Beyond Borders and Schadenfreude [FT | Invite Only]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Compulsory Consumerist State

Beyond Borders and Schadenfreude [FT | Invite Only]

Postby Thrashia » Sat Jan 09, 2016 5:31 am

Several Light Years Outside Carpentaria System | Beta Quadrant | Milky Way Galaxy
Imperial Date –

Bridge Lieutenant Kal Dezon watched his monitors carefully. He had calculated the exact entry vector more than a dozen times, but he wanted to be sure he was right. No, he had to be right. He was an Imperial officer now, and mistakes were something he could not afford to make. The ship's captain was not a forgiving sort, and he had seen more than one crewman suffer for the slightest error. He had no intention of joining those ranks. Dezon had been conscripted into the Imperial Navy from his home world of Unqarth in the Solidarity System. He hadn't wanted to serve the Empire, but he had no choice. His world was one of those still suffering from economic troubles due to the local trade magnates creating world-wide monopolies, and if he wanted his family to remain safe and supported, he had to serve out his term willingly and to the best of his ability. He was one of the many young men serving on Imperial capital ships. His training had been brief but intensive, and it was still going on. But he had proved himself enough to gain an officer's rank and a position in the Bridge Pit of the Interdictor Cruiser Moirae's Fist.

The ship had received a call from the Imperial Star Destroyer Stormlord, asking for assistance in catching a smuggling ship that had jumped to lightspeed three sectors away. Stormlord provided its jump vector, and Moirae's Fist had moved into a likely intercept position. As duty officer at the gravity well projection station, it was up to Dezon to calculate the proper placement of the mass shadows to interrupt the smuggling ship's hyperspace trip. He had done that, and he had also calculated the approximate time of arrival based upon the ship's engine type and vector. All he had to do was order the projection gunners to initiate the mass shadow sequence at the appropriate moment.

The theory was simple. Real-space gravity masses were reflected into hyperspace, allowing navigation and co-dimensional travel. They also made hyperspace dangerous. An uncharted gravity mass in the path of a ship traveling at lightspeed can be disastrous like flying a ship at full speed into a solid wall. Fortunately, modern hyperspace drives come equipped with emergency cut-offs which turn off engines and drop ships back into real-space before they smash into whatever is producing the mass shadow.

With huge gravity well generators, Interdictor Cruisers can produce artificial mass shadows wherever they need, affecting up to half the size of a moderate planetary system. Dezon was about to do just that, knocking the smuggling ship into real-space and keeping it there until the Stormlord arrived. He checked his calculations, then glanced at the ship chrono. Almost time, he noted, and his mouth turned dry. He was about to put his training to the test- for real this time. "Now," Dezon said evenly, speaking directly into his comm unit. The gunners stationed at the four gravity well projectors acknowledged the order. Dezon watched the four gravity wave cones spread out across his viewscreen.

“Come on, where are you?" he whispered to himself, checking his calculations once again.

“There it is," one of the pit crewmen announced. Dezon breathed a sigh of relief as the modified freighter popped out of hyperspace. He knew it would only be disoriented for a second. Then it would try to run. He couldn't allow that. "Hit it with two wave cones, port and aft" Dezon ordered, "and keep the other two ready in case it makes a break for it." As long as they kept the freighter within the directed mass shadows, it would not be able to jump to lightspeed.

Even then, the astrogator would need several minutes to calculate a new hyperspace route. It was technically possible to jump even with a mass shadow detected, but that would require the nav-computer recomputing the route and taking the mass shadow into affect. New model Interdictor's were able to emit what was being called a gravity wave pulse, where the mass shadow being projected adjusted in the intensity with which it was physically impacting the area of space being targeted by the Interdictor Cruiser's crew.
But Dezon knew it would be too late. By then, it would be all over.

A moment later, Stormlord appeared without fanfare or warning. It's arrow-head shape was pointed vindictively towards the trapped ship. It immediately hit the freighter with a barrage of tractor beams and began hauling it toward the open maw of its underside hangar. "We've got it, Constrainer," the Stormlord sent. "Thanks for the assist." Dezon acknowledged the message as he heard heavy foot falls approaching from the command deck. He spun around and stood at attention, restraining the urge to look up at the captain. He stood that way for several long seconds, his head level, his eyes fixed upon the polished black boots of the Constrainer's commander. Finally, the captain spoke. "Good work, Lieutenant," she said gruffly. "We'll make an Imperial out of you yet." "Yes sir, thank you sir," Dezon responded as the captain turned and walked away. He had performed well and had avoided awakening the captain's wrath - this time. He only hoped the next time things would go as smoothly.

Aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Stormlord

The bulkhead doors of the freighter was cut open and a specifically designed charge kicked the metal forward and into the ship. The scrap metal the door turned into landed heavily and noisily, adding to the boom of the initial explosion. Timing was everything and heartbeats after the explosion happened, Imperial stormtroopers burst through the new entryway of the freighter. The first squad through found themselves in the loading ramp area on the starboard side of the ship.

"Delta Squad is in. No contact," the squad leader reported.

"Understood, Corporal CT-097. Continue your boarding sweep. Capture all aboard, alive and as undamaged as possible," the official reply came back.

"Undamaged, eh?" scoffed one of the troopers over the closed-link squad channel.

"Zip it, Tank," ordered the corporal. "We don't need distractions."

The duly chastised trooper, Tank, sent by a single click over the comlink in confirmation. With swift movements and hand signals, the squad exited the cargo loading ramp and entered the main hold. The freighter was your typical Barloz-class medium freighter -- very no frills or shiny. It was popular among small time smugglers and merchant houses alike, which made it a hassle for Imperial Customs to officiate between which ships were legitimate or those breaking the law. Standard crew requirements for these vessels was only two, but the Corporal wasn't taking chances.

They entered the primary cargo bay. It was stacked high with crates. Trooper Tank opened one after being ordered to by a swift gesture from the Corporal. "Just like the Captain briefed us on -- illegal weapons caches." The crate was full of older model blaster pistols, but of military grade -- which made them illegal. "I haven't seen DL-18s in years." The entire bay was visible to the squad, none of the crates were stacked higher than shoulder height. The emergency lights were flashing, tripped by the explosion that had allowed the squad entry to the ship. The Corporal had them switch on the lamps attached to their blasters. The headed towards the front of the ship, the squad splitting to enter both doors that led into the next storage room. One blaster bolt to the door handle and a swift kick was enough to open the way.

The squad dodged inside, blasters raised, and found themselves staring at two beings with their hands up and looking like they'd much rather be anywhere in the galaxy but here. "Hey! No need to shoot, now! We surrender...we don't mean to cause no trouble. Being as how we're honest folk and all." The one who had spoken was a shorter-than average Besalisk, male by the look and tone of him. To the Besalisk's right was a Phuii, slightly taller.

"Would hardly say shipping illegal weaponry across Imperial borders is 'honest'," retorted Trooper Tank, his voice sounding mechanical through the helmet filter.

"Well, times are hard on the frontier," shrugged the Besalisk. "Spent all my credits getting to this new galaxy and it seems to have a lot more problems than what I had back home, more's the bad luck."

"I presume you're the captain of this ship?" asked the Corporal, taking charge.

"Yes sir, that I'd be." The smuggler captain shrugged, all four of his arms moving slightly. "Though I expect to be the captain of naught else but my hide after this."

"You'd be correct," muttered Tank.

The corporal motioned two of his men forward, while the rest of the squad kept their blasters aimed and ready. The two troopers brought out binders and locked the two smugglers up. "Take them out and give them to the Lieutenant for processing," ordered the Corporal. "Rest of you, sweep the ship for anything, or anyone, else you might find."

As they stepped back into the cargo bay, Trooper tank stopped next to the cargo elevator at the center of the primary bay. The computer was beeping and Tank frowned. Why would there be so much power being fed into the secondary cargo bay on a freighter like this? Curiosity getting the best of him, Tank stepped onto the cargo elevator, motioned for his battle-buddy to join him, and then pressed the power stud to lead them down. The secondary was slightly smaller than the primary, as was to be expected. What wasn't expected was the cargo in the room. The light had been doused as the elevator was lowered and when Tank drew his light across the room, it came to rest upon a seemingly great sea of squished, scared, and desperate-looking faces.

"Uh, sir?" Tank spoke over the squad channel. "I think you're going to want to see this and you might want to get the Lieutenant."
Last edited by Thrashia on Sun Apr 03, 2016 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thrashia » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:45 am

Imperial-class Star Destroyer Stormlord | Reinhardt Provisioning Station | Classified Location | Beta Quadrant
Imperial Date –

Captain Josephine Bonny stepped out of her ready-room and mentally steadied herself. It was hard, these interviews. Ever since the Barloz-class medium freighter, called the Mariana, was captured for smuggling contraband weapons Captain Bonny had been getting a gradually larger headache. Not only were the two smugglers carrying illegal weaponry, but they'd also been carrying a hold full of beings – refugees. There were forty-three refugees that had been crammed into a space that wasn't fit for more than twenty-five. The filth that had been reportedly found down there was enough to make even a hardened midshipman want to puke. Medical teams were still processing through those that needed immediate attention.

Twenty-three children, seven women, two teenagers, six old men, and five grown men who are of military age, Captain Bonny recounted. Goddess help the poor sods. Crewmen stopped, moved aside, and saluted as Captain Bonny stepped through the corridors of her ship. After taking on the refugees, she'd ordered the ship to return to Reinhardt to drop off the smugglers to the local Sector Rangers. The refugees were another matter. Imperial Naval codes dictated that Captain Bonny was obligated to offer aid and shelter to any refugees found, processing them and finding out any and all information regarding their condition. And yet no one says what to do with them after you're done, Bonny mentally growled.

The refugees were being kept in a holding area behind the main docking bay, which was basically just another cargo hold though they had been provided with cots to sleep on, shower rooms to use, and fresh clothing and sheets to stay warm. Two plainsclothed crewmen were posted inside the room by the main entrance, while two stormtroopers were standing guard on the outside. There weren't any weapons found on the refugees but that didn't mean that Bonny was about to let a bleeding heart keep her from being careful.

