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Rise of the Black Sun


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YoshiRaphElan
05.08.2013 , 03:19 PM | #11
Chapter 10

Clad in a nondescript black and brown tunic, Jasin leaned against the bar and glanced around the room. He let out a small breath of air through his nose, wishing he were better at being "nondescript." But he wasn't–born to nobility, he had a bad habit of keeping his head held high and his back erect, and his Jedi training kept him glancing around the room, looking for trouble.

"Relax," Doc said through his ear comlink. "You look like you're expecting trouble."

"I am," Jasin hissed. "We both know something's going to happen here."

"Of course," Doc muttered. "This is Tatooine. Ever since you messed up Czerka and the Exchange, Black Sun has moved in with flying colors."

"Oh, so this is my fault?"

"Would you two stop?" Kira said. "Jasin, on your six."

Jasin reached out with the Force, touching the presence behind him. It was slimy, hateful...Black Sun. Jasin resisted the urge to reach under his tunic and pull out his lightsaber. The man walked up and stood behind Jasin. His face was scarred, his hair cropped short and bleached white. His eyes were light brown, but they smoldered with a hateful fire.

"I recognize you," he said.

"You do?"

He nodded. "Yeah. I was here when you came here over two years ago."

Uh-oh.

"So, Jedi, how about we take this outside, before my men fry your droid's circuits?"

Jasin's eyes widened as he understood the threat. They have Tee-seven. He reached into his tunic and whipped out his lightsaber. Its cold, silver-blue blade terminating centimeters from the man's throat. The man hissed.

"I wouldn't," he said spitefully. "If you do, my men get a signal that says I'm dead, and they blow up your droid."

Jasin glared at him. "Outside," he said. "Now."

The man nodded, and together they walked out. Jasin glanced up at the sky as he walked out. Across the street and on top of a roof, Rusk had his weapon trained on the Black Sun man's head. Kira and Doc were hidden in an alley nearby, and Scourge was waiting around the other side of the cantina.

"Where's my droid?" Jasin said furiously.

"He's safe. For now."

"What do you want?"

"A payoff," the man said. "One hundred thousand credits, paid to my account effective immediately. Or else my men dismantle your droid."

"I have a bead," Rusk said. "Give me a signal."

Jasin shook his head in negatively. "Bring the droid here, and then I'll pay."

"Ha! Do I look stupid, Jedi?"

"Do I? I'm not paying you until I know my droid's all right."

The Black Sun thug nodded. "All right, I'll take you there. Come on."

Jasin twitched his fingers in a signal, and Rusk backed off. Jasin's four allies began following covertly. The thug took Jasin to a house about a kilometer from the cantina. They went through the house into a back garage. T7 was sitting on the floor, a restraining bolt on his chassis. A pair of Black Sun mercenaries, a Rodian and a Trandoshan, stood over him.

Dwoo, T7 said mournfully.

"Payment," the thug said. "Now."

Jasin reached for his datapad...and the garage's windows and doors exploded in. A series of blaster bolts caught the Trandoshan in the chest, and another bolt sheared through the Rodian's head. Jasin ducked–and Scourge's lightsaber descended, cutting the human thug's arm off at the shoulder.

"Doc, get Tee-seven," Jasin said. He grabbed the thug by the collar. "You're under arrest in the name of the Republic and the Jedi Order." He shoved the man to Rusk. "Take him to the ship. We're going to Coruscant."

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Adwynyth
05.08.2013 , 04:19 PM | #12
I love this so far. I especially love all the characters you've got in play, and can't wait to see how things shake out with all of them.

Keep going!
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

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YoshiRaphElan
05.09.2013 , 03:27 PM | #13
Thanks! My usual process is: think of a prologue. Think of a general ending. Start writing. Make up as the middle as I go. Yet it usually turns out all right.

Chapter 11

Prudii readied his rifle as the BT-7 docked with the Bilbringi Depot. Behind him, Elara and the others prepared their own weapons, checking their ammo and power cells. Prudii's gaze hardened as he glared at the wall. His hopes were high that Jorgan was here, but a little part of him knew he wasn't.

Bilbringi Depot was the heart of the Bilbringi Shipyards, the long series of space stations that created some of the biggest fleets in the galaxy. Unlike Kuat Drive Yards, which stayed patently neutral, Bilbringi was a Republic-aligned shipyard, and the Empire had been on the edge for years waiting to capture them. With the uprising of the many workers and overseers, it was possible that the Empire would take the chance to come in and take over.

Garza had ordered Prudii to focus on blowing away the rebels so the Republic could solidify its hold on Bilbringi before the Empire could attack. Prudii had decided to mix two objectives–finding and saving Jorgan, and getting rid of the separatists.

"Coming in for a landing," Yuun said.

The separatists had, two hours ago, captured the Depot and sent a message to those Bilbringi officials still loyal to the Republic. They'd said they'd release the mag-clamps on all the stations unless the officials turned over the hyperlane coordinates to the rebels. No doubt they intended to give those same codes to the Empire. So, Prudii and Havoc Squad were to recapture the Depot.

Alone.

