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The Brotherhood of the Maw's burning crusade towards Tython was an impressive show of force, but their all-or-nothing approach to war has revealed itself to be a double-edged sword. Facing renewed efforts from the galactic community to push back against the Maw threat, the Brotherhood has found that the flames they fanned to burn down their opposition on their way to the core has reduced their resources to ash. For the first time since the dawn of the Second Galactic Hyperspace War the Brotherhood finds itself lacking the resources at home to fuel their starved war machine - already skirmishes in the space of the Eternal Empire have shown a return to resource raids, and now the Maw has set their sights on the proud Mandalorians of the Enclave.
The planet of Argovia sits just beyond the limits of Enclave space, an old Imperial holdout forgotten after the death of Palpatine, but its marshy surface hides the ruins of an old sensor network that once kept the Alliance of its day at bay by acting as the Galactic Empire's eyes and ears. Destroyed in a raid by those freedom fighters, today the scavengers of the Maw and their tribes descend to find what they can to resuscitate derelict sensor nodes in the space lanes that lead towards the planet of Rothana -
Take Their Eyes.
The ruined Imperial Sensor Net Complex lies under the foot of the mountain range just beyond the outskirts of the capital city of Argovia, Argovas. It is the will of the Dark Voice to dig into the collapsed halls of the complex under the mountain and seize whatever technology the Maw can reverse engineer in order to make use of derelict satellites that span the space between Argovia and Rothana to maximize the planned assault on the Enclave.
Argovas City has floundered since the galactic civil war becoming a den of gambling and outlaws, people of all walks of life that have turned to corruption and violence in order to survive - the perfect conscripts for the front lines in the conflict to come with the Mandalorians. While the forces of the Maw work to salvage what they can from the old Imperial Sensor Net Complex take the city and subjugate their people - take their food, whatever resources they have, and their able-bodied people for the cause.
Local resistance in the system is to be anticipated, particularly hot-shot pilots and corporate entities in the area that wish to keep the hunger of the Maw at bay. Tear apart any rogue fighters that threaten the Brotherhood's progress towards Enclave space and seize ships that fly too close.
With everything going on in the Enclave, Shai was in desperate need of a break away from it all. Sitting in a lawn chair by her Basilisk in the spaceport, the Wardog was in a world of her own. Shorts and tank top, her behemoth's S-foil giving her shade, and a delightful ice tea resting in her hand. She even set it aside to light a cigarette as she sighed and sat back, a peaceful smile adorning her lips.
This was life. No drama or fights, no ambushes and a mad dash for her armour, just a peaceful moment to herself.
Granted, Mandos were still up and about. Argovia was a hive of scum and villainy, it was to be expected that a few Karjr or Siks were running around and shooting the place up. Partially the reason why she wasn’t in one of the cantinas for now. She didn’t need another one of her people chewing her out and throwing insults at her… or trying to plug a bolt in her.
”Nah… just a breath of fresh air…” She muttered to herself, taking a sip of her ice tea and a drag of her cigarette as she melted deeper into her chair…
And yet, a bunch of them had to continue clearing out the Frontier, even with expansion of territory slowed at the moment. Crime waited for no one - it thrived anywhere and everywhere.
"You happy you got armour now, Genet?" she snarked at Kalen as they weaved through the streets with the rest of the fanned-out squad. It was strange how the man had become a constant companion despite the constant bickering.
<Alor'ad, we're picking up faint Wanted signatures in quadrant 4. How would you like to proceed?> Sars Kryze relayed through comms. <Hold ground. We're on our way.> <Yes, Alor'ad.> "Well, Genet. You ready to use those knives again?" she asked him as they changed direction toward Sars' area.
Location: Argovia, Abandoned Sensor Complex Tags: Lesha Priest
The Taskmaster's shuttle descended from Argovia's clear skies, streaking toward the swampy surface, and a dozen more followed it. Some were full of warriors, Mawites disciplined enough to stand guard for long periods without getting bored and brawling with one another. Others held equipment, all of the supplies and electronics they would need to restore long-neglected electrical systems and hack into ancient security and comms systems. Still others were packed to the bulkheads with Drudges, standing room only. The glassy-eyed biological drones stared straight ahead, unmoving, unblinking, unfeeling.
After pressing so many slaves into combat duty, this was the available labor force.
The shuttles set down, each one sinking a little lower than anticipated as its landing struts squelched into the swampy muck of Argovia's surface. The loading ramp unfurled, and Tu'teggacha and his bodyguards stepped out, surveying the scene. Rising up before them was the dark bulk of the old Imperial outpost - a relic from the first Galactic Empire, established more than eight centuries ago, rather than any of its many successors and imitators. The place was heavily overgrown, the flora of the surrounding marshland growing over the walls and up through the foundations, cracking the duracrete.
Even so, it was shockingly intact for a structure of its age.
The Taskmaster sighed, a sound like swamp gas bubbles rising to the surface of a murky lake, as he took in the sight. It was going to be a tremendous amount of work to get this place up and running, and they were on a tight schedule to do it. Making the entire thing feel even more burdensome and futile was the fact that they'd have to abandon it when they were done. Argovia was much too far from their territory, and much too close to that of the hostile Enclave, to ever actually hold. It was only a temporary stepping stone, a navigational aid on the route to Rothana, were the Maw would seize much-needed supplies.
