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Order One [Star Wars AU]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Polemarchos, Jul 4, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter One
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Chapter One

    Officially there never was a Clone Rebellion on Kamino. Unofficially...
    It was always raining on Kamino. The short miserable walk from the off ramp of the lambda shuttle to the entrance of the administrative facility left newly appointed Moff Ortasil drenched by the time he made it inside the building. Struggling to ignore the tight wet uniform clinging to his skin, Ortasil eyed his surroundings; overly bright and overly sterile, it seemed obvious it was designed for outworlders by a race unaccustomed to prolonged visitation.​

    A door slid open. Of all the alien species Ortasil had been forced to encounter during the war, Kaminoans were by far the most unnerving. More than one culture still told stories of spindly beings with bulbous heads abducting men for the purposes of an unknown science. The frail yet towering physiques of these creatures seemed unreal to Ortasil, as if the creators of the clones were themselves the result of some unseen artificial conception. Or perhaps the cunning hidden behind their large calculating eyes hinted at the all to natural predatory origins of their race.

    The thing that really bothered Ortasil was the Kaminoan sense of politeness.

    "The Prime Minister will see you now"

    a female voice said in a sing song way, slightly bowing her long neck with a formality that only drew more attention to how she loomed over her guest. They walked together silently, the Kaminoan lanking forward with the poise of a spectre, Ortasil with his arms wrapped around his chest and squinting into winding corridors bathed in much more light than his anyone in the fleet was used to.

    Ortasil and the Kaminian reached the Prime Minister's office. Straightening himself, Ortasil strode past her and into the room.

    "Minister Lama Su, Regional Moff Ortasil is here to see you" the female Kaminoan said.

    "Thank you, Taun We" said the Prime Minister.

    The Moff made no attempt to acknowledge her dismissal as he tried to settle into the pod shaped seating provided to him. Unmoved by Ortasil's discourtesy, Taun We bowed again and departed.

    "Welcome, Governor, we are honored by your visit."

    The room was quiet. Ortasil looked at Lama Su, who smiled back, politely waiting for him to be the first to speak. Blasted alien Ortasil thought. The Kaminoan wasn’t the first person that day to use old titles, and by extension fail to acknowledge the great changes that had just swept through the galaxy. What he'd give to do away with the subtle duplicities that hid behind the cordiality of statesmen. Their formalities frustrated him. The Prime Minister for example was making a point of being on his best behavior, but not once had the stupid amphibian offered Ortasil a towel. The Moff sullenly came to terms with the puddles of cold water sloshing in his boots.

    Ortasil took a deep breath and looked up at the strange creature he was stuck ruling in the name of the Empire.
    “I trust that you are monitoring the progress of Operation Knightfall,” he said while trying to ignore the water dripping from him onto the seat.
    A hint of increased pride seemed to show in the Kaminoan’s demeanor.
    “Kill ratios currently exceed projections, Order 66 proceeds with no discernible complications.
    Ortasil leaned forward in his chair.
    “Discernible?”
    Lama Su contemplated whether he should call for refreshments. The discussion of statistics was a common pastime for his kind.

    “There is always a margin for error in these things unfortunately, but as things stand the confidence integer remains at 95%.“

    "Fortune is as nebulous as the will of the Force, Kaminoan." Ortasil scoffed, "I am interested in success, not mathematics.”

    Lama Su smiled, which was his way of projecting a sense of approachability humans seemed to need in order to finish a transaction.

    "I see that you are a busy man, we will make sure aggregated demand forecasts are fixed to the boosted commodity value of next quarter trooper types by - “

    “Enough!”
    Ortasil stood and began to pace in front of the confused Kaminoan, a habit that both men had seen used for the purposes of intimidating raw subordinates.

    “Do you think I am here for a sales pitch, minister?" Ozy asked dryly.

    Lama Su tilted his head quizzically.

    "Are you not here to increase production?" Hesitation had crept into the minister's voice. This crack in the Kaminoan's facade made Ortasil smile. Ortasil cut him off with a gesture.

    " I am here, cloner, because your blatant war profiteering has drawn my attention. I am here because the institutions of the galaxy, including your precious military industrial complex, have grown too compartmentalized and self-serving to root out graft and sedition without firm guidance. Experts from Spartii Industries will audit your methods until I can determine how they might be streamlined."

    Lama Su's smile disappeared. "That hardly seems necessary, Moff Ortasil. If my people had done something wrong, I am sure the Supreme Chancellor would have brought this to my attention directly."

    "The Emperor" Ortasill said pointedly, “does not have time to micromanage every system in the outer rim. That is why he has appointed men like me to govern the edges of the universe in his stead. In all honesty, minister, limiting our source of manpower to one location has never seemed wise to me, You are lucky that I don’t charge you for the defense platforms hovering above your head, I haven't forgotten how your planet had the gall to increase its fees when the war efforts chances looked bleak.

    "But that is the past. As long as you obey the Empire and follow my directives to the letter your services will be fairly rewarded." Pleased with himself, Ortasil left the room before the Kaminoan could react.

    ~~~~~

    Can a Moff do this?" An emergency meeting had been called as soon as Ortasil returned to his ship. Granting Sparti free reign over the cloning facility was unacceptable. They were Kamino's chief industrial competitor and were soon going to be given direct access to secrets the kaminoans had carefully guarded for centuries. Everyone knew the rigid conformity beaten into each clone trooper at a genetic level would be the ideal template for Spaarti's flash memory process.

    "In a word, yes."

    Halle Burtoni, chief ambassador and first ever Kaminoan member of the Senate was holding herself up with a cane. A muted holorecording of Palpatine's Declaration of A New Order issued a few standard hours ago played on a loop to her side.


    “Moffs were granted extraordinary powers over their sectors well before today. After reviewing the new Imperial Charter, I have determined their authority to be near absolute."

    The Prime Minister slumped in his pod. "We are still in good standing with Palpatine. Why not petition him directly?"

    "Our new Emperor likely approves of Ortasil's plan, if it has even been deemed worthy of his attention. Reliance on speciest leadership now seems to be state policy. The Verpine already obey a cadre of human 'advisors'. The status of Cransaoc leadership within Sparti Creations is as yet unknown."


    Burtoni rapped her cane. "There's more, my lord. Before liquidation, Advanced Recon Commando Eight Four Seven Niner Five returned to us with information that can only be described as startling.”

    Burtoni's withered hands motioned to Taun We. The graceful Kaminoan handed Lama Su a datapad filled with a stream of energy readings centered on a massive object of unknown spheroid design. The Prime Minister perked up.

    "The asset had been conducting unsanctioned flight training exercises in and around Geonosis before stumbling onto radio silent v wing patrols in the nearby asteroid fields. From there 8-4-7-9-5 monitored their movements until they arrived at what he believed to be a massive Separatist installation."

    "Impossible. Our Occupation Forces would have noticed if the foundries were being repurposed for such an undertaking."

    "Scans showed no major droid presence in the installation."

    Lama Su was stunned. "Something of this scale is impossible, Palpatine doesn't have the manpower necessary to even consider committing to such an undertaking without our expertise. Unless..."

    Ambassador Burtoni finished the thought. "Unless the Empire is using Spaarti to quick-clone expendable laborers."

    More was at stake than intellectual propery. A superweapon threatened to make the very idea of conventional armies obsolete.
    "This is an outrage! Our armies may have been bred to be the Chancellor's slaves, but we weren't. Palpatine is a fool if he thinks-"

    “Excuse me milord” Taun We interjected.

    Taun We had spoken out of turn. Luckily no one in the room was in the mood to chastice her. Lama Su simply turned in her direction and sagged his long neck, the Kaminoan equivalent of an annoyed sigh.

    "Excuse me, milord, but our armies were bred to serve the office of the CHANCELLOR. Palpatine abolished that position when he declared himself Emperor.”


    Lama Su pursed his lips. “An interesting thought, but irrelevant unless Palpatine has violated his constitution."

    Burtoni’s eyes widened. “That constitution has been replaced by the Charter.”

    "If Palpatine has abandoned the old laws…”

    "He is no longer protected by them."

    The three Kaminoans looked down at the holorecording still playing on a loop below them. The cackling old man who had fashioned himself master of all now seemed so foolish. His deformed image sputtered out, replaced by a face shared by billions of identical soldiers stationed across the galaxy. Their loyalty was unquestionable, and now to be forever uprooted by the utterance of a simple phrase.

    "Execute Order One"

    ****************************


    Master Shaak Ti fell dead. Remaining calm while other Jedi gave into panic, her majestic running battle with the 501st had spiralled away from the Temple and deep into the lower levels of Coruscant. Lord Vader had found her playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the outclassed squads sent to execute her. The narrow pathways and densely packed squalor she sped through gave Shaakti ample means to sidestep the brute force being thrown her way. Lord Vader could sense the cold precision guiding her attacks. He could also sense the compassion for nearby civilians that barred Shaakti from wreaking total havok on her pursuers.

    Shaakti's compassion was an easy thing to exploit. Ripping congested platforms from their foundations and firing randomly into crowds whenever the Jedi Master temporarily slipped away was enough to make Shaakti turn and face the newest member of the Sith head on. The Togruta fought valiently but was eventually slaughtered like all the rest.

    Shaakti hadn't been the most difficult adversary to put down during the 28 violence filled hours since Vader's new master issued Order 66. That distinction had gone to the red headed Jedi Knight trying to herd young padawans onto a starship operated by the Agriculture Corps. Gira pled for mercy when Vader approached him with his weapon drawn. If Vader let the children go Gira swore he'd submit to Sith rule.

    Vader gave no response. The desperation that then swelled in Gira's eyes reminded Vader of how he felt when he first foresaw Padme's death. It was obvious both men were capable of doing terrible things for the sake of those they loved. Gira swung wildly at Vader. Unfortunately for Gira, his ferocity burned out when the clones shot down the escaping starship. With the Padawans dead Gira had no reason to protect himself.

    Shaakti had been the final straggler. Lord Vader had obeyed his master: every last Jedi at the Temple had been slain without mercy or hesitation. Palpatine would no doubt want to bask in Vader's success, but that could wait for a later time. There was something far more important Vader needed to attend to.

    A LAAT circled overhead. It touched down, offloading a group of clones wearing the distinctive blue striped armor of Vader's fist, the 501st. Their captain stood at attention. "New orders, General Skywalker."

    "Not now, Rex." Vader punched a few numbers into his wrist comms. "Take me to these coordinates."


