From Domination to Genocide V2
Outer Rim Regions
Two small ships, scouting vessels, snapped into existence as they exited hyperspace. Their crews hurriedly set about ensuring all systems were in the green before reporting back; the last thing they needed was a delay. Finding everything was set and ready, the two ships raced away towards the heart of the system, a small place with only a gas giant, a few asteroids, and two barren moons to its easily forgotten designation. What was more important was the fleet that sat in waiting above the gas giant; a cobbled together fleet of old and new, worn and fresh, battle-scared and ready to be tested. Its purpose was simple: bring victory to its commander and to his people. The people were the slowly reforming and growing Mandalorian clans, it's commander, Mandalore the Preserver.
For the past few years, Mandalore had been more aggressively rebuilding the Mandalorian clans by integrating prisoners, colonists, slaves, criminals, pirates, and aliens all to build a diverse force that could shake the galaxy once more. Of course, he had to fly under the radar; if the Republic caught wind of how much he was doing, they could, wisely, nip the clans in the bud and kill them off in one go. Thusly, Mandalore had wisely kept to the Outer Rim, keeping away from the Republic as much as possible and ordering no aggressive actions against any Republic-affiliates. Now, however, it was time to fight; the clans had grown strong, stronger than they had been in quite some time, they were spoiling for a challenge, for a fight, to prove their mettle in combat, and Mandalore had found just the occasion for them: to claim a pirate controlled system.
The system's designation was as meaningless as the one Mandalore's fleet floated in, but at least it had a name: Scourge-Haven, named so for the Scourge Pirates that inhabited the system. As the scouts would soon report to Mandalore, it was a bit larger than the system the fleet currently hung in: a gas world, a planet far too close to the sun to be habitable with a burning moon, and a habitable temperate world with two moons. It was around that habitable planet that the Scourge fleet hung and on it that they lived. It was this small system that was to be the rebuilt Mandalorian clans first test of combat.
"Sir, the scouts have returned; they're transmitting their data now." A bridge officer called.
"Good, I want it on a datapad as soon as its through." Mandalore ordered, encased in his dark armor, the Mask of Mandalore glinting in the dim light of the bridge. "Contact Kelborn and the rest, I want my war council ready to plan our assault."
"Right away sir!" Another called. The ship, a recovered Kandosii-class dreadnaught, was a prime example of the Mandalorians at their height; something Mandalore intended to return too. A pair of Mandalorian cruisers flanked the ship, with the rest of the fleet being ships of varying design, there were even a few Hammerhead-cruisers scavenged from battles against the Republic floating in the fleet. As Mandalore surveyed the fleet, an aide darted up to him, datapad in hand. He glanced over it, confirmed it was the data from the scouts, then left the bridge. He tapped a few buttons on his wrist as he walked to the tactical center, ensuring his commanders were all aware that they were needed, now.
Entering the tactical center, Mandalore saw the report and related images already plastered across the large circular room; the bridge crew having relayed them down as Mandalore left the bridge. He stopped at the center holoterminal that dominated the room, looking up at the image of the planet, Scourge-Haven, and the space above. The Scourge fleet was nearly the same size of his own fleet; however, their fleet lacked the tonnage of Mandalore's; their ships were smaller, faster, lightly armed and armored, and meant for raiding, not a straight up fight. Instead, their main defensive firepower came from the four turbolaser satellites floating between the two moons, effective at stripping the shields of his fleet. As Mandalore surveyed the images, his second in command, Kelborn walked in, his armor cleaned and scared, but not polished; polish attracted too much attention.
"Mandalore." Kelborn greeted, already surveying the situation.
"Initial thoughts?" Mandalore asked.
"We need long-range torpedoes," Kelborn pointed at the satellites, "and a few boarding parties for the larger vessels, but otherwise we'll manage all the same."
