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Stories / Re: Restless Hearts
« Last post by Theodorik on January 31, 2011, 03:13:09 pm »
“Ma’am, if you’re a paramedic like your ID says, we could really use your help,” the trooper said as he handed Kamiko her ID.
“Of course,” she answered right away.
She suddenly realized that she could end up working on Theo, a thought that sent chills through her body.
“Okay, breathe Kammi,” she whispered to herself, “you’re a professional; just do what you need to do.”
The roar of the drop ships drew near and the camp was responding accordingly.  The Imperial Army medical staff was generally a mockery of the urgent care community, usually relying on 21-B medical droids to treat patients.  But Kammi knew that the Stormtrooper Corps medics, more specifically the ones in the Special Forces, were extremely capable of treating traumatic wounds.  Despite his leadership role within his platoon, Theo’s brother Aliksander was one of the finest medics she had ever met, military or otherwise.
“Ninety seconds, the bird with the injured is coming in first,” the radio crackled with the voice of one of the pilots.
Kamiko was quickly ushered toward the landing zone, three stretchers lie on the grass with a gang of troopers prepared to carry them.  Littering the ground were bags of trauma gear, oxygen cylinders, and electronic medical devices.  The civilian paramedic had never seen some of them before.
“I’m a paramedic with Royal Fire Rescue, where do you need me?” she asked a group of troopers gathered near the equipment.
An older man dressed in utilities raised an eyebrow at her, then extended his hand.
“Welcome, I’m Doctor Elber, you can stick with me, you work in the city?” he said as she shook his hand.
“I’m Sakura, from Shock Trauma Air Rescue,” she responded, a touch of pride in her voice.
“Good, then you should be used to this,” he shouted, unimpressed, as the roar of the air speeder became almost deafening, “Look alive kid ... here they come.”
In the air above them, the Larty began its hovering decent when suddenly it groaned loudly and bucked to the right.  The loud bang of an engine blowing echoed across the valley, sounding like a sledge hammer smashing into metal.  A gasp washed over the crowd on the ground.
“What the hell was that?” shouted Outlaw, as the craft started to rock side to side.
“I lost the number two engine,” screamed the pilot, “Hang on you kriffs.”
Fortunately, the pilot was experienced, and could handle putting the bird down with only one engine.  The craft listed to the right as he brought it down, which he quickly compensated for, bolting it upright and level for the last few feet of its descent.  Outlaw was standing at the edge of the crafts open side, not prepared for the violent movement, and he tumbled into the air speeder landing on his back.
“Ahh my back!” the Lieutenant screamed as the craft finally touched the ground safely.
Kammi was right at the Doctor’s side when she scanned the inside of the transport.  Three men, on their backs, and one of them was screaming … wait … that was Theodorik screaming!
“Get me up, dammit, get me up,” he howled.
Kammi had tears streaming down her face as she leapt into the air craft.  Soldiers were spilling out of either side of the transport now, the medics swarming around the injured.  She knelt down next to her love, doing her best to compose herself.
“Theo, what’s wrong?” she said, expelling her breath slowly.
“My back, I’m laying on a hot weapon, my back is on fire!” he shouted, still not realizing it was Kamiko hovering over him.
Kammi rapidly rolled him onto his side and sure enough, there it was, Outlaw’s Bola Carbine on the deck, still red hot from firing.  She noticed the armor on his back had begun to scorch, and the heat from the weapon was conducting right through to his skin.  The first step was an easy one, get his chest plate off of him right way.  Doctor Elber turned to the her.
“You okay with that one?” he almost growled.
“Yesir!” she shouted back.
Elber had his hands full with the prisoner, who was bleeding from both ears and clearly had suffered quite a bit of head trauma.  It looked to him like the firefighter had things under control.  Kammi gained her feet and began to struggle with Outlaw’s chest plate.
“Kammi? What are you doing here?” he asked, suddenly confused.
“Help me get this damn chest plate off of you for fracks sakes,” she shouted back at him.
He obeyed her, sitting upright, unclipping the fasteners located on both sides of the composite armor.   Kammi removed the rear panel, revealing his soaked undershirt, very warm to the touch.  She tore her trauma shears through the garment, exposing her patient’s bare skin. Outlaw exhaled with relief.
“That feels so much better,” he said closing his eyes.
The medic grimaced when she saw the reddish-pink flesh.  The hot carbine had sent its heat coursing into the armor plating, turning his sweat into steam, and giving him a superficial burn.  It hurt like hell, but it wasn’t any more dangerous to his health than a sun burn.  She sprayed bacta onto his bare skin, and then began to help him take the armor plates off of his arms.
“Not that I’m not glad to see you Kammi … but what are you doing here?” he asked.
She continued at her work, finding the fasteners on each piece of armor, purposely not making eye contact.  The rest of the medical staff and patients had moved to the craft’s exterior by now, leaving nothing to answer Outlaw’s question but silence.
“Kammi, what’s going on?” he demanded.
She loosened the last piece of armor, and began to pull off his undershirt.
“I came to see you,” she finally replied, unable to meet his eyes.
“Kammi, what’s wrong?” he asked, softly placing his hand on her chin and turning her face to his.
He saw the tears streaming down both of her cheeks, her dark black bangs raining down over her eyes.
“Spirits Kammi, what’s going on?”
She sat back and slapped his bare shoulder; he winced, grabbing it with the opposite hand.  He opened his mouth to protest the blow, but she spoke first.
“I thought you were badly hurt!” she shrieked, throwing her arms around his neck.
Theodorik held her tightly, doing his best to ignore his sore back.  At first he didn’t understand why she was so emotional, she had seen hundreds of victims in much worse condition.   Then he thought about if things were reversed, and he had found an injured Kamiko, and he understood her tears.  He held her for a few minutes, he sobs slowly calming.  Eventually, she broke away from him and looked him in the eye.
“I can’t believe this is what you have to deal with everyday.”
“Everyday? This wasn’t a typical patrol baby girl. Some things went down that we weren’t expecting, that’s all.” he lied, “that kind of thing almost never happens.”
“Still, I’m a nervous wreck here,” she sighed, blowing her bangs out of her eyes.
Kammi knew better than to ask him if he would ever quit being a soldier.  They had split up the last time she suggested it, after his first year in the Stormtrooper Corps.  He had only been home five times that year, bouncing from the Academy to several special schools.  It was only for a week or two at a time, and it became difficult for the now 17 year old girl to handle.  Her friends were bringing dates to all their school functions, and she was always left unescorted.
It was early December, and Theodorik had just completed another difficult military course.  He was supposed to be home for the next month, and Kammi was looking forward to having him home for Life Day.  Two weeks into his leave, he announced he was packing up and heading out in two days. He was given an opportunity to attend Scout school, and he needed to be on the ground on Naboo in four days.  Kammi was infuriated, and an argument ensued.  In anger, she suggested he choose between his career as a Stormtrooper or her.  Broken hearted, he left for Naboo that night without saying good bye.  It devastated her, but she came to realize how much his career meant to him.
When he came back into her life, she apologized and accepted him with open arms.  The boys in her school were nothing in comparison to him.  All the while, she secretly harbored the wish that he leave the Corps after his three year enlistment was up.  Now, sitting with him in the transport, she still wished he would leave it all behind, but for a different reason altogether.  Kammi had been selfish, she realized, she had wanted him back with her, to be by her side.  This time, she wanted him to quit for his sake, she feared for his safety. Kamiko couldn’t live in a world where Theodorik Sturmwolke had given his life for the Empire.
Stories / Re: Restless Hearts
« Last post by Theodorik on January 30, 2011, 08:40:37 pm »
Chapter 6

Tonight it's very clear, as we're both lying here.
There's so many things I want to say.
I will always love you, I would never leave you alone.

Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

1831 Hours, Sunday
This wasn’t the first time Kamiko had prayed for Theodorik’s safety.  When he left Corellia for the Stormtrooper Corps, they had been dating just over a year, and the young brunette thought about him daily.  The reality of his job had never hit her, at least not until now, sitting by the radio, feeling physically ill.  Truth be told, the first time she had seen him dressed in anything militarily other than his uniform was in the mountains last week.  Now, it was all too real, and she felt ashamed that she could let him slip away, knowing now how easily she could lose him.
Kamiko was exhausted, wearing the night before on her face. Marcus had resisted the break-up of course, and after realizing she wouldn’t back down, had said some rather unkind things to her.  He had begun to show his true colors of late, and Kammi would have sent him packing sooner rather than later, Theodorik Sturmwolke being in the picture or not.  That was the part of the situation that caught her breath in her throat, Theo being in the picture, because he really wasn’t in the picture, not exactly.
The young miss had been in this situation with the scout trooper before, being with him, but at the same time not.  Their first kiss answered questions for both Kamiko and Theo, but it also asked a few new ones, the most poignant regarding Theo’s girlfriend.  What was he going to do about Anna?  The easy answer was to break up with her straight away, the very next time he saw her and Kammi and her true love could get on with being together.  But a storybook ending was not to be had; it wouldn’t befit the young lovers anyway.
Theodorik and Kamiko hadn’t arrived on that bridge that night after a passing glance or meeting eyes from across a crowded room.  It had taken years for the couple to find themselves on that bridge, it would be ridiculous to think they would be a together overnight.  It had taken another month … a month … before the young man had separated from Anna, and felt ready to move forward with Kammi.  The kiss they shared on the bridge was certainly one of her fondest memories, but it wasn’t her favorite.  Her favorite memory was when Theo left no doubt in her mind, they were a couple, and he had eyes for no one else.
