hey it's lookin' great! keep at it
hey it's lookin' great! keep at it
well, been a few days with no work on my armour, but am finally getting around to mocking up the back plate on my duct tape dummy.
was waiting until i was relatively happy with the chest plate so that i was sure i could make the two match up.
Ive been doing a lot of research but i cant find any pepakura plans or plans of any kind for the two types of guns i want to make. Will keep looking but if i dont find anything i will have to try and mock them up myself.
On another note, i have found a local group who troop in star wars and other sci fi armour/costumes, and it looks good. once ive made enough progress on my armour, i might look into joining them.
Okay, so this isnt exactly an update. I have recently started mocking up the backplate. its ready in card, all i need now is to cover it in fibreglass so that it maintains its shape and i can remove it from the dummy and start working on it properly.
However, the other reason im posting is that i have finally got around to sorting out my sci fi story.
Ive been working on it for about 4 years now, and am currently starting work on book 6 of the story. I found a way to self-publish my story on amazon as a digital e-book, and was kinda hoping a few of you might take an interest in it.
All proceeds go towards the Beskar'gam fund :P
here's the link: Dragon Flight: Renegade (Tales from the Terra Firma Fleet) eBook: Christopher Maine: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
Thanks in advance for any support you give me. if there is enough interest, i will think about making the second book available in a few months.
Great work on the chest plates! It's great you've found a local group. If you get stuck, maybe they could help you out too.
I took a look at your book and it looks interesting! Though, I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot of time to read books atm...
Ordeyn, thanks. and dont worry about the book. it was something i started four years ago thats just spiraled out of control. I enjoy the writing, and the few people ive shown it to said i should try and get it published. This seemed to be the easiest way. Just thought id try my luck and see what people thought. If you wanna spread the link a bit, feel free.
as i said before, all profits go towards the armour fund. its running a bit dry at the moment, and slowing down the build
Chest armor is looking good Kyr'am, I'd say you got the right amount of mando with clone influences there. Also from the preview of your story, I'd pick it up if I had some type of E-reader. Best I can do for yea is pass it on to my buddies that do have one though. keep up the good work.
Have a good one,
Many thanks, Hagan. for the comments on armour and story.
Im glad you like the mix of clone and mando. I tried to get it a nice even mix, cos i like both (though prefer the Mando more)
My other hobby has also affected the design as well. I do full-armour mediaeval reenactment and its kind of coloured my design a little. Dont get me wrong, i love the original style mando armour that camr from the film, but from a practical standpoint (which doesnt really have any effrect on costuming) i can see places that arent defended on the body, which is why ive gone more for a clone style, which has more body plates and less gaps.
Will hopfully be making more progress soon on the back plate, and then on the backpack which i plan to make in one piece.
Okay, so i know it's been a while since ive uploaded any sort of progress. The truth is, that there hasnt been as much as i would have liked. problems with the rangefinder mechanism i came up with have forced me back a few steps, and kinda ran out of fibreglass so the back plate has also suffered. Once easter is over however i should be able to get back into it, once my mediaeval armour has been set aside again!
The reason i wanted to update you guys, is because ive had an idea about the Mando design. I just started reading Republic Commando: Hard Contact for the umpteenth time, but for some reason the prologue stuck with me more this time. Its only a few pages long, but it says how Darman lost the rest of his first unit. I was reading it and something seemed to twig. My mando idea is based on a clone commando who was left behind. Why cant he be "Taler" the leader of Darman's original squad.
Here's the story idea: When they split away from Darman (Taler, Vin and Jay) they were ambushed further along by Geonosians. Jay is overpowered and is badly wounded (which is why Darman can hear someone yelling "Man down...") Taler tries to cover him while Vin is providing cover fire, but he is soon overpowered too and falls down. The grenade he had ready in his hand rolls towards Taler and Jay. Taler runs towards it and picks it up to throw it away, but as he does, it blows up, taking off the lower part of his arm and causing a cave in.
Hours later, he comes round and claws his way out of the rubble. He finds the bodies of Jay and Vin, and decides to take their sidearms with him (which he later carves their names into). He digs his way to the surface and as he escapes the caves, he sees the last drop ship lift off and head back to the cruiser. Its at that point he realises that he is expendible to the republic and turns his back on them.
Thats the general idea anyway. Ordeyn did suggest i could be Sev, but i think he was too much of a loved character for me to try and interperate what could have happened to him, and i wouldnt be happy with people telling me i got it wrong.
Let me know what you think anyway.
little bit of an update.
I'm really liking the backstory idea i have for the mando now, and its really making me want to get on and make some progress. The change in the name will mean that i will have to repaint the name on the helmet (i'd originally painted Kyr'am Galaar on it in a mandalorian font, but i will now change it to Taler Galaar instead. Kyr'am Galaar could be the Mando who found him and adopted him) I might change the left arm bicep plate to look like that worn by republic commandos to show its something he kept to remind him of his old life, and the names Vin and Jay will be carved into each DC-15s that i will make. Other than that, there will be no change to the armour itself.
Updates regarding the build: I have dug up some old bike lights that have three LED's in them, and have three light patterns - on, all flashing, and each LED flashing in sequence. I'm going to mount them on the left chest plate where there is usually a readout anyway. May look a bit different to most, but i think it will look good with the flashing sequence.
Thats all for now. Will try and get some drawings or pics done soon.
Okay, so i was able to scrounge a spare hour (god knows where from) but i put it to good use.
It may only be a little bit of progress, but it all adds up in the end.
I managed to cut out the opening for the lights in the chest plate, and then cut down the reflector so that it could remain on the lights and add a bit more intensity to the LEDs. i still need to put filler around the edges and build up a small section around it to look raised (i like the chunky look in case you hadnt already guessed), but its looking good. heres some pics.
With regards to the backstory though, i have also made some progress. I decided to keep the character of "Kyr'am Galaar" but he is now the bounty hunter that found "Taler" after the battle of geonosis while he was chasing a bounty. Am going to write a short story about how it all happened and may put it up on here. Did a bit of design of him, and he is now one of the other designs i drew before (the one with the long trench coat). Ive changed it a bit, removed the gouge marks from the helmet as i'm keeping that on Taler, and given him a long sniper rifle. i like the idea, and will try and draw a coloured picture of him to go with the story.
Anyway, thats all the updates i have for now. hope you all like my ideas and i hope to get more fibreglass and filler tomorrow to start on the back plate.
First off, i would like to appologise. I did a bit of research and found out that Taler is actually RC1133 not RC1135 as i originally thought. so, now that thats out of the way, id like to say that i have also made a bit of progress. spent a few hours in the shed yesterday and started fibreglassing the back plate, and also resculpted the right chest plate where the lights are now fitted.
As for today though, i would like to present part one of the origins story i have worked out for my mando character. It starts where Republic Command: Hard contact starts, with the attack on the Geonosian weapons factory. I hope you like and let me know what you think.
Dead Squad: Origins
The death of RC-1133
Blaster fire scorched through the air above their heads as Theta squad formed up around the crevasse, the harsh orange glow of the Geonosian sky blinding them. Taler, republic commando one one three three, looked down as Darman fast roped into total blackness, and watched him hit the floor hard. The cavern was filled with light from Darman's helmet spot lamp, the harsh light reflecting off the sharp, angular stone walls.
Geonosians clawed their way out of the rocks towards them, and Taler knew they had to hold them off, the view in his heads up display showing Darman racing towards the door behind them. Vin and Jay knelt down beside him, their DC-17's already ablaze, cutting through the advancing Geonosians. The ground shook beneath them and Taler felt his stomach knotting as spider droids appeared before them from around the edge of the spires.
"You having a party down there, Theta?" A voice barked to Darman. It was the CO of Delta squad, the other unit of republic commando's that had been assigned to the mission. They were a few meters higher up the slope, keeping the enemy at bay beneath the ridge.
"Can't rush an artist..." Darman said.
"You want to tell that to the spider droids?"
"Patience, Delta," Darman replied, the words grinding out through gritted teeth. "Nearly there."
"A lot of spider droids..." The voice hissed. Taler ignored the chatter, lining up his sight with the nearest Geonosian and emptying another round into its skull.
"I hear you, Delta."
"In your own time. No pressure. None at all..."
"Clear!" Darman's voice cried. Taler signaled the unit to fall back and he watches as Darman flattened himself against the walls. The explosives detonated and they were surrounded by white light and an ear splitting roar. "Delta squad - clear to enter. Take take take."
"I thought you'd never ask," Delta's CO cried. Delta squad raced from the ridge, and hooked onto the lines, fast roping into darkness. Taler braced his rifle against his shoulder and signaled to Vin and Jay, all three fast roping into the crevasse behind Delta squad. They raced forwards and disappeared into the darkenss heading north while Theta remained behind to secure the tunnels. Something moved in the darkness.
"Darman," Taler said crisply. "Take that E-Web and hold this position." Darman nodded, setting up the heavy gun in the opening of the tunnel. Taler signaled to Vin and Jay to follow him and they move into the tunnel, back to back with overlapping arcs of fire.
The sound of the E-Web ripped through the caves as Darman opened up with the heavy weapon, and a swarm of Geonosians erupted from the holes in the walls around them. It was an ambush.
Taler felt his finger squeeze the trigger, and watched as blaster bolts tore through the gloom, illuminating the caves like a strobe. The Geonosian energy pulses were ripping through the air around them. One skimmed passed Taler and he turned in time to see it slam into Vin's chest. He was picked up by the force and he soared across the cavern, Taler watching in horror as he crashed into the wall and a shard of stone bursts through his chest. His scream tore across the cimlink.
"Vin!" Taler ran across the cavern, dropping to his knees as he reached his brother. Blood was pouring from the hole in Vin's chest as his body convulsed on the floor.
"Man down! Man down here," he yelled into his comlink. Jay was stood ahead of him, covering them as the energy bolts tore through the air. It was all going wrong.
Taler turned and watched as Jay reached into his belt for a grenade. A bolt slammed into Jay's shoulder and he lost his grip, the live grenade falling to the floor.
"No," Taler yelled, racing towards the grenade, scooping it up and throwing it towards the enemy moments before it blossomed in a ball of roiling flames and light.
