The Last Hurrah

18 years after the Battle of Yavin...
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TalRaimi
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The Last Hurrah

Post by TalRaimi » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:51 am

2 Months after the Battle of Hoth.


The Rebel transport hung dead in space. Her engines lifeless, hull plates scorched, buckled and blackened. Spinning slowly about her axis, drifting ever closer to the gravity well of the small blue and green planet behind her. Soon enough Byrmal would seize the transport in its iron grip and she would burn up upon re-entry.

She should never had tried to run in the first place.

From the bridge of the Imperial Star Destroyer Audacious, Captain Gannar Trenn surveyed his handiwork. The assault on Byrmal had been swift and sudden. Twenty Four hours earlier the Planetary Governor had been deposed and Byrmal declared it secession from the Empire. Though a small and unimportant industrial world on the edge of the Outer Rim, the Empire could not let this act of defiance stand and the Gannar and Audacious had been dispatched to restore order.

“GR-75 Transport has been neutralized,” the Audacious’s tactical officer reported.

“And the corvette?” Gannar asked.

“Bomber Squadron, Kappa, has disabled her engines; she’s drifting. Her weapons are operational however.”

Not going anywhere, but still dangerous. Time to pull her fangs then.

“Bring us alongside, reinforce the starboard shields, and target the corvette’s weapons.”

The giant dagger shaped hull swung around, surging forward and closing the distance to the now disabled corvette. TIE fighters buzzed around her like flies on a corpse, several laser blasts lighting up the space near her as they pursued the few remaining Rebel fighters who refused to abandon the Corvette.

Gannar admired their resolve, if not the reason behind it.

The Audacious eased alongside the Rebel Corvette and streamers of green laser fire lanced outwards. Durasteel twisted and melted under the assault, turning the Corvette’s weapon emplacements to slag.

There would be no escape for these Rebels. Upon the Audacious’s arrival they had realised they were totally outmatched. The Corvette and her fighter escorts had tried to buy time for the GR-75 to escape but Gannar had not been so easily distracted. He’d sent his Bomber squadron after the Corvette while he had intercepted the transport; the rebels had never even stood a chance. All of which made this uprising on Byrmal even more puzzling, the rebels must have known they could not match the Empire militarily, had they really thought Byrmal was so out of the way as to escape notice?

He shrugged, clasping his hand behind his back. Who knew what these rebels were thinking? They represented chaos, the Empire was order, and Gannar’s job was to ensure that order prevailed.

“Tell General Vnat that he may begin landing his troops, he is to restore order to the Capital by sundown,” Gannar ordered, “And lock a tractor beam onto the rebel transport and prepare for boarding operations, I want...”

“Belay that!” a cold authoritative voice rang out from behind him. Bristling, Gannar turned to see a tall dark haired man wearing a white uniform striding down the bridge walkway towards him.

“On whose authority do you override my orders?” Gannar demanded, trying his best to keep his voice level and only partially succeeding.
“Why, the Emperor himself, of course,” the man smiled showing two perfect rows of white teeth.

It was like watching a snake smile, Gannar thought, and just as unsettling. Major Kilgrath Brandt, of the Imperial Security Bureau had been assigned to the Audacious as soon as Gannar had received his orders to liberate Byrmal. Gannar hadn’t been happy about it at the time; he was even less happy now.

“Your mandate is State Security, it does not give you permission to medal in a military operations.”

“My mandate,” Brandt’s grin widened, although the smile never reached his eyes, “Is to ensure the security of the Empire and the loyalty of the Empire’s citizens. Tell me Captain; are you a citizen of the Empire?”

Gannar felt a shiver ripple down his spine. He felt as if he’d stepped on a mine. A mix of anger and hopelessness churned his stomach as he reluctantly admitted, “Of course I am.”

“Then you would be wise not to give me cause to question your loyalty,” Brandt snapped, before continuing in a softer tone, “For instance, should the Captain of an Imperial Star Destroyer show leniency to his enemies I would question such an action.”

Gannar knew that he should bite his tongue but found he could not stop himself replying. His authority was being questioned in front of his crew, his very loyalty to the Empire too! “You would question my loyalty? After I have reclaimed this world for the Empire? And how is taking prisoners showing leniency?”

“These are traitors to the Empire. Anything other than their utter destruction is showing leniency,” Brandt replied. “An example must be set.”
With a growing horror Gannar realised what was being asked of him and why Brandt had been assigned to the Audacious. Brandt may have let Gannar plan the attack on the planet, but it was Brandt who had been in command all along.

And they knew. High Command knew!

While Gannar did not agree with the Rebellion, he had never harboured the same hatred for them that some of his fellow officers did. They were misguided in their ideals and that made them his enemy. Killing them in combat was one thing, cold blooded slaughter was quite another.

“They might have valuable information about the Rebellion,” Gannar protested.

“Unlikely,” Brandt waved a hand dismissively, “The Rebel cell structure has proved frustratingly effective over the years.”

Gannar swallowed as he felt the final door thump closed on his options, the ISB wanted the Rebels dead and they were going to use him to accomplish that goal. He glanced at his bridge crew who were all watching expectantly, but not one of them would meet his eyes, they too knew the power that the Imperial Security Bureau wielded and the cost of defying them.

“Your orders?” he asked Brandt. I have no choice, he told himself as he forced the words from his throat.

“Let the Transport burn up. Destroy the Corvette.”

Gannar’s fingers balled into fists behind his back as he tilted his head towards the weapons officer. “Target the Corvette’s reactor and main engines.”

In silence the weapons office complied and the Audacious once more opened fire on the helpless Corvette. A single volley of turbo laser fire ripped into the Corvette’s engine block and a moment later the entire vessel was engulfed in a giant fireball as the reactor detonated.

“The Rebellion must be taught the folly of their ways,” Brandy whispered into Gannar’s ear as he came to stand beside the Imperial Captain.

Despite himself Gannar found himself meeting the Security Officer’s eyes. “There are other ways.”

“Perhaps,” Brandt seemed amused, “But none quite so effective.”

Gannar shook his head in frustration; there would be no reasoning with Brandt. “Will you at least let me land my troops now to restore order?”

“There’s no need for that,” Brandt stepped away to gaze out of the viewport at the wreckage of the Corvette.

“I very much disagree, without my troops...”

“Your troops,” Brandt interrupted, “won’t be necessary.”

Gannar felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end; there was something about the tone of voice that Brandt had used... “What do you mean?”

“We have taught the Rebel’s a lesson but not the people of Byrmal.”

“We will route out the ringleaders and dissidents...”

“That is not enough,” Brandt’s cold voice brooked no argument. “As I said, an example must be set.”

Gannar’s mind whirled... he can’t possibly mean...

“Captain Trenn, you are to target all major population centres for orbital bombardment. The people of Byrmal will learn the price of treachery. They will serve as an example of every other planet who would defy the rightful rule of the Empire.”

The quiet mutterings of the bridge crew died away completely as a shocked silence fell. Gannar could not believe what he was hearing. He was being asked to glass an entire planet? Byrmal was a relatively small unimportant world, yet still supported a population in the millions.

“They’re Imperial Citizens,” Gannar’s throat was dry.

“They’re traitors,” Brandt shot back.

No. I can’t do this. I joined the military because I believed in order. I’m a warrior...

“You have your orders, Captain.”

This is wrong. There’s no distinction between the innocent and the guilty.

“Captain Trenn!”

This is murder.

“Captain,” Brandt leaned in, whispering in a low voice, “It’s you or them.”

Gannar felt numb. Felt sick. He glared at the Security Officer but Brandt merely held his gaze until Gannar had to look away. He swallowed, took a deep breath and turned to his weapons officer...
Last edited by TalRaimi on Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
'Would you do it with me, heal the scars and change the stars?'

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TalRaimi
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Re: The Last Hurrah

Post by TalRaimi » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:14 am

Present Day


By the time Arik Nevarr crested the rise of the hill he was breathing heavily. Underneath the faded red breastplate that he wore he was sweating; the thermal bodysuit underneath was doing its best to wick away his sweat but only partially succeeding. The armour was old, his body older. Gratefully he sank to his knees, then sprawled out fully and crawled to the edge of the rise that looked out over the small valley stretched out below him.

Even without the pair of macrobinoculars that he brought to his eyes the landing field was obvious, three circles of florescent glowlamps revealed the makeshift landing zones while a haphazard scattering of other lights marked various supply drops and cargo sheds. The small smugglers encampment was a blaze of light against the dark starless night.

They weren’t exactly trying to hide.

Arik knew such setups well. Located just outside of a City Spaceport on an isolated planet, close enough that any inbound or outbound freighters wouldn’t seem out of place, a bribe to the right people kept them off the governments’ scanners and left them free to conduct whatever business they saw fit. Trembis IV was just such a place. A small colony world at the edge of the Mid Rim that had been settled as the Old Republic had expanded out towards the Outer Rim. Its glory days were far behind it; it was too far off the major trade route to be a regular stop over for most freighter traffic but close enough to make it attractive to a certain set of individuals.

