|Date of Birth:|
|Chronology & Political Information|
|[ Source ]|
Troutrooper was born on Dac fifteen years before the Battle of Yavin. Born Daldarr, he is the third son and youngest offspring of Altmor and Penel Tuzassi; his brothers and sister were adults living off-planet when Daldarr was born, so he was raised like an only child. Prior to the planet's invasion and occupation by the Empire, his mother, Penel, was a science and engineering professor, and his father, Altmor, was an aide and advisor to several members of the Calamarian Council. His mother was a second cousin of the Jedi Knight Bant Eerin.
The young Mon Cal grew up during a period of great turmoil on Dac. The Empire occupied the planet and was in the process of enslaving the Mon Cal race. His family was part of the resistance: his mother designed and built home-made guerrilla warfare devices, and his father helped with strategy and planning at the resistance headquarters. Daldarr, though young, helped however he could. Too young and inexperienced for combat, he was trained in surveillance and sabotage. A youngster could sneak into places undetected that an adult could not. The fry was quite successful, completing several impressive missions, until he got cocky and let his guard down. He was arrested after breaking into a communications relay station, and sent to the VSD Smasher for sentencing and enslavement.
Daldarr witnessed first-hand what happened to those who resisted the Empire. Looking out from the rear window of the penal transport, he fumed as the Empire razed his home city. A guard looked at the destruction and chuckled. Daldarr screamed in pure fury at the guard, surprising the Imperial and knocking him off-balance. The guard's reprisal was swift and long-lasting, the blows ending only when he believed Daldarr dead. The nearly-dead fish was taken to the medic to be healed before a life of slavery.
Pre-Emperor's Hammer Imperial Service
While he recovered, an officer heard of the Mon Cal's surprisingly strong voice and took an interest in the fish. Lieutenant Loy, a seventh-generation officer from Fresia, was a firm believer in merit and respected those who took the initiative. Though from a Core World, Loy grew up with and befriended non-human slaves. His appointment to the Smasher was quite disappointing as he disliked slavery and torture. When he heard what Daldarr did—both to the communications relay and on the transport—the lieutenant knew he had found a new aide.
Daldarr required a week in bacta before the med droid cleared him. Loy was waiting with shackles in one hand and a stack of datapads in the other. “Your choice. Either way, it's a heavy workload.” He chose the datapads. Though still a slave, Loy inculcated Daldarr in the Empire: Imperial customs and law, leadership, military culture, strategies and tactics. During his apprenticeship, Daldarr acquainted himself with Imperial databases, the vast repositories of knowledge and data compiled by the billions of Imperial soldiers spread across the galaxy. He immersed himself in information. He visited planets and systems he only read about, seeing first-hand how the Empire helped its citizens. He and Loy discussed philosophy, history, morality, with Loy taking the Imperial side and Daldarr taking the opposition. He met many Imperial officers, mostly as Loy's slave, but some of Loy's closest colleagues knew of the contract and accepted Daldarrr. Even Loy's superior, Captain Oirt L'hommu, took part in Daldarr's training. However, all of this occurred behind closed doors; in public, Daldarrr was just another slave to abuse. Loy was a strict, harsh master in public, routinely beating Daldarrr for his imperfections. The lieutenant did his utmost to limit the abuse to what he doled out, politely and firming informing other officers that only he could abuse his slave. But Daldarr still received plenty of beatings. He never forgot his attackers' names.
Daldarr learned much from Loy: Imperial customs and law, leadership, military culture, strategies and tactics. During his apprenticeship, Daldarr acquainted himself with Imperial databases, the vast repositories of knowledge and data compiled by the billions of Imperial soldiers spread across the galaxy. He immersed himself in information. He visited planets and systems he only read about, seeing first-hand how the Empire helped its citizens. He and Loy discussed philosophy, history, morality, with Loy taking the Imperial side and Daldarr taking the opposition. He met many Imperial officers, mostly as Loy's slave, but some of Loy's closest colleagues knew of the contract and accepted Daldarrr. Even Loy's superior, Captain Oirt L'hommu, took part in Daldarr's training. However, all of this occurred behind closed doors; in public, Daldarrr was just another slave to abuse. Loy was a strict, harsh master in public, routinely beating Daldarrr for his imperfections. The lieutenant did his utmost to limit the abuse to what he doled out, politely and firming informing other officers that only he could abuse his slave. But Daldarr still received plenty of beatings. He never forgot his attackers' names
Over time, the Mon Calamari fell under the Imperial spell. Unlike Ackbar, whose anti-Imperial resolve only hardened as Tarkin's slave, Daldarr embraced the Empire. He stopped referring to himself as a Mon Calamari and started calling himself an Imperial citizen or soldier. He began to see the wisdom in the Emperor's actions and philosophy. He saw his philosophy successfully implemented: the Empire used violence when needed, but only to ensure peace for its loyal citizens. Daldarr began arguing for the extermination of those who threatened the peace of the Galactic Empire: the mere threat of resistance, he claimed, was reason enough to eradicate them. Ironically, a day after positing this hypothesis to his master, the recently-promoted Lieutenant Commander Loy received a transfer to a space station currently in orbit around Alderaan. As they said good-bye, Loy granted Daldarr his freedom and handed him a notice—signed by both Loy and L'hommu—stating that Daldarr was to report immediately to Prefsbelt IV for matriculation. Daldarr was now an Imperial citizen and would soon be officially an Imperial soldier.
Daldarr survived Prefsbelt IV. Certainly, he graduated, but the strenuous and trying aspects of his time at the naval academy were outside the classroom. He was one of only a handful of non-Human beings attending the school. The most die-hard Imperials tormented him and his fellow aliens mercilessly; again, he would remember their names and faces. The atmosphere at Prefsbelt IV was tense and uneasy as the Civil War continued. Many students abandoned prestigious commissions and joined the rebels upon graduation. The Chancellor took steps to stem the outflow, but the measures only increased the attacks on the non-Humans: the rebels consorted with and courted non-Humans, thus the non-Humans were only at Prefsbelt IV to learn how to fly against the Empire, or so thought the elitists. In fact, none of the non-Humans enrolled at the Imperial Naval Academy defected; about a quarter of the Humans left for the rebel alliance. In spite of (or because of) the hostility against him, Daldarr was one of the top students in his class. His strategic plans were lauded for their flexibility and daring. His dogfighting skills, though not the best, were hailed as 'survivalistic', a grand accolade considering the proportion of TIE Fighter pilots who do not return from their first mission.
Daldarr's first commission was aboard the Nebulon-B Frigate Searcher, a pirate hunter based out of Yag'Dhul and assigned to protecting the Corellian Trade Spine. He was promoted to Ensign and assigned as the Battery Captain's Assistant. Although he hated his commission—discriminatory commanders made life unbearable, and he trained to be a pilot not a gunner—he performed his job excellently. Within a year, he was made Battery Captain, overseeing all the Searchers batteries, and increasing his pension via promotion to Lieutenant. His superiors noted Daldarr's “preternatural” targeting skill: the Mon Calamari would often order his gunners to fire seemingly at random, but in reality, he was coordinating a constant stream of fire against several ships. Eventually, his skill at gunnery garnered the attention of larger ships. Daldarr was transferred to the Victory-Class Star Destroyer Ceaseless, an orbital bombardment ship. He felt at home on the Ceaseless as his superiors tolerated his presence and his brilliance was both aiding the Empire and his career. An officer aboard the Inamo, a Frigate attached to the same battlegroup as the Ceaseless, a Chiss named Stephen Ronin requested Daldarr to train his gunners. Within three sessions, the Inamos gunners had increased their accuracy and precision by 15%. For his outstanding service, Daldarr received another promotion, Lieutenant Commander.
Mere hours after his new rank cylinders synchronized with the security computer, Daldarr's gunnery skills were strenuously tested. The Inamo, Searcher, and a squadron of Corellian Corvettes were ordered to investigate rumors of a possible mass defection along the Rimma Trade Route near Eriadu. Daldarr was aboard the Inamo, teaching. When they arrived, they found two MC40a Cruisers and their starfighter compliment waiting for the defectors to arrive (in a Nebulon-B Frigate, no less). The battle was terrible. Only through the Imperial commanders' cunning and Daldarr's gunnery greatness was the Empire able to salvage a victory. Though the Corvette squadron was sacrificed and the Inamo and Searcher very badly damaged, they emerged victorious. Daldarr had a tactical advantage over the rebels as he was quite familiar with the MC40a's deficiencies and was able to coordinate the strike force's batteries on those weak points. It was at this battle that Daldarr earned the nickname “Fish Hunter”. Having grown weary of being bypassed for promotions due to his name and heritage, he modified the nickname slightly and had his official record changed to “Troutrooper”.
The plan worked. Within a month, Troutrooper was afforded the opportunity to be a fighter pilot. A research facility on Corva Yag in the Minos Cluster wanted some experienced and discreet officers for “patrol and protection of the facility”. In reality, the pilots were planetary bouncers: passive-aggressively informing people to stay away from the lab in their very advanced and heavily-armed fighters, and “removing” those who did not heed the obvious warnings. Troutrooper found the time to be fairly enjoyable, albeit boring. After experiencing the torments and horrors of war aboard a gigantic warship, he found this position to be balancing and serene. He knew he would return to the Imperial War Machine eventually. This post enabled him to develop his fighter pilot skills without fear of humiliation in front of a large group or death.
In addition to improving his flying skills, Troutrooper used the downtime to improve his mind. The research facility had a dedicated Holovid connection to the Imperial Archives, of which he took full advantage. He was interested in finding other people like him, others who always seemed to have the benefit of luck. When asked how he was always firing at precisely the perfect time and location, Troutrooper always shrugged and said he was lucky. But he knew that was a lie. Something deeper told him where, when, and how to shoot. The data scraps he compiled were contradictory, confusing. From his research, he concluded that either a spiritual leader had blessed him when he was just a parr or he had a connection to the Force. Not wanting to associate himself with a bunch of dead peaceniks (and a bit afraid of the ramifications of being Force-sensitive), Troutrooper declared himself to be blessed. He was—and is—blessed, but not by any shaman.
Troutrooper's plans were on track when the Battle of Endor derailed everything. His job, pension, career, Archives access, sense of belonging, purpose, and desire to keep fighting exploded with the second Death Star. As the research facility lost its funding and shut down, Troutrooper had to find employment elsewhere. His pilot buddies all went separate directions—their homeworlds, various Imperial factions, and even a couple joined the New Republic—and all invited him along for the ride. However, Troutrooper decided to go to the one place in the universe he would always be welcome, Dac. He, like all wanderers, needed to center himself at the only place he truly knew.
But Dac was not the place he knew. With the collapse of the Empire, the rebel-supporting Mon Calamari were jubilant. Banners proclaiming the dawn of a new age fluttered from every flagpole and balcony. A giant rebel alliance symbol lit up the southern sea, a beacon of hope shining brightly. From the youngest baby to the most crippled and oldest veteran, all radiated joy. And then Troutrooper returned. Though he had stowed his Imperial uniform in his luggage, word had spread of Daldarr's “defection” to the Empire. Friends and relatives shunned, cursed, and belittled him. They flaunted pictures of the Death Star's demise and of revered hero Admiral Ackbar in his face. Even his parents refused to see him initially, though they eventually did albeit extremely reluctantly. They told him that his middle brother and sister were both killed for “anti-Imperial activities” even though his brother was a merchant and his sister was an engine mechanic in the Corporate Sector (Only later would Troutrooper learn that his brother supplied parts and scrap to the rebel alliance for free while his sister taught young rebels how to build and repair hyperdrives). His father castigated him for “wasting his gifts”; his mother screamed at him through streams of tears for ruining the family's reputation and fighting for the oppression, enslavement, and annihilation of the Mon Calamarian people. Grudgingly, they allowed their youngest son to stay with them for a few days, just long enough for Troutrooper to visit with his few remaining friends.
