“He freaks me out… why isn’t he frozen in carbonite?” The guard looked through the energy wall at the shadowed figure in the center. He felt a chill, as if the eyes of the thing were on him. “I mean… he’s dangerous, isn’t he? Killed… killed how many troopers?”
“Seven hundred and eighty-six, as well as three Jedi Knights before Master Quon finally subdued him. Even then he still fought against her,” the other guard followed his comrade’s gaze toward the hunched figure. “But they designed this cell especially for types like him. Force-resistant and all, so not much he can do.”
“What does he do?” The other guard leaned close to the cell, “He hasn’t moved an inch since I took the post.”
The second raised an eyebrow, “Sometimes he’ll just sit there for hours at a time. Been off duty, then took over after three shifts and find out he hadn’t moved at all. Not even when food was brought for him.” He frowned, “But there are worse things. When he starts pacing, he just stares at you.” The man looked toward the junior guard, “Ever seen a caged nexu?”
The younger man gave a hesitant nod of his head.
“His pacing is worse,” the older man shivered, “Much, much worse.” The two paused, a slight charge in the air as they turned their heads. Both expected the words of the older guard to have roused the beast from its meditations. But still it sat in the center of the cell.
Shaking off their jitters, the two began talking about things that didn’t involve Sith.
The wind howled over the ice plains of Hoth. Its mournful cries took on a terrible pitch as they were swallowed by the caves of the frozen world. The landscape was broken by unnatural formation, the skeletons of dead ships, the mortars of Empire and Republic, and most importantly the relay stations and outposts of the warring factions.
“Freezing my *** off over here,” Kidar grumbled, hunkering lower beneath the fortifications around Republic Outpost 422. He adjusted his goggles, wiping away the frost that collected across the tinted lenses, before turning his wind burned face to his companion.
Bev reclined against a snow drift, his own goggles sitting snuggling on his hat. “It could be worse; we could be on Corellia still doing battle alongside the resistance. Personally, guarding two egg heads in the armpit of the galaxy is more comforting than being shot at be Imps.”
Kidar grunted, “Yeah, but I’m sure Corellia is much warmer than here.”His voice trailed off near the end, he squinted behind his goggles. “Did you see that?”
“It looked like there was some movement on the snow.”
“Probably just a wampa, don’t worry about it.” Bev murmured as his eyes began to close, he leaned his head back to rest on the snow.”Was I right?”
He cracked an eye open, finding Kidar gone. “Kidar?” His hand strayed to his blaster. A round thing thumped into the ground and rolled across the frozen ground to a rest in front of Bev, the severed head of Kidar.
The trooper looked up sharply just as an unnatural force drew him forward. A crimson blade the last thing he saw.
Tybek stepped over the raised barrier, moving deeper into the base. His heavy cloak was still the pristine white of Hoth, the thick fur around the shoulders and neck swaying slightly in the breeze. This phantasmal warrior looked almost peaceful in his movements, and yet he moved with a terrible purpose. His blades lashed out in brief flares of crimson. Severed limbs and halved bodies falling onto the snow.
Over the wind a piercing alarm began to wail, a cruel smile curled up behind the cloth mask. His ruby eyes picked out the rushing forms, their black guns and goggles giving each away. The white of his cloak shifted radically, a black shape in the midst of snow. In one fluid motion the Sith threw his cloak out behind him and drew his twin sabers.
A single jump carried him into the middle of the shocked soldiers; a whirling dervish surrounded by frightened men and women. It was after the tenth fell that the blasters began firing at the dark figure moving in their midst. Blaster rounds pinged off his flashing sabers, slamming into the metal of the outpost. The fluid motions of the warrior carried him through to the last, terrified soldier in front of him. Corpses filled the ground behind him, only superficial burns showing on the armor of the monstrous force that had been unleashed.
The woman repeatedly tugged on the trigger of her blaster, but nothing happened. Returning his lightsabers to his belt, Tybek held out a hand and plucked the blaster from the shaking grip of the woman. He continued examining it in one hand, before reaching out with the other. The woman slid into the air, her hands flying to her throat as she felt the unnatural pressure begin to kill her.
