Vong War Annals – “Black ops” 4.17.2009

           It was just another job.
           That’s what he told himself every time they sent him in. He’d been doing this for many years now. Many more years than he’d been able to count. It wasn’t as if he had much choice either. Officially, he was dead. Officially, the pile of junk he had once called his ship had exploded upon takeoff, blasting him into his component atoms. A faulty power coil, the official investigation had determined. A terrible tragedy.
          Problem was, he was very much alive.
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Vong War Annals – “Finding allies in strange places” 4.16.2009

            Tag Rendar’s office—her new office, as the old was still occupied by the absent Alek Cannelle, Chief of Intelligence for Sector 27—had begun to take on the personality, slowly but surely, of its occupant.  The cabinets slowly had begun to be filled again with pictures, mementos—an old flight helmet, holos of various stripes, a crystal bar set in one corner cabinet.  A few blank pages of…paper?…were still scattered across the floor, half under furniture.  Tag didn’t seem to notice their presence as she waved for Les to take a seat, sinking down into the chair behind the desk.
            “Hear you hit a rough patch the past couple weeks, huh?”
            Les wondered why he felt so suddenly shy. He shifted uncomfortably in the chair. “I guess so.” He coughed to clear his throat.
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Vong War Annals – “Awkward situations” 4.15.2009

            Tag was perched on the corner of Indy’s desk when the admiral walked in, juggling an armload of files and her own caf cup.  Indy blinked at the other woman a moment, then shook her head.
            “You still remember my lock code.”
            “You still haven’t changed the overrides,” Tag corrected.
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Vong War Annals – “Before debriefings, before leave-takings” 4.13.2009

            She leaned in the doorway, arms crossed across her chest, watching him as he rolled up articles of clothing, stuffing them into his duffle bag.  Even after so many years after he quit being a pilot, he still carried the long, cylindrical duffle bag meant to fit neatly into the small cargo compartment of an X-wing.
            “When’s your transport leave?”
            “Couple days,” he answered, stuffing another shirt into the bag before looking up at her.  “You’re in uniform.”
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Vong War Annals – “Reunion” 4.08.2009

            The journey back to Xenen seemed to take forever. Little was said between Janet and Les, and he was glad to give his mother space. What he sensed from her was such a mixture emotions, each about to spill over, while she struggled to keep the lid on them, hang in there, survive, keeping her focus on the task of getting them home again. Under the not-so-inconsequential guise of keeping an eye out for the Vong, Les assigned himself to lookout duty, situating himself at a gunner station with a broad bank of windows to the stars, currently a swirling kaleidoscope as the Stormcrow hurled through hyperspace.
            His arm ached. His new one. Absently he flexed that hand, sheathed in a black glove, faintly aware of the servos and wires he felt working throughout, performing duty in place of the muscles and tendons that should be there. It would be a lifelong reminder of the events on Coruscant – of his old master.
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Vong War Annals – “Master Katarn” 4.05.2009

     The day had been long, and being completely honest with himself Kyle could freely admit that last thing he wanted to do was give an undisciplined kid a lesson about why it’s not nice to try an kill your mentor. 
     He sighed, lowering his head and calming his emotions. No, it wasn’t entirely Les’ fault…Kyle knew the corrupting nature of the dark side of the Force and how it threw you common sense out the window. Seeing that side of him and knowing it intimately now made it nearly impossible for Kyle to give in the seduction of power, though he was far from invulnerable as well. And now here he was, standing next to Les and not sure where to go. It was one of the very rare times where he would seek Skywalker out for his advice.
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Vong War Annals – “Futilities” 3.29.2009

            Her throat was so tight, she felt like she couldn’t breathe.  Arilyn squeezed her eyes shut against the tears welling up, hands clutching at her pillowcase, balling into fists.  I can’t just let it happen.  I can’t just let it happen.  But I have to, don’t I?  Don’t I?  But I can’t just let him…
            She choked on a sob, shaking her head hard.  “What if it’s not real?  What if it’s not real and I stop him from doing something good?”  She grabbed her pillow, held it against her face, screamed into it—screamed for so long that she was out of breath when the lights came on in her room.
            “Ari?”
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Vong War Annals – “Eighty-six” 3.28.2009

