1.10: Traitor in our Midst 2 – Battle at Sebiris

DS Day 75-77

Where: Sebiris

Gorak stood at the bridge, staring out into the vast void of space displayed on the view screen, to the planet in front of them. He remembers a little about this planet, but not a lot to remember it for. It was a thick jungle world, mostly, with large land masses, marshes and a few mountainous areas. It was littered with ruins of an ancient race, one that doesn’t seem to have any evolutionary relationship with it’s current inhabitance. Loh’Khar remembers a trader that is known to have a cabin on this world and bases a small trading syndicate out of his home. This individual’s name was Veild-Danol , an individual of a species Loh’Khar could never identify. They say he was a species older than some stars. He apparently had good relations with the locals and could be most useful in finding what they needed on planet.

Gorak formed a small away team, with Kl’aal and Loh’Khar in charge. Loh’Khar made a quick list of ships needs and told the ships sensor-tech to scan the surface for a ship or a moderately modern dwelling. Soon after, the away team was en route to a spot near the equator, on board the assault shuttle.

The away team consisted of Gunthar, who seemed to feel a calling to the surface; Drake and his bodyguards, Drake saying he could help in finding the plants since he had been to the planet before; Jenna Seedar and Raso Lao Hasslock, two who have developed a warm rapport, were in charge of developing the antidote; Unda the Aqualish, anxious to get in some ground time; Sooni, for his scouting abilities; and Cobb Unser, to pilot the assault shuttle.

They passed over several areas of large pyramid-like temples, with large stone effigies of some long forgotten god at the top. The jungle seemed to be alive with thousands upon thousands of life forms. The sensors tracked the location of the trader to a mountain side, where they landed in a clearing near the cabin.

The trader greeted the group warmly, and after a short time of negotiation with Loh’khar, the strange alien agreed to help them. He suggests that they meet with a local tribe of natives, and talk with the tribal mage. The plants they seek he thinks are the rare plants that only grow near the pyramids.

Upon meeting Gunthar, the trader stopped inquisitively. He looked up at the large alien, and said “Welcome back, warrior…” When he saw the blank look in Gunthar’s eyes, he looked deeper, pulling from some inner strength, the repelled. “By the Maker, Sarne has done such damage to you…” He touched Gunthar’s forehead. “There, the damage will heal over time.”

Gunthar’s mind slowly cleared, and suddenly, he felt different.

“We are going to have go over land to the tribal lands. They trust me, so we can take my repulsor truck. Not many, though. The rest can stay and wait.” .

Cobb Unser stayed back to help maintain the ship, along with the bulk of the security detail.  Danol had traded with Loh’khar, supplies for some rare artifacts from Aaris.   Many of the specialized needs would be satisfied with these supplies.  Unser and the security team would be busy loading those supplies on the assault shuttle.

****

The trek was long and hot, the jungle unrelenting to the strangers.  The world had strange air about it.  This world was just another backwater world, but there was a feeling of ultimate destiny in the air.  Gunthar especially felt something.

They reached a clearing, much to there relief, which opened up to a small village, with mud/grass huts and natives milling about.  They greeted the trader with warmth and trust, but were wary of the strangers.

There was several hours of negotiation with the aliens, who seemed to claim the temple as their holy ground.  No non-sebiri were allowed up there.   Danol and Loh’Khar both negotiated while the others waited.

The Sebiri seemed to take an interest in Gunthar, almost treating him with reverence.   A small group of what seemed to be holy men started chanting and dancing around the tall, dumbfounded alien.  Not realizing what was going on, he decided to join them.

“Welcome back, great warrior.”  The bowed and produced a ornate jeweled sword.

“Ooooh….pretty”  Gunthar grunted. He took the sword, totally bewildered by this. Something in the back of his mind told him it was his.  It seemed to hum when he gripped it.

Danol got the Sebiri to concede and allow them to travel to the temple, as long as they did not remove or use their modern weapons in the vicinity of the temple, and they walked to the temple, and not use any modern equipment to make the “pilgrimage”. They all agreed and  started off

The trek to the temple seemed to be worse.  The jungle was thicker, and more “predatory”. Thorns and vines made the journey more difficult.  After a full day of hiking, the reached the edge of the valley where the largest of the temple sat.   From the top of the hill they were on, they could view one huge temple surrounded by four smaller ones. The ground seemed to have odd shapes and patterns carved into it.   IT was an eerie site, in the pre-dusk light.  In the morning, they would hike down the slope into the valley.

While Gunthar slept, he heard voices in his mind.  He didn’t recognize them, and so much had changed for him, that he wasn’t sure what it meant.  The voices told him that he had reached one of his destinies….

“You must stop it, guardian.  The Heart of the Trigger is here, and soon the Storm will ride and bring destruction to this universe.  The giants sleep now, but they will awaken when the Trigger is complete.  Stop the awakening,  destroy the trigger…  The Heart is in the one called the Wraith. To find him, you must pass three tests, and beyond the Trigger will await.”   In his mind he saw the temple they were headed towards.

“StormGiant is here…”  he woke screaming.  But no one heard him over the blaster fire.

The camp awoke to the sight of a dead Sebiri.  It was the chief’s personal medicine man and high priest. The Sebiri were not happy.  Not only was one of their own kind dead, but they violated the agreement.  But who?  The search turned up one man missing…one of Drake’s bodyguards.  He was the Wraith… right under Drake’s nose.  The frustration in his face contorted his face to almost alien proportions.

“He’s mine…!!!!”  Drake said.

The Sebiri were out numbered and out gunned, so they left the group, promising to return, with help.  Their final words were..”We will go to war with your people now…”

They had bigger things to worry about.  If what Gunthar said was true, the Trigger is here, and in that Temple.  It also means that have been lead here by the Wraith all along.  Using the poison from this planet was just a ploy to get them to transport him there. With no further choice, they hastily marched towards the temple.

*****

On the bridge, Thyte felt uneasy.  He was very familiar with space and it’s silence.  But it seemed almost too quiet.  Breaking that silence was a crackling voice across the comlink “Samarion to Bridge, something’s dropping out of hyperspace.   Four ships, Imperial design…”

The Starwolf seemed to have a knack for “feeling” the currents of hyperspace.   He hadn’t been wrong yet.  Thyte prepared the ship for battle.  The carrier and her friends were coming back to finish the job.

******

The Temple was ominous and  foreboding.  There was no sign of the Wraith, other than the dust he disturbed while entering the temple.  His tracks lead to a wall inscribed with odd hieroglyphics, and end.  The wall was a door, and the hieroglyphics were the key.  Who could translate the writing though?

Gunthar peered intently at the stone figures and characters. “I know this.   It’s a test… a challenge, a…puzzle.”  Three challenges…

This was not going to be easy.

*****

The Imperials dropped out of hyperspace; one escort carrier, slightly wounded, but full of fighters; one strike cruiser; one assault frigate; and a Imperial class Star Destroyer – the ISD Obliteration.  The ships launched their fighter immediately and engaged the already launched New Republic fighters.  The battle at Sebiris had started.

Samarion didn’t feel right though.  Something in hyperspace was stirring but he could not identify it. He felt this once before… on Aaris.  The last time, it was some kind of hyperspace cloaking device used by Ned’Lx.  Maybe he was coming back.   Last he remembered he was heading back to Aaris with a heavily modified medium transport.  If it was him, what was he up to?  Had his obsession for Darkstryder lead him along the same path the Farstar took?  He knew at least he had to warn the bridge…

“More company, in bound.  I think it’s going to be a medium transport…”

He thinks? thought Thyte. He’s never been unsure before.

Seconds later, a ship vaguely resembling a medium transport drops out of hyperspace.   As soon as it became stationary outside the heat of battle, it began to drop pod-like vehicles onto the planet.  Sensors picked up life signs in the pods.

