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Saga - OT The Mists of Mehr | Imperial OCs, drama, post-Jakku | Short story, Fanon Horror Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Chyntuck, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Title:The Mists of Mehr
    Timeframe: 5 ABY (immediately after the Battle of Jakku)
    Continuity: New Canon
    Characters: OCs
    Genre: Drama/horror
    Length: Multi-post short story
    Summary: The last Imperials on Marfa must conduct one final mission before leaving the planet.
    Notes: This story was written for the Fanon Horror Challenge. The fanon element I chose is divapilot ’s city of Mehr.
     
    divapilot and Findswoman like this.
  2. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    The Mists of Mehr

    “He who betrays the values of honour shall suffer the vengeance of the sea.”
    Mehrine proverb

    Part I

    There was a bitter aftertaste to the on-going preparations in the Imperial garrison as the last stormtroopers stationed on Marfa gathered their blasters and adjusted their armour for a final raid on the coastal city of Mehr. News of the Empire’s disastrous defeat on Jakku had hit morale hard. For the past week, transport after transport of personnel and equipment could be seen leaving the planet to regroup with what was left of the Imperial forces, and rumour had it that Mas Amedda was suing for peace with the New Republic. Commander Kasnil almost gagged as the words formed in his mind – the scum that had once been known as the Rebellion was now negotiating with the Empire on its own terms, as if it were a legitimate galactic government. This was truly the end of an era, and the mists that floated over Mehr only added to his sense of gloom.

    Still, he thought – the thick fog resulting from this year’s extended misty season would be a useful ally for today’s operation. Instructions had come from High Command to abduct as many prominent Rebel sympathisers as possible before the final evacuation, probably to use them as bargaining chips during the peace negotiations, and the Wedding Festival was the perfect opportunity to jump in, seize the members of Mehr’s governing council and whisk them away on the shuttle that would carry the last Imperial troops to safety. Kasnil relished the thought of the mayhem his stormtroopers would inflict on the gathering. The Mehrine had caused him more trouble than he cared to admit during his admittedly short stay on Marfa and the time for payback was long overdue.

    He glanced at his men to verify that everything was in order. The squadron of stormtroopers had boarded the armoured speeder bus and the Lambda shuttle was on standby on the landing pad. Everything was ready. He smiled as he took his place in the front seat of the bus. This was his chance to earn the promotion that had evaded him so far, no thanks to the Mehrine’s insubordination.

    * * *

    TQ-531 was going to miss Mehr. The thought surprised him a little when it popped into his head as the speeder bus flew through one of the monumental gates in the battlements on its way from the Imperial barracks to the heart of town. He had been stationed on Marfa for more than three years and he was realising now, as he was about to leave, that the place had grown on him. Granted, the Mehrine weren’t the most loyal citizens of the Empire, but there was something endearing to their fierce sense of independence and their city was among the most astounding settlements he’d had the opportunity to see. He had strolled on the rampart atop the walls on his off-hours to admire the view on the sea and Rook Island during the misty season, and he had spent many hours lounging in the tapcafes that lined the Market District plaza to watch the world go by during the warm season. He had read many a book about the town’s history and architecture and he had learned everything he could about its culture and legends. He had even come to the Wedding Festival in his second year on-planet and he had greatly enjoyed the celebration.

    Which was why it felt odd that his last action on Marfa would be to raid this year’s iteration of the same celebration and to spread consternation among the couples that were getting married, their families and their friends. Still, orders were orders, and in the end it was a simple op: go in, grab the councillors, get out, fly away. Why the higher-ups in the Empire had decided that this should happen today was a question well above his pay grade in the end.

    He looked at his fellow stormtroopers as they neared the drop-off point in a side street adjacent to the plaza where the entire city would be gathered now. Like him, they were among the veterans who had been stationed on Marfa for several years and they knew the town like the palm of their hand. For all his arrogance and lack of experience, it looked like Commander Kasnil had all the bases covered today. He pushed the nagging feeling of discomfort to the deeper recesses of his mind and decided to focus on the upcoming confrontation.

    * * *

    This was not how Commander Kasnil had expected things to go.

    The fog had grown even thicker by the time the speeder bus reached the Market District. It was so opaque that they could barely see the crowd, let alone each other, the white of their armour blending so perfectly in the cottony haze that blasters were not an option lest half of the commando were wiped out by friendly fire. He could sense the hesitation in his men’s step as they walked the last hundred metres to the plaza and he ordered them to switch to stun batons. They were only facing a throng of civilians, after all – a few blows would be enough to keep the revellers out of their way while they seized the councillors.

