The planet Mandalore is teeming with activity. Destroyers, cruisers, and ships of every kind lie in wait above the planet. Even Tempest Shadow's fleet is here. It's an entire Mandalorian armada, fully armed and ready to fight.
As you finally come out of hyperspace, Sunset approaches the planet, and you contact Rainbow Dash. She should be off-world by now.
"Rainbow here." She replies.
"Rainbow. Sunset and I just got back. Where are you?" You ask.
"Mandalore told me to get Rarity and Pinkie and meet up with you on his ship. We're aboard now."
Sunset points at the largest ship in the fleet, a Kandosii-type dreadnaught. "There."
You nod and Sunset flies toward it.
"Okay. We're on our way there now." You reply. "How's Rarity doing?"
"She's doing fine." Rainbow says. "Still has a few bruises, but she's getting by."
"Good. We'll see you guys in a bit." You cut communications with Rainbow and watch as you approach the massive Kandosii.
The Mando'a word for 'Ruthless', the Kandosii is much larger than Shining Armor's Hammerhead-Class cruiser. On average, the Republic still had larger ships at their disposal, sure, but none of them could match the firepower and ferocity of your ships though. Even during the Mandalorian Wars.
Your people lost the war with the Republic and the Jedi, but it was not because of their ships, or their troops, or their superior firepower. They won because of the actions of one man, and one man alone. The Jedi Revan.
Revan was gone now though...
That little realization makes a light bulb go off in your head.
The Mandalorians are united and very well-armed right now. Probably more than ever before. Meanwhile, the Republic is fractured and desperate. At the opportune moment, Mandalore could wipe them all out, and bring the entire galaxy under Mandalorian control. As soon as the Sith were dealt with, the Republic could be next to go.
You grin slightly as you imagine being on the forefront of a new age of strength and prosperity in galactic history. The Republic would be dissolved, the Sith would be extinct, and the Mandalorians would take their rightful places at the top of the food chain, where only the strong should be.
No one in this galaxy is stronger than you and your people. Especially right now.
It all sounds amazing, but what's even better is that it's possible. You might just let Mandalore in on your little idea later. For now though, you decide to shelve it. You've got a job to do.
Sunset approaches the Kandosii's hangar and is given permission to land. A Mandalorian on the flight deck directs Sunset on where to go.
When she touches down, she deactivates the ship and stands up. "Alright, here we are."
You stand up as well and the two of you head to the cargo hold together. Discord looks over at you with a grimace as you both enter. He's been in there for a couple of days now, so it's no wonder that he looks so hostile.
"Good news, Discord. You're never setting foot in here ever again." You announce.
He groans loudly. "Good!"
You smirk a little under your helmet and unlock his cage. Sunset grabs one of her blasters as the door opens. Discord stands up, cracks his neck and struts out of his cell into your custody. You hold one of his arms and escort him to the exit ramp with Sunset.
As you disembark your ship, Thunderlane and Tempest both meet you in the hangar, fully armed.
You proceed toward them and pass Discord to Tempest. "Get him to the cells."
Thunderlane nods and grabs Discord's arm, pulling him away with her.
Discord puts on his best smile and lags a bit as he looks back to you. "Anonymous, Sunset, thank you both oh so much for a lovely- OW!"
Tempest smacks him with the back of her rifle and cuts him off, urging him to keep walking.
Discord groans and puffs his chest out with his nose in the air. "You know, you could at LEAST say 'please', if you want me to move faster..."
Tempest doesn't entertain his request as she smacks him again. "Move it."
Discord grunts and exhales, saying nothing else as he's led into the dreadnaught.
You sigh. "It's about damn time..."
Sunset giggles a little and puts her blaster away while you look around at everything. The inside of the hangar is bustling with activity. Technicians, engineers, pilots, and many other Mandalorians are all performing some task.
There are numerous starships lined up in here, with a few of them being worked on. One ship catches your attention, however. It isn't like the other ships. It was resting on the backs of both of its wings, which were standing upright. It looks like they could swivel 90 degrees to a forward position.
