GENERIS, ATRIVIS SECTOR----
Independent Galactic News - Besham Relief Effort
A middle-aged Mirialan woman wearing a traveller’s outfit appears on the screen. She smiles at the viewer in a practiced manner before introducing herself:
Qiru: Greetings citizens of the galaxy, I am Razhal Qiru, reporter for Independent Galactic News. Today, I find myself on the planet Generis, where a colonist settlement of Twi’leks have been trying to survive for fifteen years without contact to the wider galaxy. Once, they sent a distress call to the Galactic Republic, but due to the ongoing war, the Republic never responded – until now.
The camera shifts to provide the viewers with an image of a small village where local twi’leks, Republic soldiers, Jedi, and volunteer work in unison.
Qiru: Join me for three insightful interviews: First with Commander Braya Yasra, seniormost coordinator of the project on Generis; second, with Ranger Captain Risa Numarkus, who is the colonist in charge of the locals; and thirdly, an interview with two volunteers that provide their impression on the on-going operation, one of them a Jedi, another and everyday man from Coruscant.
Commander Braya Yasra
The recording starts and soon Razhal’s voice is heard:
Qiru: Would you mind introducing yourself to our viewers?
A naval officer in her late-thirties comes into view. Her complexion is fair, and her appearance is modest but well-kept.
Yasra: Naturally. I’m Commander Braya Yasra of the First Expeditionary Fleet, Republic Navy. I’m the captain of the RSS Empress Teta, and the seniormost coordinator of the project here on Generis.
Qiru:What can you tell us about the situation here on Generis?
Yasra: Varied, but steadily improving. The Twi’lek colony here on Generis – Besham – had been out of contact with the Republic and the wider galaxy for some fifteen years before their most recent transmission, received a few weeks ago, now. When we arrived, Besham was in a deleterious state, with crumpling defenses, failing utilities, and a contaminated water supply.
Qiru: How come the colony has been out of touch for so long?
Yasra: Generis is a relatively isolated system on the frontier of Republic territory, and the Twi’lek colony here is only small, with few connections off-world. Besham’s communications array has been non-functional for a long time, and is only now being repaired.
Qiru: I understand the locals have been attacked by a native species?
Yasra: Yes; Besham has come under attack by a semi-sentient species indigenous to Generis, dubbed ‘slashers’ by the Twi’lek residents here. They appear to be bloodthirsty and warlike; only forty-six hours ago, we helped the villagers repel an enormous attack.
Qiru: Are these ‘slashers’ the reason why the communication’s array was destroyed?
Yasra: I… I’m not completely sure on that point; Captain Numarkus would probably be able to give you a specific answer to that. But, it’s likely; these so-called slashers caused much damage to the village, and are responsible for many deaths, too.
The reporter nods in response.
Qiru: How do Republic relief forces intend to secure the safety of the colonists after departing Generis?
Braya clasps her hands together, fingers interlaced, as she considers the question, briefly.
Yasra: We have already made several improvements to Besham's infrastructure, and defensive fortifications to help stave off future attacks. We recognise, however, that this isn't a long-term solution, and the attacks will only cease if we can address the root cause of the problem. We would prefer a peaceful, diplomatic solution, but so far, we have been unable to establish anything more than most basic of communications with these so-called slashers, and they seem inherently opposed to conventional diplomacy. After several encounters, and patient observation and planning, we believe we have plan that has a reasonable chance of resolving the matter. I'm not at liberty to say precisely what that plan involves, though it is a compromise between a diplomatic solution and a more aggressive response. Using the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve peace is one of our highest priorities.
Qiru: Some people might see this as another example of a technologically advanced civilization subjugating less developed natives by virtue of superior might - a tactic more closely affiliated with the Sith- and Eternal Empire than the Galactic Republic. Is there anything you would like to say to such critics?
Braya manages to refrain from any particular expression that might betray her emotions, though the observant might detect a slight glimmer of exasperation. Her tone, however, is calm and measured, as she speaks.
Yasra: Yes - this is a topic that has arisen in the discussions that we have had here ourselves, and with the villagers. I don't believe those comparisons take full account of the situation here on Generis. I should be clear in stating that Besham was established on uninhabited ground, and that the Twi'lek citizenry have tried to lead a modest, peaceful life. These so-called slashers, by contrast, are unambiguously the aggressor in this conflict; they were the first to attack, and have done so repeatedly, averaging one major offensive annually, the severity of which increases with each passing year. To the best of my knowledge, these attacks are unprovoked, and one can hardly claim that the Twi'lek population -- with Besham as their only settlement -- is encroaching upon slasher territory.