    And then, someone wolf-whistled somewhere on the plaza and the entire crowd shifted. It didn’t come across as an aggressive move – the newlywed couples and their guests couldn’t see through the mist anymore than the stormtroopers anyway – but the path to the officials’ platform was now even more packed than before and it took quite a bit of shoving, jostling and elbowing to get there. The commando finally reached its destination only to find out that their prospective hostages were gone. Kasnil could vaguely make out in the distance a group of people in elaborate robes hastening towards the harbour. Meanwhile, his men were sitting mynocks against the colourful banners that lined the stage and improvised projectiles were flying their way.

    He pulled out his blaster and sent a few volleys into the crowd, and all hell broke loose.

    * * *

    TQ-531 did not like this. He did not like it one bit.

    The commander had shown poor judgement when he decided to press ahead with the operation after it became clear that the hit-and-run had failed. It would have been a much sounder strategy to pull back to the barracks and attempt a new infiltration of the city later during the day or even at night, but chances were that Kasnil hadn’t planned for this sort of contingency. Instead he led the squad into a dense throng that pulsed and throbbed like a single living being, he failed to reach the councillors before they made their getaway, he lost his temper and fired at the crowd – and now they were both hunter and hunted, running after their targets who had escaped towards the harbour while a roaring, howling mob chased after them.

    The mists were somewhat thinner over the harbour, enabling the stormtrooper to glimpse a sailing ship that was casting off and gliding away on the dark sea. Kasnil looked around frantically, searching for a way out, but the harbour was a dead end. TQ-531 hesitated for the briefest of moments. Mehr’s coastal area was notoriously difficult to navigate, and there wasn’t a single seatrooper among them with the knowledge, experience and equipment to handle himself on these tricky waters, but the angry Mehrine were on their heels. He gestured towards the only other vessel that was moored to the mole, a medium-sized seaspeeder that could hold the entire squad if they squeezed a little, and shouted for everyone to get on board.

    It was only after the seaspeeder rose on its repulsorlifts and was swallowed by the fog that he wondered why no other ship was anchored in the harbour.

    * * *

    Commander Kasnil was furious. He was furious at the Mehrine for standing in his way, he was furious at the councillors for escaping, he was furious at TQ-531 for taking the squad aboard a ship that no one knew how to manoeuvre, he was even furious at the weather for blurring his vision. The seaspeeder was engulfed in a white, cottony mass so heavy that it felt almost material, the sailing boat carrying the city councillors was nowhere to be seen, he only had the vaguest idea where Rook Island stood in relation to the mainland and more generally he didn’t know where they were or where they were going. Meanwhile, TQ-531 and another stormtrooper had slipped into the two seats by the bow and had taken off their helmets to examine the navigation equipment as the craft drifted towards the open seas. It was time to reclaim leadership of this mission. “Report,” he said in a decent approximation of his command voice.

    “I think we have it under control, sir,” TQ-531 answered tentatively. “My understanding is that the repulsors will keep us above the reefs, and the sonar seems to be top-of-the-line, but...” His voice trailed off.

    “But what?”

    “But the navigation system doesn’t appear to work,” the stormtrooper said. “Or the maps aren’t loaded, I can’t tell which. As long as we’re in this fog...”

    “... we can’t know where we’re going,” his colleague completed.

    There was a long silence as everyone aboard tried to peer through the mists, looking for anything that might indicate their exact location. Volutes of vapour rose from the dark water, swirling and twirling in the air until they dissolved into the all-encompassing white cloud. A few of the stormtroopers twitched every now and then as if they had seen something, but no one dared to speak. Kasnil’s eyes focused on a point in the distance. He thought that he could detect movement, but it didn’t look like a sailing ship – rather like an exceedingly tall human being standing on the water. But no, that didn’t make sense. He was still trying to regain his composure when one of his men piped up.

    “There’s someone out there.”
     
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  3. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    OMG OMG OMG you wrote about Mehr!!! This is amazing. This slides so perfectly into the fanon and into my story that I’m going to have to incorporate it now.

    Lady, your use of language is exquisite.

    There was a long silence as everyone aboard tried to peer through the mists, looking for anything that might indicate their exact location. Volutes of vapour rose from the dark water, swirling and twirling in the air until they dissolved into the all-encompassing white cloud. A few of the stormtroopers twitched every now and then as if they had seen something, but no one dared to speak.
    Gorgeous imagery!

