The Storm Hits
Talon was walking around what remained of the ship, inspecting their state of readiness and calming nerves where he could, when he heard the low boom overhead. The whole ship fell silent and the entire crew looked up as one man. That was the sound of a ship entering the atmosphere, fast. It was swiftly followed by a few more low explosions. The ship's alarm system was still non-functional but no one needed to be told to go to action stations.
The whole ship was suddenly a swarm of activity, every man
dashing to his post with a barely contained mixture of excitement, fear, panic
and resolve. The cry of.
"Alarm!" Could be heard in the bowls of the ship, just in case a few people had not heard the ominous cacophony overhead. Talon dashed back towards his improvised command and control room, going the other way were several troopers, ramming on their helmets and buckling up their belts as they sprinted along the corridors. A few more communications stations had been installed in Talon’s little hub now and three computers had been patched into what remained of the bridge functions, the bridge itself was almost entirely deserted. Only a single fire team of storm troopers remained there now, prepared to use the elevated position to rain death down upon their foes.
"Order all guns to hold fire!" Talon's command was perhaps a little strange. But his order was obediently dispatched. A few seconds later an X wing, a craft which had become so associated with the old Rebellion and the New Republic that it might as well have been its flag, tore from the clouds in a sharp nose dive towards the ship. It seemed ready to crash into the hull in a suicidal attack but the manoeuvrable vessel pulled up at the last moment and tore along the skin of what remained of the vessel. Just as the Resolve did not fire nor did the X wing. Talon had correctly surmised that the first ship would be sent to probe the Resolve's defences, present a tempting target for her turbo lasers. This would allow the main attack force to know just how much of the Resolve was still operational and adjust their strategy accordingly. By not firing Talon made the Resolve seem utterly crippled and completely unable to defend herself, thus lulling the New Republic troops into a false sense of security and confidence.
This strategy seemed to almost immediately pay off. After
less than two minutes another wave of ships emerged. A large gaggle of troop
transports, escorted by flanking X wings. They were coming in quite softly, not
taking the hard nose dive of the scouting fighter. This was easier on the ships
and their occupants but left them more vulnerable to fire. Seeing the situation
on one of the computer monitors Talon ordered.
"All turbo lasers are to lock on to the troop transports. Make sure they all have unique targets and the turrets are not to open fire until my order." Again his instructions were obediently relayed. Talon remained staring at the computer screen, watching the enemy draw closer. He was anxiously waiting until they were at optimum range before giving the order to fire.
Meanwhile the Republic ships had started to broadcast a
message via loud hailer.
"To any and all surviving Imperial troops. You are hereby order to surrender. Your situation is hopeless. Your ship is crippled, you are without friends here and you are deep in Republic territory. Surrender now and you will be treated with all the dignity and respect due to honest soldiers. Resist us in any form and we will be forced to kill you!"
Their message fell on deaf ears, the troops here were either
too determined or too well disciplined to surrender. Instead they squatted in
their positions, silent defiance their only reply. The troop transports were on
a trajectory to land on the upper hull itself, they would pay for their hubris.
By now Talon was silently counting down in his head, careful not to rush the
timing. There were a few moments of charged silence that seemed to last
minutes, even hours in the mind of the Lieutenant Commander and his crew.
Eventually though he placed both hands behind his back, as was Commander
Aeron's custom, and calmly gave the order.
"All turbo lasers, open fire."
A moment later the sky erupted into a crisscross of Imperial green laser fire, the noise could hit a man like a hammer and though the ships firepower was significantly reduced what turbo lasers they had left were more than capable of dealing with troop transports. The first wave of shots was as effective as Talon had hoped. Ship after ship went down, carrying who knows how many men and vehicles. Some exploded in the air, propelling red hot metal into the sides of nearby ships. Others lost power or lost control and span wildly into the planet's surface. One even smashed into the hull but thankfully failed to penetrate the armour.
