Title: The Old Republic: The Edge Between Failure and Success Genre: Action, Drama Timeline: 3,631 BBY. Between Knights of the Fallen Empire and Knights of the Eternal Throne. Roughly six years after the core game. Summary: While the rest of the Eternal Alliance fights against the evils of Empress Vailyn, a plot from the rest of the Zakuul forces puts the entire Alliance at risk. Dramatis Personae: Amana Wentlas: Smuggler, Captain of the Dawn. (Human Female) Cipher Nine: Former Imperial Intelligence Agent (Chiss Male) Hondo Mereel: Mandalorian Bounty Hunter, Leader of the Rodian Resistance (Human Male) Jorren Vor-Lonn: Jedi Master, Commander of the Alliance (Human Male) M1-4X: Former Republic Military Droid (4th Degree Droid, Masculine Programming) Mako Mereel: Slicer, Mission control of Rodian Resistance (Human Female) Utan Rho: Former Republic Army Sergeant (Cathar Male) Xiann'me: Sith Lady, Former Emperor's Wrath. (Twi'lek Female) *** Chapter One "Amana Wentlas to my office. Repeat: Amana Wentlas to my office." The voice echoed through the building before dying in a loud squawk of interference. A young woman, just into her 30s, shook her head at the sound. In the three weeks since the former Emperor Arcann's attack on the Alliance's base, they still hadn't found the time or the equipment to fix the feedback in the intercom system. Amana stepped out of the cantina and into the open common area. The air was filled with humidity and the smell of oncoming rain. Past the still-unnamed mountain range in the distance, the conifer forest swayed under a greying sky. Under her light grey shirt, her fair skin prickled up in gooseflesh under the cool wind. "Great..." Amana grumbled at the thought of the leaks in her still damaged quarters. "Looks like I'm sleeping in my ship tonight." She walked towards the large cargo lift that led to the heart of their operations on Odessen; past sights that she still hadn't gotten used to seeing. Sith and Jedi mulled about together, Republic and Imperial troops gathered around a large table with the only fighting between them being drunken brawls. War made for strange bedfellows, she thought. She passed a Mandalorian flirting heavily with a Cathar soldier who seemed to be reciprocating his attentions. Literally in some cases. The office of Hylo Visz was a small corner in the larger Underworld Operations room, upraised from the others and with an entire wall covered with computer monitors. Hylo was sitting in front of one of the monitors, green Mirialan hands working frantically at it. "You wanted to see me, Hylo?" Hylo looked up from her work, the green eyes above the geometric tattoos of her species showing their fatigue. "Captain Wentlas, the commander has a job for you." Amana's hazel eyes shined. “He hinted at something the other day.” Hylo rolled her eyes. “I really don’t need to know that...” Amana chuckled. “I didn’t mean like that,” she said. “Something he said before he left.” “Well, either way, I selected you for it, not him,” Hylo said. “Though your name did come up.” "What do you have for me, then?" Amana's tone turned serious. Hylo pivoted in her chair to a holoimaging station and punched a few buttons. A planet appeared on the screen, jungle covering the majority of it. "Rodia?" Amana asked. "On target." The map zoomed in on a point in the world's western continent, revealing a large facility in the middle of a jungle clearing. Crates the size of rontos milled about while landspeeders were frozen in the movement of their hauls. "Our spies have discovered this facility in the jungles of Rodia." Hylo pointed to the shipping containers. "According to them, these crates are filled with a metal alloy that the Eternal Empire is calling 'Gundark'." A chuckle escaped from Amana's smirk. "Governments love their codenames, don't they? What's so special about this metal and why hasn't the Republic or Empire mined it in the past?" Hylo leaned over the holodisplay, staring intently at the image. "Looks like neither of them found any real use for it, but from what my sources have been able to piece together, if it's forged with the durasteel that they use for their Skytroopers, it could make them virtually impervious to blasters bolts." Amana whistled. "What about lightsabers?" Hylo shook her head. "Don't know." The Mirialan stood up. "According to Sana-Rae, it could prove more resistant to the blades, but she won't be able to give us a 'yes' or 'no' until she's studied it up close." Amana crossed her arms and leaned against a bank of computers. "So that's the job, eh? Get in the facility, grab a sample, and get out?" Hylo's eyes narrowed. "Part of it," she said. Her tone dropped to a near whisper. "The Commander's not going to leave anything to chance. You're going to go in, get that sample, find out where they're mining that stuff, and then you're going to blow it all sky-high." "I think I can do that." Hylo retreated away from the holoprojector and sat back down at her station. "I know you can, and you're not going to be doing it alone. The Commander has already selected a team for