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Author Topic: Remnant of the Aether  (Read 21413 times)
Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659



« on: February 15, 2020, 04:51:24 AM »


<<<<<<>>>>>>


Black as the void from which it slipped with barely a shudder on the most sensitive instruments three vessels entered the system, a large spear head of abyss flanked by two smaller ones that blotted the blue grey stars of Mach’acuay constellation– the all encircling Galactic Serpent of Kaminoan Myth.

Unmolested by the sleek Kaminoan ships, unheard by the rounded sensor posts one of the smaller vessels descends through the black grey storm clouds over the watery world.

In the cockpit side by side are two featureless black helmets that eat the thin blue lights of the consoles and switches as a red shadow looms behind them.

Clearance codes are exchanged without a word as the ship hissed exhaust gases onto the platform of the cloning facility being lashed by horizontal rains and endless storm surges.

A small group of tall slender necked Kaminoans shielded from the weather by discreet semi-opaque rain shields walk toward the descending ramp, viewing only boots the red of human blood beneath a thick midnight cloak as the lone figure descends.

“Welcome to Kamino, this visit is a surprise we…”

Fingers encased in Bloodstone armour lift momentarily to stop the words, to stop the very cognition of the greeter.

Without words, intent flows into their minds.  Without question or resistance they comply, and with them the other 238 scientists and workers in the facility.

They fold back and head toward the door, the figure in the now soaked cloak remains unmoving as her two escorts fall in beside her.  

On her left a killer of Jedi, Sith, Gray, Vong and everything in between, ruthless, focused and with powers to eclipse Grand Masters, Sith Lords and Kage’s. On his back an oblivion sword that hummed with enchanted lighting and folded bow beside a quiver of teleporting Abyssal arrows.

On her right half a head taller and boarder, the menace of slavers the galaxy wide, an unstoppable beast of a man, strength to fight a Wookie bare handed, endurance to survive weeks in a jungle hunted by Jedi Sentinels, armed with an enormous two handed blade leeching aetheric flame traces from his woman’s enchantment, rifle beside it glowing with hell fire red power cells.

The three walked into the facility proper, clinical whites of the floor and walls defiled more by the light sucking shadow of their armour than by the dripping of rain off their cloaks.

Without needing to consult directions they felt their way to where the Kaminoans were assembling in a dream like haze- overpowered by what they would call the ‘Force’ used on a scale all but the most experienced Jedi would consider impossible.

Overlooking the gathering she raised one hand, tendrils of red energy swirling around her fingers and palm in delicate whorls as thunder cracked outside.

Her fist clenched and 238 Kaminoans fell to the floor unconscious.

“Leave nothing,” she ordered.


<<<<>>>>

Nothing was left by the time they were done.

Ten Demigods scoured the facility and took everything but lives.  

They took the original samples provided to produce the clones.

They took all the research and analysis performed on those samples to sequence the embryos.

They took the pods, the gestation tubes, the power cells, the wires and bolts that held then to the walls.

They took data on unrelated cloning and genetic experimentation projects from decades past.

They took the memories and experiences of the scientists producing the clones – torn like pages from a journal from their minds, flowing like mercury into eldritch hungry orbs in the hands of the Gods.

Nothing would be left, no memory, no fibres, no electromagnetic resonance, no trace DNA – nothing to indicate Aethans even existed, no thought the last 5 years had been spent producing clones here.  Experiences were rewritten as a failed research project into meta-humans in their minds, frustration was inculcated into their emotions to make them unwilling to discuss it. Powerful minds were twisted by other minds exponentially more so as they worked for hours on end, cleansing, concealing.

Of their ten only four began the day with the ability to perform the task of memory editing and deletion on such a scale, only three with the ability to comprehensively eliminate all possible trace of physical presence down to trace elements flaked off of their Ultra-dense armour – by the end of the day all ten were veterans of dozens of such operations – more was achieved with each action that just concealment, it was training, it was learning.

It was bonding.

Their two transports ferried all equipment they deemed valuable to their Destroyer, the silent Aertemisaea class vessel, first of its kind that had occupied their last two weeks after the battle of Ord Mirit preparing.  

The Destroyer named for its type the Aertemisaea was a fitting tribute to their Goddess of the Hunt, Wilds, Courage, and Passions, an amalgam of the best Mon Cal, Kuati, Corellian – and most of all Chiss – engineering had to offer combined with Aethan Ultradense materials and Aetheric warfare systems – three Aetheric Nexus chambers that magnified their ability to create illusions, control minds and telekinetically move objects tenfold, twelve Chiss Turbo-Charric-Cannons, eight Shikkar Torpedo tubes to hurl hideously sharpened and twisted blades of Greysleet – or Phirk in the name Outsiders gave it – to bore into enemy vessels before detonating its Proton-Bomb core, a dozen Magnetic Accelerator anti-fighter turrets and gravity crunching tractor beams.

It was an operation performed with a guerrilla’s pragmatism and an assassin’s precision, co-ordinated by the ever present meld of the People in the aether, finished in 29 standard hours.

Milaea watched the sleek procession of the last goods being loaded up, her former Jedi Master, and now – sister for want of a better word for their bond – Sofa giving her a slight squeeze on the arm lost to her Bloodstone armour plating, gesturing for her to follow up the ramp as they left, Selaena already descending from her lookout atop the largest of the facilities domes, overpowered sniper rifle recently modified to fire Blackstone Ultradense ‘Spear Needles’ with miniature explosives that reacted to mass on impact, still in her grip as she leapt between aerials that swayed in the endless storm.

The one concession Milaea could impose on the xenophobic theistic psychopaths that comprised her People, was that they would leave the Kaminoans alive, even if they took everything else from them…

<<<<>>>>

Prologue — Remnant

“I tell you son, the number of people who look at the galaxy and think, ‘hey that would be a nifty shortcut, straight from Corellia to Coruscant through the core’…must be a million of ‘em a year,”  He hunched over his grandson who was slowly calculating the next jump.

“A fortune, I’ll make a fortune charting a lane right through the centre! Hah a million a year try, yes sir…and not one comes back out. No sir, they got no clue…”

“And then,” he went on, “There are the other ones, who see the prices we get for a bit of ore…they think ‘I’ll make killing mining in the deep core! Easy as 1000 credits a gram how can I lose…’ Ah son they’re even dumber…not a clue…not a clue,”

He gave the chair a friendly slap, “Ah it’s not easy no Sir, no sir…takes generations to learn the paths, my grandad taught me, and now I’ll teach you…you’re pa thought he was too good for this…but ah…well…you’ll soon see ain’t no more adventure to be had, ain’t no better place to become a great pilot that the core. They say Corellians are the best, ha, not a clue those fly boys not a clue.”

He watched carefully the route his grandson was entering and beamed. He was a quick learner that boy, a drop of the Gods in him his mother had said before she passed, leaving the poor boy with his good for nothing son who left him at the outpost with 50 credits and a bag of third hand clothes.

He shook his head, how had his own son turned out to be such a bastard…didn’t matter now.

“Now what you’re looking for first up is anything that looks like clean lines, them fancy scanners the rim boys use don’t work out here with the rad’s, too much interference”  
According to his grandfather anyone who lived further from the core than Byss was a ‘Rim boy’

“Aint no substitute for your own eyes out here,” he went on…and on…as they curved down to the moons surface.

 He strained to see anything but still grey sands and impact craters, a few cliffs and valleys carved from asteroids that had hit on an incline.

‘There just like that!” his grandfather shouted excitedly, for having spent 70 years plumbing the deep core he seemed to have lost no enthusiasm…he wondered if that’s how he’d end up...little choice now his father had abandoned him a day short of his thirteenth birthday in favour of easy booze on a cargo hauler bound for Ryloth…he was thankful his Grandfather had taken him in, he’d only met him twice before that, once as an infant.

He followed the old slightly shaking finer to three slightly darker patches, roughly square, where the light grey top dust had been moved aeons ago, and the slow crawl of gravity hadn’t completely re-covered it yet.  The patches were just in front of a cliff face.

“Mark my words so, there’ll be a mine there…yes sir that’s the best way, a million people have set up mines and such here then left, or forgotten about them, cut off by a rad flux or nova…easiest pickings is to have a gander, usually something left behind,”

He had been right, across the rough square landing pads was a small tunnel with an old looking steel door.…oddly the door didn't seem to have any console to try and hack or obvious handle…

“Right get the cracker…” his grandson handed him the electro-crow, the old chipped and rusted device clanked and juttered, as it pried the door open – an old and cantankerous piece of kit, just like him Ha!

Inside was…different to the prefab rooms he usually saw…but then every ruin out here was a bit unique, all different species, all different periods, a living museum of failed dreams the deep core was.

“doesn’t look like a mine…” his grandson said crouching to get a look beneath one of the stations, there were twelve in all about 4 by 2 metres, about bed height with various instruments around the place in the cool blue pre-fab cabinets.

“No…probably a research station, see em all over, some university sets up to research grav fluctuations, singularities or some such in the core, they soon get abandoned, too hard to supply…yes sir, the core is a desert as much as the damn edge of the Tingle arm…just as difficult to get to, or come back from…if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let’s head further in see what we can scrounge hey,”

He checked his suits air supply, still 80%, plenty, and headed toward the door at the end, but the boy stopped,

“We shouldn’t be here…” he said suddenly in a hollow voice

“What?”

“We need to leave there are…ghosts here…”

He laughed, “Ah come-on boy, ain’t nothing here but us,” he kicked a discarded metal…actually he wasn’t sure what it was for, to prove his point and headed on.”

And behind the door…his eyes exploded in amazement…a semicircular chamber with six large metal cylinders along the wall, connected to all manner of long since dead monitors…and in the middle of the room…

The biggest slab of Black-Heart he’d ever seen.  About six by three metres, and a metre and a half high it looked like a giants bed…jagged edges, but pure black-heart his eyes could tell…and he could feel the pull of the ultra-dense minerals gravity even from here.

“Son…we’ve made it I tell you,” he clapped his hands together…the current price was 4000 credits for twenty grams of this stuff, sold for industrial blades to manufacturing companies the galaxy over…even the dust was 2000 credits a hundred grams, more resilient than diamond it was used all over to cut and smooth things…this…this would be worth billions! Something this size would weigh tonnes with its high density! They were set for life, he could get a new ship, a new suit…maybe even some fresh nerf steaks!

 “Pa…I don’t think we should be here…I have a bad feeling about this,”

He shook his head as he stepped toward the stone, the tug of its gravity got stronger,

“Ah don’t worry son, this is…a blessing I tell ya, a true blessing…after your pa left and your ma passed, things had to go right to balance out the bad,”  he placed his hand on the stone feeling the black draw to it,

“You’re my good luck charm…hey what’s wrong,”

Behind the face plate his Grandsons eyes were wide, a dust began to form around the room,

“Hey what’s going,” he turned quickly in the low gravity, one of the cylinders was opening…and inside…he felt his throat tighten…his chest constrict…he thought it was his own fear…until he felt his feet slide along the ancient prefab flooring toward the cylinders blue glowing lights.

<<<<>>>>
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
SaberForum.Com Moderator
Knight Commander
************

Force Alignment: 1147
Posts: 5594


Light side points please.


« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2020, 02:53:23 PM »

And.... Away we go!

Great beginning.  Nice to see Milaea still trying to moderate her people, and marginally succeeding, which may be the only reason we end up with the Clones in Palpatine's time.

Hmm.  Maybe more than a coincidence that...  ;-)
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signature picture by DarthScrub

Master Singer of the Mak'Tor

Lord_S_Gray
Knight Commander
*

Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2020, 05:14:10 PM »

Authors Note

Remnant of the Aether is a series interconnected short to medium length stories.  It chronicles the story of the Aethans beginning immediately after the events of Fate of the Aether (http://www.saberforum.com/index.php?topic=39140.0), through the events in Schisms the Vhal’Dan civil war, (http://www.saberforum.com/index.php?topic=38018.0) to approximately 15 years after Fate of the Aether (approx. 550BBY).
 
Chapters are labelled in the following Format

Chapter X — Short Story Main Title — Short Story sub-section or Part number

Short stories often follow on from each other but events themselves may be separated by several weeks or months. Generally there will be a mention of the approximate time between events in the narrative.  Some stories will contain significant flashbacks or occur in different time periods parallel to previous series (CotA, LotA and FotA) this will be noted broadly in the narrative.

<<<<>>>>
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: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2020, 05:17:00 PM »

Dramatis Personae — Part 1

[Syndic Nuruodo: Please find attached data packages and analysis reports following the conclusion of the 18 Month Aethan Induction and Academy Graduation Programme. 

All Aethan auxiliaries have successfully completed the programme and been assigned appropriate rank within the Orbital Drop Shock Commando Corps of the Chiss Expeditionary Defence Force.

Combat analysis has been completed by Colonel Nduur’casp’Idona– CEDF Orbital Drop Shock Commando (ODSC) Unit.
Anthropological Analysis focusing on each members role within the ‘Tribe’ has been completed by Doctor Asstraa’Sinidi’Ycaas Emeritus Professor of Csaplar University currently volunteering with CEDF Intelligence Analysis
Psychological analysis has been completed by Doctor Ythung’vince’elsi of CEDF Medical Corps. Doctor Ythung’vince’elsi notes that standard humanoid sentient psychological descriptors are only an approximation, whilst terms such as ‘depression’ or ‘guilt’ are broadly analogous Aethans psychology remains significantly distinct and intrinsically linked to tribal structure and they should not be taken as having the exact same meaning.

We have adapted the Standardised Individual Capacity Level used when ranking CEDF Officers to a ‘Standardised Individual Threat Level’ (SITL) indicating each of the Aethans relative prowess based on observations, anecdotes and evidence collected from their postings and assignments.

For Reference a CEDF ODSC is rated 50 on this scale. Jedi Grand Master Yoda is rated a score of 200.

> Admiral Ithhawa’Tran’Nuuso
<<<<>>>>

 
Valens

ODSC Rank: Captain
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 320KG
Gender: Male
Combat Analysis: Guardian and Jedi Trained  Expert strategist, trained in Jedi, Sith, Echanni and Mandalorian Combat and tactics. Force abilities above standard include teleportation of self and objects (limitations uncertain), gravity manipulation, prescience (accuracy of predictive ability for events up to 10 standard minutes ahead 85%, up to one hour 75% then declining)  and temporal manipulation (extent of ability to alter ‘time’ uncertain), able to create and sustain Force Null Field for approximately four standard minutes.
Anthropological Analysis: Acts as ‘Warchief’ - leader in times of crisis on basis of his strategic and tactical ability exceeding that of females present.
Psychological Analysis: Martyr complex, self-deprecating and prone to depressive episodes when absent a defined enemy to combat. Hypocritical in relation to ‘outsiders’ – currently engage in sexual relationship with former ‘outsider’. Task focused personality type.
SITL: 200


<<<<>>>>

Steaming sulphur bubbled up from the equatorial breach in the mantle that ringed Arioch.

