Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Same Old

[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]​
Ryloth turned out to be a success on every single front.

The anti-slavery coalition broken, the slavery coalition scattered, both sides' reputation sullied beyond belief by extremist elements. In the end only two voices remained, Lord Fa and Pyrrhus, both targeted by those same terrorists and both survived. They were the natural figures of moderation around which the remaining forces could gather.

And gather they did.

In the end both Tai and Pyrrhus had achieved what they set out to. Slavery was legalized on Ryloth after so many years. The Ryll exports on Ryloth were assigned to Fa Holdings with the additional guarantees that none of their employees or associates would have anything to fear from slavery. It was only natural that many more individuals on Ryloth tried to do business with Fa Holdings after this sad state of affairs.

But Tai had earned one more thing on Ryloth.

A surprising thing, something he had not been calculating for or expecting - a new Apprentice. Vanja Del'Vaan, a Twi'lek Jedi who had been attempting to bring change on Ryloth herself. Her master dead and only one figure left to give her stability, it might not have surprised anyone that she clung to him for support. A few weeks had passed maybe even two months by now, where Tai had tried to support the former Jedi as best as he could.

But important business had to be attended to and Del'Vaan convinced him that she could help.

The import of salvage from Skor II was instrumental to the reconstruction of the Humbarine Sector, but very recently the imports... had stopped coming yet again. A quick report from the Office of the King of Skor it was determined the issue was not on their side of the aisle. Instead it appeared that the shipments were being hijacked in the Three-Besh Sector... near the Validusia system.

Pirates, slavers, the options were varied.

But something had to be done about them.

They were already approaching the Validusia system - assistance from the Alliance and the First Order was impossible, simply because they were so occupied invading each other that they had little focus for anything else. This was also the reason why these pirates managed to infest the system in the first place.

It was always the little guy that suffered.

He sat in his cabin, resting simply by the viewport and watching how the blue streaks of starlight flashed past.

Hyperspace was soothing in some ways.

Vanja would arrive soon and they could go over the situation at hand.
The last period of time had been turbulent for Vanja. Not only had her world gotten completely shaken up a few months before that again, but now it was happening all over. Dayla Hadjah was dead. There was no doubt about that. And with her all the good she had sought to do on Ryloth looked like it would be undone. Her home planet had a rough future ahead. She could not see it yet, but she felt a distinct discomfort towards it all.

At least she had [member="Tai Fa"]. There was some comfort in that. Thanks to him those that sought to bring back slavery to Ryloth had their progress halted. He could not shield the entire planet, he was but one bird. But he did what he could, and ensured that each and every one in his employment would be free from slavery. More and more seemed to flock to his company every day, seeking not only job security but life security as well.

When Tai Fa was forced to go away to deal with a problem in the pirate&slaver category, Vanja was quick to sign up. Perhaps due to her own heritage she had her own deeply passionate issues with slavery, and she recently had had a run-in with some pirates of her own. Retribution seemed appropriate. Oh no, retribution was a negatively loaded word. Justice. Yeah. That sounded better. She would help Birdman dish out some sweet justice.

The Twi'lek appeared in the doorway after announcing her arrival with a thing she could only describe as a high-tech doorbell. She didn't even know it worked until the doors swung open. They would be arriving soon, and she figured it'd be a good point to join up and so she had broken off her meditation and practice of lessons of the past.

She stood wrapped up in a dark brown cloak, much like the robes Jedi would wear. Her own preferred style of clothing was better suited warmer climates. Space was too cold. Right now she was little more than a floating blue head with lekku, ontop of a brown sack. How comfortable the rough patches felt against her smooth skin was debatable, but at the very least it was warm enough.

"How we doing? Good to go?"
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

For a brief moment there was silence in the wake of her posed question.

Finally his wing fluttered and gestured for her to settle down next to him by the viewport. In truth he was beginning to enjoy Vanja's company to a degree - she was simple, young and full of heated inspiration, but it was not tempered by the wisdom that age and experience usually granted.

Impressionable and quick to anger.

Deep, deep within her core there was a festering seed that could erupt, if only there was someone to nurture it. Tai wondered if he could be the one to guide her on this path.

"I suspect so, yes.
Battle will rage with fury.
Justice planted here."
"We do what we must."
Finally those eyes opened themselves again, head turning to take her in slightly.

She seemed better than she had been a few weeks ago. After her master died this one had been a wreck, difficult, very difficult to pull her back from the brink and into a state of usability.

