Log:Sith Empire: War Drums from the Deep

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Imperial Forces fight for a strategic position on Troiken

OOC Date: June 3, 2024
Location: Troiken
Participants: Tamsin Cas, Alys Zapal, Bors Thul, Ban Iskender, Kol Goren, Aryn Cortess as GM

Count Ulgo's voice was deep and gravelly, a relic from the old wars and survivor of Old Alderaan. There was history between Colonel Nim, their target, and Alderaan, and Ulgo was present to see that history settled once and for all. With system communications down, the invasion began. TIEs of every design poured down upon the planet escorting troop carriers and vessels bearing heavy loads; armor to be specific.

Walkers, scout vehicles, even speeders were unloaded upon a beach head that had been earned with blood. The initial invasion began with an orbital bombardment that specifically wiped out points of military importance. One of those very spots, a series of craters now, was made into a make-shift command hub and used to establish a feed with the command ship in high orbit.

It was well past evening now, but the fighting had not ceased. Nim's forces were dug in well, and every battle was street to street, house to house. Embedded, entrenched, and forcing Allied forces to seek out conflict was the best way to bleed them, and make them second guess the invasion.

"The man's good," lamented the Count. "Every defense with redundancies, interlocking lanes of fire, and armor placement as fluid as water. It is a work of art."

"The crux of this man's defense relies upon the backbone his armored forces provide. They move, unhindered, unmolested, and out of sight and achieve strategic positions quickly. This must not persist."

"I am sending a special tasks group. The Prince of Troiken claims that mines were hollowed out beneath the city and operate as a high way for military materiel. Find the hub of this defense feature and bring it down. This network must be crushed in order to claim the city."

"The Vice Royal Dragoons have located one such entrance, they believe. Investigate this claim and take the opportunity if it presents itself. Ulgo out." The image of the Count faded leaving the task group within relative darkness of the drop ship. The vessel rocked, the armored units of stormtroopers, Sith, and Alderaanians forced to move one way or another. Lord Ty Killesa was among the group, braced, and adjusting his cape so his pistol and chosen blade were within grasp. He looked pale and young, yet eager to do his part.

A robotic voice filled the dark chamber. "Thirty seconds till landing."

Qar-duun ;, long-accustomed to being personally dropped into death-worlds, stands placidly with armament readied. Sheathed and shielded in reflective plate and bearing a pistol your average Army grunt might not be able to lift off a table, he makes a striking contrast to the usual silent 'no ripples-infiltration' he has traditionally preferred. But active times demand active measures!

Achlys waited in their usual silence, body moving as a ship on the tides, adjusting to the maneuverings of the drop ship, robes flowing and settling as if a breeze had caught up the Sith Lord. The shadow they cast was a small thing, eclipsed by the physical one that loomed nearly a foot taller, in the form of the Death Trooper who was their usual escort, positioned to bracket them. When the announcement came that landing was imminent, Achlys' modulated voice broke the silence, "Acolytes, keep your defenses up. The most dangerous animal is a cornered one."

Alys, actually wearing an armored suit this time, sits in the darkness of the dropship wrapped in her cloak. The Acolyte is silent, almost meditative. Another hot zone. More death to be delivered.

Just another day at the office.

Her right hand curls around the hilt of her electro-chain whip, her eyes closed as she feels the Force. As the timer is announced, she starts to dig deep, finding the core of darkness within, and starting to rouse it.

Helmet drawn down to reconceal the deep lined features of the Old Man's features - and the monocle he deigned not remove beforehand - Bors draws the length of chain blade from about his waist where it is oft hung as a belt. Toggling it to snap to rigidity, mulling over the commands and taking a moment to look to the Sith to be traveled with, the Lord Thul gives a small nod.

To whom?

<"Elle-Seven... I would prefer a robust tea upon return, two lumps, no cream, twist of citrus... some of those little biscuits.">

The butler droid, L7-RCH, that accompanied the older man gives a curt nod before a rolling growling acknowledgement is the automata's response.

