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Author Topic: Fate of the Aether  (Read 13777 times)
Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 888
Posts: 4336


Light side points please.


« Reply #195 on: February 04, 2019, 11:19:21 AM »

Whoa....

Millie!   She can't die!  She just can't!   SHE'S THE CHOSEN ONE!!!!!!

Wait...   This seems familiar....  ;-)

Intense battle.   When you started with the whole "phoenix" reference (which I took to be a reference to X-Men's Phoenix) I was thinking that she would do a typical character movement - sink to a low point, have that "rock bottom" moment, then start to ascend again.   

Didn't really work out that way, though.   The Vhong killed her.   Or so it seems, anyway.   There's certainly some wiggle rom here.  :-)   At any rate, I am very interested to see how her family respond, whatever her final disposition.  :-)
Logged

signature picture by DarthScrub

Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #196 on: February 04, 2019, 05:33:15 PM »

Chapter 49 — Falling Down — Descent of Angels

Maeson

He had intended to follow her despite her protestations.  She was too vulnerable to leave alone.

Every moment of her battle in the skyscraper convinced him more and more he needed to be there.  

And now he could sense it was getting even worse for her…it broke his heart - she was such a beautiful cheery girl underneath…just so damn confused and saddened…they all were.

“…Ougggh” he blew out winded from the punch, twisting and trying to catch the fist without much luck.

“Come on make it interesting!” Durge grated from behind his cybernetic helmet.  Maesons best intention to help Milaea was ruined when the Gen’Dai and half a dozen bloodthirsty hi-tech armoured Ganks burst into docking bay 94-3 of Harrara Tower on the city outskirts.

Despite their cybernetic implants and relish for violence, Maeson had managed to down three of the six in the opening salvo, Lyaea and Valens Guardian-Charric Rifle easily penetrating their disc like head pieces.  

Durge was more resilient, closing fast with his jet pack and utterly intent on throwing Maeson 94 stories down to the ground in a fitting mirror to how Maeson had plunged the Gen’Dai on Nar Shadda.

Maeson swung as hard as he could into the thick plate, he knew he couldn’t bruise the mash of muscle and nerve cord beneath but he could at least get an opening and try and burn him out.

The Ganks were circling – his telekinetically controlled rifle hovering far over their heads keeping them occupied, but they moved too fast for him to land a hit.  He was moderately faster than the hulking brute, but not overwhelmingly so with so much of his aetheric energy put into controlling the rifle and softening the blows, probing against the slick aetheric presence for a grip.

“If you’re not gonna fight!” Durge taunted smacking Maesons shoulder – hard

“At least give up quiet,” mini rocket corkscrewed in propellant smoke, Maeson hit it back toward the things face – Durge let it explode indifferently against his face plate.

“Not so tough without your tralk are you,” Maesons kick landed in its shin, hurting him more from the backlash through his skeleton than the boneless Gen’Dai.

“Just bend over and take it, I need to warm up before frelling the red haired bitch,”

Through his chipped helmet Maeson felt the blazing energy light the aether…it was too late.  In the insanity of despair he smiled.

“Yeah you’ll be smiling when I ram my rifle up your exhaust!” Durge taunted as his rapid combo of mid-mid-low-high-mid rocked and strained Maesons arms to block.

Maeson didn’t know why he bothered, without Her it didn’t matter anymore.

<<<<>>>>

Jarys

His hands were shaking with rage, behind his eyes a million drums of war pounded in tune to his daughters pain.  

Tense and primed there was nothing that million men or more could do to hold him back.

Time and distance were his enemies now, the wind whistling against the split of his sword as Kiraea twisted the Karintha through the sky-scrapers of Sativran city.

As soon as they left Ando they heard Maesons urgent cry.  Redirecting at the next jump point they pushed the drives to 130% – with every kilometre they closed his fury had built.  

First they hunt Kiraea on Myrkr….steal their children – AGAIN - then attack the Sons…now they twist, confuse and hurt his daughter who was just trying to get the babies back…just trying to LIVE FREE!

This was it…the Kyala fruit that sent the Gormin wild.  No more chances for the Outsiders - they were either Friends of the People like Keison and the Son…or corpses waiting for a place to happen.

He tightened his grip as the ramp open and wind spiralled the cargo straps behind him.  

A blazing Red filled his mind…
Milaea…
No…

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea

No…why would she…she was hurting so much…she should never have left her.
“Love! Stop!” she called telepathically pulling a turn between skyscrapers that shattered trasnparisteel with the backwash.
She couldn’t lose another sister!

<<<<>>>>


Sofa

She cracked back in her seat as they pulled out of the jump into the atmosphere of Lexrul.  Every moment was one too many as she relied on Valens superior piloting to avoid them smashing into a brown stratified mesa. Just outside Satrivan City.

Tears were rolling down her cheeks as she felt Mili’s pain, it threatened to tear her own mind apart with its depth across their sisterly link.

She was pulling herself apart

“Mili! LIVE!” Sofa screamed out loud and across the aether.

“Don’t! It was all my fault….”  Valens hammered out as he flipped up, the controls moving under his invisible guidance.

“What can we do!” Sofa screamed as the ship rocked in unnerving twists between the outer towers of the city at an unnatural speed. Valens power was pumping out, a black overshadowed only by Milaea’s red as he bent time and space around the Lyssia.

“There’s only one thing I can think of…”

<<<<>>>>


Jarys


He couldn’t wait any more, as they rounded a building he leapt – pushing himself forward with the aether as gravity dragged him down in an arc.  

Beneath a bunch of Ganks lead by a couple of Yaka were charging past their fellows corpses toward a small group of…weird looking mutilated and horned creatures who stood around the collapse of five ground stories in the corner of a building – the streets around abandoned.  

Amongst the ruins, shining like a fiery red beacon his daughter – a Red Angel pulling herself apart. The brightness burnt his eyes as he crashed into the ferrocrete street, his blackstone armoured bulk leaving a huge crater.  

Before the wrecked chunks of road had time to reach their vertical maximum and descend back he was springing forward through the rear of the Ganks and Yaka.

How many didn’t matter.  

How he killed them didn’t matter.  

Some were simply crunched into balls half their original volume by his mind – others riddled with holes from his blasters.  The ones he got close to carved with a butcher’s efficiency into at most three pieces.

From the other end of the street alight with red fire another midnight ship cut through bubbling air distorted by the aether – the ripples in the transparisteel of surrounding buildings unnaturally slow.  Form the back two figures dropped down as Jarys reached the first of the shell armoured creatures a hissing serpent its weapon of choice.

He had no interest in what it was or where it was from, he dismissed its unique fighting style with a simple overhead slash of his blackstone blade that cut it in two down its absent nose.  

<<<<>>>>

Valens

Teeth gritted he twisted the aether back in on itself – it would hurt her – but it would also save her life – and was nothing like the pain his failures had already caused her to suffer.

She wasn’t ready, he’d made a mistake on Vyth making her choose – she was a child, a padawan not an Aethan Guardian as he had been at the same age – he had to make decisions like that for the People and it burnt him still…yet she was the one alight.

Again his failures only harmed those he loved.
 
As Sofa landed heavily he felt the heat begin to sizzle his already battered armour. The enemies about her were smart enough to have retreated beyond her range, on the far side Jarys was rampaging through them like a God of War.

Drawing the Aether all back in he pushed the pull and pulled the push as he smacked down beside the inferno a whorl of Null Abyss to sever her connection at close range.  

In an instant the fire was cut – the heat remained but the source was dead in the null field.  Less than a second later Sofa was there to catch Milaea as her naked scarred body fell back in the heat haze.

<<<<>>>>

Yhum

Never…he had never seen it’s like.

These Jeedai…surely they were more than just twisted bio-forms and heretics.  

One turned to fire, another obliterated his warriors and their opponents in mere seconds.  Of all he had learnt and transmitted back to the fleet about the indigenous species he had never seen….

They were the Avatars of the Gods – it was the only explanation.

The black creature towering over him the avatar of Yun-Yammka.  The pair cradling the burning one Yun-Txiin and Yun-Q’aah the lovers.

The flaming one herself who had destroyed his warriors with Ice and Flame though appearing weak, naked and un-armed in a twist of deception could only be Yun-Harla.

He fell to his knees as the blade of Yun-Yammka was raised over his head.

He was blessed to fall by the Avatars blade.  

<<<<>>>>

Jarys

Glancing up he saw Sofa and Valens moving back with Milaea…she was still alive thank the Goddesses....if only barely.

As Kiraea pivoted round now controlling both ships he suddenly remembered he was standing over the last of their enemies blade about to fall and send its vile mutilated head to join the other twenty eight corpses.  

He gazed back down on the creature which was…spreading its arms before him as if to receive a blessing of some form.  It wanted to die at his hands.

In a sneer of hatred Jarys decided he would deny this thing its wish. Hand over hand he switched grip to ram his pommel into its skull.

<<<<>>>>

Maeson

Last legs, the Ganks were down but Durge had torn his rifle to pieces along with Maesons right pauldron and left leg armour.  He felt more battered than he had after a triple shift in the mines of his enslavement.

The Gen’Dai had suffered too – a charred blob of its ashen muscles steamed behind him where Maeson had managed to sever then blast its ‘arm’ with a grenade. Of course it simply reformed its amphorous body to creature a new limb which now pummelled his stomach as is other hand carried him toward the hangar door, ready to drop him off the edge – poetic justice Durge thought.

He kept trying to hit back a last attempt to die fighting.

“I’m gonna enjoy this….” The Gen’Dai leered

His vision captured afterimages of yellow bolts as a mechanical whine sounded overhead.  He was dropped to the floor as boots hit the ground beside him.  Durge stumbled back under concentrated fire as a familiar face pulled Maeson up.

“Shock Squads on site” Keison smiled as Mmbri and Komo charged forward, in between them the lithe form of Kiraea landed.

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea

She was getting sick of fighting big cybernetic things…but this particular one had intended to hurt Milaea…so she would hurt it - badly.

The Sons fire was either dodged or bounced off its armour as it fell back toward the turbo lifts.

“Frelling weaklings! Fight me one on one tralk!” it yelled.

She held up a hand and the Sons fire stopped.

“If you insist.”  

Its charge was impressive, but not as good as her dexterity, twirling and wrapping her leg round to smack it in the back of the head then jab two shikkars into its exposed muscle cords.  

It shrugged off the pain as expected but became concerned as she began moving the shikkars inside its body – it tried to crush them with muscle contractions but she was too precise and quick – and while it was forced to worry about that she began methodically dissecting it with her blade.

The chunks that flew from its body she immolated with aetheric fire, the other pieces flapped painfully and were resliced before it could repair.  With a telekinetic push she opened up the elevator shaft following a suggestion from Maeson.

“Frelling tralk I’ll shove every muscle I have right up your….”

Before he could finish her spin-kicked sent it hurtling into the shaft as the turbo lift flew up severing it in half, the bottom flopping to the ground as the top half was zoomed up the tower on top of the lift.

She smiled wickedly as the bottom half spurting white gluggy fluids was turned to ash from her rage - she had far more enjoyable things to slide into her….

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

Her legs strained under the sudden burst of speed as she rushed the searing form toward the Lyssia.  First Responder Sirens began screaming over head as Jarys dragged one of the rotten looking Elites toward them, idly blasting the few stragglers apart with lighting.

Valens glanced up with deadly intent at the approaching Police and Ambulance crews just delayed after being run ragged at the tower collapse all day.  

“Don’t you dare hurt them!” Sofa screamed, she was sick of all this destruction.

The aether built around him in invisible waves before rippling out, a sense of disorientation, the world turned upside down, left and right mirroring was hammered into the emergency crews minds, their ships auto pilots immediately engaged under the dangerous instructions as they warbled out confused buying them time to escape, chunks of debris flying up and serving as makeshift stretchers as Valens and Jarys accumulated all the Elite corpses along with Milaea’s scattered gear.

As her boots hit the safety of the Lyssia’s ramp Sofa turned round, echoes of Milaea’s self-destruction on the wind drew her gaze to a pink spot in the ruin.

“There! Grab her!” levitating the bodies up by bouncing the aether resistant forms on pressurized air Jarys turned to lift the broken form of a second woman out.

Sofa had to get her - Milaea had been willing to die to protect her…

As Milaea’s red golden hair began to flake out Sofa knew she still might.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #197 on: February 07, 2019, 08:14:53 PM »

Chapter 50 — Falling Down — Broken Wings

Jarys

No matter their own injuries and fatigue every one of them poured all the blood red energy into her they could.  Gradually her skin turned from searing red to sickly white, burnt out hair dropping and slowly replaced by new growth as the drips fed in raw materials for her self-repair homeostatic systems to swiftly turn into new cells.

She seemed so tiny and fragile, the thin sheet just covering her amongst five armoured destroyers of worlds.

Once they had done all they could their hands slowly fell back to their sides as they fell on their knees or slumped against the walls of the Aethena’s hold, Keison and the Sons patrolling the hangar outside, the bisected Durge having not made a reappearance – but his upper half had not been found either.

Beside her lay the others moved from the Karintha – Kassyndra and a man none of them could even recognize under the cybernetic mutilations.

What freedom was this…just moving from battlefield to battlefield waiting to die…slowly eroded beneath the tides of unending War.