Still the turrets kept firing, bringing down a few more ships before the surprised pilots had any time to react. It only took a few moments though for the various craft to start peeling off. The X wings went low and accelerated hard, trying to dance and skip along the surface of the hull. But they were used to flying in the vacuum of space, the resistance and the currents of the air were alien to most pilots. This hampered their efforts somewhat and so, out of caution, none of them got quite as close to the hull as they were accustomed. This meant they were also less effective. The X wings were trying to knock out the turbo lasers which were still ignoring the agile fighters and concentrating on the easy prey that was the sluggish transports. Those signature red bolts started streaming from the fighters and smacking, with surprising accuracy, into the turrets. Fortunately though even barely active capitol ship shields could still absorb the shots of a small fighter craft. More problematic were the torpedoes. Those had the potential to cause some serious damage if applied properly and allowed the X wings to punch well above their weight just as the Resolve's torpedo's had allowed it to punch above hers. On the first run only one enemy fighter tried launching a torpedo, it was launched directly at a starboard turret and at very close range. Had it hit, the turret would doubtless have been torn into a mess of screaming metal and billowing flame. However, the point defence guns did their work. Upon noticing the incoming torpedo two of them tracked it faster than a human operator ever could and let out a constant stream of bolts, tearing into the warhead and detonating it prematurely.
Usually Talon would have ordered the point defence guns just to take pot shots at the X wings, they lacked the power of the turbo lasers but enough hits might be able to bring down a fighter. The problem though was that doing that put huge strain on the systems and Talon wanted to spare his guns as much as was possible. If the already fragile systems started burning out due to over use hi position would worsen rapidly. So he was only allowing the point defence guns to be used to intercept torpedoes, as they were designed to do.
The turbo lasers meanwhile just kept firing, there was no shortage of targets to pick. The smart transport pilots were veering off to the left and right, hugging the ground as close as they dared. They were making for long but shallow hills, if they could get behind them they would be able to safely unload their cargo and then hide there until the Resolve's AA had been knocked out. The less talented pilots were heading up into the sky in a desperate bid for the safety of space. This however, made them exceptionally easy targets and the turbo lasers were picking them off like a rifleman on a range. Every now and again a small hail of twisted, melting, metal would rain from the sky and smash into the hull with the dull clangs of a thousand miss tuned bells. It was not long until the sky was clear of transports. They were either hiding behind the rolling hills or had been blow out of the air, the majority had suffered the latter fate. But Talon was not about to relax just yet. Enough troops had landed to pose a problem if not properly handled and the fighters were still very much in the sky. The Resolve had inflicted a heavy blow, now they were going to pay for it.
The fighters were coming back around for another run and this time they were approaching from the vulnerable rear. Talon could feel a knot form in his throat, if a torpedo got in there… he did not like to contemplate what would happen next. He could only hope the engineering team had done their job. A hail of red bolts flew from the X wings and the ship jostled with their impact. She was a much more fragile thing now and the rear was practically un armoured, even laser fire could do some damage there. Thankfully the shields were absorbing the majority of the shots but Talon was mindful of their fickleness. The shields could drop at any moment and without warning. The lone turbo laser turret which was still functioning in the aft span to face the attackers and opened fire. Though it failed to hit anything it forced the X wings to break formation and make sudden course corrections, sending the majority of their shots off target. Only two fighters were still on course when they got to optimal torpedo range and both craft let off a single warhead before peeling off to safety. Talon watched the shots hurtling towards them on a nearby monitor. He stood there in agonising silence, the only clue to how tense he truly felt was how tightly he was holding his hands behind him. He was squeezing them o hard he thought he could feel his bones start to crack and crumble. The point defence guns sprung into life, turned and fired. The engineers had clearly listened to Talon's instructions. A great many of them had been brought back online in the rear and three guns fired on each warhead, safely detonating them well before they reached their target. Encouraged by this display Talon felt incredibly relieved and allowed himself to relax a little.