Ban Iskender was not deployed with his old unit, at this stage. While part of him longed to join the dragoons for sweeping maneuvers, he was more valuable kept in reserve for tasks such as these, and so Darth Durandus descended in the shuttle among the others, silent and solemn in the last moments of relative peace to be had before the breaking storm. His masked face dipped once to acknowledge the young Lord Killesa. It had been some time.

The ride in is often the part that heightens anxiety. For the Death Troopers it's something that they had been modified, trained, and exercised against. No doubt their classified cybernetics begin to moderate their nervous systems a moment after the call of thirty seconds remaining. Together the trio stand among the assortment of stormtroopers, Sith, and Alderaanians. The garbled dialogue between DT-X10, DT-J5, and DT-4B is kept low and brief. A simple call for weapons check, final preparations, and a moment to consider the kit of the other two within the mix that is lost on those outside of the Death Trooper's scrambled communication. Then it's time to wait.

The ship landed without fanfare, the weight and gravity shifting with pressure before it all released and fresh air rushed within the chamber. The ramp lowered and Stormtroopers poured out, weapons at the ready. Before them, a massive land feature strategically shielded by the natural concealment of tall flora. A detachment of Dragoons wait nearby, led by a black-armored rider that rode up to the unloading forces. Staying helmeted, the rider announced, <"Tracks for heavy armor lead through this door. My team have rigged it to blow open, wanted to wait for you all to get here first so the element of surprise was not lost.--">

The rider turned back and made a motion with his arm. A second later, a massive dual charge lit up around the heavy armored door. It took a full second for the sound to follow, and it was massive. The concussion followed, sending capes backward and jarring those within proximity, to their core. The heavy steel of the door separated from the mine shaft within. It stood roughly 50ft tall and wide. When it fell, it was massive and heavy, shaking the ground.

Within, a large train used for transporting armor and the like waited, controls bright. Droid troopers inside began to come online, alerted to the breech and programmed to defend it. They sallied out to meet the small detail of Dragoons, Stormtroopers, Sith, and Alderaanians. Fifteen (15) in number, that were armed with anti-personnel weapons set to kill.

Qar-duun charges out of the pod as bid, without time to wonder 'given no conflicting orders, would L7-RCH make tea forever if Bors never returned?' While pondering the logistics of a droid left to supply itself with things like milk or 'a certain tea leaf' in the absence of society, atrocities are committed! He burns robotic soldiers aside, laying down a pattern of withering fire!

There were only seconds between the combat unit being deployed, the door being breeched, and the fighting begun. In the days of yore, when Achlys had existed in another life, they had been called a force witch. Those days were not these days, and Achlys moved in formation, fire blade slipping into their hand as they waded into battle, blade meeting steel, as they began to clear a path around themselves, droids and pieces of droids falling, the sound echoing in the vastness of the chamber, though the sound itself was lost in the din of warfare.

Let the youths deal with such frippery as standing, leaning, into the wave of explosions. Bors kept as many bodies between himself and the detonation as he might - already, quietly, bemoaning having to leave his valet behind on the ship.

"You would have drawn steel over unlimbering, wouldn't you?" muttering to himself, voice low enough to keep from his externals picking up... And then the insufferable insult of robot soldiers is unleashed upon them. "Bollocks..."

Rolling one creaking shoulder and stump-step walking towards the foebots with the pace of a man who may or may not have had at least one hip surgery, or maybe one too many back problems from far to many jarring falls - he falls upon them. Blade bisecting one mechanical head - sending it to clatter limply while another is run through, and held when its knees lock, trying to maintain a semblance of cover...

Totally not because he needs to catch his old man breath.

Darth Durandus drew his sword upon emerging from the shuttle, radiant blade raised in salute to the formation of dragoons. He greeted the officer in black as, "Knight-banneret." A short nod is given to the status report as the Alderaanian turns his masked regard toward the doors in question. Once the shockwave of the detonation had struck, Durandus began stalking toward the breach. When the automated defenses activate, the Knight of Tears cuts his way toward their goal in a straight line, striking down a pair of sentries and not turning his steps aside to pursue a third who evades his reach.

