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					                   THE BATTLE OF HOTH
“This is it men,” said Sergeant Karle. He continued his safety lecture about the tactics of the
imperial troops. His hat was neatly put on and his breath made little white clouds in the cold air.
His grayish hair was a mess in the constantly cold temperatures. “Now, remember men, it is darn
cold, the wind is icy and those AT-AT walkers are not friendly. Is that understood?”

“Of course they are. Would you expect a storm trooper giving me bouquet?” said 26-year-old
pilot ace Alex. His fairly long hair swayed in the chilling breeze. He was almost too overjoyed
about flying to his death when he got in an X-wing fighter. He had modified his X-wing so that
the laser cannons could fire four bolts in two seconds; a mechanical genius. He had been there
when the death Star had been destroyed and was one of the few who survived Darth Vader‟s
pursuit in the metal canyons of the death star.

“That would be all too nice at this time of year, Alex,” Karle responded with a sarcastic
expression on his face. His eyes looked droopy and all the pilots knew that he had not slept well
since his left hand had been sliced off by Darth Vader himself. Sergeant Karle was in still in bit
pain form that horrid evening, but he seemed to recover gradually.

“Come on you sissy pilots! We can‟t handle those goddamn AT-ATs alone,” a rude soldier by
the name of Carisson Walker yelled across the busy hangar. He was known for his rude
comments, inappropriate jokes, and lousy temper. He always ate unhealthy food and smelled of
fries, even after showering.

“You‟re paid to shoot not comment on our planning, timing or other matters of business!” Karle
barked at him, his face turning the bright red it always did when he got really angry. Carisson
laughed to himself and his friends could not hide their smirks. “Incredible those young brutes
that think that they are so much smarter than their elders,” sighed Karle with a groan. He grabbed
for his cup of coffee and spat it out immediately.


                                                  1
Inside the hangar of Echo Base the dim lights did little to warm up its current occupants. The
temperatures of the ice planet Hoth were well below the comfort zone of everyone. Pieces of
scrap machinery littered the hangar and there was chaos everywhere. The machinery was frost
covered and there was an awful stench of cooling fluid in the air. There were only three access
points to the Hangar apart from the gigantic bay doors. One was the connection between the rest
of the base, the other the canteen entrance, and the last one was a transport tunnel to the main
power generators. The meals were warm for five minutes at the most and the water turned to ice
within half an hour. Can‟t anyone build a heating system on this godforsaken planet? Sergeant
Karle thought to himself.

“I hope that I am not causing an inconvenience, but what is wrong with your coffee sir?” See-
Threepio curiously asked Karle. There seemed to be a shaky sound in Threepio‟s voice in the
subzero temperatures. It almost seemed human to Karle.

“Thank you for asking Threepio, but I am bit busy briefing the pilots at the moment,” the
sergeant replied with an irritated and annoyed tone of voice. “But Threepio, next time I would
like a warm coffee, not an iced one” he joked.

“I am most utterly sorry Sergeant Karle, but that Artoo unit is making a racket in the hangar
kitchen. Apparently he has a bad feeling that the Imperial Forces will succeed in their evil plot,
so now he is warning everybody to evacuate.” Threepio had never experienced Artoo acting in
such a panicked way.

Sergeant Karle was not happy or listening to Threepio. It was like talking to a radio; it would
continue talking until you turned it off. The sergeant yawned and rolled his eyes.

“Pilots to their vehicles please, pilots to their vehicles please!” the intercom repeated. The bay
doors opened with an enormous grumbling sound, revealing the bright light of Hoth‟s barren
landscape. The blinding light was unbearably hot compared to the temperatures in the hangar. A
siren went off that signaled that the pilots had to take off.

“And remember lads, the Imperials must not reach the base,” Sergeant Karle yelled over the
noise. Ignoring him, the pilots simply climbed into their cockpits. The Sergeant‟s tired
expression could not be left unseen. He looked like a 60-year-old man now. Even though he was
                                                   2
only 45, the stress he was under made him look older. Stress was an unbearable condition to be
under in times like these as there was simply too much going on at the same time.

“Are you ready to kick some imperial ass?”Alex asked Enditas. Enditas was not just his co-pilot,
but it was his best friend at the Echo base. It was not just Enditas‟ first time flying in a POTJ
Snow speeder, but also flying in a battle. He was trembling and his breathing was almost frantic.
He had relatively short blond hair with a bald spot from a surgery that had been necessary to save
his life. He was not even twenty-four, but was almost as tall as Han Solo, though not as
intelligent.

“You bet I am,” he stammered uneasily. For his fist time approaching such a matter, he had the
right attitude; just do it. He and Alex strapped on their helmets and checked that the
communication worked. They climbed up the ladder a bit uneasily, but when they settled down
in the POTJ‟s pilot and gunner seat, they seemed ready for anything. In was fairly small for a
two man speeder, but it had everything it needed. The pilot‟s controls were all ready and working
at maximum power and all the systems were flawless. The screens inside the POTJ were always
changing the controllers were in the safety lock position. I can only hope that this thing will not
crash. I do not want my life to end any time soon Alex thought to himself. He was nervous and
would rather be somewhere else. He had always wanted to be on Yavin 4, another rebel base.
The engines were started and the racket was unbearable. Chewbacca let out a loud groan at the
sound of the engines starting and Han had to hush him up.

