A Long Way from Home
Summary: A fleet of Alliance ships find themselves in the centre of a hornets' nest. Lost and alone in the middle of hostile territory and with nowhere to turn will they survive or perish.
Timeline: Just after the Yuuzhan Vong War in the Star Wars timeline, and before the beginning of the 13th Black Crusade in Warhammer.
Disclaimer: I do not own either Warhammer or Star Wars. These are the property of Games Workshop and Lucas Arts respectively. I am simply using their characters and settings for my own ends.
Authors Notes1: I have had this thought ever since I finished work on the Two Galaxy's Saga, and now that I am older, wiser and have more knowledge of both fictional universes I would like to have another go at it.
Authors Notes 2: I plan on this one being more realistic and gritty compared to the last one. The forces of good are a long way from winning.
Authors Notes 3: As an after note I firmly believe this is a more believable opening than the whole Yuuzhan Vong thing.
I hope that all those who read and enjoyed my original work will continue to support me in this endeavour. I would like to add that this is a teaser chapter and the others are a long way from completion. The story itself will begin in earnest in a couple of months, depending on my University work load, which considering its my final year will be quite high.
Final Author's Note: While I am here would it be possible to place a Living Saint into this story, like Saint Sabbat or someone like that? I don't want to mess up the timeline considering I'm placing this near the 13th Black Crusade and all.
Perlemian Trade Route
Executor-class Star Dreadnought Guardian
Personal Log of Joseph Halos
Admiral of the 4th Galactic Alliance Core Fleet
All of the last minute checks have been completed and we are just about ready to begin. I still can't believe that I have been selected for this assignment. It's hard to believe that just a few months ago I was a Captain of a Star Destroyer, and now ever since the war's end I've been promoted to full Admiral. Looks like my actions at Mon Calamari got some ones attention.
They've called in a full Fleet Squadron for escort duty. It's really quite remarkable, a new type of faster-than-light travel. It's not a Hyperdrive, its some kind of new technology which forces wormholes into existence, and uses them to travel from one section of the galaxy to the other.
I'm not completely sure of the details, all I know is that if this works then Hyperdrive engines will be obsolete. Instead of taking months to reach one side of the galaxy to the other it could take days or even hours. I'm not a technical specialist but I have to admit that it sounds exciting to me. The scientists haven't thought of a name yet, calling it Experiment 9218. The officers have a betting pool on what they're going to call it.
They even called in a Jedi observer to oversee the experiment. I wasn't sure of Master Sabbath at first, but after talking to the man I got the assumption he was very down to earth, very mellow. He hasn't tried to take command or flaunt his status like I thought he would, so I have no complaints about him.
What really got us going though was the ship they were using, the last Executor-class Star Dreadnought in the Alliance fleet. Apparently this wormhole drive is so massive that they can't fit her on a ship-of-the-line, meaning that it was either a Viscount Star Defender or an Executor Star Dreadnought. They're still keeping the Hyperdrive engines on her though, thank the force for that. As impressive as all this sounds I'd still like to have a normal Hyperdrive in case this experiment goes to the dogs.
The Guardian is a breathtaking sight, nineteen kilometres of sleek deadly firepower. She saw heavy action in the Yuuzhan Vong war, and was the platform used for the surrender of the Yuuzhan Vong. They aren't taking any chances either. The Guardian is fully staffed and armed, add that to the armaments of the surrounding squadron and we'd have enough to take over a full sector.
We're in the middle of the Perlemian Trade Route, and from what I hear the scientists and engineers have already started to spool this device up, another hour and we'll be ready for a full test run. Morale among the crew is high, and they're all looking forward to seeing a piece of history, even Sabbath seems excited.
Joseph Halos took a deep breath and opened his eyes, looking out through the great viewport of the observation deck. Stretching out before him was the dagger shape of the Guardian, last of its kind in active service. The mammoth capital-ship had seen much over its military career. From its service to the Galactic Empire, to its capture and refitting by the New Republic all the way through to the Yuuzhan Vong war and the formation of the Galactic Alliance. He was standing on a flagship which had seen service in three galactic powers and lived through two galactic conflicts.
