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There is no death, there is only Wrath

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
There is no death, there is only Wrath

Ayanka's Avatar


Ayanka
06.11.2012 , 12:33 AM | #31
That's great, loads to read after a few days off... And of course, I'm very glad you did lie concerning this horrible idiot Andronikos killing your Sith
Wer in der Nacht in den verstaubten Winkeln seines Geistes träumt,
erwacht am Tag und findet nichts als Leere;
aber die Träumer des Tages sind gefährliche Menschen,
denn sie können ihren Traum mit offenen Augen spielen und ihn möglich machen.

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bright_ephemera
06.11.2012 , 03:59 AM | #32
17. In which Pierce observes Tatooine and Vette disapproves (I/IV)

A rakghoul-infected civilian
Seems special on Hoth or Dubrillion.
But wherever he’s cast,
His uniqueness won’t last;
He won’t long be one in a billion.



When Nalenne stepped onto the bridge one day, Pierce was leaning against the wall with the exaggerated casualness he had when he was really excited.

“Morning, milord,” he said in an offhand way. “Interesting news.”

“Another Dynatech thermal detonator model out already?”

“Nah, you know their R&D cycle never kicks out anything new in less’n eight months.”

“I never knew that before I met you.”

“Like to keep you informed about what matters. No, there’s an alert out. Rakghoul plague outbreak on Tatooine.”

“You mean my two least favorite things got together?”

“Dire warnings for everyone to stay away at all costs.”

“So you want to go?”

He smiled a thousand-watt smile. “Absolutely.”

“That’s stupid. We’ll all get bitten and die. Wasn’t getting away from rakghouls the whole reason you left Taris with me?”

He raised one eyebrow ever so slightly. “Had a few reasons for leaving Taris, milord. Anyway, from what I hear they’re cranking out vaccines as fast as the virus can mutate, so if we keep up with the shots it’s fine. Nice change of pace from the sorry kids the Republic has been throwing at us lately. Not that I ever get tired exactly of mowing down sorry Republic kids.”

“Ooh, yes,” said Vette from the doorway. “Let’s go back to Toaster Town and roll around in rakghoul plague.”

“Ooh, yes,” mimicked Pierce in a high-pitched voice, “let’s go back to Nar Shaddaa and get plastered.”

“That plan is both safer and more fun,” said Vette.

“I bet there’s more money on Tatooine,” said Nalenne. “Assuming the Empire wants to clean this up.”

“We don’t want to discard planets this early in the war,” said Pierce. “I expect rewards are in the offing. If nothing else, there’ll be Sand People to beat on.”

“Sounds like a good time.”

“You two are gross," said Vette.

“Some people just can’t be pleased,” said Nalenne. “C’mon, Pierce.”

“Pulling up hyperspace coordinates now.”

The trip didn’t take long. Nalenne browsed one of her favorite classic Duranium Man adventures on the big nav computer screen while Pierce leaned over her shoulder and criticized the superhero’s weaponry. Vette, presumably, sulked somewhere.

Nalenne closed her comic and moved aside to let Pierce take over when they reached orbit over Tatooine. “Mos Ila spaceport, this is Fury class designate S.A.B.E.R. Helicarrier, requestin’ permission to land.” Nalenne loved making him do this part simply because it was the only time she heard him requesting permission for anything.

“Permission denied, S.A.B.E.R. We’re in a full state of emergency here with an uncontrolled rakghoul outbreak. We can’t allow anybody coming or going.”

“My commander here is Sith and she wants to land.”

“My orders here come from the highest levels and you have to stay away.”

“We are damage control, you know. Fully qualified to assist with your little embarrassment.”

“Access denied, S.A.B.E.R.”

“It’s either let us land or have Mos Ila flattened ‘n’ sterilized from orbit, by order of the Emperor’s Wrath,” said Pierce.

A pause. “You’re clear to land in docking bay 41.”

