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Beyond - Legends Dawn of Tesserone (AU, OC)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Vehn, May 25, 2019.

  1. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    [​IMG]

    Erilnar
    Capital of the Western Centrality


    Prime Minister Shym Vymko stood atop the balcony overlooking the main square in the heart of Erilnar. His supporters gathered in throngs below while his security detail kept a watchful eye on the crowd. He waved and absorbed the energy of the crowd as he stood behind blaster proof transparaisteel. A necessary precuation given recent developments in the Eastern Centrality.

    "Carley Heraat has returned to reclaim what is hers," Prime Minister Vymko roared, "except that what she claims belongs to us by right! History is on our side! She is nothing but an upstart girl with a mercenary army at her control. She, along with her army, will be crushed and sent back to Almania where she belongs!"

    The crowd roared.

    "And now," Vymko continued, "our problems only get deeper. I have just learned that Governor General Solomon Traask. My hand picked administrator of our policies and procedures on Tund has formed an alliance with the Heraat clan. Effective immediately, by special proclamation, Governor General Traask is a traitor of the Western Centrality. He has betrayed our democracy, betrayed our trust, and most importantly, betrayed me!"

    The crowd acted shocked, horrified. Traask was a war hero.

    "Our war against the Eastern Centrality has been long and very trying. We've bled a great deal. So have they. Victory is near. I can feel it, I can taste it, and now at long last I can see it clear as day. I know that my conscription laws are unpopular but they are needed as we face the greatest challenge to our way of life in our lifetime. When we emerge victorious, and we will, the Centrality will be one. Unified we are stronger, divided we fall!" Vymko shouted.

    "Unified we are stronger, divided we fall!" The crowd replied raising fists in the air.

    "Time to fall," a gruff voice whispered behind Prime Minister Vymko.

    "Excuse me? Who are you?" Vymko asked turning to look into the face of a man dressed like one of his bodyguards.

    "Your worst nightmare," Specialist Sean Riggins replied as he squeezed the trigger on his hodlout blaster pistol resulting in a double tap to Vymko's head.

    Sean quickly took out neighboring security guards as the crowd panicked and roared down below sending Erilnar into absolute chaos. Police and security swarmed the Prime Minister's residence but Sean did what he had always done: disappeared.




    Nime, Roon
    Department of Foreign Affairs


    "Transmission secure?" Director of Foreign Affairs Henryk Rhyken asked.

    "Secure," Jack Vehn replied from half a galaxy away.

    "Mission complete?" Henryk inquired.

    "The Western Centrality is in chaos. Traask should have no trouble taking over now," Jack replied.

    "Very good," Henryk said, " It's time for the Phantoms to disappear."

    "Sir," Jack paused, "is that wise? The Phantoms are finally turning the tide."

    "They are but I can no longer hide that Eleanor created a private army to satisfy a personal vendetta. Already the Justice Department is ready to dig into the black files. No amount of presidential privilege will stop them from uncovering what we've done," Henryk explained.

    "Then let me pick someone to lead the investigation," Jack suggested.

    "I'm listening," Henryk said.

    "Gryffen Karr. No friend of Eleanor Vehn and someone with a great deal of rising political clout," Jack replied, "he's the perfect candidate to lead the senatorial investigation."

    "Can he be trusted?" Henryk asked.

    "He can be bought," Jack replied, "and that's good enough."

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
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  2. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    I wonder if Vmyko won't now be a martyr for a large part of the West?
     
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  3. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    That Sean sure shows up in the most surprising situations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  4. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009

    II Avali, Druckenwell


    Former President of the Roon Federation William Ypres casually sipped at his drink while lounging on a sofa. It was another hard day of doing absolutely nothing. He was retired. Finally. He had thought at one point the day would never come. Now it was here and he was loving every minute of his new life.

    After years of serving as the CEO and President of the Ypres Initiative and following that up with a two term presidential run as leader of the Roon Federation William found when he woke up in the mornings that he had accomplished all of his life's goals. Well, most of them, anyways. His youngest, and only surviving daughter, Corrie was making quite a name for herself. He was proud of her and her accomplishments.

    Corrie had matured quite a bit ever since the death of her older sister Kaitlyn in 278 ABY. She'd gone on to lead huminatarian efforts in the Roon-Druckenwellian war, taking care of both sides in that bitter conflict, and taken an active position with the Ypres Initiative. She was always at the forefront of nearly every Initiative function these days. William personally suspected that she was doing other activities of good will but he didn't have the time or inclination to pursue such thoughts at this point. The only thing he wanted to do today was relax and watch some Limmie highlights.

    William flicked on the holo and began to browse through the channels. He stopped at the Federation News Service channel to watch the latest headlines from around the galaxy. His eyes went wide as the headlines were broadcasting from Erilnar, capital of the Western Centrality, describing the assassination of Prime Minister Shym Vymko in cold blooded detail. Holonet footage of the event was heavily censored, although he was sure someone would post the unedited clip on the dark net, but the general point of the attack was made clear. Someone, or an organization, had gunned down Vymko during his annual address to the people.

    The camera played the assassination footage again as a dark figure caught Vymko from behind, spoke a few words, and then took the Prime Minister's life. William frowned as he examined the dark figure. The visual details weren't that clear but there was something in the way the hit was done that made him think it was more than a rival political faction. The double tap to the head, the weapon placement, it all seemed so rigid, so highly trained, so military.