    I’m intrigued by TQ-531. He seems to have been seduced by the romance of the place whereas the commander finds Mehr to be a stubborn, recalcitrant thorn in his side. And what is this giant looking across the water? A ghostly protector of the ancient city? Or something altogether different?

    I can’t wait for more!
     
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  4. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thanks for the review divapilot and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!
    Of course I wrote about Mehr! When the challenge was announced I looked at the index of fanon posts, and Mehr was such an obvious choice to me :D (Okay, also because I've read your stories and I know that... no, I'm not going to say it just yet [face_whistling] ) I'm exceedingly curious to see why you want to incorporate this story into yours; I always assumed that BOHM ended well before the Galactic Civil War and now I'm super-excited at the idea that it stretches all the way to after Endor.
    Commander Kasnil was the first character I came up with for this story – I love writing the classic, rigid imperial type who thinks that blunt force is the way to go. But then I realised that I needed someone who actually knew about Mehr to tell the other side of the story, and the idea of a stormtrooper who was interested in the city's lore just made sense to me. It must be a boring life, being a stormtrooper... As for the giant, does he even really exist?

    Thanks again for your very kind review, and thanks to the Loyal Lurkers out there who read this story fo far!
     
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  5. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Part II

    TQ-531 stared in the direction that the trooper was indicating. All he could see was fog, fog and more fog. He glanced at the instruments. “The sonar doesn’t detect anything. What do you mean, ‘someone’?”

    “I don’t know,” the trooper said sheepishly. “I thought I saw a human shape, but –”

    “I saw him too,” another man interrupted. “Tall, white fellow in flowing robes.”

    “Me too,” a third one chimed in. “Looked like a ghost.”

    “Don’t be ridiculous,” Kasnil snapped. “There is no such thing as –”

    “There! Do you see it?”

    The speeder pitched dangerously as they all turned at the same time to scrutinise the mist. “Take it easy, everyone,” TQ-531 called from his seat. “There are too many of us on this boat as it is, don’t make any sudden moves or –”

    The engine whirred ominously and the speeder lurched again. “Not to worry, not to worry,” he shouted. “We just came a bit too close to one of the reefs and the repulsors had trouble adjusting. Just stay calm, okay?”

    There was another silence. “I can see him again,” one of the men said. “He’s just over there. No, wait, he’s gone –”

    “He’s back! Right there! The ghost!”

    “Cut the chatter, and that’s an order,” Kasnil retorted angrily. “It’s just a trick of the fog. Ghosts do not exist.”

    TQ-531 inhaled deeply and tried to focus on the controls in front of him. Kasnil was right, ghosts did not, could not exist – except in Mehrine tales of sailors lost at sea.

    * * *

    It beggared belief, Kasnil thought, that a group of grown men, of the best-trained soldiers the Empire had to offer, would become so jumpy and apprehensive at the mere mention of the word ‘ghost’. The commando had remained silent since he had given an order to that effect, but he could see them nodding at each other and angling their chin over here or over there to indicate where the mysterious silhouette was appearing and disappearing. They were behaving like schoolboys, really, thinking that he didn’t notice; and they always bowed their head in shame when they felt the weight of his gaze upon them.

    The minutes stretched into hours. The mists turned pink as the sun began to sink under the horizon and still no one had uttered a word – not that the commander needed his men to voice their fears. The already-palpable tension among the commando rose to unbearable levels when the haze around them became pitch-black, and one of the troopers finally spoke.

    “Why is he still white?”

    “I dunno,” another whispered. “I can see him too.”

    “He’s getting closer. Minutes ago he was just over there. I think he’s –”

    “Quiet!” Kasnil roared. “He – whoever that is – does – not – exist.”

    The little group sank again into despondent silence and Kasnil went back to this thoughts. The stormtroopers’ unease was beginning to grate on his nerves, and he took several deep breaths to calm himself. The sudden contact of a hand tapping on his shoulder caused him to jump in fright, and he spun around abruptly, only to look into the foggy night.

    “Which idiot thought this to be funny?” he shouted.

    “It’s not us, sir,” one of the troopers answered. “It was him. The ghost. He was right there, behind you.”

    * * *

    The last thing they needed right now, TQ-531 thought, was for Commander Kasnil to lose his mind. It was bad enough that they were stranded at sea in the middle of the night, that the commando was growing increasingly jittery and that there was no way to tell how and when their situation would improve. What could make it worse was Kasnil stirring up a panic among the men, which would make the stormtrooper’s task of navigating Mehr’s treacherous waters even more difficult and possibly result in the speeder capsizing in the dark. He checked the sonar to verify that they weren’t in the vicinity of any reefs while he took his attention off the instruments, nodded at his co-pilot and unclasped the safety webbing so as to turn around and look at his party.

