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The destruction of Csilla had sent galaxy-wide reverberations throughout the Force and in its wake the galaxy watched on with horror as an entire planet was brought to the feet of oblivion and the remainder of its population was scattered, clinging onto any morsels of life they could find.
The Concord had been engaged in their own ongoing war against the Bryn'adul when the Jedi within their forces became aware of Csilla's demise. They were unable to withdraw their militia and abandon the people they dedicated themselves to and the homes which they vowed to protect. The galaxy needed to stand united, now more than ever, and today would be a test of their faith in each other.
No one had needed to summon the Concord for their assistance. When the opportunity arose, they sent a large force to aid in the evacuation and protection of those stranded and to support friendly forces in the area while holding off any lingering hostiles.
There were several thousand souls in limbo around the space surrounding Csilla. Their fear was tangible to the Force users among them so the Concord needed efficiency and collaboration with each other and beyond.
There was panic among the overcrowded vessels whose ability to sustain life was quickly depleting as they was forced to support far more individuals than they were designed for. As the oxygen levels in these crafts began to dip, the Concord and her allies needed to prioritise which vessels received aid first and they needed to ensure the safety of their own ships from any outside forces as they did so.
There was no rest for the weary.
Upon exiting hyperspace, the Jedi Master's footsteps tapped along the walkway as she approached the commander of the vessel in which they embarked on their latest mission. He was an esteemed man and she ensured to treat him with the respect he deserved.
"Admiral Chaussidier." She greeted him, offering a small bow of the head. "Can we make contact with the Resurgent? We need to cooperate with the First Order if we're going to accomplish what we came here for." She told him.
The Concord had remained largely uninvolved in politics outside of their immediate neighbours in recent times and so had woefully little contact with their Imperial acquaintances in the West but it was the nature of war that people were forced together. Anyone with an inch of common ground could become allies in times of strife.
The Jedi Master's gaze traced the objects floating aimlessly ahead which littered the surrounding space. In each craft there were lives hanging on in the balance. The Jedi needed to keep the peace among the trapped souls. If panic were to break out among them then disaster could strike.
The bridge bustled with activity. It was nothing out of the ordinary onboard the Nima II for it currently worked as the command centre of the Concord's 4th Recon Fleet. The Captain's Podium by which Chaussidier stood was centrally located, neither far removed from the officers' work stations nor the holo-tables for fleet coordination. With hands clasped behind his back, the Admiral remained still - he was well aware of what was to come and where his focus should lie.
"Energy levels are stable."
"All systems are operational."
Following routine, the communications officer reported statuses on the ship. "Shuttle bay one, two and five are good to go." "Arrival in the Csilla system imminent."
Chaussidier remained silent, letting his eyes gaze out over the viewports and the blue hyperspace tunnel which would soon come to an end. If the reports were anything to go by, he did not look forward to seeing what was on the other side.
Soon, the constant of the hyperspace tunnel was replaced by the blackness of space as they left it. The area where the Nima II emerged was filled with debris from a destroyed vessel and a fair amount of icy rock. It seemed like their calculations had been a bit too eager, putting them in danger of taking structural damage from the impact of larger obstacles.
The officer realised the danger they were in and looked to pilot "Eva-"
Chaussidier cut her off "Engage the tractor beams"
The explanation that the speed at which they travelled and the size of the Nima II rendered evasive manoeuvres ineffective was never given. But the officer forwarded the order nonetheless. The burst of increased activity ensured that the Grandmaster's entrance onto the bridge would go relatively unnoticed.
Looking at the horrid destruction ahead, the officer let out a low "By the stars" Momentarily, she, just like so many other crewmembers, dropped the professional mask to truly take in what they were seeing.
"Let the others know of the debris"
"Yes, Admiral" The officer quickly jogged over to one of the holotables where she coordinated with the other Concord vessels which were bound for arrival and lacked the same capacities as the Nima II. Meanwhile, the heavy tractor beams started working at a high pace, quickly removing the largest mechanical obstacles in their way whilst the laser cannons targeted the large and icy chunks of space rock.
Turning 180 degrees, allowing himself to look away from the destruction and back to the entrance, Chaussidier's eyes met those of the head of the Jedi Order. "Grandmaster Ayres" his reply was accompanied by a bow of the head similar to the one she had offered him. His tone was a respectful one, for, while the Jedi had a tendency to be annoyingly vague and philosophical, they also had an uncanny ability find the best course of action.
"Very well" The short answer was followed by a turn to the side where a holocomm station could be found. Chaussidier looked to its operator who commenced their communications efforts "This is Admiral Chaussidier of the Silver Jedi Concord. We request to open communications with the First Order command on behalf of Grandmaster Kiara Ayres."
The Admiral looked to the Jedi. While he was in command of the vessels attached to his fleet, she was in charge of the operation as a whole. Interested to see how she worked, Chaussidier nodded to the recently returned communications officer, indicating for her to brief them as they awaited contact from the Resurgent "Our medical facilities are ready and rescue shuttles can be launched on your signal."