            It would surprise some to know that Carlos DeLong found equally distasteful both of the communiques loaded on his datapad. The first was the news about Jinx Katarn. They had not been ‘friends’, not precisely… but still at times comrades, sword-brothers in the old way. A pity that he could not go to the memorial himself, or even send a representative: the contents of the second communique forbade that.
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Vong War Annals – “An Outcast’s funeral” 3.17.2009

       When he had first received the news, Kyle Katarn had admittedly felt less than he would have expected a person to feel in a similar situation.  Though he had certainly known his half brother and even spent a few years training with him closely along with Mara Jade Skywalker, their relationship was more like casual friends at best.  During the trip back to Sulon, however, it had set in.  Not so much the loss at first as the isolation…Kyle truly was the last of the Katarn bloodline, save for what little was in Kiiara’s veins.
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Vong War Annals – “Confliction” 3.16.2009

            Les lay sleeping in a hospital bed in a private room. Across the room Janet sat curled in a chair with a blanket around her, looking outside, though there was little to see; the sky was as blank and gray as the walls. It was sitting in the quiet, with the rain streaming down the window, that all those emotions that she had been keeping at bay conspired to overwhelm her, as well as the questions that troubled her…was Jinx right? Even if you get him away from here today he’ll turn again.  Les has tasted the power, he’s let it in Janet…you can’t change that. Was he lost to them, for good? Repeatedly she defied that question. Les had the benefit of family and friends who loved him, no matter what he had become…surely that counted for something. Wasn’t love stronger than hate, light than darkness? There was hope, always hope. By the Raven, there had to be. Where there’s life, there’s hope, as her father had been fond of saying. Yet that scared, lost and alone feeling endured as she wondered what to do from here. How do we handle this? How do I handle this?
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Vong War Annals – “Don’t give in” 3.14.2009

            Jinx’s gaze held her, even after the light in his eyes faded and died away, his final words ebbing into the silence.
            “Jinx…” she pleaded, “forgive me.” He had, that she knew; only she could never be able to forgive herself. It had to be done; for her son’s sake, it had to be done.
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Vong War Annals – “The end of things (part two)” 3.12.2009

     “The hell was all of that about?” Kal’or asked, doing his best to make it as casual as he could though he knew something was wrong.  He had that feeling ever since they came to the cursed planet in the first place, and he was kicking himself for not giving it the proper attention it deserved.  A Mandalorian that didn’t trust his instinct wound up dead.
     Jinx stood there for a long moment, Janet’s words still ringing in his head as a sudden sense of foreboding washed over him.  As he tried to fit the pieces together in his mind, he could begin to feel a disturbance in the Force growing…it was not unlike getting sick to one’s stomach, and yet the pressure it used against one’s mind could become numbing quickly as well.  “I don’t like this,” Jinx said.
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Vong War Annals – “No turning back” 3.12.2009

            All the long way to Coruscant, Marcus Leslye Wyler III barely slept. When he closed his eyes, his dreams were filled with darkness and pain, rage and fear. He would awaken trembling and wet with sweat, cursing his former master for leaving him when he needed him most; for not being there at his first and most crucial test that ended with his sister being taken by the Vong; for abandoning him a second time and shattering his hope for guidance and salvation, especially after his brush with the Dark Side; for treating him like an obligation when Les looked up to him as a hero.
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Vong War Annals – “Muddling through” 3.13.2009

            Rain sheeted down and thunder crackled even as far up the valley from Shay Memorial as the Drake ranch, several dozen klicks away.  The hangar near the house was warm and dry, though, and one of the Drake children was taking advantage of that fact.  Xander Drake was underneath the old speeder he’d been working on since before he was tall enough to drive it, still working on fixing up the ‘old girl’ after all the years.
           He’d arrived home late the night before, under cover of darkness and festivities—and fleet activity above.  He still wasn’t sure what had happened, but he wasn’t inclined to ask, either.  That was his mother’s concern, his father’s concern, his brother’s concern.  Not his.  Not anymore.  Not ever.
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Vong War Annals – “The end of things (part one)” 3.12.2009

            Jinx landed on the balcony far lighter than he should have, or at least so it would seem to any innocent bystander. Of course they might question where he came jumping from in the first place, given that this balcony was several floors above the next balcony down and so on down the length of the building. 
           He was on the hunt though, the Force flowing through him like some kind of intoxicating drug. It was at times like this that he felt at his full potential, in full control and yet not as the Force guided his actions faster than any normal person. It didn’t make him special, it just put him in a different group than most citizens of the galaxy. The Jedi group.
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Vong War Annals – “In Pursuit” 3.11.2009