Almost as far from the Republic – and the Jedi - as one could get, the hissing clouds of metal and mineral gusted above frothing magma spewing orange and yellow over plains of flash cooled igneous rock at the equator where tectonic plates fought a struggle of aeons slowly grinding each other down to the mantle.

The jet black clouds obscured the flights of Clawcrafts and the Single Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicles they knew were coming.

After 18 months this was the final exercise after which they would be formally inducted into the CEDF.

Over a year away from home was…difficult…but not without precedent…after his People were almost wiped out he had spent years away from home learning the Jedi arts from Yoda…He felt a pang of…not sadness for such could not truly be experienced for an Outsider…but a sensation of dissonance of how things had ended with his erstwhile teacher.

He focused on the present and the future, reflection on past losses was a rapid path to depression for Valens.  Being here served long and short term goals – first it kept them far from the Jedi ensuring there was little to no chance of any of them recalling the truth of what occurred on Ord Mirit.  Secondly if the alliance with the Chiss was to last the People needed to prove themselves on Chiss Terms

This meant obtaining rank in the CEDF through a modified Academy training regime suited to Aethan enhanced biology…and not utilising in their official placements the unfair advantage of the aether.

He kept close to the rest of the squad, heavy anti-air flak cannon by his side – while they could choose not to use the aether, he couldn’t switch off his superior reflexes and strength – four times the conditioned Commandos around him – so his sergeant had him on the big gun.

Valens needed to make this work, justify his decision to ally with the Chiss, because he knew it had and would cost the People.  It needed to be worth it, they needed to master all the Chiss had to teach about technology, economics, military strategy and stable galactic expansion – emulate, adapt and perfect it.

He owed it to all those lost in the Devastation, the crippling attack that killed a third and carried the rest of his 2000 or so fellow Aethans away 23 years ago to ensure they rose like from the ashes stronger than ever to seek the Vengeance that his instincts demanded.

He heard the screech of atmospheric entry, felt the slight ripples in gravity in his advanced vestibular system,

“On approach,” he noted speaking slower than usual so the Chiss could understand

“Confirmed,” the comms officer agreed, "Heading at 225 degrees"

The Sergeant paused to look over the readings then consult the tactical map before quickly keying in co-ordinates that appeared on Valens way finder.

“Deploy as instructed and wait for my signal”

<<<<>>>>

 
Jarys


ODSC Rank: Captain
Height: 182cm
Weight: 335KG
Gender: Male
Combat Analysis: Guardian Trained 15 years’ experience with Sons of Kessel as leader of assault squad – expert in guerrilla warfare and close confine (Urban, ship boarding etc.) tactics. Physical strength, Endurance and pain threshold highest of group.
Anthropological Analysis: Tribal ‘Brave’ role used as ‘first attacker’ challenging any threat, instinctively acts in ‘bodyguard’ role to any nearby female.  Serves as ‘second’ to Valens as Warchief due to experience
Psychological Analysis: Stoic and focused mindset, experiences with SoK has resulted in higher respect for ‘outsiders’ and willingness to work with them. Good natured up to point of threat to Tribe.
SITL: 190


<<<<>>>>

The squad fanned out as ordered, they would find cover in shimmering clefts of flash cooled igneous rock that curved like waves of obsidian about them, the glass crunching most heavily under his brothers boots. 

Though today Valens was not his brother, just his heavy weapons specialist.  They had been apart for nearly twenty years, twenty years Jarys had spent fighting with the Sons of Kessel after escaping the fighting pits of Nar Shadda, learning how to fight an enemy with vastly superior numbers and resources and most importantly get out alive.

Combined with his training as an Aethan guardian he had rapidly advanced to lead Vorynx squad made up of two other Aethans the Sons helped him find, the engine that pushed the Sons to become a force that threatened both the Hutts and Black Sun…

Too much of a threat.  Jarys was reunited with his Brother and a daughter he never knew of at the same time the Jedi were hunting him for a messy arms deal on Cygrat where he had been forced, by his daughter Milaea still a Jedi, to fight as a Guardian.  Labelled the Sith of Cygrat by the Jedi, he left the Sons to keep them from becoming embroiled in the conflict.  Their leader Keison devised a plan to create a new home for the Sons by capturing a space station from the Black Sun…

It was a step too far, a combined Hutt and Black Sun ambush destroyed all but a thousand or so of the once tens of thousands of Sons of Kessel. 

Jarys was not the kind to regret a decision once made or ask ‘what if’ like his brother did. Instead, one day he would return to the Sons stronger, smarter with a hundred or more Aethans and help them rebuild to repay their generosity in taking him in so long ago.

Today he furthered that goal by completing his training with the Chiss.

The clawcraft came in hard and fast yellow bolts slamming down where they detected life signs - the nearby rivers of magma were hot enough to mask their signals only partially.

He waited.

A bulb of obsidian burst apart, his men beneath it rushing for cover, two were struck by the low level training cannons knocking them unconscious.

He waited

Titanium alloy ODSC’s pods cracked into the surface – the first of dozens Blue team would deploy against his Red team

He waited.

Fire erupted as another Red squad engaged further up the line, the noise of Clawcraft overcame the gurgle of the magma.

“FIRE!”

Valens and the other anti-aircraft troops spun out and unleashed, de-powered ion bolts criss-crossing the sky.  This was the way, wait until the last moment before full detection then strike with absolute fury – this was how the Vorynx hunted, how the Sons fought, and how he waged war.

Three clawcraft now too low to manoeuvre fully were struck out in an instant, their pilots ejecting from the soon to be decommissioned craft which shattered on impact into the igneous formations.  He leaned out with his RPG and fired – Magnetic clamp missile heads hit an ODSC pod indicating destruction, the ODSC inside would have to sit out the battle as a casualty.

“Reposition as follows!” he ordered tapping new locations as the battlefield changed.

Keep mobile, keep low, keep fast.

He rushed a crouch toward the pod he had taken down, his orders from Red Team leader clear as his squad covered him.

With his natural strength he tore off the pods hatch to reveal the ODSC annoyed at being shot down right at the start of the war game who eyes him curiously.

Jarys smiled beneath his helmet

“You’re dead – I’m taking your armour,”

<<<<>>>>

 
Kiraea


ODSC Rank: Lieutenant
Height: 175cm
Weight: 285KG
Gender: Female
Combat Analysis: Guardian Trained, Jedi training via Valens. Stealth and reconnaissance expert, enhanced acrobatic ability, Force Fire and Mind Control expert.
Anthropological Analysis: Priestess role, serves in mentoring capacity to younger females, keeper and teacher of sacred stories and rituals.
Psychological Analysis: Extreme hatred of ‘outsider’s, pathologically violent, Extreme protectiveness of younger females, low impulse control, openly exhibits highly sexualised behaviours. 
SITL: 185


<<<<>>>>


Snowflakes of ammonia exploded over her armour, the caustic nature of so much of the substance had already eaten off the blue stripes. 

Nonetheless she pressed to the trench wall closely and fired off a series of shots with the charric rifle, sniping one head that had peeked out of a foxhole.

A rain of blue crisscrossed the snowy plane as both sides traded fire, on her HUD indicators showed her team slowly creeping around the western side of the lake, a ping indicated she was to move next, the transparent yellow way finder appearing at the top of the visor to direct her. 

As if she needed it.

The goal of Blue team was to disable or destroy the ‘planetary shield’ buried in a facility they had detected in the northern glacial plains, then extract before orbital bombardment.

The Colonels plan had been to feint at the equator and send infiltration teams to the glacial plains of Arioch - frozen ammonia shields covering the north and south poles interspersed with the odd worn down mountain ranges that shivered amidst the cold.

It hadn’t worked…the clunky slow stupid Chiss had been detected

She should be in command, not that blue skinned toff...or better still she should’ve been sent in alone.

Kiraea had been sneaking into and out of places since she was a teenager, her contortionist flexibility, natural affinity for stealth and svelte form making her an instant expert…along with the need to provide for herself and her sisters.

Taken from her home and sold to a pervert she mercifully only tortured and burnt to death for a half an hour, she took what she needed to survive, so far as she was concerned taking from outsiders was no different to picking berries off a tree – it was her Goddess given right to take from nature’s bounty – and so she did, credits, weapons, schematics, uranium, memories….

Crouched she moved lithely through the trench, a quick flip and roll over the terminating end into the next one, arriving early at the assembly point.

Their slow movements irritated her. Their slow speech even more so…and their slow thinking.

She could scream…had been tempted to time and again over the last months…especially when doing six months on a Chiss Cruiser…Valens paired with her to ensure there were no incidents…as if she couldn’t control her burning need to kills outsiders for killing her People, offending against her Goddesses…

Well she couldn’t – not really – but she was patient and smart enough to understand the long game they had to play – for now he would bite her tongue…then either unleash her rage on some outsider, or turn it to something more…productive…with her mate Jarys.

Back in formation she took a rear guard position without word, the vanguard moving toward a tunnel entrance. 

If it were her leading the enemy she would collapse it as soon as they were in.

But the orders were clear and not to be questioned – such was the Chiss way.

They filed in the now blown out tunnel entrance one by one, through hard bitten ice and down into the bedrock itself.

Up ahead she heard and felt fire, one of her squads indicators flickered yellow then red, the HUD displayed enemy contacts nearly 30 seconds after she sensed them.  She could easily wipe them out herself with a thought. 

But such was not the Chiss way.

She remained in position covering a three way intersection, pressed against the rock as the vanguard fought, lost, and then was relieved by the rest of the squad who took out the remaining enemy.

Like a constant itch she couldn’t scratch it galled her more and more to be subject to the orders of inferior beings.

When they moved in deeper and three enemy units tried to take them from the rear she took some of her frustration out on them.

Switching to automatic fire she pounded bolts of energy into the enemy troops as she lay prone on the ground, each one blasting at their groin and abdomen, cutting in under the gaps in the armour plating to strike home on the body suit.

The carbon haze clearing leaving only the ammonia mists she absently ‘accidently’ stepped on them as she passed, her greater weight crushing down on them.

“Infiltration squad, separate out and find that generator,”

Finally a good decision she thought unclasping the armour plates over the infiltration suit to reduce her profile and move more easily through vents.

<<<<>>>>
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: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 05:20:24 PM »

Dramatis Personae — Part 2

Sofa


ODSC Rank: Master Sargent
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 290KG
Gender: Female
Combat Analysis: Jedi training, expert in Niman combat style and psychological warfare
Anthropological Analysis: Role uncertain, ‘adopted’ member of Tribe, appears to be accepted mostly on basis of being Milaea’s sister and Valens ‘wife’.
Psychological Analysis: extent to which psychopathic traits are result of or existed prior to Tribe adoption and genetic editing uncertain. Analysis indicates presence of childhood trauma’s not fully resolved may have influenced decision to join Tribe as protective measure.
SITL: 170


<<<<>>>>

“…And I…ahhhh I will always Love Yooooooooo…Yeah will always love Yoooooo!”

Sofa sang to herself in the confines of the Single Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicle (SOEIV) a tear-drop shaped pod made of Titanium alloys coated with ceramic skin that would send its occupant like a meteor onto a planet, hoping that the deceleration thrusters prevented them from splattering on the ground.

It was the key piece of equipment used by the Chiss ODSC Corp to get them safely – mostly – into areas that a regular transport couldn’t reach undetected. There was Sofa thought something innately suicidal about the whole thing

“Will Always looove yoooo…” she went on undeterred waiting for orders and co-ordinates to deploy to.  It was terribly boring, and uncomfortable, and mind numbing…she was tempted every minute to reach out with the Aether to sense what was happening…it had been fun these past months to show off to the Chiss using the aether.

Still as much as the Aethans surprised the Chiss with their abilities, the Chiss surprised the Aethans.  They were diligent and precise beyond measure, and had damn high standards for their officers and Commando’s that were tough for even her with a super human body and mind to attain.

“Bittersweet, memories, that is all, I’m taking, with meeeeeeeeeee,”

EEEP EEEP

“Oh Frell I was just getting into it!”

Having spent so many years confined…relatively…as a Jedi…she was just enjoying her new found freedom and indulging the excesses of pleasure her new ageless Aethan body was capable of…when Valens up and decided they all needed to spend a year and half with the damn Chiss.

If she thought the Jedi walked around with a lightsabre stuck right up their exhaust ports…they had nothing on the Chiss.  She had been a bad Jedi, good at caring for people, negotiating truces, chasing down thugs and drug dealers it’s true…but was most decidedly not cut out for a life of celibacy and restraint. Profligate, selfish, sensual, and unashamed of it.  To have to restrain those impulses again while serving on Chiss ships and studying in their damn academy libraries was…not impossible…just annoying.

The internal display showed the arc of entry to the target zone just as the release clamp clanked open sending her rocketing to the planet.

An orbital drop was not straight, you had some control to avoid anti-aircraft weaponry as best you could.

This Sofa had to do now, jinking as she fell to avoid defensive fire, the fighters of each side clashing in the lower atmosphere.

The whole pod rocked back and forth as it plunged at terminal velocity into the ammonia iced clouds then breaching through to the blinding white vista below. 
Finally she began to pick up comms again.

“Blue 14 stand down!”

“It’s not Blue 14! Take him down!” 

She hit the deceleration point and felt her stomachs rise up to her throat as they kicked her back, the deployment timer rapidly ticking down as the scene below came into view. 

Selaena’s squad was pinned between the evac pad held by Red’s and a soldier in blue firing on them from an upper crag of rock.

The timer was five seconds out but she couldn’t wait.  She slammed the release and proton jets sent her flying horizontally from the pod. 

Mini jets on her armour slowed her arcing descent curve as she lined up the traitor blue and fired. 

With preternatural speed he dodged – obviously Jarys of Valens given how quickly.

Immediately Selaena clicked across rapid orders to take him out while she, free of the ambush, turned her attention to taking the evac zone.

Still spiralling down Sofa jetted to avoid return fire as the target dove to find cover, she adjusted her descent to keep above him, her missed shots flash burning the ammonia ice into hideous caustic vapours.

She was getting close to landing now…the brief window as she touched down to steady herself was when she was most vulnerable – her target knew this and would exploit it, and with every metre closer her higher ground advantage dissipated.

Crawling into a cleft in the rock she lost much to target.  A scornful twist of her mouth she was determined to get at least one kill after having waited in that damn pod.