"Good." The Admiral gave Ayres a nod, indicating that the calls was hers to make.
"We are late for the harvest. Such a bountiful feast, wasted."
"We are not late. We are where we should be."
"We hunger. We want meat."
"We will begin the harvest, and it will be plentiful."
"Do you feel them? The Jedi?"
"The Jedi come. Perfect for the harvest."
The rough voices echoed through the empty halls of one of the larger evacuation ships. Where there should be people, there was only vines. Overgrown, thick. An oppressive and horrible darkness clung to the ship as it floated aimlessly. The beacon requesting help as loud as it could go. Shapeless figures moved down the hallway as they spoke. The Drengir had feasted.
The Eldervine paused and lifted the faceless maw of teeth towards a nearby corner. Curiosity at first. Then a dark grin formed, spreading through leaves and vines for a horrible expression no plant should be able to make.
"The bait is laid free. Wait for them to come. For now, harvest those who remain." A stifled sob sounded around the corner before the panic scrambling of someone trying to flee could be heard. The Eldervine rushed forward, tearing through the hall as he descended upon one of the few still living Chiss aboard this vessel. And like so many before them, they were added to the harvest.
The Eldervine rose, green covered in red, jagged teeth stained with blood. "Let the Jedi feel their fear."
Location: Unknown System
Objective: Wait for the fly to come to the Spider's web.
Allies: Maw, Knights of Ren
Enemies: First Order, Silver Jedi
Finally, at long last the vision he had received on Mustafar had come to pass. The first steps of it anyway, the weapon eclipsing the sun. L:aying waste of the gatekeepers of the Unknown Regions. Now nothing would stop them from wrecking havoc on the entire galaxy. Throughout the numerous scattered debris of the Csilla system, the Night Vulture was a ship that remained behind. Attached to a piece of Star Destroyer wreckage. The comm chatter had heard news of both Jedi and much to his surprise the First Order to emerge. The name had caused both irritation, and memories of another life go into his mind. In a former life he had been born into the First Order, fought as a TIE pilot, became a Knight of Ren under Sieger Ren. Yet there was always some part of him that didn't belong with them. Surrounded by those that did not wield the Force that held contempt for the Vader worshipping muscle and he in return.
In another life he thought that a new empire was the vision to bring the galaxy to heel. That had all ended when the First Order had collapsed and he took a remnant only to become a Warlord within his home on Mustafar. Now here he was with a new purpose, new ambitions and visions. There was still a part of him that wished to destroy the First Order for the failure it had reminded him. Something of which he would accomplish, better yet reveal himself before he kills the lot of them.
When his scouting of the enemy was complete, he followed the coordinates granted by his fellow Maw forces. With the path engine a modification to the Night Vulture, it was able to follow suit, and avoid detection. Jumping into hyperspace, emerging to where some of the Maw had gathered around a badly damaged First Imperial Destroyer. The design Kyrel was familiar with in a way, and for now his idea was to board the ship. Lie in wait for the First Imperials to arrive and in the dark damaged ship. He would be able to make his move as the shadow willed it.
The Night Vulture had docked into a hatch of the Destroyer. Kyrel approaching the door, his Knights behind him, as the door opened and was greeted by the familiar design of the First Order. He only spoke. "Time to go meet some old friends. A reunion is in order, a very bloody one." He said as he slipped into the darkness, the shadow bathing them all, and inside they would hide and wait for what was to come.
The order came, and the shadow answered. One of many dark clad figures stepped in line behind Kyrel Ren
, their master and leader. The First Order. Once the Ren served them. Now, they served only themselves. It was time to bring about destruction on the group that once held them bound. The Shade gripped the hilt of his blade tighter. Excitement, blood lust. They both flooded his mind. He was eager. To claim more souls.
The door opened and he moved in the Shadow, it's wisplike darkness clinging unnaturally to his form. They arrived, now it was time to kill all they found.
Debris careened through the system, turning what had once been safely mapped space into a dangerous frontier, replete with asteroids and ship debris. Something impacted with the Diligent, sending the bridge crew staggering. The status board in front of Captain Charlotte Reed lit up like a Life Day tree, angry red lights blaring out from the panel. Alarm klaxons sounded, pounding at an already burgeoning headache. "Status report," she barked.
Lieutenant Grant had managed to pull herself up onto her feet, brushing blood from her forehead. "Breach on decks six, seven, and eight. Non-critical sections. Greywater recyclers are offline. Weapons and tractor beams on the port side in section six three are offline. The ship's automatic defenses sealed off the area, isolating the vacuum. Estimated casualties, twenty-six."