The ship and its wings were light blue in color, with the six colors of the rainbow accenting them. Each color had been painted on to look like lightning bolts that fit together perfectly near the rear of each wing. You're willing to bet a million credits that it's Rainbow Dash's ship.
Sunset takes notice of it as well. "I've never seen a ship like that one before."
"Neither have I."
The two of you head toward it, looking around for any activity. As you get closer, you notice Pinkie Pie walking backwards from behind the ship, looking up at something. She hasn't seen you yet.
"Okay! Try it now!" She says.
The ship sparks in a spot above her. She covers her face with her hand to protect herself from the sparks before the ship makes a whirring sound that lasts a few seconds.
Once it powers down, she hollers back at whatever she's looking at. "That sounded much smoother that time!" She finally notices you and Sunset walking toward her and smiles wide as she waves. "Hey guys!"
"Hey, Pinkie." You reply. "What are you doing?"
She points up to the ship. "I'm helping Rainbow Dash tweak her ship! Isn't it cool?!"
You nod. "Yeah, it is. It looks fast."
Rainbow comes walking down the exit ramp and turns to face you with that same, cocky smirk on her face. "It is fast! Fastest in the galaxy! Let me introduce the Sonic Rainboom!"
She holds her arms out to the side to present it to you.
Sunset whistles. "Impressive. Where did you get it?"
"Csilla. My homeworld. This baby is a proud product of the Chiss Ascendancy! Nothing else like it in the whole galaxy!" She says.
"That would explain why we've never seen a ship like it before." You say, looking at it again. "Csilla is separated from the rest of the galaxy, in the Unknown Regions."
Rainbow puts her hands on her hips, still grinning. "For a good reason! It's why you probably won't ever see anything like it ever again, too!"
Sunset steps closer, admiring it further. "It's one of a kind?"
Rainbow shakes her head. "Not exactly. It was a prototype ship given to only a handful of Csilla's best pilots. Obviously, I got first pick."
You cross your arms as you look at Rainbow. Her cockiness is starting to get on your nerves.
She continues. "I think they called them 'Gauntlet Starfighters' at the factory, but I like my name better. I think we can all agree, it's much cooler."
Alright, she needs to be taken down a peg. Now. Arrogance isn't an attractive quality if you can't back it up.
You snap and point at her to get her attention. "Quick. How do you say 'gauntlet' in Mando'a? I'm kicking you out if you can't answer in three seconds."
She pauses and stares blankly at you. "Uh..."
You snap at her some more. "Come on, hotshot. Pretend your entire future depends on this answer. Mando'a. Gauntlet. Now!"
She stammers. "I-I don't know! You're putting me on the spot here!"
"It's 'kom'rk'. Dial that cockiness back, Rainbow. Otherwise, you'll be put on the spot at the wrong moment, and then you're screwed." You snap. "Yes, you have a nice ship. Don't brag and try to rub our noses in it. All you're doing is showing off your own insecurities. That's a weakness that your enemies can, and will exploit."
She frowns and exhales before nodding. "Sorry, Anon."
"Don't be sorry. Be better."
She nods again.
You lower the harshness in your voice a bit. "Is something wrong with your ship? Do you need help?"
She clears her throat and looks up at the ship. "No... I was just trying to buff something out and increase its performance. It's easy. I don't need help with it."
"Are you sure?" You press.
She nods again. "Y-Yeah, really. It's an easy job. I really don't need help with it... But thank you...for asking."
Satisfied, you completely drop the harsh tone and speak with sincerity. "Alright. You're welcome."
Rainbow smiles and Sunset clears her throat. "Where's Rarity?"
Pinkie perks up. "Oh! She's with Coco somewhere inside the cruiser! She wanted me to contact her when you guys got here! One sec!" She turns around and puts her finger to her ear.
Coco has been with Rarity this whole time?
"I hope Coco hasn't been bothering her." You say.
Rainbow looks back at you. "It didn't seem like she was bothered. Rarity actually seemed pretty happy to have someone to talk to about all that fashion stuff."
That makes sense. You'll take her word for it.