They were at a party for a friend, and they hadn’t seen each other in almost a week.  Years later, the story would get jumbled and confused; the details of the party itself were long forgotten.  For the life of them, neither could recall who or what the party was for.  There was even some debate as to the location, and even the date (she said the 13th, he said the 15th of May).
Theodorik wouldn’t ever forget how she looked that night, however.  He remembered her dress, a green and yellow flowered print that accentuated her blossoming curves.   He remembered her hair, her wonderful hair, long black tresses spilling down her back, her bangs barely controlled by her intricate metal headband.   He remembered her eyes, those bright adventurous violet eyes, looking at him, looking right into him.
“You look beautiful tonight,” he said to her, voice clear and unwavering.
He took her hands in his, stepping back to look her over.  Kammi lowered her head shyly as her lips formed into a tight smile.  There was something special about the way he said it tonight, as if it was the first time he really meant it.  Maybe it was the first time he knew he meant it.  She brought her eyes to meet his.
“I’ve missed you Theo,” she offered, smile dropping away into a longing gaze.
He smiled at her, pulling her closer to him and wrapping his arms around her shoulders.  She rested her chin on his chest, her small hands linked around his midsection.   The music in the background began to change its pace to that of a slow love song.
“Dance with me, Kammi,” he asked.
She didn’t resist as he pulled her onto the dance floor. He encircled her miniature frame with his arms and kept his eyes locked on her face.  She returned his gaze, heat rising into her cheeks.  It was the perfect time for Theo to tell her that he loved her, but she knew that’s not how he did things.  The words of the song were speaking for him.
"Sometimes I just forget, say things I might regret. It breaks my heart to see you crying. I don't wanna lose you, I could never make it alone."
Kammi was pretty certain she was getting his message; it was time for her to take a chance.
“I heard you broke up with Anna,” she quipped.
“I did,” he answered playfully.
“Have you found someone else?” she asked, playing along.
“I have ... someone special,” he replied after a pause, without a hint of regret in his voice.
“Is it me?” she dared, holding her breath.
Rather than answer her, Theodorik looked into her eyes, and sang the next line of the song.
“I am the man who will fight for your honor. I’ll be the hero that you’re dreaming of.  We’ll live forever, knowing together that we did it all for the glory of love.”

He didn’t profess his undying love to her the way Prince Charming would to his beautiful princess, but Kammi would take it.  He told her he would love her forever in a way that was uniquely Theo, and that was what she wanted more than anything.
General Discussion / Re: Somebody had to ...
« Last post by Theodorik on January 30, 2011, 03:23:35 am »
Now this thread is monumentally epic because I'm here.

true story
General Discussion / Re: Somebody had to ...
« Last post by Krayt on January 29, 2011, 05:13:56 pm »
Now this thread is monumentally epic because I'm here.
General Discussion / Re: Somebody had to ...
« Last post by Krayt on January 29, 2011, 05:13:08 pm »
/hugs Tusky

Figured you weren't having a good time of it.

And hmmm, the ethernet drivers weren't on Dell's site or you just haven't gotten them to work yet?

Nope... havnt seen then at all on their site... heres the link i was getting most of my drivers from.

Just today I had tried my modem but this time with a router with it.  I was able to have my computer notice it but it was not able to succesfully connect to it.  Hopefully I wont need to resort to using my router as it was a slower connection then just my modem plugged into my laptop.

I'm having router trouble,too. It went real dumb on me. I guess it was the shock of being connected to a new modem.
General Discussion / Re: Somebody had to ...
« Last post by Onyxs on January 28, 2011, 09:01:05 pm »
I hear that Gart may be back? True story?


(He even tried logging in here a couple days ago, was while I was transitioning stuff and he got an error lol.)
General Discussion / Re: Somebody had to ...
« Last post by Theodorik on January 28, 2011, 08:40:37 pm »
I hear that Gart may be back? True story?
Stories / Re: Restless Hearts
« Last post by Theodorik on January 27, 2011, 10:33:26 pm »
Field Base Baz Nitch, Naboo

1813 Hours, Sunday
Kamiko Sakura had finally gathered up the nerve to venture out to Theodrik’s encampment.  In fact, the petite brunette had become rather gutsy in the past 24 hours. She had thrown Marcus out, and demanded all the vacation time from the Fire Department that she hadn’t taken in the last three years.  Kammi was stopped at the permiter of the base by an armed man.  She flashed her RFR badge and proudly announced that she was there to see Lieutenant Theodrik Sturmwolke.  The trooper scanned her for weapons and took her ID.
“He’s in the field, you can wait over there,” he said pointing to a collection of tables.
Kammi noticed several men were huddled around a crackling radio. Suddenly she heard her love's voice coming from the device.
“Downtown One is en route; we have your location on the global.”
“My stars, whats going on?” she asked.