Tu'teggacha would much rather be in Argovas City, rounding up new slaves from the population of criminals and lowlifes. To watch the hope fade from the eyes of the enslaved, to feel his power over their petty little existences, was one of the great joys of the Ebruchi's life; it reminded him that he was no longer small and weak and subject to others' whims. In this galaxy you were either victim or victimizer, and he had chosen the latter as soon as he was able. Unfortunately, he was needed here, to oversee the reactivation of the nav beacons. It was a complex task, requiring a logistical mastermind to efficiently complete.
He would just have to play with the new slaves when he got home.
"Unload those supplies," the Taskmaster ordered a gaggle of Drudges, who had been standing in near-perfect stillness in the absence of orders. He turned and pointed at another knot of the purpose-built labor slaves. "Clear the foliage around the entrance." Both groups obeyed in eerie silence. They lacked mouths, for why would they ever need to speak? Obedience was the entire reason for their existence. Of course, their simple-mindedness meant that they needed oversight; they had extremely limited problem-solving ability, and had to be walked through complex or open-ended tasks step by step.
"Fan out and keep an eye on them," Tu'teggacha told his warriors.
There was no telling what might lurk in the complex...
Location: Argovia, Argovas City Tags:Shai Maji
Argovas City saw plenty of disreputable traffic. Argovia was just off the Mara Corridor, but still enough of an obscure backwater that very little merchant traffic ever stopped there. No, this was a port for criminals. Pirates who preyed on on convoys out of Silver Jedi space. Smugglers laying low after running spice cargoes out of the contested worlds of Hutt Space. Outlaw techs and sawbones doctors who patched up those crews and their ships. Gamblers on the run after winning too big or cheating too hard. Argovas City was a good place to drop off the map for a while, to rub shoulders with others who also had reason to hide their faces, and therefore were unlikely to turn you in to the authorities.
Unfortunately for the city's denizens, it was about to lose its reputation as a refuge.
Mawite ships streaked in without warning, the light of the midday sun glinting off of their harsh colors and harsher angles. They made a few quick passes over the city, firing indiscriminately into the buildings and streets just to spread chaos and shake up any would-be resistance. Then they set down at the edges of town. It was an old strategy, one that the Brotherhood had used many times. Their forces would make a ring around the town - because whatever its name might be, it was hardly large enough to be a real city - and then slowly close in, letting none break through their tightening noose. This way no one would escape them. Every last denizen of this place would be captured or killed.
Kralmus Orr hopped out of the lead shuttle, a wide grin spreading across his harsh features beneath his horned helmet. He had been appointed by the Taskmaster to lead this capture operation, a quick and dirty raid to round up as much manpower as possible. The Maw needed fresh slaves badly; after their defeat at Tython and their fighting withdrawal from Teta, they had lost so many troops that mighty Kyrel Ren
had ordered large parts of the labor force pressed into combat duty. That would keep them afloat in the short term, but it would cause serious disruptions to the production of war materiel if those laborers weren't soon replaced. Drudges alone weren't going to cut it.
And it wasn't like any power in the galaxy was going to sell the Maw a bunch of labor droids.
"Close in!" Kralmus barked, checking the power gauge on his weapon. He still carried his favored two-handed axe, but left it slung across his back in favor of an electro-net launcher, which was a little more suited to live captures. It would be all too easy for him to get carried away in the glorious chaos of battle; he had to remember why he was here, and for once it wasn't just to have fun killing whoever got in his way. "Keep the circle strong. Take whoever you can alive." They would not bother with the weak and infirm, of course; they were useless to the Maw, and would simply be killed where they stood. If all went well, Argovas City would be a ghost town in a matter of hours.
Tegan let out a cackle while the soldier at her side just shook his head at the lame joke. As she laughed the finger on her FWG-5 twitched and fired a Flechette round into the face of man she was holding at gun point. The Scarred man took a quick glance at the now dead man as Tegan continued to laugh even harder now that a man's skull was splattered on nearby wall. The dead Man's family looked on in horror the mother cover the eyes of her two children.
"Did you see that Splat….haha!" She waved her gun around wildly even the scarred men were scattering just incase she accidently fired another round off. "His head bursted like Melon!" She let out a wicked bit of laughter nearly keeling over do to lack of oxygen but stopped herself as she saw the poor mother covering her children's eyes. The laughter immediately stopped as she saw the mother protecting her two children. A serious twisted look crossed Tegans face as she looked over to two off the scarred men with her.
"Put Bomb collars on the children. Then let's head into the town bring the repulsor sleds." A dozen Scarred men nodded. They ripped the children from the mother and put bomb collars around their neck. The others went and grabbed the three sleds with E-webs mounted on them from the ship Tegan had arrived on and landed outside the city west of the spaceport and south off the city itself. It wouldn't be long, and the Maw would be here to raid and strip this world bare. Tegan wasn't going to wait she would just brute her way into the city.
As the sleds were off loaded three of the scarred men jump on them to man the E-webs while the others took up positions to move the sleds. Tegan then motioned for the children to come to her sides. As one of the scarred men looked to Tegan.
"What of the Mother."
