Master Marick Tyris Arconae vs. Colonel Alethia Archenksova

Master Marick Tyris Arconae

Elder, Clan Arcona
Male Hapan, Force Disciple, Arcanist, Obelisk Adherent

Colonel Alethia Archenksova

Equite, Clan Odan-Urr
Female Human, Loyalist, Director, Imperial

General Comments

CM Fight!

Overall, this battle had exactly the level of quality I'd expect from two former Combat Masters. Each writer had a different style, with Wally's feeling more like a well-rounded short story and Arch's more like a classically action-packed ACC battle. Both writers did an excellent job of writing in their respective styles. They also had their share of foibles, which I’ve addressed in their post comments. All in all, this battle was engaging, exciting, funny, dramatic in parts, and a thoroughly satisfying read. (It was also close enough that it required a third party to break the tie during the RO2, which unfortunately prevented CM Fight from being graded solely by CMs.)

As is often the case in close battles, the grading came down to a single factor: Wally's decision to sidestep the battle/competition prompt in favour of a different (though related) premise. The competition details and the ACC Rubric clearly state that the Story score for scenario battles (which SARLACC battles are) will include whether and how the members approach the given objective. Although “go off on a different mission while everyone else tackles that objective” turned out to be a compelling story in its own right, it doesn’t count as “approaching the given objective”, and the resulting Story detractor tilted the scores just enough to decide the battle.

Congratulations to Archenksov on his win and to both writers for an excellently-fought battle. I look forward to the next episode of CM Fight, coming Soon™ to a venue near you!

Hall SARLACC [2021]
Messages 4 out of 4
Time Limit 3 Days
Battle Style Singular Ending
Battle Status Judged
Combatants Master Marick Tyris Arconae, Colonel Alethia Archenksova
Winner Colonel Alethia Archenksova
Force Setting Standard
Weapon Setting Standard
Master Marick Tyris Arconae's Character Snapshot Snapshot
Colonel Alethia Archenksova's Character Snapshot Snapshot
Venue [Scenario] SARLACC 2021, Round 1: Breached Hot Labs
Last Post 26 January, 2021 11:45 PM UTC
Assigned Judge General Seraine "Erinyes" Taldrya Ténama
Syntax - 15%
Exarch Marick Tyris Arconae Headmistress Alethia Archenksova
Score: 4 Score: 4 (Advantage)
Rationale: A few small Syntax errors, none of which affected the flow of your posts. Rationale: A few small Syntax errors, none of which affected the flow of your posts. Arch gets advantage for (narrowly) having fewer detractors overall.
Story - 40%
Exarch Marick Tyris Arconae Headmistress Alethia Archenksova
Score: 4 Score: 4 (Advantage)
Rationale: Excellent story overall, but with a few issues that kept this from being a 5, which are detailed in the post comments. Rationale: Excellent story overall, but with a few issues that kept this from being a 5, which are detailed in the post comments. Arch ultimately got advantage here, with reasons given in the general comments.
Realism - 25%
Exarch Marick Tyris Arconae Headmistress Alethia Archenksova
Score: 5 Score: 5
Rationale: No issues. Well done! Rationale: No issues, but see my comments on your second post.
Continuity - 20%
Exarch Marick Tyris Arconae Headmistress Alethia Archenksova
Score: 5 Score: 5
Rationale: No issues. Well done! Rationale: No issues. Well done!
Exarch Marick Tyris Arconae's Score: 4.45 Headmistress Alethia Archenksova's Score: 4.72


The Fourteenth Great Jedi War left deep wounds across the surface of Arx. One such victim, unnoticed by the Brotherhood at large, was the Corrino Research Laboratory on the marshy continent of Uskil. The Collective had assaulted the Shadow Academy's Nesolat platform to gain access to the surface of Arx, its strategic importance dwarfing its role as an isolated research facility. When the battle moved to the planet's surface, the Nesolat was discarded like so much chaff, and debris from the disintegrating station was scattered across the planet.

Some of that debris struck the specimen habitat, damaging them enough for the specimens contained within to escape into Uskil’s swampy wilderness. In the aftermath of the invasion, playing animal control was a low priority for the Iron Throne, but the beasts became more of a nuisance—and even a danger—as time went on. Their exposure to the maelstrom of Force energies around Uskil, stirred up by the Grand Master’s ritual during the invasion, has made the creatures aggressive and unpredictable.

Rather than wandering Uskil’s swampy, storm-soaked wildlands, many of the escaped beasts have since returned to their ruined habitats, finding the climate more to their liking; it was designed for them, after all. They’ve since become extremely territorial, attacking any Shadow Academy staff who try to remove them so the habitats can be rebuilt. Rather than continue to delay the Academy’s research and sacrifice hapless construction workers and lab technicians, the Headmistress has put out a call to any members of the Brotherhood who are willing to help with the problem.

Your goal in this scenario is to subdue and capture the hostile creature so that it can be transported to a different facility for further testing. As the creature has been modified by the Academy’s scientists, the Headmistress would strongly prefer that you capture it alive, rather than killing it and forcing the researchers to make do with data from a dead specimen.

Two disparate delegates from different Clans stepped off of the Shadow Academy shuttle, shoulder to shoulder. Each came from two vastly different worlds that were often either at odds, in direct competition, or intertwined with one another. Today was an example of the latter.

The first figure was a former Dark Councilor. The Arcanist wore a tailored black suit complete with jacket, matching pleated pants, vest, tie, and dressy boots. His ashen hair parted perfectly at the center, framing an equally symmetrical face framed by a tightly groomed full beard. It would be of little surprise to point towards his half-Hapan heritage for the annoyingly perfect visage.

The second, conversely, was a retired High Councilor for Clan Odan-Orr. The Director wore a subtle yet striking black and white suit beneath a navy blue robe. A black sash of cloth was tied around her waist, helping to frame her lithe waistline while still leaving room to the imagination. Her pale skin and wintry hair contrasted against her charcoal cloak, and the heels of her black dress shoes helped bring her more level with her compatriot. She did not require heavy makeup to be considered attractive even among other species like the Hapan, but clearly knew how to weaponize accents and eyeliner.

