Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks is the second junior novel in the Star Wars Rebels Servants of the Empire young readers series. The book was written by Jason Fry and was released on March 3, 2015. The title details Zare Leonis entering the Imperial Academy on Lothal as a Cadet to seek the truth regarding the disappearance of his sister, Dhara. Meanwhile his girlfriend, Merei Spanjaf, seeks information via her own skills in hacking data systems and dealing with shady characters.
As a new student at Lothal's Imperial Academy, Zare Leonis does everything it takes to pass as a model cadet. But secretly, he is a hidden enemy among Imperial loyalists, determined to discover the truth about his missing sister and to bring down the Empire. Luckily, he has his tech-savvy girlfriend Merei by his side, willing to help him however she can-even if it means dealing with criminals in the shadiest parts of Capital City. In the meantime Zare must face down a dangerous foe of his own: Lieutenant Curahee [sic], who seems bent on pushing Zare to his breaking point. Join these rebellious cadets as they risk it all to take on the fearsome Empire.
After being evaluated by Sergeant Currahee, Zare Leonis is officially accepted into Lothal's Imperial Academy and embarks on an orientation course. During the orientation course, Leonis and the other recruits have to take part in many early morning drills and are frequently berated by Currahee, who is known for her fiery temper and harsh training methods. He is assigned to Unit Aurek, a four-member cell in Squad NRC-077. While Leonis gets on well with fellow cadets Jai Kell and Pandak Symes, he and the other recruits have an acrimonious relationship with Nazhros Oleg, a self-centered cadet. During the orientation period, Leonis does his best to look out for Symes but is unable to prevent him from withdrawing from the Academy. Leonis also develops an unlikely friendship with Lieutenant Chiron, a fair-minded Imperial who becomes his mentor and attempts to speed up the investigation into his sister Dhara Leonis' disappearance.
While attending the Vocational School for Institutional Security, Leonis' girlfriend Merei Spanjaf uses her hacking skills to try and hack into the Imperial data network on Lothal in order to find information about Dhara. Reaching a stonewall, Merei befriends a Pantoran student named Jix Hekyl who recommends that she obtain a snooper, a program capable of recording information and transmitting it to an outside source. These programs are also designed to delete themselves. Hekyl puts Merei in touch with one of his old school mates named Bandis Yong, who then introduces her to the Gray Syndicate, a crime syndicate headed by Yahenna Laxo. Laxo agrees to supply Merei with the snoopers in return for her becoming his courier.
Having survived his orientation program, Leonis resolves to continue his mission to find his sister while maintaining the facade of being a loyal Imperial cadet. As Leonis and his fellow cadets advance in their training, they undergo a series of tough assessments within a purpose-built facility called the Well, which can be remotely configured to simulate a variety of obstacle courses. Over the course of his first term at the Imperial Academy, Leonis' desire to maintain team spirit clashes with Oleg's self-centered streak. Later, Leonis is also visited by Captain Piers Roddance, who warns him and Lieutenant Chiron not to interfere with the official investigation into Dhara's disappearance. However, Leonis suspects that the Imperial authorities are covering up the truth behind his sister's disappearance. Despite winning the respect of his fellow cadets and the praise of his superiors, Leonis worries that he would forget his true reason for being at the Academy.
Later that term, a transfer cadet named Dev Morgan joins Unit Aurek. Morgan displays physical exceptional abilities during the assessments in the Well; leading Leonis to suspect that he is cheating. After Leonis along with Kell and Morgan win the top three places in an assessment, they are rewarded by being assigned to work at the Imperial Headquarters on Lothal. Leonis takes the opportunity to keep an eye on Morgan and discovers that he is a rebel infiltrator who is on a mission to steal a decoder from Agent Kallus' office, which contains valuable information. Both sharing ulterior motives for joining the Academy, Leonis and Morgan develop an alliance and work together to steal the decoder.
Meanwhile, Merei, who has successfully obtained her snoopers, decides to put her plan into action. Posing as Phelarion School student selling raffle tickets for a school fundraiser, Spanjaf infiltrates the Transportation Ministry's headquarters and plans the snoopers at various locations throughout the building. Following the data breach, Merei realizes that she needs a decoder to access the Imperial Security Bureau's data network on Lothal. Her plans to hack into the Imperial data network are further complicated when Merei discovers that her parents Gandri and Jessa, who are data security experts, have been assigned to investigate the data breach at the Transportation Ministry. After learning of Leonis' alliance with Morgan, she convinces Morgan's rebel associates to give her the decoder after they have finished using it. Using the decoder, Spanjaf hacks into the ISB's data network.
While their combined efforts to steal the decoder are successful, Morgan learns that the Inquisitor has taken an interest in Kell and is planning to visit Lothal to test him. Fearing that the Inquisitor is planning to kidnap Kell in the same way that he kidnapped Dhara, Leonis and Morgan successfully convince Kell to escape with them. While riding in an AT-DP walker, Leonis and Kell put their plans into action and hijack the walker after stunning the driver and Oleg. After braving the Academy's defenses, the three rebellious cadets managed to breach the Academy's blast doors where they are picked up by Morgan's rebel associates. However, Leonis volunteers to stay behind in order to find his sister Dhara.
Following the rebel attack on the Imperial Academy, Leonis managed to escape suspicion by claiming that he tried to resist the rebel infiltrators. Due to his purported efforts to save the Academy, Leonis is commended by his Imperial superiors including Lieutenant Chiron. Later, he is summoned to a meeting with the Inquisitor, who proceeds to question him about his knowledge of Morgan and Kell. In the hope of finding his sister, Leonis feigns Force sensitivity and pretends that he has a bond with his sister. Later, he is contacted by Merei who reveals that Dhara had been inducted into a secretive Imperial program known as Project Harvester, which is based on the planet Arkanis and connected to the local Imperial Academy. Meanwhile, Spanjaf encounters a serious problem when she learns from her parents that one of the snoopers had failed to delete itself; allowing the Imperial authorities to track the intruder.
The majority of the books' events are adapted from the Star Wars Rebels episode "Breaking Ranks" which was written by Greg Weisman. The content before this takes place before the events of that episode and it is followed by a brief Epilogue.
The book carried the working title of The Rogue Cadet.
- ISBN 9781484716441; March 3, 2015; Disney–Lucasfilm Press; US paperback
- ISBN 9781484717011; March 3, 2015; Disney–Lucasfilm Press; US eBook
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