Arik scanned the camp below, carefully switching through the different vision modes of the macrobinoculars. A major heat bloom at the centre of the camp indicated a small power generator, while two groups of what appeared to be humanoids gathered to the north and east of the power generator. A token patrol made a slow circuit of the camp, two men crossing paths every five minutes or so.

The lax security reeked of the complacency; clearly the smugglers didn’t expect anyone to interrupt them here. There were no holocams, fences, droid patrols, or even motion sensors as far as Arik could discern. The amateurish nature of the camp almost offended him. Almost.

He spent the next hour and a half watching the camp, making sure the patrol pattern never changed, noting the comings and goings of the smugglers. At first there had been plenty of movement from the smaller group of beings to the east of the power generator; a few people coming and going from a two story prefab that Arik guessed served as a makeshift barracks. The sound of laughter and music drifted across the valley and Arik was sure that the intoxicants were flowing in camp. Gradually the noise died down and more and more people made there was to the barracks to settle in for the night.

There was curiously little movement from the second group of humanoids however. This group was larger, seemingly huddled together, barely moving. It could have been a second sleeping area... yet Arik couldn’t shake the feeling that something altogether more sinister was occurring.

Finally, after he was satisfied that the camp had quieted down, he made his move. Almost without thought he ran a quick check of his inventory, checking his weapons and armour, then slipped quietly down the steep hill while the guard patrol was on the opposite side to his approach. He made it to the camp in good time and flattened himself against the side of a large cargo container, hiding in its shadow.

A minute later the soft sound of boots on dirt signalled the arrival of one of the guard patrol. The guard, a Rodian, was staring distractedly up at the night sky where Trembis IV’s moon was just starting to peek out from behind the clouds. He was two steps past the cargo container when Arik stepped out and wrapped an arm around the Rodian’s neck, squeezing the air from the creature’s lungs, while his other hand suppressed the started cry the Rodian tried to let out. Arik held the Rodian firm until it collapsed into unconsciousness then dragged it into the shadow of the cargo container and left it there.

Stepping back out Arik followed the path the sentry had been taking, hunching his shoulders and bending slightly to minimize his profile as he was quite a bit taller than the Rodian. Soon enough the second guard came into view. A tall, thin human, who only seeing the expected shadow in the distance of his fellow guard, didn’t think to question at first why the shadow was a bit taller and wider than the Rodian.

Arik was disinclined to give the guard that time and in one swift movement pulled a gun from the holster attached to his back and shot the human in the neck. The man collapsed to the ground, his leg spasmed once, and then he lay still. Arik returned the tranquilizer gun to its holster and padded silently over the man. While he was certainly no stranger to killing, Arik had found that over the years he was more inclined to use non lethal takedowns so long as they didn’t jeopardise his safety.

Grabbing the guard by his feet he dragged the man into the nearest shadow, looking down at his face as he did so. He shook his head; the ‘man’ was barely out of his teens, still sporting a handful of acne and a thin shadow of whiskers on his chin. Count yourself lucky kid, he thought, not everyone who shoots you is going to be as generous as me.

Leaving the guard behind, Arik moved quietly through the camp, threading his way through the maze of crates and storage sheds until he found the Power Generator in the centre of the camp. He quickly set a small explosive charge at the base of the humming power generator and then turned towards the barracks like structure towards the east. He hesitated... he had an uneasy feeling, like an itch that he needed to scratch. He turned his head towards where he’s seen the other heat bloom.

‘Sentiment,’ he had been told a long time ago, ‘is a weapon. Use it. Do not let it be used against you.’

That had indeed been a long time ago, a different time, one where he had willingly set aside his humanity in order to simply survive. Now things were... different.

Cursing silently he turned away from the barracks and headed for the second group of heat blooms. As he neared the area he spied a squat white prefab, stained and battered, barely fit for habitation. A single guard was posted outside, dozing in a chair.

Under the cover of the guard’s snoring Arik approached silently. The door to the prefab was missing, in its place a simple metal gate; it was locked. Arik stopped at the gate, casting his shadow over the still sleeping guard, and looked inside. One look was all he needed. He pulled the vibroblade strapped to his chest from its sheath and cut the sleeping guards throat.

Slavers.

Frelling Slavers.
'Would you do it with me, heal the scars and change the stars?'

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