It had been a long time coming, that was for sure, but the fools clearly hadn't seen it. The dark void of space swallowed everything around the yellow-green planet like an oppressive blanket. Against the planet's bright surface, Kalan could see the dark silhouettes of over a dozen ships. Each of them slowly drifted into place, finding their predetermined defensive position. Mandalore had been spared the humiliation of orbital defense stations, or an occupational fleet / garrison. Instead, the GA had installed a puppet leader, stationed in Sundari—the aruetti capital of Mandalore—who was protected by a small cadre of a half-dozen guards. The sins of their former rulers had cast Mandalore into a deal that few wanted with the GA, now those chickens were home to roost.
A hulking mandalorian Star Destroyer hung above the planet, its sides bristling with turbolasers and other ordinance launchers, prepared for battle should it come. Lurking alongside it was the rest of the Mandalorian Liberation Fleet—the informal name being given to the amalgamation of mandalorian warships. Heavy cruisers, frigates, corvettes, and starfighters swarmed angrily around the planet—ensuring their picket wouldn't easily be broken. Right now, there were no other ships above the planet, besides a few civilian vessels. The first order of business had been to target the planet's communications, an easy task given the size of the attacking force. Orbital satellites had been shut down before they had a chance to call out, as had their ground transmission counterparts.
Kalan himself had long-since departed their Star Destroyer, the Ramikadyc, aboard a dropship destined for Sundari. A sharp shudder shook him as the dropship met the surface of the palace's landing pad, and a hydraulic hiss punctuated the boarding ramp's descent. "Well, mates, let's bloody well get going. It's time to tell the Governor he can't keep that shiny office of his anymore."
Saram turned to glance over at Kalan. Unlike the last time they'd worked together, Vikhar was not flying, instead a dedicated pilot was flying the gunship. One of her mother's former students in fact based on their conversation that happened prior to launch. "I call dibs on the shabuire's desk," said Saram as she pulled her anti-material verpine shatter rifle out of the secure storage container on the gunship. Normally she kept it between her legs, but their pilot had pulled some pretty fancy flying on their way down. Slamming a magazine home, she pulled back on the rifle's charging handle, chambering a round.
Saram's scouts piled out of the gunship as well, Saram and another scout dropped down to cover the advance of the others on board the gunship. Behind them came an elite squad of Ori'rammikade, and another scout squad led by a Jor Skirata. She recognized the squad leader of the Ori'rammikade. It was Araen Vevuc. Vevuc gave her a nod, which she returned. This was a momentous occasion, and so Vevuc was quite unwilling to ruin it by letting old wounds fester. The gunship took off once everyone was off, and Saram turned to the assembled Mandalorians on the pad, "So vode, who wants to take point?"
Mand'alor Gral Ordo watched what was happening from orbit, on board the Ramikadyc. According to their intelligence, there were only six armed men guarding the 'governor'. He didn't care what his troops did with said governor either, and he didn't see fit to intervene. Normally he'd have made sure he sent the GA a reminder of what happens to those that cross the Mandalorians, but Gral knew that he was going to have to strengthen their position in the galaxy first.
Jaster's SuperCommando codex just wasn't going to work on its own for them anymore. If they pretended like no one was going to try and put them down once and for all, they were just going to have another situation like the one they had with the GA. So the answer was simple, make sure they were the strongest they could be so that no one could push them around again, and then once the battle lines were drawn between the GA and the Imperial Remnants, they could throw their lot in with whichever side gave them the better offer.
There was still plenty to do, but taking back Manda'yaim gave them a symbol to rally behind. It gave them better access to recruits, to materials and to real estate to put down factories and farms. To get ready to make those who wanted to bury them fear the very name Mandalorian. Gral only wished that Mand'alor Ishtar Kyrdol was alive to see her efforts paid off at long last. Finally, after forty years, Mandalore was really theirs again.
The Governor's palace in Sundari was thoroughly surrounded by Mandalorian Protector forces, and standing by its transparisteel doors Kalan could see two very nervous guards. They had blaster carbines clutched in their arms, and wore thin ceremonial armor in a desperate attempt at protection. "Halt-" one began, he wasn't able to finish.
Kalan drew a verpine pistol from its holster, and in two rapid shots he dispatched both guards. Each shot pierced straight through the guards' visors, leaving a shattered hole and splattered, red stain. "Don't think I will," Kalan mused. He, Saram, and the Ori'rammikade that followed behind her stepped through the doors, Kalan carefully making sure that he didn't trip over the two fresh corpses. Some blood and sand clung to the bottom of his boots, which tracked across the pearly white marble of the palace's lobby.
