The Raxulon Plaza building dominates the center of the city which shares its name. Its large city square below and its spaceport within ensure constant traffic, but its most significant function is as a capitol that has served not only various states in the Tion Cluster's history, but also the Separatist Alliance and, now, its successor, the Obsidian Union.
Reaver and Kairos received their summons from the Dark Lord to come to his offices in Raxulon at roughly the same time. Normally the instinctual awareness of that fact would have simply been filtered out, like so many extraneous day-to-day stimulus. But the Force had been moving strangely and ominously of late, and both were more on guard than usual. The summons stated nothing as to its purpose, but little details about it revealed much. The summons was to the Plaza building, not to the Dark Lord's personal estate or the Raxulon temple, nor to Choronu; and only they had been summoned, not all the Sith Masters. This told them they were being called upon primarily as leaders of the droid armies, rather than as Obsidian Knights or Sith Lords. Both, of course, had noticed some signs of increased activity in Union Intelligence of late, meaning that they would likely be speaking to Xaos almost immediately after he had gathered the last of the information he needed to finalize whatever plan it was he was hatching in response to whatever event was beginning to climb the horizon.
It wasn't a long wait after the two had made their respective paths to Raxulon that needed to be spent outside a holoprojection room where they were told the Consul would soon admit them. When the door opened, a stream of high-ranking Unionists exited the room. Among the unsurprising Intelligence officers, Trade Defense Force admirals, and so on, were a few more surprising figures, like those representing the Techno-Union. With the group departed, the door lay open for the Sith Lords' admittance.
Kairos leaned up against the wall as he waited, one foot propped up to rest on it and occasionally tap with impatience. He wasn't used to having to wait on others anymore - in the galaxy, there were three men left that could make him wait. One was the man he was currently waiting to see; the second was waiting with him; the third was curiously absent, but the Red Warrior's expertise were in matters of single combat and less in grand strategies. His absence, and the absence of Xyrafus, suggested to Kairos that this wasn't a Dark Council matter but rather a high-level military matter.
Reaver seemed content to wait in silence, and Kairos found himself reflecting in the quiet. It wasn't that long ago that Reaver had been his Master, utterly in control of every aspect of his life from his training to his sleeping and his ability to travel. Now they stood side by side as equals - equals in standing, in power, in influence, in skills, in strategic acumen. Perhaps the only thing they weren't equals in was that Reaver outranked him, but as far as his influence as a Knight-Commander and the High Marshall went that was a fairly minor distinction.
It was a far cry from when he had first come out of the carbonite. Now he had respect, power, freedom and at long last command of the most powerful warship in the galaxy had been returned to him, crewed with his own personal army. And above all, he had a long, long memory, and a newfound sense of priorities.
So it was with no small sense of annoyance that he saw assorted businessmen, Intelligence officers, and private admirals had been in the room before them, first to learn about this important matter and thus the first to have input. Putting it aside for now, Kairos straightened and absent-mindedly adjusted the cuffs and collar on his elegant battlecoat. Protocol dictated that Reaver walked into the room first as the higher-ranking official and more senior Sith Master, so of course Kairos walked in shoulder-to-shoulder with him.
Reaver had arrived riding a Barc speeder bike, jumping off outside the building and striding in. He saw his former apprentice and grinned slightly at him "Well Lord Kairos, it would appear that things are about to get interesting". He watched the current occupants leave the room then walked inside
Xaos stood hovering over the controls of the holoprojector at the center of the circular conference room; he glanced upward as Reaver and Kairos entered the chamber.
"Ah, brothers, excellent, I will not waste time belaboring the reason for my summons," he greeted them, "Put simply, gentlemen, the entirely expected has occurred: the First Order has decided to invade us."
Xaos activated a holoprojection of the galaxy before continuing, "They hope to crush us as a preamble to, and then use our territories as a springboard for, a war against the Republic. However, they have gone about preparing for this with all the subtlety of a rogue Bantha, and Intelligence has gleaned the information necessary for us to outmaneuver them."
"Their invasion points can be roughly divided into three theaters of war, between which I have divided our defensive fronts and responsibility for command. I shall begin with the our spinward heartland territories, which shall suffer the main brunt of the First Order's forces, and which I shall command the defense of personally. I require only Brothers Exolus and Lucifer for my purposes, thus I leave all other of our brethren and operatives at the disposal of the other theaters' commanders. This though is offset by the fact that I shall require the majority of the droid armies and fleets for my use."
