Thursday, March 22, 2012

A brief return to story writing

I have never been a big fan of Star Wars. The old series or the new, the universe just seemed a little too ... comical for me (or something). It is actually one of the reasons why I think the more recent films did not succeed in the minds of viewers in the last few years. In today's TV series where you see gritty, hard-boiled character developed stories (e.g. BattleStar Galactica, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones), stories that succeed phenomenally ratings wise, it is easy to look at something like the recent Star Wars films and notice the incredible lack of it.

So, without really thinking about it much, I decided to write the introduction to a gritty story set in the Star Wars universe. It took me less than half an hour, but it is the kind of introduction to a sci-fi film that I reckon I would continue watching. There are slight elements of the Warhammer 40k universe in here (primarily because I am more familiar with it) that fans of that universe will probably easily spot. There are bound to be some bits that I have missed or interpreted incorrectly (again, not an avid fan of Star Wars at all), so bear with me. I swear I will make a post about gaming again when there is a game worth posting about.


The music was making it hard to concentrate. The band of biths in the western corner of the bar had resorted to tunes native of their homeworld, unlike the typical jazzy score they were popular for. The night had drawn out and the occupants of the bar at this hour were not your usual attendants. Hard working labourers working inhumane hours slowly replaced by some of the seedier trades of the sector. Prositution. Drugs. Weapons. Slavery. Criminals and scumbags awakening in the night to do business into the new day. Through fear of martial arrest, the shroud of night had become their domain ... and consequently their prison. It would be hard to tell among this bunch.

Within this ominous setting there sat a figure, humanoid in shape, alone in the centre of the scene. He was dressed in what appeared to be blanketed rags, reaching the ground from the barstool and covering his neck and head like a hood and shroud. He looked tired, as well he should. He had travelled precariously far to get here and risked everything in doing so. Looking up from his glass into the gloomily lit surroundings, he noticed the approaches of a female twi'lek, gracefully striding to his table with the seductive confidence and manner of her kind. They both knew what this was. Removing his gaze from her bodice he stared blankly into her eyes. She looked back with the feigned eagerness that only an experienced 'worker' would possess. After a few moments, her expression changed and without saying a single word, the shrouded man convinced her that it was not going to happen. She returned glumly to her master's table, displeasure written across the man's face, confusion and shock written across hers.

The music was making it hard to concentrate. Removing his gaze from the whore and her unimpressed pimp, he drew his attention to the band and their alien instruments. Never one for music, he found the logic of the musicians puzzling. A usually respectable race performing a respectable profession amongst this sorry crew was a rare sight to behold. And what a sorry crew it was. Wookies, selonians, aqualish, jawas, rodians and, worse of all, humans. The worst of the galaxies species, all crowded in one coop. Racial tension would be high here, and any dispute would cause the whole bar to erupt in an orgy of violence. It would be difficult to perform amongst this crowd.

An angry fist was slammed into a table a few seats away from the shrouded man. Looks like it was too late. Something about incorrect payment, or a late delivery. It was hard to tell amongst all the laughing and profanity. However, it was obvious what was about to happen from where the shrouded man was sitting. The aggressor, in his rage, was not sitting on his chair correctly anymore and his victim was slowly reaching under the table with his foot while drawing a small blaster from his lower vest pocket. It was a rookie tactic, to feign defeat and fear while cowering in your position but giving yourself an advantageous maneuver. Almost anyone would have seen it coming, but the aggressor seemed to be completely blind in his fury. The foot went up, the blaster was drawn and the rodian was shot in the head while lying on his back. The bar went quiet, including the band, heads turning to the point of conflict for the briefest moment. The victor sat back down on his chair, gathering the slates on the table and eventually everyone looked away, the event already being forgotten. The music started up again.

The music was making it hard to concentrate. It was an unnerving tune, both sad and spooky having a lethargic feel to it, causing visitors to relax and slow down. The effects were subtle but noticeable, causing visitors to have another lazy drink or possibly open their wallets a little further for business. There is always a reason for everything and the shrouded man reflected on this, as he had done many times in the past. To casual observers, how this unknown human had ended up in the asshole of the galaxy was a big mystery. For him, it was but a brief moment in history, one that would resonate in due time.

It seemed the dispute was not completely over. Another rodian busted through the scanner doors and, noticing his companion lying dead on the ground, unholstered his weapon from his back and took aim at the previous victor. The shrouded man slowly lay his head on the table, as if going to sleep. The rodian fired a short burst, missing wildly and hitting the pimp in the back of the room. Killed instantly, the pimp's bodyguards drew their weapons and fired a hail of energy bursts in the direction of the assailant, killing both the rodian and the previous victor in the process, along with several others. All hell broke loose, everyone in the room grabbing for their blasters or diving for cover wherever they could find. Suddenly, the hall was filled with the cacophony of concentrated light waves dispersing air, the view a light show of blaster fire spitting on every surface of the bar. Someone had managed to bring in a lasrifle in and on full auto, quickly seared the occupants of the western side of the stage. He quickly became the target of almost everyone in the room, mowed down and torn to pieces by an endless stream of blaster fire. Someone on fire ran for the door but was cut down in the process. The smell of burning flesh and ionized air filled the room, a room still ablaze with both blaster light and flames. An explosion erupted from underneath a table, a droid's fuel compartment igniting within its hiding place, hurtling people towards the middle of the room. Amongst all this madness, the shrouded man still lay with his head on the table, eyes closed. Unmoving.

Eventually the blaster fire ceased. The smoke began to clear and the survivors crawled or limped slowly out of their hiding spots. A few stray shots were fired to finish people off, although almost everyone in the room had been killed. A large figure emerged from the back storage room, a gungan, fat and old. The owner of the bar. Mouth open in horror, he slowly moved to the middle of the hall, taking in the damage done to his place and the corpses lying everywhere. "What the fuck been doing in here you idiots!?", he bellowed, anger slowly forming across his ugly brow.

The female twi'lek, the whole time, had been watching the shrouded man lying on the table. The whole fight he had not moved. Whether he had been hit or not, prior or during, she did not know. Until he opened his eyes and looked at her.

The sound of ionized air, an electrical discharge and the flapping of large blanketed rags was heard throughout the room. An instant later, the head of the gungan landed deftly in the female twi'leks lap, tongue lolling ridiculously. The gungan's body, still in the centre of the room, next to the shrouded man's table, flopped on its side with a crash. Every eye in the room was focused on the weapon raised in the air. A weapon not seen in generations. A weapon marking something terrifying. A red weapon.

The shrouded man lowered the lightsabre, flicking the activation switch and watched as its form shrank back into the hilt. Giving the corpse of the gungan a light kick, he raised his head and listened. Looking to his left he observed the corpses of the bith band. If he still remembered how to smile he would have. After a moment he sat back down and began finishing his drink, taking a data slate from his sleeve and marking off his current target from a list of many. He closed his eyes and sat perfectly still, listening to the voices and alarms echoing in the distant night.

After some time, the female twi'lek, unaware of what she had just witnessed, came to stand over him.

"What are you doing?" she asked.


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