STAR WARS: Through the Shadows and the Flames
A Star Wars/Shadowrun Crossover fanfic
Episode 0: Prologue
Spellchecking by WarpObscura
Special thanks to my extra-generous Patrons: Shane Boatright, SomeguyOverHere, Pengu1n, Scythe967, Austin, and Jchan!
Extra Special thanks to Kalaong, my top Patron!
The van parked into the morgue's garage, and its cargo, a John Doe in his twenties, was quietly processed and put onto a slab.
"What the hell happened to this poor bastard?" asked the young morgue tech as she scanned the corpse with practiced ease. Its legs and arms had been amputated, replaced with prosthetics made of black polymer actuators and covered in black tritanium. Its pale skin had been marred by surgical scars, but that had not been the cause of death. As far as she could tell from the burn marks around an implant at the base of the John Doe's shaved skull — next to an equally ruined BTL port, she noted — cause of death had been a brain cyberware overload.
"You should see the other guys," said the U-Sec agent overseeing the delivery. His voice was warbled by the vocalizer of his yellow and grey helmet, the name 'Sgt. BIGGS' emblazoned on its side in white paint. "Heard the news stream about that Scrapyard clinic that got burnt down? Well, it was your typical cyberdoc scam gone bad."
"Probably went in for a paper cut." continued his partner. 'Sgt. WEDGE' was painted on his helmet. "Gets put under, gets hacked up, gets loaded with expensive Chrome..."
"Why bother?" asked the tech as she took a sample of blood. She was still new to the ugly business police brought in. The results on the blood came on the scanner's holo. Elevated mitochondria density, but no HMHVV reactions. "Deader than dead, by the way."
Wedge nodded, and put the cowgun back into his overcoat. "To put 'em neck-deep in debt," he continued. "Turns them to a life of crime, and their cyberdocs usually take ninety bits out of every Njen they earn."
"Of course," added Biggs. "Not everyone takes being hacked up to make room for Chrome very well. Compliance implants fails to take, and well... shit happens. SFRS is still picking off charred bits of cyberdoc off the clinic walls."
"Karma's a bitch, ain't it?" snickered Wedge. "So, how much are his parts worth? I'd say we're looking at some fine deltaware, here."
"Most of the corpse's vital organs have been replaced... so it looks like we're going to have to sell the chrome." remarked the tech. She sighed, wearily. It was getting late and appraising unknown tech would take hours of surfing on the net. "Crap looks like it was made by aliens... but I would estimate we can get at least twenty-four thousand Njen for the prosthetics alone. Double that for the internals and bioware, maybe."
"Gonna be a nice little finder's fee for the both of us," said Biggs. "Eh Wedge?"
The two U-Sec officers fist-bumped, while the tech had the slab moved into the autopsy chamber.
The voices of his dead loved ones grew fainter, and he began to dream of flames... but as such dreams went, he was strangely calm. He had, after all, come a long, long way to get to this place... this nexus of heat and power. The journey had turned him into the fusion of fire, spirit and breath encased in black steel that he was now. In his left hand he carried a shard of pulsating red sunlight. His right hand, made of gold and obsidian, carried a storm in its palm.
Even those mighty gifts paled in comparison to the creature that was now rousing itself from its ancient slumber.
Its golden eyes opened, and saw him in all his glory. Its fanged maw opened, and let out the roar of the earth before letting loose the sunfire of the last age, furious at being denied for so long... he laughed as he was engulfed in it, and breathed it in deeply to draw strength from it... He readied himself for a great battle, and then—
—And then he was in a garden, bathed in sunshine and surrounded by flowers. With each footstep and a wave of his hand the plants bloomed and died, an orchestra of colours of which he was the conductor. He smiled as he approached the girl sitting at the silver table, waiting patiently for him to arrive. "Padmé?" he called, but his voice was silent. But of course it was not Padmé. The girl before him was a bit younger, and paler, and her hair was silver and gold and starlight.