The Admiral smiled softly. To end this impressive military career the Guardian would be decommissioned with full military honours in the Kuati shipyards after this last mission was accomplished; The testing of a new form of faster-than-light travel, a historic moment to finish this grand warships tenure.
He heard the sounds of boots hitting the metal decking, and turned to see a cup of hot caff held out for him. He took it without thinking, and looked up at the face of the man who gave it to him, "A credit for your thoughts Admiral."
Gabriel Sabbath was quite a handsome young man, twenty five standard years old with a head of rich brown hair, rugged features complete with piercing brown eyes. He wore the ceremonial robes of his order, a dirt brown hooded robe, half hiding a cream tunic and pants, knee high black boots and a black utility belt holding a holstered blaster and the unmistakable cylinder of his lightsabre.
Joseph shook his head, "Just thinking of this ship and how long she's been in service."
Gabriel nodded and looked down at the bridge section and the crew pits below. The observation deck was nothing more than a collection of railed walkways, all leading to a central platform. On this platform was a huge holographic table, used by commanders to observe surroundings and issue orders. It was a similar design to the newer Star Destroyers, just ten times larger.
The Admiral blew on his steaming hot drink, before his eyes turned back to the Jedi Master. The young man also had a cup of caff in his hands, but wasn't drinking. Instead he looked at the huge expanse of twinkling stars visible from the huge viewports. The view really was incredible.
To their left and right were the smaller dagger shapes of their escort, ten Imperial-class and four newer, far sleeker Nebula-class Star Destroyers. Like their flagship they were all fully staffed and armed. Halos wondered why they needed such a large escort, the Guardian was more than capable of handling any pirate threats, heck she could hold off an entire fleet of enemy ships by herself if she needed too.
"I also want to get this finished and take her too Kuat," Joseph added. "She's a good ship, and deserves to be decommissioned in one piece."
Gabriel shook his head, "It could take them months or even years to finish the testing. Just buckle in and expect a long and boring ride."
The Admiral frowned at the young Jedi Master. Gabriel was technically outside of the chain of command, so he could get away with doing certain things, like talking back to a superior officer. Halos didn't mind though, in fact he found it rather refreshing to have someone who doesn't answer his questions with a 'yes, sir'.
"Thanks for reminding me." He replied in a sarcastic deadpan.
Gabriel took a sip of his drink, and winced at the bitter taste, "Your welcome."
"Admiral," both men turned to the central console to see the ship's Captain. Sor'ai Flore was a female Rutian Twi'lek and young by any humanoid estimation at twenty six years old. Like any other female of her race she was a striking beauty, but she was also a serious officer, and Halos knew by her quick mind and sharp wit that promotion was definitely in her future. "All ship Captain's report that they are ready and waiting for your instruction sir."
Halos nodded as he approached the centre of the Command Deck, "Very good Captain Flore. Patch me through the engineering section would you?"
"I'm just going to go over here," Gabriel said suddenly, walking back to the viewport and absently raising his hand in a casual wave. "I don't want to be targeted by that crazy woman again."
Halos sighed, noticing that his Captain's lips were curling upwards in a small smile. "If you don't want too you don't have to be here either."
She gave him a thankful smile before walking over to the edge of the deck to stand beside the Jedi Master. Halos messaged his temple. How the hell was this woman able to make half of the command staff and a Jedi Master scared of her in a few months? It just wasn't possible.
Joseph Felt a headache coming on, but ignored it as he began to push a few runes on the keyboard. Within a few second a twenty foot high image of the engineering section snapped into life above the table. The section was, as predicted, a mess with cables of different shapes and sizes snaking across the floor, all connected to this massive spherical mass of metal which was so big he couldn't see a tenth of it on the monitor. Engineers and technicians were either standing by computer consoles or making last minute checkups to the main generators.
