Artefacts of Old

Episode 68: The Battle of Terina V (Finale)

The Allied leaders met up on the Hearthfire a few hours later. The Indrexu confederation fleet had suffered heavy losses, but the mandalorian ships had filled in the gaps where possible. The decision now was to hit the Scourge at there very nerve centre, without Darth Taivus, the driving force behind the scourge would be gone and the war would eventually end in favour of the allies. The data Rebeka had retrieved from Porfrana I and Nantuker was useless on it’s own, but together it pointed the way.
Queen Mother Alasunin, Stebe, Davik, Cyare, Captain Starfire and Admiral Krin were in attendance along with the Dawnstar crew.
“…We believe Taivus can be found in the northern sector of the interior region. Our probes we sent to investigate detected a great deal of fleet movement in the barren system of Terina, the majority of which was blockading the fifth planet of the system.”
“It sounds too much like a trap, the world is barren, there’s no atmosphere, no life, no technology.” Said Alasunin.
“Sounds a perfect place for a Sith to hide.” Said Jace.
“Taivus is in the cluster looking for something. If he is on this planet, then what he seeks is also there.” Said Stebe. “The planet is incredibly exposed, Taivus would not hide in such a place unless he had no choice.”
“There are several fleets in that sector of space, even with the mandalorians a full scale assault would cost thousands of lives. We couldn’t defeat them.”
“We don’t need to take out the fleet, just Terrn.” Said Jace.
Stebe nodded, “without Taivus the Scourge would lose it’s figurehead and force the scourge to retreat, perhaps even cripple them enough that they wouldn’t recover.”
“We’re ready for him.” said Rak, Rebeka agreeing.
“It won’t be easy, you will need to find him in the midst of a battle.” Said Stebe.
“Finding him won’t be a problem.” Said Rebeka.
“Transmit information on his location as soon as you find him, if you should fail I will be leading the next strike team.” Said Stebe.
“We’ll do our best.” Said Rebeka, “I hope we won’t need you.”
“I hope so too, get some rest, and we’ll head out when the fleet is mobilised. May the force be with us all.”

The Battle of Terina V begun, The Dawnstar flying and spinning about the battle as they scanned the barren planet. It was just so.
“Jace, Can Sith disguise themselves from scanners?”
“If he’s down there, it’s by technology, not the force. He must be down there, it’s where he needs to be surely.”
“Try looking for any Subterranean tunnels.” Suggested Rak. Lanyef did so, getting Rebeka to fly over a chasm. The scans proved Rak to be right, the Chasm led into the very core of the planet, that if read correctly was completely hollow. After evading some fighters, Rebeka plunged the Dawnstar into the Chasm. The Chasm was dark, and after a minutes flying, light could be seen at the other end.
“There’s an Atmosphere within the planets core, likely artificial.” Said Lanyef.
When they emerged from the other side of the chasm, they beheld the entire interior of the planet, covered in crystals that glowed brightly. At the centre of the core, on a huge mesa stood a Tower of Obsidian, channeling what looked like power from the crystals into it’s structure.
They could all tell it was Rakatan in design.
“Where’s the power coming from?” asked Rebeka.
“The Planet is probably one giant Solar collector, Rakatan’s used a lot of Solar collectors to strip suns to power machines.” Said Lanyef
“But it’s dark in here.”
“The crust is probably one giant solar collector, and the crystals are the storage units for that power. Powering that fortress more than likely.”
“It’s weird is what it is,” muttered Rak.
“Whatever it is, Terrn’s not getting it.” Said Jace. They agreed, heading towards the fortress. There seemed to be a figure waiting for them on the landing platform. They flew close enough to determine who it was and became caught in the trap.
“It’s Terrn!” said Lanyef as the Dawnstar suddenly paused in flight, held in place. Rak and Jace opened fire on the figure, but the huge turrets were too big to hit a target that small. Taivus stood, hand out stretched as huge chunks were blasted out of the landing pad. He made no movement, then raised his other hand and spun the Dawnstar in place, Rebeka tried to maintain control but the Sith Lords power was too strong. He cast the Dawnstar onto the Mesa to his right, the ship smashing crystals and skimming across the ground. He threw his hands in the air, flipping the Dawnstar over end on end until finally the crystals slowed it’s momentum and the Dawnstar came to a halt.

Lanyef and Rebeka pushed aside the debris covering them, nearly banging there heads on the large shard of crystal that pierced the cockpit.
“My ship.” Rebeka Whimpered, trying to get something functioning.
“Is everyone alright?” asked Lanyef on the comm.
“Still in one piece.” Said Jace.
“Yeah.” Said Rak, “It’ll take me a while to get to you though.” He said, the lower gun turret was several hundred metres away.
“Jurl.” Said Rebeka as she realised the greater concern. She pulled away the Navicomputer that had crumpled against the droid, he was terrible, one repulsor was parts on the floor, battery acid dripped from his compartments and none of his lights were on. Rebeka opened him up and desperately rerouted power where she could, and eventually the droid turned back on, it’s cracked receptor turning to face her.
“Am I a hero?” asked Jurl.
Rebeka held back her tears, but her eyes shone obviously in the dim light of the wrecked cockpit.
“I am happy.” He said, and his lights went out again. Rebeka stroked his dented head and grieved her friend, Lanyef comforting her as best he could.
Jace arrived, saw Jurl and Rebeka’s state, and said the only thing he could.
“We’re not done here.”
Rebeka rubbed the tears from her eyes and looked angrily up at Jace. “You’re right, we’re not.” She said.

Rak caught up to them along the plateau, Everyone had gathered what they could, but planned to return when they were done here. They reached the tower without a welcoming party, Taivus’ arrogance showing that he assumed they’d been killed. The power being drawn into the tower seemed to be harmless to them, and wasn’t any less for the destruction of several thousand crystals. They entered the structure, moving down the corridors lit dimly by the passing energy. Bodies littered the corridors, alien in nature, and certainly dead for thousands of years.
“Who do you think they are?” asked Rebeka.
“Rakatans.” Said Rak. They looked surprised at him. “I guess? We are in a Rakatan structure, in a piece of Rakatan technology found on pots made by the Rakatans.”
He had a point.
Lanyef and Rak spotted a door up ahead closing.
“Scourge droid.” Hissed Lanyef, who had just seen it going in. it hadn’t noticed them. They readied there weapons, creeping up to the obsidian door and opening it, guns ready. A berserker and four Banshees were in the room along with what appeared to be Terrn strapped to one of the Entechment units. Lanyef fired on the Berserker, dropping it’s shields with Ion damage as well as a banshee, The Berserker swinging at Rebeka with a lightsaber, injuring her as she blasted the droid several times. Jace shot the Berserker with his carbine, damaging it a few times. Rak hit the entechment unit with his ion pistol, disrupting any processes that it might be undergoing, then took down two more banshee’s shields. Lanyef took down the last Banshee’s shields as Rebeka took another grazing swing from the Berserkers lightsaber, returning the favour with several blasts from her blaster. Jace finished the Berserker off, letting his shots carry to the banshee behind it, wrecking the droid. Rak fired on another Banshee, destroying it in a hail of fire and damaging a third. Lanyef damaged it further as the droids fired on them with Flechette, peppering them with needles. Rebeka returned fire, destroying another droid, Jace taking out the last one. Rebeka blasted Terrn in the chest, the last of Terrns breath escaping and he died instantly. This seemed too easy, Rak restarted the controls and checked the log. Apparently the entechment process had completed, so Terrn should be a droid now, and given those droids that were just destroyed, it wasn’t his nature to become one of the rank and file, more had to be going on here.

They followed the energy to it’s source, a large door blocking the way. It appeared to be unlocked, the Key they’d liberated on Chandrila was in the door itself, and with a deep breath they pushed the door open. It opened into a large chamber, Rebeka storming inside, the others following after her impatience. A large mirrored spherical device oscillated upon the raised platform on the other side of the room, a figure standing before it. He turned, Taivus looking at them.
“Your disobedience continues I see.” He said, his altered voice hadn’t changed.
“I’ve never been one for obedience.”
“Really, shall we test it then.” He said, waving his hand slightly, “Drop your weapons.”
They slowly drew there weapons, firing on Taivus. He drew his lightsabers quickly from concealed compartments in his arms, deflecting the bolts away, one regrettably reflecting towards the console close by, which sparked. The strange device seemed to draw more power.
Taivus Growled in Rage, “Enough! I will put an end to your disobedience myself!”
Rebeka drew her slugthrower and fired on him, the bullet grazing his arm, sending sparks up, Taivus grunting as he leapt at Rebeka, two lightsabers swinging violently at her, burning her side. Jace blasted at him, tearing up his robe and exposing his droid body, he moved much faster than any droid they had encountered. Lanyef and Rak completely missed him as Rebeka dodged away and loaded another clip into her slugthrower. Taivus whirled across the Chamber, his lightsaber cutting across Jaces side as he spun past towards Lanyef. The Mandalorian staggering as he fired on him, Taivus deflecting Jace and Raks combined fire where he could. Lanyef fled from Taivus with the distraction, Rebeka covering him with her shots. Taivus spun into Jace once more, swinging violently at the mandalorian, surpassing Jaces own skill and injuring him a few times. Jace backed off and shot him in the chest heavily.
“IMPOSSIBLE!” he roared, as his body started shutting down, Jace didn’t relent, bringing the carbine up swiftly and destroying Taivus’ Head.
“Noo!!!” the Sith roared as his body was decimated with blaster fire and he collapsed in a sparking heap. Rebeka ran to the controls with Lanyef as Jace blew Taivus to pieces to be sure. Taivus’ Death cry still echoed in the room, then realised it had gone on long after he should have been able to. The defiance in the cry tapered out into a chuckle and then into a full blown manic laugh that reverberated across the chamber. Jace and Rak were thrown from there feet. A spirit appeared, a bald human, eyes burning with dark side corruption, floated before them. Despite his ethereal appearance, his flesh seemed to be transparent, his bones visible under his pallid skin.
“Did you truly think you could defeat Taivus so easily!! I have already died once! I cannot die again!!”
“Phage said that!” said Rebeka.
“But Phage was not truly dead!!!” he cackled.
Rak got to his feet, firing on Taivus, the bolt going straight through him. The Spirit laughed maniacally at him.
Lanyef observed the device, and it dawned on him what it was. “This is an infinity gate. A transportation device that allowed travel through hyperspace without use of a ship.”
“Yes! And on the other side are my allies, the Ssi Ruuvi, The beings who created the vessel of perfection that are my droids, and when there armies join with mine we will strike out at the galaxy from this position of strength!!!” Taivus laughed.
“Close it!” said Rebeka, she knew destroying the gate while it was drawing so much power was a bad idea, but if she could shut it down…
The damage was done, regardless of Taivus’ dreams, despite how much Rebeka wanted to save everyone, the readouts had sealed there fate.
Rebeka was startled out of the horror she’d uncovered by Taivus’ screeching.
“Behold my UNLIMITED POWER!!!!” he cackled, lightening springing from his ghostly hands to strike Rak, who managed to stay on his feet despite the agony he was being subjected to.
“We can’t do anything to a spirit!” said Jace, “We’d need a force user!” he said staggering to his feet.
“Do you see Mandalorian, you are nothing compared to the power of the Dark Side!” he cackled.
“So powerful, you’re a ghost, what can you do.” Said Jace.
“I can create more bodies, I can die a thousand times and return again, you can only die once!”
“It’s a life time dedicated to stopping you!” grunted Rak, aiming at the infinity gate as he was electrocuted.
“Rak stop!” shouted Rebeka, Rak firing wide in time. “Don’t do anything to it!” she warned.
“You’ll destroy the planet and the Allied fleet with it if you disrupt it now.” Said Lanyef.
Rebeka fired on Taivus, disrupting his attack on Rak and clutching his ethereal arm. “No! What have you done! How can this be?! What have you got?!!” he screeched.
Rebeka opened her shirt collar to reveal the Amulet Legacy had given to them.
“That is my Amulet!!” he roared striking her with lightening, Rebeka couldn’t hold against the pain and collapsed as she was electrocuted.
“Take the Amulet!” Rebeka managed through the pain, “Take it!”
Jace snapped into action, dashing to Rebeka’s aid, snatching the amulet from her neck, ignoring the pain of the electrocution enough to throw it to Rak. Rak fumbled the catch, grabbing it up and firing, damaging Taivus further.
“I’m getting tired of your games!” hissed Taivus. Concentrating on Rak with his lightening once more.
Lanyef looked at the readouts and came to the same conclusion as Rebeka. Jace used an Adrenal as Rak continued to fire on Taivus, weakening the spirits energy. Rak threw the amulet to Jace, snatching it out of the air as Lanyef helped Rebeka to recover. There eyes met, both knowing the realisation looking at the readouts had given them.
“Don’t do anything.” She warned, “We’ll decide it together.”
Lanyef nodded, she stood up, and drew the lightsaber given to her by jace, wielding the orange lightsaber, and like many times before, called upon the force. Taivus spun on Jace, throwing lightening at the Mandalorian, but unable to cause enough pain to halt the mandalorians rage, he opened fire in retaliation, his carbine ripping holes in the spirit.
“NOOOOOOO!!!!” he screeched as his manifestation imploded and Taivus exploded in energy, knocking them all down.
When it seemed the only sound was the infinity gates increasing hum, Rebeka bit the bullet, switching off the lightsaber and standing.
“We have a problem.” Said Rebeka.
“What is it?” asked Jace. “What is this thing?”
Rebeka’s tone grew heavy, “One of us needs to stay behind to keep this going while the others escape.”
“What do you mean keep it going?”
There comms sprung to life. “Stebe to the Dawnstar Crew, Rebeka, anyone, can you hear me?”
“Yes,” said Rebeka, “Taivus… might be dead, but we have a problem.”
“Hurry out if you can, I brought the Harmony to pick you up. There’s a lot happening out here, we need to get out of here as soon as possible.”
“It’s not a problem.” Said Rak.
Jace handed the Amulet back to Rebeka.
“It’s an easy decision.” Continued Rak, “I’ll stay.”
“What’s going on, why do we need to keep it going, what is this?”
“We haven’t discussed this.” Said Rebeka, “The Infinity gates power regulator was hit, this things drawing power until it explodes, it needs to be manually maintained for us and the fleet to escape, without it, everyone dies, along with the best chance for the cluster.”
“What about BMO could he do it.”
“No… it would take too long to set up. We all get out or none of us do, surely.”
“It’s been said enough times, I’m the expendable one-“
“No one is expendable!” snapped Rebeka.
“You said it yourself, none of us will escape if someone isn’t here to make sure they do.”
“Not that this is a silver lining, but that is still a gateway.” Said Lanyef, “If someone stays behind to regulate it, they could use it to escape.”
“Do we know where it even goes?” asked Rak.
“Taivus’ allies right?” said Jace.
“It beats dying here, as I said it’s not a great option, but we don’t have a choice.”
“I’d rather die than be one of those things.” Said Rak.
“We don’t know that will happen, you will die here, you may have a chance through there.”
“All four of us could go.” Said Lanyef.
“We could all stay, get the fleet away.” Said Rebeka.
“What’s the point in that.” Said Rak.
“We’d be alive, start fresh, get a new ship.” Said Lanyef.
A sudden rock suggested the discussion was over, the gate was getting more volatile.
“You need to start hustling.” Said Rak, moving to the console.
“I’ll leave only if you promise to try the doorway.” Said Rebeka.
He started the process and looked at her. “I’ll try.” He said, Rebeka studied him for a hnt of deception, but Raks face was blank.
“Lanyef can you make it go elsewhere?” asked Jace.
“The gates are part of a network, they can only connect to another gate, the reason no one knows about them is because the technology was lost. I wouldn’t think there’s any other gate if Taivus was looking for this one.” Said Lanyef.
“Where will we end up?” said Jace.
“Anywhere,” said Lanyef gravely.
“Well, we’ve seen his allies before, they likely aren’t too far away.”
“We’ll find you.” Promised Rebeka.
“That’s good, now get moving.” Said Rak Harshly, regulating the power as best he could. “Before it’s too late for everyone.”
There were sounds coming from down the hall, things were beginning to get worse.
“You two should go, I’ll stay and look after this old man.” Said Jace, “We’ll meet up on the other side.”
“No.” said Rebeka, it was bad enough parting with Rak. “I can’t leave people behind.”
“You need to get here now, this whole place is starting to collapse!” warned Stebe on the comm.
“This isn’t leaving us behind, it’s taking a different path.”
“We should all go then. Least we’d be together.” Said Lanyef.
“We can’t risk it. Least this way someone is getting out.”
“Someone needs to get out there.” Rak said. “If we don’t make it and Taivus isn’t dead, someone needs to be out there who can stop him.”
“That’s true.” Said Jace.
“Then you need to come with us.” Managed Rebeka.
“This is no longer a debate.” Said Rak.
“Right, you two need to get out of here, you need to take your piece of Bantha Poodoo ship and you need to take that magic amulet of yours.” Said Jace.
“That piece of Bantha Poodoo ship is going to come for you.” Said Lanyef.
“Good, I’ll look out for it.”said Jace.
Rebeka ran and hugged Rak, Then Jace, trembling slightly, then ran, and didn’t look back, Lanyef gave him a slight salute, Jace returning it, and hurried after her.

Power leaked from the walls, The obsidian tower cracking in places as the sheer amount of energy leaked out and feedbacked against itself. Rebeka and Lanyef reached the landing pad, the whole planet core was exploding in crystals, The harmony waited for them, Stebe at the bottom of the ramp, yelling for them to get aboard. They hurried aboard, Jace talking them through it as Stebe powered the ship up. Rebeka and Lan let them know where they were at, Stebe ordering the fleet to move away as they instructed her. The Harmony was pushed to her limits to escape, Rak and Jace stayed within the crumbling tower until the regulation no longer worked, the console exploding in sparks, Jace grabbing Rak up and both of them running into the gate, vanishing as the tower collapsed. The Harmony moved at untested speeds, escaping the planet just as the chasm collapsed on itself, the crystals exploding and collapsing until the energy collector exploded, the whole planet annihilated and with it a confused portion of the imperial fleet. Cheers went up among the allies as the remnant of the scourge fleet retreated into Hyperspace.
The mood on the Harmony was Sombre. Rebeka tried desperately to reach Jace or Rak, but the comm was silent. Rebeka broke down after a few more attempts and Lanyef held her. Even Stebe shed a few tears before regaining her composure and bringing in the harmony to land on the Hearthfire.

