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Author Topic: Midnight Move  (Read 1604 times)
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« on: January 11, 2018, 05:12:34 AM »

Gareth Sheff once considered the Empire infallible. As a member of the death troopers, he was a symbol of everything a soldier of the Empire was supposed to be: loyal, lethal, and distinctive. To be a death trooper, Gareth had to meet ideological standards that exceeded that of the run-of-the-mill troopers under his command. He looked up at Endor's night sky, now devoid of the Empire's most recent display of power: The second Death Star.

The loss was substantially more catastrophic than the first Death Star, which only prompted the Empire to take the threat of the Rebel Alliance more seriously. This time, the Empire had lost not only its eponymous leader, but the Dark Lord of the Sith as well. Reports were scattered and delayed, but the evidence was abundant enough when the battle station erupted into a ball of flame in the sky. It left many still allied with the stratocracy pondering their moral place in the galaxy. Gareth was no stranger to that feeling.

He remained stoic when the sound of an automatic door hissed behind him, followed by the dull, clunking sound of plastoid combat boots drawing closer. "Commander." Said the voice. Gareth noted that they weren't wearing their helmet, per the clarity of the approaching imperial's speech. He didn't turn, but not out of disrespect (He, in fact, harboured great respect for his brothers and sisters in arms); He was transfixed by the lone AT-AT walker standing idle next to the docking platform. The voice spoke again. "You asked me to summon you when-"

Gareth raised his hand, extending his index finger skyward as a demand for silence. "What do you hear, trooper?" he asked, tilting his head slightly.

The stormtrooper inhaled softly, as if to take in their surroundings. "I hear... Nothing, sir." They answered. "Even the creatures of the night are silent."

"Exactly." Gareth confirmed. "We've been here a week and if there's one thing I could confirm is that when the birds are silent, it's because a predator is close."

"Or a rebel, sir?"

"Could be." Gareth turned to face his compatriot. He was a stormtrooper. A young one, too. He recognized this one, though. His name was Pik Belander, or more commonly known as TK-8311, a private in the Empire's grand army. He'd come from the death star with a garrison of stormtroopers little over a day ago, narrowly missing a fate that could have been. Gareth exhaled, and grabbed his weapon, which was balancing against the raiiing. "What's the word on the captain's decision? Are we leaving?"

Pik hesitated. "Actually, sir... Captain Gallo says we're to remain here."

The deathtrooper clenched his jaw; a sure sign of rage easily identified by those who'd served with him long enough. He said nothing as he shouldered his blaster rifle and paced forward, his footsteps hitting the floor hard and quick. "He's going to get us killed!" He growled. Pik hurried close behind him, picking up Gareth's helmet. The door hissed open again, allowing the two inside.

From there it was a quick walk down two flights of stairs, eventually leading into a larger room, the computer station. Captain Gallo stood in front of the wide console, a dozen stormtroopers and a pair of KX-series security droids stood around him while he gave a speech that was ignored by Gareth as he marched forward, gently pushing through the ranks. "You damned fool!" the deathtrooper exclaimed.

Captain Gallo perked up, visibly annoyed by the insult Gareth had just thrown at him. "I would watch your tone, trooper." He hissed, slowly turning his head to face the soldier who had the audacity to speak to him so ill-intently.

"It's commander." Gareth retorted. He pointed at the captain accusingly. "You're forcing us to stay on this sodding moon? For what?!"

"We are not done here, commander." Gallo said. "As long as there are rebels on this moon, and as long as there are imperials, we are not leaving until they are terminated."

Gareth sighed angrily. "They've won! The rebellion has destroyed the death star for a second time! There's nothing for us here except for certain death if we stay." He shouted, pointed at the floor. He turned to face his fellow stormtroopers and raised his arms. "Surely you all understand this! We are not blind followers; We are not clones! We are, each and every one of us, a living, breathing, thinking being capable of judging our surroundings." He pleaded. "Look around, all of you. We've lost! Endor is a lost cause, and the only hope for the empire's survival is for us all to retreat and regroup; Fight another day!"

The room's opinion slowly turned to Gareth's favour as he spoke. He looked around at his brethen,each sporting the same white armour with various balster scoring. They were fatigued; Ready to go home. They all nodded in agreement, and some physically moved to his side. Captain Gallo looked appalled. "This is treason!" He hissed again. This time it was his turn to aggressively point. "DT-G202, I am hereby sentencing you and your fellow mutineers to-"

Gareth interrupted the officer with a strong backhand. Gallo fell to the floor hard. Getting hit by a deathtrooper was almost as bad as being hit by a Wookiee. Almost. "No, captain Gallo." Gareth drew an SE-14 blaster pistol from a holster at his waist. "By the order of the Empire, we hereby decide that you are unfit for active duty, and are relieved of command due to your self-destructive state of mind."

