Sunday, 16 January 1994

The Empire Saga Chapter Twelve

    The Star Destroyer began to shake violently once again. Below in the streets of London panic began to reign. They were scared by the sight of a mighty space vessel in the sky above them. On the bridge of the Star Destroyer there were some signs of panic there too.

    “What is happening?” shouted Tarkin.
    “We are being pulled down into the Earth’s atmosphere.” said Vader. “We are starting to break up.”
    A call came through from the engine room.
    “We are losing power.”
    “We need more power to get back into space.” said Tarkin.
    “We can’t give you that power, sir.”
    “We have no choice.” said Vader. “We will have to crash land.”
    “Then we will do so.” said Tarkin.
    Vader walked over to the helm position.
    “Try to steer to an unpopulated area.” he said. “If we are to stay in this time then we may have to go into hiding.”
    The Star Destroyer began to move away from London and towards the New Forest. Needless to say the radar stations around the country seemed to be having a field day. Nearly fifty aircraft of various types were scrambled and sent to investigate the strange vessel. For UFO watchers it was a dream day for them. Just a few minutes earlier another space craft, a much smaller one, had been in orbit around Earth.
    The Star Destroyer was now clear of London and it neared the New Forest. On the bridge Vader scanned the situation.
    “We have no choice.” he said. “We have to get to the fighters and the escape pods or we will all die.”
    Tarkin looked around at the scene on the bridge. It was not a good one.
    “Give the order.” said Tarkin. “Get every available Trooper and pilot onto a vessel. Get everyone out of here!”
    The bridge began to clear. One after another TIE fighters were launched. Then, not long after that, all of the shuttle crafts were launched. It was then that an empty Star Destroyer ploughed into the New Forest. The fire from the explosion was seen for miles around.

    The limp unconscious figure of James Watt fell from the sky towards the ground at an incredible speed. He got faster and faster as he neared the ground. Then, with a tremendous impact and huge thudding noise he made an impact on the ground. A five foot deep crater was made around his body. Upon impact Watt let out a slight groan. Then there was silence until a bolt of lightning suddenly came out of the sky and struck the ground. There was a cloud of dust, and when the dust cleared Magus could be seen standing. He dusted himself off and then looked around at the surrounding countryside. He then saw the crater that Watt had made and walked over to it. He looked inside and saw the unconscious figure of Watt lying in it. Magus raised his hand and Watt began to slowly rise out of the crater. He then lowered him to the ground and kneeled over him. He began to examine Watt. Then, overhead, he heard the beating of massive wings. He looked skywards and could see White Knight in the air aboard his winged steed Galador. When White Knight saw Magus and Watt he landed near them and dismounted. He ran over to them.
    “What the hell happened to you two?” he asked. “You’ve only been gone ten minutes!”
    “It is a long story.” replied Magus. “Tell me, have you been tracking a rather large space vessel?”
    “We have. It crashed in the New Forest.” said White Knight. “How did you know about that?”
    A grim look appeared on Magus’ face.
    “There’s an army unit on the way to the New Forest now.” said White Knight. “And two RAF squadrons are also going there.
    Magus once again raised his hand, and Watt again floated in the air.
    “I want you to take James back to the mansion.” said Magus. “Treat him for shock. I’m going to the New Forest.”
    “Shock? What happened to him?”
    “The journey back from the 24th century was too quick. It had placed a strain on him somewhat.” said Magus. “If you want to know more about this sort of affliction I suggest you contact Doctor Mike Jones at Gotham Central Hospital. He’ll be able to help you there.”
    Magus then took to the skies. White Knight then carried Watt to Galador and draped him over his horse’s shoulders. He then took to the sky and headed in the direction of the Anglo-Force mansion.

