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Beyond - Legends The Frontline - (AU, Post-ROTJ, OCs, Imperial POV) - Part One

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by The Hellhammer, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. The Hellhammer

    The Hellhammer Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 4, 2012
    Title: The Frontline

    Author: The Hellhammer

    Timeframe: Six months after the Battle of Endor

    Characters: All original characters, Imperial Military

    Genre: War, Alternate Universe, and who knows what else it will become over time.

    Summary: The Imperial 53rd Army Corps is fighting a hellish battle against the young New Republic on the strategically vital world of Larane V, located along one of the main hyperspace lanes connecting the Outer and Mid Rim territories. The enemy armies are locked in what seems to be an unbreakable stalemate. The planet itself is home to a curious phenomenon - a strange mist that unpredictably affects the all forms of technology. As the fighting grows ever more brutal and desperate, the line between right and wrong begins to fade for both sides...

    Notes: This is the first serious piece of writing I have done in years. The idea is something that I have been kicking around in my head for quite a while now and finally decided to bring it to life. I plan this to be a relatively short story, of maybe Six or Seven parts. After that - it can go in two directions, depending on both the readers' interest and my own (ever changing :p) plans. First idea is to use this is a set up for a larger, more epic, galaxy spanning AU focusing on how I imagine the fight against New Republic and the Empire could have gone. The second is to continue to story of Nir Varran and his comrades...if they survive ;)
    Hope you enjoy it. Any constructive feedback is welcome!

    Soft mud engulfed Nir Varran’s once perfectly white and smooth stormtrooper armor as he crawled through the blown out, desolate remains of what used to be a fertile valley. He inched forward, his helmet removed and his face almost touching the surface. In his hand he clutched a crude, improvised binoculars. It was fashioned from a simple plasteel tube with a piece of curved Larian crystal attached to each end. Nir risked a few brief seconds of exposure as he raised himself on his elbows and surveyed the terrain ahead. He spotted the remains of a Rebel troop transport a few meters away, resting atop a gentle slope created by the impact crater of whatever ordnance had blasted the vehicle into oblivion. It was the best cover he could find, all the land around him being nothing but a muddy, brown-gray wasteland. Ducking back as low as he could, he kept on crawling towards the wreckage.

    Nothing but a hollowed-out shell remained of the troop transport, it’s insides completely consumed by the impact blast and the ensuing inferno. Nir crawled up the crater slope and into the charred wreckage. Finding a viewport that conveniently faced in the desired direction, he pulled out his binoculars and surveyed the landscape ahead. Almost at the same moment, the distinct hum of repulsor engines rose in the distance. Without thinking, Nir ducked under the viewport and hugged the wall. Most of the transport’s canopy was still intact and hid him from any eyes above, but the instinct to be as hidden as possible was hard to ignore. The hum of repulsors increased and with them came the all too familiar sound of that damned recorded message. As the gunship approached, words that every trooper by now knew by heart became recognizable.

    “ finished! The Empire you have fought for and died for is defeated! Surrender and you will be treated with dignity! The New Republic is offering you freedom from servitude to the tyrannical Empire! The war is finished!”

    As the gunship slowly passed on above him, the endless loop of that maddening recording faded into the distance. No doubt it would soon be reaching the Imperial front line, safely staying out of weapons range, yet being close enough to be heard in the trenches.

    Nir rose again to the viewport and brought the crude device to his eye. He cursed softly under his breath. In the time it took the gunship to pass, that peculiar bluish mist had begun forming again. Nir tried to judge the distance of the fog, which was slowly but steadily rolling across the field. Thirty minutes until it reached his position. An hour before it hit the trenches. He glanced at his chronometer. Time to head back.

    He scrambled out of the wreckage, quickly sliding down the slope through the slick mud and began his slow crawl toward the Imperial line. Above and behind him, the gunship returned for another pass. “ will be treated with dignity! The New Republic is offering you freedom from servitude to the tyrannical Empire! The war is finished! The Empire...” Caught in the open, Nir covered his head with armored hands, the thick layer of mud slowly dripping down his neck as he waited for the vehicle to pass. “The war is finished! The Empire you have...” As the sound faded yet again, the lone stormtrooper continued his crawl.

    Roughly ten minutes later, Nir heard a faint click followed by a soft, rising whine. It was the very recognizable sound of an E-Web repeating blaster being powered up. Knowing that he had been spotted, he reached into his belt pouch and pulled out a piece of red cloth. Slowly, he raised his hand, clutching the crimson rag. He held it aloft for a few heartbeats until he heard a call some twenty meters ahead of him: “Welcome back, Sergeant.” It was followed by another click - the E-Web being put back into safety mode.