            It seemed like years since Janet had visited Indy’s office, so much had happened in the mean time. Once news was swapped and briefings on the current state of the war had been hashed over, the two women kicked back over a cup of caf and reminisced. After so many years and so many missions together, there were innumerable stories to call to mind, comrades to remember, and plenty of laughs to share.
            But before they could get too comfortable, Indy’s comm went off. As she took the message, she smiled at Janet. “Two more back into the fold,” she told her.
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Vong War Annals – “Returns (part one)” 3.11.2009

            “General?  Colonel Bridger needs you in ops.”
            Tag straightened, stacking a pile of papers against her knee and depositing them on the corner of the desk as she turned, glancing toward the technician standing in the doorway.  “Right away?”
            “ASAP, ma’am.”
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Vong War Annals – “Aw, heck, why not?” 3.11.2009

                “Why are we back here again?”
                “Because the Force wills it to be so. I thought I was to come back for you but something is drawing me back.”
                “I don’t suppose it matters to you that my will wills me to be far far away from those two whiny little man-babies?”
                “Come on,” she said.  “You remember what happened the last time we tried to run away from destiny?”
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Vong War Annals – “Les throws a hissy fit” 3.11.2009

            If all the doors around here didn’t open and close automatically, Les Wyler would have given them all good slam as he made his way through the complex. He barely heard or saw anyone he passed, being too busy replaying through his mind the brief and unexpected message left by his former master.
            Apologies for having to leave on such short notice…things come up, you know how it is…so proud of the Jedi you’ve become…Force be with you…yadda yadda.
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Vong War Annals – “Weights and measures (part two)” 9.10.2009

            “More caf, sir?”
            The engineer’s head snapped up, attention abruptly drawn away from specs and equations scrolling across his datapad.  He blinked a moment, the tech’s question taking longer than it should to process.  Davil Bullian managed to smile as the answer finally registered.  “Please…Tomil, was it?”
            The technician, barely as old as he was, nodded.  “Yessir.  It’ll only be a few minutes, sir.”
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Vong War Annals – “Weights and measures” 3.07.2009

            Papers, not datapads, not holograms, littered the office, scattered like snowflakes across the floor, the furniture.  Tag paced amongst them, frowning to herself deeply as she threw another paper over her shoulder.
            “Fielder, file last as unavailable for duty.”
            The old R2 unit beeped at her and she exhaled, pressing the heels of her hands against her eyes.  “Too much, Fielder.  There’s just…just too much.”
            “You could always take a break.”
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Vong War Annals – “A morning after” 3.04.2009

            She scrubbed her hands over her face, mumbling a quiet curse to herself, then raked her fingers up and through her hair, exhaling slowly as she marched herself into base operations.  Nylan looked up at her mildly from where he was sitting, dressed in the same robes he’d worn the night before, then offered her his mug of caf.
            “Whose idea was it to not tell me that an advance force took out the Fifth?”
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Vong War Annals – “Courtesan II” 3.03.2009

The set held two porcelain tea cups, a tea pot of similar composition, and a simple plate holding the scones. According to the latest social conventions, the tea cups did not rest upon accompanying saucers. Gold filigree decorated the rim of the cups, and ran down the sides in a mandelbrot pattern. Emerald green enamel with lime highlights encrusted the handle. The tea pot and the plate of scones were decorated in a similar scheme. Drax found the visual effect exotic and pleasing.

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Vong War Annals – “Cliche” 8.01.2008

NRI Headquarters
Coruscant
0900 Hours

The office didn’t have a name. A lot of offices in this building didn’t have official, public names. but this one didn’t have a name AT ALL.

Memos from here needed no introduction.

It was a very nice office, espcially by the standards of New Republic Intelligence’s officially-nonexistent departments. Green shimmersilk walls, plush seats, and a caf machine next to every desk. Once, decades ago, someone had designed a departmental logo, in sarcastic defiance of their enforced nonidentity. It dominated the rear wall.

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Vong War Annals – “Communication” 6.24.2008

            “I’ll only be gone a little while, I promise.” Janet swept the hair from Asya’s face to better see her eyes. The way she let her long hair fall over her face and peek out from behind the strands made it tempting to have it cut, but she was unsure what that would do to her at this point, she seemed so fragile – fragile, yet strangely strong at the same time. She’d been returned to them an odd tangle of contradictions. “I need to meet with Indy, get caught up on what’s gone on since we’ve been away, all right, honey? Then I’m coming straight back here. We’re staying wherever they put you until Intel releases you back to us. Okay?”