    All of the roads around the New Forest had been sealed off as the various army units converged on the area. When they arrived the sight that greeted them was one of total destruction. The fire from the explosion had burned itself out, and now only the smouldering wreck of the Star Destroyer remained. The tanks and jeeps stopped just a few hundred years from the wreck. They were amazed by the devastation. One of the soldiers held a Geiger counter in front of him. The readings were higher than normal so they radioed back to their base for radiation suits. It was the last thing they called back for as a whole bunch of Storm Troopers suddenly appeared from behind the undergrowth. A battle ensued between laser blasts and bullets. Needless to say the Storm Trooper’s armour protected them from the bullets. The soldiers, however, had no protection from the laser blasts. The tanks also had very little protection from the blasters. The battle did not last long as all of the army were soon destroyed. Then from overhead the sound of aircraft engines could be heard as two squadrons of Tornado fighters appeared in the skies above them. They saw that the army units below had been destroyed, and they saw the Storm Troopers nearby so they began to fly lower, so they could launch an attack. But before they could launch an attack their radar screens went haywire as five Imperial TIE fighters suddenly appeared behind them. Needless to say they soon dealt with the Tornado fighters. The fighters and their pilots soon joined their army colleagues on the ground, dead.

    Thirty minutes later in the skies above the crash site Magus flew. From the sky he saw the devastation below. He landed to take a better view of things. The wreckage from the Star Destroyer had been joined by that of tanks and aeroplanes. Countless bodies lay all over the place. Magus was shocked by the amount of devastation there was. It saddened him greatly. He knew that somehow he had to find a way of returning the Imperial forces to their own time, because if they remained in the 21st century they could cause even more destruction.

    An Imperial shuttle craft moved through the air towards an orbit around Earth. Within a few minutes they attained this orbit. Inside the aircraft Vader sat at the controls while Tarkin sat at the computer console. Once orbit was attained Vader put the shuttle on automatic pilot. He walked over to Tarkin at the computer console.
    “What are you doing?” he asked.
    “From this station we can direct our forces on the surface.” replied Tarkin. “I have also noticed that there are many communication satellites in orbit up here with us. I am attempting to establish a link with them so we can find the whereabouts of the Anglo-Force headquarters. It is there we will find Magus and Watt, and it is there we will send our troopers.”
    “So you are still going through with this operation.” said Vader. “I think our resources would be better used in finding a way of returning to our own time.”
    “If we destroy Magus and Watt in this time period they will not exist in ours.” said Tarkin. “Once we have destroyed them we will then attempt a return.”
    Vader returned to the pilot’s chair. He was becoming disenchanted with his commanding officer’s actions. Meanwhile, at the computer console, Tarkin began the first stage of his plan. He knew that Magus and Watt would be trying to recover from their trip to the future, and that they would be in hiding. Tarkin’s plan was to draw them out into the open by using his forces to attack various installations. From the console Tarkin began the first phase of his plan.

    Johnson Air Force Base, fifty miles outside of London. It was from here that the two squadrons of Tornado fighters had been launched. The ground crews were busy trying to find out why the aircraft had not returned. Their attention was diverted when two TIE fighters appeared in the sky above the base. As all of their aircraft had been lost in the earlier battle the airbase stood no chance against the TIE fighters. The fighters swarmed low above the base and attacked. It was only a matter of minutes before the base was destroyed. Now nothing at all was left of the airbase.

