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The thing about swimming in videogames is that you’re often not told how crinking cold it is. Sure, Cal made this same swim, but this moon isn’t exactly tropical. Even worse we were doing this in the dead of night. Luckily, my advanced, er, well, three-thousand-year-old, warden armor’s under-suit seemed mostly waterproof, though my face had no such protection.

So, we swam through the cold and dark. We were led along mostly by Tech, who navigated with some homing gadget.

Did I mention how cold it was?

I could feel the fortress before I saw it. The entire place emanated the same kind of dark side energy that my body remembered from its time at the Sith academy, though far weaker and not nearly as deeply engrained. It made sense, this place was training dark siders, but there were very few and none would reach the highs and depraved lows that graduates of the academy might. Tech led us through an underwater cave that eventually opened up to a much larger area. There, I got my first real look at the massive castle.

With harsh black architecture, it descended into the depths, stopping just above a large underwater lava pit. The place was permanently illuminated by the red glow of the pit, giving the black structure a red hue. Tech led us over to the nearest hatch of one of the lower pillars, which to everyone’s surprise opened without the need for any cutting or hacking through the system. I might have suspected a trap if it hadn’t happened in the Fallen Order game.

From there I took the lead and enhanced myself with the force. Like a bullet, I shot into the hatch and up out of the water. I landed on the dock in between four exceptionally confused troopers.

“Hey! You-“ one began saying. He was silenced in a moment. The others didn’t have a chance to call for backup before four helmets respectively fell to the floor along with their lifeless bodies.

“Maybe give me some warning before you do that,” complained Tech as he climbed out of the waters with everyone else. “I almost dropped my datapad.”

“Ahhh don’t be soo jumpy,” said Wrecker as he clapped his brother on the shoulder. It was a little too hard and Tech almost fumbled his datapad again. “Besides, better that than getting shot at while you climb out the water.”

“Enough chatter. Tech, Echo, get us into the system. I want a map and I want to know everything we can,” commanded Hunter. It was a good thing I brought them. My plans usually just revolved around brute-forcing myself through obstacles. I certainly had no way to open doors save for cutting them or breaking their consoles at least. Maybe they will be able to keep this infiltration more covert.

“On it!” they both replied before rushing over to the set of large computers to the right.

“This place is disgusting,” Billaba stated as she wrung out her hair.

“I was going to say nostalgic, but that works too,” I said with a smirk.

Hunter walked past the two of us and knelt down to the dead troopers. “You made short work of them,” he said as he examined the bodies. He lifted one of the helmets and saw that they were clones.

“My blades don’t have a stun setting,” I replied.

“I guess not,” he said with a quick glance to my sheathed handle.

“We’re in! I’m transferring schematics to everyone’s coms now,” Tech said. “Looks like this place is a series of concentric structures. We’re in the outermost area. We’ll have to make it past through the inner fortress since the prison is near the center,” he explained. He was right, the holographic map showed what almost looked like a medieval fortress. There was the outer area, an inner curtain wall, and then an interior keep where the prison was. Finally, in the very center was the massive spire that jutted out of the water.

“Alright form up and let’s get this door open,” commanded Hunter. Our small strike force took up places around the door as Echo stuck his hand-jack into the door panel and began spinning its lock. Billaba and I took the center, while the others stayed back and to the sides in order to line up shots.

The door opened up into a tubular hallway that allowed one to look out into the water. Four guards were stationed in the area. Three went down in an instant of blaster fire. One lucky trooper was at the far end. He fired a wild shot, towards us before trying to get to the other side of his door. Billaba deflected the bolt, while I reached out with the force and yanked the trooper with all my might. He was sent sliding across the floor towards us. I took point down the hall, stopping only to end the stunned trooper with a slash before making it to the next door.

“Any chatter?” Crosshair asked Tech as we got set up for the next room.

“Nothing yet, I’m currently playing a loop on their security cams, so as long as we keep it quiet on our end, they won’t be on to us,” Tech explained. As evidence, he held up a security cam view of our hallway that showed four bored troopers instead of our ragtag group of infiltrators.

“I can feel a group of force users, apart from the prisoners,” said Billaba before we opened the next area.

“Close or far?” I asked, before also reaching out with the force to probe the fortress.

“Farther in; the center spire maybe,” she replied.

I confirmed her sentiment when I brushed up against their presence. “Well, then we will need to pick up the pace,” I said.

“Why?” she replied.