“Two teams are in Lianorm, and they taking small arms fire.”
Kammi closed her eyes and swallowed hard.  She said a silent prayer that the spirits protect Theodorik once again.
The Merkrit house was only a half kilometer, and at full running speed, Outlaw and company covered it in about three minutes.  They approached Krayt and his team, who were taking cover behind the stone walls surrounding the house.  It looked like someone had set off several smoke bombs in the front and side yards, obscuring the house, garage, and nearby shed.
“Downtown Two, we’re coming in behind you. Uptown, what can you see?”
“Vision is obscured, we are repositioning, Downtown Two, and switching to thermal on our bino’s, the fire is coming from Merkrit’s house for sure. I can tell you that, the surrounding hills are clear.”
Outlaw walked in a crouch to Krayt’s position along the south wall, he was dialing in a radio frequency with his wrist mounted information center.
“’Law, do you want gunships? Maybe a strafing run?” Krayt shouted over the gunfire.
“Damn it … yeah, that would do the trick, but I don’t know who is in that house brother,” Outlaw replied.
“Yeah I agree, maybe Uptown can give us something to work with,” Krayt replied loudly, but calmly.
Blaster fire whistled over their heads, punctuated by an occasional crack of a projectile weapon.  As ordered, the troopers were not firing very often, they all feared collateral damage at this point.  The sniper team had thermal imaging capabilities, something the ground teams had decided against to save weight.
“Downtown One, Uptown is in position, using thermal imaging; I have an excellent view of four gunmen. But we have a problem.”
“What is it?” Outlaw shouted.
“On the opposite side of the south wall from your position, there is a small shed.  I have three figures huddled on the ground next to it, looks like a woman and two children. The rounds coming from the house are hitting dangerously close to them.  I cannot see the actual front of the house, the east side, at all.”
“Frack, I knew it,” Outlaw cursed.
Lolana Ryltans was crouched on the ground alongside the gardener’s shed, huddling her fourteen year old sister Mai Lee, and her eleven year old brother Kieren beneath her.  The twenty-one year old human girl was the part time gardener at the Merkrit house, and today, she had brought her younger siblings along.  She was cursing her decision, as blaster fire had erupted from the house as she had stood near the shed.  She was holding tightly to her brother and sister now, praying for the spirits to send an angel to save them.
“Uptown, I need an image of the four bad guys and their locations on the thermal uplinked to me. When I say the word, I need you to take out whoever is the most threatening weapon to those three innocents,” the Lieutenant ordered.
Outlaw suspected that the crack of the 6-2Aug2 would scare the remaining three targets, the question was, would it scare them into running, or just finding better cover.  He had to prepare for the worst.  After a few seconds, the thermal picture of the house downloaded to his information center, he held his wrist out for Krayt to see.
“You’re going to unleash hell on this son of a kriff, concentrate your fire in this area of the house,” he ordered, pointing to the screen, “and then pull it high and to the right, off of the house, when I call for it.”
“Gotcha L-T,” Krayt answered.
The squad sergeant relayed the information to his team, and Outlaw crouch-walked toward his own team.  He showed them the layout of the house, and was pointing to a side door, indicating their path of entry.  Just then an explosion shattered part of the wall behind them. Lolana was now lying flat on the ground, her arms pinning her brother and sister to the dirt as well.
“Aaaaaahhh, Frack … what was that?” Milky screamed.
“Uptown, talk to me,” Outlaw demanded.
“Rocket propelled grenade, the tango wielding it just disappeared from the window.”
“When you see him again, fracking ice him!” Outlaw was screaming now.
‘Downtown One, we are flanking them, we’ve got to clear that house.  Hammer, Doc, Buzz, enter through that side door by the garage.  Milky, you stay close to me, you are going to have to carry a civilian, possibly two, got it?”
“Got it!” the Corporal shouted back.
Another rocket propelled grenade whooshed overhead, this time from a different angle.  It exploded 30 meters behind them, ripping a massive hole in a small building.
“Damn it! Uptown, what happened?” Outlaw shouted, now in a full run to the west of the house, his team trailing behind. They took their positions near a stone archway over an opening in the west wall.
“We might have a second weapon being used,” Uptown answered, “wait, stand by Downtown One.”
Just then, the familiar crack of the sniper’s Auggie echoed from the hills, the firing from the house ceasing seconds later.
“Tango down,” the sniper reported nonchalantly.
“Okay, it’s now or never, let’s do the nasty.” Outlaw commanded, exhaling sharply, “Krayt, give them hell, NOW!”
Staff Sergeant Krayt A’Sardu and company unleashed a barrage of rifle and carbine fire toward the upper windows of the house.  The remaining three gunmen had now taken cover inside the building, startled by the loss of one of their compatriots and the accompanying crack of the Auggie.   They were down to one grenade launcher now, and the leader of the group, Rebar Merkrit, had called for the shooters to regroup on the main floor.
