main
side
curve

Saga - ST Moden Canady's Last Battle (Minor TLJ spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Bly, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Bly

    Bly Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Now

    “Sir, message from the Finalizer, we’re to drop out of hyperspace and commence orbital bombardment.”

    Captain Moden Canady didn’t need to look behind him to identify the youthful voice of XO. Even on a ship full of children, she stood out for her youthful enthusiasm, as yet untempered by real war or real action.

    “About damned time–all hands, action stations! Gunnery, prime the autocannons and stand by to target the base. All shields up full. Comms, relay to Finalizer we’re on our way.”

    The Fulminatrix’s bridge crew sang out acknowledgements.

    “Aye skipper!”

    “You got it Sir!”

    “Roger that!”

    Canady took a deep breath and clasped his hands behind his back, staring out at the mottled blue of hyperspace. Children. He was surrounded by children on board this beautiful beast of war fresh from the First Order foundries. Back in the Empire they would have been cadets, safely under the watch of men like Canady with years at space under their belts. Under the grizzled NCOs who were stewards and safekeepers of the Fleet they would have learned every trade from helm to gunner to yeomanry.

    But the First Order didn’t have any grizzled NCOs, or at least not that many at all. The few with Imperial service in their history were like aurodium bars to be prized and scooped up. That snivelling ginger weasel Armitage Hux had seized most of them for the Finalizer so he could lord over them and disregard their advice like he did to the destroyer’s poor Captain Edrison Peavey. Canady had been lucky enough to shanghai one of the most experienced women in the Fleet to serve as his senior enlisted sailor, but he’d been forced to accept one of the children as his XO.

    Canady took a deep breath. Yenah Dreyze meant well, and she had the motivation and zeal that in the old days earmarked a new Ensign as someone to be mentored and groomed for a long career in the Fleet.

    But Yenah Dryze, at only twenty-five, was a Commander and XO of one of the biggest ships in the Fleet…with almost none of the experience that would have gotten her to that point in the Galactic Empire.

    Her voice sounded behind him again. “Sir, dropping out of hyperspace in five.”

    “Very good, XO. Time to show the Resistance what our ship can do.”

    ***

    One Year Ago

    “I hope you understand, Captain Canady, what an honor this is.”

    Moden Canady, standing at a parade-ground-perfect attention, dipped his head sharply. “Yes Sir, I do.”

    “I want to make sure, Captain.” Armitage Hux’s face bore no trace of his usual smirk, but the supercilious condescension was just as annoying. “The Supreme Leader’s eyes will be on the performance of his finest ship. This will be no ordinary command.”

    Of course it wouldn’t be, and Canady didn’t need some rat-faced child to tell him that. Even if he’d hoodwinked all the young believers, Canady’s fellow Galactic Empire veterans still looked askance at the condescending youth when he wasn’t looking their way. By Anaxes, the man still wore his sodding overcoat seated behind his desk like an Academy cadet still in love with all his uniform accoutrements. He was the worst elements of the inexperienced and overconfident Ensign personified, right down to refusing to listen to those with more experience.

    Except an Ensign could only ruin the lives of a few sailors. Armitage Hux led an entire armed force that was the last hope to bring some damned stability to the galaxy after decades of the Rebel Alliance sending everything down the tubes.

    Sometimes Canady wondered why he had followed Grand Admiral Sloane into the Unknown Regions.

    “Yes Sir,” repeated Canady. “I do.”

    “Excellent, excellent—come, Captain.” Hux motion to a seat in front of the desk, and reached into a drawer to produce a crystalline decanter and two tumblers. “Let’s drink to your command.”

    For an instant—only an instant—Canady was about to reply that he didn’t drink with children. But the moment passed, and he took two crisp paces forward before settling down in the chair, bowing his grizzled features in thanks. “Appreciate it, Sir.”

    Hux, smiling thinly, poured two helpings of brandy and offered one to Canady. “To the Fulminatrix. May she wipe the scum off our boots.”

    Canady paused with his brandy halfway to his mouth. That was another thing about the children. They had a love of overblown oratory with little to back it up. Maybe if the Starkiller Base project was a success, then Hux could start getting away with such chat. But in the meantime…

    “Yes Sir. And to the better branch of the service.” Canady dared a grin, and clinked glasses with Hux.
    “Pity you made your choice, Sir. Gotta say there’s a nice ring to Admiral Hux.”

    The young General’s face worked, trying on different expressions as he tried to determine if Canady was mocking him or otherwise being insubordinate. But in the end Armitage settled on the smug smirk that was his trademark. “Perhaps. But I do believe this is one choice I can live with. Now, Captain, you’ll be pleased to hear we’ve already assigned you your Executive Officer.”