Rebeka and Lanyef were rarely seen again. They did not attend the memorial, nor the victory celebrations on Hapes. Stebe knew why, Rebeka couldn’t let go. As a Jedi, Stebe had trained for loss and grief, and despite her misgivings about Rak and Jace, they had sacrificed themselves to save the galaxy. She grieved for them in her own way. But embraced there becoming one with the force, in time she knew Rebeka would to. But before then, she would need to accept it. She knew Rebeka had learned to use the force, even if she was not aware of it. and during this time she would be vulnerable to the Dark Side, be tempted by the unnatural practices of the sith. Stebe knew she needed a guide, someone she could talk to, and was why she went to the hangar where the Harmony was docked.
They were loading up as she approached.
“We’ve missed you the last few weeks.” She said kindly.
“I didn’t really feel like celebrating.” She said, handing a crate to a dock worker to put aboard, then looked hard at Stebe, “Didn’t feel like a victory.”
“Looks like your leaving for somewhere.” Said Stebe.
“Yeah,” she said, she paused before carrying on. “We have a lead on another infinity gate.”
The thing about grief is that even a glimmer of hope can make you believe even the impossible is possible.
“I would like to come with you.”
Rebeka seemed to smile slightly, “We could always do with the company.”
Lanyef nodded.
“I… have more or less ended my career with the Jedi creating this war. There’s nothing for me to go back to now.”
“I’m sorry.” Said Rebeka, “It was the right thing to do, I’m sorry your council can’t see that.”
“If my career is the only thing lost because of this war, it was the right thing, only time will tell, time I can spend helping you. If your friends are out there, I want to help bring them back to the galaxy they saved.”
Rebeka genuinely smiled, “welcome aboard.”

Episode 67: Titan Fall

The scourge had set up inner defences as they moved in, hurrying to the cover of pillars.
“Get to cover!” called Jace, throwing a grenade into the troops midst. Lanyef stayed behind Jace, firing on one of the troopers, injuring him. Rak took cover, taking out a trooper in a single shot before reloading. Rebeka finished off the injured trooper as Rebeka was struck a glancing blow. Lanyef also suffered a minor burn. Jace threw another grenade into the entrenched forces as he and Lanyef moved up blasting another trooper. Rak fired on another trooper, killing him, hitting the pillar of a second trooper. Rebeka reloaded as Stebe hurried across after Rak. The defenders advanced on them, some giving covering fire to pin the attackers. One trooper went to strike Jace with his gun, having it grabbed from his hands and smashed hard into his helmet, killing him, Rak not ducking back in time to avoid a minor graze. Stebe caught a droid by surprise, severing it into pieces as she engaged a second. Jace drew a blaster pistol and ion pistol, calmly firing on two troopers, killing them outright in two shots. He took down one of the droids shields before hitting it in a sensitive area with another blaster shot. Lanyef stayed behind Jace, blasting the damaged droid to pieces as Rak blasted one of the droids, lowering its shields. Rebeka fired on the droids taking cover behind the front desk. As Rebeka dodged there return fire. Stebe whirled at another of the droids as Jace fired on one himself, damaging it along with Lanyef as Rak blasted the droid with disabled shields before him, destroying it, and then helping Stebe with a few shots. Rebeka finished off the last trooper then fired on another Droid, the droids behind the desk opening fire on her exposed position, grazing her again as she tried to dive away. Stebe cut down the droid before her, taking a defensive stance as Jace charged the damaged droid before him, destroying it with a heavy kick. Rak and Lanyef destroyed a second between them, leaving one droid remaining. Rebeka fired on it, damaging it as Stebe leapt across the deck severing the droid into pieces. The hall fell silent save for the sounds of battle occurring outside. After taking a moment to breathe and tend to their injuries, the five of them took a turbolift to the operations centre. The doors opened and they immediately sprinted for cover as the scourge forces opened fire from there fortified positions. Jace blasted 3 of the troopers as he rushed out of the lift. Lanyef dashed for the cover the raised operations area as Rak dashed up the stairs, blasting another trooper. Rebeka followed him, blasting the nearby berserker droid. It charged her, grazing her with its lightsaber. Stebe hurried out after the others as Jace through a grenade, destroying an interface and killing two more troopers with the explosion. Lanyef took aim at a trooper trying to aim down at him, blasting him before he had the chance to open fire, the Arkanian then moved round to try and flank those above as Rak opened fire on the berserker the droids shields taking a severe pounding as Rebeka pulled away from the droids, the other Berserker closing on her too. Lanyef was injured from a shot by a trooper that had had the same idea as Stebe engaged the droids, destroying the damaged berserker and causing damage to the other. Jace killed another four troopers, as Lanyef blasted the trooper in front of him twice, taking him out Rak and Rebeka blasted the remaining droid, causing more damage to it as Stebe and it traded blows, before Jace finally took it out, clearing the operations centre of all scourge presence. Lanyef began relaying the operational information to the allies with Jace’s assistance while Stebe seemed to be puzzling things out.
“What’s wrong?”
“This just seems too easy.” She said with a faraway look in her eyes.
“Don’t say that, that’s when it starts to go wrong.” Hissed Rebeka.
“I would expect this to be more heavily guarded.” Said Rak.
“Agreed, for such a strategic asset to be left so unprotected feels wrong.”
“Maybe it’s a trap.” Said Rebeka.
The holoterminal lost all data and was replaced by the imposing image of Taivus.
“And so you do not heed my warnings. Your disobedience continues.”
“Did you really think we would? You’re more stupid than you look.”
“You are the ones who are Stupid, did you honestly think I would leave information pertaining to my whereabouts at a factory I let run on automatic?”
“You’d be surprised how many people slip up like that.” Said Rebeka.
“Well, it is now you who has slipped up.”
There was a sudden shriek in their heads, a banshee’s shriek from there comlinks which they removed or switched off.
“I have blocked all your communications, the first action and prelude to an invasion.” Said Taivus.
“This was a trap after all.” Said Stebe.
“Indeed it was Master Jedi, I have no doubt that you will do better than most in what’s to come, but the end result will be the same.”
“This isn’t over Taivus! We’ll overcome your trap and we’ll come after you!” said Jace loudly, deafened slightly by the screech.
Taivus chuckled, “What is that charming phrase you use? Ah, yes. Try it.” He said, and the hologram vanished, reverting to the data being displayed previous. The lift opened and a member of the resistance dashed into the control centre.
“Master Jedi! There are troop transports landing all over the city, there numbers are overwhelming!”
“More targets then.” Said Jace.
“We have no choice, we will need to fight our way out of this.” She said.
“We can.” Said Rebeka, hurrying over to the computers to track the previous signal along with Lanyef.
“Anyone who would serve us better outside should join the defence,” said Stebe, looking at Jace and Rak.
“We’ll be fine.” Said Rebeka, “We’ll fight our way out once we’re done.”
They reluctantly followed Stebe into the turbolift and joined the defence. Thousands of troops and droids were marching on the control centre, the allied forces were badly depleted, but given the lack of escape, nobody looked ready to dessert. They were fighting for survival.
“The number of transports suggests the fleet above must be overwhelmed.” Said Stebe, wavering slightly at the odds.
“How did he hide a fleet of that size without detection.” Said Jace.
“Maybe something he found.” Suggested Stebe, readying her lightsabers.
“Doesn’t matter,” said Rak, checking his rifle. “If we die, we die, but we’ll take a load of them with us.”
“Right.” Said Jace. Then the real battle begun.
The scourge engaged the allies, men and droids falling on both sides. Another imperial transport came in at speed towards the command centre carrying something beneath its cargo hold. Jace took over on the heavy repeater as Rebeka and Lanyef made it to the lift to join the battle. The square was filled with blaster fire and smoke from the weapons of both sides. The transport dropped its cargo, the strange lozenge shaped creation crashing into the square, tearing up troops and decorations as it slowed to a halt before the entrance. Stebe leapt away to safety and Rak dived away in time as everyone recovered from the sudden shock. Aside from the scourge emblem plastered over it there was no hint as to what it was. Rak climbed onto it and used it as a vantage point to pick off a few more troops.
“Rak! I don’t think that’s a good idea!” called Rebeka, who’d arrived at the battlefield with Lanyef. The position of the dropped cargo blocked much of Jace’s arc of fire, but he still managed to take out several droids and troopers. Rebeka blasted a droid from her position as suddenly the cargo started to move and open. Rak jumped off as the huge droid stood up, screeching in binary that echoed across the square.
“[Death to the enemies of Taivus. Death to the enemies of the Scourge.]” It said, extending its huge claws and readying the unusual cannon on its left arm. It swung violently with one claw, striking Stebe with it, throwing her across the square with its mighty blow. Lanyef tried to hit it with ion, but the shot flew wide of it. Rak’s didn’t however, bringing its shields down and blasting it with his rifle afterwards, the huge droids armour taking the full brunt. Jace let rip on it with the heavy repeater, damaging the huge droid even more.
“You can have this thing back.” Said Jace to the gunner he’d replaced, “I’m going out there.”
Stebe held her own against the Scourge forces as Rebeka felt a moment of adrenaline, firing on the droids face plate, as heavily armoured as the rest of it. The droid took aim with its arm cannon, firing at the front of the bunker and decimating it and the people inside with heavy plasma fire. “Jace!!” called Rebeka as the droid demolished the front of the bunker. Lanyef hit it with ion, but it seemed ion shielded. Rak opened fire on the droid, more and more of its armour dented and damaged. Then everyone was relieved when a stream of blaster fire hammered into the droid and Jace emerged from the smoking bunker. The droid let out a massive screech of agony, as though several people were in intense pain, and collapsed back on the concrete. Jace blasted a couple more troops as they noticed more of the titans coming in to land. However as if in response to the increase in threat the front lines of the Scourge were peppered with blaster fire. Cheers went up among the allies as new ships joined the battle, Jace recognising them as mandalorian. They dropped their troops on Jetpacks, The leader of the new forces landing close to the Dawnstar crew.
Davik Makin, the mandalorians around them weren’t just Makin clan either, but several clans.
“Nice of you to finally join us.” Said Jace.
“Glad we got here when there was still some left to kill.” Said Davik. “Least the trip wasn’t a wasted effort.”
Rebeka climbed the fallen Titan, expecting it quickly for any sign of weakness. “The head is thin duraplate to keep the brain overheating! If you can get a shot directly into the plasma burst cannon you could destroy a fair portion of it! It also has heavy shields and armour, so hitting it with ion blasts would make it easier to take them down!” Three more Titan droids crashed into the square, one nearly crushing Rebeka who dove off the fallen droid in time.
“Our forces are divided between the battle down here and the fleet above!” called Davik, Cyare joining him at his side.”
“Do we have enough to win this thing?” asked Jace.
Davik seemed to pause. “We can die trying.”
Rak and Jace blasted a few more troops, taking out several more droids as the Titans begun to activate. Rebeka destroyed a droid straggler, as the Titans stood to their full height. Lanyef blasted one with his ion blaster, disabling its shields as Rak brought down the shields of the other two with an ion grenade.
“Shields are down!” roared Jace, blasting one of the nearest titans with blaster fire, returning fire with its burst cannon, not hitting the mandalorian, but hitting Rak with the sheer power of its shots. Rebeka hit the one in front of her with blaster fire, dodging away from its swinging claws, the third Titan throwing several of the allied troops into the air with a mighty swing of its claw. Lanyef fired on the Titan nearest Rebeka, Rak returning fire on the Titan attacking himself, Davik and Jace. Jace pulled out his blaster Rifle, taking careful aim and blasting the Titan’s cannon. The weapon exploded, taking a chunk of the titan with it, the huge droid shrieking in rage. He tried another few shots on the nearest droid, missing the first few times but destroying it’s cannon and arm as well. Lanyef heard the sounds of rockets over the battle, seeing something in the distance heading this way. Rebeka blasted the nearest Titan, still reeling from losing its arm. The sound of engines got louder, the more intact titan turning to face the sound just as First surged through the sky towards it, large claws extended and smashing it into the nearby statue, sending troops flying as the Basilisk ward droid and titan hit the ground. Rebeka was swiped by a massive claw; Lanyef blasted the droid on the ground several times as Rak fired on the damaged droid nearest as Jace charged in with lightsabers drawn, swinging at the droid and cutting portions off its armour. Rebeka added her fire to Rak’s, damaging the Titan further. The Titan that was knocked down got up as first did, the two of them locking claws, violently slashing and rending metal. Rebeka seemed to have drawn the Ire of the damaged titan as Jace was hit by a claw. Lanyef fired on the Titan trying to take out First while Rak drew his vibroscimitar, leaping at the damaged Titan distracted by Rebeka and severing several connections to its head, prising it apart, the titan collapsing as its head rolled away. Jace swung mightily at the other titan, chopping more parts off the droid before a final thrust, his lightsaber entering its head and destroying its power source, the droid shrieking as it buckled. First was struggling to keep up with the Titan, even with Rebeka supporting him with blaster fire, the Titans advanced design surpassed the ancient basilisks, and inevitably the Titan had strength enough to drive it’s claw into first, ripping it apart with its powerful claws, causing first to collapse as power and battery acid leaked from the fatal damage. The sight of a basilisk had spurred the mandalorians on; now the tide was turning now the ancient machine had been put down. Jace and the others were only more determined to take the droid down, blasting it several times and taking the severely damaged titan down before it could turn to attack them. The death of the final titan drove the Scourge back, the armies hastily retreating as there trump cards lay in ruins. The mandalorians and allies pursued, forcing them out into the streets, a cheer of victory filling the square as they watched their foes fall back.

The group gathered around the fallen Basilisk, Rebeka checking the droid over for any chance to save it, but the droid was too badly damaged.
“He doesn’t have long,” she said to Jace, “I’m sorry.”
“You were rubbish.” Said Jace.
“You were equally poor.” Managed First, parts of him sparked.
There was a pause. “You die as a worthy mandalorian.” Said Jace.
“That is all I wished. I go to meet my rider at last.”
The mandalorians gathered around it, most removing their helmets. Davik and Cyare doing so, Cyare taking Davik’s hand.
“This galaxy has no need of Basilisks, perhaps that is how it should be.” Said First, “I was wrong… You called, and they came. You are Mandalore, even if… you do not believe…” then the droid shut down.
Jace patted its hull, then removed his helmet, climbing onto Firsts wreckage; he then turned to face the mandalorians and allies gathered.
“Here lies the first and last Basilisk, like so many others who fell today. But it gave its life for the belief that we are worthy to carry its fire to the galaxy. The Scourge wants to put out the fire in every being in this cluster, but so long as there is one mandalorian, one soldier to carry that fire we will not go quietly!
We will take back this cluster; we will destroy the enemy and reclaim our birth right as warriors who follow the Mandalore!!”
The Mandalorians cheered, sending ripples out to the rest of the allies who cheered in united strength. The Battle of Nantuker was over; The Battle for the cluster was ready to begin.