"Get engineering on those weapons. I want them up as soon as possible," said Charlotte. "Instruct the fleet to get firing solutions and tractor beam repulse trajectories on any debris that comes in range. And for God's sake, get us in touch with the Resurgent! We need -- "
A brilliant flash to the port side of the viewports silenced her; she blinked the brightness away and tried to make sense of what she was seeing. Where there had once been a Lancer-II class Defense Frigate there was now a shower of debris and destruction, flame erupting and immediately being suffocated in the vacuum. Even from here, as the Loyal tore apart, she could see bodies tumbling from its ruptured decks and bulkheads. Charlotte's mouth was dry, a cold fear gripping her. The asteroid had barely slowed; it was still careening towards elements of the 7th Fleet.
Just under eleven hundred souls on board, if the manifests were accurate. It was like a punch to the sternum.
Charlotte straightened her back and braced herself on the command display. "Open a channel to the 7th -- now!" The indicator went green, showing that she had connected to the bridge channels of the combined fleets. "All ships, pull back. Those asteroids are going to tear us apart! Utilize tractor beams, turbolasers, and any other means necessary." She addressed the helmsman: "Bring us about and open fire on any asteroids that get close. Double shields on the side facing the asteroids."
Another blinding flash as the Legion, another Lancer-II class Defense Frigate took a piece of debris and went nova. The First Order's ships were not designed for this kind of engagement; they were sturdy, powerful, and maneuverable, but not built to sustain the aftermath of a planetary catalcysm. They were too close to -- everything -- to calculate a safe hyperjump, and there were still shuttles, escape pods, refugees, and starfighters to be recovered. They were trapped between a rock and a hard place.
"Captain," said Grant, approaching the command table. "We have been unable to raise the Allegiant General or the Vice-Admiral, and a Jedi fleet Admiral is requesting communications with First Order Command."
Charlotte swallowed audibly, mentally reviewing the military handbook, then glanced at the Lieutenant. "Put them through. Until we hear from the Admiral or the Allegiant General, I am in command." She straightened and said: "Admiral Chaussidier, this is Captain Reed of the 7th Fleet, aboard the FIV Diligent. Please be advised of heavy debris and potentially hostile remnants in the system. At present I am the highest ranking First Order officer available. What can I do for you and the Grandmaster?"
"Appears like there's a lot of debris out there." The co-pilot of the moderately sized G-class freighter exclaimed, his eyes darting over the scanners. "To think that this once was Csilla…" A low whistle followed. "Don't get distracted Gon, piloting this thing with just two is hard enough as it is." The female Zabrak,who was obviously in charge, uttered. "Yeah yeah, I got it." The Twi'lek named Gon turned his head toward the cockpit's exit, and raised his voice. "Master Jedi! We've arrived! Sendra and I are gonna bring you as close to one of them evacuation ships as we can. Rest's up to you!" It was a clear message. The old, emptied freighter could not suffer much punishment. But it was one of the only large cargo ships with enough maneuverability to get past the debris, and that had been available when Grandmaster Kiara Ayres and Admiral Chaussidier had gathered their fleet. Needless to say, that gave the almost retired vessel an important role to play. And when one's role was vital, the Jedi Order would send their best. In this case, two Jedi Masters.
"We understand, thank you Gon." The response came, her disembodied voice echoing through the minds of the pilots. At first, Sakadi had been reluctant to join the relief aid. Csilla was a well of pain, nothing short of a wound in the Force. She had felt it from as far as Kashyyyk, and had experienced considerable difficulty to push her own mind past the sudden cries of millions. Now, up close, it felt worse. Much worse. The weight of it pressed down on her shoulders, gave her a headache and made it difficult to take full breaths. All because of the crushing presence of the Dark side, and the seemingly absent Light in the Living Force.
The Sephi strode through the main hallway of the freighter, determined to eventually step through its docking ring and rescue what survivors were left - assuming there were any to begin with.
FIGHTER COMPLIMENT: "VOODOO WING"
CALLSIGNS: Captain Angellus "Maverick" is and will always be "Voodoo 1", Commander Rojuh Pouil "Starlight" is "Voodoo 2" Commander Scoht Pouil "Meteor" is "Voodoo 3". Each Squadron leader makes up "Voodoo Wing", their individual squadrons and make-ups are named below.
He didn’t expect it in the slightest, but the promotion to “Commodore” happened, and Liram was feeling it. Of course, that put him in a new ship, another carrier, a much bigger one, interestingly named “Silver City”. There was a question of who would be assigned command of the ship as he was now a flag officer, which meant to him simply that no other officer could be the captain but Gym Halpern. That made less day-to-day work for Angellus, but he could focus more on everything now. Like the sheer destruction of such a beautiful, culture-driven planet. The planet's gravity well was still intact, so debris could be seen swirling around it.
As the Heavy Carrier dropped out of hyperspace, the bridge was getting as busy as ever, with the new design, the original crew of the Etheral got to work, but they were not alone. The Ethereal dropped out as well. Angellus was in command of both ships, and in contact with the new Captain, Captain Tellen Andor. Angellus was in contact with both, face to face with Halpern as well as Marine Colonel Telaskta, and Andor over the holo-com,
” I want all transports going down to the surface for evacuation. I also want platoons in each gunship with any Jedi that we have onboard that volunteers.”