Bonny entered a side chamber next to the holding area where the refugees were. Inside was a small room, the far wall of which was entirely glass. On the opposite side of the glass was a small chamber with a desk and two chairs. The occupants of both chairs were sitting so that Bonny had a clear view of their profiles. The one-way mirror had a small comlink port next to it. Lieutenant Fierrenze stood next to it, taking down notes on a datapad. He turned and saluted as Bonny walked in.

“Captain, I wasn't expecting you.”

“It's another full cycle before I'm needed on the bridge,” replied Bonny, stepping over to the view. “I wanted to hear these few interviews.”

“Doesn't seem to be going anywhere,” muttered Fierrenze. “The man is obviously ex-military and he's sticking with that shtick of emulating a rock.”

“Strange,” frowned Bonny. She crossed her arms in contemplation, shifting her weight to her right heel, and staring at the man.

The refugee was male, age approximately thirty-two, hair black and short cropped, and could have been considered handsome by some were it not for the large scar running from beneath his right eye down to his lips. The scar caused his face to have a permanent sneer.

The uniformed Imperial medic sitting across from the man was practically the opposite in all respects. “You're still maintaining silence, Mr. Kovine. Why? We mean you no harm and simply want to understand your situation,” said the medic.

The supposed Mr. Kovine sniffed and lazily shifted in his seat.

The others that were with you said that you'd help saved half the group. That kind of heroism should be recognized. I'd like to hear about it, if you'll tell me.

The man picked his nose with his little finger, staring at the medic like he was a piece of anthropomorphous cow dung.

Your DNA analysis has told us your originally from the Empire of North Mack. What would a North Mackian soldier be doing all the way out here? Why save those poor refugees? What were you saving them from?

Bonny arched an eyebrow as the man sitting across from her crew member farted and then yawned while leaning back and scratching his ball sack.

“This is getting ridiculous,” Bonny shook her head.

“I couldn't agree more Captain,” replied Fierrenze. “From those other refugee stories, it seems like we've got three different groups. Some came from North Mack, some from the Morningstar Coalition, and the remainder from places unknown.”

“Last known contact with either of those nations was years ago...something must have happened,” Bonny said, absentmindedly.

“Could there be some threat out there that we don't know about?” asked Fierrenze.

“That's likely always going to be a guarantee, Lieutenant,” replied Bonny. “Alright, enough with this bantha poodoo, I'm going in to talk to him.” She turned on her heel and walked into the next room, a small door sliding around, allowing access to the interview chamber. A single stormtrooper was standing guard. The trooper turned and cocked his head to the side inquisitively.


“It's all good CT-1447 – er, sorry, Trooper Tank,” replied Bonny. “I'm going to speak with this refugee.”

“If you say so ma'am,” replied Trooper Tank. He hit the access code into a small panel next to him and the door opened. The interview chamber had mirrored walls on three side, with a glossy metal wall where the door was. The medic looked up, a little surprised, to find the Captain walking in.

“That will be all, Ensign Voerntz. I'll take it from here,” said Bonny. The medic stood up, scowled at the silent, scarred refugee and left the room.

Bonny remained behind him, looking at him in the reflection of the wall mirror. The man – the soldier – had his eyes glued to her the moment she entered. Good reflexes then, Bonny thought.

She circled around to the other side of the room and sat down.

“You might not know this, but I'm Captain Bonny. You're on my ship, the Stormlord right now. Before I decide if I will put you in my brig, would you like to tell me what it is you were leading those refugees away from?”

The man at least had the decorum or residual military training to not try and pull a stunt like his previous rebukes to the medic. Instead he merely stared down at the table, refusing to look up.

“We know you're from North Mack and we know the other refugees are from various other nations and systems unknown, but that doesn't really answer my question,” said Bonny, ignoring his silence for the moment. “Because, you see, here in the Thrashian Empire we have a policy of active-defense. If a threat is perceived, especially one that would cause a North Mackian soldier to be found aboard a smuggler's boat with forty-two other refugees, then we sure as hell want to know what it is.”

Bonny stood in one quick, smooth motion.

“But since you're not cooperating I guess I'll just have you sit this out in the brig until I figure out what to do with you.”

Bonny walked around the table and was about to press the activation stud to exit the room when the man finally spoke.

You've no idea what's coming.

Bonny turned and smiled. She stepped back to the chair and looked down at the man. His eyes were up and looking back. Bonny saw pain in his eyes, but beneath the pain was a wellspring of anguish, hatred, and fear.

“You have no idea what's coming,” the man repeated.

“Then enlighten me,” replied Bonny. “I want to help these refugees – and likely the many others that are out there.”

“You don't understand – it's bigger than that! Damnation, when Helmrakai fell...there was no choice. I received my orders: defend the civilians and flee as necessary.” The man seemed to be crumbling now, his words coming out faster, each quicker than the last.

“How did Helmrakai fall? Who attacked you?” asked Bonny, using a soothing tone.

“Refugees came pouring in from practically all vectors. We even had them from different quadrants,” said the man. “A gargantuan, piratical fleet came in their wake. They sneaked inside our defenses and before it was too late...those damned Ravagers! Filthy bastards! They massacred so many and enslaved the rest.”

“These Ravagers,” asked Bonny, “Are they an alien race?”

“No, they were composed of different races – but predominantly a saurian race that called itself the Naghrak.”

“Where did they come from?”

“I have no idea.”

“How many ships did they attack Helmrakai with?”

“Several hundred, using a variety of technology.”

“Your name and rank?”

“Benjamin Kovine. Sergeant, 58th Assault Infantry Battalion, Orbital Station, Helmrakai System, North Mackian Empire.”

“Do you want revenge, Sergeant Kovine?” asked Bonny. The man, Benjamin Kovine, snapped his head up. Those weren't the kind of words he had been hearing much of in recent times.


“Yes,” nodded Bonny. “The Empire of Thrashia had created peaceful and mutually beneficial ties with the North Mackian Empire. I believe it's not unfounded to say that my nation would likely benefit from helping yours. These Ravagers are obviously a threat that needs to be dealt with and the Imperial Fleet isn't about to stay idle.”

Captain Bonny stood up and moved to the door.


She turned. Benjamin Kovine was looking at her with a fierce longing.

“You said I could have revenge?”

“Renounce your previous allegiances, join the Imperial military, and I promise you a spot on my ship. You'll be part of any action we take,” promised Bonny.

“I'll take you up on that.”
Last edited by Thrashia on Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thrashia » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:10 pm

TIE Phantom Squadron Kyber | Helmrakai System | Beta Quadrant
Imperial Date –

ARC Captain 'Duke' swept his gaze across the sensor outlay that was being displayed on his HUD. Space was always quiet, but somehow it seemed extra quiet when sitting in a TIE Phantom. With the cloak up, not only on his own ship but that of the three other TIE Phantoms in his squadron, Duke was virtually invisible across all spectrum. That was to his benefit as he saw the activity that was operating around the former capitol world of the North Mack Empire. Dozens of civilian-grade craft were taking off from the planet with no apparent guidance from any orbital traffic authorities. The comms traffic was hazardous at best: lots of random screaming, pleas for help, or guttural commands from those craft that were actively reaving the area.

Sir?” came the voice of ARC-15 'Blaze.' “Are you seeing this?

“Yeah, I am Sergeant,” replied Duke. “It's not pretty.”

A mass luxury transport, a liner that might have once carried tens of thousands of customers, was rolling through space – the explosive decompression of its hull and the grapple hooks of Ravager ships tearing it out of orbit and into a spinning, aimless course. Many of the broadcasting screams were originating from that ship.

Please! Gods! They're murdering everyone! Oh – frak, frak, frak – please help m-.

The line cut off abruptly. Duke growled deep in his throat, anger building. His channel must have still be open because Sergeant Blaze spoke back up. “You want to intervene, sir?

“No,” replied Duke at length. “Much as I'd like to blast those hut'uunla aruetii all the way to Hell, we've got orders.”

Hacks and Torque just sent a message. They're finished with their survey of the two moons.

“And I'm done here,” Duke said, shutting off his com-scan sensors. “Send the recall signal to the other two. Regroup at the rendezvous point.”

Yes, sir.

Imperial Administration Bureau | Grand Moff's Office | Macht-Nova City | New Bastion System | Beta Quadrant
Imperial Date

Grand Moff Alexandros Noventa stood when his guests entered his office. Etiquette dictated certain responses, and Noventa was a stickler for proper etiquette. Most Thrashian men lived their lives according to what many considered a rather Stoic lifestyle, but few understood how seriously Thrashians took honor or preserving their own. If he insulted his guests, then Noventa would lose face and therefore honor. Seemed silly, really, but then what society wasn't crippled by idiosyncrasies?

One Imperial admiral, a captain, an ARC trooper, and a fourth man who had the bearing of a soldier but was wearing civilian clothing all entered. They bowed formally at the waist, though the fourth man did so after first watching the previous three do it. He learns quickly then, Noventa thought.

“Welcome,” said Noventa, leading his guests over to a series of couches. A servant was waiting unobtrusively, setting a cup of tea before each of the seated guests. After each had been served, they all took a polite drink. The fourth man followed suit, looking quizzically at the tea before sipping from his cup.

“Delightful tea, as always, my lord Governor,” said Vice Admiral Ekhardt.

“Delicious,” agreed Captain Josephine Bonny.

“What is it?” asked the fourth man.

“It's made from a leaf known to our people as Karmellias. It's invigorating and is known to help for a healthy, functioning body,” replied Noventa.

“Tastes good,” the man nodded, sipping again.

Vice Admiral Ekhardt cleared his throat. “Governor, allow me to introduce former North Mackian sergeant Benjamin Kovine, recently of Helmrakai.” The man seemed to grimace at the rank when it was mentioned.

“Welcome to the Thrashian Empire, Sergeant,” said Noventa. “Well, our little neck of the woods anyway. We've not had a direct Imperial decree come from the home country in...oh, a decade at least.”

