I have. I used to witness events in time and space so fleeting, so monumental, that lifetimes upons lifetimes could never equal its importance. But now, in this ‘endless frontier’, as space continually grows, continually develops and requires watching - I see what is now finally unfolding.
The Beginning of the end.
STAR WARS: THE CAMPAIGN
CHAPTER I - THE BIRTH STAR
PT II - A GALAXY FAR FAR AWAY
The door to the central bridge whooshed open, disappearing into the walls and revealing the long reflective platform. At each side of the platform, deep sunken in data pits filled with staffers sat at their stations. Over them, narrow black walkways line the walls, providing easy observation to each man's work, as well as give a three hundred and sixty degree view from the ray-shielded windows of the ship.
Marching out to the middle of floor, a sandy haired officer decked in a black uniform comes to a stop at the center of the walkway. The sound of low tone prompts from terminals, low voiced conversation and general noise all come to an immediate halt as the officer exclaims:
“GENERAL TARKIN THE SECOND, ON DECK!”
Immediately the tenseness in the room becomes palpable as swift footsteps are heard. A collective stomp echoes as everyone stands up to attention at the sight of a young officer, decked in a grey uniform. Coming to a stop at the center of everyone’s attention, the young officer, no more than twenty, turns to the officer in black who announced him.
“No need for ‘the second’ My father was General Tarkin.” he sternly advises, “General Tark will be suffice for me.”
The young officer gulps with a nod, “Y-yes sir.”
His sharp brown eyes shift to the data pits, “That goes for all of you.” he declares, “As you may know or have heard, My Father had the privilege of serving at the discretion of our Emperor.” he states while raising a clenched fist, “As do I, as do you. Serve him well. Follow every order.” he states before looking into the pits behind him, “Lest you incur my wrath and I assure you, I am not as forgiving as Lord Vader, or our Emperor.”
“YES SIR!” everyone shouts.
“Good.” he says, nodding at their resolute dedication. Seeing their readiness for his next order, General ‘Tark’, looks to the open ray shield windows, “Now, first order of business. I want this Death Star primed for a Planet Level Strike within one hour.”
Drawing a breath, General Tark slowly turns on his black heels and looks to the young operator standing in the data pit. The officer, glances as his fellow officers slowly back away from him.
“Speak man. Everyone has the ability to voice a concern in my ship.” Tark exclaims, narrowing his eyes to get a clear name at his nameplate, “Officer Trin’zen.” he reads.
“Y-Yes Sir.” Trin’Zen replies, “I am the Weapons Primer. The cannons take two hours to reach max power.”
Nodding at his statement, General Tark looks to the officer who announced him, calling him over with a gesture of his finger. Promptly the Officer hastens over to him with a stomp and stand to attention. General Tark nods at him, “Thank you.” he says before pulling out his blaster and promptly shooting the young Weapons Primer in the head, much to everyone’s shock.
Holding the smoking blaster in hand, General Tark looks to everyone, “Would anyone else like to exercise their ‘ability’ to voice concern over my order?”
Hearing the silence and seeing the faces of all the officers glistening with nervous sweat, General Tark nods, “Good.” he grumbles, tossing the blaster to aside. “Now get to work!” he barks, strutting towards the end of the walkway, looking out to the window.
Taking a stance, General Tark folds his arms, looking out into space, “For today, our Empire will go to a galaxy far, far awa-”
At that moment, General hears electricity throbbing in the light panels over head. Arching his eyebrow at the sight of the in-ceiling lamps pulsating from a surge in energy.
Screaming at the top of his lungs, Uatu hollars unbearably as he jolts back and forth in his constraints. Ceasing his attack, Darth Sidious watches the residual red lightning crackle over Uatu’s shivering body that’s drenched in sweat.
Hours had passed and the seconds felt like hours. Looking upon the device he created, Darth Sidious savage yellow pupils that bleed jagged red edging across his irises, rove over the torture device bounding Uatu. Likened to a large metal wheel, each of Uatu’s feet remain covered in large metal constraints. His hands, each forcibly outstretched and contained in metal enclosures affixed to the circular rim.
His limbs drained of energy, his knees buckled; Uatu groans in pain as the circular frame he’s affixed to hums from the raw power having been drained out of him. Each breath, accompanied by a sharp pain in his lungs.
Observing Uatus’ naked body that’s riddled with burn spots like a leopard's fur, Darth Sidious watches Uatu being rotated upside down in his confines. His ribs exposed under his thin body with each exhalation.
“Have you given consideration to my order?” Darth Sidious asks Uatu as he’s hung upside down, Sidious eagerly watches as a pool of sweat forms under Uatu’s upside down body.
“I-I…” Uatu pants, “...will never help you.”
