A beleaguered officer looks through a battered pair of rangefinders, his face turning rather grim at the sight before him. As his shoulder begin to slump, a voice snaps back his resolve, “General..”
The young orderly waits. Wearing a suit of battered battle armor and clutching for dear life to a long-barreled blaster carbine, the hopeful expression of the young boy waits eagerly for his commander’s response. Closing the handles of the trench-mounted rangefinder up against the main frame, the officer turns, “Report scout.” The words are cool, calm, and concise.
“The Orgot are massing for another advance on our position. They have amassed another legion of warriors.” The final words seem to sap the strength from the young scout, and his voice wavers into a question, “We cannot continue to resist much longer, General.”
“I am aware, Scout, but we will continue to fight as long as it takes for…” The General trails off, looking around at the tired, battle hardened, battle wearied faces of his comrades.
The Scout interjects before his commander has a chance to finish, “As long as it takes for what, General?” Young eyes lighten with a sense of hope.
“For a miracle,” the General says curtly and turns to activate the rangefinder again.
He looks through the monochrome green display that cuts through the night; a night illuminated by countless fires from countless wrecks and the piles of bodies the Orgot burn to mask their advances. Behind the masking haze, shadows mill about, looming like specters.
The camera filters up, following the cinders from the burning bodies and we transition to the crackling fire at the center of a forest camp, the sounds of a fight can be heard in the background as well as that of good-natured jibing…
BEGIN SCENE ONE:
INTRO SCENE ONE – BELA
“You are sparring with Hulka, the Rastad (a reptilian race) herder who you have always known as you protector, mentor and father. Though you are not of the same race, Hulka has always treated you as one of his own, instructing you in the best ways to defend yourself, to think justly and to manage the herds of Spiny-legged Tag Rats farmed by the hundred by the people of Malafast, the world you call home.
Hulka strikes at you with a flurry which has always defied you abilities and chuckles as you fall, offering you a tender hand. Lifting you to your feet he smiles and nods, ‘Enough practice for this night, tomorrow we take the Tag Rats to Waymoon city for market.
A look of concern marks his features as he sits at the fire and begins to ladle food from a deep cooking pot. He has been father and teacher to you and his silence is something new. It is he who has taught you in the ways of the universe, of nature, of yourself. His strong but caring hand has guided yours through trial and tribulation.
The silence goes unbroken through your dinner and remains so even as your settle into your tree-top shelter, the mewling of Tag Rats nowhere near as conforting as it has been all these years. Troubled, but trusting in Hulka’s judgement, you slip into sleep.
The next day you are taken to Waymoon where you are put into the care of a mysterious droid called, “Teekay” (TK-12). Hulka does not allow you to stay and insists on you leaving with the droid. It is explained that your leaving is necessary and that you will be taken to a small tramp freighter and loaded up with some secrecy.
The trip is long and lonely with only the droid and a few distant crewmen who do not bother with you. The camera follows your gaze out a view port and to the passing Star. You jump into hyperspace and then…”
INTRO SCENE TWO – DELZ
“Hot. It is the only way to describe the time of day that you have been forced to labor in. Your Guild Brothers and you had been sent to the Karlov Craigs to pick Shade Snails from under the rocks for the evening meal. Shade Snails; whoever thought they were edible would have to have been a monk or – guildsman. The thunder of another transport shuttle rattle the canyon walls, sending gravel showing down where water once ran and you cannot help but watch, marveling at the machinery that moves people from one world to another.
Seeing you dreaming again, Taki, your Rhodian friend nudges you, “Guildmaster Farka catches you lazing about, he’ll send you down to the grease sump again.” The dreaded stench of the sump trickles into you memory again and you cringe.
It is then that the Dust Cat strikes. With its waling attack call its eight powerful feet press Taki into the sand and gravel under its 200 kilo weight. It is too late for Taki, but perhaps you might be able to save yourself and your Guild Brothers.
Thinking quickly you grab one of the large snail knives used to pry the mollusks from the rocks. Though not intended for combat, the blade is strong and heavy and the cat is occupied with others. Driving your terror deep within you, you focus, finding a piece of lashing wire and tying it tightly to the knife’s metal hilt.
As the Dust Cat continues its attack, you must dodge and duck, all the while keeping your plan at hand. Racng beneath the savage beast you scampers across scraping gravel, tearing deep gashes in your legs, but reach your goal, the collector skiff.
Tearing open the utility panel you quickly splice the trailing metal wire into a power connector and turn to face the fearsome creature. A moment of focus once more and you move through the steps of your next move in your mind.
As the beast wheels to face you, you duck low and charge full on, stunning the predator for a moment, but the moment is all you need. In a quick chang up, you spring from a rock, vaulting over the Dust Cat’s head as it scoops down to try and gore you. As you sail over it you find your mark, driving the heavy blade into the armor at the back of its neck. Not enough to kill the creature, it simply howls in defiance as you land on your feet, heart pounding in your chest.
With the lashing wire and its coupler in your hand, you sprint for the collector skiff and the open utility panel. You can feel the cat’s breath gusting at your back as you draw closer to the vehicle. As your persuer lunges for the kill, you reach the panel and as you attach the coupler and activate the power feed, the creature is suddenly rendered helpless as killing voltage seers through its flesh, leaving but a smoking husk.
The Dust Cat defeated, you take a moment to collect yourself and then gather the surviving Guild Brothers who return, with you, to the guild Stronghold, bearing the bodies of the fallen, including that of your friend, Taki. The Guildmaster is, of course, unhappy. Berating you all for your carelessness he sends everyone to their cells to study their schematics and equations, all but you.
You are asked to remain and when the chamber is cleared of all but you and the Guildmaster who takes a moment in private to thank you and commend you on the bravery you displayed in battling the Dust Cat. Also impressed are two previously unseen figure. They are introduced as your new guardians.
It is explained that your marks in your guild trials have reflected mastery beyond your years and that your studies and lack of inspiration when it comes to the day to day task assigned to you reflects a desire to be elsewhere. These newcomers, he continues are here to take you to another world, a place where new challenges await beyond those to be found in a far out of the way guild of tinkers.
The next day you are taken to Mochi station. Your new guardians are not all that warm, seeming to intentionally stay distant, reminding you even more of the loss you feel leaving your friends at the guild behind. As a new, uncertain future looms in your mind, you find yourself at the foot of a boarding ramp, looking into the dark interior of a rattled old tramp freighter. You steel yourself and step up into the shadows of the unknown. The ramps closes behind you and seal with the loud crackling sound of mag seals and hydraulics locking into place…”
INTRO SCENE THREE – BREN
“The lash of the taskmaster’s force lash cuts your back again. This is the norm for you. Day in day out, cultivating the fungus mines for the smugglers who own you. You still remember shreds of your past – a happy life of bliss with loving parents and a family of your own. But all that has been gone since you were a small child, razed away by the scorching blaster fire.
Life for you is that of a slave, filled with resentment and sorrow for what you have lost. You have grown strong though, able to summon strength when all around you are unable to go on and then continue long after others have perished. Though they abuse you and chide, belittle and rack you with constant pain, your keepers and their masters fear you. You have seen it in the way they watch you: in the way they tense when you are angered. If only there weren’t so many of them, you might think of testing their resolve.
You are just finishing emptying another cart of fungus into a collector when an explosion erupts just outside of the mine entrance. The force throws you back, overturning the cart and shredding the collector. Blaster fire can be heard, balanced by the shrill terror of panicked smugglers. You recover quickly, able to move your shackles in the path of a stray blaster bolt and freeing yourself.
The madness continues around you. Slavers fall at the hands of unseen aggressors. Are they friend or foe? Are you to be freed only to be added to the coral of another slaver? Then the sound of crisp, electronic voices can be heard approaching.
As the armored troopers come into view, one of them removes his helmet, wincing at the smell of dank fungus mixed with charring flesh and the pungent odor destruction, “Prince Bren. We are Tarentine Royal Guards. We come to bring you home.”
Home? What home? Questions real in the confusion which has followed your sudden liberation. The only homes you have ever known have brought you pain and sorrow. You feel a moment of hatred toward these men who have “rescued” you, a hatred undeserved but none-the-less too real. Stifling it you decide to hear them out and as the truth is explained, you resign yourself to your new fate. A new home awaits, perhaps this one will prove better.
The Royal Guards lead you to a shuttle, hidden away in a nearby cavern. Settling into a medical bed and tended to by a shining medical droid you allow yourself to rest, for once. You feel safer than you have for some time for some reason. A sense of hope returned to you, you drift away and dream of a beautiful place…”
INTRO SCENE FOUR – NARA
“The soft light of the Davinite sun filters through the shades of your quiet conservatory. As is often the case, the afternoon finds you in quiet contemplation, allowing yourself to reach out. Your adopted parents, Lord and Lady Shava have always treated you as nothing less than their own child, a considerable accolade considering their already extensive family.
As a member of the Davinite royal family you have enjoyed the love and warmth that the constant companionship of many siblings can bring. Even before you chime of the conservatory door interrupts your meditation, you seem to know that your closest sister, Mata is waiting outside. Pressing the button to open it, you allow her entry into your sanctuary. The distress on her face instantly confirms the sorrow you sensed and she rushes to your side.
“Nara, it’s awful,” she begins, causing you to wonder what could be so awful in a paradise such as Davintine. You choose to remain silent, patient, allowing your sister to continue.
“There are men here. Soldiers. They say they have come to take you away. Take you home.”
This is most distressing. Though you have always known that you were not born to this family, you have always considered it home. Vague memories of a place before Davintine have haunted your thoughts, but always too vague to allow you any true memory. Soothing your worry, you produce a smile and offers a conforting hand to your sister. Trusting in the wisdom of your parents, which has never failed you, you reassure Mata and go to your parents.
You find them waiting with a pair of officers, by their uniforms. The faces of your mother and father give you no cause for alarm and as the soldiers bow to your arrival the motion you to join them in a side chamber, leaving your gathered sisters and brothers behind to wonder.
The older of the two officers is introduced to you as Captain Armadon. It is explained that the Captain is here to take back to the home of your birth, a planet called, Tarentine and that it is a dire time for your birthplace. The Captain continues to spin a tale of woe deep into the night, seeming to feel confident and comfortable in your presence. When he has finished you can feel a great weight pressing down upon you.
Returning to your chambers that night, knowing you must leave the following morning, you say your good byes to your sisters and brothers. With what Captain Armadon has told you, you know it is very possible you will never see them again, but you do not tell them this. The truth of it would be a darkness none of them should be burdened with.
Mata remains after the rest of them has left and the tears show that she is not to be so easily placated. The bond you two have shared tugs at your heart as the sorrow builds in her and at that moment, you sense something that has never been felt from your dear sister, but what it is you cannot tell.
As you speed away from the landing pad in the battered shuttle which brought Captain Armadon, you find comfort only in your meditation. Something troubles you about your sister, Mata and feelings she betrayed the night before, but this too is put to rest as you center yourself, concentrating, feeling the universe about you…”