    Magus flew in the skies above the Anglo-Force mansion. He had been greatly saddened by the scenes of destruction he had witnessed in the New Forest. His sadness was greatly increased by the news had had been given on his arrival at the mansion. As soon as he landed he went to the monitor room.
    “Johnson Air Force base has been destroyed by two strange aircraft.” said Star Man.
    “TIE fighters.” said Magus. “And they have also destroyed the army units and aircraft that went to the New Forest. It’s a long story, but needless to say there is great danger at the moment. Tell me, did White Knight contact Gotham Hospital?”
    “He did.” said Star Man. “Strangely enough they were expecting his call. He gave James the treatment. James is resting now in the infirmary. Katrina’s with him now.”
    “Good.” said Magus. “James will need all the rest he can get. We will have to be on our toes if we are to stop Tarkin’s forces.”
    Magus walked over to one of the monitor stations and seated himself in the chair.
    “What are you doing?” asked Star Man.
    “I’m trying to locate any strange vessel in an Earth orbit.” Magus replied. “I must find the location the Empire are launching their attacks from.”
    Magus keyed in some coordinates into the computer in an attempt to gain access to some of the communication satellites. He could not. The words “access denied” appeared on the screen in front of him.
    “So now what?” asked Star Man.
    “I have to try and determine what Tarkin’s plan is.” said Magus. “Until then find White Knight and Fire-Master. I will brief them on the current situation. Then try to get Inspector Solo at Scotland Yard. I have a feeling we will need his help.”
    Magus got up from his seat and went towards the conference room.

    The streets of London were now totally deserted. A state of emergency was now in place around Britain’s capital city. Nothing came in or went out without being checked by multiple security scans. The military had joined the police in setting up an emergency headquarters at Scotland yard. Little did they realise, however, that Scotland yard was Tarkin’s next target.
    In the dark skies above two TIE fighters suddenly appeared and began firing their lasers at the ground around the building. A red alert was called inside. The soldiers began to run for their tanks but they were cut down by blaster fire from Storm Troopers. Suddenly they rushed into the building, injuring and killing almost everyone in sight. After a few minutes however they stopped firing, as if they were about to begin a search. A part of ten Storm Troopers ran up countless flights of stairs until they found the room they were searching for. With one kick they knocked the door off it’s hinges. Suddenly bullets flew past them. Then some bounced off their armour. The Troopers looked inside. They had broken into the office of Chief Inspector Paul Solo. He was their intended target. Two of the troopers stood in front of Solo and pointed their blasters at him.
    “Surrender yourself. “ they ordered. “And no harm will come to you.”
    Solo placed his hand on his temple, and one of the blasters suddenly began to rise into the air. The Storm Trooper was surprised by this. A few seconds later the blaster was in Solo’s hand.
    “Perhaps you should surrender now.” he said.
    Then the other Trooper opened fire, and a blast ripped into Solo’s shoulder. Solo dropped the blaster. Then the Trooper turned round when he heard footsteps behind him. He turned round to see the foreboding figure of Darth Vader approaching him.
    “Is this the one?” asked Vader.
    “Yes, Lord Vader.” This is Inspector Solo.
    Vader walked up to the fallen Solo and stared at him.
    “Strange.” said Vader. “I sense that this one is different somehow.”
    Vader turned toward the Troopers.
    “Take him to the shuttle craft and return to orbit.”
    Scotland Yard was not the only place that was attacked by the Storm Troopers. A large party of Storm Troopers attacked the Stock Exchange in the heart of London. The building was mostly deserted, apart from a few security staff, but they still managed to cause plenty of damage.
    After their attack the Troopers began to leave the Stock Exchange and began to make their way back to their shuttle craft. Then one of the Troopers noticed something in the sky above them. They saw a man clad in a read and yellow costume and red mask. He had the letter “J” on his chest. It was the ole friend of Anglo-Force, the Jet. The Trooper in charge ordered his men to open fire on Jet, but they were amazed to find that Jet was way too fast for them. Then they got lucky. Jet began to swoop down in order to attack them, then one of the Troopers was lucky enough to get a bead on him. The laser blast ripped into Jet. Jet let out a huge cry of pain, grasped his leg, and fell to the ground. He landed heavily on the ground outside of the Stock Exchange. A small group of Troopers then rushed over to where Jet had fallen and began beating him with the gun-butts. After a few minutes they stopped. Jet now lay in a bloody mess on the ground. The Troopers then left him for dead and continued on their way towards their shuttle craft. They thought that Jet was dead, but after they left him they didn’t hear the groan from him, or the movement as Jet tried to get to his feet. It was an attempt in vain however. Jet was too badly injured.