Their matching, bright blue eyes took in their surroundings with equal degrees of diligence, scrutiny, and quiet judgement. Without any intentional coordination, Alethia Archenskova and Marick Tyris looked to be the spitting image of the perfect couple.

The irony was not lost on either of them.

The Headmistress had requested an envoy from each Clan’s leadership to attend a briefing at the Shadow Academy, away from the apparent attacks, while the general membership was let loose to help reclaim the research facility. Alethia and Marick had of course ran into one another and immediately were forced to deflect questions if they’d planned their outfits. The briefing, of course, was cut short, and the Headmistress was forced to excuse herself. She did take the time to arrange for a shuttle to bring Tyris and Archenksova to where a research team was in desperate need of aid.

Against their better judgement, both had agreed and did not seem to want to show signs of forfeit in front of the other.

“What did you do to get on Vasano’s short-list?” Alethia asked.

“She babysat my newborn daughter while I was held captive. Said I owed her one,” Marick replied with a slight shrug.

Archenksova blinked twice as she unpacked all of the implications hanging in that admission. She showed no other reaction beyond an understanding nod, though.

“Aura?” Marick politely mirrored the query. “Revak didn’t want to go, and the event overlapped with her training time with the kids.”

Marick blinked, but showed little reaction beyond a similar, understanding nod.

Behind the pair, a towering KX-57 droid known as “Buddy” ascended the ramp, metal feet clanking. On his shoulder, a much smaller BD-unit, known as “Biddy”, rode along quietly. The two droids had seemed to bond during the shuttle ride over.

As the group stepped off the shuttle, Tyris and Archenksova took in the improvised forward operating base. It looked to be one part medical tent and another part rally point to coordinate efforts on the ground to regain control of the overrun laboratory. Contracted soldiers working with the Imperial Reclamation Society stood sentry at the entrances to the camp. Inside, the medical tent was filled with injured researchers and guardsmen alike. On the opposite side, a tactical tent with maps and charts seemed like the best place to get more information.

“We’ve already sent two squads to try and retrieve the damn camtono and this missing researcher of yours!” a pudgy-looking Pantoran growled.

The man wore a dirty and unbuttoned uniform that marked him as some kind of middling officer, but he was clearly dealing with a situation way over his pay grade. He had dark circles under the skin of his eyes, blue broken by a single yellow stripe tattooed under the left.

He was arguing with a pair of wispy looking scientists in dirty lab coats. One had a long nose, dark hair, glasses, a beard and a fading name tag that read “Walter”. The other had sandy blonde hair, no facial hair, similar glasses, and a tag that read “Mikial”.

“That researcher is Doctor Kellie Gen’matcha,” Mikial countered dryly, “our foremost expert on genetic mutations.”

“And that ‘damn’ camtono,” Walter added, “holds the samples we could use to reverse engineer the mutant strains and develop countermeasures to regain control of the beasts.”

“Wasn’t ‘trying to regain control’ of them what got you into this mess in the first place?” Alethia interjected, moving to stand behind the bickering trio. Her statement seemed to come with the backing of a hovering Buddy over her shoulder. Marick slipped in beside her as Biddy hopped onto his shoulder and perched, tilting his box-like head.

“Look at this fresh batch of fancy-pants,” Walter said as he shifted in his seat to address the newcomers.

“Looks like a right bunch of fancy degens, I’d say," Mikial added in agreement.

“Did you two accidently coordinate for a romantic stroll through Uskil?” Walter continued.

“Hopefully more useful than the bunch of degens they’ve sent so far.” Mikial nodded.

Alethia pinched the bridge of her nose. Marick showed no reaction, but stepped forward with an air of indifference that read like confidence. “Marick Tyris?” the Pantoran said, recognition flickering across his tired eyes. “Shut your traps, boys, that there is the former Voice of the Dark Council. Sir, my name is Daggo Rend.””

“Thank you, Mr. Rend—” Marick started to dismiss before he was cut off.

“—Voice? What kind of title is that?” Walter rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, big hootin’ deal, he looks pretty soft to be a ‘Dark Councilor.'” Mikial gestured.

“Super-soft,” Walter agreed.

“I mean, it is kind of a weird title...” Alethia whispered towards Marick. The half-Hapan turned his too-blue eyes sidelong and narrowed them at the woman.

“We’re just here to help,” Marick spoke calmly, clearly nonplussed by the banter. “Do you happen to have anything that belonged to Doctor Gen’matcha?”

“Oh. Well. We have her dirty lab coat, but how does that help? Are you some kind of bloodhound or something?” Walter asked. Mikial made a motion like he was sniffing the air.

The Dark Councilor did not so much as blink. He waited. After a few moments of silence passed, Walter scrambled up to his feet and went to fetch the coat. He handed it to Marick, curiosity starting to creep into his apparent skepticism.

The Arcanist took the robe in his hands and turned it over. Alethia kept quiet, her expression thoughtful but carefully neutral. Marick continued, closing his eyes and reaching out through the Force. Stretching his senses out, he anchored the image of the lab coat he held in his hands while he probed for a match to its owner. After a few moments of searching, a thin red strand highlighted against the blue-white slipstreams of the Force.

Marick created a sympathetic link between Doctor Gen’matcha and her lab coat and bonded it to a passive corner of his mind. “If your maps are up-to-date, she should be somewhere in the western quadrant of the laboratory,” the half-Hapan stated matter of factly as he stepped up to the holomap and pointed at a spot on the holographic representation of the Corrino Research Labs.

Walter and Mikial both opened their mouths to speak, but then quickly shut them, thinking better of it. Perhaps this former ‘Voice’ guy did know what he was doing.

“I don’t have much to spare, but if the two of you are able to render aid, it could very well turn the tide on this whole operation,” as Daggo spoke, it was easy to detect the sense of futility and fatigue in his tone.

“Sure, let me just change into some tactical gear,” Alethia stated, “and we’ll be on our way—”

“—No time,” Marick whispered loudly, his whole body tensing as if bracing for an imminent attack of some kind.

Archenkskova, however, had spent enough time around Force adherents to know to trust their intuition when it came to danger.