Episode 66: The Battle of Nantuker

The other side of the Cargo hold was a fair distance away, and the moving red photoreceptors suggested that there were banshee patrols among the rows of droids. They crept across the hold, darting between the units, there footfalls were louder than anticipated and a nearby droid was suddenly alerted to them all. The droid opened fire on Rak, the shot flying wide as it stormed towards them. Rebeka hit it with a shot from her ion pistol, lowering its shields and causing some ion damage to its systems. Jace blasted it too, his carbine making short work of the droid. Another droid located the sounds and Jace, storming towards him too. Rak leapt out and fired, Lanyef following suit, disabling its shields. The droid drew its blade, swinging at Lanyef violently but missing him by inches. Rebeka hit the droid with a couple of careful shots, Jace doing the same and taking it down. They hurried and hid among the pods as more droids ran to investigate the battle.
They moved quietly across the hold, but not as quiet as with the exit in sight they were suddenly spotted by a Berserker. It hadn’t spotted Rebeka who popped out and fired, but the droid was spryer than its counterparts. Lanyef brought it’s shields down, as it charged at Jace, igniting it’s lightsabers and swinging at him, missing the Mandalorian, Rebeka hit the droid in the back with a few shots as Jace drew his own lightsabers and started trading blows with the droid, damaging it a few times. Rak blasted the droid several times as the Droid lashed out at Jace, Rebeka and Lanyef, catching both the Mandalorian and Arkanian with a minor burn. Rebeka reloaded as Jace continued to swing at the droid, Rak hitting it a few times, the droid damaged beyond its capacity to act any further. They hurried to the doors and left the hold, entering a cacophony of loud industrial noises. They were in a small factory constructing weaponry automatically, a collection of blaster rifles, Flechette launchers and swords, all Scourge weaponry. They located some signs that suggested the main factory and control room was to the right. They dodged from cover to cover, avoiding a few droids and entering the main factory. The factory was where the droids were being constructed, Banshee and Berserker parts moved on their conveyance, being put together by machines and moved away by labour droids, a sad pile of corpses in one corner suggested that they considered the people to be only containers for their power source, and unceremoniously discarded after use. The core of the factory was a glass container glowing ominously at its centre filled with the familiar cyan liquid contained within the droid brains. The control room was on the other side, and a few scourge droids were patrolling in here. They crept up gantries and around the outside of the room, reaching the control room without being detected. They slipped inside and found that the control centre was completely empty. Rebeka examined the controls and found that the droids couldn’t be deactivated from this position. While examining the systems, Rebeka came across some records that hinted at two new classes of Scourge droid, the Titan and Siren. The Siren class seemed to be an evolution of the Berserker class, focusing on synergy between the enteched mind and droid body, while the titan was powered by multiple life forces, rather than a single one. They also discovered the staff here was to leave and re-join Taivus on the planet of Nantuker, a system in the Corsair Outback.
“Looks like that’s where we’re headed next.” Said Jace, as Lanyef started copying the data to a datacard.
Suddenly the holoprojector sprung to life behind Jace, and Darth Taivus appeared before him, wearing his mask and robes as he had done before, but it was still Terrn they knew.
“It is good to see you again.” He said.
“It’s not good to see you again,” muttered Rak.
“The feeling is actually quite mutual. You are persistent, I’ll give you that.”
“It’s one of the words people use to describe us.” Said Rebeka.
“You should know by now.” Added Rak.
“May I ask what you are doing in my factory?” he stated, though he probably already knew.
“What do you think.” Said Jace.
“It’s an effort in futility, I have plenty of droids.”
“We figured you having fifteen thousand fewer would do the galaxy a favour,” said Jace.
Taivus shook his head, “You are prime examples of everything I wish to eliminate in the beings of the galaxy.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Said Rak.
“You only objected once you knew the truth.”
“We would have objected.” Said Rebeka.
“You don’t think it’s hypocritical, withholding the truth from us?” added Jace.
“It was regretfully necessary, loyalty is fickle, it can be bought with desires as well as money. There is no true loyalty; the four of you prove that with your disobedience.”
“We’re loyal to each other.” Said Rak.
“For how long? What is the price of your loyalty, I wonder.”
“I don’t know, we’ll see once we’ve killed you.”
“So that drives you now, but what about when I’m gone? What will keep you loyal after that? This is what I’ve been working towards for hundreds of years. The Artefacts I had you find were the key to realising true loyalty. My droids are just that, a mirror of obedience and loyalty. They will not run unless I order them to, They will take their own lives as I instruct.”
“That’s not loyalty, you can’t have loyalty if you don’t have a choice.” Said Jace.
“But the choice is what destroys that loyalty in the end. Ambition, Desire, Greed, time and again the choice of loyalty is overridden by a beings very nature, removing that choice is how you maintain that obedience.”
“Well, sorry you worked centuries for nothing.” Said Rak. “That must be frustrating for you.”
“You’ve always been short sighted, hasty. That ignorance doesn’t absolve you of your crimes. Each of you made this possible. Without your desire to explore the galaxy and earn good money, your father Rebeka would still be alive. Without your desire to murder Sith, Jace, Darth Phage would still be alive, and the people of the Meera Station would not have suffered an attack by Lykat. Between you, you have killed more people by your actions than soldiers have done in the war, so who’s really the scourge when you think about it.”
“Definitely you.” Said Jace.
“I wonder which way Stoe Rinn will see it.”
Rebeka worked at the computer, figuring she could trace the call.
“What are you planning on doing?” said Jace.
“By your actions I received data to improve my droids.”
“That data was given to you under false pretences.” Said Rak.
“We were helping the Republic.” Said Jace.
“And even then your loyalty to the Republic only went so far. Regardless the data you gave me allowed me to design a new prototype or two. I thought that I would test it on someone…appropriate.”
A figure detached itself from the ceiling, landing heavily on Rak. A scourge droid wearing Dark red robes, and one of the dark sisters’ masks was welded to its face. It had huge clawed hands and clawed feet.
“Pain and pain and pain some more, the sirens screams will shake you four. Blood and rage and strength of fist, I will deliver deaths sweet kiss.” It said, in the voice of Kelly Rinn, former sister to Ruthe and the first person they met on Meera. Then she screeched in agony. The scream was chilling, but only further angered the four of them. The Siren lifted Rak from the ground by his head, her claws crushing down on his skull with vicious pressure. He tried to struggle from her vice grip but was unable to slip out. Rebeka tried to fire, but hadn’t reloaded after the last fight. Jace fired on the droid, blasting at it with a pattern of fire that would normally have wrecked a Banshee or Berserker, but the Siren moved fluidly, swinging Rak violently about as she avoided the bolts. She was shielded they noticed, Lanyef taking it down with an ion blast that was as ineffective on the actual droid as the others. Rak struggled out of the Sirens grip, the droid slashing at him with its claws. He staggered back, firing off a shot before having to reload. Rebeka managed to put holes in the droids robes as Jace opened fire with a barrage from his carbine, but despite their combined fire the droid remained only grazed by the amount. Lanyef hit the Siren with another shot as the droid leapt upon Rak and Rebeka, slashing violently at them with her claws. Rak blasted the droid desperately as it sliced at him, burning the droids frame in several places. Rebeka and Jace between them taking the droid down in a shower of sparks and Kelly giving one last shriek as she was freed from her torture.
Taivus had observed the battle throughout, and seemed unmoved by the loss. Jace destroyed the droid fully before turning back to the Sith.
“Is that the best you’ve got, Terrn.”
“No, I’m far from done. This isn’t your fight any longer, even if you shut down this factory, I can start again elsewhere. I don’t expect any of you to understand, and I’m certainly not looking for your approval. You were tools, agents with a singular purpose, and despite our differences, you were relatively successful. But like the rest of the relics I sent you for, your time is over. Don’t interfere with my plans, I won’t warn you again.”
“We’re not looking for a warning.” Said Jace.
“Goodbye Old Friends.” Said Taivus, hitting a control on his wrist. Alarms blared, and suddenly the whole factory was waking up, the droids within begun activating while the shields protecting the facility shut off, heat levels begun to rise and the gravitation supports begun overheating. They had to get out.
“We need to leave, now!” warned Jace, The hologram fizzling out as warnings flared.
“It’s a shame we can only kill him once.” Muttered Rak.
“Wiley! You need to get those people out of here, now!” called Jace on the comm as they half ran half staggered as the whole facility whined and buckled.
“I figured that when the floor started going vertical!” he replied.
They ran back through the factory, droid parts sliding and collapsing towards the control room. The floor buckled under Jace’s feet as the control centre broke and melted into the lava, nearly taking him with it. They hurried to the exit; Jace being caught by a Berserkers lightsaber as it barrelled past him and fell in, screeching as it melted into the river. They hurried through the cargo hold as the thousands of scourge droids woke from there standby. They’d really kicked the hive. They hurried across the floor as recharge pods and droids flew past, grabbing at Rak and Lanyef as they went by. They made it to the offices before they were running on the walls, the whole facility now plunged into the lava.
“We made it out okay, but the whole pad is in the river now!” called Wiley.
“The vents!” called Rebeka as they leapt over the corridors, automatic doors opening under their feet as they fled to the vents. Rebeka jumped the large corridor without much trouble, Lanyef nearly falling to his death, but Rebeka caught the Arkanian, pulling him back up as Rak made it across. Jace followed last and all of them darted into the vent. They leapt out of the vent onto the shore as far from the lava as they could manage, Jace using his Jetpack to jump to safety as the rest of the facility plunged and hissed into the lava, taking with it the army of droids.
After catching their breath they heard Wiley on the comm asking if they’d made it.
“We’re fine,” said Rak, “did you make it?”
“All fine here, we were about to head back to the colony.”
“Hold Orbit until we get there, we’ll give you an escort.” Said Jace, and after a few moments they got to their feet and made the walk back to the Dawnstar.

They returned to space unharmed, and met up with the shuttles. They took them back to the Hearthfire to move them on to safer areas and get them all some food, while they updated the allies on what they had learned. While Rebeka’s tracking data was only a partial success, the planet of Nantuker was where the initial workforce regrouped with Taivus. Their conversation with the Dark Lord had been broadcast throughout the cluster, and while it had removed much of the doubt about their allegiance, it was suggested they keep clear of Stoe Rinn, who was grieving for her daughter and was not in any state to be addressed by them. The Dawnstar crew remained with the refugees to help anyone injured for the rest of the day.
The following morning they debriefed with the allies. Stebe and Nacene were the only two attending, Stoe still distraught about her daughter’s fate. The four of them explained about the facility as well as what they found in detail. Conversely Stebe and Nacene explained how the war was going. Hapes was now in the hands of the queen mother once more, and a few more worlds had rallied and been retaken, but the majority still remained in scourge hands.
“What about Taivus’ location?” asked Stebe. “Have you learned anything about that?”
“Yes.” Said Rebeka.
“As a matter of fact we did.” Added Rak. And they explained there next lead.
“Nantuker is the gateway system into the corsair outback. It’s the next target of our campaign,” explained Nacene.
“The force is with us then that our paths converge once more.” Said Stebe. “Our next goal is to force the Scourge into the Rimworlds and keep them there. We’ll need to contact Admiral Krin and organise an assault on Nantuker as soon as possible, and find the information you seek.”

The next phase took a week to prepare. The assault on Nantuker’s Capital City of Kian was to be led by Stebe and the Dawnstar crew, while the fleet engaged the forces surrounding the planet. The city was a major barracks for the scourge, and was going to take the combined Indrexu, Republic and Hapan forces to liberate. Rebeka refined the weapons of her friends during this time, as well as installed a vocabulator in Jurl, warning the droid not to speak to Jace for the time being. It had been on her mind since Phage’s illusion, but imagined Jace might have a problem with it if he knew. An hour after the plans were drawn they were engaged with the scourge forces, there sudden attack was graced by fortune as it seemed only a small fleet was currently orbiting the planet. The Dawnstar joined the rest of the landing forces heading towards the planet, dodging and whirling through the atmosphere as interceptors and harrowers tried to shoot them down. Stebe got them to land in a large square not far from the scourge command centre, a repurposed city council building now flying scourge banners. They hurried to group up with the rest of the forces, engaging the enemy at the command centre. The Scourge had set up a temporary bunker at the entrance, a heavy repeating blaster spraying the allied forces with blaster fire as Lanyef fired on a trooper with his ion pistol, realising his mistake as it harmlessly jolted him. Rak fired on another two troopers, taking both out with his shots. Stebe used the force to inspire those around her as the battle continued to rage, scourge droids and troops falling on both sides. Rebeka threw a grenade into the throng of droids and troopers as Jace killed another couple of troopers with well-placed shots. Lanyef tried to ionise a couple of droids, but they stayed low to avoid the fire. Rak moved up, blasting another droid as Rebeka made a dash for the scourge lines, activating a light shield as she ran. Jace threw a couple of grenades into the lines, dispersing several troopers and droids. Lanyef took down the shields of two droids he was aiming at, Rak aiming at the vulnerable droids as he moved to support Rebeka. Stebe ordered the allies to press the attack, closing on the entrance to the command centre. Rebeka made it across unharmed, crouching in the scourge cover as Jace used his jetpack to jump over behind the droid lines, destroying two droids. Lanyef stayed in cover, firing on another droid with his ion pistol as Rak blasted one of the droids to parts. The allies stormed the scourge lines, taking out droids and overwhelming troopers, a few still falling under the blaster fire. The gunner in the pillbox was killed by a lucky shot. One of the droids drew a sword and swung at Jace, the mandalorian returning the favour by pounding the droid as Rebeka got inside the bunker and took over the heavy repeater. A further droids shields were brought down by Lanyef as Rak joined the allies in there charge. Rebeka let rip with the repeater, decimating one droid under her heavy fire as Jace took out the droid in close quarters with him. Blasting at the remaining droid on their side. Lanyef destroyed it as Rak attacked the final droid, destroying it. The allies spread out to attack the forces close to the entrance as Stebe led the four of them into the command centre.

Episode 65: Fire and Fury

Episode 65: Fire and Fury
“I thank you for your assistance, Master Jedi.” Said Queen Mother Alasunin, now the sounds of battle were no longer so close. “And to you, all of you,” She added upon seeing the crew of the Dawnstar.
“I would save your thanks until we are somewhere safe, your majesty.” Said Stebe, administering healing to Lanyef, and offering the same to Jace.
“I’ll walk it off.” Muttered Jace, despite Rebeka’s insistence he let Stebe help him. Once the four of them were able to move on they headed for the safehouse they’d arranged ahead of time, the sounds of battle still raging across the city. They met up with Stoe and Gared, along with the rest of the resistance leaders there. After greeting and thanking them, she returned her attention to Stebe and them.
“Once again, thank you for your aid. It’s rare for offworlders to risk there lives for us.” She said bowing respectfully, then going with Gared while Stoe went to them.
“As promised, I will share what information we have to help your search for Taivus.”
What few scouts they had to send out had recorded no contact from the System of Porfrana, a System in the Rim world sector of the cluster. There was supposed to be a colony in this system, and the scouts reported virtually no Imperial presence, which was off given how methodic the war had been.
“That sounds unusual.” Said Stebe.
“Will we be on our own?” asked Rebeka.
“This is your fight, your path. I will remain and help the people of Hapes, see if we can’t liberate the planet. Return to the Hearthfire, treat your wounds and set off when your ready. The Hearthfire will be flying support, so will remain unengaged. With the bulk of there forces concentrated on Hapes, hopefully that’ll give you the chance you need to find there leader.”

They left Hapes quickly and returned to the Hearthfire to rest and tend to there injuries, before setting out a couple of days later. Shrada helped Jace and Lanyef recover, speeding there recovery rate before they finally set off for the Rim worlds. They geared up and took what medical supplies they had in there medbay, expecting they would need them, along with all the other gear they had stowed aboard the Dawnstar. After three hours of hyperspace travel they arrived in the Porfrana System, 7 planets moving around a star. There initial scans indicated no ships in the system, proving the initial findings correct. They scanned each planet in turn. The first was a barren world devoid of life and technology. The second was an ocean world with an abundance of life but no actual technology. The third was a temperate world, devoid of animal life but lush in forests. The fourth was the world the colonists lived on initially, but despite the cities they found, no life signs were detected. On they moved to the fifth world, another barren world, followed by another barren world with abandoned mining Zones. Porfrana I was the last planet in the system, and despite it’s inhospitable volcanic nature, they detected not only habitats and technology, but life signs as well. With no other leads they investigated, detecting a large facility with turbolaser defences and a couple of transports, imperial in nature. Jace theorised a full frontal assault on the base would only get them killed, but they still had the element of surprise. Jace instead suggested moving into the base on foot. The surface was uncomfortable but survivable and given the facility was perched on the shore of a lake of magma, they only need disrupt the heat shields and gravity pillars to plunge it into the lake. They landed on the outskirts and after gearing up, opened the ramp out to the blistering heat of the planet. Even with the breath masks and all temperature cloaks, the Heat was unbearable. The half an hour they spent walking to the base was almost like hours for everyone but Jace, who was comfortable in his sealed environment. After half an hour, Rebeka was finding it hard going.
“I thought coming from Tatooine you’d be used to heat.” Said Jace.
“Tatooine doesn’t have Lava Jace!” she complained.
They paused to scope the base from a distance, Jace unable to make anything out with his electrobinoculars, shorting out due to the heat. He passed them to Rak who could make out the platform and transports, as well as Banshee Droids, unloading the transports. A scan before they left the ship indicated that as well as the main entrance into the facility on the platform there was also a ventilation shaft close to there side that could also offer a quiet entrance. Using there grapples they hurriedly climbed up to the ventilation shaft and wasted no time in entering the maintenance shaft. They crept through the large vent to another grill, peering down into a dark corridor below. They heard the sounds of industry from beyond the corridor Rebeka hazarded it was a production line of sorts given the repetitive nature of the sounds. Before they got out the vent, Rebeka dropped one of her spare screws as a distraction, but didn’t seem to alert anyone. She then gently helped Jace lift the grill out, dropping a couple more screws by accident but thankfully not alerting anyone to there presence, and receiving a shush from Jace, returning it with a rude gesture. Jace looked into the room, able to see more than his companions in the dark thanks to his infra red vision, seeing several doors and corridors and a banshee droid moving to the left. He swung silently back up and gestured emphatically, none of them able to pick up his signals.
“Are you alright? Are you having a seizure?” asked Rebeka.
“…No. There is a Banshee heading left, down there.” Muttered Jace into the Comm.
“Oh, that’s what all this was.” Gestured Rebeka emphatically.
“Yes, we’ve been over this.”
After the mild domestic they crept down into the dark corridor carefully and quietly. As they cautiously crept through the dark Rebeka recalled the droids would have the advantage in such dim light with the myriad of sensors they were equipped with. Rebeka opened one of the doors experimentally, discovering unused Quarters.
“Should we check anymore?” asked Rebeka.
“Doesn’t look like much of this area is used,” replied Jace quietly, moving to the crossroads the droid moved down. Several signs on the opposite wall declared the area to be the crew quarters, with administration and barracks further into the facility. The platform and Storage was to the right as predicted, while the way the droid went suggested cells. It seemed further into the complex as well was the Cargo holds, the armoury, production and control centre. The droid was heading for the cells they thought.
“Where to?” hissed Rebeka.
“If we’re going to dump this place into the lava, we should check to make sure we don’t dump anyone who doesn’t deserve it.” Said Jace, following the droids path. They reached the cells undetected, readying before the door, Lanyef readying his Ion pistol while the others readied there weapons. They listened at the door, Lanyef and Rebeka hearing someone shouting on the other side of the door. Lanyef opened the door with a slicing tool, the door opening to reveal the prison. And it’s guards. The berserker screeched, unphasing the four of them, who had heard the scream many times, but terrifying the prisoners of which there seemed to be dozens. The Banshee and Berserker charged toward them as three more Banshee’s closed on the intruders from the other corridors. Rak fired on the Berserker, hitting it severely with a rifle shot as he moved to cover. Lanyef fired on the same droid, hitting it’s shields and deactivating them, but barely damaging the droid. Jace let rip with his Carbine, decimating the Berserker in a barrage of shots, Rebeka adding her fire to his, damaging the droid beyond it’s capacity, but still it unrelented, Storming up to there beach head at the door. Rebeka suffered a minor graze as it hit her with a lightsaber, and another minor cut from a Banshee’s sword. Rak destroyed the Berserker with a quick shot, then fired on the Banshee, damaginging the droid in a hail of shots while Lanyef took down the shields of two of the droids. Jace obliterated one droid with his carbine, then focused on the next in turn, destroying that two before having to reload. Rebeka blasted the remaining nearest droid as they returned fire, missing Jace and Rebeka while Rak blasted the damaged droid further. Lanyef hit it with Ion, lowering it’s shields and damaging it’s systems, Jace and Rebeka blasting it away with Heavy Pistols, Making the doid give it’s death screech and suddenly silence save the sounds of production. Upon closer inspection of the sobbing whimpering cells there were dozens of people packed into cells that should normally only accommodate perhaps nine or ten people at a stretch. They were trying desperately to see them.
“Are they blind?” said Rebeka as she looked at all the concerned and frightened Hapans.
“No, “Hapan’s are pretty, but they can’t see in the dark.” It’s an old saying with some truth, centuries of living in the everbright Hapes cluster means even a mild darkness makes them blind practically.”
“Well you don’t look like droids.” Said a man, clearly not Hapan given that he could see them.
“That’s good.” Said Rebeka.
“Are you our lords and masters? I don’t think you are if you’re destroying your own droids though.”
Jace sent BMO on to check for droids and to see the size of the prison. Rebeka and Lanyef recognised the mans voice as that of the man who was shouting prior to there entry. He was clearly from the core due to his accent, so was either a traveller or an immigrant among the Hapans. Jace lit a glow rod to give some of the Hapans sight on them, though the sight of a mandalorian wasn’t going to be much comfort.
“You haven’t got any food have you? We’re starving.” Said the man. Rebeka handed over all the sweets she had in her possession, and he distributed them to the children locked up with them.
“How did you get here?” asked Rebeka.
“The majority of the people are Hapans, so they likely came from the Colony here in this system. This is more or less what’s left of it.”
“How did you get here?” asked Jace, pointing to the man.
“I was taking a pleasure cruise, but this isn’t exactly either.”
“Why would you take a pleasure cruise here?” said Rebeka
“I wouldn’t my dear, I was heading to the colony. I heard it was as beautiful as Hapes at half the cost so I jumped at the chance. I went to Porfrana IV and that’s when the Empire invaded and shipped most of us survivors here.”
“Do you know why?”
“I Could Hazard a guess.” He said, looking at one of the broken scourge droids.
“How many people have been taken since you arrived.” Asked Jace as the others felt uncomfortable.
“No Idea. I’m sure we weren’t the first though.”
“Know anyone who can handle a blaster?”
“I know thats anyone here from the core, the Hapans won’t see well enough to shoot I reckon.”
“We did come in a transport, but we can’t really take anyone with us.”
“There are some imperial transports on the platform back that way, you have any pilots?”
“I’m a pilot myself, There are so many people here somebody must be able to at least get them off the ground.”
They found the Cell unlock and opened each one, letting them all out to stretch there legs.
“Wait here, take the guns from these droids and get going when we say. Split into two groups, one for each shuttle.” Said Jace.
“I’ve a better idea,” said the man, “You leave and we’ll lock the door behind you, and if you could clear the way out for us, that would be good. I’m sure we could manage, but you seem to have experience taking out these droids. Also I could bet you’d have an easier time of it when you’r not trying to protect these people too.”
“We’ll try.”
“One more thing, if you could destroy this place, I think most people past and present would appreciate it. I shudder to think what these droids do here.”
“Is there no one besides droids ever come in here?” asked Rebeka.
“Some of the older prisoners remember there being people here, but they left before I was here and left the droids running things.”
The Man, whose name was Wiley, begun handing out the few blasters available to those who weren’t Hapan, Jace gave him a couple of Glow rods to make it easier for the Hapans to see where they were going. The Dawnstar Crew headed the opposite way out of the prison after giving Wiley Rebeka’s Comm to clear out any droids that may get in there way. They moved quietly down the corridor. Jace paused momentarily as they moved, Rebeka not paying attention running into him and starting to bicker in hushed voices. The slightly louder whispering was enough to alert two droids that sprinted out of a junctioned Corridor. Rak blasted one of the Banshees to pieces before it reached them, the other returning fire, missing Rebeka by mere inches. She fired on the droid, damaging it, Jace hitting it with several pistol shots, destroying the droid. They pressed on, quietly once more, but still Jace was only able to keep his creeping down to the occasional loud stomp, alerting the two banshee’s coming off the platform into the storage area. They dropped the boxes they were carrying and readied there rifles. Lanyef hit both with his ion pistol, disabling there shields. Rak followed the shots up with his own shots, taking out one of the droids and damaging the other. Several more droids were alerted to the attack as they tried to catch them in a crossfire, there shots missing all four of them. Rebeka opened fire on the remaining droid before them along with Jace, destroying it, and attacking the droids exiting the storage area beside them, damaging one. Lanyef took the shields down of the two droids coming down the corridor. Rak damaged another droid in the storage area further as Lanyef was hit by a stray shot from the droids along with Rebeka. She returned fire on the storage area Banshees, destroying one while Jace destroyed the other in a shower of Metal. Jace spun on the others, blasting another to pieces, leaving one remaining. Lanyef hit it with several Ion bolts that disabled a few small systems, Rak using the lapse in it’s systems to fill it full of blaster fire, destroying it.
They had cleared out the droids between the landing pad and the prison. The pad was free of any droids, and the transports appeared unmanned. They checked the cargo they were unloading. The majority were filled with ores, but one of the boxes was filled with the face masks used by the dark sisters. The golden casts of a womans face were eery, there eyeless visages were too perfect. They checked the transports outside to ensure there were no other droids or cargo taking up space before returning to the facility. They chose to clear out the facility further and give the prisoners the all clear signal once the facility was more or less under there control, especially with the turbolasers outside.
“The ways mostly clear but there could be more droids.” Said Jace to Wiley on the comm.
“Okay, we’ll keep the door shut until you signal.” Replied Wiley.
“Tell him I want my Comm back when he’s done,” Said Rebeka.
“We’ll rendezvous in orbit.” Said Jace, and they pressed on into the facility.

