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Welcome to Hades

Written by: Tomaas Montte and posted on: Jun 3, 2010
Welcome to Hades There was a dim red glow suffusing the ore smelting facility as the workers went about casting the ingots that would someday be a part of a Star Destroyer or a cruiser or some other ship in service to the Emperor’s Hammer territories. They were an efficient team and skilled at what they were doing. They were the finest craftsmen in this domed city on the surface of Hades. Tom smiled to himself as the lovely young adjutant from the regional office talked about past efficiency ratings and the projections for the upcoming financial quarter. This was obviously a show for his benefit. He’d just arrived after finishing his training stint at the Governor’s Academy a few days ago. He’d been assigned to Hades and some of his fellow students had given him looks of pity. People hated this planet with its heat and radiation and upheaval. The cities weren’t much better, living under domes with indentured workers with an environmental system that could never seem to keep up. It was hot and the air was thick with the smell of the smelting and casting process. A reddish black soot covered everything seeping through the streets and into homes and offices, lending the air hear a dark reddish tinge from the oxidized metals and soot hanging in the air. Diablo the merciless sun continued to rain radiation down on the planet and what light was available through the dome’s filters was still a deep crimson. Most people that came here initially thought they had died on the flight in and been taken to a particularly bad afterlife full of fire and heat and air choked with soot, and sulfur, and brimstone. Eerie shadows flickered and wavered in the crimson light and gave everyone a devilish aspect to their features while deepening the shadows around their eyes. Oh yes everything here seemed almost designed to conjure up images of fear and anger and eternal punishment and most of the population stewed in a constant emotional state that swung wildly between anger and fear. Add to that the greed of the corporate officials and their scrambling for advantage against rival workshops in selling illicit droids on the black market and you had a truly toxic mixture of human dysfunction. Tomaas Montte, the newest regional governor on the planet smiled more broadly and opened himself to the Dark Side drawing in the massive amounts of energy that swirled around this city and felt a savage joy sweep through him. He leaned his head back closing his eyes and actually laughed out loud at the irony of the place. What made everyone else that came here feel so powerless and threatened actually fed and strengthened him due to his connection to the dark side. This environment and power made it worth all the trouble he’d gone to moving some of his things here. He’d had the worst time with his library, but the time and expense he’d put into it had been worth it. This was home. He opened his eyes and looked to his right and saw the adjutant nervously smiling and staring at him with confusion in her dark eyes. He could feel the uncertainty coming off her but no fear. This made him smile wider and think that this woman might be useful to him in his own office. Not many people would see a dark jedi laughing in a setting like this and be only curious, not afraid. “What’s your name?” Tom asked “Alleira” The Adjutant replied. “Alleira Nezuma.” Tom decided to ask her what she’d think of being transferred to his office to work as his assistant. Not a secretary, those were commonplace enough. He needed someone whom he could trust to handle tasks for him and give him reports and opinions without fear of his reaction coloring their judgment. She could do that and she was far more familiar with this planet than Tom was having served in the Imperial Assessment Office for three years before transferring to regional command. She’d been chosen to take Tom on the tour of the city and show him the sights. Her superiors obviously intended for Alleira to be an ‘offering’ to the new governor because of her looks. Well they had misjudged both Alleira and their new commander it seemed. “I was just thinking of how I actually like this place.” Tom said raising his voice to be overheard over the noises of the foundry nearby in answer to her questioning look. “Everyone warned me about Hades, but I find the place..” “Exciting.” Alleira said with a smile of her own. “Me too, I actually like the light and noise and heat, it reminds me that the world is a dangerous place and we need to keep on our guard.” “Exactly.” Tom said with another smile, this time for Alleira herself, yes he needed this one on his staff. Tom opened his mouth to ask her if she might be interested when he felt danger as a searing heat against the back of his neck through the Force. Tom whirled about drawing and igniting his lightsaber in an instant. The crimson glow of its blade seeming perfectly suited to its new surroundings. A large ore carrying droid had dropped its cargo by disengaging its hands and revealing two large laser cannons in its forearms. Those cannons were now pointing at the new governor. Tom’s eyes narrowed as he deepened his connection with the Force and made