“Quit groaning and fix the ship!” Han shouted at Chewie and swore under his freezing breath.
Han Solo was had assisted the Rebel forces after he had helped Luke Skywalker and Obi- Wan
Kenobi to infiltrate the death star some time ago. His ship, the Millennium Falcon, was regarded
as a „hunk of junk‟ by most people. Nevertheless, Han loved it like his own pet. Chewbacca was
Han Solo‟s best friend. He was a Wookiee with an unbearable breath and a moan that gets stuck
in one‟s head.

As soon as the bay doors were completely open, one speeder after the other took off into the
freezing snows of Hoth.


                                                3
“There they are, Enditas, all five of those metal bullies that underestimate us,” Alex told him as
they saw the AT-AT walkers appeared over the horizon, their vast size incredible. Their metal
legs seemed far from proportional to their large bodies.

“Any ideas how we are gonna knock their lights out?” Enditas asked Alex while he was
practicing the rear gunner‟s firing procedure. His hands were slightly sweaty and he had
butterflies in his stomach.

“No idea kid, but we are gonna get at least one of them, that‟s for sure,” Alex replied with an
almost happy tone to his voice. He wanted to return to the base and spend some time with
Meghan Rivers, who he secretly admired in every way possible. He had not told anybody about
this but Enditas. He trusted him with his life in any situation. “Anyway, those guys are a pile of
scrap metal after we are done with them.”

“I hope that you are sure about that, cause‟ I have a bad feeling about this. I mean, who would
send a couple of little speeders about against five giant machines of doom?”

“Sergeant Karle would do send us out here”

“Except that guy and the commander, nobody would do such a ridiculous thing. I mean, it‟s
suicide out there. I would have gotten some better defenses.”

“We have orders and that is that. I wouldn‟t want to be here but we have a mission to
accomplish.”

“I honestly can imagine doing better things than trying to hold off these Imperial twits.”

“You‟d be pigging out in the canteen stuffing tacos in your mouth two at a time.”

“And you would be fixing your dreamy gaze on Miss Rivers, am I correct?”

Shut up dude! We are on open channels here!” Alex shouted as he violently jerked at the
controller, just dodging a gun turret. He sighed and wiped the sweat off his forehead with the
back of his glove.

The first shots erupted from the AT-ATs and they had to dodge them.

                                                 4
“Rogue Leader, come in, this is Echo Base,” the speakers in their helmets announced.

“This is Rogue Leader, Echo Base, I read you,” Luke Skywalker said, his calm voice
tranquilizing all the other pilots who heard it. He had also been assigned to defend the base as he
was the best pilot in the whole rebel alliance. Sending him out to lead this battle was a good
move from Sergeant Karle. “What is the matter?”

“The armor of the AT-ATs is far too thick for your shots. You will have to use your Mo/Dk
energy harpoon. The AP/11 dual laser cannons are not powerful enough to cause damage to their
armor, although they are good against AT-STs.”

“Use those energy harpoons and tow cables to take the big guys out. For the little ones, the dual
laser cannons are good, you got that guys?” Luke repeated through the intercom channels to all
the other snow speeders.

“Yes ma‟am, no problem” Alex replied snickering.

“Ha, ha, ha Alex, very mature. It seems that you are just like a 12 year old.” Luke said coolly and
focused on his target.

*

The laser cannons from the trenches were firing at full power to defend them from the imperial
AT-STs. The constant fire from the AT-AT leading the attack was the most concentrated. From
the rebel command post Sergeant Karle observed the struggle against the Imperial forces that
were only a mile away. As he sipped his freshly poured coffee, the first AT-AT went down
followed by another. Cheering broke out in the command post but not for long.

“Sir, the main shield generator has been hit!” a frantic messenger announced catching his breath.
Sergeant Karle glanced nervously over at Princess Leia Organa. She looked worried, even
though in stressful situations she usually did not panic easily

“What shall we do next, your highness?” Karle asked tasting his strong coffee.

“I do not know, what are some of your ideas, Commander?” Leia asked the Commander.

                                                  5
“I would get out of here and move ourselves of this planet before it is too late!” the Commander
replied, his adrenaline surging through his veins. His head turned bright red as he put down his
coffee mug. ”Sorry your highness, the coffee is too much.”

Apology accepted Commander, give the evacuation code.”

*

“What is this; they are giving us the evacuation code so soon?” Enditas complained. “I mean, we
aren‟t hit and still those high-rank idiots are waving the white flag? We have been fighting for
only half an hour at the most!”

“There are only five of us left, calling a retreat is not all that bad,” Luke said turning his snow
speeder around.

