Del looked up from the navigation computer of the Avenger to listen to Pallaeon's message. "And you as well." He said as the hologram flickered out of existence. He turned to the helmsmen. "You heard him, to Mon Calamari."
As the fleet jumped to hyperspace Del yelled to the comm officer "Get everyone to their stations." and jogged off the bridge himself. "Zesk, she's in your hands now." He heard a brief "Aye, aye" before the doors close behind him.
Del first hurried through the halls to the armory to retrieve his armors helmet and a blaster rifle, an E-11a. With these new additions to the Stormtrooper armor Del was almost indistinguishable from the rest, apart from the lightsaber on his belt. He then fell in with the rank and file as they all made their way to the hangers where their landing craft and TIE fighters awaited. Del emerged into the hanger bay to a storm of soldiers maneuvering between each other to get to their assigned transport, each with the grey and black camouflage that Del also wore. He had sat himself down in one of the Sentinel-class landing craft when his comlink chimed. It was Captain Zesk."Whats up?" Del said into the devise.
"We've detected Republic troops garrisoned in the shipyards themselves."
Del thought to himself for a moment. This had not been expected. "Have the soldiers of Battle Group Demon attack the shipyards."
"But sir" Zesk said. "Aren't they to attack Wildwater City?"
"Not anymore." said Del.
A moment of silence, and Zesk said "Very good, sir. By the way, we're about to drop out of hyperspace."
"Alright, thank you." Del said and closed the comlink. He then nudged his way to the ships cockpit where he could see past the hanger's barrier. "3,2,1" Del counted under his breath, and the Avenger dropped out of hyperspace. Outside the ship, more Star Destroyers where dropping out as well, and Del could see a group of Republic warships in the distance as they began firing at the new arrivals. "All fighters, launch" boomed a voice over the intercom, and the squadrons of tie fighters screamed out into space. The hurricane was here, whether the Republic was ready or not.
Rez's instincts told him something wasn't right before he even finished his sentence. He jumped to the left of the door a split second before the explosion went off, and turned the dive into a roll to escape the force of the blast. The mercenary jumped to his feet and saw his target jumping into a land speeder with someone else.
He sprinted to his speeder bike and sped after them through the city streets.
"Rez, you okay?" Rastus' voice asked over the comlink in his ear.
"I'm following Caster and an armed guard on my speeder bike. What's your status?" Rez barked back over the noise of the rushing air.
"Taroo is down. Blaster fire. Storm Troopers will be here any second and the rest of the crew is backing up the security at the port. The Empire doesn't like when things blow up on their fortress worlds. They are locking down all ships, launch pads, and docking bays.
"Copy that." Rez responded before just narrowly avoiding a shot from the land speeder.
The person with Caster was shooting at him, no doubt they were also the one who shot Taroo. Rez floored it and began rapidly gaining on the speeder. The bike offered less protection, but it was faster and more maneuverable than the other vehicle. As he came up on their tail he pulled out his left-hand blaster and returned fire. He and the gunman in the speeder traded shots unsuccessfully, but Rez had the advantage. The gunman was using a rifle, not ideal for a close range high-speed chase through the streets.
The blue mercenary got a lucky break when the gunman had to reload. Rez Fired a burst into the left thruster and the old junker of a skimmer jostled violently. The gunman dropped his next clip which flew right past Rez.
The skimmer was zigzagging, trying to stay straight, but it was too old and beat up to run on one thruster. It went into a spin a few blocks from the port, and Caster was able to stop it before they crashed. The old machine sputtered off and Rez hit his brakes. The bike slowed to a stop and he Jumped off, reloading and pulling his second blaster. He dived for cover behind a corner as another shot from the gunman flew by where he had been less than a second ago.
The sound of Emperial Security could be heard fast approaching, and Rez called out "I know you're there Caster. And who ever that is with him, I applaud your tenacity. You can both live through this if you give up now!"
Mon Calamari Shipyards
"Battle stations, all hands prepare for combat!" I repeat, prepare for combat!" the speakers blared the warning repeatedly. This was it then, the Empire was here. Kyle nodded to the SpecForce commandos, gripping their carbines and hugging their side of the barricades. With the empire in system, the waiting game became much more tense.
Kyle held his bryar pistol close to his chest, his lightsaber in his other hand. A few minutes now, and then the shooting would start.
The Imperial Fleet finished exiting Hyperspace. The massive multiple tiered flotilla began to break off into their smaller battle groups, each moving to engage their selected targets. Ahead of the fleet came the fighters. Standard Imperial procedure involved swarming tactics with lighter Tie Fighters to allow the Interceptor and Avenger models a screen to cover their approaches. The ion engines wailed through the vacuum, faintly present in the upper atmosphere of Mon Calamari.
On the New Republic side, the defensive fleet began to mobilize as well. The heavy MC90s egan to form spearheads of capital ships, and began moving to engage the incoming destroyers in a heavy melee. The smaller patrol ships hugged the corners of the formations, forming a picket line to defend the heavy cruisers from fighter attacks. A secondary force covered the space stations to intercept anything that got past the fleet.
On both sides, the heavy turbolasers opened up, pouring fire into the opposing sides. Squadrons darted between the massive ships, engaging in frantic dogfights while trying to make it to their targets. From all this, a particular group of Destroyers surged forward, forming a vanguard unit smashing into the Republic lines. Captain Harssk lead the Star Destroyer Demon into the jaws of hell, driving the dagger shaped battleship into the heart of the republic fleet like a stab wound.
"Battle Group Demon, form up behind and follow us in. We will cut through and prepare to take the nearest Space Dock." he ordered over the ship to ship communications network. Three other destroyers, the Rampage, the Triumphant, and the Harlequin moved to cover the flanks and rear of the Demon, effectively doubling the size of the spearhead. The smaller Acclamator and Vindicator cruisers moved to fill the gaps in the formation, creating a solid battering ram to punch through the New Republic space.
The Mon Cal cruisers were quick to respond. At the sign of Harssk's bold move, several cruisers shifted to form a rearguard to bolster the line and rebuff his advance. The ensuing broadside combat was vicious. Striking through the middle of the Republic Fleet, the Demon was able to bring both gun lines to bear simultaneously, tearing apart the opposing cruisers with ease. Though not without success, the New Republic formation was withering under the relentless push. Three Acclamators were taken down by concentrated fire from assault cruisers, giving the defenders a chance to break up the formation. How they did it was unprecedented.
