Saga The People's Armor (NaNoWriMo/Kalat Arm/OCs)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mechalich, Nov 6, 2010.

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  1. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 16 ? The Lesser Trials

    South Pole Ice Cap, Kratovas
    Kalat Arm
    Wild Space
    1 BBY


    They picked an arbitrary time to set out across the ice. Ji allowed everyone to sleep a bit longer, mindful of what Kamick had said. It is not yet a critical point, she realized. I need to hold something in reserve for when the time comes. She knew it would, it was inevitable, but the deputy's advice had otherwise been good.

    For all the difficulties of the ascent, the location had been well chosen, it was only a handful of kilometers to the tunnel they sought. The weather had also been kind, it was fully overcast, limiting the light, making movement easier and detection less likely. ?This is not an attack,? she told the group as they set out. ?But an aggressive reconnaissance action. We go in, we discover what the Empire intends and where they are heading up the project, and then we get out, ideally without being detected.? It was a risky mission, but Ji believed it was possible. She did not think there were many Imperials actually present here, it was mostly the Zygerrians and their slaves. They would not expect attack at this remote position, their security ought to be lax.

    The march was not easy. Though the glacier appeared flat from a distance, in reality it was anything but, and there were dangerous crevasses and other obstacles to be overcome as they traveled. Ji did not set a hard pace, trying to save energy for what was to come, and hoping that if any sensors picked them up on thermal scan the operator would just think it scavengers and ignore the image.

    Despite the difficulties, all went well, and with only half a kilometer to go to the edge of the meltwater lake, there was no sign of enemy action.

    The group was taking a brief rest in the shadow of a large ice shard when the clouds parts, ripped open by the passage of a large vehicle. It broke through the clouds with the promise of doom, a great bulk of white and gray, bristling with weapons, and sickeningly close. Descending from above to bring destruction they could not escape.

    ?No,? Ji breathed. ?Not now.? It was the worst possible outcome, and terribly unlikely, for there was no regular traffic over the glacier.

    ?It's the Ironstar,? Kamick whispered next to her, somehow recognizing the vessel at the extreme distance.

    Ji squinted through her shaded goggles, and yes the ship had the outline of the Ironstar's class. ?Everyone down!? she ordered. ?They may not spot us.? She had no way of knowing of the paranoia of Captain Renek Balten, convinced the Empire was out to doom him, and that the Zyggerrian had positioned an orbital satellite to watch the entrance the Empire had chosen to leave unguarded.

    ?They will find us,? Irina spoke with foresight.

    Even at that moment the Ironstar turned, and advanced on repulsors, low and hungry, towards the little band.

    Will they shoot? Ji wondered. Ship-based weapons were poor shots at individuals, but there was nowhere to hide on the ice. No, she recognized a moment later. They want to take us alive.

    Ironstar slowed, pulling up and searching for a wide spot to land.

    ?Run!? Ji commanded, making a snap decision. ?Run for the tunnel!? It was pointless to go back now, they could only go forward.

    They ran, and soon there were Zygerrians running after them.

    Reckless slavers fired at their barely visible targets, the range impossibly long for their small arms. Ji turned back to see a tall figure waving hands, reprimanding his men. So, the captain is coming in person. She was almost flattered at the attention.

    The race commenced in earnest.

    Drado pulled up at seemingly random intervals, launching a burst or two back at the small company of slavers in pursuit. The repeating blaster had little chance of causing a wound, at such range, but it blunted the momentum of the foe.

    There are no nearby other assets, Ji realized when a threat from the front failed to appear. We have a chance to pass through!

    The slavers were driven by rage and adrenalin, but they were not equipped to run on ice, and made up little
  2. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 17 ? Hints of the Lost

    Desga Ruins, Kratovas
    Kalat Arm
    Wild Space
    1 BBY



    Cyc led them forward by glow rod light. Ji followed, and Kamick took up a position behind the small woman, carrying another of similar stature. Irina was not heavy, but holding her in place of his backpack was awkward, and he kept shifting the insensible maskri against him. Drado brought up the rear.

    The ruins stretched on in narrow halls with tall ceilings, an unusual construction style. This area seemed almost completely empty, nothing but gaping vaults of stone filled in with great towers of intruding ice. Kamick did not think the ruins much damaged by the passage of twenty thousand years, only empty, barren.

    ?I believe this area must have been used for storage and loading,? Cyc theorized from in front of them. ?Possibly for some kind of light industry.?

    ?The Empire has not been here,? Ji noted, and everyone took some solace in that.

    ?Indeed they haven't,? the droid agreed. ?They would have begun excavations on the other side of the complex from us, and whatever they are looking for cannot be in this section. We need to find some indication of where to go,? Cyc explained. ?Look for a small room, a maintenance office or the like.?

    They passed into the largest room yet, stepping over a great icy pillar. ?It's a maze in here,? Kamick was reminded of some of the freakish geological formations created by the volcanic deposition of Lavestral, only much colder. The ice reflected the soft light of the glow rod in a thousand directions, creating strange fragmented patterns that lent a surreal timbre to the ruins.

    ?Good,? Ji amended. ?It will be harder to find us.?

    The room had to be at least twenty meters by ten, a sizable internal space, but it was empty.
    ?This facility must have been deliberately abandoned,? Cyc determined, echoing the deputy's thoughts. ?Which would make sense, glaciers don't exactly advance at a running pace.?

    Kamick spun around, looking up to the vaulting roof, now covered on the inside with a thin film of ice. What would it be like? He wondered. To know the ice was coming for you and there was no way to stop it, no way to flee.

    Drado interjected a short comment.

    Ji twisted about. ?There is something printed on the wall above that exit,? she pointed to a small archway leading out of the chamber.

    They shuffled over on the ice-caked floors, enthusiasm rekindled. It was a message written in yellow script Kamick could not recognize, being completely foreign to his limited recognition.

    ?Do you read the Desga language?? he asked Cyc, wondering if they were doomed.

    ?The language of the Desga colonies is actually Basic,? the droid couldn't help but sound smirky. ?The original colonists came from the Core Worlds, probably Alaskan or a world within its cultural influence if the design evidence from known colony ships is any indication. The language divergence of the current Desga species block occurred, like the radiation of the species themselves, over a great expanse of time.?

    ?But the alphabet is wrong,? Ji commented.

    ?Actually, it's quire correct for the time period,? Cyc objected. ?The Aurebesh alphabet did not spread widely until the Alaskan conflicts began some three thousand years after the Desga colonizations. This script is long since rendered a historical artifact, but I can read it easily.?

    ?So what does it say?? Kamick demanded, not wanting to let the droid get too far off track.

    ?Patient Rooms, Level One,? Cyc translated evenly. ?It seems this is a hospital.?