The ear-splitting sound was followed almost immediately by a rip as the tarp was torn open by a set of clawed talons. The flat head of a creature with a sharp pointed beak and a mane of large brown feathers came into view, eyes smoldering with an eerie, crimson glow.

“Biddy, now,” Marick snapped as he darted forward with preternatural speed, already half a step ahead of the rest of the group. The backpack droid chirped excitedly as it leapt up into the air and opened its modified storage compartment to reveal the hilt of a lightsaber. Without needing to look back, the Master held out his hand to his side and summoned his weapon. As his fingers closed around the molded hilt, the black-cored blade sprung to life, just as he began his lunge towards the creature.

Alethia grit her teeth as she whipped out her own lightsaber and grabbed a hold of one of the scientists by the back of his coat. “Hey, Buddy? Now would be a great time to lend a hand!”

“Lending a hand, Councilor,“ the KX-series droid stated as he unslung his bo-rifle and moved to put his frame between the creature and the terrified researchers. By the time they had both brandished their weapons, however, the creature was already howling in pain.

Marick’s lightsaber seared through the flesh in the side of its neck. It blindly lashed out at its attacker, and one of its claws managed to tear a jagged line in the fabric of Tyris’ suit jacket at the shoulder. The Master retaliated by rotating the lightsaber with his wrist and stabbing it down through the creature's skull. Brackish blood and ichor splashed out, but Marick kicked off the creature's dying corpse and backflipped away to avoid getting splattered. When he landed, a suddenly mute Walter and Mikial looked ghostly pale.

“M-m-mastiff phalone,” Walter sputtered.

“They hunt in packs, and these ones seem to be smarter, somehow,” Mikial said with more calm in his voice than his shaking arms indicated.

From outside the now exposed tent, more cries echoed as blaster fire barked out to combat the new wave of screeching and clicking. Marick and Alethia traded a glance before exiting and moving towards the medical tent.

One of the modified mastiff phalones clicked angrily as it grabbed ahold of one of the injured patients. It grasped the poor Human in its serrated beak and scampered off with its newly-earned meal.

“It’s getting away,” Buddy intoned, ignorant to the obviousness of the observation.

“How!? It’s heading straight for the barricade,” Alethia growled.

The modified mastiff extended its wings, and even to an untrained eye like Marick’s, he could tell that they seemed too long to be natural.

“We shouldn’t have to worry. While they might have been of avian descent— “ Mikial started to explain.

“—Allegedly,” Walter countered.

“—They can’t actually fly or anything like that,” Mikal finished, ignoring his colleague.

As if on cue, the mastiff leapt up into the murky sky, beat its elongated wings and took off, gliding through the air back towards the Corrino Research Laboratory.

The camp went quiet. Walter and Mikial stood dumbfounded, both stammering to find something to say.

“Typical scientists,” Alethia murmured as she sheathed her lightsaber and instead employed her BlastTech X-8. She toggled the light mount on the unique blaster pistol as she blew a strand of hair from her face. “So preoccupied with whether or not they could do something, that they didn't stop to consider—”

“—if they should,” Marick finished with a faint sigh as he activated the dual-phase toggle on his lightsaber to extend the violet, black-cored blade to its full length. He willed the Force to mend the minor slash on his arm, but was unable to do anything about the tear in the suit jacket’s fabric.

General Seraine "Erinyes" Taldrya Ténama, 31 January, 2021 12:07 AM UTC

What Went Well

The quality of your writing itself was excellent. Marick and Alethia felt relatable from the outset—the awkwardness of any unfamiliar interaction, neither of them really wanting to be there, Marick wishing he could be back at home with his family—and the “odd couple” dynamic flowed smoothly enough that it didn’t seem cliché or heavy-handed. Being able to connect with the characters as people, whether Marick and Alethia or the supporting cast, made it easy to stay immersed in the scene. It was also nice to see someone use the Dowsing Feat as a plot device in an ACC battle. (I’m sure that’s not the only time it’s happened, but it’s rare enough to be a pleasant surprise.)

The action was exactly what I’d expect of a former CM. You had onomatopoeias, you had lightsabers, you had close-up “that’s gotta hurt!” shots. You had enough character woven into the combat to make sure the reader remembered that it was people fighting, not automatons (even Buddy and Biddy). You had sterling CS System mechanics.

Room for Growth

I'm surprised to say this, but there were a couple of things in this post that hurt you in the Story category. The main one was that, after acknowledging the competition prompt, you immediately had Marick and Alethia go off and do something else. The "something else" was parallel to the prompt though, so that didn't hurt you as badly as it otherwise might've.

The other Story factor I noticed was that this post seemed to get off to a slow start. While I did enjoy the character interactions between Marick and Alethia, and the banter between those two and the on-site staff, you got almost three-quarters of the way through a fairly long post before having more than momentary conflict. I might’ve found the scene more engaging if I were more familiar with the characters or the referential humour, but I have to take posts as I find them.

Finally, you had a couple of small Syntax issues: using “spoke” in place of “said” (“spoke” refers to the action of speaking, while “said” describes the content of the speech), and misspelling “Archenksova”.


Rearrange the events a bit so that the action is spaced more evenly throughout the post. You don’t have to go full in media res with it, but I think the post would’ve felt “faster” if, say, Marick and Alethia’s conversation had been interrupted by the first part of the mastiff phalone attack (before the medical tent).

“How far?” Alethia asked absently as she checked the sights on her blaster.

“It’s just on the other side of the enclosure,” Marick answered. “Two kilometers or so. This should be straightforward.” The Arconan frowned slightly, his eyes narrowing as a pair of phalones corralled a screaming Kel Dor medic towards their shuttle. “Or not,” he said matter-of-factly.

His movements were a literal blur as the Arcanist lunged after the trio, rapidly gaining ground even as the Kel Dor scrambled up the shuttle’s ingress ramp, mastiffs on his heels. Marick waved one arm and the rear phalone went flying, jerked away by the might of the Force.

The creature screeched and gnashed its beak as it hit the ground, tumbling several times. Alethia opened fire. The mastiff was dead by the time it came to a stop. Buddy took up a position behind his mistress, firing at whatever targets it could acquire in the chaos. Several of the mastiffs had taken wing by this point, hauling their prey off before the meager Iron Legion security team could regroup.

