Before Heroes of the Old Republic I: Soldiers [Chapter 8 Posted-29Jan11]

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  1. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    HEROES OF THE OLD REPUBLIC I: SOLDIERS
    A Star Wars: The Old Republic Fan Novel

    By Jason Ellenburg


    Heroes of the Old Republic is the backstory for my upcoming character in Star Wars: The Old Republic, a Republic Trooper on the Vanguard path. It is just It has gone from a few lines, to a short story, then a novella, an all-out novel, and has finally come to rest as an entire Trilogy. Soldiers is the first book in the series and introduces the main characters. I am hoping to get them published through Lucasbooks, but I need it to be good and I need to get my foot in the door.

    To be good, I need your feedback. I consider you all unbiased readers and look forward to all of the criticism that you are willing to give. Please leave me feedback, whether positive, negative, or indifferent. Please post it so I know what you liked/did not like about my story.

    As for the ?foot in the door? part, I need some help to get this published. If you know of anyone that can help me, either through writing agent or with the right connections, please PM me to let me know. Thank you and good reading!

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Acknowledgements
    To the great guys and gals of D 2/162 INF and HHC 141 BSB in the 41st BCT of the Oregon Army National Guard, especially to Sergeant Daniel Hicks who taught me everything I know (much to the chagrin of all my other NCOs). To my friends and family who had to endure hours of their lives listening to me bounce ideas off them. To the George Fox University Secret Writers Group, Voices in my Head Anonymous, for stimulating me into writing more and more. Finally, to my dearest friend Cassie Folkers, who provided me the support and enthusiasm I needed to complete this venture. It?s all their fault, blame them.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Dramatis Personae
    (in order of appearance)

    The Core Characters
    Kaia Gamelon, female human Jedi who just passed the Trials of Knighthood.
    Ander Sonalex, male human sergeant in the Republic military.
    Krek Marell, male Rodian Republic soldier and sniper with a thing for nurses.
    Shai Nileo, female Twi?lek medic in the Republic military.
    Acolyte Karvel male human Sith Acolyte trying to make a name for himself.
    Drim Bolkhar, male Twi?lek former drill instructor.

    The Non-Core characters
    Ger Gnul, male Kel Dor Jedi Master, former master of Kaia.
    Darth Proditor, male human Sith Warrior and overseer of the Revenant?s ground forces.
    Colonel Kurgan, male human colonel in Replublic Special Operations.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    RPG Statistics for Core Characters at the beginning of Chapter 1

    Ander Sonalex - CL 6
    Medium Male Human Soldier 6
    Destiny 4; Force 6; Dark Side 4
    Init +12; Senses Perception +9
    Languages Basic, Huttese, Shyriiwook
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Defenses Ref 23 (flat-footed 19), Fort 22, Will 17
    hp 88; Threshold 12
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Speed 6 squares
    Melee unarmed +9 (1d6+6) or
    Melee blaster rifle +9 (1d6+4) with gun club or
    Ranged blaster rifle +10 (3d8+4 or 2d8+4 stun)
    Ranged thermal detonator +10 (8d6+3)
    Base Atk +6; Grp +10
    Atk Options Gun Club, Point Blank Shot
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Abilities Str 16 (+3), Dex 18 (+4), Con 18 (+4), Int 15 (+2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    Talents Armored Defense, Improved Armor Defense, Weapon Specialization (rifles)
    Feats Armor Proficiency (light), Armor Proficiency (medium), Grand Army of the Republic Training, Imperial Military Training, Martial Arts I, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Unstoppable Force, Weapon Focus (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (pistols), Weapon Proficiency (rifles), Weapon Proficiency (simple weapons)
    [b
  2. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Notes: This first chapter, the prologue, introduces us to a young Kaia and opens the door for the rest of the story. It is written in a simplistic manner to show the view of the four year old youngling Jedi at a training house, much like that of Arca Jeth in the Tales of the Jedi series.


    ~~~~~~~~~~


    Prologue

    Warmth surrounded the young woman, but that was all she could feel beyond a dull thrumming of pain from her sternum. She moved her fingers slowly and felt the warm liquid, thicker than water, flow around them. The pain was more of a dull ache, and seemed to tingle lightly in a straight line all the way through her torso.

    She wasn?t exactly floating in the liquid. She was vaguely aware of a support under her arms, suspending her in the liquid. The light pressure of a short top and briefs went almost unnoticed against her skin. Those pieces of cloth and a weighted belt was all that she was wearing.

    Her breaths were regular, the air stale and moist, and the sounds of her breathing echoed within her skull. She was unable to open her mouth and a rubber breath tube between her teeth didn?t allow her to completely close it either. A pressure against her nose prevented her from inhaling the liquid, as well.

    She carefully parted her eyelids to stare at the nova-like light after too long asleep. Between the light and the alien feeling of the warm liquid on her eyeball, she slammed them back shut. She tried it again, and was able to withstand the overwhelming brightness. However, her vision was clouded by the liquid and the slope of the transparent tube in which she floated. Movement in front of her drew her attention. She squinted through the liquid to see the shape.

    He stood there, a guardian against the evils of the world. The thought in her head was that he was always there and would always be there. That alone gave her comfort. A smile crept onto her lips, hidden by the breath mask.

