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YASHUVHU A SECOND HYPERSPACE WAR STORY WE LIVE IN A TWILIGHT WORLD AND THERE ARE NO FRIENDS AT DUSK YOU CANNOT REMAIN IN THE DARK FOREVER
The ephemeral relief that came with the fall of The Sith Empire is over. Threats continue to grow in the Unknown Regions. Those part of the Outbound Flight are encouraged to remain diligent, as well as curious for The Alliance’s expansion, and strengthening of borders.
In the galactic shift of power between heroes, villains and anti-heroes, the SIA’s director accelerates her meticulousness to protect The Alliance’s core. Even when it comes to their existing bonds and allegiances.
OBJECTIVE I: OUT OF BOUNDS
The Outbound Flight Initiative continues to relentlessly seek the exploration of the Unknown Regions, both to expand GA’s territory and discover more information about the Galactic Threat: The Brotherhood of the Maw.
Beyond the typical directive of these pilots and navigators–– there’s a more subtle motivation at play: With the Imperator dead and the war with The Sith Empire concluded, the future of the Triumvirate becomes questionable. To uncover some answers, IVI
has dispatched intelligence agents to accompany the traditional explorers as they venture into the North-Eastern part of the galaxy. Their mission is covert, their explicit directive. Plant themselves, and establish listening or surveillance stations within Imperial Space.
OBJECTIVE II: KORRIBANISHMENT
After multiple assassination attempts, allegedly conducted by former members of the New Jedi Order, The Senate lead by Aerarii Tithe
is seeking more information about their allies.
Select Senators are taking it upon themselves, accompanied by appropriate security, to revisit the world of Korriban. The location of the initially documented war crimes (against a Sith Academy) of the New Jedi Order during the Stygian Campaign. At the further interrogation of the documentation from Errik Nimdok
Among the ravaged and nearly decimated populous, members of the New Sith Order take advantage of the Senate’s curiosity and seek to further undermine the New Jedi Order’s credibility.
OBJECTIVE III: WITH FORCE
The defence forces are deployed to the lush, temperate planet of Yashuvhu. A world that was once influenced, if not outright lead, by a spiritual leader called “Prophetess”.
While a majority of the GADF work to evaluate the Yashuvi defense systems, scope the land, and interpret the local language, a minority is sent to complete a different mission at the behest of the SIA.
Alliance Intelligence understands that for years, the Yashuvi have had access to Jedi texts and artifacts. Archivists and soldiers alike are intrigued by this information.
Midway through the mission, orders are subject to change under the direct jurisdiction of IVI
-- likely based on the discreet reports of information contained within the Jedi texts about effective measures for countering Force Users. With the growing sentiment against the Jedi, and the Imperial Order’s shift to an Imperial Knight as Imperator, the SIA’s director’s interest grows in diversifying ways to protect Alliance citizens.
Fight with a Duuvhal, explore an ancient jungle, whatever, whatever you do what you want
A leader. That’s what this band of misfits and scum needed as they had been operating in the past by themselves on M’s orders. None deviated from their orders, although their success rates were...questionable, especially with the defeat on Csilla. He questioned the Director’s decision on creating this Task Force as he believed a more conventional unit would be more appropriate, but she insisted.
The only benefit to all of this was that they were disposable and untraceable to the SIA and the Director.
Away from the eyes of the Jedi and Alliance personnel, Boluc and the rest of of Xesh were in one of the sacred places that held artifacts and literature belonging to the Jedi Order. The guards? Disposed of. Now it was time to take the package home without detection.
“Alright, got new orders from up above. We gotta get ahold of every object that looks like a Jedi would worship and die for, and get the hell outta here before any Jedi come around. Move it on the double.”
Revenant Squadron cruised in silence through the darkness of space, and for once, it wasn’t on the orders of no-nonsense squadron leader. With the running lights dimmed and their sensor masks activated, the pilots carefully followed the border between the Galactic Alliance and the New Imperial Order, a demarkation which existed only on galactic charts drawn up by the high commands of the two respective nations.
With their active sensors turned off - the scan signatures were too easy to detect - the pilots were relying on passive sensors and eyesight to spot approaching targets. Until normal circumstances, encountering an NIO patrol would be an opportunity for the pilots to exchange valuable information and greet their allies. The difference with this mission was that the NIO didn’t know they were out there, and the pilots were flying on the wrong side of the invisible border.
Chaar’s navicomputer chimed - they were approaching the first drop point. He punched a command into his console to activate one of the modified SIA probe droid magnetically clamped to the outside of his B-wing. Much to his disgust, he’d had to forego missiles and temporarily surrender a pair of laser cannons to carry the extra cargo without sacrificing range or endurance. Just another example of the Strategic Intelligence Agency overlords putting his squadron at risk while they sat back in the safety of their offices on Coruscant. He had barely kept his temper in check during the briefing.
