Saturday, August 3, 2013

Episode VII: Revenge of the Jedi

It is a desperate time for the Rebel Alliance. After the Empire's victory at Hoth, the Alliance has been forced to the furthest reaches of the Outer Rim of the Galaxy, endlessly pursued by the Imperial Starfleet.

With the Rebellion focused on survival, Princess Leia organizes a rescue mission to save Han Solo fron the grip of the crime lord, Jabba the Hutt, who plans to make Solo an example to others who might cross him.

All the while, Luke Skywalker is distracted by the implications of a recent revelation that has shaken him, and his beliefs, to the very core...

Chapter One
From a distance, it could be a space station hanging in the void - a technological monstrosity, the likes of which has never been seen before. As the Super Star Destroyer makes its approach however, it becomes clear that this is no space station.

This is the Heart of the Empire, a massive city that has now grown to overtake the entire planet. Brown clouds blot out the endless city lights below. A swarm of ships move in concert around the upper atmosphere. Comm traffic is rife with the unending chatter of too much civilization.  This is the Imperial City.

Had Abbadon.

For decades, the Seat of the Empire has been protected by an array of "Sentry Moons." A few dozen kilometers in diameter, the Sentry Moons are part of an automated defense system that has never failed in keeping Had Abbadon safe from the enemies of the Empire.

Here now - a vessel, fast approaching the atmospheric shell of the Imperial City, its starboard Ion Drive sparking, and dead. The  three closest Sentry Moons come to life and begin broadcasting their challenges: "Identify ship serial number, pilot name and security authentication, and Imperial access codes."

The vessel does not respond. The three moons - manned by on-board heuristic processors - confer with one another and the central security computers on the planet's surface. A unanimous decision is made by the droid brains behind the safety of the Planet. There are no second chances.

The firing mechanisms in the closest Sentry Moon are already spooling up. Eight individual Blaster emitters, located around the station's central dish are fired simultaneously. Their blast rays come together, shaped and amplified by the controlling dish to launch a sinister green beam of terrible energy at the incoming vessel.

In the vacuum of space, the explosion of the Reactor Plasma Coils in the limited air of the life support system, is mercifully, horribly silent.

Nothing is left of the interloper but dust and debris to be sifted through by sanctioned salvage crews.

The Emperor's Defense System has proved impenetrable to every attack against Had Abbadon, both real and imaginary.

In the city below, Imperial Citizens continue about their lives, safe in the knowledge that their Emperor shields them from harm - oblivious to the destruction and loss of life that has taken place just moments ago.

In the halls of the Imperial Palace, a massive black figure stalks the corridor. His every step, one of purpose, the hiss of his breathing apparatus punctuating the air and hanging about him like an unspoken threat. He is Darth Vader. His companion - though clearly a man of military bearing and importance - struggles to keep pace with the dark robed figure who is more machine now, than man.

The Admiral continues his conversation as they walk. "With the fleet spread across the Rim, the central planets are vulnerable to attack. How can we-"

Vader's hand waves the thought away dismissively, cutting it short. If the Lord of the Sith sees his companion flinch - if he feels the ripple of fear, snaking through the Force - he gives no indication. "If the fleet accomplishes its mission and locates the Rebellion," he says in a voice heavy with the weight of command and tinged in irritation, "there won't be anyone left to attack that vulnerability, Admiral Piett." He turns on the military leader, his finger raised in accusation; the Admiral's face has taken on a suddenly ashen palor. "I expect to see more progress from the Fleet Commanders."

Piett nods quickly, "I assure you, Lord Vader, our men are doing their best to locate the Rebel Forces. The-"

Before the lavishly decorated entrance to the Imperial Throne Chamber, Vader stops short and whirls on the Admiral, who has to fight the urge to flee. A pair of aromored, red-robed Imperial Guards, framing the doorway, give no sign of acknowledgement to either man.

Vader's hand hangs in front of his face, open, demanding silently that Piett stop talking before he angers the man further. "I am not interested in excuses, Admiral. Perhaps we can find new ways to motivate the Fleet Comnaders. You are dismissed."

The Dark Lord of the Sith turns his back on the Admiral and strides through the suddenly open entrance to the Throne Chamber.

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