    The dull image of his hand raised and pressed against the glass. As if the world righted itself in the sickly-sweet liquid, it appeared to her in its full detail. His rough fingerprints and palm became as clear as if she were holding it before her. The calluses, the small scar there beside his thumb, and the newer scar across the pad of his middle finger; it was all too real for her.

    The figure leaned closer to the transparent wall of the bacta tank. Fuzzy features sharpened themselves into a face. A small scar ran the length of his right cheek, and he hadn?t shaved for a couple of days. The gentle stubble had built into a respectable shadow, giving him the guise of a rogue. However, her attention was drawn to his eyes.

    Their piercing brown gazed into her soul. His brow and the set of his jaw made him appear as hard as duracrete, but his eyes were as soft as silk. She had stared long hours into those eyes, and knew they had gazed likewise into hers. They were filled with concern now; an emotion that she knew was misplaced. Even now, she felt her body strengthening between the healing fluid and her own powers doing what they could.

    A dulled sound reached her ears as he spoke. She could not hear it, but the movement of his lips was unmistakable. ?I won?t leave you,? he was saying. She knew it to be the truth, just as she would not leave him when their positions were reversed.

    Her hand was smaller than his, but she reached it forward and laid it over his palm. The movement caused more pain that out shadowed the previous gentle throb. She heard the flat tones from to her side, a sound emitted by a droid. The medical droid was probably admonishing him against touching the glass.

    She heard the hiss of an injection into the fluid around her. A fresh surge reached her skin, a numbing sensation that seemed to work its way into her entire being. Her eyelids began to flutter. She would be out in mere moments. The last thing she saw as the narcotic robbed her of her consciousness was his piercing brown eyes. The thought made her warm as darkness enveloped her like a comfortable bla
  3. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Notes: The first actual chapter introduces the main character and the main villain. I'm sure you can tell which is which. I used the inspiration of my Army air assault missions for this, but with bigger ?helicopters.? Additionally, I add a little bit of an extra seasoning to the villain, but that won't be fully explained for a while.


    ~~~~~~~~~~


    Chapter 1

    ?I don?t want any heroes,? the captain yelled out, finishing his supposed morale-boosting speech. He was pacing the aisle in the center of the combat shuttle between the rows of seats on the walls. He stood proud, though he was rather short for his race. Then again, Bothans were never really known for their height. ?A hero is someone who survives doing something that gets others killed, and that is not the kind of soldier I want in my unit.?

    However, Ander had always heard it put another way. ?A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.? He wasn?t sure who said that, but it was probably a Jedi. It is rare to hear a trooper saying anything that deep and philosophical. For that matter, too few non-Jedi actually become heroes. There are a few, but their names are overshadowed by the Jedi who travel with them. Who even remembers Admiral Carth Onasi, hero of the Jedi Civil War? Nobody, but they remember Bastila Shan and even Revan. Often enough, the non-Jedi are lost in some unread footnote.

    Therefore, the chances were very slim that Ander Sonalex, sergeant in the Republic Armed Forces, would be considered a hero. His chances of surviving the mission were even slimmer. He was currently in the platoon non-comm seat, just to the left of the captain?s in the Headquarters Platoon shuttle. Lone Wolf. He was the senior non-commissioned officer of Dorn Company on this mission.,. They had just launched from the 2nd Battalion?s Thranta-class Warship, the Trask Ulgo over the planet Boz Pity. Their current mission was supposed to be easy, a simple evac, but that is always wishful thinking.

    When the Ulgo dropped out of hyperspace, its sensors picked up two Sith battle cruisers on the opposite side of the planet dropping landers. This was expected, though. Intel knew that the Sith were going to make a push for Boz Pity. Specifically, they were after the Republic research bases on the planet. That was the reason for the Ulgo?s mission. It dropped the entire battalion the moment it detected the cruisers.

    ?Sergeant Sonalex,? the captain nodded to him. ?Brief the troops on the mission.? The older soldier stood and stretched his legs. After six years in the Republic military, three in the combat forces, this simple movement came with a number of pops and cracks from stiffened and prematurely aged joints. He pulled out his goggles and attached them to his black patrol cap. Their visual enhancements and heads up display cycled to life.

    Ander was pulling double duty on this mission. Normally, they would have a staff sergeant leading the headquarters platoon and Ander would simply be assisting him with his duties. The last company non-comm got herself promoted up to staff corporal a day before the mission began and Ander found himself pulling her role and his own.

    He reached back and pressed a button on his armrest. A projected hologram of the research station appeared on the floor of the shuttle in a yellow outline. The monolithic tombstones from the former inhabitants of Boz Pity formed around the station like a cityscape. Four yellow dots blazed to life and blinked around the station, connected to it by a twisting yellow dotted line.

