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machievelli
10-18-2008, 12:06 AM
Family of Choice

Aliit ori'shya taldin - Family is more than blood.

Merisa sighed, kneeling upright from the weeding. The grain fields were a bronze sheet waving gently in the wind. Her old bones creaked at the labor, but she had learned not to complain when she was young. Pain meant you were still alive.

The children, ba-ad most of them, worked diligently. When Ba-buir was working hard, they wanted to prove worthy. She loved them all, those of her own blood no more or less than those by adoption. She bent back to work.

There was a booming sound, and her head snapped up. A single speck moved up there, sweeping into a turn to spill acceleration. It was a flat oblate shape with square protrusions in the front. A ship, and not one made locally. She stood, brushing off her knees. “Yaim.” She snapped. The children looked up, not frightened, expectant. She motioned toward the house, and the children grabbed their tools before jogging to safety. The ship didn’t mean an attack, but training and old habits die hard.

She reached the door, and her eldest, Kiara, handed her the locally made projectile rifle. The twenty year old held her own weapon, a Verpine blaster rifle. The girl held out the hand held pad that was tied to approach sensors.

The ship had slowed to landing speed, and was coming in. As it did, it fluttered as if the pilot had suddenly been slapped in the head. Merisa relaxed minutely. “A friend, I think.”

The ship flaired out, jets flashing down. Now she knew it was a friend. It was in the fallow field. She didn’t recognize the type, but that didn’t mean anything. The ramp came down, and the first person down caught her interest. She safed the rifle, stepping into the sunlight.

He looked up at he, and a small smile creased his feature. He was an old man, but she loved it when he came home.

“Candi’ka. Su cuy'gar.” She whispered. Then her elder brother wrapped her in his arms.

They watched as the others came down the ramp. Two human women with a child, a Cathar a Twi-Lek a Wookiee and two droids. An odd mix for any place. Her brother let her go, waving toward his comrades. “Meri’ka.“ he waved at the people behind him. “Vod.”

She nodded. Just as it had been so long ago…
*****

50 years earlier…

Merisa Saiadi stood at the counter, patiently cutting vegetables. A perfectly domestic scene marred only because she stood on a bucket. Her red hair was tied back in a fall with the hair held at 100 millimeter segments by ties. Her mother said the hair was her best feature, long and as straight as a die. Behind her her parents were arguing… Again.

At nine, she was a quiet child, used to listening to her parents discuss things rather than making noise herself. She didn’t think much of ‘politics’ which seemed to be most of the discussion material. But she loved the way her father would get fiery eyed, speaking as if his audience wasn’t one woman who tried to calm him down, and a child who looked up to him with unreserved love.

“I mean it, the weapons control bill they passed last month was the last straw.” He snarled. “With all of the nerf disarmed, what stops them from just shooting us when we complain?”

“Did you post to the net again Fro?” Her mother asked.

“Of course I did Tirith.” He snorted. “The day they can pass a law like that without me complaining is the day after I’m dead.”

Merisa looked out of the window, seeing a group of strangely maneuvering craft come over the edge of their farm land. “Father. Someone’s coming.”

He stood, sipping from his cup as he looked out. Then he tensed. Tir, Merisa get in the living room.”

“Father?” Merisa asked.

“Now.”

It was going to happen someday, both of her parents were sure of it. When Fro had ignored warning after warning, the Government would have to do something. Today was the day. The ships separated and landed out of range as men doubled out to deploy.

The family moved to the living room. Her brother Casi was coming down the stairs looking terrified. “Poppa, it’s the Government!”

“I know, son.” Fro bent down. Pulling aside the carpet, he lay his hand flat on a section just like the rest of the hardwood floor. There was a snap, and a section half a meter square popped up. “Casi, lead the way.” He handed the boy a submachine gun already loaded. “Down into the tunnel.”

The fifteen year old nodded. He ran to the basement door, opening it. His father handed his wife a rifle, then looked at his youngest. He took out the 8.5mm training pistol, “ Merisa stay between your mother and Casi. You know what to do if anyone tries to hurt you.”

“Fro Becket, you are under arrest for sedition against proper authority.” A loud-hailer outside roared. “Come out with you hand empty or we’ll come in.”

Casi caught the switch for the escape tunnel, pulling with all of his might. The panel began to shift and he saw something, turning to grab the trip lever. A blaster bolt caught him, chest exploding as he pulled it down, the explosives first turning the attackers into puree, then burying them as it collapsed.

“Casi!” Tirith screamed, running down the steps. She caught his body up, holding his corpse as she cried.

“Obviously we know about the tunnel, Becket.” The voice commented unnecessarily. “The door is the only way out. Straight up or on a slab, your choice.”

“Tirith.” Fro had to call her several times. “Go in the kitchen, Tirith. Put the gun down, don’t resist them. You’ll be safe.”

“Fro-”

“No, Tirith.” He gave her a sad smile. “Even if I were unarmed and stark naked they’d find some way to have me shot while escaping. You and Merisa will be safe if I’m dead.”

Tirith set the rifle down, walking into the kitchen. Merisa looked at her father. The world would end he wasn’t in it any more. She looked at him, and her hands one cupping the butt as she had been taught held the weapon up over her shoulder.

He smiled, she could see his heart breaking. He knelt, laying a rough hand on her head. “Mer-love go with your-”

Her hands came down, and the gun barked. On the edge of the porch a figure staggered, then moved back.

“Earn your pay.” The voice outside snarled. Suddenly a dozen weapons fired, raking the house at just above waist level, yet her mind recorded that the lanes of fire were wide of her and her parents. It was meant to pin them down rather than kill. Merisa ducked as the house shook. The fire was impressive but curiously gentle. Anyone who tried to return fire would be cut in half.

Then the door exploded in, as did the windows. People in armor came through the openings. Her father spun, his shoulder knocking her down, and his rifle barked once.

Three weapons came up, and what was left of him didn’t look remotely human as it collapsed to the floor.

One of the killers walked over, shoving what remained of the rifle away from the skeletal hand, then bent to grab Merisa.

She was dead, she knew that, but she didn’t let it bother her. Like the shooting range she lowered her gun, the sights clear in her eyes, and as they lined up she squeezed the trigger, firing four shots.

The armor was proof against such insignificant weaponry, but the visor did offer less defense, and the third bullet punched through it. The man paused as if he were surprised, then fell backward away from her.

Heartened, she spun on her butt, aiming at another as a hand caught her arms. A grip hard enough to hurt squeezed until she let go of the weapon. The hand pulled her to her feet, and the person in a light blue armor looked at her for a long moment before releasing her. A hand came up, one finger raised, and moved it like a metronome.

Without a sound the one she had killed was checked. One of them pulled the helmet free, revealing a middle aged face covered in blood. The one that had taken the helmet off shook it’s head, then in a manner she was sure was amused, presented her with it. Numbly she took it, holding it like a beloved doll.

A man stalked in, his long coat flapping. Three more dressed the same way followed. “Report, renters.” He snarled.

“One neutralized here, one below. The woman is in the kitchen. She has a rifle but it is on the table a meter from her.”

The snarly local man motioned with his head, and two of his men stalked on.

Suddenly her mother screamed, a long tearing sound as if her soul was being ripped from her body. Merisa tried to leap toward the scream, but a hand held her pinned. The figure, a slim person in a green armor held her as immobile as a bug in amber. The men came back, one of them wiping a blade.

“Well she was armed after all.” The local said. Then his eye caught Merisa. She expected to die, and her head came up as she glared defiantly at him.

“Well I see there’s one left.”

“And what does that mean?” The figure in green asked. Merisa was surprised to hear a woman’s voice.

The local looked at her. “Surely you people can’t be that naïve.” He said, voice oozing with sarcasm. “Rebellion must be rooted out down to the last seed. Every scrap of it must be excised like a rotted limb.”

“You’re mixing your metaphors badly.” The warrior woman replied. She pointed, and the one kneeling by the body lifted the head, removing a necklace with a curious crystal on it. The chain passed from hand to hand, and the warrior woman took it, spinning Marisa around to face her. The gloved hands gently separated the chain, blood still on it, and settled it around Merisa’s neck.

Then she was turned to face the local man again. This time the hand came down almost like a sister holding a younger sibling. ‘Sa'ad. You got a problem with that?.”

Litofsky
10-18-2008, 12:25 AM
Very interesting, Mach. For some reason, I thought that the planet these events took place on was Dantooine (it popped into my mind, for some reason). I have a feeling I'm incorrect, but I just wanted to put that out there.

I very much so enjoyed how you described a government taking more and more power for (themselves?), and how one family would perish in their attempt to resist. I found it interesting, as well, that one of the women mentioned rebellion as though it were a common problem, instead of an isolated event (the latter being my expectation).

Finally, I thought it was more so interesting that the word "Government" was capitalized, as opposed to "government." This suggests that the Government is more an omnipotent force on this planet/system, as opposed to a elected government.

I enjoyed the descriptions, and the family seemed very Jefferson-esque to me (if I recall correctly, Jefferson advocated an agrarian society for its values, and rebellion if the government grew too oppressive).

Again, a very nice start to the fic.

Endorenna
10-18-2008, 12:39 AM
Very enjoyable read, Mach. :) Can't wait for the next chapter!

Rev7
10-18-2008, 03:58 PM
Good job Mach!

Yeah, it feels like the setting is on Dantooine as well. Regardless, it was a very good chapter and I look forward to the next chapter.

Tysyacha
10-18-2008, 07:59 PM
This story makes me think about the families we have, and in some respects, the families we choose to have through forming deep relationships with them. I especially liked this because unlike most Mandalorian stories I've read, this one wasn't exclusively about war or bounty hunting. It shows that even the galaxy's most bloodthirsty humanoid killers know when someone is oppressing them, and when to fight back. Merisa sounds like my kind of gal, and I hope you write more to this tale!

CommanderQ
10-19-2008, 01:46 PM
This story is great, I hope you decide to add more. I really enjoy how you made the Mandalorians into human characters that we can relate to and not just, as Tysyacha put it, bloodthirsty humanoid killers. That, and many other values in this story, make it an excellent read.

machievelli
10-20-2008, 12:00 AM
This story is great, I hope you decide to add more. I really enjoy how you made the Mandalorians into human characters that we can relate to and not just, as Tysyacha put it, bloodthirsty humanoid killers. That, and many other values in this story, make it an excellent read.

If you read my commentary in the Resource center, you will notice (As any who have read my other work would recognize) that I am irritated by the 'warrior= homicidal maniac' attitude. As Karen Traviss commented in her work, to the Mandalorians, there is no word for hero. A Mando'a is supposed to consider his society and people more important than he is. So dying for them is expected. That is why they have a word for coward, but not one for hero.

You cannot properly judge a society unless you understand their rules; something Americans fail at consistently

Endorenna
10-20-2008, 01:10 AM
Quite true. That's something that irritates me, as well.

Any idea when the next chapter will be ready?

JediMaster12
10-20-2008, 01:51 PM
As always it is a pleasure to read your work mach.

I quite agree with you on the annoyance of the warrior=homicidal maniac stereotype. Even I didn't agree with the alignment of Canderous in the game. Still your ability to put into perspective the human side of things is very well crafted in this piece and I enjoyed it. Looking forward to more.

machievelli
10-21-2008, 12:04 AM
Quite true. That's something that irritates me, as well.

Any idea when the next chapter will be ready? My favorite comment on how stupid American Politicians can be is the comment made in 1948 by the American Ambassador to the United Nations when he called upon the Arabs and Israelis to stop fighting like 'good Christians'. And no, I am not kidding.

The next chapter will be by the weekend, that is my week end, thurs or friday

Rev7
10-21-2008, 12:33 AM
You cannot properly judge a society unless you understand their rules; something Americans fail at consistently
Some people are quite ethnocentric. :(

machievelli
10-22-2008, 01:45 AM
Today

The children came out to look at the odd group. The older man motioned as two men, one younger, the other older even than him joined them. “Carth Onasi, Republic Navy Commander. Zaalbar, Mission Vao. Jetiise Jolee, Juhani, Sasha Ot Sulem Shiralin Bastila Shan Che Revan Chandar Bai Echani and her mothers Bastila-Shan Desurita, Revan Chandar Bai Echani, and Revan Chandar Bai Echani Desurita, Che Bastila-Shan, Mand’alor.”

Merisa looked up at the bane of the Mando’a. She looked, damn it, she was young and cute! She nodded. “Welcome to our home. Kiara, cold platters.”

“No need.” Her brother held out a hand. “We can wait until supper. We’ll find something to do.”

“Always something to do.” Merisa said with a wry grin. She looked at the women. “Who is good at cooking?”

The men laughed. “Zaalbar is pretty good. I wouldn’t trust the women to boil water.” Her brother said between chuckles.

“Hey!’ Mission squealed. “I can boil water!”

“And I can cut vegetables.” Sasha put in.

Merisa smiled gently at the small child. So like she had been so many years before. “That I can use.” She said dryly. She looked at the huge Wookiee. “Vegetables or meat big guy?”

“I eat meat.” Zaalbar growled. “The little one can cut everything else.”

Merisa looked away, feeling another smile threatening. “Even water if boiled properly.”

Everyone laughed as Mission squealed in protest again.

It had been a long time since the house had been this full. The human men Carth and Jolee were up on the roof, and she could hear the screech of old shingles being ripped out and replaced as the new were hammered down. The small astromech was working on the communications system with the hulking droid that pretended to be a protocol droid. The women had led the children back out, and were weeding the grain field as if they’d done it all their lives.

Jetiise. She shook her head in amusement as she dumped yet another board of chopped meat into the stew. Jetiise fixing the roof, weeding the fields chopping the farrow root beside her. Some things are inconceivable.

The little girl tapped her arm, vegetables ready. She looked up, looking maybe for approval…love.

*****

Fifty years earlier

“What?” The Government man stared at the Mando’a woman. “She’s part of this and she dies.”

The woman beside her looked down. “Girl, Kikacyi’tayl gar sa’ad.” Then she looked at the man, her contempt clear. “She is Mando’a now. Touch my daughter and you die.” She bent, picking up the pistol. She held it out to Merisa. “Hold this for me sa’ad.”

Numbly Merisa took the weapon. Then she looked at the fuming Government man. She felt a smile tug at her lips.

“I said-”
“Oya, Manda!” The woman growled. The other warriors lowered their weapons. The Government man froze, facing a pack of professional predators, not a jackal like himself. “Under the revised contract, we can claim children for adoption. Want to rewrite that contract in blood?”

“I have fifty men outside-”

“Who needed half a dozen of us to do the job, D’Kut.” The woman interrupted. “Fifty or five hundred, we’ll go through them like a dose of salts. I repeat, government man. Do you want to rewrite the contract in blood? Starting with yours?”

The man looked from helmet to helmet, maybe judging the odds. Merisa could swear she could see fear in that face. Then he looked at the girl and she saw a look of such loathing, she wondered what she might have done to deserve it.

“She is not important. Take the whelp.”

The woman pushed her gently toward the door. Even in her shock and fear she noticed the other armored people were surrounding her. Outside another man in armor was casually scanning the armed troops beyond. He carried a large blaster that looked more like a huge tube than anything else. The weapons was an obvious threat for their erstwhile allies. The helmet turned slightly, and he said “Ori'jate.” He slapped the side of his armor, where there was a streak on the armor. Merisa realized that this must be the one she had shot outside, yet he was praising her from the sound!

The warriors walked to one of the aircraft. Some had brought the body of the man she had killed, and the people gathered around to gently remove his armor. Some of them attached sections to replace sections of their own. But no one came to take the helmet from her.

Suddenly she smelled the helmet, the stench of blood, and something she recognized from cooking. She shuddered, then turned, vomiting on the floor. The woman caught her hair, holding it from the stream as the girl puked until only yellow bile came up.

She didn’t understand the words, but the tone told her the woman was working to calm her, and that action more than anything else finally eased her stomach. The woman seated her, and handed her a small tablet. “Chew it.” She ordered gently.

Merisa obeyed, and her stomach settled. Oddly enough no one had laughed or commented on what had just happened. In fact except for the woman they ignored her.

The man with the huge blaster came aboard, lifting the weapon so it was not aimed at anything. He took off his helmet, grinning. “Good shot, ad’ika.” He touched the streak where the bullet had skated across his armor. “If you’re aim had been better you would have hurt me.”

The woman held out the empty helmet, and the man looked at it. “Distance?”

“Less than a meter.” The woman said. “Four shots.”

The man nodded. “Good kill, little sister.”

“But I killed him!” Merisa almost wailed.

“Had to happen sooner or later in this business.” The man handed her the helmet back. “A worthy death by a worthy hand.”

“Sit down Berek.” The woman ordered.

They seated themselves, resting weapons between their legs as the hatch closed. Merisa felt it shove upward, staring around her. As the craft leveled out, the warriors began removing their helmets. None of them looked odd, they were all human. The one in the green armor was in her later 20s with a calm look that reminded her of her mother. She had a sharply planed face with blue eyes, her hair was blonde braided in a complicated knot.

“What happened?” Merisa asked. “Why did they let you take me?”

The woman looked at her for a long moment. “This Government is trying to create a perfect world. Your family doesn’t fit in to that. So they had to remove you.” She rubbed the rifle between her thighs as if it were a beloved pet. “When we found out what they were doing we renegotiated our contract to allow us to adopt the children who lived.”

“Adopt.” Merisa had seen footage of the ’orphanages’ the Government ran. Quiet little schools with all of the personality of a prison. “So I go to one of the Government schools.”

The woman smiled, the simple gesture transforming her face. “No. If you went there, you would have an accident. No. When we adopt the children go with us.”

“With you.”

“Yes, back to Mandalor’yaim.” The woman watched her face. “You can stay here if you want. But we will protect you until you are old enough to decide.”

“Decide what?” The girl bit out, miserable.

“Everything else in your life.”

*****

The trip wasn’t long in the sub-orbital shuttle. Soon they came in, and landed. The hatch opened, and the warriors walked down the ramp. The area had been fenced off, and tents had been set in military exact lines running from the landing area to the fence half a kilometer away. The woman kept a hand on the girl’s shoulder, directing her to a tent by itself.

Inside a young boy was cleaning his weapon with an intent expression. He looked up as the woman set the weapon down. “Candi’ka, sa’ad, vod.” She said. The boy looked at the girl, then set down the fine brush he had been using to clean the focusing ring. He stood, walking over.

Merisa realized the boy was perhaps two years older than she was, but already bulging with muscle. He knelt, taking her hand gently. “Vod.” He said, touching her hand to his cheek. “I am Canderous. I am your older brother.”

“What is your name, child?” The woman asked.

If Merisa saw anything odd about being adopted by a woman that had not even bothered to learn her name she wasn’t sure she should say anything. “Merisa Duvah.”

“Meet your brother, Merisa Duvah, clan Ordo. This is Canderous.”

Merisa looked at the boy. There was no derision in his expression. No sign of any duplicity. He accepted his mother’s words as fact.

The girl turned. “May I ask your name?” She said to the woman.

“Kiara Santal Clan Ordo.” The woman replied.

The girl ducked her head. “I will be a dutiful daughter, Kiara Santal.”

The woman smiled again, then knelt. “Welcome.” She hugged the girl, and the boy enfolded her from behind. Merisa felt tears start from her eyes at the unreserved love she felt.

*****

Kiara led her to another tent, the girl still carrying the helmet. A man in armor except for helmet was working on a weapon, alternately cursing and tinkering. “What is it?” He snarled.

“We need a repair.” Kiara told him. The man reached out without looking, only paying attention when he saw the helmet. Merisa didn’t understand how he could tell it from another but the man froze.

“Castar! Who killed him?” Kiara motioned to the silent girl beside her. The man looked at her. The man looked at her for a long time. “There’s always that one.” He looked up. “For her?” Kiara nodded. “Two days. Anything else?”

Kiara took the pistol Merisa still carried because she has not been told to put it down. The man took it. “Fine work even if was locally made. What do you need?”

“Holster and belt.”

The man snorted. “It’ll be ready in a few hours. I’ll have a boy deliver it. Anything else?” Kiara shook her head. “Then go away, I’m busy.”

They went back to the tent. Kiara stripped out of her armor, and came back in a loose shift. “Come little one. Dinner is what we make now.”

Merisa found it almost surrealistic. The woman led her to a small cooking area, and set her to of all things, slicing vegetables. They worked in companionable silence, almost as if they had done this for years as the woman measured spices into the pot, then added the meat she had cut.

“What is this?” Merisa asked.

“Merdai.” The woman answered. “It is a dish made to show our strength, and our ability to live where others would refuse to live. It is what we can catch, and what we can find.”

Merisa finished the slicing. “Is this good?”

“Perfect. The woman took the cutting board, sliding the vegetables into the boiling water. “Merdai is like the Mando’a. What we make of it.”

Tysyacha
10-22-2008, 01:40 PM
The last line of this story is absolutely brilliant, like a diamond that is perfectly fit for a ring. Some folks take the Mandalorians to be evil, but like you and Karen Traviss (and I) believe, Mandalorians are what you make of them. By the way, are Revan and the crew of the Ebon Hawk coming to visit Merisa before or after the events of KOTOR 1?

Litofsky
10-22-2008, 05:36 PM
Very nice new chapter, Mach. The only mistake that I found was the lack of an ending quotation mark after 'perfect.' I found it a bit odd that Merisa would feel no grief about her family, but besides that the chapter was very well done.

I also enjoy your descriptions of the Mandalorian culture, and, as stated, how they aren't mindless killers.

machievelli
10-23-2008, 12:44 AM
Very nice new chapter, Mach. The only mistake that I found was the lack of an ending quotation mark after 'perfect.' I found it a bit odd that Merisa would feel no grief about her family, but besides that the chapter was very well done.

I also enjoy your descriptions of the Mandalorian culture, and, as stated, how they aren't mindless killers.

Thanks for the comments and especially for the critique. Grief will be there, in fact I am going to wax lyrical on exactly what the idjits in the local government are doing and why, including more back story on Merisa'a family.

The last line of this story is absolutely brilliant, like a diamond that is perfectly fit for a ring. Some folks take the Mandalorians to be evil, but like you and Karen Traviss (and I) believe, Mandalorians are what you make of them. By the way, are Revan and the crew of the Ebon Hawk coming to visit Merisa before or after the events of KOTOR 1?
Patience. That will be explained in the next section.

One thing, Merdai as described is eaten here on Earth. A Whatever to the one who figures out by whom

Bee Hoon
10-23-2008, 07:19 AM
Excellent work as always! I like Kiara already :p You really portray the honour of the Mando'a marvelously. I can't wait for the Beckets' backstory, and seeing Merisa and Canderous in their younger years.

machievelli
10-23-2008, 11:53 AM
Excellent work as always! I like Kiara already :p You really portray the honour of the Mando'a marvelously. I can't wait for the Beckets' backstory, and seeing Merisa and Canderous in their younger years.

I notice no one spotted the biggest editorial blunder I made in this work.

I gave Merisa four last names including the one mentioned above. So I edited the sections so that last name is Becket. Of course if you liked one specific, I can change that...

Oh, BTW,Bee, want me to critique it now?

Litofsky
10-23-2008, 10:17 PM
Thanks for the comments and especially for the critique. Grief will be there, in fact I am going to wax lyrical on exactly what the idjits in the local government are doing and why, including more back story on Merisa'a family.
No problem- comments help the writer keep up with what the fans want/like, and what needs fixing. So, you'll be explaining why the planet's government is trying to create a "perfect world?"

machievelli
10-23-2008, 11:12 PM
No problem- comments help the writer keep up with what the fans want/like, and what needs fixing. So, you'll be explaining why the planet's government is trying to create a "perfect world?"

