The Battle of Lanatooine Mar 1, 2006 19:30:11 GMT -5
Post by Xorren Hedrasii on Mar 1, 2006 19:30:11 GMT -5
The Battle of Lanatooine
A smile flashed across my face as my proximity sensors started going off. This was great fun for me. I loved piloting almost as much as I enjoyed being a Jedi. What was going on was that I leading an assault against the Galactic Empire. You see, a few months ago at the close of the Clone Wars the then Supreme Chancellor pronounced that all Jedi were enemies of the then Galactic Republic. Clone battalions slaughtered as many Jedi as possible under a directive known as “Order 66”. Fortunately not all clones followed the directive and I along with a few others were allowed to escape. The survivors and clones had ended up here, on the icy planet Lanatooine. We’d managed to get by and improvise thus far. When the Emperor got word of where we had landed he, of course, sent a destruction force along to take care of us. Luckily we’d managed to design and build fighting craft before they got here.
What we came up with were flat and semicircular craft with a point coming off of the back end of the semicircle. They were so flat that you had to lie on your stomach in the helm, facing straight down the front of the craft. Twin blaster cannons protruded from the underside of the craft as did an apparatus for dropping pressure mines. We called these craft Snow Drochs because of their small size and ferocious nature.
I was now piloting a Snow Droch over a series of small ridges and gullies that was the division between our front line and the Imperials. I was commanding a patrol of eight clones in Snow Drochs following me in a flying V formation. I remembered the intelligence report that the Empire had dreamed up a new four-legged weapon called the AT-AT. I was hoping that they weren’t to much bigger than the older style walkers. I had a bad feeling that they were in fact much bigger.
We were quickly closing on the last high ridge that hid the Imperial force from us. I glanced down at the speed indicator, which read 136 kph. I flicked my comm unit on. “Close up the gaps everyone, speed up or tell me to slow down, one. I want everyone to top this hill in formation. Clear?” Eight identical “aye sir” responses answered my question. “Ok one last bit of fun before we get ourselves really deep into this. I want everyone to hop over the summit of that hill, accelerating on the way up. Essentially we’re going to use the hill as one big ramp. Oh, and go over with your cannons hot.” The same eight responses affirmed my orders. I powered up the Snow Droch’s blasters and closed my index fingers around the triggers. I approached the beginning of the hill and took a deep breath. Then, I pushed the dual control joysticks forward, rocketing the small fighter up and over the top in excess of 200 kph.
What I saw when I pulled over the hill almost made me forget to fire my weapons. Twelve AT-AT units were staring me in the face. These were 30 meter tall, four legged monsters with guns bristling out of what appeared to be a giant head, which seemed to be the helm. To my dismay, our blaster cannons didn’t seem to have much of an effect. I started barking into my comm. “One through four concentrate on the first four AT-AT’s knee area. Five through eight, same target units, try to take out the weapons.” I received no verbal response, but a staccato cacophony of blaster shots were affirmation enough. I had an idea that I was going pursue in the meantime.
I pushed my Snow Droch ahead to the fifth AT-AT, all the time timing its steps. I managed to time it just right. I slipped in under one of the massive feet and dropped a pressure mine. I then high-tailed it out of there, back to my patrol’s position. I managed to slide the thing around in time enough to see the metal behemoth step on the mine and go tumbling over. This worked perfectly, except for the fact that there were Clone troopers climbing out of the side of the overturned AT-AT. I decided to make a judgment call.
I flipped my comm channel over to the base frequency. “Base, this is Patrol Leader. I’ve engaged the Imperial forces. Our blasters aren’t working out that well, but the mines seem to work beautifully if you can get them under a foot. I think we can call in the main force now. By the way, these AT-ATs are huge so don’t expect an easy fight. Patrol Leader out.” I was replied to quickly. “Patrol Leader, this is Base. We scan you loud and clear. The others will be there shortly. Base out.” I flipped back to my patrol’s frequency. “Ok guys, they’re on the way. Are we all still in the game?” I was saddened to find out that 3 and 7 had been taken out. I vowed to myself that we were going to defeat these Imperials weather it cost us our lives or not.
I called for a reformation of the remainder of my patrol, and very shortly thereafter the reinforcements topped the ridge and started into the fray. Much to everyone’s dismay we spent our mines before all the AT-ATs were defeated. Four were left standing. Not only were the walkers a problem, the ground troops that poured out of the overturned ones, were causing quite a dizzying array of blaster shots all around. I was helping a platoon of clones and Jedi stave off the ground troops when I heard the worst sound I could have.
I heard a whine of a heavy blaster shot, as a green bolt slammed into the back of my Snow Droch. I felt a blast of heat and then the cold of the outside air. I looked up to see an ominous foot coming down toward me. I pushed out with the Force, detached the top of my helm, and jumped away, as fast as I could. I ran away and I heard the squeal of twisting metal. I was sure that I had heard the end of my Snow Droch. I would’ve turned around to look, however I ran straight into a group of clones.
