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Thread: We All Fall Down

  1. #1
    Sphyrna Mokarran

    Open We All Fall Down

    There were those who believed that the Corellian system was artificial; that it's perfect orbits and perfect symmetry were too ordered not to have been the result of some ancient intent. Fitting then that the eldest brother should be the sight of as abhorrent a spectacle as this.

    It was supposed to be Corellia Day, a celebration of what remained of the thriving interstellar society that Corellia had been the heart of in antiquity; but on this occasion, the events had been hijacked for another purpose. People flooded the streets of Coronet city, swarming in their masses to gaze in both varieties of awe at the display the Galactic Empire had placed in their sky. Some were elated and reassured by the show of force, the renewed vow by their Imperial overlords that despite the Treaty, and despite the short-lived conquest of Duro, the planet Corellia and her people had never been more safely under the Empire's protection. Some were terrified by the display of oppression, the renewed vow by their Imperial overlords that despite the Treaty, despite the short-lived liberation of Duro, despite all the hope that the Alliance of Free Planets brought to the galaxy, the planet Corellia and her people had never been more firmly under the Empire's heel, and would never enjoy the liberty that so many of them had craved.

    Others, like Sphyrna Mokarran, looked upon the formation of Imperial starships and fighters with disgust. From his vantage point atop a long-abandoned clocktower, he had a very different perspective on the display than the Empire had intended. He didn't look up and witness the carefully staged visual of a mighty Imperial-class Star Destroyer blocking out the sun: he watched it's dagger-shaped shadow stab it's way through the heart of yet another dominated world. He watched as a mile long star cruiser rolled unopposed over a city too paralysed with fear of change to try and drive it away.

    But not everyone on Corellia was afraid. Sphyrna shifted in his nest, sighting through the interlocking network of scopes that allowed his inconveniently proportioned Ithorian physiology witness the destination of his rifle's aim. It was an intricate plan, set in motion months ago when overtures towards a peace treaty with the Galactic Empire had first begun. It started with discontent, from Corellians, Ithorians, Iridonians, Nautolans; all the species who, by abandoning their war, the Alliance was surrendering to their fate beneath the Empire's boots. It had worsened when the compromise had been struck; a border drawn, discontents on both sides given the choice between enduring the masters that had been chosen for them by committee, or abandoning all that they knew and loved to join the refugees flocking across the border in search of new homes and new lives that they couldn't even be sure would exist.

    And then resistance had been reborn. Not every member of the Alliance was willing to abandon Corellia to it's fate. Remnants of the SpecForce and SpecOps detachments, of rebel cells on all the Five Brothers, of the discontents who'd fled from Duro when Imperial control had been restored; they had come together in secret, to perform one simple act; one single series of of events that would culminate in what Sphyrna Mokarran was about to do.

    He watched as the shadow moved across the city, straddling districts at a time. Schools, libraries, hospitals, apartments for the hard working backbone of Corellian society; these weren't his targets. He waited with snipers' patience as the shadow advanced, waiting until it would reach the sparser populations of the outskirts, where Imperial industry and the sprawling homesteads of wealthy competed for who would dominate and sully Corellia's natural beauty.

    The corner of West 23rd and 5th; the point that computers had decreed would mark the defining line. Mathematics that Sphyrna could not comprehend had reached that conclusion, factored in air currents and momentum and gravity differentials that he didn't even understand. Not that it mattered. The line was the line; his task wasn't his question.

    His task was this.

    The Ithorian's fingers closed around the trigger of his rifle, specially constructed for just this purpose. It was unlike any weapon he had ever fired before, but then it had to be: he wasn't hurling some ionised bolt of energy towards an unsuspecting target. Deep in the heart of the rifle, beneath the bolted on power packs and cobbled together amplifiers, a signal generator whirred into life, hard-coded to emit a devastatingly powerful pulse along a single wavelength. It wouldn't be seen by the naked eye; would be too narrow-band and focused to ever triangulate. In fact, only one thing in all the world would ever be aware of that signal.

    Deep within the bowels of the Star Destroyer Warspite, one of dozens of detonator packs flickered into life.

    Coronet felt the explosion as much as they heard it. Space would normally have swallowed the echoing boom of a starship hull being ruptured from within, but Corellia's atmosphere carried the bone-shaking sound on the back of a compression wave that shattered windows in it's immediate wake, and resonated across the city for miles around. Any eyes that hadn't already been fixed on the sky turned upwards, and the people of Corellia stood united in their terror as, almost in slow motion, the Warspite's repulsorlifts failed an the great white dagger plunged towards the ground.

    The impact shook the city with enough force to register on seismographs half a world away. Buildings crumpled as the Warspite tore through the skyline, jagged shards of warehouses and factories fighting back to tear fiery scars in the Star Destroyer's hull. Dark plumes of smoke spiralled into the sky, fire oozing like seeping blood from the starship's wounds. Coronet groaned as the plunging dagger lodged itself in her heart.

    Sphyrna Mokarran rose from his perch. This was his task. Trigger the bomb. Fell the Star Destroyer. Send a message. It was a message without words, but it was clear to all who heard it what it meant.

    To any surviving Rebels taking refuge among the stars: we are here. We are waiting.

  2. #2
    Delgado Xaanan
    My gods...

    All at once, every drop of blood in the veins of Moff Delgado Xaanan turned to ice. It wasn't even horror that gripped him: it was the dread of inevitability that tightened it's vice around his heart. That sickening, slow-motion sway as the Warspite dipped from formation, that realisation of what happened when science failed and the forces of nature wrapped themselves against such a gargantuan affront to it's laws, perforated and permeated his every fibre.

    What have you done?

    He was in his speeder before the ship even struck ground, climbing away from the streets and the parades with a dozen competing impulses swarming through his mind. Instructions were barked into his comlink, stern words to cut through the mesmerising horror and spur every ambulance, fire speeder, and CorSec detachment in the hemisphere into action. You didn't need to see the Warspite hit ground to know that their services would be needed; and every second wasted in hesitation would be another life lost.

    His mind lingered on the speech he had prepared, the one he was supposed to read at the culmination of the parade. It spoke of safety, and unity: words that the Corellian people needed to hear, and yet that would sounds so hollow in front of this backdrop, even if the sentiment still held true. Another comm frequency; another stern exchange; new words demanded from his speech writers. Something inspirational. Something reassuring.

    He wasn't even sure those things would be possible.

    As the speeder rose out of the canyons of Coronet's streets, aiming towards the Imperial Citadel that served as his de facto headquarters on this world, he allowed a moment to be grateful that Coronet had been targeted, rather than the Empire directly. It was a cold, harsh, heartless reaction; and yet at the same time the opposite. Gratitude that the people he knew personally, his colleagues, his friends, were safe. Also, objective gratitude that whoever was responsible had targeted the city and the Empire equally; there was an angle there, Corellia and the Empire united in their outrage. A stray thought wondered what exactly their target had been.

    Glancing through the window was a mistake. His innards clenched all over again at the sight of the devastating scar carved through Coronet's edge. The industrial district bore the brunt of it, it seemed; that and one of the gentrified wealthy districts that had been "reclaimed" from industry by the upper class. The casualties would be lower than he'd feared; a public holiday such as this meant the factories and warehouses would be largely deserted, and the gentrified neighbourhoods were sparsely populated; finally a hidden blessing in rich people's obsession with wasting space on lavish gardens. There'd be hell to pay of course, from the elite especially; a callous thought of faux gratitude swept through his mind as he realised he'd have fewer to tolerate now.

    His gaze lingered on the impact a moment longer; The Devastation, his mind decided. The media and the people would want a buzz word; that would be the one he'd give to them. A cause to rally against, with a name that could be uttered with disdain.

    A mix of sorrow and determination took hold, as he regarded the work of rebels and terrorists.

    And they say we are the monsters.

  3. #3
    TheHolo.Net Poster
    Has been a member for 5 years or longer Jarvan Trask's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    ISD Interminable
    It's not a parade without the commandos. That was the justification they gave when they pulled his squad out of the mothballs and sent them to Corellia of all places. So this is what becomes of great men in peace time? Lieutenant Jarvan Trask had dropped feet first into hell more times than he could count. With every battle he charged headfirst into, for every rebel sympathizer door he kicked in, for every search and rescue operation he completely successfully across a dozen worlds he had one step at a time climbed the ladder until he commanded his own squad, and then a platoon. His name was synonymous with success. The rare times his forces met defeat they made sure it cost the enemy everything. The faces under his command had come and gone, shuffled off into other units or dying in the course of their duty. All that sacrifice felt like it meant nothing now that they were in bed with their greatest enemy. The rebels turned Alliance of Free Planets now dominated half the galaxy. It was hardly the great Imperial dream.

    Angry hand strokes spread the polish across the white plastoid-composite helmet between his hands. This was his reward for everything he had given the Empire. His platoon was effectively mothballed. The Empire did not have need for boots on the ground specialists like the Navy Commandos. Everything was subtly, cloak and daggers bullshit. Hardly the type of honest to god, in your face punishment he had been trained to deal out like thick slices of pain cake. God dammit, the polish slipped from his hand and clattered to the floor. The rest of the room looked up for a moment before his troopers got back to the very important task of making their armor look like it belonged to a space princess. This wasn't even his official suit, but a ceremonial one for special occasions that he didn't even know he owned. The battered and cracked suit he wore into numerous engagements was deemed to ugly for a parade, and this new one was whipped out. Thankfully it was a real commando suit, with the modified plate placement and cut down sections to allow for better movement, and it did have the brightly colored shoulder pad to identify him as the poor bastard in charge of this line.

    He was told he should be happy for peace, but it wasn't the peace he had fought for. The peace his men had died for was the one where the Sovereign Galactic Empire controlled the galaxy from one end to the other. When all the upstarts were put down and people remembered just how good it was when an entire galaxy worked hand in hand for a better, brighter future. That was the dream he grew up on, the one that played on the videos his entire childhood. Now that future and the war had been equally stolen away, leaving him emptier and more bitter than ever before. Some of the men embraced it, happy to be able to go home and see the family after spending almost the entire length of the war away from them. Jarvan had no such attachment to go back to. He was a test tube baby, from one of the last waves of cloned troopers. Not the original Jango Fett model. No. Just some bastard with a bitchin' jawline tossed a few chits to have his DNA stretched into an army of toy soldiers.

    "Look smart lads. Let's not embaress ourselves on such an important day."

    That was the last thing he said before they were boots on the streets of Coronet, standing in line and looking straight ahead. Occassionally they would move in formation, shuffling along the street while a spectacular array of starships flew overhead. He wished he could look up and see it, but at the same time afraid of the nostalgia it might summon. It did not matter how dark or dire the battle was. Once you saw those gleaming white hulls overhead you found your second wind and charged back into the fight like a new man. He needed that now more than ever, and risked breaking the perfect appearance of his platoon but raising his helmet to gaze upward, and was greeted not with the reassuring symbol of power, but rather the degenerating orbit of a ship plummeting from the sky. The procession stopped, the entire parade dying as everyone looked up to watch one of the greatest ships in the Imperial Navy fall helplessly like a drowning child.

    Even before it made contact with the surface orders were buzzing through the comms, hectic and screaming. There was a whoosh and Jarvan looked down just long enough to see a speeder roar by, and recognized it as Moff Xaanan's speeder. So much for hand waving and baby kissing. That's when the entire planet shook. Overhead windows broke and foundations cracked. People fell and screamed. Even his own troopers, hardened by war, fell to their knees. They would have stayed there if not for the voice screaming orders. It took a moment before even Jarvan realized he was the owner of the voice. "Get up on your feet maggots. God. Damn. Cerberus, Longsword, and Berzerker with me. We are going to go save some lives. Rancor stay behind and coordinate search and rescue. I was medics and fire suppression teams at the crash site ASAP. If someone with a suit and cap sticks their rank in your face you have my permission to slap them down and get back to goddamn work."

    Just like that they rushed headlong toward the burning crucible of durasteel and fire. They would have to pick their way through fallen structures and debris just to reach the fallen icon, but when they got there they would rescue every goddamn life they could find.

    And then someone was going to pay.

  4. #4
    Cassus Wain
    "Hells," somebody breathed out.

    I didn't wait to see the rest on the holo. I rushed over to viewport and got an eyeful of the wreckage covering over a kilometer of the city.

    "Get every speeder, every officer, get everyone down there," I bit out, a hollow anger filling my lungs like smoke. I turned around.

