Literature: Death Troopers
A somewhat Darker and Edgier Star Wars Legends
horror novel by Joe Schreiber from 2009 that utilises one of the horror genre's most beloved elements - zombies.
Aboard the Imperial Prison Barge Purge
, the engines break down in the middle of nowhere. Only place to repair them is a seemingly-deserted Star Destroyer
nearby. After a team is sent over to find the parts half of them go missing, and the other half bring back a deadly and seemingly-incurable plague
to the rest of the guards and inmates. Flesh-eating zombies
The story follows six characters - young brothers Trig and Kale Longo
, resident doctor and sole female occupant Zahara Cody
, sadistic Captain of the Guard Jareth Sartoris
and Han Solo and Chewbacca, who are found halfway through the novel locked in solitary confinement.
Together they attempt to escape Purge
without succumbing to the ravenous horde of the undead that is roaming both the barge and the nearby Destroyer.
In 2010, it was followed up by a prequel, Star Wars: Red Harvest
, which delves into the origins of the virus over three thousand years ago at a Sith Academy.
This novel provides examples of:
- Always Save the Girl: Appears to be subverted when it is assumed that Zahara has died, but it then turns out the corpse they thought was hers just belonged to an underfed, girly-looking Imperial cannibal.
- And I Must Scream: Pretty much everything that happens once the security team returns from the Star Destroyer. Screaming is also used by the zombies as something of a communicative measure between them.
- Apocalypse How: Initially a Type 3, with everyone except the six protagonists either dead or zombified, but then moves into a Type 3A when it turns out the virus was manufactured as a bioweapon by the Empire.
- Apocalyptic Log: The Twitter accounts used in the novel's marketing, including one used by an eventually-zombified stormtrooper as he describes each step of the virus infecting his body.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Used with Warden Kloth, who is, quite simply, a nasty bastard.
- Asshole Victim: Everyone except for 6 people end up dead. The people who die are the warden, the inmates, and the guards. A number of these people were assholes who totally deserved what they got.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: It is inmplied that Sartoris's unbridled brutality is part of the reason he leads the guards on Purge.
- Ax-Crazy: The zombies, to the point that they learn how to use rudimentary weapons and even get as far as flying X-Wings before they're halted.
- Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Used in the chase between Trig and a zombified Kale.
- Cool Old Guy: Von Longo was apparently one of these.
- Cover Drop: Characters split up from Zahara and Kale come across two Stormtrooper helmets as they trek through the Star Destroyer, and one of them hangs on a hook as depicted on the cover of the novel.
- Darker and Edgier: In every way possible. This is not your average Star Wars novel.
- Death Is Cheap: Well, we are dealing with zombies here...
- Red Shirt Army: The crews of both the Purge and the Star Destroyer.
- Saved by Canon: Han Solo and Chewbacca will survive to help Luke Skywalker and others to blow up the the Death Star a year later. Though they do get a taste of horror when Chewie becomes briefly infected by the zombie virus.
- A few real-world examples - for starters, the vessel that the cannibal Imperial officers find is called the Freebird.
- Not to mention that the leader of the aformentioned cannibals is named Gorrister.
- The penultimate chapter of the novel is called "Death and All His Friends". This also ties into the soundtrack listing Schreiber put on his website, where it is one of the tracks mentioned.
- There are two engineers named Phibes and Quatermass among the four that accompany Sartoris to the derelict Star Destroyer.
- Slashed Throat: Aur Myss informs the Longo brothers that an unfortunate accident befell on the previous leader of the Face Gang: he was discovered in his cell with his throat slashed.
- Took a Level in Badass: Trig, right after he kills his zombified brother Kale.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Rare gender-flipped example: Kale, the more spirited, proactive, generally pretty Badass Longo gets his face half blown off and turned into a zombie; Trig, the more useless, tag-along brother, survives
- The Virus: The reason all but six of Purge's occupants become undead. Turns out to be a new bioweapon developed by Imperial R & D that gets way out of hand.