STAR WARS - THE CAMPAIGN II: A WAR OF EMPIRES (A MARVEL STORY) CHAP III 'THE GREAT FALL' - Part 4 - BEGINNING OF THE END

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Somewhere In Hyperspace….

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“Rex, what do you mean destroyed!” Leia Organa snapped in reply.

The anger washing over Leia’s face brimmed with such intensity, that the hologram’s blue light reflecting on her didn’t diminish the redness forming around her face and ears. She wasn’t angry at the messenger, but more so frustrated at the message itself. Yet and still, she was capable enough to restrain herself and hear the face before she let her intensity cloud her judgement….mostly.

MEANWHILE...KNOWHERE...

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Standing on a chunk of charred debris, the former Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic's famed 501st Legion known simply as Rex, stands solidly on a charred metal debris with one pistol in hand, trained everywhere he sets his eyes. Flames bathes every inch of his field of vision. The sweltering heat raising bumps on his skin, Rex carefully places his hologram transmitter on one of the few things that are not not burning while sliding out another pistol, readying himself for any ‘surprises’.

“What I mean General is exactly what I said.” Rex repeats, watching his surroundings, “Is that Knowhere is gone. Burning.” he clarifies.,

~How is it gone! It was a neutral system and all reports we had deftly showed the Empire had no interest in it…~

“General…” Rex interrupts, “...I docked onto the only functioning docking station. The rest were burned too. From what I assess, this was an intentional attack. Probably with a small team or one very skilled individual. Whatever they were looking for, they didn’t, but they made sure to wipe out all our Rebellion smuggling locations more than everything else.”

His statement gives Leia pause as she draws in a deep breath.

Leia rests both her hands on the counter before slamming her fist soundly against the surface and gazes again at the hologram, “First Han is encased in Carbonite, then we lose the Mid-Rim Rebel Fleet of the Sixth Division and now, to top it all off...Rex…” Leia exclaims as a thought skitters around her mind, “The docking ports. They have logs. Have you checked or…”

“Already did General.” Rex interrupts, “Old habit from my Clone War days. I already started having my droid transmit the raw data. I haven’t looked at it myself, I just focused on getting it into your hands before our transmission began.”

~_~_~_

Turning around, Leia points at a crew of rebel technicians across the room seated behind a glass pane with computers around them.

“HEY!”

Leia’s voice suddenly fills the room of the chattering Rebels, silencing them all at once as she storms across the room, pointing at them with one finger while balancing the transmitter in her other hands open face palm, still projecting Rex.

“GET REX TRANSMISSION NOW! I WANT TO KNOW WHO WAS THE LAST SHIP AT HIS LOCATION!” Leia barks.

“Yes Ma’am”! They reply.

Glancing back at the hologram, Leia nods, “Get out of there Rex, you’ve done enough today and we don’t need you going up in flames with…”

“General…” Rex interrupts, his tone more, serious, “...can I speak with you privately?”

Arching her eyebrow Leia pauses. Her initial reaction was to chew him out on the face that they are already on a ‘secure transmission’ that was hemmed by a limited time. Yet, it was Rex. He had a certain amount of respect among the Rebels that entitled him for ‘extras’ that he never asked for. So, complying, Leia finds herself glancing around the room momentarily until she finds a door leading somewhere. Swiftly she leaves the busy room through a door whooshing open and swiftly closing behind her. Looking around, standing within the hallway of the Millenium Falcon, Leia nods, hoping this isn’t a waste of time.

“What is it Rex. I don’t have much time and you need to get out of there.”

“Of course General, but if you don’t mind me asking...Where is...Luke?”

Leia’s face hardens, but she restrains herself, “Injured, in medical.” she replies, refusing to give an inch more than necessary in case he was held at gun point and forced to ask the question, “Why?” she asks with an air of protective suspicion.

However, much to her surprise, Leia notices a wash of relief come over Rex as he shakes his head and rubs his forehead, “Okay, okay good.” he mumbles, “Then this makes it easier. He wasn’t here.” he sighs.

“Rex spit it out, what are you talking about!!” Leia barks, her patience effectively gone and fully replaced with eager anticipation.

“I found bodies.” Rex answers, “Lots of bodies, of all sorts of species, have fallen beside each other like they were in some sort of last stand.” he says. “They weren’t burned or shot. Most had their necks either crushed, or clear spun around their necks like a top.”