“Do we need Jedi?” Colonel Telaskta asked directly.
“Sir? Do we need platoons in there, at that? They’re gunships, and if I may be frank, this is a rescue operation. ”
’’ Let’s hope we don’t, but I’m not going to leave us with our pants down. I also want regular fighter patrols and some high-altitude cover. Also, get in contact with Admiral Chaussidier, see where he wants us.”
To have grown up being so close to life had a large impact on the way Phyn looked at the world. She saw the interconnections between beings, sentient and nonsentient. Between the plants and animals of an ecosystem, between neighboring ecosystems on up to the interconnectedness between star-spanning nations. It was with those interconnections that she felt the Force most strongly.
It was from those interconnections that she felt the utter devastation of hundreds of millions of people dying all at once in one location.
That location no longer even existing.
Uncountable connections severed.
She hadn't even known that a fleet of ships was forming up to offer assistance until she was already on it. Her feet walked where the force willed her and she found herself on the Nima II with the Grand Master of the Silver Jedi Order. En route she made to keep herself and T'Anie out of the way, mostly staying in the quarters she shared with a few others, meditating, or letting her cephalapod companion roam the halls with her following.
When the ship and it's attendant fleet came out of hyperspace, it all just about hit her again. The cries of pain weren't as strong as the outright deaths of so many, but all the same it caused her to fall to her knees in the corridor. Her furred octopus companion, T'Anie, turned on a dime and did an eight armed loping run back to her. It clamped onto her, giving her the biggest hug, and it broke through. Phyn hugged the creature back, then stood a moment later and moved towards her quarters. They were here, so she needed to be ready to help.
She focused on her mental defenses, bringing them up and shutting other out. Her connection to T'Anie was strong enough that it went through her walls, but otherwise she couldn't feel the interconnections as easily. She used her sleeve to dry her eyes, and then quickly began to change from the training outfit she wore into something more appropriate for helping with rescue operations.
The destruction had rocked the Galaxy to the core.
Csilla had been a constant for so long. Had marked a waypoint on travels. To lose it so maliciously and suddenly had left a void within the Galaxy. A void that was in need of help.
The few that had been able to get a way from that carnage.
Kalah was hunched over the holomap of the Csilla System on the Concord Horizon as it traveled through the familiar tunnel of hyperspace in the wake of the flagship Nima II. Not that she had any idea exactly what was left in that speck of space, but prevention was better than cure, after all.
"We're approaching our destination, Commodore." Lieutenant Georgia Keller's announcement came from where she was hanging over the navi-droid's shoulder.
Kalah looked up from the table before straightening up and walking out onto the bridge. The Zygerrian had just taken her place in front of the great viewport before the familiar feeling of emerging from hyperspace lurched them into real space.
And desolation greeted the relievers.
Kalah's feline green eyes widened slightly, but Keller's somber exclamation brought her thoughts into the light. "Ashla above!"
It was like viewing the waste-lands of Raxus Prime without gravity. "Keep comm lines open. And run all scans. I want to know what is happening before it happens. Got that?" Kalah barked after her stunned silence.
Just then, the Nima II hailed all support craft in warning of the debris. "No chit, genius." the feline muttered before Keller snapped out of her own shock and replied in copy.
Kalah finally turned away from the horror of the viewport and faced her bridge. "Well, don't just ogle at it. To stations, all of you! And ready all weapons. And get me the Admiral!" Commodore Redra's alto ordered in clipped tones.
Organics and droids alike jumped into action and Keller herself tapped into comms straight to the Nima II and Chaussidier
to request orders. Kalah turned back to the desolation and debris in front of them, ears flat against her head, a foul mood settling on her at the destruction that had reigned supreme here.
Csilla... What was even left of that planet, a bunch of scraps and remains of spaceships that were too late to take off? It was honestly a true disaster to observe. But despite the hopeless canvas that had been sketched from even looking at the void of space, there would remain a certain hope that there were Chiss out there, alive despite the horrors that the planet had to face. Still in their spaceships that were half destroyed during the destruction of the planetary body. Nevertheless the thoughts of finding people who are still alive, there were so many that didn't share this fate. But they will always be, remembered by the Jedi Consular...
A sigh of frustration would leave her mouth as she watched a few scraps of durasteel and other metals hover next to the freighter. She was here on a mission, no, not only her, two Jedi Masters, Master Sakadi Marathi Sinvala and Master Zorah Cinsilo were assigned to recover and rescue those that they find if they even find someone or something. A difficult task as it involved a lot of emotional challenges by seeing the gruesome imagery.
