Title: Last Resort
Description: Volindet, Maris
Volindët Caldwen - July 1, 2009 05:09 PM (GMT)
Nothing like a new mission to start the day. The uniformed woman gazed at the variety of ships before her, sizing up each of the cargo loaders as they did their pathetic jobs. She didn’t quite understand how someone could choose such ordinary and boring work. I guess someone has to do lowly work. Her face remained neutral and bored, silver orbs traveling thoughtlessly over the people far inferior to herself. For only a Corporal, she had the mind of a High General.
Deciding it would be better if she scanned on board for potential mistakes by the Privates assisting their mission, Volindet strode confidently up the ramp and on the main aircraft. Exploring the various rooms and compartments was more difficult than Volindet thought. There were far more Privates on board than she originally planned, disgusted as each rushed past here, colliding with her in some fashion.
In one instance, she nearly shoved a Private, merely eighteen by the looks of him, gangly and frightened, through the side of the transport.
“Honestly, boy, watch where you’re going!”
“Ye – ye – yes ma’am.” He stuttered, saluting and running past her in a whir.
Taking a deep breath of the aircraft's stench, she sneered. If there were going to be any more of those she would do more than send someone through a wall. Exhaling slowly, quelling her anger (as much as it could be), she began walking, her face in a slightly more disgusted distort than before. It was a common expression, that sneer; one eyebrow perked and eyes narrowed. She looked as if she was on a constant mission to kill, which she often wasn’t, as killing wasn’t her style. But pain was. Pain, manipulation. It all came second nature to her, as did the battle she yearned for now.
It had been mere hours since her early morning training, the clock hitting somewhere before lunchtime; but she was only hungry for a duel, a spar, anything to get her adrenaline pumping. Maybe there is a worthy enough opponent accompanying myself, she thought, gazing at the men – she scoffed: boys – surrounding her. Rolling her eyes, she decided that was a no for the time being.
She made her way lazily to the cockpit, where, already, someone sat checking over the controls in front of him... a her, maybe? The short, dark dreadlocks before her registered something of familiarity, but she spoke without hesitation.
“Do you think our comrades will show some time before we leave?” She sunk slowly into the co-pilot’s chair, crossing her legs, back straight and head forward. She needn’t look the pilot in the eyes, she decided. He hadn’t earned that privilege yet.
“I’m beginning to think we have incompetent soldiers, seeing as this is the third attempt at making base on a planet far beyond Confederation reaches. This shouldn’t be difficult, if we think it through properly. Tell me, what is your name?” She didn’t see the need in presenting a falsehood, a kind side to herself, if there ever was such a thing. She figured that merely making acquaintances would do her better in the end, in case she needed assistance later down the road.
From what little morning she had gone through, she knew this would be a long trip.
Mercury Flux - July 2, 2009 03:37 AM (GMT)
Contentment rang out in the euphoric tone of Mercury's hum as he brushed fingertips lightly over the flashing buttons and cold switches that covered the panel before him. Like a musician working on a new symphony he worked his way through extensive programs to prep the resting giant of a ship and allow access for the countless little bodies that swarmed about it. Through the transparisteel window he could see them, little ant-like figures dashing around the grey surface of the spaceport. The place they were heading was small, much too small for what they needed, but the basics were here and they would build up. First the foundations would be laid, and then the superstructure would be formed atop it. The prospect of being a part of this build was what made the Lorrdian so pleasant in mood, though he was rarely feeling otherwise. It was that knowing that what you were doing was having a giant effect on the planet, that what you were building was going to be standing long after you were gone. They were making history, and it was terribly exciting! Thumper couldn't wait to get down there and working, but right now his piloting skills were needed here. Soon though, he'd get stuck in with the rest of them.
The hum continued, a delightful little tune that he'd heard on the radio a few times. He liked having the thing on during long, tiresomely boring journeys like the one he'd just been on. Hyperspace was nice and quick, but still, it was laborious work; especially when you'd seen what hyperspace looked like a million times over. Music was a love, a passion, and it filled his voice as the tune broke down into a carefree little riff. He felt good; today would be good. For once he could stay relaxed for the most part, feeling safer amongst his fellow Confederates. They were already doing a sterling job securing the spaceport at the other end and moving the cargo onto the ship; everything was going to plan so far. The Lorrdian lifted his legs, crossing them as he sat in the large pilots chair and continuing with his work, a buoyant smile on his face.
Even the Grand Admiral was accompanying them, which only provided an even greater feeling of serenity. She was well known for being a competent commander, and someone who always went about her work in a professional manner, never letting herself get distracted. There had been some rumours that she'd been badly injured during an attack, but hearsay was always to be taken with a pinch of salt. Whatever the case, she was here, he knew that, because only moments ago he'd seen her strolling across the spaceport floor through his windshield, a cluster of officers fervently trailing in her wake like little children desperate for attention. Right to work, no doubt, as every Confederate soldier should be. There would be time for drinks later, for now, there was a task to be done.
It was then that someone entered, not for the first time, to shuffle around in the cockpit. Thumper assumed they'd be looking for maps, communication codes or even something as insignificant as a datapad, but this one was soon recognised as different, because this one came and sat down. No one ever sat down while a pilot was going through his checks. Not because they weren't welcome, but because even watching them do the stupid things was exhausting mentally. It took a special kind of patience to be willing to go through them so meticulously, and it wasn't rare for other corps to snub them for it. The process was all part of the job though, and it wasn't one that Mercury could really ignore. Believe him, if he could he most certainly would have; they were no more thrilling for him.
His head turned instinctively to try and pin a name to the face, to calculate in his head in less than a second what kind of interaction was most appropriate. Unfortunately, this was not someone the Lorrdian had come across before, this person was entirely new. In fact, this person didn't even belong to the Navy, let alone the Starfighter Corps; evident by the uniform she donned.
“Do you think our comrades will show some time before we leave?”
Peculiar speech pattern, odd tattoo, who exactly was this person? She had some stripes, though only enough to get her recognised as a Corporal. These things were unimportant though, because either way Mercury would greet her with a friendly smile and a pleasant word. Though those tattoos . . . They had to mean something, the Lorrdian was stalled in his memory though, running through everything that could possibly be linked with the artistic patterns. Nothing came though, which was a rather big pain. His humming ceased, his head titled and he looked on at the woman with an amiable gaze. He even took a pause in his preparations briefly to show his full attention was with her; he could multi-task; he'd done these checks countless times before.
"The ship's pretty much ready to go," he replied in a kindly, light tone as his fingers returned to their work, his eyes straying every so often to make sure the digits were hitting home. "There's not much more to be put on either, I don't think. We should be off in a little while."
She seemed eager, perhaps for the same reasons as Mercury. It was all rather new to him really; he'd never been part of setting up a base. The work wasn't really suited to him, the Lorrdian thought, but he'd signed up anyway, just for the experience. That was what he'd joined the Confederation for, after all; to experience the galaxy that so often evaded people. He didn't want that, he didn't want to die having not known that he'd made the most out of his time. That was a sad fate, a horrible one that almost dented the pilot's good spirits, but it was an end that he wouldn't experience, he'd make sure of it. This was just one small, tiny, miniature step in the many that he'd take in life. Really, this barely registered on the map because there would be so many more to come yet. He was young, he was free and he was feeling extremely adventurous. Another glance to the young lady beside him, and his curiosity started to whir. What was her story? the Renegade thought, what were her motivations? Had they been in a bar he'd have burst into inquiring questions, exchanging little tidbits and filling in gaps they both had about one another. Alas, this was a mission, perhaps doing too much would be irresponsible; they were supposed to be working.
“I’m beginning to think we have incompetent soldiers, seeing as this is the third attempt at making base on a planet far beyond Confederation reaches. This shouldn’t be difficult, if we think it through properly. Tell me, what is your name?”
Lips pursed at the negative manner, his confident wave blunted slightly by its solidity. Well, that wasn't the nicest way to phrase it, though she was perfectly right. Several times a base had been pursued, but as of yet it had not been fulfilled. There were perfectly good reasons though, the Lorrdian was certain of that. No Confederate simply gave up, because that wasn't how the military worked. You were given something and you completed it, or you didn't try to begin with and faced the consequences. Granted, not everyone in the organisation were sweet apples, but that wasn't to say that everyone should be condemned. There would be people accompanying them that would only serve to hinder the mission, but they needed to be rooted out early so as to prevent any major disruption. That done things could proceed, and the hard workers could go about their business without being harassed. They would do it this time though. There was nothing to suggest they couldn't; they had the resources, the strength and the manpower. All signs pointed to success, and by pointing himself towards that target Mercury would more likely hit it.
"I'm Mercury Flux, but everyone calls me Thumper," he replied, perking up at the step towards more casual conversation. This was what he preferred, to sit and chat and get to know the individuals he worked with. Friends were something the Lorrdian had in large swathes, but he would never think he had too many; you could never have too many friends, it was ridiculous to think otherwise. "I get the pleasure of flying this clumsy wagon of a ship. How about you, Corporal . . .? What do you do?" He waited for a name, allowing a long pause for her to fill it in. The Lorrdian deliberately left out his own rank; it wasn't really something he dealt with until they were out in the field and decisions or command had to be made or decided. Right now they were just two people sitting around, having a chat and waiting for the mission to set off. Besides, formality was such a bore.