    "Negatory, sir, that district is on lock down. You've been ordered to report to Admiral Palleon on the double." Vader resisted the urge to snap at his subordinate. Their relationship had slowly begun to fade in the waning days of the war, especially after the former jedi acquiesced to regimen and forced his commander to submit the 501st to regular inhibitor chip inspections. Like many other clones with a sense of individuality, Rex's mind had fallen into a stupor since Order 66, as though his personality had been sapped alongside his free will. It seemed Captain Rex had reverted to the rigid military discipline Skywalker had taught him to skirt during the past three years of conflict. He was just a number now, one of countless expendable soldiers barely above the clankers.

    "Disregard standard procedure, CT-7567. I operate under the sole authority of the Emperor."
    Rex exchanged looks with his fellow clones. "General, per contingency orders 1, 5, and 118, Former Chancellor Palpatine has been removed from office."

    "What?!"

    The Dark Side can be like a sickness. In one moment there is only fever clouding the mind. In the next, all sensation becomes hypersensitive and painful. He spread his awareness beyond the vindictive fury he had unleashed upon the world city. To his surprise, the entire ecumenopolus had entered a state of bedlam. The clones noticed none of this.

    " You and other vetted members of high command are to convene with Admiral Palle- Ack!"

    Rex and the others were hoisted into the air by a force choke.

    Vader was fuming. "You will take me to the coordinates I gave you, trooper."

    Delirious, Rex barely struggled to breath.

    "Good Soldiers follow orders...right, Fives?"

    His neck snapped. So too did the neck of the LAAT's pilot. Vader left the bodies with those of their brothers he left dismembered in his wake.

    More treachery?
    Vader turned on the Transport's holonet receiver. The channels were jammed, and either static or playing on loop the emergency broadcast blared during Grievious’ attack. The planet once again looked like a warzone. Smoke could be seen rising from the Chancellor’s chambers, and worse, from the Senate Building.

    In minutes he arrived at his destination. More blue striped clones stood in his way.

    "The Senate Residences are a restricted area, milord." After cutting the soldiers down, Vader entered the Residences.

    His heart dropped. The bodies of clones, and Naboo Security Forces were everywhere. Captain Panaka had died in the hallway, as had quite a few police droids judging by the scrap littering the floor. Padme's room was in shambles; it was obvious from the scorch marks on the walls that a firefight had taken place there as well. Mixed in with the dead were the blue cloaks of the Senate Guard, and the ceremonial red of those honored to serve the leader of the galaxy.

    All the pain and hate that had been giving Vader strength was now tearing into him, making it hard to breath.

    "Where is she?" he asked the familiar figure lurking in the shadows.

    The Emperor stepped forward. "She is under my protection."

    "Can I see her?"

    Darth Sidious spelled out his words carefully. "Not. Yet."

    A wave of frustration collapsed one of the apartment’s walls. Annoyed by the outburst, Darth Sidious ground his teeth. The New Order Sith had been carefully preparing for almost two thousand years hadn't lasted a day. His enforcer was equally unstable.

    His aura reeked of rage and petulance, those vices all that was keeping the new apprentice’s psyche from total collapse.
    "Nothing makes sense anymore!” he fumed. “Everyone's betrayed me: the Clones, the Jedi...you"
    The Dark Lord of the Sith warily eyed his new apprentice.

    "You betrayed my trust from the start. You used me!"

    What was left of Anakin Skywalker strode forward in seething rage. His fury was no match for the force lightning that threw him against the blasterbolt pocked wall.

    "It is your emotions that betray you, my apprentice" Sidious hissed. Gone was the aura of triumph that had filled the Sith Lord after Master Windu was struck down. Now his emotions were as tumultuous as the gullible fool convulsing beneath him. "I have commanded all remaining Separatist forces to converge on the source of this rebellion." Anakin wailed, the full impact of Sidious' double dealings finally crushing his spirit. He was hit by another volley of lightning.

    "You and I shall personally see to the success of this final task, Lord Vader, or your wife...will die."​
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 2
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    CHAPTER 2

    "To Kamino we must go."
    -Jedi Master Yoda to the crew of the Sundered Heart
    The Separatist Navy was committing suicide. Its fleets recklessly engaged the Republic’s armada, quickly creating a vast ring of twisted metal around Kamino. Countless T–series tactical droids deactivated themselves rather than contribute to the folly. The planet boasted the best air defense system in the galaxy, and even with the element of surprise what remained of the CIS had no hope of conquering it.

    With all the burning Dreadnoughts and round Core ships falling into orbit a few smaller vessels were bound to slip through the strained defenses. Magnadroids and B2s soon aimlessly swarmed pockets of Tipoca City, albeit without making any significant advances. Other cities fared worse, but mostly due to chance collisions with debris. Despite their numbers the Separatists were not trying to win. They were nothing more than a diversion for one downward careening shuttle craft.

    Lama Su impatiently listened to the military chatter being spewed around him. He was no soldier, but as Prime Minister Lama Su was obligated to stay on the surface and observe first-hand how the clones conducted the battle without Jedi or detained officers like Ortasil giving them orders. How little they needed others telling them what to do made Lama Su anxious, but also proud. They had been created to be the greated armed force in the galaxy, and they did not disappoint. Lama Su looked out the window of the command center. Below him was a hanger mostly emptied of its sleek ARC-170s. Beyond the hanger's blast shields was a blanket of rain that totally obscured the battle above. More Republic Cruisers were on their way; until they arrived there was still a possibility that the tide of battle might turn.

    Clones began to comment on the ETA of the shuttle headed their way. The Republic Identification Codes it broadcasted were up to date though, so it was allowed to make an emergency landing inside the hanger. The landing was little more than a grating skid, but the only moderate amount of smoke emanating from the shuttle indicated that it had not technically crashed. Expecting only mild injuries, a security detail was sent to escort its passengers to safety.

    The shuttle's bay doors took a few moments to open. Two hooded figures slowly emerged from it. Lama Su body stiffened. They looked like Jedi. Clones began to hurriedly enter and exit the command center.

    The hoods were removed. The younger man seemed to be wracked by fever. The haggard old fiend with him was like no Jedi Lama Su had ever encountered. A taunting smile flashed across his wrinkled face when he and Lama Su locked eyes. Was that Palpatine? Impossible.

    Suddenly the two figures were slashing at the clones in the hanger. They moved with preternatural speed as though propelled by a dark vortex of rage. Lama Su turned away from the carnage. He motioned to one of the newly arrived clones.

    "Do you have Fett's genetic sample?"

    "Yes, my lord."

    "Give it to me. Send the cadets to defend the DNA room. That will buy us some time. If their position is overrun before reinforcements arrive I order you to initiate the auto destruct sequence."

    "It will be done my lord."

    "Good. Taun We, come with me." Blast doors began to seal themselves. The crisscrossing corridors the Kaminoans hurried down were bathed in grey emergency lights. "Is the bunker ready to detach?" The muffle explosions outside sounded closer now. Taun We wondered if they were being caused by missile bombardments or the arrival of more force users.

    "I am speaking to you, Taun We."

    "Forgive me, the bunker will launch-"

    Taun We lost her footing, then shrieking she skitted backwards as though something unseen had seized her with its teeth. Lama Su quickly dived under the nearest blast door, abandoning her.

    Not far behind, Darth Sidious enjoyed lopping off Taun We's head. He cackled when 'Vader' looked away appalled. Skywalker had lost the strength of will that had allowed him to stomach such atrocities. Without will-power Skywalker was no Sith, only another thrall.

    Sidious' apprentice got to work carving the blast doors open with his lightsaber. After an obstacle or two they reached a large rotunda. In one direction Sidious could sense Lama Su fleeing for his life. In the other...a presence the Dark Lord had not expected.

    Sidious stopped his pursuit. Lama Su would escape, and with him the genetic sample would sink past Sidious' reach. No genetic sample meant no biological weapon to eliminate the rebel threat once and for all . Sidious let himself feel frustrated. He would need that anger for the battle to come.

    "I had not expected you to come here, Master Yoda" Sidious jeered, "especially not to defend those who helped me burn your temple to the ground."

    "Pawns they were. Pawns we all were." Yoda looked disappointingly at Anakin. The fallen Jedi shrunk from his gaze.

    "Ah, have you noticed my new apprentice, Yoda? He is nothing like that weakling, Dooku. In time Lord Vader will be stronger than the both of us."

    "Hmmm." Anakin refused to make eye contact with the diminutive Jedi. There was great self loathing in the boy's heart but no seeds of redemption.

    "Such terrible pain I see in you, Skywalker. At fault for this I partly am. You to be trained allowed I should not have."

    Sidious laughed. Insecurity had been the first seed of hate that Sidious had fostered in Skywalker. It fueled his dependence on the Dark Side’s gifts. Yoda's expression of pity had been twisted into a insult. Yoda scowled and casted aside his cane.
    "Another opponent he shall face. Delay no more, Emperor. No-one left to fight for you there is."

    Yoda was right. Vader was gone; in his place was a cowed child. An apprentice like that would only get in the way. Sidious scowled at Anakin, then at Yoda. "So be it...Jedi."

    The two Masters leapt at each other. Blurring green met with lunges of red as the embodiments of light and dark tapped into reserves of speed they had not used since their youth. Yoda had the initial advantage. "Misjudged you have, the nature of the Dark Side. Suffering, not power it bestows." Darth Sidious responded with a howl. Sparks flew as their fury -one righteous, one perverse- thoughtlessly drove them deeper into the facility.


    Anakin didn't watch them go. His eyes remained glued to the floor. He didn't want to look at the man who'd come to kill him.

    “Obi Wan”

    "Oh, Anakin, What have you done?" Obi Wan stepped into view. His face was resolute but also rueful and grief stricken. He looked like he had aged more in a day than most humans would in half a decade.

    "What I had to, master."

    "Betray the Republic? Join the Sith? Look around you, Anakin. Palpatine has lost control. There’s no reason to follow him anymore!"

    "I need him, Obi Wan!"

    "Why Anakin? Why?! You were like my brother!"

    Anakin glared at his former master. A shiver ran through Obi Wan's spine when he saw the sickly yellow hue of Anakin's irises.

    "Stop Anakin! It’s not too late. I can sense your suffering. You don’t want this."

    "I don’t have a choice."

    "No! You always have a choice!"

    Anakin charged at Obiwan with everything he had. Their blue blades met again and again, sometimes with finesse, but mainly with an intensity meant to shatter the lightsaber of the opponent. Obiwan spun to the side, and assumed Form III. A defensive stance would be needed while Anakin's pent up rage burned itself out.