The Kel Dor and the other phalone had vanished into the shuttle as the pilot—Alethia could only imagine his reaction—lifted off in an attempted escape. Marick leap up, tucking into a roll in midair and just slipping in through the closing hatch in a preternatural display of athleticism.

The shuttle began lilting to starboard, nose pitched down. A heartbeat later, one of the lateral wings clipped a tree trunk with a crack and the vessel whipped sharply around and smashed into the ground. Alethia took off into a light jog, Biddy on her shoulder and Buddy trailing behind. By the time they reached the shuttle, the violet-black blade of Marick’s lightsaber was working its way through the rear egress hatch. He cut an oval with characteristic precision and kicked it out into the dirt.

“Engine trouble?” Archenksova asked.

“The pilot panicked after getting sprayed with blood,” Marick answered, flinging the tattered remnants of his sleeves to the ground. He hadn’t dressed for Force-augmented combat and the shoulder seams in his jacket were the first casualties. “We won’t be flying back.”

“I won’t hold out much hope for the purse I left onboard, then,” Alethia sighed. “Fortunately, you missed the speeders.”

The quartet headed for a V-35 Courier parked near the medical tent.

“Will the droid fit?” asked Marick, with a skeptical glance towards the towering KX.

“Your concern for my comfort is touching, Master Tyris,” Buddy answered. “My chassis was designed to occupy smaller spaces during transport.”

Biddy beeped. It was important to him that everyone knew he could be compact, too.

It took longer than the humanoids would have liked for Buddy to contort himself into the back seat of the speeder but, sure enough, his spindly limbs folded up neatly against his torso and he just barely fit. Head pressed into the roof and bo-rifle across his lap, Buddy was ready for action. Biddy joined him, chittering about the vital necessity of safety restraints and keeping one’s appendages inside the vehicle at all times. Marick wordlessly settled into the front passenger's seat, Alethia pressed the ignition toggle, and the group launched into the swamp.

Alethia tried not to be impressed that Marick had maintained his sympathetic link to their missing scientist through the fight with the mastiffs and the shuttle crush and Marick pretended not to notice.

It would only have taken a few minutes to cover the distance to Gen’matcha, were they in a reasonable place. But Uskil could be charitably described as “hellish” even when it wasn’t filled with Ciara’s missing abominations. The encampment was the largest patch of dry ground for hundreds of meters in any direction and Alethia had to keep their speed down to weave around the tree roots poking up above the mud and black, weedy water. The landscape, such as it was, was dominated by massive, ancient trees, bloated at their base but tapering into the sky far above them. Each was surrounded by dozens of woody protrusions sticking up from the mud and the water, as if the trees themselves were gasping for air among the murk and humidity.

Moving slowly gave them a chance to get a good look at the many species of deadly aquatic reptiles native to the region and Buddy took great pleasure in rattling off details about their respective hunting strategies and the chemical composition of their venoms. It was not the worst travel conversation Marick had been subjected to.

“How far?” Archenksova asked.

Tyris opened his mouth to reply but a familiar itch at the base of his spine signalled a more urgent problem. “Incoming,” he said, a heartbeat before the speeder shook as a mastiff phalone slammed into one side.

Alethia swerved but had to slow down further still to maintain control of the vehicle. They could see the darting shadows cast by flying mastiffs circling in the few places where the sun broke through the clouds.

The speeder shook again as a different phalone thumped into one side. The beast gripped the speeder’s roof, talons ripping into the thin durasteel, and kicked at the side with its rear legs.

“I will assist!” Buddy declared, hoisting up his bo-rifle and extending it to its full length. Before Alethia or Marick could object, the KX droid bashed out the side window and started firing into the mastiff’s gut.

“Unstable firing position,” he cheerfully continued. “Accuracy decreased. Compensating with excessive violence.”

“Keep still,” Alethia hissed as she gripped the wheel with white knuckles, but KX-57 held his rifle halfway out the window and started laying down suppressing fire.

Marick sighed softly and rolled down his own window.

Another mastiff swooped down from the rear and latched on to Buddy’s rifle. The droid wailed as the animal dragged him toward the window; the mastiff phalone chirruped in annoyance as it was jerked back, anchored into place when Buddy slammed into the side door without relinquishing the rifle. The two foes struggled fiercely but awkwardly as the phalone tried to find sure footing on the speeder’s roof while the KX droid tried to find the leverage to fight back with its legs still folded up against its chassis.

Marick chucked his lightsaber out the window. The hilt whipped up and arced around the speeder, rapidly spinning around itself as it circled back towards the phalone. The violet-black blade erupted at the last moment and the lightsaber cleaved both wings from the mastiff’s body. The creature shrieked, lost its grip of the rifle, and tumbled into the swamp water.

The lightsaber continued its graceful loop around the speeder and, blade deactivated, zipped back through the window into Marick’s waiting hand. “About half a kilometer,” he said idly, a late answer to Alethia’s question. “But steer about ten degrees to the left.”

“Oh, is that all?”

“Yes, but it would help if you could drive a bit faster.”

“You’re welcome to walk if you think it would be quick—” Alethia was cut off by a thud, and then another, as the mastiffs started diving against the speeder’s roof.

And then a third dove headfirst into the forward viewport.

The creature crashed through in a spray of blood and shattered transparisteel and time seemed to break down. The mastiff phalone roared and snapped and clawed and nearly took Archenksova’s face off as Marick’s fist beat a staccato rhythm, driving a wrist-mounted blade into the animal’s eye and ear and brain and everything felt weightless as the speeder caught a tree root and launched into the air.

In what felt simultaneously like an instant and an eternity, Alethia found herself bloody and dazed and face to face with a dead mastiff phalone. A tree branch protruded from its throat and into the headrest centimeters from her ear. It took a moment for her to process that the speeder had gotten high enough into the air to land in the canopy of one of the massive swamp trees.

“Just once today,” Marick muttered, “I would like to be in a vehicle that doesn’t crash.”

“Why?” Alethia groaned. “Why did they think it was a good idea to breed these things to fly? Why would anyone authorize that? I never thought I’d say this but I think I actually miss Pravus.”

