Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fiction - An Old Tale

This is a telling of an event long ago. I was still an apprentice to Nel'waith at the time. He had a fascination with the Humans and watched them often. Admittedly I was left with a similar curiosity and have kept up with some of his subjects. One of which was one Tarvis Larkaan, whom is of special interest to me. My mentor watched him for a long time. His fate was very tangled, but with some 'help' he achieved his destiny. This is how it began...

The Imperial Landspeeder lurched as Tarvis pushed the throttle forward. Bolter rounds screamed through the air all around them. The battlefield below was a study in chaos. Explosions were everywhere and there were virtually no discernable battle lines. A quick glance towards Montus, his gunner showed the older veteran holding on to whatever he could, gritting his teeth as wind buffeted the both of them. Despite the goggles, tears still streamed from his eyes. Tarvis slowed as he swung the protesting machine around to race back across the battle. As he did so, Montus laid down some heavy fire into a unit of traitor marines taking cover behind some foliage. They had no time to see if there were any casualties because that Predator was firing again.

Their orders were to take out that Predator. It had a prime position atop a hill and nothing they had could even come close to it without taking fire from it and several units surrounding. Tarvis was trying to fly a serpentine path towards it so that Montus could get a good shot in on it. Tarvis dropped the landspeeder as close to the ground as he dared as autocannon fire raked just over head. He could hear Montus retching in the seat next to him. Poor Montus was a tank gunner previously. Tarvis didn't doubt that he was glad that there was talk of retiring the old landspeeders as they were too dangerous.

Tarvis skirted around a burning house and powered into a climb above the trees in order to come around. Movement caught his eye as a trooper stepped out from behind a tree and leveled a missile launcher at them. He turned the landspeeder quickly to the right, and over the treetops. The missile missed by a near margin, but now Tarvis was staring straight across the battlefield into the barrel of the predator. Autocannon shots slammed into the speeder. Warning indicators lit up all over the console, and Tarvis felt the controls go slack in his hand. He heard a scream in the midst of the torrent of fire, probably his own. He wrenched the controls over and dove back below the treeline. He weaved and ducked for cover as best he could to try and avoid any further fire.

"Looks like we made it-" he began as he looked over toward Montus, but his gunner was incomplete from the sternum upwards. Somehow though, the shoulder harness survived, strapping the body to the chair. Tarvis skimmed past a burning wreck and took quick stock of what survived. He himself had no holes to speak of fortunately. Obviously he was still aloft, though smoke was pouring out of one of the engines. Lots of systems failures though, he wouldn't be flying long. His own forward mounted weapon was hanging loose beneath the craft. The gunner's weapon seemed operational, but there was no way he could fire and pilot the craft at the same time. The skimmer was running out of cover and he was rapidly approaching the hill where his target was. Tarvis felt a wave of confidence sweep over him despite the situation. "well..." he thought aloud, "I've got a mission to accomplish!"

He waited until he heard the tank firing at another target and then he acted. The remaining engine screamed in protest as Tarvis pushed the throttle as far forward as he could. The landspeeder leapt above the treetops and sped towards the target. The tank was swinging it's turret around already. A lascannon from somewhere left a bright streak of afterimage his retinas as it missed him. Wind screamed in his ears as he willed every ounce of speed from his machine. The smoking engine burst into flames and multiple warnings flashed on his console. The autocannon turret swung in line.

"This is it..." he thought as the tank was dead ahead. Then, suddenly inspired he grasped his safety harness buckle, twisted it loose and leapt from the machine! He sailed through the air as his landspeeder, hurtling out of control now, and trailing smoke and flame, had nowhere to go but into the front of the enemy tank. Both exploded in a massive fireball. The ground rushed up to meet him and everything went dark.

Tarvis awoke with a start. He seemed fine other than bumps and bruises. The Emperor truly was looking out for him! Shrapnel and flaming debris were scattered about the hill top. The sounds of battle were fading in the distance, but he was still deep in enemy territory most likely. He drew his laspistol and hurried towards the tree line, feeling very fortunate to be alive. Fate must surely have something grand in store for him!

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