"All right, men," Prudii said. "And Elara. Let's move."

The hatch opened–and blaster bolts instantly flashed up the landing ramp, slamming into the ceiling of the ship as Prudii and Vik just barely jumped aside to avoid them. Vik pulled out his vibrosword in one hand and a blaster pistol in his other hand. Prudii stood to one side of the hatch, Vik the other. Prudii held up three fingers, then two, then one.

He leapt into the middle of the hatch and fired down, while Vik rolled down the ramp, firing his pistol, and slashed one of the rebels' legs off with his vibrosword. Yuun and Forex went down the ramp next, the droid firing and the Gand slashing with his electrostaff. Prudii glanced at Dorne, nodded, and charged down the ramp with her by his side. HK-51 came out last, sniper rifle cracking.

Sixty seconds later, the hangar was cleared. Yuun ran over to a console and hacked in, locking down the Depot's internal communications, and reprogramming the automated defense turrets to fire on the separatists. He gave Prudii a curt nod and moved to one side of the closed door.

"Republic Fleet, this is Major Prudii," he said. "We're in."

"Roger that, Major," replied Captain Haken of the Esseles. "We're moving in."

Prudii cut off the comlink connection and moved to the other side of the door, opposite Yuun. Dorne, Forex, and HK-51 took up firing positions directly in front of the door. Vik planted a breach charge on the door and rolled aside, next to Yuun, as the charge exploded. Yuun rolled a thermal grenade in, and its crack was followed by a series of screams from a pair of separatist commandos.

"Havoc Squad," Prudii said, "take-take-take!"

They charged in, moving down the halls and systematically exterminating all the separatists they found. This process was helped greatly by the turrets Yuun had reprogrammed, which had already killed off multiple separatists. They moved swiftly through the Depot, until they reached the cross-corridor where barracks met the armories. An entire squad of separatists waited for them, and as Prudii charged around the corner he had to cease his momentum and land flat on his back to avoid the hail of blaster bolts that shot overhead. Yuun, next in line, ducked back and held up a hand, signaling the squad to stop.

Prudii fired from the ground, cutting down the first five separatists in line. Yuun rolled into the center of the hall and hurled a vibroknife, which landed cleanly in a separatist captain's throat. The captain fell, his rifle firing a few times into the air, and died. Prudii got to his feet and fired a few bursts at a heavily-armed separatist. The sep went down, dropping a grenade launcher. Vik and Forex came next, their weapons firing.

"Clear," Prudii said.

Dorne and HK-51 came in last, weapons raised but not firing. Prudii nodded, sighed in relief, and swung his rifle down the hall with the barracks. When he found no targets, he straightened and slowly lowered his rifle. Yuun, who had taken the armory hall, lowered his weapon, too.

"All targets exterminated," Yuun said.

"Find the prison cells," Prudii said. "See if Jorgan is in any of them."

Yuun nodded. "Yuun is on it."

"Everyone else, with me. Let's get the command center."

"Roger that."

Prudii moved to the turbolift and called it, then stepped aside. The lift came down, and no blaster bolts shot out, so he went in. The others filed in after him. Prudii pressed the command to go to the command center, and stepped back against the left side of the lift.

"Ready...?"

The other members of Havoc gave confirming replies. When the lift reached the top, Prudii tensed. The doors opened, and a hail of blaster bolts flew in, slamming into the back of the lift. Prudii rolled a grenade back into the command center. It exploded, and Prudii whirled, and took down a pair of technicians armed with blaster pistols. Vik and Dorne took down the rest of the enemies on the bridge.

"Move," Prudii said.

They walked to the head of the command center, where the separatist leader stood, arms crossed, looking out over Bilbringi Shipyards. Prudii trained his rifle on the man's back. HK-51 and Forex took up firing positions, while Vik and Dorne took control of the dead technicians' stations.

"Captain Haken, this is Havoc Squad," Dorne said. "We have control of the station."

"Roger that," Haken replied. "We're moving to block all access corridors to the system. If the Imperials come out, they'll do so with the Esseles' cannons up their reactor shafts. Haken out."

"Havoc out."

"You're mistaken to think you've won," the separatist leader said.

"I think you're the one who's mistaken," Prudii replied.

The separatist leader reached down to a control switch at his side. "No," he said. "I'm not."

"Self-destruct!" Prudii said. "Take him down!"

He, HK-51, and Forex all fired, filling the separatist leader instantly with dozens of blaster bolts. But it did not stop the leader from flipping the switch before he died.

"Five minutes to self-destruct," an automated voice said.

"Blast!" Prudii snarled. "Get Yuun up here. If the Depot goes, so does the entire shipyard! He has to shut it down!"

"Roger," Elara replied. "Contacting him now. Leftenant Yuun, are you there? Leftenant?"

"Yuun is here. Yuun is sorry, but Yuun cannot find Jorgan."

Prudii sighed. "Forget Jorgan for now! Get up here before we all go up in smoke!"

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YoshiRaphElan
05.10.2013 , 05:11 PM | #14
Chapter 12

Dha crossed his arms and tried not to tap his foot. He stood in the back corner of the Oyu'baat tapcaf in Keldabe, waiting for Jogo. The other Mandalorian was an hour late. Though Dha was pretty sure Jogo knew nothing of manners, Dha considered it extremely rude and dishonorable to be this late.

