The head of the prior Mandalore had been discovered in the care of Imperial Knights posing as freight workers. The Jedi no longer being of concern to the new Mandalore he directed all his resources against Emperor Fel’s Empire.
Despite the mammoth war machine being constructed, the initial incursions into Imperial space met with disaster, as several raids ended in defeat as the Imperial Knights ambushed raid squads. Despite these set backs, Mandalore continued to declare his intention to destroy Fel’s Empire no matter the cost to avenge his father.
To that effect, Mandalore once again recruited Mud Squad to execute a critical mission that would crush Fel’s sad remnant, a surgical strike that would eliminate the Emperor himself. Intelligence had discovered a diplomatic gathering being held between the Galactic Alliance, Jedi Council, and Fel’s Empire, and Mandalore‘s plan was to destroy the Imperial delegation before it could meet with the others. Despite the Mandaloress confidence in the simplicity of the mission, Captain Zim believed it was a gross understatement, with the Imperial delegation made up of Imperial Knights, combined with the known combat prowess of Emperor Fel himself, and the desire for some level of plausible deniability by the Mandalorians, the mission was shaping up to look nearly impossible. And in the face of it all, Captain Zim’s mood soured even more when he learned that Swindle had gone incommunicado, departing the day before in his personal shuttle and only leaving vague notes that he would meet up with the squad later, having already been inserted onto the planet.
Days later, the infiltration of the meeting began, as Mud Squad shuttled down to the planet in small groups, keeping a low profile before heading to the rendezvous points on the planet’s surface. But to make matters worse, the planet came under attack by the Sith, clearly having been tipped off about the diplomatic meeting as well. The planet was under invasion, and no one was safe, with soldiers doing house by house searches in the cities for any of the ambassadors, and no way to get off planet without submitting to a thorough search, Captain Zim decided that the only thing left to do was continue with the mission, tracking the Imperial delegation to the remains of an Imperial Justice Complex, an old Armory labeled as Warehouse 13.
The Warehouse was old, but serviceable as a hold-out base. Inside the group discovered the Imperial ambassador, who was actually a body double for the real Emperor Fel. Outside, the Sith had arrived in massive numbers, led by the Sith General Brannigan who led his men in unending waves against the battered Armory. Some of the soldiers explored deeper into the complex, and it was there they found Swindle, in heated negotiations with some kind of ancient Droid. This droid was actually Shioshi, droid of the Cult of Illviii, and after everything seemed nearly lost, the Droid was finally convinced by the group to assist them, revealing it to be not an antique, but a highly efficient murderer who waded through the Sith troops as if they were nothing at all.
Once General ‘Dog Breath’ Brannigan lay defeated, the Droid turned to the group, clearly now the most powerful threat on the field. The eyes of the Droid seemed to scan everyone, his sensors scanning for his target, and not finding it. It walked forward and handed Swindle a holoprojector which displayed the same mystery force user from the hidden Jedi Enclave the Mud Squad had previously assaulted. The Force user was the true target of the Cult, and the Droid offered a great reward for his capture.
The mission ended in success for Mandalore but disaster for Mandalorians. Finally taking his title, he declared himself Mandalore the Crusader, but it was becoming obvious that he was dangerously unbalanced with his desire for vengeance against the killer of his genetic parent. While the Fel Empire bore the brunt of his rage this time, all the battle had really done was attract the interest of the Sith Empire, and opened up the field for an all-out battle against more enemies then Mandalore could truly hope to defeat.
But the biggest blow against Mud Squad was the sudden removal of Captain Zim from command. The captain was placed on an immediate leave upon filing his report on the mission, for he had seen the writing on the wall, and Mandalore the Crusader had begun to see Captain Zim as insubordinate to him. He fully expected to be placed back in command when the predicted assault against the Sith, but circumstances to follow would force Captain Zim out of the squad for good, and Mandalore the Crusader took control of Mud Squad himself.