Author’s Note: I have been watching and reading Star Wars since I was 7. When Disney brought the Star Wars IP from George Lucas for more money that I could conceive of, I thought that we were in for some epic storytelling and stunning visuals. I was worried when Disney decided to say that the vast number of books and comics were not canon. Rogue One served to give me hope that they were still going to make good content. It was a good story that was set in a short time line that told the story of how the Rebel Alliance obtained the Death Star plans. The Force Awakens was vastly underwhelming from a storytelling point of view. The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker only served to confirm my dislike of the way that Disney was treating the IP.
I have also followed a number of blogs and YouTube channels that have savaged Disney and Lucas Film over what they have done with the sequel trilogy. Though all of their harsh criticism, I did not hear any detailed explanation on what story they would have liked to see other than one that was a hero’s journey. At the end of January, I decided to give myself a writing challenge. I put some requirements that had to be met. 1) I had to use the characters that were in the Disney Trilogy. 2) I had to avoid any major plot holes.
The result, Star Wars Gaming News was kind enough to allow me to post. Please enjoy.
Star Wars: Darkness Darkness Rising: The Threat Within
35 years have passed since the destruction of the second Death Star. The Rebel Alliance waged a 10 year long war after the Battle of Endor to destroy the remains of the Empire. After the fall of Coruscant, the Imperial forces vanished, some believe that they gathered up resources and headed into the Unknown Regions. With the threat of the old Empire gone, the Rebel Alliance reformed the Galactic Republic with Coruscant once again as the capital. The fate of the Empire has remained a mystery to the rest of the Galaxy. All Republic attempts to find information on the Imperial Remnants have met with no tangible success.
After the victory at Coruscant, Luke Skywalker returned to Yavin 4 to reestablish the Jedi Order, collecting willing younglings from around the Republic to teach the ways of the Jedi. Luke, officially known as Grand Master Skywalker, wanted to keep the Jedi Order out of the politics of the Republic, believing that the Republic and Jedi would be better served being on Yavin 4 instead of Coruscant.
The Republic functioned well. Leia Organa-Solo joined the Senate as the representative of the Alderan Refuge Cluster, a group of asteroids made up from the destroyed planet of Alderan and inhabited by Alderanian refugees who were off world at the time of its destruction. She served for fifteen years until Mon Mothma stepped down as Chancellor. The Senate then elected Leia as their new Chancellor. She has lead the Republic for the last ten standard years. Many of her supporters believe that her leadership skills have been the only thing that has kept the factious worlds of the young Republic from destroying it in another civil war.
Lando Calrissian eased back on the controls dropping the bulk freighter out of hyperspace. Nien Nub glanced over at his old friend and muttered something before he took hold of the controls.
“I know, Nien,” Lando said and looked over at the sensors. “I’m not real fond of meeting out in the middle of no where but if we want the Sun off our backs, we need this haul.”
Nien shook his head and spoke a few words in Sullust and gestured out of the front view screen. He then continued speaking. Lando had heard it all before from Nien. Him complaining about some scheme that went wrong. Lately Nien had taken to complaining about the debt that they were in with the Black Sun.
The freighter’s sensors pinged that something was dropping out of hyperspace near them. Lando looked at the sensors. The ship was an old CEC XS-1200 light freighter. He didn’t think they were being produced anymore. The freighter was about half the size of Lando’s own ship.
The comm system pinged with an incoming message. Lando flipped the switch and a hologram of a Correlian woman appeared between Lando and Nien. “This is the Star Dust,” she said. “I do hope I haven’t kept you waiting long.”
Lando smiled as he looked at her. She wasn’t bad looking despite the hard edge was apparent even in the hologram. “This is the Flare Chaser,” he replied into the comm. “No we were not waiting long at all.”
“Good, so, how do you want to do this?” she asked.
“We have a sample on board. If you like them, then we will drop our cargo pods and they are all yours,” Lando told her.
She smiled. “Sure. We will pull along side you and dock to your starboard port.”