“What do you mean?” asked Kovine.

“The Thrashian Empire is extra-galactic to the Milky Way,” said Captain Bonny, interjecting. “The empire established itself here in the Beta Quadrant more than two and a half decades ago. I myself was a teenager when my father emigrated out here for work. I've lived here in the Beta Quadrant for nearly my entire life, so I consider myself a Beta-bred, if not Beta-born, Thrashian.”

Noventa smiled at the fleet captain. “Captain Bonny would be correct.”

“But a history lesson isn't why we're here today,” mentioned the ARC trooper. Everyone turned and the Fett-clone arched his eyebrow. “Just so we don't get off topic.”

“Captain 'Duke' is correct, of course,” nodded Vice Admiral Ekhardt. “He just returned from the survey mission I ordered carried out in Helmrakai.”

“Please tell me the situation, Captain Duke,” ordered Noventa. “Spare no details.”

“To put it bluntly...” Captain Duke began. He spoke to the other four, focusing on Grand Moff Noventa, about what his squadron had revealed. There was no apparent central authority on Helmrakai. According to the last broadcasts revealed by Sergeant Kovine, the Emperor of North Mack, Henry Guntard, had been assassinated. The reaving piratical fleets of the Ravagers were currently doing whatever they willed across the territory of the former empire and friend of the Thrashian Empire.

Once he had finished, Duke added one thing. “I don't know what decision you will make from this, Grand Moff Noventa, but if nothing else I personally request that I and my squadron be allowed to go on punitive strikes against the Ravagers.”

“I don't think that'll be necessary,” said Noventa. His own heart had turned at hearing all the details from the ARC captain's report. At first Noventa had only intended to send relief effort, but the more he learned of this Ravagers and the plight being suffered by those innocents still in the was too much for any honest being to bear. Noventa turned to Ekhardt.

“Admiral, what forces do you believe necessary to intervene in all North Mack systems that we have records for?”

“That is hard to say, sir. The North Mack Empire contained two outer systems, Helmrakai and Taross, and dozens of systems located within three clusters -- Babylon, Northern, and the Local Cluster. The two outer system would only take one or two Assault Lines...and if you so desire, the clusters would require a full two fleets."

“For the time being then we'll immediately send aid to both Helmrakai and Taross,” said Noventa. “Destroy these Ravagers and capture all those who surrender. We must make an example of them and prove that the rule of law and right-minded beings will not be ignored.”

The four guests stood. Vice Admiral Ekhardt and Captains Bonny and Duke saluted. At length, so too did Mr. Kovine. Noventa must have looked surprised because the former refugee sheepishly said, “You'll not do it without me, meaning no disrespect sir. I don't know if you'll have me, but I'd like to join whatever effort is made to restore order in North Mack.”

Noventa smiled. Yes...he might be useful, after all.

“Of course, Lieutenant Kovine. I'll have you seconded to Captain Bonny here, aboard the Stormlord. As she was the one who found you, I expect her to help lead the force we send to Helmrakai.”

“With pleasure, lord Governor,” nodded Captain Bonny.

Without further discussion the four of them left and Noventa stepped back to be seated behind his desk. He darkened the lights in his room and ordered his assistant to push back any meetings for a few hours. He wanted to think further on this opportunity that was being provided to him.
Last edited by Thrashia on Sun Jan 24, 2016 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thrashia » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:25 am

Imperial Fleet Headquarters – Beta Quadrant Branch | Deep Space Classified Location “Karak” | Beta Quadrant
Imperial Date

Admiral Iishin Koga sat back in his conference suit chair and took another long pull from the flask he habitually kept in his uniform's rear pocket. The conference suit was occupied by three other admiralty, Vice Admirals Ekhardt and Atrachus, and Rear Admiral Greene. Occupied at a separate table within the conference suit were lower level officers, a few commodores mixed with captains of the line. Both tables were projecting holos of the most recent round of computer simulations based on the different assault parameters and plans that the junior staffers were coming up with and the Admirals countering. Each time the OPFOR represented by the Admirals was being swept away by the forces being brought to bear by the junior officers, but each simulation had the casualty estimates as being too high for a full green-light.

“She almost had you that time, Patrocles,” Ekhardt told Atrachus. “Captain Bonny certainly knows how to lead an Attack Line.”

“It was a risky maneuver and one that I wasn't expecting a seasoned captain to make,” countered Atrachus. “Besides, it seemed like Commodore Nythein managed to bloody your nose fairly well Hugh.”

“They still suffered a 19% casualty rate across the board,” interjected Koga.

“Sir?” Ekhardt cocked his head to the side, looking over at his superior.

“The casualty rate isn't acceptable.”

“Is there an acceptable casualty rate?” asked Greene, the most junior of Koga's staff.

“You know better than that, James,” admonished Koga. “We all know that casualties are unavoidable in war, but that any casualties will always be considered unacceptable by the civilian layman.”

“Bleeding hearts,” muttered Atrachus. “Let them sign up for the war effort if they think it should be over sooner.”

“That said,” interjected Ekhardt, “What do you propose we change, sir?”

“We've only given them a single Attack Line composition force,” said Koga, putting his hip flask away. None of the others gave him any looks for having it. If anything else, the hip flask had become part of Koga's image – the inscrutable admiral who sometimes took a sip from a silver flask at times when others might have bitten their nails. “There's only so much a single Imperial Star Destroyer, three Strike Cruisers, and a Lancer wing can do against the odds we've been pitting them. At this point we are working with the information gained by the ARCs, but it's possible that we're being too adept.”


“Skilled,” grinned Koga. “None of these piratical scum are likely to have the combined naval experience that we four here possess. As such, when Captain Bonny cut into the system on a surprise hyper-jump so close to the planet, it would have been much more devastating since the real pirates would not have been expecting the maneuver. You, Rear Admiral Greene, were expecting it.”

“I saw how the Strike Cruisers were starting to form up...” started Greene, but grew silent when he considered what Koga was saying. “You're right sir. No pirate would believe a greater warship would exit so close to the planet when a separate, larger force was already engaging from a different vector and at a more cautious distance.”

“They'd most likely be struck by the hammer, Bonny, upon the anvil, those Strike Cruisers,” agreed Ekhardt.

“So we give her, Captain Bonny, the same forces we've been giving her simulation then and start the operation?” asked Atrachus.

“No,” said Koga, smiling. “I'm going to give her more ships. Task Force Stormlord will also include the Victory-class Star Destroyer Swift Lance and Imperial-class Star Destroyer The Red Hand. That should give her enough force superiority in the system, given what we know.”

“That'll bump her up to brevet-commodore status,” added Ekhardt.

“Why, so it would,” grinned Koga. “Goddess knows she's bloodthirsty enough for it.”

Koga stood and all the other senior officers did likewise. The junior officers grew quiet and looked on expectantly. Koga put his hands behind his back, grasping his left wrist with his right hand, his thumb momentarily running across the scar that covered his left arm from palm to elbow. “Officers of the Imperial Fleet, it is my pleasure to congratulate you on such hard work. The past three days since we were granted to go light from Grand Moff Noventa have been trying and difficult. You have risen to the occasion and have not been found wanting. Without further ado, let me say that henceforth from this moment, Captain Josephine Bonny is hereby brevet-commodore of what will be called 'Task Force Stormlord. Operational planning and control will be under her authority.”

Captain Bonny grew a little straighter, her spine already ramrod straight, at this announcement. She was flushed with satisfaction and a feeling of vindication. After all my hard work! Finally!

“Operation Dawnguard will launch in 30 cycles. Good luck, Commodore Bonny.”

Unnamed Planet | Beta Quadrant | Criminal Shadowport | Orbital Space Station Porto Farina
Ten Cycles before the launch of Operation Dawnguard

The man stepped through the crowds of the station with ease. Armored and armed bodyguards of varying races plowed ahead of him, ramming blaster butts into the faces of those too foolish, high, or slow to make way fast enough. A few beings called out to him, desperate for help or an audience. Most simply turned their heads, averted their gazes, or quickly ran for the shadows. Trailing in the crime lord's wake was a silver protocol droid and two higher members of the organization.

The group finally got through the crowd and entered the private chambers of Todt Barker, vigo and lord of the Porto Farina and much, much more. He was half-human and half-Falleen, his skin a light red and his head, more human-looking than Falleen, was covered in dark black hair. When he stepped into his office he threw off his svelte dress coat and threw it behind him. Triple Zero caught it, the protocol droid being more swift and handy than most would expect.

“I identified seven beings along our walk that require my questioning, master,” said Triple Zero, his voice sounding incongruous with the violent and psychotic nature that the droid's programming held.

“You can talk to Zornk about it, whenever that Gamorean-turd decides to make it to the office today. Remind me to have him given to you for questioning if he fails to appear today,” replied Barker. He sat back in an expensive, fine leather chair behind a small but nicely made desk. His two guests sat before it in much less comfortable chairs.

“So tell me, Vykes, what's this 'Operation Dawnguard' all about? Why is it my shipments of deathsticks and glitterstim are not reaching the market?”

“Well,” Vykes swallowed visibly as Triple Zero slowly turned it's red mechanical gaze upon the lower boss. “I only know it's a new mission by the Imperial Navy and it's going to be big.”

“It's going to be big, eh? That's so informative.”

“Nah, really, boss – let me just say, it's going to be really, really big. All the bigwigs were apparently talking to each other about it. They're sending out a huge group of Fleet ships for this.”

Barker considered that and flipped his gaze to the other being. Unlike Vykes, who was human, the other being was not. The Dug flexed his lower legs and used a curled finger to take the smoking stick from out between his lips.

“He's telling the truth, boss,” said Darnada the Dug. “And as for the shipments, it appears that we've got some new competition in the quadrant.”

“Who in the Seventeen Hells of Qwarth could possibly challenge the Zann Consortium?” laughed Barker. “I mean, yeah, we've run into paramilitary groups in the past, but we've been one of the only true criminal organization in the quadrant except for those nameless bastards we've crossed on occasion.”

