AN: Due to a virus that hit my computer, this is the un-eddied version. Expect it to be replaced later when I get round to fixing it. I would have done so now, but I figured you'd all waited long enough. Anyhow, read it, review it if you liked it, if you hate it. Review anyway, because that will make it looks more popular and this get more people to read it, and then they will review in a never-ending cycle!
Stars glittered in the inky darkness of outer space, casting their light into the Inky blackness like tiny pinpricks of warmth in an otherwise cold, harsh universe.
A ship sped through deep space. It four engines firing off sporadically. It's hull dented and scorched by the fires of battle, it's twin weapons – two impressive looking turrets bristling with guns – had been melted beyond repair. And coming up behind it, covered and defended by swarms of loyal TIE fighters, the mighty Star Destroyer, feared throughout the universe, it was the Chimera.
Green bolts of deadly energy lanced out, touching the fleeing craft and bringing death and destruction as it shuddered under the impact. Armour melted and debris were torn free from the fleeing craft, still it kept up it's frantic pace, putting off the inevitable for as long as it possibly could.
Inside the Chimera, there was the ordered chaos of battle. Officers worked rapidly, estimating damage, controlling the ship, scanning the enemy. And in the centre there stood the one man who as perhaps as almost as well known – and as feared by enemies of the Empire – as Darth Vader. Grand Admiral Thrawn. His white uniform shining in the harsh reflected light. His blue-tinged features and red eyes marked him out from the rest of the human crew. He watched as the enemy ship took another hit to the rear, watched as the engines spluttered and kept going.
" Determined aren't they." Muttered Captain Paelleon, who was technically in charge of the Chimera but in actuality, was subservient to Grand Admiral Thrawn.
" Wouldn't you be?" Quarried Thrawn calmly, no sign of the strain which most other people would be feeling right now. His eyes were focused on the display showing the fleeing rebel ship.
Paelleon paused for a few seconds, feeling the familiar uncertainty which so often inflicted those who conversed with the Grand Admiral. His questions were often piercing, forcing officers to think over their answers carefully.
" I suppose I would." Paelleon said, suppressing a shudder as he thought of what might have happened had the rebels won. With weaklings like that in charge, what fate would befall the galaxy? It didn't bare thinking about.
The turbolasers scored a direct hit on the enemy ship, it's engines died with a final flare and spray of burning fluids , the damaged craft was stationery. No way to fight back, nor run. The Chimera started her approach, turbolasers falling silent.
" Shall we prepare to board them?" Asked Paelleon, eyes locked onto their target. This particular ship had been caught trying to run the blockade set up over Or-Gero, a mistake they would not be repeating.
" No, Captain I think not." Said Thrawn, " In fact, I believe it is time to move away from our quarry. Have the Chimera pull back."
Paelleon frowned, but followed the order. The Star Destroyer began to back away. Why was Thrawn ordering them back? It didn't make any sense, the rebels were crippled and unable to defend themselves. Now would be the perfect time to capture the prisoners that the Emperor demanded, and from them they could learn the location of the last of the shattered rebel leadership.
The mighty ship had only just begun it's retreat when the rebel spacecraft shuddered, as if it were being bombarded and then, with a blinding flash, exploded in a fiery orb of power.
The Chimera shuddered as well, the wall of energy catching up with them and slamming into the Star Destroyer. Paelleon clutched at the computer console before him, the floor seemed to shiver horribly, and then it was over.
His computer brought up a damage estimate, nothing bad. The shield had held and the superstructure took only a limited amount of damage.
What had caused the enemy ship to explode? Paelleon's mind went over the things that could have caused such a display and found them lacking, the gunners had been careful, their shots had steered clear of the vital systems as much as they could. He knew that the ship shouldn't have taken enough damage to cause an explosion. Therefore the ship...
" Self-destructed, Captain." said Thrawn, " they knew they could not hope to withstand us so they tried to take us with them."
Paelleon cursed inwardly, cowards. " It seems we will not be getting our prisoners today, Grand Admiral."
