Foreword: This is an original story featuring original characters set in the universe of Bioware's 'Star Wars: The Old Republic'. Events depicted take place more than eight years prior to events in-game. Rated 'T' for depictions of violence and violent themes. Feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
Episode I: Boarding Party
Prologue: The Interrogation
Two men, alone in a cramped chamber.
One seated. One standing.
One motionless. One pacing.
Nothing but a simple table between them.
Pristine white walls surrounded the pair, blackened by shadows and dim lights. A single door in and out. A single camera mounted in the ceiling's corner.
A holding cell. Within which resided its prisoner and its keeper.
"The Seven," spoke the seated man, utterly calm. "Always seven. We are faceless. Nameless. If one were to fall, another would take their place as if nothing had happened, and the public would be none the wiser. But that rarely happens. We are given the best training. The best tech.
And then there's the fact that we don't fight the normal fights. We never just march right into any of the major conflicts. We didn't even exist before the Treaty of Coruscant, despite what the reports may say.
The written exploits of our little elite group have been highly exaggerated. Sometimes we're even tied to different events in different sectors of the galaxy that all happened on the same day. This just contributes to the myth.
Our exploits are seeded across Republic and Imperial channels alike, to make our presence known, and at the same time do exactly the opposite. Know us. Know of us. Always wondering. Always doubting. Always believing. Instill fear and intrigue about some unknowable, unkillable foe. You might know how these things work.
It's impossible to know the truth, because we are the ones who define it. It shifts and changes to suit our needs. But no matter how much we bend reality, there is one universal axiom. Because behind all the myths, once you strip away the veneer of hype perpetrated by Imperial Intelligence, there still exists a team capable of astounding accomplishments.
Despite the rumors, we don't specialize in black ops. After all, secret missions with no witnesses don't exactly suit our needs. Gray operations on the other hand… missions designed to leave just enough of a message. Just the right information, given out in measured quantities that, in the end, serve to further our agenda. The Empire's agenda.
We are a strike force. Pure and simple. Clear cut objectives. Hardly any room for in-the-field decisions. Our success comes from planning. That and the fact that we are only given assignments with less than a ten percent estimated chance of failure.
We are good, but we aren't gods of the battlefield. We aren't allowed to take unnecessary risks. After all, we are sporting millions of credits worth of arms and armament. Each.
Now you see where the myth begins to fall apart. One could argue that any trooper with our resources could accomplish what we have. We are given easy missions on purpose, all to bolster our record. In the end, all people care about are the headlines.
So what if the bunker had an insufficient security force? So what if we boarded and detonated an already derelict capital ship? Our purpose was to produce results. Just not directly. The power of misinformation.
The Seven are first and foremost an experiment in mental and military thought. Charts and graphs, my friend. Statistics. Intelligence wanted to see if they could create a force capable of altering the outcomes of battles with words alone.
'Your request for reinforcements has been acknowledged. The Seven are on their way'. 'Alert: The Seven have joined up with the ground forces. Proceed with your original objectives'.
It's amazing the kind of impact a few simple words can have if you send them out over the right channels. Opposing forces might show the slightest hesitation. A group of defenders might hold out for just that much longer.
That is our true purpose. To alter the course of a battle without actively participating in it. To be heroes. To be villains. The kind of tactical manipulation that only an Imperial could think worthy of funding. But in the end, it works. Either that or we've just been attached to one long string of happy coincidences.
But honestly, judging by my recent luck, I'd feel pretty confident in ruling that out. I mean, here I am, prisoner aboard a Republic cruiser. Hands cuffed behind my back. Stripped of my gear. Figuratively naked. Who knows? Maybe we're not the unstoppable force we're made out to be."
The other man leaned forward, gripping the edge of the metallic table. He narrowed his gaze, studying the man opposite him who continued to keep his head dipped.
"Interesting story… Aurek, was it?" spoke the standing man. "As far as interrogations go, I don't think I've had the privilege such a forthcoming subject before. Imperials are usually so hard to break, especially those with ties to Intelligence. This information regarding 'The Seven' doesn't exactly sound beneficial to the Empire should it slip out. So, what's the story?"
The seated man released a soft chuckle. "That's always the question isn't it? Quite frankly, we don't decide the story until it's ready to be told. And that doesn't come until the mission's over."
The interrogator straightened his stance, raising a hand to gently scratch his chin. "I would assume the mission ended the moment we caught you."
"Oh, no. That's when the mission just got started."
"Oh, yeah. This capture? Planned. I wasn't lying when I said our success stemmed from proper planning. The rest of my speech, well, that's a bit fuzzy. You see, I know you've got your people on the other end of your comm just eating up this information. Digesting it. Wondering how a group like this could possibly be so effective. Or how it could have survived this long. Wondering just how it is that they might not have even heard of The Seven. The right amount of bleeding between reality and fiction. That is our goal. Our purpose. The power of misinformation. That bit about how we were just an experiment to see how the course of a battle could be changed by words alone? You think the experiment stopped? Just because you happened to get me alone on your ship? No. Instead, you won't know how to properly react when my squad storms this cruiser and rescues me."
The standing man remained unfazed. "Your squad? You mean a group of seven soldiers is going to attempt a rescue? Oh wait, since you're here that means there will only be six. Unless they've already replaced you, that is."
"No, no. They wouldn't do that while I'm still alive. After this mission, though, who knows? We might need a new Cresh though. He doesn't have the best luck. Me though? I'm sure I'll be fine for now."
"So, you're all but sure you're somehow going to survive, while you sit here… restrained… in the detention center of a major Republic cruiser?"
"Well, we were sure to pick a ship that was understaffed. And you didn't exactly follow strict, or even proper, security protocol when detaining me. No armed guards, no detention fields. You honestly could just not believe the catch you made when I agreed to come along quietly. You were so overconfident that the information I had for you would be so intrinsically valuable, so beneficial to your career, that you wanted to be the one solely responsible for 'extracting' my 'confession'. And yet we find ourselves in a situation unlike anything you've ever encountered or could even imagine."
There was a pause as the seated man finally lifted his gaze.
"Plus, managing to undo your restraining cuffs is much easier when your hands are hidden behind your back."