Author Topic: RE#18 - DARK EXCHANGE  (Read 12874 times)

Offline CHEWIE

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« on: December 28, 2005, 02:52 AM »

After months of endless fighting, several Republic Assault Cruisers encircle the war torn planet, Kobridon.

With numbers on their side, the droid armies of the Separatists continue to repel the attacks of the Republic.

As the casualties mount, the clone soldiers have begun to take defensive positions in the ongoing battle.

Under the leadership of Commander Rykrof Enloe, the Republic has held ground on a number of occasions when defeat seemed inevitable.

Although the battle against the droid army has taken precedence, Rykrof is all too aware that throughout the battle zone dozens of Badoo Corba snipers patiently wait to eliminate open targets.

After a long night of repelling aerial bombardments, Ralbarr, Freelo and Kala Mly Shundi eagerly wait for a scheduled meeting with Rykrof as they discuss the grave situation they have found themselves in.

“Here he comes!” Freelo exclaims with joy.

“Where did you find that armor Freelo?  You look like a Corellian tortoise,” Rykrof laughs.

As Ralbarr laughs at Rykrof’s friendly joke, Freelo mumbles under his breath his disappointment in sitting back at the command center while his friends fight on the front line.

“There will come a time Freelo,” Rykrof says.  “But this isn’t the place for it.  I just spoke with General Ti,” he says as he beckons to Master Shundi.  “We’re making our move at 0900 hours.”

“But I want to go with you,” Freelo says. 

“You and Ralbarr are staying here.  Besides, we need someone to watch over the base in case the droids counterstrike,” Rykrof counters.

“A good plan.  The Wookiee is a formidable opponent.  He should stay here with Freelo,” Master Shundi agrees.

Rykrof then meets with Jedi Master Shaak Ti prior to the scheduled assault.

“With the main force striking the heart of the droid army, it should distract our enemies for you to locate and arrest the Quarren traitor,” the Jedi says.  “If our information is correct, the Yam’rii scavenger in the eastern square may reveal the location to you that we need.”

Soon, the Republic encampment begins to deploy its troops…

And the order is given to attack.

The droid army is well prepared for an attack however as they unleash a barrage of blaster fire.

To Shaak Ti’s surprise, the droid army charges forward to meet the assault.

Meanwhile, back at the command center, Freelo expresses his discouragement to Ralbarr. 

“We should be on the front line,” Freelo says.  “What good are we doing sitting back here while Rykrof is never here with us?”

Suddenly a sniper blast strikes Freelo squarely in the chest…

In a flash, Ralbarr fires a shot in the direction of the blast…

With lightning precision, the mighty Wookiee eliminates the Badoo Corba assassin.

Ralbarr then scans the area for additional attackers before checking on Freelo.

The Mon Calamari then springs up from the ground. 

“I’m alive!  We’ll have to tell Rykrof about this!  Next time he’ll think twice before being critical of me!”

Meanwhile, Rykrof and Kala Mly Shundi lead a small group of clone troopers to the rubble of the eastern square.

As most mornings, the Yam’rii scavenger is found rummaging through the debris, looking for salvageable parts for resale.

Just as Master Ti foresaw, the insectoid alien is receptive to helping the cause of the Republic.

“A Quarren you seek?  Search the abandoned warehouse that is located south of the pumping station,” she says in a chirpy voice.  “It is the one with the wooden door.  I have seen... a Quarren, a Twi’lek, a young human female, and... and many others entering that location just last evening.  But be careful.  Terrorists occupy that area in far greater numbers than you have in your gathering.”

“You have our gratitude,” Kala Mly Shundi says.  “Finding this traitor will help the Republic liberate this planet from both the droid army and the insurgency.  No longer will he sell information to the Badoo Corba.”

Less than one hour later, Rykrof’s group locates the abandoned warehouse.

Once inside, the group cautiously explores a large cell.

And see the back of what appears to be their target.

“Something’s wrong,” Rykrof says.

The group slowly moves closer to the Quarren.

Suddenly a cold sweat breaks out throughout Rykrof’s body as one of his troops walks to the side of the seated alien.