They avoided the patrols and reached a junction that seemed to lead to a large storage area down either way, The large cargo Holds were either way. Jace used BMO to confirm there was indeed a large door at either end of the long corridor and chose to go right. They listened at the door, but heard nothing save for the sounds of industry. Entering, they discovered a huge cargo hold filled with gantries and rows of small storage units. Each one housed an active Banshee or Berserker Droid, and there were thousands of them.
“Rebeka, is there anyway we can destroy these droids while they’re all collected like this? Like on meera when they all commited suicide.” Said Jace.
“I don’t know, if they were using electricity to recharge maybe, but we’d need to reach the control centre for me to figure out what to do.” She whispered.
Jace hazarded there must be over 15,000 in this one room alone, certainly a small army, and wondered if there were more of these facilities out there. Least they could do was stop this one, and they pressed on into the hold.

Episode 64: The Hapes Gambit

The Dawnstar and Lost Cause escaped into space, rushing out of the system as quickly as possible as the portion of there allied fleet kept the harrowers engaged. They returned to the Hearthfire on the edge of the System. Once landed, they debarked.
“Captain, Set course for the interior region.” Said Stebe, as they left the docking area. The resistance fighters all begun to unload there supplies while there leader, Gared Nakara, joined the rest of them in the conference room an hour later. Rebeka had meanwhile repaired Jaces Jetpack in the short time prior to the meeting.
Present were the four of them, Admiral Krin, Stebe, Captain Starfire, Taylen, Bob, and Gared. Gared started by thanking them for his rescue, and explaining that the situation was dire. Many of the resistance cells had been discovered and destroyed by the Empire, and it looked almost as though they would lose it all before the Allies had arrived.
“We here to make sure things change for the better.” Said Rebeka.
“It’ll be a long and difficult task, but with your help, there is hope of a chance.” Said Gared.
“We need to contact the cell on Hapes if we are to set things in motion.” Said Stebe.
“Of course, it’s still fortunately active on Hapes, but then the Empires key target in that system is the members of the Consortium. Stoe Rinn is the current leader of this cell. I’m loathed to make contact however as that will only draw attention to them. I suggest a face to face meeting.”
“I agree.” Said Stebe.
“We are fortunate then that Imperial Intelligence has gifted us the means to get into Ta’a Chume’Dan. One of there agents attempted to reveal us on Darruvia, the attempt failed, and we retrieved his codes, giving us the chance to elude to being of the Intelligence division.”
“Did he reveal anything?” asked Jace.
“Nothing useful. He said the age of metal was upon us.” Gared continued to explain the situation. The entire Hapes Cluster was more or less under imperial rule. Hapes was the centre of that rule, and the most organised of the conquered worlds. Curfews and patrols were likely to be commonplace so it was best not to draw attention to themselves until necessary. The Dawnstar Crew and Stebe were to follow Gared onto Hapes as Imperial Conspirators and Agents. Stebe said they should avoid any Sith overseers as well if need be, as they would instantly sense there true intentions. Meanwhile Krin and Starfire would organise an assault on the capital planet, to liberate the system and it’s people.

They took the Dawnstar, one of the least recognisable ships in the fleet to Hapes the day after. Lanyef assisted the Resistance Forger in altering the Agents codes to reflect Gared and his supposed conspirators. He also ghosted the Dawnstars silhouette in order to conceal there approach to Hapes. The majority of the traffic around Hapes was imperial, several fleets intended to Repel the allied forces once they reached the Interior region. Rebeka kept there distance. Stebe replied to the imperial control, maintaining the illusion of there alliegance right up until they landed. The city had not changed much from there last visit, though many of the buildings had been repaired, and the Royal Palace flew the imperial flag. There were also one or two new buildings that had an obvious imperial design. They left the ship, taking only what they could hide and following Gared out to the checkpoint. The former Hapan Security were replaced with Imperial troopers, and Scourge flags flew in place of the consortium banners. The number of people about the spaceport were greatly reduced.
Fortunately there forgery was enough, and they were passed through and allowed to enter the city proper. They were given more or less free reign of the city, and after being waved through a few checkpoints, reached the part of the city initially lived in by the men, now the area the resistance concealed itself. They reached a small unassuming home, which Gared knocked on the door and uttered a phrase in Hapan. They were let in and led down into a basement, where the resistance was organising it’s plans.
Stoe Rinn greeted them all and bowed to Gared, “Have you done it? Are the Republic here to help us?” she asked.
“The Republic isn’t coming.” Said Rebeka regrettably. “we have a fleet though.”
“Then it is more than we have.”
“I am Master Stebe of the Jedi Order.” Said Stebe introducing herself. Stoe looked apprehensive.
“It’s alright, she’s here to help.” Said Rebeka, “She helped us get in.”
“Forgive me, the Jedi do not have the best reputation in the Hapes Cluster. But we have greater concerns, and a Jedi might be what we need now.
Your timing couldn’t be better. I have heard word that the Queen Mother has been found and scheduled to be executed tomorrow.”
“Then we need to stop it surely.” Said Rebeka.
“Agreed, the Queen Mother has organised the Resistance and done well to avoid capture this far, however it was only a matter of time before they found her. The consortium is all but destroyed, without the Queen Mother there would be no one left to rally our people if she’s killed tomorrow.
That’s why we plan to liberate the queen and show the people of Hapes the Empire is not needed to be feared.”
“Do you know who is organising the sith occupation?” asked Stebe.
“We have heard the name Taivus mentioned here and there. But no one has seen him anywhere, he operates behind the scenes of the occupation. We have leads, but none we’re willing to explore until the queen Mother is safe.”
“We can help you, but only united will we reclaim the Hapes cluster. If there’s anything you can do to make it easier on our attack fleet, this is what we ask of you. In exchange we will help your Queen Mother.”
“There are some Hapan Vessels that survived the war, they are all we have, I hope it will be enough.”
“Then the Liberation of Hapes will have to be enough to rout the Imperial Fleet.”
“Our numbers are dwindling, so it’s unlikely the Sith will have strong protection for the queen mother. By all accounts they’ve already won.”
“That’s good.” Said Rebeka, “If they think they’ve won they’ll drop there guard.”

The stage was set. Cameras recorded the small platform on which the Queen Mother would be executed. And dozens of Hapans were forced into the streets to watch. Making good concealing spots for Rebeka, Jace, Rak, Lanyef and Stebe. Stoe had wisely left the liberation to Stebe, given her skill, especially as the Executioner and leader of the forces here were Sith. The queen mother was marched out by Berzerker droids wearing robes, and the square was surrounded by troops. The populace watched in shock and anger as there monarch was shoved before the executioners block. They glanced up at the imperial troops concealed in buildings and standing on roofs, hoping to see any threats from there high vantage point. The resistance was to take out the spotters when the signal was given, leaving the rest of the square to the five of them. The Executioner wore red robes and armour similar to the large assassin that was sent to kill U’tl, and wielded a large sword similar to the ones he wielded. The other Sith was a pureblood, red skinned with facial spikes and tendrils familiar to his race.
“Silence!” he commanded, the angry crowd cowing in the face of his sudden command.
“People of Hapes! Today peace and security returns to the Hapes Cluster. The empire came to liberate your people from the corrupted consortium that looks after your interests. The final member stands before you, the worst of the bunch.” He said, one of the droids pushing her down to kneel before the block. “The Queen Mother. We protect your homes, and in time, will re-establish your government, but this woman has taken your sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, partners and done everything in her power to make your lives miserable during this transition. It is this woman who causes the bombings! The arrests of innocents! The fear and distrust sown among your people! Today, that ends! Today, order and security will be restored with the execution of Queen Mother Alasunin!”
After giving the Sith a scornful look, the queen was pushed down to the block by a droid. The executioner readied his blade and Rak could not bare the suspense. Then Stebe rose from the crowd, orange and green blades whirling as she landed on the podium, both Sith sensing the sudden danger and reacting defensively. Her blades paused midjump, thrusting her hands out and throwing the Sith back with a sudden strike with the force. The four Berserker droids shrieked at her and the crowd, there pained screams causing the crowd to panic. Jace pushed his way through, drawing his rifle and taking out three of the troopers before the stage. Rebeka took a few shots, killing a couple of troopers with clean shots. Rak picked his target, aiming for the executioner, hitting the sith several times before reloading. The Sith blasted the crowd in a bid to cause the crowd to retreat, while two troopers blasted at Rebeka and Jace. The two Sith war droids opened fire shortly after, trying to annihilate them, catching Jace with a shot as well as Rebeka and several of the crowd members fleeing the attacks. The executioner then struck Jace with his sword, the blade slicing through his armour keenly. Troopers continued to fire as Lanyef blasted a couple of troopers, killing one and wounding the other as the Hapes people fled past him. The Berserker Droids attacked Stebe while two others broke off to blast at Jace and Rebeka. The Queen Mother dodged away from one of the droids. Jace used his jetpack to hop over the executioner and engage a Berserker droid, swinging at the droid with his lightsabers, damaging the droid lightly. Stebe engaged the Sith and Droid attacking her, deflecting there sabers where possible, as Rebeka used the Berserker droid to hop onto the platform and blast the Sith. Rak capitalised on the distraction, blasting the Berserker droid as it tried to recover from the sudden leap. Blaster fire filled the square, a shot striking Lanyef as the crowd momentarily parted. Rak was hit twice, a bad burn caused in his side. The Executioner continued to chase Jace, injuring the mandalorian with his keen blade several more times. Rebeka dodged the Sith’s swings, Lanyef blasting another trooper dead, spinning to face the troopers behind him, injuring one as the Droids pressed there attack. Rak was injured by one of their shots, Stebe getting caught by one of there whirling blades, Jace was nearly overwhelmed, but after dealing several blows to the Executioner it seemed there was still a chance he would make it out alive. Stebe badly damaged one of the Berserkers as Rebeka blasted the Executioner to help out Jace. Rak blasted the droid before him a few times, getting a few shots on the executioner, who caught Jace a further glancing blow. Rebeka suffered a minor burn from the Sith, capitalising on her distraction as several troopers closed on Lanyef’s exposed position. Grazing the Arkanian with their disciplined fire. The war droids opened fire, Lanyef unable to avoid the majority of their heavy fire. Lanyef tossed a frag grenade at them, destroying the droid and killing a trooper in it’s explosion, wounding another trooper. The Berserkers continued there assault, the droid attacking Rak running at him with lightsabers drawn, catching him with it’s swings a small burn. Jace managed to take out the Executioner with a couple of final swings. Stebe managed to destroy one of the Berserkers, slicing it into pieces before striking the Sith with a quick swing. Rebeka caught him too, blasting him in the head and killing him outright. Rebeka then focused on the remaining Berserkers while Rak drew the large golden Vibroscimitar, striking the droid a couple of times, lopping pieces of it’s armour off. Lanyef was hit in the back as he tried to escape, Badly burned from his through and through. He dove into the nearby alley, and tried to boost his speed with an Adrenal, Jace was struck fairly badly by the remaining Berserkers, but still he retaliated, damaging the damaged berserker before him. Stebe moved between the queen and the berserkers, protecting her from there retaliatory strikes, while simultaneously destroying another Berserker. Rebeka blasted the Berserker remaining as Rak tried to deal with his Berserker, neither of which left themselves open to such an advantage. The troopers chased the injured Lanyef down his alley, Rebeka being hit by another Troopers fire. Rak was also hit by a stray shot as Lanyef tended to the horrible injury he suffered. The berserkers continued their relentless assault, Jace taking another bad injury, but countering it and damaging it in return severely. Stebe finished the droid off with several heavy strikes. Rebeka jumped down to help Rak, blasting the droid and another trooper, Rak striking the droid with his scimitar. The remaining War droid blasted at Rebeka as the other troopers went to hunt down Lanyef, closing on his position, and suddenly killed by fire from above, one of the resistance fighters killing them both before they could get to Lan, and giving the Arkanian a nod, Lanyef killing the final trooper coming to kill him. Jace advanced on the remaining troopers, killing two of them then blasting at the remaining berserker, damaging it further. Stebe remained Defensive, throwing out a strike of force at the War droid, damaging it as Rebeka attacked the Berserker Droid, damaging it enough for Rak to slice the droids head off cleanly, deactivating it. He then quickly pulled his rifle and blasted the damaged war droid, as it continued to fire despite the overwhelming odds, before finally being put down by Jace.