They were all broken, Milaea more so for being younger and less resilient – her vulnerability and pain was an indictment on them all, they never should’ve left her so alone – she was too vulnerable mentally and physically – Maeson could not compel or tell her what to do even for her own safety – she was the Goddess in person, she had to be obeyed…

And now she was broken.

All their hopes and expectations had crushed her, and he had failed to keep his daughter free and safe from the struggle for survival and against oppression, failed to keep her free from the unending War of existence.  Failed to let her have a chance to Live

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

This was it.  This had to stop.  She would only stay as long as Mili needed looking after.

But looking at her unconscious form…that could be a long time. 

Sofa was afraid loving her would get her killed along with the rest of them.  The others might regret and despair at Milaea being harmed, but they seemed to have no better course than to keep wading into more battles.

Let them call her a traitor, flaky, whatever - this was worse than her life with the Jedi – she wasn’t going to put up with it. Soon as she got a chance she was gone.

<<<<>>>>

Valens

He had failed them all once more.  Milaea was a wreck, Sofa would leave as soon as she was better, and probably convince Milaea to go with her.  Perhaps it was for the best.

The whole project, the entire strategy of trying to revive their People was a failure if it was hurting their most precious child so much.

Milaea wasn’t Aethena, wasn’t a Guardian, not really even People, she was an angel hearted child thrown into a world of Gods and Monsters.  He had thrown her into the fires of the galaxy too soon…he should’ve taken her from the Jedi earlier.

It always seemed right at the time…to keep her with Sofa and Soryu, and even after he found Kiraea…her influence would’ve been…confusing.…he thought to show Milaea the galaxy as it truly was, have her make decisions a Guardian would need to…

All he had been was wrong. 

And Milaea paid the price for his failures as Cilina and Shilea had before her.

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea

She should never have let her go…Yorna never would’ve let such a young female like her go anywhere without another female to look after her.  Milaea had barely learnt the Rites, little more than a child. 

Kiraea was the senior female, the keeper of the their Rites…it was her duty to protect and guide the Daughters of the Goddess – she was the only one who could’ve countermanded Milaea’s instructions to Maeson to go alone to face Vectivus and Xithar – and she’d been too busy frelling Jarys who she didn’t even deserve and playing with the Sons to notice how pained her charge was

Her botched efforts had left Milaea so confused that she would destroy herself for an Outsider. Kiraea wasn’t sure this damage could be undone…physically she would recover…but…

Trembling she stood up, quickly moving over to grab Sofa up as well, she resisted for moment till Kiraea gave her a sharp look.

Tearing off their right gloves she took out a shikkar and slashed across her palm.

“What are you?”

“Quiet!” Kiraea snapped at Sofa’s protest similarly cutting her hand.

She had to move Sofa’s with her left while moving her own, carefully funnelling the dripping blood with the aether to create three triangles of blood on Milaea’s Body. 

The men instantly seeing this was a sacred ritual left the room as quick as they could.

The first triangle had its tip on Milaea’s forehead and then framed her face with the base horizontal along her chin – encompassing the sense organs and mind to call forth Aethenaea’s protection. 

She removed the sheet covering Milaea’s lower body then began the second - cardinal points on Milaeas breasts and between her legs, encompassing her main organs, but especially her heart, breasts and womb to call forth Aephrodaea’s protection.

Their hands rapidly healing she had to cut again after reposition Milaeas Limbs – crossing her arms under her breasts and crossing her legs over – the arms formed the base elbow to elbow, the crossed knees the tip – her limbs thus protected by Aertemisaea.

“Goddesses….Wise Aethenaea, Strong Aertemsisaea, Compassionate Aephrodaea…I know we’re very far away from Home…but your Daughter is suffering…strengthen, guide and impassion us to protect her…”

She gripped on Sofa’s hand tightly as she tried to pull away, Kiraea could feel her incredulity and repugnance at the blood ritual.

“This might not matter to you but it matters to HER,” 

“This isn’t going to help, she needs to get away from this twisted rubbi…”

The slap echoed across the small medical and science room, the shockwave causing glass vials to tinkle against each other as a blood hand print streaked down Sofa’s face.

“Oh you’ve done it now,”

“No I haven’t I’m just about to!” she pushed right up to her, Kiraea was slightly taller normally at 174.6 cm over Sofa’s 174.4 – a noticeable difference for their genetically perfected senses and magnified her presence with the aether even further.

“Don’t think I can’t hear your thoughts! See you intentions – you want to run away, you don’t feel safe, well none of us do!” She tried to push past her by Kiraea would not be moved

“You’re not going anywhere – and don’t think Valens will help you, he won’t, doesn’t matter how many pheromones you pump him with I’m in charge when it comes to the Goddesses, the males will do whatever I tell them to – that is my responsibility and that is my privilege!”

<<<<>>>>

Sofa

“You’re completely insane, you all are!” Sofa seethed back against her steel gaze.

“Well you joined us! I told you being one of us many benefits and responsibilities, if you don’t want that then fine, go, I won’t stop you, Valens will get over it soon enough – but how do you think she’ll feel!  Milaea changed you because she loved you, wanted to be a biological family with you, give you a chance to have children.”

“And where is that chance!” she spread her arms about “Where is the safe place to make a home?”

Something about that made Kiraea back off a little, her response unusually soft.

“There is no safe place…we thought we had a safe place…and the Outsiders took that away from us…took my family, my sister…I should be at home with my own babies, my sisters babies…” her eyes flashed a briefly unnerving blue.

“You’ll never be safe, never find that perfect place, you have to scratch and claw for just a few days or months of peace, that is the galaxy, and we hate it, we will never forgive it – but we won’t stop fighting to change it to suit Us.”

She stepped aside to let Sofa pass

“You can either fight with us you get out right now, we have enough problems without you vacillating!”

She was forced to decide, to either be all in or all out.  Nor more “things have to change” or waiting “till Milaea was Knighted” or more recently “till Milaea is Safe” – she resented the imposition of the ultimatum.

But then it wasn’t an imposition, it was something she had been toying with for a long time…the same decision she’d never made with the Jedi always putting it off using Milaea as an excuse – she could’ve left years earlier…but didn’t want to lose the familiar comforts – if she was brought to the crisis point sooner now it was because there were no comforts on offer.

The sticking point was simply the issue of whether she could leave Milaea and Valens behind – make a completely clean break and toss 20 years together away…sunk costs one might say. 

She could find a scientist to help her conceive, small mid rim world, maybe even meet a nice man.  But would she ever be really content knowing Milaea was out there…feeling her joys and pains across the aether and not knowing their cause…could Sofa forgive herself if one day that connection just vanished with Milaea’s death as it had so closely done today?

And as she had said to Valens…their power provokes challenge and covetousness…there was nowhere she could hide completely…sooner or later someone would probably come after her – and if she were alone…she knew her limitations.

“Hardest part of being a Master,” Soryu had said, “Is knowing when to let go and accepting they’ll still make mistakes you would’ve stopped them from making.” He’d laughed after that

“I shouldn’t talk…I never have really let you go have I!”

And in the end, she couldn’t let go either.

<<<<>>>>

Kiraea
A swift left hand smacked her face to the side

“We’re even bitch,” Sofa sighed as a sense of resolution poured off her
“Together we’ve got a better shot of…of Our babies playing together one day…”

Kiraea nodded slowly

“I’m sorry I hit you,” Kiraea apologised slowly spreading her arms

“I’m not sorry I hit you…” Sofa paused making Kiraea uncertain what her intent was “It felt really good…I’ll bet it felt good to hit me too,” she slid into her embrace their armour clanking.

“It did,” Kiraea admitted

Sofa looked over Milaea still slowly breathing as the blood from the interrupted ritual dried a deep brown, against the white skin.

“So how does this invocation end….”

“First we should really be naked…”

Sofa glared at her answer

“But if you don’t want to….you need to follow the thread of your blood in the aether onto Milaea’s body…”

Understanding lit up in Sofa’s mind

“Like a night sister blood trace…”

“Similar but it binds our bodies to Milaea’s for a few days while our blood is in her pores…we feel her more intimately so we can look after her better…”

“Practical theology?”

“Practical theology.” Kiraea confirmed.

<<<<>>>>

Jarys

“Galdin Krennic.” Maeson struggled out between bites of a ration bar “Black as a Vorynx guts, could feel him from here before…” another chomp

“…that frelling tank on legs showed up with his goons…Milaea got Krennic just before the tower collapsed.”

One less Sith to try and manipulate them…but not before the damage had been done. 

“It’s those Aetherless things in shell armour that worry me…that’s twice they’ve shown up at bad times…”

Jarys noted, they had one alive stored in a freezer crate guarded by the Sons, and a few bodies.

“Should we hit the other Sith straight away?” Maeson queried- it was easier to talk strategy, focus on tactics than address the red pall of failure and grief that covered them all.

“We need to join up with the others, send the Sons on their way and recover a bit first…then…”

“Then we go and kill him…then how many more fill the void - see our success and envy our power…Sofa was right…Strength invites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe….” Valens whispered

“We’re not getting anywhere…”

Jarys nodded glumly

“No real freedom, no time to Live…only different battles in a War without end or respite…and its killing the best of us…”

They all knew Milaea was meant to be their future, their hope…but that very expectation combined with this situation had broken her.  All their dreams ratcheted back into ruin.

“How do we get out of this?” Maeson asked turning to Valens for his strategic guidance.

“I don’t know,” his head hung low “Everything I tried has failed…when Kimar attacked you and I, I thought taking him out wrecking the Shrine of Balance would implode the Jedi, their enemies smelling blood would turn on them …Yoda arrived back too soon…I didn’t anticipate the Sith would turn on us as well as the Jedi…or the Black Sun would follow them….”

Jarys leapt over to his brother’s side wrapping his arm about his shoulder before he could blame himself more.

“No one could’ve predicted all that brother, you’re not all knowing…”  it was a trend with Valens ever since they were young, the moment he started doubting himself about one thing it cascaded into indecision about everything – catastrophizing – although to be fair having Sith and Jedi after them was about as catastrophic as it could get.

Even if they killed this Xithar…the Jedi were still out there…and how many more of these Dead Ones…They couldn’t kill their way to peace…yet…they were simply too few.

The door hissed open and Kiraea appeared with an odd red hand print on her left cheek – some sacred ritual no doubt.

“We need to get moving, get Milaea back home closer to the Goddesses….” She paused looking over the defeated forms in the cramped hall

“And we all need to recognise our failings and be sure to correct them…” her voice carried the weight of the Goddesses as was proper for her station, in this moment she had the authority over them all.

Jarys nodded and rose

“We need to put some distance between us and the Republic…cut through a few systems to Vulpter…” as he spoke the plan began to form in his mind

“…prevent anyone following us from here…”

Kiraea shifted uncomfortably wanting to get Milaea home straight away…but slowly dawning in the space of 1/100th of a second that it was better to all stay together wherever they went from now on – safety in numbers the suggestion he’d failed to get across the last time they were all together.

What had it cost them resolving to split up last time?

<<<<>>>>

Everyone was ready to leave within five minutes Kiraea and Sofa would stay with Milaea, He, Maeson and the Sons would take the Karintha, and Valens would take their aether dead prisoner on the Lyssia.

But Jarys had to look in on her one last time

Milaea’s breast slowly rose and fell, it looked mechanical not animated, as the blood in strange glyphs and triangles on her skin slowly dried a rich brown-red. 

What had she had to see…had to do.

He should’ve been fighting those Monsters, not his daughter…she should be playing, sewing, hunting, forging, farming in her home village, reading the histories of their people, writing judgements for minor disputes as a junior Guardian….

He silently promised to slay every Monster that haunted his daughter’s dreams.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #198 on: February 11, 2019, 07:40:02 PM »

Chapter 51 — Falling Down — Mirrors and Manipulation
**Thanks to Dutchman for significant Contributions and Crossovers in this Chapter and Thanks to Karmack for letting me play with the Mack Clan over time and space**

Part 1

Vectivus
The knife clattered down, the bone sporadically covered in meat and fat he hadn’t the stomach to finish.

“Delicious darling,” he said standing wandering over to kiss his wife on the cheek.

“I’ll be finished before you go to bed” Jeena understood, she didn’t mind him making working from home weeknights as he kept a very strict ‘no work at all’ policy on the weekends.

As he wandered down to the basement he let himself breathe a sigh sensing them finally leaving Lexrul. 

He had dodged a bolt, they must’ve assumed Uvex was him, and Milaea in distress was unable to tell them otherwise -  regardless They would be more concerned by Lucovis mysterious force dead ‘allies’ than searching the ruins for confirmation Vectivus was dead.
 
His study was simply his homes basement, a plain lock to keep the children out when they were younger, no deep bunker or optical scanners, the innocuous nature of his home all the protection needed for his small collection of Sith devices.

Beside his desk computer was a simple head sized orb of brass etched with Lexrul’s continents and features – a globe to all outward appearances.  Flicking a hidden lock with the force it popped open to reveal the perfect Mirror Orb beneath. 

In its perfect sphere of reflection one saw the truth, unfiltered – the mirror of both himself, events and others.  A device of his own design it was the only tool he needed for his guiding the galaxy forward.

In it he saw a simulacrum of Lucovis, indulging in his new form, ministering to his True Master – Pleasure – paid for by his dominance over his slaves in the Black Sun.  Lucovis believed he…or increasingly She…had succeeded in reinventing the Sith Line of Bane by becoming two persons, Master and Apprentice in One, the axis of the Dark Side with both the Demi-Gods of the Force and the Monsters Dead to It under his dominance and the Jedi soon to follow. 

