Star Wars: Shattered Galaxy

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The abomination wasn't dead from Rec's shot. It fell to the floor, twitching, then raised it's head and began crawling forward, biting at Knaake's leg, only for a second shot to put it down permanently. A horrible stench came from the corpse. The blaster shots seemed impossibly loud, echoing through the empty building.

As Rec and Knaake moved forward, all seemed quiet.

Marcus gave out a growl as he noted Knaake's behavior toward the creature. While he was distinctly pleased at Rec's reaction, he was less so to see how determined the thing was to keep going after them.

"Sith's spit....Don't let the Force forsaken things close, or you might as well start praying that it can't slam or bite you hard enough to ruin something." Marcus whispered through the comms, now drawing out the Beam Cutter as he noted how the things moved damned fast.

"And don't let the goddamned silence throw you off. The thing charged because it figured it could get a meal and it almost did, so they are at least somewhat keep your damned eyes wide open, and lets find some good stairs to start climbing, or another turbolift."

Saying that, Marcus checked the Beam Cutter in his possession once more and looked everyone over. All slightly shaken from the random thing charging them, but not broken.

Those damned things likely know where we are now. We gotta start moving, and why didn't those goddamned comms pick up? Must be too low. Gotta get higher to get picked up.

"Hopefully there will have been only one of them, a strangler. As unlikely as I know it probably is." Prenlarr said as he stayed close to the rest of the group. at this point he kept the beam cutter ready to go at quite literally any moment.

"Aye, you have it there, Marcus. The sooner we are off this ruined planet, the better," Rec muttered into his comm as he took up a new position in cover, waving Knaake ahead before he ducked out of his spot and repositioned himself once the soldier was able to provide cover fire if necessary.

The hallway ahead of the group seemed to be deserted... given the presence of the creature they had encountered earlier, there were undoubtedly more of them. Rec didn't believe for a second that it was a lone wanderer, as Prenlarr hoped. If there were more in the area, which was highly likely, the novice Jedi would find them soon enough. And when that time came, the ensuing fight would preferably be over sooner rather than later.

As long as Joseph doesn't do anything stupid, like trying to resist a charge attack, we should be fine, he thought as the two of them continued to leapfrog one another, moving from cover to cover. The man can be trusted with a gun, but he is by no means an immovable object to be bounced off of.

The sound of skittering footsteps seem to come from behind, but when they turned to look, there was nothing but a wall there. The footsteps seemed to be coming through the floor, the walls. Then, as they moved forward again, Marcus spotted a large window, nearly invisible in the dark and covered in filth. He barely had time to indicate it before it exploded inwards, shards of transparisteel flying at them while the monsters poured through the hole, bloodcurdling screams coming from them.

"Oh Blast!" Joseph said, fear crept into his voice. He Picked a target at random, and fired. The blaster bolt hit on of the targets in the chest, leaving a fist sized charred hole in it. It slump to the ground mid stride. Two more of the monsters tripped over it and clattered to the floor, Knaaked picked those off with well placed head shots. To him, this was as normal as sleeping to him.

"Marcus!" Joseph yelled over the gun fire. "Any bright ideas this time, Salvager!?"

One of the monstrosities came right up to Joseph as he was to busy with farther way targets. It tackled him. He had mere seconds to act before he'd get ripped to pieces. He had to think quickly. It's jaws snapped at his face plate, saliva and chunks of rotten meat splattering across his view, his stuck his forearm on it's throat to keep at at bay. A claw swiped at him and scratched his visor, leaving deep scratches in it, nearly puncturing the protective seal. He though quick and jammed the barrel of his blaster into its mouth and squeezed the trigger, the back of the monster's head exploding outwards. He shoved the corpse off of him and scrambled to his feet almost falling over a second time near Rec. His heart pounding his chest and his left arm felt weak.

"SHUT THE HELL UP AND MOVE!" Marcus shouted, and got to following his own advice and began running towards the still oddly labeled exit. Course, the things were meant to keep working in the event of a disaster, so he guessed that made sense. However, it seemed the things were everything but coordinated, meaning they could still get the hell out of here. Leveling his beam cutter, he leveled it at the creatures, pausing for just a moment to make sure he was ready for the recoil of the now weapon.

