Thank you so much to everyone that contributed! This turned out even better than I'd imagined. It was actually almost coherent, despite each person having a sentence (or less) to work with.LT Exquisite Corpse
It was the darkest day in a great string of dark days. He'd gotten in scrapes before - many of which were bad, some of which were worse - but never one like this. Six Corellian capital ships and a swarm of Hovalt cruisers, all in the same battle? A week ago, people would have called that impossible, declaring stolidly that the Corellians and Hovalt would be allies to the end of time.
John stared in silence as the starry skies about him flashed with bright, colorful beams, his hands sweaty as his fingers fumbled with the plastic wrapping around a suicide pill. His ship was dead in the water - with both of his engines smashed and his comm systems sputtering, he would likely be sitting in the cramped little cockpit of his fighter until he starved to death. There wasn't any other way out, and he knew it. His thoughts flashed over his wife and children back on Pramte station, but he forced it out of his mind and popped the little tablet in his mouth. Death, if it came, would at least be peaceful - perhaps even blissful. The pill was designed to help you relax, and then everything would just fade away... or, so he'd been told by the man that sold it to him. He'd been an odd one... but then, most people on Pramte were, so it wasn't anything unusual.
Staring out the window, he watched the capital ships destroy cruiser after cruiser as they slowly lost ground to the unending Hovalt swarms. It was a pretty sight - and not one many people would likely get a chance to see. While it was arguably a once-in-a-lifetime experience... it was one he wished he'd never had. "It's almost beautiful..." he said with a heavy sigh, his voice trailing off as cruiser debris bounced off the shields in view.
"What are we looking at gentlemen? Give me a status report!" he barked out with a confident tone. He was a leader - some might say a natural born leader, but of course only time can tell that tale. Maybe we'll come out on the other side of this one, He thought. With a shitload of luck, that's for damned sure!
"Sir! The fleets are in a shamble, other platoons are falling one by one! It's a complete slaughter!" the ensign replied hastily.
"Careful rookie," the Captain replied. "I can smell the fear on you. We are a part of the Imperial Navy! We will not falter! How are weapons systems?"
"We're fully operational, we have yet to incur any damage!"
The captain turned to his tactical officer. "Lieutenant, activate targeting systems and prepare to fire!" he said.
"Yes, sir!" The lieutenant replied, her hands smoothly tapping buttons on her console. There was a loud whine in the bridge as nearby gun turrets reoriented themselves on their designated targets.
The captain activated the ship intercom. Standing and straightening his uniform he tried to get his crew ready for the challenge ahead. In a rich baritone he declared "Crew, this is the captain speaking. As of 3 hours ago we as a nation are at war. No greater sacrifice will be asked of you. At this moment in time our fleets are engaged in battle and we have been ordered to join them. Our weapons are charged and ready and I trust that you will acquit yourselves valiantly. For the Imperial Navy!"
Meanwhile, a stranger in a dark alley hung up his phone. The war had started and the premise was entirely false. He had put in motion the gears to start the final war. This one would be the war to end all wars and he would be the only one to emerge victorious. He grinned as he took another drag on his all-but-finished cigarette. He had created the weapons they would use. He had whipped the masses into a fervor to feed false information to both sides. It was him, and him alone. It wasn't difficult. After all, the means to manipulate and drive all sorts of misinformation was easy in this day and age. There was no checking, there was no validation. Anyone would believe anything, as long as it was sensationalized.
Leaving the alley, he walked along the street lined with shops closed down for the night. It would only be a matter of hours before the news would be blaring on every TV screen, and the masses would be running panicking in the streets
His lips curled into a twisted grin as he flicked his now-finished cigarette away. He had more work to do in order to bring about the chaos he lusted after so.
The next item on his list was the lunar colony. Long had its navy policed the planet's skies—his skies—and he knew that it would have no choice but to recall the ships under a crisis. So a crisis it was. And who better than he?
But what crisis would it be? So many choices…
He glanced at his PDA. The market made itself a juicy target; even now it sloshed about, fragile as the domes themselves. Water prices were high, speaking of a shortage. A shortage he was far too happy to exacerbate.
It took only a call here, a thinly veiled implication there, and the great ice-freighters were doomed. Their cargoes would soon be little more than expanding clouds, contaminated with the metals of their hulls.
The populace thus strained, he brought his own navy to bear. Pirates and looters all, they were not above civilian targets. It would take only a few carefully-placed rail rounds to shatter the principle domes. The colony's vessels would rally bravely, but they could not be ready for what would follow.
His pirate fleet would lead them to believe they could win. At the last moment, though, the last ice freighter—commandeered months ago—would smash through the fleet. Its cargo, shattered by charges, had already begun to spread. Not even military-grade armor could stand up to so much material moving so quickly, and even if it could, the impulse would smash the survivors directly into the surface.
As for the pirates themselves… Of course they would be killed as well, but they had no place in the world anyway. It would be no loss to him, and their kind would never ebb.
Total destruction was the only thing on his mind, and he watched as he brought it to fruition. As the shockwave continued along the surface, he slowly switched on his reverse thrusters and ceremoniously parted as the entire battle imploded in full view.
On the way back to a nearby station, his communications were buzzing. News of the event had spread, and while some regarded him as a hero for his actions, others had placed a bounty on him, and most were only interested in getting those credits. Out in unknown waters, he had no trusted place to go, and nobody to turn to for protection. Could he even ask those claiming to be on his side for support? He'd been betrayed that way once before, and certainly wasn't going to fall for it a second time. His only hope was to avoid everyone as much as possible until things died down.
It wasn't like that was hard to do, either. He wasn't exactly going anywhere, and he didn't feel like it anyway. Nothing felt right. Perhaps the pill had given him a bad trip... but he was starting to question the existence of the pill to begin with. Yet there, in his lap, was a little empty tab-pack. Did he really? He couldn't help but wonder. It all felt strange and muddled now.
John felt tired, and leaned back into his chair. Just a nap, he thought. Just a short nap.
Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:05 am
Bit longer than a minute - I looked at it and decided to give it a couple of extra days.