Thrawn, didn't seem to be discouraged, " An interesting tactic, I expected them to adopt it sooner."
Paelleon turned to him, " Sir?"
Thrawn explained, " The rebel alliance is dead, Captain. There remain only a few splinter groups who we are hunting to extinction. At times like this, people will resort to desperate measures."
He gestured to the debris, TIEs were hunting through the wreckage, searching for anything that could be salvaged.
" By self-destructing, they deny us the ships and crewmen we would be able to capture, as well as any information. So their few remaining leaders stay safe."
Ah,Paelleon found himself nodding, it made sense, it also tied in with the desperation of the rebels now that their alliance had been crushed, the majority of their fleet destroyed. They would do anything to hurt the Empire now. They could sense, just as Paelleon himself could, that their time was almost over.
" Grand Admiral Thrawn." said a young voice from the COM pit, " We're receiving a transmission coded for you from Imperial Centre. It's from the Lord Vader."
Paelleon paused, the Lord Vader was renowned for his temper, had he discovered their failure to capture the rebels? Was this even now going to be Thrawn's last minutes? He mentally berated himself. That was foolish thinking. Thrawn was too valuable, both to the fleet and to the Emperor, for Vader to kill without a second thought.
So, then why was the Sith Lord making contact with them? Thrawn was a tactical genus, and loyal to the Empire, so the Emperor allowed him to work in the inner systems – despite his well known prejudice on the matter of none-humans – As a consequence of this, Thrawn was given much freer reign than any of the other Grand Admirals. To receive a transmission from Darth Vader himself, well that meant something big.
Thrawn nodded, " Patch it through to my inner chamber."
Having said this, he turned to leave, " You have the bridge, Captain."
Paelleon nodded, and went about his duty.
The Grand Admiral's inner chamber had once been a private entertainment centre, belonging to the previous captain of the Chimera, when said Captain was killed in action – at the battle of Endor – it had gone unused until Thrawn picked the Chimera as his own flagship.
Under Thrawn, the room was never the same twice. It often displayed holographic art, statues, sculptures, paintings and sometimes even drawings. They were arranged in different ways as well, the lights were always dimmed, and the Grand Admiral's red eyes made him look even more striking in the half-darkness.
As he entered the room, the holograms were off, the room seemed large and empty, devoid of it's usual occupying art. However, here and there, there were some statues, a painting or two, a sculpture, these were real specimens that Thrawn had collected in his life, he often could sit for hours, looking at them. Reading the artists who had created them.
The tiny keypad on the wall next to the door was blinking red, the sign that he had a live transmission waiting for him. Thrawn took up his position in the middle of the room, and with a word he activated the transmitter.
A hologram was born with a flash of blue light. The Lord Darth Vader towered over him. His dark armour tinged with blue – due to the projector – Thrawn bowed to him.
" Lord Vader."
When Darth Vader spoke, it was with his usual lack of pleasantries, " Grand Admiral Thrawn."
It was no big secret in the higher tier of Imperial society that Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn did not like each other. Each saw the other as wasteful. Thrawn's style of leading clashed violently with Vader's own and if Thrawn had not been so successful, there was no doubt that Vader would have long since killed him. But Thrawn was successful, he won battles no one else could. And as long as he continued to do so, he was under the Emperor's protection.
" You have been chosen." Said Vader, " To be part of the task force being assembled to deal with a new threat to the Empire. You will rendezvous with the rest of this task force in the Setorii System."
It was brief and to the point, the way Vader always talked with the higher ups of the Empire,
" Once there, you will be informed as to the specifics of your mission."
Thrawn nodded, accepting the order with ease – he was done here anyway, the blockade has been improved considerably and ought to be able to stand on it's own without his help. Though he was somewhat puzzled that Lord Vader had chosen him for this task.
" Of course, we will set course at once."
Darth Vader couldn't end this transmission without a threat it seemed for he continued, " See that you do, Grand Admiral." The unfinished threat was left hanging in the air.