“Hey, get to that window and start firing back on these kriffs,” Rebar shouted to his two cronies.
‘We can’t Ree, they are laying down some serious hell on us.”
“Shoot a damn rocket through the window!” he hissed, “Our only chance is to get to the speeder bikes in the garage!”
Outlaw shouted into his microphone, “Pull fire! Pull your fire Downtown Two!”
Another rocket propelled grenade flew past Krayt’s team on the south wall, once again exploding just meters behind them.  Lolana began to pray for a painless death for all of them, she was certain she wouldn’t survive this.  Krayt’s squad pulled their fire to the right, away from the house; still giving the appearance they were raking the gunmen with blaster bolts.   Suddenly Lolana saw something coming out of the smoke towards her.
Rebar ran to the side door, knowing it was only a few meters to the garage from there. He was counting on that last grenade to buy him enough time to get to the speeder bikes.  The smoke bombs they had set off were also starting to dissipate, it was time to move.
“Hey, you two, let’s go!” he shouted, starting to press down the handle to open the side door, preparing to make a break for it.
Corporal Melky Berran was sprinting toward the shed and the three civilians, trailing closely behind his Lieutenant.  The trio of innocents suddenly came into view.
“Milky, get the woman,” Outlaw shouted.
Lolana looked up at the scout trooper as he hovered above her; the spirits had sent her an angel after all.  Milky unceremoniously lifted the woman off of the ground, cradling her against his chest like a new bride.  Outlaw scooped up the little boy with his right arm, and turned to the little girl.
“Climb on my back!” he shouted, the fourteen year old only paused for a few seconds before she obliged.
Buzz paused ten meters from the door, firing an explosive round from his Starlight Carbine into the side door.  The thick metal door fragmented into several pieces, cutting the Mon Calamarian thug behind it to ribbons.  The other two gangsters were knocked back from the concussion, one of them screaming, clawing at his now shattered eardrums.  Hammer and Doc broke into the room, taking advantage of the shock of the situation.  The remaining armed opponent in the room began to fire wildly at the two men.
Milky and Outlaw ran back to the west gate, considerably slower now with the three siblings as baggage.  The Corporal noticed the woman he held was bleeding from her temple.
“She’s hurt boss,” Milky announced.
“Skyhook, this is Downtown One, I need an extraction immediately. I say again, we have taken fire and need extraction.  Landing Zone will be Aurek.” Outlaw shouted into his headset.
Hammer spun to the source of the firing, and was greeted with a flash of bright red light.
“Unghhh!” he moaned, dropping his weapon as he tumbled backwards.
Buzz, who had just entered the room, sent a three round burst into the shooter on the floor, ending his life.  Doc had whirled around, spotting the man with the shattered ears writhing in pain on the floor.  He turned his attention to Hammer, who was also screaming on the floor.
“Ahhh, I can’t see, I can’t fracking see!” he was shouting.
“We have to get Hammer out of here!” Doc shouted.
The drone of the Lartys filled the sky as Doc struggled to throw the burly Staff Sergeant over his shoulder. He took a deep breath and began trudging out the door.  Buzz grabbed the screaming gangster by the wrist and dragged him out of the side door, knocking him into several pieces of debris in the process.
“Outlaw, Hammer’s been hit, we are bringing him and a prisoner to LZ Aurek,” Buzz reported.
“Uptown, Downtown Two, get to LZ Aurek, double time it!” Outlaw commanded.
The men from Krayt’s squad were already moving west, when they came upon Doc, Buzz, Hammer and their prisoner.  The second squad helped the laden men with their burdens, and as a group they rapidly moved off toward the LZ.  The spot was one of four Outlaw had pre determined based on several different scenarios, this one was labeled “Aurek”.  The Lieutenant and his Corporal arrived first, with the three family members still in tow.  The sniper team, Uptown, arrived next, and the four troopers fanned out around the civilians to ensure a secure LZ.
The Lartys were in view now, Outlaw made radio contact with them, announcing he was lighting a green flare, which he promptly did.  The pilot acknowledged and the drop ships began to slowly hover into position.  The rest of the operatives and their prisoner were now arriving at the zone as well. Doc was also able to look at Hammer for the first time.
“His left hand is burned,” Doc observed, “I think he took a blaster bolt off of his rifle.”
Doc had surmised correctly, a blaster bolt found its way onto Hammer’s TC-22, exploding it right in front of his face.  The flash from the event had blinded Hammer, most likely only temporarily, but he needed more definitive care.  The pair of Lartys touched down a few meters from the troopers, which the group eagerly boarded.  Once Outlaw confirmed they were all accounted for, civilians, troopers and their prisoner, he stepped into the craft and gave the pilot the signal to depart.