The camera zooms in on Yasra's expression while she speaks, and the reporter remains silent for a heartbeat to see whether the commander has more to add.
Yasra: As a representative of the Republic, it is both my interest and my duty to try to balance the concerns of Besham and the Twi'lek villagers, with the indigenous slashers. As I mentioned before, we are seeking a practical long-term solution to the conflict, preferably one that allows the indigenous tribes to live a similar -- if markedly less bloody -- existence.
Braya blinks, seemingly relaxed and awaiting the reporter's next question or comment.
After a suitable pause the reporter continues:
Qiru: Given that several volunteers have been called in, your efforts here have clearly been more than military in nature. Could you shed some light on the decision to bring in volunteers, and tell us what they have been doing?
Braya nods, a glimmer of enthusiasm shining through in her expression.
Yasra: Of course. The Navy has taken of responsibility for this project -- codenamed Operation Forgotten Cry -- and has pledged its resources to help the people of Besham. With the state of the galactic economy and the ongoing resource shortages affecting many worlds in the Republic, we recognise, however, that the scale of the problems facing the village requires broad support if we are to fully achieve our goals for reconstruction. We put out the call, and the response to the initiative has been beyond our expectations; individuals and groups from all walks of life have come together in the spirit of co-operation. Just last week, we received a major boost to our numbers when an enclave of Jedi arrived and pledged their services to the project. Though the threat posed by the slashers is probably the greatest currently facing Besham, it is not the only one, and it's only by utilizing the diverse skills and generosity of our volunteers that we have a chance to really succeed. Repairs to the communications array are taking place as we speak, and work is also underway to erect moisture vaporators and solar panels to help provide water and energy for the village. And, just yesterday, groups were tending the fields to pull in the harvest for the village.
Qiru: Since we don’t often have the opportunity to interview a high-ranking Republic officer, I hope you don’t mind if I broaden the perspective with my next question: The weakened state of galactic governments in wake of recent wars, have left an opening for criminal cartels, slavers, and other organizations, on worlds where the arm of law can no longer reach. Independent Galactic News has managed to cover such developments in several places in the galaxy, and it doesn’t look good for the average man, or for colonists such as the ones here on Generis. As a commander in the Republic Navy, how do you believe the Republic ought to regain its foothold and secure safety for its subjects?
Braya quirks her eyebrows, briefly, taking some time to mull the question over, before responding, thoughtfully.
Again, the camera zooms in on her expression.
Yasra: That's a provocative question. I believe that the Republic will prevail, chiefly because of its central values, as espoused by the Core Founders and as documented by the Galactic Constitution; those values that have endured over the thousands of years since the Republic's founding. Reconstruction projects like the Zhondos Initiative on Coruscant or Operation Forgotten Cry here on Generis are important, because they are focused on rebuilding the Republic, its infrastructure and supporting its people in a very direct way, and they therefore can -- and often do -- galvanise popular support. I'm confident that similar initiatives and projects taking place elsewhere across the Republic, and into the future, can steadily reverse the tide of resource crises, economic depression, and political instability. On a larger scale, the balance of power in the galaxy is undoubtedly -- if only slowly and inexorably -- shifting, and the Republic has many challenges to come, politically, socially, economically, and yes, militarily. Nevertheless, I'm hopeful that the Republic my father and my forebears fought to protect is the one I will be able to entrust to the next generation, in kind.
Qiru: Thank you, Commander Yasra. Is there anything you would like to add before we conclude the interview?
Braya nods, trying to keep her concluding remarks as concise as possible.
Yasra: I would like to thank the volunteers that have helped the people of Besham, here, on Generis, as well as anyone else -- civilian, Jedi, or military -- who is undertaking similar efforts elsewhere. We couldn't have acheived as much as we have already without such tireless support, and it's precisely on that basis that the Republic has, and will continue, to prosper. I'd also like to thank yourself and the network for bringing our work to the attention of a wider audience; it's very much appreciated.
Ranger Captain Risa Numarkus
The reporter nods, and then counts down on her hand. A red light on the camera turns green, and it is on.
Qiru: Would you mind introducing yourself to our viewers?
