In the wake of Eshan, the Galaxy had descended into a state of delusion. There were many who believed that, after the monumental loss of life upon the Echani homeworld, there would finally be peace. So long as the Exclusion Zone was honored, there would be no more bloodshed. So long as the Mandalorians did not ply their bloody trade upon the innocent, the Southern Systems and her allies would not have to rise up against them. For a time, that peace so many craved reigned. But in the quiet, the Galaxy did not hear the sharpening of iron. The Galaxy could not see the beating hammers upon metal.
For unbenowest to all, the Mandalorians wrought Crowns of Sorrow. And wreathed it upon the heads of those the Southern Systems saw as family. Eshan.Umbara.H'ratth.Jerrilek. Strike after strike, the peace that the Galaxy so desperately wanted shattered into a million pieces. How long could they turn a blind eye? How could the Confederacy call itself an ally of the Core Imperial Confederation and a sister of the Silver Jedi Order if it did not respond to the plight of their peoples?
It is no small task to look upon the sons of one's nation and request that they dive headlong into war. But that was the plea that Confederacy first made to its people. And then, they looked to their siblings and gathered them together under one roof. Not a soul who stood gathered together on Geonosis that day took for granted the gravity of what was about to be done. Not a single nation looked upon their decision as an opportunity for glory or a moment of triumph. Rather, each nation saw the blood which stained the Mandalorian hands...and unanimously agreed that an answer had be made. A reminder that the Galaxy would not stand for their vicious tendencies any longer.
Together, the alliance would pry the Crowns of Sorrow off the heads of the broken. The blade of the Confederacy had been unsheathed, and it now fell upon the distant world of Tanaab. By all accounts, this planet was an auspicious gem: an agriworld, posed to provide a bounty of sustenance to the Mandalorian war machine. Moreover, the potential for supply lines to run betwixt this precious world and the heart of the Mandalorian territory was far too great to ignore. Strategic. Fertile. This was a prime target: for any nation would stagger at the loss of a phenomenal food source. Battle plans were immediately drawn - not for a battle of utter extermination, but one of wresting control. The Confederacy had no designs of total war upon the bountiful world - but rather aimed to pick its surface clean of beskar.
And, ultimately, their efforts would prepare the way for their Silver Siblings to usher in a new era of prosperity to the agriworld.
It was as the system's primary star first peaked over the horizon that the might of the Confederacy announced its presence. Yet the Mandalorians had foreseen their coming. Upon reverting into realspace, the Confederate Armada was greeted by the might of Mandalore in orbit. Mines, Defense Platforms, and numerous countermeasures laid between the Southern Systems and their target. Moreover, the boots that would ultimately make it to the ground would find a world surprisingly absent of civilian life. It would appear as though the Mandalorians had done their part to prepare Tanaab for the battle ahead - and thus, evacuations had occurred beforehand.
And as the morning sun continued to rise, the hangar bays of the Confederate Armada unleashed the swarm. Fighters. Transports. Drop Pods. The greatest and finest of the Southern Systems cut through the black of space and began their engagement of the enemy. The Battle of Tanaab had begun - and with it, the removal of each Crown of Sorrow.
The key to success in any operation is to dominate the skies - and Tanaab is no different. Standing between the Confederacy and victory over their adversary is the full might of Mandalore's armada. Collaborate with your allies - see to it that vital, enemy support is prevented from reaching the surface. Wrest superiority out of their beskar-plated plated hands!
Initial reports from the ground are showing a major, defensive position taken up within the Capital City of Pandath. A shield encircles the metropolis, rendering it immune to bombardment from above. While conjecture, it is presumed that there will be civilians mingled with armed personnel underneath the shield. Therefore, the tasks at hand are Besiege and Dominion. Your adversary is the Mandalorians - seek out their positions and their assets. Sweep them clean from Pandath!
For both present necessities and future operations, a foothold into this region is pivotal. As such, we have designated a prime landing zone for the erection of a Forward Operating Base. This location upon the rolling plains of Tanaab, far outside of conventional artillery range of the Capital City. Defend this vital position whilst the FOB is established - cut through any opposition that rises to impede our progress!
His words were no more than a whisper, a simple muse that was spoken half to himself and half to his apprentice who stood closely beside him. Malphas paused as they reached a set of pristine blast doors that led to the bridge. He took a moment to remove the lenses that had been set over his amethyst eyes, revealing their full fury and the twisting wrath of the Dark Side. He radiated darkness. The armor that he wore had been freshly detailed and polished to a shine, and yet it seemed to darken the lights in the hall they stood in. Even the streaks and traces of crimson on the armor were so deep they seemed coated with blood. Still, his youthful expression could not be missed. Perhaps there was some traces of excitement? The galaxy would not know, because his demeanor was still even and stoic. Once he had stowed the glasses, he offered a subtle push through the Force. The pad on the wall beside him let off the faintest of beeps before the blast doors were opened to he and his apprentice. Malphas led, his cape flowing down to the durasteel surface beneath them and his left hand firmly wrapped around the hilt of his favored blade.
"Exarch on deck!" The metallic voice rang out causing the deck officers, who were a healthy mix of droids and humanoids, to stand at attention for their ranking commander. Malphas waved his hand at them, command they return to their work and dispense with the formalities of the regulation. There was a command throne in the center of the bridge, however Malphas strode past it to a holotable that was a few feet before the throne. "Once the fleet drops out of hyperspace...." He began, tapping a gauntleted hand over the console. A bright red light shined over the table, bringing up a hologram of their destination. "You will leave my side." He said, turning his eyes back on his apprentice. She was young and the Dark Side was with her, yet on this day she would act without the aid of her master, today she would be a commander herself.
"I have arranged a strike force. Small, maneuverable, and fast, it should be a good start for you. I want you to take command of this task force and support the main invasion force." It wasn't a request. He didn't make requests. It was an order that she would see through, like it or not. "The ship captain's are all experienced and the commanding officer is one of our best, do not mess it up." He was curt, however the fact he was offering such a thing to Xobos at all spoke of her skill and perhaps even his faith in her. There was not much time to discuss this however, as the raven-haired man turned his gaze to a B1 Battle droid standing off to the side of the holotable. "Get me a connection to the other ship commanders, we'll be dropping out of hyperspace soon."
The metallic officer, nodded it's head while letting out a brief acknowledgement. "Roger, roger."
It was brief. The table that had been displaying a map of the Tanaab system quaked, and when the image of the planet fell away it was replaced by a number of bodies standing before the Exarch. They were flight officers, fleet commanders, and invasion leaders of all sort. In total there were over ten of them and they were projected in a circle around the Exarch and his apprentice. He waited until each of the holograms checked in with a good connection, then he would speak. His tone was wine dashed over a silver blade, it was refined yet powerful.
"We have less than ten minutes before we arrive at Tanaab. Now that we have passed the final marker we are committed. Make no mistake, they will be ready for us...but it doesn't matter. These dogs, these Mandalorians have posed a threat to us for too long. It's time to finish what we started on Eshan. We will scour them from the very face of this sector and if they wish to stand against us then we will bring them to their knees." His eyes met the eyes of every man there, before finally they were set on one.
"Now, Viceroy Voph, the moment the ships exit from hyperspace your ships will deploy as the forward guard, as we planned. Assault forward and do not relent until the rest of the armada safely exits hyperspace. Once John Locke and the rest of our rear guard have deployed into the sector we will punch a hole into the enemies lines and begin landing."
The klaxons sounded.
The sirens slammed across the bridge and the Exarch nodded to his officer's with a certain smile upon his lips. "We're entering back into real space. Keep this channel open and proceed with the invasion!" Malphas cast a hand out towards the viewport as the rushing stars were abruptly drug back into reality.
The Confederate armada. Through darkness and emptiness it would spill into real space with a monsterous shift. Hundreds of ships fell from the reaches of hyperspace, each and every one intent on a single end, war. As the Main body of the Armada, led by the Veil fell into real space there was a shocking push into the system. The Veil was surrounded by a team of Battlecruisers, spacing themselves out from the warship, they led the way into the system. The rest of the armada fell into real-space gradually. Carriers and escorts flew into the space behind the Veil, all of them staring down the world of Tanaab and what it held.
To those space stations and ships that stood in waiting over Tanaab, prepared or otherwise, in only moments after deploying the full might of The Veil and her escorts would let out a hellish rain of turbolaser fire, filling the skies with crimson streaks, aimed to decimate any of the Mandalorians military ships over Tanaab. Yet the might of the Confederacy would meet it's own calamity. The edge of the system had been mined, in hopes of delaying the inevitable the Mandalorians had mined the space around Tanaab.