“See you in a few,” he told her and disconnected the comm then extended the docking port.
Nien said something and looked at the ship as it turned and started moving toward them.
“Not as far as I can toss this ship,” Lando said, “But it’s a little late to worry about that now. Come on, I want company with me. I don’t want them aboard the ship.” Lando got up and tapped a button on the console which slid open to reveal a droid linked into the ship. “BX, keep an eye out for us.”
The droid whistled and Lando looked at a small communicator on his arm, reading out BX’s statement about not being able to take one of its eyes out. “Everyone’s a comedian,” Lando muttered as Nien laughed then checked his blaster pistol.
There was a thud that echoed through the flare chaser. Nien pushed a repulsosled loaded with two large crates into the airlock behind Lando. He looked around Lando to watch as the lights flickered from red to green showing a positive seal and an equal pressure. The door cycled open to reveal the woman from the hologram.
Lando looked up at her, she was taller than he was by almost a hand. “Permission to come aboard?” Lando asked. The woman stepped back and motioned him aboard.
“Granted, I’m Mars Raxis,” she said as he stepped through the airlock and Nein pushed the sled after him.
“Pleased to meet you,” Lando said as he sat the crate onto the deck. “I’m..”
“Lando Calrissian, General and hero of Endor,” Mars finished for him. It was hard to tell if there was distain in her voice or not. “Your reputation proceeds you.” She offered her hand to him. “It is an unexpected pleasure to meet a legend.”
Lando smiled and took her hand. She had the grip of a Wookie. “Well, thank you, but I am sure that my reputation’s been blown out of proportion.”
She smiled at Lando and motioned them to both come with her. She led them down a short passageway to the cargo hold which looked like it took most of the center of the ship. “Finn, launch the probe then come check out the cargo,” she said into it.
Nien clicked the locks on the crate so that it could be opened the stepped back. Mars looked at the crate, recognizing the old Imperial markings on it. Nien watched her and pulled a snack bar out of his jumpsuit’s pocket. It didn’t escape his attention that her eyes snapped to him as he pulled the snack bar out, almost as if she was expecting him to pull a weapon.
Mars’s eyes moved to the face of the Sullustian pilot. When they met, she was surprised that he smiled, as much as one of the Sullust could with the dewflaps on his face and offered her his snack bar. She shook her head and made herself relax a little. “No, thank you.” She looked over at Lando as he looked down at his wrist com, a little concern on his face.
“Problem, Mr. Calrissian?” she asked.
Lando looked at her. “I don’t know. I just got a message that you launched an Imperial Probe Droid.”
She offered a smile and pointed at the unopened crate. “Thirty years later and there is still a surplus of imperial tech on the market. You use what you have access to and what is cheapest,” she said by way of an explanation.
Lando nodded and laughed a little. “Yeah, the Republic still uses all sorts of old Imperial Tech so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”
The door at the other side of the cargo hold opened and a dark skinned Corellian stepped through. He wasn’t quite a tall as Lando but he had the look of a young but experienced soldier. He walked up to Mars who pointed him at the crate. “Finn, make sure those are in good working order.”
Nien nodded to Finn as he walked by him to get to the crate. Nien also noticed that it was all Finn could do not to salute Mars when he walked up to her. Finn opened the crate and looked inside. Nien counted the contents over Finn’s shoulder; four E-11 Standard Imperial Blaster Rifles with three spare powerpacks for each, five EC-17 blaster pistols, with two spare powerpacks each, and an E-11S Imperial Sniper Rifle with three spare powerpacks, or enough to outfit half of an old Imperial Stormtrooper squad.
“Where did you find all of this?” Mars asked Lando.
Lando smiled. “I know a salvager who found an automated Imperial resupply outpost in the outer rim. They have been getting rid of parts for the past decade but couldn’t find a buyer for the blasters that he felt safe in selling them to. He didn’t trust the Hutt’s enough to try for them.”
“And you just happened to know that we were looking for weapons?” she asked.
