Pistons hissed and jetted vapor as the shuttle opened its hatch to let Calindra out. She crossed down the ramp with as much elegance as a sprint could convey before her taxi backed up, closed all ports, and dropped through the force field in Dagger’s belly without ever having touched the steel floor.
These pilots on Excidium’s payroll are definitely something else, she mused quietly while a deck officer waved her over with the casual confidence of a professional doing his job. At least he had the air of an officer; he wore the same wild assortment of tools over grease-stained overalls as did the people working on the parked fighters.
Scouring off the paintjobs and preparing these X-Wings for a fresh look, apparently.
With him stood two figures who didn’t belong. The first to catch her eye was a tree of a man, towering high and thick as a trunk. Bulging heaps of muscle and battle scarred technology contrasted with a bearded face that liked to smile and laugh, crowned by short horns barely clearing a mane of dark hair.
A Nautolan girl two heads shorter than the man and half Calindra’s age nearly disappeared in his shadow. Trinkets hung from her tentacles, weapons and tools adorned her harness and backpack. Both of them had duffels at their feet, not unlike the ones floating by Calindra’s side.
Moving my own luggage, strange times…...
The apparent officer nodded to her when she entered comfortable speaking distance.
“Welcome aboard, Lady. I have to ask you to wait for a few moment until...”
“Yeah yeah, I’ll take them from here, El Tee,” a new voice cut in. Its owner was almost as tall as the treelike Zabrak, but had a whipcord quality to his build. The smile and the tattoo on his crate-bearing arm she would have recognized anywhere, even after years.
“Jorm,” she spoke up, probing the reaction of her new superior, “it’s nice to see you. How long has it been?”
“Two years or so,” the Kiffar answered while he handed the paper crate to the unmarked Lieutenant, “different world and different life, it seems.”
Calindra could only nod at the statement, too true for her taste.
The officer peeked into the crate, and with a cheery grin let out an ear-piercing whistle.
“Break’s on early,” he called to the tech crew and made for the hangar’s exit. He left a trailing smell of freshly baked goods behind that made Cali’s mouth water. All around, techs shut down power tools and floodlights, piling out behind their superior and leaving the dimly lit hangar to the four visitors. The quiet was almost eerie for a moment.
“You’re Bale,” Jorm addressed the other man without preamble. “Zehsaa speaks highly of you.”
The Zabrak smiled, fondly and maybe even a bit smugly.
“Always nice to leave a lasting good impression,” he answered. “How is she doing? Haven’t heard much of her lately,” Bale then ventured to ask.
“Well enough. Hunting loose ends after the war.”
The mention of the war, the brutal campaign on Nancora and the skirmishes on dozens of other worlds, brought a sneer to the Nautolan girl’s face. Jorm turned to face her.
“Aylin, right? Zeh pointed you my way too. Says you’re slightly crazy, and crazy good. Recognize yourself?”
The sneer made place for a smirk.
“That high praise, huh? I’ll try not to disappoint her.”
The Battlemaster accepted her statement with a nod, then gestured for them to follow. Calindra left her luggage with the others’ as her new boss led them back to the spot she had set foot on the Dagger at. Without a word, he jumped down the ledge from the deck onto the force field. While it was too weak to stop the heavy starships going in and out, it was strong enough to hold unlucky technicians or wayward Sith.
Jorm turned to face them from the low ‘ground’ and pointed downward.
“Look at this.”
Calindra stepped to the ledge and cast her eyes downward. Beyond the force field and under Jorm’s boots was Seraph, splendid in green and blue and white, seemingly no larger than a particularly big inflatable ball. She tried to match the visible shorelines with the map she knew.
Looks like we’re over southern Elaya, maybe?
“Seraph. Capital planet of the Caperion system. Five big fish, ranging from mellow over weird to hostile.” Jorm summarized before crouching down.
“One job for us,” he said and looked them straight in the eyes from below. He punctuated his next words by tapping the force field hard enough to cause sparks dancing over the plant.
“Make,” spark, “them,” spark, “thresh.”
A final spark underlined the mission.
“We’ll make them chase us, each other, and their own tails,” he continued. “Cut into their stashes and their ability to think straight. Fill their investigations and their media with so much Bantha dung that they’ll rename the planet Tatooine. And doing all that, we’ll waste their attention and their energy and buy the Clan the time and freedom it needs to do whatever’s on the agenda this week.”
Jorm stood up and grinned up at them.
“Not gonna lie, it’ll be a wild ride. I’d also not bet against having a price on each of our heads within the year. Questions?”
Bale shook his massive head.
“Nope. You paid for the month.”
Aylin seemed absorbed in her own thoughts and only gave a small shake of her head. Calindra wanted to decline, but a very recent memory made her stomach rumble.
“Yes, actually,” she spoke up, “where is that bakery?!”
Welcome back to our cozy little Battleteam’s official report. As usual I’ll let you know what’s currently up, running, or coming our way looking for trouble, and will briefly outline what you can expect in the future.
Have you ever had a moment when you went “well f...” with amazement? Welcome to being me, looking at the updated roster. Not only did Zehsaa join VI with her alt character Aylin Sajark, but she was followed by Calindra Hejaran and former P:CON Cyris with his mercenary Bale Andros. Three heavy hitters. May the Force be with me.
...actually, may the Force be with anybody outside this BT, they need it more!
March is about to hit, and we will likely see a Clan-wide event to further CSP’s influence on our new homeworld. Each BT will have its own run-on during that period, a chance for us to grow into our fictional roles both as teammates and as Excidium’s bruisers. Next to that, I’ll keep the BT-related competitions on the light side with a little bit of everything, plus the next installment of Caperion Legends.
For Scholae Palatinae I know this report is coming quite late in the game, but CSP is still running it’s BT cup until march 4th. Any of the following activities counts and earns our BT points: *Participation in a competition: 5 points (double for DB wide competitions) *Organisation of competition by BT member: 5 points *Completion of a shadow academy exam: 2 points *Gaining a shadow academy degree: 5 points *Pendant of Blood: 5 points *Scroll of Indoctrination: 10 points
Since ALL competitions count for this, I won’t list all of them separately. Sue me Òó
The most important though is Conflict in Caperion, offering something for artists, writers and thinkers alike.
Caperion Legends: The Island of Doctor... Whom?!, brought to you by yours truly, is still running until the 28th. Go breathe life into our home!
The whole world... uhm, DJB
...too many to sum up. All of them are eligible for the BT Cup though, so have a look and take a swing at whatever catches your fancy!
Aylin, never shy, has placed 1st in a BT-level comp, creating a design for a signature “tag” that we’ll see more often in the future. She also made 3rd place in the DJB-wide Speed Dating comp. She got a Cluster of Ice out of that one too, sweet!
Calindra has left her mark on Mune’s CDW series, taking the 1st place for the winter edition.
Want to see more at this spot? It’s in your hands!
Speaking of open spots, Empress Eli wants you to know that we’re still short a Proconsul. If you want to soar, here’s your chance.
Aaaand that’s all for now! If you have any questions or suggestions, don’t be shy to hit me on Telegram or email.
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