The first explosion was the worst. Silently, the explosions began to erupt around those ships who had just entered the system. The warheads were anti-matter in nature and as such did well to shred through those ships too close to them. Malphas' eyes narrowed as he looked to the Veil's viewport. A massive explosion chain was being triggered, essentially clearing those mines around the Veil. It started a violent rock of the ship as a number of alarms sounded out at the explosive damage.
His temper was even, yet he looked to the Deck Officer with a shallow gaze. "Get me a systems report, now! Clear these mines before the rest of the fleet enters the system!" The droid nodded, yet Malphas had already turned back to his fleet officers. "The Mandalorians have mined the space around Tanaab, when you enter the system be wary of the damned things they-" His words were cut off when he glanced up to see one of The Veil's escort cruisers drift too close to a mine. The explosion that occurred ripped through the ship's hull, cleaving a horrid hole into the side of the battlecruiser. "...can tear ships apart."
The Captain had been made aware of the danger posed to Pandath and the people under the safeguard of the planetary shield. No doubt that would be a flashpoint in the pending conflict. Ruus' main mission was to prevent Confederate agents from entering the city limits. Easier said than done. The Mandalorian Guard were not what the once were. Their numbers had been cut dramatically since the the clans had taken up the mantle of the main military force of Mandalore, the Guard was simply law enforcement now. With only a dozen Guards at his command Ruus would need to rely on the verda of the Clans.
"Captain." a Guard walked up to Ruus "Local law enforcement has established a militia. To prevent panic though the mayor has decided to keep their numbers small and voluntary." the Captain inhaled slowly "Very well. We will do what we can." the Guard added quickly "He also wanted to let you know that Pandath Security and the militia will conduct the checkpoints. We're only to act as reinforcement." Ruus scoffed "Reinforcement. That isn't our mission. The mayor's suggestions have been noted." Ruus put his hands behind his back and paced in front of the small fleet of airspeeders and accompanying troop of Guard located near the center of Pandath "We will fulfill our mission. That mission is to prevent Confederate saboteurs from disabling the shield generator covering the city. That generator is one of the few things protecting this city from occupation. Mount up men, I have a feeling that before long we will be putting our resolve to the test."
Ten thousand meters of Confederacy might, and the Jedi Master Veiere Arenais would be present to see it in action. He had been invited aboard the Dreadnaught by Adron Malvern, an official offer extended by the Confederacy of Independent Systems to the Order of the Silver Jedi, and no doubt others had received the same regard the day before the battle was to start. Adron had a long-standing history with Veiere, dating all the way back to the early days of his wife's leadership over Commenor, before it's days in the spotlight of the Galaxy. Later, Adron had also been present during Veiere's more trialing of times, approached for assistance in the foundation of the Dark Jedi Order of Rannon; Veiere, glad to have those days behind him now. Despite his past mistakes, his regrets could wait until after this battle had been won, for there were certainly to be some new scars earned on this day.
Rather than being situated on the Bridge with the other commanding officers, Veiere had made it his priority to meet with and help the soldiers of the confederacy in any way that he could, offering them advice and solace for their fears heading into war. Any good man would be mad to not fear the drums of war, after-all. Many of those Veiere had met with already, could well be deceased by the day's end and he felt they deserved to know that the Force was with them, that the Galaxy's brighter future was owed to them for their fighting to secure it.
The United Clans of Mandalor, his Niece, Yasha Cadera; She was to answer for the crimes of her people, whom had up until now, escaped the consequences for attacking and targeting the civilian worlds of the Silver Jedi Order, the confederacy and the Outer-Rim Coalition for which Veiere had already fought against Kaine Australis. Circumstance had seen to a lack of victor in the ferocious bout, yet the Jedi Master's personal Vanguard had been lost in the battle. All of them devout, elite stewards of the Light, taken by Kaine's Jedi Hunters. They had not been the first to die, nor would they be the last, yet they were valued friends of his and would not soon be forgotten.
Overhead, sirens rang, signalling the Veil's return into real-space and their arrival of Tanaab. Taking his leave of the Barracks, Veiere's attention turned to making his way up to the bridge where he'd be allowed a greater view of the battle over the agricultural world. Unaware that the planet had already been evacuated of civilian life, there were a number of concerns on his mind, collateral damage being at the forefront of his thoughts. With these things clear of the battlefield, the objective would be clear cut with no loss of innocence outside of the two warring sides. This at the very least, would set his mind at ease some. The least he could ask for, knowing that not all would be so fortunate.
Equipment: Beskar'Gam, Belt-Fed Slugthrower Machine Gun (Three boxes of ammunition, one 600 round belt), Disruptor Pistol, Crushgaunts, Vibroknife, Beskad, Jetpack
Dropships were always a bitch- dropships into a fight were worse.
The machine gun laid flat in his hands, gripped tight. He grit his teeth as the dropship came low, and the doors opened as they got closer to the ground. Return fire, sporadic, and ineffective littered the air- inaccurate, but the volume itself was what brought a dropship down within Karsan's view from the open door. The dropship shook violently, and one of the crew members raised a hand for the Confederacy troops to stand up. The ground was ten seconds away. They were coming in hot- very hot. Not touching the ground kind of hot.
They got close, and took a round through the engine block, and then the pilot slumped over, as the bolt exited the fuselage of the craft. Karsan cursed as the dropship violently lurched forward. The crew member hit the green light- and the troopers scrambled to jump out. Karsan rolled as he himself hit the ground, grunting as he struggled to maintain a grip on his machine gun. Cursing as he rose his head, watching the Dropship crash into the ground, skidding to a halt in the ground outside the domed city. Karsan didn't want to stay in the killzone, that was for damn sure. Karsan sprinted, taking cover behind the crashed dropship.
He pulled the feed tray up on his machine gun, and loaded the belt that was around his chest into it, and wrapped the belt around the barrel of the gun. Supporting the machine gun on his armored arm, he fed the belt steady. Turning his head, he observed the defenses being put up by the city. He turned and fired, the distinct sound of his machine gun cutting across the landscape. A slugthrower made a very unique, very jarring sound. It rattled the landscape, cutting across the open terrain. The militia member who Karsan was aiming at was made into a horrific display of grotesque violence, as the machine gun he was carrying riddled the volunteer with a full burst. He slumped against his barricade, and Karsan took cover as the return fire came. He taunted them, screaming over the chaos of the fight, amplified by his helmet.
"I'm comin'! I'm comin' for all you! You're all gonna die, you hear me?! YOU DIE, HERE, NOW!"
The Knight Commander exited her drop pod and looked around, assessing the zone she'd landed in. At a glance, it seemed she was exactly where she'd aimed for; close to the capital city of Pandath, yet far enough away from it at the same time. Good. More pods were dropping as she looked into the sky, Confederates landing on the planet close and far away from her.
She remembered the last time. Last time they had taken arms against the Mandalorians, which had ended up in a full scale war on Eshan. Nothing had gone according to plan that day; she expected nothing would today either. But if this time the Mandalorians would control themselves enough as to not drop battlecruisers on their own heads as well, and keep their giant larvas away, there was a good chance that they could wipe their stain off the planet while causing as little collateral damage as possible.
There were many good people the Confederacy had brought with it. People that would soon enough be making their way to the hospital to keep it safe. People that would make the attempts to lessen the collateral damage that this planet was in for, even if there were no civilians or innocents on it left outside of the hospital itself.
But she was not going to be with them. Madalena, true to her very blood, was here for the damage. There was nothing that would keep her from burning a world down if it meant she would be burning the Mandalorian taint off it at the same time. Ash and dust did not plant fear in her heart, not when it came to these kind of planets. There were only two that the woman cared about, and they were not close to either of them in this corner of the galaxy.
Smiling, the Knight Commander removed the holopad from her pocket and began to look at the files of those were landings. The losses were near to nonexistent this time around. With every war, the Confederacy was improving.
All she needed now was to head for the location. It would only be a few minutes worth of a walk.
Beaming with patriotic pride, Knight Commander Madalena Antares walked.
Edited by Madalena Antares, 11 July 2019 - 11:16 PM.
Taozi sat in her office, reading past battle reports from the Chiss Ascendancy, the galactic news, and the United Clans of Mandalore’s own library. The sheer destruction caused was… concerning to the doctor. A frown distorted her face as her eyes read over words, and looked over pictures. Pictures of mangled bodies, destroyed buildings, children crying in the middle of the street, all reflected in the doctor’s eyes. Her two female assistants were sent off elsewhere in the hospital, and her only company was the small plant on her desk. An air of rage surrounded the usually calm and composed doctor. The lives of her planet were seemingly insignificant to the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The lives of her patients were seemingly insignificant.
