Disclaimer: I own nothing, each fandom is the property of its respective owners, overall story belongs to HMaxMarius, I'm just renting the characters and equipment for now. I promise to return them in as close to pristine order as I can manage given the state of emergency...:P********
Thanaton was the first to respond.
“Why, Master Falleen. It’s so good of you to make it here at last. I was just demonstrating to our new commander in chief the dangers of dealing with the media. They always betray the military, it’s their nature to reveal the news as an open source that can be exploited by the enemy, is that not correct, Master Jedi?”
Falleen was not amused by the Sith Lord’s blasé manner of describing this latest in a long line of his atrocities, both in their home galaxy and, now it seemed, here as well. Nor did he or the other Jedi lower their lightsabres.
“That woman was no demon, Sith, nor was she working with any ill intent here. The Force should have told you as much, had your hatred not blinded you so.” He then turned his gaze to O’Neill. “General O’Neill, I’m guessing?”
The general simply replied “Yeah, that’s me, unless I’m an evil twin and the real me is on Chulak somewhere.” Having the Jedi here had allowed him to return to his usual snarky self in the face of terror. They were definitely a relief to have around.
“Chulak? Is that a world I should be familiar with?” inquired the Jedi Master.
“Not really. I think right now we have more important matters to deal with, don’t we?
” he asked, turning back to the Sith Lord.
“We do indeed, General,” replied Thanaton with his usual nonchalance. Killing and having people killed seemed to be just sauce for the goose in the mind of this arsehole. O’Neill found himself liking the Dark Lord less and less as the minutes ticked away silently. “My men and I have obviously come a long way, and we wish to get started with liberating your world from these foul beings you call demons. As I understand it, we are to coordinate with a Lieutenant Colonel Carter, is that correct?”
“The situation has changed somewhat since then, your lordship. We are presently in the planning stages of something we like to call Operation Steel Valley, and we have at present around one hundred and fifty personnel from various worlds involved in this. Your arrival and that of the Republic forces here is most welcome, and we could sure use a few thousand bodies in this thing, pun intended.”
“Not a problem,” said the Jedi. “I think you’ll find our people are more than ready to handle whatever these demons throw our way, if you’ll have us.”
“Glad to hear it, Master…?”
“Bors Falleen, General. With me are Jedi Knights Oroshin Zander, Targa Vao, Thrackan Sal, and Breha Valio,” introduced Falleen. As he named them, each Jedi inclined their heads or bowed in greeting.
“Good to meet you all, and we’re glad to have you and your forces here. As for you,” he then snarled at the Sith Lord, turning back to him again, “I hope you realize what you’ve just done by killing that reporter. That camera was no doubt transmitting everything that was said and done in its range, including her death and your man’s shooting it. And if you think one reporter with a camera is trouble enough, then I hope you enjoy trying to slaughter hundreds of reporters and their cameras following you and your men’s every move. They are going to swarm
over this place now, thanks to you, and a lot of national and global attention that I had hoped to put off until we won this thing is now going to focus like a laser on our entire operation before we’re ready. You get me now, Darth Thanaton?”
“I don’t exactly know what you mean by ‘getting’ you, General,” replied the Sith Lord, “but I certainly understand what you mean now. Where I come from, we don’t let the media run around loose while we plan operations against our enemies; reporters tend to be revealed as enemy agents.”
“This is not your galaxy, Thanaton, and in my country’s Armed Forces we have something called a Public Affairs Battalion which is suited for exactly this sort of thing. They are trained in dealing with the media, not by killing them on sight, but by redirecting them so they don’t get any clues as to our intentions for the enemy. I thought disinformation campaigns were a specialty of the Sith, unless I’m mistaken?”
Thanaton glared suddenly at O’Neill, wary now that the old soldier somehow knew of the Sith and their ways. His voice lowered itself by about an octave. “You seem well versed in the lore of our galaxy. I thought our kind didn’t exist in your universe until we crossed over.”
“You’d be surprised as to what we know of you and your Jedi friends from the fictions of my countrymen.”
“Yes, the Sith and the Jedi do exist in our world, but only as stories from one man’s rather active imagination. I think good old Georgie would be quite excited to know about this when he sees you and your men killing a reporter on the news. It probably won’t be a good thing, though; he might sue for copyright infringement.” Then he shook himself all over as though he was physically trying to return to the actual matter at hand. “But that’s another matter altogether. Lord Thanaton, Master Falleen, please walk with me…”********MAJ Hailey’s POV
Another unit came in, and now there was another briefing to be had. This time word had it the FNGs had come straight out of an ancient version of Star Wars. And as though that weren’t strange enough, most of the new arrivals that Colonel Tarkov had to quickly integrate into Operation Steel Valley were the bad guys!
