ACT 4 Through the battle of the base of the Trade Federation, the stakes had been raised higher. But Kronis or DarkRula didn't know it. And neither did any of the others of the Trade Federation. New splinter groups rise, and even the Reformed Jedi Order is unaware of the changes, or the fact that they have splinters of their own. The Daleks and the Mandalorians, however, were only beginning their quest for greater power in the universe.
The Dalek wondered through the back alleys of a town surrounded by desert expanse and blazing heat. Ice blue in colour, the Dalek was attracting the stares of shoppers and scum. Eventually, it stopped outside a door. The sign read Tosche Station. Named for its owner, passed down through the generations, the station was the communications port of Anchorhead and received the holonet communications for the port town of Tatooine. It doesn't even bother knock, the Dalek just blasts down the door. Screams erupt from inside, and these screams intensify when the workers and visitors see what has broke in. Lasers fire. They just reflect off the Dalek's coating. The Dalek fires its own lasers. All humans and aliens fall. "What is going on?" the owner calls out, before walking into the room. A thickset man with a mustache, he lasts as well as his staff did against the Dalek laser. The Dalek then heads into the room the owner vacated and sticks the plunger-like stalk into a droid bowser.
A beeping sounds up on the bridge of Tay'li Bay. The Mandalorians look to the direction of the sound, then quickly look away again. "What is it?" Tir Le'Rane asks, who had been closer to the Daleks then any of them. "A communication from one of our own," Dalek Volk replies. "Maybe we can boost the power with your communications suite. It appears to be coming from far away." "Go ahead." Dalek Zane, who the communication is coming from, heads aft. He then plugs his plunger-like stalk into the droid bowser and on the holoboard another Dalek appears. "Dalek Volk. Dalek Rizon here." "How did you survive?" Dalek Volk asks. "I have no idea. But I escaped from a place with hundreds of skyscrapers." "And where are you now?" "A des-" "I wouldn't answer that if I were you," Tir Le'Rane says. Gasps from the others are faint but audible. "Do not forget that you serve the Dalek cause," Dalek Volk is quick to revoke. "Any dissent or-" "I know all that. What I mean is that the Trade Federation or Jedi could be scanning these transmissions. They might already be able to ascertain the location just by routing each of the links involved. Just the way we can find where your comrade is." He then points sharply at the comm officer. "What is your plan where you are?" Dalek Zane asks. Dalek Rizon replies "All out conquest." "There are a lot of people here," Dalek Rizon continues. "While you are being followed, I can keep my activities quiet from these Jedi." "You don't want us to be with you!" Dalek Volk says. "That is true." "Go ahead then. We will make sure this venture of yours has succeeded in due time." The picture of Dalek Rizon derezzes and fades completely. All Mandalorians are quiet. Even Tir Le'Rane.
On Tatooine, Dalek Rizon exits the ruin of the Tosche Station. Outside is a crowd. None are spared. Every single one is killed. The difference of Coruscant and Tatooine is immediately apparent. Whereby Coruscant would have full security teams on station to subdue the treat, no-one on Tatooine really had the resources to do such a thing. But Stormtroopers were patrolling the streets. "Split up," one of them says. "We need a full report for Thalos." "Yes, sir," the others bark in unison. The commander of the Stormtrooper group walks away first. Not a full minute had gone by when a single laser punctuated the silence. The commander then runs in that direction. What he sees makes him activate his comlink, and speak in rushed whispers. "Thalos, there is something here that has just managed to take out TS-4423 and TS-4419 with one laser. It might not have found me yet-" He starts backing up, just in case he has been spotted. "But I don't have any details on what it is."
In his headquarters in the far off Motesta, Thalos calms himself. "I understand. Return as soon as you can, trooper." "Sir. What about the rest of my men?" "Recall as many as you can." "Yes s-" A weird sounding laser followed by a scream stops the transmission. Thalos looks blank for a second, then immediately jumps into action. "Commander Barkona, get as many men as you can and scout out the area. Call for reinforcements if you have to. And check other towns as well." "Sir. I'll load the men as three group with their own vehicles." "Good."