    William leaned back against his sofa and turned off the news. His mind raced with the possibilities. The Eastern Centrality was an absolute mess. A war zone without end. Rival factions had just recently declared a cease fire to try and stem the tide of civilian casualties. The Western Centrality was blissfully, or ignorantly, unaware of the problems of its eastern neighbor as peace reigned in the capital.

    "It wasn't an internal faction," William said to his wife nearby, "it wasn't anyone from the Eastern Centrality. This is too professional. That means government. The CSA? Unlikely. They were all too eager to rid themselves of their involvement in the Centrality war. A warlord from the independent systems? No, this was too clean. That leaves the Republic, which refuses to intervene in anything beyond its borders, and the Roon Federation."

    A chill slipped down William's spine. If the Federation was involved that meant special operations soldiers had infiltrated Vymko's cabinet and lay in wait for him. He frowned because the implications of his thoughts were quite disturbing. Under his presidency, the Federation didn't engage in regime change through violent means. It was possible, although very unlikely, that the new president had ordered a surgical strike against the Western Centrality to force them to the peace table. An operation like that would require oversight at some level. That oversight would come from the Department of Foreign Affairs which under the leadership of Director Henryk Rhyken had become a staunch influencer in Federation foreign policy.

    "That's not quite right," William continued, "not right at all."

    The Department of Foreign Affairs did not have the authority to launch special operations strikes against foreign governments. Their focus was diplomacy and trade. Not war. This operation bore the mark of something more secret, something hidden, something just out of sight.

    William picked up his datapad to address his household staff, "Prepare my speeder at once. I have a long overdue meeting with the capital."




    Tund
    Eastern Centrality


    "She's getting better," Grace remarked as she wrapped up another grueling day of healing those who continued to be brought in from landmine strikes or unexploded ordinance.

    "You were able to stop the bleeding and reattached her leg," Austin pointed out, "thanks to you she will walk again. You have learned a great deal since first coming here."

    "Thank you, Uncle. That means quite a bit coming from you," Grace replied, "and for the first time since I've been here I feel like we're turning the tide."

    "The peace has held," Austin observed, "that has definitely helped. For how long, I don't know."

    Austin's datapad beeped. He quickly checked the message and then frowned.

    "What is it?" Grace asked.

    "I'm being reassigned," Austin replied, "and you've been instructed to stay here on Tund."

    "I'm not ready to be on my own out here," Grace admitted, "there's still so much I don't know."

    "Grace," Austin said, "trust your instincts. They will never steer you wrong. They will never mislead you. You, my dear, have everything you need to succeed in your new path. The time we have spent here has been remarkable, life changing. This is the portion of the training where you truly must immerse yourself in what you do. You have the knowledge now use it."

    "But what if I fail?" Grace asked.

    Austin smiled and embraced his niece, "Then you will have learned and will begin again. Go, and may the Force be with you."

    "And also with you," Grace replied as she closed her eyes and steeled herself for what was to come.




    Peace Hall
    Tund
    Eastern Centrality


    "The last faction has signed the peace accords," Centurion Volgaar reported to Carley.

    "Perfect," Carley replied, "when can we turn our forces on Traask?"

    "Excuse me?" Volgaar asked, "We just signed a peace ending this war and now you're wanting us to mobilize our forces against General Traask?"

    "Every moment I delay," Carley reminded her subordinate, "is a moment he can use to rebuild his forces. Prime Minister Shym Vymko is dead. Someone ordered the assassination. By all rights it would appear Traask is behind the operation. If I strike now I can reunite the Centrality under Heraat rule as it always should have been!"

    "That would be a mistake," Volgaar gently reminded Carley, "we need to gather our forces. Allow our people to put down roots. Start to rebuild our civilization. Traask can wait. He will always be there. Perhaps he will be more prepared but the people are tired of waging endless war. We've finally found our ancestral home and you would have us continue to fight."

    Carley lowered her head in deep thought. Volgaar made sense. He always did. Her youth and the fatigue of the position were clouding her judgement. Traask would always be there. Traask would always be a threat to her so long as he was alive. She could push her army forward against his but the civilians would suffer, her military would suffer, and she as a direct result would suffer with them.

    "Peace then," Carley admitted, "we focus on peace."

    "Good," Volgaar replied, "a wise choice. When the moment is right, Commander Heraat, we will attack and I will be the first in battle. For now, we will wait."

    "We will wait," Carley repeated as she turned her attention to rebuilding Tund.

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  5. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    All the machinations...

    So, was Vymko's hit ordered by Eleanor's replacement in Roon or Ypres' suspicion of Rhyken? Is Rhyken under the Roon president?

    Sorry for my confusion. I like Ypres, though. looking forward to more on him.
     
  6. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Federation Senate
    Office of Senator Gryffyn Karr
    Nime, Roon


    [​IMG]

    Senator Gryffyn Karr, representing Druckenwell, leaned back in his chair. Across from him was former president of the Roon Federation William Ypres. He studied William for a moment before choosing to respond to their conversation which had been going on for nearly an hour.

    "You're telling me that Eleanor Vehn secretly used her own funds to hire a special operations group to pursue the recovery of her daughter?" Gryffyn repeated just so he understood.

    "Precisely," William said, "and I believe they were behind the assassination of Prime Minister Shym Vymko and dozens of other covert operations in the independent systems."

    "And this group is called the Phantoms and they've been operating for how long?" Gryffen pressed.

    "At least a decade, maybe longer," William replied, "but I want you to know I never employed their abilities during my presidency. I wasn't even made aware of their existence until the end of my term in office."

