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Before - Legends Agents of Thrawn - The Cure

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by starbuck_archer, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. starbuck_archer

    starbuck_archer Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 23, 2019
    Title: Agents of Thrawn
    The secret mission logs of Shadow Team, Thrawn's top-secret special operations force.

    Author: starbuck_archer

    Timeframe: Roughly 10 BBY (Legends)

    Genre: 2019 Diary Contest, Imperial Forces

    Acknowledgements: Robert Heinlein, and the first person prose of Starship Troopers, which is partial inspiration. To Timothy Zahn, who mastered the archetype of "evil military genius." And to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, whom I thought would be a good basis for a "good aligned Imperial Officer"

    Author's Note: I have virtually no knowledge of any EU material published after 2002, as this is my first interest in Star Wars in many years. I am willing to retcon if anyone catches any "canon" mistakes.

    Entry #1: The Cure
    Captain's Log - Captain Arthur Valerian, Imperial Navy Special Operations Detachment - Shadow

    The fair-haired Jedi stood before me in disbelief. Certainly, the man's Jedi training prevented him from outwardly showing his fear, but the man's emotional control was so intense my telepathic senses were nearly overwhelmed as the Jedi's discipline held back his fear like a giant floodgate, about to burst.

    The Jedi could not understand his confusion, but he couldn't have known I am a genetic rarity. While many races possess non-Force related telepathy such as the Anzati, my body exists outside the Force, something Thrawn was keenly aware of when he recruited me to lead Shadow Team. To a Jedi's senses, it was as though I was as a ysalamiri: un-percievable by the Force, unaffected by mind tricks or Force chokes. Unlike those creatures from Myrkr, my immunity to the Force only extended to my material flesh instead of creating a Force-absent bubble. As a young officer, I learned the hard way that a Jedi using the Force to throw a brick of plasteel at me would still result in the brick smashing my jaw. The bacta-aftertaste from the healing brace didn't go away for a month.

    The few moments of distraction were all that my partner, Chief Warrant Officer Fizzy Sommerset, needed. The only other Force-immune human telepath Thrawn had been able to find, Fizzy is an expert sniper and my second-in-command. With her personal cloak active, she moved to flank the Jedi who had no way of perceiving her presence, her ultrachrome retractable blade with an edge the size of a single molecule in her hand.

    Chiss scientists theorized that our immunity to the Force was a natural part of human evolution: after 25,000 years of Force users slaughtering quadrillions of sentients in Sith Wars and Civil Wars, it only made sense that evolution would react to such violent horrors as Malak, Freedon Nadd, The Krath Holy Crusade and Revan. Personally, I believe all Force users are dangerous: the Jedi Order clearly could not maintain control of its members, and the result was billions of innocent beings slaughtered. How evil was the Jedi Order to place the "redemption" of their own over justice for the countless beings they killed when they 'fell to the dark side?'

    The Jedi standing before me had to be eliminated as well, unfortunately. Not because former Master Kal Orban-Vas had done anything evil, but because the potential for him to do evil was so high. Palpatine had slaughtered the Jedi Order almost a decade ago (not a strategic move that myself, or Thrawn would have made), and even without my telepathy I could see the grief in the man's eyes at losing his entire Order. Such grief was dangerous to Jedi. More than a few Jedi in ages past had gone on grief-induced dark side rampages. Palpatine's New Order did not need a grief-stricken Jedi murdering Imperial citizens out of revenge.

    With a signature snap-hiss, Master Orban-Vas ignited his lightsaber and assumed a fighting stance of the teras kasi, an ancient fighting technique known for its speed and agility. Reaching behind me, I took hold of my ultrachrome vibroblade, and its meter-long retractable blade extended with a soft swish. I drew in a deep breath as the Chiss neuro-fibers which connect my nervous system to my cloaking armor-suit drew telepathic energy from my body to enhance my strength and speed as well as powering the suit itself.