Tegan's orange eyes looked to the Mother who was crying her eyes out and begging them to let her and her children go. Tegan thought for a moment as she placed her white sith Mask over her face.
"You want to save your children; you have one chance. Run to the town tell them what you saw, tell them I am coming. They have a choice before them surrender or be destroyed, it's time for them to pay their tithe to the God of Destruction." The woman looked at Tegan into those glowing sulfuric orange eyes that stared out from the expressionless white mask. What the woman saw there in those eyes chilled her to the bone, Tegan eyes stared right through her like she was nothing at all.
"I suggest you start running, and hope they surrender for your children's sake." The woman eyes went wide the tears cleared away as she knew she only had one chance and she bolted for the town that was just about two kilometers away.
And just when things were starting to get boring, non-other than the Maw attacks, just Kragr's luck. If it hadn't been for the Maw's attack, Kragr would have spent his day bored out of his mind with shopping for materials, even though he needed them. With the Maw's sudden attack, it wasn't hard to procrastinate buying the supplies and for that, it brought a smile to Kragr's face.
Standing in the street, having just dodged Maw starship fighters quickly passing over the city, firing indiscriminately at everything below, made the larger-than-life Mandalorian's blood pump with anticipation for a fight.
Holding his helmet with one hand he made his way to the outskirts of Argovas City, having to pass through many fleeing citizens and otherwise less than innocent people who aren't going to stick around and test their luck.
It didn't take long for Kragr to reach a street where the Maw forces were entering Argovia and placed his back against a wall for a brief second. Placing his helmet over his head, the wild brushy beard disappeared behind the emotionless t-visor of red, black and white colours. Clad in armour of the same colour scheme, Kragr had been dying to use his war hammer against live targets again and his wish seemed to have been granted.
However, for now, he would let it hang from his hip and drew both of his Verpine Shatter Pistols. With a flash, he pulled out of cover and opened fire on the first Maw soldiers he saw down the street.
The unmistakable howl of the Basilisk would have cut through the silence of Argovia's gloombound and stormridden skies... save that Argovia's skies were already filled with a cacophony of booming and shrieking sounds recognisable only as the truest sign of a Maw Raid. Volo had negligible experience flying through warzones, but he was an more than proficient pilot all the same; no ace, but certainly of a higher crop than most of his vod.
He was flying at the head of an escort, accompanied by three squadrons of Vultures serving to protect three squadrons of gunships. It was the maximum contingent of the Guildmaster's Grievous-Class, a Star Destroyer with no lack of notoriety. A symbol of a once-great Naval Power, regarded with renown and infamy in equal parts. The surplus Destroyer and its contingent had been funded through the excess income generated by the Karjr Guild, a worthy investment if Volo had anything to say about it.
Of the three squadrons of gunships, all but one carried an assortment of Si'kahya and Mando'ade volunteers ready to fight the Maw osik'kov at every turn. That one, lone, gunship was filled with the best Karjr the Guildmaster had been able to assemble on short notice, most of the more notable warriors having been given more pressing assignments.
Their absence did not trouble Volo, though, for the Karjr did not rely upon quantity. They rarely operated in such large forces, a total of twenty filling the lander with two more flying with the Guildmaster himself. No, the Karjr found their strength individually; each and every one learnt to overcome the odds, lest the risks of their duty be realised. It was not glamorous work, it was not always glorious. It was, however, necessary.
The Guild certainly did not find itself upon battlefields often, especially not the battlefields where their unpledged vod and the Si'kahya fought. But they did what was necessary. The assortment of troops Volo had brought with him served a duel purpose; both a buffer for the citizens of Argovia against the nihilistic savages that called themselves the Maw, and a distraction from his own hunters.
Their task on the planet was not humanitarian. The Guild had long known about Imperial Sensor Net Complex, or rather, the ruins thereof. It was Argovia's claim to fame, and it had been Volo's intent to launch a salvage operation should the planet ever find itself within the Enclave's folds. Unfortunately, that was not the focus of Operation Blind Man.
As the Karjr dropship and, by extension, Volo's Basilisk broke formation to land by one of the identified entrances to the ruins, the Guildmaster could not help but feel a hint of remorse that their goal was to ensure the destruction of the ruins. Though archaic, the technology used by the First Galactic Empire still posed far too much a risk should it fall into the hands of the Maw, who had already proven themselves brutal enough with the scrap that they armed themselves with.
- - -
Popping the cockpit open, he was the first out of the ship, hand already gripping his beskad and freeing it of its sheath. As his hunters disembarked the landing craft, he regarded the two he had brought with him. The first was the only one amongst the whole lot who could compare with the Guildmaster, a vaunted Karjr who specialised in explosives; a clanless Zabrak by the name of Rosum. The second was an aspirant, not yet a full Karjr; a recently redeemed Chiss by the name of Khael Vhijaric
Admittedly, it was out of character for the Guildmaster to bring fresh blood on such a mission... yet he had a certain feeling about the Chiss who, from the intel his agents had gathered, was by no means a rookie. Much like himself, Khael was raised to be a warrior from birth, was taught that the clan was all the family he needed. Who, in an instant, had found himself alone in the galaxy with nobody to call his own. Perhaps that had been why Volo had invited him, because he saw a younger version of himself in the man.
He could debate the particulars when he got back to Kestri. For the time being, he had a mission to complete.
