The Price of Loyalty is a short story by Atarumaster88. It is within the Yanibar Tales as part of the Force Exile Series. The Price of Loyalty continues the story of the characters of the Force Exile trilogy three years after the events of Force Exile III: Liberator.
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.
Spectre Kraen and a small band of intelligence operatives and commandos from the fledgling Yanibar Guard are the only force stopping a criminal named Jertram Brell from exposing the secrets of the Yanibar refuge. Brell had previously helped launder credits for Yanibar, but was enticed by an Imperial offer for information about the old Separatist network that the Yanibar Guard took over. However, the presence of Imperial Intelligence agent Roxana Taskien—an old flame of Spectre's—threatens to complicate matters.
Everyone in the criminal underlayer that comprised much of Herstell’s populace likely knew who she was, and everyone on the entire planet knew better than to mess with the Red and Black League. So that meant that the . . . six goons she had detected were likely working with his permission and approval. Which meant she was as good as dead if she didn’t think fast. She quickly evaluated her assets—pitifully short at the moment. She couldn’t exactly carry weapons to work in Brell’s private club, and a small vibroblade disguised as a nailfile in her purse was not exactly ideal for fighting off six attackers.
A vision of the memorial wall in the headquarters of Imperial Intelligence flashed before her eyes, the one where the names of all the agents who had fallen in the line of duty were engraved. She pictured her name on that wall, and then immediately blinked it away. She wasn’t dead yet. Agent Roxana Taskien had been in worse spots before and survived. Though, her pessimistic side reminded her, she usually had had back-up in those cases. Unlike now, when she was completely on her own due to the risk involved in this mission.
- Spectre Kraen, Yanibar Guard Army
- Feran Slayn, Yanibar Guard Army
- Roxana Taskien, Imperial Intelligence
- Milya Tayrce, Yanibar Guard Intelligence
- Located at The Price of Loyalty
Spectre Kraen, a YGI operative named Xlora, and a team of Yanibar Guard commandos are sent to the planet Herstell to confront a criminal named Janstren Brell. Brell had previously been helping them launder funds from Separatist accounts they had appropriated, but now threatens to take their money and turn them into Imperial Intelligence. After an incognito negotiation session fails, Spectre and Xlora plan a daring raid on Brell's apartment to distract his forces while Xlora steals the incriminating datacard. Brell's house is attacked by Spectre and the commandos while Xlora successfully completes her mission. To cover up the theft, she implicates a worker at Brell's club.
However, Spectre knows that the worker is no ordinary singer. She is Roxana Taskien, an Imperial Intelligence agent he was once close to. As Brell's men close in on her, Spectre realizes he shouldn't just let her die for his crime. He intervenes in disguise, but Taskien is far from grateful. Her reaction causes him to realize that they aren't allies and haven't been for some time. He leaves her, and the Yanibar Guard returns home, having completed the mission. At the debrief, the director of Yanibar Guard Intelligence reveals to Spectre that this intervention was noticed and, as a precaution, the engines on the ship Taskien was using to leave Herstell were sabotaged, thus removing the threat. Spectre is initially distraught, but realizes sadly that this is the price of his loyalty.
Behind the scenes
The Price of Loyalty was released in November 2014 as the twentieth entry in the Yanibar Tales. At approximately 8,000 words long, it is one of the shorter Yanibar Tales. Like many of the Yanibar Tales, The Price of Loyalty is set between the prequel and original Star Wars movie trilogies.
When writing The Price of Loyalty, Atarumaster88 wanted to write another Cresh Squad adventure, but more importantly, provide additional resolution between Spectre Kraen and Roxana Taskien that lingered from Force Exile III: Liberator. Atarumaster88 initially planned on having Spectre reveal himself to Taskien, but rejected that as illogical. He also considered having Spectre and Taskien fight each other, but having already done that in Liberator, felt there was no point. Instead, the story served to resolve any remaining loyalty Spectre had to her, while she was largely a passive participant in the decision-making process.
As is typical with Force Exile Series works, Crossroads has numerous references and homages contained within its prose. Janstren Brell is a canonical criminal figure referenced in Heroes and Rogues. The comment from Spectre to Slayn about good shooting is a subtle reference to a similar line spoken by C-3PO as faux-Han Solo in Solo Command. Xlora's comment about spoiling the fun of the reveal references Mercy Kill.
Outside of Star Wars references, Spectre's intervention to save Taskien and fighting style were influenced by Christopher Nolan's Batman films. The story's setting on a more urbanized world helped provide backstory for the image used by the author to represent Feran Slayn. The opening scene and setting of the story was influenced by certain film noir settings as well as the Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC.
Recognition and reception
The Price of Loyalty currently has no awards or featured work status.
Notes and references
|Force Exile Series|