Lando shrugged. “Knew, no. I was able to find out though. Friend of a friend of a friend, so to speak.” Not an entire lie. The only thing he knew about Mars and the buyer he assumed she was working for, was that they were not established in the Core or Mid Rim, so either they were from some separatist faction in the Outer Rim or they were in the Inner Core and either way, that was not his problem.
Finn picked up each weapon, noting that they had been stowed with no power in their powerpacks. He pulled one of the spare powerpacks from the crate and plugged it into a charging port in the wall of the cargo hold. He looked over to see Nien chewing quietly on his snack bar and watching him.
Nien offered Finn a smile as Finn waited for the power pack to gain a charge. When he saw Finn’s interest in his snack bar as he took another bite, he reached into his pocket and pulled a second one out and offered it to Finn.
Finn looked back at Mars and saw her watching him. He moved to the top crate and lifted it off the bottom one, setting it aside. He opened that crate to reveal four sets of storm trooper armor complete with the black body glove. Finn pulled the one of the helmets out and looked at it. The serialization plate for the trooper’s number was blank on it.
Lando and Mars watched Finn check out the helmet. “I know a number of people that use the armor on occasion,” Lando said. “Millions of suits out in the galaxy.”
Mars snorted. “Surely not using them for the intended purpose.” They both watched as Finn went back to the charging station and pulled the powerpack free. It held a minimal charge, maybe enough for five shots. He pulled one of the blaster rifles at random and slid the powerpack home. The readout read six charges left. New unused powerpacks took a charge faster than older ones. He ejected the pack and tested it in the Sniper rifle. It was enough for two shots.
“Well?” Mars asked him.
“They look good, Captain. I need to check out the EC-17’s though,” Finn answered her. He lifted the pad that was hanging on his belt and read it. “IP3 reports that the holds are full of cases like this.”
“I think we are good then,” she said and turned to Lando.
Lando tensed a little. Was this where he would finally get shot? He relaxed a little when she pulled out a similar tablet and looked up at him. “So, can you drop the pods?” she asked him.
Lando smiled, a warm genuine smile. “Once I verify that the money is in our account, then sure.”
She nodded and typed into the data tablet. “I figured that is was why you were wanting to be near a Holonet beacon.”
“You can never be to safe,” he said. “This is a business transaction after all.”
She smiled, perhaps a bit coldly. “There, transfer is done.”
Lando looked at his wrist where BX confirmed that the transfer had been made and it had already moved the money out of that account into another, diverting most of it to the Sun to clear their debt. “I just got confirmation,” he said.
While they talked, Finn heard Nien clear his throat slightly and almost jumped as he noticed that the Sullustian was standing right next to him. He looked down to see Nien holding out the snack bar to him. Finn glanced up to see Mars’s attention was on Lando and took it muttering thanks. The bar vanished into his jacket.
Nien nodded and walked over to the airlock saying something to Lando. Lando nodded to him and turned back to Mars. “Well, we are going to go drop the pods. Not that it is any of my business, but how are you going to get them home? XS-1200’s can’t handle that much mass.”
“You’re right, it isn’t,” Mars said in a cool tone. “We have another ship heading this way to pick them up. And since that concludes our business, I will ask you to leave so that we can get ready to depart and you can be on your way.”
Lando nodded. “It was a pleasure, perhaps we can do business again.”
She gave an indifferent shrug. “Perhaps.”
Lando tapped the controls as he stepped through the airlock and cycled it shut behind him. Nien was standing there looking at him. He said something to Lando who nodded. “Yeah, that was about an odd pair.” He sighed. “Come on, once they are undocked I want to drop the cargo pods and get out of here. Something isn’t setting well.”
Nien dropped into the copilot’s chair and Lando sat down in the pilot’s chair. He watched as the Star Dust pulled almost a kilometer away and came to a stop. He saw the indicators as the locks that held the pods in place unlock and small puffs of gas pushed the pods away from the ship. Lando eased the throttle forward on the ship, pulling away from the pods.