The shockwave slammed into him and threw him against the wall. The rocks above him crumbled and the cave collapsed.
A soft, repeating beep echoed through the darkness. It started as a whisper, silently calling through the gloom, growing stronger with each passing breath.
Wearily, Taler opened his eyes, vague shapes and familiar images barely visible in the gloom. A flashing red light seemed to match the beeping that sung in his ears and as he tried to focus on the light, the inside of his helmet materialized in front of his eyes. His head was still spinning, and he felt as though he was weightless, still floating in the dreamlike state between conciousness and sleep.
He tried again to focus on the light, blinking away the ghost images of his unsettled mind. The mist that filled his head began to clear and memories flooded back. The Geonosians, the grenade, the cave in...
He remembered it all, and he remembered being thrown across the cavern by the explosion like a rag doll. Taler tried to move, but suddenly every inch of his body erupted in pain. His lungs felt as though they were on fire, his arms and legs weighed down like they were made out of stone. He knew that he had probably suffered broken ribs and he had possibly shattered his wrist. But what about...?
Vin? Jay? Had they survived? Everything around him slid into sharp focus as his mind became clear, his aches and pains receeding to the back of his mind, becoming background noise. He found himself staring through the unlit visor of his helmet at a wall of stone. Instinct took over, and his eyes darted to the blinking red light in the corver of his visor. He blinked twice at it, activating the armour's systems, and watched as the visor struggled back into life. Words scrolled down the left side of his HUD as the armour systems rebooted and ran a rapid diagnostic.
All the seals were still secure, air filters working at optimum levels. Everything worked. At least he knew the katarn armour could take a beating.
Gingerly, and with a lot of effort, he turned his right hand over, bringing the scanner mounted into his palm to face upwards. Numbers flickered across the front of his visor as the sensors probed the pile of stones that lay on top of him. He was close to the surface, and could probably dig his way out. The loose stones around him fell away as he clawed his way upwards, dragging himself and his pack through a meter of stone before he felt his hand break free.
He fell onto his side and rolled a few meters across the surface of the cave-in, breathing heavily. Dust lingered in the air above him and the sounds of loose stones clattering against one another echoed throughout the cavern.
Taler blinked again at the little red light in the top corner of his visor, opening the unit channel on his comlink.
"... Squad, call in," he said, his voice hoars and breathless. Static filled his ears. "... Squad, respond. Vin? Jay? Are you receiving me?"
Silence. Blinking at the controls again, he switched to a longer range signal.
"Darman, are you there? Darman?" It was only after he had spoken that he saw the words flashing in the lower right hand corner. His long range communications had been damaged and could not connect. Even if Darman was still on the other side of the cave-in, there was no way Taler could contact him.
Anger and irritation replaced fatigue. He had to find his brothers. Activating his palm scanner again, he began to sweep through the rubble.
An hour of searching ended with Taler digging out the lifeless bodies of his squad brothers, Vin and Jay. The scanner on his palm had registered no life signs, but it had been know to be wrong. He'd knelt beside Vin and popped the seal on his helmet, lifting if from his brother's head.
Vin's face seemed peaceful, the night vision filter on his visor colouring his skin grey. Taler had seen that look so many times during live fire training when other clones had been killed, but it seemed so much worse on the face of his brother. He could almost have been sleeping, resting in between missions. But Taler knew he would never wake up. He had been trained to be the best soldier in the galaxy, but no one had ever told him how to deal with grief. He could feel the preasure building up inside him, and he wanted it to go away, he wanted to forget it was ever there.
A rock tumbled somewhere off in the darkness, and Taler's hand dropped instantly to his DC-17 that lay beside his leg. He snapped around to face where the sound had come from, his finger slipping into the trigger guard. But nothing appeared.
Minutes passed before he felt it was safe to lower his weapon again. Turning back to face his fallen brothers, he struggled with the emotions that were building up inside him. He had been taught so much, and yet he realised that he knew very little.
There was nothing he could do for Vin and Jay, they were beyond anybody's help now. He knew that the longer he stayed there, the more difficult it would be for him to leave. Forcing himself to do something, he reached into Vin's pack and pulled out all the amunition he could carry. To some it would have seemed cold, robbing the few things he could from a dead comrade. But Taler knew better. He had been trained to be a pragmatist, and he knew that Vin no longer had use for it.
Taler reached down and removed Vin's side arm as well, but as he looked down at it, a thought occured to him. He ejected his wrist mounted blade, and carefully eched his brothers name into the grip. It was Vin's, and it always would be his.
He did the same to Jay, claiming his ammo and his side arm, and carving his name into the grip. His brothers would never be forgotten.
With nothing else to do, and the pain of his loss growing stronger by the second, Taler stood up and walked away, feeling a small part of himself dying as he left his brothers for the last time.
The maze of tunnels wound their way through the spires of Geonosis like veins through some giant creature, opening out to caverns and branching off in all directions. Taler wasn't sure if he was going around in one big circle or not, but everytime the floor angled upwards, he would follow it, hoping that by going up, he would find a way out.
Shapes and figures seemed to dance through the darkenss that surrounded him, always on the edge of his night vision filters range. He hugged the walls, edging his way along the tunnels slowly. His breathing was getting worse and the pressure of his broken ribs against his lungs was getting more and more unbearable.
Pressing himself against the hard walls, he closed his eyes tight, willing the burning pain in his chest to subside. He took two deep breaths, the cool, filtered air from his helmet respirator soothing his lungs, and seeming to numb them for a moment.
As he opened his eyes again, he thought his armour systems were failing. His night vision filter had deactivated itself, and he was blinded by the darkness around him. But as his eyes adjusted, he saw why the night vision filter had turned itself off. Up ahead, around a corner, a dim glow lit the edges of the stone walls. He was close to the surface.
His excitement almost made him reckless, the urge to run for the opening nearly overpowering his training. He clamped down on the impulse and pressed his rifle back into his shoulder, edging his way towards the corner, sweeping the sight back and forth, his finger still in the trigger housing.
Darkness gave way to searing sun light, and Taler stepped out into the harsh, arid air of the surface of Geonosis.
Wind whipped across the edges of the spire, and dust devils raced across the dusty desert floor between them. It was an utterly barren landscape, lifeless, mirroring the death that was was hidden beneath. The wind gusted loudly, but beneath the howling there was a distant rumble. It grew and grew, gaining strength with each passing second. He knew the sound, he had heard it often enough in trianing, and it always made his heart soar.
It was the most beautiful sound in the universe to any clone, whether they were trooper, commando or ARC. It was the sound of rescue, it was the sound of a ride home.
Taler frantically scanned the horizon for any sign of its sourse, his heart hammering hard in his chest against his shattered ribs, each beat causing new levels of pain.
The sound changed in pitch as the idling engines were kicked into life, and Taler watched as the last three LAAT/i drop ships lifted clear of the desert floor and soared away into the sky.
They had left him behind. His heart sank lower then it had ever fallen before. His arms felt instantly weak and fell down by his side. He fell to his knees, the dusty ground crunching beneath his armour. He wanted to scream for them to come back, but as he opened his mouth, nothing emerged.
He had known from training that he was bred to fight, and bred to die for the republic. He would have given his life in battle and died alongside his brothers. But he had never thought he would be left behind.
Vin and Jay were dead, and he had no idea what had happened to Darman. He was alone. The republic had cost him his brothers, and they had cast him aside.
He was expendable.
Last edited by Kyr'am Galaar; May 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM.
Really like Taler's backstory! I'm a huge fan of the RC series, and this was a good read!
i'm working on part two, where a mandalorian comes to geonosis after a bounty and finds Taler. it will all make sense soon! Also drawing a concept picture for the mando who finds him (which is going to be named after my original character who is now defunked!!
As promised, here is part two of the Origins story for my Clone inspired Mandalorian. I will warn you, i think it will be a four parter, so there are another two parts to come after this. I really do hope you all like the story. Also today i have started to draw the Mandalorian bounty hunter who find him who features in this story. so without further ado, here is part two.
Dead Squad: Origins
Target on Geonosis
YG-4210 freighter "Trail-breaker"
Three days after the battle of Geonosis
The streaking lights of hyperspace snapped out of existence outside the forward view screen, replaced by the distant stars that flickered quietly in the black void of space. The ship decelerated rapidly, dropping from faster than light speeds, the inertial compensators lagging just enough for the occupants to feel the jolt.
"Hey, Sparky," the pilot yelled, turning around in his seat. "I thought I told you to lock down the inertial dampers!" An excitable trill echoed down the corridor into the cockpit as a small astromech droid wheeled into view. A standard R-3 astromech droid, its drum-like body was a dull grey colour, with each panel and it's dome highlighted in sand-yellow. It must have once seemed a very spectacular droid, but after years of use, it was looking a little worse for wear. Scuffs had dulled the paintwork. Star-burst patterns of black stained where it had come into contact with live cables, burning its chassis. And patches of rust were appearing across it's body.
Its single photo receptor spun in it socket and looked up at the pilot as the droid came to a rest beside him. It tweeted and trilled loudly, squealing complaints. A soft shower of electrical sparks rained from one of it's leg joints as it rocked from side to side angrily.
"Okay, okay," the pilot yelled. "Calm down before you burn yourself out again. I still haven't got the smell of fried circuits out of the cargo bay yet after your last little freak-out. Just go and see what you can do, okay?" The little droid let out a derisive sound of irritation, spun around on the spot and disappeared down the corridor towards the maintenance hatch. "And try not to trip the proximity sensors this time," he called after it.
Kyr'am Galaar, Mandalorian and bounty hunter, leaned back in his pilots seat, sighing, wondering what he was going to do with that little droid. It was becoming more idiosyncratic by the day, each agitated outburst it made producing more sparks than the last. But it did the job, and that's all that mattered.
A man in his early fifties, Kyr'am was still in the prime of his life, and still tough enough to take on any bounty. The greying stands in his otherwise jet black hair did nothing to change that image. His square jaw was hidden by a small, well kept beard, and the occasional scar was only visible as a thin white line.