Episode 63: Extraction on Daruvvia

The Doors on either side of the corridor led to more corridors that led to other accesses, the sounds of battle ringing out from both of them as the other teams were making there way to the control centre. Lanyef sealed these doors before following everyone else into the lift. They went up to the command centre and in a moment of brief surprise realised they were facing the wrong way.
“Fire!” shouted the commander, A cyborg with bionic eyes and a rebreather. Stebe sensed the sudden danger and took a defensive stance. The Berserkers screeched at them, drawing there lightsabers as the troops opened fire. Stebe reflected five of the bolts away, being grazed by one of them. Rak reacted, hurrying out of the lift and returning fire, killing one of the officers. Stebe focused her power, calming her companions spirits in the midst of battle. Rebeka was suddenly finding it easier to avoid the incoming fire as she ran in, Jace storming into the command centre and blasting away at another Officer, killing him, and blasting another officer taking cover behind a control panel. Lanyef took cover as well, blasting and injuring another officer. The Berserker’s leapt at Stebe, locking her down as the officers fired on the others. Rak blasted the nearest berserker several times, much of the damage being deflected away by the droids shields. Stebe matched the droids for skill, and with her knowledge of the force surpassed them, destroying one of the droids in a flurry of orange and green, and damaging the other. Rebeka rushed past the droid, swinging at her fleeting form as she blasted at another Officer, wounding him. Jace blasted another officer, killing him, and then firing on the commander, who took cover behind a console. Lanyef blasted the Berserker with his ion pistol, dropping it’s shields as the Berserker struck at Stebe, the Jedi blocking the swings calmly.
“Take out the Mandalorian!” ordered the commander, the officers fired a barrage of bolts in Jaces direction, causing a few minor burns on the Mandalorian. Rak continued fire on the droid as Stebe cut it down, destroying the droid entirely. The officers stood there ground as Rebeka continued to fire on an Officer, killing him then aiding Jace with the commander, catching him in the side. Jace managed to flank him, blasting at the commanders now exposed position, gunning him down, before he spun on the remaining officers killing them both.
Jace was about to finish off one of the officers when Stebe stopped him.
“Do not kill them, we can’t learn more about what is going on here if they’re dead.”
“I’m sure we can figure this out on our own.” Said Jace, looting the dead officers.
Stebe approached the dying commander, struggling to breathe through a respirator that wouldn’t function.
“You want me to fix it?” asked Rebeka.
“I doubt it would do him much good.” Said Stebe. “You used to be Captain Vorstanton. Your appearance has altered significantly since your records were updated. As far as I’m aware, you didn’t suffer any serious injuries so why do you have so many modifications?”
“The age of metal is coming.” He managed, “Beings of flesh like yourselves will be swept away.”
“You are a being of flesh as well, you will never not be while blood still runs through your heart.”
“That is for Taivus to decide.” He then observed the others. “I know your faces, you made all of this possible. You have no idea the horrors that await you in the Hapes cluster, it has changed since you were last here. We will be watching…” he said finally, and breathed no more.
Rak blasted him as an additional measure, an action Stebe found in poor taste.
“Have some pity.” She said, pushing his blaster away.
“No.” said Rak moving away, Stebe watched him go.
“Sorry. He is a pirate after all, it’s the company we keep.”
“I am somewhat apprehensive of this company you keep.” Said Stebe, “You may act like this in the past but while around me I suggest you keep such actions to a minimum.”
“I’ll act how I see fit to keep us all alive.” Said Jace.
Stebe glowered, “Sith disguise Murder as Mercy.”
“Okay enough, we’re done here. Everyone stop arguing.” Warned Rebeka. “We are on the same side.”
Stebe sighed, “You are right Rebeka. I’m Sorry.” She said, directing her apology toward Jace.
“Jace?” said Rebeka.
The mandalorian shrugged and walked off.
“he’s probably sorry.” She whispered to Stebe.
“I don’t believe so. The Mandalorian culture seeks conflict, the Jedi tried to show them another way, but even that failed. We need Survivors to be questioned, not killed.”
“Well, That’s all well and good, but if that’s the case we’ll need to reach them first.” Said Rebeka.
“In that case in future I will have to consider which missions you are sent on.”

The Battle was ended swiftly once the station was taken, the imperial fleet retreated and the information was passed on to each of the Resistances ships. The Hearthfire was the only ship to accompany the Indrexu Confederations fleet, the remainder of the Republic battlegroup remaining to protect the station. The Dawnstar returned to the Hearthfire prior to the jump into the cluster.
And after leaving some final instructions they all entered Hyperspace.

They arrived in the Lorelli reach an hour after leaving.
“What’s the next objective?” asked Rebeka.
“We need to make our way to the planet of Darruvia.”
“It might be better to know the plan ahead of time, so we can carry on if you or the others fall.” Said Jace.
“All the people that need to know the plan know the plan.” She said brusquely.
“I’m sorry, aren’t we your crew in this.” Said Rebeka.
“Why are you keeping us in the dark Stebe.” Said Jace.
“We are not entirely sure about all of you yet.” She said.
“The feelings mutual.” Muttered Rak.
“But we’ve worked together before.” Said Rebeka, offended by the admission.
“Yes, but there is every chance that you are not necessarily suited to the responsibility being put on you. This next mission will determine if you are still suitable to be here or not. Now we will reconvene in a few hours when we know more.” She said, and marched away down the corridor. Rebeka couldn’t help but follow her to try to understand why they were being doubted, she could feel Stebe was disappointed.
“I don’t think you and I are going to be considered ‘suitable’ somehow.” Said Jace to Rak.

Despite Stebe’s misgivings, they all arrived on the bridge when it was time. Taylen and Bob had joined the four of them along with Stebe and Captain Starfire, and Admiral Krin by Hologram.
“We received a response from the Darruvian resistance. They are ready to leave planet and join our alliance.” Said Captain Starfire.
“Then we haven’t much time.” Said Stebe, “now that we’re in the cluster, we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
“Good work by the way.” Said Taylen to Rebeka, “I hope you’ll be just as good covering our skins.”
“When do we not.” Grinned Rebeka.
“The Darruvian Resistance is our contact in the Hapes Cluster. As the war spread throughout the cluster, many of the cells went radio dark to prevent being exterminated. The Darruvian Resistance is willing to give us information regarding these cells in exchange for there extraction. We need to help them so we can locate either the queen mother or the members of the consortium that have survived. Once they are located, we can strike back at the Scourge and locate Taivus.”
“The Lost Cause and myself will land and begin the evacuation. The Dawnstar will fly support, ensuring any imperial ships do not hit us while we’re vulnerable.”
“I guess we are protecting your skins.” Said Rebeka.
“Yeah, that’s what I meant.” Said Taylen.
“We don’t get as much information as you, someone thinks it’s a good idea to keep us in the dark.” Said Jace deliberately, Stebe ignored him.
“We’ll keep you safe,” reassured Rebeka.
“I hope that’s true.” Said Stebe.
“I’ll be coming too.” Said Captain Starfire.
“We have Stebe, we won’t really need anyone else.” Said Taylen.
“I can only fly support for the rest of this campaign, as Republic attacks would only complicate the situation so I will help where I can. Besides You’ll need someone to watch your behind while your down there.”
Taylen huffed as Bob gave a small smirk, Rebeka picking up on the gesture.

Darruvia was an agricultural planet famous for it’s wine. The resistance was holed up in an ancient Raiders fort on the far side of the planet and led by Gared Nakara, a well built, tall Hapan.
The Lost Cause and The Dawnstar headed straight there. They were joined by confederate fighters to assist in the Lost Cause’s defence, and the fleet was to come in should the Scourges minimal presence prove too much for them.
“So,” said the comm when they closed on the target coordinates. “this is going to be a walk in the park right, no transports are going to land and harass us at all.” Said Taylen.
“Please, look who you’re talking to.” Replied Rebeka.
Taylen chuckled, “I thought as much.”
As The Lost Cause landed before the Resistance Stronghold, The Dawnstar and Fighters remained nearby to protect them. The first transports appeared to the east, coming across the open farmlands. The Dawnstar hurried towards them, to try and take out as many as they could before they got within striking distance. Seeing an Imperial fury ahead of them, leading the assault, they opened fire on it, destroying the interceptor and scattering the fighters nearby, who focused on them, hitting the Dawnstar’s shields as the transports passed them. Rebeka put the Dawnstar into a tight Half loop, concentrating on the transports.
“We’re loading up now.” Said Taylen over the comm.
“Alright, hurry it up, we have company.”warned Rebeka.
They concentrated on the transports initially, damaging one of the transports as they closed in on the resistance base. As they chased the transports, they were attacked by four fighters trying to cause them to disengage, but the Dawnstar destroyed them then carried on towards the damaged transport, destroying it’s escorts then finally the transport itself, before attacking the other transport and destroying that too. More transports were already on there way as the confederation fighters took out the remaining fighters. A few more fighters were taken out by the Dawnstar as it launched at the second wave of transports.
“we have half the resistance aboard!” updated Taylen as the Dawnstar blasted another Transport, exploding it in a fireball. The Dawnstar was hit on the back port as it tried to avoid the transports escorts, but it’s shields still held. They blasted two fighters as they moved to another wing of fighters, blasting 2 fighters and shooting up the fourth transport. More transports and a second fury flew towards them, determined to capture the resistance. They further destroyed another two fighters before destroying the landing transport just in time. The other imperial ships closed on there position, the fury launching a missile in there direction. Fighters locking onto the Dawnstar, harassing it’s shields further. The Dawnstar destroyed the missile, further damaging the Sith fury, allowing one of the confederation fighters to take it out. The lost cause was beginning to take of as another transport started landing, The Dawnstar hurrying to cover it’s escape, destroying several fighters and the landing transport, before The Lost cause, Dawnstar and remaining fighters escaped Darruvia, and the Imperial forces behind.

Episode 62: The Battle of Lorell

They floated in space for a short while after leaving the station, trying to figure out how to get back Rebeka tried to plot the course again to return. But the Navicomputer was unable to plot the course. Then the Ship begun plotting the course of it’s own accord once more. Again pushing the engines to it’s limits, then just as before when the engines were pushed to there danger spikes, they arrived outside of the Nebula. They then plotted a course for Starfire’s Battle Group on the edge of neutral space. After a couple of days travel, they reached the battlegroup and were given permission to land on the Hearthfire. The ships were less busy now the Refugees had been moved on. Shrada had stayed on to help for the chase after Taivus, as had Taylen and Bob. Even U’tl had come aboard the Hearthfire to see what help he could be.
They met Stebe on the bridge with the captain.
“You have returned, do you know where Taivus is?” asked Stebe.
“We know where he is.” Sad Rebeka.
“Then we’ll discuss it in the briefing room.” Said Stebe, gesturing back into the hall and across into a conference room. “So, what have you found?”
“It’s hard to explain.” Said Rak.
“No it’s not, he’s in the Hapes Cluster.” Said Rebeka.
“Then we’re defeated before we’ve even started then.” Said Captain Starfire.
“Not at all, what kind of attitude is that for a captain to have?” Said Rebeka.
“A realistic one. The Hapes Cluster is a natural fortress in space, there are only two ways into the hapes cluster and both are likely to be heavily guarded. There is no way six ships would get even close to invading the cluster with the fleets of the Empire protecting the ways in.”
“She’s right. We’ll need more than six ships.” Said Jace.
“Perhaps if the republic had intervened in the first place.” Muttered Rebeka.
“I agree, to leave the people of Hapes to there fate is irresponsible.” Said Stebe. “But that does not mean the Republic failed to act, only that they couldn’t. The Hapes Cluster was neutral territory, The empire can do with neutral territory as they see fit. Any attack by the Republic on the empire would restart the war and kill billions.”
“Under the treaty, Neutral territories are to be left alone by Republic forces. They cannot intervene, even if the empire invades the neutral systems. They backed us into a corner and nearly defeated us. We can’t afford another war at this time.” Said Captain Starfire.
“We need to get to the Hapes Cluster, it’s our only chance.” Said Rebeka.
“How? We have no ships, no troops, and no supplies.”
“I’m sure something will turn up.” Said Stebe positively.
“Seems like you know more than your letting on.” Said Rak.
“The Force has guided us here, I told you of these coordinates captain because this is where we needed to be.”
Suddenly alarms blared and navigation asked for the captain to return to the bridge. They all filed out back to the bridge.
“What’s the situation?” asked Starfire.
“We have several ships coming out of hyperspace in front of us.” Said the scanner officer.
“No Sir.”
Several dozen ships appeared before them, slowing to normal speeds. A huge fleet of ships, Etti Class Cruisers mostly, the last ship to arrive an invincible class Dreadnaught named the Resolute.
The fleet had seen a great deal of action it seemed. Many of the ships seemed barely functional, but still the Indrexu Confederation emblem was displayed proudly on there hulls.
“Who are they?” asked Captain Starfire.
“Scans indicate the ships are of the Indrexu Confederation. The Resolute is hailing us.”
“Put it through”
Then Angela Krin appeared before them in a hologram. Rebeka gave a wave, but Krin didn’t seem to notice.
“This is Admiral Angela Krin of the Indrexu Confederation fleet.” She said Somberly. “I have been instructed to request sanctuary.”
“Why is that?” asked Stebe.
“The Sith Empire has declared war on the Indrexu confederation. We are no match for them. I have Regrettably been instructed to leave with what ships I had and request sanctuary of the Republic.”
“That is Regrettable, unfortunately we are not in a position to offer Sanctuary.” Said Stebe.
Rebeka was shocked by the admission.
“We do perhaps have another offer for you, if you and your captains would like to come aboard. We’d very much like to discuss this with you.”
“I’ve been instructed to find Sanctuary, if you can’t offer us Sanctuary then I will take the fleet elsewhere.”
“If you look to the Republic for sanctuary, you will not return to your homes in your life time. It might be quicker the way we plan to do it.”
Krin considered this, sizing Stebe up in the process. “Very well, myself and the captains will come aboard.” She said, and signed off.
“I’d appreciate it if the Republic captains would also be present, Captain, as well as the four of you. You know Terrn well, you may be able to contribute something to this meeting, it also might help Angela to see some familiar faces.” Said Stebe.

When they arrived at the meeting room the meeting was already under way. The captains were already into a full debate about Stebe’s suggestion. The Republic Captains couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t help those in a similar situation to them, while the confederation argued that the Republic was not intervening so why should they. Krin remained quiet as this went on, giving only a brief nod when Rebeka waved at her, still sombre at the loss of her home.
“This is getting us nowhere.” Said Stebe loudly, silencing the voices. “Captain Starfire, is there no one friendly in the republic that could offer aid?”
“Admiral Kien was the only chance we had.” She said. “I launched a rescue on Kessel to rescue one of my comrades, Admiral Kien tried to rescue us and both he and the man I went to rescue were killed during the attempt. There will be no help coming from the Republic now.” Everyone but Rebeka noticed the sharp glance she gave them. The debate went on, Both Rebeka and Rak putting there opinions across when there was a breath.
“There’s too many voices in this room.” Said Angela, the first thing she’d said. Stebe and Nacene agreed, and each picked a captain to remain behind while the others left. The captains were put out, but nothing was going to be resolved if people were talking over each other.
“You’ll have to forgive the captains, many of them are tired of war.”
“Shouldn’t be commanding a military vessel then.” Said Rak.
“A lot of our military deals with pirates and small incidents like the Tempest incident. We are not trained to fight armies.”
“It won’t matter if you don’t try. The Scourge will take control of the cluster and the galaxy will fall shortly after. Doing nothing is what made the Cluster and your worlds fall. Even if we fail, it might be the push needed to get others involved.” Said Rak.
Krin sighed, “You can consider us even,” she said to the others. “I’ll fight your war Master Jedi, but none of my men will be forced into it. I’ll give them the choice.”
“It would help you in the long term Admiral, Hapes is strategically close to the Indrexu spiral, and I’m sure the Hapans would be most helpful to there liberators.”
“I’ll talk to my people, see who is willing to try. But this attack will fail if we can’t set up supply lines.” Said Krin.

Supply lines were not all that tricky to set up thanks to the people the Dawnstar crew had dealings with. Vago the hutt promised to help in exchange for the last of the crews favours with him. Durgo also saw the profit in supplying a war effort, and Rebeka’s own funds from her business on Tatooine was able to buy enough ships to supply the effort once it had got a foothold. Jace tried to contact the Makin clan, but heard nothing back from his call to arms. Three weeks of planning finally came to fruition. During that time, Taylen expressed to Rebeka how he met Nacene and the mistake he made when he was still young. The Lost Cause was the name for himself rather than the ship, and despite feeling like he moved on, still had a picture of the pair of them together. It was apparent to Rebeka that Nacene had similar attributes to Rebeka in her youth, which was perhaps why she and Taylen got on so well.
The plan was that the initial attack in the Lorell System would be carried out by the Indrexu confederation. The Republic forces would then gaud the Empire into attacking them before declaring all out war. The Dawnstar with Stebe would then attack the station, taking control of it to give there ships the codes to enter the Hapes Cluster proper, They would then either try to destroy or make the imperial fleet retreat. They must then move on to Darruvia, where they will contact the Hapan resistance. The goal of the war was to liberate the people of Hapes and find Taivus.