And yet they claimed to be saviors. Protectors. Avengers.
Standing up from the Chiss’ report of Corpero, Taozi turned and stared out her window, down into the gardens of the hospital. The atmosphere was tense, no one knowing if they would survive this day. Closing her eyes, the doctor thought of her mother. It had taken much convincing to get the aging Atrisian woman to agree to evacuate with the rest of the Tal Fleet mere hours ago. The fleet had taken all civilians further into the systems watched over by the protective gaze of the UCM, besides those now in the hospital. The comatose, the cancer ridden, and those otherwise too sick or weak to be moved. Would these innocent people be slaughtered in the name of perceived justice? Did the Confederacy realize the world they were attacking?
It was not until an alarm sounded throughout the hospital that Taozi looked up into the sky. It was the hospital’s warning alarm that hostiles were attacking. A sigh escaped the pink-skinned woman’s lips as she turned back to her desk, and pressed a button to begin recording a holo-message.
“To the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and any who have decided to throw their lot in with them, I welcome you to Taanab. I am Doctor Taozi Fuyuan Tal, and I have seen your work. Corpero, where one of your own destroyed a hospital, followed by an evacuation shelter. Eshan, where the war you brought to the already wounded world utterly destroyed her. Concord Dawn, a world now in recovery thanks to a member of your ranks destroying her with bio-weapons and chemicals. You call us murderers, warmongers, villains… Yet you have not looked within your own ranks to punish those who have done the same, if not worse. You call yourselves saints, rescuers, heroes… Yet you have committed crimes unbefitting of such titles. I contact you with a request, and a warning.
Leave Taanab whole, untarnished by yourselves who would destroy her with your bombs, your chemicals, your hate. Exit her space, leave us be, and move on. Should you choose to ignore my request, the many defenses the UCM has provided my planet will shoot you on site. Clan Mortui stands ready to defend the hospital I reside in from any Confederates who think they can come close. I promise you this: I will not let you destroy me, my patients, and my hospital, like you did with the Chiss. Members of the Confederacy will be allowed into my hospital by stepping over my cold, dead, body.”
Taozi ended the message, and sent it on all public channels. Those who would accept it, would see a hologram of Taozi as she spoke, dressed in her doctor's scrubs, coat, and her long hair pulled back into a high ponytail.
A large tree like creature, towering over the average man, clad in a brown burlap cloak found himself bound towards Taanab on a mission he had not deciphered. On Utapau it had called him to redeem the Slayer of Mandalore, and he liked to believe that he had succeeded, though the man's name was not something he could recall anymore. He had also done something else involving Mandalorians. It had been how many days? or years since then? On Kashyyyk the great jungle had pulled him to defend it from the Sith alongside several other beings whose races he could not remember, but they had been noble and stood with the Jedi Master against the Dark Side. Now on Taanab his purpose would be revealed when he was needed.
Orn sat quietly aboard the little dropship he had taken, having borrowed a seat from the CIS on one of its marked medical shuttles. Its metal and unnatural walls were confining, the air stale, and the floor hard and metallic. Nature didn’t form the sharp angles of the ship’s interior, and the whole ordeal made the Neti Jedi Master feel uncomfortable. He usually handled his discomfort by comforting something else, be it animal, plant, or sentient but being that there were no animals or plants other than himself aboard the little ship he had no choice but to engage in conversation with the young medic strapped into the chair beside him.
“When I was a young sapling I always hated ships like this, so, fabricated. Like being put into a box and submerged. I much prefer the open air and fields to the creations of your kind.” His warm smile and aura of peacefulness radiated out calm throughout the cabin. “But I always appreciated how sturdy they were, built to protect us.” Turbulence shuddered through the ship and the young man jumped, clenching the grips of his seat and closing his eyes tight and holding his breath.
“Worry not young one. The Force calls me to Taanab, it will ensure we all arrive safe.” His branchlike hand patted the man on the shoulder reassuringly. The Force had never lead the old Neti astray thus far, and he had no doubt that it called to him to travel to Taanab to fulfill its purposes there and so it would protect them, or would provide him the strength to protect everyone else on the ship. Sometimes it worked mysteriously like that, using the living as a vessel to enact its will.
It occurred to him that not everyone believed in the Force as he did, "And if it does not, I shall."
Edited by Laira Darkhold, 12 July 2019 - 01:36 AM.
The ride through the atmosphere was bumpy. Though, that was the same for many of these combat drops. Luna had been through enough of them, especially riding on these bulky and monstrous MAT-Class Dropships, not exactly known for their smooth flying. They managed to make any entry, especially those into a combat zone, an adventurous one. If she had to be honest, however, she was happy to be riding in the hull of one of these things, instead of one of the C-9979 Landing Crafts that almost all of the Dauntless troopers would be arriving planetside on.
In fact, Luna thought to herself as she checked her internal time keeper, those eight companies would begin launching from the various carriers that had arrived with the rest of the fleet very soon. The dropships had gotten a fast start, having arrived on the Rebellious Hawk, and were fast hurtling toward the planet through the atmosphere. In total, with everyone now having arrived and headed toward the surface, over three hundred Dauntless Commandos, and close to eight thousand Dauntless troopers would soon be on the surface with the goal of setting up the Forward Operation Base for the confederacy.
This mission was widely known to the commandos and troopers present on this mission, and many of the commandos would soon be taking leadership roles once they hit the surface, controlling small units of troopers to aid them in getting the base set up as quickly as possible. There would be medical tents that needed to be set up, defensive emplacements needing to be dug, and walls raised. A full time and important job that required skill, precision, and quickness. Lucky for the Confederacy, their best army CDF division had been put on the job.
Luna took a moment to look up and around the cabin to the faces, or helmets covering them, of the two squads currently jam packed into the shuttle. She had personally selected the commando squads that would be allowed to participate in this mission, and even then, she left the option open for those that did not feel up to the job to stay behind. The commander knew that Kelsie would likely be one of those, and she was right, not seeing the Lieutenant with the squad. Omega squad could handle themselves, as they had grown more and more as the months of their training had droned on. They actually looked like a cohesive unit at this point.
These were likely thoughts for another time, especially as the light in the cabin turned from white to red, signaling to everyone that they were less than five minutes from making planetfall. At this point, she grabbed her rifle, slinging it off her shoulder. Raising her voice over the engines, the commander’s tone was clear enough to all that could hear it. “We are 5 minutes from landing, everyone. Make sure your blasters are loaded and your battle buddy is close. Your enemy on this planet will not hesitate to fire a bolt straight through your head. You should not hesitate either. If you do..then you will not leave this planet alive.” Placing the butt of her rifle to the floor of the transport for a moment, she took a deep breath before continuing. “Let me remind you of the quote you heard when you first entered into your training as commandos. “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back,”
Underneath her helmet, the commander smiled lightly. Taking her rifle, Luna raised it up to her shoulder, giving it one, hard, loud pat that reverberated through the cabin area. “Today, each and everyone of you will be warriors. Make me proud.”
The end of his cigarra blazed in the dim lit confines of the drop pod, washing the mercenary’s features in a hellish orange as he busied himself with the final stages of his gear check. Calm and steady, belying the flicker of adrenaline that was starting to well up in his veins at what was to come.
Feh. It was just another misshapen rock as far as Mav was concerned. If it had been found on the outer reaches, under someone else’s domain, he severely doubted anyone would’ve cared enough to put together a bake sale, let alone stage a full blown liberation campaign. Fierfek, if it wasn’t for the Mandalorian Empire - Or was it Clans now? - setting up shop here, he doubted anyone in the Confederacy could’ve pointed to it on a map. Not that it really mattered. Regardless of their motivations, someone in the Confederacy had taken notice of the world. Someone with the means to dig a hand into the coffers and produce the necessary credits to turn even the most apathetic heart Confederate purple.
At least, until a better offer came along.
“You can’t smoke that in here.” A voice interjected from beside him, stilling his hands and dragging him from his musings, shifting his attention away from the blaster into his lap to find the source of the intrusion. Amousy looking mercenary with a touch too much baby fat around the cheeks to be remotely intimating - despite the obvious and clear attempts to the contrary with the skull and crossbone decal haphazardly sprayed across his armour. “Don’t you know that stuff will kill you?”
Puff, puff, exhale.