Finally, the young warrior entered, his gold-orange armor looking like it had been through two weeks of wilderness survival training, and failed. Jogo had that perpetual sneer on his face that made everyone in the vicinity bop him one in the nose. Unfortunately Jogo had, despite his age, earned a fairly fierce combat reputation, and so anyone trying to do so would likely end up hurting themselves more than Jogo.

Dha, on the other hand, could probably get away with it.

Jogo had stepped up to the bar and was ordering a drink when Dha walked up behind him and swung his fist at the back of Jogo's head. The younger man whirled and caught Dha's wrist, following it up with a punch to Dha's midriff, but Dha dodged aside and swung his other arm in a backhand blow that knocked Jogo to the ground.

"I–ah!" Jogo grunted. "What was that for?"

"Being late," Dha hissed. He knelt. "Now, please, do not do it again, or our partnership is over before it begins."

Jogo got to his feet, rubbed the side of his face where Dha had hit him, and nodded.

"All right," he muttered. "I got it."

"Okay, Jogo, now let's talk."

"Why do you...want to partner with me?" Jogo asked. "I mean, you've got Torian already, and your wife, and the other three. Your credits are already turned into a six-way split, why make it seven?"

"Because," Dha replied, "I hear you're a bodyguard for a smuggler. A particularly elusive smuggler."

Jogo snorted. "That's what this is about. So you're saying that you want me to back out of agreement with Hylo Visz and let you accept the bounty on her head?"

"No," Dha said. "I just have a friend who would very much like me to pass on a message to her."

Jogo frowned. "That's it? We don't get to hunt bounties together, no glorious hunt, no battles? Fine, then maybe I won't take you to her."

Dha rolled his eyes. "Come on, Jogo. You're not that stupid, are you? All right, if you take me to Hylo, I will go on one hunt with you. You pick the target, and you can look at my private list of bounties to choose. In fact, I'll even let you look over the whole list and accept two more of the bounties after our partnerships terminate. You tell me which two before you leave, and if I see you coming near any of the others, I take you out. Got it?"

Jogo's eyes were filled with greed. "Black List targets? One with you, two without? Deal."

Dha nodded. "Good. Oh, and Gault's on the Black List right now, for a reason I can't determine. Don't accept that bounty."

"Okay, fine. By the way, how is the Devaronian?"

Tales of Gault's sacrifice to save Mako had spread over Mandalore, and he was gaining respect for the action even from the dredges of the world's warriors.

"Good," Dha replied. "He's woken up a few times, he even came to Makeb with us, though he stayed on the ship to rest and didn't go down to the planet. He...well, his reaction to seeing himself on the Black List was quite humorous."

"Figures. All right, then. I'll take you to Hylo Visz. After that bounty you promised."

"All right, then, let's head to my ship, and you can look at my listings. Come on."

Jogo nodded. "After you, Champion."

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YoshiRaphElan
05.11.2013 , 10:33 AM | #15
Chapter 13

The thing about being a Chiss, Merok decided, was that he was instantly recognizable across the galaxy as not supposed to be there. So, before going on his next mission, he requisitioned the best disguise he could find.

Makeup and some extra prosthetics around his cheeks and forehead made him look like a human, and he inserted eye-coloring contact lenses that changed his pure red eyes to a more human look, with only the corneas being colored, in this case a deep blue.

He wore a casual tan tunic with a brown vest thrown over it, and had two blasters slung at his sides. He also carried his rifle in its traditional position across his back. To complete his look of a mercenary-for-hire, he wore an ammo bandolier across his chest with a vibroknife slid into a hidden sheath under the armpit.

"How do I look?" he asked Raina.

She smiled. "Well, certainly not as fun as the Nar Shaddaa getup, but you certainly look the daring rogue."

"Thank you...I think. Your costume's not bad either."

She wore simple civilian garb, a blue shirt and tan pants, and there was no sign of her being anything more than a woman you might pass walking from home to work. She had a holdout blaster hidden up her sleeve and another at the small of her back.

"Thank you," she replied.

"Hey, Agent!" called Kaliyo. "Coming in for a landing."

"Roger that," he replied. "I'm on my way."

* * *

Jasin crossed his arms and looked through the one-way glass as Agent Theron Shan, SIS, interrogated the prisoner. Beside him, Scourge leaned against the wall, infinitely patient. Jasin was still having trouble with Scourge. His words, his attitude, were totally at odds with his demeanor most of the time. Whereas he spoke of being Sith to the end and using the dark side, he was always the epitome of calm. He never seemed in a rush, never acted like Jasin expected a Sith to.

Maybe that's what happened when you could live forever.

"About that thing on Geonosis," Jasin said. "What was that?"

Scourge frowned. "What do you mean?"

"That thing you said, when we were running toward the frigate. You said that you could leave us to die and find another Jedi. What was that?"

"I...apologize," Scourge said. "It was not something that I intended to say. Know that no other Jedi could handle the Emperor as you had. I was just concentrating so hard, the words spewed out before I could control them."