Just like a plasma cutter, just bigger and meaner. You bastards are going to be very nicely sliced.

Angling the weapon so if it did go through them, it would destroy their exit, he pulled the trigger lightly to not fire it too long, and the beam lanced out, neatly slicing the creatures. However, Marcus didn't need to feel the heat in order to know that the weapon was running very hot with just that quick burst.

"C'mon! We are moving up or digging graves here! To the surface, and let our ride know we need to get out of here!" Marcus shouted, knowing there was no way they could level down enough fire to stave off anything like this. Thinking that the weapon should be saved for a much larger horde in front of him, he swung the weapon to his side, and instead drew out his blaster pistols, and started firing in the crowd to at least start killing something.

With the fresh wave of the abominations heading straight for the group, Rec calmly lined up a sniper shot and put one of the creatures out of the fight - mostly. Since the pack was undoubtedly going to close the distance sooner rather than later, and there would be little time to put a second one down, the hunter dropped the rifle and drew his pistol, snapping off a couple of shots from out of cover before ducking back in.

Marcus's actions with the beam cutter had thinned the ranks of the things, but there were still plenty more of them. "Where's a pair of vibroblades when you need them," he muttered, more to himself than Joseph who was huddled nearby. Rec had been forced to land on Coruscant without his paired blades, since they were built into the gauntlets of his armour and he had had to trade it for the armoured enviro-suit. Surely the blades would help to even the odds a little.

Then a fresh idea hit him as he put down a weakened creature with two shots to the head. The lightsaber he had taken from the Jedi Wing. Just holding the weapon had given Rec a sense of power; surely that power could be focused into the death of the monsters attacking the group. The telling downside was that he had no training with, or knowledge of how to use, the fabled weapon; a lightsaber could cut through almost anything, and Rec could easily lose an arm or leg if he accidentally misused it.

"Don't have to ask me twice." Joseph shot off. He ran and dove just behind Marcus, rolled and came up to his knees, immediately shouldering the rifle. He caught something in his peripheral vision and swung his head to look.

On the wall, skittering across it, was one of the creatures, attempting to flank the group. He went to aim and shoot but Marcus was in his way. Joseph swore, and turned to Rec.

"Rec!" Joseph shouted. "4 o'clock high! 4 o'clock high!" He refocused and dropped two more creatures with adrenaline fueled accuracy.

Prenlarr took out his own beam cutter. He knew he would have to be extremely careful with his rounds, so he mainly waited for a group while he kept up with the others.

"Let's just hope the pilots can get to us in time." Prenlarr said as he saw a small group and lined up the shot. Luckily what he couldn't do with a blaster he could do to some extent with the tool in his hands.

Turning his own unfocused attention towards the target that Joseph had been screaming about, he noted the target and let fly with a few blaster shots, knocking it off the wall. It likely wasn't dead, but it wasn't going to get to them quicker than the others to hold them up. Slamming his fist onto the emergency button to open up some stairs to lead upward, which thankfully appeared to be for the most part intact.

"COME ON! We gotta get to the surface, and to the depths with these things! Prelarr, we are sealing this with our beam cutters! MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE!" Marcus shouted, going up the stairs some looking over all the walls and roof. Spotting none of the things crawling about, he turned to watch on the doorway which he hoped everyone would hurry through.

Gotta cause a bit of a collapse, or seal the door shut. Otherwise, we will need to outrun these things, which we won't like this. Gotta cause a bit of damage on our own, and hope that it doesn't bite us in the ass later.

"Hey, can anyone raise the pilots? I got nothing on my end, and would like to have them hovering above us when we get topside!"

In orbit, on the bridge of the Aullanger, all hell was breaking loose.

"Captain, we have a tight-beam transmission link with the Hawkbat, we are transmitting to them the coordinates to the weapons fire we've detected. They're on their way."


The Captain turned his head. Ahead, space shimmered and then a death-black ship appeared with a flicker of pseudomotion, about rivalling the Aullanger in size.

