Template:PostCatH Post 11 continues the predicament of Clear and features the beginning of The Star Wars Retcon. Clear is found by Captain Londris and her group of Stormtroopers. They take her prisoner and she is interrogated by Deonal Strang. He reveals himself to be a Warlord, broken away from The Galactic Empire of the Milky Way due to the death of their former key to victory, Grand Admiral Thrawn (which happened on NeS1 Page 1). However when the Bug is detected as escaping the planet below, Clear is found to be lying by the Warlord who demands that she be taken to watch her rebel friends die.
On one of the shelves of her new home, Clear found a bottle of strange fizzy liquid that is now her only source of nourishment. She pops the cap and guzzles down the sweet tasting stuff. She checks the bottle. Dr Pepper[Ext 1]? Why would a doctor be making fizzy drinks? She mildly wonders if there's something medicinal in the stuff as she finishes the bottle and resumes tampering with the console. She had been working on the computers for the past hour, searching for life, ships, anything. So far she has drawn a blank on ships, but she has located a large structure right there on the planet that could house other supplies. Like food and water. She could hoof it there, not in the blizzard and would need to take her Bug over. Before wasting fuel, however, she continues to search for clues of intelligent life.
It is then that a blip finally appears. At first she assumes it's The Hopeful due to the sheer size of the ship, so few ships seemed to reach the absolute volume of The Hopeful. But the longer she read the statistics on the ship, the more she comes to accept that the ship is most definitely not The Hopeful and is something much scarier.
It is, however, likely her only method of survival aside from an ominous planetary structure that could be a gigantic statue to the God of Cold Places.
God of Cold Places: "I bloody wish I had a monument to me! Nobody cares about my divinity. So sad. We need more cold places!"
Ass Clear starts to set up a communications channel with the massive vessel, she hears the clang of the main doors as thy shift open. Clear leaps from her seat. She couldn't believe that the ship had managed to send down a search party so quickly. There's nowhere to hide and so surrender is her only option. She waits. The inner doors slide open and a bunch of soldiers jog into the room holding carbines. She holds her hands all the higher when the soldiers make no comment at her surrender. The soldiers are wearing white armour that shines as though made of ice. Around their armour is a thick cloak designed to keep the cold from seeping into the cracks of the armour. The final soldier to enter the room is wearing a cloak emblazoned with a bright red insignia that would probably show up rather well against the white of the snow. The soldier pulls off the white helmet to reveal a blonde human woman with short cropped hair and a nasty scar that slices through her ear across the scalp.
Lead Soldier: "What the Hell're you doing here?"
Clear: "Waiting for rescue."
Lead Solider: "Obviously it was you that shut down the projector. Step away from the console."
Clear, with guns aimed at her, did as she is told. One of the soldiers pulls his own helmet off to get a better look at the console as he starts to undo what Clear had done.
Clear: "My ship got trapped by the projector and I had to shut it down to free her."
Lead Solider: "Where is your ship now?"
Clear: "It left me behind."
Lead Solider: "No honour amongst thieves, eh?"
Clear: "I'm not a thief!"
She then considers 'salvager' probably doesn't sound a whole lot different to 'thief' in the ears of police-types. The woman doesn't rebuke Clear's claim and simply waits for the soldier at the console to finish his duty. When he confirms that the projector is back up and running he dons his helmet again, as does the woman.
Lead Soldier: "Alright you, come with us and we'll get you a nice warm cell to sit in."
Clear is ushered down the corridor until they're outside. The soldiers march her through the snow and Clear wonders if she ought to mention her poor old Bug getting snowpiled. Instead she thinks it may be better to leave it where it is in case of emergency. The group stop in the middle of nowhere and one of the soldiers reveals a wrist-mounted device which he pushes a few times. Before them emerges, through a series of electrical discharges, a short-range transport ship. Snow melts as it touches the hot surface of the ship, probably heated up by the cloaking effect. A ramp descends and she is led onboard, the eight soldiers come in after her. When she's aboard she finds that there's another person onboard - a pilot wearing a black militaristic suit but no armour. He glances back at her, shakes his head with disbelief, and then resumes his flight prep sequence. The soldiers file through the transport and seat themselves in the two rows of seats facing each other. Evidently this is a troop transport. There is the sound of the two broad wings unfolding from the upright position Clear had seen them in. Then the ship slowly begins to hover. The Lead Soldier motions towards one of the empty seats and Clear sits herself in and straps up. The soldiers all remove their helmets, each of them looking much hotter than Clear feels. A complete mix of men and women and even one of them was some kind of alien that Clear didn't recognise - though he is still humanoid much like her own species. Aside from the single grey-skinned species, the rest all appear to be human but they were quite unlike the humans from Earth that she'd become familiar with.