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Vong War Annals – “Reunited” 6.13.2008

Shocked, staggered, stunned, and incredulous in their elation, the Wylers spilled out of the Stormcrow before the echo of the engines had died away in the expansive hangar bay, one of many housed within Wayfarer Station. Tag was there to greet them, unable to conceal a broad smile. It wasn’t very often that she was privileged to be the bearer of good news about a family member to their loved ones in the midst of the dark days of war. It felt great.

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Vong War Annals – “Courtesan I” 6.03.2008

Drax had never particularly understood why centers of prostitution were referred to as ‘red light districts’. Someone had explained to him that once, way back in the depths of time when Coruscanti soil actually saw the light of day, human prostitutes would identify their place of business with a lantern wrapped in red cloth. Or a red cord, in one case, but he figured that twist was from a different sort of story. Even so, it was a complete mystery to him why even his own species used the term. Just another one of those weird influences the human species had over the galaxy at large.

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Vong War Annals – “We all have secrets” 6.3.2008

    A shiver ran through Jeir Katarn’s body, the kind of shiver that made you want to look over your shoulder to see if someone else was there.  Of course, he wouldn’t…that would be silly to do.  Jeir was sealed in his most secret of places now, facing a life he doubted he could ever share with another person.
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Vong War Annals – “Deck the halls” 6.03.08

    “I’ve got to say, Katarn,” Kal’or sighed as he stepped off of the Adenn Senaar‘s ramp.  “Never pictured you much for the macabre type.”
    “I think it’s neat,” Kiiara said, coming up to Kal’or’s right side with her travel bag slung over a shoulder.  “How old is this place, buir?”
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Vong War Annals – “Dusty Old Castle” 6.03.08

    The trip had been long, though in the best way possible.  Conversation had been a constant, filled with many great laughs and bonding between Kiiara, Kal’or and Jeir.  It made Jeir’s heart heavy to realize there were but a handful of happy tales Kiiara could tell, and even then those she spoke of were either dark in their nature or not actually that funny at all.
    They had spent a few hours getting through customs at Wayfarer station, in orbit of Xenen.  With the increased hostilities in the Vong war–which they were all as familiar with as they could be now–security precaution measures were at an all-time high.  Kal’or disliked the thorough checking of their backgrounds…or what could be found of them, at least.  Eventually they had been cleared to pass through, reminding Jeir he had no official military position anymore on Xenen, and they had shot off to the planet below.
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Vong War Annals – “Asya” 6.03.08

            It seemed like it had been years – no, a lifetime – since she had been in a real bed, with real sheets and blankets, enough to keep her warm, and more if she wanted them. The bed was against the wall, shoved into a corner, where she sat with her knees drawn to her chest, ankles crossed, with two walls converging against her back. Through strands of light brown hair, unblinking eyes remained trained on the door in the garish light of her quarters, watching for the door to slide open to admit a Yuuzhan-Vong, evaporating the illusion of safety that was trying to trick her into thinking that it was all over. Or maybe in would walk Inylik, and he would still think she was his little girl and tell her stories to calm her fears and tell her that everything would be all right, that he would take care of and protect her and one day they would escape and find mother and they would all go home.
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Vong War Annals – “Sentinels” 6.03.08

Approximately 0700 Xenen local

            Captain Cay Bel Iblis made his way along the concourse of Wayfarer at a brisk walk.  Not an unusual occurance, but not exactly something anyone really expected to see the morning after his wedding, and certainly not in his duty uniform.
            “Well, don’t you look chipper this morning.”  Commander Dorrin Drake fell into step beside him carrying two cups of caf, he passed one of them to his commanding officer.
            “Well, silly me.  I thought the Vong might actually let me have at least one breakfast with my wife before heating the war up again.”  Cay shook his head and took a long swig of caf, shedding the dark thoughts like a cloak.  “What do we know?”
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Vong War Annals – “Without a dawn” 6.01.08

             Sleep had come restlessly, elusive for hours despite her exhaustion, and now she awoke cold, shuddering and sweating, twisted in her covers.  Rain pounded against the windowpane, thunder rolled above, rattling the house to its foundations with its deep growl.  Arilyn squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to be awake but knowing unbroken, dreamless sleep would continue to escape her grasp.