"Unknown warship has just jumped in. Sir, design is similar to a new entry on Fleet Net - designation Retribution-class Sith Battlecruiser."

"Oh, damn. Helm, fastest course out of the gravity well, calculate a jump to interstellar space. Get us the hell out of here!"

As the Aullanger began it's descent into the gravity well, the Sith battlecruiser began disgorging craft - fighters and shuttles.

Against all odds, the Jedi hopefuls fought their way through the feral mutant hordes and made it to the surface to see the Hawkbat incoming - only for missiles to punch through the shuttle, reducing the once magnificent craft to flaming debris. As the fire faded, they could see a pair of small Sith fightercraft, escorting a larger shuttle. All bore the same sinister, death-black design of their larger warships.

Their comms switched on.

"This is the Retribution." A crisp, military voice came through. "You will be overrun by the feral mutants, sooner or later. You have a choice. Board the shuttle that's coming down...or be left to die. It's your choice."

Marcus didn't bother to pause as he initially saw their shuttle began coming in, only for it to be blown out of the sky. Marcus then quickened his pace, heading towards one of the buildings he had noted on the way in. Like the Jedi Temple, it appeared for the most part intact, and well enough held together that the walls wouldn't come crashing down around them.

"This is the Retribution. You will be overrun by the feral mutants, sooner or later. You have a choice. Board the shuttle that's coming down...or be left to die. It's your choice."

Go bathe with some banthas, you sick excuses for Sith. Marcus thought as he grabbed his beam cutter once more to carve his way into the structure. With the quick cuts, as he strapped the tool-now-weapon in place, he heard a quick beeping, informing him that he would need to replace the crystal in place inside the beam weapon if he planned on using it again any time soon.

"Come on! You go with them, you might as well hope that they kill you quickly." Marcus said simply over the comms, looking around inside the building, finding it in some poor shape inside, but it seemed sturdy enough for the moment. And relatively clear of the monsters who obviously were either running from the incoming ships and explosions, or the Force was with him. Regardless, no time to let his guard down.

I'll survive this like I've survived all the other times, Sith, Jedi, Fleets, and monsters be damned. Mar Kiarus Krang will not go without a fight, and isn't going to go fly with people who purposefully try to kill him.

Prenlarr agreed with Marcus, but he couldn't help but point out the problems with this line of thought even as he himself followed it.

"So what is your plan? It probably isn't likely that there is still a working ship in a working space port, and even if there was how will we avoid getting shot down. I mean, it is rather clear they have air supremacy. So if you have a plan, now would be the time so that we can actually help."

The more he thought about it the worse this idea seemed, even though it was their only real option. There was really little to no chance of escape, if anything that ship contained sith that would capture or kill them if the locals didn't. Even if they could get off the ground they would probably be killed soon after take off without activating some kind of automated planetary defenses. Which that was assuming they even still worked.

"Then we don't go to the space port. While this planet may be dead, it isn't without it's leftover equipment, especially personal, or left behind company equipment. And then we could maybe even find some automated defenses to...commandeer." Marcus replied, doing yet another check of the building he had gone into, starting to go over in his head the best way out of the area and into cover.

It wasn't the first time he had been shot at while salvaging, and it wouldn't be the last time either. In fact....

"If we can hold down for a bit, maybe they won't hold air superiority for long. Come on! You can go be a Sith plaything, but I would rather keep my skin where it is."

"I'm not arguing whether your way is the way we should go. I'm just wondering if you have a more concrete plan or if we are just playing this by ear and hoping everything falls into place." Prenlarr said as he followed Marcus.

"I'll help in any way I can but this day seems to be getting worse and worse. Luckily if other buildings are like the jedi temple I may be able to get us into a defense system for the planet and at least distract them somewhat."

Joseph's survival instincts kicked in. They were out gunned, out manned, and they were surely going to die. He quickly surveyed the building, looking for any structural weaknesses to use to their advantages in case the Sith decided to use ground troops. He used his view finder to look for a good vantage point to post a sniper to keep anything else pinned or take out any vehicles. His brain worked at top speed formulating plans, contingencies, variables. What if they brought in heavy air support? What if the mutants broke through a back wall? What if some of the group decided to give up. All of these flew through his head.

