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New Horizons (Book 8)
06-05-2013, 05:53 PM,
#1
New Horizons (Book 8)
The Great War is well underway and the Republic is showing what it can bring to the Galaxy. Hundreds of independent worlds are flocking to the New Republic and answering the call to arms. Our Heroes have managed to ignite the passions and hope of millions of followers. The War is far from won, but for the first time since before the Jedi Civil War it Galaxy is on the right track once more.
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07-06-2013, 10:18 AM,
#2
(8.1) Twilight of the Journey
(8.1) Twilight of the Journey
The Payner Plains
29 Kilometers north of the city of Revers
Outer Rim World of Cyout
October 9th, 1938

The setting sun cast long shadows across the plains as the thick smoke clung to the earth like the dying across the battlefield clinging to life itself. The sounds of the dying filled the air as small pockets of fighting continued. Their cries for help, salvation or in some cases, death itself created an eerie sound. A lone women dressed in white moved from body to body. Her form appeared to be more like a ghost then anything else. At some points as she moved through the field, all that was seen was the orange glow of her torch. She walked up to a soldier dressed in the white uniform that symbolized his loyalty to the Church of the Light. She checked him and made sure that he was still alive. She pulled a large stick from her pack and drove it in to the ground next to the soldier. She lit the stick and yelled out for others. She leaned down over the man who was crying from his wounds. "shhh, We have found you. Help will be here" she softly whispered.

He begged her to stay with him, but she couldn't. A pair of men arrived and lifted the wounded soldier up and placed him in a wagon. She shook her head, "I can't. There are so many others to be found." She said as she gave him a soft kiss on his forehead, "you are in good hands. We will save you." She reassured him. On that she, continued to walk the field finding those soldiers who were still alive. She soon walked up to a soldier who had his leg blown off by a cannon shot. She knelled down next to him. He was long dead from blood loss. She lowered her head in a moment of silence as she reached up and closed his eyes. The battle of The Payner Plains was the first major stand off between the Rebels and the Church of the Light. The battle lasted for nearly two days as over fifty thousands soldiers squared off with the fate of Cyout in the balance. She lifted her head as she looked down at the young man who's name will be forgotten by history. She slowly rose up from the blood soaked mud. Her white gown covered in blood and mud from the number of times she had repeated her simply little prayer for the dead.

She turned at the sound of a horse moving through the battlefield. As her eyes scanned the smoke filled battlefield, she saw the others like her searching for survivors. Beyond them, she saw five horses moving through the field of dead and dying. It was easy to recognize General Reshosti, he was regimental commander of the garrison from the City of Revers. It was under his leadership that was able to organize the local garrisons and secure the City of Revers. His leadership proved to be critical to this battle. To his she recognize left Colonel Narishifsh, the local militia commander. He was able to rally nearly all nine thousand militiamen to help General Reshosti's troops in his hour of need. To General Reshosti's right is the mysterious Master Hearthman. While there is not much known of this foreigner, what is known, is that Master Heartman fought side by side with the Rebels and lead troops in the battle. She was the only female on the battlefield who actually helped in the fighting. Something that would surely go down in Cyout History for years to come. Or at least that is how the lone nurse saw how it should be. She looked with her wide eyes upon the woman who would change the role of women across Cyout.

Colonel Narishifsh looked out over the battlefield, "The day belongs to us, General."

"Indeed, it has been fought and won." General Reshosti said as he looked around. His eyes fell upon Master Heartman. Before this battle, he would have never allowed a woman on his battlefield. While women had their place in leadership and their roles in society, but on the battlefield that was something else. However if it was not for Master Heartman's involvement, they would not have been able to defeat the Children of the Light. "Master Heartman, our forces will rest tonight and then march north to the port city of Listoush. Will you and your followers be joining us?"

Master Heartman repositioned herself on her saddle as she looked around, "No General" she said plainly. "The Children of Xan have been slain on this day" she explained as she turned to face the two men, "Xan Zall, the dark lord of the Church of the Light has been slain. The Church's Iron walkers are no more. The path before you has been cleared. From this moment own, the fate of Cyout must be decided by the people of Cyout."

"Master Heartman you have proven to be vital to our plans. In one battle you and your followers have turned the tide of battle from certain defeat to sounding victory." Colonel Narishifsh looked around. It was clear that he didn't completely trust his former enemy commander turned ally yet. "Your involvement could end this war in half the time. Please reconsider."

Master Heartman turned to face the Colonel, "yes I agree. Our involvement could end this war in record time. And we would be no better than Xan Zall and what he did to your people. Colonel, If your people are to survive. Than you will have to learn to put the past behind you and learn to forge a future together. Colonel, General, before yesterday, your people were two different groups of people. yesterday, two groups fought side by side as one people. They fought for freedom and liberty. This is the truth of this battle. My followers and I did not make this happen. You two did. Both of you and those who support you two. There is more than enough to bind your two people together." She motioned out over the field that is covered with soldiers. Many wore white coats while others wore red coats. Even still there were plan clothes of the militiamen and those of the natives." she paused a moment and thought, "No I am mistaken. There are more than just two groups here." she turned back to the two men, "while the groups are diverse, you are still one people. It will take much more than just winning battles on the field of honor. Draw on what units your people and bridge the differences."

The General moved his horse closer to Master Heartman's, "Your words are very wise. Your leadership will be sorely missed. Still, I understand what you are saying." he said holding out his hand for her to shake.

"General, our agreement must be fulfilled." She said taking his hand. She turned her head to the Colonel. "IT is important that this be fulfilled if your path forward is to remain clear for your people."

The old General nodded his head, "I have made sure that the official record of your involvement has been written as per your request. Master Heartman, a land owner from the militia, would be wounded and during the battle and returned home with honor. Beyond that, nothing else of your involvement in this battle will be recorded. As per your request, you and your followers will have a very minor role in our history."

Colonel Narishifsh nodded, "Yes, my men have been told of Master Heartman and his brave charge up the enemies flank. And how he was wounded. The stories have already been passed by my officers. There will be no record of a woman in our ranks. And your own iron walkers. Well no one from my militia saw that battle on the other side of the ridge. So there is no fear of that getting out. Your people did a very good job of cleaning up the battlefield over there. There is no evidence of the Churches Iron walkers or your own." The Colonel turned and faced the General for a moment then looked back at Master Heartman. He could not deny her godlike powers or her forces that arrived just in time. "Though I have to ask. If your followers had not arrived in time, the Church would have hit our flanks with their Iron Walkers and this battle would have been completely lost. Why should we ease this from our history. Surely you would want your noble actions to be recorded?"

Master Heartman smiled, "Because for you to have a future, we must be forgotten. This is how it must be. I am sorry that I can not explain more but you must trust me on this."

It was clear that the two military leaders did not want to let Master Heartman leave. But it was something that they had no choice in the matter. Nor could they have fully understood her reasons for the deception regarding the party's involvement in this critical battle. The mission to Cyout was meant to be the defining moment for the party. Master Heartman smiled at the two men as she started to turn her horse and leave. However General Reshosti stopped her, "Please before you go," he said reaching out for her.

Master Heartman paused her departure, "Yes General," she questioned.

"While we as a people may forget you. I will never forget what I have seen here today. Nor should you forget what you have done for us," he explained. He reached in to his sidesaddle and pulled out a box, "one of my aids found these near where you had slain the children of the Son" he said handing her the box. He watched as she opened the box to reveal the pair of flintlock musket pistols. He made sure that the set was complete with powder, shot and cleaning rods. "I am told that you used one of those to end the life of the dark daughter of the Son. I can not imagine the power that you wield or the nature of that sword of light of ours. But the fates decided to put that in your hand in that moment, during your time of need. Through that, you brought victory to our cause." he explained, "I have had them cleaned and engraved with this date. So that you will never forget us. Maybe someday, we will join this world in the stars that you belong to. But, for now, you have given us a future." It was clear by his voice that he was sincerely chocked up by the emotions of the moment. "We as a people will never be able to repay you and your friends for what you have done for us here."

Master Heartman looked at the twin pistols that once belonged to Mikcalib, the twisted adopted son of Xan Zall. During the battle against the two darksiders, Angel had fought hard to put the pair down. The wounds from her recent battle with Sha had taken their toll on Angel. But Angel was not about to let these people down in their hour of need. She killed Mikcalib with a thrust of her lightsaber and was able to focus on Zentra'us. The dark daughter of Xan and clearly the more gifted of the two. While Angel might have had Zentra'us out matched in both experience and skill, her wounds from a few days ago and those received at the hands of Mikcalib were taking their toll. Zentra'us managed to disarm Angel and knocked her back. In that moment Zentra'us made that mistake that all darksiders tend to do. She paused to savor the moment just before she ended Angel's life. In that moment Angel reached out and took the pistol from Mikcalib's body and fired. She could have never known which one of the two had been fired just moments before his death. Angel placed her live in the hands of the Force and choose one. The pistol fired and filled the space between them with white smoke. As the smoke cleared, Angel saw the red hole in Zentra'us head. With Zentra'us dead, Angel took their hightech items from the bodies and left the bodies for the locals to hold as prove of the dead.

