Post by Rugs on Mar 22, 2019 16:12:09 GMT -5
Brun-Tak could think of better ways to spend his days than holed up in the Hutt Ruling Council’s chamber. Yet here he was, as the fat slugs argued.
Well, four of them argued. Nemu the Hutt, the fifth member of this august body, had hightailed it out of Hutt Space once Sleheyron fell. No one had heard a peep from him since.
Honestly, Brun-Tak couldn’t blame him. What was the point in sticking around and waiting? Hutt Space was in flames. The Cartels were in ruins, in more ways than one. Two of the three main hyperplane routes to the Y’Toub system were under Archeri control.
Yet here they all were.
At least the pay was good. Turned out a lot of mercenaries weren’t loyal enough to hang out and wait for the fungus monsters to come get them.
But Brun-Tak? Well, Brun-Tak wasn’t most mercenaries.
“And what good would an evacuation do, Councilor Gabu?” Ajozz the Hutt sat opposite the subject of his inquiry. They were arguing. Again. They did that a lot these days. “The Archeri will come for Nal Hutta eventually. What will we do when they take it from us?”
Same ol’ Ajozz. Brun-Tak would’ve shaken his head if it wouldn’t get him in trouble. Too slimey to be a good politician. Too noble to be a good Hutt.
“Yes, dear old wise Ajozz,” Gabu retorted, “I hadn’t thought of that before! You’re right! We should just stay here! I’m sure nothing bad will happen, you stubborn shit!”
“Councilors...” in cut Frioz. He and Dezza the Hutt formed the other half of the Ruling Council that remained. These days they tended to take turns refereeing Gabu’s and Ajozz’s shouting matches. “In this time of great crisis, there’s no need to tear each other d-”
Alarms blared throughout the Grand Palace. The Council’s disagreements seemed abruptly forgotten.
“Brun-Tak,” Dezza said. “What is that?”
“Oh well,” the Weequay said, standing straight from his spot on the wall. “If I was a bettin’ man, I’d say it’s something bad, sirs. But what I don’t we take a look?”
He pulled a comm device from his pocket. A holograph of a panicked Nikto flashed to life over his palm.
“I repeat, this ain’t a drill! Fleet showed up-” the image flickered with static -”nowhere. The... Spire. Emergency!”
Brun-Tak turned the communicator off. He looked at the Hutts calmly. “Sirs, I think it’s best we get you to the bunker.”
The Composer stood aboard the Spire’s command deck as the titan, flanked by the Verses and a fleet hundreds of ships strong, emerged from hyperspace. Nal Hutta engulfed the view to its left, Nar Shaddaa, smaller, to its right. ”At last,” it said, ”our prize lays before us. Sing a song of triumph, for our victory is at hand.”
Amidst the mix of crystalline Archeri ships was arrayed a hodgepodge mix of ships of Hutt design, returning home for the first time since that ill-fated counterattack at Teth, and those of the worlds that’d fallen to the Chorus’ conquest.
Elation pulsed through the Chorus. After months of waiting, their song would come to this nexus of Hutt Space. But Y’toub held an even greater prize...
”They are coming,” a voice hissed from within the Chorus. ”They would challenge our song.” The Composer turned its faceless head to the side. Off in the distance, the pitiful remnants of the Hutts’ fleet advanced on the Archeri Force. Something approaching pity rippled through the Chorus.
Smoke choked Nal Hutta’s skies. The Hutt fleet had offered little meaningful resistance to the Archeri’s forces. After its swift destruction, the Chorus initiated its takeover of Nal Hutta. Heavy orbital bombardments seeded the ringed planet’s atmosphere with the Archeri’s spores and crushed Hutt defenses before the first Archeri ground forces arrived.
Once the invasion proper began, the Hutt forces crumbled like a sand castle before a tidal wave. There were pockets of fierce resistance, but the Archeri were too many, their powers too great, to repel.
Deep underground, the Hutt Ruling Council waited, for a miracle, or the inevitable, in a bunker. The Archeri had severed all communication with the outside Galaxy. And so they waited, in terrible, unknowing blindness, for their fate.
“Look at us,” Gabu, said, “Four morons in a duracrete box, waiting for the fungus to come have a meal of us. I told you we should have fun, but no, we stayed here like fools.” A distant explosion thundered far overhead, shaking fingers of dust loose from the ceiling.
“What would running do?” Ajozz asked. “They would still be here. Our Glorious Jewel would still fall to these invaders.”
“We wouldn’t be about to die you dumb shit!” Gabu yelled. “Nemu was right to leave. If I knew I’d be stranded here with you idiots, I-”
Screaming erupted in the hallway, loud enough to pierce through the thick durasteel doors that sheltered the saferoom from the outside. Blasterfire rang out, punctuated by more screams. Three heavy thuds, then silence.
The members of the Hutt Ruling Council looked silently at each other. There was nowhere left to run.
“One moment sirs, and I’ll have this open for you in just a jiffy.” The voice sounded familiar
The doors beeped and swung inward. A Weequay, grinning like some devil, stood before a small group of Archeri.
“Brun-Tak!” Ajozz yelled as their security swarmed to the entrance. “What is the meaning of this?”
“Nothin’ personal, sirs,” the Weequay said, still grinning. “It was always gonna end like this, you know. Me? I was just fortunate enough to have my eyes opened to joining the right side.”
“You twice-damned traitor!” Gabu’s tail thrashed in fury. “I’ll have you skinned alive!”
”This one, your Brun-Tak, has performed admirably.” The tallest of the Archeri — the Composer — stepped into the chamber.
The Ruling Council’s guards opened fire. A hail of blaster bolts flew toward the Archeri, only to fail as a shimmering violet barrier appeared before it. “So crude,” it said. A blast of the Force burst from it, throwing its assailants like toys to the other side of the room.
”You call yourselves rulers,” the Composer said. ”Yet your kingdom is a mess of disharmony. We will do what you cannot. We will bring unity to these untamed lands. One voice, shared between all who inhabit it.”
One guard, a Trandoshan staggered to his feet. Dark blood caked the side of his head where he’d slammed into the wall. He pointed a heavy blaster rifle at the composer.
The Composer looked at the Trandoshan. As Brun-Tak raised a pistol, it motioned for him to lower it. “What do you think that will do?” it asked. A surge of energy and the blaster flew from the Trandoshan’s hands to one of the Composer’s. “We do not fear death as you individual voices do. The Chorus is greater than the individual.”
The Composer pointed the gun at itself and, after firing several shots into its head, slumped to the ground, lifeless.
“A wasted body.” The next largest Archeri spoke in the same deep voice as the Composer. It looked at the Ruling Council, seeing horror spread across their faces. “But at least you now understand.”
“Now,” it continued as Brun-Tak shut the doors behind them, ”will you join the Chorus or will you too die wasted deaths?”
No one had been left alive outside the room to hear the screams of the slaughtered Hutts echoing into the corridor.