The Justice, a heavily damaged MC80B Star Cruiser that had been under refitting at the time the Imperials launched, had been towed out from the drydocks to act as an illusionary tactic to try and dupe the Remnant into thinking they had more ships than they let on. Now, it served a second purpose, as a missile. From Admiral Ackbar's flagship, the Defiance, the Justice was remote controlled via slave circuits, moving the skeleton frame into a collision course with the Triumphant. Noticing the cruiser swinging perpendicular to the incoming Star Destroyer, the Captain of the Triumphant made a desperate move to avoid the crash, angling the ship downwards to slip underneath. He was only half successful. The Triumphant's bridge was carved off the hull, taking the command staff with it, and leaving the rest of the ship dead in space.
Still, the Demon had pushed through a section of the fleet, leading the remaining half of its battle group with it. Now came the launch. Dozens of assault transports, each filled with Stormtroopers and boarding parties, shot towards the orbital construction facilities. The point defense cannons began targeting the incoming vessels, managing to shoot down several before the responding missile salvos blasted them aside. The first wave of shuttles breached the hangar bays.
Julia kept quiet in the passenger's seat. The silence was interrupted by Sarik. "Without a clan, I have no legitimacy. But as a Desilijic clan member, I can do it. I can unite the Hutt Space. Return it to its former glory. An Empire".
Sarik continued to drive till they had reached a small mud hut which they were told had the Grey Jedi inside. "This will be a long journey to take, but I have made my mind. I have no home to return to... So I will make my own home. For now, we have to take the first step". Julia said and disembarked from the speeder, a briefcase in her hand. "How do we approach the Jedi?, he is your friend", Julia asked Sarik in common.
"You know, I can speak Huttese," said Sarik, annoyed. "And how do you plan to become one of the Desilijics? By killing Gregori? That'll probably just piss them off. Becoming an honorary member of a Kajidic takes respect and time. Killing a family member won't make them sympathetic. You're better off taking this to the Besadii Kajidic after we kill Gregori. They hate the Desilijics, and we can use that as leverage. Baby steps."
The two approached the small mud hut. There was a rudimentary garden out front, but it was overgrown and ill maintained. "He should still recognize me. However, I hear living in seclusion can do things to your mind. He might be a little unstable seeing you. Let me go in and get Daekaris. You wait out here, just to be on the safe side."
Julia nodded and waited out front, while Sarik cautiously edged inside the doorway. The room was a mess, covered with filth and looking like it hadn't been lived in for years. The only thing that gave away life were the footprints in the otherwise undisturbed layer of dust. Carefully tiptoeing towards the source of the footprints, Sarik found that they stopped at the base of a dresser. Curious, he opened the wardrobe, and was immediately thrown against the opposite wall. Before he could get up, a short, white haired humanoid with a beaklike nose was atop him, with an unlit lightsaber pressed against his throat.
The Ryn growled at him. "What do you want, breaking into a person's house like that?"
Sarik frowned. "You were hiding in a closet." he retorted.
"So what if I was? It's not your place to tell me how to live! What're you doing here? Why did you co- wait.... I know you. Don't I know you from somewhere?"
"You do know me," said Sarik, gently pushing the saber away from his throat. "Daekaris, it's me, Sarik."
Daekaris's eyes widened. "Sarik? How did you find me? Why did you come?"
"Daekaris, you've lived here for the past thirty years. I've gotten used to finding your home over that time."
Daekaris pulled himself off of Sarik, and helped his younger friend up. "So sorry, so sorry, thought you were one of the damn Hutt's cronies. Came around asking for me a few days ago, thought they would find me. Hid in the closet til they left, then you showed up. What do you need, friend?"
Sarik smiled. "We need your help. My partner out here has something I think you should see. It's important, Jedi tech. It could be dangerous."
"A Jedi data crystal?" said Daekaris thoughtfully.
"How did you know? I didn't even tell you that!"
The Ryn chuckled. "But your mind did. You need to keep your thoughts buried better, Sarik, or us Jedi will use it against you. Show me this data crystal. We can take it down below."
The conversation between Vorir and Caster was cut short as they were being pursued by a mercenary the Clawdite recognized from the assignment briefing. After a brief exchange of fire, the skimmer was short a thruster and soon came to a halt. Using the downed craft as cover, Vorir had the Khommite hugging the corner of a nearby structure. The Clawdite, still focusing on the merc, spoke lowly to Caster, "Not to worry, we'll be out of this carbon flush in no time." With that, the assassin activated his wireless comms and made a quick call.
Mere minutes that felt like ages passed in this stand-off and Imperial Stormtroopers quickly surrounded the area and slowly began closing in. Suddenly, a dozen Stormtroopers converged on the Khommites position and surrounded him, all keeping their blasters on the merc.
"Drop the weapon or we'll fire!" One of the troopers shouted.
The Khommite had no choice to comply and soon found himself facing then pressed against the wall with his hands cuffed behind him. A trooper was searching him and laying out all his belongings on the ground as Vorir and Caster walked by, Caster having a fresh pair of cuffs on him as well.
"This the one giving you trouble?" Asked the trooper in charge.
"Yes," replied Vorir, doing his best to hold back a smile, "and if I'm not mistaken, there'll be a couple more behind us. You might get a reading on their speeder, it'd be best you scout as quickly as possible. I'll also need you to keep their ship grounded until you're sure you've detained all his crew and I'm clear of this system."
"Of course. Anything for a friend of the commander," the lead trooper said before relaying further orders to a second squad.
"Keep up the good work," the Clawdite remarked, recieving only a quick nod from the lead trooper. Ha! Friend... thought Vorir, if you only knew the dirt I had on your commander, then you'd realize the true nature of our "friendship". He paused a moment and approached the Khommite and spoke lowly, just loud enough for him to hear. "Next time you decide to interfere with my work, I won't be so leniant with my explosives, and you'll recieve a lot more from me than a few warning shots. We don't have to be enemies, just don't come between me and my goal. Oh, and my condolences to your friend. He was just unlucky."
Without waiting for a response, Vorir led Caster into an Imperial speeder, both resting in the rear passenger seats. They were soon shuttled to the starport where Vorir's guarded ship was awaiting them. Once they boarded, Vorir sat Caster in one of passenger seats of the bridge and strapping him in, unwilling to remove his restraints for the time being. He prepared take-off procedure and figured that meanwhile, the man could start talking. "I think it's about time you start telling me some of that information you find so valuable..."
Obroa-skai: Imperial Holding Facility
"So you weren't trying to kill Vorir Beldra?" An imperial officer questioned sarcastically.
"I'll go over this again for you. My men and I are mercenaries hired by Thrawn and we were following the trail of Caster Udea, and we tracked him to that building in the poor district. Then Beldra tried to blow me up, killed one of my men, and took off in the skimmer with Udea. At that point I had no way of knowing who he was, so based on his actions I assumed he was some kind of bodyguard Udea had hired. I chased them intending to capture Udea as I was paid to do then your men arrested me, and let Udea get away."
