Summary: As the Galactic Empire is ignited into a Civil War with the rising Rebel Alliance, two friends, both of loyal Imperial families, question the very regime they were raised to believe in with each questionable act that is committed in the name of victory. As a resistance movement grows in the capital home world of Coruscant, loyalties of duty, flags - and above all family are put to the test. Which sides do they choose? Which choices can they live with? Author's Note: Prequel to story Call to the Force Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to any material in this fic that is the property of Lucasfilm and Disney. ---------- Prologue '"The planetary shield is down!" The report came in through his helmet's comm piece. "Repeat, the planetary shield is down." "Now give us the bad news!" one of his squad members barked. Their situation had gone from troubling to a complete disaster. Right now, they were in the middle of a fire fight with a squad of Rebel soldiers who were well hidden at the face of the jungle and firing at their position, behind a few large pieces of stone on the beach. They had been caught by surprise when heading back towards the base's tower, half their squad being shot down, and now there were only three of them left. "I got one," his other surviving comrade shouted with glee - - only to then be hit by a laser bolt directly to the head. He dropped onto the sand, maybe still smiling under his helmet. "Shrap!" he bellowed. Now there were two of them left against five enemy soldiers who were not easing up on them. "These rocks aren't going to hold forever," his one remaining squad member pointed out, back pinned against the stone. True enough, it was only a matter of time before the rain of blaster fire broke their protection apart. So their options were either run, make a last stand, or charge the enemy. None of those seemed to favor them managing to stay alive. How had this gone so bad? One second it had been a day like any other day on Scarif. The usual patrol. The usual talks. Then, out of nowhere, Rebel forces had somehow managed to sneak passed the planet's shields, set off explosives all over the terrain surrounding the base, and an entire fleet arrives to take out the planet's shield gate. From all he had heard up to this point about the Rebellion against the Empire they were a few small cells of terrorist who had been trying to undermine the Empire's authority for a few years now. Nothing but a few skirmishes, acts of sabotage, and hit-and-run fire fights. Nothing that imperial forces couldn't ultimately squash. -but this was something else completely. An entire fleet was attacking their forces above, with whole squadrons of troops engaging them here on the ground. This wasn't some meager group of dissatisfied citizens committing small acts of resistance. The Rebel Alliance was, in fact, an organized force with strong resources and numbers. And going by what was now happening here on Scarif they were now declaring open war on the Galactic Empire. News of this battle would spread through the galaxy soon enough. Lines would be drawn. Sides would be chosen. He didn't know whether to be terrified at the prospect of war, or to be thrilled at finally getting to see some action. That is, of course, if he would survive this battle, which was looking unlikely. He counted down from three then stood from his hiding spot to return fire - only there was suddenly no one to return fire to. The Rebel soldiers had seized their assault and were retreating, which made no sense. They had them pinned down and would have killed them in due time.. "What happened?" "Reinforcements." No. There was no one else, Rebel or Imperial, in the vicinity that he could see. The sound of a fast moving ship above drew his attention. An X-Wing was retreating back up to space at top speed. Had the Rebel forces been overwhelmed and decided to retreat? Possibly. Or had they maybe gotten whatever intelligence from the base's archives that he suspected they had come to Scarif for? Even after the X-Wing disappeared into space, he didn't take his gaze away from the sky. Because orbiting above the planet now was something he was having trouble registering: it was some kind of station, spherical-shaped, and the size of which nobody in the galaxy had ever seen. He certainly never had But how was something like that possible? The years, resources and manpower it must've taken. He had heard rumors of a new Imperial space station the size of a small moon that had just been completed, but to see it now with his very own eyes. It was going to take a while to wrap his mind around it. "Insane," his friend said, also looking up at the station. From its dish several green beams of light shot out, joining together. The united beam then came down into the planet, impacting on the surface some distance away, but causing a devastation that was quickly rippling through the surface. "That's coming this way. It's heading right for us!" He was right. A wave of earth and radiation would reach them in a manner of minutes. Their entire base would be destroyed, without a doubt, but why hadn't they received any warning about it? Why hadn't they been given time to evacuate? How many Imperial personnel were about to be killed along with the few remaining Rebel soldiers? What was about to be accomplished by that station other than complete destruction? "We're dead," he declared. "There is no outrunning that. There's no hiding from it." Already he could feel a strong current of heat and air and the ground crumbling all around them. How would they die, though? From the earth breaking apart beneath them? Or the force of the air? In any case, it was most certainly going to be a meaningless death. In a battle where their dedication and bravery amounted to nothing, and they would perish by the hands of their own people. "But the Empire's killing it's own people. Just to take out a few Rebels. Why?" The answer came to him without any struggle to find it. "Because they don't care about us."