"You must never reveal what you truly are," Tir LeRane says to Dalek Zane. "It is the fear of what you are that keeps them away, and stops them attacking outright. They could have defeated you by now." "The Daleks are not easily defeated," Dalek Zane reprimands. "They will not defeat us because they can't. Only one man has ever been able to do so. He is not here however. He is back in our universe." "So what do you want from us?" Tir LeRane asks. "The power of your ship." "For what?" "To bring him here. In a new environment he will be confused and will not know what he is doing. We, however, will." "You want to bring him here? Now?" "Not now. When the time is right. When we have set up a few traps." The amplitude of Dalek Zane's voice then rises. "Where is the map of this universe located? We need infinite knowledge of this universe in order to spring an effective trap!" "Right this way," Tir LeRane says, indicating a console. They are on the bridge. Everyone else is staying quiet. The Mandalorians hardly show fear, but the Daleks scare them. Tir LeRane is showing a good amount of courage, but he too is scared. Activating the map of the galaxy, LeRane indicates where they are, and where the last engagement they had was. In other words, where their base was. "Name the nearest planet where we can set up a trap." "Byss or Empress Teta," LeRane tells Dalek Zane. "Take us to Empress Teta. We will scout it out, and set any traps we wish." "Yes. Right away." LeRane then raises his voice as Dalek Zane moves out of the bridge. "You heard. Drop us out of hyperspace and to Empress Teta!"
The Daleks weren't impressed with Empress Teta. But even so, they left a few warning signs to anyone close by. Electrostatic disruptions were created, causing mayhem to the electrical system of one of Empress Teta's residential areas and making a chain reaction. Leaving in the shuttle, Dalek Zane then asks to be taken to Byss. It was clear that the Mandalorians hated the place, and exuded a great fear for the place. It was seeped with darkness, not that you could see it. The world had a history of being the most evilest world of the galaxy. Emperor Palpatine and all his clones that had run the planet had made sure of that. The shuttle again leaves the hangar bay as soon as the Keldabe-class Battleship pulls out of hyperspace. It heads down into the planet's atmosphere, and as soon as it gets below the cloud, an eerie blue-green glow surrounds the sky. All the buildings are sharp in contrast and all are black or dark blue. A shuttle containing the Daleks leaves the hangar of the Keldabe-class Battleship, which then retreats to space. As the shuttle gets nearer the ground, the remains of a high tower can be seen, so high that it still towers over all the other buildings. Dalek Zane tells the pilot to land there. "This place will be perfect to draw The Doctor into," Dalek Zane says. "Yes. And it is here he will die," Dalek Volk agrees. The two then move around the place, scouting the area and accessing any electrical systems they can. Dalek Zane then calls for the pilot, who runs to them. Dalek Zane then asks to set the electrical systems to detonate on remote setting via a controller. The pilot does this and then they all retreat to the shuttle. Dalek Zane then tells the pilot to drop down to the ground and place the remote somewhere safe. A minute later the pilot returns, but still has the controller in his hand. "Do what we say or you will be exterminated!" Dalek Zane shouts. "I'm not going back out there," the Mandalorian shudders, voice barely coming through his helmet's vocoder. "Some freak all in silver just told me to hand him the remote or I'll be destroyed." "Destroy!" a mechanical voice comes through. "Get out here and give me that remote or you and whoever is with you shall be destroyed." Dalek Zane, Dalek Volk and all the other Daleks start going crazy, whirling around in different directions, and cocking their laser stalks. "What are you doing?" the Mandalorians says hysterically. "Getting ready to fight," Dalek Zane says. "It is time to see who really is the ultimate evil of our universe. Dalek or Cyberman."
The Receptical instantly pulls out of hyperspace, and with a quick change of course, jumps back to the other-state. "What's the urgency?" General Kronis asks. "Why the change of course?" Both he and DarkRula had just ran to the bridge when they sensed the change of course. "One of our contacts on Empress Teta," Commander Valon supplies. "Something to do with a massive power flux causing a massive loss of all power in one of the residential sectors." "Maybe the mystery droids," DarkRula inquires. "What is so important about these things anyway?" Valon asks. "No-one knows what they are," Kronis says. "It looks important however, that if they were involved with this, that they be restrained until we know more about them." "Their armour rejects any touch from our lightsabers, meaning we can't cut them up, and any blaster bolts just reflect off that coating. However, our blades can stop their lasers, which is great news since they can kill or destroy anything." "So is it Code One?" Valon asks. "Yes."