“Now neighbor, we’re about to drop into territory occupied by some of the blood thirstiest, anger ridden backbirths to ever mosey on through these parts.” He took one last final drag from the thin, cancerous death stick before stubbing it out on the side of the drop pod. Flashing the rodentine looking man a lopsided, yet decidedly unfriendly smile.“If you’re finding yourself concerned about a little old second hand smoke, don’t you think you got your priorities all wrong? I mean, feth, before this day is through, you'll be begging for a cigarra.”
Assuming the man (or indeed, any of them) even made it that far. Drop pods weren't for the faint of heart. The airwaves were already alive with chatter from other insertion teams encountering heavy resistance as they moved on the city.Like a high end hooker, it seemed the Mandalorians were intent on making them pay for every inch today. The anticipation in his chest rose a notch. It wouldn’t be long now.
The man beside him opened his mouth for a rebuttal, but whatever words that spewed forth were droned out by the sound of the drop pod gearing up for a launch. Lucky for him. There were times when discretion really was the better part of valour, and robbing a man of his pre-combat ritual being a prime example of knowing when to exercise caution. If it wasn’t for what was about to happen, Mav would’ve been sorely tempted to add another name to body count currently climbing on the distant world below.
There it was. The launch light turned from red to a familiar, reassuring Corellian green. With the warning claxons blaring in his ears as he holstered his sidearm and reached for his hat, jamming the signature gear into pride of place. Already counting down the seconds before the final lock was disengaged and they were sent tumbling into free fall.
“Time to earn some creds.”
Edited by Mav Vohaloveer, 12 July 2019 - 01:29 AM.
They’d been there a week and a half already, yet it felt like an age had passed by, but it was only yesterday. Aditya hadn’t been feeling too well, so they had come to the nearest and best medical hospital in Mandalorian space, the one run by Clan Tal. One thing had led to another, but halfway through the week a message had come, it spoke of an upcoming invasion of the planet by CIS forces. Adenn didn’t know why the CIS would attack a medical planet, but they were going to, and his loved ones and clan were there. You see, Clan Tal had been good to Clan Mortui, constantly making sure that they and their Alor were in tip top shape. Adenn in fact knew many of the people in the hospital by name, he’d been there that often. That wasn’t important though, what was important is that many wounded Clan Mortui members were in the hospital, as well as Aditya and Adenn’s 3 new born children.
3 days ago
The 3 children had been born, 2 boys and 1 girl. Adenn and Aditya had gotten to hold them, care for them slightly, even if they were premature, even if one of the boys couldn’t yet breath without a breathing apparatus. They couldn’t be moved, even as others were evacuated, as the populace was sent to different Mandalorian planets, many had to stay or chose to stay. Adenn’s children couldn’t leave, his wounded soldiers couldn’t, and those who could chose to stay and fight.
5 days ago
They had learned through spies that the CIS would be attacking. Immediately Adenn had called for his clan to come and help in the defense of Tanaab, they owed Clan Tal that much at least. Then his children had been born and the priority of the message went up 10-fold. As such, more troops came, more supplies, and even more were promised. A majority of Clan Mortui had decided to come out and fight; their Alor had found love and was a father now, they would protect that family with their lives, they would protect their vode with their lives.
2 days ago
This day the majority of the troops had come. Amongst these troops came heavy weapons and vehicles, leading these numbers was the Hell’s Angel. The massive titan had come for this battle, accompanying it were 70 Titan tanks, 300 AT-ADs, 20 Imperium class super heavy tanks (given to Clan Mortui by a generous Kaine), 15 El-4 mobile siege artillery, 50 AAA, all 20 Beskad Elites, 500 Beskad Warriors, and about 6000+ regular Clan Mortui warriors, and 3 sub clans of Chulan, each numbering 500 each. They had immediately set about setting up defenses, making a double trench line around the hospital, entrenching artillery and anti-air, setting up kill zones, and oh so much more. Anti-tank mines were set up, anti-personnel mines, barbed wire, tank traps, everything and anything imaginable.
1 day ago
The work done by all these units combined was rather quick, and they managed to finish a lot of it by this day. However, more work was still required and they kept at it, intending to make the hospital a veritable fortress by the time the CIS came. This day even more troops came, not as many as the day before, but enough to be a small army on its own. Another thousand Clan Mortui warriors had come, along with many freed slaves who wished to help fight for the freedoms of another planet. These former slaves had also been outfitted with Mandalorian armor, standard stuff, but they still wore it with honor. All of these new soldiers came along and helped set up even more defenses, more bunkers, more bunks, more everything that was needed. More importantly, they brought the biggest vehicle along with them, Bessie. Not only that, but they brought what every besieged army needed, food and water, lots of it. There were enough supplies in total by the end of the day that they could hold out for an entire year, they had that much food. Not that they truly would most likely, but it was the thought that counted.
Adenn stood next to Aditya within the nursery, aside from some nurses attending to babies at the other end of the room, they were alone. Aditya sat in her hoverchair while Adenn stood to her right, he had his helmet off and under his right arm, while his left was on Adityas shoulder, with a finger running side to side with anxiety. They had just had their children, yet Adenn was off to war again. The galaxy truly wasn’t fair, not to Adenn and Aditya, not to the Mandalorians. But Adenn and his vode wouldn’t be fair to their enemies in turn, they’d fight the scum that had decided to attack a hospital world, they’d fight off the chaakar that came to a peaceful planet and brought war. They would make the enemy pay, none more so than Adenn. He’d fight at the forefront of his vode, he’d be far from his wife, from his children, but he’d be keeping them safe that way. Besides, there were guards everywhere, Adenn had made sure of it.
At each small side door to the hospital were 2 squads. 1 of Mandalorians in full armor, the other of Chulan, cloaked and hidden away, with 2 of their number inside (squad=10 members). For the main entrances, the defenses were even higher. There were 4 AT-ADs at every main entrance, with 4 squads, 2 Mandalorians and 2 Chulan squads. Within the hospital itself were even more guards. At least 5 Chulan guards on every floor at every elevator, along with 5 Mandalorians. Near the rooms with wounded Mortui warriors and other Mandalorians, there were also guards stationed to protect them. Doubled onto that, the floor with the most seriously wounded had 20 Mandalorians guarding the entire floor. At the floor with Adenn’s children, there were 50 Beskad Warriors guarding the entire floor, with 5 Beskad Elites stationed directly at the doors to the nursery, while 1 was with Aditya at all times. There was also a squad of Mandalorians with some heavier and light weapons attached to her, all to ensure her safety.
Those guards were currently stationed further from Adenn and Aditya so they could have some more private time. This might be the last time for a while, or ever, that they had some free time to themselves. Even as Adenn stood there, facing his 3 newborn children, he couldn’t concentrate on them, not even on his wife sitting next to him. The only thing he could think about was this upcoming fight, of how he’d be fighting not only for himself and those next to him, but also for his family. Not just vode, no, his blood family, born of his own blood and the blood of his love. Drawing in a steep breath, Adenn blinked rapidly before kneeling next to Aditya. He kissed her on the lips before leaning his forehead against hers, he didn’t know what else to do. In this moment, Adenn was at a loss and so he turned to one who could give him direction.
“What do I do cyar’ika, what do I do?” Adenn’s breath hitched and he closed his eyes, not trusting himself to not cry. “I know to fight, to protect you and love you, and now to protect our children. Not only them, but everyone else here, but I… I want to watch them grow, yet I’ve only held them for such a short amount of time.” Sucking in another breath, Adenn was aware of only 4 things, Aditya, and his 3 children. Letting the breath out slowly and between locked teeth, Adenn opened his eyes to stare into Aditya’s, not knowing what else to do, what else to say. Only that there wasn’t enough time for him to show his true love, and that he’d have to later.
Even as this happened, the CIS came in force to Tanaab. Immediately the shield around the hospital sprang up, troops rushed to positions, and everyone went on high alert. The AAA would open fire on any combat drop ships that came down. Any ships that managed to land would be fired upon by the artillery if in range, and there would be no quarter for the enemy. Even as the klaxons sounded, Adenn knew he had to get to war, no matter how much he hated leaving his wifes side. But a message still went out, over open comms and following shortly after Taozi’s message. The voice was cold and hard, promising pain and death to the CIS.
“Dear shabs of the CIS, welcome to the peaceful and happy world of Tanaab. A hospital world, one that heals the wounded, no matter where they come from. You have brought war to this planet and for that you shall pay. Here on this world, you hold no moral high ground, for it is you who has come here to raze a planet to ashes, and slaughter innocents. Your reasons for being here are imaginary, your claims of bringing justice pure lies, and here on Tanaab you shall be taught the error of your wars.” A deep sigh followed, one that spoke of the anger the speaker was feeling, one that was filled with grief but determination. “The clans defend each other, and you shall not kill our wounded, nor our populace. Come and face warriors and die by their blades.”
