The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

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The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:08 am

“Captain!” a com tech spoke up urgently with the accented Basic common to all clones. “Captain Kasr! We’ve lost the aft shields. Our sublight engines are completely vulnerable, sir!”

The ship shook from an explosion as if to emphasize the dilemma, but Reng Kasr seemed to be unaffected by the commotion surrounding him. He stood tall and regal, arms clasped behind his back; posture so stiff and precise that it put any clone to shame. His brown hair was cut short in military fashion. His eyes, ice blue, didn’t shift to acknowledge the clone’s report as he studied the tactical screen.

“He’s right, Captain,” his first officer, a clone who called himself Sly, said to him quietly. “The Separatists were waiting for us. There was no way we could win against their ambush. If we don’t retreat now, we won’t have another chance.”

Kasr had to admit it certainly looked bad. His first mission as captain and it seemed as though it was going to go down in failure. He had been given command of one of the new Venator-class Star Destroyers, known as the Anaxes in honor of his homeworld, and put in charge of a strike group with two Acclamators, but the Separatists had apparently been waiting for them. Almost as soon as they dropped out of hyperspace at the checkpoint, they had been set upon by the enemy vessels.

The circumstances that had seen the Republic suddenly flooded with clone troopers and war material a few weeks ago around the Battle of Geonosis had kept the government from collapsing against the numerically superior and better prepared Confederacy of Independent Systems, but the Republic was still woefully ill-equipped for war. Even in spite of the appearance of the Grand Army seemingly overnight, Kasr felt that the only thing that was giving the Republic a fighting chance right now were two factors: the Jedi and the simple tactics of the droid armies. If the Republic had not allowed its armed forces to all but evaporate since the long stretch of peace following the Ruusan Reformations almost 1,000 years ago, it was likely this war would never have occurred.

As it was, the Republic was going to have to struggle for every territory it reclaimed, including this one. There would be time enough to blame the politicians later…

The Separatists had outnumbered them two-to-one, but Kasr had winnowed their forces down to a single Trade Federation Lucrehulk-class Battleship. His Acclamators were no more, and even if it had been undamaged, the Anaxes would have been no match for the larger vessel in a straight fight, but Kasr was no droid and he was certainly no clone. Statistics only meant so much to him…

“Sir!” Sly tried again. “We need to leave now and warn the Republic while we still can!”

Kasr held up a hand to silence the clone officer. “If we retreat, that will give the Separatists time to reinforce their numbers as well. It may not be so lightly defended the next time we arrive. This hyperspace juncture is a crucial point to launch our forces into the Outer Rim. Retaking it now will dramatically improve our ability to wage war against their strongholds, otherwise it may cost us more than two Acclamators to secure it at a later date.”

“And if we die, the next Republic fleet that comes this way isn’t going to know what they’re in for,” Sly pointed out candidly. “I hope you know what you’re doing, sir.”

Kasr smiled as he finally took his eyes off of the tactical screen. “Relax, Commander. This battle is ours. Our pieces are in place and we’ve just achieved the position needed to pull out a victory. The loss of the aft shields are inconsequential now. Engage the Lucrehulk at ramming speed. All shields doublefront. Begin a lateral starboard tilt on my mark.”

Sly looked at Kasr for the briefest of moments before addressing the bridge crew. “You heard the captain! Ramming speed!”

The crew acknowledged and sent the proper commands as they carried out Kasr’s orders. What the clones lacked in vision, they made up for with blind loyalty. They would carry out his apparently suicidal orders because that’s what they were designed to do; fight and die.

The Lucrehulk brought every gun it could to bear on the approaching Anaxes, but even without the shields protecting it, the guns of the Separatist ship would have been hard pressed to stop the barreling form of the Venator in time. The commander of the vessel did exactly as Kasr expected, as any sane commander would do, and called for evasive action. In fact Kasr had intentionally angled his attempted ramming so there was a vector open to escape his mad charge; one the enemy commander gladly took.

“Begin lateral tilt now,” Kasr ordered calmly as one of the tech officers reported the Anaxes’s weakening shields. “Open topside hangar doors and fire at will.”

The Anaxes rolled on its side with its topside hangars exposed to the fleeing backside of the Lucrehulk. Kasr took a moment to smile at his flawless strategy as the self-propelled heavy artillery pieces he had kept in waiting along the interior of the hangar opened fire on the Lucrehulk’s engines and helped to contribute to the rest of the Venator’s still functioning armaments. The continuing tilt intentionally caused the artillery beams to rake the across the enemy’s shields and force the Lucrehulk’s generators to try and protect a greater area - to which they inevitably failed.

An explosion signaled the first breach of the shields as destructive energy hailing from the Anaxes blew apart one of the enemy’s engines. Several more followed until the vessel was disabled and stuck following its last course. “Shift the shields to cover our aft area,” Kasr ordered. "Right us back to the horizontal plane."

“Impressive, Captain,” Sly admitted, “but their guns are still operative and in a few moments they’ll have the chance to do the same to our backsides. Our shields have already taken a pounding, they’re so weak now that it’s almost pointless to shift them. The circular design of the Lucrehulk gives it a more flexible range of fire. They’ll have plenty of shots to take us down with them.”