Jasin nodded. "Well, just don't let it happen again. Rusk might take you seriously and decide to do something about it."

Scourge smiled wanly. "Let him try."

Theron exited the interrogation room. "That's it," he said. "He doesn't know anything about Black Sun's overall scheme. About anything."

"Thanks for trying," Jasin replied. "Come on, Scourge, let's go."

* * *

Quinn woke with a start and tried desperately to look around. But there was nothing. He tried to suck in air, and all he got was a taste of wet fabric. He started panicking, panting. He tried to yank at whatever was covering his head, but his hands were tied behind his back.

Suddenly, he felt a cold, coin-sized depression pressed against his forehead, and he went completely still. He sighed when it slowly lowered.

"Don't struggle," a rough voice said. "You're not that indispensable."

Quinn nodded his understanding. "Where am I?"

"That's classified."

"Who are you?"

"Your worst nightmare."

A heavy combat boot landed in his chest, and he rolled over in pain. Slowly, he got to his knees, and just sat there, panting. Another voice came from nearby.

"Is that an Imperial accent I hear?"

"Yes. Who are you?"

"I'm a prisoner, like you. The only one like you, as far as I know."

"Nope," the guard said with a tormenting laugh. "There are more. Just separated."

Quinn got his teeth around the cloth covering his head. Maybe...

"Yes, you're a prisoner," Quinn said, "but you're not Imperial. Who are you?"

"I'm a soldier."

"Republic?"

"Well, I'm not Imperial."

"Commando? Infantry?"

"Commando. But I shouldn't be telling you this. Technically, you're an enemy."

"Technically, blast all that," Quinn muttered. "We have to work together to get–"

"Shut up," the guard said.

"Guess you're right," the other prisoner responded. "What do you have in mind?"

"I said, shut up!"

There was a crack like a rifle butt slamming against the other prisoner's forehead, and a groan. Quinn sighed, feeling sorry for the other man, but thanking him silently for the distraction. He bit down as hard as he could, and there was a small ripping sound, so small Quinn thought he was the only one who could hear it. Silently, he worked his boot across the floor, trying to find–

Ah, there.

"You won't get away with this!" he snarled, and braced for what was to come.

The rifle slammed against his head, and he saw stars even despite bracing for it. He rolled over, and as he did he aimed the small tear at the mouth of the cloth at what he'd felt on the floor earlier. The rough outcropping caught the cloth and ripped, ripped–there!

Quinn could see. The guard had his back turned, so he had a moment to get a look around. He appeared to be in a cave, and it was very...wet. The other prisoner was wearing a Republic-issue bodysuit, so his armor had clearly been taken from him. Behind Quinn was the exit from the cave, a long tunnel Quinn couldn't see the end off.

Then the guard turned. "Hey!"

Quinn started to protest. "It came off when you hit me, I–"

The guard fired a stun blast, and Quinn's world went dark again.

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YoshiRaphElan
05.12.2013 , 12:33 PM | #16
Chapter 14

Jasin frowned as he entered the Silent Sun cantina on Coruscant. He and his allies had been meeting here ever since the war broke out, as a kind of place where they could catch up and reminisce between battles and missions. He hadn't been here since just after the Dread Masters had attacked Mandalore.

Pulling his brown robes around him, he used the Force to summon a napkin and thoroughly wipe down the greasy table. It was the same table they always congregated at, so it was a moment of nostalgia. He saw again the events of the previous months, and wished Master Orgus had been able to experience them all.

Gareb entered a moment later and greeted Jasin, then sat down. It didn't take long for Dankin and Backblast to arrive, as well. Jasin frowned.

"Where's Prudii?" he asked.

"Putting down a rebellion in the Bilbringi shipyards," Backblast said.

Jasin frowned. "Hmm. It won't be the same without him."

"So why did you call us?" Dankin asked.

"Me?" Jasin raised an eyebrow at him. "I received a call."

"Me too," Gareb agreed.

"And so did I..." Backblast finished.

"Sorry for the deception, a fifth voice said.

Agent Theron Shan stepped up to the table, pulled a chair around, and straddled it. He greeted each of them in turn, and then pulled out a datapad.

"Why did you call us here?" Dankin asked.

"To give you the full scoop," Theron said. "Okay, you all know something's up with Black Sun. Jasin dealt with them on Geonosis and Tatooine, Dankin and Backblast dealt with them during a convoy ambush, location classified, and Gareb...they attacked you on Tython Station."

Gareb's gaze hardened. "That's who they were?"

Theron nodded solemnly. "Black Sun enforcers."

"An unusual coincidence," Jasin said. "It's not a coincidence, is it?"

"No. Let me explain..."

* * *

Yuun ran up to the terminal and started hacking in. Prudii looked around nervously. They didn't have long, and there was no way they'd clear the blast radius, even if they took off now. He activated his comlink.

"Esseles, this is Prudii," he said. "Pull out. A self-destruct has been armed that will take out the entire shipyard. Go!"

"Major, we can't leave you," Haken argued.