    ?What would anyone want with a twenty-thousand year old hospital?? Kamick wondered. ?Ancient medical tech is ridiculously outdated.?

    ?If the intent is to develop a bioweapon,? Cyc offered. ?As we theorized, then the goal may be to locate genetic material samples or possibly a functioning database. Such a record could serve as an invaluable baseline to compare against subsequent evolutionary changes. With the actual Desga Source unknown, an early stage colony would be the best template.?

    ?I thought the those colon
  3. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    exciting action in the chapters with Kamick and friends.
    Now to escape and find out what's happening there=D=
  4. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 18 ? Whispers of the Past

    Desga Laboratories, Kratovas
    Kalat Arm
    Wild Space
    1 BBY



    They did not abandon this place, Ji realized instantly. Whatever the fate of the civilian wing of the hospital, for some reason these labs had been left for glaciers to pass over and smash. She guessed secrecy had demanded the sacrifice, but there was no real way to grasp the reasoning of twenty-thousand years removed minds.

    The equipment was mostly degraded past all recognition, destroyed by the initial process of freeze and thaw as the glaciers came over the point, and then grasped by ice in the terrible chill that followed. Even those pieces in a state of reasonable preservation had no resemblance to anything in Ji's experience. Medical technology had changed so much in the hundreds of generations since, and the Desga had likely been removed from the galactic standards even of their own time.

    ?This place,? Irina was the first to speak. ?It is quiet now, but the echoes of grim origins remain.?

    ?Yeah,? Kamick echoed, though less detailed. ?Not nice.?

    Could the Force-users detect some strange echo of intent? Ji wondered. Cyc had speculated this was a lab for advanced medical research. The noblewoman knew such concepts were often pushed by military minds, and in most societies the military tended to stretch the boundaries of ethical science. It would certainly help explain the Imperial interest. ?No doubt it would be an advance possible only by breaking the rules of Republic civilization that would be most likely to remain novel after such a long timespan,? she told the others, and caught Cyc nodding. The droid recognized what she meant.

    ?Power has been restored to this level,? Cyc pointed out several consoles with a few flickering lights remaining. ?But this equipment is not longer useable. Still,? he grabbed a small bucket by the side of an ancient gurney. ?Time does not degrade stable alloys. There is carbonite residue here, couple that to the security system we just passed through, and I suspect the experiments had something to do with the use of carbonite.?

    ?Freezing people?? Kamick scoffed mildly. ?Doesn't seem all that useful.?

    ?Who knows what they were working on,? the droid replied, sounding both excited and nervous. ?The use of carbonite in conjunction with living beings was little studied under the Republic, because of the negative symbolism associated with freezing people against their will. Little research was ever done. We'll have to try and find equipment in a better state to figure out what these labs were intended to discover.?

    ?I suspect the Empire can lead us to our objective,? Ji recognized. If they had not already found the best location, they must be close. ?Can you locate them?? She asked Cyc.

    ?Using the terminals here, no,? the droid shook his head. ?But I can detect thermal gradients, and they should be directly to the west of us at the strongest point. Not more than fifty meters in a straight line.?

    That close? Ji was startled. She kept her body controlled, but gave a rapid set of orders. ?We may encounter enemies at any time. Weapons ready, and move in combat formation from now on. I want to maintain the advantage of surprise as long as possible. Drado take point.? She unlimbered her slugthrower rifle and prepared for combat.

    It did not take long to find the enemy.

    They passed through another dissipated lab, and there, on the other side of a thin wall of ice, could be seen the silhouettes of Imperial Army Troopers. Surprise is paramount, and so is stealth, Ji recognized. She suspected that the Empire had not increased security this deep within the complex, believing they were either dead or still outside somewhere. If they could maintain that illusion as long as possible, it could only benefit them.

    This pair of guards needed to be taken down quickly and quietly. Unfortunately the wall of ice was not going to make it easy to accomplish. Drado was their best at stealth attacks, but unfortunately he had no way to reach through a major barrier of this kind. The noblewoman
  5. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 19 ? Another Day

    Desga Ruins, Kratovas
    Kalat Arm
    Wild Space
    1 BBY


    Silently Ji praised the sacrifice of the Oram slaves. Too proud to run when they could spit in the eye of their captors, their last stand had bought crucial time as her companions retreated to Cyc's escape shaft. She knew it had also allowed them to totally bypass the Imperial obstacles to their retreat.

    Given the casualties we inflicted earlier, I bet the men now below us are the balance of all remaining Imperial Army personnel. They will have to spread out and search the lab, leaving us to escape above. This unexpected dislocation of the foe gave Ji a tremendous boost of confidence in their ability to survive and escape these terrible ruins.

    The assent of the long cylinder was easy. It had originally been strewn with barrier plates at short intervals, but the Empire had cleared those out when they penetrated downward. All that had remained was the rung ladder on one side, and the climb had been swift and easy up the several stories.

    Irina was the first out, the Zeison Sha having blasted up the tunnel using the strength of the Force. She blew the hatch off instead of opening it, the flying durasteel door descended to crush the unlucky Zygerrian tasked with guarding this point.

    They emerged on the cleared rooftop of the ancient hospital, the first surface not covered with ice any of the group had observed in days. If had been converted into a large staging area, connecting to the main shaft back to the surface and the large pit dug into the side of the building to reach the lab. ?Move! Move!? Ji began giving orders before she was even fully clear of the tunnel.

    The general route Cyc had predicted was memorized. The Zygerrians could be seen everywhere in the light of the bright labs they had placed on the roof. Their slaves were concentrated around the excavation and amongst a circle of prefabricated sheds used as an operating base. The refueling station lay on the northeast wall, less than half a kilometer distant.

    ?Cyc, now would be time for your distraction,? the squad leader told him.

    ?Right,? the droid input a series of commands into a datapad.

    The lights at the mouth of the hole in the roof began to flash and strobe. Hideous alarms split the air, bouncing and echoing off the ice in every direction they created the perfect din, rendering all auditory information utter chaos. Ji did not even try to shout over this cacophony, but waved everyone forward.

    Drado surged forth, vaulting low-lying crates stored at this neglected end of the complex. A stunned Zygerrian, turning to observe these unexpected enemies in panic, was slapped across the face with the butt of the repeater and went down.

    Two nearby slavers saw this happen, dropping down behind an idle load lifter and drawing their weapons.

    Irina gestured, and the load lifter gave a rolling jump, spinning to crush those who had sheltered behind it beneath the immense weight.

    Nearby slaves huddled and crouched against the storm, seeking anything promising a safety. Ji pitied them, wishing she could offer freedom, but it would be enough to save her own.

    The Zygerrians managed to coordinate a response when they were halfway across. A formation of twenty of so of the slavers gathered together in a mismatched line and made a rough charge, firing as they came with mix-matched weapons.

    ?Cyc, suppress them,? Ji shouted and gestured. She missed having a Herglic with a high-powered slugthrower, but a droid with a grenade launcher would do.

    Whump, whump, whump, the analysis droid fired, each discharge sending slavers scrambling to evade the high-powered fragmentation devices.

    A surprising number slipped and fell, skidding and sliding across a terribly slick surface in their urgency to turn.

    Ji's head whipped around to see Irina's hands on the roof, a thin sheen of ice extending outward. A brilliant move, she noted. ?Run! Keep low!? Ji put words to action, scrambling among the scattered machinery, storage crates, and surplus prefab parts. Occasionally she ret
  6. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 20 ? Into the Abyss

    Rakjas Spaceport, Kratovas
    Kalat Arm
    Wild Space
    1 BBY



    Warmed, cleaned, and rested in the relative shelter of a temporary safehouse, Kamick fiddled nervously. He tried to focus on the exercises Irina had set him, but the calm simply would not come, try as he might. Eventually he patterned his thoughts, investigating the cause of this nervous impulse. I'm in between, he realized. Uncertainty was the source of his troubles.

    What comes next? He wondered.

    The Empire is halfway to building invincible super-soldiers that will win all their wars. We know about it, but that's all. Who knows what was in that engineer's data cache? They could almost have it ready even now.

    But maybe they don't.

    That was the hope, Kamick could put it in words simply; maybe it's not too late. He believed hat was true, he could feel it, and he knew Irina did too. We can still stop them, somehow.

    The how was the difficult question.

    He didn't think they had any leads at all.

    Irina was out for the moment, retrieving updates on the Imperial search for them, the events at the ice cap, and replacement pats for Cyc's damaged leg. He supposed it would have to wait until the Zeison Sha returned.

    When she did, she came with few answers. The Empire was no longer looking for them, it had spilled over into general street fighting in several neighborhoods, the battle going back and forth, though soon the resistance would be forced to try and slip away before the noose took them. The polar facility was apparently unchanged, but there was no sign anyone had reinforced them, so Ji guessed the Empire was prepared to abandon the research effort, continue with slave transfers only. Kamick thought the noblewoman was probably correct in her assessment.

    ?So what's next?? Kamick eventually asked, unable to contain his impatience.

    ?I am unsure,? Ji's answer was not heartening. ?We have ascertained the Empire's aims, but not where they are focused on realizing them. There must be a hidden lab somewhere in the Kalat Arm, the ultimate destination of both the Desga slaves and the research taken from the ruins, but we have no leads on how to find it. We may have to restart the investigation with that as the new objective.?

    It was a realistic, but crushing analysis. Nothing we've learned tells us how to stop the Empire, Kamick knew. All they had determined was what would happen if they failed. Was coming here irrelevant? The deputy wondered. Should we have gone somewhere else, looked for something else from the start?

    If there had been a mistake, he could not identify it, but the current state of failure was surely a sign.

    ?Actually,? an unusually quiet Cyc, his injury had finally proven capable of reducing his continual stream of informative jabber, interjected. ?I think we do have a lead.?

    ?Have you been withholding information?? Ji's accusation was spoken in gentle, polite, tones, but it was absolutely a demand.

    ?No, no, no,? the orange head shook furiously. ?It's just being stuck on the floor I've re-parsed all the data I encountered in the base, and I discovered something from the communications system.?

    ?Discovered what?? Ji's demeanor toward the droid had hardened since his refusal to fall back in the ice cave, and Kamick's sympathy was with the noblewoman. Even though Cyc's delay had ultimately proved valuable, he had risked everything and disobeyed valid orders.

    ?A communications log,? Cyc explained. ?It's got a record of all the messages they sent out, and their security levels. I can only recover mundane banality, but there were a lot of high-level communiques sent back and forth to the same source.?

    ?If we cannot slice the communications, what use are they to us?? Ji's momentary sternness faded with her enthusiasm, an attitude Kamick reflected. Data we can't read is effectively the same as no data at all.

    ?About that...? the droid mused aloud. ?Admittedly it would probably take a genuine master slicer with high end equipment months to crack something like this, and we've got neither, but th
  7. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    loved the action, the discoveries and the quiet moments reflecting on the Force
  8. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 21 ? Before the Plunge

    Arcane Lash, Geosynchronous Orbit
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY



    ?No!? Dr. Entrene screamed, spitting mad. ?We cannot leave this system! I am so close! So close!?

    Temel had been shouted at by many people over the course of his career, including a number of superiors he did not respect, but even so, it was hard, very hard, to maintain proper military demeanor through this tirade. ?Respectfully, the results on Kratovas speak for themselves. The Discblade Alliance is aware of us, and they intend to destroy this operation.? There was no doubt in Temel's mind. The descriptions Captain Balten had given him for Smuggler's Run matched those of the security footage too closely. The Zygerrian had proved at least marginally useful before getting stupidly killed.

    ?They have no way to know where we are!? Entrene thundered, face red with his fury. ?We are staying here! I will not lose everything just because of the army's incompetence on Kratovas!?

    ?Perfect security does not exist,? Temel grimaced, crouching his anger behind his professionalism. ?This enemy commando team is very skilled, they surely acquired data from our network. A highly trained slicer could break into our files, and then this location will be betrayed.?

    ?The Discblade Alliance has no ability to slice Imperial encryption!? Entrene was no longer bothering with logic, simply declaiming. ?And it does not matter! This mission will succeed!?

    ?My judgment does not match that conclusion doctor,? Temel's voice was ice. ?Eventually the Discblade Alliance will find this planet.?

    ?Then destroy them when they get here Captain,? Entrene hissed. ?You have a whole frigate to work with, and half a squadron of fighters as well. If the motley resources of a handful of provincial wretches intimidates you, then I'm certain I can find a captain who is worthy of the department's backing.?

    Temel thought the threat empty, mostly. Anyone with career aspirations would refuse this posting. So would anyone with half a brain, he considered. No worthy military man would agree to work under an experimenter. ?I will defend this position,? he told the doctor, keeping his composure. ?But my official report will recommend relocating this operation. We have too many commitments here.?

    ?Your position is noted,? Entrene replied stonily. ?Now get out of my lab and get back to work. I am this close to the most important development in ground infantry since the Clone Army was created and I have no time for the objections of a washed-up commander with no confidence.?

    The remark stung. Washed-up? Temel wondered. Have I lost all confidence? Am I a coward now? He had to admit that his ship had advantages. Old though she was, it was still a Pelta-class frigate, and by the standards of the Kalat Arm a powerful vessel. Current intelligence suggested the Discblade Alliance had less than three frigates in their possession whatsoever, all stolen from the Empire. He ought to be able to stand against most assaults.