The Epicanthix hybrid shook her head lightly, before making a turn and wandering towards the main hall of the freighter, leaving the canvas of a destroyed civilization and its remains behind. Her efforts to keep a faint smile on her face became overshadowed by the sadness and agony that she felt. It would not only be sensed by Jedi or Force Users, no, nearly everyone that was in her proximity would sense and experience these terrible feelings.
It upset her, this entire situation... What had happened here was a pure disgrace to the people in the galaxy, although she had to hide these thoughts for her own wellbeing. Because if the Jedi Master was aware of one part of the Jedi code, it would be emotions, 'that emotions should never control her actions,' yet Zorah felt a wave of certain anger. Or was it, frustration? Nobody could determine the difference when it came to that emotion. But one thing was for sure, she had to cool down or be attacked by sinister visions.
Once the Jedi Master caught a glimpse of the Sephi's presence, she'd only pace towards her. ''Anything caught on the scanners yet?'' The woman would ask with a friendly tone attached to her voice, because if there was one thing that she needed. It had to be positive news of some sort.
The news of the destruction of Csilla had spread through Chiss Space.
How could it not?
By the time Mitth'orn'eruod had boarded a First Order shuttle, entered hyperspace, and traveled to the Copero System, it was everywhere. The Chiss were in various states of response, of course, but with the call to action for House Mitth being raised, the Phalanx had heeded the command. The largest private vessel of the Chiss to date, the MBC Retribution, had been completed and brought operational months prior. The purpose to been to protect Mitth interests in their respective sectors, as other Chiss families were wont to do, but the recent actions of the Maw - and the devastation that had followed - now called the Mitth, and the warships it commanded, to a new purpose.
Hunt down the Maw.
"I have brought sensory data from the battle in the Csilla System," Mitth'orn'eruod said to the group of officers that followed, as he walked through the fresh corridors of the warship, his dark black uniform pressed with the red piping and symbol of Mitth on the shoulder. It was odd being out of the First Order uniform, but there would be no misunderstanding, this was now for the Chiss. "I want immediate analysis on the Fatalis, including trajectory and hyperspace potentials. Include the Ozyly-esehembo team assigned to this vessel, so they might utilize the Fo-- the Third Sight and hone their powers to discovering the location of the fleet."
"Yes, Admiral. Data is already sent to the crew at stations on the bridge." One of the Chiss responded with a crisp tone and his chin up. "We have our best on it."
"Additionally, alert all stations, we are massing for a full assault with all available Phalanx vessels for support that are on standby," Mitth'orn'eruod continued, after a curt nod to the Chiss who replied, before the group rounded a corner and approached the sealed blast doors to the bridge of the Retribution. "The Fatalis sustained heavy damage through the course of the battle, and it stands to reason that they might have been forced to stop in another system to enact repairs... and if not, we will triangulate their location, and bring to bear the consequences of their actions, at Mitth's hands."
And while House Mitth wasn't a Ruling House, it had still maintained its holdings due to sheer power at its command. Few would be foolish enough to try and wrest Copero from Mitth'orn'eruod's family in the Ascendancy, as it would not end well for them. Still, time was of the essence, and the group passed through the bridge doors, as guards observed nearby, and the bridge went silent.
"You all know what has transpired. I will not waste time on speeches or morale inspiring rallies," The Chiss Admiral said simply, as he looked between the crews on the bridge, his red eyes furious and glowing. "Instead: prep your stations, ready your wits, and prepare to attack the Brotherhood of the Maw with everything you have."
There wasn't much else to say, as the crews confirmed, and the numerous Chiss went about preparations.
"Admiral, there's been some development from the Ozyly-esehembo regarding the Fatalis," A sensor crewman called out, as he stood huddled beside some Chiss children in robes. The Force navigators of the Ascendancy, the youthful Chiss were uniquely connected to the Force and able to do miraculous things with their ability to see the future. "One of the navigators has... seen something, and believes she knows the location of the dreadnought. But we would still need to get closer to scan and determine accuracy."
"Lock in those coordinates," Mitth'orn'eruod said with a nod, as he moved to the front of the bridge and began to power up his command terminal. "Even if it's not precisely located, at least we will be closer than we were right now. Excellent work. Navigation, when able, engage hyperspace with the Mitth Phalanx and take us toward the Maw dreadnought's believed location..."
It took the Retribution several hyperspace jumps, almost an entire hour of searching regions based on Force Precognition, but with a burst of displaced speed, the warship emerged from a nearby system. Moments later, other Mitth vessels, a small fleet of two additional frigates with several squadrons of Nssis-Class starfighters, appeared in the warships wake. Sensors were activated, shields were returned to normal frequencies, and weapons were given power - while the crews on the bridge worked tirelessly to scan the area, and determine if--
"Sir, we have it," Called a sensor officer. "It's a distance away, but it's definitely there on the scanners!"
"Good, run a secondary confirmation, then we send the information back to the First Order and allied fleets in the Csilla System," Mitth'orn'eruod said as he looked down at the data being displayed. He allowed himself a small smile, as his red eyes glanced the information. "I've no doubt many would relish the opportunity to repay the favor to the Maw..."