Leia’s face drains and her blood runs cold, rendering her for the first time, mute. She knew what was next.

“But the rest were killed by a lightsaber.” Rex continues, seeing he has Leia’s full attention, “And trust me, I know when something been killed by one.” he says, “Its why I asked about, Luke. He’s the only one that I've seen since the Clone Wars with such a weapon. I-I had to be sure. I hope you understand.”

“Y-yes. Of course.” Leia mumbes, feeling a sudden coldness come over her, “All of them?”

Rex turns and looks to the sea of flames burning all that it touches, “General, whoever did this, did not find what they were looking for. So, I'm asking, not because I question you, but I'm actually afraid for the poor soul being hunted by whoever did this. I just want to make sure, its none of our people. Because if so, its the beginning for the end for them and I just don’t want it to be any of us.”

Leia’s stomach bottoms out and she feels her knees go weak, enough for her to grab hold of the wall behind her to brace herself.

“I’ll check again, and thank you.” Leia replies. She couldn’t lie to him. He was too smart to see that, but he was respectful enough to accept the answer that was about his ‘pay grade’.

“Just doing my job, General. I’ll get out of here to Lothal and await instructions.” Rex states.

Nodding at him, Leia ends the transmission as the door behind her whooshes open. Standing up straight, Leia turns around to see a Rebel Technician behind her, holding a datapad.

However, before he can speak, Leia holds up her hand, “If you’re about to tell me that you found a ship that’s perhaps Vader’s, don’t.” Leia orders.

Immediately the Rebel Tech gulps, remaining silent as she hugs the datapad.

Leia nods, drawing in a deep breath to steady her nerves, “So, what you will do, is spend the rest of the day hailing MonMothma. I don’t care what you have to build or what power you have to siphon, she’s in an operation, a classified one, and she was just at Knowhere…” Leia glances at her wrist chrono-device, “...twenty four standard hours ago.” she says, brushing past her.

“Yes Ma’am, but…”

Stopping in mid-stride, Leia places her hands on her hip tiredly and turns to the tech, “But?”

“If I hail Captain Syndulla and I cannot reach you…” the Tech assumes, “...what do I say?”

Leia’s gaze falls to the floor in deep thought. In all of a second, she was miles away and then back. Drawing a deep breath, Leia’s eyes lift and meet with the Rebel Tech.

“To abort her Mission, Vader is coming for her team.” Leia replies, then adds, “And to rendezvous in Shi’Ar Space immediately.” she replies, pulling her white cloak off a chair.

“And ma’am where will you be?”

Leia smirks and looks at the tech from over her shoulder, “Shi’Ar Space, to see their Majestor, oh, and when Luke wakes, tell him what happened.”

Previous story here...

Hera Syndulla
Hera Syndulla
Nico Minoru
Nico Minoru
Abigail Brand
Abigail Brand

Formerly Sentry, was Void, now, Darth Void
Formerly Sentry, was Void, now, Darth Void
Darth Sidious - rejuvenated
Darth Sidious - rejuvenated

STAR WARS - THE CAMPAIGN II: RISE OF THE SITH EMPIRE

CHAPTER 3 - FALL OF THE KREE EMPIRE

PART IV of VIII - The Beginning of the End

WHILE ON ASSIGNMENT IN CORUSANTS SEEDED UNDERBELLY, SECTION 1313, NICO MINORU HAS BEEN BOUND BY HER TEAM AND KEPT ONBOARD THEIR SHIP, THE GHOST AS THEY ATTEMPT TO RECOVER DATA STOLEN FROM BOTH THE EMPIRE AND THE REBELLION.

NOW GUARDED BY HERA SYNDULLA, NICO BEGAN TO EXPLAIN THAT SHE HAS A TERRIBLE SECRET, HER LONG DEAD MOTHER IS ALIVE IN HER SUBCONSCIOUS AND IS HIGHLY DANGEROUS. HOWEVER, AN UNLIKELY ALLY IS NOW REVEALED TO BE ALIVE - ABIGAIL BRAND, AND SHE IS NOT HERE TO AID THE REBELLION, SHE'S HERE....FOR NICO.

`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`-`

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“MOVE and I blow your face off tail-head.” threatens the assailant.