Gallo spat at the trooper looming over him, expelling a tooth and a small amount of blood. He laughed. "An- And what, commander? You're going to carry these troopers out?"

"If that's what it takes." Gareth admitted. "There's a light cruiser still in orbit, the Prideful. It'll be there for another two hours, but then it will be jumping away from this system to regroup with what's left of us in the Jinata system. We're going to load up our vehicles and ferry what we can to the remaining shuttles in the main garrison just north of here." He informed, then paused. "You won't be coming with us, Captain."

Gallo attempted to protest, but was ultimately interrupted when a blaster bolt pierced his abdomen. There was an air of tension in the room, but everyone left alive had come to a unanimous decision in the silence after the blaster fire. One by one they began to return to their stations, this time with the intention to evacuate. Pik handed Gareth his helmet. "What are your orders, commander?"

"Begin refuelling that AT-AT, and load up the 225's with every last useful resource in this base. Load the wounded first." Gareth ordered, putting on his helmet. He was already a very daunting person, with pale, weathered skin and bald head. His face was scarred from a handful of campaigns and dozens of clandestine operations.

Pik saluted his new commanding officer. "At once, sir."

Gareth nodded back, and beckoned for him to follow as he marched outside. "We're getting off of this rock."

* * * * * * * * *

"Whoa, that's new." Miinu peered through her macro binoculars, suddenly entranced by the sudden influx of movement coming from the imperial outpost. It had been quiet for the better part of six hours, with light patrols and a single instance of a black-armoured stormtrooper taking five. She brushed a stray lekku over her shoulder and took in what she could, making sure her macro binoculars were recording. "Looks like something's got them spooked..."

The Twi'Lek wasted no time in gathering her equipment and abandoning her stake-out. Whatever got her back to the Bright Tree village in time to still celebrate with the rest of her comrades was the best idea to her. She exhumed a boxy comlink from her satchel and raised her nearby allies. "This is Specialist Shanuulen. Looks like we've got movement at the imperial outpost. I don't know but it looks like they're on the move. Please advise, over."

There was a brief moment of static. In that time, Miinu had finished packing. "We read you, Shanuulen. We have a U-Wing inbound with reinforcements. New orders to come. Stand by, over."

"Wait, what?" Miinu had to double take at her comlink. "Say again, over?" She requested. "I thought I was only supposed to do recon, not launch an attack, over."

"Change of plans, Shanuulen. Major Drel's orders. Do you have the rendezvous coordinates? Over."

Miinu groaned. "I do. Over."

She'd been on the ground since Han Solo and his team disabled the shield generator, and since then had not stopped working. All Miinu wanted at this point was something alcoholic to drink, a warm bed, and someone to share it with for the night. She was supposed to be celebrating! The Rebellion had won! But here she was, working overtime as part of the cleanup crew. Soon. She told herself.

Miinu approached the rendezvous point just as the U-Wing began to touch down. Its wings folded forward and the landing gear deployed. Soon after the bay doors slid open, and out of the gunship came a Duros in rebel officer attire. Drel. Two rebel soldiers hopped out after him; Both human, one was male with dark skin and a mustache. He carried a classic DC-15L blaster rifle, a weapon with a history beginning in the Clone Wars. The other human was a woman with pale skin and black hair that was mostly hidden by a cap with goggles secured to them. She wore a grey jumpsuit with a jump pack equipped, carrying a second one in her left hand while her other absent-mindedly held an A280 blaster rifle by the strap.

"You're killing me, Drel!" Miinu groaned again. "Let me drink already!"

The Duros rolled his head; the equivalent of an eye roll. "You're barely on the clock, Shanuulen. I distinctly remember you not resting once when we took Sullust."

"A fluke, Drel. I keep telling you." She attested.

Drel chuckled and shook his head. "We're almost done, Miinu. One last push."

The Twi-Lek crossed her arms. "Speaking of, what exactly is that 'last push'"?

"Simple." Drell chirped. "Looks like they're evacuating. You're going to grab that AT-AT, blow the living daylights out of whatever's left of theirs. Try to leave the vehicles. Might need them down the line."

"You've got to be kidding me."

"Hey!" Drel pointed at her. "Take it up with Solo, not me. I'm just the middle man here."

Miinu crossed her arms. "So... What? Is this all of us?" She asked, gesturing at the two human rebels that exited the U-Wing with Drel.

"Oh, defintiely not. The rest of the team is still grabbing their gear in the ship. Once you get that AT-AT though, let us know and we'll send in two more gunships to help you secure the place."

"Sounds like a plan, I suppose. You're in charge though, Drel. Who else is in there..."

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