Xira Stone - July 2, 2009 09:31 PM (GMT)
Organised chaos was never better represented than in the Confederation spaceport as they prepared for what would be a monumental effort to bring Myrkr underneath their control. There were people everywhere, a sea of black uniforms moving with precision and purpose, against the looming backdrop of the Star Destroyer, Crucible, and its accompaniment. This undertaking would be the third or so attempt in the series of failed efforts to assert a military presence upon the forest planet; the only difference was that this time, they would succeed. Everything had been planned and primed at merely a moment's notice and while this caused a bit of confusion, and a whole load of last-minute transfers, it wouldn't do more than slow their start down a bit. The Confederation was an animal that did as it was told when it was told to do, regardless of extenuating circumstances. High Command had seen this as an endeavour worth taking, and so the rest of the Confederation was immediately committed to making the venture a reality.
As opposed to previous trials to place a Confederation presence upon Myrkr, one of the Grand Admirals herself would be joining the operation. Xira Stone had taken a personal investment in this entire mission and would see it through to completion, one way or another. Contrary to her doctor's orders, she was embarking alongside her soldiers to personally manage each and every aspect of the Confederation's progress planet-side. In all probability, she should have been resting, but inactivity had never been a uniform that she wore well. As long as there were things that needed doing, she could not be lazing about. A wound was just a wound, and hers would heal like any other. In the meantime, she had to show the Galaxy that it would take more than a lucky blaster shot to stop the Confederation's advancement. She had to show everyone that she was not intimidated by her near-death experience, and that she would continue to lead the Confederation as she always had.
More than that, she was prepared to take her revenge upon the Mandalorians whom had so provokingly boarded her ship and attempted to take her life along with the hundreds of others that they had during their assault. The insult of that was more painful than the wound itself for Xira. Even the memory alone was enough to incense the otherwise emotionless woman. Her bodyguard, Nrghrr, had suffered seriously during the attack and was still recovering a week later. Men and women that she'd personally picked had died aboard their own ship. And worst of all, the Atonement, the jewel of the Confederation fleet, was being cleaned and remodeled. T-visors were known to have recording devices and if any of the footage from the Mandalorians assault managed to find its way to the Alliance, then they would have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of her ship. It was a costly inconvenience to alter the interiour, not to mention remove all the blood and scorch marks, but a necessary one as well. With the Atonement out of commission temporarily, Xira had been forced to choose a second ship along with a crew that she was not as familiar with. All of it was inconvenient, and all of it could be traced back to those troublesome Mandalorians.
The rumours of the Mandalorians having a base on Myrkr was known to Xira, and in taking this into account, it was likely that they would find trouble upon the planet when attempting to set up their own base of operations there. Such was among the reasons why she was bringing so much firepower as the Pallaeon-class Star Destroyer possessed. If any Mandalorians so much as lifted their heads up to look at the Confederates, she was more than prepared to blast them away. In fact, should they find the location of the base itself, it would be a temptation that would test her resolve not to destroy it immediately. But Xira was nothing if not disciplined, and she would stick with the main objectives for the time being -- those being of securing a landing site for all ships and defenses, procuring a perimeter around the soon-to-be base, beginning building, and also speaking with the peoples of Hyllyard City. Negotiations was what she would primarily be doing, applying political pressure was simultaneously reassuring those of Myrkr that assisting and protecting the Confederation was what was best for them. Which it was, she was convinced.
Officers of varying rank and position flitted around her as she headed towards the docking ramp to the Crucible. Tens of hundreds of voices in the spaceport competed with one another, many for her attention, but she spared few more than a cursory glance or moment's notice. She had a job to do, she could not bother herself with the more menial tasks that some of her subordinates would have heckled her about. She moved through the crowd with a predetermined gait, not slowed by anything or anyone; people quickly shuffled out of her way as was the usual custom when dealing with their higher ranking officers. Beside her was her faithful droid, 4D, whose failing back on the Atonement was not forgotten, but rather pushed to the background of many other thoughts. The droid would be useful on this mission, it would be a chance for it to prove that it was still efficient enough to get its assignments done. It had been reskinned to its previous configuration, looking better than new, but it was still the same old droid. And if it didn't improve itself, perhaps a new model was needed.
She didn't pause in her stride even as she ascended the steep docking ramp into the bowels of the ship. Many Star Destroyers of this class followed the same layout, more or less, and she knew ships as well as she knew the back of her hand. Starships were the backbone to her strategic profession, and her life and those of her soldiers were often dependent upon how well she knew and could command them. Navigating the corridors was as second nature to her as anything else when aboard a space vessel; it was her element and she looked comfortable in it. It took a good ten minutes for her to reach the bridge even without getting lost, the ship was that large. Once there, she took her usual position at the helm, standing straight before the viewport which presently showed nothing that she hadn't seen while outside the ship. Preparations were still being made, aboard and outside, and it'd still be a half hour if not more until they departed. In the meantime, Xira would make sure everything aboard the Crucible was ready, as well as sending ahead a message to make sure that the Myrkr government -- such as it was -- knew that they were coming.
The downside of being on a ship other than her flagship was that the majority of the crew was unknown to her. Their uniforms showed their ranks, and it was by that that she referred to them as. It would make for trouble later, perhaps, but since she was not about to memorise a list of however many thousand men and women were aboard it couldn't be helped. In all truth, the Crucible was a fine ship. It was just not her ship. It wasn't a fair comparison to make either when her Super Star Destroyer was literally the largest ship in the entire Galaxy, and she might even boast it as the best too. Still, so far, she'd observed the crew to be sufficient enough for her service, and if they excelled in their designated tasks then perhaps they might even be given a transfer over to the Atonement once she was back up and running. Xira needed some new blood to replace all that was lost during the Mandalorian's on-board strike. Plenty of people would jump at the chance to serve aboard the ship beneath her command, but she had a personal tradition of hand-selecting those whose abilities she would come to depend on during conflicts. Maybe she could kill two birds with one stone during this mission and scout out some new officers for her ship.
"You, Midshipman," she ordered, turning to one of the officers at a nearby terminal. He looked young, almost too young. She hoped he wasn't as incompetent and inexperienced as he looked. Again, with it not being her ship, she couldn't yet appraise the crew's strengths and vulnerabilities. Hopefully this lad wouldn't prove to be one of its weak links. "How long until the ship finishes its checks and is prepped for departure?"
Leto De'Vol - July 3, 2009 04:46 AM (GMT)
Leto seated himself in the terminal, setting among the other fish that were quickly trying to get everything in order for takeoff. Steady fingers that had done this time and time again in simulations worked among the keys that he had studied on in the academy, but there was a difference now; this time it was real. The midshipman made quick work of his duties, going through all the things that he personally needed to get read for the launch. Personally he didn’t know if he was going to see much action, but he was still holding back, and waiting to see if he got to do anything other then just stay behind the terminal, and wait for what was going to happen next. The small role he had in the entirety of the ship was minimal, but as it was he didn‘t feel brave enough to test what would happen if he did screw it up, so he took extra care to take common procedure to the max while working.
The Pellaeon-Class Star Destroyer was one of the largest, and most heavily armed machine that Leto had ever been on, much less manned. With over one-hundred and fifty different arsenals aboard, and almost fifty fighters to boot, this mechanism was made for one thing; domination. Thousands of people worked around the clock while it was in flight to make sure that it maintained the optimum level of efficiency and accuracy. The bridge was larger then any star fighter he had ever been in, and even some larger classes of ships could be fit in the large vicinity. In all honesty it was a work of art in more ways then one that not only such a hulking mass could run at all, but that the people were able to work in unison, and know everything that needed to be done so that it maintained that condition for more then just a few hours. The midshipman sat very strait, the primed and proper form of the Confederacy never slouched, nor did it ever stop moving, even for the most drastic of instances. Rumors had started up recently that Grand Admiral Xira Stone had recently come into a situation that had left her injured, but now that particular point of gossip had been a lie. There was little, if no was that there could have been an assault on the Grand Admiral that would have left her wounded, and she would be able to be on active duty on the Crucible, but there stood the figure of the woman above him, as the name suggest, like a stone. Although, the part about her ship being renovated must have been right, because there would have been no other reason for her to be commanding this one other wise.
Leto himself had been given orders three days ago that he was going to be immediately transferred to the Crucible, and had given him explicit instructions to report here instead. Everything since had been a milling of confusion, and chaos as they had hurriedly attempted to get this fully-manned, and ready for flight in time for this mission. They were supposed to be going to a planet named Myrkr to set up a base there, and make negotiations with the inhabitant currently in the planet. It seemed fairly easy on first sight, although he had been informed that there had been several unsuccessful attempts at this same mission in the past, although Leto thought that this time there was more prestige with them, and more experience as well. They would win this fight. He also knew that there were sightings of Mando on the planet, and that made him slightly nervous for it. The midshipman’s former relations with that particular group of people had gone very awry, and if he ever happened to meet one again he was sure he’d blast their heads off before they got the chance to do the same to him. That was the only thing that made him think that this could go very sticky at all, but he didn’t think it could get too bad considering that they had a floating army with them, along with a few other fighters that would be arriving via transport. The Confederation had went to great lengths to make this a reality, using a lot of their resources, and Leto knew that this would be the time that the mission was finished.
