Star Wars Episode I: Awakening

A re-imagining of The Phantom Menace!

Star Wars: Episode II,


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June 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What happened?


Let me answer the emails and messages flooding my inbox with a simple answer. The question I get is “where is the rest of it???”

 

The answer is right here. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/130987

 

On this blog, you will find Chapters 1-16 of my rough draft of the novel. If you want to read the finished version AND the ending of the novel, you will have to download it. Don’t worry, the book is 100% free to all readers!

 

Please note, you can also find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/David-Gremillion/235899486484620.

I am also on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/u/0/115849170076102320376/

 

Enjoy reading my full-length Star Wars novel!

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chapter IV – Desperate Measures


Chapter IV – Desperate Measures

Anakin shot out of the hangar bay and rose quickly to the cruising altitude of one hundred meters. He skimmed along the surface and prepared for hitting the first checkpoint before beginning the run through Beggar’s Canyon. Anakin saw an arrow shaped INCOM T-10 Cloudrunner coming up behind him and moved to block the racer. As he moved, he saw another T-10 as well as a flashy XT-2000 Starchaser. Anakin rolled his eyes.

“As if it mattered who was first into a canyon,” he muttered and let the two ships pass him. The pilot of the T-10 threw him a mock salute as he accelerated past Anakin and toward the checkpoint. The XT-2000 also brushed past him, nearly hitting his wing as it passed. Anakin grimaced as his proximity warning went off, but where was Aiya? Anakin looked around and saw that she was still hanging back with the pack, not making any moves to snare the lead position.

All twelve craft passed through the checkpoint and Anakin’s time and how far behind the leader he was flashed on his HUD. He was only three-tenths of one second behind, which was typical for the race. They all dipped down together off of the plateau and down toward the entrance to Beggar’s Canyon.

Anakin was in fourth position when all the racers formed a single file and began their deceleration to safely enter the canyon. He slowed down to avoid the sharp crags, the jutting outcropping of rocks that threatened to end his race and possibly his life. He moved quickly to the left and right and hung as close to the middle of the narrow canyon floor as possible to stay away from the razor sharp edges. The floor of the canyon was actually the roof of a whole other semi-cavernous level. Anakin had often gone walking around in that area with Owen, marveling at the other world beneath their feet.

His radar screamed at him and he saw a green blip that was behind him careen into one of the walls and go dark. He re-focused himself on keeping the Volo in one piece when suddenly a blaster bolt shot past the nose of his ship.

“No one can activate their weapons until we’re in orbit!” Anakin shouted angrily. Another bolt shot past him and he realized they were too small to come from a ship. A message flashed on his HUD in red letters.

“Tusken Raiders on the cliffs of Beggar’s Canyon. Racers are advised to use caution.”

“Thanks for the practical advice,” he muttered.

Anakin let his instincts guide him around the narrow canyon as blaster bolts landed around him. His radar and proximity alarms sounded as a sleek looking J-27 three engine interceptor loomed behind him. One of the raiders had hit the left engine and Anakin watched smugly as the pilot lost control and couldn’t balance his craft.

“One less to worry about,” he grinned, but quickly lost that grin. The ship had exploded, but the bulk of the fuselage was lifted up into the air and was going to land on his own craft. In half a heartbeat, Anakin plunged his controls down and the Volo dropped out of sight altogether.

The three engine wreckage crashed harmlessly onto the ground as other racers flew past it unharmed. Anakin’s clearance above ground had been barely more than five meters on each wing, now flying under the “racetrack” reduced his clearance to such a short amount that he was forced to turn off his proximity alarm.

As he flipped off the annoying klaxon a series of circuits erupted, showering him in sparks, and darkened his cockpit. Anakin’s computer had completely blown out. With the exception of the passing lights of the world above him, he was flying blind.

Anakin felt his focus lock in and his instincts completely took over. He was able to anticipate every hairpin turn, every stalactite that threatened him, every single piece of this planet that threatened to crush his ship and his life at any moment with almost no light or computer to guide him.

