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The liberation of Valinor Prime - Prelude
The once picturesque tropical world had lost its effect — the bountiful colony transformed into a hellish landscape of blaster fire and booming artillery salvos. It’s arable lands reduced to flattened no man’s land, trampled by Imperial war droids, machine and men as Imperial fortifications replaced the lush lowlands. Such is the fate of all Imperial occupied worlds — the Mid Rim world of Valinor Prime being no exception.
Every so often, streaks of spartan grey skims across the smoking azure skies, no doubt revelling in their Supremacy of the air.
Not for long…
The binoculars-totting woman muttered ever so softly, standing in silent vigil amidst the towering rocky spires of the world’s northern hemisphere — a somewhat safe respite from unwelcoming Imperial eyes…
If one doesn’t fall off these frigid cliffs..
A slight morbid thought came to her, managing a weary grin, tucking a strand of her flaming locks behind her ear.
“Comman- Miss Shesh!”
Her deep thoughts broken out by a lone soldier. No, an unassuming young woman, no older than twenty cycles, dressed in leather brown battle fatigues with not a hint of any military-grade protection and a single worn out rifle slung across her shoulders. Imperial-made. Scavenged, perhaps? Her light green eyes glinting with a tinge of concern, head cocked. “Credit for your thoughts, ma’am?”
Hopeful blue meets green as she gently spun around, meeting the under-equipped woman’s gaze, waving her off with a self-assuring simper. “Heitinga, right? It’s nothing. Merely taking in the magnificent view of your home. Was there anything you need?”
The pseudo soldier nodded promptly. “Aye, Burton asks for you. Your input for our next op.”
The Commander sighs deeply, feet shuffling as she turns towards the runner, following her deep into the dark bowels of their hideout.
Braxton. Roughly a month before the Empire’s aggressive expansion into the region, it was quite the quaint mining town — the baradium riches afforded the hamlet quite the amenities, including a wide communal hall and fixed permacrete housing, unlike the many underfunded colonies of the Galactic Republic. Just like that, all of that came crashing down as an Imperial battalion swooped upon them, with only a few of the citizenry taking arms — holding the seemingly infinite ebony legions off from the defensible town hall. The (un)lucky ones who decided to flee fell victim to an indiscriminate inferno of heavy ordinance.
A commanding snarl filled the air as chunks upon chunks of bricks fell apart, his gruff visage grimacing — a stray bolt nearly taking his head off. “Damn the Black Ones!” He’d spun towards his left. “Lass! Heitinga! Still with me? Good! Grab the mining laser and keep the left flank from falling or we’re kriffed!”
The brave volunteer, with her head pressed down, nodded mutely. Her ringing ears, thankfully, caught the important bits of the message as she quickly scampered away and down towards her objective, returning some needed fire back onto the tyrannical invaders.
Though valiant, the deeds of her little squad were for naught. They were simply too much for the militia. Each body they put down were simply replaced as the striking cohort pushed forward. Inch by inch. Building by building.
“Aldrich! Cover me!” She half-screamed amidst the sounds of war, her throat already hoarse as she hurriedly began to set up the heavy-duty emplacement.
It was all for nothing.
Following a thunderous crack, Aldrich was no more. Save for his fallen helmet. Tears streamed down her grimy face as the war machine responsible for that entered her peripheral — a C-series war droid looms over her frozen crouched figure.
She could not do anything, — her body refusing to obey her commands as jade green meets the menacing crimson photoreceptors of her soon-to-be killer.
I’m sorry, chief.
Her lids descended, it’s organic curtains falling over her pupils — accepting her inevitable fate, counting down the seconds she had left on the mortal plane. Fortunately for her, the hand of death rejected her. All she could hear were sizzling electronics and the panicked wails that seemed to emanate from everywhere.
As she returned to the blood-drenched battlefield once more, the low hum of plasma greets her— a violet blade blocking her frontal path in a protective manner. A woman. No, even better — A Jedi. She was far too shell-shocked to say anything, only managing a pathetic whimper at the sight of the serene mythological warrior of her dreams.