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Vong War Annals – “Family and Friends II” 5.31.08

             “So, ten more minutes?”
            Cam was not entirely certain what his mother was talking about. He was pretty sure it didn’t apply to him, as he was actually up early. Not that he wouldn’t have minded another ten minutes of sleep; in fact, he’d tried to claim just that. For him, though, sleep would not come.
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Vong War Annals – “Surprise arrivals (Mikhail’s Legacy, part two)” 5.30.08

            “Dargan.”
            It was 0354 local on Xenen, and Izra Dargan had just barely crawled into bed after playing designated pilot for some of the guests for the Bel Iblis-Bullian wedding.  The small apartment he kept on Wayfarer wasn’t much to look at, but he stayed on-station so rarely it didn’t matter all that much.  It had been more convenient the night before to stay on the orbital station rather than fly back to his modest house on the surface, so he’d schlepped there and collapsed into bed about two hours before his comm went off.
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Vong War Annals – “Data run” 5.27.08

            Davil scrubbed the sleep from his eyes as he made his way resolutely toward Wayfarer’s operations hub where he prayed a cup of caf would be waiting for him along with the reports from Jargunda on the upgrades to the array of small ships of the line that would shortly be assigned to a new task force.
            Amazing how quickly things fall apart.  Just when we thought we might be all right…  He rubbed the last lingering sleep from his eyes as he stepped into the operations hub, tugging on the hem of his moderately rumpled jacket which still smelled of flowers from his sister’s wedding the day before.  They didn’t even get one full night’s sleep before…I wonder if that’s what it was like for Mom and Dad?  He winced at himself and cut the line of thought abruptly.

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Vong War Annals – “Loose ends tied” 5.26.08

    “Now if you have any more problems,” Jeir said, his arms waving around with great emphasis, “you know how to contact us.”
    Jeir’s voice trailed off as Kal’or walked away from the group of people towards the VCX-820, sleeping gently in a grassy field.  He couldn’t quite bring himself to acknowledge it’s beauty, though he could admit how soothing the place felt.  It was strange how everything seemed a bit softer; cleaner than it had been before, when the war was on.  The planet wasn’t so bad after all.
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Vong War Annals – “Rude awakenings” 5.26.08

              He came awake groggy in the light of a glowstick shining in his face, maybe an hour after falling into bed.  Cracking an eye open long enough to get a glimpse of Dorrin in the stick’s backwash, Davil groaned, pulling the blankets up over his head.
            “I don’t care what your sister paid you to do that, go back to bed.”

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Vong War Annals – “Past Life” 5.23.08

      It was late.  Later than Jeir should still be awake, at least…the lack of sleep that had become the norm for weeks now was being intruded upon, yet for all the wear and tear on his body and the heavy eyelids his mind raced through far too many thoughts to let him have such peace. 
    Not wanting to bring further attention to the growing assault force at the Citadel’s northern gates, Jeir had flown the transport farther south, well out of range of the Citadel’s sensors.  They would stay there with the seals open for air and all systems off for the night, then meet back up with the assault group in the morning.
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Vong War Annals – “Messages from Afar” 5.23.08

            The atmosphere, so heavily laden with moisture that the ghost-gray clouds that had eclipsed the sky sank lower and lower to the ground, so that by the time Les arrived back to the borders of Arradan, they seemed ready to touch the ground. The light mist that was falling did not drive Les immediately into the house, but he took a detour through the gardens, taking his time as he did, enjoying the familiar scent of damp earth and stone, and trees and plants anticipating the rain. He knew where his steps were taking him, yet continued onward. A few days ago he would have resisted going there, but now he obeyed the wandering of his feet in that direction without trepidation.
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Vong War Annals – “Longer Day” 5.22.08

      It was that last moment of the sun’s light for the day now, where it no longer filled you with warmth even though the warm colors it bled across the sky around you made it feel like it should be.  Instead, the cool air of the night started to sneak it’s way in, pushing the day’s heat aside.  Kiiara felt like she could identify with it more than any other time of day or year.
    She had been hiding inside of the small alcove for several hours know, her joints beyond the point of simple anger with her now and the unpleasant stench of dried blood and sweat creeping up her nostrils.  The blood wasn’t hers, which seemed to amplify the discomfort ten fold.  No, she had escaped relatively unharmed, just like she always did…a few scrapes, a good bruise on her right cheek, and her lekku–if one could call them that–a little tender.
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Vong War Annals – “Long Day” 5.22.08