“That’s what I thought,” said Pierce.
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Ashlian
06.11.2012 , 04:39 AM | #33
Please don't feel any need to limit your weekly post count....I'm delighted to have so much to read after a couple of days! I would not have guessed that a storyline involving a sith warrior could consistently make me laugh out loud, but you manage it with ease

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bright_ephemera
06.11.2012 , 09:32 AM | #34
18. In which the crew explores Tatooine and rakghouls (II/IV)

The Stardream encountered a hitch:
Someone smuggled a rakling-beast, which
As expected, got free,
Had a mean biting spree,
And infected the crew. (Life’s a b*tch.)



A stern-looking official waved at Nalenne and her crew as they exited the Mos Ila spaceport. “My lord,” she called. “There’s a briefing on the screen behind me. If you must go out there, please listen to it in its entirety and then report to our supply officer.”

The briefing could be summarized thusly: Blah, blah blah, very dangerous, you’ll probably get eaten, kill all bitten people on sight. Blah blah blah. Sounded exactly like some parties Vette had dragged Nalenne to in the past. Once the inevitability of any expedition’s self-destruction was established, the official sent them on to a containment officer standing outside the spaceport next to a huge bin of folded somethings.

The officer bowed. “My lord. Come to help us clear up this mess?”

“Come to get a good fight, but if it helps, that’s great.”

“It’s dangerous,” the officer warned. “Take this.”

Nalenne shook out the folded-up containment suit the man offered her. It was…orange, partly. Orange and white and ugly all over. “Are you joking?”

“Rakghouls don’t joke, my lord. That suit is treated with a coating to neutralize their ichor and it’s especially slashing-resistant.”

“That’s because no one wants to get close enough to something this ugly to slash it.”

“It works, my lord.”

“If any of your people take pictures while I’m wearing this, I will kill you all.”

He swallowed hard. “Noted, my lord.” Then he took a few more suits from the bin. “Um, here’s some for your crew.” He looked up at Broonmark. “Except the…thing. It wouldn’t fit.”

Nalenne looked up, too. “You gonna be okay?”

Broonmark nodded. “Weak not-Sith clan cannot kill through broggg.” He tugged at his fur to illustrate that last word. Stars knew the stuff was thick enough to stop most claws.

Vette grabbed a suit from the proffered stack. Pierce took the next one, then grinned wolfishly. “Pasty-face here doesn’t need one.”

“Sir,” said the officer to ghost-Quinn, “it’s necessary for your safety.”

“It’s really not,” said Nalenne.

“B-but-”

“The Sith has spoken, soldier,” said Quinn. “Stand down.”

“Good man,” said Nalenne approvingly.

“I’m so sorry,” the officer mouthed to Quinn, even though Nalenne was still looking right at him. In reply, Quinn merely stoicked.

Once the three people who could wear the containment suits were set, the party rode to the other end of Mos Ila, where the yellow packed-dirt road sloped down to meet the desert sands. Quinn, being otherwise unable to keep up, perched on the back of Nalenne’s speeder and tried to look dignified about it.

At Mos Ila’s northern edge, standard long-range taxi speeders were lined up on a half-buried platform. A dozen troopers in containment suits stood on the line between steel and sand, firing endlessly at wave after wave of huge galloping rakghouls. Beyond the line of fire, clusters of rakghouls milled about in the shadow of every boulder and pillar in sight.

Nalenne looked at Pierce. Pierce looked at Nalenne.

“FREE FOR ALL!” they howled, and charged.

*

That night they trudged back into Mos Ila covered in dirt, blood, and greenish rakghoul ichor.

“Good day,” blubbed Broonmark.

“That it was,” said Nalenne. “No cantina room for me, I’m going back to my comfy comfy comfy ship…stars, I’m tired.”

“I’ve got places to be,” said Pierce. He looked down at Vette. "Wingman?"

“Sure thing.”

“What now?” said Nalenne.

"Cantina up there. Prime pickup grounds. Rugged soldier type who is seen treating his slave well is like catnip to Imperials."

"And once he's hooked up I just play the sympathy angle anywhere I choose,” said Vette, tapping her slave collar. “Works out for all."

"I love that you guys are so shameless. You do me proud. Have fun."

