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No death, only Wrath: The Helicarrier Chronicles

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No death, only Wrath: The Helicarrier Chronicles

bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 04:53 AM | #121
Quote: Originally Posted by EverSteam View Post
I'm so happy you're writing this again
Quote: Originally Posted by Adwynyth View Post
YESSSSSSSS! Agreed in full.

I can't get enough of Nalenne & gang.
Thanks, guys! The new idea seems to be running away with me, so...this should be good!
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 10:26 AM | #122
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 39: In which Quinn finds a direction

I want to give more individual Nalenne-crew love, but my brain's blocking me. So instead, preparation for plot!

Time period: After Quinn leaves

"There's a pattern," murmured Quinn.

"Sir?" said Ensign Rylon.

"The Jedi's strikes have a pattern. His activity is stepping up, and he is making rapid surgical strikes on Sith enclaves throughout the galaxy." Quinn raised a hand to point out nothings in the air. "He is tracing Sith settlements and temples based roughly on the temporal order of their development. Racing through history, searching for something." He frowned. "Alternately he is making an exhaustive tour of the Zagrat guide for fine dining working from the highest-rated establishments, but that doesn't seem like his style. I think I know which planet he will strike next. Or rather, I have two candidates. We'll pursue the Sith-related one first."

Rylon looked at Quinn's hand. "And your data for this is…?"

"Memorized," Quinn said shortly. "Once I had the restaurant hypothesis in place it was a simple matter of research. Likewise for Sith history."

"I can learn that," said Rylon.

"Perhaps you can. But I expect you to maintain your performance in the field," said Quinn.

"Oh, yes, sir. I'm sure I can do both. I'll just take time out from sleeping."

A smiling Captain Rutau looked up from cleaning his blaster rifle. "That's the spirit, scout."

"What are we going to do when we find him?" asked Pandorr. "I'm all for sticking it to the Jedi, but I going in with blasters seems a bit more dumbsurd than even we can pull off."

"He has weaknesses," said Quinn. "Extraordinarily distractible allies. Honesty. An unwillingness to harm those whom he perceives as helpless."

"He really was reluctant to send the servants of the Emperor to glory through destruction," pouted Hareth. "And he talked too much."

"Furthermore," said Quinn, "he suffers from the belief that anyone, no matter how stubborn, can be reasoned with." He smiled an unpleasant smile. "And the belief that anyone, no matter how far gone, can be saved."

"We need saving?" Rutau said curiously.

"So the doctrine goes," said Quinn. "He isn't fond of the Empire."

Pandorr looked personally offended. "But the Empire's the best thing ever! Way more fun than the Republic would ever let us have."

Rylon looked up from the effigy of the Republic's Supreme Chancellor that he was picking apart with a vibroknife. "Hear, hear."

"Anyway," said Quinn, "I have submitted my analysis of his movements to High Command. I expect them to coordinate with Intelligence to project what his end goal may be."

Lieutenant Ritter frowned. "Our job's killing him. They can sort out goals later."

Pandorr smiled. "I'll drink to that."

"Not on the job, you won't," Quinn said sternly. "We'll figure out what he wants. Only then can we properly enjoy taking it away from him."
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 10:39 AM | #123
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 40: In which Jaesa develops as a person

Time period: After Quinn leaves

"For the last time," snapped Nalenne, "gimme."

Andronikos folded his arms tighter around the flimsiplast sheaf in his hand. "For the last time, not likely."

"You would never have found Insatiable Nexu #17 if I hadn't killed the collector who was sitting on them!"

"Much appreciated, sweetheart, but I got my hands on it first."

"You don't even like comic books! They're 'for nerds'!"

"The Nexu's special. Especially the Insatiable run."

"I'm ordering you to hand that over."

"If I ever took your orders I might care." He scowled. "I'm feeling the need to go someplace. Nexu's coming with me." He headed to the bridge, still clutching the comic issue.

"Rrrrg," said Nalenne, and stomped to the mess for a drink. Vette and Jaesa trailed behind.

"That man drives me insane," grumbled Nalenne. "He never does anything I want."

"We have all heard vocal…things…that directly contradict that, my lord," said Vette, wrinkling her nose.

"Whatever. Apart from that. He's horrible."

"He is a cruel unreliable compulsive liar with a history of terrible judgment, seeing as he married Niselle, and a total disregard for anybody else's feelings, seeing as he went on to seduce you," said Jaesa.

Vette and Nalenne both goggled. "Wow," said Vette. "Jaesa, that's the meanest thing you've ever said. Ever."

"I know." Jaesa's usually puppyish eyes were as hard as she could manage to make them, which meant they were only semi-gooey. "Master, I didn't push too hard against Servant Nine because you had nobody else, not in the ways you wanted, but you had it right with Quinn. Even the 'vocal things' were louder."

