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Joined: 20 Jun 2004
|Posted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 3:38 pm Post subject: The Final Mission
|This is a pilot of a story I’m working on. Set twelve years after the current RS timeline it mostly follows Deven, though I’ll write in other Rogues if nobody minds me using their characters and can give me ideas on what they might be doing twelve years from the current timeline.
My aim with this story is to create a ‘possible’ future in which some of my loose ends are tied up. What happens in the story may not be how the RS plot develops. So I may write about an event years before the story that never happens in the RS plot. In other words this story should be considered separate from the main plots.
If any of that last paragraph made sense let me know.
Any suggestions/comments/questions can be posted in the responses/discussion topic I’ll create or e-mailed to me (email@example.com) or if you can reach me on AIM DevenTarn.
Flashback: Four years ago.
The Imperial base world. Codename ‘Fortress’.
Operation Audacity. Day seven.
New Republic deployment zone ‘Kenobi’
One hour after dawn.
The New Republic drop-ships cut through the upper atmosphere like daggers. Thirty of them arrayed across the sky, descending towards a planet wreathed in war and destruction. Many were little more than shuttles carrying no more than a squad or two of soldiers. Others like the ‘Madine’ or ‘Foehammer’ were massive vessels weighing several hundred tons and carrying entire regiments. These are the planetary assault forces of Task Force Serpent, flying in to relieve the Republic force already engaged in combat for nearly seven days.
The invasion of the Imperial world of Fortress had begun successfully with Republic forces sweeping on the Imperial forces of Supreme Warlord Malthus. The invasion had been the last step in the final defeat of the Empire as a single entity. Once Malthus and his forces had fallen all that would be left would be minor Warlords and Rogue groups.
The Republic forces would go in, crush the Imperials and secure the planet.
That was the plan.
There is a phase among military forces.
‘No plan survives contact with the enemy’
The Imperial forces instead of crumbling in the face of a superior force had instead fallen back to the capital city of ‘Iron Hold’ and fortified their position there. As a result the New Republic forces had made no headway for over five days.
To compensate a new plan had been formed. While the main ground units assaulted the city walls another force would descend on the city from the air.
The latter mission fell to the men and women of Task Force Serpent. To the generals and politicians directing the campaign it would be a decisive move.
To Task Force Serpent it was suicide.
Aboard the drop-ship Meteor in the main bay tensions were high. Among the members of the Corellian Seventh tensions were sky high. A large man with the insignia of Corporal lit a cigarra and blew out a plume of smoke to the annoyance of his fellow soldiers.
“Those things’ll kill you Kowalski,” A Bothan opposite him said
“No Krey’lar, these’ll just stain my teeth” The man named Kowalski replied, “Whatever they’ve got down on that planet will kill us”
“Malthus sending you Republic or Imperial credits to knock morale?” Krey’lar replied
“Mister, morale couldn’t be any lower in here if my mother-in-law was on board. You asleep during that mission-brief or what?” Kowalski shook his head “The Imps are supposedly building a super-weapon that could end the war in days. All that stands between Republic Plaza and Storm-Troopers is grunts like you and me. And the closet thing they have to a plan is to throw as many of us at this city in the vague hopes that somebody breaks it” Kowalski leaned in close to Krey’lar ‘s face and blew smoke at him “Exactly which part of that scenario sounds like our morale should be anything higher than freezing point, moron”
“How about the fact we got our own secret weapon up here, wise-guy?” A female private indicated the aft end of the bay.
Kowalski glanced at the armoured troopers with the tidal wave insignia sitting silently and turned back to her. “What? The Genyosha? Putting some fools in armour and calling them ‘Best of the Best’ might be a hit with the recruitment agency, but what age do you think we are?” He spat on the floor in disgust “Those phoneys are going to die just like the rest of us”
“Hey Sarge” One of the Genyosha troopers stirred “Sounds like someone seems to think we’re just holo candy”
At the far end of the bay one of the Genyosha troopers rose to his feet and began walking down the aisle. His helmet was clutched in one hand while a repeater blaster was clamped to the back of his wrist. A light-saber bounced at his waist and his Atlas power armour gleamed in the dim lighting of the bay.
Master Sergeant Deven Tarn looked up and down the two groups of contrasting infantry. The Corellian Seventh in their uniforms and light body armour and the Genyosha in their Atlas armour.
“I assure you” Deven began “We will be fighting down there with you and just to prove this isn’t a suicide mission I’ve got twelve crates of vintage Corellian Brandy back on board the Champion. And for those who think the Genyosha are just ‘holo candy’, I’ll admit the media have made us out to be heroes on the level of Rogue Squadron or the Jedi, but we’re just soldiers like the rest of you”
“Speak for yourself Sarge” A female Genyosha trooper with an enlarged helmet laughed.
“Whatever Alya, One minute to the drop zone people” Deven said donning is helmet and turning for the bay door.
“I hate to say it” Kowalski turned to Krey’lar “But the ‘Sarge’ is as crazy as you. I mean, does he think he can accomplish the impossible?”
“He’s one of the old Rogue Squadron” Krey’lar laughed, “They beat the impossible dozens of time. For him this will be a walk in the park”
As the drop-ships began their descent over the city, the Imperials began to react to the New Republic ships. Anti-aircraft fire lanced up from the ground and into the cloud of vessels. Much of it was ineffective, missing targets by great distances, other times it was deadly accurate smashing armour and reducing drop-ships to scrap.
The Foehammer took a fusillade of blasts to its bow. Its forward missile magazine erupted in a massive explosion and shredded the entire forward half. The remainder of the massive vessel began to drop far quicker than the rest of the force.
An entire mobile armoured division, five hundred men and women and fifty crewers had just died.
Only nineteen drop-ships remained when the New Republic force began to land in Iron Hold’s largest park. The Meteor was still twenty feet from the ground when the Genyosha began to leap clear, artificial muscles in their armour absorbing the landing with ease. Deven had intended to be the first out, but had been shouldered aside by his second-in-command, who believed that the second-in-command should be the first into an enemies fire.
Deven sighed as he watched Alya Ven drop to the ground; she flexed her legs on landing and began to look up at the drop-ship.
“Looks like we scared them aw…” She was cut off mid sentence as a missile slammed into her chest and blasted her backwards.