With no other targets to fire on all the turbo lasers were now trying to pick off the X wings. Eight of them had come down with the transports, which combined with the scouting X wing made nine in all. Since they were now the sole targets of the turbo lasers their avenues of approach were being shut down one by one. A bold X wing pilot thought he saw an opening and jumped up above the rest of his comrades before arching back on himself and flying, upside down, towards the bridge. The pilot clearly meant to knock out what remained of command and control, unknowing that bridge functions had been rerouted to the officer's quarters. Not only was the pilot's run a waste of his time but it ended up dooming him. Two turbo lasers tracked him and caught him in a cross fire, the pilot never stood a chance. His engine was hit and soon after it detonated in a brilliant white flash. The heat was so intense that very little metal survived the explosion, the pilot's flesh and bone would have been turned to dust and steam. It served as a stark reminder to the crew of the Resolve as to what would happen if their own engine detonated.
Made cautious by the death of their colleague the remaining X wing pilots were only taking the most conservative courses of action. They were doing everything in their power to stay away from the turbo lasers and this meant they were unable to attack vital areas. Every now and again the ship would rock with the hit of laser fire or even the occasional torpedo impact as the shields failed and they attacked blind spots in AA coverage. But the damage they were causing was little more than cosmetic now. They might cause the occasional hull breach but that was no longer the disaster it once was. It was like smashing an already broken speeder with a stick, you weren't going to cause any further significant damage. The only hopes they had of achieving that were making runs on the rear or knocking out the turrets, neither of which they had the courage to do.
This state of affairs continued for some time before the Republic ground troops began to come into view. They appeared on the starboard side, a screen of soldiers, loosely spread out and advancing in skirmish order. Talon did not give orders to open fire, the task of dealing with ground troops he had devolved entirely to Jan. The only time Jan needed Talon's authority to do something relating to the ground fight was if he needed to borrow the turbo lasers.
Jan spied the troops through a pair of range finders, a seditious smile growing beneath his helmet. He was huddled in a maintenance space between the inner and outer hulls, looking out through a hole made by the explosion which had sent them hurtling towards this barren world. Around him he had a few other storm troopers, less for combat but more for the passing on of orders and messages. The enemy were within range of some of his guns already but he wanted to let them come on a little, let them get some distance away from the crest of the hill. The republic troops were moving forward quickly. They knew being out in the open was unwise so they were running forward as fast as they could.
After about a minute Jan turned to one of his fellow
troopers and said.
"T21's and light blaster cannon are to open fire." The T21 was a marvellous weapon, small enough to be carried by one man, though only just, it could lay down a near constant stream of fire at long range. It was perhaps a little lacking in accuracy and penetration power but against massed infantry or for the purposes of suppression it was an ideal tool. The light blaster cannon meanwhile was anything but light. Originally designed to be mounted on vehicles this weapon combined firepower, fire rate and accuracy. It could penetrate light armour at close range and had become a favoured tool of storm troopers defending prepared positions. However, it was so large and so heavy it had to be mounted on a tripod prior to firing and it needed a three man team to move, one man to carry the gun, one to carry the tripod and a third to carry the power packs.
A few moments after the order was given various little holes in the hull suddenly erupted in blaster fire. The defenceless infantry that was their target stood little chance. Some men surged forward in a desperate bid to get to the Imperial guns, others turned and ran for the far side of the hill whilst others froze in shock and panic. None of the three choices would result in these troops living. The nearest shelter was too far away and there was too much open ground between them and the ship.
From the stormtroopers position the resulting slaughter was clinical. But if you had been unfortunate enough to be standing in that field you would have been confronted with a mess of shattered bones and mangled bodies. Limbs torn clean off, the exposed muscle cooking with the heat from the blaster bolts. Men's chests blown wide open in a display of gore and sinew that would etch itself into you memory. Men fell limp upon the ground, or worse hit it screaming and writhing in twisted agony. The sound of the wails and the desperate pleading to mother's and deities who were not there could echo in a man's mind for the rest of his life. The smell of the warm blood and the steaming flesh was more repulsive than the stench of ancient decay.
Jan had been on the receiving end of such punishment in the past, he knew exactly what it was like to be down there in that field. That knowledge through gave him some comfort. He knew exactly how much those Rebel dogs were suffering and he believed they deserved every second of it.