Pinkie turns around to face the rest of you again. "She's on her way down with Coco now!"
The four of you stand around talking for a few minutes before Sunset notices Rarity and Coco coming out of the doorway in the hangar. She looks like she's doing much better. She has a little bit of a limp in her leg and she still has a few bruises, but she's moving, which is good.
She raises her arm in the air and waves at you all when she's in earshot of you. "Yoo hoooo~!"
The rest of you turn to face her and wave back.
As soon as she gets closer, she speeds up her pace and holds her arms out with a big smile on her face. "Anonymous! Sunset! Welcome back!"
You chuckle as she hugs you tightly. "Hi, Rarity."
Sunset hugs her as well. "You're looking pretty good."
Rarity giggles and looks at you both. "Oh, I'm doing much better, darling, thank you. I've had Miss Pommel here keeping me in high spirits after what happened on Cato Neimoidia."
Coco blushes a little and smiles.
You nod at her. "I'm glad to hear it."
Sunset speaks up. "How is everything on Cato Neimoidia? Your building?"
Rarity's smile fades a little. "Well... The good news is that my building won't need to be demolished and rebuilt. It will need extensive repairs however. That brute Gilda did quite a bit of damage."
"...And the bad news?" You ask.
Rarity sighs. "Unfortunately, the cost of repairs will put a sizable dent in my savings, and the time it will take to complete them will be so long that I won't be able to work this season. My business will have to survive on breadcrumbs for about a year or so. I don't know how I'll be able to make ends meet until then."
Coco pauses for a moment before speaking. "Well, if you need an extra pair of hands, I would love to help. There really isn't much need for a seamstress around here, and I could use the work."
Rarity looks at Coco and smiles. "I've been thinking about asking if you'd like a job, darling. I only hesitate because I wouldn't be able to pay very well right now."
Coco gets a hopeful look on her face. "That's okay! I can make more money doing other stuff on the side! You helped Anon and Sunset find bounties, so maybe I can do that too!"
Rarity giggles and puts a hand on her shoulder. "We'll go over the details later, darling. I love the idea, I really do, but that's so far in the future that it would be rather silly to worry about it now. When the opportune moment presents itself however, I would love to have your services."
Coco beams and nods. "Thank you, Miss Rarity."
Rarity smiles back at her before turning her attention to you. "Besides, we have so many other things to worry about now. First thing's first. We are on the precipice of a war with the Sith, if I'm not mistaken."
You nod at her. "That's correct. Coco, where is Mandalore now?"
"He's in the armory, I think." Coco replies.
"Okay." You nod. "Call up a pallet droid and bring it to my ship. We have some heavy stuff we need to bring to him."
Coco presses a few buttons on her gauntlet and looks behind her. On the far wall, a heavy-lifting cargo droid beeps and comes to life, looking at Coco. She points to your ship and the droid hovers over to the exit ramp.
"Let's go." You say. "Coco, come help us, please."
She nods and follows you and Sunset over to your ship.
Pinkie speaks up behind you. "Do you guys need some extra help?"
You look back at her and pause. You're still unsure about telling Pinkie about the cortosis. She's a blabbermouth like Discord is. If you were to tell her, you'd tell her that it would only be used against the Sith and their lightsabers, but Jedi use lightsabers too. It might make her start to ask questions and wonder.
Best not risk letting the Republic know about the ace up your sleeve, just in case you do end up having another war with them in the very near future.
"No, we've got it." You reply. "Stay here with Rainbow and keep helping her out."
Pinkie smiles. "Okie dokie lokie!"
She heads back to Rainbow's ship with her while you proceed to yours.
After a few minutes, you, Coco, and Sunset move all the containers of cortosis onto the pallet droid while Rarity supervises. It was much easier this time around with a third person to help. Those crates are ridiculously heavy.
As the three of you set the final crate down on the pallet droid, you exhale in relief. "Finally."
Sunset exhales also and cracks her fingers, while Coco shakes them in an attempt to get the blood flowing through them again.
Rarity comes over and looks at the cortosis in one of the open containers. "What did you say this was again?"
