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A promise had been made several years ago, immediately following the climax of the Third Imperial Civil War, with the New Imperial assault on Bastion. With the New Imperial Order upholding the claim of the Mandalorian worlds by the 'Sons of Mandalore' , a group of renegade Mandalorian warfighters, terrorists and renegades who went into exile after escaping as political prisoners from Sith Imperial space or did not back the rule of past Manda'lors, even going as far as to decry the most recent. In its fledgling state, the New Imperial Order brokered an alliance which set the terms that the Sons of Mandalore would join the New Imperial Order in their fight of revenge against the Sith Empire. Operating from Echoy'la, the Sons of Mandalore fought valiantly in the battles of Muunilinst, Orinackra, Borosk, Bastion and most recently, beat down the proud Helgardi on their own homeworld. They'd operated as all but traditional Supercommandos, acting autonomously from New Imperial High Command as attaches and as an independent, elite fighting force.
It was time for the New Imperial Order to uphold its end of the bargain. Though soon, it came to realization that Manda'yaim was the not the world they were expelled from...it was all but a tomb world, infected.
C O N C O R D I A OBJECTIVE I | OPERATION 'BROKEN STEEL'
OPPOSING | SITH REMNANTS
AREA OF OPERATION | FORTRESS IMPERIOUS
After the Death Watch Crusade wrought another trail of chaos and destruction through the Mandalorian Sector and the Mandalorian Union, an entity classified as an illegal, unrightful state by the New Imperial Order collapsed, a vast power vacuum has opened in the Mandalorian worlds and following the New Imperial Order's 'Quick reaction Force' made up of New Imperial Naval, Army and Special Operations assets, Mandalore and Concordia is the next proper step in re-establishing order and peace once more. Now, with the Sons of Mandalore making up the bulk of the fighting force, the New Imperial Order has deployed military assets to assist in the siege and assault of what the Sith Empire designated as 'Fortress Imperious'.
With armored assets from the New Imperial Army beginning the siege, Mandalorian, Force Corps and other New Imperial Assets move in to assault Imperious proper and take the fortress from the Sith remnants who have come to hold it, parceled together from Sith cultists, Sith Imperial remnants and Grauge hordes, the New Imperial Order moves to drive them out of Fortress Imperious, take and hold it, to establish the Mandalorian Protectorate's hold of Concordia, using it as the base of operations.
M A N D A L O R E OBJECTIVE II | SCORCHED EARTH
OPPOSING | GRAUG HORDE, BLACKWING VIRUS
AREA OF OPERATION | MANDALORE
Mandalore is dead. The Sith Empire drove the first stab of the dagger into this world with the articles of Mandalorian resettlement, driving its subjugated populace into genocide following the Siege of Sundari by the United Clans of Mandalore's remnants, attacking the city whilst it was under the military governance of the Sith Imperial Legion General Irveric Tavlar. The following policies set in place by the Sith Empire drove the Mandalorian people to genocide and resettled their native world with Graug Hordes, shamelessly naming the world 'New Gratos'. The Mandalorian Union assaulted the ruins of Sundari and managed a short lived occupation though their reign soon diminished and ended in a bloody fury at the hands of the Death Watch. Mandalore was now all but a wasteland left to the insidious Blackwing plague and Graug Hordes who'd now festered on Manda'yaim's surface.
After counsel from the leaders of the Sons of Mandalore, Lord Protector Kestus Bralor deemed the world unfit to be resettled by their people and authorized the use of 'Base Delta Zero' by the New Imperial and Mandalorian Protectorate Navies who have been given the positions of concentrations of Blackwing and Grauge settlements still on the world. All the while, ground based units continue to act as forward observers to mark more hostile targets and inspect the conditions of Mandalorian ruins, extracting historic artifacts and piecing together the recent history of Manda'yaim's tortured past.
M A N D A L O R E _ S E C T O R OBJECTIVE III | PACT TO KILL
NEW IMPERIAL ASSEMBLY
With the Imperial Navy's increasing presence in the Mandalore Sector, the leadership of the New Imperial Order meets aboard the NIV Tregessar, the flagship of Caarlyle Rausgeber
to meet once more, following a rather hectic session initially concerning relations with the Silver Jedi Concord, the talks have evolved and the office of the Sovereign Imperator has presented the articles and terms for a defensive pact for prospective nations across the Galaxy. The terms being simple - an 'Anti-Sith' pact, acting as a defensive measure to net together the military capabilities of the New Imperial Order with other nations who have come into conflict with the Dark Creed in recent history to contain and destroy Sith influence across the Galaxy, be it coming in the form of the Sith Empire, Sith Eternalism or now, the budding Brotherhood of the Maw which threatens the New Imperial Order's Galactic west.
The Imperial Assembly was tapped to more closely dissect terms of this pact and concerns around such a concept before the ruling government proposes it to the prospective members, The Galactic Alliance, The Silver Jedi Concord and The First Order.
B Y O O
Whatever gets you to post, chief.
Any Mando writers who want to do their own story using this thread as a ground work for interacting with Mandalore or Concordia are absolutely free to do so.