“They're called the Ravagers. Pirate scum mostly, but they're pirate scum who've reached a whole new level of headache,” replied Darnada. “They've got enough assets that the Imperial Navy is taking this one cautiously.”

That managed to shut Barker up for a moment. There were very few things that gave the Imperial Fleet reason to pause or consider their actions. To be told otherwise was to almost have a paradigm shift in a manner of speaking.

“We getting more intel on them?” asked Barker.

“Oh yes, master,” replied Triple Zero. “I've received fifty-three new intelligence reports from our dealers, informants, and movers around the quadrant.”

“Do we have any buyers of said intel?” asked Barker.

“I've already got a few of my usual Imp intel agents asking me,” smiled Vykes.

“Well, let's go fishing for more. If there's money to be made, then let's make it,” ordered Barker. “As for these missing shipments – Darnada, I want you to get a few of your crew together. See if you can't get these 'Ravagers' to behave in a more gentlemanly fashion before I have to take a shock-maul to their faces for impinging upon my business.”

“You got it, Vigo,” both beings replied together. Dismissed, they both left.

Barker turned to Triple Zero. “Send a full copy of that meeting to Zann. He'll want to know what's happening out here.”

“As you wish, master.” Triple Zero's red eyes flashed.
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"D-Damn you all...! All of you dogs whose souls are still bound to the Earth! Long live Neo Zeon!" - MSG: Unicorn

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Founded: Aug 31, 2004
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Thrashia » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:42 am

Training Deck, Imperial Star Destroyer Stormlord; en route to Helmrakai
Imperial Date

“First squad in, in, in!” shouted the clone sergeant, Mal. Twelve white-armored figures, armed to the teeth with blasters and grenades, barreled through light, wood-latticed windows and into a large entry way beyond. More than thirty human figures dressed in a smattering of paramilitary clothing and armed with black market blasters were inside, hiding behind cover or standing in the open. As soon as the clone troopers entered the pirates began firing sporadically, obviously taken by surprise.

Some of the bolts of blaster fire the clones simply shrugged off with their protective armor, but that didn't mean that the entire platoon didn't take cover. They moved in pairs, covering each other as they took up protective positions and returned fire. Within twenty seconds of entering more than a dozen of the rebels were down.

Trooper CT-0198, known as “Deal,” cocked his head around a corner just in time to see a spinning, shiny cylindrical object flying towards him and his partner. “Get down!” Deal turned and practically crushed his partner by jumping on him and pushing him away.

The grenade made a clacking noise as it came to rest on the floor barely five meters away from the pair and exploded. The blast picked Deal up and shoved him sideways slightly, but other than the light bruising that he knew would be on his legs afterward, he was fine.

“Saved my shebs there ner vod,” Minet said as he pushed Deal off of him.

“No problem vod'ika,” Deal grinned beneath his helmet. He picked himself up quickly and turned to blast three pirates that had been trying to sneak up on them now that they were down.

“Get your shebse moving,” Sergeant Mal yelled at them as he dodged across an open space to slide behind a permacrete fountain. Deal and Minet fired a volley of blaster fire over the sergeant's head to keep five pirates on the other side from putting a hole in their sergeant. Trooper CT-0137, or “Kal,” moved in five meters to the sergeant's left, scuttled around a fountain and blasted into the flank of the pirates hiding behind the fountain.

“Another wompa rat nest cleared,” Kal said over the comlink.

“Move up,” Sergeant Mal ordered. The rest of the platoon ran forwards and entered further into the building. They had penetrated past the atrium, leaving twenty-eight pirate bodies behind in their wake.

Their briefing on this mission had said that there were a hundred possible pirates within the hotel. Most of them had been ransacking the place when Alpha Platoon, of 1st company, 221st Infantry, had entered. Now they had to know that company had arrived and that it wasn't of the friendly variety.

Deal and Minet were on point when they reached the main hallway intersection. The intersection had three pathways forking out from it. One had barred doors with a sign that said “Closed for Remodeling,” on it. The other two were wide open, the doors having been blasted open with small explosives. Sergeant Mal spoke up on the platoon-wide comlink channel.

“Alright troopers, I'm uploading the hotel specs to your HUD.” Deal blinked a couple times to call up the image that Sergeant Mal was sending to them. It showed a mass of heat signatures coming from the passageway furthest to the right. “Looks like the di'kutla pirates are sitting tight at the west hall in rooms four and five. Deal and Minet! You two run down the hall and take out the two in the hall as quietly as possible. First squad will move in on room four. Second squad will take room five. Got it Alpha?”

“Huah!” the platoon replied.

Deal and Minet ran down the hall. One of them would stop in the alcove of a doorway and aim down the hall, looking for movement. The second would then rush past about five meters and do the same. They leapfrogged as quietly as possible down the hall. Their boots had recently been refitted with a new alloy, making them lighter, but they still made a “thunking” sound when moving over anything. Luckily the floors were carpeted.

The pair came to another intersection and Deal turned his head towards Minet as he came up beside him. “Hukaat'kama ner vod,” Deal said.

“What about me?” Minet quipped back.

“Just watch my six, will you ner vod?” Deal said, exasperated. Minet always had a more cynical sense of humor than the average clone.

“You'll owe me another Corellian ale for this one,” Minet said, aiming his blaster down the hallway to the left. Deal shook his head and crouch-walked over to the right passageway. His helmet's systems detected movement and focused in with its imaging abilities to show Deal a close-up of two pirates standing next to a food tray, stuffing their faces.

“We've only got five more minutes,” Minet warned Deal.

Udesii ner vod,” Deal smiled in his helmet, “I got them down the hall, thirty meters away.”

“I'll be calm when you shoot the shebs off of them,” Minet replied.

Deal ducked back around the corner and pulled out a silencer from his satchel webbing; it clicked against three grenades and a small survival kit. He screwed it tightly onto the end of his blaster rifle's barrel. He slid back to the corner and peaked out. His helmet targeted the two diners. Neither of them had moved from where they had been standing before. They were facing the opposite direction and talking to one another in low voices between mouthfuls.

Deal took careful aim and smoothly squeezed the trigger twice in lightning succession. The two bright bolts of blaster fire tore a burnt-out crater into the backs of both pirates. They fell silently to the floor.

“Two dead pirates up and ready for bagging sarge,” Deal said smugly over the comlink.

The two point men turned to see the rest of their platoon coming up the hallway in a less stealthy fashion than Deal or Minet had. Sergeant Mal was at the front and he nodded to the two.

“Good work,” Mal said. He motioned for the squads to move up. They crept further up the hall and came to two doors on either side of the hall. Their HUDs showed roughly thirty or more bodies in each room. Sergeant Mal didn't have to say a word. Minet and another trooper in the other squad pulled out det-tape, thermal detonation tape, that nearly the entire clone army used for forced entry for sealed or locked doors. Minet had, at least Deal thought, a perverse enjoyment from handling the stuff.

Both doors were lined with the tape. One trooper of each squad could control when it exploded by the controls in his helmet's HUD. A single blink in the right direction and the detonation tape went “boom.” Deal pulled out one of his grenades, a flash-bang.

“Now,” ordered Sergeant Mal.

Minet looked top right inside of his helmet and blinked; as did the other trooper in second squad. Both doors exploded inwards. Less than a second past the explosion, Deal threw his flash-bang into the right side room. A second explosion and a flash of sensory-impairing light followed on the heals of the det-tape. Three seconds after the first explosion second squad was inside the room, blaster rifles up and firing.

The pirates inside had been scattered around the room. Three had been killed by the det-tape, shards of wood from the door slicing through them like shrapnel. Others had been thrown flat and then blinded. Deal shot four in quick succession. Minet scored three. The squad moved inside the doorway and looked around. Twenty bodies lay un-moving. “Where are the rest?” asked Minet. Deal could have cursed him.

In the center of the room was a long marble bar, broken drinks and alcohol containers stood atop it. Almost if cued by Minet, eleven pirates popped up, heavy blaster weaponry aimed at the exposed squad. We are so very, very, very dead, thought Deal.

All war is based on deception.” a voice said over the comlink that wasn't one that Deal recognized, offering a helping hand.

The ceiling above the rebels fell in and a single figure dropped through the hole. Clone troopers were big, taller and more muscular than the average man. They had been made that way. The figure that dropped down was even more impressive than they. Armored in obviously specialized armor and with markings declaring him to be a lieutenant the falling figure was a clone trooper. The lieutenant had a kama, or battle 'skirt,' and a pauldron on his shoulder.

The lieutenant pulled out two twin blaster pistols and spread them wide, firing as he came up from a crouch. Bolts tore into the surprised pirates. He brought his pistols together, taking out them like so many ducks in a row. A few manage to turn and bring up their blaster rifles, but the lieutenant rolled forward and blasted them point-blank. One of the last got behind him and raised his rifle like a club. The lieutenant ducked beneath the swing, spun on his heal, and brought his other boot up in a high arc. His boot caught the rebel in the chin and snapped his head back with a sickening crunch.

Using his momentum the lieutenant rolled forwards as his leg came down and he jumped upwards, under the aim of the last pirate, and brought up a vibro knife that had appeared in his hand like magic. Arterial blood spurted outwards in a fountain as the blade sliced open the veins in the rebel's armpits. The man screamed and dropped his weapon. The lieutenant ended his suffering by bringing the knife down and into the man's neck, slicing through the spinal cord at a diagonal angle. The body hit the floor in a thud.

Deal stood there frozen.

The entire fight, from the moment the lieutenant entered, to the point when the last pirate had hit the floor dead, had only lasted twenty seconds.

The master hologram computer detected that all enemies had been killed and Deal watched as the entire hotel, bodies, and even blood disappeared before his eyes. The clone troopers stood in a wide, open room several hundred square meters in size. The lieutenant walked towards them and cocked his head to such an angle that automatically made Deal think that he was looking at them with contempt.

“I'll be sure to charge you next time I have to save your shebs,” the lieutenant said. Minet always hated it when others looked down on them. It was what made his mouth get the best of him. “Nice move there though,” the lieutenant added.