“This wound is recent,” Kala Mly Shundi observes.  “An hour ago, the traitor was alive.  His usefulness to the Badoo Corba must have run out.”

Suddenly the data monitor on the workstation chimes to life and reveals the image of a young woman lying in an alleyway.

“Sir, this looks like it's intended for us,” one of the clones says.

As he views the screen, a sickness comes over Rykrof unlike any he has ever felt.  More powerful than the culmination of every fear he has previously experienced in his life.

On the screen he sees the body of his dear wife, Alyssa.  Unconscious?  Dead?  Either way, Rykrof knows she has somehow been abducted from their home on Naboo and is now in mortal danger.

“I present a welcoming gift to you for visiting Kobridor!” an evil, familiar face laughs.  “In exchange for her life, the Badoo Corba offers to take her husband into custody.  When my men arrive to pick him up at your present location, he will be alone and unarmed.”

As Rykrof listens carefully to every word, he can barely believe what he is hearing.

“She is a several minute sprint east of this location,” the cruel voice says.  “In exactly 12 minutes my snipers will implode her beautiful skull.  You have until that time to find and rescue her.  The Jedi must accompany your clone troopers but I suggest you leave now.  Any attempts at trickery and she will be promptly terminated.”

“Rykrof, I will stay here with you,” Kala Mly Shundi says solemnly.

“No, we have no time to discuss this.  We do exactly as they say,” Rykrof replies calmly.  “Find my wife.  Get her out of here.  And promise me you’ll protect her and if my son is alive, that you will see to it that he is secure.”

Torn apart by emotion, Kala Mly Shundi and the clone troopers take one last look at Rykrof; knowing this may be the final time they see the brave commander.

“Just go,” he whispers.  “Please go.”

Minutes later, Master Shundi’s clones locate Alyssa with under a minute to spare before the designated time limit.

The young woman begins to gain her bearings thanks to a Jedi alertness technique employed by Master Shundi.

“They have her.  We must leave immediately.”

“Yes,” Troffar replies to the Aqualish watchman.  “Inform Master Fuuda our objective is complete.”

Back at the warehouse, Rykrof meets a new, yet familiar face.

“You fool!” Mubaas Fuuda hisses.  “My brother may have underestimated you, but I have captured you effortlessly!”

“Soon the Republic will meet our demands to leave the Outer Rim, or I will teach you the true meaning of pain and suffering!”

“Nothing you do to me will help you,” Rykrof says.  “You are as big of a fool as Trigg.  Your message of hate will never inspire people to follow your cause.”

“Take him away!” Muubas yells.

Minutes later, Freelo and Ralbarr observe several terrorist ships blast their way off the planet.

“They escaped!” Freelo says.  “I’m sure Rykrof will not be happy.”

Meanwhile, General Shaak Ti continues the main battle against the droid army.

And finally defeats the remnants of the mindless killing machines.

Feeling pain throughout her exhausted body, the Jedi observes the aftermath of the battle.

“Heavy losses,” she laments while favoring a blaster wound.  “But a much needed victory.  I hope the others were successful in their part.”

Soon after, the citizens begin to emerge from their shelters and grasp the task at hand in rebuilding their planet.

Few surviving clones remain to celebrate their narrow victory, but not all survivors feel victory was attained at all.

Still in shock, Alyssa Enloe explains how the Badoo Corba secretly kidnapped her.  Though she grieves for her husband, her primary concern is for her son on Naboo. 

“I have to get back to Caldin,” she cries.

“Your little tubby will be ok,” Freelo says in a vain attempt to comfort her.  “I find myself focusing on what horrible things they are going to do to your husband.”

Master Shaak Ti then approaches a disheartened Jedi Master. 

“I failed the commander... I went back immediately, but they had taken him,” Kala Mly Shundi cries.

“I sense fear and anger in you, Kala.  You must cleanse your soul of these dark feelings.  Regardless of what you think, you did the right thing my friend,” she softly says.  “But his destiny is out of our control.  It always has been.  His life is in the hands of the Force.”


I hope you guys all like this chapter, it was a fun one to work on but took longer than I thought it would to make.  Using more "real sets" again has been a lot of fun.  And thanks to Spectre for the image of the Badoo Corba ship he let me use.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 01:54 PM by CHEWIE »

Offline In Rem

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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2005, 12:49 PM »
CHEWIE - another brilliant chapter in the R.E. saga! The staging for the main battle and the side mission were exceptional. Seriously, exceptional. You did kind of spoil that R.E. was doomed to falling into B.C. hands, but I didn't feel like knowing that took away from the story at all.

The number of custom figs in this one seemed to be so great. Almost everyone was a fairly involved custom project of its own save the Clones and Battle Droids. All the better to add realism to the other-worldliness of the chapter.

I thought the action was paced well, and I thought the lulls were effective. I like how Freelo's getting a bit of an edge while maintaining his quirkiness (his last comment to A.E. was priceless) :)

I also liked the final consult between the Jedi. It added some gravitas to R.E.'s circumstance that will carry into the next chapter.

Well done, CHEWIE. You have yet to disappoint!

Offline Joe

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2005, 12:53 PM »
BEST one yet.As always I love your storyline.Now I think I know why you made that beat-up Rykrof.

 - Joe

Offline S_A_Longhorn

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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2005, 01:25 PM »
Glad to see your work again, CHEWIE

The real sets look great.  Really pleased to see you are using them more now.  IMO, they add more realism to your story.

Your customs are excellent as usual.  Freelo, Rykrof, Shaak Ti and the others are all perfect renditions during the Clone Wars.  Shundi is my favorite and I would buy him easily.

I am assuming you used your new camera for these shots.  They are much clearer and the colors are a lot better.  Great work on the photography

I only have two things I didn't like:

First, a small nuisance, is the size of the laser blasts.  I always envisioned them as shorter than the ones in your pics.  Just a small gripe, but they seem to dominate the pictures with only two or three long laser blasts.  I think your battle pics would look better with more, shorter laser blasts.  Also, should the lightsabers look the same as a laser blast??

Second, the dialogue & narration is too descriptive.  Your pics are secondary to your dialogue.  Meaning, I could just read your dialogue and understand the story without ever seeing a picture.  This is where your style & my style differs.  For example, instead of telling us that Freelo is grumbling about Ryfrof, just use some dialogue and allow us (the readers) to understand his frustration.  Another example, with the Shaak Ti and Shundi at the end, don't tell us Shundi is upset or sad.  Have Shundi communicate his thoughts with his own words.  This may be just a difference of opinion, but your narration takes away from the dialogue and beautiful pics.

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Offline Quazar

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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2005, 01:51 PM »
Awesome update!!!!!!!

Man, the practical sets (with a few digital enhancements) are Fantastic!!!  It really does look like a war-torn industrial world!

So much great stuff to comment here on, I will write detailed comments hopefully today or tonight.

EXCELLENT chapter, as always!!  Wow, wow!!


I agree with Longhorn about the dialogue.  I think you should use dialogue as much as possible over narration, but I will comment more on this in my detailed review...still, AMAZING job.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2005, 02:01 PM by Quazar »
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Offline CHEWIE

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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2005, 02:01 PM »
Thanks for all the nice words guys. 

In Rem - Glad that you liked the dialogue with Freelo.  He's becoming a very fun character to work with, and so is Kala Mly Shundi.  Yes, I used a lot of customs for it, I think it helps add a realistic feel to the characters.  I hope I didn't ruin anything in spilling the beans earlier with Rykrof getting captured.

NoMercyJoe - Yes you are probably on the right track about Rykrof.   ;)

SA - I have to disagree that it takes away from the storyline to have description in a photonovel.  To me, dialogue alone does not always tell enough.  I know that some pics may do most of the describing (a picture can be worth a thousand words) but I also feel that to tell the story effectively, some narration is necessary.  Just a difference in opinion though, and I see what you mean about the laser blasts.  I'll try to improve those.  And yes the new camera helped a lot (thanks for noticing) - it's not the best, but it's better than my other one.   :)

Quazar - Take your time, and I'm looking forward to your expert review.   ;)


Offline Clone Commander

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« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2005, 02:10 PM »
Another great Rykrof story!
I cant wait to see what happens to him, Its great Freelo isnt dead.
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Offline Diddly

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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2005, 02:13 PM »
Oh my goodness! CHEWIE, you keep improving with every novel you make. This one was no exception!

I LOVED the sets and the characters. All your customs are fantastic! I'm jealous at the number of Gray Clone Evolution sets you have. :P

I also really liked that opening shot of the planet and the lone Star Destroyer. I love shots like that for some reason, they really get me pumped up for the scene.

Also, good job with the cliffhanger ending. I would have added a closing shot of perhaps Rykrof being beaten (like the custom pic you made in your thread), or perhaps Rykrof behind bars. That's just me though, and I still think you did a great job.

Can't wait for number 19!
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Offline Vator

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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2005, 02:59 PM »
Allow me to echo the sentiments of all those who've posted before me: Fan-friggen-tastic!

I loved the customs, the sets and the general flow of the story. Everything, to me atleast, worked so well that it could be said that this is your best installment yet!

You've certainly set the stage for an enthrawling chapter 19. I wonder if Ralbarr, Freelo and Kala Mly Shundi will attempt to rescue Rykrof?

However, I do have a few minor things that could be improved upon. In the third frame, it mentions how several attack cruisers encircle the planet...yet we only see one! Also, in the 10th frame, Rykrofs neck seems a little off. I guess the peg and the neck conflict or something there.

Anyway, keep up the great work!
- June 22, 2004 12:13 AM -

Offline CHEWIE

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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2005, 03:30 PM »
Thanks again guys - I'll reply in more detail soon.  Regarding the cruisers, if you look very closely to the left of the planet, you can see a second one.  I did make a third, but I made it so small that even I can't see it.  I guess consider there to be other ships on the other side of the planet.   ;)


Offline Quazar

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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2005, 05:01 PM »
Hey, are some more detailed thoughts (even though you never replied to my commentary for #17!  :P )

While, in general, I am glad we learn a little more about the Badoo Corba in this chapter, I think you should have at least mentioned their motivation in the opening crawl.  We've been dealing with these guys for a loong time and only now are we getting a glimpse into their motives.  Terrorist organizations exist to advance political or ideological agendas and, so far, we don't really know what these guys really want.  They don't like the Republic, obviously, but they aren't working with the please keep giving us more info about them.

It's not especially clear why Ryrkrof is being sent to find the Quarren.  Who is he betraying the Republic TO?  The CIS or the Badoo Corba?

The opening shot of the ships and planets is cool, but - and this is a very minor nitpick - most of your shots like this seem more "Star Trek" than "Star Wars".  In Trek, we always had establishing shots showing the Enterprise looking huge with a small planet in background, which was never really realistic.  But "Star Wars" has some great shots showing a vast, panoramic planet-view with a ship flying over it.  I think you should try a shot like that sometime.

The sets in this chapter are really fantastic!  And you do an excellent, excellent job of combining the practical effects with digital enhancements.  The opening battle shots are wonderful, with the cloudy, smoggy skies and digital buildings in the background.  The dioramas are very well-made and I love the various blast marks that dot the scenery.

I agree with the comment about shortening the blaster bolts.  Also try to darken the colors just a bit, sometimes your sabers and lasers look just a little too 'white' and washed out.  Not always, though.

LOVE Freelo and his new look.  The "Tortoise" line is fantastic!  Good use of Owen's cool speeder.  However, since we establish that this location is a kind of base for our heroes, why not throw in that computer terminal or something like that.  As it is, it looks a little too similiar to the rest of locations.

Oh, and why isn't Shundi out on the battle field?  I can understand Rykrof's friends waiting on the sidelines, but a Jedi?  I knew there was a reason I never liked Shundi!  :)

The Rykrof custom is terrific, as always.  However, I think it's time to vary his look a little bit.  He's looked the same way for over ten years, all the way back to the first chapter, which was TPM era.  Time for you to sculpt a full beard for him (the "stubble" look from the Dathomir chapters was awesome!) and I think you might try giving him grey temples or something.  He's older and battle hardened now, but still looks as fresh-faced as ever.