    Gryffyn sighed and shook his head. "I don't even know what to say. Part of me feels I could employ a full criminal proceeding in the Senate or pursue legal action in violation of the Federation Charter. I could do a great number of things to make sure that you and Eleanor Vehn are never near another government file for the rest of your lives. How does jail time sound?"

    William didn't respond. He knew this was coming. He was a pragmatic man reaching out to a rival Druckenwellian family for mercy. It was a risk. The Karrs and the Ypres hated one another. They were business rivals back on II Avali. The only thing that united them was the business practices of the Roon Federation as both their families had profited immensely from the Federation's business friendly policies. That and a few wars that had generated corporate profit.

    "Perhaps you would reconsider," William said in a slightly pleading tone.

    "I can't do jail time," Gryffyn continued, "because my older sister Addison has now married into the Vehn family. So Eleanor is off limits. You, sir, are also off limits because your daughter married into the Trieste family and I certainly am not one to pick a fight with the Noble House. We may have a reputation but they have a legacy. So I ask you what would you have me do with this information?"

    William leaned forward and smiled ever so slightly, "I believe, Senator, that we are in position to end a particularly ugly chapter in Federation foreign policy. Shut the Phantoms down. Make sure they never come back. Their usefulness has reached its end. Bring Director Rhyken down for questioning, publicly flog him if you must, and then end this dark chapter. It's time for the Federation to rely on true diplomacy, not knives in the dark, to achieve our foreign aim. If you do this for me I will support you when you run for president."

    "You," Gryffen slowly said, "would support me? A rival? William, we are not good friends. Everyone knows this, expects this of us."

    " Have you not put out inquiries to see how successful of a run you could make at the presidential palace? Have you not secretly gathered funds to aid your cause? Already you sit on one of the most powerful committees the Roon Senate has to offer. Your father's presidency was flawed, Gryffyn, even you can see that. You could be an even more powerful man. A stronger man than your father ever dreamed of being. Run for president and I'll throw my financial and political support behind you. Now, more than ever, the Federation needs a strong leader," William replied.

    "I think we have an agreement," Gryffyn said.

    "I believe we do," William replied.




    Roon Senate
    Armed Forces Sub Committee
    Sealed Hearing
    Three weeks later


    "Director," Senator Gryffyn Karr asked, "you mean to tell me that you've never heard of the Federation special operations group known as the Phantoms?"

    "Never," Director of Foreign Affairs Henryk Rhyken replied at a sealed hearing for the Armed Forces Subcommittee.

    "I find that hard to believe," Gryffyn replied, "when we have on file here an audio recording between you and an unknown operative authorizing a strike against a foreign target. Care to explain?"

    Director Rhyken paused and weighed his response carefully, "There are a great many responsibilities one takes when leading the Department of Foreign Affairs. This recording you speak of is highly questionable as to how you obtained it considering all communications internally and externally for the Roon Federation are heavily encrypted. Assuming that's even my voice all I can say is that I must do what I have to do to protect the Federation."

    "You didn't answer my question. Did you order the strike that eliminated Prime Minister Vymko?" Gryffyn pressed.

    "I can neither confirm nor deny Federation foreign policy on this matter," Director Rhyken replied.

    "I'd like to put forward a motion that the subcommittee hereby shut the Phantoms down. Director Rhyken has openly admitted culpability in the operation that killed Prime Minister Shym Vymko and it is clear to me that the Federation's foreign policy needs to be reevaluated," Gryffyn suggested.

    "Motion denied. Senator Karr," a neighboring senator from Hypori cautioned, "careful. Your tone is suggesting that Director Rhyken ordered a hit on a foreign dignatary. An act of war. A treasonable offense. Last I checked this committee did not have the authority to prosecute wild suspicions. Will you yield the podium, sir?"

    Gryffyn sighed. Rhyken was good. He'd skirted around the most direct accusation of them all. He wouldn't be an easy prey to take down. No, this fight would go to the final round. So too would the removal of the Phantoms from active duty. They were a menace. A threat to democracy.

    "Any further questions," the senator from Hypori said, "we're running out of time."

    "No further questions, Druckenwell rests," Gryffyn replied as he yielded the podium.

    Frak! Gryffyn thought. I nearly had you.

    Director Henryk Rhyken gave a barely imperceptible smile and a nod to Senator Gryffyn Karr before returning his attention to a new question presented before him.

    You're hiding something but what? Gryffyn thought as the hour dragged on.

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
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  7. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    This is the same Gryffyn who tried to have his sister Addison killed in intersibling warfare over in ELL, right?
     
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  8. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Yes it is.
     
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  9. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Ooh. The vilification of the phantoms! Rival houses with a common goal! It doesn't look good for Sean and his merry band. Does Jack have any actual political influence?
    What does the current president tap to say about it?
    I am definitely enjoying the intrigue. Your writing style is compelling Even though we jump across the Galaxy and back from chapter and chapter. Excellent update.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  10. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    So how much do we think people change? Because if it's not that much...well...this could get messy. ;)
     
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  11. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    High River, Roon

    "They massacred them all," Eleanor cursed as the rode back toward camp that evening. She glared over at Sheriff Anders, "men, women, and children. They're animals and I want them destroyed."

    "There's only a handful of us," Robert Norden reminded his long time charge.

    "We're outgunned, lady," Sheriff Anders pointed out, "outgunned and outmatched. You can bet that the Kynnovan gang was hoping you'd be in High River when the going got tough."

    "I could call in an orbital strike from the Federation navy," Eleanor mused, "wipe them off the map."