The ship shook from several more hits as the guns of the Lucrehulk pounded the Anaxes. The lights on the bridge flickered ominously, but Kasr remained as calm as ever. “Check the charts again, Sly. In another few seconds the enemy is going to have a lot more to worry about than us.”

“What are you…” Sly trailed off as he saw what Kasr meant. “I don’t believe it, sir. How did you manage that?”

“I’ll explain after the show,” Kasr said as he eyed the display. The Lucrehulk was moving uncontrollably towards the burned out hulk of one of the Acclamators, which was drifting right at it. The two vessels collided a few seconds later. The Acclamator punctured the Lucrehulk’s shields and smashed through the control sphere. A huge explosion ripped through the Lucrehulk as its reactor overloaded from stress and damage.

The battle belonged to the Republic.

Kasr smiled tightly as he looked at the bridge crew who were staring at him with awe. “I imagine our communications are functioning again now that the source of the jamming is gone,” he said to snap them out of it. “Get us in contact with the fleet so they can help us reinforce the area and then begin repairs.”

A series of acknowledgements later, the crew was back at work. Sly stepped up next to him. “I’m trying to work it all out, but I just don’t see how you knew that was going to happen, sir. How could you have known the Lucrehulk would take that vector?”

“Nothing is certain in battle,” Kasr corrected him, “but I was reasonably sure about a few things. You see, winning battles is about more than weapon layouts and shield strengths; it’s also about knowing one’s enemy. The Lucrehulks of the Separatists almost always belong to the Trade Federation faction, as such it was logical to assume the enemy commander was a Neimodian - a species well known to value self-preservation. As the battle took shape, there were other indicators that confirmed my guess, so I knew he would run from our ramming attempt as soon as he realized what we were doing. I left an easy vector open for the Lucrehulk to escape the charge for that reason. It certainly wasn’t the only choice, but the commander probably couldn’t see that he was being manipulated. He probably assumed I had made a tactical error.”

“Of course, if he had been paying attention to the whole battlefield instead of the one active threat we presented, he would have seen that the vector I gave him put his ship dangerously close to a collision with the wrecked Acclamator. Even if I give him credit and assume he did realize it, he probably figured he could change course in time before that happened. Against a typical commander, he would have been right too. His shields were still too strong for our functioning weapons to disable his engines in time.”

“You’re definitely not a typical commander,” Sly commented. “Now I understand why you moved our artillery early in the battle.”

“Indeed,” Kasr agreed. “Technology is only as useful as what you make of it. The artillery gave me the extra surprise punch I needed. The only challenge was leading the Lucrehulk to where I needed it to go. Once the enemy took the bait I left it, the battle was effectively over.”

Sly shook his head ruefully. “That’s something they don’t flashtrain into you. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I never would have believed it.” He paused as a thought occurred to him. “What would have happened if he hadn’t taken the bait?”

Kasr gave him a confident smile. “I had a strategy or two for that too, but our victory wouldn’t have been nearly so simple.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:17 am

“Congratulations on your victory, Captain Kasr. Most impressive.”

Kasr nodded respectfully towards the man on the other side of the communications screen in his ready room. Although he had more power and influence than Kasr could ever hope to match, Kasr felt no intimidation when talking to him. “It’s a pleasure to serve, Chancellor Palpatine. As honored as I am to speak with you again, I must admit to being a little surprised that you would take the time to contact me personally. This was little more than a skirmish.”

“Nonsense, my boy. Without your victory, General Kenobi and General Skywalker’s forces would have run into a considerable problem when they arrived.” He smiled in a kindly way. “Their big push into the Outer Rim would have been regrettably delayed. Everything in this war is connected.”

Kasr hesitated for a moment before bringing up an issue that was on his mind. He didn’t know when he’d have the chance to talk to the man again. “Chancellor, do you believe it’s wise to enlist the Jedi as command officers? The amount of power they’re being granted is… unsettling.”

Palpatine nodded in understanding. “I understand your apprehension, but these are unsettling times, Captain. The Jedi are the best weapon we have against the Separatists so it makes sense to place them in a position that utilizes their talents the most effectively.” He looked at Kasr thoughtfully. “Surely you don’t believe the Jedi would abuse their power?”

“I find it doubtful, but that’s not-”

“Excellent,” Palpatine interrupted him cheerfully. “Then I don’t expect you’ll have any problems cooperating with the Jedi who is being sent to lead your fleet. She’ll be arriving with your reinforcements.”

“WHAT?!” he objected with surprise, momentarily forgetting who he was speaking to before regaining his composure. “Chancellor, forgive my outburst, but I don’t need a Jedi to fight this war. I can handle it fine without their help. There are plenty of lesser commanders who you can send Jedi to.”

“Oh dear, I thought you had been informed already. Every major assault fleet is being assigned a Jedi. Their service in this war will be invaluable.” Palpatine’s tone became as hard as durasteel, reminding Kasr just how forceful the old man could be when he wanted to. “I suggest you make the most of it, Captain.”