Not only why but how their 'perfect world' is to be created.

Litofsky
10-23-2008, 11:25 PM
Not only why but how their 'perfect world' is to be created.

How? That brings to mind creating the planet physically and creating the planet in a figurative sense (i.e., the 'ideal citizen' and 'moral values'). You've piked my interest, mach! Keep up the good work. :)

machievelli
10-28-2008, 12:53 AM
Today

Mission proved proficient at more than boiling water. Merisa had her kneading ground cahval bread dough, rolling it flat, then piling it back to repeat over and over. The girl kept up a constant chatter as she did. Used to children, Merisa tuned her out. Sasha was Mando’a to the core. Silent attentive watching her hands as she mixed the meat and vegetables, scraping in several cups of cracked grain as she stirred. “Now the spices.”

Zaalbar looked nervous as Merisa brought over several spices. “Merdai?” He asked with a worried whine in his voice.

“Merdai!” Sasha clapped. “Merdai!”

“No little one.” Merisa sprinkled the spices delicately into the boiling water. “Merdai is for the Mando’a, and those who would embrace our life.” She smiled. “Just nerf and barve mixed in a stew, big guy.”

“Thank the gods.” Mission said. “That stuff is gross!”

Merdai is what we make of it.” Sasha and Merisa said almost in unison.

The older woman grinned, tousling the younger one’s hair. “Don’t worry, little one we have all the spices we need to make it proper.”

The girl pulled out a bottle of seasoning. Merisa looked at it, snorting. It was Pipalli. She drew down a small grinder, spinning it to deposit a spot of spice on her hand. The girl looked at her, then leaned forward sniffing. Her eyes gleamed. “Fresh?”

“Home grown here. I will give some of this to you.”

“Good.” The girl purred.

The kitchen filled with heavenly smells of cooking. Mission rolled the bread out one last time, then began putting squares of dough into pans that Sasha and Merisa slid into the oven. The two men, Carth and Jolee came down, wiping their faces as they accepted glasses of cool water with fruit juice in it. Then they went out to join the others in the fields.

Merisa opened the oven. Almost ready. She turned. “Mission, please, tell the others dinner is almost ready. Have the children clean up, and make sure they wash their hands.”

“Why do I have to do it?”

“Mission.” Zaalbar growled.

“All right, I’m going.”

“Zaalbar.” Merisa said when the girl was gone. “Some privacy.” The Wookiee left without a word.

“Sa’ad.” She knelt, looking the girl in the eyes. “Is this your choice? Will you stay?”

Sasha looked at her. “My mothers accept me. My family is dead. Canderous treats me as his granddaughter. I am content.”

“But are you happy?”

The girl cocked her head. “Elder sister, I did not choose to be Mando’a. I was taken as a slave.” Merisa’s hands tightened, her face angry. “The ones that did it died at the hands of Carth Canderous and Amma Mata. They deserved that death. But…” The girl looked away, then back, eyes bright. “My family is dead. My new family is the crew of the ship, the ones who saved me, who taught me, who love me. I have a family, and I am happy to have those who love me.”

Merisa sighed, then hugged her. “Ni kyr'tayl gai sa'ad. Welcome."

The girl hugged her back. "Gai bal manda." She leaned away. “Amma Mata gave me a new life. When we were on the Star Forge, I returned the favor.”

“You must tell that story tonight.” There were a flurry of voices, and Merisa lifted the larger of the two pots. “Bring the bowls.”

*****

Fifty years earlier

After dinner Merisa wanted to wander the camp, but Kiara would not let her leave until the boy another the age of Canderous; delivered the pistol and belt. The woman fussed, securing the weapon’s holster. There was a tie at the bottom and she slid it about Merisa‘s thigh, pinning down the whole. “See if it will draw smoothly, girl.”

Merisa drew, feeling it slide from the holster as if oiled. There was a snap that would hold it in place, and she clipped it.

“Go and wander, see the camp, but listen. Within the fence is our place, the Government is outside. Be wary and stay back from the fence.”

The girl nodded. She stepped outside, looking at the stars. It was shocking how little had changed. Her life had been destroyed, her family dead, herself adopted by these strange people, yet the stars looked the same, the night as beautiful as it had been yesterday.

She wandered, deep in thought. What could she do?

Suddenly it hit her like a blaster bolt.

Mother; she pictured her mother holding her brother, crying; pictured her sitting quietly as the men from the government walked in, then butchered her like an animal; no with less dignity than an animal would have received. Her father struck by blaster bolts as he had turned to protect his daughter from harm. One of them had been a heavy blaster that was usually used for vehicles or fighters, not for humans. Her brother, dying to seal the one way in her father had not anticipated fully.

She was alone. Her family extinct.

She found herself on her knees, wailing her pain at the stars. She was all that remained of her family. There was nothing left!

The voice called her. She stopped crying, listening to the voice, speaking in her milk tongue, the language her mother and father had used, the one that reached her soul.

Come to me. The voice said. Come, hear the truth.

She found herself on her feet, stumbling toward the fence. The voice called to her.

She stopped, falling to her knees. The fence was a joke; a five year old with no training could pass by it. She knelt, looking toward it. There was someone out there, someone she knew must be a friend.

“Merisa.” The man stood there outside, wearing that hated uniform. He came closer, smiling at her. “They aren’t your people, Merisa. They do not speak your language. They are not from home. I am home, little one, and I would never lie to you.” He knelt outside the fence. “Do you realize what kind of monsters they are yet?” The voice asked.

“Monsters?” She wondered aloud. Kiara was like her mother in a number of ways. Canderous not unlike her dead brother.

“They claim to be human, but what are they really?” The voice asked soothingly. “The Mandalorians are not human, dear girl. They are creatures that only mimic human form. They are monsters that have no human feelings.”

“No feelings.” Merisa shook her head, remembering Kiara, remembering Canderous holding her hand against his face. They had shown her caring, how could they do that? “But they adopted me.”

“Adopt is what they call it.” The insidious voice continued. “But they are not human, are they? To them humans have only three uses. As slaves, as breeders for more of their kind, and for food. Why else would they refuse to buy from us?”

Merisa wanted to scream, but her throat was tight. “They gave me food-”

“Of course they did. The food they eat is not for humans, little one. If you will not be a slave or a breeder they have only one use. As food.”

She suddenly considered what Kiara had said. It is a dish made to show our strength, and our ability to live where others would refuse to live. It is what we can catch, and what we can find. She wanted to scream. Was that what Merdai Stew was?

She heard a click, then a soft voice. “Copeaani gan burciya?” She looked up, seeing the armor.

“They killed your father!“ The man outside the fence said.

“They killed my father! You butchered my mother!” She screamed, turning, the gun leaping to her hand. The man on the other side of the fence looked shocked. She looked into that face, her finger squeezing…

A hand caught the pistol, lifting it as it fired. The Government man was gone, only the Mandalorian remained. He looked at her as if she were an unexploded bomb. “Are you with us, little sister?” He asked.

She ran back to the tent, hiding herself in the space where her bed was. Kiara and Canderous left her alone.

She had dreamed; slicing vegetables as her parents died. Standing there, her eyes bugged in horror as the men had come in and began slicing her mother up, tossing the bloody gobbets into the stew that Kiara was even now stirring. Then the woman lifted the spoon, and teeth that didn’t belong in a human face shredded the meat on it, then chewed thoughtfully as she found a bowl filling it. Canderous took the bowl, her mother’s hand draped over the edge as if trying to pull herself free. The boy scooped some of the stew in a spoon holding it out.

“You must be hungry.”

She screamed, sitting up, staring at the tent beyond her as the vision went on, Canderous’s eyes slitted like a feline as he lifted the hand to his mouth…

There was a quiet step and she spun, hand clawing for the gun she still had. A hand caught hers, then she was enfolded in soft arms, a gentle voice speaking in a language she didn’t understand. She wanted to struggle, tried to struggle, but the gentle whispering continued.

“It is all right, love.” The woman whispered. “Grieve for them.”

Merisa opened her eyes, staring at the tent side just a meter from her nose. She had eaten her fill of the stew she and Kiara had made, spicy and alien in taste and texture. There had been some quiet talk. From what she could see they were treating her as if she would suddenly begin screaming.

Now she knew why. Then she had walked the night, garnering more questions than answers.

She wept in silence. Her father, her mother, her brother. Dead. But why?

“Why.” She whispered. “Why did we have to die?”

“Do you want a simple answer or the truth?”

Merisa leaned back, looking at the woman in the darkness. “There is truth?”

“As they see it.” Kiara replied. “There is one better able to explain it than I; but his team is on an operation right now. He will return tomorrow. Will you trust me for that long?”

Merisa wiped her eyes. “You saved my life. I will trust you as long as you give me no reason to feel betrayed.”

The woman smiled. “Gai bal manda.” The hand set the gun back down. “It is there, love. If you really wish to shoot us, you may try.”

*****

The next morning Canderous was gone. When Merisa asked, Kiara replied sol'yc aka, first battle. “We learn to defend ourselves, then we learn to fight.” Kiara explained as they sipped tea, nibbling on breakfast cakes. “Before a child can go to their last training before they can become warriors, they must prove their kar'ta Mando’a. Their heart of our people. This happens when they are eleven or twelve years old. So my son goes on his first battle to find his warrior heart. If he finds he has none, he can go home in honor, for those who grow our food, who tend our flocks are just as worthy as those who go out to fight and die. After all, they are the ones who will fight and die protecting our own children.”

“But…” Merisa looked at the tent, seeing the little touches that spoke of the boy she knew would die for her. “What if he… What if he dies?”

“Death is nature’s way of telling you that you have lived the wrong life.“ Kiara said.

They spent that day exercising. Though she was almost three and a half times the girl’s age, the woman was supple and strong. She began to teach the girl how to stand, how to breathe. She knew that it was so she could learn to fight, but Merisa was surprised to learn it was more about control and discipline than mayhem.

“Find your center, be at peace in your heart.” Kiara said, moving the girl to a more steady stance. “If you have fear, use it. It releases adrenaline. That makes you move faster, think faster. You must learn to move efficiently, to think with clarity. First we train your mind, then your muscles, then we train your skills. When you have learned to defend yourself, you can then learn to protect others.”

Together, old and young moved slowly through the motions of hand to hand combat.

After lunch they sat. “You have had time to think.” Kiara said. “Now do you have other questions?”

“What is to become of me?”

Kiara poured tea, putting out some biscuits. Merisa waited a polite interval before grabbing one. Children were like youngling barve when it came to eating sometimes. She leaned forward. Long ago, her own adoptive mother had told her some of this. “There are no orphans among our people. Children are the treasure of our future and we raise them as our own. We adopt children of other places who are brave, but you are special. You are a child. Yet you tried to kill Berek, did kill Castar. Did this knowing that we had just killed your father, yet you fought.

“We expect bravery from our own people. But from Autiise we respect it more. You have a warrior heart, a warrior soul. We have a name for girls such as you. Gon-disen akaan. It means ‘to love war‘, and translates for most Autiise as war bride. A girl of any age that shows such spirit is treasured, for only those with a warrior heart can produce children with that same spirit.

“If you were older, we would gift you with honors worthy of your skill and strength, and our men would vie to catch your eye. If you did not wish to become a wife to one of ours, we would assure that you were taken to a place of safety. At your age if there were people here we could trust to protect you we would have left you with them. But the Hu'tuun who govern here would not have come after your family if there was someone who could take you in.

“When they told us what they would do, kill all down to the babes in the cribs, we renegotiated the contract. That is why we adopt those we catch before they can kill them. You are one of the first. Soon there will be more.”

“But you’re…”

“Killers?” Kiara laughed. “It is our skill and when our people need money to buy what we need we sell that skill. But when we kill it is those who try to kill us. We did not kill your mother, because she was unarmed. If it had been only us she would have been taken prisoner.

“Not human.” She whispered.

Kiara looked at her. “I heard of what happened last night.” She grinned. There is a copy of the Galactic encyclopedia you can access. Their own version.” She smiled. “Access it. Look at the entries of the Mandolorians.” The woman pushed the padd across the table.

Merisa took the padd, keying in the entry. The Mandalorians were undoubtedly humans. There was even a recipe for Merdai stew. Of course it started with ‘steal the meat, then steal the vegetables’.

The day wore on, and they continued exercising. Shuttles landed, and men in armor came down the ramps, sometimes leading children, some small enough they were carried in the men’s arms, others older than she was, though these were all boys. Kiara watched as each landed, then returned to her patient training.

Finally she stopped as another came down. The first man off this shuttle was in blue armor like the one who had disarmed her, a weapon casually held in his arms.

“Shoji!” She stood, signaling for the girl to stand. “A moment.”

He paused. “Why are we speaking the language of the Autiise?”

“This is Merisa. She is only learning our tongue.”

“Very well. Speak.”

“What do we know of what the Autiise are doing?”

“Many pieces of the puzzle, but no shape as yet.” He looked at the girl, then took off his helmet. “If we’re going to talk politics let’s do it properly.” He walked toward the largest tent. It looked like a cafeteria with a long table on one end. “Geros! Buy’ce gal!”

“For the women?” A hulking man in armor without a helmet asked.

“Verdyc.” Kiara called. “One soft and one hard.”

The man nodded curtly, bringing a tray. On it was a large handled mug of a foaming black liquid, and two glasses, one filled with a red liquid, the other smaller one with what looked like red syrup. Kiara took the larger of the two glasses, handing it to Merisa, taking the syrup for herself. Shoji took the mug, and began drinking, smoothly lowering the level until it drained into his mouth.

Merisa sipped hers. It was bittersweet, but good. Kiara sipped hers, shuddering, then looked at him. “What do we know.”

“Not enough, and they are acting odd. They have banned all shipments of food from outside. Not raw materials like grain, but anything processed.”

“None?” Kiara looked surprised. “What about the luxury goods?”

“Nothing. No off world drinks, no off world candies, nothing.” He looked at her. “They have also refused to allow our rations to be delivered.”

“What are we to eat then?” Kiara snapped.

“They will supply us with all the food and water we need. Provided it is obtained locally.”

Kiara snorted. “So that is why you ordered the vaporators and told us to go Merdai.”

“Why is that odd?” Merisa asked.

“We travel with our own rations, little one. Think of it this way; your family goes to a park for a picnic. When you arrive, the guards tell you only food bought there is allowed.

“It is a nice warm season, so there is fruit and other wild vegetable to eat, but when you begin to do that, they say ‘eat what we give you’ even if it is something you don’t like. And every minute, they watch you, waiting for that first bite, that first drink. As if just eating will satisfy them. Maybe they are like a lot of people off our world. We’re warriors, so that means we’re stupid.“ He shook his head.

“Something is not right here.” He signaled, nodding as a second tankard arrived. “These people talk like religious zealots. As if their dream of a perfect world is something they can create. Have you noticed all of the girls who come by the gate?” At Kiara’s blank look he sighed. “Girls with wide smiles and full baskets of cakes and cookies. But only for our men.”

Kiara sipped. “And we have been refusing.”

“Only a fool takes what he does not trust.”

“What do the people we were hired to eliminate have in common?”

“Little or nothing. They live away from towns, eat what they grow or animals they tend, feed the animals what they grow or have in storage.” He looked at Merisa. “What did you father do, girl?”

Merisa finished the liquid, licking her lips. “He used to be a teacher at the university. He taught history.”

“No way he links to the others.” Shoji commented. “Economists retired soldiers city planners engineers, now teachers.”

“Out away from the city.” Kiara whispered. “As if the city would become a danger, or is where the danger is. What is not in the country that is in a city?”

“Can’t be air or food.”

“Wait, you said processed foods. How far does the ban extend?”

“Right down to bottled mineral water from Naboo.”

They shook their heads.

Canderous came in, dressed in armor like the others, grinning like a fool. “D’kut.” He sneered. He picked up a glass of the same red wine Merisa had. “I wonder why they bothered to hire us if they are willing to waste their own men.”

Shoji looked at him. “Report.”

Canderous seemed to stiffen. “We deployed to assist in another operation. From the description mother, they were the same unit you operated with yesterday. As we went into land their leader Raeder harangued them. We had to be shown the worth of his men. We would watch the shuttles while they did the ‘real work’.

I was assigned to practice my infiltration.” Canderous smiled, and the adults laughed. “I was supposed to sneak up on them.” He translated for Merisa. “They surrounded the house efficiently, then Raeder called on them to surrender. Then he said something I didn’t understand-”

“Repeat.” Shoji demanded.”

Canderous closed his eyes. “Eta Koos, Koos meh.” He repeated.

“What does that mean?” Kiara demanded.

“The Book of the Way.” Merisa said.

“What?” Shoji watched her like a raptor.

“All of our people were of one religion when we arrived six centuries ago.” Merisa said. “We brought the book of our religion with us, written in the old tongue. It is still used in temple today. You have to learn it for the responses.” She looked around, not sure how to take the sudden attention. “The phrase is not said right, the full liturgy is ‘Eta Koos Dashir Kahil’ and the response is 'Koos sela’ah meh‘. It means You hear my law, said god. The reply is Hear and obey.”

“They didn’t say that at Merisa’s home.” Kiara said. What happened then?”

Raeder ordered them to put down their weapons, and a dozen men walked toward the house. The next minute, three blasters opened up and blew them to hell. The others opened fire, and they tried to breach it. But when they reached the porch, the house blew up.

“Twenty of the local guards dead.”

Tysyacha
10-28-2008, 01:40 PM
Six words: Scary, scary, scary! More, more, more! :)

Litofsky
10-28-2008, 05:05 PM
Very interesting, Mach! I caught a few small grammatical errors (I believe that you need multiple commas in a list :p), but the largest of which was placing a quotation mark after the ending 'Shoji demanded.'

I'm still a bit confused on the nature of the Mandalorian camp itself (its makeup and why the Mandalorians are even on this 'perfect world' are chief among these). I also enjoyed hearing how the government is seeming to be cracking down on its citizens. The religious fanatics that inhabited the house (or so it seemed) was a nice touch.

All in all, a nice job. :)

machievelli
10-29-2008, 12:32 AM
Very interesting, Mach! I caught a few small grammatical errors (I believe that you need multiple commas in a list :p), but the largest of which was placing a quotation mark after the ending 'Shoji demanded.'

I'm still a bit confused on the nature of the Mandalorian camp itself (its makeup and why the Mandalorians are even on this 'perfect world' are chief among these). I also enjoyed hearing how the government is seeming to be cracking down on its citizens. The religious fanatics that inhabited the house (or so it seemed) was a nice touch.

All in all, a nice job. :)


All will be revealed...

Bee Hoon
10-29-2008, 12:35 AM
Ooh, very nice chapter! I like Shoji and Kiara's discussion about what their employers really want, as well as Merisa's grief. I really wonder what the government is up to, but I guess we'll find out shortly;) A few minor mistakes here and there, but it doesn't detract from the story. Well done!

CommanderQ
10-29-2008, 02:07 PM
Excellent story so far, Machievelli! Post the next part soon!

machievelli
10-29-2008, 11:57 PM
Does anyone remember the name given to the Rakata homeworld?

Bee Hoon
10-30-2008, 03:49 AM
Lehon, if I remember correctly.

Endorenna
10-30-2008, 09:44 AM
I dunno, I always thought it was 'The Unknown World' :lol: I thought about calling it 'Rakata', just for length purposes, but it always came out 'Ricotta', and I was getting some very strange looks from my sis... ;)

Litofsky
10-30-2008, 04:37 PM
Lehon, if I remember correctly.

I believe that you're correct, Bee. Corroborating evidence (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lehon).

CommanderQ
10-30-2008, 08:42 PM
I think its known on the Galactic map as Rakata, but the Rakatan's call it Lehon, both are correct either way, though.

machievelli
10-31-2008, 12:02 AM
Today

The children were like a flood running into the house, racking their tools, then running back out to wash up. Mission looked harried, as if she had tried herding gizka. She followed more out of sense of duty than any chance she was actually in control. The older women came in, already washed. They returned the tools they had been using, and Revan led them in.

“Manda’lor.” Merisa nodded.

She held up her hand “Please, that title belongs within the Mando’a.” She shrugged. “And since I am no longer Revan, please, call me by my name, Danika.”

Merisa shrugged. “Then please, Danika, Bastila, Juhani, come, sit and be welcome.”

Danika chose a seat at the table, not at the head or foot, but partway up the side. Bastila took a seat beside her. Juhani sat across from them.

“Something to drink?”

“Is there more?” Danika motioned toward the pot of stew.

Merisa looked at the pot, divining what she meant. “We have bread that is almost done baking, but-”

Danika stood. “We will help, please.”

Merisa nodded. The Jedi stood, and went into the kitchen. Sasha followed them. The men came in, then were sent back out to wash up. Now the children came in. Merisa assured that the places chosen by their guests remained open. Canderous came in as the women returned carrying bread already sliced on platters. They resumed their seats, Sasha curling up against Danika.

Finally everyone was there. Merisa began serving out bowls that were passed down either side of the long trestle table until everyone had been served. The bread was warm and soft, crocks of nerf butter passed hand to hand to spread on it. The spices to make it closer to Merdai were passed, and used or ignored as fit the diner.

Pitchers of the sweet black beer of the Mando were emptied, and filled again. Finally everyone was replete. The younger children took the empty bowls and platters, carrying them into the kitchen, and Sasha led all of the children in to wash and clean up. Merisa took out some black glass bottles. “Hard or soft, brother?”

“Hard of course.”

“Excuse me?” Juhani asked.
“Verdyc is Mando blood wine.” Danika said. “Hard means triple distilled. lighter than Tihaar, more an aperitif. Soft means the undistilled wine.” She smiled. “Hard for me, please.”

Merisa poured. Of them all only the Mando Carth and Danika sipped the syrupy liqueur. The other adults drank the lighter fruity wine. As the children came back they grabbed cups of beer or wine sitting around the front room looking at the adults expectantly.

“Ba’buir.” One of them asked, hesitantly of Canderous. “Tell us of a battle.”

He looked them over, then at his comrades. Danika shrugged. “Then hear you of the battle for all of our freedoms, a battle fought by those in this room, the battle of the Star Forge. But it is not my story alone, it is our story.” He nodded to Juhani and Jolee.

They told the story, each speaking of their parts. The four Jedi speaking of the battle in the temple on what was now called Lehon, Bastila against the others. Then Carth of the madness of the space battle. The Jedi charging through the corridors of the massive structure, Carth Zaalbar Mission and Canderous of holding against hope to cover their means of escape. Danika and Bastila speaking of the last fight between them, and the wonder of the bond that linked them now, then Bastila’s flight with the others to join at the ship. Danika speaking of the last battle with the man she had once loved, his death at her hands, then her wish to die.

Then Sasha, of crawling through sections of ducting as the grenade went off, wiping out the force within the station, of struggling on until she reached her adoptive mother, of pleading with her to come.

Then the run, the ancient station collapsing about them, and the frantic flight into space as it fell into the star.

The children listened raptly. “Bal kote, darasuum kote.” Kiara whispered.

They toasted the dead, and the living.

Canderous sipped, turning to Kiara. “Now tell them, my sister. Tell them of your first battle.”

Merisa sipped, listening.

*****

Fifty years earlier

“They blew up the house?” Merisa asked in horror.

“Not the guards. Those uniformed idiots couldn’t arrange a bottle party in a brewery.” Canderous sneered. “The people inside. They waited until the guards rushed them and took them all with them in a flash of fire. If anyone would have been a worthy opponent, it would have been them!”

