Title: The Dawn of Defiance: Gem of Alderaan Author: whiskers, based off of the Dawn of Defiance Episode VII: The Gem of Alderaan by G.M. Sarli and published by Wizards of the Coast. Characters inspired by fellow players of the Adventure Path. Timeline: 17 BBY. Genre: Action, Drama, Romance Summary: In the wake of a devastating attack, the young Alderaanian resistance must regroup and strike back if they wish to stand a chance in fighting the Empire and defeating a horrific new weapon. Dramatis Personae Adrian Verana: Human Alderaanian Male, Captain-Alderaanian Defense Force Alya Aldrette: Human Alderaanian Female, Heiress to the Aldrette fortune. Noblewoman. Anya Rehier: Human Alderaanian Female, Systems' Engineer-Alderaanian Defense Force Bail Organa: Human Alderaanian Male, Prince of Alderaan Ceth Terote: Human Mandalorian Male, Mercenary Eji: Epicanthix Jedi Male, Jedi Padawan Galen Wentlas: Human Coruscanti Male, Lieutenant - Alderaanian Resistance Gilder Varth: Human Coruscanti Male, Admiral-Imperial Navy Valin Draco: Human Male, Grand Inquisitor CHAPTER 1: Dawn of Defiance - This Post CHAPTER 2: Out Of This World CHAPTER 3: Running From The Past CHAPTER 4: THE TOWER Chapter 1 The Deep Core shined through the darkness of the void; the light of thousands of stars mixed with the cumulus clouds of nebulae packed tight. Darkness loomed in between, flanked by the dying traces of orange light in the event horizons of innumerable black holes. The promise of new galactic life bloomed and was then swallowed by the rot of annihilation. A dagger-shaped object appeared with a flash of light only to stop on a decicred. It was large. Larger already than most other ships that had been created in the past few millennia, it’s gray hull spotless and shining in the light. Three main engines burned a bright blue, flanked on each side by smaller thrusters. A tower on the bow of the ship was crowned by two globes. A tall man stood in front of the main viewport on the command deck of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer. He was dressed in an immaculate grey Imperial officer uniform, the five red buttons above the five blue on the breast of his uniform showed his rank as admiral. His strong jaw unclenched slightly as the ship slowed, his blond mustache twitching slightly. He wore his hair short, the hint of the sideburns that were becoming the Imperial fashion beginning to grow gray on his cheeks. The barest hint of a smile played on his lips. “Well done, lads,” he said. The bridge crew looked up from their stations inside of the command pits. “We’ve done well today. We’ve bloodied the nose of the nascent rebellion and put the fear of the Empire—and of us—into them.” The red-robed figure next to him stood unmoving. Any emotions the being had were hidden behind an obsidian face-plate. A glowing red visor gazed unblinking into the void. A thin voice whispered out. “I would not celebrate so quickly, Admiral Varth.” Gildar shivered uncontrollably. “Yes, the day was not completely won, Lord Draco.” “Grand Inquisitor Draco,” the being corrected. “But that does not matter. You celebrate as the rebels’ key team yet lives. I saw them, Admiral, aboard their dying ship and whatever you have done has only heightened their resolve. With their survival from your pitiful trap on Imperial Center, they also have...” Draco’s voice trailed off. He leaned closer to Varth, malevolence radiating off of his form. “They have information on Sarlacc...” The last word was a hiss that sounded more venomous than even the worst asp. The two walked closer to the viewport, away from the prying ears of the crew. Varth attempted to meet the Inquisitor’s unmoving gaze, his own eyes rebelling and raised no further to the pale, scarred skin just under the chin of the plate and the crook of the dark Jedi’s robes. “They have been a problem, and far more resourceful than I had hoped.” “You know who they are. You know where they are,” Draco said. “Do what must be done and call upon the full might of the Imperial Navy upon Alderaan. Even they cannot survive that.” Varth swallowed hard. “Grand Inquisitor, I respect your opinion on this matter, but the capture of Senator Organa and the exposure of his treason is my glory and my glory alone.” He frowned. “Besides, it is only my word against a powerful senator with many friends, and who has always been an open supporter of Palpatine at court. At his worst, he is a loyal opposition. The Empire is at far too precarious a situation at the moment to openly challenge someone so respected.” “If that’s what you want to tell yourself,” Draco said. Varth could almost see the smirk on the Inquisitor’s face through the obsidian. “It is an unfortunate truth, my lord.” A dry chuckle escaped Draco’s mask. “And?” Varth lowered his head. “And?!” A tremendous weight slammed against Varth’s own spirit. The admiral bit into his cheek. “Mere intelligence on Senator Organa’s treason, if I’m even believed, will only give me some minor prestige at court. If I lead the charge on a completed Sarlacc, it means Moffship.” A harsh laughter echoed throughout the command bridge. “Your ambition is great, Admiral, please remember to keep your feet about you while reaching for the stars.” Draco gave a mocking bow. “If I, Force forbid, were you I’d be alerting Emperor Palpatine immediately. You are, however, in charge of naval operations in this mission, and I am merely in charge of stamping out any surviving Jedi. And speaking of; I do have that prisoner of ours to speak with...” Draco turned, his red robe flowing behind him as the Grand Inquisitor walked out of the bridge and into the lift. Only when the door hissed shut behind him did Admiral Varth allow himself to breathe again. He breathed in the recycled air deeply as he stared back into the Deep Core. Varth turned and stood at the edge of the command pit. “Lieutenant,” he said. “Transmit security codes and take us in.” *** The Charle Ballroom was mostly empty. The powder blue carpet shining under the bright lights of the grand chandelier. The walls were a warm light yellow that matched the Alderaanian sun. Senator Bail Organa stood in the middle of the room, watching as housekeeping droids swept the floor clean. “They’re doing well,” Organa said. The other being nodded as he walked into room. He was average height, gray-furred and with a didelphic face. His long nose twitched. “Yes,” he said. “You can’t even smell it.” Organa nodded. “I only saw it on the monitors. Was it as bad as it looked?” Ylenic It’kla shook his head. “Worse, Senator.” Hours ago the ballroom had been pure chaos. Hundreds of wounded, dead, and dying rebels were strewn about the room. Medical droids, trusted doctors, and anyone with the slightest hint of medical training walked through the rows, treating the injured from the attack. “You took a large risk bringing them here, Senator.” Bail shook his head. “I know that, Ylenic, but I couldn’t do nothing.” The Caamasi nodded in understanding. “Yet, I worry you may have exposed yourself far sooner than we are ready to do so. With the late Fen Zhar being here, that incident with the Inquisition around the same time...” Bail kept a straight face even as his heart skipped a beat. There had been an incident with one of Leia’s nannies, and only the toddler’s quick reflexes and a toy had saved the young woman’s life. That brought attention, however, and only some quick deception and help from another had ended that line of questioning. “I understand the risks more than ever, Ylennic,” Bail said. “The truth is that Varth knows who I am and what we’re doing here. I never should have trusted him so easily.” “He surely would have attacked us already, then” Ylennic said. Bail sighed. “Something may still happen, or I may have an ‘accident’ the next time I’m at court.” “From the way that Varth was gloating when he was leaving, he would be here already if he could be,” a voice said. A middle-aged man walked up to the pair, his light-brown hair mussed. A bruise grew dark under a green eye. “Pardon me, Prince Organa, Minister It’kla.” “Captain Verana,” Bail Organa said with a slight smile. “How are you feeling?” The captain shrugged. “Alive, which is better than a lot of my beings.” Organa patted Verana on the back. “Thanks to you, we didn’t lose more.” Verana sadly nodded. “I did my duty, my lord.” The Caamasi advisor pulled a tablet from his robes pocket. “I just received an update on the confirmed casualties of the Imperial attack.” His snout retracted slightly. “400 are dead, most of them from the ships that couldn’t sound evacuate in time. An additional 150 are missing, presumed captured or dead.” Ylenic sighed slightly. “800 more are injured, with 10 of them not expected to survive the night.” “Damn...” Bail sighed. “There’s more,” Verana said. The captain nodded to Ylenic. “I was talking with some of my crew on the ship here and when they were getting treated. At least 20 of them are done. They want to go home and stay there.” Bail lowered his head, hands gripping the hems of his robe tightly. “Let them,” he finally said. “I’m not going to keep anyone in this cause that doesn’t want to be.” The prince looked back up, his look of concern shifting into durasteel. “I heard our strike team arrived just in time to help,” he said. “Please salvage this day and say they at least got something from their most recent mission.” Verana nodded. “There’s good news and bad news on that front, my lord. They were able to return with an intact and decrypted computer core from Coruscant. Whatever Project Sarlacc is, we’ll know about it in the next few days.” The hint of a relieved smile tugged at the corner of Bail’s mouth. “What’s the bad news?” Verana’s lip quivered. “The beings who want to leave; Symin, the—uh--Tallbert heir? He’s one of them.” Bail pursed his lips slightly. “What will this mean for House Tallbert’s forces pledged to us?” Verana shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. He just said that he couldn’t deal with it all anymore.” “What about the others?” Bail asked. “I offered them the guest suites,” Ylenic interjected. “So far only Lt. Galen Wentlas and his partner Lt. Anya Reiher took us up on it. Ceth Terote—he’s the Mandalorian mercenary--said he’d prefer to stay on board his ship. It’s currently docked on the south landing pads.” “No offense to him, but it’ll have to be moved soon,” Bail said. “A ship like that is out of place and will draw attention.” Verana nodded. “I’ll let him know.” Ylenic wiggled his nose slightly. “I’ll set up a berth for him at one of the spaceports in Aldera: one nice enough to have good amenities but not nice enough that a ship such as his would draw unwanted attention. I’ll also divert some funds through some of our shells to give him a decent line of credit for expenses.” Bail nodded. “Good idea,” he said. “There was a Jedi, if I remember correctly.” Verana nodded. “Eji, yes. To be absolutely honest, I don’t know where he is. I know he’s in the palace—he hasn’t been seen leaving—but I haven’t seen him since he left the ship. He’s taken the kidnapping of Master Denia quite hard.” Ylenic closed his eyes and his snout uncurled and hanged limply. “He’s still here,” the Caamasi said. “In the gardens.” He bowed to the others. “If you’ll excuse me.” Bail nodded. “Go ahead. Let him know about the quarters.” The senator paused for the briefest of seconds and took one last look at the room. “Get the technicians looking at that info. Let’s find out what was so important that it led to all this...” Spoiler: Author's Notes * This idea has been on my mind for a good while now and I've finally decided to just jump in and do it. * As mentioned, this is a novelization of a Star Wars Saga Edition adventure, with my own character going through it * While inspired by some of the other players that I played with, the other OCs are my own creation. * Big thanks to G.M. Sarli, who wrote the module. They are awesome. * This does have some prequels to it, but they shouldn't be required reading. The names of the other characters have changed in between stories as I fleshed them more out.