    Force your enemy react to you, and as such you will always have the initiative, Thrawn had always told me. I immediately went on the attack, springing forward with suit-assisted jump and engaging the master Jedi. Orban-Vas easily deflected my blade-slash, and counterattacked with such speed I had to activate my suit-assist again to block his blow. As I blocked his lightsaber with my vibroblade, I counterattacked with a suit-assisted sucker-punch to the kidney, cracking ribs as my fist impacted Orban-Vas's back, driving bone fragments into his organs.

    Orban-Vas must have felt pain, but his Jedi discipline kept his expression as cool as the ice-plains of Hoth. The Jedi master attempted to Force-push me away, but Orban-Vas's fingers flicked at me uselessly. The Jedi attempted to sweep my legs, which I jumped over with ease.

    Quite suddenly, Fizzy dropped her cloak and attacked Orban-Vas from the rear. The Jedi barely managed to block Fizzy's decapitating blow. The Jedi was sweating now, as Fizzy and I flanked him, but his expression remained stoic. This was a man I could respect: he knew he was outmatched by Fizzy and I, yet he refused to go down without a fight.

    I feinted a haymaker punch to the Jedi's face (a trick that would not have worked if he could feel my mind with the Force), Fizzy swept the Jedi's legs at the shins, severing them just below the knee. With my free hand, I slashed my vibroblade upward, cutting off the Jedi's lightsaber hand and quickly securing the weapon to prevent him from using the Force to retrieve it.

    Orban-Vas lay on the ground in shock, but with a quiet look of defiance about him.

    "You fight well, Master Orban-Vas. Will you join the Emperor in fighting for galactic peace?" It never hurt to ask, particularly when I received a mission to "deal with" a renegade Force user (who were not always light Jedi, many had turned in their grief to the dark side or were simply cultists who cobbled together Sith knowledge from ruined museums).

    Fizzy sighed, "You already know the answer, Arthur. Besides, do we really need another grief-stricken Jedi with cybernetic limbs executing the Emperor's policy...badly?"

    Ignoring Fizzy's cynical attitude, I continued.

    "You have two choices, Jedi: come into the light and fight to end 25,000 years of bloodshed or stay in the darkness of exile." I chose my words carefully, though I knew Fizzy was right.

    Master Orban-Vas smiled and looked up at me.

    "Peace is more than the mere absence of war," he said, and then slowly faded from existence into the Force.

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  2. starbuck_archer

    starbuck_archer Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 23, 2019
    I accidentally left out part of my draft: Captain Valerian makes a reference during exposition to the effect of:

    "A Chiss scientist, who studied Sith and Jedi History as a hobby, once referred to my genetic resistance to the force as 'a cure for the virus that are the Jedi, light or dark."
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
  3. starbuck_archer

    starbuck_archer Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 23, 2019
    Entry 2: The Master and his Apprentice

    Characters: Thrawn, Rukh, Tedris Bjalin, Arthur Valerian (original)

    Captain's Log, 18 hours after last entry.

    The opportunities for a Captain in the Imperial Navy to fly starships are rare. Senior officers (but not flag officers like Admirals or Generals) have ships, teams or starbases to run. One of the benefits of reporting directly to Rear Admiral Thrawn is that the Chiss military genius prefers in-person meetings to the com link. Whenever Thrawn "requests my presence" (or on the rare occasion I reported without an invitation, something few officers have the privilege of), I take the opportunity to fly myself from Shadow Team's modified Strike-cruiserDefiant to the ISD Retribution.

    I carefully maneuvered my Gamma-class Assault Transport out of the Defiant's docking bay and began maneuvering toward the Retribution. Retribution was undergoing a resupply mission, and several ships were unloading cargo with the assistance of space TUGs and Heavy Lifters. Checking my sensors for situational awareness, I noticed a larger-than-usual Kuat Drive Yard contractor ship with enormous tanks connected via umbilical cords to about a dozen Heavy Lifters. The tanks, oddly enough, were shielded from sensor scans.

    I requested docking from the Retribution's bridge, which was granted ahead of several other ships waiting for clearance. After landing in the Retribution's hangar bay, I walked down the exit ramp to the normal buzz of activity of a Star Destroyer's flight deck. Signing in with the Deck Officer, I proceeded through the myriad of corridors on my way to the bridge. I passed several working parties who seemed to be replacing worn-out plasma conduits. Unlike too many bad officers in the Imperial Navy, I never insist that working parties "make way" for me in the corridor. While the enlisted personnel were technically required to make way for all officers, their enlisted duties were more important than protocol, and they should not have to interrupt their work.

