Rachi awoke suddenly with a gasp, eyes flashing right and left as if looking for an invisible enemy in her room. It took her a few moments to calm down, but even then the feeling of dread refused to go away, it continued to linger in her mind. A soft hiss of breath reminded the Jedi Master that she was not alone, and the arms tightening around her form gave her some comfort.
"I'm awake," the Colonel replied, nuzzling into the crook of her neck. She could feel his worry for her through the force, a signal of the strengthening of their bond. "Are you okay?"
"No," she replied, sitting up in bed. "Something is wrong."
It came suddenly, without warning. A high pitched scream followed by explosions, muffled by the walls of their apartment. Quickly both got to their feet, Falkirk reaching for his sidearm on the bedside table as Rachi rushed towards the large open window and threw open the blinds.
What she saw sent a chill running down her spine.
The building down the street from theirs was aflame, flickering cadavers of red and orange lighting up the night sky. The howl of unfamiliar engines screamed as they passed by overhead, followed by the continuous clattering of weapons fire. She caught sight of a black vehicle, a Jetbike soaring past her window, flashing of white light as its weapons fired on something on the street below.
Strong arms grasped her, a sudden weight driving her to the ground with dizzying effect, followed by her lover's voice as they hit the ground and rolled. "Rachi get down!"
The second they hit the floor the window exploded in a hail of shattered glass and the white flashes of weapons fire. The Jedi Master watched in horror as the SpecForce Colonel took the brunt of the debris, shards of glass cutting into his exposed skin as he shielded her. "Oh Chance."
"I'm alright," he replied with a grimace, rolling off of her and reaching for his weapon. Rachi got to her feet, looking out the window just in time to see something skimming across the rooftop of the building across from theirs, coming right towards them.
It looked like a hoverboard, but a nightmarish variant with bat like wings and small pods underneath which looked like weapon batteries, atop of this board was a single warrior, covered in black armour, long feral crimson hair flaying in the wind and holding a wicked long pole, hook like blades on either end. It jumped from its board, aiming right for their now shattered window.
Rachi raised her hand and gathered the force, the black armoured creature plunged through the shattered remains of their window just as she released the push, for a brief moment they were eye to eye, her suddenly hardened orbs glaring at a pair of feral crimson eyes before the psychic push sent him flying back, back through the window and smashing against the opposite building with a painful thwack.
Suddenly panicked her eyes darted to see Chance hurriedly getting into his armour, and noticing that her night clothes were not going to be much use for her she rushed for her robes. Within moments she was dressed and clipping her lightsaber hilt to her belt, Chance grabbing her arm as he kicked open the door to their apartment, just as the opposite wall several meters down exploded in a mass of flame and debris. Through the wall were three warriors, dressed in nightmarish black armour, hefting equally monstrous weapons as they quickly zeroed in on them and raised their rifles to fire.
Chance was faster, coming down to a knee and aiming through the scope of his blaster rifle as Rachi activated her lightsaber, green light casting dim shadows through the now darkened hallway. The Colonel downed one of them before the other two aimed and fired, streams of bright white shards soaring towards them. Rachi could see that she would not be able to deflect them all, and grabbing Chance by the arm dived back into their apartment, managing to deflect a few shards before the rest impacted against the thin wall.
"What are you doing!?" Chance shouted over the din as he fired blindly from the doorway, for a brief moment the firing stopped, only to begin anew when he ducked back into cover. That wall was not going to hold for very long.
"Those weapons," she huffed. "I won't be able to deflect all of them, too many and coming in too fast."
Suddenly the fire shifted, from the doorway to the wall. Rachi knew exactly what they were doing, they were destroying their cover, and that wall was thin because of the warm climate. It would last half a minute tops. "They're breaking through the wall."
"Well these guys aren't stupid, I'll give them that." Chance allowed before pushing his rifle out the door and firing a few more shots down the corridor. "Any ideas?"
"One or two," Rachi replied as she broke cover and plunged her lightsaber into the wall beside them, bringing the blade into a full circle, before deactivating the weapon and giving the wall a good kick, the material fell back, impacting against the room beside theirs with a thud. "Draw their fire. I'll get them from the rear."
"Yes ma'am." Chance replied with a smirk, firing a few more rounds into the corridor for good measure. Rachi jumped through the hole and into another apartment, noticing a mother and small child huddling against the corner, wide eyed and frightened. Rachi gave them a small smile, raising her finger in a shushing gesture which the woman responded with a quick nod.
She moved to the wall separating them from the corridor, pressing her cone shaped ear against it and listening for the clacking of their weapons. They were right there. She took a step back, ushered the mother and child behind her, and raised her hand, the push was strong enough to splinter and destroy the wall, sending debris and psychic energy right into the two warriors, one of them slammed into the opposite wall while the other fell on his back.
The splinters of wood and brick did not pierce their armour, Rachi noticed, as she ignited her lightsaber and dispatched the fallen one with a quick horizontal swing before stabbing the other right in the heart as he reached for his weapon, body held in a brief spasm before slumping.
Falkirk peeked out from across the hall before leaving the room and rushing down the hallway towards her. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, but we have serious problems." She replied as she entered the half destroyed apartment and knelt beside the woman and child, Chance remained behind her, eyes darting everywhere. The din of battle had escalated since their own fire fight started, now the roars of engines and the crackle of weapons fire filled the air, people were running, screaming. "Are you two okay?"
The woman hesitated, looking at the scene of destruction all around them with wide eyed fright before finally getting a hold of herself and nodding.
Rachi smiled what she hoped was a comforting one. "Good, there's a shelter below the building, get to it."
The woman nodded, gripping onto her son and whispering a quick thank you before exiting through the half destroyed wall and into the corridor. Rachi let out a breath she was unaware she was holding before looking over at Chance, who had just placed an earpiece into his ear and was running through the comm. channels.
"Anything?" she asked.
"No, all the channels are jammed, all I'm getting is static." He replied, turning to look at the Jedi Master in the eye. "We need to get to central command."
Rachi nodded. "Let's go then."
"What the hell is going on?"
"Enemy forces have infiltrated the city!"
"We have reports of fighting across sectors three, four, five, six and seven!"
"Contact with the outer perimeter squads has been lost!"
The central command hub of the fortress was in chaos, controllers and officers were running to their stations. The control consoles and view-screens were alive with masses of information, showing live links to what few security cameras still active across the city, hurried and panicked pleas for aide and status requests came in, as if all at once.
Commander Jan Callahan looked at the status reports with flashing eyes, before glaring at the view-screen, around him were his officers and chosen officials, all crowded around the main command table.
"Can we get into contact with Carpentaria!?" He called.
"No sir, communications are jammed."
"What about the fleet?"
"They're on the other side of the system on military exercises."
"Looks like we're on our own," Callahan growled before turning back to the mass of view-screens. "Bring us to full level one combat alert, I want the garrison armed and ready to go, activate the SD-15 battle droids and scramble the Speeder Bike and light armoured squadrons."
"Comm. officers continue to try and contact Carpentaria and the fleet, we need air support and we need it now." The Commander continued, teeth grinding together as he watched a handful of unarmed civilians cut down by a withering barrage of white shards, "Where the hell is Jedi Master Sitra, and Colonel Falkirk!?"
"They have an apartment in the city sir!"
"What about Master Sabbath?"
"In a training exercise with the Apprentices, can't hail them either!"
"Damn it." He growled. "Try and contact the SpecForce and SpecOps units, get them out into the battlefield now. We must save as many civilians and non-combatants as possible, their orders are to defend until we can get reinforcements out there, understood!?"
"Get your asses in gear!"
One moment they were there, the next they weren't.
They smashed through the outer defensive wall, the barrier between them and the wildlife beyond exploding in a mass of shrapnel and debris, leaving a gaping void large enough to fit an AT-AT walker through. The enemy came on hover-vehicles, sleek and nightmarish in appearance as they soared through the opening and disappeared down the streets of the settlement, sounds of weapons fire and the screams of the innocent followed.
The next moment the anti-air defences came alive, spraying tracer rounds and laser blasts into the night sky, the sensor arrays of the air defence towers and turrets scrambled to make sense of the information through the jamming.
He awoke, and everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. He noticed a trooper lying on the ground, one of his comrades administering CPR as another two rushed past, weapons held in their hands. Slowly he rose to his feet, hearing his own heartbeat boom uncomfortably in his ears as he drew his sidearm and checked the power conduit to make sure it was full.
He immediately aimed it and fired several rounds, catching the black armoured figure in the shoulder as he landed on the rampart, sending him spinning to the dirt. With his other hand he drew his combat knife and charged. He was forced to drop his blaster pistol, grabbing onto the barrel of the enemies rifle and forcing it back to the ground over his chest, with his other hand he drove his combat knife into the side of his neck, a spurt of light red blood letting him know of his success.
The enemy attempted to wrestle him for a few more brief moments before he died on the spot, hand still holding onto his primary weapon in a death grip as his killer slowly rose to his feet, and hit the ground again as the inhumane scream of an engine soared by overhead, followed by the guard tower at the other end of the battlement exploding in a shower of flame and stone. He barely saw twin contrails of white flame before whatever attacked them rose up into the mist and out of sight.
"Sithspit," he cursed. His ears were ringing from the explosion, but he could hear the screams of pain from the dying and wounded easily enough. He fumbled around and found his blaster pistol, but found to his dismay that he had lost his grip on his combat knife. Rolling to his back, he was just able to bring it up and fire off a shot, catching another of the black clad enemies in his abdomen, this made him falter, but it didn't stop him.
He was just able to roll to the side, lest his head be impaled upon the wicket blade of the bayonet fixed to the barrel of his enemy's rifle. He continued to roll until he hit a body, turning for a brief moment to see it was one of his fellow marines, dead by the hollow and unmoving look in his one good eye, the other was a steaming mass of burnt and melted flesh. His eyes flashed to his deceased comrade's belt, finding his combat knife and drawing it.
He spun around and brought it up with not a moment to lose, redirecting the stab from the black armoured soldier who was still trying to kill him. He planted his right foot and pushed with everything he had, watching as the alien creature stumbled before gripping onto his blaster, aiming it and squeezing off several shots, each one hit their mark and his second victim hit the ground, armour steaming from the hits.
All around him he soon realised that his troopers were not as lucky, bodies of a dozen of his fellow guards littered the ground, blood flowing from fatal wounds. A further two bodies of the black armoured aliens lay where they fell.
From the side of the still intact guard tower a duo of marines were able to get a hold of one of the blaster cannons scattered along the wall and turn it down the fortifications, firing long bursts of rapid red beams. He tried to get to his feet, to reach them, but they soon disappeared in a mass of flames and shattered debris, another horrific howl of engines as a couple of nightmarishly black jetbikes howled overhead, their drivers could just barely be heard laughing with malicious glee as they disappeared into the chaos of the buildings on the other side.
Gasping for air over the intense heat, he looked down into the streets and saw the carnage firsthand. Whoever these creatures were they did not seem to fight for conquest, but for sport, he saw them chase after everything that moved. A woman ran, one of them right on her tail, she turned suddenly, whether to plead or defend herself he didn't know. She tripped on something and fell, auburn hair flailing. Her attacker followed, wicked bladed knife in hand, and stabbed her right in the throat. He didn't stop, stabbing her again and again until her white nightgown changed colour to vermilion.
This seemed to be repeated, time and time again across the streets, men, women, children, the old, the weak, nothing stopped these monsters from fulfilling their insatiable urge to slaughter and kill without reason or remorse. His eyes darted left and right, attempting to remove the horror he had just seen, only to see something else entirely.
Another young woman was being dragged by her hair by one of them. He wore no helmet like the others, revealing a face of deathly pale skin, long messy mane of white hair and a sadistic grin on his twisted face. In his hand was another one of those wickedly bladed knives. He was going to slit her throat, and let her see him do it. Desperately he looked around for something, finding a rifle held in the deathly grip of one of his men and forcing it from his stiff fingers, he aimed down the sight, and finding his target pulled the trigger without hesitation.
The blaster bolt hit true, going right through the temple of his forehead. His head flew backward with bone crunching force before he dropped the blade and fell, pulling out a few strands of her hair. She scrambled away, got to her feet and ran, ran out of sight. He breathed a sigh of relief and, using his requisitioned rifle as a crutch forced himself to his feet to survey the damage.
He was the only one left alive on the rampart, his entire contingent, about twenty men, lay where they fell, alongside the bodies of a few of their attackers. The guard tower to the left was a mangled ruin in flames, while the one to his right was eerily silent; flames from small fires seemed to be everywhere, alongside debris from blown out parts of the fortification.
"Very good," the voice was deceptively husky and low as he turned his head. "I've been watching you, and I'm impressed."
A single form leaned against the battlements, lithe in appearance her skin was as white as death, armour seemed to simply be attached where it needed to be around her groin and chest, long raven hair done up in a topknot billowed and black eyes as dark as any abyss looked at him with a wicked smirk. In her hands were bladed weapons. He knew those features, those long pointed ears.
He dropped his rifle, once again drawing both his pistol and requisitioned knife as he faced down this new nemesis, "Eldar?"
"Ah you've seen our ilk before?" she asked, smirk still in place. "I'm guessing our Craftworld cousins if you're still alive."
He squeezed the trigger, only to see the blaster bolt slam into and leave a burn mark on the wall. She had closed the distance in the blink of an eye, circling around him, a glint of crimson on her blade. He tried to follow her, but his left leg suddenly gave out and he fell, the soldier looked to see blood flowing from a wound which was not there a brief moment before she struck, cutting through the tendons of his thigh with surgical precision. She was so fast he didn't see her.
"I think I have found a suitable guinea pig for the master," she mused, closing the distance within a heartbeat.
He tried to raise his pistol, to fire off a shot, but she grabbed the barrel and moved it away just as it discharged, slamming the hilt of her knife into his forehead, disorientating him enough to take the pistol and throw it away, out of sight. He snarled as he brought his knife up, aiming for her neck, only for her to move to the side, dodging the thrust and slamming the hilt into his wrist, a gasp of pain and the loss of the weight of the knife in his hand was his reward.
In the next second she straddled him, knifes blade held against his throat as she looked down at him with vicious, glazed over eyes, licking her lips in carnal bliss. She leaned in, lips a millimetre from his left ear and spoke in a soft, seductive purr. "Maybe I can convince him to make you my new plaything. It has been a while since the last one."
Alana's eyes were fixed on something in the distance. Her voice was a panicked echo with an intensity which discouraged Gabriel as he approached. "What is it Alana?"
"Fire," she replied, pointing.
The moment he reached the top of the hill he saw what she saw, and his eyes widened. Tracer rounds from laser cannons were flashing in the night sky, barely visible through the thick mist, occasionally he saw the flash of an explosion or a heavy weapon going off. "Force me."
"Haven City is under attack," Alana said, eyes just as wide. "I can feel it, people are dying!"
"Calm down," Gabriel replied as he spun on his heel. "Get your weapons, and wake Marie!"
The two of them sprinted down the hill, rushing towards their small camp, Alana moved to wake up Marie as Gabriel rushed into his own tent, reaching for the small comlink and switching it on. He knew it was a lost cause before he started clicking through the channels, nothing but static with the occasional scream or broken chatter. He exited the tent in time to see that Alana had roused Marie, who now looked scared but determined, lightsaber hilt in her hand as she looked to him.
"Haven City is under attack," Gabriel explained shortly, seeing her eyes widen in sudden fear and rightly so, her daughter was in Haven. "Do not fear for your daughter Marie, Gabrielle is taking care of her."
"I am aware Master Sabbath," Marie replied, still panicked, and suddenly Gabriel realised that her daughter was not the only one who she was worried about. "But all of our homes are in the city."
It took a moment for Gabriel to remember that Rachi had bought an apartment with the SpecForce Colonel. Gabrielle and the others were no better, feeling more at ease in an apartment block in the city rather than the barracks of the mobile fortress which made the centre, his entire force of fellow Jedi were at risk. "We need to move now."
"No." Gabriel and Marie looked over at Alana with surprise, in time to see the girl raise her arm and point further into the forest. "We need to go this way."
"Alana," Marie asked with surprise. "What do you mean that way, the city is that way?"
"I don't know," she replied, eyes full of emotion, but it was not fear Gabriel saw. "I just have this feeling that we need to go this way."
Gabriel walked over to her, seeing her eyes full of doubt but also a determination that she needed to be heard. "Have you had a vision?"
She looked up at him, surprised and suddenly timid. "I... I think so."
"Can I see?" He asked, reaching out to her with a hand, his apprentice hesitated before taking his hand. It all flashed across Gabriel's eyes in a heartbeat, an ancient gateway, kilometres away, open and allowing a small army of enemies upon the planet, the same enemies attacking the city. He saw warriors, tall and lean in black armour, and beyond them was a black city seemingly built on so much death; despair and chaos that it made every Sith Empire he read about seem like a pale imitation in comparison.
Gabriel gasped in surprise by the sudden influx of images, he had heard of precognition amongst Jedi, but what Alana had shown him was so much more than that. It was almost as if she had been there before, seen this black city of tyrants, slavers and torturers firsthand, but how could that be possible?
He shook his head furiously, dispelling the images before looking down at Alana's worried features, then over at Marie before settling his gaze upon his apprentice. "I agree, let's go."
She managed a grateful smile, glad that he believed her and nodded her head. "Yes Master."
"Master Sabbath, what is going on?" Marie asked in confusion.
"There is little we can do if we return to the city. The raid will be over by the time we arrive." Gabriel replied as he looked at the other apprentice. "However there is a place we can head them off on the way back, and doing so will save a great many lives."
"A large force needs to be in play to break the city," Marie said with a frown, she was scared, he could see if in her eyes. "How can we three head off their retreat?"
"You forget that we are Jedi, and our own forces will be following them. We need to find their area of retreat and block it off." Gabriel looked over to the eldest apprentice, allowing a soft smile. "You feel it too, don't you Marie, a soft whisper telling you that the place you need to be to help is not in the city, but outside it."
Marie looked near borderline panic, eyes wide and skin pale, her daughter was in the city, the little life she had brought into the world, who she had promised to protect until her dying breath. She was there, she was alone.
"Calm down Marie," Gabriel said with finality, rousing the young mother from her fearful thoughts. "Calm down and feel the force, feel it flowing through you. Submerse yourself in its currents and see where you need to be. Where will you need to be to best help the people within those walls, where do you need to be the help your daughter?"
Marie felt like she was hyperventilating, but she closed her eyes and through several deep breathes forced herself to calm down, she sank deeper and deeper into the trance Master Sabbath and Lady Sitra had collectively taught her, searching for the force, and found it, a warm current of energy which flowed through everything and every living being. She was silent, listening to it, silently willing the current to show her the best path to protect her daughter. It showed her the way. She reached out and pointed, opening her eyes to see that it was the same direction Alana had pointed moments before.
Her instincts as a mother screamed at her to run towards the city, but another side, a calmer, precise, and open side warned her that she could not help anyone if she went there, that her best option was to follow Master Sabbath and Alana into the abyss of the forest towards wherever the force was guiding them.
She thought about this for several moments, before opening her eyes to look upon the Jedi Master. "I will follow, lead on."
"Step away from the child."
Combat began immediately, none of the four assailants in the room heeded Gabrielle's call as they turned, long barrelled rifles aimed right at them, in response Gabrielle, Dani and Hossk ignited their lightsabers and quickly closed the gap between them and the intruders.
Gabrielle had already reached her first target, sidestepping the long barrelled rifle and bringing her lightsaber around to slice right through her opponent's waist, just in time to see Dani and Hossk engage their own targets as she turned to the fourth and last opponent in the room. The black armoured soldier jumped back, missing her blade and firing a few rounds from his weapon in the form of white shards of crystal, Gabrielle quickly changed the position of her lightsaber deflecting the rounds.
She watched as the warrior closed the gap, continuously firing rounds from his rifle as he attempted to stake her with the bayonet of his weapon, the Jedi Knight sidestepped, deactivating her lightsaber as she came side by side with her opponent and quickly reactivated her weapon, azure blade piercing his black carapace armour at the torso and through the back. He fell, dropping his weapon as he hit the ground, lifeless.
The baby was crying.
Dani and Hossk had similarly dispatched their own opponents, leaving the four of them alone in the room of their apartment, lightsabers ablaze amid the cried of a scared infant. The sounds of weapons fire and screams soon gained their attention, and they realised immediately that this was not an isolated incident, far from it.
"Dani, get the kid." Gabrielle ordered, turning just in time to see something soar past the window of their apartment, the flashes of weapons fire followed by the shattering of glass, and those in the room scrambled to find cover. Dani rushed to the baby's side, taking her from the crib and jumping away just as white shards pierced the timber floor.
"Dani, are you alright?" Hossk called.
"I'm okay, little one's fine too."
"Good," Gabrielle nodded, taking the child from Dani's arms before turning to the door of the apartment and sending it flying off its hinges with a force push from her free hand, thankfully no one was there to take the hit; the corridor was black as night and deathly quiet. "Let's go!"
They rushed through the corridor and down the steps to the ground floor, noticing the light of the buildings raid shelter. The residents left it open, most likely for any survivors to see and enter, but it also left them open to attacks from whoever the hell these people were. Gabrielle led the way, Marie's crying child in hand as she turned to the bunker just in time to see a blaster rifle aimed right at her face, her hand swiped it away as it discharged, sending a beam of red light to blacken the far wall as she looked upon a group of terrified civilians.
"Is there any room left?" she asked, ignoring the fact that one of them tried to turn her face into a crater.
One of them, a youngish man with auburn hair swallowed and nodded. "Yes, there's room for a few more."
"Okay," Gabrielle replied as she took the child and pushed her into Dani's arms, the Zeltron woman surprised by the turn of events. "Get in Dani, take care of the child."
"You can't be serious," Dani replied aghast, eyes wide. "I won't leave you two to fight alone."
"These people need protecting," Hossk countered softly. "Plus the child in your arms is the child of a Jedi."
"I'm the youngest too," the Zeltron woman replied accusingly. Neither Hossk nor Gabrielle replied immediately, for it was true, Dani was the youngest of the Jedi present. "Just because I'm young doesn't mean I'll have your back any less!"
"We never said that," Gabrielle replied. "But these people need protecting as well as that baby. I choose you because you were the first to come to my sight."
Dani was silent, not believing her for a moment. She was shoved suddenly by Hossk. "Go Dani, protect the child and these people."
The youngest Jedi of the group almost fell into the chamber, caught and steadied by the people within as the doors closed with a mechanical whine, confused and angry she looked up into her fellow Jedi's faces. "If you two die I'll never forgive you!"
"Deal!" Gabrielle shouted back as the bunkers main entrance closed with a clamp, a hiss of steam was the only sign it was there, it disappeared into the asphalt. She looked up to her brother, her accomplice, her fellow Jedi. "Ready?"
"Yes." Hossk replied with a nod.
"Then let's go."
"Where the hell are the relief squads!?"
"Civilians have flooded through the main gates. We can't get through!"
The Sergeant-Major growled low in his throat as he watched the carnage from just within the main gates of the southern entrance. He had three SD-15's ready and armed, and a few AT-ST walkers were in the process of being armed, but he couldn't deploy them. Not with the mass of panicking civilians crowding the entrance, rushing into the safety of the fortress.
Men, women and children rushed the entrance the moment the great doors opened, the howls of enemy jetbikes soaring overhead and the continuous drumming of the defence turrets as they sent tracer rounds into the night. The defence squads were dying out there, outmatched and outgunned, and they needed reinforcements.
He saw the crimson flashes of blaster fire in the distance as a platoon of troopers attempted to form a rearguard for the fleeing civilians, taking cover behind overturned speeders and within burnt out shop fronts. They didn't seem to be having much success, pinned down by enemy speeders as they zipped by, peppering their positions with unknown weapons fire.
The comtraffic was full of noise, but he could hear orders being given by commanders, calls for help from surrounded units or wounded soldiers, cut of screams were also heard. It sounded like the enemies jamming did more than simply derail communications to the outside. It also seemed to merge all of the different comlink channels into one barely conceivable mass, making communication between defenders difficult to nonexistent. It was luck the Sergeant-Major heard command through all of the voices.
"Force preserve me," he roared at last, drawing his blaster pistol and waving a squad of troopers to follow, looking up at the front SD-15. "Everyone clear a path! Get the hell out of the way! Def01, get that loudspeaker of yours working and begin advancing, if anyone gets trampled that's their own damn problem!"
The four meter tall humanoid made no physical reaction to hearing the sergeant-majors order, but its loudspeaker came on followed by a mechanical voice, echoing through the chamber, warning the horde of people to move to the side as it took a step forward. SD-series battle-droids were designed by Balmorran Arms, heavily armoured storey tall humanoid juggernauts designed to deal with both infantry and mid mechanised units, in one arm was a heavy repeating blaster, in the other a plasma burst cannon, armour, sensors, all considered state of the art.
If the bases compliment of these droids were deployed into the city it could stop these raiders. If they could get them out that is. Slowly the battle-droid started to move, large servomotors whining as it attempted to advance.
"Sir, we have a problem!"
"What the hell is it now!?" The Sergeant-Major roared before looking out the gapping entrance of the base in time to see what looked like a blade hovering just within eyesight, a large black vehicle which looked like a nightmarish desecration of a sail barge, a single sail of black cloth fluttered in the wind.
His eyes widened to saucers just as the dark lance cannon fired into the entrance, an explosion of white light blinded him, his ears rung as he was lifted off his feet and slammed to the ground, blaster pistol flying from his grasp. Slowly the ringing dissipated, and soon screams of pain and fear overtook his senses, the coppery taste of his blood was in his mouth. When his eyesight finally returned he was treated to a scene of carnage.
The bodies of two dozen people lay where they fell, civilians and his troops, unmoving; many others were hurt, some trying to crawl away from the carnage while others lay where they fell, crying, screaming, clutching stumps from where their limbs once where. Those not wounded were running, crushing into each other like a stampede as they fled deeper into the base.
Another dark lance beam tore into the hanger, smashing into the same target, the first SD-15 battle-droid, the sparking heavily damaged droid seemed to buckle under the beam before exploding in a mass of white flame, sending pieces of machinery and shrapnel everywhere. The second SD-15 raised its right arm, repeating blaster clicking into life, sending beams of crimson at such a rate that it seemed like a continuous beam.
The Raider veered to the right, narrowly missing the beams as they shot into the sky, a half dozen black armoured warriors jumping from its deck, long barrelled rifles firing sprays of white shards into the panicked crowd. Another dark lance beam ricocheted off the second battle-droid, disintegrating the arm carrying the plasma burst cannon. The large droid stumbled back a step, before raising its repeating blaster cannon and firing again at the Raider, this time scoring a hit. The portside of the barge exploded in a mass of crimson light before it spiralled out of view, a crash followed by an explosion followed.
The Sergeant-Major scrambled to his feet, grabbing his blaster pistol and firing off a couple of shots at the approaching warriors, managing to get them to disperse and dive for cover. He used the confusion to take cover behind a few fallen over crates, just in time to see one of his troopers, dazed and confused, get cut down by a barrage of white shards.
He grabbed his comlink, "This is Sergeant-Major Hausa to command, enemy troops have entered the base, send every available trooper to the southern gate, now! I repeat. Enemy troops have entered the base!"
The crackling of the comlink and the voices of his fellow soldiers were suddenly drowned out by cackling laughter, dark and vicious. "Hey don't worry human, you might live through this!"
Hausa could only look at his comlink in horror, realising dawning as real as the chill crawling up his spine. They couldn't just jam communications but hack into them too. Highly encoded Alliance comm. channels, considered impossible to crack, hacked into and used against them that quickly.
He managed a glimpse over his makeshift cover, only to be forced back into hiding again by a volley of splinter fire. The Sergeant-Major felt fear grip his very being. He was no stranger to fear, one who had fought in the Yuuzhan Vong war did not get out of that conflict alive without fear.
What was worse, these creatures reminded him of that fear.
They reminded him of death incarnate.
A click of a gun, the Sergeant-Major turned in time to see one of the aliens towering over him, wearing a sophisticated bodysuit of segmented armour, black as night, bullet shaped helm looking down at him devoid of emotion. He was going to die right here, right now.
There was a shot, but he did not fall, his enemy fell instead. The black armoured warrior hit the ground, a hole cemented into the right side of his helm. There was another shot, and Hausa knew immediately it was the sound of a blaster rifle, a sniper rifle. Just as his senses were regained he saw one of them fly through the air like a bullet, impacting against the remains of the second battle-droid with a bone shattering thud.
The Sergeant Major looked over his makeshift barrier in time to see the Twi'lek Jedi Master ploughing into the remaining warriors, azure bladed lightsaber flashing as it cut through the long barrels of their weapons and through the segmented plates of their black armour.
The first fell quickly, spinning around in time for a diagonal slash to run from his right shoulder to left waist. The second one was downed by a lance of red blaster fire, right into its torso. The third spun around with the other two survivors, stabbing out with the bayonet attached to his long barrelled rifle only for the Jedi to sidestep and take his head off with a smooth swing. The other two, aware of the sniper, dropped their weapons and drew wicked looking combat knives, curved with jagged edges.
A push from an invisible force sent the last two sprawling, right into the sights of the heavily damaged and barely mobile SD-15, its eyes flashed as it raised its heavy repeating blaster and fired. The two black armoured warriors were incinerated in a mass of red light and flame.
Hausa breathed a sigh of relief before turning back to the now mostly empty hanger, the civilians had managed to clear out, and only military personnel and technicians remained. "Get those wrecks out of the way. Suit up the remaining SD-15's and AT-ST's, get them out there now!"
He turned just in time to see the Jedi Master approach, lightsaber deactivated and held in her right hand. She was soon joined by the form of a SpecForce Colonel, fully dressed in his body-hugging black armour, right down to the helm, eyeholes glowing blood red as he leaned his sniper rifle against his right shoulder.
"Master Sitra and Colonel Falkirk I presume."
"At your service, Sergeant-Major," Chance replied, bowing slightly over extravagantly. A roar of enemy engines could be heard outside followed by a series of explosions as weapons were fired into the surrounding houses. Those who had just left the safety of their cover found themselves diving back where they were hiding.
Rachis features were deathly serious as she looked upon the death and destruction surrounding her. "Assemble every soldier, security guard and volunteer you can muster. It's time we brought the fight to these raiders."
"Yes ma'am," the Sergeant-Major nodded.
"The city was completely ill prepared for us. The defenders have been scattered, their defences are in ruins and our jetbike squadrons are keeping those inside the military base pinned down." The Incubi smiled cruelly as he reported to his master. "By the time help arrives it will be too late, victory is ours my lord."
The Archon did not reply, he didn't give even the slightest indication that he was listening to the report. His black eyes were completely focused on the chaos and bloodletting taking place all around him, the Ravager gunship hovered behind them, right outside of the shattered remains of the defensive walls as the Archon and his chosen bodyguards entered the city.
The bodies of dozens of the cities denizens lay where they were felled, a trio of Scourges soared overhead in eerie silence; black wings spread like birds of prey as they continued looking for a new victim. A beastmaster sat on the rubble of an outbuilding, a small group of clawed fiends at his feet, feasting on a victim, ripping and biting and tearing.
"Prisoners?" their masters rasping voice asked.
"Our warriors have found a handful of soldiers amongst the rabble who they consider worthy for the gladiatorial pits back home. The Harmonculi have also been busy gathering up those who survived our warrior's first strike." The Incubi replied. "Amid the Mon'keigh there are also several other races. Your master torturer is intrigued enough to call rights on them."
"My lord," The Archon's head moved ever so slightly to let the beastmaster know he was listening. "Do I have permission to release my beasts? They are still hungry."
"Yes, why not," Deathstrike replied with a nod. "Let them feast to their hearts content Beastmaster. There is an entire city of prey waiting for them."
The Beastmaster bowed his head before turning back to his pack of fiends, a harsh whistle sounded, gaining their attention, followed by the sting of a duo of bladed whips as the tamer drew them from his waist. The fiends needed little more coaxing, and scattered into the city, dozens more followed, rushing past the Archon and his cadre of bodyguards, their howls and deathly screeches added a new cacophony to the already beautiful symphony of pain and death.
The Archon waited until the last beast was out of sight, then he drew his duskblade from it sheath, thin trails of steam coursing from the black blade, and seemed to wait. His Incubi warriors did not utter any surprise, nor did they move to draw their own weapons, they stepped back, forming a semicircle away from their master.
He smiled thinly as he waited. He did not have to wait long. "Show yourselves, my opponents."
The Incubi watched as two figures seemed to appear from the shadows of a burnt out building, dressed in brown cloaks, one was a human, a female with long chestnut hair, the other of a race they did not recognise. The moment they entered the open blades of light snapped into existence, one the colour of molten amber, the other blazing with an azure light.
"My Incubi will not harm you, your lives are mine to take." The Archon spun the huskblade expertly in his hand, undoing the clasp of his black cloak and allowing the fabric to fall from his shoulders, revealing his bladed black armour to his opponents.
"You're fighting on your own," the female Mon'keigh asked, slightest hint of disbelief in her tone. He could tell that she was a fighter who had confidence in her ability. He would take great pleasure in destroying that confidence.
He tilted his head to the side, smiling even though they could not see his face through his helm. "You think you can defeat me, how presumptuous of you."
Author's Note: Remember that note from the last chapter which said I only had a codex version 2, scratch that, I found a newer codex in my searches, not quite sure what version it is but it is fairly new, so that worry is out of the way. I used it quite a bit, read it here and there and now I think I know enough about the Dark Eldar war machine, ground and aerial level anyway. It is interesting to read, some new stories concerning the Dark Eldar and the Tau and even of them helping Lyundan because they found their desperate forays into necromancy amusing... sounds like them.
The long awaited raid of the Dark Eldar on the Alliance planet has begun. A long time coming I know, sorry again for the long wait, but I hope you all enjoy the chapter. A little character development, but mainly the Dark Eldar and GFFA hammering into each other, tell me what you think.