"We couldn't get out if we tried," Prudii said grimly. "Go, we'll try to deactivate the timer."

"Roger that. May the Force be with you, Major."

Prudii winced at the expression. "Good luck, Captain."

Elara stepped up next to Yuun and glanced down nervously at the console. Vik ripped open a wall panel and began working with the wiring there. HK-51 and M1-4X stood back, unable to help in any way, and Prudii felt just as helpless as they must've.

"Yuun cannot deactivate it from here," he said. "We must find the alpha bomb and shut it down."

"Where is it?"

"In the Depot...somewhere. Yuun is trying to find out."

"Hurry."

"Two minutes," Elara muttered.

"Mournful statement: I will remain behind," HK-51 said, "and try to delay the detonation. I may be able to stop it long enough to allow you to get out alive."

"No!" M1-4X argued. "I will stay."

"But you'll be destroyed."

"Observation: You are more important to the destruction of the Empire than I am, Major. I cannot in good conscience allow you to die here."

"Obviously," Forex said, "HK is more valuable than I am in assassination. Go."

"I can't let two brave soldiers and valuable assets die."

"Irked statement: You must go, Major!"

"No."

"Blast you!" HK-51 snarled.

"Sir, this is not acceptable!" Forex groaned.

Prudii raised an eyebrow, but smiled. "I'd be mad if you weren't trying to do an honorable thing. Thank you, HK. And Forex, it is acceptable. No arguing."

"Resentful reply: It was the least I could do, Major."

Prudii nodded. "Don't be resentful HK. I couldn't be more proud of you. And you, Forex."

"Hey!" Vik called. "C'mere!"

Prudii and Elara dashed over to where Vik was. He ripped a few more wires out of the wall.

"Guess what I found?"

Prudii whistled.

"The alpha bomb."

Vik nodded. "Yep."

"Can you disable it?"

"Sir, if you had wires, I could disable you. Step back."

"One minute," Yuun called.

Vik worked for several tense seconds, getting a hold of the bomb and working at the control panel and the wiring. Prudii tensed as the seconds went by, knowing they were dead.

"Five," Yuun said.

Elara closed her eyes, and Prudii wrapped his arms around her.

"Four, three, two..."

Vik ripped a handful of wires out. "Bomb disabled."

Prudii sighed in relief, and kissed Elara hard on the lips.

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YoshiRaphElan
05.13.2013 , 01:41 PM | #17
Chapter 15

"And the Black Sun shouldn't be nearly that influential," said Theron. "In fact, based on what has happened on Makeb, and with Dread Master Styrak, the Hutt Cartel should be the most influential crime family in the underworld. Black Sun's rise makes no sense."

"They've got funders," Backblast said. "Question is, who?"

"Agreed," Jasin said. "This bears investigating."

"Already on it," Theron said.

Suddenly, there was a commotion at the cantina entrance, and a bouncer went flying back into the wall. Scourge, Iresso, and Akaavi ran in. Another bouncer looked up and stepped toward them. Scourge lifted him with the Force and slammed him against the wall.

"What's going on?" Jasin demanded.

"We were attacked," Akaavi said.

"They took Zenith," Iresso said. "They tried for Qyzen, but you know how he despises the thought of being captured. You should've seen him fight. Never seen anything like it..."

"They got Guss, too," Akaavi added.

"Our crew is undamaged, surprisingly," Scourge muttered.

"Who was it?" Jasin demanded.

"We think Black Sun," Akaavi said. "They all wore dark blast armor, and..."

Suddenly there was a series of whirs, and half the cantina's patrons had blasters pointed at the table. Jasin grabbed his lightsaber off his belt and hissed.

"This was a trap," he said.

"Looks that way," Theron muttered.

"They've been watching us," Dankin said. "They knew we'd come in here."

"We can fight out," Scourge hissed.

Theron nodded. "Capture ain't an option."

"On my mark," Jasin said. He ignited his blade. "Now!"

He leapt forward, his silver-blue blade hissing in the night, and slashed the arms off one man. Blaster bolts instantly started criss-crossing the room. Jasin kicked a table over on top of two Rodians and a Weequay, and then turned and Force pushed a Nikto away from Dankin. The smuggler kicked a human between the legs, shoved him away, and rolled behind an overturned table.

Scourge and Gareb leapt into battle, lightsabers and thrown objects filling the air. Jasin turned and bashed a Duros just above his right eye, and the thug collapsed. The bartender was reaching for something under the bar, but before Jasin could react Theron Shan fired a blaster bolt into the man's ribs.

Iresso and Akaavi stood back-to-back, Akaavi cutting down enemies with her staff while Iresso shot people too far for Akaavi's flamethrower to reach. Jasin leapt to the next floor of the cantina and cut a large man's sniper rifle in half. The man pulled out a vibroshiv and leapt at Jasin. Swiftly, he used the Force to render the man unconscious, and then leapt down to knock out a Gamorrean charging bodily at Gareb.

"Outside!" Jasin said. "Go!"

"I'll cover you!" said Iresso and Dankin in unison.

