Hal Elstrom





Growing up within the Empire, life on the fringe was just a story. Outlaws, smugglers, rebels – they were worlds away, and day to day life didn’t have time for that sort of talk. Let the Senate handle it.

He was just a kid when it all happened. His parents had told him to pack his bags – they were taking a holiday. They’d be gone for a while. Docking Bay 82. It smelled like dirty cement and old plastic. They had been on the run for a few days – just long enough for a kid his age to work out that they weren’t on vacation.

His mother – he had trouble remembering her face sometimes, it was so long ago. She winced, and held him and his sisters close.

There they are, sir.

The voice had the speaker static of an Imperial trooper. Snow-white armor filled the entrance to the bay, and in the midst of them, a demon, all in black. His face was a mash of metal and glass, black as space.

His father clenched their fake documents in his hands, then let them drop. He was choking, sputtering apologies to the demon in black, pleading for him and his sisters. “Save your pleading for yourself, Lieutenant Elstrom,” it said in metallic purr, almost soothingly. “Your children are saved the shame of having a traitor for a father.”

A blaster came from beneath his mother’s tunic, screaming red bolts at the monster. The troops surrounding them were too slow to react, raising their rifles too late. With a brush of the hand, the creature in black plucked the blaster fire from mid-air, as if they were fire-flies. Another glove extended, and his mother crumpled next to his father.

The kid had been crying with his sisters. But when he saw his parents writhing on the dank hangar floor, something terrible welled up and took him from the inside. It felt stronger than hate or fear. He was a gentle child – hate and fear had always felt wrong. Whatever this was, it was a darkness that burned and comforted and filled the edges of his perception. He took his mother’s blaster and shot without aiming.

The rest of his memory was just confusion, and pain, and darkness.

He woke up alone save for a medical droid tending to a stump where his hand used to be. With his other hand, he tried to touch the cracked waste where the left side of his face used to be.

He was on a ship. His father’s contacts had arrived on the scene after the fact and had found him alive. His parents hadn’t made it. The crew was less than reputable, but they honored their contract by paying for a new hand out of his father and mother’s fare. When they got to the Outer Rim, he found out that they raided Imperial ships. With no where to go of his own and a burning hate for the Empire, young Hal joined them, beginning his new life on the edge of the Empire.

Hal Elstrom

Star Wars - A Wretched Hive sweed84