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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:15 pm 
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Seryk walked along the halls of the massive detention center. Unlike most centers he had either seen or occupied, this center was dark, and cold. The walls looked old, and Seryk guessed that they weere probably older than the city itself. An ancient military base perhaps? But he knew that his questions about this city would have to wait. For now, he had a choice to give karyn. And it wasnt one he was prepared for. he ha expected something like a savage beating in public, horrid psycoligical torture, or something along those lines. he hadnt expected karyn to have to choose between deat, or becoming a mandalorian. But Seryk was fairly certain that death was by far the easiest of the two choices.

After a while, he came to a cell gaurded by two armor clad warriors. he could tell that these weren't standard security, but fully trained mandalorians. They obviously were not going to risk her escaping to wreak more death upon their city. he walked up to them, and they both nodded silently. They stepped aside, so that Seryk could see into the cell. He looked in, and saw Karyn huddled in the corner, her arms wrapped almost protectively around her knees, and her face semi-buried in the thin prison uniform she had been given. After a few moments, Karyn looked up to him, and a hint of a smile appeared.

"So, when am I to be executed?" she asked coldly, and Seryk shook his head. She had already condemned herself to death. For a fleeting moment, he had the notion that Karyn would choose death over her other option, but it vanished just as quickly as it had appeared. he could tell that she wanted to live, and make ammends for what she had done.

"Your time of execution is up to you Karyn. High Commander Verice has given you that choice." he said, and Karyn nodded. She slowly stood, and walked over towards the from of the cell. She wrapped her hands around the cold metal bars, and smiled.

"Kill me now then, and be done with it. It is what I have earned." she said softly, her smile never wavering. Seryk stood there for a moment, and then shook his head. karyn slunk to the back of the cell, and shook her head.

"You have taken my choice away then. So why did you ask me to begin with?" she asked, and Seryk lowered his head for a moment, and then looked back up at karyn.

"Because you have two choices for your punishment. Your first choice is ht eone you know of, execution. And knowing the mandalorains, it wont be pleasent." he said, and Karyn nodded slowly.

"And the other choice?" she asked, her voice portraying her confusion.

"You can bury the people that Malice has slain here. And then, begin training as a mandalorian warrior." Seryk said, and karyn just stared back at him, disbelief in her eyes. Seryk watched her for a few moments, and then spoke again.

"Trust me when I tell you this, though. The training will not be easy. You may have wished you had chosen death before it is done. And you can expect no mercy for failure. Whichever choice you make, is final." he said, and Karyn slunk back into the corner. She slowly slid down, and stared at the wall. After a few moments, she looked back to Seryk.

"why would they give me that option? After all that has happened here?" she asked, and Seryk smile underneath his helmet.

"Because i spoke in your favor Karyn. That, and I think the High Commander Knows that you were acting under the orders of someone else, and that you wish to redeem yourself somehow." he said, and Karyn stared at him in disbelief. She slowly stood, and walked back over to the metal bars.

"You spoke in my favor? After all that I have done?" she asked, and Seryk nodded. Karyn looked down to the floor, and then back up to Seryk. Seryk was happy to see a fire burning in her eyes again. He knew then what her choice would be. But he wondered if she would regret it n the coming minutes.

"I will bury the dead, and become a mandalorian Seryk. If it gives me the chance to kill just one repora, it will have been worth while." she said coldly. Seryk nodded, and then stepped back from the metal bars. The two mandalorain warriors put there weapons on the ground, and then turned to Karyns' cell.

"You have made your choice then Karyn. But before you go to bury the dead, you will have your first lesson now. And the lesson is simple. To be a mandalorian, you must have the heart to survive." he said, and he turned and began to walk away from the cell. He could hear the mandalorians enter the cell, and he winced as he heard them begin the training. He had been given a quick lesson on how sshe would be treated during her training. And he knew that this was the first step in what was going to be a long process. But if he was right, and Karyn survived her first lesson, she would survive everyhting esle they put her through.

********************************

Hirotek watched as the lines of hyperspace flew around his ship. They had entered hyperspace almost twenty standard minutes ago, but his engineers had said they had to make sure that the ship would survuve a re-entry into real space. So they had stayed the course, far longer than he would have liked. he gripped the armrest of his chair tightly, waiting for the signal that they could drop out of hyperspace. He looked to the rest of his bridge crew, and saw that they to were wating aprehensivly. Thay all knew he had taken a large risk in making a blind jump, but it was a risk he had to take. Then, he saw a light flash on, and Hirotek sighed in relief.

"Helm, bring us out of hyperspace. begin a scan, and pinpoit our position. Communications, get word out that we are safe for now, and are beginning preperations to make a jump back to safer territory." he said, and he let his head roll forward. He was exhausted. the constant battles over the past few days had begun to wear him down. But he knew that even though Adumar had fallen, he had scored a small vicotry in gaining knowledge about the reporan mines. He also had held some in reserve, so that GFFA engineers could study them, and they could begin producing them for the fight against the repora. It would be a muchneeded boost to their arsenal.

"Admiral, our communications seem to be down, sir. I think they may hav ebeen damaged during or right before the jump." an ensign said form the communications center. Hitoek put a hand over his eyes, and rubbed them slightly. he should have know that something like that would happen. He knew they were lucky to still be alive.

"Alright. We will have to get the emergency comm tower up then. Prepare an engineering team immeditaly. I want communication back up within half an hour." he ordered, and the ensign nodded. hirotek looked up, and saw Lir;ka walking towards him, a worried look on her face.

"Admiral, I just got word from engineering. Our primary hyperdrive is fryed, and the backup is questionable. I dont know if we can make it back to GFFA space." she said quietly. Hirotek nodded slowly, adn his mind began to race. If they couldn;t make it back to GFFA space then they would have to find another place to head to. The imperial secotors were out of the question, as most of their shipyards were either destoryed, or had been moved. but more importantly, he had a lrge number of severely injured crewers, that were in dire need of medical help. Help his ship couldnt provide. hirotek slowly stood, and walked over to the sensor station.

"Have you pinpointed our postion yet?" he asked, and his captain nodded. A holo of the unknown regions appeared, and a small blip flashed on, pinpointing the ship. By the looks of it, he was no where near any place that could hold his ship. but something sprung to his mind, something he had learned from Athien during one of their planning sessions.

"Birng up the Urlurian cloud, in relative position to the unknown regions." he orderd, and slowly, the holo shifted slightly to show the UDA controlled cloud. While it wasnt much closer than the nearest GFFA controlled part of space, he was willing to bet that the info he had on the UDA worlds would be correct. He had no idea what systems were still under GFFa control, and he wasnt ready to risk jumping to a world with a Reporan fleet in orbit. he thought for a moment, and weighed his options. he didnt have many, and none of them were good. So he decided on the fastest route to both a shipyard, and hopefully, a place to treat his injured.

"Begin immediate repairs on our backup hyperdrive, and then our primary. Forget the emergency comm array, it can wait for now. Heml begin plottign a course for a system by the name of Dresnak. It will be in the nav computer. its the closest place for us to make an attempt at." Hirotek said, and Lir'ka looked over at him.

"Admiral, do you think it is wise to go there? How d you knwo we wont be destroyd upon arrival?" she asked, and Hirotek shrugged his shoulders,

"I dont. But, given the fact that we have no clue what the state of the GFFa is, nor what planets they still control are, it is, in reality, a dangerous, but safe place to try. Better to explain ourselves to the Chiss, than to accidently drop in on top of a Reporan fleet, correct?" he asked, and Lir'ka nodded. Hirotek walked back to his command chair, and sat back down. He knew he was taking a raisk, but it had to be done. That, and if the hyperdrive failed on the way there, he was fairly certain that he would rahter drop out in the middle of deep space, then in the middle of reporan controlled territory.

"Inform me when we are ready to make the jump captain." he said, and his captain nodded. hrotek leaned back in his chair, and sighed. it was going to be a long wait, followed by an even longer jump in hyperspace. He just hoped that he was making the right decision.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:27 pm 
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"Grand Admiral, they are gone!" Onolovav yelled in relief.

"Captain?" Oreton answered in a confused tone.

"The moon-debris, gone. As if it had been swallowed by blackholes." The Yagai officer answered, his gestures underlined the surprise.

"The Rapora fleet is breaking up," Oreton noted as he focused on the hologram. "And their flagship is having some partial loss of power," he commented as parts of the Vareme Cruiser started to turn black. Even some of the engines lost their power.

"Grand Admiral," Eressa's voice came through the amplifier. "The Rapora warships have broken their formation, they are chasing a starfighter."

Oreton zoomed the image on the holoprojector. Truly a starfighter of Sekotan design was maneuvering past ships of all sizes, vaping Raporan starfighters and simply annoying the Rapora.

"Record this footage and try to open a channel to the Jedi," he said to one of the Lieutenants. "Captain, signal to all units. Prepare to retreat. Omega signal for the Bakura evacuation groups."

The combined Imperial-UDA Fleet began to maneuver away from the Rapora fleet and set up towards the Unknown Regions. A subdued sniff that might have gone unnoticed in the bridge of a Star Destroyer, attracted the Admiral's attention.

"It is hard to leave a world behind, Senator. Knowing that it will be taken away and that it cannot be recovered." Oreton said.

Malinza Thanas said nothing and continued to watch the blue green sphere from the bridge. "At least we managed to escape."

Oreton smiled at her sharing her pain.

"No contact with the Sekotan starfighter. We are in position for the hyperjump."

Oreton looked at Malinza who was joined by two other human Senator from Bakura and nodded to his captain. "Enter hyperspace."

*****

The Force was boiling. Vibrating pulsations of energy surrounded him, but they were dark and sinister fueled only by evil. The Timeless One was manifesting his power again. In every single Rapora, Ulan felt an echo, a resonance of that same sinister motivations, as if the Raporan warriors were solely extensions of the twisted mind of Palpatine.

Ulan pushed harder his awareness. To do so would uncover him in the eyes of the Rapora, and he would become an undeniably bright spot that the Timeless One would detect. As Ulan did so, he found out he had been pushed to a second plane, another presence in the Force had come. Powerful, was the only word that came to Ulan's mind. All the attention of the Rapora was fixed upon that single presence.