He wore his armour more out of habit than necessity. No one would attack him on his own ship, mainly because there was no one else on his ship, apart from Sparky. But that didn't mean he shouldn't be prepared. The dark blue plates were as scuffed as his astromech droid, the paint chipped and scraped away revealing the bare metal beneath. His black flack vest and flight suit were worn as well, the black colour fading a little to grey in some areas.
Unlike other Mandalorians who favoured a jet pack, Kyr'am did not carry anything on his back. Anything on a persons back seemed cumbersome to him, preferring to keep everything he needed within reach in his belt. Instead he wore a long, dark brown coat of tough leather, with the shoulder bells attached to the outside - the right shoulder showing his membership of the 'Blood Reek Clan' - and two large tan brown shoulder pauldrons. He found that the flowing coat gave him the upper hand while he was hunting, as it broke up his silhouette, but it also hid his thigh holsters from any unsuspecting targets.
Looking briefly at the back of the cockpit, he saw his helmet with it's distinctive red visor and white jaig eyes resting on the navigation seat, and his custom long-barreled sniper rifle resting against the console. He always made sure they were within arms reach. It was an old habit, but one that had served him well.
Turning back to face the helm controls, he flicked a few switches and brought up the ships diagnostic systems. The trip had been a little rough, and if the inertial compensators were out, he'd better check what else might have been bumped. The screen flickered with status updates, some of the equipment listings flickering yellow, indicating possible need for repair.
A light began flashing on the far side of the control panel, and a beeping burst from the concealed speakers in the ceiling of the cockpit. Kyr'am reached over and tapped the button beneath the light, activating the comlink. From the small circular holo-emitter set into the control console, a shimmering blue image of a Nemoidian hovered into life.
"Hello, bounty hunter," it said smoothly, it's voice dripping with condesention.
"What do you want, Relnar?" Kyr'am growled. Something about the cowardly credit-counter always gave him the urge to draw his pistol and slot a blaster bolt between the Nemoidian's eyes.
"I hear that you are in the Ankaris sector," Relnar said a little too casually. Kyr'am didn't like people knowing where he was unless he wanted them to. He kept his face neutral, tapping the controls and silently activating a ship wide scan for tracking devises, and activating the long range sensors in case they were being watched.
"So what if I am?" Kyr'am replied.
"I've got a job for you." The Nemoidian grinned.
The astromech droid trilled happily as its domed head spun around to look at the holo-projector, slowly working to decode the message that Relnar had sent. Kyr'am sat back in his chair, his feet resting on the console in front of him. Talking to the sleezy Neimoidian always left him with a bitter taste in his mouth. Something about the way he enjoyed paying others to do his dirty work rubbed him up the wrong way. All Neimoidians were cowards, but Relnar took it to another level.
Sparky chirped triumphantly, the holo-projector on the control console flared into life as he finished unscrambling the message. A slowly rotating image materialised and hung in mid air a few inches from the controls, lines of text scrolling down either side of image. Kyr'am looked down at it, making sure to memorize every feature. This was to be his next target.
Geonosians were ugly creatures, and this one seemed to be no exception. His long, insectoid face was as ugly as they came, his slit like eyes stared out from a heavy brow. A thick neck stretched down to a bloated abdomen, and four semi-transparent wings clung to his back.
Toonak Shiv, formerly a commander in the employ of the seperatist. Now just another bounty with a price on his head. It seemed that when the battle started to heat up, he took offence to being shot at, and beat a hasty retreat. Relnar had taken great offence to this, as it had meant the republic had broken through their line and had cost him a lot of credits worth of droids. Kyr'am felt a warm glow of satisfaction flood his body. Relnar was angry, that made Kyr'am smile.
The reward value hovered above his head, and Kyr'am whistled.
"Nice bit of credits there, don't ya think, Sparky?" The droid tweeted vigarously beside him, rocking side to side on his legs, sparks spitting from his leg joint again. "Hey, cool your jets will you."
Sparky trilled sorrowfully.
"Don't start that," Kyr'am warned. "Have you finished with the repairs to the inertial compensators yet?" Sparky made a very rude noise and disconected himself from the console. He turned around and trundled away down the corridor.
"Make it quick," Kyr'am yelled after the droid, getting up from his chair and following him a little way down the corridor. "When we get there I'll need you up here on the sensors." He thought he heard the droid reply, but it did not sound like a helpful sqeek. Shaking his head, resigned to dealing with an eccentric astromech, he walked back to the cockpit. As he stepped through the door, he leaned over to the navigation side of the cockpit, he began entering commands to the navicomputer.
Geonosis appeared on the screen in front of him, the asteroid belt that surrounded it floating silently in orbit like a natural minefield. The orange, harsh landscape looked more hospitable from a few hundred miles up, but Kyr'am knew it would be hell on the surface. Lists of indiginous creatures scrolled down the side of the screen as the computer accessed the data base, listing atmospheric make up, solar cycles, and weather systems.
Tapping the last few controls on the console, he transfered navigational control to the helm, and began plotting a course for Geonosis.
The asteroid belt loomed ahead of the "Trail-breaker", boulders the size of sky towers floating silently past the view screen, colliding with each other, the smaller boulders caught between them shattering into dust. Others were knocked out of orbit and fell towards the planet surface, racing across the atmosphere, leaving trails of smoke as they burnt through the sky.
Kyr'am drew back the throttles on the impulse drives, the ship shuddering as it slowed to a stop, Sparky making worried sounds as he plugged into the ships sensors beside him.
"I know what you mean," Kyr'am agreed, staring out the view screen at the ever changing maze of asteroids. "This is going to be fun. But we have a bounty to find, and we've never let one slip by yet."
Sparky whistled in return, his photo receptor pitching upwards to look at Kyr'am, almost like a pet at a master.
"Have you finished the calculations?" He asked the little droid. It chirped an affirmative answer, and the data spike rotated rapidly as the new course through the asteroid field was transfered from the droids processors to the navcomputer. Data scrolled down the screens in front of Kyr'am as the data was logged and waypoints marked, the constantly shifting asteroid field opening and closing in front of them.
"Oh well, time's a wasting," Kyr'am said decisively. He leaned forwards and began tapping the controls. "Diverting all auxiliary power to the shields. When we are through the asteroid belt I want you to start scanning for any power signatures. If he's still down there, I'd guess he's still got a droid guard. After all, this place is just one big droid factory." Sparky squeeked acknowledgement. "Here we go."
Kyr'am tightened his grip on the yolk and pushed the throttle forward, the ion drives powering up and a surge of energy rumbling through the ships hull. Shifting the yolk gently to port, they slipped into the asteroid field.
The surface of the planet began to appear between the cracks in the asteroid field, the spires of stone that covered the planet visible beneath the dusty clouds that swirled across the atmosphere. Plumes of smoke billowed out from the subterrainian factories, flowing into the sky, the smoke disipating into the clouds. Kyr'am brought the ship to a halt, locking the ship in geo-syncranous orbit, and tapped the astromech on top of the dome.
"Okay, Sparky. Begin scans," he said. The little droid tweeted excitedly and turned its photo receptor towards the scanner systems. Symbols swept across the screens, areas of droid activity scattered across the planet surface. Most were concentrated across the northern continent, with a few smaller signals emenating from the southern desert. Looking out of the view screen as the planet hung in the inky blackness, Kyr'am watched the southern desert pass by. Dark plumes of smoke still burnt through the air. He had seen enough battlefields in his life to know that there had been a war here recently, and the debris still covered the desert. The shroud of death had fallen here.
Sparky chirped loudly, drawing Kyr'am's attention away from the view screen, and symbols pulsed on the screen in front of him. Sparks spat out from the leg joint of the small droid.
"Ok, calm down. So we can ignore all the bigger concentrations in the north," Kyr'am said, mostly to himself as he leaned over the screen, studying the data. "If I wanted to stay hidden, I'd avoid anywhere near the people who wanted me dead, and as the largest gatherings are in the north, we can assume he stayed near the battlefield in the south." He scanned across the screen, watching the image spinning in front of him. "Isolate sector three nine seven and enlarge it."
Sparky rotated his data spike, his motors grinding noisily, and the area expanded on the monitor.
"This is ground zero, this is where the republic landed," Kyr'am said. "There's only one signal near there. I'd bet my life that this is our insect."
Sparky chirped uncertainly, but Kyr'am just looked at him sideways. He grinned knowingly and began tapping at the controls, disconecting the orbit lock and powering up the ion drives.
"Let's go grab ourselves a Geonosian."
Last edited by Kyr'am Galaar; May 12, 2012 at 10:53 AM.
time for the third part of the Taler Mando origins story. and trust me, there is only one more part to go after this one. Before i put it up though, here's the drawing ive just done of Kyr'am Galaar, the other character to feature in this story.
His armour is supposed to be a darker shade of blue, but the scanner is being a bit annoying. but you get the general idea.
And now, here is part three of my Mandalorian origins story:
Dead Squad: Origins
Ghosts on the Battlefield
The wind roared across the barren plains, dust devils whipping orange columns into the darkening skies. Fires burnt from the wreckage of a hundred crashed ships, their hulls torn and broken, fuel weeping from ruptured lines like blood from open wounds. Plumes of dark smoke billowed out into the twilight, swirling around the orange stone spires.
Taler sat in the burnt corpse of a LAAT/i drop ship, his helmet resting on the bulkhead beside him. All his systems were useless now, his suit power having failed the day before. He held his rifle held tight against his chest as he stared out into the growing gloom beyond. His finger rested inside the trigger guard, his thumb flicking the safety switch on and off absentmindedly. The pain in his chest was subsiding, his ribs bandaged tightly beneath his armour, the last single-use hypo phial lying empty on the dusty floor by his feet. It still hurt whenever he moved, but he had been trained to push through the pain.
It seemed like a lifetime ago when he had shipped out from Kamino with his brothers - Vin, Jay and Darman - words like loyalty and duty still ringing in his ears from his years of flash learning. He knew everything he needed to know to survive. How to find food, kill it and cook it. How to find water, and make sure it was safe to drink. How to avoid capture, recognise traps and protect himself against toxins. He could survive anywhere.
What they hadn't prepared him for, was how to be alone.