"Agreed, but what about the moons?" Mandalore asked. The two moons held small lunar bases on them; not large enough to hold significant resistance, but enough to impede a planetary invasion of ground-to-space based weaponry. Additionally, they maintained hangers with two squadrons of fighters between the two, providing a harassment force against any landing force.
"Basilisk war droids, with a wave of shock troopers after that." Kelborn answered simply and succinctly. Mandalore nodded as several other Mandalorian commanders walked in. As they settled in, Mandalore's comnlink beeped.
"Sir, incoming data-package from our third scout ship, patching through to the tactical center now." A voice said through the comnlink. A moment later, another three ships materialized on the far side of the planet, heading towards the two moons. Two of the ships were of the pirate's raiding types, but the third was a Hammerhead-cruiser, one marked not in the trappings of the Republic or any known government, but marked by those of a Sith.
"Well….looks like Meetra missed one." Mandalore observed, touching a pouch on his belt that had not been opened since Meetra Surik had left. "Do any of those markings match anything that we know of?"
"Negative, and, if I had to say sir, those markings look like a combined version of the rest of the Scourge Pirates." One of Mandalore's commanders noted. Upon closer inspection, this theory was proven fact; the various wild markings on the Scourge pirates formed the Sith's symbol. Said symbol was a pair of red lightsabers crisscrossed behind a Republic trooper's skull.
"Now we've got a proper fight on our hands." Xarga, Ordo's master-of-arms, said eagerly, rubbing his hands together.
"A dangerous fight," Mandalore reminded him, "Sith are not to be underestimated." Xarga nodded, but the gleam never faded from his eyes. "As of right now, baring any new reinforcements, we are still capable of outgunning these pirates. However, our ranks are full of warriors truly untested by battle, potentially reckless, skittish, and unsure of themselves; we cannot overextend ourselves in battle. I want all squad and platoon leaders to keep a tight leash on their forces, reign in the recruits, and keep them alive. Dead men don't serve the clans." The other commanders all gave grunts or nods of affirmation.
"And for all of us old farts, we don't serve the clans dead either; stay alive, pass your experience down, and show the new guys how it's done." Kelborn added.
"This is our first test in reforming the clans; the capture of this planet will show those who doubt us the power and capability of the Mandalorian clans! We will rise once more!" Mandalore bellowed, eliciting a cheer from the commanders. "Now, here's how we'll do it."
Scourge-Haven was silent, save for the occasional buzzing of shuttles from the moons, the pirate fleet, and the planet below. That silence was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a battered cargo ship, erupting from hyperspace close to Scourge-Haven, with smoking pouring from numerous gashes and holes in it's hull. A distress signal was pulsing weakly from the vessel as it drifted towards the fleet and the four turbolaser satellites. Several of the pirate vessels moved to intercept, using combined tractor beams to bring the ship to a halt, allowing several boarding craft to close with it. As they closed, four tubes opened at the vessel's front allowing four short range torpedoes to dart out. Before anyone could react, they impacted with the satellites, detonated and disabling them.
As the pirate fleet wheeled in confusion, the Mandalorian fleet micro-jumped to them, engaging them at close range, catching the Scourge Pirates off guard. Several of the smaller craft detonated as they were saturated with laser fire, others were crippled and disabled. Only a few ships were able to turn and fire, but their fire was scattered and ineffective. They too were disabled, including the Hammerhead; as soon as the vessel began to list into the void, the Mandalorians struck hard and fast.
Boarding craft emerged from the Mandalorian fleet like hounds off their leashes; hurtling towards the disabled pirate ships unchecked and without fear. The largest group went for the Hammerhead; a trio of gunships accompanying them. They entered the hangers first, sweeping them with heavy cannon fire before allowing the boarding craft to land. Their landings were unopposed, thanks to the gunships, and as the hangers were secured, Mandalore landed. He came down the ramp into a scorched hanger, surrounded by some of his best and most veteran warriors. Kelborn greeted him at the base of the ramp, having led the initial landings onto the Hammerhead.
"How'd we do?" Mandalore asked.