Turning his head, he regarded the Vhijaric warrior a moment; visor-to-visor, eye-to-eye, before concluding with an a succinct nod. Turning to the Karjr gathered at the read of the gunship, he lifted his free hand and motioned for the hunters to follow him as he made for the cave that would lead them to the Network Complex.
<Nothing changed from the briefing. We make entry, if you have an explosive charge, place it where Rosum directs. Two hunters supporting every one with a charge. If you find loose intel, take it, but do not compromise the mission for it. Once the charges are set, we make a ba'slan shev'la. Turn this place to vheh.>
Speaking over comms as he walked, the Guildmaster cut an imposing figure. Tall and stocky, but still sharp; gam black save for the red accents around his visor, the traditional markings of a Mandalorian Protector. The more you looked, the more observations could be made; his legs moved in a manner which was just the tiniest bit unnatural, as if they belonged to a droidd.... he had an unassuming aura about him; as though there was so much more to him that was being hidden. Most curiously, if Khael had in any way developed Force Sense, he might note how the Guildmaster was simply... absent, as if he wasn't present in just the same manner as the other Karjr.
He was a man of many mysteries, to be certain.[/div]
The Wrath of the Maw had arrived to Argovia. Driven by desperation in his position as the Dark Voice’s Enforcer he hoped that whatever secrets left behind by the old Empire could serve the Maw. His hunger was growing as a rapid rate to the point where it was difficult to control at will. The Maw like his hunger were unpredictable even after his decree of forced conscription of the slaves, the logistical capacity of the Maw was drained for the first time in a decade. He had hoped that by having more soldiers he could buy time, here they were now raiding in hopes of regaining what was lost. If Kyrel could control his Hunger and the Maw’s path Argovia proved itself to be the right path, or he hoped.
First the Devourer emerged from hyperspace over the world, the large warship a sign of Kyrel’s power, as well as a warning for all who invited the Maw’s Wrath. While the world itself meant little he felt something stir down the surface. It felt as if something seemed to be beating beneath the marshy surface, and he was determined to find what it was. There was one irritating problem to all of it though, the Enclave. The more he thought of it, he hated the Mandalorians as they proved to be a fractured sort. There was a time when Kyrel fought for the Mandalorians once, but that was a different time. Now the Enclave were pests to be dealt with, his eyes fixed on the Enclave’s territory largely untouched by the War. Maybe the pests could build the spiders web? He thought to himself.
Out of the massive warship came out a Crimson Hands Lambda shuttle. A product of the old Empire restored out on the frontier of First Imperial worlds. As Kyrel meditated in the back of the shuttle, he thought how in a way the Sensor complex would be cathartic given his Imperial roots. As the craft slowly descend through the atmosphere he could view the surface, the surface ground held little interest to him but as he often knew it wasn’t what he was looking for, instead it was beneath that lied all the secrets.
The shuttle would land in the nearest Maw landing zone. Slowly the landing ramp would extend and Kyrel could see Mawites all around, what little supplies they had strewn about to go exploring. The first that emerged was the barbaric appearance of the Crimson Hand troopers that marched out. What followed was Kyrel with the forked tip spear of the Hunger gripped tightly to his hand. The first person he would see was the tentacle faced taskmaster himself. The being would often eerily remind him of another tentacle faced being, but one who brought him more dread than the master of the Maw’s logistics.
The Maw’s Wrath approached him in a slow stride as he directed the entire site. “I take it we have everything to go into the abyss taskmaster?” He asked on his approach, his tone cold with silent rage lying beneath. His gaze looking into the darkness trying to feel out what, or who was inside.
Since when did a cannibal Mandalorian ever value life?
Sisserith’s expression shifted into a pout beneath the visor of her helmet, but it went without saying that protesting such an order, whether it came from Kralmus or someone above him, would do her little good. Nevertheless, the Seseli was disappointed in it, if only for the fact that she was being denied the freedom to do what came naturally to Sithspawn of her breed.
Fortunately, while the Maw were crazy, bloodthirsty, and fanatical to a degree that Sisserith felt right at home, they weren’t unreasonable. If the circumstances explicitly demanded it—such as an angry, beskar-clad Mandalorian wielding a war hammer—she was allowed to use lethal weaponry to see the threat neutralized, even though capturing such a strong target alive would always be preferred. Exceptions were also made for the weak, infirm, and others who seemed to have little of value to contribute to the Maw’s war machine.
While there was a small possibility that they would run into intense resistance, Sisserith thought that the hardest part of the raid would be restraining herself. Otherwise, the diminutive Seseli expected it to go smoothly, unlike some of the more experienced fighters.
And so, without hesitating, Sisserith moved towards the city, stun net launcher in hand as she entered the streets after Kralmus and the others!
The blast doors blew open with an explosive burst, sending red-hot metal and gas into the corridors of the UES Drakon. The Mandalorian strike frigate had had a run of bad luck; Kybo's ship had exited hyperspace just as it guns were arming up, ready to make a strike on the Maw ships already in-system. Alas, the Knight of Ren caught them at a bad angle, and a quick firefight shut down its shields and raked many of its ship along one of its surfaces. In under 30 minutes, Kybo and his pirates were boarding it.