Silence. It was the deafening silence that bothered him the most. He could feel it bearing down on him like a dark shadow, looming over him like a blood-thirsty beast. Fear began to well up within him, his heart beating faster, the roar of his blood rushing through his ears. He clamped his eyes shut, clenching his jaw, trying desperately to push away the doubt that was creeping through his mind. Memories of the past few days danced in front of his closed eyes, replaying continuously like a record on his HUD.
Darman vanished into the darkness as they had left him behind to cover their six. Vin's body was convulsing in front of him as blood seeped from the hole in his chest. Jay fell to the floor, Geonosian energy pulses slamming into him, the grenade tumbling from his open hand.
His brothers were dead, killed by the inadequacy of their new commanders and generals. He was a republic commando, and he had been trained to act in a small group as a four man army, specialists in demolition, rapid entry and black ops. They weren't infantry, they were better. The Jedi, who he had been conditioned to obey unquestioningly, had deployed them like run-of-the-mill soldiers. They had ordered him and his men to their deaths because of their ignorance. The Jedi had taken his brothers away from him, and then cast him aside like an unwanted pet. Anger surged through his body, his eyes ablaze as he glared out into the dying light of the desert. He would make the Jedi pay for what they had done to Vin, Jay and Darman. They would pay for what they had done to him.
Shrieks and screams cried out across the desert as the nocturnal beasts began to claw their way to the surface from the darkened caves below. Taler's eyes shot open, a moment of primal fear flooding his body with adrenalin. His hand tightened around the grip of his blaster rifle, swinging the barrel towards the jagged opening in the bulkhead in front of him, just waiting for the beasts to come for him.
The roar of the wind grew louder around the dead drop ship, the monstrous cries fading away beneath the howling gale. Taler could feel it building, getting louder with each passing heartbeat. His ears were ringing, but the roar wasn't abating. The sound was painfully loud now, like needles pressing into his temple. He reached out for his helmet...
Something flashed across his mind, a memory, a familiar sound. It wasn't the wind he could hear. It was the roar of an engine.
He dashed across the troop bay and pressed himself against the bulkhead, looking up between the torn metal panels at the dark, smoke filled sky. His heart hammered against his ribs, his eyes straining to see anything in the darkness. The flash of an ion drive flared like a cluster of three stars to the north, and Taler watched as it rumbled across the desert, dropping down into the valley.
The landing struts extended down beneath the "Trail-breaker" and creaked loudly as they flexed, the weight of the modified freighter pressing down on their ageing hydraulics. Dust shot high into the air as the thrusters scorched the barren earth, covering the view screen in a thin layer of orange sand. The ship settled onto its struts as the ion drives shut down, the roar of the engines fading away into silence.
"Going dark," Kyr'am announced, flicking a row of switches above his head. Lights across the control consoles flickered and faded to black, the running lights along the outside of the hull winking out, every system humming into silence.
The darkness outside the view screen was absolute, but as Kyr'am's eyes slowly adjusted to the gloom, the Geonosian landscape began to appear, picked out by the orange glow of the burning furnaces buried in the catacombs. Shafts of dull orange light erupted from the cracks in the desert floor, the tall, round edged spires reaching up into the smoke-filled sky.
Nothing moved. Kyr'am knew it was folly to believe there was nothing dangerous beyond the hull. He had seen the data base and the lists of creatures that prowled across the desert by night. He would have to remain vigilant.
"Ok, Sparky," Kyr'am said calmly, turning to face the small astromech that stood beside him in the darkness. "Plug yourself into the sensors and work your magic. You're going to be an extra pair of eyes. And judging by the data file, I think I'm going to need it down here."
The astromech tweetled with a worried tone, his glowing photo receptor swivelling in its socket to glance up at him.
"I just don't want to attract the wrong kind of attention from the local wildlife is all," Kyr'am soothed. For a droid, Sparky was becoming quite a worrier. "Big, ugly things with long teeth and small brains. The flight path should have brought us in low enough to avoid any sensors. Trust me, Toonak Shiv won't know we're here until I'm close enough to pluck his wings." Sparky whistles lightly, his tone not entirely confident, but Kyr'am just laughed.
Opening the restraining straps, and turning his chair around, Kyr'am stood up and headed to the navigation console near the rear of the cockpit. Sparky shuffled forwards into the gap between the seats and plugged himself into the console, the data spike spinning as he accessed the ship's external scanners. Kyr'am scooped up his helmet from the seat, slung his sniper rifle across his shoulder, raising his fingers to his temple in a salute to his droid companion and walked down the corridor away from the cockpit.
The access ramp on the port side of the ship lowered as he tapped the controls, an icy gust of dust filled air swirled up into the lobby and wrapped around his ankles. The hem of his long brown coat flapping silently in the dull light. Kyr'am slipped his helmet onto his head and heard the gentle hiss of his suit sealing against the atmosphere. The com link activated, the sound of static whispering in his ears.
"Radio test, Sparky," Kyr'am said experimentally. The droid tweeted a reply. "Receiving strength four. Guess it will have to do for now. Prepare to activate the link."
His visor flared into life, his night vision activating, ghostly grey images hovering in front of his eyes. A box appeared in the upper corner of his visor as Sparky linked the ship's sensors to his helmet.
"Link activated," Kyr'am reported. "Ok, Sparky. I'm taking a walk. Set another place for dinner. I'm bringing back a friend!" He laughed and stepped out into the darkness.
Taler raced blindly across the desert, the dark of night shattered by veins of orange that seemed to pulse through the cracks that littered the floor. As he passed through each one, he was momentarily blinded, his eyes unable to adjust to the sudden change. He would have given anything to have had his suit systems working again, suddenly realising how much he missed the night vision filter on his helmet. With the armour systems now dead, he could hardly breath in the claustrophobic heat of his helmet, so he had chosen to leave it off, instead clipping it to his pack. Though it was useless, he would never leave it behind.
He stumbled as he passed through into darkness again, his ankle jarring painfully as his foot fell a few inches more than expected. But his pace did not falter. His mouth was dry, breathing in the dusty air without his filter, and his throat felt as though it were made of the same rough stone as the ground beneath his feet.
His eyes adjusted finally, the outlines of the stone spires slowly looming out of the darkness. The shrieking cries of the twilight beasts were beginning to reassert themselves as the usual silence filtered across the desert. Ahead, Taler could see a path that headed up towards the ridge that overlooked the valley to the north. That would be his best vantage point to take stock of the situation. As his feet hammered hard against the dusty floor, surges of pain shot through his ankle, and threatened to make his leg collapse beneath him. Clenching his teeth hard, he pushed through the agony, and as he neared the ridge, he dropped onto his front and crawled to the edge, bracing the rifle against his shoulder. Looking through the scope - the rifle's night vision still working - he trained the cross hairs on the hull of the ship below.
The freighters ion drives had shut down the moment they had made landfall. That could only mean one thing - they weren't here on an official visit. That alone spelt trouble. And Taler knew that in his current state, if it came to a fight, he would not be at his best.
The past few days had been the worst of his unnaturally short life. He was broken and bruised, he had used all his rations, and his water was on the verge of ending. Sleep had eluded him, each moment he closed his eyes, they had shot open in fear. All he had thought he knew had been proved to be wrong, and he had experienced pain like he had never thought possible. The pain of loss and disillusionment He was tired, hungry, dehydrated, and confused.
Doubt clouds your mind, his training sergeant had said. Taler almost heard the words repeated on the icy wind that whipped across his face. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts and concentrated once more on the rifle scope. Looking through the glowing lense, he swept the crosshairs over the hull of the ship and around it until he saw something odd. There was a faint line in the dust beneath the port side, and tracks lead away from it towards an opening in the rockface. Whoever had been flying the ship had left via the boarding ramp and headed towards the cave. With his current limitations there was no hope of tracking them through the subterranian pathways. His best plan would be to wait here and see who might emerge.
The sound of a boot on loose stones alerted him to someone close, and as he turned he was blinded by a sharp white light.
This was it. This was how he was going to die. They had snuck up behind him and he would be shot at their feet. He waited for the inevitable. But as the seconds passed, nothing happened. He took a chance and lifted his hand to shield his eyes and saw a distinctive 'T' visor staring back at him. A voice whispered from behind the visor.
Kyr'am stared down at the man at his feet. Clad from head to toe in heavy armour, he stared back at him with the face of Jango Fett. But Fett had died three days ago, decapitated by a Jedi. How could this man be him? And why was he wearing that armour?
His confusion had cost him his advantage. The man lunged towards him, his shoulder slamming hard into Kyr'am's gut. He lost his footing and both tumbled over the side of the ridge, their armour clattering against one another, rolling painfully down the side of the spire. The ground fell away beneath him as the slope became a vertical drop, and he felt himself falling through nothingness.
His back slammed hard into the floor, the armour absorbing most of the impact, but the air was forced from his lungs. He tried to breath, his mouth wide open, but he could not. It felt as though he had a rope tied around his throat, his lungs collapsing within his chest. Suddenly, the constriced feeling lifted, and he inhaled sharply, the rush of cold air flooding back into his lungs.
The single breath was all he needed. He rolled over onto his side and leapt into a crouch, scanning across the ledge upon which he had landed. He spun around just in time to see the false-Fett charging towards him again, his fist raised in a running punch to his face. Kyr'am dodged it, leaning to his left and bringing his own fist up into the man's ribs. The man let out a pained scream as Kyr'am felt something crunch beneath the armour. He pressed home his advantage, wrapping his own arm around his opponents, pressing his hand against his shoulder. Something popped loudly, another grunt of pain echoing out into the night.
The false-Fett broke free, kicking Kyr'am hard in the thigh, and they staggered apart. Kyr'am looked back at his opponent. Something wasn't right.
He had to know what was going on. And to do that, he had to knock him out.
Taler staggered backwards, his left arm hanging uselessly by his side as the pain of torn shoulder muscles burnt like fire across his chest. Grabbing hold of his bicep, he gritted his teeth and jerked his arm upwards sharply. There was a wet schluk sound as his shoulder slipped back into its socket and he fell to his knees as the pain surged through his body, blinding him.
His aponent had the upper hand. He could see with his night vision still in place. The only way he could end this fight was to even the playing field. He ejected the gauntlet mounted vibroblade and kicked down hard against the floor, breaking into a sprint towards the armoured Mandalorian. He feignted with his left hand, and as they blocked, he jabbed down hard into their leg.
