View Full Version : "The Plains" - A Star Wars short story by me, JediTricks

06-11-2012, 01:43 AM
I wrote this a year and a half ago, from a shorter idea that's been in my head for a few years now, but didn't really know what to do with it until today when I finally polished it. I've broken it into 3 parts, I'll post the next parts tomorrow and the next day after, respectively, just to make it a little more Star Wars serial-like (plus this was supposed to be a MUCH shorter story). Also, I didn't really know what to title it until I really did a final finishing pass on it, so forgive that too. Anyway, here is...

The Plains
by JediTricks

Part One

An explosion just off to the side of the small squad of Clones threw fire and dirt into the air, cutting off the squad's retreat. Five troopers scattered, while their hovering support speeder-tank rocked from the impact and twisted violently. Out of control and running haywire, the tank dug into the ground, causing the craft to bend and flip over, slamming its turret hard into the ground. The troopers outside of the tank stumbled about trying to shake off their haze. Trooper "Savi" tore off his helmet, slowly swinging his head side to side as his ears rang and the world blurred in his vision. He could make out the bodies of two downed troopers, then saw the tank's condition: upside-down, trapping their commander and crew within. More explosions shredded the air around them as several patrols of the advancing Confederate forces drew closer, the marching of their feet growing louder and louder in the distance as they loomed ahead of the Clones, their numbers increasing as more and more squadrons fell into the lines.

The Republic squad, acting as advance scouts, had stumbled right into the enemy's staging area. With the Clones out of the way, the Confederacy of Independent Systems' ground army - with its simple battle droids, more advanced droids, and even a few contingents of live foot troops made up of mainly hired mercenaries - would easily sack the mining colony before the Grand Army of the Republic could finish getting their defenses in position.

"Clones! Find your feet! We have to free any survivors and get word back to the colony. Now!" Savi barked as he took temporary command of the remainder of the squad.

The four other troopers quickly surveyed the situation and, without any higher ranks, started arguing about what the next move should be: hold position and attempt to salvage the tank, grab the tank's mobile comm unit and run to high ground, or fall back immediately before checking to see if any of the tank crew had survived.

"The turret slammed into the ground first, the commander was in the turret, there's no way he survived that impact. We need to go!"

"We need to wait for reinforcements here, and that tank and its equipment are all we've got to do it."

“How are we going to get word to reinforcements to even find us?!? Holding here will get us killed long before they even know we're down! Let's get out of here.”

"No! Pay attention! This is what we're doing: You two, post up wide ahead, create a defense point – everybody else, give them your grenades and extra mags so they can repel the enemy while we check the tank. Be prepared to fall back quick when I call it out,” Savi pointed sharply with every order to the men he was addressing and each direction of their tasks. “Pense, you have a cutter, right? Get over there to that hatch, try to get in through there. We're going to try to lift up this end and see if anything's accessible. Get moving!" Savi's decisiveness caught the other troopers' off-guard and they snapped into action.

The plains between the CIS landing site and the colony didn't look formidable, but the soft earth of the area made it difficult for large forces to sack the vital, materials-rich mining colony. Heavier repulsor vehicles would dig in, the green grass plains would give way to loose dirt and mud, even ground forces had to spread out to avoid bogging down. The CIS army had planned for this by keeping regiments spaced apart, using only their smaller tanks while leaving the larger carriers behind at the landing site, and hiring a legion of battle-hardened "peace forces" - mercenaries, bounty hunters, and other scum who had no regard for civilians that might get in the way of their paychecks - to march with the army and think on their feet creatively (something the CIS droid forces lack in their strategies) to make up for the precious leadership that usually stay hidden in their heavier vehicles and would at bravest be taking up rear positions in an assault such as this.