Despite only having a few armed guards, there were receptionists and other administrative staff present in the building, most of whom were bustling around the lobby in a panic now. There was also a third guard present in the downstairs entryway, but Kalan let one of the soldiers behind him handle dispatching the panicked boy. The rest of the civilians were rounded up by a pair of the SuperCommandos, while the rest of them entered a lift destined for the governor's office.
For the most part it was a silent ride up, Kalan did mutter aloud to himself and Saram, "I'd say the desk was already spoken for, but Gral decided not to grace us with his presence, so..." he gave a slight shrug, his armor clinking softly as he did. After almost a minute in the lift together, the car came to a halt and gave a chime as the doors slid open. Kalan fired his verpine shattergun twice into one of the remaining guards, his breastplate cracking apart from the impact. He left the other to Saram to handle.
"Governor, the planet is surrounded," Kalan started, taking an ominous step forward. "You're under arrest."
The middle-aged man broke out into a run, desperately trying to escape the mandalorian protectors that had come for him. A shot from Kalan's pistol blew out his knee, dropping him to the ground. With a sickening smear of blood, the man crawled behind his wooden desk where he was no doubt attempting to hide.
"You did want his desk," Kalan reminded Saram, while motioning for her to finish the man off.
"If the Mand'alor was here, that desk would be in two," complained Saram. "He's like a reek in a fine ceramics store, you can't take him anywhere nice." Saram got a blank t-visor looking in her direction from Araen Vevuc. "It's not like I know that for a fact," she said, and then added a little more sheepishly, helmet now oriented in the direction of the elevator's wall, "nor has anyone ever said that about me." Thankfully, the elevator doors opened, revealing four guards. Between her, Araen and Laine, the remaining guards didn't stand a chance. Saram put two Ripper rounds into the guard. Araen's Verpine Shatter pistol splattered the guards' brains and bone matter into his colleague behind him while Laine's Verpine Shatter Marksman put a depleted-baradium core armor piercing round through the last remaining guard's chest, pulping his insides, before he could recover from having his comrade's brain matter splattered across his helmet and visor.
"Well, when you put it that way," said Saram, stepping over the body of one of the guards on her way toward the governor. She then added over the comms, "I'm firing up my sonic stunner, keep your distance." With that, she blinked her way through the helmet's interface and turned her sonic stunner down to its lowest radius setting. She then began advancing on the governor, "Listen shabuir, we can do this the easy way or the hard way." The governor's answer was to poke a hold-out blaster over the top of the desk and fire it in her direction. Of course, because the universe found it absolutely hilarious, the governor's shot manage to graze Saram's helmet in the same place the it had been grazed at Axxila during the bank heist.
"You have abso-kriffen-lutely got to be kidding me," she breathed, activating the wide-beam sonic stunner and casually advancing on the governor. She then added over their shared comms channel, "Kalan, please tell me this isn't in the same place as last time..." As she walked around the desk, she watched the governor writhing in pain and clutching his ears, she pulled out her beskar grav-cuffs and cuffed his hands behind his back, only then turning off the stunner. "Should've taken the easy way out, di'kut." Shoving her gauntlet mounted ripper pistols into his ribs, she pulled him to his feet with the other hand. She then turned to Kalan, "You want to give 'alor the good news, or should I?"
Gral was in fact already on his way down, not to Sundari, but to Keldabe. Keldabe was basically left to its own devices, which meant that the other eight Ori'rammikade squads had taken Keldabe with what was effectively no resistance. Keldabe was one of the only cities where Mandalorian loyalists remained, which meant that when the space port was seized, and the defenses manned, a ragged militia of those left bolstered the ranks of super commandos. Once the Mand'alor's gunship was inside the airspace, the city's shield generator was reactivated and raised once more. After years of neglect, it was amazing that it was still working, but Mandalorians build to last and the shield generator was no exception. Of course, functional didn't mean it was optimally so.
Gunships hefting heavy equipment and MandalMotors employees were brought down along with the Mand'alor and a cadre of his personal troops. The gunships landed at the abandoned MandalMotors compound, the databases having long been purged. Just about every usable shred of data was long gone. The gunships touched down in front of a squad of Ori'rammikade. Gral recognized the armor of their leader before he even read the man's IFF readout on his HUD. Stepping out, the two exchanged a traditional Mandalorian greeting. "Tower's secure, 'alor. My men are securing the perimeter and inner city defenses as we speak. Keldabe's ours again, just have to make sure we can hold it," said Ruhr Kote, current commanding officer of the Ori'rammikade.