The patrons of the Mos Eisley Cantina were a wild diverse group. Whether they had tentacles, head tails, paws, snouts, or whatever else, all were welcome. Humans were present among the aliens, as were humanoids. All was peaceful, with no fighting. The patrons didn't need to. There was nothing to fight over. Although most of the patrons were either smugglers, pirates or other criminal scum, they did not fight each other. Roughly oval shaped, the main entrance was a medium sized lobby area, with the light allowing the patrons to see who entered before the person who entered could see them. One such customer entered, casting a weird looking shadow from the sun rays behind it. The barman, however, recognised it for what it was. "Oi!" he says. "We don't serve your kind in here. Get out!" "And what would be 'my kind'?" it asks, still not moving forward. "Droid," the barman scoffs. "I am far more superior than any droid!" "Just go. We don't want any things around here. Only people." "EXTERMINATE!" A laser strikes out and a weird firing sound follows. The barman is good as dead. The other patrons look round. The Dalek has moved away from the door. "I am as much human as you are," it says.
The Stormtroopers run fast, following the commander who is on call to Thalos. "We have heard reports of a shootout in the Mos Eisley Cantina," he says hurriedly. "That's where we are headed now, and we'll see if we can stop whoever it is. Possibly the same one who attacked the Tosche Station." "Just keep me informed trooper. And make sure you bring this monster to justice." "Yes sir!" He then cuts the link. Outside the cantina, they stop. The sounds of blasterfire and other lasers can be heard. "Okay men. We have one objective. Stop that thing from progressing. No matter how." "Don't worry sir," another trooper says. "We'll get the job done." They charge in to see chaos. All patrons of the cantina are covering or cowering behind chairs, tables and even the bar, taking on one droid-like creation that is cutting the patorns up while staying in the same place near the front entrance. The troopers had entered from the rear entrance. "Okay. Rex. Fives. Head around to the front entrance and blow up the entrance. We'll keep it here." "Yes sir," both Rex and Fives say, then turn and depart. "Now, let us give some fire to this party." The troopers open fire.
The Dalek fires upon the new arrivals as soon as they start firing on it, but the troopers dodge the attacks with ease. While the Dalek resists all lasers fired at it with its shielding, the troopers have to expend energy to dodge the attacks. While the troopers could only concentrate on dodging or firing, the Dalek only had to concentrate on firing. When the wall behind it explodes, and all the roof over the door blocks that entrance, Dalek Rizon charges the troopers.
When the droid-like creature charges the troopers, they disperse. Some still hold their ground. An explosion then brings those still standing to the floor as well. When the troopers look up, the ceiling has completely collapsed its structure and falls to the floor, breaking up on contact with anything. Jadthu-class landers quickly cover the roof before either faction could stir.
At Thalos' headquarters, the Stormtroopers were making their comments. "The whole place has been sealed up. There is no way that thing can escape." "Good," Thalos says. "Has the command been notified of this incident?" "No sir, and we felt it... a better alternative to implement lockdown of the planet so news of this can't get out." "What! Who ordered this?" "Don't worry sir. We have a cruiser in orbit, tagging and hailing all craft. If they have been visiting Mos Eisley, then they cannot leave. If they want to visit Mos Eisley, we are redirecting them elsewhere." Another trooper pipes up "This will only be temporary while the repairs and strengthening of the cantina is made." "Well, I suppose it can't do no harm, but how long will it take?" "Only a matter of hours, sir." "Fine. Just hurry up with it." Since this was a sort of dismissal, the troopers left quickly.
Neimoidia is a peaceful world. Located in the Colonies region, the Trade Federation has a strong hold here. It is their main base of operations. The Neimoidians who control the Federation reside here. However, the High Council of the Trade Federation now seats in the Main Chamber of the court. In attendance, as well as the Neimoidian High Council, are General Kronis and DarkRula. "Contrary to what has happened, we still are a commander short," one of the High Council say. "Are you sure your apprentice did not murder one of our commanders?" "When he mentioned about the trouble, I set scanners to that position, watching as the events played out," General Kronis says. "When he arrived back on the bridge, I replayed it in slow motion. He aimed over Commander Valon and his pilots when his second in command rammed him into one of those lasers." "Do you have the evidence with you?" "On a datadisk." Kronis uses the Force to float it up to them. "This is all we need," another says in the gutteral voice of Neimoidians. "You apprentice is a good pilot indeed. We could use him as a group commander, with you as commander of The Ark." "I'm sure that will great." DarkRula then speaks up. "I already have a position as a group commander with one of the pilot factions. I am willing to go with them, even if it means splitting off from The Ark." "I'm sure that won't be necessary. Return to The Ark for now. Your new assignments will be given to you soon." And with that, the meeting came to a close.
