"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die." The Mad Arab Alhazred.
I. "The boys are back in town" Thin Lizzy
"You requested support?" The hunched form of Zarkon wheezed, some damnable amusement in his reedy voice.
Chief engineer, born from a wealthy, well connected old family, blessed with almost arcane knowledge and understanding of mechanics his meteoric career had been ended with a crashed Victory Destroyer into some nameless, backwater planet. His body shattered and burned into the present shapeless lump stooped leaning with one knotted hand on a cane he'd become a virtual pariah, banished to the desolate fringes of the new born Empire. Which had been where Commodore Krevin had discovered him maintaining one of the Emperor's far flung Sector fleets on sheer grit and determination.
"I requested an AT-AT, you seem a tad short to be one of those." Krevin, rising up off of his knee, said with an exasperated chuckle motioning for the nervous, pimple faced teen soldier to continue assembling the E-WEB.
The heavy emplacement merely one part of the bustling throngs of Army and Stormtroopers hurriedly hauling sandbags and stacking them up into walls in front of the sealed, hanger bay doors. Hardened veterans and survivors from the first encounter with the harsh Xeno scum kneeling behind the growing walls cradling blaster rifles set to absolute maximum as well as discouragingly small number of the Clone Wars vintage Plex-launcher. Designed to punch straight through the forward hull of a Trade Federation AAT tank the decades old weapon still had its teeth serving on tens of thousands of battlefields both for and against the Empire.
"Far be it for me to tell you how to run your bloody ship commander, but I gather you need all the help you can find." Zarkon, his scarred face twisted into a perpetual sneer, said reaching up with a servo whine behind his back with his prosthetic arm where a waiting acolyte shoved a cumbersome looking weapon onto.
Cobalt-blue tri-barrel with a reinforced stock and grip the chief engineer's clunky durasteel fingers could slip around the damn thing was nearly over a meter in length Krevin saw as the old goat's arm rotated forward again with a machine whirr. Three black cables emerging from either side and from the top of the gun's bulky rear and traveling to a likely gene or chemo-enhanced youth with what looked like E-WEB power cell strapped to his back.
" Like her? She's a derivative of an Geonosian ore smelter I've been playing with, three particle streams focused through a kyber crystal each." Zarkon beamed causing the delicate array of crafting lenses and shielding goggles mounted to the side of his destroyed and rebuilt face to twitch and rotate in front of his left, vat grown eye." Of course if you think you shant be needing her, I got more than enough to do down in the bowels to keep me busy.
"You've just been dying for a chance to really test your toy, haven't you?" Krevin asked with an arched eyebrow, his arms folded over his chest.
Just shy of two meters tall, broad shouldered and short cropped blond hair peeking out from beneath his soft cap Commodore Krevin looked every inch the recruiting holo for the Imperial Navy; fearless, brave and sure. Now only if he could feel that way as well instead of that gnawing, icy pit sinking through his stomach with a dreadful premonition of his soon to be demise.
Scarcely believing he'd survived his first brush against the alien race as scores of Imperials around him and been slaughtered by the insatiable, armor shrouded horrors. All he wanted to do now was run away find some safe, quiet place but...this was the Judgment.
"My ship, damn it!" He thought vexing at the impudence of the mysterious Xeno." I will not be made to fething run on my ship."
There was pride involved after all, however suicidal it was, which stoked some buried, dormant aspect of himself. Awoken, in some small way, the young child who'd sit listening to his Uncle spin yarns of far off, exotic worlds as he gazed up at the night sky glittering with the promise of his own adventure. Or maybe his mind was wrapped too deeply in a fugue of the residual anti-sleep Chems and adrenaline to think straight.
"Ah, well you wouldn't be blaming me if I was a wee bit curious how she'd do." Krevin heard Zarkon say, the engineer's furrow scarred smile growing wider." But like I said if you'd rather me go back to the bowels, I will. I can go about trying to nurse my engine room back into shape after you tore the stuffing out of it."
" I swear if you weren't one of the best minds the Empire produced I'd kill you myself." Krevin grunted rolling his eyes at the engineer as he jerked and pointed his thumb behind him to one of the sandbag fortifications." Take a place up front, and try not to loose much more of yourself, will you? Anymore and I'd have to count you as a droid."
"Your concern for my well being is noted, sire." Zarkon said handing off his weapon to a straining acolyte before leading the way." And I hope, for your sake Commodore, you don't find yourself between Sheba and her prey. That would be...unfortunate."