Instantly his training whipped into action as his head jerked around to look at the direction of the voice, even if it wasn’t directed at him. Almost to his disappointment it was directed at him, and his eyes met those of the Grand Admiral’s, peering at him as from where she stood. Taking a thin gulp that he hopped was hardly seen by her, he waited for her command. It was one thing to be on the ship with the woman, it was an entirely different thing to be addressed by her personally, but Leto put every effort he could into keeping a calm head as she addressed him.
"How long until the ship finishes its checks and is prepped for departure?"
For a second his mind went into overdrive as it started to ask if it could even do that, and the only thing he could think of for a second was to look back at the terminal before him. Processing what she said, he quickly worked his mind into figuring out what she wanted, and he had to stifle a sigh of relief as he figured out he was able to do what she wanted. Pulling up the right information he quickly scanned it over, and figured out about how long it would take before they got the hunk of metal off the ground.
“It should take approximately twenty-five minutes, Grand Admiral.” The midshipman blurted out as quick as was possible, while still making sure what he was saying wasn’t some random jabber that he had thrown together in haste. Of course he hoped he was correct, because she didn’t look like the one who took kindly to mistakes, even small ones as that.
Maris Kala'myr - July 3, 2009 11:17 PM (GMT)
The previous mission to Myrkr had been scrubbed before the system was even encountered. The pacification fleet dropped out of hyperspace far from their goal and plotted back to Dolomar. Increased Alliance activity required the ships elsewhere and bringing a new world into compliance was considered a low priority by the High Command. Maris Kala'myr had been a part of that mission. It was disappointing that the last attempt had failed before it had even started. It was a shame for the Confederation, but even more so for the people of Myrkr. They were living under lawlessness and without the Light of the Confederation to guide them. That was the past, however, and how the lives of everyone on Myrkr would be brightened and enriched by the Dolomarian presence. Myrkr was leaving an age of strife and entering a golden age that would be looked upon jealously for millennia to come.
At least that was what Maris had been programmed to believe.
The reality of the situation was not as cheerful. No doubt the Confederation presence on the planet would be begrudgingly tolerated. The economy would slump as the new rule established itself and new tariffs and regulations were imposed upon the people. Simply put, Myrkr would pay for the honour of becoming a Confederate protectorate. There would be riots, of course. And much loss of life would occur when the riots were brutally put down. But Myrkr would eventually be brought into compliance under the Confederation's thumb.
There was an excitable quality to the reprocessed air of the starbase. It buzzed with activity as thousands of black uniformed officers directed an even larger force of deck crew decked in bright, colour-coded jumpsuits across the immense deck leading to the Crucible's berth. Trains of carriages rushed to and fro, buffered on invisible repulsors, transporting equipment to the Star Destroyer's holds. Mass conveyers ran the length of the vast vaulted ceiling, hoisting multi-tonne shipping crates on hardened durasteel cables.
The stocking efforts were coming to a close after spending the better part of a standard week loading the Crucible with enough supplies to establish a self sufficient military outpost on Myrkr. Everything had been taken into account, vehicles, field generators, prefabricated structures, communication arrays, weapon emplacements, excavators and earth movers, the list was endless. Even though they had fallen below the half-hour mark, the rate of supply remained constant; Confederation efficiency at its best. Everyone and everything had its place and knew what was expected.
Maris walked with a relaxed gait, easily keeping pace with the injured Grand Admiral Stone who hid it very well. The droid was perhaps only one of a few who could see that Xira was still not one hundred percent. The transpired events aboard the Atonement had been classified for morale reasons. The rank and file didn't need to know how close the enemies of the Confederation came to decapitating one of the hydra's heads. For all anyone knew, the Grand Admiral's flagship was in for standard maintenance and refit.
Keeping a few steps behind her master, as was expected, Maris knew her place and didn't stray to her side. The Grand Admiral had been in a furious mood after the events aboard the Atonement and no one could have blamed her. Maris had emerged from the ordeal battered and her synth-skin epidermis and the synthetic musculature beneath were all but destroyed and hung from the metallic framework like scraps of cooked meat. The skinning had taken the better part of a day and Maris was back to work like nothing had happened. That had helped to dispel the rumours that had surfaced about the massacre upon the Atonement.
In a change of pace, the droid had discarded the standard Confederation uniform that she wore on a daily basis for a sharp trouser suit of expensive grey fabric, a pressed wide collared white blouse, and black stilettos. She sported a pair of trendy glasses that she had no medical reason to wear and had her dirty blonde hair set into a tight braid that bounded about her shoulders. With a data-slate cradled in hand and stylus pinched between her index and middle finger, she observed the loading process represented upon the matte screen and through her networked connection to the Crucible's host computers.
Following diligently behind her master, the Grand Admiral entered the bridge. Officers snapped to attention at her indomitable presence. Maris smiled politely and nodded to various bridge staff that looked at her oddly. She continued to smile all the same and adjusted the rimmed spectacles perched upon her re-sculpted nose.
"You, Midshipman, how long until the ship finishes its checks and is prepped for departure?"
Maris frowned behind the glasses as Grand Admiral Stone asked a midshipmen for the ETA. That was something she could have easily provided. Various data points had been plotted since the incident upon the Atonement that suggested a disturbing trend that Xira was displeased with her actions as of late. Maris desperately wished to rectify that. But what Maris failed to grasp was how she had failed and fallen so far from the Grand Admiral's good graces. She had acted as ordered upon the Atonement. Whatever her failures in Grand Admiral Stone's eyes, Maris would make amends, she had to.
"It should take approximately twenty-five minutes, Grand Admiral."
Taking the young midshipman's approximation, she double checked his calculation and nodded in approval, although Xira had barely even looked back to her since entering the bridge. She smiled to the midshipman, Maris could tell through a number of factors how nervous he was in the Grand Admiral's presence. Maybe she could help alleviate some of his nerves. Her eyes flicked from the midshipman to Grand Admiral Stone, willing and eager to fulfil any order that was issued.
Volindët Caldwen - July 5, 2009 09:29 PM (GMT)
"The ship's pretty much ready to go. There's not much more to be put on either, I don't think. We should be off in a little while." The dark skinned man was light toned, calm, kind. He was far from the stereotyped Fish; dark, cold, and vicious. She almost respected that. Almost.
Kindness is mercy. Mercy is weakness.
Weakness has no place in my world, she wanted to shove in his face, but she refrained from doing so, merely to keep the conversation low key. She needn’t make enemies this far in the beginning, no. She needed backup, people to trust her, to confide in her. So she could step on them when the perfect time came.
"I'm Mercury Flux, but everyone calls me Thumper.” Seriously? "I get the pleasure of flying this clumsy wagon of a ship. How about you, Corporal . . .?” Well, he was either curious or trying to make casual conversation, making a joke like that. She suddenly had the urge to punch him. Jokes like that and the people that told them were what annoyed Volindet the most. Her lips formed a taught line, somewhere between a smile and a grimace, Volindet trying desperately to find it in her to forget the incident. It couldn’t be found, but she suppressed the urge to linger on it.
“Corporal Volindet Caldwen.” She replied curtly, still eyeing the view from the front window. What looked like ants swarmed in and around the docks and through lines on the ships, completing their duty and exiting, returning for more cargo to last the entirety of the initial base completion. Across the docking bay, Volindet studied the Crucible in all of it’s magnificence. So it wasn’t the legendry Atonement, the Grand Admiral’s own ship, but it was a hell of an aircraft.
Speaking of the Grand Admiral, Volindet had been told last minute that Xira Stone herself would be accompanying the mission. Hadn’t she attempted this mission before, and failed – on numerous accounts? Volindet only hoped that Stone’s presence wasn’t a reoccurring threat to the mission, seeing as she wanted and needed both the credits and the promotion that was offered. Dear Force how she needed the promotion; there had been no other such missions that could even bring her closer to advancing rank-wise. All Volindet knew was that no matter what, the Grand Admiral would not compromise this mission, no matter the circumstances.
“What do you do?" Flux inquired a moment later. He was still running over the pilot controls, barely glancing down at the flashing switches and knobs under his probing fingers. A decent pilot, owning her own ship, but never die-hard about flying, Volindet was impressed with the ease at which Thumper could operate.
“I’m a combat strategy and weapons specialist. Something of use to you people on this mission. I know it will be completed, but I fear what may have had to change for the Grand Admiral to continue this mission, considering the past failures.” Obviously, there were circumstances that had to be adjusted from the past missions in order for it to be a success. This time, there were no questions unanswered, no stations left unattended, no minute left empty for free time. It was all business, all hard work, and Volindet expected the rest of the crew of all the ships, Midshipmen and Grand Admiral alike, to act as such – to act as Confederates.
“And I’m not sure Grand Admiral Stone can handle this. She’s been under a lot of pressure lately, what with the not-so-secret Atonement raid. Not to mention her injury.” She was sure this would somehow get back to Stone, which could not happen. “Not that I’m bashing her, she’s an impressive woman. There’s no question why she’s Grand Admiral. I just hope that this mission is a success for not only the sake of the Confederation, but for the sake of her as well.”