Finally. They were aboard the Tregessar. His vessel. His home away from the stations of Prefsbelt IV. Carlyle marched through the halls of the gargantuan, dagger shaped Super Star Destroyer with a little spring in his step. The unpleasantness of Ravelin far behind the man. Ravelin had been a setback. A temporary defeat on his climb to victory. Now was the time to assert himself, as well as test the capabilities of his vessel and its staff as it proceeded to prepare for lightspeed, readying itself and the rest of Regency Force to press toward Mandalore at breakneck speed. It was ironic. They were to arrive as saviours. Liberators from some backward regime. And yet, it would not have been too far fetched a few years ago, for Carlyle to have requested, nay, campaigned for the extermination of its denizens and their creed from the greater Galaxy. Albeit, he had been somewhat late to it. Seemed the Sith Empire had come close, and near beaten them to it.
"Grand Admiral!" An ensign barked, approaching and saluting in the traditional Prefsbelt style. A clenched fist slammed to the chest, and then palm raised to the forehead. Her uniform, with a blue circle around the Prefsbelt Command logo on her shoulder, indicated she was assigned to the Ministry of Information. "Milord, we've just taken stock of those arrived. Other than some minor, politically unimportant absences sir, the Imperial Assembly awaits." Carlyle gave a curt nod. Good. Very good.
"Bring the order to Fleet Admiral Braisley, she is to depart at once." Carlyle commanded, before pausing, raising a finger, "Do be sure to run the conference room, Sigma Grey protocol. Obviously with empty cannisters." Rausgeber commanded, with a wry smirk, "See if how quick our technicians are on the draw with this." He then paused, and proceeded toward the conference room. It was located to the fore of the Tregessar's city scape, at the edge of it, toward the prow. Overlooking banks of turbolasers and missile batteries. Prefsbelt Stossjaeger, clearly elite as indicated by the Burgundy stripes and colouration of their shoulder pads, and uniforms stood guard both inside the chamber and out.
Rausgeber entered with a hiss behind him. Immediately, the Stossjaeger and military aides within the room balked. Their posture stiffening as he entered, ivory cape flowing behind. The room was sunk into the floor. Some stairs had to be climbed down, to the actual table. Large, round, and obsidian and made of dense metal. With a large Prefsbelt Command insignia, engraved in it. Seating had been arranged for the Sovereign Imperator to sit close to the door, in the grand seat, overlooking the large observation viewport, and gazing into the stars. Watching as the final TIE fighters and small corvettes grouped with Regency force. Enlil, opposite, back to the spectacle, and incapable of viewing as his chair had unfortunately been stiffened to be only front on. Accidents happened. Sad. Many such cases.
Striding down Rausgeber began with a warm welcome. "Ladies, gentlemen, welcome aboard the Tregessar," Rausgeber began, beaming, "It is my sincerest pleasure to have such esteemed company aboard. Makes me wish I'd invited you all sooner." He offered with a grin, "We shall be departing for Mandalore in a matter of moments." Carlyle informed the group, flashing them all faux smiles. "Please, if you require any of the utilities aboard, food, water, toiletries, my personnel are happy to oblige." Carlyle took his seat to the right, beside Irveric Tavlar on his grand command chair. "My staff, have taken the liberty of providing a draft of proposed treaty stipulations, sections and principles. For all present," As if on cue, the soldiers clad in black, neat jumpsuits approached, providing each sitting member a folder. Crisp and leather, with the Prefsbelt logo again emblazoned upon its maroon cover, "Of the terms proposed. Kindly provided by the honourable Grand Vizier and Sovereign Imperator."
Once all members held the documents Carlyle cleared his throats, "So, where shall we begin?"
Concordia. Home. An all but bastardized view of what was ever familiar. But now, in the bloody fray, he could enact the revenge he'd sought for years now. Ever since he forsook the often aimless search of fortune that came with bounty hunting and reunited with his brothers and sisters in creed...to be made Supercommando.
The detpack released its violent charge and a hole of twisted and jagged metal unveiled the tram tunnel that ran under the fortress. From here, Trajan and his Oathsworn would infiltrate the remnant Fortess...and bring death. This was not the battle of Helgard, gunning down Sith warriors on a far away world, this was not Bastion, helping the Imperials reclaim their own homeworld.
No. This was Concordia. The Exile's Moon. In the shimmering atmosphere, its mother world, Manda'yaim could be taken into view. But Manda'yaim was all but a lost, dead world. At least, in Trajan's own native home, there could be vindication, redemption. There was nothing left of his fledgling Clan or kin. Only the fire within himself. A fire that burned far brighter than the inferno around him.
He led his team from the front, marching down with his team through the tunnel, the disruptor rifle clutched tightly in his hands. The first to intercept them came in the form of mostly familiar silhouettes. Men donning parcelled together Sith Legionary service gear. There was no hope of surrender for them or anyone else within Imperious. He gunned down the first two with a violent burst each.
<"No mercy. This is our vengeance."> One they would enact in blood, as was their Creed. At the main hub of the underground tram station, there would be more waiting for them. But that was a price worth paying, giving way to the soft innards of the Fortress.
When word reached the Ketyadyr that the Sith had been pushed back and the pretenders had been forced to abandon their world Gilamar couldn't believe it. No, it wasn't that he couldn't believe it, he refused to. He tried to clamp down on the rumors so as to not give his people hope, but word spread fast on the large vessel and even quicker through the fleet.
"Yaim! Yaim mar'e!"
He couldn't stop the rumors from spreading like a sickness. Every day he was asked when they would return home, when they could see the family and friends that were left behind.
"They're dead," he would tell them, "The Graug killed them or they were left to die in their camps." Even these harsh words couldn't keep the light of hope from their eyes. Even older warriors, men and women old enough to remember the horrors of the Graug under the One Sith and before that knowing the horrors by which the Sith swore on their world after the devastation of Dromund Kaas. Even they held onto hope. It seemed even without his say an expedition had been organized, one to bring House Skirata and its disparate clans under the banner of the New Imperial Order, the soldiers who had upheld their bargain and had brought their world back to them.
"Coming out of hyperspace now," Marcos said as he eased the lever back. As starlines shrunk back to stars, the freighter dropped out of hyperspace. The blackened and cracked surface of the world looked nothing like he had ever seen. Even from this far away he could see the black smoke rising and covering the atmosphere that could be none other than the Black Death.
"What in-" Gilamar heard a few of the others take in short breaths of air as they watched New Imperial warships bombarding the planet.
"No," he said evenly, "That was our home. It has been the Graug and the Sith's home for far too long. The fools that claimed the world afterward were too afraid to touch this cursed land." His old eyes met the younger Mandalorian's black visor. "Not us." A cold rage had taken root in the pit of the old Mandalorian's stomach. A rage that he hadn't felt in years, not since the One Sith had taken his brother in arms away and twisted him with the Dark Side. Not since Ordo had he felt so angry.
This was not the grand battle he'd anticipated. The grand battle of which he was more than prepared to give his life more. This was something...far more meager. Manda'yaim was a poisoned world, a sick, ailing mother. What should have been the culmination of the struggle, the strive to reclaim their home and give the final sacrifice to preserve their creed and from their ashes, breath a better future for their people now seemed to be all but chemotherapy.
To further burn away at the sickness in order to make it well again. The Death Watch Crusade had done well in carving through the tides of darkness that corrupted this world, but even they had abandoned the hopes of settling here at the collapse of the Mandalorian Union state. Kestus, peering through the viewport of his flagship seemingly questioned the ambition they'd been following for years now all the same.
On Mandalore...there was nothing but suffering.
The Mandalorian was not the planet, it was the creed that made them. The kin, the clans. That is what made the Mandalorian. This birthright...now...meant nothing. Nearing the final moments of his 'prime', he longed for the cinematic climax to their struggle that should have occurred here. The valiant Sons of Mandalore battling the wills of the titanic Sith Empire for their home.
In its stead? Nothing. There was nothing left to walk through in nostalgia. Nothing left to save. Whatever Manda'yaim was hardly home to any Mandalorian, not any more. It was a tomb to their people. The wealth of the land, the Beskar was long stripped mine from the Core outwards by the Sith Imperials and the landscape which bred the Neo Crusaders who'd left to conquer the Galaxy was the wither of a shadow of its former self.
He'd hoped...at the very least, these destructive, yet neccessary steps would be the only way in ensuring the Creed survived. By giving them all nothing to return to here, it was all but a foreboding signal, luring the hopeful lost from across the Galaxy in the hopes something, anything remained here. Perhaps there could be...another day. But now?
<"Cabur..."> One of his Helmsman muttered the way of Kestus, who yielded no response as he looked over the pale, desolated silhouette of his once home in solemn beneath his helm. As if respecting its final rites.
Kyrimorut was unrecognizable. The massive war oak that had been the foundation of the Skirata ancestral home had been split in two, its branches blackened and foliage absent, leaving behind a morbid black skeleton. The fires had long since died out but a few dozen Graug cookfires remained smoldering. From the viewport he could also see Lake Kad'ika was dried out, likely boiled away when the Sith Empire blasted Kyrimorut from orbit. Likewise, Port Skirata was bombed out. He could see the large mound where his people lay buried, not even a stone to mark their place.
A snarl had taken Gilamar's face as the freighter began its approach, circling the monument to the Sith's brutality. The Graug that had made this grave their home were staring up, waving their weapons and firing off shots that would barely register on the freighter's shield monitors.
"Any warriors willing," he called, "Follow me. Today we take Kyrimorut back." It didn't matter that they didn't know how many Graug were there. It didn't matter that Gilamar didn't have his beskar'gam. It didn't matter because the Manda would see that justice was done to the Mandalorians.
Gilamar was wearing an improvised battlesuit of modest plastoid armor plates on his tunic and pants. He did wear crushgaunts and magnetic boots for the sheer practicality of riding a bes'uliik. The freighter's cargo bay door opened revealing dozens of Mandalorians, their T-shaped visors staring death at the snarling Graug. The wind billowed the half cape Gilamar wore. He raised an arm and the three other freighters that had come opened their doors as well. His arm fell and the Mandalorians flew screaming into the ash-filled air over Kyrimorut, their rocket packs propelling them towards death and murder.
Gilamar climbed onto Atin and patted the metal beast's head before locking his boots into place. The weapons were stored and charged and for a moment he agonized over what he should bring to bear on the Graug. A stray bolt from a blaster pinging off the side of the door drew his attention back to the battlefield. He grabbed the vibro poleaxe and extended its telescopic pole and flared Atin's engines. As responsive as the day he was activated Atin flew into battle and Gilamar flew into battle, a grim glare etched into his weathered face.