    But the fighters of today are not the fighters of the Clone Wars. There were a number of advanced, high-powered models available, and Zeison Sha pilots could do things almost as incredible as Jedi in the cockpit. A quick strike could cripple this vessel. I need to find an appropriate counter, Temel decided. He was stuck in this position, guarding Entrene's disgusting research until the scientist either succeeded or imploded. I will not surrender this position without a fight.

    He took the turbolift to the small hangar.

    Most ships of this class were not equipped with fighters, but Arcane Lash had been gifted half a squadron in place of additional cargo materials as part of some obtuse distribution of Imperial resources. The result was six Eta-2 Actis interceptors and a small stable of pilots to fly them.

    ?Captain on deck!? the flight lieutenant stood and saluted when Temel arrived, with the other pilots quickly rising to their feet and mimicking him.

    ?At ease,? Temel rarely came down here, he had little interest in twenty-year old star
  9. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 22 ? Dark Moves

    Arcane Lash, Geosynchronous Orbit
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY



    ?With respect ma'am,? Temel gritted his teeth in frustration. ?I need reinforcements, the position here is precarious, we have been discovered by the Discblade Alliance and I've lost my fighter screen.? Damn the Zeison Sha anyway! He thought. It had to be that, there was no other way to explain the combat results.

    ?I've already made it quite clear Captain Ruskar,? the voice on the other end was utterly unmoved. ?I do not have anything I can spare for your operation. We are overstretched as it is, something you know very well.?

    Temel looked into the stern face of Captain Brenna Tivin, the senior imperial navy officer in the whole Kalat Arm, and despaired. How do I appeal to her? She was completely correct, every unit they had was desperately needed where it was, the resistance continued to grow in power daily, and with the outbreak of rebellion Imperial Center was even less receptive to the demands of the frontier than before. ?There was a Zeison Sha on the ship that attacked us, maybe more than one,? he tried. ?I need fighters to track them on the ground. If I can just locate them it's a few quick turbolaser blasts and that's the end of it. Even a unit of combat airspeeders would make a difference,? he caught the look in her eyes and revised his request down even further. ?Or a few scout platoons if nothing else.?

    ?Captain, I cannot spare anything,? Captain Tivin paused. ?Let me be frank with you captain,? she added. ?You are sitting on a Pelta-class frigate attached to a planet we have no forces to pacify completely and capable of offering no threat to our forces should they withdraw. You want my support, bring your ship to a contested planet, or even anywhere with an imperial garrison. You don't have to risk combat with those scientists aboard, but let me get something out of the ship, free up my own troops. Without that, I won't spare a single blaster to an operation outside the chain of command.?

    ?Dr. Entrene categorically refuses to leave ma'am!? Temel protested. He agreed with her point, more or less, but it had him out in the cold here. ?I can't override him, he's got authority directly from Imperial Center.? He had a desperate idea of a negotiating tactic. ?If it was the Shadow Guard, you'd heed his request.?

    Captain Tivin blanched. Everyone knew she was so frightened of Yanibar's de facto ruler, even if he was nominally her subordinate, she'd bow to his every whim. He thought for a second he had her.

    The Captain-of-the-Line's expression hardened. ?Jasrol Mintran produces results, captain,? she told him harshly. ?Whatever his methods he has a row of Zeison Sha heads on display outside his fortress and keeps dozens more occupied with simply trying to kill him off. He reports to the Emperor himself, and does not ask for assistance to mitigate his failures. I cannot say the same of scientists pursuing some pipe dream secret project for which I have not been cleared to receive so much as a briefing on their operations. You report to some shadowy department on Imperial Center, completely outside the chain of command. I report to Moff Newvash and my superiors in the Imperial Navy, until such a time as I receive orders to do so it is not my intention to dispatch any forces under my command to protect someone's pet project. If Dr. Entrene does not wish to relocate, then I suggest you get him to solve your problems. Good day captain.?

    The transmission came to an abrupt end.

    I suppose I should have expected that, Temel sighed weakly. A moment later his anger returned. Damn you forever Entrene! His anger drove his feet to the turbolifts, sustaining him down to the labs. Captain Tivin's right, he thought furiously. If Entrene wants us to stay, he'd better provide something to help, or I'm taking the ship to a defensible system, whatever his objections! Having lost the six pilots to Force-assisted fire, Temel's restraint had broken. He had half a mind to shoot the doctor, space his lackeys and claim them as b
  10. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 23 ? Shifting Steel

    Lowland Forests, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY



    Chloe kept to the shadows as she moved through the trees. Her steps were light and delicate, silent against the soil beneath her feet. Her breath came in deft draws through the fabric of her mask, soundless but strong. The forest failed to notice her as she passed, unseen.

    Her eyes roved from place to place, and her ears were perked to any disturbance. All her well-trained senses at their peak. If there was anything here, she swore it would not escape her hunt.

    Something came from the sky in these woods, she knew, she had seen it with her own eyes. Her orders were clear, find this thing, or those it bore, and deal with them. It had not come as the others had, and had landed far from anyone, but her masters claimed it a danger. She had no reason to doubt it, and fully agreed.

    If the enemy is here, I will find them, and put and end to them. Her fingers brushed up against the daggers lying in the concealed hilts beneath her waistguards. She was not without fear of the enemy, but continued forward without hesitation.

    If I must die, so be it. They will fall, she vowed.

    She had found no trail as yet, but this did not surprise her. If the enemy was headed from where the sky-craft had last been seen to the nearest people, she would come across them from the front. Chloe did not desire an attack from that direction, but she could not waste time. The hour was desperate indeed.

    It was nearly evening now, she could hear the night-leapers beginning their songs from the trees. The small animals were no threat to her, and their low chirps provided an extra layer of noise to cloak her movements, though they made it less likely she would hear anything. The golden moon was not out tonight, and the blue moon's light was a pale, weak thing. Her night vision was well-honed, but she did not relish trying to track by such limited light. Better to find them before night falls, she knew.

    Passing beneath a large blow-down, Chloe caught a whiff of scent. There was little wind beneath the trees, but this opening had just enough of a gust to tantalize.

    Char, she thought. Someone is burning something.

    It could be a poacher, there was always that possibility, or a mendicant wandering across the forest, but she did not believe that to be so. The times were too dangerous, and the people had fled these lands. Would the enemy build a fire? She had no idea if they had need of such things, but perhaps one of their weapons had struck a tree. They caused burns, it could produce such smell.

    She moved, wraith-like, towards the source. Smell was not an easy thing to track, especially without the aid of wind, and this was no great scent, but it was enough for orientation. After that, Chloe followed her instincts, eyes constantly searching for the sign she sought.