So far the battle had gone well for the Imperial troops but they all knew that might not last. After a few moments the attack patterns of the X wings changed. Jan eyed their approach suspiciously, attempting to work out what they were doing. When he saw them swing round though a horrid realisation hit him.
"Get down!" He bellowed, diving to the floor and pulling another trooper along with him. Seconds later laser fire rippled along the side of the ship. The already twisted bulkheads overhead buckled slightly as one of the supports failed and the bulkhead had to take the extra weight. One stray bolt almost smashed right into their shelter. Thankfully the shot only landed there by chance, this position had not yet been spotted. Some of the hidey holes that had opened fire a few moments ago however, were not so fortunate. The X wings were coming in in a chain, no sooner had one strafed a position than another one was there ready to do the same. They were thoroughly hammering the trooper firing positions. Jan realised with a sunken heart that some of his men would surely have been killed, those that were not dead were at the very least keeping their heads down.
Jan could hear the turbo lasers overhead desperately trying to shoot the X wings down but they were flying beneath the guns maximum defilation. The X wings would have to fly a little way out to no longer be in the guns blind spots. Jan was wondering what to do about this when another X wing came in for a pass. Diving to the floor one more Jan sheltered his head with his hands as debris fell about him. He could feel dust and ruble clatter off of his clean white armour. This observation post was not going to last much longer. From there the situation only got worse.
Staggering to his
feet Jan looked out of the hole one more time. Over the crest of the hill he
could see four armed and armoured troop transports emerging. Often referred to
as attack tanks these things were large vehicles, similar in design to Imperial
juggernauts, though the Republics version had smother angels. Their ten wheels
were large and the main body of the vehicle sat high above them, allowing it to
roll across almost any terrain and they could carry a decent sized compliment
of troops. Worse still they had substantially powerful laser cannons, laser
cannons which were now opening fire on the side of the Resolve. Combine this
with the X wing fire and the support weapons of the troopers were taking a
"Order all support weapons and attached troopers to retreat inside the ship, prepare for corridor to corridor fighting. Those troopers who have not been fired upon will hold position. Relay a request to Lieutenant Commander Rake, I need him to bring the turbo lasers to bear on those vehicles now!"
The order went out and Jan waited for a few moments, wondering if Talon would indeed give him the support fire he had requested. Jan was worried that Talon was either too stupid or too petty to lend this aid. He stood there for a few nervous moments as the turbo lasers remained resolutely focused on the X wings. Jan was just about to stride over to his new Lieutenant Commander and put a blaster bolt in between his eyes when one of the turrets swung round and fired on the vehicles. These great turrets were designed for ship to ship combat. They may be old but these things could put holes in former confederacy capitol ships, armoured vehicles were no problem and compared to X wings they were moving very slowly. The first shot landed a solid hit and the attack tank erupted in a mess of flame, metal and spinning wheels. The explosion would have been deafening and disorientating for anyone nearby as well as extraordinarily lethal. The turbo laser turned and fired again, the green bolts tearing forward and striking a second vehicle, which suffered much the same fate as the first. By now the vehicle drivers were going as fast as they could and veering wildly from side to side in an effort to avoid the lethal turbo lasers. But despite their best efforts they were still sluggish compared to the fast moving targets the gunners were used to tracking. As such a third vehicle was hit and destroyed with no difficulty.
The turbo laser moved to fire on the fourth and final vehicle when disaster struck. Since one of the lasers was busy dealing with the ground vehicles a hole had opened up in the AA coverage, a hole the X wings exploited. One observant pilot had taken the opportunity to pop up into what would otherwise have been a protected area and make a run on the turbo laser that was pounding the ground troops. The X wing fired everything it had, a volley of laser fire and two torpedoes hurtled towards the turret at break neck speed. A nearby point defence gun did what it could, it could not do enough. One torpedo was prematurely detonated but the other, and all the laser shots, hit home. To make matters worse the shields happened to be at particularly low ebb at that point. The turret erupted in a brilliant flash of green fire. The explosion spread down one of the plasma feeds, causing a secondary detonation at a plasma distribution centre. This blew a hole in the top deck of the ship, ripping straight through the hull and creating another gaping void that would have been disastrous in space, but crashed as they already were that damage was no longer so serious.