The two troopers tasked with defending the squad moved up the gentle slope standing between them and the earliest wave of CIS forces. Taking position just below the top of the slope, the troopers crouched down and started firing and tossing grenades, being careful to pace themselves so as to not use up their limited munitions too soon. The slow, determined pace and hunkered position just below the crest of the slope let the Clones pick their shots, making more hits while enemy fire went mostly well over their heads or in the dirt. The gathering CIS lead patrols still had a bit of distance to cover before they got close enough to overrun the Clone's position, the droids were lousy shots and mainly won battles through sheer number alone. The Confederate tanks were further back, struggling with the difficult terrain, firing almost aimlessly in the Clones' general direction.

"Savi, come in. From our position up here, I'd say you guys have ten minutes before the enemy gets close enough to cut off our escape. We're sawing through these first patrols, but there's too many even on their front lines for us to make a dent in those main forces. We're taking them down a few at a time, but we're basically just confusing them into slowing down. Will let you know if details change. Over,"

"Copy that, Caj. Keep it up. Out," the makeshift leader responded into his wrist comm, then focusing his attention back to getting his squad-mates out of the tank. "Ok, let's get in there!"

The troopers had given up trying to lift up the tank, but the cutter was just about through the hatch that had been compromised by the blast. Trooper Pense moved the panel free, Savi dropped down and slowly pulled himself into the twisted hulk's main cockpit. It wasn't terribly cavernous within, but was dark and full of smoke, only the faint glow of the few remaining working control panels visible. Savi brushed something and an arm suddenly dropped from above, the elbow-pad of its smoldering armor loudly clattering down, causing Savi to jump. The trooper squinted to make out the tank's gunner, dead, his body twisted and burned from the hit, upside-down, still anchored into his chair by the seatbelt.

“Nobody survived that! Come on, let's get out of here before it's too late!” Pense said, having pulled his head in and seen the dead gunner.

Savi, still tense, was startled by Pense's words, then brusquely responded, “No, we need to find the commander!”

Checking the driver's seat and seeing it empty, Savi called out and heard a groan. He followed it and found the driver crumpled behind the seat on the tank's ceiling, now acting as its floor. Savi checked the driver: alive, but nearly unconscious.

“Help me get the pilot out.” The other two troopers got into the tank and pulled the driver out, their progress slowed by their armor plates snagging all around them.

“You get him back on his feet and then get up to the defense point. Pense, give me your cutter, the hatch to the turret is almost certainly jammed, I'm going to try to get to the commander,” Savi ordered, his words barely audible over the cacophony of scraping armor.

The temporary leader crawled towards the back of the tank, found the hatch, confirmed it was indeed stuck, and pounded on it loudly, hoping for a reply which didn't come. The smoke was thicker in the area; once Savi got the cutter going, the air was nearly unbreathable and he started to choke. Turning his head, Savi cursed at leaving his helmet - with its air scrubbers - out on the battlefield.

Savi's wrist comm screeched to life, “Six minutes at the most. We're holding out up here, but just barely. Come on, clones, let's go.” barely audible through the sound of blaster fire and a grenade going off.

Caj's report was short and to the point, Savi was running out of time, the first wave of droid patrols was nearly on top of their position. Savi pulled himself up and de-focused the cutter beam to cover more area as a last-ditch effort. Suddenly, the hatch broke out where it had been cut, the commander kicking it from the other side.

“Commander Foll? I'm cutting my way in! Can you see from in there where the hatch is stuck?”

“I can't see a damned thing, clone, pitch black. How bad is it out there?”

“It's Savi, sir. We've got less than five minutes before our position is over-run, but I'm getting you out first.”

“Savi, our intel needs to get to the colony, that's priority! Leave me!”

“Sir, there's only 6 of us left out here, including the wounded pilot! Getting you free increases our chances of returning alive! Now shut up so I can concentrate on getting this damned hatch freed!”

“Yes 'sir'!” Commander Foll sarcastically replied, having seen the wisdom in his subordinate's argument.

The commander kept kicking out the panel when Savi's cutter cut through the hinge, causing the hatch to suddenly burst open, knocking both the commander and trooper forward to the ground as the smoke swirled violently around them and rushed to fill the turret compartment. The commander started inching his way forward on his stomach, while Savi twisted around trying to get upright.

