The Vanjervalis System is the home to a minor- but crucial orbiting shipyard, where the signature tactical computers of the Inexpugnable-class command ships are manufactured. Not so famous or essential as those of Kuat, Corellia, or Rendili, but home to research & development facilities judged important enough to warrant a garrison fleet of twenty capital ships and hundreds of fighters.
But after the Fall of Balmorra, the Republica??s collective breath was being held, waiting for the next blow to land. Then distress calls had arrived: the turncoat Admiral Saul Karath had invaded Vanjervalis with a fleet of fifty warships and thousands of fightercraft. Still, Fleet command was wary of a trap, and continued to hold back their main fleet to guard the Core, dispatching a small battle group of antiquated vessels to try and secure the evacuation of key VIPs and research data from the planet, before its assumed fall.
In hyperspace, aboard the archaic battleship *Ganelon*, the Jedi and ranking officers had been gathered in the vessel's briefing room to monitor the ongoing invasion via hologram and form a strategy. The situation appeared grim. The Republic capital ships had chosen to center their defense around the orbital shipyards, where three times their number of larger Sith warships were hammering away at the dwindling formation. Meanwhile shuttles, freighters, and transports trying to flee the planet below were being ensnared by the network of Interdictor cruisers which blockaded Vanjervalis.
The tall, pale Sephi Captain had highlighted one particular vessel located on the far side of the planet, opposite the orbital yards. His speech is crisp and terse. "This is the Hyperion. The Admiralty has noted it as the primary target for extraction. As you can see, it is held by the gravity well of two Sith Interdictors, and appears to have been boarded. This battle group will emerge nearby in the lee of the planet, and deploy a communications blockade to maintain local surprise. A Thunderclap shuttle will carry our Jedi and troopers to board and secure the Hyperion, while our warships deal with the Interdictors. You are advised to work quickly, as we cannot assure the communications blockade will hold for long, and once more Sith ships begin converging on us, escape will prove impossible." Erchirion pauses a moment before adding, "Once the Hyperion is secured and the immediate obstacles to hyperspace removed, enact a hyperspace jump to Rendili. If you have questions, voice them now."
Commander Lavitz is a seasoned trooper with the Republic, and wears the thick plasteel blue and white of the special forces corps. Drawing his helmet from its place, he places it over his head, his eyes then hidden by the reflective blue visor. <"No questions from me, sir."> Lavitz adds, just so the sentiment is voiced. The Commander draws up his weapon, priming it idly.
"What kind of resistance should we expect when boarding?" Gerus, the white haired and yellow eyed Echani asks. He usually didn't ask questions but with the odd way things had been going lately he had been learning to open that mouth of his more. He crossed his arms over his chest, studying the Holo-image. "Other than that... pretty easy plan to follow. Hopefully you get those interdictors down, otherwise..." He chews his cheek a bi.
With Master Lu'Fuan busy with other matters, his Padawan Triana had been sent to support the Jedi group dispatched to the Vanjervalis System. Standing slightly out of the circle of tacticians while studying the holograms the blue-skinned Twi'lek Padawan keeps her hands folded away within the sleeves of her robes, quietly watching the speakers in turn.
Erchirion Tor gives a short nod to Lavitz, before turning his cold blue regard to Gerus. "Unknown, Jedi Commander. An Interdictor's standard complement would include troopers, and Mark four assault droids. If the enemy is aware of the Hyperion's value, one or more Sith may be encountered." The captain regards Triana briefly, before adding a dry sniff to Gerus' hope. "Otherwise, indeed. Your transport awaits in mooring Alpha One. That is all."
The old Great Sith War era battleship carries no fighter complement, but two of its five escort ships do, thus when the battle group emerges from hyperspace and the boarding team's BT-7 Thunderclap launches into space, it has at least a token escort of old Star Sabers, Stingers, and LiTACs (21 in total) to see them to their destination. Outside their heavily armed and armored shuttle, the *Ganelon* opens fire on the pair of cutting-edge Sith Interdictors as its four escort cruisers unleash cascades of turret fire into the eight squadrons of Sith fighters in an effort to clear the Jedi shuttle's path through the swarming cloud of interceptors. It will be a bumpy ride. The Thunderclap's optimistic pilot directs the co-pilot to begin calculating a course to Rendili, for once the mission is successful.A
Lavitz loads up onto the shuttle and waits in the main hold, where the breacher hatch is. There isn't much ceremony to the life of a trooper. He stands in a non-heroic fashion and looks over the cuts and dark marks on his armor from previous battles. He checks his weapon idly, then ensures for the 17th time, that he brought a plasma torch, and a bandolier of ammo.
Gerus nods to the Sephi, "Alright... I will prepare for all then." turning to head out then, the Echani Jedi makes his way towards the shuttle and finds himself a seat. Instead of standing, he makes ready to meditate on the path over, leaving his life in the hand of the pilots and trusting in their abilities. He focuses, letting the force flow through him. Just before they land he opens his eyes, glances towards the Padawan "Are you ready?" he asks as he removes one of the lightsabers from his belt. He does not activate it yet, though.
As the shuttle is loaded up, Triana watches Lavitz and Gerus prepare themselves while the battlegroup travels through hyperspace. Once real space has arrived and their craft is launched from its mooring the Twi'Lek's attentions shift to small view port avaliable to where she stands and her thoughts move inwards as she fills her body with the Force. At Gerus' question Triana turns her eyes to him and while returning her attention outside herself she nods lightly, "I believe so. I never did expect to have to do such things but it seems that strange times have befallen the Republic."
The Thunderclap assault ship (calling the heavily armed and armored attack ship a 'shuttle' might be Erchirion's idea of a joke) is rocked hard by laser cannons multiple times as it races through the cloud of Sith Interceptors toward the *Hyperion*, a Foray class corvette. Three of their eight escort fighters are destroyed in the mad dash, but the pilot shouts, "Prepare to dock," an instant before the 'shields failing' alert begins to blare. The approach is a bit nerve wracking, but the pilot manages a docking seal while under fire. The instant the airlock is sealed and the hatch light goes from red to blue, the boarding team is clear to go, go, go.
The corvette's main hold has seen better days when the hatch shutters open: the remains of a lost battle are everywhere: dead Republic troopers in red, a few fallen Sith in silver and black, with numerous Spider-droids and surviving soldiers in silver picking through the cargo. The communications remain firmly blocked, as none of them seem to expect company.
The seal happens, and the hatch opens. Immediately, the special forces trooper lands in the other ship, bent at the knee and already in an ideal engagement stance. He raises his long-rifle, firing a terrifying orange blast that disintegrates a Sith Trooper right where she stands. The weapon's blast lacked the curtesy to even allow her a scream before reducing her to orange embers that fell away. Instead of updating his strike team, Commander Lavitz remained silent, staying low and in stance to engage from a distance.
As soon as the hatch opens, Gerus' blue blade spits forth, humming a deadly rendition of low frequency vibration. He bursts forth, swinging back and through one of the assult droids. Twisting his body, he impales the blue blade into another, and then jumping over that wreckage, finds a final Mark IV to put down into a heap of molten cut scrap. Seems the meditation worked a great deal for his batttlemind.
Triana falls silent as the ship.comes under fire and draws the cylindrical device of her saber without igniting it. As the hatch cycles open she raises her right hand while stepping forth after Lavitz and Gerus taking stock of the situation before yanking up one of the fallen Sith soldiers corpses eith the Force and hurling the inanimate body towards one of the droids at full speed. Perhaps not wanting to draw much attentoon to herself the Twi'lek padawan does not ignite her saber yet, holding it tightly in her left hand.
The unexpected onslaught is brutal and efficient. The Sith troopers either scramble for cover, or- in the absence of any other orders- attack desperately. Four of the five battle droids are annihilated, as the lead silver-armored trooper shouts, "Jedi! Jedi! All troopers receiving this, execute the prisoners immediately, acknowledge! .. Acknowledge??"
Commander Lavitz came with friends! A smirk forms on the aging officer's face as he levels a fully charged rifle at the trooper using his comms. A tilt of his trooper helm, and another devastating orange blast reduces the trooper to a floating ember and ashen shade of his former self. <"Hahahaha!"> The laughter is coming from Lavitz, who is beyond amused at this drekshow.
Gerus uses the oportunity of the confused state of the droids and troopers to take out the last Mark IV. It goes down with a single swing from his brillian blue beamed blade. The Jedi weapon humms, changing pitch as it moves in his hand. The Echani then advances on the Troopers, line, appearing like out of nowhere and cutting two down unceremoniously. "I don't think so..." He offers in mention to killing the prisoners.
Thankfully moments before his timely vaporization the Twi'lek Padawan was able to dig into the trooper's mind and suss out two possible.locations for those.mentioned prisoners. "They are on the bridge and in the crew quarters. Should we split up?"
The surviving Sith troopersin the cargo hold- even without live comms- prioritize their targets reflexively. Both Jedi and the sniper come under retaliatory fire, as the remaining enemies begin to spread out: two move toward the aft section, two remain dig in behind crates, and four start toward the forward corridors, firing as they go.
Lavitz takes a harsh blow to the chestplate of his plasteel, and it's marked by the carbon scoring and fresh flame and steam of friction from impact, but the seasoned soldier chicken-winged his rifle and fired back on the one who hit them. Amidst all the troopers running, the one Lavitz targeted goes up like the other two prior to him. Only the shade of ash is left, and that falls to bits of floating ember.
Having never used her lightsaber on a living being before this Triana was unwilling to do so yet so without igniting her blade she dashes after the Suth unit moving aft attempting to tussle with him on the move however he deflty dodges to one side as she tries to intercept him and then blocks her followup blow with a skilled block of his firearm knocking the Jedi Padawan far back enough to clear his gun and get it up and prepared.
Gerus stalks towards the Troopers, their attacks going wide of him. He's picked he ones going forwards, cutting them down to all but one left. There is no emotion in his face, just pure calm... so calm it could almost be scarry. It isn't scarry enough though. He brings his blade up to midguard, preparing for a counter attack.
The Sith Troopers are aggressive even when outmatched. A pair of bolts find the Padawan, as one troopers dashes into the engineering corridor to the stern, two more remain entrenched behind crates in the main hold, and one has run toward the bridge, shouting, "The Jedi are here!" As Gerus pursues, he passes a row of cabins, one of which has been hacked at repeatedly with the telltale burns of a lightsaber. It wasn't a clean cut, and looks to have inadvertently left the door unable to be opened, rather than cut away. Toward the bridge a similar sloppy piece of work was done to the blast doors, though these are at least half open.
Why must they run? They /always/ run. The old Commander grunts, rising up, and trudges after the troopers that moved toward the stern. <"HEY BOYS, WHERE YA GOING?!"> He yelled, stumbling a bit and hitting the bulkhead with his shoulder. He chanced a shot, bringing his rifle up and firing. The orange blast screams across the distance between them, hitting them in the head. The sudden impact jerked the trooper's head forward, the blast emerging from his brow in a brilliant cloud of pink before his body cascaded in a beautiful curtain of embers and ash. <"Hahaha, run as you desire, but you'll die and I'll be tired for the effort.. for rekk sake."> He nods to Triana. <"You alright, kid?"> Gruff, Coruscanti accent. He sounded like a chain smoker.
Gerus was not a man of many words so when he passes the Lightsaber hacked cabin all that he manages is a grumble and a raised eyebrow. "We might be dealing with a sith lord..." He mentions over comms, "Or their very volitile apprentice..." His blade humms still as it remains in a low guard, held out at his side. He reaches out with a hand and grasps the fleeing trooper with the force. He then shoots back his arms and opens his hand. The trooper then goes flying into the bulkhead behind him, clipping his right leg which bends and cracks back at the wrong angle before he slams onto the ground dead from shock of the impact. He continues onto the bridge, ready for anything that might come next. "Padawan... are you alright?" Asked at least.
Earlier the Twi'Lek Padawan had felt the heat from one of the Sith weapons touch across her flesh, now it was searing deep within her abdomin from not one but two shots. She was staring wide eyed in horror at the Sith trooper she had been attempting to disarm somewhat more peacefully than lightsaber to the guts when Lavtiz's shot dislocates the man's face. She slumps down to her knees holding onto her stomach, trying to will the Force within her and bring calm to the pain coursing through her body but her blue skin is almost devoid of color as she grows pale, no doubt a breath away from shock. After a few moments the Twi'Lek looks up to Lavitz and nods slowly while climbing back to her feet, painted teeth bared as her jaws work, "Thank you Commander." Her tone clipped and harsh, as if just the task of remembering the correct Basic words was difficult.
The troopers to the aft are cut down, their efforts to set a reactor overload ended with them. Lavitz's squad contains the last two in the main hold, and the desperate cries of "Jedi!" are cut off to the fore as Gerus ends the last running trooper. Belatedly, the dead trooper is answered irritably from the bridge: "Not NOW. I am EXTREMELY busy, do *not* interrupt when any ape with half a brain knows the Jedi couldn't get through our fleet!" Then Gerus is looking through the door. A thin Human in black robes, with a short beard that never quite filled in properly stares back with yellow eyes. ".....You can't be a Jedi. We have a fleet in the way. IMBECILE."
Also, there are perhaps a dozen civilians on the bridge, cowering from the thin Human with the red lightsaber.
"Hold on a sec, kid. You're in pain. I ain't gotta be a Jedi to see that." Triana is treated through his use of a kolto spray that doubled as a numbing agent. Lavitz didn't have time to actually bandage her. When he attempted to spray himself, the spray was angled upward toward his face, which he had uncovered briefly, and it went into his eyes. "AWW REKK!"
<"Let's go, boys.. follow the other Jedi to the bridge and let's take over this rekking bucket."> A bunch of Yes Sirs followed as the old Commander trailed after. <"Stay with us, kid.."> Said to Triana!
"Oh Force..." Came the rough and deep voice of Gerus, like a rumbling whisper. He rolls his eyes hard at the image of the Sith in front of him. "Well, kid. It's worse than I thought..." Taking a deep breath, the Jedi enters further, eyeing those civilians on the bridge. "Hey there big guy. Listen... totally messed up your little party. Listen, I'm going to need you to take a moment and step back. That'd be great, thanks."
There is a grunt in response from the Twi'lek, nodding slightly. Triana does her best to not giggle when the Commander nearly blinds himself tending to his own wounds. "Yes sir." She replies to sticking close by however, her hand still holding onto her wounded abdomin, she lingers at one of the cabin doors marred by the lightsaber and her attunement with the Force as it was she could see the light stirrings of living creatures behind the doorway. She raises her right hand and tries to push at the metal gently and precisly with the Force to crumple the door without shattering it into pieces or sending it flying into any standerbys. However after several moments she gives up and instead ignites the saber still held in her left hand, preparing to cut her way through the durasteel.
The Acolyte on the bridge looks annoyed at Gerus, waving his lightsaber about irritably (and sending the civilians into a fresh wave of cowering). "No! I have decided. You are clearly a false Jedi. A counterfeit! A falsehood wearing a false.. hood. Return to your cabin at once, or I shall be VERY CROSS. Now someone tell me why our fleet isn't answering me!" As an afterthought, he sends a distracted wave of jagged force energy toward Gerus to hurry the Jedi back toward 'his room'.
Lavitz and his CREW make it to the bridge in time to see the beginnings of a good fight. <"Dig in, boys and blast this moron!"> YES SIR!
Lavitz takes a kneeling stance, shouldering his rifle to fire, but when he has a good shot lined up, the damned thing goes CLICK. This causes him to lower it, pop the receiver, and eject hot tibanna casing that goes TINK TINK TINK on the ground near his boots. A fresh one is fed into the chamber, and the receiver clamps shut, whining high pitched to indicate it was charged.
Gerus can see it coming but just barely. He jumps out of the way, landing on the deck with a roll, light saber turning off for safety of himself and others. He uses his momentum to roll towards the Acolyte as the Commander storms in and starts blasting. Popping up, he turns on the blue blade, going right through the Sith's defences and removing his arm holding the lightsaber with an upward stroke. Then, bringing the blue blade down again in a cross, removes it other arm... then quickly sweeps off one of his legs at the knee cap. Tip of his blade raises towards the downed Acolyte who never stood a chance against this swordmaster JEdi Kniht. "You were saying?"
The pain was consuming everything, the pain was everything. The Twi'Lek Padawan dug the blue blade into the durasteel door and panted heavily as she tries to force the blade through and cut her way into the cabin, but the pain was making it nearly impossible. Her vision was now swimming with the attempt to stay upright, the connection the Force that so easily just moments before allowed her to see the living beings now barely taking notice of them, red interposed with the brilliant pink of melting steel and blue sparks dancing off the gashed wound in the durasteel Triana is unable to move the blade but a few mere inches in the damaged door in her attempt to gain entry. She misses the majority of the action, her world focused and narrowed to a single point in a single time, a haze of pain and hissing metal and panting Twi'lek.
The thin, yellow-eyed (and none too bright) Acolyte looks back when Gerus has the nerve to BE A JEDI, the red saber swung up in an aggressive, but equally telegraphed swing that does nothing but leave his arm extended.. and shortly thereafter severed. Slumping to the deck with a scream, instinctively reaching his remaining hand to staunch the cauterized wound (and singing his fingers with a freshly pained yelp), the young Sith finally manages words. "Jedi scum!" He musters up one last grand gesture of defiance, seeking to spit up at the Jedi above him.. but with his back on the deck and a blue saber at his throat, the defiant gesture falls well short, landing back on his own black hood after a short ride and fall of several inches. "Ohhh. Hell," he laments.
Around the short duel, the civilian crew are scrambling back to their stations, in a frantic effort to get the vessel underway, again.
Commander Lavitz lifts his helmet off, hooking it to his belt, then draws a long tobacc cigar and props it in the corner of his mouth, beneath his bushy mustache. "That's another for the books, boys. Toss that piece of garbage out the nearest airlock. The Sith can keep em. Let's get this bucket in order! MOVE IT!" A tilt of his head, and he lights his smoke, puffing softly as he watches the crew scramble. The graying Commander then attempts to treat himself again, and successfully does it without damaging his eyes. It's the small victories.
Gerus looks up to Lavitz, then back to the Sith in question. With that ones skill there was no way he was someone important. He didn't kill the man... however. "He's all yours then Commander." Shoveling the responsabiltiy and already made decision onto Lavitz. Ahhh, to be morally ambigious when serving a government organization. HE deactivates his lightsaber and puts it back on his belt, making his way to Trianna. "Padawan..." He runs to her side. "Take it easy... you did good. We've taken the ship, I'll look into the room."
It's a good five or six seconds before Triana seems to recognize another person is at her side, and when she does the blade deactivates and she almost loses her balance. She catches herself on the bulkhead with her shoulder, turns putting her back against it and settles herself onto the floor, nodding slightly. "Yes sir.. I think.. I saw five or six individuals.. I can't.. clearly remember.." She focuses her eyes on the cylinder grasped in her palm, trying to steady her shaking hands and reclaim her calming connection to the Force.
The bridge crew regain control of the ship, the Thunderclap is no longer sealed at the airlock, and a short while later, the confused babble of status reports on the bridge focus on one singular fact: "The gravity well is gone- jump, jump to hyperspace NOW."
The Battle of Vanjervalis is left behind in short order. Gone are the fighters, cruisers, and wreckage. All that lies ahead is the hyperspace corridor to Rendili.