a running leap at the droid. The cannons tracked him and began firing while he was in midair causing him to twist and tumble as he used the lightsaber to deflect the yellow blasts of plasma. The sheer force of the blasts sent him tumbling sideways in a spin that he had to reach into the Force to bring to a halt, before it deposited him into molten ore. He was up and running after a quick kippup deepening his connection to the dark side as he did using it to speed him forward far faster than normally possible. His anger at this attack fed into his assault. The droid fired twice more and Tom simply jumped forward into an amazingly fast cartwheel each time to get inside the droids firing arc as he approached the twelve foot tall machine. He heard explosions and groaning metal behind him as the blasts hit but focused his attention and rage I with a searing intensity in the Force and leapt clearing twenty feet of space in an eye blink and driving his lightsaber blade into the chest cavity of the droid in a single two handed thrust and then riding the massive machine to the ground with a snarl on his face. The crash jolted him from the now inactive droid’s chest and he went rolling away barely keeping a grasp on his lightsaber as he did. When he rolled back to his feet he saw Alleira about twenty yards away underneath a sagging and groaning durasteel platform that had taken the brunt of the blasts from the droid. She was pushing two dazed foundry workers toward safety while trying to help a third injured man to his feet. The platform groaned loudly and with an unbearably loud boom gave way hurtling toward Alleira and the men. Tom’s heart contracted in his chest for a mere instant then seemed to encompass his entire body with white hot rage. He would not have his first day here ruined like this and he would not be denied Alleira as his assistant. His hands shot out and he reached deep into the Force drawing on all that rage and anger to grab the falling platform in the Force and strain against it. He pulled it hard to the side and kept pulling straining as he taxed his abilities to the limit. The men were frozen for a minute and then began running at Alleira’s shouts and shoves, she just picked up the last man and ran with him as fast as she could. Tom strained more and veins popped out on his sweating face as he did. The platform shifted itself further in the air as it fell and crashed edge first into the foundry floor sending a shockwave up that would knock people off their feet a block away as it did. Everyone inside the foundry was hurtled into the air and backwards. Though a few sustained minor injuries, miraculously no one was killed. * * * * * * * Later Tom sat in the regional command allowing himself to be patched up by a medial droid when Alleira walked in holding a data pad. She still looked a bit banged up from the incident. “Governor? I just wanted to bring this to you.” Alleira said holding the data pad up. “The garrison wouldn’t let the men in to see you themselves, so they wrote a thank you letter for what you did to save them.” Tom took the data pad from her and read it slowly and with a smile. The men were thankful to him for what he had done for them and added in thanks that they had a governor that was not only brave, but cared about them. That wasn’t really why he had done what he did, but it would serve him well for it to be perceived that way. Once he finished reading the data pad he looked up at Alleira and gave her a speculative look. “You know I was the target of that attack.” Tom said. “That someone here wants me dead, either because they fear I’ll stop their corruption or want too large a piece of it.” Alleira nodded in response looking wary but not fearful. “Knowing that,” Tom continued, “How would you like to transfer to my office for assignment? I saw what you did during that attack, and those men owe far more to you than they do to me. If you say no I’ll understand and there will be no repercussions. This is a different type of danger, where people will be actively trying to kill us. I’ll be putting you into danger at a regular basis and though I like what I’ve seen so far I will not hesitate to send you into deadly situations if I need to.” Alleira looked thoughtful for a moment and then she grinned in a way much like Tom did and said “Sir, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this my whole life. Do you have any idea how sick I am of bureaucrats and retired admirals pawing at me while I carried flimsis from office to office? Of course I’ll work for you.” Tom nodded with his own smile and said “Well good, I can certainly use you. We’ll need to get you a weapon…” He stopped as Alleira showed him two separate hold out blasters concealed on her forearm and underneath her long and curly black hair. Then she produced a vibroblade from her right boot. “Your guards took my regular blaster and two of my blades on the way in, but I have these.” Alleira said with a smirk and a twinkle in her eye. “You’re going to have to get them trained better while I help you get control of this region you know.” Tom laughed out loud then and decided that he was going to like it here on Hades. He was going to like it here very much indeed.
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