    ?Our mission is the rescue and evacuation of the civilian and security personnel of Research Station 1138,? he began in his typical authoritative ?briefing? voice. ?This is not a tank-and-spank, so don?t do anything to try and earn a medal.? He looked back toward the captain without the officer?s notice. He was currently in a deep discussion with the platoon executive officer. ?You will follow your orders and stick to your assi
  4. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Notes: The second chapter begins just after the first. It introduces all but one of the primary characters and throws them straight into the hairball. This scene is written from multiple perspectives with each beginning just a moment before the previous one ends (if that makes sense). This is also inspired by some real events when my unit was in the Battle of Fallujah, except with lightsabers, droids, and energy weapons...


    ~~~~~~~~~~


    Chapter 2

    The moment the door opened onto the graveyard planet, all hell broke loose. A blast of energy rocketed through the door. It caught the captain in the bicep and nearly vaporized his lower arm. He fell backwards with a scream. The blast continued next the head of a Bith private who barely managed to duck in time.

    Klyyp was already on top of the shuttle with her spotter and the loud crack of her sniper rifle signaled the destruction of whatever fired the shot. ?Move,? Ander yelled out, causing the troops to finally spill out of the shuttle.

    Third squad was the first out the door, their positions set up ten meters behind, to the left, and right of the door. Each position was ten meters distant from their neighbor, providing a good coverage for the shuttle.

    Second squad was next. They took up four almost equidistant positions behind the shuttle about twenty-five meters out and twenty meters from one another. They set themselves up in two-man teams, using the massive stones as cover. From their fields of fire, nothing would be able to flank from the direction of the base.

    Ander was the next out, stepping over the captain?s injured frame as one of the medics and one of the second lieutenant?s dragged him to the sick berth. The planet?s light was a little on the bright side, but not so much to cause his visor to polarize. He looked at the smoking shape of a Sith droid and knew they would have company soon.

    A rock at his feet, about a meter to a side, shifted slightly. It looked newer than those around it and was moving in a way that the others didn?t. It flipped up suddenly and the brown furred face of a Wookiee poked through. Her green eyes reflected fear at first, the sergeant having leveled his rifle at her and thumbed the safety off, but soon let out a sigh of relief when she saw the Republic uniform. Realizing that she was the first of the scientists, Ander returned his rifle to the safe position and nodded to his squad.

    The escape tunnel let out practically at the foot of the shuttle?s ramp. The pilot was good. A member of Amder?s squad practically hoisted her out of the tunnel and shoved her toward the ship. Ander suppressed a chuckle at the Sullustan lance corporal shoving the hulking Wookiee.

    Klyyp released a loud curse above Ander and cracked off another shot. A moment later, the comlink activated and the hissing growl of the Trandoshan?s voice interrupted the platoon circuit. ?Enemy incoming from the wessst. Droidsss and sshhock troopsss, but no sssabersss, yet. Two hundred metersss and closssing.? A second shot rang out just as an answering chorus of enemy fire began raining in.

    A grenade exploded nearby. The overpressure wave made Ander?s ears pop lightly as shards of shrapnel flew through the air. A couple of pieces slammed harmlessly against his blast vest. Another completely tore the Republic patch off his right shoulder, leaving behind a scratch that stung and nothing else. He barely flinched at the assault. Since he was transferred to a line unit, he was subjected to nearly constant combat. He already knew how to judge the kill distance of a Sith grenade and that one was way off. Anyway, what?s another scar?

    The outer perimeter began taking heavy fire and the platoon frequency became a fury of information. Second squad was using the nerf-sized stones as fighting positions, but they were not perfect. Already, Ander could see three troops down, though only one stayed down. The pair of medics ran past the non-commissioned officer toward that trooper, dodging fire from both sides to do their job.

    Ander
  5. JediDingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 3
    Wow, looks pretty impressive. I haven't read it yet, but I'm definitly going to put it on my to-do list. I'm a big fan of OC's, because they are usaully few and far between on these boards. Can't wait!
  6. JediDingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 3
    Finished through the first chapter and I'm really enjoying it! You have a really nice prose. You may have addressed this in chapter two and beyond but where does this take place in relations to the Treaty of Coruscant? Keep on posting and youll gain followers it just takes some time around here.
  7. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Thank you!

    This actually takes place prior to the Treaty of Coruscant. The final chapter happens at the same time as the Battle of Coruscant (as seen in the Deceived Cinematic Trailer). So, the book will be ending with the signing of the Treaty of Alderaan.
  8. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Updated Chapter 1 with proper rank and organization information. Also, fixed some discrepancies between the platoon numbers/roster and following paragraphs.
  9. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Notes: This chapter could include an adult situation or two. Otherwise, it sets up the remainder of the first part of the book.


    ~~~~~~~~~~


    Chapter 3

    Shai looked over at the sergeant as he entered. She thought she heard the hum of a lightsaber just before the thermal detonator went off, but didn?t pay it any more attention. The overpressure wave was uncomfortable so close to the door. Thankfully, Klyyp hadn?t shut the top hatch, so she wouldn?t have to treat people for blown ear drums. Her eyes dropped to the scene of horror that Ander had dragged into the shuttle.

    The man appeared to have several compound fractures to his arms, ribs as well, and a punctured lung from his aspirated blood. His facial damage was mostly cosmetic, but she wouldn?t be surprising if he also developed a hematoma from the looks of his eye. However, he was not her primary concern. It was the other; the woman.

    Even Shai felt ill looking at what was left of her. Her lower abdominal cavity, from about her navel to the tops of her thighs, was almost completely missing. In its place was a jumble of cooked and raw meat, what was left of her entrails, and charred scraps of her uniform.

    Shai inclined her head to the pair of corpsman assisting her and they carefully lifted the woman onto the shuttle?s sick berth. Shai wasn?t sure if she could save this woman, but she was surely not going to just let her die either.


    * * *


    Ander watched the medics return to move the man to the second table in the sick berth. Without even thinking about it, he switched on his rifle?s safety and stored its power pack in one of his vest pockets. Out of another, he pulled his post-mission cigarra. It was the tradition of his first combat unit and he never gave it up. He actually grew to like them.

    The lieutenant reached over and lit it with a mini-torch she carried for her own. It was probably the only congratulations the woman would give, but it was enough. He nodded as it lit. She smiled weakly and headed forward to check the status of the rest of the company. She may not have been much of an officer, but she had some good habits. She was a former line troop who went to officer training. Why anyone would want to do that was beyond the sergeant, but to each their own.

    He took a long pull on the tobacco and felt it melt some of the mission?s stress away. He looked around and saw his soldiers as they were doing their thing. Some were assisting the civilians with strapping themselves in. Three were staring into the bulkhead, two more were arguing over who got the higher kill-count. One had already fallen asleep. Then there was Shai and her team, busy patching up the rest. He took another drag, blowing stress out with the blue smoke.

    The shuttle was rocked by flak. The movement caused some of the civilians to make sounds of fright, almost panic. The expressions on the soldiers didn?t change, though the sleeper started snoring. Ander was used to it; his job was over. If they were blown up, then it was the pilot?s fault. Ander got his people onto the shuttle, and that was the end of his duty day. A quick head count, including those in the sick-berth told him that seven were missing. Not acceptable by Ander?s standards, but it was within the expected numbers from the mission brief. Actually, it was extraordinary given the numbers of Sith attacking them.

    ?Tho,? Krek said weakly from the floor where he still laid. The reflected shot had cleanly severed one of his antennas. He probably wouldn?t be able to walk for a while, if Ander understood the role their antenna played. ?You think the nurtheth will thtill think I look good with only one antenna??

    ?Oh, yeah,? Ander replied with a chuckle, taking another drag off the cigarra. ?I hear it?s the current style in the core.? His light laugh brought all of the little pains in his body to the surface. He wasn?t sure if he would have to spend time in a bacta tank, but he knew that he needed to have his knee replaced. He took another long drag as he looked a
  10. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Chapter 4


    The room was dimly lit. It smelled of the ever-present fungus on Carida, as well as the ineffective cleaners used to combat it. Three figures sat behind a raised bench; a general, an admiral, and a Jedi. The three of them were the permanently assigned tribunal presiding over the courts-martial.

    In front of them, standing in the position of attention, was the accused. His uniform was pristine. His chest of awards was polished until they outshone even the Admirals. The creases on his dress uniform pants could cut durasteel. His face could have been stone, except for his eyes, which seemed sharper than vibroblades. On his head rested the black round cap of a Caridan Academy Drill Instructor. The silver disk on the front, a representation of the Republic Military Crest, shined like a beacon in the room.

    ?Staff Sergeant Drim Bolkhar,? the Jedi Consular said flatly. ?We the convened courts-martial find you guilty on all counts.? Being outside the military chain of command, he was seen as a neutral figure. The Jedi followed their own Order?s codes and rank structure, but were still integral to the Republic military forces. However, this aged Cerean probably had more combat experience than either the human General or Mon Cal Admiral sitting beside him.

    It was a trap and Drim knew it. It was all in retaliation for that senator?s son quitting two cycles ago. Why else would he be targeted this cycle for a practice that has been acceptable for the past decade? The senator got pissed because his son couldn?t cut it and blamed the Drill Instructor.

    ?Have you any words in your defense,? the Jedi?s eyes looked apologetic. He knew what was happening, but the senator probably forced him into inaction, too. It was typical. Jedi relied too much on their Force powers and were weak because of it. He may have been outside of the military chain of command, but the senate could still apply the proper pressure to the Jedi Council to get its way.

    ?No, sir.? The reply was terse and quick. ?Those were appropriate last words for a career about to go up in flames,? Drim thought to himself.

    ?Then the punishment will be read into the official record.?

    Drim waited. The typical pause took hours in his mind. Would he be discharged? Would some Sergeant walk up, tear apart his uniform? Could he stand by while that happened or would he get himself into even more trouble? All of those questions assailed his mind, though his face showed only military bearing.

    ?You are hereby demoted to the rank of Sergeant and reassigned to a line company.? Drim?s bearing cracked almost audibly as he looked wide-eyed at the wizened Jedi. The general sitting on the tribunal smirked at the movement. ?The unit of assignment is Dorn Company in the Second Battalion of the One-Hundred Sixty-Second Republic Regiment. Orders will be cut two days from this judgment.? The consular slammed the gavel, ending the courts martial.

    The tribunal stood and Drim rendered a parade-perfect salute, doing his best to reign in his surprise at what amounted to a wrist-slap. The general stopped a moment and looked down at the Twi?lek. He motioned for the droid to cut the recorder and leaned forward over the dias. ?The senator isn?t the only one who can pull strings, Sergeant. Good luck and happy hunting.?


    * * *


    Ander didn?t need to be put in bacta for his injuries, though he knew he could have used the rest. Instead, he received a prosthetic kneecap to replace the one that was bisected by the lightsaber. It was relatively nice, but still looked artificial. The plastoid cover was near enough to his skin tone to not seem that obvious except on close inspection. It wasn?t like anyone was going to see it through his uniform, though. The pressure sensors were attached to his nerves so he could even feel through the thing. While he would have preferred his old knee back, this one wasn?t really that different.

    On the records, the evacuation mission was listed as a complete success. Some people even called it a victory. Agains
  11. Websinger2 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2010
    star 1
    Got to say, read it and I'm genuinely enjoying this story. All very well written, which is a massive plus, and I really enjoy the way you wrote the battle - violent, brutal, gritty. The descriptions of the wounded sodliers, specifically Organa, come close to gut-wrenching, which definitely adds to the realism and grittiness to the war.
    The attention to details like random scrapes and cuts, such as the scene where Ander checks the cuts on his shoulder and back, added to the quality of the story, as it adds a good sense of realism; that there aren't only major wounds in battle and that it is rare to get out unscarred.
    There was also some impressive initiative in the scene where the droid beats the soldier with its bare arms; it's not something I recall having seen done often and makes perfect sense and again highlights the brutality of the battle. Some of these battle scenes are brutal enough to be New Jedi Order-level and as a huge fan of that series, I'm happy to see you write the war that way.
    I like the OCs, especially Krek and Karvel. It's fun to see such a deliciously evil and cruel Sith again, while the Rodian is just plain cool. Ander is a good protaganist, it's interesting to see while he is a hero, he is also unmerciful when he executes the Sith trooper, showing us the effect the war can have on people.
    Also, the moments with a drugged up Fey'yla trying to find his missing arm have to be some of the funniest I've read in a while :p .
    All in all, I look forward to more. Keep up the good work.
  12. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Thank you very much!

    With the Organa scene, I toned it down big-time from what it used to be. I had to so it didn?t get edited by the Mods. As I look back on the original, even I feel uneasy with other people reading it.

    Attention to detail is what makes a good author great. I?ve spoken to some at 501st troops during author-fests and they have said as much. I was also in the military too long to not gain a little detail-orientation and a bit of O.C.D.

    The droid scene was fun for me. I wanted to think outside the box a little. These war droids are supposed to be as brutal as they come. Also, with their scary features, it would make sense for them to perform melee attacks if their weapons are disabled.

    Krek and Karvel. Teehee, those are a pair? There will be some interesting details soon about Karvel. He is more than he appears. As for Krek, he is one of my favorite characters. I actually based his personality off of a friend of mine in the Infantry. And that guy really does have a thing for nurses?

    Ander is me. I write all of my main characters as a version of my own personality. I know that may seem odd, but I can be a very not-nice person if the situation comes to it. However, coming up you will see more about Ander? I am not going to give it away, though.

    Finally, we come to Fey?lya? Yeah, I do not like Borsk. I wanted to give a good example of one of his ancestors and paint him in a very bad light. I think I have done this fairly well so far. I mean, come on? how bad of luck do you need to open a door and lose an arm with the first shot of the combat?
  13. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Chapter 5


    Major Snive talked about the fine print written somewhere on the Medal, though Ander had looked all over it and couldn?t figure out where, states that you immediately become a target of opportunity for every holonet news reporter in the sector.

    ?Being awarded the Medal of Valor makes you a hero and the Republic needs heroes,? the public relations officer told him time and again. The man had started sounding like a broken holorecorder. ?That medal tells people that you are a hero. Now, go in there and be one.?

    The little man shoved Ander into yet another briefing room. At first things were quiet, until Ander got to the podium. Then the questions began. The questions continued. The questions did not seem to ever end. Ander thought, at one point, that the little officer probably used the same tactic when pushing a nerf into a nexu cage.

    For three weeks, Ander was tossed around between the various holonews networks for private interviews, had his words broadcast across the Republic, and even got to speak with the Supreme Chancellor?which was also recorded and played across the Republic. All the while, his normal job was suffering.

    Being a sergeant doesn?t just mean more pay and being able to tell corporals and privates what to do. It also means there are reports about every aspect of the platoon that require reading and writing. It means that you have to go over the evaluations for promotion, transfer, and disciplinary action of every member in the platoon. It means having to fill out requisitions for items the platoon has used or requires. It also means working with the Lieutenant who was also the company executive. What it does not mean is spending every waking minute of every day for three weeks in front of a holorecorder being asked the same questions.

    Unfortunately, it also means that what little personal time Ander had could not be spent with Shai. They still saw each other, but there was little if any time for intimacy. For that matter, there was little if any time they were actually alone. In caused them to drift apart a little, which hurt Ander more than he thought it should have.

    Ander really began wishing he could have been back in the shuttle. Or, for that matter, he wished he could have been back on Boz Pity. Basic Training wasn?t even sounding too bad at that point, either. At least, that was before the former executive officer of the company got promoted to captain and really took over.