    “When I said ‘stay calm’, I meant everyone stay calm,” he said sternly. “That includes you, Commander.”

    He couldn’t quite discern Kasnil’s face through the mist and the darkness, but from the tone of his reply alone he knew that his cheeks had taken a deep shade of puce. “How dare you!” Kasnil spluttered. “I’ll have you disciplined for your insolence. You –”

    “You’ll have me disciplined if and when we get out of here,” TQ-531 interrupted as firmly as he could. “If you want to hasten the process, I suggest that you take over at the helm.”

    He held the commander’s gaze a moment longer and added, “So, everyone stay calm. That means, don’t move, or move as little as you can. We’re doing our best to avoid running onto the reefs here. When daylight comes the tide will be low and it’ll be easier to –”

    He stopped in mid-sentence and stared in petrified horror at a white shape that was forming above the waves. It looked like a tall human, a towering, misty silhouette that bowed ominously over the vessel intruding on its territory. But before he could even blink to confirm that his eyes weren’t deceiving him, the co-pilot shouted a warning, the sonar’s proximity alarm blared to signal a submerged ridge – and suddenly the speeder lurched violently to starboard and half the commando plummeted into the sea.

    * * *

    Kasnil let out a string of curses most unbecoming of an Imperial officer and hung on to the guardrail for dear life. TQ-531 was suspended from his unsecured safety webbing while he fumbled with the repulsor commands with the hand that wasn’t busy keeping him from falling overboard; he managed to turn a dial leftwards and the seaspeeder fell back to a horizontal position with a loud splash, lifting a geyser into the air and drenching the commander in salty water. The stormtrooper scrambled back on board, coughing and spitting, and immediately knelt by the edge of the hull to retrieve his comrades.

    Kasnil could hear his crew screaming for help as their heavy armour dragged them towards the depths of the ocean. He wiped his face as best he could and joined in the rescue effort. The undersea currents were strong and the fog was as dark and thick as ever; many of the troopers had drifted out of sight in the few seconds it took TQ-531 to stabilise the speeder and their cries were already becoming fainter and dying out one by one. He could only discern two white shapes in the black water. One was near the ship and struggling to come closer; the other was just out of reach and floating away. He looked around for a cable, a rope, anything – he spotted one under the bench seat and reached for it –

    There was a victory whoop and he looked up to see that one of his men was half-hanging over the hull, his arm outstretched to the trooper who was nearby. They had apparently managed to get hold of each other, and he doing his best to pull his colleague back towards the craft. Kasnil hurried to his side. He shouted words of encouragement as he readied the cable, but his voice died in his throat. He saw a white hand emerge from the waves and wrap itself around the rescuer’s wrist, and the stormtrooper was yanked into the abyss.

    * * *

    There were no two ways about it, TQ-531 thought when Kasnil gave the order to cease the rescue operation: the commander was truly a piece of scum.

    “It is not only pointless, it is dangerous,” Kasnil was shouting to one of the troopers who was still scrutinising the sea for survivors. “There were seven of us moments ago, and now we are only six. If you want us to become five, be my guest.”

    “But they’re right there, sir!” the trooper shouted back. “We can save them!”

    “We cannot! There’s something dragging them down, don’t you see it?”

    TQ-531 intervened. “What ‘something’?”

    Kasnil seemed to come to his senses. He took a deep breath. “The currents. Their armour. The laws of gravity.”

    The stormtrooper looked at him carefully. “That’s not what you meant when you said ‘something’, sir.”

    There was a long silence. “They say there are sea creatures here,” one of the troopers piped up. “Giant squids of sorts. Monsters. I heard about them once when –”

    “Don’t be ridiculous,” Kasnil snapped. “There is no such thing as –”

    TQ-531 held his gaze steadily. He could discern fear in there, panic even. “What did you mean by ‘something’, sir?” he asked again as calmly as he could.

    Kasnil looked around to see that the five surviving stormtroopers were staring at him. “I saw… I saw a hand,” he said after a moment. “A white hand. It came out of the water and pulled TQ-498 overboard.”

    TQ-531 snorted. “A white hand?” He raised his arm to display his armoured glove. “This sort of white hand?”