The twin airspeeders lifted off and lumbered off toward the field base.  Everyone wore a look of relief, except Doc, who was irrigating Hammer’s eyes, trying to ease his pain.  Lolana had wrapped her arms around Milky’s neck, and was now staring into the young man’s eyes.
“My angel … I thank the spirits they sent you to me,” she cooed.
“No problem miss, we’re going to get your head looked at. You will be fine,” Milky replied uncomfortably.
“You are my hero,” she said, then turned to Outlaw, “you as well, I feared men like you only existed in holo-movies and story books.  But here you are, in the flesh, real live heroes.”
I need a hero!
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night.
He's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast
and he's gotta be fresh from the fight.
I need a hero!
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light.
He's gotta be sure and it's gotta be soon
and he's gotta be larger than life.
Stories / Re: Restless Hearts
« Last post by Theodorik on January 27, 2011, 03:38:13 pm »
Village of Lianorm, Naboo
1745 Hours, Sunday
1 Hour before Sunset

Had it not been for the seriousness of their mission, this would have been a beautiful scene in front of them.  The sky was bathed in a swathe of oranges and reds as the sun (Naboo the star) began its journey over the horizon, offering its light to the opposite side of the world (Naboo the planet).  Ten men, separated into two squads, each occupying its own side of the cobblestone street.  Lianorm was a small settlement, only about 150 people held residence there, including some farms and ranches on its outskirts.  One stone roadway snaked its way down from the hills into the village, and it served as the main thoroughfare.  The road divided the town along the North/South axis, and continued to Lasay, an even smaller village 21 kilometers in the distance.  Royal Security Force once described that road, known only as “Roadway 1”, as the most dangerous travel route on Naboo.
Roadway 1 was flanked on both sides by swampland, unfit for farming or the raising of animals.  It was home to all manner of thieves, thugs, and pirates.  The Imperial presence on Naboo had allowed the RSF to dedicate more resources to cleaning up the area, and the locals enjoyed a new level of peace and prosperity. But Outlaw feared the actions of the Imperial Army recently had put that in jeopardy.
“Uptown, this is Downtown One, we are entering the village,” Outlaw reported.
“Downtown One, we have nothing unusual in our sights, will continue to advise,” replied the sniper/spotter team, located on a hilltop a few hundred meters away.
‘Downtown One’ was Outlaw’s team, himself, Candro, Zach, Berran, and Abstreiter.  Across the street was ‘Downtown Two’, five troopers from another long range team.  Uptown was the sniper and spotter on the hilltop, positioned to see most of the village.  The sniper was equipped with a Czerka 6-2Aug2 sniper rifle with a laser sight, a weapon boasting incredible range and accuracy.  It was especially dangerous in the hands of a Special Forces sniper, and had a high enough caliber round to disable a land speeder’s engine.
The center of Lianorm featured two more cobblestone streets, running parallel to each other, intersecting Roadway 1, giving the settlement an “H” like appearance from overhead.  Centrally located were a town hall, some small shops, a tavern, a theater, and a hotel.  While the village did not have a large population, visitors were frequent, mostly trying to purchase livestock or produce.  The theory Task Force Grim Reaper was subscribing to was that this village was being used to resupply local insurgent groups.  This is why the troopers had to tread lightly.
There were about two dozen people walking about the village’s street, most gave the troopers only cursory looks.  Each man had his weapon drawn, but Outlaw had ordered them to appear as non-threatening as possible.  They had left all of their heavier weapons at the base, the majority of the crews opting for carbines.  Special Forces troopers had the option of using whatever weapon they felt comfortable with, what was best suited for the mission, and the best weapon for their particular job on the team.  This is why marksmanship with a wide variety of weapons was important for an SF Operator.
“Hold up guys,” Outlaw spoke into his headset.
The team held its progress, and Outlaw rubbed the stubble on his chin momentarily as he looked around.  Part of their attempt to look less threatening was foregoing the helmets on their armor.  Each man instead wore a headset with a monocle Heads-up Display (HUD) that could be moved in front of one eye.  The teams were totally integrated information-wise, with access to real time global positioning and three dimensional maps.  In order to compensate for the lack of night and thermal vision options, both of which were contained in the SF Operator’s helmet, the team carried standard Army issue light amplification goggles in their rucksacks.
“Hey, ‘Law … No one seems to be worried about us just yet,” observed Hammer.
“Yeah, I noticed,” Outlaw replied, taking note that so far, no one had even blinked at their presence.
Hammer casually took a few steps forward and peeked between two modest houses, both looking rather empty.  The broad shouldered Staff Sergeant had his TC-22 rifle slung in front of him, one hand loosely on the grip and the other resting on the muzzle.  He and Doc were the security element for Downtown One, which is why he selected a longer range weapon with some more punch.  The teams were trying to maintain some form of security without fanning out aggressively into combat positions.  Despite their intense training and extreme level of experience, they were all on edge.   They were taking a massive risk being here, but it was necessary for the larger mission, so they prepared as best they could and went out and did their job.
