Interlude: The Commander

Captain Harron Tavus, more commonly called Commander Tavus by his men, stood on the bridge of the Justice and looked out into space.

The imperial dreadnought was an impressive ship and Tavus knew that the decision to give it to him and his fellow defectors hadn't been made easily. Fortunately, many in the Empire respected their skills even if they didn't trust them and Tavus had gotten the dreadnought as his flagship to oversee the operations he and his men were going to be a part of. 'Operations that I've just recently learned have been slowly falling apart.'

Tavus' arms were at his side and one of them held a datapad. It had been delivered to him just yesterday when an Imperial shuttle arrived and Fuse of all people had walked down the ramp. Tavus had initially been thrilled to see his friend, but his good mood quickly left him as Fuse explained the reason for his return and the events that had led up to it.

Testing bombs on civilians? Tavus knew full well that the Empire's tactics tended to be more brutal than the Republic's, but there were still certain lines that should never be crossed and killing innocent non-combatants was one of them. Accidents happened in war and sometimes innocent people did die, Tavus didn't like it but he accepted it as an unfortunate reality of war, but they were never intentionally targeted. 'This Colonel Gorik must have been a sick pile of filth to do what he did. But in the end he paid for his crimes.'

A member of the Dark Council on Tatooine of all places? That had certainly been a surprise. Almost as surprising as which member it was.

Darth Rhal. The Head of Imperial Intelligence.

Tavus had been somewhat nervous when he'd learned that detail. The Shadow Fist had been part of the Imperial Army, but they had also been suspected of carrying out covert operations for Intelligence from time to time. 'And to think, the Lieutenant killed them all.'

The trap had seemed perfect. The members of the Shadow Fist had been more than happy to assist in wiping out the remnants of Havoc Squad in the Republic and securing the prototype cloaking device as bait had been easy. The tracking beacon on it had done its job and lured the remains of Havoc Squad to the ship where the Shadow Fist was waiting. After Havoc's boarding and taking a moment to bid his former squadmate farewell, Tavus watched what he'd fully expected to be the end of Havoc Squad.

Instead, it was the end of the Shadow Fist.

One by one, Tavus watched as the Lieutenant killed each and every member of the Shadow Fist until only he and the Shadow Fist Commander were left. Tavus had known the Commander well. They'd fought against each other so many times and he knew very well that the soldier was no push over. But in the end, not even he had been capable of taking down the Lieutenant and it wasn't long before he fell as well.

Before that, Tavus had believed that the deaths of Needles and Captain Andrik had just been luck on the Lieutenant's part. Seeing the Shadow Fist fall had proven that it was more than just luck and the information on the datapad he'd been given only gave more evidence to support that the Lieutenant's skills were truly Havoc Squad material. Tavus would have been impressed if not for what else he'd learned from the datapad's files.

Bringing it up once more, Tavus stared down at a line on the datapad. Two sentences that he'd refused to believe when he first read it, but had come to accept it as the truth.

Jek Kardan was killed while defending the Works transmitter. General Elin Garza ordered his defection and death to be classified to avoid damaging Republic morale.

Commander Kardan was dead. Unlike Needles and Captain Andrik, he'd heard nothing but rumors about what had happened to Jek after they'd lost contact with him and his men. A part of Tavus had hoped that he'd just gone silent because Republic forces had been closing in on him and he wanted to avoid exposure but, after over a month with no contact, Tavus concluded that hadn't been the case. The rumors of his death had started soon after but Tavus had held out hope that his mentor had been captured and taken alive. That hope had died when he read the intel and finally accepted that the man he'd looked up to was gone.

His sadness had quickly been replaced by anger when he read what Garza had done. It was bad enough she'd left them all to die when the Senate didn't want to get their hands dirty but this? Aside from Commander Malcom, Jek was the finest soldier Tavus had ever had the honor of knowing. He would have been killed countless times if it wasn't for him. If it wasn't for him, some of the Republic's greatest victories never would have happened. And how did the Republic reward him for all that he did? They shot him dead and kept his death secret to keep their dirty hands clean.