The small droid unclamped itself and shot away, programmed to establish a covert listening post to monitor NIO fleet movements. SIA operatives, flying nearby in their modified shuttles and starfighters, should already be receiving telemetry from the drone.
While the commlink was silent, the tension was palatable. The Umbaran double-clicked his comm to signal that the probe droid was successfully away. He slowly drifted back into formation to allow another Revenant pilot to take the lead as they approached the next drop point.
“Hey Miri, you ever get around to actually reading your dad’s articles?”
Starlin was the one posing the question, but Nimdok turned toward his daughter to see her reaction. He never really talked to her about this particularly controversial part of his work, but there was nothing preventing her from looking into it on her own.
Miri was seated next to him in the speeder, her posture prim and proper with a straight back and her hands resting flat against her thighs. She shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I didn’t really care about that stuff back when it was happening. I was too young.”
“You should read his article about the war crimes some time,” Starlin said. He was seated across from Nimdok and Miri, leaning forward with his datapad dangling from his hands. Winking at Nimdok, he continued, “Before I read it, I had no idea your dad could get that pissed. The NJO, the NIO, the GA—he really rips them all a new one. Here, lemme read you some of it...” Starlin cleared his throat. “‘As a historian, I strive to avoid bias, to tell all the facts, and to keep any personal feelings on the matter separate. But while researching and composing this manuscript, I found it impossible to avoid criticism and judgement in my analysis…’”
Nimdok started to tune out of the conversation between the two from there, looking out the speeder windows for the remains of the Sith academy. He didn’t particularly want to be here. Nevermind that he had been waiting for this day for quite some time, hoping that there would be actual accountability for those involved. Part of him had no taste for it anymore.
As Starlin read through bits and pieces of the report, Nimdok was surprised at how sarcastic he had been. He could remember the rage he had felt at the time of writing it, a righteous fury that burned hot enough to scald the words on his tongue. But despite his anger and desire for justice, he hadn’t been bitter. He still had hope that things could change for the better.
“‘The NJO members who arrived on Jakku showed up unannounced in the wake of violence involving one of their own against a member of the Enclave. Their response in this case was not only tone deaf, it was downright dangerous. So why did they go about it this way? Well, the simple answer is that some moron installed the Sword of the Jedi as the NJO’s primary diplomat and PR manager, an office which he has proven woefully ill-suited to over and over again…’”
Where was Ryv Karis now? Gone. Perhaps picked off by his own government, silenced for knowing too much. Despite Karis’ claims, Nimdok never believed he had actually given the orders to bomb the Korriban academy. Karis was exactly the kind of person who would be a willing scapegoat, someone who was eager to take the lashes due his brethren upon his back. No wonder why he was gone now.
“‘...and propagandistic claptrap about the need to make “necessary sacrifices” in order to win. Rest assured, the NJO did not "win" in this scenario. At best, they were played for fools. The Sith Empire, which they have so thoroughly demonized for their disregard for life, have inadvertently succeeded in getting these Jedi to disregard life in the name of a greater good—the complete destruction of the Sith, down to the very last child. Riding practically on the heels of their complete rejection of the Elder Compact, which was also justified by its supporters as a necessary sacrifice for the greater g—’”
“That’s enough,” Nimdok interrupted. His voice came out sounding harsher than he would have liked. Glancing at Miri, he spoke in a gentler tone. “Read it on your own time, sweetheart.”
They had reached the ruins. A squadron’s worth of vehicles were already parked around the area as GA agents and operatives conducted their investigation. Years had passed, however, and it was doubtful they could find much evidence among the wreckage. He'd also heard they planned to interview witnesses, but he had no idea where they would find these people who had been children and teenagers at the time, especially after the Empire they had pledged their allegiance to had fallen.
Oh well, Nimdok thought as he exited the speeder. Better late than not at all.
Hideousness, repulsiveness, ugliness, the sheer number of words used to describe war nearly matched the amount of wars that had been conducted in this galaxy. Well, if you include words not in Galactic Basic. The Senator of Empress Teta had never been squeamish of battles, wars, tortures, and the plethora of other experiences that would leave normal people many sleepless nights. Perhaps it was a flaw to be unaffected the way he was of all these meaningless cruelty, a reasonable worry, so maybe one day after he found himself tired of the galaxy Seto might take time for inner reflection.
But for the moment, time to gander through meaninglessness in the form of rubble.