Pierce grinned. "I intend to."
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bright_ephemera
06.11.2012 , 09:34 AM | #35
Doub-double post! This one's also a special long edition (~1000 words).

19. In which the rakghoul mystery is largely ignored (III/IV)

There was an Imperial post
Staffed at half, or two thirds at the most.
It guarded some sand
And a huge empty land
And – rakghouls! Odds are, that fort’s toast.



The crew met up at Outpost Zaroshe, a sorry dustball on the edge of the Dune Sea. Word was that some Republic frigate had crash landed to the north just before the outbreak occurred.

Jaesa, after a long thoughtful look at the outpost’s guards, offered to stay on and stand watch with them. To bolster morale. Nalenne did not point out that the worst morale problem present was with Jaesa, whose terror swelled to palpable levels whenever anybody mentioned the rakghoul swarms out beyond Zaroshe’s fence.

Ghost-Quinn sat behind Nalenne on the speeder ride northward. The sandy hiss of the wind cut them off from the rest of the crew.

“You don’t have to wear a visor for this ride,” she said. “What do you see when the whole world’s unfiltered?”

“I see a considerable quantity of dust particles flying directly into my eyes, my lord. You’re not missing much.”

They crested a dune and coasted to a halt. “Whoo-ee,” said Nalenne.

Everyone has seen the news holos of the wreckage of the Stardream: ragged pieces of ship strewn in a rough line from west to east across a desert valley, surrounded by roving packs of rakghouls and the infected unfortunates who had first tried to establish a perimeter.

“That doesn’t look healthy,” said Vette.

“There must be something in the wreckage that can begin to explain what happened,” said Quinn.

“Last one there’s a bormu-butt!” said Nalenne. She hopped off her speeder, readied her lightsaber, and charged.

*

Quinn led 2V among the wreck’s remaining databanks, trying to extract something useful.

The rakghouls were innumerable.

"Disturbing,” murmured Quinn, peering over 2V’s shoulder at another cracked screen. “The logs here suggest that the breakout went unrecognized and unreported for several days. It was interpreted as food poisoning. The captain knew the signs, but he noted it in private and said nothing. As if silence could save them…”

Nalenne cackled. “Three strikes, three kills! Whaddya think of that?”

Broonmark blipped and did a hard short charge with his vibrosword held out like a skewer. “One strike three kills.”

“Full auto’s up,” said Pierce. “Haaaahh!”

“My lord,” called Quinn, “your medic is going this way. There must be a primary system log, but I can only guess as to the location…”

Vette shot a leaping rakghoul off and away from Nalenne’s back. Nalenne didn’t notice. “You’re welcome,” Vette grumbled.

"By the time this ship entered atmosphere," said Quinn grimly, "there was nothing human aboard. This is appalling. Leaving aside the fact that rakghoul plague doesn’t wander by accident, where was the military containment response? The captain didn’t have the resources to deal with this. Did no one notice a whole transport falling silent?”

The battle rolled along the sands, combatants reeling from flank to flank of the valley, using chunks of ship debris as walkways, cover screens, and projectiles. Most of the crew more or less stayed within kolto-probe range of 2V as Quinn led the droid and the wave of chaos from databank to databank.

“The captain was former military. Where was his Republic when he needed it? He had a wife at home, a young daughter. All any soldier could dream…but judging by these journal entries he still ended up trapped, in his last days, knowing that it was already too late. He didn’t speak because he knew he was already a dead man.” Quinn blinked hard and gestured aimlessly with one fist. “By whose hand? Did he even ask before the plague took him?”

“Little busy here,” shouted Vette, hurrying to switch out an ion pack on her offhand blaster.

"Thirty! Thirty-one!" sang Nalenne, slashing her way over to cover the Twi’lek.

Pierce threw something and counted off three seconds. When the thermal detonator went off in the middle of a rakghoul frenzy, he laughed out loud. "Twenty-five through thirty-six."

Broonmark’s full-voiced gurgle shook the ground. “ALL OF THEM.”