“They’re not that good at war are they?” Kiara asked. “I have seen them on maneuvers. I have seen trainees with more discipline.”

“Zakal told me they were idiots. I didn’t believe how stupid they are. They hire four score of us to what? Teach their troops? Deal with a serious threat? No! We’re acting like a glorified hostage rescue team because they can’t even handle that! We could have taken that house without killing a score of our own in the process.” He shook his head angrily. “Kiara, talk with Drego. We’re going on total lockdown. I’m going to talk to Zakal and find out what she knew that she wasn’t telling me.” He drained the last of the beer, and stood. “Once you’re done with that, meet me at the command tent.” He looked at the girl, then walked out.

“Chu.” Kiara said. She and the two children left together. There was a quick stop at the gate, then they walked through the camp.

“Why did you camp here?” Merisa asked.”

“Because they were too ready to give us space.” Canderous said. “Apartments in the city for the families, two and three bedroom units for our single men or women to share.” He looked at her. “As if we were colonists and not hirelings. We set out our camp here.”

“But the fence! It’s… stupid to make one so weak!”

“We did that to see how stupid they are.” Kiara said. “They have probed the fence for the last four weeks, and think they were unobserved. They think we’re fat and happy, even if we don’t eat their food, or drink their beverages. Right now they have us ‘surrounded’ by a division of troops.” She snorted. “Like surrounding a nest of Krayt Dragons with Jawas.”

The command tent was off by itself almost dead center of the camp. Kiara clicked her tongue, then flipped the flap out of the way. “Go on, Merisa.”

The girl walked forward, stopping in the opening. Shoji looked up at her approach over the shoulder of the figure in front of him.

“Either get in or get out.” The figure hissed in a raspy voice. It was feminine, but sounded as if she had serious damage to her throat. “Blast it girl, do it.” Merisa moved as if prodded, the flap falling to place the tent in shadows except for a lamp on the table, aimed across between the two figures.

The woman pointed, a finger aimed at the side where the light was focused. Merisa moved to stand there, looking at the woman.

She was striking, green eyes looking into her soul from a deeply tanned face. But that face didn’t have the angular look of the other Mando’a she had met. The woman looked pudgy, her arms soft rather than tight with muscle. Yet those eyes had a glint of humor in them as well.

“Your father was Fro Beckett, the history professor, correct?”

“Yes.”

The woman leaned forward pushing a set of data chips around on the table. “He was also an author and political scientist. He quotes a man of Coruscant who once said ‘those who refuse to learn from history were doomed to repeat it‘. Interesting for a religious man.”

“My father was strong in his faith, but not religious. He told me once that the book of the way was a guide to life, not something to follow slavishly. That God expected us to learn and grow as people first and beings of our faith second.”

Shoji shrugged. “Then why did those d’kut from the government quote from the book?”

“Because our government is made up of those who believe you follow the way or you are nothing.”

The woman looked at her. “So you are saying people who are fanatical about a fundamentalist view of their religion are in charge of this asylum.” She shook her head, rubbing her eyes. “I warned you not to take the contract Shoji.”

“Yes you did, but didn’t tell me why.”

She laughed, looking at the girl. “Do you like puzzles little one?” She asked.

Merisa remembered hours spent quietly with the family sitting around jigsaw puzzles, games that made you think rather than just play. She nodded.

“So do I.” The woman pushed with both arms, leaning back into a chair that sat behind her. She touched the arm, and a humming sound began as the chair lifted. “When I was young I was badly injured, both legs shattered so badly that they never healed properly. I can stand only because I am stubborn. Just not for long.

“So instead I use my brain.” She tapped her head. “I study, I tweak, I look for patterns. I do puzzles in my head to relax.

“The government seems dead set on removing those they do not approve of. Yet your book condemns warriors. The government before this one even reduced your planetary militia to a police organization. So why do they wish us to eat their food? The woman raised the chair until she was at the height she would have been without it. “Among the last five raids we have added a doctor a pharmacist, and a media reporter.”

“Reporter?”

“Duenan Castil.”

“The voice of the people.” Merisa said. “That’s what my father always called him. Always looking into government cover ups.”

The woman looked at her for a long time. “I wish her to stay with me for a while. I am going to figure this out.” She waved as if shooing a fly. “Go, Shoji. Polish your armor or something.”

The man stood, huge compared to the woman. Then he nodded, picking up his helmet and walking out.

“You are Merisa. I am Zakal. For my sins, I am the negotiator for half of the Clans of Mando‘yaim.” She looked at the chips in front of her. “Pull up a chair and we can get to work.”

“Why these?” Zakal asked. “Everyone of them has to the be targeted for a reason.” She began working, page after page of data flowed past. The hours passed. Zakal had accessed the local nets right down to government files, and as she worked, she used the girl to bounce ideas off. It was like those puzzle games, and Merisa found herself enjoying it immensely.

Merisa’s belly rumbled and Zakal snorted. “Go eat, get some sleep, and come back in the morning. Go.”

The girl crossed the night closed camp. Kiara had stew still gently bubbling with fresh bread. Merisa sniffed it. “Kiara, this bread smells… odd.”

The woman snorted. “Because we ran out of flour. So we had to get some grain.”

“But I thought you weren’t eating local food.”

“Did you know that every grain is related to common grass? We merely found grass with seed heads, and ground them.”

The girl ate. The stew tasted different. Obviously they had caught something else.

The pattern continued for three more days. Every morning either Kiara or Canderous were gone on a raid. Merisa would eat then join Zakal in her tent. The woman never seemed to sleep, and her encyclopedic knowledge of Merisa’s home planet was growing in leaps and bounds. The woman was reading a medical journal, dictionary at hand, looking up every other word, but happy as a clam.

The woman closed the dictionary with a snap. “Shoji is off on an operation. Kiara is here, yes?” The girl nodded. “Get her.”

Merisa ran to the tent, then ran back with Kiara. Zakal looked up as they entered. “Contact Shoji. Once our people are back we have to get off this planet now!”

JAvatar80
10-31-2008, 05:09 PM
machievelli, this is freaking awesome!

Seriously, as our local critic, I know you know good writing. I was curious to your story from that little bit of knowledge, and I have not been dissappointed. As currently serving in the armed forces, I have a certain appreciation of the Mandalorians, and your educated presentation of them in this style is...incredible. I can hardly wait to find out more about Merissa's past, and can't help but wonder if you're going to tie in TSL, where Canderous assumes the mantle of Mandalore.

Honestly, this story alone is starting to kick back in my star wars mood, which means probally by mid-november, I'm going to have KotOR re-installed, and my full-game DS Revan story will start going up. :D

I'd say "keep up the good work", but I doubt you need to be told that. ;)

Litofsky
10-31-2008, 05:56 PM
Very nice new chapter, Mach. There were a few minor grammatical errors (I still stick to the belief that a list needs commas to separate the items), but the only spelling error that I saw was "diner" in place of "dinner."

As for the story, I still find it very intriguing: once more, I'm unsure as to why the Mandalorians are on a planet that they are not (seemingly) welcomed on, but I assume that this will be explained (my assumption for this would be that the government wanted a 'diverse' planet, and brought many different 'peoples' to their planet).

At any rate, I thought that this chapter was very well done. Keep up the great work. :)

machievelli
10-31-2008, 08:04 PM
Very nice new chapter, Mach. There were a few minor grammatical errors (I still stick to the belief that a list needs commas to separate the items), but the only spelling error that I saw was "diner" in place of "dinner." If you meant 'used or ignored as fit the diner' word usage was correct. I meant they spiced it as they liked.

Litofsky
10-31-2008, 08:41 PM
If you meant 'used or ignored as fit the diner' word usage was correct. I meant they spiced it as they liked.

Yes, that was what I meant. My apologies for my limited experience in the area of grammar.

machievelli
10-31-2008, 08:52 PM
Yes, that was what I meant. My apologies for my limited experience in the area of grammar.
No worries

Darth_Yuthura
11-01-2008, 01:23 PM
This is a very impressive piece of work. I must say I'm impressed that an American can take a perspective from a warrior society like the Spartans, Romulans, or Mandalorians and give them a dimension that is understandable to a reader.

I have had some trouble understanding seemingly bad grammar that was actually meant as you had written. I assume that you don't often make those kind of mistakes, but it is still a bit difficult to see a sentence and have to reread it to know what was stated. I know that it is complex wording that make your fictions so interesting to read, but I am often forced to go back and reread to confirm that I understood what was meant.

I don't know if I can be more specific because there was no one quote, but frequently one word now and again that made the subject of a sentence the opposite that I didn't quite understand. Other than that, I have no trouble with the grammar or plot. Very interesting story you have here.

machievelli
11-02-2008, 12:15 AM
This is a very impressive piece of work. I must say I'm impressed that an American can take a perspective from a warrior society like the Spartans, Romulans, or Mandalorians and give them a dimension that is understandable to a reader.

I have had some trouble understanding seemingly bad grammar that was actually meant as you had written. I assume that you don't often make those kind of mistakes, but it is still a bit difficult to see a sentence and have to reread it to know what was stated. I know that it is complex wording that make your fictions so interesting to read, but I am often forced to go back and reread to confirm that I understood what was meant.

I don't know if I can be more specific because there was no one quote, but frequently one word now and again that made the subject of a sentence the opposite that I didn't quite understand. Other than that, I have no trouble with the grammar or plot. Very interesting story you have here.

Remember what I said in my column in reply to your post? I post this pretty much as you do, flow of consciousness, then post. So when people ding me on grammar, I accept it.

As for looking at warrior societies, I look at what they do, and their mindset. You cannot judge a society by your rules, only by their own. The Japanese are a perfect example. Execution by a sword is an honorable death, not murder. In 1942, the Marine Raiders who had been captured on Makin were executed, and even the day shows the honor bestowed, it was on the memorial day of the Yakasune Shrine, where all of the brave souls are believed to return. The men who bestowed that honor were hung by the neck for war crimes.

Bee Hoon
11-03-2008, 10:25 AM
Lovely chapter! Zakal sounds like a very interesting character-- it makes perfect sense that the Mando'a would value her mind. Merisa seems improbably politically aware for such a young child, although that may be due to her father's influence. I wonder what the government is up to! The next chapter should be exciting :)

machievelli
11-07-2008, 09:08 PM
A note on this section: In the book "The Case Against Star Wars, one of the charges was linked to Leia being assigned to be the load master because she wasn't 'competent' to handle anyhing else. As a military specialist, I know how had the job is, so check this and the next section out as to hard the 'job' is...


Today

The fire had sunk to coals as Kiara finished her story. The Mando toasted the story, and passed around the bottles. Merisa watched the girl Sasha. She was watching Kiara in amazement, and Merisa remembered the first time she had sat in the story circle, and wondered when she would be able to speak of what she had done. It had been so long since she stood for the first time.

“Mother?” She looked at Kiara. “Tell us of a battle, mother.”

She looked at the children, all so expectant. She sipped her wine. “I will not tell of battle, but I will tell of when I found my warrior heart. You all know we speak of that first battle, the chance to learn if your heart is Mando. I will tell you of when I found this within my own chest.”

*****

Fifty years earlier

“Zakal-” Kiara began.

The woman shushed the warrior, then began laying out what she had discovered rapidly in fluent Mando. Moments later Kiara transmitted on the special channel. The guards, usually amiable were suddenly the silent killers better known through the galaxy.

“It will take time.” Kiara warned as she stopped transmitting. She hadn’t used pure Mando’a, rather she had used the dialect of Goontar province with it’s clipped vowels and odd loan words from a score of worlds the Mando had fought across. While anyone native would understand (Sometimes with difficulty) no one else would.

“Time we must spend though I do not like it.” Zakal said. “I will organize our escape. Command our forces. We must gather the children in one place to protect them.” Zakal looked at Merisa. “Come here, little sister.”

The girl walked over, and the woman rested a hand on her shoulder. “I have a question to ask, and will not be upset with the truth. You killed one of us when we took your family home. Could you shoot someone when your life is not in danger? Do not answer as you wish me to hear, girl. Answer from your heart.”

Merisa stared at her. “I don’t know.”

“Honest.” Zakal smiled. “We need to protect the other children like you, but there are odd things about some of them. The Government were too willing that we take the four oldest. We must have someone they might trust, that we can trust watching them until the shuttles arrive. Someone willing to protect themselves and all the younger ones. Can you do this?” Merisa nodded.

“Excellent. Then you had best be off to get dressed.”

Kiara led her to he armory. “Jaspar!” She shouted. The old man turned, setting down the weapon he was working on.

“What?”

“You heard. We need her buy’ce.”

The old man snorted. “Finished it two days ago.” He brought out the helmet, holding it out to Merisa. “Try it on little one.”

She stared at it, remembering the shattered hole in the visor, now repaired without a seam. The smell was gone, a clean smelling scent like when her mother clean the house hung in the air. But she was sure she could still smell the death on it.

Kiara knelt. “We need to hurry. You will need this if you wish to help us. It is your choice.”

The girl lifted the helmet, remembering stories she had heard from her parents. Of cursed crowns that drove men mad, of helmets of great heroes that gave you their strength. Which would this be?

Uncomfortable was what it was. The bottom of the helmet bumped her neck, and it was skewed on her head. She knew that if someone slapped her the helmet would spin on her head like a top on the spindle of her head. Kiara knelt. “Merisa, there are small tabs on either side of your head. If you press them it will adjust the lining. These are one size fits all.”

It took a few moments, but finally it fit snugly on her head. The old man handed her a wide armband. “Most of the controls for your helmet are here, though the helmet itself can do all of them. If you click your tongue or flick it in the small stem, it will adjust views, target for your weapons, set communications channels, adjust lighting and sound from outside, everything. Or you can use the control pad.

“We’ve set one dedicated channel for you, so most of what you hear will be background in Mando’a. When we speak with you or you speak to us, we’ll use the local dialect.”

“Why did you set my own channel?” She asked.

“We’re going to be busy.” Kiara told her, but there is one thing we need, and for that we need someone we can trust.” Kiara explained. “There is one I want you to remember in our language little one. “Voor’shi.”

“Voor’shi.” Merisa repeated. “What does it mean?”

“It means get down fast. If you hear it we are getting ready to fire, and if you are standing, you might be hurt or killed.”

“Why am I doing this? Why can’t Zakal do this?”

Kiara looked at her, then knelt. “To get out of this alive, everyone must do their part. Our warriors have to take a ship in orbit and get another shuttle to lift all of us in one group. Zakal will be coordinating it all.

“It is the hardest job of all. She must keep track of our people, both here and in the Autiise shuttles. She must monitor the enemy frequencies, and warn us of enemy attacks, tell us when to retreat, when to stand and die. She is likely to be among those taken.” Kiara looked up, face bleak. “Any of us who are captured will suffer a fate worse than death for a Mando’a.” She looked at the girl. “If you feel you cannot do this, we will assign another”

“Tell me what I must do.”

Merisa went to gather the children of her homeworld, taking them to Kiara’s tent. She was a nine year old girl, but she was one in a helmet like the other Mando, a gun strapped to her hip, and when she spoke the voice was deeper, as if she were a small adult. The children jumped when she spoke, and chivvying them along was absurdly simple. She suddenly felt old, even though four of the boys were older than her but they could not be trusted. The younger children looked at her as if she were the mother or a monster, and she found herself organizing them into places to sleep in what had been her room. Within an hour half a dozen of the warriors, mainly the young ones had surrounded the tent.

“Keep them quiet, Merisa.” One of them commented.

“Why me?” She asked plaintively. “Why am I in charge?”

The Mando looked at her. “You’re the one with the helmet and gun, that’s why.” He turned, facing outward.

She went back in. The four older boys were sitting playing some card game. In the background she heard a voice over a loudspeaker. “Eta Koos, Koos meh! Seize the infidels!”

As the first words were spoken three of the boys looked up, then one of them turned, pinning the boy that had not moved. The other two looked at her, standing.

“Trouble!” Merisa screamed.

Litofsky
11-07-2008, 09:17 PM
An interesting start, Mach. I like how Zakal will willingly sacrifice herself to help save the others- it speaks volumes about the values of (her) culture. I am curious: is Merisa wearing any armor, other than her helmet? It would seem an odd appearance, to be walking with a Mandalorian helmet without the equally intimidating armor.

Overall, a very nice chapter! I look forward to more. :)

machievelli
11-07-2008, 09:58 PM
An interesting start, Mach. I like how Zakal will willingly sacrifice herself to help save the others- it speaks volumes about the values of (her) culture. I am curious: is Merisa wearing any armor, other than her helmet? It would seem an odd appearance, to be walking with a Mandalorian helmet without the equally intimidating armor.

Overall, a very nice chapter! I look forward to more. :)

I hadn't changed any armor to fit her, so yeah, she's running around in a helmet and gun belt.

CommanderQ
11-07-2008, 10:45 PM
Excellent story so far, Mach! Post the next part soon!

Endorenna
11-07-2008, 11:30 PM
I'm really liking this story so far! I second CQ's motion! :xp: Poor Merissa...looks like she's about to be caught in a very nasty situation.

Bee Hoon
11-08-2008, 04:20 AM
Merisa is such a steely little girl! I like how she was imagining what the helmet would feel like and ended up concluding that it was uncomfortable. The various functions of the helmet is something that never occurred to me at all, and as is usual with your writing, makes sense. I wonder why the Mandolorians trust her so unreservedly, in contrast with the older boys. By implication in your fic, it would because the government agents did not want them to take her, but perhaps there is more to it? A few mistakes here and there, but nothing major. Well done!

Tysyacha
11-08-2008, 03:17 PM
"Uncomfortable is what it was." *LOL*!!! I loved that line--a bit of humor in a dark tale.

Uncomfortable is also what everyone in the story will be in the next chapter, seeing as how some of the children responded to the Government fighters' command...

machievelli
11-10-2008, 01:53 AM
Today

The children stared at her. She had not told this since before they were born. Kiara, who had only heard it once swelled with pride. To be named after her grandmother. Her own children five and three looked at her. The woman raised her cup to her mother. “Please, continue, mother.”

*****

Fifty years earlier:

Merisa stared as the boys, each larger and heavier than her advanced with blank eyes. A calm voice, Zakal answered. “Report.”

“Three of the boys have gone crazy!”

“Not crazy. Controlled.” The calming voice answered. “Use the Church tongue, stop them.”

Merisa backed, her gun in her hand, but they were kids like herself. One of them wrapped his arms around her, and she kicked frantically as he lifted her from her feet. She frantically tried to remember as the third boy started to push past. She knew if he stepped outside, the Mando’a would kill him!

“Shtoia!” She screamed. They froze. “Let go let go let go!” The boy holding her dropped her on her butt. The girl gasped as they continued to stand there. “Zakal, they stopped.”

“Good. Now repeat what I say.”

Merisa looked at them, then repeated. “You will hear my voice only. Except for me you will hear only to those I say to listen to.” As she spoke, one of the guards from outside came in pressing two pairs of restraints into her hands. She looked up at the Mando’a warrior, and could hear a chuckle at her predicament as she stood. She took the restraints, the cuffs popping open.

“What about him?” The guard asked.

She looked at the boy. Slim, dark hair, dark complexion, nicely dressed. “Cosioli.” She said.

“Aren’t they of the group that is not of your religion?” Zakal asked over her headphones.

“Yes.”

“They do not speak the church cant. Perhaps they did not think of this.” Zakal mused. “Merisa, say the words in Basic.”

She looked at the boy, staring around in shock. You hear. Hear and obey.” The boy had turned toward her, and as she finished the phrase his head slowed, looking at her with a blank expression. Her heart sank. “He is like the others.”

“Then we must bind them.”

“You come here.” Merisa ordered. She was surprised when the curtain of her area opened and four others, the youngest five came out to join them. The guard went back out getting more restraints.

“Put out your hands.” She ordered. As they did, she watched the Mando who bound the younger children, and followed the example. She locked one cuff to a boy’s right wrist, then fed the second pair of cuffs through the open cuff she locked on the second boy’s wrist. The third boy after being ordered to stand walked over and she locked the cuff on his wrist then locked the other. The guard nodded stepping outside. Inside her ‘bucket’, she could hear as the plan began.

Raeder sneered at the rented troops. Of course soon they would be true believers. The mercenaries had sat silently until about an hour ago, then suddenly all of them had changed out their magazines. He hadn’t worried about that, they did that kind of thing oc-

The mercenaries turned, and Raeder had an instant to worry before he and all of his men in the troop compartment were dead.

“Sakil, go!” Shoji snapped. The young man moved toward the front of the shuttle, his weapon aimed at the flight crew.

“Move and you die.” The man snarled. The copilot tried for his sidearm and a burst ripped him apart. Sakil turned in back to the pilot. “Want to try?” The pilot shook his head frantically.

The Mando walked forward, pulling the body from the right hand seat as another Mando came up to the door, He set down his rifle, adjusting the seat until it was comfortable. He grasped the yoke. “My craft.” He said.

“What?” The local said, then froze as the barrel of a rifle tapped him.

“Get up.” The pilot slid his seat back, hands up once the seat had been retracted. The mercenary didn’t bother giving an order, he merely caught the man’s collar and dragged him to his feet. The pilot was flung back toward the troop compartment, his knees scraping through the offal of other men before someone caught him. He saw the bodies of a dozen of his fellows and began to scream.

“Oh shut up.” The man who held him slammed him into a frame, and the pilot went limp. He was cuffed and thrown into the rear of the compartment.

Sakil tested the controls before keying his com. “Zakal, we have it.”

“Good.” The woman purred. “There is a Coruscanti freighter at 250 degrees from your present position. Slanar!”

Approximately 200 kilometers west, another shuttle turned, diving toward the planet.

The troops surrounding the cantonment began deploying. They looked smart in their grey uniforms, but there was a stiffness in their movement. Berek watched, his tongue shifting from local to all hands. “They are getting ready to attack.” He reported.

“Slow them down, but retreat before they get to the fence.” Zakal ordered.

The young man nodded to himself then tongued to local again. “First squad one magazine single fire, make them count. On my mark.”

The troops outside had formed up and begun moving forward with vehicles spaced between the companies to supply supporting fire. Berek sighed, setting the targeting caret on the glacis of the approaching command vehicle. He paused as they approached to three hundred meters. “tracyn.”

One moment silence, then from the perimeter of the Mando encampment fire blasted into them. The vehicle Berek had chosen exploded, shrapnel scything through the troops deployed around it. He chose another then another, burning through half a dozen vehicles before his magazine dropped free. He slapped in another, sweeping through the troops before him as he marked and dealt destruction.

He listened as one by one the other half dozen in his squad reported clearing a magazine. He looked at the enemy as they began charging. “One magazine, fire at will!” He stood from his hide, moving back. His helmet marked the targets he serviced as the local trees cut off his own view. The men fired, then without a command moved backwards as the enemy started to return fire.

“Hold at the tree line!” He ordered. His squad dropped back, reloading, then began to engage the enemy as they closed on the fence. They had lost perhaps 500 men just here, but they marched forward stolidly, advancing into the fire with mindless intensity.

“Ruus'alor!” Shift to local frequency!” One of his scouts called as the fire intensified. Berek tapped the tongue switch as he fired the last round into a vehicle still trying to push forward.

“Stop shooting, God wants them alive! Advance, capture the infidel that we may teach them god’s will!” A strident voice screamed.

“Triangulate.” Berek ordered. “Zilos.” He lifted an arm, pointing to the left, then snapped his finger up. “Find a spot, let’s see if we can shut the preacher up.” He watched as the enemy approached. He tapped the main push. “They’re at the fence. We’re just in the trees.”