Kasr resisted the urge to argue the point anymore. It was clear he wasn’t going to get anywhere with it. Instead he simply snapped to a perfect military salute. “I’ll do my best, Chancellor.”

Palpatine’s edge seemed to fade instantly. “Good. Good. You have a promising career, Captain Kasr - one I’ll be watching with great interest. Do the Republic proud.”

The transmission ended before Kasr could reply, leaving him staring at his reflection in the darkened monitor. The ice blue eyes that looked back at him seemed to challenge his notion of the galaxy. With an angry growl, he broke contact and left his ready room as he headed back onto the bridge.

“Reinforcements are on their way,” he said to Sly. “I want the repairs completed before our new commander arrives. I’ll be in the gym working off some steam until then.”

Sly looked at him curiously as Kasr entered the turbolift. “Our new commander, sir?”

“Apparently we’re getting a Jedi General of our very own,” he answered the clone. “I hope for our sake that she’s worth the trouble.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:29 am

A short while later two more Venator-class Star Destroyers jumped into system near where the Anaxes awaited. A shuttle was dispatched and docked with the battered and bruised ship left over from the recent battle. Jedi Master Hisani Sane waited anxiously aboard the vessel as the boarding ramp was lowered onto the deck plates. Awaiting her in the Anaxes' hangar bay was nearly a platoon of clone soldiers, Commander Sly and Captain Kasr himself. From the feelings she was sensing from him Kasr didn't seem too happy to see her, which only served to make her even more nervous.

"Welcome aboard, General Sane," Kasr greeted her with a crisp salute.

"Hisani," the girl replied almost instinctively.

"Excuse me?"

"Call me Hisani," she explained, "General just sounds so formal."

Kasr could feel his back stiffen even more. "Forgive me, General, but that is rather the point."

The young Pantoran Jedi made a face at him but said nothing. Instead she decided to change the subject. "Congratulations on your victory, Captain," she said as she stepped right past him. Kasr and Sly both fell into line beside her and together they left the hangar heading for the bridge.

"Thank you, General, but as I told the Chancellor this was just a skirmish," he answered, certain that a 'but' was just lingering on the horizon.

"Aye, so I was told," Hisani replied as they entered the turbolift, "Correct me if I'm wrong, Captain, but a 'skirmish' is a minor battle, is it not?"

"I believe that is the definition of it, yes."

Hisani brushed a lock of her teal hair out of her eyes as she looked up at Sly. "Commander Sly, how many men were lost in the fighting?"

"Approximately fourteen hundred crewmen and thirty two thousand clones were aboard the two Acclamator's when they were destroyed. The numbers are still coming in but some of those men were able to survive the battle. Additionally our fighter squadrons have taken some heavy losses but the destruction to the enemy was total."

Hisani was not an expert on military tactics by any stretch of the word but what she did understand was that a lot of men were killed in what Captain Kasr had termed a 'minor battle'. "Captain," she said, her eyes shifting back to him, "please explain to me why you felt it was important to stay and fight when you knew the odds were against you. Your losses in this battle would have been minimized if you'd tried to retreat, would they not?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:11 pm

“Retreating is generally not a good strategy if you want to win a war,” Kasr countered with authority. “There’s a distinct possibility that the Separatist forces would have reinforced their positions if my fleet ran to get help. The resulting losses from that hypothetical battle could have been far greater than two Acclamators.”

“For the price of my Acclamators, General, we not only gained a strategic foothold, we also gained the destruction of two Recusant-class Light Destroyers, three Munificent-class Star Frigates, and a Lucrehulk-class Battleship.” Kasr’s smile turned smug. “For comparison, we may have lost thirty-two thousand clones, but they potentially lost over eight hundred and sixty thousand droids. Possibly more depending on the layouts.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:44 pm

"Yes, Captain, but our clones are not so easily replaced as their droids," Hisani replied in a level tone. Kasr seemed rather proud of himself but his disregard for the lives of his men was of some concern to the Jedi. Separatist droids had the advantage of being manufactured and programmed in a matter of hours. To grow and flash train young clones, however, takes significantly longer. There was also the matter of the Republic's clones being creatures of flesh and blood, each as individually unique in the Force as the next. When a clone's life is snuffed out it should be a matter of mourning not one of smug satisfaction.

"What is the status of our repairs? Chancellor Palpatine would like us to get underway to secure vital supply lines to the outlying regions."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:09 am

“All major repairs are finished, General,” Sly answered her promptly as they entered a turbolift and headed for the bridge. “The ship should be fully functional again in a matter of hours.”

“Very good, Commander,” Kasr complimented him before the Jedi could say anything. “Get us underway as soon as they’re finished. The general and I will be in my ready room discussing strategy until then.”

Sly saluted. “Yes, Captain.”

The turbolift opened and Sly made for the bridge. Kasr gestured for Hisani to follow him. “Come. We have some matters to discuss, General.”

Hisani watched him for a moment before following. “I believe you’re right, Captain.”

***

As they entered the ready room, Kasr sat down in his usual seat behind his desk despite the fact that Hisani was technically the higher-ranking officer. His ice blue eyes were piercing as he folded his hands on the top of the desk. “General, it seems apparent to me that we’re not going to get very far until we have a few things straightened out. Would you agree?”

