“So, there we were: a pair of slimy, greasy, ugly Khil, face tentacles and all,” Lucine Vasano explained as she recapped her latest mission to the pair of officers that had 'invited' her to join them in the private lounge. It was the least they could do, after all, for one of Pravus’ loyal agents doing the grunt work of hunting down filthy aliens. They were both nodding along eagerly to the different obstacles she was describing during the hunt.
Lieutenant Kenson, one of the Executor-class Star Destroyer’s shield officers, was a slender man with dark hair, a pinched face, and reedy lips. Beside him was Lieutenant Brent, one of the more veteran weapon officers the ship had. She was a stocky woman with a round face framed by mousy brown hair. Both were in uniform, but had relaxed their collars as they prepared to wind down from a long day prepping the Grand Master’s flagship for its next flight.
Lucine herself wore the dark robes of an Inquisitor, leaving her wavy red hair and pale features free from any obstruction. A second Inquisitor, wearing the same uniform but with a cowl pulled across his face, stood guard by the door to the private lounge. He did not have to try very hard to seem completely uninterested in the officer's' discussion.
As Lucine reached the end of her story, the Sith subtly leaned on the officers' minds with the Force. When she finished, she held her hands out to the sides and looked expectantly back and forth between the two officers. On cue, they both began to clap their hands and laugh as they reached down to grab their glasses on the table off to the side of them.
“So, Ms. Vasano—”
“Please, call me Lucine.” The Arconan Inquisitor smiled as she tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
“Lucine,” Kenson corrected himself before continuing, “you’ve certainly handled your share of these...” Kenson scrunched his nose as if he had inhaled something unpleasant. “...Undesirables."
“A toast, then, to your continued success through the ranks,” Brent added, raising her glass.
“Here’s to that!” Kenson agreed, mirroring the gesture.
Lucine smiled as she clinked her glass against theirs and pretended to take a drink. Kenson and Brent emptied their cups and let out content sighs.
“So, what is the next miss—” Lieutenant Brent started to ask, but broke off into a sudden string of phlegmy heaves from her chest. She swayed in place and tried to use Kenson for balance, but her fellow officer had also begun to cough, his cup clattering against the carpeted floor. Kenson put a hand on Lucine’s shoulder and looked at her with panicked eyes as blood began to spill out from the corner of his lips. He started to make gurgling sounds as his eyes began to roll back into his head and he dropped unceremoniously to floor at the red-haired woman’s feet. A heartbeat later, Lieutenant Brent toppled over and went limp.
Lucine blinked twice as she looked down at her own cup still clasped in her slender fingers. She sniffed once, then quickly snapped her emerald eyes towards the Inquisitor standing by the door.
“You poisoned mine too?!” she called out in a huff.
The man turned towards her as he unfastened the cloth covering his face. Even under the shade provided by the large hood, Lucine could still make out the Chiss’ cerulean skin.
“Can never be too careful,” Rhylance replied calmly. “To ensure total success, I had to dose all three cups, in case someone picked up the wrong one.”
“Yes, but I could have ended up like them, you lunatic,” Lucine growled, placing her cup down and then getting to work on lifting the officers' access cards and credentials from their persons.
The Taldryan Consul flashed a quick grin before pulling the cowl back over his face. “I’ll let the other agents know that we’ve been given the signal to proceed. Our impersonator will be able to use that fascinating trick that some of you Force-users do with changing facial features to match those of a subject. He should have little trouble mimicking Lieutenant Kenson. In the meantime...I have some systems to help sabotage.”
Read the full fiction here
- Lucine Vasano of Arcona and Rhylance of Taldryan assassinate two key officers aboard the Suffering, the Flagship of the Iron Navy.
- Rhylance explains that an undercover agent will take the place of one of the assassinated officers to help with some kind of sabotage.
- Cut to: three days later. In a modern version of the titular shuttle from the Rogue One film, Kenath Zoron of Clan Odan-Urr has landed and is standing by with a team of infiltrators that are ready to take on the impossible task of disabling a section of the Suffering's shields.
- Alarms start to go off, signaling it’s time for the team to move.
- The Lotus fleet, composed of ships from both Clan Arcona and Odan-Urr, launch a full-scale assault on the Suffering.
- They are not alone. A general Resistance to Pravus’ power lends support to the Lotus ships. This is in the form of unmarked ships from Clan Naga Sadow. The combined Resistance takes advantage of some delays caused by the early infiltration teams,
- Notably absent from the battle are Clans Plagueis, Clan Tarentum, and Clan Taldrya. They are positioned nearby to watch the outcome of the battle.
- A new set of ships arrives to help defend the Suffering. They belong to House Marka Ragnos of Clan Naga Sadow. It is revealed that Naga Sadow’s summit is divided on supporting the Lotus over the Iron Throne.
- The Marka Ragnos ships attack the Arconan ships' flanks. Things don’t look good.