"Cortosis." You reply.
She picks up a small chunk of the brittle substance and looks at it closer. "What exactly is it used for?"
"They're used in vibroblades. Cortosis has the unique quality of being extremely energy resistant, that's why they can clash with lightsabers and not break. However, when pure cortosis comes into contact with a lightsaber, it will actually disable it for a few hours."
Rarity hums and looks at the cortosis in her hand once more before putting it back. "Sounds like it could come in handy against the Sith and their lightsabers."
"That's exactly what I was thinking."
The Sith, and the Jedi. They both use lightsabers.
The Second Mandalorian Wars could very well be a possibility in the near future. The Republic and the Jedi are merely deterrents against the Sith and their Empire. That's really all they are here for. Once the Sith is out of the way though, you can't really see an overall need for the Republic after that.
That thought of galactic conquest still resonates inside your head.
"Let's get this to the forge." Sunset cuts off your train of thought.
Coco nods and presses a button on her gauntlet and the droid begins moving toward the doorway in the hangar bay. "The armory is on the way there, so you can talk to Mandalore."
"Thanks, Coco." You activate your comms and contact Rainbow from across the hangar. "Rainbow, as soon as you're done there, you and Pinkie come to the armory to meet us."
You see her on top of her ship across the hangar. She stands up and looks over at you. "We're almost done here, but I don't know where the armory is, Anon. This cruiser is still new to me."
"Coco will wait here for you." You reply. "Follow her when you get done."
Rainbow gives you a thumbs up. "You got it."
You deactivate your comms and Rainbow resumes work on her ship. You turn to Coco. "You and Rarity wait here for Rainbow and Pinkie. Then come meet us."
Coco nods. "Okay, Anon."
Rarity smiles. "See you soon, darling."
You and Sunset proceed into the cruiser after the droid with the cortosis.
Once you're out of earshot, Sunset turns to you. "Are you okay? You seem distracted."
You don't reply for a moment.
"I'm fine. Just thinking." You reply. "I had a little epiphany a few minutes ago, and it hasn't left my mind since."
You proceed through the hangar doorway and into the hallway leading into the cruiser.
"Of what?" She asks.
You lower your voice a little. "Well... Once we destroy the Sith, we could easily take out the Republic too. They'd be right there, open, and weak. We would have the golden opportunity to take them out and own the galaxy. Mandalorian prosperity, Sunset."
Sunset just stares at you as you both walk. You aren't sure what she's thinking with her helmet on.
"You're not... You're not serious, are you?" She asks.
Huh. You thought she'd be more excited.
"Think about it, Sunset. We could be on the forefront of a new age for the galaxy. We could take our rightful place as rulers over everyone else. The Republic is weak and desperate right now. So much so that they're actually considering our help. This could be our way to conquering the galaxy and taking what's ours."
She sighs and shakes her head. "Anon, we can't do that. That's not a good idea."
"Why not? I don't see a downside." You say.
"The Mandalorian Wars are over, Anon." She says. "They have been for a long, long time. I know you're passionate about history, but things are different now."
"I know. Things are different. This time, Revan isn't here to save the Republic. We would've won if he hadn't showed up. Plain and simple." You reply. "As much as I admire and respect Revan's battle prowess, he ultimately did steal that victory from us. This could be our chance to take it back."
Sunset grabs your shoulder and forces you to stop walking. She stares at you. "How much have you thought this through, Anon? Really."
You shrug. "Not too much, as far as details and where we'd strike first, honestly. I can't predict the future to exactness, but I think I have a decent idea of where to start."
"Have you thought about the death toll?" She asks. "How many people would die? How many planets would be glassed in the process of making our way to the Core Worlds?"
You pause. "It would be a pretty high number, to be sure."
"An extremely high number." Sunset points to the direction of space outside the cruiser. "There are billions of people in the galaxy who are part of the Republic. Good, honest, innocent people who don't deserve to die. If we had another Mandalorian War, they'd be caught in the middle of it."
You just look at Sunset as she speaks, saying nothing.
"You remember what we did to the Cathar during the war, right?" She asks.
