THE SEQUEL TO: STAR WARS - THE CAMPAIGN I : A MARVEL STORY
THE CAMPAIGN II - PREQUEL & CHAPTER 1
THE SEQUEL TO: STAR WARS - THE CAMPAIGN I : A MARVEL STORY
THE CAMPAIGN II - PREQUEL & CHAPTER 1
Vader completed his meditation and opened his eyes. His pale, flame-savaged face stared back at him from out the reflective steel of his pressurized meditation chamber. Here without his neural connector, a thin long tortuous needle that pierced the rear lower base of his skull every time his armor was applied, did he truly become aware of the stumps of his legs, the ruin of his arms and the pain that thrived in his flesh.
Yet, he welcomed it. Pain fed his hate. His hate led to suffering. Thus, in his Isolation Chamber, Vader could sharpen his suffering into keen insight through the Dark Side; and he saw everything.
His previous meeting before his Master, Darth Sidious did not go well. Ever since the destruction of Earth and the flooding of The Force into a completely Force-Deprived Universe, His Master was preoccupied with his newly acquired Force Sensitives who already had enhanced abilities. The one named Reynolds, who called himself Darth Void was unnaturally powerful. The one called Doom, more dangerous than most. The Female, Psylocke a mentalist - all of them, his rivals.
Added to this, Sidious attained on Earth his newest weapon - Mjolnir. The possession of his new weapon kept his new recruits bowed at his feet, but secretly plotting for power. Still, they would do anything Sidious asked and he asked for much. Sidious claimed to foresee through The Force a new future where the Sith existed as they did in ancient legends - as a Full Sith Regime. He claimed to see it, but not Vader. He had to prove himself, again. Loyalty was now an expired commodity, and that angered him greatly.
With a mental command, Vader hears the mechanical workings around his chamber. From behind, a needle sinks into the base of his skull while his hands are attached to the burned stumps..
Vader had to find a ‘slicer’ who infiltrated Empire data stream and removed critical intel that was nothing short of crippling in the Rebel’s hands. He already lost one Death Star because of one pilot trained by Anakin Skywalker’s master, Kenobi. He would not lose again or be made a fool before his master new playthings, who saw it as blood in the water, circling and itching for his demise.
Slowly descending like death from above, Vader’s black armor settled on his shoulders while another set is pressed upon his chest.
Vader would not fail. He would terrorize, maim, and/or kill every living thing to get the data back. All his private resources had to be used. All options had to be explored. Nothing would get in his way.
An automated metal arm holds the armor’s helmet and face-plate over his head, a doom closing out the light from the chamber. His eyes of the face-plate that intimidated so many, were no peer to his unmasked eyes.
Vader was a Sith. A ‘True Sith’ like the many before him. He had a legacy to build. A Emperor to one day slay. If Vader fell, then the entire Galaxy had to fall with him, but he would not fail.
From within a sea of scars, his gaze simmered with controlled, harnessed fury. Doom will not take his place. Psylocke will die under his boot. And he would cripple Void to his control. He could see it in his meditation chamber. He could see it through his red tinted vision. All his priorities, were aligned with the Force.
His armor on, Vader rose. His loud breathing in his ears, loud in the chamber and his shadowy image huge and dark on the reflective wall that retracted upwards, disappearing into the ceiling.
He looked out and up through the view-port that opened onto the galaxy and its numberless worlds. It was his duty to rule them all. He knew that now. No force sensitive, Sith pretender, no Kree Empire, no Skrull Army or Shi’Ar Emperor would get in his way now. It was will of the Force he was to reign; and he would viciously remind that to the Galaxy, starting now.
Immediately, Vader could see a large blue glowing planet swiftly appear amidst the velvet blackness of space.
“My Lord…” said a voice over the room communicator, “...we have arrived at Kamino.”
Rousing herself awake, Nico eyes flutter open, feeling the suddenly stillness of the ship.
She had wandered into the loading bay of The Ghost. The retracted ramp in the middle of the bare cargo space began to light on the edges, signaling its location in the dim light.
Roller-coasting like seating lined the walls with a cross-strap safety belts hanging over folded up bench seats. It was better here than the cockpit. At least there was nothing here that didn’t want her to be there.
Julia Carpenter’s words still lingered in her mind. She had the right to be angry, hostile even - she was right. Nico bullied her way into the Rebellion conflict because she was just concerned about Molly, no one else, and would betray them if it was in Molly’s better interests. But she like to think she wasn’t that kind of person, a betrayer. But she was others things, none of which were any better.