Gral nodded in response, "Let's hope we won't need those defenses soon, we've got a few more planets before the system's ours again. I want all these aruetiise rounded up before our vode return from Sundari." The very word Sundari was said with utter and complete disdain and hatred for those who had anything to do with that city, and the city itself. "We'll scrap that place for parts like our ancestors should have done."
"By your order, 'alor," said Ruhr, then turning and walking off toward his squad of Ori'rammikade. The Ori'rammikade were already making their way back into the city with bursts from their jetpacks by the time the MandalMotors engineers approached him. Like all of the Mandalorians with him, they were armed and armored, and not just because of the occasion. He'd seen them at work at Roche before, and at the Gargon facility, they were no less alert and ready to fight.
"Preliminary diagnosis checks indicate the the tower's ready for us to move back in, 'alor. We'll get it back up and operational as soon as possible," said the lead engineer. Gral nodded, and he and his fellow engineers jogged back to the building, while others still oversaw the unloading of equipment from the gunships that had just landed. Gral took a moment to take in the sight of the MandalMotors tower, the company logo coming to life as power was restored to the structure. It was that logo, that was the metaphorical symbol of the Mandalorian people's spirits reigniting at last. He could see it now, a strong future for their people, at least until some shabuire that came after him kriffed it all up. All he was waiting for now was everything else to fall in place; for Ruhr to finish up here, and for the team at Sundari to complete their job."
Saram took Kalan's queue and moved in to apprehend, or kill, the governor. Much to Kalan's amusement though, Saram took a blaster bolt to her helmet during the approach. As she turned to ask him where it hit, he was doing his best not to audibly laugh. "It uh... It definitely did." He replied.
For the rest of their exchange, Kalan was mostly a set piece. He and the other Mandalorian soldiers stood by incase things went wrong and extra muscle was needed. Kalan doubted that would be the case. True to expectation, Saram made short work of the governor, though the man kicked and screamed the entire time from her sonic stunner. Kalan grimaced behind his helmet at the sight. Soon enough, Saram drug the man from behind the desk, cuffed and with a blaster barrel shoved into his ribs.
"Yeah, I'll call the boss. You get the governor here outside for extraction. Be careful, I think his excellency shit his pants from the sonic stunner." Kalan's face was obscured, but the sarcasm and humor in his voice were plain. Still, he activated the comm in his HUD and opened a line to the Mand'alor. Instead of the personal line he was expecting, Kalan's call was transferred to a gunship, where he was greeted by the pilot. "Put me on with Gral," Kalan ordered. The pilot acknowledged him, and a moment later the line reconnected to Gral's own comm. "Mand'alor," Kalan began, putting a bit of formality into his voice. "We have stormed the capitol, and Saram Kote is leading the imposter away. THe planet is yours."
"Ours," corrected Gral as the transmission was routed to his helmet's comlink. "Good work at Sundari. When you're finished there, make your way to Keldabe. There's something we need to discuss." It wasn't Kalan alone whose council he sought, but Kalan was certainly one of the people he was hoping to discuss a certain matter with. He was distinctly aware of the sort of experience he had, and it was that experience that he valued.
This matter was none other than that of what to do with the remaining non-compliant survivors. Gral was leaning towards the traditional option, which was to kill them all and worry about things later, but he was also distinctly aware of the sort of adverse effect that could have. He wasn't arrogant enough to pretend that he knew the right answer after all.
"They always do," sighed Saram after nodding once to acknowledge what he said, and then heading out toward the elevator that led back downstairs, shoving the whimpering 'governor' forward every few steps. In short order, they were back in the elevator, heading downstairs so that they could walk out onto the landing pad. "Did you really think we wouldn't be back to remind everyone who Mandalore belongs to?" she asked rhetorically, Predictably, the governor didn't actually answer, either too in pain or wisely choosing to remain silent. "That's what I thought," said Saram.
The doors beeped open just as she finished her sentence, punctuating it. Saram led the governor past the civilians and other non-combatants that had been rounded up and out toward the landing pad. She recognized the look on their faces well enough; it was the look of defeat. Shabuire deserved it. Mandalore belonged to the Mando'ade, the true sons and daughters of Mandalore. Not these aruetiise pretenders. She walked out onto the landing pad with her captive.
The very same gunship that they'd come in on set down in front of her and her prisoner. The side door opened, and the door gunner waved them aboard. Without missing a beat, Saram stepped aboard and secured her prisoner in a safety restraint. After securing herself in a seat, she asked the pilot to lift off. The doors closed, and the gunship lifted off into the air, heading off in the direction of Keldabe.