Well, not exactly. It wasn’t that Volindet detested Xira Stone, she just wanted her position, which couldn’t happen unless Xira Stone was no longer in the picture. If the Grand Admiral happened to slip down a flight of stairs and land on a very sharp object, that would be unfortunate. Unfortunate, but unlikely. For now, Volindet would simply have to work her way up the manual way.
Mercury Flux - July 6, 2009 01:32 PM (GMT)
The pilot backed up slightly, leaning into the controls in front of him as the woman suddenly began to . . . He wasn't entirely sure what she was trying to do. She looked in pain, but Mercury had no idea why or what was causing it. Nothing had changed in the few seconds, but the odd . . . movement that her face muscles had taken seemed to indicate this. His eyes wandered, looking about their environment in a bid to identify exactly why she was so uncomfortable. She couldn't be . . . Oh . . . Oh. The Lorrdian's eyes stopped. Abruptly. Women troubles, best to leave those well alone. It must have been a pain -- excuse the pun -- to have to come out at a time like that. Hopefully there wouldn't be too much running about and whatnot, for her sake, though a Confederate had to work through many difficulties and, er, that was just another one lined up for the female soldiers. He could sympathise, not because he could imagine what it must be like, but he could appreciate the kind of distraction that could cause. Poor soul.
“Corporal Volindet Caldwen.”
The name came like a brick wall. Not because Mercury had heard it before, or indeed was surprised to hear any part of the three word sentence. It was like a wall because there was absolutely nowhere to go from there. Even his skills couldn't work when nothing was given to him; he wasn't superhuman. 'That's a nice name,' really wouldn't suffice. 'Ah, a corporal,' was just running into a dead end. It was militaristic in it's manner, and brought no creative additions. Normally the Lorrdian would pin this down to a reluctance to talk, and he could respect that; some people had perio- . . . times when they just wanted to be alone, or even sit in silence. Being a pilot brought him into contact with every kind of person imaginable, but never had he come across someone who sought him out -- a complete stranger -- only to prove averse to speaking. Had it not been her to sit down and strike it all up? Then again, that had only been complaining; maybe she was just venting. Should Mercury vent back? He wouldn't know what to say; he didn't want to bad mouth anyone unnecessarily, and especially not aloud. Maybe this was a test! Volindet was sent to test his loyalty. Hah, good luck trying to get something out of him!
"[ . . . ] I know it will be completed, but I fear what may have had to change for the Grand Admiral to continue this mission, considering the past failures.”
This was totally a test; no one would dare say that about a Grand Admiral at such a volume. Anyone could be walking past and just catch a few words here and there, and that was all that was needed to open up an inquiry into the issue. There were harsh penalties for showing such disrespect on the brink of such a monumental mission. Insubordination was never tolerate in any military organisation, or indeed by any officer. Thumper wasn't sure whether he should be doing something or not, but surely it was just a slip of the tongue. She probably didn't believe it. The entire charade was to try and make him say something. He didn't know why they were targeting him -- perhaps because the Renegades were renowned for being a bit rebellious, but this one wasn't singing for anyone. Mercury got along swimmingly, and nothing was going to change that now, especially not some bad-mouthing, overly confident Corporal.
"You don't get to that position without failing a few times though. Have you never made a mistake in your life? She'll be an advantage, especially if we encounter any hostiles; a Star Destroyer is a great deterrent."
He doubted Volindet could be entirely without fault; no one could be. There was always something that people regretted, that they could have done better or that they'd failed completely at. It was a fact of life, and it wasn't something to be embarrassed about. So long as you picked yourself back up again then there was no harm. If you gave your all then that's all anyone could ask of you. Mercury made plenty of mistakes, though thankfully they came at less life-threatening times; he'd yet to mess up royally during a space battle. But he was still here, Volindet was still here and so was Grand Admiral Xira; they'd not let their stumbles turn into falls.
"[ . . . ] I just hope that this mission is a success for not only the sake of the Confederation, but for the sake of her as well.”
That was better. Being concerned about someone's well-being was a virtue, and Mercury couldn't deny that at time he'd wondered whether -- if the rumours were true -- whether Xira should be exerting herself on this one too. It was a simple setup really, one that any number of officers could lead, but there was a certain amount of respect Thumper had for her knowing that, despite the injuries, she was going to give her all in the Confederation's interests. It should grit and determination that was sometimes missing from the ranks, and restored some faith in the hierarchy that sometimes seemed so slow to act. There very well may have been motives behind the entire thing -- a step to promote herself on the political stage, perhaps -- but that was all guesswork, negative guesswork at that, and Volindet was doing enough for the both of them.
The tattooed woman was a peculiar one, though Mercury would try to reserve his judgement until he knew her a bit better. At the moment she seemed like a very grumpy individual, though he didn't want to get into that again. Perhaps the waiting was making things worse; Thumper didn't like inactivity either. Once they were up and running, busied with jobs and tasked with the work they were there for Volindet would become a bit friendlier towards her fellow Confederates. Only time would tell, but Mercury was a busy man and he wasn't sure there was enough of that to spare.
"I think she'll be fine; they wouldn't have let her come if they didn't think she was up to it, and there are plenty of other officers to take up the slack if her wounds start effecting her," he said, trying his best to reassure any worries the Corporal might have. It was a habit that came from the Renegades, and he didn't even realise he was doing it.
This was all such gloomy conversation though, even if it was something that everyone would be talking about. Grand Admiral Xira would be the hot topic until they got there and she could possibly show that there was no way her early brush with the enemy would effect her. It was ridiculous to think it would, not among the leaders. What kind of leader would she be if it did? No, things would trundle along and people would soon forget all about it. Speculation was pointless, a waste of time that could be done doing countless other jobs. It wasn't like there wasn't anything to be doing; setting off for an expedition was a hectic thing that insisted on everyone being in the right place and doing exactly what was asked of them. Speaking of which, what was Volindet doing up here?
"Were you sent up here for a reason, or . . . ?" He didn't really want to end that sentence, because there was no manner in which he could put it that would sound nice. The other option was that she was just wandering around, but that brought connotations of her slacking, which he was sure she wasn't; she seemed much too eager to succeed for that to happen. That said though, what was a Corporal doing all the way up here?
Xira Stone - July 6, 2009 08:15 PM (GMT)
Xira didn't need to be trained in any sort of physiological interpretation to notice the young man's discomfort. He seemed nervous, and well he should be. The Grand Admiral didn't tolerate any sort of misbehaviour from her subordinates, accidental or not. In such a perilous era as this one, there could be little to no room for error. Even the most seemingly marginal miscalculations could result in catastrophic damage later on. High Command reviewed this which they referred to as the 'ripple effect' on a constant basis; it was supported by the theory that every action had an equal reaction somewhere down the line. A small mistake here could put an entire mission in jeopardy there, in other words. As a Grand Admiral on the council, she spent no small amount of time plotting out points of success and failure along a proverbial timeline and making suppositions as to what effects that they'd have later on. Thus far, by her estimations, the Confederation was still going strong, but the Alliance/Mandalorian allegiance had an innumerable amount of lasting repercussions that would have to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Myrkr was going to be one such stepping stone, not a beginning or an end but somewhere in the middle. The forested world was located in a strategic position off the Hydian Way and at the very edge of the Inner Rim. When identified on a galactic map, it even appeared to be a connecting point where the Inner Rim, Expansion Region, and Mid Rim converged. Suffice to say, the Confederation could use such a planet for exploits into each galactic region. The spread of their dominion could be done conveniently from such a critical location. Not only that, but Myrkr had natural properties that were ideal for protecting any military installations that they'd like to put ground-side. Top Confederation scientists had told her that due to the high metal content of the flora, most sensor equipment would become either confused or even inoperative. This which had proved frustrating for finding the hidden Mandalorian base would turn around and be advantageous when founding their own facilities. And finally, there were said to be some interesting creatures by the name of Ysalamiri that were rumoured to be capable of rendering the Force inert. Such an abnormality like that could not go ignored, although it was not a priority like the others.
“It should take approximately twenty-five minutes, Grand Admiral.”
She gave a curt nod of acknowledgment. That sounded about right, and was a satisfactory time table for her. It meant that within the next half hour, they'd be departing Dolomar's atmosphere and headed to Myrkr. From there, the mission would really begin. "Very good. As you were, then, Midshipman."
As predicted, loading and ship checks were soon completed and the Crucible along with its convoy of additional support vessels were lifting off from the shipyard. A few minutes after that, they were breezing past the frigid wastes of the Dolomarian surface and ascending into the blackness of space. Coordinates for Myrkr were plotted and set, and the entire Confederation made the coordinated jump into hyperspace. Stars stretched into white lines along the sides of the ships before blurring into that translucent blue that tunneled around them. Although it took the better part of two days to reach their destination, the journey proved uneventful. Locked in their route, there was very little to do but wait and prepare for their arrival which would not likely receive the warmest greetings. While the government was willing to speak with the Confederation, the Grand Admiral knew that they weren't going to just dive right into an agreement. That was why she had come, they needed to be persuaded. Not to mention the Mandalorian threat which she considered less speculation, and more fact. Everything would work out, however, she would see to it.