Xithar was wrong of course.  Lucovis believed she could manage everyone like she did her sub-apprentices and the Black Suns gangs, pitting them against each other and taking a juicy cut of the spoils and coming out stronger than both patsies in the end.

But these were not venal ambitious drug lords – Milaea and her kind were a Nova Storm, a Force of Nature exploding across the galaxy - thunder and lightning sweeping away all in their path burning the shaman foolish enough to summon their bolts from the Heavens.

And those called the ‘Praetorite Vong’ were a virus, an insidious penetration into the galaxy playing a game far longer than Lucovis could imagine or Vectivus could discern.

The Jedi were at an impasse, but the luminous core though dusty and concealed still remained waiting for the opportune moment to reveal itself – even if he didn’t know it himself yet.

Brought together Lucovis was not simply playing with fire she was bathing in magma - she had summoned the Gods from their peak and smashed the gates of hell open.  And every conceivable Angel and Demon was being dragged into the War over Midgard. 

Looking into Orbuculum Vectivus smiled at his over dramatisiation of the events, Gods and Monsters indeed.  Yet impcomparison to the trillions of oblivious sentients going about cliché lives at the mercy of such being what other titles could do them justice.

Staring back was his reflection, a normal middle aged man.  For this was all he was. 

He was not a hedonist like Lucovis, no engine of destruction or manipulation – the Mirror showed perfect truth – he was a genial intelligent man who sought to use his position as Sith, like his role as Chief Executive to improve things, to guide and nurture the galaxy – not through demanding it change as the Jedi did, nor by satiating its worst urges as Lucovis, but by suggestion, making them see the Truth of themselves and error of their ways.  Where they would not see, or could not act, his role as Sith was to show them these truths and act on their behalf.

To begin the Path to Peace and Order, Lucovis, the Demi-Gods and the Monsters, and all those dragged into their tornado of oblivion needed to be removed.

Already the Gods had done him a service by annihilating Lucovis sub-apprentices who did nothing but dilute the darkside by drawing upon it for petty personal gain. And they had laid bare the rotten underpinnings of the Jedi Order – haggard and mouldy ready to be splintered the Second Sentinel Oma would take what good pieces remained to fashion them into a spear that would pierce the galaxy for a time but soon blunt itself.

He stroked the Orbuculum with sympathy for those all those broken and forgotten in the wake of the storm, then left behind as the Eye of Providence followed the narrative onward.

Vectivus remembered them – with his awakening to the darkside on an asteroid suffused with the forgotten he could never forget the power those out of the spotlight still held.

With a gentle hand he reached out….

<<<<>>>>

Tok

Blood dripped from the last of the Red Master Lucovis pawns onto the dusty sands of the Wannschok - the shadow warrior spoke truth – the Red Master had manipulated sworn falsely upon the sacred Shadow Scroll, cost Tok his son – acted with dishonour. 

This demanded a response.

“Tok!” called Hys from the body

“Here - his logs…shipments mostly from Ord Mirit…like all the others. If not where the Red Master is, no doubt someone there would know the next step”

He remained silent assenting to truth.  It was well and good to know this.

<<<<>>>>

Tnbu

He would not allow them to have the last word.  Even with the leadership in crisis after Myrkr Tnbu was determined to press forward.  He would not allow the Order to be embarrassed and broken like that.

Uba had been a partial success, but still more was needed…the make shift Intelligence centre he had set up on the decks of the Ordo Endures was deflated in tone, as he had feared many Jedi now considered the tasks he had given them as pointless. 

He would not allow it, in time he hoped the discipline would return to their hearts – until it did he had to instil it from above – he was the Captain he would direct the crew.

“…similar maybe we should check…”
“…not worth it…I’ve seen a dozen today like that…”
Look
Sullustan hearing guided by a subtle breath picked up the indifference in the Knights tone and snapped Tnbu’s patience. 

“What have you found?” he stormed over.

“Nothing of note Master, some propaganda piece from the Sons of Kessel...one of the figures looks like the target Jarys…but no more than half a dozen other ‘sightings’”

Tnbu’s facial expressions were lost on the human, but he was annoyed at the indiscipline and indifference.

“Jarys has a known history with the Sons of Kessel!” forgetting simple details like that lost opportunities like mole rats in the tunnels of his home world.

“Show me the footage,”

<<<<>>>>

Jol Boos

Structurally the damage was insignificant.  Operationally - potentially devastating. 
Aur Hondo dead, his palace depopulated but for a handful of dazed and confused workers.

He had to act fast if he was to firm his position as the new Vigo, even now he had no doubt Xithar would be snapping up territory.  And the Sons heinous attack demanded a response…Boos had masterminded the attack on Hondo station that had instigated this assault, yet Boos was cautious it had taken months to plan that attack…

Speed…Strength a whisper in his auditory senses…yes he had to act fast to secure the sector…but also show strength…If he pursued the fleeing Sons he could do both.

<<<<>>>>

Jo’Set’Mack

Nothing was all he had left. Nothing was all he had achieved.  And Nowhere was where he was…

“Tha’s yer furth sabacc!  Yous cheet’n th’s ‘un!”  And with that, the Barabel attacked the filthy Bothan, both of whom were soon joined by a Duros, two humans, a Rodian, and—of all beings—a Gand.  The two original combatants seemed to forget who was fighting who and the crush of bodies basically became a melee free-for-all.

It was the fourth fight that had broken out since Jo’set had tried to lose himself in his kryf.

Already on his second double, the sweet liquor had done a competent job towards getting Jo nicely inebriated.  Unfortunately, he still hadn’t drank enough to forget what had driven him to Rendas Station.

You are stripped of Clan and Covenant.  You are dead to home and hearth.  You are anathema to the Temple.  You are no longer Mak'Tor... Be gone, never to return

All the words Li would’ve said had she not been struggling for breath returned to him over and over…each sip only deadened the pronouncement of exile – somehow more powerful for not being spoken formally but in a ragged ‘get out’ – for as long as it took for him to place the dirty chipped glass back on the table

Putting his head in his hands, he felt the crushing weight of responsibility threatening to overwhelm him.  Not only the unavenged deaths of his family but also the bitter and utter defeat that he’d suffered twice at Valens hand.  Jo’set had been…was…nothing compared to the Sith - a child fighting an adult Wookie.  The deep burning shame of irony was the best he'd ever fought was against his own cousin - the recompense the Exile formalized after he'd blasted out of the spaceport.

No family, no Mak’Tor, he’d given it all up in the flush of anger and vengeance – and of that he had no idea where Valens was and no way of defeating him if he did. He just wasn’t strong enough – he’d need the power of a hundred Jedi….

<<<<>>>>

Vectivus
Jo’s thread remained loose in the wind, fraying more every moment for lack of direction, disconnected from its tapestry. Vectivus saw a golden opportunity to re-bind the Gray into the quilt of fate….but first he had to determine where he was…

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #199 on: February 11, 2019, 07:42:43 PM »

Chapter 51 — Falling Down — Mirrors and Manipulation
Part 2

Jo’Se’Mack


“Hmm…”  Jo murmured quietly, not quite drunkenly observing his surrounds that suddenly seemed incredibly important to him. 

Rendas was many things but calling it a “station” was stretching credibility.  It was more a collection of…modules, a haphazard, dilapidated, amalgamation of orbital posts that had grown up from the grand idea that was the Ruusan Accords that heralded the Republic’s “golden age:” the so-called Reformation.

And Rendas was just as old.  With each subsequent generation, new additions to the station had been built on the former, often times without the benefit of adhering to Republic regulations.  Especially if the contractor doing said building could save credits by cutting corners.  Of course, that money was still accounted for in the audits, but instead of going towards “labor and materials,” it almost always disappeared as part of the skim. 

As such, the living conditions on Rendas were miserable at best.  At worst… Well, there were often times that the oxy-generation units would produce thin atmosphere, or the rebreathers wouldn’t adequately scrub the CO2 gases, or the grav-plating would reverse polarity or give up entirely, leaving an entire section in weightlessness.  There was even a time when the auto-repair droids headed to the wrong section to fix a hole caused by a micro-meteor only to make things worse by sealing a main thoroughfare doorway.  And while the populace within the section suffered from hypoxia, they had done so with the growing horror that they were effectively shut off from the rest of the station.  Or help of any kind.

Jo laughed at the irony.  Everywhere he looked, Jo’Set could swear that he saw several commemorative plaques venerating the “new” Chancellor Valorum and his “brave commitment to the free peoples of the Republic and with eyes looking ever-forward towards progress and the future.”  The only “progress” that Rendas had experienced were the constantly updated brothels, by far the most lucrative Trade on the station.

Unsurprisingly, the second most were the morgues.

With a death rate not seen since the end of the New Sith Wars, Rendas Station would have had a big problem with all of the bodies piling up, figurative as well as literal.  And while no one ever claimed credit for the ingenious—if macabre—solution, almost every citizen of the station considered it the worst-kept secret.  Most of the bodies were…“recycled.” 

Material, energy, water…food, and all from biomass.  Almost all of the needs of the station were met, killing two porgs with one shot.  Unfortunately for Jo’set, he’d found that out after he’d ordered a steak—“real meat!”—and eaten half of it.

That Jo had finished the steak was testament to how far he’d fallen.

Thinking back to his meal made Jo’s stomach roil, although he was forced to admit that the kryf probably wasn’t helping either…

He would have been Maker-forsaken – had he not forsaken the Maker first…forsaken everything for nothing…no been punished for nothing

It wasn’t just “Li’I’Mack, Kage of the Mak’Tor” that had banished him, it was “Cousin Li of Clan Mack” that had dressed him down.  And that was ultimately the irony that weighed most heavily upon him: he had done everything to try and protect his family, bring them the justice they deserved…and she punished him for it…

<<<<>>>>

Vectivus

The anger was there, it just need to be allowed to reveal its true self…he pressed ever so delicately to reveal Jo to himself, to facilitate the latent connections in his mind…
<<<<>>>>

Jo’Set’Mack
…That bitch has a heart as cold as permaf—no, her heart is permafrost… Jo thought, gulping down the contents of his glass, the sweet liquor burning his throat.  It served to remind him of who he was, what he intended.

And what he remembered overhearing.

Li had been opening a lot more than her legs around the Vhal’Dan Arbiter.  He’d overheard her talking about how Anson D’Aklon was intent on securing Galtea, the system, the entire Order.  From the last Jo had heard, the Arbiter had made some headway in that regard.

This was a man who understood the importance of safety.  What Jo’set had heard Anson say that day never left him.  “To secure peace, we must prepare for war.”  This was a man of conviction.  Jo’set sat up straighter in his chair.  How could he not have seen it before?

Standing on unsteady legs, he hesitantly threw one of the last 50 credit chits at the bartender.  Then, slowly walking towards one of the holocomm booths, he shut the door behind him.  Fishing in his pocket, he pulled out one of only three remaining chits.  Determinedly, he deposited it and typed in the transmission relay/destination code for Galtea.

Even as Jo’set waited on the connection, his quickly sobering brain gave a nagging thought: …What if Anson doesn’t go for it…?  Closing his eyes, he slowly exhaled.

He’d deal with that whe—if—it came to that.
<<<<>>>>

Vectivus

Eyes strained as his hand trembled as Vectivus slowly pulled back from the exploration, the Orbuculum milky rather than perfectly reflective having picked up falsities across the span of the galaxy as he whispered gently into the ears of the lost and defeated. 

He did not need to control, nor dominate, just facilitate, offer an idea – this he had learned from Lucoivs – control should not be active, it was passive, knowing a person’s true self and true desire and thereby how they might best be placed – know thy enemy – old maxims gained their venerability because they were true.

Would they react as he expected, most likely…he didn’t need them all too…just enough to tilt the balance.  Reclasping the Lexrul globe over the sphere he headed back upstairs a little worse for wear. 

“Stressful…” Jeena noted as he wandered into the bedroom

“Just so many balls in the air…” he sat on the bed

“I’m sorry but I need to take a quick trip…I’ll be back for the weekend though,” he smiled as he took out his always ready suitcase..

<<<<>>>>

Anson
“Excuse me, Arbiter?  There’s a man who insists on talking to you on the holocomm; I tried to tell him that you were indisposed but…” Teidowan Sadon Nuiv’s voice sounded tentative as Anson’s mind went from deep REM sleep to immediately alert in a split second.  He could sense her nervousness.  Perhaps something the caller said…?

“It’s alright, Sadon.  You did the right thing.”  The young teidowan visibly relaxed, pulling her cloak tightly around her shoulders in an effort to keep warm.  Without any haste, Anson donned his light evening robe; the Galtean winter air already biting…exactly like he enjoyed.  It reminded him of his home planet, Abregado-taki, where there were two seasons: winter and deep winter.  Well, with Galtea’s axial tilt, there were three: spring, autumn, and winter. 

He had never mentioned it to Kazic, but Anson did not care for the temperate climate of Galtea.  But whenever winter came, he always luxuriated in the refreshing cold.  Noticing how Sadon tried to hide her shivering, Anson put a gentle hand upon her shoulder.  “Sadon…why don’t you go get warm; I can handle the holocomm.”  As her grateful brown eyes reflected her relief, she hurried to one of the “warm rooms” in the Arbiter’s Manor.  Anson knew that Sadon had the potential to become a strong Gray but first she needed to toughen up; she relied too much on creature-comforts.  Well, all things with time…

As Anson sat in front of the holocomm, he was about to key in his Identcode when he noticed that it was an unsecure line.  The call originated from…Rendas Station?  Pausing briefly wondering what that portended, Anson thumbed the “Answer” icon.  Instantly, the hard face of a handsome if haunted man appeared.  Anson was certain he didn’t know him.  “I am Anson D’Aklon, Arbiter of the Vhal’Dan.  Who are you and what do you want?”

The man’s face remained blank and, although full of intelligence and cunning, Anson thought that his eyes looked bloodshot.  Or it could just have been the shoddy connection.  “I am Jo’Set’Mack of the Mak’Tor.  And I need your help.”  He said nothing else as he waited, staring intently at Anson.

Instead of answering, the Arbiter asked, “Why me?  Why not ask your Kage?”  Anson crossed his arms across his muscled chest.

Jo’set’s mouth tightened.  “I…I cannot.  L—the Kage and I are currently at odds with one another.”  Anson noticed the slip; this man must be familiar with Li…and, knowing Mak’Tor naming convention like he did, Anson knew that they were of the same Mack Clan.  And while they were both good looking, the similarities ended there.  Cousins, perhaps?

“What is it that you said to convince the teidowan to finally wake me?” He asked instead.

The hard face relaxed imperceptibly but Anson noticed.  This Jo’Set had a very good sabacc face but exhaustion must have taken its toll.  “I…it’s nothing I said.”  He looked as if he were going to say more but stopped. 

Anson stroked his stubbled chin contemplatively.  So, Jo’set wanted to see out the hand before the first draw.  Well, two could play at that… “What is it you want to ask of me?”

“I need Knights - as many as you can provide, weapons, tactical supplies, force suppression devices, fuel.”  This Jo’set was good; he was representing a Pure Sabacc without showing his hole cards.  Anson let a little of his surprise show…mixed with an undercurrent of derision.

“Soldiers? Weapons?  Supplies? That’s all that you want?”  The Arbiter’s face held a ghost of a smirk.  “Would you also like the codes to Galtea’s planetary shield?  Or how about carte blanche to empty the kyber processing stations of Lus’phor?”  Anson laughed disdainfully, playing the part.  After all, he knew that he held a Pure Sabacc.  “What makes you think that I would grant you such?”  His voice was durasteel.

Jo’Set’s face didn’t change.  Slowly, he reached out of view of the holofeed and held up a datapad.

“I took this on Nimban less than a week ago…”

Even with the substandard connection, Anson could clearly make out the details: a still-pict with a cross hair overlay, likely taken from a sniper rifle, it showed one man’s blood flecked face twisted in hatred as a ship burnt behind and a head flew from a body before him.  Anson had seared that face into his memory weeks before, and now seeing this he knew with absolute certainty that the Vhal’Dan decision to militarize had been the correct one.

It was a pict of the ‘Jedi’ Valens, the Great Betrayer once more unleashing horrendous violence for whatever unfathomable reasons drove such an abomination.

Anson had schooled his face to impassivity but he mentally applauded Jo’set; Anson’s Pure Sabacc had been trumped by Jo’set’s Idiot’s Array, played deftly and with perfect timing.  Anson allowed himself a small smile. 

“I see.  Send me all of the intel that you have, picts, holofeed, everything.  Then we may discuss your payment for ‘services rendered’ to the Vhal’Dan.”  But even before he’d finished speaking, Jo’set was slowly shaking his head.

“No, I won’t do that.  Especially not over an unsecured line.  And I won’t risk sending such in a holo-burst and waiting.”  Jo’Set’s voice wasn’t belligerent, just deliberate.  Anson couldn’t blame him.  Besides, he had no intention of having Jo’Set do such.

“Of course you won’t.  Well then, I have an equitable solution.  One of my agents is in the vicinity of Rendas.  I shall send him to debrief you.  Once he confirms that the intel that you provide is legitimate, we can see to arrangements to provide you with the supplies you require.”  Anson consulted the chronometer displayed in the upper right of the holofeed.  “My agent should arrive on Rendas in approximately six hours.”  He gave details to Jo’set, his mind racing on three levels of consciousness, one of the reasons that Master Varel’Zo had taught Anson—a human—Flow-Walking. 

But one pervading thought was interwoven through all.  If Jo’Set could provide the Vhal’Dan with new intel on this ‘Valens’ ongoing depravities Anson believed would finally have the evidence to silence all remaining voices of opposition to the militarization, even Kazic.

United in defence of Galtea and the Vhal’Dan…he could once again call the Anzat brother…

<<<<>>>>

Jo’Set’Mack

As Jo’set sat amongst the shadows in the corner of the bar, his thoughts turned inwards as he cradled his untouched drink.  Would the Vhal’Dan Arbiter make good on his word?  What would this mean for him and his place amongst the Mak’Tor?  How far could he trust Anson?  Did he have a choice?  And if working with…for…Anson gave him his revenge—even at the cost of his soul—would it even matter?

“Jo’Set’Mack?”  A mild voice sounded from beside him, interrupting his reveries.  Turning, Jo’set’s eyes scrutinized the person in front of him.  He was completely unremarkable: average height, weight, and unmemorable.  As non-descript as a human could be.  No wonder Anson would use this man as a deep-cover agent.  No one would suspect him since no one would remember him.

“Jorl-Taf?”  Jo’set asked softly, receiving a nod from the man.  He indicated the chair opposite him all the while keeping his eyes on the man.  He had to remind himself for the third time that this man had brown-grey hair…

“The Arbiter requires that you provide me with all relevant intel that you possess concerning the Betrayer.  Forthwith, has tasked me to assist you in finding the Traitor Valens.”  His quiet voice was incongruous with the intensity of the words that he spoke.  “Together, we will destroy him.”

Jo’set didn’t blink but… Jorl-Taf had voiced almost exactly what he wanted.  What he needed.  …Whatever the cost… He thought.  Still…

“Just the two of us?” Jo sneered then raised a finger to point at the Vhal’Dan, “It’s nowhere near enough…trust me I know…”

“The Arbiter is committed to seeing this betrayer destroyed before his terror can spread to Galtea…or M’Tzigon…he has given permission to share with you the location of a secret weapons facility – you will find everything you could need there.”  Jorl-Taf’s tone was all business, yet Jo’set could sense the conviction beneath…

“Agreed.”  Jo’set raised his glass, clandestinely opening himself to the Force.  It was a trick he’d learned on M’Tzigon and one that he’d perfected over time.  More gentle than a mother swaddling a favoured child, he reached out with the Force and Probed the man in front of him.  He detected no duplicity, sensed nothing amiss.  Inwardly he smiled.  …Definitely a Gray Jedi…not the Mak’Tor “light-favouring” variety at all… Jo’Set thought.

As they left the bar—and soon after Rendas Station—the lone nagging voice of doubt and suspicion within Jo’set’s mind was mercilessly crushed under his overwhelming desire for vengeance, all accompanied with names and ghosts of the dead.

…Odjina…Ha’Ona… And like a litany, Jo’set continued down the list, every name a fresh cut reminding him of his failure…and his responsibility.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #200 on: February 11, 2019, 07:45:20 PM »

Chapter 51 — Falling Down — Mirrors and Manipulation

Part 3

Jorl’Taf

Three hours later, the real Jorl-Taf arrived upon Rendas Station.  He’d run into a bit of bad luck: he’d had to take a detour as a result of a collapsing protostar gravitational shadow, adding on a few hours of flight time.  Once at Rendas, the Vhal’Dan Master went in search of the Mak’Tor knight. 

Finding no one at any of the bars remotely resembling Jo’Set’Mack, the Vhal’Dan master searched the entire station.  And while he was unable to find Jo’set, he did find something that gave him more than a little pause.

After talking with—and more importantly, Delving—the station dock workers, Jorl-Taf was able to detect the tell-tale signs of Force Manipulation.  It was subtle; he doubted anyone other than himself and a few others throughout the galaxy would have been able to detect such, but he had particular skill with Mind Wiping.

Returning quickly to his ship, Jorl-Taf soon faced the digitized face of his Arbiter in the holofeed. 

“Arbiter, there is something very wrong here.  I looked for Jo’Set’Mack but never found him; furthermore, when I conducted my search, I found evidence that all of the dockhands had been Mind Wiped.  Whomever did it was extremely skilled and powerful; I doubt that I would have noticed had I not had extensive training and ability in Force Manipulation.  But I believe that there is enough residual to possibly locate Jo’Set’Mack although it will take me some time.”  Even delivering this news, Jorl-Taf’s demeanor was unagitated and concise.  Which, again, was why Anson had entrusted him with this delicate situation.

Anson considered this new sequence of events.  If whomever had arranged all of this in order to abscond with the Mak’Tor knight and possessed the skill required to elicit such a response from Jorl-Taf… Anson shook his head, dispelling such considerations as the effort outweighed the benefits of such a questionable mission.  No, Jo’Set’Mack was as good as dead. 

“No, I do not want for you to pursue this any further, especially as it could only serve to expose the Vhal’Dan.  Master Jorl-Taf, you are to wait there until I can send you some of our Sentinels for back up.” 

What the Arbiter didn’t say is that he would also send one of the Vhal’Dan Forcesages to ascertain whether or not Jorl-Taf had been affected himself by…whomever had done this.  And if some thought that paranoid…well, these very same incidents just proved what Anson had been arguing for months: that Galtea security needed to become more stringent.  And Anson knew that he was on the correct path to safeguard the Vhal’Dan. 

“When you reach Galtea, you shall speak to no one but me, not even the Kage.  Do I make myself clear?”

Jorl-Taf didn’t so much as blink.  “Perfectly, Arbiter.”  Bowing, he broke the connection to the holofeed.

And in the newly filtered light of the Galtean morning, Anson D’Aklon exhaled slowly, his breath misting in the cold, refreshing air.  He’d deliberately opened all of the windows and doors to his apartments so as to relax in the chill ambiance he was most comfortable with.  He thought of Jo’Set, murmuring a prayer to the Maker that the Mak’Tor met a glorious end.  …Pity that he hadn’t given them the intel he said he possessed… Anson thought.  Nevertheless, he still served his purpose: ensuring that the Vhal’Dan were safeguarded against all enemies.

He just hoped that it would be enough…

<<<<>>>>

Vectivus

He transmitted over the next set of co-ordinates to Jo’Set’Macks ship the Rain Song Vectivus own ship was simply his regular Lexrul Mining corp flyer that Jo had assumed was a cover for the Vhal’Dan – such was the depth of the Mak’tors lack of mastery over his own desires and senses.

“Confirmed…should take me about 4 and a half hours…” Jo replied over the comm. 

“I’ll be there in about 5…” Vectivus settled back in his chair as the Rain Song streaked out of sight noting the only one who had mastered the Gray’s drive for vengeance was Vectivus himself.

As he glided his ship into the slipstream of faux reality Vectivus reflected on the Gray…or more specifically his former master.  When he had first developed the Mirror Orb Vectivus had sought to observe all the greatest Force users in the galaxy he could to deteremine which could be manipulated and which were best avoided.

Yoda, Soryu, Kimar, even Gurrlum and Yoren amongst the Jedi were the brightest, Yshrrk the Wookie Sentinel another strong presence though tinged somewhat more darkly for his more traditional warriors code.  Beyond the Coruscant Temple the greatest cluster he could sense was the Vhal’Dan on distant Galtea, surreptitious research named the key figures there as Kazic Ovarug, Arkady Cyne and Anson D’Aklay.  Each one of these nine men represented a significant threat to the Sith – but none more than Jo’s former Master – the Force Singer Odjina. 

Of all those he had spied upon only Odjina had detected the intrusion, Vectivus had barely pulled back in time.  From that point on he had determined that Odjina, infused with his Rhythmic Force abilities, a capable leader and pragmatic warrior, was to be avoided at all costs.  Indeed had he still lived Vectivus would not have dared interfere with Mack at all. 

Now, Lucovis had made conflict with the Temple Jedi inevitable, though only Soryu, Yoda and Yshrrk remained – all of whom were at odds in some way with the new Order.  Such a conflict risked drawing in the Vhal’Dan, and a man like D’Aklay could easily tip the balance – fortunately a little prompt and hint of ongoing threats via Mack – telling D’Aklay what he wanted to hear and stroking his confirmation bias - was all it took to set the Arbiters mind ever more firmly on building up his fortress on Galtea. 

And so long as the Vhal’Dan remained locked in internal debates Vectivus had a cleaner Dejarik board on which to make his moves against Xithar, Lucvois, the Temple Jedi and the Demi-Gods.

A genial smile crossed his face, Jo would never measure up to Odjina’s ability, nor wisdom, never grow beyond his Master or even achieve the most modest hopes Odjina no doubt held for him…even so with Vectivus help he would be able to at least avenge him. 

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Karmack
Forumverse Loremaster
Master of Ceremonies
Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 888
Posts: 4336


Light side points please.


« Reply #201 on: February 12, 2019, 04:19:07 PM »

My friend, these were amazing to read.   The sublty of the plot, the depth of Vivectus' schemes...   Wow.  This is on par or surpassing works by Zhan IMHO.  All the more so as its simply done for we happy few here who are reading it!  Thank you!

Interestingly, I sense the beginnings of the People pulling back and hiding, and seeking a far more peaceful interface with their surroundings.  Not ready, perhaps, to see anyone else as People (which will be necessary for them to truly emerge into the larger community peacefully) but maybe a step or two closer.  Perhaps Milaea's fall will not be in vane after all....

And Jo'Set...   That poor man.  He reminds me much of Lando Mulari from B5.   He has one, maybe two chances left at redemption, but the cost of it grows ever higher....

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TheDutchman
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« Reply #202 on: February 13, 2019, 02:26:28 PM »

I finally got all caught up!

Yuuzhan Vong (or should I say:  Praetorite Vong  Wink)!  The Sons of Kessel!  The Aethans as both the hunters and hunted!  Lucovis' new body, a frankenstein creation of Sith alchemy AND Vong biotech!  And Mili...desperate, despondent, and almost dying?!?  Vectivus' subtle influences a direct contrast to much of the Sith ideology (and he's succeeding!)  And (a personal favorite of mine): the duel between Li and Jo! 

THIS IS AWESOME!!!

LSG, you've truly woven a masterpiece tale that I canNOT wait to read more about!

P.S.  Karm is right: "...on par or surpassing works by Zhan..."  Grin
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Maenowan Nexu Master of the Vhal'Dan

My sabers:Zearic's Aldrnari, Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, AS; Zearic's shoto, Initiate v5 w/Obsidian, AS; Graflex SE w/Obsidian, GB; Archon v3 (modded w/ activation box) w/Obsidian, CG; Dark Sentinel v4 w/Obsidian, BR; Sentinel LE v4 w/Obsidian, GB; Apprentice v4 w/Obsidian, AS; Sentinel LE v4 stunt, EG; Aeon LE v4 stunt, FO; Dominix v4 stunt, BR; Aeon v3 stunt, SY

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #203 on: February 13, 2019, 03:00:38 PM »

P.S.  Karm is right: "...on par or surpassing works by Zhan..."  Grin

Truly humbled by your praise my friends, honestly though I must once again thank you for trusting me with your characters that add such depth and new avenues.  Anyway only one way I can really thank you all....chapter 52 inbound
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #204 on: February 13, 2019, 03:03:51 PM »

Chapter 52 — Fallen Order —Path to Perdition
Part 1
Oma

The Ardent’s meeting room was small but suited their purposes, the only complaint Oma had about the utilitarian room was the chairs were too small for her – she couldn’t imagine how Yshrrk would cope.

It didn’t really matter - standing for council meeting showed strength and dominance.

Beside her Tnbu arranged his three datapads, Yoruuba, Torfun and Osoris sat in a row fully armoured as per the new operational protocols Oma had instigated for this ‘mission’ that she would soon expand to all Class 3 and higher missions.

The holo-transmissions of the other masters faded in flickering bursts of blue and white light, Oma noted Nagasa’s was last.

“Shall we begin…good, straight to the latest intelligence reports…”

“Sentinel…” Nagasa interrupted his expression firm beneath ebony skin as he stole her chance to avoid the issue she knew he was about to raise – Nagasa had always held sympathy for Soryu and Yoda, but tended to still lean to Kimars side on most issues. 

“…before we start I wonder if you could detail the exact circumstances surrounding Master Soryu and Master Yoda’s arrest – your briefing was terse to say the least,”

As will be their trial Oma thought but didn’t say

“There is no update as yet,” she avoided the direct question “They have yet to reach the Prism, once the interrogation begins we will learn the extent of Valens control over them,”

Oma was under no illusions that the interrogators at the Prism – a secret prison facility located in the mass shadow of the sixth moon of Diab on the fringes of the galaxy would find very little evidence of mind control – this would be her evidence that Valens methods were simply too subtle. 

Valens my old friend, you’ve never helped me more than as my enemy – he was the perfect agent of chaos to use to destroy every Jedi that would oppose the changes she was making to the Order and thence the Republic.

“In the Interim Master Sentinels Hadat and Kespen will take their place on the council,”

Nagasa remained impassive but his whitened eyes saw all too clearly what Oma was doing, and Oma knew it to – once she dealt with the Ubese she would pay a visit to Dantooine to discuss his advancing age and upcoming retirement.

“Thank you Sentinel…for the update” he replied cautiously

“Now with that out of the way, Master Tnbu has some troubling intelligence to share”

<<<<>>>>

Tnbu

He nodded and quickly inserted his presentation data-disc into the tables holo-projector.

“Masters…over the last three days our intelligence network has uncovered a number of events directly linked to the Fugitive Knight Valens and his agents.”  He paused taking stock of the expressions, most seemed unsurprised, their gazes steely with intent as they leaned forward to hear more, only Nagasa had an aloof aspect to his countenance..

“This first…it is easier for me to show you than to explain…it was taken on Ando two days ago, intercepted transmissions from independent sources have confirmed its authenticity beyond doubt.” 

He flicked the holo on, this would be his second time seeing it, for the other masters the first.  He braced himself for what was to come.

The footage was jittery, hastily done, there was the smoke of recent blaster fire about the otherwise opulent room.

“This is Vigo Aur Hondo of the Black Sun, so called owner of 600,000 or more of our Brothers” said a scarred bald man they had identified as Keison nominal head of the Sons of Kessel, pointing to a naked Aqualish being held in the duresteel grip of a large human, as the camera pivoted the humans face could be seen just briefly – Jarys the Beast of Myrkr as they called him now.

“These are the so called ‘pleasure’ slaves of this Vigo,” the camera showed a group of veiled females, and a few males of various species,

“Their faces are covered for their future privacy and safety,” Keison went on addressing the costly fabrics they had wrapped around the women’s faces.

The camera panned back to the Aqualish,

“This is a message to every Slaver and every slave in the galaxy.  Slavers We Are Coming for you, Our Brothers in Chains We Are Coming for you,” Kesions voice over continued

“And this is what we bring,”

Suddenly one of the women leapt forward, an expensive looking piece of cutlery in her hand, driving it into the Aqualish genitals with a sickening spurt of fluids, lifting her veil to spit in his face, then clawing out one of his eyes. 

She was followed by half a dozen others.  Jarys hands sternly held the Aqualish upright as the slaves stabbed, kicked, punched and slowly, very slowly lynched him to death.  The Aetharian remained completely un-phased, keeping him propped up even as Tnbu noted the odd punch or knife accidently hit his armoured hands.

It was difficult to watch, but the Council did not…could not…turn away.  Finally one of the slaves, a male Zygerian by the looks lifted his veil and actually bit into the Aqualish neck tearing a quivering chunk of flesh free, black-red blood spilling like a waterfall in its wake.

The Aqualish began to convulse and spasm in the vice grip of Jarys finally stopping as one of the women plunged a last knife into the already cluttered chest and the vid faded to black with a written message in Basic and Huttese –
<Stay strong Brethren! Survival is Resistance!>

“Insanity…bestial insanity…“ commented Yoruuba,

“It’s spreading like wildfire across Hutt Space,” Tnbu went on “And comes a few days after the Sons reportedly suffered a major loss at the hand of Hondo’s forces – as yet we are unable to confirm whether this was before or after this vid was taken.”
Tnbu repressed his annoyance at the lack of clarity his agents had managed to obtain – knowing the precise sequence of events was critical…not knowing it he feared he was missing something essential.

“Slaves all over the galaxy are downloading copies and spreading cheap projectors to show it off.  It’s their biggest scalp yet, basic message is if they can take a Vigo, they can take anyone.  We’re already getting reports of a massive surge in uprisings…” he paused,

“And a heavy handed crackdown, The Hutt Council has reportedly put a price on Keisons and the Sons heads so large Socorro is emptying out of Bounty Hunters…the Hutts may not care for the Black Sun, but they do care about a mass slave uprising…our agents also report Jol Boos, Hondo’s second in command recently departed Ando after securing his position with a substantial fleet in pursuit of the Sons.”

“And you are sure that is Jarys?” Oma questioned

Tnbu nodded

“Our analysis indicates 97% probability,”

“Why would he return to the Sons after Myrkr…” Torfun queried

“Masters that question cannot be answered with just this source alone…” Tnbu flicked the screen to explain the next images, most were taken by amateurs on comm-holo’s, some new networks, a few security vision.

“This is Nimban…”  An APC with a black armoured figure with no helmet was firing arrows at an assault transport…the image flicked to the same figure fending off a group of what looked like Jedi as a Black ship flew overhead before the image cut.

“We have an 84% probability based on the facial scan and…abilities on display…this was the terrorist Valens,”

Now he showed Nar Shadda – a Mansion being ripped to pieces as if by some capricious God.

“A Mansion on Nar Shadda, annihilated…” he zoomed in on the small face in the centre

“This is only a 45% probability of the Traitor Milaea…but this…”

An office security camera…a vile black robed figure – eating a woman – just before a red armoured woman entered the security scan picking up bio data as they fought before a surge of lighting blasted the camera.

“has a 87% probability based on physical movements and this subsequent finding,”

A far less advanced camera but her face was clearer, the same red armour, but dusty hair as if she had been in a…

“These were both on Lexrul…the first at the office on the same level where the structural failure resulted in the collapse of the Lexrul Mining Corp. Building…then this…”

Amateur footage bouncing held by hand…beings difficult to see under the broken streetlights fighting around a glowing red feminine figure…

“…what is it…holy Aysha…” the image shook violently and cut off the eye witnesses commentary as a black ship cut in much too close to the building dropping something humanoid that proceeded to carve a path of blood and desolation.

<<<<>>>>

Oma

She kept her stance straight, allowing her voice to break out her shock.

“They are out of control…” there seemed to be no common thread – Nar Shadda, Ando, Nimban, Lexrul? Office towers, APC’s, Black Sun Vigo’s, and Nimban Mansions.

She had hoped Valens would simply vanish after Myrkr – remain a ghostly threat she could pin every failure upon while never actually having to risk engaging him.

It seemed the opportunism and luck that had landed the Order in her lap only extended so far.

“Indeed Sentinel…as noted earlier in the wake of Hondo’s death we are getting reports of a significant…migration…of irregular forces under Jol Boos at various jump points to the deep core where it is believed the Sons of Kessel have fled – in addition our analysis of the Hypercomm obtained on Uba IV indicates the receiver on Goush’s ship is also on a heading to the deep core,”

Tnbu paused as the confluence sunk in

“Whilst we must be cautious with assigning connections…given Jarys was directly involved with Hondo’s death, and Valens is known to be from a planet in the deep core our analysts indicate a 63% likelihood that the Sons of Kessel are under Valens control and Goush is moving to join them to assist in defeating the Black Sun Forces being arrayed against them.”

Oma was tempted to lick her lips in anticipation – this was all too perfect…Jarys goes back to his allies in the Sons – pisses off the wrong Black Sun faction and now has to run home….What a coup ,Goush, Valens and the Black Sun in one place – if she could bring all her forces to bear…The Jedi would not only regain any lost reputation but significantly enhance it in one fell swoop – perhaps her luck was holding.

“We have a tracking on where Goush is heading?” she asked keeping the excitement from her voice – no passion but serenity…

“We do, his last position was moving along the Corellian run near Columus, heading toward the Deep Core, this course is a key factor in our analyst’s hypothesis,”

“Assemble our full forces, we move out immediately, the Mandalorians will act as our Vanguard – at worst we take Goush at best we get Valens into the bargain and if the Force is truly with us…”

She surveyed the nodding heads of all the Masters save Nagasa and Torfun both of whom seemed to have taken exception to Yoda and Soryu’s arrest.

“…we get to purge the Black Sun and show the galaxy the Jedi are no longer cowering,”

<<<<>>>>

Soryu

Lines of fate wove closer together – once more the Orders path would collide with Milaea and Valens kind…

Yet this was not what occupied him.  Every moment darkness seemed to grow, the blazing light of red that had always been on the edge of his mind – Milaea – had been eclipsed by it – it was an oily tar like poison infecting all it touched.

In the labyrinthine network of retrofitted access corridors Soryu had hid in for the last two days in between overhearing conversations of the increasingly concerned Mandalorians and obtaining his sabre from Oma’s quarters - he had no way of helping Milaea – could not have reached her any faster than events were bringing them together.

Sighing he just hoped it was not too late…

“Don’t move…” A cold ring of durasteel pressed on the back of his neck – Soryu was not cloaked, remaining immersed in the White current for prolonged periods was only possible for force natives like Valens…

Soryu slowly raised his hands as best he could in the confines between power cables and atmosphere pipes.

“Now what is a Jedi doing hiding out down here away from his brothers in arms…” the voice was male, old, and gravelly
“What is a Mandalorian doing hiding down here away from his…” Soryu replied

“…truly neither of us trust the Order…”

The blaster in his neck lifted

“Trust is expensive – and we’re not getting paid that much” the Mando added

“You’ve done well hiding…I’ve been running these tunnels since I could walk still took a day to find you…Meros Tern Clan Ordo,” He introduced himself

“Soryu, formerly Jedi Master…”

“Well you were too tall to be Yoda…” Soryu slowly turned as Tern lowered his pistol.

“Come on…I’ve got a somewhere more comfortable than that humidifier you’ve been sleeping on.”