    Meanwhile Yoda pressed his attack. "At an end your rule is, and not short enough it was." Sidious leered at Yoda. "I am not defeated yet." He drunk in the fumes of Anakin's unspent fury. Perhaps his apprentice would be a worthy asset after all. "Your arrogance blinds you, master Yoda." Sidious chuckled. "As does your compassion."

    Cadets ran up firing at them both. Sidious deflected the bolts in their directon while Yoda dodged. Yoda had a decision to make. He could either retreat and allow Sidious to escape, or he could battle his way through a throng of indoctrinated children, and mirror the horrors that had befallen the younglings and padawans once under his tutelage. Yoda chose neither. He made himself calm, then levitated the candidates off the ground and lobbed them into a storage room. Using the force Yoda sealed the door.

    The corridor was quiet aside from the sideways rain pouring through gaps in falling glass. On the other side was a great chamber cloaked in darkness. Yoda sensed a maleovolent aura somewhere within. Then without warning the place was illuminated by lightning. They were in the central clone hatchery, surrounded by millions of embryos.
    Sidious loomed over the central collection of incubation pods. "Behold power, Yoda." Sidious lowered his gnarled fingers and in an instant thousands upon thousands of innocents began to boil.

    Yoda reeled. "POWER!!!" A wound had just been carved into the living force, and Darth Sidious was growing intoxicated on it. One clone tank shattered, then another and another. A panel exploded by Sidious' ear, throwing him too off balance and sending him hurtling towards the ground.

    Then there were sirens. Whether due to auto destruct or stray missiles finally hitting their market, the Kaminoan structures were finally succumbing to the tempest. Obi Wan and Anakin scrambled to the roof, exchanging blows as they jumped up broken pillars. Sidious fired bursts of energy that broke through ceilings and walls that Yoda parried with an outstretched arm. Before long all four of them were outside. For once the rain had stopped. The blanket of clouds over the planet had dissipated, revealing the great war still raging in the sky.

    Yet again Anakin struggled to breath. The stench of murder on Sidious reminded him of what had happened to the temple younglings. Kenobi stepped back, grateful for the respite. Anakin had never wanted to destroy the Jedi. He had wanted to save his wife, but looking at what Palpatine had become made Anakin realize no help would come from such a monster.

    Anakin staggered, and sensing a non-lethal means to end their duel Obi Wan quickly sliced off Anakin's organic hand. The Chosen One collapsed. Anakin could have fought through the agony and gotten up, but he didn't. Instead he watched his friend reenter the fray Sidious be repeatedly stabbed through the gut.

    Everything went quiet. A legion of Republic Cruisers emerged out of hyperspace and summarily smashed their CIS foes. Darth Sidious crumpled to the floor, then with great difficulty began to crawl towards his apprentice. Sidious wanted to make sure his last words were heard.

    "You have failed me, Skywalker. *Cough* your children will be crushed in the womb while your wife is still alive."

    The world was loud again, filled with deafening explosions and rippling terror.

    "I HATE YOU!!" Anakin screamed.

    Obi Wan silenced the Sith Lord before he could make matters worse. Yoda closed his eyes grateful.

    Obiwan looked down at his former padawan. He tried to remember him as he once was. “I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.” Anakin started to sob.

    Numerous Star Destroyers entered the atmosphere. The somberness in the air let Obi Wan know why they had come.

    "What now, Master Yoda?"

    "The Sith are no more. Accomplished our mission we have. " Yoda exuded a sense of relief. "There is no death-"

    Filled with serenity by Yoda's example, Obi Wan deactivated his lightsaber.

    "-Only The Force."

    Jedi and Sith alike disappeared in a blaze of laser fire.
     
    rifern, Norbii, ward201 and 16 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter Three
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Ch 3

    Order One: In victory or defeat, in times of calamity, insolvency or triumph, the Grand Army exists for the Republic

    Fire spread through the Coruscanti heights. People in the true undercity rarely used the word sky, they lived in the forgotten corridors of an endless city that stretched far higher than what most beings could see with the naked eye. Almost everyone in the lower levels believed an asteroid could slam into the top districts without changing their day to day lives. Yet their home was still set alight far faster than the fire crews could contain.

    In the lowest levels of squalor, no help was expected. The rebreathers needed to filter clean oxygen to the bottom layers were especially flammable, leading many to nearly suffocate even before smoke overcame all light. Other areas above the 1500 mark fared better, but only because there was a need to ease the minds of the middle class a few dozen meters above. Firefighters had turned their sonic hoses on the masses a few times throughout history, but usually only times of famine and hysteria. When needed, the machines that now did this work were welcomed, or at the very least unmolested. The people pounced, seized the droids and began to toss them over hastily constructed barricaded down into abyss. A Twilek desperate to save his last possessions from the inferno was hurled with them. For the honor of Palpatine, everything had to be reduced to cinders.


    Two days passed. Exhaustion paired with pain killers had finally let Padme Amidala rest alongside the two babes suckling at her breasts. The delivery had been hard on Padme. She had wanted to wait for the father to arrive, but Anakin never did. It was time to stop worrying. In her heart of hearts she knew her husband was dead.

    Padme and the remnants of her security detail had been spirited away by Palpatine's personal guards to some forgotten industrial district after the clones attacked. The warehouse they were hidden in was mostly empty except for the corner office room they had placed her in. To Padme her crimson protectors’ cold professionalism made them look hard and cruel when Luke and Leia came into the world. During childbirth she deliriously wondered if under their robes they were actually droids. When Padme was no longer in excruciating pain she recognized how ridiculous that thought was.

    They too were feeling. They felt confusion and fear. They too worried over the missing and Palpatine had been missing for a disconcerting amount of time. The body language of the royal guard increasingly became more anxious, more agitated. They'd stand in huddled groups and whisper amongst themselves, sometimes stopping to turn their covered heads towards the crying infants. Gregar Typho made sure he was near Padme at all times.

    So much had happened. The Jedi Order was gone, as was the Empire that had destroyed it. Padme had simultaneously become a widow and a mother. She saw so much of Annie in Luke and Leia. She loved them, but in their eyes all she could see was what she had lost. For the rest of her life she would struggle to not succumb to the pain weighing on her, for their sake.

    The sound of stomping boots awoke Padme from her slumber. It was early morning. The babies were asleep on her bosom. Typho was hunched in the chair next to her bedside. His one eye was closed, but Padme noticed that his posture was too stiff for him to be really asleep.

    She could hear the tell tale hum of some antigravity engine outside. The drugs hadn't yet worn off, so Padme wasn't lucid enough to pinpoint exactly why that particular noise sounded so familiar. For whatever reason it had put the elite guards on edge; a few passed Padme's room on their way to cover the entryways to the warehouse they were hiding in. Padme wondered why she didn't see any Naboo security moving with them.

    Their leader stepped into the room. His cloak was more faded than the others, and blotted by a patchwork of discolored stains. It reminded Padme of a burial shroud. The Elite slowly moved to her bedside. He seemed to hesitate then in one terrifying moment raised his rife towards Leia. Padme gasped before blaster shots rang out. If it wasn't for Typho's quick draw, Leia and her mother would be dead.

    The twins began to wail. Sudden explosions outside were coupled with a very short firefight. Clones were storming the warehouse, Padme thought, but if the Elites were trying to protect Senator Amidala from them, why had this Elite just tried to execute her? Typho pointed his blaster at the doorway. Padme touched his hip and mumbled "No."

    Typho dropped the blaster and raised his hands in surrender. Red striped Arc troopers burst into the room, one forcing Typho to his knees while the rest cleared corners or encircled Padme. She hugged her children close. Her eyes burned with defiance, almost daring a clone to take the howling children from her.

    Padme saw a tall body stoop itself into the room. Ambassador Burtoni tapped a clone's helmet with her cane. He and the others stood at attention and filed out of the room. She merely smiled, bemused that her political foe now owed her a favor.
    ****

    An endless cacophony of sirens and horns filled the air as air traffic ground to a halt. Marble pavement worth more than a daily wage now served as projectiles. The Senate District was likely the most iconic location in all the galaxy. As the center of galactic governance, it drew in influential beings from every system capable of hyperspace travel. As the area of Coruscant with the most direct access to sunlight, it was the most privileged and contented place in the Republic’s capital. Even here there was disorder.

    The COMPNOR riots were escalating. When its inaugural march had been ordered to disperse halfway through the scheduled route, most of the Palpatine loyalists in attendance begrudgingly obeyed. Most had just emerged from refuges defended by the Clones after all, and who knew what other dastardly acts the treacherous Jedi still had under their sleeves. The respect they held for the shocktroopers marching beside themselves was unshakable, that is until vids of those same clones assaulting the Executive Building leaked onto the holonet.

    Shocked and betrayed, half a billion rioters rushed back into the streets to defend their emperor. Weapon staches filled with firearms stripped from destroyed separatist B-1s flooded the market, the contribution of cartels and smugglers all too eager to profit off exacerbating the violence. The local transit authority went on strike, security forces stayed in their homes and lower levels like 1616 succamb to looting. Barricades sprang up in even the wealthiest of districts, while death stick addicts sniffed around the edges of these goings on unmolested, stealing anything that could be traded for their next fix.

    The clone battalion on Coruscant was overstretched. Not wanting the situation to escalate, its Kaminoan masters had initially ordered that only nonlethal rounds be used to disperse the mobs, and in so doing callously allowed many riot troops to be wounded or outright killed. The worst violence however was perpetrated on fellow demonstrators. Circumstances had only briefly brought together those had been eager to see the imperial system be imposed on separatist scum with die hard opponents of the war that had been widely ostracized after Greivous’ flagship fell from orbit. Many misread the situation and openly advocated a return to legalism rather than imperialism, which was not appreciated by the roving zealots still mourning a charismatic leader who had guided them through fifteen years of danger and sedition.

    Hardline had held these streets in the face of the separatist advance. He had done so under the authority of the chancellor with the backing of the Jedi, which had become a deeply uncomfortable truth thanks to current events. Arc Troopers, like Commandos and other specialists had been designed with critical thinking and autonomy in mind. He had not been subjected to the fugue state caused by the inhibitor chips in lesser clones, and he understood why the crowds below him were so confused and enraged. Still, they pointed tens of thousands of laser pointers at his pilots in the hopes that they would crash. They had adopted the symbols of the antiwar movement, mainly holoplacards showing a red symbol marked through a phase 2 helmet. They were enemies of the Republic because they were enemies of his brothers, and worst of all they were weak civilian enemies that had to be squeezed with a velvet glove.

