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A Night Beneath The Stars

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#1
Rexus Wenck

Rexus Wenck

    Punished Rexus

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PA'DESH
Kasa'rad Jungle

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Every inch of Rexus' skin oozed with sweat in the thick muggy air. His whole body glistening in the dim light of the jungle. The gargantuan Death Trooper paused by a rock, by a small trickling stream. His mechanical arm dipped within the stream, and the trooper splashed his face. Eight hours they had been at it. Marching through marshes, swamp and now mountains. All without the comfort of the acclimated armour typical of First Order troopers. Hell on Earth, he'd heard one trooper muttered. But this was nothing too bad. Hauling a fifty kilo pack through the jungle almost seemed like basic training, all things considered. 

Rexus threw his pack to the ground. "Alright, platoon halt!" He snapped. His voice cracked like a whip and reverberated throughout the trees. The sweaty trooper, only attired with a set of torn military fatigues. He turned back toward the group as they approached. They were a motley crew. First Order vets, special forces and new Pa'Deshi volunteers. All having marched together. Some kind of eyeroll worthy program for unit cohesion. One of these units now found themselves in the care of Rexus. 

 

"Double time it!" The gargantuan Death Trooper growled, "I want my karkin' grub!" 



#2
Farah San'jana

Farah San'jana

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Farah San'jana

Kasa'rad Jungle

Pa'Desh

Post 1

 

Farah was tired and sore by the time the Sergeant called the march off, but, she reflected, she was doing better than most of the folks out here. These were, by and large, off-worlders. She had the distinct advantage of being a native. This meant that Farah had long ago grown accustomed to the oppressive heat, a constant of Pa’Desh. It also meant that these jungles as familiar to her as the urban sprawl had been to most of the platoon. Hiking, camping, seeing the beauty Pa’Desh had to offer was one of her father’s passions and so, before she turned ten, she had spent a great deal of time outdoors. After her tenth birthday, when she was expected to start pursuing womanly endeavors this had ended. But, it had only been a few years since she escaped the Temple and she had relied on the lessons learned in her youth to survive as she made the weeks long journey back to civilization. She heard one of the soldiers curse under his breath, slapping an insect from his arm. Another perk of being a native, she was beginning to think the bugs had exotic tastes.

 

Farah was very quick to respond to orders, she had basic to thank for that. When the Sergeant demanded they get set up for the evening so he could have his karking food, she rushed to ensure he would have it. She was humored by the thought that, on Pa’Desh, women were expected to cook, and she had largely shunned the tradition, finding it backwards. However, now that she was working with the First Order, where women were largely the equal to men, she missed cooking and disliked eating all her meals in the chow halls. She set about work to get a fire up and going, she’d set up her tent and such after dinner. She didn’t mind being up late. She looked about at the diverse group now moving, tired but efficient, to make camp. Apart from some of the other Pa’Deshi she had exchanged precious few words with the group. A little timid—especially of the combat veterans. She had this feeling in the pit of her stomach that they could see right through her. See she was just playing at soldier. And that thought scared her. She turned her mind back to the task at hand, a smile crossing her face as she got a spark to take. Soon, there’d be a fire.


“Be strong, saith my heart; for I am a soldier and I have seen worse sights than this.” Homer, The Iliad 

 

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#3
AU-1130

AU-1130

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Arrik Straden

Kasa'rad Jungle

Pa'Desh

 

 

 

Arrik Straden came to a stop as soon as Rexus gave the order. While it was no battlefield, this cohesion exercise trip sure beat patrolling the Fort and its perimeter. In fact, Straden had been enjoying it so far. Just like being back in basic, he had thought to himself at one point. That felt like a lifetime ago, now. He had been in the First Order since before the Scouring, the Collapse, whatever you wanted to call it. Since those lizard bastards had ruined everything. Thinking of it now made his blood race, and so he shrugged off his pack, beginning the process of setting up the tent for his squad to distract him. Though he refused to admit it, the Ssi-Ruuk invasion had left him a bitter, scarred man. Maybe this kind of trip was what he needed after all. Straden sank the stakes into the ground with a few satisfying thunks as they worked on the rest of the tent, then tossed his pack inside once it was set up.