“Nice skirt,” Minet replied, indicating the lieutenant's battle-scarred kama, shredded at the hem like a flag that had been left too long on its mast. Minet got to his feet, trying to forget that he and his squad had almost been 'killed.'

“Really suits you,” he added. “Handwashable?”

The lieutenant's expression was hidden behind his helmet but his tone wasn't. “It's a kama,” he said, all ice.

“Someday, Minet, someone is going to belt you one,” Sergeant Mal said. “And it's probably going to be Lieutenant Caius here.”

The sergeant saluted the Null ARC with respect. Deal studied Caius carefully. He had always heard about the Null-class Advanced Recon Commandos, but he had never seen one in the flesh. He was big. Like really big. Built like a tank. They were the most deadly things walking on two feet. And, according to rumors, about as steady as a psycho weening off medication. Note to self, Deal thought, never piss of a Null.

“Your men ready for the campaign sergeant?” Caius asked.

“Ready as always sir,” Mal replied.

“Good,” Caius replied. He took off his helmet and Deal's face stared back at him. “Because I've requested a unit from the 221st with a lot of recce experience to be under my command. And you're it.”

“Did we win the Bastion lottery too?” Minet asked.

“Get your gear ready,” Caius said, ignoring Minet. “Our task force will be arriving in two hours. I want Alpha platoon to be ready by then.”

“We'll be ready,” Sergeant Mal assured him. He turned to his squad. “You heard the Lieutenant!"

"Oya!” The squad called the Mandalorian word back; it meant let's hunt or let's roll, depending on how you phrased it.

Helmrakai here we come.

Uncharted System | Beta Quadrant | Palace of a Crime Lord

The pair of them stood outside luxurious nalwood, polished doors staring back at the four Trandoshan guards whose reptilians glares did their best to intimidate. They weren't far off the mark. The man on the left was 6'3" in height and had shoulders a wide as two normal men, barrel chested and filled with muscles. He wore black leather pants and boots, a white shirt with a red, sleeveless jerkin over it. A pair of visorshades hid his purple eyes, changed from a life long addiction to death sticks. A sling of detonators hung around his frame, and a large customized blaster sub-rifle was slid into a leg holster.

His partner beside him was shorter by six inches and slim enough to make women jealous. The man wore pink pantaloons that billowed outwards until they reached the blue boots on his feet. A vibrant blue shirt, open slightly to reveal a smooth chest, with pink stitching and designs covered his torso. His spiked, pink hair stood out like shards of glass. A vibro sword hung from his back and a small blaster pistol was holstered in an arm attachment.

Both of them looked unconcernedly at the Trandoshans.

"We've been waiting for almost an hour Torv," the pink-haired man complained. "I'm getting bored. Can I kill one?" He grinned at the Trandoshan guards and licked his lips. The Trandoshans looked at one another, confused. It was not normal behavior to them.

"No way Silvester. This carpet is worth more than your hide, else the boss wouldn't have had it put in. Down a few death sticks if you feel like you need to scratch an itch," the large man, Torv replied.

"I ran out a full cycle ago," moaned Silvester, his hand patting the hilt of his vibro sword. "Blood sounds sweeter, even if it does come from a stinking Trandoshan." The guards growled softly at that, one of them clicking his blaster rifle off safety.

"Silvester," Torv said, a warning note entering his voice.

"Fine! But I had better get-."

Silvester was interrupted in saying what it was he wanted to get by the nalwood doors opening outwards. The guards stepped aside and a blue-skinned Twi-lek servant woman stepped out. She wore a thin white dress, barely veiling the shape beneath. Torv had to do his best not to stare or drool too much. Twi-leks were a rarer breed than ever before. Ever since the plague had wiped out most of the "civilized" galaxy, nearly all former black market trades had come to a screeching halt. The Hutts, except for a few, were nearly all gone. All the major crime syndicates annihilated. All except one.

"Master Zann will see you now," the slave girl said, bowing.

The twi-lek girl led them into a long ante chamber. A few other men, wearing finer clothes, but bearing well used and oiled weapons barely glanced up from their regicide game at the side. Works of art and priceless tapestries hung from the walls. At the end of the chamber a second pair of nalwood doors stood, these inlaid with silver and Adegan crystals of different colors. As they stepped through these portals a pair of droideka destroyers un-slung their blaster cannon, but at a smooth movement from the twi-lek girl, they quickly deactivated.

Inside was an office, a large desk sitting in the center with the entire rear wall showing a glowing vista of the red fires of a foundry world hard at work. Thousands toiling away in molten mines, finding precious metals and minerals. Torv stared at it long enough to see a small flicker that wasn't movement. So it's a hologram...that's interesting. But then a man like him wouldn't be stupid enough to have a window sitting behind his back.

The white haired man sitting behind the desk looked up from a set of papers, Silvester's trained eyes picking up the image logos of the SoroSuub and the Taim & Bak companies; both noted industrial companies that, before the plague, had had a thriving business. Now it quite obviously seemed that they worked for Tyber Zann and his all pervasive crime syndicate, the Zann Consortium.

"You wanted to see us boss?" Torv asked outright.

"Ah yes, Captain Torv and his florescent sidekick Silvester," Zann said, leaning back in his chair and considering the pair. Silvester simply smiled and gave a small flourishing bow at being recognized. Both Torv and Silvester froze however when suddenly Zann's face turned dark with anger. "You are both incompetent fools!"

"What are you talking about?" Silvester demanded. "We made good on getting your cut of our profits in on time. All 20,000 Imperial Credits. Clean and everything."

"Except where did you get those credits?" Zann asked rhetorically.

"We busted up a few Imps traveling with a cargo of blaster rifles and medical bacta," smiled Torv. He wasn't use to rhetorical questions. "Sold them at a pretty decent price on Persephonie. Those oily Oligarchs tried to pay half what they owed, but I managed to convince them otherwise."

Torv jumped slightly when Zann slammed his fist into the table top. The twi'lek girl rushed over with a gold cup, almost overflowing with cold, imported Coruscanti wine. Zann had managed to find a few refugees that had been employees of a famous winery from the Empire of North Mack and had quickly put them to work on the new worlds that could support Coruscanti grapes here in the Beta Quadrant. Zann took a deep drink and set the cup down, right next to the new crack in his office desk.

"You raided an Imperial military convoy," Zann said, emphasizing each word. "I do not need the Imperial Fleet breathing down my neck simply because a bunch of idiots in pink flamingo dresses decides to start raiding their supply convoys. Do you two not realize what trouble I've gone to set up my organization in this new quadrant?!"

"Sorry boss," Torv said, not meaning it at all. Zann was clearly scared of the Imperials. What right did he have to be boss if he was scared of a few Imps?

"Do not do it again, or else I will see to it that I hire Fett and his newly arrived Mandalorians to teach you a lesson," Zann promised. "Now get out of my sight."

Torv and Silvester left the office without another word. They passed the Trandoshans without incident, though Silvester's sword hand twitched uncontrollably; he muttered under his breathe for half an hour until they reached Torv's ship, or one of them: a modified Tartan-class patrol cruiser that he had liberated from the Imperial garrison on Cofax several years before. A large trio of blue-white lightning bolts streaking down with a skull at their center was painted on the side of the vessel. It was the pride and joy of all the ships in Torv's pirate gang, the Lightning Skulls.

"Come on Silvester, we're out of here," Torv said. "And Zann can kiss our butts goodbye. No one tells us who we can and cannot raid."

"Sounds great boss. Just make sure to get more death sticks."

* * * * *

Zann composed himself and shifted his gaze back to his holoprojector. The image flickered back to life and a broad, gangling creature of unknown origin with bulging red-white eyes was waiting. "That took you long enough."

"I'm a busy man, Shakiir," replied Zann. "More so now that you Ravagers are running amok."

"We're doing what we like because we are strong! Because we can! No one can stop us!"


"But what?"

"But, if your little rampage across the quadrant interrupts my business, then your business will become mine. I don't care if you've got some sort of shadowy backer helping you from the sidelines -- I will annihilate you on a proto-cosmic level." Zann spoke softly and coldly, his eyes, seemingly like a dead fish's, piercing into the Ravager pirate.

The creature growled. "You don't intimidate me, Zann," growled Shakiir.

"Then you're dumber than you look," replied Zann. "Just keep it in mind when you're choosing your next target. Besides, the Roma Empire and the North Mackian Empire should be fertile enough hunting grounds for your filth as it is."

The creature spat and cut the hologram connection. Zann starred at the projector a moment longer before turning back to his desk. Taking a sip of wine he grew a little philosophical about it.

"If they don't watch their step, then I'll just inform those who might really want to destroy them."
FT Factbook | Thrashian HoloNet News | Newbies Need to Read This | Thrashia IIwiki

"D-Damn you all...! All of you dogs whose souls are still bound to the Earth! Long live Neo Zeon!" - MSG: Unicorn

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Red Talons
Posts: 720
Founded: Apr 12, 2008

Postby Red Talons » Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:42 am

Unnamed Planet | Beta Quadrant | Criminal Shadowport | Orbital Space Station Porto Farina
6 hours previously.

The Minor Hazard casually approached the station. A YG-4210 series light freighter, scrapped and refurbished a half dozen times before Seraan acquired it. She sat in the cockpit, the copilot seat beside her was occupied by a pillar of wires and circuits. A protocol droid head sitting atop it like some abstract red painted metal skull on a pedestal of computer. The ship had seen a lot in it's many years of use. The hull plates an assorted array of grays, extra plating had been added around the aft engine mounts, covering otherwise exposed conduits and support structure. The extra armor made it a bit slower, but Seraan was thankful for the extra protection.

The craft slid into dock, engines thrumming for a moment before going silent as the old freighter locked in. It's single occupant disembarked, standing fully erect at roughly seven feet, the Saurian more resembled a droid in her body armor. Dull gray plates catching light through a nearly tattered old cloak. A featureless helmet turning from side to side, barely visible beneath the worn hood of her brown cloak.

