The Deserter

Chapter 6

The Unwilling Martyrs

Guten Tag! Part six is here! Thank you so much for the reviews and support. I won't apologize for the wait, other things in my life take priority, as is the case with everybody. For me, it's my job, summer college Biology (my least favorite subject), Merit Badge paperwork, and an Eagle Scout Project. Not as easy as one would think. Additionally, I have to come up with my own storyline, I don't want to borrow from the series, I want this to be something new.

A/N: Inspiration has left me high and dry lately, and I have a very difficult time creating these chapters for you guys when I have no idea what to write. My goal is to take organizations and characters with a very little story to them and give them a more memorable role in this story like I did the Crimson Brotherhood. So if any of you can give me the identities of such things, let me know PLEASE!

Your patience is admirable, many in this world could a learn a thing or two from you guys ;)

Disclaimer: Star Wars is property of Disney

Four days had passed since the assassination of Governor Hane and the subsequent action of Marshal Law that sparked an inferno of civil outbreaks. For the rebels, the parts were acquired, Nar Shaddaa an unpleasant memory, and the alliance a victim of relentless propaganda after the hit.

Imperial reporters had a field day. Voice of Unity Silenced, Terrorist Cell Goes Too Far, Recruitment Turnouts Skyrocket, were just drops in an ocean of anti-rebel propaganda that continued to besmirch the name and intentions of the Alliance.

Already, members of the imperial senate who held their hands out to the Rebellion were pulling away. Men and women who considered stepping away from the Empire's shadow were now refusing to walk into the light. Resistance cells ceased to sprout, and the ones in blossom have begun to wither.

In fact, mere hours ago, the Empire had Hane's corpse cremated and his ashes placed beside the memorial of Maketh Tua on Lothal. The news articles claimed it was to show the citizens of the Empire that those who served their people were honored and immortalized. But anyone who had two brain cells to rub together could smell the Bantha dung from parsecs away. They were unwilling martyrs for the Empire, and Hane gave the Empire an excuse to start a memorial for the "brave individuals who may give their lives to stomp out the flames of rebellion."

The Alliance soldiered on, just as they always have. Improvements were made to the Ghost to prevent another accident. The Broken Horn lost a business partner in the Ghost Crew, the latter earning a healthy amount of paranoia when making deals with hoodlums. Half of the Lothal insurrectionists didn't move past the Recluse's actions and shared the resident Mandalorian's desires. One of which allowed the frustration to leak inside of his mind and the power it granted him was intoxicating but dangerous.

The normally immovable chunk of scrapped durasteel moved with ease at Ezra's will. A few passerby Mon Calamari were impressed, even though their knowledge of the Force was rather limited; but then again, whose wasn't?

Ezra lifted the pieces of debris and yanked them towards him before slicing them into smaller fragments with a visible amount of frustration. His normally blue eyes adopted a sickly orange tint for a fraction of a second.

"I think it's dead." The all too familiar voice of the resident Lasat inadvertently ceased the boy's indulgence in the sweet syrup that was the Dark Side.

"You can never be too sure." Ezra deactivated his weapon and returned Zeb's humor.

"I guess not, follow me, Raddus want's to have a word."

The incident with Hane dealt a serious blow to the Alliance's support, however some good did arise in the form of a brave, skilled, and somewhat brash Mon Calamari Admiral by the name of Raddus. Raddus saw the sudden decline in recruits as a sign that the cell needed his support now more than ever and generously lent some of his cruisers to the main fleet, the capital of which known as the Profundity served as a home away from the Ghost for the crew until a base of operations was made available.

Although Raddus's more aggressive strategies often put the aquatic individual at odds with Sato's defensive snatch and grab tactics, he was an invaluable addition to the cause.

"I am aware that other matters demand attention, so I'll keep this brief." Raddus walked across the briefing room as if he couldn't reveal anything else until he had made eye contact with all present.

"Recent Imperial deployments have revealed a change in their infantry, courtesy of combat inadequacies." The Mon Calamari began, "Take this unit for example."

