Ed Op: Attack On The Death Troopers

r1I haven’t seen Rogue One as of this writing, but I’ve seen the trailers.

Can we talk about Death Troopers?

These are a variant on the black-clad ‘elite’ stormtroopers or Shadow Troopers that sprang from the EU in its Legends days and gradually grew in popularity among the 501st cosplayers at conventions, and are now about to charge full blown into Star Wars canon onscreen.

Yeah, they look really cool.

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I’ll buy the toy for my son ’cause he likes ’em, but even Death Troopers play with the classics.

But I’m not a fan….AND I’LL TELL YA WHY!

stormswarmStormtroopers are about shock and awe. They wear this pristine white armor not because it’s practical, but because there’s something incongruous to their appearance when they kick in your door or come hut hut hutting out of a dropship.

I remember the first time I saw them blasting their way onto the Tantive IV in A New Hope. Their appearance made my brain misfire. In my kid’s mind, bad guys wore black (Zorro notwithstanding, but he was sort of pretending to be a bad guy). Soldiers are gruff, down and dirty, but stormtroopers are spotless, unblemished, and regimental. There’s something in that that gives the mind pause (and in that pause is where Stormtroopers shine).

Stormtroopers represent the Imperial notion of Order with a capital O. They’re not interested in practicality, they’re there to overwhelm you, both mentally and physically. All jokes about them not being able to hit a thing (yes yes, they don’t hit waddling 3PO and R2 in the hallway when they wander through that firefight…very amusing. But on the other side of them, a whole lot of Rebel troopers are shown getting dropped. The plain truth is…they weren’t AIMING for the droids.), it takes something to go marching into a combat zone in bright white armor. Stupidity, you may say, but I say thee nay! Discipline and fanaticism -two things you want to foment in a stormtrooper recruit.
10-tie-pilotIt’s the same assurance that puts the TIE fighter pilots (the ONLY front liners who deserve to wear the black) into the cockpits of unshielded ships. Survivability is not a concern of stormtroopers. They’re a cog in a really big, really nasty machine and they know they can be replaced. That’s why the Emperor did away with all those pretty primary colored unit designations and emblems from the Clone Wars. The New Order isn’t about unit distinction, it’s about raw power.

scoutsLook at the Scout Troopers on Endor. No camouflage seems silly, right? When the Scouts hit the ground, the Empire is sending a message. That message is, we don’t give a laughin’ fuzzball about your planet. Not about your flora, not your fauna. We’ll stomp your trees with our AT-AT’s (rhymes with Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-a-tat-like that. And I never hesitate to put a Rebel on his back). Our Scouts don’t hide. They fly by on their speeder bikes and leave you smoking.

But what about Snowtroopers (my faves), you might say? They’re all white, they buy into the appeal of camo. Nope. Snowtroopers wear what Snowtroopers wear to keep warm. Hoth just happens to compliment Snowtroopers. It’s not the other way around. That’s why they run the joint. Snowtroopers weren’t made for Hoth. Hoth was made for Snowtroopers.

snowtroopers

Only one pair of black boots on the ground.

So yeah, black-clad stormtroopers. They just go against the whole notion of crushing faceless uniformity I’ve come to love in the Empire. You wanna be a special snowflake, go be a Royal Guard. The job is cushier and you get a pointy movealong and a flashy red dress.

On top of all that….when I’m playing Battlefront I can never see the little buggers.

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I see you in the back, you jerk!

May The Force Be Witcha.

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Star Wars: Fists Of Ion Returns!

As part of the release of Star Wars: The Essential Reader’s Companion, Star Wars Books has reposted some of the long out of sight Hyperspace stories from Star Wars.com to suvudu, including my own Fists Of Ion, which is the quintessential story about boxing (known as shockboxing) in A Galaxy Far Far Away.

Set in the New Republic era (not long after Return Of The Jedi), Fists Of Ion is about how an up and coming shockboxer took down the oppressive Imperial-backed criminal government on a backwater industrial world with one punch.

You can read it abso-smurfly free here –

http://star-wars.suvudu.com/2012/10/star-wars-shorts-fists-of-ion.html

Art by Cat Staggs, logo mockup by my buddy Greg Mitchell

And for my fellow hardcore Star Wars fans, after you’ve read the story, here are the little easter eggs, which I originally posted on my now defunct Star Wars blog (taking a page from author Abel Pena).

Lobar’s race, the Calians of Shiva IV, their former enemies the T’syriel, their battle madness, and references to the destruction of K’avor (Lobar’s hometown, bombed out by Imperial General Bentilais san Sk’ar) originally appeared in Marvel Comics Star Wars issues 53-54.

The Rebel Alliance: Where everybody knows your name.