    The commander finally interposed herself between the public relations womprat and Ander. Apparently, headquarters platoon was in dire need of a sergeant and Ander was the only person who could fill the position. Of course it was a huge bother for the womprat, but isn?t that the job of the non-commissioned officers? Making admin officers miserable? Ander thought so.

    At least, he did before he set foot in his office. Well, technically, it was the headquarters platoon office, but he was the only one whose desk was in there. Then again, he was the only non-comm with a desk in the platoon. That fact was something he was regretting.

    His desk, the first and only one he had since signing the enlistment documents six years ago, currently looked like a battlefield. On one side was a nice orderly stack of datapads waiting to be read. The datapad cairn was currently entombing the miniscule inbox. The other was a couple of dozen read datapads tossed toward the outbox in a way that resembled like the ruins of Boz Pity. It looked about ready to topple, but through some advanced form of physics known only to the insane, it just sat there looking precarious.

    Ander sighed and tossed his duty cap onto the desk between the two piles. His feet were kicked up on the corner and he had his head resting against the wall of the office. He reached up, unzipped his vest, and unbuttoned the top of his uniform for some comfort. It wasn?t like anyone was going to be coming into this office anytime soon.

    The last visitor was the dutiful military protocol droid who dropped off another layer
  14. dreven_Aarkanin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 9, 2010
    star 2
    this is greatness right here. very realistic characters, and i love how you told the battles as gritty and grimy. it only added more depth. one thing though: there were a couple of misspelled words here and there. but overall great job, and i look forward to seeing more!
  15. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Chapter 6

    ?Company,? newly promoted Captain Fel?s voice was loud in the drill hall, out sounding all the other company command officers, as she held herself in the position of attention. She was promoted from the executive officer position after Captain Fey?lya was transferred out and really showed her true colors. Apparently, the Bothan company commander was holding her back to make himself look better. Ander was not surprised, he really didn?t like Bothans.

    Ander snapped to the position of parade rest, and waited for the lieutenant, formerly a second lieutenant in the staff squad, to look over his right shoulder. He yelled out ?Platoon!? in the same tone as the captain. The simultaneous snap of boots into their proper stance caused the sergeant to hold his head a little higher. He trained his platoon well. Some soldiers looked down on the headquarters platoon, calling them admin clerks with rifles. Well, perhaps that was true. However, this platoon had the highest marks in the battalion, thanks to Ander and his training schedule. A difficult piece of work, but necessary to make sure they came back alive. It must have come from his two years as a straight infantryman.

    ?Attention,? the newly promoted captain called out. The company snapped to in silence. Well, calling it a company was just a formality. The only platoon to get off Boz Pity was Ander?s. After a moment, the captain said, ?at ease.? Every one relaxed their rigid postures and looked at the commander. Fey?lya rarely let the platoon relax in this way while he spoke. He preferred every eye fixed on him. Well, every eye was on the new captain, out of respect not discipline.

    ?Some of you may have heard,? she began, speaking a little louder than normal over the light din of other companies preparing for the battalion formation. Whenever any officer began their sentence with that phrase, it usually meant that they picked up something from scuttlebutt and wanted to confirm or deny what they had heard. ?We are going to deploy to Carida for training while the Ulgo is finishing up its repairs. The battalion will be moving out on the Corellian medical frigate, Kor Vella?s Comfort.?

    Ander could practically hear Krek smiling behind him at the chance of more nurses. ?On transit, most of the injured will be pulled out of their tanks and given the appropriate therapy before returning to duty. With that said,? she paused for a moment with a light smile. ?Company,? she again called out. As before, the lieutenant snapped to mirror her position and called ?Platoon? over his right shoulder.

    ?Attention,? she called out and everyone returned to the position of attention as before. ?Sergeant Sonalex, post!? Ander stepped forward and stopped a pace in front of the new commander. He lifted his hand to his patrol cap in salute. She returned it and glanced around at the assembled ?company? before her.

    ?Sergeant Sonalex,? the captain began, speaking more to the company than Ander. ?Due to your gallant efforts in the field, as well as your exemplary performance as the non-commissioned officer in charge of headquarters platoon, you are hereby promoted to the rank of staff sergeant. Effective immediately, you will assume duties as non-commissioned officer in charge of Dorn Company.?

    Ander?s eyes were wide and his smile cracked through his typical military bearing. It took only a moment for him to render another salute. After it was returned, Ander did an about face to regard the platoon. The moment his move came to an end, all of the platoon let loose a whooping holler and applause.

    As the applause died down, Ander took a short step to the side and back, ending a meter to the captain?s left. She did say the promotion was effective immediately. If he was in the wrong, he was sure that she would let him know. As she did nothing, he assumed this was the correct place.

    ?Staff Sergeant Sonalex is not the only promotion today.? Her words sounded a little saddened to Ander?s ears. He had worked with her for some time, and
  16. Websinger2 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2010
    star 1
    More good things I read, keep it up! [face_peace]
  17. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Chapter 7

    ?My dad was a trooper, so he was rarely ever home.? They entered the main concourse, and Kaia was surprised by the number of civilians in the area. ?I don?t even remember him all that well, just little things that stick out in my mind; a laugh, a word or two of advice, and a great many feelings.?