That communication ended and another went out to Clan Mortui and all allied soldiers.
“Look at them come! The CIS have come to this peaceful world to raze and pillage, something they accuse us of doing, and yet turn a blind eye to what they themselves are. They have come to a medical world and decided to hurt us, they won’t, for we won’t let them. Stand together vod, for together we will defend one another! For Mandalore, for our wounded, and for our families!”
Overview of forces
Hell’s Angel, to the Southwest of the hospital, Bessie to the Northeast of the hospital
Double trench line around the entire hospital, with the titans, vehicles, and everything else within those grounds
70 Titan tanks, 20 Imperium class super heavy tanks, 15 EL-5 Mobile Siege Artillery, 50 AAA, 300 AT-Ads
Tanks are centered on the titans and also spread out to support the trench line. AT-Ads are directly at the trench line to help protect the troops better. Beskad Warriors are also in a supporting role, are heavy infantry and defending important individuals, such as Taozi. Fuyuan . Beskad Elites with Adenn and/or Aditya.
Some Chulan cloaked and hiding around the hospital and acting as vanguard soldiers. Will conduct hit and run missions.
Every single soldier has their helmets on with recording devices, so everything is being recorded in the battle.
It was a quiet morning. A still morning. Even the birds had yet to rise. But as the first light broke the horizon, the air was already charged and tense. Men stirred from their slumber, preparing to leave. It was nearly time. Above the capital, the protective shadow of the Resolve loomed over the city. And deep within her bowels, a team of technicians worked. They came to realize that their work was being observed. The council had gathered to oversee the final stages of their gift. As the room sprang to life, a voice echoed across the chamber.
"Preparing to boot......Error."
"Checking....Authorization not found, unable to boot."
"Authorization, Voph Sitdrisa'yr."
A hologram flickered to life, a dark haired woman standing before the gathered assembly. She grinned mischievously, looking to the one that had authorized the activation. "Greet'n's, boss! I'm Darcy. Shall we play?" There was a solemn nod in response. The hologram saluted, and turned to run away, vanishing from sight as she did so. The hooded figure turned to the man beside him. "Captain. Assemble the Octarchy. It's time."
Zero Hour. The Octarchy had gathered at the rally point agreed upon some week prior. Voph sat in his personal ready room, head bowed as he centered himself. The time had come. War. Terrible, bloody, war. Voph smiled to himself. Finally. His true calling. His true purpose. Voph looked up as someone approached his door. Two soldiers stepped into the room, and saluted. Voph stood. "They have arrived?" "Sir, Yes Sir!"
Voph gestured to the armor sitting against the wall. "I will be with you momentarily." The soldiers saluted, and left. Voph turned, and picked up the cuirass. It was time for war. Time to do what he did best. Moments later, the caped figure strode from his ready room, his boots echoing against the cold steel floor. "Status."
"Fleet standing by, Awaiting your orders."
Voph nodded, gesturing to his communications officer. "Darcy, online."
"I'm here, boss."
Voph leaned over the holocommand table. Holograms began springing to life around him. The commanders of the Octarchy, standing ready for orders. Voph looked between each of them for a moment. "My friends. Now is not the time for grand speeches or posturing. We know the score. We all know why we're here. You were chosen because you're the best. And now is the time for the best to show the galaxy what we believe in. Freedom. At any cost. For a better tomorrow we may never live to see."
Voph fell silent for a moment, then bent forward over the table, finger moving to indicate various points. "Today's target. Tanaab. Resource hub and food world. Tanaab supplies resources to a good number of systems under Mandalorian influence. Our objective is to cut the throat of this supply line. We are not pursuing this objective directly. Our job is air superiority. The Confederates have aims to land here, here, and here. Once our brothers are on the ground, they're depending on us to keep the skies clear for them. To that end, fighters from Battle Group Vanguard will be deployed to assist on the ground. Battle Group Bastion's fighters will remain in orbit to assist the fleet. The Mandos know we're coming. So if your fighters support hyperspace, they will launch here, and travel to the battlezone separate from their carriers. Those ships not capable of self-sustained Hyperspace travel will launch the moment we revert to real space."
Voph looked up at the people around him. "Today, we fight for our fallen brothers among the free worlds. Do not let their deaths be in vain. Today, we seek to destroy the band of murderers and tyrants that call themselves Mandalorians. Do not let their folly mislead you. Even thousands of years hence, Cathar still remembers. These men and women will see the galaxy fall before their crusade before they declare peace. It is time to put the dogs in their place."
Voph turned to look at his tactical officer as alert sirens began to sound. The fleet was preparing to jump. "Everyone, to your stations. Launch all fighters. Prepare to jump into hyperspace." Voph turned to Aklin Dex as the various personnel began to scramble about, preparing to jump to war. "Captain. You have the bridge." Voph nodded to the salute he was offered, and turned to leave the bridge. Under normal circumstances, he would have remained on the bridge with his men. But today was a special occasion. The unveiling of the Resolve, and the weapon that made it truly devastating. As Voph stepped into his Meditation Chamber, he felt the hairs on his neck stand on end. The very room hummed and buzzed with the Force, begging Voph to leap into it, and surrender himself to its will. "Incoming connection boss. It's the Exarch."
Voph sat upon the simple pedestal in the middle of the room, drawing his legs to cross in front of him as he prepared for his meditation. "Patch him through." Voph saw the ring of commanders surround him, and focused his gaze to Adron. "Connection holding. Strike Team Octarchy is ready and awaiting orders." Voph fell silent as Adron briefed them on the situation. Voph knew the plan by heart. It was his job. It was time for war. Voph sighed quietly as he allowed his mind to clear. The Force moved and surged around him, and its influence began to grow. Beyond him. Beyond his ship. Soon, it engulfed the fleet within the sphere of his Battle Meditation.Voph released a deep breath, and inhaled deeply, breathing the very essence of the Force within himself. Then, the alarms sounded. Zero Hour. Voph barked sharply to his crew. "Red Alert. Battle Stations!"
The ship reverted to real space. Voph did not need systems nor sensors to tell him what awaited. "All ahead. Remaining fighters, Launch. Full speed. We break the line." The Resolve surged forward, flanked by the twin carriers to each side, all surrounded by the formidable Archwings. Voph glanced to his left, and nodded. "Destroy their eyes." Voph could almost feel the hum as the Aquila-class ECM array turned on, sending out that fateful wave that would jam the targeting sensors of ill-equipped vessels. As the ships moved forward, explosions began to ripple through the space around them. "Mines. All ships, be aware. Maintain spacing. Acquire targeting protocols and use turbo-lasers to clear a path." Voph's brow furrowed as warnings came flooding in. The Logistical Vessel had been destroyed by a well placed mine. Damn. "Fighters, tighten up formation. All ships, prepare firing solutions on those defensive platforms. We're punching a hole, whatever it takes."
Many people would say that apple orchards were beautiful things. The sharp colors of the apples contrasted beautifully against the green leafs, apples of red and gold and greed sticking out like nature's candy above and between it all. It didn't smell like apples though; Scherezade was somewhat surprised to realize that apple orchards smelled… Like earth and soil, sure, maybe like something green, but not like the actual smell of apples. Not that it mattered too much; she wasn't really a fan of anything sweet, and the looks she got that one time for choosing a bland apple that she'd added salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder to, had made her decide to not get near apples again.
It hadn't taken her too long to get there. The Confederate drop pods were things of beauty, designed to pass through planetary shields. These days, she didn't even bother asking for the deets. Just a simple will this pass whatever shield they might put up with a yes and no.
And now there were two things in her hands. One, was a bottle of flame fluids. People were often surprised by how hard it as to set fields on fire, especially when the fields had their natural levels of humidity and weren't desert-dry. Desert-dry was easy to set on fire. Apple trees… Not so much. In her other hand, she was holding a torch. One of those good old fashioned torches that she could've easily wielded in a grade-C holofilm as an extra that was about to go set witches on fire. She wondered then, if any Witches would show up for the Mandalorians. It was widely known by now that the Mandalorians had given Dathomir to the Sith, their witches treated like little more than flesh for sale. The Sith might have respected the Witches, but the Mandalorians did not, going back on their word of safety and autonomy the first second it seemed convenient.