"Father!" she called out to him, the black flowers on the hem of her white sundress trailing behind her as she rushe
d to hold him in her arms. Joy turned to confusion, then sorrow, as the blade of black glass pierced her belly. "Why?" she asked, tearful, as she fell and went limp, the pool growing beneath her. It is in that pool that he saw his reflection, an old man with long white hair, and to his horror the reflection began to age and decay at an accelerated rate until nothing remained. The pool of blood enveloped all, and all became a quiet darkness.
"WAKE UP!" screamed the painted mummer, floating above the blood sea.
The John Doe snarled, and grabbed the medical droid by the arm before it could cut him open. With a strength that surprised even him, he tossed the droid into another mechanical butcher, and they put a dent into a nearby metal slab before exploding into a pile of limbs, scalpels and sawblades.
"Holy shit!" shouted a man in uniform from behind a pane of glass. "Not again!"
"I thought you said he was a hundred percent DEAD!" yelled another uniform.
"He was! He was!" frantically replied a woman. "I don't understand!"
John Doe tried to get up from the cold metal slab he was laying on, but quickly lost his balance and fell on his face. "Argh!" he grunted, using the pain to suppress his shivering. His legs felt alien to him, and so did his arms, for that matter. Where am I? John Doe wondered, after finally managing to get on his knees. He looked around, and began to retch. He was surrounded by vacuumsealed organs and bloodied droid parts, metal slabs and rows of specimen jars. Morgue lockers lined the walls. He looked down at his hands, then at his legs, and he would have screamed at the horror that had been done to him...
...But there was no time. One of the uniforms burst through the door, and attempted to perforate his skull with a pistol. By sheer reflex, John Doe moved his hand to cover his face, and instead of the report and explosive heat of a blaster, an ear splitting bang rang as a solid slug bounced off the plating of his palm in a shower of sparks.
"WHY?!" screamed the cyborg as he leapt onto his attacker and crushed his wrists with his augmented hands, causing the uniformed man to scream in agony as his pistol and steel spike clattered on the floor. He proceeded to toss him around like a ragdoll in a rage. "WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME?!"
"BIGGS!" yelled the other uniform as his partner was tossed into the window, shattering the thick glass and lacerating his overcoat, revealing the mangled armored form beneath it.
"Oh no Oh no Oh no..." the pointy-eared woman became more and more frantic, and the other uniform grabbed her by the hand and ran into the hallway.
"This is Sergeant Wedge!" the surviving uniform yelled into his comm bracelet. "Officer down! Cyberzombie in the facility! Call for backup! Repeat — Officer down! Call for backup!"
John Doe gave chase, eager for answers or blood, he did not know nor care. He was denied both for a moment when he failed to catch his quarry as a heavy door slid closed and locked into place. Using his newfound strength, it had taken only ten seconds to pry it open.
An alarm klaxon was blaring as panicked medical techs in white and blue scrubs fled from the rendering chamber, while fireteams of uniforms carrying heavy rifles swarmed in. "Aim for the head!" their commander shouted as they took firing positions behind riot shields made of light.
John Doe's sense of preservation tempered his wrath, and he fled as bullets filled the hallways. A game of cat and mouse began, as the fireteams tried to herd him into a crossfire. They had nearly succeeded, too, and John Doe's fury quickly made way for panicked desperation. They were closing in, their ammunition seemed unlimited... there was only one thing left to do.
John Doe tossed a chair into a window, cracking the thick tempered glass, and leapt through it, not caring one bit about the shards that dug into his skin.
He fell four stories down, and landed on his back. Nothing broke, but it had hurt, and the wind had been knocked out of him. The wail of repulsorlifts tore into his ears and the flash of searchlights burned his retinas. Gunships, three of them, hovering above him, gun turrets trailed on him.
Get up, John Doe willed himself, and to his surprise his body obeyed, and he ran with a celerity that would have been elating if he wasn't being shot at by autocannons.