The recent riots and continued rise in cult activity on his planet had brought him over to Korriban. While he couldn’t overtly be inquisitive of a possible trail that led him here, his other private security force could investigate in his stead. If anything, I’m more of a perfect distraction. Seto mused to himself, he hadn’t taken any serious personal security forces with him, after all the Vice-Chancellor was on the surface with him. Be a real embarrassment if anything should happen to him while on this trip. And so far embarrassment was a perfect motivator after the grave security blunder in the Senate Chambers.
Such a strange idea to dig and unearth further details of a rather. . . unpleasant event of the war. Seto wasn't sure how effective this investigation would be to help or hurt the Jedi Order. After all, it was rather doubtful that the Jedi could be absolved or even exonerated of war crimes committed. Seto figured this was simply a formality, a way to dot the eyes and cross the tees, perhaps this was the only way to help the Jedi Order by getting in front of this issue. It would be like getting in front of a ragging Rancor.
The young Du Couteau heir looked around, glancing between his peers and his rather small security detail. A pair of Senate guards followed him nearly everywhere, Seto was rather doubtful if either could do anything if there was a wandering Sith looking for revenge. But Seto admired their determination to follow their obligation to protect their chosen Senator. Better make sure they make it out if an attack does arise. Seto wearily placed a mental note for himself as he walked around rubble, a part of the temple’s third floor laid strewed across the road.
Kat was wearing her casual wear as she looked around the group of explorers, she bit her bottom lip feeling the nerves kicking in. This was her first time working a real stealth mission since the last time she had worked in the field with Allyson. Her palms were a little sweaty now that she was attempting to blend in with this group. This time around she had left M1-NI behind since he was even left subtle than she was so currently she was on her own while looking around the explorers. It had been assigned to her to check out some of the locations that the GA were looking to expand to for information on the Maw and safe places to build bases.
It helped that her skills as a pilot had increased over the years when she made sure she was a test pilot for ships that her company produced. She wasn't a natural pilot but she was better than average, her ship was waiting ready docked as she looked over the location that she was heading to. The planet seemed great for a surveillance base but she wasn't sure if it was already being used by the imperials so she needed to head over there and check things out. Kat was also attempting to listen in on the conversations that were going on by the explorers as she wandered through the main hub of the base.
What am I doing? Is this even right? Damnit, I should have just asked for help on the mission but no just had to try and be all confident and do this alone! Kat chastised herself as she placed a hand on her ship and started to do pre-flight checks on the ship to make sure it was all good.
Turbulent times were upon the Jedi. Times of distrust and discord born of malicious whispers and tales uttered by nefarious mouths. The New Jedi had returned from the successful Stygian Campaign to a phantom war at home. A war in the darkness conjured by agents of shadows. Dagon had been on to it - on Coruscant, on Denon - following trails smeared with the dark side but the New Sith Order had always seemed to be one step ahead.
So the Knight took on a more proactive approach, rather than following their moves, he'd opt to anticipatee their next actions. Preventative measures. Mitigate the damage before it spiraled out of control. It was no secret that the Senate had turned its scrutinizing eyes and hands on the New Jedi as of recently. It was beyond politicking, netting votes, and pure populism. No. There was a dark hand with spectral strings to each of its digits moving pieces and puppets on a chessboard already rigged against the New Jedi. After all, they had hardly found support from any of their cousins spread across the galaxy - quite the opposite.
They only had themselves. Bruised and scarred but not bent. Not broken. Yet.
When Dagon had learned they were reopening the war crimes case, he knew he had to act. Recently, his former master Asmundr Varobalder
had disclosed to him what he had discovered in his farsight. Dark webs weaved around Korriban, the Senate, the Jedi. It was a foreboding message and the reopening of the case on Korriban was a deja vu in the making. He acted.
But not alone.
He couldn't do it alone.
<"Don't ask me how I got this number, man, it’s been a rollercoaster trying to find out a Jedi gone dark two years ago?”> has it already been two? Damn… <“Anyway… I need your help. I’m gonna go straight to the point cause I know you’ve been keeping tabs on the whole… thing going on with the Order, the Alliance and all that; they’re reopening the war crimes case again.”> a pause, <“Ryv was on to something with the Senate and the Sith - probably solid proof - which is what we need, but he’s disappeared since he got framed. I tried tracking him down but I’m sure you can guess how that went down.”> he drew long, inaudible sigh, <“a commission’s headed to Korriban, don’t know what they exactly hope to find, but they’ve called in Nimdok of the Silvers after Kirie testified in front of the Senate, and I’ve got a bad feeling about this all things considered.”>
<“I’ll be on Korriban in two weeks’ time... hope to see you there, Aelys.”>
Aelys of Thyrsus. A close friend. Both had been padawans of the same generation - the one only a few years junior to Ryv's - with the Sword becoming Aelys’ mentor for a period of time. Both had been stuck on the vessels during the invasion of Korriban, deemed as unready, and both had helplessly witnessed their friends die as martyrs but proclaimed as sinners. Both carried that cross of atonement.