I drew my lightsaber and proceeded to deflect blaster bolts left and right. I advanced, slashed, and ducked my way past a shower of sparks from cleaved blasters and splintered armor. Sweat dripped off the end of my nose, and for the first time today it hit me that I may not live through this. Death was no matter to me at this point. I was here to do a job. I was here to protect what was left of the Jedi Order. Although it wasn’t like a Jedi, I was also here to avenge the thousands and thousands of fallen comrades. Why I was still running back suddenly slipped from my mind. I stopped running, and slid a bit on a patch of ice. I slowly wheeled around to face the advancing enemy. Then with out so much as a second thought, I started running at full speed toward the nearest AT-AT.
I knew exactly what I was going to do. I hacked my way through the clones at the feet of the walking fortress. I reached into my belt, retrieved my grappling hook launcher and jumped. At the apex of my jump I fired the small metal hook into the armor plating of the death machine. I hit the retractor button, and let the force of my jump and the force of the retraction pull me onto the top of the AT-AT.
The heat of the machine, had melted the light snow fall, but the wind had frozen it into a slick sheen. I made my way across the back of the mechanical mountain to the neck point. I carefully turned so that I was facing the main body of the AT-AT, and drove my lightsaber deep into the durasteel. I cut myself an entrance and jumped in, ready to fight for my life.
What surprised me was the fact that I really didn’t have to fight for my life. The helm was sealed off from the rest of the machine, by a heavy blast door. There was however 40 Clone troopers packed tightly into the body. I tried not to let loose, but admittedly, the clones were dispatched rather quickly. I then set to work on the blast door. Opening it wasn’t difficult, it was just a switch. I guessed that they weren’t expecting invaders. I startled the three crewmen, and doffed them before they had time to sound an alarm. My lightsaber again came to life as I split myself an opening in the front of the AT-AT’s “head”.
I crawled out jumped to another of the remaining machines but found myself falling. The ground troops were still doing their job and had managed to take the legs out from under my current target. I couldn’t do much, so I jumped blindly. Lucky for me I ended up coming just short of a third AT-AT. I stabbed my lightsaber in the side of it and cut a huge gash in its side as my descent slowed. While I was trying to regain my bearings, a swarm of blaster bolts issued forth like some sort of green blood from a wounded animal. A fellow Jedi who had also lost their Snow Droch, jumped up to help me fend off my attackers. I heard him scream out through the Force as he was struck dead on in the head by a deadly bolt. As much as I hate to say it, I lost control at that point.
I tapped into my personal reserve of the Force, and flipped up into the opening. In the heat of the moment I had forgotten to retrieve my lightsaber. It was no matter, because I reached out and imploded 40 helmets into the skulls that held them up. With a motion I recalled my lightsaber to my hand. I slammed a huge fistful of the force into the blast door that blew it off its track. I rolled and swung my saber wide and cleaved three crew members neatly in half. I belted my weapon and seated myself at the gunner’s station. I turned the AT-AT’s head at its last counterpart. I pumped shot after shot into the other machine, destroying it within seconds.
I let go and leaned back in the seat. I concentrated on my breathing as I rebuilt my self-control. I knew that we had won the battle, but I wasn’t going to view it as a victory. We had warded off one attack, but the only victory would be restoring the Galaxy to democracy, and rebuilding the Jedi Order. I wondered how many more of my colleagues, how many friends, were going to die in the pursuit of that seemingly impossible dream. I smiled to myself, because I quickly concluded that it didn’t matter. It wasn’t about the individual Jedi. It was about something larger than us all.
It was nearly dark before the survivors returned to the base. All of our ships were distroyed, so we were forced to walk. We were all using the Force to keep the cold from penetrating our bones. The final thirty meters or so, I held a dear friend, Jorla, as she sobbed. At that point I didn’t care what the Jedi Code said about emotion, it was a time for grief. When the tired survivors returned to base, we crawled to our bunks, knowing full well that it might be the last time we were together.
The next morning we broke out all of the rations, eating, reminiscing, and laughing. All the time trying to fight the cloud of dismal pain that dampened our thoughts. After breakfast, we decided it was best for the remaining Jedi to go into hiding. The Clones would scatter into the galaxy and assume small, unassuming identities.
The Clones’ ship took off not long after that. As we prepared our respective transports, Jorla came over, and set down on a crate near me. I turned around to see her big grey eyes beckoning me to seat myself beside her. I did and she sobbed in my arms for the second time in twenty-four hours. I tried to comfort her with the best word that would come to me. Nothing seemed to help so, again breaking the Jedi Code; I showed a bit of sentient affection and kissed her on the forehead. Her tears stopped and she smiled at me. She reached to her belt and held her lightsaber out to me. In a silent symbol of unending friendship, we exchanged weapons. She embraced me and we parted ways. When you are combined with someone in the Force, there are things that are expressed that are beyond words. That day Jorla expressed a friendship so deep that it seemed to evaporate all my worries.
I walked up the ramp to my shuttle’s helm, closed the airlocks, and piloted out of the hanger. I climbed slowly up into the upper atmosphere of Lanatooine. I punched the coordinates for Dantooine into the nav-computer, all the while fighting back tears. I left a piece of myself back on that ice planet, but I know that I departed with all the good left in the universe watching my back.