As they traversed the tight crawl spaces and walkways to Terns hideout he explained how he had found him.

“Day ago we got a transmission from the Jedi, saying you were missing, Meeda managed to intercept it and delete before the Jedi here could hear it – they’ve been piggybacking on our comms for deep space transmissions…anyway she set me to find you, figured you’d have to be here somewhere….”

“And why did Meeda want me found?”

“Meeda saw what you did on Uba, you stood up to that bitch Oma, you were the only Jedi on that planet…figure you make a better friend than foe…help me with this…”

Soryu grasped a heavy I Beam on one end as Tern took the other, lifting onto concealed hooks to reveal a hidden crawl space – on his belly three metres through h came to a well stocked armoury deep within the Mythosaur, filled with five other Mando Supercommandos.

“Panic room?” Soryu inquired

“Backup room…we took this job ‘cause we needed the credits, but we don’t trust the Jedi…” he gazed Soryu up and down

“And we sure don’t trust whatever ‘Order’ this Oma is creating in its place…going after the Ubese…”

Soryu nodded, there was an empathy there, Ubese and Mandalorians were both warrior races who had seen their systems devastated by the Republic and Jedi.

“They’re bastards most of the time, hate ‘em…but it’s one thing to go for Goush and his raiders, another to go straight for their home world…and now going after the Sons and Black Sun…” he lowered onto a crate marked with innumerable warning that the contents were explosive and should be handled very carefully.

“Now I’m hoping things go OK from here…but Meeda and I figure it’s better to have you onside if they don’t…so here’s the deal – things turn to dren you help us out, and in exchange we keep blocking the other Jedi’s alerts you’ve gone AWOL and get you off the Mythosaur quiet like when we can…” he stuck out his beskar armoured hand

Soryu sized Tern up, he was undoubtedly a mercenary, and certainly not one with a heart of gold beneath…but he was without deception, Tern wanted what was best for Clan Ordo and made no apologies – if Soryu was to get off the ship and find out who was manipulating this whole situation…

“Glad to be on board Meros Tern,” he shook the hand warmly.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #205 on: February 13, 2019, 03:04:24 PM »

Chapter 52 — Fallen Order —Path to Perdition
Part 2

Yoda

He had to choose – right now.

The ship had docked with another to resupply on the way to the Prism – it was the best and only chance he had to escape the inevitable guilty verdict that would be rendered against him.

Yet if he did this, he would seal the Orders distrust toward him – but then the Orders trust did not matter - he imagined Soryu would say, it was to the heart of the Jedi he had to appeal.

Eyes closed he delved deep into the force, while direct telepathy was rare he could sense the general meaning of the conversations taking place between the Jedi as the ship was checked over for the long haul jumps it was about to undertake.

Deep core…pursuit…hunting…defeat enemies…restore pride…show them all the Jedi are not to be crossed

She was leading the Order into war – Yoda was not necessarily opposed to this – history was replete with times when the Order had to go into battle to defeat a threat to peace and life – the Mandalorian crusades, Brotherhood of the Sith – the intent was defensive, protective.

But this war was aggressive, Oma was seeking a battle as Yoda had on Myrkr to restore pride and face. In the short term her goals might be achieved, but in the long term it could destroy the Republic and democracy itself.

The Code and the restrictions on Jedi numbers and military operations existed for a reason - once turned into an army it was only a matter of time before a charismatic ambitious Jedi General would gain enough followers to proclaim themselves King or warlord and trigger a civil war – Revan and Skere Kaan prime examples, or else slide into an aristocratic oligarchy of force users ruling those without such powers as in the Ancient Sith Empire.   

And so now he had to choose if and how he should act to stop this. 

Opening his eyes he resolved a Jedi could not stand by and do nothing. His actions on Myrkr, and unwillingness to openly condemn Kimars methods as acting Grand Master had pushed the Order down the hill to becoming an army, Oma simply kept it rolling.

It was up to Yoda to push it back uphill, and he could not do that lobotomized in the Prism.

Stretching out his limbs and his clash he prepared for what must be done.

“Guard…” he trapped his claws on the door  “The air becoming thin is, the atmospheric regulator in this room malfunctioning appears…”

A gruff grumble echoed just outside the door, followed by the tapping of buttons. 

The Temple Guards would be on alert for any mental manipulation, but not quite as focused on the suppression of the ventilation system.

“Build-up of Co2…scrubbers mustn’t be cycling, one moment,”

As expected Yoda heard the clank of boots as the Temple guards prepared to have him moved- as a minimum they would send three of their number.

Four stood on the other side of the door as it slid open with a metal clank.

The Guards gestured for him to get on with the routine of standing arms spread as they moved to fix restraints, two remained on the door, two approached, unclasping the cuff that tied him to the deck with a rapid move that replaced it near instantly with the regular stun cuff – it clasped around but did not click – the tooth of durasteel held back by Yoda’s mind.

The masked face crooked in uncertainty at why the simple device was not working as Yoda released his grip on the vents above the second guard, the sudden bust of air as the artificial blockage on the air flow was removed left the four guards with two oddities to focus on at once- for a brief second their attention was not directly on Yoda.

A brief moment was all he needed. Faster than they would’ve expected he sprung up with a spiralling kick that buffeted the guard with the stun cuff, his open clawed hand pushed the other back into far corner. Before the two at the door could raise weapons he was past them, grasping their ankles to pull them to the ground. 

He didn’t look back, adapting the leaps he would use in Ataru to spring round corners and down corridors.  The fifth Guard at the docking umbilical staggered with shock as he came straight at him, a powered leap landing him on the Guards chest and hammering him back into a column. 

The Sixth and last Temple Guard ground the metal grates behind him, as Yoda pivoted off the fifth he threw up his hand to send him flying backward before the golden blades on the sabre staff could fully ignite – the yellow energy beam sliced melted divots into the close confines of the ships wall as Yoda sped into the docked resupply ship.

With a flick of his wrist he slammed the air lock door behind him as the stunned workers on the other side retreated backward not knowing what was going on.

“Release docking clamps your course continue!” he ordered with more mental fervour than was probably needed.

The small crew went about their tasks in a semi haze as the air lock clamped behind him and began to glow red as the steam hissed out.  The Temple Guards were too well trained to lose easily or blindside with a mind trick – Yoda should know he had trained many of them – he had to revert to sheer brute force.

Gathering his power he sought out the six minds, their diamond focus to recapture their charge, already convinced this was another scheme by Valens to destroy the Jedi – such dangerous and unsubstantiated assumptions eliciting violent responses stabbed at him knowing he had done the same on Myrkr – but that very personal failure was why he was now able to recognise it in the Order as a whole and needed to end it.

Teeth gritted he focused on the sensation of dissociation he had felt in the wake of Myrkr, not knowing who he was or what he was doing – he hurled it out with a sloppy but strong blast into their minds. 

The Temple Guards could not be felled by such an imprecise attack, but they could be buffeted.  Once again mere moments was all that was needed, their minds retched back defensively but on the fringes experienced a minor dissociative episode of wonder.

In that moment the compliant re-supply crews pilot pulled away as the navigator plotted in the course.

“This ship headed to where?” Yoda inquired as he began planning his next move- he needed to contact Nagasa on Dantooine, Yshrrk on Coruscant…and then find Soryu, together they needed to act fast to retake the Order before it became an Army.

The slightly stilted voice finally replied beneath the haze of his mind trick.

“Ord Mirit Logistical station Master Jedi…”

<<<<>>>>
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Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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Light side points please.


« Reply #206 on: February 13, 2019, 08:47:08 AM »

Woot!   Go Yoda!  Managed to pull off the escape without killing anyone!   Jedi to the core!   Go greenie!  Go greenie!   Go greenie!   ;-)
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #207 on: February 17, 2019, 05:32:02 PM »

Chapter 53 — Road to Hell — Right Hand of the Daemon

 
Part 1

Keison

***On Course to Vultper***
“Is it done?”

Komo grunted over Reeger the quick typing Rodian as they prepared the vid of Hondo’s execution – or lynching – depending on your point of view.

“Is done is done,”

“Alright transmit it to our contacts,”

Keison had always known the greatest battle he was fighting was not a physical one, but a mental one.

It was the chains of the mind that kept the majority of slaves imprisoned despite numerical advantage, it was this he had to fight, the Sons existed physically as a beacon of hope more than an organisation, it didn’t matter that there were only 1000 or less left alive, so long as people believed they were still coming for them, hope remained.

“Make sure to add this has to be spread everywhere we can as fast as we can…”

There would be a toll in blood, but to counter the news no doubt already spreading about their defeat at Hondo Station…take what you want and pay for it.

“You can kill the revolutionaries…” he whispered as the white bar filled to 100% data-transfer on the screen
“But you can’t kill the revolution.”

<<<<>>>>

Forty Six Slaves

Forty-six sentient’s – twenty one chained in body but free in spirit, of different species and ages still siblings despite never having met.  All died to spread the holo-vid.

Transmitted across their masters personal channels, smuggled on flash disks in every imaginable part of their bodies - they knew the risks and took them gladly – the Sons had been hit, but they had struck back – the siblings in chains and the masters in sin needed to be reminded they were still coming.   

In a hundred thousand cantinas and bars, across ten thousand systems, rumors and slap around jokes about the great tusked Hondo destroying the Sons flotilla were replaced in an instant by half stunned silences and gallows humour from viewing the holo-vid of Keison, the unofficial head of the Sons of Kessel threatening every slaver ‘We are coming’ and backing it up with said great tusked Hondo being lynched by his own pleasure slaves.

Within hours an emergency session of the Hutt Council was called, finally shifted off their lard encrusted rears to up the bounty on Keison to 20 million on receipt of ‘a sufficient volume of testable bio-matter to confirm his death’ and up to 300,000 for other known members. The Hutts might hate the Black Sun, not care for Hondo, but the public distribution of a vid showing product killing an owner demanded a response.

In less than half a standard day scavengers around the ruins of Station Hondo had acquired enough flight recorders to piece together the last message across the Sons command frequency, a sultry woman directing survivors to Vulpter. Within an hour the first transmissions had reach Socorro, Mos Eisley, the Rig, the Wheel, Nar Shadda and three dozen other hives of scum and villainy. 

In the exodus nearly two hundred ships collided with fatal results.

Over the course of the jumps a million messages and vid calls were sent between bounty hunters, mercenaries, Black Sun, Hutts, Syndicate and two dozen other smaller factions. 

A good half turned round, realizing there was too much competition to bother, but for those that remained – the drifters looking for a new boss - gradually a leader of sorts emerged – not Vigo Xithar as many assumed would fill the void left by Hondo – the Falleen conspicuous by his absence – but Jol Boos, the Aqualish former second in command of Hondo, beside him the forces of Jyx Tvril - Xithars former protégé seeking to boost his own standing.

No one could doubt it was part of Boos establishing himself as successor – that fact only gained him more followers looking to ingratiate themselves and with the Vigo by aiding his quest.  Others simply went to settle scores with the Sons or be part of the great battle.

Rallying on the Corellian run just past the Kuat Sector for the final jump along the Carbonite Smuggling Route, a force of just over two hundred ships, only slightly smaller than the force that had desolated Hondo Station prepared to attack Vulpter.

<<<<>>>>

Meeda

She tasted the bitter irony like metal in the back of her throat.

Here aboard her own Cruiser the Mythosaur, a relic from before the Mandalorian Excision, forced into mercenary work to try and pay for the damage caused by the Jedi and Republic…were now assembling one of the largest Jedi strikes forces since the Excision.

She was standing at the Right hand of Sentinel Oma once more as the Jedi Squads were brought on board via Mandalorian Meteor Q carriers that had evacuated civilians from the fury of the Jedi during the Dral’Han.

“Your forces are prepared?” Oma queried her voice cold as beskar in the void.

“Mando’a are always ready for combat Sentinel,”

“Doubly so when they are being richly rewarded for it….” Oma noted dryly. 

“Do you know why I chose to hire your Clan?” the Jedi asked seemingly out of nowhere

Meeda made no response to the loaded question.

“You’ve been beaten by the Republic again and again over the centuries…but unlike the Ubese you’re pragmatic enough to take our credits and serve our goals – Mercenaries can be trusted… fanatics like the Ubese and Sons…”

Oma paused as if contemplating some grander scheme Meeda absent the wyrd power of the Sentinel could not possibly comprehend.

“You are warriors, only warriors with no other purpose…and that is what the Republic needs and what the Jedi ought to be,”

<<<<>>>>

Jol Boos

“First scouts are in-system…bunch of ships arrived about a day ago looking beat up, all headed here,”

His intelligence officer pointed to a large planet side cargo facility on the fringe of Hpaq City.

“Have the main fleet hold just outside the rings in geosynchronous orbit over the region, tell the local militia we’re only interested in that one facility, bribe them however much you need to get them to stay out of it…”

He did a quick review of the forces that had accumulated under his banner.

“Send out the word, everyone who brings me a Sons head or equivalent primary sensory limb gets 5000 credits and a two year contract…that should get them moving.”

<<<<>>>>

Selaena
No…it couldn’t be…could it…

As the three ships swung down she felt the thinnest line…the presence only a mother would recognise amidst the dusky emotions of failure and despair that pulsed from the others as they returned.  The Red Life filled glow that had been Milaea barely a whisper, the sink around which every hope seemed to drain.