    Chatter on the coms picked up. A disgruntled security chief had sliced into half the city-planet's legion of police droids. High security penitentiaries were emptied by their droid jailers. Organics that resisted were thrown into cells once reserved for murderers. This was too much; lethal measures were greenlit.

    Hardline, a soldier, was now expected to handle a hostage situation. Frak that,he thought, and repelled alone from the Laat rather than ordering it to land, which was a textbook intimidation tactic. Prisoners in this wing of the prison were just starting to escape. “Halt!” he ordered, using his helmet to magnify his voice over the sounds of tumult and disorder. The prisoners had made clear that the police droids would execute captives if they were confronted. Hardline didn’t care. He motioned for his heavy gunner to go weapons hot, and after giving the prisoners three more seconds to comply, gave the order to open fire.
    Coruscant was now a warzone. The nobler prisoners that weren’t mowed down scrambled to collect their wounded. One of them, a Mirialan girl no more than seventeen years old darted forward with her hands outstretched, and as if by magic the heavy gun's muzzle smacked upward, taking out the gunship that had dropped the troopers off. Hardline could not hold off the ensuing onslaught. With nowhere else to go, the remaining soldiers and the convicts fled deep into a hundred thousand different alleyways, all leading into a endless catacomb of vice.
    ***

    An emergency congressional session had to be called. 500 Republica, the Residencies and myriad embassies were emptied of their senators. They were ushered safely to the gathering by the clones who had previously locked them in their homes. Conspicuously absent were the Senate blue guards. Also absent was the central floating platform usually occupied by Mas Amedda and of course the deposed emperor.

    A holo projection of Lama Su was in the middle of making a statement.

    "...Office of the chancellor and Republic Constitution had been illegally abolished. The Moff system and speciest legislation threatened to spark new wave of separatism. The Jedi Order made its own bid for power while judicial partisanship paralyzed the courts." The hologram morphed into one of a mother in shock. "Even senators were being plucked from their homes and held under duress by hardline saboteurs."

    A few senators grew restless for very different reasons.

    "The madness could not go on. The Grand Army had to step in to prevent the Republic's disintegration. Rest assured it shall step aside as soon as the time is right for a free, fair and orderly transition."

    "The last person who promised that was Palpatine!" and other such shouts rang out. Insults and curses began to be exchanged.

    "Calm yourselves! Please! Calm yourselves! The war is almost over. As long as the Republic stays united"

    "There's blood in the streets! The Clones turned on the Jedi and now they're turning on-"

    "The Jedi were traitors!"

    "The Jedi were right!"

    "The Jedi are dead! The Republic is dead! Glory to the Empire!"

    A Chorus of babble silenced Lama Su. The sound of tens of thousands of squabbling politicians was deafening. Safe in his underwater bunker lightyears away, the Kaminoan Prime Minister turned off the projector he was using to make his address. He sighed and turned on another hologram.

    "Commander CC-1010"

    "Yes, milord?"

    "Usher the vips back to their quarters. Use stun bolts if you have to."
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
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  4. Roaming_Guardian

    Roaming_Guardian Know what you're doing yet?

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    An interesting premise, but not one I buy happening on the second day of the empire. It takes time for a government to transition so it would be at least a few weeks before the title of Moff would even exist, let alone for one to be appointed as far out as Kamino. The Kaminoans using the orders Palpatine himself implanted to try and oust him from office is certainly an original idea, but the timeframe is far to short.
     
  5. kayangelus

    kayangelus Not the wizard you are looking for

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    The premise is really entertaining. Palpatine's grand Sith Empire lasting less than 24 hours.

    Though without Vader around to hunt down Jedi, many more should survive over the years.
     
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  6. Alcemistof

    Alcemistof Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    I've seen this before on spacebattles. (Here it is). Is this just a repost or has it been rewritten?
    I was interested in the story premise when it was originally posted and would enjoy seeing it developed more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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  7. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Apparently the transition was already basically done during episode 3, it was all relegated to deleted scenes and the novelization apparently. That's why the Jedi were so adamant that the war would end when Grievous died. They wanted to force a end to the conflict and immediately make Palpatine give up his war powers, which if you really think about it isn't something that had to go away asap unless there was a fear that things had already gone too far.


    You also have to admit that time was already a bit wonky in that movie. My major points of divergence besides the Kaminoans going rogue alot earlier than in the legends timeline was adapting the temple levels from the old Xbox episode 3 videogame (the fight lasted into at least the early morning instead of being a hour long turkey shoot) and dragging things out even more out by not having Shaakti get sneak killed, which is another dumb deleted scene that apparently got recanonised by Disney.





    I've been rewriting it, with entirely new chapters starting around chapter 5 or six. You can go tell the sbers that I've restarted this if you want, in the old thread I mentioned how I felt I lost the plot and got distracted by what was supposed to be a B character. I finally figured out how to axe him and give the story a sense of progression and cohesion.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter Four
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Ch 4
    I find their tactics ineffective. The Jedi Code prevents them from going
    far enough to achieve victory, to do whatever it takes to win. The very
    reason why peacekeepers should not be leading a war.
    -Tarkin

    Meanwhile in the shadow lands of Kashykk, a group of Jedi had gathered. In one way or another Order 66 had failed on the forest planet. Nature and life debts had kept them all safe and their presence in the force had attracted other surivors Kento Marek minded the campfire, carefully stripping only the bark he needed from the roots of the ancient wroshyr trees around him.
    Dusk was beginning to fall over the shadow lands. An inquisitive small species called tach skittered around Luminara Unduli, perhaps attracted by her calmness or perhaps attracted to the faint smell of rations on her breath. Transhodan VBeegor Sadet and Whiphid K'Kruhk kept watch, the only two aliens in the group that came close to matching the native Wookies’ strength and stature. The local guides slept or foraged for herbs. They had been down there for about a standard week, and it was becoming clear that they had not been followed.

    Kento's life partner Mallie returned from patrol with a rough looking tracker named Quinlan Vos. Marek could have eavesdropped had he wanted to, but the living force on this world was too wild to be filtered out. Still, he could tell something had been left unsaid by the way she tepidly poked at the fire.

    "What was that about?" Marek asked, pretending to sound suspicious. Jealousy of course wasn't the Jedi way, but then again neither was romance.
    "He’s lost faith in the plan." Mallie shrugged. “By the time this is all over I sense we’ll lose faith in a lot of things.”

    Mahogani brown, black and chestnut furred wookies dropped down into the Jedi camp. Their leader Tarrful wore a bandolier and armored shoulder pads. The tach scampered off after hearing his speech growls. Vbeegor and Chewbacca hissed and snarled at each other. The animosity between their races wasn't going away just because the Transhodan was a Jedi.
    “This is a mistake, man.”
    Vos walked up to the campfire. His hair was singed and his war paint discolored by fading burns, but that only added to the enigmatic mystique of danger that hung about him. Marek waved him off, tired of having this debate.
    “If the Sith are gone, now is the time to free ourselves from their machinations.” Marek said. “The Wookies are still in good standing with the public, they’ll make sure whoever took charge hears us.”

    “None of you kept focus on the Sith like I did.” Some wounds on Quinlin’s arms had yet to scab, despite the accelerated healing techniques he had learned in the temple. “One thing I learned during the war is that that the galaxy had already fallen to the Dark Side before they made their move. It’s easy to justify following through with mistakes in the name of maintaining power, even the council was guilty of that. It’s not going to get better now that there’s even more up for grabs.”

    Luminara lifted herself from lotus position and joined the others. Despite the jungle heat, she still wore her long garments. She would go along with the plan for now, but she would not hide its flaws.
    “He may be right, too much for now is uncertain. Instead of confrontation, a period of exile could allow us to-“
    “I refuse to hide again, master, as should you.” This was the first time Merrick had acknowledged that he and his lover had been masquerading as medics when Order 66 was issued. His guilt over not being there when the clones turned was obvious.
    “Obi Wan instructed us to await a new hope. We all felt that hope when Yoda reached out to us.”

    Vos begin to walk away.
    “If you knew half the things he let me do, you would learn to stop trusting the wisdom of that old toad.”
    Mallie was almost as insulted as the Wookies, who roared and hooped at the iconoclastic loner.
    “Show some respect, he died for the Republic. I’m not about to give up on it.”
    Merrick nodded and with a small force push put out the campfire.

    ...​

    Emptied glades and hollowed trees bore witness to the ongoing Battle of Kashykk. Faceless armies and hordes of skeletal machines clashed all across the primal world, wreaking havok for no other reason than to fulfill the violent tasks for which they were designed. The Clone Armies were on the back foot. Ignorant of the mystic energies that had given their generals the edge against cold computational logic, this legion had themselves begun to strategize like the droids and were losing because of it. The Wookies could only watch as wave after wave of obedient troopers charged towards needless destruction. With indigenous help the Republic could still win in this theater conventionally, but the Wookies sense of honor prohibited them from assisting a force that could so easily betray those they fought beside.​
    It was morning. Vos hadn’t left, but it was clear he wasn’t going with them.

    "I’m telling you, you should stay until the fighting stops. Not even an inferno could reach us down here."

    Vos looked to Luminara. She gave him a sad smile, her way of saying that she agreed but could not change course. Marek took the lead hand in hand with Mallie. After everything that happened, he no longer saw the need to hide their relationship. His attachment to her wasn't a weakness, it was something that strengthened their resolve.

    Mallie looked to Marek then back at Vos. Her voice was determined yet also resigned.

    "We have to do the right thing. We’re Jedi.”

    Vos bit his lip and pretended to respect their courageous march into the foggy canopy.

    ****

    The Great Walkway leading to Rwookrrorro was old. Very old. The repulsor lifts entwined into the aerial roots it was made of didn't bring much comfort to Scout Trooper Bushwack. One wrong patch of rotten wood could easily snap, sending him and his podmate Clearcut tumbling hundreds of feet.

    A couple Wookies were hanging out in the canopies above them. Bushwack shook his blaster at them. "Move along. Hey, move along!"

    "Come on, Bushwack." Clearcut was anxious to finish his rounds, but Bushwack was holding up their patrol.

    "The natives are getting restless again."

    "Serves em right. If those walking carpets learned to cooperate we wouldn't have to be...here". A man and a woman in familiar robes were walking up the path. "Jedi are here." Jedi

    The haze re-enveloped their minds. Clearcut and Bushwack prepared to fire but the wookies were on them before they could. Sirens began to blare. Across the tree city Republic scouts and sentries were restrained. The Jedi were escorted to their objective without lifting a finger.