A few seconds passed before the head scientist appeared on the screen. Nora Lissana was a tall woman in her mid-forties, a Mirialan dressed in a simple pair of white overalls, caked in oil and dirt, making her look just like the horde of technicians and engineers surrounding her. Her hair was long and black, tied in a messy ponytail; skin was a greenish yellow with the ritual tattoos of dark purple on the bridge of her nose and chin.
She was a brilliant scientist, one of the best in her field. She was passionate and loved her work. Sadly she didn't like anyone looking over her shoulder and telling her what to do. She didn't like Halos at all because of that one little fact.
"What is it now Admiral?" she asked in a clipped tone. Did he say she didn't like him, he meant she hated him.
"Just wanted to remind you about the deadline, Chief" he replied. "All of the ships commanders are reporting that they are ready and waiting. All they need is my word, and your word is what I need. Are we ready?"
"Yes we are ready," she replied. "No thanks to you and your lackeys off course with you continuously pestering us with 'When will it be done?' and 'Remember the deadline?'. This is not a piece of meat you can cook and throw out. This is a very delicate piece of machinery, a prototype and I have no patience for stuck up Admirals or know it all Jedi sticking their nose in my business."
Like Gabriel Nora was not officially in his chain of command. So he could not shoot her, though force help him he's considered it a few times. "So that mean's your ready right?"
She glared at him for a moment, "Yes, we are ready."
"It's not going to blow up my ship is it?"
Once again the glare came back full force. "We've run hundreds of simulations, and gone over every bolt and button more times than anyone can count. This thing is theologically sound."
"Then let's begin." Halos replied before terminating the communiqué and turning back to see both the Jedi Master and his second-in-command looking over their shoulders at him, as if silently asking him if she was gone. "Thanks a lot you two."
"My apologies Admiral," Sor'ai replied with a nervous smile. "But the good professor scares me. She doesn't concede in an argument, even when she knows she's wrong."
"Well we have permission, so tell the other Captains to be ready." Gabriel walked to the very end of the viewport once again, looking out at the stars as his second began contacting the various Captains' within the fleet.
It was a few minutes when they heard a new sound join the symphony of noises which were normal for a warship, a deep hum which seemed to reverberate through the Star Dreadnoughts very superstructure. The Admiral felt the railings he was leaning on begin to shudder as the massive machine started up. Before long everyone could feel the trembling, like the great beast which was the Guardian had suddenly come alive under their very feet.
There was a blast of static before the Chief's excited voice echoed through, "Experiment 9218 has started up without a hitch. The board is green, all gauges show readings within acceptable parameters… power level at thirty percent and rising."
"Is this normal?" he heard Gabriel ask Flore as he leaned against the railing, placing a hand on the young Captain's shoulder to keep her grounded.
"You're asking me?" she replied with a slightly nervous tinge to her voice.
Lissana's voice pierced the air again, "All gauges still reading normal parameters, board is still green. Power level at fifty percent."
The trembling seemed to escalate, and Joseph heard a low groaning noise which he somehow knew was the skeletal structure of the Guardian, as if voicing its discomfort to all those within her armoured hull. "Power level at sixty percent and rising!"
Suddenly there was a sudden boom, which was the precursor for the trembling to escalate to that of a low level earthquake. The power behind the blast sent everyone on both the observation deck and the bridge to fall to the floor. Alarms began to blare, deafening the Admiral and making his ears ring for a few crucial seconds.
He looked around in time to see one of the junior officers lose his footing and fall over the railing, hitting the central walkway of the bridge below with a bone crushing thud. Sor'ai nearly went with him, but Gabriel looped an arm around her slender waist and pulled her back onto the deck, still tightly holding onto the railing.
"Lissana," he shouted in surprise and anger, "What the hell is going on!"
