A rundown of our latest major event.
The Pact Strikes
Aboard the Resurgence
The daily lull of the IDN Resurgence
, which was hidden between Yavin and Yavin IV, was broken by klaxons and the call for battlestations on the intercom. Crew and marines rushed for their assigned posts, ready for anything.
Darth Talorn was already on the bridge, other Sith also present including her apprentice Lord Xerrik Raiz, Lord Obeu'dan, Watcher Kalianya, and Lord Stakra's associate and former grand admiral, Lord Khorrn.
"Sir, we have seven Imperial ships," the sensors officer intoned. The captain turned to look out the viewport. "Hostile intent? What are they?" The young sensor officer responded, "a Harrower-class and six Terminus or Gage-classes...they're taking an offensive formation against us." The captain nodded. "Shields full forward, evasive maneuvers." The engineering officer called out tentatively. "Sir, our hyper-drive is disabled. Trying to trace the cause." Her brow was furrowed as her fingers danced along the keys of her terminal.
The massive ship shifted as it made adjustments toward the arrivals. The captain turned to Talorn. "Orders?" Before the miraluka could reply, the holocom came to life, showing a strongly built masked Sith. "I am Darth Skaros, commander of the 8th Fleet. You are to power down and surrender, and your non-Sith will be released in Imperial Space. I'm here for your ship and your leader. You have one minute to respond," the gravely voice stated. The holo blinked out.
Lord Raiz turned toward the aisle. "I'll prep a boarding team, " he stated, his aggressive features darkening. Kalianya was present, fortuitously dressed in her battle attire and armor. "We can't take on seven ships. We should surrender." Lord Obeu'dan and Lord Stakra's mysterious bounty hunter associate Zerarik glanced at Kalianya, the merc's features hidden behind his helmet.
Darth Talorn nodded to Lord Raiz, aware the crew was watching her. Her hand was close to her saber in case anyone thought to mutiny. "Take a boarding party and use my transport. Your target is the rear destroyer, the one there hanging back. We'll use our starfighters to screen you." Lord Raiz was already headed out the door.
Darth Talorn faced the viewport, her slender form not showing anxiety or fear. "Power the superweapon, calculate a firing solution on their Harrower. Prepare all starfighters to escort Lord Raiz. Once we fire, we'll advance full engine during the confusion. Not only will we draw attention away from Raiz, we'll use their rear destroyer to screen us from their two frigates on the other side."
Lord Khorrn quickly assessed the situation as he also looked out the viewport. "A risky plan but bold," his deep voice intoned.
Talorn nodded. "Risky, but necessary. Their darth knows we have a superweapon. He's on that rear destroyer, knowing we have to fire at their Harrower. We'll bypass their front line and take out the shields on his vessel so Raiz can board."
The captain interrupted. "The superweapon is ready, my Lord." The miraluka remained calm, her face impassive. "Fire."
The lights on the Resurgence
went faint, the entire ship silent a moment as a large beam shot out, engulfing the enemy Harrower in a blinding light. When the flash ended, there was only debris. Talorn clenched her hand into a fist. "Advance, full engine." She pointed out the viewport. "30 degrees starboard or so...make for that spot by their rear destroyer."
Lord Stakra met Lord Raiz on the way to the ship, and Raiz explained their situation to the towering, armored woman. They had quite the crew ready to go into the proverbial nexu's den, including Lord Raiz, Lord Stakra, Lord Obeu'dan, Watcher Kalianya, Zevarik, Ilythia, Aregnus, and their advanced AI, Ira.
Prior to Darth Talorn firing upon the enemy Harrower, Lord Raiz called Darth Skaros on the holocom. "We subdued Talorn but need to board your ship to bring her." The darth shook his head. "Your request is denied. Remain there for boarding." Kalianya cut in. "My Lord, if the crew here finds out what we've done, we'll have a mutiny. We need to bring her immediately."
The enemy darth paused a moment but remained resolute. "Stay there, we'll board the ship and take control." Xerrik Raiz cursed as he cut the call. "Fine, let's fire at them and get it over with."
The flight to the Terminus-class destroyer was bumpy, with the sleek Phantom taking multiple hits from starfighters as it danced and evaded its way to the target ship, the strikes shaking those aboard. It was difficult to tell friend from foe amongst the hundreds of Imperial starfighters dog-fighting around them.