Revenge for the turret's destruction came quickly. Before the X wing could dive back down into the blind spot a second turbo laser turret had swung to face and dealt swift justice. The X wing erupted into a ball of flame to rival the burning remnants of the turret. But the wrecked turret was still creating problems. The flames had begun to catch and were starting to spread through the nearby area, filling the corridors with thick, dusky smoke.
The same was happening at the plasma distribution centre,
creating an ominous pillar of black fumes which coiled up into the air live a
viper, sinking the hearts of the crew of the Resolve and inspiring their
"Dispatch fire and emergency repair crews to the affected areas." Commanded Talon. "Report on the functionality of all remaining turbo lasers and point defence guns." His concern was that the destruction of the plasma distribution centre would bring other guns off line. After a few moments of checking one of the crewmen in his improvised command centre replied.
"All turbo lasers are operational, the engineers put them all on different feeds. We have lost half the point defence guns on the starboard side however." The reply was calm and matter of fact as was Talon's nod of understanding. What Talon wanted to do was punch a wall but that would not have been an appropriate display in front of the men.
Meanwhile, the fourth and final attack tank managed to reach one of the hull breaches. The roar and rumble of its engines could even be heard over the cacophonous blasts of the turbo lasers. The cannons atop the attack tank shifted their targets to the nearest stormable hole and started putting shot after shot into the gap, blasting away at anything that might be there. Unfortunately for Jan there were some storm tropers hiding in ambush in that breach, armed with E11 blaster rifles they had been waiting for the enemy to get close and then open fire and since they had no support weapons they had previously avoided the pounding from the tanks and the X wings. But this bombardment was enough to destroy their cover, inflict some casualties and force the remainder to retreat into the bowls of the ship, though being highly trained troopers they did so in good order.
With no one left to oppose their boarding the doors at the back of the vehicle fell open and Republic troops swarmed out with a great and zealous cry, there must have been at least three dozen men. Not enough to take the ship but enough to establish a beachhead through which other troops could be safely ferried. Jan had been hoping to avoid the grim and bloody affair that was close quarters combat but it seemed that option had been stolen from him. He was just about to abandon his position and personally lead the effort to drive the Rebel dogs off of his ship when he noticed the transport doors close and the vehicle start reversing away. It would only do that if there were more men behind the hill for it to pick up and ferry in. This was bad news, very bad news indeed. Jan had been hoping there would at least be a decent sized delay between waves, giving him and his men enough time to reclaim the lost ground. He had imagined the enemy would have to land more men via shuttle, it seemed not. This would make the fight considerably harder.
Still, there was nothing he could do about that now. Picking up his own E11 Jan started to head out when he noticed a strange movement out the corner of his eye. Something had come away from the ship and was moving at some speed towards the still reversing vehicle. Putting his rangefinders to his eye Jan looked out and what he saw would have cause his jaw to drop had there been any room for that in his helmet. It was a scout trooper. One of his scouts had jumped off the ship, presumably from a low and exposed deck, and was now dashing towards the tank. It seemed to be carrying a blaster in one hand and several small satchels in the other. Jan recognised those satchels, they were full of explosives. With the amount of firepower that scout was carrying you could bring down a medium sized building.
Paralyzed by a combination of anticipation, suspense and
concern for his undeniably brave colleague Jan just stood there and watched,
gently whispering to himself.
"Come on lad….come on…come on!" The young scout trooper had yet to be spotted by any of the Republic troops and so was able to reach the tank without much difficulty. That did not however, stop Jan's heart racing at what felt like four hundred beats per minute. Jan could make out the trooper throwing one of the charges under one of the wheel arches before diving behind a piece of fallen ship debris in order to shelter from the inevitable explosion.
The bang was like a lightning bolt hitting the ground right next to you, just as loud, just as sudden and just as unnerving. More unnerving for the crew of the vehicle however. Not only were several of the axels smashed and shattered beyond any hope of movement despite being armoured, but the explosion was so forceful that it flipped the back end of the vehicle up and thought the blast was by no means powerful enough to send the vehicle spinning into a cartwheel the vehicle did twist as it fell back down, forcing it to land on its side and immobilising it completely. The crew, panicked by this turn of events, bailed out a few moments later only to find the waiting blaster of the scout trooper who calmly gunned them down as they scrambled desperately out of the escape hatch.
This Republic assault had quickly escalated from costly to disastrous. Shocked by the sudden destruction of their one remaining support vehicle the several dozen republic troops began to stall, unsure of their ground. Ceasing upon this those troopers who had initially been pushed back by the tanks fire surged as one man back to their initial positions. It did not take much, one or two shots from their weapons, for Republic moral to completely snap. But rather than run, for these three dozen men had no place to go, they instead surrendered. It started slowly, with one man throwing down his weapon and raising his hands. The other's followed suit one by one, realising that further resistance would only lead to death.
Jan however, was not a man accustomed to taking prisoners. He had been tempted, so very sorely tempted to kill the Rebel scum from the town, to shoot him in cold blood. But here his blood was running hot, some of his men had just died and others were doubtless wounded. This scum he saw before him was actively resisting the rightful rule of the Empire this very day! How could he suffer such people to live? By the time he arrived on the scene the prisoners had been assembled in neat rows, all kneeling down and all with their hands upon their heads. Had Jan not been suffering from tunnel vision he might have noticed that the X wings had stopped their attack runs, presumably unwilling to mount an assault whilst the enemy had hostages. Instead they were simply circling around, avoiding the turbo lasers but taking no further action.
"Get these people inside now!" Jan barked. This was partly to get everyone, including his own men under cover, and partly to give himself more time to intellectually justify what he instinctively wanted to do, which was to shoot every single one of them in the head. This filth had to die, they deserved to die!
After a while all the republic troopers were lined up inside an already cramped corridor, the smell of smoke from the nearby fire just detectable whilst the repetitive boom of the turbo lasers overhead was echoing down the halls and vibrating through the metal. Jan felt his hand go slowly for his blaster, his fingers curling gently around the grip when all of a sudden he heard a familiar voice from before.
"Sir! What are you doing sir?" It was Lani. Who,
judging by the look of it and by virtue of the fact they were the only scout
trooper in this corridor must have been the soldier who destroyed the
transport. Turning slowly to his subordinate Jan said with a calm quiet that
was infinitely more intimidating than unbridled shouting.
"You have done excellent work today trooper. You should leave now, take some rest." Jan could tell from Lani's tone that the young trooper both knew what Jan was planning and disapproved of it. As such Jan wanted to be rid of the scout as quickly as was possible. Lani stood there for a few terrifying moments, the tension in the corridor was palpable as every man wondered whether or not Lani would try to prevent Jan from carrying out the executions. Eventually though the scout trooper just gave a smart click of the heel and a sharp reply of.
"Sir!" Before turning around and walking away in that curious feline manner.
This was it, there was nothing to stop Jan now. Pacing up and down the line of prisoners with increasing speed and tension Jan was picking out his first victim. He was so enraged he was losing track of time, minutes passed as he half paced half ran up and down the tight corridor, rumbling like a volcano. The Republic men were as scared as Jan was angry and one of their number, shivering like a frightened child, said in a quiet voice.
"Please don't hurt us." Spinning on the man who had just unwittingly volunteered to be the first victim Jan instantly resorted to violence. Clenching his fist the trooper landed a heavy blow on the man's jaw, the crack of bone was just audible. This was swiftly followed by Jan planting his armoured boot into his victim's chest, sending the soldier sprawling backwards and bouncing off the wall only to recoil into Jan's fist once more, this time sharply punching him in the nose and breaking it cleanly. The Republic soldier, blood streaming from his face, teeth clenched and eyes watering in pain, slowly sank to the floor in a little heap.