A pair of human men approached Outlaw’s team, teenage boys really, judging by their smaller stature.  They strolled casually; wearing the baggy clothes the locals often wore, usually to conceal weapons.  The two villagers didn’t look particularly threatening, more like curious at the armed group moving down the street.  One of them raised his hands in front of him and spoke to Milky, who was at the lead of the column.
“Hey guys.  What are you doing here?” the boy asked casually.
“Hey young man,” Outlaw replied, stepping forward, “We’re just looking around, got a few questions for somebody.”
Outlaw held out a holo-projector in his right palm, an image of Leerlalli Merkrit, a Mon Calamarian who owned a large homestead on the east end of the village.  He had been investigated by the RSF several times before for extortion and selling stolen property.  Merkrit went by the name of “Poppy” and liked to think Lianorm was his private little empire, enforced by his two sons and their gang of miscreants.  The attention the area had gotten recently had forced him into more low key endeavors, but Outlaw knew he would be a good place to start.
 “Poppy? It’s his dinner time, he’s at the Town Tap, his tavern over there,” answered the young man, hoisting a thumb over his shoulder.
The troopers noticed that more people were wandering up to them now, mostly curious young people and children.  Outlaw exhaled sharply, young kids caught in the crossfire were what he wanted the least right now.
“Stay sharp boys, head on a swivel,” the lieutenant warned.
Gradually, the crowd around the two knots of troopers grew to about 2 dozen each.  The men of Task Force Grim Reaper began passing out candy and little trinkets to the locals, and a few of them snapped pictures with the armed troopers.  Outlaw walked up to an older man, who was walking a guallama behind him.
“Greetings my friend,” Outlaw began, extending his hand to the man, allowing his carbine to sling to his side.
“Greetings to you soldier,” replied the man, briefly shaking hands with the visitor.
“I’m Theodorik.  To what do we owe this warm reception?” asked the lieutenant.
“These folks assume you’re here to protect them from the pirates,” the old man shrugged.
“Pirates? Tell me more,” Outlaw said raising an eyebrow.
“Well, we’ve always had a problem with Poppy and his sons, I’m sure you know who Poppy is already  … anyway, Poppy, while he took our money and basically whatever else he wanted from us, he did offer us protection from the thugs out in the hills.”
Outlaw wore an interested look; he had already activated a recording device in his wrist and would take a picture of the man with his data pad momentarily.
“When the Army came through town, and started roughing everybody up, they sort of scared the frell out of him, ‘scuse my language.”
“And these pirates, they took advantage of the situation?” Outlaw concluded.
“Yep, with Poppy’s gang lying low, the pirates have had free reign of this village.  It’s got a lotta people scared, ya know? Anyway, when the children saw you guys get off of that ship a few kilometers from here; we figured you were way too organized to be pirates.”
Outlaw pursed his lips at that statement.  Using kids as a look-out was an old tactic they used to use on the streets of Tyrena.  The pirate situation was a common one too, the familiar “power vacuum”.  The military thinks it’s doing a good thing by removing the local warlord, but once that power figure is gone and the military leaves, it’s a perfect opportunity for someone else to seize control.  Nine out of ten times the one seizing control is far worse than the local thug that was ousted in the first place.  It was a conundrum that they hadn’t figured a solution for yet, and it was presenting itself all over the galaxy.  For now, his orders were to find out what the Mon Calamarian knew about these rocket attacks, he would deal with the pirates later.
“Downtown Two, move out to Merkrit’s house and talk to the staff there, I still want to know who is responsible for these rocket attacks.  I want to talk to Poppy and see what he knows,” Outlaw spoke into his mic.
“Roger that, Downtown Two is moving out,” replied the other team’s squad leader.
Staff Sergeant Kurhet “Krayt” A’Sardu led his squad of five operators east through the village, toward Poppy’s modest estate.  While the mention of pirates had been something worth investigating, the rocket attacks on the troops were more pressing.   Krayt was an intelligence expert and an accomplished recon trooper, making him an easy selection for Krienz on this detail.  His bald head and sinister gold eyes served as effective intimidation tools as well.  Outlaw knew he would put that to good use at Merkrit’s place.
“Let’s go give this Poppy guy a visit,” Outlaw ordered his team.
Downtown One moved slowly through the small crowd to the front doors of the tavern. Outlaw noticed a frantic young man standing there, look at them, and then race inside.
“He’s going to try and go out the back door!’ shouted Outlaw.
Doc and Hammer began to double time it to the rear of the building, one of the largest the village had to offer.  Milky and Outlaw cautiously moved into the front doors of the establishment; Buzz took a position guarding their entry. There was a “U” shaped bar, located in the center of the room, with tables all around it.  The pair was largely ignored by the twenty or so patrons sipping drinks or having a meal at one of the tables.  Milky’s eyes trailed back to a table near the back, with a half eaten meal centered on it. The chair accompanying it was knocked backwards on the floor.  Outlaw spotted the nervous young man from outside, sitting at the far end of the room trying to look natural, and failing.