Presently, on Korriban...
"The... Black Mynock
? Reeeeally?" Dagon blinked at the masked, armored figure beside him. "Tsk, you know - definitely not something I expected to see but I can see the merit of the whole concealed identity...and I guess dressed as a mynock." he tapped his chin thoughtfully, "Could use something like that myself. On Denon, with the crime and all--"
"--ope, here they are." he put one foot on the railing of the rooftop and leaned on it. A few speeders halted to a stop near the ruined entry of the academy. "Let's go say hi." the Knight smirked, put both feet on the edge of the rooftop, "Didn't say it over the call but... glad you're alive, A." and he soared down to the surface into a graceful landing aided by the Force.
The Jedi investigator adjusted his New Jedi leather jacket and brushed a hand over his raven hair as he approached the gathered senatorial committee.
"Well, hello there, fellow Jedi, Vice-Chancellor, Senators." he greeted each with a nod and a lopsided smile on his face. "Don't think you'd mind us joining in on... this--" party.
Captain Drake and his crew braced for the turbulence which accompanied their craft's plunge back into realspace. Some of the explorers on board he'd flown with for years while others were new hands or catching a ride to their next assignment. En route to the new Alliance outpost on Yashuvhu with a cargo hold of supplies Constellation had diverted course on his authority to investigate some anomalous long range sensor readings near the Imperial border.
"System check," Atlas gazed out the bridge cabin's viewport at an unfamiliar starfield, "Relay our status back to Outlander."
There was a chorus of voices as each station reported in. It had taken months of dry dock repairs after Csilla to get the Constellation back to flight ready status. After bacta treatment Drake was mostly patched up himself. This galaxy could be a dangerous place and he bore another scar to prove it. Out here on the galactic frontier a man settles his own problems.
"Cap'n, you should see this."
"I see it," he breathed, "I'm just not sure I believe it."
Once the Constellation drew closer Atlas could see with his own eyes their scans were accurate. Before him burned the hull of a star destroyer, one of the modern New Imperial designs. It was surrounded by the wrecks of smaller attack ships, both NIO and unknown manufacture scattered together like slain warriors piled around the corpse of some great mythic beast.
"What could wipe out an entire Imperial task force?"
"Let's not hang around long enough to find out," Drake interrupted any further speculation, "Drop a salvage beacon, standard Alliance distress signal. Bring us in for a closer look."
Books and digital repositories, some covered in dust and others not quite. It was common practice for the library to send information to the frontlines if they saw a change of plans or had come up with something new in a hurry. It was a job that Aeris hadn’t done in a while now, but one that she had felt drawn to given her newfound role as a mentor for one of the new Padawans.
“Hey Saan’an!” Aeris called out and approached him. “One of the commanders in charge of setting up a defensive perimeter around one of the settlements called in with a request for information on the local fauna. Size and shape, mostly.”
It was a small request, but a good one to start with. They needed to make sure that the barricades could hold of both attackers and wildlife. In essence, how tall did the palisades need to be?
“Have you kept up with the memory exercises? We need any historical report or book that you can find on the subject. We’re talking animals and invasive threats that might be typical for the sector.”
The exercises were simple for now. Work had been focused on indices, quick recollections of what books might have contained which information and where they were. Saan’an had shown a lot of promise so far, Aeris had faith that he would not fail her now. Not that he really could. She was nothing if not an almost coddling, overprotective teacher.
Deploying for the first time in a while. Stellaris, callsign Frenzy, was flying now as Revenant Six. An X-Wing slot in one of the Galactic Alliance’s premier fighter squadrons. The war in the galaxy was always there, changing who the targets were, and Stellaris was always here to help. Training as a Matukai, she opened herself to the Force to become a better warrior, but her goals were always in the sky.
Flying as Revenant Six, her X-Wing was navy and black, trimmed with Alliance markings, and flying silent and with the squadron now. She wasn’t so keen on fact finding missions, she was a combat pilot, but orders were orders. She followed them, especially since it got her flying, but she wasn’t the most keen on it, it got her flying. And she’d rather be up here than on the ground.
As the probe was launched, she signed and rolled her eyes. As an X-Wing, it was space superiority, she didn’t have missiles to make up for the two probes she did have, but at least she didn’t sacrifice her lasers. “Feed me any comms you feel are important, Mack.” She said to her astromech, hoping for anything to happen. As Charr’s droid went out, she waited, coming up on the mark for her to fire one of hers out.