Hisani remained standing. “I do.”

“May I speak off the record?”

“Permission granted.”

Kasr nodded politely. “Then I’ll put this bluntly: what qualifications do you have to lead our forces?”

“I…” she hesitated. “I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean.”

“It’s simple,” Kasr explained. “Even though the naval academy was a shadow of its former glory in the years before the war, I trained there to become an officer.” He smiled without humor. “In fact many of my instructors hated me because I knew most of the subjects being taught better than they did. I graduated with honors in spite of a few of the more petty instructors trying to get me discharged at the time. I was serving onboard starships before Geonosis was considered to be anything but another grain of sand next to Tatooine.”

“Those are my qualifications, General,” Kasr said as he tapped a finger against his desk pointedly. “What are yours?”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:34 am

Hisani felt her temper flare momentarily and she stared at the naval officer, her hands firmly on her hips. "My qualifications are irrelevant, Captain," she replied in as commanding a tone as she could muster, "I was ordered to lead this fleet and so I will, with or without your approval. Now I must go and make contact with the Council to find out what our next objective is. You can either come with or stay here, either way this discussion is over."

She turned on her heel and stalked out of the room knowing full well she could have handled that a lot better. The Council gave me a job to do and I'm going to do it, she told herself as she made her way to the holographic projector behind the bridge. Chancellor Palpatine, Yoda, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan Kenobi were already in the midst of a discussion when Hisani activated the device and joined the conversation.

"Ah, General Sane, what is the status of your fleet," Palpatine greeted her.

"We are ready to get underway, Chancellor, though there may be some--resistance from the Captain."

"He'll come around, I'm sure," Obi-Wan assured her, though Hisani wasn't entirely convinced.

"I hope so, Master Kenobi, in the meantime I need to know what our next objective is."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:02 am

Kasr stayed behind for a moment as he analyzed the response from the Jedi. It didn’t take him long to come to one unsettling conclusion. “She never really answered my question,” he thought to himself as he stood up and exited the room. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Kasr rejoined Hisani as Mace Windu was going over the battleplan. Hisani glanced at him, but Kasr didn’t return the look as he concentrated on what the Jedi was saying. “Our forces are currently spread thin, so we need to choose our targets carefully until the Grand Army becomes more self-sufficient. Intelligence indicates that Separatist power is not as strong along the Corellian Run as it is in other areas of the Outer Rim.” Mace smiled grimly. “We think our victory on Geonosis has seriously disrupted their power base along the Run, so we’re going to concentrate our attacks in this area of space for the time being.”

“I see what you’re getting at, General,” Kasr said with a nod of understanding. “Taking the Corellian Run will split their territory in two. Then it’ll be a matter of divide and conquer.”

“Perceptive you are, Captain,” Yoda confirmed with a nod. “If open the Corellian Run we can, the way clear for us to attack other Separatist bases it will be. Allanteen Six the first planet chosen to be secured; a foothold it shall become. Master Sane, in charge of this operation you and your fleet are placed.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:20 am

"Certainly, Master Yoda, but um...," she faltered suddenly, unsure of how to proceed.

"Is something wrong, General," Chancellor Palpatine asked with a look of concern in his eyes.

Hisani cast an uneasy look at Kasr then shook her head. "No, Chancellor, it's nothing," she lied, "We'll contact you again once the system is ours."

Then she flipped off the holoprojector and turned to leave the room. Now that I know where to go what am I supposed to do next? She stepped out onto the bridge and walked straight over to the main view port with Captain Kasr following her every step along the way. I don't know what to do, I was never trained for this! Finally she looked over at Kasr but her embarrassment caused her to quickly break eye contact with him.

"Captain, I--I need your help," she said quietly, speaking just above a whisper.

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:59 pm

Kasr arched an eyebrow as he regarded the Jedi. Finally he nodded and gestured towards the ready room. “Commander Sly, you have the bridge. General Sane and I will be going over the battleplan in the ready room.”

Sly acknowledged as the two exited the bridge. Kasr resumed his place behind the desk in the ready room, but this time he gestured for Hisani to take a seat. He didn't waste time. “I think I can safely assume that you don’t, in fact, have any prior military experience. Would this be correct?”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:43 pm

It was in fact the truth but for some reason hearing it from Kasr made her angry. Maybe it had something to do with the way he treated her before or the mere thought of affirming the man's superiority over her that was bothering her. Either way she didn't like how this was making her feel. A Jedi should find no problem with admitting a simple truth but there was something about this man that she just couldn't put her finger on.

"Yes, it is true," she finally admitted and the words left a sour taste in her mouth. "Jedi are trained to fight, but we are not trained to lead."

"I thought so," was Kasr's only reply and Hisani felt herself wince at his tone. Something about the way he said it made her feel defensive and on edge.

"I am still the commanding officer of this fleet," she told him, trying to reaffirm her authority in spite of confessing her lack of training.

Kasr just gave her a hard look. "But you have no prior experience."