Thrawn ether did notice it, or simply didn't care. As the hologram faded away, he turned back to the COM unit built into the wall, delivering his new orders to the bridge, this done he reactivated the holo projectors, the room came to life as paintings faded into existence along the walls.
The swamp world of Degobah was both ever changing, and in it's own strange way, immortal. The clouds of gas that bubbled up from the noxious waters always clung with the same fettered smell. The strange creatures – the snakes, and the flying animals, could be heard easily wherever one went. The lichen covered trees that towered up from the murky liquid and surprisingly deep mud-banks always gave the place a haunted look, their skeletal branches reaching into the sky - -as if trying to escape this wretched planet.
There was a house on Degobah, more of a hut really. Not even that, as a matter of fact. Years of neglect had allowed the many plants of this world to grow up around it, the dampness slowly taking it apart. A fern-like plant grew happily in what had once been a fire-place and small creepers clung to the pots and pans. Sun-light stabbed down through holes in the roof and the the snakes had long since moved into this new shelter.
All and all, this planet almost looked exactly as it had for the last million years, the same trees still growing, the same creatures living, eating, breeding and dyeing. As if sentient live had never graced that world with it's presence. It had, and it had been snatched away by old age, the Jedi Master Yoda had once made his home on this bleak, deserted world. A secret known to almost no one alive now. But, if one looked carefully, ( And happened to be a Jedi, a very lucky Jedi.) one might just see that the days of the planet's habitation were not quite gone as yet.
An old ship had landed on this world years ago. It had not left, it's landing pads sunk into the mud, as if the very planet conspired to keep them captured. Camo netting had been thrown over it, and plants had grown over that, so that there was not even the slightest outline that showed a ship still held out under all of that.
Except, near the bottom of the tangled mass of creepers, there had been cut a slit, small enough so that it would be hard to find, and even if it were found, it would probably just be thought to be a natural occurrence. Yet big enough so that the curtains of greenery could be pushed to the side in order to allow people travel in and out of the ship.
Degobah was not a nice world, it was not pleasant or comfy. It was, however, survivable. Though it seemed that every day, the planet made some new attempt to destroy the ship's engine – via creatures crawling into it, plants growing on it or simply via water or mud. The ship's pilot had been fighting a losing battle ever since he came here. Patching up things as they broke down. With this infernal dampness, and the lack of fresh-parts, it was a hopeless struggle and he knew it. He didn't even know why he was still in this dump of a world, possibly because he was a wanted man now. Top of the list, he couldn't set foot in even a semi-civilized planet now that the rebels had been crushed.
Han Solo looked out at the overgrown planet that had become his home and sighed almost inaudibly. This was no way for a man to exist, always hiding from the Empire. Even down here, even here he had to be careful. What of the others? Last contact he had with the outside world, there had been several other Alliance members still alive. Did they still live? He really didn't know. He couldn't really bring himself to care that much ether.
It was ironic really, when you thought about it. Han Solo had tried to create an image of himself as a heartless smuggler, a low-life who would help someone only so they could claim the reward. Yet he had never truly been heartless, he had been good and – in his own way – kind. But now, now he was truly heartless.
Ever since Endor, he had had trouble feeling anything at all. Sometimes he wondered if he was going crazy, but he figured it didn't really matter if he was – it wasn't like there was anyone besides Chewbacca and him here anyway.
A sudden bright flash in the sky rudely interrupted his musings, he jerked upward – it looked like a ship coming down for a crash-landing. Had the Empire found him at last? It didn't look like it, there were no more ships nearby but he had to find out.
" Chewie! We got company."
He could hear the soft ''urrfs'' of Chewbacca's speech, and promptly responded " Well I don't know yet – that's why I'm going to check."
He withdrew his blaster from where he had stashed it – it was still in good shape despite the years of exile. How many power-packs did he have for it? Five, three? He didn't know, it had been so long since he had to use it.
Still, he had to admit that holding it brought back memories of his time in the Rebellion. He quickly holstered it and got ready to go, wearing a suit of home-made clothes that would blend in with the swamp. He made his way to the lowered ramp of the Falcon.