"Heave ho! Give no quarter!" Kybo roared, charging into the breach with his men. The Mandalorians and the ship's crew put up a dogged resistance, but they were at a disadvantage once the Stranger Danger began firing at close-range to further rough up the frigate. Kybo led the way, shotgun and vibroblade in hand. The non-Mandalorian crew fell before him, but soon enough the ship's Master-at-Arms closed in with armoured troops.
"Give 'em hell, lads!" The pirates with Kybo stopped and began tossing detonators down the halls, heedless of the close-quarters' danger. The explosions broke the Mandalorian formation long enough for Kybo to charge them, blade and lightsaber taking their attention. The others charged in, moving into close-quarters to overcome their enemies' armour advantage. Elsewhere on the ship, the flood of pirates was too much for the crew, and soon the Mandalorians were surrounded by Kybo's crew coming in from several directions.
"Get to accessing the bridge logs and codes! I want the Maw fleet listenin' on the Mando's encrypted comms! I want to hear their taking o'er the airwaves! Get to it!"
Even as Kybo shot the Master-at-Arms at point-blank range, Kybo's lieutenants were already splitting off to seize the bridge. Through his helmet he could hear the sounds of struggle and the roar of disruptor blasts.
The Mandalorian commander, still on his feet wailed on Kybo, his wrist-blades cutting and stabbing into the Knight of Ren's armour. In these close-quarters, every strike could be deadly, and Kybo moved back, rotating his Hand Cannon's cylinders to fire armour-piercing rounds into the Mandalorian's armour's thin points. He could just make out his gurgling as he finally fell.
<"Bridge seized, cap'n!">
It was soon over. Kybo strode to the bridge and saw the captured captain, her face bruised from a close-range explosion, was brought before the ship's new captain, her arms bound behind her back.
"What be yer name, cap'n?"
The Mandalorian spit on Kybo's boots. She babbled something in her nonsensical tongue.
"Die, dog." She finished in Basic.
The Dragon shrugged.
"If yer wish." And Kybo ran her through with his lightsaber.
"Boss, we got the codes."
"Then broadcast them to the Maw fleet; it's time we took a listen on their yammering.
While the men began sending the codes, Kybo accessed the ship's comms.
<".... rakon.. what is.... status... assistance? Drakon, resp...">
In a matter of seconds, the Wardog’s day of peace and quiet came to an end with the sound of cannonfire and engines roaring overhead. Cannons and engines with a tune she knew far too well. Her crimson eyes shot open and watched as a Mawite ship flew overhead, firing wildly at the town.
Her blood boiled as she watched them, the cigarette burning away in a matter of seconds as she heaved in a deep breath. The glass of ice tea shattered and tore through her hand, though she hardly batted an eye as the wounds closed up and pushed the glass out.
”You have got to be shi-”
Several bolts tore into the spaceport. Some of them would have hit her if it wasn’t for her Basilisk shifting to shield her. Smoke poured from her nostrils as she stood up and pulled her duffel bag from Baby, quickly suiting up before she looked to her Basilisk. ”You know what to do, Baby. And make sure you get a signal out.” With a droning growl of acknowledgement, the Basilisk took off in pursuit of a Mawite ship.
The Wardog was left alone as she looked at the Mawites deploying around the city. From the brief glimpses, they weren’t looking geared for a purge. This was a raid. ”Yeah, ‘cause the last time they did that in Enclave space it worked out great for ‘em. Lose thousands just for some funky sith pottery.” She grumbled as she adjusted her helmet and took off with her jetpack.
:: Any mandos on this channel, this is Wardog. We got a Maw raid in town if you lot hadn’t noticed yet! :: She called out over the universal channels the Enclave normally used for operations. The Maw got those codes from her in her stint with them, though she made sure to let the Enclave know about that when she got back. She hoped they were still secure.
With her rifle in her hands, the Wardog let loose with volleys of particle bolts against the Mawites moving through the town. Their commanding officers couldn’t be too far out…
What happened on Lyran IV should have been a warning to not only Jas, but the Director as well that the plan was going to have serious consequences. But there was no way they could have known. No way they could have predicted that the Mandalorians would have found the camp. And now the entire Outer Rim was at risk, including Christophsis. The only good thing that came out of the mess was that the weapon worked… except they were on the receiving end as well.
The samples they got on Vlemoth were immensely valuable for a breakthrough, though it still wasn’t ready. And now the Director had a new plan in mind to try and gain a foothold in the Enclave’s space. What annoyed the Pureblood was the fact that they were constantly on duty now. If it wasn’t them helping to contain the breakout, it was them “volunteering” for situations like this.
Then again, Argovia was prime real estate for some new operations, and the pay was enough to give every man in every ship a very happy reaction. That was bad enough news already.
:: Any Enclave and Argovia personnel listening, we have received your broadcast. ::
The calm and professional voice was soon followed by the arrival of three Star Destroyers, their flush hulls glimmering brightly as their shields powered up. On the bridge of the “Tython”, Jas stood in front of the viewport with sharp curiosity. A Mawite raid this far out was bizarre to say the least. Their last attack on Roon was deliberate and meant to hit the Enclave hard… they did not set up small raids this far out.