"It changes nothing," she answered with a firm shake of her head, "You're a soldier, aren't you? When a soldier is given an order he follows it. It is no different with the Jedi, I was ordered to lead this fleet so therefore I must. I cannot disobey the Council's wishes."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:49 am

“The chain of command must always be respected,” Kasr agreed, seeming to catch Hisani by surprise with his statement. “Seeing as the chancellor himself has approved of Jedi taking command positions, I must accept the reality of the situation no matter how much I may personally dislike the idea. If you give me an order, I’ll try to carry it out to the best of my abilities, even if I disagree with it.”

Kasr steepled his fingers together. “Now, you’ve been ordered to lead this fleet, that much is true, but I’m willing to guess that no one ever said anything about how you must go about doing it. A wise commander knows how to recognize their weaknesses, otherwise at some point the enemy most certainly will destroy you by exploiting them. It would be unwise to consider yourself superior to a subordinate simply because you outrank them and even less wise to believe it by virtue of being a Jedi. The Force is a powerful tool, I admit, but it’s not infallible.”

He leaned back in his chair a bit as his ice blue eyes met Hisani’s; his voice as coolly calculating as his gaze. “You lack my gift for strategy and wealth of battlefield knowledge. I lack the abilities you’ve been granted with the Force. Now we can either be at odds for the rest of this war and be relegated to mediocre missions because our effectiveness suffers from a clash of pride, or we can work together and be truly formidable.” He spread his hands wide. “Your choice, General.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:35 am

Hisani blinked in surprise. Did he just imply his only weakness is that he doesn't have my powers, she asked herself quietly. Hisani may not have his knowledge of military strategy but that did not mean she didn't possess wisdom of another sort. Surely she had other skills or knowledge he did not possess that would aid them both in this war. "If that is the way you feel about it, Captain, then I will leave our military strategy to you. Although, I would note that I reserve final judgment on any of our future battle plans. It is my hope to minimize casualties as much as possible in this conflict, so if I decide a plan is too risky you will have to come up with another."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:43 pm

“All good commanders want to minimize the casualties to their forces,” Kasr agreed without missing a beat. “You may find, however, that sometimes you won’t have a choice. That’s what war is, General. Mark my words, this conflict is going to get worse before it gets better and we may have no choice but to sacrifice soldiers to achieve victory, but I can assure you that I’ll maximize the effectiveness of our troops in any scenario.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:16 pm

Kasr's words did little to shake her resolve and she still clung to the belief that her people wouldn't have to die in this war so long as she could help it. "If it's all the same to you, Captain, I would rather hope it doesn't come to that."

She was determined to keep as many of her people alive no matter what and as long as she was in command of this fleet she would see to it that no one would be sacrificed needlessly. "Now what can you tell me about Allanteen Six?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:11 am

Kasr activated the holodisplay in the middle of the table as he brought up data about Allanteen Six. A representation of the planet began rotating between them. “It’s a rather unremarkable planet in most respects, but it occupies a strategic position for two reasons: one, it’s one of the outermost Separatist territories along the Corellian Run, and two, it’s home to a fully-functional shipyard.”

The image changed to a rotating view of the shipyards. “Ideally, we wouldn’t be attacking this place with just three Venators, but then again, no one ever said war was fair. We can expect to be outnumbered and outgunned when we arrive. With the other generals occupied with their own missions, we won’t be able to count on reinforcements.”

“We should plan on encountering at least three Lucrehulk Battleships and over a dozen Munificent Star Frigates. Attacking head-on would be suicide even in the best-case scenario, so we’ll have to try something unconventional if we want to pull out a victory.” He smiled. “Fortunately, I have something in mind. It will require some prep work to make it happen, but it has the virtue of being unexpected.”

The image changed to show a gunship. “This is the Low Altitude Assault Transport, known as the LAAT for short,” Kasr explained. “Each Venator carries forty of them. They’re meant for atmospheric operations, such as transporting troops to the battlefield. Among other armaments, each transport is equipped with two topside mass-driver missile launchers which, as demonstrated at the Battle of Geonosis, are powerful enough to punch through capital-ship scale armor. I believe with a little modification, we can make these transports capable of functioning within a vacuum.”

“The drawback is that they’ll be very sluggish when compared to the starfighters, but I’ve planned for that as well. I propose a three-tiered assault. The Anaxes will jump in first, alone, to try and draw out some of the enemy forces. I predict the Separatists will send fighters and a few Munificents to attack us while holding the Lucrehulks back for defense. Once the enemy has engaged us, we send in the second wave from hyperspace, which will consist of the full compliments of V-16 starfighters from the other two Venators. This should be plenty to overwhelm the first wave from the enemy.”

