Prologue

It is a dark time for the galaxy, the Jedi Order is in disarray, nearly all the Jedi have been assassinated through Order 66 and the massacre at the Jedi Temple in Coruscant. Driven underground and constantly hunted by the Sith Lord Darth Vader, and the mysterious Inquisition (a mysterious band of Jedi Hunters), the stories of the Jedi's bravery and courage in the Clone Wars are all but distant memories in the minds of the masses. The once vaunted Republic Senate is merely a toothless political entity, serving as cheerleaders for the Emperor's every decree. Once staunchly Republic non-human worlds turn inward, closing themselves off from the rest of Galactic society, hoping to avoid the attentions of the Emperor's racist policies.

In the last twenty years of Imperial rule, the shadow of the Emperor's rule has enveloped tightly around the Core Worlds. The mighty Imperial Navy, with its massive fleet of Imperial Class Star Destroyers and the fearsome internal security forces (such as the Imperial Stormtroopers, Imperial Security Bureau (ISB)), and its populist movements such as the Commission for the Preservation of the New Order (COMPNOR) have extended the tendrils of Imperial propaganda into the every day lives and thought of the citizenry in the Core.

Citizens of the Mid-Rim also feel the constant presence of Imperial rule, and propaganda but are given far more leeway by the Imperial governors running the various sectors of space. Piracy, graft and corruption are constant factors in galactic commerce. Honest merchants either arm themselves with heavy weaponry or hire the protection of private security forces to ensure the the flow of commerce.

The Outer-Rim Region has degenerated into lawless fiefdoms, dominated by the Hutts and various warring criminal organizations seeking to consolidate the holdings acquired during the absence of the Republic during the Clone Wars as well as the Empire. While Imperial presence is felt, it is no means a powerful enough deterrent against criminal enterprises that have grown to rival the resources and military power of entire sectors. Rather than engage in an endless 'war against crime', the Emperor has traded certain key sectors of the Outer-Rim to ensure the continual supply of slaves and resources for the Imperial war machine.

Murder at Hapes

Having to return home and take over the family business after his father, Lai Taan, was found dead of a heart attack in the captain's quarters of the Crimson Tide, Lai Nootka began the reluctant process of taking over his father's transportation business. Managing a small company of over 50 employees, paying the bills and making sure that everyone was paid wasn't at the top of young brash fighter pilot's list.

Lai Nootka befriend and enlisted the aide of a hesitant young physician, Szhon Ilo, whom had paid his father a substantial sum for transport to the Imperial world of Carida. The young physician was the person to find Lai Taan's body, and in his initial attempts to revive the Duros, had noticed a small, almost imperceptible puncture wound by his neck. Although he did not think much of this finding, Szhon was surprised that the medical examiner would have missed such an obvious sign of physical injury in a thorough autopsy.

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