Regardless, they were there now and the Hellion support detachment was already loading up tanks and trucks onto their gunships in case the planet needed military support. If intelligence was accurate, the Enclave already had their marshals on the planet to sort out the crime element, though Jas doubted that they were geared for an all-out assault on the planet.
The only problem was that there was nothing there, aside from the ships already planetside. ”What are the other ships picking up?” He asked calmly as he looked at his officer.
”Already asked, sir. Still awaiting answers.” He quickly responded as he leaned over the shoulder of the comms officer.
A few moments later they received their answer as the other ships spoke up.
:: “Nimban” reporting in, negative scan. ::
:: “Lorta” reporting in, negative scan. ::
Jas and his second officer exchanged glances for a moment as realization hit them like a freighter. ”The planetary defense is compromised…” He spoke up as his officer opened a fleet-wide channel.
The mission was simple head the Maw off from poking their noses into Enclave Business, they are right on the borders, toeing the line, well, most of them. Vulcan for his part was on recon, a test of control of his war-thirsty side. He’s been in, 5 wars already and lost a leg, was nearly sliced in half, and faced a Sith Lord Twice. He needed to rein himself in or he’ll never reach 20.
Vulcan quite sarcastically snorted at this which had indeed earned him a serious reprimand, he hated being told off. Hated not being allowed to do as he wished. He was after all a Teenager and Teens rebelled.
The city was teeming with all walks of life, not noticing him flying above them, out of sight to the ground. The Ubese knew, that the quiet was anything but ominous. Silence comes pandemonium, pandemonium comes fighting and Vulcan enjoys war a little too much for a teenager.
But he did have a hobby in baking, even after he had to pick sourdough from every nook and cranny of his bakery after a wee bit too much yeast. He had to fight to free himself from being squished against the front glass. He made a note to only use a pinch, rather than a spoonful.
Vulcan refocused his attention back to the task at hand and kept a look out for any problem areas. So far, none. The teen was very suspicious now. Roon was a learning curve that was indeed still felt months after it happened. Then he spotted a very familiar shape below, Shai, she was here and he was going to try to land and greet her but, the silence broke with hell breaking loose. The people below scrambled for cover, the unlucky getting squished.
The roars of gunfire made the air wobble with sheer noise. Vulcan locked and loaded his weaponry and took it to a vantage point. There is space to try out one of his newer weaponry.
:: Any Mandos on this channel, this is Wardog. We got a Maw raid in town if you lot hadn't noticed yet! ::
There it is, so it’s a raid, going to have to correct their behaviour, Maw needs to learn to look elsewhere for their “fun”.
He circled above Shai to let her know he was there, ready to fight anything the Maw threw at them.
A trip from Kaddak to Kestri for CEO business had been rudely interrupted by an sos signal from... Argovia. At first, Gwyn had wondered why. It was not a part of Enclave space. And yet, she knew that it had to be good for the Enclave to call all hands on deck. She had to stop mid hyperspace trip, turn and change course, then re-enter hyperspace to head to Argovia. She was still wearing the dress she had planned on wearing to her meeting. She got up to go get changed into her beskar'gam, but her astromech droid stopped her at the doors of the cockpit.
"What is it, Mini?""
Mini beeped in binary code, warning her. They were too close to their destination for Gwyn to-
Gwyn gently shoved the astromech aside, "I'll be quick! I can't just fight in a dress."
Then, the ship came out of hyperspace. Gwyn turned with wide eyes. She had been focusing on prepping the Tauntaun for attack, she had been too slow! She visualized her trusted armor in the closet of her room. She blinked rapidly, then raced to her seat and sat down again, "Okay, guess I have to."
The image of the Brotherhood of the Maw, looming over the planet with an impressive display of ships, was daunting. Gwyneira faintly remembered Shai Krayt's words to her, about how dangerous they really were. Gritting her teeth, Gwyn gripped her steering wheel and veered into a defensive position. She remembered her old freighter's lack of decent weaponry. The Tauntaun, a long term engineering project, had always been her mobile home and transportation. She always relied on her basilisk and Enclave fighter for dog fighting, but her loyal basilisk and CVT were both tucked away at Kaddak. This fight would be difficult. How would her old girl hold up?
"Mini, shields up. This will be a rocky fight."
She noticed another Enclave ship in the system, an MNV-17 Kyr-am. Assured that at least one ship was also on her side, she reached down to the comlink to make communication effort, before the Force strongly warned her against it. Gwyn blinked, looking over to the ship and then closing her eyes. The image of a helmeted Knight Of Ren, a red blade, and fallen vode entered her mind. She gasped, "No..."
She grabbed her steering wheel and fled, only to look ahead and see other Maw ships up ahead. Hissing, she murmured, "Mini, you ready?"
"Depends. General wearing? Not really, it's always been a bit uncomfortable. But I'd rather have it than not in a fight."
Argovia, especially the capital city, was one of the rare planets in this part of the galaxy that Kalen hadn't made stops at during his time as a smuggler. Even though it hadn't had much presence from any of the governments constantly springing up out of the galactic ether through the years, the mining companies that controlled it in their absence were just as restrictive as they'd ever been through history. Rampant, unchecked pursuit of capital at the expense of everybody living on the planet had made the society into something even the Hutts might have considered uncivilized.
