Tag Archives: finalizer

The Jakku Incident


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.

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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.”

Screen-Shot-2015-04-16-at-2.50.47-PM.png“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.

test“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.

bb8 runIf 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.

stormtrooper larry jakku“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.

“Fire.”

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!”

poe x-wing destroyed“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.

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FN-2003: The Weakest Link

This is an offshoot of the article The Horrifying Truth about Poe Dameron Nobody Seems to Notice. A Reddit user wondered, “What if Finn got hit instead?” The result is this story.


In an alternate universe….

The sublight engines cease their gentle hum, to be replaced by the steady throb of the repulsors. Onboard the squat transport, white-armored figures prepare for combat. The sound of activating HUDs and slap-locking cartridges fill the cramped cabin, while the gunner on top starts blasting away at unseen targets.


The ramp drops. Thick smoke. Fire. The chaotic din of combat. Brilliant beams of energy crisscross the night, some narrowly missing and showering sparks on the dropship’s durasteel. The stormtroopers of FN squadron rush down the ramp and into the fray.

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A hundred meters from the drop zone, a lone Resistance pilot abandons his damaged fighter. Grabbing a worn blaster from a survival pack, he takes aim on the nearest trooper and starts shooting back.

He fires two bolts in quick succession. Both shots find their marks, downing two stormtroopers attempting to outflank the villagers in their makeshift barricades.

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His crippled fighter burning in the background, the pilot shifts his aim and searches for new targets.

He finds one: a stormtrooper standing aimlessly in the middle of the battle and gawking all around. In any firefight, being stationary is suicide, and this one just signed his death warrant.

The pilot fires his third shot.

x3

The reckless trooper is hit dead center on the chestplate. While stormtrooper armor can withstand glancing shots, it isn’t designed to absorb direct hits. The bolt’s lethal energy is only marginally dissipated by the ferroplast. Most of it finds its way to soft living tissue, cooking the wearer, FN-2187.

The stormtrooper slumps to the ground. Behind him, his squadmate FN-2003 sees him fall and doesn’t hesitate. With reflexes born from a lifetime of training, he fires back at the source of the muzzle flash.

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The return fire strikes the pilot in the head. Poe Dameron, Resistance ace, is dead before his body even hits the ground.

Stormtroopers are not used to hitting their targets with the first shot. A barrage of blaster bolts rain down on Poe’s prostrate body before FN-2003 realizes his opponent was killed by his first lucky shot.

Beneath the helmet, FN-2003 whoops. He has just scored his first kill of the night. Relentlessly bullied and derided as the weakest link during training, “Slip” has finally proven himself in combat. He calls for a gunner to cover the spot and moves on to other targets. His second kill is a bearded old man running away from a hut.

As the triumphant trooper blasts away, his fallen comrade FN-2187 takes his last labored breath. The captain once reprimanded him for his “dangerous levels of empathy”. Only know does he realize the fatal consequence of his flaw. As he lies motionless on his back, the last thing he sees is a massive bat-like shape that blots out the stars.

Minutes into his first combat deployment, FN-2187, the stormtrooper with a conscience, dies. He never received a name.

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Overhead, the sinister craft folds its massive wings and comes in for a landing. A black-clad figure strides down the ramp, ignoring the villagers being herded in the village square.

“Who killed the Resistance pilot?”

FN-2003 steps confidently forward. This is it. In front of his entire platoon, this will be his moment of vindication.

“I did, sir!”

“And the old man in the village?”

“It was also me, sir!”

The tall figure looks down on him, somehow managing to radiate a sense of contempt despite the mask.

“What is your serial number?”

The stormtrooper proudly squares his shoulders. “FN-2003, SIR!”

A gloved hand reaches out. Slip suddenly finds himself catapulted toward the hooded figure, floating in mid-air inches away from the unflinching mask.

“I can do many things, FN-2003. But I cannot interrogate dead bodies.”

The hand lashes out. Slip is hurled back, as if rammed by a runaway speeder truck. He hits a nearby hut with enough force to crack the ferrocrete. As his helmet readout flares with alerts of multiple fractures and a broken neck, FN-2003’s last thought was wondering where he went wrong.

A pauldroned officer comes up to the hooded figure.

“We found no signs of the map on either body or on the fighter sir. And our sensors detected no holonet transmissions of any kind. They didn’t have time to send it off-world.”

“They must have hidden it. Form a search perimeter 100 klicks around the village.” The figure paused. “If you do not find any trace, burn the planet from orbit. I will not risk Skywalker being found.”

“Yes sir!”

The man in the black mask stalks back to his ship. Shouting officers begin forming the search party as more transports arrive. In the background, flametroopers move in to erase every trace of the village, a harbinger of Jakku’s fate.

A lone stormtrooper in gleaming chrome looks at Slip’s broken body, then walks away.

“FN-2003: always the weakest link.”

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The Right Mix

Lora Hex smiled. After six long years, the seeds of her revenge were ready to be planted.

It had taken six long years to turn abstract idea into actionable reality, an idea that began its first stirrings as soon as she was taken from the New Republic world of Poctoris.

It had taken half that long for the First Order to trust her with a task other than mere theory building and paperplast shuffling. On the third year of her forced servitude, the former Sr. Researcher of Profile Training and Psychoanalysis was finally promoted. From mere lab hand, Lora slowly climbed the ladder back to junior analyst in her new home, the Star Destroyer Ravager.

It helped that half of the FO scientists were moronic yes-men who wouldn’t have passed the first year admission exams in a Republic institution, much less wear a lab coat. It also helped that she began sleeping with the vessel’s Director of Science, a morbidly obese man whose academic credentials consisted of being related to the sector Moff.

On the fourth year, she gained clearance to the tightly guarded Recruit Training Program, the First Order’s conditioning process for the conscripted soldiers that formed its military backbone. Lora felt a special kinship with these recruits — like her, they were forcibly taken from their homeworlds, never to see their families again. Unlike her, the “blaster fodders” were taken at a very young age, the better to mold them for a lifetime of unquestioning service to the Order.

At first limited to observer status, within six months Lora became Program Assistant. Her meteoric rise came from improvements she made in the regimen’s Logical Reasoning, Cortex Development and Abstract Thinking classifications.

On the fifth year, the death of her elderly superior catapulted Lora into the position of Program Head, Level 1 Recruit Training and Conditioning. It was the break she was looking for.

She began with minuscule changes to the basic regimen. A slight tweak to the Creativity course here, a small dip in the Obedience programming there. All over her various postings, Lora sabotaged the conditioning process of FO foot soldiers more effectively than any Republic battle fleet or resistance spy. Approximately 120 new graduates of the FC batch on the fortress world of Thosis II received a boost in independent thinking. Onboard the Decimator, 70 recruits of the FL batch were given a sense of survival, while 30 new FN troopers destined for the Finalizer were given a moral conscience. The First Order wanted the perfect stormtrooper: smart, unquestioning, and uncaring. Lora was giving them the exact opposite.

Unfortunately, her sabotage was shortlived. After several incidents of insubordination among the FC batch, the entire wing was sent to a penal colony for reconditioning. Of the FL batch, an attempted mutiny by FL-1366 led to the summary execution of six squads and the whole legion’s quarantine. In her zeal to topple the enemy from within, Lora’s altered troopers stood out like flashing distress beacons and were ruthlessly suppressed.

But not anymore. On her sixth year, Lora Hex finally found the right mix for her revenge. The latest batch was independent enough to think without being hardheaded, creative enough to adapt while seeming obedient, and ethically aware without being obvious. Best of all, they were programmed with a delayed fuse. Instead of being fanatically opposed to tyranny like the first ones, the new ones will blend in and quietly disrupt the First Order from within.

The FU batch was her crowning gift to the powers that destroyed her life.

As Lora closed her datapad, the door to her cabin chimed, announcing the arrival of unexpected guests. On the monitor, two black-clad agents of the dreaded Internal Security Directorate stood waiting outside, alongside a handful of naval troops. After two years of causing havoc, the ISD had finally caught on to her.

Lora Hex looked out her window. She closed her eyes, imagining she could see the emerald seas of Poctoris one last time, rather than the featureless gray of a warship’s bulkhead. She reached for a button under the desk.

The soundless explosion briefly blossomed from the destroyer’s right flank, incinerating Lora, the two ISB agents, a whole detention squad, and all historical records of Recruit Training and Conditioning, Level 1.