    Reaching the bridge, I was greeted by a young lieutenant.

    "Welcome aboard the Retribution again, sir," Lieutenant Tedris Bjalin said with a unusual cheeriness in his voice. Tedris was the Retribution's supply officer, and I was slightly surprised at his demeanor, given the difficult work of coordinating the resupply of an Imperial Star Destroyer.

    "Thank you, Lieutenant," I replied. "Is the boss in his meditation chambers?"

    Tedris nodded. "Yes sir. You should see him immediately."

    Thanking the Lieutenant, I proceeded to the turbolift, which took me several decks down to Thrawn's personal meditation suite. I could telepathically sense Thrawn's presence behind the (deceptively) unguarded durasteel door, as well as that of his Noghri bodyguard, Rukh. Rukh's mind was fairly easy to read, but even if I had dared an attempt to peer into my mentor's mind, I am certain Thrawn knows telepathic resistance techniques.

    Without prompting, the door opened before me. The meditation chamber was dark, except for a massive holo-display Thrawn was now standing before, studying images of ancient Onderon art. I passed by Rukh, brielfy exchanging predatory glances out of politeness for Noghri culture, and approached Thrawn.

    "Captain Arthur Valerian, reporting as ordered, sir," I said professionally.

    Thrawn waited several moments before replying.

    "Tell me, Captain, what military commodity is being delivered to Retribution?"

    Another test, I thought. Thrawn always keeps my tactical and strategic mind sharp with these "games" of induction and deduction.

    "I would say hyperdrive plasma is being delivered," I replied confidently.

    "Good, captain. Explain."

    I drew in a breath. "Well, sir, on my flight from the Defiant, I noticed a large KDY ship connected to several heavy lifters via transfer umbilical cords. While walking the corridors to report to you, I noticed several work crews replacing old plasma conduits. And lastly, your supply officer, Lieutenant Tedris Bjalin, who rarely has reason to smile given the stress of his duties, seemed pleased today. Given the recent shortage of hyperdrive plasma due to the terrorist attack at Sluis Van, the rest fell into place."

    Thrawn did not respond, nor did he offer any praise. But I could tell he was pleased I had not lost my edge.

    "Your orders are to proceed to Ondereon. Lommite Limited is beginning mineral excavations on one of the equatorial continents," Thrawn said cold professionalism.

    "Lommite Limited has connections to Admiral Tarkin, but I am at something of a loss as to what this mission might entail, sir." Honesty was the best policy with Thrawn: any attempt to appear to know more than one did would easily be detected.

    "Wilhuff Tarkin is no fool, but he is blinded by ideology," Thrawn replied with equally honest candor.

    "Agreed," I replied. "His proposed 'Tarkin Doctrine' will fail: the galaxy is simply too big to rule by military force, no matter how formidable. Stable Imperial rule, such that citizens can economically prosper without war or terrorism, can only be achieved by convincing worlds of the benefits of Imperial citizenship, and when necessary, military force."

    Thrawn indulged in something I had never seen before: a brief half-smile on the left side of his face, almost undetectable except to those trained to pick up on subtle body language.

    "Lommite Limited must not be allowed to excavate durasteel from Ondereon. You are free to use whatever methods you see fit, but your involvement must be completely confidential," Thrawn instructed.

    "I will, of course, follow orders, but I do not understand."

    Thrawn turned to face me. "It is not necessary for you to understand, but you shall before the mission is over."
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  4. starbuck_archer

    starbuck_archer Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 23, 2019
    Entry 3: Captain's Log, Supplemental

    Today, the Emperor held yet another press conference with that damned idiot, Wilhuf Tarkin. Galactic Peace is a most laudable goal, but can Imperial strategists seriously believe that a galaxy of over 100,000 habitable worlds spread out over more than 20,000 light years can be controlled at the muzzle of a blaster?