Overriding the suits warnings she cut all power to the reverse thrusters and hammered them forward with an overcharge burst.  Relying on her Aethan body to take the impact of a less controlled descent she sped forward and down right at the target finger hammering the trigger of the rifle.  He peeked out to snap some shots just as she expected.

Now she did the reverse, cutting all forward thrust and putting it all into downward, slamming at speed that would break a humans legs and back into the ground raising a storm of ammonia snow which covered her exact landing position, knees bent taking on the downward force into her muscles that primed like springs to bounce her to the side. 

Out of the mist she had kicked up she saw her target was perfectly positioned to shoot her where she had been.

Instead she pumped three shots straight into the head.

Jarys HUD fizzled out, and belatedly he realised he should lie down and play dead, three head shots would have dropped a Chiss instantly into an unconscious haze – it did little more than tingle his cheeks.

By the time he lay down to play dead Sofa and Selaena were already in control of the evac landing pad –their job was done.

<<<<>>>>

Lyaea


ODSC Rank: Master Sargent
Height: 175 cm
Weight: 280KG
Gender: Female
Combat Analysis: Guardian Trained, Jedi training via Valens. Secondary tactical leader, expert in biochemical weapons including utilisation of the Force in stimulating noxious homeostatic processes (See Force Malacia attacks), piloting, and close combat,
Anthropological Analysis: ‘Baby’ role, permitted to behave in juvenile manner outside of crisis situations and play tricks on other Tribe members without censure 
Psychological Analysis: upbringing split between indigenous world and Republic has resulted in hyperactive adoption of ‘outsider’ culture in the form of music, social media and movies utilised as a method to disparage said outsiders. Ebullient, and self-absorbed.
SITL: 155


<<<<>>>>

It's so easy, but I can't do it

Creeping through the tunnel the ping grew louder as they closed toward the intersecting web of magnetic field lines on the scanner that pinpointed the Shield Generator.

All she had to do was reach out with her aetheric senses and she’d know exactly where…but no…it wasn’t allowed…she poked her tongue out beneath her helmet at her track continued to play.

So risky, but I gotta chance it

Peeked round a corner she rolled a flashbang.  It detonated in a white haze and elicited no response. 

Round low and tight rifle in each hand she waited the few seconds as the slow Chiss in ambush finally reacted – as their barrels appeared from the corners she fired straight into each blasting their guns apart before rolling down the hall in an instant and pumping both full of stun bolts.
It's so funny, there's nothing to laugh about

It was getting too easy now, the Infiltrators were mincing the Red’s fixed positions, disabling traps and bleeding their guards as she played vanguard to Blue teams main force.

“Close?” the colonel asked

My money, that's all you want to talk about

It was of course against regulations to have music playing in her helmet speakers during engagement…she’d been caught before during her various secondments learning the ropes on Chiss ships and bases…not just for that…for smuggling in an i-holo, contraband video games, vibrators, running gambling rackets…and a few other things they never found out about.

Up ahead was a sealed door, the scanner showed the confluence of the magnetic distortions behind it – the generator room.

“Straight ahead,”

I can see what you want me to be

The Chiss didn’t seem to understand. She was the youngest, she was meant to be naughty, it was her Goddess given role, even if it wasn’t her preference which it most certainly was.

She was only 7 when the Outsiders took her from home, from her mother, father and brother…fortunately Kiraea rescued her, but she had little adult influence apart from the mind slaved Colm Maynard, a former professional thief and con-artist – she’d grown between two cultures…and saw the absurdity in both.

With quick battle cant signs the Colonel ordered the door breached and took up position at a 45 degree angle from the door while the rest of the team covered the hall on either side.

Lyaea played along more out of boredom than desire, rolling to the door with unnecessary acrobatics and swiftly inserting her slicer with one hand, a grenade in the other ready to roll it in as soon as the door opened. She played breaking the lock like a game red red red blue blue blue…Green!

But I'm no fool

She rolled as side as the door slid open, the control box sparking rifle in her hand again.

But instead of the glow of a planetary shield generator cavern lined with curved conduits illuminated blue all she saw was a black dingy store room with ammonia rusted walls.

That is different…

The Colonel glanced to her and tapped his helmet light, she nodded and switched it on.

Illuminated by the white beam, she followed harsh drag lines in the floor to the far end of the store room where a rumbling container capacitor had been hauled, the floor beside it covered in rubble where the wall had been drilled, cables plugged into it coming from another room.

Lyaea smiled at being surprised at the chaos and the confusion turned against her…the Red team had rerouted the shield generators power outflow into this capacitor, drilled through the facility walls to do so, meaning following the magnetic field signal had lead him straight into….

It's in the lap of the Gods

Adaea


ODSC Rank: Master Sargent
Height: 173cm
Weight: 270kg
Gender: Female
Combat Analysis: Guardian Trained, Jedi training via Valens. Expert in telepathic co-ordination (Battle Meditation), piloting, telekinetic co-ordination and teleportation, master in archery, largely provides support role do to (comparative) physical weakness. Expert in cyber warfare and military/civilian engineering (structural and electrical) and design.
Anthropological Analysis: Serves as mediator and comforter to other Tribe members in distress.
Psychological Analysis: introvert qualities, strong compassion for indigenous animals, appears naïve showing no comprehension of moral differences between designing weapons and designing articles of clothing. 

SITL: 150


<<<<>>>>

<Sorry!> Adaea apologised as she burst out from hiding to rake half of blue squad, including Lyaea with stun repeater fire, knocking out five of their infiltrators in as many seconds.

In the corridor more false panels were thrust aside and the glow of stun fire and flashbangs bounced in through the door way as the ambush unfolded.

Adaea was not a naturally aggressive woman, and especially didn’t like hurting other People, evening training.

True she’d fought would be Sith, Mandalorians and Black Sun, but she much preferred sewing, and playing with animals, or designing weapons and ships not wielding them.

A tingle in her spine caused her to pivot round into a low kneel and ram her elbow into a Chiss stomach – her natural strength sending the poor creature flying into a wall.

“Sorry, but you really shouldn’t sneak up on people….”

She had enjoyed re-routing the Generators magnetic field into the capacitor to set a trap, that was much more her style, but the actual springing of it felt mean because there were People on the receiving end…

Well if that’s what I have to do I suppose,  she strolled up to the bodies and rolled over the Colonel himself currently coughing as the static from the stun blasts seeped out into the ground.

She pulled off his gauntlet and quickly plugged it into the Red Teams battle net

“Uploading…” her fingers worked quickly, any second now the fail safes would kick in and all the data on the device would be lost…she needed to get all she could.

The battle was even for now, they had beaten many of the infiltrators taken out a lot of the Blues at the evac point by switching armour, and made the Blue’s feint at the equator more costly than they had wished…

But she knew Blue team had more infiltrators in the facility, and had aerial superiority after the Red’s attack on their speeders found itself hit by “orbital bombardment”.

The gauntlet finally died but she’d transmitted the current positions of roughly half the Blue forces to Red Leader.

A job well done! she smiled, she had carefully studied the rules for this latest engagement, and for Red team to get a Major Victory they needed to not only prevent any loss to the Planetary shield generators for Fourteen hours, but also eliminate half of the attacking for and their commander.  She had just done boh of those things.

Skipping along she headed back toward the command room with the rest of the squad, the other, taking ever more notes on the range of motion offered by the training armour and how it could be improved, perfected

Unfortunately the Chiss didn’t seem to like her trying to improve things, they had taken a lot of offence when, assigned to the Frigate Yalar’Undo with Jarys for three months she had taken it upon herself to make the engines and shields more efficient and shut down all power to the ship to do so. 

It was for her own safety - it was dangerous to retune the repulsor drives if they were powered, but somehow the captain didn’t appreciate her ingenuity and started to yell at her until Jarys stepped between them…then the Captain didn’t feel like yelling anymore and looked very scared and said quietly to ask before cutting all systems again.

And so as her third level of consciousness scanned through the recently acquired data she asked the squad sergeant now

“Ummm Excuse me, Sargent, don’t be angry but we’ll be ambushed when we turn the corner based on the relative position and speed of blue teams location pings I just downloaded, also the thigh plates on this armour are very uncomfortably positioned”

The Sargent threw up a fist to stop the squad

“Are you sure?”

“Very sure, it leaves red marks right along my inner thighs,”

“Morco neo bun'lin's ch'at vizehn bircun'i bah to en'kin in'a[/i]” one of the other Chiss whispered  - Adaea could hear from the vibrations of his helmet.

Just our luck to get stuck with the childish one

That was very rude, she wasn’t childish, just wanted to be helpful and follow the rules.

The Sargent ignored the jibe and directed his troops to reposition just in time for the fighting to start.

<<<<>>>>
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: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 05:21:44 PM »

Dramatis Personae — Part 3

Selaena


ODSC Rank: Master Sargent
Height: 175cm
Weight: 275KG
Gender: Female
Combat Analysis: Partial Guardian training by Jarys. Experience with Sons of Kessel - Expert in long range combat (sniper rifle), structural and electrical sabotage   
Anthropological Analysis: Mother role
Psychological Analysis: Extreme violent and psychopathic tendencies, zero empathy for outsiders.  Extreme protectiveness of biological daughter Lyaea
SITL: 155


<<<<>>>>

“Leader is lost,” her second confirmed “The generator is still online”

Now Selaena was in command of Blue team, and they were in a perilous situation, they could no longer trust anyone in Blue armour to identify friend and foe, their positions were now known to Red teams hackers, and the readings on their scanners to locate the generator were clearly amiss.

She checked the timer, there was less than an hour left before the Red team was re-enforced’ ending the scenario.  Red had blunted their main assault and could now play for time. 

With only 42 soldiers remaining…probably less given she could no longer rely on everyone with a Blue identifier actually being on her side she needed to get creative.

“Call in the evac transports,” she ordered tersely
“On this heading….”

“Ma’am?” Blue 9 queried “That would mean…”

“You will obey my Orders,” Selaena retorted, the Chiss second immediately saluting, their deference to proper hierarchy left no room for questions, had she been Chiss the officer would never have even hinted at a questioning of her orders…still her helmet masked a grim smile.

Anything that would cause the outsiders annoyance or ‘death’ even in a war game gave her at least a shadow of satisfaction.

She despised the Chiss, hated that they had done a deal with them…hated they needed to do a deal with them to rebuild their planet, to defend it with machines and guns…hated that She needed to learn from them to defend her own children.

Before all else Selaena was a mother…a mother who had once been violently parted from her children and could never forget, never forgive – herself or the perpetrators – for that happening.

Her daughter Lyaea was back with her, but damaged by her isolation, by not having adult women to guide her as she developed into a woman – Kiraea had done her best, along with Adaea, but they had been children themselves - her son Lydan…lay in a coma awaiting having cybernetic and combat-stimulant implants forced upon his flesh to turn him into a weapon removed.

The Outsiders had stolen so much from them…she could not take it back…only rend just as much and more from them and offer them nothing in return – not time, not attention, not even words when she could avoid it.

She motioned for her forces to follow as she confirmed the approach vectors for the evac craft.

Moments later the rumble of engines filled the air over the constant crack of stun blasts as he hunkered down issuing further instructions to her forces inside the tunnels, then finally it was time.

First she ‘crashed’ a transport into the evac pad – obviously as a training scenario the crash was not real, instead floor lights indicated what sections of the facility were now off limits, and all Red members in those areas at the time of the crash were assumed to be causalities.

The second transport she ‘rammed’ into what they had indemnified as the Western hangar doors wiping out a Red squad preparing to swing round and harass her forces on speeder bikes, again entire sections turned red with the faux damage and a further 8 Red’s were dealt with.

She locked in her final orders, she would win this scenario, prove to herself she was better than the Chiss and had mastered their tactics, prove to herself she could be patient and do what was necessary to protect her children and…Goddess willing…grandchildren…by dealing with Outsiders where it was not practical to eliminate them – yet.

“Move,”

Her forces advanced rapidly, Red team penalised with a 3 minute response delay to reflect the time to recover after such significant structural damage.

Her squad raced around to the hangar a sniper taking three of her soldiers the cost for speed over stealth, but as soon as they were in they detached the Transports rear cannons to blast walls apart rather than wind through the labyrinthine tunnels.

She finally began to encounter the Red’s defence in depth as she got closer to the areas with the highest power readings, keeping in contact with the Blue infiltrators still in the facility. 

The sooner this game was over the sooner she would be home, and the sooner her son would be healed…and so regardless of having to beat People on the Red team, she would win this war-game.

<<<<>>>>

 
Melron


ODSC Rank: Master Sargent
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 315KG
Gender: Male
Combat Analysis: Guardian Trained. Expert in Morgukai combat techniques – believed to have been attained via mental ‘copying’ of a Morgukai rather than actual training.  Prefers traditional weapons (Bow, Sword) but rapidly adapting to using ‘outsider weapons’ on condition that they be adapted and made by fellow Aethan.
Anthropological Analysis: Oldest member, Guardian trained but served in ‘chronicler/archaeologist/Loremaster role’, metriocractic matriarchy results in his position being low in the tribe.
Psychological Analysis: Isolation following Devastation lead to inertia, subsequent threats to female and near death at hands of ‘outsiders’ experiences has lead to a resurgence of motivation – likely Aethan equivalent of survivors guilt now focused on justifying his survival though violence against outsiders.
SITL: 175


<<<<>>>>

Every intersection was filled with fire, every moment another soldier fell.

Selaena was going for the generators regardless of the cost.

Melron kept low, fast and smooth sweeping through checking every room as he went as part of the vanguard coming in from the opposite side of Selaena’s main advance.

There were the regular traps, trip wires, turrets, ambushes that with time they could’ve dealt with better, but with only an hour to go…

He pushed through section after section, pinned his rifle low and charge he simply hurled it at a Red soldier drew his stun staff and settled into a sweeping combination of Guardian and Morgukai close combat techniques.

Djen-Sha – the high sweeps to force the Chiss to block high, followed by Ven –Wo, low heavy strikes to floor them.  The Morgukai terminology rent from a fallen foe who had nearly killed him…had forced Melron to see how far behind he had fallen.  He kept these words, these techniques he had pulled from another’s memories close so he never forgot his shame.

The Eighteen months with the Chiss had been a whirlwind of learning and study for him, how to pilot and repair ships and military equipment, tactics for large scale battles – which for a man whose life had been spent as one of only a dozen Guardians any combat more than one on one was large scale. 

He had been eager to absorb it all, not to make up for his failures and despair, that h could never do – but to avoid repeating the same mistake twice. 

It has also been a time to teach.  He’d been paired with Milaea to serve as ensigns on a Chiss Battlecruiser and taken the chance to tell her the many stories of their People he had chronicled before the Devastation when he served as a chronicler, she in turn shared tales of the Jedi of old he could later adapt to be more…palatable…to the People. Nonetheless it had been enjoyable to get to know her better.

Though another corridor, loping into another room over a barricade he spotted two Red’s retreating a third crouched on the floor fiddling with…

A stream of high pressure water slammed into him as the wall beside her broke open.  Gushing and bubbling pressurized bursts soon began to freeze in the cold. Righting himself his boots slipped on the slippery ice of the water covered floor. 

Then the lights died.

Steading himself on a table he switched to night vision, the room etched out in ugly pixelated green

Then it burst into white again as the lights were switched on rapidly at maximum luminosity…then off…then on…

Anything and everything to sew confusion and difficulty for their progress, Alarms blared then went silent, fire and chemical suppressor sprinklers turned on then off coating the floors with foam and ice.

It was a struggle to move, to see, to hear even for him, how the Chiss with less advanced native senses coped he had no idea. 

Still he burst into the next room with a fast dive and tackled down three red’s, checked in with the main force following then secured the next hall, checking his scanner noting that there were only two locations where the generator could be that Blue team hadn’t previously checked.

He just hoped they chose the right one before…

His body seized as her suit’s electronics overloaded rendering him ‘dead’…

They were electrifying the wet floors.

<<<<>>>

 
Maeson


ODSC Rank: Master Sargent
Height: 180cm
Weight: 320kg
Gender: Male
Combat Analysis: Partial Guardian training by Jarys. Experience with Sons of Kessel, expert in heavy weapons, demolition and explosives, lowest Force ability of Tribe.
Anthropological Analysis: standard warrior role, however feels uncomfortable in such, previously farmer. 
Psychological Analysis: depressive mood resulting from loss of immediate family, attempt to transfer protectiveness to other female partial success resulting in further guilt.
SITL: 155


<<<<>>>>

Rapidly he grabbed the backpack of the soldier in front of him and lifted him up…

Before his fellow blue team member could ask what was going on the puddle on the floor lit with electricity he had sensed through his keener electro-magnetic sensory organs.

One handed he put the soldier down on the pitted concrete floor.  The Chiss nodded in appreciation,

Years with the Sons meant Maeson understood the value of keeping your allies – even if they were Outsiders — alive, something Selaena had never quite caught on to.

“Commander,” he commed across to her now,
“Their electrifying the floors and flooding sections with water, we’ll have to backtrack,”

There was a pause, Selaena was not talkative, indeed after he and Jarys rescued her from…horrific did not do it justice…circumstances near Toydaria it had been nearly five years since she spoke a word.

He didn’t blame her.  They had both lost family, both suffered beneath the whips and shock collars of outsiders, a weight that kept his own thoughts and heart dragging on the floor most times. Protecting the younger women gave him purpose now…but even so…the emptiness of his lost family would never be filled.

“Proceed as you see fitting,” was the only response.

Their numbers were dwindling, Selaena’s attack had gotten them deep and damaged Red team dramatically, but also cost many Blue’s…though arguably given there was only half an hour left her brutal methods were justified.

“Let’s go,” he ordered his five remaining troops. Pausing to grab his demolitions man’s back pack

“I’ll carry that from now on,”

He was after all much stronger and used to far heavier loads besides…load after load of water sapping red rocks in the mines…

He shrugged it off as they advanced rapidly back the way they came.

There was no resistance, Melron’s team seemed to have cleared a lot before they were caught in the desperate traps.  The lights continued to flicker and alarms to pulse on and off as he wound through consulting the schematics the infiltrators had provided to avoid corridors and rooms near water or gas pipes the Red.

“Taking fire from turrets!” “EMP!” “Turn turn,” his comm was filled with the struggles of the Blue’s up ahead

“33-10 is empty repeat 33-10 is…”

He stopped, 33-10 was the grid co-ordinates to one of only two locations large enough to hold the generator…it meat 13-45 was the location.

His squad, with usual Chiss efficiency were already turning in that direction. 

They ran now, stopping for nothing, shots came from the side at times but they sped past. 

They leapt over the fallen groaning bodies of the team Adaea had been part of, the young Aethan woman pouting in the corner at having been ambushed, then nearly knocked over a group of three ODSC’s directly ahead,

“We’ll take vanguard,” Sofa said, she’d had to run to get here from the evac zone in time, armour still flecked with ammonia crystals.

Maeson simply nodded and they moved forward at pace, the ODSC’s rolling flashbangs and EMP’s down side corridors to deter pursuit, Maeson having his tech deploy a portable turret at a four way intersection to slow anyone behind them

Finally they came to the large blast doors, Sofa skidded to the control panel, her ODSC’s on either side as Maeson covered the hall nearby.

Tense moments ticked as he waited for the hiss of the door opening.

“Got it,”

Their last three grenades rolled inside and detonated in white flares of screaming noise as they moved in tight and low past the control consoles and tall computer towers covered in dials and lights.

The blue flickering tunnel of power charged coils bubbled in the centre as he ran in throwing off his demolitions pack and in swift motions armed the charges. 

It was mere seconds before the guards popped up from just inside the coils maintenance trench to fire. 

Side doors and ventilation panels burst open as Red’s blasted out with relentless precise fire, downing three in as many seconds.  The rest of the Blue’s were soon under desks and turning over chairs as the room lit up blue with criss-crossing fire.

His squad took the damage, sacrificing themselves to throw up portable energy barriers around him.

The far door opened as Maeson planted the last charge with one hand and completed a secondary objective with the second by slicing the generator central computer to download details of the planets defence grid.

Sofa and the ODSC’s took the brunt of fire now, she and another falling to it,

He ducked under a command console desk setting the timers as fire hammered all around the room from pistols and rifles, the cogitators and towering disk drives behind him flaring with electric overloads that took as many of his men as the shots did. 

The detonators counting down on Maeson realised he had no escape – he could at least go down fighting. 

Jutting out from the side of the console he searched for legs to fire at, but found…

Found himself hauled up by his neck like a vorynx cub by Milaea who stood on the console desk and pumped blaster shots into his back. 

<<<<>>>>
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: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 05:22:58 PM »

Dramatis Personae — Part 4

Milaea


ODSC Rank: Lieutenant
Height: 175cm
Weight: 280KG
Gender: Female

Combat Analysis: Guardian and Jedi training, Expert in force ‘Stasis’ abilities and Temporal Manipulation, appears to possess ability to manipulate objects on a molecular level –reforming or disintegrating. Strong Force Healing abilities.

Anthropological Analysis: ‘Failed Messiah’ role. Other members seem to have expected her to assume leadership as matriarch – see below for psychological reason for refusal to accept such role.

Psychological Analysis: through unknown means has access to ‘memories’ and experiences of a deceased Aethan ‘Aethena’. Whilst possessing typical Aethan task focus during a crisis she is subject to regret and overcritical analysis of herself post action. Ability to see alternate futures seems to be extremely burdensome leading to belief she is responsible individually for whole of galaxy scale events – to avoid this psychological burden she has attempted actively divested herself of any role in the Tribes leadership but compassionate personality type contrasted with Aethan Xenophobia and violent tenancies requires her to intervene nonetheless.  Pattern of assuming then relenting on leadership likely to result in increasing emotional stress.
SITL: >200


<<<<>>>>

It would be a battle to the last.

She’d played a patient and defensive game, with a few tricks, Jarys swapping armour, having Adaea reroute the generators power cables to set up ambushes, but Selaena’s brutal suicide run of her evac vessels into the facility had put her on the back foot.

Dropping Maeson to the floor she twirled her pistols like a gun fighter taking out the last blues.  Only a mere six minutes left, all she had to do was hold the room and defuse the bombs and she would score her Major victory as Red Leader.

That would finish eighteen months of their programme which had seen them studying Chiss military history to Quantum drive technology, refuelling and polishing fighters to commanding small fleet manoeuvres, hours practicing Chiss –Close Quarters Combat to week long war games.

It was to their credit in a way that the Aethans had tolerated obeying the Chiss, playing by their rules…Yet she was well aware that the People were playing a very long game here, and would most certainly gain more from the Chiss than the Chiss gained from them.

They had of course helped Chiss scientists in the study of some aetheric powers…but where the People could learn, master and practice all the Chiss knew, the Chiss could never put into practice the Aetheric techniques for lack of Force sensitivity…one day that disparity would see the Ascendancy come to need the Aethans far more than the Aethans needed them…One Day

She motioned for her guards to secure the room, and her remaining demolitions expert to work on diffusing the bomb, then checked on the overall battle scape

The Blue forces were concentrated in just a few rooms and corridors, hers were more spread out but were able to hit them from multiple angles at once.

With rapid fire, flash bangs and stun nets Blue fought to gain every inch, Selaena leading her rifle never missing as she advanced, her blows never failing as she struck back when Red Crowd control troops tried to box her in with riot shields that she shattered apart with genuine hate for the Outsiders.

Red held onto every minute as the clock wore down, Milaea taking every chance to try and flank the enemy though secret passageways even as she disrupted their senses by overloading lights and stymied their movement with barricades and clutter to force them into kill boxes.

On both sides the ODSC had performed with efficiency and cunning. They were the best of the Chiss, Elite among Elites, they could see the traps and tactics used against them, knew when to push and when to hold, no resource was waste, if a shot missed it was because their target was as skilled as they were – it was inevitable the battle would end with 80 per cent causalities or more on both sides given the even match up.

Another minute ticked down as Milaea waited, the gun fire outside the doors grew louder, her squad leaders pulling back from their attacks to her location.

It was now at long last Kiraea struck.

She had waited poised on the struts above the door way as Maesons team entered after three hours to sneaking around taking out Red’s here and there while they engaged the Blues, bleeding them bit by bit but never revealing herself, just adding to the chaos of each engagement.

She dropped from the ceiling straight onto the Red Demolition’s expert, 300 kilo’s plus of weight crushing the Chiss woman to the floor even as Kiraea’s pistols fires in 270 degree arcs to take out the other Red’s she had pinpointed behind cover.

Milaea spun and fired off pointless shots knowing Kiraea could dodge, Kiraea leapt off the unconscious victim of her drop the detonator still ticking down and charged.

Two Aethan women struck with blows and counters many beyond the ability of the Chiss playing dead on the floor to keep track of.

Trained as a Guardian by the late Karintha, Kiraea’s strikes were economical for the most part but peppered with viciously effective acrobatic twists that made complete use of an Aethan’s superior dexterity and speed, every strike aiming to kill and cripple.

Milaea’s blocks and counters were elegant, flowing with a calm serenity of motion like a physical meditation, but the blows lacked ferocity, the Jedi influence in her strikes aimed only to disable and defend.

The Chiss who gazed in awe were split on who would win – Kiraea’s attacks seemed irresistible, it was only a matter of time before one struck true brutally – Milaea’s defence was impenetrable and effortless, soon she would wear the other out or gain enough space to grab one of the fallen blasters and end it that way.

Yet Maeson and Sofa on the floor saw something deeper - a battle of wills and possible futures, a continuation of the first time Kiraea and Milaea had met – fighting while jumping across Coruscant traffic as Kiraea lead an attack to distract the Jedi by devastating the civilian population as Milaea tried to stop her.

Kiraea represented the very depth of active hatred of Outsiders, justified by the raw scars of the suffering they had inflicted, yet pragmatic enough to learn from the Outsiders now to destroy them later. 

Milaea was the peace and serenity of the People, firm and assertive in her defence of herself and her People, but no more than that.

The disadvantage this time fell to Milaea, she needed to defuse the bomb…and Selaena, all but two of her men wiped out now blasted the doors open.

The distraction was enough for a break in the main fight, Milaea’s few remaining Red team members opened up on Selaena pinning her in place, as Milaea herself spun down to grab the detonator and discarded micro-tools, fingers working swiftly to finish the work her Chiss expert had started…

Until Kiraea kicked it from her hands, her foot rising up…then back down to slam into Milaea’s back.

Milaea rolled to avoid a ‘killing’ blow and was soon back up.  Aethan’s did not feel pain as most beings did, they experienced awareness of damage but not a visceral sensation – Milaea felt that now everywhere Kiraea hit as she fought on her knees.

With the Aether Milaea could overpower Kiraea, without it though...Milaea was only 23, in the at the latter end of her first pubertal growth stage, Kiraea was 38 at the end of her second pubertal stage on the edge before full adulthood – stronger, faster and hardier as a result – and though their training was broadly on par, that extra strength and experience soon showed.

Milaea blocked and pushed up on one knee, but Kiraea would not allow her to get up fully, pirouetting kicks constantly forcing Milaea back down and keeping Kiraea almost constantly airborne, her lithe feet only briefly gracing the floor before springing her back up.

The battle behind peppered out, the last red defenders flanked the few Blues and Selaena left riddling them with shots, the detonator had 15 seconds left…

Then 10…before their induction was complete, their skills sharpened and expanded, their position with the Chiss irrevocable, the next step to taking their Goddess given place among the stars Kiraea thought

Then 5…before it finished with a faux bang, sore bodies, and they returned Home to rebuild, to recover, to hopefully find peace behind the necessary evil of strengthened defences Milaea hoped as her head, breast and shoulders were battered flaring dull pink with light damage sensation.

4…Milaea opened her fists and took a blow rather than block grabbing Kiraea’s leg

3…she twisted viciously and quickly using Kiraea’s momentum to drive her to the ground

2…she let go and skidded to the side grabbing up the detonator, micro-blade cutting finely and precisely, Aethan reflexes letting her fill every millisecond with motion most droids couldn’t match.

1…Kiraea took no chances and grabbed a nearby rifle twisted and fire.

0.5 It struck Milaea’s back just as she spun o throw the micro-blade into the visor right at Kiraea’s eye…had she thrown with full strength it would’ve pierced through.

Zero.

The day ended with Minor victory for Milaea’s red team, the planetary shield still online, but both sides wiped out.

In the next second the Aethan women in the room happily sped into each other’s embrace.

<<<<>>>>
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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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2020, 01:09:01 PM »

ohh....     I need to get these biologs to Karmack somehow...    ;-)

Sweet, LSG!   No time for more, but awesome beginning!
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Lord_S_Gray
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2020, 10:24:04 PM »

Chapter 1 — No Place like….— Part 1

Milaea


With a burst of pseudo deceleration the Aertemisaea burst back into real space, the last in a series of 18 short controlled jumps since leaving Arioch with their newly pressed uniforms and rank badges.

The black spear head shaped ship was surrounded by a rainbow vista of overly bright of stars in innumerable colours that Milaea gazed at through the slowly opening lower hull doors in the absence of any regular windows featuring in the ships design.