Hearing the clanking footsteps against the metal grate floor, Nico wipes her eyes, clearing away any sign of weakness in her tears. She had decided to display an acid persona. It was better for her, it masked her fear and weaknesses. Hence, tears weren’t allowed. She didn't have the natural courage that she admired in everyone else. She wanted to mourn. Mourn the loss of humankind. The Loss of Earth. The Loss of...Molly. Perhaps her friend, her only friend, was dead.
She wanted to scream and grovel. Molly, her only friend could’ve…
“Stop Nico.” she mumbles to herself; pulling herself out of her negative headspace as if coming up out of water. She had a promise to keep. A promise to find Molly, dead or alive. She was her safety net. She had to be strong. No weakness. None at all.
Suddenly the metal door the cargo area wooshed open. Sabine steps inside.
“Oh I thought you were still…”
Standing up in the center of the room, Nico decked in all black, simply looks at Sabine with an air of judgement, “We dock yet or what?” Nico asks, cutting straight through the small talk.
Sabine folds her arms, impressed at the facade, but plays along, “Yes. We’re in Knowhere.”
“What?” Nico asks, thinking she heard wrong.
“Knowhere.” Sabine repeats. Holding out her hand, a holographic image appears from her wrist gauntlet.
“See?” Sabine reveals to a visibly astonished Nico.
Sabine smirks, trying to not pay so much attention to Nico’s micro-expressions, it was always refreshing to see someone react to anything they never saw before in ‘space’.
“This place is apparently the decapitated head of some super-giant-ancient-technological-being...” Sabine explains, drawing a breath as if the explanation exhausted her.
“...and they call it Knowhere.” she continues,”Its absent of rules and regulations from any government. In short, it's a haven for every kind’ve scumbag and two-bit hustler.” she summises.
“And we’re here because?” Nico asks, staring at the holographic image.
Sabine snaps shut the holodevice, “We know Ahsoka and Molly were here, its a start but…”
Turning her attention to the hatch door Sabine came out, Nico looks to Hera, Miles and Julia assembling in front of her. Hera steps forward, hands on hips ready to give orders.
“Alright, we’re docking, but I want to be make our objective clear.” states Hera, trying not to look at either Nico or Julia. Their inaudible tension to each others presence t in the room was distracting and disconcerting for a team who needs to fight for each other, but she continues.
“We’re following what we believe is Ahsoka and Molly’s trail.” Hera starts, “Key intel about our spies, covert ops, and sympathetic allies were stolen from us. We need to find out who sliced us, who took the data from Ahsoka and Molly who met their source, and get it back. Questions.”
Miles Morales raises his hand up as if in a classroom.
Hera arches her eyebrow, “Miles we talked about this.”
“I still feel like if I interrupt i’ll get scolded for a mile long.”
“Leia…” Julia Carpenter interjects, “...that only happens with Leia.” she sighs.
"Okay so I feel like Leia will show up behind him and kill me." Miles exclaims.
Hera waves her hands, trying to expedite the conversation, “What’s the question Miles?”
“How can do we even know we’ll find what we’re looking for since the data could be on anything?” He asks.
Sabine reaches behind a metal box and hauls up a metal crate. Inside the crate, metal cylinders each with a miniature screen no bigger than that of an iphone. Picking one up, she tosses it to Miles who catches it carefully with both hands.
“I had some Mandalorian contacts of mine retrofit some scanner gauntlets.” Sabine says, “If we find a data source, it’ll automatically scan it for a specific signature we embed in all Rebellion data. It’ll i.d. It and even if its a piece of a our data merged with someone else's, it’ll authenticate if its our or not.” she says, tossing one to Julia.
“Once it does, it’ll ping me at the ship.” Hera states, “I’ll start downloading whatever they have and scrub their device if we can’t take it from them.”
Catching gauntlet, Julia looks at it skeptically before sliding her arm through the hole, “So its just gonna scan constantly? Can this oversized watch do anything else?”
Sabine had to remind herself of the Earthling vernacular, clock equaled chronometer.
“Its connected with the ship.” Sabine replies, “Communication, general settings for scanning to pick up faces or frequencies, and schematics for must structures we go into.” she answers, tossing one to Nico.
Julia snaps an eye to Nico as she catches her gauntlet, “I don’t think she needs one.”
Hera steps in, putting an end to any more feuding, “Everyone in the field gets one. Sabine is Field Leader. Okay?” she says, watching a rise of protest in Julia’s face, but she remains quiet before giving an consenting nod.
Hera turns to Nico, “Follow Sabine’s lead, don’t wander off.”
Nico arches her eyebrow, “I’m not some frickin’ baby panda.”
Hera shakes her head in confusion, “What’s a panda?”
“Forget it.” Miles says, waving his hand, “Let’s just get on with it. Where are we going?” he asks.
“Hotel Hostile.” Hera replies, “Ahsoka always checked in here first, then headed elsewhere before she disappeared. Go see what our friend has to say about her or any whereabouts.” she orders.
Looking to her right, Hera looks over to a yellow lever and pulls down on it. Steam bursts from the front ramp in the center floor as flashing yellow lights start blinking and the rear door creaks upwards.
“You sure that’s safe?” Julia asks Hera, “All of us going out, don’t you need someone to stay behind to help you watch the Ghost?”
“Empire may have bucket-heads here but Knowhere isn’t under occupation.” Hera states, “Besides, I can handle myself, but you guys need to work fast so all of you get out there and report back in two hours standard time.”
“Any reason for the haste?” Nico asks.
“Earth Refugees bring prime credits for bounty hunters.” Miles replies, “Don’t need to draw too much attention to ourselves.”
“Except for Nico, if you get caught you can save us the headache.” Julia grins.
“Alright cut it guys.” Hera states, waving them on. Watching them all walk onwards, Hera grabs Sabine by her armored forearm, making her wait until everyone else is out of earshot.
“And one more thing…” Hera says to them all, “...I saw Slave I on a manifest here, be careful.”
Sabine nods, “Extra.” she adds.
Walking off the platform to the loading dock, Nico’s eyes open wide in wonderment, never having seen, let alone smelled, anything like this before.
“Jeezus.” she huffs, overwhelmed by the scale of the city.
“Yeah I know its huge.” Miles states.
“Please tell me you know where this so-called Hotel is…” Nico asks, “...or at least name of this dude who owns it. I feel lost and i'm not even off the ship yet.”
“First, he's a dude.” Miles smirks, “He’s a talking Raccoon.”
"WHAT!" Nico exclaims in disbelief.
Miles nods, "Welcome to Space!" he says.
MEANWHILE - KAMINO
Koa Ne, like all Kaminoans, didn’t care about anything except Kamino. Polite facades masked intentions. Technological breakthroughs, masked what some would call ‘Abominable’ application. Yes this was not a problem for the Empire. Hence, when Vader visited the Planet, the Prime Minister of Kamino Koa Ne met him at the deck and waited on him like a servant.
No guards. No security detail. Primer Minister Koa Ne knew better than aggravate a Jedi, let alone a Sith, but it was the contracts that mattered for Kamino that made all the difference. Their were not Empire Occupation or Sanctions on the Kaminoan Government. At that, there was a contract between the two planets that, Koa Ne insured, remained mutually profitable for both the Empire and Kamino.
Yet Vader earned a reputation for being told ‘no’ to any of his requests. Thus, whatever Vader wanted, Koa Ne insured he received discreetly and without Palpatine’s knowledge, he insured so.
“We received all the D.N.A. samples you sent to us.” continues Koa Na, walking beside Vader towards the Cloning Facility, “We have been able to process two of the three subjects quite easily. However it is the third subject that has been most, challenging - and educational.”
The sound of Vader’s respirator seemed to go silent, as if Vader held a breath as he came to the door of the Cloning Lab. From the door, Vader can sense the dark energy through the doors, percolating. He tilts his helmet slightly to Koa Ne, as if to give a corner eyed glare. Koa couldn’t see his eyes behind his mask - but he could feel the burning stare from the Force.
“My business is not for your education.” Vader sternly replies.
“Of course.” Koa Ne mildly bows in replies, “Lord Vader.” he finishes.
Before Koa Ne could swipe his ‘All Access’ i.d. Bracelet to the laboratory door, Vader’s slams the door open with a simple swipe of his finger, walking through. Entering into the long and wide white Laboratory, Vader’s imposing black figure causes the Kaminoan Scientist to give pause. They were a reserved race. Not one for emotion or much reaction - yet when they all paused, it might as well as having been an entire planet screaming in terror.
Vader’s attention focuses to the two rows of large pillars at the center of the room.
“Our top cloning advisers have been perfecting our methods.” Koa Ne explains, “Your two previously deceased Inquisitors will be fully operational by the end of today. They’re acclimation process has been streamlined.”
Strolling between them, the liquids blue glow inside the tanks almost absorb rather that reflect light on Vader. Each tank, holding a human curled into the fetal position with an oxygen mask over their face and nose.
“You have two standard hours; I have an assignment for them.” state Vader before pointing to another Vat, “What of Marek?” he asks.
Pausing at one tank, Koa Ne stares at it, looking upon Vader’s reanimated apprentice in the large glass vat with impact smudges and hair line spider-web like cracks throughout the tube.
“Subject Three, is proving difficult. “He admits, “but we are making progress. He will be ready in two days time.”
Vader draws a deep breath, pondering his decision before turning to Koa Ne, “I want to oversee his progress personally.” he states, “I’ll wait.”
to be continued...
Please Log In to post.
Log in to comment