The Mandalorian grunted as the blade sank into soft flesh, and Taler could feel it press against the bone.
Out of the darkness, a fist slammed into his jaw, and Taler felt his teeth loosen. His head became fuzzy, and he felt the world starting to spin around him. He faught against it, turning to look up into the 'T' visor. The Mandalorian brought his head down in a sharp crack against Taler's skull, and all the strength he had slipped out of him.
He tumbled slowly onto the floor, blackness spreading around his eyes. He looked up helplessly as he felt his eyes growing heavy.
"What are you?" the Mandalorian said.
Taler fell into unconciousness.
Last edited by Kyr'am Galaar; May 12, 2012 at 10:53 AM.
i will appologise now. i thought it would only be a four part story, but i think i will have to extend it by one. i promise it will be no more than five parts. i dont want to be annoying anyone with this, so i'm sorry if youre finding this boring. its just something for me to do because i cant make any physical progress with the armour yet. hopefully i will be able to get back to it soon.
So here is part 4 of the story, part 5 to finish tomorrow.
Dead Squad: Origins
Into the Flames of hell
YG-4210 freighter "Trail-breaker"
Taler woke with a start, his whole body jerking violently. His eyes shot open and he was blinded by the light above him. A memory of the cold, clinical whiteness of Kamino flashed across his mind, conflicting emotions of comfort and fear bubbling up inside him. Comfort because it meant the events of the past few days could have been nothing but a bad dream, and fear because he had grown up knowing that any clone who entered the medical wing would never be seen again.
His eyes slowly began to focus, and the blinding light faded, the dull grey metal ceiling beyond it soothing his panic. Everything hurt. His whole body felt like it was made of durasteal, heavy and unmovable. Each breath caused needles of pain to stab at his ribs. His shoulder was aching, the muscles and tendons burning. A surge of pain shot through his temples and he raised his hand to his head, whincing as his fingers brushed against his forehead. It was swollen, each heartbeat sending another pulse of pain through his head.
"You're a tough one, I'll give you that," a voice spoke softly somewhere out of sight. Taler's blood ran like ice through his veins as he realised he wasn't alone. The voice sounded familiar, but somehow different. He looked around frantically and saw an armoured Mandalorian sitting on a seat, his scratched blue armour hidden beneath a long brown coat, his helmet resting on the table beside him. The Mandalorian looked down and continued to wrap a length of bandage around his thigh.
Taler's hand dropped automatically to the holster on his thigh, his hand grabbing for the grip of his pistol. He glanced down and found that it was empty.
"I wouldn't bother if I were you," the Mandalorian said slowly. Taler looked up at the figure and realised that his sidearms were resting on the seat beside him. A surge of anger flooded his body at the thought that this hired thug dared to touch the last things he had to remind him of Vin and Jay.
He had already started planning how he might get his weapons back when an irritated twittering sound burst from beyond the door. An astromech appeared in the doorway, angry sparks bursting from its rusted leg joint.
"I know, Sparky. I know," the Madnalorian signed. "But they haven't detected us and this won't take long. I just want to have a little chat with our friend here." Taler looked away from the droid as it trundled noisily out the door, tweeting complaints as it went, and found the Mandalorian staring back at him, studying him quietly.
He reminded Taler of the Kaminoan scientists, studying a batch of clones as though looking for faults.
"I know you're not him, but the resemblance is uncanny," the Mando said, awe seeping into his words. He leaned back, his bandage now secure around his thigh where Taler had stabbed him.
A pang of guilt rippled through him, realising the man he had stabbed was now giving him medical attention, but it vanished as quickly as it had apeared as he remembered how he had also been disarmed. As far as Taler was concerned, he was a prisoner.
"So tell me," the Mandalorian finally said, folding his arms across his chest. "What exactly are you? Shapeshifter? Surgically altered? Illigitimate son? Long lost twin?"
"I'm a clone," Taler said simply. "A single unit of millions created from the genetic profile of Jango Fett. Bred to be the best." The words were out of his mouth before he could even think. It sounded like someone elses voice, an automatic response that had been programmed into him from birth, but it still took him by surprise.
"Well," the Mandalorian said, no sign of surprise on his face. "Isn't that something? I knew you weren't Fett anyway because he was killed three days ago by a Jedi." Anger bubbled up inside Taler once more at the mention of those force-wielding freaks. If he ever saw another Jedi, he would have their head.
"The only thing Fett and I have in common is this face, and the fact that the republic considers both of us dead," Taler spat back.
"Whoa," the Mandalorian replied, raising his hands in mock submission. "Calm down there, lad. So you were left behind, huh?" The reminder stung almost as much as the dislocated shoulder.
"My squad were ambushed, and they didn't even wait to see if any of us had survived," he said bitterly. The republic were nothing to him now. "I'm all that's left."
"What's your name?" The Mandalorian asked after a pause.
"RC-one one three thr..." Another involuntary response. Taler began to speak, but the Mandalorian cut him off.
"Not your number, your name," he said slowly. A clone's name was something private, shared only with his brothers. But Taler had no brothers now, and deep down, he missed hearing it being said.
"Taler," he said quietly. The Mandalorian seemed to ponder this for a few moments, his eyes never looking away from him as he lay on the medical bed.
"It's a good name, lad," he said finally, nodding his approval. "Mine's Kyr'am. Kyr'am Galaar, of the Blood Reek Clan. Nice to meet a fellow corpse. I was in the Corelian navy, left for dead when my ship was hit by pirates. Sorry about the headache by the way, but seemed the only way to stop you."
Kyr'am smiled warmly. Something about the man changed. Taler no longer saw him as a threat. They weren't talking like prisoner and guard. That didn't mean he trusted the man, but he knew that this man wouldn't try and slit his throat while he slept.
"What brings you to the arse end of the galaxy?" Taler asked, struggling to sit upright, swinging his legs off the medical gurney.
"Got a job," Kyr'am said slowly, flexing his leg as though testing his muscles. He stood up gingerly, and nodded as though happy it could support him.
Looking up, an odd expression crossed his face. He picked up Vin and Jay's side arms, their names visibly engraved into the grips, and held them out to Taler.
"I could use an extra gun or two," he said with a grin. "If you're interested."
Kyr'am had watched the clone secure his armour plates back into place, each one sealing against his body suit. He had check his pack for any spare ordinance, and then checked it again, the habit drilled into him from a young age it seemed.
He was a one man army. Interchangeable attachments for his rifle - a blaster, sniper rifle and heavy artillery launcher all rolled into one - grenades, explosive tape, spare amuntion for his blaster and his side arms, and a variety of other things that Kyr'am had not expected to see. His armour was brimming with tech, and had it been working, Kyr'am wasn't sure he would have been able to sneak up on him so easily. With a bit of help from Sparky, they had been able to adapt some old power cells and had re-energised his katarn armour. He was walking death to anyone who would cross him.
Kyr'am leant against the hydraulic ram on the loading ramp, and realised how lucky he had been to have tackled him in such a run down state, and even then it had been a diffifult brawl. But he held no grudge against him. He was lost and alone, and Kyr'am always respected the strength of someone who never gave in to the odds.
Taler appeared through the door to the medical bay and paced the last few steps towards him. He watched as Taler holstered the two side arms, and then slipped his helmet over his head, the similar design of the 'T' shaped visor hinting to the man's Mandalorian heritage.
"Ready?" Kyr'am asked, his own helmet comlink now connected to the Taler's.
Taler simply nodded.
"You know the plan?" Kyr'am asked.
"Demo some droids, slot the sep deserter, and then you get me the shab out of here," Taler replied. Kyr'am was amazed at his ability to memorize anything. They had only gone over the plan once, and Taler could remember every detail.
"Sounds about right," Kyr'am said. He tapped the controls to the access ramp and it lowered onto the dusty floor outside. Activating the link to the ship, Kyr'am turned and walked out into the darkness. "Okay, Sparky. Stay alert now." The astromech tweetled a fast response and then fell silent, the sensors data appearing once more in the upper corner of his visor.
The entrance to the subterranian world of Geonosis was across a few hundred meters of open desert, and even in the inky blackness of night, there was still a chance they could be seen. The pair sprinted across the clearing, Taler easily keeping pace with him. Each stepped to the side of the entrance as they reached the other side of the valley, their backs pressed hard against the jagged stone wall.
Their helmets were sealed, which would have allowed them to communicate loudly via comlink without anyone around them hearing. But there was no point taking chances. Kyr'am signaled silently to Taler, telling him to cover him as he slipped inside. Taler's nod was barely noticable. Kyr'am counted down from the with his fingers, and as he reached one, Taler spun around and swept his rifle across the entrance. A second later, Taler waved him forwards, Kyr'am drawing his sidearms and running into the cave.
His night vision showed him a grainy image of a long, narrow stone corridor that sloped downwards into the mountainside. Smaller tunnels seemed to break off from the main into the walls, and he swept his pistols across each one, his finger hovering over the trigger. He moved silently along the tunnel, the sensor screen in the top corner of his visor showing Taler barely meters behind him.
They had planned their way in to avoid as much opposition as they could. It was a bit longer than it would have been had they gone straight through, but it was worth the extra walking. There was no point in advertising that they were there until their target was safely situated between the cross hairs of his sniper scope.
Left, right, and another right, and then a left. They moved silently through the maze of tunnels, Sparky guiding them through with waypoints plotted across the map in the upper corner of his visor. Kyr'am guessed they were a few hundred feet beneath the desert now, the fierce heat of the furnaces blasting along the tunnels, drying out the walls and causeing a heat haze to radiate from the rock itself.
As he rounded a corner, his night vision filter flickered and disappeared, the walls around him going dark, but the end of the corridor bathed in a fiery red glow. Creeping forwards, he was almost at the corner when a shadow passed across the pool of light. He held up his hand in a silent signal to stop, and he pressed himself up against the side of the tunnel. Even without seeing it, he knew Taler had moved to the other side of the corridor and had pressed himself against the wall, his rifle aiming back along the tunnel. It was what years of training did. It made you react instinctively.