And once the information was, indeed, correlated and confirmed, it was sent via transmission to the First Order in the Csilla System. It was difficult not to think of it as where Csilla was, but instead where it had been, and Mitth'orn'eruod felt another rise of anger inside as he considered the circumstances that had led to the present.
"Connection established, Admiral."
"Captain Reed," Mitth'orn'eruod said, as he looked down to the holo and waited for a response. "This is... Admiral Thorne, commanding the House Mitth Phalanx. I apologize for leaving you with a subordinate on the FIV Firaxa, however this has now become a Chiss matter for me, temporarily.
"That said, I contact you with information regarding the location of the Maw's dreadnought, the Fatalis. We have located it, through trajectory prediction and Force navigation assistance. Data has been sent. Please alert any allied forces who might wish to repay the Maw in kind. We will be engaging the enemy dreadnought shortly. Any friendly forces joining us will be more than welcome.
"Also, do you have updates on the rescue and recovery efforts?"
The white plated star destroyer quickly flew through hyperspace in route to Csilla. The vessel hadn't seen much action compare to her sister ship, but with Keros' Kad stuck in drydock, she would be the go to until the assault destroyer was repaired. The warships A.I., Cordy looked around from her core, keeping mark on the scanners and comms.
"Fleet Commander Malo, we're getting reports of heavy debris."
"We knew it would be dangerous. I still feel worse for the Nima crew. They have to deal with Vaux." The A.I. shook her head through her holographic image.
"I'll keep you posted on information of any distress calls. Just hope we have enough transports. Not like our hangers can hold many as is."
"I know. We can do some old debris scooping tactics though. One advantage of forward hangers." The A.I. nodded a little before looking out, and soon the Concordia would leap out of hyperspace near the Nima II.
Meanwhile, aboard Nima II, Vaux was trying to help as best she could. With Clan Gred having lived in space for so long, she'd hoped she could help them with navigating debris fields like this, though she doubted they really needed it. This was for her own mind. She walked the ship, slowly rounding the corner as she sighed.
"We're here now VK. I hope we can help somehow. The Talyc Squadron's ready just in case too. The others should be getting ready." She would continue walking, waiting to here any news.
The destruction of Csilla sent shock-waves through First-Imperial space.
The reception on board the Crusader was nothing less than a mix of confusion, panic and outright shock. Enric himself had found himself just a short while earlier in his quarters, in a state of disbelief. It had been decades since a planet had been destroyed. Sure, there were many attempts, most recently by the Sith Empire, again nearly over a decade earlier.
But, the crew of the Resurgent Class Battlecruiser pulled themselves together. At the helm of the bridge, with arms folded definatly across his chest, Commodore Enric Hask guided the Crusader into realspace, slicing through the never ending salty scape with extreme caution. "Inform the fleet to keep our distance. Weapons crews are to montior those asteriods closely"
"Contact Captain Reed and Admiral Mitth'orn'eruod"
There was confidence in his voice. There had to be. The entire bridge crew could not waiver, could not break. It was paramount to show the hundreds of souls aboard the Crusader there was hope. "Admiral" As communication was established the Commodore saluted both the Captain and Admiral sharply.
He didn't speak again for fear of his voice cracking, as odd as the sounded. He simply waited for his superior, the Admiral to instruct him further.
"Status report," the Taskmaster snapped, his bulbous eyes scanning the damage reports filtering into his command console. Smoke filled the bridge, the product of electrical fires that the labor slaves were only just beginning to get under control. Cracked screens flickered, and exposed wires sparked. The Heathen Priests he had commanded in his unconventional defense strategy, maneuvering debris into a shield against the NIO attack, were still slumped over their stations; most were unconscious, but some were dead, their lips and noses caked with blood in the aftermath of cerebral hemorrhage.
The ecstasy of Chiss suffering had worn off, leaving only fresh trials.
The Fatalis, pride of the Brotherhood fleet, had survived the battle over Csilla... but only just. It had taken heavy fire during the boarding of the Galactic Alliance flagship, and then been doggedly pursued all the way back to the Mercy's defensive screen by the determined Gallius Orcana
, whose continued attacks had nearly succeeded in blowing it apart. Most of the Megacaliber guns were offline, and several other weapons systems had overloaded. Shields weren't recovering at the rate they ought to, indicating damage to the subsystem. Entire decks had been breached and depressurized, opened to the void.
It was a dark miracle they'd been able to jump to hyperspace at all.
As it was, they'd had to jump almost blindly, falling back to some empty, half-charted system along the northern border of Chiss space. They couldn't have made it much further; cascading power failures had forced them out of their jump, and would disable the Path Engines from bearing them any further until they could be fixed. And so the Fatalis and its escorts hung in the void around the isolated star, their crews engaged in frantic jury-rig repairs. One after another, sub-commanders from each deck filled Tu'teggacha in on an ever-lengthening list of battle scars to be patched up, and he deployed the slaves.
So far, only a few of the Maw vessels had managed to reach this particular fallback location, in part because it was somewhat short of the one they'd originally planned. The Taskmaster sent out coded transmissions to Aldo Garrick
, Derix Tirall
, Talon Kyber
, and the Hand of Purification
identifying their position, hoping to lead more of the fleet to regroup. He was concerned by the possibility that the vengeful Chiss and their allies might follow the Brotherhood. The Maw fleet had already taken terrible losses, and there was little doubt that many of Csilla's defenders wished to ensure they were wiped out entirely.
Half of Chiss space lay between them and home, and for the moment, they were stuck. Tu'teggacha could only urge haste, pushing his already-weary mind to the limit as he bridged the thoughts of maintenance crews and sensor officers inn a bid to increase their efficiency. He had given a great deal of himself to the battle, and there had been precious little time to recover... but if he did not continue to exert all of his strength and leverage all of his talents, the Brotherhood fleet might find itself tracked down and destroyed before it ever reached the safety of their bases among the distant stars of the Nihil Retreat.
"Taskmaster," one of the bridge officers called out, drawing the Ebruchi's attention from his grim thoughts, "we have a problem. Several other vessels have jumped into the system. They are some distance away, and we cannot identify them with any certainty, but they are not broadcasting the approved Brotherhood contact protocols. The enemy may have located us." Tu'teggacha's facial tendrils thrashed in agitation as he digested the news. Barely an hour into the repairs, and his worst fears were being realized. "Continue broadcasting our location to our allies," he ordered, voice solemn.
"Bring us to yellow alert, and make ready our escorts."
Among the host of Silver Jedi Concord vessels that entered the system, the Obi-Wan Kenobi was one of the larger vessels present. Yet despite its size and power, the true value of the battlecruiser wasn't in its thousands of weapons emplacements or its hundreds of starfighters, but rather in the hospital mission module that dangled underneath the main hull almost like a parasite. Clear red and white markings emblazoned that section of the ship, though the admiral doubted that the Brotherhood of the Maw would truly care about its humanitarian crisis.
"We're beginning detailed scans now," announced a female Mon Calamari to the rest of the ship's command staff.
Gir glumly nodded as his eyes swept through the preliminary holo of the battlefield, making note of the shattered hullsj that littered the battlefield before finally coming to settle upon twisted and gnarled hull form was now undistinguishable for any sort of warship class that Gir was familiar with. Thousands must have died here. Schadenfreude welled up in him as he considered the First Order's casualties. He had little love for that government and only begrudgingly was willing to assist them purely on the thought that the Brotherhood of the Maw was an even more evil organization - one that seemed bereft of any sort of respectable logic or order. The man pressed his lips together as more sensor readings began to filter in and flesh out the tactical holo. It would appear to be even worse than I first thought...Ariela slid up next to him, silently taking in the data of the holo-map for her own analysis. She briefly cleared her throat.
"You're holding off on making any moves?"
Gir nodded, "The First Order and I don't exactly have the best of history. Iwouldn't want to give us reason to enter an entirely new set of hostilities, especially given the current state of the galaxy. It seems that we don't merely have political enemies anymore, but enemies that are content to ignore the most basic of civilities and wipe off entire civilizations with the blink of an eye."
He was only dimly aware of the clamor all around him, the frenzy as the assault shuttles reunited with the Fatalis to offload the survivors of the ground attack. It had taken a lot fewer shuttles on the way out than on the way in. Recovering the Moon Children was virtually impossible once they were deployed, as the feral clones would attack their own handlers just as readily as the enemy. It was easy to clone more, with each massive batch grown in the vats beneath Gehinnom reaching maturity in under two weeks, so the Brotherhood considered them a fire and forget kind of weapon.
Most of them were dead anyway. So were the Branchlurkers.
That cleared a great deal of shuttle space all on its own... but many marauders had failed to return as well, leaving their particular shuttles worryingly roomy. Csilla's surface had been a brutal meat grinder, with each attempt by the Brotherhood to take the NIO trenches costing thousands of lives per meter gained. The survivors had been consolidated into a smaller number of shuttles, with the freed-up space useed to transport battlefield salvage - the weapons, armor, vehicle parts, and even corpses that the salvage chain gangs had dragged back to the Maw's lines for reuse.
They could not afford to be wasteful, after all.
The hangars of the Fatalis and its escorts were full of these salvage ships, which had not only filled their holds with broken cargo but also attached it to their hulls with magnetic clamps. None of the Brotherhood's scavenged and refitted walkers had survived the battle, blown apart either by enemy starfighter aces or the long-range brutal pounding of NIO tanks and artillery, but their parts had been recovered and returned to the fleet. They would be brought back to the great forges of Osseriton, to be either rebuilt or repurposed. Even the bodies of the slain would be used as fuel... or food.
The Mongrel was aware of very little of this. It had taken all of his strength to give the last orders to the shuttle bearing him and his men, and to lead them in the holy chants of praise as Csilla blew apart. Now he was exhausted, every bit of him spent, and his injuries from the brutal duel with that Jedi were swiftly catching up to him. He had received field first aid on the planet's surface, but that had been a temporary measure. He needed more intensive medical attention, or he would surely die, the shock of his wounds and his exertions dragging him down into the abyss until his heart stopped.
That was why he lay on a cold slab in the medical bay of the Fatalis, staring up at a pair of scavenged medical droids. Ordinarily a Heathen Priest would have overseen all medical procedures, but none were available; the flagship's entire complement was still recovering from their own ordeal. And so The Mongrel was alone as the droids poked and prodded him, slipping needles into his flesh, slicing away dead tissue and applying fresh bacta. He was lucky to have been so honored among the ranks of the marauders. They had very little bacta to spare. Who would sell it to them?
With such supplies, they had only what they could steal.
As he lay there, The Mongrel beheld strange visions behind the lids of his closed eyes. He was not what the infidels called "Force-sensitive", could not touch the mystical power that Jedi and Sith drew from, and yet these were no ordinary waking dreams. He saw impossible places and unknowable creatures, some of them beautiful beyond compare, others equally hideous and twisted. He saw darkness and light clashing, and where they met, the very fabric of the world was reshaped. He did not understand why he saw these things. Had the Avatars blessed him with these visions? Why?
In truth, Csilla's destruction had torn at the Netherworld gate in Omni's ancient facility there. Now the gates of heaven and hell were open, spilling so much energy in the wake of such death and devastation that even those without Force talent could feel an echo of it. The Mongrel, near death, was nearer the Netherworld than most. He felt it keenly, the pull of the beyond, so keenly that he caught flashes of the strange, twisting unreality beyond those shattered gates. But there was no Heathen Priest present to help him understand. Only the cold, unfeeling medical droids witnessed him as he suffered through his unending visions of beauty and madness...
As Omen's ship, the Tortured Rebirth, lifted off from Roxuli's atmosphere, the ARC Sergeant Omen couldn't be prouder in his vessel and the work he had done to improve her. The Dragonboat-Class Freighter had been a good ship to him during his time in the distant future and he had rewarded her by upgrading her armor, armament, and engines to the best that money could buy.
He especially needed those new engines since the old ones were burnt to a crisp in a fiery descent to the surface of Roldalna. Thankfully he got a modern replacement engine bank that was the best that money could buy. Thank god he had sold the crew bunks and some of the other furniture and the trash that the Trandoshan former owners had left behind. He had already handed the animal corpses over to the Silver Jedi’s Loremasters for a tidy profit that had been keeping him afloat lately. Most of the money went into the ship's weapons and engines. He still thanked the living force that Shuklaar Kyrdol and Strill Security had given him the upgrades at a diminished price on account of him being a poor clone with no security fund.
Might have to pay him back somehow…But none of that mattered now because he had just picked up broadband communications from the First Order MBC Battlecruiser "Retribution" asking for assistance as it faced off against the Maw Dreadnought “Fatalis”. Well, that's something that I’m going to have to be a part of. I’m probably not what they meant by help but it will be fun to see what this new gear can do. As the Tortured Rebirth went to hyperspace, he only hoped he would be there in time to see a First Order fleet and not a pile of scrap metal floating in space.
Maestus exited the shuttle she had barely managed to scramble aboard. She stormed from the hangar bay. Throwing off the heavy furs she had worn on Csilla's surface. Scrambling behind her was a unit of 5 Chosen, hustling to keep up with their Mistress.
She was absolutely glowing with rage and embarrassment. She had failed to secure the Vice Chancellor, Aerarii Tithe
. The fething chit managed to escape. As she made her way to the bridge, she thought about the Vice Chancellor. Who he was. His personality, what she had witnessed. She thought of his whereabouts now. Mostly importantly, she began to formulate a plan to find him and capture him. He would not evade her forever.
As she stalked through hallways, anyone who was foolish enough to not remove themselves from her path would find themselves slammed into the walls via the Force. She cared not who it was, or if they were injured or even killed. Such was the rage of the Sith Lord.
Stepping through the doorway to the bridge, she paused a moment to survey the damage and casualties. Motioning to the dead and injured Heathen Priests, she snapped violently at her Chosen.
Take the injurecd to the medical bay. Remove the dead. WITH RESPECT!
The Chosen practically ran to fulfill the commands. With great care, they tended to the unconcious yet still alive Heathen Priests. They hustled with them to the med bay. The dead were taken and placed....somewhere.
Maestus strode towards Tu'teggacha
, stopping beside him. She clasped her hands tightly behind her back, focusing her gaze out the viewport before them.
Status report, Taskmaster. And before you protest, no, I will not take command. I have other duties to attend in due time.