"Destroy!" "Exterminate!" Both Daleks and Cybermen fight, with more Cyberman casualties than Dalek. The Mandalorian hides in the shuttle, but soon realises that is not a good idea. Creeping out, pulling from his holster a pistol, the Mandalorian sees that the battle has ended. At least here. Getting back in the shuttle and starting it up, he lifts off slightly above the ground and circles the tower. The remaining Cybermen are holding up near a shopping stall. Dalek Zane blasts the stall over and catches the two Cybermen, which fall. Destroyed. The Mandalorian sets the shuttle down on the ground quickly, and opens the hatch. Dalek Zane enters first. The rest follow almost immediately. "Now place that remote somewhere safe," Dalek Zane says. The Mandalorian scarpers from the shuttle and places the remote in the wreckage of the shop stall. He then returns to the shuttle. When he gets to the bridge, a man speaks through the speakers. "Hurry up and finish off down there. Four cruisers have just been sighted coming out of hyperspace. One of them is The Ark." The Mandalorian activates the mic. "Acknowledged." "Do not comply with that request," Dalek Volk says. "We need to know if this attempt will be sabotaged by anyone." "Any place to wait?" the Mandalorian asks. "Somewhere we can keep an eye on whoever comes along."
DarkRula lands the Scimitar near the highest tower, broken but still towering over the other buildings. They exit from the rear hatch, and examine the surface. "Some kind of battle happened here," DarkRula says. He points to a part of the towers wall. "Blast marks." "If those droids were here, this tower wouldn't be standing," Kronis wonders aloud. "Maybe we can find some evidence as to who this was." "Well the circumference of this tower is quite long, so I'll take one way, and you go the other. We'll meet on the other side." As Kronis heads left, DarkRula walks right. He sees rubble and churned up gravel on the floor, but then comes across something that makes him shout. "Kronis!" Kronis arrives, having sensed the mood of his partner and not the shout, and looks down to the point DarkRula looks at. A silver faceplate is lying on the ground, human-like in form. "Who could this have been?" Kronis asks. "No idea." "Wait. I think there was more of them around there." Kronis points to where he just came from. The two quickly run that way. A shop stall is a mangled mess on the floor, its contents all over the floor. But at least three human-like forms with the same faceplate as that they had already noted lay on the floor. As DarkRula moves the stall out of the way, a remote shifts position. Kronis picks it up. After examining it for a while, the red button, blue switch and short antennae, he presses the button. Nothing happens. But then the shockwave of an explosion rolls over them, sounding as though it came from above, and both look up. Both jump either side just as a large piece of wall falls down and hits the ground, breaking up into smaller pieces. "Run!" the two shout, and put words into action.
"That would be General Kronis," the Mandalorian says. "And DarkRula, of course." "And this is the Jedi we have been encountering across this galaxy," Dalek Zane says. "He must be stopped." Looking at the tracking screen, the two enter the craft that had belonged to Fira Veers. The Scimitar had been his pride and joy, kitted out Mandalorian style with upgraded weapons and upgraded armour plates. Rumour had it that some parts had beskar iron plating. That was unconfirmed however, but he was believing it as the Scimitar dodged the rubble and wall pieces, but those that struck it just rebounded off it. "Get this thing in the air and give chase!" Dalek Volk screams, allowing no room for argument. The Mandalorian lifts the shuttle and accelerates quickly, pulling into the atmosphere as soon as possible. The Scimitar was quicker than the shuttle, but it would have to slow down if it wanted to enter The Ark. "What status is that Scimitar?" the Mandalorian asks the Keldabe-class Battleship's commander. "We can put you through to the Scimitar, but don't reveal your presence on the circuit. It took us a while to find it, so as soon as we link you, turn your mic off." "Got that," the Mandalorian says, then turns the mic off. New voices then start coming through the speaker. "-so set course to the base and we'll join you there," Kronis finishes off. "But why can't you-" the commander of The Ark starts. "That Battleship is awfully close and we have a shuttle after us," DarkRula interrupts. "If the Battleship doesn't fire on us, it will fire on you and cripple your hyperdrive." The Mandalorian found that too hard to resist. Turning the mic back on he says "Good idea." and swaps back to the Keldabe-class Battleships comm code. "Target The Ark's hyperdrive." "Too late," the commander says, as The Ark jumps. Two seconds later, the Scimitar jumps. "We're pulling the shuttle in with the tractor beam." When the shuttle lands in the hangar, the Mandalorian exits with the Daleks in tow. He stops short when he looks upon the hangar. Armoured figures surround the shuttle, and all guns are pointed on the hatch of the shuttle, where the Mandalorian stood. Heavy blasters and rocket launchers are also aimed upon him. "Er..." he says. "Dagran Ad'ike," a black armoured figure says, drawing attention on him. "You have been found to have disrupted missions of Mandalorian importance. Therefore, we have no other option to make sure it doesn't happen again." "LeRane. Tir," Dagran pleads. "Why? Has this got to do with drawing attention that we had got access to their comm channel?" "Yes. It has everything to do with that. Goodbye." Tir LeRane then holds up a hand and starts to draw it down. "Exterminate!" A laser then strikes from behind Dagran, destroying the helmet and his head along with it. The body falls down on the ramp. The Daleks are lined in the open hatchway. All guns are instantly pointed away.