To her recollection, Hera Syndulla had lost count on the amount of times she had stared down the barrel of a star fighter in comparison to that of a handheld blaster. It was dramatically less nerve racking, but nonetheless annoying.

“Who are you!” Hera calls out.

Emerging from the shadows and into the light peaking through the windshield of her cockpit, Hera’s studies the face of the female. Her striking green hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, revealing more of her pale face. The female was a human, or looked like it. Lips deep green remained pursed and the female's eyes remained hidden by imperceptible black lenses small enough to cover exactly the shape of her eyes.

Waving the gun in that direction to Hera’s right, the gun-woman makes her objective clear.

“Untie her. She’s coming with me.”

A flutter of surprise rises in Hera, but she presses her lips together, trying not to give her feelings away and glances at the person the female is speaking of, Nico Minoru.

“Abigail Brand?!” Nico says in disbelief, “But, y-you’re…”

“Dead?” Abigail Brand finishes while pushing the blaster barrel forward, refocusing Hera’s attention, “Almost was.” she answers, “But this one will be...” she says to Hera’s deadpanned stare“...unless tail-head here undoes your binder cuffs.” she growls.

“Well well.” grins Nico’s mother, floating across the room to Nico’s side, “Isn’t it Motherfricking Abigail Brand! Cockroach never could just leave you alone and die miserably huh?.”

The echoey voice of Nico’s mother makes Nico’s skin crawl. Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Nico grows quiet, unable to fully state what is on her mind as her mother starts to cloud her thoughts.

Slowly her eyes drift to the far corner of their inner hull and there, Nico sees her, the ghostly phantom of her mother standing in the corner as if composed of shadows and darkness. Her glittery black dress, her short hair cut and pencil thin judgement eyebrow raising as they make contact.

Why couldn’t the dead stay dead.

Nico brow furrows at Abigail’s derogatory term, “Don’t call her that.” she says to Abigail..

Nico’s mother rolls her eyes, “Weighing our options here, how about we don’t argue with Abigail until after she breaks us out and then, we kill her?! Sounds good?”

Nico lowers her head, struggling to keep her mothers voice at bay.

“Hera…” Nico sighs, lifting her eyes to Hera face filled with pain and hurt, “...I know this doesn’t look good and I wouldn’t go but I’m not about to be tied up and left on the side while Molly is out there and you guys have a first level priority.” she explains. “You’re rebels, you have a job, but I have one too to my friend. So, let me go, do what she says Hera, or she will kill you.” Nico warns, hoping Hera would listen to her even though the entire situation painted her as guilty.

“One day, you’re weakness for not killing the people in our way is going to get us killed.” Nico’s mother says while gesturing her finger like a gun to Hera’s head.

Closing her eyes in frustration, Hera unleashes a myriad of mumbled curses before rising out her pilot's chair cutting Abigail a sharp glare.

Ignoring the temptation to fight her, Hera’ moves over to Nico, “Julia never told us too much as to why she had a falling out with you. Miles, speaks the world of you. And we all know Molly loves you. I gave you a chance despite gut feeling saying otherwise and now lives are on the line.” she says, uncoupling the buckling mechanism around Nico’s wrists.

With a loud heavy ‘clank’ hits the metal grate floor, they’re off and Nico is feverishly rubbing her chafed wrists.

“That said…” Hera says, locking eyes with Nico, “You better hope our paths don’t cross.” Hera warns in a low tone to Nico, stepping away from her, “I don’t like betrayals, Julia especially.”

Nico’s mother narrows her black painted eyes and folds her arms, “I’m voting you kill her.”

Nico looks to Hera as the blood drains from her face, “Hera I didn’t…”

“Save it!” Hera snaps.

Nico’s mother turns to her, “Get rid of her. She's a medium build you can take with some effort.”

“I don't want to hear whatever it is you have to say.” Hera says before pointing to the ramp leading outside, “Just go! NOW!”

“Okay, so, if you don’t kill her how about I take over your body do it myself!”

Turning to the left, Nico holds her hands up almost over her ears and screams in frustration, “WILL YOU SHUT UP!”

Hera's eyes open wide, unconsciously taking a step back from Nico who stares at the wall, red faced with anger.

Staring into her judgmental eyes, Nico’s pants heavily, glaring at the ghostly apparition of a mother arches her pencil thin eyebrow, “Happy now? You made a scene.”