"How do you feel now?"
For a moment she couldn't help but smirk widely. She still hadn't gotten used to [member="Tai Fa"]'s speech pattern, and she was not one to cover up her amusement for fear of not seeming polite.

She waited a bit before she pushed off from the side of the door with her shoulder and moved into the room. She hadn't given it much thought, she tried not to, but she wasn't entirely sure what shape she would be in today if not for Tai Fa. Suffering the loss of yet another person close to her might break her. The Jedi Master had been her only link to the community. With her gone, well, Vanja supposed she'd be out roaming without home and purpose yet again. Tai Fa had saved her from that fate.

"We do what we must" she said in casual agreement, leaning back into the seat and looking out into the depths of space. Calming. But so darned cold. Though the shiny lights were nice.

"I don't know... Cold, mostly" she laughed with the joke but it was quite obvious to the both of them that both joke and laughter was forced. "I.. I don't know. Better. Thanks" she said with a bit of an uncomfortable smile. Not uncomfortable because of Tai Fa or his question, she appreciated that. She still wasn't entirely sure how to put thoughts to words. "Doing something feels good. Feels right. Thanks for letting me come with you" perhaps it was already part of the reason he had let her come, but it needed to be said. It wasn't denial, but she needed her mind to go elsewhere, find something less crushing to focus on.

"Think we'll be enough? I mean, I know there's more of us, but like, do we know the numbers we're up against?" it wasn't exactly her area of expertise. And in the end it didn't reeeaaaally matter. Ultimately she would do her part, and she trusted Fa. Although she'd really prefer not to die. Death seemed dull. That train of thought had been amusing at first, until it reminded her of Master Hadjah...

There was so much she didn't know. So much she hadn't asked about. It hadn't seemed appropriate. It hadn't been a priority. There were other things to deal with. Her recovery for one. Tai Fa's as well, he had been in the middle of it all. She almost felt ashamed for how much focus had been given her own mental state... Although at the same time, she hoped and believed Tai Fa found some comfort in it as well.

"Are you a Jedi?" she blurted out, out of nowhere. Not that labels were at all important. But she was curious. He was Force Sensitive, she knew, but his presence was distinctly Light and pleasant to be around, so she had never questioned or mistrusted it. He hadn't talked much about it. At first she had thought he was a part of the Jedi conclave on Ryloth, but he seemed more like an affiliated ally then a member. It was but a casual question, one she was prepared to drop, but she was curious. What was like... His thing? Besides being a bird.
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

After the Gulag Plague, the endless wars between the Republic and the Sith, before the Gulag the ancient events that had first sealed Humbarine's eventual fate... the sector had not been capable of fielding any capable fleet whatsoever. Once... they could have fielded a hundreds of ships and put a behemoth of a flagship in front of the fleet, but now it had to be restored. Which is what Tai had been doing, because other than restoring its industrial and diplomatic potential, a self-respecting powerhouse sector needed to have defensive capabilities.

They could not construct their own fleets yet, but that was not necessary right now.

"A tough fight here, yes.
We will prevail at the end.
This I know for sure."

[member="Saffron"], a dear friend of his, had been quite willing to supply the sector with everything it needed for a very reasonable price. It was a portion of that fleet that was currently streaming through the hyperlanes towards the Validusia system.

A few Wyyrloks, Maladis and some other classes of ships.

They were on a Maladi right now, a very powerful frigate that was first build for the One Sith. Of course, it would raise eyebrows if a Humbarine fleet simply coasted by other territories like it was nothing, as such they had send word beforehand to the appropriate entities. It wasn't as if they were piercing into either Alliance or First Order space, of course, but there was a proper way of doing things.

This was how Tai Fa kept working relationships with both nations.

Then... the next question she had in mind raised his eyebrows by a wide margin. A Jedi? Him? Sometimes Tai forgot that his ring made his signature within the Force pure and bright for anyone who was paying attention.

"I do not think so.
But I would probably know.
Why do you ask this?"
[member="Tai Fa"]

Tai Fa was so conident. Who was she to question it? Probably everything would be fine. She relaxed then, at ease that everything beyond her control had been taken care of, at ease with the knowledge that all she had to worry about was doing her part. It was much simpler this way, the way of the soldier and not the general.

