Monday, August 29, 2005

Vader is into dudes

You know what's really stupid? The fact that I'm on Coruscant but I can't speeder over a few miles to go see my parents. Now, I really don't want to visit my folks that much, especially after the last disastor/family meal that occured, but it's all about freedom of movement here. Imperial's aren't allowed to hang out with non-Imperial personnel until Mr. Palpatine figures out who the spy was that leaked the "Death Star" plans. I have my suspicions about Captain Stupid (which brings up another question - is his stupidity a ploy or does everyone, no matter what political faction they are, find him annoying?), but I can't really say anything since I already got in trouble for my own personal "investigation of him.

In any case, you're not missing anything exciting right now. I hang out in the Imperial office all day, drink Bajorran coffee with some mates, chit chat about the new model speeders, then we all go home. It's very quiet right now, though there are rumors of surviving "Death Star" personnel shipping off on Star Destroyers soon. We'll see.

Anyways, back to the story of how the "Death Star" blew up and I wound up stranded in a shuttle with Officer Hot Stuff. So after the cell block incident, security was pretty tight. In fact, they had all of us turbolaser maintenance guys working around the clock to tune up our watch. I was assigned to go out and check the internal guts of a wide block of turbolasers, which basically meant walking down a long series of hallways, opening up a panel every 20 feet, and double checking to see everything's ok.

Something really odd happened as I passed by the tractor beam shaft. I think I must have bonked my head or something cause I woke up on the floor. I had recollections of very strange dreams involving an old man in a brown robe. The fact that I was dreaming about old men was much more disturbing to me than the fact that I randomly passed out by the tractor beam (tractor beams have weird technical crap that I can't understand anyway - for all I know, a giant magnet pulled my brain out of consciousness for a few seconds). Well, I suppose if I can't get Officer Hot Stuff, my subconscious is telling me to reach for the more attainable. Old men, however, don't have the curvy butt of athletic female hanger bay officers. I'll let this one sit for a while, though if I continue to have dreams of old men in robes (at least he didn't open the robe), I'll have to go see the Imperial shrink.

Anyways, I was just bumbling along doing my maintenance checks when I turned the corner and who do I see but Darth Vader. Now usually when I see Vader, he's walking somewhere in a hurry and generally looking (as much as a masked dude can) pissed off. But this time, well, he was just standing there. Even weirder, his lightsaber was drawn.

So this was the eternal dilemma. Do I do my duty and open up the turbolaser panel right next to strangely static with lightsaber Darth Vader or do I absolve myself of many potential problems by "forgeting" to check this panel.

My eventual reasoning was this: maybe Vader's WATCHING for maintenance people just like myself to check that they do their duty. So, I'll just casually creep up and open the maintenance panel next to Mr. Vader and do my thing...

"What are you doing here?" Vader boomed.

"Whoa, oh hey, Lord Vader. Wow. I didn't see you there. Have you been standing there the whole time?"

"What are you doing here?" Vader repeated.

"Turbolaser maintenance. Just doing my job like a good Imperial soldier. You know, can't be too careful with those Rebel spies running around on the station."

Apparently, the mention of Rebel spies didn't please Vader too much as his leather glove crinkled with the tightening of his lightsaber. He turned to me and said in a slow, even tone (well, more slow and even than usual Vader), "Have you seen anyone...unusual around here?"

"Uhhhhh...no...is this a trick question?"

"I am waiting for someone," Vader said.

"Oh. Um...is she hot? Ha ha," I said. Hey, it's what I would ask Fun Commander or Grumpy B if they were here.

"She is a he," Vader said.

"Ok...well...I passed by lots of guys on my way here. Um...is HE hot? Maybe I passed by your friend," I said. If Vader wants to swing that way, it's cool with me. To each his own, I say.

"He is not my friend," Vader said.

"Oh...gotcha. One of those things. Look, I know the lightsaber is threatening and all, but sometimes, you just gotta talk it out. Of course, who am I to talk? I can't even get a first date right with Officer Hot Stuff, so who am I to give Lord Darth Vader advice on how to handle men," I said. Then I realized that maybe Vader wasn't into dudes and I didn't want to offend anyone that could choke me by thinking. "That is, um, handle...relationships...between...men and women...or men and men...or women and women...or asexual creatures and whoever they choose to be friends with. That could be anyone. People are people, that's what I say. Live and let live. Yup," I said. Vader still had not moved.

There's nothing more awkward than a silence that is cut through by the hum of a lightsaber.