“Good. All units, blow mine sections at your discretion.”

“Thank you.” Berek whispered. He keyed in a sequence, and as the enemy continued marching forward, suddenly the ground erupted with death.

To Berek’s left, Zilos almost leaped up the tree, even as a young child he had enjoyed climbing. He was ten meters from the ground when he stopped. The sniper rifle’s stock snapped down, and he leaned into the trunk. The helmet used other helmets, all of them directed his eyes toward a point 504 meters from his stand.

There was a small group of men there, most of them the same as the men walking into the camp even as fire ripped them apart who were blown into mist by mines, who still did not fire for they were told not to.

He brought the rifle up, seeing a fanatic’s face in the scope raising a com link. “Adv-” his finger stroked the trigger, and the man’s head exploded.

“About time you shut up.” He whispered, dropping down the tree. A form shot toward them, a shuttle coming from the south at high speed. Inside his bucket the young man grinned. Soon they would be out… or dead.

“Merisa, move the other children toward the landing field.” Zakal ordered.

Merisa went to the small curtained area where the other children cringed at the crack of projectile weapons, and the zip blam of blasters. “All of you come on. We have to get to the landing field.” She began pulling them to their feet, chivvying them out into the open.

The line of trees that surrounded the actual camp were thick enough that only brief flashes of light came from the enemy, but there was screaming and the children looked around terrified. The guards surround them, pushing them forward as Merisa led the way. A shuttle passed over them at high speed, and dropped in, ramp coming down. Mando warriors poured out, throwing what she suddenly realized were bodies aside.

“We have room for the children and maybe ten or fifteen more.” One of the men shouted.

The children were shoved up the ramp, and Merisa sat them, making sure they were strapped in. A dozen wounded were shoved aboard as the ones who had been aboard helped them.

“Ciara?”

“I’m waiting for the next shuttle.” Merisa heard in her ear. “We have to hold them.”

“Ciara, mother-”

“If it is my time, I die.” She flinched at the cool voice. “Go, be safe my children. I love you both.”

She felt bitter tears stream down her face. She had lost her family, she was losing this one too. Zakal would not survive. The ramp started to come up, and she ran toward it.

“Sister!” Canderous wailed. She leaped to the ground, running toward the tent where Zakal directed the battle.

“All front units, fall back through the trees.” Zakal ordered. Berek whistled, and his men fell back through the 20 meter thick line of trees. The ran on another ten, stopping just before the tents, kneeling. They had taken a toll, According to the estimates of the other squads over five thousand enemy were dead.

That left only about 11,000 to go.

“Movement.” Someone reported. For a moment nothing happened. Then ribbons of fire shot though the entire stand from end to end too fast to follow. For a moment nothing happened. Then every tree fell over, crushing men beneath them.

“You have to admit, she has style.” one of his men said.

“She does that.” Berek agreed. “Why isn’t she married?”

“She’s landuur.” Another snorted.

“If you can out think her, you can talk.” Berek snarled. “If you judge a woman only by how much she can lift or the thickness of her thighs you don’t know what strength is.” He lifted his weapon. “Seems not everyone was stopped by that.

Endorenna
11-10-2008, 09:31 AM
I like your battle sequences a lot, Mach. They seem to be well thought out, and they're well executed. :) Where are you getting all your Mando'a? I can't find some of the words on Wookiepedia. :confused:

Litofsky
11-10-2008, 05:25 PM
Very well done, Mach. Out of curiosity, the Mandalorians have no ships in orbit, and, as such, are taking only the captured shuttle to escape?

It should also seem that the Government is a Theocracy, rather than a dictatorship. I also like the Mandalorians' cohesion is spectacular. I'm surprised that they wouldn't have snipers in the trees to begin with?

Overall, there were a few grammatical errors (there needs to be a quotation mark in the sentence 'You hear. Hear and Obey'), but otherwise a good chapter. :)

machievelli
11-11-2008, 12:14 AM
Very well done, Mach. Out of curiosity, the Mandalorians have no ships in orbit, and, as such, are taking only the captured shuttle to escape?

It should also seem that the Government is a Theocracy, rather than a dictatorship. I also like the Mandalorians' cohesion is spectacular. I'm surprised that they wouldn't have snipers in the trees to begin with?

Overall, there were a few grammatical errors (there needs to be a quotation mark in the sentence 'You hear. Hear and Obey'), but otherwise a good chapter. :)

The escape plan will be explained in the next section. As for not having snipers in the trees, I didn't primarily because just sitting up there might get them caught in what is happening.

machievelli
11-11-2008, 12:16 AM
I like your battle sequences a lot, Mach. They seem to be well thought out, and they're well executed. :) Where are you getting all your Mando'a? I can't find some of the words on Wookiepedia. :confused: SOme I had to create because the mando'a dictionary I have so far doesn't have a word for 'duck'

The escape plan will be explained in the next section. As for not having snipers in the trees, I didn't primarily because just sitting up there might get them caught in what is happening.

Tysyacha
11-11-2008, 10:43 PM
*Applauds loudly* Where did you get your Mando'a dictionary, anyway?

Rev7
11-11-2008, 10:50 PM
Yes, very nice job so far Mach! :golfclap:

machievelli
11-12-2008, 12:46 AM
*Applauds loudly* Where did you get your Mando'a dictionary, anyway?
Someone in the expert's forum listed one, which is a list of words from the first Republic Commando book. There is also Mando 101 (http://www.completewermosguide.com/mandalorian.html) and Mandalorian language (http://home.sol.se/Mandalore/generalinfo/library/language.htm)

Endorenna
11-12-2008, 01:22 AM
Zakal? Weakling?

Phhht. She could probably take that guy apart with one hand tied behind her back.

machievelli
11-13-2008, 12:03 AM
Zakal? Weakling?

Phhht. She could probably take that guy apart with one hand tied behind her back.


That was what I was going for, kid. She may be physically weaker, but no one on either side of the conflict is within shouting distance when it comes to intelligence and as you will soon discover, guile.

machievelli
11-13-2008, 02:03 AM
Writing can be interesting, especially when you're in my head when it happens.

You see; Zakal has at the moment, the most dangerous job in a fighting retreat. In fact I had to change one scene in the next section because of two people, Merisa and Berek.

I had it blocked out, Zakal getting the info from the enemy, fighting and dying in that tent. She was actually accepting of this, primarily because if you think about it, it's a very Mandalorian way to die.

Next thing I know, Merisa jumps off the shuttle. I was thinking 'What the eff'?

So I suddenly got the writer's equivalent of the Ghosts of Christmas from A Christmas Carol. Merisa as past, saying, 'But I like Zakal! And you're killing her off, you meanie!'

Then Berek as Christmas Present saying 'Hey, you decided I like her and she dies before... you know? No way!'

Then Zakal who merely smiled and said, 'Besides, I'm too much fun to just kill off, right?'

So I had to create an entire chunk you will not see until the next section to explain how they got out alive.

Oh, in case you're wondering, the plan the Mandalorians are using is based on an actual historical incident. In November of 1981, 42 mercenaries under the command of the Famous Mike (Mad Mike) Hoare arrived in the Seychelle Islands intending to take out the premier of the socialist country and install a democratic government.

However fate or an idiot mercenary intervened. One of them brought something that alerted the rather lacksadaisical customs officers that something wasn't right, causing the alarm to be raised. With all of their heavy weapons packed in crates, Hoare and company were outnumbered and outgunned.

Taking their weapons from enemy troops, they had to retreat. They did so by hijacking an airplane that was about to take off and escaped.

However it did not end well. Hoare ended up with a ten year prison sentence, and the others recieved lesser sentences, their passports taken away so they were unable to leave South Africa again.

Let's hope the Mando do better, eh?

machievelli
11-13-2008, 11:46 AM
Merisa ran to tent where Zakal was. The forest was just… gone. It lay like an idle game of pick up sticks being played by the gods. There was no one in sight but the other Mando, and she almost shouted in relief, but the cry died as she saw half a dozen men in enemy uniform breaking cover, using Zakal’s tent as cover to run forward. She screamed Zakal’s name as she burst through the tent flap.

Zakal looked up, eyes widening at the pint sized girl with the bucket on her head burst in, drawing her gun. “There are men heading here now!”

Zakal sighed. “I knew that, little sister. I wanted some answers, and I knew they would come for me of all of us.” She waved. “Leave the gun in the holster, and wait.”

Berek head the scream, spinning to see the last of the men running into the tent. He leaped up, running toward the tent. He knew he’d be too late.

The men burst in. They weren’t moving with the droid like movements of the others. These moved like soldiers. One of them sneered at Zakal. “Well met, infidel.” He pulled a set of cuffs from his belt. “Welcome to the service of god.”

“What I do not understand is why you needed us.” Zakal leaned on the table, idly playing with the laser pointer on her desk. “You world is what, thirty hours transit from Mando’yaim. We’re close enough to hire if you need us.”

“We need true believers, not scum.” He snarled. “Three weeks of eating our food would have made you one with god.”

“I had figured that out. Your insistence made sure we would not, though.”

“Soon enough you will.” The man said as if it was as sure as the sun rising. “When you have embraced god we would have had you bring more, and take our food there. Your home world would have joined us willing, marching in the fore to lead the righteous to their destiny, and control of the Galaxy.”

Zakal sighed, picking up the laser pointer. “Such a pathetic plan. Listen I would really like to explain why it won’t work, but I am busy. Now I must warn you I have a laser, so just let us go and you can go back to your fantasy, all right?”

Berek kept running. He was almost to the tent when suddenly a laser beam punched through tent and began sweeping toward him! He dived, the beam passing over his head before it died out. “Zakal!” He screamed. He leaped to his feet running to the tent, peering through the opening caused by the sections that had been cut.

Zakal sat at her desk, a laser pointer in her hand. She tossed it aside as it began to smoke, rubbing the blisters on her hand. “What are you doing here?” She demanded.

Berek was stunned, but replied, “Well it’s believed that the old gods took smoke fire blood and steel from a battle, and made the first warriors of our race.”

Zakal stared at him as if he’d grown two heads. Before she spoke Merisa replied. “Odd. In the Book of the way it is
said that god took river mud and the blood from his own hands to make us.”

Zakal put her hands on the desk, bringing her head down with an audible thump. The manner suggested that she had wanted to slam it down hard enough to shatter, but didn’t have time. “What I meant,” she asked dangerously, “was why you, squad leader are here, not with your men.”

“The enemy has paused to think. I considered we weren’t done with you as our coordinator, so I decided to relocate you inside the perimeter.”

She gave him an appraising look. “Such long words.” She looked at Merisa. “And you?”

There was a tooth rattling hum, and the back of the tent fell. Ciara stormed through like a war goddess. She stopped, putting away her vibro-sword as she stalked forward. “Yes, Daughter, mine? I would really like to know why you are here instead of aboard the shuttle safe. Well?”

“I thought about Zakal being here, and didn’t want to see her die. So I came to help.” Merisa said in a tiny voice.

“Repeat that sentence starting with ‘I did not think’, and stop after that.” Ciara snarled. Merisa did as she was bid. The armored hand tightened into a fist, as if she were resisting the urge to punch the child, then extended and a single finger flicked out thumping the girl’s helmet. It would have a hurt a bit if she had not had the helmet, but as with any such punishment, it was more embarrassing than painful. “What good does a bucket do you if you don’t use your brain?”

“Ciara, I love your teaching style, but we do not have the time.” Zakal commented. “But they are not going to stand around stupid for long.” She looked at Berek. “So is there a brain in that bucket, Squad leader? How do you move my chair fast?”

Berek slung his rifle, slid an arm under the woman’s knees, another behind her shoulders and lifted her.

“What about my chair, you Di’Kut?” She snarled.

“I’ll buy you another.” He snapped. Now shut up, we’re rescuing you.”

Zakal looked at him, then looked down grinning shyly. “Such a sweet talker!” She looked to Ciara. “Neither Merisa or I have a rifle, so if you would, please?”

Berek ran from the tent carrying the woman. A moment later Merisa ran out carrying the belts of the dead men with their bandoliers, Ciara pacing her with two of the local rifles. They reached the others, and Zakal tapped a sequence on her pad. With almost silent thumps all of the tents collapsed, leaving clear fields of fire.

Ciara showed the girl how to work the action of one of the rifles, and Merisa slung three belts of ammunition on herself. Zakal worked the action a with professional manner, then slung her own ammo. They actually had more than their compatriots. Still the enemy had not yet come.

“What are they waiting for?” A man near them asked. “There are enough of them to walk in and beat us to death with rocks!”

“They are trying to figure out what went wrong.” Zakal said, the rifle snapping down to point. “They’re typical politicians and civilians. To a civilian a warrior is nothing more than a programmed man who goes and dies for the government, and the government thinks that soldiers obey out of love of the government.

“So throwing 16,000 men against 80 is simple numbers. But we proved that wrong with 60 to one casualties when they thought they could ‘walk in’ and take us. Now they are reconsidering. Perhaps someone on their own side is bright enough to think of other ways, but they will have to move fast. Shoji is commandeering space on a Coruscanti ship as we speak, but we have to hold until he is done.”

The time stretched. Men were moving closer, the makeshift abatis was slowing the enemy advance, but no one had passed beyond it yet, a sign that someone on the other side was thinking. The enemy had learned from the attempts to use loudspeakers or comlinks to pass orders that all it had done was give the snipers targets, so there was nothing there to be heard. Using thermal and sonic imaging, they knew almost 4,000 men were now just beyond the first section of tree trunks.

All of the older warriors grew grim. War is the most Darwinian of processes. Those who survived were the ones who were lucky enough to have lived long enough to learn what not to do. Their enemy, even if they were arm chair warriors were getting a crash course.

The fifty-five men women and one girl in the circle prepared for the fight of their lives.

The shuttle had not yet reported that they were coming. There were now almost 6,000 men hiding inside the abatis. “If they had a brain, they’d try both smoke and stun grenades together.” Zakal mused. “It wouldn’t hurt you in the Beskargam, but Merisa and I would be discommoded. And the smoke would slow you down a bit, allowing them a chance to slip closer.

“Of course we can hope they stay stupid.”

Almost as she finished there were thumps as grenade launchers began firing. Hundreds of grenades began to fall among the Mando. Berek dived at the same moment Ciara did, each tackling someone. Merisa felt the pulses of concussion as the helmet automatically blocked out the flashes that would had knocked her into confusion. To the side Berek lay protecting Zakal, who had been intelligent enough to close her eyes, even though she was reeling. She looked up, her hand resting against his cheek.

“Berek, you’re so… heavy.”

“Get ready!” Ciara screamed, rolling away from Merisa, rifle up as almost a thousand of the enemy troops leaped the last tree trunks, running toward them. The guns barked, ripping into the enemy troops. The last of them collapsed less than five meters from them.

“Stupid.” Zakal shook her head. “But that means smoke next.”

She was wrong, but only because the enemy was learning faster than she had anticipated. Smoke grenades began to fall around them, and the warriors switched to thermal imaging as the enemy sent in not a thousand but two thousand. The smoke slowed their fire, but not by much. But as they passed 30 meters suddenly there was another flurry of stun grenades. As they began another wave of thousands began to run forward.

Merisa aimed, her helmet setting the caret and she squeezed the trigger, the unseen enemy falling. She ignored him switching to another. She had just shot him when a stun grenade landed beside her. She felt the concussion knocking her from her feet, staring into the sky as a shape like a raptor bird suddenly shot over her head.

machievelli
11-13-2008, 08:29 PM
bumped it because I drove it half way down the page trying to clear up where I need to go back to work as the critic. sorry guys

Endorenna
11-13-2008, 09:16 PM
Great chapter, Mach!

I think I'm echoing myself...but still, great chapter! I love battle scenes! :xp: (That was great with the laser)

machievelli
11-13-2008, 09:22 PM
Great chapter, Mach!

I think I'm echoing myself...but still, great chapter! I love battle scenes! :xp: (That was great with the laser) Remember what I said about guile? The girl is someone that if she had been hale would have been James Bond instead of Sir Francis Walsingham. So I made her a nice toy and even used a bondesque line before. After all, she did warn them...

CommanderQ
11-14-2008, 12:37 AM
Excellent Chapter, Mach!! The Action scenes are awesome!!!!!!!

Bee Hoon
11-14-2008, 12:20 PM
You changed Kiara's name to Ciara ;D Very nice, and it's amazing to see Zakal's tactics in play! The government obviously has a very high opinion of Mando'a strength (I mean, 16000 against 80? O_O), and it's apparently for good reason. It's a little odd how they wised up so abruptly after springing all the traps and taking casualties, but you could say that they've killed all the dumb ones in the chain of command;o As always, well done. There's some missing punctuation, and a couple of sentences that are kinda confusing, so I'll have to use your own advice on you ;) Polish!

machievelli
11-14-2008, 05:24 PM
You changed Kiara's name to Ciara ;D Very nice, and it's amazing to see Zakal's tactics in play! The government obviously has a very high opinion of Mando'a strength (I mean, 16000 against 80? O_O), and it's apparently for good reason. It's a little odd how they wised up so abruptly after springing all the traps and taking casualties, but you could say that they've killed all the dumb ones in the chain of command;o As always, well done. There's some missing punctuation, and a couple of sentences that are kinda confusing, so I'll have to use your own advice on you ;) Polish!

As for the name change, all I have to say is... oops.

And the problem as Zakal said, is some people are stupid enough to believe numbers are the most important factor. Both the Chinese in Korea and the Soviet Russians during WWII used human wave attacks 'knowing' that as Stalin said, 'quantity has a quality all it's own'. They obviously thought 'We have a division, they have a light company... We'll roll right over them before they can do anything' which is that argument personified. Look at Thermoplae with 6000 Greeks led by 300 Spartans. Who do you think was going to win? The truth is the bigger battalions did win, but it took them three days to push them out of the way.

Anyone who believes that should have said the Coalition that went into Iraq either time were going to lose automatically because the Iraqis had 16 divisions the first time (Against 3 divisions and an armored Cav Regiment) and 11 the second (Against Three US Divisions and One British Brigade).

As for how they wised up, that was a mistake the Mando made, which will be explained shortly.

Litofsky
11-14-2008, 08:47 PM
Very nice addition, Mach (missed it due to the reviews of the ancient threads :p)! The descriptions of the fight itself were very nice, especially the final holding action. I'm not surprised that the Mandalorians are doing that well, but the skirmish was more of a slaughter than it was a fight.

At any rate, nice job! As Bee mentioned, there were a few punctuation errors, but otherwise a great chapter. Keep up the good work. :)

Tysyacha
11-14-2008, 08:59 PM
*Cheers for Zakal and worries for Merisa* Come on, guys! Make the enemy one with god!

machievelli
11-15-2008, 01:12 AM
Very nice addition, Mach (missed it due to the reviews of the ancient threads :p)! The descriptions of the fight itself were very nice, especially the final holding action. I'm not surprised that the Mandalorians are doing that well, but the skirmish was more of a slaughter than it was a fight.

At any rate, nice job! As Bee mentioned, there were a few punctuation errors, but otherwise a great chapter. Keep up the good work. :) As much as politicians think it will work 'shooting to wound' is not a good idea. So it would be smart to use some way to disable at a distance but the enemy isn't that bright obviously.

machievelli
11-18-2008, 12:51 AM
Today

Merisa looked around the circle. It was custom to look first to the elders, but she ignored that. This was for the young, those who were in training. They had not yet gone through the first battle. The Elders had been through this already, knew the answers. She paused, waiting until it became unbearable.

One of the young ones asked the question she had been waiting for. “But what could they do?”

Merisa smiled. The first time she had told this tale one of the young had come up with the question within seconds. But she had been one of them and those ‘older and wiser’ than her had complained.

“They had two choices.” Merisa told them. “Fight or surrender. What will you do when it is your time?” She looked around the chastened young. “As I chose.”

*****

Fifty years before.

“I’m out!” Someone screamed, dropping his rifle as he drew his beskad, readying himself for the fight to come. One by one others did the same. The first rush had been blunted by mines and grenades. The most recent rush however had used up the grenades, and now was running through their ammunition like sand through an hourglass. Even the most careful had less than two magazines left. Berek dropped his heavy weapon, grabbing the rifle Zakal had brought. An inferior weapon, but at least something better than a beskad when it came to range.

And we didn’t bring more grenades because they were hoping to capture their enemies. Like us…

He was worried about the blood that ran from Zakal’s ears and nose. The enemy may want them alive, but didn’t seem to care about the condition. He turned, the Bucket as efficient with this weapon as any other as he screamed. “Hold what you’ve got!”

The ammunition ran down as they kept servicing targets. More and more called empty, and as the fire slackened, more of the enemy got closer. They would be close enough to hold down the Mando in minutes.

“Be ready! Death or glory!” Berek called. The closest thing the Mando had to ‘don’t let yourself be captured‘.

Suddenly another voice cut in. “Mando! Voor’shi!”

Everyone dived for cover instinctively. A second later fire walked through the enemy troops as fighter cannon blasted them into gobbets. Then two white shapes passing at the speed of heat lifted over the buildings in the distance and were gone. Before they disappeared, red patterns could be seen on the ventral wings.

A few moments later grenades began to drop into the section not already blown clear by fighter cannon. A shuttle dropped toward them, spinning to reveal an open door and an empty cargo bay.

*****

Merisa could see, but didn’t really understand. She saw a helmet above her, knew somehow that it was a friend and family. The woman’s voice kept speaking, but she didn’t understand.

*****

There was room for almost 40, but there was room for more if they packed in like cattle. Only two people, the worst wounded were guaranteed a seat. The Mando were pragmatic.

They packed. Zakal and Merisa were strapped in, and the other fifteen people without seats grabbed onto whatever they could. “Go!” Kiara screamed.

The shuttle lifted, staggering under the overload. Berek had shoved his way to the front as they lifted, a Mando at the controls waved in a jaunty manner. “Too busy to talk; the enemy called up reinforcements.”

On the sensor screen Berek could see fighters closing from in front, weapons hot. “Chaff and flares!” He ordered.

“A great idea if those Di’Kut had added them.” The pilot said blandly. “But no one bothered to ask us.” On the screen the enemy fighter had finished their hairpin turn and were coming back. They were closing at an alarming rate.

“Are you just going to ignore them?” Berek shouted.

“Orders.” The pilot said. Blasts were causing the shuttle to shudder and rock as it was buffeted by the thermal bloom. “Because if we change course-”

There was a screaming sound as two white fighters passed so close Berek was sure he could have read their numbers, if they had any.

“-they might run into us.”

The fighter’s laser cannon raved and the half dozen enemy atmospheric fighters dropped to only one in less time than he had expected. The shuttle cleared the atmosphere, headed toward a ship now in low orbit.

The shuttle landed, men gratefully finding more space in the landing bay. The crew was conspicuously absent. A few moments later one of the fighters that had covered their retreat slid through the mono-directional force field, cannon smoking as it settled to the deck. A moment later the other ship landed.

The Mando readied what weapons they had left as the cockpits opened. A man stood in the cockpit of the first fighter, a moment later his motions were duplicated in the second fighter. Both men dropped to the deck, moving with the ease of predatory beasts. They stopped, close enough to be fired on, but not close enough to fight hand to hand.

“Mando, I bid you welcome.” The older of the two men, a man with striking features and black slick hair said. “My name is Kun, Jedi Knight.”

*****

Merisa remembered hands taking her to lay her on something soft. Then suddenly her eyes opened. The first thing she realized was that the stylized symbols of her HUD were gone. She was seeing with her eyes. A figure in a chair lay against the bed as if she had fallen asleep waiting. Merisa reached out, touching the silken hair.