“Alya!” Deven shouted as he watched his second get thrown across the park. He dropped to the ground at almost the same time as several other Genyosha members who quickly formed a perimeter.
With a simple movement of his eyes he switched his HUD over to thermal and quickly found the trail of air heated by the missiles passage. “Raiko, building at twelve-o-clock, seventh floor.”
“Got it,” The hulking heavy weapons master grunted as he unslung his missile launcher. With a blast of smoke Raiko’s launcher blasted out a salvo of four missiles at the target building. They covered the distance in seconds and reduced the seventh floor and most of the building to rubble. “Done”
Nodding to Raiko, Deven quickly ran in the direction of Alya’s impromptu flight. He found her stood unsteadily on her feet between two other Genyosha officers. She had her helmet off and her lekku were hanging across her shoulders. Her armour was blackened across the front but had held against the missile impact.
“Hey boss” She said offering a weak grin. “I forgot to duck”
“I’ll see you receive training. How is she?” Deven looked to the unit’s medic.
“She’ll live this time” Ge, a Mon-Calamarian answered “Unfortunately” He added dryly.
Deven shook his head “Lets move out people”
It was sometime later that Deven himself felt glad that he wore the Atlas armour.
Twice as strong as storm-trooper armour, the Atlas armour was designed for close in assault actions. It was also a lot heavier, weighing nearly half a ton; as a result the armour required an inner exo-skeleton that increased a wearer’s strength to the degree that they could use the armour and have power to spare. An average man wearing the armour had almost five times his normal strength and was capable of withstanding a lot of punishment. In addition the suit had added mobility thanks to a jump pack built into the armour and a HUD system that used eye movement to alter firing and viewing modes. Hands were kept free by the use of shoulder and forearm mounts that accepted a large arsenal of weaponry from blaster rifles and repeaters to E-Webs and missile launchers. The designers claimed that even a rancor couldn’t breach the armour with ease.
Deven was about to put that claim to the test.
Task Force Serpent and especially the Genyosha enjoyed initial success as they fought their way towards the citadel at the centre of the city. As they neared the target, the advance had begun to slow. Losses among the light infantry had begun to mount and the armoured divisions had found movement though the city streets difficult.
The Genyosha had lost two officers so far. Private Tonia had been killed when a heavy turbo-laser had struck her back and found an undetected flaw in her armour. Her jump pack fuel had ignited and effectively cooked her in her suit. Lieutenant Nollo Kanx, a Quarran had died when a building collapsed on him crushing him in his armour.
The Genyosha had just reached an intersection when…
“Master Sergeant Tarn” Deven’s radio kicked into life. In response Deven glanced at an icon on his HUD and activated his transmitter.
“Tarn here. Make it quick, I’m in a tight situation here”
“This is Sky-Eye One. We’ve spotted something heading your way”
“Something? Can you possibly a tad more specific” Deven grimaced as a salvo of lasers past close to him.
“We only caught a quick glimpse of it heading in your general direction. We’ve had reports that the Empire is sending out all its prototypes and experiments”
“Creatures of some description. Just keep alert okay. Sky-Eye One out”
Deven cycled his comm frequency “Heads up people, word is something is coming our way”
“Like what?” Raiko’s voice came over the comm.
A roar sounded across the intersection and a massive rancor came crashing though the nearest building on a straight path for Deven.
“LIKE THAT!” Deven shouted before the rancor slammed into him and sent him flying. He hit the ground hard and slid across the tarmac in a shower of sparks. His repeater blaster went flying from the mount and skidded out of sight. The Rancor stopped as if seeing him for the first time then picked him up by the ankle and hoisted him high in the air.
“Sarge! Sarge! You okay?” Alya shouted over the comm.
“Oh, I’m fine, just hanging around” Deven said calmy “STOP HIM! HE’S GOING TO EAT ME!”
“Come on, Sarge” Raiko’s voice this time “You’re barely an appetiser to him. He won’t eat you”
“Says the main course” Alya retorted
“Stop arguing you two and help me!” Deven started to panic.
Then the Rancor dropped him towards its throat.
Some time later.
“How long do you think he’s going to be able to keep it up?” Alya asked
“My moneys on an hour” Raiko replied
Both Genyosha officers gazed up at Deven as he stood in the Rancors mouth holding the upper and lower jaws apart by force. So far the Rancor’s attempts to dislodge him had proved fruitless. Other Genyosha officers stood around either watching the spectacle before them or guarding the area against Imperial counter-attacks.
“When you’ve quite finished” Deven’s voice cut though the conversation “I could do with a large gun..” A roar from the rancor punctuated the sentence “And a huge vat of mouthwash”
“Something better coming right up chief” Alya shouted activating her jump back and jumping to the level of the rancors mouth. As she drew level with Deven she threw something down the beasts throat.
“What was that?” Deven shouted
“Thermal detonator” Alya replied as she dropped back to the ground
“Oh, for crying out lo….” Deven’s shout was cut off as the thermal detonator exploded in the rancor's gut and turned the rancor into the aftermath of some bizarre food fight.
Alya and Raiko ran to a particularly large piece of rancor head and found Deven looking a little worse for wear and scraping rancor bits off himself.
“Not a word” He said evenly “Not a word”
To be continued?
Last edited by Deven Tarn on Sat Dec 04, 2004 3:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
Joined: 20 Jun 2004
|Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:31 pm Post subject:
|Several hours after the ‘Rancor incident’.
The Genyosha and the remnants of the Corellian Seventh watched from the cover of buildings and rubble as the Imperial convoy crossed the ring of clear ground that separated the Citadel from Iron Hold itself. It had taken nearly five hours to cover the five kilometres between the drop zone and the edge of the restricted zone.
Bitter urban combat had caused massive casualties on both sides and the Republic’s twelfth armoured division would be fortunate if they were able to field a single tank that wasn’t damaged in some way. Air support against the Imperial forces was non-existent; any star-fighter closer than two kilometres to the citadel and lower than five thousand feet was blasted to scrap by anti-air fire.
The Imperials weren’t much better off. Shoulder-launched rockets brought down tie-fighters and ground forces had been forced to retreat before the Republic advance.