Once they’d entered Hyperspace, Jace told First of the plan, who remained uncommitted as always. Rebeka Meanwhile had followed Taylen to Nacene’s quarters, remaining there for a few minutes to see if she could hear anything juicy. After Four days of travel through Hyperspace the war was finally begun. The Indrexu Confederation was openly engaged with the Sith Empire once they left Hyperspace, a little way off from the battle.
“Captain, if you would.” Said Stebe, Captain Starfire gave a nod and ordered the Hyperdrive disabled and the pilots to send them into a slight spin.
A few moments after that they were hailed by one of the Imperial ships.
“This is the Accuser to Republic vessels, you have entered imperial territory, by order of the treaty of Coruscant you will return to Republic Space or your presence will be considered an act of war.”
“This is Jedi Master Stebe of the Republic vessel Hearthfire, our Hyperdrive was damaged during our journey and we have been thrown off course. We will comply once the Hyperdrive has been repaired.” She said. “Not that you would come anywhere near us anyway, given the cowardice of imperial captains and there crews. You might consider it a victory if it were a civilian transport, but a fully armed battlegroup just makes you terrified of the challenge, doesn’t it.” She added, and signed off before they could respond.
“Do you think he was angry?” asked Stebe.
“Probably.” Said Rak.
“Several imperial ships have broken off the attack and are heading this way,” said the scanner officer.
“Captain, order your ships to power down weapons, keep the shields up.” Said Stebe.
“Do it.” Said Captain Starfire, acknowledging the order.
The Harrowers approached menacingly, then begun to fire.
“Take Evasive action!” ordered Starfire.
“Now we can enter the fray, open comms, power up all weapons.” Said Stebe, “This is Jedi Master Stebe of the Hearthfire, your actions have declared war upon the republic, and are a violation of the treaty. Cease your attack.”
The empire refused, and so they joined battle. “We’ve done all we can, we have to hope it doesn’t cause all out war.”
“Then let’s go.” Said Rebeka, hurrying with Stebe and the rest of the crew to the Dawnstar. They took off into the battle, heading directly for the station. Jace and Rak shot down a few fighters as Rebeka avoided ships to land the Dawnstar on the station. Before she’d even landed several imperial troops and War Droids entered the hangar, Setting up to defend the station. They lowered the ramp and came out shooting. Rebeka hadn’t reloaded before coming out, Jace firing grenades off with his grenade launcher blowing up several of the defending forces, and peppering shrapnel in the others. Rak took out 3 of the stunned soldiers and wounding a fourth. Lanyef took him out along with a second. The Imperials returned fire, catching Jace with a shot as they moved out, Rak and Lanyef avoiding blaster fire. As Rebeka Blasted another two troopers, Stebe deflecting away bolts coming at Lanyef and Rebeka. Stebe lifted one of the wardroids with the force, throwing it against the back wall, smashing it to pieces. Jace drew his Rifle and blasted another four troopers, then blasting the remaining war droid, but failing to get through it’s shields.
“Someone get an ion gun!” he called. Rak blasted the droid several times, the strength of his blaster enough to destroy it. They hurried to the Hangar door into the main station, opening the door to reveal the second wae of defences. They’d all noticed the imperial symbols warn by the soldiers bore a dagger intersecting the emblem, the symbol of the scourge. There was no doubt now the scourge was in control of the Hapes Cluster.
Rebeka suddenly felt a brief moment of fatigue from nowhere, but managed to recover quickly as the troopers fired on them. Stebe cut down a soldier as Jace blasted several troopers with rifle fire killing 4 troopers as Rak moved in, firing on one of the War droids, Lanyef blasted the remaining trooper as the droids returned fire, grazing Rebeka. Stebe lifted one of the war droids up, smashing it into the other in a cacophony of twisting metal and sparking circuits. The imperial officers tried to hold them back, Jace killing one with a shot to the chest. He and Rak taking out a Second and a Third, And Rebeka blasted the last. Stebe motioned for them then to follow her into the lift and head up to the control centre.

Episode 61: Legacy

The Dawnstar headed for the station Meera, blasting it’s pursuers on route, taking down all six before pressing on. The imperial fleet was closing on the Station as several transports readied to escape. The Defence Fighters fought the imperial fighters to make way for the transports, the Dawnstar joining the defences, taking out a further wing of fighters.
“The fleet will be here in less than a minute.” Warned Lanyef.
“Then we need to make sure that the transports escape in time.” Said Rebeka, “And save who we can from the station.”
They took out a further wing as they came around for another pass, taking out another two. The first few transports were making their way away from the station, pursued by imperial fighters. The Dawnstar was struck on its shields by a wing just as they wiped it out, but already more fighters were joining the fray from the fleet. Another hit on the back port hit there shields as they wiped out yet another wing, this time chasing the transports, Lanyef boosted shield power while checking the scanner, he detected more ships coming out of hyperspace from the opposite side of the station at extreme range. They continued to wipe out the fighters harassing the transports regardless of the possible threat. The threat was revealed to be six republic vessels. Four thranta class corvettes and two Hammerhead cruisers. The Dawnstar hurried back to the station as the Republic responded on all Channels.
“This is the Hearthfire to all vessels fleeing the Meera space station.” Said the familiar voice of Stebe. “We are here to help; all small vessels are to dock with the Hearthfire and Sojourn as soon as possible.”
“Stebe, it’s Rebeka, we’ll dock with you wants we get who we can off the station, but we need to do what we can first.” Responded Rebeka.
“Very well, dock with the Hearthfire once you have your passengers. Good luck, and May the force be with you.”
The Dawnstar blasted a few more fighters as it came in for a landing in one of the bays, Sirens blaring station wide, giving evacuation orders. The Dawnstar crew looked on as the bays were overrun by panicked people. Pushing against the emergency walls placed before the bays in a bid to keep order.
Rebeka and Jace hurried over to the security officers as Lanyef and Rak made their way through the pushing crowd to the VIP bays.
“We can take forty people but not many more than that!” said Rebeka over the noise. The officer acknowledged and counted out forty people to go with them. Lanyef and Rak hurried through the hundreds of people trying to make it off station towards the harmony. They passed Taylen and Bob on the way, giving them a brief nod as they passed the bay with the lost cause in it. Sergeant Lerayl was coordinating the evacuation with Mikel, ordering several officers to follow Rak and Lanyef as people begun to notice where they were heading.
“We’ll take what few we can, but it’s not a very big ship,” warned Rak to one of the officers.
“Your taking passengers whether you like it or not, I don’t think they’ll give you much choice.” The officer replied. They took no one aboard they recognised, Rebeka only seeing Tyber and one of the Twi’lek dancers from the nightclub. They also took a security officer with them to man the gun of the Dawnstar they’d lost with Rak going aboard the Harmony. They took off just as the imperial fleet begun its attack on the station. The Dawnstar provided cover for the fleeing transports, including the Harmony, The Lost Cause a close second behind them. They’d shot down 3 more fighters as they left for the republic ships. The Meera Station was badly damaged by the imperial fleet as The Dawnstar tried to keep the fighters at bay. Rebeka ordered some of the more competent survivors to help keep the ship from being destroyed. They returned fire, wiping out several more fighters as the convoy continued to flee. There warning alarms detected a sudden overload in the stations reactor, and Meera station was suddenly annihilated, spreading debris outwards from its position. Everyone knew full well not everyone made it off the station, and the fear it may be someone they knew well was a very real possibility. More fighters attacked the Transports; the Lost Cause took out a few of the fighters as Republic fighters joined the last group to aid them. After destroying several more fighters the convoy finally reached the Republic forces, turning to pick them up and enter hyperspace once all the small ships were aboard, including the Harmony, Lost Cause and Dawnstar.

The losses were innumerable despite the ones they saved. Rebeka asked everyone to observe a minutes silence before disembarking. As the Refugees were tended to by the Republic forces, they moved about them, trying to locate those they knew to take stock of who was lost. Shrada tended to the wounded; despite the grievous injury he’d suffered himself, losing a finger in the commotion. Tam and Brie had made it, though given the strength of the emotion they felt. Lex hadn’t made it. Rebeka found her uncle and gave him a thankful hug, asking if he’d seen U’tl. She told him she’d got Lykat, a small condolence to her uncle in the grand scheme of things. Taylen and Bob joined the four of them shortly after.
“Glad you came to help out in our hour of need.” Said Taylen.
“We weren’t going to leave anyone.” Said Rebeka.
“Good, you never know about people in that situation. You’ve got good hearts.”
“Who’d you get aboard?”
“No one special. Managed to get Tam and Brie aboard. If you hadn’t have been there, they might not be alive.” Said Taylen.
“It just so happened we were on planet.” Said Rebeka.
“It’s so hard to believe. The empire sent such a huge fleet for a backwater station under Republic control.”
“You’d be surprised.” Murmured Rebeka. The six of them went off somewhere quiet in the bay to discuss and explain Terrn’s betrayal. The two scouts were shocked, but it explained the empires capacity to get such a large fleet so deep into Republic territory.
Shortly after, Stebe had made her way to the bays, greeting them along with several republic soldiers and the captain of the Hearthfire.
“May I present Captain Nacene Starfire.” Said Stebe. A human woman with long blonde hair and the faint presence of burn scars across her body gave them a brief nod.
“What’s been happening with you?” asked Rak, the others still unsure about Stebe.
“I’d rather not discuss that on the deck.” She said apologetically. “I’ll speak with you privately, if you have the time.”
“Yeah,” said Rebeka.
“Where are we headed?” asked Rak.
“We’re on the way to the edge of republic space right now; you may already know that Captain Nacene’s battle group is not working at the behest of the Republic.”
“That’s fine; she’s done more than they ever have so far.” Muttered Rebeka.
“Perhaps we can join you.” Asked Taylen, “I’m all for a little pay-“he said before noticing Starfire’s thunderous expression.
“You bastard!” she said, pulling a pistol on him.
“Now now Nacene cool your jets okay. Okay?!” he said desperately, weaving out of her aim as she ranted at him.
“What’s that all about?” asked Rak of Bob while everyone watched Taylen’s grovelling in stunned silence.
“She’s his fiancée. Ex fiancé.” Said Bob.
“Interesting.” Said Rebeka.
“I suppose I should help him.” said Bob, though the motivation was clearly not there.
“This is not the Time!” barked Jace. The simple sentence seemed to make everyone jump, but had the desired effect.
“This isn’t over.” Hissed Nacene, marching off across the deck with the rest of her guard.
“So, I see you charm everyone you meet.” Said Rebeka to Taylen.
“We have more important concerns.” Said Jace. Rebeka sulking from his scolding tone.
“Yeah,” said Taylen, still a bit shocked by the sudden altercation.
“Agreed, let’s retire to one of the briefing rooms to discuss things more privately.” Said Stebe.

“I apologise for not being able to be at Meera sooner. I only learned of Terrn’s betrayal a few days ago.”
“How did you find out?”
“My investigation. I have been looking into the scourge and the mysterious Taivus for over a year now. I had hoped to learn of his identity from one of the Darth’s but none of them were entirely forthcoming, or alive for that matter.
After taking stock of Taivus’ Itinerary, it looked as though the Dark Council Member had a lot of meetings around the times Terrn was absent. My suspicions were raised when he was not willing to speak with me in person. Further to that, a Tremor in the force made me suspicious about his motives. Why did you not try to contact me?”
“Bad Information,” said Rak, recalling his message from the council suggesting Stebe was a rogue Jedi.
“I assume due to the events that have transpired he has made his escape?”
“Sadly.” Said Rebeka.
“Do you know where he may be going? Any clues, subtle suggestions?”
There were a lot of shrugs and shaking of heads.
“Very well, you have all been through a lot, I’m sure you could do with some rest. Rebeka, I would like to speak with you alone.”
“Okay…” said Rebeka uncertainly.
“You can wait outside if you wish. It won’t take long.” Stebe said to the others.
“I’ll be outside.” said Lanyef.
“Call us if you need anything Rebeka.” Said Jace as they left the room.
“If you feel like being helpful, I’m sure the Republic forces could do with some assistance down in the bays.”
Once they had left, Stebe spoke with Rebeka.
“Since your time in the machine, you’ve been afforded a vision or two in your past. Was there anything about this? Anything that might explain where Terrn has gone.”
Rebeka went into detail about everything. The visions she’d had in the past, the voices on Hesserix, and the visions prior to her coma, all of it.
Stebe listened to it all, trying to perceive some clue in the words.
“It’s interesting you’ve had so many.” Said Stebe when she finished. “But I expect Lykat’s connection with you brought many of them to light.”
“Maybe, I’d rather not think about that.”
“Your initial vision may have more to share than was perceived. If we can invoke it, we may be able to get a clue as to where Taivus has gone.”
Rebeka looked unsure. “If you think it’ll help.”
“We have no leads right now. Even one would be a step on the path.”
“If you think it’ll help, then I’ll do it.”

They left the meeting room for an observation deck. A peaceful area of the ship. Stebe explained to Lanyef where they were going, and that Rebeka would need privacy once there. They were sat opposite each other in meditative poses as they begun, Stebe telling Rebeka to relax. She did so, and then suddenly her mind drifted and the vision returned…

Images flashed before her eyes, each of them seems too quick and fast to actually pick out details, and a noise that drowns out any sound. After a few moments some of the images became more apparent and the noise became background sound to the sound from the images.
The first was of her Father who stood still before her, then bathed in red light and collapsed.
The next image was Rebeka screaming at the sky on Tatooine, the scream tapering out to a laugh, and Rebeka’s body and clothes altered to that of Darth Lykat, The sands blackening around her and the suns hurriedly set before vanishing into darkness.
The Darkness became a collection of planets, there surface bound in massive chains, at its centre the chains lead to what was recognisable as the symbol of the scourge.
The image abruptly distorts to a black tornado, the noise it makes is not that of wind but of a million angry yells of Rage.
Then the images altered again and two Jace’s stood with pistols raised at each other, both firing and both Jace’s helmets explode in sparks that whited out her vision.
She heard the sound of First speaking the word “Unworthy” And then three lights in the whiteness, one Red, One Green, and one blue, all formed into a nose down triangle. The image altered, revealing a large droid with photoreceptors of each colour.
The images became that of a cloud in space, the Halcyon Nebula Rebeka heard herself utter the words
Then finally the last image of the Scourge droids holding their heads and screaming, the screaming slowly altering in tone from mechanical to a scream that sounds almost real.

Rebeka opened her eyes to Stebe, who looked at her.
“That was helpful.” Said Rebeka doubtfully.
“I would hazard the Nebula is important somehow.”
“Maybe, maybe that’s where Terrn’s gone.”
“Then that is where you will go. I feel it is still a long road, but you will find answers there at least. Whatever Terrn is doing, myself and Captain Starfire are determined to stop it. We’ll be leaving Hyperspace soon, I’ll give you the coordinates of the rendezvous, and you can explore this nebula and return to us.”
“Well, it’s at least something.” Said Rebeka.
“That is what we need right now.” Agreed Stebe.

Rebeka arranged with the others to set course for the nebula. They left the battle group and headed for the Halcyon Nebula. A conversation with First did not go well for Jace, who updated the droid with recordings of the battle on Hesserix.
“I’ve seen enough.” The droid decreed, shortly after Jace left the throne room to return to the Dawnstar.
“fine.” said Jace. “You disagree with my decision?”
“The Resol’Nare expects a warrior to do battle with what he has. Each battle must be a challenge a warrior must overcome, even if the challenge is insurmountable. You abandoned your family to find an easier way to win. The Arkanian is more Mandalorian than you. Regardless of your intentions, the woman known as Rebeka June could have been terminated along with the Arkanian. You were lucky.”
“Fine.” Said Jace, going away in a huff.
When they arrived at the nebula, the scanners detected nothing, so after a few minutes they ventured in, looking for what clues they could. Nothing seemed to obviously stick out, even once they were completely inside the nebula. Then out of nowhere the Dawnstar started plotting courses of its own will. Rebeka tried to override the navicomputer, but it was beyond her control, plotting a course outside of the galaxy. The Dawnstar entered Hyperspace entirely of its own volition throwing the crew about as it entered Hyperspace. The engines were being pushed to extremes, Rebeka dashing to the rear of the ship to keep the engines active, or trying to shut them down. The computers refused her attempts, and she tried to keep the ship from tearing itself apart. Minutes passed and finally everything shutdown, Leaving them adrift in the middle of nowhere. The engines were strained, but still functional.
“Where are we?” asked Rebeka.
“We’re still in the nebula.” Said Rak.
“I don’t think we are,” added Lanyef. “The Navicomputer has lost the link; we’re outside our own galaxy.”
“Well, maybe they can tell us what we’re doing here.” Said Rak, pointing out the viewport to a Space station, ancient in design, floating a few kilometres away.
“This isn’t another sith illusion is it?” Said Jace.
“No, This must be what I came for.” Said Rebeka, heading towards it.
Scanners refused to work while in the nebula, and even attempts to communicate failed, but the station still had power. They landed on the station, closer inspection of which determined it was very rundown, parts had been salvaged and scavenged to maintain other systems. The crew discovered there was no atmosphere, so all but Jace put on space suits, Jace remaining in his sealed armour. He asked first if he had any knowledge of the stations design, but the Basilisk had none at all, it was clearly far older than even he. They went out onto the stations deck, gravity was still active, and the stations jury rigged appearance continued even in its interior. They left the bay cautiously, looking for any sign of someone living here, and found it standing in the corridor.
They found a highly advanced droid, a long tube like head attached to a humanoid body with a single photoreceptor observing from the end of its head. It was red in colour, much like the rest of its chassis. Rebeka recognised it as the droid from her dreams, when Lykat tormented her.
She held up her hand. It did the same, and gestured down the corridor walking away from them.
“Is it a friend?” asked Jace, as they all readied weapons.
“I think so,” said Rebeka, “be ready in case.”
They followed it anyway, down several corridors where it met with another droid of its kind, though blue was its colour of choice. They both then continued after a silent exchange, the crew still following.
They were lead to the heart of the station, where the salvaged materials were constructed into a huge machine of terminals, consoles and machines. The droids met with a third in this chamber, green in colour Lanyef recognised as the one who stole the amulet a few months back. They conversed, though due to the lack of air they could not be heard by the crew. The three droids then merged with each other forming a larger version of it, with the red, blue and green receptors forming an inverted triangle. It moved towards them, looking directly at Rebeka, putting everyone on guard.
It stood unthreateningly in front of her expectantly.
“Hello?” she said on all frequencies.
There was a garbled noise, and then the droid responded in Rebeka’s voice. “Hello.”
It moved in front of Rak and repeated, standing in silence much longer.
“I think you need to speak to it before it can speak to you.” Said Rebeka.
“Hey,” he muttered.
“Hello,” it said in Rak’s voice.
“Morning,” said Lanyef.
“Hello,” it said again, changing voice.
“Hello,” said Jace cautiously. The droid repeated again in Jace’s voice. “Hello.”
“Language analysis completed. Extrapolating words, letters, symbols.” It said, standing to its full height, swapping voices between pauses.
“Greetings, you are a long way from home.”
“Don’t we know it,” said Rebeka.
“Where are we.” Asked Rak.
“A galaxy far, far away.”
“How do you know this?” asked Jace.
“Because I live here. I am the observer, I am the last of the celestials’ watchers, I am known to you as Legacy.”
“What do you do?” asked Lanyef.
“I observe the cycles of your galaxy.”
“So why did you bring us here?” Asked Rak.
“Because it is your time to be here.”
“You’re getting involved, surely that goes beyond your purpose?” said Lanyef.
“You would believe so, but this is something that has occurred in every cycle at every time. This is something that needs to happen, each time.”
“Surely U’tl should be here then if he’s one of these chosen.” Said Rak.
“The one known as U’tl does occasionally come here.”
“What?” asked Rebeka.
“You have all repeated this action many times.”
“Then how do we not remember?” asked Jace.
“The galaxy is continually destroyed and renewed, each time, you are born and die. Each time the cycle is repeated, actions are taken, I am to observe these actions.”
“For what reason?” Asked Lanyef.
“Curiosity. The celestials are gone, but my task is yet unfinished.”
“Then if you’re supposed to be watching, how come you took an amulet?” said Jace.
“It was necessary.”
“In what way,” asked Lanyef.
“It is key to the destruction of Taivus.”
“So that’s why we are here,” said Rebeka.
“Can we have it back?” asked Jace.
“It is mine to give, but I need something in receipt.” It looked at Rebeka. “A pointless thing.”
Rebeka considered this, and reached into her pack.
“You mean this?” she asked, showing the droid the broken energy cell given to her by the guide on Ossus.
“Yes, it is what I am looking for.” The droid said, putting out its hand, easily the size of their heads. Rebeka put it on its hand, which closed and it offered the other, the amulet in its palm.
“Thank you.” Said Rebeka, taking it.
“Do not thank me, the path you are on is a dangerous one. There are dark days to come.”
“I imagine so.”
“Darker than you believe. There will be losses.”
“There have already been losses, I’m sure there will be more.”
“There will be if you do not do the right things at the right time. This has occurred in several billion cycles.”
“Well, what is the right time?”
“When an enemy becomes an Ally. When a hand is stayed. Only then will all five members survive.”
“You could be more clear.” Said Jace.
“I cannot, for fear of changing things too much.”
“If you can tell us. What was the outcome of the Last Cycle?”
“The Scourge was defeated, Lanyef was lost.”
“That’s not happening.” Said Lanyef.
“And the one before that?” asked Jace.
“The scourge was defeated, U’tl was lost.”
“We were shown possible futures by a sith, are these past cycles?” asked Rak.
“I do not know. They may be illusions, each cycle is different. This is why I need the energy cell, this is why I must continue to observe. If it eases your worries, the Scourge has never won. In the billions of cycles, not one victory is recorded.”
“It does ease them, but any loss is not a victory.” Said Rebeka. “How… many cycles have I been lost?”
“Rebeka no.” said Jace, but the droid answered.
“233 billion.”
“Huh…okay. And not?”
“873 billion. There are only 4 cycles in which all five members survived the war.”
“How many more times is this going to happen?” asked Rak.
“It is unending,”
“Well that makes my actions feel futile and pointless.”
“Your actions allow the galaxy to continue, that is not futile. If you fail then all beings in the galaxy will die.”
“Why us?” asked Rebeka.
“I do not know, that is why I continue to observe.”
“What happens when you have the relevant data?”
“Nothing. The galaxy will continue, I will no longer observe. The cycles will continue.”
“But what about your input. Without it the scourge will eventually win.”
“But surely the destruction of the galaxy would mean your own destruction.”
“A possibility, I will not know until I’ve finished gathering data.”
“Of course.”
“Is there a cycle where my father survives?”
“I cannot tell you that.”
“Why not?”
“Because you told me not to.”
“What do you mean?”
“This is not our first, or last meeting Rebeka June. There are things you will set in motion that will allow my creation in the future.”
“Are there any cycles where I got fed up of this and just shot you?”
“There are 9 cycles where Jace has not attempted this.”
“What happened to him then?”
“He realised the pointlessness of it.”
“Thanks for letting me know.”
“10.” Said the droid.
“Is this the only cycle where four of us have been here.” Asked Rebeka.
“There has always been four, but not always the four of you.”
“We’re wasting oxygen here, we got the amulet, let’s go. Unless you have any more pressing information you wish to tell us to save the galaxy.” Said Jace.
“Where is Terrn?” asked Rak
The droid returned to the core of the station, removing an advanced hologram unit, and displaying it. “There is one last thing you will need.” The hologram displayed three vases, the ones they had been seeking for Terrn. Then the image changed flattening the designs of the vases into what appeared to be a Star map.
“The Hapes cluster.” Said Rebeka, recognising the design of the map. “Is it here in every cycle?”
“Yes, the Artefacts do not change the Hapes Cluster is where the path ends.”
“What about Taivus companions. Phage, Lykat, Storn?” asked Rak.
“I know not these names, Taivus is the pressing concern.”
“How does the amulet work?” Asked Rebeka.
“I do not know. I know nothing of its design or its function, I know only to claim it and return it at the appropriate time.”
“We could have kept hold of it.” Said Jace.
“We would have given it to Terrn.” Said Rebeka.
“Which was why it was claimed.” Said Legacy, “And by that person.”
“I think that’s all I can think of to ask.” Said Rebeka.
“Then you will be returned.”
“Is Soleil okay?” asked Rak.
“Yes, but the galaxy will not be kind to her in the future.”
With nothing more to say, they returned to the Dawnstar, leaving Legacy to his watching.
“Heed my words, when an Enemy becomes an Ally, when a hand is stayed.”