Kyr'am held his breath. The shadow remained still for a moment, its outline angular and mechanical. Then it moved away, metal footsteps fading away as it went, the black shape vanishing from the pool of red light.
He waited a few seconds longer, then waved Taler forward, both men energing from the shadows and creaping towards the corner. This was where they split up. They stood either side of the corridor, and Taler counted down from three with his fingers. As he reached one, Kyr'am leaned around the corner and swept his pistols across the opening. It was clear. He waved Taler forwards and watched him race into the fiery cavern beyond.
Taler broke left as he entered the cavern, and ran along the raised walkway that hugged the wall of the cavern. He used the columns of stone as shelter, ducking behind them as he ran along, shielding himself from the workers on the factory floor beyond.
Fear and uncertainty were bubbling up inside him as he moved silently along the walkway. Being here was bringing back memories of his unit, his squad, his brothers.
He slammed his back hard against the next column, feeling the pain through his armour. He shook his head, forcing his thought and doubts to the dark recesses of his mind. They were a distraction, and they would get him killed.
Edging around the side of the column, he looked across the caver to the walkway on the other side that followed his. He watched as a blurred shadow dashed from pillar to pillar, Kyr'am racing along parallel to him. For an older man, he was fast. Taler sprinted to the next column, stopping each time to look down at the foundry works that roared on relentlessly beneath them. It seemed that Toonak Shiv wasn't content with the small amount of droids he had been able to aquire, and was churning out more for his own personal use. The more droids he had, the more difficult it would be to get out afterwards. He had to stop them.
Ducking down, he reached into his pack and removed the two rolls of explosive tape that he had salvaged from a dead clone. He measure out a meter of each and twisted them around each others. Carefully, he slipped them into a bore hole that had been made by some form of burrowing worm and then delicately placed the remote detonator in the end. Plugging the hole with a small stone, he dashed to the next pillar. If he did this right, he could bring the whole cavern down on the foundry and make a new crater in this dusty planet.
Kyr'am reached the end of the walkway and ducked down behind the column of rock. Beneath him he could see a small army of droids stood silently, emotionlessly watching the automated production line churn out more of their kind.
And stood right behind them, his ugly insectoid eyes looking down at the foundry floor as though he owned the enitire planet and everything on it, was the target. Toonak Shiv. He turned to the droid stood beside him and seemed to be uttering something in that mad clicking language that had developed among his people. The droid listened silently, saluted, and turned and walked away.
Down here, Toonak didn't think he was at any risk. How wrong he was. Kyr'am let a small grin cross his face as he realised that the stupid insect thought he was untouchable.
On the far side of the caver, Kyr'am saw Taler reaching the other end of the walkway and duck down behind the pillar. Reaching into his belt pouch, Kyr'am took out a small stylus and pointed it towards the clone, flashing the small light twice. Taler returned the signal, indicating that he was ready.
Kyr'am holstered his pistols and reached for the sniper rifle that was slung acrss his shoulder. It was his favourite weapon, and he had become a master at using it. The stock pressed firmly against his shoulder, the sensation familiar and comforting. Glancing through the scope, he adjusted the focus and the alignment. The crosshairs settled on the top of the Geonosian's head and he slipped his finger into the trigger guard. Closing his eyes for a moment, he inhaled deeply, slowing his heart and steadying his hands.
He opened his eyes and he squeezed the trigger.
Last edited by Kyr'am Galaar; May 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM.
Aw, only going to be five parts? I wouldn't mind if you wrote me a whole book, hah! Great work on this, I like the concept drawing.
ok. just finished the last part of the origins story. hopfully will have the re-worked concept drawing for Taler (my armour) up by tomorrow. if you have found these stories to be annoying, i am sorry, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. hope you enjoy this final part of the story.
Dead Squad: Origins
No word for 'hero'
Toonak Shiv droid foundry
The plasma bolt tore through the air towards Toonak Shiv, the Geonosian commander oblivious to his fate. A blur of movement drew Taler's eye as he watched from the opposite side of the cavern to Kyr'am, and his eyes widened with panic.
A Geonosian sentry had leapt from a tunnel set high on the wall of the cavern, throwing itself between Kyr'am and his target. The plasma bolt slammed into the insectoid's chest, a plume of smoke and blood blossoming into the air.
Before he limp corpse had even hit the foundry floor, the shrieking cries of alarms had erupted throughout the cavern. Taler watched as the droids turned their heads towards the upper balcony, their photo receptors all scanning across the where Kyr'am knelt behind the stone pillar. He reacted instantly, slipping the sniper attachment onto his DC-17 and lining up the sight on Toonak Shiv.
But the cowardly Geonosian had already bolted, Taler catching a glimpse of his back as he raced down the steps beside the platform he had been standing on and disappeared into a narrow tunnel. He shifted his sight to the nearest droid and pulled the trigger.
The metallic head exploded in a shower of sparks and shrapnel, super-heated shards of metal embedding themselves in the upper body of the droids beside it. Taler had dropped another three in rapid succession before the others around it had realised they were being flanked. Kyr'am took advantage of the distraction and leaned out from behind the pillar, both pistols drawn, a constant line of plasma bolts ejecting from the barrels and slotting into the droids below.
"We can't let him get away," Kyr'am yelled across the comlink, radio silence no longer an issue.
"Break for the tunnel," Taler told him, slotting another fours droids. "I'll cover you."
"You sure, lad?" Kyr'am's voice replied over the comlink. Taler wasn't sure, but there was something different about his voice. He sounded almost as though he was worried about him, like he care.
"Just go already," Taler hissed back. "I've got a little surprise waiting anyway."
"You'd better be on my six pretty sharpish, lad," Kyr'am replied. Taler watched as the armoured Mandalorian leapt from the raised walkway and dropped down onto the foundry floor, his long brown coat billowing around him, blaster bolts slicing through the leather, his own pistols ablaze. He raced along the edge of the cavern and Taler watched him disappear into the tunnel.
Some of the droids began to follow him, but Taler switched attachments on his DC-17 and unloaded an explosive round into the floor in front of them. A ball of flames engulfed the small group that had broken away, and they vanished in a hail of dust and sparks.
Ducking behind the stone column as a shower of droid blaster bolts slammed into the orange rock around him, Taler reached into his belt pouch and felt for the detonator, placing it firmly in his palm. He inhaled deeply, preparing himself, clearing his mind.
He threw himself over the edge of the walkway, dropping twenty feet the hard stone floor beyond. His legs jarred painfully as his feet slammed into the floor. Rifle held up in front of him, he ran for the tunnel entrance. The droids tracked him with their rifles, a few plasma bolts ricocheting off his tough, katarn armour. The tunnel was within reach, and his thumb clamped down on the detonator.
Deafening explosions ripped through the cavern as the pillars supporting the roof were reduced to rubble. Cracks streaked across the cavern ceiling, and chunks of stone the size of small houses rained down into the foundry floor. The molten metal spilled as the machinery crumbled, flattened by the falling roof.
Taler felt a surge of adrenalin flood his body and he ran faster than he had ever run before. The tunnel entrance loomed ahead of him and he dived towards the darkened opening. He slammed into the floor, and the cavern, the foundry, and the droids disappeared behind a wall of rubble.
Darman would have been proud, he thought.
Kyr'am felt the explosion rumble through the ground and skidded to a stop. Turning to face the way he had come, he looked back into darkness where moments before there had been light. Panic filled him for a moment, the urge to run back and find Taler overriding his desire to claim his bounty. He was on the verge of racing back towards the cavern when the sensor screen in the top of his visor flickered and showed an icon just inside the tunnel.
"Taler, come in," he said rapidly. There was a moment of static, the white noise of silence filling his ears. Then a croaked voice crackled across the comlink.
"I think we may have to find another way out," Taler said, almost apologetically. Kyr'am laughed with relief. Taler was safe.
Kyr'am began running along the tunnel once more, following the twisting corridor as it wound its way through the mountain. The sensors showed it opening out up ahead, and Kyr'am burst out into blinding light. Along the left wall was an opening big enough for a rancor to step through, and he could see the Geonosian landscape picked out in orange against the inky black sky. The walkway ended was only a few meters wide, and beyond the edge it dropped away to a hangar floor. A large shuttle rested on its landing struts just inside the entrance, and as Kyr'am looked up at the hangar bay control room, he saw the ugly face of Toonak Shiv glaring angrily down at him.
"Going somewhere, bug?" Kyr'am yelled. The Geonosian smiled back at him.
"Yes I am, bounty hunter," he said in very broken basic. "But you will never know where." He slapped his hand onto one of the controls, and Kyr'am turned sharply as the sound of grinding metal erupted from the wall to his right. A hidden door had opened, and Kyr'am had a glimpse of grey fur and teeth as a Nexu lunged out of the darkness towards him.
Reacting instinctively, Kyr'am dropped into a crouch, letting the Nexu soar over his head, and kicked out with his foot, catching the creature in its abdomen. The Nexu yelped, and Kyr'am pushed away hard, rolling onto his back and watching it fall over the edge of the walkway and vanish from view. The momentum of his roll carried him back up onto his feet and he came up in a crouch. Toonak Shiv was moving fast, his feeble wings carrying him across the hangar bay towards the docked ship. Kyr'am's hand was already dropping to his holstered pistol, ready to end the bug's pathetic life.
His side suddenly crunched and he found himself flying sideways through the air, before slamming into a pile of crates. A second Nexu had appeared and, as he turned, he watched it racing towards him, its glossy black eyes narrowed to tiny slits, and its mouth held wide open, showing rows of razor sharp teeth.
He scurried back, and punched both his fists out into the air, feeling them slam into the creatures throat. His fingers closed tightly around its neck, the jaws snapping barely inches from his visor.
At the corner of his vision, he saw Taler emerge from the tunnel, his distinctive white armour like a beacon in the gloom.
"Kyr'am," Taler's voice yelled across the comlink, and Kyr'am watched him begin to raise his blaster towards the savage beast that lay on top of him.
"Get the bug," Kyr'am yelled quickly, shaking his head as he continued to wrestle with the Nexu. "I can handle this overgrown kitten." A moments hesitation seemed to stop Taler in his tracks, his rifle lowering only a fraction. But it passed and Taler sprinted passed him, racing down the ramp towards the ship.
