Star Wars: Darklight

by AB

Chapter 8

Uniting the Rebel factions

"The mission is simple." General Atos spoke to them in the briefing room. Cyra had gone with Tern's recommendation for Tatooine as the Headquarters of the Coalition and base of operations. Within a week the base was setup in orbit around the planet with the planet itself used as a storage space for the larger equipment, tanks, weapons and the soldiers sleeping and being housed in orbital bases. At any given moment there were around one thousand warships in orbit around the planet in case the Sith learned of their base, and around five hundred ships engaging in guerilla hit and run missions.

Cyra had kept the crew of The Pilgrim intact. For a week now there had not been a grand council of the Coalition to decide who would actually lead the war efforts. Priority had been given to building up the various orbital bases around Tatooine, creating supply stations throughout the galaxy as well as building up their forces. The time of the Grand Council was edging near though and Volun was standing on hot needles. He wanted for his mother to lead the combined armies against the Sith. In fact, he thought it almost de facto that she should be the one considering she was the one who had brought them together after being split after the fall of the New Republic. He had asked his mother why she did not assume control and get it over with and she had told him that she did not want to do that. Not only it was what a Sith would do, it was also certain to create problems after with others trying to take the power away from her. It could spell their doom and assure victory for the Sith. If she got the leadership of the coalition it had to be done by the Grand Council, then no one could accuse her of power gathering or anything else.

The Pilgrim was one of those ships that had been assigned in one of the smaller war groups being sent out to strike the Sith's supply lines and smaller bases, and leave before larger fleets could respond.

Volun snapped out of his reverie listening to what the General was saying.

"Battle Group Alpha is going to strike their bantha refinery with interceptor squadrons TAO and WETA providing cover to the bombers and fire ships. Battle Group Beta is to keep the Orbital Sith forces preoccupied until Battle Group Alpha has completed its mission. Battle Group Cello provide auxiliary support for Battle Group Beta and if you find an opening as a bonus objective try and bag as many of the Sith fleet's orbital defenses, make life easier for Battle Group Alpha. Everyone understands their orders?" General Atos asked with everyone nodding their heads.

This was one of several such missions striking the Sith in remote sectors and supply bases trying to weaken them, halt them from attacking Tython and make them stop their advance until the Grand Council could elect a leader of the Coalition.

The Pilgrim was assigned in Battle Group Cello.

"We still do not know what these new Life-eradicators are." Tern spoke up. "Why can we not board one of the cruisers that'll be guarding the fuel outpost? Maybe we can hack some of their databanks."

"You are strong with the Force I am told, but not even you could defeat the hordes of soldiers that will be inside one of those cruisers and we don't have the time yet to man such a mission. We are trying to weaken the Sith military's ability to wage war and prevent them from mounting a full Force counter-attack against us before we have a chance to even start this war properly." General Atos responded. "I am sure that sooner or later we will face those new weapons of theirs and hopefully we will have some knowledge on how to stop them. Until now we do what we must and what we can. You all have your orders, departure for mission is in twenty minutes, go prep," Atos, a Twi'lek male, told the various officers and soldiers gathered around the briefing room. He then turned and left. He would be leading another mission to try and capture one of the new Sith troopers to interrogate and analyse his armour to better improve pulse and blast weapons against them.

Tern and Volun followed the others in the preparation room, changed into their battle attire, helmet, goggles and personal blaster in case they were boarded or needed to board another spaceship, along with a basic kit of grenades and other such stuff.

Tern took his place on the rear turbolaser turrets in The Pilgrim.

"Battle Group Alpha, jump to coordinates and engage the enemy, everyone else, you know your orders, follow us into battle and may the Force be with us on this day." Cyra told everyone through the inter-ship communicator.

"Tern, Volun, stand at the ready, the moment we come out of hyperspace we're going to be under fire. Engage anything that flies and isn't ours." Alkon told them over the intercom.

Seconds later they came out of hyperspace. Volun gasped at the sight. Battle Group Beta was already engaging the enemy fleet orbiting the moon of Hosian, a moon over a gas giant a few lightyears away from Tatooine. The enemy fleet consisted of three orbital bases, two heavy cruisers and five light cruisers, as well as one fighter carrier. The refinery was encircled with a mine field and a few hundred turrets. Cross-tie fighters, interceptors and bombers were all over the place dog fighting with the Coalition A-wings, 3rd-gen x-wings, b-wings and the successor of the y-wing, the w-wing.