Suddenly self aware, Nico closes her eyes, feeling as if she could melt away. Slowly opening her eyes, Nico looks over at Hera, her face completely drenched in confusion as to what just occurred. Standing up straight, Nico kneels down and grabs the knit bag that was Molly’s, found by the bounty hunter Black Krrsantan and turns to Abigail, “Let’s get out of here.” she says.

Abigail looks at Nico, standing next her and facing the exit, “She won’t be a problem.” Nico says reassuringly, “If she is later, I’ll handle it.” she mumbles, locking eyes with her.

Abigail smirks and nods, “I’ll hold you to that.” she says, backing away.

Turning around, Nico looks to Hera, allowing herself one last look at Nico whose eyes and overall expression turn somber. Her mouth parting as if seeking the words to express something remotely close to an explanation, Hera turns her back and promptly sits in the pilot's chair, resting her hands on the control panel.

“Just go.” Hera says.

Closing her eyes, Hera hears their footsteps against the metal grate floor fading away behind her until nothing of ambient silence and passing conversation is all that she hears.

~Ghost Spider to Gold Leader come in...~

Hearing the comm device go live, Hera picks up the receiver and encrypts the line, “This is Gold Leader I have you secured, over.”

~We have a problem.~

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She had given her a hooded cloak to wear. Nico always had a tendency to stand out in a crowd but Humans, Earthlings in particular were a hot commodity in space. Any found were typically captured and turned over to the Empire, Skrulls or anyone else with ties to the black Market to fetch a handsome sum for the now extinct species. In contrast, Abigail fit in. She fit the category of being ‘human looking’ but an obvious Space dweller. Walking beside Nico with her blaster in hand and safety off, they made their way down the streets of Section 1313, unstopped, but not without the occasional glance from someone.

“So take you and mommy are still besties huh?” asks Abigail.

Don’t answer her.

Nico nods, “You have no idea.”

If you’d listen it’d be easier.

Abigail shakes her head, “You know when we had an Earth, I offered you to go to a specialist. But no, Miss Independent wanted normalcy. A normal therapist who cares for normal problems.”

Broken men trying to mansplain our problems, we didn’t need them. YOUR NOT BROKEN!”

"shut up!" Nico groans, rubbing her temple, trying to ignore her mother, “I wanted normalcy." she explains to Abigail, "An I thought I had PTSD, sue me!.”

“You saved the world Nico! Of course you had PTSD!” Abigail snaps, “But you also had the unfortunate privilege of wiping the entire Globe’s memory of it while being stuck with a mass killer consciousness in your subconscious.” she states, “She can unlock your full potential, an artifact you cannot completely control, and she happens to be your mother.” Abigail recalls, “That’s not PTSD - that’s called being ‘royally screwed up’ and S.W.O.R.D. had people for that, when we were around at least.”

Nico stops in the middle of the street, glaring at Abigail from within her hood.

“What am I doing here with you!” Nico exclaims.

Run, draw attention and…

Stopping in her tracks, looks at Nico standing in the middle of the street.

“Trying not to get killed!” She replies, calling her over with a gesture but Nico doesn’t budge.

Abigail shakes her head, "You really want to do this in the middle of the freaking street?!"

Nico folds her arms in response, pressing her lips together.

Letting out a sigh, Abigail leans her head, back, rubs her eyes and points at Nico while storming over to her, "Look, You’re here because I never stopped looking for you and when I did find you were with some second rate rebellion, i waited til i thought it was best to extract you...” Abigail explains, “...plus, I intercepted that trouble was coming so I got you out. Thats it!” she insists, tightening her grip on her blaster while scanning the street before they draw more attention.

“THEY SAVED ME.” Nico snaps, pointing behind her, “Right before Earth blew up they saved me. Molly, Julia and Miles...so tell me you didn’t make me leave the only people who I kinda don’t like but really kinda trusted because…”

“We can get Earth back.”

Nico’s eyes open wide as Abigail stands there as if her statement was a casual standard fact.

“Wha…” Nico shakes her head, “...what?!

“But that can’t happen with the Sith Empire around...” Abigail continues, “...because he doesn’t want anyone around except his Empires and that makes him a capitol threat. So I need him gone. Specifically, during the upcoming war with the Kree Empire. Assassinated, in the battle.”

Nico squints, trying to understand, “What in the world does this have to do with me?”

Abigail points at her, “Because it seems like that stupid staff of yours is anti-force - which makes you our best shot - now, can we go?”

Nico relents, and walks past her. Keeping up with her, Nico can’t help but think of a statement Abigail says.

Don’t ask.

Nico sees the image of her mother floating in front of her.

“What did you mean…” Nico asks, “...you knew trouble as coming?”

Abigail smirks, “I had people in Knowhere, they heard about what you did to that Bounty Hunter.” she says, stopping in front of a land speeder.

“Wonderful.” Nico sighs, “So I got a bounty on my head?”

Hopping in, Abigail starts it as Nico slides in beside her, “No.” she replies, “But Darth Vader is coming for your Rebel friends.” she says.

Nico face turns pale, but Abigail pays no mind as she speeds off, “Good thing I got you outta there, those guys, are as good as dead.”

She could've died hearing that. Nico closes her eyes, burying her face in her hand at the news that Abigail states like a random fact, that is until. Nico hears a low buzzing sound coming from her knapsack.

Reaching Nico pulls out a small earbud piece. Immediately recognizes it. The comm device Sabine had given her earlier but forgotten to give back. Staring at it, Nico discreetly places it in her ear, curious to hear if Hera has broken the news of Nico's abandonment.

~Stabbed?!"~ exclaims Hera.

~Yes. Sabine's badly wounded and Julia and I are in the lavatory. I'm bringing Sabine back to the ship~

"What do you mean 'YOU' are bringing Sabine back, the mission is scrubbed..."

~Julia is heading on anyway. She doesn't care...~

"Its suicided! She can't do this..."

~*~*~*~

"Everything okay Kid?"

Startled, Nico looks over to Abigail, waiting for a reply.

Gulping, Nico pulls out the earpiece, and tucks it her pocket, "Yeah...great."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Master...

...Master....

Somewhere near Kree Space...

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Standing on the black reflective floor of the bridge, Darth Sidious - Sith Lord, slowly opens his eyes. His golden amber eyes observing the thick blue clouds of the Kree space before him and his fleet.

Slowly, Sidious carefully places the dripping wet gray brain of Uatu the Watcher into a metal basin of glowing liquid. With a gesture, an attendant grabs the cart and wheels it away.

Tilting his head so slightly, Darth Sidious observes who is before him. Clad in his crimson red armament and knelt on one knee, the Void bows his head before his lord.

Smirking, Sidious gestures upwards, permitting Void to rise to his feet.

"Rise Darth Void." says Sidious, "Our time, has come."

Void, towering over Sidious head and shoulders over, nods, "For the Sith Empire to rise my lord?"

A devilish smirk comes around Sidious face, "For Kree Empire to fall into the palm of the darkside." he corrects, "I have extracted rather useful knowledge from the remainder of Uatu's brain." he says, while holding out his hand as Mjlnor flies into his grip and crackles around his arm, "It has led to a discovery. We shall accompany the first wave of attacks on Hala, and you shall recover something for me."

Void tilts his head, "What is it you wish my lord?"

Sidious narrows his eyes, "An infinity stone."

to be continued...

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@sufferedtoker: thank you!!

In spirit of May the 4th, here’s a preview of the next entry coming within 3 days

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PREVIEW - PART 5

Collector grins excitedly, “Teeth in tact, no scarring you’re in perfect mint condition! Oh how I would love you to put you in my exotic collec...”

A swift crack across the jaw with her fist and Julia sees the smug smile on the Collector suddenly replaced with a bloodied snarl, “Seems that if I plan to collect you, we need to TAME that spirit of yours.”

Suddenly the snap hiss of a lightsaber catches Julia’s ears as her spider-sense goes berseerk, a pounding in the back of her head. Looking up, Julia first sees the bald woman, bathed in red light from the lightsaber in her grip, looking upon her with blue eyes as intense as a blue star.

“Get off of my employer.” she demands, flicking her finger.

Immediately Julia is ‘Force-Thrown’ off the Collector and slammed up against the wall, pinned in place. Gasping at her neck and choking, Julia opens her mouth, unable to voice her scream.

Collector scrambles onto his feet, rubbing his jaw as he looks at his bodyguard, “Good work Ventress, you truly earn your pay.” he says

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