Toonak Shiv was almost at the ship, his wings flapping so fast they almost blurred into invisibility. Taler knew he only had once chance to get this right. He raced along the edge of the walkway, his rifle braced hard against his shoulder, and he squeezed the trigger. The barrier along the edge of the walkway shattered, opening up a hole big enough for him to jump through. Taler tore through the hole and launched himself into the air.
Toonak Shiv turned at the sound of blaster fire, and looked up in horror as the commando fell through the air and slammed into him, his arms wrapping around the Geonosian's abdomen.
They slammed into the floor, and Taler rolled himself on top of the squirming bug. Toonak Shiv struggled, kicking out at him with powerful legs and clawing at his armour as it shrieked loudly. Taler ejected his wrist mounted vibroblade and punched down hard into the Geonosian's neck. A splatter of blood burst from his throat and a gurgled scream echoed around him. The struggling subsided, and the scream faded away into silence.
Standing up, Taler stared down at the lifeless body of the former separatist, and felt a calmness flow over him.
The sound of footsteps behind him made him snap around, his rifle already being raised to his shoulder.
"Nice work, son," Kyr'am said, nodding his approval. He was dragging the now dead Nexu by its tail, its head lying sideways, its neck clearly broken. "Good job the contract didn't specify alive," he joked.
The respite didn't last long. A volley of blaster fire began to rain down upon them as droids appeared along the walkway. Taler ran for cover, Kyr'am only a footstep behind him as they both retaliated, their own blasters and pistols bursting with plasma bolts.
Ducking behind another pile of stacked crates, Taler provided cover fire as Kyr'am began yelling into his comlink.
"Sparky," he cried. The astromech droid tweetled in response, his electronic noises sounding irritated at being yelled at. "Just be quiet and listen. There's a hangar bay on the western side of the complex. Fire up the engines get that ship here pronto."
"You trust that tin can to fly that thing?" Taler yelled back, never once taking his eyes off the droids ahead, watching four more of them erupting in balls of sparks and shrapnel.
"You'd be surprised what that little guy can do," Kyr'am replied. He tapped Taler in the shoulder, and they swapped positions, Kyr'am opening up with both pistols.
Taler reached into his pack and felt his fingers wrap around a grenade. He was about to throw it when a blur of grey drew his attention. A second Nexu was leaping through the air towards Kyr'am.
"No," Taler yelled. He did not think, he just reacted. He threw himself between Kyr'am and the beast, and he felt it's open jaw clamp down hard on his arm.
They tumbled away across the hangar floor, Taler getting a grip on its coarse fur as the teeth sunk deeper into his forearm. Pain unlike anything he had ever experienced before seared through his body. He tried to pull his arm free, but as he tried, the creature just clamped down even harder.
"That how you want to play, is it?" He hissed through gritted teeth. His options were quickly running out, and there was only one more thing he could do. He closed his hand tightly around the grenade that was now half way down the Nexu's throat and closed his eyes.
A blinding ball of light erupted in front of him, and he felt his arm disintegrate as the explosion tore through the Nexu's skull. The headless beast fell limply on top oh him, and his whole body erupted in pain. He felt his mind beginning to shut down, warm blood flowing from the stump below his right elbow, and a cold, numbness spreading throughout his body.
Blaster fire continued to tear through the hangar. A voice cried out to him from somewhere of in the distance. And in the roar of battle, he heard the beautiful sound of ion drives growing nearer, before letting the darkness that was gathering at the edges of his mind consume him.
Taler opened his eyes to a blinding white light once more. The fleeting image of the Kaminoan medical wing flashed across his mind again, a moment of fear stabbing through the numbness that had descended upon him. He doubted he would ever be rid of his memories of Kamino. They were all he had ever known.
As his eyes adjusted to the light, the room around him began to materialize. Off white walls surrounded him on three sides, the fourth was a vast span of transparasteel, a beautiful red sky the backdrop to the spired city beyond.
The numbness faded and an aching pulse surged through his right arm. He lifted his arm up and found himself looking at a cybernetic hand and forearm, grafted to his own limb just below the elbow.
"Figured you'd be needing one of them after you took a dislike to your old one," a voice called out from the corner of the room. Taler looked away from his arm towards the voice and saw Kyr'am sat in the chair, his feet up on the table in front of him. Kyr'am was smiling, obviously pleased that Taler was awake again.
"Well, you know what us clones are like with new kit," Taler replied, trying to pass it off as a joke. "How long was I out for?"
"About three days," Kyr'am replied.
"Bet this cost a fair few credits. How's much do I owe you?"
"Nothing," Kyr'am said. "I took the liberty of paying for it out of your fee."
"My fee?" Taler said, confused.
"Well, you killed the bug, so the reward is yours," Kyr'am said simply. He rose from his seat and held out his hand, dropping a small pile of credits into Taler's lap. "And here's what's left after hospital bills and that new toy," he added, pointing towards Taler's cybernetic arm.
He went quiet, his face looking conflicted as he seemed to be struggling with something he wanted to say.
"I want to say thank you," Kyr'am finally said quietly. "You saved my shebs back there. I owe you one."
"I think we can consider ourselves even," Taler replied, waving his new hand in front of his face.
"What will you do now?"
"I don't know, really," Taler said, the realisation that he was free ambushing him. "Maybe I'll go find some of those Jedi and have a little chat with them," he hissed.
"I guess," Taler sais quietly. "My squads all gone, and I don't have any family. Not really."
"Aliit ori'shya tal'din," Kyr'am whispered.
Taler had heard the phrase before, the training sergeants back on Kamino always said it. 'Family was more than blood'. He had never really understood what it meant.
"Well you won't be doing it alone," Kyr'am said. Taler looked up at him, his brow furrowed in confusion.
"You don't have to come along you know," Taler replied. "You got me off that dust ball. I can find a way from here."
"I've been working alone for most of my life now," Kyr'am said, turning away from the bed, his voice low as though he was building up to something. "But I've realised that I've missed out on so much. Friendship. Family. Someone to watch my back. I'm not getting any younger, and its too late for me to start looking for a wife. You're everything a Mandalorian should be. You're smart, fast, tough, and pretty good in a scrap as well. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'd be proud to call you my 'son'. What do you say?"
The revelation hit Taler like a gut punch and he felt his mouth drop. His squad had always been his family. They had done everything together, and it was only now he realised how much he missed that bond. To feel like he was part of something again, to feel accepted. He could not put it into words how he felt. All he could do was nod.
Kyr'am smiled warmly and walked back to the bedside and held out his hand. Taler gripped his arm below the elbow, both locking together.
"Ni kar'tayl gai sa'ad," Kyr'am said softly. And just like that, Taler had a family again.
"Thank you," he said, a feeling of belonging warming his heart.
"You're welcome, son," Kyr'am replied.
Last edited by Kyr'am Galaar; May 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM.
So, to mark the end of the origins story (worryingly, i'm already thinking of what to write in the next episode :P ), i would like to present the updated and clearer concept design for my Mandalorian, Taler Galaar, adpoted son of Kyr'am (the guy in blue with the long brown coat) As he is a clone commando, i wanted to make a mix of the mando armour and the clone armour. And also, if you remember from the story, his arm was replaced by a cybernetic one, and it is shown in the picture. He also has his brothers sidearms strapped to his legs, and i liked the idea of a grey kama lined with a red stripe to match the colouring of his armour.
And i would also like to say that i have made some fabrication progress as well. the chest plate has had minor modifications, adding a raised section around the lights, back plate is almost completely covered in fibreglass, and as i was mixing a small amount of filler for another project, i started to smooth out one of the shoulders. here are the pics:
Last edited by Kyr'am Galaar; Apr 24, 2012 at 1:40 PM.
I'm new to the board, and to costuming. While I was sketching some ideas for my Mando, I thought I had an original idea...
Then I saw your brilliant work . Your chest plate is WICKED! I am thinking about a similar geometry, but still have a lot of ideas to play with-- before I settle.
Great to see how your idea has worked out so far!
Last edited by Orionruse; Apr 24, 2012 at 9:52 PM. Reason: Mis-spelled words
Thank you very much for the comment, Onion (awesome name by the way)
I'll admit it's taken me a long time to get where i am. Lots of trial and error too. Its been one big learning curve, but ive enjoyed it so much, and the guys on this forum are so awesome. They really do want to help.
Really looking forward to the day i get to wear the whole rig, but its a long way off at the moment.
so i have some progress to report.
While i was putting the last bits of fibreglass on the backplate (still a long way to go on that front by the way) i ran out of mis with only a small area left to do. Now most of you would have mixed a small amount and finished the job. well not me!!!
I got myself a piece of papaer, did a rough estimate of the size of the pistols i want to build, i mocked up a rough gun shape with wood, added bit of detailing with card and tape, and then mixed another big mix of fibreglass and finished the backplate first layer of fibreglass and started on the pistols.
I know its a bit silly starting that now when i dont even have holsters or even any finished armour, but the mood struck me and i went for it.
Hope you like the pics.
Bit of progress to report on both the backplate and the pistol.
First off, the backplate: Its slow progress, as money is a little tight and ive run out of fibreglass so i'm kind of just pottering around with it, doing what i can to it. Ive managed to sand down a fair bit of it, and got a paper template for the backpack that im going to attach permanently to the backplate. so thats happening slowly.
As for the pistol: its really getting there. there is a small section that needs fibreglassing, but ive put the top layer of filler over most of it, and started sanding down the details. Ive added the trigger guard and been twirling the gun around for the past few days. getting some odd looks, but i dont care. My version is a bit different to the other DC-15s's ive seen online, but i'm using the excuse that if my clone character would get custom armour, he would also modify his weapons so its bigger and chunckier to go with the whole heavy trooper look!
will try and get some pics up soon. hope youre all liking my thread
I'm also new to the boards. I appreciate all the work and the fact that you fit the project in when you can. Love the backstory.
The project is slowing a bit, but i'm managing to make some steady progress. The blaster pistol is coming along in small steps, and its taking a lot of work to smooth out the surfaces, but im not going to rush it.