She paid the docking fee, giving her name as Cruor in a vaguely feminine mechanical voice. Giving the man half again the cost as a tip. She made her way through the station, giving the various shops a look over, even purchasing a few items. Securing her new acquisition of vibro-knives beneath the ample brown cloth.

She had to remember they were called cantinas by the locals. The name read 'Winking Eye', and she milled around for a few minutes, ordering a vodka and sipping it through a straw. Listening to the chatter in the room, it was only a matter of a few more minutes before she moved on. Taking a short walk, she found another, 'Last End' the sign declared in bold font. She slipped in, spending all of a minute inside before leaving, surmising it to be much the same sort as the first bar.

Walking around the station for a while longer, she came upon another sign. 'High Reyn' This one seemed similar enough. She made her way in, immediately noting a change in the selection of patrons. Walking into the cantina she made her way slowly across to the main bar counter. Her suit's sensor's pulling in and untangling the general chatter of the room. -The bartender's name is Larkath, and it seems this is the local union bar. How long do I have to stay docked to this filthy excuse for a space-worthy box?-

The voice of Odite drawled in her head. Her helmet hid the smile as microcomputer implants translated thought into a reply. -I suspected as much by the look of the crowd, I'm going to drop a hook and see what kind of fish bites. Until then just keep an eye out and decompress anyone who tries sneaking on.-

Upon reaching the counter, she slid onto a stool and waited for the bartender. When he arrived, a slender four fingered gauntlet deposited some credits on the table. “Forgive the helmet, the air here isn't right for me... One glass of vodka.”

“Would you like a staw with that?” The man asked. Seraan nodded a silent reply and watched him step away.. Waiting a few moments, when the bartender returned she slid a pouch across with some extra payment in it. “Larkath was it? I'm here looking for work, and I only work for important people.”

The man eyed her for a few moments before taking the pouch and nodding silently. As he walked away she took a slow sip from the glass, savoring the taste.

-Now we wait... Shall I start a timer?- The snark in the AI's tone was noticeable. -No Odite, but you can keep count of my drinks-

-This makes two, mistress.-
This is my factbook(perpetually under construction)
Because I advocate more space-magic, Laws For Magic.
A 4.2 civilization, according to this index.
Defense Status
Universal peace is an archaic concept.
It is like taking a handful of sand,
and expecting none of it to slip through your fingers...

=Isahil Traekith=
Fear is a basic emotion...
What frightens you more, the evil that you know?...
...Or the evil that you don't...
When you light a candle,
you also cast a shadow...
=[Data Redacted]=

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Posts: 2232
Founded: Aug 31, 2004
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Thrashia » Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:50 pm

Shadowport Porto Farina | Unknown System | Beta Quadrant

It took a few minutes before a couple of beings entered the club, from a rear entrance and not the front. Leading them was a larger than average Dug and two hanger-ons that were obviously just hired muscle – not that anyone in the club felt that the Dug really needed it. But respectable folk needed to look as if they had the money and foot soldiers that were expected of crime-bosses. The bartender, Larkath, exchanged a look with the Dug, glancing down the end of the bar towards the helmeted and armored saurian, and nodded his head.

The Dug sat down at an empty bar stool next to the newcomer. Without looking at the saurian, he ordered a drink and then shot-gunned a few glasses of homebrew from a bottle behind the counter. When his bigger, more colorful drink came, he left it untouched and turned to the saurian.

“Larkath here said you were looking for work,” said the Dug, using GalCom. Not many of the locals knew the tongues of their old home galaxy, but the galactic common tongue in this new area had been easy enough to pick up. “Are you a bounty hunter, smuggler, or looking to be a foot soldier?”

Officer's Dining Mess | Imperial Star Destroyer Stormlord; en route to Helmrakai
Imperial Date

“You could have told me that the Grand Moff's son was aboard,” Brevet-Commodore Bonny growled at her executive officer, Senior Commander Grif.

“He was assigned to the Imperial Army, not the Navy,” replied Grif. “Seemed to make him Brigadier General McTavier's problem – not ours.”

“Yes, but politics is politics and it would be impolitic of me to not personally welcome him aboard,” riposted Bonny. “Even if he was only given a colonel's rank tabs.”

“Well, you can make it up to him here at dinner,” countered Grif.

The two senior officers of the Stormlord stood at the back end of the officers mess hall, a ubiquitous name for where those crew members from ensign up to Bonny were allowed to eat. Their meals were only slightly better than the average crewman's. Every fortnight Bonny made it a point to invite and dine the best ten crew members that had achieved a higher than normal approval status from their superiors. It allowed her to reward her crew for good work, made it so the crew knew that their officer's rations weren't in fact gold-gilded and drowning in champagne, and allowed them an informal chance to speak directly to their captain. Morale couldn't have been higher.

Tonight however would be the formal dinner to celebrate the beginning of the Helmrakai Campaign. All of the senior officers from the Victory-class Star Destroyer Swift Lance, Imperial Star Destroyer The Red Hand, and the senior captain of the Strike Cruiser Squadron Custodes. Alongside the Naval officers would be Lieutenant General Diel McTavier, commander of the 8th Army Corp and the unit selected to help retake the Helmrakai System. Along with the General would be all of his senior officers, including one Colonel Michael Noventa – scion of House Noventa and son of the current Grand Moff and ruler of Imperial Space here in the Beta Quadrant.

“Well, let's just hope dinner goes well,” added Griff, as the Army officers stepped into the mess hall, intermixed with several Naval officers. Bonny decided that seeing the different branch officers intermixed was a good sign and mentally added to what Griff said. At least this time I get to order truly fine food without feeling guilty.
Last edited by Thrashia on Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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"D-Damn you all...! All of you dogs whose souls are still bound to the Earth! Long live Neo Zeon!" - MSG: Unicorn

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Posts: 2232
Founded: Aug 31, 2004
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Thrashia » Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:37 am

Helmrakai System | Beta Quadrant | Imperial Star Destroyer Stormlord
Imperial Date

The Imperial Fleet group entered the outer edge of Helmrakai a little less than two days after their initial departure. Commodore Bonny hadn't wanted to make a direct approach to the system, but had instead had the ships under his command come about and arrive along a different vector. It also gave her time to at least communicate with the officers under her command face-to-face, having invited them aboard the Stormlord on no fewer than three occasions. Captain Vark of the The Red Hand ISD was a solid, if unimaginative, commander; whereas Captain Boon Tessra of the Swift Lance was much more hot-blooded. That was also not to forget the Strike Cruiser squadron commander, Captain Beamont, who was the kind of man who would keep a completely straight, emotionless face as he sliced your throat quicker than you could gasp. Based on speaking with them and having poured over their personal files and service history Bonny could tell that Admiral Koga had given her quite the privateer-like group of officers.

Standing on the bridge of the Stormlord, Bonny gazed at the holo-projector as it displayed an ever growing detailed analysis of the system. She was using passive sensors, which meant that it would take longer and be a few percentage points less accurate than an active sensor sweep would be. Too bad the Admiral didn't give me any TIE Phantom squadrons, she mentally grumbled to herself. Served little purpose, grumbling, but at least it distracted her for a few more moments. As always it was the waiting that was the worst of things. Waiting for the final sensor analysis. Waiting for the fleet group to report all ready. Ready for...anything.

"I hate this waiting," said newly-minted Lieutenant Kovine, standing next to Bonny. The former North Mackian sergeant was dressed in a new Imperial uniform, the fit suiting his frame better than Bonny would have imagined, but she swept that thought away.

"I would think a ground-pounder like you would be use to it?" replied Bonny, taking up the chance for distraction.

"Well, yes. But on the ground I can spend time checking my equipment, adjusting harnesses, ammo check, etc. This? This waiting in the depth of space with nothing to really do because I'm an officer is just maddening," said Kovine. He somehow managed to say 'officer' as if it were a curse word.

"It doesn't get any better," cut-in Grif. Bonny's executive officer was using a datapad and stylus, punching through whatever files or notifications that were being linked through his station on the aft side of the bridge. A small comlink in his ear was buzzing.

"All fighter and bomber squadrons report their readiness, Commodore," Grif said, coming to a stiff semi-attention. "The wing commanders aboard the Red Hand and Swift Lance report likewise."

"Good," nodded Bonny. "Send them my compliments."

The final analysis of the system scan was finished, an audible beep resounding from the ComScan station. The ensign assigned here took a moment to absorb the information that was being presented and then marched smartly over to his captain. He came to a snap-attention and raised his arm.

"Wishing to report, Captain -- err, I mean, Commodore."

"Do so, ensign. What's the intel?"

"ComScan is reporting that there are four cruiser-analog ships in orbit above Helmrakai, with a further six frigate-analogs on a weaving circuit patrol path moving between the primary planet and the outer third. A dozen smaller vessels, a little less than corvette-analog sized, are moving independently throughout the inner system and appear to be preying on civilian vessels that remain. We've received no less than forty-six distress beacon calls, but fewer than three real-voice comms."

Kovine smashed his right fist into his left palm. "The bastards are keeping the distress beacons online, hoping to catch more innocents."

"And it appears that the Ravagers are taking their time," added Grif. "If they're allowing a few survivors to remain."

During the entire report, Bonny's mouth formed into a deeper and grimmer line. By the end of Grif's assessment, she was practically scowling.

"Comms, get me a group-wide channel to the fleet. I'll address all our officers at once."

"Aye, ma'am...the line is open, Commodore."

"This is Commodore Bonny of the Stormlord. The sensors have finished their analysis." She sat at her command chair and opened the holographic tactical plot. "Here is our attack plan: Stormlord will jump to point 33-alpha-aurek-1, five points to starboard and above the orbital plane of the enemy cruiser-analogs sitting in orbit; The Red Hand will jump to point 22-beta-aubresh-9, seven points to aft and below the same target. Once out of hyperspace, both will bring their full compliment of firepower upon them. Simultaneously, all squadrons will launch -- Wing Commanders, you are to hunt down and destroy every corvette-analog in the system. Once done, you may join and make any additional necessary attack runs on other targets of opportunity.

