The whine of the sublight engines ceased, replaced by the throb of the repulsors. They were in atmosphere. One minute to deployment.
Onboard the squat transport, white-armored figures checked blaster rifles and power packs. On top, the dorsal gunner began blasting away at unseen targets.
Touch down. The ramp drops. Fires. Shouting. Brilliant beams of energy crisscrossing through the night. Moving as one, the stormtroopers rush out of the transport and into the fray.
Stormtrooper FU-1287, aka “Larry”, pays no attention to the firefight. He has more important things on his mind than some stupid battle.
Last night, the dreaded Internal Security Bureau discovered his hidden stash of smut holozines. It won’t be long before the ISB traced it back to him. In fact, he had volunteered for this mission in order to desert and preempt their inevitable dragnet.
According to the mission briefing, they were to raid an inhabited area of Jakku, a backwater planet. Never one to volunteer, Stormtrooper Larry jumped at the chance — he expected to find a dingy city of scum and villainy where he could disappear. Instead, what he found was a ramshackle group of huts in the middle of the desert.
He really should pay more attention to those mission briefings.
A disappointed Larry scanned his surroundings. Around him, white armored soldiers exchanged blasterfire with civilians. Flametroopers torched huts while the heavy gunners laid down withering covering fire to allow the squads to advance.
One stormtrooper smeared with blood stood motionless in the middle of the shootout. What the hell was this guy thinking? Larry tackled the idiot to the ground.
“Dammit man, don’t be a nerfbrain!” The dimwit didn’t respond. Larry could see the soldier was traumatized, his helmet still marked with a bloody handprint. It was probably the kid’s first combat deployment.
“Just stay low, okay? It’s gonna be alright.”
“Keep your head down man! What are you, Boba Fett or something?”
With a pat on the back, he left the shellshocked idiot to find someplace where he could think. A war zone made a poor place for contemplation.
Crouching low, he made his way to the back of the village, skirting around the residents who were busy welcoming the intruders with blaster bolts. He couldn’t find even an old speeder or swoopbike to escape in. This place really was a dump, and he had been to many hell holes.
Larry broke into a tent, but found it occupied by an old man who was frantically burning some tattered books and ancient-looking stuff. “Oops. Sorry old timer!” Nope, he couldn’t stay here either. It was probably the village hoarder and his load of junk.
“And no offense, but you gotta air this place out. It smells like a Hutt.”
At the edge of the village, he finally found an outcrop of rocks where he could sit and concentrate.
Ten full crates of Twi’lek Dancers Monthly were stashed in the main hold of a broken transport. Thanks to First Order bureaucracy, that transport ship sat neglected and unrepaired for over three years. This made it the ideal warehouse for Larry’s bootleg operation — smuggling sexy holozines for his captive (and very eager) market, the bored stormtrooper contingent of the Star Destroyer Finalizer.
What he didn’t count on was the unwelcome arrival of General Hux and some kind of space magician onboard the destroyer. Within a few days, all of the sloppy mess on the Finalizer was cleaned up… including Larry’s smut ship. After the crates were cracked open to reveal an avalanche of porn, the ISB was called in.
As Larry sat brooding, a yellow ball raced past him into the desert. He ignored the twittering droid and focused on his situation.
If only all his porn could fit in that droid, he wouldn’t be in trouble.
The good news is, he had the foresight to name the shipment after an old training sergeant that he hated. The bad news is, once the ISB unraveled the false trail, Larry only had three days before they caught on to him… perhaps five days at the most. Those ISB thugs may be mindless brutes, but they were ruthlessly efficient brutes.
A crackle in his commset interrupted his thoughts. “FU-1287, what’s your status? Get back here!”
Larry ran back to his squad, firing in the air for effect.
A pauldroned officer confonted him. “Where the hell were you?”
“Uh, I looped around back and shot a whole group trying to escape sir!”
“Yeah? Well get back in formation, space Rambo. We have visitors.”
