Growth of a Seed

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Chapter Two

Planet: Earth

System: Sol

Sector: Not Applicable

Grid Coordinates: H-7

Region: Unknown Regions

Date: CE 75

Yzak sat in his GOUF which maintained its position before the unknown vessel. Well not entirely unknown.

A 'Princess Leia Organa' had identified herself as the owner of the ship and with whom she was affiliated, but none of it had made any sense to him. He had never heard of an 'Alliance to Restore the Republic' or of any republic that needed to be restored. Add in that large triangle ship and this 'Galactic Empire' that loud mouth guy spoke about and you had one baffled Coordinator.

Using the GOUF's mono-eye camera he looked in through the ship's viewport to get a better look at who these people were. Sweeping left to right Yzak saw that there were only a few people within what he assumed was the ships bridge. There were some oddities such as the thing that looked like a golden robot, some small cylindrical machine next to the golden one, the… 'What the!' Sitting on the far right of the bridge in a forward facing control station was a tall, hairless, blue-skinned, red-eyed, nose-less… thing!

What Yzak was seeing was unreal. It couldn't be what he thought it was, yet there was no other possibility. Sitting there within that ship was a living breathing extraterrestrial. If that's what the thing truly was then that meant… "Voltaire, prepare a shuttle and get a doctor ready for ship-to-ship transfer with a basic med-kit. I need him on the unknown vessel to run some tests. And prepare to send a high-priority message back to base. The Sol Council will have to be informed of what happened here, and possibly of what the test results say."

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Tantive IV Bridge

The crew and passenger of the Tantive IV waited with their breath held for the pilot of the white machine to respond to Leia's statement. It was clear that he was in charge, or at least high up the chain of command, and he would probably be the one in control of their imminent future. They watched as the pink eye of the machine swept over them, pausing for a second on Ceda Ban, The Duros helmsman.

"This is Commander Joule, I don't know who you people are, where you came from, or what you're intentions are but I intend to find out. I'll be coming aboard your ship with a security detail and a doctor to run some tests as soon as my people are ready. I request that Princess Leia Organa, the ship's captain if they are separate people, and that blue… person to wait for our arrival, without weapons. Do you accept?"

All eyes turned to the princess who was in charge of their mission. Considering their current situation and weighing the possible outcomes in an instant as she had been trained to do she made up her mind instantly. "I agree to your terms."

Instead of replying verbally Commander Joule's machine seemed to nod its head in affirmation before turning around and flying back to its ship, quickly replaced by the ax-wielding machine that had destroyed the Star Destroyer's bridge. Clearly it was there to make sure they didn't try anything funny.

"Are you sure that was wise Princess?" asked Antilles.

"No I'm not," the princess admitted. "But we're hardly in a position to be negotiating with them." Then a bit more cheerfully she said, "However there were some good indicators in that last transmission that this will be a successful first contact. That Commander Joule could clearly see us through the viewport. If the way he responded to our appearance is any indication then it is likely that the natives of this system are human, it has been recorded many times throughout history of a previously unknown human culture suddenly being discovered. And he recognized that helmsman Ban is not human but he remained calm about it. That could be an indicator of this culture's society, or simply that somehow these people are already in contact with an alien species or that they are at least aware that life exists on other planets. That can only be helpful for us."

Princess Leia paused as she realized that everyone within the bridge, including the droids, was staring at her, some with mouths agape. If it had not been for her training in public speaking the young woman would have blushed in modest embarrassment. Instead she met their gaze and, somewhat defensively, said, "It was a requirement for my diplomatic training to take extensive course studies in xeno-psychology. Now I need to prepare for our guests, please inform me when they are about to arrive." With that she quickly turned around and walked out off the bridge to her private quarters.

Antilles looked to her departing form until the bridge doors closed and sealed before turning back to face the rest of the crew. "And that is why you don't get into politics. Flying and maintaining an interstellar starship is a lot less complicated."

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Tantive IV hangar deck, two hours later

Leia waited nervously in the tiny shuttle hangar of the Tantive IV. Standing with her was Captain Antilles and Ceda Ban as requested but she had also brought C-3PO just in case they needed his skills. The shuttle hangar they waited in wasn't much and was more often reserved for the use of land speeders. But it did have a magcon field so it could keep the atmosphere contained and allow a shuttle to enter.

The shuttle that she was waiting for was coming from the ship she now knew was named the Voltaire aboard which would be the commander of the force which defeated the Star Destroyer.

