I'm just F'n with you!
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice,
he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring,
those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
~ Robert Kennedy
--- --- ---Jaminere. Not long ago, the Sith had paraded through the streets. A world of bread and circuses for a day. A day that had gone sideways amidst the threat of riots and discontent. The chaos had not been widespread, but it was a glimpse into the turbulent undertow hiding just beyond the veneer of affluence. The world of Jaminere had natural wealth, in part to its prominence as an industrial world but also as the capital of the Tion sector, a fact that was only underscored as the Imperial Sith powerhouse assumed control of the industrial world. Under new management, the fires of industry burned and with the flames rising in the forges it was only a matter of time before something caught on fire.
The riots had been quelled in a show of might, and with mercy uncharacteristic of the Sith Empire, the perpetrators had not been slaughtered wholesale. Unlike their conquest of Thyferra, this world they’d turned to their own purpose. There was no message to be sent to the galaxy this time, but rather a valuable asset to be gained. A valuable asset to be used. Though the riots had been quelled and an unrelated assassination attempt on the Emperor himself thwarted, the tension had merely gone back to hiding beneath the surface. From the shadows and afar eyes watched with curiosity. Some narrowed in anger, others wide in curiosity of what would happen next.
Again Atlas found himself irritated with the Trade Council. For days there had been back and forth debate on the matter, for days they’d anxiously waited for word that they were going to do something about the Sith Empire and the rapidly expanding borders which seemed to be directed towards Centares. The horrors of Thyferra and the bloodshed there were no secret to the galaxy, it had been a message, a warning. *Closer to an act of terrorism* thought the pilot to himself. Days had passed and when the word finally did come down it wasn’t one of action but of inaction. Stand down the memo’s had read, the Trade Council had once more rest upon its non-interventionist policies. It was disappointing.
It was that moment Atlas had set his mind. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d taken action against an authoritarian regime. Only a few short months before he’d been involved in an attempt at thwarting the expansion of another regime on the other side of space - The First Order. This would be exponentially more dangerous. It wasn’t a government across the galaxy, but one rapidly expanding in their backyard. Even so, Atlas couldn’t sit by idly and he knew of a few others who shared his sentiment.
A thinly drawn smile caused the corners of his lips to rise ever so slightly as his eyes fell upon the others in the lorry with him. They’d all come from different backgrounds, a few were locals but the rest had been flown in from all along the trade routes. So here they were. A violent shaking as the lorry traversed over some uneven pavement sent a brief shiver up the pilot’s spine. Taking a deep breath, he reassured himself. Everything was going to be okay. He’d been in more stressful situations - or so he thought.
The lorry itself was as unsuspecting as the next, the faded and rusty logo of a local extermination company emblazoned upon its side, the only light in the interior of the vehicle from a small metal cage leading to the driver’s compartment. On the interior of the cage were shelves of bolted down equipment and tanks of various chemical concoctions - just the sort you’d expect in a mobile extermination van. Narrow seats had been bolted down in the rear, belts hanging loosely. The small cadre of would be rebels jostled and bounced against one another as the lorry took another few bumps before encountering a downward slope. Atlas tightened his grip on an overhead handle, eyes straining to see through the metal grate. If the downward slope was anything to go by they were almost to their ingress point.
“Alright chaps, check your gear. We’re getting close.”
His voice rose above the din reverberating within the confines of the rear compartment. The lorry had traversed a large embankment, duracrete and durasteel constructs surrounded them but the path they’d taken was one which led to a canal system, off of which were a near indefinite number of cisterns, wells, and sewage systems. Lucky for them they’d had help in mapping a very specific set of tunnels which would lead them to their destination. Combined with their cover, no one would find it terribly strange to see several figures in full bio gear wearing masks lurking about - at least in theory.
Ahead, Atlas barely glanced the huddled form of a figure kneeling beside a large stanchion. Above, a wide and well-used bridge extended from one side of the canal to the other, a murky water gently rolling past. Following a duracrete runoff, the lorry slowed to a halt beneath the bridge, stanchion to one side, large metal grate to the other.
“Let’s go then, hurry up!”
Again the pilot’s voice rose, directing the occupants of the vehicle to exit. In a moment the rear hatch had been let down and the group had disembarked. Wide grin settling in across his features, Atlas took wide steps to where the figure had been kneeling and now stood.
“Fancy seeing you here lad, nice to see a familiar face.” he said jokingly.
Icarus Volcata. The son of Eris Volcata, a prominent figure of the Mara-Perlemian Trade Council, the man was anything but the bureaucrat his mother seemed to be. A fellow pilot to boot, Icarus and Atlas had been flying Z-95’s since flight school together and most recently the surplus X-Wings they’d been assigned. Icarus was more than that though, wasn’t he? A friend. The two had seen more than their share of close calls even during the short life of the Trade Council. They’d had each other’s backs then and it was reassuring to see they both stood up for what they believed in - even if the Council wasn’t going to back them. A firm handshake brought the two close together, the rest of the crew going about their tasks gathering equipment, strapping on canisters of what was labeled as typical “Bug Juice” or “Rodent Remover”.
“Best get to it then. Everything still look good?”
Atlas tried not to let the subtle wavering of his resolve play out through his voice. They’d all seen the security forces at the spaceport, the roaming patrols of lawkeepers through the streets. It had put him on edge - it had been so much different being half a galaxy away but this… this was closer to home. Reaching down as he double checked his own harness he pulled it tight, cinching the straps down.
“Masks on, I assume we’re off this way?” he said, motioning towards the large grate on the other side of the lorry.
The pilot stepped intentionally towards the rear of the lorry one last time, shouldering a large bag before nodding towards another inside. The others had been industrious, even the ones who identified themselves as Jedi. It was an awkward arrangement, though the Jedi saw the threat of the Sith expansion, they weren’t bound as Atlas and Icarus might have been by law. It was an easy thing for them to volunteer their assistance, or so it had seemed to the pilot. The reality was much more complex. In any case, Atlas was happy to have them along for the ride - they weren’t exactly an army, and what they aimed to do was ambitious. If it worked though, they might just be able to make a difference.
A distance away from the disguised rebels another ember had been brought to flame. In a crowd it only took one or two well spoken individuals to sway the atmosphere. Agitators, both a woman and a man had begun demonstrating at the base of the steps which lead to the Capitol Annex. Loudly their voices beseeched those walking by of their plight, that of the workers and implying that the Sith Empire sought to bring in workers from other worlds, to outsource their product without paying for the earnings they deserved. It wouldn’t be long before they were silenced, and so quickly they began to move from where they’d begun.
Inflammatory words bandied about the air, the “Martyrs” who week prior had attempted to strike down the Emperor himself were mentioned, those workers who had been arrested for merely taking a stand for their rights. The silence almost seemed to speak back. What rights? They’re part of the Empire now. It may have only been a flash in a pan, a mere spark, but sparks had a nasty tendency to light things ablaze.
(Posted with permission of [member="Kira Vaal"], Owner of "The Rebellion" minor faction)