DarkRula and General Kronis walk back to the shuttle waiting to take them to The Ark. "The meeting went alright," Kronis says. "However, I still think the Neimoidians were willing to point the blame on you. They distrust Jedi, and after what happened to them in the hands of Jedi in the past, I'm not sure I'd like Jedi if I was in their position either." "Why?" DarkRula asks. "What did happen to them?" "You can read up on it, but the Jedi sided with the Republic one thousand and thirty or so years ago, meaning the Trade Federation suffered losses. They then joined the Sith, but even they betrayed the Neimoidians in the end. It's a surprise the Trade Federation doesn't just call all out war on us. Only the fact they are cowards stops them." "Anyway. You. A commander. What are you thinking about that?" The two reach the shuttle, and as soon as they enter, the ramp closes behind them. Almost as soon as they were strapped into seats, it takes off. "Well?" DarkRula prompts. "I'd much rather have this position than a field commander. I'm sure I can keep the ship from harm. Just don't drive through any more cruiser battles while your squad is following you." "You had to bring that up again." "Just pointing that fact out. I don't want the Neimoidians to have an excuse to execute you. And trust me, they have powerful allies." "If you say so..." The shuttle finally pulls into the The Ark, and both exit the shuttle and go in different ways. Kronis heads to the bridge while DarkRula stays in the hangar. In a space as big as the hangar, he had time to think and walk. Anger had initially set in when Kronis had mentioned the incident, but respect the two men shared for each other meant that anger had quickly faded to confusion. Now he wrestled with the emotions that had erupted within him. When he could face them no more, he headed to his room on the tower and settled in his bed. The dreams of the event then started.
Space. War. Confusion. The battle rages across air, ground and space. The pirate forces of Nova IV, an asteroid colony, had come to invade the Prindaar system, and primarily, the first moon on Antar. The reason. This was the base of Thunder Strike Delta, one of the best naval and pilot groups of the galaxy. The reputation of this base among smugglers was great, since it had put many of them out of action. Now the Hutts who controlled most of smuggling trade had had enough, and had hired out the pirates to destroy the base. Always prepared for action, the naval officers had quickly repelled most of the cruisers, but then reinforcements had come, and the pilots of Thunder Strike Delta had been dispatched. Even so, some of the pirates had got though the defence and down to the moon. But this wasn't just a battle between the pirates and Thunder Strike Delta. Long before the battle, it was arranged that a Jedi contingent would be arriving on an inspection of the base, and possible recruitment opportunities for the pilots. One such pilot, a commander of a team of pilots, rushes headlong into the fray. Their kill rate was high. Any pirate the pilot commander sighted on was destroyed. The others of the group almost managed to copy. This pilot was Max Golden. "Okay pilots," he calls into the comlink, "the Jedi cruiser is in danger of being overwhelmed. Who wants action?" The others affirmed that they did. Putting on a burst of speed, the group head to one of the pirate cruisers. Then they fan out, firing lasers upon the shields of the cruiser, and then concentrate fire on one part of the shield. That part was near the reactor. As soon as the splash of laser on shield turns to scorching the armour of the cruiser, Max then turns his rotating missile launcher upon it. The reactor then starts to blow. "Team, form up behind me and let's get away before it properly blows." Max's team then forms up behind him. But shuttles launch from the hangar bay of the cruiser and storm to the Jedi ship. Another pirate cruiser then pulls up over the top of the Jedi cruiser, tilted on its side. From the hangars, pirates in spacesuits fall headfirst, using thrusters to head down to the cruiser. "Let's stop them!" Max calls in the comlink. The team affirm and blast over to the cruiser. The pirate cruiser then starts blasting its turbolasers around its men upon the Jedi cruiser. "Go evasive!" Max calls. His team then try to avoid the turbolasers, but one by one get blasted, even as the rest try to get out of range. The turrets of the pirate cruiser then turn on the remaining of the pilots. Not one is left. Except Max. Dodging madly around the turbolasers and the turret lasers, he eventually reaches the bridge. He sees a Kel Dorian standing near the viewscreen, watching. But then the view is gone as he swings around, performs a snap-roll even while still moving 'down', then performs a quick tight turn into the hangar. Not even bothering to land properly, he pops the cockpit and jumps out, firing upon the pirates. They were idiots, Max thinks, as he rushes through the Jedi cruiser, shooting the pirates. They shouldn't have followed me. Didn't I tell them to to go evasive, and before that to shoot the pirates. Any pilot worth sour trigs can shoot a constant falling person, especially in space. Finally shooting the last of pirates, Max walks to a turbolift and as he walks in, a shot rings out. It strikes him in the back.