Drawing his weapon Jan levelled it at the man's head and
prepared to pull the trigger. Before he did so however, he indulged in his
anger and hatred of this man and all his kind. Leaning down Jan almost
whispered into the man’s ear with a menacing quiet.
"Please don't hurt us? How dare you? You and your kind destroyed everything. The galaxy was a place fit for titans before your filthy kind tore down everything that was great and left us with a vile society littered with self-serving worms who know nothing of their own insignificance. Men who labour under the petty delusions that their own lives somehow matter and who contribute nothing to the great engine of the galaxy! No suffering, no torment is too extreme in the punishment of your kind Rebel dog!"
Though the Republic soldier may not have been grateful for the assault, both verbal and physical, he should have thanked Jan for it. Had Jan just shot the man then he would not have lived to see Talon round the corner of the corridor. The Lieutenant Commander was striding with the confidence and purpose only an Imperial officer could muster. Add to that a parade ground sharpness to his movements and you had quite the man. A few paces behind Talon was Lani, who had clearly run to the most senior member of the crew who was still conscious and asked him to intervene.
Jan could guess why Talon was here, to stop the executions.
Jan was sorely tempted to turn on his senior and shoot him for being a traitor
as well. In Jan's mind anyone who stood up for the Rebel scum might as well be
a Rebel themselves and was only slightly less treasonous.
"Who is the most senior Republic officer here?" Enquired Talon in a surprisingly even and proper manner when compared to the tempestuous Jan. After a few moments of nervous glancing and low level mumbling one man stood forward and stated in worried tones.
"I am. Lieutenant Mantok of the New Republic….sir."
Walking forward to the officer Talon began to remove one of
his gloves. The Republic soldier thought he would be struck about the face with
it. What actually happened however, was in no way what the man was inspecting.
Extending his now bare hand Talon said.
"As the ranking officer aboard this vessel I hereby formally accept your surrender."
Confused the Republic officer extended his own hand
whereupon Talon gave it a single firm handshake. It felt more like the winning
team congratulating the losing team at a sporting event than the aftermath of a
slaughter. Talon continued in a manner that seemed only to reinforce this
"I apologise for the conduct of some of my men, passions run high, I am sure you understand. Your wounded men will be taken to our medical facility and treated as soon as we have seen to our own injured. We will then find you somewhere to sleep, somewhere to eat. I can assure you that you will be treated with all the respect that a professional soldier deserves, so long as you obey our rules and make no attempt to escape you will be treated well." Gesturing towards Lani Talon added. "I will leave you in the capable care of my chief scout trooper and his scouts. Now, if you will excuse me I have a ship to run."
Turning on his heel Talon began striding away, calling out
"Jan, take your troopers and prepare for another attack, we don't know when they will come again." Then the Lieutenant Commander drifted out of sight, giving a variety of orders, chiefly in relation to the point defence grid. A few moments later the storm troopers began to file away. At first they remained coldly silent but one of them rammed his shoulder into Lani as he passed saying threateningly.
"You went behind Jan's back. You stabbed him in it. That man has done more for this ship and for you than that jumped up Talon ever will!" Another trooper, inspired by the example of the first similarly bumped into the slightly built Lani and added.
"Why stand up for these traitors? They all deserve a slow death, why prevent it? Unless of course you're a Rebel sympathiser. Is that it? I bet Imperial Intelligence will just love to hear about that." After a while through they had all gone and Lani was left with the prisoners in an uncomfortable silence.
Talon meanwhile, was back in his improvised command centre, assessing the situation. The X wings had peeled off, unwilling to attack men who were holding their comrades prisoner. Instead they were circling the ship a safe distance away, keeping an eye on the Resolve. Things had devolved into a stalemate. A result he was happy with as it was the best possible outcome the Imperial troops could have hoped for. Talon was thankful that they had won the day but could not help but be a little afraid of what tomorrow might bring.