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Overcoming Adviercity: A Trooper's Tale

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
Overcoming Adviercity: A Trooper's Tale

YoshiRaphElan's Avatar


YoshiRaphElan
10.18.2012 , 05:19 PM | #21
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
I'm glad you're enjoying! Aric Jorgan really is best-bro material. Great character, great guy, and, alarmingly enough, more tactful and peaceably minded than Vierce is at times. I laughed my butt off recently when someone pointed out that Jorgan actually has a +2 to crit on Diplomacy...I'd love to see him in negotiating action.

I kept Jorgan with me for about 70% of Vierce's class line play because he's awesome. He had to be the level-headed one more than once. I recall the line "Easy there, killer, we didn't come here to start a war" happening during one class conversation.
Yeah, I Jorgan's character is great. Sadly, I missed a lot of his dialogue because I had Dorne with me (gotta finish that romance plot, y'know....) but hopefully if I make a new trooper I can take him with me more often. anyway, keep writing!

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iamthehoyden
10.20.2012 , 10:40 AM | #22
Quote: Originally Posted by bright_ephemera View Post
Dammit, Bright, GIVE ME MY SHIRT BACK FIRST.
*enjoys the view*
It would probably be difficult to convince such a practical guy to just wander around like that all the time, eh? Pity. *sigh*
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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bright_ephemera
11.03.2012 , 06:28 PM | #23
Now, then. Where was I?

Chapter 9: Nar Shaddaa: With friends like these...


I walked into the SIS office and tossed Balkar a datapad with the coordinates for the Shadow Town facility. "Tell me what I need to know," I said.

He looked at the map on the datapad screen, then back at me. "Fantastic work! Shadow Town opens up some possibilities. It's is where the Imps put people who are too useful to kill, but too dangerous to leave roaming around the galaxy. It's dangerous and heavily secured. On the other hand, there's a lot of looking-the-other-way there. If fighting happens, the Hutts won't interfere, not in Shadow Town."

"Music to my ears."

"There are a couple of matters standing there…but M1-4X is your priority today. How about you go scrap it and we all go home happy?"

*

Shadow Town had heavy defenses, both code-locked doors and angry staff. Nothing we couldn't deal with. Some SIS backup came with us as we made our way to the building near the edge of the complex that was supposed to contain the droid. The staff vanished once we got in; M1-4X was likely kept secret even to most of the Imps.

Our Captain Andrik was there along with a few of the Republic uniformed guys. He turned to give us a sneering once-over. "So you made it. A little later than I was expecting, to be honest. Did it really take you that long to wipe out Zardres and his men? Maybe you're not as good as I'd thought you were."

"Good enough to stop you, Andrik."

"You idiot. You've killed good men to get here – fellow soldiers! All because some scumbag on Coruscant said they were traitors? Your loyalties are all wrong. When you're bleeding out in a trench on some muckball planet, it ain't High Command that pulls you out – it's the guy next to you."

"You betrayed the Republic. It doesn't matter what your reasons were."

"Blind," he snarled. "Blind and stupid. I'll bet you can't even imagine doing something you weren't ordered to do."

The big droid M1-4X spoke up from its charging station or whatever that apparatus by the wall us. "Treacherous vermin," it yelled. "I have completed the charging process. All systems operable."

Andrik gave me a nasty smile. "Sounds like your time's up, Lieutenant. Any last words?"

M1-4X waved at me. "Lieutenant! You made it! I knew this Imp-loving scum could never escape the sure justice of the Republic for long."

"Uh, good to see you," I told him. "You still working for this guy?"

"Unfortunately, I am still bound by my programming to obey Captain Andrik. The coward has naturally ordered me to kill you. To be used this way against the finest agents of my beloved Republic shames me. I wish I had never been activated."

"Me too," I muttered. Then, out loud, "Your orders are straight-up treason. Why follow them?"

M1-4X shook his shiny droid head. "It is in my programming. The Republic's brilliant scientists clearly had no reason to expect such sedition."

"Enough chatter," said Andrik. "Attack."

M1-4X raised a pair of blaster rifles and what appeared to be a shoulder-mounted missile turret. "Lieutenant, be advised your weapon will require several decades of sustained fire to penetrate my shields at their current charge. Seeing as Republic SpecForce training is the best in the galaxy, I'm confident you'll find an alternative solution for my destruction. Good luck!"