"Hangers are secure, the pirates have fallen back and are most likely preparing positions deeper within the ship, but we're ready to go." Kelborn reported. Already, Mandalore spotted a flaw with the report; Kelborn had allowed the enemy to fall back and set up more prepared positions. In the past, when the clans were glory hunting, this was acceptable, but now? Now, Mandalore needed to push his clans into the present; that glory was gained in the victory and not in the individual deeds.
"Why did you allow them time to set up positions?" Mandalore asked. Kelborn looked at his superior curiously; they had done similar things numerous times before together without question.
"We were waiting for you, sir, this is your assault and glory." Kelborn answered.
"In the future, keep the momentum going, don't allow the enemy time to prepare." Mandalore declared, looking at Kelborn firmly. Even through the visors, Kelborn felt Mandalore's eyes harden on him. "Glory is earned through total victory; minor accomplishments like this serve no further purpose."
"Understood, Mandalore." Mandalore's second in command moved off and began mobilizing the assault force. Mandalore surveyed his warriors; a collection of humanoids of varying races, predominantly human, but there were others like the Duros, Rodians, and Twi'leks to name a few. These mixed races represented the future of the Mandalorians and Mandalore's hope for his people; Revan's hope for a unified galaxy against the Sith.
Squads began stacking up on the three doors leading from the hanger into the rest of the vessel, breaching charges were placed, and the doors were blown open. The Mandalorians had, wisely, activated their energy shields prior to breaching, and as a hail of multi-colored blaster fire erupted from the corridors before them, they waded in unscathed and unafraid. Mandalore went up the center behind his warriors, not participating but watching, observing.
As they fought, one of the pirates took notice of a dark armored figure stalking towards them from behind the Mandalorians. While the warriors before the pirates were tense, screaming, and violent in their actions, the figure behind them was calm, silent, and his gait was smooth and unhindered by any fear or reservation. Others began to take noticed and, being the superstitious lot, they were, fear began to take root in the defenders. As the figure closed with them, one of the pirates screamed, "Demon, they have a demon with them!" The Mandalorians watched, in sheer surprise and, partly, disappointment, as they centermost pirates broke and ran, screaming about a black armored demon coming for their souls. Everyone was stunned at the sudden, senseless retreat, except for Mandalore, who opened fire with his carbine. The rest of them snapped out of their stunned state and joined him, downing many of the combatants in a hailstorm of fire.
"Keep pushing forward! Don't give them a chance to rest!" Mandalore barked, his soldiers surged forward. They rounded a bend to find another group of pirates setting up a pair of automated turrets; the lead warriors lowered their shoulders and rammed into the pirates, gunning them down as they fell to the ground. Behind them were the survivors of the first group, who, with no other options, turned to face their assailants, shakily aiming blasters at the blue armored warriors.
Mandalore rounded the corner, snapped his rifle to his shoulder, and let a burst fly from the barrel. It caught a Twi'lek in the chest, knocking him backwards as he crumped to the ground. Another fired a wild spray of blaster bolts into the ranks of the Mandalorians, several of which were absorbed by the energy shields, whilst others went wide. One of the warriors close by stepped into the space of the pirate, bashed him in the face with the buttstock of his rifle, knocking him to the floor, then crushed his skull with a forceful stomp of a boot. For the Mandalorians, this was no true boarding; this was a hunt, a chase, a slaughter.
The Mandalorians quickly mopped up the defenders as they neared the bridge; half of the boarding party heading to the aft of the vessel to secure the engine and reactor, while Mandalore and Kelborn went to the bridge. At the entrance to the bridge, they came to the final door, which was magnetically sealed.
"Alright, breaching team, up front!" Kelborn ordered. Mandalore surveyed the door.
"Kelborn, how heavy are those breaching charges?" He asked. Kelborn turned first to Mandalore, quizzically, then to the door to inspect it.