 

When that was done, he moved to the stream, splashing it on his face and his sweat-drenched arms. He stretched by the stream, admittedly happy to be free of the 50 kilo pack at least momentarily, and looked around at the rapidly-establishing camp. So many people from different walks of life, brought together by a common purpose, a common loyalty; it brought a smile to his face, and brought his mind away from his previous thoughts of hatred. Yeah, he needed something like this.


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#4
BE-183

BE-183

    Sting Like a Bee

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Some of the Sergeants had been saddled with taking the rookies on a jungle hump, or 'synergy training exercise' as the CO called it. It wasn't exactly a Long Walk, they were all together, but the futility of it still got to Bee. There was still a lot of work to do back in the Old Fort. Their defences shrugged off the raid, despite the so-called Eternals throwing just about everything they had against the bulwark, but the damages weren't negligible. The sight of thousands of enemy droids being dropped in dredged up memories of some bad deployments. By the end of it all, her power armour was spattered with blood and dust, but it had still held fast, currently keeping a silent vigil back in the Eastern Armoury.

 

There was a lot of green out here and it wasn't just the trees. As she dropped her pack at her feet, she turned to take a quick head count and saw a bunch of fresh-faced boots, many of them locals, staring wide-eyed back at her. They looked eerily cheerful; they probably weren't acquainted with the Suck yet. Barking orders, she aided supervision of the camp setup, then headed out with a vibroaxe to split some fuel for the fire. She had to try and whip them into shape, to ensure they were at least mature enough to pull a trigger. The training had become lacklustre in her opinion, and they didn't exactly have the best facilities to hand, which was how you ended up rucking through the wilderness. A lot of her recruits reported 'enjoying' basic, which baffled her. Perhaps she had as well, in hindsight, in the sense that it was a formative period; but at the time it was harsh. It wasn't meant to be a picnic. Maybe things were different in her day, but if they weren't going through hell now would they really be ready for it later, the next time they had to fight for their lives?

 

With a swing of the bit, another young tree exploded in a hail of splinters following the blade's arc. Bee wiped the sweat from her brow and switched off the axe, letting it drop to the ground and leaning on the grip. She stared off into the wild forest, tugging at the collar of her undershirt, fatigues rolled down her waist from the heat. She could practically feel the beasts and critters out there crawling around in the undergrowth. It was a little unnerving to picture the big cats that might be prowling this neck of the woods, but they wouldn't bother a large, noisy group like theirs, and if they did there were always the blasters to ward them off. The light was falling, but it wasn't night yet. She hewed the timber into logs, piled them up for collection and marked the spot with her wrist link. With that taken care of she hefted the shoulder of the axe to hers and took off on a short riverside walk, whistling a patriotic tune. It was a good excuse to skate at least, and it felt damn good to catch a breather after the back-to-back high-stakes missions.


Edited by BE-183, 07 August 2019 - 10:51 AM.

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#5
Rexus Wenck

Rexus Wenck

    Punished Rexus

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PA'DESH
Kasa'rad Jungle

 

 

Rexus leaned against an ancient tree and watched the procession of troopers move to action. Exhausted, and sweaty the lot of them were. Still, they were rusty. Lot of the Pa'Deshi, and even some of the stormtroopers had recieved little to no survivalist training. "Come off it you!" The Death Trooper snapped at two rookies peeling open a rations pack. They paused, like tauntauns in a headlight. "Gentler you knobs!" The Death Trooper snarled, approaching, before snatching the pack from them. "You need to make sure the pack is resealable," The veteran growled, "You don't, any leftovers you want'll spoil, freeze, or sour real easy like." 

