staff crashed against his chestplate. It knocked him from the man’s mind for a moment, as he defended, before the two freed men regained the upper hand in the battle. He reentered the leaders mind and honed in again on the implanted thought. No subtlety here, he reached out, batting aside the remaining defenses and ripped it free. Returning to his own mind he saw the man fall to his knees as the first two had done. “Lord, your servant.”

    He sighed, “Box in the last so we can end this.” The Knighthunter leader coordinated with his other three brethren and they formed a triangle around the last, staffs weaving and keeping him in place. Bernael, reached out, glad there were no more to have to ‘save’ and finished this battle. He felt the last command and touched it, getting to know the flavor of the foe that had implanted it in the first place, so he would know another one so strong mentally. Then, without ado, he pulled it free. As he returned to his own mind he saw the four now kneeling in unison. “We are yours Lord, Direct us.”

    “The Jedi advance, they seek to overwhelm this point of the line. I have left a sliver of myself in each of your minds, not to control, but to act in place of the circuitry I had to disable to free you. Thus you are now fully under my protection. For now, spread across the front of the battle line and act as stopgaps for any Jedi that get through as I take the battle to them. After we will hunt the Jedi as is needed.”

    Contacting Moff Geist again, “I have added back to our strength and now we have four trained and created to destroy Jedi to assist us. We will hold the line.”

    He then used the same channel as Darth Rauder had used to contact that Sith. In a tone as cold as Hoth, “The breach is contained, the Jedi will not overrun this position. Subtlety, not mindless brute force held the line, for now.”

    With a pause he restored his energy and checked for wounds. That complete, Bernael prepared for the onslaught of Jedi to come.

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
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  19. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    IC: Helinith
    Location: sugar honey iced teacakes

    There were very few things that could make Helinith move faster than the rustling of a sweet wrapper.

    The sight of Insipid speeding towards them with such homicidal intent would have made any man lose control of his bowels. Thankfully, she was no man. She did perhaps the most sensible thing (and the only thing she could think of).
    She jumped.

    She shot upwards, propelled as if on invisible springs, hoping to reach the high vaulted ceiling, hoping to put some distance between them.
    "There... were four!" She gasped out as she reached out for the stonework above her.
    "Possibly five, maybe more."
    Her sentences were devoid of her usual verbal clutter, her main priority being to gain her breath and to stay alive long enough to at least try and explain.
    "Doesn't matter. One dead… probably others too."

    She twisted herself around until she was crouched upside down on the ceiling. There was no difficulty in fuelling her connection to the force this time, the fear was taking care of that nicely.

    Tag: @Sinrebirth

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    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  20. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Immortal Mod-King of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 8 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    IC: Darth Insipid
    Vjun, Bast Castle, murderous

    Well, the more Helinith avoided his strikes, the less murderous he became, in-fact. Time was clearing his mind and he looked up at the younger-yet-older woman with a huff. "I'm calmer now. I know you didn't intend for what happened to occur," Insipid said, calling up to her.

    "It's fine..." he eyed the droid corpses. "They're just assassin droids, tweaked to be a threat to your former Master." He looked wry. "I apologise, alright?" He fished into a pocket on his robes for a sweet and held it up.

    "We need each other to survive this death-trap... there are more defences to get through yet."

    Which was true. In the Force, they would both feel winding and unwinding parts, and something stirring in the depths beneath them; the heart of the Castle striking up a rhythm and releasing something malicious into the Force itself.

    He grimaced. This would be hard work.

    TAG: @darthhelinith
    ---
    IC: Moff Geist

    Battle of the Hidden Jedi Temple, cave skirmish

    There were six of them now, four humans, an Aqualish and a Twi'lek. Many of them were young, but charging nonetheless as if skilled Knights. In the skirmish, the Jedi prisoner had died, and Geist had managed to regain enough tactical thinking to order the walker to open fire, to minimal effect; he had done so too late. The Knighthunters rushed to bolster the faltering Stormtrooper line, but one died almost immediately, the shard of Bernael's mind painfully expiring.