"Aw, firfek." Kelborn hissed. The door was twice as armored as the previous doors and more dense; the few breaching charges left would barely dent the door. Kelborn turned to find heavier explosives whilst Mandalore holstered his rifle. His hand drifted to an unopened pouch on his belt, one that carried two very important items to him. Both were gifts from two of Mandalore's greatest influences, leaders…and friends. He unbuttoned the pouch, raised the flap, and withdrew a cylindrical tube roughly eight inches long. It was not an ornate weapon, nothing flashy or gaudy; it was simple and effective, easily concealed, but well known once drawn. Mandalore raised his arm at the door and thumbed the activation stud of Meetra Surik's first lightsaber; a brilliant blue blade of a Jedi Guardian extended from the hilt with a sharp SNAP-HISSSSSSSSS. Every Mandalorian near him leapt back in fear and fell into combat positions; these were veterans of the Mandalorian Wars, and the activation of a lightsaber meant blood was to be spilt.
"Easy, boys, just going to make us a new door." Mandalore said as he got close to the sealed door. He raised the lightsaber high over his head, pointed at the door, and stabbed into it, going all the way up to the hilt. He pushed the weapon to the left, cutting along the entire length of the door before going down and around, finishing the cut where he began. Mandalore took a step back, leaned backwards, then unleashed a mighty kick into the door. It groaned under the strain of the kick before slowly falling forward, hitting the deck of the Hammerhead with a loud CLANG!
Behind the door was the bridge crew, captain, and last survivors of the forward half of the Hammerhead cruiser. They had set up defensive positions in the bridge, fully knowing it would most likely be a last stand. They had turned off the lights in order to disorient the Mandalorians, forcing their eyes to adjust as blaster fire leapt out from the darkness towards them. They were terrified of what was behind that door, fearful of death, and their morale was on their last legs. When the door fell, an already morale breaking experience, they beheld a figure of near black armor holding one of the most feared weapons in the galaxy, backed by the most ferocious warriors in the galaxy. Over two dozen weapons were thrown to the ground and over two dozen pairs of hands were thrown into the air before the Mandalorians had a clear sight inside. They moved in, quickly detaining the pirates as Mandalore deactivated the lightsaber, waltzing into the bridge with Kelborn trailing him.
"I want the captain of this vessel in front of me, now!" He bellowed. A short, stump of a man quickly waddled towards him.
"It's I, sir-sir." The short man stammered out. Mandalore looked down at the man, who barely came up to his chest, regarding him like a predator would prey.
"Tell me, captain, why is their a Sith wasting their time with a bunch of lowly scum like you?" Mandalore asked, emphasizing "lowly" at the captain, who visible flinched.
"She-she took control of us from the previous pirate lord, sir. She wants-wants to use this sector to-to take control of the surrounding star systems." The captain answered. Well that was obvious, now to get into the more important questions.
"Captain, can you give me an accurate depiction of what would face us below on Scourge-Haven? Keep in mind, if you lie to me…there are fates worse than death." Mandalore said, letting his words hang in the air. The captain proceeded to, with great stammering difficulty, give accurate a picture as he could of Scourge-Haven. The planet had some anti-air batteries, a few units of mobile vehicles, and a large detachment of Sith Troopers left over from the Jedi Civil War. Kelborn was meticulously note-taking on a datapad as the captain's words came in a flood of repeat and misused words. Once the captain was done, Mandalore turned to go as one of his warriors went to handcuff him.
"Wait! There's also the alien technology she found!" The captain cried. The handcuffs still went on, but Mandalore turned back to the small man.
"What alien technology?" He asked, his mind instantly going to the various pieces of Rakatan tech he and Revan had found together.
"It's-it's nothing like-like we've seen before! It's big-big and clean and-and no one's touched it in years-years!" The captain said. "The Sith Lord-Lord has set up shop in old ruins near the site-site."
Author's Note: Apologies for the delay on the FULL chapter; for some reason Microsoft Word is being weird about saving my stuff.