    “Of course not!” the commander retorted sharply. “It was… white… misty…”

    His voice trailed off. TQ-531’s co-pilot shook his head in dismay. “He means the hand of the ghost.”
     
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  6. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Oh man, they are in for it now. The ocean is claiming what's hers. The idea of the men being the victims of the very armor designed to protect them as the weight of it drags them under the water is creepy. Of course, it's even creepier that a hand reaches up from the water to interrupt a rescue!

    And as for this:



    well,

    I know of a young Mehrine man lost at sea about 15 years before this...


    As for my story, it's got a ways to go but I do see it reaching past the fall of the Empire. There are two generations to discuss in that particular story, and right now we're only on Mom and Dad's story.
     
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Thank you for the review divapilot and thanks to everyone who stopped by to read!

    DRL (in the form of work and housework) has been in a foul mood lately and even though I have the rest of this story written I don't seem to be able to make time to clean it up :mad: So I'm just posting a quick reply today and hoping I can find a moment to edit part III sometime this week.
    Oh yes, they are definitely in trouble... but does the hand belong to the ghost? or to a trooper who had fallen into the water? or is it just a figment of their imagination?
    Oooh, I hadn't thought of him in particular... but now that you mentioned him I may want to revise part IV of this story, because that could fit... It could fit very, very well :D
    Now this is excellent, excellent news :) Hurry up on that librarian training so we can read the rest! [face_dancing]

    Thanks again to everyone who's been reading this; I'll try to sort out the rest of the story asap.
     
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  8. Gamiel

    Gamiel Force Ghost star 8

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Well, on the upside for the imps is that at least nobody is singing 'My Jolly Sailor Bold'
     
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  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Finally properly caught up, and really liking this! Breathtaking setting of the scene here: you really brought in all the wonderful landmarks and landscape features of Mehr. The white plasteel armor of the Stormtroopers against the wispy white-gray sea mists makes for a really striking image, and I find just the whole idea of a SW story set by the sea (nay, centered around the sea) so cool—definitely not a combination one sees every day. (That goes for both divapilot ’s fanon and your story incorporating it.)

    From the beautifully ominous mist-infused landscape to ghostly figure looming out there on the sea, you’ve done a great job with what one might call the setting-related horror elements of the story. I am seriously intrigued about what the actual nature of that ghostly white being is (and I guess that means it’s time for me to take another look at diva’s fanon post). Who/whatever it is, it clearly knows exactly what it’s doing and whom it’s targeting. And the amassed Mehrine citizens who thwart Kasnil’s initial plan to storm the festival podium seem in a way to be working in concert with it... which given this people’s deep, organic connection to the sea wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    Apropos Kasnil, the contrast between the two main characters adds an extra dimension of tension to the tension established by the setting and the ghostly apparition. One can see even at the story’s start that Kasnil and TQ-531 are likely to butt heads at some point: the typical hard-nosed Imperial officer vs. his underling who has come to sympathize with the citizens whose town he’s supposed to be occupying. As the ghostly menace comes nearer and nearer, the tension between Kasnil and TQ escalates; I shouldn’t wonder if out-and-out Lord of the Flies-style mayhem eventually results. [face_nail_biting]

    Finally, it’s so cool that this is set it in the post-OT era—very interesting to see Mehr in this later era, what has remained the same there, and what’s different.

    Very much looking forward to more, and thanks for this wonderful contribution to the challenge! =D=
     
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  10. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    This was a very good and intriguing tale.

    I liked how the rank and file stormtroopers were fond of the place and the people, and not overly enthused with the idea of the final raid.

    The well described mist, and the people being sought, vanishing into it, was quite creepy, and then the boat trip began to be a bit ominous.

    For some reason, I was reminded of that mythical bay or harbour guarded by a giant statue (cannot recall if it is/was real).

    Not sure about actual horror, but this was definitely a scary mystery. Those poor troopers.
     
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  11. Anedon

    Anedon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 11, 2016
    That's a pretty scary story. I like the way you incorporated @divapilot's fanon, the independed nature of the Marfans causing trouble for the empire. Nice to see that even 20 years of oppresion haven't broken their spritit the slightest. Also a nice view into the mind of the imperials stationed there, the commander being a straightforward military man with little tolerance for the planet he is stationed on and the stormtrooper who has grown fond of it in his own way, makes the an intresting pair. The fog seems defenetly not very natrual and now with the ghosts appearing it becomes clear that the imperials and their actions against the Marfans have awoken something dangerous. These beings below the surface make me kinda think of Lovecraft and his stories. I'm very intrigued how this continues. :)
     
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