At once, the stale swapy air struck him, and he almost staggered back. Of course, he was used to it by now, but it always got him when he was just coming out. The Falcon could filter it somewhat, so Han was never truly prepared for that first rush of air.
He looked about to get his bearings, the trail of smoke that ploughed through the sky was more than enough to show where the ship had landed – it looked like it had been badly damaged too. It couldn't have gone far.
He set off purposefully. It had been many years since he had come face to face with an Imperial, but he knew they still had the death mark on him, so he moved with understandable caution. His footsteps were smothered in the wet mud of the swampy planet, the sucking sounds as he drew nearer to the festering water made him wonder if they would hear him before he arrived, but no one appeared. Should he have brought Chewie? It would be nice to have that Wookiee strength backing him up, but it was also important that someone guard the ship – it was their home – and Chewie knew it too.
Slowly, inch by inch, he crept up upon the ship. The heat of the crash could be felt in the air now, and Han wondered if anyone had survived. It had come down in the middle of one of the numerous swamps and caused a tidal wave of water. the crater was even now filling with more of the stuff, trees had been broken and bent by the force of the impact and pieces of metal lay scattered across the place, as if the ship had started to brake apart upon descent.
The ship itself was sinking nose-first into the ravenous swamp, from what Han could see, it looked like a heavily modified X-Wing fighter. The sides were scored and blackened where it had been burned or struck in battle. The engines were bigger than the average model, it must have been fast but they looked like they had burned out.
The wings of the ship were still locked in attack position, possibly frozen that way when a motivator was destroyed. One of them was melted and useless, another looked like it's tip had been ripped off by some great beast.
There was no place for an astromech droid, but rather there had been a second seat installed, and it was empty. The cockpit was blackened, making it impossible to tell if there was anyone in there at all.
Who flew an X-Wing nowadays? The new generation of TIES were generally faster, with only slightly worse shielding and weapons. And besides that, even out here, Han knew that the X-Wing model had become inseparably attached to the Rebel Alliance, no one flew an X-Wing because they risked being mistaken for a rebel.
Han squinted down the blackened cockpit, it was hard to see, through the steam rising from the swamp, but had something just moved?
Through the darkness of space, starts glittered. Casting their ever-present light about the universe, as if attempting to illuminate the vast empty stretches of the galaxies. They were bright, multi-coloured, blues, red, golds, young suns and dying stars. Yet, beyond their tiny glows, there was always the vast darkness that was space, ready to rush in like a hungry predator.
It was here that the capital ship christened the Luminous Star had come to rest. She was a mighty ship, one could tell by looking. One of the few remaining ships of the Republica class. They had been commissioned near the end of the second Clone Wars. Their sleek, arrow-like shape was feared by enemies of the Republic. The Star and it's sisters had been designed as a mobile-fortress. To take in massive odds and emerge victorious. She had layer upon layer of redundant systems, not one but four separate shield generators and the mightiest turbolasers that could be manufactured.
The Republica class had turned the tide of that war, and saved the Republic from the manipulations of the Sith, and now it was here to do just the same thing in this place. After the war was over, and the ashes of the Separatist movement well and truly stamped out, the Republic realized just what kind of ship they had on their hands – a thing designed with one sole purpose: Kill. They ended production, scrapped most of the remaining Republicas. Despite protests from the army and navy, there were only a few of them left and that the Jedi order had managed to procure one for this mission – it spoke volumes of Anakin Skywalker's legendary status.
So, now she waited. Inside her, the remaining Jedi debated amongst themselves, should they stay and aid the rebels? Kill the Emperor and leave? How would they kill him in the first place, he was a Sith. Not only a Sith, he was the Sith. The one that had so nearly taken control of their own Republic. Palpatine.
Unknown to the crew of the Luminous Starthe three mighty champions of the Empire were even now moving to test the legendary toughness of the Republica class.
