Hope you guys enjoy this, and I don't believe there will be a very long delay before the next chapter is posted. I've already got most of the groundwork for it completed.
The prologue, for reference, is here:
The Enloe Trials Prologue: The Baron's Crusade
Imperial Center... formerly known as Coruscant...
"Lord Vader," a dark voice hisses.
"What is thy bidding, my Master?" Darth Vader asks.
"There is a great disturbance in the Force," Emperor Palpatine informs his apprentice.
"I have felt it," Vader replies.
"Something distant... something... unnatural."
"Yes," Palpatine smiles.
"Your feelings serve you well."
"It is a power... known as the Sickness... it is difficult to control," Palpatine explains.
"Even for a Sith."
"Many years ago, a Sith Lord named Darth Scabrous attempted to harvest this power," the Dark Lord explains.
"The artifact has been found, then?" Vader asks.
"Yes, it seems Baron Tylin Gere has tracked it to Dathomir following the raid of a Rebel base... however, it is currently in the hands of Badoo Corba terrorists," the Emperor says with disgust.
"I was under the impression that Baron Gere's forces had gone missing?" Vader inquires as he follows his master.
"No, they were NEVER missing. However, he has disobeyed orders in his personal quest for the artifact," Palpatine remarks.
"Is Baron Gere to be... dealt with?" Vader asks.
"Perhaps," Palpatine smiles.
"But the immediate concern is to ensure the Sickness is... quarantined."
"If it could be controlled, it could be a useful weapon," Vader offers.
"Indeed... evaluate the situation, and report back to me," Palpatine orders his apprentice.
"But be mindful, Lord Vader. Do not underestimate its power."
Located in the furthest reaches of the Outer Rim, Urelia has been far removed from recent events in the galaxy.
The spaceport known at Rithos once offered travelers from all corners of the galaxy a friendly haven...
...but recent Imperial expansion has made this remote world a popular attraction for criminals and scum.
Outside a popular cantina, Freelo Macklar eagerly waits for his friend to exit the building.
Inside the bar, various creatures enjoy refreshments and dangerous concoctions...
...brewed locally by owner and bartender, Heglito Hagmodo.
"Celi-jar-mutus!" a satisfied Resparin customer shouts.
Scanning the crowd, a mysterious hooded figure approaches a seated warrior.
"A dark saber knows no light..." the warrior says to the hooded alien.
"...until the holder renounces his ways," the other replies.
"I already knew it was you," Kala Mly Shundi says.
"You can remove your mask. You look more suspicious with it on."
"At least I'm not stupid enough to openly carry a lightsaber around," Rykrof Enloe replies.
"I was here an hour earlier," Kala says, ignoring the insult.
"Where were you?"
"Thinking through this," Rykrof explains to the former Jedi.
"Well, at least you showed up. I was beginning to think you changed your mind."
"I did change my mind," Rykrof admits.
"About which part?" Kala asks suspiciously.
"All of it. There's too much at risk; I can't go through with what you're planning," Rykrof tells him.
"But, we need your help," the former Jedi counters.
"You have more contacts on Coruscant than any of us do. If we are going make a move with the Senate, now is the time."
"Those are old contacts," Rykrof says while shaking his head.
"And at first I thought it might work... but there's no way a coup will succeed. They're too loyal to the Emperor."
"Bail Organa can not go about this alone," Kala insists.
"We need a veteran from the war to stand shoulder to shoulder with him! And you know it can't be a Jedi!"
Just then, a Duros bounty hunter swiftly approaches Kala from behind...
...in response, Kala's lightsaber hisses to life as he slices off the attacker's hand!
Several of the cantina patrons look up from their drinks, but keep their distance.
"JEDI SCUM!" the bounty hunter shouts.
"You will PAY for this!"
"I have spared your life," Kala replies smoothly.
"Now, leave, before I change my mind."
"Rykrof, given the circumstances I suggest we continue this discussion outside," Kala says as he turns to his friend.
"There is something else I need to discuss with you... something I've learned regarding Tylin Gere."
"No," Rykrof disagrees.
"This conversation is over."
"I can't be part of your war against the Empire, and I don't need to hear about Tylin."
"You must do what your instincts tell you," Kala replies.
"But the day will come when you will realize your importance... when you realize what is right."
"Don't lecture me about morality, not after what you did in the war," Rykrof says as he walks away.
"I have a family to worry about."
Outside, Freelo approaches his friend.
"Well?" the Mon Calamari asks.
"How did he take it?"
"About as good as can be expected, I guess," Rykrof admits.
"Still though, staying out of this isn't something I'm proud of."
"I was meaning to tell you," Freelo interrupts, changing the subject.
"Something is wrong with our communications. Everything is scrambled."
"What?" Rykrof asks.
"How long has this been happening?"
"Several minutes," Freelo offers.
"Well, don't get in a panic just yet," Rykrof says.
"It could be anything."
"Look at THAT!" Freelo suddenly exclaims.
"In the sky!"
"I don't believe this... that's what's jamming your signal..."
"...a Star Destroyer!"
"It's the Dantallion... Tylin Gere's personal flagship... they must have tracked Kala here!"
"Wait for me!" Freelo whimpers.
"BLAST!" Rykrof curses.
"I don't see him anywhere!"
As he turns around, he sees that Freelo has attracted the attention of one of the cantina's seductive employees...
"Where do you think you're going?" the sultry worker playfully giggles.
"Don't even think about it, Freelo!" Rykrof scolds his friend.
"Do you think the Imperials knew you were meeting with Kala?" Freelo asks, changing the subject.
"Who knows...," Rykrof says as he looks back to where he and the former Jedi had spoken just minutes earlier.
"But we better get moving."
Meanwhile, aboard the Dantallion, Baron Tylin Gere awaits contact from an Imperial scout team sent to the surface.
"I want the Enloe family taken into custody at once," Tylin commands as the transmission begins.
"If they put up a fight?" officer Draven asks.
"In that case, arrest Enloe and his son," the Baron says.
"KILL the others."
Thanks for reading, and any feedback is greatly appreciated!