During his short visit, he met a female Mon Calamari by the name of Omiti. He spotted her across the room in a museum. After some flirtatious chatting and a romantic dinner, they became inseparable. Four years his junior and filled with teen angst, she longed to escape the shackles of her homeworld. Troutrooper told her everything about his background; Omiti shrugged her shoulders and said he had to do what he thought was best for himself. Though not of legal marrying age, Omiti received her parents' blessing to go with Troutrooper on his journeys across the galaxy; they knew they would lose her to wanderlust soon enough and were just happy to know she was with someone who genuinely cared and loved her.
After leaving Dac, Troutrooper spent the next few years bouncing from barren asteroid to barren asteroid. Job prospects were few and far between. Freighter pilot, security guard, model for Mon Calamari swimwear, he and Omiti traveled the length and breadth of the galaxy just to make ends meet. Times were tough for the non-Human, ex-Imperial soldier. In loyal systems, he was denied employment because of his species. In rebel systems, he was denied employment because employers thought he was a liar; a Mon Calamari loyal to the Empire is quite rare indeed. Thus, he was forced to scratch out a living in the Outer Rim among the neutral systems. But, like always, '”luck” was on his side. Troutrooper always found just enough credits to keep his family fed and housed until the next job. And he always seemed to find another job immediately after his current job ended. Their situation slowly ate at the new couple: Omiti had lived in the same abode her entire life and was unaccustomed to the transient lifestyle; Troutrooper simply wanted a stable job that paid enough for him to enjoy life with his new bride. These were not happy times.
The Emperor's Hammer
But the universe is in a constant state of flux; happy or sad times do not last. Troutrooper was employed as a customs agent aboard a space station far in the Outer Rim. A shuttle from a planet called Aurora stopped by to deliver goods. The courier claimed to be a Sub-Lieutenant in the service of an Imperial-aligned organization known as the Emperor's Hammer. Troutrooper had vaguely heard of the Emperor's Hammer before, but had never met a commissioned officer. The courier told him of the might of the Fleet— a Sovereign-class Super Star Destroyer was the jewel of the Fleet, escorted by half a dozen Imperial Star Destroyers—and the greatness of their lead, Grand Admiral Ronin. Troutrooper certainly remembered his one-time battlegroup mate, and, with the permission of the courier, loaded his family into the shuttle and headed for Aurora Prime.
Troutrooper did not immediately enlist in the Emperor's Hammer upon arrival to Aurora Prime. He wanted more information on this splinter Fleet. After a couple months of more odd jobs and fact-finding, Troutrooper made his way to the nearest Emperor's Hammer recruitment office. In three days, he would be shipped off to basic enlistee training. However, his wife “strongly encouraged” him to contact the Fleet Commander; a nod from Ronin would change his status from enlisted grunt to respected officer. Troutrooper went back to the recruitment office to see if he could get contact his old battlegroup companion. Amazingly, the Fleet Commander happened to be at the recruiting office that same day: he was personally awarding a medal to the recruitment officer for the recruiter's exemplary job. Seizing on the shift in his luck, he reintroduced himself to Ronin, who recognized him immediately. Troutrooper asked only to go to Imperial Weapons and Tactics School (IWATS), the Emperor's Hammer's officer training academy, instead of having to wait one year like other enlisted men. Ronin happily agreed, saying that he could not give Troutrooper a commission immediately because it would be unfair to all the other former Imperial officers who could not prove their former status; the downfall of the Empire resulted in the loss of billions of military personnel records. The next shuttle for Platform Daedalus was scheduled to leave early the next day, so Troutrooper hurried home to prepare.
Officer training the second time around was much easier for Troutrooper. Not only did he know the material, but the overt, anti-alien bias was nowhere to be found; those with anti-alien prejudices did not join a Fleet run by a Chiss. However, he graduated in the middle of his class as the bell curve was heavily skewed by so many former Imperial officers taking the training over again. And like many of the officers-in-training, Troutrooper graduated in the shortest allowable time. He viewed the IWATS training as a mere formality: graduation rank was secondary to simply graduating. Thus, though there were interesting classes he could have taken, he took the bare minimum, graduated, and saved those courses for another time.
From Platform Daedalus to the TIE Corps and the Imperial Star Destroyer Colossus. Oddly enough, Troutrooper had never been on an ISD before. The immense size of the Colossus dwarfed his old home aboard the Searcher. Luckily, the first day was spent being shuttled from one meet-and-greet session to another, so he did not have to find his way around just yet. Assigned to Omicron squadron, Flight 2, Position 2, his commander was Commander Devlin and his Flight Leader was Lieutenant Commander Dall Star. Though Troutrooper had had many superiors throughout his life, Devlin and Dall Star would impact the trajectory of his Emperor's Hammer and Dark Brotherhood career more than any. In addition to showing him the idiosyncrasies of this new Fleet, Devlin and Dall Star taught Troutrooper what he needed to do and how he needed to act in order to advance as a pilot; he received only one rank promotion while on Corva Yag, and had been out of the military since just after the Battle of Endor. Many would alter the course of Troutrooper's career, but Devlin and Dall Star aimed him initially, sending Troutrooper to heights he never imagined possible. Though he had to take a leave of absence (family-related) within two weeks of his assignment, Troutrooper quickly became the best pilot in the squadron. The training Devlin and Dall Star put him through and the increased intensity of flying with eleven other aces dramatically improved Troutrooper's abilities. Truly, he was enjoying himself: he was helping the Empire rebuild and helping himself ascend.
And the Colossus was the place to learn. Many officers stationed on the Colossus at that time would make themselves known to the Fleet and galaxy as a whole: Ari Gilder, Kromtal Stormfyld, Compton, Mell, Oldham, Zystem Fryar, Linkan all flew for the greatest ship in the Emperor's Hammer Fleet. Troutrooper learned from them all, soaking up as much as he could as fast as he could. He and Kromtal, in particular, became good friends as they both joined the Fleet and were assigned to Omicron squadron at nearly the same times. The two did not seem to have much in common—Troutrooper was quiet, reflective, whimsical, thoughtful; Kromtal was boisterous, rash, insulting—but the relationship was strong. Both were exceptional pilots and were fiercely loyal to the Empire and each other. Yin requires yang, and yang requires yin. Though a more master-student relationship, Troutrooper befriended his Commodore, Ari. As opposed to his “opposites attract” friendship with his squadmate, Ari and Troutrooper were similar in temperament and thoughts. They often chatted for long stretches of time in the Colossus cantina, discussing galactic politics and Fleet rumors until their shifts started.
It was in the cantina that Troutrooper first became aware of the Dark Brotherhood. He had seen a couple robed figures on Aurora, but shrugged them off as a religious fanatics from some distant system. The Colossus, though, harbored its fair share of Dark Brothers and Sisters. One in particular, Chei-Ras, the Commander of Eta Squadron, liked to flaunt his Dark Jedi Knight skills in the cantina by telekinetically tossing new Colossus pilots around the room. Troutrooper, falling into that category, was subjected to several “orientations” by Chei-Ras. Curious (not to mention tired of being bounced around for three months), he asked how the Commander was able to fling people about. Chei-Ras asked Troutrooper what he knew about the Force. When Troutrooper said he knew nothing, Chei-Ras told him the basics of the Force—how it connects and binds all living things, the two sides of the Force, and why the Dark Side is infinitely superior to the Light Side—and tested him for Force sensitivity. A simple test: Chei-Ras wrote ten random numbers on a piece of paper and had Troutrooper guess them. The trick was that he wrote nine numbers and one word. Troutrooper guessed them all, including the word. Impressed, Chei-Ras pulled some strings and got Troutrooper on the next flight to the home of the Dark Brotherhood.
Eos, Aurora Prime's small, frigid, desolate moon. Home of the Dark Brotherhood. It has been said that the prior to the erection of the Dark Hall, Eos was actually a rather pleasant and hospitable place. However, the concentration of Dark Side energy quickly burned up all life outside the Dark Hall. Troutrooper, like all other Initiates, was awed by the Dark Hall. Walking through the massive foyer with the busts of (in)famous Dark Brothers and Sisters, he was humbled and proud: humbled by the awesomeness of fortress, proud to know that he had a connection to the Force just like those immortalized in marble. He marveled at the elaborate Elder robes and stared in wonder at the shiny, metal cylinders hanging from the belt of those in black robes. As with any visitor to the Dark Hall, Troutrooper walked woozily around, the immense and stupefying Dark Side power imbued in the walls overwhelming his senses. With some help, he made his way to the Initiate Information Booth. A quick conversation with the friendly green-and-red-robed Twi’lek working the booth revealed he needed directions to training, and, with a map in hand, he was off to the Shadow Academy.
His stay at the Shadow Academy was divided and unremarkable. At the time, the Shadow Academy nurtured students all the way through Guardian. Thus, between his TIE Corps duties and his newly-required Dark Brotherhood duties, Troutrooper found himself in passenger holds more than cockpits. And yes, Troutrooper joined the Brotherhood as a Sith for that is all he knew. All the Brothers on the Colossus were Sith. He had seen an Obelisk robe once prior to joining, but never a Krath. So he had more pilot training, but this time, the training was mixed with inculcations of incantations, rote ritual memorization, and careful centering and meditation. Troutrooper rather enjoyed the spiritual aspects, finding them intriguing and exciting. Mostly, the spiritual aspects were a departure from the flying training, of which he had had twice before.
Graduation saw Troutrooper assigned to House Galthain of Clan Satal Keto. However, he did not spend much time flying for Galthain and his squadron, Ghostrider, much to Quaestor Ricardo’s chagrin. Even though a robe-wearing member, Troutrooper did not feel at home in the Brotherhood for a long time. He was simply enjoying his time in the TIE Corps. For example, about the same time the Colossus found herself vying for the title of Flagship of the TIE Corps Battlegroup, Clan Satal Keto found itself vying for the title of First Clan of the Brotherhood. Troutrooper fought with equal determination and effort, and though he won a Brotherhood event, his heart fought for the Colossus and Omicron. Perhaps his wife's influence pushed him towards the TIE Corps: she was not fond of him joining “some freakish cult”. Or maybe he was intimidated by the more powerful Dark Jedi: that, with training and time, he might become so powerful. Most likely, though, Troutrooper was a pilot and soldier first, darksider second.