    Jeir slammed down on the ground with nothing resembling grace, awkwardly bouncing on his tail bone before rolling onto his back in the mossy clearing.  The moisture soaked through the back of his sleeveless shirt, three pats on his chest from his right hand sending up small clouds of dust from the day’s work.
    As discussed earlier, the base camp’s security detail–seventy four men and a few dozen war droids–had marched off just before lunch to the staging point for the northern assault group.  The Citadel no longer had anything beyond basic speeders for air transport, which turned the battle into an old-fashioned ground fight.  Nearly all of the outlying security checkpoints had been taken out by the main assault group, which left just the last line of defense–the city walls–for them to deal with.
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Vong War Annals – “Viva la Resistance” 5.22.08

    Kal’or removed his helmet–buy’ce, in Mando’a–and tucked in neatly under his right arm.  Years ago he had learned the important lesson of never letting any piece of gear go you’d want in a firefight, and more important than even a sidearm to him was his buy’ce.  He had put enough credits upgrading the bucket over the years to buy a small luxury yacht, which gave him great advantage in any fight.
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Vong War Annals – “Wedding presents” 5.22.08

Twelve hours earlier

             “General,” Jim said, carrying his own glass of champagne, “they’re looking for you downstairs.  Something about needing more pictures with the families.”
            Derik managed a hint of a smile behind his long-grey beard.  “Is Aly Drake still holding onto Davil’s arm in a submission hold to keep him from running out?”
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Vong War Annals – “Wishes” 5.22.08

            Thunder rumbled in the distance, sun rising like blood in the sky.  The rain would come soon, the ache in her knee told her that.  She stood by the window and watched quietly as Chase and Slate set off on a morning jog, heedless or uncaring of the coming storm, putting feet to pavement.
            Arms slid around her waist from behind and she sighed quietly, smiling up over her shoulder at her husband.  “Admiring the view?”

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Vong War Annals – “On the South Side…” 5.22.08

    Kiiara frowned, fighting the urge to bite her lip with a healthy dose of animosity and instead chose to grit her teeth even harder.  While she tried to keep in mind the lessons Kal’buir had taught her about remaining inconspicuous, she had to admit her temper was getting the better of her.
    “Father would not be pleased,” she muttered under her breath.
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Vong War Annals – “A Far Off Place” 5.22.08

    The ground shuddered with a distant thump, cot slowly rocking back and forth and stirring Jeir Katarn in his sleep.  He cracked his eyes open slowly, the stress on his body protesting angrily and making the eyelids heavier than they should have been.  A blue-grey morning sky poured into his pupils which adjusted with a little resistance.
    Another happy morning.
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Vong War Annals – “No Drama Here” 5.21.08

              “Well,” Bren said as his flight stepped out into the cool Golgan air, “that was the sim session from hell.”
            “Speak for yourself,” Mikele growled. “I’d call that one worse than hell.”
            She plopped down on the steps outside the training facility and pulled off the scrunchy holding her hair back. Bren just stared at her as she shook the sweat from her hair and then re-bound it with the scrunchy. Then she shook her head again and fell back against the cool stone steps with a huff.

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Vong War Annals – “Letters to Atad” 5.21.08

Dear Les,

            Been boring since you left, really, except for Uncle Mike coming home, finally, and Davil having a meltdown that sent more than a couple ripples through the Force.  I graduated last week-wish you hadn’t missed it.  It’s okay, though.  Mac wasn’t there, either.  If my own brother can miss my graduation from med school, I guess it’s okay that my best friend wasn’t here, either.  You had your reasons.  Hope your folks are okay.
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Vong War Annals – “Mikhail’s Legacy (part one)” 5.20.08

              “It was a nice ceremony, wasn’t it?”
            Nylan glanced up from his console in the dim of base operations, still dressed in his Jedi robes, a half-eaten piece of wedding cake at his elbow.  He’d clearly dismissed the officer of the watch when he’d arrived-not long before, it seemed, because the mug of caf sitting with the cake was still steaming.
            The Jedi Master grunted in response to his cousin and longtime friend.  “It was.  Maybe a bit unorthodox, but…”

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