"Alright," He started. "We have two options, we either all get captured, and have some form of weird needle of shoved down what passes for our urethra." He visibly flinched. "Or, I'll create a diversion, and leave it up to Marcus to make sure you all get out of here alive and hope for the best. The choice is yours, but I'd rather make sure you all get out alive for the good of the galaxy than have us all end up strapped to a wall."

What the hell am I doing?!

"Hoping things fall into place is the best thing we got at the moment. Besides, I am more than willing to bet your skills could lock down a lot of these places behind us. Won't stop the bastards I'm sure, but it will slow them down, which is all we need till we find something more stable." Marcus said back, keeping his moderate pace going, making sure to check out each area as they continued to run.

It was at that point he heard Joseph start talking, and almost wanted to smack the helmet right off the human.
"Don't go playing hero-boy on me. We split up, we will be easy pickings for both the Sith and the monsters. We keep our asses moving, we keep to the buildings, and we shut down any doors we pass through, and turn on any defenses we find. Maybe we will get lucky and find a private docking area. If we can, we will not only be secure, but maybe have a way off this goddamned rock that isn't filled with unpleasant torture." Marcus continued chatting, letting off a few blasts on a lone creature that had been digging at something which Marcus didn't care to look at.

Alright, good. We are inside at least, which means we won't get picked off or simply overwhelmed by the damn things in the open. Just gotta start cutting things down to stop em if we have to.

"PRENLARR! How much energy you got left in your cutter? I need a chance to change mine." Marcus asked, keeping his blaster moving about to make sure nothing would jump out without getting a few blaster bolts.

None of the scenarios presented by the Sith, Knaake or Marcus were particularly appealing to Rec. Nor was the situation at hand: he knew how to kill things like krayt dragons and other large game, not run from waves of mindless mutants through a long-since-ruined cityscape. Since the group was all too literally on the run, his sniper rifle was borderline useless; Rec had had to make do with his pistol, putting blaster shots through heads or eye sockets, and violently disposing of the few fiends that got too close for comfort. Again, he wished for his paired blades, or the ability to effectively use the lightsaber in his possession.

"You say we might get lucky, Marcus... I am inclined to believe that the odds are somewhat against us. But you are correct in saying that splitting up will weaken us," he chipped in. "I think we need to find something that can help us to either hide or make an escape." Defending a fortified location could only last for so long. The Sith could turn the creatures into their frontline forces, and send in their own troops when the group had dealt with all of the mutants in the area. By then they would be severely weakened, Rec could tell that much.

"Alright so running it is then. I'll do what I can to cause as many doors to go into full lockdown as possible as we go. As for beam cutter, I have plenty left, only fired it once so far. Once it became clear we would need to cut through a door or wall I saved it." Prenlarr said, he had switched to his own blaster pistol but was only accurate enough for center of mass shots.

"Odds are always against you on the surface of a bad planet Rec. Since we are still breathing, I would assume we are not doing half bad. Yeah, we need a place to hide, which is why we are in this building. Hoping we can find a place a little more closed in." Marcus said, keeping his steady pace, and his eyes moving.

"Good, Prenlarr. Carving my way in here kind of used up mine, so if we can get a bit of breathing room, I would like to have it handy to cut our way out of anything." Marcus said, keeping his thoughts running.

"Alright people, see anything that tells us what we are in? I can't think of any particular structures that would be near a Jedi Temple except maybe military checkpoints or something."

"So we do what?" Joseph asked. "Run until we get ourselves captured? This planets been dead for fifty years! There may not be a working space port! All you're going on is some blast assumption of yours. And on top of that, they have air superiority, so you find a ship, get it airborne and then what? You get caught in a tractor beam. And everyone gets captured." He ranted. "Are you willing to screw everyone over on an assumption? Are you? All I'm asking is that you let me buy you some time, I'm not asking to pull some heroics, I'm asking to create confusion so you can hole up is some pseudo-bunker until help eventually arrives."