The official story would be that they were killed by a combined attack from both the militia and garrison troops. Angel never gave the pistols a second thought. However now that she held them, the memories flooded back of that duel between the two darksiders. She could smell the burnt gunpowder and hear the sounds of the larger battle raging around them. Angel got up and looked down at Zentra'us lifeless body looking back up at her. Angel wondered if this was what she saved Sha from becoming. Angel felt the darkness within Sha just like she had sensed it in Ubaah. It was the same darkness that she felt in Mikcalib, Zentra'us. That morning in the barn, Angel confronted Sha and Sha made it clear that the two of them should resolve their differences through duels. Angel had agreed and shortly there after the duel was over. Angel knew that Sha never once stood a chance against her in a stand up honorable duel. In that moment Sha demanded that Angel take her life as part of her culture. Angel shook her head telling their former combat leader, "Why should I honor your culture when you don't honor mine? No Sha, you have been defeated by an Azgardian. As such I own your life. After all, isn't that how you believe as well? Keep what you kill? No Sha, you will serve my House and earn your honor back." Angel for the first time in her life took a bondman's under Azgardian law. "I will claim your lightsaber as mine as well as your loyalty. This is our law and now it is yours. Rather you like it or not."

The act of taking bondsmen by Azgardians dated back to the Great Azgardian/Mandalorian War. A tradition that was uncommon to both cultures but took fast and deep roots in both. While there are massive disputes over the origins from outside both cultures, it become a time honored tradition that both held on to. During battle, a pair of opposing warriors would challenge each other in a duel. The victor of that duel would take the defeated warrior as a bondsman. The defeated warrior would serve his bonds as he regained his honor. At the end of the war, bondsmen were allowed to return home with their honor intact. It was an unforeseen cultural side effect that both warrior cultures grew from this tradition and became more enriched by the other through their bondsmen. When Mandalore fell victim to a natural disaster, it was the cultural experiences learned from bondsman tradition that allowed Azgard to take in millions of Mandalore Refugees. Azgard felt that the Refugees were more like distant relatives rather than enemies on the field of battle. A move that both confused and shocked the Republic Senate during that time in history. Once more, the tradition would be used to help bridge a cultural gap. Or at least that was Angel's plan.

Angel remembered that fateful moment as it flooded back. In that moment Angel had always thought Sha honorable. She never once thought Sha would act out of dishonor. Though she should have seen it coming. Angel turned to return to the party to let them know what happened. The sound of the shot rang in Angel's ears filled her with horror of her mistake. The pain that ripped through her body told her of the near fetal wound. Angel spun to see Sha holding her shotgun looking right in to Angel's eyes. It was a cowardly attack, that Angel knew she had left herself open for. Anyone else, they would have been killed from the sneak attack. However, Azgardians were designed to take allot of damage before succumbing to wounds. It was clear by the shock in Sha's eyes, that she had expected Angel to fall from the attack. Angel snatched the weapon from Sha's hands and shattered it through the Force. It's pieces flew past Angel as she ordered Makaw and the others to place Sha under arrest. "We will resolve this act of betrayal later" Angel declared. She added, "Till then, sleep on it Sha" she said using the Force to place Sha in a state of slumber.

The next issue the party had to deal with was Dia. Who held some sense of loyalty to Sha. Despite all that Angel and Makaw had done for her, the young teen attempted to flee with the sleeping Sha. Angel was forced to make a hard decision. She set Dia down and attempted to reason with the teen. However there was no getting through to her. While Dia accepted Angel's words, Angel knew that she was lying. It was a sad turn for the party as it turned from a party of unity to a party against its self. Neither Angel nor Makaw could have foresaw these events coming. With both Dia and Sha tended to by the being known as Night Side, it freed Angel and Makaw to do what they set out to do here on Cyout. Deal with Xan and his dark church of the light. It was time to put an end to both and Angel promised that Xan would not leave this world. With the help of the Sabbat on world and local Force Users, Angel and Makaw were able to local Xan. The group was able to sneak in to his inner sanctuary undetected. In an epic battle where the Force played a critical role, Angel and her group was able to put Xan and his group of Stalkers down. Still, the price was high. The ten local Force Users met their fate that night at the hands of the Stalkers. It was something that had to happen for Angel to do what she had to do. She knew that their fate was sealed, but it was their role in this coming battle. In the end, Xan was no more. She learned that Xan Zall had cloned himself weeks before his capture on Imaginous. Just like on Imaginous, he was ill prepared for a battle with Angel. However, it was the wound to her back dealt by Sha that affected the battle the most.

With the battle to kill Xan over, the prize was access to Xan's personal computer. Xan's fears of betrayal by his own troops gave the party the back doors that allowed them to gain control over the massive Citadel. Thanks to the computer specialist in the party, they were able to make the battle over the Citadel as limited as possible. The party locked out the weapon systems, the shields and the two power sources. They even were able to open the main gates and allow General Reshosti forces march in without a shot being fired. The battle of the Citadel started two hours before the sun rose, and was over by midday. Hardly any shots were fired as the troops of the Citadel simply gave up once their God failed to save them and their advanced systems failed to work. While few knew the truth of why the massive Citadel failed to protect its soldiers, the general line that was released to the public was something else. The story was that the defending soldiers saw what was going on and realized they the one known as the Son was evil and could not be followed anymore. It was the first crack in the walls of the Church of the Light. General Reshosti used this crack to his fullest advantage as he pushed for other garrisons to join the cause and support the Rebels. It was that defeat at the Citadel and the secret battle with Xan that allowed this victory on The Payner Plains.

Lead by the Children of the Son, commanded nearly thirty thousand troops of the Church as they marched on the City of Revers. While many wanted to use the city as a line of defense against the larger force, it was Colonel Narishifsh who pleaded General Reshosti to act. There were many under protected communities along the route of the Churches march that were in harms way. The General agreed and against his aides urging, he gave the order to march north to meet the Church's massive army. As the battle was being staged, Master Heartman received surprising news. The Marauder had not only survived the trap laid by Xan with two cloak ships, but had defeated both of them. Thanks to a young Lortian Marine Tech named Rena Strum. With the arrival of the Marauder, this gave Angel the ability to help General Reshosti to plan the coming battle. She was able to use the sensors of the Marauder to locate the 'Iron Walkers' of the Church and send the Marines to deal with them. Instead of sending any Force Users, she opted to let the Marines handle it alone. She cited her reasoning as being, "Shadow Stalkers are created and trained to beat Force Users. If I or anyone other Force User were to join this battle on our side, their benefit would turn against us. By keeping the Force out of this side battle we remove their only advantage against us." In the end, the Rebels would go and win the day. Largely the actions of the Marauder, her Marines, Angel and the party would go unnoticed by the vast population of Cyout. Those who do know the truth knew that this knowledge must never come to light.

Angel smiled as she lifted her eyes from the pair of pistols. It was a long journey to reach this point. The Marines had taken Sha and Dia back to the Marauder. The party's computer specialist has decided to remain behind with Mace to monitor the planet defenses from raiders and pirates. From that temple, a mission will be create and made by the Jedi Order to protect the world from slavers and ensure that they remain free. The Sabbat has decided to help man the mission and has even accepted Master Heartman as the Grand Master of the Jedi Order. Cyout had indeed become a defining moment for the party. Paths joined while others separated and still the party moved forward to accomplished their goals. "I will never forget Cyout. Trust me General. I can never forget what has happened here. Doors of the past have been forever closed. While doors of tomorrow have been opened." she closed the case and moved it under her arm, "I thank you for the gift. But now I must leave your company. I bid you all good will and hope only the best future for your people."
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07-08-2013, 01:43 PM,
#3
(8.2) Gathering the Hunters
(8.2) Gathering the Hunters
Jedi-Ranger Destroyer Justice (Former Azgardian Destroyer Vengeance)
Fondor Shipyards
Colonial World of Fondor
Azgardian Space
December 9th, 1938

During the final hours for the battle of Lorta some two thousand years ago, the Azgardian Destroyer fell from the skies over Lorta surrounded by a fireball. She hit a massive man-made island in a rural section of the world and vanished from history. Just over three months ago, the Vengeance arose up from its grave. She was taken first to the orbital shipyards above Lorta for some minor repairs than she made the long journey back to Azgardian space for further repairs. As part of a duel between Master Heartman and Warrior House Fury, the original owners of the Vengeance, Master Heartman won the right to retain the great warship. Three months later, the ship's repairs are completed and the Vengeance is once more ready for battle. Fitted with the very best technology that the Azgards could offer, the ship was light years ahead of any other ship in her class or of the Cruiser classes. It was time for the Vengeance to be reborn within its new owner ship, as a Jedi starship.