“If they probe for us, especially while I’m fighting they’ll find me. I only have a basic understanding of concealment,” I explained. It was true. The majority of Zaros’s skills, my skills, were taught on the battlefield. My time at the Sith Academy was incredibly short since I was fast-tracked. Well, it wasn’t like the Empire’s Wrath was doing stealth missions, so it barely ever came up.

She gave me an incredulous look. I couldn’t blame her, hiding your presence was a specialty among modern Sith, and Jedi were probably no different.

Despite this, we made it smoothly to the keep-area without much resistance. Sure, we had to dump a annoying amount of bodies in every storage room we could find on the way. But otherwise, we cut a path through the place with ruthless efficiency. Between Crosshair’s and Alhoys (admittedly less) precision shots and a few rampages from Wrecker, the guards on duty were easily dispatched. Which is how we found ourselves waiting outside the cell block within minutes.

“How many guards?” I asked Billaba, who was probing the large room with her powers.

“It’s hard to tell, some might be crowded out by the force sensitives so maybe twenty or thirty guards,” she said. “Luckily it doesn’t feel like any inquisitors are there though.”

I tsked in annoyance. "It’s unavoidable then. Let’s do this quickly and grab all the prisoners. Tech you have a roster for us?”

“Yeah, I’ll transfer it over now,” he replied.

I scanned through the document spying for a specific name. It didn’t take long, since the list was alphabetical. Offee was near the middle. While every other prisoner was listed in the cell block, she was currently placed in the reconditioning room. I double-checked the map, and then let out another disappointed tsk. That room was in the area past the Cell Block, even closer to the main spire.

“New plan everyone, I’ll cut a path over to the far door. Everyone else can mop it up,” I said. Then scanned our little group. “Get the prison doors open and start shuttling the prisoners out, and I’ll let you know if I need back-up.”

“What? why?” asked Alha.

“Objective number one is currently being tortured, probably. She’s in the next room over, it’ll be better if I just go myself,” I replied.

“Fair enough. Everyone get ready, we’re breaching in 5,” Hunter stated. That shut us all up as our group settled into our respective battle stances.

When Hunter’s count hit zero, we burst through the door. The Cell Block was the largest room we’d seen so far. It had five levels and we entered on the third. The first was a wide floor though the platform didn’t meet the walls. Instead it was separated by a drop into the lava below. The walls were lined with twelve hexagonal cell-halls secured by ray shields. The second floor was a simple metal platform that followed along the wall on all sides of the room. It had an identical array of cells. The control center was to the far left and separated from the room by a thick window. Almost every other floor was identical to the second. The stairs to the first floor were in the center of the room. The entire place, much like the rest of the fortress had a sinister red and black theme going on. Most of the troopers were concentrated on the first level, though others were spread out throughout all of the platformed levels.

To me, it was just a blur. I grabbed onto the force and filled my body with its power just before the door was opened. Blaster fire ripped through the air around me as I jumped from one platform to the next and landed in front of the control room. The three guards stationed around the terminal soon found themselves thrown off the ledge by a massive force push, while my ignited sword began cutting a hole through the glass. There was a guard stationed inside the control room. He was bent over the systems frantically pressing buttons, though he suddenly found himself held into the air by his throat as the breath was squeezed out of his body.

Before hopping in myself, I chanced a look around the room. Crosshair set himself up at our entrance way and quickly picked off two guards from the top level. In conjunction with this, Alhoy activated his jetpack and flew to the newly cleared vantage point before setting up his own overwatch. Wrecker was, well wrecking. He swung around a massive shotgun and seemingly hit guards with it just as often as he actually shot the thing. Billaba had jumped down to the first floor and was cutting a path through the main block of soldiers, while Alha backed her up. Hunter, Tech, and Echo were quickly making their way to my location, probably hoping to lock down the area.

I pushed the now-molten circle of glass into the room which fell to the floor with a crash. Then I awkwardly dove into the room, doing my best not to let the heated glass touch me on the way. I was forced to basically dive onto the ground. They always made it look so simple in the movies, I thought as I scrambled to my feet. By this point, someone had managed to trip the alarms, which caused annoying warning lights and emergency sounds to begin playing.

The controls were foreign to me. The thing had close to a hundred buttons. Sure, most were labeled, but the sheer amount made it worrisome to even touch one without knowing what they do. Clearly, the empire didn’t align with Steve Jobs’ philosophy of design. Thankfully, despite the delay, the “Main Door” button was slightly larger and more imposing than the rest. Once I pressed it, the massive double-blast door began to creep open at the far side of the room.