If her comms were open to the squad, they’d hear a sigh.
KORRIBANISHMENT Return of the Jedi vol. I
It was hard to be a Jedi after what he had seen, what he had done.
Sure he hated the Sith, how could he not?
But he'd come back to the Core Jedi Order to hone his abilities in the Force, and to put an end to the idleness that he wallowed in on Thyrsus. It was shameful to have quit on them again, but on Ziost, when they had been under siege, his belief wavered. He felt guilty for a soul that rejected his offer of imprisonment, who would rather for the Sith, and what they supposed was freedom, than experience the inside of a cell.
It was sick and twisted. And he couldn't see himself willingly fighting, willingly killing these deranged Sith any longer.
It hadn't been like the stories of old. It wasn't Light vs Dark, or Good vs Evil. When he realized it was people, hardly any different from him, were twisted to act in such a cruel way... There was no skills he could employ to help them. No patience for those damaged minds, all he had was the fore withal to stay his blade and keep the hand of abuse from raising.
But if what Dagon Kaze
told him was true, he couldn't ignore it anymore. Not the Sith, not his promises to Ryv - whose words still echoed in his mind day and night - nothing. Whether the Senate liked it or not, Ryv still had friends amongst the Order, even if he was gone.
"Can't be getting my name and face plastered on every screen as a vigilante. Definitely ain't going to be a Marshal either." That first day he made it to Coruscant, he had been arrested. Only because he had his old Jedi robes with him that he was luckily escorted to the Temple and Ryv greeted him. No judgement, just... Understanding.
He had made a promise to himself to stay away, to stay in the shadows and fight the unseen war against the creatures of the night that still festered in the undergrounds of the Core's supercities. But he had also made a promise to Ryv, and that loyalty came before his own selfish desires. He couldn't see his friend's name, or his Jedi dragged through the mud. Even if he didn't count himself among them anymore.
Dag leapt over the rail, and a moment behind him was the Black Mynock, adorned in the armoured trappings of the spacecraft leech.
Looming beside him, the Mynock's arms raised and crossed over his chest. He had never liked the Senate or its Senators. They played Kings and Queens safe from the battles of the frontlines. And now they wanted to condemn them?
It had not been that long ago that she had been on Korriban herself, although no one in current company would know that. The attack on the tomb world of the Sith had been brutal, and had come with a significant revelation for her, but in the end they were here for another reason. The first attack by the Alliance in the Stygian campaign had come to Korriban and they had pushed the Sith Empire off world, attacked and ruined the academy on the world until the Eternal slipped in and retook the planet for a new sect of Sith. The Stygian campaign had then stalled on her world.
The Senate's investigation was racing ahead, although she didn't think a field trip to Korriban was going to be incredibly informative for the investigative panel. They would find much of what anyone found when they came to Korriban; red sand, crumbly tombs, hostile fauna, and the dead whispering in the winds. The planet was only symbolically important to the Sith, never a strategic target like other worlds in the Stygian Caldera and the Empire. Regardless, she had gone along with the expedition to observe her erstwhile colleagues. She had a small suspicion that Kaigann was up to something once he knew Senators were going to Korriban.
It was too tempting a target to pass up for his goal.
"Korriban has never been a world that has been kind to visitors, and never one for aesthetics, Senator," she said in response to Senator Du Couteau. "History has shown that time and again." They were interrupted as Jedi Knight Kaze and... she tilted her head in confusion at the man accompanying him. The man had to be dying of heat from all that black and the costume was... odd.
"Not at all, Knight Kaze," she said, quickly answering for the group. "We appreciate the protection that your presences might grant the committee as we investigate. We all know this planet is not safe."
“I hate this place,” Starlin muttered as he followed Nimdok toward the ruins. “Gives me the willies. Colder than you’d think a desert planet would be, too...”
“Didn’t you tell me that the last time you were here, you fought a crafty archaeologist?” Nimdok remarked, hoping to change the subject. He was in no mood to hear any complaints about the weather.
“Yeah, that guy tried to bury me alive in the Tomb of Darth Vader!” Starlin shook his head at the memory. “He was obsessed with you, too. Like he thought you were his great rival.”
“ Vector Monk, right?” Nimdok chuckled. “Never heard of him.”
The Senate Committee and their retinues were now within sight. Nimdok hadn’t had any formal dealings with the Alliance since Emmen Tagge
was in power, and he doubted the new generation would consider his role in retrieving a shard of the Mortis Dagger enough reason to trust him.