The trooper then passed it back, and looked around the group. He spotted Twigg, patrolling the perimeter and gave a quick wave before examining the fire. He saw a young recruit kneeling by it. "Easy now," The Death Trooper warned her. His voice hoarse, but containing some semblance of gentleness to it."You want to make sure you don't smother the kindling." He added, before pausing, watching it slowly take. "Though," he added with a small smirk, "Typically we'll 'ave proper equipment during this sort of operation." 

With a fire slowly catching, and illimuniating the clearing, Rexus cupped his hands around his mouth. "All right, maggots!" The Death Trooper bellowed. Voice reverberating around the nearby jungle, "We're getting dinner set, I want people reporting back with wood, water and other goods!" The giant commanded, with a coarse cackle.



#6
Sigismund Thul

Sigismund Thul

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Pa'Desh

-Kasa'rad Jungle

 

Among the rest of the troopers was a stern looking, older man. His features marked him as from the former First Imperial-held world of Atrisia. Like the others, he was stripped of his usual garb. The only thing to denote him of his rank was the armorweave cloak that draped across his shoulders. Otherwise, his clothing was similar to that of a First Imperial field officer. While many of the cadets and conscripts were sweating it out and seemingly dying from exhaustion, the Captain had a cool, collected look upon his face. He took good notice of Rexus, differing to him as the drill instructor for this particular exercise. Kotetsu was merely there to observe and report back on the progress of integration between the new cadets and the locals. He noticed one of them sitting about, panting in the heat. A scowl formed on the Captain's face, wherein he grabbed the cadet by the scruff of his fatigues.

 

"On your feet." He snarled, setting the young man on his feet,"You'll rest once you have gathered what was ordered of you, soldier. Am I understood?"

 

The cadet shakily nodded before trotting off to help the others with gathering firewood, water, and the other supplies that Rexus had barked out. The Captain moved to stand near Rexus, watching the troopers move and weave like a somewhat ordered machine. He turned his head to address the Sergeant.

 

"Excuse that outburst, Sergeant. But the boy's got to learn." He said simply, "Were this actual combat and reconnaissance, procrastination kills a team."

 

He looked over some of the other troopers, seeing the beautiful hierarchy between them acting like gears in a way. "What is your accessment of the native-born recruits so far? I hope we have weeded out some of the rebellious ones after the.....incident at the Old Fort."



#7
Farah San'jana

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Farah San’jana

Kasa’rad Jungle

Pa’Desh

Post 2

 

Farah was a thousand miles away from the jungle campsite, lost in her own memories of another time, when the man spoke to her, jarring her back to the present. She had been absent mindedly nursing the flame whenever he spoke to her and, for a moment, she just regarded him with her large eyes, trying to think back to basic training for a suitable response. “Yes sir,” she responded, stumbling over the words. In her bungled response, the flame had slipped her mind and she had to redouble her efforts to save it and, after taking a moment to steady her hands under the watchful gaze of the veteran, got the flame to take. She was surprised at the softness in the man’s tone when he added that, typically, they wouldn’t be starting fires without technology, but she wasn’t certain the remark was an invitation to be anything less than formal. Veterans, she had decided in her brief time with the Order, were a difficult bunch to predict. She played it safe. “Yes sir, the First Order never sends troopers into the field without the equipment necessary to accomplish the objectives,” she prayed that was the appropriate response.  

 

Shortly thereafter, the man was shouting again. Maggots, she thought, they keep using that word. . . . She had never understood why the more experienced troopers felt the need to call them that so often, nor was she certain if it was a term used to describe recruits not from Pa’Desh. Fortunately, the man’s orders left little time for offense, she responded with a well-rehearsed, “yes sir,” managing to avoid mangling the words this time and, when it was appropriate, took her leave. She had only just gotten to some of the trees others had already began cutting down to a manageable size, when she heard another veteran barking orders at one of the recruits along with them. She winced in sympathy. She was native to Pa’Desh and accustomed to the hot and sticky climate, but she understood why off-worlders would find it easily exhausting. When the veteran released the recruit, he was quick to move out to carry out his orders, huffing as he approached the pile of logs she was standing at.

