Welcome, my friend, to a galaxy far, far away. Enter the realm of Jedi and bounty hunters, soldiers and droids, rulers and beggars, aliens and humans. From Stackpole’s Corellians to Traviss's Mandalorians, immerse yourself in a universe with the exotica of Zahn, the wit of Allston, the grimness of Stover, the daring of Ostrander, the imagery of Luceno, the detail of Wallace, and most importantly, the vision of George Lucas, to whom we owe it all. And if you listen close enough, you’ll hear the sweet sounds of John Williams’ score in the background. Welcome to Star Wars.
Greetings, traveler. What brings you here to our remote corner of space? There’s little of value here if you’re after money, and little action for a thrill-seeker. After all, what significance does a dusty Outer Rim world have to the big galaxy out there? No, we’re a simple folk here on Yanibar, content to mind our own business and let the galaxy minds its own. Now, what did you say you wanted? Stories? Ah, you want to know if the scattered myths of three hundred years ago are true, if the legends of a great power that once lived here are more than old wives’ tales. They are. Once, this world was home to a great people-nothing special by themselves, but united, capable of great things. They lived and died here, all those years ago, as surely as you and I are standing right here. So, pull up a chair, grab something to drink, and I’ll tell you some of the old Yanibar tales.
It is 0 BBY, and armed rebellion against the Empire has begun flaring up around the galaxy. For their parts, the Force exiles are not immune from the lure of a chance to strike against the Empire. Teaming up with an elite Yanibar Guard unit, Cresh Squad, they launch a daring and seemingly foolhardy mission against an Imperial target, unaware of the full depth of the Empire's malice, unaware of just how dangerous this mission is.
Seated around him and across from him were six other members of the squad-their leader, a taciturn Duros named Captain Beblos, was up in the cockpit of the shuttle, doing a good job of simulating out-of-control flight. They had already donned their helmets, and the gray and black masks covered their faces, rendering them expressionless as they waited, the two glowing red lights of their optics sets standing out in stark contrast to the dark colors of the battlesuits. Naresco checked the chrono on his left gauntlet. It was getting close. For now, he sat and waited, trying not to stare at the four people at the stern of the news ship, a temptation he had to resist all mission. Normally, the special ops squads worked independently or possibly with an Intel agent or two. Being close-knit units, their team dynamics allowed them to work well together and less efficiently when tossed in with others. However, in all the simulations they had run before this mission, the four at the stern had more than proved themselves capable. That wasn’t what drew Naresco’s attention, though. It was who they were.
- Director Milya Tayrce Kraen, Yanibar Guard Intelligence
- Sarth Kraen, corporate executive and engineer
- Supreme Commander Selusda Kraen, Yanibar Guard
- General Spectre Kraen, Yanibar Guard Army
- Corporal Dex Naresco, Yanibar Guard Army
- Located at Hard Code
In 0 BBY, Selusda, Milya, Sarth and Spectre Kraen team up with the elite commando unit Cresh Squad to infiltrate an Imperial Star Destroyer. Boarding the vessel while it is only partially crewed and unaware, they advance deep into the ship and attempt to steal its highly-valuable computer core. While doing, they are discovered by the Imperial crew and are forced to repel the ship's contingent of stormtroopers. During the fighting, Selu, Milya, Sarth and Spectre suddenly collapse due to the Force disturbance resulting from the destruction of Alderaan.
With their leadership incapacitated, it falls to slicer Dex Naresco to complete removal of the core and extract it and the team. He succeeds and the infiltrators withdraw under fire to the escape pods. The removal of the computer core has crippled the warship, but Naresco sees a further opportunity. Knowing that the ship's captain was responsible for an atrocity on his homeworld of Dubrillion, Naresco attempts to program an explosive-rigged escape pod to crash into the bridge, but the delay causes one of the squad members to be seriously injured. Selu and Spectre talk him down from his quest for revenge and Naresco boards the escape pod, where Selu conceals it with the Force as they make their way to a nearby Yanibar Guard warship with the stolen computer core. As a parting shot, Selu has Naresco designate the ship's bridge for a volley of torpedoes, dealing a heavy blow to the Empire and providing justice for Dubrillion.
Behind the scenes
Hard Code was released in December 2008 as the fifth entry in the Yanibar Tales. At approximately 15,300 words long, it is above median length for the Yanibar Tales. Hard Code is one of several Yanibar Tales to be set between the prequel and original trilogies.
The title of Hard Code was something of a play on words, as it referred to "hard" or raw computer code, as well as difficult code, both of which come to play in the story. As the third story in the Cresh Squad trilogy, it also incorporates characters from the main Force Exile story arc. The author intentionally departed from the grittier style of the other two stories in the Cresh Squad trilogy, as he wanted Hard Code to be a bridge between Cresh Squad and the Kraens, as well as a prelude to Force Exile IV: Guardian. The original concept for the story revolved around a mission led by Jedi that was endangered by the destruction of Alderaan; at one point, this was event was supposed to occur in Force Exile IV. During the writing process, the ending of the story was undecided as to whether or not Naresco would survive the battle aboard the Impenetrable.
As is common in Force Exile stories, Atarumaster88 used a number of references to both canonical works and other media. The story was somewhat influenced by stories by Timothy Zahn, in particular Dark Force Rising and Handoff, both of which described the importance of a Star Destroyer's computer core. The novel Before the Storm was also useful for the purposes of describing the type of information contained in such a core. Selu's line of "“Alderaan. It’s been completely destroyed.” is an homage to a similar stated by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope.
Outside of canon, the Nighthawk missiles mentioned in the story derive their designation from that of the stealth aircraft, the F-117 Nighthawk.
Recognition and reception
Hard Code currently has no awards or featured work status.
Notes and references
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