Because they knew so little about each other it might seem a bit risky for the commander to come himself but the man had made it clear in no uncertain terms that even if he was aboard the Tantive should they try anything funny the Voltaire would sink them. A threat made deadlier by that fact that with its support ships the natives outnumbered the corvette 8-1, not counting their droid like machines. It also didn't hurt that even the three smallest ships equaled the Tantive in size with the rest being larger.

Not that the Tantive IV could do much anyway. With its engines so extensively damaged a large number of power intensive systems such as propulsion, hyperdrive, shields, and turbolasers were now offline, and the rebels lacked the means to repair such damage on their own. So they would have to rely on the locals if they wanted to ever leave the system.

Eventually the shuttle was within sight and Leia watched it approach. It was small and blocky, and by her standards did not look like it was made to transport people comfortably over long distances. The shuttle approached slowly, using bursts from small verniers to continually adjust its path. The two vessels did not have a compatible beacon system so the pilot had to eyeball it, surprisingly well actually.

Then the shuttle did something strange, or at least strange in Leia's experience. As the front of the shuttle passed through the mag-field it suddenly crashed into the floor, but its engines kept it moving forward steadily, causing more and more of it to start skidding on the floor as it continued to pass through the mag-field, and creating an ear-wrenching metallic screech as it did so.

'It must not have repulsor lifts!' Leia thought. It was such an odd notion that a space going vehicle would not have a repulsor. It was one of the oldest and most reliable technologies in the galaxy and could often be found on even the most backwater planets in the galaxy. 'The gravity will have to be turned off before they leave, or else they'll scuff the floor more.'

The ZAFT shuttle came to a shuddering halt and the first person to step off was Yzak. He lost his balance a little as he adjusted to the environment of the ship. 'Heavy,' he thought, 'reminds me of being on Earth.' Yzak regained his balance with the usual Coordinator speed, meaning it wasn't noticeable except to other Coordinators, and continued walking off the shuttle with Dearka and the Voltaire's doctor right behind him and two of the Voltaire's crew who volunteered to be the security detail.

Leia was honestly surprised at how young the commander was, or whom she assumed was the commander from his distinguishing white uniform. She also noted how odd it was for such a young looking human to have silver hair, but that was irrelevant. The man stepped forward and immediately focused on her

"Commander Yzak Joule of Terminal," he greeted. "I assume you are Princess Leia Organa?"

"I am," she answered, giving him a pilot bow that he returned with a less deep bow that was more a tilt of his head.

The commander's eyes quickly scanned Leia's companions. "And these are?"

"Captain Antilles, captain of this ship the Tantive IV," began Leia; gesturing to the man she was talking about. She then swept her open hand over to the alien, "this is helmsman Cede Ban, our Duros pilot whom you requested to meet." She then indicated the golden robot. "And this is C-3PO my protocol droid who is highly knowledgeable in numerous foreign cultures, customs, and languages. He is here to help me with our talks."

Yzak's eyes lingered on the shiny gold droid but if he had any comments about it he kept them to himself. Instead he introduced Dearka as head of his security detail. Then the doctor he brought from the Voltaire to whom he spoke to after introduction. "Doctor, I would like to get this over with as soon as possible. Where would be the best place to perform the test?"

"Right here will work if there are no objections." said the doctor as he held up a small hand held device and a pack of needles.

Leia chose this moment to interject. "And exactly what type of test do you require Commander?" She was not about to allow any strange or degrading experiments to be performed on her people if she could help it.

"It's a simple blood test," explained the doctor. "This device is a blood analyzer designed for field use. Depending on the amount of blood it has to analyze it can quickly and easily tell us some basic things like blood type, ratio of blood components, gender, presence of toxins, or…" his eyes moved to the Duros, "whether its human blood or not."

Leia nodded in understanding before she rolled up her sleeve and held her arm out to the group of Terminal soldiers. The doctor wasted no time and quickly obtained a sample. It took about a minute before it got the results they waited for. "Human," said the doctor as he swapped out the old needle with a fresh one and repeating the process with Antilles. The results were the same and soon the doctor was holding the device out to collect from the Duros. The entire Earth crew waited with such intensity that the air was practically electrified. Hesitantly the Duros held out an arm from which a sample of blood was taken. It took longer for the device to spit out its results, several minutes actually which was the longest the doctor ever had to wait on the thing, but finally the results appeared on the screen. The doctor looked up and said with authority, "Not human."

This was the moment that Leia was waiting for. Now that they had definitive proof of alien life from beyond their solar system, what would their reaction be?