“This message is for my good friend Bifzik.  If you can hear me, Bifzik, this will be the last thing you will hear…  I have my army now, and I will learn the ultimate secret I the universe.  And you will die  Meet my friends from Aaris.   They were savage mindless beasts when you first met them, but they are my slaves now.”

The Aarisian mutant creatures… a genetic merging of the blood of fallen warriors and alien victims who were caught in-between; warriors of a ancient war between the Starwolves and the Mandalorians, and civilians of a semi-hive minded race.  They were merged by alien technology, creating a mindless creature of incredible rage and power.  to control them was to control an army of incredible strength.

Bifzik, enraged that his rival dared taunt him, worked hard to find a kink in Ned’Lx’s armor.  The pods were linked by a nav-network, probably linked to some kind of automated strategy system.  Perhaps his error lies in there…  he always has an error… The swarm of strange pods began to rain down on the planet.  The stakes of this battle was just raised.

*****

The Imperial did not know what hit them on the planet.  They had sent down a large force, including AT-Ats and AT-STs, along with repulsor tanks and troops.  However, when the alien death rained from the sky, the tide of battle was definitely changed.   Nothing to these creatures was an ally.  Loh’Khar and his group had to get out alive, somehow.

The tests were not easy, and took several minutes at times to figure out.  Once they were through, the walked into a vast courtyard, the center of the Temple.  On a dais was a throne, and leading to this dais were stone walkways.  Above the throne was a large inverse pyramid, pointing straight down at the throne.  A strange hum was emanating from somewhere.

The Wraith sat in the throne, in convulsions.   Blood was trailing from his mouth, and he did not look conscious.  Something was forcing its way through his chest. Tendrils were reaching out, and attaching to the structure above.  An alien wail came from within the Wraith’s chest.

The Trigger awakens… Gunthar heard in his mind.

*****

%SWSHIP%

The battle raged on the ground and in space.  Bifzik managed to find a hole in the nav-net programming, and programmed a large portion of the pods to re-direct towards the Imperial Star Destroyer, and Ned’lx’s own ship.  The Imperial ships were pounding on both the Farstar and Ned’Lx’s medium transport.  The fighters were tangled in a viscous dog fight.

Samarion suddenly felt something oddly familiar enter hyperspace nearby.  And it was dropping out in the heat of their battle…”More company…”

It was a full size Starwolf Carrier.   Friends had finally arrived.  The Starwolves began to immediately deploy to the surface, to battle Ned’Lx’s forces.   Thousands of Aarisian mindless  super-mutants versus trained viscous battle-armored Starwolves.  An epic battle for an epic time. One could only feel sorry for the Imperials who were caught in the middle.

The Imperials were doing their best to hold their ground, while the evacuated to their shuttles.  Against orders, they intended to abandon the mission.  Even if it meant being captured by the New Republic, it was better than be shredded by the beasts they were now facing.

******

%TRIGGER%

The Creature that immerged from the chest cavity of the Wraith was a large sphere with several dozen tendrils twisting and slithering through the air.  It was pulling itself up towards the inverted pyramid in the ceiling, and growing larger as it did.   The tip of the pyramid opened up as it drew near.  The hum was growing louder.   The sword on Gunthar’s back began to vibrate in tandem.  Gunthar drew it, and saw it was glowing.  The group open fire on the trigger, already alerted of its significance.  Gunthar, with only his sword as a weapon, charged the sphere.   With a great heave, Gunthar lofted the weapon into the air, at the sphere.

*****

Cobb Unser was already in the air when his sensors picked up the Imperials in orbit.   He was in the middle of another supply run when the 4 ships began their attack run on the Farstar.  He then shifted his attention to finding his passengers and getting them back to the Farstar…  if it was still there.  After several minutes of searching, his sensors picked up a massive energy build up in some ruins.   He steered the shuttle in that direction.  That had to be them.

*****

Loh’Khar and his companions all were unloading their blasters into the sphere.  It was frantically flailing about, picking up or spearing people with it’s tendrils.    The sword had penetrated the sphere deep, with only it’s hilt visible.   Energy streams were arching all over the chamber, creating another hazard.   The resonance was now irregular, as pulses of energy exploded from an expanding fissure in it side.  Fires were starting in random places around the chamber.

Gunthar was thrown down from the grip of one of the tendrils, as an explosion of power empathic energy surged in his head.  The sphere was building up energy, out of control.  They had to get out of there. He looked up the shaft the sphere was headed through and saw a familiar shape… the assault shuttle, hovering over the top of the temple, preparing to fire it’s cannons at the sphere.

“We must leave NOW!!!!”  Gunthar screamed with his booming voice.   He stood up, grabbing the nearest fallen comrades (Loh’khar and his three Turazza).

A pulse of energy knocked them all down as  they ran for the exit.  Walls around them were crumbling. Gunthar looked up to see Danol screaming something, waving his arms.  The sound of the sphere self-destructing was too loud to hear. He heard the cannons of the shuttle fire, then a bright flash.

*****

Cobb was unaware that the sphere was already building up a lot of energy and preparing to self-destruct.  His cannon fire only added to an already huge energy build up.   Once he saw his cannon fire absorb into the now glowing sphere, he pulled the shuttle away, and looked for his comrades.  They were no where to be scene.   Sensors were screaming at him to get away from the temple, but he could not leave without them.  Then he heard something that was not an alarm… “Leave.   We will follow shortly…”  It was the voice of the trader, Danol.   It reassured him that his crew mates would be fine.  He pulled the shuttle to a vertical incline, and threw the engine on full.

In the middle of the chaotic swarm of the Aarisian creatures and the Starwolves battling it out around the temple, a bright flash interrupted the fray. Hundreds of Aarisians and Starwolves were caught in the explosion, as the Temple disintegrated in a flash of alien energy.  After a pause, the remaining survivors continued their battle.

The creatures were a mutation of three creatures.  The shard on Aaris merged the bloods of the fallen from the Battle of Aaris millennia ago.  The starwolves were battling a mutation of three creatures, on of them being their own race.  This battle was soon going to turn for the worse.

*****

The battle in space turned to an out-of-control blaze.  The Imperial Star Destroyer, outgunned greatly, fired it primary batteries at the carrier.  The carrier, returned fire at a fraction of what it could appear to return.  Farstar’s sensors picked up an energy surge within the carrier.  They were re-routing all weapon power to one area, but what was it?  A bright flash came from a spinal-mounted column of the carrier. A fraction of a second later, the destroyer was gone.  The carrier turned to face the other Imperials and Nedl’Lx’s ship, who began to turn to retreat.  Before they could exit to hyperspace, all but one, the escort carrier, were vaporized in seconds.

The space battle was one, but the Farstar was heavily damaged.  Once Samarion was able to contact the carrier, the starwolves graciously offered dry-dock privileges to the Farstar.

“We are heading to Aaris, to retrieve a lost ship of ours.  On the trip, you can perform repairs with our engineers help.”

*****

Cobb steered the shuttle towards orbit once he regained control of it.  The explosion knocked out a few systems, but nothing vital.  Smoke filled the cock pit, and a few of his flight crew lay unconscious in the cock pit.  He looked back in the bay to check for any breaches before he hit space.  He was surprised to find Danol and the others laying unconscious on the floor of the cargo area.  Danol was in serious shape, his life-signs fading.  The others were only minorly hurt, except for a few horrid puncture wounds as if they had been speared by something.  He performed immediate medical attention on the more serious cases, while wondering how they were able to get on board without him landing. He looked at Danol, and wondered…Teleport???….. Naaaaaa.

*****

The Farstar collected  crew it’s wayward and boarded the Carrier before it jumped into Hyperspace towards Aaris.  The Starwolves abandoned all hope of defeating the Aarisian creatures on the surface and pulled back, collecting the surviving Imperials as they did.  Aaris awaited them, as did their destiny.

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