Risa looks confused at the term 'viewers' having grown up from the age of four on Generis she is unfamiliar with the Holonet or anything similar.
Numarkus: I have said this. My name is Risa, I am Captain of Besham's Rangers.
Qiru: Besham being your settlement here on Generis?
The ranger captain nods once, gesturing to the village around them.
Numarkus: This is Besham, yes.
The camera shifts to take in the village before returning to the Ranger Captain.
Qiru: I understand that you have had some trouble the last fifteen years, and sent a distress signal to the Galactic Republic?
Numarkus: Yes, we have been attacked each year by slashers. My mother asked for aid when I was in my nineteenth season. This is my twenty fifth. No help came until those you see in my village arrived.
Qiru: Did they explain why no one was sent sooner?
Numarkus: No. I think not. But we sent new signal and they came.
Qiru: Could you tell us something about these slashers that have been plaguing your people?
Risa's expression turns sour, her almost revulsion clear as she replies.
Numarkus: They attack every year, each time for longer. At first it was a week. This migration has been over six months. They are vicious...evil. They taint and scar they land with their filth.
Qiru: Do you feel the efforts by the Republic and volunteers will secure the safety of your people?
Numarkus: I do not know. They have greatly aided me and mine. But, the slashers are a terrible foe. They have attacked my people for fifteen years. Taken friends and loved ones. I watched my own brother be taken from Besham, torn apart and eaten by their filth.
The twi’lek turns her head away, moisture clearly visible as it rolls down her face.
Numarkus: For the first time in years I have hope; hope that me and mine can finally live and grow in peace. It is all our elders wanted when we first came here.
The camera zooms in on the crying Twi'lek, lured in by emotion like a nexu catching the scent of blood.
Qiru: How come you have not moved elsewhere?
Risa turns her attention directly to the reporter, a scornful look on her face. How dare the reporter ask such a question, as if her people are stupid?
Numarkus: You think we did not think of that? We have no ships, and anywhere we go on this world they could find us! No, it was best we stayed here. Defended what is ours.
Qiru: You have ships now... And there is no shortage of potential home worlds out there.
Numarkus: And why should we leave? Your Republic granted us this colony. It was has been our home for over twenty seasons. Me and mine have fought and bled for this, Besham is ours.
Qiru: I see... Have the natives provided any indication as to why they are attacking your people?
Numarkus: No...never. Faulkner has a theory...that maybe they are challenging us. That violence is a part of their language. You would need to ask her for details.
Risa cuffs at her cheeks, removing the trails of tears.
Numarkus: All I know is that they attack, and we defend...as best we can. But it was not enough, this is why I asked for help once more.
Qiru: Thank you, Ranger Captain. Would you like to add something before we conclude the interview?
Risa shakes her head.
Numarkus: No. Just that I am truly thankful to those that came. They have my respect, and friendship, if they so wish it.
Boreese Ontrello and Knight Aerón Kellen
The reporter counts down on her fingers; three, two, one, GO! She faces the camera.
Qiru: I am Razhal of the Independent Galactic News. I am here on Generis, where local Twi'lek refugees have suffered under a crisis. With me, I have two volunteers who came here to assist the locals. Could you introduce yourselves to our viewers?
Boreese Ontrello nods along, holding on the the straps of his backpack as he watches the reporter expectantly, if not a bit nervous about the whole situation. His smile switches between cheery and bashful, as he had to keep reminding himself to smiiiile.
Aerón offers another bow of his head as he clasps his hands behind his back.
Kellen: Jedi Knight Aerón Kellen of the Alderaanian Praxeum.
Ontrello: Boreese Ontrello! Formerly worked the kitchens aboard the bulk freighter 'The Decadent'. Now, I handle the food and some bartendin' in the Dealer's Den cantina on Coruscant. Oh and... Ehh, nah. Think that's it, heh.
Ontrello: Well, not kitchen, but the 'galley'... Ehh, nevermind, they'll get it.
Qiru: Those are some quite diverse jobs! How did you learn of this expedition?
Kellen: Republic Chanels. Speaking for myself and other Jedi, we like to keep appraised of happenings in the Republic due to our relationship with it.
Ontrello: Ooo, well... I was involved in that Zhondos Initiative with 'em First Expeditionary Fleet folks. Since then, I've sorta just kept my ears 'bout them... Overheard some of my customers in the Dealer's Den talkin' 'bout it and well... Figured I'd throw my lot in with 'em again.