Major Bren (“Cliff from Cheers”) Derlin’s background details all come from West End Games’ The Star Wars Movie Trilogy Sourcebook, his entry in Alliance Intelligence Reports, and The Last Command Sourcebook.  I took the liberty of making his mission to Reuss VIII the one that earned him his promotion to Colonel. My big regret is not finding a way to work in the line “Who are three people who’ve never been in my kitchen?” Just couldn’t fit it in, though…

The plucky Alderaanian slicer Corporal Beezer is from the old Star Wars Customizable Card Game, and appears in the Endor Limited set where she’s described as part of Derlin’s commando strike force. Her first name, Dransa, is the author’s invention (my wife’s name tuckerized). The promotion to sergeant seemed like a logical progression after her work on Endor.

Torel Vorne

Torel Vorne, Deral Reiko, the Rust Rats, Moff Ammar, and Reussi VIII (as well as some of the details of Vorne’s organ donation trade and the Reuss Corporation’s hold on the populous) come from my favorite SWRPG book, West End Games’ Star Wars Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments From The Rim.Stitchy having once been court physician to Queen Apa-something, is a reference to Queen Apailana of Naboo, assassinated by Vader and the 501st for harboring Jedi in the Lucasarts video game Star Wars: Battlefront II.

“The Galaxy’s original talent free band” Boba Fett And The Assassin Droids, TriNebulon News, and Grada, an expensive brand of Cassandran Choholl are also from West End Games’ Star Wars Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments From The Rim.

Intelligence agents Resik, the Jillsarian bartender, Mygo Skinto, Ytavarg Aleema (the famous shockball player and secret Rebel sympathizer who lends his name to Lobar’s running shoes), and Colonial News Net reporter Fionna Flannis all appear in West End Games’ Cracken’s Rebel Operatives.

The Broken Tusk and the Dool Arena, including references to the vengeful Tolanese bounty hunter, the Jedi (Norrin Vaxx) beaten by Tull Raine, and the previous owners are all detailed in the last WEG supplement published, Wretched Hives Of Scum And Villainy.  The story behind that is The Broken Tusk was actually built out of the remains of the ship (The Tolan Tusk) of a bounty hunter named Var’rotha Fin’rotha, whose two Gamorrean slaves revolted on him, shoving him into an escape pod and inadvertently crash landing it on Reuss VIII.  The Gamorreans established The Broken Tusk and the Dool Arena, and operated a successful business for some years. One of the included adventure seeds was the return of Fin’rotha. I inferred its outcome, and that Torel Vorne would have jumped at the chance to take over the lion’s share of the Tusk’s profits and maybe legitimize the place (as far as somebody like Vorne could legitimize anything).

Zzip Product Concepts Ltd, makers of luxury speeders, are mentioned as one of the signing companies in the creation of the Corporate Sector Authority in The Han Solo And The Corporate Sector Sourcebook.

Micromite pate is listed as a Kubaz delicacy in the article “A Free Trader’s Guide To The Planets” from Star Wars Adventure Journal #10

The following terms and entities are my inventions –

bouncewire – Conductive, wire-wrapped syntherope strung around a shockboxing wedge.

Boz – The Calian creator deity.  Did the religion of the Calians somehow spread to or from Boz Pity?

Electrolast – Top of the line brand of shockboxing equipment.

glunked – A Chevin past tense version of ‘crapped,’ as in, ‘to crap out’ or fail in function.

GolanGear – Golan Arms’ floundering athletic equipment division and a brand of shockboxing equipment. You can bet their stocks went up after the Tull Raine fight.

gug – The Star Wars equivalent of a pug, or a broken down, past his prime shockboxer.

Kubindi mudbugs – A Kubaz delicacy consisting of succulent bottom feeders.

Qee-Zutton Booksellers – Purveyors of fine reading, the SW version of B. Dalton, of course. Possibly the Snivvian author and Chalmun’s Cantina patron had a bit of good fortune in later life…

ryastraad – The Calian word for their battle madness tradition. Actually derived from ríastrad, the ‘battle-distortion’ or berserker rage of the Irish folk hero Cú Chulainn.

Sha-nag! – A Chevin interjection equivalent to “bullsh_t!”

Tuffweave – A brand of pliant canvas material used in wedge flooring.

The idea of shockboxing was conceived by author Wayne Humfleet for the old West End Games RPG, I just expanded on it.

Star Wars esoterica aside, Fists Of Ion came about from my love of all things boxing.

Lobar Aybock is a tuckerization of ‘Rocky Balboa,’ and Lobar’s alien cornermen, Stitchy and Eedund Cus’ names come from Jacob ‘Stitch’ Doran, Muhammad Ali’s great cornerman Angelo Dundee, and Mike Tyson’s legendary trainer Cus D’amato, respectively.

You can read a little more about how I came to write Fists Of Ion here – https://emerdelac.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/happy-star-wars-day-may-the-4th-be-with-youze/