I also took the time, mostly pressing a few random buttons to try and shut off the alarms and lock the other entrances. Somehow the warning lights stopped flashing, but the alarm only got louder. I had no idea if I was able to lock the doors. I almost slashed the console in annoyance, but figured the others could make better use of it.

In the main room, the fighting was still pretty heavy.

Billaba was getting bogged down by the sheer number of soldiers on the first level and was forced on the defensive. She was blocking shots left and right from the expert troopers that began to fan out from various directions. Alha wasn’t up to that level, but her new energy buckler and beskar armor were more than making up for it as she shook off blaster shots. Alhoy, after clearing out the uppermost levels, was now focused on providing cover fire for Hunter’s group as they made their way over to me. Wrecker was…wrecking his way to help on the first floor while Crosshair was finally set up for over-watch and was soon sending expert shots all over the place.

The main door mechanism was pretty slow and still hadn’t fully unlocked by the time I clambered awkwardly out the small hole I made. I definitely should have made this cut larger.

With another force-assisted jump, I flew into the center of the troopers on the first level like a rocket. I drew upon my well of power before landing and readied a massive shockwave of force that sent many of the men to the ground upon my landing.

It was more than enough to tip the tide and allow Billaba and Alha to press their attacks. I gave the two an ok sign before slipping through the crack in the door.

There were quite a few guards in the hallway heading towards the prison block. For me this was just more of the same. I rushed each as quickly as I could and dispatched them with efficient slashes. The doors here hadn't been locked down yet, so it only took a few button presses to make it into the the torture chamber.

“Holy Shit,” I whispered to myself as I stepped into the next room. The door opened into a large room with pits open to the lava below. Strapped down in the center and mostly obscured by a particularly evil-looking machine was my target. The reconditioning device was a metal table in an upright position. Two metal arms, filled to the brim with menacing devices, were laid overtop and mostly obscured her body. Thankfully, it didn’t appear to be actively hurting her at the moment but wouldn’t have been a comfy resting spot.

There was a technician on duty in the room, he was dressed in the dark armor of the purge troopers. He promptly opened fire with a side pistol, though I easily knocked his shots back at his own gun knocking it to the ground. Then I reached out with my left hand and gripped him with the force. I used just enough power to make it incredibly uncomfortable, but hopefully not enough that his body crumpled from the pressure.

“You will undo her bindings, or I will crush you like the bug you are,” I commanded while increasing the pressure.

“Ok, ok, I can do that,” the man struggled to say.

I turned him towards the monitor before releasing him, though by this point I also had my blade ready to strike.

The man complied and after a few moments, the devices moved away from her while the table settled down into a resting position and her binds unlocked.

That’s when I got my first real look at exactly what they had done to the poor woman. Her head was shaved, and she looked emaciated. Her pale green face was gaunt though surprisingly serene while she was unconscious. I’m not even sure how to describe the rest of what they did, though it was bad. She was missing her entire right arm, and both legs had been cut off at different lengths. Her left arm was still intact. A mercy? Or they just hadn’t gotten around to it yet?

When I got in close to scoop her up, I could here her mumbling the old Jedi mantra faintly. “I am one with the force, the force is with me,” she struggled to repeat. Either she was deep in a trance in order to shield herself or they broke through her mental defenses by this point and her mind had been lost.

With her awkwardly lifted against my left shoulder, I turned and pointed the tip of my blade at the neck of the soldier.

“Now choose. Death or get on the table,” I commanded.

“W-what?” He asked.

“I can't just leave you to spring the alarms. Either I toss you into the lava pit or you get locked up so I can leave,” I lied. Let's be honest this wasn’t about holding him down. It was about the fact that he probably stood there and watched or even pressed the buttons to make it happen. The thought of someone, probably inflicting multiple rounds of torture set my teeth to grind. Especially so when I had my sights set on that someone becoming my ally. And for what? To turn the girl into an inquisitor? If she held out this long, I doubted a few more rounds would do anything other than cause her a slow death. They'd end up taking the fourth limb from a mindless girl and then probably dump her in the lava.

The man faltered. He seemed to understand the situation, which made his crimes all the worse. So, I gave him a little motivation by pushing the blade just under his helmet where it began to singe his armor.

He gulped and said, “I’ll get on the table.” So, I allowed him to move over to it slowly and crawl up onto it.