    A clearing emerged in the distance. It was the result of another blowdown, they were common in the weak soil of this forest, and often happened if a tree was let grow too long before harvest. She could see the smoke now, not much of it, but there was surely a little fire in that clearing.

    Her right hand went to her left hip, reaching for the long flat-bladed katar sheathed there. With practiced motion she soundlessly drew it out and fitted her hands to the grip. She felt better having the long blade before her. It was a part of her arm, and made her into a weapon.

    Keeping low, a deep crouch, her armor flexing carefully as she moved, Chloe crept forward, trying to grasp what was before her.

    There were five figures, and only one faced outward. The clearing was not new, it bore the signs of a temporary campsite used each season by the loggers. These were not such, and had simply co-opted the site.

    Chloe skittered around, avoiding the tall figure who kept watch. He was greater in stature than any she had seen, and wore a strange wide, flat hat. She had not observed the like before, not even on the enemy, but who knew their ways. As she narrowed the distance, it was possible to get a
  11. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 24 ? Blue Cold

    Lowland Forests, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY



    Chloe, Kamick discovered in the morning, had a positively Drado-esque exercise regimen. She was up just before dawn, and going through a brutal series of moves with her knives. Kamick, awakened by the activity, was able to watch some of it. The intense movement of this routine highlighted the armor's bond to the nighten body. It moved with her, aiding her motion completely, even re-balancing as she stepped. It made maneuvers possible that no one else could have performed in such cumbersome mail.

    The nighten did not practice alone, of course, Drado had his own morning exercise of strange Kyuzo contortions and sprints about the clearing. This isn't going to go easy, the deputy recognized, and inevitably it became a process of one-upmanship, just as Drado and Etch had done before, this time ending with the pair running back and forth throwing knives at each others heads.

    ?Stop this!? Ji pulled herself up from her bed, still struggling with the weariness of recovery. ?Save your energy for the Empire!?

    Though the Nighten could not understand the rebuke, Ji's meaning was clear without words. Both fighters quickly put their weapons away, looking somewhat embarrassed.

    Crunching down ration bars and breaking camp, Kamick was a bit surprised when Cyc stood in the center of the group. ?Some good news for all,? the droid announced. ?I had a productive night while you all indulged in sleep. I've rigged a translation protocol for the Nighten language, and I'll upload it to everyone's comlinks. That will spare my vocoder extra wear and tear.? Everyone duly passed over their comlnks and Cyc made a few quick modifications. ?Recognize that while this mode is engaged you won't be able to transmit normally, and you'll have to remember to switch back,? he advised. Then Cyc turned to Chloe. ?I've altered a spare unit to conduct the reverse process for Miss Vell's use, just in case.?

    What followed was a several minute process to explain to the nighten warrior how to use the device. Chloe had an adaptable mind, but it still was complicated and ultimately rather comical. ?This is very strange,? she said after tying the comlink to the edge of her hood. She jumped in fright when the device rendered over her words in Basic after she spoke.

    This is going to take some getting used to, Kamick thought, chuckling a little.

    ?You were to take us to your Sacred Army,? Ji reminded the group of the discussion from the night before. ?If you would lead the way, I believe we are ready to go.?

    Kamick walked over to the noblewoman, anticipating carrying her for the first stretch, since it was his turn.

    ?I will walk today,? Ji insisted, refusing the unsaid offer. ?My strength has returned that much, and I cannot be coddled. I must get ready to fight again soon.?

    ?If you're sure,? the deputy knew better than to try and force Ji to accept his help. She'd blame herself more than him.

    ?So long as we do not push the pace, I will be fine,? Ji answered, calm and seemingly much better. ?The wounds have healed, it is only weakness now.?

    ?Okay, but if you need any help, make sure to ask,? she wouldn't of course, but he felt better for offering.

    They set off through the woods.

    Chloe led the way, and Kamick walked up beside the nighten woman, curious about her. It was not easy to see into her, with the armor and mask covering almost everything, but he thought she was younger than him, just a little. Her eyes were stern, and she had clearly seen a lot in her few years. ?What's it mean, being a Shade Knight?? he asked, unable to think of a better start to the conversation.

    ?We are those who strike from the shadows, unseen. Our role is to scout the enemy and disrupt his operations,? Her response was rote, the repetition of something she had been taught. ?It is not a glorious service, but an essential one, and we have as much honor as any other order of knights.? There was a defensive edge to this statement bleeding through even the translation. Kamick thou
  12. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 25 ? The Face of Duty

    Sacred Army Main Camp, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY


    Chloe led them into the camp, and Ji's eyes wandered widely, studying everything she could take in as quickly as possible. The camp was composed largely of round tents, in the red and gold colors common to the nighten. It was widely dispersed, and hidden among the trees and gully's of this territory, no doubt in the hope of avoiding scrutiny from above. The measures were not especially useful, but Ji suspected the Empire had good reason to avoid turbolaser bombardment of this force.

    Armored beings bustled everywhere throughout the camp, those bearing the stout armor of the knights allow with more common Nighten, with the simpler gray-coating on much of their skin. There was a tremendous amount of work going on. Besides the people the camp teemed with what Ji could only consider horses. There were surely equine in nature, though their red fur was matted into tiny scales, clearly another form of adaptation to Renigh's soil-dwelling parasites. Ji suspected this might have been engineered shortly after the original colonization, even as the humans were still struggling to survive on the planet. They were large, formidable animals, designed to carry armored men and women into combat. Though not nearly as large as banthas, these horses had been bred and trained for war, and the noblewoman considered them quite dangerous.

    They drew eyes as they passed through the camp, and many hands went to weapons, despite the armed guard that had gathered to escort them as soon as Chloe announced their presence. These guards, were all knights, though of a different kind than the slender Shade Knight. Most were large men, their armor fully plated and with enclosed helmets of spikes and horns. They carried large spears and massive two-handed axes that were surely incredibly heavy, and extremely powerful. There were also two women, in somewhat lighter armor, bearing long thin dueling blades. Field Knights and Duel Knights, Chloe had labeled these two different groups. The leader of their guard, an older man who kept a sharp-eyed watch on the Shade Knight most of all, wore grandiose armored robes, flaring wide like his own personal tent, he carried a long bent staff and wore a peaked hat that extend more than half a meter above the top of his head. Reputedly this man was a 'wizard.' Kamick said he was not Force sensitive, and the noblewoman suspected this represented a class of people wielding secretive knowledge that gave them pretensions of the arcane.

    Ji marked out interesting commonalities regarding the people, and their tents and work-spaces as well. Everything was extremely ornate, baroque. The red and gold coloring was everywhere, and style seemed almost as important as function. She suspected it had something to do with the bonding they experienced with their armor. These people could not change clothes on anything resembling a regular basis, so their one outfit was designed for the maximum impression, and it had become the custom to press this florid, gothic style onto everything in their lives.

    Despite the ornate nature of their armor and weapons, this Sacred Army was not a ceremonial force. Ji observed highly functional drills in progress, and maintenance of weapons and armor was continual. Men and women exercised, took meals, and played some kind of dice game with the mettle of long-established soldiers. These were veterans, and knew their craft.

    Experienced though Ji believed the soldiers to be, morale was clearly suffering. Screams came from medical tents, and long rows of graves could be seen at the edges of the camps. The knights appeared dispirited, and there was little energy present. This did not surprise her. Taking on the Empire with swords, spears, and arrows was sure to grind down even the best army rapidly. How long have they been fighting? Ji wondered. And how many are the enemy? The camp was vast, and though Ji's mind could not encompass it all she figured tens of thousands of fighters, a great army for a f
  13. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Chapter 26 ? Stand Forth

    Sacred Army Column, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY


    Ji found the others not long after. Kamick was talking animatedly with Chloe, while Drado and Cyc walked behind. They have quickly become friends, surprising, Ji thought, considering the inauspicious beginning. Does he find her attractive? She studied the deputy's movements for a moment. Perhaps he does, she thought. Well fair enough, the noblewoman admitted. She acknowledged that there had been little exposure to members of the opposite sex for some time. Irregardless of the boundaries of superior and subordinate, Ji had no interest in Kamick in that way, a mutual feeling. They were friends, but nothing beyond that, there was no chemistry otherwise.

    For the best, Ji knew. It had made matters much less complicated. That Kamick should latch onto the alluring and mysterious shade knight was hardly surprising. Ji suspected the stealthy warrior was not used to prolonged contact with anyone outside of brutal operations, and had proven open to the attention. For now the squad leader filed away the observation. It might come in handy later.

    ?How did it go?? Kamick asked when she returned.

    ?I have agreed to assist the Duke in his struggle,? Ji told them. ?I hope you are with me. This is not going to be easy.?

    The deputy shrugged. ?I don't know if there's anything else to do at this point,? He lacked enthusiasm, but was at least supportive. The others nodded in chorus.

    ?We are traveling to a place called Iron Gateway,? Ji explained. ?It is a defensible position, and there this army will make its stand. The trick it to find a way to turn out a victory.?

    ?How many Imperials?? Cyc asked.

    ?About a thousand,? Ji repeated what the duke had told her. ?Army troopers and dispatched navy personnel.?

    ?Too many,? The droid shook his head, sounding hopeless. ?That's just too many guns, even if you get them to walk into a trap, they could gun this whole army down in a minute.?

    It was precisely the point the Duke had just made, the central problem indeed. ?We must come up with a way to disrupt the imperial attack so this army can close,? Ji exhorted. ?They don't have heavy support equipment, it's nothing but soldiers, there ought to be a way.? There's the four missing super-soldiers Ji recalled, but there was no way to plan for what those monsters would do. She doubted they'd be actively deployed alongside line troops though.

    ?You're talking about suppressing them long enough to make a charge, right?? Kamick clarified. He did not sound confident.

    Drado grunted. ?Yes, it is a long ways,? Ji admitted.

    ?Three hundred meters,? Cyc announced, pulling heads around. ?That's the standard engagement range with an E-11 blaster rifle. Against unarmored targets you could probably start shooting earlier, but I doubt these Imperials will waste ammo. To suppress them before engaging means either a weapon that hits from further than that, or some kind of trap we can use against them.?

    Ji nodded, the droid had analyzed the particulars correctly.

    ?Do your people have anything with that kind of range?? Kamick asked the shade knight.

    ?How far is three hundred meters?? Chloe questioned, not having a reference.

    ?About from here to that blue tent,? Cyc pointed at a distant medical pavilion.

    ?That is further than the strongest bow can shoot,? Chloe told them. ?Only siege weapons could reach so far, and that is wizard business.?

    ?Siege weapons?? Ji confessed to not understanding what these people meant by such a thing.
    ?Catapults, ballistae, and similar primitive devices no doubt,? Cyc illuminated the subject as Chloe nodded. ?Devices designed to hurl metal bolts or stones.?

    ?Such weapons are for attacking castles, or defending them,? Chloe protested. ?You cannot hit a man from beyond bowshot with one, only great masses of troops or large walls.?

    So that idea will not serve us, Ji determined. A pity, I understand the uses of artillery, and it would serve well in this case. A fixed defense without heavy guns is weak indeed, but I su
  14. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Almost there...

    Chapter 27 ? The Battle of Iron Gateway

    Iron Gateway, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY


    So, they are coming for sure, Ji looked out at the advancing imperial column through her macrobinoculars. The soldiers were still distant, and covered by their handful of hoverscouts, but their march was carrying them inexorably forward. Less than an hour now, she estimated.

    ?Send a message to the Duke,? the noblewoman ordered one of the squires posted as runners. ?The enemy is coming, less than an hour remains.?

    ?Ma'am,? the squire saluted and headed out.

    Ji paced back and forth nervously, staring across the potential battlefield. She knew there was nothing left to do, all the plans had been made and now only the fighting remained. I am not the Duke's adviser anymore, I simply command this position, and it must not fall.

    She was halfway up the pass, at a tiny stake wall thrown up across the road by the side of the small stream that had carved this great ravine. Her post was among a group of infantry at the center of a long line of archers. The bulk of the army stretched out down the sides, crouched and hidden among the young woods, ready to charge the moment the bombs started to fall. Behind her, at the top of the saddle, waited the great force of cavalry, prepared to launch the charge that would decide matters one way or another.

    The Duke had wanted her up there, even though she had no idea how to ride a warhorse, or even further back, among the catapults with Cyc. She had refused. If this battle shall pit my plan against the Empire, I cannot avoid risk. She knew the current position was dangerous, possibly the most vulnerable in the whole formation, and she had chosen it specifically.

    Officially Ji had justified her choice through her blaster. She had the only one on their side and was the only person experienced in using one. If the Imperial charge could be slowed she could do tremendous damage from this point. If I can take two hundred shots, I might drop fifty men, which could be the difference all by itself. For the very same reason Cyc was under orders to charge alongside the cavalry when the time came, his remaining grenades were not to be wasted.

    Whatever the reason she had voiced outwardly, Ji did not expect she would be able to take those two hundred shots. The Imperials were not fools. When the attack from the sides came her position would be the most vulnerable, a decent commander would order a breakthrough and then hold this central point against all comers. We have to hold here, long enough so the Imperial formation breaks down under weight from the wings, then the cavalry can attack. Even if that happened the prospects of those in the middle were not good.