The holo table sparked to life and displayed a man standing tall and proud with armor identical to the ones Sabine saw on Nar Shaddaa and an electrostaff held firmly in hand.

"Imperial Riot Troopers," Hera spoke.

"Indeed, Captain Syndulla," Raddus nodded, "Trained to combat hoodlums and Jedi alike and wear armor that makes them difficult to kill. The weak spots are the armor joints can incapacitate them."

The blue alien released a stressed sigh.

"The riot soldiers are one of many new units that I expect reviewed by all personnel." Raddus waved his hand around the room for emphasis.

"Any questions? Good. Dismissed."

Hera remained while most other attendants returned to their duties with updated dossiers in hand.

"Admiral Raddus." Hera captured the old aquatic commander's attention.

"Captain Syndulla."

"With all due respect sir, we aren't ready for ground warfare against the Empire."

"You think I don't know that?" he chuckled, "I never said we're taking the fight on soil, but we do need to be ready for a few incursions."

"We'd be better off with the Imperial Convoys, fewer casualties, and less risk." The Twi'lek raised an eyebrow.

"If it were mere materials like fuel and ordnance, then yes, we would." The Mon Calamari admitted, "But what we need right now is trust. Sato told me what happened with Tua."

"She was sacrificed like an animal."

"Yet it did more damage to our cause than any Star Destroyer could. Do you understand why?"

"I have a feeling that you are about to tell me." Hera crossed her arms.

"Maketh Tua was nothing like Arihnda Price," Raddus explained, "Pryce stood for the production of weapons and a tighter leash on those who weren't licking Palpatine's boots."

Hera opted to remain silent and allowed the gruff-voiced man to continue.

"Tua, on the other hand, did her best to establish comfort and stability for all the governed. You undoubtedly know she believed you threatened that with your actions and the propaganda the Empire has been drowning us in."

"Based on what I heard, Hane was no different." Hera was quick to put the two together, "The two would have gotten along well."

"Which brings me to my next point." Raddus nodded, "Orson Krennic represents the production of a massive weapon that has reportedly left dozens of planets drained of their resources and led to the enslavement of their people to meet the production quotas. Conversely, Kormin Hane stood for everything Tua did. Had your Recluse friend killed Krennic instead of Hane, we'd have rallied support instead of gaining enemies."

"With all due respect, sir," Hera chose her words carefully, "We are already aware of that."

"I know." Raddus gave a humorless chuckle, "'Why do you ask what you already know?'"

"Then what is it that I don't know?"

"You are being re-tasked. The medical supply stations in the Ryndellian System will be handled by another team."

If the Mon Calamari didn't have the green-skinned pilot's attention before, he certainly did now. The Ryndellian facilities had been on the Alliance's list for a long time since being framed for Tua's murder. Had the crew not been gunned down by the lucky TIE fighter, the task would have fallen to them. Needless to say, the rebels had- perhaps unwisely- dedicated a portion of their forces in search of the Ghost crew; according to Raddus, they were too valuable an asset to lose.

"Where are we needed?" Hera asked her determination born from the time spent off the battlefield and forced to help a hitman set the Alliance back a few steps.

"I trust you are familiar with Alderaan?" Raddus crossed his arms behind his back; reminding any observant individual of an Imperial Officer.

"Of course." Hera gave a simple nod.

"One of the Alliance's primary backers is Bail Organa. During the time of the Galactic Republic, House Organa held the mantle, but since the Empire's birth, House Thul has usurped Organa's position of power."

"I thought House Thul was disbanded after the Fall of the Old Republic?"

"Technically speaking they still are, but a few remaining members formed Bornaryn Trading."

"I vaguely recall their main export being tibanna, won't find much of that on Alderaan." Hera had only a brief remembrance of Bornaryn Trading from her readings.

"Their precious metals are a different story." The aquatic being reactivated the holo table and pulled up a display of what appeared to be blueprints for battle droids, but not the dirt cheap B1 models used by the CIS during the Galactic Civil War, the destructive Basilisk tier war droids.