Yzak let out a slow breath before turning to the princess. "I suppose I should listen to what you have to say before I submit my report."

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Planet: Earth

System: Sol

Sector: Not Applicable

Grid Coordinates: H-7

Region: Unknown Regions

Date: CE 75

3 Days Later

Copernicus City, the only city on the moon built in year 10 of the Cosmic Era according to the Earth calendar. It is a neutral city inhabited and run by civilian and military representatives from every human nation in the Sol system. After the Second Bloody Valentine War it was chosen as the site of the newly created Sol Council, an organization established along similar lines to the old UN whose goal was to prevent the start of another war. The Sol Council held seats for representatives from every sovereign nation both on the Earth's surface and those in orbit. It is also a place where every nation's leader could meet to discuss any major development whose impact would affect all humans, both Coordinators and Naturals.

And now Copernicus City was host to the first living extraterrestrial life forms to make contact with Earth and its people.

Princess Leia stood at the window of the suite she had been given. She had been told that it was a diplomatic suite reserved for foreign representatives. At the computer terminal in the corner stood the Tantive IV's golden protocol droid, busy scanning through a written history of the system they had found themselves in. The droid had quickly discovered that not only was Earth's common spoken language identical to Galactic Basic but that the written version is virtually identical to High Galactic.

At first the natives had been understandably wary of allowing either of the two droids off the ship but after a day's worth of tests performed while the Tantive was being towed revealed that even the more technologically versatile R2-D2 was incapable of manually interfacing with the computer systems of this world, and thus could not hack into systems it wasn't welcome. Still it would only be prudent to assume that they were keeping a record of the terminal's activity.

'An entire planet untouched by the Empire, and an unknown people that probably don't exist in even the most obscure database,' mused Leia as she looked out upon the presented vista.

A knocking sound alerted Leia to the presence of someone at the door. The person let himself in meaning that it could only be Captain Antilles whom she had given her spare key to.

"Captain," she greeted, "Any word on the ship?"

"Yes princess. Since it was put into dry dock two days ago our hosts have kept a team examining it around the clock. Unfortunately it is going to take some time to repair it. It seems that the base technology of this system isn't up to galactic standard yet. The crew should be able to help speed things along but we still have to wait for several replacement parts for the engines to be manufactured." Antilles practically grunted out that last part despite being in the presence of his employer. The captain was not happy about the damage his ship took. "The good news is that they actually have the capacity to manufacture the parts so once they get around to it, it should only take a few more days."

"If we must wait then we will. It gives me more time to speak with the leaders of this world. And it's not unheard of for a senator to disappear on an unscheduled vacation. But it would be wise to inform my father of our R&R. Have you been able to contact him?"

"Negative princess, I haven't been able to contact either your father or the Alliance through the HoloNet, nor have I been able to receive anything on the general broadcast channels. We could be out of range of a HoloNet relay station or it could be some kind of interference, but it looks like we won't be talking to anyone until we get out of here." Again the captain was not happy about that. But then it was rarely a good thing to be left stranded in an unfamiliar region of space, amongst a people you don't know, and whom you needed to rely on to get home.

Leia herself was a little worried but there was nothing they could do about it. "Well, father will cover for me in the senate. Since we were on a mission for the Alliance it would be best if the Imperials weren't the ones searching for us. Not only could it lead them here but also to the Alliance."

"Have you heard any word of our host's decision about us?"

"I have spoken to dignitaries of the Sol Council who in turn spoke to their individual leaders who actually hold the council seats. Threepio is currently scanning through the planet's history and will tutor me about it over the next few days as the world leaders gather here. The meeting is scheduled to take place in several days during which time they intend to debrief myself and the entire crew. Otherwise we are free to do as we wish, as long as we remain under supervision."

"And the Imperials aboard the Star Destroyer?"

"There're being troublesome. Whoever took over the command of the ship seems to be a diehard Imperial with no sense. Right now they're holding out in the remains of their ship. The Earth forces are hesitant to try and storm the ship because of the number of crewmen and soldiers that could be aboard, especially after the first incident."

Flashback

Morgan's GuAIZ R mobile suit and a Dagger L slowly rose upwards towards the ventral hangar of the ship identified as a Victory-class Star Destroyer. It had been a little over twenty-four hours since the battle between Terminal and the large ship and it had been silent the whole time. The one exception was when some lieutenant made a broadcast over the radio that as the highest ranking officer on the ship he was in command and that he refused to surrender.