Episode 60: The Fall and Rise of the Scourge

The Deaths of the retreating troopers gave the group time to catch their breath before pressing on. Jace collected several power packs, and distributed a few of the troopers grenades. They then took a deep breath and moved through the next door. Enemies waited on the other side, Several troopers and acolytes as well as several dozen imprisoned slaves. A Rattataki Sith Slavemaster stood before the large doors to the Grand masters throne room, unfurling a long metal whip and gesturing at the group.
“First slave to bring me the head of an intruder will gain there freedom.” She hissed, Rebeka blasted one of the troopers, killing him in a couple of shots, blasting a second before he could react. Rak blasted the Slavemaster, as she gained some momentum with her whip, the slaves desperate for there freedom, charged the group, grabbing and throwing ineffective punches at them. While Jace had no intention of killing the slaves, he tossed a grenade which the Slavemaster grabbed out of the air and threw back at them. Exploding and shredding several Slaves and catching the group in the blast as well. Lanyef staggered into an opening, blasting the injured trooper a couple of times and killing him. Rebeka blasted a third trooper and reloading As Rak killed a Fourth blocking his sight to the Slavemaster, hitting her with another shot as her whip ignited along it’s edge, giving her a wall of light shimmering round her. Rak tried to shove one of the slaves away, knocking him down and killing him unintentionally, the momentary distraction and shock caused him to be blasted by the troopers, who had no problem with blasting Slave and intruder. Jace fired off warning shots to threaten the slaves into backing off, but there fear of the Slave master spurred them on. Lanyef stunned one of the slaves as Rebeka tried to move to a better position, blasting another trooper As Rak darted past, blasting the trooper before him. The Slave master caught Rak with a sudden strike from her lightwhip. Jace followed Rak’s example, rolling past the slaves and injuring another trooper with a shot from his blaster. Lanyef stunned another two slaves as Rebeka threw a grenade, injuring only a few troopers. Rak stepped back into the area the stunned slaves had left, blasting a trooper dead and focusing on the slavemaster with the rest of his shots. The Slave Master whipped Jace as she got closer, catching him across the arm nd taking a grazing shot from a trooper. Jace blasted the trooper in retaliation, killing him, before shooting the slave master, injuring her with a barrage of shots. Lanyef threw a grenade, hitting several troopers and the Slave master with it’s shrapnel. Rebeka shot the Slave master several times, killing her, shocking the slaves into inaction. Rak killed the last acolyte, blasting another two troopers dead. Jace blasted the last two troopers as the slaves saw their chance to flee with their slave master dead and fled the fortress.
Taking another breath, they readied at the heavy doors, Rebeka putting her hand on the door to push it, and both heavy doors opening with barely any pressure from her.
The Doors opened to reveal the Grand Masters Throne Room. The room was elaborate in stone. Two doors at the end of the room seemed to lead outside. A Large Stained Glass window displaying the mural of a robed woman wrapped in thorns. Sitting below this on a Throne was Darth Lykat, looking at the four of them in boredom. Two either side of her, chained to the ground were a purple Twi’lek and a woman, both wearing slave rags. Stood before her were two sith wearing crimson robes and brass masks featuring a womans face without blemish. Despite how perfect the features, they gave an almost morbid feeling. Seeing U’tl, Rebeka rushed into the room before the others had a chance to warn her. Lykat slammed her fist down onto her thrones controls and Rebeka was separated from her companions by a ray shield. Despite there desperation to seek a way through, they knew it would take time, time Rebeka wasn’t going to have. Lykat gave her a slow clap. Rak and Jace drew there Rifles and waited, knowing that’s all they could do.
“It seems I have gained your attention.” Said Lykat.
“You already had it.” Said Rebeka.
“Good, I’m glad that’s the case.” She replied, standing from her throne. “Now, I’m interested to know how you even found me. There are few who know this location outside the empire, so how did you know?”
“Well, quite frankly you underestimate me.” Said Rebeka.
Lykat smirked, “It seems you’ve already forgotten the rules of our little game. If you lie, or I find your answer unsatisfactory, some suffering is in order.” She picked up a medical canister from her throne and tossed it toward Rebeka. She gingerly picked it from the floor and opened it. Inside was a lump of flesh that Rebeka recognised as a Tongue.
“I got so very tired of his stupid comments that I had to shut him up for good, but if it makes you feel any better, he didn’t sell you out.”
Rebeka closed it, tossing it down.
“Now as I have already shown you your punishment, you might as well tell me, How did you find this place.”
“Like I said, you underestimated us.” Said Rebeka defiantly.
Lykat rolled her eyes, stepping over to U’tl and pulling the bag off his head, the shocked Twi’lek looked on as Lykat roughly grabbed one of his Lekku and drew a blade to sever the end. Rebeka reacted, pulling her blaster as the crimson robed Sith ignited there Saber staves and took up a defensive stance.
“Okay! Okay, I’ll tell you.” Said Rebeka.
“Then tell me.”
“You’ve been tracked.” Admitted Rebeka.
“Really? On what?”
“That’s all you need to know, Let U’tl go and I’ll tell you.”
“Don’t even think you are in control. I will however save you some misery.” She said, letting U’tl go. “Whatever you believe I have is not here. Which is interesting, isn’t it. So, how could someone send you all this way, if there’s nothing here for you to track. Unless they already knew.”
“We didn’t come for you! It’s not all about you!” barked Jace.
“Really? Then why are you here, if there is nothing to gain?”
“Your saying that Terrn knew where you were all along?”
“And the only man who knows of this place in the empire, is Darth Taivus.”
There mouths were dry, Could it be true? Could Terrn be the very enemy they were facing? But to what end? It was hard to believe, especially from Lykat.
“I sense your confusion, so let me put it another way. Your Master, is my Master too. Former Master of course, after the death of Phage I decided that it was time we settled our differences.”
Rebeka couldn’t handle the idea of the betrayal, but Lykat was too certain, it couldn’t be a lie.
“I commend his cunning, he kept us fighting each other, all the while distracting each other from his true goals, quite ingenious really.”
“In that case, what do you want from us.”
“Normally I’d love nothing more than to watch you suffer, but as Taivus is the next target of my fury, I’m going to let you live. Of course, there is a Stipulation to your survival.”
“Okay…” said Rebeka warily.
“There will be no interruptions from your mongrel this time, you have to make a choice. A choice between the broken actor, who will no longer find any work. Or perhaps…”she said, tugging on the hood of the other prisoner. “you can save the fallen Jedi.” She said, pulling the hood away. A broken Stebe hanged her head, Dark side corruption visible on her features, and the presence of tear trails on her pale sickly bruised skin. She couldn’t look at Rebeka.
“She tried to help you, tried so hard to kill me to save you from this moment, even fell to the dark side to gain the power to stop me, but it does not serve her in this place.”
“I’m afraid it’s an easy choice.” Said Rebeka.
“Really?” said Lykat genuinely surprised by her admission. “You can kill one of your beloved friends just like that?”
“No…No I can’t. I just… can’t,” she said sadly.
“The choice is not negotiable, one life or all there lives, one dies or you all die.” She hissed.
“The choice has already been made. I’m sure you know.” Said Rebeka.
“So be it.” Said Lykat.
“I’m sorry.” Rebeka said to Stebe. She had no time to register the apology as a red blade was driven through her back. The Jedi sliding forward to the floor. Lykat then used the force to lift U’tl by the throat. Rebeka fired to stop her, but one of the Sith darted in front of the shot, taking the hit. The sudden crunch of U’tls throat was all that was heard, as Lykat let him go and he slumped to the floor.
“Now…” she said, her hand hovering over the ray shield control. “Let’s get this over with.” She said, and deactivated it. Jace didn’t miss a beat, firing as soon as the shield was down. Lykat deflected the bolt away with her hand. Rak got her distracted, but one of her guards took the shot for her once more. Lanyef fired on her too, Lykat reflecting it away with her lightsaber. The Sith charged them, one striking Rebeka with her stave and catching her in her sorrow. Rebeka screamed not in pain but in anger, firing on the Sith before her as grief mixed with Adrenaline. She tried to hit Lykat with a shot, that was again cast from the Sith Lord. Jace blasted at one of her protectors as she closed on Jace, Lanyef blasting at the other, but unable to hit her. Rak added his fire to Jaces, taking down the Sith on him before she reached him. The other Sith spun from Rebeka, striking at Jace, feinting him and slicing up his Jetpack, rendering it useless. The air in the room grew cold, Lykat’s power flowing as she unleashed her fury upon Jace and Rebeka, causing them to shake in fear. The voices urging Rebeka on grew louder, urging her on to embrace her fear and turn it into anger. Rebeka listened willingly blasting violently at Lykat, who deflected each of her shots away harmlessly.
“All of this time and it’s just been a waste.” Said Lykat.
Jace still managed to blast the remaining Sith down, despite his shaking, trying to hit Lykat with a last shot, but she avoided it. Alone against the four of them, Lykat got serious, adjusting her lightsaber to face behind her. Lanyef fired on her, but she reflected the bolts back at the Arkanian, burning his arm. Rak fired on her too, catching her a couple of times with shots, but reflected one of the bolts back at Rebeka, catching her too.
“How many months have you been doing this, and you still don’t have the power to beat me.”
“We have, give me a minute and you will be dead.” Growled Jace, trying to stop shaking.
“No…” she said, the ground cracking beneath her feet by the sheer pressure of her power, “I don’t think I will be.” She said, leaping at Jace, roaring in fury as she was upon him, spinning her blade in her hand in ridiculously complex arcs.
“Is that it.” Said Jace, who’d only managed to avoid losing a limb out of sheer luck.
“I’m far from done with you!” she growled.
“Don’t you dare ignore me!” shouted Rebeka, blasting her from behind, but Lykat redirected her shots at Jace. Blasters were no good against her, Rebeka threw her gun down and pulling the slug thrower. Jace dropped a spore grenade in the hopes of poisoning Lykat, but the legendary constitution of a force user made it all too easy for her to avoid any dire effects, using the distraction to Arm a thermal detonator. Lanyef saw the action and backed off, drawing his sonic pistol and blasting her, she spun a quick arc, dispersing the energy but unable to reflect the weapon like a blaster. Rak still managed to hit her with a shot while she was distracted, spinning on Rebeka.
“You don’t want to be ignored? Fine!” she said reaching out to her. Jace tried to grab her but she threw him off with strength beyond her size, picking Rebeka up with the force and throwing Rebeka through the Stain glassed window, landing on a duelling platform that overhung the chasm the fortress was built beside. Rain washing the blood from her injuries. She staggered to her feet, moving back towards the fortress as Jace disarmed the detonator, jabbing her with a vial of tempest, before rolling away from her retaliatory swing.
“We should leave now!” said Jace, but Lanyef hurried to Rebekas rescue, towards the doors, which he found to be locked, he hurriedly tried to open the door as Rak tried an experimental shot, but still Lykat was impossible to hit, the tempest only seemed to make her fury that much more untameable.
She tossed the syringe aside, leaping out of the window to land on the otherside.
“If you want my full attention! You’ve got it!!!” she roared, charging across the platform towards Rebeka and running her through. The shock on Rebeka’s face was mirrored on Lykat’s as she slid to her knees and slumped to the ground.

The others knew this was bad, Rebeka was now alone with a raging Lykat. She wouldn’t last long. “You’re a coward after all Lykat!” yelled Jace, “I knew you wouldn’t have the courage to take me out!” he then ran back towards the large doors, hoping she would be baited “Rak come on!” he called as he ran. Lanyef gave up on the lock, using the grapple he had to climb up to the window. Rak was torn, but in the end, he followed Jace.

“Is this it…” said Lykat, rain pouring down her face as thunder clapped. “Is this all you had?” she said angrily. “Is this all!! All this time! All of this and this is all you amount too!!”
Rebeka did not answer, this only angered her more.
“You could not dodge a simple thrust!! You are pathetic!! A waste of time!!”
“No!” shouted Lanyef from atop the window, firing a sonic pulse that missed her thanks to her keen senses. She looked at him hatefully, then glanced at Rebeka before bringing her arm up to her face and biting down, drawing blood in a bid to overcome her Rage.

“So what’s the plan?” asked Rak, catching up to Jace.
“We fly the ship, fly it into her.” Said Jace.
Rak realised he’d made a terrible decision.
“Jurl, open the doors we’re coming aboard now, Rebeka’s in danger.” He added as an after thought, given the droids propensity to ignore his orders.
Rak just caught sight of a Defender class corvette as it flew in low, taking flak from the turbo lasers.
Jace didn’t see it, rushing to the cockpit and starting the ship up.
“What are you doing?” said Rak as Jace got comfy.
“What are YOU doing, get on the guns, we’re taking off.”

Lykat was hit by a shot from Lanyef, trying to get her to back off, Lykat regaining her composure and throwing lightening towards him. catching the Arkanian with a glancing strike. He shot her again, hitting her another couple of times as she again struck him with lightening and suddenly there was the loud bang of a slugthrower, Rebeka propping herself up against the fortress wall and shooting Lykat three times. The Sith Lord staggered, blood pouring from her wounds, one where her heart was.
“This isn’t possible! You were dead!” she said.
Rebeka tried to sit up, in tremendous pain from her injuries.
“This isn’t over!” Lykat managed, “Death…is only the beginning.” She said, then burst in dark energy, throwing Rebeka against the wall and nearly throwing Lanyef off the ledge, Screaming her last.
When Lanyef looked once more, Lykat had gone, her robes and lightsaber lay where she was, the echo of her scream still fresh in the air. Rebeka was out again, and the first one he checked. Then there was the sound of crashing twisting metal.

The Dawnstar took off just as the corvette was coming into crash, smashing into the landing pad and docking area with great force. Jace circled the Dawnstar round to the duelling platform, just managing to land on the tight surface when he saw there was no sign of the Sith. He and Rak rushed out with guns when he saw she was missing.
“We need to get Rebeka into the medical bay.”
“Where is she?” aked Jace.
“Dead, now help her.” Said Lanyef seriously.
As Jace took her aboard, Lanyef opened the doors back into the throne room.
“Any Idea what was up with that ship?” asked Jace.
“No.” said Rak, shrugging.
Lanyef recovered the bodies of Stebe and U’tl while Jace treated Rebeka, bringing her round.
“What happened?” she asked.
“I’d like to know.” Said Jace.
“Lykat’s dead.” Said Lanyef returning with U’tl, “I think.”
Rebeka staggered outside to where Lykat was last seen, limping towards her lightsaber.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Warned Jace, as her hand closed. Then her hand opened again Rebeka’s mind awash with images of hate and Malice. It didn’t want to be touched.
“Like I said, maybe it’s for the best.”
Rebeka limped back to the ship.
“Blow it up.” She muttered, Jace nodding and fetching a bomb.

Later they examined the bodies of U’tl and Stebe and discovered that in fact, Stebe was a droid, more than likely the one Yusan Kile made, or was observing. U’tl too was suspicious, having undergone some sort of facial surgery. Now it was possible as an actor he had undergone some for vanity but there was every possibility he wasn’t the real U’tl. Against there better judgement, the only course left was to confront Terrn about what Lykat had said.

Rebeka’s mood was not the best, even after she learned that U’tl was in fact a slave made up to look like him. She was treated for her wounds, but everyone was still focused on what to do when they arrived. They distracted Rebeka with Stebe’s Droid counterpart, which they now believed was in fact a copy and not the Jedi they knew of.
When they arrived at Meera, Mikel responded as they arrived. They asked if Terrn was available and said he was, however he became uncomfortable when they asked not to report the Dawnstars arrival.
“This is very sensitive business.” Said Jace.
“Personal business.” Added Rebeka, who had taken charge of the helm now her injuries were greatly improved.
Mikel looked awkward.
“I just want a day off,” lied Rebeka, but Mikel was still nervous.
“Something’s going on, what is it?”
“We have reason to believe he may have been compromised, we need to see him in person to confirm this.” Admitted Jace.
“ Okay, I can put you through to the planet if you like?”
“No no, we’ll see to this in person.” Said Rebeka.
Mikel granted them access and promised to say nothing for a short while.
They landed on Meera, each of them heading out to his office. Scourge droids littered the route, clearly from the attack that hadn’t been cleaned up. His assistant wasn’t at her desk so they went straight in, finding him sat at his desk working on a datapad.
“Ah excellent, I trust everything went well.” He said.
Rebeka felt the sudden surge of Dark Side energy surrounding him.
“No it didn’t.” said Jace.
“Went well enough.” Added Rebeka.
“Excellent.” He said, continuing to work.
“Not want to know any of the details.” Asked Rak.
“No, I’m sure you were successful in eliminating Darth Lykat.”
“That’s not what you sent us for.” Said Rebeka.
“No, No it’s not.” He said, still tapping away.
“Not exactly been on the level with us.” Said Rak.
“I don’t see how, you never asked.” Said Terrn.
“Well we’re asking now.” Said Rebeka.
Terrn paused, putting the datapad down and standing, “What is there to say? I needed the Artefacts and I got them all. The only way I could achieve that was by playing both sides against the middle. Now I can realise my dreams, and it’s all thanks to the four of you.”
“We’ll see about that.” Said Jace, pulling his gun, the others following.
“And there’s five of us.” Said Lanyef. “Never forget U’tl.”
“I’m sure I’ll not, I’ll send my thanks to him later.”
“Where is he?” asked Rebeka.
“On the station I believe.”
“On the station, I’m not his keeper, just as I’m not your uncles.” He smirked, “So loyal until the end, and now it is too late.”
“Try it.” Said Jace.
“I don’t need to, I’ve already won.”
“Not while we’re still breathing.” Said Lanyef.
“30 years I have kept this façade, and now I don’t need to. Feels strange really to have collected them all, and it’s thanks to the very group I expected to die here in the ruins.”
“We’re not your pathetic mercenaries you send to die.”
“They served there purpose well.”
“We’re done here.” Said Jace, all of them firing, hitting a force field that separated the room between them and dissipating harmlessly.
“Thank you for testing that worked. It’s the shield technology you recovered for me. It has another interesting quality.” Said Terrn, reaching out his hands towards them, throwing Jace and Rak against the back wall then forward into the shield electrocuting them. Rak fell unconscious as Jace smoked.
“Hm… still not perfect, that should have incinerated you, but then it is only a prototype.” He said, then busied himself about the office, packing things.
“Feel free to kick and shout if you wish, it’ll do you no good, but it might make you feel better.”
“I think we’re done here.” Said Jace, standing up.
“I think so too. Oh by the way, about your reward, I had a discussion with the Intergalactic banking network and of course I had to report you for Imperial espionage, which is technically true. Of course I’m sure that will be the least of your concerns in the next few minutes.”
“Why’s that.” Said Rebeka.
“Well, The imperial fleet soon to attack this place of course. Enjoy the rest of your brief lives.”
He said as they picked up Rak, and hurried out.

As they left the building, they caught glimpse of Terrn’s shuttle fleeing as a wing of imperial fighters strafed there position. They took minor grazes as they dove for cover, then hurried to the Dawnstar, powering her up before the fighters swung round for another attack. They were in the atmosphere by the time the fighters followed them, and when they reached space they saw the battle for Meera had only just begun. A large Sith fleet was approaching the Station, too much for it to take on alone. There was no other option now, they had to save everyone they could.

Episode 59: Cut to the Heart

They arrived at the Czerka Corporation store, where the droids had begun to lay siege to Lerayl’s defenders. Rebeka hopped out on one of the droids and started blasting away, catching the droid off-guard. Throwing an ion grenade, Rak disabled the shields of 9 of the droids with it. Including two of the berserker droids. Lanyef struck the same droid Rebeka fired on, but the droids strange design shielded it from most of the energy. Jace stepped out and tore two droids apart with laser fire before any of them had reacted. Taylen blasted another droid along with Bob as the officers covered their retreat. Rebeka and Rak took another droid down under their fire. Lanyef damaged another droid as Jace continued to blitz the corridor, before having to reload. Taylen and Bob damaged another droid as the droids divided and attacked their new attackers, Taylen and Bob were peppered with Flechette. As a lucky shot from a berserkers blaster rifle hit Lanyef, nearly taking him out. The Defenders fired on the droids, hitting them with blaster fire and sonic waves. Rebeka blasted another droid, catching it in the torso. As Rak blasted the Berserker charging him. Lanyef blasted one of the droids yet to lose its shields, but failed to hit it. Jace shredded the Berserker with his carbine, and Taylen and Bob tried to blast it apart, but the droid refused to relent. Swords were swung at them by the Banshees, managing to avoid most of the swings. Rebeka was caught by the berserkers’ lightsabers as Jace and Lanyef took a few burns from blaster fire. One of the defenders fell under the fire from the droids as Rebeka blasted several of the droids. Rak nearly smashed the Berserker before them to parts, but still it continued to fight on. Jace finally put down the Berserker in front of him, Taylen and Bob continued to fire as the droids killed another defender as the droids continued to stab and thrust at their ambushers. One of the officers who came with them was cut down as they moved to help.
“Get back inside!” called Rebeka to the defenders, blasting the droid in front of her, and then destroying the droid near Taylen. Rak returned fire on the droids before him As Lanyef struck another of the droids with its shields still up, bringing them down and blasting another nearby droid. Jace shredded the Berserker before him, but the droid continued to swing at him despite the blasts. Taylen drew the droids fire to give the defenders time to return to the Czerka store, as he and bob continued to blast droids. Taylen was shot up fairly badly by the blaster fire. Rebeka, Lanyef and Jace were set upon by Berserker Droids, lightsabers whirling at them in violent swings. Rebeka managed a glancing shot on her assailant as Rak blasted another, Lanyef blasting the Banshee swinging at him with its blade. Jace finally destroyed a Berserker and turned to aid Rebeka, blasting the droid before her too. Taylen and Bob continued to support them, Taylen diving behind the cover of the Czerka store. Rebeka blasted the Berserker before her again, damaging the droid, Rak finishing it off, and blasting the Banshee in front of Lanyef, who finished it off with a shot to the head. The remaining two Berserkers drew Jace’s Ire, peppering the droids with laser fire. Taylen took cover as the droids blasted his position and shot Jace.
“You get inside!” said Rebeka to Taylen, keeping his head down as Rebeka blasted a droid as she went to his aid. Rak blasted the droid a few more times as Jace added his fire to Rak’s damaging the droid more and more. Bob taking it out with a final couple of shots. The remaining Berserker fired on Rebeka as she returned fire, avoiding most of the damage with its shields.
“How are you doing Taylen!” she called.
“I’m fine, don’t jab me with any needles.” He muttered as he tended to his injuries. Rak blasted the remaining droid along with Lanyef, taking down its shields. Jace tore it apart with blaster fire, but still the droid remained active, drawing its lightsabers, but instead of attacking, drove its lightsaber blades into its head, destroying itself. Everyone was shocked by the sudden self-destruction, but took the breath in the battle to tend to wounds and check on the defenders.
“Everyone okay in there?” asked Rebeka as the doors opened.
“Thank the force you’re alive!” said David, approaching Rebeka and giving her a hug.
“Yes, it’s good you came when you did.” Said Sergeant Lerayl as she saw Rebeka.
“What’s been going on?” she asked.
“The whole station is in chaos.”
“We had noticed any reason why?”
The Selonian shook her head “I do not know. There was an attack on one of the hangar bays. The droids were hiding in one of our supply ships. We were caught completely off-guard, storming to the command centre and forcing us out. Then the killing started.”
“Have you seen U’tl?”
“I have not.” Replied Lerayl, Rebeka noticed Brie in amongst the survivors, trying not to catch her eye, but did so anyway.
“Have you seen him?” she asked quietly. Brie shook her head, though the guilty face made it clear she may have.
“He might be in danger, I’m really worried about him.” said Rebeka.
She shook her head.
“I really don’t want him to get hurt.” Said Rebeka.
“It was an accident.” She sniffed, bursting into tears.
“Its okay, it’s okay.” Said Rebeka.
“I got caught by one of the robot things.”
“Well as long as you’re okay, what happened then?”
“It was gonna hurt me if U’tl didn’t go with it.” She said, closing her eyes.
“Okay, it’s okay. You’re not in trouble. You did the right thing.” Said Rebeka.
“I think that’s enough.” Said Lex, comforting her daughter. Rebeka gave Lex some lollipops to comfort Brie by way of an apology.
“I believe it’s time we tried to come up with some sort of counter attack.” Said Lerayl.
“I know just the man to ask.” Said Rebeka, looking at Jace.
“How do we reach the security Level?” he asked.
“There are only two points of ingress, either the main security lift or the loading area lift.”
“Where’s the loading lift?”
“On the opposite side of the station, but both points will likely be heavily guarded.”
They discussed plans for a few more moments when her comm sprang to life.
“Report…” she said, listening to her com with a puzzled look on her muzzle. “What do you mean?” she inquired, then gave a brief nod. “Alright, we’re on our way. It’s time we headed to the security level.” She said, addressing them.
“Okay, what’s going on?” said Rebeka.
“Apparently all the droids have shut down.”
“Then let’s not waste this chance.” Said Rebeka.

The main security access was littered with the fallen and trashed Scourge droids, all looked like they’d either destroyed each other and themselves.
“What happened?” asked Rak.
“Being droids made of people, either they went mad or had a kill switch and are no longer needed.”
“Just like a Sith.” Spat Rak.
They found the same grizzly scenario on the security level, with the rest of the security force who discovered the droids, along with Mikel.
“Well… lets be thankful for now everyone is okay.” Said Rebeka, unsettled.
“Seems like they got whatever they were coming for.” Said Jace.
“Establish Contact with the planet immediately.” Said Lerayl to Mikel, jumping to it, and establishing communications with the planet.
Moments later the familiar hologram of Terrn appeared before them, unharmed it seemed.
“Thank goodness you’re all alright. I understand there’s been an attack on the station. Unfortunately we had a few ships descend on us as well, but the security force down here kept them at bay.”
“Could do with some of them up here.” Muttered Rebeka.
“Unfortunately the news only gets worse. We received contact from outside of the system. The focusing crystal was being transported to be examined and regrettably the sith have stolen it. But we do have some good news, the focusing crystal was being tracked by myself for such an eventuality, and we traced it back to the planet of Hesserix.”
“Where’s that?” said Rebeka.
“The fortress world of the cult of the dark sisters.”
“Oh…great.” Said Rebeka.
“I do not order you to do this, but I am asking for volunteers to attempt the retrieval.”
“I’ll volunteer.” Said Rebeka.
“Me too.” Said Lanyef.
“What about U’tl, we don’t know where he’s gone.” Said Jace.
“It’s likely if the droids on the station are the same group who captured the crystal, you will likely find your friend too.” Said Terrn.
“They did want him alive.” Said Lanyef.
“He’s still useful to them.” Said Rebeka, more reassurance for herself.
“I will start bringing order back to the station. Eliminating any droids that may still be active.” Said Lerayl.
“Then we should go.” Said Rebeka.
“Was the Republic not involved in the transportation?” asked Jace.
“They were, but the Sith used a sizable task force to secure the Crystal.” Said Terrn.
“Can’t they get it back?” suggested Jace.
“Not without causing all-out war with the Sith, a Republic army cannot take an imperial world, it’s too great a risk.”
“So we risk it instead.” Said Rebeka. “Is there anything you can give to help us?”
“Shrada may have some medical supplies you can take.” Suggested Lerayl. “But we are not made for assaults.”
They took what they could. Shrada gave them a collection of Adrenals and Rebeka bid her uncle farewell, talking as though she weren’t coming back. Her uncle warned her against talking like that.
They set off for Hesserix shortly after; fully aware they were going to Lykat’s Home.

During the four days Jace displayed the footage BMO had recorded to First, who seemed to study it with interest only in the droids they were fighting.
When they arrived in system they located Hesserix easily, a dark structure on a jungle world, currently in the throes of a storm. They headed for the fortress, turbo laser defences powering up and blasting at them. Rak and Jace opened fire on some of the Turbolasers, damaging them. The Dawnstar avoided fire and landed neatly on the docking pad, out of range of the turrets. They geared up, taking deep breaths as they stepped out into the chill air of the planet. The fortress of the dark sisters was very devotional to its cult. Banners flew bearing a woman’s face whose hair was made of thorns; the design was old stone rather than duracrete, giving it an ancient feel. It was unlikely the Dark Sisters were the original residence. They dashed into the cover of the entrance, trying to avoid the rain. Upon reaching the entrance they noticed much of the building was lit by large braziers designed in the shape of robed women, covering the flame with their hands that caused spidering shadows across the walls. The overwhelming sense this was a bad place couldn’t be shaken as they entered the main corridor. They eventually reached a large circular chamber, with large pillars designed similar to the Braziers. Walkways criss crossed above them, with no sign of a way up onto them. Rak and Lanyef just managed to see a figure high above them, warning the others, Jace used his binoculars to peer up, when they heard the sound of moving stone behind them. Suddenly all the Braziers and statues were observing them.
“Why are you here?” whispered a Voice.
“You have something that belongs to us.” Said Rebeka nervously.
“Who are you talking to?” asked Jace. It seemed only she heard it. The voices continued to whisper at her.
“Are you saying none of you can hear that?” said Rebeka.
“Could be force trickery, ignore it.” Said Jace, as suddenly the large doors on the opposite side of the room opened, and a squad of Sith Troops moved to block there path.
“You are fools to come to this place!” hissed a woman’s voice. Several robed women dropping down from the platforms above. Jace opened fire on one of the Sith, burning her robes several times, and injuring her with a lucky shot. The Sith charged them as Rebeka moved away and fired on the first Sith to reach her. Rak killed off the first Sith, turning to blast the Sith attacking Rebeka. Jace followed it up with another Barrage, injuring another Sith as Lanyef added his fire to theirs. The sith suddenly stretched out towards them, Lanyef and Jace were thrown into the chamber out of the corridor they were using as cover. Four more Sith jumped Lanyef and Jace as they tried to get back up. Rebeka and Rak blasted the injured Sith in front of them trying desperately to reach there friends they’d been split from.
Jace rushed to his feet, avoiding the two Sith acolytes’ swings, opening fire on them and injuring one. As Lanyef crawled away, blasting one of the Acolytes and grazing her. Jace was surrounded by the Acolytes as two more swung down at Lanyef, narrowly avoiding serious injury as he rolled on the floor. One of the Sith thrust out her hand towards Rak, throwing a bolt of lightning that incapacitated the Serrocan, causing him to collapse in pain, as another Sith struck him with a lightsaber. Rebeka narrowly avoided the Sith striking her, but already they were getting overwhelmed. Rebeka shot another Sith dead, the voices in her head urging her on to continue to kill. She fired on the Sith with her hand outstretched, causing a glancing blow. Jace blasted one of the acolytes, killing her and continuing fire to the second Acolyte, shredding her with laser fire and swinging round to one of the Sith, hitting her with laser fire as he spun back to the soldiers holding position, tossing a grenade into their midst, causing them to spread out further. Lanyef blasted the acolyte again as they descended upon him, causing great cuts in the floor as he rolled away. Jace was blasted by the troopers fire, grazing him as Rebeka was caught by the lightsaber, catching the Sith with several blaster bolts, injuring her as another grenade went off in the squad of troopers, shredding several of them, before spinning round to Shred the Sith attacking Rebeka with Carbine fire, then Spinning on the acolytes attack Lanyef, who took the opportunity to struggle away and continuing to fire on his attackers. The surviving troopers spread out, firing on Jace as Rebeka blasted the Acolyte trying to jump Jace, killing her, and blasting the Acolyte attacking Lanyef. Jace assisted her, blasting the Acolyte in a crossfire that took her down, before turning his gone on the final Sith, killing her, then finally killing two other troopers. Lanyef got to his feet, blasting another trooper, injuring him. The squad leader called a retreat too late, the four of them taking them out before they reached the doors, and pressing further into the Dark Sister’s home.


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