Chapter 40
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(POV Dooku)

The queen has been tiptoeing around our deal. And master wants me to go make sure the Jedi are executed. And to make matters worse he also informed me the Jedi council contracted the Ghosts to rescue the Jedi and the slaves as well as neutralize the threat that is the Zygerrians.

Just to be sure I take a small fleet with me to bolster the already present flotilla of one Lucrehulk and ten Munificent. This will bring our fleet strength up to one Lucrehulk 15 Munificent and two providence classes. If the Ghost fleet comes, they will get their fight. This fighting force is strong enough to invade a planet.

I take a shuttle to the palace. Everything seems to be in order, but I can’t seem to shake the feeling that something ominous is looming just over the horizon.

I go to meet my contact the prime minister, in his office. If the queen fails to execute the Jedi, he shall replace her. But what greeted me was the severed head of the prime minister on his study table. In front of the severed head were a datapad and a couple of data chips. Soon as I switch on the datapad a prerecorded message starts playing.

“Good Day, this is your friendly neighborhood ghost. The data chips contain information you might find interesting. You could say it’s my way of saying no hard feelings because I am about to turn the heat up on this planet. “

“Ps: I would make sure your so-called ‘master’ doesn’t find out you had those. Otherwise, you will have decreased you already meager use to him and would expedite your fast-approaching doom. Use the information wisely”

“Oh yeah and this datapad will short-circuit in t-minus 10…9...8….7….6….5….4……3….2….1”

The datapad then started to spark and smoke so I threw it to the side and picked up the data chips. If this has something against my master then I will have to look into this.

But now I must leave quickly. If Nomad has targeted this planet and he has given me this warning, it’s already too late for the Zygerrians.

I make my way to the shuttle to take my leave.

(POV Ahsoka)

We were waiting for the next phase of Nomad’s plan to kick-off when a Sheathipede lands near the palace. We could see Dooku coming out.

“It’s Dooku we have to capture him,” said Anakin.

“No, we don’t. We expose ourselves now the plan goes down the drain. So, no one moves” Nomad said.

“But he is alone,” I said.

“Really? Then the large ass fleet in orbit is just for decoration?” asks Nomad sarcasm dripping in his statement “There is one Lucrehulk, two Providence class, and at least fifteen Munificents. Enough to invade a damn planet, so shut up and sit tight” commanded Nomad.

“You don’t order me. I am a Jedi and I answer to the council and the Chancellor” countered Anakin.

“Today, you do. I have command over this AO. You will follow orders according to the Republics' wartime charters. Right now, you are not a Jedi, but a soldier on a battlefield, so obey the orders of the commander in charge of this battlefront. Or you will be charged for insubordination and treason. AM I CLEAR” asked Nomad in a tone I often hear clone captains talking to newly deployed clones. I could see Anakin’s clenched fists. I hope he doesn’t do anything reckless. Just then Nomad continued “Plus all the pieces are almost in place. Soon the show will begin”

Just as he said that we could see Dooku rushing to his shuttle and making a quick exit. Something had spooked him really bad; he was really booking it. Soon after we got a report that Three Munificent class frigates have jumped away.

Nomad activated a holoprojector showing the separatist fleet guarding the system. Soon the Ghost fleet dropped out of hyperspace and started engaging the hostiles at long range. What we saw was the sight of an intense space battle unfolding. Though the separatist fleet fought valiantly, the ghost fleet was still somehow coming out on top. Although their ships were taking damage none have been destroyed. While the Separatist ships were falling by the minute. The battle lasted about twenty minutes with the ghost fleet splitting into three components. One staying back to scavenge the destroyed Separatist fleet while the other two headed for the two planets at full speed.

“Detonate the charges and activate the sabotages” ordered, Nomad. Soon the city was rocked by explosions as defensive installation and hardpoints were destroyed. Firefights were happening all across the city. After a few minutes, dropships and gunships started dropping troops, and carrying out attack runs on the Zygerrians positions. They never knew what hit them.