“Kiara.” She whispered.

The woman flinched, then leaned back, yawning. “So you’re awake?” She asked. “Too stupid to listen, but you lived through it.” She leaned back, stretching. “So what have you learned, my daughter? Will you be a warrior or only a citizen of our world?”

Merisa considered it. Being assigned to guard the other children, which still left her questions she wished answered. Trying to save Zakal then the frantic defense against hordes of men. “I have never felt so terrified, unsure or alive, mother.” She admitted. “I wish to learn if I can be as strong as you or Zakal. If I can go to fight.”

Kiara grinned ruffling her hair. “If you’re feeling better we can visit Zakal.”

“Oh please?”

It took moments to find the Coruscanti doctor, and get permission for the girl to go down the passageway with her mother. Zakal lay in her own bed, Berek held her hand and she looked from his face, and grinned. “Up and about little sister?”

“Yes.” Merisa looked down then up.

“I think you have questions for me, little one. Ask.”

“Why were you willing to trust me?” She asked bluntly.

“Water.”
“Water?” Merisa stared at her. “Why is water so important?”

“Little one, the government began treating the water for the cities four years ago. Over time they reduced the people to a very suggestive state. Then they used subliminal signals to train the people of your world to be slaves to their vision of god. It didn’t work completely. Your father among others figured out what was happening, and went into hiding. The Government ignored them.

“As they began to gain control, they spread to processed food, snacks, prepared meals, drinks. Your family was the only one during our raids that had nothing of that sort. Your mother had flour from grain grown on your own land or freshly bought still un-ground. Milk from your own herd who drank water from the streams or well and ate the native vegetation. Eggs of your own birds, fed with the same grain you ground for flour, all untainted.

“But the government hit a problem. Your father was not the only one free. Some of the others were older military men, and they were able to hold off their feeble attempts. You see, when you have soldiers, you need more than blind obedience to orders. You need men who can use their initiative.

“So they needed proper soldiers. Soldiers untainted by their poisons. They needed us.”

“Very good.” They looked at the man who came in. He was dark skinned lithe, and tall. He wore long flowing robe Merisa had never seen before. “I should mention, Zakal, that your head set was still transmitting when you gave your discourse on what they should do. Your enemy learned what they needed to do to succeed, albeit too late.

“Jettiise.” Zakal nodded toward him. “I think we have you to thank for our survival?”

The man chuckled. “No. Most of you would have gotten out without our assistance. But the Coruscanti government might not have let you go.” He cocked his head. “According to the Karenti Authorities, you fired into the men intended to keep you from interacting with the locals. When they moved in to subdue you, you brutally killed an estimated 7,000 of them with massive firepower greater than your contract stipulates. You also seem to have stolen two prototype snub fighters to aid in your escape.” He smiled at the reference to the Jedi snub fighters.

“They demand return of all of you for trial, return of their stolen fighters, and repatriation of the children ‘kidnapped’ by you.” He motioned toward Merisa. “Whom they feel to be brainwashed.”

“How self serving.” Zakal commented dryly. “Did they mention using chemicals to program their own people?”

“That did slip their minds, obviously.” The Jedi took a seat. “Now what shall we do with you?”

“Do?” Berek stood. He towered over the slim Jedi by half a meter.

The man looked up at him. “Calm yourself vode.” The Jedi looked back to Zakal. “The government of Karenta has been informed that you were acting on their violation of the contract and as such are not criminals. We pointed out that forcing you to eat their food was not part of the original contract. That adoption of survivors was negotiated as an addendum to the contract, and not negotiable.

“We also pointed out that snub fighters belonging to the Republic Judiciary department were not theirs to seize.” He looked around. Then leaned forward, chin on his cupped hands. “Now that all of that has been taken care of, what are we to do with you?”

Litofsky
11-18-2008, 04:49 PM
Very nice chapter, Mach. I'm very glad that the government's methods have finally been explained, and, as it seems, that the Mandalorians are finally free from "Karenta," which seems to be the planet.

Also, it seemed that the "water" reference was never explained (or was that just me)? Zakal mentioned the government's treachery, but never why water was so important (aside from not being in Merisa's water, which would've made Merisa...) Never mind. :p

All in all, a very interesting chapter, Mach.

machievelli
11-19-2008, 12:31 AM
Very nice chapter, Mach. I'm very glad that the government's methods have finally been explained, and, as it seems, that the Mandalorians are finally free from "Karenta," which seems to be the planet.

Also, it seemed that the "water" reference was never explained (or was that just me)? Zakal mentioned the government's treachery, but never why water was so important (aside from not being in Merisa's water, which would've made Merisa...) Never mind. :p

All in all, a very interesting chapter, Mach.

The primary ingredient in 90 percent of cooking is water. a chemical can be added to water, which can then be given to animals to impregnate their tissues with the chemical, or used to irrigate croplands, or to be drunk by humans in the course of a day. We already have this in modern american or English drinking water with fluoridation, which strengthens teeth as an example of a benign version.

Rain128
11-20-2008, 10:42 AM
The primary ingredient in 90 percent of cooking is water. a chemical can be added to water, which can then be given to animals to impregnate their tissues with the chemical, or used to irrigate croplands, or to be drunk by humans in the course of a day. We already have this in modern american or English drinking water with fluoridation, which strengthens teeth as an example of a benign version.

All I have to say is...


Dr. Strangelove...

machievelli
11-20-2008, 11:43 AM
All I have to say is...


Dr. Strangelove...

:conspire:

Tysyacha
11-20-2008, 08:37 PM
Absolutely chilling--and absolutely brilliant. Five stars on this latest chapter! :)

machievelli
11-20-2008, 09:05 PM
Absolutely chilling--and absolutely brilliant. Five stars on this latest chapter! :)
Thanks Tys. My only question to you among others is...

I intend to jump right to the Mandalorian Wars next. Shall I continue? I see I've had almost 900 hits, so let's get maybe four answers?

Litofsky
11-20-2008, 09:43 PM
"Shall you continue?" Is that even a question, Mach? How could you even contemplate not continuing this story? Not continuing would be a travesty!

CommanderQ
11-20-2008, 10:14 PM
The way you're going you must do the Mandalorian Wars!! It is the only way to please the fan base!! If you don't we will tar and feather you {well, not literally anyway}. :D

Tysyacha
11-20-2008, 10:29 PM
Third answer: If you don't continue to the Mandalorian Wars, I will misspell every single word in my next Umbral Tide fic and still ask you to review it!!!

Endorenna
11-21-2008, 01:26 AM
I'll do the same with my fic! And I'll make it a fifty-page chapter!

Then you'll have a true :conspire: on your hands!

Just a warning. :D

CommanderQ
11-21-2008, 01:34 AM
The answers are upon you, Mach. That and numerous threats of ever annoying reviews and tar and feathering!!! THE PUBLIC DEMANDS MORE!!

This is the CQBC on Coruscant....:D

machievelli
11-21-2008, 05:48 PM
The answers are upon you, Mach. That and numerous threats of ever annoying reviews and tar and feathering!!! THE PUBLIC DEMANDS MORE!!

This is the CQBC on Coruscant....:D

I ask for opinion and get threats!

Endorenna
11-21-2008, 06:06 PM
You betcha! :xp:

CommanderQ
11-21-2008, 06:21 PM
Well, you did say that you wanted to know whether or not to continue, yes? Good enough reason for our threats... As Endorenna put it, "YOU BETCHA."

Chevron 7 locke
11-21-2008, 06:29 PM
I'm rather fond of this story.

JediMaster12
11-21-2008, 07:36 PM
Ok folks. I see that mach has got himself a paparazzi going on. As much as he seems to like the abuse just keep the comments to playful ones and constructive criticism. The tar and feathers are a little much--JM12

CommanderQ
11-21-2008, 07:38 PM
Oh, sorry about the tar and feathers, I didn't think them that dangerous seeing that we're on the internet...

Well, instead of the tar and feathers, we will simply force you to review bad works!!! RAH!

machievelli
11-21-2008, 08:09 PM
Oh, sorry about the tar and feathers, I didn't think them that dangerous seeing that we're on the internet...

Well, instead of the tar and feathers, we will simply force you to review bad works!!! RAH!

All right all right! The next segment will take a few days. I have to block out one hellacious battle.

CommanderQ
11-21-2008, 08:10 PM
Okay, we'll be quiet.

machievelli
11-27-2008, 02:11 AM
Today

Merisa stopped, sipping. She remembered that day as if it had happened yesterday. She could see the hostility among the young. The war against the Republic and then the Jedi had caused festering resentment. “The Jettiise have been our enemy and our friends time without number. Like Danika there, they have even been considered Mando.” She chided.

She looked at the children in reproach. “If we declared anyone who fought us enemy forever, we would have no one beyond our own blood to call friend.”

“What did they do with you?” The youngest asked. She looked terrified.

“Why Zakal they declared our contract fulfilled. They brought us home, and left us in peace. They had much to do you see. My home world was blockaded, and within fifteen years the economy collapsed, the people driven almost to extinction. Exar Kun by that time had become a Sith Lord, and one of the things he did was use that chemical binding they had created to form his Dark Legions.

“Most of the men of those Legions died. I will not say bravely, because to be brave you must have a choice to stand and die.”

She sighed, stretching. “I for one am for bed. Friends, there is room enough in the house for you. Sleep well and safe, for no one dares challenge a Mando in his own home.”

As she lay back, she remembered. The trip to Mando’yaim, her first trip on a spaceship. Seeing this valley from the air. It would be three decades before this house became her home. The world had seemed harsh, but she had grown to love it.

*****

After almost six decades, Merisa found herself awake before the sun as always. She dressed, strapping on the same antique pistol she had worn on her home world. The weapon had been something that reminded her of her father, but now it was an old friend she wouldn’t part with.

About half of the young were up, and she sent them back up to drag down the others. While they tried to be quiet, they were children after all, and soon Mission came staggering down, whining about not getting enough sleep. Merisa set a pot of black tea on the table, and as the Jettiise came down, looking insufferably neat and awake she poured. All of the children were up, stuffing their faces before the Republic officer and the Wookiee finally staggered down to join them. For a long time the only sounds were what you would expect when eating was the most important thing.

Three of the boys finished first and left to gather the milk from the nearby dairy farm in return for a bushel basket of tubers. The others moved outside, and began their morning exercises. The Jettise came out to watch, then joined the children. Their exercises were similar, but different from what the children did.

“All right. Training circle.” Merisa ordered. The children fell back with military precision. One of the boys stepped forward, drawing a line on the soil. He was a muscular 11 year old who had been training since five. Sasha stepped forward, dragging her heel on the soil and faced him.

Merisa considered. The girl was younger, true. But it was her choice. “Cha!”

The boy dropped into a crouch, then screamed charging. Sasha watched him come, then stepped aside, her arm coming up, clothes lining the boy. As he flipped up and backwards with a squawk the girl spun like a dancer, catching his collar so he literally snapped out straight before hitting the ground. She dropped beside him, fist clenched to strike.

“Pa-cha!” Merisa cried.

“About time.” One of the children snorted.

“Shut up-”

“Why, Kano?” The young boy snarled. “You’ve always used your weight and height to overawe everyone else. But our little Jetiise showed you!”

The boy leaped up, fists clenched. “Pa-Cha!” Merisa snapped. The boy froze. “Kano, your brother Shoji is correct. You have always won because you were bigger and faster. Sasha is half your size, yet she used her brain before she used her muscles. Young one, what style have you learned?”

“Te-rehal-Vor.” The Cathar woman answered for her. “The style of the Echani which the Jedi also use.”

“Learn of your opponent before you fight.” Merisa told him sternly.

For an hour they practiced both hand to hand, and with dulled swords. Then the children split up, some to gather ripened tubers and fruits from the fields and orchards, others to begin clearing the fallow field around the parked spaceship.

As before they fell into an automatic division of labor. The young Twi-Lek proved willing to scrub and clean anything. The Wookiee moved furniture so the girl could clean, and Sasha this time had joined the other children. The Jettiise were working on the ship along with her older brother.

Lunch was a hurried catch as catch can meal as those close to the house ate then returned to their chores as others came in to take their place. Basket after basket of fruit or tubers came in, separated into the cooling cellars for storage. The children as they will ate their fill of fresh tart fruit as they worked. Merisa knew there would be bellyaches in the future, but she remembered her own times as a child.

Finally dinner was ready, and again they all sat down to eat. The children, as Mando children would, had accepted Sasha as one of them. They had accepted the Jettiise as just other adults of the clans. Even Zallbaar was just the big furry uncle.

This evening, sections of Besu’lik, the large snake of the planet were baked, and only the warriors who had taken it were allowed to cut the succulent portions for all. The beast was hard to kill, and Merisa grinned when her brother and the Republican Commander brought in the 10 meter squirming length. A meal fit for warriors!

Soon they sat again. Again the children as they would called for stories. Kiara told of her first battle during the siege of Dxun when it was taken from the Onderoni. Her brother told of the strange ship that had been seen in an asteroid belt, and Revan spoke of the Battle of Dxun when it was wrested from the Mando.

Kano growled about the duplicity of the Republic, and then it came to Merisa.

“Many times we have been accused of crimes,” Merisa began, pouring again the syrupy blood-wine. “Yet I remember once when the Republic broke the rules they espoused, and it was up to me to bring the criminal to justice.”

*****

10 Years earlier
Ruus'alor Merisa Becket Clan Ordo recorded the harvest from the fields of Harcour‘s smallest continent, noting the areas where that harvest had fallen below predictions. Three of the areas she understood the deficit. One had been smashed by hailstorms, another had been plagued by tornadoes. Another had been flooded for a third of the planting season. The other two…

A hand slid a pad before her, and she picked it up it was- She looked up, then leaped up, hugging the man that had delivered it. “Berek!” She shouted, hoisting the older man off his feet.

“Put me down!” The man laughed. “Is that any way to treat your al'verde?”

She dropped him, grasping him by his shoulders. “It’s good to see you.”

“And you, little one.” He pounded his fists upon her shoulders.

Merisa grinned, few called her ‘Little One’ any more. She was over 50 now, married thrice and widowed twice, mother of seven, three of whom were still alive. She poured tihaar, passing a cup to Berek as she held the other. “Welcome.”

Berek accepted the cup, sipping the sharp liquor. “So you ended up here.” He said.

“What did you expect?” She asked, sipping her own shot. “I was too young for the Sith war.” She said. “I was too busy throwing sons and daughters to face our enemy.”

Berek sighed, sipping. The child they had saved on Carenta had grown into a stark warrior. Her rank was earned on battlefield after battlefield in this latest war. “How is your squad, my young sister?”

“Well, commander.” She replied. “While our warriors deal with harvests and the occupied, we still work to maintain our skills. I would put my squad against any the Republic would field.”

“Well enough little one.” He said. He looked sad, and she noticed. “Berek, what is?”

“Zakal was captured three months ago.” He said, draining the cup and pouring more.

“How?” Merisa was astonished. Zakal had been Mandalore the Ultimate’s leading intelligence officer. If she were lost…

“She resigned when we went to war with the Republic. She was aboard one of our merchant vessels bound for Vespana to visit our oldest.” Berek reported woodenly. “It was captured by a Republic Frigate on the way. She and fifty others were captured. They were sent to Sooribor.”

“Then she joins Kiara and Kono.” She said sadly. Her mother had been captured almost two years earlier when the Mando had finally attacked the Republic. Her husband Kono had been aboard a medical transport after the capture of Serroco the year before. “I have received messages from them. I wonder why Zakal hasn’t sent me one?”

“Because for the first month they are not allowed to communicate.” Berek snorted. “As if a warrior in a prison camp sees anything of importance.” He held up a set of data chips. “But I received these. One each from Kono Kiara and Zakal for you.”

She sighed, taking them. The worst part of this war was how little time she had with any of the three before their capture. Kiara had been captured when her ship was badly damaged by a Republic task force near Taris. Now Zakal was in enemy hands.

They spoke about the children, the sixteen Berek and Zakal had raised, all but one of the five survivors in the fight now. All but one of hers were also out there, and she mourned those that had died. Fro, Casi and Shoji had died as mercenaries, Tirith had died when they had invaded Cathar, though she had regretted that the girl had served under such a monster as Dererok.

To go into battle where your enemy didn’t even have a chance to properly bloody his blade! Bombarded from orbit, their cities shattered, farmlands and feed lots smashed into dust. Only then with almost 80 percent of the race slaughtered had the Mando landed. The survivors hadn’t surrendered.

The girl had died, not in battle, but by throwing herself between her own people ‘making an example’ of a rag-tag guerilla force fighting against their oppressors. When they had been captured, Dererok had ordered their execution. Tirith had set her weapons down, and stood between the firing squad and the half dozen survivors.

When the monsters had ordered her aside, she had merely replied, ‘Either kill me or stand down. I grow bored.’

So they had killed her. Then had gone on to drive the race into extinction. Merisa had wished she could exact her revenge personally, but Mandalore the Ultimate had taken it for her. All but a tithe of those ‘brave’ warriors had been forced into ‘honor death’ for their actions.

She slotted the first letter. “My dear wife, I miss you every day, especially your cooking. The camp is a bit crowded now with so many captured in the last months. It reminds me of a Zeges nest.”

Kono had waxed on assuring the Calor fields were properly cleared, and her eyebrows quirked. She had more interest in the fields around his ancestral home, and what he knew about Calor root could be written with a heavy marker on a credit transfer card, though it was a valuable cash crop. Clearing the land was hard true. Zeges, small hive insects used the areas where the roots had weakened the soil during the fallow times. The workers in fact looked like leaves, freezing into immobility when they sensed danger. They were not dangerous alone, but a hive could sting a man to death. Many a worker had entered a field and found themselves beset from all sides by them.

Why would he be warning her of this? And what was this ‘Dear wife’? He’d always joked that she was a hellcat and that the best way to deal with her was to feed her to repletion, and only then press his suit. Their arguments were not only legendary, but she had been told by some it was a favorite spectator sport.

As for cooking he was better than she would ever be. Her food was good but it was like comparing a fire in a fireplace to a star.

She shook her head, bringing up Kiara’s letter. “My beloved daughter, I hope this finds you well. The camp is quiet tonight. We have little to do but relax. You know how I love that.“ Merisa grew cold. Her mother exercised not only to stay fit, but to help her think. She had seen the woman fidget until she had to leap up and pace. The picture of her relaxing for any length of time was absurd.

Kiara went on to speak of even odder things. How she had worried when Fro had stopped her from getting hurt. How Tirith had waited in the kitchen for her, and Casi had fallen down and hurt himself…

She leaned back. Her mother didn’t speak of her own children, rather about her own family dead all these years. Betrayed by their enemy…

With dread she put the last letter in.

*****

Zakal hissed as the boot set itself in her back, slamming her down. “Crawl, Mandalorian scum!” The man snarled.

She shook her head to clear her hair from her eyes. The mess tent where all meals were served was 100 meters from the tent she had been assigned to. Originally her tent had been closer. But the Commandant of prisoners had changed that. She pushed herself back to hands and knees.

You must walk to the mess tent or you will not be fed.

Simple for someone with good legs, she thought crawling forward. When the bones had shattered all those decades ago the shards had scraped her nerves raw. Even now mere movement ran sheets of pain like fire through them. A hundred meters three times a day would ruin what remained of her legs. Others had tried to help her, some had been beaten until they could not move. Others…

A hand grabbed the back of her collar, dragging her back twenty paces. “I said crawl!”

She looked up into that ugly face, then turned herself, trying to crawl back toward the mess tent. The man used his rifle to club her into unconsciousness.

A time later she felt hands gently cleaning filth and blood from her face. She opened her eyes, looking into Kiara’s face. “You risk much, my friend.”

“Risk for a friend is not risk.” Kiara replied, rinsing out the cloth. She continued the task of cleaning the cuts. Behind her Kono Hando, Clan Ordo came in. He walked over, opening the front of his uniform, pulling out several slices of bread with meat shoved between them.

“Eat, Zakal.” He bade.

“What of the others-”

“They took their portion and ate some, but pressed the rest on me.” He told her. “We need you.”

She took the rolls of bread and meat, eating ravenously. In the last three weeks she had eaten four full meals, most of those back when she had first arrived in this hell. She wanted to save some of it, but the nightly searches would find any food stores, and punishment was for everyone in the tent, not just for those guilty.

She felt guilty that no one even looked at her as she ate. She had finished the last of it when the warrior guarding the flap hissed. Kiara moved as if she had practiced the move many times, taking the bowl and scrubbing her own face as Republic soldiers burst in. They spread out, weapons ready. Behind them the flap rested for a second, then Commandant Roykirk entered.

He was a short portly man, with an avuncular manner that fooled any new prisoner only as long as it too for the Commandant to open his mouth.

He walked through where the captives had marked their own spaces. There were small handcrafts laying there, and he picked up a piece of stone painfully carved to display an animal. The man smiled. Even that was insulting. “Oh dear, I see you have too much time on your hands.” He dropped the stone, shoving it into the mud. “Perhaps we need some land cleared for more of you filth. Everyone out. Oh except for our dear cripple.” He turned his attention to Zakal.

He walked over, and a hand came down, picking up a crumb. “Oh dear, did someone bring you food?” He dropped the crumb, turning. “Search them all. If anyone has crumbs inside their clothes we will kill them.”

“Enough, Autiise.” Kono said, standing. “I did what any would who cared for others. If you are going to kill anyone, I am responsible.”

Roykirk smiled. “Do you know what we do with responsible Mandalorians?” He asked rhetorically. Then his hand moved, the blaster came up and he shot the man.

“Well that is enough unpleasantness. Have your weekly letters ready to go please.”

CommanderQ
11-27-2008, 02:31 AM
Excellent next installment, Mach! The fan base was definately not disappointed! :D

Chevron 7 locke
11-27-2008, 02:34 AM
I agree with CQ. I love this story!

Endorenna
11-27-2008, 04:08 AM
Good chapter, Mach--but I don't like it as much as the others. I understand that you like the Mandalorians a lot more than most people, but here you seem to be going to the opposite extreme. I'm sure there were sadists on the Republic side, too, but still...

But thank the Lord you aren't making them the paragons of virtue! (shudder)

Litofsky
11-27-2008, 11:23 AM
Very nice chapter, Mach. The prisoner camps were horrid, to speak the least of them. I cannot help but wonder how the Mandalorian prisoner camps holding the Republic soldiers are, or if they take prisoners?

The descriptions of the planet in the beginning of the chapter were also interesting. I wonder if, perhaps, you're foreshadowing any potential events?

At any rate, a very nice chapter. Keep up the great work!

machievelli
11-27-2008, 12:01 PM
Good chapter, Mach--but I don't like it as much as the others. I understand that you like the Mandalorians a lot more than most people, but here you seem to be going to the opposite extreme. I'm sure there were sadists on the Republic side, too, but still...

But thank the Lord you aren't making them the paragons of virtue! (shudder)

The problem with history is that the excesses of the winners are ignored. As an example there is a movie made in the 60s called 'Hell Is For Heroes) with a campaign between the Japanese and the English. At one point the Japanese have several men they have captured and are threatening to kill them. The men they are chasing hear them being killed (Shots and screams) In the next scene, you see the Japanese officer, until now portrayed as a total maniac handing one of the 'dead' prisoners some water. At the surprise on the prisoner's face he says 'What, you thought were as brutal as you paint us?'

I am not painting the entire Republic as evil, just the men under this man's command. In the next section I am going to explain more.