And to think that this was but the least worst of their offenses. Anyone who had been present at the Summit had seen just what atrocities the so called United Clans of Mandalore had done. This… This was gentle payment. Scherezade knew about many of the plans that would be unfolding, or trying to get unfolded, that day.It saddened her that it was not nearly half as deadly and violent as she had hoped for. There was hatred and racism that coursed through her body towards them, and it could not be quenched, not even after understanding that most of it had come from her grandmother when she flash burned the memories into Scherezade's mind. Hundreds of years of a blood feud, and Scherezade was barely a few weeks into not being a baby at the time. There had been no control. And now… There was control. Honed into a beautiful killing machine. For Scherezade was more than a blade and more than a weapon – she was a predator, and she left a trail of dead wherever she went.
She'd just been about to spray a tree and set it on fire, when her commlink beeped and the message came through. It took more than she cared to admit to not just burst into laughter.
"Tap tap… This thing on?" she asked as she maneuvered the device in her hands, clicking the button to send her own message back to the source [Taozi Fuyuan]. "Listen sweetheart," the Blood Hound sent back, not caring for position or titles, not even bothering to check if there was any information available on who it was that sent that message, "You must be blind in at least one eye if you think you've seen our work. You mention Copero and neglect to add that when we touched ground, the Chiss bodies were already piling there, not by Confederate hands, but by Jen'ari. You mention Eshan yet neglect to remind your listeners that the only reason it was wounded was because your people decided to do the orbital bombardment thing, and then throw ships at us from orbit. Also, where did you guys buy those giant butt worms that caused so much of the destruction? And weren't it you guys too that sent those torpedoes to hit whatever they could?
But you are very much right. We should not be calling you murderers, warmongers, or villains. Because that would imply you have a spine, that you have fangs, that you even exist in any capacity to do more than be taken down. I've heard some of you call yourselves lions. Perhaps lions with shaved manes, with your fangs removed. Now, you're more than welcome to evacuate the planet of your tainted presence just like you have already evacuated the civilians, or you can stay and see what happens yet again when you insist on battling us. We got better things to do than chase you as you run with your tail between your legs. But for any tuna can that insists on remaining… The Confederacy greets you."
Grinning, Scherezade sprayed from her can onto the nearest tree, and used her torch to set it on fire. It would take some time to properly burn the orchard. She had that time.
"By the way," she added to the comm, "here are my coordinates. You're welcome." With that, she made a kissy sound, and terminated the message on her end. Maybe they would send people she could fight. Maybe they would send missiles and ruin the fields themselves, saving her the trouble.
Either way, it was going to be a glorious day.
Edited by Scherezade deWinter, 12 July 2019 - 02:53 AM.
The metallic voice of the deck commander droid drew the attention of the blind alien, turning her head to watch her master enter onto the bridge, cloaked in his typical garb. As he entered, her head bowed lightly in respect, her voice breaking the silence that had fallen over the bridge. “My master..we are a few minutes from dropping out of hyperspace. What are your orders when we arrive? Would you like me to head to the surface with the assault groups?” Questions that fell from her lips were quickly silenced when his plan was given, leaving her in a semi-stunned silence. Command of her own battle group? This was not something that had even been given as an option before this very moment, and not the apprentice’s mind had to switch from being able to slice mandalorian’s up with her newly minted lightsaber to fighting a battle in the sky. A place she was wholly unfamiliar with.
Her master’s tone, however, meant that there was no room for argument, and to his words she gave another bowing of her head, responding with a quick agreement before moving her mind onto her new objective. “Of course, my master. It will be done.” The voices took this opportunity to speak for the first time in this day, obviously distraught at the loss of fresh blood that was to occur. Ambrus, unsurprisingly, was the more unhappy of the pair, speaking a quick, “There will not be physical blood on our hands today it seems..a shame.” Ora was quick to retort, offering, “This, perhaps, allows us to kill even more, even if done by not our hands..”
Their conversation in her mind continued throughout the conversation that had begun on the holotable. Xobos’s eyes fell on the man called Voph, curious to see another Miraluka with this high of a rank. She made a mental note to find time to ask her master about the man, and perhaps even arrange a meeting to train with him. Even if Adron was a master of the force, getting the chance to train with someone of her own species was not something she’d miss her chance to do. Though the spitefulness of being cast out of her society still existed, opportunities such as this one did not come every day.
The entry back into realspace was still not something the miraluka was used to just yet, as the massive ship reentering space caused her to have to take a step back to steady herself. Yet the moment it did, she gave her master a last bow, before quickly turning and sprinting off the bridge and toward the nearest hanger. Boots hitting the durosteel flooring of The Veil created an almost rhythmic feedback paired with the sirens, actually beginning to calm the nerves of the apprentice. If her master trusted her to be able to take on this challenge, whether or not it was test, showed how their relationship as a pair had grown in the past few months. And knowing that Adron must have had this plan laid out for her all along, she wasn’t surprised to see a shuttle waiting to take her to the flagship of her personal task force.
Thankfully the shuttle ride over to her flagship wasn’t anything particularly bumpy or unpleasant, and the Miraluka arrived on the Valiant I-Class Star Destroyer, The CNS Roon’s Spear, after a only a few minutes of spaceflight. Once arriving in the hanger, she quickly thanked the pilots, then turned to sprint to the bridge of the ship that was, admittedly, dwarfed by the super star destroyer that floated in space above them. Ambrus seemingly agreed, making sure to voice his own opinion before the apprentice made it to the bridge. “Doesn’t seem he trusts you that much…in his mind, if you die, he just loses a measly destroyer. Even losing you doesn’t seem that bad. Are you sure this isn’t a suicide assignment, little master?”
Those words cut through the woman’s typically very ironclad demeaner, causing her to stop in the hallway of the Roon’s Spear momentarily to collect herself and her mind. That voice chuckled at her state, almost gleeful at what had been said. “oh…I cut to the core on that one. Or, perhaps..you think I’m right..” xobos didn’t say anything at first. In all reality, a lot of things that Adron sent the apprentice to do could be considered impossible or almost suicidal. This didn’t seem much different. However, what she decided, she needed to lean on the fact Adron did trust her. He must. Otherwise he would have her standing next to him on The Veil. All she had to do was reward that trust to earn more.
“Well, seems like the best way to earn some extra trust for a bigger ship next time would be to turn plenty of mandalorain’s to ash, wouldn’t it, Ambrus?” Xobos addressed the voice by it’s name, not something she typically did. It effectively ended the conversation, as her mind went silent once again, and thankfully so, as she only had a few more seconds of sprinting until she made it to the bridge and was surprised to hear the deck hand droid call out to all those in their battle positions already.
“Commander on deck!”
Xobos tried to shrug it off, though the feeling of being called a commander was quite nice, if she had to admit. A taller man with hair flecked with grey approached her, bowing his head lightly in respect, which, again, made the corners of her mouth turn lightly upward. His voice was tough, rusty, probably from years and years of yelling orders on the bridges of ships much bigger than this one. “Welcome, Commander, to Task Force Fallen Raven. Happy to have you.” He reached to his belt, producing a small datapad to hand to the padawan, which she readily turned on and began to read through, greeted with a view of all the ships in the task force. The officer began to speak again as she scrolled through all of the ships and their specifications. “My name and title is first officer V’ylin Hin. I have been assigned to act as an advisor to you in this engagement. I will make suggestions to you, but it ultimately up to you whether or not to take them.”
He motioned to the hologram table to which the pair began to approach it as he continued to speak. “Here you can see our ships, as well as how they are deployed. At the moment, we just came out of hyperspace. Do you have any orders for our starfighters?” Xobos listened to all the man had to say, with his question at the end prompting her to look down to the datapad, nodding lightly. She looked back up the holotable, pointing to the Hive Destroyer, the task force’s only carrier. “Tell the..” Looking down at the datapad to quickly confirm the name before continuing was only a momentary reprieve before she continued again. “Hive Destroyer to launch green..red..black and..” Another momentary pause as she considered her options, then a nod to herself when she settled on a decision. “Yellow squadrons. Have them begin to fly as cover fighters around our artillery group. They might need the extra protection. And have everyone else on standby, especially those silver and gold squadrons. I have a feeling we could use those later.” With a nod to V’ylin, who quickly began to relay her orders to the appropriate officers, xobos placed the datapad on the holotable and began to walk the middle section of the bridge, until the viewport was in front of her, giving her a clear view into the space that laid ahead.
For the last time before the engagement began, she reached into the darker recesses of her mind, calling out the voices. “I believe we can do this. If we do our job, then it will only work in our favor in the future. Do I have your commitment to this?” For a few moments, they were silent. Then, as one, the voice responded, Lagos’s voice echoing throughout her thoughts. “We may not like it, but this is where we have been told to go, little master. You will have our support…this time.” Their words caused her to nod lightly, knowing now that they would not be a distraction to her in the upcoming battle. To this, she turned to the bridge hand droid behind her, making an opening motion with her hand. “Open a channel to all fleet commanders.”
