Location: A few miles south of the Iron Citadel
Objective: Reach the Iron Citadel, kill any Sith in the way.
Allies: @All Republic Forces
Enemies: @All One Sith Forces.
The preparations had finished. The plans were set. The intel gathered. Everything was ready for the mission. The only question was, would it be successful?
Months of planning. Weeks of preparations. Hellish days spent training and learning and training again. Jedi and Soldiers working alone, together, training as if their lives depended on it. Why?
Because it did.
A relatively small Republic fleet broke hyperspace over Empress Teta. They dropped into the space just beyond the very edge of the system and came up to speed. Once flank speed had been reached, the engines had been cut. All nonessential systems and power had been cut. All guns were powered down and housed. Sensors ran only sparingly and infrequently to avoid detection. It was a risky move, but one that paid off.
With little power to detect and none needed to power the ships already moving at high speeds in Zero Gravity, the ships were hard to detect, even by active sensors. The closer the fleet got, however, the easier it became to detect. When the fleet neared the planet, all Hell broke loose.
The fleet came to life and returned fire. Turbolasers and capital weapons spat death and fury while missiles and torpedos blossomed into fiery rose blossoms. The fleet was outnumbered and outgunned, but was able to hold its own and even take ground at points as it had surprise on its side. The assault fleet had done it's job, however. It had pushed the enemy back just enough to allow the precious cargo within the durasteel hulls to do it's job.
Hundreds of shuttles and dropships disgorged onto the planet. On board each were soldiers, Jedi, and other specialists. Each had their own jobs, each had their missions, and each knew their task to the utmost degree: Destroy the Sith. Rescue the Art.
On board one of the shuttles, Supreme Chancellor Popo waited with the men and women around him. He knew that the other shuttles shared the same atmosphere. The stink of recycled air. The ozone smell of adrenaline mixed with fear. That metallic taste of apprehension. It was the same no matter the species or time. It was the smell of soldiers and warriors before the battle and it spanned millennia.
Anti-Aircraft fire roared at the heavens, as if angered that someone would dare cloud their skies. Here and there, shuttles or dropships went down, blown apart in midair or gutted and left to spiral down to the planet below. Popo watched one such dropship suffer this fate and witnessed the ship drop from the sky only to smash into a pillar and scatter itself across the city.
Before Popo could fully react to the implications of a dropship lost with all on board, the shuttle he was on suffered a hit. The craft shook under the impact, throwing many to their knees and shifting the Hutt's massive bulk a good inch to the left. The Supreme Chancellor keyed his commlink, determined to see the damage.
"Status report!" he barked into the commlink.
"Engines are losing power, sir. I'm trying to set us down as soon as possible. We won't make it to target, but I think I can put the bird down safely."
"Understood," was Popo's only reply.
Thankfully, aside from a few ricochets of small arms fire from the ground, the rest of the very brief trip consisted of dodging more AA fire and setting down a little harder than he'd have liked on the planet's surface.
The ramp dropped down and Popo was the first out. Partially because he was blocking the aisle, the only place he could sit in the craft, and partially because the armored bulk of his body blocked the incoming fire directed at the shuttle from Sith troops and kept his soldiers safe.
A few moments later and the Sith troopers who sought to stop them were dealt with, their bodies draped where they fell. Popo turned and conversed with the squad leader for a moment, speaking a few terse words as the shuttle stood smoking on the landing pad. After a moment more, the group quickly left, heading for their objective.
The Iron Citadel was going to have visitors soon...