Lead Soldier: "What's your name, prisoner?"
Lead Solider: "Your full name."
Clear: "Uh... that is my full name."
Some of the soldiers chuckle at that.
Lead Soldier: "My pet peeve. Cultures without the decency to have of multiple names for identification."
A slight against her people cut Clear deeper than a personal insult. They aren't around to defend their honour against this ignorant human. They then ignored Clear and none of them spoke as they waited for the ship to reach their destination.
Clear is seated in a small box-room that is brightly lit. One wall is a black sheet of glass that she suspects is transparent one-way and concealed from her side. She is confronted by a man wearing casual clothes that appear much like those of her own culture back on Mars. Loose-fitting, baggy material. He has a heavy-looking necklace that rests on his shoulders and hangs about his chest, made of slabs with scribbled writing on each one. She guessed it is supposed to signify something but she had no idea what that something is.
Man: "Hello my dear."
Clear: "... hello."
Man: "My name is Deonal Strang. I'm here to interview you."
The man has dark hair, combed over nearly. He has a well-trimmed goatee surrounding his mouth that has flecks of grey in it. His eyes are light brown with a hint of green around the pupils if one were inclined to stare deeply into them. Which Clear is doing now. She tries to see the measure of the man. His demeanour is pleasant, friendly and well-meaning - all designed for her to give him the answers he wants to hear. She feels he'll be disappointed by her story.
Strang: "Your name is Clear, correct?"
Clear: "That's right."
Clear: "My ship jumped into the system and got stuck because of the projector. I went down to the planet. Teleported down..."
She hoped that lie would slip through. Her Bug may yet prove useful where it is.
Clear: "I turned it off. Then my stupid A.I. went rogue and skipped out of the system. I got stranded. I was opening a communications channel to your ship when it arrived but your soldiers found me... quickly."
Strang: "By coincidence we returned to the system to collect Captain Londris and her team from their training exercise. If they hadn't been down there, you may have been stranded for a very long time."
Clear: "Lucky me..."
Strang: "I don't mean to be rude but... what are you?"
Clear doesn't see much use in lying. She didn't know any other red-skinned beings and if she made one up, that would be just as unfamiliar and rare as any Martian.
Strang: "I must apologise. I have never heard of your kind. This part of the galaxy tends to find a wide variety of alien species. Some more welcome than others. You seem to be a good-natured, young lady. I trust you aren't involved in criminal activities are you?"
Clear: "No! What kind of criminal activity could anyone do out here anyway? Unless freezing to death is a crime..."
Deonal Strang smiles but doesn't laugh and she thinks even the smile is forced.
Strang: "Subversive elements, sweet child. They're becoming ever more bold in these backwater systems. As well as Station Exploit on that planet there is another structure. Once it belonged to the rebels. Now it stands derelict. But I feel some small bands of rebels may well visit that structure to hide from the ever prying eyes of the Galactic Empire."
Clear: "There's a Galactic Empire?"
Strang blinks, clearly in disbelief.
Strang: "Just how far away is your Mars?"
Strang: "You are from the Milky Way, yes?"
Clear: "Yes, of course."
Strang: "Ah. Well apparently there's been an increase of beings from other galaxies. Technically the empire is the Galactic Empire of the Milky Way because of this increase in non-terrestrial traffic. I just thought I'd best check."
Clear: "So you're the empire and you're fighting rebels?"
Strang sits back in his chair before he answers.
Strang: "It's a little more complicated than that. The rebels have done their damage to the empire already. It's finished. Done with. The death of the Grand Admiral secured its fate."
Clear taps her chin. That did sound vaguely familiar.
Strang: "I see perhaps you do know something of our empire afterall?"
Clear: "Didn't your grand admiral attack the Earth?"
Strang: "That's right. Now I begin to understand where your Mars must reside in the galaxy. It's quite far out but there appeared to be strategical value in that planet Earth, according to the grand admiral. He was created for the sole purpose of leading the empire's navy and conquering the entire galaxy."