There was a beauty to the Deep Core, the clusters of light from so many tightly packed stars and nebulae creating a kaleidoscope with constant flashes of supernovae millennia old reaching the skies here a million years before it would reach Coruscant. Nebulae lit with the flashes a million colours as they swirled in gravity tussles between heavy ancient stars.

The mesmerizing churn belied the dangers.  The compounded gravity of so many nearby stars, clustering of dark matter, intense neutrino clouds…Sudden waves of radiation from a stellar implosions centuries ago that would kill entire mining crews in an instant leaving eerie floating vessels in once safe hyperspace lanes.

Distortions in space time as one neared not just the singularity at the centre of the galaxy, but ancient enormous stars of hydrogen so tightly compacted by their own gravity they could not properly expand into red giants, jostling with each rending holes in the fabric of reality creating wormholes into which ships would slip.  For the crew they could experience mere minutes of alerts and shaking, before emerging a millennia or more after – or sometimes before they had entered.

Yet the system she gazed at from high above the orbital plane was an oasis of stability. 

She closed her eyes feeling the sub-light engines take over from the deceleration drives, the warm blanket of the Aether in this system reaching out to welcome her.

Her skin tingled at the sensation, there was something almost sentient about the entire systems presence, and it reached out to its Children like a caring, but disturbingly needy and protective mother.

Through the ship she felt the others slip into the heated pool of connection without thought, without doubt – by instinct. Only Sofa, who had once been human, and Milaea herself were tentative to accept the looming hands that sought to claim them as their own.

Relenting Milaea let the honey like flow cover her, protective and joyful at her return, her senses immediately sharpened as though she could feel out every inch of the planets they were approaching and those around her.

There were nine planets in total, three by three, many in unusual, one might say artificial orbits – as Aethans had been perfected from Miraluka and Human hybrids, so too had the ancient Technocracy perfected the planets in this system.

The two closest planets to the star were Aedas and Althea – small and rocky with any atmosphere long since striped by solar winds, but like every planet in the system rich with rare elements and ultradense minerals – the only reason anyone braved the dangers of the deep core any longer was the pursuit of such mining wealth. 

The higher gravity of the deep core and the larger number of dense stellar implosions in the past meant compared to planets further out, the deep core worlds contained far more heavy elements in their composition, Uranium, Plutonium, Platinum and even some high atomic number elements over 100 that would not normally have stable isotopes and otherwise needed to be artificially created. 

From there on the far ‘east’ of the system was Aesaea and Alixaea, larger terrestrial worlds, the first with a bone crushing dense atmosphere the second a thin nitrogenous layer mixed with ammonia spewed out by archaea that lived in watery caverns just beneath the surface.  Both were used for mining and manufacturing, half of Alixaea though was a waste land used for weapons testing by the Technocracy, endless radioactive cratered wastes of grey and red dust.

Then currently to the ‘south’ on the orbital plane Aethas itself, a large planet with high gravity, much like the species that had been created there it had been ‘perfected’, the atmosphere edited, ecosystems carefully planned…all shattered by the bombardment of Sith Dreadnoughts…Chiss terraforming and Yuuzhan Vong Bio technology was slowly working its way to recover the steppes back into fields, the parched lands into rainforests.

Further out were the gas giants, Aephrodaea, Aethenaea and Aertemisaea, named for their three Goddesses, each was surrounded by a halo of moons and asteroids, Aephrodaea with two unusually…again she suspected artificially…large accretionary rings within which the Technocracy fleet had been based – the dry docks and orbital stations were long since destroyed by the Sith, and many of the moons were littered with the wrecks of Sith and Technocracy ships in a ratio of 12 to 1 based on Chiss scans. Now it was home to ship yards once more, of Chiss design but building three more Aethan Destroyers like the one she was on now – the Aethenaea would be ready in less than two months, the other two, Aephrodaea and Persephaea a few months after that. 

In less than a year they would have fleet of four Aetermisaea class Destroyers – though in truth they were ships not easily classified - just over 350 metres in length their size comparable to a Cruiser, conventional  armament just below that of a Chiss Battlecruiser but with very unconventional Aetheric warfare Nexus, and the ultradense Blackstone that lined gave mass equal to ships nearly 4 times as big.

Regardless four such vessels, each provisioned with equally unique Karintha Class assault transports andVorynx fighters…for a population of only twelve adults and 20 infant clones in stasis growth tubes…

This was the paranoia of the People made machine.

Beyond the coloured giants, barely held by the suns gravity were Aeda, Varas and Alina – three micro planets in an unnaturally precise Trinitarian orbit of each other, that itself orbited the sun perpendicular to the orbital plane of all the other worlds – again this seemed intentional, at some point for reasons known only to the Technocracy the three micro planets had been brought together and had the orbit hit 90 degrees. 

Gentle chimes sounded as they came closer to the planet.  She could feel the Chiss worker in their ships nearby more fully now – focused and professional as ever, some on the Dreadnought kept for protection somewhat bored but they would never show it.

The sensation of cloying warmth and closeness built as the planet approached, the spread of coloured stars was soon replaced by the curve of Aethas blue atmosphere, excitement filled the ship, after so long away soon they would be home.

<<<<>>>>


The cut into the atmosphere was smooth, below she could feel the spring of life rebuilding. 

Long ages past the Sith Armada had devastated much of the planet, but now fifteen years of Chiss Terraforming catalysed by Yuuzhan Vong bio-technological genius was paying dividends in the form of regrown forests and grasslands.

Like the Aethan themselves, every plant, insect, fungi and unicellular organism was a product of the Technocracies genetic re-design, built to survive and thrive, and they had held on through the long years, but even they could only subsist when so much of the surface had been glassed by Turbo lasers from orbit. 

Enormous Chiss vehicles ploughed glassy cracked earth, dumped back into the mantle and recycled in a volcanic region in the centre of the south eastern ocean. With the dirt beneath exposed 'native' flora and fauna began reclaiming the land rapidly with the aid of specially designed Vong soil additives that increased water and nutrient retention beyond what Chiss technology could offer once isolated pockets of green now spreading across the surface, linking up here and there to reforge a united ecosystem.

“Starting on Approach, course locked transmitting clearance codes, Milaea can you open the door?”

Lyaea’s voice broke through her observations as their ship rapidly approached a snow capped mountain range. 

The mountains that bordered the People’s Valley were made principally of Greysleet – an ultradense mineral rock forged in the crushing gravity of the deep core containing a high portion of what the galaxy referred to as Phirk – a nigh indestructible and lightweight metal comparable to beskar in its resistance to lightsabres and damage, indeed it was gram for gram worth more than Beskar as outside of the deep core it was extraordinarily rare, and few were fool enough to test the dangers of the deep core to mine it here.

But this system was blessed with such dense materials, and more importantly the People had learnt how to use them.

The Mountain filled the view screen entirely as Milaea stood on the bridge behind the main pilot’s chair – despite the complexity of the Destroyer class vessel a small population meant the Destroyer had to be designed to operate effectively with only one pilot.

Lyaea did not even reduce speed as she approached.  Milaea reached out to what appeared to the a craggy face of the mountain and Lifted

A vast side of the mountain slid up and inward.  Made of Blackstone, another ultradense material that ate light and defied classification between metal and stone, it had been ‘enchanted’ as Adaea would call it – infused with the aether - to make it easier to shift telekinetically.  The vast hidden door into the mountain fortress weighed an enormous amount, but with the infused aetheric enchantment it was as easy to move aside telekinetically as a pebble.

Now slowing the darkened hollow in the mountain lit with blue and white lights.

This was Mount Aelia, the Phirk and Blackstone hollowed by a combination of Chiss Mining, Aethan Precision Telekinesis and more recently Yuuzhan Vong Dovin Basals to create a fortress within the mountain – their new base of operations protected by dozens of metres of Phirk and Blackstone, kilometres of tunnels and vast galleries, the majority empty awaiting occupation by a renewed People.

The valuable minerals extracted from mining were either used for building their new Destroyers or given to the Chiss as compensation for their work, a small portion sold on the open market in the Republic – just enough to bring in billions of credits, but not so much as to cause a drop in price.

The docking bay was the first section completed, it was largely the same design as a Chiss Dreadnaught hanger, overhead docking cradles, neatly parked supply and repair trucks, cargo droids at attention, and well polished walls lined with lights…and concealed defensive turrets.

The Aertemisaea gently lowered into one of the two largest docking cradles built for it beneath within the mountain as droids began to sweep toward the belly of the ship to change out atmosphere, check landing gear and remove spent fuel cells.

“You alright?” Sofa’s voice was warm as her touch on Milaea’s arm,

“Yes just…taking it in seems we’ve been gone forever,”

“Over a year…” Milaea felt her sister reach out through the mountain
“Wow…this place is much bigger than when we left…empty though…”

“Soon it will refill,” she said quietly

<<<<>>>>

The contrast was strangely pleasing.

The warmth of the welcome in the aether surrounding her soul.  The ice cold of the water surrounding her body.

The People had never ventured off world till twenty years ago, then not by choice.  New rituals had to be devised to facilitate their return back home properly, the main one being a ritual purification for the women in the pool outside the Cavern of Aephrodaea, a network of sacred women’s spaces hidden behind a waterfall fed by freezing melt waters from the mountains above.

If it didn’t cleanse her of actual dirt it did have the effect of cleansing her of the worries and baggage of the long trip back here after the Battle of Ord Mirit. 

First they had dropped the Sons of Kessel off in the Outer Rim and spent a few weeks helping them secure a new base in an abandoned mine.  Then a brief stop to task Lyr and Maynard, their Outsider ‘helpers’ with what needed to be done while they were gone and setting the Extolled to work.  Picking up the Aertemisaea they next went to Kamino to secure the remaining clones, then straight to Csilla then Arioch to keep as far from the Jedi – both physically and in the Force – as possible whilst also fulfilling their obligations under the treaty with the Chiss.

It had been a busy time, and now some relaxation was in order before the next phase of their Peoples recovery.

Gentle splashes about her indicated the other women were about also enjoying the cold waters than ran down into the valleys river.  It was comforting to have them there, and yet still it felt…empty…there were so many small pools in the rocks leading up to the mountain, enough for a hundred women or more…not the handful they had now.

She allowed her mind to slip from her body tentatively searching the future for any hint at when…If this place would be full again…

She knew she ought not to, that scrying the future had caused her so much pain so often…but couldn’t’ help herself…she needed to know where they were headed to make sure they didn’t end up either being wiped out or…wiping the rest of the galaxy out.

For now there was just a series of vague silhouettes, their number and identity indistinct…the future was still in flux it seemed.

Detaching her focus on Time she probed further into Space seeking out any trace of other Aethans…

It had become something of a habit, her vision on Ord Mirit had included a young Aethan woman among Gray Jedi of some kind, but such was the nature of visions that the time, place and disposition most likely had changed since then…it could be happening now…a hundred years from now, or twenty years ago. 

Still she looked in the sea of the aether every now and then hoping for any trace, and remnant of another Aethan to appear.

There was nothing…just the interminable clutter of Aetheric background noise beyond the edge of the system…finding and communicating with someone even across the galaxy was not a problem if you knew their distinct aura to start off with, and they were not closed off in hiding. 

Surrendering her efforts she stepped out of the pool, the icy water trickling off her in the dusk light – she had been there much longer than she realised.  Wandering up to the caverns lit with the orange glow of a fire and peppered with the giggles and chatter of the other women

<<<<>>>>
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 #9 on: March 01, 2020, 10:29:59 PM »

Chapter 1 — No Place like….— Part 2

Milaea


Stretching out on the woollen rug she felt the warmth of the fire sink into her limbs.

She felt cleaner, comfier than she had in months now, finally a sense of home in the cavern adorned with the sculptures and art work of her forebears, the other women nearby sleeping and the Goddesses ever present in the aether that enfolded her.

A spare thought in her outer consciousness considered the men who were busy in Mount Aelia unloading the ship while the women had been at the Caverns and Pools…she ought to help them out rather than indulging in the privileges of matriarchy, but they would likely dislike it, after all it was necessary for the women to reconnect with home first.

Pulling up the woven rug she felt herself slowly drifting in and out of consciousness…for the first time since Ord Mirit she would sleep fully with all six levels of thought at rest at once, something no Aethan could ever afford to indulge in anywhere but Home.

Spiralling thoughts from the day twisted in her mind like the accretion disks around the deep core stars, the light of which streamed into the caverns from the clear night sky a gentle purple with flickers of green as a star went super nova half a million years ago.

She was safe here, between her and the galaxy were a Chiss Dreadnought, an Aethan Destroyer, tonnes of Greysleet and Blackstone, and four Aethan men who could –and had – beaten Jedi Masters and Sith Spawn to death with their bare fists…and that was just the frontline…behind them Kiraea, Lyaea, Selaena…even Adaea could match a Knight or two...as stealth, sniper and support in combination with the sledgehammer blows the men could dish out it would take a score of Sentinels, or hundreds of conventional soldiers to reach her even if they got through the space defences.

Yet itching at her mind was how many others were out there not enjoying such security, how many others remained lost….injured…in pain…how would she heal those she did know about, her Grandmother Kassyndra, and Selaena’s son Lydan both in cryogenic stasis harmed by outsiders and awaiting healing.

Her comfort lost in the worry for others pain she got up for a short walk past the others who gently slept.

Toward the back of the cavern she reached the tunnel to the Womb of Aephrodaea, a chamber she had visited just before her….Apotheosis…on Ord Mirit…where she had seen and spoken to the Goddesses themselves.

She sat cross legged and naked at the entrance, wide, red and dark staring at her as much as she stared at it.

“How do we rest, recover, repopulate…” she asked the breeze that came from the cave

“There are only ten of us…twenty clone babies…not enough adults to look after them and rebuild and meet our obligations to the Chiss and Extolled…let alone have time to find other survivors…and we can’t risk leaving the Deep Core to look blindly, if the Jedi sense us so soon after…”

No response came, just the gentle flow of water in the deeper caverns into cisterns and the river that flowed from the mountain.

Her eyes were glued to the black for a long time, watching the nothingness as figures wandered past while she turned the corner into the room where Director Canyn was waiting with the schematic on the wall, Aeda had been drilled and was ready for installation the first Obelisk is being prepared now my Lady according to your designs”

“And the others?” she said impatiently as if the survival of the Technocracy depended on it – perhaps it did?

“Three are under development in Mount Alixaea, the Aetheric Programming is more complex than we originally anticipated,”

Aethena had no time for the limitations of lesser Gene-generations, she would need to accelerate the Genetic upgrades past the Guardian squads, the Sith were tiptoeing the edge of their outer perimeter defences as they spoke.