- Clan Scholae Palatinae shows up, lending the INS Tarkin to help strike back at Pravus for destroying their former home. Aedile Dek Ironius II uses his tactical experience to help balance the scales.
- Deep in the bowels of the Suffering’s engineering bay, the infiltration team is lead by an impersonator that assumed the identity of the officer killed in the opening by Lucine and Rhylance.
- Having safely guided the sabotage team to Engineering, Bentre Stahoes of Clan Naga Sadow drops his Faceless feat’s disguise before cloaking and going to retrieve Lucine and Rhylance and prepare for extraction.
- As the battle continues, and time ticks away for the Lotus’ gambit, Rian and Vodo speculate on the battle from the safety of their ships bridge. As they are speaking, an alarm sounds that one of the fighter squadrons deployed against their orders to stay out of the fight.
- Back in Engineering, Jasper Arlow works her mechanical magic as she works to take down the Sufferings rear aft shields through its generator.
- She manages to overload the generator, and the sabotage team scrambles to flee to the extraction point.
- Back on Odan-Urr’s flagship, the Lotus forces see the opening in the shields and divert all their firepower to taking out the Sufferings rear aft thrusters in hopes of crippling its mobility.
- They don’t have any resources to spare to go save the extraction team, though.
- While making their way to the extraction point in the hangar bay, Lucine gets shot in the leg. She is carried back to the shuttle with the rest of the team, who manage to escape the hangar bay...only to be stopped by a squadron of Iron Navy fighters.
- Zoron can’t do much with just the shuttle, and braces for the worst. The rogue Taldryan squadron swoops in and clears a path through the Iron Navy ships, allowing the Dawnblade to escape.
- On Tarentum’s Titan, Scion watches the conclusion of the battle, and can’t believe the Lotus pulled their mission off. As he’s preparing the ship to turn and leave, a new battle group of ships appears out of nowhere and starts attacking everything in sight...including the previously neutral ships belonging to Tarentum, Plagueis, and Taldryan.
- All three ships suffer damages before retreating.
- Aboard Arcona’s flagship, the Invicta II, Atyiru and her crew watch as the new enemy deploys a strange kind of weapon in the form of Quadrijet spacetugs. They end up watching as the small cargo carriers detonate as suicide bombers, taking out one of Naga Sadow’s unmarked ships.
- Naga Sadow ships on both sides of the conflict retreat.
- Even on the verge of victory over Pravus, Turel orders a full retreat of the Lotus forces. * Odan-Urr ships begin to pull out as well, with Arcona and Scholae along with the hamstrung Scholae Palatinae ship. Arcona attempts to cover the retreat.
- The Invicta II is the last ship to leave. Atyiru orders the retreat and rushes towards the medbay to help with the wounded.
- As she reaches the lift, just before they jump to hyperspace, the Invicta II is hit hard by one of the new enemy's suicide bombers. The lift collapses around Atyiru.
- The fate of Arcona’s Shadow Lord is left in limbo as the rest of the Brotherhood tries to figure out what the hell just happened, and who this new threat was.
About This Fiction
- Breaking slightly from my own format, I went with a “cold opening”, which in television drama terms usually means starting off with a new, non-recap scene before the opening credits (that usually indicate the start of the show).
- At 5399 words and 16 pages, this is the longest fiction update I’ve ever worked on, let alone written. I owe a lot to my proofreaders who have gone through this more than a few times. If you spot a stray typo, please forgive us. Let me know, and I’ll do an update in a day or two to catch anything that might also get reported.
- The word “Suffering” is used 19 times in reference to Pravus’ flagship. Subtext?
- Outlining/drafting took about a week. This was a result of needing to consult with the different unit leaders, research characters, unit fleets, and also sort out plot logistics while working off the notes Sarin gave me.
- The first draft took me about 6 hours sitting down and piecing everything together.
- The second draft, which happened after receiving feedback and notes, took me another 5-6 hours at my desk after work.
- I mention these just to give readers a sense of the type of leg work that goes into these updates.
- All seven units have featured roles or mentions in the fiction.
- The members that were featured were selected for various reasons. Some were highlighted for high levels of general activity in Brotherhood events like the recent ACC Ladder, some as leaders in various capacities, and some for their presence within the Fiction Society.
- All characters were screened and approved by their owner/authors, or through their respective Consul’s sign-off.
- Thank you, Rian, for the art image used for this chapter!
I think that’s everything, for now. I hope everyone takes the time to read this. A lot of work went into it, and it really is the closing of a two year story arc that members both new and old have been a part of. Thank you all for your patience, and be on the lookout for the start of the next story arc, which will kick off with a fiction from our multitalented and brazenly bearded Herald—Vyr!
Questions or concerns, you know where to reach me. Have an idea of what might come next? Hit up the comments! Let us know what you thought!