    The public concourse of Rendili station was like any other in the Republic. It catered to the military personnel as well as the civilian ship builders. It was often said that you could find anything there, for a price. Even the less than legal could be obtained, if you had the proper connections.

    Ander pushed his way through a few people crowded around some vendor stalls and made his way to the thoroughfare. There were personnel trams running at all times, but those were always crowded. The speeder taxies rarely landed in the military-run areas, not to mention they were prohibitively expensive. So, instead, Ander flagged down a droid cart. They weren?t as expensive as the taxis, but also less crowded than the trams.

    He allowed Kaia to get in first before walking around and sitting next to her from the other side. The droid spun its head around to regard the passengers, looking mostly to Ander. He pressed his thumb to the payment plate and said, ?Supply.? The droid nodded and they began rolling through the myriad of foot traffic and trams.

    ?I was only five when he died.? Ander took a deep breath and turned his face from Kaia. They were sitting so close in the droid cart that her leg was pressed against his. The carts were meant for individual occupants or couples that didn?t mind a romantic trip. Ander didn?t think of that before getting in.

    ?I?m sorry,? she said in a low voice. She put her hand over Ander?s. It wasn?t that warm, but he could feel a heat coming off it in other ways. He looked back at her, those blue eyes full of compassion. It took nearly a minute for both to realize they were in such close quarters and holding hands. They broke contact and turned away, watching the people as they passed.

    Ander noticed the stares of some of the pedestrians. Well, not exactly in his direction, but in Kaia?s. Civilians, and even Jedi, were common in the concourse, but Kaia was different. She was beautiful, not just regular beautiful, but holoactress beautiful. Ander smiled a little at the thought of so many people seeing them together. If any of them knew him, it was sure to start the rumor mill spinning.

    He turned back toward Kaia who was regarding him with half-lidded eyes and a raised eyebrow. He had forgotten again that the Jedi was able to hear his thoughts. A light blush crept into his cheeks and he hid it with a lopsided grin. ?Where was I,? he asked, the grin never faltering.

    ?About to get shoved out of the droid-cart,? she replied with a smile and another roll of the eyes. She chuckled a little. ?Before that, you were five.?

    ?Right.? The smile slid from his face. ?My older brother was in school at the time. He took over as a father figure to us kids. That was when he got the job with the distributor.? Ander held up the stuff sack. ?He graduated and got a management position, but it also required him to move away.?


    * * *


    They continued on, talking about their experiences for about ten more minutes. Kaia told Ander about life in the training house, then as an apprentice to Master Gnul. He was especially interested to learn of her exploits. Though, Kaia didn?t think that her experiences could be exciting to a soldier.

    The droid cart stopped at the head of an alley. About a dozen signs labeled it as Supply Row in various languages, most of which Kaia couldn?t read. She didn?t notice it at first, but as she looked around, there were far fewer people in this part of the station. Those who were walking around had an unsavory appearance to them.

    ?Mother remarried after I began my schooling. My step-dad was okay, but he was never a replacement for my father.? Ander was talking in lower tones, now. He got out of the cart and made a show to
  18. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Chapter 8


    ?That wasn?t helpful,? Shai yelled as she picked herself up off the floor. She was put there by a rather large private who blocked her passage with a padded shield. Normally, she would have slid right by him, but the ship?s troop area had almost one-and-a-half gravities and that was making most of the unit sluggish. She continued toward the end of the obstacle course. Ander, with a similar padded shield, easily put her on the ground and held her for ten seconds before backing off as she pushed herself up and past the finish line.

    ?Four minutes and thirty seven seconds,? the droid at the end of the course proclaimed as it noted the time on its datapad. ?Corporal Shai?nelio,? it regarded her with its immobile features. ?That is a full minute over your regular average.?

    ?Yeah,? she said while leaning over and panting heavily. ?Tell me something I don?t know, bolt-brain.? She walked over to the water dispenser and let it pour over the back of her head before finally turning and guzzling down a large amount.

    The new sergeant walked up to the start line. The course consisted of a series of ten obstacles. After the obstacles was some running and the slam ball additions that Ander added for some combat simulation fun. The regulations stated that participants should wear their physical fitness uniforms. However, Ander believed that a trooper should train as they fight. The only concession he allowed was the removal of the cap, vest, belt, and shin armor. This was more for safety than comfort. In truth, there was nothing comfortable about the course.

    The muscular green Twi?lek stretched his shoulders and got into the ready position. His build was similar to Ander?s, though his abdominal muscles had an alien shape that could be seen through his combat jumpsuit as he stretched his arms up and back. He reached up and unbuttoned the top of his collar as he crouched in a stretch. His posture was loose, but ready. He had a couple of scars, but nothing to point to heavy combat. The only thing that betrayed his nervousness at the course was the slight twitch of his head tails. He craned his neck to the side, eliciting a series of soft pops before leaping forward to the first obstacle and starting the time.