Suddenly, Anakin felt his instincts scream at him and he pulled up hard and shot through a hole large enough for the Volo to fit through and he burst back onto the surface of Beggar’s Canyon barely ten meters behind the two leaders who passed him earlier. His grin widened as he could only imagine the looks on their faces as he seemed to spring out of the ground behind them. The Dune Sea was quickly approaching and Anakin prepared to leave them all behind.

Seconds before they were finally out of the canyon and with Anakin’s hand inching toward the accelerator, his instincts screamed once again. Above him, barely a half a meter from his canopy, the most beautiful ship he had ever seen flew above him and kicked its engines to life with enormous thrust just in front of the two leaders of the race. The nose kicked up and the sudden thrust from the engines scorched the canopies of the two ships. They veered off in different directions in total panic just before they reached the end of the canyon. Their ships slammed into both walls and exploded.

Anakin gasped and pulled up hard as the explosion from the two ships sent debris scattering in every direction. The fireball roared toward him as he strained at the controls of the Volo, debris clattering off of his canopy and fuselage. Anakin held his breath as he shot through the maelstrom unscathed and shot into the Dune Sea. Aiya Rios and her Aethersprite were far ahead of him now and Anakin almost thought he could hear her laughing in the distance.

As he slammed the accelerator forward, he felt the Volo respond instantly. His ship almost seemed angry as it shot across the flats of the Dune Sea. A quick glance at his radar showed the pack dropping behind him. It was clearly down to him and Aiya, yet he simply couldn’t catch her.

Anakin checked his readouts. He was flying across the Dune Sea at a velocity he had only flirted with in the past. His hull was intact and his aerodynamics were sound. He wasn’t dragging anything, but he couldn’t catch the Aethersprite. A slight sense of panic crept into the cockpit with him like an unwelcome passenger.

“Now that is fast,” he let out a low whistle as they zoomed past a herd of wild Banthas and through the next checkpoint.

He was now a full two seconds behind Aiya, an eternity in the racing world. She picked her nose up and shot toward space, twin exhaust trails showing her path to the stars. Two seconds later, Anakin followed suit. He set the ship on autopilot and began going through his pre-orbital checklist when another message appeared.

“You have a cute little ship. It looks precious in my rear-view scanner. After the race, can we talk about it for a while? I do enjoy antiques!” –A. Rios, Position 1.

Anakin felt his panic twist into anger as he read the message three times. Each time, the message burned him more intensely. His ship was an antique? The ship he had tinkered with and nurtured after finding it in a scrap-yard when he was a child? He and the Volo had practically grown up together and he refused to let his long time friend be insulted.

They left the atmosphere with the rest of the pack now a full twelve seconds behind them, nearly eliminating them from contention. Anakin pushed them all from his mind and focused on the next generation of racing vehicle that was in front of him.

He could feel the internal life support blowing cool air on his face as the clouds fell away and the blackness of space welcomed him. Anakin felt more at home crammed into a cockpit in space than down on the planet’s surface.

“Now for the fun part,” Anakin said.

He watched Aiya pass through the first checkpoint and activate her weapon systems. One-point-seven seconds later, Anakin also passed through the checkpoint and powered up his weapons system. Thankfully, the targeting scanners were functioning well enough to run a brief diagnostic to ensure that everything was working before Anakin got the green light to begin shooting. A message flashed on his HUD:

“Warning, one-tenth of a second will be added for each missed target.”

Anakin tensed at the controls. He needed every microsecond he could get.

There were four different paths he could take here and each path had ten rings to it. This allowed the flyers enough rings to shoot at without flying up each other’s tailpipes. Each path curved slightly and then had a steep arcing return to where they started from. Anakin joked with Owen that this was the “Shoelace Run” due to the shape of the ring path.