"So...looks like these turbolasers are up and running ok. I'll just leave you along so you can meet your...guy who's not a friend...yeah...is that cool?" I said

Vader turned his head and glared at me. "That is...cool," he said.

I closed up the turbolaser panel and packed up my tool kit. "All right, well good luck with your not-a-friend guy. By the way, I think there's something wrong with the tractor beam power. I walked by it and passed out and it gave me these really bizarre dreams of old men in brown robes..." I said to Vader. I couldn't finish my sentence because at the mention of old men in brown robes, Vader unleashed a distorted "ARGH" and swung his lightsaber at the wall.

"HE IS HERE! HE IS HERE!" Vader yelled, cutting his lightsaber further and further into the wall - thankfully choosing to sever the instruments ADJACENT to my turbolaser panel.

"Whoa, dude, it's cool. I'll just leave you alone now, ok? Just, um, watch out for the tractor beam, it gives you funky dreams." I walked off as fast as I could politely speed-walk away.

Man, I wouldn't want to be the person summoned to fix THAT panel.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Fun in the cell block

As you can probably tell by my lack of posting, the Empire's been on a bit of an information lockdown lately. Blogging, especially from an anonymously snarky officer, isn't particularly appreciated at this point. Until the destruction of the "Death Star" is thoroughly investigated and closed, I'll only be able to post sporadically. Perhaps things will change when I get my new assignment. Survivors of the "Death Star" are currently being housed on Coruscant after a brief detour with whatever Star Destroyer was able to pick them up.

It's certainly a long story, so I'll start where I left off, write what I can, and update until things get back to normal. When you first left me, I had just finished serving my sentence in the brig for my little breaking-and-entering stunt on Captain Stupid. Well, the next day, I realized that I left one of my pass cards in the cell, so I went back up to the cell block station to check out the lost and found. The station officer let me back into my cell and I was busy digging around underneath the metal bed block when I heard a the station door open. I peeked around the corner and saw two stormtroopers (one noticeably shorter than the other - he must be really strong or something cause I thought the Empire had physical minimums to be a trooper) bring a wookiee to the holding cell.

Then all hell broke loose. There was a lot of screaming, a lot of blasting, a lot of really loud wookiee howling and when it was all over, I snuck a look outside to see the two stormtroopers, now helmetless, arguing over the bodies of dead officers. As the wookiee leaned back and scratched himself, the short trooper jogged up the rampway to the cells while the other one was talking into the comlink.

Being the brave guy that I am, I rolled underneath the bed as the trooper passed my open door. Pretty sly, I thought to myself - a little too soon, though. The trooper leaned back and saw me.

"Are you hiding under the bed?" he asked.

I remained quiet. Maybe he thinks it's someone else hiding under the bed.

"Look, I see you under there," he said. Looks like what little luck I had ran out. I crawled out from underneath the bed, my Imperial officer's cap knocked forward as I smacked my not-too-smart skull against the bed as I stood up.

"Hey, um, I don't know what's going on, but I'm just here to pick up this pass card. See?" I said, holding the card up, waving it around as if it would make a protective blaster shield. "I don't even have a gun. I just supervise turbolaser operators...oh...crap."

The trooper held his gun up. This wasn't good. He didn't look old enough to be holding a blaster rifle, let alone be a trooper. Really nice tan, though - he must work outside a lot.

Of course, I couldn't fully comprehend all of the different places in the galaxy where one could get a tan like that because then it hit me that a blaster rifle was being pointed at me. Me! First I make an ass of myself in front of Officer Hot Stuff for the 6 millionth time, then I get thrown in prison, and now some teenage stormtrooper.

Wait a minute - if he's younger than most troopers - and shorter! - then he must be ridiculously overqualified. Maybe he's a sharpshooter extraordinaire. Maybe he's one of those freaky guys who looks tiny but can tear your arms out of your sockets. Maybe he's got crazy weird powers like Darth Vader and can choke people just by looking at them.

Oh crap. I REALLY regret breaking into Captain Stupid's quarters now.

"Look man, I didn't see anything. I was just here under the bed looking for my pass card. I'm sure the station officers shot at you first. I mean, really, they're jerks. I got thrown in here for something really, really dumb and they weren't nice to me at all. Whatever you did, I'm sure it's totally justified. I didn't see anything. Just, um, hanging out here...under the bed...the whole time." I knelt down and rolled back under the bed. "See, I was here the whole time. Didn't see a thing," I said evenly, trying not to piss of Mr. Overachieving Extraordinary Short Young Stormtrooper. "Please don't shoot me!" I blurted out.