The red-headed Jedi did not spared a glance her way, unperturbed stare only reserved for the Imperials. “Go. Get away from here. I’ll be right behind you.”
Heitinga gladly obliged, carrying herself back to the townhouse.
Beads of sweat flows heavily down the Jedi’s tanned face, her eyes squinted in concentration as one arm — her organic one — raised onto the sole pathway where the small army laid.
Nothing seemed to happen then. Her fingertips, did not, in fact unleashed sparks or gouts of flame as the many rumour comes and goes. Soon, the foundations began to rumble — the two adjacent buildings tumbling over, creating mass hysteria as the Imperial Army began to retreat — the remnants of the structure, as soon as the dust cleared, created a makeshift blockade, halting the Imperial advance.
...For the time being.
Keivara soon fell onto her knees, a haggard breath left her pale lips as the twin lightsabers of her clatters to the ground, unignited. A lone thought crossed her mind as she lost consciousness.
What trouble have I wrought onto myself now..?
The seeds of liberation had been sown on the very day.
Her closed lids cracked open, the chipped grey ceiling greeted her.
...Wait, where am I? Last I checked, the surface wasn’t so soft….
The Jedi shot up — that particular action elicited a soft groan from her quivering dried lips as her expression contorts both in slight unfamiliarity and pain — her skull, as if hit by a bulky freighter.
“Easy…” A reassuring drawl reached her ears, to which the fiery Jedi quickly spun around, her throbbing wounds ignored, auburn brows raised questioningly.
The lithe intruder simply stood still, her muscles taut with anxiousness as a gentle simper reached her lips, both arms cradling a steaming cuppa. Her helmet was off now — shoulder-length chestnut locks adorned her skull. The ragged and grimy jumpsuit all but ensured the girl’s position as a non-combatant.
She nudged the cup forward, uttering her words ever softly and hesitantly. “...Master Jedi?
Ah. The young woman I saved back there, thank The Force for small mercies.
The recovering warrior turned her gaze towards the impromptu defender, azure orbs glinted with warm kindness as she unleashed a disarming chuckle — the tension all but gone. “Keivara.” Her word firm as she reached for the cup with poise despite the clanking nature of her other arm. “Though I can speak for the latter, I’m no master. So please, skip the formalities and let us speak as equals.”
Keivara’s action worked its intended effect — the civilian felt her the contours of her lips curving, grinning bashfully as she bops her head. “Thank you. For what you did for me… and all of Braxton.” The words were full of genuine intonation as she glanced away, shoulders shrugged. “...What's left of us anyway.” She stretched her right arm. “How rude, I am Heitinga. A pleasure.”
“You’re quite welcome.” The Jedi swivelled towards the blown out window by her makeshift cot as she kept a silent vigil of the starry skies, marred only by the ever-present distant hiss of blaster bolts.
It seemed the Imperials aren’t quite giving up. What a shame.
Keivara sighed wearily, rising unsteadily on her feet, head cocked as she inquired.“What are your people’s plans now?”
Before Heitinga could satisfy her with a semblance of an answer, the durasteel door swiped open, a mechanical whirl followed, and then, the dull echoes of heavy boot coming ever closer until a bulky man came into view — the body of an experienced miner in his early thirties, and the blood-soaked gear of the Republic Army don on him, insignias very much faded.
Keivara quirked her brows at that.
Did he serve? Is that a relic of his past? Perhaps...something else..?
His posture unyielding and straight-backed as he carried himself with an authoritative weight, stepping forward towards Keivara — sporting an ink black buzzcut, the same colouring can be spoken for of his eyes, his scarred countenance weathered and sun-baked. His trunk-like arm hefts a heavy repeater up, letting it rest on his broad shoulders.
