[The Collective] Chapter 2: Executive Action
Dark Brotherhood supply route
A brilliant flash erupted across the inky void of space. Crimson bolts of plasma from Vera Wright’s X-wing penetrated the depleted shields of the retrofitted quadrijet tug and tore into its thin hull.
“Get some!” the female pilot hollered over the comms as she spun her starfighter into a sidelong roll.
The suicide craft's original intent had been a direct hit into the hull of the Portly Dewback. Instead, it detonated a safe distance away from the Baleen-class heavy freighter that was carrying a desperately needed supply of fuel for Mattock Station back over Arx. Reports revealed that a Collective task force was attempting to mirror the same tactics used against the Inquisitorius Listener ships.
What they hadn’t planned for was one of the Brotherhood’s best pilots defending their payload. She’d heard rumors of Halcyon Rokir Taldrya, who had become a regular presence among those in the employ of Arx Capital Exchange—also known as the ACE. Vera had been recruited into ACE for her skills, but had worked her way up through the ranks to be granted the privilege of flying for this critical mission. She was not going to throw away her shot.
Thanks to a revelation in analyzing report data patterns from Director Ness’arin Ohnaka, the Inquisitorius had been able to—for once—predict the attack before it happened. In fact, they had allowed the infiltration teams to board the heavy freighter, and waited for just the right moment to spring their trap.
As the explosion cleared, another quickly followed. An X-wing in the distance vaporized a quadrijet and rolled to port, down and away from the shrapnel that now filled the area. That had to be Evant Taelyan, who had suited up specifically for this operation.
In her moment of distraction, a large chunk of debris clipped the upper left laser cannon on her X-wing. “Frak!” the young pilot swore. Her astromech unit squealed in protest as it tried to stabilize the starfighter that was now in a slow spin, but still moving at a high speed.
From her flank, two other X-wings in her flight continued to pursue the bombers attempting to destroy the important cargo they were protecting. She knew that the heavy cruiser contained enough fuel to power the entire fleet for an entire month. Then again, they all knew what was truly at stake.
“Get it together ‘Four, one coming your way,” the flight leader—Halcyon—chimed in, his voice carrying his years of combat experience with it. He was far too relaxed for the situation. Vera pulled out of her spiral and leveled, but frantically looked through her viewport at the space around her, trying to locate whatever “one” was coming her way.
“What are you amateurs doing out there, you’re destroying them too close to me,” the man at the helm of the bulk freighter—Keirdagh—shouted from the bridge in a tone of frustration over the sounds of warning sirens blaring in the background. “I’m not about to go down with a ship named the ‘Portly Dewback’!”
“Just be lucky Dacien let you out of your cell,” Evant reminded the Dark Prophet, who had been previously captured by former Justicar Jac Cotelin. “I’ll try and be more—” the rest of the Regent’s response was cut short as more enemy targets showed up on their scanners.
“Six headhunters and two more quads twenty klicks out,” Halcyon announced. “Two, Three, on me. Four, get that quad up the Dewback’s rear.”
As the three X-wings formed up and headed away from the Dewback, Vera scanned her targeting computer and located another quadrajet. Her astromech had made some quick repairs, but she was still down one of her lasers.
Ignoring the chatter on the line from the rest of her flight, Vera focused on the task at hand. The spacetug rapidly banked left and then right, making it a difficult target as her X-wing lined up directly between the bomber and its target. She was young, but had experience after countless similar attacks escorting shipments for the ACE. With determination coursing through her veins, she lined up head-on for an attack run.
Falling in and out of a lock, she pulled the trigger to fire. Nothing.
“Arr-five! Weapons!” she shouted in frustration as her droid quickly complied, transferring energy from her shields. Crimson bolts began to fire one after another from the three remaining weapons on the starfighter. Sweat trickled into her eyes and she felt her vision strained. She ripped off her helmet and welcomed the feeling of stale but cool air on her matted auburn hair. Everything came into sharp focus.
Vera Wright—an Ace pilot for the entity of the same name—wove deftly through space to the left. Then to the right. She dipped low and then pulled up high.
The quadrijet erupted in a familiar cloud of ochre light as she swerved to port away from it, trying not to take too much of the aftermath explosion. All the remaining energy in the small starfighter poured into its shields just as a massive chunk of shrapnel slammed into the side of her cockpit.
Vera’s head smacked into the instrument panel in front of her. Darkness swallowed her.
Written by: Evant Taelyan
Edits and revisions by: Marick Tyris
Greetings. Knowing how many things I’ve been tackling at once, Evant was kind enough to help craft these three scenes out for the macro (main) storyline. I made a few additions and edits, but credit goes mostly to Evant for the ideas and the set up. Thanks Ev, always good to have former Voice backup!
The big focus of this update was to fictionally cover how Arx Capital Exchange operated within the storyline. As a society, ACE is uniquely different from the SA, GMRG, INQ, or SS. ACE exists purely as a fictional sub-faction of the Dark Council, and does not feature any kind of ranking system for members to participate in.
ACE is a welcomed creation of Evant’s, and one that I believe helps enhance our world building efforts. The first draft of this update was written by Evant, and I made some edits and additions to round it out. The featured Brotherhood PCs are members of the Regent staff, so if you’re wondering why Yacks, Halc, and Koji are used, consider it my way of rewarding them for all the hard work they’ve done with Possessions and getting that up and running. We appreciate their hard work.
With that out of the way, let's get this summary started.
- Space combat! Wally’s
leastfavorite thing to write/edit.
- ACE = Arx Capital Exchange, which is the fictional society that represents the Regent and the Brotherhood's Possessions system (supply lines, shipyards, etc.)
- Vera Wright is a new NPC Pilot that flies for ACE. She is excited to fly with one of the Brotherhood’s top pilots: Halc?
- Halc gets this designation because he has a +5 in Piloting and is a Dark Prophet, not because we think he’s all that and a bag of green potato chips.
- Vera helps Halc and Evant — in their respective X-Wings — defend a Brotherhood ship that's carrying desperately needed supplies.
- She gets a bit overly confident and leaves the payload (probably a Genji-main). As a result, she gets caught in some of the aftermath of a quadrajet space tug detonating.
- Vera gets told to snap out of it by a character who, the last time we saw them, was seemingly captured by former Justicar Jac Cotelin...
- Yacks is back! Keirdagh is no longer locked up, and lends his leadership skills to Evant’s operation from aboard the bulk freighter—The Portly Dewback
- Oh yeah, Evant is not happy with how things have been going, so he’s actually in an X-wing helping out. Getting his hands dirty.
- Evant, Halc, and Vera are able to protect the payload, but Vera takes a deadly shot to her ship and is swallowed by “darkness”. Holy vague ending, Wally!
- Meanwhile, an operation to hijack information on one of the Collective’s warehouses is underway.
- An Inquisitorius Operator, Wyndell Tyris (master of disguise), and Kojiro Keibatsu (the muscle) are waiting in a target’s hotel room, monitoring an exhchange between the target and the Collective’s Ghaffa Ordam
- Wyn tries to get Koji to lighten up about the mission, but to no avail. They do both understand what is at stake, and put their game faces on.
- Koji sets his phaser to stun and knocks out the target. Wyn, disguised as the target, takes his place and goes to trick the Collective into leading him to their warehouse cache. Wynning.
- The final scene takes place closer to home, on Mattock Station. This is where the Iron Fleet is refueled and constructed. You could consider it Evant/ACE’s headquarters. Unlike Space Amazon, they don’t have to worry about states fighting over hosting it.
- A board of executives is meeting to discuss the Collective’s interference with business. This is lead by Rhent Ghosen, an old colleague of Mav’s who has been credited with being the entrepenuer behind ACE’s growth.
- Of course, this puts him into a direct head-butting contest with Evant, who sees beyond the numbers and is not pleased.
- One of the board members tries to blame IT (the Senechal, basically) which gets a mental eye-roll from Evant who knows James is busy doing all the things relating to the Brotherhood’s security, research and development.
- Evant argues and defends his decisions to support the Inquisitorius with the Listener ships, and is bored with Powerpoint presentations and angrily leaves to go tend to things himself.
- To be continued.
Thank you for reading the update. I’m going to try something new here, and ask if people can sound off in the comments to help me make a decision. Do you think that #veralives, or #veradies? I’m inclined to follow through with whatever the masses vote on.
Vera Wright, ACE Pilot
Leave your vote in the comments below!