“The second enemy wave will most likely include one of their Lucrehulks since the Anaxes will be weakened from the first assault. That’s when we bring in the other two Venators. They’ll launch their remaining fighters, which will cover the LAAT’s while they destroy the capital ships. In order to maximize their power, we’ll divvy up the LAAT’s from the Anaxes to the other two ships beforehand.” Kasr shut down the holoprojector and looked at Hisani. “After that, it’s going to be a simple mopping up operation for their remaining ships. If the shipyard doesn’t surrender after that, we can launch assault teams to take it by force.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:56 pm

Hisani blinked as she tried to keep up with Kasr's plan. It seemed rather complicated and she was beginning to wonder how he was going to coordinate it all. She had a ton of questions in her mind, all of them threatening to spill forth at once. "Wait, I don't understand," she started, "How will the rest of our fleet know when to jump in? And what happens if the Gunships don't work? Or the enemy has more battleships? Shouldn't we at least try asking the Council for more reinforcements?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:50 am

“You heard General Windu,” Kasr reminded her. “Our forces are currently spread thin while the Republic struggles to meet the Separatist aggression. The prospect of reinforcements is doubtful. You can try asking, but I wouldn’t plan on getting them.”

“As for your other concerns, they’ll be addressed,” he assured her. “The modified LAAT’s will be tested beforehand, of course, and there are numerous ways I can coordinate our ships to arrive when and where they’re supposed to. The issues in my plan will be ironed out before we enter battle. After all, I’ve only had a few minutes to come up with it so far.”

“I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a plan that’s been devised in so short a time,” Hisani replied back. “There must be other options we haven’t considered.”

“I’ve already considered them,” Kasr said to her. “Of the various plans of attack that we could utilize, the one I gave you has the greatest chance of succeeding with the forces we have at hand. There are some other options, but they require a greater loss of life or give us odds not worth considering at this stage in planning.”

“You couldn’t possibly have gone over everything, Captain,” Hisani argued. “How could you? We don’t even know for sure what will be waiting for us there.”

“Every plan is mutable based on new data, but reliable intel isn’t always a luxury we get to have,” Kasr retorted. “I can change the plan if the expected numbers we encounter are different.” His expression turned cold. “And I most certainly can go over every scenario. One doesn’t need Jedi powers to have a brilliant mind.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:39 am

Hisani wasn't entirely convinced. Not even a Jedi could possibly consider every outcome in so short a time. "Have you given any thought to attacking the shipyards before the fleet arrives," she asked suddenly and Kasr gave her what could best be described as an intrigued look.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, the station is bound to have defenses, right? Maybe we can sneak some of our clones aboard and use them against the Separatists. If the shipyards are so valuable they probably won't even shoot back."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:56 pm

“Nothing in war is so valuable that it can’t be destroyed to deny it to the enemy,” he countered. “Don’t underestimate the Separatist capacity for destruction. They command droids, which means they have less qualms about destroying their own troops if it suits their purposes.”

He sighed as he changed subjects. “And clone intelligence operations aren’t worth it in my opinion. Their very nature means that they’ll have difficulty infiltrating enemy installations. What good is a spy if everyone knows their face? The fact that the enemy forces are composed almost entirely of droids just adds to the problem. Besides, I would rather not risk alerting the enemy that we’re targeting them. If this infiltration operation you speak of is uncovered, the battle would be much more difficult when the fleet arrives.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Fri Apr 09, 2010 4:03 pm

"Then we will have to try our best to make sure it's not," Hisani said simply then she stood and came around to the other side of the desk. "I think I'll meet with our clone commander and see if he shares your opinion of the operation. Where might he be?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:44 am

“That would be Commander Kaldra,” Kasr said to her as he remained seated. It seemed clear enough to him that trying to argue the point with Hisani any further on his own wasn’t going to get him anywhere other than possibly being written up for insubordination. He was still feeling out how flexible this Jedi could be. “Knowing the clones, he’s either at his duty station or training. It’ll be faster to hail him and have him meet us here than to go looking for him.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Mir » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:50 pm

Commander Kaldra, listening to the message broadcast through the Anaxes intercom system, could do nothing but get up and make his way over to the ready room to meet with his commanding officer. It wasn't that he was a clone and he had to obey his orders, no, it was that he had an interest in why he was needed. He knew, due to his rank, that there was someone of importance coming on board the vessel. He had heard from others that the person, whoever they were, had arrived and was meeting with Captain Kasr. He could only figure that the request for his presence in the ready room had something to do with this. The turbolift ride up was short, and the ARC trained Clone Commander walked through the halls and into the ready room a few short moments later. He lifted up a salute to Kasr before taking in the rest of the room. If he hadn't been expecting a Jedi to be there, or if there should have been some shock on his face when he saw one, he didn't show it at all. Perhaps it was a testament to his clone training, but there was no expression on his face as he turned and saluted the Jedi.

"Captain Kasr, you asked for me?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:41 am

“Prompt as usual, Commander,” Kasr said as he saluted back before gesturing towards the Jedi. “This is Jedi General Hisani Sane. She’ll be in command of the fleet from this point forward. I’ll continue to serve as Senior Captain, but her authority will supersede mine when necessary.”