I couldn't immediately think of language strong enough for what I thought of this weird situation and its weird murder droid, so instead I dove for cover. Arcs of electricity jumped from the wall to the droid as it maneuvered into position. All coming from the charging station. Maybe his shiny power source wasn't so self-contained after all, not yet.

I signaled Jorgan and the SIS people to keep the traitors busy while I opened fire on the apparatus at the wall. Better than denying power, the thing blew up with more force than I would've given it credit for. M1-4X briefly froze.

"Hit it," I yelled.

The thing about droids is it's often hard to tell where the critical parts are. A CPU can be hidden anywhere and a power core, even though it's larger, can usually choose from among a few hiding spots. M1-4X was built on a weird open model, though, with few places to hide. Perhaps with those shields of his he wasn't supposed to worry about it.

But when the shields were overloaded there was only one place to shoot, and all three of us slammed it. Soon enough something blew out and its weaponry slumped to a stop.

The SIS around us formed up the moment the defectors were down. Their leader spoke up: "Lieutenant. Status?"

I looked at their medic and jerked my head toward Jorgan, who was scowling and applying pressure to some kind of leg wound. "See to it. As far as the droid goes, the power core is supposed to be special, make sure to snag it. After that, I think we go home."
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bright_ephemera
11.03.2012 , 06:30 PM | #24
Chapter 10: Nar Shaddaa: The Fallen Jedi

Crossposted from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread with a minor coda added.


Camp 27. It was part of Shadow Town, one of the Empire's blackout prisons. Stars only know why they put it on Nar Shaddaa; probably some arrangement with the Hutts that it's best not to dwell on.

We stuck around after M1-4X went down. There were objectives enough to work on, and Garza didn't mind loaning Havoc Squad to the SIS after their help with the robot.

The mission was a rescue for Ako Domi, a Jedi hero of the Great War. Any facility that can keep a Jedi in place worries me, but it was an excuse to shred Imperials and that was enough for me. We had approval for this job, I don't know how or why, but Imps in the way were open season. Plus, there were other POWs we might free while we were in there.

We met up with a couple of local Republic squads for the raid. Sergeant Dorne came with me. Of course. She was part of the squad. Now, when you're out there in combat, you trust the people around you or else someone gets hurt; it always took everything I had to keep my focus with her around, but I leaned into the fact that she did good work and everybody else in the army seemed to think she belonged there. It wasn't ideal, but I managed.

Shadow Town had two rings of gates and automated defenses that could only be opened on timed codes. We carved through the outer guards, recovered the first set of codes, entered. It was when we were sandwiched between defense rings that it got hairy.

Two Imp patrols hit us at the bottom of a ramp in our descent into the camp. We were doing okay until the third Imp squad reinforced. They drove us back, step by step; there were more than we expected in one place and I knew even more must be on the way. It was turning bad fast.

"Fall back," I yelled. "Fall back!" I ran over to three of our people who had fallen at the base of the ramp. It was an open field of fire apart from a couple of random crates; I bent over a big guy with a worrisomely torn-up torso and started wrapping on the minimum bandaging necessary to move him safely. Dorne ran out of nowhere to work on getting a second guy back on his feet. A wounded woman was just finishing bandaging herself enough to move. I jerked my thumb back to direct her and kept working on the big guy.

We had to be out of there as of ten minutes ago. The Imps weren't taking prisoners. Dorne looked up at me. "Go on," we yelled at each other, "I'll catch up." I would've argued, but I had somebody to evacuate. I finished what I could, enough to make sure my guy would live through the move, then hauled him up over my shoulder and looked back to make sure Dorne could move with her man. She nodded sharply and we got going.

The main thoroughfare was too hot, but there were alleyways in this twisting town. I freed up a hand to holo in to Jorgan and get him our position. He met with us not far from the outer gate; he had a few people with him, enough to take charge of the wounded.

"Objective's still in there," I told him. "Go on. Make sure our people get out clean. Dorne and I are going in to finish this."

"Alone, sir?"

I considered switching sergeants, but Dorne's medical expertise might be necessary. Or, for that matter, her knowledge of all things Imperial. "I'm kinda counting on them staying focused out here for a while. I've got guard access codes and I can sneak. Move it."

"Yes, sir." Jorgan gestured to the others and they continued their retreat.

I led Dorne further into Shadow Town, staying to side passages and darkness where I could. The inner gate had way too many guards; I called up the map and we worked our way around to a different door. Two guards and a couple of droids. Nothing we couldn't handle. I leaned back in a deep doorway and looked at Dorne. "How long 'til our access code cycles in?"

"Four minutes fifteen seconds, sir."

"All right. Good." For once that bizarre precision of hers seemed fitting. "Now while you're waiting, let's get one thing straight. You-"

You're an idiot. I told you to fall back. You're no good to me or anyone dead. You put a hair out of line and I'll forget I ever tried to trust you, so don't even try it, no matter what heroics you think you see the chance for. That stunt was stupid, plain stupid.

Dorne frowned. "Sir?"

"Just a minute. I'm working through all the yelling I should be doing at you for being stupid enough to go out there in that heat."

She looked…confused. "You were right there with me, sir."

"Yes, that's why I'm running through it in my head instead of yelling it. I'm not a complete jerk. I…that…was solid work. Stupid, but solid work. But next time I tell you to move, you move."

"Yes, sir."

Access code cycled in. We pushed on, knocking out cameras and droids and guards as we went. Liberated an armory, freed up a few Republic prisoners so they'd have the chance to blast their way free. Kept going into the deep block marked Camp 27, home of the Jedi war hero, Ako Domi.

We reached a big room that housed all the tools for Imperial-style interrogation. There was a little man reading in the corner.

"I'll ask once," I called out, "where's Ako Domi?" Prisoners here didn't have cells, as such; the Jedi might be wandering.

"Ako Domi?" He quailed. "Are you really asking…"

"Yes. I am. You're short on time."

"I can summon him," squeaked the interrogator. "Here." He entered something on the console. "Now I'm just going to…wait…elsewhere." He started running. Didn't seem to be me he was afraid of.

I shot the scum. Then I waited. Not too long after, a big guy walked in. Sith, by the looks of him, corrupt, gross, dressed in ill-fitting dark clothes.

"Who comes before me?" he demanded.

It was hard to meet those furious yellow eyes. This couldn't possibly be the Jedi. No way.

"I am Ako Domi, the lord of Camp 27. No one seeks me out."

"I'm here to return you to Republic space, Master Jedi." I figured the respectful address was safe-ish. As safe as anything was around a guy who looked this wild.

"How tiresome," he sneered. "Will you offer me pardon? Sanctuary? A chance to turn back to the light?"

"Uh, something like that. I think the Jedi back home will handle the light if you'll just come with me."

"I've been here six years. I've seen your Republic heroes turn on each other like dogs for a scrap of meat. I've seen human nature at its core, and there is no light there."

In Shadow Town? Of course not. "You've seen the Empire at its core, Master Jedi, and what the Empire twists people into. Nothing more."

"There has never been a captive here so noble he did not eventually succumb." Stars, the guy was practically getting off on his own aura of dark misery. "How long do you think you'll last?

And then, just like that, Ako Domi raised his hand. I only had a fraction of a second to fire before he seized my throat in a Force grip. Bad.

Dorne blasted his arm down for a moment, but still. Just about the only thing we had on him was numbers, and two grunts to one Jedi-Sith-thing was poor. At least he was unarmed. But it wasn't close to even 'til I managed to get a concussion grenade into play. That interrupted his choke hold on Dorne while my blaster rifle worked on his torso. Finally, he cried out and fell to his knees, hissing in pain.

Moments later he forced himself to look up at me. "Do it," he snarled. "It's in you, too, so go ahead and kill me. You want to."

I put my rifle to his head, keeping my finger just tight enough that any movement from him might fire the gun before I had to consciously do it. I tried to imagine taking this guy out to freedom as ordered. The thought didn't lead anywhere pleasant. "A mad dog like you? Maybe I do."

"Or would you rather hear me scream?" suggested Ako Domi. "Draw it out for days while I beg you to end it?"

"The thought hadn't occurred to me," I said. Sicko.

"Leftenant," said Dorne. "We need to get him out of here."

"I don't think that's going to happen," I said.

Ako Domi abruptly seemed to forget about us. He lapsed into unintelligible mumbling.

"It may be best that he die in prison," I added.

"Sir, I must object," said Dorne.

"You heard him talking. It's better that he be remembered as a hero than...this."

"It's not too late for him," she said. "If we return him to the Jedi, I'm sure they would be willing to help him."

"No. If we let him loose anything he does will be on our heads. There's some depths you don't climb out of."

"People change."

"No, they don't, Dorne. Someone like this, it's way too late."

"You don't know that, sir!"

And that's about when I figured out what else she was lecturing me about.

She took off her helmet to fix me with brilliant green eyes. "Give him a chance," she said.

"It's completely different. He doesn't want to set things right." I couldn't exactly see Ako Domi running into the line of fire for anybody any time soon.

"In a place like this it's hard to remember what the point would be. Help him get away from here and he can try again."

I wanted more time to think, or possibly just a magic Dorne-disappearing button so I could put Ako Domi down and move on. But I didn't have either.

"It's a risk," I said. "I think it's a stupid risk." I stepped away from the mumbling once-Jedi and let my rifle fall to my side. "But I owe you one, so we'll do it your way."

"You…owe me…?"

"Back there. Going in to patch up our reinforcements. You haven't forgotten already, have you?"

"No. I just didn't think it incurred a personal debt."

"They work with me, they're my people, Dorne. I don't forget. Now come on."

Dorne knelt to tend to the wound in Ako Domi's chest. He grimaced at her, glassy-eyed. "Fool, you don't know what you're doing. You do know you want to hurt me, even you, stupid creature…"

I nudged him with one boot. "Respect the sergeant," I said, "or I will change my mind."

He chuckled nastily, but after that he shut up.

We got Ako Domi out of there. Me, I figure he's crazy past fixing, but maybe he got a fresh start after all. For what it's worth, he got the chance to turn it around.

Maybe I got a chance to turn something around, too, but that's a stretch. It's just that she did a good turn for me and mine, and I did one for her, and that makes us even. In hindsight I think it would've snapped what shaky working relationship we had if I just gave him that shot in the head. Doing it this way opened something up. It meant something to her. Of course the defector would want me to believe people can climb out of a pit like that and start getting it right.

I don't know yet.

*

"Nice work, very nice," said Balkar back at the SIS Office, "I knew I could count on you. Glad the military took enough interest in this to clean it up so thoroughly." He was dripping curiosity. Well, let him drip. Tavus, Andrik and the rest could and should remain mysterious according to my orders. Unless…

"Pleasure to work with you," I said. "I love the easy jobs."

Balkar laughed easily. "From what I observed of the fight, I'd hate to see your idea of a hard one. Anything else I can do for you while you're in town?" Again with the looking at Dorne. She looked awkward. I tried not to laugh.

"There's a topic that came up that I'd like to discuss with you," said Jorgan. That would be his missing squad, the Deadeyes. "Local events." He threw a look at me and Dorne. "Can we talk?"

"I'll head out," I assured him. "Good luck, Sergeant."
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 2000+ stories. New prompts weekly!
Bright's Fanfic Threads
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Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.

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bright_ephemera
11.03.2012 , 06:32 PM | #25
Chapter 11. Nar Shaddaa: Rescue

Crossposted from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread.


I picked my brother up from a rooftop gunfight on Nar Shaddaa. No, I don't know what was going on there. Sometimes with Kirsk it's better not to ask.

While we were picking up and hauling out, half a dozen blaster rifles still firing full rate at us, Jorgan confronted me and an uncommonly ragged-looking Kirsk in the holo room. "Sir, can I ask what we're doing yet?" He glared at Kirsk. None of us had forgotten the uncomfortable revelation of Huttball Nikto Fever fandom.

"Rescuing the pathetically needy," I explained.

"I see that, sir."

"That's all the information I'm running on. Ask him. Anyway, we're leaving now." I yelled up toward the bridge. "Hey, Dorne, I'll take over."

"I can drive," suggested Kirsk.

"Not a chance."

He followed me up to the bridge anyway. And stopped, and, right on cue, softly whistled.

Sergeant Dorne looked up, startled. Her eyes flickered to me. "Sir?"

"Sergeant Dorne, this is my brother Kirsk, who is going to leave you alone until he leaves this ship. Kirsk, this is Sergeant Dorne, and your harassing her would almost certainly end up as a demerit on my record."

"Ooh, incentivize me a little harder, why don't you." He smiled smoothly at Dorne. I whacked him in the back of the head.

"Sir," Dorne said uneasily, "a civilian's presence here is highly irregular."

"I never broke a rule that didn't need breaking, Sergeant. He stays." I stood aside to let her leave, then took her place at the controls. "Kirsk, where'm I dropping you off?"

"Uh, heat signature's a little high right now, um, anywhere. Mind if I lay low with you for a few days?"

"That really is a little awkward on an active-duty ship."

"Things are tight."

That was code for total desperation. "Of course you can stay. Try to behave. My superiors call, stay out of sight."

"You got it. So anyway, her. You've mentioned her once or twice…Imperial defector?"

"Yeah."

"Huh. And they assigned her to you? What the blazes were they thinking?"

"She's Havoc Squad caliber, they tell me. She pulls her weight, I guess." I rubbed my neck. The tension there was spiking. "Believe me, if I had the beginnings of a whisper of an echo of an excuse to get rid of her, she'd be long gone. As it is I keep getting dirty looks for mistreating her."

"Does she know why you hate her with a passion that's leaking all over the visible spectrum?"

"She's got an idea. She doesn't need my life story."

"I guess that's fair. To one of you. Explaining what it was like where you're from would be fair, too. To the other one of you. That's rough, brother."

"No kidding."

"Moving along. This one of those rigs where I have to sleep on the floor?"

"Pfft, no. Get Jorgan to show you a bunk. And don't piss him off, he's a biter."

"Like that's anything new." Kirsk grinned and showed himself out.

*

We were given a minor assignment elsewhere on Nar Shaddaa; truth be told, we were killing time until the next lead on the Havoc Squad defectors presented itself. I got up early on day three, received a minor mission via holo, went out to round people up. Passing by the mess I suddenly heard Kirsk laughing alongside this bright musical laugh that stuck me in place for half a second before I got a hold of myself.

I poked my head in and saw Kirsk sitting opposite Sergeant Dorne. Kirsk appeared to be in fine form. Dorne turned to me and the cheer on her face died. She recovered a fake polite smile a second later. "Sir."

"Sergeant." I nodded. "Kirsk."

"I was just telling your sergeant here about that time on Coruscant when for complex but very compelling reasons I was hired to impersonate a professor's assistant for one of their biochem lectures. Absolute worst stimchem trip I've had in my life."

"I've helped him identify two brushes with death he didn't even know he had had, going through that laboratory setup," said Dorne. "I'm not sure what to say about the safety standards of the Institute."

"I know what to say," said Kirsk. "Thank the stars I'm not an academic man." He finished off a glass of something or other. "Anyway, big brother, you after something?"

"Yeah, actually. I need Dorne in the field. Jorgan and Forex are already good to go."

Dorne leaped to her feet. "Of course, sir," she said hurriedly, and rushed past me.

"Well," said Kirsk, watching her go. "She's not terrified of you or anything."

"Terrified? Her? Nah. She's just really enthusiastic about orders."

"Whatever you say," he said, cool and skeptical.

"I gotta be out for the day. You sticking around?"

"No way I'm showing my face on this planet anytime soon. Yeah, I'll stay here, hold down the fort."

"No joyrides."

"Dammit, Vierce."

"Get your own rig."

"I did. It got stolen."

"Someday you'll have to fill me in on that story."

"Someday. Get a move on."

*

Kirsk greeted us back at the ship that evening with an elaborate Tionese spread which, a check of the comm logs confirmed, was fast-food delivery charged to my account. Delicious, anyway. M1-4X stuck around to chatter with the rest of us until supper was cleared.

Kirsk excused himself after a while and, with an unobtrusive gesture, signaled me to follow him. He led me into my own quarters and brought up the console.

"So I was being an irresponsible security risk because the antique file system you guys have on this ship is mesmerizing. I couldn't resist."

"Kirsk, if you compromised classified information you know I'm gonna have to-"

He raised one hand, typing with the other. "Nothing like that, nothing like that. I think. So I was skimming things and I spotted something wrapped up tight in some mad encryption. Imperial encryption."

My stomach flopped. "Dorne?"

"Addressed to her, though it's been sitting there eighteen hours and no one's opened it that I could see. I'm not sure she knows it's there yet."

"What's inside? Imp crypto's a specialty of yours, you must know."

"But of course." With a flourish Kirsk pulled up a little holo of a blond guy about our age.

