Objective: Breach the Mountainside Installation.
Allies: Outer Rim Coalition.
Enemies: The Sith Empire.
Subsequently following the tragic events that transpired on Mon Calamari, I found myself with a plethora of time to think. The grievous wound that the ambitious Sun Guard warrior inflicted left me in bacta-soaked bandages for months; unable to move. I spent that lengthy respite contemplating the choice I made, after the downfall of the Galactic Republic and the sundering of our Order. Never again would I grace the battlefield with the intent to take another's life. Yet, with the battles of Skor II and countless others behind me; I found myself facing the temptation to sever one's mortal coil in order to save countless others. It would’ve been easier to cut down those that opposed me, but it would also harrow what was left of my soul to the very core. We Jedi were taught to kill as a last resort.
What would I become if I started to justify the means to an end without trying the peaceful resolution first? The answer was simple, in a way. I wouldn’t be who the Force wished me to be. I wouldn’t be able to stand amongst my kin and call myself a Jedi.
After spending countless hours mulling over my place amongst the stars, and ensuring the wound that damned Thyrsian inflicted healed properly, I found myself back in Coalition space. Some would say that was a fortuitous turn of events, as there were those within that Organization that wanted me to volunteer for their incursion into Sith Empire space. Supposedly, it was said that there was an ancient artifact that dwelled beneath the surface of Rhen Var. A curio that couldn’t be allowed to fall into the hands of the Sith, no matter the cost. They already had an overwhelming advantage with their seemingly unstoppable war machine, but with that relic? It’d be nigh-impossible to halt them in their tracks without sacrificing half of the known universe. Therefore, a pre-emptive strike needed to be made.
At first, I wasn’t fond of the idea. It reeked of the wayward and perverted notions of the corrupted New Jedi Order. They actively sought out the darkness, and forcibly brought those embraced by the darkness beyond into the light. They did so with arcane contraptions that made my skin crawl just thinking of them, let alone seeing them with my own eyes. While I’m sure their intentions were justified and their heart was in the right place… Magma cells weren’t the best choice in enlightening those enslaved by their darkest emotions; no matter the results. I wasn’t a Crusader, and I did my damnedest to ensure that I wouldn’t be ensnared by such notions of purity and zeal like those who swore their blades to the Galactic Alliance.
However, with that being said, I also understood the political shift in the Galaxy’s balance of power. The Sith Empire had the largest sphere of influence, now that the First Order fell. They were uncontested for Galactic Dominance, with their rivals finding themselves falling leagues behind on the political spectrum. I could only imagine what horrors would be wrought upon the innocent, who only wished to be left alone to live out their days in relative peace. Thus, after some time, I eventually came around to accepting my place within the Coalition’s elite strike-team. While I was far from the only Force-wielder to grace their number, it felt somewhat comforting to see that I wasn’t the only Jedi taking to the field.
When the time came to board our transport and commence the operation, I found myself - yet again - with plenty of time to think, and to finally change out of my tattered flight suit. That trusty article of clothing had seen me through the worst of times, but there was only so much it could do against the biting cold of Rhen Var. Therefore, I needed something a bit more insulated. Enter the military-issue, thermal body glove. It was formerly apart of an Alliance SpecForce kit that was salvaged from their Federation’s collapse and found new life in service to the government in exile. Now, this lifeless article covered my scarred flesh and would shield me from the elements.
In addition to that black bodystocking, I was given a set of robes from my newfound comrades. They were plain, and manilla, but they would mark me out as a Jedi; no more than the dangling, extinguished hilt of ‘Calvesol’ did already. It was fitting, I supposed, that I made my return to the battlefield dressed in the religious attire of my ancestors. There were even some choice comments from the strike-team, saying that they couldn’t imagine me so cleanly presented, what with my freshly-shaven visage and pressed tunic. That was the last time I saw many of those brave men and women smiling with amusement and joy sparkling behind their collective eyes. As dark, and depressing as it is to say such words -- they were the unadulterated truth.
