It was during the night once more that the starry sky was filled with orange and red flashes. His mother held him while they watched and with a small “ooh” or an “ahh” he just stared up at the battle that raged over their head. For nearly a month, the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy had battled daily above their world. Every now and again some glow bit of debris would break through the cloud cover or streak across the sky till it came down in some distant part of the land. In his mind he saw it as another droid vulture that went crashing to the planet because a clone trooper had shot it down. His mother would point out distant flashing stars and tell him what kind of ships might be up there. The war had pretty much brought all the mining on the surface to a halt. His father had joined up with the militia to see to protecting the settlements from raiders and bandits. He was out late again tonight, but Jax was content to watch the space battle. It was the most exciting thing to happen as far as he could remember. Things seemed to get a lot more exciting too, more flashes, something his mother said about a ship probably exploding. The longer they looked up, the more explosions they seemed to see. He couldn’t know how bad that was going to be until he felt his mother tense. The night sky cast a dull shade of red as one large burning wreck fell through the atmosphere, then a second one. When it hit the planet, the rumble of the impact shook their home. A rising plume of dust seemed to climb over everything in the distance and race towards the settlement and his home. Like missiles raining down from above, parts from star fighters slammed into the ground just outside of town, and then more and more started falling. All night explosions around the settlement echoed in his head, more than once a flash of heat from something exploding too close made him flinch. The air was thick with dust and smoke that seemed to get denser every time the ground rumbled from another impact. With one thunderous explosion that threw him from his mother’s arms he landed hard in the dirt. He tried to call out for her, but the world was a canopy of noise and destruction. That night lasted forever, to him it was the longest night of his life. And being a child, that was the only name he could come up with, The Long Night.
When the afternoon rays of the sun finally managed to push through to his world, his home was shattered. Shuttles and mercenaries were combing through whatever they could find. He would never forget the symbol he saw on their uniforms, the black circle with small triangles poking out in every direction. When he was older he’d put a name to the symbol, The Black Sun, they had come when the battle was getting close to the end. They had finished off both the Republic and the Confederacy fleets to claim the planet as their own. Or to rob as much as they could before either force would be able to send reinforcements at least. The war ended later that year, but Aeten II had already paid a heavy price. That price started the next day, between the Hutt enforcers and the Black Sun mercenaries arriving, those that had survived the destruction that rained down the night before, were able to earn food, water and other needs by working for the new foremen in charge. Jax was only a child, but it seemed that even he could earn a place in their ranks. The crime syndicates saw the children just as the next generation of those that could serve them. Jax learned how to dismantle, clean, repair and reassemble nearly any blaster or piece of armor the Black Suns used by the time he was a teenager. It beat the alternative, working the mines for the Hutts. Years went by, he toiled in the armory till he was sixteen. In all honesty he probably would have been there for the rest of his life if a small miracle hadn’t happened. The Empire had not forgotten about this world or its deposits. Stygium crystals still had value and it seemed the Empire wanted the planet back under its control. Swift and decisive, several ISD’s came into the atmosphere knocking Black Star and Hutt ships from the skies. Jax was in the central armory for his sector when shuttles carrying stormtroopers landed. Some of the mercs came running to the door just to find it locked. For ten years he’d been their prisoner, working to survive and get just enough to eat. Now when the tables were turned, he had a chance to stick to them and he did. What you couldn’t do out of love or money, he would do out of spite. Several hours passed outside, he could hear blaster fire and screaming. It reminded him of the first days when the Black Sun arrived, rounding up those that they felt were useful and executing those that might not be. His mother had been hurt during the falling debris on the Long Night. He hadn’t known then, but they’d taken her with the others to “another camp” but in truth they’d executed them all and left the bodies in the wilds. He had a burning anger for these men, but he’d been too weak, too young, too powerless to do anything about it. But he could sit there with the door locked, polishing an A280 and waiting. If anyone got through, he’d blast them. Whatever else he thought he could do, he figured he could do that. When the blaster fire stopped and the yelling at the door faded, there was a metallic knock outside. A synthesized voice ordered him to “open up.” Getting up he walked to the door, it didn’t sound like anyone from the Black Sun, so he looked out the window and saw four men clad in gleaming white armor. He pushed the button and the door whooshed open. They had blasters pointed at him and forced their way in, only asking if anyone else was in here. He shook his head, “No sir, I kept them out.” The A280 laid on the front desk, behind it was rows of blasters, piecemeal armor and crates of grenades and detonators. The lead trooper walked back and looked the young boy over. “You held this room alone?” Jax nodded, “I just locked the door, nobody had time to get in after you got here.”