"Elara," said the recorded message boy. "It's me, Aleksei. I…I hope you're well. It's been a long time."

"Boyfriend?" I muttered. Kirsk shook his head.

"I'm sorry to contact you like this, but I need your help. My men and I…we're as good as dead. We're on Nar Shaddaa – we were caught tampering with one of the Hutts' operations. We never dreamed the slugs would have so much security."

"Poor sods," mumbled Kirsk. "Poor, stupid sods."

"These Hutts are Imperial allies, Elara. There is no rescue team. We'll be disavowed and left to die. Please – you're my only hope now." His image vanished.

I tried to talk around the huge hollow space in my chest. "An ex in Imperial spec ops? I didn't even think of that one."

"Not an ex. I did some sniffing. Aleksei Dorne is her younger brother."

"A brother. Huh. You know if they've been talking?"

"I didn't have time to check. You know I don't do politics nowadays, but this seemed important."

"Don't say anything for a minute." Kirsk only went along with that when he felt like it, but for once he gave me space to think. "Enemy combatant, related to her, here. That's…not unexpected. Right? We had people with split families back home. Collaborators who had some genetic material in common with human beings. It doesn't…dammit, do you have any idea how hard I've been working to not fly off the handle at her?"

"No, actually," said Kirsk, "but recalling your history I can imagine."

"I'm trying to be fair! How am I supposed to be fair with something like this? I should hand the recording upstairs and go clear his whole squad out while they're vulnerable, is what I should do. But her…why would he call her of all people? She's neck-deep in Republic monitoring."

"Things got tight, and she's kin."

"She files reports when she talks to Imperial-sounding shopkeepers. Contact this big is…that's insane."

"Which may be why she didn't even open an Imp-marked message."

"If she's on the level, why not just call someone to review it?"

"Because that request goes through you. Did I mention she's terrified of you?"

"She is not."

"Vierce, you just found out she has a brother and your first reaction was 'hey, can I kill him?'"

"That's my first reaction to all Imps."

"Yeah. It's scary."

"I don't see what I can do here. The kindest thing would be to just lock this so she can't access it, pass it upstairs and let them clean it up, because if I do run across his people it's going to be blood."

"You could try capture."

"Since when do I capture Imps?"

"Since you suited up Republic? Think about it. Show up. Heartwarming family reunion. Grab some souvenir POWs. Everybody goes home happy except the Imps. That sounds practically ideal."

"Or show up, trap, get shot at, Blondie and Blondie skip home happy."

"I thought she would never try to sneak contact?"

"It isn't sneaking if you shot your way through your CO to do it." I ran my hands through my hair. "That's ridiculous, I know, so don't say it. It's just hard. Why'd it have to be kin? Remember when you were little and I told you Imps didn't have families, they just came out of evil spawning pools?"

"Yeah. I was very disappointed when I learned the boring truth. But think about this. Maybe it's legit, the kid's desperate, and we can win you a nice little resume buff plus major squad morale points by checking it out. And if they turn it ugly, well, you and I haven't sprung an Imp trap together in a long time. It'll be fun. But if this guy's for real, he has nowhere else to go. The Empire just shook him off."

"Why would we want them?"

"Because the alternative is executing your squadmate's brother?"

"I can do that, Kirsk. You remember."

He looked away. "Different times, Vierce. A scared kid who just got written off by the only boss he's ever known isn't really the same as a collaborator. This Aleksei guy never had a choice." He let that sink in for a little while. "You could at least hear what he has to say. And don't forget your own sergeant. If you and I got separated, with no real hope of talking again, and then a chance came up while one of us was in a tight spot, and somebody decided to withhold that chance, would you stand for that?"

"You know there'd be hell to pay. But unless these guys are miraculously ready to lay down arms, this'll be the mother of all awkward family reunions."

"That's why you an' me will be there. To keep it polite." He caught me before I could object. "I'm sure you and Sergeant Cannon are good, but you want a security man who knows Imps and knows how to stop you from doing something stupid, and the only person in the galaxy with both those qualifications is me."

"You realize I'm only even considering this because it's you asking."

"I know. So, you going to talk to her?"

"Yeah. I'll talk to her."

"Aw. You're mellowing, big brother. This just might work out."

"Do not get warm and fuzzy on me."

"Me? Nah. My only interest here is in looking out for the downtrodden little brothers of scary justice machines."