Not to say he did not progress. By the end of the year, Troutrooper had so impressed his superiors that they put him through the Dark Jedi Knight trials. In addition to Jedi Hunter, Troutrooper was also a Major in the TIE Corps, on second tenure as a Commander (first Omicron squadron, then Eta). Still, his trials were dangerous, complex, deadly, important; in other words, typical trials. Several ice barges on Hiran, a planet in the Pirath system, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. They were carrying unremarkable cargo through established routes under fair skies (as fair as the skies are in winter on Hiran). All three left on the same day on different routes, all three vanished on the same day. Such barges suffer traumatic fates regularly. What raised eyebrows was the scene of the disappearances: the corpses of the crews at each scene were stacked up and had holes that strongly resembled the mark of a lightsaber. Both the Intelligence Division and the Dark Brotherhood were alerted to this rather macabre crime. Intel wrote up a quick report and left, not wanting to bother with what they considered to be the local security force's job. The Brotherhood, however, was determined to solve this mystery. The obvious possibilities—rogue Brother or Sister killing innocents wantonly, Jedi in Emperor's Hammer space, non-Force-sensitive murderer running amok with a lightsaber, splinter group from the Brotherhood—were anathema to the Dark Council. Seeing as how he was close to his trials anyway and could investigate underwater surreptitiously, Troutrooper was given the odious task.
Supposedly, it was an odious task, but the assignment quickly devolved into merely straight-forward detective work. The obvious answers were thrown out the window within minutes of Troutrooper’s examination of the bodies: the victims were not impaled on a lightsaber, but were killed by a chemical agent then cored by some sort of energy beam-based drill. And though there are millions of trained professional killers in the galaxy, whoever committed this atrocity was no better than a journeyman bounty hunter. Fingerprints and tissues of the killer(s) were left behind, the killer(s) used traceable means of travel (standard shuttle services requiring unique identification), and canisters of the killing chemical were found aboard each wrecked ship. Troutrooper realized why Intel had abandoned the case: it was too easy for them, so they decided not to waste their time. Within a week, Troutrooper had all the evidence he needed—culprits, modus operandi, timeline of events—except motive. The culprits, who were languishing in the dungeons of the Dark Hall after being captured alive by Troutrooper following a three-world chase, were hired guns. The financiers of the operation, though, were going to be tricky to ascertain and draw out. Troutrooper applied the approved methods of “data extraction” upon the captured crooks to no avail: they were hired through several middlemen, none of whom were worth pursuing. Thinking about it more, Troutrooper realized that the faux lightsaber holes were meant to implicate the Brotherhood in this crime. He petitioned the Dark Council for information on recently-terminated business contracts. From a list of twenty-three, four were with companies that had holdings on Hiran. And of those four, only one had cargo on any of the ships involved; in fact, it had cargo on all three sunken ships (via holding companies owned entirely by aliases used by the companies’ board members). With death warrants and lightsaber in his fins, Troutrooper headed to company’s headquarters. A few simple mind tricks got him past the simpleton guards; few well-placed saber slashes got him past the computerized door locks. The CEO never saw Troutrooper’s blade.
After returning to Eos and receiving his promotion, Troutrooper again turned his attention away from the Brotherhood. Within a month, he accepted a position as Wing Commander of his TIE Corps Wing, then Commodore of the Colossus. He began to drift from Galthain, completely understandable given that his Galthain assignments involved eliminating pirates near the Clan home system and his Colossus duties involved saving the ship from being shut down by a hateful Battlegroup Commander. Trourooper’s tenure as Commodore lasted two months as he was selected to be the second Command Attaché to the Tactical Officer. Clanmate Arso Slyth and he worked long hours on the Sovereign for StarLion, the Tactical Officer. Together, they were extremely successful in maintaining and running the Fleet at peak efficiency.
It was during his tenure as Command Attaché that Troutrooper began to question his Order affiliation. The Sith desire power above all else, and while Troutrooper enjoyed the perks of command and was enjoying the skyward trajectory of his Emperor’s Hammer career, he did not thirst for power. He wanted to make the Fleet better, and did so by taking positions that he thought would enable him to do so. However, he realized that he was not as successful in those positions as others. The Sith in him relished the titles and power; the rest of him hated him for performing so inadequately. In addition, Troutrooper had tired of flying. His position required him to fly in simulators non-stop to determine the feasibility of battle plans. He was in the simulator room so much he put a portable pool in. So Troutrooper began studying the other Orders. He was not an Obelisk: he had no desire to become devoted to the ways of the lightsaber and the warrior. But the Krath Order appealed to him. He still studied (when he had the time) old histories of the glorious days of the Sith Empire, he was amazed by the mysteries the Krath held in their tomes and holocrons, and he looked good in purple. Exhausted with flying (his resignation from Command Attaché was on Starlion’s desk), enthusiasm for power waning, and yearning to uncover the Order’s mysteries, Troutrooper turned in keys to his Galthain TIE fighter and received the key to House Aleema’s library.
House Aleema was a place with which Troutrooper was not all that familiar. The Clan’s Krath Brothers and Sisters kept to themselves, not unsurprising considering the Clan was dominated by Galthain and Kirleta. Of all the Krath Houses in the Brotherhood, Aleema was one of the quietest and least respected. After the whirlwind that was the Tactical Office, Troutrooper welcomed the peace and quiet. He was able to spend more time with his wife and family, and looked forward to each new day. However, with the appointment of Quaestor Kaiann, Aleema ceased to be peaceful. New initiatives were implemented, the House had a bold, new direction, and Troutrooper was asked to assist Kaiann as his Aedile. With his home life in order and his body and soul recharged, Troutrooper accepted the honor. Together, Kaiann and Troutrooper brought new life to the dormant House. Activity increased, members flowed in, and Aleema started to be known for its success rather its sleepiness.
Soon, the Force took Troutrooper’s career in a different direction. The newly-(re)formed Imperial Security Bureau was looking for possible agents. No experience required, just fearsome loyalty to the Emperor’s Hammer. Intrigued, Troutrooper sent his resume in. Within a week, he was accepted, and, after a quick Holovid tutorial, he had his first two assignments. These initial assignments were very simple as they were designed to acquaint nascent agents with the procedures of the Bureau. Troutrooper’s assignments involved monitoring the Holovid communication between two Arconans and tracking a member of Clan Alvaak when he arrived for a meeting with the Consul of Satal Keto. At first he felt awkward, slimy tracking fellow Brothers, but he quickly overcame those feelings: he was helping the Fleet as a whole, and, thus, the Brotherhood, especially if he found something serious and potentially threatening to the Fleet. Nothing substantial came from these assignments except a slowly growing desire to continue helping the Fleet in this manner.
This was one of the best times of Troutrooper’s career. He was advancing in skills, knowledge, rank, and prestige in the Brotherhood, the Intelligence community, and the Fleet as a whole. He was working hard, yet still had time for his family. Most importantly, Troutrooper enjoyed everything he was doing. His Aleema duties were tough but pleasant, and his Imperial Security Bureau tasks were intriguing and interesting.
However, he was not to remain in the Bureau for long. His superior, Kerridwen Jorddyn, had accepted the position of Supreme Director of the Intelligence Division. She needed someone to aid in the training of new recruits. After receiving a glowing recommendation from the Emperor’s Hammer Internet Officer—Troutrooper’s former Commodore, Ari—she offered the position of Tactics and Training Director to Troutrooper. True, he had very little espionage training, but the position required someone to handle paperwork more than someone with in-depth expertise. Not someone to turn down such a prestigious offer, Troutrooper accepted. At some level, he realized that this was his ticket, his path to where he ultimately saw himself: a sitting member of the Dark Council. Sure, he could work his way up through Quaestor, Proconsul, and maybe even Consul, but this opportunity would show the Grand Master that he could handle Subgroup Command Staff-level responsibilities right now. Some might say that Troutrooper’s “Sith-itis” flared up: his desire for power fueling his ascension more than his desire to help the Fleet. Troutrooper always says that if another officer deems one worthy enough of an award or honor, only the vain and foolish would decline it.
The Intelligence Division was—and still is—little more than a group of surveillance specialists. Ronin tolerated their presence as a necessary evil. The Executive Officers used Intel’s services sparingly and usually only for tracking suspicious individuals. The Imperial Security Bureau turned out to be a short-lived experiment like the equally-unsuccessful Sector Rangers. Between the Intelligence Division, the Security Office, local police forces, and the Subgroups’ internal law enforcement officers, the Emperor’s Hammer territories were considered fairly safe. No large-scale, external threats ever threatened the peace; the large-scale threats that did were all internal. Intel had always been under-funded and under-manned. Case in point: Troutrooper, a new Imperial Security Bureau agent who was promoted to Tactics and Training Director. Agents were preoccupied with other Fleet duties. The Ubiqtorate, the command staff of the Intel Division, did its best to maintain the security and solvency of the Fleet, but between the rampant apathy among agents, little funding, and lack of administrative support, their hands were routinely tied. And due to the lack of financial support, the Ubiqtorate was in need of serious help. Only two of the six Ubiqtorate positions were occupied when Troutrooper joined: Jorddyn the Supreme Director and the Situation Liaison Director (whose identity remains classified).
Troutrooper, not knowing what he was getting into, adapted to his new duties well. His main task was reviving the decrepit Academy of Tactics. Through hard work and piles of paperwork, Troutrooper managed to get the Academy back into shape. Cell leaders noted that the new field operatives were better prepared than even they had been. Some veteran agents even returned to the Academy to bolster their skills. So used was the Academy that Troutrooper reinstated the title of 00*, an honor only nine could hold at any given time.
Jorddyn, needing to fill those empty positions, soon promoted Troutrooper to Executive Director of the Intelligence Division. For a little while, this was a nominal promotion as Troutrooper was still in charge of the Academy of Tactics. But the position formalized what was established informally back in the Imperial Security Bureau: Jorddyn was Troutrooper’s mentor. This arrangement was beneficial to both: Troutrooper needed Jorddyn’s espionage training and expertise; Jorddyn needed Troutrooper’s steadying influence and wisdom. Together, they reorganized the Division completely. Tedious but required, the reorganization improved communication and the efficacy of missions. The only person not pleased with this arrangement was Troutrooper’s wife. Though she and Jorddyn were pleasant to each other whenever they met, she was always a bit suspicious of her husband’s close relationship to another woman. Troutrooper assured her many times that he was not attracted to any Human and that Jorddyn was already married to and had a son with Timbal.
Somehow, Troutrooper was able to juggle his Intel and Aleema responsibilities. Kaiann was handling the day-to-day tasks of Aleema with aplomb; Troutrooper conferred with his Quaestor everyday via the Holonet to keep abreast of the daily happenings and help Kaiann with the direction of the House. It was not easy, but Troutrooper enjoyed the hectic pace. He had always been one of the most active officers in the Fleet. Flying, reporting, leading, studying, Troutrooper was always doing. And usually, he was very successful. His medal case was burgeoning, and he already outranked most of the Fleet and Brotherhood. Vice Admiral and Krath Archpriest, two prestigious ranks.
Within a few months, Kaiann tired on command and resigned. Troutrooper assumed the mantle of Quaestor. Now more than ever, he found himself stretched. Thankfully, Jorddyn allowed him to spend more time with his House. Troutrooper’s mentoring was almost finished: whereas initially he needed Jorddyn more, she now needed Troutrooper more. As advice can be given from afar via the Holonet as easily as in person, Jorddyn acquiesced to Troutrooper’s many leave of absence requests. His time as Quaestor was uneventful, short, and rather forgettable. Nothing of import happened to him or anyone else in Aleema. He took over during a lull and left during that same lull.