    Anders shook his head, "There's a reason this is frontier country. Your technology, your superiority, means nothing out here. The Cloak of the Sith that shrouds Roon is particularly dense right above our heads. Your sensors would provide inaccurate readings at best. Not work at worst. This fight has to be carried out the old way. With blood, sweat, and a whole lotta luck."

    "You mentioned you could find us more support," Robert said, "and where might we find such men?"

    Eleanor took a swig of her canteen and with water dribbling down her chin, down the sides of her mouth, she spat out, "Not men.....women."

    "I beg your pardon?" Robert questioned, "I don't follow."

    Eleanor jerked her head beyond the tree line to the foothills. Her eyes settled on a monastic, castle, structure jutting out from the nearest hill. It was dark, foreboding, and looked like it had been built a long time ago. A very long time ago.

    [​IMG]

    "The Witches of Roon," Eleanor whispered.

    "Nightsisters. An offshoot of the Witches of Dathomir. Legends, made up stuff," Sheriff Anders pointed out, "not real."

    A twig snapped and Eleanor spun around. Her eyes went wide.

    They were surrounded.

    "Bind them and take them to our home," a voice commanded.

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
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  12. jcgoble3

    jcgoble3 Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Nightsisters! That is an ominous turn I did not expect! I want to see how they get out of this.
     
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  13. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Clearly I haven't sat around enough campfires to hear about how Nightsisters got to Roon. Will there be rancors? Please say there will be rancors.
     
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  14. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Roon
    The Convent

    Eleanor, wrists bround, was thrust forward by one of the witches into a large circular room. At the center of which was a circular dais and upon that an ancient looking altar. The room was dimly lit and smelled musty and damp as if it hadn't seen the light of day in centuries. She had, truly, fallen through time into another existence.

    Torches, carried by mysterious human forms in flowy gowns, appeared from all sides as they approached the altar. They began a swirling, ancient, dance and singing a song from long ago harking back to the founding of Roon. It was a song Eleanor knew because she understood the old tongues from her time raised as the future monarch of Naboo. She translated quietly for Robert and Sheriff Anders who stood apprehensively by her side.

    "Witches, witches," Eleanor whispered, "unite and thrive! We who believed in the one true faith and were cast out from our coven on Dathomir! Fled we did across stars and time to a planet that is hard to find. Roon, Roon, our salvation it has been! Let us honor our ancestors and all they have given. Here we stay, here we believe, here way may thrive and see! Show us the truth, show us the way, give us this day, again and again!"

    The dancing continued for a little while longer while Eleanor, fascinated, watched as the High Priestess was venerated by her subordinates. All at once the singing stopped and the High Priestess stood and addressed Eleanor and her friends

    "Who are you?" the High Priestess asked, "and why do you intrude on our sanctuary?"

    "My name is Eleanor Vehn," she replied, "and I mean you no harm. I was fleeing a horrible massacre of the townspeople of High River when I stumbled into your territory. Family members of mine were killed by the Kynnovan gang. I mean you no cause for concern. There is only the three of us."

    The High Priestess lowered her head slightly to study all of them in turn before replying, "Truly it is a red moon. I have foreseen this massacre, this show of force, and yet I was unable to stop it from happening. I am truly sorry for your loss, Eleanor Vehn. We too have suffered at the hands of the Kynnovan gang. One of our own was captured a fortnight ago and we have been unable to find her."

    "Perhaps our mutual loss could be our mutual gain," Eleanor suggested.

    "Go on," the High Priestess replied.

    "I see your forces are heavily armed," Eleanor said making note of the now crowded chambers filled with armed women, "perhaps we could work together. I seek revenge against Zayn Kynnovan and you seek liberation. Come, join forces with me, and we can rid Roon of these terrible men."

    [​IMG]

    The High Priestess laughed as her emerald eyes flashed with amusement, "I am Galyn Dunbaas. The last blood relative of the Nightsisters of Dathomir. We fled centuries ago from our coven and settled on Roon where we have lived peacefully for years until now. High River has been growing large and threatening our way of life. Before I agree to helping you I ask that you agree to something first."

    "Name your terms," Eleanor said.

    "Oh, dearest Eleanor, I will indeed," High Priestess Galyn Dunbaar whispered.




    Tund
    Eastern Centrality


    "You wished to see me, Commander?" Grace Vehn stated as she entered Commander Carley Heraat's headquarters.

    "Yes, Grace," Carley said dismissing her aides, "I wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you for helping the civilians of Tund the last few weeks. You have saved lives where others would have fled. For that I can offer up only my deepest feelings of gratitude."

    "I live to serve," Grace replied, "it is the only way I know how to atone for my sins."

    "Ah, yes," Carley said, "those. I heard about you. The daughter of Eleanor Vehn trained under the dark arts of Master Tel Adain. You were instrumental in having him arrested and placed in eternal custody on The Spire. He will rot to death in that place. Cut off from the Force. There he will know true suffering. You took a dark past and made something beautiful out of your future. If only we could all do that. If only we all had the strength to do what you did."

    "I am no hero," Grace replied, "I came to Tund to save lives. I came to Tund to help those who can't help themselves. This city was destroying itself, Commander..."

    "Call me Carley," she suggested, "there is no use for titles here. Especially amongst family."

    "You turned from the Vehn name," Grace pointed out, "you are no longer one of us."

    "No," Carley replied after a long pause, "I suppose I'm not. Historically, perhaps. I could not deny my true path. A path which has led me here to this place with you. I called you before me because we need to talk about the future. A futue where the Centrality is united and at peace."

    "United? How?" Grace asked, "It's been at war with itself for what seems like an age."

