Part 20: Days 418-449: Let's Name a Death Star!
DAY 417: The Decision Begins.
: Wait! What are you doing?
I watched the guards throw Bevel into an isolated cell. On the bed was a single-shot blaster.
: You have twenty-four hours.
: Twenty-four hours to what?! TO WHAT?!
: I've made my decision. Time for you to make your's.
The door slid down, shutting him away from all human contact. Alone in the dark, in a cell with no food, no water, only a gun with one shot.
: What are you planning, Master Meteor?
: Testing his resolve and intelligence.
: Oh? How so?
: He should figure out I want a Death Star, otherwise he'd be dead or worse. When he realizes that, he then needs to test his soul.
: I don't understand Master Meteor, what do you mean?
: If he builds a Death Star, he's building it for me. Me. Who could possibly do that, without first damning himself? If that thought doesn't lead him to kill himself, we'll begin construction.
: Oh my.
: Yeah. Time to wait and see.
Part of me wanted to see his brains decorating the wall when we opened the cell the next day. The power of the Death Star, harnessed for me alone, was scary. I don't think whatever being intelligent enough to create the universe would want me to have it.
Things were getting frightening.
The next day started with the usual news stories.
The last neutral planet in the Sluis sector, which I'd thought we'd taken already, finally threw its cards in with us. More refineries and mines.
The info from Sullust shows nothing left. Corfai had no ground troops, but plenty of TIEs. Nothing amazing.
The Sad King Billy arrived above Sullust again. As soon as the ObMeiste fleet arrived on day 422, I'd have the troops to launch an assault to take the planet by force.
: Things look well enough. But I've stalled enough. Bring him to me.
Bevel was unceremoniously shoved into the command room. Defiance burned in his eyes. He didn't seem broken to me. And that was when he pulled the blaster from his sleeve and pointed it at me.
: I may not be a soldier, but at this distance, even I couldn't miss.
: You're right, you're not a soldier. You're an inventor. And if you shoot me, you'll never get the shot you want at building a Death Star.
He stood, still as a statue.
: You want one built?
: I'm in this war to win it.
: At any cost?
: I left the gun in your cell for a reason, to prove that very fact.
He tossed the blaster aside.
: Then we must get started. You will not regret this decision.
: How long will it take you to re-create the blueprints?
: A matter of seconds.
: Wow, already? Out in Norwal II?
: Yes, the further away from the prying eyes of Mon Mothma, the better. She would never allow this to be built.
: Very well. We will proceed.
: Do you have a name in mind for it, Commander?
: Not yet. I'm sure one will come to me. You can leave to supervise construction.
: Very well. You will not regret this.
: ...GODDAMMIT THREEPIO!
: W..what, Master Meteor? What did I do?
: What did you do?! I ask you to bring him to me, and you let him keep a loaded blaster?! Are you trying to get me killed!
: Oh dear! You didn't specify how you wanted him, and he did hide the gun in his clothing.
: Threepio? Get out of my sight before I blast you.
DAY 421: Very Crixy
: What now, Commander?
: Find bad guys. Kill bad guys.
: That's...not what I really do, Commander.
: Okay, you sit there and be useless. Crix, search and destroy.
: On it.
: And get a haircut.
: Lose the neckbeard?
: Hell no.
DAY 422: The Assault
The forces arrived. Pieces in place, I signaled for Admiral Virgilio to start the assault.
The Medium Transports swooped down, taking a few potshots at civilian Sullustans on occasion. That probably wouldn't help quell any uprisings following the assault, but who was I to deny them some sport?
: It appears the populace is not entirely united against the Alliance, Master Meteor. The five army regiments sent in the assault are exactly enough to garrison the planet peacefully.
: What about the smuggling? HAAAAAN!
: Whaaat? A guy's gotta make some money from time to time, it's not like I don't have some debts to pay.
: Yeah, but, that's MY money you're taking there! Get your smugglebuddies together and put an end to it.
: Alright, alright. I was hoping to pay off the bounty on my head, but I'll work on ending the losses.
: Thanks. Bounty? What bounty?
: Ah, Jabba the Hutt's got one out for me. I've been running into his thugs here and there, looking to collect.
: Don't even think about it.
: Wasn't. I promise. Probably wasn't even all that much. Was it?
: I don't think I like where this conversation is going. See you later, Commander.
DAY 423: The Revenge of Vanden Willard.
: Master Meteor? I'm afraid I neglected to inform you of a situation yesterday.
: What? Why? Was it important?
: It seemed less important than the assault on Sullust, but it now has escalated.