    Canady perked up, lowering his whiskey. There had been a few fellow Imperial veterans at loose ends that he’d requested for his second. “Ah, excellent! Was Commander Breymer available? They were an excellent gunnery officer aboard Solicitude, back in the day.”

    Hux’s smirk took on a decidedly nasty tinge. “No, I’m afraid not, Captain Canady. Commander Yenah Dryze will be the number two of the Fulminatrix.”

    Canady froze. “Sir?”

    “Indeed, Captain. Her Academy reports are impeccable. And her time aboard Finalizer has indicated her to be an outstanding gunnery officer, which will be perfect considering the mission of your Dreadnaught…and an excellent counterpart to your years of experience.”

    Canady kept his face under control. He was an officer of the Galactic Empire, not just the First Order. He had to set the standard for the children, and that meant not rising to their bait. He knew what Hux was implying—the Imperial vets weren’t sufficiently ideological enough, that they hadn’t invested wholeheartedly in the First Order. And therefore, they needed the children at their side to keep them honest.

    “I see. I look forward to meeting her, General.”

    Hux raised his hands in a magnanimous gesture. “I am, however, pleased to inform you that your request to have Bryn Reslak appointed as your senior NCO has been approved.”

    A spot of relief, that. He and Reslak had served together aboard the Solicitude up through Endor, and she’d proven herself an excellent NCO many times over. “Outstanding, Sir, I’m glad to hear it.”

    “I thought you might be,” sniffed Hux. “If that is all, you are dismissed, Captain Canady.”

    “Sir!” Canady shot to his feet and rendered a crisp hand salute.

    Hux just blinked, and waved him away, clearly having already mentally checked out of the conversation.

    Canady blinked, long training rebelling at the thought of lowering his salute without it being returned by a damned general officer…but these were the children in command of the First Order. He lowered his salute, and about-faced to exit Hux’s office, mood dark.

    ***

    Now

    The mottled blue blurred into starlines blurred into stars, and Captain Moden Canady was staring out at a green world ringed by asteroids. There was a stream of craft moving offworld, hurtling for a small cluster of larger craft. Canady frowned as he squinted out the viewport. “Sensors! What am I looking at?”

    “We’ve got a bunch of transports heading offworld, looks like they’re making for that Mon Cal cruiser in the center of the formation—”

    “Target-rich environment then.” Canady spun round. “Gunnery, acquire targets.”

    The gunnery officer, Warrant Officer Bascus, looked up from his viewfinger. “Um, we don’t have the data from sensors relayed to us yet.”

    Canady suppressed a curse. “Sensors, relay your data to gunnery. You should have done so soon as we arrived in-system, dammit.”

    “On it, skipper. Gunnery?”

    Bascus was silent for a couple seconds. “…alright. Target acquired.”

    “Prime the autocannons,” growled Canady. “Time to put paid to the Resistance.”
     
  2. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    The description of Hux as a "ginger-haired weasel" was worth the whole story. I did get that feeling, from watching the film... the few (very few) commanders with experience, who find it hard to take the new leadership seriously. I was almost rooting for one of them to frag Hux. Nice to see someone filling in a backstory for them.
     
  3. Bly

    Bly Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2005
    NOW

    The Fulminatrix hung in space over D’Qar, a massive wedge bristling with firepower that dwarfed the Star Destroyers in tight formation around it. The dreadnaught’s arrival had lent a new urgency to the Resistance evacuation efforts, and on the hulking vessel’s bridge, Moden Canady couldn’t help but watch the proceedings with no small amusement. “XO, see that?”

    Commander Yenah Dreyze looked up from where she’d been peering over the gunnery officer’s shoulder. “Sir? See what?”

    Canady shook his head. “Their capital ships are tightening formation, trying to share shield overlap from the Mon Cal cruiser. We’ll need to pick off that one before we can get the little ones. It’s likely to be where the command is as well. Gunnery, have you acquired targetting vectors for the Mon Cal?”

    “Uh...” Warrant Officer Bascus looked away from his sensor scope to shake his head. Canady always had to struggle to take the gunnery officer seriously. He looked even younger than the XO. “Not yet, Sir, we’re still identifying the base’s location based on evac transport flight paths---”

    Dammit. Despite months of training and drilling this crew, of serving in small-scale skirmishes, even now Canady found himself wishing for some fellow Imperial veterans to make sure they stayed squared-away. For this sort of stuff to be happening in their most important action yet…

    ...when this was over he was going to link up with Edrison aboard Finalizer, try and make contact with a few of the other older sailors in the Fleet as well. This trend of giving youthful motivation and dogmatism primacy over experience was going too far. Something needed to be done, to ensure that the veterans weren’t utterly sidelined from helping form the new Empire.

    Something needed to be done about the children in charge.

    And speaking of those children…

    “Communications!” barked Canady. “Anything from the Finalizer yet?”

    “No Sir, nothing.”