you and they've already been briefed." "Even better," Amana said. "Where are they?" "I sent them and the equipment to your ship just a few minutes before I called you in here." Images filled Amana's mind of her ship lifting off in the Ord Mantell sky, the traitorous Skavak behind the controls so many years ago. "You what?!" She didn't even give Hylo the chance to respond before she stormed out of the room. Within minutes she had crossed the bridge connecting the cliff-side Alliance base to the plateau where the personal ships were stored. Tramp freighters were docked next to the Defender-class Jedi transports and the Sith's Fury-class interceptors. Amana's ship was packed in between two larger transports. It was mostly circular--as were most CEC-made ships--with a rectangular cockpit jutting out from the middle and a large cargo crate docked to the port airlock. Amana ground her teeth at the sight of the open boarding ramp. The team that Hylo had assembled were standing about in the freighter's large common area. One of the blue-skinned and red-eyed aliens that the Empire had frequently brought in during the last war. He was wearing the dark grey plastoid armor of Imperial Special Forces across his torso. A long barreled blaster rifle hanged off of his shoulder. A human Republic army trooper stood at attention next to the holoprojector in the center of the room. Next to him was a green-skinned Twi'lek in bulky leather armor. Her eyes burned a fiery orange behind sunken eye sockets. A pair of lightsabers hanged from her belt. "Oh great," Amana said. "They sent me a Sith..." The Sith glared at her. "I am Lord Xiann'me, formerly the Emperor's Wrath. The commander may have placed you in charge of this mission, but I demand the respect that I have earned." "As long as you understand that I'm in charge and don't try anything stupid," Amana said. "You'll get your respect." She ignored the Twi'lek's smirk as she moved on to the Imperial sniper. "And you are?" The Chiss politely smiled at her and bowed his head. "I'm afraid that my name is a little difficult for humans to pronounce. You may call me by my former designation: Cipher Nine, formerly of Imperial Intelligence." "I'm pretty good with alien names, so..." "Nlurd'oloshu'rumorc." Amana stared blankly at the alien before finally smiling. "Cipher it is, then." Cipher Nine smirked. "It's better that way, Captain." She walked over to the Republic trooper. "And what's your story, Sergeant?" The soldier removed his helmet, revealing the gray-furred felinoid face of a Cathar. "Utan Rho, captain. Formerly platoon sergeant in the 2nd Republic Infantry." The hint of a suspicion formed itself in Amana's mind. "You didn't happen to bring your squad with you, did you?" Utan chuckled. "No, ma'am, just me." Amana smiled. "Thank the Force for small miracles, then." She turned to the others. "Anyone else?" "There's a droid powering up in your cargo hold. M1-4X, a military support droid, but that’s it." Amana arched a brow but shook the thought out of her head. "I don't know who let you in my ship without me, but let's just say that I'm very particular about her. She's already been stolen from me once, and I don't plan on letting it happen again." "I did," Xiann'me said with an annoying smirk upon her face. "With the storm coming, I didn't want our little excuse for a war droid to rust." Amana ignored the quip. "Hylo said you've already been briefed. That right?" "Eternal Imperial shipping facility on Rodia with a new metal," Cipher Nine said. "Infiltrate the base and find out their mines. We destroy both facilities." "Resistance unknown," Sergeant Rho added. She looked over the motley crew that had been assigned to her and smirked. “Well,” she said, “it looks like you all know just about as much as I do...” *** Spoiler: Author's Notes * Amana, Cipher, and Xiann'me are three of my playable characters in the Old Republic game, as is Jorren Vor-Lonn. Each of them are assumed to have gone through their class storyline, which isn't all that important for this fic beyond vague references. * Them being PCs that went through a plotted, Legends canon storyline, is why I call them "semi-OCs". * M1-4X is from the Republic Trooper's storyline and was a companion in it. * Arcann's attack on Odessen serves as one of the climaxes of the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion pack. As the fic shows, the base is still not completely repaired. * Hylo Visz was first mentioned in the Timeline series of videos that promoted the game. She joined the Alliance in the KotFE expansion. She serves as the Alliance's chief underworld officer. * Amana being in a relationship with Jorren, the Alliance's commander, was first mentioned in my story: What Love Is, which takes place shortly before this. * Having the codename for the project be "Gundark" is a bit of an in-joke, as Amana's great-great-times whatever granddaughter lead a team named "Gundark Squad". * Skavak was the villain of the first arc of the Smuggler's storyline. In the beginning, he steals your ship and forces you to chase him down.