    This is where I belong today, she believed. It is the place I am meant to occupy, for good or ill, it is what I have earned, and no more.

    There was a light wind in the air, snapping the flags and banners sharply. Ji paused to look at them briefly. The Franmare Dominion's banner, a golden sword on a black field, hung high, but the Duke had ordered a new banner made for the Sacred Army. It placed a golden tower on a red field, a square tower, not circular, in an quiet bit of anti-Imperial symbolism. The thoughtful thoroughness of that consideration brought a small smile to Ji's lips. The nighten set great store by their symbols, and that new flag was everywhere this day.

    The imperial troops took their time approaching, and keeping a watch though the macrobinoculars Ji realized that the army troopers were urging on the navy men, who were probably intimidated by the sheer number they were facing. She was able to get a clear count now, revising the total estimate. The sacred army's first few battles had not been completely fruitless, they had managed to kill or wound about one hundred of the foe, leaving only nine hundred left. A steep price for over twenty thousand of their own, but it was better than nothing at all.

    Thankfully they have no vehicular support, Ji breathed. She counted a half-dozen speed bikes, wh
  15. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    It's away!

    Chapter 28 ? Forms of Armor

    Nomad Sentry, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY



    ?Okay Drado,? Kamick told the Kyuzo. ?Punch it, it's now or never.?

    The warrior gunned the engines, and the battered little pinnace rocketed upward, accelerating at full throttle.

    So this is it, Kamick thought. Take the frigate, or die trying. He'd gotten a comlink burst only minutes past from Ji. Her battle was about to begin. So it's all going to happen at once. Somehow that didn't surprise him, it seemed like it was inevitable.

    ?I cannot believe this!? the duel knight Nicole whooped, her stern and stone-faced demeanor shattered by the thrill of flight. ?It is unbelievable!?

    ?It would be better if we weren't rattling so much,? Drado cursed dryly in Huttese.

    Kamick couldn't help but agree, but he didn't say anything, let the nighten have their moment, there wasn't likely to be another one.

    ?Just keep your weapons ready,? Kamick told her. ?We're going to come in hot.?

    The atmosphere faded into the blackness of space, and the distant sliver of the frigate emerged.

    ?Okay Drado, it's all you, get us on board.? Kamick gave one last urging, though the warrior needed no encouragement.

    Eyes narrowed and focused, the Kyuzo's hands rested lightly on the controls, waiting for the Empire to make a move.

    The turbolaser fire started at maximum range.

    ?Hold on,? The deputy told the knights, as they awed at the incredible firepower of starship weapons.

    Drado slewed the ship down and right, then back up again, a complex crisscross pattern to avoid the mighty batteries.

    It gets worse, Kamick knew, the frigate had point defense lasers and tractor beams to use once they closed.

    Nomad Sentry spun about like a top, a crazed and mad target, dodging flailing tractor operators who tried to grab the ship in place so it could be pounded to pieces. The Kyuzo's green hands dashed over the console, redistributing power, strengthening the shields as the point defense guns started to batter the little vessel.

    ?Hangar bay in sight!? Kamick pointed out their objective.

    Drado grunted, working furiously.

    They blasted towards it.

    We're coming in awfully fast, Kamick thought. It doesn't do us any good to make it if we smash flat against the back wall.

    At the last moment Drado swung the ship on its axis, and blasted the engines at a full power burst, slowing the vessel and blowing through the security field at the same time.

    Nomad Sentry's engines gave everything they had, then sputtered and died.

    Still too fast! ?Brace yourselves!? Kamick shouted, grabbing hold of the seat with all his strength.

    They struck, bounced, skidded, bounced again, went into a flat spin, and then slammed against the side of the hangar.

    Kamick felt ridiculously dizzy; one of the shade knights vomited all over the mangled deck. The other clapped him on the back weakly.

    ?Everyone still breathing?? The deputy queried, shaking his head to clear the stars.

    ?For now,? Drado answered grimly. The Kyuzo obviously liked their odds no better than the deputy.

    ?Then let's move,? Kamick told the others. ?They'll be coming.?

    The hatch was bent and warped, failing to open automatically, so he and Nicole kicked it open, crawling out into the darkened hangar bay, alarms blaring all around them.

    Two crewmen, armed with blaster pistols, came running.

    Kamick rolled away from the knight, firing as he went. One man fell, the other took a dagger to the throat.

    ?Nice,? The deputy complemented the shade knight. Drado emerged next, the Kyuzo squeezing his tall body through the gap and immediately moving to secure the hangar door.

    The deputy looked at one of the bodies. Techs, he realized, not soldiers. They are all on the planet, we've got a real chance at this. He grabbed a datapad from the dead man's coveralls. ?Come on,? He muttered. ?Give me a layout, just one rutting image.?

    He brought up a maintenance schematic of the ship. There was a huge area in the center of the vessel blotted out. That's it, Kamick knew. The labs have got
  16. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Epilogue

    Shuttle Mystic Coil, Renigh
    Kalat Arm
    Unknown Regions
    1 BBY



    In the end, Kamick found it rather embarrassing that out of the whole group Cyc was the only one healthy enough to enjoy the Sacred Army's victory feast. The rest of them were laid up on cots being ministered to by several of the nighten's force sensitive healers. It was a slow process to full recovery, though Ji would bear a a brutal set of scars to her left side at least until she could have them surgically removed. The deputy rather suspected she would keep them.

    Ji mentioned that their wounds at least kept them isolated from flocks of admirers. In a moment of honesty she confessed she did not think she could face them. Though the Battle of Iron Gateway was considered a great victory over ten thousand nighten soldiers had been killed in battle, and many more wounded. Her fight with the super-soldiers was already the stuff of legend, and she found the adoration excessive.

    Chloe was, thankfully, unscathed, and had done well in battle. Kamick saw a great deal of her while recovering, enjoying the news she brought of greater events, and also simply her company.

    She was there a week after the fighting when Cyc walked in on them all. ?I've got signal contact, there's a Starchaser in orbit with a Zeison Sha named Brener aboard. Seems the Discblade Alliance is finally checking up on us. You two are about ready for light exercise,? Drado had been functional after only two days rest, the Kyuzo's toughness was impressive as usual. ?So I suppose it's good timing.?

    ?What happens now?? He honestly had not planned much after leaving Arcane Lash, and had been content to simply coast for a while.

    Ji sat up on her cot. ?Many things,? She answered. ?We shall have to arrange to transport the imperial prisoners home as promised, and maintain the secrecy of this world while doing so. There will be many negotiations to follow. The nighten shall have to deal with the rest of the galaxy from now on, there will be no hiding them. That is going to be complicated.? Kamick suspected Ji knew she was going to be roped into it, and had little desire for a such a role. ?There will be debriefings on what happened here, though I hope you all agree to be suitably vague as to the details.?