The Vong Jedi shrunk back in the Force, there was no need for him to take the risk. Even if the other Jedi was keeping them busy, it would not be like that forever.

Unlike what was expected of his species, Ulan finished his voyage in complete stealth. Not a Rapora warrior found him, not one of them spotted him. Ulan doubted that even if he had been seen the warrior would have acted by himself. Not with the will of the Timeless One pushing them to hunt down the other presence.

At last the Jedi stood before the metallic heart of the Raporan cruiser. Well, it was not the heart. As any other cruiser of that massive size, it could not possibly function without several huge powergenerators scattered all over the ship. It was one of many, but also it was one of the few linked directly to the engines.

Whatever his expectations were, Ulan was suddenly suprised not to find any Rapora there, a crew of droids were the only occupants of the room. The only ones concerned with the routinary obligations of an engineer.

Without much consideration, the Jedi used his weapon to open the metal door. The droids paid no heed to the intruder, and besides a flashing red light Ulan saw no sign of alarm.

Impulsively, yet calculating the Jedi started to cut down diverse machines and consoles. The damage that would be dealt would be minimal by comparison, but it would be enough.

As machines went unattended by the fallen battledroids, a wailing siren quietly began to resound in the room. Deeming the time to be proper for an escape Ulan began to withdraw. His exit was suddenly cut out by a rolling object, dark and brown. The metallic thuds revealed its nature, and he rememberd some few comments about it. A Droide'kar droid rolled towards him and unpacked opening fire with its plasma weapons.

Ulan dropped to the floor and rolled to his right as the plasma melted the panels and machinery behind him. Never having interacted much with droids, Ulan did not know the full extents of its capacities, yet wondered at the wisdom of deploying an armed combatant into a power generator.

The droid, despite Ulan's misgiving did have a restrictive programming, it could not deploy its more powerful missiles, not could it make use of fully powered plasma arms. Instead the plasma shooters, were only powered to a half.

In the ample room of the power generator, the deadly droid pursued the agile Jedi. Unable to hide effectively from the droid, the Yuuzhan Vong preferred continuous movement, evaluating the splitsecond responses of the droid, where the mechanic attacker would hestitate to employ its weapons.

The Yuuzhan Vong paralyzed before one of the power conduits, the droid -he knew- would prepare its arms and let out a very down powered blast, whilst it did so it stopped on one the power output on the opposite side. In the fraction of a heartbeat that the droid fired its bolt, the Yuuzhan Vong launched his lightsaber, in a perfectly guided arc to cut through one of the power conduits that fed the output.

One plasma bolt hit the Yuuzhan Vong in the chest, it burned, the pain was terrible but nothing a real Yuuzhan vong should not be able to withstand. The droid on the other side of the room, was overloaded. Dark smoke started to appear before it exploded. When it blew up, the light dimmed on the room, flashed back and finally surrendered to an englobing darkness.

Ulan called the saber back to his hand started walking back the path he had taken. The pain on his chest subdued as he allowed himself to draw on the Force. In complete darkness the Vong Jedi walked without a clear direction on the Raporan Cruiser.

After another eternal minutes the Yuuzhan Vong found himself at one of the disabled hangars. Debris had fallen and crushed some of the vehicles, other could not leave because of the metal pieces blocking their exits. As Ulanchecked them out in silence. He found none that would serve him. The difference to the Raporan physionomy made it impossible to crew on of the one man ships.

He was about to give up hope on escape when he found something that felt completely out-of-place. A small sail-ship. Eager the Yuuzhan Vong stepped inside, the ship would not be able to run as fast as required to escape. But Ulan knew that remaining there translated into death.

In matter of seconds the gold-black ship existed the hangar, unnoticed. Unperturbed. Only as the golden sails extended did Ulan perceive that the Timeless One's attention fell on him.

You cannot escape, Ulan Shai. You will not escape. Your destiny will bring you to my feet again. And when you do, do not expect me to be forgiving. When we meet again, you will die. Run, Vong, run. Every star you set between the two of us, will fall into my grasp.

"Listen to him, Ulan, listen to his lies. You have seen him weakened, you made him fall to his knees. He cannot tempt you now, you have seen that he fears and hates." Trej Ocas said, without manifesting himself in the ghostly shapes.

The Vong Jedi pushed both presences away. He tried to touch the brilliant presence in the battlefield, for a splitsecond before he entered hyperspace.

****

The system had no name, except for a dying star and a set of coordinates. Still, it went into the logs of the Imperious, as a necessary rendezvous point. And as a parting point.

The Bakuran evacuees regrouped with their escort and prepared to move towards the destination, Oreton had proposed for them. An uninhabited system, similar to Bakura, but that did not figure in official charts.

Oreton and Eressa failed to convince Malinza to join the UDA, her talents and spirit, she argued would be needed among her people. But that if things turned to worse, that she, just like her mother would step forward and help their allies.

Eressa Veras joined Oreton on the return trip to Valhallanea, the two of them joined by Onolovav and some other senior officer review the battle. All of them relieved, as they all realized that Bakura would have been their grave had it not been because of the appearance of that mysterious Jedi.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2004 10:28 pm 
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Jaina hissed between her clenched teeth as she looked through the electrobinoculars at an advancing formation of Vagaari warriors. Behind he platoon of Vagaari a trio of Droideka'kar sat in attack position with their weapons pointed toward the tower. She stopped and took a second look, the droids were missing the lightsaber mounts and the plasma cannons. Their armor looked worn and battered, the Rapora's crumbs given to their servants apparently.

Jag scrambled up the rubble beside her, "How many?"

"A platoon I'd say, forty maybe fifty," Jaina answered slowly, "We'll have to take them out to get to the building."

"Alright, first fire team move to the left, second fire team circle around to the left, target those war droids first. Everyone else base of fire, this position." He glanced to everyone as they acknowledge his orders, "Hold your fire till we open up."

As the soldiers began to move out Jaina starred at Jag, "I didn't know you knew much about mudslogging."

Jag smiled, "The Chiss wanted me to learn all the branches of war, and you don't really have that training."

"I wasn't complaining," Jaina answered as she watched the soldiers drop down into cover, everyone was in position.

"Jag smiled grimly, "Lets do this!" He rose to a crouch and fired into the Vagaari as Jaian stood and ignited her lightsaber. A roar of blaster fire echoed in the tight confines of the cirty.

* * *

Commodore Athien felt the deck shudder as one of the Vagaari copies of the Savla shot past the brow. A volley of plasma bolts caught up after it and turned the craft into an exploding fireball as the Vagaari main fleet began to maneuver back toward them in an effort to engage them.

Athien felt an icy fist close on her heart, "Any word from Admiral Hirotek?"

"No sir, their jump vector is clear of any gravity wells, maybe their communications are damaged."

Another officer glanced to Athien, "We detected a massive surge in neutrino emmissions from their hyperdrive when they jumped, they probably lost their hyperdrive."

Athien felt her skin begin to grow clammy, "How far could they have gotten?"

"Not far, maybe at most half a light year," The Sesnor operator shook his head, "Without a hyperdrive they're stuck."

Athien nodded, "Order the Star Hauler Free Will and Life to try and find and escort them to the nearest friendly shipyard."

"Yes sir," The communications officer answered swiftly.

Commander Lores, the ship's Executive Officer stood behind Athien, "You do realize that the nearest shipyard is in our territory."

"I know," Athien answered quietly, "I won't sacrifice him just to safeguard a secret the enemy may already know."

* * *

Jaina bounced the brilliant green blast from a Vagaari carbine back at its owner as the last of the strike team ran into the door of the tower beside her. Jag frammed himself in the doorway and opened up full auto on the advancing Vagaari squad all that remained of the Vagaari platoon. His shots went wide, but they drove the Vagaari to take cover all the same.

Suddenly witha blurr a furred shape shot toward them, and Jag leapt back as a viscious four legged animal latched its jaws onto the blaster carbine. Jag fired and the animal slid off, its braid fried by the bolt. He cursed, "Wolvkils, the Vagaari's attack dogs."

"So?"

"They have a decentralized nervous system, you if it hadn't have bit onto the barrel I wouldn't have been able to kill it," Jag leapt back behind cover as a blast from a Vagaari carbine smashed into the wall beside him. He leaned back out and fire a single shot that scored the offending shooter in the helmet, knocking him back to the ground, but failing to kill him.

Jaina's lightsaber whirred leaping from bolt to bolt with practiced ease, "Jag, what now?"

"Fire team secure this doorway, squad lets go, come on Jaina, lets find this president."

* * *

Hirotek was getting tones of damage reports from all across his ship. There was little he could do to repair much of the damage. Still his techs were doing the best they could, trying to get the ship back to being able to make a hyperspace jump, trying to patch the battered hyperdrive.

Lieutenat Carelor was one of those techies. He sat in the control room of the Gravity well generator with the control lines hanging over him. Slowly he lifted his comlink, "We've got damage to the gravity well control lines, looks like the Gravity well projectors have been jammed on."

* * *

Luke nodded solemnly, "Alright, we're going to test the hyperdrive." Mara winked at him as Artoo plotted a course to the world of Adumar, the most well known system along their path.

"Roger that Jade Scimitar" Mara touched the hyperspace button and with a flash they vanished from above Zonoma Sekot. Minutes passed then as Artoos counter began to count down from ten seconds the stars suddenly reappeared. Along with the dark silhoutte of a Ravager class Star Destroyer.

OOC: Great I'll have to add even more to my post.

Anakin smiled as he saw the soalr sailor shoot from the Resurrector smiling he keyed his comm so that the Rapora could hear him, "Death, is all that you desirve Timeless One, but I tell you, leave this galaxy and perhaps I'll be more forgiving."

"The only death that will be here is yours Skywalker," The harsh tones that answered left no doubt in Anakin's mind that it was the Timeless One's himself.

Anakin shrugged, "So be it." He threw the skip forward into a diving attack ont he Resurrector, "Do not underestimate me." Closing his eyes Anakin let the force flow through him, highlighting the weak points of his target. Impulsively his mind one with the force Anakin fired, again and again as his ship flew beneath the shields. As the last of his shots faded into nothingness Anakin broke away from the Replicator, a slight golden glow flowing through the enormous vessel. Seconds later a chain of explosions rocked the ship.