Troutrooper’s reason for leaving Quaestor, a position for which he felt aptly suited, was the fulfillment of his Brotherhood career’s goal. After a public—and rather degrading—argument in the foyer of the Dark Hall, then-Deputy Grand Master Astatine fired Headmaster Mejas Doto. Although public opinion was in Doto’s favor, Troutrooper silently agreed with Astatine. He never thought Mejas was a good Headmaster, more talk than substance. He thought his chances at Headmaster were better than they were for any other Dark Council position: not only had he proven himself on a subgroup command staff, but he had served as a subgroup’s training officer as well. Little did he know that his mentor was nearly ensuring his appointment to Headmaster: Jorddyn wrote a very persuasive letter of recommendation for Troutrooper. GM Firefox, who respected the efforts of the Intel Division and knew Jorddyn quite well, listed Troutrooper as his top candidate. However, he was concerned that Troutrooper would not be available. So Firefox met with Jorddyn and Troutrooper to allay his concerns regarding Troutrooper’s schedule. At this meeting, Jorddyn announced her time as Supreme Director was coming to an end; within four months, she would retire. Her hope was that Troutrooper would succeed her. After a few minutes, an arrangement was made: Troutrooper would take over as Headmaster until Jorddyn stepped down, at which time he would take over Supreme Director. He could then choose to remain Headmaster or resign.
The next few months flew by for Troutrooper. In addition to his Executive Director duties—which involved several delicate assignments—he now had the immense responsibilities of Headmaster. He flew between Eos and the Dungeon Ship Lichtor V so frequently, he often flew without his customary fighter escort (which worried and annoyed the Supreme Director to no end). However, Troutrooper excelled in his position as Headmaster. Firefox gave him leave to manage the Shadow Academy as he saw fit. Thus enabled, Troutrooper opened several new courses that had been sitting on the previous Headmaster’s desk, for which many students—new and old—had been clamoring. The forgettable-yet-necessary paperwork ate up most of his time as it does for all Dark Councilors.
With brewing plans and the support of his superiors, Troutrooper envisioned a long tenure as Headmaster. But his mentor had finally tired of her position; Jorddyn stepped down from Supreme Director. Although he was given a choice, Troutrooper knew he would be ruining both positions if he attempted to run both offices simultaneously. And whereas there were at least three solid Headmaster successors, Troutrooper was the only person capable of running the Intelligence Division at that time. Jorddyn had groomed him. No one else was even remotely ready. Finally, because he was groomed specifically to succeed Jorddyn, Troutrooper knew he would disappoint his mentor if he did not choose Supreme Director over all of his other duties. So with a heavy heart, he waddled in to the Grand Master’s chambers and turned his letter of resignation and the keys to the Shadow Academy. He was elated to find Firefox waiting for him with a Ruby Scepter and the robes of a Pontifex. The Grand Master wished Troutrooper well and thanked him for his services. They said their goodbyes, and, with Praetorian Squadron flanking his shuttle, he headed for the Lichtor V.
Unbeknownst to him, this would be the last time he saw Firefox on the Iron Throne and the Dark Hall on Eos in all its glory.
Supreme Director of the Intelligence Division was a title Troutrooper did not know existed when he joined the Emperor’s Hammer, nor did he ever expect to be called by that title at any point until he was announced as such aboard the Lichtor V. Yes, though he was groomed for Supreme Director, Troutrooper did not count on the promotion until it was made official by the Fleet Commander and Executive Officer. His tenure as Supreme Director went swimmingly for a while. Several important missions were completed, including a couple sabotage suppressions that resulted in quiet—but messy—High Court of Inquisitor trials. Another reorganization took place: this time, instead of an entirely new organizational chart, Troutrooper reformed the Division back to the way it was. He did not want to do it, but felt as though Intel would be better served with fewer levels of administration. A big project of his was developing sleeper cells within each Subgroup. These cells—never more than three people—would work in their Subgroup as any normal member. They would report in regularly, and, if required, would carry out orders handed down from the Supreme Director himself; unlike other agents, who could receive orders from anyone on the Ubiqtorate, these agents received orders only from Troutrooper. He would only call upon one cell during his tenure.
Part of Troutrooper’s duties was to maintain regular communication with the other Subgroup Commanders. Everyday he was discussing plans with at least one of the leaders of the other Subgroups. His former boss, Firefox, was one of his closest companions. They talked at least every other day. Not only was this part of Troutrooper’s job, but he had a vested interest in Firefox’s subgroup. He passionately wanted to see the Brotherhood thrive; there were more than a few days in which he thought he had made the wrong decision. Though Troutrooper felt still like Firefox’s subordinate, Firefox seemed to confide in him as much as anyone. He was surprised when Firefox openly bashed the Executive Officer to the biggest gossip in the Fleet, for example.
In fact, Astatine was the topic of their discussions more than anything else. Troutrooper had always been friendly with Astatine. He saw the Executive Officer’s anger on more than one occasion, but figured such outbursts come when one manages the day-to-day activities of the largest Fleet in the Outer Rim. He himself had avoided Astatine’s wrath. Troutrooper did his work without question or fail. That was in and of itself enough to avoid a public castigation. But over time and with each successive move up the hierarchy, Troutrooper became less impressed with the Executive Officer. He noted contradictions between Astatine’s speeches and policies, saw protest resignations from some of the most respected officers in the Fleet’s history, and heard either anger or resignation in many of the Subgroup Commanders’ voices when they spoke of the Executive Officer. Firefox, in particular, had harsh words to say to the Executive Officer. For one, Astatine was simultaneously Firefox’s direct superior and direct subordinate as he was the Executive Officer and Deputy Grand Master. That fact was widely bemoaned throughout the Fleet: even Troutrooper had told Astatine of his dislike of the situation.
But ultimately, Troutrooper was continually reminded of Jorddyn’s opinion of Astatine: though coarse and prickly, Astatine always works for the betterment of the Emperor’s Hammer. And he saw evidence of that every day. Whereas Kowalski, the previous Executive Officer, was admired for his subtlety, Astatine was despised because he pushed people to their limits. But the Fleet reaped the rewards for his aggressive manner, most prominently via increased activity Fleet-wide. Troutrooper often wondered what chemical additives Astatine ingested to remain so alert, awake, and active for such long periods of time; more than once, he wondered how the Executive Officer could sustain so much activity for as long as he did.
About a year into his tenure and well into an extremely delicate and potentially explosive mission that required hands-on assistance from the Supreme Director, Troutrooper took a leave. His wife ordered him to take some time off. So he arranged for a two-day leave from the Fleet; a lovely resort on the coast on Dar in the Heir system. Nothing major, just a couple days away from everything with his beloved wife. She stipulated that he could not be in contact with anyone affiliated with the Emperor's Hammer for the duration of their getaway. Reluctantly, he switched off his comlinks; maintaining good familial relations is important. And though he thought constantly of his responsibilities, Troutrooper enjoyed the vacation. One thing did bother him: a cryptic, foreboding message he received from Firefox the night before they left. The Grand Master was not one to mince words with him, but this message was ominous yet puzzling. Troutrooper tried to put it out of his mind and did (with some help from his blushing bride). He was only allowed to turn them back on once the shuttle lifted off.
Upon arrival at the Lichtor V, she did not see her husband for two weeks.
For the first time in his life, Troutrooper had failed. His job was to proactively ensure the safety of the Fleet. Though there would always been individuals and small bands of defectors, Troutrooper was responsible for rooting out the mass defections, the mutinies that could devastate an entire Subgroup or even the Fleet. When he switched on his comlink after departing from Dar, all he heard was static. Then, upon closer inspection, he realized that there were so many people screaming and issuing orders simultaneously that it came through as white noise. Troutrooper quickly opened a secure Holonet connection and instantly realized what was happening: Firefox and six other long-standing Brothers announced that the Dark Brotherhood was now and forever severing ties with the Command Staff of the Emperor's Hammer and would be a “sister organization” allied with the Fleet but administered separately. In retaliation, Ronin and Astatine permanently expelled The Seven, as they came to be called, as well as anyone else who allied with Firefox. The list of defectors flowed down Troutrooper's screen as tears of anger, rage, and sorrow flowed down his clammy cheeks. Thankfully, only a couple of his agents sided with Firefox. Upon arrival on the Lichtor V, Troutrooper contacted the Fleet Commander. After being chewed up and spit out by the raging Chiss, he asked Ronin if he could initiate aggressive missions against the group now derogatorily called the rDB. Ronin agreed, so for the first time in the history of the Emperor's Hammer, Intel would carry out attacks against another organization. Then, after being demeaned by Astatine, Troutrooper contacted his Dark Brotherhood sleeper cell and gave them their assignments. After checking the defectors list again—and removing three more names from the active agent roster—ordered all agents to abandon their current missions and wait for new orders.
The rest of that day and well into the next morning was spent with the Ubiqtorate designing and issuing new missions as well as crossing name after name from the active agent roster. Although the roster was not savaged initially, whole units were lost within twenty-four hours. One mission had to be scrapped entirely and two agents were exposed because the third agent involved defected soon after receiving the assignment. Troutrooper tried his utmost to keep his few remaining agents alive, covert, and on the right track. But nothing had ever prepared him or his agents for this. Several who left contacted him, saying that they appreciated Troutrooper's efforts but abhorred Astatine and/or were loyal to Firefox. Troutrooper's job was made even less easy by his superiors. To this day, Astatine still blames Troutrooper for the defection even though Troutrooper's name does not appear on the Petition. He made it clear to the Supreme Director that he would never forget nor forgive him for not forewarning the Fleet.
And yet, this mutiny was the almost perfectly executed. First, only a small group of high-ranking people knew about the plans, and within that group were the Grand Master (very charismatic and beloved by all) and the Seneschal (the technical guru with access to every system in the Brotherhood). Other mutinies involved lots of people trying to leave at once. The more people who know, the more leaks there are. Even if all are dedicated to the cause, more people mean more chances someone’s mouth will let something damning slip. In conjunction, The Seven did not force or ask anyone to follow them; rather, they invited people after they issued their Redress to take up their cause and wished those who did not well. Thus, though only seven Brothers left initially, hundreds of Dark Jedi would leave the Emperor’s Hammer. Second, The Seven acted very quickly to implement the plans. Too often, potential mutineers would wait until ‘the perfect time’. There is no ideal time to defect, and the longer a group waits, the more likely word will spread of their impending departure. The Seven agreed to leave then promptly did so. Their timing turned out to be serendipitous as the Supreme Director had a pre-approved leave on the day of their defection (which no one outside of the Executive Director and Troutrooper’s family knew about).