Each ring was only eight meters in diameter, leaving barely two meters clearance on each side of his narrow craft. Each ring has five equidistant points on its perimeter and each point had to be shot out to avoid penalties. The catch was that the rings would begin shrinking once the first target was struck. You couldn’t shoot too soon or you wouldn’t have enough space to fly through unless you want to leave a piece of your wings behind. If you shoot too late, you don’t have time to hit all your targets. It took incredible instincts to walk this fine balance and Anakin’s had yet to fail him.

Aiya banked to the left and Anakin steered to the right, adjusting his speed to keep his timing precise and at an appropriate distance, he opened fire. The ring’s five points winked out one after another as the beams struck home. Anakin barreled through the first and then began to climb to the next one. His blasters again lashed out at the target and again the points went dark.

He increased his speed along the now curving path, passing through ring after ring, hitting target after target. After his third ring, he stole a glance toward Aiya and saw that he was actually gaining some ground on her. She was only one ring in front of him now, perhaps only a full second ahead. Anakin tore through the fourth ring with a vengeance and decided to try something that, even for him, was reckless.

The fifth ring was at the apex of the tightly formed loop. Anakin shot the targets out farther out than he ever had before and then hit his aft vertical thrusters. He shut off his main engines and let the momentum carry him toward the ever shrinking ring. His thrusters were pitching his nose down and pointing him exactly toward the final half of the loop. Physics was in control of the Volo now.

As he neared the ring, Anakin had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. The ring was shrinking and he was simply drifting toward it. He was five hundred meters away now and he was silently praying that he had judged his timing correctly. He was three hundred meters away and his rotation was nearly complete. The blackness of space was now replaced by the rusty brown surface of Tatooine. Anakin allowed himself to stare at the immense planet in awe for only a moment before he realized that he was a scant fifty meters from the now much smaller ring. He held his breath in the hopes that it would somehow help him slide through the narrowing obstacle.

There was a slight shudder within the ship as Anakin watched a little paint scrape off the hull as he passed through the ring. Once he was clear, Anakin jammed his accelerator forward and the Volo responded instantly. His current orientation afforded him the luxury of already being pointed directly at Tattooine. He soared toward the next ring at an incredible speed and shaved off so much time that he was certain he had left even the unbeatable Aethersprite behind.

By the count displayed on his HUD, Aiya had missed three targets and Anakin smiled smugly to himself at this slight advantage.

Anakin completed the loop, raced through the last ring, and glanced around him to see where his competition was. The four paths converged on roughly the same area, pointing back toward the Final Run on Tatooine’s surface. Anakin was stunned to see that Aiya Rios was practically in his exhaust trail. He had used an unprecedented maneuver and he was only barely hanging on!

He shifted in his seat uncomfortably as his mind scrambled to come up with some desperate solution. The solution seemed to come from somewhere within himself. Anakin’s own being seemed to push the Volo into a steeper dive.

He was supposed to fire his retro-thrusters and slow his descent once he hit the thermosphere, but he didn’t.

He was supposed to reduce his engine thrust and begin to pull out of the dive before he hit the mesosphere, but he didn’t.

He was supposed to start leveling off before leaving the mesosphere, but he didn’t.

Anakin’s calm focus blocked out the shaking of his ship, the creaking of his wings, and the warnings his HUD was screaming at him. He simply let his instincts take control and when the time was right, he fired the retro-thrusters, his vertical thrusters, cut his main engine speed, and pulled back as hard as he could .

The Volo groaned at the sudden change of direction at record breaking speeds. Anakin could feel the G-Forces pressing him against his seat and the wings shuddered violently.

“C’mon…I do not want this race to be known as the Skywalker Memorial Race,” Anakin grunted as he strained at the controls. Anakin hit the stratosphere, a mere fifty kilometers from the surface, before his ship finally began to respond. Slowly, but surely, the Volo pulled out of the dive. Anakin was less than one hundred meters from the ground when he finally leveled off and entered the Final Run.

Anakin couldn’t help but whoop in delight as he looked around and saw he was alone. He felt comfortable that he had finally left Aiya Rios behind him. Anakin felt the panic fade and his confidence return as he shot down the final one hundred kilometers to the finish line.