“Hello, Senators,” he greeted the group as a whole. “I am Master Errik Nimdok of the Silver Jedi Order—though I am more commonly known in the wider galaxy as Professor Nimdok of the University of Alderaan.”
Most of the faces he glimpsed upon approach were unfamiliar—with one exception.
“Dag Kaze!” he spoke to the Jedi Knight warmly. “It’s good to see you.”
Gesturing to his two companions, he introduced them to the committee. “This is Jedi Knight Starlin Rand, and my daughter Miri. They are here to assist me. I trust their presence will not be an issue?”
Kirie was on Korriban, again, mere weeks after the battle she had been pulled into, since the confrontation aboard the Eternal Rule. Her life was so tumultuous and fast-moving at the moment, the battle seemed like a long time ago now. The dust had already settled here, which added to the effect. The landscape around her was cold and still and dead, with the notable exception of the Alliance investigative team that was buzzing around the entrance to the academy.
As the Alliance agents and representatives walked around the rubble, Kirie sat and tried to stay out of the way. There wasn’t much to do at the present moment, with the investigative team still making their way to the site, and privately, Kirie thought that even once they had dug through the rubble they would not come up with much in the way of answers. Still, it was probably worth trying anyway.
The past few weeks had been rather unpleasant for her. She was Knighted in a small ceremony after the battle over Korriban, and she had sat in silence in her bunks for hours after, wondering what kind of Jedi she would be. Days later, she’d made the trip to the Senate floor to testify in the case against the Jedi. That decision had overshadowed everything since.
When she returned to the temple, the tension in the air was palpable. Anywhere she walked she was greeted by stares and occasionally, whispers. The younger and the more hot headed Jedi greeted her with open disgust and dislike, with one man even calling her traitor and pushing past her roughly as they passed in the hall. That aside, there was the looming threat of the council punishing her for breaking rank and going above their heads. The day Kirie had returned to the temple she had half expected to be told to pack her bags and go. So far that had not happened.
Before the Senate hearing, Kirie was already fearful that she didn’t belong, didn't fit in with the Jedi. Now, it was as if her worst fears were confirmed. It took every bit of her resolve not to run away and leave the Order for good, as she had done countless times in previous years when things turned bad.
Kirie heard voices approaching and looked up to see more of the investigative team arrive. She recognised Seto Du Couteau
and Elizie Athacorr
from the Senate, Errik Nimdok
with people she did not know, and Jedi Knight Dagon Kaze
, included in the people she did not know was an imposing man with his face hidden, seemingly accompanying Kaze.
She must have been a sorry sight, with dark circles and bags beneath her eyes, several layers of jumpers and jackets haphazardly piled on over her Jedi jumpsuit, with shoulders slumped and her mouth turned downwards at the corners.
Standing up, Kirie made her way over slowly to give a hesitant greeting. She nodded politely to the senators and winced as she inadvertently met Kaze’s eyes. Kirie didn’t know what he thought of her, but the last thing she wanted was a confrontation. Looking away quickly, she walked over to Errik Nimdok
“Professor Nimdok” Kirie said, her voice coming out a bit quieter than she’d intended. “I’m Kirie, I read your work as an explorer in the Unknown Regions. It’s nice to meet you.”
Out of Bounds Qellene's Adventures in Trauma-Land -- Part 3 [NIO-GA Border]
The ocean's breeze had since enveloped the A-wing's cockpit. That, and the sweet lullaby of the calls of Pamarthen gulls reverberating around the narrow interior. But they were all fakes, illusions, replicas. All the creations of a stressed, disturbed mind.
The ambience channeled into her fingertips, washed over the keys of the dashboard, and the well illuminated navigation panels. It was official; Revenant squadron was dangerously deep in Imperial lines-- Though, crossing the border by even a meter would be considered dangerously deep in her eyes, and the eyes of most of the others. Even if they were safe at the moment; Even if the NIO's scanners remained oblivious in the face of Alliance sensor masks, it would only take one mistake to derail that semblance of security.
"Two... Four... Eight... Sixteen..." Qellene swallowed a lump, started running down powers of two, and turned a nervous eye toward the circular plan position indicator at the dashboard's port-most quadrant, "Thirty-two..."
Regardless of the pre-mission pep talk, she couldn't rise above dreading the Brotherhood's appearance, above fearing another ambush on the scale of the battle within the Csillan belt. Of course, it would be different here-- their active scanners were off, their sensor masks were in full gear. The only way the Brotherhood could find the loose Alliance group would be through pure luck. Or infiltration...
Shuddering quite nearly uncontrollably, Qellene commenced another worried review through her necessary checklists. Ordnance integrity, Weapons control, Countermeasure response... No issues emerged, not at the moment, anyway.
