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THE DEFILED PLANET OF ILUM plays host to skirmishes between the Freedom Fighters and the Imperial Remnant, striking from their mysterious trench. While morale plummets and a spiritual darkness afflicts the pilgrims in the hidden temples, there is division among the ranks, between the young who wish for war, and the old who rightly fear it.

The Story So Far

Story

Spoiler

Previously...

Admiral Yima had been captain of the Peace and Quiet for nearly a decade, but he might as well have been doing it forever. He was a strong, compassionate leader, trusted by everyone aboard. He was discerning, and wise, and careful, but also courageous, the kind of man who leaps to help others with no hesitation regardless of the scale of the problem, from a dropped box to an enslaved planet.
Yima was like a grandfather to his crew. 
But now, he was exhausted.

The Freedom Fighters looked to him for leadership, and for 10 years, he had been honored by their trust and respect. They had been through hard situations, difficult calls, costly battles--losses that clung to Yima's mind and committed him to caution. Every life under his command was something precious--he felt this keenly--and while everyone here had joined knowing full well what they might lose, the Admiral would not let it happen. Not unless it was absolutely necessary.

There were many in the base who, having heard about Yiller Kor'dan's vision, felt that the time for 'absolutely necessary' had come.
Yima did not agree. It was a result of the Followers' relative immaturity in the Force--for knowledge passed into shadow and a generation of teachers had been lost--that the shock of the vision's contents has them leaping into action. Yima regretted that word of the vision had spread so quickly throughout the temple--it would have been better if Yiller had been spoken to first, had it explained that visions are but possibilities of the future, not the future set in stone. But he was young to the Force, he had never had a vision like this before. He didn't know what to think. The healers were helping with his shock, and Yima knew he would be alright. But word of his vision had spread like wildfire, finding dry underbrush in the minds of the weary Freedom Fighters that would easily catch and ignite.

A heavy weight settled on Yima's shoulders, bending him, driving a sigh from his lungs. The dark atmosphere of the temple was no longer stagnant, but he did not mistake this sudden stirring for a lifting of the dread. No, it was just the swirling of a storm. He knew what would come next. What always happened when anger burned.

Bey'wan Pwua'Tua, Yima's Data Master, entered the command center and marched straight towards the admiral. He looked harried, wild-eyed and fervent, and Yima knew exactly what to expect.

"Admiral, Yiller Kor'dan has received what is believed to be a vision from the Force."

It was just like Bey'wan to provide all the relevant information, never assuming anyone's knowledge. Full of information, but lacking completely in ego. Just one of the things that made him good at his job. For so many years now, Yima had relied upon him to instruct, disseminate, analyze, and plan, and he had done everything perfectly. Yima had found great enjoyment in poking at the Bothan's stiff demeanor to try to get him to loosen up. He missed those days. There was so little enjoyment now, in this temple.

"Yes, Bey'wan. I have heard about this vision."

"Well, Admiral," Bey'wan started, nearly getting ahead of himself. "You know that for the last six weeks I have studied the Imperial activity in the Trench, and I have prepared an infiltration plan in order to discover their intentions for the planet. A plan that, thus far, you...have not approved."

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"And that I will not approve now, Bey'wan," Yima replied, not unkindly. "There is nothing that has changed. We do not know what we would be risking our people's lives for, or even if surviving such a mission is possible. You have told me yourself; the canyon walls are too thick for our probe droids' scans. We cannot survey the base deeply enough to learn its layout. And there is no sign of their garrison troops being depleted; there could be thousands of stormtroopers still on Ilum. We cannot risk our people for odds like these. I will not approve your plan, I am sorry, Bey'wan."

Bey'wan's brow twitched. He had been convinced of the importance of infiltrating the Imperial operation since they had arrived on Ilum, and had only become more consumed by this notion as he had studied the situation. There were more Imperials on Ilum than on most Remnant stronghold planets, much less an iceball in the Unknown Regions that did not appear on starmaps. A trench had been carved out of the planet already, a disfigurement who's purpose they still did not understand. Based on the readings of his scout probes, material was constantly being taken into--rather than out of--the core of the planet. 
Then Yiller received a vision. Billions of dead, all because of what the Empire is doing on Ilum. There was not a single doubt in his mind, not anymore. Whatever they had stumbled into, it was their responsibility to find out more.

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"Sir, have you not heard about the vision? The Imperial operations on this planet will result in the deaths of billions of beings. Surely, we have no choice but to intervene!"

Yima was unshaken. Sadly, he shook his head. "We do not have proof this is true, my friend. The future is constantly shifting, no one is able to see it perfectly clearly."

Bey'wan's fist clenched, and unconsciously he bared his incisors as helpless anger flooded him. The other analysts and technicians nearby looked toward the two, as the Bothan raised his voice. 

"Yes, but--sir, all my readings seem to confirm what he saw! And he saw it in the Force! He had a vision--"

"Visions are often wrong!" Yima exclaimed, frustration breaking through his calm. "They are impossible for laymen like us to truly understand. We have not made decisions based on visions up to now, and this is not the day we start. We will not base judgements that decide the fates of our own on that which we cannot even *hope* to grasp." 

"Billions, sir," Bey'wan persisted, his voice shaking. "Admiral, did you hear--"

Yima turned on him, anger swelling, adding size and ferocity to his armored, robed figure. "Yes, Bey'wan! I heard you! I will not throw away lives on a war we are not prepared to fight!"

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There was silence, as the onlookers watched the two stare at one another. 

Yima broke first. He regretted his reaction. He had no desire to yell at his friend, no desire to force anyone to abide by his commands. His face softened.

"I'm sorry, my friend. I should not have shouted. You remember Ankus, when you returned from the surface and told me we should fight? It is because of your wisdom that the Jojah clans are free. 
But this is not like Ankus. There, we could see the enslaved with our own eyes, see what our actions might do to help end their suffering. The Tagge Company was not the Empire. We had the advantage of surprise, of intelligence, of a strong native people who desired to fight for their freedom. But here..." His shoulders sagged, and his brows furrowed. "This is darkness, ignorance, and uncertainty. We must not throw ourselves into a fight such as this."

Bey'wan stood, breathing heavily. His sharp mind worked overtime to consider what the Admiral was saying.

Finally, he simply said, "I understand, Admiral. My apologies for my disrespect."

Yima waved away the apology, eager to reconcile with his friend. "No worries, no worries. I appreciate your honesty. You and I are good." Hopeful to ease the tensions, he turned towards a small ion-plate that he had set up nearby the command center. "Perhaps you would like some calming tea?" he offered.

The Bothan shook his head. "No thank you, Admiral. I think I will retire to my quarters."

"I understand. Please, enjoy some rest, Bey'wan. We will look over our options this evening."

Bey'wan nodded, turned on his heel, and left for the section of the caves turned into personal quarters. Their spectators all turned back to whatever they were doing, and things went back to their normal hubbub. 

Yima took a deep sip from a small cup of tea, worry weighing in his heart.


 

Fenree Kel was on his way to grab dinner from what everyone was calling "the Mess" when he noticed Bey'wan fidgeting a few feet away, where he'd placed himself oddly in the shadows. The Bothan got his attention, waving him over, and Kel diverted. 

"You okay?" He asked, taking in the Data Master's appearance. He was dishelved, sunken, dark-eyed. He looked exhausted, worse even than everyone else was looking. 

Bey'wan didn't hesitate. "I have an operation planned into the trench."

Kel bared his teeth in a grin. "Alright! It's about time."

"I have patrol patterns, I have operational windows, I even have the beginnings of subterranean layouts," Bey'wan continued. "I have enough information to enter the Trench base."

"Good stuff, Pwua'tua. Can't believe you finally convinced the Admiral to give us the go-ahead." His smile faded when he saw a guilty shadow pass over the other's face. "...Unless...you didn't."

Bey'wan stared at him with wild eyes, his jaw clenched and determined. "Do you believe the vision?"

Kel threw up his hands. "Aw, I dunno. Could be mumbo jumbo, if I'm honest. I know that's not a popular take right now. But I do believe the Empire's up to no good, and we gotta find out what kind of trouble it is. That's what we do, right?"

"So...so you would go? Even if the mission was...off the books? You would still feel comfortable leading the infiltration?"

Kel crossed his arms. "I'm a soldier, I fight the Empire, it's what I do. I'll always go when that's the job."

"It would have to be a secret," said Bey'wan, nervously licking his lips. "we cannot let the Admiral discover what we intend to do. He will be grateful enough when we return with enough intelligence to formulate a long-term attack plan. What about your team, Mr. Kel? Do you believe any of them would be willing?"

Kel laughed. "Oh, Hunter Team? You better believe it. We've been itching to get inside that trench since we landed. Trust me, they'll be hoppin' at the chance."

"That's good. Tell them to get ready. We go tonight."

"Right. Wait...we?"

"I planned this mission. The stakes are high, the risk is great. I won't send you in alone. I'm coming too."

Kel was surprised, but he had to admit he was impressed. He never thought he'd see the day the Data master put boots on the ground. "Sounds good, s'long as you don't get in our way."

"I will do my best."



Snow caked the beard under Bey'wan's snout, and Ilum's winds grabbed at his cloak and snapped against his ears. He pulled his collar tighter, shivering against the weather. He couldn't help but think about the warm pools on Ankus, and how much he would rather be there, soaking his fur, enjoying the peace. 
But even dead, the Empire wouldn't allow for peace. 
The willing soldiers of Hunter Team lay draped against the environment ahead. It wasn't the whole team, only those Kel felt would be committed to the mission: this wasn't a routine patrol or a surefire ambush, but an infiltration of the enemy's stronghold. There was no room for doubts on a mission like this. 
Bey'wan held up his macrobinoculars, scanned the horizon, the edge of the trench. Only a few sentries, as he had suspected. He conveyed to Kel that his intelligence had been accurate, and they were clear to make the final crossing.

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To the soldiers of Hunter Team, this would be just another mission against the residual tyranny of the Empire. Every one of them was an experienced warrior, a trusted teammate, sold out to the cause. To them, Imperial secrets were an old, familiar prey. 
They all rose from their hiding spots and moved as one, blasters leveled forward as they crept across the snow.
Brief blooms of blaster fire meant the end of the few Stormtroopers standing guard; the coast was cleared. 

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Like an oiled machine, the Freedom Fighters approached the edge of the trench: a hundred feet across, its bottom out of sight. They attached cable anchors to the edge, looped the length of cord through clips on their equipment, and leapt into the breach.
Each of them careened down before their rope caught them and brought them gently to a standstill, jutting out horizontally from the durasteel trench wall. Bey'Wan was far from dead weight; he had been on enough missions for the Rebellion to ease comfortably back into the saddle. He rappelled as well as any of them.

"There! The access door!" The Data Master called, drawing their attention to a bulkhead door built into the side. He had put as much work as possible to gather Intel to pull this off successfully, and had paid characteristic attention to detail. Planning and execution were the key to a successful operation. 
One soldier landed on the platform beside the door and took out his slicer kit. Using a hacked scomp link, he interfaced with the controls, and a few intuitive movements later the door slid open against it's will. The slicer watched for danger while, one by one, the others made their way to the platform and ventured inside its dark entrance, beginning the descent into the Imperial labyrinth.


Continued...

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Spoiler

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Thanks for looking!

Edited by goatman461

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That turbo laser is so good - I love the little textures on the sides of it and it just nails the star wars design aesthetic. I am eager to know whether it rotates (and whether the guns can be move up and down) that would just take the build to the next level. The doorway and greebled sections of wall are also really good. I am glad that you went for LBG rocks on the top, when I first saw the WIP shots I was worried that it might be difficult to distinguish between the imperial facility and the surrounding rocks but I think you did a good job showing that difference with colour and texture. I wonder if maybe the IKEA base held you back a bit in terms of landscaping - it must be difficult to get enough connection points and I wonder if you could have created a more interesting profile for the rocks and snow without it... Great build though and I am loving this new story arc - probably one of my favourite so far!

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Ah this is great! I'm so jealous that you get to do this. Ever since Fallen Order I've wanted to do something like this on Illum. The door and small platform is neat, and you've captured the overall scene super well...

Two things I'd improve: Change the tall slopes, with a tilted plate (allows for more texture and greebles), and I'd add some orange kyber crystal containers... After all it is home of the Kyber...

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Theres some great detail in this, from how the metal bookending the trench sits against the snow to the actual detail within, great job.

That turbolaser turret is some great design

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On 5/1/2021 at 1:59 PM, marvelBoy123 said:

That turbo laser is so good - I love the little textures on the sides of it and it just nails the star wars design aesthetic. I am eager to know whether it rotates (and whether the guns can be move up and down) that would just take the build to the next level. The doorway and greebled sections of wall are also really good. I am glad that you went for LBG rocks on the top, when I first saw the WIP shots I was worried that it might be difficult to distinguish between the imperial facility and the surrounding rocks but I think you did a good job showing that difference with colour and texture. I wonder if maybe the IKEA base held you back a bit in terms of landscaping - it must be difficult to get enough connection points and I wonder if you could have created a more interesting profile for the rocks and snow without it... Great build though and I am loving this new story arc - probably one of my favourite so far!

Thank you! The turret both rotates and can aim its guns! :D
I completely agree with your feedback. Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the story!

 

On 5/1/2021 at 10:15 AM, caiman0637 said:

This is excellent! Wonderful turret!

 

32 minutes ago, n1majneb said:

Theres some great detail in this, from how the metal bookending the trench sits against the snow to the actual detail within, great job.

That turbolaser turret is some great design

Thank you guys! The turbolaser is an amalgam of lots of different ideas from various people's takes on it, I'm standing on the shoulders of giants with that one.


 

43 minutes ago, Darth Bjorn said:

Ah this is great! I'm so jealous that you get to do this. Ever since Fallen Order I've wanted to do something like this on Illum. The door and small platform is neat, and you've captured the overall scene super well...

Two things I'd improve: Change the tall slopes, with a tilted plate (allows for more texture and greebles), and I'd add some orange kyber crystal containers... After all it is home of the Kyber...

Gosh, I'd love to see what you'd do with it. I've thought about eventually giving you Ilum! (But I'd only give you enough IP to make sure we'd all still get to see you do a build there...) It's a really compelling planet. I wonder if there's anywhere else the Empire made trenches?

I agree with your feedback, some orange would've really made it pop. 

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Great job here. Very good balance of detail and cleanness. I still need to work more on that front on my side. The turbo laser is excellent!

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Ilum really is good when done correctly.

And this is done perfectly.

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Nice, I love the detailing and the soldier thingy placements.

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