Hey, when you gotta beg for your life, might as well do it right, right?

The short trooper relaxed and lowered his rifle. "Hey, I'm here for something else. I'm not gonna shoot you, just gonna shut and lock this door from the outside, all right?"

"Not a problem, man. Not a problem. Do what you need to do. I've spent three days in here, it's practically my second home."

Man, I am pathetic.

The trooper closed the door and opened the one next to me a few seconds later. A few garbled conversations later, some more yelling, and then more blaster fire sounds cut through the wall. One large explosion later and suddenly everything started smelling like sewage.

Let's see. In the matter of 10 minutes, I've managed to hide under a prison bed, beg pathetically for my life, and get trapped in a room with the aroma of excrement floating inside. Yes, I've got the best luck in the world.

About 30 minutes later, some more stormtroopers opened my door and filled me in on what was going on (after a thorough interrogation - do I look like a Rebel soldier? I cowered under the bed, for heaven's sake!). Apparently the prisoner next to me was Senator Leia Organa, who is know an exposed Rebel spy, and the two stormtroopers who shot their way in here were her rescuers.

At this moment, I made the connection - Captain Stupid knew Leia Organa. In fact, I'd seen him on the vid screen with her a few times. Perhaps they weren't just involved in tech smuggling.

The truth came later as the story evolved. I've used up my communication time now though, I'll tell the next part in the story the next time I can get to a comm console. Hopefully, the Empire will lift these communications restrictions fairly soon - not that I terribly care about the investigation of the "Death Star's" destruction, I just wanted to check my email to see if any of my volleyball teammates survived.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I'm not dead!

It's been an interesting week, to say the least. You may have wondered why I haven't updated. Well, long story short, I'm currently floating in an Imperial Shuttle (with Officer Hot Stuff, no less!) waiting to be picked up by our old mates on the Devastator. I'm sure you've seen the news by now, but in case you haven't, the "Death Star" has been destroyed.

We just got our communications up and running again a few hours ago, so I'll give you the whole story over the next few days.

I don't know who the Rebel pilot was that blew up the station, but he should thank Captain Stupid for expanding the size of that exhaust port. Regardless of its size, that was a hell of a shot - I know I couldn't do it.

More later.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Apologies to those from Alderaan

Life inside an Imperial cell is very, very boring. That, and I don't have computer access, so I couldn't update my blog for a few days. You guys didn't miss anything though, it was a lot of sitting back and staring at the wall. I'm not sure if anyone informed Captain Stupid of what I did since I haven't seen him since I got out. He hasn't sent me any death threats or staked out my quarters, so I'm assuming things are cool and he hasn't flipped out...yet.

The only notable thing that happened was my first day when I was taking a nap and the sounds of several pairs of footsteps clammored by my cell. During a brief pause, I could hear the distinct hoooooooo-phhhhhaaaaawwwww of Darth Vader's breathing. Then another distinct noise - the whirring and buzzing of one of the Imperial interrogation droids (which I didn't have to deal with since I 'fessed up to my misdemeanor pretty quickly - I'm not messing with those things, they have big ass needles!). The cell door next to me whooshed open and I could hear the footsteps bundle together inside. There was a muffled exchange (a female voice and Vader's muffled mechanical musings) for about 20 minutes before the group took off. It must be a pretty important person for Vader to interrogate her personally. I wonder if he told her about his awesome lightsaber cooking skills.

Anyways, today when I got back to my quarters, I checked my messages. Apparently, I missed the big news - this morning, the "Death Star" took its first test run of the main gun. Here's the memo I received in my email.

------
To: Death Star Employees (all@deathstar.empire.gov)
From: Grand Moff Tarkin (gmtarkin@empire.gov)
Subject: Alderaan destruction

Dear friends,

Today, we pass along the regretable news that the planet Alderaan was destroyed. This was a good news/bad news situation. The bad news, obviously, is that the planet was destroyed. The good news is that the Death Star's main gun works just as we planned and the destruction was quite spectacular - it even had a praxis effect (at least I thought so, but Lord Vader apparently saw it differently - we'll have to check the vid records).

Our apologies to those native to Alderaan. You must know that your planet's destruction was done for the greater good of peace and justice. There were many reports of Rebel factions forming in Alderaan and our intelligence simply could not pinpoint all of traitors. Rather than let the Rebel factions grow in strength, the Emperor decided the best course of action to protect peace and security would be to eliminate the entire planet - thus, eliminating all threats to our Imperial way of life.