“When circumstances close in you don’t give up and wait. You press on. You carry out your duties, even knowing how it ends. And if you’re smarter than I was, you look for another way. But this captain didn’t even know who damned him…” Quinn raised his voice to a hoarse shout. "This way, my lord. If anything remains of the supply officer, his effects may shed light on where the infection originated.” Quinn motioned for 2V to hit a button on a big flickering console. Within seconds a huge half-mutated man came bounding out of nowhere, hissing. “Still alive? Astounding. Can he talk? Can we subdue him?”

“WOOHOOO!” yelled Pierce, and gunned the newcomer down.

“Uh, Pierce?” said Vette.

“Just check his pockets, wimp,” said Pierce.

“Yuck. 2V can take care of that,” said Vette.

2V did.

“My lord, when you get a moment,” called Quinn as 2V delivered the mutant’s datacard to the nearest computer. Nalenne trotted up and signaled her crew to keep a tight defensive circle.

“What’s the word, captain?”

Quinn shook his head, hard, before making eye contact with anybody. “I have learned much of how the plague got here. And what cost it exacted. Now I have a record of one, a Patient Zero, the first to display signs. An ordinary passenger, but he may be our best chance of locating the ultimate source. Whatever that first victim has become, my lord…I think it’s still at large.”

“More to kill!” said Broonmark.

“Hell yeah!” chorused Nalenne and Pierce.

“You just had to encourage them. Didn’t you,” said Vette.

“That investigation may have to wait, my lord. Command at Mos Ila has transmitted orders to bring any biological samples we’ve located…” Quinn looked at Pierce, and Broonmark, following his gaze, peeled a ribbon of rakghoul flesh off the soldier’s containment suit “…to the Ridgeside sentry post for analysis. The staff there will want to know what has transpired. And what remains to be done.” He looked off into the distance. “We have to find who did this. This must end.”

Nalenne wiped sweat from her forehead. “Yeah, sure, great. Guys, we’re coming back tomorrow! Mayhem awaits!”
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iamthehoyden
06.11.2012 , 02:47 PM | #36
Great memories of the rakghoul invasion. I was lucky enough to actually be leveling my trooper on Tatooine when it hit. Stayed there all week, well past when I should have shifted to Alderaan. Good stuff!
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
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bright_ephemera
06.11.2012 , 04:29 PM | #37
Ah, rakghouls...that was an exciting week. My poor impoverished Niselle was leveling on Tatooine and kept blowing up because she couldn't scrape together the 2000 credits for an immunization. (Fresh new server, nobody to spot her the cash.) Nalenne would've been laughing her *** off if she knew her sister were that badly off. Good times, that. Good times.

20. In which each contributes according to his or her talents (IV/IV)

The Sand People have it quite rough;
As if desert and sun weren’t enough,
Their visitors all
Hear a clarion call
To kill them and loot all their stuff.



The following day was long and gloriously violent. Nalenne and her crew carried a thick coating of dust, ichor, and blood to Ridgeside Sentry Post well after sunsdown.

“That was brilliant,” said Nalenne.

“Sith clan brings glory,” said Broonmark.

“Dunno if Patient One had answers – wasn’t in a condition to talk – but whoo-ee, he had a hell of a death cry!” Pierce turned and high-fived Nalenne as he spoke.

“I can’t feel my arms,” said Vette.

“Nice fighting, though, Vette,” said Nalenne.

“Thanks.”

“And I owe you about a week straight in the best spa in known space.”

“You sure do.”

“Sand Clan mission also great,” said Broonmark.

“Ha! Spreading that latest tweaked virulent strain around? Brilliant,” said Nalenne.

“Take samples to craft tomorrow’s attack: clever,” said Broonmark.

Pierce guffawed. “Seeing the whole Sand People village light up at sunsdown with the glowy-eyes the infected have?”

“Plague ‘em ‘til they glow!” cried Nalenne.

“Shoot ‘em in the dark!” shouted Pierce.

“Yeeeaahh!” they yelled together.

Quinn sped up to reach Nalenne’s side. “My lord, I have completed my investigation into the source of the rakghoul outbreak and submitted my report to Imperial High Command.”