Minutes ticked off on the control panel's chrono as the final preparations were made. With a slow lurch, the convoy departed hyperspace. A vast, dark green orb filled the viewports. Myrkr, it certainly didn't look all that impressive with its overabundance of vegetation and lack of civilised cities but Xira knew better. Appearances could be deceiving, and this planet fell into that anecdote rather well. The Grand Admiral in times past had come to the realisation that the planet was remarkably resilient considering both its location and resources; it was such a perfect place for the Confederation that it would be a crime to leave the system this time without achieving what they'd come here to do. Failure, in this instance, would not be tolerated. If Xira had to sacrifice some of her own blood to take this world, she would. It would be what was best for the Confederation and, by proxy, the rest of the Galaxy. Unless the military superpower retained control, anarchy would flourish and then where would everyone be? It would be a return to the darker ages of civil war, something that no one wanted.
"Send a message to the capital, notify them that we've arrived and that I will be ground-side as soon as possible to speak with the Hyllyard City officials," Xira ordered the nearest technician who scrambled to do as he was told. In all probability, the Myrkr natives already knew that they were there -- the Star Destroyer and its accompaniment wasn't easy to miss -- but diplomatic formality dictated the delivery of such a notification. Her final orders were given to the current second-in-command, a thick-set human by the name of Admiral Bareff. "While I am away, I expect the designated teams to begin their sweeps of the nearby area but remain in contact at all times. If any native resistance is met, do not engage without my expressed authorisation first. These negotiations are fragile things, you understand, and I should hate to upset our hosts through any unfortunate incidents." She paused, a final thought striking her. "However, if you encounter any Mandalorians . . . they are to be shot on sight. Make certain that my orders are relayed to the troops and carried out effective immediately."
"It will be done at once, Grand Admiral. I will not fail you."
A dismissive nod. "See that you don't."
She swept out of the bridge with cold dignity, motioning for 4D to follow with a simple hand gesture. As soon as the two were out of earshot of any fellow Confederates, the Grand Admiral spoke to her droid companion. "Much rests on our procuring a permanent place on this planet, and that means managing a peace with its peoples," she explained. "I do not expect the leaders to go along with this easily, but they must be made to understand that this is what is best for their planet's survival. I will need you to monitor their vitals as well as their speech and body language; if there are any inconsistencies between what they are saying and how they are acting, I need to know of them." The ship shuddered as the landing gear was extended, signaling the final approach. "And, Maris, there can be no mistakes this time."
Leto De'Vol - July 12, 2009 02:16 AM (GMT)
"Very good. As you were, then, Midshipman.”
The moment of nervousness was up as those words run through the air, still fresh off the tongue of the Grand Admiral. For some reason he felt reassured by the look that her aide gave him, somehow she always seemed to be very welcoming and friendly. The midshipman never really knew what exactly she did, nor had he ever met her, but she seemed like a polite person. The woman, however did look very young to be following around the Grand Admiral as a personal assistant, people of the Confederation never sacrificed efficiency for beauty or appearance. This woman, whatever her name or rank was must have been very good, and very impressive to be able to be in the position that she currently ranked at. There had never been more of a reason to meet someone then out of curiosity, and although Leto doubted that he would ever meet her, if he ever had the chance he would grab it. Besides just being interesting in background, Leto would admit that was appealing in other ways too.
Looking back at his terminal he was astonished that she had picked him, it just sunk in that there were at least a hundred other officers older and wiser than he was who could have told her the exact thing. It made him feel better that he could do it, and that he didn’t have to tell the admiral that he was ignorant, and had no clue. Being one of the youngest on the ship mean that he wasn’t expected to know everything, but like everyone else he was expected to learn what he didn’t know so he didn’t want anyone, especially not the grand admiral, thinking he couldn’t keep up with the standards that were set.
As the diagnostics had predicted the large Pellaeon-Class star destroyer was ready to go in the time specified. Before the midshipman knew it they were among the stars that so many people had attempted to chart, but little had been done outside of the galaxy. They were to enter hyperspace any second, though, and everyone was also preparing for the moment when that was to happen. It was much easier to maintain hyperspace than to actually enter it. Especially for a craft of this size you had to plot directions, and make sure that nothing was going to run through you on the way. That was where the navigators came in, they would be the ones that were making sure that they ended up at Myrkr, and not some distant sun, planet, or asteroid belt. The latter two would kill them with little to no chance of being able to save the ship or very many of it’s passengers. The former would be inconvenient, and annoying more then anything, but would only mean that a few of the people in charge of plotting their destination would get to figure out their mistakes, possibly on a mining planet. Before the young man knew it, though, they were speeding through space as streaks of stars danced by them in a never ending volley. It would take a while for them to get to their destination, and Leto would just have to do a few minor things along the way.
For two days the ship moved through space at their backbreaking speed, zooming towards the planet where they would begin their occupation. The tedious tasks that he was specified to do where little more than to watch systems, and make sure that something didn’t go unchecked. It wasn’t the most exciting thing to be setting and doing for two entire weeks, but it at least gave him some time to set and admire the space that floated by them. Space had always been something odd and intriguing to the man, everything about it seemed to be majestic, and the mystery of it had always allured him to it’s cold touches. Eventually the lines of hyperspace faded away, and they entered the space around the green planet of Myrkr. The entirety of the planet was huge, but it seemed so insignificant as he looked at it. There didn’t seem to be a dot of civilization on the entire planet, he had been told that the metallic content of the trees made sensors act sporadically, and sometimes failed to work completely. That was probably one of the reasons they wanted this planet so bad, although, he knew that there must be something else that was drawing them to the planets depths. As Xira spoke to specific people, the people on board the command bridge began preparations for the next step in this mission.
Maris Kala'myr - July 14, 2009 04:24 AM (GMT)
The midshipman was looking at her. Maris didn't know why he was, but she kept her gaze firmly on him. She smiled politely and blinked once. His biometrics was processed in the time it took to raise her eyelids. Pertinent information about his service record with the Confederation laced her cerebral processors. He showed a trend for displaying initiative. Such a trait would serve him well in the years to come. That is, of course, if he that same trend didn't claim his life. Throughout the Confederation's substantial records, initiative was a double edged sword to many in its infinite ranks.
Grand Admiral Stone left the bridge and Maris nodded a quick goodbye to the midshipman before following at her master's heels. In the semi-private locale of the corridor, Maris noted more of the frustration and edginess that had consumed the Grand Admiral as of late. She was still upset about the Atonement, Maris knew that much. However, what she didn't understand was why the Grand Admiral continued to dwell upon it. Reflecting bitterly upon the assault could in no way undo the slaughter or her near death encounter. They continued down the stark corridor until they were alone, then Xira addressed her.
"Much rests on our procuring a permanent place on this planet, [...] I need to know of them."
Maris nodded simply and said, "of course, ma'am." There was nothing else that she could have said to that. She understood the logistical and tactical reasoning behind a Confederation presence on Myrkr. The Grand Admiral did not need to explain such obvious things to the droid. But of course Maris would never vocalise such impetuous thoughts and nodded politely, agreeing with every word that Xira said.
"And, Maris, there can be no mistakes this time."
"Of course, ma'am," she repeated as if on a sycophantic loop. Though, she could not recall a time when she had failed in a diplomatic capacity. She would perform her duties admirably as she always did. Maris was not one to slouch in her responsibilities—ever. It was almost insulting.
Volindët Caldwen - July 30, 2009 02:36 AM (GMT)
"You don't get to that position without failing a few times though. Have you never made a mistake in your life? She'll be an advantage, especially if we encounter any hostiles; a Star Destroyer is a great deterrent."
Volindet snorted inwardly. She knew that one had to 'fall a few times.' But to her, it certainly didn't mean three separate incidents vying for the very same mission. How many times did the Grand Admiral need to get it right? Conquer and captivate, that was Volindet's motto, or at least one of them. If some destroying ensued, so what? The Confederation certainly had enough supplies to rebuild itself. Myrkr did not, however. If the small forested planet were to be bombarded by, say, an unknown force, then who would be there to help them back on their feet? The Confederation.
Thoughts such as these raced through Volindet’s mind, as they always did. She never really realized what she was thinking until afterward, when she went through them much more thoroughly. It wasn’t that she was such a spiteful person, she just let her thoughts get away from her every so often. The only problem was that she often spoke without considering the feelings of others – not that she particularly cared about their feelings.
"I think she'll be fine; they wouldn't have let her come if they didn't think she was up to it, and there are plenty of other officers to take up the slack if her wounds start effecting her,” the dark-toned man finished, almost reassuring himself.
Officers like me, she thought. Wait. That was it! …to take up the slack if her wounds start effecting her… As long as the Grand Admiral’s wounds remained hidden and well nursed, there would be no need for someone to step in. Otherwise…
Volindet inhaled slowly, a smirk gracing her lips. A heavy silence filled the air between them, but Volindet took no notice. She was busy in her thoughts as her eyes strayed to the thin streaks of stars that glowed past them as they entered hyperspace.
“Were you sent up here for a reason, or . . . ?" Merc’s voice bounded through her thoughts.