She was a Pamarthen, she was supposed to be brave, resilient; Not the anxious emotional mess that had somehow earned control of a starfighter's helm. But I'm not a real Pamarthen. Just some lost orphan from- Dull white teeth clamped down on her tongue before the words could be uttered aloud-- though no one would hear even if she did. Unless Qellene had left her comms on?
No. She hadn't. Qellene sank back into the interceptor's seat, quiet as the color returned to her cheeks with every moment of a relieved sigh. The tranquility held longer than expected; long enough to revitalize the pacifying ambience of a Pamarthen ocean, before an exaggerated chime erupted in her helmet. She turned back to the PPI display almost immediately, torn roughly from her trance, but nonetheless attentive while passive sensors registered the launch of another drone.
That was her queue.
The A-wing veered port, guided carefully over another by a steady tug on the yoke. She blinked a spotlight quickly, signaling to the other pilot, and to the rest of the launched air group of the switch's execution. Revenant-Eleven was quick to signal back while he withdrew toward the fighter group's aft. Good. They were all alert and responsive. Things were looking up.
Another chime. But this one hadn't been conceived as a mere automated signal... This was a distress beacon. And it matched Alliance frequency bands.
["Commander,"] Three-Flight's leader interrupted the near radio silence, while Qellene herself had began to run the necessary enciphering procedures-- both signals would appear as mere radiation spikes to the NIO's alert eyes if she had been diligent enough, ["Orders pertaining to distress signal?"]
The bounty hunter turned towards Boluc, sighing at the new orders. He couldn’t care less about the Jedi, or anything that they did. Hell, the only thing he cared about was himself. Oh, and credits.
“Why does IVI
care so much about the Jedi? I don’t understand the obsession with them. You know, they are easier to kill than people think.”
Not bothering to hear what the rest of Xesh wanted to say, the man got to work packing up the Jedi artifacts and texts. Popping a lid off of a carrying crate, he went over to a bookshelf. Without a care in the world he swiped the text off of the shelf. They fell into the crate, crashing into each other.
Maijan was spending some time thumbing through the pages of an ancient textbook. It was quaint, the way dust clouded from the pages and some of the ink ran and saturated through the pages. Even during her studies on Carratos, she'd never experienced anything so old. Most of her textbooks had been updated and translated to digital versions ––– anything more historic was reserved for the graduating class' access.
“Alright, got new orders from up above. We gotta get ahold of every object that looks like a Jedi would worship and die for, and get the hell outta here before any Jedi come around. Move it on the double.”
She looked up, dark eyes glistening in the makeshift light they'd set up to make the shelves more legible. In her hand, the book snapped shut and she placed it more carefully into the crate than Kreg Jare
Something about this didn't feel right. It was strange for the Intelligence Agency to be involved in the affairs of The Jedi.
"She seems to carrre about a lot of tings." Maijan shrugged and plucked a trio of books from the shelf, briefly looking over the titles on their spines. She frowned at the title of one of the monographs.
"Look at thisss," her tone was hushed, almost started. She rotated it over a few times in her hands, flipping through its pages. "Defense by Design: The Essential Manual forrr --"the rest of the title was smudged out. She flipped to the first page, seeking to complete the sentence. There, the word was also missing. In frustration, she hmmmm'd and intensified her search.
Midway through the publication, she stopped at a diagram. Something in her gut shifted and moved behind her ribs, becoming hard and tight.
For the first time in a long time, the ex-pirate's voice became small and she concentrated on their handler. "M doesn't want the Jedi to get these arrrtifacts, does she?"
The Alliance Marshal investigator nodded and motioned to deep gorge cut into the wall of the Sith academy.
“Judging by the angle of attack it was a downward strike, a much taller attacker,” the Arcona explained. “Standing over a younger victim.” He nodded to the skeleton sprawled on the ground, stripped of flesh by carion but attired in tattered robes that were clearly Sith in design. The young Sith acolyte’s lightsaber was still clipped to what remained of their belt.
Tithe studied the morbid display. “Could it have been, ahh, staged?”
The investigator looked at the body of the slain Sith student and shrugged. “I mean, sure, but to what end?” The Vice Chancellor was inclined to agree. The Alliance hadn’t given the Sith much time to do anything when they had driven them from the world during the Stygian campaign.
“Well, keep at it.”
Tithe left the investigators to their work and headed back out the main entrance of the temple. A quartet of Senate guards were always one step behind, with plain-clothed GADF special forces operators forming an outer protective ring. He spied the arrival of Master Nimdok and members of the Senate inquest and made his way toward them.