After the door falls and the droids come online, Alys reaches up and hurls her cloak away. It tumbles through the air, catching on a piece of metal and fluttering like a flag. It's cinematic.

As Qar opens fire with his entirely too large ... gun, Alys darts in, low to the ground. She doesn't flinch at the sounds of blaster bolts flying over her head, or at the sound of lightsabers igniting. Her own weapon, in its sword configuration, thrums in her hand as she throws herself at the droid that Qar-duun shot. The sword-form Electro Whip punches clean through the droid's chassis. She plants her feet and wrenches the blade to the side.

She swings wide, the crackling weapon slinging through the air at the next closest droid. Her small size works against her, the blade swinging short of the droid.

The door comes down and the battle commences. Lightsabers ignite, droids clank forward, and blaster fire begins to slash the air in both directions. The Death Troopers begin to advance, keeping close to the collection of Sith as the advance begins. The Death Troopers have trained hard to keep themselves out of the path of lightsabers and those who wield them, affording the right of way to the Sith as they make their own charging advances. As is often the case, DT-X10 remains close to Darth Achlys and provides covering fire where necessary, seeming to ever be in the Sith's flank, as the trooper has the last few years, acting as attacker and defender both against potential threats.

The Death Trooper's helmets glow with the sickly green of their sensor packages running, providing their wearers updated information as the cavernous battlefield begins in earnest. Their garbled communication can be heard amid the angry growl of lightsabers and the sharp whine of blaster fire, echoing their unintelligible words and commands in echoing fashion throughout the subterranean cavern.

The combined fire of the Imperial commandos brings down at least one droid, with another in need of repairs if it isn't brought down in the furious exchange of violence.

Qar-duun drops to a knee, acting defensively should their foe respond-in-kind, but bracing the 'kriff-off megapistol' against his torso results in having to adjust his aim! The next shot, doubtless, will be straighter and harder via experience...

Back upon the dropship, Ban's nod was returned by the pale Lord riding with them. At that moment, Ty was seen holding a light colored cloth near his nose, likely enjoying the scent that linger upon it. Before the ramp had fallen, he had tucked it beneath his armor plating and drew his dueling pistol, following the ranks out to greet the Knight that rode up to brief them. Ban had greeted the Black Rider, Ty offered a fist over his chest and nod.

The battle that ensued was very one sided. Droids of unique make, engaged in combat, chasing after the forces outside the threshold of the blown open doorway. Within the mine itself, a large platform-like train wait, steam stirring up as white vapor. Bolts from blasters criss-cross as crimson blades cut through many of the defenders. Troopers push for the platform, and the Dragoons urge them to carry on, they would take care of the remaining defenders.

Lord Ty found the control panel for the transit and prepped it for departure. "GET ABOARD!" He yelled. "WE DELVE DEEPER!" He blasted a droid near him, placing two green bolts into its mid-section with superb marksmanship. His gloved free hand rested upon the lever to engage it as their unit broke free from the defenders, sustaining crossfire in doing so!

With the Dragoons moving into dispatch the remaining initial burst of droids, Achlys made their way into the transport, stepping up onto the platform, a hand signaling for X10 to approach. The saber slid back into its hilt, the hilt itself disappear as the necessary supplies were withdraw from hidden pockets dispersed through their robes. Combat healing was not something to which they were unaccustomed. Her shadow would soon be well enough to proceed.

The Dragoons pull up to fill in the holes. Alys looks at them briefly through the visor of her helmet before her attention is pulled to the transport sled/train. She grunts, her voice modulated a little by the helmet and she races forwards.

She pulls on the Force, letting the thrill of the combat fuel her, and she leaps, arcing impossibly high, landing in a three point stance on the platform near Alchys as they do some light field medical work. She actively guards the Sith Lord in case any droids decide to take pot shots at the healer.

Clambering onto the train with the others, taking a knee and leaning to something stable with his blade held for support the old man looks to Ty, expression concealed but his question on Bors's vocalizers,

<"Maximum speed I would suggest...">

Because The Black Knight of Alderaan does not believe in half speed. He has a need, you see.

Ban Iskender states dryly upon stepping aboard the tracked vehicle, "The helm is yours, Lord Killesa." Looking briefly out the back of the train toward the fading skirmish, Ban offers a salute to the Alderaanians remaining in the open field and turns his eye toward the deeper darkness ahead.

Incoming fire batters the armored plating that shields DT-X10 and the pair of Death Troopers that moves loosely along with him. The hits are heavy and it does slow two of the three troopers down as they begin to make for the train, returning fire as necessary to both keep up their own volume of fire and provide cover to those making for the mobile platform.

Once aboard and provide with the proper medical treatment, DT-X10 straightens a touch and nods his silent thanks from Death Trooper to Sith.

A brief garbled exchange is made between Death Troopers. Probably a status check. After the momentary exchange, the three begin checking over their weapons and ensuring that they're prepared for the next potential engagement.

Once all were aboard, Lord Ty nods his head, confirming the Black Knight's suggestion. "As you say, Ser.." The lever was dragged down and it shifted loudly, then the platform began to move as a chain beneath grew tight and jerked. Everyone was lurched briefly, but it was easy to maintain their position aboard. Darkness enveloped them, and lights occasionally passed by overhead.

"Remarkable network," says Ty, amazed by the groundwork laid for the defense. He had never seen such detail before, it was both inspiring and frightening all at once. He was humble enough to pay respect where it was due.

It took several minutes until they were beneath the mountain itself. More lights, and more chaos. What, on the surface, appeared to be an organized defense was below an absolute nightmare of logistical proportion. The Troiken defense had trained and trained and drilled, but there were so many requests for armor, it was hard to fulfill all of them. The central hub was exactly that, a massive platform at the heart of a hollowed out mountain, with tracks connected at the center to lead to various defenses throughout the city.

At present, a large force occupy the center, a bit of a traffic jam if you would, trying to orchestrate the movement of several walkers to specific platforms.

The Sith/Alderaan platform arrived without hesitation, docking, and the dock chief approached with a datapad in hand. "Who the rekk sent you all--REKK! IMPERIALS! IMPERIALS ARE HERE!"

All at once, chaos turned into pandemonium as platforms departed ill prepared. Armor was left stranded, and some thirty-eight (38) personnel were stranded with the Sith and Alderaanian forces. This would not be an easy battle, as forces began to take cover and open fire!

As soon as aid had been rendered, Achlys returned their equipment to their robes, and their saber to their hand. There was no reason to err on the side of discretion now, and as soon as the Lord Ty gave the go ahead, they were already stepping down from the transport, robes dancing around them as they waded into the melee. Well, it was chaos to begin with, but melee now, as they moved and tracked, two of the soldiers falling before they could make their escape to cover. It was an old dance, but one to which they knew all of the steps.

As the train platform lurches to a stop, Alys maintains her footing as she looks down into the chaos. Alchys goes, and so does she, though she's far more flashy about it. The Darth wades, the Acolyte leaps, swinging her sword-form whip at one of the troops and whiffing completely on her way down.

As she lands, getting her feet under her, she flips the grip on the weapon and thrusts it backwards, running the previously missed trooper through. With a flick of her thumb, the blade loosens and slackens, going into whip mode for further carnage.

<<"This isn't warfare...">> Muttering aloud, enough his externals engage and carry the sentiment. Leaning into his steps, approaching the mass of would be soldiers with the edge of his blade rested on his left pauldron. Moving at ambling speed, Bors half sways to one side at the first to come within his range, blade whistling wide of their side when the more youthful sot hustles to one side.

Drawing an exasperated huff, the old man lurches to put the point of the energized blade through the thigh of his dance partner - gauntleted fist crushing their nose and silencing screams - using gravity to help withdraw his weapon, head lifting to check on the others, from Achlys to Alys and then towards Durandus. A faint nod and he continues onward.

Ban Iskender surveys the complex hub of the fortress city's subterranean armour convey network. Protected from orbital bombardment, it was an impressive feat of engineering. He reflected that the defenders were not wrong to feel confident in their preparations. Such confidence required breaking. With his shining scarlet sword in the left hand, the Knight of Tears reaches his gauntleted right hand toward one of the cranes relocating an armored walker, and the massive machinery lurched and ground to a stop against screaming hydraulics. The masked knight declared in a deep and dire voice, "THIS CITY. SHALL FALL." With the words, a violent motion of his right hand sends the war machine from its position toppling free to cross sh an unfortunate trio of brown armored Hydian League troopers. Fuel cells ruptured in the disaster add further chaos to the scene.

The platform comes to a halt and almost immediately engaged, the Death Troopers begin to move forward and into positions. They lay down covering fire for the advance of additional stormtroopers, Alderaanians, and Sith alike. The three Death Troopers exchange updates and notices in their scrambled words, directing fire and pointing out zones of approach vulnerable to enemy advance. While they don't score many hits in their opening salvo, it's enough to keep more than a few heads down. Never mind the walker that's suddenly sent tumbling and crashing through the ranks of enemy combatants, before exploding.

As if the din of blaster fire and dying were not enough, there was the toppling of mechanics and the explosion of fuel. Well, one might say, all in a day's work. And it was work, as Achlys continued to move through the field, though the rising smoke and the need to move to avoid incoming fire made their strikes less efficient than they might otherwise have been. Still, another soldier met their end, and the Sith Lord paused, as if frozen in a moment, their attention momentarily caught by some outside factor. And then they were back in the battle.

As Alys withdraws her weapon from the last victim, one of the nearby troopers takes aim and shoots the Acolyte. Luckily for her, she's flush with the Dark Side and has new armor. She absolutely feels it, the burn of ionized gas pulsing through her torso, but unluckily for the soldier, she feels it far less than she probably should.

Her eyes burn from violet to yellow as she wreathes herself in the Dark Side, moving towards the trooper that shot her, lashing the electro whip around as she charges. Soldiers clear out of her way, but one gets hamstrung with one lash and the next nearly wrenches the poor fool's head off. As she gets to the one that shot her, one flick disarms him. the next wraps the crackling length of metal and plasma around his neck. "You chose poorly."

With a wrench of her arm, there's a sickening crack of bone, and the man goes limp and lifeless. With another flick of her wrist, she untangles the whip from the corpse.

Sparks flying as he is cast into a spin from the impact of the blaster bolt exploding against his armor - the old man is unable to keep himself upright and sent skidding on his back. Grunting and rolling into the motion and coming up to his feet, Bors lets out a huffing grunt. Standing upright and lifting his blade to point towards the one who shot him before its raised before his face in salute.

He's going to feel the rapid arm movements in the morning.

Hunching forward, concealing his need to hunker for breath and then The Black Knight is charging. The thrust parried to one side and the would be hero of the rebellion laughing in the visor of the old man, the expression freezing with the back-draw; the energized blade slicing up between ribs through lungs before Bors steps back, huffing again and regaining his balance.

Darth Durandus strides through the swirling smoke and storm of blaster bolts toward the desperate troopers defending the hub. His sword deflects multiple bolts as the swordsman advances, the glowing blade raised in salute of the doomed foes before his first heinous blow cuts a Hydian trooper fully in half. He pursues a second, who fled his second slash and strikes the man down with a third.

The incoming fire is heavy and the Death Troopers are a testament to that fact. They begin to move from cover despite their injuries. They bravely move forward in the wake of the Sith, offering supporting fire as they work to keep pace with their protectees. DT-X10, DT-4B, and DT-J5 have all sustained injuries; ranging from the minor to serious. Despite it all they move forward, laying down suppressing fire on the defenders as the Sith Empire's team of commandos pushes forward and deeper, plunging into their enemy's ranks.

