The Dark Lord Reaper foresees a prophecy that his galactic Empire will be overthrown by two unknown residents of Gentooine. One of these residents is called Yoda, who lives on a humble Iriaz farm with his step-daughter, Esme. Little do they know of their spectacular destinies, until a mysterious ship lands in the forest not far from their homestead.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....
An Imperial warship, five-hundred-feet long, and shaped like a dagger, glided through space in deadly silence. It was a Star Destroyer, a war craft with the power to destroy entire star systems! For a government that ruled with fear, it was a near-perfect weapon, and the Empire was that government.
Swarming in through its’ main docking bay, were one-man ships that had come from star systems all over the galaxy. They had been drawn by a powerful command, and that command had none other than Lord Reaper’s himself!
Lord Reaper was the most dangerous man in the galaxy, and when he commands,
only fools disobey. But, his rewards were handsome, if you pleased him, and in today’s case, the reward was ten thousand credits. Drawn by this prize were some of the galaxy’s slimiest mercenaries. They were the money-hungry, the cunning, the
adventurous, and the blood-thirsty.
They landed their ships in the docking bay, climbed down, and stood in a
smart line where they awaited Lord Reaper’s arrival. There was quite a lot of activity going on, on the other side of the bay.
A line of strangers waited their turn, about to be made into new recruits. Some were handed weaponry, and for all of them, uniforms of grey or olive-green, depending on rank. The weapons and uniforms were all imported. They had arrived in crates which were stacked,
neatly, to the right of the room. The man assigned to the importing job was only seventeen years old. This man’s name was Charles Rogue. He had green eyes, dark-brown hair, and a confident sort of smile. He wore a grey uniform with a matching cap. Charles Rogue was tailed everywhere by a silver and purple R2 unit. Occasionally, the R2 would make suggestions for where the crates would
stack better, rather to the annoyance of his owner. Rogue picked up a smaller box and casually made his way over to the line of bounty hunters. As he reached them,
something distracted him. He turned his head to look and accidentally bumped straight into one of the bounty hunters. The box he was carrying slid of
his hands and fell with a crash, its’ contents tinkling everywhere.
“Watch it!” the hunter snarled.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry – I am so, so sorry,” Rogue gabbled, patting the
man down and hastily gathering his dropped items from the floor. He straightened up, arms full.
“Clear off, loser!” the other hissed, and shoved him away.
“Yes, sir,” Rogue said, shortly. He turned and made a swift bee-line back the way he had come. The bounty hunter’s eyes followed him, irritably.
Rogue moved behind some of the largest crates, most of which were taller
than he was, and disappeared from view.
Once he was hidden, he dumped the box and rubbed his hands together,
gleefully. His R2 unit glided up to join him. Rogue grinned back.
“I got it!” he said in a loud whisper, and held something up.
It was a holopad he had stolen from the bounty hunter he had bumped into. The patting down after his collision had all
been a cover up.
“Keep an eye on the others for me,” Rogue whispered.
The droid tittered and revolved on the spot to peep round the edge of
the crate. The unit’s full name was R2-MO, but Rogue simply called him ‘Mo’.
Rogue turned the holopad over and over in his hands, but he didn’t play
the message just yet. He had further business to attend to before then.
While Mo spied on the bounty hunters, Rogue watched the recruitment line.
He couldn’t help noticing an awful lot were becoming stormtroopers and
This was hardly surprising, as the Empire forever demanded
soldiers. Then, something unexpected caught his eye: There was a person in the cue who he recognised.
“It’s Jade!” Rogue said, astonished.
Mo wheeled back to him and made a short, questioning trill.
“Jade Intrepid,” Rogue replied, “I met her in Moss Eisely. She worked in the cantina,”
Mo deployed a video sensor from his domed head, so he could see over the
“She’s the blond in the red uniform,” Rogue explained. Mo wolf-whistled.
“Shut up, you!” Rogue grinned, and looked back at Jade Intrepid.
At first, he was pleased to see her again, but then, his eyebrows knotted
as the obvious struck him: What the hell was she doing here?
He knew that she had always been a bit of a bad girl, but, this was the
Empire for crying out loud! Jade Intrepid was a bit taller than he was, and she had one of those willowy figures. She had a proud, intelligent-looking face, pale
skin, light-blue eyes, and platinum-blond hair, drawn up in a fancy knot. She wore a blood-red uniform, knee-length boots, and a matching cloak.
Rogue had to drag his eyes away from her to stop staring, and looked over
at the lines of sinister-looking stormtroopers.
They stood, feet apart, arms by their sides, motionless.
Rogue raised an eyebrow at them, and looked the bounty hunters and back
Something didn’t add up.
“Why does Lord Reaper summon bounty hunters when he’s got plenty of stormtroopers?” he wondered aloud.
Mo answered in a stream of sophisticated beeps and sniggered.
Rogue grinned back.
“Stormtroopers can shootstraight,” he said, “just not in the right direction,”
Mo giggled and chattered a bit more.
“Damn right our job’s better than theirs,” Rogue said, tipping his cap, “and we get paid better for it,” he added, smugly.
Mo slowly swivelled his head, as if he looking over his shoulder, and then his tone changed completely. He made a low, nervous sort of whine.
At this, Rogue’s confident smile melted.
“Don’t worry,” he muttered, darkly, “We’ll be well out of here beforehe finds us. He should arrive soon,”
He peered round, warily, for any sign of Lord Reaper, but there were
only officers marching from room to room.
Mo made another nervous whimper.
“They say he’s the most powerful man in the universe,” Rogue said, shifting
his shoulders, uncomfortably. Mo drew a little closer to him and Rogue patted his head.
Suddenly, he noticed that Jade Intrepid was second in line for recruitment and he paid close attention. He had to find out what she was doing here.
The recruitment officer was a surly-looking man. He too had a holopad, like the bounty hunter’s, and he projected details of the applicants, one by one, to assess.
A seven foot tall cyborg of solid metal was first in line.
“Applying for the position of Sith,” the officer read, dully.
The cyborg smirked, confidently, but the results turned out to disappoint.
“Move along,” the recruitment officer said, flatly, “You are not Force
He tapped a button on his pad and the word ‘DENIED’ flashed red.
“WHAT!” the cyborg bellowed, “Denied?! What do you mean ‘not Force sensitive?’ LOOK at me! It don’t come more forceful than this!”
Behind the ranting cyborg, Jade Intrepid stifled a cough.
The man-machine whirled round and glared at her.
“You laughin’ at me, little one?” he growled.
Rogue was amazed to see how calm Jade Intrepid looked.
“You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about,” she answered, coolly, her
The other snorted. “Enlighten me,” he said, mockingly.
“It doesn’t take brute strength to use the Force. It takes faith, commitment, a ton of patience, and a mountain of discipline,"
“Keep yapping and I’ll give you a mountain of pain!” the cyborg snarled.
“Perhaps we could have you on the front line?” the recruitment officer
said, loudly, breaking up the discussion.
The cyborg bared his metal teeth at Jade Intrepid, but he slowly turned
back to the officer and agreed. The man made a signal and three stormtroopers staggered up, carrying a weapon so big it took their combined strength to carry it.
The cyborg lifted it, effortlessly, in one massive arm.
Even from their hiding places, Rogue and Mo ducked (or rather, Mo
lowered his video sensor) as the cyborg lumbered past and left.
Jade Intrepid swept to the front of line and smiled, proudly.
“You want to watch your confidence level, missy,” the recruitment
officer told her, coldly, “Do you think that’s what Lord Reaper wants in a
“You’ll see,” Intrepid said, mysteriously. The officer narrowed his eyes at her.
He made to call up her details on the holopad, but his finger never
reached the button - “Attention!”
All discussion silenced. As one, every
officer, recruit, and stormtrooper turned to face a wide, black archway across
From behind their crate, Rogue and Mo looked too, and what they saw made
them freeze. Lord Reaper himself had arrived, and his presence seemed to fill the whole room.
There was total silence.
Reaper surveyed the rows of newcomers, poker-faced, and said not a word.
He was very tall, and thin, with long-fingered pale hands. He wore a jet-black robe with a cloak that swept the floor, and his billowing, black hood was drawn up over his head. His skin was pure white, and slightly shiny, as if it were made of marble;
and his face made Rogue’s skin crawl.
But was it a face? Or a skull?
He had high, prominent cheek-bones, a hooked nose, and a grim, lipless
mouth. Strangely, he had no eyebrows, but this was more than made up for by his
eyes. His eyes were large, and red-rimmed, with irises like two black holes.
There wasn’t an idiot in the universe who underestimated Lord Reaper,
neither a Jedi who withstood him.
As Reaper stalked across the room, all eyes followed him.
Everyone seemed under his spell.
He made straight for the row of bounty hunters, and glided, slowly, up
and down the line. When he spoke, his voice was like the slamming of tomb doors.
“You will transfer to the planet Gentooine in the Sluis Sector. There you will track down and capture the following targets,"
He too produced a holopad in his long hand, and displayed holograms of two
different people. The hunters watched, intently. In response, each raised his
own holopad and showed he had copies of the holograms ... except for the one
Rogue had stolen.
Upon realising his was missing, the fifth bounty hunter began to sweat.
But Reaper said nothing about the missing pad.
Rogue quickly switched it on, and checked the holograms matched Reaper’s
too. They did. He was surprised to see that one of them was of a girl not much younger than he was. She was extremely pretty too. But if the girl surprised him, she was nothing compared to the second target.
He was a humanoid, and he was tiny! Rogue couldn’t believe it. These people, these two little people, were worth ten thousand credits to Lord Reaper? What was going on here? Then, he realised Reaper was talking again,
so he stopped what he was doing to listen.
“They share an alliance with the Republic. You will bring them to me,” Lord Reaper switched his own holopad off with a smart blink. “I want them alive,” he added in a dangerous voice, “Do you understand?”
“Yes, Lord Reaper,” the bounty hunters chorused.
“Good. You are dismissed,”
The hunters saluted, turned, and climbed back up into their ships. Rogue watched their retreating backs. He felt frustrated. “Why didn’t they ask any questions?” he
whispered, “No one pays 10,000 credits for a couple of nobodies, particularly
Lord Reaper. Who are these people?”
He was still asking himself this as he watched the bounty hunters’ ships take off. Within minutes, they cleared the Star Destroyer and, one by one, shot off like bullets as they jumped to light speed. Rogue blinked at the empty, black space the
ships had been, seconds before, and when he looked back at Lord Reaper, he saw he
had moved to the recruitment line. And whom should he have approached but Jade
Intrepid! Rogue gave a start and he watched, anxiously. She looked just as stunned as he did to see the Lord in front of her.
“What is your name?” Reaper asked her.
“Jade Intrepid, my Lord,” she said, bowing.
Lord Reaper raised a hand and played his fingers, gently, through the air close to her face. “I feel you are sensitive to the Force, Intrepid,”
he murmured, “You show great potential in becoming powerful,” Intrepid couldn’t resist giving the recruitment officer a smug look. “Your thoughts tell me you wish to become a Sith,” Lord Reaper continued, “Your fate lies with me. You shall become my next apprentice,” Incredibly, unbelievably, Jade Intrepid beamed at Lord Reaper, and went rather pink.
Mo revolved his domed head, very slowly, to stare at Rogue. Rogue had frozen.
“Come with me,”
Lord Reaper turned on his heel and proceeded to leave; Intrepid matched his pace and they strode off together, cloaks swishing behind them. Rogue watched them until they disappeared through the wide, black archway, then he continued to watch the empty space. Mo made a small, sad noise beside him and
nudged his foot, affectionately. “Thanks buddy, I’m alright,” he said,
gruffly, “I didn’t know her that well anyway. Come on. Del Gormo’s waiting for
us, and he’s got to see this,”
He tapped the holopad, then turned, and briskly strode off. He had his own flight to
catch. Mo wheeled along behind him, hurrying to catch up. He bleeped,
questioningly, and looked backwards. “I’m trying not to think about it,” Rogue
muttered, “I only hope she isn’t too powerful,”
He saluted a passing officer, and pretended to be on his way for more supplies.
The moment no one was looking, Rogue and Mo boarded his star ship, theAlpha Nebula. In less than a minute, they had glided out of the main docking bay. Rogue waited until they were clear, and as he made the jump to lightspeed, the surrounding stars ran like paint down a canvas, then, they shot off into deep space.
Once free of the Star Destroyer’s range, Rogue relaxed and swept a hand through his hair. Phew! No more Reaper! He pressed a button on the console and sent
a transmission to Del Gormo. As he did this, he showed him the holopad’s images.
“Sir, I have the information you required, and I’m on my way to the Dagobah System,” Del Gormo’s voice came back, rich and
sophisticated. “Well done, Captain Rogue! I’m proud of you. I await your arrival,”
The image of the young girl caught Rogue’s eye again, and he looked at it in silence for a moment. He felt a pang of pity for her, for she would soon be in great danger. He knew the Empire made women and children to suffer too, but it was still a shock to witness the order given.
“Is something wrong, Captain?” Del Gormo asked, breaking his chain of thoughts.
“Lord Reaper has already sent missionaries, sir,” Rogue replied.
“In that case, we have run out of time. Your new task shall be to rescue them, and
you shall receive double pay, if you succeed,”
“Yes, sir,” Rogue answered, unable to suppress a grin. As he looked back at the holograms he noticed something similar about them. “Hey, wait a minute,” he said, and looked closer, “Their co-ordinates match. They must live together! That’ll make it easy to find them,” “It’ll be easy for the bounty hunters too. You must reach them, Rogue, before they do!” “I will,” Rogue promise, and he cut transmission.
Rogue changed out of his disguise, and back into his bronze-and-white pilot uniform. He felt good again, or at least, cool.
Unknown to Charles Rogue, he had not escaped the Star Destroyer
undetected. Lord Reaper and Jade Intrepid watched the ship vanish from sight.
“Who was that, my Lord?” Intrepid asked.
“A slippery character, named Captain Charles Rogue,” Reaper answered, “His loyalty to the Empire is ... questionable. I ordered a homing device to be planted aboard his ship, as I suspect he may have been sent here to spy on me,”
“Where do you think he’s going?”
“It is possible he will attempt to rescue the Republicans my bounty hunters are
after. If he succeeds, the homing device will lead my men right to them, if not, there will be no escape,” “My Lord,” Intrepid said, steeling herself, “About those Republicans ... Who are they? What’s so important about them?”
“That is not your concern,” Reaper said, shortly, “In time, you will know, if you become a powerful, and faithful, ally. But now,”
He gestured towards the doors and they parted with a smart hiss. Intrepid looked into those fathomless eyes. “We shall begin your training,” Reaper rumbled.