Tavus had already been furious at the Republic before but now that he knew about his mentor's death and some of the finer details about how the Lieutenant had dismantled their operations on Coruscant, Taris, and Nar Shaddaa, Tavus didn't think that furious was a strong enough word to describe the black rage that was burning within him.

Fortunately, it seemed he wouldn't need to wait long before he could vent some of that rage. Darth Rhal had sent new orders for him and the remaining members of Havoc squad. It seemed that, despite their losses, Darth Rhal still saw their strength and potential and wanted to put it to good use. 'Unlike the Republic.'

Tavus had been worried that the Sith Lord would punish him for the loss of the Shadow Fist, but his new orders seemed like a reward rather than a punishment. Though Tavus was sure many wouldn't see it that way.

His new orders were to take himself and his commandos and head to Brentaal IV and deal with a dangerous group of terrorists there. A group calling themselves the Revolutionary Edge Brigade.

Tavus remembered hearing about them a few years back. They started up sometime during the war, but the Empire didn't start taking them seriously until after the war ended. A group of "freedom fighters" who were trying to "end the Empire's tyranny" on their world, they said. But the truth was that they were nothing more than anarchists bombing spaceports, raiding transports, and executing just about anyone who didn't join them. They were scum, plain and simple, and their only real goal was to spread chaos.

Originally, there had been a little over a hundred members of the group, but the Empire had hunted them down and now their numbers had been greatly diminished. However, despite their losses, the terrorists continued their attacks and had become quite good at keeping themselves hidden. Tavus' orders were to find the remaining members of the Brigade and eliminate them along with their leader, an old man known as "the Wheezer."

Overall, Tavus was pleased with the assignment. These anarchists were sure to put up a fight and there were few things that Tavus enjoyed more than taking down scum that deserved it and these terrorists definitely qualified.

The only downside was that none of the other members of Havoc would be joining them as each had also received their own orders from Darth Rhal. Tavus had gotten a chance to look them over and was a little surprised by some of them.

The least surprising was Gearbox. He was ordered to move his operation from Alderaan to Balmorra. It made sense considering that even with Alderaan's civil war going on, Balmorra was still struggling with rebels despite being controlled by the Empire for over a decade now. Tavus had been to the planet only once before just after the Treaty of Coruscant was signed, not to fight, but just to convince the remaining Republic forces there to withdraw. They did, but the fighting never ended. 'Darth Rhal's probably hoping Gearbox's talents will be what tips the scales in the Empire's favor. If so, he may be right. Gearbox always wanted to get his hands on Balmorran tech and it looks like he'll finally get his wish.'

Fuse's orders were simply to rendezvous with an Imperial fleet and report to its Commander, Moff Dracen. No other details. Tavus didn't recognize the Moff's name so was unsure why Darth Rhal would want Fuse to report to him, but the bomb maker had accepted his orders and would be leaving in a few hours.

Lastly was Wraith, and her orders were by far the most unexpected. Tavus' second-in-command was a truly gifted soldier, even among the other members of Havoc, so he knew that she'd likely be given a mission of great importance. Her talents were infiltration and assassination so Tavus had expected her assignment would be something along those parameters.

No.

She was to report directly to Darth Rhal himself on Geonosis of all places.

'Geonosis?' Tavus wondered for what felt like the hundredth time as he watched out the viewport as Wraith's shuttle jumped into hyperspace.

'Why would a Dark Council member be on Geonosis of all places?'

A.N.

Short one this time I know, but I promise the next one will be longer and will have a bit of action as well. For those who know the Trooper's story, I think it's safe to say it won't be happening quite the same here as it did in the game. No, I've got plans for the Havoc traitors, especially Wraith. And before anyone asks, in the next chapter we will get to see what's happening with Rhal on Geonosis. Any questions, just let me know. As always, please review so I can hear any thoughts, ideas, or complaints you may have. Thank you all for reading, have a great day, and I'll see you all next time!