"Armitage Hux, whom my agents assure me will be commanding the main First Order force, has two options by which he may most expeditiously launch his attack. First would be to pass rimward of Mytus at S-3 then attack Raxus directly. However, this approach is a very risky one for him. He gambles in angering the CSA by bringing a warfleet so close to their territory on this approach. But, more immediately, his passing might invite an attack from either Zsinj or the Mon Cals; the latter of whom are on edge enough from our surrounding them that they might break the Galactic Concordance out of fear that he is coming for them. Thus I do not believe Snoke would approve of such an insouciant plan. But, to make certain, I have dispatched the Trade Defense Force, who have far more complete maps of the local hyperlanes than the First Order ever will, to create some obstacles. Any backwater hyperlanes in the area which are large enough to admit the First Order's oversized capital ships will be blocked off by relocated asteroids, proximity mines and Coreships manned by skeleton crews of OOMs operating gravity well generators. The ancient cliche of siege weapons stuck in muddy roads will become all too relevant to General Hux should he attempt this approach, buying us all the time I would need to reconceive and reposition."
"But the approach I believe he will actually take is to first make it appear as though he is moving to reinforce the First Order position on Onderon then suddenly turn into the gap between the Perlimian and the Salin Corridor. The supposed justification under the Galactic Concordance being that they have been invited by the Onderonian government to protect the planet and the Union represents a direct and immediate threat to it. Not that they actually expect anyone in the Republic Senate to believe that the prerequisite for moving fleets across Republic space is launching a coup on one planet, but they are correct in their assessment that the Senate will not respond militarily without an unequivocal violation of the Concordance. The First Order believes this fig leaf will buy them all the time they need to conquer us."
"Thus I anticipate their attack will come from the Perlimian, and I intend to use their certainty of success against them. Upon entering Union space, the First Order fleet will have to divide in order to conquer. I will put token defense fleets at Sarka, Metalorn, Abhean, Centares and Nam Chorios. These are the worlds which Hux will certainly hit first and, after each fleet has suffered sufficient loses to make it look convincing, they will withdraw. This will give Hux the impression that I spread my fleets too thin in an attempt to defend all possible routes of attack and am now withdrawing my ships in a desperate attempt to regroup and counterattack. Here is where I believe he will make his fatal mistake. He will leave a small task force of ships at each of these planet to oversee the ground invasion then pursue the fleeing ships in the hopes of attacking my fleet as it musters."
"What Hux's ground forces will discover is that I have had the Techno-Union construct temporary war factories on the aforementioned worlds, as well as Centares, Rhen Var, Columex and Belderone in case I should be forced to redraw the line of defense. These heavily fortified facilities will have been well-stocked with raw material from Raxus Prime's forges so that they may indefinitely reinforce the ground defenders. I shall also dispatch Brother Lucifer to whichever world Hux commits the most ground forces; Lucifer should be easily able to penetrate in a single snubfighter any blockade they establish."
"Meanwhile, Hux will be discovering that I have led him into a trap. Ideally I will engage him between Centares and Columex, or, failing that, draw him towards Rhen Var. Of course, it's quite possible that he will turn towards the Wheel or Centares and I have no choice but to face him there. But, regardless how favorable the location, I will have him then. I shall engage him cautiously at first, buying Brother Exolus time to sweep in from behind with a portion of my fleets, mop-up the taskforces in orbit over the invaded worlds, and then move in to surround the First Order fleet. Hux will be cut off from escape deep in enemy territory, surrounded and outnumbered."
"As for the second theater, consisting almost entirely of Uba and Iridonia, I am largely leaving that in Kalani's hands. Our intelligence suggests the First Order is overly confident of their ability to conquer a territory so close to theirs, and do not believe we can successfully bring reinforcements to the worlds. But with a combination of the Trade Federation's previous exploration, and the astrographical knowledge Kalani acquired while fighting the Vong in the region previously, I believe it is possible. A nimble fleet, heavily reinforced by Trade Defense Force ships, could successfully move spinward around the galaxy's edge and arrive at Uba and Iridonia in time. Additionally, should the worst occur, the TDF presence would be a great aid in evacuation. Let us hope that we are overestimating our chances only half as much as the First Order underestimates them."