Marcus began to chuckle darkly, despite himself.
"Soldier boy, I'm pretty sure ships last longer than fifty years. And if we do go to fly, we won't take off into the enemy ship." Marcus said simply, glancing about to see if he could find anything else worthwhile.

"And you would be pulling some heroics. Run off and do...what? Get ran over by the monsters? Grabbed by the Sith? For us to go hole up in a position with little ammo, combat supplies, and no idea how many we are facing? We need to keep moving, and out of plain sight. I'm being goddamned Sith-damned, rahkghoul-piss, bantha-crap, optimistic. If you want to go clamor for the ending and thirst a death thinking yourself a hero, stand in a doorway and fight and die, or run out to the Sith and get captured and your skin peeled away. Otherwise, don't let anything other than useful information get past your mouth, like where a ship is, where the monsters are coming in, or an idea of where to go to get the hell out of here. I don't need your stupid-soldier-trained ass getting us killed, or leading more of them towards us. Offer something that doesn't involve splitting up or standing around to fight, and maybe it will be appreciated." Marcus snapped, obviously not happy upon not noting anything in particular in the room as he continued his search, noting more rubble blocking a window which he was somewhat thankful for.

I swear, I did NOT sign up for this garbage. Was just going to be a quick grab of Jedi artifacts, and a go. Now we got Sith breathing down our necks, monsters running around, and people thinking they have a better idea than the next guy. Just wish there was something USEFUL near this forsaken place. There has to be, a Jedi Starfighter or something.

Somewhat annoyed now, he was glaring about the next room, noting that there were oddly no windows or any noticeable openings in the room regardless. Perhaps storage or something. Annoyed with the lack of things, he turned his attention to the next door, bringing his blaster to bear again.

With a flicker of pseudomotion, the gray dagger of KSD Aullanger returned from hyperspace, lashing out with waves of blue, red, and green energy that caused the Retribution's shields to glow a pale white before collapsing, blasting chunks of black armor from the great warship. The Retribution began to roll under the barrage, retaliating with it's own weapons.

The group's comms crackled.

"This is Captain Ibram Kell of the KSD Aullanger. We've informed Admiral Cath of the situation, and the fleet is inbound. Just hold on down there. We'll keep these Sith occupied as long as we can. Admiral Cath estimates arrival in twenty minutes time."

The Aullanger's hangers slid open and began disgorging hundreds or thousands of spheres that each swarmed into battle. Several dozen of the spherical craft headed for the planet's surface.

In response, Retribution began disgorging it's own bird-like fighters, in far lesser numbers. Battle was joined in earnest.

Marcus started to chuckle as he heard what he had suspected and hoped would occur. The help had arrived, and now they just needed to keep moving. At least for a while longer. As long as Prenlarr kept sealing the doors behind the group, which he was quite certain annoyed the creatures to no end as some of them would slam their fists into the doors attempting to force them open. And while the place was a wreck, the doors were not simply going to give way.

"HAH! See? Not dead and stuck yet. Come on, we need to keep moving yet. The monsters are not going to give up, and I imagine the Sith are not going to simply let an opportunity like this simply pass them by. Rec, you happen to see anything more...human like following us? I would like to know if we got actual Sith warriors or something coming for us." Marcus said, in much better spirits now that he knew what was going on wasn't just delaying death in some form or another.

Force be with us. We might just pull out of this yet. Just gotta play our cards right, and we might get off this forsaken rock, and I can stop leading these untrained people around here....well, Prenlarr knows what is going on at least, and Rec at least tries to keep us rolling. Maybe he will know what to do after this mess.

With thoughts of the mess soon going to be behind him one way or another, Marcus stepped into a room which he didn't enjoy the look of. Lots of places for things to hide.

"Sealing this door off. Would be better if we just decided to go another way." Marcus said, stepping back out, having the door seal in front of him.

Joseph lurched out at Marcus, rage in his eyes. He grabbed him, spun him around and punched him clean across the jaw. Knocking Marcus to the floor, where upon Knaake jumped on him and began mercilessly bounding Marcus' faceplate in, until the visor cracked, and inevitably shattering, exposing Marcus to the Nerve Agents. Joseph didn't stop there, he unsheathed his VibroBlade and slit Marcus's jugular, blood sprayed against the wall. Joseph went on to stab through the shattered visor several more times while the group gawked at the sheer brutality of the sight. Everything began to fade to white as Joseph let his rage flow through his veins.

Outside of his mind however, and to the rest of the group, the only sign of Josephs' mental distress was a simple eye twitch and eerie silence coming from him. He stood there, his finger hovering over the trigger mechanism; eager to shoot at something to unleash his inner rage. He whispered to himself.

"I'm going to fucking kill him..."

Prenlarr touched the two wires together and the door immediately shut and lock. From the sounds of it those things were a few doors behind, something he was thankful for.

"If I could reach a security room I could probably lock down most of the doors in the building. That should slow down both groups and buy us quite a bit of time to reach the landing pad for pick up. Or at least get close enough to stage a decent defense." Prenlarr said as he stood up.

"I could also hack the camera system and change the displayed monitors. Maybe get a better idea of what it is we face."

At Marcus's question, Rec bowed his head slightly and began to search through the surrounding area. Immediately he wished he hadn't: Coruscant's aura was very close to terrifying, even down in the Vault. Feelings of depression, despair and hopelessness crashed into his mind, threatening to overwhelm him and break him. But the hunter was made of sterner stuff than that. He shut out the external thoughts, knowing they would only hinder him, and began a search in earnest.

I am a Jedi now. I will endure the hardships that come with the name.

Apart from the obvious signatures presented by Rec's companions, there were a large number of very faint signatures scattered around their position, almost indistinguishable from the background aura of the ruin-planet. Other than those... nothing. Perhaps the Sith were planning to march in after the Jedi had weakened themselves against the creatures inhabiting the ruins. Rec brought his head back up, turning to Marcus.

"I sense nothing that could be a Sith close by, or in a large radius around us," he stated, casting a quick 'look' around once more to double-check. "Yes, I'm right. Nothing besides those monstrosities, which have weak auras around them. They are easily drowned out by the aura of the planet. I hope the Aullanger deals with those Sith quickly... the Force be with them."

"You could do that Prenlarr?....Never mind. Just gotta find out where one of those would be in here.....if there is one in here." Marcus said, still keeping his steady pace, hoping that he wouldn't encounter another room filled to the brim with those things.

Security room for one of these places? Well.....that would either be much higher up, or way farther down. Just great....

"The Aullanger can take these Sith, whoever the hell they think they are. Thanks for taking a look for me. Means we don't have to worry about the doors starting to disintegrate from lightsabers or something." Marcus replied to Rec, somewhat relieved as things didn't seem as bad as they could be.

"Anyone happen to see any signs or anything? Otherwise, we should probably start moving to the other end of this building so we can get to another one. Keep moving so they can't easily catch or track us." Marcus said, trying to give off some semblance of a plan as he continued moving through the building.

Just survive this, and done. You will never have to come back here with these people, and will never have to lead them through a wreckage ever again. Force willing, never again.

"If you can get me in the room I could shut the whole building down if you wanted me to. The system is comparatively simple compared to the security systems of today. Not to mention I'm an engineer from a species that uses complex mathematical equations that require teams almost a year to solve as a way to challenge each other. Reprogramming an antiquated system would be like asking if you can drive a speeder." Prenlarr said keeping pace with Marcus and the others.

"Aullanger to team, we're bugging out. One more hit from their beams and we're ashes. The droids should be able to secure the sky. I'm routing two squadrons to provide close air support. Aullanger signing off."

The channel went dead. Seconds later, they heard the distinctive roar of ion engines followed by laser blasts and explosions, most likely signifying the destruction of the Sith shuttle and it's escort fighters. From a distance, they could see mutants being struck with laser blasts and reduced to little more than a rapidly expanding cloud of vapor.