When the planet was secure, and the criminals driven off or killed, those that lived there were brought into the fold of the Empire. Technically he was a Black Sun, at least in name, but considering he’d gone through some effort and risk to his own person to protect lives of Imperial soldiers, he was given a choice, stay and help in the mines as convicted Black Sun or go to the Imperial Trooper Academy and become a Storm Trooper. There was only one real choice, he felt the admiral had given him this chance mostly to do something with his life since he hadn’t really supported the Black Suns during the operation and it seemed his enthusiastic nature and curiosity about the storm troopers who’d liberated his planet had not gone unnoticed by others. At the Academy he did well, the regiment of his life on Aeten II had prepared him well for learning the daily drill of becoming a storm trooper. Regular practice with the blaster, moving in formation, taking orders and following them; none of that was new to him, maybe working with people he didn’t hate, but that was easy enough to add to his new routine. He was top in his class when it came to dismantling, fixing, cleaning or reassembling his E11 blaster carbine. In fact, he started helping everyone on his student squad be the best when it came to taking care of their equipment. A trooper lived or died by how well his kit worked, and Jax made sure his unit’s kit worked the best. It became his calling to help his team win the mock engagements by making sure their weapon and armor were fully functional and operating at peak efficiency. When they graduated, because of his marks he was assigned to a frontline stormtrooper unit onboard the ISD Corrupter, it was charged with the pacification of disorderly worlds. A few years of working with his company, he’d earned the position of second in command. More than once they’d deployed on planets with known criminals or even rebels trying to damage and destroy the Empire. Each time, he saw them as little more than people just like the Black Sun. He’d charge in next to his commander and they’d bring about the Emperor’s justice one assault after another. He was older now, and almost completely having gone without using his name in a very long time, in truth he was SP-101 no other name was really needed, and he’d earned that position within his company. The company had the best reputation for getting the job done and getting back with minimum losses. His commander had often bragged it was because SP-101 checked out all the gear for the company before and after each deployment. He made sure every trooper was properly fitted and everything worked. Medrin was the first time he had any doubts of where his loyalties laid. Almost ten thousand stormtroopers were on the ISD Corrupter, but when they arrived at Medrin and the regiments were preparing to drop, a different order came in. The ISD laid fire to the planet instead of sending down troops, and the whole of it was a burning slag. The rumor was that the whole planet was infested by rebels and landing troops and fighting block by block would just be a waste of lives and time. There was no saving the public, they had revolted. But he couldn’t just look out the window and think that everyone had been poisoned against the Empire. The Galactic News Services played information about the rebellion on Medrin and how the Empire had been forced to destroy the planet from orbit because of an insurrection. The media played more and more stories about rebel assaults in different areas around the galaxy. A year filled with deployments and more of them seemed to be dealing with rebel activity than criminals. He knew the Black Suns were still out there, as well as other syndicates, but now it only mattered if they were deployed to stop rebels. He tried to just follow orders, work on the blasters, make sure helmets functioned properly. He ran forward with the rest of his company as they assaulted rebel bunkers, emplacements and sympathizers. A core world in the midrim named Pytar was also under the rule of the Hutts. There wasn’t much there aside from some huge junkyards and one nice city. But the Corrupter had been ordered into orbit above it, it seemed there was rebel activity here as well. Landing in the Lamda shuttle, units moved through the city and SP-101 followed his route with his unit. Breaking into two-man teams they searched door to door. SP-313 was his partner, he was newer to the company, but the man had taken a serious liking to blasting anyone he got half the chance to. More than once over the comms Jax had heard him whoop in delight at a particularly good shot when a rebel had been on the run. Several of his kills had been pretty questionable to Jax but between his commander and SP-313, it seemed that “looking like a rebel” was good enough. That’s when he stepped into a small building, they’d knocked, nobody answered but the door wasn’t locked. When they walked in, Jax could hear someone moving in the dark. With their shoulder lights turned on, they swept through the two-room apartment. It was in the second room there was a woman huddling her two kids begging to be left alone. SP-313 only chuckled, “Looks like we found some rebels after all.” Jax only looked at him, his helmet turning. The woman protested that they weren’t rebels, Jax pointed out that they were only kids and an unarmed woman. “Looks like rebel kids to me, better make sure we’re not fighting them when they grow up.” Lifting his blaster rifle up, he took a bead on the closest one. Shaking his head, Jax couldn’t believe what he did next. His E11 was turned sideways, pointing right at 313 and he pulled the trigger, and then pulled it again. The man went down in a heap, the woman and children covered their mouths to keep from screaming and then looked at the stormtrooper standing there having just blasted his partner. Jax didn’t know what to do, he started to freak out a little. The woman stood up and she lifted his helmet off his head and just hugged him. She told him to follow her and then they left.
