The newly-appointed Emperor Palpatine strode into the command room with purpose. "Admiral, report," he rasped.
"Our research team has established an interface mechanism with the device. So far, we have no knowledge as to its purpose, though the team has determined that the latches on the edges may serve as a means of 'locking in' symbols from the inner ring. It may be some form of astrological calculator, or maybe a star chart of some kind."
"I want results, Admiral, not speculation. Continue your research." Palpatine departed for his private shuttle, but not before giving the metallic ring a contemplative glance.
- o -
"Stand by for test alignment," the lead technician called out.
With a start, the inner wheel of the ring began to spin. It had been fifteen years since Emperor Palpatine had visited the site personally, and in that time, much had been discovered about the device. One of the most astonishing was the knowledge that the device originated on Coruscant, and the glyphs on the inner track were constellations from the Coruscant night sky as it would have appeared thousands of years ago.
"Chevron one is holding. Chevron one is locked in place."
"Power output is at twenty… three percent."
"Chevron two is holding. Chevron two is locked in place."
"Begin evacuation of the holding room, I repeat, evacuate the holding room."
Many attempts to align the device had been undertaken, though each was doomed to failure from the start. With thirty-nine symbols to choose from, and nine different symbols to encode, there were over 76 trillion possible combinations. Only two hundred and fifty had so far been attempted.
"Chevron nine… chevron nine… will not lock."
The computer interface beeped, and the screen glowed red. Two hundred and fifty-one was a bust, as well.
- o -
Luke Skywalker said incredulously, "You want me to what?"
"The Emperor has been diverting a significant amount of funds to a research station on the planet Raydonia. My superiors have requested that you infiltrate the site, and see if there is anything of use for the Rebellion."
"Damn it, Leia, I'm a jedi in training, not a spy! I'm the worst person in the galaxy to assign this to!"
"It's not really up to me, Luke," the princess said with a sigh. "Mon Mothma wants you to go."
"Fine. But if I get caught, I'm blaming you."
- o -
One year after the destruction of the second Death Star, Luke returned to Raydonia, accompanied by numerous Alliance technicians, scientists, and soldiers. With the defeat of the Emperor, the strange ring Palpatine had been so obsessed with was now a priority to the leaders of the Rebellion.
"Prepare for testing," General Solo called out.
"Chevron one encoded," the Sullustian engineer called out. A violent snap accompanied the words as the first V-shaped latch snapped open. Moments later, it snapped closed again, and the ring sinned the opposite way. A second symbol appeared in the center of the main screen, almost serpentine in appearance in contrast to the tuning fork-shape of the first.
"Chevron two, encoded." A third symbol took the place of the previous, a triangle of sorts. With protrusions on the bottom edge.
"Chevron three, encoded."
"General, the device is emitting radiation, we need to abandon the device."
"Do it," Han said.
"Chevron four, encoded."
"So, kid, this is what you saw?"
"Yeah. The Emperor was quite frustrated with the lack of progress, apparently, though with no frame of reference on which symbols to use, It's understandable that it would take so long."
"Chevron five is encoded."
"Output is at seventy-nine percent!" The ground began to shake.
"Chevron six, encoded!" The technicians had to shout now to be heard over the quake.
"This is about where the Empire stopped. Energy requirements and such," Luke explained.
A glyph, quite unlike the others, appeared in the middle. Two straight lines formed an upside-down 'v' shape, topped by a perfect circle. The computer, to everyone's amazement, announced, "Sequence complete."
All nine latches snapped open, and with a thunderous roar, the device activated for the first time in fifty thousand years.