Rolling his yellow tinted eyes, Sidious turns away from him, looking into the vastness of space through his multifaceted ray-shield window.
“Do know the difficulty of ruling an empire, you stunted footrest?” Sidious spits, “The difficulty is not in knowing not who to trust—which is nobody, absolutely nobody—but who can be allowed to know how much about a given situation. It's no secret that our Empire is strong, but its security comes by means of compartmentalized information, and absolute fear." he says, glaring at Uatu.
“Contingencies safeguard that system.” Sidious continues, moving across the dark room like ghost, “And the best contingencies are monsters. And I have created a great many.” he evilly grins, contently observing his youthful hand.
“Of all the monsters I have created, my minor masterpiece was turning a bright-eyed, tousle-headed youth into the greatest Jedi killer of all time.” Sidious reveals to Uatu before pointing to his view of the stars, “But he will try, one day to overthrow me. I have foreseen it. And yet, knowing this, given the opportunity to create Vader again, I would, and with zeal. Thus to ensure the existential survival of this great empire, we must create him again; but in your world, in a galaxy, far far away.”
Standing over Uatu, Darth Sidious shadowy face seems to light up from his vibrant yellow eyes and nearly pindot sized pupils, “Hence, where you come in. Have you given thought to my offer?”
Panting and out of breath, Uatu shakes his head, “I will not give in to your-”
Sidious promptly thrusts out his hand, emitting a cluster of bright red electricity from his fingertips that cascades over Uatu’s entire body. Uatu convulses in his restraints as if having a seizure. His bare skin tints red from the pulsating electricity crackling over his skin.
Gritting his teeth in anger, Sidious finally relents his attack. Uatu’s screams echoing in the room as he lowers his head, his body free of any strength as he groans in relief.
“You have lived for a millennia upon millennials, that is obvious.” Sidious exclaims, “You have witnessed events that result in death and in life, so I ask you…” he states, watching Uatu wince while raising his eyes to him, “...how will this event end for you if you do not give me what I want?” he states as sparks crackle around his fingertips.
The statement causes Uatu’s face to change. Much to Sidious displeasure, Uatu’s begins to chuckle. His levity of the situation draws a scowl across Darth Sidious face as Uatu chuckles more at his statement.
“I am a being of more power, more ability than you.” Uatu retorts, “You may torture this body to your content, but even as I be in this dimension, rendered weak by the lesser connection to my universe - I will give you no access to any knowledge held in my mind.”
Sidious yellow eyes narrow, “Give?” he retorts with a sinister grin. “Oh my small little friend, how mistaken you are to believe that I would wait for you…” he says, holding out his outstretched hand, “...to ‘give’ me anything!”
Immediately Uatu struggles to draw his face away, straining against his restraints as Sidious eyes light up with glee, “Tell me then, what do you know of the force?” he asks.
Uatu’s face grows dim. His lips firm as silence settles between him and Sidious. His eyes laser on Uatu’s, almost burning into his soul like two lasers as he maintains his raised palm.
“Silence I see.” he smirks However Uatu’s face remains resolute, his lips firmly pressed against each other as a pain courses through his mind.
“So…” Sidious nods, “...you do know then.” he says, bringing his outstretched palm closer to Uatu’s face, “Of the power of the dark side.” he exclaims.
Feeling his body go cold, Uatu closes his eyes, clenching his jaw in pain as he gasps for a breath.
Tiling his head to the side, Sidious smiles deliciously at Uatu’s discomfort. Curling his fingers as if tightening his grip around something, Sidious wrangles through Uatu’s mind. Grinding his teeth, Uatu shakes his head as blood leaks out his ears.
“Stop, STOP IT NOW!” he shouts, feeling his entire body tense tighter than when he was when being shocked.
“No.” smirks Sidious, motioning his hand closer to Uatu, “Not when we’re so, close.”
Suddenly, Uatu’s ears pop! Sidious evil laugh turning into a muffled voice. Uatu’s vision doubles and blurs like sound waves colliding and reverberating off Sidious hazy outline. Grinding his teeth in pain, Uatu hears the sound of what is like hissing air fill his ears with noise as Sidious draws his hand closer to his face.
Then, within an instant, Sidious watches Uatu opens his eyes. His blank white eyes now holding a set of crystal clear hazel irises. His face relaxed, his eyes locked onto his face, Sidious smirks at Uatu’s entire body going limp like a bag of bones as Uatu’s hazel eyes settle on Sidious one more.
“Let’s try this again.” Sidious exhales contently, “What do you know of the force?”
“It is a power the Watcher’s removed from the universe at its infancy.” he states in almost a robotic tone.
Sidious nods. His mind racing with concepts, questions and ideas until one comes to the fore above all else.