They could see their own vessel take out the other Harrower-class dreadnought and then propel itself forward with them, firing all of its weapons at the front-most Terminus-Destroyer. All six of the enemy ships—two destroyers and four Gage-class light frigates—returning fire, a steady barrage hitting the Resurgence's
shields, some seemingly overpowering the shields and striking the hull. It didn't look like their vessel would last long.
The Phantom transport careened into a hangar bay of the opposing destroyer as the Resurgence
took out the vessel's shields, the transport skidding along the hangar floor. Their assault team leaped out, weapons ready, but there was no one to be found.
They quickly moved into the adjoining corridor and were ambushed at a turn in the corridor by a dozen marines formed into a double-ranked firing line. Stakra and Raiz formed the front line and were able to deflect the barrage of shots. The rest of the group made quick work of them as well as the next group of 20-25 in an open room. Ira sliced into a terminal and overrode the security to the blast doors, allowing them access to the bridge.
Aboard the bridge were more marines as well as shock troopers, Darth Skaros, and his apprentice. A fierce fight broke out, with most of the Resurgence assault team focused on the shock troopers and marines as Lord Obeu'dan, Lord Stakra, and Lord Raiz advanced closer to the darth.
On board the Order's flagship, Talorn turned to Lord Khorrn as multiple enemy boarding pods could be detected closing in. "I'll lead our defense if you take the bridge." The ship buckled from a shot that penetrated the hull as alarms sounded. The former grand admiral nodded, turning to the captain. "What's the status on our shields?" he demanded.
Talorn walked briskly to exit the bridge, her robes and cape billowing behind her. She directed the marines to every major deck to watch for boarders and for the marine commander to send someone to check on the status of the hyper-drive while she herself went to the command deck, where the item she sought was housed.
Moments later, the darth neared the Mantle. It could sense her desperation and immediately whispered its ability to help if she would but let it. The proud miraluka shook her head. "You will help me on my terms, not yours," she responded. Talorn, despite the shaking of the ship, the sounds of the alarms, and the flickering of the lights, sunk to her knees in a meditative state. Her mind was one of resolve and willfulness, not one of need or anxiety. It will take the smallest seed of doubt and twist it to control me if I allow it.
On the bridge, Lord Khorrn snarled as barrage after barrage assaulted the dreadnought, and the ship's own weapons failed to inflict much damage on the front destroyer. "Incompetent," he growled as he paced the bridge. Another barrage of shots brought the lights out again, and this time they didn't come back online. "My Lord," the engineering officer called out, skipping the captain. "We've lost primary and auxiliary power...we're sitting dead." Her voice squeaked toward the end. All shots from the enemy ships ceased, their own scanners telling them the Resurgence
was, for all intents and purposes, dead.
The former grand admiral drew his lightsaber. "Get us back online." He exited the bridge, intent on raining destruction on the enemy boarders. "Incompetent crew," he muttered as he launched into a boarding party of Imperial soldiers making its way for the bridge.
Talorn had to dismiss her need for the Mantle, lest it discover it and use it against her. She could feel its will clash with hers, seeking to control her, true to its Rakata roots. Her mind was filled with anger that overwhelmed need, anxiety, and doubt. Her fury seethed at the audacity of an Imperial force daring to attack her
task force, her people. She would make them pay dearly with blood.
The miraluka gasped as the power of the mantle flowed completely through her undeterred for the first time. Her senses heightened, and she could easily feel every living being aboard the ship along with every power source. Her mind reeled at the sensory overload. Reaching out, she could sense the life forms aboard every other ship. She could easily pick out Darth Skaros, with her own Sith lords making their way through his ship. Her ruby lips pressed together in grim determination.
Darth Talorn directed her will outward. She invoked the power of the Dark Side to project fear aboard her ship, targeting every presence on the ship that held hostile intent towards her. She furrowed her brow as waves of fear emanated from her. You will all die...you are nothing but insects before me!
With the Mantle empowering her, she could sense fear carry through each individual enemy, their knees quaking, weapons dropping, minds bending. She pressed even harder, wondering what her limits were. She felt some minds break completely, madness overtaking their feeble will, perhaps permanently. She felt others lose control of themselves, falling into a squirming mess.