Marick brushed a few strands of straight black hair out of his face and sighed with uncharacteristic weariness. “Telaris is the worst.”

General Seraine "Erinyes" Taldrya Ténama, 31 January, 2021 12:08 AM UTC

What Went Well

Overall, there are a lot of good things in this post. If I had to pick a couple to focus on, your characterisation was excellent, making it easy to see which character was speaking even without checking the dialogue tags. The other is the action, as I’d expect from a former CM. The “implied combat” while Marick was aboard the shuttle and out of Alethia’s sight was a pleasant surprise, and no less interesting for its lack of visibility. I also appreciated how the combat was spread out through the post, keeping the narrative moving while still offering quieter moments for character interactions.

Room for Growth

The only detractor I spotted in this post was a minor Syntax issue, where you had “leap” in place of “leapt”. Beyond that, there was one spot where I think a properly-placed comma or two would’ve made the sentence easier to read: “The two foes struggled fiercely but awkwardly as the phalone tried to find sure footing on the speeder’s roof while the KX droid tried to find the leverage to fight back with its legs still folded up against its chassis.”


There isn’t much I can suggest to improve this post beyond what I pointed out in the previous section.

Marick appreciated the quick verbal exchange, as it likely indicated that the pair had avoided concussions. He was able to turn his head to the side without issue—also a positive—and then looked Alethia up and down, taking inventory of her apparent injuries.

“My eyes are up here,” Alethia commented dryly as her own blue eyes waited for him to meet hers. The white ruffled fabric around her neck was stained a dark reddish-black, matching the rest of her dress suit.

Marick blinked once, ignoring the pass. “Laceration over the supraorbital ridge,” he noted, “but it seems like your tongue is working fine.”

Alethia paused.

Did Marick make a...joke?

The Odanite instinctively started to retort, but snorted and let out a breathy giggle instead. The action triggered a cough, forcing her shoulders to bob up and down while she remained otherwise still in her seat. Marick watched her wince in pain as she did, and traced the motion to a stiffness in the way she moved her neck. Probably from the whiplash. The left sleeve of her robe was also torn enough to reveal bruising against her pale skin. Probably from impacting with the side door of the vehicle. It did not seem to be broken, however.

There was limited space to move around the small cockpit, but Marick managed to fish out his medkit from his travel pouch. “Here,” he leaned over and passed Archenksova an antiseptic pad, bacta strip, and painkillers.

Every other detail, meanwhile, flooded into Marick’s awareness by a mixture of instinctive observation and a war veteran's veracity. The old landspeeder’s angular nose, fortunately, had allowed it to wedge itself neatly into the tree's canopy before its metal frame crumpled. They were suspended over the swamp below, maybe forty meters up, but a strip of solid land was only a few meters away. In the backseat, Biddy chirped anxiously and fretted over Buddy, who seemed to have lost one of his optical receptors.

When he turned back to try and peel himself out of the side-seat, Marick became painfully informed of his own array of scrapes and contusions. While the blood and ichor covering his now-tattered excuse for a dress suit was not his own, every part of his body ached and he could feel a tension headache clamping around the base of his skull.

He went to lift his right arm, but found it would not respond. He blinked and then realized that it must have gotten dislocated.

“A moment,” Marick said calmly.

Alethia finished applying rudimentary first aid to herself, closing the gash on her forehead and wiping away the excess blood. “What are you—”

Without warning, the half-Hapan jabbed his shoulder into the metal side door, a distinct pop filling the cockpit.

Archenskova blinked.

“Alright, let’s—” Marick started to say as the crashed speeder rocked.


“Sithspit,” Marick swore as the sound of branches straining and snapping sent a burst of adrenaline and urgency that overrode any discomfort Marick might have been in.

“Droid, I need you to trust me and jump out of the speeder. Your weight is going to—”

“—Did Master Tyris just insinuate that I am...overweight?”

“Do what he says, Buddy,” Alethia responded evenly, somehow remaining calm despite knowing full well the reality of their situation.

“Very well, ejection protocol engaging.” With that, the droid somehow clambered out the back door and leapt towards the patch of land below. “Prepare for Titanfall,” Buddy mused to no one in particular.

Just as the droid would have collided aggressively with the solid ground, its momentum was arrested by an unseen hand. Marick made a lowering motion with one hand, and the Force mimicked the gesture by gently placing the KX-series droid down.

“Successful landing,” Buddy exclaimed. Biddy beeped cheerfully and hopped up and down.

“You’re next,” Tyris said to Archenksova. The speeder began to tilt more, but the ancient branches of the Uskil tree seemed to be just as stubborn as the marshland that prevailed around it.

Alethia started to protest, but let her argument die as she took in the unwavering calm and resolution in Marick’s expression.

Archenksova gingerly crawled out of the side window, careful not to touch the dead mastiff phalone that had become the speeder's final hood ornament. Without further fanfare, the lithe woman leapt down towards the ground, trusting entirely, for whatever reason, in her ad-hoc ally.

Sure enough, instead of crashing into the terra firma below, Alethia floated down like a windblow leaf, guided by Marick’s telekinetic hand.

“Do not worry, Councilor, I shall catch you,” Buddy exclaimed. With one optic receptor missing, however, he was not in the right position to do so. Alethia’s heels touched down gracefully behind the droid instead.

“Great job,” Alethia stated, voice edged with sarcasm that hid her concern. She glanced back up towards the suspended speeder and chewed on her lip. Marick’s torso poked out, followed by the rest of his body a moment later. His BD-droid perched on his shoulder as he calculated his own jump down.

And then the branches simply gave way, creaking and snapping as the crumpled speeder plummeted into the swamp, taking the Arconae and his droid with it.

“Tyris!” Alethia shouted as she raced towards the tree, her aching limbs moving before her mind could catch up.

Just as the descending speeder collided with the murky water of the swamp, Marick leapt off and up into the air. The Master hit the ground mid-somersault, dispersing the weight of the impact but re-dislocating his shoulder in the process. He rolled into a sitting position before exhaling and falling backwards, chest heaving heavily as he stared up towards the clouded sky.