A tonal beep informed her that the task had been completed, and with her voice pure and full, she spoke, knowing that it was going to some of the most dangerous fleet commanders in the confederacy. “This is Xobos Yakieer, apprentice to Exarch Malvern and the commander of Task Force Fallen Raven. I am in position and ready to give support to whomever may need it. I will keep this channel open for any orders or cries for help to come through quickly. For the vicelord.”
Tanaab’s bountiful fields greeted us the week prior, as my riduur (husband)’s shuttle touched down near the main hospital centre in Pandath. I sat in the co-pilot’s seat and watched verdant fields stream by as we entered atmosphere, sliced through the air toward our intended destination. The triplet in my belly tossed about, but for a few minutes I didn’t mind as much as I had the last few weeks. We were finally moving on from my past.
My death, okay both of them, my hazy and spiritually charged resurrection. I woke up into the land of the living with an adult daughter and some grandkids I never expected. How Yash’s lived her life with those spouses of hers is… well if I said I was proud I’d be biting off a piece of my tongue. Still, they treat her the way I’d hoped she’d be treated by Kaden Farr, before he kicked the same bucket I did over and again. Never expected a third chance at life, never expected the second, but the haze and nightmare of Eli’ve faded.
Odd thing, can’t remember his face. Can’t remember anything but the sound of that danged metal leg ka-thumping on the ground. Maybe there is something to the gods my parents still pray to on Panatha.
Maybe there’s something to starting over, covering up the past with a layer of sod and waiting for the day the rains come to sprout the grass seed. Can’t tell where the wounds were, once the grass grows over, and that’s where I was at all last week.
Until the intel came that an enemy force was vectoring in. First thing I tried to do was move. Get out. Get back to the ship. Danged if the stress of it… Taozi and her doctors were perfect through it all. Adenn was the good man I’d always known him to be, holding my hand as our babies were born.
I didn’t wait much more than an hour afterward to demand a datapad to start working on Tanaab’s defences. Calling Clan Mortui was Adenn’s job, but mine was to look at the planet like the insane engineer I am.
“There’s this… cloaked silence to knowing you’re likely at the end. I remember… oh, it isn’t that…” Hector and Isolde laid in their incubator, IV lines in their umbilical arteries, breathing tubes stuck in their tiny noses. Every muscle in my body is shrieking that I need them in my arms. If I hold them, if Mama holds them tight, we’ll all survive past the next few hours.
And then the next.
Then the next.
Adenn’s thumb brushes across my shoulder in a holding pattern of nerves and tension. He shifts, kneels at my feet and it hits me how unique this man of mine is. My hand sweeps up to hold the back of his head secure, pushing his forehead into mine. I dare not shut my eyes, lest I miss a millisecond, or micron of memorizing his face. My lips quirk into what passes for a smile in this place alone with our babies and the weight of the invading forces coming to cleanse us of sins we never committed.
“You’re too young for this. I gotcha, c’yare. I gotcha…” Brushing my fingers along his cheek, I hold in a breath before letting it out in a hiss, which matches the ventilator keeping Isolde’s lungs filling with air every few seconds.
“I remember waking up in the bacta tank, after Yasha yanked us out of the Netherworld. Special kind of shame, realizing your six year old saved your backside from the Galaxy’s worst dumpster fire. But there we were, in Mandalorian space with lil Ginnie Dib calling Eli to come get us. I thought back then… life would be better. Second chance, the nightmare over. Eli didn’t have to spend his evenings covered in sweat. Course, thing about Eli, he never could let go of his pain. Held on to it like a security blanket, or a weapon he could use to cut those he loved to ribbons. I could take my daughter swimming in water instead of blood. She could eat cake at a life day party and laugh without fearing we’d get made by some hellspawn and we’d be running… funny thing about dying, it’s like family in the room.
Perpetual party guests that stay in the hallway, until they crawl under for the night. Most make eventual hazy peace with it, others just get mad. Seen beggars, battlers, deniers all reach that other-place and squirm about. Yet the ones who find their clarity are the ones who've got enough to call them home. Make 'em fight past oblivion and be too stubborn t'stay dead.
Folk’re making up a ton of reasons why it’s okay to stand on a moral high ground that’s front and centre in the middle of the widest valley in the Galaxy. They’re rebuking us without confirmation, but really it’s not about half-measures of vengeful cowards hiding behind Cadera colours. Ain’t a lick of justice in attacking Tanaab. Don’t have to be.
This galaxy, it paddle-boards down waterfalls of pugilism into subterranean lakes for the heck of it. Folk like this, they rush under the vault and think they’re looking up at the stars, sweetie pie. So what you’re gonna do is trust in the strength of the aliit. You’re gonna trust in our babies to keep breathin’ and you’re gonna trust that I know how this goes. Our party guests ain’t here for us today. And even if they were…
Death, dying, done it twice, honey pie. Worse thing they can do is use death to separate us… but if I’m any indication, not even death can separate a tenacious soul. So you go out there when the time comes and you give them every speck of the Netherworld you can. Unleash and protect.
And it’ll be clear skies no matter the outcome, ‘cause they can’t fire at what matters. They can’t destroy an idea. The love of our families, and the beauty of bringing life to the planets in our path, it’s as eternal as a dim-witted engineer flopping around in the Netherworld twice, until a googly-moogly Prince of Edgy Darkness yanked me out as a surprise present for the daughter I refused to see grow up.” Sliding my hand on his cheek, I draw a kiss on his lips and pull back with a smile.
“You’re not lost, Adenn. There ain’t a single permutation of this where you miss our lil’uns growing up. You’re about to jump and discover for once, gravity’s on our side. Knock ‘em dead… and Adenn? I know I don’t say it a lot, but… I love you.”
Soon after, the klaxons roared, and I held Adenn’s helmet up for him to take. He walked out a warrior, the unbowed man protecting his family with every micron in his being. In the near-silence, I can’t help thinking I pushed him toward that un-tenable gate.
“Tamar, sweetie… Tamar? You come here, now, honey. Come see Mama.” I reach for the freed slave Yasha adopted as a sister, Panathan born just like me. Tamar Fitz Kierke walks over in silence, hand on her stomach as she kept down the nausea of knowing most of the soldiers outside these walls wouldn’t make it to dinner time.
“Yes, Mama. I’m here… Maybe if I… maybe…” She triggered her comm, voice cracking as she called the one person she wanted to see survive most of all. Mig Gred. “Mig? Miginator? I… gods don’t die. I know you're a warrior and you trained for this, but... I’m scared, Mig… I can look evil in the face, but the… oh!”
A drop pod’s exhaust trail streaked across the Tanaab skyline.
“Tamar, sweet pea, you git away from that window, now. C’mere… watch on Isolde for a minute, ‘kay? Yeah, you c’mere.” I wave her over, and an obedient one, she comes. Sits beside me, and I pull her head into my lap, running my hand over her shoulder and hair.
“Did you mean it, Mama? Death’s like a party guest?” Her blue eyes gazed water-stained into my black and red genetic aberrations.
“Ayup. Biggest danged hangover in the universe, sweet pea.”
Edited by Aditya Fitz Kierke, 12 July 2019 - 02:27 AM.
Kat looked around, she was pretty nervous, she was here to support the Confederacy since they did free her people from Mandalorian control so she did owe them for that. But it wasn't just that, Kat also hoped to show that she was a useful member with her N-Wings and the recently built D-3 StarStrike Heavy Fighter. The former of the two fighters was her own design while the D-3 was something that her recently added staff member constructed. Kat was pleased with both designs, she was just worried that people might not think that her designs were any good in combat and just looked impressive, or that she had no idea what she was doing. Usual stresses that came with creating a business, however, today was basically her demonstration day for her starfighters. Perhaps a later date she could show off the Rescue Rangers that she created. For now, Kat donned her pilot's gear, not overly protective gear but she felt the part wearing it so there was that benefit.
Tapping her comms, she contacted the squad and told them to meet her in the docking bay where their ships were. While she wanted to show her ships off in the best way, Kat also had to remember that she was part of a much larger plan and not ruin the battle for the Confederacy. Keeping a cool head during all of it. Reaching the docking bay, she spotted her squad, a veteran group of pilots that she walked over to. "So, the Confederacy want to ensure that no Mandalorian forces reach the planet. Means we got to keep the skies clear and shoot anything that ain't friendly. Being nimble and stuff, we should be able to stop most things. No playing the hero or lone wolf, we are a team." Kat touched her helmet with the others as they agreed with her.