To put it bluntly, nobody was happy about a bunch of Imperial Stormtroopers running amok throughout the Ohio Valley. And everyone wanted a piece of their commander, this Sith Lord that called himself Darth Thanaton. When word spread about the Imps shooting that reporter and wrecking her camera, I knew I would have to stand in line to get my turn at a good old Earth style ass kicking.
But as bad as the Sith guys were, everyone knew deep down in their heart of hearts that the demons out there were worse still, and there were more pouring out from the bowels of Hell every minute that ticked by.
The latest intelligence reports numbered the enemy now at close to a billion
The other group that had come supposedly from the Galactic Republic, including several Jedi, were a far more savoury lot. One of the Jedi’s skills, from what I had read in George Lucas’s stories, was called Battle Meditation. Supposedly, through the Force, a Jedi could influence the outcome of a battle by bolstering the morale of the side he or she favoured, while diminishing the morale of the opposing force at the same time. I really had hoped that this skill in the Force didn’t take numbers into account, or we’d be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. And with the demons out there numbering now at nearly one seventh of the entire planet’s human population, I figured a paddle just wasn’t going to cut it; the Jedi had better be a suped up Pratt and Whitney turbofan…
General O’Neill finally took the lectern at the front of the classroom that the combined force had “appropriated” following the evacuation of the school’s faculty and children. He sighed once, then looked around at the assembled officers and staff, noting the presence of the Jedi and Sith among them, the former with fresh hope in his heart, the latter with absolute loathing. Each of the newcomers caught his gaze and returned it tenfold. It seemed that the Force was with everyone today…
“Alright, people, let’s get started here. Uh, before we begin, we need to address the several incidents” and here he had said ‘incidents’ as though it was an extremely foul expletive , “that occurred in the last twenty-four hours involving the media. You all come from different cultures and organisations that may have differing views about the treatment of civilians in wartime. People, let me make one thing absolutely clear. We are NOT in the business of destroying equipment that belongs to the press just because someone might thing the enemy will get hold of it. And we will NOT go around killing people that we think
might be an enemy agent just because they happen to be part of the local news service. Those people are just trying to do their jobs. They have no cause to fight or to bring anyone to harm, and that’s why starting today, I’m assigning several people in command positions to form our first Public Affairs Battalion so we don’t have any more incidents like the ones we had today. Does everyone understand that?” He then looked squarely at a man in head to toe black, with eyes that were a disturbing shade of yellow.
There were nods and murmurs throughout the assembled audience concurring with what O’Neill had said. Personally, I thought it was the best solution for this little misunderstanding and the best way to avoid any more of those in the future. Needless to say, we all knew that there would be more news choppers and angry reporters coming down on this place like a swarm of hornets, and the first task of the new 35th Public Affairs Battalion would be to deal with the fallout from those two incidents.
“Good,” said the General. “Major Hailey, hit the lights, please.”
I reached for the light switches by the door and flipped them off, plunging the room into darkness. Or it would have if a holoprojection hadn’t sprung up out of thin air courtesy of the Republic’s generous donation of a holoemitter system. Currently a topographical map of the Ohio Valley, including Cleveland and the area to the immediate east was hovering a foot and a half above the ground.
“What we have here is a group of Ohio Air National Guardsmen and Marine reservists that have been fighting their way from Youngstown toward us. Problem is they’re bogged down and running low on ammo and fuel. What we’re going to do is we’re going to get them out of there. I’ve assigned several recon mechs from Brigadier General Youngblood’s Redrock Rangers to go out there in two columns to search for them. Two columns can cover more ground than one would, obviously, and that’s good for us. What’s also good for us, hopefully
,” he continued, locking eyes squarely with Darth Thanaton and his command staff from the Dominator
, “is that since the call went out to get them we’ve had our numbers practically triple with the arrival of our new friends from the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire. That gives us well over a heavy regiment to work with. So now instead of two columns, I want four out there looking for our buddies. Lord Thanaton, I’m assigning eight of your assault walkers to fill those spots, plus two scout walkers to go out there with the recon lance.”
“Of course, sir,” replied the Dark Lord with a smirk in his eyes. O’Neill cringed visibly, I thought, just from those eyes. They were the most unsettling thing I had ever seen in my whole life, and I thought that looking at the eyes of Palpatine or Darth Maul was scary. I had had no idea what that would feel like until today…
“Plus I’m sending about five walkers from the Republic contingent, plus one Jedi Knight to go out there to support each of the columns. The rest of your forces will go up toward Lake Erie and shore up the line there. We’ve had some real problems holding our position with infiltrators coming in every single day and the rest just trying to bulldoze their way through us. Jedi Master Falleen here will go up there with five assault walkers to serve as medevac vehicles, the rest of the Sith and Republic troops will take the fight to the real bad guys. You’ll be under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Carter once you get there. Don’t worry; you’ll have help up there. Actually, you’ll have a lot
of help. There are just a lot more bad guys…”********Next part coming soon…