    "Move!" I shouted, and the office turned into chaos as everyone threw on their jackets and blasters, and took every door out of the room.

    I rushed out also, leaving my jacket and blaster. A second later, I thought better of it, and went back to grab my blaster.


    West 23rd and 5th was a mess. When the Destroyer went down, it seemed to fall straight down and only a little forward rather than its momentum carrying it further. Most of the buildings still standing were barely so.

    We weren't the first people to get there. The Fire Defence squads and some other CorSec officers and detectives had made it here first.

    "We're working on getting the fires and smoke out. Make sure your people wear masks." The fireman stalked away, pulling down his mask and hefting an axe. "Take care. Gas mains and leaks are everywhere. We're going to have a lot more to deal with in a couple hours."

    I pulled down my own mask and hefted an axe, and turned towards a building that seemed to be mostly still standing.

    There was work to be done. And after this, after all of this, there was going to be some more work to be done.


  5. #5
    Vinthern Longstar
    A small café in historic old town, Kor Vella...

    In a setting as intimate as this – with its low ceilings and subdued lighting, where the smells and sounds of the kitchen mingled with the chatter of the diners – it would have been almost impossible to feel or seem alone, but Vinthern Longstar managed it.

    With a table to himself, he sat apart from the loose gatherings of friends, family and regulars whose laughter gave the restaurant so much of its character. From his vantage point, he could see the whole room - and it could see him, the patrons no doubt aware of the dark eyes that swept about the place from time to time. On an ordinary day they tipped their hats and smiled at him, though they kept their distance. But this wasn't an ordinary day.

    Behind the counter, where an old man in an apron prepared slices of freshly baked rhyscate for his customers, the black and white video feed on a small monitor had everyone's attention. The feed was grainy and blurred, making it hard to pick out what was happening, but there was no mistaking the shape of wedge of the Star Destroyer. The laughter and chatter in the cafe was gone, replaced by the sound of metal screaming under the weight of the falling starship – the sound of people screaming as they watched.

    A ticker ran across the bottom of the screen, announcing that thousands were dead. Clutching the towel in his hands, tears spilled over the old man's cheeks. A table over from Vinthern, a young family fumbled for their communicator. A young man in a chef's apron stood in the doorway to the kitchen, his cap in hand. A woman with her hair twisted into a dark bun muttered to herself, saying the same words over and over again as she shakily pulled herself to her feet and struggled out through the tightly clustered tables, grabbing onto the back of each wooden chair as she went, steadying herself, as if the ground was shaking beneath her.

    Suddenly there was a hand at the small of her back, and Vinthern Longstar was beside her. She looked up at him, wide-eyed, confused. She knew who he was – she'd said hello to him earlier, thanked him for giving her son a second chance to repay his debts to Uhl Turhaya – but now she looked at him as if he was a stranger. The lines at the edges of her eyes deepened as she tried to process what was happening, her lips trembling.

    Her boy was living in Coronet City. He – had been living in Coronet City.

    Not anymore.

  6. #6
    A maglev train, stuck in a tunnel...

    Talus thumbed his communicator again. He'd reset the thing once already, but it was no use. There was just no signal under ground. A few dozen feet of stone and durasteel was all it took to turn a thousand-credit bit of technology into a pitiful excuse for a paperweight. Anger flared up inside of him and for an instant he thought about hurling the damn thing at the ground and stamping on it.

    Around him, dozens of other passengers were doing the same thing.

    “Work – come on, work!”

    “Has anyone got a signal? I need to call my office. I need to-”

    “Why the frell aren't we moving? This is disgusting.”

    The trains loudspeaker system buzzed to life:

    “All maglev train's travelling into or through Coronet City are cancelled until further notice. Passengers currently on board trains travelling to Coronet City are advised to remain in their cars and await further instruction. Passengers wishing to travel to stations on the Berethron line should transfer to the Princess Memorial line immeadiately. Please do not attempt to travel on the Berethron line – there will be no further services into or through Coronet City until further notice.”

    It was the same message as before. The same thing that had been playing on a loop every two minutes since the train had come to an unplanned, grinding halt. The maglev didn't stop for nothing. Not on Corellia. Something had happened in Coronet and Talus had a bad feeling about it.

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