Marick Tyris laid there for a few moments, still as stone. There was very little left of his suit jacket, vest, and pants. Arms already exposed, the seams to his pants were all torn and shagged at the knees, but otherwise still in place.

When Alethia knelt over him, she could see his eyes were still sharp and focused. Archenksova offered a coy smile down at him. “You know, it would be really easy to rid Odan-Urr of a potential threat right now,” she mused.

Marick met her eyes, and somehow shrugged without moving his shoulders. “I just need a minute. Can you cover us?”

Alethia blew a strand of silvery hair away from her face and looked away, almost as if she was offended by the question. She ran a quick check over her equipment and was surprised to find that her high heels were still intact. She unclipped the lightsaber from her sheared waist sash, but did not ignite it just yet, handing her X-8 blaster to Buddy and reminding him to not accidentally shoot her. They exchanged some banter that included Biddy, but Marick tuned it out.

The Arconae closed his eyes and fought off the growing desire to take a nap. Even without blaming a newborn child, the retired Assassin had always had trouble sleeping. Perhaps he just needed more near-death experiences in his daily routine. As he collected his thoughts, Marick started to reach out into the living Force before he realized he was doing it.

The Arcanist could suddenly sense the very pulse of the water that fed the trees that shadowed the swamps, the thousands upon thousands of microscopic organisms at play in the vegetation around them, the beating hearts of all the native and modified wildlife. He could feel the kyber vein running through the mountain of Elos Vrai, the tempests raging eternally in the oceans to the north, and most notably the teetering balance between the two diametric sides of the Force.

Breathing in through his nose, the Arcanist channeled the very slipstreams of the living Force around him. He drew from the fountain, refueling his own depleted energy reserves. When he exhaled slowly through his lips, he could feel a wave of rejuvenation course through his body like liquid coolant piped through an overheating engine. He still felt every single ailment across his body, but he no longer felt drained.

With that barrier broken, Marick reached out to the Force again. This time, he molded it to mend his various wounds. Slowly, his surface-level injuries dissipated. Unfortunately, there was not much the Force could do for his clothing, which remained ragged and ratty.

Rolling over onto one side, Marick braced himself as he rocked, using his own body weight and the ground beneath him to re-socket his shoulder. A not so quiet growl of pain escaped his lips as he cringed through the temporary burst of extreme discomfort. It passed, and he quickly caught his breath. He willed himself back to one knee before slowly rising the rest of the way back to his feet.

“Okay, I’m ready,” the recovered Arconae said as he casually tapped back into the Force to idly recuperate the energy he’d used to heal himself. “Do you need any—”

“No time, we need to go!” Alethia’s voice sounded urgent, her lightsaber ignited and held out in front of her like a protective ward.

Marick quickly assessed their surroundings. Up ahead was the facility where he had last been able to detect the missing Doctor Gen’matcha. Closing in on their flanks, however, was another pack of modified mastiff phalones. They came swooping in, siren screeches predicated by the ominous stream of clicking noises.

We don’t have time for this, Marick thought as he reached for his lightsaber and readied himself for combat.

Except his lightsaber was not on his belt. Marick froze mid-motion, his mind working backwards and quickly pinpointing the last time he had seen it. It had been resting between the seats of the speeders cockpit. He had neglected to grab it before ejecting.

Kist,” he swore aloud. “Alright, fine then.” He reached down and drew the Sith Dagger he kept in his boot. You could never have too many knives. To accentuate that philosophy, he pulled the Repulsor Throwing Razor off his hip and hurled it towards one of the approaching phalones. The serrated, crescent-shaped blade slashed through the eyes of the creature, causing it to cry out and crash unceremoniously into the ground. Without needing to waste energy through the Force, the throwing razor completed its arc and wound its way back to Marick’s hand, courtesy of its built-in micro-repulsors.

While the throwing razor ran its course, Marick hurled his Sith Dagger at the next closest phalone. It missed initially, but a subtle hand gesture from the half-Hapan guided it to telekinetically course-correct. The alchemically-treated blade slid neatly across the creature's neckline, inhibiting poison making its way into its blood stream.

Biddy acted as a seeing eye-droid for the handicapped Buddy, beeping and pointing out targets for the KX-series droid. At his side, Alethia’s own battered robes flowed in her wake as she batted away the beak of one mastiff phalone with her lightsaber, while somehow ducking adroidtly away from its talons. She slipped past its guard and slashed through its stomach, guts and organs spilling out onto the ground with a stench that nearly made the Director hurl.

The more impressive part was that Archenksova continued to fight in the same pair of heels despite the layers of mud caking and obscuring their original color.

Another phalone tried to get close to Marick. The clever girl avoided his ranged attacks with a mixture of avian and reptilian alacrity and lashed out with her talons. The Master wove through the flurry of fury swipes, baiting the creature into overcommitting. Once it lunged with its beak, Marick recalled his Sith Dagger, closed his hands around the hilt, and augmented his strength with the Force. The momentary boost was enough to help the half-Hapan’s blade sever the creature's head clean off at the neck.

And then there was quiet and in the clearing. Archenksova breathed heavily and leaned onto her droid. Marick reached into what remained of his travel pouch and took out a fresh nerf-wool towel. He patted his own face down and then paced over to Alethia, extending it towards her.

“...why do you have a towel?” she asked as she tentatively took it from him.

“Never leave home without one,” Marick stated. “I used to think it was just Wyn being whimsical, but as a parent, it’s now become a habit.” He shrugged.

As Alethia dabbed at her own face with the towel, Marick’s eyes shifted to focus on the ruins of the breached hot labs. He wanted nothing more than to go home and be with his family, but if the doctor and this camtono really did hold the key to reverse-engineering these mutated strains, they would be saving countless families.

Forward then, into the breach.

General Seraine "Erinyes" Taldrya Ténama, 31 January, 2021 12:08 AM UTC

What Went Well

This post was generally excellent, with a couple of standout moments. First, having to evacuate the crashed speeder was a great way to maintain tension and keep the scene engaging without forcing the characters back into combat immediately. I also greatly enjoyed your description of Marick’s use of Channel, Alethia’s surprise at Marick making a joke, and Marick’s forethought in never leaving home without a towel.