Kasr changed the image of the holoprojector back to the rotating view of the shipyards. “We’ve been charged with taking Allanteen Six. The general would like your opinion on the feasibility of infiltrating the shipyard before the attack.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Mir » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:54 am

Kaldra nodded and gave Hisani his full attention. "It's a crapshoot to say the least." He stated and then fell silent for a moment. "We could infiltrate the shipyard and be able to do a lot of damage. We could very well upload a virus that temporarily shuts down their starfighters and make it easier for Commander Shu to do his job. Better yet, we could take whatever Neimodian or whoever is in charge of this place hostage and be done with it. But in order to do that, we risk a lot. Clones are an interesting lot. We don't complain about much, we do our jobs well, but we do have weaknesses. We're easily spotted out of uniform, which is something that we wouldn't be able to take with us on this mission. Which means, one security holocam and we're compromised." He looked at Kasr before turning back to Hisani. "I wouldn't advise it, simply because the end game should whatever unit you send in there be compromised, is not a good one for everyone involved, including everyone here."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:19 am

"Commander, I can disguise your features through the force to fool any security measures the Separatists may have," Hisani assured him, "This mission will work and its success will help ensure that many lives will not be sacrificed in taking this system. All I need is your assurance that you can do the job."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Mir » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:42 pm

Kaldra paused for a moment. He had a feeling that Kasr was against this plan of Hisani's. If that was the case, he already knew where he stood. Kasr hadn't failed him yet, and he respected the man's ingenuity and flair for the unpredictable tactical method. "With all due respect, I don't properly understand how the Force works. I've never bothered to learn about it or concern myself with it. I stick with what I know. I don't doubt that you wouldn't be able to get us past any Separatist security cams or anything like that. But I can't take that chance." He said. "I have my men to consider. I can do the job, but that doesn't mean I want to if I have to risk the lives of my men more than I have to in order to get the job done." Kaldra said. He turned and looked at Kasr before returning to Hisani. He wasn't sure what was going on here, but he had a feeling that Hisani was pushing this for some reason. Like he had said, he wasn't a Jedi or a mind reader, so he didn't know what was going on, but he did know that he didn't want to endanger the men under his command unless he had to.

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:46 pm

“Thank you for your input, Commander,” Kasr replied and managed to avoid smiling at Kaldra’s expected response. The Jedi had a lot to learn about warfare. What he had to say next though surprised both Hisani and Kaldra. “However, the operation will proceed as General Sane wishes. Select a handful of your best men; the minimum number you believe will be necessary for a successful infiltration; and report back to the general for orders.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Mir » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:50 pm

Kaldra lifted a single eyebrow at Kasr's remarks. Well, at least he was never short of excitement working for the man. He smiled and nodded, saluting. "Will do, sir." He said. "I've got just the men for the job." He added. "If the Jedi here can work her magic, we should be able to bring it all down before you even get there. Will that be all, sir?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:08 pm

“I believe so,” Kasr answered him. He glanced at Hisani. “General? Do you have anything further to discuss with the commander at this time?”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Pryde » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:28 am

Hisani blinked in surprise, she hadn't expected Kasr to go along with her plan after opposing it so strongly. Just what game was he trying to play here? "Um, no--I don't think so," she finally said then she turned to look at Kaldra, "Collect your men, Commander, then meet me in the hangar bay. We will discuss the plan when everyone's present."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Mir » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:12 am

Kaldra nodded, saluting the Jedi and Kasr before turning and heading out of the ready room. As he did, he brought his comm link up and activated it, getting in touch with the Clone commanders ranked under him. It only took a few moments to relay the information regarding their new mission and where they were supposed to meet with Jedi Sane. He knew that it would only be a few minutes before his team was assembled. He kept regularly updated files on who were the best at various skills and jobs within the ranks of the clone troopers on board the Anaxes in case he needed to utilize their particular attributes during a specialized mission such as this. As it was, it was rather simple for him to tap into that database and get the people that he needed to the hangar to get to the hangar. Equipment and all would be prepared after they spoke to the Jedi.

Roughly ten minutes later, Kaldra was in the hangar, with his men, waiting for Sane.

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:30 am

After Kaldra left, Kasr spoke up: “You’re wondering why I’m not still opposing your plan.” It was a statement, not a question.

Hisani looked at him in surprise as Kasr elaborated.

“I don’t need your Jedi mind reading powers to know certain things.”

“Then why aren’t you?” she asked.

“As I said earlier, the chain of command must always be respected,” he told her. “I can give you my input, but if you’re dead-set on a plan of action, as my commanding officer, I must acknowledge your orders. You also seem very certain this plan of yours will work, so I’m willing to put a little faith in it.”

Hisani studied him. “Forgive me, Captain, but that doesn’t seem to fit with what I’ve discovered about you so far.”

Kasr smiled. “Then it seems you have a few things to learn about me yet. I’ve found it to be beneficial to give soldiers the benefit of the doubt if they give me a plan with such conviction. In such cases, they’re usually right.”

“And what if I’m wrong?” Hisani asked him out of curiosity. “Say something happens and we’re discovered.”

“I’ll deal with that as it comes, but I won’t admit defeat because of it. The battle will become more difficult, but I doubt it will become impossible. I’m prepared for the possibility that you won’t succeed.”

Hisani actually smiled back with a slight challenge in her expression. “Then it seems you have a few things to learn about me as well.” She saluted before turning to leave. “Carry on, Captain.”

Kasr saluted back. “Good luck, General.”