From the moment he heard of the Split, as it is known in the Emperor’s Hammer territories, Troutrooper pondered his decision. He was a Brother as well as an officer. He would have been welcomed whole-heartedly in the new Brotherhood. However, Troutrooper remained loyal to the Emperor’s Hammer. First, he was the head of the Intelligence Division, the one position in the entire Fleet that demands unswerving loyalty to the Emperor’s Hammer. He had been relied upon to be loyal, and The Seven had not convinced him to rescind that loyalty. He agreed that Astatine had committed several transgressions, but nothing more egregious than personal insults; much of what The Seven claimed as criminal acts were, in Troutrooper's mind, well within the Astatine's jurisdiction, and he had never found any document that supported the Brotherhood's long-believed status as a sister organization. Second, Troutrooper, due to his position, had to choose a side quickly. When he examined the initial list of defectors, he saw the names of individuals with whom he did not want to associate. Of The Seven, he personally knew four—Firefox, Corran Force, Chi-Long, and Trevarus Caerick—and had met briefly Pyralis. He was friendly with Corran, was not a fan of Chi-Long, despised Trevarus (and still does), and had no opinion of Pyralis. But it was Firefox who finalized his decision. Troutrooper believed them to be friends. He could not imagine, however, any friend abandoning him as Firefox did. Not only did Firefox embarrass Troutrooper professionally, but he did not even attempt contact with the Supreme Director after the Petition was announced; a simple kind word or two, and the Supreme Director probably would have abandoned his post to join his friend. Troutrooper felt as though Firefox had abused their friendship, and for that, he could not, would not defect.
[OOC: The IC timeline doubles in speed here to closer match the DJB’s timeline]
The next two months were, predictably, crazy. Mission after failed mission was thrown at the rDB. For every creative idea the Ubiqtorate had, the defecting Dark Jedi had four creative ideas for foiling their plans. But unlike the Emperor’s Hammer, where enemy agents would have suffered painfully until they were disposed of, the rDB invited Force-sensitive agents to join their ranks and allowed non-Force-sensitive agents to serve in their armed forces. Troutrooper marveled at their leniency, which derived more from their sense of indestructibility than from principles of kindness. The sleeper cell agents were discovered almost instantly, prompting some in the Ubiqtorate to wonder aloud what side Supreme Director was on. Troutrooper himself began to suspect some of his senior staffers of misguided loyalties, even those whom he had hand-picked to fill high-level command posts. But that was the atmosphere in the Emperor’s Hammer: who’s leaving next. People defected daily after having some extremely insignificant dispute with their superior, or being told to work harder, or just because they felt they would succeed more surrounded by powerful Dark Jedi.
Post-Exodus Emperor's Hammer
Troutrooper was next to leave. However, he did not defect; he simply resigned. Between the daily verbal reamings—both private and public—the constant stress, the knowledge that he would never ascend any higher in rank or position, and the desire to spend more time with his family, Troutrooper had had enough. He made it known to the High Court of Inquisitors that he would like to join their illustrious and formidable ranks. So, after handing the keys to the Lichtor V to his Executive Director, Mordann, Troutrooper took a shuttle to the Victory-Class Star Destroyer Stalwart.
Inquisitor was the second-best job Troutrooper would ever take in the Emperor’s Hammer. He reveled and thrived as an Inquisitor. Surrounded by wise, mature officers from around the Fleet, Troutrooper enjoyed the erudite discourse on every case and the satisfaction he got whenever a hardened criminal was “removed” from the Fleet. Whereas Intel missions were quiet, covert affairs, High Court cases were public. He chuckled several times while court was in session as defendants embarrassed themselves during the trial, often saying or doing something that damned them; defendants were often their own worst enemies. And after training and developing so many new officers and Dark Jedi, Troutrooper relished the chance to be amongst the elder statesmen of the Emperor’s Hammer.
He also enjoyed the down time: for the first time since he joined the Emperor’s Hammer, he was able to spend as much quality time with his wife as he wanted. Troutrooper was also able to study the few Krath tomes that survived the devastation of the Dark Hall. He was a Pontifex, the highest Equite rank, but he did not quite feel like a Pontifex. He now had the chance to “own his rank”. Most of all, Troutrooper used his downtime to reflect upon his life in the Emperor’s Hammer as well as the events that led to his resignation. What had he done correctly and incorrectly? How had The Seven been so successful? Would the Fleet ever recover? What would he do if he left Inquisitor? He realized that, unlike many of his peers, he had the chance to reflect on his path while still young and energetic enough to take advantage of the lessons he learned.
In addition, the downtime enabled Troutrooper to exact revenge upon those who had wronged him. A couple found themselves at the mercy of the High Court. Troutrooper ensured they were disposed of properly. Most he sought himself. A Krath Pontifex with the legal freedom to judge and execute people is a being one does not take lightly. Troutrooper savored each kill, almost like a bounty hunter but without the paycheck at the end. Some he chased from world to world, some he barged in on while they were mating, some he simply sniped from afar in a crowded city square. Their manner of death was secondary to whom killed them.
Late in Troutrooper’s tenure on the bench, the Emperor’s Hammer went through another major change. Grand Admiral Ronin, the founder of the Fleet, resigned; Astatine was named as his successor (to no one’s surprise). Within two months, Astatine made his first changes to the Fleet by dissolving the High Court of Inquisitors. He claimed that the High Court was unfair and inconsistent in its sentences, lazy, and ultimately not worth keeping around. However, everyone knew that the thrice-convicted Fleet Commander simply did not like the High Court and eliminated it at his earliest convenience. Troutrooper confronted Astatine a few days later. A quarrel ensued with both harshly criticizing the other: Troutrooper attacked Astatine for executing a personal vendetta that would harm the Fleet in the long run; Astatine reminded Troutrooper of his failings as Supreme Director as well as pointing out minor problems in his decisions. Both left seething.
Unemployed, Troutrooper headed back to the Dark Brotherhood. Twas a vastly different place than when he left it. His Clan was gone as were most of his long-time friends and colleagues. Troutrooper barely even knew the Dark Councilors, and the Grand Masters since the Split were mediocre at best. He did contemplate applying for Grand Master immediately after the Split, but felt as though he was needed more aboard the Lichtor V than on Eos. Plus, he thought Rapier, the long-serving Security Officer, was a solid choice. But Rapier and his successor, Khaen, were disappointments as Grand Masters. Rapier did nothing to stem the flow of defectors, and Khaen did nothing at all. Gelton Torr, Khaen’s Deputy and successor (known as Grand Master Nocturnus), was a very good Grand Master; if the Emperor’s Hammer-aligned Dark Brotherhood ever experienced a renaissance, it was under Nocturnus. Recruitment was up, good leaders were appointed, but, most importantly, the trauma of the Split was beginning to subside and recede into memory. The feelings of loss and self-pity were slowly overtaken by rays of hope and potential prosperity. Troutrooper looked forward to returning even if his old home was gone. Friends of his—J’Lek Arcanos the Krath High Priest and Tirna Q’jira—persuaded him to join House Dominatus in Clan Alvaak.
Almost immediately upon arrival, Troutrooper remembered why he loved yet despised the Krath Order. Secretive and jealous of their knowledge, Krath tend to lash out at each other when in groups of more than one. These petty quarrels can quickly bring down mighty Houses: House Aleema was the embroiled bystander in a vicious series of public attacks between then-Krath High Priestess Mairin and then-Aleema member Arania. Only through Dark Council intervention was a crisis averted. In Dominatus, a new leader, Quaestor Conker, had irked a long-serving member, Tirna. Troutrooper watched bemused as the two spat with each other time and again. He only stepped in when the infighting began to affect the development of the new members. Conker left within two months of Troutrooper’s arrival, claiming Tirna was undermining his authority. Troutrooper thought the claims were ill-founded: the real blame rested solely with Conker and his lack of leadership skills. Consul Hades had soured on Tirna, the only worthy replacement, and left Dominatus to fend of itself for the time being. Troutrooper busied himself with daily House chores and tasks. He liked just being a member again; “Flight Member is the best position in the Fleet because everyone above you is working for your benefit”, the old Fleet saying goes.
Before a replacement was found, the Krath High Priest and Troutrooper’s good friend, J’Lek, resigned. Though not interested in Quaestor, Troutrooper was most definitely interested in Krath High Priest. However, he was unsure of his would-be superiors: he liked Nocturnus, but had clashed with Deputy Grand Master Drak a number of times. Nothing major, just differences of opinion. Troutrooper applied and was the prime candidate. A couple short interviews later, and he was back on the Dark Council.
If Troutrooper was born for a position in the Dark Brotherhood, if the Force molded him to be the best at one position, it would be Krath High Priest. He was fantastic as the leader of the Krath Order, which flourished as it had not in years. From the rebuilding of the Dueling Institute of Eos to the establishment of a proper library for all Krath tomes to training all members of the Krath Order, Troutrooper put his heart, mind, and soul into making the Order the greatest it could be and the greatest Order period. And the Order responded. He could see measurable improvement in his charges' skills. He felt comfortable relying on them in combat, which he did during the attack on the Akmuvah's volcanic base. What filled him with the most pride, though, was seeing people enjoy, even revel, in being a Krath. Troutrooper was, and forever shall be, a Krath. Though he joined as a Sith, he never felt more comfortable, more attuned to the Force than as a Krath. And through his position as Krath High Priest, Troutrooper proselytized the joys and wonders of follow the purple path. For the first time in many years, people listened to the purple propaganda. While the Sith struggled to remain solvent and the Obelisks continued to toil at their trade, the Krath Order rose to prominence.
However, the renaissance of the Brotherhood was short-lived. Less than a year after becoming Krath High Priest, Troutrooper's bulbous eyes nearly exploded from their sockets when he saw the news: Grand Master Nocturnus had resigned. This was not wholly unexpected as Nocturnus had taken more frequent and longer leaves to further his personal studies. Still, the timing was shocking. Even worse was the news that Astatine had fired Drak, leaving the Brotherhood leaderless. Over the course of his tenure as an Order Leader, Troutrooper came to respect both Nocturnus and Drak. The Grand Master was highly intelligent and patient. His Deputy, though stubborn, was truly devoted to the Brotherhood. When Troutrooper received word of the vacancies, he was immediately torn. To be precise, he was furious with the Fleet Commander for removing a perfectly capable successor and unsure as to whether or not he should apply. He thought Drak would be a good, solid Grand Master; why he was fired was unknown (though many had guesses). In addition, the Sith High Warrior had resigned a few weeks before and the Obelisk High Commander submitted his resignation as well; only the Master-at-Arms, Chancellor, Headmaster, and Krath High Priest remained. Troutrooper had a good idea that, although he was the only viable successor to Grand Master, he would be rejected because of his past 'failures' as a Subgroup Commander and unflattering opinion of the Fleet Commander.
Over time, relations between Troutrooper and Astatine had disintegrated. The Fleet Commander never forgot nor forgave Troutrooper for the Split, routinely dredging the topic up in public just to humiliate and belittle him. In turn, Troutrooper began to openly bash Astatine's decisions, questioning his motives and reasons while lesser officers cowered in the corner. One afternoon, while Troutrooper was relaxing and chatting with some friends aboard the Sovereign, Astatine interrupted their conversation with an unwarranted attack on Troutrooper: he called him a spy for the rDB, among other things. Instead of letting the Fleet Commander get away with the abuse, Troutrooper stood up and confronted Astatine. Vicious words that could not be rescinded flew from their lips. If not for an idiot interloper, who bore the full brunt of Astatine's wrath and thus diffused the situation, the Fleet Commander and Krath High Priest would have most likely fought right there in the cantina. A bar fight between two high-ranking officers and Dark Jedi would have been spectacular and scary. As it was, Troutrooper came to realize that Astatine no longer worked for the benefit of the Emperor's Hammer: even though he was responsible for the Fleet, Astatine was doing more harm than good. Troutrooper knew of no policy changes Astatine had enacted that had bettered the Fleet. In addition, the Fleet Commander spent most of his time working for the Emperor's Hammer, but almost nothing of value ever escaped the black hole of his office. The Judge Advocate General, the successor to the High Court, took literally months to be established even though the guidelines, duties, and law had been changed to accommodate the new post. All the Fleet Commander had to do was appoint someone, but apparently he was too busy to read the applications.