Not exactly a smart move, but word had spread throughout the Voltaire that the leader of the other ship, the Princess Organa, had stated during a brief interview that the Galactic Empire desired loyalty and obedience above all else from its various military branches and bureaucracies. Competency and the ability to think rationally were still desired traits, but they just weren't as valuable. But that didn't mean that there were no competent officers in the military, they are just assigned to more important locations such as the Core.

Since the Imperials had cut off communication Terminal needed an idea of what they were doing aboard their ship. The final decision was that a pair of pilots would take their mobile suits and fly them up into the main docking bay to get a look at what was going on in the hangar. It was a volunteer mission because there was a high likelihood that there was some sort of trap waiting. Morgan volunteered instantly. And that's why his mobile suit was now floating towards the large hangar entrance on the bottom of the ship.

The minutes passed somewhat anti-climatically as the mobile suits passed through the magcon field and he could finally see the whites, grays, and black of the Imperial hangar.

Then a flash of red!

That was Morgan's only warning as his Coordinator reflexes kicked in, forcing his hovering mobile suit to veer to the side. But the attack hadn't been aimed at him and did strike its target, the Dagger L, in the torso, ripping the machine in two pieces that fell back into the void.

Instinctively he snapped the rifle arm of his GuAIZ up and fired upon the attacker. The beam lanced out, striking the massive and slightly clunky looking animal-based mobile suit at an angle. The beam tore through the side of the armored rear end where it must have hit the power generator as the thing exploded, destroying two smaller ones that were standing at its side.

Not interested in seeing if there were any more surprises Morgan immediately reversed his mobile suit and flew down and out of the hangar just as more red energy darts passed through the space the GuAIZ R just occupied. "Damn that was close," he breathed as he grabbed the floating pieces of the Dagger L.

"Morgan what's your status?" asked the Voltaire's mobile suit communications officer.

"I'm fine, but they got Mack. They had some kind of weapon waiting in case we tried going up the hangar, kind of like we expected. I only got a glimpse of it before it blew up but it kind of looked like a tank with four legs instead of treads. It was bigger than a mobile suit."

"…Morgan why did it explode?" asked Yzak from the bridge.

"Because I shot it with my beam rifle."

"…"

"Hey it got Mack! I had to retaliate! And maybe now those nimrods will surrender!"

"Fine, it was self-defense so there won't be a reprimand. Just get back to the ship," growled Yzak.

"Uh, yes sir."

Flashback End

Antilles, who now sat on the rather comfortable overstuffed sofa, thought about what the Imperials were doing. "Idiots, that's what they are." He eventually said. "Unless they can make external repairs their ship is useless. And I doubt that the people of Earth are about to allow a group as hostile as the Imperials are to do that."

"It doesn't matter," stated Leia from her armchair. "What happens to them is of little concern to us. Even if they were to be released back to the Empire they don't know who we are and only that our ship is a Corellian Corvette, one of the most common models in the galaxy." Closing her eyes and resting her head on the backrest so that her face pointed upwards. "What we have to worry about is the upcoming meeting."

It was peaceful contemplation for the two humans that was suddenly interrupted by the one droid. "Oh My! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."

"Threepio, what's wrong?" asked Leia.

"Excuse me Princess but I have just finished with the history analysis, as well as a download of all native languages and customs. But the most recent data is…"

"What exactly have you found Threepio?" asked Antilles.

"War," stated Threepio. "This planet's history is rife with passages of war, with entire decades referred to as the Reconstruction Wars which occurred less than 80 years ago. Two of their worst wars occurred only a short time ago."

Leia was silent for moment before saying, "I had thought that would be a possibility. It is common for any planet that has multiple nations to have wars between those nations."

"Yes princess," Threepio confirmed quietly. "But it is how long ago the last war was and what it was about that worries me."

The princess cocked an eyebrow in confusion. "You just said the Reconstruction Wars were 80 years ago. Were there more?"

"The last war on this planet, a war that involved every nation, ended only one local year ago…" That shocked Leia. She had been thinking that it would have been closer to six local years at least. "…and while there were several official reasons for why the war and the one before it started, it seems most people believe that the root cause had nothing to do with politics or any philosophical beliefs but rather genetics and between Naturals and Coordinators."

Both Leia and Antilles were confused by that last part. "Between the what?" the captain asked.

Then Threepio went into a detail filled explanation of how near the beginning of this planet's current calendar new technology and techniques in genetic manipulation were introduced and how this technology was used to alter the genetics of embryos in the earliest stages of development to make children that had physically more powerful bodies, that were immune to all known diseases, and minds that learned more easily and were capable of thought processes far beyond the ordinary. These children were named Coordinators and the superior genetics of the first generation was passed on to their children.