Strang: "Correct. Created. He was a machine. It was devised that no human mind could truly complete the task necessary and so a cold machine mind was desired. Some scientists put the specifics together and one of our scientists created the body for our Grand Admiral Thrawn. A second was also created for us. Taxi Driver Thrawn. He was supposed to demonstrate the mental gap between the two personalities. I have no idea if others were created two, but there were only two personality matrices in use at the time. Anyway. To cut a very long story short, our grand admiral fell. Decapitated I heard. After that, the empire fell into disarray. Rebels took advantage and ruptures appeared throughout the empire. Entire systems fell to the Rebel Alliance while others still declared their independence from all authority. Some of the more powerful admirals of the empire saw a sinking ship and decided to grasp power and maintain order within their own sectors. That's what I am."
Clear: "Whoa. You're the Admiral here?"
Strang: "I apologise for the deception, my young lady, but I wasn't sure if you weren't a rebel spy. I am Warlord Deonal Strang. A real rebel spy would have known that. You truly do seem to be a lost little lamb."
Clear: "Does this mean I'm free to go?"
Strang: "Free to go where, little dove?"
Clear: "After my ship!"
Strang: "And how will you do that?"
Clear sighs. She has no idea how to chase down The Hopeful now. She doesn't want to go down to live the remainder of her days on that ice world.
The door to the room bursts open and Captain Londris, the blonde woman steps in.
Strang: "What's the meaning of this, Captain?"
Londris: "Sir. A small ship has taken off from the planet. It's an old machine, barely holding together. It's trying to make an escape, it seems."
Clear: "That... sounds like my ship."
Strang glares at Clear.
Strang: "You said you teleported down! Why didn't you tell us about this ship, we should have impounded it!"
Clear: "I thought I might need it..."
Strang: "I wonder what else you've been lying about!"
Strang: "Bring her! If she is a rebel spy, she can watch as we destroy her friends."
Londris roughly grabs Clear and shoves her from the room.
"Here is the first introduction of one of my personal favourite characters from CatH, Captain Londris. She doesn't do much here but later on she plays an ever-expanding and exciting role in the story. However the major key point of this post is firstly the retcon of the groups - the Galactic Empire[Ext 2] and the Rebel Alliance[Ext 3]. Originally Star Wars[Ext 4] parodies within the original Never-ending Story, with the evolution of the story and its Writers, copyrighted materials has been increasingly frowned upon and discouraged from continual usage. While external sources are still accepted as writing assets, it's merely become unwelcome when used as a constant main source of story material that makes the NeS read like a work of fan-fiction. In this the only real culprit for the NeS has been Star Wars, which is a natural and obvious circumstance since it grew from a Star Wars forum named Massassi Temple. Consistent references and jokes have been made throughout the NeS and NeS2 but its opening Story Arcs, especially the very first (The Fight of the Century of the Week) had everyone has Jedis[Ext 5] and Sith[Ext 6] and the primary villain was even taken straight from the Star Wars books. After discussing this predicament an elaborate scheme was first concocted by Gebohq the Writer to retcon the material as, somehow, semi-original parodies within the NeSiverse. I followed through but tried to heavily harken to the original source, not wishing to so fiercely retcon that it breaks continuity. The most unusual, and more difficult, of the retcons was for Grand Admiral Thrawn[Ext 7] as done here. A series of Thrawn Bots were created during NeS2, apparently having no connection to the original Grand Admiral Thrawn who appeared in the original Story Arc of the NeS and so we were able to retcon the grand admiral as one such Thrawn Bot created by Qwerty. This has been a very satisfying retcon that connected many tethers from NeS history. Other minor retcons, such as adding tiny details to the armour of the storm troopers[Ext 8] to make them more original, was merely flare and fun for me."
"This was also the post with the now infamous "Ass Clear" typo that resulted in a series of joke comments from CatH reader, Gebohq the Writer, that came to be an actual physical quality for Clear - her now having a large bottom that is often considered highly attractive by several characters throughout the CatH series." - Britt the Writer
The Star Wars Retcon
"When it was decided by the Writers, spurred on by Gebohq the Writer's original suggestion, I went ahead and began a process of retconning the Star Wars franchise into the NeS so that it would be original, albeit parody, content as opposed to being directly lifted from the original source. It began with CatH Post 11 and retconned the major element of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Thrawn was the primary, and very first villain of the NeS, for The Fight of the Century of the Week. Here he was retconned to be just one of the many Thrawn Bots created by Qwerty Uiop that was meant to lead the Empire to victory. The death of Thrawn is a major plot element for the political scenario that Clear has entered into within the Perseus Arm. Other retcons within this post were minor details of storm trooper armour, adding a cape to their uniform and adding an insignia to the cape of their captains (in this case Captain Londris). Otherwise the name for the empire was elongated to "The Galactic Empire of the Milky Way", with the reasoning for increased traffic from alternate galaxies." - Britt the Writer