I left to find Dorne and call her into the briefing room, where I secured the door. "Sergeant, Kirsk brought something to my attention and I am very interested in hearing your explanation."

"I'm not sure what you're referring to, sir," she said apprehensively, "but I'll try."

I put on Aleksei's recording.

The moment his image appeared she went dead white. She held still listening, and looked to me the second it was done. "Sir, I didn't know. I received it just yesterday, I was debating who to go to for permission to open it. I wasn't just going to start viewing something that might be compromising."

"When's the last time you spoke to your brother, Dorne?"

"Over three years ago. Before I defected. I haven't…I didn't know what happened to him. I honestly never expected to see his face again."

"You realize the military interest in this target."

She flinched a little to hear the term. "Sir, I believe if I speak to him I may be able to convince him and his people to defect. If he's been abandoned as he says, he has nowhere else to go. I can talk him into it."

"Yeah. The possibility has been considered. And since I am related to the worst bleeding-heart in the galaxy, I'm willing to consider arranging a meeting. I will be present for any such meeting, but I'll let you do the talking until and unless there's trouble." Talking, after all, wasn't my specialty in that situation. I took a deep breath. "The peaceful solution is up to you."

She nodded slowly. "Sir, I, I wouldn't have expected…" Then she managed to meet my eyes. "I wouldn't have expected this opportunity. It means a great deal to me."

I nodded. "Yeah. But you know I have to take 'em in no matter which way they go."

"I understand. But I do believe I can bring Aleksei to our side. You won't be disappointed, I promise." She went to leave. When she opened the door Kirsk was right there. She jumped a little. "Oh! – I'm sorry. I, the leftenant was just discussing the message you found. I understand I have you to thank for the generous offer your brother made?"

"Me?" drawled Kirsk. "No, miss. I just spotted the incoming security question. Talking it over with you, looking for a diplomatic solution for your brother, that was all his idea."

"Oh." She blinked rapidly a bit while she processed that. Then she shot one last wide-eyed look at me and edged past Kirsk to leave.

"What was that?" I demanded.

He grinned. "You'll thank me later."

"I don't see what…"

"Oh, I know. But you will."
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bright_ephemera
11.03.2012 , 06:35 PM | #26
Chapter 12. Nar Shaddaa: Parting Gifts


Jorgan called me from a little side office in the spaceport. When I showed up I found Jonas Balkar there, too. Jorgan looked pleased, or at least neutral with a touch of extra energy, when I showed up. That probably meant that some combination of extra info on the M1-4X mission or our extra services in Shadow Town had persuaded Balkar to start a search for Jorgan's Deadeyes.

"Lieutenant!" The glib warmth of Balkar's manner when we first met had given way to respect. After his mission support I was inclined to return it. "Walk with us. There's something I want you to see before you ship out."

We talked about nothing important while we walked through the crowded spaceport. Then he rounded a corner and brought us into a smallish warehouse or a biggish supply room.

Where M1-4X was standing, shining in a fresh paint job with Republic-insignia overlays.

The missile turrets weren't out and Balkar seemed pretty relaxed. In fact, he took out a datapad and read off "Republic war droid M1-4X is to be repaired and direct control transferred to Havoc Squad's current commanding officer immediately."

"Balkar. You shouldn't have." I paused. "Seriously, I don't know what other surprises he's been programmed with."

M1-4X waved. "I assure you, sir, my loyalty to the Republic is unshakeable!"

Balkar grinned. "We wiped him and gave him a more trustworthy system image we, ah, recovered from early design sources."

"And the rest? How did you even…?"

"Apparently you weren't nearly as thorough as you could've been." I think that smile actually qualified as roguish. "You really ought to be ashamed of yourself."

I frowned. "I knew I should've brought the flamethrower."

"We don't have a flamethrower, sir," said Jorgan.

In fact we didn't. "Let's get the honorary supply officer on that, eh?" Dorne had earned the position by liking paperwork much more than either I or Jorgan did.

"I'd love to see what she lists as a justification."

"Should be good. Now. This." I took a step toward the war droid, which still didn't seem inclined to kill me. So far so good.

"Unit M1-4X reporting for duty!" said the droid.

"Uh, welcome to Havoc Squad."