“Soldier, let's get going.” the commander yelled, adrenaline shaking him more alert to the dire situation.

“Sir, yes sir! Anything we should salvage from the tank first?”

“Good thinking, clone! There should be a few ammo belts and rifles somewhere around here. I'll find them, you grab the RPS in the compartment up above your left.”

Savi opened the compartment, and out fell the meter-and-a-quarter-long box. He pushed it past Commander Foll, then poked at his wrist comm. “Troopers, pull the line back, we're withdrawing! Move!”

Foll busily maneuvered the RPS-6 box through the main hatch into the hands of another clone, then he and Savi followed it out. Both trooper and commander coughed and squinted as they readjusted to the air outside. The injured tank driver was sitting on the ground propped up against the hull, rubbing his shoulder, a fog still over his eyes. Blaster fire was filling the air overhead along with the occasional tank blast.

Savi craned his neck to see three of his men at the top of the slope, frantically going through their ordinance.

“Boys, get back here now! We're leaving!” Savi called to them.

“Situation report,” Foll barked at Pense.

“Commander! Enemy patrol's tank fired a blast onto our position, two of ours' down. Blast struck your tank, killing the gunner and causing the tank to dig in and flip. Three of ours are up at the top of that ridge holding off the enemy patrols. The pilot here is dazed, I've sealed and wrapped his injuries. Less than four minutes before enemy overruns us. At last look: dozens of light tanks, a couple regiments of CIS droids plus a number of Confederate fleshies – angry mercs. They've jammed our longrange comms.”

The commander pursed his mouth in frustration. “Damn, no way the seven of us are going to hold that off for even a minute. Savi, get your men back here! We need to get this intel to command back at the colony defenses or they're gonna get overrun before reinforcements can arrive. Pense, get that man back on his feet and find him a weapon!”

Trooper Caj fell back first, running down the slope towards the crash site while the other two troopers up there covered his retreat as they slowly withdrew backwards.

“Pardon me, sir,” Caj mumbled as he ran past the commander.

Caj slid to his knees, flipped open the RPS-6 box and quickly pulled out the shoulder-mounted rocket launcher and the first two of its dozen rockets. In one fluid motion, Caj spun around, stood up, started running, loaded the first rocket into the launcher as he slung it over his shoulder, and tore back up towards the slope.

“Good to see you back on your feet, commander.” Caj commented to his leader as if without a concern in the galaxy, along with a salute that involved banging against his helmet the second, unloaded rocket which Caj had just dropped from under his arm into in his left hand, all while rushing back up the shallow hill.

Commander Foll's eyes opened wide in surprise from the exchange, then put his own helmet back on and took a moment to watch the speedy trooper make the crest of the hill and fire the launcher, spin on his heels, and start back down the slope - again in a single, fluid, almost carefree movement. Two beats later, the sound of a Confederate tank exploding filled the air, instantly followed by a bright orange fireball over the slope's horizon.

“Sir, all present and accounted for. Let's get the hell out of here, sir,” Savi reported to his commander, standing at attention to signify his relinquishing of command.

“Alright Mern Squd, withdraw, double-time! Clones, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here!” Commander Foll ordered.

06-12-2012, 04:04 AM
(Changing it up to 24 hours break, I don't know if I'll have time to keep any longer schedule than that, things are a little crazy the next few weeks for me. Here's the next installment of...)

The Plains
by JediTricks

Part Two

The remaining members of Mern Squad dashed over the rolling plains, several CIS droid patrols just a few klicks behind them, and past those patrols an advancing enemy army poised to strike at the heart of one of the more important materials and munitions caches of the Republic military. The clone troopers' armor was caking with grass and mud; their progress slowed by the soft, giving ground which they hoped would be at least as challenging to the droid army. Commander Foll ordered everybody to keep their eyes out for natural cover of the terrain, though on these plains there wasn't much of anything except gentle slopes and shallow valleys, not even trees. The plains had made the unassuming-looking colony a stronghold, using the land's natural challenges as a strong defense, but the Confederate strategists had been working out for months a method to sack it.