“We need the array active, even partially to find the rest of the Tribe,” she went on as Adaea sat beside a pillar with a console indented with places for nine Oblivion Orbs as the Technocracy scientists wandered to and fro 700 years before her

“My Aethena,” Director Canyn said “Are you awake?”

“My Aethena…Myathena…Mylthena…Milena…Milaea?” Sofa finished gently shaking her.

“huh…” here eyes were craggy with sleep but felt dry as if they’d been open for hours.

“Milaea are you alright…what are doing sitting all the way over here, you’ll catch a cold…well, actually…” Sofa paused “Do we even get colds?”

“hmm anyway, put this on,” Sofa didn’t give here a choice draping a rug over her shoulders.

“You look very pale come by the fire,”

“No…I mean yes…but then…signal Valens tell him we need to go to Mount Alixaea…with a ship and excavation equipment…and have Melron and Maeson do a thourough scan of the planet Aeda – not with Chiss tech it must’ve missed it already, get the Extolled to help with Dovin Basals and the Aether.”

Sofa looked as perplexed as Milaea looked frantic

“I…saw something….remembered something from just before the collapse…a memory of Aethena, there is a Remnant of the Technocracy we must recover,”

<<<<>>>>
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."

TheDutchman
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2020, 02:26:54 PM »

ohh....     I need to get these biologs to Karmack somehow...    ;-)

Sweet, LSG!   No time for more, but awesome beginning!
RIGHT?!?

And that intro!!!!

I love, Love, LOVE what you did there, LSG!  I'm going to have to steal duplicate that (was that with a technical assist by FT?)  Cool

Getting this background on the Aethans feels not only rewarding but highly satisfying (the Aertemisaea looks incredible!)  I have to admit that I'm thrilled that we are getting a direct continuation (as well as tangential storylines) for the Aethans. 

I've said it before: THIS is the story that the SW Universe NEEDS.

Did I mention how much I enjoyed the opening crawl  Wink Grin
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2020, 06:50:03 PM »

Chapter 2 — Echoes — Part 1

Milaea

Aethans had an instinct it seemed, to build things inside or near mountains, a need to live out their role as “Queens of the Hill”…or perhaps it was simply that they were convenient places to build, dotted with womb like caverns for shelter and rituals, pure melt waters from the snow on the peaks and generally far enough from the forest proper to avoid predators.

There were the caverns of Aephrodaea, obviously and presumably a similar caverns for Aertemisaea and Aethenaea somewhere else that had been lost.  The survivors of the Collapse had hidden away beneath the northern mountains of the valley when Aethena destroyed the last of the Sith before herself descending into the mountains where the altar that held a stagnant baby Valens had sat. 

But even before that the vast majority of Technocracy facilities had been built beneath or within mountains, mostly laboratories in their quest for genetic apotheosis.  It was one of these lost facilities they were now trying to find.

After the Collapse, as society changed from the refined Technocracy to the Tribal People only the Guardians had ventured out of the Valley into the ashen wastes of the dead lands and even then only as far as they could walk or ride on a gormin carrying water and food with them.  They sought out ruins of the old times but found little before having to turn back from the waterless deserts of a damaged landscape.

The furthest they had ever come was written in stone before her.

Milaea stood clothed in hardy leathers before the largest of the rocks in the blasted pile that had runes carved into the face beneath a Triquetra symbol.

“The Northern Limit. Eilaea Set the Stone.  Winter - Bow tip. Summer - left hoof of Bomo.”

The last lines referred to navigation points to return to the valley using the stars as a guide depending on the season , it was assumed the reader would already know to use Aethenaea’s eye – the Celestial North pole as the fixed point to determine the heading.

That Eilaea had gotten this far was impressive, by Milaea’s estimate it would’ve taken nearly two months travel the nearly 4000 KM, while an Aethan could easily run over a 100kmph, the terrain Milaea had flown over was difficult and Eilaea would’ve had to carry food and water for the return trip as well, navigating the ravines to the south would’ve been beyond hard carrying all she needed with the basic climbing equipment she likely had.

Milaea looked up past the runes to Mount Alixaea in the distance – past the rocky patches were now nitrogen fixing grasses planted by Chiss agri-droids to restore the soil.

Mount Alixaea was a free standing mountain surrounded by what was once pastures and plains, dominating the landscape its snowy white peak just scratching the clouds. 

Beyond that were the far northern mountains and glaciers, Mount Alixaea was actually a part of the same curved geological strata as those mountains, the dip in the curve of rock had filled with the compacted sands worn off the mountains over time to create a steppe like area that was then plied by glaciers – leaving Alixaea apart from its more distant peers.

Rolling her arms around to get warm the winds picked up bringing the cold off the distant glaciers.  Given the low temperatures perfect for storing bio matter by saving on artificial coolants there would no doubt there would be many Technocracy facilities in the far northern mountains – exactly where was what they didn’t know – her memories from Aethena were fragmentary at best, Valens memories as Valance no more precise.

On top of that the ultradense greysleet and blackstone was too thick for even Chiss sensors to penetrate, and ground side scans wouldn’t have picked up concealed entry ways. 

They would have to search on foot.

She passed her hand over the runes Eilaea had carved in the old script, a simplified version of the High Galactic the Technocracy had used more suited to writing with basic materials on parchments and papyrus.

“Did you ever go to the mountain…or further after your wrote this?” she wondered aloud

She thought about Eilaea, reaching this place and seeing the solitary mountain in the distance, it was just over 40 km to the base from here…Eilaea could’ve managed that in 15 minutes…but then what…she wouldn’t have had the supplies to attempt a climb or even trace around the mountains base…and so she carved a sign to remind her of the northern limit and had to turn back.

“Anything?” Sofa called from the hatch of the hovering Assualt Transport Lyssia

“A Marker to light our way.”

<<<<>>>>

Lord Yn

700 Years Ago


 “FORWARD!” his voice scratched for the constant bellowing
“FORWARD!”

Before him teeming masses of sweaty barely clad bodies pressed, the air above them a heated haze from their body heat and blood.  Every moment a dozen were killed by the concealed turrets, a score more were needed to finally get into it and tear it apart by hand.

Behind him hot air gushed from the engines of the huge haulers.  The ships were little more than enormous shipping containers with an engine strapped to them.  Each filled with hundreds or more slave soldiers, killing each other as much as the enemy, another two or three hundred leapt out and over each other to escape the cramped confines, brutes killing their cell mates to get out, bloodied and half eaten bodies of the weak left on the containers floor.

Such was the way of the Sith, the strong would survive, the weak were fodder.

“FORWARD!” Yn Sa’c’han…or rather Lord Yn… blared once more standing atop a pile of dead slaves.

He couldn’t care less how many of these creatures died, they could always obtain more slaves, and it was better than sacrificing his retainers against the malevolent creatures that inhabited this world.

The dark side called a warning and he threw a slave above him to take the stray blast from one of their fighters above.  Each of its blue bolts incinerated another six slaves before Sith fighters came in behind to bring it down.

He watched as the blade shaped fighter exploded but not before the pilot leapt out at least 500 metres above the ground – no parachute or jump jets.

Aetharians did not need them.

“See he’s dealt with!” Yn ordered his Third Sword a towering yinchorri with more scars than skin who had followed the bloody path of the Sith – beginning as a slave like the throngs before him he had caught the attention of Lord Ctash after killing two Sith Knights of an opposing demesne in battle, placed in the ‘main’ forces he continued to excel and was shrewd enough to join Yn’s faction, killing two of Ctash body guards as Yn mauled his former Lord to death with his own crown.

Such was the way of the Sith, it was rare for any Lord to remain in power more than a few years, inconceivable one was not subject to weekly rebellions and assassination attempts. 

And that was just within their own ranks, all the Deep Core System Lords were in a constant state of war, the only thing that had temporarily unified them was the discovery after decades of effort of the Aetharians home world.  Even so…at least three Lords were fighting among themselves in orbit and on the ground.

Yn couldn’t care less, if he could obtain the Aetharians weapons and technology for himself he could dominate the demesnes of the Deep Core then spread his reach further. 

To the east the Aetharian pilot landed amidst the throngs, a surge of lighting scarring the crater as he slaughtered slaves by the dozen. 

The only way to defeat them Yn found was sheer overwhelming numbers – this one would fight for hours, kill thousands of the untrained and desperate slaves wielding little more than broken pipes and the occasionally shattered sword. 

Let him, there were millions more where that came from – entire systems had been enslaved in the Sith advanced into the deep core, billions of beings and hundreds of cities dominated while the so called Dark Underlord and his Black Knights conquered along the Zona Miki route in the outer rim, building on the early success under Darth Ruin, who was also killed by his thralls after showing weakness. It was the way of the Sith.

A groan accompanied the lifting of battering rams through the throngs as the last turrets were ripped apart, the stench of the dead building.  The Aetharians had built their facility beneath this mountain, and Yn would have it for himself.  They had been a pestering enemy, assassinating and manipulating the System Lords to keep themselves safe as the Sith encroached further, trying to divert them away – for decades it had worked, but eventually their game was discovered.

They were as ruthless and powerful as any Sith, but few in number and less well equipped – focused on stealing technology and information, Yn had realised slowly this meant they had been isolated before the Sith arrived- not backward but a generation or two behind in military technology whilst several centuries if not millennia ahead of the Sith in their understanding of the Force, biotechnology and genetic research.

A blinding flare of white lit up as the fallen pilot exploded himself wiping out a few hundred slaves and Yn’s Third Sword. 

What they had lacked in technology they made up for in body.

Yn was yet to hear of one that was not able to use the Force, yet to see one that was not a physical powerhouse capable of bending metal with bare hands, moving at speeds that would give a normal being whiplash – the tales told of the Red Woman slaughtering aged Sith Masters with a flick of her hair, imploding Dreadnoughts with a blaze of red energy were, Yn had learned, not exaggerations. 

Indeed Yn owed his position to the desolation the other one – the Dark Man – had caused destroying Lord Ctash Fortress on Yntril VIII – Ctash had stockpiled vast resources there to prepare for an invasion of Byss at the time controlled by Lord Gnar, the Dark Man arrived with at most ten other Aetharians and turned it to a molten slag heap by destroying the safeties on the geothermal generators and detonating a nuclear warhead to cause a localised shift in the mantle bubbling up magma to flood the fortress – his authority and glory broken Yn had overthrown the fool.

But still they were mortal, still they would fall.  Their small navy destroyed by overwhelming fire power, their ground forces and handful of cities decimated by orbital bombardment, all that remained was their laboratories…

The first battering ram hammered into the heavy stone door – ultra dense material dismissing the durasteel. 

It will break…if it costs me a million more slaves…it will break
<<<<>>>>
Eilaea
400 Years Ago

Plonking herself on a rock she looked up at the peak.

It had begun as a white shard on the horizon…then grown….and grown…and grown…

Now it dominated her field of vision.

Swinging her worn pack around she noted the main cover needed to be resewn…again…

Pulling out a strip of gormin jerky she slowly chewed on the dehydrated strip – her only source of meat for the last month as nothing seemed to live in the waste land to hunt, not even plants she could survive on if desperate.

“It’s a long road back if this is all I have to eat…” Eilaea sighed.  So far as she knew this was as far north as anyone had been since the mythical time before the Collapse.  She’d hoped to find the lost city of Alixa…but so far had come across nothing but a few strange jagged metal pieces poking up from the ground, ancient bones of trolls and goblins, and a strange material that was like fabric…but…not…it was all yellow with black markings.

That last piece she kept, the others too large and heavy to take with her back to the valley – still the other Guardians would not doubt her report of Troll and Goblin skulls.

Pulling out her satchel of dried Kyala fruits she picked the smallest three as she did every time since she began and the satchel was much more full…at least this way she thought if she were really hungry she’d have the biggest ones yet to eat.

Even so…water was the main problem…she had been able to refill one bladder with some water she had boiled in the ravines, but since then there was nothing, no rain and no snow…except at the top of the mountain before her.

Night was falling, she was done for the day…

Tomorrow she would have to decide, turn back now or head to the mountain, see if any melt water trickled down that she could refill on to avoid using the water she kept for the return journey.

Tonight…she would check the stars again and leave a note on the big stone.

<<<<>>>>
Milaea
Sometimes, Milaea thought, her People made things hard on themselves in the name of their traditions.

Case in point were Valens and Jarys manually digging into the moisture leaching ash and dirt at the third area they thought there might be an entrance into the mountain buried by 700 or more years of sediment.

It was seen as ‘unfitting’ to dig up with a machine or with the aether…at first she hadn’t been sure why, given they were happy to use machinery to excavate within Mt Aelia…the explanation was simply inside a mountain that had no caverns there wasn’t much to damage, here they might uncover a fallen Aethans body so had to be more careful.

Even accounting for this not using the aether seemed inefficient…yet they persisted never wanting to rely on it…and it was after a few hours a good workout.

“Not going to join us?” She called to Sofa over the occasional huff, they could work for days without rest but were working faster than normal pace.

“Of course not, someone has to be the backup in case you unearth some crazed Aethan Vampire. “

That…might not be so impossible…. Milaea had to concede despite well knowing Sofa’s main motivation was leering over Valens and Jarys barely clothed muscular bodies heaving with exertion. 

They were the second team looking for ruins, Kiraea, Adaea and Lyaea exploring the other side of the mountain.

“Hang on…got something here,” Jarys backed from his section as the dirt tumbled listlessly

“Not as compacted here…interesting…” 

“Sinkhole?” Valens asked

“Maybe…let’s dig around it.”

Four times stronger and faster than an athletic human they made light work of the softer ground till they stopped.

“This is different…”

Jarys held up a dirty but still largely intact leather hat.

<<<<>>>>
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: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2020, 06:52:44 PM »

Chapter 2 — Echoes — Part 2

 
Adyn

700 Years Ago



“No contact from command, all channels are dead…”

“Seal off the tunnels,” Adyn ordered calmly

The Guardian complied without question knowing very well what it meant – there would be no leaving the Mount Alixaea facility unless they were relieved from outside – and with hundreds of thousands of sith slaves at the door and the fleet gone…

“We should start purge protocols immediately, the Sith have won.” Iphsa determined.

“She’s not dead yet…” Adyn countered

“This isn’t just one dreadnought,” she snapped back

“Even so…” he turned to the plexglass over looking the Technocracies archives, rows of memory orbs and data drives blinking gentle blue in cold storage – the lessons of millennia of genetic advancement and Aetheric studies, the recordings of their culture, music, arts…and in the levels below the workshops where the Obelisks sat half completed – what they were for he did not know - only that they must be protected at all costs.

He would Not purge the Aethan Technocracies treasures and technologies unless there was no other choice to keep it from Sith hands.

“…while Aethena lives there is hope…she may be upgrading the others as we speak.”

Last he heard the second Aethenaean – the male Valance – was undergoing upgrades to Gene generation 30, to be followed by the Guardian Elite corps – if they could upgrade them all to new bodies 9 generations of physical and aetheric prowess beyond his own generation 21 body…they could snatch victory from the Sith today, upgrade the rest of the population over the next few months and then…

The dream would continue, a cascade of innovation as they made themselves more intelligent and powerful so they could design ever greater upgrades, ever more efficient ways of applying them – using the Blackstone ‘Altars’ during reforging to contain a person’s essence was effective, but they were few in number and difficult to make for Generation 19’s…

But for now he had to deal with the nightmare of the Sith. He had only 7 including himself to defend the facility, everyone else had been reposted as the attacks began to defend civilian centres.

Bwwwuuummmm..

The entire facility boomed as something heavy smashed into the outer door…heavier than the previous battering rams it seemed. 

“This is the line…if they reach the control room we purge…until then we fight on, it’s only a matter of time before they open those doors…let’s give them a warm welcome.”

Iphsa smiled as blue flames cracked up her arm.

<<<<>>>>
Lord Yn
700 Years Ago
The dark sweltering mess of bodies was lit by a thin line of blue as the door finally cracked open.

That blue soon expanded outward – from a sliver it turned to a river of aetheric flame igniting the brutish slaves desperate to be the first inside in the hopes of leaving their hellish existence for the relative peace of being a retainer or house salve. 

They screamed and thrashed as scale, skin and fur was turned to ash.

Yn simply smiled, let them waste their power on the minions, all the easier for him to finish them later.
<<<<>>>>
Eilaea

It was a graveyard…or rather a battlefield. 

Eilaea had found the first queer thing sticking up out of the ground, a metal thing with odd rings as if a banner should hang from it.  Digging around she found the innumerable bones black not just from age but fire, gnashed with blades as well, and plunging as deep as she dared to dig.

None seemed like Peoples bones…perhaps the trolls and goblin had attack the dwarves who lived in the mountain, which seemed rather stupid to her given how easily it could be repulsed…unless trolls didn’t care for their own fellows lives which made them even more repulsive…

She had never seen a dwarf or goblin herself, but the histories told around the fire at night and written in the old books at Menron’s home were unanimous in affirming their existence, and some of the armour she found was clearly not made to fit a real Person.

It was more than anyone she knew of had found, with innumerable metal buckles and rusted blades, one small dagger made of a kind of solid water she could take with her.

It had taken half a day to get this far round the mountain and after digging…she ought to turn back, gather the other Guardians to send a larger expedition.

Taking off her old leather hat she wiped the sweat from her brow, a little break then something to eat…then to sleep…but no she was too excited by the finds to sleep and it would do no good trying to force it…

Maybe just another day….

<<<<>>>>
Lord Yn
His boots sloshed in the lake of blood and bodies that had been forged from the first three waves of attackers through the doors.

Yn considered it nothing more than a trivial annoyance.  He stood silently as more slaves rushed past into the facility – the slave masters driving them on with whips and electro staffs as he stared intently to the far wall where one of the Aetharians lay dead up to the chest in blood and bodies. 

Wading through Yn grasped the helm and tore it off, using the force to keep his balance against the helmets unnatural weight.

“Human after all…” he turned to his Second Sword, this week it was a Trandoshan with a ruined face behind a metal grill mask, last weeks Second Sword had tried to kill the current First sword and died for the effort.

“Bring me the head of another of these and claim you place as First Sword!” Yn screamed – not just to the Second sword, but every knight and slave in ear shot – Such was the way of the Sith – a pure meritocracy where worth was measured in the skulls of your foes.
<<<<>>>>

Adyn
“DIE DIE DIE!” Adyn screamed slamming the Trandoshans face further into the wall with each word.

Its body sliding down he put his hands on his knees near exhausted.  He was losing count of how many he had killed…but enough to have worn out his rifle and pistols power cells…

“Add them to the pile…” he ordered the Guardians behind him rapidly hurling the bodies onto the barricades made from the dead slaves and knights. 

As they passed him he noted a nasty sabre burn in Yaran’s side, he grabbed the younger man.

“Patch that up first son…” Adyn said pushing him to the side.  They were down three men already, and still they came.  These Sith cared nothing for losses, the walls and floors were dripping in blood and viscera.  If the Technocracy fell today it would not be because the Sith were better, smarter or worthier…simply that they had millions of bodies to hurl at a whim.

For now the attacks subsided, but he could hear the hoarse screams and crackle of electro whips driving the next wave forward.  He checked his rifle, the power cell was at 60 per cent capacity, if he switched to a lower setting he would get in more shots…but risked not penetrating the hides of reptilian species. 

So far he had been loath to use the Aether, he knew the real Sith Lords were waiting, they had a trick of wearing down an opponent with slaves, then challenging them to single combat, winning easily and claiming the glory of the kill.

If it came to that…and he suspected it would so predictable were these Sith feudal lords…he wanted all his aetheric power on hand.

Deciding against using the rifle he switched to his two pistols for the time being. Aiming high to get head shots the next wave raced around the corner.

<<<<>>>>

Milaea
They were making real progress now. 

The light ash layers gave way to ruddy white dust…tons and tons of bones eroded to calcium and carbon after some kind of bombardment mingled with rusted weapons and armour.

The white ash of beings that once lived trickled between Sofa’s armoured fingers as the men kept digging.

“This…doesn’t seem right…I’m no expert but given the arid landscape, the decomposition should be…”

“Very different,” Milaea agreed

“Are there not Aetheric techniques that can turn a being to dust,” Jarys noted between shovel loads.

“Yes…,” Milaea had used them herself on occasion

“But on this scale…it can’t be the same, there is something…wrong about all this,” she reached out toward the mountain trying to get a sense of what happened in the past, her mind settling into a Flow state where time had little meaning.

There was something tippling on the edge of her sense, a spark just out of reach…was it what she needed to find, the Obelisk device…

No…she felt it now, the Call as Soryu termed it, a feeling in the Force when you realised it had guided you to there here and now for a very specific reason even if you didn’t realise it yourself.

“Keep digging…faster,” she ordered.

<<<<>>>>

Adyn
Elbow to a head.
Knife to a Chest,
Knee to a hand
Blaster fire into a back

He spun through the throngs hard and fast as he could, leaving limbs and broken bodies in his wake, but it was an ocean of flesh between him and Yaran.  They had fallen back to the third defensive line, split into two groups to hit the next advance from both sides, behind the comparative safety of shock fences and auto-turrets.

The Slaves had thrown themselves onto the fences and used the bodies of injured slaves with enough body heat to draw the turrets fire as meat shields.

Iphsa had fought them back on this side with an improvised flame thrower made from a plasma welder and a canister of cooking gas. Yaran had fired off one of the few RPG shots left, then they appeared.

In polished but blood stained armour, weapons that were damaged from use not neglect, spikes on helmets and pauldrons adorned with flayed skin and shrunken heads surrounding a figure in a scraggy cloak but solid armour bearing a sabrestaff of crackling red.

The Real Sith had arrived.

Adyn pressed against the throng trying to reach them, he could see a thin smile on the Sith Lords red skinned lips as his retainers surrounded Yaran in a circle, the younger Guardian lashing out with his sword, his fatigue showing in the ease with which the Sith Swords parried the blows with their axes and staves.

Finally Yaran realised his only chance was in beating the Sith Lord – indeed it was the only hope any of them had – if they could kill the Lord hopefully the Sith Swords would turn on each other to claim the crown and buy time for re-enforcements to arrive.

If they are even coming it had been hours and there was still no reply from Command.

Circled by Sith Yaran remained defiant, fists tightening as he drew on all the strength and aetheric prowess his Gene Generation 25 body could muster.  His eyes flared a brief blue, lighting crackled over his body in a desperate shield.

He charged.

The Sith took Yaran’s balde on his own as Adyn redoubled his efforts to get to them, slashing and bashing through slave after slave, one cowered before him pleading for mercy in some incomprehensible language translated in part by the aether. 

Adyn gave as much mercy as a Sith would.

The red sabre spun to catch the lighting Yaran pumped out yielding purple sparks that ate into the clean grey walls. 

A hand gripped Adyns back as a weary Yaran hurled more and more bolts with less and less accuracy at the sneering Sith who played it safe using the staffs reach to land opportunistic cuts

“We need to pull back!” Iphsa yelled in Adyn’s ear hurling a wave of telekinetic energy to clear the slaves that crowded him as she dragged him away.

<<<<>>>>

Eilaea
One…more…push…

The makeshift lever pressed into the gap she had found. 

She was about to head off to her small campsite when she spied the smooth wall just beneath the surface.  Excited she used the aether to hurl a long house worth of dirt away to reveal an ancient stone entrance.

Now she most certainly couldn’t’ sleep if there was even a chance of getting inside the cavern.

She’s never seen such a thing before, in the Valley all the caverns were natural, only a few had carved doorways and then only for decorative purposes.  This appeared structural and practical.

Eilaea could sense no life forms near or behind it, and knocking yielded no response, most likely it had been built by dwarves in ages long past for People to visit them given it was the right height.

Tired as she was she had never been so excited, the other Guardians had warned her she might get nothing from her travel but tired and sore, but she knew, somehow she knew it was her fate to do something important for the People, and this must be it.

Cobbling some of the ancient armour she’d welded it together with aetheric flame into a crowbar, pushing into the gap to pry the door open.  It was heavy, made of Blackstone, and old, but it was slowly giving way to her aether enhanced strength.

Finally it began to groan open, the noise lost to the empty space around her. Quickly she hurled a rock into the gap with the aether to make sure it didn’t slam shut when she relived the pressure on the crowbar.

Pushing further she felt air suck out of the cavern, the taste of it stale and old, choked with dust.  Finally with a last grunt she managed to widen the gap enough to fit.

A few more rocks to secure it, a small drink and strip of gormin jerky and she would begin her exploration.

<<<<>>>>

Something terrible had happened here.

The walls were covered in red, that when touched flaked off as dust – long since dried blood.  The floor was covered in the bone dust she had seen outside, more armour and makeshift weapons lying among them.

Lit by the glow of her lamp she walked slowly forward, a rope round her waist tied to the door so she was certain not to get lost.

She paused at a cross roads trying to feel out what had happened here by flow walking.

Shades of dozens of strange goblins and demons ran past, frantic, fearful…they knew they were going to their deaths…and yet somehow that was preferable to their lives.

Ever deeper into the square walled caves she went, following a glimmer in her senses that was brighter than the rest.  Where she could she tried to make out the phantoms around her…they were terrifying hideous things goblins, trolls and the like…but she was a Guardian, she would not be scared by their shades however much they pained her aesthetic senses…

They just seemed wrong, such creatures should not live, only the People were beautiful and well-formed like the Goddesses, these things…disgusted her beyond measure.

Finally she came upon the ‘brighter’ scene, at a cross rounds beings more hideous than any of the others surrounded a…

A man a real Man, young, bloodied face wearing armour that was being cut apart by a hideous wretched looking red skinned man who wielded a magical weapon of some kind  - it was red like a dulling fires glow but held in the shape of a flickering blade.

The young man fought back, but was already exhausted and his enemy fresh,

“We need to pull back!” came a woman’s voice behind her – more People, they were fleeing from the goblins, unable to help this young man.

<<<<>>>>
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: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2020, 07:03:48 PM »

Chapter 2 — Echoes— Part 3
Lord Yn
Something tickled at the back of his spine as he toyed with the Aethan poking and teasing the boy’s weary counters.

Something…cold…something…from somewhere else was watching him.

Aware of the threat he ceased his games.  Driving in he bashed back a faltering stab and drove his sabre through the boy’s chest, glaring through his helm into the dying eyes

“NO!”

<<<<>>>>

Milaea
“NO!” the cry was not audible in the sense of a normal sound…it had rippled the air but not Now

The tension that had been building the sense of something wrong and something that needed correcting built icy and fast behind her eyes even as the men exuded heat from their excavation, now using body and aether to tear up the dust – finally they reached the long buried doorway.

She pushed past the two sweating men, legs blazing with red energy kicked it open.

<<<<>>>>

Adyn
“You heard it too?” Iphsa asked as they felt Yaran die behind them.

She spun into the control room just after him and slammed the large red panic button sealing the room, gripped the control panel and tore it off pulling the manual lock down lever to ensure it was not hacked.

“I heard it…it was a woman but…”

Iphsa nodded it was a ghostly sound…like an aetheric projection only half formed.

Adyn took a moment to steady his breathing, it was just the two of them now…the control room and behind them the ranks of archives and elevator into the deeper levels housing laboratories now cluttered with art, books…everything of their history they could evacuate in the hours between the Sith arrival in system and their making planet fall. 

He felt the presence of the Purge console behind him…as if it were the third person in the room waiting to be awakened and deny the Sith their victory in a final act of spite by destroying the accumulation of 3000 years of Aethan civilization along with devices and plans for the future of their People.

“We have no choice…” Iphsa noted sadly quickly applying a steri-strip to a cut over her eye.

“The door won’t hold for long enough…no one is coming to help us…”

She stepped toward the plex glass overlooking the top level of the archives. 

“I won’t let the Sith have it,”

Standing his full height once more, he knew what had to be done.

<<<<>>>>

Eilaea

She covered her mouth…she had yelled ‘No’ as the young man was killed by the hideous warrior…and they had heard her across the centuries.

“Spread out…find her, Fourth Sword follow the others, take the Command centre,”
“Yes Lord Yn,”

Lord Yn that was the warrior with the fire sword.

His eyes were darting seeking her out, but she pulled herself away from the past back to the present. 

Her body was shaking with worry over what she had done intervening however unintentionally in the past like that, Old Jensaea had warned her curiosity would get her in trouble…how much more trouble could there be than altering the past?

Though if it is the past…then whatever you did already happened…which means I had no choice… would have been Old Dasyns reply…

She wished she were not alone, she could use the wisdom of her aunt and uncle now.

Whoever this Lord Yn of the Goblins was she did not wish him to succeed in whatever foul plot he had…yet what could she do…

She couldn’t harm him from here that she knew of…not interact with objects…but if he could hear her…she could distract him…

Now she just needed to wait for the right time.
<<<<>>>>

Milaea

Time was rippling about her as she ran though the dust choked corridors past walls cracked with the endless weight of a mountain upon them yet still holding up defiant and persistent as the Aethan people themselves.

Her fourth level of consciousness twisted around various theories of time and its relation to the Force, that there were moments in which though separated across millennia events still happened simultaneously – the crests of a wave that retracted back on itself – each followed a different path and space yet for a brief time all moved in synchronicity as all-time happened at the same instant.

Whatever the explanation in physics she needed to be here, now, to answer the Call.  The Goddesses had sent her here for more than just finding the Obelisk in her dream, there was something else that needed to be…Corrected.

She could feel the others behind her, calling out warnings, signalling for all the others to come…Jarys was close behind her throwing a protective telekinetic bubble about her afraid the caverns would collapse, Sofa was linked to Valens who was scanning the facility for any threats…but he was looking at Now and would find none.

Nose clogged with the dust she had kicked up in her run she finally came to the nexus of the winding tension in the Aether.
<<<<>>>>
Lord Yn

Drills and hammers pounded on the doors, he could feel they were behind it…could taste the sweet loot he would soon claim. 

His Swords bashed the slaves to force them to work harder, tugged where they could with their petty Force strength at the doors.

As soon as they burst open he knew dozens would die in whatever ambush the last Aethans had lain, it mattered not.  He would have the secrets of this mountain, the powers of the Aethans, and with it the entire core would….

His eyes widened as he looked up through the mountain above him…Then rapidly shut them as the blinding energy he could not see seared at his eyes forcing him to blink away the after image of a fleet obliterated by red fire…

The Red Woman had struck at last…the fleet…HIS SHIPS….

<<<<>>>>

Adyn
They both sensed it…Aethena’s unmistakable power unleashed to a scale beyond what they could have ever imagine.

The dull green radar that had since the invasion been cluttered with blobs indicating the vast number of Sith ships turned black and empty devoid of any active signals.

“She’s done it…” Iphsa smiled
“She’s beaten the Sith!”

Adyn shook his head, the burst was too much and there was an aftertaste of decay…

“She’s destroyed their fleet…but killed herself in the process…”

“Even so, there’s Valance, there will be others soon we’ll be….” Through the distortion of the mass of slave outside she tried to sense the others….

They were few…

Very few…

And there were still thousands of Sith around their mountain.

Any hope she had died as she turned to the Purge controls.  Adyn had nothing to console her with but a nod.  It was better she do it, better a woman…

The door wrenched open.

<<<<>>>>

Screaming Whispers


Plasma flames ignited his entire field of vision covering Iphsa even as she hit the first control.

Deep rumbles sounded as the first explosions near the entrance of the cavern went off collapsing the doors and main entrances, there was still one secure exit but no other escape now.

He rolled her onto the floor under the stream of fire that melted chairs and fittings like wax, small explosions as computers and screens burst apart.

Eilaea looked as the older man frantically gripped the woman’s mouth looking for signs of life…but she was gone.

Yn felt the rumble, the shockwave of despair through his forces as they realised they were all trapped inside the mountain now.

The lights died, the air ceased moving.  Even if he had a thousand slaves in here they would be unlikely to tunnel their way out before air ran out…and that was assuming he could retain any control over them.

His Swords paused as they approached the control room…a minute moment of indecision as the more intelligent among them realised what was happening.

Like lighting his blade was on and through Fifth Sword’s back

“MOVE!” his voice hard dispelling any buds of mutiny that might be rising among them.

They obeyed – for now – he could feel the fear trickling into anger which would lash out as violence against him is he did not assert control quickly.

Scorched skin stained his fingertips as he carefully stood up over Iphsa’s body.  The plasma flame petered out from the molten doorway whose orange glow now provided the only illumination.

The first Purge sequence was enacted, the main tunnels collapsed.  Trapped the slaves now turned on each other and their masters forgetting there was still an Aethan in the control room who had just seen the last woman in his force die.

They remembered he was there only as he tore them to pieces.

The unfolding massacre of the weak and terrified goblins was almost pitiable…almost…Eilaea wished she could help this Adyn more.  In the pitch black she saw the past through Aetheric vision alone, the grimy grey aura’s shattered by Adyn’s red, even as the gross and oily Lord Yn approached.

Yet this was not all, on the spectral horizon was a burgeoning light, as if even after all that had been lost in the night of defeat here, there was a dawn.

All around there was chaos and madness, beings treated as animals acted worse than animals as they tore into each other even as Milaea stepped through them…they were already dead.

Yn’s swords slaughtered just as many slave soldiers as Adyn as he pushed through, Yn’s last hope was to capture the Aethan and extract however violently where the escape tunnel Eilaea and Milaea would find centuries later was.

Finally in the dark corridors lit by glinting blackstone that sprayed blood they finally found each other.

Milaea and Eilaea looked back as in the now Adyn fought viciously, ducking under the hooked chains to drive his sword through a chest – it stuck and he abandoned it after one attempt to pull it, hurling a flare of lightning into the next Sith Sword, the screech filling the room as the pure energy melted the durasteel mask on its face.

Yn’s sabre lit the melee a furious red as he struck aiming to sever limbs – he only needed the head intact. 

Adyn didn’t care any second now the second Purge system would…

No… In the back of his mind, his third level of thought his sense of time realised it had been too long, the neutrino pulse should’ve activated by now killing them and triggering the final detention sequences…the console must’ve been damaged when Iphsa was struck….

Yn felt his disappointment, his terror…yes his enemy would lose and he would rise.

A deft sweep forward and low spin and he cut through Adyn’s right knee, the pad long since lost to the battle.

The pin burned through him, Adyn was only gene generation 21, he still felt pain as a visceral sensation if it was extreme enough rather than mere data as more advanced Aethans did. 

It was all the opening Yn needed to move in tighter and sever a hand, then grasp him by the skull ever so gently pushing the tip of his blade into his chest, hissing through the chest plate not quite deep enough to reach major organs.

“Where is it!” Yn hissed

Adyn spat blood into his eye.

“WHERE!” Yn pressed with all the strength he alone could muster, turning frustration into anger, anger into hate, hate into power

“There is no escape Sith filth…you die here with me…”

Already Yn could feel his laboured breathing, the air was rapidly stale, there were too many beings still alive and no more ventilation.

“WHERE!” he pressed once more

“DIE creature!” Eilaea cried and she knelt behind Adyn, cradling him as best she could through the centuries that divided them, pouring out some power to push back against Yn, it was draining but she would help her ancestor all she could.

His vision starting to cloud, his body gasping for oxygen Yn saw the woman…not in the here and now but…

That is…my escape

Through the spear he had thrust into Adyn’s head he followed it into Eilaea, pushing himself into her mind…if Yn could not survive in the here and now…he could take this woman’s body in the future.

Eilaea thought she was helping…but she wasn’t…she was…creating a bridge for the evil creature to escape….if it controlled her, escaped into her present…

Adyn realised the same, he had only four levels of consciousness against Eilaea’s six but spared one to share with her what was in the Mountain vaults…the danger it posed if Yn should obtain it.

Yn could feel them joining pressing him back, he needed more power.

He would take it.

Without restraint, without regret he took it, pulling in every dreg of energy around him in a massive Life Drain powered by instinctual need to survive.  The slaves croaking and dying withered like leaves in bitter summer heat as their life force poured into Yn, first those on the floor about him turned to dust, then others in the mountain and wounded just outside.

Bodies flaked and cracked as their souls powered the Inferno of a temporal distortion.

Even together Eilaea and Adyn could not resist the combined power of thousands of sacrificial victims…and now the link wasn’t hers, it was Yn’s to open and close at his whim.

“Errnnng!!! GODDESS HELP ME!” she cried

Milaea heard her.

This was why she had been called here.

It was as if they were all in the room together in the Now as she stepped forward, grasping Eilaea’s shoulders even as she cradled Adyn in turn – three generations of Aethans united across centuries to protect their People.

A sea of energy flooded back through Adyn’s body, too much too handle he began to glow and flake away even as Yn’s over exertion had the same effect.

Eilaea felt the power of the Goddesses buoy her back up and strike at her opponent. 

More bodies tuned to vapour as Yn spent all the energy he could consume to push himself into the future, he had come this far, from a wretched orphan, to a warrior to a lord following the way of the Sith, his Will would not be broken, he was a survivor.

But so were the Aethans he faced.  Each knew the other was not quite like them, Adyn could sense none of the Technocracies…refinement in these two women, instead a touch of primal ferocity that was strangely alluring. 

Eilaea knew the Goddess helping her was like her, but different, there was a compassion for things beyond the People there she could not understand, and…a strange sadness that something even more than People’s lives in the time of Adyn would be lost.

Carbon dioxide was reaching critical levels, their bodies were wretched with excess power…Yn’s face trembled and shook as the skin sloughed off the skull cracking just like so many slaves and Swords he had drained to power himself.

Milaea stood firm even as her body trembled, Sofa and Jarys arriving to see her hunched over burning like a crimson flame, neither knowing what to do.

Adyn could hold no longer, all but dead his body long since incapable of holding life….

But his task was fulfilled, the Sith would not claim the archives or the Obelisks, and before him was a future that proved the Aethans were not destroyed by the Sith…changed…but they survived – a consolation as he faded into the dark.

Aethans Dominabutir Astris his mind whispered across the years.

Adyn’s body slouching down its Force presence lost, the tenuous grasp Yn held across the centuries was weak as his trembling haggard limbs that ate themselves with Force exertion.

Eilaea could hold no longer…she was the nexus between an overpowered Sith Lord 300 years before her time, and the Goddesses 400 years after – the flux of energy though her body was too much. 

But her task was fulfilled…she had stopped Lord Yn, and somehow she had created an important bridge between her ancestors, and her descendants.  It pained her that she would never be able to share all she had learned this day with the others of her own time.

She had protected her People in the past, present and Future, for a Guardian, though life was preferable, it was the best reason to give her life.

Grief that welled in her eyes was burnt off by anger of the sith that had caused this chaos.  The tears evaporated on her cheeks as Milaea pushed through poor Eilaea one final time, the bridge over the years shattering in its wake as it stuck Lord Yn’s mind.

As a rock through a glass statue Yn’s body already fragile shattered to carbon, Eilaea fell and the tunnel through time died between them.

<<<<>>>

Her cheeks were on fire, sizzling the water Sofa dripped on them to wake her

Beside Milaea were two bodies, one a dry air mummified woman in traditional leathers of an old Guardian, the other a battered skeleton in Technocracy armour decayed beyond usefulness.

And near that rusted horned armour encasing a skull the jaw twisted in an eternal scream of defeat.

They did what they needed to suppress Milaea’s energy – as so often was the case her greatest danger was not in being drained of power, but consumed by an excess of it.

The others arrived just as her breathing returned to normal.

<<<<>>>

“…she was also curious, seeking to travel to the very limits of the ashen wastes for knowledge of the past, making it further than any before her till the Devastation.
She protected the People, past, present and Future in the final moments she had,”

Milaea paused to place a hand on the head, covered by pure white cloth Eilaea’s body was laid out ready for burial in the deep caverns of the Valley, beside her would be placed Adyn and the other Technocracy Guardians bodies found on Mount Alixaea…Lord Yn’s body would be dissected, analysed, samples frozen…then the excess sent into the sun.

The others holding small candles lit blue with aetheric fire blew them out as one to signal the end of the funeral.

Milaea herself carried the body to the alcove carved into the Bloodstone, carefully placing the totems on Eilaea’s breast and in her hands, neatly laying her weapons – reforged and repaired – beside her before lifting and putting the ornately carved Blackstone seal in place.

It depicted what they knew of Eilaea’s life, her exploration to the Mountain, her love of writing – they had found a bag by her body with three small journals and various scrolls all in her hand – and her final battle as the key between past and future to defeat the last Sith on Aethas.

Jarys and Sofa guided her out on still slightly trembling feet even three days after the fight, while Valens and Kiraea, after brief but warm condolences headed back to the Mountain.
 
<<<<>>>
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
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Force Alignment: 306
Posts: 1659



« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2020, 07:08:56 PM »

Chapter 2 — Echoes — Epilogue

It would’ve seemed an eerie parallel to the sights of the funeral that dusk to a species not so task focused as the Aethans.

Three enormous lengths covered by funeral white shrouds lay in the vast chamber of the deepest laboratory of Mount Alixaea, the ancient lights flickering with the generator they had attached.

Overall the facility was too damaged by time to be repaired in the short term, they would simply have to remove all the valuable artefacts and Archive-Orbs…but one day it could be rebuilt.

Tugging the end of the nearest of the shrouds they pulled it off in one swift motion filling the stagnant air with dust.

With a flick of his fingers, tuned to memories of another life Valens activated the secret switches to power the consoles and screens about the three objects, the generator easily feeding them through a network of resistors and capacitors to account for 700 years of technological advancement and differing voltage requirements.

Blue and white schematics, charts and test results covered the dozens of displays, Kiraea’s eyes flicked between them taking in the information rapidly through four conscious levels, the other two integrating that knowledge with their existing strategic goals.

“These devices…” Kiraea spoke softly but in the cavernous room every sound was amplified

Aethans Dominabutir Astris” Valens surmised...

<<<<>>>

Despite the darkness of a cloudy night on Aethas, absent any artificial illumination, she could see perfectly down the valley to where the mountains formed a natural corner further into the plains where the large farms were…

Or rather would be in time.

Ever since the events at Mount Alixaea a series of half coherent thoughts had tickled at Milaea’s mind…she had felt Eilaea so strongly across nearly three hundred years…strong enough to the point that she felt she could almost pull her into her own time.

Of course such a thing seemed impossible…but then so did rewriting DNA with the Aether, or reviving the recently dead – both of which she could do.

Flicking up a piece of Blood stone, coarse and only recently hewn from a vein in the mountains as Mount Aelia was increasingly hollowed to serve as their fortress, Milaea wondered….

The Blackstone altar had once held Aethena’s memories and power for 700 years…it had been, however imperfectly, infused into her by Valens when she was an infant for her own protection…Blackstone was less absorbent of the aether than bloodstone, and 700 years was a long time, Aethena could never have been perfectly revived…

But what is instead of Blackstone, Bloodstone was used…and what if instead of centuries the gap was only decades…

Could she draw in the aetheric presence of someone from the past into a blood stone orb in the present…

And once it was in the orb, then like the altar, could she transfer that presence into a body as Aethena’s memories and power had been transferred to her?

If she could work out a way to enchant the orb correctly, to create a strong enough bond across space time, determine a way to pull an essence totally through…

Of course that risked a paradox, and she knew from experience the Force baulked at that…she had tried to save her mothers life by forcing time to bend to her will on Nar Shadda, but it would not relent…she could only bring through someone at the moment of their ‘death’ to avoid such a paradox…

And even then only someone with a strong aetheric ability or who had created an anchor in their own time for her to fix on…

It would be difficult, complex beyond even her six levels of savant like genius thought to get correct, and even beyond her extreme aetheric powers to do…but with time…with planning…with help

"I could resurrect anyone…” she whispered into the silence of the night.

<<<<>>>>
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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