Aerón nods along to what Boreese is saying.
Kellen: Involvement in the Zhondos Initiative also helped in learning about this one.
Qiru: For those uninitiated, could you provide a brief summary of this other initiative?
Kellen: The Zhondos Initiative was part of the Republic Restoration effort, with focus on Coruscant and, specifically, its lower levels. The goal was to make it better for those who lived there.
A woman passes through, speaking quickly to the interviewees.
Female Volunteer: Team Resh just came in. Injured. Looks bad. We might be needed further.
The volunteer delivers her message and walks with hurried steps back to the group. The Reporter looks over at the interruption, then back to her interviewees.
Qiru: I see... Do you need to go?
Kellen: I can stay. I am sure they've got it handled for now. I am not part of the medical personnel.
Ontrello: Aye, 'fraid I'd be more in the way than I'd be helpin' the lot of 'em but...
His brow creases with some worry, as he glances over his shoulder.
Qiru: So, from what I gather, there is a network arranged by the First Expeditionary Fleet that arranges humanitarian efforts across Republic space?
Ontrello: ... I'm sorry, lass. I'll come 'round later but... I can't stand 'round chattin' without knowin' I can't help or not. If you're willin' to put a pin in it, I'll get back to you but... Just ain't right, this.
Qiru: Of course. Thank you for your time.
The reporter smiles to Boreese, who turns on his heel, ready to waddle off and see if he can't do something. The reporter turns her gaze back to Aerón, her former question still standing.
Kellen: I admit I can't speak for who is involved in the arrangement, but suffice to say the First Expeditionary Fleet was involved in both the Zhondos Initiative and the operation here. An impressive showing of the Republic's finest, as it were.
Qiru: Alright - Moving on to present day, can you explain, in your own words, what is going on here? It seems like you are fighting something?
She indicates over in the direction that Boreese left in.
Kellen: The villagers of Besham have been under attack by a species native to this planet, referred to as slashers. Not sure of their motives, but we've helped to defend the village and helped out with other problems.
The reporter emits a faint 'hm' before posing her next query.
Qiru: Does that mean you have been exterminating the natives in favour of the colonizing Twe'leks?
Kellen: Not at all. We've tried to avoid conflict as much as possible, but when they attacked, we helped to defend the Twi'leks. Our goals were more to make sure the village had access to food and water once more.
The reporter answers with a smile.
Qiru: I see. Final-
She pauses, turning to regard Boreese as he returns. The camera turns with her.
Qiru: Welcome back!
Ontrello: Oo, thank you for that, lass. Missed out on the bulk of it, did I? No matter, no matter. I'm certain Knight Kellen answered better than I could, hah!
Qiru: Finally, could you tell our viewers what you have been doing while here, and whether you believe these efforts have paid off?
Ontrello: Well, I've been called an... Oo what was it... Ah yeah, now I'm rememberin'. 'Impromptu Morale Officer'! I do some cookin', some entertainin' with a song and tales of ol'... Help make the day-to-day better for the actual heroes 'round here, you know?
Kellen: We've helped the Twi'leks gain a steady source of water. Helped them get their farms harvested and running again. Treated their ill. Rebuilt their defences. It's hard to tell what the future will bring, but hopefully, our efforts will make their lives easier.
Qiru: Thank you. Do either of you have something to add before we cease recording?
Ontrello: Oh, 'course, what we've been doin' as a whole, heh, heh-heh-heh...
He smiles sheepishly, clearing his throat, having a sudden urge to wipe his brow. The reporter offers the nervous man a practiced smile, and looks to the Jedi to see if he has anything further to add.
Ontrello: Oo, well, yeah- What Knight Kellen said. Listen to the ol' chatterbox on me go...
Kellen: I would add that everyone should take heart; At times, it might seem dark, but hope remains. And, may the Force be with you.
Aerón offers a deep bow of respect.
Ontrello: As for somethin' to say, well... If any of the crew aboard 'The Decadent' is watchin' this... I got on the news first, Skimper! You owe ten credits and a bottle of Mantellian!
He says directly to the camera, grinning for a moment before fading into a frown.
Ontrello: Well, that might be a bit inappropriate for a serious case, ehh... Just... Just cut that, and... I wish everyone watchin' fair skies and good fortunes!