"Oh fuck!" Tern yelled as a cross-tie came at them. Garos took evasive maneuvers and the fight was on.

Tern concentrated firing at the cross-tie until it blew up.

"Ha! That's one!"

"One only? I have already two!" Alkon shouted back.

"Guys shut up and keep firing or I'll beat the both of ya, hands down!" Volun laughed as more cross-ties came at them.

One of the Coalition light cruisers exploded sending off shock waves as it was torn in two.

"We're taking massive damage! We need assistance, cruiser Ascension, target the enemy cruisers' main weapon arrays, bombers damage their shields." The Coalition heavy cruiser flagship Vanguard's Captain barked orders.

"Garos, fly us close to one of those flying bases. Let's even up the odds some." Cyra told her pilot.

"Mum? We'll be torn to shreds near those turrets." Volun complained.

Cyra chuckled. "Worry not, I have some surprises for them. Ura take Tern's turrets, Tern please come to the bridge.

Tern ran to the bridge. "What is it?"

"I know you won't like the idea but I need you to use the Force and try and choke those troopers that are firing the turrets and cannons of that base."

Tern's eyes almost bulged out of their sockets. "What? No!"

"Don't contradict me now Tern, yes, it's a Dark Side ability and yes, I'm asking you to kill people, but this is war and they are enemy soldiers. Now use a Dark Side ability to kill Sith soldiers and prove to all that not all who use Dark Side abilities are also evil."

"No one will see me do it in here."

"I'll make sure everyone hears about it, now stop arguing." Cyra pushed him closer to the bridge window.

Tern let out a breath and closed his eyes. "Keep this rust bucket steady." He mumbled.

Garos restrained himself to an indignant "pppff" as if to say "I've been flying shit before you were even born."

It was mayhem outside, with ships, fighters and stuff exploding or firing at each other.

One of the Sith Heavy Cruisers split open with a horrific explosion with multiple shock waves damaging shields and hulls of nearby vessels.

"We're there, Tern, concentrate." Cyra held his shoulder with one hand.

Tern concentrated on finding the members of the crew of the base using the heavy turrets. A few minutes later one by one the station's turrets stopped firing.

"I…I was not able to kill them all, didn't kill most of them in fact, but most of them should be at least knocked out." Tern said feeling exhausted and slumped down on the co-pilot's seat.

"That's ok, this is all I needed. Garos fly us up above the usually heavy guarded place of the station and fire our newly installed HPE torpedoes down their throats right smack in their bridge." Cyra grinned.

"HEP torpedoes?" Tern raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah, new technology. Helix Enhanced Photon torpedoes. They are rather experimental but they should pack a nice punch." Garos maneuvered The Pilgrim bringing them facing the station's bridge.

"We have lock-on." Garos announced.

"Fire and break-off." The torpedoes left The Pilgrim leaving a yellow-blue trail behind them until they impacted the station's shields, went right through them and exploded in the bridge's windows. There was a massive explosion with lots of secondary explosions.

Tern yelled in excitement. "Bomber squadron, Station Beta is crippled, take it out." Cyra gave an order from her communicator.

The battle raged on until Alpha squadron members started yelling cheers of triumph, the refinery was destroyed.

"Something is coming…I don't feel well…" Tern told no one in particular. Cyra barely heard him.

"Primary goal achieved, take out as many of the secondary goals as possible and jump out in five minutes. Battle Group Cello jump out last, provide cover for the weaker craft." Cyra had just finished speaking when two truly massive spaceships jumped in behind them.

"We have to leave here, NOW!"

"Tern? What is it? We're leaving, they can'…." Garos interrupted Cyra.

"I'm reading a colossal buildup of…energy? Of something from those two spaceships behind us…"

"By the…those are Life-eradicators…they must be. Everyone, belay the last order, jump out now!" Cyra ordered, "Garos jump us out now."

"I can't, those buggers have anti-hyperspace technology."