Astatine even reinforced Troutrooper’s new perception by personally backstabbing him. Several months before their resignation/termination, Troutrooper was asked by Nocturnus and Drak to assume complete control of the Dueling Institute of Eos as its founder, the previous Krath High Priest J’Lek, refused to cede control of it. Nocturnus, Drak, and Troutroper had a two-phase approach: they would try to coerce J’Lek into relinquishing control while building a new Institute—contracted out to Xander Drax—as a precautionary measure should they be unable to convince J’Lek. Astatine approved the plan. Troutrooper felt awkward and uncomfortable threatening his friend, but was dismayed by the records and logs of J’Lek using the Institute as a bargaining chip. Unable to convince his predecessor, Troutrooper conferred with his superiors and all agreed to go ahead with Xander’s new Insitute, which was 90% complete. On the same day Troutrooper informed J’Lek the Brotherhood did not need his Institute’s services, Astatine informed Nocturnus that they were forbidden from using Xander’s Institute. No reason was given, only a vague reference to Xander not being completely loyal to the Emperor’s Hammer. Troutrooper was furious. He did all the dirty work—ruining a friendship in the process—because he thought his superiors would support the move. But one superior, the one who ruled over them all, made a decision that demonstrably hurt the Fleet. Troutrooper never knew whether Astatine did this on purpose, but he suspected such spiteful tactics were not beneath Astatine.
But the Grand Admiral was nigh untouchable, for he knew the access codes to all of the Fleet's vital systems. Ronin did not have them nor did he care to know them. And Astatine had done a marvelous job of slowly monopolizing the access. Had Astatine been forcibly removed, the Fleet would have languished for months before all systems were brought back online. Leaders can be replaced, but not the systems. Plus, his Executive Officer, Cyric, was a yes-man and a paper-pusher. Troutrooper held Cyric in low esteem. He thought Cyric was a prime example of the saying, “In bureaucracy, one rises to positions in which they fail.” Cyric’s time as Flight Officer was lengthy yet uninspired; his time as Executive Officer followed that pattern. He was in a bind because he followed Sarin, an active and energetic Executive Officer who worked for the Fleet until Astatine expelled him for disagreeing with him. Most officers like Sarin; most officers did not even know Cyric existed, let alone was the Executive Officer. Remove Astatine, and the Fleet suffers twice.
In addition, Astatine had spent years blinding Ronin to the real truths of the Fleet. Admittedly, Ronin did nothing to uncover the truth for himself, but Astatine worked long and hard to ensure that any question Ronin had regarding the status of the Fleet came to him first. Thus, he could keep the Fleet’s founder blind to the truth. If anyone claimed to have explosive evidence against Astatine—as The Seven had—Ronin simply ignored it or sent the person the High Court on False Statements charges. So even if the entire Fleet wanted Astatine removed, Ronin still would not hear it.
Within this acidic environment, Troutrooper took his chances and applied for Grand Master. He had put the Krath Order back on track and now looked to do the same with the Brotherhood as a whole. He was by far and away the most creative and enthusiastic member of the Dark Council, well-liked by both subordinates and peers. At any other time, Troutrooper would have been appointed Grand Master within a week. But not now, not with someone who branded him a traitor in power. Ever interested in rumors surrounding open leadership positions, he asked several people if they had applied and asked Cyric who else besides him had applied. No one else besides him wanted the mantle. Troutrooper figured that his resume and the lack of other interested candidates would push him into the Iron Throne. But no, Astatine would not hear it; he did not want Troutrooper to take the reigns of the Brotherhood.
But then again, instead of appointing a new Grand Master, Astatine simply left the position empty. No one sat on the Iron Throne; the Dark Council and Consuls were told to run the Brotherhood. No reason was given. Troutrooper’s shuttle never flew faster to the Sovereign, where he and Astatine had a brief but tense argument. Troutrooper accused Astatine of wanting Grand Master for himself even though he already had control of the entire Fleet. He castigated the Fleet Commander’s decision to leave the Iron Throne vacant, saying that the Brotherhood needed a leader, be it him or someone else. Astatine told him to return to his office and his duties and not worry about who was going to lead the Brotherhood. When Troutrooper pressed again for a reason, Astatine threatened to fire him. Seething, Troutrooper asked how that would aid the Brotherhood; Astatine's silence revealed he too knew it would not help the Brotherhood. The mere fact that the Fleet Commander would remove the only hard-working Dark Councilor revealed that he had neither a plan for the Brotherhood nor any desire to see it prosper. Troutrooper left the office more enraged than when he arrived.
The next ten months were purgatory. Troutrooper did what he could to keep his Order working, but the Dark Jedi were not blind nor ignorant. They knew the Brotherhood died a little more each day the Iron Throne remained vacant. Many left, either to their homes elsewhere in the Fleet or in the galaxy or to the other Brotherhood. Astatine selected Clan Scholae Palatinae Consul Gidda as the next Sith High Warrior, a move made to stem the tide more than solidify the Sith Order. Still, Astatine was petty enough to continue taking potshots at Troutrooper. At the annual Winter Awards Party, Troutrooper received a Ruby Scepter from Astatine for his efforts as Krath High Priest. An impressive award, but highly insulting compared to the Ruby Scepter awarded to Gidda and the Diamond Sword awarded to the Master-at-Arms, Kane Reese. Neither had served on the Dark Council nearly as long as Troutrooper had, nor had they worked even a fraction as hard as Troutrooper had. He would have confronted Astatine at the party, but did not want to embarrass himself or Gidda and Kane; they were innocent bystanders in this personal feud. Not to say that he was completely above pettiness: Troutrooper told anyone and everyone of Astatine's failings as a leader and his preeminent role in the ruination of the Emperor's Hammer. They avoided each other for obvious reasons.
During the purgatory, Troutrooper began sending out feelers towards the rDB, other Brotherhood, the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. He had kept up with their progress though this derived from sadism as he expected them to collapse at any time; an organization that welcomed all the castoffs from the Emperor's Hammer was bound to fail, or so he thought. Yet to his continual surprise, they grew stronger and more cohesive by the day. And even though Firefox had retired, they still prospered. Troutrooper could not believe it. Over time, the anger and resentment that kept him loyal had subsided, faded. He had known that Astatine was not a pleasant person, but always held firm in his belief that Astatine worked for the betterment of the Fleet. That is why Troutrooper continued to work for Astatine. But he could no longer hold on to that illusion. His eyes had opened where before he was blind. Troutrooper realized the wisdom that Firefox had those years ago: Astatine was the problem, there was no solution nor was he ever going to improve. At the time of the Split and thereafter, Astatine may have benefited the Fleet, but Firefox foresaw that there would be a time in the near future that Astatine would cause the Emperor's Hammer and the Brotherhood more harm than good. Rather than see his beloved Brotherhood suffer and enduring the unwarranted assaults against his good name while waiting for Astatine to cross that line, Firefox and The Seven absconded with the Brotherhood. Troutrooper chose to wait, and for that, he suffered.
For no apparent reason, Astatine appointed Gidda to ascend to the Iron Throne. Troutrooper kept an open mind: though Gidda—who took the name Carnifex—had displayed little leadership though great flying skill as Consul of Clan Scholae Palatinae and Sith High Warrior, Troutrooper figured Astatine would not have appointed someone unless that person had a plan for the Brotherhood. Again, he was wrong.
The only noteworthy thing Carnifex did while Troutrooper was on the Dark Council was promote Troutrooper to Dark Jedi Master. A glorious day for Troutrooper, who had been expecting the promotion but was still thankful and honored by the accolade. Carnifex asked Troutrooper to initiate talks regarding a possible joint project with The Fringe, an asinine assignment with which Troutrooper did not want to get involved. The Fringe was, is, and always will be the weakest arm of the Emperor's Hammer. The Fringe came into being through the efforts of a handful of people. Soon after they left, The Fringe quickly decayed. For years it hung on to life by a thread, a failed experiment that Ronin did not want to admit. Then new technology came around that revitalized The Fringe, followed soon by the Fleet founder himself, an enthusiast of this technology. Still, in the hierarchy of Subgroups, The Fringe always found itself at the bottom. Carnifex wanted to incorporate their technology into the Brotherhood, but needed to introduce the technology slowly yet effectively. He needed someone to sound out The Fringe's technical advisors on the best way to do that. Grudgingly, Troutrooper headed off. Two days' flight from Eos, three days of discussions, and another two days to home, Troutrooper felt as though he had justed wasted a week of his life. He noticed the Dark Hall was suspiciously quiet. He could sense the presence of others in the building, so he walked cautiously through the empty halls, heading in the direction of where the presence felt strongest. Troutrooper quickly realized that he was headed towards the Audience Chamber, where he suspected someone was having a party. Shrugging, he turned around to leave when a mouse droid ran into him. He would have ignored the klutzy droid except the droid would not let him ignore it. The droid kept ramming into his fin. He was about to flatten the droid using multiple methods when it whisked off towards the Audience Chamber. It then rammed into the Audience Chamber door several times. Troutrooper realized the droid was communicating with him, so he decided to check out the party. And was he glad he did. A lavish ceremony, full of excellent Krath tome readings and majesty, preceded a soirée Carnifex is still trying to pay off. His wife, friends, colleagues—including a couple who were no longer welcome in Emperor's Hammer space—had gathered to celebrate Troutrooper's ascendancy. Notable in his absence, however, was Astatine, who, according to Carnifex, had more important tasks to do. Troutrooper shrugged it off; this was his day and he was not about to let Astatine or anyone ruin it. The party lasted until morn; hangovers and states of inebriation lasted until the next morn.
Troutrooper spent the next three months preparing his Order for a massive undertaking. After the Sith Order’s successful Operation Red Shift, Troutrooper was ordered to lead the Krath to fully subdue and conquer the system. He was proud of the battle plans and his Krath; everyone and everything was prepared. The first wave hit the system in fine form and reached their objectives quickly. So efficient and deadly they were that Troutrooper excused himself to attend to yet another meaningless Dark Council meetings, leaving the battle to his Praetor, Angelus.
While traveling to the meeting, Troutrooper contemplated retirement. He had served long and with distinction, and felt his energy and fire for command ebbing daily. His Obelisk Praetor was progressing nicely and would make a fine Krath High Priest someday. His Krath Houses were in decent shape: not where he knew they could be, but strong enough to support themselves. The more he looked around, the more Troutrooper realized he was not needed. He was still wanted—except by Astatine—but not needed. He told himself he would reevaluate the situation after the Operation was complete.
Carnifex called the meeting to order, his eyes glancing towards the Krath High Priest as he banged the gavel. Troutrooper suspected the Grand Master never intended for him to be there, but rather out with his troops. Thus, he had a feeling important topics would be discussed. Even though he was never going to be Grand Master, he still had enough clout to sway the course of the Brotherhood, and he certainly was not about to disenfranchise himself nor let a devious Darth do it to him. Unexpectedly, the Fleet Commander walked in. All stared as Astatine the Seneschal took his seat. One of the Consuls experienced a lapse in judgment as he made a bad joke regarding Astatine’s tardiness; Astatine retorted that the Consul just seized half of the Consul’s personal assets. Nobody laughed at either remark.