With the repairs to the Vengeance completed, it was only fitting that both Jedi Master Heartman and Jedi Master Y'drit to return to Azgard space to rechristen the ship with a new name. It was Master Heartman who ensured that the ship didn't go back to House Fury. It was Lorta where the ship was found and as a gift to the New Jedi Order, the sitting King of Lorta, King Makaw Y'drit also Master Y'drit gifted the ship to the New Jedi Order. A fitting gesture after the Jedi had vested so much in helping to bring the social unrest between humans and non-humans under control. While not completely eliminated, it has started to improve. So much that the Lorta Parliament supported their King's offer to the New Jedi Order. During a grand ceremony on Lorta before tens of thousands, guest speakers gave speech after speech of what the new Jedi ship meant to the region as a whole. It was with a cast of a bottle by Jedi Master Heartman that the Vengeance became, the Jedi-Ranger ship or JRS Justice. With that, the crowds cheered the new level of hope within the Region. While the JRS Justice might have been the main event, it was the announcement by Jedi Master Heartman to open up the Jedi's first official Temple on Lorta.

The ceremony was as much a political move by the newly formed Jedi Council as well as logical move by the Jedi Order. It would be the first major step the Jedi would take towards re-entering the Galactic stage. For Lorta, this meant a new forms of income via tourist and from students coming to study the Force. The Jedi have no real allies outside of a very few Independent worlds and the massively powerful Azgardian Warrior Houses. For the Jedi to have lasting influence, it must learn to stand on its own without aid or support from its allies. The agreement to open up a Temple on Lorta would give the Jedi a place to recruit from as well as open up areas for training that didn't expose Imaginous to outsiders. For King Makaw, this Temple meant helping ease some of the social tensions that Lorta was experiencing. For the Lorta Parliament, it would offer Lorta an ability to show its regional influence by supporting the New Jedi Order. Being the first world to have an official Temple brought with it its own prestige. However for all parties involved, it was a risk that could easily end disastrously.

While the ceremony might be over, the Justice was not completely ready for its first mission. Long before the images of the mighty ship's rechristening left the media on Lorta, she returned to Fondor for last minute additions. These additions were those that were militarily sensitive and would only be shared with the Jedi and no one else. The Justice was also fitted with ten fighters, landing craft as well as the last remaining members of her crew. Though the crew was not up to the numbers required to man the ship fully, each member had been personally vetted by Ranger Sheridan. It was by Rose's demand that the ship be manned by Rangers and only Rangers. She didn't want the Justice becoming tied in to a dispute over ownership as she had seen in the past. Each Ranger had to give up all other loyalties and swear a loyalty to the New Jedi Order before they could take up the title Ranger. She made sure that her crew would receive as much training as possible as the ship neared the completion of its repairs. A service that the Azgardians were not happy with providing. However, Rose made it happen nonetheless. Such feats were starting to become common with the new leader of the Rangers.

Rose read over the reports since the mission to Cyout. She had not been able to be apart of that mission as her own mission led her deep in to Reich territory to meet with a group of resistance fighters against the Reich leadership. That mission was a sounding success as she learned that the Reich Emperor had indeed been killed by the Union Navy during its short lived Coup against the Reich leadership. It was a master stroke of political skill that the Reich Estates General managed to keep the Reich from falling apart and forced the Union Navy from Reich space. What was gained from that meeting was a vital information that the Reich was facing a new Terror Weapon that the Republic was planning to use against them. A weapon that would only go to solidify the support of the average Reich citizen behind the Estates General and against the Republic. It was of no surprise that Rose found out that it was Xan Zall who had supported the ultra secret Shark Program.

The program was centered on the construction of large fighter sized unmanned missiles that were tipped with powerful implosion devices. From what Rose saw, she could only compare these weapons to the weapons of mass destruction called Planet Busters from the days of the Old Republic. The missiles were piloted by droids and had hyperspace engines as well as some of the fastest sublight engines available. What bothered Rose the most was that these weapons were going to be targeted at both military and civilian targets. If the Shark Program was allowed to move forward, it would shift public opinion within the Reich and across the Independent Worlds against the Republic. More importantly, the lost of innocent lives would be unimaginable. The resistance groups within the Reich had learned of the Shark Program through their own spy networks. They knew that the program would only turn their own supporters against their fight to over throw the Estates General and solidify opposition to the Republic. However the resistance within the Reich had no ability to stop the Terror Program, which was why they reached out to the Countess Sanna Dystra. Rose's alter ego within the realm of spies.

Rose read the mission reports from Cyout as she attempted to put her mind back in to the game. The mission had started out with a strong successes as Sha, Angel and Mace had preformed a highly successful reconnaissance of the world. Then it seemed to go south from there. Rose was beside herself as she read the reports of strife between Angel and Sha. She knew that Angel and Sha had their differences before but to see that the two had actually become hostile towards each other seemed out of ordinary. She wondered why Makaw had not done anything to ease the tensions between to the two. It was if forces outside of the groups control were leading the two towards conflict. As Rose continued to reread the mission reports, she read how Sha and Angel came to blows over something that Rose admitted she couldn't understand. 'How could it have come to this' Rose thought. But what Rose hated was that the mission reports were so one sided. After the mission to Cyout, Sha had been placed in custody by Angel. Which it confused Rose, the charges were of attempted murder of Angel. She saw reports from Makaw and Dia that supported the charges but nothing from Sha. This is where the story got very confusing for Rose.

While in custody aboard the Marauder, Sha was under guard by the Marines within the brig. It was clear that she had help in escaping. However her help was not prefect, as a few Marines had attempted to prevent this escape. The battle was short lived and ended with five marines dead. During the confusion, Sha was able to gain access to the ships archives and literally remove herself from all records. It was a move that Rose read in to as an attempt to sever Sha from the group once and for all. Once Sha was finished with the ships archives, she kidnapped two techs and forced them to pilot her in a stolen assault shuttle from the Marauder. The Sabbat were able to recover the stolen shuttle and the bodies of the two techs. It was clear that Sha was working her way back towards the Tingel Arm regions of the Galaxy. Sha was wanted for the murders of seven people and the attempted murder of Angel. Still, Rose's questions were all unanswered. She wanted so badly to know Sha's side of the story and if Sha was framed she wanted to prove her friend's innocents.

Rose sat in her briefing room with a look of sadness on her face as Senni and Birgr walked it. It was a complete surprise when she heard that Senni had joined Birgr when they came aboard. She has only asked for the help of Birgr and his elite Immortals for this mission to bring Sha back. Still, having Senni in the meeting would be a pleasant surprise. The two had become very close secret lovers over the months. While in Azgardian culture homosexuality was seen the worst crime against nature, Senni's and Rose's love continued to grow in secret. Rose felt that Senni was the one that she could truly turn to on such a hard mission. She wondered why her secret lover would come on such a mission. Rose knew that while she understood Senni better than most, there were still parts of Senni's heart that were blocked even from her. Time would explain this turn of events for Rose and she trusted her lover. Still her concerns were more centered on Birgr. She knew the mighty Azgardian warrior well. He was not one to take a back seat for anyone. His rivalry with their own leader, Warlord Fiolla Heartman was well known and largely misunderstood. Rose knew from Senni that Birgr and Talon, Warlord Fiolla's nickname, were close friends. She hand picked him to lead her elite bodyguard unit called the Black Dragons while allowing him to retain his position of leading the Immortals. Which was highly unusual but her next move was just never heard of. She allowed him to retain both prestigious posts while also ascending to the level of House Warlord.

Rose wanted this mission to be that of the Rangers and the Jedi. Not another victory in a long list of victories by the legendary heroic Birgr Heartman. Sha had to be brought back to justice by the Rangers to answer for her crimes before the Jedi. This was a critical time for both the New Jedi Order and the Rangers themselves. But she also knew that Sha was very dangerous and could easily slip away or worse yet kill Rose's entire time. Rose had no illusions of what could happen. Sha had murdered former friends that she had fought side by side with before. While it stabbed at Rose's heart, she held no faith in her long friendship with Sha that Sha would treat her any different. That was why Rose needed Birgr's Immortals. Sha couldn't get away, that was the message given to the Jedi by the Republic Senate. To ensure success, Rose asked for help from the only person she knew that could best Sha hands down, the Azgardians!