    "I can end this war," Carley said, "but not by all out force. I need your help. I need you to join the Phantoms on their next mission."

    "They won't have me," Grace pointed out.

    "Yes, they will. Sean loves you, Grace. Anyone with two eyes can see that."

    "We had our time in the sun. That ship sailed a long time ago," Grace replied, "and we agreed to let things be. I can't change the past. Why do you need me to join the Phantoms anyway? I could be of more use to your army here on Tund."

    Carley shook her head, "The Phantoms are compromised. They are a weapon from the last decade but not appropriate for the current one. Eleanor created them to find you, Grace. Now that you are found, now that you are fighting with us, there's no point in them existing any longer. Their units are strung throughout the independent systems running countless operations with highly questionable goals. It's time, Grace, for the Phantoms to end. I need you to join the Phantoms because the mission I have requested for them, through Director Rhyken of the Federation, is meant to kill them off."

    Grace stumbled backward and shook her head, "I refuse to be a part of this. I refuse to listen any longer."

    "The only one worth saving, Grace," Carley said, "is Sean. He is the only one that can be saved. The others must give up their lives. The Phantoms are a destabilizing force in the region. They're built for the wrong war."

    "Do they know this?" Grace asked.

    "They will before the end," Carley said, "and by then it will be too late."




    One Hour Later
    Tund


    Sean Riggins collapsed in a heap of gear and fatigue. The mission to Erilnar had been a resounding success but it had nearly pushed him to the mental breaking point. This truly was a war without end. He hadn't been rotated off front line duty in nearly a year and a half. When he looked at himself in the mirror these days he hardly recognized the haunted and soul less eyes that reflected back at him.

    He reached for his canteen and took a long swig of water. Least some things were consistently good. Slowly, cautiously, he unlaced his boots and allowed his feet a much needed respite and chance to breathe. No chance for trench foot here. He remembered the trenches of Mon Grappa during the Roon Druckenwellian war. The sopping wet, the endless rain, the soul sucking mud reaching up to bury him at any moment. He also remembered the poor condition of the soldier's feet. Trench foot was common and occasionally resulted in amputations.

    "I see you made it back in one piece," Grace said as she sat down next to Sean.

    "Yeah," Sean replied, "I did. Look at that city, Grace. A week ago people were killing one another for their neighbors shoes. Now, peace. I don't hear a single weapon being discharged. I don't hear a single mother crying out for her wounded child. All I hear is silence. Blessed silence. As if Maker in all of his divine glory said one word to end this war of wars: Enough."

    "Silence is truly a beautiful thing," Grace replied.

    "And now that the war is over what do you do with yourself?" Sean asked.

    "That's the thing," Grace replied, "my war isn't over. Turns out I'm being assigned to join Phantom Team Six. As a guest."

    Sean snorted and laughed, "You're pulling my leg."

    "No, I'm being completely serious," Grace replied, "they're sending us someplace super dangerous."

    "Where?" Sean inquired.

    "Bonadan," Grace replied.

    "That's a suicide mission," Sean commented his face growing stoic.

    "I know which is why you need me if you're going to survive," Grace replied with a smile.

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
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  15. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Admittedly, I could not read that line without thinking of the Vampire Council in the TV version of What We Do in the Shadows:

    "Since this may be your last night of existence, the Vampiric Council likes to do something a little bit special. They rehearsed it for decades."
    "This is very odd."

    Sadly I cannot provide glorious video of this moment, which would cause this to make more sense.
     
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  16. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Excellent update, Vehn. From wild West to Middle Ages witches, you done an excellent job of setting the scene. I am eager to see how the Night Sisters assist Eleanor in destroying the Kynnovan gang. And, what does Gaylen want in return.

    Say what? What is this Cloak of the Sith? The Night Sisters, themselves? This seemed out of left field.

    Though I did not expected a lesson on Trench Foot, your description was fantastic. I am now concerned for the Phantoms and how Sean will react if, indeed, he is the last one.
     
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  17. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    The Cloak of the Sith is the sensor scrambling field that encases the space around Roon and limits the approach of oncoming vessels.
     
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  18. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Naturally occurring, right? A lot like the Transitory Mists?
     
  19. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    OOC: My apologies for the long delay in writing. Lots going on at home but finally have some time to punch this out. Here we go!



    Bonadan
    CSA


    Specialist Sean Riggins quietly fast roped down from the shuttle onto the headquarters of the Direx Board. He knelt down on one knee as the rest of operators around him came down on all sides and rapidly deployed. He adjusted his helmet as the night vision kicked in bathing the dark, corporate, world around him a frightening green light. It was time to go.

    He felt a hand squeeze his shoulder. The signal to advance. He brought his rifle to bear as he made his way against the dense durracrete jungle. He reminded himself of the objective: the elimination of Direx Polarit. He knew the odds of getting off of Bonadan alive after Polarit was killed were slim. Perhaps, in some small way, that was fitting. He was getting tired of the missions, tired of the constant killing, tired of the stress and fatigue. It was time for it all to end.

    Sean was nearly to the door leading to the stairwell when the building lights erupted in a blinding flash. He ripped off his helmet and watched in horror as Espos launched an all out attack on his position. His team never stood a chance. They were helplessly cut down barely even getting off a shot. A sinking feeling reached his stomach as he heard and saw Grace Vehn's lightsaber erupt into action.

    He'd never seen a Jedi fight before. It was so graceful. So calculated. Such a precise work of art that in that moment he briefly forgot his grief and anguish at seeing his entire team wiped out in a planned ambush. There was Grace defending him, after all he had done, defending a warrior of the Federation.