"Now, on to your assignment: Onderon. As I noted, the First Order recently backed a coup on this world and now intends to move their forces from here to Trandosha. What I intend for you to do is to catch their fleet at Iziz while it is still preparing, and take the planet from them. Reaver, I'm sure I needn't explain to you the significance of this world to our Brotherhood. Your forces for this task will largely consists of your own; Jaig Legion and Halcyon will have to provide the heart of the fleet and almost all the ground forces. I can set aside some Lucrehulks, Munificents and other such to help fill out any gaps in your lines, but most of the droid forces will be needed in other theaters. It's all for the better that you'll be using organic ground forces, for Onderon has only a single city, which will be more easily conquered by a smaller, better trained and more mobile ground force. You'll finally have your chance to bring your vaunted dreadnought to bear, Kairos; I only wish I could be there to feel the First Order's reaction to seeing an Executor amidst an enemy fleet."
"Taking the palace at the center of Iziz will secure us victory. Unfortunately this is much more difficult now than it was decades ago for, after the Empire destroyed Unifar Temple, the Onderonians rebuilt the old palace, complete with sizable fortifications. To this end there are several other key points I suggest you focus on before attacking the palace directly, though you will be unable to tackle all these at once. First and most important is the Skyramp, which connects the city walls with the palace at multiple junctures. Taking it will be difficult but absolutely necessary, as it will allow seizing control of much of Iziz's air defense and will cut off the palace from the rest of the city. Do not, however, attempt to make ingress into the palace from the Skyramp. This was done many times in the past and defenses on the palace have been designed to respond to such a threat; find your means of entry elsewhere."
"Beyond the Skyramp, there is the starport, Malgan market, the power plant, Yolahn square and the various city gates. The importance and uses of the starport and power plant are obvious, while the market will serve as an open area for landing heavier vehicles too large for the Skyramp or starport. Yolahn square is potentially the most valuable but also time-sensitive and difficult. Intelligence reveals that the First Order stormtroopers will be mustering here to be transported up to the fleet. A group of starfighters, if everything is handled correctly, might be able to make it past the enemy fleet, avoid being shot down by the AA defenses on the Skyramp, walls and palace, then strafe Yolahn, thus inflicting major ground casualties on the First Order before the stormtroopers have a chance to seek safety. Though such would have to be attempted almost immediately after arriving."
Kairos grinned wolfishly at the thought of finally unleashing the firepower of his flagship. Xaos and Reaver had never had faith in its effectiveness, and he was going to relish making them eat their prior doubts. He wished Xaos could be there, but the awe on Reaver's face was going to be well worth it. He'd have to keep an open hologram link to him.
"A comprehensive plan, Lord-Commander," Kairos agreed. "You have the defence of our heartland well in-hand, there's nothing I can personally suggest there. I'm more doubtful of our ability to defend Uba and Iridonia - I'm sure Kalani will be able to repulse the First Order, at least temporarily, but if we wish to keep those planets safe we need a more long-term solution. Now that they are actively moving against us, the First Order will never be content to just leave The Hourglass-" He referred to the shape of the territory controlled around Uba and Iridonia, which resembled an archaic sand-based timekeeping instrument -"be, even if we repulse them once. Even with most of the First Order forces tied up here, I'm sure there will be reserve forces in the old Pentastar they won't hesitate to send against us."
He indicated a few planets on the astro-map, deep within First Order territory. "We know that the First Order has been building up installations on Phaeda, Yinchorr, Birgis and Plooma, and our intelligence indicates that each planet has a number of resistance groups contesting First Order rule - without much success. If we can help unify and arm those rebel groups, we can start fermenting trouble in their territory. If that's happening while we're trying to protect the Hourglass, that only helps us - and if that resistance is sustained, the resources the First Order will have to waste keeping order will make hounding the Hourglass more trouble than it's worth. Of course, we would have to monitor those groups and make sure they aren't too successful - if they're pushed too far, the First Order would respond overwhelmingly to crush those resistance groups, and afterwards they'd turn to the Hourglass again."