“This is Echo Base, all pilots retreat and head for the regrouping point in standard evacuation
procedure,” the intercom announced. “Rogue leader, inform all those that were not paying
attention.”

“You got it; we‟re turning round and getting out of here” Luke said, his voice muffled through
the bad communications link. “We are probably defeated or are about to get conquered by the
Imperials. Nothing we can do about it.”

Just then, Alex‟s snow speeder was hit by a stray laser bolt that was fired by a crashing AT-AT
walker. The sparks flew out in every direction and the controls started to malfunction. Panic
swept Enditas, but Alex tried to stay somewhat calm.

“Rogue Leader, I‟m hit, I repeat, I am hit!” Alex said into the microphone calmly. “My controls
are not working properly, but I think that I can land near the base hangar. I mean, I will try my
best to land there.”

“Try? You are only going to try to land? You would better land our speeder there or we‟ll be
rebel toast in not even two minutes!” Enditas yelled at Alex, his voice slightly sore.

“Relax Rogue Enditas; we will have covering fire until you land. From there on out, you‟d better
have those blasters ready,” the Echo Base communications director said.
                                                 6
“We can only hope that the snow around the hangar is not as hard as the one out here,” Alex said
to Enditas as the speeder approached the hangar doors.

“Rogue Leader, this is Echo base. Please inform Alex and Enditas that there are imperials in the
hangaaaar!” The scream ended abruptly. Come on, a reply please Luke thought to himself. But,
there was no reply, only silence.

“Alex this is Rogue Leader. I have to tell you that the imperials have take over the east hangar
gate. Blast your way through there,” Luke said into the only line left.

“Let‟s do this Enditas, load your blaster rifle and get ready to run,” Alex told him in the gunner
seat of the crashing snow speeder.

“You got it man,” Enditas said as the hatch opened to reveal the raging battle of the rebels and
the snow troopers. As their crashed snow speeder plummeted to the ground, hatch open, both of
them jumped out and landed on the surprisingly soft snow.

“Move it dude! We‟re vulnerable out here! Find some transport or cover of some sort!” Alex
yelled through the blistering wind.

*

“Are you okay? Come on, give me a sign here.” It was useless, the wound that Enditas had was
the bloodiest Alex had ever seen. It was a deep cut from a blaster which had hit a fairly large
vein. There was blood on the snow that covered his orange flight suit. “I need a medic over
here,” Alex yelled across the area where the remaining rebel forces had gathered for planetary
evacuation. It was a barren area of snow surrounded by some tall rocks. The snow was covered
in blood, equipment, and thousands of footprints. Medical stations had been built up as well as
all-purpose tents for the survivors. Everybody seemed busy and had something to do. The
doctors had a huge load of patients to help. Only a young first-aid apprentice came over and
offered help.

“I do not think that he will make it long if he stays out here. The optimal place would be a Bacta
tank, but for now keeping his body temperature fine is more important. I will arrange for a Bacta

                                                 7
tank to be put aside for him,” the medic replied going through his hair with the pen from his
clipboard.

Alex had once been in a Bacta Tank when he almost froze because he had gotten snow down his
jacket and had to ride back to the base on a Tauntaun for a whole hour. When he came back his
body temperature was well below normal and had to receive medical attention immediately.
Once inside the Bacta Tank he recovered, but the slimy and repulsive feel of the liquid inside
was not considered amusing by anyone. The only fun thing was the sense of zero gravity.
Nevertheless, it was not a pleasant experience for him.

“Thanks for the help,” Alex said heaving Enditas‟ body on an anti-gravity stretcher and taking
him to the medical station. It was clean, but really full and cramped. He saw an empty Bacta tank
with the first-aid apprentice next to it waving him over. He smiled and was more than thankful
for the help.

As his body was placed in the Bacta tank with all the necessary equipment attached, the first-aid
apprentice explained: “He will be fine in about a week but he will not be able to fight for a whole
month.”

“That‟s good news,” Alex said going outside where he met Sergeant Karle, waiting for him in
the cold.

“That was some pretty amazing work out there, so I decided to give you this bravery award.
After all, who would save their comrade from dying in a battle that we were losing. Only the
brave would do such a thing.”

“Thank you so much, but I can‟t accept.”

“Why can‟t you accept?” the Sergeant questioned Alex.

“Because anybody would have done the same in my situation sir,” Alex replied coolly.

“You were the only one who did this, everybody else managed to get away with their own lives,
not that of their friends.”

“Good point, I don‟t think that this award might hurt.”
                                                8
“Let‟s see to it that we get some sleep before the planetary evacuation tomorrow shall we?”
Sergeant Karle said walking over to the tents that had been built up in the last half hour.

“Good night Enditas,” Alex whispered under his breath as he lay down on the mattress in his
tent. The pillow was hard and the covers and blankets were freezing cold. The tent was shallow
and there was only a dim light and a small box in it. As Alex changed into his pajamas he
discovered that the box was his travel pack. As he lay down and reflected on the day he could not
help saying to himself: “You were a wicked gunner today, Enditas. I could not of have done it
without you.”6




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