    The course itself is standard throughout the Republic. It begins with a six-meter long low-crawl under a half-meter high force field. This is followed by running through a series of eight staggered half-meter wide hoops. A one-and-a-quarter meter high vault comes next, followed by a shelf that is two-and-a-half meters up. If the participant can?t reach the shelf, they can use the cargo net to get up to the next obstacle, but they are penalized five seconds for the net. A five-meter long horizontal bar suspended from the ceiling by five thin struts that the participant has to balance along is next. At the end, the participant drops two meters to the floor and has to then pull themselves up and jump feet-first through a half-meter wide hoop suspended a meter over the ground.

    At this point, they are confronted by three balance beams. Each beam is four meters long, but they vary in height; one-third meter, one-half meter, and one meter high. At the end, the runner has to hop off, land on both feet, and perform a forward roll. A two-meter high wall followed by a six-meter long, twelve-rung horizontal ladder leads to the last obstacle. That is a five-meter high, unknotted rope. If the participant can?t climb the rope, they can use a cargo net to get onto the track with another five second penalty.

    Typically, the participant would run three laps of one hundred meters. The first would be while carrying a five kilogram weight in front of them. The second would by carrying a training rifle in front of them. The third would be open handed. However, Ander added a little something extra from his love of slam ball. A fourth lap had ten stationary individuals armed with padded sticks at regular intervals trying to knock the participant off their feet. Finally, the fifth lap had fou
  19. Volund_Starfire Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 21, 2006
    star 1
    Chapter 9

    ?Damnit, stop that,? Ander yelled.

    ?Warn me next time,? Kaia retorted. She would have looked Ander in the eye, but was busy deflecting blaster fire while covering him and his command team. A shot made its way through her sabers defense and slid almost harmlessly across her bicep armor. A breath of control escaped through her gritted teeth.

    Ander was standing slightly to her right, picking off targets as he could see them through the whirling white blade. He had just attempted to throw a grenade at the approaching line only to have it cut in half by an accidental swipe of Kaia?s lightsaber.

    Another wave of fire assaulted her nearly impenetrable shield. ?Do better then,? the word was almost accusatory. They had been fighting since the sunup. The current summer seasonal heat, mixed with the heavier gravity, meant that Kaia?s hair was matted down the back of her head and sweat poured off her face into the neck of her green armor.

    The near rapid fire of Ander?s rifle cut into the thickest of the enemy line. It seemed that no matter how many fell, others always seemed to take their place. ?I?ll try,? he spit back. A shot deflected off the toe of his boot, the impact made his foot go numb.

    ?There is no?? Kaia?s words were cut off by another rush of the enemy line. Ander screamed something next to her as the entire company came up from their previous covering positions and began firing to keep the opposing force at bay.

    In the three months since Ander and Kaia had been introduced, things had been fairly active. Ander spent most of his time on the way to Carida acquainting Kaia with the sub-dialect of Basic known as Military Speak. At the same time, the entire battalion was at 1.5 gravities to prepare them for the near double gravity of Carida.

    The first week on planet was set aside for acclimatization. Most of the battalion was on down-time, but not Dorn Company. Lieutenant Fel kept the company moving with daily physical training and combat drills. Similarly, Ander kept them going with the same regimen in the evenings.

    It was that fact that kept Dorn Company on the forefront of the training ranges. Even during their off-days, they did the normal training. The idea of being first in the battalion kept the morale high when other companies were barely even able to function. That led them to facing some of the best OpFor units on the planet.

    A shot of blue caused Ander to roll to his left. The unit was being flanked by the armored opposing force. Their blue stun blasts were burning into the ground around the company from the side as Kaia was busy deflecting the blasts from the front with her saber. Well, it wasn?t quite her saber.

    The simple metallic cylinder in her hands looked to be mass produced, unlike the delicately crafted hilt she normally carried on her belt. The white blade glowed in stark contrast to the normal blue of hers. Also, the sound was too high pitched, like some shrill droid trying to do a bird impersonation and failing. This saber was a training saber; a larger version of the simply youngling saber; though with similar properties. The biggest difference was that the training saber blade could knock anyone unconscious or ionize a weapon with a single slice.

    ?Ander,? Krek?s voice was loud and calm over the comlink in Ander?s cap. The cunning Rodian was in the coveted sniper slot thanks to Ander. He was about hanf a kilometer a way and thirty meters up a tree. He seemed to take to the sniper slot as a kraken to water.

    ?Go, Krek,? Ander ground out. They were barely able to hold off the advancing troops as well as the flanking ones. A shot came from an angle and knocked one of the flanking troops unconscious as the blue energy enveloped his helmet where it struck. He fell and shot a blast into the back of the trooper next to him. Krek was definitely a good sniper.

    There was a warbling cheer over the comlink that startled Ander for a moment, but he got his head back into the fight by taking out a flanking soldier with a leg shot. ?Uh,? Krek was co
  20. SoA Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2008
    star 3
    This fantastically written. You've got a great cast of characters that keep us entertained, plus plenty of banter and action. Your own experiences are really coloring this and fleshing it out in a very believable way. I can't wait for more!

    Though, I noticed a lot of little typos in there that distracted from the otherwise awesome writing.
  21. Websinger2 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2010
    star 1
    This continues to be a great story to read, keep it up :)
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