 

“Hey,” she said to him softly as he came alongside her to gather more wood, “listen, there’s a stream not too far away, just power through this and then you can go relax,” the young man was clearly not in the mood for a second lecture after the Captain had just gotten onto him, his only response was to sigh dismissively. “Hey, no,” she whispered more confrontationally, “this is our first chance to mingle with the veterans­—veterans,” she put a special emphasis on the word, “we need to make a good impression, okay?” He mumbled something under his breath and returned to walked past her, carrying some logs. She huffed, annoyed, as she watched him go before rolling her eyes and double timing it back towards camp, passing him with as much timber. She knew the native recruits had to prove themselves if they were ever going to be accepted as legitimate troopers. And she was going to do her part. 


“Be strong, saith my heart; for I am a soldier and I have seen worse sights than this.” Homer, The Iliad 

 

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#8
AU-1130

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Kasa'rad Jungle

Pa'Desh

 

 

Straden, done taking his moment of reprieve, returned to the center of camp, where he took up an axe and began chopping the larger logs and chunks of wood that had been collected into smaller, more useful pieces. With each swing of the axe more sweat gathered on his biceps, his forehead, his everywhere, as he tried not to imagine the wood as Ssi'Ruuk skulls. Just, for once, don't think about them. They'll get what's coming eventually, he thought to himself. Now is about your brothers in arms. Snap out of it, dumbass.

 

So he focused on chopping the wood, just chopping the wood as other troops collected it. He jerked his chin at Farah San'jana as she made her way back with more wood. "You a new recruit?" Straden asked, pausing to swing the axe again. "Don't think I've seen you 'round the barracks 'fore." After chopping another piece of wood, he wiped one of his sweat-covered hands on his shirt and offered it for a shake, slinging the axe over his shoulder. "Name's Arrik Straden. Squad Leader AU-1130 if you wanna be official." His voice gave away that he was not a native, but neither did he have the accent you'd hear of an officer. Simple working man stormtrooper.


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#9
Farah San'jana

Farah San'jana

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Farah San’jana

Kasa’rad Jungle

Pa’Desh

Post 3

 

 

 

Farah stiffened when the man spoke to her, she hadn’t expected the veteran to say anything to her as she returned with the logs to the camp. Stupid, she thought of herself, she shouldn’t have scolded the other trooper. Obviously that was outside the extremely limited realm that was her authority. She wasn’t certain if she should drop the wood and come to attention but doing so would seem to undermine the orders they’d been given earlier, and so she just turned to the man and inclined her head in a small bow.

 

“Um. . .” she hesitated, the casualness with which people addressed each other was still foreign to her. The strict caste system in which she was raised ensured that people spoke only very seldomly with their superiors, and when they did, it was only for an extremely limited purpose, to acknowledge a command, for instance. Here, things were largely similar but also strikingly different. “Yes sir,” she said softly, “I’m new. Designation PD-0082,” she had been the eighty-second person to enlist after the First Order’s arrival on Pa’Desh, thus the designation. “I’m private Farah San’jana, I’m also listed on some documents as surname Forst because. . .  well, it’s complicated and irrelevant, sir.” She could feel her cheeks flush as she stumbled over the words, she took a breath and steadied herself. “My name is Farah.” She nodded as if confirming the addendum as her final answer. “Well, we were housed in the training barracks but after the, um, after the attack they said we’d be moving into the standard barracks. An honor to meet you, sir.”

 

She bit her lower lip, contemplating. The man seemed to be kind enough, he hadn’t shouted at her and he had struck up a casual conversation of his own accord. “Honestly, sir,” she paused uncertainly, “it’s good to be out here with you veterans. It’s easy to feel on the outside, given everything you guys have been through together. It’s. . . it’s good to feel like part of the team.”


“Be strong, saith my heart; for I am a soldier and I have seen worse sights than this.” Homer, The Iliad 

 

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#10
Rexus Wenck

Rexus Wenck

    Punished Rexus

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The Death Trooper scoffed at the stormtrooper, "Need to ease yourself." The Death Trooper glowered. "Driven 'em 'ard enough today, no need to push them any further." He added. This was meant to be a bonding exercise after all. He paused and watched some of the Pa'Deshi born recruits continue to make their way around the camp. "I think they're solid." The Death Trooper mused. "A little green, sure." He added, "But I reckon they'll stand in battle, just have to see what they'll do." 

The Death Trooper moved away, and set himself down by the fire pit. He snatched his pack, and unzipped it, cleaving an ornate ebony case from it. Opening it, revealed a pack of cigars. The Death Trooper took one, and pointed it right into the fire. It steadily caught alight, the paper roll smoking now. "Want one?" The Death Trooper offered his junior, before taking a drag. He laid the box down, and leaned back, taking in his surroundings. Things were well in motion now.

"Alright ladies and gents!" The senior trooper snapped. "Gather round, gather round, and relax!" He barked, "You've all bloody earned yourself a rest after today's little adventure." Rexus cast a gaze around them. A lot of the older sorts, saw this as condescending. Which it was. But for the youngers, he saw youth. Fear, trepidation. But also hope. Reverence. And Wenck would bask in it. "So, until we reconvene tomorrows march at zero, seven hundred, I want you to get acquainted with your fellow troopers." The Death Trooper announced. "Get to know them, because one day they may have your back, and you will have theirs."

 

Farah San'janaAU-1130 | Kotetsu | BE-183



#11
BE-183

BE-183

    Sting Like a Bee

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The damned bugs were always at the edge of sight, kept at bay by synthetic-scented repellant which clung like cheap cologne. But the conditions weren't nearly enough to faze a Stormtrooper, no. The trooper was a curious specimen. Fierce like a dog from hell, trained from day one to fight trouble, and if they didn't have any trouble to fight they'd make their own. So Bee wandered through the jungle looking for Pa'Deshi tigers to axe, bring back and show off, but there was no such luck. It was a perfectly quiet, quaint and uneventful riverside walk. Shame, that.

 

She swung back in a circuit the way she'd split the trees, finding the lumber retrieved just as she'd arranged. It was a small satisfaction to see the boots in action. Normally she did everything herself, so it was strange to delegate. She'd have to learn if they were expected to train this lot up.

 

On hearing the Death Trooper asserting his presence in that unique lower Imperial tone, she gathered she was fortunate enough to miss the worst of it. Not that she was much better, growing up with the academy, but she was also far past any semblance of shame. "Left a trail of lumber, guv'nor," she grandly announced with a mocking curtsey, gesturing to the log pile. "Shall make a mighty fine bonfire for the young 'uns."

 

It was feeling too easy, like shore leave from the usual grind. She wondered if there was some ulterior motive at play, but decided not to worry about it. Wasn't her problem until the bolts began to fly. Throwing the large vibro axe down on the logs, she watched, a little disappointed as everyone settled down for the evening. Brass had insisted that they were self-sufficient out here. There were the rations as backup of course, but that was no fun, and what was supposed to happen when they ran out? Well whatever, today's convenience was tomorrow's consequence.

 

"Alright," she announced in her flashy NCO voice. "The rations may taste like chit. The fact is they're meant to be consumed, not enjoyed. We'll divvy it up square now, but in the field you'll have to ratfrack the crates early to get the best stuff." She jabbed a thumb into her chest and pointed her chin up, "Lucky for you boys I happen to be a seasoned MRE chef, so let's get cooking." The spit and pots were a simple three-joint system, easy as one-two-three. If you were really stupid you might get burnt by the fire, which wasn't out of the question for troopers, but they had buckets of water around for emergencies. Bee started throwing together a 'curry' in the loosest sense of the term, which began as chunky mush in a pot containing all the essential nutrients. In the meantime, the pizza squares were an exotic novelty to be shared around in small pieces. They may have tasted like they were laser-printed, but it was far from the worst you could get.


Edited by BE-183, 23 August 2019 - 08:50 PM.

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