As the two took their sits, Rose couldn't help but notice their armor or weapons. Each were wearing their traditional Azgardian body armor while carrying their helmets. Rose noticed that Senni's Armor differed from Birgr's in both appearance and design. Her's seemed to have more of a flexiable appearance to it. While Birgr's armor was jet black and appeared to have the grayish lines of scales across it. Birgr's armor was unique to those of the Elite Black Dragons. For Azgardian's and generally Sha, they never took off their weapons or armor. It was something that she found so strange to be that insecure with one's own protection to wear armor at all times. Rose saw this as a weakness rather than any measure of strength or pride. It was a trait that Rose hardly found all that appealing with Lut Sha, the groups former military leader turned traitor and murderer. Rose also noticed the look of annoyance on Birgr's face. She knew that he never liked her since the very first time that they met. After all Rose was a spy and Azgardians with their high sense of honor and loyalty hated the concepts of spies and spying. Birgr had once commented that he hated Rose even more because she was such a 'damn good spy'. A comment that to this day, Rose holds dearly as a compliment by the powerful warrior.

"Thank you for coming on such short notice Warlord Birgr" Rose said as she motioned to some bottled drinks on her desk, "Are you thirsty?" Still even with their friendship as limited as it was, Rose hated dealing with Azgardians when they were all business. The stuffiness of the room seemed to rise once the pair walked in to her little office. Captain Ogon, who was seen as an honorary Azgardian was suppose to be here to help bridge the gap was called away at the last minute to deal with the Shark Program Crisis. She was all on her own with this one. Senni remained silent as the Senior Advisor and equally legendary Azgardian Warrior shifted in her chair. Ever since the events during the Azgardian Coup of November 3rd, 1937 (Intermission 7.1 Into the Inferno), Senni had secured Galactic fame. Her actions during the Coup had been broad casted across the entire Galaxy for some unknown reasons. But those actions had tagged her as one of the best Sword-Masters within the Galaxy. Now this legendary couldn't seem to find comfort in her own chair. Common with Azgardian ships, Rose's office was originally fitted with harden chairs that were designed for those wearing full armor. Rose hated the chairs and had them removed. She replaced with more comfortable chairs that fit her personal tastes. Rose watched Senni for any clue as to why she was here. If Birgr knew, he was not giving any sign. 'Curse Azgardians and their poker faces' Rose thought.

Birgr shook his head as he rested his helmet on Rose's desk, "No thank you Rose. Do you like your new ship?" he asked as he made an attempted at being polite. His voice dripped with his displeasure of the group's leading Spy. His eyes were narrow as he seemed to estimate the methods of cutting Rose down should she show her dishonorable occupation. Still, his efforts of being polite were noticed. Even if for an Azgardian.

It was clear to Rose that Senni had to have coached Birgr prior to the meeting. Two weeks ago, when she was twisting the Azgardian leadership's arm for more supplies and new training, he almost took her head off with that hand ax of his. Rose smiled as she noticed the ax on his hip, "Yes, it is a glorious ship and will serve the Jedi Order with pride and honor. House Heartman has our deepest thanks for all that has been offered." Rose noticed Senni watching closely as the two strange allies spoke. For someone though, Senni, who is normally so out spoken, was silent. Rose wondered what was going on in Senni's mind. "I am sure you want to know why Warlord Talon sent you and your tro...."

Birgr cut her off, "Warlord Fiolla." The tone in Birgr's voice warned Rose of his level of aggravation.

Rose nodded and held up a hand in a sign of surrender, "I am sorry." she said then corrected, "Warlord Fiolla, sent you and your troops here." She paused a moment and pulled her data chip from the drew right in front of her. "The orders from the Council, approved by both the Council of Warlords and the Republic Senate are simple. We are to hunt down Lut Sha, capture her and return her to Jedi custody alive. Thanks to the carbonite facility which was added to the ship last week, we will be securing her in carbonite for the transit. This will ensure that she does not harm anyone or escape again." Rose slipped the data chip over to Birgr for their reading. She knew the Azgardian code in dealing with orders. It was the reason why she phrased the statement the way she did. They will stop at nothing till those orders are carried out. Both Rose and Master Heartman knew this and was the reason why they pushed Master Heartman's sister Warlord Fiolla to assign Birgr to this mission. It would ensure the mission's overall success.

Birgr picked up the datachip and plugged it in to the arm port on his left arm. He scanned the data via a holo-emitter in his hand. "I see the order is signed by Angel herself," he commented as he read the warrant. Rose could read the look in Birgr's eyes and knew that he was thinking the same thing that she was about it. This was a dangerous territory that the Jedi were straying in to. He finally spoke up, "Rose, explain to me how Angel and the Jedi have the authority to issue such a warrant on anyone let alone a non-force user."

Rose leaned forward in her chair as she looked at Birgr. While she did support the Council ruling, she didn't completely agree with it. Rose knew that Lut Sha was a threat and a loose end that needed to be tied up. Rose didn't think that it was something that the Jedi should vesting its energy in to. Sha was as much a threat to the Republic as to the Jedi and so the issue, in Rose's opinion should be handed over to the Republic. To push the jurisdiction of the Jedi like this put the Jedi in the realm of law enforcement and not in defending the Republic. Still Captain Ogon Koo'Lak's opinion was that there was still much corruption within the Senate. It was very possible that Sha might find allies in the Senate who would use the highly skilled independent operator for their own political gains rather than justice. He offered a very strong case in that the Jedi should resolve this issue as it did hit very close to home. With the ruling of if the Jedi should pursue Sha voted on and passed, the next major debate was rather Master Heartman and members of the Council should go after Sha or if someone else should pursue Sha. It was Master Salaban who questioned the wisdom in that the so many members of the Jedi Council go after Sha. This came after Master Heartman and Master Y'drit both suggested leading a mission to capture the wayward criminal.

The question raised to the Council was, If the large numbers of the Jedi Council were to go after Sha, would it attract enemies of the Jedi to support Sha in attempts to understand the nature of the hunt. It was Master Zeborn who suggested that a worse case situation would be created if a large number of Council Members went after Sha and were defeated. This would shake new found support for the New Jedi Order and place its future in question. Master Zeborn suggested that if anyone were to go after Sha, it had to be someone that Sha had never dealt with and that didn't directly represent the Council as a whole. The prevailing wisdom was that Rose would lead the mission to capture Sha. That it would be carried out by Rose's Rangers as to insulate the Jedi from possible failure. If the mission was successful, than it would bolster the support for the Jedi through the success of its Rangers. No other member of the Council would offer direct support for the hunt. On that, Rose was given the mission to capture the suspected criminal. 'Criminal' Rose thought with a hint of bitterness in her mind over the situation. While she wanted to prove the loyalty and ability of her newly formed Rangers. To listen to them speak of Sha in the terms of criminal, grained against Rose's heart. Sha was her friend, loyal ally and leader. 'What could have gone so badly wrong that it had to end like this?' Rose wondered. 'Why Sha' Rose questioned.

Rose took a deep breath and sighed her defeat. Rose supported the Jedi Council without question, but she didn't like this mission. Still Rose would follow her orders and prove her loyalty to the Jedi and the Rangers. Even if that meant bringing her friend in. "The Jedi Council debated this issue for many days Warlord Birgr. Trust me, I was there. If there was another way, it would have been found. But Sha has left the Jedi with no other options. Sha has committed acts of murder against our crews aboard the Marauder. Sha can not be allowed to remain free. Not with what she knows about us, our group, our operations. Not with her current state of mind. She is a threat to our group, the New Jedi Order and to the future of the New Republic. She must be brought back. Alive!"

Rose paused for a moment as she thought of Birgr's question and nodded, "as for the authority?" Rose stated in terms of a question, "it was a surprise to me when I found out also. It would appear that when Daz created the New Republic, he ensured that some privileges that the Jedi enjoyed during the days of the Old Republic were carried over to the New Republic as well. One such privilege is the Jedi's broad scope in pursuing dark siders. unfortunately, Daz never clearly defined what a dark sider was. Master Heartman asked and the Jedi Council confirmed her findings that Sha was indeed deeply touched by the Dark side. Therefor within this loop hole, Master Heartman send a coded message to the Republic Senate. The Senate, under its Articles called for the formation of a Jedi Oversight Committee, had not fulfilled this requirement. So when the request for the warrant arrived, there was no Committee to debate the issue and vote on it." She lifted her from the datapad she was scanning while explaining Birgr's questions, "It was Captain Koo'Lak's and his daughter Carissa who lobbied key supporters within the Senate to get the warrant voted on and issued by the Senate its self. Thanks to their combined connections, the warrant was voted on and passed." Rose paused for a moment, "Personally I see this as a series of loop holes being exploited rather than justice. Still, I have my orders and now so do you. We will hunt Lut Sha down and bring her back to stand trail for her crimes."

Rose paused for a moment before continuing. Rose hated her statement that she just made. But she also knew her friend, Sha. Sha could seriously harm the Jedi or any member of the group. What Rose didn't know was Sha's state of mind and her reasonings behind her actions. Rose shook the thoughts out of her head, "I know that this is not how we envisioned things, but Sha is dangerous. You two don't need me explaining this. Both of you know what she is capable of. If the Jedi are to have a shot at a successful future, than Sha must be brought to justice. There is no question about this. Master Heartman used this mistake in the Articles of the Republic to make our actions legal. I know that this seems like bending the laws to fit our own agenda. And in some ways, it is. However it will make extraditing Sha from Republic worlds that much easier. Still this doesn't say anything about getting her from non-Republic worlds. That is where you Birgr and your Immortals will come in hand."

For a moment Birgr seemed confused, "wait, okay I understand why you need me and my Immortals but why is Senni here?"

Rose shook her head, "I didn't ask for Senni to join this mission Warlord Birgr."

It was then that Senni decided to speak up, "When Talon told me of this mission and the situation with Sha, I didn't need any further convincing. Sha had this coming since her disgraceful attempt of betraying our group on The Outer Rim World of Lusis Cly back in August." The anger flashed in Senni's eyes as she leaned forward to exposed her reason for being on this mission, "To have her lie about it later as in an attempt to cover up her cowardly actions just proved what a waste of genetic material she really is. The beast is without honor or respect. She is nothing but khalija!" Senni's tone and language spoke of her hatred of the former military leader of the group. In Azgardian, the word khalija is reserved for the most hated of all. It directly translate to, 'a loathsome creature who covers up or hides something.' The last time the word was spoken in public, Talon spoke the word as she beheaded the false leader of Azgard, Warlord Ansfrid, during her coup to return ruleship back to the Warrior Caste. And before that, it was nearly two thousand years ago. Birgr had come short of using the word to describe Rose during a heated exchange. So Rose knew all too well what the word meant in meaning and more importantly in its use. Senni's anger and hatred continued in her words, "Let the fires burn her and leave her afterlife without vision!" Senni's words caught both Rose and Birgr off guard as if it had come from some dark unknown reaches of the galaxy.

Rose watched in shock as Senni spoke. She knew that Senni and Sha had become bitter enemies when Sha dared to call Senni a liar regarding the events of Lusis Cly. A slight that Senni was ordered by Talon to endure till 'the time was right to regain Senni's honor'. Rose recalled looking in to those fateful events which turned an entire Warrior House of Azgard against Lut Sha. Xan had been captured by Angel's group after the upraising on Imaginous. The group had brought him to Lusis Cly so that his supporters wont attempt to free him. While on Lusis Cly, he was being under the watchful eyes of the Azgardians. The group was at odds as his fate was being decided during heated debates. From her own viewing of the holovids at the time, it was clear that Angel wanted badly to attempt to save Xan's spirit from the dark side while Sha wanted to see him executed for his crimes. When it started to appear that Angel was going to get her wishes, Sha took matters in to her own hands. Rose later found out that Talon had been warned by her Priests, who were Force Sensitive, of the coming attempt to end Xan's life by Sha. It was the method that Sha had decided to go with that was the first blow to relations between the Azgardians and the group. Sha was planning to bomb the holding cell where Xan was being guarded by two Azgardian warriors from House Heartman, as well as members of the group.

Talon sent Senni to talk Sha out of the dishonorable course of action. Rose herself watched the helmet video and knew what happened that fateful day. The exchange was friendly and Senni had commented that Sha appeared to understand that her actions were dishonorable and that everything seemed to be resolved. However to Rose, it was painfully clear that was going on. Sha was only biding her time till she knew that she could act and get away with it. It was a matter of fact that Sha had planned to murder Xan in cold blood as well as his Azgardian guards. Then she proudly stated that she was directly involved in the assassination of Xan on Lorta. Rose had lied to the group to protect Sha from that statement. Rose knew that if she didn't Angel and Makaw would have moved against Sha. So in an attempt to cover for her friend, she forged evidence that protected Sha and concealed her actions. A secret that till this day no one knew, not even Senni.

Later during a social gathering where Angel, Sha, Rose and Senni were all present, Sha denied the whole event on Lusis Cly as never happening. Rose knew from past experiences that the first rule regarding Azgardians was 'Azgardians DON'T lie!' Sha's statement pitted Senni's honor directly against Sha's lie own lie. While Rose looked in to the matter in her own ways, Angel wanted to know the truth of what was being said. This only made matters worse as Angel sent a message to Talon to inquire about the event and question which one was telling the truth. It was then that Sha's final act of dishonor was exposed before all of Azgard. The Warrior House of Heartman swore to avenge Senni's honor. The matter would have been settled months ago had Talon not ordered the Warrior House to bare the dishonor for the best interest of the Galaxy as a whole. Talon stated, "In time, Senni will avenge her own honor. When the time is right. Not right now!" The dye was cast for the hatred in Senni's eyes now. It worried Rose deeply.

"Enough!" Birgr spat at Senni in Azgardian. It did little to prevent Rose from understanding his words. Rose had learned to speak Azgardian last year and understood each and every word he said. However Rose made no sign that she understood the conversation taking place as she pretended to look confused and lost. "I don't know what charm you cast over Talon to get assigned this mission" Birgr said linking Senni's own role as Warrior-Priestess to the situation. It was a little known fact that Senni was Force-Sensitive and highly trained in its use. A fact that Birgr knew perfectly well, though Rose was currently unaware of. "I am still in charge of this mission. Less you wish to measure that heroic legendary combat style of yours against my own. We will follow the orders given to us. This will not turn in to a personal mission for revenge for your honor or anything else."

Senni smiled as she turned to face Birgr directly. In her eyes was the roots of hatred but not for Birgr. The pair had shared too much for her to hate him. No in her eyes she hated Sha like no other. Sha would suffer for the shame and dishonor that was put upon Senni. Senni spoke to Birgr but in basic for Rose to understand as well, "Oh I have no plans to challenge your leadership, Warlord Birgr." She said using his official title which he won during a duel just three weeks ago. While in the past, Senni had always been able to defeat Birgr in personal duels. In fact, he had used her to help prefect some of his own combat skills. Senni was no fool either, she watched Birgr become a very dangerous warrior and combatant over the past few months. She didn't need to challenge him for leadership to have her revenge. "Sha will survive this mission." Senni said to Birgr than turned her eyes to Rose who was watching carefully.

She smiled towards Rose as Senni dropped her hatred of Sha and spoke more softly. "I give you my word. Sha will not die by my blades" Senni paused and nodded back to Birgre, "and I further promise, if I have anything to say about it. Sha will survive to be sealed in carbonite." Senni had more than enough time to do her homework regarding Sha. At first Talon's order to bare the dishonor stung like a arrow through her heart. However the order turned in to a gift as it gave Senni time to prefect her revenge against Sha. Today, Senni knew more about Sha and her background than even Sha knew herself. Senni knew that Sha would see such a fate, as to be sealed in carbonite, as a fate worse than death itself. Senni leaned back in her chair and smiled, "All that I humbly ask, is that I be there to watch Sha being sealed in carbonite. Give me this and I swear my blades to your mission." Senni said as she reached over her back and patted the hilt of her twin Azgardian blades.

Birgr was unaware of Sha's fear of carbonite and knew Senni all too well. He knew that the seasoned warrior had something planned, he just didn't know what it was. He also knew that Rose was over all in charge of this mission so the choice was not his to make. He turned to Rose whom seemed equally confused by Senni's words and wishes to join the mission. He shrugged his shoulders as she looked at Rose, "What do you say? Its your mission Rose."

Rose looked at Senni and knew her enough to know that something was up. Senni was a powerful warrior that never seemed to take the moral high road. Still, it would be nice to have Senni around for this mission. Senni's blades were the fastest in all of Azgard and she had only been defeated once in her entire life. This mission was hardly going to be an epic battle like that one had been. For Rose, Senni was known as many things, lover, friend, teacher, and sister-warrior. But this was a side of Senni, Rose had not seen before. Rose would have to use extreme caution while on this mission. "I don't have a problem with you being apart of the mission. I accept your word that you will help and ensure that Sha will survive to be inprisoned. You have my word Senni, you can be there to watch Sha be encased in carbonite. That is assuming that Sha is taken alive."

Senni smiled at the offer, "You have no idea how much taking her alive will mean to me." Senni said coldly. 'Oh Sha, the years will pass for you as the Galaxy and your people forget you ever existed, but not your dishonor. I will ensure that shame that you brought to your people will never be forgotten while your name fades. Your bloodlines will carry your dishonor till the end of time.' Senni thought as she leaned back in her uncomfortable chair.

Birgr nodded but knew that Senni was up to something. He knew that she would never betray her own honor to lie. But he also knew that she was not speaking completely of her heart either. A trait that Senni had learned from her dealings with the group and in general Sha. He made a mental note to watch her carefully on this mission and to speak to Talon about this issue. He turned his eyes back to Rose, "I have noticed that you are running a very thin crew aboard. Care to explain?"

Rose leaned back in her chair and was grateful to the change of subject. "I am. The JRS Justice is the second ship of the Jedi-Ranger fleet. The Marauder will become the flag ship of our fleet. Angel and Makaw have already worked the details out with Captain Marrab about it. The ship has already underwent its rechristening. I believe it was Makaw and his links to the past who suggested the new name of the Marauder. Its new name is the JRS Unending Light. Captain Marrab will be taking the Unending Light in to battle somewhere in the Tingel Arm. I am not sure where, but I know that it is a very critical upcoming battle. Everyone will be tied up with this coming battle. This mission came at such a short notice that we were really unable to put together a long list of names for the assignment. Personally I don't mind, cause the shorter list of names gave me more time to vet them all personally. I wanted to make sure I knew the loyalties of each of my crew members. Birgr, you can trust them to do their jobs without question," Rose assured the powerful Azgardian warrior.

Birgr nodded, "That maybe, but I would rather have an Azgardian crew aboard. They would know the ship's new systems allot better than your crew."

Rose nodded, "Agreed, but this has to be purely a Jedi Operation. You and your Immortals are only to assist us should it get out of control. While my desire is to make this mission a sound showing for the new Rangers. I am not about to risk fumbling this mission because of my personal desires. Plus, I know you and your Immortals. The skills you bring would ensure success."

Birgr nodded, "Okay enough sucking up Rose. Where are we going?"

"Our Sabbat friends have tracked Sha to the expansion world of Myrkr" Rose said smiling. "I know what she is doing there and the fact that we don't have any Force Users among us, Sha's plan is useless against us. She is going to attempt to secure a creature known as Ysalamiri. This little furry, lizard-like tree-dwellers are native to the planet and most known for their ability to repel the Force by creating a Force-neutral bubble. I have memories of my dark sider days and going after these little creatures. I am almost disappointed in Sha's lack of creativity in this move but I don't blame her either. Once I found out that she was heading to this word, I asked that no Force Users be assigned to the mission. This will remove the advantage that these little creatures offer her. That is if she can find them and get them to survive from their natural environment." Rose explained of Sha's intentions and actions. "Before you ask, we will leave once your Immortals are ready to depart."

As both Birgr and Senni listened, Senni took careful note of what Rose said regarding the Ysalamiri. It would have to be something that she would have to over come if she was to ensure her plan would work. Senni made a mental note to further her homework as Birgr nodded, "Good! Let's end this hunt soon so that my Immortals and I can return to what we do best, conducting war!"
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07-16-2013, 10:27 AM,
#4
(8.3) The War on the Home Front
(8.3) The War on the Home Front!
Headquarters, 1st Regimental Combat Team
Union Army, Exiled
Outer Rim World of Tiss'sharl
December 10th, 1938

The Dorin Empire had plans to take Tiss'Sharl from the Republic and in doing so, cutting off the Republic's support flowing from the Tingel Arm of the Galaxy. Tiss'Sharl had become a highly contested world between the Dorin Empire and the Republic supporting Telos Republic. The Dorin's had sent their most elite units to conquer the world and cut the Republic's supply lines that had been keeping the Republic and its allies alive during the past year of brutal fighting with both the Dorins and the Reich. The Republic's first major stand in the region came at Toprawa with a combined army of nearly one million troops from over thirty different worlds. General Hid Dira from the Telos Republic led the defense of the region against the Dorin's Elite Sang Army. While General Dira was well renowned for his leadership skills and his strategic mind, his weakness came in the terms of fighting the wars of twenty years ago. The battle of Toprawa ended in disastrously for the Republic with a quarter million troops dead or captured and the bulk of his ships left burning throughout the Toprawa system.

As the Dorins continued to push deeper in to the region and the effects on the push were starting to be felt by Republic front line units closer to the Core Worlds, Acting Chancellor Cevita Murl placed the defense of the region in the hands of exiled Reich leader Field Marshal Erich Von Kessler and his elite United Human Navy (AKA The Union Navy) which was made up of the elite Panzer Haar III. A move which sent ripples of outrage throughout the Republic Senate. The Acting Chancellor's position was that of between a rock and a hard place. The Senate did not have much trust for the Former Reich commander and his troops and their support for General Dira was still strong despite the losses at Toprawa. On the other hand, if the Dorins are not stopped at Tiss'Sharl, than the Tingel Arm supply lines will be cut and the Republic will face yet again another crisis. A crisis that the Acting Chancellor knew could be crushing to embattled Republic forces across the entire front lines. With special elections threating to remove her from leadership and a large number of contenders seeking to replace her.

The Acting Chancellor was facing her own political battles which she might not survive. Ever since the successful Reich assassination of her adoptive father, Chancellor Daz Murl, Chancellor Cevita Murl faced contenders and political rivals in and out of the Senate. It was clear that the Acting Chancellor was lacking the support of the Senate and world leaders that her late adoptive father had so richly enjoyed. She didn't have the same political elegance that her father used to help secure the strong political allies he needed to rebuild the Republic that stood today. Her lack of skills as both a politician and political leader of her father's Party were starting to become a liability for those few supporters she did have. This was starting to show through as they to jump ship and joined the vast ranks of voices against her leadership. Acting Chancellor Cevita Murl fate was all but sealed within the Senate and she knew it. Though like her late father, Acting Chancellor Cevita Murl was not willing to let go of her dreams without a fight. In a brilliant political move she turned on her last waning supporter, the Galactic Church of God by being the very first within the Republic Senate to support the New Jedi Order. She managed to push her own bill through the Senate prior to other supporters of the New Jedi Order which would make the new organization official in the eyes of the Republic. This move bought the young Acting Chancellor time to make her next political move which appeared to be a blessing to her political enemies. She tied her own Chancellorship to the fate of the battle for Tiss'Sharl.

The Acting Chancellor was facing a sure defeat in the coming special elections which were scheduled to take place in a few days. While her surprising move to support this New Jedi Order dazed many of those who were still unsure of her ability to lead the Republic. It did show that the young Acting Chancellor was able to reach across the divide to strike new alliances. In turning against the old institution of the Galactic Church, she was able to win some new support from those traditionally not of her normal supporters or those of her fathers. However this was hardly enough to protect her Chancellorship. She needed time and victory. Since the death of her father, the Republic has been facing defeat after defeat against both the Reich and the Dorins. Her father's normal die hard supports of the Varl were the only military power who were making gains on the battlefield. However they were far from her political supporter as they started to return to their old slaver ways to make such gains. A move that was politically toxic to the young Acting Chancellor and such she could not openly or privately support. Her fate had to rest in the Republic Senate and only in the Senate. She had to forge new political allies or she was doomed to be voted out of office in just a few days.

Before a full Senate, she urged that if the Union Navy failed to successfully defend the system from the Dorin's she would step down as Chancellor and not seek election. Acting Chancellor Cevita Murl delivered one of her most heartfelt speeches to the entire Senate. It was nothing short of passionate and fulled with energy that she had never before been able to muster. Sadly it did little to move her political enemies, though it did buy her the time she needed for a miracle. "Since the day they had agreed to assist the Republic in its battle against the forces of darkness, we have failed to use the Union Navy to its fullest potential. My Father knew that one day the Union Navy would be the make or break of this war. That day that my father had foreseen has come. That place is Tiss'Sharl! If we don't act now, If we don't act in unity, and if we don't act decisively, than we might as well seek terms of capitulation from the Dorins and the Reich. If you can not support me in this, than all I ask is that you allow me the ability to act. If I fail you, if they fail us, than use this failure to remove me. But for now, I ask. Nah! I beg you. Please allow me to do what is necessary to protect my Father's dream. Please allow me to protect the Republic in the means that is necessary. I am here begging you, let me do my job as Chancellor of the Republic."



December 10th, saw the complete assault on Tiss'Sharl by the Dorins. To the shock and horror of the Telos Government, the brave loyal defenders sent to defend Tiss'Sharl were betrayed by a minority of the world's leadership and their followers. hours before the first Dorin ship hyperspaced in to system, a group of Tiss'Shar moved on the defenders of Tiss'Sharl. Saboteurs and assassins hit in highly coordinated attacks that crippled the Telos Command Center and the Tiss'Sharl Orbital Defense Platforms. If this was not bad enough, agents of this rouge faction were able to sneak their way in to barracks of the Telos Defense Command and murder hundreds of soldiers and officers in their sleep. The saboteurs, assassins and agents were mostly all caught but the damage had already been done. Ten key leaders of the Telos Defense Command on Tiss'Sharl were dead as well as field and unit level officers. It was a nightmare situation facing the Telos Command. Once dawn broke, the second wave of insertions began. The rouge factions of the Tiss'Sharl world government sent out messages claiming that they were officially breaking off all relations with the Telos Republic and demanded that the Telos military leave Tiss'Sharl.

While the Telos Command Structure might have been crippled by the betrayal, the Union Navy was not touched at all. Not for the lack of trying though. The Union Navy recorded a number of attempts to violate their security scenes or hack in to their systems. Over all Union Commander, Field Marshal Kessler had issued orders that his three bases on Tiss'Sharl be secured and that Union Guards be on the look out for possible saboteurs. During the night of flames, Union soldiers shot and killed fifteen Tiss'Shar who were reportedly attempting to infiltrate Union Bases. Several others were captured and handed over to the Union's Military Police. It was this stroke of luck which most likely had saved Tiss'Sharl from complete defeat once the Dorins arrived. Both the Telos Command and Union Navy took these actions as clear signs that the Dorins were only a matter of hours out. While the alerts were signaled, this did little to change the fact of the battle. With much of the Telos' fifteen warships badly damaged or lacking commanders to lead them in battle, the Telos Republic was in no position to directly oppose the Dorins. The Telos Commanders accepted the only option available to them. They would entrust the complete defense of Tiss'Sharl to the Union Navy.

Within hours of the first acts by the Rouge Tiss'Sharl Government, the Dorins did come, and in force. Some thirty Dorin warships arrived in system supported by one of the largest ships ever created. The massive Dorin Doombringer Dreadnought with its over all length of just over a thousand meters was nearly two times the next smaller Dorin ship. But it was its massive Planetary Bombardment Mass Drivers that gave the warship its name and reputation. Hundreds of Dorin support ships and troop transports followed the massive assault force. Because of the events of the night before, none of the defenders were able to oppose the initial landings.

The Defenders of Tiss'Sharl might have been set back by the rouge attacks, but they were hardly defenseless. Field Marshal Kessler and Admiral Karl Dönitz watched from the bridge of their flagship, The Union's Prise. Kessler's Union Navy had his flagship, the Union's Pride, a Fleet Carrier. The Reich designed and built Fleet Carrier Class Carrier was most likely the only ship in the region that could match the power of the Dorin battle fleet. Along side of his flagship, there are three Strike Carriers running tight escort. There were also nine other supporting warships of different classes. The Telos Navy was able to field only half of their original ships for the opening battle. While they still bore the scares of the betrayal from the night before, the crews of these ships were more than willing to give all to defend the world of Tiss'Sharl. Fighting along side the Union carriers was also the pride of the Free Polosh Navy, the Maelstrom.

The Maelstrom was a lone survivor of the Reich invasion of the Core World of Polosh. It became a symbol of defiance against the Reich and her Dorin allies. Many had thought, due to the bad blood between Kessler and Admiral Nor'ish of the Free Polosh Navy, that the Maelstrom was going to sit this critical battle out. It was Field Marshal Kessler who had planned and carried out the invasion of Polosh when he served the Reich Military. When the Maelstrom arrived just the night before, it was a good sign that the battle could be won. The Maelstrom brought with her five support ships and over twenty thousand battle harden troops to fight along side the Union Navy. With the more traditional commanders of the Telos Republic on the side lines, Field Marshal Kessler was able to employ tactics that were more common with all Reich units. The style of combat was first realized as Kessler unleashed his Wolf Class Attack ships. Within minutes of the first Dorin cruiser hyperspacing in to the system, it paid the price with its life as Kessler's ten Wolf Class Attack ships refused to allow the Dorins a foothold in the system. The first space conflicts of the battle were brutal as the Dorins pushed their way through Kessler's first line of defense.

To the horror of his Telos allies, Kessler's flagship and the four other carriers, including the Maelstrom hyperspaced out of system. The Dorins had to have thought the major battle was over as the remaining Defending ships withdrew from Tiss'Sharl. This allowed the Dorins to start their landings on to Tiss'Sharl. Kessler had ordered all units to remain clear of the Dorin Dreadnought till the next phase of the battle. Aside from a Telos Battleship who thought they could go toe to toe with the massive Dreadnought, all other defending ships followed the order. The Telos Battleship offered little challenge for the Dorin Dreadnought as it was blown from its position. A seemingly costly loss to Kessler's over all defensive plan. With the defending ships running hit and run operations against the Dorin lines which had secured the world's orbital plane, the Dorins switched their operations from space combat to Planetary Invasion. The Dorin's underestimating of Kessler would turn to become a costly mistake for their dreams of taking the world.

Field Marshal Kessler unleashed his Wolf ships once more and this time they were joined by fighter and bomber groups from both the Union and the Free Polosh Navy. At the same time, he ordered the remaining ships of his fleet to push hard against the Dorin lines and force them back against Tiss'Sharl. The plan to was to close the Dorin ranks as much as possible while the air groups were attacking. The plan worked well enough for Kessler to see his plan succeed. His bombers hammered the Dorin Dreadnought without mercy. They were too small to be targeted by its massive anti-ship weapons and the picket ships were unable to provide a suitable defense against the air groups. Still the mammoth warship did not go down easily. With the entire air group focused on the dreadnought, the second space battle quickly turned to a battle over the death/survival of the Dorin Flagship. For nearly two hours, the battle unfolded as wave after wave of fighter-bombers and Reich built Broadswords launched attack after attack on the ship. What the Dorin's didn't realize was the battle over the Dreadnought was only a distraction. Kessler focuses his precious air groups on the Dreadnought just as the Dorins thought he would. At the same time, he had two special air wings from the Maelstrom running raids against the Dorin support ships and escorts. While the larger battle was unfolding, the smaller picket battle at the edge of the battlefield was whittling away of the Dorin advantage in space.

Within these very important picket battles, it was noted that the Free Polosh Air units were led by the Polosh Hero, Commander Kaidan (aka, Ronin) Vosk. His elite 9th Polash Interceptor Squadron spearheaded the attacks sweeping away Dorin air defenders. It was also rumored that fighting along side Commander Vosk and his Fallen Angels, flew the 1st Jedi Air Wing, known as the Black Cats. While they were few in numbers, their part in the battle was equally important. Jedi Master Angelique Heartman led her Jedi in to combat from within her own pink camouflaged Jedi Star-Fighter. The rest of her ten fighters were of Azgardian design. Together, the two elite units were able to punish the Dorins and push them back even further forcing their lines to collapse in on themselves. Once that finally occurred, it was the end of the Dorin's organized efforts to protect their landing sites. The massive Dorin Dreadnought finally gave up the struggle for survival in a brilliant flash of white light. The explosion was so intense that it took two Dorin Destroyers and five Union Fighters with it. It was time for Kessler's final stage of his plan to kick in.

Once the signal was sent, he returned to the system with his carriers and unleashed the remaining air units down on the Dorin landing sites. These air units worked directly with the ground forces to punish the Dorins as they attempted to hold back the land assaults. While the Dorin's held the numerical advantage in both land and air units. Kessler made sure to have fresh units for this stage of the battle. The surviving Dorin air units had already been fighting nearly none stop for over six hours without break. Kessler ordered the first waves of his air units to return to the carriers and prepare for the next stage of the battle. The Dorin fleet had been brutally crushed and only a few warships were able to limp from the system. The battle for Tiss'Sharl was meant to last weeks if not months. Field Marshal Kessler knew this and understood what it meant. The Dorins had a second wave getting ready to jump in. He had to stop that wave before they departed for Tiss'Sharl. Thanks to information offered to him by the Jedi Council, he knew where this fleet was being formed at.

Kessler left over all defense of the world in the trusting hands of Jedi Master Angelique Heartman and Prince Arwen Phanan. With such battle harden units fighting side by side like the Phanan's Light Horse Regiment and the Panzer Haar III, the Dorin ground offensive didn't have much luck. That was as long as the second wave of invaders can be stopped. Kessler gathered up his air units and reformed his fleet and prepared to depart the system. He headed out for the claimed neutral Outer Rim World of Bimmiel. His over all plan was to break the world's strategic value as a forward base of operations for the Dorins. The Dorins had operated within the region conducting raids and inflicting devastating losses on Republic Allies in the region. For months, no one had any clue where the Dorins were operating out of. It was thanks to the Jedi and their Rangers that prove was finally uncovered and the base was exposed. Now Field Marshal Kessler put his cross hairs on Bimmiel. He left the defense of the Tiss'Sharl system to the three warships of the Lortian Navy while the rest of his ships turned and left for Bimmiel.

Bimmiel had been a colony world of the Telos Republic for nearly nine centuries but never desired to join the Telos Republic. With a largely Human, Dorin Twi'lek mixed population, they opted to remain neutral in all regional conflicts. Their vast ice caps and open ranges gave Bimmiel a great range of agriculture to offer for trade. While Bimmiel only offered a minor space-faring navy, they were highly motivated to keep their neck of the Outer Rim free of pirates which plagued the region. This made the small navy very dangerous and gave most would be invaders reason to reconsider attacking. But it was the Bimmiel shipyards that was Bimmiel's true claim for influence. Here were above the world of Bimmiel were some of the last remnants of the Great Republic. This shipyards once belonged to the powerful Tingel Military Command and now fall in to the hands of the former workers and traders of the region. Nine centuries ago, a large colony effort was started by Telos in hopes of laying claim to these shipyards. The effort failed but did boost the population of the world. Prior to the break out of the Great Galactic War, Bimmiel's shipyards were open to any world that wanted to come and use them, for a high price. Once war broke out, the Government of Bimmiel elected to not join the Republic and to close its shipyards off to either side that was joined in the conflict.

When Field Marshal Kessler's fleet hyperspaced in to Bimmiel's system, there was no doubt that the Dorins were using the shipyards. A number of badly wounded ships that his forces had allowed to flee were already being repaired in the vast shipyards. Also, a large number of transports and support ships were gearing up and getting ready to launch the second wave on Tiss'Sharl. Despite cries of neutrality, Kessler ordered his air units to attack the shipyards, Dorin support ships, Bimmiel defense ships and ground facilities. In Kessler's own words the orders were clear, "The Dorins shall not use this world as a base of operations ever again." This time, Kessler ordered that no ships be allowed to flee the system. His Wolf Class ships cut off any ship attempting to flee the system. Civilian and military ship were targeted alike. Kessler could not afford to allow the Dorins to get the word out that Bimmiel was under attack. There were too many Dorin battle units close by that could stop his plan of ending this world's involvement in the Dorin effort. After a whole day of bombing and attacks, the Bimmiel shipyards were reduced to nothing more than smoldering hunks of metal in space. Tens of thousands of Dorin ground forces were cut down without ever being able to return fire. Bimmiel's own defense forces were reduced to nothing. The civilian death toll on Bimmiel would become a point of out rage and anger, but the end result would speak for themselves. The Dorins had lost an extremely valuable strategic asset that they would never be able to replace.

Once more back on Tiss'Sharl, the Dorins had their backs to the wall. With no ships in orbit to retreat off world and unable to push the attacks back, they were forced to fight a losing battle. This gave the Dorins that much more incentive to fight harder and to refuse surrender. There was a glimmer of hope when a ten warship Dorin task force arrived. However the brave actions of the Lotrian Navy, The Fallen Angels and Black Cats fought back the Dorins each time that they attempted to land reinforcements on Tiss'Sharl. By the time the full Union Navy and their allies returned to Tiss'Sharl, the ground war was all but over. Just at the Dorins were preparing to launch another push in to Tiss'Sharl space, the Azgardian's elite Black Dragons arrived to help secure the world. With their numbers blustered by the Azgardians, and the loss of the Dorin's second massive wave back on Bimmiel the Dorin High Command had to accept defeat on Tiss'Sharl. The victory stopped the Dorin's move in to the region and saved the Telos Republic from being overrun. And while the cost was high, it was no where near what the original estimates were. However for the Dorin's they lost three of their most elite armies, nearly fifty warships and hundreds of fighters during the one week engagement. Most notable, was the loss of the shipyards at Bimmiel. Without them, the Dorins were forced to withdraw their base of operations to the world of Vinsoth. However this too would prove to be a unsuitable location.

Taking the momentum that he had gained at Tiss'Sharl and Bimmiel, he turned his unified force on Toprawa and Junction. Both battles against a Dorin force that was still licking its wounds from Tiss'Sharl offered little resistance to the two pronged attack. In true Reich fashion, the former Reich commander turned a defensive operation in to a massive thrust back in to the heart of the enemy's strongholds. To protect his flanks during the thrust, he convinced the Telos Republic in to invading and securing Bimmiel from its current government and Dorin Ally. With the Second Battle of Bimmiel a sure win, Kessler didn't waste any time in out flanking the Dorins once more. He moved his elite Panzer Haar to Dathomir where the undermanned Dorin garrison were swapped aside with little challenge. With the Azgardian Black Dragons on Toprawa, the Free Polosh Navy on Junction and the Telos Republic forces backed up by the Lortian Navy, the Dorin region command on Vinsoth was forced to move once more. This time they retreated their command and base of operations all the way back to the world of Phaeda. For the first time since the opening of the war, the Dorins in this region of space were being driven back. Field Marshal Erich Von Kessler might go down in history as the Butcher of Bimmiel, but he shall be remembered on many other worlds as the man who broke the Dorin Offensive and as a hero of the Telos Republic.



Back in the Republic Senate, the embattled Acting Chancellor won a stay of execution as well. While the events of Bimmiel would continue to haunt her Chancellorship throughout the war, the Senate by a narrow margin voted not to have her removed. Instead they voted, on a even more narrower margin, to allow the Acting Chancellor to take full role as the Second Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. However there was one stipulation that was forced upon her. While she would not have to contend with reelections as per Special Chancellor Powers of August 15th, 1937, there is no option for her to be reelected. The Senate voted that five years after the end of the war or January 20th, 1945, the Chancellor must step down. This gave the Chancellor the time and space she needed to fight the war against the Dorins and the Reich. It also gave her the time she needs to put together another coalition to save her doomed Chancellorship.


Coming of Age
Jedi Cruiser, Unending Light
In Orbit
Outer Rim World of Bimmiel
December 10th, 1938

The room was dark expect for a single candle that lit up the very center. There were sounds that seemed to flow from every direction that smoothed the atmosphere. The members of the Jedi Council had convened, many by holonet to watch the very first official Padawans being taken in to the Order. Since the destruction of the Order nearly two thousand years ago, there had not been any official Padawans to continue the traditions. Today that was about to change. It had been just over a month since Master Heartman recreated the Jedi Order and its ruling Council. So today, Master Heartman was granted the privilege of naming the first Official Padawans back in to the Order. Sure other Masters within the Order had their own students as such, but this was going to be the first official ceremony before the new Council. The voices in the shadows revealed the individuals hidden from the candle's light. A soft chime signaled the arrival of the Padawans in question. The voices fell silent as Master Heartman spoke, "Enter."

The door hissed open as Kataryla and Tess both walked in. They were dressed in their Jedi Robes and each carried their own lightsaber. Tess bore the scares of her first field command, a bandaged arm. "Walk in to the light, Tess, Kataryla" Master Heartman spoke softly and added, "Do not fear the darkness nor shy away from the warmth of the light. We Jedi are bound to live in a world where we must face the darkness so that others do not have to."

The pair moved to the center of the room and looked around, "Master Heartman" Tess spoke with more worry than fear in her voice. "You summoned us, but why are the lights off?"

"The lights are off as a show of symbolism. Your journey from the darkness has led you here to the center of the light. That is also what the Jedi Must become. The center of the light for the entire Galaxy. You both have proven so much over these past few months. You both have grown to such surprising points that even I am was caught unaware. However it is clear to me and the Council that your times have come." Master Heartman said softly as she walked from the darkness and in to the light. Her hands were concealed behind her back as she moved towards them. Her hood was pulled up in such a way to conceal her face. Only her moving mouth was visible. "The path that a Youngling takes is to learn as much as they can about themselves and to prove their skills to become a Padawan. Last week, both of you did just that. You have proven your knowledge of your own limits and tested your skills. As I had said that day, sending you off on that mission was not my first option. It was actually my only options. You both braved the battlefield and relayed valuable information that saved hundreds of lives. You have shown courage of the most purest sense. You both have proven yourselves to be ready."

Master Heartman trailed off her statement. It was Tess that questioned, "Ready for what Master?"

Master Heartman smiled as she brought her hands around and opened them. "You both are ready to continue your training as" she revealed the two Jedi Padawan Braids, "my Padawan Learners." Master Heartman moved and placed each of the hand crafted braids on their heads.

Both didn't know what to say as they lowered their heads in respect to receive the braids. Once this was done, they both lifted their heads in pride and each spoke in unison, "Thank you, Master"
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