    Sean stumbled back to the ground as a blaster bolt hit him squarely in the chest. His armor caught the blow but another followed suit until they eventually punched through his armor and into his chest leaving a gaping hole. He collapsed to the ground, struggled to breath, as the sounds of battle and war faded in and out of consciousness. The last thing he remembered was Grace waving in the shuttle.

    "I'll get you out of here, Sean! I promise," Grace whispered.




    Heraat Council of Elders
    Tund


    "Surely there is a diplomatic solution to our current food shortages," a veteran Elder of the Centrality stated to Commander Carley Heraat during another long administrative meeting, "a dialogue, diplomacy, something could be negotiated with General Traask."

    "War must be avoided," another Elder chimed in, "for we do not have the will to keep on fighting. Our people are tired of war."

    "I am well aware of what is at stake," Carley said from her dais at the front of Peace Hall, "and I will not allow the Western Centrality to hold us hostage any longer. The Centrality must be united. I know I have spoken about maintaining the peace but what sort of peace is it if my people starve and my armies go unpaid? Now is the time, gentlemen, to strike and strike hard!"

    "Pray Commander Heraat," the first Elder openly challenged, "you and what army?"

    "This army," Carley replied with confidence as two of her closest centurions, one of whom Centurion Volgaar, came in from a side entrance and flanked her throne. They brandished their weapons so the entire council could see.

    A hushed and shocked tone fell over the Elder Council as they realized what had just happened. Their centuries old control over the Heraat clan was gone. Now, in its place, was for all intents and purposes an autocratic ruler bent on uniting the Centrality under a single banner. The Elders knew their time had come and gone and were stunned as their political power was usurped in one fell swoop.

    "Rayna Heraat, my blood and my relation, died on this very floor," Carley explained in an even voice, "because the Elder Council failed to do their duty and protect her from all harm. She died leading the Heraat clan against the Western Centrality carrying on the hard generational fight that she inherited. She did not ask for that fight. It was thrust upon her by Prime Minister Shym Vymko. May his body rot in the nine hells."

    A few of the Elders murmured amongst one another.

    "Who will stand against me? Who will fight against me and my legions?" Carley challenged.

    A heavy silence filled the room.

    No one stirred.

    No one dared move.

    No one dared to even speak.

    Silence.




    Nime, Roon
    Office of Foreign Affairs


    "All Phantom operations have ceased. Any surviving members not caught up in the night's atrocities have been arrested on treason charges," Jack Vehn reported to his superior Director of Foreign Affiars Henryk Rhyken.

    "Then we have reason to celebrate," Director Rhyken commented.

    "Perhaps," Jack said, "or we have reason to fear the future and our lack of security."

    "Jack," Director Rhyken, "we both agreed the Phantoms were for a different time. A different war."

    "Did we have to kill them?" Jack questioned.

    Rhyken finished his drink and shook his head, "What would you have me do? Keep them alive only to have them keep fighting their perpetual war? Would you have me risk the safety and security of the Federation to protect a rogue group of operatives?"

    "No," Jack replied quietly, "I suppose you're right."

    "Cheer up, my boy," Director Rhyken said, "the best is yet to come."




    High River
    Roon


    A lone sentry carried out his quiet patrol. It was another boring night in a successive number of boring nights. He was part of the Kynnovan Gang. He was part of the future of High River. He had taken part in eliminating those civilians who had been rounded up for extermination. He thought little of his role in that massacre. After all, he was s merely following orders.

    A branch snapped behind him.

    The sentry looked up into the gaping, decayed, stench filled mouth of a rancor.

    "Time to feast, my dear," High Priestess Galyn Dunbaar said from atop her rancor with a delicious smile on her face.

    The rancor did indeed eat that night.

    Tag: @jcgoble3; @Trieste; @brodiew
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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  20. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    OOC: The story continues.....



    High River
    Larch Point
    Roon


    Zayn Kynnovan had his gun belt strapped on the moment he heard the distant scream. The beastly sounds erupting from the tall trees on the perimeter of his camp told him everything he needed to know. He quickly grabbed his scatter gun and slipped his hat on as he emerged from his tent staring intently in the direction of the oncoming attack.

    Campfires illuminated the darkness of the night as did a full moon and Zayne screamed as his men still lay sleeping on their blankets.

    "Get up you lazy lot!" Zayn spit out, "We're under attack you fools!"

    His eyes widened as the trees at the end of the meadow parted and the first of four rancors shot out with eyes glowing and that foul stench of rotting flesh erupting from the teeth. Even more disturbing were the powerful women atop them trilling and whistling at the top of their lungs.

    Nightsisters....

    Zayn sneered and reached into a nearby weapons cache as the battle for supremacy of High River erupted all around him. He found a rocket launcher and grabbed a few extra rounds. He'd picked up the heavy weaponry during his last deal with the Federation military. A few of the higher ups had an addiction to wealth. He gave them money in exchange for the kind of weaponry to reign supreme.

    He wasted no time sliding a round into the chamber and targeting the nearest rancor. The lock was almost instantaneous. He pulled the trigger and watched with muted satisfaction as the rocket made contact with the rancor and obliterated it into a thousand pieces. One down, three to go. He was reaching for another round when a whip like material wrapped around his wrists wrenching the rocket launcher away.

    "You've done enough damage for one life time," High Priestess Gaylyn Dunbaar growled as she retracted her energy whip.

    "Oh the day is young," Zayn replied, "and your name is on the top of my to do list."