“Are there any beings in your universe capable of wielding it?” Sidious asks.
“No.” Uatu replies.
Satisfied, Sidious cover his mouth, hiding the evil grin, “A final question, tell me, how do you I get to know all that you know?”
Meanwhile...on Planet Lothal
LOTHAL CAPITOL SENATE BUILDING
The round white marble room remained silent. Senators dressed in fitted linen clothing sat in their white seats that resembled a small stadium. Everyone positioned about with a focused view to the grey marble floor, three men stand about, facing the crowd.
One individual, dressed in fitted plain clothing with a brown robe draped over his imposing form holds out his outstretched exposed arm and hand to all the eyes focused on him.
“Rumors are going about my fellow senators.” he declares in a bellowing voice, “Whispers within the shadows of the shadows. I have it on good authority, that the Empire has another ‘Death Star’.” he says to a low collective mumble, “Ready to unleash on the Galaxy. Yet, also have it on good authority from several rebel sympathizers, that every sector of the galaxy containing five destroyers, must spare two, in addition to an entire fleet of destroyer prototypes being produced and old Clone War destroyers they are resurrecting.” he concludes.
“That would mean, sixteen destroyers at a minimum.” exclaims a Senator from the sat crowd, “Senator Azadi, would you have us believe that the Empire is siphoning off forces to an unknown location?” he asks.
“No.” Senator Azadi replies, “Reports conclude that various destroyers of different classes are assembling to a specific set of coordinates.” he replies, “Now, I know you may believe i’m advocating war, I am not. However, we must do something.” he says.
Stepping in front of him, the floor chairmen, holds his hand up to Senator Azadi before looking to the ground, “Senator Kal’zi has a question.”
Turning his attention to blue skin humanoid senator, Azadi nods to him.
“First, as troubling as this may be…” Kal’zi states, “...I do believe this can only, and inevitably end with us in war. And as such, I do not agree that we need to interfere in this. Lothal has lost enough. It has suffered enough. Let the Universe and the Empire have each other. They have forgotten us here on the Outer Rim Territories, let us forget them as if they are in a galaxy far far away.” he concludes before taking his seat.
“I for one, understand the sentiments of my fellow Senator.” Azadi exclaims to everyone, “Yet, as I do understand how much we’ve lost, my own father Rider Azadi a rebels of Lothal, among those lost as you all know. ButI cannot agree with my Senator Kal’zi. We do not live in a galaxy far far away. But we are ‘forgotten’. Which, may have occurred so we can rise like so many on this planet once did.”
“So are you advocating for a declaration of war?” the Chairmen asks.
“No.” Azadi declares. “I advocate investigation. To inquire of these ‘whispers’ that the Empire is gathering its forces for what could easily be called a ‘campaign march’, o on the Galaxy.”
“You can’t know that.” declares a senator.
“Exactly.” Azadi promptly replies, “But we can neither assume the Empire is uncharacteristically gathering resources for peace! In the end my fellow senators, we all, serve in the interests of Lothal existing. We do well not to aid the Rebellion or any force but us. That means, knowing what the Empire is doing.”
“So what do you propose?” asks the Chairmen.
“Substantiate truth to these rumors. Send a team. Myself included in an unmarked, unknown ship to the listed coordinates I have to get these questions answered.” Azadi states, “For in such answers will we know how Lothal is to exist. In peace, or in war.”
“You are asking someone to risk their life to substantiate a rumor!”
“Wasn’t that how Death Star was destroyed first time!” Azadi counters, “A rumor of plans leaked. Then those plans led to investigation, investigation to an assault and the end to the Death Star.” he concludes. “A result I must remind you, we played no role in, but benefited all the same. Yes. I’m asking for someone to risk their life, but its to ensure the survival of Lothal as a free planet, not an occupied one.” he finishes.
“Do you have someone in mind for this, almost suicide mission? They would have to be skilled.” the Chairman asks.
“I do. And if our Senate agrees, I will go to the pilot who will zealously lend their service for Lothal.”
TOWER OF THE EAST
Her wide green eyes, vibrant and clear, yet full of unbridled determination glare back at the young senator standing in her doorway.
“Absolutely not!” she exclaims, turning aside from the door.
Catching the door before it closes on him, Dyver hastily enters into the dwelling, “Hera Syndulla, please just hear me out!”
“NO!” Hera shouts again, turning around like a cornered lion with finger raised, “I have a youngling! He is no more than Eight Suncycles of Age and you want me to abandon him for a mission?!”
Holding up his hands in surrender, Dyver takes a step back, “I don’t expect you to do anything. It's why i’m ‘ASKING’! And i’m asking the best!”
