Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Emperor's New Genocide

Star Destroyer Validator

Captain Piett, arms crossed stiffly behind his back, paced along the Validator bridge's main walkway, his jackboots clicking against the black mirror flooring.

He listened, with grave intent, to the chatter from the tactical well: "Crossing from sector 16 to sector 15...results null." "Scanning sector 20...results null." "Crossing from sector 15 to sector 14...scanning." "Sector 21 results...null."

Piett frowned. Imperial intelligence insisted that the long-hidden rebel base skulked somewhere along this cluster of hyperspace corridors. Probe droids and spies had tracked suspected Rebel activity--along with merely routinely suspicious traffic--up and down the length of these sectors for months. Traffic from Rann, Thanagar, and Dantooine looked particularly nefarious; large transports and mid-size cruisers with shielded communications and emission dampeners that could have been installed to evade space pirates...but that would just as well served to hide from the long arm of the Empire. More importantly, these ships never seemed to return to their home ports.

"Got something." It was Lieutenant Brill, a relatively green but sharp-eyed interdiction specialist. "Looks like a small freighter...doesn't really match the profile we're looking for, and it's coming from Tatooine."

Piett scowled. More than likely the target was just another penny ante smuggler, given its configuration and origin. On the other hand, it would be a good test of the interdiction field...

"Commander Kulyhs, as soon as that ship comes within range, energize the field."

"Aye Captain," barked the gaunt, salt-and-pepper haired officer. Seconds later: "Interdict!"

Millennium Falcon
Luke Skywalker was handily batting aside blaster bolts from the Falcon's sparring drone when he was nearly knocked off his feet by a sudden violent jolt. Master Kenobi, watching his apprentice's performance from a bench along the bulkhead, seemed unfazed the abrupt maneuver. Given the annoyed roar from below decks, Chewbacca hadn't fared quite so well.

Skywalker and Kenobi locked eyes, then dashed for the cockpit as one. When they reached it, they saw their pilot cursing the ominous sight of an Imperial Star Destroyer looming out the front windows. Clark Kenobi stared wide-eyed at the ship for a moment, moving aside a second later to allow a fuming Chewbacca to reclaim the co-pilot's chair.

"We ran straight into an Imperial interdiction field, sucked us right out of hyperspace," Solo barked. "I'm trying to bring the drive back online before they scramble fighters or come after us with a tractor beam--"

Luke shook his head, his eyes closed. "The fighters are already coming."

In the same moment, an arrogant drawl slurred from the ship's public address speakers: "Attention freighter. You are voyaging through cautioned space. Prepare to be boarded by Imperial inspectors. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear..."

Solo barked at Skywalker and Kenobi. "Get to the turrets and hold off those fighters while Chewie and I find a way to nullify the interdiction field!"

Master and apprentice sped to the turrets. Clark seemed mesmerized by the sight of the Star Destroyer, his eyes unreadable. But after a moment, the spell was broken. "What can I do?" he asked.

"Get in back and strap yourself in, kid. There's nothing you can do here." Solo's voice was harsh, but Clark knew he didn't mean to be unkind; he was simply too busy.

Clark retreated to the passenger deck, but he knew Solo was wrong. He could do something. He could do a lot of things.

He made his way to the ventral airlock.


1 comment:

Jeff Shyluk said...

GAUNT!!! I remember gaunt.