Finishing their pre-war ritual that they decided upon, Kat jumped into her N-Wing with some tasteful shades of purple and blue. Kat started the engines and ensured that her fighter was all green. Waiting for the other pilots to announce they were green, Kat lead the way into space. Taanab looked beautiful from her view, she couldn't help but smile seeing the planet. So serene and green, a great place to call home Kat could bet. Looking around, Kat spotted the other fighters in position, leading her squad into position, Kat called out to Malphas, whom she knew to be leading the mission. "Cyan Squad in position, sir!" Now it was time to wait until they were ready to strike.
The… whatever he was, was slowly waking up. He was luck that it was happening here and not somewhere else. Caf was being provided as they all knew just where Darth Metus pulled Marek out of. The casino and resort owner was, all too much lately, enjoying the finer things of life. Spice, loose women, and lots of booze. But it was a rescue attempt from his master. The Mandalorian Sith knew what Marek needed. And that was to get out of the resort. He was a fighter, not necessarily in the battlefield, more a conflict of boardrooms, but he wasn’t doing anyone any good in the champagne lounge night after night ‘testing’ the new recruits.
Marek was now in his armor, pistol on his hip, lightsaber in hand. It all felt so familiar, but so foreign. How many days had it been? A good week or so since Metus dragged him into the command post, and informed him of what was going on.
And then promptly placed him under house arrest in a place where he could ‘recovery’ from his ‘affliction.’ It was doing well, but today? It still felt like he could use something to take the edge off. He was being brought here as special teams. With his particular set of skills he was here to change the landscape. And that was completely fine by him. The past week had been him working on the Force, learning it again, greeting it like an old friend, and seeing what skills he could readily jump back into.
What he wasn’t ready to jump into was a warzone. Not yet. He steadied himself as he disembarked from the drop ship. Where was he? Was that a farm?
Now would be a real good time to read the mission briefing. You know, where the nearest CIS Personnel were, and what his exact target was. But he knew why he was here. His eyes began to change, not quite yellow, but a sickly gold as he pulled the Force to him. He was going to show the Jedi why they shouldn't be here.
It was so quiet, that familiar feeling of being so antsy to watch the enemy arrive coursed through stardust veins like fire causing her to shift every so often. She has arrived in passing to visit her adopted mother and see her triplets that and been born prematurely, now she was caught right in the middle of a bloody invasion!.
Now she was pacing, stopping as she saw the ships arrive above the planet causing stardust to about run and start issuing orders about
However she had to remain quiet and calm, even to the point she shrunk her force signature down to nearly nothing...even borrowing armor!
Now to hope the CIS was merciful and went around...
There was something about the new ship smell, the feeling of potential and purity, the Halcyon Storm hadn't yet had the chance to pick up those little eccentricities and smells that came with usage. The little hum of the engine, the vibration of a loose floor panel, those little things that gave a ship it's sense of character, told you where you were. It was the little elements that made each ship you trod on unique, the scuff here or a chip there added to the lustre and sense of home and community. The entire flight over John had noticed that niggle working at the back of his head, he just hadn't been able to place it, something about hte ship had seemed off. He knew it wasn't the actual ship itself, he'd practically overseen the construction himself, flitting back between Fenris, Roche and Geonosis like a hot potato. If he hadn't had the Helios the cyborg was sure that he would probably have ended up clocking up enough galactic miles to buy a planet. The man leaned back in his command chair, one hand thrumming a beat on the side of the chair, the other reaching for the controls as he shook his head wryly, at least that was one mystery out of the way, he'd been right on the edge of running a diagnostic on his cybernetics.
Unfortunately, with that little brain teaser out of the way John didn't have much else to occupy his mind other than his location, on the bridge of a Dreadnought again, on his way to face the Mandalorian's again. After Eshan...after seeing the damage cause, the damage he'd caused John had retreated from the world, locking himself in his lab, loosing himself in designing...and more than one bottle of Corellian Whiskey. It wasn't until someone had threatened to break the door down that he'd finally rousted himself from the workshop...or rather been dragged out. The designs he'd been working on, the product of a directed anger had...well he'd sealed them away in the most secure data vault he had. Maybe he'd go back and revisit them, just not yet. He could still feel it though, the anguish writ on the faces of those they'd been unable to save. The faces haunted him, their pale deathless eyes seared into his memory, accusing without words, without movement. Maybe the accusation was more in his head than the truth, but it flensed him to the core every night. It's why he'd stood when the call for war sounded, it was why he was here now. The dark-haired man rose slowly to his feet, the data flowing across his vision warning him of their impending arrival as he turned away from the holo-conference that he'd been attending. Just in time to see the blurred light of the stars seem to jerk to a stop and resolve back into the little pinpricks decoration the black velvet of space that they were.
First a pair of light corvette's appeared, their white hulls hanging in the stillness of space, then a star destroyer, then another and another appearing in the darkness. One after another the vessels of task force appeared in space, the sensors already hungrily sucking in data, feeding it to the CIC, to the other vessels in the taskforce. The Halcyon Storm was the last ship to arrive, the dreadnought's massive 10km length dwarfing even the vessel's accompanying battle cruisers, a titan of the battlefield, though perhaps not one suited to leading from the front. "Inform the Exarch that we've arrived safely and will take up position now. John's gaze fell away from the communications officer, the young ensign bowing his head as he focused on delivering the message. "Tactical, have our escort vessels, the Akula and Tenchu-Kai's move back to secure and screen our rear, the Umbara and Lothal's are to deploy to our prow. The Halcyon, the Mace Windu and our remaining vessels are to take up formation between the two screening elements." As the ships started to lurch into combat John's gaze flicked over to the next officer in line, "Have all fighters launch and take up position around the central formation, let the wing commanders know to be ready to deploy forward to support our allies as needed." John's gaze finally swung around back to the harried communications officer. "A message to all commanders, please ask them to share their sensor data with us, and let them know we're set up in position and are available to call on for fire support if needed." No plan survived contact with the enemy, that's how the saying went, but John wasn't planning on making any plans, instead he'd created the loosest, most versatile formation he could, ships arranged in an oval centred around the Halcyon Storm, a formation that could adapt to whatever the Mandalorian's threw at them.
Mig looked out from the city, knowing that a storm was coming. It was said the Force moved around those about to kill, and he could feel it coming. It was only a matter of when. His fleet had already mostly left with Tal Fleet, serving as their escorts. The only ones still here were the mercenary vessels of hunter group. They were loading up the last of the civilians who wanted to run, and Mig couldn't blame them. He was from Concord Dawn. A world that had been subject to chemical attacks by the CIS, and had a moon that had been torn to shreds in a long forgotten war. These were the battles he hated. The battles on world that had no reason to be attacked. Some Mando'ade had done horrible things, yes, but that didn't scrub the CIS's record clean either. Two wrongs didn't make a right, and he was their to make sure a wrong didn't happen. They got everyone out that the could, but it didn't mean the hospital was a free target. Aditya and Adenn's triplets were still there. Tamar was still there with her. Not to mention those who couldn't leave.
He felt it then. They were in orbit! Mig quickly called out to Hunter Group. "Guys! Get the rest of the civvies outta here!" He soon heard an "Oya" though the comms as multiple light frieghters, assault ships, some multi-seat fighters, and even a couple of shuttles launched. All had a new tag in their transponder. Evac. As the vessel ran to orbit, the lead ship called out on an open frequency, making sure everyone knew what was happening.
"Attention, attention! This is Light's Echo! Multiple evacuation vessels entering orbit! Civilians on board! Do not engage! Do not engage!" As the ships continued flying, they had recorders mounted to their ship, and transmitting it to Stardust Solus Skirae. If they tried anything, it would be on record. Who, where, when. Everything! While his hunters focused on getting away, Mig focused on the city.
The Alor's eight Arachnid-ATs, four Yoma-ABs, and twenty Claymore Tank Destroyers had positioned all around the city. The Arachnids, Yomas and five Claymores had set up near one of the bridges, while the other Claymore joined the Mando'ade'jetii Surround the hospital. The two hundred SLaMs, and sixteen Princeps-Class Light Tanks, nicknamed "Princesses" by the Greds, patrolled the capital, keeping on the move. A squadron of twelve Viper interceptors also stood at the ready if any fighters got too close.
It was then that Mig heard Tamar, his c'yare, and notice droppods. He tried his best to not sound worried, placing a hand over his heart as he spoke. "Don't worry, Ner Kar'ta. We'll all make it out of this."