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Author Topic: The Battle-Hardened Captains: On the Eve of Greater Things  (Read 522 times)

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Offline Joshmaul

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The Custodian's Watch - Valor-Class Cruiser
Flagship/Mobile Enclave of the Jedi Custodum
Stronghold Adega - Two days after the fall of Reydovan Prime

Eidan Zherron excused himself from the discussion on the crew deck and walked into the archive room, not wanting to let them see how he was feeling. He had felt surprising anguish in his soul since the news had broken, even though he had seen the inevitability of it for nearly thirty years. The Imperial news media had just reported that the attempted rebellion in the Reydovan Sector had been quashed, and that Darth Insomnius, the rebel governor, had been executed. It was for her that he felt this pain, because he remembered her as someone else: Caradell, the former Archivist of this enclave.

Ever since they had found her on the destroyed Miraluka colony, six years prior to the Sacking of Coruscant, Zherron and his old captain, Vorian Tanis, had been wary of her. So had her eventual Jedi teachers, Aken Tyrell and Gadren Zulek. She had been nine years old - a year younger than her elder brother Huldref, who had been the oldest survivor - when they had found her. The Direwolf had landed with Master Tyrell and his old Padawan, then-Jedi Knight Saxtus Fayhan, in the destroyed village where the Miraluka had lived in peace. The brightest flame had been young Katran, who had been a fine Jedi Knight until she was killed on Nikaea following the Revanite war...ironically, by the same one who had killed Caradell, and Huldref, and most of the others.

"There is no emotion, there is peace" was the first line of the Jedi Code. Zherron had worked around Jedi for most of his adult life, and he liked to think he picked up on their Code and their philosophy. Certainly, he had a greater appreciation for what the Force was capable of than most men like him. But he was not a Jedi...a Jedi did not feel anger, despair, and grief, or at least they did not allow those emotions to sway them. He tried not to let them sway him, either, but there were times he could not help it.

He looked around the archive room, seeing the banks of holorecords, the datacrons, the artifacts. She should be here, he thought. She should be in this room, maintaining and cataloguing the records and items in here. She should not have been a Sith Lord...and she should most certainly not be dead. He let out a tired sigh. There are a lot of people who shouldn't be dead these days. His mind went to them all, all people he wished were there, fighting the good fight against Zakuul - Saxtus Fayhan, Kieran Devaneaux, Aken Tyrell, Gadren Zulek, Ketana Linavil and her daughter Melena, Katran, Huldref, Corlam, Caradell...

Elmira, Mina, Arabella... As he thought of the dead, his mind always went to his beloved Mira, and the two of their three daughters that had died with her. He silently thanked the Force - or whatever else was listening - for at least having one of his children. Lucia had been believed dead too, but had shipped off with an old friend of Tanis', Davyd Lorath...and he, too, had died, killed on Makeb while trying to aid the people against the Hutt takeover. Lucia worked on Odessen nowadays with the Alliance, often in the company of the Jedi Master Tergahn Dai'lo. The Republic had declared them both renegades, just as they had the Custodum.

He had told Telline he would see if he could ask Tergahn for Alliance help in getting more supplies. He had not heard back...yet. He wondered if Lucia had found herself caught up in the ongoing mess after the Outlander defeated Arcann on Odessen. Admittedly, despite being a man born to flying ships (even gargantuans like the Watch), Zherron looked forward to the day when the worst things he had to worry about was eating properly, getting enough sleep, and getting to the next destination on time - not whether there were enough parts for the gun turrets, or whether the hyperdrive would give out at the wrong moment, or whether the Eternal Fleet would find them and blow them out of the stars.

Someone out there - Rooks, he believed - had said something about the trade of fresh air for recycled air...he had to admit, after five years on the run, he looked forward to setting foot on terra firma again. Preferably not while freezing his balls off waiting for rescue, like that incident on AZ-1194...

Enough of this, Zherron chastised himself. It can't do for the aging, battle-scarred, yet still handsome captain to be feeling maudlin. He chuckled to himself as he stood up, then winced as his knee cramped, before he went back out to join the others.
Circled tomb of a different age
Secret lines carved on ancient stone
Heroic kings laid down to rest
Forgotten is the race that no one knows

Offline Joshmaul

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Re: The Battle-Hardened Captains: On the Eve of Greater Things
« Reply #1 on: 12/26/16, 04:35:12 PM »
The Direwolf - CEC XS Light Freighter
En route from Adega to Odessen - the following day

"They're up to something, eh? Enough to need us to send some men? Heh...nice to feel wanted."

"And are we about to refuse simply because they are not part of the Alliance, Lucia?"

"Of course not. Even if it wasn't my father commanding the Watch, I'd be making this run." Lucia Zherron chuckled. "My father has been playing taxi driver for the Jedi Order for most of his adult life, so I suppose it's little wonder that I'm doing the same thing for you...though I have to ask, Tergahn: Do you have to be so damn antisocial on most of these trips? I mean, meditation is great and all, but this has to be the first time you've actually deigned to speak to me while the ship was in flight."

"Is that indignation I sense in your voice, Captain?" Tergahn Dai'lo asked, sounding equally amused. For a Jedi Master, he was not what she had expected - then again, one had to wonder if there was such a thing as a "typical Jedi" anymore. "I thought you would be used to it. After all, your crew aren't exactly sparkling converationalists, either."

"True enough," Lucia had to admit. Her first mate and navigator, Liam Branscombe - a holdover from when her father, then his first mate Saliya Taldir, had run this ship - didn't speak more than he had to; neither did her engineer, Kellen Maggard, another holdout; and her medic, Talisa Lorath, brought with her from the Brigantia, kept largely to herself. Come to think of it...her father had not exactly been a cheerful talker when they met in the hangar aboard the Watch, either. He had seemed...distant, almost distracted, when he said goodbye before she left.

Lucia wondered how much of it was the news about Caradell. She had mixed feelings about that herself, she had to confess...after all, it had been Caradell that had vetted her to her father, who had believed her killed on Dantooine. But Lucia also knew he had seen it coming. He had said as much when she had gone to the Empire. No, it was something different. Like he had been told something he didn't like, and was trying to figure out how to absorb it. Perhaps that had something to do with the Custodum's request for soldiers and medical officers.

"Something on your mind?"

Lucia started slightly, realizing she'd zoned out; she looked over to see Tergahn staring at her. "Was just thinking...wondering what a ship hiding in the ruins of a Jedi shrine-world would need troops for."

"The thought has occurred to me as well," he admitted. "But Master Telline is wise, and undoubtedly has a good reason for making the request. And Darias thinks very highly of a number of people in this enclave; it will be a good place for him. And perhaps for you as well."

"And what about you?"

Tergahn shook his head. "They have all the Jedi they need. They need people who can do what they cannot. And...some have mentioned Sana-Rae seeing dark visions of the near future. Voss Mystics are never wrong, though interpretation can sometimes be hit-or-miss...but I feel that something is coming, and whatever we send to the Watch may be all we can spare."

"That bad?"

"Difficult to say, as I am not privy to the full extent of Sana-Rae's visions, not like the Commander...but there will be a high cost, I think, yes." Tergahn shrugged lightly. "We knew there would be from the start, against an enemy like Zakuul."

Lucia's eyes narrowed, thinking that sounded awfully dismissive. "You make it sound so matter-of-fact. All the destruction...the death."

"There is no death, there is the Force," Tergahn replied, as if that explained everything.

Lucia felt anger rise up in her. Unlike her father, she did not entirely have the patience for Jedi philosophy. "Tell that to the dead," she retorted bluntly.

"Odessen," came the seldom-used voice of her first mate from the bridge.

Staring for a moment at Tergahn, Lucia turned and headed up to the bridge before she said something she would regret.
Circled tomb of a different age
Secret lines carved on ancient stone
Heroic kings laid down to rest
Forgotten is the race that no one knows

Offline Joshmaul

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Re: The Battle-Hardened Captains: On the Eve of Greater Things
« Reply #2 on: 12/29/16, 09:06:11 AM »

Ruins of the Alien Enclave, Voss-Ka
Following the siege of Voss

The city of Voss-Ka was in ruins, as the bodies of the dead and the wreckage of skytroopers were strewn around the streets of the Alien Enclave. The northern plateau was completely gone, leaving only fiery wreckage...but the Eternal Fleet no longer stood sentinel in the sky.

"What a hell of a mess. Have you ever since its like?"

"Back home, when I was a much younger man. I saw what Malgus and his lot did - and what the ongoing civil war continued to do. This is what war is about, Eirena. It's not like what you did with the Linavils, quick and clean...this is what real war is. Ugly, intimate...and without mercy. It's only people like you, people who help the wounded and the dying, who make it bearable."

Eirena Valmy made a face. "That doesn't feel very reassuring, Darias...especially after all that's happened. Before Zakuul, and now here after."

"I'm not very good at reassuring, Doctor...just as well. I'd make a terrible life coach." Eirena could not help but laugh.

Despite looking (and occasionally feeling) every day of his seventy years and counting, his hair and full beard gone snow white, Darias Tavan was still sturdily built; his face was chiseled, his eyes sharp, his movements sure. Not one for heavy armor even as a young man, he wore light armor in blue and black, the insignia of the Alliance - half Republic, half Empire - on each arm. His rifle was slung over one shoulder, but in easy and long-practiced reach should he require it. The younger woman next to him used to be one of his liege ladies, the last living scion of House Valmy, one of Organa's vassals; she was also a veteran medic of the Republic Army. Now she served Tavan in that same capacity.

"Captain?" That voice belonged to M1-6J, the former war droid assigned to Sithbane Squad when Eirena was its medic. After the killings of Sithbane's prior commanders - first Captain Linavil on Nikaea at the hands of Darth Malagant, then Lieutenant Caffran on the Talonguard by the Sareshian fanatic Sergeant Thekal - Sixjay had found his way into the Alliance, working with Tavan's men. "A message has come in from Odessen. It's Master Tergahn."

"Tergahn? Back already? Huh. I'll take it on the ship, Sixjay..."


The Wayfaring Stranger - BT-7 Thunderclap
Voss Orbital Station

"Now?" Tavan was surprised. "You're serious?"

"Serious as I can be, Captain. I've already spoken to the Commander, and gained clearance. You'll be travelling with your men aboard the Direwolf, and will rendezvous with them at their base."

"Can the Commander spare even a few of us at this point?"

"With the recent...introduction to the new Sith Empress, I think we may have our manpower issues covered for the time being." Tergahn's flat tone made clear what he thought of that idea. Tavan couldn't blame him; this "new Empire" was still run by the Sith. The Togruta Jedi Master echoed his thoughts as he continued, "The Sith we have in direct service to the Alliance is one thing. But ones 'allied' with us while still working for the Empire..."

"Another reason I'm hesitant to leave now, as much as I'd like to give the Custodum folks a hand. They're good people. But if we're going to have Acina's loyalists in the mix, we need sharp eyes on them. Bad enough with what Saresh tried to pull, and she basically did it on a whim. If Acina wanted to do similarly, who the hell could stop her?"

"Strangely enough, Darias, you're not the only one who's visualized that scenario," Tergahn replied wih a humorless smile. "But the Commander has made clear that we are to treat with the Empire as a friend for now. Whether that will change in the time to come, we will see. In the meantime, return to Odessen. Captain Zherron - Lucia, that is - will be waiting for you."

Tavan sighed, and nodded. "Alright, Tergahn. We're on our way." The channel closed, leaving the Alderaanian captain alone in the main hold. He leaned up against the holoprojector, expression thoughtful.

"What's it all mean, Darias?" Eirena asked him from the door to the medbay.

Tavan looked up at her with a grim smile. "It's a good thing your med supplies are fully stocked. I have a feeling we're going to need them."
Circled tomb of a different age
Secret lines carved on ancient stone
Heroic kings laid down to rest
Forgotten is the race that no one knows