Dagon Kaze, whom Tithe knew only by reputation, and a garishly dressed accomplice dropped from overhead and landed where the group came together, startling the Senate guards monetarily. The close protection team relaxed upon recognising the Jedi.
“A pleasure,” Tithe replied with a bow of the head to the Jedi. “I understand this must be, well, confronting.” But were they here to protect the Senators, or to obfuscate?
“Yes, Master Nimdok,” he said to their honoured guest as he greeted the Silver Jedi. “Please, walk with me colleagues and I.” The Vice Chancellor motioned toward the temple and slowly began making his way back toward the ruined structure. “My learned colleagues and I would be most interested to hear what you learned in your studies of the tragic, tragic events which unfolded where we stand.”
"Please. Just Dag's fine enough." the raven-haired Jedi tapped his chest as he replied to the senators and the Master Jedi. Monikers, titles, and such were never much to his liking. The sentiment was, for the most part, shared among the rest of the New Jedi. Formality and etiquette were more or less just words on paper.
He had seen the Vice-Chancellor on the holo, maybe a few times live from a distance. The man seemed to have a talent of shrouding much of his presence, with the spotlight most often befalling Chancellor Chandra and... Auteme. The really interesting part about Tithe was his past 'employment' as a Sith-Imperial Moff. And here he was investigating New Jedi war crimes. Dagon's investigations had found the New Sith Order's hand had reached deep into the SIA but with Letifer
dead, he'd hit a dead end on uncovering more. There was almost solid suspicion the Sith had infiltrated the political scene of the Alliance, too, but did their shadow spread so deep and so far to the Vice-Chancellor? Dag didn't know.
The case of the other two Jedi was different. Nimdok was a Master of the Silver Jedi Order; cousins, some had dubbed it. He and Dagon had been weaved into Kai's 'situation' very recently, but beyond being extremely talkative and yet somehow reluctant to divulge more than he needed to, there was hardly anything else about the man with pointed ears. On the other hand, Kirie was one of their own, of the New Jedi, recently joining their Order. Perhaps one of those Jedi who was emboldened by the New Jedi's victory over the Sith Empire... or perhaps something else entirely.
He shook that thought away. A detective always had to be suspicious and just a tad bit paranoid but Dagon had to remember he was a Jedi. Trust. Trust like he trusted Ryv's innocence in the murder of Senator Fossk's aide. But why that report?
and why select two who were nowhere near Korriban to testify?
... why, Tithe?
Dagon threw a glance behind the Chancellor's shoulder at a wide crevice into the academy. Investigators were already on the scene. Marshals by the look of it. Was Bernard here? An odd sensation trickled down his spine, a bad feeling. Diving to find its source was a wild goose chase - after all, they were on Korriban. The heart of the Sith.
"Me too, by the way." Dag called from behind as they followed the rest of the group into the ruins, "I am curious to hear Master Nimdok's studies on the event. Since it seems there's no direct witness to the case currently present, after all." his tone was courteous, non-confrontational but also curious. That same curiosity had shaped him into an investigator.
And, often, nearly killed him.
Keep your eyes and senses open to anything inside out of the ordinary, he mentally echoed to Aelys through the Force. If Dag had to do the bulk of the talking, he'd be less focused on the actual, physical investigation.
DARK LORD OF THE SITH |VOICE OF THE MAW
Senate District, Coruscant Korribanishment
The foul voice of the Sith’ari called throughout the pitch black chamber in query, “Did you bring what I require?”
The shrouded form of a man approached, his robes tattered, his armor scarred and bent out of shape from the long fall the male had suffered. He stepped forward with arms outstretched holding a cloth wrapped up in protection of that which lies beneath its blanketed cover. At the foot of the Sith’ari, at the base of the alchemical altar, Letifer
The Dark Lord smiled in dark glee as his hand folded over the cloth to reveal the contents beneath. The haunting visage of the Aegis of Woe emerged as Darth Caelitus
peered through the veil of darkness, leaning in as Solipsis picked out the contents from the cloth.
A lock of hair, a vial of blood, a Sith-Imperial credchip scorched and long abandoned to the ravages of sand, and finally a broken fragment of a shikkari blade still stained with the blood of Dagon Kaze
The Dark Voice gathered the contents together in the bowl of the altar and mixed them together, he muttered under his breath the words of the Old Tongue. The room shuttered, the air grew thick and cold. After several moments of incantation he lifted his hands and let loose stray bolts of crimson hate, sparks from the dreaded Sith Lightning into the bowl with embolded words now filling the chamber.
“Kintik hadzuska sutta chwituskak! Kintik hadzuska sutta chwituskak! Jiaasjen Jidai, jiassjen Jidai!”