While Captain Zim remained on his ordered leave, Mud Squad was kept apart from the other Mandalorians, and the newly dubbed Mandalore the Crusader continued striking out, seeming at random, against any nearby systems. Despite their high rate of success, and given the suicidal missions they’d been thrown into, a few of the members began to suspect something ominous was about to happen. A singular darkness had fallen upon the camp, a growing fear that no one could place.
The local rat problem had conveniently solved itself a little while back, but since then, no one’s mood has improved. In secret, the Mandalorian possessed by Paxis had begun contacting a secret source of power, injecting cloned blood from his former body to create temporary access to the Force. As he delighted in the ability to once again touch the Force, he was fully dependent on his yet unknown source. His brief flirting with the Dark Side was in large part responsible for the misery that had infected the camp, feeding off the suspicions and doubts the Mandalorians were already harboring towards Mandalore the Crusader.
But at last, the tedium was broken when the squad received orders to personally report to Mandalore the Crusader in preparation for a mission that would cut straight to the heart of the death of his father, Mandalore the Infinite. An unidentified message was intercepted by the Intelligence Ops, and partially decoded. The message was confirmed to have been delivered to exact coordinates on the planet Iego, and to make things all the more difficult, Mandalore the Crusader was personally going to lead the squad.
Upon arriving on Iego, days went by with no progress as they swept the canyons of the planet. At last, a ship was detected landing just outside a large mountain range far from any of the planet’s mapped cities. Approaching the ship, the group watched a large mountain hideout open up and a group of swoop bikes emerge to investigate the shuttle. Never one for subtlety, Mandalore the Crusader charged in, and the squad decimated the Swoops. Unexpectedly, the shuttle exploded, catching even the bikers off guard. Amongst the debris, they discovered the remains of a standard pilot druid, along with the now scorched and dented helmet of Mandalore the Infinite. Burning in rage, Mandalore the Crusader ordered the squad to enter the mountain base and kill all within.
Inside the mountain, an opulent and amazing base had been constructed. Antique, beautiful statues and artwork, but it was a den of thieves. The base belonged to Black Sun, and when the group failed to negotiate, partially thanks to Mandalore’s demands that they murder all within, a battle took place in which the group did war against a mob of Black Sun operatives, including three Vigo’s, and the murderous Yuuzhan Vong Underlord Nah’Savos. Mandalore the Crusader himself rushed to battle Nah’Savos, and even Swindle appeared to take particular glee in murdering the Vigo’s, charging to the front lines in unusual displays of heroism. The Black Sun operatives, while many, were easily destroyed, and the group suffered more damage from overloading weaponry and bad bacta supplies. When the final Black Sun member fell, and Nah’Savos was unceremoniously killed, the group looted the body, taking his Stun whip, a deadly Poisoned Shiv, and a mysterious medal of station.
Entering the control room to the palace, the group began working on the computer to trace the message. Swindle followed closely, making continued demands for the medal which eventually had the group handing it over to him, as it had seemed useless anyway. Finally, the computer activated, playing the message in its entirety, and revealing the messages origin as the Mandalorian Base Camp itself, the sender – Swindle, now revealed in treachery as the mastermind behind the death of Mandalore the Infinite.
The communication ended, and during its playback, Swindle had moved to the head of the table, opposite the group. On his cloak was the Black Sun Medal, prominently displayed. He removed his helmet and thanked the group for playing their part in his coup d’état, the murder of the Underlord and the vigo’s most loyal to him to pave the way for Swindle’s own ascension to the head of Black Sun.
Mandalore the Crusader lunged across the table, grabbing for Swindle’s throat, but Swindle triggered a personal shield, and lighting his suit up was an array of other weapons and devices flickering to life. Mandalore raged incoherently at him. “KILL HIM! THE MURDERER, TRAITOR!” He fired wildly, each shot deflected by the shield.
Smiling all the while, Swindle flipped up a second device, a cylinder in his hand, button depressed. The truth of Mud Squad‘s quartermaster was his total deception, placing explosive devices within their weapons and armor in preparation for this day. Supremely confident, Swindle offered the squad their lives if they departed, a token of appreciation for making him head of Black Sun. Or, he told them, they would die horribly on Iego, while Swindle wouldn’t even break a sweat.
Mandalore refused, screaming for the squad to kill Swindle. But the squad knew the deck was stacked against them. At this point, the squad agreed to play their last card, not against Swindle, but against their ‘leader’ Mandalore. In case he overstretched his reach, Captain Zim had secretly hidden a poisoned dart in their gear before he left. Using it as their last hope, Mud Squad drugged Mandalore into unconsciousness and left the facility behind, Swindle’s laughter echoing through the cavernous halls.
Mandalore awoke some time on the trip back, and his anger was still present. The group explained that they would have all died had they stayed, but Mandalore remained silent. He insisted they all remove their armor, in case Swindle detonated the devices regardless, but otherwise said nothing. He spent several days of the trip back polishing and banging the dents out of his father’s helmet, in silent contemplation, and without Swindle to liven things up with a game of Sabacc or other activity, now seen as obvious ploys, the mood was dire. As they landed on the Mandalorian base camp, members of Intelligence arrived to debrief the squad. As they approached, Mandalore turned to them, and ordered them to take the squads weapons and armor to search for more evidence of sabotage. The group handed over its gear, knowing that such a search would have to occur, but none expected what Mandalore did next.
Mud Squad was placed under arrest by order of the Mandalore. They were placed into holding cells, no food or rations to be provided, and their execution scheduled to be carried out by Mandalore himself. He had found them guilty for conspiring to the murder of Mandalore the Infinite." Placing the scorched mask of his father atop his own head, signifying his final and full ascension to the rank of Mandalore, he swore to murder the traitors, and then sweep across the galaxy in his glorious crusade to burn it with his rage.