"He didn't get away you imbecile, Vorir Beldra captured him." the officer replied.
"Ask your men that were on the scene, Udea wasn't handcuffed until after they arrived and that's because Beldra was protecting him!"
"He could have easily assumed you were working for Caster Udea and were attempting to-"
"I announced that I was working for the empire and that I was tracking Udea Right before he tried to blow me up." Rez barked back.
"And I'm just supposed to take your word on that?"
"Tell me this then. If I really am one of Udea's agents, why would I have anouned myself to the port security, and called for assistance from the security forces both before and during the crime?"
That shut the officer up for a moment. He opened his mouth to speak but the door of the interrogation room opened and a trooper poked his head in and asked to see the officer for a moment.
"I'm in the middle of questioning, what is so damn important?"
"We checked his I.D. sir. He and his group were in fact under contract from Admiral Thrawn himself to capture the traitor Caster Udea."
There were 20 or so minutes of paperwork shuffling and apologies as Rez and his crew were released from custody and had their ship returned to them.
Dax Urr moaned an annoyed Ryn tune as he filed onto the Lance and the crew prepared for take-off.
"Open communications with Thrawn." Rez ordered as he took the Captain's seat. "Something isn't right here."
"Are we prepared, my Queen? Give the order and I will engage our foes with the vengeance of a thousand suns."
"Tch... Enough with the damn formalities. we go now." Pana said giving the oder.
She then turned to her own pilot. "i want us jumped into the hole the empire just opened up. focus torpedoes on the republic and i want every laser we have to bear down upon the unprotected imperial rear. All point defense to focus on. I'll make sure we get through." Pana said.
The liberator jumped into the hole as planned. All of her main batteries opened up on the empire's spear head fleet's exposed backside. torpedoes were launched at the defending cruisers as torpedoes ban raining down on venator.
Pana reached inside of herself for the force and began to pull the readily available troop transports that the empire were using; to intercept the torpedoes, destroying both.
Grissk nodded to the Twi'lik and began making long strides to the nearest hangar to join up with the platoon of clones he would be attacking with.
When he arrived at the transport, he went to the cockpit and sat in the co-pilot's seat, to better direct where he and the the other thirty clones on board would be dropped. He could feel the massive loss of life across the expanse, but all that worried him was that he would not participate in it.
"Captain, make sure that your men are prepared to do all that is necessary to win this battle, and to stay alive through it. We cannot replace these men."
"Yes, my lord. My men will do all that is required by the Sith Empire."
Grissk looked out of the glass as the fighters began their diversion to allow the transports to get to their targets with as little loss as possible. He wished he still had his Skipray he had taken from that Dark Jedi all those years ago, but he had been forced to leave it back on Illum, it would have been valuable to him here simply for the fact that he knew each and every little kink in the engines and how to pilot it through most situations.
Very well, it seems I'll just be here. The true battle begins soon
Captain Zesk, Mon Calamari Orbit
Zesk watched from the bridge as the battle unfolded. He watched as the Demon charged into the Republic fleet, he watched as the MC80's where blasted apart by the Empires turbolasers, and he watched as his comm officer turned to him like he had just seen a ghost. "Sir" said the young man. "the Sith fleet just jumped behind us."
"The Sith?" Zesk said with surprise. They had been told to expect them, but he hadn't thought they would really be so bold.
"Yes sir" said the comm officer. "They're attacking the back of the fleet."
"Dammit." cursed Zesk under his breath. "Get me Reather and Forwith." A moment later the holograms of both captains materialized before Zesk. "The Sith have made their move. Reather, you and Battle Group Indestructible engage the Liberator and company head on. Forwith, we need to move the rest of the fleet out from between our enemies." Both men nodded and disappeared. "Helmsmen, move us to starboard. And Perthing" Zesk said, addressing the comm officer. "Get me the Commodore."
As the shuttles poured into the hangar bay, dozens of New Republic soldiers let loose with their carbines, rifles, any blaster they could get their hands on. The shuttles rejected the fire, their thick armor too powerful for small arms fire to get through. Someone to the left of Kares, down at the barricades, fired some sort of rocket launcher. The projectile twirled through the air and slammed into the side of an Imperial craft. The thing ignited in a fireball, sending twisted durasteel and shrapnel everywhere across the hangar.
Vic shoved his partner's head down as he ducked himself under the barricade they were at. Little gnarled bits of metal shot over them, where they waited until it was calm enough to look up again.
The other transports had landed, and their doors opened in unison. Eve as the New Republic troopers poured fire into the openings, Stormtroopers responded with a steady stream of fire as soon as their guns could peek out of the opening hatches. An unlucky soldier to the right of Kares took a blaster bolt straight into his face. His face was smoking and charred as he fell back, the body careening off of their elevated position and onto the hard floor below. It was time to go to war.
Vic wasted no time in using his heavy munitions. He snatched a thermal detonator off of his belt and activated it, tossing the payload straight into an advancing squad of Imperial troopers. One heroic man pushed two others aside and kicked it, but the thing only got four feet before it detonated anyway. Unsympathetic destruction incinerated the eight men at the front of the pack, leaving the survivors scrambling for what little cover could be found at their LZ.
As the shuttles began to take off and head back for another wave of soldiers, Kares made his targets the few soldiers who had been hiding behind the ships up until that moment. He scanned the area, and spotted one man camping out behind a supply crate that had been kicked off one of the shuttles. The barrel of his blaster was elongated; a sniper, best he could tell. There was no time to scope him out, so the Devaronian instead reached straight for his blaster pistol, drawing it from his holster and pouring fire right into the Imp. The sniper clutched his breast, now sporting a pretty, new, smoking hole; he collapsed to the ground motionless. The mercenary grinned and tallied up his first kill; but he'd have to move quickly if he wanted to match Vic's ever-increasing score.
He drew his other baby, a modified Hushabye blaster he'd carried for nearly five years at that point. Dual-wielding wasn't this specialty, but he felt he had a certain finesse for it. And with all the men in this hangar, there was no way he could miss. He picked a squad attempting to gain the tactical advantage by circumventing the barricade on the far right side of the room; the one he and Vic were guarding. He analyzed them carefully. Twelve men, slightly depleted squad size. They've taken casualties, they'll be more cautious than normal; moving through the support beam areas to keep maximum cover; they're sticking to paths they've seen other troops take, no traps waiting for them. Spread out, so no easy cluster fire. This'll be tricky.
He took aim, and a wild grin seized him up. "But not nearly tricky enough!"
Kares opened fire, both blasters burning red hot with energy as bolts poured into the trooper squad. The two up at the front were nothing but dust and craters before the others even registered where the fire was coming from. Their sergeant rallied up the men, pulling them into defensive positions. They opened fire, and Kares ducked under the blaster shots. A nod was shared, and Vic went up with him, the pair laying down an oppressive shower against the Empire's men. Four more dropped from Kares' fire, and another three from Vic. The last three scattered, trying to get to cover. Although the other two escaped, one made the tactical error of moving straight back. Kares corrected him in the proper manner, a shot to the back.
Two squads broken, the pair crouched down to catch their breath.
*gaah, gaah* "So, boss, thinking you over-reacted yet? I mean, if this is all we're doing they might as well pay us now."
"I've still got a bad feeling about this." Kares insisted on his companion. "So don't let your guard down just because it looks smooth; expect anything coming through that hangar shield.
Julia knocked on the entrance door to the hut. "Hello?", she asked nervously. The door opened violently and Daekaris grabbed her by her blouse, pulling her and throwing her back into the room and on a small bed. He closed the door shut and walked up to her while Sarik stood shocked in the corner of the room. "Wait, she is with me", Sarik said and grabbed Daekaris's hand before he came to Julia. "Where is the crystal?", he asked Julia in common.
Julia laid silently and stared at the Ryn. A grin appeared on her face. "A Ryn Jedi?", she asked, "Skillful warriors die at times of peace", Julia tried to speak in his native tongue but had trouble pronouncing some of the words. That tongue was only heared once in the Hutt's palace and Julia learned only a few phrases. Nowadays the Ryn are struggling, with most of them in servitude and disconnected from their heritage. She sat on the bed and opened her briefcase on her knees, pulling the crystal out and then closing it again. "We need your help", she said as she gave the Ryn her crystal.
Julia followed Sarik and his friend down below the hut itself and into a cellar. On the walls were shelves packed with cans. At the end of the cellar was a clean door and a notepad on it. The Ryn put in a few keys and the earth shook. The wall opened and lead the group into a large metal construct, something that appeared to be the insides of a ship. They walked through a maze of hallways and entered a large chamber. Inside were consoles and many screens on the walls, things that were strangely alien to Julia.
Ryn approached one of the consoles and pressed a button. The entire room began to light up and it seemed like the machine was booting it. He put the crystal into a container and turned to a console with various keys. "How are you planning on paying me for this?", Ryn asked Julia in common. "I have money... No credits. Peggats.", she answered nervously.
"Could you stop the Hutt from sending men over here?", the Ryn asked Julia in common. Julia looked at Siak for a moment, "Y-Yes", she said hesitantly. Ryn began to press the keys on the console and some writing appeared on the screen. On the side was the common language. It listed a location and piles of information, mostly logs, but the title of the file almost left Daekaris speechless. "A Scepter of Ragnos?", Julia said out loud.
"Wait, what?" said Sarik. "I'm confused, what's a Scepter of Ragnos? Is it a weapon?"
Daekaris shook his head. "More than a weapon, friend. A tool of unimaginable power. They say, Marka Ragnos was a Dark Lord of the Sith, who ruled over their empire for a hundred years before his death. The Scepter of Ragnos was the source of his iron rule. It held the power to bend people to its owner's will, and imbue the knowledge of the Force upon those thought blind to it. You, for example, Sarik. If you held the Scepter, it would give you the power to wield the Force, for good or ill. It is an exceptionally dangerous device."
Daekaris frowned as he noticed the light in Julia's eyes grow the more he spoke. "You wish to use this relic, don't you?" he said skeptically. "And supposing you did, what would you do with it? How would you keep it from controlling you? Have you considered how dangerous this item could be in the wrong hands? It must be destroyed."
Nova burst through every door, resistance was a minimum since most of the guards we're dead in the meeting room. Her heart rushed, blood pumping with adrenaline. She was on the hunt and nothing would stop her.
Gasanda was hovering towards his getaway vehicle, a handful of unarmed Clone War era Separatists droids operated the craft. "Hey look, it's the boss"?
"Huh? Thats odd wheres all the... uh oh".
"Uh oh, what.... oh. We're going to die now right"?
"No I refuse to die. Millions... billions of us have been slaughtered and I'm not going to join them. Launch the ship... without the Hutt"!
Gasandras personal craft slowly took to the sky, dust billowed outward. The droids through sheer circuitry will had broken their slave bonds. That or the 40 plus years they've been active have, worn them out to the point of, operational malfunctions.
"No laubiktu, No wicho mah. Ico kilactuk doka"!!! The Hutt was angry yet now panicked. It was over, no viable escape, no protection. Any second the assassin would show up.... Blood flooded the Hutt's left eye. "Jiinok...". Several dozen more shots tore into the fatty flesh.
Nova climbed atop the dead girth. "The week flee, and theres no mercy for the weak". She disarmed herself of the blasters blasters and drew her prized claimed lightsaber. The blue blade had a hazed glow thanks to the horrific atmosphere. The blade once was held in the hands of a proud hero, but it had now fallen from grace to the hands of a bounty hunter. Several rough strokes we're taken, to make sure the target would never return.
Del Karcot, Mon Calamari Airspace
Del was sitting with the other Stormtroopers in the transport when he heard his comlink ring. He flipped it open to hear Captain Zesk's voice. "Commodore" it said "the Sith fleet has just engaged our ships. Their force is being lead by the Liberator itself. I've ordered Battle Group Indestructible to take care of them."
Dammit. Del thought. This could really screw things up. "Are they launching troop transports?" he said hesitantly into the comlink. He almost feared the answer.
"They are, sir. Reather is doing what he can to stop them, but many are getting through."
Del let out a sigh of frustration. "Alright. Tell Reather to keep his ships far apart. If the Sith Queen is aboard that ship, she'll try to slam the Star Destroyers into each other."
"She can do that?" Zesk sounded flabbergasted.
"She's strong, Zesk. Defiantly stronger then me."
"Understood, sir. I'll relay your orders to Captain Reather. May the Force be with you."
"Trust me Zesk. If she's on that ship, you'll need the force more then I will." Del said, and closed the comlink. He took a deep breath. No sense in worrying about things he couldn't control. What he and his men had to do now was focus on defeating the enemy, even if there where two of them. Del got up and went into the cockpit to see what was going on.
The swarm of Imperial drop ships was closing in on the floating city. There where tens of thousands of the craft racing towards Coral City. As they got closer, both sides opened fire. The Republic's anti-air defenses tore through the air and into the hulls of the landers. Many suffered damage, some where even destroyed. The ships retaliated with their own weapons. Millions of plasma missiles and even more heavy blaster bolts streaked towards the city to impact the AA guns and Republic fortifications around the city. Del could see smoke coming from all over the city. "We'll be touching down in just a second, sir." said the pilot. "You should probably get back there." Del turned around without a word and nudged his way to the front of the troops. He felt to make sure his E-11 was still secure on his back and drew his lightsaber. It would inspire the soldiers to see their leader, lightsaber in hand, leading the charge. He readied himself for when the hatch would finally drop.
When it did, Del was greeted with the sight of the ruined artificial coast of the city. In the background many of the building had been destroyed by the Sentinels missiles. But the real damage was where the Republic had fortified themselves. Makeshift bunkers and barricades had been reduced to scrap with most of their former defenders either dead or retreated into the city. Some squads still lingered though, and Del targeted one right in front of his LZ.
Del let out a roaring battle cry and rushed at the enemies, igniting his lightsaber as he did so. He deflected a volley of blaster fire and decapitated the closest man, then spun around to strike at another's legs. Following through with the swing, Del slashed one across the chest and his buddy across the face, killing both instantly. One man was left. Standing a few feet from Del, the soldier snapped himself out of his shock and shot at Del with his blaster. Del approached him slowly and, when the frightened man was only a foot away, sliced him in two along the waist.
He looked back at his Stormtroopers, who where finishing dispatching of the Republic troops. "Come on." he shouted with a swing of his lightsaber. He then turned to the city, from which he could heard shouting and blaster shots as the other landing parties progressed into the streets. He holstered his lightsaber and drew his rifle, and into the city he and his men marched.
This could be her chance. The road to greatness lied within that relic. "You are a grey. No Order, No Sith. You do not throw yourself to the light or to the dark. You live with the force and it guides you. I need the force. I need it so I could stop the quarrels of the clans and bring forth an Empire of the Hutts. We shall bow down to no master, only the force". Julia came closer to the Ryn.
"I fear it might fall into enemy hands. I need to make it smaller is concielable. We choose the ones that truly deserve the force. Bravery. Dedication. Morals. A lottery of chance will no longer dictate the balance between the Jedi and the Sith. Ryn, I beg of you - Join our cause or at the very least, help us with this mission". Julia's words seemed to be sincere, but she did not know how the Ryn will respond.
"Message for you sir." said the Ensign. "It is the mercenary Rez Tereth, demanding clarification on the mission he was presented."
"I'll take it in the comms room. Dismissed Ensign." Thrawn headed down the long halls of the Reckoning towards the small room where he took personal messages. Activating the holonet feed, the Khommite's angry face appeared on the screen.
"I understand that you had an altercation with Subject 37 regarding the arrest of Caster Udea. This is a minor setback for you, but it was all part of the larger plan. You see, Subject 37, or Vorir Beldra, as you know him, is an Imperial Assassin, not a true mercenary. He was bred for combat in the Empire's shadows. In the past month, he was involved in the assassination plot against the former senator, where his precision marksmanship was key to allowing his fake death to occur. I needed to test his loyalty with this mission, as either choice he would make would lead to a similar end.
"Caster is looking for something. His organization, the Imperial Lords, is a radical group that must be expunged, but so far, he is the only one who slipped up and revealed himself. They seek to overthrow the Emperor, and apparently wish to control the populace through some device. Our intelligence units are still unsure as to what device, only that it is powerful. If Caster is brought to me, then I can gain the information from him directly. However, now that Vorir has made his loyalties clear, he serves another purpose. Traveling with Caster, he may lead us to whatever Caster is looking for, whereupon the Empire may acquire both the device and the traitor.
"To this end, you have a new objective, which is to track down Vorir and Caster. Intelligence believes that the figure Caster spoke to was another member of the Lords, allegedly one that goes by the title of "White King". If Caster's pattern continues, he may be moving to contact another member soon. Now, what I am about to tell you is your death should you reveal it to anyone. Imperial Assassins are implanted with tracking chips upon their indoctrination. It was long believed that Subject 37 had his disabled. It turns out this was not as true as we feared. The higher functions of the chip: the termination codes, drug injectors and detonation subroutines were disabled, but low frequency tracking waves are still operating. You can use these frequencies to track Vorir. Finding him will lead you to Caster. I will give you the codes now. I leave the rest to you, mister Tereth."
Obroa-Skai outer system, Subject 37's MRX-BR Pacifier Scout Vessel
"The Scepter of Ragnos! With it, the Imperial Lords would be able to raise an army of force users to overthrow that despot Palpatine and rule in his place. Don't you understand how vital it is that we reach it first? The Imperial Lords have been searching for years, looking anywhere for clues. Sith burial planets, lost Jedi archives, everything points to its existence, just not the location!"
They were aboard Vorir's personal ship, with Obroa Skai quickly disappearing behind them as the vessel streaked away from the world. They had been lucky, Caster thought, no small part to Vorir's quick thinking. But he was still no closer to finding the Scepter, and now Thrawn was onto him, much faster than he had anticipated. Still, he was curious.
"Why did you help me against those mercenary brutes?"
Sarik, Kol Desilijic
Sarik watched as Daekaris mulled over the prospect. In a way, the Ryn was right; in the wrong hands, a relic like the Scepter of Ragnos could be deadly, possibly tipping the balance so far into one end that any opposition would find itself literally incapable of fighting back. But a unified Hutt Space, free of the petty Kajidic squabbles, could be a rightful force in the galaxy capable of challenging New Republic, Empire or Sith legitimacy as a galactic power.
"Hmm, the main worry I have, Julia, is that the Scepter may amplify your emotions. However, I am looking at this from a Jedi perspective. Having lived with the Force my entire life, I only know how it affects those who can wield it in terms of alignment. A force user with a dark alignment would find the Scepter amplifies such a quality, while one with a light alignment might also find themselves corrupted. However, a non Jedi, non force user, they are truly neutral. If you could maintain such a stance, there is a possibility that the Scepter may not corrupt you. If that is true, than my only qualms would be your intentions. Uniting the Hutts would cause a massive stir, and I cannot foresee the consequences it might hold."
"But you just said that the corrupting influence wouldn't affect her." interjected Sarik. "So there isn't a threat of raising a new Sith. And since when have you stood up for the Hutts? They just tried to kill you, you said."
"I'm not interested in the Hutts, I'm interested in balance, you fool." snapped Daekaris. He sighed. "I see there is no talking you out of this, and my computers are the only ones outside the Sith and Jedi that can properly track the location. It looks like I'm coming with you, whether I feel it is right or not."
Tarr Voxin, Nar Shaddaa
The Nexu Eyes circled around the burning casino. Tarr and Zex had decided that returning the down payment was probably in the best interests for staying alive, but now, Tarr wasn't sure whether the destruction he saw below him was a blessing or a curse. On one hand, another employer was most certainly dead, adding onto his steadily growing list. But on the other, that meant that they got to keep the money.
"Well, with my luck, it just figures that he'd have someone after him who blasts him while I'm away. Take us in lower, Zex. Maybe we should thank whoever did this for saving us the trouble of repaying Gasanda."
Zex nodded, and brought the YT-2400 down low, dipping beneath a badly damaged getaway vehicle. Gasanda's bloody corpse lay strewn across his floating pad, with his killer standing triumphantly atop the mound. Lowering the ramp, Tarr jogged out to get a better look at the perpetrator. When he recognized her, his eyes widened, and the anger started to well up. He'd seen the wolf lady before.
"Don't be so quick to assume I'm aiding you in this," Vorir said as he mulled over the intriguing information Caster had given up so quickly. "After all, you should realize by now, with those cuffs on your wrists, that I'm still bringing you in. How soon that happens is entirely dependant on how much you have to tell me. Now, if that is all the information you can give, I may as well turn you in to Thrawn immediately. I am still on contract, mind you."
Caster began to chuckle. "You really think that Thrawn is just going to accept you like that? No no, my dear friend, Thrawn doesn't work like that. He always has an angle. And I wouldn't be so willing to give up such secrets if I didn't have a good reason for it. You may know about the Imperial Lords, but I am still the only publicly known member. As for the Scepter, well, I'm sure that Thrawn used you entirely for such a purpose.
"Think about it. Why would he personally send for you, previously in my employ, to track me down? Why would Thrawn, an unparalleled tactician, make such a blindingly stupid mistake to send you right back to me? He wants to find the Scepter as well, and he is using you as a tracking device. To him, your loyalty was pegged the moment he hired you. You had dealings with me, so you are a traitor. He used you. He still is using you. Right now, you are his little compass in this treasure hunt. Once I find the scepter, he will dispose of both of us.
"You can go back to him if you wish, and try to fight your way out. I doubt you would get very far. If Thrawn has played you this much, he most likely already has such a plan in place. Or, you could work for the Imperial Lords, who I might add are not currently trying to use you. It won't matter either way. If the Sith Ascendants find the Scepter first, we might as well give up altogether."
Vorir said nothing. Caster smiled, and dug deeper.
"Tell me, have you ever felt what it was like to be free? All those years of indoctrination and manipulation, all for what? A child, taken from his home, and turned into a living weapon, always working for others, never working for himself. Your dossier suggests this is because they pay too well, but that can't be the only reason, can it? How could credits possibly motivate you for? What goals do you have in life beyond the next kill, dolled out by someone always your better? You know what you are? A prize akk hound, owned by an arrogant hunter. That is what you are, Vorir. You keep coming back because you have nowhere else to go. And now, that home just replaced you.
"I can offer you freedom, Vorir. I can make you disappear, never to be heard from again. Help me, and Subject 37 will cease to exist. You could start a new life, one without superiors breathing down your neck. I'm very good at covering my tracks. So far, Thrawn is the only player who has matched my skills, hence our current situation. Take him out of the equation, and we can all go free.
"You want money? Fine, whatever your price, I can match it. But I am giving you the chance at far more than wealth. I can give you the life you never had. Think about it, Vorir. You can try to deal with Thrawn, and die fighting, or you can help me help you, and get your life back from the Empire that stole it from you."
Xyras, Mos Eisley
"Ah, no money required my friend, I'll help. However there's only one of me, my companion is elsewhere for now. Come, show me where this speeder of yours is and I'll be glad to escort you back here. Unfortunately, we have business to attend to rather soon, but until then I'll be glad to be of some assistance." Xyras said.
He acted calm and friendly, though he was suspicious. First this dark presence, then someone asking specifically for Jedi... on a place like Tattooine, that would raise quite a few eyebrows.
He glanced at Hann on his way out, sending a thought to him through the Force.
"Follow us at a distance, I don't like this.."
A spark appeared in Julia's eyes. "Making me force sensitive... Daekaris, guide me as an incorruptible soul". Julia looked at the coordinates on the screens, it took her a few seconds to memorize it. "Destroy the crystal", Julia said without hesitation, "We can't let anyone else have this knowledge. Move the data to a cube and have it on you at all times."
Julia looked back at Sarik. "Will it be dangerous?", she snapped back at Daekaris, "Will we find something else besides the scepter? I... This is incredible. Lets go right away, we can't waste any time".
Grissk heard the order and felt the engines power up along with the rest of ships in the hangar going down planetside. He did what he could to help, but the pilot was exceptionally competent, even for a clone. They left the hangar in a fleet of transports, dodging fire between the Liberator and the Imperial fleet. The droids should be doing their part by now and both the Rebels and the Imperial troops would be hiding behind any cover they could find. Some of the anti-air defenses were still up, though, he'd have to deal with those. A single missle hit them, but it was enough to send them into a spinning nosedive both Grissk and the pilot managed to get themselves out of, but not without still crashing.
He thankfully hadn't hit his head, but the pilot was not so fortunate, his harnass had broken and the impact had sent him out the front of the cockpit. His body was mangled and broken, lying beside a wall. Reaching out with the Force, Grissk felt nothing from him and checked him off as another casualty.
He walked to the back of the ship where the rest of the clones were,"Any other casualty's back here?"
"Just one, sir, everything else is bumps and bruises," Replied the squad's Lt.
"Let's get out and begin the attack. Now!"
They threw open the hatch and were greeted by a salvo of blaster fire from two directions, though no one else was injured, again the blasters fired, and in the pause that came, he and the squad rushed out, and realized exactly where they were. In the middle of a firefight between both the Empire and the Republic.
He activated one beam of his lightsaber and rushed out of the transport with the clones in tow to an alley directly across from their hatch. Five of the clones were brought down by combined fire and only 23 were left. He told them to stay where they were until he gave a signal, a quick burst of lightning coming from the Imperial side, they were to begin firing on the Republic's men.
He Force-jumped to a roof and ran across them, jumping off again when he arrived behind the Stormtroopers position. There were eight, far too few to take him down. He took down three before they knew what was happening. Two more fell to his blade before they had some kind of defense, and another fell in that span, his legs and head gone. The final two were out of saber range and had begun to bring their guns to bear. He felt the hate and anger and channeled Sith Lightning through himself, knocking both into the building behind them. They struggled to their fallen blasters, but weren't fast enough to be dispatched themselves.
When he had channeled the lightning, the clone Lt. ordered his men to fire on the Republic, bringing down five of their twenty in the first few seconds, with only two more clones falling to their pistol and rifle fire.
Grissk knew he was missing more of the fighting and jumped again to the roofs, where he attempted to flank their position, but was fired upon, causing him to have to activate his other beam to deflect their attacks. He jumped down and this time a Republic officer, small pistol in one hand and a vibroblade in the other came forward and began attacking him. He was skilled in the use of his weapons, but not good enough, and Grissk's weapon was not one that was commonly seen on the battlefield. He spun the saber in a quick circle, striking against the vibroblade, but it did not break, no matter, with another spin, he took the man's hand that held the pistol and his right leg, forcing him to his knee, where he took his head.
He tapped into the Force again and threw the remaining soldiers onto the street from behind their barricade, where they were swiftly killed.
Looking to the sky, he saw that the anti-air defenses were still firing on his transports, it was time to change that.
"Lieutenant, gather your men, we're going to that compound." He pointed with his saber at a building in the center of the city, where lasers both were fired upon and from. It should be some kind of command building with those satellites jutting from every angle of it, surprising that it still stood more or less whole after the bombardment. He picked up the Republic Captain's vibroblade that could stop a lightsaber without any ill effects and began putting it into his belt before handing it to the clone commander.
"Yes, my lord. Men, we're moving out."
"Also, Lieutenant, exactly how far from our original drop point are we?"
"We are nearly a kilometer and a half from where we were to land.The good thing about this is we've become a vanguard unit, but we're far from any support, my lord."
"Good, good... we're leaving.Be careful."
The Trandoshan began leading the squad of clones toward the compound under siege, it still flew Republic sigils, and Imperials were gathered outside of the gates, both sides taking casualty's.
Obroa-skai outer system
Vorir was silent for a while, barely managing to keep his unease from showing. Who does he think he's talking to? I can't just "begin anew" - does he think I want a quiet life, farming moisture and herding banthas? I was made to be a killer, and it's not just what I do but who I am. Settling down isn't an option for me. Though it would be nice to break free from the hands of the Empire and go completely freelance...but if what he says is true, I've already been cut and made an enemy in the process. I never should have accepted this assignment, nor Caster's for that matter...
"First, let's get one thing straight," Vorir said, "we're not 'dear friends' and I wouldn't even go as far to call us allies. Now, say we remove Thrawn from the equation. What then? What master plan do you have in store after you find this all-powerful sceptar? How can I know that what you have planned is no worse than what the Empire or even the Sith will do with it?"
"Remove Thrawn from the equation, and the Empire is without a supreme commander. The warlords fall back into their old habits that Palpatine encouraged, and they would begin backstabbing and trying to overthrow each other as much as they would the Republic. A divided enemy is far more easy to combat than a focused one. Thrawn is a lynchpin for the entire military force the Empire can muster. He is smart enough to realize leading through respect and enthusiasm is preferable to fear and bribery. Without him, the military would fall apart, making it that much easier to stage a coup. As for whether or not you can trust me, well, that is entirely your decision. But consider this.
"Do you know how many implants you were given as Subject 37, Vorir? Primarily, I am referring to your control chip. You must remember that, always living with the threat of your head exploding if you didn't complete a mission, or being force fed adrenaline if they felt you weren't operating at maximum efficiency. It's still there, according to your file on Obroa-Skai, even if its primary functions are disabled. The tracking beacon is still operating, I'm sure. As long as it is, you will never be free of the Empire. As a sign of good faith, and with the hopes to sway your opinion, would you allow me to help you by destroying the chip once and for all? To prove my sincerity for this matter, I am even willing to make it my immediate priority, above even the Scepter of Ragnos. After that, you would be free. Regardless of who wins, be it the Imperial Lords, the New Republic, The Remnant or the Ascendants, nobody would be able to find you. What do you say?"
Sarik, Kol Desilijic
"Well, that definitely sounds like something that could sway the Hutts, whether they like it or not." commented Sarik. "Are there any other threats, old man?"
"Several, not the least of which being the Hutts themselves. In particular, I cannot see the one that gave you this crystal taking kindly to the idea of manipulation on such a scale. There is also the problem of others hunting for the same thing. When knowledge of such artifacts seeps out into the open, it always causes a mad rush, driven by greed and lust for power. We must be cautious, and plan our move. I think the first step is getting off this rock, which is easier said than done. The Hutts are still looking for me, you see. the Desilijics need to be threatened sufficiently for them to lower their defenses, and even then, we'll be chased out of the system. Probably the easiest (speaking relatively) course of action would be to make an example of one of the family members, scaring the others for a short enough window to escape."
Sarik nodded at Daekaris's words. "I think we can find a certain Hutt that fits your terms." he said, glancing at Julia.
Vorir thought hard as he sat in the pilot's chair, staring out through the transparasteel windshield as he weighed his options. As much as he hated, he would have to trust Caster for the time being. "How 'immediate' are we talking?" Vorir asked, turning towards the man, "It's likely Thrawn has a read on our position and if that's the case we need the chip's beacon disabled as soon as possible. I've had one of the cargo holds converted into a medical station with surgical equipment fit for most medcenters, if that'll get the job done."
Rez was going to object, but Thrawn cut the connection before he could.
The crew of the Lance all started yelling and speaking at once. Some wanted to keep on with the job, others said it was too risky, and some even said they should report this to the republic and get a hefty reward that way.
"Quiet!" Rez demanded and the noise suddenly died.
"I think we should go after them." He announced.
"What the hell for? We have the up-front pay already and that fucker almost got us thrown in jail!" one of the mercs said loudly.
"We'll get a fortune if we egt him this time." Rez replied in a reasonable tone. "And beyond that, we out-number him, and he won't be able to pull that trick twice. This will be easy work for massive pay, and after that we won't ever have to work for the empire again." Rez finished.
There were a few grumbles but they all knew he was right. That's why he was their leader.
Rez nodded contently and looked at Dax Urr.
"Find that frequency. We'll all be rich soon."
With that the crew separated. Rez went to his quarters and began working on some equipment while the ship once gain jumped to hyper-speed on the tail of Caster Udea
Julia knew that her past will come into light soon enough. "Gregori Aleppo. He needs me back... I am his adviser. I am... his daughter. Then I will strike - he had left me for dead and brought mercenaries to kill me", Julia told Daekaris of their new target. "We would need to gather enough money... Daekaris, what do you think about taking over a business or two when we come back? You might find yourself very comfortable in a management position".
"You said he tried to kill you." said Sarik skeptically. "What makes you think he'll let you back into his palace? And for that matter, how would I get in? I'm still a Vosadii adviser in the other Kajidic's minds. I'd have to sneak in, and if their security is anything like the Vosadii's, then I'll be busy for quite a few hours. It is possible, but we'd have to plan."
The trio set about gathering maps and templates of palace structures. Sarik was amazed at just how much information Daekaris managed to pick up on his travels. His ship was a portable library of floor plans, meeting dates, and all other sorts of useful information. Eventually, Sarik found his opening.
"I've got it!" he exclaimed, pointing eagerly at a dataslate. "Right here, this is our ticket in. The Desilijic Clan is convening for a moot to discuss the recent developments in the war. Nice big, extravagant party. If we can get in and hold Gregori at gunpoint, we could scare the entire clan all at once, instead of waiting for word of mouth to pass by. The only difficulty would be getting out, but the panic should draw enough warships away from the Garden's border to let us escape and start hunting."
Caster smiled. "It's just as well I was a medical student before turning to politics. However, and this is a very minor thing I might add, it is difficult for me to do surgery with my hands in binders." Caster shook the manacles in front of his face.
Vorir said nothing, and unlatched the locking mechanism keeping the binders in place. "Let's get to work on starting your new life, Vorir."
"Alrighty then!" He said with enthusiasm "The speeder is a ways back, the motor has been shot and repairs are hard to come by, but I think I may have the part somewhere..."
He grabbed his moisture transporter, a large floating cargo holder that while light enough for him to carry, was unwieldy, it carried what had to be at least a few tons of water inside it, enough to make the traders some significant credits. As he walked with them his plant circled above, just as he had predicted. The Empire had been attempting to cut off trade from the Republic and on Tattoine, they just could never resist. When he heard the ship buzzing around he knew it had to be them.
As the ship landed in the middle of the barren wasteland, the Jedi and Drokath froze. He witnessed a few storm troopers land with a number of Sith, three to be exact. Lousy traitors to their own creed. The man in the middle looked like a powerful one, possibly even a master, the rest apprentices. The troopers pulled out their blaster rifles yelling "Halt! We are confiscating this in the name of the empire."
Drokath complained "See? Being a trader in a major civil war just sucks, everyone wants to make you halt so that they can have your cargo, leaves no room for the poor middleman. I am surprised that the Empire would be the ones following me however, when I got a signal from a ship tracking me, I assumed it was a group of bandits. Either way, we will not be handing over this cargo." Drokath made a motion to the Jedi, "Isn't that right?"
"DOWN!" Del ordered as a rocket flew just over the heads of a group of Stormtroopers and destroyed the wall just behind them. Most got away, but one man didn't move fast enough and was crushed by debris. Poor fella. Del thought, and returned his attention to the battle.
They had been pushing their way into the city and closer to the Calamari Council Building for the past 20 minutes. They where gaining ground, but the Republic wasn't making it easy for them. Around every corner lay another trap or ambush. Using the force, Del was able to sense most of them before they walked into them, but he knew that other groups weren't so lucky. Eventually they had emerged into the main road that ran through the center of the city where they had met up with other Stormtroopers and AT-ST's. Together they had made considerable progress, at least until the Sith had touched down. The Imperial landing ships, now acting as close air support, had been able to take down many of their transports, but Del's company had quickly found themselves under attack from both the front and back. The Empire had been brought to a halt, but the men of the Stormtroopers Corps. where not giving a centimeter of ground.
Del had positioned himself on the side facing the Republic and Council Building. He poked out from behind the crashed speeder he and a few other where using as cover to fire off a burst of death towards a Republic solider who had done the same. All 3 bolts drove into his chest and he collapsed, clutching at the wound. Del pointed the E-11 at another enemy and held down the trigger until he too fell to the ground. Del ducked back down behind his cover just as a burst of enemy blaster fire tore through the air above him. Above and to his left, Del saw a TIE bomber plummeting towards to ocean, clearly having been shot down. He could do nothing for the pilot now, but the ship may yet serve another purpose. With a deep breath, Del closed his eyes and reached out to the force. Through the force, he could see everyone and everything in the city. Singling out the bomber, Del pulled the craft towards him and into the Republic line. He suddenly saw several lights of life disappear in the space in front of him. Del opened his eyes and stood to shoot those only dazed by the impact. "FIRE!" he yelled, and at least 10 soldiers where brought down by the wave of blaster bolts. "Advance!" he ordered, and he and his comrades vaulted over the speeder to take cover behind the remains of the bomber.
Del peaked out to empty a good portion of his clip into an advancing enemy squad. The survivors scrambled for cover. The Republic was retreating, clearly having been frightened by the apparent suicide bomber. And Del knew just what would scare them even more. He drew and ignited his lightsaber, it's blue blade casting a weak shadow on the ground. "CHARGE!!!" he roared and rushed forward, deflecting blaster bolts from every direction. His Stormtroopers not far behind him, Del vaulted over a slab of masonry to slash at a soldier using it as cover. As the man fell, Del stabbed another through the stomach. His eyes went wide, and Del withdrew the blade to allow him to fall next to his brother in arms. On the other side of the street the Stormtroopers where over running the Republic. Normally such a charge would have been suicide, but with starships running into their positions and Stormtroopers waving lightsabers, such a charge was enough to tip many over the edge and cause them to flee. Those who had stayed to hold the line decided that retreat would be wiser, as most of their force had simply ran away. The Republic was once again losing ground. "Keep moving!" he ordered to his troops, and brought out his comlink. "Lt. Rundo" Del said. "Keep the Sith at bay; we're moving up."
"Understood, sir. Good luck." Rundo said, and Del closed to comlink. On the other side of the city he could see a Sith transport be struck by a rocket and crash in the streets below. The sight of the crash sent chills down his spin, but he could not determine why. Putting it out of his mind for the moment, Del moved forward with the rest of his troops towards the heavily fortified Council Building.
So nice of the Empire to clear out and take the blaster fire of the Republic rabble for us.
Grissk and his clones were behind a building watching over the fight, there was a strong force user in the Imperial battlegroup. Perhaps even one of Palpatine's apprentices, that would be a challenge in itself, and a fun one. He waited for them to expose themselves completely before ordering his squad to open fire on the Empire's flank.
Grissk brought his own Force power to bear and threw a group of four Stormtroopers against a wall, obviously killing three of them outright, the fourth being hit by blaster fire. The Sith line advanced, slowly but surely driving the Imperial line back.
Grissk found the force user, a young human, brown hair, with a high rank, if his memory of Imperial ranks was correct. He felt and embraced the rage that came with the sight of it and let forth a mighty blast of Force power, throwing another half-dozen of the Stormtroopers across the expanse, not caring whether or not they were dead. Jumping down, he activated both sides of his lightsaber, the blue light emanating from it sending his scales into a deep blue. He destroyed the barrier the man was standing behind and began twirling his weapon around his body in an offensive stance. He was not going to allow this man to retreat.