"This is Revenant Squadron. The droids are keeping the Sith fighters occupied. If you head for the landing pad to the north, we can cover you. Might even be able to pick you up, we've got empty gunnery chairs."

Overhead, they got a look at two distinct craft - one a standard TIE ball with four stubby solar panels and a pair of laser cannons on the 'chin', the other a larger, more sophisticated looking fighter, with a long slender fuselage and two front-swept wings. The craft bristled with firepower - most easily noted, missile launchers on either side of the fuselage and several cannons mounted on the chin and wings.

One of the larger craft made a sudden turn and came down at a close approach, passing close enough over their heads that they could feel the draft. The craft's chin-mounted cannon spun up for a moment, then fired a spray of slugs that cut down a swathe of the mutants.

About damn time. Though, how the hell are we getting out of here on that thing? Ah well, doomed regardless.

"Well everyone, here we go. Lets get off this rock!" Marcus said as he cut himself a better door and got to taking a quick run to the now waiting craft that would get them off this planet and not into the maw of those who would chop them up. He was tired, to say the least, as it was a pain keeping up the steady run for...who knows how long. But he was done, and this was it. Jump onto the shuttle, leave this Sith Cursed planet behind, and call it a good day. Get a breather, get a good rest, and let someone else decide what to do.

"Thanks for the ride. Lets try to make sure that it is a good one." Marcus said as he finally jumped aboard, tired of all this but wanting to make sure everyone got on first.

Prenlarr followed soon behind, climbing into the ship. A few of the monsters tried to follow but were cut down by the shuttle's weapons.

"Well at least this is over now hopefully." He said as he sat back.

"Strap in." The fighters jolted off the planet's surface, heading for space. As the atmosphere cleared, the pilot of Marcus' craft swore.

"Frak. The Swarms are getting cleared out."

From a distance, they could see the Retribution spraying bolts of red light, occasionally punctuated by a flash of light as a flak burst went off or a fighter exploded. As they watched, the docking bay slid open, disgorging Sith fighter squadrons that engaged the swarms of droid starfighters.

"Sithspit. Warm up the hyperdrives!"

In a matter of moments, the droids were dispersed and the Sith craft began closing at an alarmingly fast pace.

"The Admiral's gonna catch up before hyperdrives warm up. Estimate one minute to her arrival..."

Joseph, now firmly seated aboard the craft, glanced around. knowing full well of the opposition, he remained calm. If he was going to die, so be it, there wasn't a whole lot he could do in the vacuum of space.

He felt something cold creep into his head. He attempted to ignore it, but the feeling persisted, and it got colder. He ignored it, and began looking through camera feeds from the team, something to keep himself busy. He was busy looking through Rec's camera feed when it happened. He felt a jabbing pain of cold in the center of his Cerebral Cortex, he grunted to himself in pain. He assumed he had just received a concussion from being slammed to the ground so hard by that mutant. He ignored it again. The pain came back, worse this time, it felt almost like a tentacle began to sift through his memories, the pain was intense, and he began to sweat within seconds. The pain was great, it was too much for him to handle, he blacked out and slumped in his harness.

To the rest of the group, it looked as if Joseph had passed out from sudden fatigue from the amount of stress he had endured. For several minutes, as the shuttle found its way through wreckage and such, Knaake laid there, motionless. Blacked out from the near maddening amount of pain.

"Take the ship, Joseph, and come to me."

To the group, Joseph's head popped right up, as if he had awakened, but to the man himself, he saw only blackness, he felt his own movement and was powerless against it, he could hear everything going on in the cabin. He, or it, unbuckled itself from it's harness and stood up, wobbling all the while as the pilots maneuvered through space. He casually walked into the cockpit

Whatever controlled Joseph, killed the pilot. With a blaster bolt to the back of the head. Spattering the control console with super heated flesh, brain and bits of skull. Pulling him out of his seat and planting himself there, taking control of the craft, and angling it towards the Retribution. By the time Joseph snapped back into reality it was too late, his former team saw him as a traitor, and the ship was almost sure to be caught in the Retribution's tractor beam. Taking Marcus and Kass with him.

"Good, pawn."

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