***

After Hisani left, Kasr remained where he was and used the opportunity to go over the schematics for the LAAT’s and input the design changes to make them spaceworthy. One thing he had always had a knack for was technology and finding new ways to utilize it. More often than not, he had discovered that people tended to fall into a rut when it came to using technology. The idea that a certain piece of tech could only be used in a certain way, or under certain circumstances, became ingrained into the minds of lesser commanders.

But not him…

Linear thinking was for droids.

It didn’t take him long to finalize his proposed changes. He would run it by the engineering department on the off-chance he had missed something, but Kasr felt such a check would be perfunctory at best. The changes were simple and in fact the design of the LAAT easily lent itself to such modification. It would probably only be matter of time before spaceworthy versions were standard, so he was ahead of the curve… as usual.

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:20 am

The engineering report came back with only one or two suggestions, but the core of Kasr’s proposed changes were sound. Satisfied that they were ready to proceed, Kasr approved the suggested changes and sent orders to the engineering departments of all three ships within the fleet to begin work modifying the LAAT’s immediately. It wouldn’t take long to apply the modifications, but there were a lot of them to modify.

With the work underway, Kasr opened the general com frequency to summon the other principle officers who would be involved with this attack. “Commander Sly, Commander Shu, report to my ready room for a mission briefing.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Balsa » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:37 am

There were a dozen maxims that applied to military science, and Commander Kothinur Shu knew most of them by heart because he'd seen -- and lived -- through many of their practical applications. "No plan survives contact with the battlefield" was one he particularly liked, and that saying had been aptly illustrated during the offense of Carver V, where his squadron was tasked with destroying the droid fighter screen. The plan had been solid, if a bit risky, but a freak solar storm had completely fried the droid fighters; the hours spent planning the operation had been unnecessary because of a random act of nature.

Another maxim Shu counted on was one that could not be found in any text on military science: There will always be a mission briefing at the most inopportune time. So, when Captain Kasr's summons had sounded over the broadcast system, Kothinur sighed and pulled himself out of the fuselage of his V-19, where he had been inspecting a faulty hydraulic system a technician had mentioned. He wiped his greasy hands on a rag and hoped his messy fatigues would be excusable. Having served with Kasr for a number of years, Shu knew the Captain would not be too critical.

After grabbing a ride on a shuttle, the commander of Saber Flight knocked lightly on the door of the ready room before stepping in. "Commander Shu, reporting, sir," he said with a salute.

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:16 am

“Gentlemen,” Kasr started, “we’ve been tasked with taking the shipyards at Allanteen Six. I don’t have to tell you that we have a challenge on our hands trying to do this with our existing forces, but I have a plan in mind which should secure our victory...”

After outlining the plan for the two men, Kasr concluded with: “In addition, General Sane, our recently arrived Jedi commander, will be launching a small covert operation before the attack with Commander Kaldra and some of his men. With any luck, they’ll be able to do something to even the odds, but I have to work under the assumption that we’re on our own.”

He looked over at Shu. “Commander, as you’ll be in charge of our starfighter forces, I’m interested in your feedback. This battle will hinge more on the starfighters and the modified LAAT’s than it will on our capital ships.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Balsa » Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:24 pm

"Sir, my concern is about the Separatist fighter elements," Shu said. "If intelligence is correct and we are facing three Lucrehulks, then we should expect upwards of 4500 Vultures. I have no doubt that our pilots are of far superior quality, but if their tactics remain true, the droid fighters will be sent in endless waves and will likely overwhelm us. Plus, because the LAAT's will have the agility of a beached Hutt, our craft will be especially vulnerable to swarming attacks."

The flight commander crossed his arms and thought for a moment. "I believe if we're able to draw the Lucrehulks singly, then we can properly provide screening against the droid fighters. If, however, we end up drawing all of them in at once, then we're going to face heavy losses."

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:24 pm

“I’m in complete agreement, Commander,” Kasr replied, “that’s why the key to this battle will be in causing the Separatists to underestimate our strength – hence the staggered arrival of our forces. I fully expect them to send their fighters against us in waves while keeping their capital ships back to protect the shipyards as much as possible. When we flank their fighters with the forces on our other two Venators, their capital ships should be relatively undefended against our bombing runs.”

Kasr interlaced his fingers together thoughtfully. “Interestingly, in this situation, a reckless commander would stand a better chance of defeating us than a cautious one, but I don’t believe we’ll need to worry about that. The Separatists are businessbeings first and foremost. They eye the bottom line and usually opt for the most cost-effective solution before any other. Their troops are numerous but largely pathetic because of this philosophy. Superior tactics will always trump superior numbers, Commander Shu, remember that.”

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Balsa » Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:02 pm

"Understood, Captain." Shu ran the plan through his mind once more, and then nodded. "Regarding General Sane's covert mission, will she be needing escorts? How is she planning to deploy her troops at the shipyard and to what effect? What kind of support can we expect her unit to provide us during the battle?"

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Re: The Clone Wars: Force of Mind

Post by Halomek » Fri Apr 30, 2010 9:10 am

“None,” Kasr answered him simply. “This plan will not depend on General Sane’s mission. If she succeeds in making it easier for our forces, that will be a benefit, but this battle should be fought without the expectation of support. As for the general, aside from Commander Kaldra and some of his men, she’s on her own.”

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