Crash & Burn
Crash & Burn
“Sir, we have received a distress signal from Lord Vaders personal bodyguard unit”.
Piett whirled around, his face paling at the news., frantically thought he through all the ramifications and chain of command orders, by deploying battle hardened troops to Naboo’s planetary surface. He would almost certainly be causing a diplomatic incident of galactic proportions, with that many troops there would undoubtedly be civilian casualties But his duty was clear – protect his commander using all and necessary means.
“Location, status”, he barked out “Lieutenant Donas get 5 Squadrons Deployed for immediate battle evac – what’s that location soldier?”
The usual calm professional atmosphere disappeared as orders were shouted and men rushed into action.
“Locking down signal - transmitting co-ordinates now sir. Clarity is not clear but they have requested military assistance and report under fire by unknown assailants. That was all I picked up before signal was cut Sir, I am trying to re-establish contact”.
“Sir nearest ground units are 3 clicks away, squadrons alphaX through to echoX are ready for deployment and will be on situ within 5 – on your command Sir?”
“Piett grimaced – too far by the time they arrived it could be possibly too late. “Deploy…. Lieutenant I need intel”.
“Sir, they have nothing, they were not even aware that Vader was in that sector of Naboo. Nobody was sir”.
Piett swore under his breath, it was against Imperial protocol for a senior commander in a potential hostile environment to leave without notification. But who would be fool enough to point this out to Lord Vader.
Which left him in a very unenviable position. He thrummed his fingers on the console watching the battle vid screen as the squadrons were despatched. His mind processing all likely scenarios.
“Captain Rada this may be a diversionary tactic – keep the fleet in tight formation and I want all ready Xwings out on security patrol. Rotate each sector. Cancel all transport leaving Naboo planetary surface until further notification”.
“Ensign, status on communication?”
“Nothing sir, I managed to lock down signal co-ordinates, but now even that has disappeared. These units transmit even if turned off, so unit must have been compromised”.
“Sith”, swore Piett under his breath.
10 MINUTES PREVIOUSLY
Leia shivered with the after effects of shock. Her heart still hammering against her ribcage. With an inward sigh she rested her cheek against the bulkhead of the shuttle. Around her the stormtroopers were bustling around checking equipment and dealing with a variety of injuries. Their mood grim, not unexpectedly after loosing more than half their platoon.
One of the commanders approached her medikit in hand. Without asking, after all she thought - she was just a prisoner, rebel scum, he turned her hand over and examined the gash on her arm. She was surprised to realise that there was blood dripping down her gown. Firmly but carefully he cleared away the debris before applying a bacta patch and strapping it down tightly. Cupping her chin, he shone a light into her eyes and took her stats, before moving off and conferring with Vader.
The shuttle suddenly lurched, the stormtroopers lunging at hanger straps as they tried to keep their balance. Leia went sprawling onto the floor, “he flies worse than C3PO”, muttered Leia, earning her a dark look from the Sith Lord.
The vehicle shuddered again and Vader with a muffled oath suddenly turned both thrusters and engine off. “Sabotage”, he seethed. Before shouting out to brace and to prepare for enemy attack. The shuttle almost seemed to hover in mid air before slowly then with increasing speed hurtled towards the ground. Almost at the last possible moment the shuttle came to an abrupt stop almost as if a giant hand had suddenly picked it up, then with one last shriek it landed heavily next to a canal. Instantly the shuttle started filling with smoke. The whine of laser rifles being primed filled the interior. A hard hand descended and she was hauled to her feet, as stormtroopers took position around the shuttle door. They looked expectantly at Vader, and at some unseen signal, the door was released and they laid down a barrage of fire, uncaring of who might be caught in any potential cross fire. Brutal and efficient this was five-oh-one at their most terrifying.
Coughing, spluttering and eyes smarting from the acrid smoke, Leia was half carried and
half dragged out. She could hear one of the stormtroopers radioing for urgent military assistance, and vaguely wondered why they had waited so long. They took cover behind a low wall, where she was unceremoniously shoved to the ground.
Three stormtroopers already lay dead or dying on the ground. Her would be rescuers were certainly persistent. But with Darth Vader standing almost on top of her, he would kill her before letting her escape again and it seemed he had reached that very decision, as he hauled her up.
“Desist or the Princess will suffer”, his voice boomed out. And almost instantly the battle came to a stuttering end.
A terrible hush filled the sir, as everybody paused, their eyes riveted on the bleeding forlorn figure of Princess Leia being held up by a Darth Vader his crimson light sabre held aloft. Beside him the two remaining stormtroopers waited on Vader’s command.
There was a whoosh of spray and with a terrifying screech – creatures sprang from the canal. Their long gangly long legs propelling them far into the air. Heading straight For Vader. Instantly he swung his sabre and limbs went flying. But numbers were on their side. The last two stormtroopers went crashing into the wall, covered by some explosive gunk that exploded on contact. Leia strained against Vaders hold, and she went spinning to the ground, as he suddenly released her to tackle two more of the creatures.
Vader shouted a roar of pure fury, as he swung his sword almost maniacally slaughtering them, before twisting towards her, lightsabre raised.
Leia swallowed and closed her eyes “I’m so sorry Han”, she whispered in sad regret knowing death was just a moment away
“GET AWAY FROM MY GRAND DAUGHTER YOU…YOU MONSTER”.
Leia opened her eyes - their standing between them blaster held at point blank range at Vader was her small diminutive grandmother.
“no, no...”, whispered Leia in fear. Time almost seemed to stand still as Vader paused his lightsabre dropping just fractionally, as his head slowly turned to Leia.
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