Talorn laughed loudly, giddy with power, the sound reverberating throughout the room, and then she pressed even harder, her expression turning vindictive.
Lord Khorrn returned to the bridge after being told the hyper-drive had been sabotaged but was almost repaired, the power ready to be brought back online when he commanded. He waited, not wanting to be a sitting bantha when the enemy learned the ship was once again a threat.
Moments later, Talorn's personal comms crackled to life. Her battle with the Mantle, her overreaching had left her slumped to the ground, barely conscious. "Yes?" she whispered. She heard Kalianya's voice along with blaster fire in the background. "Do you trust me?" her Watcher asked. Talorn took a few ragged breathes. "Yes..." She heard the urgency in her Watcher's voice. "Then call a withdrawal, right now!"
The Resurgence assault team had taken down the shock troopers and most of the marines on the bridge of the Ajunta's Fury
, but the darth and his apprentice remained, and reinforcements were on the way to repel them. Lord Obeu'dan had spared the group from countless blaster shots and even from the Darth's attacks with powerful Force shields, but Lord Raiz and Lord Stakra were still injured, as were others. Aregnus had been returned to the transport, barely able to stand.
Kalianya suddenly struck at Lord Raiz with her knife, but his armor and quick movements turned the blade aside. He spun and his face darkened in fury as he struck out with his saber. "Kill the traitor!" he yelled. Ilythia moved to protect Kalianya. "No!" Confusion abounded throughout the group as it dealt with Kalianya, Darth Skaros, and marines entering behind the group from the corridor.
Kalianya reactivated her stealth generator and disappeared as Talorn called out over comms. "The hyper-drive...is online...return...to the ship." Lord Obeu'dan nodded in agreement. "We have to get out of here." Kalianya suddenly emerged from nowhere behind the darth to take him down in one strike, her poisoned blade entering and exiting through his neck. The darth stumbled and fell to the floor. His apprentice screamed and turned to Kalianya. "Go!" she yelled to the group.
Lord Obeu'dan created another Force shield and charged the marines, quickly followed by Warlord Dur'geth and Zevarik. The group fought its way back through the corridors towards its ship.
In the confusion, Kalianya was able to work her way behind Skaros' apprentice, her bloodied knife against his neck. "Let them go," she ordered. "You killed my master," the apprentice growled. The Watcher nodded. "You'll let them withdraw, but you'll have me instead."
The transport was able to reach the Resurgence
, which was next to the Ajunta's fury
. None of the capital ships were firing at one another, though their quad lasers fired at Resurgence starfighters, which were starting to return to the flagship. The Resurgence
itself looked as if it was barely holding together, its hull shredded in places, debris floating into space. Electrical arcs sparked along its hull.
The transport landed in the hangar and Lord Raiz practically ran to the bridge. Soon, Lord Raiz, Lord Stakra, Lord Obeu'dan, Zevarik, and Ilythia returned to the bridge and found Lord Khorrn and Darth Talorn, who was barely standing. "Watcher betrayed us," Xerrik growled. "I'll have her head."
"She...attempted to infiltrate them...she warned me.." the miraluka countered. Lord Raiz shook his head. "It doesn't matter, she attacked me, and she will die."
The other Sith shifted at the display. "It's time to withdraw," Lord Khorrn interjected. He gave the order, the viewport showing the blue streaks as the ship hurtled into hyperspace. The ship traveled to the Imperial Fleet, unable to stand alone with the Pact of the Chosen somehow able to track it.
Lord Stakra, Lord Obeu'dan, and Zevarik seconded that they saw Kalianya betray them. Lord Raiz noticed Ilythia after she commented that Kalianya wasn't a traitor and assaulted her, throwing her across the room and into a terminal with the Force. Talorn told him to stop. "You are weak, Master!" he retorted.
Lord Khorrn commented on the crew being pathetic and that he would bring in new officers to lift the ship up to Imperial standards. Lord Stakra informed Darth Talorn that the crew seemed riddled with spies, their senior agent had betrayed them, and that Stakra had bled for the task force twice now. "I have nothing assuring to tell the Empress of regarding your group, my Lord," the towering Sith firmly stated. Darth Talorn could discern the precarious situation her Order was in. She ceded operational control of the ship to the Imperial delegation, as well as agreeing to allow them to bring in some of their own crew and officers.