Chapter 1: The Trial The cell door opened. Domenik Carrow’s eyes shot open. A guard entered with an illumination droid, brightening the room. Domenik sat up and averted his eyes, trying to adjust to the sudden light. He was given a cell with a window, but this mattered little. It was always dark on Dromund Kaas. “Carrow, up. It’s time,” the prison guard said. Domenik sat up and approached the guard. He put his arms out to be shackled and followed him outside. He staggered alongside the guard. The illumination droid hovered in front of them, lighting the hallway and neighboring cells. Domenik looked around at his fellow prisoners. Most were asleep; others were sitting up, watching the former Imperial Lieutenant being led away. One particular inmate laughed a deep, evil laugh. Domenik recognized this man; he was taken prisoner during a minor skirmish in a village riot outside Kaas City. That seemed like another lifetime ago. Domenik ignored the man, and kept walking. The two made their way out of the detention area, and into a brightly-lit hallway. There was another guard standing there. The illumination droid hovered to a nearby table and deactivated. The two guards took Domenik by his wrists and led him down the hall. “How long has it been?” Domenik asked. “Three days,” said the first guard. Domenik sighed. Three days. A short three days seemed like a lifetime ago in his mind... He stood alone in front a long table in a small courtroom. Captain Geoff Foccard sat in the middle of a panel of officers and looked at him disapprovingly. He was a built, gruff-looking man with a thick black beard. He spoke eloquently for a man of his physical stature. Domenik looked to the man he once called his mentor, and gave his final plea. “You have heard my story, sir. It has not changed since the moment your men arrested me on these false charges. In all my years, I have always remained loyal to you, the men of my squad, the Imperial military and the Sith Empire. If this is not enough to sway your judgement, I am not sure what else I can say. I can only await your verdict." Captain Foccard stared him down for a brief moment, and then stood up. “Lieutenant Carrow,” Captain Foccard said. “Your service to the Imperial military has been noteworthy. However, your actions have put us in a very difficult situation.” "You have brought shame to all who don an Imperial uniform. Treason is something this court cannot accept, regardless of the ranking or service record of the party involved.” “Therefore,” Foccard continued. “It is the decision of this court that you be stripped of your rank. Your service record shall be wiped clean and you shall await execution. I assure you the wait will not be long. You will be placed in a security cell at this base until further notice.” Domenik felt his heart sink. He dropped to his knees in shock. He gave one final, desperate look to Foccard. It didn’t take. “Get this traitor out of my sight.” Domenik had replayed the series of events that led him to that day in his head many times. The set-up on Bothawui, the arrest, the transport to Dromund Kaas…it was all done quickly and quietly. Domenik had no access to the outside world, but he often wondered… Domenik’s reflection was brought to a halt when he was stopped by the guards. A large blast door stood in front of him. He knew this door led to a series of hangars that were often used to greet Imperial dignitaries and returning soldiers. The door opened and the three walked into a massive lobby, with doors leading to hangars of various sizes. “You’ll be flying to a nearby outpost where your execution will take place,” the first guard said. “The public cannot witness the death of an Imperial Lieutenant,” the second guard added. “Former. Former Imperial Lieutenant,” Domenik corrected him. The three walked to a smaller door at the opposite end of the lobby. After the first guard inputted the code, the door opened. The hangar housed a single shuttle in the middle, surrounding by many stacks of small crates and two long rows of storage units. There were two crimson red Imperial banners draped along the sides of the room, covered in dust. Domenik noticed a ramp leading into a control room, which was empty and looked long-abandoned. This hangar had not been used in some time. The two guards led Domenik to the shuttle and waited. The ramp lowered and a man in a pilot suit with a helmet and a sidearm pistol approached them. “Greetings, men. This our guy?” "Yes,” the second guard answered. “I was told Boyd would be flying to Outpost Cresh. Who are you?" “Boyd couldn’t make it. The name’s Jennings." The first guard and Domenik stepped forward, but the second guard put his arm out. “Wait." The pilot cocked his head. "Problem?" The second guard stepped forward. "I don't know a Jennings associated with this operation," the second guard said. "I was brought here from Outpost Dorn and Boyd had me briefed with the assignment. I can handle it from here," the pilot said as he motioned them forward. The guard didn't move. "What exactly did he tell you would happen?" "He said I was to assist in the transfer-" The guard raised his pistol. "Boyd is a woman." The pilot shifted uncomfortably. "Of course, but-" The guard took two steps toward him with his pistol raised close to the pilot's head. "Remove your helmet. Place your blaster on the ground and put your hands behind your head." The pilot removed his helm. He was a Human male with dark, short black hair and a thin beard. He also had a small, thin scar on his cheek. This man was no Imperial pilot, thought Domenik. The two guards weren’t impressed. He dropped the helmet and took out his blaster, setting it down beside the helmet. The first guard pulled his blaster out and raised it. “I didn’t want any trouble,” the pilot said and he walked toward the men. They kept their pistols raised as he stood within arm's length of the second guard. "But you just had to ask questions." In an instant, the pilot grabbed the guard's gun arm and twisted it in an awkward angle as he flung him over his shoulders. Domenik heard the crack of the bone as it broke, as well as the quick slash of a vibroblade across the side of the guard's neck. The first guard shoved Domenik against a nearby storage container as he opened fire on the pilot. The man retrieved his blaster and acrobatically flipped over a small crate as he returned fire. The guard ducked the blasts and stood back up to continue firing, when he noticed the pilot was gone. Domenik heard the quiet hissing noise of a stealth generator before the pilot vanished. “On your feet, Carrow!” The guard yelled. Domenik stood up as the guard approached him with his blaster out. He held it up with one hand while reaching for his comlink with the other. “You don’t move a muscle, Carrow. What do you know about this? Who was that man?” “I don’t know!” He raised his comlink to his mouth. “Base…” A loud ‘clank’ interrupted the guard, right below his feet. The two men looked down and noticed a small grenade on the floor. Domenik recognized it instantly: a standard-use military flash grenade. He covered his eyes and dropped back to the floor just before the detonation. With his hands covering his face, he knew the guard was slow on the uptake. All he heard next was the sound of two more vibroblade slashes and the sound of a body falling to the floor soon after. After a brief moment, Domenik opened his eyes and looked up. A different man stood in front him. This one was dressed in a basic Imperial uniform with a long black jacket and hood, obscuring his face. He was tall and had a very muscular physique. The man lowered his hood and approached Domenik. He had a clean shaven face with blue skin and a cybernetic eyepiece over his left eye. The right eye was a glowing bright red. He was Chiss. Domenik looked up at the man, and slowly stood up. “Should I be thankful or worried?” Domenik asked. The Chiss put his blade away and took out a ring full of strange looking keys. He motioned silently to Domenik. Domenik hesitated. “He wants you to raise your arms,” a voice asked. Domenik turned and saw the pilot walking towards them. Domenik obeyed as the Chiss picked the lock and released the shackles. Domenik rubbed his wrists and looked at the both of them. “I suppose you have my thanks, but I am not sure who you, or why you freed me." Domenik asked. The Chiss said nothing. The pilot stood beside him and spoke first. “Introductions will have to wait. Right now, you’re in a dangerous situation and my superior felt it was time for us to act sooner rather than later. This isn’t exactly how this was supposed to go down, but your friends here made us…improvise. For now, we need to move forward with the next phase of our plan.” “And what’s the next phase of the plan?” Domenik asked. “Getting you out of here. And unfortunately for you, we’re going to have to make it look convincing. Prakk, it’s time.” The Chiss charged forward and tackled Domenik against the storage unit. The back of his head hit against the steel and he was temporarily dazed. He shook it off, driving his knee into the Chiss’ stomach to remove his strong grip and pushed him off. Domenik gathered his bearings and looked around for the door. “Stop, now!” the pilot cried out. Domenik turned to him. The pilot held a dart shooter attached to his wrist at him. “We don’t have time for this, Domenik. As of now, you are an escaped prisoner with two dead Imperial prison guards in the hangar in which you were to be transported. Your best shot of survival at this point is to do what I say.” The Chiss struggled to his feet. He walked to a nearby crate and Domenik saw him pick up a large steel rod. “What do you want from me? How should I…” An alarm sounded throughout the room. Red sirens were flashing all around them. “It’s now or never, Domenik. You either die by their hand, or you try your luck with us.” "Why should I?" "Because we know about Bothawui." Domenik stared, stunned. "Bothawui? Isn't that a Republic world?" Domenik asked. "Yes," replied Captain Foccard. A strike team is being sent and they have need of someone with your cybernetic expertise and your appreciation for discretion." "What exactly am I looking for?" Domenik asked. Foccard looks up and down the hallway. "Let's step into my office." The two walked in and sat down. Foccard leaned forward on his desk. "Reports have been confirmed that the Republic is performing cybernetic experiments on Imperial prisoners of war on Bothawui." Domenik jolts upright in his chair. "Are you sure, Captain?" "Yes, Carrow. Once our men have been extracted, we can expose the Republic for what they really are." Foccard stood up. "This peace cannot last. War is coming soon. Can I count on you, Lieutenant?" The sirens snapped Domenik out of it. "Well?" Jennings asked. “Ok. Let's do it.” The pilot fired a dart at him. Domenik cried out in pain and slumped to the floor as the electro dart made his body flail around in pain. "Make it quick, Prakk. I'm on the door." the pilot said. The pilot ran towards the door as the Chiss approached him with the rod in hand. Domenik rolled over to his side, recoiling as the dart’s effects wore off. The Chiss kicked him hard in the back, forcing him on his stomach. He felt the rod come down hard on the middle of his back. The sirens drowned out his screams as he took another shot to the back. He took three more shots: to the lower back and his two legs. Domenik turned over, writhing in pain. The Chiss drove the rod into his stomach. Domenik shot up in a sitting position when the rod made impact, and felt blood gushing out of the sizable hole. He turned to look at the Chiss man, who had a dark look on his face. One more shot to the face, and Domenik was down again. He felt the hangar go dark around him as started to fade into unconsciousness. The pilot returned. “The door is barred, Prakk. It’s time to leave.” The pilot pulled out a holopad. A small image of a face appeared on the screen that Domenik could not make out. “We have him, sir. He’ll be en route to the morgue very soon. Informer Three out.” Domenik looked back up and the Chiss was standing right above him with the rod held high. "No..." The rod came down.