Oh BTW, did you know this piece, less than two months long had more hits in that period than all on my longer works?

Tysyacha
12-04-2008, 01:57 PM
*Tysyacha's jaw hits the floor*

Once again, you continue to amaze me. How the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is Zakal ever going to get out of there?! I agree with you that the victors of any war or rivalry against another group of people write history, and the losers are confined to writing it their own way--and the winners call it "propaganda"...

machievelli
12-04-2008, 09:59 PM
I could answer that, but I won't

machievelli
12-04-2008, 11:15 PM
Today

Merisa looked at her audience. Manda’lor watched her with a concentration she would have expected of an enemy. Carth wanted to protest, but his own innate honesty stopped him. She watched both of them, but neither refused the challenge. She gave due honor for their forbearance.

*****

Ten years earlier

Merisa waited impatiently. She had taken several hours of working through the echelon of flunkies. Planetary governor, Sector command, fleet command, Operations, then Sector intelligence, now finally the Intelligence bureau.

After repeating herself ad nauseum she had almost reached the man she was trying to speak to.

Sencor Casio Clan Fett looked at her, his face bland, though she could see his distaste. When Zakal had resigned in protest, she had been the next person asked to assume the post. She might be a low ranking warrior, but she was considered highly intelligent. Merisa had refused, and Sencor had been chosen in her place.

“What do you need, Becket.” He asked.

“Have you been investigating the correspondence from our POWs?”

He gave a long suffering sigh. “Becket if you want this job all you have to do is tell Mand’alor what he wants to hear.”

“Answer the question, Casio.” She snarled, dropping civility since he wasn’t willing to use it.

“Every letter sent is checked for codes and ciphers.” He snapped.

“Then I am surprised that whomever you have doing so didn’t notice that Zakal has had her chair taken away, Kiara is not allowed to run, and Kono who hates the fact that he owns fields of Calor can’t think of anything else to talk about except how sweet I am and how he loves my cooking.” She saw the hesitation in his eyes. “So people are checking them but none of them know the people they are supposed to be examining.”

She sighed. “Casio, we don’t have to like each other. But something is wrong. Something is going wrong in the Sooribor POW camp. We must contact the Caamasi.”

*****

the Caamasi had been discovered 15,000 years earlier. Furred pacifist humanoids, they were appalled by the hostility of even the most benign race other than their own. It was recorded in history that if the Jedi had not been among that first contact team, the Caamasi would have refused to even meet the Republic.

None had the telepathic abilities of the Caamasi. The Caamasi were horrified even by the thought of war because they would feel the people die if they were close enough. No other race could implant memories in other species either.

If they were more militant; an oxymoron if applied to a single Caamasi let alone the entire race; they could have convinced the galaxy to be at peace by making every politician drug lord slaver and warrior feel the deaths and pain they caused. But they also had a strong sense of personal responsibility. People must take responsibility for their actions, and interfering with that choice was anathema.

Not long after the Caamasi had joined the Republic, they had begun proposing ways to mitigate some of the horrors of war. Over the millennia they had created rules, and gotten the Republic to agree with them. Most were obvious; since the innocent people of a planet were the source of it’s productivity, they were to be left alone where ever possible. The same with all industry not directly tied to warfare. Cities were to be left alone unless the enemy defended them, because you know the enemy will leave the people alive.

These were called the Caamasi Accords.

Until a millennia ago they had worked. The Sith had neither cared for nor even given lip service to the rules. If they wished to slaughter everyone, they would do it. The Sith war had been one of the most brutal in the Republic’s history for that very reason.

However this war, between peoples that accepted the rules should have been easier.

Merissa sat back, waiting for the holonet system to put Casio through. She had spent every favor she had to be part of this. Casio looked at her, tired and frustrated. “We have little more information, Merissa.”

She relented in her hatred. Something had caused him to try for civility. “May I ask, Sencor?”

He nodded. “We contacted Caamas. This is the transcript.” He touched a button. The screen cleared and she saw the Caamasi representative.

“Speaker Noral. I am Sencor Casio. I speak as representative of Manda’lor in relation to the treatment of prisoners.” She shook her head wryly. While she had learned from Zakal how to analyze a situation, Casio was so much better at the pompous crap.

As a race, the Caamasi were covered in a golden, downy fur, highlighted on their faces by purple stripes. Their most striking physical feature was their blue-on-green eyes. Noral would have been considered quite attractive by their measure. She was beautiful even by human standards.

“I see you, Sencor Casio.” She replied in a soft voice. “Speak and I will hear.”

“My questions concern the POW camps on Sooribor.”

Did that alien countenance flinch? “Ask your questions.”

“There are statements made in communications from our prisoners that suggest mistreatment-” She wanted to scream at him. You idiot! Don’t tell them how we know!

Now she was sure the alien did flinch. “The Sooribor facilities have officially been placed outside the Accords.”

The phrase left Merissa cold.

“How can they be outside the Accords?” Casio demanded.

“Under the Accords, the Caamasi are allowed access to all prisoners and officials at any time. The Caamasi have been denied access for the last two months, since Commandant Roykirk took command.” Noral replied.

“We informed Regar Danzik, the Provost Marshall of the Republic fleet. He informed us that the Sooribor facility was now designated a maximum security facility, and the Caamasi would be in danger.”

“That is not good.” Merissa commented. An institution or base declared outside of the Accords had no rights, and no oversight. By declaring it so, the Caamasi also allowed attacks on it, since a POW camp was not a legitimate target; they could only be liberated, not attacked. It was usually applied to units already in violation of the Accords, such as those who refused to take prisoners. To apply it to a POW camp suggested the same claims made by the Republic against them, albeit with only one quickly repaired incident at the Mando POW camp on Mando’Yaim.

She looked up at him. “What do you intend to do about this?”

“We’re going to launch an attack and liberate the camp. As soon as we find the right unit-”

“I’m going. With my unit.” She disagreed coldly.

“Have you asked your al'verde?”

“My adopted mother and husband are in that camp, his wife is. Do you think he will stand aside?”

*****

Today

She watched the eyes of the Republic officer and the two older Jedi. as she told the tale. The officer had the look of someone ready to call her a liar. But why did Manda’lor look haunted?

*****

10 Years earlier

The guards dragged Zakal, throwing her onto the floor of the commandant’s office. She caught herself from slamming down face first, but a boot jammed between her shoulder blades, shoving her face down. She glared through her ratty hair at the wall as the highly polished boots walked past a few moments later.

“Let her up.” Roykirk ordered mildly. Zakal leaned up, looking into his eyes without flinching. The man went through the papers on his desk, then tapped one. “It seems the Caamasi have been told about our changes here. How do you think that came to be?” He asked rhetorically. She merely stared at him.

“Well we have you to thank. I spoke with Provost Marshall Danzik, and he has approved our plan.”

“Plan.” Zakal spat.

“Of course. They think you’re being tortured, so they will try to liberate the camp. But we are set for what is to come.” He leaned forward. “A task force will be in position five light years away, ready to come to our aid when your fleet tries.” He laughed. “We’ll have the Mandalorians on scanner attacking a POW camp in violation of the Caamasi Accords. We can blame every death in the camp on them. The propaganda will unite our people in a wave to crush you.

“Using prisoners as bait in a trap is a violation of the Accords.” She told him flatly.

“When the War Crimes trials are convened, it will be our judges on the bench, not yours.”

Litofsky
12-05-2008, 05:51 PM
“When the War Crimes trials are convened, it will be our judges on the bench, not yours.”

A most excellent and truthful line, Mach. That was my favorite part of the entire chapter. As for the rest, there were a few grammatical errors (I believe in the beginning, should it not be "What do you need, Becket?”), but that hardly overshadows the other shining parts of the chapter, such as the detailing of Roykirk's plan.

machievelli
12-05-2008, 06:44 PM
A most excellent and truthful line, Mach. That was my favorite part of the entire chapter. As for the rest, there were a few grammatical errors (I believe in the beginning, should it not be "What do you need, Becket?”), but that hardly overshadows the other shining parts of the chapter, such as the detailing of Roykirk's plan.

A little known (And frequently denied) fact is that Japan was a signatory to the Geneva Conventions. During the early part of WWII, when the Japanese invaded China, they announced that they would put the Conventions aside until 'circumstances allowed'. By legal definition, they decided the Convention didn't apply to them.

machievelli
12-08-2008, 12:56 AM
The Corvette Akaan Murcyur or Kiss of War burrowed through hyperspace in convoy with a dozen others. In her cargo bay an ol'averde; almost 300 Mando prepped their weapons, checked armor, or relaxed. Merisa sat with a group of younger warriors, showing them how to prep their gear for the assault. She walked among the warriors of her squad, touching a shoulder here, tousling a head of hair there. She treated her people like her children, and watched over them with the fierce attention of a mother Besu’lik.

Berek came into the bay, and every eye locked on him. “Attention to orders.” Berek said. Everyone gathered around, the traatika ver'alor (Platoon leaders) and Ruus'alor (Squad leaders) in the front. He looked them over, then tapped his helmet, a topographic map flashed against the side of an assault shuttle.

Slowly Berek laid out the operation. The ol'averde would land here, thirty kilometers from the POW camp; close enough for a fast march, but far enough away from the sensors that had been deployed according to the last intelligence update. They would move forward and capture the guards on the camp, then signal for pick up. Because of the situation, a number of innocents they didn’t want to injure, the ol'averde would land in light weapons configuration, only two heavy anti-vehicle blasters with two heavy grenade launchers per squad, the other 12 members carrying projectile rifles light grenade launchers or blasters.

As the time approached, the warriors found their own ways to relax. Merisa sharpened her Beskad, then tried to decide whether she would wear her blaster pistol or her old friend. She pulled the ancient pistol from it’s holster. She had been hand loading the cartridges for it over four decades now and had reached the maximum the chamber could accept. The weapon had been almost rebuilt four times, and she’d had paid to have parts made the last time. The action was as smooth as glass, the sights adjusted to perfection.

Of course the blaster had better penetration except at long range, so maybe-

She smiled gently. She always did this. It was her version of nerves. She looked over her squad with the love of a mother. Tahshi, the eldest of her team at forty. The youngest was Sange, only nineteen. Between them the team ran the gauntlet of ages. Her best shots with heavy blasters were Tono Kala Ger and Tasha. She decided the women Kala and Tasha; both wizards with the tracinya rapid fire heavy grenade launchers, would carry them on this assault.

Tahshi Canda, El and Mooti, four women alike as peas in a pod even with 20 years between the eldest and the youngest. They would be the point unit, silent, fast, and deadly. They would be followed by Saml, Coha Lan and herself. Toros Kalo, Sange and Grief on rear guard.

She yawned, going to bed.

*****

The squadron of corvettes dropped into normal space. They charged toward the planet, assault shuttles launching. Fighters came out to meet them, and a furious battle began. One of the engines on Akaan Murcyur stuttered and died, flames shooting from a broken fuel line, and she staggered toward the edge of the battle. A dozen fighters turned to target the cripple.

Laser blasts slammed into her shields, seeking her vitals. An internal explosion blew out her cargo hold, and a mass of debris shot toward the planet.

Merisa held the flying wing‘s control bar as she and the other members of the strike force fell toward the planet. Above them the fuel line stopped spewing fire, and the engine came back to life. She used the HUD to check the others. 290 green circles and one gold one dropped toward the unsuspecting enemy.

Like avenging hawks half a dozen Republic Frigates and another half dozen corvettes dropped out of hyperspace between the Mando warships and escape. The Mando ships split into combat groupings of four ships each, and each ‘hand’ broke to dive around the planet. The Republic strike group broke to pursue.

*****

Merisa adjusted her course. The landing zone was there, haloed in green. Nothing yet.

*****

“Nothing.” The gunner growled. The one ship that had approached had been out of range above the atmosphere and not come within range of the infantry cannon.

He snorted, seeing that blasted static again. The fleet had reported that one of the ships had blown a cargo bay, and debris was falling into the atmosphere. He refined the passive tracking information. Most of it was tumbling to fall far from him, but some… His eyebrow quirked. It was falling in another direction, away from the rest. In fact…

*****

They were 500 meters from the ground when active sensors lashed them. “Hot, zone!” Berek broke com silence. “Dump and get down fast!”

Below them a dozen heavy cannon capable of ripping apart a ship roared, and the night was cut by plasma blasts. First half a dozen, then a dozen then more of the icons for the assault force disappeared as fire reduced them to dust.

Merisa slapped the release, the wing lifting up, and beginning a preprogrammed evasion program as she plummeted like a stone. The wing carried out it’s primary function, radiating ten times what her armor did, and drew a bolt that would have killed her as well. A hundred meters up she hit the thrusters on her sen'tra, slowing her descent.

Around her, like well oiled machinery, everyone who still lived was copying her reaction. Berek halfway across the LZ from her; closer to the guns, roared, “Oya!” And leaped into a full run toward the suddenly blazing hill as infantrymen with rifles both blaster and projectile ripped into the Mando.

The Republic’s infantry manual would have called for retreating until out of direct fire, assess the situation, then formulate a plan. The numbers themselves should have given them pause. The Republic troops facing them knew they outnumbered the Mando. If you went by the book, it was exactly the wrong thing to do.

A pity for the Republic that the Mando had never read that book. They had learned by doing, and even the youngest among them had been a warrior in training since the age of five, and warriors in truth since they were 13. Fifty of the finest warriors the galaxy had ever seen charged into ten times their number ahead of anyone else.

Merisa and her unit had landed farthest from those guns, but at her signal she and those between her and the al'verde charged in his wake.

Thirty warriors leapt up that hill, weapons flaming as they shattered the lines of dug in men like glass shattered under a hammer. Fifteen breasted that hill, falling upon the crew of the cannon, blasting everything that moved, smashing weapons and men in their rampage. the few creman that survived did so by running for their lives.

Merisa and those with her smashed into the same line, still disorganized by the first assault, and reaped their own harvest. Nothing lived in their wake. She reached the knoll where the guns still sat, finding only seven still standing.

Berek was not among them.

Throughout the HUD had desperately been jumping from officer to officer, trying in it’s idiot best to choose who still commanded.

Of the almost 300 only 65 still stood. Merisa took a deep breath when the gold icon of command finally settled…

On her.

Litofsky
12-08-2008, 04:58 PM
A very nice chapter, Mach. The first bit was expertly done, in my opinion, especially the pre-battle jitters experienced- and subsequently subdued- by the Mando. However, the brief space skirmish left me wanting more (to my eyes, it was a bit fuzzy).

The final rush up to the gunnery emplacements, I thought, was also well done, so kudos on that. I wonder what Merisa shall do with her new 'command' now, and, more importantly, how she will escape with her objectives intact?

I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment! :)

CommanderQ
12-08-2008, 05:05 PM
Excellent next chapter, Mach! I really enjoyed the pre-battle jitters as Litofsky did, very accurate! Also like Litofsky, I found the skirmish scene to be slightly fuzzy, but then that also contributes to the actual confusion of battle, excellent job on that! I can't help but draw some parrelels to historical battles and situations, that definately makes this installment very good indeed! I hope you post the next installment very soon!!

Darth_Yuthura
12-08-2008, 07:43 PM
Impressive. How exactly do you write these kind of sequences? Do you have a rough idea of the major plot points and write the battle around that, or did it just come as you wrote?

I really never did a complex chapter that addressed prewar jitters, the fighting, and the aftermath which is coming next. I'm going to be having a few of these in "Prior to Exile" and would appreciate any suggestions on battle or fight scenes.

Endorenna
12-08-2008, 07:56 PM
^ What they said. :D

machievelli
12-09-2008, 12:05 AM
Impressive. How exactly do you write these kind of sequences? Do you have a rough idea of the major plot points and write the battle around that, or did it just come as you wrote?

I really never did a complex chapter that addressed prewar jitters, the fighting, and the aftermath which is coming next. I'm going to be having a few of these in "Prior to Exile" and would appreciate any suggestions on battle or fight scenes.


As for the pre battle jitters I have my own secrets. As for the basics of the battle both in space and below, I had a basic idea roughed out, and when I got there let it flow.

Any help you need with scenes, let me know.

machievelli
12-11-2008, 11:31 PM
Those who think I treat the Mando as the completely good guys might be surprised by part of this next post. But considering what happens right before it I feel it expresses their mentality perfectly.

Today

Merisa paused. The panic of that time struck her yet again. 80% losses on the landing, an enemy of unknown strength before them. So many times she had awakened in nightmares afterward. She still didn’t understand what had driven her to go on.

She poured, this time from the bottle of tihaar.

*****

Ten Years earlier

“Com.” Merisa ordered. One of the survivors popped out the laser satellite transmitter. That worthy paused as the system scanned looking for a specific signature.

Far above, one of the pieces of debris ignored before this, stabilized. It was small, perhaps a meter square. It was an idiot simple device that used technology so ancient no one had ever considered countermeasures against it. As the laser beam from below hit it, the synthetic aperture camera opened, a lens the width of a human hand that mimicked one fifty meters across. It had a resolution of one meter in the present configuration, and at it’s tightest focus, of less than ten millimeters. Clear enough on a day time pass that it could read unit markings from vehicles. The computer judged the light from the target far below, switching to IR scanning mode. Only now did the second section spin, looking for ships of a specific design.

On the HUD the camp appeared from above as clear as if it hovered merely a kilometer above it. Merisa could see the rows of barracks, the prisoners, most of them not moving. A few were already awake, and as she watched, more were awakening to come out and watch the battle above. On one edge she could see her own people, already deployed in a lozenge shape thirty kilometers distant.

“Kastar.” She called the next senior, tagging 20 others. “Point. Surillo.” The next after that stolid man. “All heavy blasters, you’re rearguard.” 30 others were marked. “The rest in the middle with me. Oya!”

*****

In numbers the ships now dueling far above were equal. In firepower, it was three to one. The frigates, not as fast as their smaller enemies pushed on stolidly. Ahead of them the faster Mando corvettes hovered just out of firing range. The Republic commanders cursed, demanding more speed. A gap grew as the Republic corvettes outran their larger vessels.

At they rounded the planet, the three hands rolled, each taking an exact reciprocal of another unit so they were now running full out not away, but toward an enemy formation.

As the Republic ships came screaming around the planet, their own corvettes in the lead, each pair of corvettes found itself being pounded by four more heavily armed Mando corvettes. Five of the six ships were battered into wreckage or destroyed outright, the sole survivor crabbing out of the battle as the Mando corvettes now concentrated their fire in pairs on the surprised frigates coming down their throat.

All told from start to finish, the engagement from the first weapons firing to the ships passing each other at a tenth of light speed lasted less than seven minutes. Seven of the Mando corvettes climbed away, and behind them four frigates duplicated their maneuver. Three ships, a Republic frigate and two Mando corvettes orbited as shattered hulks. The sole Republic corvette was already plunging into the atmosphere, going to her fiery death. The rest were scattered wreckage.

As the ships had passed, the satellite had transmitted their data to them, then began recording.

*****

Below, 63 people plunged at a lung tearing run through the forest. At a gesture, they froze in place. Sange gestured behind them. “Speeders, coming fast.”

The warriors spread out, weapons tracking the sky.

A dozen speeders roared in weapons blasting, and were met by concentrated fire. Half of them died before they passed over the Mando line, only two escaped the hell. But only fifty warriors raced on.

Merisa kept moving. Her own squad had lost El Saml Toros and Mooti in the horror of landing. Now Lan Kalo and Coha lay dead as the remainder raced forward.

Her HUD held a picture of the satellite feed. The numbers weren’t even close to what they had from the Camaasi. There should be over 600 prisoners, yet there were only 550 distinct forms there.

*****

Roykirk grimaced. The bulk of his free troops, almost a thousand men had been emplaced around the landing zone, less than 200 had reported in. The Mandalorians must have landed a thousand or more to inflict such damage! He keyed his com link. “Execute.” He ordered.

*****

Merisa snapped her arm up, and the formation froze. “HUD, display all.” She snapped.

The warriors watched as vehicles moved toward the camp. Figures dropped out in lines, and her blood ran cold.

*****

“So it begins.” Zakal whispered as assault speeders moved toward the camp. The guards, mostly young men stared as men in Mandalorian armor poured out. The figures dropped to their knees, another line forming behind them. The gleam of holocams showed near the edges of the camp.

*****

The transmission was frantic; a young man facing a holocam. “Command! The Mandalorians are attacking Sooribor!” Then there were screams as a hundred or more rifles began blasting. A guard leaped, hands up, and one of the men firing cut him down. The camera fell, and inside the wired enclosure others, their own people fell as the rounds that didn’t hit the guards tore through the crowd. Then suddenly the camera took a hit and the scene died.

*****

Aboard Ijaa kal (Honor blade), Commander Krios stared at the two screens. On one the massacre replayed. On the other the satellite showed the camp and a circle sixty kilometers around. On one edge were the dots of the survivors of the landing. In the center was the camp. He switched to the present readings.

“Communications, the vehicles that committed that atrocity have stopped at the following coordinates. Send them to our people on the ground. Then send Besu’lik. Navigation, pick a frigate, tell the others to target it.” He snarled. “No quarter, no prisoners, and no mercy.”

*****

The next few minutes etched themselves into the hearts of every warrior both in space and on the ground. Merisa felt rage settle into cold hatred. The information sent by that fragile laser was more than she need, beyond the target of her fury “I need a scout team. Ten-”

“I.” Sange snarled. He was followed by nine others, all furious at what they had seen.

“You will go to the camp.” Merisa ordered. The rest of us have other duties.” She checked the action of her weapon.

“Doing what?” Kastar asked.

“Taking the ones responsible.”

The smaller team moved off, then forty angry warriors moved on a divergent course.

The ground favored them. The enemy remaining speeders hung back, unwilling to risk a direct assault. They had tried an attack with speeder bikes but they had not even gotten close before being ripped from the sky.

*****

Above the seven corvettes made sharp turns. Two of them had to pass close to the hulk of the Republic frigate in orbit and the life pods still streaming from it. The guns began to fire, ripping into the hulk. After a few moments secondary explosions erupted from within, and the ship vanished in them. Then they began firing, ripping into the life pods. Seconds later they were past it, and nothing survived in their wake.

Litofsky
12-12-2008, 05:43 PM
A nice addition, Mach. To be sure, the Republic commander utilized holoprojectors to, well, project Mandalorians attacking the camp (when they had not yet done so), in order to seem that they violated the laws of War, and such.

The space battle was much better, though I wonder why only seven corvettes arrived in the attacking fleet (perhaps I underestimate Mandalorian corvettes, or were the 'heavier' ships needed elsewhere?). The last paragraph, in particular, made me wonder: why would the Commander destroy the Republic escape pods? Perhaps it was because that they could be use to supplement forces elsewhere, and were a threat?

machievelli
12-12-2008, 07:38 PM
A nice addition, Mach. To be sure, the Republic commander utilized holoprojectors to, well, project Mandalorians attacking the camp (when they had not yet done so), in order to seem that they violated the laws of War, and such. Whenever you paint your enemy as evil, you need something as a rallying cry. As an example when Captain Colin Kelly's B17 was shot down, Hollywood made a movie of it showing the men that were bailing out being machine gunned by the fighter that shot the aircraft down. It wasn't until the Book Samurai! written by Saburo Sakai, the highest ranking Japanese Ace of WWII revealed that A: He had shot the plane down, and B, had not machine gunned any survivors, he was in fact out of ammunition, and instead used his camera to record their escape.

Another example was when the Nazis took concentration camp inmates, dressed them in Polish Army uniforms, and left them strewn around a German Army radio supposedly attacked by the Poles as a reason for invading.

The space battle was much better, though I wonder why only seven corvettes arrived in the attacking fleet (perhaps I underestimate Mandalorian corvettes, or were the 'heavier' ships needed elsewhere?). There were a dozen Mando corvettes, six Republic corvettes, and six Frigates. When the attack was completed, seven of the Mando corvettes had survived, four of the frigates had. As for where the rest of the fleet is, the battle hasn't ended.

The last paragraph, in particular, made me wonder: why would the Commander destroy the Republic escape pods? Perhaps it was because that they could be use to supplement forces elsewhere, and were a threat?

Historically (And in Shakespeare's play) when troops hear of such acts, they return the favor in spades. If you have seen the movie Henry V, you got part of it. After the boys in the luggage were massacred, Henry went ballistic. The Play has him ordering the slaughter of all the prisoners taken to that time and messengers sent that told French units still trying to fight that if they didn't run, they would also be killed without mercy.

During the assalut on La Defensia in italy (1943), the First Special Service Force (The Devil's Brigade) had one German bastion call for a parley. The officer in charge went forward, told the Germans that they would accept their surrender. The German officer drew his weapon and shot the Canadian officer. From that point on, according to the unit's history unless ordered, they took no prisoners.

That was what the commander meant. The Republic violated the laws of war, and as such deserved no mercy. As of that moment, any Republic troops, armed or unarmed were to be eliminated.

Litofsky
12-12-2008, 07:49 PM
Whenever you paint your enemy as evil, you need something as a rallying cry. As an example when Captain Colin Kelly's B17 was shot down, Hollywood made a movie of it showing the men that were bailing out being machine gunned by the fighter that shot the aircraft down. It wasn't until the Book Samurai! written by Saburo Sakai, the highest ranking Japanese Ace of WWII revealed that A: He had shot the plane down, and B, had not machine gunned any survivors, he was in fact out of ammunition, and instead used his camera to record their escape.

Another example was when the Nazis took concentration camp inmates, dressed them in Polish Army uniforms, and left them strewn around a German Army radio supposedly attacked by the Poles as a reason for invading.
Propaganda for justification, then? Leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but war isn't exactly the most pleasant of times. Anything to vilify your enemy and glorify your own side, I suppose.

There were a dozen Mando corvettes, six Republic corvettes, and six Frigates. When the attack was completed, seven of the Mando corvettes had survived, four of the frigates had. As for where the rest of the fleet is, the battle hasn't ended.
My mistake, then. Should I assume, therefore, that the Mandalorian ships overpower their direct comparisons (corvettes to corvettes, etc), as evidenced by the fact that many more Mando ships were left (or was that just the brilliance of the CO?)?


That was what the commander meant. The Republic violated the laws of war, and as such deserved no mercy. As of that moment, any Republic troops, armed or unarmed were to be eliminated.
An eye for an eye is the rule of thumb for the Galaxy, it seems.

machievelli
12-12-2008, 08:04 PM
My mistake, then. Should I assume, therefore, that the Mandalorian ships overpower their direct comparisons (corvettes to corvettes, etc), as evidenced by the fact that many more Mando ships were left (or was that just the brilliance of the CO?)?

A bit of both. The Mando corvettes are more heavily armed in the assault (Head on attack) meaning they are weaker from astern or the broadside. So they would be considered about equal. The all guns able to fire forward fits their mentality.

As for tactics, The 12 ships of the Mando squadron spilt up, four each heading for (using a clock) 12 4 and 8. They were running fast enough that the Frigates would have trouble catching them, but the Republic corvettes would be able to gain, meaning they were ordered forward at their fastest speed. This caused a tactical seperation, distance growing between the corvettes and their frigate support. Each group was composed of two of each class.

As they came around the planet, the ships at 12 now changed course to run toward the 8 o'clock position, and the others made the same kind of turn, so 4 was now running due north. The four corvettes of each group ripped apart the corvettes, effectively destroying a third of the Republic firepower, but did not do as well against the frigates, destroying one, and crippling another in return for three of their own destroyed and two crippled.

Litofsky
12-12-2008, 08:26 PM
Thanks for the explanation, Mach. The Mandalorian tactics seem much more effective than the Republic's, despite being the 'underdog' in terms of numbers.

machievelli
12-19-2008, 11:51 PM
Today

Carth stood. “I am not going to listen to one more second of this drivel!”

“Carth.” Danika’s voice was soft, but there was an edge of command.

“Are you going to let this old woman lie to these-”

“Enough!” Danika stood. “Carth, this is a direct order. You will sit and listen until I tell you different. If obeying my order is too onerous, you can take the Ebon Hawk and go to Coruscant or to hell for all I care!” She was smaller than him by a few centimeters and several kilos, but after a moment the man sat.

She turned, bowing her head. “You lost so much in this tale, Ba-buir. Please continue.”

“Thank you, younger sister.” Merisa replied.

*****

Ten years earlier

Commander Saml, senior officer surviving among the Republic task group stared, desperately trying to find a way to strike back quickly, but nothing came to mind. The Admiral had off loaded all of the fighters to bleed the Mandalorians when they arrived, and the six squadrons had done that. Unfortunately the three squadrons of assault shuttles the Mandalorians had used had ripped them apart. They were slower, harder to handle, but their weapons fit had shredded the fighters as if they were wooden mock ups. That had left it to the big boys.

While the Republic force still had the edge in firepower it only mattered if they were in a tighter formation, not in penny packets like they were right now. The Mando would be formed up before he was, then split up attacking his ships from all sides, forcing them to fire in more than one direction, while the smaller ships could mass firepower against them.

The Mandalorians had gone insane! That attack on the ground murdering their own in the process. What kind of maniacs were they?

He checked the reports. Sentinel was heavily damaged, and her division mate Cascade was trying to stay with her, but the ship was still falling farther and farther astern. Reprieve was also heavily damaged, but her engines were not among those damaged systems. His own Thunder was least damaged of all because the Mando hadn’t targeted perfectly, three of their four attackers had targeted Gauntlet, the frigate they had killed. That left Thunder barely damaged and had cost them two corvettes for their rash mistake.

Sir!” The sensor officer brought up a screen. Despite, the crippled frigate in orbit was on the screen. Two corvettes approached her from astern, then began firing.

The ship was wracked by explosions shattering the hulk, then the guns turned on… “Gods.” Someone whispered. Saml didn’t reprove the man as every life pod that had not already reached the atmosphere was blasted into fragments. The two Mando ships slowed, and the rest closed on them.

“Time before we are in formation?” He demanded.

“Ten minutes, sir.”

“Time before they are?”

“Six minutes, and they will be within range of Sentinel and Cascade when they are.”

“Order Cascade to abandon Sentinel. Best speed to join up. We’re going for maneuvering room.”


*****

The transport speeder dropped the platoon of troops who immediately began to dig in. Assuming the Mandalorians were still headed for the camp, they were positioned to stop them. On the next ridge another platoon was digging in.

There was a flaw in their plan; the speed of advance had been predicated on what a Republic unit could do in the hour that had passed since the landing. The Mandalorians were much better. Sange looked at the men now blocking his retreat, and his team moved on their own course forward. But not without leaving a marker on the transport.

After all they weren’t going back that way.

*****

Roykirk glared at the screen. Provost Marshall Danzik was a fat oily man who had gained his position from political connections as Roykirk had. However Danzik didn’t have the belly for what was needed now.

Danzik was saying. “Admiral Dodonna is enroute, but will not be there for at least two hours. The task group we sent should have been adequate.”

“Your ‘adequate’ Admiral has already been killed along with over half of his task force! We need more ships, more men!”

“I can’t get you support any sooner.” Danzik replied. “I suggest you get into your command center and hold until relieved.” The holo shut off.

Roykirk snarled. “Call in all of the units. Deploy them to protect the base.”

*****

“Reporting.“ Sange’s voice cut into the stillness. Merisa raised a hand and 28 warriors froze into immobility. Their camouflage fields made them pools of water stood on end, just a slight wavering of the image that would go unnoticed unless the enemy‘s eyes were sharp. She looked around though her concern was unnecessary.

“Speak.” She ordered.

Instead of speaking, Sange sent the feed from the camera on his helmet. She bit back a curse at the scattered bodies. Some of them she recognized, had died throwing themselves between the guns and their comrades. The small team paced through the slaughter ground, and Sange stopped.

Kiara had a grimace on her face, as if she had been screaming at their enemy when she died. Sange, who knew the woman, bent, straightening her out as if for a pyre.

“No one has reported Kono or Zakal-” He paused. “Amendment. We have found Zakal. Still no word about Kono.”

She flipped the switch, and the feed went not only to her compatriots, but to the satellite and the ships above as well. Sange was walking toward the woman as if approaching an idol of an ancient god. He knelt, brushing her hair from her face. Zakal was almost smiling, as if she understood the joke that had been played on the Galaxy. Sange touched that face as he knew his leader would have wished to, then he bent, taking a small bread boarded panel from her hand.

“We have found no survivors.”

“Move to join us rapidly.” Merisa ordered.

“Chu!”

Merisa didn’t need to gauge her people’s anger; she felt it in full measure. The team moved at her signal.

*****

Sentinel tried to fight, but the Mando corvettes came in like a pack of hounds, ripping the larger ship apart for the loss of only one of their own. The survivors turned now to chase Cascade, which was still too far away to expect support.

Gauntlet and Thunder turned, moving to rejoin the stranded ship.

“Sir! Hyper transit, four ships!” The scream of joy died as the computers identified the ships. “Three Beskad class frigates and… A Basilisk carrier!”

Saml looked upon death, and grinned. “At least they’ll know they were in a fight. All ships, target the Basilisk carrier!”

The ships charged.

*****

Roykirk watched as the last of the Republic task group died, and knew he had lost. The Republic would be incensed, and gird themselves for the war with true vigor. But he might not live to see it. Still he had almost 500 men remaining, and unless they wanted to bombard him, they could not attack. After all there were less than fifty of those accursed Mandalorian troops on the ground. He could hold out until Dodonna arrived.

*****

Thirty-six Mando warriors settled in as Merisa scanned the headquarters bunker from about five kilometers away. It was a standard design battalion strength bunker, which meant that fully manned it would hold almost a thousand men. Large enough for the force they had already faced and decimated. How many of them remained?

But their prey was within; the commandant and his own pet thugs. The others would die because they were between the Mando and those that deserved death.

The problem was the six anti-ship lasers and the 24 anti-shuttle missiles set in three equidistant embrasures around the bunker.

Merisa turned. Thirty-six. Of her own squad only Sange and Tasha survived. Surilo still commanded her rear guard, but except for Tasha, the three heavy gunners were all from other squads. That was all they had when it came to heavy weapons and none had more than a single magazine remaining. Only four had grenade launchers but there were only fifteen rounds total among them. The rest had a blaster or projectile rifle with perhaps two magazines remaining and perhaps a pair of grenades each. Enough to break through, but to get out?

No way.

The communications dish was set up, and she connected a cable from her own helmet to it. The connection was swift. “Ground this is command aboard Tal Kar'ta.”

She recognized the voice. “Hello, vod. Finally showed up?”

“You know how I am.” Canderous replied. “I never miss a battle. Report.”

“Thirty-six effectives, threat estimated five hundred plus on the ground. The monsters that slaughtered our people are within. We have to get to them. We can get in, I cannot guarantee we will get out.”

“We brought Yaim Solus.” He replied. “Just give us a time.”

She checked her rifle. “Ten minutes from now.”

A whatever for the one that sees the pun in this one

Tysyacha
12-20-2008, 12:38 AM
This story gets more and more amazing with each chapter. *Grins* I love your descriptions, and you can truly write a space battle! If I were writing the story instead of you, I'd be like, "Hurga durga doo, the ship swung in close and then exploded the other one..." Well, maybe not that bad, but you get the idea.

The pun, I think, is either Yaim Solus = "I am Solo" or Han Solo

Either that, or Tal Kar'ta = Talon Karrde

Just my two cents. *plink plink*

machievelli
12-21-2008, 12:07 AM
This story gets more and more amazing with each chapter. *Grins* I love your descriptions, and you can truly write a space battle! If I were writing the story instead of you, I'd be like, "Hurga durga doo, the ship swung in close and then exploded the other one..." Well, maybe not that bad, but you get the idea.

The pun, I think, is either Yaim Solus = "I am Solo" or Han Solo

Either that, or Tal Kar'ta = Talon Karrde

Just my two cents. *plink plink*

Close Tys. It is linked to Yaim Solus

JAvatar80
12-22-2008, 09:06 PM
I did a quick google for Mandoa, Mach....and I did a simple translation of Yaim Solus...

Yaim means Home
Solus is each/individual/alone

They brought Home Alone? o.O I didn't think the Mandalorians would like Macaulay Culkin....

Litofsky
12-22-2008, 10:11 PM
Is it, perhaps, that "ba'buir" means grandmother/grandfather, and Merisa responded with the words "younger sister?"

From what I've gathered, "yaim" seems to mean a place to be content with, a happy place, or something of the life, whereas "solus" translates as the number "one," or so Wookieepedia says.

At any rate, I liked the chapter, Mach, especially the scene describing the Mandalorian survivors inspecting the massacre sight. Rather gruesome (when one visualizes the scene, I suppose), but, to my distress, I could not find a translation for the Mando'a word of "chu." Would you mind posting the definition, or something of the sort? (Many thanks in advance)

machievelli
12-23-2008, 12:13 AM
I did a quick google for Mandoa, Mach....and I did a simple translation of Yaim Solus...

Yaim means Home
Solus is each/individual/alone

They brought Home Alone? o.O I didn't think the Mandalorians would like Macaulay Culkin....

close but no cigar. What no EU readers out there?

machievelli
12-23-2008, 12:17 AM
Is it, perhaps, that "ba'buir" means grandmother/grandfather, and Merisa responded with the words "younger sister?"

From what I've gathered, "yaim" seems to mean a place to be content with, a happy place, or something of the life, whereas "solus" translates as the number "one," or so Wookieepedia says.

At any rate, I liked the chapter, Mach, especially the scene describing the Mandalorian survivors inspecting the massacre sight. Rather gruesome (when one visualizes the scene, I suppose), but, to my distress, I could not find a translation for the Mando'a word of "chu." Would you mind posting the definition, or something of the sort? (Many thanks in advance)

It's my own Mando, Lit. I didn't find the equivilant of 'zu Beufel' (German meaning 'as you command') in Mando. But I can't picture a Mando trained warrior saying 'right boss' or something like that. I can see them snapping to and saying the equivilant of "Sir!"

Rev7
12-23-2008, 03:32 AM
I just finished reading the last of the chapters that you posted, and I must say that this fic is really impressive. The battle scenes are great, as well as the plot. That one word pretty much sums it up; impressive.

I look forward to reading more of your work!

machievelli
12-25-2008, 12:46 AM
She took the bread boarded circuit, linking it to her armor. Even in death, Zakal had defeated them. She motioned, and her people moved in closer.

The Republic had a long drawn out process for operational planning. The Mando, used the short form.

Merisa reset her transmitter to short range, less than 30 meters. First sending Zakal‘s treasure to all, so they knew what type of beast they faced, then she sent a schematic of the terrain and structure. “They have detachments, 200 here, here and here. We do not know how many are within.

“Surilo Zek Tasha, you have the heavy weapons. Stassi Magne, Jun, you have the heavy grenade launchers. You will position yourselves to attack the emplacements. Those guns and missiles have to be destroyed or seriously damaged. Once you have, run and hide.” She then targeted the door. “Once they have done that, the rest of us will assault here. We go in, capture this Di’kut who thinks we are playthings. Everyone else dies.

“As for the Di’kut, he is mine; or whoever lives in command to deal with him. Jump off in seven.”

They spread back out, the gunners with heavy weapons moving further a-field, finding their positions. The time stretched as it does in combat, seconds feeling like minutes, minutes like hours. Merisa had set her countdown timer so to her it was exactly seven minutes three seconds before she heard the thump of the grenade launchers.

*****

Lieutenant Costor paced. He was angry, but that was his natural state. The only reason he was here was because of the anti-vehicle lasers and missiles. That did not make him happy. Whatever those personal troops of Roykirk’s had done had driven the Mandalorians into a frenzy. They had whittled away at the survivors of the landing, but they had kept coming until maybe two hours ago, when contact had been lost. Would they come here?

No way, he decided. They had what, less than forty remaining out of almost 300? They would be insane to attack here.

He heard a thump from the distance, and spun. “What is that noise?” He demanded.

If he had known it would be the last thing he would ever say, he might have chosen something else.

*****

Tasha had targeted the fusion bottle driving the laser cannon. She knew the Republic surrounded them with packed earth berms, and knew the berms would stop any direct fire, but she also knew they left roofs off the bottle containment because the slightest impediment would stop them from blowing out upward as designed. However the Republic forgot one minor thing.

Most of the energy went upward, not all.

Her heavy blaster rifle spat four shots along the length of the fusion bottle. It might have survived one or two, but four slammed into it, causing a spike in the internal energy. That spike peaked almost 50% over the containment field.

Five percent would have been enough.

The bottle blew up, energy flashing out from it. 90% did go upward, but the ten percent was enough to turn the installation weapons and crew into plasma. Lieutenant Costor and the twenty men that manned the laser cannon and missiles were subsumed into plasma scattered by the missiles that exploded seconds later in the only grave they would ever have.

Within seconds, the three heavy blaster weapons had eliminated the guns and their missiles. Each of the men and women still had a dozen units of fire remaining and each of them focused on that fragile line that blocked their compatriots from their target.

Merisa wanted to scream at them, getting the six of them out would have been a small victory but she had known in her warrior heart they would not run. In their place she would not have. The fire ripped apart those facing them and 25 warrior reached that door.

“Time to dance!” Tasha screamed. Stassi, the grenadier with her, had fired her grenades not at the door, but at the 200 odd men station 200 meters west them, ripping the enemy formation apart, killing at least 50 of them. The remainder leaped to their feet, charging. Over the dedicated com channel she could hear Stassi screaming.

“Sanso, Devril, Maki, Verish…” A litany of her own squad mates and friend who had died on the attack, and two of those slaughtered at the camp. The grenade launcher fell silent and the woman flipped her rifle forward, now blasts of energy instead of grenades ripped into the men charging toward them, and still the litany continued. “Mako, Grieva, Maktiel…”

Tasha’s heavy blaster was empty and she threw it aside, the rifle she had picked up on the way swinging into battery. Her rifle spat projectiles, and the men charging fell like pins as she serviced her targets. Stassi’s rifle fell silent, and Tasha grabbed her shoulder. “We have to leave now!” she screamed. Stassi came toward her bonelessly, a round had blown through her chest, ricocheting off the back plate and through her neck. A bullet shattered her knee and Tasha grinned in pain and fury. “Keep my place, Stassi! I‘ll be right behind!”

She knelt, using the last thirty rounds to rip into their enemy.

Merisa pointed at the man sized entry way, ducking beside it as the warriors still carrying explosives began placing charges. They didn’t have a lot, but Republic design was so standardized that even a neophyte could blow the hatch. The last detonator went in,
and the team doubled back, stacking on both sides of the door. Then with a roar the hinges and lock blew free, the door fell with a clang and Merisa leaped in with a scream.

As each came through they covered a portion of the room, including above the door and the upper corners. The second team flowed past them.

Surilo was feeling his age. He was ten years older than Merisa, and had been looking forward to retirement. Sitting at home, training the young, watching the crops grow. That was what he had wanted mere days ago.

Jun who flanked him fired her last grenade at the second flanking unit, then flipped a Republic design rifle forward to begin firing. Surilo’s heavy blaster buzzed on an empty magazine, and he grabbed his own rifle taken from the enemy. “I’m dry!’ Jun shouted, throwing the weapon down, snatching out her neural disruptor.

“Time to go.” Surilo said, his own rifle empty. There were only twenty left, but the lack of fire emboldened them. Surilo turned just as a a blaster bolt struck the woman, blowing her leg off. Surilo didn’t even think about it. He caught her arm as she fell, throwing her over his shoulder. With her weight he only ran three paces before a dozen bolts and projectiles killed them both.

The assault team moved on. As they ran into resistance, they dealt with it. Not without losses of their own; the 24 that had breached the citadel fell to 18.

They took weapons from the dead, their own or the Republic, but they never slowed. Some of the Republic solders begged for mercy, threw weapons aside, surrendered.

They were given the same ‘mercy’ the enemy had shown their earlier prisoners. The only difference was these received honorable deaths.

Room by room they went through the massive building, and nothing lived where they had been.

Zek was the younger of the pair, but he had always been steady and cool. He stood, the heavy blaster at his hip tied into his HUD, and bolt after bolt shattered men rock or trees into flinders. Magne switched to his rifle, and precision fire ripped into the men running toward them. Zek added his fire as the heavy blaster died.

He went through the magazine, then threw the rifle aside. He drew his beskad as Magne did the same. “Come on!” He screamed. “Try killing a Mando’a who’s armed!”

The enemy ran forward, and the pair leaped into a run toward their enemy.

Rev7
12-25-2008, 03:16 AM
Excellent action scenes mach. Outstanding! Very entertaining chapter, I could see the Mandos spraying blaster bolts on the Republic, clad in their armor. Again, great job!

machievelli
12-25-2008, 09:03 PM
Captain Dono wanted to scream as his pad brought up the carnage. The damn Mandalorian scum had lost over 80 percent of their original force in the initial landing, and almost 90 percent before they had even struck here, yet nothing seemed to stop them! While a large portion of their remaining men had broken into the bunker six; only six had inflicted over 400 hundred casualties on his entrenched forces out here! Two of them armed with swords had gotten in amongst their attackers and between friendly fire and manic swordsmanship had killed almost fifty!

Now Commandant Roykirk was screaming for support, and all he had was one hundred effectives and about 90 wounded.

No help for it.

He began shouting orders. It was interrupted when someone screamed that something was coming down from orbit fast. Dono looked up, not knowing that it was already too late for him and his troops.

Roykirk flinched as the door into the corridor exploded inward, shrapnel from the explosion ripping through his guard. For a moment, there was silence, then a figure in green armor walked in.

“You’ve lost!” Roykirk screamed. “The galaxy will know of your treachery even if I die!”

The figure stopped, the remainder of the Mando, all eleven of them stepped in behind their leader. Merisa removed her helmet, her eyes cold, her grin something you would expect from a predator. “Zakal wasn’t just some woman in a hover chair, you Di’Kut.” She held up a small circuit board. “When it came to improvisation, she was a genius. She was also one of my best friends.” She keyed the small hand made recording pad. Roykirk listened in horror as every meeting he had with the woman was shown in full holographic glory.

“Wait! I’ll admit it all! I’ll testify! It was Provost Marshall Danzik, it was all his idea!”

“Among my people those who have sinned so greatly will fall on their swords. So their shame is expiated by their deaths.”

“I didn’t bring a sword.”

Merisa drew her sword. “I did.”

“I won’t pander to your barbaric customs.”

“Then you would rather be put down like a rabid animal?” She shrugged “As you will.”

“You can’t-”

“Can’t what?” She asked coolly as she stalked forward. “Gain revenge for a friend, a mother and a husband? Kill a prisoner as you have already done? And for what? A propaganda ploy? At least I will do it to honor their memory.” The man backed away, finally coming up against a wall. His hands came up, and her own hand fingers in a cone, snapped into his solar plexus.

His back slammed into the wall, and then he started to collapse forward to his knees. As he did she spun like a dancer, the blade rotating into an underhand grip as if it were a knife, her own knee hitting the floor, the hilt jammed firmly against floor as he fell forward onto the blade.

