Age of Rebellion: Empire's Fall

Empire's Fall Episode 1
No'van let's out an overly-dramatic and exasperated sigh at the latest screen displaying on his portable computer terminal. The screen displays, to his dismay, a message he's seen way to much today: "ERRORUNABLE TO CONNECT HOLONET, CHECK WITH YOUR SYSTEMS ADMINISTRATOR."

This doesn't really help No'van, he's the systems administrator for all his gear. He keeps losing connection or unable to login at all. Even when he tries to piggyback off of Talon Squadron networks, he can't get through, they seem to be having similar issues and thus aren't really used. Sometimes his electronics shut off all together, or need to constantly restart. 

Supposedly, from his conversations with Talon Squadron members, these Rubat crystals they are surrounded by put an energy out that renders electronics sometimes useless. Not that No'van didn't try. His gear is Bothan-grade equipment. Not only does he lug around top-of-the-line gear, but it can also take a beating, physical or electromagnetic. But he's never seen his equipment act this way, yet it does, and he's sure it's the crystals.

He was able to connect here and there to the Holonet, but the data packets coming back from the 'net were sparse or incomplete, so he wasn't really able to do much, and then the connection would drop again.

With an audible "Ahh!" he remembers something, muttering something to himself.

"Where's that journal?" He asks to no one in particular. He's sitting in the commons area within Talon Squadron's outpost, and one of it's members sitting nearby at another table glances at him.

"Don't mind me, sorry, just thinking out loud." He smiles awkwardly at the pilot, who just shrugs and turns away.

He's getting some weird looks here. He's used to it, but it still bothers him sometimes. Being a Chiss isn't always welcomed in non-Imperial areas. Even though he hasn't been "an Imperial" in years (and even then, he was just a civilian), sometimes people have prejudices. Since the Chiss that actually venture from their home-systems in the Chiss Acendency usually do so to join the Imperials or take part in Imperial politics, seeing a Chiss on the other side is a rare sight, indeed. 

He knows of some others in the Rebellion. The Chiss are surprisingly close-knit, even when not part of the same clan. But he doesn't know them THAT well. He more or less just knows* of* them.

Most of the Chiss he still thinks about are still Imperials, or Imperial-minded. He misses his family sometimes, particularly some of his close cousins, and even his father…

No'van snaps out of his daydream. He remembers his idea: he has that journal, he was resting his computer on top of it, as a sort of lap-cover. Originally he wasn't really placing too much emphasis on it. He glanced at it initially, but it was written in a ton of different languages, sometimes switching mid-sentence. The lines would sometimes spiral around the pages. Seemingly random references to all sorts of things.

"Ugh, books, so inefficient…" he mutters under his breath. He looks around to see if anyone heard that one. No one is looking at him. He notices nearby, Avlin is cleaning up in a game of Sabacc against a Talon Squadron pilot. He smirks to himself; he enjoys a game here and there, he plays a lot of Sabacc on his computer when he's bored, but he knows better than to bet anything when playing against Avlin. He tends to try to just get in friendly games with her.

Again, his mind is wandering. He thinks about the mission they've been on. With some downtime, he's been able to reflect on what's happened.

Getting back from their last mission, before this one, he was plugged in to the 'net from Maz's castle. That's where he got the latest directive, this one coming from Mon Mothma herself. It wasn't the first time he received a message filtered through Rebel Intelligence from her. She doesn't know he's receiving her messages, of course, he's not that important, but he just happened to be the operative in the right place at the right time. He usually intercepts and receives messages from Command and Intelligence for their group. This was nothing new.

But the contents of the message was a big deal. It was essentially a rallying call for the Corellians to get on the same page as the rest of the Rebellion because the Empire was quietly digging it's claws into the Corellian System's metaphorical throat.

He didn't really have a chance to process this message when they had to bolt. The Empire was on it's way to Maz's castle. Supposedly, James (a fellow Intelligence officer, infiltrator, and part of his squad) had a brother in the castle. A very Imperial brother, who most likely called in their position. 

No'van practically got dragged out of the collar before he was really able to understand the gravity of the message he had.

The Squad made it to their ship, which conveniently is a stolen Imperial Lambda-class shuttle, and take off. They were able to hide amongst the throng of other ships leaving Maz's castle, as most people there didn't need Imperial interactions to happen in their lives. Probably most of the population of the castle had a bounty or two on their heads.

After breaking atmosphere, their ship was able to jam and befuddle the perusing Imperials enough to make the jump to hyperspace. It took some 'casual' flying, quick thinking on the astrogation charts, and a bit of electronic countermeasure (provided by No'van himself), but they got out mostly scott-free.

No'van let the rest know where they needed to go. A backwater planet called "Phemis." Part of the Corellian sector. He electronically masked their approach to the surface and they disembarked.

The Empire was already here however, so the group knew it was going to be tough to find an entrenched Rebel cell.

Garren, a force-sensitive, helped No'van find a data terminal to plug into to figure out where that local rebel cell was—so No'van could deliver Mon's message. Meanwhile Shann, Asmiere, and James took to the local Cantina to dig up leads the old fashioned way, with conversation with the locals.

No'van sneers a bit at that thought as he recalls it. Again, such an inefficient waste of time.

Inefficient as it was, Asmiere, their other force sensitive (Jedi? No'van's not sure of the difference), was able to glean their next destination from a local who was not a fan of the Empire. James also does some recon on the local Stormtrooper detachment, noting a strange apparatus on their armor, monitoring…something…

At the same time, No'van discovers references to a "Sebastian Sunrider" – an archaeologist with a droid – has set out to a place with references to a "maze."