"Fuck…we don't know the range of their main weapons, take us as far away as possible." Garos nodded.

Tern could not stop himself from nearly screaming. "Such…pain and suffering…by the Force…they are using living beings to power up those things." He groaned holding his head in pain.

"You mean…this is why they've been kidnapping Force-Sensitive children from across the galaxy?" Cyra clenched her fists in sheer anger.

"Hello mother, long has it been since I last saw you. Now face the wrath of the Sith." A voice came through the ship's com channel. "Fire."

Tern arched his back yelling in pain just as the two ships behind them fired their main weapons. Two black streams of energy flared across the void passing right through some of the ships of Battle Group Cello and some of their own Sith warships.

"We can jump. Firing their main weapons must have depleted their power." Garos announced right before he punched in the Hyperspace coordinates. They jumped out.

"Volun come to the bridge, Tern needs help." Cyra told her son through the com.

"On my way." They carried Tern and laid him to rest on the bed in the cabin.

"Wh…at happened? I…such pain."

"So, somehow they found out Rakata designs…" Cyra mumbled to herself.

"Rakata?" Volun asked.

"Long story, but a few thousand years ago a cannibalistic Dark Side species formed an empire that stretched the stars, before either Sith or Jedi even existed, before the Great Hyperspace war or the hundred years' war of Darkness that gave rise to the Sith. They were the Rakata or the Infinite Empire as they liked calling themselves. They had machines that operated by extracting the negative emotions from Force-Sensitive individuals, feeding off the Dark Side. Eventually like all other Empires since, they fell. I guess the Sith Lords finally got their hands on some of their designs."

"I have never felt anything like this before. It was as if it was turning me to the Dark Side, calling out to me, to my darkest fears and desires while causing me pain…such pain." Tern whispered.

"I wonder if anyone survived…"

"No one caught in that dark beam survived. This is what happened to Tatooine." Tern was blanched out.

"Two ships couldn't have killed everyone on the surface of a planet." Volun remarked.

"They have more than two then." Tern asserted.

"We'll arrive in Tatooine in a few minutes, get some rest, cause the fun starts then."

"Why?" Volun asked.

"The Grand Council, your mother must win this, she must be elected leader of the Coalition, I don't think anyone else is even capable of winning this." Tern pulled on Volun's hand, pulling him closer.

Their relationship was not much of a secret anymore within The Pilgrim's crew. Alkon as expected teased them non-stop but they knew he meant well. Cyra kept a "if you're happy, I don't much mind," stance and Ura seemed completely uncaring of it.

Volun smiled and lay down next to Tern, hugging him close.

"Well thank you for the vote of confidence, the only other candidates are Gorian from the Gos network, not really a strong possibility, and Yogen of the Hatari Federation. She may win if I don't. I leave you two, but be ready when we arrive in Tatooine." Cyra told them and left.

"I know how to make you feel better." Volun snaked his hand lower but Tern stopped him.

"No, sorry, I don't feel much up for anything like that right now. Just hug me, okay?"

"Sure."

An hour later they were standing in the amphitheater-like chamber where the Grand Council was to take place.

One by one the leaders and officials of the various factions arrived and sat in their respective places. Cyra stood in the center with the other two candidates.

"We have gathered here today to elect him or her who will lead our combined forces against the Sith. First we must hold a minute of silence for General Atos who died during his last mission against the Sith forces, his sacrifice enabled his troops to complete the mission." One of the Faction Leaders spoke. There was a minute of silence before he spoke up again.

"The three candidates are. Gorian of the Gos network, Yogen Uelos of the Hatari Federation and Cyra Antari of The Pilgrim. Each Candidate has ten minutes to explain to us why we should vote them as the Commander in Chief of this Coalition. We will start with Gorian then Yogen Uelos and finally with Cyra Antari. Gorian of the Gos network you may start."

It was plainly obvious that Gorian had absolutely no prior experience in politics or speaking before a crowd. He was sweating a lot, stuttering and he emphasized on how he had overcome whatever childish difficulties in the manner of his parents rather than the strategy he'd use to defeat the Sith. Yogen Uelos spoke with confidence emphasizing on strategy and how she would crash the Sith. It was plainly obvious to Tern that if she won the Leadership of the Coalition she would be as power hungry as the Sith, they would be exchanging one tyrant for another after the end of the war. Lastly it was Cyra's turn.

"My fellow combatants, I have no affiliation yet I am affiliated with all of you. What is important is not who will lead, but to win. Defeat at the hands of the Sith will likely mean dominance over the whole galaxy for the Sith, the formation of a new Sith Empire, one that now has Rakata designs (gasps and murmurs resounded all over the amphitheater). I can lead us into victory, by using strike and flee methods as well as surgical strikes to weaken the Sith until we can strike them openly, then use the combined forces of our army to wipe them out. You all know me, and more importantly I know all of you. We have worked together for years now, and after this war is done and we are victorious I have no wish for office or rank in any kind of Republic military or Office. I do not wish for power, only to defeat the Sith."

"Why can you prevail and not the others?" Someone asked Cyra.

"I have fought the Sith and I am still here, I…lost my son to the Sith, for me he is dead but he is Darth Solus. There is no one here more determined to defeat the Sith and see them dead. All of them." More whispers followed Cyra's admission of who her eldest son is.

"Is it true that you have a Dark Side Force-sensitive individual in your crew?" Someone else asked. He sounded scared.

"Yes and no. I have a previously Jedi Padawan who has had to use the Force in whatever way he could to stay alive. He has no ambitions or desire to join the Sith and he is their sworn enemy. In our last mission he used an ability of the Dark Side to facilitate our victory." More whispers. "I vouch for him, that should be good enough for all of you."

"Are there any more questions for our Candidates?" The man who had announced them before asked. There were no questions for Gorian and only one question for Yogen Uelos. "Leaders of the Factions you may now vote, Candidates please sit down until the voting procedure is over and the winner announced." The three candidates sat down.

The voting process begun. It was fairly obvious from the start that Gorian would not win, in the first ten factions he got only one vote. Near the end of the voting process out of the total four hundred and fifty-three factions Cyra had managed to take the lead with two hundred and twenty-six votes, she now needed only fifty more to secure mathematical victory over the other two Candidates.

"Oh shit…the final vote wins it all? If the Iagan Confederacy votes for mum, she has won the majority of the v…YES!" Volun could scarcely contain his enthusiasm when the leader of the Iagan Confederacy voted for Cyra.

The speaker of the Coalition stood up. "Cyra Antari will lead us to victory, is there anyone who will contest this?" This was a formality but it had to be asked, it was better than anyone who did not agree voiced his disagreement now rather than later.

"Yes, traditionally the Jedi lead the army or rebellion against the Sith, we have no…" The leader of the Twi'leks voiced his concern but was interrupted by Cyra.

"There may not be a Jedi, but there is a Force-sensitive that has just b…" Cyra was cut off.

"Who? That child of yours? Tern the Dark Side user? He w……aaahhh" The faction leader yelped as he felt himself rise from the ground along with everyone else in the room save for Volun and Tern. They levitated for a few seconds before their feet touched ground again.

"No, me." Cyra spoke softly but decisively. "I am Force- sensitive and well trained in the Force. Is there anyone else who has an objection?" Cyra opened her jacket and using the force retrieved a telekinetic lightsaber from her belt powering it up. A green blade fired-up from the emitter.

There was silence, complete and totally awe-struck silence.

"As I said before, I know you…some of you know me, and since some will ask. Before the fall of the Jedi Order in the clone wars three thousand years ago, a Jedi Padawan was exiled from the Order. Her name was Ahsoka Tano. After the fall she fought with the rebels against the Galactic Empire. After the fall of the Empire she did not join Luke's new Jedi Order, instead she followed her path adopting the rule of two from the Sith she found a Force-sensitive child and took it in as her Padawan. When the child grew up he found a Padawan of his own and so the line continued. I am the last of that line seeing as my Padawan, my own son was seduced by the Dark Side. I am Cyra Antari and I will lead us against the Sith. Anyone else who objects?" She asked standing tall amongst the leaders of the factions.

There was no one.

"Good, our first serious battle against the Sith will be in Tython. Now if you'll excuse me we have work to do to prepare for the battle of Tython." Cyra left the amphitheater leaving pretty much everyone, including Tern stunned.

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