    Of course not. The biggest child in charge wouldn’t deign to speak with a mere Captain, even commanding a dreadnaught. Armitage Hux was probably standing on the bridge of the Finalizer with his hands behind his back and his unnecessary overcoat on, spewing vitriol about destroying fleets and bases, salting the earth, blighting crops, and seizing spouses. Canady’s heart went out to poor Edrison Peavey, his fellow Imperial veteran in nominal command of Finalizer. At least here on Fulminatrix Canady didn’t have to deal with any monologuing.

    In the meantime, they had a job to do. “Very well. Gunnery, soon as the autocannons are primed, open fire. Sensors, keep an eye out for starfighters. And get our birds in the void the moment we pick any up.”

    The XO looked over at that. “Sir, orders from Finalizer before we jumped in said no craft were to scramble fighters without their say-so.”

    “What?” Canady whirled, glaring over at his XO. “Whose say-so?”

    “General---”

    “Of course it was.”

    Damn the little weasel. If there was one thing the Rebellion and the Resistance had proven good at, it was using starfighters to take out much, much bigger targets. And the dreadnaught was the biggest target in the D’Qar system now. The turbolaser emplacements on her hull were suited for ship-to-ship engagements, not point defense.

    Canady was a professional sailor, and he followed his orders no matter who they might have come from. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t look after his ship and his crew in the process. “Right. XO, get the pilots to the hangars, have the TIEs get their engines hot, I don’t care how much fuel it wastes. The second Resistance starfighters commence their attack, I want them in the air no matter what Finalizer might have said. Understood?”

    The XO looked scandalized, but she knew better than to argue with the barked orders from her commander and hurried off to find the fighter operations officer.

    Teeth gritted, Canady turned once more to glare out the viewport at the battle beyond.

    ***

    ONE YEAR AGO

    “Captain Canady? I’m Commander Yenah Dreyze. I’ve been---”

    “---assigned as my XO, yes, I know.” Canady returned the salute, looking the younger officer over. Uniform perfectly squared away, creases so sharp you could slit a man’s throat with them, the upright posture of a confident representative of the Fleet, and a face so young it had barely a worry line or a crinkle around the eyes. Canady shook his head and returned his attention to the behemoth under construction in the shipyards beyond the Finalizer’s bridge viewports.

    There was an awkward shifting behind him, and for a second Canady felt a deep sense of shame. What kind of a way was that for a skipper to greet their second-in-command, no matter what age they were? The relationship between commander and executive officer was the foundation of any ship’s well-being. There was no reason for Canady to let his bitterness interfere with that.

    And then Dreyze spoke again, and Canady’s shame evaporated. “I’ll admit I was surprised, Sir, that an officer of your generation was appointed commanding officer of our dreadnaught. This ship is the future of the First Order, and the Order’s future should command it.”

    Canady slowly turned around, tilting his head. “You mean you should command it, Commander Dreyze?”

    The woman’s features briefly creased with a wry smile. “I wouldn’t say no to the honor, Sir. But I meant someone of my generation of officers, who grew up with only the vision of the Supreme Leader and the knowledge of what needs to be done right this time.”

    “Commander.” Canady paused, blinking as he struggled to process just how ludicrous this was as the first exchange between the ship’s two senior officers. “I can empathize with your dedication. I wouldn’t have followed Grand Admiral Sloane if I didn’t agree with you. But I hope you can understand why someone with some experience in command needs to have the captaincy here.”

    Dreyze’s smile grew brittle. “I understand where you’re coming from Sir, but you lost. You were at Endor. At Jakku.”

    Canady could feel the sneer threatening to tug at his lip. “And before that, I helped keep a galaxy safe, Commander. You’ve been rebuilding a force out here in the Unknown Regions, but what do you know? Finalizer hasn’t been in a proper fleet action yet.”

    “I’ve read the writings of everyone from Teshik to Thrawn, aced the simulations---”

    “Bah!” Canady waved a hand. “Simulations---listen, if I was going to give any simulations credence it’d be the ones the Stormtroopers go through. Phasma knows her stuff with those live fire exercises, but with fleet tactics, Commander...do you know how you’ll react when you see the bow of your ship go up in flames under an enemy barrage? Hear your crew dying, see tiny little starfighters try to drop a titan?”

    The XO’s brittle smile vanished entirely. “I don’t think we’ll need to worry about that, Sir. The Resistance would be fools to attack our ship.”

    Canady barked a laugh, but there was no mirth to it. Once more he turned to stare back out at the shipyard and the dreadnaught being completed within. “Careful, Commander. Decades ago better men and women than you said the same thing about the Death Stars.”

    “Maybe. But we’ll crush the Resistance the way your peers couldn’t.”