"I must say, Lieutenant, I'm very pleased to see you again. Your work in disabling me was incredible. Republic soldiers obviously are the best in the galaxy." He bowed. He actually bowed. "It will be an honor to fight alongside such an exceptional servant of the Republic. Together we will crush the mindless hedonists of the Sith Empire!"

I wasn't sure whether to laugh or…well, laugh. I suppressed the urge, anyway. "You and me are going to get along," I said.

Balkar spoke up. "It's been a pleasure, Lieutenant. Sergeant." He nodded at Jorgan. "I hope next time we meet I'll have something more for you."

Jorgan nodded back. "Just get me a direction. I'll do the rest."

"Come on, Forex," I said. "Let's show you around the ship."

"It will be a pleasure to return to the service of freedom and democracy, sir!"

No matter how bouncy his enthusiasm, I didn't laugh. The sentiment was right on, after all. "We're glad to have you."
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iamthehoyden
11.03.2012 , 07:56 PM | #27
I'm pretty sure 4X's boss fight is one of the funniest in the game. Never had a character so glad to be defeated, lol.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
---------------
Fan Fiction: My Name is Solomon Crae The Man in the Box

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bright_ephemera
11.03.2012 , 08:51 PM | #28
The entire M1-4X recruitment line was hysterical. Definitely a highlight of the Trooper story.
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 2000+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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bright_ephemera
11.05.2012 , 02:24 PM | #30
Chapter 13. Between Assignments: Nagging

Crossposted from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread.



"Sir."

I looked up from my console. Jorgan was leaning in the doorway.

"Jorgan," I said.

"What do you think of the new guy?"

"I think Forex is amazing. I had no idea you could put that much personality in a droid and still have room for missile turrets."

"Hm," he half laughed. "That's so. Impressive tech overall, and quick on orders. Should be good for us."

"Absolutely."

"I'm curious how things'll work in the field. Every new addition changes the dynamic. Sets our style slightly different."

"Yeah, I know." I hated it when he got pedantic. He knew my background, already knew I was a veteran. This could only mean he was angling toward something.

"And this may come as a surprise, but I'm pretty sure you're up for adapting to it. You've done better than I expected with that, all in all."

"This is your way of jabbing me about Sergeant Dorne, isn't it. You are not starting this." He did something once or twice a week that was a roundabout way of prodding me to make Sergeant Dorne part of the team. Rah rah, Havoc spirit, or something.

"I'm just saying. We're functioning as a unit a lot better than I feared when I found out this woman you think is your archnemesis was coming on board."

"She's not my archnemesis. Archnemesises...is…are unique, or at least uncommon. She's one of billions."

"She's on our side, and she's got the skills to hold her own. Which is good. Havoc needs to be at full strength. And I'm glad you've been all right about letting her work."

"Well, thank you very much for that pat on the back. Anything else you want to cover, Sergeant Warm Fuzzies?"

"I thought we might invite her next time we're out for dinner."

"You already invite her every time. She's always busy with her reading."

"We might invite, Savins. It'd mean something coming from you."

"I would rather bring Forex to the cantina than her."

Jorgan shrugged, unruffled. "We can invite him too. Make it a welcome party or something. Just ask her. Just the once."

"I don't want to be her buddy, Jorgan. There's nights I just play her voice over in my head so I can practice not wanting to shoot in its direction when I hear her accent in combat. When the firing starts…you have no idea. That's not the stuff friendships are made of."

"Well, you're not shooting her when you hear her accent in combat, so something's working, at least."

"Anybody ever tell you you're a terrible ambassador for unit cohesiveness? I don't get it. You're the guy who went out of your way to piss me off, for weeks, when we started working together."

He suddenly got shifty-eyed. "Yeah, well, you rubbed me the wrong way."

"So get off my case about her rubbing me the wrong way!"

"Furthermore," he said loudly, "I didn't think you had the discipline to hold a real squad together. Which is why I stay on your case about it."

"You want to talk about happy squads, friends getting along, we can reprogram Forex to sing holding-hands campfire songs. Actually, I would love to hear that done in his voice."

"Yeah, well. Maybe screwing with him will give you something to do other than complaining about her. I'm looking forward to it." He stood up straight. "About time we got some new blood in here in any case."

"Droids don't have blood, Jorgan."

"You know what I mean, Savins."
the Short Fic Weekly Challenge - 70+ authors to date. 2000+ stories. New prompts weekly!
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Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.