    Like most everything on Kashykk, the primitive looking hut that housed Senator Heno Soflawn was more than it appeared. Energy shields covered its exterior and the grand branch it rested on had been slightly hallowed to give its occupant sufficient living space. The large antenna on the roof was what the Jedi were after, but if the plan was to work certain formalities had to be entertained.

    Marrek and Mallie went in alone while the others stood guard. Heno Soflawn, who looked like the first human-gamorrean cross breed fled into a corner surprisingly quickly when he heard the snap hiss of activating lightsabers outside.

    Marek held out his hand. "Relax, sir, we wouldn't dare harm a senator," This particular politician had always had a soft spot for anti jedi conspiracies, but an unspoken mind trick was enough to make him trust the pair.

    "The order appreciates your bravery in leading this fact finding mission, we only need to speak with the loyalist committee.” Rocket turrets buzzed to life next door. "We need to speak to them now."
    The fat man had only really come in search of new contracts for his lobbying company, but for some reason he completely agreed with what the Jedi said.
    “You need to speak with the committee now,” he repeated and entered a contact number on the astromech he had hooked up to the external communication relay. Five blue images sprung to life. Bail Organa, A Mon Calamari, the head of the Duros government in exile and Kaminoan Halle Burtoni looked at them in surprise. The Coruscant side of the transmission was muted but Marrek could tell that a argument had broken out, and Merrek was running out of time.

    "Good morning, Senators, I speak not as a Jedi, but as a representative of the free peoples of this planet. The Wookies request that the clone armies withdraw from population centers until a investigation explains the role the clone army played in the conflict between the chancellor and the masters on Coruscant. Whatever caused the conflict seems to have become a problem here as well. We remain loyal to the Republic, but the Rwookrrorro garrison must hold position until a plan is made to have them regroup closer to the front."

    Merrek could hear the flocks of birds flying away from what was likely a clone rapid response force.

    "They also wish to file a formal complaint about our treatment and the collateral damage taking place in the northern continent. We were supposed to protect Kashykk, but the planet will be lost to what remains of the separatists if there continues to be friendly fire.”

    As soon as that was said, an opening salvo of rockets began to hit the trees. Most were diverted by the Jedi, but one impact slung Rruhk out of sight like a rag doll. Potshots began to ping off the window shields. Unduli and the other Jedi responded by safely swatting the blaster bolts aside, while the Wookies impatiently prepped their bowcasters.

    "Please Senators, you have to do something. Your ambassador is fine. The Clones are fine. We only want to negotiate. Patch us through to command."
    Jet catalans swooped over and through the forest. Blue visored members of Delta squad riding ATRT walkers shot them down. Chewbacca was hit on his shoulder blade. Vbeegor stepped in front of him, but the Wookie didn't need protecting. He roared and unstrapped his bowcaster. This was now a firefight.

    Mallie tapped Marek on the shoulder.

    "We tried. It's time to go."

    "Fierfeck. Senators please, we’re on the same side."

    Marek couldn't hear him, but he could see the Mon Calamari screaming at the Kaminoan. The Duros senator in exile looked indifferent to their argument.

    Luminara sprang at the walkers, slashing at their legs while the commandos used rocket packs to get to safety. Squads of average troopers covered their escape. The branch on which she was standing suddenly snapped before she could be gunned down. If Quinlan had caused this to happen as Merrick expected, he’d likely be able to catch her and make sure she was okay.
    To their credit, the wookies tried to bring the Trandosian with them when Tarfull finally ordered a retreat. The lizard maintained his position until a team of snipers timed their shots to make his parrying pointless. One of them lobbed a canister through the window. Marek's eyes widened but relaxed after realizing it was only releasing cough gas.

    Mallie held her breath and force pushed the gas out through the window shield. The commando nicknamed Scorch smiled under his helmet. The Jedi had taken the bait. He fired a incendiary round at the gas cloud and watched it burst into flames.

    ********************************************************
    Marek slowly came to. He was in a white medlab. He tried to move but was stopped by the sound of something ripping. He tried to breath and realized something had scorched his lungs. All he could do was turn his eyes. He watched a brown lifeless hand be tucked beneath a tarp.

    A Kaminoan scientist noticed that Marek was awake. She ignored him and continued to speak into her holorecorder.

    "My hypothesis seems valid. While the Inhibitor chips rarely if ever malfunction, they do progressively dull the reflexes and overall effectiveness once triggered. Chemical imbalances found in the cerebellums of live subjects suggest that the conditioned response to targets exacerbates latent neural degradation. However, my hands are tied by the threat of clone docility being undone if the inhibitors were ever removed.”

    Some of Merrick’s strength had returned. He was just barely able to turn his head in the lead doctor’s direction. Based on the scalpel in her hand, it was likely that she was taking samples. The woman being dissected was likely Mallie.

    Merrick couldn’t rasp out her name. His voice box was likely gone. The Kaminoan gently made him reface the ceiling and with tubes helped him drink. She administered to him efficiently, but without any pretense of pity.

    "Preliminary results however suggest midicholarian injections into telomere chains can delay or even reverse this process if genomically patterned effectively.”

    Merrek now remembered what she had done to Mallie’s brain before she died. He felt no anger at this, a sign that he had also been a test subject. He didn’t feel a thing. Scalpels emerged from the bed. They began to cut.​
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  9. Raging Iron Thunder

    Raging Iron Thunder Getting sticky.

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    This looks interesting. However, I do suggest you add threadmarks!
     
  10. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    I'll start doing that after this gets to page 2. It also seems like even the "good" chapters i posted were trash, half of chapter five is new and the other half needs to be edited. At least six through eight finally have a sense of flow.
     
  11. Raging Iron Thunder

    Raging Iron Thunder Getting sticky.

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    Everything is a work in progress. Even published authors hit a point where they just have to walk away even though they want to keep polishing and or editing or rewriting.

    The big thing is that you keep writing and finish what you start.
     
  12. Grimmouse197

    Grimmouse197 Not too sore, are you?

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    I just let SB KNOW.......are u going to post there too?
     
  13. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    I got banned from there a long time ago, so no. I'm typing out the current chapter now, I had alot of school work this week.
     
  14. James Wilt

    James Wilt Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    So is there a reason that Bail Organa just sat there and said nothing during the call? He and the Mon Cal should have pushed the decision towards the Jedi's favor since the exiled Duros said nothing. Heck, there should have been some response even if it was the Kaminoan just saying no.

    Also, you seem to keep switching between Merrick and Malek, not to mention that the Midichlorians have nothing to do with people being Force Sensitive aside by being attracted to them depending on how sensitive they are. (I think they feed on Force Energy don't they?)

    Still, at least Marek addressing the Senators was better written this time around for the most part.

    Also, I hope a recording of that conversation is put on the Holonet, since it would help the Jedi regain some credibility...
     
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  15. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Thanks for the heads up, I'll make the names consistent later. I maybe could have described the argument a little more. The mon cala screaming was just the end of it, and I didn't want to waste time describing a silent version of Bail wagging his finger but not getting too worked up because he knows the senate has no real power and that he's only there as a formality. This will be relevant to the plot later on. Finally in regards to the midichlorians, nothing you can say to me can make me think of them as anything other than a dumb scientology esque way to explain power levels. Note that I actually factored in how they were retconned and only said that they were being used to delay the breakdown of telomeres, which are the things in your body keeping your cells from growing cancerous or ceasing to reproduce prematurely. It doesn't matter why this works, it's just science speak for a theory about how to counteract how all cloned jedi are destined to go crazy. (something that was kind of sort of retconned in the mountain dew fueled coke dream that was Force Unleashed 2, but not really)
     
  16. Threadmarks: Chapter Five
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Five

    A challenge life long it is, not to bend fear into anger​

    3, 9, 1, 7; 8, 2, 10; 8, 4, +5 from the side deck and stand on 17. No serious gambler played pazaak anymore, especially not against the house. Adding and substracting one’s way to 20 or bust wasn’t particularly complicated, but the high cost of side decks and the tendency of the dealer to know what he was going to draw two turns ahead tended to draw sapped most chance from the gun. There were valid reasons to dirstust a player who won more than a few rounds in a row by the end of the night.

    Ahsoka had won at least the last 26. The Twitching Bendack Cantina attracted all types. Compnor gangs licking their wounds, Death Stick Dealers, even a clone or two had entered and exited through its dingy metal door. The one thing these unfortunates typically did not possess was luck. The only way someone could consistently leave with more credits in their pocket after a bit of gambling than when they came was if they cheated.

    Technically Ahsoka hadn’t broken any rules; trusting in the Force was far more effective than counting cards. It allowed her to intuitively know when to hold and when to fold, as well as how to sense a card shark’s hidden excitement. It also let her sense danger. Good, Ahsoka thought. It was finally time to make things worse.

    “Paazak!” Ahsoka almost shouted after winning one last game, then sloppily arose from the table. A convincing attempt to act drunk was almost as hard as a drunkard’s attempt to appear sober, but Ahsoka pulled it off, making her gait slightly unpoised and uncentered. Having basically stumbled to the chips exchange, she tapped her fingers hard on the desk three, a cocky and common sign that she wanted to collect her winnings. The rodian teller rolled its eyes and handed her a medium sized sack. Ahsoka weighed the sack in her hands then scoffed.

    “Where’s rest of it?”

    The Rodian looked at her annoyed.

    “That Four thousand, goodbye” it said in Huttese.

    This was a common trick that could get people shot on many worlds, which was exactly why Ahsoka provoked it. The Hutts, and the criminal underworld it helped fester, used a base 8 unit of measurement rather than the base of 10 of galactic basic. Many scoundrels had fallen into debt or been swindled by very selective acknowledgement of how this difference affected exchange rates.
    “No goodbye!” she protested, making sure to slur her words just a bit sloppier than she had before. “No-ba-ta boska” she said, stretching out the syllabus of Huttese to make it seem that she was either mocking him or barely able to use the language.

    “Boska!”

    “Nobata boska! Pay price! Wamma che copah!”

    Right on cue, bouncers moved in disrupt their argument, which had devolved into a pidgeoned shouting contest. They wore a simplified grungy variant of the form concealing uniforms of Coruscant security forces. Once outside the security guards would likely try to beat then rob the girl, or worse. They weren’t expecting to be jumped by Ahsoka’s friends, who were waiting to ambush them in the nearby alley.

    A quick leg sweep knee strike combo knocked the first bouncer out while the other was swiftly punched in the gut by one attacker and brought down to the dirty floor and choked out by the other. Ahsoka smiled, impressed by how far her friends had progressed since being trained to fight clankers in the jungles of Onderon.