"Not that it's any of your business, Jaesa, but of course things were different with Quinn. No one else could ever be like him, but he's also unspeakably annoying the other 95% of the time. And pushy, and controlling, and a walking cautionary tale in workaholism. There's a cost-benefit analysis to be made–"

Vette choked on her drink. "What?" she gasped.

"Cost-benefit analysis. Where I say 'Getting laid is great, but it doesn't make up for getting yelled at every time I try to have some fun without being Imperial enough about it'?"

"That thinking came straight out of Quinn's book," Jaesa said, a little smugly.

"Hey. I'm allowed to use certain analytical tools…"

"'There are two kinds of tools: the ones for instant gratification and the ones not worth using,'" said Jaesa. "Direct quote. From you. It seems you changed your mind."

"It's gratifying to know I'm right and he's wrong," Nalenne said defensively. "That was instant. It counts."

"He did more for you than you'll admit," said Jaesa. "He even kept the thermal detonators organized and out of the way, which Lieutenant Pierce still isn't doing. I'm trying to keep it in line, but it's hard at the rate Andronikos and Pierce buy them."

"Even I can admit he sat down and shut up when you told him to," Vette said thoughtfully. "Andronikos has a way of, well, not. It's funny to watch but I've noticed it kind of makes you miserable."

"This whole line of verbal assault is an overreaction for the theft of one lousy comic book," Nalenne grumbled.

"'There's no such thing as an overreaction to the Scarlet Nexu,'" recited Jaesa. "Also a direct quote."

"Would you stop that?"

"Look me in the eye and tell me you don't miss him," said Jaesa. "Then I'll stop it."

"No you won't," said Vette. "You'll just try to talk her into missing him."

"She's right. Jaesa, you just lied," Nalenne said. "First you say something negative about someone, then you actually lie to manipulate me into doing something." She broke into a broad smile. "You're finally learning."

Jaesa's jaw dropped. "That…that wasn't my point."

"Teachable moment, hon. I'll take full advantage. Hell, just for that breakthrough we can watch the animated Mynock Adventures in my room tonight if you like. Which is something that Quinn wouldn't have allowed, in case you had forgotten."

"Count me in, too," said Vette. "Nerd shows or not, I'm dying to see how far you're gonna corrupt Jaesa now that you've started."
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 11:36 AM | #124
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 41: In which the party gets started in earnest

Time period: After Quinn leaves

In the ancient temple courtyard amidst the blood-red sunset mists, Quinn was waiting.

The Mirialan Jedi Knight emerged from the great tunnel that pierced the outer wall. He had his expected cronies in tow: the looming Sith known as Lord Scourge, the slim Jedi Kira, the armored Chagrian Rusk, the little astromech T7-01 – struggling noticeably with the mossy uneven stonework – and the smarmy dead weight known only as Doc.

Rho stopped his friends with a gesture when he saw Quinn.

"The Hero of Tython," Quinn said coolly. He arched an eyebrow at Rho's companions. "And his little Doc, too."

"General," said the Jedi, eyeing Quinn's rank insignia. "It's been a long time."

"Yes, I had hoped you had developed the sense to stay out of the Empire's way after our last encounter."

"I must go where I'm needed," Rho said piously.

Doc was looking around suspiciously. "You didn't bring the Wrath with you, did you?"

Quinn scowled. "I do have a solo career, you know."

"Oh." Doc relaxed. "That's a shame, because she was a lot more pleasant to look at."

"I must ask you to stand aside," said Rho. "We have to stop the ritual that's happening in that building."

"What you think you have to do is of no concern to me. My concern is what you're not going to do, and here and now that is dictated by me."

"I don't want to hurt you," said Rho.

"Jedi, you couldn't manage to stop me when I was dead. You certainly can't stop me now."

"You have backup, then? I'll be honest, I expected to see you with the Wrath."

"My assignment took me elsewhere."

Weapons-grade compassion started oozing out of Rho's manner. "General, what happened to her? I sense the pain in you."

"Jedi," Quinn said coldly. "The last time you pressed me on the subject of the Wrath, I arranged an inescapable trap on six hours' notice and would gladly have killed you on the spot were it not for the fact that I had something infinitely more important on my mind." He took a step closer. "That moderating influence is no longer in my life. So take care not to irritate me."

Rho raised his hands defensively. "I'm just saying. Some people behave less like murderous psychopaths when they talk about what's bothering them."

"I'm not some people." Quinn returned to parade rest. "Return to Republic space. Get a job. Meet some nice Jedi girl who will give you fat Jedi children." Kira abruptly appeared to choke on something, but Rho didn't seem to notice. "Do anything at all, but don't do it where I might find you again."

"The Emperor's going to destroy the galaxy, you know. You should join us instead of opposing us. Your cunning would be a great asset in our fight to preserve life."

"Have you lost your mind?" said Quinn. "Associating with the incompetent half-Jedi that was Jaesa Wilsaam was pain enough for one lifetime. Two lifetimes, actually. Or rather one and a fraction. In any case, if you think I'm going to voluntarily ally myself with a Jedi again, you're even madder than the rest of your kind."

"So you would rather die with everyone than join your strength to our cause?"

"I don't fear death these days." Quinn flashed a white smile. "I should think you would have noticed that by now."

"That's great and all," said Doc, "but let's face it, Rho's gonna win this one. So before all that goes down – and me right now here isn't death, don't get mad – I still do owe you something from our Ord Mantell encounter." He swaggered up close, chest out, body language belligerent in every way. "This is for Balmorra."

Quinn did a conspicuously bad job of suppressing a smile. When Doc threw a punch, Quinn neatly sidestepped it, caught Doc's arm, turned him off balance and pulled him into a headlock, his arm hard against Doc's throat.

"Were you expecting that to go better the second time?" Quinn asked mockingly.

"Huh," Doc said nervously. "Actually, yeah. I kind of was."

Rho's Force wave separated the two, sending both sprawling. "I can't let you stop me," said the Jedi, starting quickly up the stairs to the Temple.

Quinn didn't bother standing up. "I'm not giving you a choice." He tapped his comm earpiece once, then slammed the activation on a personal shield generator.

The walls on all sides of the courtyard blew.

Quinn was moving even before the secondary collapse started rolling enormous chunks of masonry down over the site of the confrontation. A speeder prepared in a sheltered corner nearby brought him rapidly around to the shuttle pad where the rest of his team waited. As they took flight, a small wing of Imperial bombers appeared through the red-soaked mists to finish the job.

"We heard the whole thing," Rylon said excitedly. "That was great!"

"You all did well setting the charges as rapidly as you did. The interior?"

"We made sure the inner sanctum wouldn't take any damage," said Ritter.

"Excellent. This is exactly the kind of professional efficiency I had long ago despaired of finding."

"Give us a job, we do it," growled Ritter. "Simple as that."

"I wonder what 'ritual' the Jedi was talking about?" said Pandorr.

Quinn wondered, too. "I don't know. If the Wrath were here she could invite herself in and ask, but she isn't. We are here to take orders, not understand them." He had really disliked that aspect of traditional military life, but that was how it went.

"There is nothing to understand," recited Hareth. "Only to serve and – "

"And die, yes, we know," sighed Quinn.

"Furthermore, what'd he mean by 'The Emperor's going to destroy the galaxy'?" mused Rutau.

"He's making it up," said Quinn.

"The Hero of Tython is too honest for that," said Hareth. "Perhaps he realizes that our glorious master will consume the galaxy in flame after all."

"Or, more likely, the Jedi is mistaken," Quinn said impatiently. "The matter is closed."

"At least we got to blow him up," said Rylon.

Pandar giggled. "We got 'im good."

"Serves them right for taunting us about Balmorra," said Rutau. "The Empire doesn't give up that easily."

"No," agreed Quinn, and allowed himself a small smile. "We don't."
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irishfino's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 12:55 PM | #125
[quivering with anticipation for the awesomeness that is soon to follow]
[sharpening his knife]
I'll probably die if you group with me, but I'll go out with both lightsabers drawn stabbing someone in the face. Probably you, but it's cool. Forever Shenanigans!!

bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 01:05 PM | #126
Quickly, before I forget: The upcoming content for Chronicles Present will contain riffs on/spoilers for the Jedi Knight Act 3 storyline. It's, uh, it's not going to be a whole lot like the game handled it, though.
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 90+ authors to date. 2500+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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iamthehoyden's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 02:44 PM | #127
I don't know if I can express how much of a fan I am of your collection of Awesome One-Time-Seen NPCs. Seriously, one of the best concepts ever. I love them, adore them, and generally am grinning every time they show up.

Also, I love Rho. Love love love him!
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

EverSteam's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 03:29 PM | #128
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
"My assignment took me elsewhere."

Weapons-grade compassion started oozing out of Rho's manner. "General, what happened to her? I sense the pain in you."
Rho raised his hands defensively. "I'm just saying. Some people behave less like murderous psychopaths when they talk about what's bothering them."

"I'm not some people."
No! I don't want a sad Quinn!
He needs to just be awesome! Which he already effortlessly is

bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 03:43 PM | #129
Quinn gets to be awesome, it's true! And I have plans.......

CHRONICLES PRESENT, 42: In which Sergeant Rusk considers a change of paths

Time period: During Master Rho's campaign

When Quinn answered the ship's holo, the Hero of Tython's pet Chagrian appeared.

"You can't be serious," groaned Quinn.

"Sir," the blue alien said stiffly. "You gave us quite a setback. That was tough. But we're tougher."

"I'll have to arrange something more permanent next time. What did your master send you to say?"

"I'm calling on my own account, General. You've had the chance to see us and hear Master Rho's purpose. And we've both seen the odds. I want to discuss the possibility of defecting."

"Defecting? Sergeant, while the possibility exists, there is a considerable process I must initiate on my side of matters before – "

"The Republic will welcome Insanity Company, I know it."

Quinn lifted one hand. He spent a moment puzzling that one out. "I beg your pardon?" he said, very quietly.

"I'm inviting you to join us, sir. Insanity Company is the stuff of heroes, if only you were fighting for the right side. Your record is everything I have striven to be."

"Including the notorious fatality rate of your own brief squad commands?"

"Exactly, sir." The Chagrian seemed completely unselfconscious. "To serve with you would be a profound honor, sir. Except you're all seethingly evil, so I'll need you to defect to the Republic first."

"I have no intention of being any less Imperial. Or seethingly evil, however you wish to pronounce it. Furthermore, I don't know how you got this holofrequency, but abuse it again and I will show you what the Empire does to prank callers."

"The need is real, General. If you understood what Master Rho is fighting for you'd be with us in a second."

"I understand that you, Sergeant Rusk, are insane, and unlike Insanity Company you're also wrong. This conversation is over."

As the holo flickered back to darkness, Lieutenant Hareth crept in from the hallway. "He understands the glories of destruction," she announced. "He just fails to understand that he should submit to it for the Emperor."

"I think he fails to understand a great deal more than that," said Quinn.

"I can say one thing, sir," volunteered Captain Rutau, "if you're getting this many desperate warnings to turn back, you're probably on the right track."
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bright_ephemera's Avatar

10.29.2012 , 03:53 PM | #130
CHRONICLES PRESENT, 43: In which Nalenne's domestic situation changes again

Time period: During Master Rho's campaign

"Andronikos," said Nalenne, "I'll need you to run sniper cover for the Jedi Teacher's Union party we're crashing next week. Prep the big rifle."

"If I'm going, I'm down in the melee with you guys."

"'If' you're going? This is going to be the best game of the season, of course you'll be there."

"Says who?"

"Says your love of mayhem?"

Andronikos sat up slowly. "You know," he said, "I like you, but you've been getting a lot of ideas."

"Like…how beating up Jedi schoolteachers will be a ton of fun and you should be there?"

"No, like I'm gonna take your orders when I get there." He frowned and stretched. "I may not be around next week. In fact, I may not be around for a while. There's places to be." He hopped out of bed and grabbed the one battered bloodstained leather bag that held his non-weaponry possessions, and took a look at Nalenne. "It's been a lot of fun, don't get me wrong. I'll be seeing you sometime."

She followed him into the hallway. "You can't just go!"

"I believe I can, Nalenne."

"I'm the Wrath! You have to listen to me!"

"No. No, your apprentices and soldiers and slave have to listen to you. You wanna bang somebody who'll take orders, try the guy who already promised to." He stopped short and faced her with a small smile. "Neither one of us likes sleeping with control freaks. So let it go."

Nalenne stood with her mouth hanging slightly open, trying to figure out the logical puzzle of imposing her will on someone in order to preserve a relaxing freedom-loving relationship. The only solution appeared to be that she got to be relaxed and free while he served her every whim, but by the time she had figured out how to phrase that, Andronikos was gone.

Vette delicately cleared her throat.

"Why does nobody ever let me down easy?" demanded Nalenne. "It's always BAM, vanish."

"Probably because they all know you'll kill them if they try to discuss it at any length in person," said Vette.

"That's completely unfounded. I didn't have long discussions before I killed Quinn or Servant Nine or any of the others. Maybe trying to be tactful would make me less likely to execute them for leaving me, ever think of that?"

"I actually don't spend a lot of time thinking about how to break up with you," said Vette. "Apart from the whole 'trying to get out of the slave collar' thing, I guess."

Pierce wandered in from the mess. He carried a large frozen carton. "Ice cream?" he offered.

Nalenne crossed her arms. She wasn't that predictable. Not really. "Rebound?" she counteroffered.

"Not likely, milord," he said.

"Hm. I guess that would be pretty weird," said Nalenne.

"Very," agreed Pierce. "Here. Triple coco loco chunk."

"You're the best."

"I aim to serve." Pierce grinned. "Chain of command works just fine for some of us, at least as loose as you keep it."

Vette sidled closer to him. "Support operations on this are gonna be hell," she whispered.

"We can do it without a replacement toy," he muttered. "Tough job, but we've done it before."

Nalenne fixed Pierce with a suspicious look. "We're still on for killing Jedi educators next week."

"Absolutely," he assured her.
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