“No, I was merely roaming th docking bay when I came across a small, outerworld-bound ship and decided to board it for the hell of it. Who knows, maybe my commanding officers won’t notice I’m gone.” Her head turned slowly to the pilot beside her, cocking her eyebrows. She needn’t add her next words, but chose to anyway. “As I said before, I’m the combat strategy and weapons specialist. I was assigned here in hope that this mission might actually get completed.” Small talk was boring. And irrelevant.
“Are we done? There are some things I must see to.”
It had been an eventless flight to Myrkr, but as the small fleet of ships approached the planet, Volindet felt something in the pit of her stomach. It was excitement, nervousness - no, Volidnet Caldwen did not get nervous – anticipation. She reveled at the thought of finally completing the mission that had failed so many times before, earning her promotion, working her way up through the ranks. Now was the time to succeed. Now was her chance to really perform as she knew she could. Now was her time.
Mercury Flux - July 30, 2009 10:38 PM (GMT)
Hyperspace was beautiful, it never ceased to amaze the Lorrdian, though most of the time he was much too concentrated on a greater task to fully appreciate it. The swirling colours as stars, planets and nebulas flashed past in seconds. There was something intrinsically peaceful about the process, which was fortunate because it took a while. Journeying to Myrkr was no small feat, but the Confederation was large enough and well resourced to make it seem like a minor operation. In fact it was several large transports, with an accompaniment, coordinating their efforts to effectively move a dismantled base from one planet to another. Everything they'd need for several months were aboard the ships, as well as what would make up the base itself. The logistics were mind boggling, especially when they seemed to click together with such efficiency, as if it were just another small puzzle for the Confederation command. Time was to be wasted now, since there was little else anyone could do to prepare them any better for the eventual landing. Sitting and waiting, it was probably the hardest part, but everyone had their method of getting through it. Mercury's was to chat with people, but unfortunately he'd been stuck with a less than pleasant individual by the name of Corporal Volindet Caldwin.
“[ . . . ] Who knows, maybe my commanding officers won’t notice I’m gone.”
What had happened to the Confederation? When Mercury had signed up they'd been after enthusiastic supporters of the cause, but not only that, people with ability and maturity. It hadn't been easy for him to get through the filtering system, and even harder still for him to excell enough to be granted the privilege of joining the famous Renegade Squadron. That had been a few years ago now, and it made him feel old even at the age of thirty. So much must have changed since his time in the Academy for someone so immature to pass through. Not only pass through but get promoted as well! Corporal might not have been much, but it was supposed to be a rank that separated a person from the privates. A position that said a person had qualities that might, one day, prove to be material for one of the higher positions. So far, from their little chat, Mercury had seen none of this. All he'd seen was a brat who needed the back of the hand to be put back in line. Who was she to question the abilities of superiors she'd never met? Assumption was a one way ticket to failure, and though there was times when it couldn't be helped, leaving the practise out whenever possible was advised. Grand Adrmial Xira Stone was leading them, end of. Whether you liked it or not there was no democracy in the military; they'd signed away that right along with several others to allow themselves to be crafted into useful tools for the government. If you weren't willing to trust your superiors, then you needed to be transferred right away. Especially if you were going to act like a smarmy little runt.
“As I said before, I’m the combat strategy and weapons specialist. I was assigned here in hope that this mission might actually get completed.”
There was no hiding the incredulous look that plastered the Lorrdian's features. He disliked being mean; there was no need for it. Nastiness got you nowhere with people, especially those that you were working with. It isolated you, and put a target on your back. If that's what Volindet wanted, then Thumper wouldn't stop her, but in the ruthless business of promotions snapping at superiors wasn't going to help her case at all. Certainly, he'd not be putting in any recommendations, and he doubted that Grand Admiral Stone would be either at this rate. What ridiculous tactics she had. Mercury was finding it hard to believe she was real. It had to be some kind of act being put on for humours sake. Not only did she bad mouth the leader of the Confederation forces, and indulge in childish mutterings towards another superior in Mercury, but believed that she alone would be the linchpin of the mission. The pilot believed in the importance of everyone, yes, but for one person to be the defining success? Please. Conner and the others would have a field day with this woman. It was fortunate they weren't here really; Volindet had been lucky enough to get the one person least willing to beat her back down. Conner wouldn't be happy though; arrogance was something none of the Renegades seemed to possess. Even Hadrian simply had assurances in the skills everyone agreed he was good at.
“Are we done? There are some things I must see to.”
On his last tether Mercury did his best to occupy himself with his work. If he kept his hands busy then perhaps Volindet wouldn't have to experience what it felt like to be shot into space, because Mercury was fully willing to choke her. The woman was a marvel, she truly was. A marvel of how even with so many eyes prowling the lesser ranks some people slipped through. Whoever believed her to be worthy of even the Corporal strips needed to be checked, because surely they'd been tricked. In Mercury's opinion, she didn't deserve to even coordinate the unloading, let alone serve as "combat strategy and weapons specialist". Though, it sounded like one of those titles officers gave people who they knew were difficulties. It probably meant she would deliver maps to her superiors, and check the stock on the shipment of weaponry brought along. She was ridiculous, truly beyond belief.
"Please, strategise your way the heck away from me. Consider that an order."
With that he turned to his controls, placing the ship down carefully on a part of the landing bay afforded to it. The entire operation was like parking a rancor on a speeder, but with the help of several computers and his own experience with craft everything went smoothly. Pressure was one thing that wasn't on the Confederates shoulders today, and it was strange but relaxing at the same time. Another smooth landing to add to the books, just as Thumper liked -- as well as his superiors, he was sure. Systems were shut down one after the other in a process mirroring earlier but backwards. It would take some time, but that was no problem; Mercury had a good deal of patience, especially for things like this. There was plenty of time to be getting on with other tasks anyway; this wouldn't be a swift mission at all. What would be most interesting was the allocation of chores, and whether Grand Admiral Stone had anything specific she wanted Mercury to do, being one of the renowned Renegade fighters. Versatility would be his strong suit, and there must surely be something befitting for his skills other than offloading cargo. One thing after the other though. Every job needed to be done right, so the Lorrdian concentrated on the ship foremost; everything else would come later.
Xira Stone - July 30, 2009 11:40 PM (GMT)
The forests surrounding Hyllyard City made no allowances for the Confederation fleet of ships, and so they were forced to create their own clearings as a result. Trees, plants, and perhaps even some unfortunate wildlife were crushed beneath the thousands upon thousands of tons of durasteel hull that made up the formidable Star Destroyer, Crucible. With no other option available, the environment found itself in submission to the superior man-made vessels, either moving out of the way or being bent beneath the displayed power. It was symbolism of a sort, perhaps a reflection of what the natives would be subjected to soon enough. Grand Admiral Stone had no tolerance for disobedience, and the same went for defiance. Those that called this backwoods planet their home would either fall into line as other planets had, or they would be made to comply. While the Confederation had come here under the pretenses of peace, everyone involved with this mission -- likely including the Hyllyard officials themselves -- knew that the Confederation would not be leaving until they'd accomplished what they'd set out to do. Myrkr, as far as Xira was concerned, would be theirs.
As soon as all the necessary equipment, vessels, and personnel were unloaded from the Star Destroyer, it ascended from the surface back into orbit around the planet. The Crucible would serve as a satisfactory guardian from space should events take a turn for the worse or should anyone encroach upon the planet while the Grand Admiral and her crew were groundside. Not to mention the friendly reminder it'd supply for the Myrkr natives. The Confederation, it said through its presence, was not here to mess around.
It was a short trip to from the landing area to the capital city. Courtesy of a shuttle and escort, they arrived within an hour after departing. Admittedly, the Grand Admiral was feeling a bit discomfited by those that had been assigned to her protection. Not only were they unfamiliars to her, the majority of them, but she was without her Togorian bodyguard as well. Nrghrr had been her shadow for so long that it seemed strange not to have him around. He was a weapon in his own right, even diplomatically speaking. Intimidation was a tactic that Xira had frequently used in her political career when dealing with ruly planets, their people and their governments; and having a massive creature known for its species brutality and severity had helped on occasion -- intentionally or otherwise. Of course, she had 4D with her as well. The droid had been refitted and was back up to par, but if its par was what it'd shown back on the Atonement when it's assassination skills would have been most useful . . . well, the Dolomarian woman had never been a forgiving type. However, she trusted that such an incident would not happen again, that 4D would not allow such a mistake to be repeated. To err was to be human, but the so-called Maris Kala'myr was not human. It was a droid, and errors would not be endured.
Much to her disappointment but to no great surprise, Hyllyard City was as unimpressive as one might have guessed. Made up of a bunch of shoddy buildings under the disguise of cultural architecture, it was obvious that this was a frontier colony more than an actual civilisation. Even so, the place was packed with people. There were humans, and then there were the more distasteful alien sentients that milled about the city. She'd guess that many had moved here to escape either the war or some crime or another, and that the rest were natives borne to those that had first set up shop here, figuratively speaking. The economy, if such a minor business collective could be called that, was weak at best. They could benefit from the Confederation's generosity, whether they believed so or not. As the entourage passed, the Grand Admiral leading it with 4D close to and the others not far behind, eyes were drawn to them. Curiousity could be seen in them, but also fear and distrust. It mattered little, though. The people would accede to their leader's decisions, and their leaders would acquiesce to whatever agreements the Confederation wanted made. It was for their own good, truly.