"Swift Lance, supported by Strike Cruiser Squadron Custodes, will jump ahead of the patrolling enemy frigate-analogs and engage at long range -- closing once enough damage has been dealt. The Swift Lance is ordered to take one frigate-analog, immobilize it and board it -- take prisoner all aboard for interrogation. Once finished, all forces will rally on Helmrakai Prime. Any questions?"

She let the words hang in the air. There were no replies along the open channel.

"Then go forward and bring the fury of righteous justice down upon these scum's heads," ordered Bonny. "Jump initiation in fifteen minutes and counting -- now. Commodore Bonny, out."

For whatever reason, Bonny glanced to her left and found her eyes locked with Kovine's. He nodded appreciatively toward her, then turned back to face the front viewports. Bonny swallowed and turned to Grif. "Bring us to readiness and have all crew prepared."

"Done and done, Commodore" replied Grif, grinning viciously.
Last edited by Thrashia on Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thrashia » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:04 am

0.5 AU From Orbital Zone of Helmrakai

”Skull-5, pull up! Pull up!”

”Tracking missile launches from aft zone of target seven!”

”MB-Niner Squadron Leader to Onyx-Leader, shields are down on primary! I repeat: shields down on primary.”

Incandescent explosions and searing bolts of green turbolaser fire crisscrossed the black expanse of space. TIE Fighters in neat formations tore through the ether, soundlessly screaming on their twin-ion engines to engage the hodgepodge collection of unfamiliar craft that the enemy had launched from their vessels. Missile boat squadrons sped through the morass, firing enfilading bursts of proton torpedoes and concussion missiles. TIE Interceptors ran interference, blasting the smaller frigate-analog vessels with squadron-concentrated bursts.

Coming in behind the array of Imperial fighter craft were the Victory-class Star Destroyer Swift Lance and a couple of Strike Cruisers. Long range turbolaser fire flashed from the forward arc batteries of the Swift Lance striking out at those enemy frigates that had lost shields. The Strike Cruisers used their speed to make twisting, mobius arcs – maintaining optimal firing range for their gunners.

The Ravager cruiser-analogs were equally taken unawares. Utilizing precisely calculated micro-jumps through hyperspace, both the Imperial Star Destroyer The Red Hand and the Stormlord had appeared within what any novice Imperial Academy cadet would have generously called “Frakingwhathtehellshitsclosecloseclose”. Each Star Destroyer had appeared with one enemy ship on either of their primary firing arcs. Smaller in size and caught surprised, all four were saturated within a minute with gigaton-ranged turbolaser blasts. Ship armor ceased being any kind of defense, atomizing and disappearing into the black of space.

Commodore Bonny oversaw the destruction of the Ravager ships with pleasure. Fist clenched in a near carnal delight at the visible display of slaughter being inflicted upon the Ravagers, Lieutenant Kovine grinned.

He checked his newly issued chronometer. The battle had commenced less than ten minutes before and already over 90% of the Ravager fleet – taken by surprise – was destroyed or incapacitated. He watched as boarding shuttles, filled with naval assault stormtroopers, began moving through the waning firefight of fighter craft to attach lamprey-like to the outer hulls of those enemy frigate vessels that hadn't been destroyed outright.

Bonny turned as the comlink beeped. “Yes?”

Permission to begin our landings, Commodore,” came the voice of Brigadier McTavier. “ComScan has shown us those areas that the Ravager ground forces seem to be occupying. With help from Lieutenant Kovine and other records we have on hand – we should be able to liberate the capitol within a day, at most.

“That's highly confident of you general,” replied Bonny, casting a look at Kovine.

It's the only way an officer of the Imperial Army can be, in light of the display the Navy often puts on,” came the swift, quipping reply.

Bonny laughed.

“Indeed so, general. Very well. You may start your landings. Good hunting!”

Army, out.” McTavier cut the line. He'd be commanding his 8th Army Corp from the planet surface. Much as Bonny had protested, the general had refused to command from the secondary bridge aboard the Stormlord. He decried such gentil thinking.

Minutes later, the gargantuan landing craft of the Imperial Navy began to disgorge from the holds of the two Imperial Star Destroyers. TIE fighter squadrons took up escort patterns around them, and led them inside the planetary atmosphere.
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Postby Thrashia » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:10 am

Helmrakai City | Outer Hills

Michael Noventa shifted his armor slightly again. It chaffed just enough to be irritating, but not enough to cause any mark. The fact that he was wearing armor at all was still a bit of a surprise to him. Being the son of a grand moff usually had its perks, but certainly not one that led to that son being given a command within an Imperial Army division – not leading it mind – but within it. Like all young Thrashian men, Michael had gone through basic military training at the Imperial Academy. You can become anything you want, but damned if you won't start out an infantryman, as the saying went. But to imagine that Michael, who preferred to be called Mike, was anything but a neophyte would be wrong; and he knew it.

Mike turned his head again, looking up at the observation drone that was hovering about a hundred meters above his head. He couldn't really see it, due to reflective camouflage, but he knew it was there. Each platoon in the battalion he commanded had smaller versions of that drone with them, processing information as it happened and sending it back to Mike's command post. He received both the visual from the drones and the vocal reports from his men.

Mike turned back to examine the field where the battle would soon be taking place. On his right was the only significant high ground that overlooked the city proper – a series of hills that were bare as a bald man's head. To the left was a relatively thickly wooded nature preserve that had, apparently, been a zoo of sorts for the local North Mackians.

Between the two was about a full mile of flat terrain, hardly covered by anything other than the occasional bush or tree. A few cultivated hexes had been turned into mud by the marching boots of his men and the vehicles with him. Mike noticed that they were angled in a northerly-south direction, which placed the local sun out of their eyes. Mike made a mental note to thank Brigadier McTavier later and compliment him on his operational movements. He might be a neophyte, but Mike could see there was a lot more to this command business than the professionals ever so obviously let on.

“Definitely more to this war business than meets the eye,” he muttered.

“What was that, Colonel?” asked Major Long, who was using a datapad next to him.

Mike waved his hand. “Just talking to myself.”

Major Long was a veteran officer and had been in the executive officer post for five years, helping to command the 59th Brigade. Next to him were two other staff officers, adjutants, Captain Reynes who was promoted up the line behind Major Long, and then a crusty old clone officer, named Captain Duerr that had been appointed by Brigadier McTavier. He'd made it a request to Mike at the beginning of the campaign to accept Duerr onto his staff, and one which Mike couldn't see any excuse to refuse. Duerr had a generally unpleasant personality and was perhaps more foul-mouthed than any man Mike had ever met. The amount of scars and old wounds displayed on his face and visible skin might go a long way to explaining why, as he'd apparently fought in every engagement that the Imperial Army had fought since first coming to the Beta Quadrant twenty-three years before – and was still a captain in rank.

Mike rather liked the man, though. And he found his advice quite helpful.

Mike lifted his electrobinoculars to his face and peered through them. The land ahead was burning and a few civilian mass transports were nothing more than wrecks on the ground. There was even a crashed starship down in the field. The Ravagers, those that had either been left behind or chose to stay, had occupied the city and turned the surrounding areas into a wasteland. The fact that the forest preserve on his left flank was untouched was nothing short of a miracle.

“I think I see them beginning to come at us,” said Mike.

Major Long took up his own macrobinoculars and also put a hand to his comm-bead. “You're right sir. The scout company commander, Rollins, is reporting contact with the enemy.”

Sounds so clinical, thought Mike. As if “contact with the enemy” doesn't mean “they're shooting at us because they spotted us and now we're also shooting back.”

“He says that the Ravagers appear to be approaching in what can only be described as a skirmisher formation...” continued Major Long. “They don't appear to be formed up into anything more specific or tactical than that.”

Mike took out his datapad and used his command code to tap into the drone display. He saw a mix of different races marching in the ranks of the Ravagers. Humans, saurians, avians, and other bi-pedal and multi-pedal species. They appeared to be armed with a variety of weapons and likewise armored, haphazardly. He noticed a few personal energy shields flare up as the Thrashian scouts, mounted on their military speeder bikes, whipped through the debris field to engage them.

“Now I know why Brigadier McTavier wanted us here,” commented Mike. “Even a dumb-arse pirate scum like these Ravagers know that if we occupy the high hills here north of the city that we'll easily sweep them out of it soon thereafter.”

“Indeed, sir,” nodded Captain Reynes, not caring to mention that the 59th Brigade has also been placed here to see if the new would-be Colonel Michael Noventa had what it took to be a combat leader as well as the political leader he'd been within his father's network of flunkies.

“Major, I want you to have Lieutenant Braix fall back. His scouts can't do much more for us,” ordered Mike.

“Very good, sir,” replied Long, pleased that he'd not been forced to recommend that very same order a moment or two from now.

“Captain Duerr, how many heavy companies do we have again?”

“Heavy companies? We've two inside each of the two battalions in front of you. Right here in the center of the line,” replied the clone captain.

“Have all battalions bring their heavy companies to the fore,” ordered Mike, looking out his electrobinoculars again, observing the scouts moving away from the enemy in what looked like a pell-mell fashion. This seemed to encourage the Ravagers, as Mike heard – even from this distance – a roar of approval.

“But, Colonel, I thought that we'd allow the artillery to -.”

“I know, Captain, but I think we need to show these Ravagers that the Thrashian Empire isn't to be fucked with,” said Mike, gritting his teeth. “Wouldn't you agree, Captain Duerr?” Mike glanced his way.

Duerr was grinning savagely. “I would at that, sir. No one fucks with us and expects to get away with it. Certainly not this scum.”

Mike turned to Major Long. “Do you have any extra advice, Major?”

“Are you wanting those heavy companies to move into the field?” he asked.

“Yeah. I think we need to come to grips with them, hard and fast,” replied Mike.

“Then, I suggest you detail the regular infantry companies to mount up on transports and be given orders to flank around the sides after we've fully engaged them in the center. Once we've got them pinned there with the heavies, we should be able to easily sweep their flanks.”

Mike nodded. It was sound advice now that he heard it and he wasn't stupid enough to ignore it.

“That's a good idea major. Please see to it.”