Crossing the plains at the moment was the Imperials last, best chance at turning the tide of battle on the east side of the city where other New Republic forces had finally succeeded in breaking though the massive walls that surrounded Iron Hold. At nearly a kilometre in length, the convoy consisted of dozens of air-speeders, juggernauts, tanks, nearly fifty walkers including AT-STs, AT-PTs, AT-AAs and AT-ATs and enough transports to carry munitions and troops to tip the balance back in the Empire’s favour. There was something else in the convoy but thick black smoke from a thousand fires across the city was impairing vision.
The Genyosha and the Seventh were going to stop the convoy from even leaving the restricted zone.
Master Sergeant Deven Tarn, commanding officer of the Genyosha looked to his left and nodded at the freshly promoted Colonel Kowalski.
“Are your men in position?” Deven asked
“Yeah. We’re ready” Kowalski answered still uncomfortable with his new rank, granted after the deaths of the Seventh’s entire command staff.
“Command one” Deven said changing comm frequency over to the one that patched him though to central command. “This is Genyosha one. I have the target elements in sight and am requesting fire support. Over”
“Artillery is standing by and ready for your telemetry” Command one answered “Pick out some big fat targets and get ready to start the music. I’m handing you over to the fire control teams”
“Thumper one here” A new voice sounded in Deven’s ear “Light em up and we’ll do the rest”
“Affirmative” He switched comm channels again, this time to the company frequency to the combined Genyosha and Corellian Seventh. “Okay people. Light up the targets”
As a chorus of acknowledgments sounded and Deven knew that several of the Genyosha would be leaning out of cover and activating their Target Acquisition Guns which via the comm relays in their armour were providing firing solutions for the Artillery.
“Targets lit up,” The voice of weapons specialist Raiko echoed across the frequency.
“Only a few more seconds,” Deven thought as he hunkered down in preparation for the artillery strike.
Almost twelve kilometres away the crews of Thumper command began to receive telemetry from the T.A.G designators.
“TAG! TAG! TAG!” The General in command of the company shouted across the comm. frequencies before rattling off a string of co-ordinates.
Seconds later the entire area shook as the various weapons platforms of Thumper unleashed a storm of long-range missiles and shells.
Deven heard a long tearing sound made by the first Striker VIII missile as it ripped though the air. He could almost see the massive projectile inexorably homing in on the tiny spot of laser light reflected off the chin of the lead AT-AT. A bright explosion bloomed across the AT-AT’s cockpit, then as the now headless walker toppled to the floor, the rest of the artillery hit.
The ground itself shook as a firestorm spread across the convoy. Buildings shock with so much force Deven nearly called for his troops to evacuate them and the ground around the convoy’s location buckled and cracked. As he watched Deven saw debris thrown in all directions as ammunition and fuel exploded under the barrage.
After two minutes of near constant barrage the artillery ceased and Deven switched though viewing modes in an effort to see though the smoke and flames.
“Looks like we got em all” Kowalski said from next to him.
“Yeah” Deven half muttered reaching out with the force and feeling nothing. Eventually after another two minutes he stood up. “Okay, people lets move out and look for survivors”
Almost an hour later the Republic forces had reached the last location of the convoy. Shattered hulks of vehicles littered the landscape and the corpses of storm troopers and other Imperial personnel were strewn around. Many off the wrecks burned so hot Deven’s armour designated them as danger areas. His suits sensors could detect no life and the though the force he could only sense death. As they proceed Deven noted that a constant tremor ran though the ground.
As the Genyosha approached the area of destruction, the Seventh halted as they lacked the armoured suits that protected the Genyosha.
“You hear anything?” Alya suddenly called over the comm..
“Probably just your stomach” Raiko laughed and was quickly joined by some of the others.
“I’m serious. My sound pick-up just skipped”
Deven frowned. It wasn’t like Alya to sidestep the chance to verbally battle Raiko. Suddenly on his HUD the small bar indicating anomalous noise skipped far higher than it should have for normal post-battle noises.
“On alert people” Deven shouted. The tremors were getting worse.
Then he heard it. A long drawn out squeal of scraping metal followed by a thud, then a pause, then another thud.
A pause. The ground was shaking noticeably.
What is that?” Somebody asked out loud. The ground bucked wildly and several Genyosha stumbled.
Then it appeared. Emerging from the smoke and flames it was the very image of nightmares. Far larger than anything they’d seen before it filled the Genyosha with dread. Five times larger than an AT-AT and perched on legs as wide as a juggernaut it was the largest ground assault vehicle ever seen. Studded with anti-air and anti-armour weaponry it was also the most heavily defended. Its armour was pitted and scarred from the bombardment and its right fore leg was damaged and warped armour was causing the squealing sound and created a noticeable limp. Its cockpit swung left and right searching for targets.
And it was coming right for them.
“Evasive!” Deven shouted and almost as if they pre-empted the order the men and women under his command activated their jump-packs and scattered. The massive walker continued past them oblivious to their presence and headed on its current route.
“What is that?” The same person asked again
“A Goliath” Deven answered “One of the prototypes the Empire has deployed here. I didn’t know they’d got this far in development”
“Uh oh!” Alya’s voice entered the conversation “The Seventh”
Deven grimaced then activated his comm. “Kowalski, Do not! I repeat, do not engage the Goliath. Get your men clear”
“Negative Tarn. Corellian Seventh. ATTACK!” Then the connection cut off.
Deven swore and tried to re-establish the connection. As the Goliath approached the Seventh’s position he saw laser fire and rocket trails reach up for the Goliath with little effect.
“What do we do Sarge?” Raiko asked coming up next to him.
“We save the Seventh from themselves” Deven sighed “Genyosha..ATTACK” As one the Genyosha activated their jump-packs once again and vaulted for the Goliath. “Team one with me, we’re going for the cockpit. The rest of you take out as many weapons as possible. LETS GO!”
As the Genyosha desended almost as one towards the Goliaths back, the walker’s forward cannons open fire on the Seventh’s position. Deven caught a glimpse of soldiers vaporised in the infernal heat of the lasers
then the Goliath’s bulk filled his vision. Landing in perfect unison the twenty-three strong team turned their destructive attention to the turrets and weaponry on the Goliath’s back. At such close ranges they couldn’t miss and in some cases were actually tearing apart turrets using only the enhanced strength muscles of the power-suits.
Team One consisted of Deven, Raiko and two privates, a human male named Travis and a Devaronian female named Saricia Grahk. Their target was the ‘head’ of the walker, the massive cockpit that was the effective command centre for the Goliath. By now the crew had become aware of the Genyosha’s presence and steps were being taken. Ahead of them a hatch opened and storm troopers began to clamber out. With barely a pause Deven brought up his repeater and sent the first two troopers back down the hatch. A second later an anti-personnel rocket from a turret slammed into the hull near the feet of Travis and kicked him into the air, then a second rocket struck his head. As Travis went spinning over the side of the walkers body Deven had no doubt the young man was dead.
Offering a silent prayer for another lost soldier Deven triggered the launcher on his rifle and fired a grenade at the turret rending it to scrap. With a hatch to the inside of the walker now available Deven changed his plan slightly.
“Inside now!” He yelled to Raiko and Saricia.
Dropping though the hatch the three soldiers opened fire in almost the same second they landed. Blaster fire tore though storm trooper armour with ease, whilst return fire deflected off the tougher Atlas armour.
“GET DOWN!” Raiko suddenly shouted before hurling both Deven and Saricia to the deck before dropping on top of them.
Deven was about to protest when a rocket shot over the top of them and impacted against the doorway into the cockpit. Lethal shards of shrapnel were sowed through the cockpit killing and maiming the six crewmen inside. With the loss of the crew the Goliath would likely have kept walking until it hit something, but the limp caused by the damage created an instability that required monitoring by the crew and adjustments to be made to compensate.
With out either of these the results where disastrous.
As the Goliath’s damaged leg came down it buckled and collapsed beneath the weight of the walker. And observer would have seen a number of figures make superhuman leaps clear before the Goliath twisted and slammed nose first into the ground. Its head was effectively crushed beneath the war machines bulk, next the remaining legs splayed out and the Goliath belly flopped to the ground. Armour shattered with the impact and unspent fuel and ordinance spilled out of great rents in the hull.
After several minutes all was calm again and the surviving Genyosha gathered around the wreck just in time to see three armoured figures crawl gingerly from the wreckage.
Deven glanced at Raiko “Where did that rocket come from?”
“One of the troopers panicked and grabbed a launcher,” Raiko answered “Lucky I saw him”
“Sarge, You okay?” Alya asked, landing near them.
“Fortunately we’re still in one piece” Deven replied, “What’s our status?”
“As well as Travis, we also lost Ja’wei and Rhys from the scout team and I’ve got seven others with various levels of injuries”
“We got off lightly considering. And the Seventh?”
“All gone” Alya said regretfully “Wiped out to the last”
Deven swore. “This war isn’t finished” He thought “Not by a long shot”
Four years later. Present day. (Twelve years after RS)
Deven forced his mind to the present and smoothed down his uniform before stepping out of the lift. Though he tried to concentrate on current matters he kept thinking about the events on Fortress.
Despite the destruction of the Goliath and the convoy the war had raged on for nearly four months. At the end the New Republic was victorious and the Genyosha hailed as heroes for the role they’d played later in the campaign.
“But because of me, the whole unit suffered” Deven thought thinking of when problems had began twelve years earlier.
When Rogue and Wraith Squadrons had disobeyed orders and defeated the Imperials at Yintoa, a great number of powerful men had lost much. Several years later, long after the two squadrons had been exonerated of all charges, the men in question had played their hands.
Both squadrons had been formally disbanded and the pilots reassigned, often under threats of criminal charges. Wraith squadron and several of the Rogues were given assignments with the NRI against the high councils wishes. Others were shifted to training squadrons and outer rim duty. Deven was slated for a desk job at some far-flung science station, when Kapp Dendo intervened and had Deven assigned to his unit. After two years serving with Dendo Deven was offered the chance to command his own special operations unit and he jumped at the chance. After pulling in the last few favours he had Deven had a shipment of new Atlas power-suits assigned to his new unit. The Genyosha.
Under Deven’s command the Genyosha built a reputation that almost matched that of the old Rogue Squadron. After the Fortress campaign politics struck again and Deven and the Genyosha were reassigned to Never Winter Station in Eashu system. Deven was promoted to Colonel and given full command of the base but the reassignment was still a bitter pill to swallow. Despite this the Genyosha had stayed loyal to him for four years know and would continue to do so.
The worst blow was next though. Rogue Squadron was rebuilt, but even a blind Cu-pa could tell it was little more than a political ploy. None of the Rogue or Wraith veterans were assigned to the resurrected squadron and all slots were filled with the sons and daughters of senators and high-ranking officials. Now Rogue Squadron was just a symbol.
“Hey Sarge” Alya said coming up alongside him “How’s it going?”
Deven couldn’t help but smile at Alya’s use of ‘Sarge’. Despite his promotion three years ago the entire Genyosha continued to call him Sarge.
“Same as usual Alya, Same as usual”
“That bad huh?” She looked to one side then looked back “Listen, some of us officers are having a sabaac game in the officers lounge tonight. You’re welcome to join us”
“I might just take you up on that,” Deven said as they reached his office door.
“Good, anyways I gotta run. Later Sarge”
“Later Alya” After watching Alya head down the corridor Deven turned and entered his office. The door had just closed behind him when he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror and he stopped and looked at himself for a moment. Having recently turned thirty-five he was a little annoyed to be finding that his hair was beginning to grey at the temples.
“Looking in the mirror, I just to do that a lot too” A voice said from the chair behind his desk.
Deven whirled around silently cursing at getting flat footed. The man in the chair was shaved bald and sported a rather trendy goatee, it took Deven a moment to recognise him.
“Garik Loran. Why am I not in the least bit surprised that you’d pull something like this? Its good to see you” Deven grinned shaking Face’s hand “I won’t even bother with asking how you got in this office, let alone how you got anywhere near this station without anyone knowing”
“Shall we skip to the ‘why’ then?” Face grinned almost angelically.
“Sure whatever” Deven dropped into another seat “Why are you here?”
“Because I have some interesting information for you” Face leaned back in the chair and put his boots on the table and dropped the timber of his voice into the sinister range “Some ‘very’ interesting information”
“Face, don’t do the thing with your voice”
(To be continued)
Joined: 20 Jun 2004
|Posted: Sat Dec 04, 2004 3:05 pm Post subject:
“So what’s so important that you sneak into my office?” Deven asked
“You and your Genyosha are about to be sent on a diplomatic mission” Face responded
“What sort of diplomatic mission would require a power-armour equipped infantry unit?” Deven frowned
“The sort that could well reinforce the New Republic’s hold of the galaxy and more accurately place a lot of power at the feet of certain members of the advisory council”
“Vran Breil’lya, Fyor Rodan, Niuk Niuv and Marcus Gresh” Deven named the four members of the advisory council who had long held grudges against the former members of Rogue and Wraith squadrons.
Face nodded quietly.
But what have they got to gain from a diplomatic mission, what’s so important about it?” Deven asked
“The planet Skye in the Outer Rim” Face pulled a datapad from his pocket and passed it to Deven “Ruled by a monarchy since its colonisation during the rise of the Old Republic. They split from the Republic during the first great Sith incursion and remained in isolation for the next few thousand years. Eventually an Imperial Star Destroyer stumbled across the world and conquered it in the name of the Emperor.
The planet itself is quite wealthy, they have an abundance of jewels and other precious materials that are fairly rare across the rest of the galaxy. In addition Skye’s five moons are filled with more platinum than most asteroid fields” He paused for a moment “About six years ago they Rebelled against from the Empire when the garrison there was reduced, they then spent the last few years rebuilding until last week when one of our scouts stumbled across the system”
“Everybody seems to stumble across this system,” Deven said looking over the datapad. Suddenly he froze “Reilorr!”
“Reilorr was the Imperial commander who took Skye for the Empire!”
“Yeah, that’s one of the other things” Face gestured to the holo that sat on Deven’s desk “Your wife, the one you haven’t seen in twelve years, is going to be there too. It’s her homeworld”
“Trinity” Deven whispered
“She’s a princess, part of the ruling family. Reilorr took her mother in exchange for not blasting the world and between them they had a daughter”
“I know all this” Deven interrupted “You said ‘one of the other things’ what else is there?”
“Supreme Admiral Lon Sur has expressed a desire to take the world. Skye has some pretty impressive shipyards in addition to the resources there and he wants them”
“And the Republic want them just as much?”
“Exactly. As a result the diplomat’s will be backed up an impressive force. As well as your Genyosha, they’re sending in the thirteenth and thirtieth armoured divisions as well as the Second Combined Arms Regiment as ground forces. The Star Destroyer Challenger will be the centrepiece of a fleet consisting of eighteen vessels and twelve star-fighter and bomber squadrons including..” Face’s expression darkened “Rogue Squadron”
“You mean Not-Really-Rogue Squadron?” Deven asked using the Rogue and wraith veterans name for the political squadron.
“That’s the one” Face grinned
“I’m guessing there’s more. Everything you’ve told me I’ll find out when our assignment comes. What aren’t you telling me?”
“First off, it’s the belief amongst us at the NRI that Admiral Sur will launch an attack on the task force, but the advisory councils plan on not even mentioning Sur to anyone in the task force. Instead the fleet is there as a show of force against pirates”
“As if anyone would believe that” Deven snorted
“The second thing involves this recent holo of your wife” Face passed a holo to Deven
Deven looked at the holo and saw that it was a recent holo of Trinity. Though twelve years had passed since he’d last seen her, she had changed little. Next to her was a young girl, perhaps not quite into her teens.
“Who’s the kid?” Deven frowned. The girl’s features were familiar in some way.
“Her name’s Jenna. She’s your daughter”
Half a galaxy away on the planet of Skye.
Jenna Tarn let out a yell of excitement as the ground beneath her disappeared. The wind pulled at her hair and then she suddenly began to plummet ground-wards. Forcing herself to stay in the sit of her speeder-bike she kicked the bikes engines to full and levelled off with just seconds to spare. With another yell she increased her speed and sped across the landscape.
“This was the best,” she thought. At the age of twelve few girls would have been racing across the Olympia plains on a stolen speeder bike. But then again Jenna wasn’t like other girls. As the granddaughter of Queen Marthe Oslo, she was above the standards of other children her own age and as such believed herself above the law too. Also her force abilities, though relatively untrained placed her above most of the population in ability.
Jenna believed she was able to get away with anything.
She was about to find out that wasn’t the case.
Suddenly her bike shuddered as something struck the back of the bike with a thud. With a whine the engine began to shut down and her speed began to drop. Looking back she saw the arrest harpoon embedded in the back of her bike, it’s probes already deep within her bikes systems shutting them down. A little behind her she saw the flashing lights of the pursuit cruiser as it gained on her.
“Looks like fun times are over” Jenna said sullenly
An hour later she was sat in her room of the Royal Palace looking at her feet, at the floor, at her nails, anywhere but at the person stood in front of her.
“I didn’t do all that much” She protested
“Didn’t do much!” The other person responded “You stole a speeder-bike, raced though three pedestrian areas, caused two traffic accidents, three heart attacks and a premature birth and then, and THEN, when security caught up with you” The other person sighed “You struck one of the officers with an un-activated stun-prod and broke his jaw. And you’re saying you didn’t do much”
“But Mom! I was just having fun”
Trinity Oslo Tarn grimaced and massaged her temples. “Jenna, I’ve raised you the best I can…”
“Here it comes” Jenna said under her breath
“This is for your own good” Trinity scowled at her daughter “You can’t keep pulling these stunts of yours. I just wish I’d contacted your father years ago”
“Why don’t you contact him now?” Jenna asked
“What would I say? It’s been twelve years since I left him. His life also depends on never being near me again”
“How do you work that one out?” Jenna asked incredulously
“Because a Jedi Master once told me that after I’d been reunited with my mother, your father would then die saving my life. I found my mother, but as long as the depths of space separate us he’ll be safe”
“But what if his destiny is to die saving you?”
“I won’t accept that. I’m never going to contact him and that’s final” With that Trinity turned and walked from the room.
With a sigh Jenna stood and walked to her cabinet and pressed the activation button on the hold pad that sat on top. A holo flickered into life that depicted a young man in his early twenties.