“It is truly a shame your superiors were dull enough to give black guns and black goggles to their soldiers who were supposed to be guarding a secret outpost. I must say if it weren’t for those it might have taken me quite a bit longer to find you. You might have even been able to kill me… ah, but hindsight is such a dreadfully-.” He stopped, noticing the woman now hung limp, “Tsk… doesn’t even have the manners to live through my corrections, sloppiness."
He allowed her to fall to the ground, tossing the blaster of his shoulder, before heading toward the central base. Tybek walked around the perimeter of the base until he locked he found the heavy door sealing the outpost off from the elements of the world. Drawing and igniting one of his sabers, the Sith Lord stabbed the red blade into the metal, eliciting a hiss and shower of sparks. The heated metal reflected in his eyes, a cruel light.
Removing his saber and throwing his arm out had the severed metal falling inward in a rough rectangle. The tall Sith ducked his head, stepping into the warmer interior, though even now nature was asserting herself. The temperature in the room dropped sharply, snow and ice beginning to form across the ground.
As he tread further into the base, the klaxons became clearer than they were above. The piercing sound joined by an imperious voice, “All soldiers to battle stations! All soldiers to battle stations! Be prepared to defend against any enemy forces!”
Tybek smiled a bit wider at that, this was nearly enjoyable. He stalked through the halls, his cloak dragging behind him. The large figure froze at the next hallway, tilting his head as he listened to the chatter around the corner. A quick glance showed him all he needed. Twelve troopers in the hallway, all in full armor and not the harsh weather gear of the ones he faced before. Drawing a saber, he thumbed the ignition switch and spun into view of the troopers.
His lightsaber spun through the air, the blade severing the heads of four troopers before returning to his hand. After the four deaths he spun around behind the other wall, blaster shots stitching across the ground and wall he had occupied moments before. Digging a hand into his pouch, Tybek retrieved one of his few failsafe plans. Thumbing the small button on the object, he hurled the grenade right into the firing nest. There were a few shouted curses before everything was drowned out in the roar of an explosion and flames.
After a few moments the Sith peeled off from his cover behind the wall, extending his arm and banishing the flames to create a clear path through. The charred and dismembered corpses of the valiant troopers were little more than debris which he stepped lightly over on his way deeper into the base.
The voice that had called out over the speakers grew silent after a moment before beginning a new message. “We will stand defiant till our dying breaths! You will not prevail!”
Tybek just smiled wider, he knew the base wouldn’t have anymore defenses. The heavier numbers would be up top to ward off anything that came near, while inside there would only be a small number of soldiers to act as reinforcements or a back-up defense.
He bent down, shaking out a helmet that had survived the blaze and retrieving a comm from the skull of the dead trooper. “This is Darth Tybek Maar, the Wraith of Taris. I should inform you now, Commander Cornon, that your last line of defense has been decimated. In my infinite generosity, I offer you and doctors Keinman and Crexis the chance to live if you give me you surrender to me and become my servants.”
Static only met his demands before the same voice that had been blaring over the speakers returned directly into the Sith’s ear. “I won’t break before your threats, Sith! No true soldier of the Republic will give in to such demands!”
“I take it the good doctors couldn’t hear my demands, then… ah well, I’ll just make them in person.” Removing the comm from his ear, Tybek crushed the small device beneath his boot before continuing his slow march. Delightfully, the doors were opened to the final room in the base. And within stood his three targets, one of the Mon Calamari, a Rodian and a human. The latter two stiffened at the dark being that strode into their midst, both cowering behind the Mon Calamari. “I assume you are Commander Cornon?”
The alien sneered, “I am, and my answer remains the same!”
“How tragic… I assume you either did not tell the two behind you what I offered or changed what I did indeed say. As such, I would like to extend this offer to both of you,” his lightsaber flew outwards, spearing Cornon through the chest and slamming him against the wall, pinning him there. “Join me or watch as I strew your intestines across Hoth.”
The doctors stared at the corpse of their valiant defender, then looked toward their only hope of survival. The Rodian whispered something to the human, before lightly pushing her forward. She cleared her throat as she stepped forward, “D… Dr. Crexis and I live to serve you and… and the Empire, my lord.”
Tybek nodded his head, “Excellent.”
Tybek’s eyes flashed open, and he rose to his full height setting both the guards to jump and raise their weapons. “Avis.”