Shaking his head, watching the other man and his party go, Krevin raised the wrist mounted communicator he'd picked up off an obliging officer and switched back to the bridge channel.
"Any ETA on my armor? I'm starting to get worried down here." He said becoming far more sanguine speaking to his Sub-Commander.
The two of them seeing more together from bar room brawls to mutant aliens than Krevin imagined half the Grand Admirals had combined.
"Working on it." Tyler's crisp, somber voice answered." Unfortunately due to deployments to the planet our reserves are low, its taking time longer to find additional machines as well as pilots."
The Sub-Commander almost sounding pained as he said that, the icy tone which sent veteran officer scurrying in fear cracking slightly.
"I've scrounged up a couple squadrons of AT-RTs and elements of the 123rd Imperial regiment which was just rotated out of combat against the Cytherians, they should be arriving shortly." Tyler continued." We've also been pulling out everyone but combat troops from your surrounding area.
"Confirmed." Krevin said looking over the spacious antechamber to the hanger bay, designed to hold a full armored battlegroup waiting its turn to deploy, as a troop of the 123rd marched in.
From a miserable jungle world the Commodore recognized the hirsute and undisciplined, mongrel looking unit from their creased, tanned skin weathered under a merciless sun as well as their rippling physique. Their worlds higher than normal gravity, nearly one point six on the scale, combined with the pitiless struggle to survive on a sweltering home world festering with all manner of monsters had spawned a race who could fatally head-butt a Gamorrean. A pity their brains weren't as so highly developed.
"Just keep it coming, we're going to need every last bit." Krevin advised watching an argument briefly flare between a member of the 123rd and someone else only for it to be settled with a flick of the fang shaped dagger each one carried.
"Just what are dealing with?" Tyler asked." You've fought Cytherian warriors, mutants even dueled a Wookiee pirate. They never shook you."
"Oh, better believe me they did. You can't stare up at a howling, two point twenty-eight meter tall walking carpet thirsting for your blood without being shaken." Krevin said with a much needed laugh." These guys through, their as armored as a Spacetrooper with more firepower than a Saber hovertank and meaner than a Krayt dragon on a bad day."
"Yeah...I've met a girl or two like that." The stern, draconian Sub-Commander said loosening up." Just...just hang in there, okay?"
"That's what I do best." Krevin smiled before the screeching wail of a cutting saw assaulted his ears, the officer cringing as he turned to face the hanger door dropping low next to the E-WEB.
Watching a whirling, brilliant silver circular edge half a meter in radius emerge through the reinforced bulkhead of the blastdoor, a layered durasteel shield designed to withstand anything short of a proton bomb. And as he watched it parted like butter to a superheated knife carving a rough circle through the armored metal, one joined by a second and third blade respectfully to either side cutting their own passageway.
"Remarkable. Possible monomolecular edge with a thermal sheath?" Zarkon marveled noting the running rivulets of molten metal oozing out through the gap as the first saw receded and the slab of durasteel pushed clear by the armored titan behind it.
"They breached through the hanger bay! Repeat they've breached the hanger bay-" Krevin shouted as the Xeno stepped through panning its red lensed eyes across until it settled on the Commodore and raised its arm with a groaning whine towards him.
A hatch popping open as a tray of rockets extended out, one igniting which streaked after the dunking mortal exploding.
"There! That's for poor Srev!" Elder-Sergeant Rhyas, supreme commander of the marine detachment, as the human vanished behind the missiles' shrapnel burst avenging his slain comrade.
Having recognized that solitary, particular human apart from all the other vermin. The one who he narrowly missed killing thanks to the interference of that animal hybrid, the one who moments later had remarkably shot through the visor piece of Srev's helmet killing a warrior who had bested Iron Golems in battle.
Dozens of the curious plasma packets the vermin fired exploding off of his armor in fiery pyrotechnics Rhyas strode forward shooting off his remaining rockets across the makeshift encampment as he armed his fist mounted tri-gun. Streamers of bullets erupting cutting a messy swab across as the bugs scattered before him or burst through sand filled barriers they cowered behind.
"I've fought Traders with more iron in their spines!" He bellowed turning on his suit's speakers and blaring as his men filed through fanning out behind him." Onward brothers! Lets finish this rabble and take the bridge!"
Yeah, I'm going to try and start updating this again. Whether that's a good thing I'll let you decide. ;)
On a related note Breetia, Khas and Preao I do miss each of your stories so if you by chance read this update please?! *Gives puppy dog eyes*
edit: Good to hear it Khas! I'll be looking forward to it.
For stories, roleplaying, or any other creative literary projects.