Waking up again, DarkRula starts. It hadn't happened like that in reality, hence why he was still here. What had happened was that the pirate had fired, and DarkRula had somehow dodged, twisted and shot the pirate without aiming. The turbolift had then shot upward, and as the doors opened again when it reached the bridge, the Kel Dorian had greeted him. That Kel Dorian being General Kronis. He had commented at his skill, and asked for his name. DarkRula hadn't bothered supplying it, and took control of the Jedi cruiser, accelerating to full and bringing it to the fringes of the atmosphere of the moon. Before the pirates had reacted, DarkRula had then commandeered a shuttle in the hangar to take it down to the base, with General Kronis and one of the techs. The pilot of the shuttle had objected, but DarkRula hadn't cared. Once down on the surface of the base, the naval commander for the entire base had asked to meet with DarkRula and the Jedi. DarkRula had led them down to the office, and the commander had dealt effectively with DarkRula, and would continued to have done so, if General Kronis hadn't stopped him with a request. The memory of their words then came to him. "You are a ruler of darkness. A Dark Ruler, as they say. You could have stopped their death, and while I don't won't to throw good pilots in the brig, I think you deserve far worse anyway." "You can't do that. Killing one of your best pilots? The Jedi would never allow it." "Stay out of it. I'd do it now if I had a blaster on me." "You wouldn't get a chance anyway. Can't you recognise abilities when they are present? This boy is strong in the Force! He deserves more than a blaster bolt to the head." "And what would you propose? Making a killer into a Jedi?" "You are so dense. He is not a killer, and even he was, he would be perfectly tutored by the best!" "And who would that be?" "Me." The accusations had then been thrown about like wildfire concerning how good a general Kronis actually was. Kronis had then stormed out, with a grip on DarkRula's arm. After piloting Kronis back to the Jedi cruiser, he had given DarkRula the controls and told him to get them as far from the base as possible. And then instructed DarkRula to tell him everything. Considering what the commander had said, DarkRula had then adopted his new name. Kronis had tried to talk him out of it, saying the commander was bang out of order, but DarkRula had quelled any argument over it. Two days later, DarkRula had heard news that the pirate force had been defeated, but then the base of Thunder Strike Delta had been destroyed under iffy circumstances. "Come on," the Kronis of the present calls as the door to DarkRula's door opens. "Our new assignments are being delivered on the bridge." DarkRula gets up, shakes his head to rid the memories, then follows Kronis.