I agree with Longhorn about dialogue, which is something I've always said.  Don't have Freelo "mumble under his breath", give him LINES!  Narration is certainly important, but you need to give your characters as much dialogue as is possible to flesh them out and make them feel real.  You do a great job when you write it, so don't hold back!!

I love how Freelo is pretending to be all brave and eager to fight!  Such a wonderful character!

GREAT to see Shaak Ti, a terrific character.  Love the custom gear, too. 

Love Owens' custom hangar vehicle thingy!

The opening battle shots are, as always, fantastic!  Explosions!  Droids!  Blasters!  You're truly amazing with this stuff!

The "commander center", as I said, doesn't really look like much, just an empty corner of cement with a wall missing.  A few more do-dads and props would have helped flesh it out.  But I really like the interplay between the characters.  I think Ralbarra should be frustrated, too, as he's such a loyal friend of Ryrkrof's...

Thank God the preview shots of Freelo were misleading!  Freelo lives!!  The whole armor bit is BRILLIANT and works extremely well.  The smoke coming off the armor is another excellent touch.  It's this kind of attention to detail which really makes your series special.  The stories are great, the photos are great, but you really go that extra mile to make the series truly amazing.

Freelo's line after recovering his hilarious!  But I think you meant to write "springs FROM the ground" or springs to HIS FEET."

The shot of Mundi and the troops is terrific.  Great use of debris, both practical and digital. 

The shots of Yamrii scavening are also great, but I don't think you should have used the same speeder in the background, unless you are establishing that our characters took that speeder to find him, which isn't clear.

Good dialogue from Yamrii!  The character isn't on screen for much time, but definitely makes a distinct impression!  Well-done.

LOVE the warehouse shots, the use of the wooden door is very clever. 

There is so much awesome detail in these sets.  The grates on the wall, the stains, etc.  Truly top notch work!

....okay, I have to run for now, I'll finish the commentary later.  Another TERRIFIC chapter!

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Offline CHEWIE

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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2005, 06:38 PM »
But Lance, I did reply to #17.   ;)

Thanks for such a lengthy reply already, it's very appreciated.  I'll hit on a couple of things right now while I have minute -

(1) The dialogue thing, I guess it's just a personal taste thing.  In novels authors use different styles of writing a lot - I think that keeps a story fresh.  It's just my preference, but I understand the different point of view.

(2) The speeder is a different one that the Yam'rii has.  It's a similar color though.  Both were made for me by Owen D - the second one is a different design, but from the pics I took they do look similar.  H ere are pics from his site for reference.

Good catch on the Freelo line, I'll fix that and reply more when I get a chance.  Thanks!


Offline Clone Hunter

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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2005, 07:50 PM »
I am interested in a better pic or description of that Skyhawk/TIE Interceptor ship.
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Offline Spectre

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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2005, 08:29 PM »
I am interested in a better pic or description of that Skyhawk/TIE Interceptor ship.

That's one of many vehicles of mine that are "virtually on loan" to Chewie for this series. The primary components are a G.I. Joe Skyhawk cockpit (hand laid glass panels), a vintage Ertl Darth Vader's TIE model, vintage Ertl TIE Interceptor model, and lots and lots of model and toy parts :)

Here's some additional pics:

Note: the forward landing gear is a last minute replacement as the puppy chewed up the original as I was about to take the pics (damn dog :(  ). The gear will be painted to match the rest of the ship eventually.

Chewie, GREAT job on this latest installment. You really improve in leaps and bounds with each one. Your pacing, pictures, effects, etc. are very professionally done. I cannot wait to see the next one :D
« Last Edit: December 28, 2005, 08:35 PM by Spectre »
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Offline Greg

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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2005, 09:03 PM »
Chewie, I really enjoyed this story. The dioramas make the story a lot better. I really like the droid customs, and the Shaak Ti in clone armor customs. I did something like that with my Shaak Ti and my clone commander when I was just playing around with them. I put the Clone Commanders skirt and pauldron on Shaak Ti, but your custom is so much better. I really liked the urban warfare that you had going on. I'd love to make some of the ruined city scenery like you had in your photo novel, and maybe make a photo novel of my own, even though if I do make a photo novel, it won't be as good as your works of art.