He explained how children born without these enhancements came to be called Naturals. And that many Naturals, for various religious and philosophical reasons, spurred by the envy they felt, came to hate Coordinators for their abilities and for how they came to be.

This eventually led to the forming of the terrorist group Blue Cosmos. Similarly a number of Coordinators, now called Zalaites after deceased Supreme Chairman Zala, started believing that they were a new evolution of the human race and humanity's future and that Naturals were dangerous vermin that needed to be removed for the sake of future Coordinators.

Ultimately the differences between Coordinators and Naturals led to the majority of Coordinators' choice to immigrate to the PLANTs, the large orbital cities they had seen while being towed to the moon, leaving the Earth in the hands of the Naturals.

Then Threepio explained how only a few years ago a series of events, such as the bombing of the UN, caused an escalation of tension which led to the Bloody Valentine War, a war between the PLANTs and the Earth Alliance and the first war to see the use of mobile suits. Threepio explained of the numerous important events such as the Bloody Valentine, the dropping of the N-Jammers, the two times the Cyclops system was used, the use of nuclear weapons, and the battles involving the superweapon Genesis. Then the two years of peace before entering the Second Bloody Valentine war, a war that people attributed to corrupt leaders instigating conflict through secret dealings as a means to take advantage of the people's feelings and manipulate them to ultimately try and take control of the world.

At the end of the droid's speech Princess Leia was looking worried. "This complicates matters." She would have to double check everything herself, but from what Threepio had said this would make her negotiations unpredictable at best. From the signs of the people she had met so far, the inhabitants were working hard to unify themselves in a way to prevent a future war.

This would indicate that they were tired of war and would probably want nothing to do with the Rebellion and their fight against the Empire. The people may be enticed by the prospect of a galaxy full of life, new technologies, and other possibilities, but if they wanted to avoid war then they may believe that the best way to avoid the Empire is to stay in this hidden and unexplored part of the galaxy. However it was still possible that Leia could convince them that it was only a matter of time before the Empire found them here.

But one of things that most worried her was the matter of the two superweapons Threepio mentioned. Genesis and Requiem were both very powerful weapons that had wiped out entire fleets of Earth ships, and had the potential to put an end to all life on a planet.

Though ending life on a planet through firepower was already in the Empire's grasp, it could only be done through the use of large fleets. What was frightening about these weapons was that they concentrated that firepower into a single attack.

She had little doubt that such weapons could be used to great effect in the rest of the galaxy. If this system bound people could build not one but two such weapons then what could an empire composed of millions of planets do? She shuddered at the thought of what atrocities the Emperor, and men like Moff Tarkin, would commit if they had such firepower at their disposal.

"Threepio," she eventually said. "Tell me everything you know about the leaders that will be coming to the negations."

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Planet: Earth

System: Sol

Sector: Not Applicable

Grid Coordinates: H-7

Region: Unknown Regions

Date: CE 75

Star Destroyer Mangle

Aboard the Victory-class Star Destroyer moral was not high among the crewmen. This was obvious to one young junior Lieutenant Tristan Pellaeon. He sat in the ship's mess hall, listening to the conversations around him.

Things were looking bad for the ship and crew with a considerable percentage of the senior staff having been killed. And it wasn't just the bridge crew. Many of the senior gunnery officers and engineers had been killed during the systematic disabling of the Mangle's weapons, communications, and engines systems.

The Mangle currently did not have a full load of consumables, only enough to last a year, and most of the food was premade military rations which no one wanted to eat after a week.

With the loss of their engines the ship's power requirements were reduced so the fuel for the hypermatter annihilation reactor would last longer, not that that was much of a positive note in this situation.

Also, amongst the men there was a lot of talk that had to do with the system they found themselves in and how impossibly quick they had been defeated, mostly done in the form of whispers and rumors to avoid the attention of those in charge.

Tristan had to admit to himself after having reviewed the battle records that the machines they had fought had seemed impossibly effective. The Mangle's shields had been able to temporarily stop them as was normal for the ship's primary defense, but what really worried him was how easily their weapons had bypassed the secondary defense, the ship's armor.

The armor on most of the Empire's naval combat ships was strong enough that it could take significant punishment from turbolasers, and took a significant concentration of firepower for small machines to do any damage. It did no good for systems that had to be outside the armor to work properly such as sensors or communication but it did prevent the hull from being ruptured thus preventing the destruction of the ship. On a vessel the size of the Mangle the armor was thick enough that it was virtually impenetrable to starfighter laser that was neither concentrated nor prolonged.

But the armor didn't hold up against the local machines. Instead the enemy's energy weapons had sliced right through it, leaving the exterior armor pockmarked with craters and scars, and some people considered it lucky the hull integrity hadn't been completely compromised. There were even rumors of Jedi from the oldest members of the crew, men who had served in the Clone Wars, because of the energy melee weapons seen.

Then there was the AT-AT. The All Terrain Assault Transport walker had the strongest armor of any ground vehicle and was comparable to a capital ship's armor and only a high-yield explosive like a proton torpedo or a turbolaser should have been able to destroy it in one shot, yet the machines that had tried to infiltrate the hangar had done so, even if logic dictated that judging from its size it shouldn't have had the power available to do that.

That could only mean that whoever controlled this system had developed not only a high performance machine with impossible agility (even if they were ponderously slow), but has equipped each machine with a weapon that was far more destructive then the standard laser cannon found on most starfighters.

If all that was true then the Mangle could be destroyed at any moment with all of the people aboard killed. But the officers currently in charge either haven't come to realize that possibility yet, or they simply didn't care.

Yet what really galled Tristan more than anything was that everything from the past few days could have been avoided. The Corellian Corvette was dead in the water by the time the system's natives came and interfered. All Captain Darkel had to do was acquiesce to their demands of allowing an inspection of the situation, perfectly reasonable since the Imperials were intruding on their territory with no formal warning or request. Had he done that he could have calmly explained the situation, and then the Mangle may have had the chance to fly away unmolested and Darkel could have simply reported the discovery and let the higher-ups deal with the locals at their discretion.

But no, the captain decided that posturing with the Empire's military power would be sufficient to destroy some ships and cow the locals into submission. And because of that decision the Imperials had their collective asses handed to them.

In an attempt to calm himself Tristan thought of his uncle, the man who was his inspiration to join the Imperial Navy and currently served as XO aboard one of the Navy's Imperial Star Destroyers. His uncle was a good man who believed that fundamentally the Empire was a good thing. That it brought order and security to a chaotic and dangerous galaxy.

Tristan had believed the same as his uncle at first, but experience in the Navy had planted the seeds of doubt that developed with each passing month.

He wouldn't argue that the Empire has made considerable headway in its efforts to eradicate pirating, but it could be argued that their effort to control and tax trade had only spurred the creation of more smugglers.

And the way the Empire dealt with dissidents had always felt extreme to him, having firsthand accounts of ships claiming to be carrying civilians only to be destroyed by zealous officers on the suspicion that the ships were carrying rebels. And although he had no evidence, he had heard of entire populations on remote worlds being destroyed for defying the will of the Empire.

Then there was Imperial Decree A-SL-4557.607.232 which legalized the use of sentients for slave labor under specified conditions. Or the Navy's unwritten Non-HuMan policy which reserved the best posts and commands for human males while aliens and females were discouraged from joining while those that did were often placed in unimportant positions even if they had genius level ability.

These were the things that made Tristan question Imperial service and even his uncle admitted caused him some concern

As he sat there listening and going over old worries about his life's choice, Tristan remembered something his uncle once said to him when he joined the Imperial Navy. "A good officer is committed to doing their duty. Their life is not their own. They must be dedicated to their service to the military, the Empire, the duty to ensure that their men get home safely, and above all the safety and welfare of the Empire's citizens that we protect. If a man cannot remember that then they do not deserve to serve as an officer on one of His Majesty's ships."

With that in mind Tristan stood up from his seat and made his way over to the group most vocal against what those in charge were doing.

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Planet: Earth

System: Sol

Sector: Not Applicable

Grid Coordinates: H-7

Region: Unknown Regions

Date: CE 75

Three more days had passed and the time had finally come for Leia to meet the leaders of this planet's nations. The chamber they were meeting in was a grand one whose construction was finished only months ago.

One half of the room was occupied by twelve half-circle tables built into the floor, with each table possessing several computer terminals and seats for the representatives and several aides.

The tables were set in a half-circle pattern so that it would be easy for each representative to see and hear each other, and each table bore along its front the flag of the nation of the representative that sat there.

There was a thirteenth table reserved for guests that could rise up out of the floor that had been placed on the opposite end of the room facing the rest of the representatives' seats. Along each wall were four large monitors accompanied by several smaller monitors.

Currently Leia sat at the guest speaker's table with Threepio and Antilles. The Duros helmsman of the Tantive IV had also been invited but he declined. He would have only been there to enforce the fact that the people of the Tantive IV came from beyond the solar system.

Leia watched the various world leaders and their escorts enter, listing off the information she had acquired about each. The list included the Prime Ministers, Premiers, a King, Presidents, and Chief Representatives of the PLANTs, Orb Union, Atlantic Federation, Eurasian Federation, Republic of East Asia, South Africa Union, African Community, Oceania Union, the Equilateral Union, the Kingdom of Scandinavia, and United States of South America.

Among the more prominent members to enter was George White. 'George White, new president of the Atlantic Federation, came into office shortly after the death of the previous president admits calls for a reformation of the government at the end of the last war. A young man by Earth's standards he has grown popular among the people for his calm yet forceful demeanor when dealing with others, his moderate beliefs, and his more liberal views on Coordinators. He has spent considerable time and energy during his administration clearing out the corruption that has plagued and controlled the Atlantic Federation for years.'

But the real 'stars' she noted were the leaders of the PLANTs and the Orb Union, Supreme Chairwoman Lacus Clyne and Chief Representative Cagalli Yula Athha, both of whom were sitting at the center tables of the representatives. Antilles had noted previously that the two women had a lot in common with the princess of Alderaan. Both were daughters of influential leaders, leaders who did what they thought was right even if it put them in danger. Both had at a young age taken over their fathers' previous positions of leadership. Both had joined up with a 'rebel' group in order to restore peace to their world and to try to make it a better place, and one of them even had military training like Leia had.

Leia herself heard the comparisons, understood them, and hoped to use that to understand them and hopefully get them to agree to what Leia wished to propose. From what she had learned since arriving in this system it was these two who, because of all they had done in the past three years, held the greatest influence amongst the Sol Council and the general population of Earth's people. The power they had was a little intimidating individually, but together it was beyond words.

Cagalli Yula Athha was a woman who let her actions speak for her. She loved her people and would go to any lengths for them, even fighting on the front-lines to defend them if there was a need to do so. She had earned the respect of her nation's military and the civilians adored her for saving Orb in its darkest hour during the last war.

Lacus Clyne was a magnificent orator that could move the hearts of people. While she was not a fighter like her counterpart from Orb she had shown her own dedication and courage by commanding a ship on the frontlines of battle against a numerically superior force. And the woman was one of the few Coordinators present.

Leia had met many members from numerous alien species that are physically larger and more powerful than humans and was not bothered by them, but she found it a little disconcerting that this petite woman who was a little shorter than Leia and probably a few pounds lighter could probably break her in two if she really wanted to.

Sitting beside each woman were two more notable mentions. Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala, two men who were considered to be among the very best, if not the absolute best, of mobile suit pilots, who played key roles in the previous two wars, and held unusual positions in the current world. Kira Yamato held two military positions, one for Orb where he held the rank of Admiral and one in ZAFT where he is a Commander and is Lacus Clyne's security escort. Athrun Zala was in a similar position, holding the rank of Captain in Orb's military and is in charge of Cagalli's security, and for ZAFT he had been restored to his position as an agent of FAITH by Lacus.

These two were considered heroes in the military forces of the world, and their thoughts would hold a lot of weight amongst military leaders.

But one thing Leia couldn't get out of her head was the odd look she had noticed Kira Yamato had given her. It appeared as if Mr. Yamato had recognized something about her. The funny thing was that as soon as he walked into the room Leia has heard a faint yet annoying buzz in the back of her head, but she had quickly dismissed it and focused all of her attention on the task she came here for, and had gotten rid of it.

At last everyone had arrived and was ready. Only one of the twelve tables remained empty, the table reserved for the Martian colonists delegation. It remained empty due to ongoing difficulties involving the distances that restricted travel and communication between the two worlds. Transcripts of the meeting were to be sent to Mars so the Martian people could look everything over.

The lights along the outer edge of the room dimmed increasing the shadows along the wall, creating the illusion that the room and all the people within were separated from the rest of the world. Once this had happened Lacus Clyne stood up, a friendly and open smile upon her face.

"Hello everyone, it's good to see you all here. And I am most glad to greet our guests here today, Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan."

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Oversector: Bright Jewel Oversector

Region: Mid Rim

Date: 34:2

Praetor II Battlecruiser: Venomous Fang

Admiral Davros waited patiently within the office section of his personal quarters, the music of a Coruscanti ballad drifting through the air as he enjoyed a cup of tea imported from Alderaan. It was a brief respite from the daily tedium of military bureaucracy and the onerous task of finding and destroying any pirates or rebels found in the area he was assigned to watch over. But to his annoyance it was not to be as long as he would have liked as all too soon there was a beep signaling that someone desired an audience with him.

He granted entry to the visitor, one of his aides asked somewhat snappishly, "What is it?"

"Sir, there's an anomaly in the patrol reports."

"Explain."

"Captain Darkel and the Mangle have disappeared from their scheduled patrol route. According to regional reports they were last seen at Ansion in the Churnis Sector." It took the Admiral a bit of time to recall where he had heard the name, remembering only that Ansion sat on the Namadii Corridor and that the local Moff had dissolved a number of the local treaties. Other than that it was unremarkable, and beyond Darkel's patrol route.

Davros sighed in annoyance. Darkel had been a nuisance to the Admiral for some time. It was hardly a secret that the captain was gunning for an Admiral's post for himself, but he just wasn't competent enough to get it. Davros would love to have the little annoyance out from under his feet and since the Mangle is a valuable ship Darkel's sudden deviance from standing orders would have to be investigated.

But what was Darkel doing in a region he had no official authority beyond that granted by the sheer virtue that he is an Imperial Navy captain? Could he have found some prize out there that he wanted to snatch for himself, something valuable enough that he would risk a potential court martial?

Either way Davros would have to investigate and one way or another Darkel would no longer be his problem. And if luck was with him the Admiral could take the prize for himself.

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Author's Notes:

People will notice that the Venomous Fang is no longer an Imperial Star Destroyer. It has been upgraded to a Praetor II Battlecruiser. The Praetor II made its debut back in a 1982 Star Wars comic book where it served as the flagship to a powerful Imperial armada, and the class has not been seen since until it received its own piece in the 2012 "Star Wars Essential Guide to Warfare" where additional information and new artwork was provided and a second ship was named.

The Praetor II is a battlecruiser, which under the Anaxes War College System (another item introduced in the Guide to Warfare) is any warship between 2,000 and 5,000 meters. Specifically it is listed as 4,800 meters long and was introduced shortly after the end of the Clone Wars in the year 19 BBY or year 16 after the Great ReSynchronization. Few ships of the class were ever built because while more powerful than an Imperial Star Destroyer they were inherently much more expensive to build and operate and were considered less versatile while lacking the sheer terror-inspiring ability of Star Dreadnaughts (ships above 5,000 meters in length).

There are currently no official stats in terms of firepower (except that it has over 90 cannons) or its carrying capacity so I am just going to base it off of my best guess. Since it is three times the size of an Imperial Star Destroyer will give it roughly three times the firepower so its stats are…

Armaments:

6- Quad Heavy Turbolasers

6- Dual Heavy Ion Cannon Turrets

18- Dual Heavy Turbolaser Turrets

180- Standard Turbolasers

180- Standard Ion Cannons

50- Proton Torpedo Tubes (16 missiles per tube)

50- Quad Pin-Point Defense Laser Cannons

20- Tractor Beam Projectors

Carrying Capacity When Fully Loaded:

96- TIE/ln Starfighters

36- TIE/sa Bombers

100- Various Assault Shuttles/Gunboats/Boarding Craft

30- AT-AT Walkers

60- AT-ST Walkers

10- AT-AA Walkers

50- Heavy Assault Vehicle/wheeled Juggernaut models

5- Heavy Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift A9 Floating Fortress

20- Light Assault Vehicle/repulsorlift QH-7 Chariot

30- 2-M Saber-class Repulsor Tanks

60- TX-130T Repulsor Fighter Tanks

100- 74-Z Speeder Bikes

20- Swift Assault 5 Hoverscouts

10- Self-Propelled Medium Artillery

60- TIE ap-1 Mauler Tanks

200- Various Support Land/Air speeders

1- Prefabricated Garrison Base

3- Prefabricated Support Barracks

Troop Carrying Capacity:

2- Imperial Army Battlegroups

1- Stormtrooper Legion

Crew Compliment:

18,470 Officers

69,625 Enlisted

925 Gunners

Cargo Capacity:

97,200 Metric Tons

Consumables:

6 Years

Now anyone familiar with the first version of my story would be asking why, if the military aspects of the Empire and Earth are more even, Davros's flagship is being up-scaled. The reason is because I decided to redo the battle scene in chapter 4. The Empire will have smaller number of smaller ships plus one big one that is rare enough that its loss would attract the Emperor's attention, to maintain certain consistencies with later chapters.