Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber (Paperback, 2009)
In the time immediately following the destruction of the Death Star and the years between the Battle of Yavin and the foundation of the Rebel Base on Hoth, the Empire’s grip on the galaxy has become an unyielding fist of retribution. Pressed into action by Emperor Palpatine, Imperial forces have stepped up efforts to hunt down and imprison Rebel sympathizers, shipping them off to newly formed detainment moons via huge prison barges. By necessity these barges are floating chambers of degradation and vice, notoriously unreliable spacecraft staffed by Imperial corrections officers whose cruelty rivals that of the inmates., The Imperial Prison Barge Virtue is hauling its load of prisoners, criminals and murderers, human and non-human, across the galaxy, when it breaks down in deep space. Soon after, the ship’s warden discovers a derelict Star Destroyer, seemingly abandoned, and sends a boarding party to scavenge parts to repair the Virtue. Half of them don’t come back., The ones that do are infected with a virus so deadly that within hours, it has wiped out ninety-nine percent of the barge’s population. But for the handful of survivors — two brothers, the Virtue’s female chief medical officer, and a sadistic captain of the guards, along with a certain rogue smuggler and his Wookiee sidekick – the true horror is just begun. Because those inmates and guards who died of the virus don’t stay dead…and when they come back, they’re extremely hungry., Against their better judgment, the survivors take refuge aboard the massive creaking emptiness of the Destroyer, only to discover that its original population has not disappeared at all — and that they’ve been waiting for them.