They glanced at each other, nodded. Reluctantly, Jasin took out two more thugs and ran out the door, Gareb and Scourge behind him. On the way out, Akaavi fired her flamethrower, torching the potted plants and several spilled alcoholic drinks.

Jasin paused outside, his mouth agape. Everywhere, Coruscant Security Force officers were trading blaster bolts with Black Sun thugs. Jasin reignited his lightsaber and hurled it at a Zabrak about to attack a civilian woman and her child. The lightsaber cut the alien clean in half and returned to Jasin's hand. The mother and child ran away to the safety of a CSF vehicle.

"This isn't just a coincidence," Jasin said. "This is an uprising!"

* * *

Quinn had been joined by several other prisoners, some of whose voices he recognized–at least, Andronikos Revel. There were others, who sounded at least familiar, but he did not know them. One was a watery-sounding voice, leading him to believe it was a Mon Calamari or Quarren. Another voice was gruff and unfeeling, and Quinn's radar said "career politician."

"Five of us now," Quinn said.

"Shut up," the guard said.

After so many hours, maybe even a day or two, the guard had ceased to sound annoyed. He didn't even hurt them anymore, he just muttered in boredom. Quinn could sympathize–he was now trying to count the threads in the hood covering his eyes, but it was too dark to do so.

"Five of us," the watery voice said. "Any of you got Force powers?"

"I said, shut up!" the guard growled.

"No, I don't," said the first prisoner Quinn had met.

"Neither do I," added Andronikos.

"Or me," muttered the politician.

"Next person to talk gets shot," the guard growled.

Quinn tapped his boot on the floor in two quick, precise raps–a code he and the first prisoner had worked out in the time they'd been here. Then, he braced for pain.

"I don't," Quinn said.

The stun bolt whizzed through the air–and grazed Quinn's arm. Quinn rolled over and heard several loud thumps. He caught the ropes on his arms in the outcropping and pulled. Hard. The ropes came off, but blood soaked his wrists, and he winced. He reached up and pulled his blindfold off.

The first prisoner had the guard on the ground, and he slammed his head into the guard's. The guard groaned and collapsed, unconscious. As Quinn had suspected, the watery-sounding prisoner was a Mon Calamari, and Andronikos was in the room, too. The political type was a Twi'lek. Quickly, Quinn freed them of their bonds. The prisoner who had taken out the guard was a Cathar.

"Nice work," Quinn said.

"Looks like we're in this together," Andronikos said.

"Much as I hate to work with an Imperial," said the Twi'lek, "he's right."

"I'm Guss Tuno," the Mon Calamari said. "You guys?"

"Andronikos Revel."

"I'm called Zenith," the Twi'lek said.

"Malavai Quinn."

"I'm Aric Jorgan," the Cathar finished.

"Anyone got a plan?" Guss asked.

"I do," Jorgan said. "We take the guard's weapons and shoot our way out of here, steal a ship, and get to a civilized planet. Then we go our separate ways and bring forces back here to bomb this place to a crater."

Quinn shrugged. "Sounds good to me."

Jorgan picked up the guard's rifle, sighted it, and nodded, satisfied. Quinn knelt and picked up the holstered pistol. It was a less-than-ideal weapon, but it'd work. Guss got the guard's vibroknife, but Andronikos and Zenith glanced at each other in disappointment when they realized there weren't any more weapons.

"Don't worry," said Jorgan. "Few more guards and there'll be enough dropped weapons for you. Let's go."

Quinn nodded. "Quickly now. Come."

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YoshiRaphElan
05.16.2013 , 02:57 PM | #18
Chapter 16

Backblast shoved Dankin down behind a speeder as blaster bolts shot overhead. Dankin felt air whoosh out of his lungs, reached for his blaster, and found it out of arm's reach under the speeder. He winced, rolled over, and with a grunt grabbed the blaster. Then he reached down and pulled out his offhand weapon.

"Ugh, we need backup," he muttered.

"Working on it," Backblast replied. "I can't cut through the interference."

Dankin jammed a thumb over his shoulder. "How about using the CSF command speeder?"

Backblast grinned, nodded. "You missed your calling, little brother. You'd have been a great strategist."

Dankin shuddered. "Perish the thought. While you're at it, call Corso and the others and get them down here."

"Right."

Backblast dashed back to the CSF speeder, and as he did Dankin threw down a personal energy shield and ducked behind it. He waited for a wave of blaster bolts to spatter in front of the shield, and then stood and barraged the Black Sun thugs with fire.

* * *

Darth Nox stood beside Darth Marr, staring down at Kaas City, and felt rage boil up through his lekku. Below, hundreds of Black Sun enforcers ran rampant through the city, terrorizing the citizens of the Empire. Nox squeezed his hands into fists, let out an angry hiss.

"This cannot go unpunished," he growled.

"It will not," Marr replied, a threatening edge in his voice. "Nox, you send your Dashade and the rest of your servants down to fight. I will summon the Mandalorian who has served us so well."

Nox nodded. "What of the Emperor's Wrath?"

"Already fighting."