“I always love it when everything goes according to plan,” said Nomad Chuckling. Then he turned to the Queen “It’s time for you to make the announcement declaring your surrender” pointing towards the Holo projector. She nods and steps up to the device.

“People of Zygerria. I as your queen have signed a declaration of surrender to the Mandalorian Ghosts. I plead to you to lay down your arms and surrender. Please, there is no need for further bloodshed. The Separatist fleet has been decimated and they will no longer help us. If we continue to fight, more shall needlessly die” said the queen.

Nomad then steps up “I would heed your queen’s advice if I were you. I promise to spare the lives of those who surrender. Resist and I promise you extermination. This is my word” he cuts the broadcast after making his declaration.

“Well, let’s hope your people listen to you. For their own good at least” He said to the queen, before turning to one of his teammates “Make sure the message plays in a loop. Cordon of all entrances, we hole up here till everything settles down. Got to let the troops have a little fun now and then as well” before walking off to one side.

“Well, that ended quickly,” I said to Anakin “Why didn’t we do this? And whose bright idea was to go on a botched undercover mission again?” I asked him sarcastically.

“Not a word Snips. We were hoping for a less confrontational ending. SIGH” said Anakin.

“Hey, Ahsoka” called out Asajj.

“What do you want?” I asked her with a frown.

“Wait! Ventress?” asked a shocked Anakin.

“You didn’t notice till now?” asked Nomad incredulously “She is under my wing now. She is being trained in the ways of the Mando. She is no longer your enemy” he explained.

“But what about all the war crimes she carried out?” asked Anakin “She has to face judgment” demanded Anakin.

“It was war. Plus, if dig a little I can also press charges against most Jedi including you and Obiwan for breaching many wartime laws and carrying out war crimes on many occasions. So, stop acting like a saint and take your head out of the clouds” said Nomad in a monotone voice “She is under my protection, both the Jedi and Sith failed her. We will not” he said as if it were facts.

“Hey Ahsoka, come see this” called Asajj again, pointing at the datapad in her hands.

When I go over what I see makes me speechless. It was high-quality drone footage. It was a holovid of Anakin and the queen flying around on a mount. “So, this is what he did while I was hung out to dry”

The Queen also approaches to look over our shoulders “Can I have a copy of this” she asks after seeing the holovid. Asajj looks at her and gives both me and her a data chip.

Anakin now curious comes over to look. HE suddenly goes stiff and shouts “Delete it” and snatched the datapad before crushing it.

“Don’t worry I only sent copies to Obiwan and Padme” said Nomad from the side.

Anakin went pail and slumped in a corner exaggeratedly drawing circles with his hand, while the evil chuckle of Nomad rang out in the background.

I don’t understand them, especially Nomad. One moment he is deadly serious the next moment he becomes a loony.


(Time Skip)

It’s been five days now and all the fighting across the planets has ceased. Nomad and his group have almost finished rounding up the prisoners and slaves while cataloging them.

Today a small republican fleet will arrive in the system to take over the operation. Honestly, they have little to nothing to do but take the neatly gift-wrapped system from the Mandalorians.

Something I find interesting is that the Documents signed by the queen also acts as a shield for her people against unjust persecution. Nomad gave her a copy of it as well, while also sending copies to both the council and the Senate.

I look to the side to see the queen and Nomad having a chat. Whatever, Nomad can squeeze these people for every credit they are worth for all I care.

But the highlight of this entire debacle is that almost all slaves have been freed, with minimal to no causalities. I would call that a good operation any day.

(POV Dooku)

The data the ghosts gave me revealed something quite troubling. It revealed I was being used as a disposable tool by my so-called master. It revealed he was actually trying to get a younger and more powerful recruit. It revealed the identity of my so-called master. It revealed I was blinded by the Sith, just as I was blinded by the Jedi. SIGH. I am without a path again.

But surprisingly enough Nomad gave the solution to this as well. He gave me data on the Grey Jedi and their philosophy. He also possibly gave me a new path to follow.

I must quickly consolidate my power and turn the tide against my master. The data the Ghosts provided will be more than enough. They had been setting the stage for quite some time now, might as well use it.

So much to do and so little time.

(Time Skip)
(POV Thrunn)

It’s been a month since the Zygerrian skirmish. I find it difficult to call that lopsided assault a battle.

What have we been doing you ask? We were carrying out mass assassinations. I had sent out droids and Ghost units including mine to assassinate a special list of agents working for Sidious.

Why you ask? To make things easier for Count Dooku to consolidate power over the separatists and strike back properly at the republic. Sidious will have minimal influence within their ranks and it’s up to Dooku to smoke out the rest of the Sith's rats. I even gave him schematics and coding to improve his droid armies. It will also become a whetstone to sharpen my soldiers.

This way my future enemies will be weaker for it. Plus, it is fun to see them fight and slaughter each other from the sidelines. All the while we grow stronger.

But right now, I have a battlegroup to decimate and troops to capture. I was contacted by Mr. Impeccable himself. I was offered a very profitable contract to push back a Republic Invasion force heading to Umbara. There were already three Venators and three Acclamators present. But the republic was sending a larger fleet of ten Venators and for Acclimators to assist. According to intelligence the force comprised mainly of the coruscant defense fleet. Losing them will hurt a lot. And I make Millions in credit along with any loot or prisoners I capture. A very profitable venture.

I used the day before the battle group arrived quite efficiently. I wiped out the small fleet in the system, then forced the surrender of the ground forces on the planet. Talking Rex into surrendering to my forces rather than the Separatist or Umbaran forces was easy. Especially after I showed the Clone commanders present evidence that Krell was a traitor. They dispatched the vermin and then surrendered to me. I have their trust. I quickly moved them off-world to onboard a custom DH-omni medical/troop transport ship. I am considering whether to take them and assimilate them into my forces or to return them to the Republic.

We had a stealthed scout ship waiting for the republic forces to Jump in within the system. The plan was to Jump in right behind them and lay waste to the fleet.

Time slowly passes as my fleet does final checks and does system shakedowns to make sure everything is working as it should be.

But soon enough our prey jumps into the Umbaran system. It was time to act.

(POV Ahsoka)

It’s been almost a month since the debacle in Zygerria. Now we are heading to Umbara. Apparently, the planet has withdrawn from the Republic due to various reasons and we have to bring it back into the fold. SIGH. Are we doing the right thing? What Nomad said still rings in my mind. What we are doing is no better than what the separatists have done. The Jedi have long since lost their right to claim themselves as peacekeepers. We bring as much death and destruction as any soldier or general. SIGH. This is war.

A large contingent has been mobilized for this battle. There will be a large fleet presence as well. But I can’t feel this feeling of impending disaster. The council sent more Jedi as well. There were Me, Barriss Offee, Master Luminara, Master Obiwan, Skyguy, and Master Saessee. All I can say is that this is going to be a big battle. We were now in a meeting to decide what will happen. Master Obiwan and Saessee are attending through holo.

“There is a large separatist fleet orbiting the planet. They have pushed back the already present fleet and the ground forces are taking a beating” said Obiwan.

“I hope Rex and the rest of the 501st can hold on,” said a worried Anakin.

“There are at least two Lucrehulks, ten Munificents, and three providence class warships and a DH-Omni support ship in orbit. But they haven’t pushed out to destroy our damage fleet present. Something doesn’t seem right” said Master Saessee.

“Indeed, they might be awaiting reinforcements or just being overconfident,” said Anakin.

“Yet I can’t shake off the feeling that we are in imminent danger. It keeps growing as we approach the system” said Master Luminara.

“Us to Masters,” said Barriss.

“Whatever it is we can face it. We have overcome worse odds” said Anakin. Nowadays I have my doubts about whether it’s overconfidence or just arrogance. SIGH. I worry about my Master sometimes.

“Sir, we are dropping out of hyperspace,” said a nearby officer.

We looked out the viewport as we drop into real space. The battle has already started or ended to be more accurate.

“How old was our intel, when did we receive the last transmission from the flotilla” asked Master Obiwan.

“We received the last communication before we jumped to hyperspace,” said a worried officer.

What greeted us was the sight of decimated derelicts. Three Venators and Acclamators torn to shreds. Flames still spewing out from the breaches.

They were destroyed within the last few hours. They couldn’t even put up a proper defense.

“Sir the enemy fleet is holding position over the planet. We have also detected life signs on board the destroyed ships. Some of the crew managed to seal undamaged sections” said the officer in charge of the sensors.

“I will take my three ships to carry out rescue operations. Have the rest of the fleet move in between them and the planet. We need to get intel on what happened to them” said Mater Obiwan.

“We should press the offensive while we still can. I can’t get coms from any of our ground forces on the planet” said a worried Anakin.

“We can’t rush this Anakin. We must move carefully” said Master Obiwan.

“Sir we are getting a transmission from the Separatist fleet,” said the coms officer.

“Answer it,” said Master Luminara.

The holo of a super-tactical droid pop up “Your space forces in the system have already been destroyed and your ground forces have surrendered. Withdraw immediately or suffer the same fate” said the droid before cutting coms.

“It doesn’t make sense. Why would Rex surrender?” said Anakin both confused and worried.

“We were too late. They must have a reason for doing so. But we have a mission to complete. Proceed with the previous orders” said master Obiwan.

Master Obiwan took his three ships to carry out rescue operations while the rest of the fleet moved in to prevent any miss adventure by the separatist. I hope Rex and the rest are ok.

A few minutes pass. Suddenly the sensor officer starts panicking.

“Sir a large fleet of unknowns have dropped out of hyperspace behind us. Readings show they are separatist in design yet vastly different” he starts shouting out.

“I can guess who they are,” I said letting out a sigh. Anakin nods at my statement and sighs.

“Bring the ships around and prepare to engage” commanded Yularen.

“Sir detecting heavy energy build up. It’s the Moby Dick” shouted the officer.

“Nomad!” both me and Anakin said at the same time.

“They have fired,” said the officer again.

You could see a large circular pulse of ionic energy passing over Obiwan’s little group of ships and heading towards us.

“Spread out” shouted Anakin.

Our group fared a bit better as we were some distance away. Only four Venators and an Acclamator were caught in the attack.

“Sir the Separatist fleet is also moving up. The Ghost fleet is also moving into encircling positions” said an officer.

“So, this is what we had been sensing. A signature Nomad style trap” said Master Luminara. Almost all Jedi masters have read up on Nomad and his exploits after the slaying of Grievous.

Soon we could see bombers and fighters swarming towards our immobile ships from both sides. They were targeting shield generators, weapon emplacements of our fleet. We launched fighters in response but they were getting chewed up. And us opening the hangar bays were another blunder as they dropped bombs directly into the opening. Causing catastrophic damage across the fleet. It was then the fleets started engaging us. We were encircled.

Anakin was about to rush to the hangar when a coms officer shouted “Incoming transmission”. Soon the holo of Nomad pops up.

“Hello there. We have to stop running into each other like this” Nomad chuckles “I will give you guys an opportunity to surrender. Why waste lives in a battle you know you can’t win. We have you surrounded, outgunned and trapped”

I looked around. It was a losing battle. Sure, the other side was also taking damage, but we were getting battered. All the ships caught in the ion attack were already decimated. The remaining ships were taking heavy damage. To add to our problem the enemy ships were closing in tightening the noose.

Soon a Venator went up like a supernova. Its debris raining down on a nearby Acclamator damaging it. Another being torn to shreds as it got close to the Moby Dick. This will not end well for the strike group.