    "Well then lets get to it," Gaylyn replied as she drew out a vibrosword.

    "As you wish," Zayn said as he drew out his own weapon.

    The two charged one another and clashed in a fierce meeting of metal and energy, of ideology and zealotry. Their battle wasn't just for supremacy of High River and the surrounding region. It was a battle between two philosophies, two separate and distinct ways of life.




    High River

    Eleanor, Sheriff Anders,and Robert Norden along with a handful of Nightsisters flanked the Kynnovan Gang camp in an effort to cut off any reinforcements from arriving. They settled on the old country road leading up to where Gaylyn Dunbaar and Zayn Kynnovan were dueling. The battle raged left and right. Friend and foe fell in muted heaps.

    "Here they come!" Sheriff Anders roared as he raised his pistol.

    The Kynnovan Gang's reinforcements thundered out of the town of High River up toward the mountain encampent. Their rock hoppers, sweating and fatigued from a hard day, pounded up the old road in the direction of Eleanor's trap. The dust from the rockhoppers hid the numbers of the advancing gang members but the small group was ready nevertheless.

    "Now!" Eleanor yelled as she opened fire along with Sheriff Anders and Robert Norden on the advancing riders.

    The first line was cut down almost immediately. The second was hit hard and their advance faltered. The third broke through the ragtag group of defenders and quickly leapt off their horses for hand to hand combat.

    Eleanor twirled a shotgun in her hands and deftly cut down two gang members with one shot. Anders, nearby, took down a third while Robert Norden took down more that were coming up out of High River. The Night Sisters as well did their fair share as the battle continued. She could tell they were gaining the upper hand still more and more reinforcements arrived and the small ragtag group of freedom fighters were on the verge of being overwhelmed.

    Slowly, surely, the freedom fighters held their ground....




    High River
    Larch Point


    Zayn pulled back and kicked out with his foot connecting with High Priestess Gaylyn Dunbaar's jaw. He heard a snap and for an instant thought he'd broken the witches neck. He sneered as he stood over her limp form. He knew victory would be his. He raised his vibro blade above his head to strike the killing blow.

    "I wouldn't if I were you," Sheriff Anders called out having raced up the mountain trail.

    "You really think you can stop me old man?" Zayn asked.

    "I've gotta try," Anders replied and pulled the trigger.

    Zayn deflected the slug which bounced right back into Anders chest. Anders fell down as the crushing impact of the slug imbedded deep into his chest. Eleanor rushed to his side as well as Robert Norden. The pair had been delayed in the fight to hold off the Kynnovan Gang's reinforcements.

    "Stay with me Anders," Eleanor said as she and Robert struggled to initiate first aid, "stay with me."

    High Priestess Gaylyn Dunbaar swept to her feet and charged into Zayn knocking him over. She looked around for a brief moment and saw that most of the Kynnovan Gang had been defeated by her brethren. Already the rancors and their riders were circling back toward the escarpement overlooking High River. The noose was tightening.

    "It's over, Zayn!" Gaylyn shouted.

    "It's never over," Zayn sneered as he backed up to the cliff edge, "High River is mine!"

    "You have no place to go," Gaylyn yelled.

    "I always have somewhere to be," Zayn replied before leaping off the cliff.

    "No!" Gaylyn shouted as she'd wanted the kill for herself.

    Seconds later a troop transport rose up with Zayn looking out from the cargo hold. He gave a brief salute before slipping high way into the atmosphere.

    "After him!" Gaylyn yelled to her subordinates.

    "With what?" Eleanor asked having stabilized Sheriff Anders.

    "We have our ways. Zayn Kynnovan won't stay hidden for long I promise you that," Gaylyn hissed.

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  21. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Always a favorite move of mine! Nice to see Eleanor get some gun tricks in. ;)
     
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  22. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Somewhere in the independent systems

    "Sean," a voice from far away called.

    "Sean," the voice repeated.

    Sean Riggins opened his eyes and found the calming, ethereal quality of Grace Vehn staring back at him. His vision cleared as he slowly sat up in bed. He rubbed his temples. A splitting headache was slowly fading away. Memories came to him now. Memories of ambush and betrayal.

    "Where am I?" Sean asked.

    "Phantom safe house," Jack Vehn said emerging from the shadows of the room.

    "Where have you been?" Sean questioned.

    "I'll get to that in a minute," Jack said, "what do you know?"

    "You mean what have I told him?" Grace questioned, "Nothing."

    "What is going on?" Sean asked.

    "Twelve hours ago Director Henryk Rhyken ordered the elimination of all Phantom teams. Every single team member. Every team was assigned an impossible mission. A mission that they couldn't escape from. Ambushes were laid, traps were set, and lives were lost. We set a beacon to rally the survivors to the only safe house not on the books. The safe house is called Point Hope," Jack explained.

    "This can't be happening," Sean groaned, "how many are left?"

    "Less than two dozen," Jack reported, "from an operational strength of one hundred fifty."

    "Why?" Sean asked.

    "Director Rhyken became convinced that the Phantoms were fighting an old war. A war put before them by Eleanor Vehn to find her daughter. Now that her daughter is alive and well the Phantoms are no longer needed. Rhyken had no way to explain why the Phantoms even existed and knew they were the one thing keeping enemies of the Federation away. The Federation Senate began to question the legitimacy of the Phantoms so Rhyken took matters into his own hands rather than kill his political ambitions," Jack said.

    "What ambitions?" Grace asked.

    "To become the leader of the Roon Federation. To further connections with the Corporate Sector Authority," Jack said.