But Vanja’s mind had moved on from this and over onto matters affiliation. She didn’t really have any peculiar reaction to Tai Fa’s words, simply nodding and giving a shrug. “Just curious. You have the Force. In my experience this usually puts you either in the Jedi or Sith camp. I’m only recently figuring out that there’s a little more to it than that.”

With her own Jedi background, she had been used to a different narrative. You were either a Jedi, Sith, or a deserter from either of the two. The last category also opened for wildcards of undiscovered entities. Maybe Tai Fa had been one of those? Maybe his Force sensitivity had only blossomed when it was too late for Jedi to take an interest. Many questions. Did the answers matter? Maybe… Maybe not.

In that moment of pause, her question turned away from Tai Fa and faced inwards. Was she a Jedi? She had been, certainly. Although some might clarify, ‘just a Padawan, my dear, not a Jedi yet’. Had she never been one? Would she never become one? She was pretty confused. But right now in this moment it seemed enough to simply be existing. She was alive. She was learning. She was experiencing. Short-term as it might’ve seemed, at least right now she had a purpose.
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

Brows furrowed in thought before Tai answered her shrug with one of his own.

Of course - in truth he did connect himself to the Sith philosophy and religion, but that did not mean what it usually meant for those who pronounced themselves Sith. It did not mean that he was a bloodthirsty brute who liked to break skulls, it did not mean he was planning to enslave the Galaxy on a whim and neither did it mean that Tai considered the act of killing to be a simple and straightforward matter.

For him?

Sith centered around a single principle.

Oh, there were tenets and codes and philosophical musings. But if you wanted to get into the very meat of things, there was really only one thing that you needed to worry about in the grand scheme of things.

To be Sith, means to have a goal - any goal, from being the greatest baker on your homeworld to the most powerful warrior in the Galaxy - and do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. To demolish any boundaries that kept you from your dream... no matter if it was cutting through bureaucracy or executing every single baker on your world.

It was extremism moved to its very apex and a principle that had to be handled carefully, if you did not wish to ruin yourself because of it.

"I see what you mean.
Always another secret.
My experience."
"No Jedi here though.
Sorry to disappoint you.
Just Tai Fa right now."
In his experience the fall to the Darkside was a careful thing to manage.

Perhaps this one would be difficult or exceedingly easy. It would depend on her triggers, it would depend on how easy he would be able to unleash the inner struggle inside of her and push her over to the edge. But there was danger there as well... it would have to be a calculated push - too far and Tai would not be able to use her, she would be a raging storm... a blazing fire that would extinguish itself, because its food was burned out.

Very careful indeed.

"A question for you.
Are you ready for this then?
No peace will be here."

"We come to kill, not to talk."

The time for talking had ended the moment they took his people and decided it was a good idea to sell them into slavery or kill them.​
If there was one thing Tai Fa could not allow, it was his people being touched without repercussion.​
"It's not a disappointment" she said with a smile "[member="Tai Fa"] will do." Even if you're just a bird. She thought it but didn't say it out loud. She wasn't at the stage yet where she felt like she could openly joke and tease him in such a fashion. But close.

Her mind quickly got taken away from humour and similarly light topics. Murder was on the agenda. Killing. Could she do it? She didn't really know. She hadn't really been in the business of killing before. "As a Jedi we were trained not to kill. Disarm, capture. Protect not attack" she repeated what she had been taught over the time, though it was a dry repetition and little passion went into it.

"Though..." she thought back to all the death and destruction she had seen. The smugglers who she thought could be her friends who turned out to be civilian-murdering pirates. And then there was the barge on Ryloth which was blown up, killing everyone onboard except Tai Fa. "Some people will never learn, will they?" she looked out into the depths of space as she asked him. If they showed leniency, did it put more lives at risk? Was inaction almost as great a crime as the murder itself, if one had the power to prevent it?

Slowly, she turned and leaned her wall against the transparisteel window out into the black abyss. "How do you know who deserves to die and who doesn't?" she had seen slavery, piracy, and they were activities she despised. The former most of all. Freedom was the thing she perhaps valued above all else, perhaps because if not for a few lucky breaks her own life would have been one of serfdom and not opportunity. "They're bad people, I know. I'm just... I'm just not used to this" again she looked away and out into the open, lost in thought
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

Tai took his time with the response to that.

Chiefly, because seeming to rehearsed might inspire indignation rather than inspiration and that was the last thing the Thirriken wished from a prospective student. But also because it was a good question that deserved at least a figment of a reasonable response to it, so Tai thought about it.