"So, those things are powerful. We now know that," Commander Valon says. "If they can produce that much destruction, yes," General Kronis states. "And so it comes to this. What to do?" "Why not just force them into a ditch?" DarkRula says. "Then cover it up." "Too predictable," Kronis says. "We need something quick and deceptive. Droids are too slow, so we can't use them. What about other species? Think. Who can we hir-" "I wouldn't be so sure about the slow droids," Valon booms. "What about the SuperSpeed Droids? Or the prototype Agility droids? You've seen the B-4's in action an-" "Wait. Agility, did you say?" DarkRula interrupts. "Prototypes. Untested." "Get us to the base and we'll see what we can do," Kronis says. "Fine. Helm, tell the fleet to split up and make haste for Hundred-One-Ten-Eight." "Sir!" the helm says. A young fleet officer, with the pale red uniform of a Trade Federation officer. "Hundred-One-Ten-Eight?" DarkRula poses the question both he and Kronis were thinking. "Wait and see," is all Valon supplies. Watching from the viewport, DarkRula sees the Reverb-class cruisers banking in different courses. "Three. Two. One." The stars start elongating as a massive burst of acceleration hits the ship, and then transform into a warp that is never-ending.
One and a half days later, The Ark pops out of hyperspace. "Finally!" DarkRula exclaims. "Wait... Hoth." "Hundred-One-Ten-Eight," Valon says. "Do you have codes for all the planets?" "Yes. Now then, The Ark cannot land on the surface. I will take you down in a smaller cruiser. Follow me." As Kronis and DarkRula follow Valon from the bridge, the helm steps to the computer Valon was stood at. The trio took a lift down to the main hangar, where a YT-2250 rested in the center. Saucer-shaped, with the cockpit at the front in an oval design, it was entirely pale red plated. Hoth was a barren wasteland. Many battles had been settled here. Many bases opened up and closed. The three moons were also barren wastelands. But all were frozen wastelands. "I remember this place," DarkRula says. "From history dating back two hundred years, this was the place for The Last Battle of the Young Ralteer Forces. It was fought between the New-generation Sith and Young Ralteer Forces. The Sith won, obviously, but then were wiped out on Bespin." "You certainly know your history," Valon says as the YT-2250 shot out of the hangar. "But do you know who the Young Ralteer Forces were?" "Of course. A splinter group of the Trade Federation." "Definitely knows his history, this one." The YT-2250 lands in a hangar on the ground, and the group exit. Walking to the test room, DarkRula and Kronis watch Agility droids fighting PROXY droids, not that the Agility droids could tell. PROXY droids could transform into anyone with a holographic record in the Galactic Mainframe database. The Agility droids were doing bad. Four had already been shot down, and only one remained. It jumped up high to avoid a charge from one of the PROXY's, only to fall short of target and get tangled into another as it fell. The remaining droid was then shot as well. As the PROXY droids revert to their original forms, a bunch of wires and black plates and not dissimilar in form to a human, Valon states "All test results have been like that. They just don't have the ability or agility." "Maybe we can do something about that," Kronis says. "Have you ever heard of Forsaad?" "Not fully. Just the name." "A bird species lays rock hard eggs, and that species of bird is Force-sensitive. So Force-sensitive that even the eggs it lays are Force-sensitive too." "And with those eggs," DarkRula catches on, "the droids will be able to implement the agility you've programmed into them. And of course, with a slight adjustment, I can make them better. Where are the plans? "You cannot be serious?" Valon blanches. "We are." "Fine. See Visvad over there for the plans to the Agility Droids and I'll get transport arranged." Kronis and DarkRula look at each other. Smiling. But both understanding the risks they take. Hunting down a Force-sensitive bird and hoping to steal its eggs is just asking for trouble.