    "The CSA? Why would Rhyken want to do that? The Federation and the CSA are sworn enemies," Sean pointed out.

    "Because he's working for them," Jack admitted, "everything that has transpired as a result of Grace's reunification of her family and Federation foreign policy has been his directive. I even came across a report that heavily indicated the Federation had recently been pulling money from the CSA through heavily encrypted software. The CSA knows the Federation tampered with them they just can't pinpoint what or how exactly. This was their revenge. Why do you think the Federation allowed the Centrality war to carry on for so long?"

    "Profit," Grace observed, "endless profit."

    Jack nodded.

    "So what do we do now?" Sean asked, "My team is gone and the other operatives have either gone dark or are dead."

    "We fight back," Jack said, "and we strike where it will hurt the most."

    "And where is that?" Grace asked.

    "Nime," Jack replied, "we strike directly at Nime."

    Tag: @Trieste ; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
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  23. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Everything is chaos, nothing is certain!
     
  24. Trieste

    Trieste Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2010
    I just realized that Rhyken is an anagram of Henryk. :oops:
     
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  25. Vehn

    Vehn Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 14, 2009
    High River, Roon

    "So, you're leaving us?" Sheriff Anders asked as Eleanor cinched up the last of her bags aboard the speeder that had come to get her.

    "I've been called back to Nime on urgent business," Eleanor replied with a wistful smile, "but I will always remember my time in High River fondly. This was a place that changed me in a lot of good ways."

    "My lady," Robert Norden said clearing his throat, "we must get going."

    "I won't hold you up," Sheriff Anders said with a smile, "but I will say you were one of the finest guns I ever served with out here. Nothing I can say will make you stay will it?"

    Eleanor shook her head, "My path lies elsewhere, Sheriff. Besides, you've got Gaylyn to keep you company."

    High Priestess Gayln Dunbaar laughed and shook her head. "He doesn't need me. Not with Kynnovan gone."

    "I think I need you more than ever," Sheriff Anders replied, "High River needs someone to watch over her. I couldn't think of a better candidate."

    Eleanor took one last look at High River. The raw rugged terrain. The wild, untamed, beauty.

    "I shall miss this place and you two most of all," Eleanor said, "High Priestess, High River is yours per our agreement, farewell."

    And then Eleanor Vehn departed.




    Nime

    Director of Foreign Affairs Henryk Rhyken felt pretty good about the state of the galaxy. He'd successfully eliminated the threat of the Phantoms, Eleanor Vehn was off knee deep in attempting to pacify the most lawless state in Roon, and the Corporate Sector Authority was beginning to receive the first of the shipments of cortosis from hijacked Trianii freighters.

    He'd just gotten out of a grueling meeting with Federation High Command explaining why it was that Federation interests beyond their borders were not their problem. The generals and admirals present took a hard line stance against Rhyken's policies but ultimately couldn't persuade the Federation president to listen to them. Rhyken had the president's ear. He did, after all, direct foreign policy for the government and now had just secured border security for the next decade. A policy that was favorable to him and the Corporate Sector Authority.

    Rhyken fired up his com. unit and once he knew he had a secure connection he spoke, "How did it go?"

    "They fought hard but we got what we wanted," Zayne Kynnovan replied on the other end, "High River's majore lode of gold has been extracted. A lot of good men died so that they could get it out safely."

    "I'll remember that," Rhyken replied, "and are you safe?"

    "Safe as I'll ever be," Zayne replied.






    Tund


    "Commander," Centurion Volgaar whispered, "the grain shipments from the West have stopped. Our people are starving in the streets and they grow restless. General Traask has failed to uphold his part of the peace agreement. We must take action."

    [​IMG]

    Commander Carley Heraat, leader of the Heraat clan and by blood and rights the heir to the ancient Centrality throne of Erilnar, stood from the meeting table and with a determined look on her face addressed her closest advisors. All in the room gazed upon their young leader anxious to hear her command. They also happened to notice that Carley Heraat had allowed her hair color to change to its natural red hue rather than the usual black.

    "I wonder what game General Traask is playing at," Carley wondered aloud, "thoughts my warriors?"

    "General Traask, the butcher of Tund, was notorious for delaying bread shipments to the Eastern Centrality during his occupation," one of her warriors responded.

    "He is hoping to provoke a war," Centurion Volgaar suggested, "and by starving our population he is hoping to subjugate us into submission."

    "General Traask has not hidden his desire to bring the Centrality to heel under his authority," another mentioned.

    "All very likely reasons," Carley said, "but I have a feeling what is motivating him to cut off grain shipments to Tund is the same reason our sensors have detected a build up of warships on the perimeters of our lands: he has found another player willing to pay and quite handsomely. Clearly he views our forces as nothing more than rabble. Nothing to be concerned about. So he goes and makes a deal with the Corporate Sector Authority."

    "Traitor!" cried out the men gathered around the table.

    "We had a deal!"

    "Make him pay!"

    Carley smiled and raised her hands to quiet her subordinates. "His actions against us shall not go unpunished nor shall his atrocities against the Eastern Centrality go unremembered. Today our clan, our warriors, shall raise their banners and rally the people to them in a way we have never seen in generations! Today our armies shall rise up and confront General Traask once and for all! Prepare the fleet and prepare my ship! We go to war, gentlemen!"

    Thunderous cheers reached her ears as Carley Heraat and the Heraat clan marched off to war to unite the Centrality under one banner once and for all.

    Tag: @Trieste; @jcgoble3; @brodiew
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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