In truth Lord Fa eliminated whichever obstacle was in his way, but elimination came in many forms. It could be blackmail, execution, kidnap or simply buying them out.

The tool and method was dependent on the obstacle itself.

"I do not know." Tai finally responded. Honesty, was the path he decided on, while breaking his Haiku. Because this was a serious discussion and it deserved a serious answer with no ambiguity. "Some of these people may have families of their own, children, spouses they love... maybe they are coerced into this or maybe they derive pleasure from it, I do not know."

The Thirriken rose from his perched position and for a moment he seemed larger than he was.

Not just a bird.

"I do not try to determine who deserves what. That is not my role and never will be my role. I see a problem, I see my people slaughtered or enslaved... and I rectify this problem."

A little shrug of the shoulders.

"I find no pleasure in this, but I do what I must. That is the only answer I can give to you."
Vanja was shocked to hear that when [member="Tai Fa"] finally answered he did not do so in his usual speech pattern. She had thought it a thing he could not break out of. Perhaps it was like speaking a different language, not what he preferred, but possible with the right focus. It had its intended effect, as she felt nearly entranced and distracted by hearing him talk like this for the first time. It interfered with her focus and had her view the words through a different lens, one more inclined to be impressed and agree.

The answer was as good of an answer he could come up with. It was honest. There was an us, a them. Perhaps it wouldn't always be right. Perhaps it wouldn't always be fair. But at the end of the day, all one could really do was look out for one's own. One simply could not look after the entire Galaxy at the same time. And so, Tai Fa seemed to suggest, whenever the freedom of those under his protection was threatened, he responded in kind. In a world such as this, it might be the closest they could get to something resembling justice.

She thought about it, and didn't answer for a long time. It made sense to her. Right? It sounded like something that made sense. The process of pitting it up against her own moral code and see if it held water was a thing hard to do simply in her mind over the course of a few seconds. It had to be tested. But for now it made sense. "I see. I think" she said thoughtful.

"When you pick up the sword and decide to use it to harm others, through that action you accept the consequences. Is it like that?" she asked, after putting up her own little theory to go along with it, something that seemed to fit and make sense to her. Whatever cruel fates led you to take up arms, whenever you did so, prepared to harm another, you must be prepared for them to harm you back. Again, birdman made sense. And with it, she felt ready, and more at ease.
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

Right before Tai could respond a shudder rang through the metal of the ship.

Only two seconds later the Maladi reversed from hyperspace back into realspace. The streaks of starlight shifted back into the cold black void of space and little dots of white light in the far, far distance. Another moment passed where Tai Fa simply waited patiently for what was to come.

[ Lord Fa. We have arrived at our reversion point, the fleet is already amassing. We are ready for you on the bridge. ]

The Thirriken rose then smoothly, before taking one more look at Vanja.

"Yes." He responded simply, then, to the forgotten question. "Everything we do has consequences. All we can do is make the decisions we think are right and accept what comes from it."

The silk robes smoothed out and he took one last look through the viewport. In the distance they could almost make out the gargantuan station that was being used as a base of operations for the pirates.

"Come. We have work to do." With that Tai would move to leave his quarters to the bridge.
The alarms signalled that their operation was about to reach its most tense point. [member="Tai Fa"] stood and waited for the announcement. Vanja heard it too. Where he went she followed, which meant she would get the front row seats from the bridge. Would it be a space battle? Or merely a boarding operation on surprised pirates who thought they could wreak havoc freely?

Tai's final answer to her theory calmed her. Now it was time to do battle, thinking and pondering over moral issues would only be a distraction. She would allow this to become her own moral code and act accordingly. Time would show if the theory would hold water or start to leak. Until then she would go for it, have it drive away hesitation and steady her arm. The duo made it out of the quarters and began a determined march towards the bridge.

The space station ahead looked larger and more impressive from this point of view. Everything had a way of appearing mundane and ordinary when viewed through the holographic images. Nothing impressed, she felt like she had seen it all. Standing face to face with a structure of such a magnitude, floating through the depths of space... Now that was an experience that left an impact. She had to catch herself before her mind drifted to all the monuments and creations civilisation of all kinds of species had managed to produce. Nothing seemed impossible when people came together.

