Formerly of the Imperial Security Bureau,
Commission for the Preservation of the New Order
The Emperor was a genius. This, more than anything I feel is something far too many people, especially those within the ‘New Republic’ have forgotten. And even amongst those that do remember, most seemingly only think about it in terms of how he got himself into power while, to me, the far more impressive aspect of it was in how he kept that power and how he ruled using it.
People claim that he ruled through fear, and this is of course true, but that was far from all of it. He ruled by dividing the Galaxy in to ‘Us’ and ’Them’. There can be incredible unity in such division, a sense of belonging as part of a whole against the other. If you were a citizen of the empire, you had rights and protection that non-citizens did not, giving you a sense of superiority and further made you comfortable with the Empire that brought you to this elevated position. Even if in reality, you were no better off than before the empire.
This of course led to a need for the ‘other’, someone to look down on. The obvious target for this was aliens. Not all of course, many of the humanoid species were welcomed within the empire, if perhaps occasionally looked down on. Some species, however, were deemed lesser and many even enslaved. This was of course cruel and unjustified, but it was all part of fueling the mentality of Us vs Them, and most of all, it worked. In just a few decades, The Emperor changed the entire galaxy and brought with him a new order… right up until it all came crumbling down.
This point of view, perhaps best exemplifies why I did not feel particularly at home within the base of the New Republic. Oh I could blend in, I could put on a fake accent and be one of ‘them’, but I preferd not having to do so while not on the clock.
Thus I spent most of my time when back at base working inside my room instead of ‘cavorting with the locals’. I did my job and then I kept out of other people’s way. I learned that Marion’s recovery was progressing steadily and soon after she was back on her feet we went to meet with Director Jatru, the Mon Calamari intelligence officer, and our superior officer.
He debriefed us on a situation taking place on Coruscant. The ground war on Coruscant was continuing and while The New Republic seemed to be winning, the situation was unstable at best. One ongoing project to strengthen The New Republic’s presence on the planet had been to rebuild Coruscant’s infrastructure that had taken a heavy toll during the ongoing conflict. The task to lead this project was given to Reev Chandras, the president of Coruscant Core Construction. This would be far too great of an undertaking during a time of war for them to manage it on their own, which is why they were planning on hiring one of three possible contractors; Malkos Ryuga, CEO of Durastar Industries, Rangi Skeelos, CEO of Gundark Inc and Princess Vayet of Koru Neimoidia.
This would have been all well and good, except for a leaked conversation between Belikos and an Imperial Commander named Hadrian Mossak, where we learned that Belikos was aiming to funnel the credits the New Republic was spending on the project to finance the imperial war effort. To do this they would make sure that ‘their’ contractor was the one selected. Issue being, they were not considerate enough to name which of these contractors were working for them.
Our task would be to find this out while also making sure to defend the companies from Imperial sabotage. Our cover was ‘Skaven Health & Safety Inspection’ meant to investigate the suitability of the contractors. For this mission, myself, Marion and a Twi’lek slicer named Vicrushakal or… “Vic” was sent out.
I left the briefing and went to prepare AR-47. I had shut him down when approaching the Rebel planet to avoid unnecessary outbursts. Unfortunately that had just meant I had delayed them as the droid began rambling on about rebel filth and treason. After it seemed he had gotten most if out of his systems, I convinced him that it was the closest thing to the empire we were likely to get.
With AR-47 reluctantly joining the cause, we went to meet the others on board the ship. Marion and the R2 unit R2-D6 began punching in the coordinates as “Vic” sat down with me to have a chat. I did not have much trouble with having a Mon Calamari as a superior officer, it was a business arrangement like any other and thus impersonal, but playing friends with ‘them’, people I’ve had an active part in enslaving and worse seemed distasteful.
I could, and likely should have simply acted the part and gone along with it, but I didn’t. I talked to him as I would a slave, probably in some ways hoping that he would lash out at me, condemn me for what I had been a part of or, perhaps more importantly, allow me to retain the idea of him being the ‘other’. But he didn’t, he didn’t even seem to be particularly interested in the Empire or what they had done, and again continued to try to get to know me, as well as Marion as she joined us.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am proud of my service to the Empire. It might have at times been unpleasant, but it was all for the greater good of the galaxy. But it was different talking about it with one of ‘them’ while on the same team and as equals, and thus I became defensive.
A conversation revolving around the righteousness or lack thereof of the Empire ensued where I once again defended our actions despite neither of them really questioning them in the first place. I kept my face largely neutral but I was more emotional about it than I should have been. I sighed inwardly at myself as I collected my thoughts as we broke up the conversation and went about our duties.
We set forth on the planet and after a brief stay at our base of operations, and an introduction of ‘Skaven Health & Safety’ to President Chandras, we began our investigation of Durastar Industries. Malkos Ryuga the CEO of the company greeted us warmly and gave us a guide to show us along some of his working factories. Durastar had been suffering from repeated sabotage and even terrorist attacks, performed by a gang made out of Zabraks, supposedly working for The Black Suns, for some time, and combined with having many of their factories within enemy territory, they were feeling the pressure on them.
As the tour went on, suddenly emergency lights began blaring and apparently they had once again been attacked. Not wanting to lose the opportunity to get a hold on some of the terrorists that were likely tied to the Empire, we asked for directions and transportation to the site of the attack. Surprised, Ryuga offered up a company hover-van equipped with a nav-computer. Vicrushakal and AR-47 went into the back with me and Marion in the front.
As soon as we got close to the site, the Zabrak gang was surrounding us. They seemed to have expected us and riding on their speeder bikes and swoop bikes began blasting at us from all sides. Perhaps it was the death stick, but somewhat amusedly, I realized this turn of events was far less disconcerting than our previous conversation onboard ship. This was something I understood and had been trained to handle, and so we began killing them one by one.
Describing it like that perhaps made it seem simpler than it was. It was a close call on multiple occasions, but it was not more complicated than killing those who opposed us, and so we did, all, except for one. A large Zabrak male trying to pick us off from afar. He got one or two solid hits in on Marion but as soon as we got in range to reciprocate, he turned tail and drove his bike into one of the massive pipes criss crossing all along Coruscant.
That was how they had been going in and out of Durastar territory only to quickly vanish. Vicrushakal used the van computer to find out where the pipe were leading to and narrowed it down to a factory deep within Imperial territory. Based on prior attacks, it seemed as though the gang switched bases fairly often, and it seemed likely that they would look into moving out now that they had been compromised.
We rode back to Ryuga and requested troops to take down the gang, I wanted to gauge his response but I didn’t get much out of him. He provided us with a small group of mercenaries, certainly serviceable but not the investment of someone going out of his way to protect his industry either.
Marion began a rousing speech of honour and glorious combat in front of the mercenaries. Feeling mildly sorry for the girl I made an addendum to her speech, highlighting the credits rewarded to those still living when they returned. Our combined efforts seemed to have given them the motivation they needed and so we began our preparations.
I squared in on the most reliable looking member of the team; an Rodian junkie, likely with some neurological disorder. People like that didn’t survive in this line of work if they didn’t have the skills to back it up. He was called, fittingly enough, Twitch and I gave him a deathstick in exchange for a ride. Marion drove Vicrushakal and the rest of the gang followed suit.
We travelled through the same pipes the the Zabrak drove into and after a while we had reached our goal. We split up to attack them from three directions, me and Marion from the sides and Vicrushakal and the mercenaries storming the center.
The fight turned ugly right from the get go, even though Marion and I managed to land a surprise volley on them, they were expecting us and had prepared their base for an attack. The mercenary team began to be ripped apart by an enormous Zabrak wielding a double-sided vibrosword, and for some inexplicable reason, Marion decided to challenge the guy instead of simply shooting him in the back.
Her ‘heroics’ cost her dearly and was shot repeatedly while she stayed out in the open. I on my hand got stuck in an odd form of trench warfare with another group of them. Eventually the fight began to turn and soon the leader of the gang was all that remained, but our side had taken a heavy toll as well, only two mercenaries still remained and Marion was barely still on her feet.
I blasted the door panel on the place, trapping him in here with us, and after ordering everyone to set their blasters to stun, we moved in to capture him. This seemingly only made him more desperate, and charged us with a vibro axe. Marion didn’t seem ready to defend herself so I moved up to support, only to be welcomed by the charging Zabrak and just barely dodged a series of blows that would have taken my head off. Thankfully he seemed unhinged and messed up his aim, allowing me respond in kind by simply shooting him in the gut.
And that was that, the guy almost fell on top of me as he dropped unconscious. Vicrushakal went about trying to get as much information that he could from the gangs’ network while me and Marion was surveying the scene and gathering up the fallen’s weapons. As predicted, Twitch was one of the last two standing, alongside a human named Dizzy.
It had been a bloody ordeal with close to 20 dead, but it couldn’t be helped, these Zabrak had made their choice and so had we. And besides, it was either Us or ‘Them’.