// Mandalore // Northern Hemisphere // Anchored in High Orbit // Continued Deployment of the Graug Xenophage.
Nearly ten billion Sithspawn populated Mandalore after the Sith Empire had wrested control of the System from the desiccated corpse of the Star Kingdom known as the United Clans of Mandalore. In the time that the Sith Empire had been pushed back, the Mandalorian Union, a successor to the United Clans, began stemming the population, dwindling it ever so slightly. Reportedly, that number drifted down to seven billion, with many being taken out in various bombardments and through more conventional means. Sadly, such methods allowed the Graug to tunnel beneath the surface and thrive within the planet’s crust. It’s unknown if their population began to replenish itself, but when the Death Watch and their Crusade arrived? That mattered little.
With a genetically tailored Xenophage and enough missiles to make an Alliance Admiral blush, these Neo-Crusaders sought to finish the work their wayward cousins started. They wouldn’t wage a conventional war against these foul creatures, as they weren’t worth the effort nor lives spent in the cleansing. No, instead, they would be wiped off the face of the planet through a nigh-ceaseless barrage of xeno-toxic torpedoes. These warheads would chase them into their vaunted tunnels and bathe them in the poisonous clouds. When the first warheads struck true, countless Sithspawn began to feel the effects of the viral agents. They were genetically engineered to be nigh-impervious to even the most deadly of toxins, but when their bodies turned against themselves?
Well, suffice to say - it was too little, too late.
After several days of constant bombardment, the flagship of the Mandalore Crusade found itself surrounded by fewer and fewer warships. Everything of worth had been taken from the System, leaving little but the cursed echoes for others to feast upon. But, the Death Watch had vowed to remain until their work was done - as to leave a single Graug alive was to invite disaster down the line. While they were nothing more than servants to the true architects of Mandalore’s decline, they still poisoned the cursed earth with every gods-forsaken breath. That was why Konnor elected to remain behind, with a small coterie of starships. There was little that could endanger them now, especially as the flotilla of Sith warships that suddenly appeared faded back into obscurity.
He smiled when they tucked tail and ran. It was a sight that would never get old in his eyes. Let them suckle upon the teat of their propaganda and meaningless victories, Konnor would say, for it merely postponed the inevitable. That smile remained as the hours transformed into days and stretched onwards into a week. There were points that it grew beyond a thin-lipped expression of peeled flesh, especially as the kill-tally for their bombardment surpassed that of the Union in record time. Three billion in the span of days, and without a drop of Mandalorian blood spilled in the process? That alone was worthy of an accolade of sorts. Not that the man would accept it, as the satisfaction of genociding the Graug was worth more than any adornment slung from his armour or laurel.
But, as the week began to progress - there was something that caught Konnor’s eye. They were no longer alone in the skies above Mandalore. There were others of their kind slowly beginning to return to these cursed shores. His smile faded then. There was nothing here for them anymore, the man thought to himself. Hell, he was almost tempted to open a comms channel and demand that they return from whence they came - to leave this world as it was and let Mandalore finally rest in peace. But, there would be no point. Konnor bit his tongue until the notion passed from his mind. Those amongst their society were stubborn in their belief of revitalizing this benighted world, believing that in Mandalore’s return to glory - their people would be reborn. Sadly, that wasn’t how it worked - nor something that the Galaxy could seemingly allow.
Alas, there was nothing that could be done to change their minds. They were stubborn and stuck in their beliefs, which in truth - was part of the reason why their culture was declining so rapidly. They were unable to adapt to the way things are. Which, as the thought began to eclipse in Konnor’s mind, felt slightly ironic. He was one of the many heads of the reformed Death Watch, who - in turn - were Scions of the Old Ways. From another’s certain point of view, Konnor and his kindred could be labelled as stubborn. They believed the Old Ways were the only way for their culture to survive its decimation. He thought it was funny and even managed to crack another smile.
Sadly, that expression didn’t last for long.
“The Sons of Mandalore and their New-Imperial Puppet-masters have arrived. More Warships are likely to follow and commit themselves to this theatre. Shall we continue our bombardment of the surface, Fleetmaster?” Those words had sliced through Konnor’s moment of inward reflection. His thoughts were soon replaced by countless potential outcomes. The Sons were considered extremists by many within the Death Watch, as they were prone to using the tactics of the ancient Death Watch - during their darkest hours. So, it wasn’t out of the question for them to open fire on the warships of the Crusade, especially if they were detected. That wasn’t mentioning the fate of those still entrenched on Concordia’s surface.
Konnor nodded after what seemed like an age.
“If the Sons and those that pull their strings consider our flotilla a threat, they’ll likely send an ImpStar to clear us out. While impressively armed, they’re naught but bloated gun-barges. We can outrun them with little issue.”
It was then that Konnor’s visored-eyes turned towards the forward viewscreen after having dismissed his subordinate. There were only a few more hold-outs of Graug left on the planet’s surface, and it was only a matter of time before the Death Watch had gotten them all. Sadly, what was once a casual affair of genocide, now become a race against the clock. He could only hope that when the last Graug fell, it was by the hands of the Death Watch...