* * *

Methic leapt among the thugs, slashing them limb from limb. Jaesa stood beside him, spinning her double-bladed lightsaber and reflecting blaster bolts back at shooters. On Methic's flank, Vette knelt, pulled her twin blasters, and opened fire. Pierce shouldered a rocket launcher and fired at a Black Sun speeder mounted by a squad of enforcers. Broonmark blorrp-ed out an enraged bellow and leapt in, his vibrosword swinging from side to side in wild strokes as he decapitated enemy after enemy.

Methic hurled both his lightsabers. They came around, sheared through two enforcers, and landed back in Methic's hands. Then he whirled and did a back-stab that impaled a large Weequay. The alien fell, dropping his assault rifle.

Finally, reinforcements arrived–a full battalion of Imperial Special Forces, each squad led by a Sith Apprentice or Lord. Lightsabers and blaster bolts flashed, the heroes of the Empire protecting its citizens. Methic turned, slashed diagonally, and cut a human enforcer in half before he could impale an elderly man cowering down in the street corner.

"Go," Methic said.

"Thank you, My Lord," the man babbled, and ran.

* * *

Quinn rolled out into the tunnel and fired. The blaster bolt caught a Gen'Dai guard in the chin, and the alien dropped, but did not die. Jorgan shouldered his rifle and fired a full round into the Gen'Dai. Finally, it died. Zenith ran forward and swept up the dead alien's rifle, while Andronikos took the alien's blaster pistol, and Guss took its vibroknife, now wielding one in each hand.

"Move," Quinn said.

The group stepped down the hall–and Quinn whirled and fired a blaster bolt into the roof of the cavern. The shadow he'd seen leapt aside, dropped to the ground, and charged forward. Jorgan raised his rifle, but the dark blur slapped the rifle away and grabbed Quinn by the throat.

"Cease," it commanded. "If I wanted to hurt you, I would have already killed you."

Quinn nodded, and the shadow released him. It was a Cathar, like Jorgan, Quinn saw, though that was where the similarities ended. It had pitch-black fur and dark blue eyes that made him blend into the shadows. In addition, he wore a flexible combat suit and had a blaster strapped to his right leg.

"You must tell your governments of what transpired here," he said. "My name is Jodark, but time is brief, so I cannot explain how I came to be here."

"What exactly do we need to tell?" Quinn asked.

"Tell them Black Sun–"

There was the sound of marching feet, and Jodark hissed. He whipped out his blaster and whirled, firing a blaster bolt behind him.

"Go!" he said. "Get out! Tell your forces to come here!"

Quinn nodded. "Fight well."

"Thank you. Now, go!"

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YoshiRaphElan
05.17.2013 , 10:14 PM | #19
Chapter 17

Jedi reinforcements had arrived, as had Republic Special Forces. Black Sun was being routed–but not enough were being killed or captured. All that ended up happening was Black Sun was being centered in one primary area; they were being forced into their own territory, where they had all the advantages.

"There's got to be a different way to go about this," Master Shol Bestros of the Jedi Council said.

"Unfortunately, there isn't," Gareb replied firmly.

Gathered in the triage/command center they'd set up around the Black Sun speeder pad, the Jedi Council, Republic Command, SIS, and CSF were standing around a giant holomap of the area. Unfortunately, to minimize civilian casualties, they were having to play this Black Sun's way, forcing them into areas they knew, where the Republic would take more casualties but Black Sun couldn't hurt innocents. Jasin and the others had been air-lifted out of the area around Silent Sun cantina about forty-five minutes ago, and the battle had been raging hard since then.

"A quick air strike could end it," observed SIS agent Jonas Balkar.

"Too much collateral," replied Director Marcus Trant, via holocall.

"We have to do this the hard way, unfortunately," agreed Master Satele Shan. "This is bad. It's pulling us back from the frontlines, giving the Empire time to advance."

"Incorrect, mo–ah, Master Shan," Theron Shan said. "Certain spies on Dromund Kaas indicates the exact same thing is happening there."

"Really?" Jace Malcom asked incredulously. "Black Sun is planning something big."

"I sense something more behind all this," Gareb said with a frown.

Backblast nodded. "Nothing for it. We'd better get back to the fight. Is Havoc Squad on planet yet?"

"We've summoned them," General Garza said. "They're en route now."

"Good." Backblast motioned to a squad of soldiers and CSF officers. "Let's go."

* * *

Merok crossed his arms and stood in front of the pair of Black Sun vigos. He glanced around. The building was small, shabby, nothing special. But they'd blindfolded him on the way in, obviously not wanting him to know where he was being taken.

"You want to join Black Sun," stated one vigo, a female Togruta.

"Why?" asked the other, a male Zabrak.

"Why not?" Merok countered. "Black Sun is the place to be if you want to earn big credits."

"Sure," the Zabrak said. "But that don't mean you got the skills to join."

"Want me to prove myself?"

For this mission, Merok had dropped his distinctive accent. It would put them on the defensive. Still, he found himself accidentally inserting a bit of accentuation into the word myself.

"Yes," the Zabrak said.