“Downtown Two Security, Poppy is headed your way,” Outlaw warned.
“We’ve got him,” replied Hammer, breathing hard.
“Fracker ran from us, but we caught him,” supplied Doc.
“Good, I’ve got one here that’s going to join us outside too,” the Lieutenant said, looming over the shoulder of the nervous man.
“Hey buddy, come on outside with me, will ya? It won’t take long,” Outlaw said casually.
The man turned slowly, and looked wide eyed at Theodorik. His cheek was stuffed with food, obviously caught in mid chew.
“You can finish that, my man, take your time,” Outlaw said calmly.
The young stranger turned back to his plate, shut his eyes tight and gulped down the contents of his mouth.  He picked up his glass and looked at Outlaw, silently seeking approval. The trooper nodded and grinned, so the man washed down his hastily consumed food.  Moments later they were outside, and Outlaw noticed right away that Buzz had his hands full with a gathering crowd.  Doc and Hammer were searching Merkrit, who was standing in front of them with hands raised.  It seems some of the locals took exception to this.
“Step the frack away!” shouted Buzz, swinging to his right toward some of the civilians.
Outlaw rushed out into the cobblestone street to meet them.
“Whoa, whoa, we’re okay here, everybody relax,” he attempted to soothe the crowd.
He pointed to the group of around fifteen men that was now edging uncomfortably close to Buzz.
“You there, move back, I’m not kidding. I don’t want to shoot anybody today.” Outlaw commanded gruffly.
The men relented, the shouts from the crowd settling slightly, but only slightly.  Altogether the squad estimated a crowd of thirty onlookers, and it was growing as curious people began filtering out of the tavern.
“Greetings Poppy, you can put you can put your hands down. I’m Lieutenant Outlaw with Task Force 3242. I have some questions for you.”
“Of course, everyone has questions for Poppy,” he responded blandly, complying with the order and lowering his hands.
“Poppy, I want to know about the rocket attacks,” asked Outlaw.
“Rockets? No, we don’t use rockets.  You have my word as the warlord of this village, we do no such thing,” was Poppy’s answer.
“You’re lying, Poppy,” Outlaw observed, “Don’t insult me dude, and don’t lie to me.”
“I’m telling you, we don’t do that, we have nothing to do with that.”
 The Mon Cal was mildly insulted at being referred to as ‘dude’, of Corellian street slang, but complied nonetheless.
“I don’t give a frack about your extortion or your petty theft.  I want to protect this village from those pirates and I can’t do it if you and your thugs are firing rockets at us.”
Poppy gave his interrogator an exaggerated shrug.
“Sir, I don’t know what to tell you.”
Outlaw had both hands on his hips; the crowd had now grown to over fifty people.  They had to either take Poppy in right now or let him go.  He moved his HUD screen away from his eye, and took a step back.
“Who is this character?” Outlaw asked, referring to the nervous young man he plucked from the bar.
“Bah, that’s just my look-out, Rex, he warns me whenever the pirates come into town. The less I talk to them, the better, you know?”
“Hey, junior,” Outlaw shouted to Rex, who answered with an inquisitive look.
“Yes, you, go back and finish your meal.”
Rex hesitantly started for the tavern door, Outlaw offered a reassuring gesture.  Finally, the young man picked up his feet into a run, and disappeared through the saloon’s entrance.  Outlaw turned toward Merkrit, and took two steps, closing the gap between them to mere inches.  He bore his green eyes directly into the huge orange eyes of the Mon Calamarian.
“If you’re lying, then you’re dying, you dig that, fool?”
The Mon Cal shuddered at the vernacular; obviously this trooper was southern Corellian, possibly from “the Skids”, a particularly nasty section of Tyrena.  It suddenly occurred to Poppy that these men might not be Imperial soldiers at all, they might be hired mercenaries.  They probably did not receive the standard predictable Imperial training, which made them very unpredictable.  Poppy was about to speak when he noticed all of the operatives suddenly wore very serious faces.
“Downtown One, this is Downtown Two, we are taking small arms fire here at the Merkrit house.”
“Hammer, Doc, Milky, go!” Outlaw shouted, he then spoke into his microphone.
“Downtown One is en route; we have your location on the global.”
The Lieutenant then turned to Buzz, who still held their detainee by his long brown robe.
“Let him go, let’s get over there.”
General Discussion / Re: What are you listening to?
« Last post by Theodorik on January 27, 2011, 08:43:33 am »
Just shoveled my driveway for the zillionth time this month, listening to:
My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult
Some from Confessions of a Knife and some stuff from Sexplosion.  Good tunes to throw the white stuff.
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