"As for Onderon - what intelligence do we have about the force we'll be facing? Between our respective personal fleets Reaver and I can field a sizeable navy, but any droid ships you can spare us will help. Can the droid armies spare additional starfighters? Conviction is only using maybe a quarter of her total starfighter capacity, the remainder could hold about one-and-a-half droid fighters. I can lead the space battle until the First Order warships are contained and then join Lord Reaver on the surface." He nodded to Reaver. "If he consents."
Reaver shrugged "Sounds good" he said, he thought for a moment "Part of the Jaig Legion fleet, are two Free Virgillia Class Bunker Busters. Both of which carry three heavy plasma Bombs. We can use them to take out the defenses around the palace."
"The Hourglass," Xaos gave a brief chuckle and slight grin, "I rather like that. And, yes I concur that repelling this assault on the Hourglass will only further wet the First Order's appetite to conquer it; defending from this particular attack is indeed a stop-gap and not a long-term solution. I further quite like your idea of fomenting revolt, in fact, I like it so much that I've been pursuing it as a goal since both you and Reaver were still in carbonite. Say what you will of the First Order, but it is a unique problem creating insurrections in their territory, even on the fringes of its control, that I must confess has me foxed. And do not be so quick to believe that those outbursts of civil disobedience that have afflicted the First Order of late arose organically. For nearly seven years they have held the galactic north, for three I have attempted to establish revolts against them to no success, yet in the past year there are suddenly armed and at least passably organized revolts on the worlds you mentioned? Mark my words, gentlemen, someone who understands better than I how to raise revolts has already unified these dissidents and, what's worse, their operatives have completely avoided notice by my agents on Muunlist. There are only a few beings in the galaxy who could accomplish these things, and none of them are our allies."
"But, let's leave that be for now. Even in a perfect galaxy, raising revolts would take months and weeks, whereas our time at present is measured in a few dozen hours, so any such discussion must wait until the emergency at hand is dealt with. As for your request, we have more than enough Vultures, Tri-Fighters and Hyenas on hand to spare. Just do me the kindness of not getting so enthused with the romance of your flagship that you forget to use the fighters and vessels I've given you to their fullest?"
"As for their command and disposition of forces we do have some information. The fleet's flagship is a Mandator IV; be wary of it for its siege cannon could no doubt inflict severe damage even against something an Executor's scale. Fortunately, however, it is built for planetary siege far more than counter siege, so it will be at least somewhat out of its element. Beyond that, the fleet largely consists of Imperial-class Star Destroyers, lacking any of the Resurgent-classes. And further beyond that is a largely unremarkable collection of gunships, missleboats, troop transports, mid-range cruisers, and further such of the sorts that one expects to see in any fleet. The local Onderonians don't have a fleet but they likely have fighter wings they could add to the fight. As for ground forces, the stormtroopers deployed to Onderon appear to be of a more elite variety than the standard, and are specially trained in occupying and holding planets. Wachetroopers, they're apparently called, though given the endless Imperial fascination with developing new 'trooper' types, I might be misremembering the name. And, of course, you have the local city guard. The First Order forces are apparently under the command of some Knight of Ren or another that we know precious little about. The puppet-king they've installed is named Aryus Vasek, and he was just some courtier's son up until the First Order decided to install him. Evidently the local population were no more impressed than I, because they instantly revolted to try to install the old king's son. What happened with that matter is unfortunately unknown to us at the moment, we lost any reliable line of information after the Iziz starport was locked down. I will provide you with a T-series who can go into much further detail while en route to Onderon."
Somebody other than Xaos trying to stir up rebellion? And succeeding? Very interesting, Kairos thought, keeping his thoughts firmly to himself and making a mental note to look into it himself.
"Wachetroopers...we'll see how they handle Mandalorians and elite Mercenaries. That Mandator could be a problem though, especially for our ground forces." He glanced at Reaver. "We'll have a plan for taking it out by the time we get there. Well, we and re...Lucifer all have our jobs. What about the rest of our brethren?"
Post by Darth Reaver on Sept 11, 2019 22:48:50 GMT
Reaver grinned slightly "You mean you have not spotted its weakness Lord Kaiross? It has impressive point defence capabilities, but they are all on the dorsal surface. Attack from below, loop up over its rear and attack its command tower. Admittedly you would have to avoid being hit by its main armaments, but their sheer size should help with that. If we use missile boats to take out its point defences from a distance as well... You see where I'm heading with this?"