- Posted On: Mar 25 2012 1:17am
In the waning days of the Cree ‘Ar Invasion and the Greater Dominion War…
Minos, Caprician System
“Incoming!” shouted Tyscio Korban, Jedi Knight of the Republic as the plasma blast overhead raked defense line burning man and machine alike. The Caprician cursed the enemy fighter as it flashed overhead only to be blown to bits by the anti-aircraft batteries that zeroed in on its position.
In a grim turn during the war, the Cree’Ar had developed a nominal fighter force and was quickly closing the experience gap between the inhabitants of the Corusca galaxy and the Dominion. Single craft fighters were not the preferred method of combat from the Dominion but the fighter tactics of the inhabitants of the galaxy had forced them to reconsider their strategy. While the Cree’Ar were extremely slow to adapt to new forms of combat, when they did, they went “all in”.
Reports of the failed attempt by the Empire to retake Coruscant had spoke of the emergence of Dominion fighters which had turned the tide against the attack. That and the lack of a strong and organized uprising to the occupation that pushed the already strained fleet of Supreme Commander Wes Vos back out of the system.
The Empire had become a quagmire of organization as worlds began to join the League of Nations in a desperate attempt to protect what little they had left. Supreme Commander Vos had tried to follow up his astounding victory on Corellia with a drive to Coruscant hoping reinforce the Imperial presence in the Core. Especially with the Dominion having moved on from Vladet and Kashan to the Republic by striking hard at the Caprician planet of Minos. It was still not quite certain what the goal was but information provided by the Rogue Jedi Master Ahnk during his investigations into the Cree’Ar indicated that there was something that had drawn the old Yuzhan Vong to the world and that same thing would probably draw the Cree’Ar. Whatever it was, it had.
The Republic fleet was smashed in the opening round trapping the ground forces in a hell all their own. If not for the Republic fighter craft, the Dominion would have scoured the world of all who opposed them. As it was, the Republic was losing ground and there was a debate between the powers that be as to whether an all-out attempt to hold the planet should be attempted or if the Republic should cut their losses and fall back. It was a debate that was foremost on Tyscio’s mind as it would certainly hold the fate of his immediate future whatever their ultimate decision.
The League of Nations, the Cooperative of the Coalition, the Confederation and the Republic had vowed to concentrate their efforts along a unified front against the Cree’Ar and the Reavers while the Greater Coalition under Regrad and Empire forces under Supreme Commander Telan Desaria launched a bold offensive into the very heart of the Dominion. Word from the offensive operations there were few despite intelligence operations chasing down signals from the great gate in the Tion Cluster but the reports that were discovered indicated a certain success. But for how long was anyone’s guess.
At best, the defenders hoped the attack on Dominion space would halt their offensive operations against the Corusca galaxy or force them to pull their forces back to defend their own. The Cree’Ar, practical as they were had doubled down though and increased their invasion operations while letting their holdings in Dominion galaxy go. It was a race to see who would fold first and there were advantages and disadvantages to each side at the moment.
Tyscio felt his throat burn as the air from the plasma that washed over the lines blew his way. He started to cough only to breath in the stench of burning meat. As he climbed a mound of glassy gravel he heard the low release of moans from the survivors. “Medic!” he tried to shout into his comlink only to cough again as the fine dust of his surroundings was breathed in.
“Medical unit to grid nine,” growled a voice from behind and Tysico turned to see Ahnk, his cloak tattered and muddy. The Republic Jedi’s earlier unease around the man had dissolved as the Rogue had put his own life on the line in defense of his investigation. It was his willingness to remain that consolidated the support for Minos and it was the Republic’s own fault that such support was slow in arriving, not in Ahnk’s information.
The sky began to redden and Tyscio grimaced at the prospect of what the enemy was prepared to do.
“Do you think they would really destroy our own terraforming equipment?” the Caprician gasped out.
Ahnk looked briefly at the sky and frowned, “I think they would slit their own throats if they felt it would give them victory.”
“Wonderful,” Tyscio murmured as the Rogue helped him up from his seated position.
Varro Kai seethed with rage as the world burned below. This was not how it was supposed to happen. Already, his command ships were withdrawing the callousness of the defense was such as to draw even admiration of a Cree’Ar. Except to that Cree’Ar to whom the defense was enacted against.
Even as his blood boiled he could feel the subtle receptors working to calm his mind, the emotionalism only a phantom of the mind and even as his eyes continued to watch the destruction of the world, his mind working on the next move, the next maneuver.
They will pay!
It was as if his biology warred against the calming influence of the Nexus but only for so long. It was inevitable that the flesh would lose to the Nexus for to defeat the Nexus was to defeat the Cree’Ar.
It was a point that had been discovered by an enterprising individual known only as “Mr. Universe”. The Nexus had pinpointed the habitation of this elusive Mr. Universe and so they had sought to destroy that habitation and, in fact, they had. Unfortunately, another enterprising individual, a mercenary by the name of Beff Pike had rescued their prey. Despite the resourcefulness of these men, the contingent attacking the habitat of Mr. Universe chased the Mandalorian into the attack on Varn and inevitably into Varro Kai’s hand.
Or so he thought.
The trap had closed around Varn like a fist tightening over a stone and, as was done on Coruscant, the siege began. However, this time, the Dominion was not looking to capture the world, only destroy its greatest defender, an artificial intelligence termed “Guardian”.
With the planet closed, the Nexus was to be launched at the world thus revealing every secret the world thought to hide from Judicator Kai. But, even though the AI knew that it was no match for the Nexus, it also knew the key to defeating the Dominion was to defeating the Nexus via the timely arrival of Beff Pike and Mr. Universe.
What to do?
There was nothing to do.
Varro Kai had felt a certain satisfaction at the ultimate destruction of the Galactic Coalition for, once this world fell, the remaining worlds would shatter. The resistance was strong due to the single mindedness that could only come from an artificial intelligence. At the end of the day, however, it was only programming and the Nexus was of far superior sophistication. A philosopher could have made the argument that the Guardian was a primitive that would eventually evolve into the Nexus given centuries but Varro Kai was no philosopher. It was merely a obstacle to the greater Dominion plan and was one that would be removed
What to do?
What could they do?
“Strip the world of it’s atmosphere,” he had ordered. The plasma weaponry that worked well enough in space and against enemies in the upper skyline of Coruscant was unreliable against the greater distance between the vessel and the surface of Varn. And so, the great weapons were tempered to attack the atmosphere of the world in such a way as to eventually wipe it away thus killing all life on the surface. While the planet may continue to fight even then, it was determined the loss of atmosphere would be of such a blow that not even the mighty military of the Coalition and Cooperative could come back against.
The planet lit up like a star…..
The sensors and scanning instrumentation were momentarily overloaded blinding the Dominion envelopment. And yet, it seemed the world had not counter attacked in that moment of blindness that Varro Kai seemed to feel contemptuous that even the momentary advantage was squandered by such inferior minds that their destruction would do the galaxy good.
Even as the Nexus compensated for the momentary overload, it still looked as if the entire planet were broadcasting such a cry that every star in the galaxy could hear.
Was it anguish?
Was it fear?
Was it their death-knell?
And the victory that Varro Kai was savoring was snatched from his closing fist as he realized that the blinding signals were their last cry of defiance for, in the next moment, the advance elements of a Reaver horde crashed into the Cree’Ar envelopment shattering it completely.
It was the first time that the Cree’Ar and Reavers had clashed and the indirect weapon that the Cree’Ar-Dragon Imperium merger had created was now used against them in a most diabolical move.
As the Judicator’s fleet reacted to the attacking Reavers, those inhabitants that were left and who had decided to fight another day were given the opportunity to do so. They retreated from there world in the madness and, eventually, Varro Kai’s own fleet was forced to retreat lest the Reavers consume them all. And as more Reavers fell to the world that was still signaling brightly its determined defiance, Varro Kai had cursed the Coalition and its artificial guardian with such fury that the Nexus receptors in his blood reacted slowly to the rush of emotion.
Failure did not come easily to a Cree’Ar.
The world burned behind him…
But now, even as the Reavers landed, it served as a burning beacon of hope that the tide of the Dominion could be blunted. Blunted and shattered completely.
Supreme Commander Wes Vos’ command ship had just docked with Centerpointe Station when the call came in.
The hologram of Seth Vinda appeared and the Republic Senator came straight to the point. “Supreme Commander, word has just come in from the Cree’Ar galaxy. The first engagement of the Rebel Alliance against the Dominion has met with a defeat.”
While the Supreme Commander of the Imperial forces winced at the name of the nominal conglomeration of races that Regrad and Desaria convinced to join them in their quest to rid themselves of the yoke of Dominion oppression, he could not fault it as it was a statement of fact. His wince turned to a frown as he informed the Senator of his ill-fated attack on Coruscant.
Vinda looked saddened at the loss but dwelt on their collective failures no more as he pushed the conversation ahead indicating a need that if they did not win a victory soon, questions about their ability to defeat this Dominion would crop up more and more.
“What can we do?” Voss asked. “Whatever forces I can scrap together would represent the entire Imperial Fleet, this side of the universe. The Empire will be completely defenseless…”
“Supreme Commander,” interrupted the Senator. “I must apologize for saying this so bluntly, but I feel that your Empire, as you know it, is gone. Soon, the Republic and Coalition, as we know it, will also be gone if nothing changes and changes fast. We are experiencing our own invasion and it seems the Cree’Ar push into the Caprician system represents an important goal given the amount of materials they are throwing at us.”
“You expect me to betray my Empire?” Voss asked coldly.
“I expect…” Vinda nearly shouted back but reigned himself in. “I expect, Supreme Commander, for you to defend what is left. Even if the government is non-functioning since the fall of Vladet, you represent the highest ranking officer left. You, your men and your fleet are all that is left. The people are looking to you, as the last remaining effective of the Empire, this side of the universe, to see what you are going to do. Is your loyalty to your defunct government or to the people remaining? To the men and women still serving?”
“I do not have nearly enough ships and by your grim look, the odds will be stacked against us. So where, pray tell, is this suicide mission of Wes Voss, the Last of the Imperials to take place?”
“I won’t lie to you, Supreme Commander. The mission is going to be tough but it is all we have. And you will not be alone. The League of Nations is sending their fleet in support of you and they have agreed to operate under your command. I know, with some planets having gone over, the politics between both of you is not ..”
“I am not a politician, Senator,” Voss interrupted. “I am a military man. If you say my numbers can be augmented by this fleet, then you give me something I can work with and you give us hope.”
The Imperial Commander stared at the Republican.
“So, Senator. Where is this attack to take place?”
“Ithor. I am sending you the data now…”
When the information scrolled across the Imperial’s screen, his eyes widened in surprise.
This would indeed be a tough mission.
His eyes narrowed.
If the galaxy needed a victory, then he better do his damndest to provide it!
"But, you love this Empire! You are attached to it! You have, subtly I grant you, disassociated the Empire from the Emperor and while all the soldiers of this grand government may pay lip to their service of the Emperor, it is not what they love. They do not say, "Emperor in Excelsis" or "Hail Emperor Hyfe" or some other derivative. They say "Gloria Imperium". The Empire! Greater than any single man can encompass but you do come close! You love it and it is going to be ripped apart! Ripped from you like everything else in your past with whom you've associated or identified with.”
“Well, Major, we have to be willing to sacrifice that which we love the most for the greater goal."