Colonel Kurtzen had been a fine man, a daunting soldier, an intimidating commander, an Imperial through and through. Had been. One of those who had deserted the Sith during the beginning of the Third Imperial Civil War. Dedicated to Imperialism, he had sacrificed it all. When the Mandalorian Union was formed, Col. Kurtzen and his special forces unit was tasked with waging unconventional warfare on Concordia against both the Mandalorians and the remaining Sith-Imperials.
Spending years in the wilderness of Concordia, Kurtzen became disillusioned and before long the Sith broke him, enthralling him as a puppet to serve as the marshal of Fortress Imperious and bask in wealth and pleasure. The time for mourning the decorated former New Imperial officer has ended, now was the time to let the man's soul depart to the Nether for its final rest.
One of the oldest taverns on Concordia. Once it was the notorious, although not for its brutish and spartan aesthetics but for its special ale, establishment for miners to get drunk after a long and arduous day in the beskar mines nearby; now, the times had changed. With the genocide enacted upon the Mandalorians by the Sith and the near complete stripping of the famed iron, the Pale Man was merely a shadow of its former self.
Stepping inside, Amon witnessed the spectral sight of its emptiness. A clear reflection of the ghost town nearby. A decade or so ago, Ronan's son had ventured here and was forced to get drunk - intoxication of any kind was something he had ever since avoided like the plague. There was no place for vices for the perfect warrior. A strong mind in a strong body.
The few patrons barely gave him any attention, perhaps it would've been different once upon a time before the cataclysmic Red Coronation. Now Amon Vizsla and his side of the family carried less weight in these parts. Time has a way of grinding reputation to dust. It didn't matter to the Mandalorian, not today. Gone were the times living with a purpose. Now, he simply haunted a trail merely out of a hunter's instinct rather than some overreaching goal. He wasn't exactly sure what he was to do should he find Maynard and Loske.
He approached the bar without batting an eye to anyone else except the bartender, those always knew things.
"Seen those two?" the Mandalorian set a holoprojector on the bar, the shimmering blue revealed the faces of Maynard Treicolt and Loske Matson.
"Huh?" the bartender turned around to face the Vizsla and both froze in stupor.
There was scarcely a soldier in the empire who wasn't familiar with the dark legend of Fortress Imperious. The stories of an impenetrable fortress descended from those defectors who once served in it, or from the Mandalorians who'd lived under the brutal oppression of the Sith. Imperious was the iron fist with vice grip around Mandalorian space, or at least it had been. What once stood as a levee against the rising tide of the New Empire was now a husk. All they had to do was break it open. The New Imperial Order was prying the metal fingers of that dread gauntlet, cold & dead, off of Concordia.
The freezing approach up the mountainside was dogged by desperate Sith artillery, and the even more desperate Sith loyalists who dared challenge the NIO in the open, only to have the snow stained red with their insignificant legacies. They fought for a dead way of life, tooth and nail. They were going to fight to the bitter end just to hold onto the wastelands they had created, not realizing that anarchy had swallowed the Mandalore Sector years ago.
The Imperial Force Corps was on the front lines of the siege. It was their home, time and again. They were the noble swords and shields of the Empire, and all of them knew the significance of the shield wall as they were told to form up. The double-wide row of the righteous protectors took their places in the shadow of the behemoth. Even the bitter mountain winds couldn't break the dense fog that separated the siege lines from the Fortress. Knowing the Sith, it was as unnatural as it appeared to be.
The unknown beckoned the Imperial Knights forward, as it often did. For Hans, he was once again staring down the Sith Temple on Dantooine, or watching down those tunnels on Bastion, which only seemed to lead into a void that spewed wave after wave of hungered zealotry. To face the horrors of the Sith at every turn, unwavering even if unprepared, was the way of the Knight. Hans knew better than most of the knights the terrors birthed from the dying Mandalorian people. He'd barely escaped his encounter with the Ghoul of Moridinae
a year before. Unlike that day on Nyriaan, the knights came as ready as they could be.
If any knight's eyes wavered from the fog ahead, they tried not to show it. The Sith lived off their fear. In the center of their line, their commander spoke up.
"Knights of the New Empire! There is but one truth!" He yelled the beginning of the knights' creed passionately over the wind.
"Order!" the Knights replied in unison.
"The Force is our weapon!"
"And we are the weapons of the Empire!"
The knights cheered, invigorated if only for a moment. The commander called the forward march, and together the Knights made the slow advance through the fog. It's insidious presence was staved off by the knights, though they could not break the fog, nor shake the dark feeling which it wrapped them in.
It wasn't long before the feeling they were being watched was given inexorable proof. The inane and monstrous sounds of the Graug roared into the immediate conscious of ever knight, and they were beset. Gnashing claws and tearing teeth forced themselves into the shield wall, bodying into bulwark and saber all the same. This was another desperate defense no doubt, but the Graug were not a Sithspawn to be taken lightly.
As the fog seemed to only get thicker around them, the Graug broke between their lines. Though Hans tried his best, a huge Graug pummeled him to the icy ground. Holding it off him with his shield, he brought his lightsaber up to sever the beast's arm from its shoulder. It roared and reeled back, allowing Hans to thrust his saber upwards into its chest.
From the corner of his eye he caught sight of the Knight-Commander as a Graug's sword plunged through his stomach. All around him Knights suffered the same fates, or worse.
Hans gripped his commlink and patched into the channel back to the siege camp.
"This is Knight Rennagen, we need help ASAP! Graug are overrunning us!"
Any warning he could give the siege before these monsters broke from the fog and attacked was warning that might save a few lives. Lives that would push back the beasts, and break Fortress Imperious over their dead bodies.
She had been planted flawlessly amongst the ranks of the Sith still clinging to the little glory they had left to their name on this world, so much so that when "they" had first received word of New Imperial approach breaching their orbit, she wondered what had taken her Order so long. When the alarms raised she scrambled from bed alongside the other women in the barracks, suiting up in the uniform she had been issued as a conscripted communications technician, and rushed to her station with barely enough time along the way to twist her hair up into a bun. Thrusting herself into her chair she rolled about, bringing her terminals online, and donning her headset.
"Corporal Razshi, sitrep now! How many traitors arrive at our door?!" The Captain she had sworn cross-fingered loyalty to barked as he slapped his hand on top of her console, leaning over her with a scowl on his face.
She feigned fright, jolting slightly in her chair and forcing her fingers to stumble across the keys, looking up at him briefly in mock surprise. "O-one moment, s-sir, there's interference..." The chiss fumbled over her words, adopting the same passive, submissive tone she always used when addressing the grizzled man. Vermilion eyes met him briefly and she snapped her head back to her screen with a furrowed brow. "It appears they've deployed numbers in the thousands, including heavy armor and... one moment-"
"-Watchdog this is Overlook, confirm, over."
Once more a look of surprise was painted on the chiss's face as she turned her attention back to her commanding officer. "They've brought their Force Corps, as well, sir. Should I conta-"
"CONTACT OUR KNIGHT UNITS, I WANT THEM ON-SITE NOW!" He slammed his hand on top of her terminal again with his interruption, jostling the screen and the fearful woman with it.
"Right away, sir."
"Good, send word to the pads, I want our VIPs to start evacuating immediately. I'm not taking any chances with these dogs." The rigid man stepped back to the transparisteel windows and glowered below, watching as the specks of soldiers made war and cursing beneath his breath as each rumbling barrage from their assailants shook the mountainside.
Izoshi glimpsed down the line of technicians working alongside her, finding a sympathetic nod and smile from a cyborg woman she had befriended in her months here. "Deep breath Raz, it's okay to be stressed. We weren't anticipating them for months."
"Y-yeah, I know..." The spy sighed, shaking her head as she furiously input the orders, connecting herself through the proper channels. She withheld the order, however, delaying it for the time being. She was still green after all, she was apt to make mistakes under pressure. Her character was a clumsy, naive little soldier, her favorite type to play in truth. "T-thanks Ev."
It was far easier to jam a knife into a commanding officer's kidney if one had demonstrated previously how she could barely hold the knife.
There were two dozen officers and enlisted Sith soldiers in this room with her, but she would lie in patient wait until the right window of opportunity to excuse herself and set about the objective she had been given so long ago now, it felt like- crippling the defense efforts from within. Glimpsing down briefly, she swiped her fingers across the small tacpad planted in hiding between her thighs, sending the pre-typed message to her partner for this particular assignment:
ESTABLISHING_CONNECTION: // user('DIAMOND_SNAKE')
input: // IN POS - PROCEED - C U SOON //
It was the first time any of her allies had heard from her since her departure from headquarters months ago, and the only contact she required.
"They're on the way to their stations now, sir!" The agent lifted her head, calling towards her commanding officer.
"It's about damn time those layabouts got up and did something! And the evacuation order?"
V E N O M _ S N A K E NEW IMPERIAL ORDER
STARRING | Izoshi
A wasteland, though not as terrible as Mandalore from whatever images he had seen. Not nearly as broken from the tomb world that birthed the Mandalorian culture. A reminder to those of the cruelty from the Sith and their indoctrinated dogs that worshipped them as gods. A pestilence with ambitions to cull the Galaxy for their own demented desires, only to be countered by those with courage forged by iron.
The analysis of their war against the Sith was successful with many campaigns won against the Darkness, taking back Bastion and leaving a crippling Empire that stood on a knee.
Still the work wasn't finished yet. It never would be, for him. There was much more to be done other than delivering ruin to this empire of evil. The war had changed him, for good or worse. He didn't exactly have an easy life as he always faced turmoil and tragedy in some form or another. Believing that there was peace for him through the fires of war, wanting to realize his vision of an Imperial utopia.
Today the Sith Empire would fall, tomorrow other dissidents in the Galaxy that served only an obstacle to his dreams.
Her message was delivered to his datapad integrated on his vambrace.
ESTABLISHING CONNECTION: // user ('WIDOWMAKER')
input: // 10/4 //
Brief and simple, knowing what phase of the operation they were in. All the pieces were coming together as planned, planned months before the blossoming of this operation. The cold tundra slightly agitated his left arm as it was all bionic despite the resistance of cold it promised. Already the New Imperials established as siege on the formidable fortress established on Concordia; just like Fortress Carnifex, it would fall from its glory and its colors replaced by the Imperial emblem. Alone he hiked the thick snow of the fortress, coming in view on the impressive military complex.
ESTABLISHING CONNECTION: // user ('WIDOWMAKER')
input: // WITHIN PERIMETER //
Name of the game was to sabotage all defenses and communications to ensure swift, efficient victory to their fellow Imperials.
To the men besieging the fort below, dying in the mud by the dozen, howling in pain, screaming in agony as they sacrificed bodies upon bodies to gain an inch, Fortress Imperious was impervious. But Abaddon was no man. Silent as the calm before the storm, the assassin made his way out of the harsh cold outside into the fortress. The echoes of the gruesome battle at the gates reverberated faintly across the walls of the empty corridor. Once, he reckoned, during the Sith Empire's hegemony over the moon this wing would've been far less deserted and his task far more arduous. Still, the fortress did make it hell for the New Imperials and Mandalorians struggling to find purchase inside. To no one's surprise - Imperious was built with Bastion in mind, an edifice of the Sith's might, a clear projection of power.
Without the orange-grey mask on, Emmett Carter Hayes would've wondered over Colonel Kurtzen's fall. A fellow brother-in-arms who chose to fight the Sith by any means necessary, surviving the cruel trials of waging unconventional warfare from the wilds for years. Maybe he would've even shown mercy to his betrayal, knowing full well his mind had been lost to the Sith's sorcery. Yet, the mask stayed on and to Abaddon there was nothing but the task at hand.
H D O _ H R D S _ D R E A M _ O F _ E L E C T R I C _ S H E E P NEW IMPERIAL ORDER
MANDALORE ORBIT, NIV 'Ishin-Il-Raz' Asa Yubari
Striving for perfection was the Imperial's way. A constant toil to better, to improve. It was not a tenet Jaeger religiously followed but it was certainly one he sought to indoctrinate among both those serving underneath him and the whole populace of the New Order. Do as I say, not as I do. Droids were no exception.
Cigarette smoke permeated the air as Jaeger blew another cloud of fumes from his mouth towards the small viewport revealing the beginning of the Base Delta Zero operation against Mandalore. The interrogation room, just like any room in which Jaeger presided for a longer period of time, smelled of the Commissioner's favorite brand of cigarettes. He sat alone with the notorious Tarsi-Kapshan machine on the table awaiting his first, and perhaps only, 'guest'. Station Chief Asa Yubari, the first droid to hold such a position - one that didn't, on paper, classify her as an expendable asset.
To him, she still was just that.
As were all droids.
However, the prototype of the ERIS project had so far gone far beyond any of the initial expectations. Zealots would call it a miracle, scientists would call it a phenomenon. And Harrsk simply called it a success.
For all intents and purposes revealed prior to her, this was merely a test to gauge the level of replication. Could she pass for a human beyond the visual deception? Be it appearance, manners, and behavior. Could her psyche pass as a human? Could she bear real emotions the way sentients did?
These were all questions the Tarsi-Kapshan test sought to answer.
But the question Jaeger wanted to be answered was - in a dystopian, worst-case scenario, could they differentiate a replicant from a human? Could they distinguish a rogue?
The New Imperial Order were moving to encompass the space belonging to Concordia and Mandalore. History and resource rich planets laden with problem after problem. Coup after coup, uprising after uprising. All with a single common denominator that was on the cusp of being folded into the Triumvirate now.
Despite the strategic positioning of the move –– like a chokehold in the Outer Rim –– and for all the benefits, it was a creed of people that brought ...strong implications. Pinching the space between ruby eyes, the director set down the datapad before moving to full-on massage her temples.
She could already feel the growing headache from the two-word combo.
The roar of his engines filled his ears, drowning out the sound of screams. The smell of charred wood and gore fueled his fury, the rumble in his seat and the subtle vibration of his weapon his reminders of his duty. The axe sliced through one, two, three Graug. His shockwave generator rods called for the death of any and all in his path. A group of Graug stood before him now, blasters raised, ready to shoo the blood rider from his warbeast. What they didn't know was that even if Gilamar perished Atin would remain the instrument of his vengeance.
"Kill the little man!" one of the locusts shouted. Gilamar's grimace deepened. He let Atin's engines flare and flew at them with such speed they couldn't react. The sharp edges of Atin's beskar armor sent Gruag in every direction.
"Disgusting," Gilamar muttered as blood splattered his face and ichor covered his controls.
"Alor," an unfamiliar voice filled his com, "We've found something." The battle still raged around them but he pulled the raging Bes'uliik away from the battle. The call led him to the base of the once-great War Oak or Kyrimorut and had been where many of the families lived. Gilamar dismounted quickly and made his way inside the bombed-out hole left behind by what he could only imagine was the initial assault on the fortress home. The smell hit him immediately. It was like a mix between fermenting Ironweed and a star destroyer's waste compartment where they'd left a rancor rot. He almost vomited at the mouth of the compound but spat instead and made his way inside, making sure to cover his nose.
"What is this?" He asked when he saw a Supercommando.
"It looks like they used this area for their breeding and hatching. We killed a few in the act but Alor," the walk was short and the smell only got worse as they grew nearer to some dark, lumpy mound near where the main turbolift had been. When they reached it and the light shone on it he could see it was a massive mound of grot not yet free from their nutrient sack. Gilamar grunted in disgust.
Killing children was something Mandalorians would do, had done, even to their own like the butcher Vilaz Munin
had at the Battle of Krostport. Gilamar didn't have the taste for it. But today....
"They're no better than insect spawn. Burn them and be done with it." "But Alor, a Graug army loyal to House Skirata...It could-" Gilamar turned sharply, pulling a thermal detonator from his belt and slammed a gauntleted fist into the nearest sack, causing the grot within to stir and gnaw at his hand. With a snarl Gilamar turned the creature in his crushgaunt and crushed it between his fingers.
"Burn any others you see," he muttered as he walked away, the others quickly following. When they were sufficient distance away he blew the detonator, eliminating four clutches of the creatures and causing the old turbolift to slam into the ground from whatever level it had been stuck at, sending dust and ash into the breeding ground. When he mounted Atin he looked down to the Supercommando gravely. "Spread the word. Not a one survives this day." And he was off, rocketing back into the air to hunt for his next kill.
Scarred and desolated from the Sith's invasion and occupation of Mandalore. There was little left of it, rendered to support any life except foul beasts such as the Graug and other Sithspawn that roamed freely across Mandalore. The best tactical approach was to bombard the surface and lay an onslaught to finally rid the Sith's legacy on Mandalore. He admitted that, though he found it necessary to step foot on Mandalore and fight these creatures with his hands. He had committed many mistakes, some that led to the tragic state of Mandalore.
He was not sure if this would redeem him of that past, but still a debt was to be paid.
"I'm not interested in prisoners, we will leave a trail of corpses where we walk."
Warriors of his clan joined him in this endeavor, all of them had a score to settle.
LOCATION: SIA Headquarters, Coruscant OBJECTIVE: BYOO ALLIES:IVI
Something strange was going down on Mandalore.
Aerarii Tithe wanted to know what that was.
For a world with such history, lore and cultural significance, it surprised the Vice Chancellor to see the New Imperial Order capturing the planet with limited opposition. Tithe had himself fought on Mandalore, during the Sith Empire’s defence of the planet against the Mandalorian faction known only as The Network. Since then, countless galactic powers had spilled both their own blood and the blood of the enemies to control of the planet.
But while the easy capture of Mandalore was a surprise, it was not the question that most bothered the Aargauun.
His first instinct upon hearing of the NIO push toward Mandalore - indeed, his first instinct whenever he heard news or rumours - was to check the market. He’d expected to see the price of beskar shooting through the roof as users of the hardened iron stockpiled it ahead of the NIO cutting their supply. Mandalorians and non-Mandalorians alike favoured the metal, despite recent developments in much sturdier alloys.
And yet, the price per kilogram of beskar held steady and had in fact dipped slightly.
When supply was removed, demand when up, taking with it prices. The market always behaved perfectly and predictably - there had to be another explanation. Someone out there was keeping the price down for their own benefit. And the Vice Chancellor was determined to understand who it was, why they were doing it, and how he could profit from it.
“Can we scrutinise shipping movements out of Mandalor over the last week?” Tithe asked the SIA Director. “Registered and, ah, those of dubious legality.” Could someone have stockpiled enough beskar ahead of the NIO’s arrival, enough to keep up with market demand?
Some he evaded, others he slaughtered, decisions made in a split-second with hundreds of scenarios processed in only half of that time. The journey through the massive fortress lead him through sections and quarters of the fort which were rather deserted; this was no stroke of luck but merely careful preliminary examination. Assassins were only as good as their preparation before the mission.
Abaddon passed through storages of foodstuff, his scanners detected they were laced with something foreign, something unknown. Emmett would've pondered where that had anything to do with Col. Kurtzen's departure from sanity to servitude; Abaddon merely observed the intel neutrally - whether it could serve his purpose or not. No other options. Further going upwards towards the private quarters and command rooms, he caught the chatter of slaves in cages. Emmett would've freed them but Abaddon knew their liberty might raise alarms of infiltration and compromise his mission.
He carried onwards, following the trail of hijacked comms chatter, to cut the head of the snake and put Col. Kurtzen's tormented soul to its rightful and deserved rest.
To return to Mandalore...he felt ill at the thought. His mind went back in trance to Sundari. As was the machinations of the remnants of trauma that lingered in his subconscious. Some were very adept at locking them out and into the periphery, perhaps a faint disturbance every now and then. To Irveric Tavlar, it was unavoidable.
Certainly so...was that day.
The day of punishment.
He screwed his eyes shut and his subconscious flooded him with the memories. The trained brutality of the Mandalorian terrorists liberating their homeland, the awakening of the ravenous Sithspawn that was summoned to stop them. And then him...his men, all trapped in the middle. Feasted on like limp game led to the slaughter.
He came back into full consciousness to Caarlyle lavishing in his flagship, a mighty ship it was but ultimately, Irveric was a man who'd rarely cared for the finer things in life. And certainly not so when there was business to be had.
He spoke up outright.
"It is a rather simple proposal. The New Imperial Order lifts its standing in the galaxy...and we contain Sith influence across the Galaxy. Though of course, I'm sure there will be opinions of who we would have to work with to accomplish this aim. But in that, we would be one of foremost Galactic powers, certainly claiming a great deal of the Galactic influence abandoned by Confederate isolation." Irveric proposes.
Characteristically, he sparks a cigar, as if to signal internally to himself that business had begun. But ultimately, there was some comfort and security in the subtle ritual. The familiarity of the action.
He awaited more objections relating to each of the three nations they'd soon to be interacting with.