    Kamick nodded, and Cyc did too. There was some knowledge best buried deep.

    The noblewoman smile briefly. ?Excellent, beyond such perfunctory matters, there is nothing specific that must be done. Cyc, your contract is up,? Ji looked neither pleased nor displeased with this outcome. ?As you are a freelancer, you are free to do as you wish.?

    ?I'll stick around for a while,? The droid answered readily. ?There's plenty to study here before moving on to other projects, but I'll go back to Smuggler's Run eventually. I don't see Imperial employment in my future ever again, but I think I've already taken sides in an organic's war more than I ever intended.?

    Kamick would have hoped for more, but he couldn't fault Cyc much. The droid had put forward a lot of energy already. Ji might have earned the credit, but his ingenuity had been just as essential at Iron Gateway. ?Maybe someday it will be your cause,? Kamick offered with a smile.

    ?It is impossible to calculate what the future holds,? Cyc shrugged.

    ?What will you do Kamick?? Ji asked him, sounding curious. ?You are part of the Discblade Alliance now, and Zeison Sha as well,? Ji had absorbed Drado's testimony of events on Arcane Lash, and her attitude towards him had changed, subtly but significantly. He wasn't sure he liked it, not quite. I might have done something extraordinary, he recognized. But I couldn't do it again, and though the Force is there, I still have a lot to learn. ?There are many places were your service would be welcome.?

    ?I need to go home,? It was the first thing that popped into his mind, but it felt absolutely correct. ?My family thinks I'm dead, and I should never have let that happen in the first place.? I had my reasons, but they weren't good ones. I needed to do this, but I didn't need to let it l
  17. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Yes, at last it is all posted! that was rather grueling.

    I want to thank early-bird for the constant support, I really appreciate it.

    I hope anyone else who is reading this will leave at least a short response, as it's impossible to learn without feedback.

    Some final thoughts, written in the immediate aftermath of finishing the writing, follow.


    Afterword

    The day is mine! Or something to that effect anyway. So, that's it for my first novel-length Star Wars piece. Written in 18 days and 10 minutes. Soooo...time for a little reflection (you know, because sleep is totally not happening right now).

    I owe something to National Novel Writing Month for inspiring me to do this, somehow it powered an incredibly run of efficiency, and though the result could use some editing and adjustment, overall I'm pretty happy with it. So yeah, that worked out well.

    This is a Star Wars piece, but as anyone who reads through it will realize, it's incredibly non-standard. It is respectful and acknowledging of canon (and avoids conflict with it), while totally skirting established canon elements. It's all-OC, which is hardly surprising from me, that's what I'd always do, but it is also set in a remote part of the galaxy called that Kalat Arm that I've more or less claimed for my own. This story departs from typical Star Wars convention in that very little that is 'iconic' to the universe appears at all. There are no Jedi, no lightsabers, no Star Destroyers, TIE fighters, X-wings, or much else. Thinking on it, the most iconic feature in the whole story is probably the E-11 blaster rifle. How's that for weird?

    Still, I think doing it this way allowed me to explore possibilities, and to look at some questions that the canon, and probably the bulk of fanfiction, kind of neglect. Questions like: what about areas outside the Republic borders that Palpatine had to try and actually conquer outright? How do populations not raised in the tradition of the Jedi, but of a completely separate Force tradition react? What do primitive and native populations do when it comes to fighting the Empire at all, how do they manage? I think I was able to successfully explore these questions while having a grand old time at it.

    The overall plot of this story was really appropriate, and I'm proud of it. Superweapons of various kinds are a big part of Star Wars, and super-soldiers fit the bill. In fact, I owe a lot of inspirational debt to the original Dark Forces game, which had a similar sort of super-soldier plot. In fact, part of the unwritten backstory is that Dr. Entrene was competing against the Dark Trooper project and got totally outbid on the funding (because superdroids were a familiar technology and recent cloning setbacks had made the emperor suspicious of biotech). The idea of armor was kind of grafted onto the overall super-soldier plot because I had developed the Nighten before that and really wanted to focus the story on them, but ultimately I think that part worked out really well, better than I initially planned even. So even if the setting was usual, assembling a ragged gang of heroes to bounce across the galaxy and stop the big Imperial plot: that was Star Wars.

    There are perhaps some weaknesses in the plot that I would like to revise. Some of the Kratovas parts got a little more bogged down than I hoped, and I never really put together the ambiance of the Desga ruins. That was partly a struggle with exposition, since the whole Desga thing is the central mystery of the Kalat Arm and this novel only deals with a part of it. Maybe more in future tales.

    The Zeison Sha are obviously, a huge part of this story. They aren't my creation, having been invented for the Star Wars RPG, but they're a fairly blank slate, since there are no canon Zeison Sha characters and one has been done with the group beyond outlining. I chose them partly because of when Yanibar happens to be, as that gave me a lot to build around, but I also like that they aren't just Jedi with funny weapons or weird powers. They have a distinct, different, philosophy t
  18. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Bravo. For bringing this exciting story. Loved it from the beginning to the end where Kamick finds his destiny and his love.

    =D==D==D==D=

    Loved all the characters and the Zeison Sha=D=
  19. Mandalorethe1st Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 7, 2010
    ok, simply put this was one of the best stories that i have ever read. I belive that all of the charecters came out perfectly and fit all of their roles very well. I loved how you didn't stick to cannon and made it all very cool. the Shas are awesome and the Kyuzo was well placed.
    it was a great plot line and you pulled it off very well.
    one thing bugs me...does Drado get a new hat?
    =D=
  20. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    Thanks.

    I wouldn't say that I 'didn't stick to canon' since I made every effort to keep material as accurate to canon whenever possible and include existing elements rather than needlessly making things up. Certainly this piece steps outside existing characters and plotlines (in the timeline it happens about when Force Unleashed II would occur I believe), but it does not conflict with them.

    And I really don't know if Drado gets a new hat, since I'm not sure if he'll ever reappear. Ji and Cyc both show up in Legacy of the Desga: Weapons, Ji in a small role and Cyc as a major character. Drado is linked to Ji, so to answer that question I'd have to use her in a major way, which I have no plans to do at present. Cyc, oddly, has become the natural link between the different parts of this, which ultimately may become a trilogy (in which case this story will be renamed as Legacy of the Desga: Armor).
  21. Mandalorethe1st Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 7, 2010
    OK...by 'not sticking to cannon' I meant that you didn't have the same cast of characters. as I look through some of the stories, a lot of them are about previously invented characters. as far as i could see, you did use many cannon elements and made up the characters.
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