* * *

The Timeless One knew what was happening as he felt the massive force powered reactors begin to sieze up, he was left with only one choice. pointing the entirety of his concentration into a meaningless point in space and the bridge of the one other replicator he blazed a connection and stepped through.

* * *

The Resurrector exploded with a brilliant flash as bright as a nova and several of the Raporan Cruisers closest to the vessel exploded in a secondary display of fireworks.

Anaknin felt cold touch his hands and tears begin to well up at his eyes, "I warned you."

Suddenly his comm crackled, "This is Ulan Shai, to the Sekotan Skip, who are you?"

"I am the one, that came before the darkness, succummed and rose again renewed, a warrior for justice in the galaxy, and the one that will bring balance back to the force." He breathed quietly as he felt a familiar hand on his shoulder and sniffed, "I am Anakin Skywalker."

The cold voice of his mentor touched his ears, "You did what you had to do."

"Sekotan Skip, I'm sending you coordinates for Ord Mantell..."

"No need Ulan, I'm heading to Adumar, there is someone I must talk to."

There was a pause, "I'll go with you."

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 13, 2004 7:43 pm 
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Seryk walked into the medical bay, and saw Karyn laying on one of the tables there. he could tell by the number of bruises he had on her that the Mandalorians had given her quite a savage beating. But she had survived, and was past the first step. And he was proud of her for that. But now, the second part of her punishment had to be done. he walked over, and stood next to her table. She looked up to him, and almost smiled.

"Seryk, why didnt you warn me?" she asked, her voice rasping in pain. Seryl looked down at her, a lump forming in his throat. It pained him to see her like this. But he knew that it had to be done.

"Because then, you would have drawn upon the force to dull the pain. It it would have ruined the first test. But you passed. But just so you know, that was the easist part." he said,. and Karyn nodded. Seryk looked over to the doctor, who nodded. Seryk looked back to Karyn, and smiled.

"When did they say you will be ready to go?" he asked, and Karyn made an attempt at laughing, but only coughed. Seryk watched as her body rocked from the spasms, and then calmed down.

"He said a few days, and I will be healed enough to continue on with my training." she said, and Seryk nodded. That meant it was time. he reached down, and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. He hoisted her up, and Karyn yelped in pain. Seryk stepped back, and stared ate her coldly.

"Good, that means you will have time to bury the dead." he said, and karyn stared at him, disbelief in her eyes. She could baerly stand, let alone bury the dead. But she could tell by the look on his face that he wasnt joking. She hoisted herself off the bed, and gathered the force to her, to help her maintain her balance.

"Well then, lets get on with it." she said, and she began to shuffle he way towards the door. Her two gaurds walked slowly behind her, not once moving to help her. Seryk wondered to himself how long she would last, and sighed. She had made her coice, and now had to live with it. He moved in front of her, and walked out the door, and began to lead her to the burail grounds. It would be a long walk, and once there, she would have to dig the graves, and then bury the dead. But he had a feeling she would make it through, somehow.

**********************************


"Admiral, we have a contact coming out of hyperspace! bearing three-one-six!" an ensign yelled out, and Hiroteks head snapped to attention.

"is it reporan?" He asked, and the ensign shook his head. Hirotek walked over to the sensor station, and looked the readouts of the vessel. It appeared to be some sort of Sekotan vessel, but it was armed with both conventional cannons, and with Vong plamsa cannons. Suddenly, the comm officer looked up.

"Sir, unknown ship is trying to contact us. They are identifying themselves as the Jade Scimitar." He said, and hirotek looked out the viewport. He had forgotten that the short range comm system was still operational. He could see the small vessel in the distance, and wondered if it was who he thought it was.

"Put them on speaker." he orderd, and the comm officer nodded. he bent over his station again, and within moments, the voice of mara jade flowed through the bridge.

"Again, I repeat, this is the Jade Scimitar to the Star Destroyer Stormshore. Do you copy?" she asked, and hirotek sighed in relief.

"This is Admiral Hirotek of aboard the Stormshore. And just let me say Jade, your ship is a sight for sore eyes." he said, and jade spoke again, her voice worried.

"What happened to your ship Admiral? you look like you got into one hell of a fight. And why are your gravity wells on?" she asked, and hirotek sighed.

"Adumar is under attack by a large vagaari force. i was forced to pull out or risk being destroyed. Our hyperdrive is broken, and our gravity wells are locked on." he said, and for a moment, there was silence.

"Where is the rest of your fleet?" came a new voice. hirotek geussed it was Skywalker.

"Still fighting at Adumar, I would assume. I left them in command of Commodore Athien of the UDA." he said, and he moved to sit back down. As he did so, a thought crossed his mind.

"Your niece Jaina is one the planet itself now, I think, atempting a rescue operation." he said, and he heard a sharp intake of breath over the comm. He wondered if he had made a mistake in telling them that, but they had a right to know.

"Alright, thank you. Do you want us to relay your position to the GFFA?" Luke asked, and Hirotek thought for a moment.

"No. I dont want to risk the repora intercepting any transmissions about our position. We wouldnt even be able to hold off an attack from a TIE squadron right now, let alone an attack from a Repora vessel." he said, and he could almost hear Luke noddind.

"Again Admiral, we thank you. But we must get to Adumar, and try and help. May the force be with you." Mara said, and Hirotek watched as the small ship turned , and began to fly towards the outer ring of the gravity well. After a few moments, the ship turned, and rocketed back into hyperspace. hirotek sat there for a moment, and then looked over to Lik'ka.

"Status report on the gravity wells? When are they coming down. I dont want to risk pulling an enemy ship out of hyperspace." he said, and Lir'ka looked to a small data pad at her station.

"At last report, they were almost ready to cut power to the gravity wells, sir. They should be off within 10 minutes." she said, and Hirotek nodded. The sooner those wells were offline, the safer he would feel. Suddenly the senso officer looked up again.

"Admiral, we have a UDA vessel dropping out of hyperspace sir! our gravity well pulled them out!" he called, and Hirotek rose from his seat, and quickly ran to the sensor station. he sighed in relief as he studied the ship. it was one of Athiens vessels, probably sent to find him. Maybe having the gravity wells on wasnt such a bad thing afterall. A few moments later, a voice came over the battle comm.

"Stormshore, this is the Star Hauler Free Will and Life, please respond." the voice said, and Hirotek spoke out, his voice relaying how happy he was to see them.

"This is Admiral Hirotek. Captain Greshk, is it?" he asked, and he heard the other vessles captian chuckle.

"Correct Admiral. Your memory is astounding. Thats a good idea, raising your gravity wells. it made it a lot easier for us to find you." Greshk said, and Hirotek shook his head.

"That wasnt on purpose, they are stuck on. We cant seem to de-activate them." he said Sheepishly, and the other captian chuckled.

"Ah, I see. Well, get them down as quickly as possible. We are to help you on your way to Dresnak to affect repairs." he said, and Hirotek nodded.

"We are working on it as fast as possible captain. They should be down any minute now." he said, and he watched as the other vessel manuvered in closer to attach its tractor beams to his ship. He felt a shudder as the tracotr beams caught his ship, and slowly began to move.

"Captain, what was the state of the battle when you left?" Hirotek asked, and for a moment, there was silence.

"The Vagaari were manuvering back to engage the Commodores forces. Thast when we made the jump. That all we know." he said, and Hirotek nodded slowly. he hoped that Athien wouldnt so anything foolish. Even he knew she wouldnt be able to take on teh Vagaari fleet for long.

"Admiral, the gravity wells are losing power. We should be able to make a jump to hyperspace now." Lir'ka said, and hirotek nodded.

"Captain, anytime you are ready. But please be gentle. I dont know how much stress this ship can take right now." Hirtek said, and he heard the other captain chuckle.

"Dont worry Admiral, we will be carefull. We cant aford to lose you, or your ship right now." he said, and hirotek smiled. He looked out of the viewport, and watched as his ship was dragged into hyperspace. he didnt knwo how long it would be before they arrive at Dresnak, but he knew it would be a while. Dragging a ship the size of the Stormshore through hyperspace wasnt easy. But it wasnt like they had any real choice. Hirotek looked over to Lir'ka, and smiled.

"Lir'ka, you havwe the bridge. Im going to my ready room. I have work to do." he said, and Lir'ka nodded. Hirotek walked off the bridge, and into his ready room. he walked over to his desk, and sat down. After a few moments, he leaned back in his chair, and closed his eyes. He was tired, and decided to take a nap. He knew Lir'ka could handle everything for now. But he knew once they arrived at Dresnak, he would have to take command again, and begin repairs on his ship.

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"We've got a hullbreach, deck forty-two!" The ship engineer yelled in horror as a groan echoed through the Freedom of Thought.

Commodore Athien felt her stomache twist with rage, "Seal it off, and get our fighters to block their attack runs, we've got to hold until they get the President out down there!"

"Sir, we just picked six more contacts entering the system, telemetry indicates Kar Lur Class Cruisers, confirmed six Kar Lurs and a number of support ships," The Sensor officer cried out with frustration.

Another salvo of turbolaser fire rocked the ship and Athien saw the console for the tactical officer explode. The man that had stood before it was thrown back onto the deck bleeding profusely from a dozen shrapnel wounds. A young chiss scrambled to the cooked control board as a medical team lifted the man from the deck, "Commodore, it's cooked, we're defenseless."

"Reroute weapons control to the secondary bridge Ensign," Athien felt her heart grow cold as teh Kar LKurs roared toward the engagement, "All units, retreat, I repeat retreat. We cannot hold out any longer."

"But sir, our ground forces..."

"There's no time for them!" Athien snapped back as she felt her innards freeze, "I feel the loss but we stay here any longer and we die!"

"Sir, we've got another ship entering the system, unknown configuration, they're hailing us!" The Sensor operator seemed to look agast, "I can't make heads or tails of its configuration."

"On speaker," Athien ordered.

"Jade Scimitar to Freedom of Thought please respond."

Athien frowned at the transmission and then glanced to the sensor officer, "This is Commodore Athien of the Freedom of Thought, please identify yourself."

"This is Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, are you moving to withdraw?"

"Yes, we can't hold here with those Raporan reinforcements here, your niece is on the surface, we can't spare any of our craft to pick them up." Athien wipped her brow in frustration, "If you could pick our ground forces up, it would be much appreciated."

"Will do, are you headed to Ord Mantell?"

"Negative, definite negative, we can't carry on without repairs, we're heading for the GFFA base at Dresnak, we'll transmit the coordinates so they can rendevous with our fleet." Athien glanced to the navigator who keyed in the coordinates.

"We'll see what we can do, after returning your troops we'll be heading back to Zonoma Sekot."

"One more thing Skywalker," Athien glanced at her feet, "Thanks."

* * *

Jaina watched as two troopers slammed into a pair of doors. The doors failed to budge and the troops glanced at each other then drew their lightsabers. With a trio of slices the doors fell away and Jaina slipped inside. There a pair of Adumarian Security Guards stood, their blasters out with blastswords sheathed at their belts. The first one turned back to look through the smoke, "They're allies, get the president!"

Jag ran paster her, his blaster out as the dull thud of Vagaari shot hitting the building echoed through the hall. He stopped as a pair of Adumarian Security officers rushed a man dressed in deep a blue uniformt through the smoke to them. Jag snapped a salute to the man, "President, lets go!"

* * *

Mara sighed as she watched the battle outside her viewport, "So any ideas on how to fire up the guns?" As she spoke a pair of small yokes appeared from the console in front of her and visor shapped targeting computer descended from above her, Smiling grimly she pulled it on and gripped yokes, "Wow, now this is flying."

"What do you see?" Luke asked as he felt the ship obey his piloting controls.

"Everything, it's giving me a composite of everything it sees, gravitic, heat, we've got a pair of enemy fighters moving to engage us." She stopped, now if I could only figure out how to...aha I got it!"

With that a torpedo flashed from its launch tube and shot out into the oncoming Vagaari fighter. It flashed with a brilliant red glow as it detonated destroying its target and sending debris into the fighter's wingman's path. With a double flash of plasma fire the craft evaporated.

Ben opened his mouth as he watched the display, "Wow."

Luke frowned, "Are all the weapons controlled from you console?"

"I don't think so, I saw the quads could be manually controlled." She frowned, "I can't divide my attention, Ben, get into the dorsal turret."

* * *

The Timeless One sat back in the throne of the Replicator Malliable World, his breathing heavy. Through the viewports he could still see the embers of the explosion that had destroyed his command ship. Reaching out to the force, he knew Endor had been cleansed, a system now that had no use, except perhaps one, "Navigator set course for Endor."

* * *

Jaina ducked back from the door out of the building as a Vagaari blaster bolt soared through it. As it's hiss echoed in her ears a chirp came from her belt, a chirp from her personal comlink. She glanced to Jag as she pulled it from her belt, "Jedi Solo here."

"Jaina, its Luke, we need your location." Jaina frowned at the link, what was he doing here.

"We're at the presidential palace, if you can't find us hom in on my commlink." Jaina answered as she twisted it to broadcast.

Jag stepped up next to her with the President in tow, "So wheres our ride?"

"On its way, Mister President, get under cover, those Vagaari are a bit trigger happy right now."

* * *

Luke maneuvered past a batter Paskla carrier and glanced up at his sensor display, "We've got a full squadron coming in, right behind us."

"Not anymore," Mara hissed and a pair of torpedoes shot out from the rear launchers. Each one tracked down its target and smashed into it ripping apart the Vagaari Ark fighter's formation.

Four of the fighters broke upward in an attempt to get clear of the Jade Scimitar's line of fire. Two of them met firery deaths from a salvo from the dorsal quads. Luke smiled, "Good shooting Ben."

"We've got a bunch of fighters ahead, looks like two squadrons, one of them is Raporan." Mara winced, "We've got missile launches."

Each of the Raporan Kar Asp fighters fired a pair of cluster missiles, their total ordanace, and Leuk felt his hands clench hard on the controls, through the force he could feel the Scimitar's hesitation. Then with a thrum the interceptor cannons went into action. They fired a steam of flechettes into the oncoming wave of missiles. Dozen's of warhead detonated under the shots, but not all of them. Through the force Luke formulated a plan and sent it to the ship.

Suddenly above the missile's trajectory a enormous gravitic singularity appeared. The missiles were ripped from their path by its pull and hurled into deep space, far away from their target. Luke let out a breath of relief, not one of the missiles touched the ship or its shields.

Then the fighters themselves wavered as four proton torpedoes hurtled toward them. As the four flashes from hits appeared through the viewport the fighters broke and ran, each one moving to a different vector, "They're scattering!"

"They figured it out," Mara said pointedly, "If they stayed bunched up we could have killed the lot of them." She grimaced, "How long till we reach the atmosphere?"

"Thirty seconds, why?"

"We've got a Savla on our tail," Mara said clamly.

Luke smiled, "Lets show them how fast we can go."

* * *

Captain Fredosh licked his reptilian lips impatiently as the black shape of the enemy craft grew in his sights, "There are Jedi onboard, all discretionaty power to the engines."

"Sir, the target is accelerating, we're falling behind, it just reached three hundred MGLTs of acceleration sir."

"What sort of craft is that thing?" Captain Fredosh hissed to himself.

* * *

The Jade Scimitar shot into the atmosphere its shields flickering under the strain of reentry, glancing at his displays Luke watched as a line of infantry appeared below them, firing repeatedly into their objective. Gritting his teeth Luke swung the craft around and glanced at Mara, "Let em know we're here!"

A single torpedo shot from beneath the ship's nose and exploded as it impacted in the center of the formation of Vagaari infantry. If their formation had been more compact the blast could have killed hundreds instead dozens were killed from the blast and heat and perhaps hundreds more were injured. But the Vagaari did not fall back, or take cover remaining as staunch as they had been when Mara and Luke had first encountered them. Hissing between her teeth Mara opened fire with the quads as Luke maneuvered to land.

* * *

Jaina felt her mouth open in awe as the strangely beautiful black craft came to a hover before them. It's wuad lasers flashing across the valley of rubble to keep the Vagaari down as it touched the ground a ramp dropped down facing them, as both the dorsal and ventral quads opened up once again.

Jag glanced at Jaina, "Thats our ride, lets go!"

They ran, ran through the burning ruins and cratered smoke filled landscape to the craft and clattered aboard. The President was strapped into a chair as the last of the troops roared inside. Jaina and Jag kept going past the benches and clambered into the cockpit.

Luke smiled as they entered, "Strap in, we're lifting off."

"Um, Luke, is that what I think it is?" He turned and felt his eyes widen as a Savla class Cruiser roared into the valley dropping a string of mines behind it.

"Oh shavit!" Mara hissed as the Jade Scimitar rotated in the air, "We've been targeted, by all the mines!"

"Ben, shoot at the mines!" Luke yelled into the intercom as the area before him flashed a brilliant gold and the tower beside them disappeared in a giant explosion.

The ship rocked and Jaina flet her eyes widen as she grabbed for the restraints, "What was that!"

"Six Kar Lur Cruisers, they've gridded the area and are bombarding us from space...we're trapped."

* * *

The Sekotan fighter flashed into existance above Adumar along with Ulan's solar sailor. Anakin focused his attention onto the ships before him, "They've got Luke and Mara pinned down on the surface, Ulan, open up your sail and head directly away from the planet, I'll protect you. We need to distract them."

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:07 pm 
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Seryk watched from a distance as Karyn finished burying the dead. he had watched her the whole time, and hed felt her pain through the ripples of the force. He could tell he was becoming more and more attuned with the force as the days went by. He was concentrating on it, slowly learning how to use it. he knew that he would never become as attuned to it as other jedi. Even some children, just beginning their training as jedi, were able to do things he was just now beginning to understand. But he knew that eventually, he would have enough of an understanding of his abilities to use them effectively.

Seryk turned his head as he hear someone walke up behind him. he turned his head, and saw Boba standing there, a smirk on his face. Seryk turned back to watchign karyn, and smiled.

"She is doing well so far. She has only fallen down twice. And her gaurds haven't had to hit her in over an hour now." he said, and Boba nodded silently. Boba walked up to stnd next to him, and watched karyn for a moment. he then turned to Seryk, and sighed.

"We have to get going. We have more planets to visit, and not much time." he said, and Seryk looked up to him.

"But we havent managed to accomplish anything here yet. All we have done is brought suffering to these people. because of us, their security has been breached, and a number of their people are dead." he said, and Boba nodded in aggreement.

"Yes, that is true. But at the same time, the sith showing up have done our work for us. On this world at least." he said, and Seryk looked up to him in confusion. Boba smiled, and motioned for Seryk to follow him.

"Come with me. The high commander wants to see you. " he said, and he turned and walked away. Seryk turned to look back at Karyn, and saw her staring at him in the distance. he nodded to her, and she turned to go back to filling in one of the remaining few graves. Seryk shrugged, and got up, turning to follow Fett. As he turned, he felt something hit the back of his head. he turned suddenly to see Karyn staring at him, a smirk on her face. Seryk smiled, and turned to follow Fett back into the city.

*********************************

Admiral Hirotek looked over the reports, his spirits falling slowly. His ship was heavily damaged. By he looks of it, it would take months to repair all of the damage. He had numerous hull breaches all over the ship, many of his weapon banks were either damaged or destroyed, and both of his hyperdrive systems required massive overhauls, if not complete replacements. He set the datapad he was studying down on his desk, and rubbed his eyes slowly. Once they arrived at Dresnak, he was going to have to find a way to convince the UDA to let his use their shipyards to begin repairs on his ship, and then find a way of contacting the GFFA command. He would have to then get his forces back into the war as soon as possible.

As he sat there pondering his course of action, Lir'ka entered the room, and Saluted smartly. Hirotek waved her off, reminding her that such formailies were not welcome in his presence. That, and he hated being saluted by anyone. Lir'ka smiled, and looked at a datapad that she had in ther hands.

"We have finally sealed uff some of the hull breached around weapon banks thriteen and twenty-two, so we will have those back on line soon. The rest of the hull breaches will have to wait until we are in a shipyard, however. We dont have the parts to fix holes that large." she said, and Hirotek nodded. At least some of his weapons were going to be back on line soon. he couldnt onyl hope that was the beginning of a long string of good luck.

"What is our ETA for arrival at Dresnak?" he asked, and Lir'ka shok her head.

"Unknown Admiral. We dont know how fast we are travelling though hyperspace, nor do we know what route we are following. So there is no telling how long this will take." she said. Hirotek nodded, adn as he did so, he felt the ship lurch as it fell from hyperspace. Hirotek looked up at Lik'ka, and then rose form his seat. They both exited his ready room, and walked out onto the bridge. Hirotek looked out the viewports, and saw in fornt od his ship a massive expance of shipyards. he walked over to the sensor station, and tapped a few buttons, and whistled at what he saw. The yards in front of them were just one cluster of what appeared to be a large system of shipyards, spread out over a massive area. By the looks of it, the yards here were large enough to rival what used to be at Kuat. And by the looks of it, most of them had ships in them.

"Admiral, we are receiing a transmission form the yards." his comm officer yelled, out, and Hirotek nodded. The comm officer tapped a few buttons, and a hologram of a chiss appeared in front of him on the bridge.

"I am commander Thelk of the Dresnak defence force. My scanners indentify your ship as beign a Ravager class Star Destroyer. Those are built by the GFFA. What are you doing here?" he asked, and Hirotek thought for a moment. These Chiss were direct, and to the point. he hated people like that.

"I am Admiral Hirotek of the GFFA. My forces were caught in a battle with a Vagaari fleet over the world of Adumar, along with Commodore Athiens forces. We were heavily damaged, and were forced to retreat. I was under the impression that Commodore Athien ordered us to be brought here." he said, and the commander stared at him for a moment.

"We have a large numbered of injured personel, and it would be appreciated if you would help us care for some of them. Our medical facilites arent capable of handling this many injured, nor do we have the equipment to handle some of the injuries." He added, and the commander finally nodded.

"I will have to get premission form my commanding officers to allow you to dock for repairs, but I have the authority to give you emergency assistance with your injured. I will have shuttles with medical personel launched immediatly." he said, and the hologram faded. Hirotek looked over to Lir'ka, who simply shrugged. They both knew that the Chiss were a different people.

"Admiral, Im detecting a launch a sereis of shuttles form a station towards the center of the yards," his sensor officer reported, and Hirotek nodded. "Im alose seeing a pair of UDA warships on approach vectors." he added, and Hirotek sighed. These Chiss were also cautious people. His ship was obviously in no condition to even damage the shipyards, let alone take on the defence forces that were here. But still these Chiss were cautious.

"Allow the shuttles to land. Tell the dock bay crew to expect medical personal, and more than likely armed gaurds. Tell them they are to lead them straight to the midical bays." he said, and his comm officer nodded. Hirotek turned to Lir'ka, and nodded.

"Lets go meet our saviors, shall we?" he said, and he Tunred to walk off the bridge. Lir'ka stood there for a moment, and then turned to follow him.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:01 pm 
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OOC: You do realize that only a tiny part of the UDA is composed of Chiss.

IC: The ramp of the oncoming shuttle slid downward and a four man team of soldiers came out of the hold. They wore what looked like imperial stormtrooper armor with bright red vertical stripes painted on the suit's armored plates. Each one wore a lightsaber on their hilt and carried what looked a grenade at their belt. Clutched in their hands was a heavily modified Blastech E-11, equipped with a solid stock and a lightsaber bayonet clip beneath the barrel. A flash suppressor had been screwed onto the weapon's tip and the scope had been replaced with a holographic targeting system.

Behind the soldiers came a young man, his dark complected face and blond hair a stunning contrast to his red and blue uniform. Admiral Hirotek studied him for a moment noting that he hadn't seen any of the Freedom of Thought's crew dressed in such a uniform. Smiling slightly he stepped forward and extended his hand, "Welcome to the Stormshore.â€

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 8:59 pm 
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Cal Omas felt himself begin to deflate as Admiral Kre'Fey conducted the briefing on the battle over Bakura, "The battle was a near complete victory for the Raporan Imperium, from Bakura they can move on to Endor or any number of surrounding systems." The bothan firmly clasped his pointer as the holographic projector thrummed to life, "The Raporan fleet was huge, numbering over one and a half times the size of the force which participated at Fondor. They're primary weapon in the attack came down to the three Raporan Replicators, fortunately for us we managed to destroy one before being forced to retreat." The bothan glanced around the chamber at several different faces, "Unlike the battles over Csilla, Bastion, or Kuat, the Rapora did not destroy the planets, undoubtably planing to use them as forward bases for strikes deeper into our territory."

Cal coughed lightly before asking, "Where has Admiral Evahe redeployed his forces?"

"He's requesting orders, but has scattered his fleet in the surroundings systems around Bakura," The Bothan Admiral answered.

Triebakk snarled slightly as he looked at the galactic hologram and the protocol droid glanced between him and the Admiral, "What strategic value does Bakura hold, shouldn't we be more concerned about the fall of Adumar?"

"Yes we should, from Adumar we believe the Rapora could strike on Ord Mantell and if they hit Ord Mantell, the systems of Ord Pardon, Anobis, and Vortex, from there they can cut the Hydian way and seperate the GFFA from the Imperial Remnant." Admiral Kre'Fey's expression seemed to harden, "Chief of State Omas, with your permission I'll transmit orders for the redeployment of Admiral Evahe's force to the world of Ord Mantell."

Cal nodded to himself, "Yes, I'll sign those orders, we need to make Ord Mantell into a nut thats to tough for the Rapora to crack, to this end I'm issuing orders for the evacuation of Ord Mantell now. I want you to fortify it like we fortified Borlieas, so that a victory there would cost the enemy to much."

"We'll need help," Admiral Kre'Fey said slowly.

"We will, I'll send a message to the UDA and Empire informing them of our plans, we must work together to stall this threat."

* * *

The Jade Scimitar disappeared with a flash into hyperspace along with the Solar Sailor. Smiling Anakin broke hard away from the Raporan fighters and reaching out with the force created an enormous ion storm behind him. The fighters flew into it, their ships being struck by the highly charged particles, one by one they succumed to the energy and became adrift.

His safety assured Anakin plotted his jump, knowing exactly where to go now and tapped the hyperspace levers as the stars flashed into starlines.

* * *

Grand Admiral Oreton sat behind his desk skimming reports from various commands. He glanced up as the door to his office slid open and Commodore Veras stepped inside with a datapad clasped in her hand, "Baros, a message from Cal Omas."

Baors Oreton smiled slightly as he took the datapad, "Lets see what Chief of State Omas wants..." Glancing down he quickly read the message, "Alert all of Fleet group four to be ready to depart in twenty four hours."

"What is it Baros," Eressa asked quietly.

"Cal Omas wants to draw a line in the sky, at Ord Mantell."

* * *

Supreme Commander Thrawn rubbed his eyes tiredly as General Baron Fel stepped to his side, "Sir, some tea."

Thrawn nodded as he took the cup and had a sip, "Any word from Athien?"

"She just arrived at Dresnak along with whats left of the GFFA fleet over Adumar." General Fel felt his fists tighten, "She reports that she was forced to leave Jaina and Jag behind."

"They'll make it out General," Thrawn answered taking a long sip before setting the Tea beside his chair, "If anyone can slip out of a Rapora net its that pair."

"Yes sir," General Fel glanced back at the galaxy slowly turning in the center of the room, "Sir?"

"A question General Fel?" Thrawn sighed as the General nodded. He never felt as tired leading the Empire against the Rebellion as he did fighting the Rapora, "Ready fleet group two, and ready the ship to rendevous with that force. The Rapora must be stopped General Fel, and the best place to show them our resolve will be over Ord Mantell."

* * *

The Timeless One smiled as the two Sith Warriors knelt before him, "Tuvax, Fury, you have done well, your fleets will soon be brought back up to full strength, soon we will show the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances our true strength."

The door to the chaimer slid opena nd a six foot tall glistening black insectoid alien stepped inside, his mouth seemed to smoke slightly. In one hand he held an obsidian lined lightsaber. Along his skeletal tail sparks and smoke wafted up from the immense heat of his being. The deck bowed slightly from the heat which nearly melted through the durasteel alloy. He was an Aklasp, a silicon based life form found only on a single star system within Rapora space. A warrior race much like the Rapora they were a race of creatures with members who had fought in the great Rakatan Wars hundreds of thousands of years before. The creature opened his mouth and the hiss of molten looking metal within it was enough to terrify most sentient life forms, but the Timeless One didn't even flinch, "We are ready to fight along you side once more Timeless One."

"Good, ready your fleet for a transit to Adumar Supreme Leader Grasch'Lasc. It will do our warriors good to fight with you once more." The Timeless One nodded to the two sith knelling before him as the shimmering image of a holographic female sith appeared between them.

Darth Avarice knelt down, "Adumar is secure, I am awaiting orders."

"Good, a number of Vagaari warships and troops are traveling to rendevous at Adumar, be certain they arrive."

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The holographic image of the commander of the Gorath base appeared. He opened his mouth to speak, but Evahe cut him off.
"Project A2456B2?"
The figure's eyes glanaced around before responding simply,
"No."
Evahe frowned and tryed again, "What about Project A2456B1?"
The figure smiled.
***
In orbit over Ord Mantell, the Fourth Fleet conducted last minutes repairs. The Fourth and Third fleets had been consolidated, forming a full strength fleet. The Fifth had been sent in for repairs. It would be many months before it was back in action.
Ord Mantell was being turned into a fortress. Mines had been brought in and were soon to be deployed, large Golan platforms guarded the planet. Volunteers from the planet were forming a militia and a makeshift fleet. GFFA ground forces had been deployed and were doing their best at fortifying also.
Imperial and UDA forces were on their way, as well as the Hapans. In addition, the Genesis was scheduled to arrive any moment...
"Sir, we have an Eclipse Class Star Destroyer coming out of hyperspace!" an officer nervously shouted.
Evahe smiled, "Establish communication."
***
As soon as he got off his shuttle, Ioor was waiting for him.
"General Ioor! I'm going to be taking command from the Genesis during the upcoming battle. You'll be second in command on the Guardian."
Garik seemed a little disapointed, but replied enthusiastically nevertheless, "Very well Admiral. She's at full strength and ready for your command. Shall we discuss the upcoming battle over some Corellian Ale? They had some vintage bottles at Gorath."
Evahe snicked, "Very well then, Ioor."
He walked in the Eclipse for the first time since it was built....


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:22 pm 
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Hirotek sat in his personal chambers, hias eyes darting over reports. The UDa mechanics had been going full force at repairing his ship, and keeping his personel as far away from them as possible. Ironically enough, they couldnt keep his mechanics from trying to help, and the repairs weren't going well. And Frankly, it made Hirotek smile. he was disgusted at how his people were being treated. Some allies these people were. As Hirotek thought about all fo this, a chime rang, and Hirotek looked up.

"Enter." he said, and he watche as Athien entered. He noticed the tired look in her eyes, and realized that he himself was feeling just as weary. he stood slwoly, and walker over to Athien. he placed his hand on her shoulder, and smiled.

"Well, its not all bad. We got some good intelligence out of that battle." he said, and Athien smiled slightly. She didnt klnwo what he was talking about exactly, she was just happy to be away from the consant demands of her ship for the moment. Hirtek motioned her towards a chair next to his desk, and they both walked back over to the desk. As Hirotek moved back to his chair, Athien picked up the other chair, and moved it next to his, and sat down. Hirotek smiled, and sat down.

"What intelligence did we gather? Besides the fact that the Vagaari now have hybrid vessels?" Athien asked, and Hirotek chuckled.

"We learned that the Vagaari are not the greatest of warriors. I lost a bothan cruiser, and two of my destoryers in teh battle, and you lost a trio of vessels. The rest of our ships recieved heavy damage from the fight. The vagaari lost what, almost sixy ships? Thats now a very good ratio on there part." he said, and Athien nodded. She had gone ver this with her cammand staff on the way here, and it was nothing new to her really. But she had a feeling that Hirotek was leading up to something.

"Well, we have known for quite some time that the Vagaari arent very good when it comes to space combat. They have proven that themselves with every battle thay have participated in." she said, and Hirotek nodded.

"Yes. But, if they arent very good, why was the attack force comprised entirely of Vagaari ships? Why risk Losing a key battle?" he asked, and Athien thought about it for a moment. It didnt make much sence to her either.

"That is an interesting question. If we had had a larger force, we could have beaten them. The Repora have already been beaten once, another major defeat would ba a major blow to their pride, not to mention their moral." she said, and Hirotek nodded.

"That it would. But from the intelligence on the Repora that was given to me by Admiral kre-fey upon receiving this mission, I came to understadn that the Repora Imperium wasnt very large to begin with. And the Repora made up a smaller percentage of the Imperium than the Vagaari. With all the victories they have had as of late, along with the defeat they suffered at Kuat, the Repora are spread thin now." he said, and Athien suddenly realised what he was getting at. The Repora, with all their firepower and technology, were weak right now. They were being forced to rely on teh Vagaari to fight battles. meaning they now had a window of opportunity to strike.

"What if you are wrong though? What if Adumar wasnt that important? Its ore than possible they didnt think the Adumarians would be able to put up a fight, and decided not to waste Reporan vessels to such a task." she stated, and Hirotek sighed. he had though of that also, btu had decided that the odds of that werent to likely.

"No, I dont think so. The Repora have been a presence at every battle so far, even if it is just to make sure that thier victory is assured. it makes no sence for Adumar to be any different." he said, and Athien was forced to agree with him somewhat. Now would be a good time to strike at the enemy.

"Ok, lets say you are right. Lets say now thay are weak, and now would be a good time to strike at them somehow. How do you plan on doing that? Your entire fleet is going to be in drydock for weeks. By the time it is ready to go, they will have replenished their forces." she said, and Hirotek smiled.

"This is where the Vagaari come into play. The Vagaari were conquered by the Repora, were they not?" he asked, and Athien nodded.

"Well, since they were conquered, and are basically being used for cannon fodder, you would think there are a number of vagaari out there waiting for a chance to get away from them." he said, and Athien looked at him, a quizzical look in her eye. If he was thinkign what she thought he was, perhaps Hirotek was a little more crazy then she had thought.

"You arent suggesting that we try and get some of thier ships to defect, are you?" she asked, and Hirotek simply nodded.

"Thats exactly what I am suggesting. if we can even get one ship to defect, it will be worth it. Even one ship can help us. If we dont use it in battle, we can use it for espionage missions." he said, but Athien shook her head.

"No, if any vagaari had wanted to defect, they would have already. A large number of the Vagaari in the UDA are defectors. The Repora wouldnt risk putting dis-loyal vagaari in front line combat vessels. Not enough to actually get a whole ship to defect." she said, and Hirotek nodded.

"This may be true. But lets say just a quarter of a ship wishes to defect. or even a small handfull fo them. that may give us a chance to capture that vessel. Either way, we win." he said, and Athien sighed. She hated to admit it, but he was right. If there was even a remote chance of getting mroe Vagaari to defect, they had to take it.

"Alright. Ill see what I can do about getting you a few ships to try out your theory. If it comes down to it, Ill get you co-command of my flagship. But we will have to move quickly." she said, and she stood up. hirotek motioned for her to sit back down, and Athien felt herself resist for a moment, an then sit back down.

"Athien, we have a few moments. Get some rest while you can." he said, and he leaned back in his chair. Athien looked over to him, and wondered how he could have even a slightly laid-back attitude right now. They were losing the war for the most part, but he still managed to find time to rest. She moved her chair closer to his, and smiled. Maybe that one of the things about him she found so interesting.

OOC: sorry if this seemed a bit lack-a-luster, but Im tired right now.

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Formal protocol had demanded the reception, though Oreton would have opted not to follow protocol in these situation. Still, he knew that the younger cadets, would be impressed by the gesture and it helped to strengthen the bonds with the Alliance soldiers.

Admiral Evahe, General Ioor, Athien and Admiral Hirotek stood at the end of the landing bay were Oreton's shuttle had just landed. Behind his shuttle, Eressa's shuttle and a shuttle carrying some important Bakuran personalities descended as well. Another last shuttle ferried the important ladies Oreton had ordered to be present here.

Soldiers of many species formed up the ranks that received the Imperial Supreme Commander. Oreton walked down the ramp and took a deep breath. Ord Mantell did not have any memorable particularities, but to breath fresh air after weeks of recycled air on a Star Destroyer made him feel better.

Oreton straightened his white uniform and walked towards his allies, behind him Captain Onolovav caused a slight impression as few expected the flagship of the Empire to be captained by a Yagai.

"Evahe, it is nice to see you whole after Bakura." Oreton extended his arm and shook it with the Alliance Admiral.

"Grand Admiral Oreton, I believe you have nor met General Ioor in person."

"Though I have saved his life," Oreton said. "A pleasure to meet you."

"This is Admiral Hirotek, we was essential in the Battle for Kuat." Evahe continued.

"Yes, I have reviewed the battle. Some tactics were surprising, there is something in you, Admiral, that sets you apart from Evahe and Ioor."

The human Admiral just looked at him and flashed an enigmatic smile. "A few bottles of Churban brandy and I might tell you what it is."

Oreton snorted and moved to Athien. "I believe someone here will find out sooner than I. Commodore it is a pleasure to see you again." The Admiral kissed her on the cheek, according to Alderaanian custom.

"Likewise, Baros," she answered.

"Admiral Litok, please allow me to introduce my associates. This is Commodore Eressa Veras from the United Defense Alliance, Captain Onolovav my second-in-command. Former Senator Malinza Thanas from Bakura. Commodore Vania Dorja and Captain Arien Yage, which you already may know."

The Alliance group greeted the newcomers and Evahe led them to a en empty brifieng room.

"We know that the Rapora will attack Ord Mantell, and that they cannot destroy the world as it is more useful to them to take it to advance towards the Core. But that is old news for you, Grand Admiral."

"In orbit I saw a quiet massive gathering of ships, in any other circumstance I would believe that my Sovereign would be superflous in the presence of an Eclipse Destroyer, but after Bakura I'm not sure that even those two giant ships will be enough."

"We are having doubts about the strategies most likely to be employed here." Athien voiced the question that had haunted the Alliance commander for the past few days.

"I have given some thought to it. At Nirauan, Csilla, Bastion, Yaga Minor, Kuat and Fondor I observed that the Rapora would always follow a pattern. To attack with one first wave, and then use a second wave to surprise and trap their enemies. It fits with their psyche of pack-hunters, especially if tuned to the Force. At Bakura there was one single monstrous wave. Divided in three groups, but still only one wave. That may have been the product of another non-Raporan intelligence, another director. Perhaps even their supreme leader."

There was a silence and Oreton presumed that few outside of the UDA officers had given any serious thought to the Supreme Leader of the Rapora. Oreton had tried to decipher who it could be. Thrawn, perhaps would know for certain, but Oreton could not devise who the phantom leader of the Raporan menace was.

"Regardless, I believe that space combat will not decide the fate of this world, at least not entirely. With two superlaser I believe the Rapora will think twice before bringing their Replicators in system without a very strong screen. The GFFA fleet is strong, and I have brought Imperial reinforcements, we have a considerable amount of UDA ships, which are capable of dealing a great lot of damage to the Rapora ships. Athien, will your father send reinforcements?"

The Chiss woman blinked. "Yes, he said he would. They should be here tomorrow."

"Good. Evahe, from orbit I spotted that several bases on the ground have been reinforced. I agree with you that a ground campaign will be the most important factor to decide the fate of Ord Mantell. Arien," Oreton ordered. "Please inform the Admiral what ground force the Empire has brought to Ord Mantell."

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OOC: I'm going to assum Tenel Ka and the Hapans have arrived at Ord Mantell.

IC:An alarm sounded in the hanger bay as Arien carried out Oreton's orders. Admiral Evahe pulled out his comlink, "Report!"

"Sir, we just picked up forty ship exiting hyperspace, their silhouettes are consistent with United Defense Alliance ships."

"Thank you," Evahe lowered his comlink, "It seems your reinforcements just arrived."

Athien felt herself smile, "Good, so Admiral Oreton, you believe that the attack on Bakura was personally directed by the Supreme leader of the Raporan Imperium, unfortunately our information as to who the leader is, is rather limited."

Oreton felt his jaw work slightly in surprise, "You mean to say you don't know who he is?"

"Yes, the Rapora never refer to him by name, and all the intercepted transmissions we've recieved refer to him only as the Timeless One. We don't know much more then that." She stopped and sighed, "There are rumors though, and my father never disregards such rumors."

"Yes, well Mit’shren’uruodo has said some things to her interrogators that make us suspicious of her honesty," Admiral Evahe replied recalling the reports he'd gotten on that defector.

Athien spun on her heel, "She defected, don't trust what she says, she nearly cost father his life once, you can't trust anyone, not even your own siblings anymore."

Admiral Hirotek glanced at Evahe, "I wasn't informed about this defector, when did this happen?"

"Shortly after this conflict began, many of the things she's said can't be true, they just can't." Admiral Evahe sighed, "I can't tell you any more, until we've confirmed it, the information is just to...unusual."

Everyone turned to watch as a swift moving UDA shuttle entered the hanger and came to a hover beside Oreton's lambda shuttle. The craft slowly came to rest on the deck and the forward hatch slid open. The soft click of a claw on metal echoed in the hanger as the Raporan Warrior Veran stepped down the ramp and stood beside it.

Athien heard one of the Alliance officers grab for his commlink when Oreton held out his hand, "He's not a foe General Ioor." He turned back to the craft as a man with blue skin and brilliant red eyes stepped down the ramp, "He's Supreme Commander Thrawn's Security Chief."

Athien had tuned out Oreton as she quickly walked over to the shuttle, "Veran, how good to see you, and father, it's good to see you again."

Thrawn smiled slightly, "Yes Athien, it is." Glancing back at the assembled officers to make certain none were paying attention he wrapped Athien in a hug, "It does me well to see you safe again."

Athien smiled brightly as her father released her, "Should we start plotting with our allies?"

"Yes, we should."

* * *

Luke sighed as he let the Vagaari UDA Security officer pat him down, the security around Dresnack was immense to say the least, and was rather annoying to think that these Allies were so terrified of having their friends carry weapons on their facilities. He noticed that if he and Mara were being treated with some suspcion, Ulan Shai was being treated with downright disdain.

Mara could guess why, being captured by the Rapora would certainly make any warrior culture disdainful of the prisoner, but being a Yuuzhan Vong undoubtably made it even harder on Ulan.

Jag by contrast wasn't even touched by the security men, but ,just like Luke and Mara, Jaina was being thoroughly searched.

Finally the Vagaari stood and handed Luke his lightsaber back, "Thank you for your cooperation Master Skywalker." He glanced at Ulan and clasped his reptilian hands in front of his stomache, "We'll repair what damage your ship has suffered..."

Mara shook her head, "You don't understand, it's a living ship, it can heal itself, we've really got to get back to Zonoma Sekot."

"Very well," The UDA guard glanced to Jaina, Jag, and Ulan, "We'll give you transport to wherever you wish to go."

Ulan stiffened, "I must speak to the High Council." He glanced at Luke and Mara, "You'll want to be there as well Master Skywalker."

"Yes, well we've got to get back to Zonoma Sekot, this was the Jade Scimitar's first flight. We'll want to get her checked before heading anywhere else."

Jaina nodded slightly and clasped Jag's hand, "Where is Hirotek and Athien?"

"They're attending a strategy planning session of Ord Mantell. We expect them to be back in a day or two."

* * *

Thrawn nodded at the assembly of officers, "So Adumar fell, and the Rapora are knocking on the doorstep of the Hydian Way. Do you feel that you can give them a major defeat here?"

Tenel Ka glanced at the others in the room, "Considering the Rapora's successes maybe the best we can hope for is a stalemate."

Admiral Evahe nodded, "Yes, we're hoping to stop the Rapora advance here, not throw them back. Ord Mantell is being fortified; we're hoping to grind up the enemy as they come in on our preparations."

"The Rapora are full of surprises Admiral Evahe, the loss of several of their Replicators has made them cautious, and that caution could cost us dearly in battle," Thrawn said slowly. He tapped a button on his datapad and the holoprojector at the center of the room whirred to life to show an enormous holo of the Galaxy, "The Raporan victory at Bakura was extremely costly, and the use of Vagaari at Adumar suggests that their resources are beginning to stretch thin.â€

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Hirotek paced around the small pad slowly, watching his opponent. His enemy now wasnt a Vong, or a Repora, or a Vagaari, but a soldier. Here, Hirotek was master. But sadly, this soldier had decided to challange his claim. Hirotek had smiled when the soldier had challanged him. Hirotek may have been getting on in years, and he may have looked frail, but it was all a clever ploy. He continued to this day to procatice what he had learned as a young man on Corellia. And as the soldier was about to learn, Hirotek was a very deadly person.

The soldier lunged in with a sudden kick at Hiroteks' side, but Hirotek easily swatted the kick aside. The soldeir backed off, and began to cirlce him again. He tried another kick, this one a slow kick aimed at Hiroteks stomach. Hirotek saw the ploy, and blocked the kick, and dodged the sudden fist strike aimed at his face. Normally, no soldier would dare stike a GFFA Admiral, but this was combat training. There was no rank in this room. And Hirotek liked it that way.

The soldier back off, and began to bounce from foot to foot, a smile on his face. Hirotek saw the eagerness in the young mans face. he rememebered it from when he was young, and loved a challange. Hirotek stopped circling th eman, and decided to show the soldier waht he was capable of. hirotek adopted the stance he had learned from his father, and the soldier lost his smile. Hirotek knew the soldeir was wondering what he was doing. He knew the soldier had never seen the stance before. Few people had. But the solddier simply shrugged, and prepared to strike. The soldier moved in with a fast jab towards Hiroteks face, and Hirotek swiftly dodged the attack, and grabbed the younger mans arm. Using the momentum of the mans attack, and his superior leverage, Hirotek hoisted the man off the ground, and threw him like a rag doll to the other side of the mat.

The man sprang back up, and astounded look on his face. But then his look became much more serious. He mvoed in again, and Hirotek smiled. He was about to have a lot of fun.

************************************

Athien walked along the corridores of the base, her father pacing her. They hadnt been able to spend much time together in the recent weeks, and Athein was enjoying the chance to speak with her father. They had managed to avoid talkign about the war to much. Thay had stuck to thier thoughts on the other fleet commanders, and how they had all reacted to the existance of the UDA. They had talked about the goings on in the rest of the galaxy. They had talked about art. It was a pleasent change of pace for the both of them.

As they walked, they came across a window into a large room, filled with people. Athien looked in, and saw Hirotek, dressed in what looked like a work out uniform. She stopped, wondering what Hirotek was up to. Then she saw the soldier matchign has pace arounf the mat they were on, and it clicked in Atheins head. Thraw stopped next to her, and turned to look at what had caught his daughters attention. He watched with her as Hirotek and the soldier began to square off.

"I see that Hirotek has decided to try his hand in training some of the ground troops." Thrawn commented, and Athien nodded.

"Yes, although I dont think the word 'train' fits what is about to happen." she said, and she nodded to the match as Hirotek adopted his stance. Thrawn nodded, and watched as Hirotek threw the soldier across the mat.

"That is a standard mandalorian combat move. I wonder how the soldier will adopt his fighting style. That is assuming, however, that he knows that." Thrawn said, and Athien simply shrugged. They both stood there, and watched as the match continued. Athien winced as the soldier moved in again, just to have Hirotek knock him backwards with a well placed kick. Obviously frustreated, the soldier moved back in, and the match turned into a complete massacre.

After a minute, the soldier slumped down to the mat, his face twisted in pain. His shoulder looked like it was dislocated, and his nose had been flattened up against his face. Athien shook her head, and a smile grew on her face.

"He never had a chance. Hirotek was able to guess his every attack. I hope that isnt the average soldier in the GFFA forces. Otherwise, winnign a ground battle might be more difficult that we thought." she said, and Thrawn shook his head.

"No, that is not a GFFA soldier. He is one of the soldiers off of my flagship." Thrawn said, and Athien looked to her father, and then back to Hirotek. Once again, Hirotek had managed to suprise her. Her ftahr had some of the bast trained soldiers in the UDA on his flagship. And Hirotek had managed to take him apart without even breaking a sweat. Athien watched as Hirotek helped move the man of the mat, and then motioned tow soldiers onto the mat. The two man obliged him, and Hirotek odopted a different stance.

"Now he is in a defensive stance. He plans to make them overwork themselves to try and hit him. He will wear them down, and then strike." Thrawn said, and Athien nodded. They watched as the match began, and Athien wasn't surprised to see Hirotek defelct all their attacks with a seeming ease. She new her father would be right.

"Tell me Athien, what are your thoughts on Hirotek." Thrawn said, and Athien stalled for a moment. She new her father would have heard the rumors by now.

"He isnt your average commander. He has a deep caring for the people under his command, and is loathe to risk their lives. He prefers to fight cautiously, and weaken his enemies down to where beating them will cost him as few of his people lives as possible. And he doesnt seem to have read the rules of warfare. His strategies so far have been unorthadox, to say the least." she said, and Thrawn nodded.

"All of this is very true. His ability to pick out his enemies weaknesses and strengths is very usefull. His ability to turn those weakneses and strenghts against them is even more usefull still. As for his choice of tactics, a man once said that those that read the rules enforce them. Those that dont read the rules, make the rules." Thrawn said. Athien smiled, recognizing the quote easily. Han Solo had said them years before, in the halls of the sante building back on Coruscamt when her fahter had first tried to defeat the New Republic. She was surpirsed about the fact that her father would refer to Han Solo as wise, but he still managed to surprise her on the rare occasion.

"But his caution worries me. We will not win this war being cautious. And if he is not carefull, his caution will cost him dearly. The repora will be able to read his caution, and turn it against him." he said, and Athien nodded. That thought had crossed her mind, but she had decided not to bring it up just yet. She had been hoping that Hirotek would realise this on his own.

"Although I must wonder, why he has gone to such great lengths to avoid me. Perhaps he is being cautious about something?" he said a slight smile growing at the corner of his lips. Athien smiled, and nodded.

"Perhaps." she said, a smile on her own face. So her father had heard the rumors. She watched as Hirotek finished the fight against the two soldiers. He was breathing heavily now, but both of the soldiers were far worse off than he was. One of them looked like he was out cold. Athien sighed, and shook her head.

"It really is to ba that we dont have more soldiers like that. We could really use them." Athien said, and Thrawn smiled.

"You mean more mandalorians, correct?" he asked, and Athien nodded.

"The galaxy is a large place Athien. And it is full of surprises." Thrawn said, and he turned to walk down the corridore. Athein looked at him, wonering what he meant by that comment, and then turned to follow him. She knew that her father had many secrets still. Perhaps her father still knew some secrets that could help turn the tide of the war.

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Ord Mantell never possessed a reputation of a pleasant world, despite its old undeniable natural beauties.. Unpleasant stories escaped its atmosphere, tagged unofficially by many as a criminal world, Ord Mantell's reputation had never been expected to be cleansed.

A horde of invading Yuuzhan Vong had succeeded at that. When the world had been captured at the end of the first year of the invasion, the Yuuzhan vong had used bacteries and other of their bioengineered creations on the world. According to declarations by Harrar some of the bacteries that helped to eat Coruscant had been first tested on Ord Mantell.

All of its polluted cities, all the debris from the many battles fought over the world were cleared. Ord Mantell did not hold any important strategical value during the Vong invasion, it was a secondary target. The inhabitants that did not escape the world were sacrificed to the gods. Thus it was only populated by the shapers of the Vong, who restored its ecosystems in the more damaged areas and later used as training grounds for their younger generations.

Eventually a group of supposed Mandalorian soldiers, led -apparently- by Boba Fett liberated the world. After the peace with the Yuuzhan Vong was settled, colonists from many other worlds had asked for permission to resettle the world. Small groups of Ithorian settled, and even brought one of their floating cities with them. Wookiees, Tynnan, Gotals and humans settled on other parts of the world.

The principal city of Ord Mantell, called Kur'Mantell after the Yuuzhan Vong name of the world was a joint architectural venture by Wookiees and humans. A beatiful city in the center of a fertile valley, that soon would face the horrors of war again.

But the Rapora were, at worst a week away. And in the meantime, the high commanders of the different groups allowed themselves a little time for "distraction" in between the many planning sessions. In one of the many plazas of Kur'Mantell Oreton and Eressa enjoyed a warm afternoon. After lighter topics like music, personal history and a handful of jokes, Eressa's semblant revealed her worries.

"Do you believe that the world will hold?" She asked, her voice more calm than Oreton had expected it.

"The Rapora are more cautious now, than they were when war broke out. Even if their are driven madly towards us, their is a masked hestitation in them. With a capable man in charge of the defense of Ord Mantell, the world can be held. With Thrawn in charge, I have faith that Ord Mantell will survive."

Eressa turned around and leaned back on one of the massive pillars, that adorned the plaza. Oreton stood next to her.

"This world does not deserve to fall." She concluded as she playfully drew some lines in the air.

Oreton smiled. "That is not for us to decide. If it were for me, Csilla, Bastion and Bakura should never have been targets. Ord Mantell's beauty lies in its natural riches. It can provide a generous amount of food, its mountains have valuable ores, and for the Rapora it is a gate into the Hydian Way. For all the intent behind Cal Omas' words, if the battle for Ord Mantell becomes to strained, he would concede defeat and fortify Anobis, or Garos IV." Oreton finished with a bittersweet tone of voice. "We all have placed manpower and prepared for a siege and for battles. It should not fall."

"What have you decided, Baros?" Eressa asked, tucking a black behind her ear.

The Alderaanian looked at her with a plain face. "I am not sure I understand you."

"You can fool the Alliance people, but not me. You do not want to go to Dresnak. You believe your place is here."

Oreton snorted and mutely looked at the sky. "I have not decided. The key element to the victory at Ord Mantell, is to prevent the Rapora from resupplying their forces. With Imperious and our fleet at Dresnak we deny them fresh troops from the Unknown Regions. Evahe and Ioor are capable to cover adequately the reinforcements coming from Bilbringi. And Hirotek and Athien's group will probably maintain clear all forces coming from what-once-was-known as Imperial Space."

"And Thrawn controlling everything from here," she concluded. "But we will do so from orbit, the campaign on the ground will be harsh and long. And most of the battle will not be directed from orbit. You are considering staying here, on the ground. I have seen you intently following the discussions around the deployment of ground forces."

Oreton shook his head lightly. Shaking off all his restrains to discuss his thoughts with Eressa. "Had you Jedi Powers you would be a formidable Jedi. Indeed, I have spent much time, even in the late night meetings preparing the battles on the ground. Vana, will be in charge of them, following Thrawn's orders, but for all her talent, she is not experienced in such long ground campaigns. I would have hoped that someone from Denon, would have sent an expert. But the age of the Jan Dodonna, the Rieekans, the Veers even the Antilles is past. And the two unlikely names I would trust a long, tricky campaign are not probable to appear here."

"And who would they be?" Eressa asked.

"They are not with the military, though they have plenty of experience with it." Oreton commented. "And their talents would add a touche of surprise to every battle on the ground."

"Han Solo, has vowed never to direct an army again," Thrawn said as he appeared behind them. His daughter on his arm. The lack of insignias on their uniforms revealed that they too were enjoying the afternoon.

"As did Luke Skywalker," Athien concluded.

"You read my mind." Oreton chuckled and was joined by Eressa.

"I must admit, that a man of their caliber would certainly enhance the efficiency of any army. Even the involvement of a few Jedi would balance the battles." Thrawn added.

"Or Mandalorians, father?" Athien asked, still piqued by their earlier conservation. The two human, unknowing of this topic looked at the two Chiss and smiled as Thrawn answered her question with a simple affirmation.

Thrawn and Athien commented another handful of topics outside of topic at hand before they departed to continue their walk.

Oreton and Eressa remained another few minutes in the plaza, waiting for the sun to set down. Stretching minutes before they had to rejoin Evahe and Garik with tonight's planning session.

"So?" She asked as the sun began to touch the horizon.

"I will do, what I believe is right," he answered. "But I will not shrink away from my duties."

The city of Kur'Mantell embraced them once the sun vanished, as they walked down the stone stairs through hanging garden to the facility were the defense of this world had been planned.

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The GFFA had guessed the Rapora would not launch their attack for another week, what they had not anticipated was the reinforcement of the Rapora by previously unknown forces.

Darth Avarice felt her skin crawl as the hiss of steam from the rear door of the bridge opened. She knew what it was before the creature had stepped to her side, "Grasch'Lasc, the ship will be coming out of hyperspace in two minutes."

The crackle of the creature's jaws shifting to a smile filled the room and the other Aklasp warriors glanced up to their leader, "Good Darth Avarice, I will take command." The creature glanced down at the crew pit, "Power up the weapons and graviton shields the moment we exit hyperspace. I'll want a full sensor sweep as soon as possible."

"Yes, my Lord." The answer came from several stations.

Darth Avarice smiled weakly as she felt sweat run down her face, being so closed to these creatures in an enclosed room would make anyone sweat and many collapse. She bit her tongue and strangled her discomfort, she'd wanted to see the Aklasp in action and this was her best opportunity, she'd left Adumar two hours before knowing she'd have to return soon to oversee the transport of forces to the system. Still this Aklasp probe had aroused her curiousity.

"Exiting hyperspace!"

"Sir, we've picked up two ships, a Hapan Battle Dragon, and a Republic Class Destroyer. Otherwise we're clear for a thousand kilometers in all directions."

* * *

Captain Julis Arden felt his eyes widen as the black ship maneuvered toward his Republic class Star Destroyer, the Lomar Storm, "Launch all fighters, and get a ferret probe launched, I want a complete record of the engagement.,"

"Yes sir," The main sensor operator replied then seemed to choke, "Sir, I'm picking up a massive energy spike, I've seen nothing like it."

Glancing out the viewport Julis watched as a solid blue beam of light sliced through the Hapan Battle Dragon. Julis felt terror sieze his heart, "Fire on it!"

The Aklasp ship rolled away from the barrage as the Republic class ship's bolts smashed into a green shield over a hundred meters from their target, then with a flash the ship disappeared into hyperspace.

* * *

The UDA shuttle dipped through the atmosphere of Ord Mantell with a pair of x-wings flanking the craft's wings. Inside Jaina felt herself begin to relax as a wave of pain and anguish rolled through the force. She sat bolt upright as it faded away, glancing to the comm she caught a fragment of a sentence, "I repeat the Hapan Battle Dragon Warrior's Heart has been destroyed..."

Jag glanced over to her, "Did you..."

"I felt them..."

Reaching over Jag pulled her toward him, they both knew it wouldn't be the last casualty, not by a long shot.

* * *

Thrawn glanced at the compiled sensor readout, a sense of inevitability in his admition as he sat around the hurridly assembled council of war. He sighed and glanced at his daughter and shook his head, he knew many secrets but this one had escaped him. "I don't know what it was," Thrawn admitted.

Hirotek's brow furrowed at the words, "You mean you've never seen this thing before?" He glanced around at the table, "You're the one person that could know, and you don't."

"Correct," Thrawn answered slowly, "I don't know what it was or where it came from."

With that Admiral Evahe leaned forward with his hands clasped around a datapad, "Well, we may actually know more then you do for once. Analysis of the recording reveals that there was only one organic life form on the craft. We picked up a large amount of silicon however in the ship."

Athien felt her jaw set with contemplation, "You're saying that it's piloted by some sort of Silicon based life."

"Yes, thats exactly what I'm saying," Admiral Evahe glanced over to Jaina and Jag as the slipped into the room, "We may have to give a call to Danni Quee."

* * *

The Jade Scimitar dropped out of hyperspace above the brilliant world of Zonoma Sekot. Within seconds a com call came through their comm gear, "Luke, we were starting to get worried."

Mara keyed the com, "Don't worry about it, we're back though we did run straight into a battle."

Luke sighed, "We need to talk to you guys, the GFFA has got a real fight on its hands now."

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