As compensation for lost property and/or loved ones, the Empire will give native Alderaanians a 10% discount at Donnell's Speeder Shop in Coruscant's Galactic City. Death Star employees will get an added bonus of a coupon for one free meal and drink at our very own Death Splash Pub & Grill.

To claim your Speeder Shop voucher and meal/drink ticket, please visit any security station with your Alderaan ID.

If you have any questions regarding the destruction of Alderaan, please email Lord Vader (vader@empire.gov). He will happily answer your inquiry.

For continued peace and security,

Grand Moff Tarkin
-------

Captain Stupid is from Alderaan. As I much as I dislike the guy, it must suck to have your whole planet blown up.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen

After my blunder with Officer Hot Stuff, I went about my daily business, unsure as to when stormtroopers would grab me from behind, hold me by one leg above one of the infinite chasms in the "Death Star" floor, and shake me until all of my loose change fell into the reactor core - or some form of punishment for my little breaking and entering adventure in Captain Stupid's quarters. I'm not sure if they actually alerted Captain Stupid to what I had done (and like a good friend, I didn't name the involvement of Fun Commander, so he owes me a Corellion ale), since he's been acting as stupid as ever. Nothing had happened in the day following the incident with Officer Hot Stuff.

I was beginning to think that the I had gotten away scott free. Then a small battalion of stormtroopers showed up at my cube right before lunch time. The lead trooper walked up, raised his blaster rifle to chest level and politely stated, "Grumpy Moff, please come with us. We wish to discuss your disciplinary action."

This got the attention of the straight arrow Captain Big Nose. I couldn't tell if the look on his face was A) glee for watching someone go down or B) astonishment that someone he worked with could possibly require disciplinary action.

I stood up and the stormtroopers politely parted sides to clear a path for me. As I stepped forward, the battalion marched behind me, their white boots click-clacking in unison behind me. With each step, I took a quick wince, expecting a blaster bolt - possibly on stun, but possibly on kill - to zap any part of my body. "Please proceed to the security center in this sector," the lead trooper asked. We turned outside of the turbolaser office block and walked down the long circular hallway of the "Death Star."

"So, um, arrest any cool dudes today?" I asked, trying to break the silence as we marched along with some humor.

"No sir. Just officers who have broken Imperial rules."

"Oh...um...that's too bad," I meekly squaked. Several steps further, I tried again to get on the their good side. "Are those boots comfortable? I've always wanted to know. I bought these awesome insoles that go in my boots that make them way more comfortable. If you're interested, I can find out where to get them the next time we're in the Coruscant region. You know, cause you guys do so much walking and stuff." I glanced back at the small battalion. "The offer goes to all you guys, not just him," I said, nodding at the lead trooper.

Absolute silence. Click clack click clack click clack as we walked down the hallway.

"Oh, ok, gotcha," I said. "Well, let me know if you want some for off duty or something. I know you guys walk and run and do a lot marching through the hallways here."

Click clack click clack click clack

"So, do you guys know what's up with those red guards who hang out with the Emperor? Is that like a promotion you get to or did he just give his buddies cushy jobs?"

Click clack click clack

Obviously, the stormtroopers are not one for conversation. However, for all I know, they have totally been playing with me, making faces behind those darn masks of theirs. Someday, I'll befriend a stormtrooper and find out the truth behind them.

We walked for another few minutes before getting to my sector's security center. As I walked in, I was directed down another hallway of cells.

"Sir, your punishment is three days inside prison security. Your illegal activities will be noted on your Imperial record and you will be treated as a prisoner for this time. After the three days, you will resume normal life and duties aboard the Death Star. Do you have any questions?" said the lead trooper.

"Um...can I get any visitors?"

"You are permitted one visitor a day. The visitor must receive clearence from the security center. You will be notified of any visitor requests."

"Oh, cool. Um...ok, well I guess I'll be going to my cell now." The troopers pointed me to the third cell on the right. The heavy black door flew open with a whoosh and I stepped into a room with a single black hard bench. At least it was comfortable temperature-wise.

"Sir, the Empire recommends that you spend the time thinking about the consequences of breaking Imperial law. Repeat offences are not taken lightly. You will be served three meals a day. Please perform bodily functions in the bucket assigned to you. It will be cleaned twice a day."

Bucket? We're the freaking Empire and we can't afford a mobile toilet droid? Or is this the Emperor's ways of treating prisoners?

"Please enjoy your stay at cell block AA-23. The security officials will come check on your status later."

With that, the door slammed shut and I was left alone with a hard black bench and a little black bucket featuring the Imperial logo.

At least I can't piss off Officer Hot Stuff in here, right?