Nothing seemed impossible for the daring Ensign Davis. Despite the gravity of the situation, the new recruit was determined to impress his two co-workers, working the computers alongside him. Well, he wasn't technically speaking new. He was still among those who had served the least amount of years on the ship, yet he had been there long enough to grow comfortable. Too comfortable it would seem, as he was balancing trying to pull off a handstand. "Trevor! Get down" Elisabeth hissed, looking around worried people would take note. "No no, I swear, I can do five seconds" He was on 3 when the door slid open to Tai Fa and Vanja. The gasp that came from Elisabeth had him fall down on the fourth, conveniently back into his seat.
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

Tai caught the far-end of that tumble, but chose to ignore it in the moment.

Especially because the captain of the bridge seemed blissfully unaware of what had happened and in this moment they needed to be as engaged in the situation as sentiently possible.

Captain Dalna, a Bothan, saluted quite crisply in response to Tai's entrance. He was a groomed Bothan, shaggy hair beautifully arranged and neat in the moment. But a scar ran through his left eye and had blinded it, ragged edge and raw in intensity. A recent addition, but not one that had to be commented on either. Tai simply nodded to the salute and let it rest there.

"Report." The Thirriken replied while studying the form Ensign Davis, who seemed to be trying to poke the lad next to him in the ribs. Strange, but at the end of the day this Davis was a humanoid.

Humanoids were strange creatures.

"Yessir! We have entered the system two minutes ago and have been holding position at the edge as requested. Preliminary readings suggest that most of the station has no power - only the hangar bays, as far as we can tell, sir. The enemy flotilla consists of six dozen fighters, three corvettes, two frigates and... a Watts-class cruiser." The last thing had been noted with such... punctuation and rigid attention that Lord Fa looked away from Davis and to Dalna. For a moment there was silence while the Bothan simply waited for another request.

He had been in the military for a long time and had not yet made himself acquainted with the Thirriken enough to know what kind of style he preferred.

"You seem concerned."

The Bothan let out a relieved sigh, barely recognizable as such.

"Yessir, the Watts was an experimental Republic starship, sir. Heavy payload in a very small package..... this will be a tough fight, sir."

This was expected to a degree. After all, they had not been able to get reasonable scans from the system prior towards entrance. With Ashin's departure from Theed Tai didn't think it was wise to order more probes so soon after, which left them with passive preliminary scans. Those hadn't been good enough to identify the Watts, which was an issue.

But a small one.

"Can we handle this with the firepower we have, captain?"

Another moment of silence and in that moment it looked as if the entire bridge leaned in to see what the captain had to say. Dalna wasn't unaware of this, of course, and did not even blink before he nodded firmly.

"Yessir, I live for tough fights."

Tai nodded too then, before looking next to him to Vanja.

"Vanja and me will be on the shuttles for the boarding action. You have the bridge." With that - not awaiting any possible counter-points to his presence there - Tai turned around and let himself out. As the reinforced doors hissed to a close, he started walking in a brisk pace to the hangar bays of the frigate.

"This will be interesting."
Vanja followed [member="Tai Fa"] onto the bridge. She was like a voiceless shadow clinging to his right. When Tai and the Captain exchanged salutes, Vanja did nothing. She was not a soldier under either's command, and she had a bit of an issue with authority and that whole institution of command. She was her own. She was here because of her own choice, not because Grand Captain Cyclops ordered her here.

Vanja listened in to all the strategic talk. The more words were exchanged, the more she itched for a fight. But this wasn't her kind of fight. This would be a battle of floating hulls of metal, firing upon the other. All she could do in that engagement was stand and watch. And she didn't understand much of it. She wasn't familiar with the ship they were on, nor the rest in their fleet. What the hell a Watts could do, she had no clue of. It was with relief then she looked back at Tai Fa as he explained that the two of them would be doing this slightly different. She smiled in return, unable to hide her eagerness. She felt like shaking her arms for no reason. She needed to move.

Tai Fa turned, faster than she had expected. And so Vanja was left standing there, maintaining eye-contact with the captain. Eye-contact. Fitting. Only one eye to look at. She almost chuckled, but instead gave him a wide and inexplicable grin before turning with an animated suddenness, and started a light jog to catch up to Tai.

The doors shut behind them. "Yeah." she said. She didn't have many thoughts of strategy. That was his field. "What's the plan? We fly on over to the big one and take it out from the inside. Or do we sneak past the engaged fleet and go straight for the station?" Actually, probably the latter. But she was thinking out loud and didn't reach that conclusion before the words were already out of her mouth.