Hera’s promptly rolls her eyebrows at the comment. Turning her back to him, Hera’s brushes aside her prehensile head-tails and storms over the terrace for fresh air. Dyver lets out sigh, rubbing the back of his smooth pepper grey hair. Looking at Hera step outside to the terrace and leans against the railing, staring out into distance while Dyver follows behind her to the terrace doorway.
Looking at her from behind, Dyver smirks, “You know I never saw you outside of a pilots uniform until now I think? I remember seeing you at the depot and I’d wonder if you actually had other clothes.”
“This isn’t funny.” Hera retorts, her voice gripped with anger. Peeling her eyes away from the calming open landscape, Hera raises her eyes up to the blue skies, “I built a life here. A life I didn’t think was possible without Kanan. But I have Jacen now. And here you come, knowing that I have him and defiantly walk up to my door after ten years, threatening that.” she calmly tries to state.
“I’m not threatening you Hera and i’m not being defiant.” Dyver quickly states.
Turning around, Hera holds on the railing with both arms as a serious demeanor washes over her face, “But your asking me to leave him, my offspring, to do what? Almost get killed?”
Dyver draws a deep breath as Hera’s eyes seem to bore a hole through his soul, “I’m not, I’d never put you in a position to get killed.”
A smirk comes across Hera’s face in disbelief at his statement, “Good men don’t put others in a position to killed, but it doesn’t happen anyway. Once your in that pilot chair. Once you’re in space. Odds of you getting killed…”
“Are always at a constant presence.” Dyver finishes, “I remember, you taught me well.”
Folding her arms and tilting her head to the side, Hera shakes her head, “Apparently not well enough if you’re here asking me to go on a mission.”
Dyver nervously draws a deep breath, “Look, Hera. I’m not here to tear your life apart. I’m not here to make you lose Jacen…”
“Then leave.” Hera interrupts, pointing to the door, “Leave and don’t ever come back.”
Hera’s statement renders Dyver almost silent. Hera’s staunch demeanor renders Dyver nearly mute as he can barely must anything more to say.
“I’ll leave.” Dyver mumbles, turning aside hesitantly to the door. However, Dyson draws a deep breath, closing his eyes as he mumbles to himself before boldly turning around to Hera, who simply stares out into the landscape, her back to him.
“Listen Hera…” Dyver exclaims to Hera who doesn’t move. “You, Sabine Wren, Kanan, my father Rider, all fought against the Empire. I know the stories. You and Sabine told me a lot of them, especially of my father. And I know that, Jacen, is your life.” he says. “But there’s a lot of people on this rock and other rocks out there that, like you deserve to know if the Empire is going to try and rob them of their life too.” he states.
“I would never put the weight of that on you. But I would beg that you help me delivering on shouldering this weight because you did it before and delivered.” Dyver says, “I asked Sabine, she wouldn’t go if you went because of someone has to look after Jacen. But that if you did go, she’d ask someone else who you know, to help us.”
Hera simply looks over her shoulder to Ryder.
“I just need a ship flown to one sector of space. We sit on an asteroid and take pictures, that’s all.” Dyver states, “Can you, do that?”
Hera stares back out into the distance, observing the plains of Lothal. Taking a deep breath, Hera squeezes her grip on the metal railing, wrestling with a response.
“Sabine said…” Hera states, “...that if I went, if I did this ludicrous request of yours…”
“That she would stay yes.” Dyver interrupts.
Hera shakes her head, turning to face him, “No. That’s ‘our’ pact.” she reveals, “That has nothing to do with you. What I want to know, is who she said she’d call?”
Dyver shrugs, “I don’t know. She just said you’d know the person by an alias they use to have ‘Fulcrum’, i think.”
Satisfied, Hera relaxes as she slides her hands into her pocket, “Okay, two things. Who is this mission really coming from?”
Dyver face grows firm.
Folding her arms, Hera narrows her eyes, “You have to be straight with me Dyver if you even want a chance at my considering this.”
Letting out an audible exhale from his nostrils, Dyver rubs the bridge of his nose, “You know that as a Senator on Lothal, if anyone finds out i’m even in contact with…”
“Dyver!” Hera insists.
“Leia!” Dyver admits to Hera’s surprise, “Leia, gave me everything I have. She knows our Senate on Lothal won’t hear her out and she can’t ask the rebels to go on a wild Loth Cat chase. So she asked me, and mentioned you since, well, the Syndulla’s have if not more respect in a name as does Skywalker.”
Hera smirks, “Yeah as I’ve been hearing.” she huffs, “Ok, so if we’re doing this by Leia’s order, and if she’s reaching out after all this time to just do a scouting mission, then what exactly has Leia’ so worried?”
To be continued….