It was the reality of our situation, and it would do those that perished a disservice if I - or anyone else - sought to romanticize their last moments together. For when we made the translation into realspace, we found ourselves suddenly embraced by chaotic tides of conflict; when none should’ve been found. It was disheartening to see that our operation was already beset by setbacks, but there was no turning back now. We were here now, and the mission needed to be complete; one way or another.
Then, as we soared towards the surface, everything became a blur as one action bled into another. It left me with little time to process what transpired, let alone understand what happened. I was acting on instinct, making sure that the others and myself would remain standing long enough to make the rapid descent towards the planet, and the installation thereafter. When that appointed moment arrived, and the deck was swept with pulsating emerald lights, there was little hesitation amongst our number. We rushed forward, racing towards the metallic lip of the hangar deck, before wholly committing ourselves to the drop with open arms. Once we were free of the Corvette, our strike-team knifed its way towards the surface - separating from one another as Coalition starfighters swooped low to tangle with the various aerial emplacements below.
My landing was uneventful at first, as I drifted off-course to avoid a passing starfighter and came down near one of the Installation’s exterior generators. While it was seemingly fortunate, the Force had seen fit to place me away from my comrades. For what purpose? I couldn’t say, nor did I really seek to ponder on the reality of my situation. There would be another time for that. Instead, I busied myself with ditching my grav-chute and taking stock of my position. Knee-deep in the snow, and surrounded by those that would doubtlessly seek to end my life wasn't the ideal place to be in, but alas. With those thoughts in mind, I rushed forward - allowing the ambient energies of the Force to mingle with the fibrous chords of my disciplined musculature. There was a sentry nearby that I could risk alerting, but as soon as I drew close… it wouldn't have mattered anyway.
Someone set the generator to overload, and when it detonated - it stole the ground from the Sentry and me - callously scattering us across the mountainside.
Either because I was too stubborn to die, or because I allowed myself to become one with the ever-shifting tides of the Force, I was safeguarded from harm. My robes were another story, however, as the right and back sides were scorched; followed by billowing tails of smoke, seemingly visible in the embrace of drifting snow. Rousing myself to my feet, I found the Sith-Imperial Sentry not too far away. Blood marked the exterior of his battle armour, and as I rolled his shoulder back, I found the source protruding from his neck. The man was alive, but barely. His very essence spurred across the snow, painting it in a vital shade of crimson. I couldn't see his face, but the curses he choked were audible through his sundered helmet.
This dying soldier villainized me for his demise and swore that his comrades would avenge him for my misdeeds. It didn't matter that I took no part in landing the blow that slew him. I was the embodiment of evil in his dying eyes, and the last thing he would see before entering Death's cold embrace. Therefore, I felt nothing but pity as he took his last breath. Things could've ended differently, and the man would've still been alive to tell the tale of how he was spared by a Jedi. Alas, such a future was not for him, and in recognition of that, I whispered a silent prayer; hoping that he'd find peace in the veil beyond reality. With such words spoken, and my surroundings brightened by the remains of an overloaded generator - I regained my swift pace as I trudged through the snow towards the facility.
The freezing atmosphere didn't bother me much, thanks to my newly acquired clothes, but the warm breath still misted the air before my mouth as I surged forward. While I could possibly live an entire lifetime embraced by the snow, and be nothing more than comfortably numb; I would've been letting my team down. I was certain that they would forge ahead without me, but the Coalition needed every-able bodied person they could muster. Especially when faced against the might of the Sith Empire, and their relentless war machine. So, I squashed such an enticing notion from my conscious mind, replacing it with the various details that encompassed my surroundings. There were several small skirmishes nearby, along with soaring starfighters overhead; who ran strafing missions on aerial emplacements, allowing for transports to proceed towards the surface.
I couldn’t see much more than that, as the snow kicked but by the aerial duels and the mountainside thereafter obscured much of my vision. It wasn’t the most ideal situation to find oneself in, but being deep behind enemy lines with spotty communications and nothing more than his skills to keep himself company? That was far from the worst scenario I could imagine. I knew, that at least with an enemy-held stronghold ahead, that I was headed in the right direction. It wouldn't be long now until I reached an exterior access tunnel, and forced my way in soon after.