"Power level reached seventy," her suddenly panicked voice replied. "Then the whole thing went to hell. It's chaos down here. It's red across the board, pressures up well past a hundred, several nodes are sparking. The power level is threatening to overload the system!"
"Then turn it off," he shouted, scrambling his way to the circular console, watching as his fellow officers held onto whatever they could with all they had. The whole ship seemed to be shaking.
The Chief scientists voice returned, "Roger that, commencing emergency shutdown procedures!"
"Admiral," he heard Gabriel's voice and turned to see both him and Sor'ai staring at the viewports with widened eyes. With effort Halos spun himself around, and his own gray orbs went as wide as dinner plates.
A mass of haze which resembled a spherical orb, about the size of a small moon, appeared right before their ships, barely ten thousand kilometres away from the closest ship's bow. Halos watched the wormhole even as he received a garbled mass of communications from his fellow Ship Captain's, demanding to know what was going on. For what seemed like an eternity the orb hung there motionless, and then it opened like a blooming flower.
"That's not a wormhole," he heard Sor'ai say, eyes wide with fright, and to frighten a soldier who fought against the Yuuzhan Vong was quite an accomplishment.
"That's a black hole," Gabriel finished for her.
"Turn us around," his voice was but a whisper at first, but as the trembling died down and it became possible to stand his voice became a roar. "Turn us around! Full power to the main engines! Contact the fleet and tell them to do the same. Turn us around now!"
As one the ships of the fleet began a desperate turning action, engines flaring an ion blue as all available power went into them. The fifteen ships strong Fleet Squadron was able to make the turn, but by then the full power of the black hole was against them. The warships were stopped in their tracks, the power of their engines fighting against the suction of the black hole.
"Divert power from all nonessential systems to the engines, everything you can get!" Halos roared from his place. The small groan of the Guardians superstructure had become a roar which almost deafened them to any other noises. The Star Dreadnoughts structure was struggling against the power of the anomaly.
A male's voice crackled over the wireless, "This is Captain Augustus of the Victor. We're going to attempt a Hyperspace jump!"
Halos head darted to the ship, an Imperial-class Star Destroyer, and immediately hit the communications switch. "Augustus, this is Halos, abort that order. Do you hear me! Abort!"
It was too late, the mile long length of the Star Destroyer seemed to extend, like it had turned into an elastic band, then it vanished in a flash. Barely a split second later and roughly a thousand kilometres away had the capital-ship returned to real-space. Its superstructure cut in two almost like a massive sword had been ran through its centre. The two halves broke apart, small plumes of explosions dotting the hull. Halos imagined thousands of sentient beings spilling through the hull breaches alongside their machines, dying from explosive combustion, and immediately forced himself to his feet.
"Send this to all ships," he shouted. "Reroute all power from the weapons to the engines. Don't let up until you break free!"
All of the surviving Captain's did as told, but the additional power was nowhere near great enough. The fleet was able to struggle another few kilometres before the power of the black hole overwhelmed them again. Halos was forced to watch as one by one the smaller Imperial and Nebula Star Destroyers were pulled back into the waiting arms of the special anomaly.
Over the next ten minutes the ships were slowly forced back, one by one vanishing in the eternal depths of the monstrous black hole. All aboard the flagship were forced to hear the screams of those aboard their support craft as they vanished into the depths. Eventually only the Guardian remained, and as the last escort vanished into the darkness the great engine nacelles of the Star Dreadnought were engulfed.
A sudden tremor so strong it made the entire superstructure roar sent everyone to the decking. Halos watched as another officer fell from the railings and landed in the crew pits with a crunch which would have broken every bone in his body. The very ship began to list uncontrollably back, like an old sea fairing vessel sinking beneath the waves.
The Admiral watched as cables snapped and consoles below sparked. He saw Gabriel fall to the ground, still holding onto Sor'ai. He saw his fellow senior officers hang onto anything they could as the great battleship was forced into the endless depths of the black hole.
Then a great darkness took him from consciousness.