He thought about how he was finally going to leave Tattooine and start a real life. The galaxy was calling to him and his victory over Aiya Rios was the icing on the cake. Everything was going to change for Anakin Skywalker as soon as he crossed that finish line.

The Volo’s proximity alarm went off. Anakin snapped his head around to see the Aethersprite was there, creeping up on his starboard wing.

Anakin’s grin faded. He felt the ire rise in his throat like bile. The Volo was his love, his life, his passion, the one thing in his miserable existence that brought him happiness, and it simply wasn’t good enough. He glanced over at the Aethersprite to see that Aiya was looking back at him. She flashed a quick smile at him as the prototype continued to pass him.

Anakin saw his freedom slipping away as she inched by him and they neared the finish pylons. Panic coursed through him as he saw his chance to finally leave this barren rock, the moisture farm, and his meaningless existence stolen from him and there was nothing he could do about it.

He turned to look at the Aethersprite again. No, he didn’t look at it, he focused on it. His eyes were burning into the hull of the ship with rage. He felt this strange sense of calm, as if this anger and focus felt right.

With no warning, the left wing of the state of the art Delta-7 prototype shattered into a thousand pieces.

Aiya Rios spun out of control on all axes only five hundred meters shy of the pylons and plummeted toward the planet’s surface. He watched the canopy explode and Aiya’s escape chute deployed an instant before the beautiful prototype slammed into the ground.

Anakin let a roar of triumph escape his lips as he crossed the pylons, shattering his old speed record. He then looped into the air and spun his ship back around as roving TDI’s surrounded his ship, broadcasting his winning smile to the masses back on the planet’s surface.

——————–

As the rescue boats raced to the shattered remains of the Delta-7, a man in a hooded brown robe turned to face his former Master.

“Master, tell me you felt that,” Obi-Wan Kenobi said quietly.

“Yes, it was very hard to ignore,” Qui-Gon Jinn replied.

“What do you think it means?” Obi-Wan asked.

“I’m not sure. That was brief, but incredibly intense. Perhaps you should have a conversation with that young pilot before you leave tonight.”

“Have you felt anything like it before? What he did shook me,” Obi-Wan shivered, despite the repressive heat.

“Rarely have I felt a disturbance in the Force like this. When the rescue boats return, I will see to Aiya Rios and the Aethersprite. You will go and speak to him immediately. Determine what his intentions are and feel out his emotional state. He may be a promising candidate.” Qui-Gon instructed.

“Promising is an understatement,” the younger man locked his eyes on the grinning picture of a triumphant Anakin Skywalker.

October 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Chapter X – Discovery


Chapter X –Discovery


The entire warehouse was one giant room filled wall-to-wall with cylindrical tubes more than four meters in height. Row upon row of the transparent, green tubes was connected to an electronic panel. As the shock wore off, Anakin and Obi-Wan began to walk down one of the rows inspecting tube after tube. Each one contained a clone in a state of hibernation. Tubes and wires were connected to each one in a prime example of uniformity as the clones silently floated in a bacta solution.

“Don’t touch anything,” Obi-Wan warned.

Anakin nodded in agreement. “That goes for you too Sena…” he turned to see that Padme was still standing by the door. Her hand had risen to her mouth, her eyes wide in shock.

“In all this time…I never…I mean, I always thought something was wrong…but this?” she stammered in horror.

“It appears that your investigation has steered us away from the negotiating table. Would you like to see how far the road goes?” Obi-Wan gestured for her to join them.

Padme took the holo-recorder from her pack and began recording as she slowly walked down the row. Anakin walked behind her and paused to observe the digital readouts on one of the tubes.

The display had typical medical information such the clone’s pulse, breathing, blood flow, brain function, and development of his muscular, circulatory and skeletal systems. Something on the display caught his eye. In the upper-right hand corner, the display read “1,027 of 141,426”.

Anakin noticed that this clone looked amazingly lifelike behind the glass. The clone was male, approaching two meters in height, with a typical military haircut and a muscular build. Even in stasis, it was an intimidating specimen. It seemed exactly like what Anakin would want in a soldier.