The meeting continued monotonously as it always did. Troutrooper thought that Carnifex was hiding some agenda item, but honestly did not care what it was. He was simply pleased he had disrupted the Grand Master’s plans. And with the unannounced visit by the Seneschal, Troutrooper knew he had disrupted something rather important. A quick glance at Astatine revealed his irritation and frustration with the meeting. He could not lash out at Carnifex for not discussing whatever item the Grand Master was hiding, nor could he simply leave without raising eyebrows. Troutrooper smiled to himself: he was making Astatine miserable.
More monotone from the Grand Master, interspersed with comments and questions. As Carnifex was ready to move on to another agenda item, Arcona Consul Angelo Dante asked for the floor. He wanted to continue the topic, but move it in a different direction. He suggested that the Orders be eliminated. Murmurs coursed between the Councilors. Troutrooper simply smiled. He and Dante had idly chatted about such a change; Troutrooper figured that he would be the one to suggest it as he had brought the topic up between the two on several occasions. Carnifex held up a hand and said that such discussions would have to wait. Troutrooper pounced, saying that they had wasted a good hour and a half on trivial matters, yet an interesting and exciting idea was stifled before it could even be discussed. The Grand Master opened his mouth to reply when Astatine cut in. He told the Dark Council to move on, that there were more important matters to attend to.
It was at this point in time that Troutrooper decided to make one final stand. He had the energy and the gumption to dig in and fight for this. He knew the rDB had abolished Order Leaders to great success, believed that the era of the Orders themselves were at an end, and talk off downsizing had reached his fishy ears. Abolishing the Orders would solve many of the Brotherhood's problems. Plus, if he could get this through, it would be—along with Operation Purple Shift—his legacy to the Brotherhood. That appealed to him more than even he wanted to admit.
So Troutrooper defied Astatine and continued to discuss the issue. He ignored Astatine's interruptions, laying out some ways that the Brotherhood could implement the massive change. Both his and Astatine's voices grew ever louder and their yelling accelerated as they tried to drown the other out. Troutrooper spoke to the front end of the table, his back turned to the Fleet Commander; Astatine spoke directly at Troutrooper, enraged at the slight. Being essentially a fish out of water, Troutrooper had to take a breath before Astatine did. In his silence, Astatine screamed that Troutrooper had violated a direct order and was immediately and permanently expelled from the Fleet.
Silence. No one moved. Troutrooper turned slowly around to face his judge, jury, and executioner. He realized that he made one fatal error: Astatine had been waiting for Troutrooper to make a mistake so that he could finally dispose of the supposed traitor. His mistake, though rather insignificant, was enough to enable the Fleet Commander to assert his will. But Astatine had played right into Troutrooper's fins, for both knew Troutrooper—who had helped write the new judicial procedures and was vastly more intelligent than the Judge Advocate General, his old Quaestor Conker—would find a way to wiggle out of any formal trial. Thus, Astatine had no choice but to expel him ex cathedra, which served to prove Troutrooper's—and all others'—accusations against him.
Astatine ordered Daniel Goad, the Headmaster and Emperor's Hammer Security Officer, to arrest Troutrooper. The expelled waved Daniel away, saying he would go peacefully. Troutrooper walked up to Astatine and whispered in his ear something that infuriated the Fleet Commander. Sabers were drawn and orders were given to kill the fishman. Backed into a corner by a dozen Dark Jedi, Troutrooper knocked the Equites down with a quick blast of Force Push, then casted an illusion of him running towards the door. All followed the illusion—being a member of Clan Satal Keto had its upsides—except Carnifex. Troutrooper could not project an image into the mind of a Grand Master. As all but one of the Dark Councilors rushed the door, Troutrooper spun around in place quick as a flash, his sabers carving a hole through the floor. Carnifex jumped on the table, ran across, and leapt for Troutrooper. He was too big to follow, so he decided to unleash upon the escaping expelled a Force Power known only to Grand Masters. He grabbed Troutrooper's arm, and, with the full power of Sever Force, wrenched Troutrooper's knowledge of Dark Jedi Master and Dark Side Adept from him before the expelled fell to the floor before.
Troutrooper had never felt so much agony before. Carnifex had rended a hole in Troutrooper's mind. Everything he knew of as a Dark Side Adept and Dark Jedi Master—nearly two years' worth of knowledge and wisdom—was no more. So intense the pain, he did not notice his awkward crashing to the marble floor below; he heard more than felt three ribs and two arm bones break and saw his sabers tumble away. Crawling and fighting off the throbbing pain, he threw himself out the window. The four-story fall was as graceless as any newly-(re)minted Pontifex had ever done: more of a four-story flop than a proper jump. Only at the last moment was the mentally shredded Troutrooper able to bring his legs beneath him, which resulted in a loud crack and shattered fin bones as he slammed into an ice pack. The shock of pain actually brought some clarity to his broken mind, enough for him to remotely call upon his K-20b, a modified missile boat designed by former Executive Officer and Colossus commander Compton that Troutrooper had had since his days as a Command Attachè. Hobbling across the icy plain, Troutrooper waited for death: if not the cold, his pursuers would hunt him down before his ship arrived. Only through the Force was he able to maintain consciousness until his faithful Rhino appeared.
Aboard, Troutrooper hailed his wife and told her to pack as much into their family shuttle as she could in five minutes and to be out of the Auroran atmosphere within ten. He told her to trust him, that questions would only slow them both down and decrease their already slim hope of escape. Next, he programmed the family's shuttle's and his fighter's hyperspace routes and rendezvous destination. Finally, he cleared his mind enough to focus on escaping Eos alive as the sector police were already hailing him to land immediately or die. And if they could not stop him, Troutrooper knew the Sith High Warrior and Grand Master—both superior pilots—were mere moments from leaving the hangar if they had not done so yet. One blast from his SLAM jets got him out of warhead lock range of the police; another put him within range of his hyperspace buoy. Once admist the swirling blue of hyperspace, Troutrooper sank into a deep trance. His mind and body needed rest to repair itself; the next few weeks would not be easy.
Dark Jedi Brotherhood
Luckily, neither had pursuers. Troutrooper and Omiti rendezvoused and scurried back to Dac. Surrounded by friends and family, who had long since forgotten Troutrooper's transgressions against his species, they were well-protected: Troutrooper knew of only one other Mon Calamari to ever join the Emperor's Hammer, and he left in the Split, and any other species was easily spotted. He spent most of the time in meditation. At first, he tried in vain to rebuild his mind to its Dark Jedi Master state. When he finally resigned himself to his new/old powers, he focused on salvaging the rest of his fractured mind and repairing the damage. Troutrooper also used the time to reconnect with his long-forsaken wife and long-estranged family. He forgot what it was like to be around people like him, to be with people who accepted him for who he was instead of for how much he toiled. He liked it.
But Troutrooper knew they could not stay on Dac forever. Eventually, Astatine might hunt him down: after all, Troutrooper did have detailed files on many high-level Emperor's Hammer officers and knew of all Brotherhood operations. Not the sort of person a fleet commander would easily forget. He needed someplace secure, somewhere Astatine would never attempt to attack him. In addition, Troutrooper was—and is—a workaholic. He needed something to do. He may not complete an assignment right away, he simply needed to have an assignment pending. His wife hated when he was home: he either slept or paced. With not an insignificant amount of needling from his better half, Troutrooper made some calls and arranged a meeting with someone who could help.
Troutrooper had never met Grand Master Jac Cotelin. Though they had been in the same organization for a few years, their paths never crossed. Troutrooper was not even sure of what to say to the Dark Jedi Brotherhood’s Grand Master: he had publicly expressed very anti-Dark Jedi Brotherhood views in the past and actively worked to thwart them, yet now he was going to plead for admission into their organization? Plus, his old friend Sarin had had a tough time fighting anti-Emperor’s Hammer prejudices. Troutrooper was unsure if he wanted to deal with that as he rather enjoyed the tranquility of Dac. The meeting was very brief: they walked in, Troutrooper asked for free passage to the Dark Hall, Jac agreed, Jac asked if Troutrooper wanted to join, Troutrooper said he needed time, Jac nodded and both left.
A month after arriving on Dac, Troutrooper and Omiti headed for Dark Jedi Brotherhood space. They kept a low profile as much as possible; two Mon Calamari traveling together away from Dac are quite conspicuous. In addition, more than a few Dark Jedi—and even some astute non-Force-sensitive beings—recognized Troutrooper. If not for word of his expulsion, Troutrooper was certain he would have been killed almost immediately upon arrival for being an Emperor's Hammer's spy. One person, however, knew otherwise. Sith Bloodfyre-Tarentae, Quaestor of House Tridens, did not know Troutrooper except by reputation, yet invited him to join Clan Tarentum. Honored by the invite and without a Clan home ever since the creation of Clan Plagueis, Troutrooper and his wife headed for the Yridia system.
Clan Tarentum was ideal for Troutrooper. The Clan is quite laid back as he is, yet the members are all unique and full of personality. While perhaps not the most energetic and measurably productive of Clans, Tarenti always had ideas, and the free exchange and debate of those ideas thrilled Troutrooper. Both he and his wife loved the warm waters of Yridia II and took full advantage of the exotic waters. And, most importantly, nobody in Tarentum cared about Troutrooper's history. Most had less than perfect pasts and were not about to demean others on account of their previous lives. Twas a perfect match at the time.
But joyous times did not last. A war amongst the Clans had arisen. Tarentum allied itself with its traditional allies, Clans Naga Sadow and Plagueis, against the alliance of Clans Arcona and Taldryan, with Clan Scholae Palatinae fending for itself. The alliances were strengthened with the emergence of twin Jacs, one red and one blue. Tarentum, Naga Sadow, and Plagueis sided with the “Red Jac”. The war was devastating: a Pyrrhic war that lasted longer than any previous Great Jedi War. Ultimately, the Jacs merged together and the war ended with Taldryan the victors. Though Tarentum was mostly uninterested and bored with the proceedings, Troutrooper took to battle as he had never done before. Nobody—himself included—could have predicted the ferocity and efficacy with which Troutrooper fought; only Lucius d'Tana]conquered more than him. Upon reflection, Troutrooper figured he fought so well because he had prepared for battle only a couple months earlier, yet did not fight; “all dressed up with nowhere to go” as the saying goes. He had not truly tasted the vibrancy and verve of battle in quite some time: “Mairin's War” was the last time major Brotherhood conflict he remembered participating in as a grunt and not as a leader. He relished the combat. But most of all, Troutrooper felt as though he had to prove his loyalty to his new Clan and the Brotherhood as a whole, and a massive war was the ideal place to begin. The few who questioned him were silenced when “Red Jac” appointed Troutrooper to be his Headmaster: if the Grand Master trusted him with a Dark Council position, everyone else felt comfortable trusting Troutrooper to complete whatever mission was assigned. For his efforts, Troutrooper received several Novae and the title of Second Hero of the Sixth Great Jedi War.
His short stint as Headmaster brought him unexpected benefits. Jac saw first-hand how capable and efficient a worker Troutrooper was. Thus, when Jac opened applications for his empty Praetor positions, Troutrooper had a step up on the competition. Again, some in the Brotherhood were skeptical at the appointment, but Troutrooper worked hard to disabuse people of their biases. Though short in tenure, his time as Praetor to the Grand Master was productive on many levels. Grand Master Jac recognized his efforts with a Ruby Scepter, making Troutrooper one of the few in the Dark Brotherhood to have earned multiple Ruby Scepters.
His Clan also recognized his efforts. For his service to the Clan and bravery in battle, Troutrooper received a commission in the Clan's Fleet: Lt. Commander and the Commander of the GSP Havoc in Clan Tarentum's fleet. He was reassigned to the M/CRV Cerberus due to his appointment to Nuncio of Clan Tarentum. In addition, Marshal Maximillan von Oberst offered Troutrooper a place within the illustrious ranks of the Tarentae, the highest honor any member of Clan Tarentum can receive. Troutrooper accepted readily and humbly. And, last but not least, Troutrooper became an Elder once more with his promotion to Dark Side Adept.
Along the way, Troutrooper decided to reconcile with many of those he had slandered in the past. Prime among them was Firefox. Troutrooper invited the Grand Master out to dinner, where they talked late into the night about what had happened, how it truly was not Troutrooper's fault regardless of what Astatine wanted to believe, and why it really did not matter anymore. He walked away from the meeting relieved and thrilled to count Firefox among his friends once again. And aside from a few who have no interest in rebuilding burned bridges, the reconciliation process went smoothly. Troutrooper also reestablished good relationships with several Brothers and Sisters who, like himself, remained or joined the Emperor's Hammer after Exodus but eventually found their way to Antei.
Troutrooper and Omiti established residence on Alzoc III, a frigid world close to the Yridia system. Though they were welcome in Castle Tarentum, Troutrooper and Omiti needed their own home. They liked their privacy, a holdover from his time as the Intel Director. Not that Castle Tarentum's security was in any way suspect, Alzoc III's desolation and distance from the rest of civilization afforded them a level of security that a more populous and central location could not.
Time passed and Troutrooper found himself spending more and more time on Alzoc III than in Castle Tarentum. What was originally a perfect match slowly degraded into a tenuous friendship. While he remained friends with his Clanmates and fought as hard as ever for his Clan, the Mon Cal found himself increasingly at odds with the summit, the Tarentae, and the Clan as a whole. He struggled to reconcile his efforts in the previous major conflicts with the efforts of the rest of the Clan. He thought his example would spur others on, but sometimes found himself alone on the battlefield without support from his Clanmates. Such situations sapped his desire to fight: “I fight for my own reasons. I just wish my reasons aligned with the Clan's reasons more often, especially when my reasons are to better the Clan and defend it from external threats.” In addition, Omiti began studying a new subject, the history of a distant planet whose varied races allied themselves into two factions who warred unceasingly for control of the planet. Intrigued by this new area of study, Troutrooper joined his wife and the two spent much of their days immersed in this new lore.
Combined, the Mon Cal knew that his tenure in Tarentum was coming to an end. He began to disengage himself from the day-to-day business of the Clan. He stayed abreast of the major Clan and Brotherhood news, but let the minutiae pass without his notice. Soon, though, his and his wife's studies intensified to the point where even major events—such as new Deputy Grand Masters—were missed; a Krath focused on a new area of study often ignores the rest of the galaxy. He aided his Clan as they sought to retake Antei from Crask, but his fighting spirit remained on Alzoc III. The Dark Side Adept's sub-standard performance mirrored that of Tarentum's.
A surprise communique arrived shortly after Troutrooper returned from Antei. Timbal, an old friend and coworker, contacted him regarding a curious new opening. Grand Master Sarin was opening a new, independent House, the first independent House to be opened in many a year. While his focus was still on his studies, the Dark Side Adept asked his old friends about this soon-to-be-established House. A clandestine, far-reaching, distributed organization that sought to redefine what a Dark Jedi House meant. The old spy was intrigued. He could continue working on his studies, exercise his long-dormant secret agent skills when called upon, and, most importantly, he would work with many of his friends and several Dark Jedi he respected but had never previously worked with.
Yet to join this new endeavor required abandoning Clan Tarentum, leaving those who accepted and welcomed him, no questions asked. The Mon Cal remembered being abandoned on the battlefield, but he would not have been on any battlefield had Sith Bloodfyre not invited him to Tarentum in the first place. Turn about may be fair play, but the Dark Side Adept remembered being abandoned and hated the feeling. He did not want to return the favor upon his friends. More importantly, the Clan had entrusted him with the title and responsibilities of Tarentae. Very few are offered the title, and Troutrooper was—and still is—honored to have been asked to join the elite of Tarentum. A one-time offer that, once declined at any time, is never offered again. And he still considered his Clanmates friends; he harbored no animosity towards any Tarenti.
Troutrooper meditated on the decision for several days. Once he had thoroughly examined his mind and soul, he informed his superiors and became a charter member of House Revan.
The Dark Side Adept called House Revan home from its inception to its dissolution. Due to his lore studies, Troutrooper did not fully invest himself in House Revan; regretful, but there are only so many hours in a day, even in hyperspace. The time he was able to devote to House Revan was time well spent. The Mon Cal loved the radical redefining of what a Dark Jedi Brotherhood unit was. Revan proved that Clans did not need to be static entities, conjuring conflagrations to coax Clan members into combat. Revan proved that Dark Jedi could work together when motivated for a common cause. Revan proved that the ingrained and de facto hatreds within the Brotherhood can be set aside if individuals are willing to forget politics and truly live up to the name Dark Jedi Brotherhood. Troutrooper saw first-hand what politics and infighting did to the Brotherhood. He hated the constant, internecine wars that shed Dark Jedi blood instead of light Jedi blood. House Revan stood in stark contrast to the previous notions of what a Dark Brotherhood unit must be. To this day, Troutrooper believes the values of House Revan will save the Brotherhood someday.
In the war for Salas V, House Revan fought against Clan Tarentum first. Although Troutrooper was not in peak fighting form, he gave all the effort he could. Ultimately, he was the deciding factor in the contest: the Dark Side Adept's blade gave House Revan the slightest edge over Tarentum. Though a non-factor in the rest of House Revan's conquest of Salas V, Troutrooper took bittersweet pleasure in knocking out Clan Tarentum. With friends on both sides of combat, he was bound to lose regardless of the outcome of the battle; the taste of victory tainted by the knowledge he injured friends and former stalwart companions.
Shortly after House Revan's conquest of Salas V, Troutrooper received to Antei. Upon arrival at the Dark Hall, he was greeted by Grand Masters Sarin and Jac Cotelin, as well as his Tarentum Consul Welshman, the current Tarentum Consul Maximillan von Oberst, and the rest of House Revan. They escorted the Mon Cal to the Iron Throne, where Grand Master Muz Ashen was seated. Next to him stood Omiti holding a worn robe. Troutrooper knew the robe: it was his old Dark Jedi Master robe. He blinked. He thought he had destroyed the robe as the painful memories and scars it dredged up were not ones he cared to think about. Yet there his wife stood, holding his robe and smiling. His escort backed away and Muz arose, no smile on his face yet a pleased countenance shone through his well-worn emotionless mask. The Keibatsu waved away Troutrooper's robe with one hand, then nodded to Omiti, who placed her husband's old robe on him. Muz nodded. Troutrooper gurgled a chuckle. The party lasted well into the next day.
Troutrooper remained in House Revan until its dissolution. Without Sarin's binding influence, the House slowly dissipated. The Dark Jedi Master was still engaged in his studies; he did little to change the flow. Just when their connections and plans were seeing fruit, the House was closed. He was saddened by the House's closure. Life moves on.
For a while thereafter, Troutrooper attended to personal business. The Dark Jedi Master did not want to adhere himself to any House or Clan as he was not ready for such a commitment. Matters outside the Dark Brotherhood required his involvement. Active membership would have been onerous to him and unfruitful for all parties.
His personal matters subsided shortly before he received a request from an old Housemate. The request was vague: disturbingly powerful Shadow Academy graduates, benthic and powerful swirls in the Force, military personnel across all the Clans and Houses being recalled and put on alert. Troutrooper declined the request. He was tired from his personal endeavors and wanted some rest. But the request piqued his interest. The retired spy made inquiries. Nothing too involved, just a few casual questions of close friends. His casual questions reached the ears of Darth Pravus. The Grand Master and the Dark Jedi Master were well-acquainted. Pravus informed Troutrooper of recent Brotherhood events, including the severe issues with the Dark Council. He invited Troutrooper to join him and selected others luminous Dark Jedi on a secret council. Troutrooper accepted.
Although the Mon Cal's involvement in the Vendetta was limited, he proved himself potent on the battlefield yet again. Pravus, though irritated Troutrooper disappointed the secret group, requested the Dark Jedi Master to join Clan Arcona. After settling his personal affairs, Troutrooper headed to the Dajorra System and was formally accepted as a member of Clan Arcona.
Troutrooper is an easy-going, laid-back fish. Getting crotchety in his old age, but, oddly for a Dark Sider, prefers to be happy over angry.
Troutrooper has in-depth knowledge of all aspects of espionage. Surveillance and reconnaissance, assassination, information extraction (interrogation and torture), information analysis and interpretation, cryptography, information security, etc. His studies in the Force are based upon his former spying practices.
As a former House Aleema summit member, Troutrooper is skilled in illusion-related Force Powers. Although a former Tarentae and current Arconan, he does not know or practice either Necromancy nor Shadow Crafting. The latter would be beneficial to the aged agent, yet some fish are too old for new tricks.
He is a skilled pilot, commended many times for his flying renown.
- AED of Aleema of Satal Keto (under Kaiann Yetaru Entar)
- QUA of Aleema of Satal Keto (under Drako)
- Headmaster (under Firefox)
- Praetor to the Grand Master (under Jac Cotelin)
- Krath High Priest (in the EHDB)
- Clan Tarentum honorific title, Tarentae
- One of four to receive multiple Ruby Scepters
- Second Hero of the 7th GJW
- Earned Dark Jedi Master twice, once in the EHDB and again in the DJB.
- TT was the head of the Emperor's Hammer Intelligence Division at the time of the Exodus.
- TT stayed with the EHDB until he was expelled in May 2006.
- A fervent Krath, TT originally was a Sith, joining House Galthain of CSK. His first two Gold Novae were not for writing: in 2000, he won a small competition run by the DGM, the other for winning a TIE Fighter event in a GJW.
- Charter member of Independent House Revan = plank owner
- TT's Tarentae title was revoked upon his amicable departure for House Revan.
- The name "Troutrooper" is a portmanteau of 'Trout' and 'Trooper'. The latter comes from Davin Felth, a stormtrooper in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, with whom he shares his first name. The former comes from a former coworker's desk ornament, from which he took a server username ("You need a login." "How about 'stormtrooper'?" "Taken." "Crap. How about...er...ummm...Trout!" "Done.")
- Responds well to "Trout", "TT", "Trouty", "Fishy", "EvilAckbar". Does not respond well to "Trou", "Jerkface", or "a/s/l"
- Loves nice, quiet, trap-free places  (Thanks, Kraval!)
- "Troutrooper" is typed using only the top row of letter keys on a standard American QWERTY keyboard.