“Sir, yes sir.”

Mike shut his mouth after that and let his aides organize things. He wasn't very good at detailing tactical plans beyond some of the very basics, but he was good at finding people who knew such things – it's why he'd chosen Major Long to continue as his XO and detailed Captain Reynes as his second. Both were competent officers who had been in the brigade the longest. It might not be much of a strong point in Mike's favor, but as long as he could find the right officers and listened to them (which he did as best and well as possible) then he felt confident he wouldn't screw up too badly.

* * * * * *

Battalion commander Captain Frost knelt next to his adjutant's carriage pack and took out another bottle of water. He handed it to the young lieutenant and told him to drink. “It's hot and thirst is a bigger distraction on a battlefield than you can believe.”

“If you say so sir.”

“I know so, Lieutenant.”

The communique popped in through the tactical net, the officers' only network of communication at the battalion level. Each battalion commander could speak to each other and their brigade commander via that network. At times there were no verbal codes, simple music chimes – preorganized orders that allowed a busy battalion commander to not need a long explanation for what to do. Frost had brought his heavy companies, two of them, to the forefront of his battalion's command area, roughly four hundred meters of frontage. That seemed like a small space, but it required a lot of men to fill that space, and only having five hundred men to try and fill that space wasn't easy. Thank goodness that modern weaponry kept them from needing more men.

Each company needed a frontage of at least two-hundred meters, in order to disperse correctly and easily enough for maneuvering. Frost reminded himself to make sure and buy Major Frost a beer later, since he felt sure that the Major was having a positive influence on their new and untried commander.

The comm blurted out a series of notes. They didn't startle Frost, but they were always less welcomed than verbal orders. I mean sure the notes were simple enough and lyrical even, made for easy memorization, but...

The signal finally registered on Frost. Front companies, ADVANCE.

Frost's mouth nearly fell open. They were already in position – a damned fine defensive position, too, with little to obstruct them in front – already set up, prepared fire lanes marked, everything set –

And some *damned* fool

Frost looked around quickly. He'd been about to blame Captain Reynes, but all four of the other neighboring battalions' heavy companies were also starting to move out. Soldiers, with practiced ease, were unlocking the tri-pod mounts on heavy weaponry and others lugging around SSWs.

What sort of idiot colonel –?

Belatedly, it dawned on Frost that the order note had specified a brigade-wide move. He couldn't see too much of the flanking battalions from his position because there were just too many men and APCs and speeders in the way. But he could look behind him.

Sure enough, the brigade commander was coming himself, trotting forward with his staff officers. That would be Colonel Michael Noventa. The newbie. And, apparently, the glory hound. For sure and certain, the fucking idiot.

* * * * * *

“Colonel Noventa, this is unwise,” said Major Long.

“I concur,” said Captain Reynes. “There's no need – not this early in the battle – for you to come forward and place yourself in harm's way. Should the situation take a bad turn, or something –.”

“Brigadier McTavier behaved this way quite regularly when he was a brigade commander,” interjected Captain Duerr. “It's amazing the fucker isn't dead yet.”

“Gentlemen, leave it alone,” said Mike. “It probably is stupid. I'm not at all sure this whole maneuver isn't stupid. But what I do know for sure is that there's no way I'm sending my men out there without going with them. I just can't.”

Major Long and Captain Reynes fell silent. But their tight lips indicated their professional disapproval.

Duerr chuckled, on the other hand as he primed his blaster carbine. “McTavier's soldiers adore the bastard, you know.”
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Postby Thrashia » Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:35 am

Battle of Helmrakai | Planetary Surface | Capitol City

Colonel Noventa took another sip of water out of the canteen that his adjutant, Lieutenant Maaug, had given him. His throat felt as dry and parched as a desert – having been shouting for the better part of an hour, exhorting his men to fighting better and harder. He felt weak in his legs and had been forced to sit down, resting his back against the side of a HAV Juggernaut's forward wheel. Captain Duerr, nursing a wounded arm from where a vibro-lance had nearly, literally, unarmed him, had smiled and told his commander not to worry about being seen sitting. “Everyone gets the post-battle shakes. The adrenaline is fading and your body will take a bit to readjust.”

Captain Reynes, laying on a stretcher next to Noventa, sighed.

“I can't believe I got shot. Again.”

“Could be worse,” Mike said, his voice sounding like a hoarse old man's. “If you hadn't been on the left flank when you were, then they might have been folded up by that surprise APC assault.”

“Still,” groaned Reynes, “This time I think I won't be able to scrape by with just a stint in the bacta tanks. I might have to get a prosthetic.”

“A droid arm will suit you well enough, young Reynes,” interrupted Captain Duerr, stepping over to them from behind the front of the Juggernaut. They both looked up, Reynes having to twist his head quite a bit to get an angle on the older officer.

“What's the word, Captain Duerr?” asked Mike, taking another long pull on the canteen.

“Twenty-three dead, two Juggernauts are out of action and being repaired, and the engineers are telling me that we'll have to scrap the five hover tanks that were loaned to us from Thirty-Ninth Brigade. All that and roughly two-hundred and thirty-three wounded, officers included.”

“Twenty-three dead,” repeated Mike.

“A rather light butcher's bill, considering,” said Duerr, phlegmatically and waved his good arm in the direction of the battlefield.

Out beyond their lines the field was like a scene from Hell. Deep furrows, scorched and burning, had been riven through the ground by heavy laser canon fire. Mounds of alien and human corpses lay scattered about, mostly with limbs or large chunks of the body missing. Those corpses that were intact often had multiple sections of their body burned down to the bone – some were in fact smoking skeletal husks. The Ravager army had been treated quite badly in the fight. That hadn't stopped them from acting like madness-driven fanatics. They'd charged the Thrashian battle line three times, each time with more and more ferocity. The intersession of a timely TIE Striker bombing run had silenced the hidden mortar teams that the Ravagers had, at first, been using to great affect in putting up a smoke screen to cover their advance.

All in all, it was a vicious battle that had lasted a little under four hours. The 59th Brigade, Mike's, had been the anvil upon which the rest of the 8th Corp had then swung about and hammered the Ravagers upon. It hadn't been an easy job, but Mike had a good inkling as to why he'd been given the duty. As the Grand Moff's son, he needed to be given a chance to prove himself and show that his position wasn't just due to his father's favor and power – though no one would have blinked much at it had that been all there was to it.

“There is some other good news,” said Duerr, stepping up and taking the canteen from Mike and taking a pull from it himself. He smacked his lips and handed it back. Mike only half-frowned.

“What's the good news?” asked Reynes.

“The general just announced that the local North Mackian government has been discovered. They were in hiding after the Ravagers had successfully managed to drive off their defense forces.”

“So...we won't be staying,” said Mike.

“What do you mean?” Reynes said, propping himself up on his good elbow to look at his commander. “Why wouldn't we stay? We've certainly bled for it.”

“Because the legitimate government is here and not destroyed like we had been led to believe,” replied Mike, looking about for a communications officer or his adjutant.

“So? Seems like we've done enough to have them shove –.”

“It's not that easy,” interrupted Mike. “The North Mackians are our allies. Have been for years. It would be a sorry move on our part to treat that relationship with the kind of underhanded devilry of annexing them in a time of weakness. They're not our enemies, after all.”

Duerr nodded. “I agree. Would leave a bad taste in the mouth if we tried something that bastardly.”

Reynes fell back and shook his head. “If you say so...still wish we could get something out of it.”

“We will, young Reynes,” smiled Duerr. “The Macks will be loving us for driving off the Ravagers while their primary fleets and forces were elsewhere. No worries there.”

Mike stood up, reaching out his hand to grab onto the wheel of the Juggernaut to steady himself. He felt his strength return and the shakiness he had felt early receded. He turned his head and spotted Lieutenant Maaug, motioning him over.

“Gather up the troops and prepare to return to orbit. Don't leave any of our men or material behind,” ordered Mike.

“Yes sir, Colonel Noventa,” the young lieutenant saluted, and immediately began speaking into his comlink.

Mike turned. “Gentlemen, see you back on board the Stormlord. I've got a bottle of whiskey to share about – remind Major Long when you see him.”

“Aye, sir,” grinned Duerr. “A bit of whiskey would certainly go a long ways to helping the arm.”

* * * * * *

In the days after the engagement upon Helmrakai, the Thrashian flotilla that had arrived once more took on it's ground troops.

Commodore Josephine Bonny oversaw the return of orbital control given back to the North Mackians, their other naval forces arriving a day or so after the battle was over – having had to travel further and through other engagements to get back to their homeworld. They were suitably thankful, if a bit huffy in their language – after all, know one wanted a foreign power to be the ones that destroyed or revenged themselves upon their attackers.

“Everything will be better now,” Bonny said, standing in her private suite aboard the Stormlord. She wore a light sleeping shirt and her hair was bedraggled from sleep, a warm cup of caff in her hands as she stood looking out the viewport.

A pair of strong arms wrapped gently around her waste and she fell backwards into the warmth and muscled-hardness there.

“I agree,” said Benjamin Kovine. He rested his chin on Bonny's shoulder and seemed to sigh in contentment. “Everything will be better now.”

“You'll stay on, then?” asked Bonny, doing her best to hide the small fear she felt be heard in her voice.

“The Thrashian Empire took me in when I thought I had nothing. I have to pay that debt back,” Ben said. He turned Bonny around, gently guiding her movement with small pressures of his hands. She stared up into his eyes. Seeking. Piercing. Judging.

“And I have you,” Ben said, a smile creeping across his face. “Bonny.”

“Just remember, you only get to call me that in this suite. One step outside – no, half a step – and it's back to Commodore.”

“Yes, ma'am.”

Ben couldn't keep the smile from reaching his voice and Bonny returned the smile. She reached her hands up and gripped him behind the neck, pulling him down a bit to where she had easy access to his lips and kissed him.

* * * * *

Three days after the Battle of Helmrakai the Thrashian forces left the system, expressing their good will and promise of further cooperation with the North Mackian Empire.
Last edited by Thrashia on Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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