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Encounter at Bie'Lek - Chapter 7

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

 

Encounter At Bie’Lek

By CM Hawkins

Chapter 7

The corridor was almost impossibly dark. Nowhere on board an Imperial Star Destroyer had any right to be this dark. No lumen strips were mounted on the ceiling, no console glowed to drive away the gloom. It was as if night itself had found a hole in which to hide from the day. A door opened, and even the light from the room beyond seemed unable to pierce the darkness. A shrouded figure entered the corridor, and waited as the doors closed behind them. Silence seemed to descend like a thick blanket, deadening the noise of the ships systems till the only sound seemed to be the figures own breathing. Then, a voice called out in the blackness.

“Welcome, Admiral.” The voice was deep, yet piercing. The shrouded figure, blind in the darkness, moved slowly forwards, towards where the voice had come from.

“The Eldridge is in the Bie’Lek System.” The Admiral said. There was a long silence.

“This is confirmed?” the voice asked.

“It is. The report came in from Squadron Commander Major Regor only moments ago. His information matches what we know of the Eldridge exactly.” Another long pause.

“Thank you, Admiral.” The voice said. After a long moment, the silence suddenly lessened. The sound of ventilation units and the hum of various systems could be discerned. The doors behind the figure opened, and the whole corridor was visible, lit from the room beyond. The Admiral could see no one else in the short corridor. Removing the shroud, the Admiral turned, and headed back towards the bridge.

 

* * * * *

 

Commander Regor stood looking through a view port into a bare-metal chamber, in the very centre of which a small metal box was hovering, suspended by an assortment of mag-beams. The name Britax was stamped onto a ID tag on the closed lid, just above the symbol ‘2 ‘. Regor watched the box as it drifted slightly to one side or the other, before the beams gently re-positioned it.

The sound of the hatch opening behind him did not distract Regor from his contemplation. A figure slowly moved to stand beside him, and quietly joined Regor’s vigil. After a while, he spoke.

“Were remains recovered?” Thom asked.

“No,” Replied Regor, “These are just his personal effects. At least, those that were not deemed as recyclable or to be re-appropriated.”

“As it should be,” Thom stated, solemnly. “It is, never the less, a small token of a life lived in service to the Emperor’s Hammer. His sacrifice has furthered our cause.”

“Yes,” Regor agreed. “I just wish I knew what that cause was.”

“Is it not obvious?”

“Yes, it is. We were sent to find that Star Destroyer. That is not what I meant – I want to know what is so important about it. I want to know what Britax died for, what others may die for.” Regor’s eyes did not waver from the box before him.

“Britax died, as others have and as others will, in service to the TIE Corps of the Emperor’s Hammer,” Thom said. “Be satisfied with that knowledge.”

Regor breathed deeply, and then hit a button. A beam of energy engulfed the last possessions of Lieutenant Britax, and they disintegrated before his eyes. He turned on his heels, and strode towards the hatchway.

“We have a briefing to attend,” He said.

 

* * * * *

 

Suhail listened intently to the briefing. The squad was returning to the asteroid, ahead of the Aedgillis, to clear any drones still in the area. The Frigate would then arrive to launch a boarding party. As such, Commodore Chimaq and a group of Naval Troopers were attending the briefing. Their sergeant seemed restless, uncomfortable next to the Commodore. His expression remained fixed, but inwardly he scowled. The Naval Troopers had served the Emperor’s Hammer well over the years, and he valued their service, but he had never respected their attitude. Many seemed to suffer a severe inferiority complex in the face of their superiors – the pilots of the TIE Corps.

He refocused his attention on the Commander and Briefing Officer, still going over the mission details. His flight would be assigned to escort the Troopers onto the asteroid, where they would seek an internal route to the downed Star Destroyer. The hanger to the Star Destroyer itself was considered too hostile. Regor and his flight would engage the drones directly.

Despite the familiarity of the briefing routine, Regor and Thom seemed distracted. They stumbled over instructions, misidentified flight groups on the holoscreen. They seemed acutely aware of this, and increasingly frustrated, adding to the general air of discomfort in the air. Suhail expected such behaviour from the Troopers, but from experienced officers of the Corps? He felt his own anger rising within him.

Suddenly, in his peripheral vision, he saw it – a corner of the briefing hall that was dark without cause, and the slightest suggestion of a person. He glanced around the room at the faces of the others. They seemed oblivious to the darkness. Indeed, Suhail could swear that they were unintentionally avoiding looking in that direction. He breathed out slowly, now recognising the cause of the agitation within the room. As the briefing concluded, the squad, Troopers and officers left, the latter speaking in low, hushed tones. Suhail remained, unnoticed by his comrades, before turning and approaching the dark corner. As he did so, he raised the sleeve of his uniform, exposing his inner forearm.

“How may I serve the Order?” he asked. Then, he was illuminated.

 

* * * * *


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