The ship jumped out of hyperspace. The planet it looks upon is more like a small moon. The planet of Forsaad is a swirling mist-infested planet. Only by using the Force can one navigate the planet, hence the name, which was conflicting in itself. The beginning 'For' was the beginning of Force. The 'aad' was meant to be how hard the place was to navigate without the Force. But both parts of the name didn't really mean those things until the 's' was added, since it made up the end of the first part and beginning of the last part. Kronis sat in the pilot seat of the ship, wondering what to do now. The craft, a Polar-Axel Two Twenty-two, was based off the Vulture Droids the Trade Federation still held dear. It was a lot bigger, however, and the legs (if legs you could call of something which has holding lasers built into the insides) folded underneath the craft when not in use. DarkRula, for the five day journey, had been revising the plans of the Agility Droids. Kronis had no idea whether he had made any progress in making adjustments to be more beneficial. Even so, Kronis called him. "DarkRula! We are here." DarkRula ran into the bridge, holding a datapad in his left hand. "Good." Kronis retreats from the pilot seat so DarkRula could sit down and take control. "I can feel..." DarkRula begins. "I feel it too," Kronis says. "It is the Forsariuns. The birds." "Let's be careful not to upset them." "Just be ready to move when I say." The ship pulls down to the atmosphere and Kronis pulls into a meditative trance. With slight movements of the control stick, DarkRula manages to keep away from the worst of the branches and thick bushes. "Twenty metres directly left," Kronis says suddenly. "Danger or threat?" DarkRula asks. "Neither. That is where we can get some eggs." DarkRula shrugs and pulls the ship into a hard left turn, banking ninety degrees inward for the lowest turning circle possible. He then cuts the engines, hovering the ship. Clanking resounds through the ship as the legs shift into position. A slight humming starts up as the holding lasers sound. That humming then stops. It sounds again, but even quieter. Only one set is now in use. One egg is gripped in the lasers. Another pair activate to pull the egg up to the hatch. The pattern of lasers continues this, slowly pulling the egg towards the hatch. A piercing scream then echoes. Still the ship continues to stay still, pulling the egg slowly up into the hatch. Something then rocks the ship. The piercing scream then sounds again. "I think mommy's home," DarkRula says. "Go," Kronis commands. "I'll just have to be extra careful with the lasers." "Scratch pulling the egg into the hatch." DarkRula's voice is strained. "Find weaponry on this thing to distract it." Kronis settles into the Force again, and his hand finds a button. Pressing it flips a control yolk into position, which controls a turret on the top of the craft. Sporadic laser fire spreads across the scenery behind them, and the bird is forced to slow down. This bird is almost as big as the ship in which Kronis and DarkRula drive. Red in colour, it has a large wingspan and a large head with sharp thin eyes coloured a dark blue and a black curved beak. Its legs were black and thick, with four claws, sharpened like a knife, protruding from each foot. DarkRula slowed the craft a bit while Kronis continues firing. DarkRula uses the Force to pull the egg into the hatch, but with no senses on what was coming their way, Kronis was forced to fire and drive. "Success!" DarkRula shouts, and instantly takes control of the ship again, retracting the legs and shooting vertical into the sky. "Now then," Kronis says. "Those eggs hatch in ten days from the moment they are laid. We don't know then that one was, so let's jump to hyperspace and don't spare the drive." Out into space, hurtling at a speed too fast for the computers to properly co-ordinate a hyperspace jump, the ship then vanishes in an instant. Travelling at a speed almost double the speed of light.
Blasting out of hyperspace, The Ark pings them on the comlink. DarkRula replies and submits the information they want without slowing down. Kronis wonders if the cruiser will shoot them before they look at the information sent, being as DarkRula had almost sent the ship into the upper atmosphere already. "Continue your present course," a Battle Droid says over the comm. "You are cleared for landing." DarkRula doesn't even acknowledge this over the comm, having the mic disabled. The link then dies. Landing in the hangar on the ground, DarkRula opens the hatch and picks up the egg. It is about the size of his head, coloured black. "Wow. The thing's heavier than I thought," DarkRula says. "Well at least you know that you need to train harder," Kronis points out. "Ha. Ha." Valon meets them in the hangar. "So this is the egg?" "Yes," DarkRula says, handing it over to him. "Kronis will go with you while I check with the builders to program the new requirements of the droids." "Okay." Kronis follows Valon as DarkRula walks away, the datapad now in his hand. "Is he always that impulsive?" "Something I've tried to break out of him," Kronis replies. "So... I watched you on the scanners. At that speed, you must have done well in hyperspace." "It took us five days to get to the planet. Then just two and a bit to get back." "Well, let's extract the midi-chlorians from this egg then." The two walk to the extraction machine, and Valon hands it to the techs, who start jabbing it with sensors. "I'm not sure what brought this burst of speed on, but it must have been me telling him about the hatching of the eggs. Nothing could have got him here faster." Kronis puts a hand on his chin, thinking. Dark blue liquid then starts getting pumped through tubes. The blood of a Force-sensitive bird. Looking up, Kronis sees droid brains on a rack, with a needle being injected to each. "Well, I must go and see what your young lad is doing with my droids," Valon says and walks off.
