- "Leave for Vardos immediately. Recover Protectorate Gleb. She is your only target."
- ―Admiral Garrick Version to Commander Iden Versio
A skirmish broke out in Kestro on the planet Vardos after Commander Iden Versio and Agent Del Meeko disobeyed their orders to return the Aqualish Gleb alone to Admiral Garrick Versio, instead choosing to save civilians as well. This act was seen as treasonous, and Agent Gideon Hask and Garrick attempted to have Meeko and Iden killed. Meanwhile, the city of Kestro descended into rioting as the inhabitants realized they were being left to die by the Empire. Iden and Del fought their way through the Imperial forces, back to their ship, the Corvus before escaping off-world and eventually sending a distress call to the Rebel Alliance.
Prelude[edit | edit source]
After the Battle of Endor, Inferno Squad became part of Operation: Cinder, the Emperor's posthumous final command. The operation was to spread total and utter fear throughout the galaxy via the devastation of dozens of worlds out of simple spite at ensuring they didn't outlive him and also to destroy the Empire's greatest enemy: hope. Unaware of the operation's true nature, Iden and her squad helped secure experimental satellites crucial to Operation: Cinder, fighting off a rebel attack on the Fondor Shipyards.
Inferno Squad was then assigned to extract a high-value target from Vardos, Protectorate Gleb of the Future Imperial Leaders Military Preparatory School. However, upon arrival at Vardos they found the satellites from Fondor deployed over the planet and realized that Vardos was to be devastated in accordance with Operation: Cinder.
Furious at this, Iden confronted her father on his ship and was told that Vardos and many other worlds would be purged, the sheer destruction and loss of life being intended to subdue the galaxy through utter terror. Iden then watched in horror and anger as Admiral Versio activated the satellites, which formed a climate disruption array and spawned massively powerful electrical storms all over the planet in minutes. Ordering his daughter to leave and recover Protectorate Gleb, who was to be the only one saved, Admiral Versio also ordered his subordinate to contact Agent Hask on the Corvus, suspecting that Iden might disobey instructions and ordering her executed if she showed any defiance.
The battle[edit | edit source]
Landing at an Imperial staging area, Iden, Del and Hask disembarked their ship and made their way through the capital city of Kestro to extract Gleb, who was waiting for them in the city's Archive. Though Iden and Del showed concern and fear for the locals, Hask dismissed it with the reasoning that civilians were expendable, ignoring or dismissing their criticisms of the operation and concern for this extreme direction the Empire was taking. As they made their way to the Archive, they saw Imperial troops struggling to keep the increasingly worried and angry populace in hand, informing them that any ships attempting to leave without proper clearance would be shot down without exception. This, coupled with the intensifying storms, did little to reassure the civilians, many of whom were on the point of rioting. Reaching the Archive building, they found Gleb waiting impatiently for them along with a Rodian agent, but also a number of civilians who had sought shelter there.
Hask attempted to detain the Rodian, but Gleb claimed he was with her and that the others were unimportant so they would stay. Before they could leave, a bolt of lightning struck the Archive and a large amount of rubble came crashing down, narrowly missing two civilians. Del, with Iden's approval, told the assembled group to head for Landing Bay 2 where the Corvus was waiting but Hask stopped them and held the civilians at gunpoint, stating that this was not their mission. Ordering him to stand down, Iden reiterated this forcefully when he made to shoot the fleeing citizens. Failing to convince Hask that Operation: Cinder was wrong, Iden and Del refused to have any part in the new order and made to leave only for Hask to try and kill them, as per his orders. Iden drew first and disabled him with a shot to the leg, fleeing the building as Hask reported their treason to Garrick, who ordered him to return Gleb to him.
Outside, Iden and Del found themselves with death marks on their heads, with orders to shoot them on sight being issued. Managing to sneak around the packed plaza, the two were forced to kill many of their former comrades in order to escape. Meanwhile, the citizens finally cracked and Kestro erupted into panic and rioting, with dozens of ships taking off and fleeing for orbit. Noticing the anti-air batteries firing on the escaping ships, Iden and Del hijacked an AT-AT walker and used it to blow up a relay controlling all anti-air defenses in the sector. En-route, they hailed the Corvus and ordered it to prepare for take-off. Adiana Caton, who had decided to stick with her colleagues, allowed the civilians to board the ship and warned them to be careful. Using their hijacked walker to destroy all opposition, including several scout walkers and another AT-AT, the two were forced to abandon ship when the walker was struck and disabled by a lightning strike. The Corvus, which had also been struck, was besieged by stormtroopers trying to prevent their escape and Iden and Del joined their loyal crewmembers in fighting them off, helped by the storm cells which destroyed a third AT-AT advancing on their position. Managing to board the Corvus, it took off and fled Vardos, bypassing the Star Destroyers and jumping into hyperspace. Hask, who had rescued Gleb, was then promoted to Commander by Admiral Versio.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
In the Vorpal Nebula in the Outer Rim, the Corvus crew decided to surrender to the Rebel Alliance, in order to tell them of Operation: Cinder in the hopes they might be able to stop them. The distress call was picked up by the MC80 Star Cruiser Restoration, which picked them up. Meeting with Danger Leader Shriv Suurgav and General Lando Calrissian, Iden and Del gave up all the information they knew before Lando extended an offer to them to help fight the Empire at Naboo, Operation: Cinder's next target. Initially reluctant, the two agreed and eventually formally joined the New Republic.
Vardos was left abandoned after the operation, becoming a dead and barren planet. The city of Kestro, however, was eventually reclaimed by Jinata Security under the command of Gleb. By 34 ABY, the city was almost entirely uninhabited and covered in atmospheric ash, a side-effect from the climate disruption.