Chapter 39
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It has been a month or so since we took out Grievous. His death was approaching anyway. While the fleet retreated silently back to our hidden territories for repairs and maintenance. I also had to check up on my other war fronts.

Expanding into the unknown regions comes with its own challenges. For starters, we have to chart and survey each system, one at a time. Sure, I have multiple exploration fleets working on it, but it takes time to complete. And I want it done properly.

Another issue that rears its ugly head now and then. We sometimes discover hostile species. Most inhabited planets are usually subjugated and integrated slowly. But we sometimes come across a species that leave no other option. And for such occasions, I take a page out of the Holy Emperor's playbook, 'Purge them in holy fire'.

The first such species we came across were the Killiks. They threw an infested asteroid at one of our colonies. What they weren't prepared to face were Mandalorians. We defoliated the invasion zone to oblivion. This led to an intensive month-long war. We hunted down Killik occupied systems, one after another. And unlike the Republic, we didn't hold back and unlike the Empire, we didn't go overboard.

First, we bombard the bug colonies with Defoliator bombs. Then launch ground invasions of the planets. And just like the bugs from starship troopers, the Killiks send out their drones in the millions. But we had a counter, we had our droids lead the charge. If the resistance is too tough to crack and will eventually lead to unacceptable causality rates, we unleash the harbingers. Their super lasers target the planet turning it into a large floating ball of magma. They will eventually cool down in a few decades.

During the time we were laying low in the unknown regions, our ships ran into a second species. The Ssi-ruuk, a vile species. They power their technology using the life force of other living beings using the technique known as entechment.

I never gave them a chance. I mobilized all the assault fleets available and encircled their systems. Which were quite a few in number. Unlike the Killiks, these reptilian bastards were building tall instead of wide.

As soon as the systems were surrounded the invasion started. Entire armadas assaulted their worlds. They tried putting up resistance but it was in vain. We were more numerous and technologically advanced. The result, unquestionable space supremacy. And just like the Killiks, I ordered Exterminatus.

Their planets were bombarded relentlessly with defoliator bombs. Massive invasions wiped out any survivors. Heavily fortified planets were just turned into balls of fire floating aimlessly in space.

Their technologies were sent to my scientists to break down and study. Their ships were broken down and analyzed. While the rest were scrapped to extract resources to fuel our industries.

You might ask why not use them. Because it will be a pain in the ass. It was easier to wipe the slate clean and prevent any future problems from cropping up. This extermination took a couple of months to complete thoroughly. And luckily for me with the war going on the Jedi or any other force-sensitive won't sense what happened to these species through the force. I really don't want them snooping and finding out when we are all so close to consolidating our iron grip over the unknown regions.  Final preparations are underway for the big reveal. And we will knock the socks of the galaxy.

But before that, we have a small rescue mission to carry out. What would happen when a massive fleet appears over Zygerria. Yoda has issued a contract to carry out a rescue of 'civilian hostages' held by the Separatists. And I am sure I can expect a small fleet over the planet, courtesy of Sidious.

Why not hide after trying to assassinate a Sith? Well, all they understand is power. And I got to clearly convey the fact that I am not afraid of the prune.

(Time Skip)

The Ghost fleet is currently on the outer edge of the Mirial system. I am standing in front of a holoprojector surrounded by my teammates, squad leaders, and the admirals. A large hologram of Zygerria and Kadova.

"Is everyone present?" I ask looking around "Good, let's get this rolling"

"Our opponents this time are the ever so lovely Zygerrian salve empire, supported by the ever so friendly Separatists. Our primary targets are these two planets. Target one Zygerria, their home planet. Target two Kadova, their primary slave processing facility. The first part of this operation includes the infiltration of ghost teams augmented by 19ST units. Reaper, Alpha, and Bravo squads will infiltrate Zygerria with three battalion's worth of 19STs. Meanwhile, Omega and Charlie squads will infiltrate Kadova with similar numbers of 19STs. Omega has to make the control room and the administrator their priority. Our task will be to rescue the Jedi, destroy or sabotage planetary defenses, and secure landing sites for our troops. Omega and Charlie wipe out everything. All strongpoints, force concentration, and high-value targets have been marked on your tac-maps and all available intel has been provided. We already have a few units of 19STs on the ground scouting" I say zooming out of the planets after explaining that part of the operation and turn to the admirals "Once the ground teams give the all-clear, the fleets will start moving in. Strike Groups one and two will move to Zygerria and Strike Group three will move to Kadova. The republic is spread thin and the most we can expect is one Venator class Cruiser under Plo Koon and his battalion of clones. Any doubts?" I ask while looking around.

"What are the rules of engagements when it comes to civies?" asked Asajj.

"Try and minimize collateral damage as much as possible. But if they get in your way, I leave it to your judgment" I answered her.

"Any more questions?" I asked. But there was none.

The plans were discussed and fine-tuned for another hour before we all went to get prepared for departure. The infiltration will be carried out by stealth crusader frigates.

All seven of us will deploy for this one. Why seven and not eight you ask? Because I ordered Bo back to New Keldabe. Apparently, all the snu snu has gotten her pregnant. Yep going to be a dad soon. I have also passed on orders preventing her from doing anything Mando. 

(Time Skip)

(Ahsoka POV)

"Act as a slave they said. It will be easy to trick them they said. And here I am now stuck in a cage with a shock collar on my neck. SIGH," all I could do was grumble at this stupid plan and the consequences of its failure.

I have been stuck in this cage, dangling off the side of the palace for more than a day now. While skyguy trots around with the queen. SIGH. I lost count of how many times I sighed in the past day.

But as I was laying down a silent hum reached my ears. Then something landed on top of my cage, rocking it back and forth. I look up and what greeted my eyes was something unexpected.

"Hello there," said the armored menace we know and 'love', Nomad. Doing his best to impersonate Master Obiwan. "I see you are hanging out enjoying the view. Need me to get you out?" he asked me while chuckling.

"What are you doing here? And please get me out!" I said.

He just nods and cuts a hole into the roof of my cage. He then pulls me up and jet packs onto the nearest landing. I look around at the gathered Mandalorians.

"So how did you get yourself in that cage?" asked Nomad.

"It was Skyguy's brilliant idea for me to impersonate a salve so that we can infiltrate the palace and find where the people from Kiros are being held" I explained.

"Well good thing we were contracted or you would be dangling there for some more time. As for saving the people, just leave that to us" said Nomad.

As I looked through the Mandalorians gathered I sense the presence of someone familiar. A new female Mando I have not seen in Nomad's squad.

"Where is Psyren and who is that? Her presence seems familiar" I asked Nomad.

"Well, Psyren is not available for some time. As for her, she is someone I recruited. Her story is tragic so I gave her a second chance, a new lease on life you could say, by becoming Mandalorian" explained Nomad.

This new Mando seems all too familiar. I just can't put my finger on it. She sees me staring at her and just shake her head before coming towards me.

"Well, Hello there. Skywalker's not so little Pet" said the mystery woman. Wait. It can't be. Only one person I know calls me that.

"Ventress?!" I hiss at her. I could hear Nomad audibly sighing in the background.

"At your service," she said doing a small bow.

"What are you doing here?" I hiss at her before turning to Nomad before silently shouting at him "Do you know who you let into your ranks?"

"Why yes, I do. I know more about her than you do. I am giving her a new path to follow after she was failed by the Jedi first and then by the Sith" said Nomad "She is now under my protection and if you attack her without her first attacking you, you become my enemy. Plus, she was there when we saved you from the Trandoshans. So, no starting fights with her, we have a mission to complete" he finished in a commanding tone.

SIGH. "Ok. But I want an explanation" I demanded.

"You will get what I find is required. For the rest go and search your Jedi archives" said Nomad in a tone which could only be translated as 'Shut Up'.

We stand there overlooking the city for a little while.

"What are we waiting for?" I asked.

"A few things. The first of which will be here any minute now" said Nomad, still looking over the ledge.

Soon enough R2D2 flies in and starts beeping at me. Followed by Anakin, who looked extremely surprised to see my entourage of Mandalorians.

"What are you lot doing here?" asked Skyguy.

"We have a contract from the green goblin himself. Apparently, someone got their asses captured due to the lack of subtility" Nomad said in a not so subtle manner.

"Hey, I had things under control" defended skyguy.

"Sure, you do. And I am a Jedi Grandmaster" said Nomad sarcastically "Enjoy the queen's company?" hinting at something.

"What?!" asked Anakin.

"Flying around with a beauty hugging you from behind. Going for strolls with said beauty in beautiful gardens, hand in hand. Such good holovid material. Would sell for quite a bit" said Nomad chuckling evilly.  Skyguy started sweating slugs when he heard this. Apparently, it was some sort of inside joke, maybe.

"So, what are we waiting for?" I asked changing the topic, to the relief of Anakin.

"A signal," said Nomad. We just waited for some more time. Then suddenly Nomad's communicator beeped.

"Sir, HVT secured and all objectives have been met," said a voice from the communicator.

"Good. What is the status of Mr. Impeccable?" Nomad asked over coms.

"The white-haired meatbag has entered the system and is on his way to the palace master" came Nomad's psychopathic droids' response.

"Excellent, so everything is going according to plan. Make sure he gets the data chip, once he has possession of it, we will launch phase 2" Nomad ordered over coms.

He then turns towards us "We better relocate. Don't want to be caught out in the open" he said before jetpacking off to one of the highest towers. Asajj grabbed me while the one called Wrench grabbed Anakin and followed Nomad.

We waited for a few minutes and were soon joined by a group of droids with a gaged and bound Zygerrian queen. They plop her down to the side and return to carry out whatever their tasks were.

Nomad slowly removes the queen's gag "You will pay for this. Do you know who you kidnapped?" she then turned to me and Anakin "I thought Jedi were above such tactics" she said with a frown.

"I know very well who you are, hence your current predicament. And it appears you don't know who I am. The operations in this AO are now under my command. If you listen to me and be an obedient little queen you and most of your people will survive this ordeal. Otherwise, the Zygerrian people might just go extinct. Am I understood?" asked Nomad in a menacing tone.

"You can't threaten me. You and your measly squad can't take on my empire!" she stated defiantly.

Nomad laughs evilly "Let me introduce myself. I go by the name Nomad" you could see the shock on the queen's face. She finally realized who she is dealing with "As for my little threat. I have more than enough means to glass this planet and everything on it" he said with an icy tone.

"But that is not the Jedi way" intervened Anakin "we save people not go around like some genocidal bastards threatening extinction on our enemies" I couldn't agree more.

"Motherkriffer, do I look like a kriffin Jedi to you?" responded Nomad, walking up and facing down Anakin "You failed your mission. This OP is now under my command the moment I got the contract. Stay in line and follow the plan or shut the Kriff up and stay the Kriff out of my way" he turns and starts walking away towards the queen while still speaking "And stop your hypocrisy. Your order preaches the extermination or imprisonment of anyone who doesn't follow your code. So, shut up and go sit in that corner" Woah I didn't expect Nomad would go off like that. When I look at Anakin, he had a deep frown on his face.

Nomad now crouches down and comes face to face with the queen "I will give you a few documents to sign. You will sign them, that is if you want to keep your pretty little planet intact. Do, I make myself clear?" he asks venomously. She just glares at him. He brings out a hidden blade to her throat and grumbles out "This isn't a negotiation" he then Nods to one of his people who brings forth a set of datapads.

He releases her from her bindings and places the datapads before her and speaks "Sign them and you can avoid bringing the war to your people"

"Do I have a choice?" she hisses at Nomad, quite literally.

"You do, but this is the only one where you and your people come out relatively unscathed. Now read them and sign them" said Nomad.

The queen then proceeds to read through the datapads. "What do the documents say?" I asked Nomad.

"That all slaves shall be released and they will officially surrender and withdraw from the war. Along with reparations to the slaves" Nomad explained.

"This will cause revolt amongst my people. I will be usurped" she says in a pleading tone.

"Oh, just sign the damn thing. As for revolts, every powerful figure on this planet should be dead by now. Including your prime minister. If you don't sign it though the tally will include a lot more than power-hungry politicians" explained Nomad. Which surprises the queen.

"How can I trust you?" she asks.

Nomad nods at another Mando of his squad. She opens a chest nearby and takes out a severed head and throws it at the queen. It was the despicable prime minister. I could feel a cold chill going up my spine. He was evil but the look of horror in the severed head speaks volumes.

"Now can you sign it?" Nomad asked again. The queen gulps and starts signing the documents. After she finishes, she hands it over to the Mando standing near Nomad. Just then his coms start beeping again.

"Sir, this is Omega-1. The facility is secure and all hostiles are neutralized" reported someone.

"Good. Put Obiwan on" ordered Nomad.

Soon Master Obiwan appears on the holo "Hello there. You have my gratitude for the rescue" he said.

"Good to see you are still alive and kicking. Stick with my teams and they will fill you in on the plan" said Nomad before cutting coms.

He turned to us with his trademark evil chuckle and says "Time for phase 2".