    “You move pretty well for a senator,” she said to Lux Bonteri, helping him to his feet after they were both sure the second bouncer had passed out. Like her, he had become a bit taller and more toned, but was otherwise identical to how he looked when they first met in the Separatist capital. Saul Guerrera on the hand still exuded bravado, but it was now weighed down by extremely personal loss, something he and Ahsoka now shared with Bonteri, whose parents had both died during the war.

    It didn’t take long for the bouncers to be stripped, hog tied and stashed where they wouldn’t be discovered. Lux, ever the gentleman, had changed out of sight while Saul removed his outer garments in full view and donned his disguise. Once their comlinks were attuned, he sauntered back into the Twitching Bendak. This kind of cantina wasn’t the type that took much notice of patrons being thrown out. No-one looked at Saul as he walked past crowded tables and stepped over puddles of ale on his way to the employee only rooms. Saul strode past the Cathar felines loitering by the stairs. They stunk of glitterstim and distrust but let him pass without incident. The overweight human watching the security feed wasn’t so oblivious, but the music in the cantina was loud and muffled the sound of the stun bolt that took him out.

    The nearby computer let him lock down most exits and do a quick scan of the clientele. Those who had been allowed to come in with weapons were marked with green. Saul marked them and the people on Ahsoka’s list, then sent the data to the ocular holonet contacts all three had been wearing to get around iris scans.

    “You know Lux could have just lent you some credits if you needed it, when has a senator not given away money that isn’t his?”

    “Please,” Ahsoka replied, happy that Saul was still capable of lightening the mood.

    “I know way richer politicians who owe me a favor.”

    Lux smiled at Ahsoka as he approached her, the head covering of the gagged bouncer in his right hand. Lux was not corrupt like most politicians, but Ahsoka agreed with the joke; based on the way he looked at her she was sure Lux was ultimately loyal to her and Saul, not any government. This was one of the reasons why she did not reach out to him when he came to Coruscant to help lead the delicate process of leading Onderan back into the Republic, even after she realized he had rushed the proceedings when he heard about her framing and spent up much of his political capital searching the planet to make sure she was alright. Her leaving the order also threatened to simplify or complicate their relationship, which was something she did not want to rush into so soon after being abandoned by so many Jedi she once cared about. All these concerns were washed away by the purge; she would stick by those she cared for that were left. They needed her to step up.

    “This planet is a powderkeg, I don’t want these guys in play when it really goes off.” Ahsoka allowed herself to be a bit less serious. “The bounties on them are just a nice bonus.”
    Lux pretended to look suspicious.

    “You never mentioned our cut.”

    Ahsoka shrugged as they walked back inside. “You already spent it on the down payment for my speeder.”

    Saul interrupted their banter with a slight whistle.

    “Racketeering, weapons smuggling, more batteries on an officer than I can count: you’re right, I could be tempted to use their type to start a rebellion. Some of these guys are the real deal, I’m not sure we can take them all by ourselves.”

    “I’ve already got that covered.” Ahsoka motioned for Lux to take up position at the last working exit. Setting his blaster to stun, he’d make sure no one on the list slipped out with the crowd. She then walked up to the ugliest human by her, let out a sudden shout and twisted her upper body out his reach. “Let go of my Lekku!” she screamed, well aware that her sensitive braid like head tendrils were fetishized by humans and culturally significant to Twileks and the Togruta. The three Rylothans eyeing her all night predictably rushed to avenge the insult, and one misunderstanding later there was a full blown bar brawl. Thrown punches and smashed chairs were enough to handle most of the lesser thugs, giving Ahsoka plenty of breathing to rush and incapacitate the ones that were armed.
    In no time at all that side of the cantina was nothing but a collection of flipped tables, broken bottles and moaning bodies. Ahsoka looked to the entrance to the private room behind the bar and took a deep breath, readying herself. “Wait here,” she said, and closed the door behind her. A sullen and slightly drunk young Mirialan was there hunched over the counter, waiting for her next refill. A server with glassy stiffly approached her, the Mirilian waved her hand, and as if by magic he knew exactly what to pour.

    “If it’s any consolation, I never expected that the council would turn you over.”

    “It’s not.”

    A strained calm hung in the air between Ahsoka and Bariss Offee, something that both padawans knew coulf change in an instant.

    “After all that’s happened, you have to see that I was right.” Bariss eyed the cup in her hands, then poured its contents on the floor.

    “If the masters had just stopped and listened, maybe none of this would have happened.” On the holoscreen in front of her a steady stream of images celebrated the bombing campaigns that would precede the coming reconquest of the rim, as well the new construction that had begunto defile what was left of the Temple.

    There is no emotion, there is peace, ran over and over in the two former padawans’ minds.

    “You killed people, Barriss.”

    Barriss scoffed and used a mind trick to call for another free glass of brandy.

    “We’ve all killed people, or do Geonosians and pirates not count?” Bariss drank quickly, ignoring the burn. “Some things need to happen for the greater good.”

    Bariss had done terrible things in her bid to make a statement about the evils of the Clone War, things she didn't yet fully regret. She was right in a way; the war had been pointless and it had led the Jedi to doom themselves. Her self-righteousness hadn't yet been shattered by knowledge of Palpatine's true nature.

    “Says the terrorist.” Ahsoka’s hands were on her hips, carefully placed just away from the blaster on her hip. Barriss finally made eye contact with her former friend, glaring at her.

    “Why are you here, Ahsoka Tano? Revenge?”

    "I thought about it, Bariss-" Ahsoka forced herself to smile as she saw how Offee's inebriation wasn't bad enough to stop her from also steadily inching her fingers towards a concealed blaster.

    "-But no." She poured a drink of her own. “I come with a message. The war isn’t over. When it comes back to Coruscant, you need to decide which side of it you’re on.”


    She slid the drink to the end of the counter. An invisible hand caught it before it fell and raised it to hidden lips. Assaj Ventriss materialized before them, holding the gun Bariss and Ahsoka had already known she had rather than the distinctive curved red lightsabers Bariss had priorly stolen from her. The conflict between the three of them was personal.

    Ahsoka left them to their stand-off, which descended into a hail of blaster fire and clawing hand to hand conflict almost as soon as they reentered the main bar. Saul had already been chosen to turn the bounties in, and was preparing to meet the clones that come to take them into custody. Lux followed Ahsoka back to her home. He wanted to ask who exactly was causing the tumult, but correctly assumed Ahsoka let it go on because it would be broken up by the arrival of Republic troops.
    He also knew that the thing buzzing in her hand was extremely important.


    “Is it time?” he asked, careful not to pry too much into Jedi business. With a mixture of both trepidation and joy in her heart, Ahsoka nodded yes.

    *****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
    Ahsoka carefully landed the Onderaani vessel Lux had loaned to her. He could have given it to her if she wanted to, but this was his way to make her promise to come back.
    Kessel was the last place one would look for a Jedi. The planet was known for the accrid smell of industrial waste and slave sweat that drifted through the blown out corriders of its notorious spice mines. No one aside from smugglers and the vile willing visited Kessel. The scum who did were left to their vices so long as they looked threatening and payed the proper bribes.

    Picking Kessel as the site of a Jedi Conclave was distasteful yet necessary. A den of villainy well away from the Order's sacred haunts had been chosen for two reasons. One: they needed a location that wasn't being watched. The other: they needed a conscious reminder of what they had been reduced to. She walked slowly into the claustrophobic tunnels, ready for an ambush. Flashbacks to the fight in the Geonosian weapons factory rushed to her mind when she heard the clicking at the opposite end. Beyghor Sahdett’s species resembled a lanky green grasshopper. As a sentry, the alien nature of his eyes and head movements were likely to scare off any random passerby. The non-mammalian way it scrutinized her helped see why this Jedi was the few that had survived. It eating her alive was the only it could survive, it would in a heartbeat in according with the law of nature, and without any worry that such an act would lead to the dark side.

    Behind him Ahsoka found herself in a large underground grotto. Over a dozen Jedi were in attendance: some like Rahm Kota sprawled out on mounds of long forgotten gravel, while others such as Siadem Forte stuck close to rusting mining equipment and well away from the exposed spice deposits jutting from the ground. Ahsoka examined those grouped closest together: Bultar Swan exemplified what it meant to be a Jedi Knight, and the horror of loss had done nothing to sap the liveliness from her beautiful almond shaped eyes. Sia-Lan Wezz was a female Jedi Guardian par exellence who hungered for retribution.

    Others were less inspiring. Koffi Arana's shaved tuft of hair gave him a distinctive look when compared to the other humans, but it was his open displays of hostility that truly set him apart. The battle honed Roblio Darte was the closest to Arana's state of mind, but his fury burned coldly within his heart and was being harbored only for the enemy. Blue Furred Jastus Farr looked troubled, the former Tusken named A’sharad Hett wore an expression that was as austere and wild as the desert and masters Tsui Choi and Ma'kis'shaalas ignored her completely while engrossed in detailing their escapes from Order 66.

    Shaaday Potkin watched Ahsoka try to slip unnoticed into the assembly. "Hello, padawan." Shaaday said, bringing everyone else to silence. Ahsoka flinched for a moment then reluctantly pulled back her hood. It was obvious that she was relieved to see so many Jedi in one place but also obvious was her belief that she no longer belonged with them.

    Koffi Arana obviously felt the same way. Everyone could feel the snarl he was holding in: You ran away when we needed you. Ahsoka wanted to buckle over, but Shaaday steadied her. "She will speak for the padawans we've failed." Suddenly downcast eyes told Potkin that the matter had been settled.

    "Very well. The Order nears the brink of extinction because of our blind loyalty to the Republic. We betrayed our ideals and future generations to fight for it, and in return it has brought upon us almost total destruction.”

    The mood in the grotto was bitter and downtrodden. Some wanted to focus all blame on the Sith, but they knew many were all too eager to be manipulated. Palpatine was gone, but the soldiers he had created still hunted their peers.

    "No more. The old ways made us too stiff necked to question the causes of outsiders. We fought their war when we should have been peacekeepers, and we sacrificed our own when they demanded it. No more." She said, and turned to Ahsoka. His was the apology Ahsoka had waited for, but it did not make her feel better.

    Shaaday continued. "The Senate we upheld applauded our annihilation. By now we've all come to terms with what Palpatine really was. How he hid his true nature from us and why the clones turned on him is irrelevant. If not for Master Kenobi and Master Yoda's heroic actions the Sith would have won regardless of the complications they faced. Thankfully the latest ripples in the force can only mean one thing: The Sith succumbed to their own treachery, as they always do. All that matters now is that his minions are vulnerable.

    "We mustn't let this opportunity slip from our grasp. No reflection. No exile. We must follow Yoda's example and do what must be done. We must act."

    Tsui Choi apprehensively chittered together his small jagged teeth. "The Clone Wars continue and the Republic is at risk of total collapse. I fear that rash decisions will lead the galaxy further into chaos."

    Shaaday's lips tightened. "There is no chaos, there is harmony."

    Ahsoka's eyes narrowed. She didn’t like where this was going, and neither did some of the other jedi in attendance based on their uneasy murmuring. Jastus Farr motioned for them to be quiet.

    "Civilizations rise and fall," he said, "and fighting that would be like fighting the tide. If the Republic has succumbed to the Dark Side, we should not support it. We should end it."

    Master Darrin Arkanian's ears waggled, his species way of showing agitation. "What you're proposing is as irresponsible as it is impossible. if we couldn't hold one coliseum without the clones, how do you propose we fight them?"

    Khota entered the conversation. "By doing the same thing they did to us. We spread them out so thin they snap."

    Shaaday looked to Ahsoka. "And the new generation will show us how. The council should have built upon the successes you had on Onderon."

    Ahsoka shook her head. "But those people were fighting for their homes. Rebels won't aid us if the clones remain focused on the separatists."

    "And if we bring the clones to them?"

    Ahsoka was taken aback. A Jedi Master had just advocated the endangerment of innocents.

    "Beware attachments, padawan." Master Shaaday exuded self confidence. "Our cause is just, the light side would have guided them to join us on their own in time. History will honor their sacrifices if they are made in the name of liberty, you’ve seen that already.” Ahsoka thought of Steela.

    Master Shaaday raised her hand. Special lightsabers drifted to each dumbstruck Jedi

    "We are the swords of the Jedi, a sacred covenant. We cannot stand by and let the order fall."


    Ahsoka's fingers inched towards the yellow shoto blade being offered to her. It was like the one she had dropped when clones fired rockets at her feet but somehow heavier, an echo of their use in the defense of the temple. Koffi Arana gripped it tightly as though he wanted to squeeze his rage into it. Iwo Kulka's confidence was bolstered and Rahm Kota clipped it to his belt like it were any other tool.

    In that moment Ahsoka understood why even the most dovish of Jedi were accepting their new weapons. She had only been subjected to a mockery of justice; to prove her innocence Ahsoka had thrown herself into the lowest depths of Coruscant relying only on desperation to keep her alive. The others had faced something much worse. They had watched justice be turned on its head, and what they fought for annihilate them.

    Shaaday nodded to Ahsoka. "Rejoin your family. Help restore the Jedi to our rightful place in the galaxy."

    Ahsoka fought back tears. She would help them when appropriate, but her place was with her friends and loved ones. “May the Force be with you," she said, unable to out and out reject the invitation.

    Engrossed by the yellow light, Shaaday barely noticed her leave.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
    rifern, Norbii, Voidlord and 3 others like this.
  17. OSRfanatic1

    OSRfanatic1 ...Meh

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    Hmm. I can't help up feel that the order for the chapters in the threadmarks is out of order.
     
  18. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Fixed it. I also had the mother of all brain farts this morning and am debating whether to jump into traffic or start a training montage, so i'm not sure whether i'll be writing faster or not at all in the coming weeks.
     
    OSRfanatic1 likes this.
  19. Threadmarks: Chapter Six
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Six
    ********************************​
    Alate’s exoskeleton was growing brittle. His insectoid species had evolved to live in the dry desert heat of Geonosis, not the coldness of space. He had no warm catabombs under the great mounds to withdraw to at night or a blazing sun to draw him out in the day, only a thin yet massive metallic spheroid frame that provided a few meters of protection between him and the celestial void. Alate was no longer in the steamy buried droid foundries over which he once presided. Now he was a captive toiling shoulder to shoulder and back to back with his hive, the heat generated by their close proximity one of the only things keeping them alive.

    He and his kin built downwards towards a as yet nonexistent core. Alate was no drone. Alate was one of the engineers who’d helped design the ultimate weapon. He had chosen to spearhead the project once upon a time, living out his days in absolute secrecy. Now he was enslaved in it with no hope of escape.

    Grey haired humans had come demanding a periodic tribute after the latest failed uprising, and Alate had been chosen by lot alongside ten thousand other warriors, future queen mothers, scientists and common coliseum spectators. When Alete recognized where he was, he knew he’d never return home. How humans other than Dooku got their hands on the Ultimate Weapon was still a matter of confusion. Many buzzes and clicks were spent defending the deceased Count, an alien that was trusted by even Poggle the Lesser. In the end he must have betrayed them by relinquishing the so called Death Star plans to other humans presumably before his death, although Alate’s informed eyes could tell the Battle Station had been under construction for over ten months before the Separatist leader’s downfall.

    This was not a CIS operation judging by the roundel spoked crest of the Republic worn by some of the armed inspectors/overseers. The Empire they spoke of with zeal was unknown to Alate, his understanding of Galactic Basic too rudimentary for him to wholly comprehend the intricacies of interplanetary partisanship. Long arguments about whether or not it was right to continue shrugging off the authority of the Moff called Tarkin was lost on him. Unbeknownst to the overseers, Alate did at least understand words like retreat, hiding, rationing and power struggle. Whoever currently held sway over the galaxy was not supporting this massive undertaking.

    Alate could tell the Death Star wasn’t being built to his specifications. The most he had ever done was design a proof of concept, but the humans were pushing the slaves to work as though the plans had been finalized. The pressure was too much; no tributes had come after Alate’s group aside from a solitary group of rodians that quickly became bug food after the overseers’ backs were turned, and the lack of manpower was starting to drive up attrition rates. A sane man would have scrapped the entire project and repurposed the materials for either battle ships or droid forces, but whoever was in charge was in an obsessive haphazard rush to create a symbol of power and intimidation regardless of whether or not it ever became fully operational.


    Alate knew resistance would be futile after the work was done, so he plotted revolution. For such a massive undertaking no new tributes meant Geonosis itself was no longer under the control of his captors. The Queen Mothers weren’t hostages; they were livestock to be used for breeding purposes. Alate learned from his studies of the preclassical formicaries that any slave caste placed under such conditions was usually consumed like the Rodians when their numbers grew too large, better chattel were secured or their task was completed. Fortunately at this rate there were decades if not a century more of hard labor before Alate and the others would be exterminated. That gave him time.


    Alete’s plan was simple: a few hundred warriors would swarm the cargo freights then “selfishly” gorge themselves on food rations stored inside. They didn’t have sound blasters or a chance of success, only sheer numbers. The ones that weren’t flushed into space were returned with broken wings and crushed thoraxes, some looking like they had been torn apart for fun. Alete had the survivors cannibalized. When protocol droids sent to communicate demands asked in shock why the Geonosians would resort to such barbarity, Alete’s spokesman merely explained, “Weak Genosians make hive hunger. Hive eat weak to be strong.”

    Pretending to be unthinking savages stopped any further investigation. A haughty overconfident man called Krennic still came to punish everyone by executing a small portion of the first brood that had been born to the captive queen mothers and left to the sound of beating wings that both pantomimed and grief signified secret success. In one of the grounded transports there was now a jerry rigged SOS transponder.

    It started broadcasting on all CIS code frequencies after two sleep cycles. A reaction was almost spontaneous. Alate personally watched the humans rush to their ships. His people caught a few of the If a Separatist convoy had heeded the call those ships would soon be fleeing in all directions, but not before dynamiting the still unfinished installation. Luckily Alete knew where such explosives would be set and had already begun defusing them.

    The receiver Alete had just removed from the last of the explosives buzzed in his hand. The danger had passed. It felt strange flying in a zero g environment but Alete managed, propelling himself past the holding shields Geonosian engineers had just taken down. No longer forced into tight quarters, the captives spread out, some attracted by the pheromones of their sequestered queens, but most enticed by the warmed corridors still populated by the doomed imperial rearguard. Alete made his way to what passed for the Death Star’s bridge to see which Separatist had answered his call.

    In some unfinished sections of the hull only a meter wide energy shield separated him from the vastness of space. Looking through one such gap, Alete spied a dozen Republic Star Destroyers. The Republic couldn’t have intercepted the transition and moved on the location in such a short amount of time. They must have already known where the Death Star was and were monitoring it so see which groups had an active hand in its construction.

    Alete watched a few of the more fanatical Imperial ships be blasted to bits after fruitlessly exchanging fire with the Republic flagship. A couple others couldn’t plot a hyperspace jump in time and therefore promptly surrendered. Boarding parties headed for those ships but surprisingly none went to the Death Star itself. Alete’s insectoid mind raced between memories, jumping from the humiliation of his enslavement to his greatest moment of pride, when for a brief moment on a hot summer day at the coliseum the droids from his foundries overcame the collective might of Jedi.
    Only a few meters of metal and energy separated Alete from the chilling vacuum of space. Alete didn’t expect to feel a blast of heat when that shimmering wall came down.

    ***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

    Ortasil had no knowledge of the death star’s destruction as he finished recalibrating the autotrajectory and started to make his way to what passed for sleeping quarters on his ship. The Kaminoans had quelled dissent in their army by dumping off legions of officers at random ports of entry without any interest in how they would get home. Ortasil was one of the luckier ones: he never had much use for his military salary over the years. His savings and untouched inheritance added up to a comfortable sum that could sustain him for the rest of his life. Ortasil had used it to buy a small freighter and quickly settled in to a life of reselling cheaply made products to worlds still comfortable enough to center their societies around consumerist lifestyles.

    Space seemed especially empty and boring today. Ortasil sprawled out on the cushioned mat that covered the floor. A pedestal automatically lowered from the ceiling to within easy reach. Ortasil tilted his head back, grabbed a hose protruding from it and chugged.

    What else was there to do? There was nothing to watch; the holonet was devoted to nothing but spewing falsehoods. The current slander fixated on the looming collapse of the galaxy’s financial system, blamed on the Emperor allegedly embezzling countless credits from the banks he controlled even as Supreme Chancellor. Why the undisputed ruler of the galaxy who could order anything by decree needed to in effect steal from himself wasn’t being discussed, only the ramifications of what seemed like fake news fabricated to further justify Kaminoan treachery. Laser fire and burning cities illustrated how well remaining elements of the Banking Clans that once pretended loyalty to the Republic rather than the Separatists were reacting to the story, image after image showing their uprising being put down by Clone troopers given hero worship by the media that was once reserved for Jedi.

    Ortasil didn't care. He hoped they’d all kill each other. His credits weren’t on another planet. They were bunched in a zipper on his chest, ready to be drunk away. The sudden buzzing coming from the cockpit made him worry he’d be gone before he’d be dead long before he could finish spending it. Tie Advanced fighters had moved into attack formation behind him. A much cheaper mass produced module had been in the works at the tail end of the war, but no self-respecting pilot would choose to fly one of those things unless overwhelming odds were on their side and they had been threated with a court martial.

    Ortasil turned a few dials and sighed, reversing his velocity so that his ship came to a relative stand still. He went to a separated pressurized room and waited. If these were pirates, they’d soon board and demand that he hand over the ship manifest. When the door opened Ortasil didn’t expect to see his old academy buddy, Captain Barriall.

    Barriall silently shook his hand then gestured to the holonet receiver. Ortasil leaned up when Barriall used it to smash the projector. Barriall took a small device from his pocket and swept the room for surveillance bugs. Once satisfied that the area was clean, Barriall helped Ortasil to his feet.

    "Get up, Moff. We've found it."

    No-one had called Ortasil that for a long time.

    He tried no to puke while being hoisted up. Ortasil was too drunk to refuse his assistance, but didn't particularly appreciate.

    Barriall was beaming. "We did it. We found the Katana fleet."

    ***

    "Remember Ozzel? The stupid fool thought the clones were going to have him executed so he made a blind jump into hyperspace in his private shuttle. We're lucky one of ours picked up on his distress signal."

    Ortasil and Barriall toured the Empire's newest staging post. It was starting to become obvious what Palpatine had been doing with the Banking Clan’s money. Ortasil and Barriall were in the Deep Core courtesy of a hyperspace lane few knew existed. The planet Byss had been quietly designated Palpatine's potential final bastion of power in case Dooku's Confederacy ever overthrew the Republic. When General Grievous raided Coruscant the Spaarti tanks secretly hidden in Centax Two were evacuated to Byss just as planned.

    Now Spaarti clones were being de-thawed by the thousands. Kaminoans weren’t the only cloners in the galaxy. Knowledge of this had been one of the reasons why Ortasil audited the Kaminoans in person before their coup. Now instead of driving down prices, Ortasil was going to help beat the Kaminoans at their own game. The Stormtrooper variant armor being issued to the Spaarti was pristine. More impressive was the legion of heavy dreadnoughts overhead that they’d soon man.

    Barriall could barely contain his excitement.

    "This is only the beginning. We already have multiple Carrack Class Cruisers lent to us by the Eriadu Authority. The Stark Hyperspace War Veterans Assembly reported to us en masse and the naval academies are loyal to us as well. Gentis and his cadets have ben trickling in slower than expected, but I'm sure more will come after we move on a ship yard."

    Ortasil turned away from the bay window. The unfinished massive complex he was in was starting to be called The Citadel by those busy constructing it. Not all the labcoats working on the spaarti cylinders had come willingly. Ortasil noticed a few fidgety Cransoc scientists who he had once been told were KIA. An armed inspector loomed nearby, ready to punish them for any incompetence.

    The labcoats had massed around a cylinder set apart from the others. Ortasil pointed to it.

    "And that?"

    Barriall sported a devilish grin. "That's our secret weapon, and why you’re here"

    Ortasil looked at Barriall in disbelief. "Are you on the spice? Who authorized this?"


    "Careful. Palpatine himself led the project"

    The clone looked like it was just out of adolescence. Genetically human, its patchwork beard and grimace made it also seems weathered and disturbed.The clone's eyes opened slowly. He squinted at first, confused by the eerie blue green light that coloured Byss. Then he became alert and stared deeply at Barriall. Mental flashes of Imperials toasting the destruction of the Jedi slammed into the clone of Master C'Baoth like a lightning strike.


    A quick psychometrics scan told him that the hive virus had been completely coded out of his system, but there were no indications that the corresponding psyche degradation had been edited. Barriall shrugged when Ortasil brought this up.

    Most sentients are born screaming. Most aren't born with a lifetime of dignity and glory torn from them in an instant. Wild eyed and naked, the new C’Baoth began his rampage by shattering the cylinder's glass, sending shards careening into the arteries of his creators. A inspector who was only lightly bleeding pulled out his blaster, but the shots were absorbed by the dark Jedi’s open palms. Ortisal and Barriall dived under a pile of unused pylons. They kept their heads down and waited for the Spaarti Stormtroopers to rush in.

    The Spaartis took up firing positions but froze, mesmerized by the former master’s gaze. Rather than take out the mad clone the Spaartis turned their guns on the scientists. Soon all the cylinders burst open and the clone handlers who hadn't fled were slaughtered, many by being throttled. Barriall was the first to be dragged out from under his hiding space by the Force.

    Exposed wires sparked everywhere. Ortasil watched horrified as his friend’s body stiffened then snapped while still dangling in the air. Then he too was hoisted mere inches away from a mad visage. They were both screaming, one due to rage and the other terror.

    Then it was suddenly over, the microexplosives implanted in C’baoth and the other Spaartis going off per the safeguards put in place after order one.
    Many bodies crumpled to the ground. Ortasil’s was the only one that got up, mainly in response to the sound of crunching glass behind him. Grand Moff Tarkin surveyed the situation with his hands clasped behind his back, his rigidity bellowing the frustration he must have felt at witnessing another setback for the Imperial Remnant.

    "No more clones" Tarkin said.

    The sound of sparking outlets and the tinking of falling screws filled the air. Ortasil didn't stand at attention. He was too busy gawking at a minor portion of the prized Katana Fleet wastefully following out of orbit while other ships relayed confused SOS cancellations. Then Ortasil noticed Tarkin glaring at him with eyes more cold and more deadly than the hard vacuum of space. His gaze involuntarily flicked elsewhere in a desperate bid to hide that he had made eye contact.

    "No More Clones."
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  20. James Wilt

    James Wilt Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Uh, you might want to go over this chapter again, looks like you left some stuff in that you probably didn't mean to...
     
  21. Raging Iron Thunder

    Raging Iron Thunder Getting sticky.

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    Nice to see an update!
     
  22. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Thanks, I finished this in a stupor. I'll wait to post new stuff until the 19th in order to make sure I don't make this mistake again. I also kind of sort of am losing interest again, not because it's too much of a slog but because nobody reads this, which isn't good for something that was envisioned to basically be novel length.
     
  23. Ugolino

    Ugolino I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Post it on SV instead? I wanted to see where you went with things. I liked the Jedi schisms.
     
  24. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    I had revolution eats itself syndrome and went a bit anal protesting how they did things and their rush to condemn people. In retrospect I'd probably go back and apologize for my crazy fuck you ban me mania, but until the 2037 general amnesty begins, im permabanned. You can always crosspost this stuff there if you want though, I'm finishing a small exposition chapter then refinishing the Corellian crisis arc. Alot of Jedi stuff comes after that. The goal is to get this done before the new cline wars season, which also has a Ahsoka siege of Mandalore which made me change alot of my plans.
     
  25. Ugolino

    Ugolino I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    You could always apologize and ask to crosspost?

    Also you don't need to ape canon exactly- a mix of Legends and Disney is honestly more interesting anyway.
     
  26. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    You could always tell them I apologize for being tunnel visioned and rambling crazy when I got into internet arguments and now see what they meant by being infracted for how I said something rather than what I was trying to say (I had a big bug bear about people over policing tone as a way to indirectly get at content, see the recent sb shadow PMs)

    Doing it myself requires getting around their ticket system, which would require me to go to a library or something. Anyway, expect a chapter or two today and tomorrow. Im also crossposting to FIC, which seems like a better place to leave my nonsmut.
     
  27. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Wear your ban with pride.
     
  28. Ugolino

    Ugolino I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Pride, hey? From you?

    "“Forget your pride (what have you to be proud of?) and forget your anger (who has done you wrong?)"
     
  29. Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    I don't want shenanigans in my fanfic thread.
     
  30. Threadmarks: Chapter Seven
    Polemarchos

    Polemarchos Getting sticky.

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    Chapter Seven

    Droids do not need air, droids do not need sleep, droids do not need courage; they need only a function. Everything can be stripped away; no artifice of fear to make them hesitate, no spoken language slows their processing circuits. No quarter is permitted, no cost spared; They wait in their tombs of basalt for the enemy advance, smothered in the depths of a shielded strip-mined hollow earth.

    The planet Mictlan appears gaseous from orbit, but beneath its plumes of acid haze there is nothing but rock and poisoned soil. Beneath that are the great foundries of the rim, the place where the Confederacy of Independent Systems makes its stand. Had things been different, had great tacticians like Dodona guided a long but effective war of attrition, the separatist holdout’s massive industrial capabilities would have been ripped away root by root. Jedi generals leading from the front might have achieved the impossible and proved why the living force was a far greater ally than the logic of machines. Instead Clone Commanders send wave after wave of their brothers to die at the behest of Kaminoan overseers who have not yet learned to rely on the insight of their own soldiers.

    The ground quakes and the mountains spew fire, sucking in battalion after battalion of obedient doomed men, and spitting out the product of a war economy no longer hamstrung by cost cutters and treasonous puppet masters. In this place the GAR pays the price for stripping its best men of their individuality and honor. Even their armor is once again made uniform, leaving no way to identify the fallen. Battles continue elsewhere, but in this land of the dead the Republic’s momentum has been broken. The Clone Wars drag on.

    More troopers are needed on the front. On worlds like Ryloth, clone legions depart with the scent of Twileki perfume on their lips, lavish parting gifts freely given by exotic partisans who had expected to drive them from the planet through violence. Showered in glory and the affection of dancing girls, the local clone commander pays no heed to Senator Farr being dragged from his home and reward for his oath breaking and collaboration. For better or worse, planets like Ryloth get permission to settle simmering internal debts however they see fit. From Bothawui to Diamal, the temptation to push things further builds to a fever pitch, the beating drums of individual worlds of the Republic beginning to lust for interplanetary conquest.

    Civil war without end has gripped the galaxy. The Imperial Remnant, striking from hidden bases, are on the cusp of becoming a true rebellion. The CIS, though fractured without the guidance of Count Dooku and General Grievous, bitterly delays the now merciless Republic’s reconquest of the rim. There are villains on all sides. Heroes bide their time, unable or unwilling to aid the willing victims of a grand plan undone by its own pawns. Battle lines blur as each bloc does what it must to survive.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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