It was just a little too unstructured for his tastes to try and make money there. The presence of law and order beyond whatever mercs and security forces the companies could hire made a risk, sure, but it was a known risk, with all the known ways to avoid it, working within it and around it, and get the job done quickly and safely. Even with the Hutts, knowing the right names and putting the right amount of credits into a few different sentients' fists made sure things were reasonably secure. On a run-down planet like Argovia, all bets were off, there were no guarantees, and Kalen had never much felt like getting his ship 'recquisitioned' by one of the companies for their own ore hauling while he got jumped by a gang of goons to force him working down in one of the mines.
Then, of course, he'd been drug along to the planet alongside Lesha to start cleaning the place up and getting it ready to pull under the Enclave's banner, leaving him both more on edge and noticeably less talkative than normal. He'd already tried to explain why he felt it was a bad idea, between the past history of the place and the general gnawing bad feeling in his gut about going, but when the response he got was along the lines of "you have bad feelings about everything, get your pistols and let's go" he didn't have much choice but to keep as alert as possible so that he wasn't caught on the back foot when something did go wrong.
At least it would prove him right, if they made it back off-world.
Even with the possibly-bad news that came over the comms in that moment, then, he couldn't help but smirk—for just a moment.
"Quadrant four? Isn't that up by the old Imperial ruins?" he asked, looking up skyward. There'd been some fairly steady amount of shuttle and ship traffic in the skies over Argovas City all day, either Enclave members coming to the surface, company ships hauling ore back and forth, or spacers too brave or too stupid to realize that dealing with companies wasn't worth the money they offered, but he saw some shuttles that were heading off in the direction that their comms had just warned them of. Even with the helmet zoom he couldn't recognize if they were anything untoward, but—Kalen being Kalen—he had a bad feeling about it. He pressed a few buttons on his vambrace, shifting comm channels to the one connected to his droid and ship up in orbit.
"Kay-one, keep a lookout for us up there. Relay any abnormal atmospheric traffic to myself or Lesha, tell us what dir—" The astromech's quick burbling in his ears cut him off in a moment, along with a quick read of data showing up on his HUD. He'd beaten the droid by a second from contacting him first, showing him that there had, in fact, just been a noticeable amount of abnormal traffic all heading towards the mountain range. "Thanks, Kay. Lesha, you want to run that way or claim a speeder here on the street?"
OPERATION: BLIND MAN GEAR: In Bio
ALLIES: Volo Dragr
HOSTILES: Open / Everyone
It was a definite trial by fire, accompanying Volo Dragr, the Guildmaster himself, on this mission. Khael would be lying if he said he wasn't feeling some trepidation at the prospect of fighting alongside such a great warrior - as far as Khael understood from the reputation of the man on Kestri - but it promised a chance at battling with the Maw. Khael relished the opportunity to be blooded against Sith in any form, and jumped out of the ship with seconds of landing. These Sith would meet an adenn Mando'ad this day, one with their faith in the Manda reaffirmed and whose resolve was stronger than ever.
Khael was admiring the Guildmaster's basilisk war droid, dreaming of one day owning his own, before locking gazes with the man himself as if he was being analysed, his might gauged, his determination judged. He felt the pressure of the tall warrior's attention, then nodded in return as the Guildmaster strode away, reminding them of their orders. Khael felt the first flush of pride as he stalked behind, the first in a long while - ever since the moment he found his entire clan slaughtered and their compound ransacked, to be exact. Khael would show Volo he more than possessed the testicular fortitude for work like this.
Khael drew one of his beskar-forged, hand-and-a-half length beskade in his right hand and a blaster in his left as the group neared the cave entrance. As he did he couldn't help but feel something was... off about the Guildmaster. Was this related to his own connection with the Force? Khael couldn't be sure. He had only recently learned he was force sensitive, shocking news for any Mandalorian, but hadn't had the chance to explore just whatever in the Manda that meant. He knew one thing for certain, though.
He would be ready for whatever the Maw vomited out.
"Ib'tuur jatne tuur ash'ad kyr'amur."
adenn Mando'ade - Merciless child of Mandalore Ib'tuur jatne tuur ash'ad kyr'amur - Today is a good day for someone else to die
The last words spoken before the group found themselves immersed in the darkness of the ruins were, atleast by the Guildmaster's standards, a grim wish. One that provoked a few laughs from the typically-serious man; especially as the group, in its entirety, echoed Khael's declaration... all with varying levels of enthusiasm. Still, it was a dire proclamation that conflicted with their mission and required correction as such.
"K'uur, ner vod. You forget our purpose. The less who know of our presence here, be they dead or alive, the better."
Pausing momentarily, the Guildmaster raised his offhand to his helmet, activating both the built-in recording system and his nightvision. Taking a moment to reassess their surroundings, he found that not twenty feet ahead was a blastdoor. Approaching it, the softer sounds of rocks and dirt giving way beneath his feet turned to the harsher sounds of metal-on-metal.
Volo sheathed his beskad, pulling his Sonic Servodriver from a belt pouch and aiming it at the door's control panel. After a few unsuccessful clicks he muttered a swear, inaudible to his vod, and put the servodriver back in its pouch.