    The surviving members of Joker Squad flanked Bernael, Trask eyeing the cave formation. "We need to advance on the cave, and hold that entrance, sir - before they -" There was a tweak in the Force, and the front of the cave began to fall-in. They had a squad of engineers holding behind them, back with the shuttle, with equipment to shore up the shuttle, but for a time the Jedi were focused on other parts of the line away from Bernael.

    "Lord Bernael, we need to advance or we'll be stuck here and have to find another entrance." The Force boiled with warning, an imminent threat which was drawing louder and closer. The other One Sith in this particular advance were becoming hesitant even as they rushed the Jedi, and that hesitancy cost them their lives - six Sith were dead in as many moments.

    Harkas, by now sensitive to Sith commanders, frowned. "My lord, what's going on? What's distracting you all?"

    Even the Sith clawcrat were peeling off, away from the danger - nor was Rauder on the comms any longer. Geist was, however, demanding to know where his air support was going.

    TAG: @darthbernael
     
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  21. darthbernael

    darthbernael Jedi Knight star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 15, 2019
    IC Darth Bernael
    Field of Battle


    One of his newly acquired Knighthunters had already been struck down, causing a headache that passed as quickly as it could, a sliver of his own essence had been there, to guard the man’s mind and now it was gone. The other three remained but the battlefield was becoming even more fluid. Their section of line had a few moments breather as the Jedi had chased after prey that didn’t seem to be biting back as hard as Joker Squad, Bernael, and Moff Geist in his walker.

    And then it was if a pall of darkness was creeping over the battlefield, streaming down from orbit, something was coming. The Jedi were taking advantage, but they must be so young, or inexperienced, that they didn’t realize or feel the coming darkness and destruction. He heard Harkas question, Moff Geist’s demands, the silence of the other Sith.

    “Harkas, something much worse than these Jedi is coming, something not from the Temple, something from offplanet, it feels. I told you I’d do my all to bring as many of you back as possible and I intend to keep my word.” Looking quickly, ignoring Geist for a moment, “Trask, gather the remaining three Knighthunters, get all we can into that cave the Jedi came from. Yes I know there are more down the tunnels but needs must. If you have to, bundle up the engineers and carry them there, but also prepare the entrance to collapse in one blast.”

    “Harkas, once inside, ring formation, two Knighthunters toward the cave entrance, on toward the tunnels the Jedi are sure to come from, divvy up the squads, alternating the most experienced and rested with the less experienced or most battle weary already as you spread them to cover both sides, but two thirds toward the cave entrance and the remaining third toward the tunnels.”

    “Moff Geist, to be blunt, stop asking for the air support, they’re not coming back. Something is coming from orbit, not sure what yet, but I can feel it coming. And it seems either some of our forces already knew or are just trying to find their own escape. If that metal monster of yours fits in the cave then do so, otherwise, if you want to keep your head, I’d recommend joining us on the ground.”


    He turned back to the narrow front of troops that were arrayed against his. Eyes narrowing for a moment, they shifted to full black and he leapt. Mid leap he swiftly sheathed both kukri and gathered power into his hands. Reaching the peak of his leap, he gave himself a push with the Force and shot downward, aiming for just behind the center of the line of his opponents. Just before he hit he called over the com “Duck!”

    He hit the ground and drove his power enhanced fists into the ground. A shockwave spread from the hit and the ground rose in a wave, rippling outward from his point of impact. His sabers leapt into his hands and he raged up and down the line, his speed driving him on. A slice here, a lunge there, a swipe of a saber, body parts flying everywhere as he decimated the troops against him. Seeing their foes weakening, the Knighthunters followed his lead and burst through the lines, rampaging in three separate directions.

    Soon enough a path was cleared and they advanced on the cavern. He stayed in the same area as he’d landed, directing his troops, and observed Trask following his orders with a slight upturn of his lip. Sure enough the man had bundled up the engineers and had the largest troops he was commanding carry them and their gear to the cavern. He saw Geist take his walker inside, it barely fit under the overhang, but inside the cavern opened up more and he was glad they had it’s high rate of fire to utilize. As the last of his troops entered, he followed suit.

    Once inside he had the engineers, however surly, blast the sides of the entrance, filling all but a small opening with rubble. First on one side, then the other, he approached the piles of rubble, laying his hands on them. Concentrating, he sent energy into the piles, forcing rocks to melt together, strengthening the rapid defenses they gave. He leaned against the second rubble pile for a second and drained another soul to restore his energy. Refreshed, he checked with both Harkas and Trask, ensuring that their defenses were in depth in both directions.

    “Gentlemen, I’m sure the Jedi will attack from deeper in the cavern, but do not know yet what’s coming from outside, so be prepared for anything. I will be a roving backstop, taking the fight to wherever it’s needed. Moff Geist, if you would, any news from above would be appreciated, but otherwise, the firepower of that walker can do similarly as I. To work, gentlemen, let’s live through this day.”

    TAG: @Sinrebirth
     
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  22. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    IC: Helinith
    Location: Bast Ceiling

    Helinith cocked her head to one side and observed the candy in her master's outstretched hand from the safety of the ceiling.

    "We need each other to survive this death-trap... there are more defences to get through yet."

    "If we can get deeper in, I reckon I can shut it off or reprogram it. But easier said than done."

    She crawled across the ceiling towards the nearest pillar, about to slide down it, when a low, resonating rumble made her pause. It took her a couple of seconds to realise she hadn't so much heard it, as felt it in the force.

    "Oh no," she murmured, then louder to Insipid: "I know this one."
    She slid down the pillar and ran towards him, like a cat seeking shelter from rain.
    "It's a sort of airborne force-based hallucinogen. It amplifies your connection to the force but in such a way that you become completely overwhelmed by a vision or visions. It's kinda hard to explain but… basically it makes it near impossible to separate reality from fantasy."
    She skidded to a halt in front of him and stood. Her eyes darted about, anticipating enemies everywhere.

    "I wasn't exposed to this, only Two and Three were and Five and I had to watch. I've never seen anything like it. I don't know what they saw or experienced. Three curled up like a baby and had to be physically restrained against digging out her own eyes, but Two was far worse." Her voice swiftly fell to a whisper. "She was tired to a chair, they both were, and she somehow got free and ripped off the head of the slave in the room. He was twice her size and she just..." Helinith swallowed and made a gesture with her hands. "But she didn't use the force! It was pure brute strength. I've never been more afraid of a Twi'lek."
    Shuddering, she finally reached for the candy but paused and blinked at him, confused. "Do you always wear gourds on your head?"

    Tag: @Sinrebirth

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  23. darthhelinith

    darthhelinith Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 10, 2009
    IC Darth Helinith
    Location: Baast Great Hall

    As Helinith spoke, the stone floor they were standing on began to bubble as if it were lava, a few paces from where they were currently stood. Every step sent ripples through the floor around it. Shallow crests of polished stone lapped against their feet and their reflections in the floor were gently distorted and stretched until they disappeared entirely. Helinith bent down to touch it and found herself able to scoop up a handful of liquid stone, which dripped from her fingers like mercury and trickled down the sleeve of her jumpsuit.

    Without warning, the epicentre of the boiling floor suddenly erupted into life. Giant vines shot up from it, falling around them and covering the floor at an alarming speed with a tangled mass of dense plant matter. Next, these vines were sending out branches and grew giant ebony, rubbery leaves that brushed past their faces. The vines continued to twist and knot and swell, crawling up the pillars that held the ceiling away from the floor and creeping across it steadily.
    Two small thin shoots paused in their floor covering work to 'look' at the Sith ('plants can't look,' Helinith reminded herself).

    Suddenly, Insipid felt a vine twisting around his ankles, threatening to pull him to the floor as it tried to climb up his body, attempting to constrict and tear him apart with the thorns that were now erupting from its stem. Another pair of tendrils were attempting to reach for the wrist that was holding the candy, whilst yet more were creeping up his back.

    Helinith wasn't let off the hook either, thorny vines were grasping and pulling at her wrists and ankles, cutting into her gloves. They continued to surround and envelop her even as she struggled against them. Within seconds, they had completely hidden her from view.

    Whether or not Insipid had spotted her predicament, he didn’t have much time to do anything about it. As she disappeared, there was a huge roar and from around thirty feet away, the writhing form of a large, forest green squollyhawlk erupted from the floor. It froze momentarily to consider its prey and then dived towards Insipid, rust-coloured mandibles snapping.

    [​IMG]
    Tag: @Sinrebirth