Every few minutes, the clones would split off into two groups, one finding cover and returning fire on the droid patrols, the other falling back to find escape routes. The battle was draining, but the clones knew they had fallen into an incredibly vital task, one which could have consequences the breadth of the known galaxy by crippling the Republic's war efforts if they did not get word to the colony and slow the enemy.

The day wore on as the clones continued their withdrawal, repeating their only available strategy over and over, taking solace in the fact that the simple battle droids kept falling for the same tactics time and time again without their more intelligent, creative leadership nearby. However, a few of the mercenary squads had caught up to the droid patrols, and were getting wise to the clone troopers' actions. The CIS army was drawing up behind the handful of Republic troopers known as Mern Squad – the clones' time for escape was running out.

Commander Foll flipped down his binocular visor and surveyed the area they were coming upon next, then tapped the comm in his helmet. “Troopers, listen up, there's a gulley coming up, the enemy patrols are going to have a hard time crossing it, so we need to make a run for it once we get across. We're going to have about twenty more klicks to go after that.”

The other members of the squad confirmed receipt of the commander's message, then steeled themselves for a change in tactics. They knew their stop-and-go tactics would no longer serve as the CIS front lines grew closer, so fast-retreat was the only option available. The prospect of running the entire rest of the way back was demoralizing; the notion seemed hopeless, they'd have half an hour or so without the enemy at their heels, but once the enemy had crossed that gulley they'd move much quicker, and in greater numbers. At that point, each clone knew it'd be a mynock-hunt, and they didn't much like their squad being painted in the role of the mynocks.

“Sir, I remember over that ridge and off to the right was the border of a forest, can't we get into there?!?”

“Dart, shut up. The commander knows what he's doing.” Savi shouted at his fellow trooper. “We're going do everything we can to keep the colony from getting taken, that's what we're going to do here!”

Pense chimed in, “Dart, it's our duty as clones to take on hopeless missions. Does it get any more hopeless than this? So we're fulfilling our destinies, just like the Jedi are always talking about.”

“Oh, hooray,” Savi sarcastically muttered to himself.

Dart was having none of it, and ran with the sentiment's frustration. “Where are the Jedi anyway?!? Shouldn't our 'great generals' be here helping us save democracy and righteousness from the forces of evil?!? Shouldn't they be supplanting our lines as the rest of us clones get in position?!?”

“Dart, shut your damned mouth!” Commander Foll barked out in full voice. “All of our forces are spread thin right now: clones, Jedi, everyone, across the entire galaxy! The Jedi are doing their best to save the colony, they know what it means, they'll get here when they can! I'll have no more of this talk, now keep moving!”

The squad kept going in stunned silence, each member feeling some level of similitude in Dart's complaint. The uncomfortable quiet was broken only by the tank pilot's two coughs.

After a few minutes, Caj moved closer to the commander and spoke softly. “Sir, if you don't mind me saying, Dart's question isn't entirely out of line, even if the way he asked it was.”

“Caj, please, not...” Foll started to respond.

Trooper Caj continued unabated in calm voice, “here we are, started out as a simple scouting mission, and we run right into the bulk of the Confederate army. We get hurt, we lose men on our simple mission. We all know what the stakes are and we fight hard. Not to survive, we know that's futile, but we're pushing hard to serve.”

“What's your point?”

“Right now, we're serving not the people of the Republic, not the Admiralty, not the Jedi, but time. We're trying to push back the clock, and that master has no face, no medals to pin on chests, no battlefronts to plant flags on. The day is fading, literally and figuratively, and we've got no view of a completable mission in our sights. I don't mind it too much, but most clones are bred to find that... I don't know...”

“- challenging.” Savi interjected by completing Caj's thought, having overheard Caj and Foll's exchange.

Commander Foll thought in silence for a moment, then spoke up in a serious but calm voice.

“Dart, would it make it any better if I told you that over the next ridge were hundreds of Jedi, that just a klick away was that Jedi army you were talking about?”

“Do you know of such a thing?” Dart responded with tinges of anger, resentment, and a tiny hint of hope in his voice.

“I don't, but would it make you feel any better?”

“Damn it, of course!”

“Well, then over the next ridge, there's hundreds of Jedi waiting for us to arrive.”

“That's stupid, sir!” Dart blurted out, again unable to contain himself. “You and I both know it's not true! We're all alone out here and the machines are about to stomp us under their damned heels!”

Foll responded coolly, “Look, Dart, neither of us knows if it's not true. I don't know it to be false or not, and as your commander, anything you know comes from what I know, right? So, over the next ridge, thousands of Jedi, ready to stop the enemy in their tracks. Just keep doing your job and watching that next ridge.”

“I don't understand, sir.”

“I'm telling you that over the next ridge will be the Jedi. And when we get to that ridge, I'll tell you the same. And at the next ridge, and the next ridge after those. And when we get back to base, you'll tell me I'm wrong... and I'll remind you that we're back at base.”

“I... but...” Dart stopped walking for a second, confused, then started back up.

Commander Foll drove his point home. “Listen to me, Trooper 3370 – Dart - we clones may be bred to fight, but none of us are destined to die today. Even if we do perish, it's not written, we haven't died yet, got it?”

“Uh, aye, sir.”

“Good man. Carry on, then, clone.”

Foll puffed up his chest slightly and picked up his pace with the determined strides of command. Dart moved towards Savi and remained silent for a moment.

“That make you feel any better?” Savi asked the baffled trooper.

“I have no idea. It sounded good, but I'm not so sure I got his meaning.”

“Well, at the very least, now you're concentrating on your confusion instead of your fear and anger.”

“... I guess so. Yeah, huh?”

Caj strolled between the two troopers and offhandedly remarked, “that forest is actually a swamp, by the way.”

Savi and Dart, stunned, stopped in their tracks. Caj kept on walking.

“Come on, Mern Squad, let's get across that gulley! Now!” Commander Foll called out to the entire squad. “Maybe that stream's water will wash some of the dirt you lazy clones got all over your armor, get you back in shiny shape!”

Dart and Savi snapped out of it and hustled up to the rest of the squad.

06-13-2012, 04:37 PM
(Sorry about missing the post date by 12 hours, as if anybody cared. :-P Like I said, crazy times right now. Anyway, here's the conclusion to...)

The Plains
by JediTricks

Part Three

The day burned on as the clone troopers of Mern Squad repeated over and over the use of hit and run tactics, using the plains' rolling terrain to bog down the bulkier Confederate lead forces. Yet each time, those front lines got closer and closer, able to close the gap more swiftly once past those natural barricades since they didn't suffer fatigue. The lead that the small band of clones enjoyed was closing with each engagement. The clone troopers' energy and munitions were slowly grinding down from each engagement with those advance droid patrols. Trooper Omal was killed during one of those skirmishes, taking a direct hit in the chest. The chatter and banter which had kept the squad going was now quiet due to focus and reserving energy; their sole comments being terse battle and tactical responses.

The terrain ahead was lush and picturesque, but the troopers could only now appreciate it for its slight tactical advantages, the land more forgiving to a small, fluid squad than the vast army which filled the view behind. Gullies, gentle dells and valleys, and slight rises in most every direction, and all of it on soft ground. Hours passed, the sun above had crossed over the squad's shoulders into their eyes, dusk was starting to fall, yet there was still a lot of ground to cover and no one was quite sure how much. Each trooper knew that once the sun had set, their single strategic advantage of leading the advancing lines to rougher terrain would be lost, so every second was vital. The brief calms between firefights were spent on fast feet yet were the closest thing each clone had to a rest.

Finally, as the squad approached the bank of a stream at the bottom of a glen, Commander Foll held up his hand to issue a stop and simple order. “Take a moment, boys.”

The squad relaxed their postures and hung their heads, then removed their helmets. Nallo, the tank pilot, and Dart started drinking from the stream; each time Nallo leaned down to get another mouthful he winced from his injuries. Savi started counting remaining munitions. Pence stood in place and closed his eyes, each slow breath a loud sigh. Caj sat down on the slight incline, lifted his head to take in the scenery, and pulled off his glove to feel the blades of grass between his fingers. Commander Foll walked over next to Dart.

“How is it, soldier?”

“Cool, clean enough.”

Foll leaned over and cupped some water up to his mouth, his gloves keeping the water from running back out. He took a second drink, noticed Dart hadn't yet set down his blaster, and lightly patted Dart on the shoulder.

“How's the injury, Nallo?” Foll asked, intentionally minimizing any acknowledgement that the tank pilot had sustained a number of injuries, first from the crash, then several glancing hits from droid fire, so as not to suggest the wounded man was slowing the squad down.

“A few scrapes, a broken rib, otherwise fine, sir.”

“Good man. Take my medkit, see if that'll cover up some of those scrapes, eh?”

“Sir, please, you keep it, you might need it. I'll be alright. And if I'm slowing you down, you can just leave me...”

Foll interrupted with quiet authority, “None of that now, Nallo. You have a gun, you know how to use your feet, you stay with the squad.”

“Aye, sir.” Nallo took the medkit and started taping his ribs.

The squad leader spotted Savi, still at work checking weapons and counting ammo, and walked over to him.

“How are we, soldier?”

“Pretty low, sir. We'll be out of grenades in one or two more engagements. And we're down to one rocket, so we can leave the crate here, that should save some weight.”

“I see.”

“Might I also suggest we shed a couple rifles? If we concentrate their remaining ammo and give them to our best two shots, they might hold out a little longer in our current strategy.”

“Good thinking. Any suggestions for riflemen?”

“Caj is our best shot, you're not so bad either, sir.”

“Caj and me, then. For a regular-training clone, you seem more qualified than many officers I know. When we make it back, I'm going to ask that your field-promotion become permanent, 'lieutenant'.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Commander Foll gave the order to get a final drink in, then cross and regroup. The sound of light slurping filled the moment, followed by armored footfalls splashing through the babbling, shallow stream in orderly fashion. On the bank, the troopers slipped their helmets back on and checked their weapons. Savi quickly explained the change in tactics to everybody - each team getting a single rifleman to cover the other team as it would fall back, the other team members doing their best with their shorter DC-15s carbines – then walked over to Caj and handed him a rifle. Caj tightened the strap on his rifle and nodded.

The squad made its way to the top of the soft dale, stepping into the light of the sun now low on the horizon, no more than an hour's light left before sundown. Foll turned back to scout the enemy, he put his hand to drop his binocular visor over his eyes but stopped when he saw how close three CIS patrols were, each of which made up partly of mercenaries. Pence cursed the white of his armor to himself as it would surely give away their position any moment.

Trooper Dart turned to his squad leader. “The Jedi, sir?”

“Over the next ridge.”

The troopers of Mern Squad were running at top speed as their last rocket impacted in the middle of the chasing patrol. The rocket sent mercs and droids into the air. The surviving mercenaries scrambled for cover from the explosion while their droid compatriots stepped over body parts to continue advancing. The last thirty minutes had been grueling skirmishes, each clone's armor now covered with sooty blast marks and glancing hits. Pride of the Republic, each trooper kept their feet under them as injury and exhaustion threatened to send them crashing under the heels of the enemy forces. Explosions rocked either side of the squad's path as both three-trooper teams serpentined back and forth, turned and fired, covered the other team, then retreated again. The quick-thinking CIS-hired peacekeepers not only led their droid patrols, but inch by inch closed the space around the retreating Republic squad.

Savi smashed his wrist-comm and yelled into it. “Commander, maybe your team should split off entirely, we can cover, give you guys a better chance! At least split the enemy's focus better!”

“Negative! We stick together! It's too late for that now anyway, that'll have to be a discipline mark in my file: 'got squad killed – minus ten points.' Sorry about that, boys!”

“No problem, Commander,” Caj replied, without a hint of sarcasm.

The squad frantically scrambled as a well-placed shot from a tank ripped between them. Now running and firing over their shoulders, slapping fresh magazines into their weapons with every last ounce of precision their genetic makeup and training afforded them, the squad realized the lowlands they were being herded into favored the Droid Army considerably.

Into the lowlands, enemy troops began to mass with their lead patrols, attempting to outflank the clone squad before closing the net. These CIS frontline forces were now acting cautiously and in unison, temporarily giving Mern Squad a wide berth as the mercenary-led droid forces began to form a moving crescent line which would swallow the Republic scouts as soon as they could get far enough around. Each clone's head swiveled to and fro as they ran, picking out targets and firing on the move to keep the enemy from getting further into its flanking position, until nearly every moment became a delirious blur. Confederate tanks held to the rear lines of the primary engagement, not wanting to risk their fire sending message to the colony's defenses, while staying close enough to intimidate any clone trooper whose eyes fell upon them.

The Republic squad met back up in the middle, the incoming fire was thinning as the enemy's confidence in their trap grew. The clones' determination to hold back the sea of closing droids was steadfast yet frenzied as they continued to wheel their weapons around and lay waste to any targets trying to advance parallel to their running line.

Clone trooper Dart spun his blaster around the front of him. His eyes grew large as he returned his gaze to the horizon ahead, then screamed out, “Front!!!”

The other five troopers looked to where they had been heading. On the ridge of the lowlands, with the sun setting behind it, stood more forces. The clones of Mern Squad had been so busy trying to stem the horde of Confederate troops that they hadn't noticed a second line of forces ahead, a tide waiting to wash down on them. The sun behind this regiment silhouetted a line stretching as far as the eye could see.

The clones, having been up until now successful at staying ahead of the enemy war machine, were stunned at the realization that they had been so deftly outmaneuvered. Dazed, one by one each clone's focus melted away; all firing stopped, both incoming and outgoing. As the ringing of Dart's yell faded, everything grew quiet - a silence so starkly contrasted from a mere moment before that it was as if the universe itself was holding its breath. It was as if they were isolated in a bubble surrounded by a vacuum, the only sounds each trooper heard were the quiet creaking of their armor and gloves, and the tiny breaths their bodies were using to hold back the gasping their exhausted lungs were begging to take. Mern Squad was ensnared; they had not sounded the alarm in time, they had not held back the armies of the Confederacy of Independent Systems long enough for the Republic to even build the normal defenses they had planned, much less a readied legion that could successfully hold the colony; Count Dooku's strategists had chosen the exact right time to strike at the stretched-thin Republic Army precisely it was vulnerable - time seemed to stand still as each clone's feelings echoed similar sentiments, while not a thought, not a piece of training, not a reflex action could break through the stunned troopers' states. The band of clones stood, staring at the ridge ahead of them topped with a wall that they had no hope of breaking through... a wall of unmoving forces, standing, watching, choosing whatever time they wanted to strike. Even the sun itself now becoming part of that wall, another of the clones' enemies as they stared at the backlit silhouettes.

Breaking through the stillness, a blast of light emitted from the center of the ridgetop and hung in mid-air about a meter, then another rose next to it, and another, and another. Emanating one by one from the center, a wave of green, blue, and yellow lights rose on the ridgeline cascading outwards in both directions, picking up pace the further it traveled. As the line of sustained lights grew in number, an electric hum began to fill the air. Within a few moments, the entire ridgeline was topped with lightsabers, stretching the whole horizon, with the sun at their backs.

The Jedi were on that next ridge.

- - -

06-13-2012, 04:48 PM
There you have it, "The Plains", a story that was meant to be 3 paragraphs at the most but became 11 pages, 5,600 words. :p This was the first piece of personal creative writing I've done since grade school, hopefully it doesn't come off that as stuck in that range. ;)

Anyway, thanks to the handful of people who read it, I hope you enjoyed it, that you got a sense of the pacing and action and personal drama that I think would have to come out of the Star Wars universe.

If you have any questions, comments, tomatoes to throw, etc., feel free to let me know.