In the meantime, i have had a few more ideas for stories, and have started writing the second episode. this one is set a few weeks after the origins story, where Taler has got his new mando armour and has joined his adopted farther as a bounty hunter. Here is part one of the sequal "Dead Squad: Spaced"
Dead Squad: Spaced
Three weeks after the Battle of Geonosis
Night-time had fallen on Raxus Prime. Though it was hard to tell the difference between night and day, the smoke and dust that filled the atmosphere of the planet shrouding the surface in an almost perpetual twilight. Dark, lightning filled storm clouds roiled menacingly across the sky, the thick, grey smoke of the smelting plants flowing upwards and swirling into the clouds in a single dark mass. The dry, static filled air crackled noisily, a bolt of lightning tearing across the sky, throwing the mounds of scrap metal into sharp relief.
The Ithorian tumbled down the side of the artificial hill, the slope made of droid parts that dug into his soft flesh as he rolled across them, cutting and grazing across his brown, leather-like skin. The slope dropped away from him in a vertical cliff, and he fell through the air, slamming hard into the dirt-covered floor, kicking a cloud of metallic dust into the evening sky, all the air driven out of his lungs, bones cracking all over his body.
He lay motionless in the gloom that surrounded him, the darkness of night broken by the beams of light that burst from the collectors that roamed the planet surface, scraping dead droids into their mechanical mouths, and crushing them between spiked rollers. The rumbling of the collectors echoed around him as they clawed relentlessly through the piles of scrap.
Straen Lok, thief, hired thug, and one-time smuggler, lay panting desperately in the dirt, his lungs burning as he inhaled the dust and toxic air. Across his chest was the strap of a small leather bag that he held tightly in his hand. Its contents was worth more credits than he could make in his entire life. It was because of this that he now found himself running for his life across this poisonous world.
"I know where you are, Ithorian," a cold voice cried out across the sulphurous air. Straen Lok looked up sharply, his heart leaping into his throat, cutting off his laboured wheezing. The darkened piles of droid parts loomed over him like colossal black carnivores, silhouetted against the orange and red sky.
A flash of lightning tore across the clouds as he frantically searched the ridges around him for any sign of his pursuer. A thousand dead robotic faces looked back at him from the piles of scrap, their photoreceptors blazing momentarily as the lighting flared across the sky.
"You're making this a lot more difficult than it has to be, you know," the voice explained. "Why not come out and talk? I'm sure we can be reasonable about this." A clatter of metal to his right made Straen jump, snapping his head towards the sound. Bits of debris were sliding down the side of one of the slopes and as he looked up, he could see a dark figure racing down towards him. He felt the surge of panic flooding his body, and he scrambled to his feet, running as fast as his legs could carry him.
The path split into tow up ahead, and he could see the landing pad off to the left, a small freighter sitting on the platform, gasses hissing from its landing struts and cascading over the edge of the metal gantry. He made to run down the left hand path...
A plasma bolt tore through the air inches above his head, the heat making his skin blister as it grazed passed him, and slammed into a pile of metal beside him. Sparks erupted in his face, and the cloud of smoke blinded him. Instinctively, he jumped sideways, ducking beneath it, raising his hand to his face to shield it from the white hot sparks that rained down on him. The shock had forced him down the right hand path, and he found himself heading away from the landing pad.
"You can't leave just yet," the voice said calmly. "We still have a little business to deal with." Straen could feel his heart hammering in his chest, the sounds pulsing in his ears as the heavy footsteps of the shadowy figure crunched to the floor behind him. The pathway between the piles of scrap narrowed as it twisted and turned, weaving through the rust covered landscape. The path split again up ahead.
"Turn left, Mr Lok," the voice cried out. Another plasma bolt screamed through the air from somewhere high on the ridge and slammed into a droid chest plate that lay on the slope. It erupted in sparks and dust and forced Straen to take the left path. The dust lingered in his eyes, making them water, and he was momentarily blinded, fumbling his way along the path.
Something snagged around his ankle, tightening instantly, and he crashed to the floor, all the wind knocked from his lungs. The pile of scrap beside him began to shiver and as he struggled to roll onto his side, still wheezing painfully, he felt his leg being lifted. He stared up through tear-streaked eyes and watched as a garbage worm picked him up by the ankle and uncoiled itself, its milky-white scales dirtied by dust and hydraulic oil.
Straen clawed at the garbage worms tail as it tightened around his ankle, lifting him higher into the air, it's gaping maw opening beneath him. The bag he held around his shoulder began to slip, and it fell from him. He reached out desperately and felt his fingers clamp shut around thel strap as it hung over the worms open mouth.
"Oh no you don't," a voice cried out. Straen wasn't sure, but it sounded different to the voice that had been taunting him. Bolts of energy tore through the gloom and slammed into the worms flank, shattering it's glass like scales. The creature groaned loudly, its grip on Straen's leg loosening. He fell to the floor, coughing painfully as a blur of white shot passed him and bowled into the worms side. He watched as the figure who had been chasing him clambered atop the creature and drew a pistol from their holster and began emptying plasma rounds into the creatures head. The worm let out a deafening, heart-stopping shriek and began to writhe uncontrollably, its whole body convulsing and wrapping itself up in tight knots. The figure held on tight, still firing more rounds into the milky-white head.
Straen did not stay to see more. While they fought, he scooped up the bag that had fallen a few feet from himself and ran as fast as he could.
The sounds of the shrieking garbage worm chased him along the winding paths of scrap, the haunting cries of its death finally silenced by the sharp staccato crack of a whole clip of plasma bolts searing through its skull. The silence that suddenly surrounded him was thick with fear and panic. Straen fumbled frantically along the path, his heart hammering in his chest.
He slipped around a corner, and up ahead, half buried within the artificial hillside of metal and rust, he saw the decaying hull of a small freighter. The outer layer of metal had been ripped open along the port side, revealing the hollow cargo bay within.
Footsteps behind him grew louder as they neared, and he took his chance. He sprinted across the open ground between him and the ship and dived into a pool of darkness.
The minutes felt like hours, and the hours felt like seconds as he crouched down in the shadowy corner of the cargo hold, staring at the opening that had been ripped in the hull, listening for any sounds of approaching danger. His hand tightened around the bag he held against his chest, feeling the reassuring pressure of its contents pressing against his chest.
The rumbling, metallic sounds of the collectors grew quieter as they crawled away through the scrap fields, scooping up piles of debris and dropping them into their crusher bays. Their search light grew smaller, eventually swallowed up by the smog that lingered between the artificial hills. The storm front passed, the thunderclaps fading into silence, leaving only the gentle tapping and hissing of acid rain as the droplets corroded through the rusted metal scattered around the planet.
In the near silence, Straen held his breath.
A deafening boom like the footsteps of a rancor rang through the hull, the ground beneath his feet shuddered violently. Dust and rust rained down from the shattered bulkheads above him as another giant footfall echoed through the dark, the while ship around him shifting a few meters down the slope. The creaking groan of metal filled the air and the ship jarred to a halt. Straen tumbled forwards and felt his head crack as he slammed into the hull. The groaning grew louder, the sound pierced by the shrieking sounds of ripping metal.
The hull around him shuddered and he felt it jerk upwards. The world outside the ripped hull began to move away, spinning around him. He thought it was the impact to his head, but his blood ran cold and his stomach dropped into darkness as realisation dawned upon him. A giant claw was ripping into the hull, tearing through the battered and broken skin of the ship like a talon through flesh. As it gripped, it pulled, and the freighter was torn from the scrap yard slope and dragged unwillingly back into the air.
Straen felt the floor begin to tip beneath him, and he slid helplessly towards the opening. He scrambled frantically at the smooth deck of the cargo hold, trying desperately to stop himself. His legs fell out through the hole in the bulkhead, the sudden lack of resistance against his body sending fresh waves of panic flooding through his body. He reached out blindly and he felt his fingers tighten around the jagged edge of the broken hull, the torn metal digging into his soft skin, and pain shooting along his arm. The hull continued to lift higher into the air, the razor sharp edge of the metal ripping into his hand as he gripped it with all his strength, warm blood seeping from the cuts, spreading between his fingers and making it difficult to hold on. His grip was slipping.
The strength in his arm suddenly vanished, and his hand slipped from the broken metal. He fell backwards through the air, tumbling wildly. His arms flailed helplessly as he tried to reach out for anything to stop his fall, but he knew there was nothing. The ground raced up towards him, his flailing arms spinning him around as he fell.
His back slammed hard against the side of the slope beneath him and he rolled down the metal covered hill, the wind knocked from his lungs, his hand and arm wet with blood.
The slope levelled out and he came to a rest on the flat, dusty surface between the piles of scrap. He lay face down, panic and fear causing every muscle in his body to tense. His hand stung where dirt and grit had fouled his wounded palm, and his lungs felt ablaze as the toxic air clung to his throats.
His eyes felt heavy as he struggled to see through the dust and the tears that clung to the edges of his vision. In the orange, rust filled twilight, a shadowy figure approached and knelt down in front of him.
"Wow, you look like you've been bathing on Mustafar," the figure said in a terrifyingly familiar voice. This was the man who had been chasing him. His mind screamed for him to tackle them and make a break for it, but his body would not listen. It could not move. Every inch of his body felt like it was made of stone.
"Please," Straen whispered. "Don't do this."
"I'm afraid I have to," the figure replied. "We offered you the chance to talk this out, but you decided to keep running. I'm a very particular kind of guy. I'll only offer you a way out once. If you don't take it, that's your problem." Straen looked up through watery eyes, and watched as the figure reached down and grabbed hold of him by the tunic.
The figure wore heavy white armour that looked vaguely familiar, and there was a blood red stripe running vertically down the middle. The arm that gripped his clothes glinted in the gloom, and as he finally looked up, he found himself staring into the menacing, red T-shaped visor of a Mandalorian. It all slotted together in his mind and he felt his blood run cold.
"I can pay you," he stammered quickly. "Name your price."
"Sorry, slug," the Mandalorian said simply tilting his head slightly aside. "Nothing personal. Just business." The Mandalorian leaned back slightly and slammed his helmeted head hard against the Ithorian's skull with a deafening crack.
Darkness crept around the edges of Straen's vision, and an icy numbness swept through his muscles. His whole body went limp.