Captain Harlakan looked into space. The teeming stars seemed to beacon him on, as they had since he first fly. Their embrace was a comforting thing, which had helped him through many hard times since he first became Captain of the Obliterator
He glanced down, the miniaturized holograms of the other two captains stood at attention, they all knew that while their ranks were equal, Harlakan was in command of this task force.
They would be coming up on the unknown ship soon – if it's sensors were as powerful as they assumed, it would be able to spot them rapidly. Their sensors would be able to pick up a visual of it any time now.
According to reports, it looked like a misshaped Star Destroyer. The sleek, arrow body was there, but the distinctive bridge section was not. Whatever the case, they could not afford a Star Destroyer look-alike running around, and the Emperor had ordered him to investigate. Harlakan was honoured that the wise Emperor would select him from countless other Captains for this duty, and he would not fail.
" They will spot us soon." He said to the others, " Launch fighters, have them assume a defensive formation around the ships, prepare boarders as well. Our main objective, gentlemen, is to disable that craft and render is mostly harmless. Upon completion of that goal, we have orders to board and clear out the ship, taking prisoners. Then the techs will move in and run over it with a fine-toothed comb. Any unusual technology is to be taken for the Emperor's own study."
The others saluted as he continued. " I estimate around five minutes before they know we are here. Best to make the most of it, men. If we play our cards right, and this come off without a hitch. We shall all be admirals by the end of the year."
He nodded to them each in turn, " Prepare your ships for battle."
The holos blinked out and Harlakan returned to the business of preparing his own ship for the coming fight. Good, all weapons were ready, shields raised. He checked one last thing, a weapon of unique make introduced during the waning years of the Galactic Civil War. Still not in widespread use, Harlakan was proud to have flying in formation with his ship, five of the impressively mighty Interdictor MK 2s.
These ships had been downsized for easer manufacturing and portability, still larger than a fighter, they were no longer cruisers. With five of them, he would easily be able to stop those rebels ( for what else could they be?) from fleeing into Hyperspace. He smirked, relishing the chance to bring death to enemies of the Emperor. At last, the final ashes of the Rebellion would be crushed under the Imperial boot.
Yes, mused Captain Harlakan, today would be a very good day for the Empire.
" Captain! We've found something."
The voice rudely interrupted Captain Eric from his star-gazing. He was a tall man, well muscled and experienced. He was also very a familiar sight to most people as he was, in fact, a clone.
He was created from the genetic materiel of one Jango Fett, It was rare indeed that a clone would be trusted to pilot a star ship, never-mind one so advanced as the Star. Eric was not like most clones – he had been created during the second Clone War, one of the last generations before it ended. He had distinguished himself during that war, fighting side by side with the Jedi. He was one of the few clones that had earned the trust of the entire Council. Thus, when they needed a Captain, he had been chosen. Of course, Eric was under no illusion, the Jedi were in overall charge of this mission. Just how it should be, but they knew enough to leave him to run the ship. Eric was – well, unique, in that he had existed so long separated from the Clone armies that he had even started to develop his own look, his hair was worn long rather than the short hair favoured by most of the army. The Jedi didn't complain, as long as he did his job, they saw no harm in letting him develop as a person.
He turned, his eyes searching through the crowded room for the sensor officer who had called him. His hair was loose, cascading down his back like a waterfall. He spotted the man who had called and nodded.
The officer spoke, " We're getting three cruise-sized ships approaching rapidly. Possibly more smaller ones, the sensors are being distorted."
Eric nodded, the mixed feelings of battle returning to him like an old friend. Of course, he had a duty to do. His standing orders were to escape if possible rather than confront the enemy outright.
He moved rapidly, sitting down on his chair – the Captain's chair was a made of comfortable fabric, a holo-projector set in a table had been placed in front of it so that he could observe the battles himself. It was a useful device, he knew. It meant that he could see anything the ship could, could replay movements again and again, perfect for spotting patterns. As soon as he sat, the flickering images of the ship formed in the air before him.