“Pleasure, Jedi.” His voice low and raspy as it produced an unintended rudeness, gesturing towards Heitinga. “Ye’ met my cousin, I suppose. Rescued her, even…” He blinked. “For that, you have my thanks.” He grunted grudgingly. “Name’s Burton — the foreman of this shithole. As for your question, I can answer that, Jedi — I won’t sugarcoat it — we’re up shit’s creek. Been scrounging whatever supplies that survived the assault as we speak and high-tailing back to the mountains, I know a couple o’ hidden routes the blasted Imps’ won’t know….”
Burton trailed off, his dark gaze fell onto the twin cylindrical sabers on her waist as a single arm rose, fleshy digits dug into the back of his head. “I could use the hel-“
He did not, in fact, finished his plea as all hell broke loose — desperate screams and frantic marching permeates the air. No longer the night was a tranquil one — a single hover tank smashed it’s way through the makeshift barricade, flanked by columns of infantry as they surrounds the square with fire, shock and awe.
“GET THE NON-COMBATANTS OUT! WE’LL HOLD THE BASTARDS HERE!”
Contrary to the staunch determination of the Watch, the unprepared militia were rapidly losing ground — their aim were very much haphazard — bolts all over the place with only a select few projectiles hitting true. It was simply an annoyance to the disciplined Imperial legion, even more so to the armoured unit.
Keivara turns to the two, nodding affirmatively to the grizzly foreman. No words had to be spoken. She had that glint in her eyes, shoulders squared as the stalwart defender steps up — feet balanced on a chunk of scorched permacrete, teeth gnashed down onto her lips.
May the Force be with me… and us all.
Just like that, she pushed and leapt outwards, sabers at the ready and in a cyclonic gyration — the heated beams moving in an almost unnatural speed as they severed an Imperial squad of their connection to the living.
I am sorry it has to end like this.
The Jedi recovered from her landing as she placed a steely gaze on the hulking Imperial war machine, letting out a breath. Her robed brown rags tattered in more than a few places. The corner of her eyes spied on the numerous more dark figures that are, undoubtedly, streaming into the open square from every empty side streets of the dilapidated town.
She turns to Burton, now embedded alongside the militia — her two-handed grip on a single ignited blade tightened as she hefted the near weightless hilt up, assuming a defensive posture, footwork immaculate as she danced amidst the sandbags, batting as many bolts away from the surviving militia and grimacing ever so slightly with each croaking cries and the fatalities it brought to her side.
“We need to go. Now. Keep suppressing and delay them as you retreat east and out of town. Use the burnt out husks as cover!”
Keivara interrupted him before he could bring up his concerns.“I’ll be fine. It’s a promise. We’re not going anywhere with that durasteel monster around.”
Force grant me strength. For the sake of the defenceless.
Just like that, her instincts kicked in as she brought up her left arm — both that and her mental faculties working in tandem, kinetically and magically lifting a displaced chunk of plasteel, taking position at her fore, and taking a brunt of Imperial lasers as she continued her struggle — creating a path towards the tank’s rear. As if on cue, the Imperial commander knew of her dastardly intentions — the hatch opened abruptly, and so does the barrel of his sidearm — muzzle lighting up with the tell-tale pressurized hiss of Tibanna.
“Are we blind?! Stop her!”
Keivara stifled a snarl, releasing her mystical hold on the pseudo shield of hers — pushing and directing it onto the commander’s hatch. She did not hesitated nor waited to see if it made its mark. Quick as the mountainous gale, she belted towards the pulsating engines, thumb promptly flicking the activation lever as she brought the fiery violet hue to bear on her mark.
The systemic and rhythmic hum slowly dissipates, electricity crackling before the engine’s inevitable stoppage and destruction.
She took that as a cue to leave — the close quarters and lightsabers served her well with the faceless soldiers posed little to no opposition for her escape as she carved through them like butter — leaving a bloody mess of cauterized limbs and the complete capitulation of Braxton in her wake.
She had no trouble in finding the lumbering unorganised mass of convoy afterwards, lazily shuffling from the rear into the sea of predominantly human crowd, remaining in exhausted incognito as the survivors continued their trek to safety — their elusive guardian watching over them - a beacon of hope for the beleaguered.