Within a few minutes of landing on the planet, Xira had realised that humidity was probably going to be an annoyance. This suspicion was confirmed as they trekked through the city towards the capital building, with the weight of the heavy air bearing down upon them. She was feeling her wounds, for certain. But a day hadn't gone by since the incident with the Mandalorians that she hadn't felt some sort of anguish -- physical and mental -- that it had ever occurred at all. As insulting as it was, it had taught her something. Every altercation, no matter how large or small, had something to share if one was willing to look for it. Since she'd come to back on the bridge of her mighty ship, the strategist had gone over the events again and again to figure out what had gone wrong and how to avoid it happening a second or third time in the future. Suffice to say, it would never happen again. Measures were being taken even now to better equip the Atonement and its crew against invading enemies. Never again would an opponent step upon the bridge of her ship. While the ache of her scars might dull, they'd never disappear entirely. A reminder of the costs of failure, but a testament to the Grand Admiral's ability to survive and adapt.
(( As they arrive at the capital building, who is there as the welcoming committee and how are they greeted? ))
Lysander Odakota - August 3, 2009 08:27 PM (GMT)
(('Greeted' might not have been the best word for it. The Confederation presence doesn't even make it inside the (comparatively) stately building before a 'welcoming committee' is outside to meet them. The official group is made of three humans--two men and a woman. The younger of the men has taken up the lead, a barely controlled fury behind his eyes, while the older man looks on as if to stop the younger man, but is being held back in his protest by a soft touch to the arm by the woman.
"I am Representative Adglas," he introduces himself, before cutting to the chase, "and I'd like to have you know, Grand Admiral," he uses the title almost like a curse, "that your mere presence here ought to be taken as a reason for war!"
Clearly, he isn't too happy. A small crowd of braver citizens has started to gather around for the scene, and they don't seem happy either, but not quite as volatile as Adglas could prove.))
Leto De'Vol - August 4, 2009 03:36 AM (GMT)
Trees covered the world of Myrkr, making it a green mass that encompassed everywhere the eye could see and beyond. The low level metals that were in the trees scrambled, and sometimes made sensors non-functional when scoping out the planet. This didn’t really slow down the confederation, although there wasn’t a place big enough to fit the Pellaeon-Class Star Destroyer, so the ship had to compromise, and find their own space. The trees bent, and snapped from the pressure created by the hulking mass that was being shoved down on top of them, but it was hardly a struggle to get the thing to ground level. Landing the craft, though was hardly the hardest part of the whole mission, and if it had all been as easy as that had been they’d have walked off that planet in mere minutes. The midshipman wouldn’t trust anything to go so easily, especially considering the past failures that this mission has experienced, and he thought that this mission would be no different. The young naval officer had been lucky enough to be commissioned among those that were on the team of people headed to the diplomatic meeting, which would probably get more action than staying here on the ship. Leto was ready to get started, this mission was going to be difficult there was no question of that, but there was no doubt in the man’s mind that it would get finished, even if they had to kill everyone on this planet to do so, he hardly had a doubt that they would resort to those measures.
As a midshipman Leto was required to do all the crap that no one else wanted to do, and there was a whole lot of things that fell under that jurisdiction. The work on getting everything up and ready for the Grand Admiral, including everything that she would need to make these negotiations wasn’t back breaking, but they definitely did not have any room for slackers. The Confederation didn’t have much of a soft spot for all the people who would rather set around and pretend to be doing something rather than work, and those people were typically ‘taken care of’ during initial training whether that be by making them do more work, or just remove them from their operations completely. Luckily Leto hadn’t been problem some in this way, because he had been very accustomed to being forced to do things that were not enjoyable, even if he’d rather do something else instead. Of course he had been a victim to impulse a few times which had caused him to be chastised, but he had never had any great occurrence when he was subjected to the strict punishment that the Confederation instituted. No, that had always been saved for other people with much worse dispositions, and that were much lazier then he who had been forced to work his entire life.
The group of mismatched people for all the jobs that were needed for this mission were perfectly matching in uniform, and stature. Not a hair out of place on the aura of complete conformity that the Confederation controlled through their brute tactics, and harsh discipline. In all reality, though how else would someone aspire to keep thousands of people constantly ready for battle, and any situation that they may be faced with but with the strict restraint that it commanded over it’s underclassmen. Leto understood this, but he wasn’t quite sure yet that he fully accepted that it was the only necessary way, and while he didn’t accept it he was forced to agree with it to push through the ranks in time, which he would admit he was ready for since he had been stuck as midshipman for quite sometime now. The mission to Hoth, the pirate mission, although he was not entirely successful in all of them, he personally felt that he had shown the initiative, and the charisma required to move on in the ranks. So he hoped that soon the Confederation would see this and act on it, although he wasn’t quite sure when that would be, it was an appealing thought to be more then just the grass green midshipman.
Heat hung in the air feeling as if he were walking through a sauna instead of the forest on a planet with little to no civilization. Hyllyard City itself was most unimpressive, being a primitive town looking more like ruble constructed by primitives from sticks and mud rather then a establishment of sentient beings that probably deserved to die rather than be controlled. Criminals, smugglers, mandos, all of them sought out the refuge of the planets, and all were about to be over taken by a force that they could not, and would not stop. This climate, though, was something that was much different then that of Dolomar, where the headquarters of the Confederation was. The cold barren plains of Dolomar was a perfect vision of the fish, not this lush life filled planet, but still it would succumb to their will either way.
"I am Representative Adglas," The man spoke, his tone not in the least bit like what someone should be addressing the Grand Admiral as, and it wasn’t his place to speak as such, “and I'd like to have you know, Grand Admiral," Adglas said, the words ‘grand admiral’ coming out as if it were a curse word, this behavior was unacceptable, and he really did hope that Xira would put him in his place before he went on anymore. Unfortunately, though idiocy dwelled in this man’s mouth for he kept speaking even when he was obviously being naïve, “That your mere presence here ought to be taken as a reason for war!"
Leto remained cool, but only on the outside, for this was heresy. The fury that the confederation could command would be upon them, and it both angered and disturbed them that they did not realize this. If one planet decided to declare war on them, so be it, they would simply crush them like they had so many times before, no matter what these ‘alliance’ criminals believed, there was no escape,
Maris Kala'myr - August 9, 2009 11:43 PM (GMT)
The droid had to question the reasoning behind landing the Crucible on the surface of Myrkr on the outskirts of Hyllyard City. Such positioning left the star destroyer vulnerable to orbital assault and reduced the multi-trillion credit ship to little more than a juicy target. Strategic advantage was also lost in the landing. It would now be impossible to call upon the Crucible for logistic or fire support from its downed position.
Contemplating the issue to the limits of her cerebral processors, Maris wondered if the Grand Admiral had wished to eschew tactical advantage in exchange for sheer intimidation. The sight of a Venator-class star destroyer descending through the atmosphere and setting down on the edge of the capital displayed the Confederation's might and confidence without a shadow of a doubt. It told the people of Myrkr that the Confederation was bringing this damned arboreal world kicking and screaming into the modern age.
Another option presented itself to the droid. The unloading of supplies was made much easier with the source so close to the ground. The Confederation had wanted to set up a base quickly to cement rule and order. Perhaps setting up a base of operations and quickly as possible was more important to Grand Admiral Stone than space and air superiority and the protection of both the Crucible and the thousands of Confederate personnel that would be soon occupying Hyllyard City. And perhaps if the opportunity presented itself, Maris would enquire to the Grand Admiral's strategy. She was always enthusiastic to enrich her knowledge base and programming.
As ordered, Maris didn't leave the Grand Admiral's side. At most she strayed a metre from the domineering woman. All indicators and autonomic markers still showed displeasure in levels that would have dire consequences for anyone in her entourage. However, the reasoning behind the Grand Admiral's displeasure was still not clear. She would have to ask when the situation presented itself; now was not the time.
Hyllyard City was a marvellous mix of stone structures arranged in a haphazard fashion that could only come from a lack of city planning. But one building did stand out at the centre, the one they trecked towards. Maris found herself updating records as she walked one step behind the Grand Admiral with a slender data-slate cradled in her arms. As expected during these negotiations, Maris took the profile of a meek attendant to the Admiral and conducted herself accordingly. However, threat analysis algorithms scanned the onlookers. There was little threat that Maris could discern. The threat from mob actions were known and governor circuits disengaged in anticipation as Grand Admiral Stone and her entourage passed.
The atmosphere had a nugatory impact upon the droid and she noticed how the humans around her suffered with the heat and humidity; the Grand Admiral in particular. It was obvious, at least to Maris, that Xira had not fully recovered from the ordeal aboard the Atonement and active duty was the last thing that the woman should have been engaging in. But the doctors, either under threat or ominous reassignment, had given her an all clear.
At the steps of the capitol building, the Grand Admiral and her entourage was greeted by a delegation of three humans. Maris studied them closely and their identities were known to her before introductions were made. All three set of warnings by their body language and mannerisms. None posed a physical threat; but they were hostile. Maris continued to smile as one of the welcoming committee spoke.
"I am Representative Adglas, and I'd like to have you know, Grand Admiral, that your mere presence here ought to be taken as a reason for war!"
Her expression did not change as Representative Adglas spat out his introduction and took a standoffish attitude to the Confederation presence. But he was in error. Their presence was not a reason for war. This was a peaceful delegation set on bringing Myrkr and its people into the caring and protective bosom of the Confederation. Fear was a natural reaction to change; Maris understood that fact. Myrkr would understand, in time and through the acts of the Confederation, that their best interests were at heart. Maris kept her position beside the Grand Admiral, silent and attentive, peeling the data-slate from her chest and procured a stylus from her pocket. She stood ready to act upon her master's orders, whatever they may be.
Volindët Caldwen - August 11, 2009 01:57 PM (GMT)
Myrkr. A deep forested planet inhabited by a corrupted civilization set against any external forces. A planet so lacking in technology Volindet wanted to rid the galaxy of their pathetic life forms. As the fleet descended through the atmosphere, a natural sneer came to rest on Volindet’s thin red lips. These poor creatures, she thought to herself. So depraved, so useless.
And these thoughts hadn’t come to her in light of the Confederation; no, she was naturally this derisive towards other creatures, people, even. The taste for human company was sour, at most, and even more so at the thought of aliens.
It wasn’t that had anything against them… Well, actually that was an understatement. She found them unwelcoming and bothersome, and she steered clear of them when she could. If she had to correspond with them, she did do with scornful respect, and made sure they understood her wishes, whether or not they understood her language. Galactic basic was mandatory for nearly every major core planet, and even some inner and outer rim planets, but she’d be damned if she had to learn another language because another creature had transported to a Basic-native planet.
Although the climate, warm and humid, was the direct opposite of the Force-forsaken blizzard that was Dolomar, Volindet had no problem adjusting to it. She preferred cooler and far more dry climates, but somehow her discomfort was at the back of her mind. Her mission companions, if they could even be called such, had formed a close-knit circle around the Grand Admiral, who was speaking in soft but commanding tones. Although Volindet desperately wanted her position, she respected the Grand Admiral. Sort of. She had failed on the previous accounts of this very same mission, and there had been a rumor that the Mandolorians had invaded her very ship. A few points were lost merely by this simple fact.
But the Grand Admiral was not to be underestimated. And neither was the young woman at her side. Maris. The woman was awkward, at best, but extremely intelligent and had incredible stamina. Volindet respected Maris a lot, even having not met her officially yet.
Hyllyard city was, at best, pathetic. The city was in shambles, the buildings not such at all – they were something far cheaper and less sturdy, and looked as if they belonged in a landfill back home. Criminals, forsaken, and otherwise came here in hopes of locating a safe-haven. Now that the Confederation had arrived, Myrkr would be rid of these scum. There had been a rumor of an Alliance base, but Volindet suspected it as such, a rumor. The Alliance was not unintelligent; if there had been a secret base here somewhere, they would have been wise enough to leave after the past accounts of the Confederation’s dealings.
There was word of another species that inhabited Myrkr. Mandolorians. Volindet’s sneer transformed into a perfect scowl. How she loathed Mandolorians. The Echani and Mandolorians had never had a history of peace. And rightfully so, thought Volindet, her eyes narrowing as she disembarked the ship. The Mandolorians were rueful, ignorant, arrogant, self-worshipping – she could go on for days. But now was not the time. By the time the company of fish had arrived, so had their welcoming committee. Composed of three humans – two men and a woman – Volindet was most unimpressed.
“I am Representative Adglas, and I'd like to have you know, Grand Admiral, that your mere presence here ought to be taken as a reason for war!”
His tone was most rude, and the way he was addressing the Grand Admiral was mere reason for war, but Volindet almost laughed. Her brows shot skyward, skepticism etching the few lines in her young face. She desperately wanted to say something, but knew better than to speak for the Grand Admiral. Tension was higher than the thugs she’d seen on the lower levels of Taris. And that was saying something.
It took everything in her to hold her tongue, something she was not accustomed to doing – verbally or otherwise. It seemed as though this one time she would have to wait her turn to speak.
Mercury Flux - August 12, 2009 04:56 PM (GMT)
With the orders having been relayed from command to the officer class who were to coordinate proceedings, Mercury found himself with a group of soldiers tasked with setting up sensory systems around the clearing that the Crucible had made earlier. That was, apparently, to be the location of their base, just beside Hyllard City but clear enough not to have to deal with the incoming and outgoing traffic. The Confederation would be reasonably out of the way, but close enough to intervene should anything occur. It was sound planning that would, hopefully, go down well with the native population. There seemed no downside from their point of view having the galactic government place a base on their planet, especially considering the other government located somewhere on the forested planet. The Mandalorians would, in time, be flushed out and destroyed, but first things first the Confederation could do with their own base. From here, should they choose, they could send scouts out and about with ease instead of staging it from space. Either way, a base would likely be necessary on Myrkr if they were to keep their enemies at bay. For Mercury though, it was just following orders. So long as they made sense and weren't designed with the knowledge that certain death lay ahead then he was happy to get about them.
He found himself on a troop carrier, hurtling across the planet's surface over the canopies of trees. Though pilots and gunners scanned the tree tops below there was little point; catching anyone by sight would be difficult at this height and with so much foliage blocking them. Instead the Lorrdian just enjoyed the view, watching the mixture of greens and browns mingle in the plant life as they neared the giant clearing ahead. It was easily visible from afar, being the only clear piece of ground for miles around. The broken trees were being removed now by the lower ranks, a tiring and unrewarding job but one that needed to be done by someone nevertheless. Once done the foundations could go in, and then the structure on top of that. The building work would be left to the engineers and builders who had accompanied them for this very chore. It was Mercury and the other soldiers task to secure the perimeter and set up defences against possible intruders, and this was what they were about to do.
As the ship landed the Renegade hopped out with the rest of them, allowing the troop transport to be filled with other people and things on their way back to the city. Moving away from the fiery engines that were kicking up a storm, the squad halted before their CO and await orders.
"Listen up! We've got a couple of people tagging along, so look around and gauge faces before we head off. I want everyone to keep in tactical formation as usual. Mercury, you stick with the engineers near the centre, behind me. Everyone knows what could be out there, so keep your eyes open and your mouths shut."
The captain was an experienced man, aging with that silvery greyness rather than the winkled skin. Thumper had only met him at the base a few hours ago, having been looking for a group willing to allow him along as an extra gun. Building wasn't Mercury's forté, so it was with relief that the captain -- named Demetri Karn -- accepted the offer of extra hands and another medic for the team. There were seven of the squad already, with another two engineers and Mercury, but the Lorrdian had yet to go around and collect names. He knew from mention the other medic of the squad was a man named Ventil, though whether that was a first name or last he'd yet to find out. Hopefully, should things go slowly, he'd get a chance to talk with them. If not then he'd likely catch them around sometime, and Mercury had a knack for being easy to remember.
They headed out into the forest, the dark depths looming threateningly before them, but orders were orders and they were to trek into them whether they looked dangerous or not. Moving in a line, they kept themselves out of a tightly compact group but still within range to help one another. Thumper was mingling in the middle, next to the two fierce looking engineers -- the guys were massive -- while trailing behind the heart of the squad; Demetri. Everyone stuck to the plan, taking up their own unique roles in the team. So long as everyone kept alert as they'd been trained to do then things would turn out for the better. Each member was a small piece that, when together with other members of the team, created the whole picture. Mercury felt a little like the odd one out, but did his best to aid them by keeping watch, especially over the two engineers. They had military training -- as all military personnel had -- but their combat experience would most likely be low. They were here to set up a part of the senor defences, the devices they carried on their backs.
The terrain made it difficult work, with the forest growing incredibly wild. Thumper doubted anyone had been through this particular part for decades, if not more. The branches were huge, though mostly the height of them was what created the daunting feeling. They lusted for light and as such pushed all others out of the way in their effort to reach it. A side effect was that the ground fell into darkness, only small beams of light capable of pushing their way through and illuminating the way for the Confederate team. Vornskrs had been identified as the most likely animal they'd encounter, and it was one vicious little bugger. They had the weapons to take them down, but of course this was a wilderness that the vornskrs knew much better than the Confederates. Still, safety in numbers, and so long as everyone was kept within the line of sight of someone else they'd be unable to get picked off without someone noticing. Mercury took it upon himself to act as the general eyes, turning every so often from his position of relative safety in the middle of the group, checking those further out before moving on to check others. Though he didn't know their names the Lorrdian's eye for detail remember their appearance. Most looked anxious being on this strange new world, no doubt, but they behaved much like any soldier must. Guns at the ready they continued on in the hopes of getting out of this haunted place sooner rather than later.
(( Does everything go according to plan on their way there? ))
Mac Cheydin - August 19, 2009 03:53 PM (GMT)
((Already as they first set out they know something is lurking in the thick forestation of Myrkr. Beast or foe, any danger remains hidden for the first part of the trek. Only those particularly attuned to the difference between noises made by creatures and the noises made by man note the movements of something following the group, but this is only heard for a few minutes, leaving the group to contend with the creatures for now. As they near their final goal, their group is ambushed. A group of six Mandalorians, three hitting the back and three hitting the front. They target the equipment rather than the people, but are elusive in the thick forestation. Mandalorians, coming from Manda'yaim, are experts at hiding themselves in various forest terrain.))