He watched them for a second, their very shapes brought back so many memories. They were clearly descended from Clone Wars capital ships, and he wondered, did they have a crew of clones? Was he even now, about to go to battle against his own brothers? No, he had a duty. Pushing such thoughts from his mind, he brought himself back to the here and now. Columns of writing were hovering next to the ships -- estimated speed, until they were in combat range, an any other data he might possibly need. Unfortunately, the computer was unable to give him the exact make, but even Eric knew the name of these craft. These ships which were so iconic that their very presence could terrify enemies of the Empire. Two words, two words that could sum up not only the purpose of the ship, but the nature of the Empire and the personality of the Emperor himself: ''Star Destroyers''
Normally, they could make a rapid Hyper-space jump and escape – even a few seconds could get them far enough away to afford them breathing space and allow them to compute a proper jump. Unfortunately, the coordinates from their own universe might not work here, and they were forced to compute even the smallest jump. Eric made a rough estimate and guessed that the Destroyers would be in weapons range by then. He knew as a fact that the Star could easily hold them off until they were ready to jump so they weren't in much danger. To tell the truth, Eric was eager to get into combat with this Empire.
" All hands to battle-stations." He said into the enter-ship COM, " We are about to come under attack. Prepare for a Hyperspace jump."
The crew warned, Eric turned back towards the holo. The Destroyers were moving rapidly closer. Their engines powering them forwards. Their turbolaser turrets swivelling to give them a better lock upon the Star. A buzzing swarm of TIEs guarding them. Eric briefly considered unleashing the Star's own fighters – the new ARC 260s but decided against it as they would not be here long enough to really need them. Still, better not to take chances.
" Intensify power to the smaller turbolasers"
Without fighter cover, the TIES would probably swarm all over the Star. Her armour was thick and strong – the best -- but the chances were if left to their own devices, the TIEs would find some weakness, some cranny, somewhere the armour didn't entirely cover. The small turbolasers would be most used in keeping the TIES off, while their larger brothers were to strike back against the attacking ships.
What would the Jedi do? He trusted they knew to let him have the bridge, most of them didn't have the faintest idea how to command a capital ship in combat. Still, he didn't know. Best to get this over quickly then.
" receiving an audio-only transmission." Reported the COM officer, " Seems to be from the centre Destroyer."
" Patch it through." Ordered Eric. He wished he was still wearing his armour – not that it would be truly useful here, but old habits died hard and he really never felt comfortable unless encased in reasonably powerful armour.
The voice which filled the bridge was a cultured, prideful tone. It spoke of an aristocrat who genuinely thought that the Star was below him, and that he was doing them an honour even deciding to see them.
" This is Captain Harlakan of the Star Destroyer Obliterator. You will power down your shields and weapons and prepare to be boarded. Failure to comply will mean instant destruction. You have one minute."
One minute? Should he stall, try to hold them for a minute so the computer had more time to figure out a path? That would mean lowering shields, a choice he didn't like. Too risky, he decided, better to make a fight of it than to allow them an easy show on the Star.
" Target the middle Destroyer." He said, " Full power barrage. Show them we're not some scattered rebels who can be easily cowed."
The massive turbolasers that dotted the surface of the Star rotated, locking in on the Obliterator. There was a few seconds to gather power then with a savage flash of energy, they launched their bolts of green fire.
They lanced across space, the Obliterator had her shields raised, so when they struck her just below her dagger-like tip, they didn't cause major damage. The shields struggled to repel and defuse the energy, green sparks leaping across the surface of the ship.
The two other Star Destroyers cut to the left and right, moving to surround the Star. Space was filled with flashing green lights as the capital ships opened fire, duelling with all their might. The Star responded by diving, Eric guiding her so that she would not be caught in the cross-fire. The ship rocked as a barrage of turbolaser bolts struck her aft, Eric gripped his seat tightly, reports floating in the air around him from the damaged sections. At his right, a tiny count-down which was rapidly descending, when it hit zero, they would be able to get out of here.
" We're taking heavy fire to the engine section!" Someone cried, " Shields have failed, witching to back-ups."