The group met up after all of this and Asmiere cleared it up. Turns out they need to and through Malak's Maze. Novan recalls that name from somewhere…Malak.

He 'hmmm's to himself.

Collecting once again his drifting mind, he opens the journal. It's still as indecipherable as ever. He has gleaned some items in it, however:

-The "Rubat" crystals they are surrounded by are extremely volatile.
-There's a reference to "The Admiral" whoever that is.
-There's a new work system in place since the Admiral showed up that has the captive miners working and mining the crystals at a significantly quicker pace.
-The Archaeologist, who is now Talon's captive, is worried the mining is being mismanaged thanks to the sped up pace and that could mean accidents of the explosive type.
-There's also a notation of the crystals being very radioactive.
-And it was also noted that the Archaeologist noticed a ton more Imperial Engineers coming in from off-wold.

What he can't figure out is why these crystals are being mined by the Empire in the first place, and what they want with them.

His team seems pretty keen on going in to the Imperial mining operation and blasting the place up while freeing the miners. Shann in particular seems ready to shoot anything that moves…

No'van's hand unconsciously goes to the back of his head at the thought of Shann. The Mandalorian isn't much for words, but knows how to knock someone out, which No'van has experienced a lot with Shann, usually when he's getting to excited or chatty.

That reminds him again of how they got here.

After realizing they needed to go to Malak's Maze on Phemis, the group did what it does best: argue. They were sure if they should take the ship or steal some land vehicles to make the trek to the Maze. Eventually it was decided they would take the ship.

Once at the entrance of the canyon, they hoofed it on foot. The trip through the maze was repetitively uneventful, but No'van noticed his electronics weren't working anymore, not well at least. 

He was also remembers being very adamant about finding the droid that belonged to the Archaeologist. Naturally, the rest of his squad didn't get it, they aren't always thinking on the same level as him, but he knew if he could find the droid, he could find everyone else. Droids of the type he was looking for have particular shuffling footprints. James could easily track that. But as usual, the group didn't understand what No'van was getting at.

To No'van's surprise, despite not really listening to him, the group still managed to find the entrance to the cave that housed Talon Squadron. They ran into some weird, hostile insects on their way in, but cleared them quickly and met Talon's squad leader, Bria.

There, the group relays the message to Bria. She's not too keen on joining up with the greater-Rebellion, supposedly Talon and the Corellian's have their own plans to deal with the Empire.

As they are taken via underground waterways to Talon's Squadron's base, Bria tells the group that they have the Archaeologist and his droid. Except the droid is an HK unit. 

No'van recalls that HKs are assassin droids. That's mildly alarming. Oh well.

At this point, No'van's memory goes out for a minute. He recalls trying to convince Bria that Mon Mothma's help is very much needed when Shann knocked him out.

Shann does that sometimes, when he feels No'van is spilling too many beans.

No'van knows he talks a lot. It's a by-product of spending too much time on the Holonet in silence, and wanting to convey to others every minute detail, so they can make the most-informed decisions. Personally, No'van hates making a choice with out being able to weigh all the facts.

After coming-to, he learns Bria is a member of the Church of the Force. Didn't Garren talk about that a couple times? He's unsure.

And that more or less, is where they find themselves now.

No'van looks at the journal again. Not really reading it, just staring, thinking.

They interrogated the Archaeologist. He detailed the Imperial mining operation. The one Shann and the others now want to storm. Bria wants those miners back, so the group decided to help her in exchange with a possible meeting of the head of the Rebellion here in the Corellian Sector, Garm Bel Iblis.

He ponders more.

Suddenly, his eyes, and mind, catch something about the journal. What is it? A discoloration? Stains?

He picks up the journal by a single page, holding it above his head, allowing the light above him to feed through the page. He gets a couple glances from the others in the common area with him but he pays them no attention.

Yes, when held to a light, there's certain words and letters highlighted. Almost if they were written with a slightly different shade of ink from the rest.

He begins to write the letters and words down. They follow patterns. He's able to glean some notes within the notes.

Something about a Dark Lord Malak? Weird. Didn't they just go through a canyon called "Malak's Maze"?

Something else about ancient Jedi and Sith. Maybe them using Rubat crystals in their lightsabers?

He only recently learned much of anything about the Jedi, through his Force-Sensitive friends and squad-mates. He doesn't really understand the Force. It's not quantifiable enough. But he can't deny the weird and inexplicable things those two can do sometimes. And there's not much of anything on the Holonet about the Sith. He's heard the word, but unsure what "Sith" even means.

Something else in the journal refers to the Empire, using the Rubat, for a weapon..? He can't quite make out that last part.

The galaxy has already seen two Death Stars, so he's not sure that's a concern. Maybe something smaller-scaled? Or maybe this is all past-tense. Or referring to another Empire? Sith Empire? There's that word again.

That's all he can really figure out. He's tired. The back of his head hurts still from the gung-ho Mandalorian.

He's not sure going in like it's the Battle of Yavin is the best idea. Sounds like a great way to blow themselves up. Not to mention the potential loss of civilian life. 

Chiss tend to use violence as only the final option when all others have been exhausted, and No'van embodies this particularly. He doesn't like shooting the place up when other options are still available. But how to convince the team of that?

Could they just sneak in?

Provide the means to let the Miners escape quietly?

Create a different distraction that causes most of the garrisoned Imperials to leave the area so Talon Squadron can move in and take over?

He feels his eye lids drooping. Too many options, not enough time. Before he knows it. His head slumps forward while he rests it on the journal now back in his lap. His last though before going unconscious is, "What about that droid, though?"

 

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