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  1. I can hear them. In the distance, the group of Rebels that shot us out of the sky and forced us into this gorge. It’s quite beautiful here, but something gruesome is about to happen. We don’t have a lot of time. “They have a laser cannon with them. I bet that was what shot us out of the sky. It slows them down though. They won’t attack until they have its support here.” [soNE Ep. VII] What you can't do by Bert.VR, on Flickr “I can take out those troops, but I won’t stand a chance with that cannon here. They will just shoot and make us an icy grave. Someone needs to take it out. Someone needs to find a way around that armour.” I already feel what’s coming. I’m the only one with a precision blaster. I’m the only one who knows how to handle it. “Tyrus and I will stay here. I’ll try to get those troops to leave the safety of the cannon. The bends in this gorge will prevent that cannon from shooting from a distance, so they’ll be without cover. Even though they’re Rebels, they’re not stupid, I guess. So they won’t go too far ahead. It only spreads their attack out, and what’s more, it will draw their attention. But whatever you do, officer VeR, stay low when you hide in the top floor of that building there. Wait until you get a clear shot at the gunner. You won’t get a second chance. And shoot before they do. That’s our only chance of survival. Now quickly, take your position. Tyrus, you stay here with me. Let’s give them a surprise.” It’s clear how agent An rose through the ranks so quickly. I can’t see a better way to save ourselves. But I have to do it. I have to pull the trigger. If I don’t, we’re dead. I have to do it. No time for compassion, no time for reason. What a beautiful building. I can see a haunting glow coming through the hallway, but that’s not the way I have to take. The ancient stairs take me to the place where it’ll have to become thirteen. Just as I squeeze myself into a dark corner with a good view of the bridge, agent An makes eye contact and starts shouting, starts shooting. And hides. [soNE Ep. VII] No time for architecture by Bert.VR, on Flickr The shouting grows louder, and a Rebel appears from around the corner. It’s the first time I actually see a Rebel trooper. I only took out fighters. He could be one of my comrades. But he isn’t. He wants to kil lus, and so do the other Rebels that start crossing the gap to examine the shouting. Soon, they will be no more. Agent An prepares to take them out. I can just wait, watch and shiver. There’s nothing I can do. Nothing I can do to avoid the killing. Nothing I can do to stop this war. Now, I can only do what I need to do to survive. The cannon is here. [soNE Ep. VII] It's what I can't do that makes me who I am by Bert.VR, on Flickr I have to do it. But can I do it? The shot is possible, especially with this particular blaster… A blaster that once was thrown away to save a life. A blaster that was used to talk about bravery in battle. A blaster that was given to me to be brave. To take this one shot. It was an object of battle, but the acts of a very special person made it an object of love. But that’s not how people saw it. That’s not how my parents saw it. That’s as I can’t see it right now. It has to become an object of horror once again. My finger is around the trigger. If I shoot, my shot will only make two victims. The Rebel will die, a part of me will die, for the thirteenth time. If I don’t shoot, my comrades will be killed. I will, eventually, be killed. One against three. It can’t be clearer. Do it. Make it thirteen. It won’t stay with one dead Rebel. The thought resonates through my head. If I shoot, not only the one Rebel I hit will be killed. Not only the others will be killed by my comrades. Hundreds, thousands, millions will die. If I kill, it will be yet another death in the long, interrupted chain of killings in this terrible war. It will hit the next homino and war will keep raging, the horrible killing will continue. Who knows where it’ll end. Don’t do it. Don’t make it yet another million. If I shoot, I’ll lose all hope of ever defeating war. It can’t be vanquished by always more killing and killing. It can only be vanquished by throwing away this blaster. If I shoot, no matter what someone will get killed and war will have yet another victory. And if I don’t… There’s an overwhelming chance I might die and war will have yet another victory. But if those Rebels decide not to shoot as well… If we, by some kind of beautiful Force, would now decide to throw our weapons down, war would be defeated. It can’t be clearer. If I shoot, I will lose all hope. If I don’t, I might lose my life. If I do, I will lose all hope. I’ll destroy everyone else’s hope that this war might come to a peaceful end, that all wars might come to an end right here, right now. It has never been so clear. It’s what I can’t do that makes me who I am. I can’t pull this trigger. But that gives me so much more power than someone who can. Finally, after months of ‘training’, of dedicating myself to this cause, I can’t kill. It’s something that a lot of people never learn. Everyone’s always busy to learn to do new things. No one ever wonders what they have to learn not to do. But I did. And there’s a minuscule chance it might stop this war. With what we can’t do, we can change the world. My thoughts never rushed so quickly as in this moment. And yet, I’ve never felt more enlightened. In these buildings, made by a civilization I believe was captured by that same light. Yes, that’s what these buildings were made for. But now, they’re going to be destroyed. The cannon still hasn’t fired. I wonder… But the gunner has his finger around the trigger. But I have hope. I’m prepared to die, because if I don’t, the world will be a very different place. [soNE Ep. VII] How to survive by Bert.VR, on Flickr __________________________ This blaster has become a symbol of love and hope once again. I called Alderaan my home. It’s where I was raised. It’s where my parents were raised. It’s where my great-granduncle threw this blaster away. To many people, Alderaan is the most peaceful planet possible. But not entirely. People of my planet always had that sense for opposition somewhere inside them. It’s one of the reasons they were the only ones to stand against this Empire, to no avail. That opposition was especially strong in my family. For generations, we stood against the rule of Alderaan. The reason why didn’t matter much. There’s always a fault to be found. There’s always the need for someone going in against the tide. That’s what my family stood for. That’s what they took up the weapons. Almost exactly a hundred years ago, the conflict culminated, and there were several coordinated attacks on the existing rule. They might have had their reasons, but that’s not of importance. Two brothers, my great-granduncles, fought in the army the opposition formed at the time. The resistance against the cruel acts of the opposition grew and grew, and a civil war broke out. The attacks grew more and more violent, more and more people died, and conflict without near end began. Both camps dug their selves in, with the occasional raid boosting the number of casualties. And in this conflict, the two brothers remained as close as two brothers can be. They looked after each other. When the oldest returned after a raid, only to found his brother hadn’t, it became apparent that they loved each other more than they hated the enemy. Ignoring the orders of his superiors, he threw his blaster away and ran back to the battlefield, to find his dear brother. War didn’t bother him, he only cared about his brother. He was killed, and found with the dead body of his brother in his arms. [soNE Ep. VII] Past - No blaster, no bravery by Bert.VR, on Flickr This story has been told countless times in my family, but not quite in this version. The only thing that mattered, was the bravery of the brother. Without fear of the enemy, he returned to the battlefield, even when it was not his to fight on. His blaster became the ultimate symbol of his bravery. It was passed on in my family. Until was passed on to me. The brother had no fear of the enemy. My family said because of his total hate for his enemy. I say because of the total love for his brother. I always opposed my family. But they only encouraged it. Opposition is key, they said. They didn’t see I wasn’t opposing what they stood for. I was defending what I think was right. The blaster came to me, and they got me a post in the Imperial army. It would give me the opportunity to oppose the opposition to the established order, what I liked to do according to them. I had nothing to say in it. And since everyone on Alderaan is gone, I had no place to go to, nothing else to do. But now I do, no longer armed with this blaster. It has become a symbol of love and hope once again. _______________________ Well, take a deep breath, that was it. I hope you enjoyed the story and please spare it some thoughts. Let me know what you think. This was built in quite a hurry, with the festivities and the exams. Because of that, the past scene isn't nearly finished. There should be more buildings in the background, and a more elaborate dropship. I hope you can see beyond those failures though, and enjoy what's there. This build and this story is a collaboration with fellow Imperials Lord Tyrus and goatman461. Thank you guys for all the inspiration! I hope there is still a lot to come. If you still can read, check out their topics here: Stranded, by Lord Tyrus (prequel to this story) War Hammer, by goatman461 (happening simultaneously with this story) Rescue Mission, by Commander Beltar (giving a glimpse how this story continues...) And to finish, as always, the LXF file is availble through this link. PS: the story of the two brothers is based on actual events. A hundred years ago, in the First World War, mygreat-granduncles, the Van Raemdonck brothers, went through a simular tragedy. Their act of love is used as a symbol of the Flemish movement to this day. So you see: my stories don't just belong to a galaxy far far away. I hope this is a proper tribute to them. Learn more about them on Wikipedia, and this page has a nice picture, and if you translate it, the whole story. PPS: here is a short version for everyone who has little time or trouble with English: