Diclaimer: I hold no ownership over any star wars related content, nor do I have any ownership of the Aldnoah Zero series, it's characters or much of anything.

Holt Hurn, Imperial Captain

I'm sitting at my desk in my office, looking over the various reports, and forming my own. The main Terran force was a decoy. Currently no sign as to where the rest of the forces were heading, and probe droids revealed that the atmosphere flight craft and the small capital ship were deployed, preventing any chance at a efficient counter attack.

A number of factors here just didn't make sense. The decoy, meant that first they had been able to assume our course of action. Had it been a standard precaution? Did Durnstar break, and happen to know me well enough to assume what I would do in command? Or had it been deduced by a competent commander after a strategic analysis?

There was a second matter related to that point. They had successfully created a decoy. It hadn't been a case of deploying a majority force as the decoy and accepting the loss, post analysis from field teams indicate that the decoy had been a minority, possibly under 20% of the total force, although much more thorough analysis would be needed to confirm. To accomplish this, they would have needed to be aware of our detection capabilities: in orbit and on ground. It is understandable that they could presume that our ground forces had limited abilities, and to be able to ascertain what those were, they are a grounded civilization, but for the very same reason, it is unheard of for such a force to be able to predict the sensor limits of a Star Destroyer. We have destroyed a number of orbiting machines sent there by the planet dwellers, and their specifications are laughably below our own.

There is also a matter of the defensive force. They seem fully aware that the asteroid field is preventing any orbital assistance, and in the surety of their own aerial supremacy, which is one which is at the moment confirmed. We are aware of the destructive power of their air to ground weapons, discounting those armed on the mystery cruiser, all the forces we have available would be decimated, which wouldn't be a problem if we had access to our own fighter wings. For a supposedly peace loving civilization they are awfully aware of how to wage war with minimal use of manpower, a doctrine that seems almost entirely in the reverse of our own. My thoughts on that matter will come later in this report.

The most confusing matter is that the deployed force has taken no known action. They have not assaulted any of our locations, or interacted with their own. Not only that, but there was a great deal of effort put into hiding where they were heading, including, but not limited to, the fabrication of false trails, removal of existing trails, and the abandonment of transport. At this point the most rational would be that the forces fled after witnessing our domination, or due to the sacrificial orders from the commander, but that does not line up with the behaviour of the ambushed force.

Various stormtroopers had reported that the targets had taken tactical positions after disembarking their vehicles, and even attempting to return fire. Had the previous hypothesis been correct, then it is likely that the response to our attack would have likely been panic, fleeing, and disregard for orders, but that is not the case.

Contrary to the reports and analysis formed during our five year observation, we are facing a disciplined, organised, and competent force.

I don't add any more information to the report, but I am left to wonder on the final note. Why is it that a peace loving civilization has such a strong grasp on military theory and capable forces. It is one thing to create plans and train troops, a whole other to form plans and armies that function. We saw it in the empire's early days, despite being formed right after a civil war, and from a number of factions that had previous warring experience, our 'book' so to speak had to be rewritten a number of times due to it's failure in application, which has resulted in what we have today.

There is also a matter of oddities within their military technology. We haven't had that much time, but we've been able to have so surface investigations. They are almost entirely based on slug throwers, yet their armour resists energy.

Did they have an encounter with another empire? It is possible, but they wouldn't be disarmed as quickly as they were if they had simply reached an agreement. They must have somehow completely eliminated the threat to feel that secure. Which would possibly suggest a force like our own, but one not in contact with it's origin, possibly a former CIS command ship? At this point it is uncertain.

Perhaps they were subjugated. It would give reason to the capital ship, a foreign delegation to keep them in line. It would also explain a mass disarmament, and a planet with such a bizarre ecosystem does certainly hold possibilities for use. Although admittedly, the empires own interest is more scientific, considering that there are no other multiple ecosystems in known space, at least not to this degree. The issue with this idea is their diplomatic response, are they a cunning people wishing to see which overlord would be better for them, or perhaps they would wish to acquire their own freedom by matching two equally powered empires against each other. If that is the case, then we are making a grave mistake.

