RoaE Chapter Three: Staging . A mysterious benefactor provides resources to the local Rebel cell while the Imperial garrison begins to organize a counterattack. .
The worn-down and tired members of the rebel Draigon Cell warily observe as their shrouded sponsor approaches, with him three large military-grade crates. Immediately, one of the rebels moves to scan them while the commander, Vult, turns to the Benefactor.
"What did you bring this time?" He asks, raising an eyebrow.
"Same thing as always." The Benefactor answers with a heavily distorted voice. "Money, and the means to get more money."
"I'm not one to look a gift Tauntaun in the oral cavity, but where do you get all of this from?" The commander inquires, looking at the crates.
"Does it really matter?" The Benefactor answers with another question.
"Well, yes, it can." Vult responds bluntly. "What if it's stolen? Or marked?"
"Stolen money is a just cornerstone to a just cause. And I've been working with you far too long for you to have any reason to think I'm giving you marked credits."
"It's clean, Commander." The scanning rebel speaks up. "Exactly what he says - we've got gold, silver, and gemstones in these crates."
"See, Commander?" The Benefactor asks as he strides over to Vult. "There's nothing to worry about. My only aim is to help your cause."
"Pardon my caution." Vult answers rather unapologetically. "I'm not ready to take chances with so many new and hopeful recruits flooding in. I'm fighting to save lives, and I don't care if they're Rebel, Imperial, or Civilian - I need equipment for it that won't blow up in my face."
"Commander, in the unlikely event that I do betray you, it won't be through some shady time-bomb or ignorance and neglect." The Benefactor says in an eerily calm tone. "It'll be to your face."
"How comforting." Vult replies dryly. "I thank you for your aid in this effort and hope that you prove an entirely trustworthy supporter of Draigon Cell and its Rebellion."
"Trust me, Commander, I will only benefit from a stronger Rebel Alliance."
On the other side of the conflict, back at the primary airbase of the Capital's Imperial garrison, Governor Drayven labors to keep Agent Nooram and Lord Corvus from cutting each other's throats.
"I trust you both understand that we need to work together to overcome this obstacle." Drayven almost scolds them like children. "Our positions, or our lives if Lord Vader becomes dissatisfied, are on the line."
"Corvus." Drayven points to the Sith Enforcer. "You will take a transport and a group of shock troopers to one of the more obscure Rebel locations and see what they're doing so far out. And Nooram." He turns to the ISB agent. "You will lead a tank company to a confirmed Rebel outpost and extinguish their presence, dead or alive."
The Sith Enforcer and the ISB operative briefly turn to each other, holding a glare for a few moments before they stomach their pride and redirect their attention to the Governor.
"I understand, sir." Nooram nods in assent.
"Likewise." Corvus remains still as he speaks in a gravelly voice.
"Excellent. I trust both of you will perform admirably and I expect a report the moment you have finished your respective assignments. Good luck out there." Drayven nods to them before turning on his heel and striding away.
"I suppose there is one thing we can agree on." Nooram grudgingly admits to the Sith Enforcer as they make their way to the edge of the airbase cliff.
"Enlighten me." Corvus inquires.
"These 'rebels' will bear the full might of the Empire today."
Even as high up as the operatives are, they can hear the coordinated ringing of the marching stormtroopers and the light hum of the assault hovertanks. Walkers navigate smoothly across the staging ground, towering above the infantry and engineers. Above the troops, the shadow of a patrolling TIE Striker looms.
Already, the tank company assigned to Agent Nooram has begun to mobilize. Their backup drivers march next to the turning column while engineers hurry to observe captured rebel speeders and pinpoint the manufacturer.
At the edge of the staging area, Director Matthias Slade has finally made his way to the jet-black shuttle provided for Imperial directors and higher-up Intelligence officers. His escort of Death troopers await him, as well as his ISB associate Roan Cross.
"Words cannot do justice for my need of a drink right now." Slade calls over to Cross over the commotion, rubbing his temple from having to deal with his self-absorbed ex-mentor Drayven.
"A drink might have to wait, Director, as I have been summoned to see Admiral Dorian the moment we arrive at the facility." Cross shakes his head.
"Admiral Dorian?" Slade asks incredulously, showing humor that would have never been expressed at the airfield. "Well, you must have royally screwed up! Well, regardless of what it is he needs you for, I have a bottle of Nubian blue stowed in my cabin on the shuttle. I can bear to open it, after all it may end up being your last drink!" He laughs. "But, really, what does Admiral Dorian need you for?"
"Maybe a promotion." Cross dryly jokes.
"Hah! Maybe, Roan, maybe." Slade chuckles. "Let's get going before Drayven comes running back to ask another favor."