The Mandalorians slaughtered the feline race. Nearly drove them to extinction and practically destroyed their homeworld. As a species, they've held resentment and hatred toward you ever since. Even after all this time.
"I remember." You reply.
"That was a long time ago, and it was one of the most gruesome examples of what we're capable of." She says. "If we start another galactic war after this one, we could lose them and dozens of other races. History would remember us as murderers."
In many ways, the galaxy already sees you as murderers to some degree.
"The Cathar are fierce warriors." You reply. "If we could get them to join us, they would be stronger for it. We could use that strength."
"...And if they don't join us?" She demands.
Then they die an honorable death. You'd make sure they're granted that for fighting as hard as they could. You wouldn't just burn their planet with your superior firepower outright, you'd give them a fighting chance before they inevitably lose.
You exhale, but otherwise don't reply.
Sunset nods, satisfied that she got through to you. "Cathar is just one planet. There are thousands of others out there who could suffer the same fate if we go down this path, Anon."
You grit your teeth a little. "What if you're wrong, Sunset? What if they do join us and we don't drive them to extinction? What if they, and the rest of the galaxy remembers the carnage we brought before, and decide it's not worth fighting again? They join us, and we conquer the Republic and take control of the galaxy with their help."
She clenches her fist. "The thing about war, Anon, is that people die in it!"
"Obviously! That's why it's called 'war'!" You shout.
She looks away for a moment, seemingly flabbergasted, before turning back to you. "Do you want to kill as many people as you can?! Is this just you trying to quench some bloodlust you have?!"
You sigh. "Of course not! I want to take what is rightfully ours! I'm simply acknowledging the fact that if we do, we will have to fight our way there and people will have to die to make that happen! That's why I would give every system a chance to join us first! We can reduce the potential bloodshed exponentially that way!"
"Very few systems would side with us, and even fewer would do it willingly!" She yells. "The galaxy hates us! We're trying to save it by working with the Republic and destroy the Sith! We are not conquerors now. This is our chance to be saviors."
You shake your head. "You're wrong. This is our chance to be rulers. We are the strongest people in the whole galaxy, and it's about damn time that we prove it! This isn't about me, it's about us. All of us!"
She doesn't reply, but her fists are still clenched. She's mad as hell.
You continue. "What's stopping me from telling Mandalore about this little idea I have? Huh? What if he likes it? What if we do decide to turn our guns on the Republic as soon as we wipe out the Sith? Are you going to turn your back on him? On all of us? Like Gilda did?"
Immediately, Sunset reels her fist back and punches you in the stomach, right on your recovering ribs, as hard as she can. You yell and your legs buckle as you fall to the ground, grabbing your side in pain. Sunset stands over you with her fist up, ready to deal another blow. You instinctively grab at your blaster, but you keep it in its holster.
She points at you angrilly. "Don't you DARE compare me to her, Anonymous! Don't you dare!"
You grit your teeth and stare at her. The fury in her eyes is hidden behind her visor, but you can still feel it. That was a line you should not have crossed.
She reaches down to you and grabs your collar, jerking you to your feet and staring into your visor. "I am loyal to Mandalore until the day I die! If you do tell him about this idea of yours, and he does choose to go to war with the Republic in some twisted conquest for power and control, I will fight beside him with all my resolve! But I will NOT be fighting beside you, Anon... You and I will be over."
You're taken back a little by her statement, and immediately feel the pangs of fear and regret as she threatens to leave you.
She continues. "Any place you have in the galaxy after the Republic is destroyed, you will have it alone... I refuse to spend my life with a bloodthirsty warmonger bent on revenge over old wounds." She presses a button on her gauntlet and the pallet droid begins moving again. "I suggest you think about that..."
She follows behind the pallet droid, glaring at you for a few steps before looking away.
You breathe softly as she stomps towards the armory. You feel yourself wanting to frantically chase after her and beg her not to leave, but your growing guilt keeps you from moving. Like cement blocks on your feet.
After a few long, painful seconds, you sigh and trudge along behind her towards the armory.
So much for that idea...