    Tarkin has unrealistic plans for his alleged "Death Star". Scientifically, I do not doubt the proposed station's ability to destroy an entire planet (contrary to many of the "anti-science" people who are, alarmingly, in agreement with myself and Thrawn). I am significantly more skeptical of star systems "falling in line" once the power of such a battle station is "demonstrated."

    As the Sith say, fear is the most powerful emotion of them all. Unfortunately for what little remains of the Jedi Order, the Sith are actually correct: sentient beings will act more desperately out of fear than any other emotion. The fear of a "Death Star" could go both ways: either an obedient fear, or one of "hey *******! So you can blow up planets, eh? Nobody should have that level of power. I will fight against you because I fear your planet-killing power." Sentient beings fight against what they do not understand, if they designate the Death Star as one of those "fears they do not understand", Tarkin's big plan will have the exact opposite effect.

    Thrawn has always emphasized to me that "Respect is the perfect mix of love and fear." Not only should Imperial citizens understand the magnitude of the Empire's wrath, but also the limitless potential of embracing the Empire's mercy: more than a few backwater worlds have been advanced by our smart-crop and other advanced scientific technologies. Shadow Team does not merely answer to me because they fear the fact that I can "beat up" any of them: they respect me because I look out for them, in addition to commanding them. Why should any sentient pay the Emperor loyalty if the Emperor doesn't fulfill his side of the social contract by providing peace and stability?
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  5. starbuck_archer

    starbuck_archer Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 23, 2019
    Entry 4: Captain's Log, Supplemental

    "No shields, all guts!", the very unofficial slogan of our illustrious TIE fighter pilots. One might laugh at me were I to complain: given that I fight Force users and secret enemies of the Empire for a living: I wouldn't fly one of those unshielded death traps for all the women of Hapes. I'd wager my chances of survival to be actually better if Palpatine himself put a million credit bounty on my head.

    But at least they have guts.
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  6. starbuck_archer

    starbuck_archer Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 23, 2019
    Entry 5: Captain's Log, Personal

    This is the end of the the words ring in my mind like a song you can't get out of your head. Today is a very special day, a day long remembered. A day I cannot forget, unfortunately.

    I still recall looking up at the sky as a fleet under Count Dooku entered orbit around Albion Colony. Up until then, the war had always seemed so far away, something that happened to other worlds. As a secondary student entering puberty, my thoughts were about as far away from Jedi, Clones or Droids as the Unknown Regions.

    I am certain my eyes said "why?" as turbolasers ripped through the atmosphere, tearing apart the surface and throwing rock and permacrete as a dove for cover. As I passed out, all I can remember thinking is this is the end of the world.

    But it was not the end of the world, it was just the end of my world. I was found by a platoon of clone troopers, picking up the rubble. At least, that is what the medical droid told me as I recovered aboard a Republic hospital ship. I remember trying to put the pieces together, but I couldn't stop thinking about those turbolasers (Thrawn cured me of that fear, very quickly).

    It was then I asked myself why I was in a hospital bed, my former home nothing but rubble. I still held out hope that my parents might be alive, but even then I knew the truth (I was not aware of my telepathic ability until I met Thrawn, but that is another story). With all the pain, and the questions, I cursed the Republic that let such crimes happen.

    I realized that it was largely the fault of both the anti-militarists, and the Jedi. As much as I would have it be otherwise, force (lowercase 'f') is still the ultimate power in the universe. And no amount of hope, or wishful thinking, can make sentient beings come to their senses and stop slaying each other. If the Republic had a proper Navy establishment and the Jedi were better at policing renegades like Count Dooku, literally billions might have been saved.

    I recall rejoicing when Palpatine declared a New Order, hoping that no more worlds would be destroyed if we had peace in the galaxy (So what if he's a Sith? It's religious intolerance to blame him for things the Sith did a thousand years ago. Intolerant Senators like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma annoy me) . But with "radical reactionaries" like Tarkin taking all the bad ideas from every known political philosophy while proposing planet-destroying weapons, I seriously have to wonder. I hope this isn't the end of the world.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
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