Deven Tarn. Her father.
Jenna sighed again and looked at the face of her father.
“Oh Dad. Where are you?”
Trinity Oslo Tarn walked down the corridor trying not to remember the face of her husband or even anything about him for that matter. There were times when remember Deven was just too painful and the pain hadn’t lessened in twelve years.
As she walked her gown flowed and rustled around her reminding Trinity of what she’d gained over the last twelve years, which in turn reminded her of what she’d lost.
“Oh Deven” She whispered. “Why did I leave you?”
“Princess Trinity. Highness!” A voice called down the corridor
Trinity turned to see an aided walking down the corridor towards her.
“Yes?” She said trying to adopt a regal tone.
“The Republic has sent a complete listing of the members of its diplomatic force. The queen believed you should have a chance to see it” The aide handed her a data pad then took several steps back and stood at a respectful distance.
“Thank you” As Trinity scanned the information on the data-pad she noticed that the Republic was sending an entire task force in addition to its diplomatic party. “Probably wary about Supreme Admiral Sur” She thought. As she looked thought the listings of the unit and squadron commanders one name caught her full attention and turned her gut to stone.
“Deven!” She whispered. All of a sudden the world began to spin around her and she fainted.
“Highness!” The aide shouted darting forward and catching her.
As her world faded to black Trinity couldn’t help but think about how Jenna might finally get to see her father.
Two weeks later. Never Winter Station. Eashu system.
Docked vessel: Assault Transport ‘Hammer’
Aboard the Hammer the Genyosha were ready to head out and join the rest of the fleet heading to Skye. All three of the unit’s drop-ships were secured in the assault transports hanger bay and all personnel were aboard. On the bridge Deven glanced at the captain and gave a nod for him to proceed. The captain, a aged Mon Calamari named Tarpon nodded in return and gave the order to launch from the station.
As the Hammer began to move away from the station two things were centremost in his mind. The first was the fact that he had a twelve-year-old daughter and the second was that he was about to see both daughter and mother for the first time in twelve years.
Unknown to anyone aboard station or ship, the Hammer’s departure was being watched from another location. As the transport moved towards it’s hyper point so too did a small sensor-stealthed vessel. Seconds after the Hammer made hyperspace so too did the spy ship.
Before it did however, it transmitted a holonet message to Coruscant.
The message simple and contained only two words.
Joined: 20 Jun 2004
|Posted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 4:21 pm Post subject:
|Three days after previous part.
Deven leaned against the view port and gazed at the mottled swirl of hyperspace outside. The fleet was still four days from the Skye system but Deven’s internal turmoil was becoming worse.
“I have a daughter,” He whispered turning his gaze to the holo in his hand. To say he was shocked would have been an understatement. When Face had given him the news Deven had initially believed that Face was playing one of his stupid jokes. Over the last few days however the truth had finally sunk in. In just four days time he would be reunited with his wife and be introduced to the daughter he’d never met.
“Dammit Face, How long have you known?” Deven thought thinking of the last conversation back aboard Never Winter when Face had provided Deven with the frequency and code to contact an NRI agent on Skye.
With an effort Deven dragged himself to the current situation. The Hammer had joined the fleet bound for Skye a little over two days ago and Deven had to admit it was a formidable force. Fifteen vessels in all it comprised the Star Destroyer ‘Challenger’, Four Mon Calamari Cruisers including one of the new Barracuda class, Five Dreadnoughts, Two Corellian Corvettes, two Nebulon-B Frigates and three more Assault Transports like the Hammer. At the rendezvous point Deven had been introduced to the commanders of some of the other units. General Shin Yodama commanded the Thirtieth armoured division, Colonel Rarsh Veng, a Barabel, lead the Second Combined Arms Regiment and the fleet was commandeered by Admiral Archer Christifori aboard the ‘Challenger’. Also he’d been introduced to Commander Wilhiem Rodan, who led Rogue Squadron.
Deven decided that Veng and Christifori were against the political manuvering that had lead to the mission taking place. Both were veterans of numerous campaigns and Christifori had apparently refused to allow any of the diplomatic team on the bridge of the Challenger. Yodama was an enigma, all Deven could find out about him was that the man had only recently taken command of the Thirtieth and was also fresh from the academy.
Wilhiem Rodan was the sort of man that would make a Givin’s skin crawl, if a Givin actually had skin that could crawl that is. Using the words slimy, obsequious, ambitious and untrustworthy in relation to Rodan would have been insulting to somebody Slimy, obsequious, ambitious and untrustworthy. He was a man who really was the lowest of the low. As far as everyone else was concerned the only reason Rodan got command of the resurrected Rogue Squadron was the fact that Fyor Rodan was his uncle. The rest of the squadron wasn’t much better since all had a relative or friend in some high position within the government. The diplomatic team itself consisted of Fyor Rodan and Marcus Gresh as well as a dozen aides and assistants. Deven had done his best to stay clear of them.
One pleasant surprise had occurred on the Hammer’s arrival at the fleet. Admiral Christifori had given the order for four of the new low-Altitude Assault Transports to be transferred to the Hammer for the use of the Genyosha. The current MkVII models were a huge step over those used at the advent of the Clone Wars several decades ago and were also orbit capable. Three of the craft were infantry transports, but one was the larger version that had been configured to carry one of the units Warthog recon jeeps.
Deven appreciated the new additions to his force as the allowed for better manuverability for his troops and provided space for more equipment aboard the main dropships.
The trill of his com-link caught Deven’s attention and he flicked his comm. on and brought it to his mouth.
“What’s up?” He asked turning all the way around.
“We’ve got another problem with ‘that’ suit again” Alya Ven’s voice replied, “I think you oughta come take a look”
“I’m on my way” Deven grimaced. One of the other new additions to his force had been an entire supply of the new versions of the Atlas power armour. The MkIII’s were a step above previous versions. They were lighter, stronger and more durable than old versions and in addition, they also boasted a two-shot missile pack that was mounted to the shoulders of the suit and automatically detached when the ammo was exhausted. Also the suits boasted modular mounts allowing for the mounting of any weapon from light side arms to heavy anti-vehicle weapons. All the new suits had checked out except one.
A few minutes later Deven strode into the maintenance bay of the hammer and found Alya looking at the offending suit along with Alard King, the unit’s chief tech.
“So what’s wrong this time?” Deven asked as the rooms other two occupants looked up at him.
“Dang seals won’t stay coupled” King replied, “If they go when you just happen to be in a vacuum, they’ll be scraping you off the inside of the suit”
“And we don’t have any spare seals to fit” Alya cut in.
Deven grimaced. “Can you cannibalise parts from one of the older suits?”
“We can try” King replied “Might be easier to cannibalise this one though considering the problems we’ve had with it”
“This is, what, the fifth fault with this one suit?” Alya asked
“And none of the other suits have shown any problems?” Deven questioned
“None at all” King replied scratching his head “It’s like they sent us a reject suit just to annoy us”
“Who was the suit going to be assigned to?” Deven asked
Alya consulted a data pad then looked up “It was to be assigned to Ge, but he ‘was’ a bit reluctant about carrying a missile pack around”
“Assign him one of the old suits for the time being” Deven said before turning to King “In the meantime see if you can find a way of fitting the launcher to an older suit”
“Will do” King saluted then turned back to the suit.
“In the meantime if you need me I’ll be checking out the LAAT’s” Deven said as he walked out of the bay.
Two days later.
The briefing room aboard the Hammer.
Deven waited while the last few members of the Genyosha found a seat. Once the last person was seated and the door closed Deven began to speak.
“Good morning. I’m sure you’re all a little curious about the mission to Skye and why such a large force is being sent in support of what is basically a simple diplomatic duty” He saw nods around the room but saw no raised hands, so that was a good start. “The fact is that one of the last Imperial holdouts Supreme Admiral Lon Sur has his eye on Skye too. So at the request of the Skye rulers the fleet is being dispatched to protect the shipyard in case of attack. As for us ground units we’ll be landing planet-side and setting up command posts, then later in the week if all goes well we’ll engage in a few war games with the Skye Defence Force”
Alya raised her hand “What sort of data do we have on the world itself?”
Deven touched a control on the holo-projector and an image of a planet appeared in the air above the gathered troops. “Skye is a pretty standard mid-size planet gravity and atmospheric content is pretty much equivalent to worlds like Chandrilla or Corellia. A day is approximately 27 hours long with the sun setting about 2000 hours and rising at about 0700 hours. There are four major continents New Andery, Myer, Kurita Prime and Takashi. As you can see the world is mostly a mixture of mountainous terrain and flat plains. Around the equator you can see a fairly wide band of desert, this is the Hatya Desert and the usual temperature there is the equivalent of a cool day on Tatooine.
The primary continent is New Andery and as well as being the largest is also the location of the capital city of Nashira. We’ll be landing and setting up shop about three miles outside of the capital at the foot of the delightfully named Jaguar’s Fangs mountain range.
The world was colonised by a loose coalition of settlers whose original home worlds are lost in time though many terms and dialects have survived the passage of time. As a result the Skye ground military use a different rank naming convention. Just so you don’t get confused I’m going to go over them now. I’ll read out our standard rank and then the Skye term” Deven looked around the briefing room to ensure everyone was paying attention.
“Ok, General becomes Tai-sho.
Colonel becomes Tai-sa.
Lieutenant-colonel is Chu-sa.
Major becomes Sho-sa.
Captain becomes Tai-i.
Lieutenant is Chu-i.
Sergeant-major is Sho-ko.
Sergeant is Gunso.
Corporal is Go-cho.
And finally Private is Heishi”
“That’s a lot to take in” A captain named Loren Jaffray spoke up from near the back
“Maybe. But the Skye forces will probably use them in relation to us so it’s best to learn them in case”
“I hear that Tai-sa Tarn” Raiko mock saluted at the front
“Whatever” Deven chuckled “Back to the briefing. The government of Skye is a monarchy that has ruled for the last three or four thousand years although they ruled in little more than name during the imperial occupation. Technology is pretty much to current levels though they still use wheeled transports”
“So do we Sarge” Alya cut in referring to the Warthog scout jeeps.
The trill of his com-link cut off any reply Deven might have made.
“Tarn” Deven said flicking the com-link on.
“Colonel. The captain reports we’ll be dropping out of hyperspace so I suggest you prepare your people for launch”
“Acknowledged. Okay people let’s get ready. I want us launching within an hour of arriving in system”
To Deven’s surprise the Genyosha were ready and launching within half an hour. As the fleet settled into orbit around Skye, the drop-ships and transports of the Genyosha, the Thirteenth and Thirtieth armoured and the Second C.A.R along with the shuttles of the diplomatic teams descended towards the planet.
After the Genyosha landed at their assigned landing zone Deven received orders for him and Alya to proceed to the city of Nashira and check in at the hotel Keppler. Gathering his formal uniform and a few other things in a travel bag Deven gave a few last minute instructions to Raiko then climbed into one of the warthogs and set off for Nashira with Alya.
“What do you think this is about?” Alya asked as she drove the warthog onto the main road to the capital city.
“I figure we’re going to receive an updated itinerary and be introduced to a few of Skye’s upper figures” Deven replied
“I hear there’s some sort of banquet being laid on as a welcome. Do you think we’ll be invited?”
“I can’t really say. It’s possible” Deven said trying to hide that slight hope that they were invited and that Trinity and Jenna would be there.
A little over an hour later after a passing though a dozen security checkpoints they pulled up outside the hotel Keppler and where greeted by Fyor Rodan.
“Ah, Colonel Tarn, I see you and your executive officer have made it. Though I must apologise for wasting your time”
“Wasting our time?” Deven asked confused.
“Yes” Rodan replied “It seems one of my aides mistakenly thought the two of you were invited to the banquet tonight. But I’m here to set things right”
“We’re not invited then?” Alya said a little disappointed
“No, you’re not” Rodan responded as if speaking to a small child “However a room have been provided for you here at the hotel”
“But there’s two of us” Deven protested
“Yes well, the hotel is fully booked and it’s the best I could arrange. Anyway I must dash. I will speak with you again tomorrow” Then he climbed into a hover limo and headed off towards the Royal Palace.
“Why, that slimy no goo….” Alya began but stopped as a hotel porter stepped up to them. He held a card with their names on it.
“Hello, I’m Jeffrey, your porter for today. Welcome to the hotel Keppler. If you could just walk this way”
“If I could walk that way…” Alya began
“Don’t go there” Warned Deven
They followed Jeffrey into the hotel and into the elevator, which began to ascend to the upper floors.
“Do you know how many people work here?” Jeffrey asked them.
“About half?” Alya responded
The porter ignored the gag and reeled off a list of statistics he’d clearly swallowed parrot-fashion.
“Securities tight” Deven commented
“You can’t be too careful with Queen Marthe,” said the porter
“Someone’s going to steal her handbag,” asked Alya
“Queen Marthe does not carry a handbag,” Jeffrey said with dignity.
“Oops” said Alya
“What’s the Princess Trinity like?” Deven interrupted
“She is a star,” the porter said, his eyes shining.
“Oh” said Alya “Thanks for the warning”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Deven hissed
“It means she has a whim of iron”
A few minutes later they had reached their room and Jeffrey left them to decide on the sleeping arrangements.
“I’ll take the sofa” Deven said, “You take the bed”
“What?” Alya feigned shock “You’re not pulling rank on me?”
Deven’s reply was cut short by a knock at the door.
“Hello Jeffrey!” said Alya in a screaming camp voice “Couldn’t tear yourself away from me?”
Deven shook his head an opened the door to find a slightly bemused courier there.
“Colonel Tarn?” The courier asked
“That’s me” Deven replied
“Sign here” The courier passed a clipboard to Deven which he signed “And press your thumb here” he passed Deven a small print recognition unit. After Deven provided his thumbprint, the courier scanned the data into a verification unit at the bottom of a sheet of flimsy then passed both the flimsy and another one to Deven. ”Have a good day sir”
“What is it?” Alya asked
“It’s good news” Deven replied reading over both pieces of flimsy
“Yep. Get your formal uniform. We’re off to a banquet”
Less than an hour later.
Alya followed Deven as they pushed though the crush of people lining Nashira’s streets outside the Royal Palace. When Deven reached the front row he hopped over the white rope holding the crowd back. He then waited patiently for Alya, smiling calmly despite the commotion his action sparked in the crowd.
Alya cleared the rope, then stiffened as she saw a Skye Royal Guard security detail close in on them. When Deven laid his hand on her shoulder, Alya felt herself taking on some of the man’s nonchalance.
“Who are they?” Someone in the crowd shouted.
“Doesn’t matter” came the reply “The SRG’s got them now”
Two young men in ceremonial armour stepped in to halt Deven and Alya’s advance, while another pair fell in behind them.
“Let’s not have any trouble, shall we?” said one of the guardsmen.
Deven replied calmly “No trouble. My companion and I are going to the banquet”
The guardsman’s eyebrow dipped dangerously low as he frowned. “Have you an invitation?”
Deven shrugged “I don’t need one. I’m Deven Tarn”
“Here it comes” Alya cringed
The guardsman puffed out his chest “I don’t care if you’re Carth Onasi and the entire first legion. No invitation, no admittance”
Deven smiled “You do not understand, but I forgive you that. I’ve not made myself clear” Deven produced one of the two pieces of flimsy she’d seen him with earlier. “I have this”
The guardsman snatched the flimsy and sneered “This had better be good or you’ll be spending a long time in the cells” He unfolded the document, glanced at it quickly and shuddered. Sweat ran down his face and his flesh acquired an unhealthy ashen hue. He looked closely at Deven, then handed the flimsy back to him “Prove it”
Deven accepted the sheet and without a word pressed his thumb to the verification strip. The guardsman nervously snatched the sheet back, then stared at the strip. His pallor became more corpselike by the minute.
Alya unable to read anything on the document above the patch felt a pang of pity for the young solider. “Look at that paper tremble” She thought “What in the depths of Sith is it?”
The guard looked horrified “I’m sorry, sir. I ah, I have to call this in…” he reached up to activate his helmets com, but Deven’s hand gently restrained him.
“No” The Genyosha Colonel said with an easy smile “I’m afraid you don’t need to call it in”
The guard’s lower lip quivered violently as he glanced again at the note. With a voice full of reluctance, he capitulated. “I guess I don’t need to call it in, if you say so, sir…”
Deven inclined his head towards Alya “Thank you. My companion and I will be going now” He plucked the flimsy from the guard’s fingers and smiled conspiratorially at him “This is a surprise”
The guard nodded furiously and stepped aside “Yes, sir, mister…?”
“Yes, Colonel Tarn. A surprise” He raised his right hand and waved at the two men across the street guarding the palace gates. “These two go in…on my clearance”
“Thank you again” Deven said. He headed across the street towards the gate and waved Alya forwards. A few minutes later they were within the corridors of the palace on their way to the main ballroom.
“What’s on that note anyways?” Alya asked “We got passed them easier than would a battalion of assault walkers”
Deven passed the note to Alya. The young Twi-lek unfolded the missive and felt her mouth go dry. ”Emperor’s Black Bones!” The note signed with an unforgeable holographic seal, was short and succinct. “Deny this man, Deven Tarn, Nothing. Queen Marthe Oslo” Beneath it was a verification strip that held the image of a thumbprint. The golden tracery of Deven’s thumbprint, verifying a match with the one in the holograph, was already fading.
“No wonder that guard almost died in the street back there” Alya said handing the flimsy back to Deven. “I guess it does help to have a Princess as a wife”
In silence the two continued down the corridor until they reached a pair of massive doors. Two minor ministry of protocol officials waited to take notes on their names and titles while another official moved up to do the questioning.
“How would we like to be addressed this evening?” The man asked obsequiously.
Deven smiled cruelly. “All honours and titles”
The little man drew back like a cat about to hiss. “In the interests of brevity, sir, we’re requesting a simplified procedure this evening”
Deven produced the document that had produced such great effect earlier and Alya watched the official’s expression as he read it.
The man smiled weakly “Yes sir. Full honours and titles”
Within minutes the two minor officials had scribbled out the notes for Deven and Alya and handed them to the announcer.
“Are you ready?” The official asked
“Yes” Both Alya and Deven replied.
(To be continued)
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