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Encounter At Bie'Lek - Chapter 2

Written by: Hawkins and posted on: Sep 12, 2015

 

Encounter At Bie’Lek

By CM Hawkins

Chapter 2

Sergeant. Two seconds to spare. Cutting it close today, are we?” Commodore Chimaq, Commander of the TIE Corps Naval Stormtroopers aboard Aedgillis, asked, looking hard into the eyes of Sergeant Redren.

The objective was achieved with no losses, Sir,” Redren replied. “The time taken reflects this.”

So you say in your mission report, Sergeant.” The Commodore took another moment to read Redren’s report. Redren stood at perfect attention, looking fixedly at a line in the plating on the far wall. He fought back a frown as he considered the irony in Chimaq’s attempt to unnerve him by making him wait, whilst apparently preparing to reprimand him over his own lack of pace. Chimaq looked up.

Do you not feel the objective could have been accomplished more quickly?” Chimaq asked, quietly.

Not without losses, Sir.”

Then you admit that it could have been achieved more quickly.” Chimaq was not asking a question.

Sir, as you will have seen in my report, the battle droids protecting the hanger were resistant to blaster shots. The only way to take them out was to take the time to draw them into a position where we could use our detonators effectively.” Redren stated.

And did you succeed in taking both droids out, Sergeant?” Chimaq’s tone was full of forced hopefulness.

No, Sir. As you know from my report, Sir.” Redren replied, gruffly.

No, you did no,.” Chimaq sighed. “Sergeant, please tell me how this mission could have been completed more quickly and, please, no more ‘not without losses’. You have made that point already.”

The only way would have been to sacrifice two, perhaps three of my squad. They could have distracted the droids long enough for two of us to retrieve the data, but there would be no way they would have survived. And then there would be no guarantee there would not be at least one left for us to deal with on the way back.” Redren tried to keep his tone calm, but was sure his frustration was showing through. The Commodore raised an eyebrow, quzically.

And you would be unable to handle a single battle droid, Sergeant?”

Redren hesitated. His whole squad had only succeeded in taking out the single heavy droid between five of them. Could he have done it with just two, maybe three troopers left?

No, Sir, I could handle it. With losses, Sir.”

Losses are a fact of war,” The commodore stated, placing the report down on the tablebefore him and turning to gaze out towards the station in the distance. His face glowed green for a moment as another barrage of turbo-laser fire lanced towards the station. The Aedgillis had turned its guns on the station, and it would soon be reduced to scrap. Chimaq watched as secondary explosions silently ripped through the station, causing plasma and gas to vent into space.

Ikesony and Yifanth,” the Commodore continued, “They would have been quite suitable to take on the droids, under the supervision of Sinstra or Hekat, perhaps.”

Ikesony and Yifanth, Redren thought. The ‘non-humans’ – a woman and a Duro. There was a time when women and aliens would have never been allowed to serve as Stormtroopers, but that time passed decades ago. As the cloning facilities were lost, and the resources of the Imperial remnants became more stretched, more and more troopers were enlisted from the civilian population, and the requirements for entry relaxed. The forces of the Emperor’s Hammer, and the Naval Stormtroopers attached to its TIE Corps, were no different. And so Redren’s squad now featured a woman and an alien, a Duro. Both had proven themselves countless times in service to the Emperor’s Hammer Naval Stormtrooper Corps, and here they were being singled out as the best options for playing the sacrificial nerfling.

The NhMs, Sir?” Redren asked, pointedly.

Sergeant, that is not an appropriate term,” The Commodore said, dismissively. “I of course meant that Yifanth’s experience with battle tech would make him a suitable candidate, and I have no doubt that Ikesony is a most capable trooper, is she not?”

Redren hesitated. The Commodore had a point, but something in his manner told Redren that there was still more behind Chimaq’s politically-correct front.

You are correct, Sir. Both have very useful qualities, Sir, that would be lost to us were they to be sacrifced, Sir.”

Sacrificed, Sergeant? A strong term indeed. I merely suggest that the best use of resources does not always mean you get those resources back. Consider this before your next mission. You are dismissed.” Chimaq didn’t turn to dismiss Redren. He simply stood, bathed in the light of a dying space station.

Sir,” Redren turned, and left.

In the corridor, Redren stopped to gather his thoughts. His mission had been a success, he’d returned with a full squad, and he’d just been hauled over an ion engine because he might have been able to be a few seconds faster. He smiled, bitterly. Imperial Officers. They never change.

 

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