Many of the Troiken forces were in chaos, being shot or literally cut down by Sith and Alderaanians. The fire nearby from the explosion raged, casting orange glows and long shadows upon the surrounding rock walls. The battle was leaning in favor of Imperial forces, Troiken unprepared for the sudden assault and impending doom. Without the support of those that left prematurely, the HUB was doomed to fall.

Lord Ty took a fizzling shot to the leg, ruining his stance in time for a trooper to collide with him. The two tumbled and the young Alderaanian rolled on the deck, rising up in a kneel and drawing his saber from its home in a silky smooth motion. The withdrawal doubled as an attack, literally disarming his foe with a single pass of the blade. Ty rose up, in pain, and kicked his opponents weapon (and arm) away. They would bleed out in seconds without aid, and surely there was none to be had. Ty moved on, adjusting his cape and limping.

Achlys, noting, perhaps, that the work was winding down, but not yet done, lifted their gaze towards what served as the ceiling of the facility, one of the cranes which still lingered above, awaiting an order for a delivery that would, now, never come, came crashing down, the sheer weight of the machine silencing the soldier caught beneath it before they could utter a sound to mark their doom. The fire bade flashed, but drew no blood, as the fought soldiers now heightened in skill by sheer desperation.

Alys is a whirling dervish of death among these soldiers. Her whip crackles and flashes as she seems to flit in and out of shadows, the electro-chain of her whip lashing out to cut or pierce before she draws back to flit on.

The chaos of the battlefield, the death and fury and pain feed into the Acolyte as she strikes down two more soldiers. Behind her mask, her smile is a brutal rictus, her eyes the terrible yellow of the Sith.

Another blaster bolt against his plates, and only standing because of the thermo-kinetic mesh worked into them to dissipate the force of the strike. Blade tip in the ground with a flex of his knees to absorb the rest the Champion of Thul's head sags for a breath - only to snap back up to earn him a krink in his neck when one of the Troiken comes, intent on stock striking him.

Likely a hope to put him on the ground, to finish him off - one of their associates hot on their heels brought up short when the splash of blood from the would be Destroyer of Bors is laid low.

The old man grunts and steps forward, his upswing wide, but fending off the second assailant. The Knight of Tears continues his mortal march through the scattered remains of the Hydian defenses, cutting down a further trio of panicked troopers. The desperate fight is near enough to its bloody conclusion that he contacts their allies without on a secure channel: <<"The central hub has fallen.">>

The exchange of fire may be dwindling, but it's still heavy enough to result in continued injuries. A garbed shout erupts from DT-4B as he's struck multiple times and finally taken out of the fight in service to the Empire. A quick remark is called out between DT-X10 and DT-J5. If their morale were to break in this moment, they would not be Death Troopers. They acknowledge the loss between themselves. To them it is in the interest of ensuring that they're each properly informed and their plans can alter to accommodate the loss within the team dynamic. Exten and Jayfive begin to move apart, increasing the distance between their respective positions to make certain one stroke of luck doesn't remove them both from the battlefield. Despite the distance that grows between their positions, the pair of Death Troopers continue to coordinate their respective fire not only to dispatch threats against themselves, but to the Sith that they're tasked with acting as security.

With the final troops cut down, word was sent back above that the HUB had been successfully taken, and as much had been apparent when armor support was no longer shifting between positions on the surface. Troiken forces were sustaining heavy casualties, and armor was being targeted by close air support. Additional units were dispatched to the HUB with demolitions and engineering teams to bring down the mountain and wipe out the mining system.

The special tasks group was withdrawn, led back to the command station on the surface to await their next mission. Colonel Nim had not been spotted yet, but word was the most intense fighting was taking place near the palace. Rumor is, that's the next mission.

To be continued...