A menacing command shuttle circled over the assembled troops and touched down. It was the magician from the Finalizer, followed by that bitchy stormtrooper in chrome, Captain Asthma or something. The battalion snapped to attention as the black figure strode dramatically down the ramp. These First Order bigwigs loved their grand entrances.
The old hoarder he encountered was taken before the magician, and the two began to talk. They were probably haggling over the old man’s wares. Larry tuned them out and looked around for ways to escape.
All of the civilians were being herded in the village square. Unless there was a mass breakout, there was no way he could disappear. He couldn’t even hide, since the whole area was surrounded by nothing. A white-clad stormtrooper in the middle of the desert would stand out like a nude Twi’lek dancer in a Jedi temple. Why does it always have to be a desert planet?
There was a commotion. The black magician stopped a blaster bolt in mid-air, seizing Larry’s attention back to the present. Wow, cool trick! It was probably magnets or something. He watched as a scruffy-looking civilian was brought before the space wizard, get beaten up, and then was hustled off into custody.
Larry gulped. That would be his own fate a few days from now.
“Shit. I don’t even have a jacket like that.”
After a few minutes, Captain Asthma took over. “On my command.”
As one, the line of stormtroopers raised their rifles and aimed. Larry mimicked them.
The troopers began shooting. Still distracted by his predicament and unsure what he should be firing at, Larry shot at the straw huts, the dirt barricades and some of the rocks. He also shot at a dead mynock, wishing it was the ISB agents who were at this moment hunting for him. Finally, the blasterfire ceased and the firing line dispersed.
Larry approached the magician. “Hey man, that was a neat trick! How’d you do it?”
The black-robed figure didn’t respond. He was staring intently somewhere else. All of a sudden, the frozen blaster bolt was released, impacting into a nearby post with a loud bang. Larry was stunned — this guy should have his own holonet show!
“Awesome dude! So where are the magnets??” But when he turned around, Mr. Magic was gone. He had already returned to his ship. Larry didn’t even get an autograph.
His headset crackled. “We captured a Resistance pilot. FU-1287, take a squad and search his ship for the map. Get moving.”
“Umm.. roger that!”
Accompanied by a handful of troopers, he trudged off to carry out the task. What map?
The ship turned out to be a damaged Incom T-70 snubfighter. Obsolete by galactic standards, the old X-wing was being phased out in favor of the newer T-75. While the others searched the hold and access panels, Larry climbed the ladder and plopped down into the cockpit.
It was a filthy mess. The tiny space was littered with empty ration bars, holo-selfies, a stained jumpsuit, hair gel, and a map of the D’Qar system. Was that their objective? Larry tried hard to remember. Oh yeah, they’re supposed to be looking for the Skywalker system. He tossed the map aside and rummaged behind the seat.
Just behind the headrest he found a couple of gay holozines and some empty water bottles, while he discovered dried gum stuck under the seat and even more discarded wrappers. Disgusted, he climbed out of the cockpit.
These Resistance scum probably lived in their ships full time. As much as he wanted to escape, it would never be in this filthy craft, even if it wasn’t damaged and even if it was the last ship in the whole galaxy. As soon as he was shipboard, his gloves were going in the incinerator.
Larry signaled to the heavy gunners. “Nothing here, go ahead!”
“Filthy space hobos.”
He ran back to the lieutenant. “The enemy ship was uh, clean, sir.”
“Get back to your transport. We’re pulling out.”
As Larry walked dejectedly back to the dropship, he passed the shellshocked idiot he tackled earlier. He wasn’t sure if it was one of his porn buyers.
“Hey, what a mess right? We’ll get out of it somehow.”
The blood-smeared trooper stared blankly at him. Maybe not one of his customers then.
Stormtrooper Larry looked back at the burning village, as the first rays of dawn broke through the dark. He had less than a week to escape from the First Order and the merciless ISB, all because some pasty general and a space wizard ruined his sweet smut racket.
Yes, he would get out. Somehow.
Itching for the next part? Stormtrooper Larry will return in Escape from the Finalizer. Subscribe now so you don’t miss out!
In the meantime, check out this other stormtrooper who didn’t keep his head down.