I don't own the base material here.
Space was dark outside of the command bridge. The surrounding ships reoriented themselves for the next jump. The Eighth Fleet had been cruising on its mission to flush out Rebels in the Rim for two weeks now, and only halfway done. That's why no one expected the disaster…
Once the computer finally cried out its alarm, the event finished and everyone felt it happen.
"What was that? … No, I'll be on the bridge in just a moment. I'll be right there," said Admiral Neebs, commander of the Eighth Imperial Fleet. The commander was a tall man, about six feet, and wore his Imperial uniform with obvious pride. The lurch interrupted his trip to the flagship's bridge. Power fluctuated wildly and had blown out several of the corridor lights. As he raced out of the turbo shaft he passed only.
Right before the bridge doors, Admiral Neebs paused for a moment to straighten his uniform, opened the door, and then calmly strode down the elevated walkway across the bridge pits. He nodded to himself as he watched the bridge ratings and officers scurry from console to console working desperately. Idly, he noticed that the lights in here were all fine. After staring out the front window down the long pointed shape of his powerful warship those parts he could see right now, he turned sharply and barked out an order, "I want a situation report from all sections! Ensign Lanro, call up the rest of the fleet on Holonet. I want reports from every ship in the fleet!" The ship's exterior lights were offline along with the rest of the fleet's, preventing him from seeing the rest of his command with his own up worriedly at the commander, Ensign Lanro, the new communications rating stuttered, "Sir, Holonet seems to be down!"
"No need for panic, just use the Hypercom. We'll let the others know as well." The Admiral said kindly. But behind his mask of a face, his mind churned, as he listened to the rest of the reports, seeking the most likely cause for this failure. "Find me the Rebel sympathizers that did this!" he finally ordered. "And get the sensors back up, NOW!"
On one of the supply ships, an urgent meeting was taking place. The occasional passerby might have noticed the noises coming out of the humid storage room. Power had not quite been restored to all sections and so the remaining lights flickered every so often. The passerby would have heard several low voices arguing intensely. "I'm telling you, that wasn't us! We might have to reveal ourselves so that we don't get blamed for this," That was the current object of attention for this specific group. "I'm telling ya guys, high command is gonna blame US for this."
"It doesn't matter. They can't touch us. He knows that. Most likely they're going to kill off all the Rebel traitors in their midst." While all the people at this meeting wore long, dark robes, this speaker's seemed to be darker than usual and had the hood up.
One hotshot spoke up, "I say we help them rout out those Rebels! I mean, what did they ever do to help us out? Now we get the scum back for that!"
"Not so fast!" The leader spoke up. "We're not going to help the admiral, and we're not going to reveal ourselves. We need to just find out what happened, and we'll act from there. Fear is running rampant in the hallways, and the commanders are in the middle of working things out themselves. We will take no action for now. Is that clear to everyone? Lars or Tinne, any problems? No? Good. What about you, Sara?" he added darkly.
"I'm fine with whatever you say." 'For now, old man…' and she stalked off as they all dispersed.
The real Rebel-lovers were rounded up in a matter of hours. The new problem was that while the rest of the fleet was here, no one could tell where 'here' was.
"What do you mean, 'It's not on any star charts'?"
"That's exactly what I do mean, sir. And before anyone asks, no, we're not in the unknown regions. I'll explain briefly." Standing up, Lieutenant Sanders proceeded to turn on the holo projector in the center of the table. Everyone was seated around a long oval table and while power had been restored fully, the assembled commanders and captains of the fleet sat in their seats uneasily. "Even in the unknown regions, we would be able to see some of the stars in the rest of the galaxy. We haven't found a single one that matches yet. Now this next part is just a guess of mine, but based on the last readings we took before the event, I would say that we've been shifted into another galaxy at least." After the room quieted down, Neebs calmed everyone down and motioned for Sanders to continue. Glancing around the dull grey room, so much like the room he was in at the Second Battle of Hoth he continued, "It's pretty simple really. None of the stars match up, and that wave that hit us was very powerful and had some boyse-tachyon elements in it. Both of these mean that we're at least in another galaxy, and at worst —"
"What do you mean at worst?" Rear Admiral Mutabi spoke up. A short mulish looking man he was currently in disgrace and thought by most people to be a little toady for Grand Moff Tarkin. "Surely we can just wait until the Emperor notices we don't show up on time? Surely he would send out someone to investigate?"
"We can't wait around forever, Mutabi. If they don't find us, what then? Let's let the youngster finish talking before we start talking policy." There was a round of 'hear, hears' all around.
Admiral Neebs stepped in quickly at this point. "I'm sure that we will all read your complete report as soon as it's finished. At this point the question is, 'can we return home on our own right now'?"
"Um… As of this moment, we don't believe we have enough hypermatter fuel or supplies to survive a trip across a galactic void, so we conclude no for now." Sweat dripped down into his collar.
"Thank you Sanders. You may go." After Sanders left the room, Admiral Neebs stood up. "Here are my thoughts gentlemen. We seem to be stranded in an unknown galaxy, far away from all Imperial support and allies. There is only one thing to do in this case, from my point of view." He stood up and began to pace the room. "We will endeavor to expand the Empire in this new universe, for the glory of Emperor Palpatine!" There was only scattered applause among the assembled officers. "What is this? I am continuing our mission, just as the Emperor would have willed it. Besides, even if this new empire were in Palpatine's name, we would rule it! Think of it my friends, a whole new galaxy ripe for conquering, by you and me. Together we can expand the New Order and, of course, the Eighth Fleet would rule it all. Right here from our flagship, the Super Star Destroyer, Tyrannus!"
This got much larger cheers. The only noticeable dissenters were Mutabi and his supporters. I'm rather glad that for now, I'm the only one with the full report, and I'll ensure that none of Mutabi's supporters got their hands on what was contained within. Another galaxy was indeed the least of our worries, the worst included exotic ideas like multiple universes. Mutabi's clique still feared the Emperor's power too much to go along with the conquest. It was too bad, thought Neebs; I'm going to have to remove them. What a pity…
Sara knew that she had to get away from the stifling grip of the Order. Unfortunately, the only way she knew how was to volunteer to go on one of the scouting missions being assembled. Officially, she was only a junior grade comms technician, so it might have been hard for her to get what she wanted. If it wasn't for her friendship with the Captain, she wasn't sure that she could arrange it.
As she walked down the halls, she passed several squads of stormtroopers talking along the way. One group was muttering about Jedi, and several others wanted to blame the Rebels, although no one thought they had the power to do this to them yet, so soon after the last battle.
Reaching her destination, and the first test of her old friend's loyalties, she stopped before the turboshaft to Yamato's quarters. The naval security officer on guard there, snapped to attention, "Halt. State your business here?"
"I'm here to see the captain. I have an appointment." That wasn't a lie, she had actually set up this meeting through official channels so she could work unopposed, and unmonitored by the others.
"Ah, right then," the lead guard said, checking his datapad. Motioning with his hands, he waved her through, "Everything seems to be in order. Just one moment." He fiddled with the controls, and the turboshaft opened up. "Just one more thing; do you know any more about the situation?" he asked hopefully. Shaking her head slightly, she closed the doors. At the top, she walked into a nice, but spartan room. It had a magnificent view of the ship, an Imperial Star Destroyer II, projected onto the largest wall.
The captain turned, smiled and asked, "How's it going Sara? I haven't seen you since graduation!" He had been a close friend through training on Cardia and at the Fleet Academy in orbit around Kuat. He pulled up two chairs and sat down.
"I'm doing fine, now. It was kinda rough after I got kicked out of pilot school, but I've recovered well. I see you got in the command track in time?" She relaxed and opened up to him, spending time catching up that she hadn't had the luxury to recently.
Much later after he laughed at one of her better jokes, "Yeah, I guess you're right! But enough about that. What did you want to see me about? You know that I still owe you for that one time, so if there's anything I can do, let me know."
"Oh! I was wondering if you could get me a spot on one of the upcoming recon missions, sir." Watching the startled look that flashed across his face, she knew she had made a slight mistake.
"How, did you — never mind… I guess the grapevine does travel faster than light. Each ship will be sending out one team of four. Why should I include you in my team?"
"For one thing, I am one of the best comms techs in the right pay grade for the mission! The team will have to communicate by hyperwave, because Holonet is down, and I'm proficient at it and at some older types of communications. Any team will need a comm tech to communicate with the fleet. Add that to my extracurricular studies and I can even do some signals intelligence." She shot back at him, appalled and angry that he would doubt her. "We don't even know if droids are common here and I, unlike many others, spent some time learning how to translate by myself."
"I see…. You have been busy, but I think we need someone with better combat skills. No offence, but I doubt that you could have the skills of a front line trooper!" He laughed, then paused after hearing an ominous 'snap-hiss'. Turning around slowly he whispered, "I take it that this isn't a regulation weapon?"
Sara smiled coldly. "Of course it is." She enjoyed the contortions his face went through. "Although, only if you're in the right group. No I'm not a Jedi, if that makes you feel any better," She said, forestalling the tremendous flood of questions she knew was coming. "If you'll notice the color of the blade…" She paused, to wait for the realization to hit. Then when she was sure he understood, she continued, "Now that you understand my position, we can get down to business. I'm sorry to have to drag you into this, but you were the only one that I could think of," she pleaded. "I'm out of contact with my superiors, so I'm on my own now. But, if you think that makes me any less powerful, think again. But enough about that," Sara lightened her tone. "I can help you, you know. The commanders will be setting up a new empire here. I'm willing to place myself at your service, to help you in the internal and external conflicts that are sure to follow."
"I think I see where this is going. Well, I can't say I have any objections to some help, nor can I raise any about combat skills. If you really want to go so badly, you're on the team." Reaching behind him, he pulled out a datapad, and handed it over. "All the information is on here. Good luck on your mission! We'll have to have a longer talk after you get back."
Sara nodded and walked out of the room reading the datapad, deep in thought.
It had been hard finding a secluded, and unmonitored, area to land the shuttle in. The pilot had remarked that that was one of the main problems with the Lambada class shuttles. He also made a recommendation that they be replaced with something stealthier now that they didn't have a contract with KDY or anything anymore.
The journey out to this planet hadn't taken too long. The fleet was parked in an interplanetary debris field, constructing a new set of shipyards. This shuttle was one of many being sent out to explore various ports nearby, discovered by probe droids. The mission for this group was to acquire a local vessel and return with it to the Devastator, their base ship.
There were four people on each team. This group had Sara, a comm tech, Kyp Fisto, a demolitions specialist and all-around weapons guy, a slicer named Kelric, and lieutenant Paelleon, not particularly related to the famous one that triumphed at the Second Battle of Hoth after his superiors all perished. In the pilot's mind they would get along well.
Since this was a purely informational mission, they had all dressed in local garb, a loose fitting tunic and a robe that went over it. This planet was a minor trading stop in the region. In fact, it appeared it was so minor that there was only one important settlement on this planet. While in itself this wasn't too odd, the fact that the settlement had one object that had higher than normal power fluctuations did seem rather peculiar. After a day's walk towards the city, they reached the outskirts.
"These people don't seem that much above Tuskin Raiders! I mean, look at the huts and shabby stone buildings they have here! Where is the order in a situation like this? It would be a blessing if the fleet wiped this place out and replaced it with a modern spaceport!" Kelric seemed especially disgusted with the city. Sara and Kyp didn't seem to notice and the LT was studiously ignoring the smell. Kelric did shut up after witnessing the first vessel to leave the spaceport.
It was a brown and gold pyramidal vessel, spreading out to two winglets on either side. There were no obvious signs of weapons, but it still took their breath away with the ease that it maneuvered for it's shape. "I see you are impressed with our ships!" spinning around to face the voice, they saw a tall man, wearing robe like garments and with a holstered weapon of some kind. The man was oozing anticipation and greed Sara noted but paid more attention to what he said next. "If you're interested in a vessel like that, you've bumped into the right person! My name is Mallar, and I deal in —"
"Old used cargo ships. Don't let him warm up my friends, or you'll never be rid of him." Another man dressed similarly to the first walked up to them. Ignoring the dark look he got from Mallar, he continued. "I am Talar, a humble merchant and let me be the first to welcome you to the port of Sharnish! We deal in every kind of good imaginable, from old System Lord equipment, to Free Jaffa weapons, to a few bits of salvaged Asgard technology! If you came to buy, you're in luck! We just got a cache of Tau'ri weapons and communication gear! Now if you'll step over here, we can get down to the bargaining."
"Fine by me. Sara, Kyp go take a look around," The LT said. "Kelric and I will deal with these merchants. We'll meet up in the central plaza near the big ring in say, three hours."
AN: Well, here we go again. The long delayed rewrite. Now, not as much has changed as I thought might the first time around, mostly small details, fleshing out or streamlining a couple scenes, but here we go again!