Abruptly, a the TIEs were upon them. Swarming over the massive Star with their tiny weapons spitting uselessly against the armour. The ship returned fire, hundreds of tiny turrets moving to track and fire on the fighters. Many died in fiery explosions, their distinctive wings trailing flames. More survived, dodging and ducking between the criss-crossing bolts of energy. A few managed to turn away the first hit, luck and skill making it so their shields held – if barely.
The Star continued to move, her engines powering her forwards. Eric watched with concern as two of the Star Destroyers – IDed as the Maneater and the Dragon took up position behind the Star and opened fire again, their massed turbolaser bolts scarring the surface of her armour, her weakened aft shields failing again.
" Get some more power into those things!" Barked Eric as the ship jutted angrily, yet the armour held and the shields were rapidly restored. The Republica class had been designed for just this kind of fight and the Star was no where near beaten.
The Star continued her journy, cutting down below the Obliterator, raking her underside with a sea of bolts, the flaming tail of TIEs lighting up the sky behind her. The twin Destroyers pouring fire into her aft.
She continued to shake violently Eric had to grip the arms of his chair tightly, the countdown was almost done. Just a few seconds and they would have made it.
Fire blossomed along the underside of the Obliterator, men died as they were sucked into the void of space, their very blood freezing in their veins. The Obliterator tried veinly to bring it's heavier forward armaments to bare, but the Star was past it, the two other Destroyers gave chase, their attacks pummelling the aft armour.
" Turn us around." said Eric, " And bring our main weapons to bare on those two."
" We've got the course computed!" Reported someone, " Preparing Hyperdrive."
Excellent.Thought Eric, they could make their escape the Hyperspace now. The Hyperdrive started to build power, soon it would catapult the Star across the millions of miles and to safety. After years of piloting ships, Eric could actually feel the raw power surging within the device, flowing and building. It began to finish it's power-up, forming a roaring funnel of power, then it surged forth, millions of jolts of power running through the circuits of the ship. With a ship-wide roar of power, it began.
Eric felt his body pressed into the back of his chair as the ship made the jump to Hyperspace, the familiar whine filled the room. Then, with a sudden jolt that threatened to throw Eric from his seat, they were stopped. There was a small explosions from somewhere in the ship, then they were still.
Confusion ruled the bridge, men pressing buttons, calling up reports, trying to figure out what the heck had just happened. Instead of speeding safely off into Hyperspace, the Star had been rudely jerked back to Real Space, and by the sound of it, something had broken.
" What happened?" Demanded Eric standing up. He staggered as the ship rocked violently, the two Star Destroyers that had been chasing her now catching up rapidly, unleashing a storm of green turbolaser bolts.
" The computer says we're in a gravity well!" cried a crewmen in dismay.
" Impossible!" Snarled Eric, " There are no planets near here!"
" I'll patch it through."
The holo-field changed to display a cone of pale light, it also showed four miniatures ships – the three destroyers and the Star. All in the centre of the field. Eric quickly realized that they were in a pretty bad state – theManeater and the Dragon were closing in, peppering the space between them with flashes of green. The Obliterator had managed to get in front of them and was not moving in forming a pincer with the other ships. Each had launched their full complement of TIEs.
" I've managed to pin-point the cause of the field." Said the tech.
Five tiny dots appeared in the holo-field. They were holding back from the main battle. They looked like some kind of ship. A reort streamed past him and Eric read that the Hyperdrive had been shot to pieces. The techs thought they could get it running again – at least for a while, but it would take time. Time they didn't have.
The ship screeched in protest at the massive amounts of fire her shields were soaking up. The TIEs swarmed over it like an ant over a lion. A million systems threatened to die, and the techs worked desperately to keep them alive, keep them running for the good of the ship.
Warnings blared out on the bridge, the armour had been breached on several levels and the atmosphere was rushing out. Yet, the Star was no where near dead. Eric growled. So many years working for the Jedi had moulded him a unique personality unlike his brothers. Now, he was angry. Not the wild rage from which mistakes are made and battles lost, but the calm controlled rage that built empires and moved mountains.