: What is it?
: Vanden Willard has fully recuperated. He is ready to be utilized.
: Oh Goddammit. So we have to deal with him, huh. I don't even know where to send him anymore.
: It seems he's already made that decision for you, Master Meteor.
: Doo hoo hoo, REVEEEEENGE! I'll kill you allllllll!
: Wow. I like the new Vanden.
DAY 427-431: Shotgun Diplomacy and Exploration.
: I don't like what this says about our Alliance, Threepio. Three of our ten best diplomats are a redneck, a hippy, and an amorphous crap-pile with an eye-patch.
: I'm certain they'll do the best job they can.
: Anthem of the loser. What's that ship out there?
: That's the Hokage. The captain decided to explore an unexplored Outer Rim sector after not receiving orders for two hundred days.
: Oh. Oops. Well, good job to it. I probably should look to those exploration ships I sent out. I wonder if they're all alive.
: That sounds very careless of you, Master Meteor.
: Makes sense, since I don't care.
A day later, results came in.
: Well I'll be damned.
: That is good news for the Alliance!
: No, it's not. It means the people of that planet are idiots.
A few days later, I got an expected hyperlink call.
: Hello? Commander?
: Crix? What're you doing? Where are you?
: I'm in Ghorman, using an Imperial transmitter to contact you.
: Why the hell are you breaking hyperlink silence? You're surrounded by the enemy, they could track your signal!
: Yeah, I know. It really doesn't feel like I'm on a mission if I don't get captured at least once or twice before Rogue Squadron comes to rescue me.
: That's...kinda messed up. You have Princess Toadstool syndrome?
: I just follow my heart.
: Get me some intel and stop being retarded!
: Why, why me God? What did I do to deserve this? Besides the obvious stuff?
DAY 433: Obvious Results.
: Saw those coming.
: Alright, let's keep things moving. Get the CKitten on its way.
: That planet is very profitable, it has fourteen spots of energy for construction.
: Yeah, it is. But it's out in the middle of nowhere. All our resources are being poured into the Death Star.
: When we get a chance, we'll send a diplomat there I guess. Nothing more.
: Pouring our resources into what?
DAY 440: We Only Have One Shipyard Center, I Swear.
: We have developed a new ship, Commander. It is the most lethal anti-starfighter ship in the galaxy.
: Not bad. Still building a Mon Cal Cruiser, but we'll probably squeeze out a couple of those bad boys.
: A wise decision. Didn't you have two different major shipyard centers built?
: Uh, nope. Only one.
: I suppose I was mistaken.
: Yes. Now never speak of it again.
Day 441: Things Go Crazy.
The diplomats did their thing.
Which helped Han do his thing.
: They weren't happy about it, Commander. Turns out they were working for Jabba.
: Impressive. Keep it up. Threepio, what's that going on in Corellia?
: It appears Vanden Willard is at it again.
: Again?! He's a doddering old man with absolutely no chance of killing dozens of crack Imperial army regulars.
: I like it! I just might have to make friends with that senile dimwit. If he survives.
DAYS 442-444: The Stand on Sullust.
The garrison requirements on Sullust were being diminished, thanks to the constant ongoing diplomatic efforts.
With the diplomacy came whispers. The Master was returning.
I had 14 days before it hit Sullust, and a leaky cardboard cutout of a Corellian Corvette to defend with. The people knew this.
Knowing his explosive personality, as well as giant stash of explosives, would not be useful in the upcoming diplomatic and space battle, I sent Han to the Corellia sector. Vanden could use some help in sabotage.
Sixty days to get there. I hate space travel.
DAY 446: The Last System Near Coruscant.
Borsk Fey'lya took Balmorra, the last neutral system in Sesswenna, for the Alliance. Not a particularly good gain, but it's nice to have. There are no more neutral core systems left.
DAY 449: The Legend Will Never Fade.
: Vanden, dead?! How?
: It was a tragic accident on Selonia, Master Meteor. After ambushing an Imperial patrol, he threw the pin instead of the grenade.
: That...sounds about right.
: He apparently survived the initial explosion, but not the hail of blaster fire from the patrol.
: That's a bummer. I was starting to like him.
: He was a powerful force for the Alliance, his death is a great loss.
: Yeah. We need some way to carry on his spirit, his never-give-up attitude.
: Perhaps we should hold a state funeral, or start a charitable fund for him, name a ship after him, or we coul-
: Wait, that's it Threepio!
: What is, Master Meteor?
: Program Selonia into its navigation computer. We have our first test planet.