The two of them walked at a pace before they found themselves in the hangar where the shuttles were waiting. She didn't know if they'd be travelling solo or with a small task force. Probably the latter, but being Force sensitive they kind of had the advantage regardless. Oh well. The ramp closed up nearly the second after they had stepped within the shuttle and the engines roared to life. The calm before the storm, yet Vanja felt anything but calm. There was little hesitation in her mind, she had come to terms that battle was coming. The decision was made and now all she needed to do was excel at it. Bring it, pirate trash
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

The shuttle closed around them and shut out the noisy drum of activity outside in the hangar.

It gave him a brief moment of introspection as he pondered on their further activity. Regardless of the air of confidence he was projecting for the benefit of Vanja, this was going to be a dangerous situation and their lives would be threatened by it. But so did the lives of all the other people involved here - Tai could not ask them to put their lives on the line without actually trying to do the same thing. He was a Sith, yes, but he was no coward.

Of course with his direct participation the success of this mission would be far more certain.

The opposition did not have a Sith on their side.

"The main fleet will be engaging their fleet, in the meantime a fighter screen will protect our approach towards the station itself." Tai explained calmly, before closing his eyes and focusing his will on the moment itself. "Their efforts are directed from somewhere behind the hangar bays."

"If we manage to disrupt it? Our fleet will have an easier time to break theirs."

The shuttle launched into the cold void of space with more more ships following suit. The fighters from the Wyyrlok were already launching in mass, to divert attention away from their approach and shoot down any hostile approaches - there was turbulence and chaos.

Within the Force Tai could practically sense the heavy shudder of the main batteries lashing out against each other.

But they avoided all of that and soon enough the pilot's steady voice sounded through the comms. They were approaching the station within the next five minutes.
Vanja still was not used to hearing him talk outside of his regular haiku pattern. It had been something strange at first. It had required some getting used to. Now that she had, she found that the way back was tricky. It conveyed some of the seriousness of the situation. They were going into battle. It had been a while since she had found herself in this situation. It was not one she was accustomed to.

Vanja strapped herself in. There was nothing left for her to do now. The plan was relayed, she knew what they aimed to do. But the Twi'lek remained locked into her seat. She would play no part in what was to come until they landed again. If they landed again. "That simple? That sounds easy" Vanja said with an uneasy chuckle. Her tone betrayed her inner emotions.

The heavy hum of the shuttle swept away her confidence from the moment they lifted off. Vanja did not know what to expect. Would they land, allowing her to fight? Or would her light be extinguished without a moment's notice? This was the kind of fighting she despised. Her participation mattered for nothing. She could be taken out without the person responsible even having to look her in the eye. She wouldn't even know who to hold responsible. Suppose death didn't care for announcements.

They were well within space now. There were moments of silence before the two forces collided. It was an uneasy tension that at first she was relieved to have broken. When it had happened she didn't know which state was to be preferred. She could see nothing. From within the shuttle all she saw were steely walls and drained faces. There was fighting going on though. She could hear it. Explosions, the feint sound of blaster upon hull, shield and space. Vanja could not tell the difference between what belonged to their forces. She also could not tell which side was winning.

"How long is this gonna take?" at this point there was no hiding the nervousness of her voice. Their whole ship shook. Vanja screamed, her eyes shutting with force. The knuckles of her once clear blue hands were now white. Something had exploded. It had not been their ship, but rather a fighter escort that had been in close formation with the shuttle. The aftershock had made her believe that they had taken a direct hit, that they were dying. But they kept flying. All she had done so far was sit still and cling to the tight straps on her shoulders. Even so, Vanja was breathing heavy. The cold of space was long since forgotten. She needed to get out of these robes quick. They were suffocating.

The excitement for battle had been swelling up inside her. This was way too uncomfortable. It was like walking over a glass bridge. You know you can, but you can't help but think of the 'what ifs'. Vanja gasped when the pilot announced that they were closing in. Did this mean they had made it? Or were they only now getting in range of the station's defences? Although [member="Tai Fa"] had said that the only powered up section were the hangars. At least she thought it was Tai that had told her, she couldn't remember. Had that changed?

Again the shuttle shook with force. This time it was different though, and the sound of it echoed throughout the vessel. It was the sound and sense of a hard landing. Their pilot had come in hot. No time was wasted to ease into the perfect position. No consideration taken for a light and soft descent for ease and comfort to their passengers. The pilot had found his mark and he had gone for it. The straps against Vanja's shoulder were digging hard into her. She could've sworn she was bleeding, but it was only in her head. She would suffer some sore ribs and bones, but it was a small price to pay. They had landed inside of the space-station.
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

A frown formed itself on his expression once Vanja screamed in the face of possible death.

It made him second-guess his earlier decision to make her into his possible apprentice, but in the end he could not very well judge her like this on her first brush with death and demise. Either this experience would strengthen her or it would break her, either way Tai would sweep clean this station and use it for his own ends. Perhaps he would also leave with a new apprentice or perhaps it was a failed experiment.

They would only be able to find out once the battle started.

With a sigh his feathery wing folded itself around her fist, clenching tight against the railing. Peace and serenity would flow into her from the feathery touch of his plumage and smooth out any emotions of fear.

"Focus." Tai chastised her gently, before the ship shuddered to a halt inside the hangar bay. Already the Thirriken could hear fire raging outside as blaster shots were exchanged.

"Use your emotions, don't let them rule you."

He rose from the seat next, the Vigor troopers did the same and the door outside already burst open. They all filed out, blaster rifles at ready and already firing out shots, establishing parameters and the sort.

Soon only the two of them were left in the shuttle.

"Are you ready for this?"
As soon as it was confirmed that they had landed safely within the hangar of the space station, Vanja felt an immense load of pressure lifted off her shoulders. She was now back into a situation where she could control the outcome. If she fell now it would be due to her own shortcomings. Death in space seemed so meaningless. A helpless death. These thoughts were reinforced by [member="Tai Fa"] whose Force presence coursed through her and eased her further. Focus. Yes, focus. The roller-coaster ride was over.

To Vanja, Tai Fa shined like a beacon of understanding and assurance. She had no idea he was internally rolling his eyes and already considering the option of finding a replacement. But there were many things Vanja did not know, such as the fact that she was now apprentice to a Sith Lord. Even as he told her to use her emotions no warning lamps went off. She had lost control, she knew. With a brush of the Light Side he had eased her concerns, and told her not to allow her emotions to control her. Sounded Jedi enough in the moment. But he wasn't a Jedi. So whatever deviations showed up on their path were expected.

"Yes. Okay. Yeah" she replied after short breaths. Vanja released herself from the constraints of her seat and stood up. The sound of battle and war raged on from outside, but it was of the breed that Vanja could face and deal with personally. She took a deep breath herself, closing her eyes for a moment. Now her own Force affinity was touched upon, as she let the ocean of light and calm wash over her. She steadied herself for what was to come. She was not an innocent victim in this, nor a bystander. She was a Jedi. In her mind she replayed quickly the conversation they had had before and conclusions drawn from it. Both sides had made their decisions. It had led them to this moment. Now they would all have to accept the consequences, for better or for worse.

When Vanja opened her eyes again and looked at Tai Fa it was with an expression that spoke more than words. Her facial features were cold, but not dismissive. She was simply focused. Perhaps ridden of emotions or other thoughts weighing her down. She had personally asked to be with him on this mission. She was ready for this. Her brown robes fell to the floor. She would not need them. What remained was the blue Twi'lek standing in her form fitting pants, and an almost equally tight crop top. From her hip she grabbed the hilt of a lightsaber and held it firmly within her right palm. With a nod to Tai Fa, the two moved to exit the ship and join the frey.

Her hilt hissed as the sapphire blade emerged. Almost immediately the presence of a lightsaber drew the focus of blaster fire, but the Padawan managed to deflect them both, one hitting the ground right before her and the other sent off into the roof. There was chaos around them, but a chaos dimmed by the Vigor troopers who took point and established a perimeter from their opening position. From there all that remained was to advance further. Vanja couldn't tell if the station's defences were already sent to defend the hangar or if they had caught them off-guard. Vanja kept close to two troopers, allowing them to fire while she did her best to defend them from incoming blaster fire. In the very brief breaks she got, she looked for openings and weaknesses in the enemy's formation. Somewhere to strike, to create some kind of opening for the rest of their team to take advantage of.
[member="Vanja Del'Vaan"]

To destroy your enemy you must analyze their movements, the strength of their resolve and shatter it, before moving to disrupt the very flow of their movement. Keep them off balance and focused on restoring that, instead of seeking to find victory in the battle they found themselves in.

These were wise lessons and Tai had learned them well.

Already, behind Vanja, the little Thirriken had stepped out of the shuttle and surveyed the battlefield. Six other shuttles had found their way into the hangar bay, before the pirates managed to engage the ray shields. The Vigor Troopers were professional, calm and analytical, veterans of thousands of battles within hundreds of wars under the Sith Empire. They had already set up parameters around their shuttles, portable shield generators laying down lines behind which they could find shelter. The pylons hummed in anticipation every time a plasma bolt shattered against it with no effect.

But the pirates were many and every time one fell, another two took their place.

Their resolve was shaking, but it was still strong in the moment and it would take their direct intervention to change. His body had healed from its tangle against Ophidia, he carefully tested out his limbs... still a bit worn, but there were no burning sensations now and that was good.

His eyes closed and he focused within the Force.

Emotions being reined in as anticipation tried to turn into an adrenaline rush... not now. It was a stillborn coiled beast clawing at the edges of his awareness. The Darkside and it whispered to him promises of power and victory - but Tai had studied the scrolls of Darth Sidious and knew just how dangerous the power of Anger truly could be.

No... wait, observe and then strike.

Time slowed down and from the depths of his robes a tiny object emerged that shifted into a sharp short blade in no time. Paws pushed themselves of the durasteel floor and he started moving the very moment he localized a crux in the battlefield: a figure of authority behind the rows of pirates around which courage rose and spirits were lifted.

Tai was fast, swift and before anyone knew it he was already running past Vanja - his approach too soft to be heard even by her as he pushed himself off the floor, glided through the air, dodged three plasma bolts aimed for him. His approach was fast and his momentum unyielding, body twisted in the air as he found himself face-to-face with one of the larger pirates... but the momentum had to be kept on, little paws with sharp, sharp talons clawed into a shoulder, pushed themselves off and the heavy sharp edge of his blade blinked.

...and then ran through the authoritative pirate who had been commanding so much respect.

He crumbled immediately, clutching his stomach before everything spilled out.

Chaos devolved after that.
The battle raged ahead of them. She had never seen [member="Tai Fa"] fight before, not truly. He had always seemed sort of like the battlefield commander to her, the type to sit back and observe everything and orchestrate it from a distance. Her perception was about to change.

She continued providing cover for the two soldiers beside her. They seemed to get the idea and moved even closer to her to make the process less taxing for her. Perhaps she was drawing more attention to herself than necessary, she could feel the focus on her increasing. She was breaking a sweat, and the men who now found themselves under heavy fire probably did too.

In a sudden swing she managed to clip a bolt away, and before the moment finished she spun around with haste to cover one that was aimed directly at her. She had only just turned but in her mind she had seen the bolt and its trajectory even before her eyes could confirm it. She was ready. The bolt hit her blade precisely where she had meaned for it to do so. It bounced back in nearly a straight line and hit the man responsible straight in the chest. She felt a moment of pride, she had turned her defense into offense and successfully hit her mark. It was progress. Of course they were way too many for her to celebrate simply taking one out of the equation. They certainly would offer her no extra time as two seconds later she had to block another barrage.

Then birdman moved. She hadn't heard him, she hadn't sensed him. Even as he passed her she wasn't completely aware of the fact before he had crossed the distance. Now he was engaging with the enemy behind their lines. He found his mark, and by the Force he took it down. Chaos enused. The headless chickens turned their weapons and retaliated with fury. Some backed away in fear. Those close to the scene were prone to turn their weapons on Tai Fa. This however left them open to his soldiers. More than that, Vanja finally saw her opening...

Tai Fa had their attention now. And without warning to the men beside her, Vanja saw it as her cue. The Force guided her footsteps and she moved at a pace no Twi'lek should be able to move at. Far from the monstrous pace of Tai, but enough so that the men who for a moment had turned their heads away, assured that she was a rock locked in a defensive position, found themselves surprised. The blue Twi'lek fell upon them, and with a flurry of blades she cut three of them down. It seemed as if she must've wielded more than one, but alas the one was all she had. The first she cut through quick as she could not afford to hold back. The second found himself deprived of both arms, cut off at the elbow. The third had his rifle's barrel severed before he could fire back. In a fluid move she transitioned to the use of the Force and yanked the man off his feet and sent him flying sideways into the line further down. They were hardly taken out, but at least they were taken off their feet. A new opening was made. And with three thermal detonators from Tai's troops they seemed unlikely to get up again.

Vanja tried to orient herself and calculate her next move.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom