A group of specially trained Sith under the command of Darth Vader. They leave a path of bodies in their wake, and nobody knows who any of them actually are. The only person they take orders from, other than Vader, is Count Dooku himself.
“So we’ve got some bigshots showing up, huh?” Agent Noll asked. “Who is it?”
“We don’t know,” his copilot, Agent Lanik, replied. “They won’t tell us.”
Noll pondered this as he directed their shuttle through the Imperial blockade around Corellia. A light on the console flashed, which he waved away by responding with the permission codes that would allow them to traverse the blockade unscathed. The ships were an amazing sight, dozens of the new Imperial Star Destroyers mixed with the old Trade Federation battleships. Flitting between them were hundreds or thousands of droid starfighters.
Casting a shadow over all this was the Death Star. The battle station had shown up several weeks ago under the command of a new Grand Admiral that no one knew anything about. Emperor Dooku was running many of the military aspects of the Empire very quietly.
“So we have to go up to that thing?” Lanik asked, pointing towards the Death Star.
Noll nodded as he pushed the throttle forward and aimed for the station.
He and his copilot were part of the Imperial intelligence network on Corellia. Both were native Corellians and could easily fade into the background. Their cover was dangerously thin because of this mission. They were told to take a shuttle off planet to pick up some VIPs that wanted to go to Corellia. Since no ships were leaving the planet, a shuttle leaving was highly suspicious, and not getting shot down by the blockade virtually assured they wouldn’t be able to just walk back into their old roles. But the higher ups had said this mission was of utmost importance.
“Shuttle Dianoga, respond,” the console chirped.
“This is the Dianoga requesting permission to land,” Noll said. He pressed a button and continued, “Transmitting access codes.”
“Codes acknowledge. Follow beacon 346-A-Delta.”
Noll guided the shuttle into one of the largest docking bays on the Death Star and gazed at the sleek black vessel already parked to one side. It was a design he’d never seen before.
“Think that ship brought our VIPs?” Noll asked as he settled the ship on the deck.
They moved to the landing ramp and stepped off. An Imperial officer greeted them. “Agents Noll and Lanik?”
“You will be heading back to Corellia as soon as we get their equipment loaded.”
“‘Their,’ equipment, sir? Are we transporting people or equipment?” Noll asked.
The Imperial smirked slightly. “Both.” He slightly jerked his head to the side, and Noll looked in that direction.
There stood a group of four dark figures, all wearing armor and long black cloaks. Two of them, about the same height, wore hoods that hid their features in shadows and were directing battle droids carrying gear towards their shuttle. The smallest of the four was a head shorter than any of the others, and wore an intricate mask that completely concealed their features. The slim build under the armor suggested female, but there was no way to be certain.
The last of the group, and clearly the leader, was taller than the rest and wore full armor. They wore a mask similar to the smaller figure, but also a broad sweeping helmet that made the mask all the more fearsome. Dangling off his belt was a lightsaber, clearly visible. Noll wondered if the other three were similarly armed, but their cloaks hid any weapons.
The Imperial officer leaned forward. “Darth Vader and his Fist. The other three are Darth Flax, Darth Surgo, and Darth Aequor. Vader is the largest, Flax is the smallest, and the other two are indistinguishable as far as I can tell. If you look behind them, you’ll see their squad.”
Noll looked beyond them and saw a group of black armor clad troops. Their armor was similar in design to the Fist, but clearly not as customized. “What are they?” Noll asked.
“New troops specially trained by Darth Vader,” the officer said. “He calls them ‘Stormtroopers.’ Imperial Knights that have been through special training. You’ll notice they each have a rifle and a lightsaber.”
Noll hadn’t noticed, but now that he looked he saw rifles strapped to their backs and lightsabers on their hips where a sidearm should be.
“You should feel lucky. You two are the only humans outside this landing bay to see them so far.”
Somehow Noll didn’t feel lucky, and the look on Lanik’s suggested he felt the same. Droids marched past them carrying large metal cases and went up the ramp into the shuttle.
The officer nodded towards a door off the landing bay. “There’s the officer’s lounge where General Cracken will brief you.”
Droids continued to load the ship as the two walked over to the lounger. Inside sat a man in civilian clothes with bright red hair. When they entered, he stood up and nodded to them.
“Gentlemen. Come in, please. Time is short, because your shuttle will be loaded and ready to go momentarily, so I’ll dive right in.” He passed them each a datacard. “Read these once you get back on planet. Your old roles embedded in the Corellian resistance are at an end. Your knowledge of your home world is the reason we chose you for this mission. From here on you are to give Vader’s Fist anything they need.”
Noll nodded and pocketed the datacard. Lanik did likewise.
“Also keep in mind this operation is of the utmost secrecy. The Rebellion does not know that we have this group. If Anakin Skywalker, Yoda, and Obi-wan Kenobi were to find out, they would throw all their resources at destroying this unit.”
“Sir, if you I may ask, why?” Noll said.
“I cannot answer that. Just understand. You are not to tell anyone. Ever. They work in secret. If they need something from a public source, that will be your jobs.”
Noll nodded again.
“That will be all, gentlemen. Good luck.” Cracken nodded to them and that was clearly the signal that their meeting was at an end.
Noll and Lanik stepped out of the room and found the landing bay completely empty except for their shuttle. Noll glanced at Lanik, who shrugged in response. They approached the shuttle and found one of the hooded Darths standing at the bottom of the ramp, apparently waiting for them. Lanik stopped short, taken by surprise.
“We wish to land in the forests outside Coronet,” he said, his voice deep yet smooth. “Do it,” he added, and the tone of his voice suggested he was used to having his orders followed.
“Yes, sir,” Noll said and walked up the ramp. When he reached the top of it, he found that the passenger compartment filled with the armored Stormtroopers, crates of equipment, and the last three Darths. Noll nodded, unsure whether he should salute or not, and moved back into the pilot’s compartment.
Once they had the ship moving and on course, Noll popped his data card into a reader and studied it.