    Nir stuffed the red cloth back into his belt, rose into a low crouch and ran the remaining few meters to the trench. Without slowing, he dropped to his side and quickly slid down into the dugout position, landing softly on his feet. The trench was crowded with the battered remains of Aurek Company, down to barely half of their 960-man original strength. A few troopers briefly glanced in his direction, then returned to cleaning crusted mud from their equipment, playing cards or simply staring vacantly into space. Not a single suit of armor was still in it’s original shining white. Most of them were grey from wear and tear, while some were simply painted brown to better fit into the surroundings. In these chaotic days the Empire abandoned many vain statements, such as the idea of pristine white armor to frighten the enemy. Those notions gave way to more pragmatic needs of warfare - namely, survival. One of the E-Web crewmen gave Nir a pat on the shoulder.

    “Major Loat wants to see you, Sarge,” the trooper said.

    Nir nodded. “I’ll get to the CP right away.”

    The trooper gestured behind Nir. “Ah, maybe that won’t be necessary, sir.”

    Nir turned just in time to see Major Loat making his way down the trench toward him. All the troopers were clearing a path for him as he limped through, his one cybernetic leg whirring and clicking with every step. He wore a beat up Imperial Army chestplate over his duty uniform. Only his rank insignia maintained it’s perfect shine. A man in his mid-forties, Loat adapted quite well to his improvised limb. It was less than a week since he lost his leg leading an attempted breach. Refusing to be sent off-world for treatment, Loat insisted to remain with his men. He was an officer that led from the front, discarding his rank privileges and choosing to stay with his company. He shared their hardships and the danger of being on the very tip of the front line. Loat never asked his men to do something he himself would not be the first to do - something of a rarity in the Officer Corps these days. While this did earn the respect of his men, maintaining morale was only part of the reason Loat chose this style of command. His presence on the front granted him a much better view of the real situation. Instead of acting on distorted second-hand information, he was able to act accordingly in almost every situation. This was something that many officers lacked in their heavily fortified command centers far behind the trenches. Some would argue that this was the only reason Aurek Company had been able to hold the line for as long as it did. Nir stood at attention and offered a salute as the Major stopped in front of him.

    “At ease, Sergeant,” Loat said, with a casual half-salute. “What have you got for me, son?”

    “The fog is coming down again, Sir. It will be over the entire valley in less than forty.”

    Major Loat nodded. He looked around the trench and frowned. “It’s coming too damn often, these past few days,” he growled. “Give the men ten more minutes, Varran. They damn well need ‘em. After that, sound the alarm. I’ll go notify Battalion HQ.”

    “Sir,” Nir saluted as the Major made his way past him. In the distance, safely beyond weapons range, the Rebel gunship was coming around for another pass. The sound carried far across the scarred valley. With a sigh, Nir turned toward the pillbox to his left. The fortified E-Web position had been acting as his improvised living space, since his previous accomodations took a direct artillery hit.

    “ defeated! Surrender and you will be treated with dignity! The New Republic is offering you freedom from servitude to the tyrannical Empire! The war is finished! The Empire you have fought for...”

    Even after three weeks of constantly hearing that damnable racket, it was still hard to fully filter it out of one’s mind. In fact, it had become such a regular part of their routine that the troopers grew anxious if the broadcast was silent for a few hours longer than usual. Silence in the valley usually meant that the mist was coming down or that an offensive was imminent. Or both.

    “... you will be treated with dignity! The New Republic is offering you freedom from servitude to the tyrannical Empire! The war is finished!”

    The voice grew slightly louder. They were getting bolder, flying closer to the line than usual. Nir glanced at his chronometer. No matter. The fog will be rolling across the valley pretty soon, and they won’t risk getting their gunship caught in the mist. The way it messed up equipment was far too serious to ignore.

    “The Empire you have fought for and died for is defeated! Surrender and you will be treated...”

    The recorded message slowly faded into the distance, along with the low hum of repulsor engines that carried the gunship broadcasting it. As Nir approached the pillbox that served as his temporary quarters, he heard an altogether different, but no less frequent, noise of the trenches.

    “Hear that, Nir?” bellowed Rake, one of the two troopers resting comfortably on empty ammo containers, set in front of the fortified gun emplacement that was Nir’s destination. Rake was a walking stereotype of an infantry sargeant. Large, loud, boisterous and more than capable of backing his outrageous claims with outstanding results. Contrary to his outward manner, he was anything but reckless. Rake was the only man in the whole Battalion who still led a squad made up of the same names that left from Carida a year ago. Despite seeing almost non-stop frontline action, he had not lost a single man. Rake used every opportunity to remind pretty much everyone of that fact. “They’re gonna set us free. Hah!” To further emphasise his stance on this idea, he spat into the fire. Nir forced a smile as he approached his companions.

    “I’m willing to bloody well surrender, if it’s gonna silence that damn holo-feed,” growled the other trooper, Creiv. He was struggling with a vibroblade to remove crusted mud from his DLT-19 heavy blaster rifle. Technically still a Private, Creiv recieved a temporary field promotion and got command of what remained of 1st and 4th Squads who had far less luck than Rake’s 2nd Squad.

    “That’s not a holo-feed, numbnuts,” Rake bellowed back at him. “Did you see any holograms?”

    Creiv shot him a stare then went back to work. “I don’t bloody well care what it is, I just want the damn thing to shut up,” he muttered. With a sharp twist of the blade, he sent a mud encrusted pebble flying from his weapon. Creiv was anything but happy with the responsibility that was forced on him by circumstances. He voiced no complaints or concerns, but it was fairly obvious that he was struggling under the strain of command. Nir sat down next to Rake, who was fumbling with his helmet, trying to reset it’s electronics.

    “Here, let me,” muttered Nir as he reached for the battered headpiece.

    One of the many things that made Laran V such a hellhole was that strange bluish mist that came at random intervals. Not only did it obscure the view to the naked eye, but it had a funny way of messing up the circuits on some pieces of the equipment. No one could figure out exactly what it was. There seemed to be no pattern to it’s appearance or to what kind of technology it affected. Sometimes, it rendered the helmets and macrobinoculars almost useless, but the comlinks worked just fine. The electric heaters simply shut down, while the glowrods were not affected in the least. Next day, it would be the opposite. The comlinks would be dead for hours while the helmets worked fine. None of the scanners picked up the mist and since it had no direct effect on organics, everyone just shrugged it off as one of the quirks of this particular battlefield and learned to adapt.

    With a flick of his wrist, Nir rerouted the main power in the helmet. He waited a few seconds to make sure it all worked properly, then pulled the plug again. “Take the battery out, the mist will be back in less than forty, no need to fry it again,” he said as he handed the piece back to Rake, who took it with a nod.

    “I hear they’re sending us a new Platoon CO. That true?” asked Rake after a long silence.

    Nir nodded. “Yeah. Some guy from Coruscant, officer school. Guess he wants to get a medal or two before this thing’s over.”

    “Hmph. Damned pen pushers, I figured you were making Lieutenant. That they’d maybe give you the platoon.”

    “Yeah, well, apparently not,” Nir had no desire to delve into this subject and his reply made that perfectly clear. He was in no mood to obsess over potential future problems when some very real ones were close at hand. Rake seemed to have a comeback at the tip of his tongue, but apparently had one of his rare moments of good judgement on when to keep his mouth shut. He chose not to spoil the last few moments of silence before the inevitable chaos that came with the mist. Nir’s gaze drifted past Rake and Creiv, down the trench as it went past the small bunker behind them. Leaning against the walls were dozens of troopers - grabbing a bite, checking their weapons for the hundredth time that day, catching rare precious moments of sleep. For just a few seconds, it seemed like a very idyllic scene. Almost serene.

    That was about to change.

    Nir glanced at his chronometer. He rose and strode toward the alarm console.
  2. Kahara

    Kahara FFoF Hostess Extraordinaire star 4 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 3, 2001
    Disturbing little planet they've discovered. Between the mist that doesn't seem to follow any natural rules and the canned message repeating over and over (maybe it's just me, but it's beginning to seem a bit creepy because of the repetition -- makes me think of an abandoned ship with nobody at the controls), they really seem to be "enjoying" a nice spooky atmosphere.
  3. fishtailsam

    fishtailsam Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jul 30, 2003
    Keep it going.
  4. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Kessel Run Champion star 4 VIP - Game Winner

    Dec 9, 2001
    This is a really interesting start. I'm curious to find out more about that mist and how/why it affects the electronics, especially differently each time.

    Sounds like the casualties are taking a toll on parts of the command structure here. I wonder how the troops are going to react to the new platoon CO.

    Great job!
  5. The Hellhammer

    The Hellhammer Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 4, 2012
    Thank you for the feedback, all!
    The story will continue - although I have to admit that I have overestimated myself, with all the other obligations hanging above my head. The next two chapters are more or less done, but I feel that I shouldn't rush it.
    It may take a while for the next update to come along - but... I have formed something resembling a plan.
    Be assured that when the next chapter comes - the others will follow on a weekly basis, until the story is finished.

    Thanks for your patience and the feedback.
  6. mavjade

    mavjade Former Manager star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 10, 2005
    Interesting start Hellhammer!

    I'm curious about this mist and it's strange properties.

    Looking forward to more!