The chase went on, and the roar of gunfire became less frequent as John Doe made his way deeper into the city. The buildings grew more dense, the stares more numerous, the screams of horror even louder.
Where am I? John Doe wondered as he ran. He looked up at the sky, and saw nothing but a stone ocean — ferrocrete and durasteel, held up by pillars. Then suddenly, in a deserted, filthy alley, he slipped on a puddle of run-off from a leaky pipe, and fell face first into the dirt. The adrenaline had begun to wear off. He could feel the glass, and the one bullet that had managed to hit him. Lights danced around his sight, constantly blinking in unreadable symbols:
低电量 低电量 低电量
"Someone... please help me," he groaned in pain.
Only the approaching sirens answered.
Get up, John Doe willed himself once more, but this time his body failed him, and he only managed to get on all fours. And that was when, in a oily brown puddle, he finally saw his own reflection, saw his face contort as the reality of what had been done to him finally sank in.
He saw the horrified, surgically scarred face of Anakin Skywalker.
"Nooooooo..." he sobbed quietly, cradling his own face in sorrow. "Please, no, anything but this... anything..."
"Copkiller went that way!" he heard someone shout, and he ran into the safety of the shadows... only to be dogged by visions of his sins.
"I will KILL ALL OF YOU!"
"Anakin, what have you done?..."
"The Dark Side has taken hold of him."
"He was lost in his own rage...but find his way back, he can..."
"Padmé, I can't lose you too..."
"The sentence is passed."
"You will be blinded to the Force, forever."
"Please wake up...Please...open your eyes..."
It had been a long night of serving drinks to street samurai and deflecting drunken flirts, and Jillian was just about ready to close the bar and go home. There was just one thing left to do: take out the garbage and feed it to the processor in the back alley.
The dark, smelly, rapist's alley. She sighed, picked up the bag in one hand and Mister Bat in the other, took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and pushed the backdoor open.
Anakin's vision blurred, and tunneled until he could barely make out his surroundings. He caught the blurred sight of a door opening with a rusty screech, and a tall, lithe figure emerging from it, topped with long flowing... shadows? He couldn't be sure.
He fell, and this time he had no intention of getting back up. What was the point? There was no rising again from this mutilation, no redemption for what he had done. He buried his face in the filthy pavement, only looking up when he heard the sounds of footsteps approaching. He looked up, and stared into two violet irises filled with... fear? Pity? He couldn't tell.
He could hear distant bootfalls. Three Policemen were coming around the corner.
Okay Jillian, thought the bartender, tightly holding Mr. Bat with both hands. There's a naked razorboy on the ground who might kill you or worse and a bunch of cops fast approaching. Do the smart thing and—
"Please..." groaned the razorboy.
Jillian shook her head. "Oh no no no, look, I'm sure you're a really nice cyborg killer but..."
"Just..." he wheezed, pitifully.
"...but I don't know who you are a-a-and you might deserve it and U-Sec charges premiums for getting involved and—"
"Let me die," the razorboy finished. "Just let me die..."
Jillian was too shocked to speak.
The U-Sec goons were close... there was no time...
"To the right!" shouted the U-Sec patrolman at his team. Just as they came around the corner, they expected to find the exhausted, fallen form of the cyberzombie cop-killer, but all they found of note was a baseball bat and a bag of garbage. There wasn't a soul around. "Come on!" he barked, "it can't have gotten far!"
The goons passed, and once they were out of sight Jillian undid the glamour that had rendered both her and the razorboy invisible. She proceeded to drag his body inside the bar, as she wasn't strong enough to lift up a six-foot tall, chromed-up human. She was barely strong enough to drag him. "Oh, I'm already regretting this... how do I let myself get roped up into these things?"
As she struggled to drag the man into the safety of the Valhalla bar, she laughed ruefully. Just another night in the Underworld, she told herself, but the truth was that her woes had begun just a few weeks ago, on a world six kilometers above...
TO BE CONTINUED