Room for Growth

The only detractors I spotted in this post were a few Syntax issues. You had “windblow” in place of “windblown”, “predicated” in place of “preceded” (or at least, I assume that’s what you intended, because “predicated” doesn’t make sense in the way you used it), and “flurry of fury strikes” instead of “flurry of furious strikes” (another assumption on my part). Besides those, your use of “accentuate” in “To accentuate that philosophy…” is an odd choice of words—it would’ve worked better as “demonstrate” or “emphasise”, IMO—but I didn’t mark it as a detractor. Likewise, “a subtle hand gesture from the half-Hapan guided it to telekinetically course-correct” re: Marick’s thrown knife came off a bit strange, as though Marick were prompting the dagger to correct its own course somehow, rather than correcting it himself through TK. I didn’t count that as a detractor because I knew what you meant, but it would’ve worked better as “guided it to the correct course” or something similar.


I don’t have much to suggest here, beyond tweaking your phrasing as I described above.

It was nearly dusk by the time they reached the lab. ‘Nearly’ was the operative word. Given the uneven terrain, the thorny flora, and the biting fauna, it was unlikely that they would have been able to do much in the dark beyond set up a makeshift camp and spend a sleepless night waiting for the phalones to attack again.

They had barely left the crash site before Archenksova stopped to take off her shoes. What passed for ground here was a mishmash of tree roots, foliage, peat, and moss held together by thick, slimy mud. She’d been able to stand on the firmer portions but a march through the Uskil swamp was likely to break her ankle. She really wished one of them had thought to grab the medpac.

The trek through the swampland was the worst sort of uneventful. Not a moment went by without some mundane threat: a massive reptile launching itself from the underbrush into the water, Buddy nearly sinking into the murk, or simply the ever-present screeches of the mastiff phalones from every direction. The slaughter near the speeder evidently convinced the beasts that an attack in the open wasn’t worth it, but the creatures kept hounding them. Alethia and Marick briefly discussed whether the phalones were herding them or simply waiting for dark, but couldn’t settle on an answer.

Hours passed.

The Corrino Research Laboratory was a sprawling network of boxy modular rooms subdivided by temporary walls and linked together by tubular enclosed walkways. Doubtlessly there were areas deeper in with thicker walls and better security. Alethia activated her lightsaber and carved an entrance into the nearest wall.

“How are your feet?” Marick asked quietly, as if he didn’t already know.

“I’ve been trying not to think about that.” Alethia kept her focus on her lightsaber. “Something tells me I’m going to need more shots leaving Arx than I had to get coming in.”

“That seems overly optimistic, mistress,” Buddy chimed in. “This building’s power is out. Our compatriots’ attempts to capture the other creatures do not appear to be going well. Depending on the exact circumstances, our likelihood of success is—”

Alethia grunted and pushed against the wall with her shoulder. The resulting crash as the jagged wall section hit the floor drowned out whatever bleak estimate Buddy provided. But the droid was right: the lights were out and, though the air was marginally still cooler and drier than the swamp's, the climate control was offline as well.

Screeee-crawwww… clk-clk-clk-clik…

“They're close,” Marick said.

“They're probably not happy to see us get inside.” Alethia looked to Buddy. The KX unit was caked in so much mud and grime that it was difficult to appreciate how battered he had gotten during the journey. One photoreceptor was torn out. The actuators in his arms had been over-strained during the struggle with the phalone trying to fly off with his bo-rifle and the impact with the tree had left a large dent in his torso from, Alethia assumed, slamming into the back of her seat or the center console. The droid hadn't been able to use what safety features the outdated speeder possessed.

Nevertheless, her loyal companion of three years stood proud, her blaster looking comically small when held by such a massive droid. Alethia didn't have the luxury right now of thinking about the time a mechanic painted flowers all over Buddy’s chassis or how, despite her best intentions, Alethia had slowly come round to using that ridiculous nickname or thinking of him as a person. There would be time for guilt later. There always was.

“Droid,” she said. “We will go inside and retrieve Dr. Gen’matcha. Ensure nothing follows.”

“I understand, Mistress.”

Alethia spared a heartbeat to wonder if he really did before she and Marick stepped through the gap and into the facility. Buddy took up position behind them, barricading the opening with his own bulk and holding his blaster at the ready. Biddy took up position on his shoulder, ready to call out positions and firing solutions to the half-blind KX.

Marick gave the little droid a slight nod before leaving. Archenksova did not look back.

They entered the darkness, the screeching of mastiff phalones and the sound of blasterfire echoing behind them.

Clearly, the briefing had glossed over a few things. The Shadow Academy’s representatives told them that the creatures had escaped but mostly returned to their enclosures and that the problem was simply restraining the beasts long enough for construction staff to do essential repairs.

Alethia and Marick had no doubts that the enclosures were riddled with hostile animals and it was obvious that Arx’s construction crews had their work cut out for them. However, Ciara’s minions had wildly understated the problem. The facility had been without power long enough for the staff to set up portable generators in the rooms that hadn’t been abandoned outright. Work lights perched on tables and cabinets provided small islands of flickering light amid the gloom. But even that effort at maintaining control had failed; Marick and Alethia saw animal tracks and feces but no signs of the research staff beyond the coppery scent of humanoid blood.

They hurried, doubting how long their droids could keep the phalones at bay, but progress was awkward. Marick had lost his connection to Gen’matcha during the crash and his subsequent tumble to the ground, but he remembered enough to guide them in the right general direction through the long corridors. The Hapan’s night blindness was a struggle, however, and both agreed that the bright light and hum of Alethia’s lightsaber would attract unwanted attention from whatever predators still lingered. So Archenksova led the way, inactive hilt held out in front of her. Tyris followed, one hand on her shoulder and the other gripping his dagger.

The network of lab spaces and tunnels told a story. The early rooms had clearly been the first breached, with the greatest assortment of abandoned equipment and the most signs of animal activity. They passed through multiple shattered barricades. The first was easily mistaken for a scrap heap of lab stools and bookshelves and clearly hadn’t lasted long. There were no remains, so someone or something had secured the area long enough to remove any corpses.

Several chambers later they reached the first security barricade: a burned out shield generator and mangled plasteel riot shields crudely affixed to each other. There were discarded blasters and a few severed limbs and discarded helmets. A few chambers later was the original fallback point, consistenting of a short winding maze of durasteel barriers with firing ports and a tripod-mounted E-Web that lay uselessly on its side. The remains, when added together, probably represented a full platoon—but each body had been mauled beyond any hope of recognition, with most reduced to a few bones, sticky and glistening as what little soft tissue remained slowly putrefied in the heat.

The security team had been overrun and nearly every room thereafter had been barricaded with furniture to slow the advancing creatures. Barricade and retreat, barricade and retreat, hoping desperately that the beasts would lose more time forcing their way through than the fleeing research staff had lost bracing the doors with everything they could move.

“Do you hear that?” Marick whispered.

“Yes,” Alethia breathed.

Evidently the strategy had worked well enough, as they could faintly hear the slamming and screeching of more mastiff phalones trying to force their way past another barricade. “What’s the plan?” Marick asked, taking it for granted that Archenksova would have one.

There was a great crash followed by humanoid screams.

“I don’t think we have that luxury,” Alethia answered above the snap-hiss of her lightsaber.

Taking the white glow as an invitation, the Arconae slipped past her and the pair sprinted towards the screams by saberlight.

The final chamber was a massive atrium. At a glance, Alethia guessed two different groups had been backed into each other. The opposite entrance had a still-intact barricade against the door and one of the side walls was almost entirely transparisteel, giving the occupants a view of a central courtyard. In better times, it was probably the Corrino Research Laboratory’s preeminent destination for lunchtime relaxation. Right now, the fountain and the various benches and shade trees were the last refuge of anyone who could outrun their colleagues. There were five mastiff phalones and perhaps a dozen people. One, presumably Gen’matcha, clutched a camtono to her breasts until a pouncing phalone knocked her to the ground. She made eye contact with Alethia, mouthing a silent scream as the phalone clawed her diaphragm out of the way as its featherless head disappeared under her ribs.

That was an unnatural feeding behavior. The team had bred their winged nightmares to rip their victim’s hearts and lungs out before they could die, doubtlessly to horrify and deter any survivors.

The Sith were nothing if not thorough.

“The camtono,” Alethia called out. Marick had already seen it.


The mastiff had barely pulled its gore-covered head out to look at them before Marick hurled his throwing razor with such Force-amplified strength that it buried itself too deep into the monster’s skull for the tiny repulsor motor to budge it.

“That’s one down,” he said coldly.

Screeee-crawwww… clk-clk-clk-clik…

The screech had come from behind them. Buddy and Biddy held the original pack off long enough for their masters to get to Gen’matcha—but not long enough for them to escape.

“How many of these things are there?” Alethia asked.


The phalones that had been hounding the scientists were too fixated on their prey to pay much attention to the intruders, but they were making extremely quick work of the unarmed civilians and it would be moments before the pair were flanked. They had only moments to cut their way through one pack before the second ripped them to pieces.

Marick threw his dagger and the weapon zipped about, guided by an unseen hand. The Arconan himself met a charging mastiff head-on, striking the beast’s head aside with an open hand and pushing himself up and over it with the Force as much as his own power. Like lighting, his wrist-mounted blade blasted down and into the base of the creature's skull and he was on the ground again before it had collapsed into its death rattle.

Archenksova danced with grace, her weapon carving through beaks and talons and never allowing the phalones to close.

They were too engrossed to notice the first crash, but nothing could have distracted from the second. A truly massive, obviously unnaturally enhanced bull rancor has seen the melee from the chamber’s twin on the other side of the courtyard. It charged forward, intent on killing everything in its path, straight through one transparisteel wall and straight through the second.

The phalones screeched in terror and rage. Several took wing, but as the first dove at the rancor, he snatched the attacker out of the sky and tore its haunches off with one bit. The phalone’s blood and, no doubt, the partially digested remnants of several Shadow Academy staffers sprayed across the tile floor.

“I think that’s our cue,” Alethia shouted and sprinted towards the camtono. Marick didn’t bother answering. He charged toward her, ducking down and sweeping the woman off her feet just as she grabbed the container. Archenksova had the presence of mind to deactivate her lightsaber before it could take Marick’s head off, and the Arcanist and his passenger darted away at an inhuman pace as Marick weaved between the mastiffs to get back to the exit.

General Seraine "Erinyes" Taldrya Ténama, 31 January, 2021 12:09 AM UTC

What Went Well

This is another generally excellent post. For me, the character interactions tied it together, like Alethia reflecting on how she’d come to see Buddy as a companion (in preparation for her and Marick going back for Buddy and Biddy, because we all know it happened), Marick needing to use Alethia as a seeing-eye human in the facility corridors, and the freeze-frame eye contact between Alethia and the doctor before the latter’s demise (which felt very much like a cutscene before a boss battle).

Room for Growth

From a Story perspective, the biggest issue I have was that the end of this post (both the rancor ex machina and the abrupt wrap-up of Alethia and Marick just grabbing the camtono and legging it in the last paragraph) felt very rushed. While the ACC does tend to see “post-combat” scenes as extraneous, I don’t think a wrap-up paragraph or two (maybe with some final banter between Alethia and Marick to bring their rapport back into the spotlight) would’ve gone amiss.

The mechanics of how well Marick could see outdoors and in the atrium via ambient light, outside Alethia’s lightsaber’s light radius, caused a great deal of discussion in Staff chat. The consensus was “yes”, but we’d appreciate a bit more clarity on how Marick goes about that if you have occasion to write similar circumstances in the future. Given that it was after dark and there was no mention of lightning storms or other outdoor phenomena that might illuminate the area at that point in the post, it wasn’t clear that there was actually much ambient light anywhere, and lightsaber blades’ area of illumination isn’t that huge, relatively speaking.

Lastly, you had a couple of Syntax issues in the form of a “consistenting” in place of “consisting” and a “like lighting” (which, admittedly, would arguably have been more useful for Marick) in place of “like lightning”.


Draw the end of the story out just a bit more in order to give the reader better closure, stay on top of nitpicky stuff like visibility, and watch out for Syntax goofs.