“You did? I thought you were with us.”

“2V was with you for the medical support, my lord. Jaesa and I left to do actual work.”

Nalenne blinked. “Really?”

Jaesa caught up on Nalenne’s other side. “Yes, master.”

“Well, uh, good job! I’ll submit your names for commendations. Except you, Quinn. You’re dead.”

“The credit should be yours, my lord.”

“Interesting. And you’re still keeping a straight face. Have you ever said that sincerely?”

“Always, my lord. Your infecting and slaughtering every Sand Person from Ridgeside to Mos Ila is what cleared the way for Jaesa and myself to investigate."

“He didn’t give you too much trouble?” Nalenne asked Jaesa.

“Far from it, master. We talked quite a lot. Not only did we successfully trace the beast-smuggling-gone-wrong that led to this outbreak, I gained valuable insight into the harsh realities of a desperate mission, the times you have to make truly hard choices, and the psychological torture of living your last days knowing that your life is already forfeit but that duty still drives you onward.”

“Uh-huh. That’s great. You want to go hunt survivors up north, or should we pack up?”

“Anchorhead or bust,” urged Pierce.

“Republic must go green,” agreed Broonmark.

“Some of us need to sleep,” argued Vette.

Nalenne found herself yawning. “Mm. Sleep, yeah, good. Tell you what, guys, I think Anchorhead’s too modest for the morning. We need to go big. You know that strain they were working on this morning? Think Corellia. Think Coruscant. Rakghoul party around the galaxy!”

“My lord,” gasped Jaesa, “I thought we were seeking containment….”

“Sure. Contain it to Republic space. Drop ‘em a present, give their planets a few months to cool off, come back to pick off the valuable stuff. All’s well.”

“Her idea is crude, but leans in the right direction,” said Quinn. Jaesa’s eyes went even rounder. “Don’t look so surprised, Jaesa. I may be comparatively civilized, but I’m still Imperial.”

“This,” proclaimed Pierce, opening his arms to the silenced desert night, “is everything a job should be.”
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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bright_ephemera
06.11.2012 , 04:32 PM | #38
The excitement of the outbreak settles, eventually, and life goes on...

21. Mini-snippet, In which Quinn customizes 2V-R8

The shorter an article reads
The less introduction it needs.
Ergo

(Yes, I was too lazy to finish even a bad limerick.)


Nalenne found Quinn on the bridge as per usual, leaning over a Holonet console while 2V-R8 handled the controls. "I haven't heard 2V talk much lately," said Nalenne. "How did you manage that?"

Quinn turned to face her, the corners of his mouth lifting ever so slightly. "I've constructed a restraining program that filters and silences all tactically irrelevant speech."

2V waved a hand and Nalenne found herself straining to listen. "help me"

"What was that?" said Nalenne.

"It isn't perfect yet," said Quinn. "He has proved remarkably resistant to silencing measures."

"master, please save me" creaked 2V.

"I like it," said Nalenne. "But why didn't you do this, oh, two years ago when you came on board?"

"My lord, I didn't have time for such an involved project. I had work to do."

"I gave you plenty of free time."

"You know I had other work of critical importance." A long, awkward pause. "Even apart from spying for Baras."

"Like finding excuses to hunt down and assassinate everyone who ever shook you down for your lunch money in middle school?"

"I told you, Agent Voloren was high school," grumbled Quinn.

"Yeah, but the other five...you could've spent that time shutting 2V up?"

"2V, you may fabricate a pretext to interrupt with something, even something irrelevant, when the Wrath is badgering me like this."

"Ignore that, 2V."

"nothing makes sense"

"Wow. If you really have some kind of karmic debt to work off, Quinn, I’m willing to go on record saying this contributes. A lot."
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 1900+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
Forever Shenanigans!
Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

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Earthmama
06.11.2012 , 05:43 PM | #39
nothing makes sense......

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MilaniGrey
06.11.2012 , 08:53 PM | #40
LOL that's great. I've been laughing my butt off. "help me!"
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