" Launch fighters." He said calmly, too calmly in fact. " More power to shields and weapons. Looks like we'll be here for a while."
The others nodded, and power rushed through the ship. Eric pressed a button on the arm of his chair and said, " It looks like we're going to be trapped here, Jedi please report to the hanger bays – it looks very much like you will be needed."
The Jedi were their last line of defence. Superb reflexes, faster than human reaction time and a limited precognitive ability made them far superior fighter pilots. They didn't like this – and they had no trouble sowing it, he had promised that he wouldn't send them out unless he absolutely had to. Now it looked like that time had come.
" Bring us about, full weapons barrage on the Oblitterator, give the Jedi the time they need to launch."
He looked intently at the holographic form of Captain Harlakan's ship, the Obliterator. I'll see you burn. He thought to himself, Even if we do not escape this battle, I'll see you burn.
Captain Harlakan smirked, feeling the warmth of triumph rushing through him. Those fools had fallen right into his trap, now the Maneater and the Dragon were closing in on them, and the Obliterator had them caught in a pincer.
He watched with interest as a stream of fighters erupted from the unknown ship's hangers, apparently they still meant to make a fight of it. Idiots. Did they really think they could take on the might of not one, but three Star Destroyers?
" Fire again." He ordered simply. His crew was well-drilled, they knew what they would have to do.
Pin-point strikes of turbolaser fire streamed from the turrets of the Obliterator.They had been calculated exactly, and the first barrage was targeted to a single point --- A massive surge of power that even a planetary shield would have had a hard time resisting – the shield broke, only for an instant as one of the back-ups kicked in, but an instant was more than enough. The second barrage tore through the opening. Slamming into the armour that adorned the front of the ship. It bubbled, jerking like a wounded beast, the fires of the striking turbolasers ignited the armour. A raging flame erupted along the front of the ship.
The Luminous Star twisted and turned, as if trying to rid itself of the attack, but too little too late. The last shots of the second barrage hit home, landing in the gaping hole torn by the attack. It must have hit something vital, because the entire section of the ship was bathed in flames, fire roaring from the hole. The engines on the ship flickered and died. The shields were restored in time to stop the next barrage of bolts.
Excellent. Now they were helpless. Drifting in space, unable to move in order to get a better shot. This battle was over, of course, the ship still had some fight left in it, but with it's engines dead and it's shields starting to fail, there was really very little that they could do.
Yes. thought Harlakan as he watched the streams of plasma venting from the ship. They Emperor would be most appreciative for this. He would be an admiral by the end of the year and after that, who knew? Perhaps there was room for one more Grand Admiral. Grand Admiral Harlakan. Answerable to no one but the Emperor himself. Yes, that had a very nice ring about it. However, before any of that could be anything but a daydream, he would have to capture this ship. It had been a tough job, it had held very well against the fire of the three Star Destroyers, but now this game was all over.
" Captain Harlakan to all ships." He said, " Move in, final approach. Lay waste to that ship, and kill it's crew – we only have to keep a few alive."
The three Star Destroyers moved in on the now helpless Luminous Star. At last, the Emperor's will would be done, and this last bastion of the rebels captured. Space was filled again with flashes of light as the ships exchanged fire, an explosion blossomed from the Star then another, a third filled his view and Harlakan smirked, yes, their time was just about over.
" Bring us in, we'll finish this ourselves."
Well that's the end of the chapter. It is the first time I've had to do a real space battle so don't be afraid to tell me if it sucked. I'm open to all concrit, and really even flames don't other me much.
On a related note, I have started working with several other authors on a new fanfic for Digimon. It looks like it will be really quite epic as we are all good authors and working together, our work is much better than it could be alone. Don't believe me though, see for yourself. I have posted the first two chapters of a trailer-ish mini story on this very account. Tomorrow's Red Dawn. I wont say much, save that it deals with the main villeins of the piece. If you're a Digimon fan, read it, review it. If you like it, then favourite Digimania which is the account we shall be posting the real fanfic on,