She knew the Quarren that owned the largest junkyard on Pytar. It was a terrible planet for a Quarren to live on, the desert heat and dryness of it all. But for Meames Sllull, it was home and with a healthy supply of ointment, it was barable. That’s where Jax found himself standing there in his storm trooper armor and blaster with this man giving him an appraising look as if judging his worth for himself. Getting a trooper offworld was going to be tough, but he could do it. He would make sure that the Empire would have his record of being killed, that way they wouldn’t come looking for him…probably. It would be easy enough to list the death of SP-313 as his own. He’d need a new identity, and it just happened that an old friend of his was retiring and needed someone to take on the mantel of a bounty hunter. It seemed the bounty hunter Dreyga was more of a title, there had been several Dreygas. The most important thing about being Dreyga was not taking off the helmet. It didn’t matter who was in the armor and wearing the helmet as long as you acted the part. And of course, he didn’t really have credits to pay for all this, but helping the woman and her family, that had earned just enough goodwill that the new Dreyga would just have to owe him a favor. It was going to be a big favor, and he would collect on it. In fact, it might be lots of small favors, but one way or another everything he was using up and spending on Dreyga, would be repaid when it was needed.
Offical papers with the Bounty Broker’s Associate were drawn up, they had some idea of the arrangement of the Dreygas, but as long as the dues were paid, the rules were followed, then it didn’t matter who was under the armor. It did some good for younger hunters to think that there had been one old timer that was still hunting. He might not be the most notable, but he was a constant asset to the galaxy. Jax took the title of Dreyga and went forward with it. He still felt that the galaxy could use justice, bad people lived there, and even if the Empire had some problems, without some form of justice or order things could get a lot worse for the common people. His childhood on Aeten II had taught him that, the Republic had been pushed out by the criminals, it had taken the Empire to fix that. But, then the Empire might have gone too far, it could just be some admirals, still if you watched the stories on the Galactic News, and you really paid attention it wasn’t hard to see the horror that was going on out there. He’d tried to ignore it for years, was willing to blame it on bad intel, young admirals, overzealous troopers, but that day on Pytar he’d made a choice and now, like a stone falling down a mountain, more and more stones were knocked loose and he felt that the Empire was becoming worse than what they were trying to stop. He didn’t think he could do much to change any of it, now he was just a lone bounty hunter. And that’s when it came across his datapad, a bounty for a traitorous Imperial Pilot. A defector, Amara Tyne, and that’s when he felt it click. Of course alone he couldn’t do anything but perhaps there was a chance he could do something with the Rebels, it felt right and he was certain that it wasn’t just chance this popped up in his que, he felt he was suppose to go there.
Since he was a child, he's seen what happens when there isn't a strong central power to keep criminals and those unsavory elements in line. The Empire had been that for him for a time, that strong power that kept back the evils in the galaxy. Even now, as he feels that the Empire is shifting and doing more harm than good, he knows that those criminal syndicates are just there, working from the shadows and that's the threat most people will see on a daily basis. That's what he wants to stop.