“Wait, remove your helmet as well,” I commanded. He complied and quickly revealed the now ubiquitous face of Jengo Fett. Unlike his older brothers though, he hadn’t modified anything on it to stand out. No tattoos, piercings, hair dye; he just had the stock standard close-cropped black hair and clean face.

I pressed a button on the machine that locked his limbs down tight to the table.

“What’s your name soldier?” I asked as I dialed up the machine.

“CT-9487/066,” he replied.

I gave him an odd look. He must be fresh. Active-duty clones loathed to tell you their number and almost always had some type of nickname they went by. I guess that could be a GAR thing and not looked upon nicely in the empire.

I shrugged and turned the device to its lightest setting, a mercy I supposed, and started it up. I didn’t look back on the way out, but I heard the table rise into position.

"This shouldn't kill you, but it might fry the chip in your head," I said. "Maybe come find me if it does."

Before leaving I slashed the door panel with my saber and stepped through as they began to close. I could hear the high pitch whirring of the machine as it slowly descended onto him just before the doors closed behind me. My previous self might have been disgusted by the pain I could hear and feel, but at this point, it just felt good.

The mission back at the prison block was proceeding, though not without complications. The guards were all down, but many of the prisoners seemed to have received treatment like Barriss’s. It wasn’t as drastic, but they were underfed, terrified, and often missing a body part. There were twenty-three of them and all were children or teens. With this many injured, running back to the ship would be slow.

“This everyone?” I asked when I finally stepped back into the main door.

“The list checks out,” answered Tech.

“Any reinforcements yet?”

“We closed most of the blast doors, so it’ll take a while for troopers to cut through them,” he explained.

“Hopefully long enough to leave,” I replied.

It took minutes just to get all of them out of the prison block, minutes we didn’t really have.

“Maybe we should have brought hover-carts,” I noted as we finally got them into the hallway to make our retreat.

“You’re the one who didn’t want to bring his precious droids,” remarked Hunter who was holding two younglings in his arms.

“They’re here!” warned Billaba. Then from across the room, a red lightsaber emerged from the main doors. It slowly cut a path through it.

I looked around. Wrecker had like five children in his arms. Tech and Echo were the only ones without their hands full, while the rest were doing what they could to ferry everyone out. I passed Bariss over to them, then turned to Billaba.

“I suppose you’ll get your chance to play therapist,” I said. “We’ll delay them. Have the kids bring the ship around and give us a call when you’re ready.”

Billaba nodded before passing a child off to Echo. Then the two of us ignited our blades and stepped back into the prison block.

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Dondokin

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    Litrpg101 ago

    Aww, that wasn't very Paragon of Zaros. ):

      Vintearis ago

      Yeah he is hardly sith Paragon considering he is getting angry at seemingly unnecessary tortures. Yet it's institutional conversion at massive scale! Some will inevitably resist and die yet many will join inquisition. Considering that main idea was to kill all jedi this way enemy can be converted.

      Let's remember thst the empire was portrayed in dtsr wars as purely evil with no redeeming points like gray areas due to USA political situation when story was created so Hitler like solutions are only expected.

Dark Knight ago

ANOTHER CHAPTER TO ALLEVIATE NY BOREDOM.

THANK YOU AUTHOR

Redeemedwolf ago

I just recently replayed fallen order and hope trilla finds redemption sooner rather then later

Pako ago

Edit suggestions:

It was a little twoo hard and Tech almost fumbled his datapad again.

I confirmed her sentiment with myself when I brushed up against their presence.

Vintearis ago

The thought of someone, probably inflicting multiple rounds of torture set my teeth to grind. And for what? To turn the girl into an inquisitor? If she held out this long, I doubted a few more rounds would do anything other than cause her a slow death.

 

Its institutional torture on massive scale. Many will break and become inquisitor but inevitably some will withstand tortures and die but it's part of the price. It's written in numbers, not a problem.

It's kinda silly that Mc as a sith doesn't see efficiency of the solution. 

Goblin_Kun ago

Edit suggestions:

Billaba sent deflected the bolt, while I reached out with the force and yanked the trooper with all my might.

“This is everyone?” I asked when I finally stepped back into the main door.

Tot ago

Edit suggestions:

Luckily, my advanced, er, well, three-thousand-year-old, warden armor’s under-suit seemed mostly waterproof, though my face had no such protection.

And, well, it wasn’t like the Empire’s Wrath was doing stealth missions, so it barely ever came up.

In these, "well" is used as an introductory word, so it gets a comma.

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