DarkRula had just received his squads orders, and he was heading down to the hangar to tell them. Squad Q-7 had set up barracks in one of the smaller hangar indents off the main one. "So what have we got?" says one of the lounging pilots when DarkRula exits the lift. "Full assault of a planet? Atmosphere battling with ground turrets?" "Nothing like it," DarkRula states. "This is an infiltration of Naboo." "Naboo?" another pilot asks. "What for?" "The Naboo have been making calls to unknown parties. We have to make this look convincing, though. Joining us shortly will be some Battle Droids in crates. These will provide a cover as to our proper mission." "Ground assault? But we're pilots, not soldiers." "Not a ground assault. Just sneaking around, trying to find out about this contact of theirs. Once we have that, I'll alert you to the rest of the mission in the groups you'll be split in. And I promise you'll be called to use your piloting skills soon enough once we're there." "Sounds easy enough. So what ship are we taking?" DarkRula walks over to the edge and opens the blast door. The others look interested and walk over. "The Scimitar." DarkRula points at the ship that had once belonged to the Mandalorians. "The perfect ship for stealth missions." "Really, though. What good's that going to be in battle?" "Once on the ground, it won't be in battle. It will be the communications hub, and will be loaded with a landspeeder small enough to get through that hatch, plus two speeder bikes and two Bulletfin Atmosphere Attack craft." "Cool," one pilot says, but shows little enthusiasm to the job. "When do we leave?" The other pilots also seem less enthused than normal about the mission. That will soon go, DarkRula thinks. Then, in answer to the question, says "One hour. Meet at the entrance to the Scimitar. I'm piloting." He then walks back to the lift. Once out, Kronis is stood waiting to one side. "How did they take it?" he asks. "Not at all enthusiastically," DarkRula replies. "They'll soon lose the attitude though." "Good. The crates have been loaded into the landspeeder, but until the BAAC's have been loaded, it cannot be loaded." "Sure. Just alert me when they do." DarkRula then walks to the Scimitar and walks inside.
After traveling at normal speed for a number of days, the team finally arrive at Naboo. Over the course of the four days, DarkRula had got fed up with the complaining and cramped spaced from the others of the team that he had banished them from the bridge unless it was important. No-one had dared come up after that. And so the rest of the journey had gone completely quietly, at least for DarkRula. Which is when, finally arriving at Naboo space, he wished he hadn't been so harsh on them. They had already had misgivings about coming on the mission, and, having been bored for four days, their mood was hardly to have been any better than before. Which is why, had any of them been on the bridge when finally arriving at Naboo space, they would have argued to go up against the fighter wing that suddenly jumped out of hyperspace. DarkRula had no intention of doing this however, and quickly changes course. Blasting down into the atmosphere in a near vertical plummet, only using landing thrusters to control the ship with all the other power out, turns out to be trickier than DarkRula would have liked to admit. Winds buffeted the Scimitar, and blew it slightly off course. Looking deeper into the Force, DarkRula realises that they are almost to ground level and activates the engines the same time he uses the thrusters to twist the engines facing the ground. The Scimitar stops just centimeters from crashing, then rights itself and lands. Activating emergency power, DarkRula then heads to a lift pod and descends to the lower level. "Barter group, you are now cleared to carry out your mission," DarkRula says. "With pleasure," the pilot says. "It's been nothing but boredom here in this thing." The landspeeder then drives out of the hold. The BAAC's move forward. DarkRula waits two more minutes, then alerts the BAAC group to go, but warning them of the new visitors. The infiltration of Naboo had begun.
Two minutes after the Bulletfin Atmosphere Attack Craft had launched, the two speeder bikes sped out into the plains. Reports started coming in from the various groups. The Barter group were halfway to Theed, while the Bulletfin Guards said it would take some time to get to the other side of the planet to Moenia. The Speed Pack alerted quite some time later that some ships had landed at Kadaara. DarkRula then made the decision to divert one of the Bulletfin Guards to Kadaara. Vex said he would go, and that was decided as final. Only two others waited in the Scimitar with DarkRula, both monitoring signals and personnel. "Sir," one of them announced. "Those fighters up in space have now been joined by a cruiser of unfamiliar design." "Let me see." DarkRula moves to the sensor operator and looks at his screen. DakRula had been certain he knew what it was. Quickly, he returned to his own station and booted up a search program, inputting data referencing to the Old Sith Wars. He then got his answer. Or part of it. "It looks like a Harrower-class Dreadnaught," DarkRula says slowly. "But it can't be! The size isn't right." "Sir?" the other pilot asks. "The telemetry data shows that, while based on the ship you just said, it is a much larger model. Larger than normal. And look at that armament! It could-" He froze for good reason. The weapon systems being described were powering up to full. Lining both sides were fourty turbolasers. On each area that jutted out, much larger cannons, which couldn't be identified by the computer, were turning their sights down into the forest. "We can't risk powering up," DarkRula says. "They could get an instant lock on us." "But if we're fast enough-" one starts. "It wouldn't be enough. Let's just hope they don't fire." "It looks like landers have just launched. Starfighters are acting as a guard." "Just what is so important about this place?" DarkRula asks himself. The other two have no answers.