She pushed through the crowded hangar tears in her eyes, limbs shaking as hormones raced.

What had the outsiders done to them now…

As the ramp on the Aethena lowered she realised she shouldn’t have asked.

<<<<>>>>

Lyaea

Grief exploded like a series of land mines, throwing up despair, resignation and fatigue.  She ran.

Cutting through the air, between the low forms of the Sons who had arrived half a day before as they tended to their wounded. 

She had been too busy on the Demagol to get Kiraea’s message they were headed here, fortunately the Chiss had helped organise their landing as a training exercise for junior officers and provided some medical supplies and equipment in between drooling over the encyclopaedia of Bio-Weapons research on the Demagol.

Lyaea twisted past Maynard and Xandra performing field dressings, glanced at Adaea looking over the sorry state of the Sons ships that crowded Station 7’s North West Hanagar – the huge automated facility was located just outside Hpaq city Vultper the headquarters of Viper Sensor Intelligence Systems.  It was used to ferry consumer and industrial goods made in the innumerable factories of the polluted Pink/Purple word back home, now it was a refugee camp for the Sons of Kessel and Shamed Ones.

Skidding round one of the stacks of ration crates they had purchases on short notice at inflated prices she saw the ‘Yuuzhan Vong’ or Extolled as they called themselves collecting up the weapons of their dead compatriots under Melrons watchful eye.  Much of the conversation with their leader Reeda Kwn had been lost in translation…but they seemed to think she was some kind of Avatar of their God.

Pushing through the makeshift hospital she cut space in half with the aether to reach the sectioned off area where her mother’s cries ripped the fabric of the aether.

Beside the unconscious dimming form of Milaea, covered in sacred blood markings…beside old Kassyndra from the Mountain village, two red white scars instead of eyes…

Lydan…her brother…cut and shoved into a mechanical shell as her mother struggled against Kiraea trying to pull her away from clawing off the cybernetic mutilations.

“Love don’t we don’t know enough…we might kill him if we take them off!” Kiraea strained

“WhUU MMNN” her mother was past the ability to verbally communicate but the intent in the aether was definitive, she wanted to put her baby out of his misery herself.

Lyaea raced forward to grab her pulling her mother’s trembling form into her breast as the ship shook with her rage mingled anguish.

She could only hold her trembling form

<<<<>>>>

Reeda Kwn
“This one wants makes us mere workers once more!” Churl protested as Reeda flexed her shaper hand digits to begin treating the injured ‘Sons of Kessel’ as the Avatar raced past to join others.

“Perhaps…or perhaps she shows us another way...” she glanced at the injured forms the Avatar of Yun Shuno had asked them to assist, like the shamed ones of the Koros-Strohna they looked broken, battered, bore the marks of a masters punishment on their bodies and in their souls.

“By assisting those more shamed than us…we show how we wish those above us to treat us…” it was a strange concept but there was a certain logic to it.

“When I was a Shaper I assisted those lesser than I, the shamed in honour of the Gods that I might receive their blessings, I extol myself by Extolling others.”

Churl was about to respond when a hissing cry came from across the artificial cavern…

“That’s Yhum…” Churl exclaimed as the Sons took hold of the Warrior.

Gesturing for the other Extolled to begin assisting the ‘Sons’ as she approached the unusually docile Praetorite Vong Squad leader.

“Shamed One…” he called “You too have beheld the Glory…”

For a Warrior like Yhum to even speak to her was to lower himself, for such a change to come over him…

“What have you seen?” she demanded

“The Avatar of Yun-Yammka, black blade piercing a dozen hearts in a second,” he nodded to the largest of the Avatars conferring with others, “The Goddess Yun-Harla herself turning warriors from ice to flame, the Twins also…I knew not what to do but fall before them”

She nodded and stepped forward the Sons guard not barring her path as they saw the Extolled tending to their brethren. Reaching out he flinched slightly but allowed her to touch him

“I have seen Yun-Shuno and Yun-Ne-Shel in these…they extol us out of our shame, and show the true shame is not we who receive abuse but you who inflict it.”

His scarred eyes gazed without much understanding at first, but slowly light dawned

“The Gods…show us our errors…a new way in a new galaxy…nnnhhh”

She flicked her shaper hand a gel web extending from her hand to check his injuries…they were few…the pain was from his implanted villip

“The Prefect comes…”

<<<<>>>>

Jarys
As the women tried to control Selaena the men stood just outside with Keison patched through to the Chiss.

“Nearly 200 ships moving into geosynchronous orbit just past the trash and Orbital Advertising Ring…” Valens relayed, the Chiss at the far edge of the system with the Demagol were happy to provide intelligence but wouldn’t get involved in any fighting.

“Nearly four thousand…” Valens continued his senses expanded past the atmosphere and the trash that surrounded the polluted world.

“They’re already coming…organised…counter measures in place…Two in charge…an Aqualish…”

“Boos…” Keison provided “Has to be, come for us for killing Hondo and sending out the Vid…” his fists clenched at his next pronouncement

“You’ve done more than we could ask, you should go, see to your daughter Jarys, take care of your people…”

Jarys could only shake his head

“It’s too late for that…the police are already cordoning off the area, orbits probably laced with interdictors…”

Valens wanted to make a break for it…but Jarys pressed against his thoughts

<This is what Milaea would want…to help these people who have helped us…we owe them much…>

“And it’s what I want…” Sofa noted coming from behind, “We can’t leave them on their own…what use if our power if we don’t use it to help people like this against scum like that.”

Valens protest was silenced as a battle meld quickly formed between them, overall the sympathy was to stay and fight, even from Kiraea.
 
“We should give them a chance to surrender…back off warn them who they’re up against,” Sofa went on

Jarys nodded but wasn’t hopeful, the meld looked to his expertise in Urban warfare to determine a plan as the vicious credit hungry aura’s approached – Freedom once again would have to be paid for with War. 

He looked across the other People – this time though….
They had a full army.

<<<<>>>>

Jol Boos
As he strained to get the ramshackle force in order with Jyx he jumped back from his command chair as a figure appeared right in front of him out of thin air, wispy like a deep ocean banshee but growing solid in form.

“What is….”

“…this?” the female human said

“This is your chance, turn around and leave while you can, the same group that blasted your Mercenaries at Hondo Station, then took Hondo himself are on this planet and…”

A solid guffaw, “I know! That is who I want Witch!”

“…if you’d let me finish…and they are waiting for you…seriously you’re going to cop a hiding, and if you don’t leave right now…”

“I don’t know what sorcery this is…” Boos interrupted her

“But I know this much, if you had anything to defend yourselves with you’d have used it instead of talking…you’re parlour tricks don’t scare me…you got Hondo off guard, but let me tell you I was the mind behind breaking the Sons,” he stood up and went straight to the hologram.

“And I’ll break you too,”

Jyx gave her a leering smile

“Not too broken…I can see this one making for a good three-hole course for my Nova Corps…if she’s up tight now she’ll be damn loose after.”

“This is a very un-Jedi like thing to do you sick rapist, but I’m gonna do it any way,” the mention of Jedi was completely lost on them both

The hologram held a grenade of some kind in its hand.

“Shove this up your hole.”

With that the woman’s insubstantial projection was gone – the very substantial grenade fell and clattered to the floor absent its pin.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #208 on: February 17, 2019, 05:34:15 PM »

Chapter 53 — Road to Hell — Right Hand of the Daemon

Part 2

Sofa
She ought to feel bad at having teleported a grenade onto a ship in orbit and blasting them apart.  Instead she felt empowered, strong and a little sexy even.

Once more she had tried to warn someone not to fight the Aethans, and they responded by threatening her with gang rape.  Enraged she pounded out of the hold sealing the ship with the three unconscious wards within.

“Frelling bastards aren’t backing down!” she shouted across the hangar drawing odd stares.  Her skin was tingling with rage, once more regretting being with them…but she’d hitched her tug to the convoy now.  If she’d actually been married to Valens maybe then she could accept it as part of the ‘for better or worse’…so far she’d had a hell of a lot of ‘worse’ and not much ‘better’.

No one else seemed to feel her enthusiasm for bashing these sicko’s heads in.

The Sons with resigned movements pulled apart their ships and cargo droids to build makeshift traps, wall plating for improvised armour sharing out the few Chiss weapons they had, most convinced this would be their last stand.

The Creatures called Yuuzhan Vong being instructed by Lyaea as they prepared their weird weapons had the same down cast look – they had their freedom but now had to fight for reasons they didn’t understand to keep it.

Even the Demi-Gods, Black-Stone armour chipped and scarred from facing Morgukai, Vong, Crimson Nova, Black Sun, Jedi and Sith.  The distress of what had been done to Lydan and Kassydra, Milaea’s uncertain state, the threat Xithar still posed and their own psychological issues made them walking contagions of demoralisation.
 
The dim atmosphere conflicted starkly with Sofa’s pounding red anger after her peace offer was rejected with such bile…and more and more people were staring at her…Keison hauling a Blackstone Rifle with difficulty nearby dropped it cracking the floor, a few Vong across the room fell to their knees.

Only when she looked over to Adaea with Maynard prepping their ships did she see why in a shipping containers reflection.

She was glowing blue as her sabre, eyes a blinding white, hair sticking out and gently swaying in the energy flow.  As all eyes turned to her Valens cautiously approached.

“Are you alright…” he whispered

Her hands were luminous glowing with energy…mind raced to understand what was happening…Soryu often said to unlock ones full potential your mind, body and Soul needed to be in harmony – more than a little of Odjina’s influence…but it made sense.

So long she had been divided, emotions at war between loving the people and hating the situation…her new body a mystery for too long…now she felt complete, focused without a doubt that she needed to kill the scum racing toward her at 586.7KMPH in a Rendili Drive Yards Transport…

“Avatar,” The Vong Called her
“Hand of Aertemisaea…” Kiraea whispered more than a little proud

Right hand of the Goddess or finally fully accepting her new life?

Something prompted her to project her voice across Station 7 aetherically – divine mouth piece or just an attempt to improve morale who knew?

“I know it seems like we’re outnumbered, out gunned, trapped, we’ve all taken a lot of hits, a lot of wounds over the last few weeks.” Her voice echoed in every mind apart from those dead to the aether.

“They’ve taken everything from us!”

Selaena looked up sadly but then with swift motion took up her rifle Lyaea dry pulled her bow.
“They took our freedom”

Keison, Komo, Mmbri gripped their weapons tighter, the Extolled leered skyward with ferocious licking of lipless teeth.

“Stole our families,”

Maeson, Adaea, dozens of Sons steeled their expressions

“Robbed us of our Hope,”

Jarys, Kiraea and Valens all firmed against the distress of Milaea’s suffering, the loss of the clones.

“Deprived us of Childhood”

She felt her heart start to pump at even hinting at her own history.

“Today that ends! Today we give them NOTHING,”

A surge in her body, skin warming

“And we take EVERYTHING”

Forcefully pointing to the closed door of the cargo hangar

“This is where we hold them off!”

They followed her gesture to the catwalks and makeshift cover points

“This is where we fight”

All eyes and visual sensors focused on the point just in front of a firing hole that represented the entirety of their defensive line

“And this is where they DIE!”

The hangar exploded in exuberance and confidence

“Yun’Qaaaaaaahh” the Extolled screeched even above the four hundred or so Sons crying “Freedom!” in the hangar, four hundred more across the Station echoing it.

More discretely Kiraea echoed a sentiment across the aether as the unofficial priestess <Aertemisaea SPEAKS Kill them ALL>

<<<<>>>>

 
Five Thousand Raiders


Jol Boos and Jyx Tvril were incinerated by Sofa’s grenade along with any semblance of control over the conglomerate fleet. 

If the Vulptereen authorities who accepted the bribes to allow Boos forces to come planet side – not that they could refuse given the sheer numbers arrayed against them – thought that the attack would remain focused only on the logistics station they were terribly wrong.

Four thousand of the galaxies most violent mercenaries, pirates, slavers, along with ambitious Black Sun Nova Corps and Aqualish Quara Elites descended not just onto the Station – but the surrounding factories and warehouses, looting and trashing a number of Viper Sensor Intelligence Systems contractors as well as their main distribution node making off with droid components and prototypes to sell on the black market.

Amongst them, toward the back lines the Rendili Destroyer call-sign Blood Remebers kept a low profile despite its size.  Goush on board tapping his command throne eager to finally pay off his debt to Xithar by ‘helping’ Boos destroy the Sons of Kessel….
And then turn on them, Kill Boos and install Xithars arse-licker Tsen as the new Vigo. 

This was to be a triple cross that saw Xithar reign supreme amongst the Black Sun and wipe away the last Sons of Kessel away in one stroke. 

That Lucovis also intended to grind down the Demi-Gods with the assault was a level of strategic insight beyond any of the Four Thousand sacrificial victims.

The Planetary Militia and Private security stood little chance against rampaging freebooters, unwilling to put their lives on the line for stock and machinery.  In orbit the sheer number of outlaw ships deterred the small planetary defence fleet from resisting proving Oma’s criticism of the Republics lack of a Naval force. 

In Station 7 a conglomerate just as strange prepared to meet them.

<<<<>>>>

Maynard

Cutting sharp turns in the Happy Gorbil he checked port sensors, Xandra nearby in tight formation with the Smiling Gormin through the clouds of rubbish just inside Vulpters one ‘tourist’ attraction the Orbital Advertising Ring - an enormous advertisement billboard that surrounded the entire planet with kilometer-wide neon signs between the trash, if the pink and purple world were not so polluted its shadow might’ve ruined crop growth.