“Simply incredible. I can’t believe Tarkin would do such a thing,” Amidala breathed in awe as she stepped closer to one of the clones with the holo-recorder.

“This would explain the need for space, Senator,” Obi-Wan said. “We need to leave soon. I believe the Jedi Council and the Galactic Senate will be very interested in this holo-recording.”

“Cloning has been banned for over sixty years,” Amidala said into the recorder. “Sixty years since the Treaty of Sundari forbade all knowledge, construction, production, or any creation of clones. Tarkin has the arrogance to create a clone army…but to what end? All he would need to do to get more troops is to request them. What would General Tarkin want with an army of clones?”

Anakin shrugged his shoulders. “So Tarkin is making soldiers instead of conscripting them, what’s the big deal?” Anakin could recall with a shudder when “Patriotic Volunteer Enforcement Squads” would roam across Tatooine.

Padme turned to look at him, the holo-recorder still humming.

“Anakin, sixty years ago, there was a great movement in the Galactic Senate to use clones instead of actual people for military service. Nobody wanted conscriptions and to create enough battle droids to fill our ranks would have bankrupted the Republic several times over. At the time, cloning seemed the answer to our problems. In a few short years, we could have a standing army and navy with no risk to our own citizens.”

“The problem was that now we had ‘created’ people to do our fighting for us. No one had considered the moral and ethical implications of creating people to fight and die for us. Did they have rights? Did they have souls? Did we have the right to create an entire race of people bred only to fight? What did we do with them during peacetime? There questions and many more were hotly debated across the Republic until the mutinies began,” she continued. Her attention returned to the clones and Obi-Wan took over.

“At the height of it all, there were twelve clones to every non-clone in the military. The clones disobeyed orders, refused to attack, refused to defend, refused to do much of anything at all. This act of insubordination quickly turned violent and the Republic found itself badly outnumbered. The clones went berserk, attacking friend, foe, and civilian alike. There were incidents where starships of clones would bombard peaceful Republic worlds from orbit, causing massive devastation.

“Our scientists discovered that there was a genetic design flaw that causes all clones to eventually lose their minds within twenty-four months of being created. There was no preventing it, there was no curing it, and nothing could be done to save those clones already in service,” he closed his eyes in sympathy.

“So the Republic set about a course of action that would shame itself for generations. We had no choice but to destroy them all. Countless millions of clones were killed, regardless of if you believed they had souls or not. It was regrettable, but there was no other alternative. What you see here before you is monstrous because the clone you look at will one day turn against you and try to kill you. And worse still is the fact that one day you will have to turn against it and kill it,” Obi-Wan said.

Anakin peered closer at his clone. The peaceful sleep it was in made him wonder if it really was alive. It seemed so motionless that it was statuesque and not a flesh and blood person. Anakin’s hand reached out and tapped the glass on the tube.

The clone’s eyes flashed open and it began to thrash about in the tube. His hands beat upon the glass and his eyes rolled around wildly. All the displays began to flash red as alarm sirens began to wail. Obi-Wan and Padme whirled around at Anakin, the holo-recorder still recording.

“I thought I said not to touch anything!” Obi-Wan shouted over the klaxons.

Anakin waved his hand mimicking Obi-Wan’s actions against the soldiers. “You didn’t see me touch anything,” Anakin shouted back.

Obi-Wan grimaced and sped for the door. Anakin felt embarrassed as he ran after him with Padme on his heels, stuffing the holo-recorder into her pack. They didn’t get more than a few feet outside the building before the two guards Obi-Wan had persuaded to allow them inside appeared with four additional soldiers. Anakin’s eyes locked on the six rifles pointed at the three companions.

“Hold it!” yelled the lead soldier. “Get your hands into the air and…”

Anakin could feel a surge emanating from Obi-Wan Kenobi when the guards appeared. He was amazed to see Obi-Wan bow his head, close his eyes, and then focus that surge. Obi-Wan flung his arms out and all six members of Republic Garrison Three-Two-Eight were scooped off the ground, soared into the air, and crashed back to the pavement thirty feet away, knocking them all out.

“Keep moving!” Obi-Wan shouted and then sprinted back to the low part in the wall where they had entered the base. The three of them skidded to a halt as a large Armored Land Cruiser appeared in the intersection just between them and their escape.

The ALC rolled its gray, boxy frame around on six wheels each as tall as a man. Anakin’s stomach knotted as the ALC lowered its massive cannon toward them. From the folds of his robe, Obi-Wan pulled out a metallic object.

“Stay out of sight, if possible,” Obi-Wan instructed. Anakin’s heart skipped a beat as a blue blade extended with a snap-hiss. Obi-Wan ran directly at the ALC, the lightsaber raised high into the air. The ALC let out a blast from its cannon that should have cracked open the street. Jedi Kenobi deflected the beam into a nearby building. Smaller cannons mounted on the front of the ALC also opened fire, red blasts flashing at Obi-Wan. The blue of his lightsaber flashed almost too fast for Anakin to see as Obi-Wan quickly closed the distance to the daunting machine.

Padme and Anakin crouched behind a bench. Anakin watched with wonder and admiration as Jedi Kenobi danced with the ninety ton monster. He darted around the machine, the blade flashing here and there; and everywhere the lightsaber was, sparks and flames erupted half a heartbeat later. Anakin was entranced by how effortlessly Obi-Wan moved. It was as if he moved naturally and with no danger around at all.

Two soldiers crawled out of a hatch at the top of the vehicle and began drawing their side-arms. Before they had a chance to attack the Jedi Knight, Obi-Wan thrust his arm out and flung them off the vehicle with ease using the Force. Finally, the ALC collapsed on its flat tires and Obi-Wan extinguished his blade. But the desire in Anakin’s heart would never be so extinguished.

Obi-Wan Kenobi took one more look around, and then waved at Padme and Anakin to come join him. Together, they ran past the burning hulk and back to their tension wire at the wall. They climbed over one at a time, and then sped off into the night.

————————————

“Are they away?” General Tarkin asked his aide.

“Yes, General,” Colonel Kinyon answered with disgust.

General Tarkin sighed as he stared out the window as firefighting brigades were working to extinguish the blaze that engulfed one of his ALC’s. As he watched seven million Republic credits go up in flames, Tarkin fought to keep his wrath down.

He was exposed now, but it was not done according to his plans. Tarkin knew that Amidala would be screaming at the top of her lungs in the morning to everyone with at least one set of ears. The fact that she did it on her own initiative and had not “danced” to his tune was upsetting and humiliating.

“Shall I inform Senator Palpatine?” Colonel Kinyon broke the uncomfortable silence.

General Tarkin’s voice became gravely quiet. “No, Colonel. I do not see a reason to share our incompetence. I suspect he’ll find out when Amidala finds a transmitter anyway.”

“Do you know what the single most important facet of any battle is, Colonel? The one thing that you absolutely must have when battling a squad or an entire Star Fleet? You must have the initiative! This girl has stolen it from us. Please convey my extreme disappointment to the men and prepare them for tomorrow’s inspection,” Tarkin gave a dismissive wave of his hand.

“But, Palpatine…” Kinyon began.

“Is not your commanding officer,” Tarkin whirled around and faced his aide.

“Stop thinking and follow orders,” his eyes glowed with a darkness that made the blood in Kinyon’s veins run cold.

After leaving the office, Colonel Kinyon felt a tremendous amount of shame. His superior officer, one of the finest military minds the Republic had ever known, had been humiliated. It was clear now that the girl would have to suffer for this disgrace.

Thankfully, he had been preparing for just such a contingency. He knew that Tarkin could never give the order to have her killed. However, “plausible deniability” was a wonderful thing. Now is the time for redemption for the Republic’s Finest. As he sat down at his desk outside General Tarkin’s office, he keyed an order into his communicator.

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment