Disclaimer: Star Wars is owned by Disney, and Warhammer 40,000 is owned by Games Workshop.
Author's Note: This idea for a Star Wars/40K crossover fanfic has been rattling around in my head for a while now, and I've finally decided to give it a go. We're looking at a substantial serial to run alongside my other 40K story, Gifts of the Blood God. Right now, since I happen to have a ton of free time, I can update each story every other week, for a minimum of one update per week, but that may change. I hope you look forward to reading this as much as I do writing it!
Unknown World, 4.31 AVY (After Victory at Yavin):
TK-5630 was the only survivor of the crash. The shuttle's dim emergency lights revealed the cabin around him to be a scene of carnage, the bodies of his comrades strewn about like they'd been toyed with and discarded by a capricious child. They were dead to a man, as was the pilot—impaled through the neck by a shard of transparisteel—and the copilot—crushed from the waist down when his half of the cockpit folded in on itself. While he'd had friends among his squad, he wasted no time mourning them. All that mattered was that he executed his emergency training: activate the homing beacon, access the survival kit, and secure the area, then wait for rescue. The Empire needed stormtroopers; it was his duty to make it out of here alive, and in fighting condition.
First, the beacon. It was located in a compartment on the right side of the cockpit's forward bulkhead—exactly where the shuttle had hit the ground first, and the spaceframe had folded in around the unfortunate copilot. TK-5630 couldn't access it. Was there a backup? There might have been a backup, but he couldn't remember—his crash preparedness training had been a while ago, and at the time he'd never thought he'd have to use it.
The survival kit, at least, seemed to be all right. He entered the cabin again and lifted a floor panel, revealing a grey box trimmed with red. It contained flares, bandages, rations, other essentials. As only one man he would be able to make them last for a long time. There was also a hyperwave transceiver, which was a pleasant surprise—he wouldn't necessarily need the homing beacon. He set it to transmit on all emergency frequencies, and started speaking.
"This is trooper TK-5630. My shuttle has crashed on…" He couldn't remember the name of the planet; in fact, he wasn't sure he'd ever been told. "My shuttle has crashed. Lambda-class, flight number AC 2171. I am the only survivor. If you can hear me, please respond."
Nothing. Over his shoulder, sparks shot from a dangling bundle of cables.
"Repeat. This is trooper TK-5630. Vindicator, do you read me?"
The Star Destroyer Vindicator must have been in range, it had launched his shuttle. Unless it had made the jump to hyperspace immediately afterwards. He could be the only Imperial within light-years, alone on a dark, benighted world…
Enough of that. He was a stormtrooper, and he did not know fear.
He checked one more time that everybody else was dead, then made his way out of the shuttle, blaster in hand. Stars twinkled overhead. It was an alien sky, in an alien galaxy, and dominating it all was a livid purple expanse—the Eye of Terror, the locals called it. Colors swirled within, mottled patches of pink and violet. It was like a nebula blown out of all proportion. Indeed, it was like an eye, watching him.
He held a flashlight in one hand, pressed the activation key. It brightened an oval patch of grass in front of him at the expense of making everything else much darker. The shuttle lay crashed beside him on the steppe, and beyond it there was only a host of shallow, rolling hills, marching away into the night. Not a bird nor a gust of wind disturbed the quiet.
TK-5630 made a sweep of the area, out to twenty meters from the crash site. Nothing of interest. Grass, some of it scorched, and pieces of spacecraft.
He was just on his way back to the tall, dark shape of the Lambda when something spoke to him:
Nobody had called him that in two years. Stormtroopers were taught to forget their old names, their old lives, and dedicate themselves fully to the cause of order in the galaxy. He'd been TK-5630 ever since he put on the helmet.
He paused. The voice was familiar—it was his wife's. Vera was in another galaxy, of course, and hadn't spoken to him since he'd gone to the recruitment center on Corellia. It had to be a hallucination. Fatigue, perhaps? Residual shock from the landing?
"Our daughter's alive, Jeiran. Come see her."
They had been so happy. So young. Married at age nineteen, a child at twenty. His daughter, Ena, had been the light of his life.
Then, when she was three years old, a speeder hit her and Vera as they walked across the street. Vera survived with a broken arm and several fractured ribs; Ena lingered only for a few days. The authorities had punished the driver with ten years in a penal colony, but that didn't bring his daughter back.
Grief destroyed his marriage. He could hardly stand to look at Vera, when she so resembled the daughter who'd been taken from him. They fought, Vera saw other men, Jeiran drank. Eventually he decided to salvage some scrap of purpose in his life by joining the Stormtrooper Corps, and leaving Corellia behind forever.
Which had brought him to another galaxy. Which had brought him here.
He swung the flashlight, but there was nothing within the long bright parabola it cast on the ground. He remained alone.
The air inside his helmet was getting stifling, and it reeked of sweat. TK-5630—not Jeiran—took it off and dropped it to the ground. Technically that was against regulations, but regulations were the least of his worries, given the circumstances.
"Come back, Jeiran. Things can be like they used to be."
He saw his wife, standing not five paces away. He shone the flashlight straight at her. She looked like Vera, but she just wasn't right, somehow, like a perfect mask that was still recognizably a mask. Maybe it was something in the eyes.
"You're not Vera," he said, raising the blaster with his other hand. "I don't know what the hell you are, but you're not her."
"Please come back. I love you."
Her voice sounded off, too, now that he thought about it. Then again, it had been so long since he'd seen her…
"You're not Vera, dammit!"
Something crawled in the darkness, in his peripheral vision. He got the impression of spines and teeth and dimly glowing eyes. His heart skipped a beat, and he brought the flashlight around, but the moment light touched the creature it vanished. So had "Vera."
He tried to think. This had to be some foul species of alien, one never encountered before—and whatever it was, it saw inside his mind. It used sorcery just like that of the perfidious, half-mythical Jedi.
"Show yourself," he said. "What are you?"
"I'm very interested in knowing what you are, actually. You're not from around here." This voice was… very different. Guttural. Slowly the thing of eyes and teeth reformed outside the beam of his flashlight, not far from the shuttle. "Different uniform from the corpse-worshipers. Different language. I've sensed it for a while, now: there's a new presence in the galaxy. Another gaggle of fools with delusions of empire. Their souls are so naive, so innocent..."
TK-5630 opened fire, blasting a trio of red plasma bolts into the darkness. The creature dissipated like smoke.
"Tell me, Jeiran," it went on, unperturbed, "does your culture have monsters? Demons?"
Something reached out—wet and slimy—and grabbed the flashlight from his hand. He struck back with the butt of his pistol and cleaved only through air.
"You grew up coddled. You never had to fear the darkness, or what lurks between stars."
"I am a stormtrooper in the service of His Imperial Majesty. I do not know fear." He fired more blaster shots, at nothing in particular. Perhaps it would scare this thing off.
"Nothing scares me off, my friend." It had read his mind again. "Certainly not a single stormtrooper and his idle boasts."
TK-5630 turned and bolted for the shuttle. He was having no more of this. He would lock the hatch, then stand by the hyperwave transmitter until help arrived or he died of starvation.
He was almost at the hatch when the monster—the demon—rematerialized in front of him.
"You can't run." For a moment, it took the form of his wife again. "I am everything you brought with you."
He turned back. It was there, too—it was all around him. Then it lunged, a seething mass of tendrils and talons and mouths, and in that moment, as the demon clawed out his eyes, Jeiran knew fear.