He screamed as it punched in under the sternum, and he arrested his fall with his hands. “P-please!” He begged.

“Unlike you, none of them pleaded, did they?” Merisa’s hand rested almost gently on his neck, then it drove down like a pile driver, shoving him completely down on the blade.

She stood, looking at him as the bunker shuddered. She looked up, then at the others.

They walked out. Almost 100 men, all with the shoulder flashes of Roykirk’s personal guard had been in the bunker. Now it was a tomb.

Outside, was crowded as a dozen Basilisks drifted over, blasting anything that moved. Off in the distance toward the camp the survivors could see assault craft landing. Off about five kilometers further on Basilisks were targeting vehicles Sange’s men had marked.

Merisa sighed, kneeling near the door. Sange had almost made it to the door, she had not even noticed his absence until they had reached Roykirk. Around her the others moved among their own death, stripping off armor to return to their families. She touched that beloved face, then lifted the pauldron from his armor.

A person came up behind her, and she looked up. For the first time in a long time she leaped into someone’s arms as she cried about her mother and friends in her brother’s arms.

*****

“Nothing alive.” Admiral Dodonna commented as her ships moved toward the planet. There was scattered wreckage from a fierce battle. All attempts at communication had so far-”

“Admiral, a repeating beacon in orbit.” The communications officer reported.

“Send it to my monitor. Record for analysis.”

The first part was confusing, visions of spinning a brief shot of a ship pulling away with her cargo bay open. Among the debris… She froze the image and leaned forward, Mandalorians in armor in stealth drop configuration. Then it steadied, with the camp at Sooribor in the center of the field of view. Blips enhanced by IFF showed the troops dropping silently from orbit. Then suddenly they were under fire with enough heavy weapons to give a division pause.

Somehow some of them survived. On the screen she caught sight of movement, and froze it again. These had no Mandalorian IFF. She pursed her lips, bringing up the resolution. Not Mandalorian design. They looked like Mastiff class assault speeders. Republic issue.

She watched as the speeders arrived at the camp, beads of men in armor with Mandalorian IFF dropped out, and aimed into the camp. They opened fire, slaughtering the prisoners and their Republic guards, then moved through to make sure everyone was dead before getting back into the vehicles to head off not to join the others, but to head…

A bunker ten kilometers south of the camp. It shouldn’t be there. It was illegal to build a defensive emplacement in proximity to the camp.

The next hours were a flurry of visions. The Mandalorian landing force marching toward the camp, then breaking into two groups, one to loop up and through the camp, the other bulling on with dogged persistence not toward the camp, but toward the bunker.

They had rejoined just short of it, then fire had erupted as the forelorn hope charged the bunker. Minutes later Basilisk war-driods dropped from an orbiting vessel as another channel opened.

A woman in Mandalorian armor connected a makeshift recorder and Commandant Roykirk condemned himself and Provost Marshall Danzik as he boasted about their ploy.

She would have expected it of either officer. Both were political appointments, neither competent as trained officers, both expecting political connections to make up for that lack.

Then the scene changed. A man’s face, almost 20 years older than herself stared out of the screen.

“I am Canderous Ordo, Clan Ordo, laamyc al'verde of the Mandalorian Protectorate. The proof rests within the bunker your own people built, surrounded by those who have earned their deaths. If you have had the honor to listen to the entire presentation, you know what has happened here, and what we have done in retaliation. If you have honor, we will face you in combat, returning honor for honor.

“If you have no honor, we greet you and return that if you wish. The choice is yours.” Then it looped back to the start.

Dodonna leaned back. “Lieutenant Casha.”

“Sir?”

“You will take a shuttle down to this location.” She painted the bunker on her screen. “You will proceed to the command center of that bunker. There is a hand made recorder there. You will bring it back to me in a sealed bag.” She looked at the young man mildly but something about that look drove a spike of fear through the younger man. “If I receive it damaged or changed in any way, you will suffer, because I already know what is on it.

“Do I make myself clear, Casha?”

“Uh, yes Admiral.”

Three hours later, Admiral Dodonna had watched the entire holorecord in the original, right down to the time stamp. As much as she wanted to say otherwise, Dodonna had to admit the honor in this situation belonged to the enemy. She went back to the bridge, and signaled communications to set up a holonet call to Coruscant.

The first face she saw caused her to want to reach across the net and rip his throat out. Provost Marshall Danzik glared at her as he snapped. “Report, Admiral!”

“Provost Marshall, get off my screen.”

“Admiral-”

“Danzik, I know what you have ordered. Either get off my screen or I will call back, directing this to the Chancellor!”

The call died, and she smiled. As threatened, the next call went to the Chancellor’s office.

*****

Now

Merisa finished the tihaar. Her brother’s eyes were dim with unshed tears. She looked at the others. Except for Manda’lor and the Republic commander, all were thinking of what had happened.

“What happened to Provost Marshall Danzik?” One of the children asked. Zakal, who had lived up to her namesake.

“We knew he would never get close enough for us to give him his due.” Merisa replied. “So we placed a bounty on him large enough to buy three ships like our guests arrived in. It took less than month before he was killed.”
“Good.” The girl snarled.

Just as an aside, I have a achieved a record here. This work has an average of 20 hits a day. Better than anything else I have done.

Rev7
12-26-2008, 01:59 AM
This great mach, your works continues to impress me. I really don't know what else to say, other than it was nothing short of great. This, was my favorite part in this chapter:

“Can’t what?” She asked coolly as she stalked forward. “Gain revenge for a friend, a mother and a husband? Kill a prisoner as you have already done? And for what? A propaganda ploy? At least I will do it to honor their memory.” The man backed away, finally coming up against a wall. His hands came up, and her own hand fingers in a cone, snapped into his solar plexus.

His back slammed into the wall, and then he started to collapse forward to his knees. As he did she spun like a dancer, the blade rotating into an underhand grip as if it were a knife, her own knee hitting the floor, the hilt jammed firmly against floor as he fell forward onto the blade."

She spun like a dancer. I like it, and would like to say that the last paragraph that I quoted is quite similar to a homeric simile.

machievelli
12-27-2008, 01:23 AM
Danika sighed, and Merisa looked at her. “It seems perhaps you have a story as well, Mand’alor.”

The younger woman poured a cup of her own full of tihaar. “I will tell of betrayal revealed, and the aftermath. Everyone wonders how I was able to convince those that followed me, 1500 Jedi marching to war.

“Every war has it’s battle cry, ours was ‘Remember Sooribor’.” She smiled mirthlessly. “We came into the war because of a lie. Over a thousand of those I brought died with that lie on their lips. A lie not revealed to me until Mando-Yaim.”

****

Four years earlier.

The Republic fleet came out of hyper space on the edge of the Mandalorian system. Revan stood on the bridge of her flagship, Tik Harvest Moon. She had not believed the name at first; A warship named after a fruit grown on one little insignificant planet in the Mid-Rim. Ah the wonder of political payoffs she considered. The only reason she had picked the ship was because she was the newest ship, needing the firmest hand. She listened silently to the reports. Twenty-seven ships, most still damaged at the victory at Malachor V. Facing over five hundred fresh ships.

She wanted to snort. Victory. Almost 700 Mandalorian ships dead, over 400 of our own in a debacle with all the grace of a tavern brawl. The Republic couldn’t afford another such victory.

They would fight if she merely went forward. Outnumbered outgunned, they would fight and die. In space, and on the ground. Men, women, even children. Part of her early in the war would have wanted it. Some wag in the Senate had said, ‘When this war is over, Mandalorian would be a language spoken only by the dead’.

She had learned better with the passage of time, seen the Mandalorians fight with honor, even in defeat. Seen too many of the Republic act like the monsters they painted their enemy.

Besides Marai had never hated them as much as the others had. She had spent years living among them with Master Kavar. She knew her enemy too well now to condemn them all, or paint them as monsters. She signaled the communications officer. She knew what she looked like, tall, slim, her figure swatched in red robes. “I am Revan Chadar Bai Echani. I challenge Mandalore to personal combat. Let none interfere.” The signal stopped and she waited. The challenge had to be answered, and by their own custom, could only be answered one way.

The communications officer signaled, and she replied with a wave. The man facing her was in his sixties, still hale and strong. “I am Jaral Borse, clan Krios. Mand’alor.” He said. “I will face you as honor demands. The location is being sent. One ship alone from each side will be allowed to approach. You may shuttle down yourself and your witnesses.” The com officer nodded.

“The ship will approach the site.” She ordered. “I will take four officers with me.” She handed the pad to Commander Baltar. “These four.“ Then she turned, walking through the ship.

Shuttles slipped between the ships, then Tik Harvest Moon moved. Forward. On the other side, preparations completed, the captured Coruscant Class cruiser Fondor, renamed Vikrant by her captors also moved forward.
The asteroid was huge, a dome set on one side. Vikrant slowed, and an assault shuttle launched, arcing down. As the ship moved away Tik Harvest Moon approached.

Revan watched as those she had called arrived. Admirals Karath and Dodonna, Commander Lazek, Jedi Knight Kollor. “You have been called as witnesses only.” She informed them. “This is not like a normal duel, the Mandalorians do not expect the witnesses to fight as well. Kollor, I wished you here because of all of our members, you have hated most. I want you to see how our enemy faces defeat. Admiral Dodonna, your son and daughter died at their hands. You were first at Sooribor to witness the worst the enemy could do. I wish you to witness the end of this. Admiral Karath, you have been among the fiercest of our warriors. I want you to witness the end and know that it is the end.”

“And why am I here, Fleet Admiral?” Lazek asked.

“Because I ran out of names.” She answered. The others chuckled. “Actually, Lazek, for a brief time I am appointing you governor here. You will see to dismantling the military might of our enemy. Now board, Admiral Lazek.”

She followed the others aboard. The shuttle had enough room for two score, empty with only these five. “Admiral Dodonna, if you would.” I motioned toward two of the seats near the rear, and my glare drove the others to sit further away. She nodded, strapping in and I sat beside her. I felt the shuttle lift, then slide through the permeable force-field.

“You puzzle me, Admiral. Of all our commanders, you seem to hate the enemy the least. I am not saying you are not efficient, you are an extremely efficient warrior.

“Yet when others, Karath among them have used the harshest methods in dealing with them, you never did. You spent time gathering life pods when enemy ships were destroyed, your medical staff speaks of you walking the sick berths, checking that all, not just the Republic wounded were well treated. You even slapped a doctor who used disparaging language toward them, and sent him packing with an efficiency report that landed him planet side and destroyed his career as a Naval officer permanently.

“What I want to know, is why.”

The woman sighed. “You Jedi were never told.”

“Told what?”

“The truth of Sooribor.”

“What truth?” Revan watched her. “Admiral, we are going to end this war in a few minutes. Do I have to drag the truth from you a sentence at a time?”

She handed the Jedi her pad. “The Republic did not sanction attacks in retaliation for what happened at Sorribor. The reason is was because the attack, the slaughter by the Mandalorians had been faked. A pair of ignorant fools set it up, butchered all of those prisoners and their guards as a ploy to stiffen the public’s spine. Read this.”

Revan took it, and scanned the pages, listened to the report from the Mandalorian satellite, the reports Dodonna had added.

She set it down, and in her chest she felt a chill. Almost 1400 of my fellow Jedi. All dead for a lie.

The shuttle landed, and they debarked. As was military custom, Revan was first to disembark. Across a field of grass the Mandalorian shuttle had landed. The Mandalore in his ancient armor climbed down, followed by half a dozen. She recognized only one face, the Admiral who had left the message at Sooribor. Canderous Ordo, Clan Ordo.

Revan stepped forward, her witnesses staying in a line in front of the shuttle. Mandalore walked toward her, bowing.

“I have never dueled in the Mandalorian style.” She said. “Are there any rules?”

“The last one to die wins.” He replied gruffly. Then he turned walking back toward his witnesses. She walked back, stripping off the cloak of her robe, handing it to Kollor. Then she spun, the blade a teal slash against the sunlight from the distant sun.

Mandalore drew his pistols, blaster bolts ripping toward her. She deflected them, then moved, running at an angle, forcing the man to turn to maintain his fire. She came to a wall, bouncing up and into a spiral, her blade deflecting every shot. She landed, a bolt hitting the ground before her, and she stumbled, falling, clutching her side. There was a cry from her side of the field, and she grinned. If she had fooled them…

Someone was approaching, and she rolled up, her lightsaber deflecting a shot from her attacker only ten meters away and she leaped again, foot hitting the wall somersaulting to land behind him, she swung, the blade sliding between the helmet and breastplate. Mandalore’s head and helmet fell forward as his body collapsed to it’s knees, then forward onto his chest.

She turned, looking at the warriors. “As the canons require, I have defeated Mandalore. I stand as your Mandalore now. Does any gainsay my ascension?”

The warriors knelt on one knee, eyes down. She nodded. “You will return with your ships to Mando-Yaim. There you will abandon every vessel larger than a customs boat.”

*****

Now Danika spoke in a whisper, forcing her audience to lean forward. “I felt that both of us, you and the warriors I had led, had been betrayed by those two monsters Roykirk and Danzik. But I had to go through the motions of punishing your people. That is why I ordered, as your Mand’alor, that you would have no honor until it was returned.

“In doing so I did you and your people a grave injustice. Most of your warriors fought with great honor, and I had stripped them of that with a word. I had not expected it to be so long. I was only meaning to keep it from you until I beat the Republic, until I had removed the kind of monsters who sat in the Senate and allowed the war to drag on through incompetence and favor.

“But I was ‘killed’ and reborn. The me that lives now owes your people justice for that grave dishonor. That is part of the reason I made your brother Mand’alor, Merisa. To give back what could never be taken without your allowing me to seize it. I ask him to tell them, tell those who have sunk into apathy that my last command as Mand’alor to those in this room is this; take back what is yours, and make me proud.”

The next day, the Ebon Hawk lifted off, bound for Coruscant. Merisa watched them go.

“We have our honor again mother?” Kiara asked.

“What she meant was we had never lost it, only forgotten that we had it for a time.” Merisa smiled gently. “So like Zakal she is. Now about that contract you have taken…”

Rev7
12-27-2008, 01:40 AM
Interesting turn of events. You really portrayed Revan's personality well in this chapter. You showed her as someone that is confident, knowledgable, and a great leader. Looking forward to the next installment!

Litofsky
12-27-2008, 01:49 AM
A nice chapter, Mach, however, as I read, I discovered a discrepancy in the Point of View (moving from third person to first person): at first, when Revan's tale is being told, it is in third person, however, several sections (the following, specifically) are in first person:

I watched her. “Admiral, we are going to end this war in a few minutes. Do I have to drag the truth from you a sentence at a time?”

She handed me her pad. “The Republic did not sanction attacks in retaliation for what happened at Sorribor. The reason is was because the attack, the slaughter by the Mandalorians had been faked. A pair of ignorant fools set it up, butchered all of those prisoners and their guards as a ploy to stiffen the public’s spine. Read this.”

I took it, and scanned the pages, listened to the report from the Mandalorian satellite, the reports Dodonna had added.

I set it down, and in my chest I felt a chill. Almost 1400 of my fellow Jedi. All dead for a lie.

The shuttle landed, and we debarked. As was military custom, I was first to disembark. Across a field of grass the Mandalorian shuttle had landed. The Mandalore in his ancient armor climbed down, followed by half a dozen. I recognized only one face, the Admiral who had left the message at Sooribor. Canderous Ordo, Clan Ordo.

In the sentences both before and after, third person is used. Just wanted to bring that to your attention.

At any rate, I enjoyed the chapter very much, including the duel with Mandalore and Revan. I wonder, however, why Mandalore would use pistols against Revan? Also, the 'restoration' of the Mandalorian honor that was 'stripped' with their defeat was an interesting twist, and one that fits the personality of Revan (in my view, at least).

machievelli
12-27-2008, 03:20 AM
A nice chapter, Mach, however, as I read, I discovered a discrepancy in the Point of View (moving from third person to first person): at first, when Revan's tale is being told, it is in third person, however, several sections (the following, specifically) are in first person:



In the sentences both before and after, third person is used. Just wanted to bring that to your attention.

At any rate, I enjoyed the chapter very much, including the duel with Mandalore and Revan. I wonder, however, why Mandalore would use pistols against Revan? Also, the 'restoration' of the Mandalorian honor that was 'stripped' with their defeat was an interesting twist, and one that fits the personality of Revan (in my view, at least).

Corrected and thanks

As for giving them back their honor, if you have read my KOTOR novel, you will know that is exactly what my Revan did on the Rakata homeworld during the awards ceremony.

machievelli
12-28-2008, 06:19 PM
Interesting turn of events. You really portrayed Revan's personality well in this chapter. You showed her as someone that is confident, knowledgable, and a great leader. Looking forward to the next installment!I had actually thought of ending this here...

Am I going to get more threats if I stop?

Rev7
12-28-2008, 06:38 PM
Am I going to get more threats if I stop?
Of course. :xp:

Your choice really, either way is fine with me.

machievelli
12-28-2008, 06:54 PM
All right, if threats are possible I will agree if five new people complain

Litofsky
12-28-2008, 07:28 PM
No, that's not fair! [/fan]

Either choice is fine with me, Mach: it's your story, and, at any rate, I've loved it. If it were up to me, I'd attempt to pursue writing a history of the Mandalorians, or another people, it seems. If not the Mandalorians, the Galaxy is full billions of planets, a good portion of which sustain life. Take your pick, and make something new! ;)

machievelli
12-28-2008, 08:50 PM
No, that's not fair! [/fan]
to Quote David Bowie from Labyrinth, I'd like to know what yu're using for a basis for comparison.

Darth_Yuthura
12-28-2008, 09:06 PM
This isn't a complaint; I think you've wrapped up this story pretty well as it is. If it were your intent to finish the story where it stands... then that is exactly what you should do. The more story you add, the more it detracts from the quality unless you want to continue writing.

For me, Shrouded in Darkness hasn't yet covered certain objectives I still want it to, which is why it goes on. It's at a point where I COULD bring it to a conclusion, but I always intended for more story to be told.

If this story has reached its intended end, then anything else would detract from the quality. If you want it to progress even further, then do so; otherwise this is a very decent conclusion as it stands.

machievelli
12-28-2008, 09:19 PM
This isn't a complaint; I think you've wrapped up this story pretty well as it is. If it were your intent to finish the story where it stands... then that is exactly what you should do. The more story you add, the more it detracts from the quality unless you want to continue writing.

For me, Shrouded in Darkness hasn't yet covered certain objectives I still want it to, which is why it goes on. It's at a point where I COULD bring it to a conclusion, but I always intended for more story to be told.

If this story has reached its intended end, then anything else would detract from the quality. If you want it to progress even further, then do so; otherwise this is a very decent conclusion as it stands.
I don't know... I haven't had people demanding more of my work like this in years. So I'll leave it as I said. If we get five people who did not comment earlier asking for more I will continue. Part of what was happening during the interim before the return of the Exile is trying to write itself.

Rev7
12-29-2008, 12:48 AM
Why 5 people?

machievelli
12-29-2008, 12:55 AM
Why 5 people?
last was four.

Rev7
12-29-2008, 01:02 AM
Fair enough.

Hopefully more people make some comments. :D

JAvatar80
12-29-2008, 05:46 PM
*Ahem*

<fan!>
LOVEITLOVEITLOVEIT!!!!!!!!

I want MOAR! Rawr! ;)
</fan!>

EXCELLENT set of chapters, Mach. The battles were very vivid, the emotions and confusion of that kind of a skirmish well protrayed, even the characters we hated we could connect with....excellent story. :) If you have thoughts on were to go to finish wrapping this up, I say put it out. :D I'd love to read more.

If not....it was a great sub-story in the Knights timeline. :D

<threat(for posterity)>
And if you do decide not to write more....I'll cry. *nods sagely*
</threat>

machievelli
12-29-2008, 07:14 PM
*Ahem*

<fan!>
LOVEITLOVEITLOVEIT!!!!!!!!

I want MOAR! Rawr! ;)
</fan!>

EXCELLENT set of chapters, Mach. The battles were very vivid, the emotions and confusion of that kind of a skirmish well protrayed, even the characters we hated we could connect with....excellent story. :) If you have thoughts on were to go to finish wrapping this up, I say put it out. :D I'd love to read more.

If not....it was a great sub-story in the Knights timeline. :D

<threat(for posterity)>
And if you do decide not to write more....I'll cry. *nods sagely*
</threat>

All right, that's one, and you only count because you only made one previous comment.

machievelli
12-29-2008, 11:16 PM
Interesting turn of events. You really portrayed Revan's personality well in this chapter. You showed her as someone that is confident, knowledgable, and a great leader. Looking forward to the next installment!The Senatorial comment hearkened back to a comment made by Willam 'Bull' Halsey who is it is said commented 'When this war is over Japanese will only be spoken by the dead'.

Rev7
12-29-2008, 11:32 PM
Well we all know that Japanese is still spoken. :xp:

Interesting roots

CommanderQ
12-30-2008, 01:46 AM
Excellent next chapter, Mach!! You have shaped the characters and plot so much so that I can draw similarities to other historical events and how they repeat in Human nature. Excellent work, Mach! I look forward to more!

Now, for my fanlike threats.....


{fan}POST SOON! OR WE WILL SHOWER YOU WITH BAD REVIEWS, RAAHH!! {fan}

Excellent work!

machievelli
12-30-2008, 02:02 AM
Excellent next chapter, Mach!! You have shaped the characters and plot so much so that I can draw similarities to other historical events and how they repeat in Human nature. Excellent work, Mach! I look forward to more!

Now, for my fanlike threats.....


{fan}POST SOON! OR WE WILL SHOWER YOU WITH BAD REVIEWS, RAAHH!! {fan}

Excellent work!


Sorry Commander, I said 5 new, and unfortunately you don't count.

CommanderQ
12-30-2008, 02:34 AM
Aw well...what can I be then? The other newspaper critic?:D Well, I'll read anyways:D

machievelli
12-30-2008, 12:01 PM
Aw well...what can I be then? The other newspaper critic?:D Well, I'll read anyways:D Sorry, Commander. I said five new. The one vote I did count only commented once. I'm trying to get the lurkers off the fence this once

CommanderQ
12-30-2008, 12:27 PM
I'm a lurker? Okay, so be it....:D

machievelli
12-30-2008, 01:35 PM
I'm a lurker? Okay, so be it....:D If you were a lurker, the vote would have counted. You've read and commented on every section so far.

Tysyacha
12-30-2008, 11:44 PM
*Breaks into wild applause* mach, if this doesn't get picked for the 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, I'll eat my hat. I think that final chapter was the best one yet, the most intense in terms of psychological impact. My jaw hit the floor when I realized the rationale behind Sooribor, and it just goes to show you what some people will do in order to achieve their own ends and purposes. As for whether you continue this, I will leave that up to you to decide, but I think this serves as either a great ending or great transition...

machievelli
12-31-2008, 12:22 AM
*Breaks into wild applause* mach, if this doesn't get picked for the 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, I'll eat my hat. I think that final chapter was the best one yet, the most intense in terms of psychological impact. My jaw hit the floor when I realized the rationale behind Sooribor, and it just goes to show you what some people will do in order to achieve their own ends and purposes. As for whether you continue this, I will leave that up to you to decide, but I think this serves as either a great ending or great transition...


Thanks Tys. The only thing that bothered me was I couldn't think of a way to save Zakal. :(

I hadn't considered getting an award. I only got one for my pre-Republic work a couple of years ago.