"Rumors have been spreading that Bornaryn Trading is utilizing forced labor workers to combat these new models. A barbaric testing ground if you will. Allegedly, this is the only reason why House Organa still represents Alderaan in the Imperial Senate." He continued, "They are willing to pay for any additional work power."

"You mean slaves?" Hera asked the question even though she already knew the answer.

"Exactly, which is how we will get you past the blockade."

"You're going to sell us?" Hera was nonplussed.

"Just a few of you alongside other willing volunteers. Bail has a few agents within Bornaryn that will provide you with instructions to bring down this ring of traffickers."

"If it helps the Rebellion then I am positive that my crew will be up to the task but can you at least give us an idea as to how long whoever volunteers will be stuck in the labor camp?"

Raddus paused for ten seconds before delivering his answer.

"Twenty rotations at the least, a standard month at the most."

Although the notion seemed a bit flimsy at first blush, Hera knew she had to remember the gravity of the Rebellion's current predicament. They needed to show that they fought for the people and not for themselves, and until that happened the Empire would continue to use the face of Governor Hane on every piece of propaganda for months. If a few weeks in Imperial labor camps could help repair the damage done to the alliance's reputation, then the Twi'lek could say beyond a shadow of a doubt that her family was willing to do it.

"I'll gather whoever is willing." Hera nodded with a crisp salute.

Raddus returned the gesture.

"I guarantee that this will not be for nothing. But before you leave, please distribute these to your crew, it is important that they know what they are signing up for."

Hera accepted the data pads without a word and took her leave.

An hour later, Ezra was eager to volunteer to be the slave for the mission. He did this once before with an Imperial Academy if anything infiltrating a labor camp would be easier. But at Hera's request, he begrudgingly reviewed the provided datapads and took a small level of interest in their content.

Currently, he was reviewing the profile on the man who served as an executive of sorts for Bornaryn's extracurricular activities. The official's name was Haerloth Tul and one glance at the guy would make anyone wonder if he was the unholy offspring of a Hutt and the pirate Azmorigan. The man was covered with –potential multiple- layers of fat, it was like the man had never eaten a single healthy food or walked a step since he was born. His face bore a brown Franz Josef-style beard and his greasy hair was matted down and to the side, save for a few strands that seemed to defy any wishes of Haerloth and stood up straight.

Haerloth's surname was a subject of great controversy when its legitimacy came into question. The Thuls was known for being very strict when it came to who was chosen to lead, and this fat man didn't seem to possess the physical or mental capabilities to serve as the liaison between Bornaryn and the Galactic Empire. Saw Gerrera had even compared the man to Sanjay Rash, the false king given power during the Separatist occupation in the Civil War.

"In a time such as this, there will always be a Rash." Saw had said.

Ezra put down the datapad and walked to the Ghost. It was time for a haircut. If he was to be a prisoner he had to look the part. Nothing said scum of the galaxy like a nearly shaven head and cold personality.

Annnnd cut! I hope you enjoyed the chapter, please R&R.

A/N: I've decided to answer your questions and comments in the reviews.

Burke23: You can be very profound when you want to be.

SPARTAN-626: Thanks for the recommendations, I'll check them out. Your review was greatly appreciated. I think Burke23 has some competition for most active reviewer XD

Mogor: I just did XD. But all kidding aside, I'll keep writing ;)

Guest: The other reviews you left me on my original two stories pointed out factors that motivated me to rewrite them in the first place.

As you may have noticed, another Rogue One character has found his way into the story. That's because I'm building up to the film itself and showing how each of the Rogues played a part in the Rebellion before Jyn came into the picture.

What you have just read is my interpretation of Raddus's character. When the rebel leaders wanted to back down with the threat of a planet-busting weapon, Raddus urged them to fight. I firmly believe that he undertook his actions because he wanted to give a show of the rebellion's strength. That act of bravery without a doubt rallied more allies to the rebellion when they successfully pulled off the unthinkable. In a time of weakness, you must show strength, that is the philosophy of Admiral Raddus.

One last thing, for those of you that are having trouble imagining Harloth Tul, just look up Hans Showmaster from Ben and Ed and you'll get the idea. ;)

Glory to Mandalore!