An alternative would be that the planet was previously divided, with different technological levels each, but then they would not be as unified as they are today, especially without a active force keeping opinion in check. We have one, yet republic and separatists idealist still run rampant.

Many other possibilities, too many. I look back at the report. This question has been our main hindrance to now, and having it answered may prevent further surprises.

I add another line to the report: "Deploying Imperial Agents to investigate further."

Down on the surface, a force of imperial stormtroppers, accompanied by two AT-STs approach a large civilian center in the region that the locals called russia. The region was cold, but not anything colder than standard issue armour was designed to handle, although there was a supply of snowtrooper armour back at the outpost they had arrived from.

One storm trooper in particular is regretting the sudden shift away from his Tatooine deployment. At the the civilian centre, they are greeted with silence. There are signs of recent habitation, such as high maintenance level. The troopers commander suspects that the civilian population are in hiding, and orders him along with some others to scatter and scout out a number of structures.

The trooper approaches a nearby structure, along with an assigned partner. The structure is tall, most of the structures in the city are, some would later comment that they resembled miniaturized Coruscants.

The door is locked, they each take position by the door frame, and while the partner shoots out the lock, the trooper has his optics focused on the to be revealed interior. The door opens, and the interior is shown to be empty, the lights are still on, some of the holo terminals as well.

Further investigation shows that the floor is abandoned. The trooper reports this and receives orders to investigate further.

The trooper is comfortable with this, despite it's tedious nature, the interior is of a more comfortable temperature.

Most of the floors appear abandoned. Yet they continue. Eventually, the trooper hears over commlink that the partner has detected energy usage in one of the rooms coming up. The trooper acknowledges and meets up with the partner to storm it.

The reach the door, secondary scans reveal that there is a life form on the other side. They take positions on each side of the doors frame, the partner blows the lock, and the trooper locks his sight on the human inside, the blaster is set to stun, and the human doesn't even get the opportunity to notice them before he is out cold.

The partner follows through and does a preliminary optical scan of the room, no other hostiles. Meanwhile, the trooper inspects the single hostile. Male, armed with a slug thrower pistol and some sort of square device. A check in with command reveals that the device is a primitive commlink of sorts. The trooper takes a second look at the position, the human had been by a window, a sort of observation post.

The trooper takes a look to see what sort of intel the hostile may have conveyed. He sees the rest of the his deployed force. He signals the partner, who has scanner goggles on hand to take a look. The partner arrives, takes a look, and is immediately on comms with the commander, but it is too late, the foundation of the buildings on each side of the force are destroyed with explosives, and proceeds to collapse on the bulk of the force.

They receive orders from a higher level of command, they are to abort the mission and return to base. The trooper picks up the hostile, and follows the partner who takes point and guides the pair out to the entrance of the building.

Before they make it out, they hear footsteps, and commands being given in a local language, it comes from around a corner nearby, likely leads to a back door. The partner grabs a grenade in one hand, places a hand on the troopers shoulder. A moment passes and the trooper understands fully.

The partner takes position to fire on the approaching soldiers, while the trooper heads out the main entrance.

From behind him he hears blaster fire, pained shouts, and slug throwers in response. There is a crack that echoes quite in comparison to the rest of the cacophony of sound, but the trooper recognizes it as the sound of breaking stormtrooper armour.

The trooper can't see it, but a number of hostiles approach to subdue the injured partner, the partner reaches for the spheres on his belt.

The trooper receives a final communication from this line.

"For the empire."

"We're having trouble with the civilian populations then?" I asked the commander.

"Yes sir" came the prompt response "But I am sure that we can subdue them with some more pressure,"

"A bomber strike would remove the problem entirely." Lucas Lorn responded.

"Yes, it is true, we are the empire after all, it would not be difficult to defeat this enemy." I say, "but if we wanted to destroy the planet we would simply bombard it until it is no longer habitable."

They didn't speak up in response, I hadn't given them the freedom to speak back yet. Imperial discipline at its finest.

"There are couple of obvious resources of note down on that planet." I held up a finger "Firstly the population, it may not compare to the population on any core world planet, but it is not a meagre number either, and further more it is a human population, worth a lot more than any alien species."

"This you should already know" I held up a second finger "Secondly, the planet itself. It has a number of self sustaining ecosystems. In addition to the scientific properties, it's position within this unknown region means that should it be captured, it could be used as a base for further habitation of this region. We could settle and supply hundreds of systems with a location like this."

"We can't simply destroy our enemies. We must defeat them, and the defensive nature of their resistance may in fact play to our advantage." I laid a datapad down on the desk "I've deployed Agent Nuln to learn more about our opponent, the civilian centres will give him opportunities to infiltrate and learn more. TK-787, don't make any further attempts to take the cities."

"In fact, we need to change our strategy entirely" I put away the datapad "I want you to pull all our troops from the land masses they call the Americas, but do so subtly, leave the bases armed with automated defences and surveillance. So far they've surprised us in every engagement, I am expecting they will do so again, and if we can force them to show cards from the hand without taking loses, we can play around them."

Lucas Lorn was giving me a odd look, but I would address that later.

"We need to prepare for a long campaign so that we may last until, and contribute to, admiral Karn's arrival." I looked down at my terminal to remind myself of the orders I was going to give so that I didn't miss anything "To accomplish this I am giving you a number of objectives. Firstly, make sure one of our bases is impenetrable, if all else is lost, a landing site will provide a massive advantage for the arrival of our reinforcements. Secondly, provide any security or humanitarian aid to the civilian population you can, if we can't win the battle we can win the population. Thirdly, seize any weapons or means of production, we need to deny them to our enemies, and if we run out, primitive weaponry is better than no weaponry." I put my hands together "Finally, like any planet, they have prisons, I want you to break them out and if you can, have them join our ranks, service as a sentence. It will help our cause if there are locals supporting us."

I give him a nod, dismissing him in the process, and leaving me with Lucas Lorn.

I rise and start heading to the bridge to oversee the finishing of the Terran satalite program.

I pause by Lucas, and address him "You wish to know why I invested so much effort into explaining myself." I didn't wait for him to respond "It will grant him a degree of autonomy, and will improve his performance, especially when dealing with surprises. Nothing more, nothing less"

Somewhere in the continent of North America. A camera overlooks the interior of an abandoned imperial base.

A sound is picked up, blaster fire. A weapon with the calibre of a cannon responds. The blaster fire stops.

There is silence.

The room shakes, and a crash signals the destruction of the main entrance. A number of terran foot troops file in. Following that, there is a stomp, and then another. A metalic leg the size of a human comes into view, accompanied by a stomp. Soon after the other leg arrives in view, along with the body accompanying it.

What appears on screen is a walker the likes of which the empire had never seen. This is no mere weapon platform that maintains mobility in harsh terrain. This hulking green monster, is a kataphract.

Karn, Imperial Admiral

When one receives summons from a Grand Moff, one does not delay. So here I am approaching the one of the offices of the imperial centre. I open the door.

"Ah, yes. Admiral Karn." the one inhabiting the room greets.

He isn't particularly tall, yet through trained experience, or just shear confidence, manages pulls of a threatening posture. The light grey shade of his hair hint at his age. The pronounced cheekbones give the image of a man with a skull for a head. This, is Grand Moff Tarkin.

"You summoned me, sir." I say, voice and posture controlled.

"Yes, indeed" He says.

His fingers wrap together, and he leans his elbows on the table, leaning in closer. This is slow, yet with purpose.

"I've been reading some interesting reports." He states, any observers would think the statement casual. "Your current action would make it seem that you haven't."

My blood boils, and my voice rises in my throat to speak.

"...That or you are simply incapable of handling your position." He continues. Making me thankful that I was not swift with my complaints. "This Earth, is resisting the empire. Are you even capable of imagining what the result would be if it was learnt that the empire was incapable of suppressing a primitive backwater planet?"

It would mean nothing, I think, because determination and hope are no match to imperial firepower.

"It would be terrible, sir" I say.

"Fortunately for you, I have removed the report from the archives and isolated its revelations to loyal subjects of the empire..." He says "...and everyone else who is aware is within your own fleet, which will be deploying immediately."

"Yes sir" I salute and leave.

When one receives orders from a Grand Moff, one does not delay.