“BX, set a course for Naboo. I think we earned a few days R&R.” He looked down at his hand and realized that it was shaking slightly. “I am to old for this,” he muttered.
BX whistled a warning as the sensor alert pinged. Lando glanced down to see several blips appear a few kilometers away. Nien issued a curse as he saw the sensor readout. Two Tie Fighters raced away from the other ships. They looked like a cross between a Tie Interceptor and a Tie Advanced. “Hyperspace capable Tie Fighters?” Lando said, a tone of disbelief in his voice.
He reached for the shields but Nien’s hand was already there turning them on. Lando threw the throttle forward. The other ships were an Imperial Raider class corvette and a bulk freighter larger than the Flare Chaser. Lando looked at the comm unit, but saw no incoming transmissions.
The Flare Chaser rocked as the Tie’s opened up on it, their blasters impacting harmlessly against the Chaser’s shields. “Come on, BX, get me that course,” Lando growled. BX let loose a whistling sound and Lando gave a fierce grin. He pushed the controls forward and heard from deep in the ship the sound of the hyperdrive spinning up.
His grin froze then faltered on his face as the sound cut out. He looked down at the board and saw the error message stating that they were in a gravity well and the overrides took the hyperdrive offline. He looked at the sensor readout and saw the readings that made his blood run cold. “They have an interdiction field, we can’t jump out of here.”
Finn dropped into the pilot’s chair and watched as the Raider changed course. “I don’t think that the Flare Chaser will get away,” said the K7F1 as it watched the Raider’s engines ignited and it started after the Flare Chaser. “The Thresher has a target lock on the Flare Chaser.”
Finn glanced down at the scanner to see that the raider did indeed have a target lock on the fleeing freighter. “The sale was complete, they were leaving. What’s the point of firing on them?”
Mars rested her hand on the back of the pilot’s chair. “Our orders were to leave no witnesses, Finn 63714.” She stared out at the Flare Chaser as the Raider opened fire on it. “You would do well not to question orders again,” she said, not taking her eyes away from the events unfolding before her.
“Yes, Captain Phasma,” Finn answered. He winced slightly when the Flare Chaser’s shields collapsed and then the freighter exploded.
“Set course for Base 193,” she told him. “Once the others have collected the cargo and left do the same. I am going to go make our report.”
“Yes, Captain,” he said. He sighed and shook his head when the door shut after she left the bridge. That was needless, he thought. They would have jumped away and no one would have been the wiser who was picking this up.
“You should not feel sympathy for the weapons trader, they surely would be selling weapons to those who are opposing the Empire,” K7 said. “They are selling weapons to those who are against the Renegade Republic. Pathetic Criminals.”
Finn looked at K7 and shook his head. “I doubt it is as simple as that.”
K7 looked back at him. “It would probably be better for you if it were.”
The larger freighter moved into position and gathered up the pods, a couple of heavy lift droids attaching the pods to the side of the freighter. Not long after, the raider, the two tie fighters and both freighters launched into hyperspace leaving behind an expanding cloud of wreckage. A few minutes later, a yacht appeared from nowhere tumbling end over end drifting away from the remains of the Flare Chaser.
Lando looked at Nien. “I told you that it was a good idea we kept that cloaking devise rather than selling it.” A large part of him was glad that he had also done the work to have the Lady Luck modified to run as the command and control for the Flare Chaser.
Nien scrunched up his face and made a rude sounding noise. “Yeah, I agree,” Lando said and patted the console. “Good work BX. You timed the cloaking perfectly.”
BX whistled. Nien looked at Lando and said something. “No, we are going to Coruscant,” he answered.
Nien said something in protest and Lando shook his head. “Nien, I read the sensor logs while we were waiting for them to leave. The hyperdrive registries on that Raider and those two tie fighters were less than a year old. Those are new construction and that tie fighter was not one I have seen before, not to mention that they have an interdictor field generator built into a raider, which I have never heard of happening before. I want to go talk to Han and Leia. Someone needs to know about this.”