"Power's out, should've expected it. This place has been in ruins for the better part of eight centuries." he chimed in, updating the group. Crouching down, he pulled his beskad from its sheath once more, lining it up the slight crack separating the door from the ground. "Vhijaric, I'm going to lift the door up. I can hold its weight but it'll slam behind us once I'm in. There should be a release on the other side that'll lock the door open. I need you to get in and hit it so we have a way out."
Already, he was levering the door open. The strength of his beskar blade holding up to the weight of the durasteel door. Though, that wasn't his goal. Looking over his shoulder to the Chiss verd, Volo uttered two words.
"Got it?" accentuated by the strain in his voice, it was clear the question was purely rhetoric. Khael had no choice but to be ready, for in the next moment the Guldmaster dropped the blade; lunging forward to grip the blastdoor by the base as he begun to lift. Pushing the door up with all his might, his gam's exoskeleton compensating for his mortal limitations.
Letting out a single grunt of exertion, it was clear the near-herculean feat of strength would not last forever. If Khael were to accomplish his task, he'd have to move fast... lest his first mission in the Enclave be defined by how his failure had caused the Guildmaster of the Karjr to be crushed under a hundred or so kilos of durasteel. - - - - -
With the raid taking place so close to Enclave space, she should have expected them, but Sisserith had believed that they wouldn’t care about a backwater mining town like Argovas City. It went without saying she had been quite wrong in that assessment. Nevertheless, their presence was something of an opportunity for her, as the prize for any raider who managed to take a strong captive the likes of a trained Mandalorian warrior, was undoubtedly quite high. However, that was weighed against the option to play it safe by going after the easy targets, those being untrained civilians.
Realizing that the civilians would be quite boring, Sisserith decided to take the former option. And if she failed, she could just eat her losses and kill the Mandalorian. It wasn’t like it would be difficult!
With a sanguinary glow in her magenta eyes, Sisserith set her sights on a group of Mandalorians clad in their signature impenetrable armor, moving confidently to meet the Mawites. No doubt they were proud warriors with many deeds to their names, whether real, exaggerated, or entirely false. Regardless, Sisserith relished the prospect of taking one of them down a notch. To that end, the Seseli ducked into a nearby alleyway, before jumping on top of a dumpster and using it as additional height to ascend the building with a series of athletic, graceful leaps from one awning or window sill to the next. Before long, she was on top of the building, on a relatively equal plane with a flying Mandalorian (Vulcan Krayt
) across the street.
Her nostrils flared in anticipation.
Immediately after she reached the roof, Sisserith leveled her RL-40 at the flying Mandalorian and squeezed the trigger twice in quick succession. Firing from 20 meters away, her aim had been adjusted to account for her target’s flight trajectory and any additional ballistic factors, with the ultimate goal of striking her quarry in the chest to send them careening back to earth, ideally subdued by one or two live stun nets!
Thud. Thud. Before Kralmus's eyes a pair of Mawite marauders went down, chests blossoming into bloody ruin as some projectile ripped through them. The cannibal dove for cover, taking shelter around the corner of one of Argovas City's many rundown saloons; he could hear people screaming inside, trying to barricade the doors with sabacc tables. It wouldn't be nearly enough to keep out the Maw. But before he could go and show them the error of their ways, he needed to get past this latest threat. Back in the street, another trio of Brotherhood marauders went down. The strangest thing was that Kralmus couldn't tell what was killing them.
Whatever it was, it made no sound, and whatever it fired was too fast to be visible.
Kralmus had used some stealth weapons before; he'd almost succeeded in assassinating former Chancellor Aerarii Tithe
with a Xerrol Nightstinger rifle, which fired an invisible blaster bolt. But the Nightstinger wasn't silent, only invisible. The cannibal could think of only one weapon that behaved like this: a verpine shatter gun, probably a pair of them in this case. As rare as they were deadly, the weapons were like tiny railguns, using advanced magnetic fields to accelerate small projectiles to highly lethal velocities. They were favored tools of assassins and Jedi-hunters, for even the famous Jedi Knights found them extremely difficult to block.
He was going to enjoy adding those guns to his collection when he killed their wielder.
"Hello there!" Kralmus called around the corner, toward Kragr Krayt
. By now the Brotherhood troops had stopped advancing up this particular street, the pile of marauder corpses that Kragr had downed giving them a pretty clear warning that there was a significant threat lying in wait. "You're pretty early, Enclave boy! We were expecting it'd be at least a couple of hours before you reacted to a raid on a planet outside your territory. Is this your little vacation spot, or something? Got a little gambling itch you come here to scratch, hide your vices from your vod?" As he spoke, Kralmus readied his wrist rocket - just a flash rocket this time.
He needed to give himself some cover so that those pistols didn't instantly shred him.
Taking aim around the corner without exposing his body, Kralmus blind-fired the flash rocket up the street. The projectile exploded, and for an instant the street was changed. 180 decibels of sound, more than enough to rupture eardrums, and 7 million candela of light - seven hundred times the brightness of the afternoon sun - flashed across the street, surely blinding and deafening anyone in the area without the appropriate protection. The noise was loud even to Kralmus, down the street and around the corner. With his flashbang rocket deployed, the cannibal casually tossed his electro-net gun to a passing marauder and unslung his huge two-handed axe.
He would much rather butcher an Enclaver than round up slaves anyway.
Weapon at the ready, he charged around the corner...