The two thugs behind Merok–the first, large and muscular, a Trandoshan, the second lean but athletic, a Duros–lunged. Merok whirled in an instant. They'd taken all his weapons: rifle, pistol, shiv. So he'd just have to do this the old-fashioned way. Turning, he grabbed the Duros by the neck and hurled him into the Trandoshan. Then he brought his left foot up in a roundhouse kick at the Duros' head, but stopped short, whirled, and punched him in the right temple. The Duros collapsed. The Trandoshan regained its footing, lunged. Merok rolled aside, grabbed the Trandoshan's belt, and pulled. The alien was too large for Merok to sling him around, but his move nonetheless halted the Trandoshan's momentum, bringing him crashing down. The reptilian rolled over and stood up, claws outstretched, and Merok brought his knee up between the Trandoshan's legs. Not waiting to see if that hurt the alien, he brought his fists together, clapping the alien on his ears. The Trandoshan crumpled.

Sixty seconds or less had passed, and Merok had defeated both enemies without taking damage himself.

"Impressive," the Zabrak said. "We'll bring you to the overlord. Come."

* * *

Quinn jerked the control stick on the light freighter they'd stolen. Jorgan, in the upper cannon, opened fire, tearing a hole in the cave ceiling. Quinn flew out–and was startled when he came out in a labyrinth of pipes and metal. He juked left, barely avoiding crashing into a sewage pipe, and blew through to the surface.

"Jorgan," he said. "Get up here, now."

Jorgan darted into the cockpit, and as he did his jaw slackened. The others, behind him, had similar expressions. Quinn nodded glumly, sitting back to look at the display before him.

"We're on Coruscant," he said. "And it's under attack."

"Makes sense," Jorgan said. "There are underground reservoirs, and we probably were in one just now."

Quinn nodded. "Right. And if that was really Black Sun that captured us, Coruscant is their logical base of operation."

"Only they're attacking it," Guss muttered.

"Right."

Suddenly, there was a tracking alarm, and Quinn tried to pull the ship to his left. His gut felt like it had a block of ice in it.

"We're caught in a tractor beam," he said. "And it's not a Republic ship."

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YoshiRaphElan
05.18.2013 , 11:43 AM | #20
Chapter 18

As Skadge piloted the Mantis over Kaas City, Dha checked his armaments. Blaster pistol, flamethrower, jetpack, wrist grapple, vibroknuckler. Check. He grinned and slammed his helmet down and ran down to the hold. Torian and Jogo stood by the exit hatch.

"Ready?" Dha asked.

"Ready," replied Torian.

"We're over the heart of the action," Skadge called.

"Go-go-go!" Dha said.

He, Torian, and Jogo leapt out of the ship and activated their jetpacks. They shot down and Dha was horrified at what he saw. Hundreds of Sith and Imperial troopers were fighting Black Sun thugs. Dha had never seen the Sith, supposedly evil beings, protecting innocents, but it was an inspiring sight.

Dha dropped into the streets, whipped up his blaster, and shot a Black Sun enforcer in the back of the head. Then he turned and shot an explosive dart at a thug behind him. Jogo landed beside him, whipped out his vibrosword, and slashed a thug from shoulder to hip.

Torian landed last, spinning his techstaff so fast it deflected blaster bolts into the ground and even a lucky few back at the shooters. Dha shot forward on his belly, sliding under Torian's legs, back-flipped, landed on his feet, and shot back behind Torian's shoulder to kill a Nikto behind him.

"That was impressive," Jogo said.

"That's nothing," Dha replied with a grin.

He activated his jetpack, shot into the air, and dropped a barrage of rockets on a squad of enforcers. He deactivated his pack, dropped to the ground, and fired his grapple. It caught a human around the waist, and Dha yanked him forward, driving his fist up into his chest. The guy dropped, unconscious.

"Dha!" someone called.

Dha whirled, surprised, and saw Methic across the square, his lightsabers lit and a trio of corpses lying in front of him. Dha grinned and nodded to Methic.

"Fancy seeing you here," Dha said.

"It's like the old gang back together again," Methic replied.

"Except, no Nox or Cipher Nine."

"Actually, Nox is fighting thugs up at the Citadel."

"Good riddance. I do wish Cipher was here, though."

Methic nodded. "Would be good to have him."

* * *

Prudii's ship dived low over Coruscant. He was about to land, when suddenly the comlink squawked and a familiar voice came over the comm.

"Any Republic ship, this is Aric Jorgan! I am caught in a tractor beam at these coordinates and need immediate help."

Prudii yanked the ship to the side and shot toward the signal. Elara ran into the cockpit, alarmed, and stood behind Prudii. Vik and Yuun followed her in.

"What's going on?" asked Elara.

"I just got a signal from Jorgan."

"Where?"

"Over the Works," Prudii replied.

Vik slammed down into the weapons' station and started firing at Black Sun starfighters. Prudii spun the BT-7, dodging blaster bolts shooting overhead. Vik tore a hole in one starfighter, rotated the cannon, and blew the engines off another.

"There!" Yuun said. "The freighter. It is being pulled into that Black Sun command ship."

"We're going in," Prudii said. "Forcibly."

He pulled the BT-7 into the Black Sun ship's hangar, loaded his rifle, and stormed down for the exit ramp.