    “Heh. You’re motivated, Commander, I’ll give you that.” Canady took a deep breath. “Let me know once we have a crew roster completed and the shipyards’ estimate of when we’ll be ready to cast off. Dismissed.”

    Dreyze came to attention, about-faced, and paced off the bridge, leaving Canady alone, staring out at his new ship beyond.

    ***

    NOW

    “Sir, starfighter contact, closing fast! It’s on an attack heading, right for us!”

    Canady stormed over to the viewport of the dreadnaught, peering out at the void beyond. There it was, a single red-lit streak against the void, rocketing toward the Fulminatrix at speeds that far outmatched what even the Resistance’s A-Wings were usually capable of. “Sensors! Is there only the one?”

    “Yes Sir, readings indicate one T-70 X-Wing.”

    Commander Dreyze had paced over to post up behind her skipper. “Only the one? He’s suicidal.”

    Even if Dreyze wasn’t old enough to remember either of the Death Stars, Starkiller Base should have been an excellent object lesson on the abilities of Resistance starfighter pilots and their craft. And Canady did remember the Death Stars, and the Executor too. One pilot with guts and ability could turn the tide of a battle.

    He turned to his XO. “All shields up full. Turbolasers, target that fighter while our birds get in the air, and once the autocannons are primed, fire on that base!”

    Striding back over to the bridge viewport Canady could see the surface of his beloved vessel erupt in a hail of turbolaser fire, but the Captain was hardly reassured. The ponderous guns were made for taking out slow moving heavy assault craft or other capital ships. Against a nimble X-Wing they’d be worse than useless---

    ---and that was suddenly confirmed as explosions began to blossom across the hull.

    “Sir!” It was Bascus. “They’re taking down our turbolasers!”

    “I can see that,” snapped Canady. “Where the devil are our fighters?”

    “Launch sequence is almost complete,” said Dreyze from behind him. “The squadrons had some issues coordinating comms protocols.”

    Canady almost gawped. “They what---”

    The comms officer interrupted him. “Sir incoming message on holo. It’s General Hux!”

    And now the ginger weasel wanted to know why someone was doing so well at breaking his toys. Armitage Hux’s holo was already blazing to life. In half-size the General looked even more like the child playing soldier he was. His hands were clasped tightly behind his back save when he wanted to point dramatically, ludicrously inappropriate overcoat swirling round him.

    “Captain Canady, why aren’t you blasting that puny ship?!”

    “That puny ship is too small and at too close range, we need to scramble our fighters!” snapped back Canady, too irritated to even give a whit about putting up the pretense of respect for the young General. To ice the cake he spun around without having the transmission ended or being dismissed, and stormed off to find the fighter operations officer.

    “...five bloody minutes ago,” he snarled to no one in particular, still aggravated at ludicrous orders and the inefficiency of his crew.

    “He’ll never penetrate our armor.” Commander Dreyze’s tone was more admonishing than reassuring, chastising him for his lack of faith.

    “He’s not trying to penetrate our armor,” snapped back Canady. “He’s trying to clear out our surface cannon.”

    Dreyze frowned. “Our shields and armor are too strong for fighters, and we have shield and turbolaser cover from Finalizer and other destroyers to deal with their capital ships.”

    “But not from heavies. Sensors, keep your eyes open, heavy assault craft will be coming in soon.” Canady took a deep breath. “Fighter ops, are we away?”

    “Yes Sir, Rapier Wing is reporting all three squadrons spaceborne and moving to intercept.”

    “Good.” Canady pushed off from the sensor officer’s console and headed back for the viewport. There was a lot less green turbolaser fire over the hull, now. A lot less. “Bloody---gunnery, how many turbolasers do we have left?”

    “Just one, Sir,” said Bascus.

    Canady gritted his teeth and stormed over to the cluster of consoles that were the gunnery stations. “Are the autocannons primed?”

    “Primed and ready, Sir,” came the immediate response from a young crewer.

    Hadn’t he given orders to open fire as soon as they were up? “What are we waiting for? Fire on the base!”

    The hull of the dreadnaught vibrated as the heavy cannons slung on the ventral side of the hull thundered to life, hurling destructive energy at the planet below. Out the bridge viewport Canady could see fire blossom on the surface of D’Qar. Any Resistance personnel down there were gone, along with any spacecraft or supplies there too. One less safe haven for the dogs to run to, and Canady nodded approvingly at the cheers on the dreadnaught’s bridge before raising a hand.

    “Tighten it up, people, we still have a battle out there!”

    And as if he’d jinxed his crew, Bascus was soon calling out from his scope, “Resistance bombers approaching!”

    Canady sighed and shook his head. It was all on the fighters now.

    “Of course they are.”
     
  4. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    I'm really enjoying your Canady. Love the snarky comments about Hux's unnecessary overcoat, too! It's a good thing he doesn't have Vader's Force-choke skills.