At the assembly line, Kronis, DarkRula and Valon wait to see the final creation emerge. The final area was covered by a curtain, but the treadmill poked out, and the first Agility Droid would walk off it. The brains for the droids entered from a chute, one at a time, to be grabbed and inserted. The first brain drops. And walking off the treadmill is a droid like no other. Based off the B-1, it has differences that create big changes. First, the area where the head would be had gone. In its place was a rotating cannon affixed to the top of the body. The top half of the body and the arms were all a dark blue, to indicate they were Force-sensitive. This was DarkRula's addition. Valon's addition was the faceplate of the B-2 welded onto the chest of the Agility Droid. This, he said, was for verbal communication and to better protect the brain. As it stepped off, it spoke in a voice like the B-2. "Ay-Dee Zero-Zero-One reporting, sir." "Impressive," Kronis remarks. Having received no orders, it fell back on protocols and stepped onto the large platform. As the minutes trickled by, more and more Agility Droids walked onto the platform. Soon, the entire platform was filled. It had taken a day to adjust the machines that built the droids to include the new adjustments and parts, but now that the plant was operational, it would continue to churn out droids. "Can I have a ride on one of those speeders back there?" DarkRula suddenly asks. "Sure. Go ahead," Valon says. DarkRula wonders off. Kronis wonders what DarkRula has in mind. Valon admires the new droids, but still wonders what they are like in combat. They are still untested.
"So, how do you propose to test them?" Commander Valon asks General Kronis. "Well, I was thinking the PROXY droids, but then they wouldn't have the efficiency. I was willing to step up myself, with my lightsaber." "You cannot be serious? What if they prove too much and you get hurt?" "Well I'm sure you have simulation arenas that we could use." A speaker then crackles. "Commander Valon, if you are there. Forces have been spotted near this base. What should we do?" "A good as test as any for the new droids," Kronis points out to Valon. "Go ahead." Kronis activates the mic. "This is General Kronis here. Do not do anything. We are sending out our own forces." "Uh, okay." The speaker crackles again. The link is no more. "You never mentioned what we were doing to him," Valon points out. "To have told him would have sparked protest," Kronis fires back. He then moves to the Agility Droids. "Your first mission is to head out to these plains and search for a..." A beep comes from Kronis' comlink. "Kronis. DarkRula here, and things are bad. Do you know about the pirates heading towards the base?" "Yes. We are going to send the B-5's out to meet them." "Are you sure that's a good idea? I can easily take them now." "Have they seen you?" "No." "Keep it that way until the B-5's meet the pirates. Kronis out." He then turns the comlink to deactive mode and faces the Agility Droids again. "As I said before, your first mission is to find pirate forces that are soon to infiltrate and capture as many of them alive as possible." Valon's eyes showed shock. One of the Agility Droids says "You can count on us sir," with the low pitched monotonous voice. "Move out and let's take the fight to the enemy. Capture as many alive as possible." The droids then move out. Valon just watches as they march out onto the snowy plains of Hoth. He was thinking just how mad a Jedi could get to send untested soldiers into battle with the most ridiculous of orders. "Just what do you think you are doing with the order to capture as many as possible alive?" Valon shouts as the two make their way to the command centre. "It is as good a test as any," Kronis stands firm in that point. "Not many people like to capture alive, and not many could really do it, and keep their prisoner in as stable a condition as possible. Normal droids, especially Battle Droids, can't capture alive as well." "It doesn't matter. They are a threat. We should just eliminate them!" "This is a test. If the droids don't pass it, then we know they are useless. And having some of those pirates alive means that we will be able to tell who sent them here." "They could have just been passing through!" "Excuse me," DarkRula poses through the still open link at Kronis' hip. "Those droids are already here on this position and have already engaged the pirates." "Good," Kronis says. "I can patch a hologram through to you. This fight is amazing." A computer terminal lights up with the snowscape of Hoth, pirates and the B-5 droids. The Agility Droids are too fast for the pirates to get a lock on. Some pirates had already fallen, but then an expanding ring showed that they were being stunned. One droid had two pirates held fast in both of its arms. They were struggling, and one managed to get a close quarters shot at the droid. The grip slackened a bit, and one escaped, quickly turned around, drawing his gun and firing upon the droid. He hit his comrade instead. Well, the Agility Droid had used the pirates' comrade as a living shield. That pirate then falls under another shot. The remaining pirates continue shooting, but nothing is harmed. One Agility Droid runs up to a pirate, leaps over him, and fires a stun round at him. Another Agility Droid runs at a pirate, leaps and backflips, kicking the pirate in the chin. That pirate went down hard, and DarkRula commented he could hear the click of dislocation from his position. The rest of the pirates were cleared up in less than thirty seconds, either stunned or dead. But one droid had a pirate held between two arms. The camera zooms in closer as DarkRula speeds his bike to the location. Getting off the bike produces a slight wobble to the camera, and the pirate aims a kick at him, which DarkRula deflects with one hand. Speaking to the pirate and commemorating the droid, DarkRula then reports back. "We are heading back to the base, but we might need some transports to carry the stunned pirates." "Will do," General Kronis says. Valon then orders the transports to the location.
DarkRula rides the speeder bike back to the base, leading the group of transports and Agility Droids and pirates. He was let down by not being able to fight, but the Agility Droids had done their part well. The assorted party makes its way across the hangar of the Trade Federation base, where DarkRula drops the bike off, and orders the Agility Droids to grab as many pirates as they could and take them to the holding cells. The droids did this with the efficiency of human troops, each one holding two or three pirates. Some just one. During the fighting, not one droid had been turned into scrap metal. DarkRula was grateful for that. It meant the adjustments were correct and working well. General Kronis and Commander Valon walk toward him. "It seems I was wrong," Valon starts. "To both of you. These droids are the best asset we have had yet. I would like a formal ceremony set up to commemorate them." "Yes, that can be arranged," a B-1 droid that had followed them said. "Wow. These droids must really be amazing if you think they should be commemorated." That droid then walks off. Kronis watches it go. "If you was to add Force-sensitivity into the B-1's, would you be able to start the line up again?" Kronis asks. Both DarkRula and Valon look shocked. "No," Valon says. "Although I could try to bid for it." DarkRula then flinches and slides down the wall. Kronis watches. "Is everything alright?" "Yes," DarkRula says, but his voice is lighter. Slower. "I just need a rest." "Go ahead. We can handle the pirates." DarkRula walks off, with a slight unevenness to his strides. His mind was too deep into the outer mind, the Future Essence of the Force, to be much interested in his own awareness.
As Kronis walks into the holding cell centre ring, laser emitters blocked entrances to the holding cells. All were filled with pirates. "We need some answers, and we want them now." "No way," one pirate says. "Why should we?" "Okay." Kronis settles into the Present Force, feeling every particle of each laser. Every brain motion of the B-5's. Then a simple twist of his mind put things into perspective. The lasers of the holding cells opened, and all the Agility Droids' cannon heads faced one pirate each. "Now can we talk?" "Fine. We work for the New Alliances Rebellion." "And what exactly is that?" "A group of faction upon faction of people and armies who want all parties united." "Well, if you look clearly, you will see we are all united." "Yeah, right. But there are still quite a few groups and armies who still feel they are being neglected." "We will sort them out with negotiation when the time comes," Valon says. "And how do you suppose you negotiate when devastators are involved?" "Who knows," Kronis speaks for both him and Valon. "But one thing we can be certain of is, you cannot be serious about the devastators." "You really think that?" "So, how did you know about this place." "They hired us. The New Alliances Rebellion. Paid us some good money too." "But who exactly hired you?" Kronis speaks with a bit more urgency in his tone. He also employs a bit of help from the Force. "We were hired by someone wearing armour." "Armour?" "Full bodysuited plus helmet. White. Two eye holes and a vocoder, roughly in the shape of a kay facing downwards."
"Stormtroopers," General Kronis comments, as the two walk away from the pirates. "Yes. But how, and why?" Commander Valon states. "No idea. But the question now is, what are we intending to do with these pirates?" "Simple. Release them." "What?" "You have your crazy ideas, and I'll have mine. There is no point in shooting them." "Except that they have seen this base." "Don't worry. The Agility Droids will be packed and loaded onto the Reverb-class cruisers." "Well, best make contact with whoever is going to set them free." "I intend to." Valon picks the comlink from his belt, but before he could key in a code, it starts up automatically as someone speaks. "Sir. The Ark is ready for action. And the base at Kira has requested our presence." "Hmm. How many Reverb-class cruisers made it?" "All of them sir." "Good. A shuttle will be ready to deliver a new droid batch to one of them." "More?" "These are newly created." "Okay." The officer goes off the link and Valon then calls for one of his staff to take the first batch of Agility Droids to one of the Reverb-class cruisers. He then calls someone else to pick up the pirates and take them wherever they want to go. "Now then. Time to find DarkRula and get out of here," General Kronis says. The two then walk away.
DarkRula watches the new droids being loaded onto the shuttle. But in reality, he wasn't focusing on them. He was just using them as a focus point to look into the deepest depths of the Force. The waking dreams he had were troubling. No, not dreams. More like visions. They all ended differently. An asteroid blown to pieces. A hundred fighters storming him and blowing up his ship as he swerved wildly to avoid the fire. Death of friends and enemies. Mental wounds that perhaps wouldn't heal. Since coming to Hoth and getting to know the Trade Federation better, these visions had started. He felt like he didn't want to move. General Kronis walks up to him with Commander Valon. "Come on," Kronis says. "The Ark is ready to move again." "I... I thought the Jedi didn't stay with one faction for too long." "That it may be, but we have been called also." "No," DarkRula says. "I'm staying here." "That cannot be allowed to happen." "I need to stay here," DarkRula says with urgency in his voice. "And I refuse to go anywhere." "Then I countermand you, and your position." "Bluff." Kronis' lightsaber activates and heads to him, swinging down. DarkRula dodges but brings himself within range of the stun blast that had been fired from Valon. Within a few seconds, all his nerves had closed down and he felt no more.
DarkRula feels his surroundings around him before he sees them. Gingerly, he opens his eyes. What he sees is the room he has slept in ever since becoming part of The Ark. The light red wall paint and sparsely populated room is almost as familiar to him as the Scimitar deck plan. What is going on? he thinks as he gets up off the bed. Why do I have to be here? Starting a frantic search, DarkRula finds that his lightsaber is nowhere in the room. No matter, he thinks, and blasts open the door of his room.
On the bridge of The Ark, General Kronis and Commander Valon stand watching the hyperspace void. Silently they comprehend it, before General Kronis says, almost to himself, "I just wish I knew what has gotten into him." "Who?" Valon asks, hearing this. "DarkRula. His impulsiveness is a great asset at the best of times, but when what he wants or orders are given he doesn't like, he will go about doing whatever he sees necessary to follows his ideas through. This is just another of those times." "But what could he possibly gain from staying on Hoth?" "Maybe he sees visions of something he doesn't want to face," Kronis suggests. "Either way, I might as well talk to him." A buzz then sounds up. Kronis looks at it askance. "We've been upgrading comm systems on The Ark," is all Valon supplies. "Let's see what this is about then." "Sir, DarkRula has escaped," the simple message from an Agility Droid says. "Go!" Valon shouts at Kronis, who needs no telling. "Sir, we are coming out of hyperspace soon," a Battle Droid reports. "Good."
The outward blast door blew some of the guard down. But the rest just got ready for battle. DarkRula didn't need reminding what these were. They were his design. But for all that meant in terms of command, he may as well have been on the opposite side. With no lightsaber to call on, DarkRula just blasted them all with the Force. Those only remotely effected just got up again. Firing. DarkRula twisted and flipped. Kicked and punched where he could. He tried every combat trick he knew to avoid capture. More and more Agility Droids however, were showing up at the scene. Soon the air was full of whizzing blaster bolts and even DarkRula had trouble avoiding every single one. He noted that the bolts were the lightest blue possible, meaning the bolts were on the lowest power setting possible. That didn't mean they were entirely harmless though. Enough of them striking him would put him back into sleep. In other words, they would shut his nervous system down again. Using his rage to fuel him, blind rage at being confused, the bolts had little effect. Droids flew everywhere and got in each others' way, courtesy of DarkRula's Force usage. Six bolts then struck him at the same time, full in the face, which distracted him enough that every single Agility droid concentrated its fire on him, and fired as one. His nervous system crashed again, and he fell. Again.
"Wha- What happened?" DarkRula asks, getting up from the bed. He realises he was in the Medical Bay. "You were knocked out by the Agility Droids for trying to escape," General Kronis says to him. "What in the worlds were you thinking, trying to stay on Hoth, and then breaking out of your room?" "I'm getting visions. Visions I can't help but see coming true." "When did they start happening?" "Infrequently when we first met the Trade Federation and Valon, but since arriving on Hoth, they've increased." "And what are they about?" "Va-" Alarms then cut across what DarkRula was about to say. They screamed urgency. "Tell me later. Right now, we need to get back to the bridge!" "You got the teleporter on you?" Kronis grabs DarkRula's arm and both disappear, reappearing on the bridge. "Well, I see he is now responding well," Valon says. "Yes. What's happening?" Valon just indicates the viewport. Outside, a battle rages between the asteroid defences of the Trade Federation Kira base, and an unidentified force. "Pirates, or this group they told us of." "And you are going where?" "With my special squad. Into the action." "But yo-" "You will handle the commanding, Kronis." "Can I join the assault?" DarkRula pipes up. Valon sees he needs to be in the action and confirms he can. "Let's go then." As they head to the rear hangar and meet with the pilots of Valon's special force, Kronis pulls DarkRula back. "Jedi Code Alpha-Four-Four dash Detruis. Tell me about these visions on that code." "Sure," DarkRula comments. Reaching the hangar, the team get into separate ships with Valon in specially made black one. DarkRula takes a similar ship for his own command. "Fighters, ready for launch," Kronis says into the comm set to the teams comm channel. The grates pull open, loosing all the air out of the hangar. "Go!" Kronis shouts into the comm. The ten ships and two command craft zoom out of the hangar. The grates close again. Kronis swaps to the Jedi Code Alpha-Four-Four dash Detrius in time to hear DarkRula say "Okay. Now what?" "What are these visions you've been having?" "In plain, the death of Commander Valon by one of his own." "Hmm. Are you sure not by your hand?" "Positive." "Well, use the Force and hunt him down." The craft were now well away from The Ark. The force had spread out with two flanking Valon's craft. Keeping his senses on the group, DarkRula charges ahead.
The battle had now taken full swing. It was in full motion. However you want to say it. DarkRula had destroyed many of the enemy, but he knew immediately that these were no Mandalorians. He hadn't been told something and he knew it. But time for questions later. He needed to concentrate on the battle at hand and on his visions and who would fire upon Valon. A triangular craft that looked like a Delta-12 Supersprite but with heavy modifications zoomed past, and DarkRula flashed his guns and hit the craft square on its engines. Then heading directly for one of the cruisers harassing the asteroid base, he destroyed enough of its turbolaser housings that it had no more weapons it could use to fire on the base and started turning to bring its aft turbolasers to bear. But with the shields on full forward being reduced in power to protect the port flank as the cruiser turns, DarkRula and the rest of his newly requested squad batter the starboard and aft sections. By the time they were finished, the only part of the cruiser worth protecting was the bridge. Which whoever had command of the cruiser did. "Okay," DarkRula says over his squad's link. "We can either forget this thing and move onto the next, or land inside and blow the thing proper." "That sounds like a good idea. But what about all those gases that are sure to be inside?" "The reactor? You won't be going inside. I will. You'll just be protection of the hangar, to make sure nothing destroys the craft." "How about we just see who can rake in the most kills of the enemy?" another says, to which he gets cheers, and even DarkRula has to agree that would be better. The squad are in custom-made craft all based off the V-19 Torrents of the Clone Wars, and bear the name of Squad Q-7, which is the name of their craft. Highly maneuverable and quick, they have a large main area with two missile launchers at the bottom. The wings folded up into a V when not in use, or folded into an inverted V when in use. Each wing had a laser gun on it and a turret on each wing. And as an extra, the craft also had a rear type wing that folded straight up when not in use, or straight down when in use. This also had a rotatable turret on it, at the tip. The turrets were controlled by the co-pilot and driving and the other weapons was handled by the main pilot. Both sat back to back. As Squad Q-7 and DarkRula sped right into the mass of bombers heading for the base launched from the cruiser they had just destroyed, DarkRula sensed a growing urgency to be elsewhere. To where Valon was being harried by fighters of the pilots. As he gets on the link to Squad Q-7 to alert them he was going elsewhere, a priority override cuts across him. "DarkRula," Kronis' voice fills his cockpit. "You are to retreat immediately to The Ark." "Okay. Just on my way to Valon's aid. Have you called for a general retreat?" "Just getting onto it now." That link closes and DarkRula hears the voice of one of Squad Q-7. "You were saying sir?" "Yes. I'm going to Commander Valon's aid. You lot however, will be receiving a general retreat order. Follow it and head to The Ark." "Yes, sir." DarkRula looks out at The Ark and sees why General Kronis called the retreat. Two of the Reverb-class cruisers had been destroyed, and the other was being pounded by bombers. The Ark was also taking a beating, and was moving, getting ready for the jump. He would have to make this quick. Zooming to where Valon was, he overflew him and flipped his craft. He then went all guns ablaze, aiming well over Valon's group as he sped to the enemy. When his guns stop firing, none of the enemy are left running. But two other craft are smoking wrecks too. One of the wingmen of, and Commander Valon himself.
Everyone had made it back into The Ark, either at the rear bridge hangar or the main hangar. Kronis had been in the bridge during the battle, and when DarkRula had mentioned he was going to help Valon, Kronis had told the crew to set up a viewcam so he could see the action for himself. What he had seen was enemy craft heading directly to Valon and his group, with DarkRula heading towards them. He had then sped past them, flipped his craft over and fired at the enemy. When his guns had stopped, all the enemy that had been on the attack were destroyed, but so were Valon and one of his wingmen. Now, on the main hangar, Kronis was searching for DarkRula. He saw some of the members of DarkRula's new squad, Q-7, but they didn't know where he was. He was about to teleport to the rear bridge hangar when the craft DarkRula had been piloting pulls into the hangar and heads for one of the smaller docks in-built half way up the wall. Kronis doesn't bother with the teleport and uses a Force Dash and then a Force jump to reach the dock. "Why?" DarkRula's small moan reaches him. "If we go to the bridge we can find out," Kronis says. "Whoa! Kronis. You sure scared me. But... The bridge?" "I was watching from the bridge, and when the... incident happened, I ordered the crew to find out the full extent of the situation." "Let's go then! They might have something already!" Kronis uses the teleport, and DarkRula grabs hold before Kronis jumps. The two revert back onto the bridge, and Kronis instantly asks the techs if they have anything. They do. Kronis calls DarkRula over, and the two then watch. They watch as DarkRula flips his craft in slow motion. They watch as, in slow motion, his lasers rip through the air and start striking the enemy craft. They watch as the veiw pans and zooms in on Valon. They watch as someone he trusted rams him into the path of those lasers. They watch as that pilot is also destroyed. "And there you have it," the tech says. "But, um. Sir? You do know what needs to be done now?" "I do indeed. Order the command." "What to be done now? Where are we going?" DarkRula asks. "We are going," Kronis says as The Ark jumps to hyperspace, "to Neimoidia. The home of the Trade Federation High Council."