“OK coming up on their position…” Adaea commed over.  Just outside the rings of rubbish the flotilla of Black Sun and Raiders was disgorging dozens of smaller transports – what had started as a bounty strike for Keison had turned into a simple pirate raid.

Maynard had been a thief, a good one, still was on occasion – but raiding, piracy disgusted him - a good thief doesn’t intimidate or use violence – a good thief is never even seen and only takes from those too rich and stupid to deserve their excess. 

Adaea’s Lucky Gondur slowed – he had a sympathy for the ‘cute’ names Adaea gave things it showed a side of the Aethans others really didn’t see - maybe it was mental programming but he felt sorrow for the society they had lost, as close to perfect as possible, peaceful, contented – no poverty or crime everyone feeling others pain…and the Galaxy had come in a frelled it all up.

He slowed the sub light and found a chunk of discarded hull to land on first step of their plan as the sensor showed the descent of the most pungent scum the galaxy could offer.

Maynard smiled to be on the right hand of the Daemons rather than amidst the fools in their path.

<<<<>>>>

Keison

If there was one thing slaves were good at – it was improvising and scavenging.  For food, .weapons and traps….hope.

An hour wasn’t much time, but with Brute Squad and several hundred hands and manipulator limbs they had done pretty well to set up traps and weapons from their ruined ships and the industrial supplies in Station 7 – cannons taken off ships, plasma cutters, cargo droids, console back up power cells all pressed into service.

“Enemy sighted, approaching West and South.” The crisp Chiss voice came across one of the few communicators they could share across Squad leaders – the Chiss wouldn’t fight but would give them long range intelligence – a ‘training exercise’ for their junior offices. At least they got a few Charric rifles to boot.

Even here in the main entrance hall he could hear the sound of explosions from the Pirates attacking nearby factories, getting worked up and surrounding them – to get the bounty they needed heads and bio-matter – plus an orbital strike would deprive Boos of carrying the Sons heads on a pike to Nar Shadda and Rorak IV to be ringed around the Slave markets as a warning – so face to face it was. 

The heavy doors ahead rocked dust falling from the lintel, if it wasn’t him they wanted it would be whoever was in charge, Keison knew he was no one special, just a man fighting for those who couldn’t…

A dull red lit the centre of the door – plasma lance most likely – growing to orange, yellow then flaking off as molten blobs.

“This is where WE FIGHT!” he echoed Sofa as more flakes of superheated metal peeled off - if the other Daemons were even half as strong as Jarys….

“This is where they DIE!” he fired the first shot.

<<<<>>>>

Mmbri

“Mumbles south west side breach!” Kiraea called out over the comm as Keison and Magma was forced back to the second line.

“Ice Squad ready to chill em!” Trill called out beside him…shrill would be a better name for the Yinchorri, ever since her mate had died in captivity she’d had a high pitched shriek of a voice that no slaver would’ve forgotten had they lived long enough after meeting her.

Mmbri clasped the heavy black rifle thinking on Xoar as he pounded out rattling steps through the steel access tunnels…to die so far from Wayland, not in battle but by betrayal as the Freeblade smashed into the Station. So many brothers lost….And if they did not win here…all would be lost.

“Remember the words of our Allies!” he called as the drifted round a corner on hot heels,

“This is where we stand! And this is where we fight!”

Coming into the plant room he slammed his shoulder into a column as the blasts came at him

“And this is where they DIE!”

<<<<>>>>

Keison

Station 7 wasn’t a military facility, but still the Industrial strength columns built to support huge stores of machinery took solid hits. 

The entrance hall was an abatoir littered with Gand corpses and droid chunks when they’d pulled back, the improvised explosives and plasma cutter traps ripping the first wave apart.  A rigged up ships forward cannon had vaporized the second wave, he’d hoped they might turn back – but they weren’t facing a single army – they were facing six dozen different bands who wanted their comrades of convenience dead – less competition for the bounty. 

After taking six losses they’d fallen back into the office areas – no one worked here it was just part of the prefab plan for the logistics facility, now the little work rooms stored spare power packs and held traps - as a flock of Talortai swooped in as they retreated.

“Some Yinchorri and Transohsans have started fighting amongst themselves…will keep up the suggestion.” Valens reported - Keison spared a moment for a smile before poking out to fire a charric blast into a feathered chest – mind frelling them was a good start.

“Hrnnk!” a Duro to his side took a hit to the shoulder, flopping into the hall to be shredded by blaster fire.   

Snapping off another shot one of the far offices exploded plasma outward as a trap was triggered. The air was swiftly filling with gases launched by Trandoshans who were skirting the edges - obscuring most of his Squads vision and irritating their skin.

A huge crash sounded as an interior wall was broken
“Their pushing through the offices!”

“Damn, Blizzard fall back!” 
<<<<>>>>

Mmbri

“uungg”  he tugged himself back up shaking off the after effects of the sonic grenade, he couldn’t afford to be out for more than a second.  The plant room was filled with blaster smoke that wasn’t clearing as the Feeorin raiders had disabled the outtake vents to get inside.

Dusty grey smoke lit with greens and blues, occasional mists of red and green from flash boiled blood.  They’d beaten back the Weequay, then the Phindian rangers…the Feeorins were too many. 

Struggling up he hefted the heavy rifle once more seeking a target in the dark air, about to call for Xoar to take the column to his left…Xoar wasn’t there. 

“Hurricane’s falling back to third line!” the comm crackled

“Magma is on second line, Rodian and Gammorreans hitting us hard,” Komo added

“Ice is getting thawed!” Trill commed back

Mmbri assessed the situation, the Feeorins were ferocious close up…there was no choice…

“Ice fall back!” he grunted, instantly the squad flew from cover, blind firing into the electric storm of deadly bolts, a Sullustan in front of him took a hit in the back,

Sorry brother, he thought as he stepped on his legs to get to the stair well.

<<<<>>>>

Komo

“UNNGHHH” he grunted through a broken tusk as he swung the metal beam round to smash into the gammoreans face.  Another to his left was pulled up short from bisecting him by two Chandra’fan who leapt onto its back peppering it with their knives.

A third of his squad had been lost, it sounded like the others weren’t doing much better.

In a tragic display to his right Reeger shoved an industrial nail gun into a fellow Rodains chest, three phwumps pumped durasteel bolts through the chest plate. Even with what Hondo had done to him…there was a sickening feel to members of the same race killing each other over the desire to be free. It had pained him to see Jarys unleashed on the Aqualish at Hondo’s palace more than he had expected…

It was only partial consolation to be on the right side of the Daemons when your people stood in their path…

Pulling his blaster he managed to hit another Rodians shoulder

“Magma falling back to Third Line” he grunted.

<<<<>>>>

Keison

“Tornado falling back to Third Line”

The pressure kept rising, more and more were getting into the station.  Defence in depth was the plan – another twenty troops at each of four fall back lines left him with 38 men, having lost 22.  They were running out of traps, power cells and improvised explosives….and still they kept coming…the raiders and bounty hunters completely indifferent to the bloody dead they trod over.

“All units on Third line, confirm,” Jarys voice clinical and focused

Keison couldn’t be so indifferent, he had taken losses, sacrificed soldiers - lots of them…but this time was different, this was all the Sons had left. He had agreed this was the best plan given the situation…but he felt this loss more keenly than ever before.

“Confirm!” he called back huddled behind quickly positioned crates in a store room, the floor littered with bolts and nuts after they had dropped a crate full of them onto a crew of Weequay, one of the arms poking out still twitching.

“Vorynx, Brute, Extolled, Gobril move to second phase.”

For the first time in his life Keison felt pity for those who fought him - his task was done, they’d lured the enemy as far down the Road to Hell as they could

Now…Now the gate of Hell opened and the Daemons would be unleashed.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 163
Posts: 1091



« Reply #209 on: February 17, 2019, 05:37:12 PM »

Chapter 53 — Road to Hell — Right Hand of the Daemon
Part 3

Oma

It was perfect – the chaos the bloodshed – utterly perfect.

They had dropped out just in time to see a system militia and defence force overwhelmed by hundreds of Black Sun raiders, an open war on the surface between parties unknown that police could not stop – hundreds injured, millions terrified, entire factories looted or raised.

“Blessed Mother Be Praised!” Squeaked the Vultereen Prime Minister, behind him on the holo a gaggle of various well to do business men whose factories were now being systematically looted.

“Master Jedi please drive away these uncouth mad men!”

Oma could not ask for a better example of why the Republic needed an Army and Navy – the Black Sun had no compunction launching what amounted to an invasion of Vulpter.

“They are destroying our vital economic zones, killing our workers!”

The Force about the planet was jagged and drained, like flapping shreds of a garment in the wind, bleached of its normal colour by the sun from over exposure – Oma knew that distinct tearing of the Force – Valens and his brood of genetically enhanced psychopaths.

Beside her on the Mythosaur Meeda stood with arms crossed idly wondering how she could’ve done the invasion of Vulpter better.

“Master Jedi?” the frantic looking creature queried

They had come out at the edge of the system half an hour ago and overheard the chaos of war engulf the planet.  She had the full force of Clan Ordo and the Jedi Task Force behind her, raging and eager to take their vengeance for the Night of Madness and Mrykr under the guise of ‘justice’.

With a quick gesture Oma ordered the transmission cut earning an odd look from Meeda.

“We’re not going to reply?”

“No transmissions out of the fleet…all the Black Sun can see is a bunch of Mandalorian Mercenary ships here to join their attack…contact the Black Sun forces, convince them we are here for the bounties on the Sons, then position our ships for a surprise attack.”

It was as treacherous as it was perfect, the Black Sun would grind themselves against Valens and the Sons, then she would take the lot.

Oma flicked on the comm to her Jedi forces “Master Torfun prepare to deploy with your full force,”

The Ootoolan had been one of Kimar’s patsies and Oma could tell he disliked the direction she was taking the Order.

“Confirmed Sentinel, boarding now,” the gurgling voice replied

She had carefully selected the members of his squad, 24 of the Jedi most likely to oppose the formation of a formal Naval and non-Jedi Military Auxiliary – she would hurl them head first into Valens – if they died she had removed potential dissenters, if they succeeded she got a scalp that proved her more aggressive approach could be successful.

Either way she won.

<<<<>>>>

Adaea

“Uh oh….” The Luck Gondurs long range sensors picked up the Mandalorian fleet…but her aetheric senses picked up something worse.

<Everyone sensing this….this arrival undermines the current tactical approach>

<100 Jedi plus 10% variability they are masking exact numbers…2842 Mandalorians…> Kiraea noted telepathically

<At the edge of the system, they’re in no hurry…>Adaea went on

<They’ll wait for us to soften each other up – Oma is in charge…that is…> Valens thought was cut in by Sofa’s

<…unusual – why would Yoda give her free reign…he wouldn’t…Yoda isn’t in charge, the militarists have the Council> Sofa concluded

<They’ll send the least loyal down for us to kill for them> Jarys noted

<We have no choice but to proceed with the plan as is> Lyaea surmised

<And a 50% reduced window to make our escape>

<Will that be enough?> Selaena this time

<For us yes…for the Sons…>

<<<<>>>>

Falling Angel

Marble White, unyielding and fixed - a statue.  Logical, assured, perfect as the day it was sculpted.  But in the sculpting was a flaw, not in the artistry but the intent.

It didn’t hear the screams, didn’t feel the warmth of the blood that splashed onto it.  It followed its creator’s intent even as she screamed to stop listening to her mind and heed the emotions telling her to stop. 

The unchanging face of dogmatic belief and clinical assessment stared back as the Mak’tor fell lifeless around it, its decision was in keeping with what it had been taught – theocratic terrorists to be destroyed with a pre-emptive strike.

But she wasn’t a statue, she learnt, changed, what seemed right then was wrong now – her heart had known it but her mind was held fast in conformist chains.

Obsidian black, glinting fecks for eyes – haughty, hedonistic, certain that its own pleasure justified any action, the galaxy was its playground.

Following the passions of the moment, the roof came crashing down, bodies fell as she again screamed for it to stop, this time it followed emotion at the expense of reason – a sickening inversion of the first mistake. It’s sweet smile continued placating the daemons that lapped at her feet, arrogantly trying to turn what the White statue would deem anathematized criminals into family.

Ruby Red, warm in tone cold to touch, uncertain, quieted, reaching out for any source of connection or affection. 

Through its hazy bloodshot filter it saw in ambiguous words the help it needed, its own desperate reflection it confused for others feelings, so pained it would rather shatter than be parted from its false friends.

Fiery Golden Red smashed all three as it fell into the endless depths, a thousand sharpened fragments of herself, white, black and red formed a cloud about her, the only companions as she fell eternally.

In each were thoughts and feelings that seemed so right at the time, so wrong on reflection?

Learning from ones mistakes didn’t undo the damage they had caused.

And so she fell.

<<<<>>>>
Logged

Lord_S_Gray

Surik: "Kreia, what are you—are you a Jedi, a Sith?"
Kreia: "Does it matter? Of course it does, such titles allow you to break the galaxy into light and dark, categorize it. Perhaps I am neither, and I hold both as what they are, pieces of a whole."

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